Senator Anne Cools: Presentation to the International Conference on Men’s Issues 2014

Editorial note: We will be publishing complete transcripts of the presentations given at the International Conference on Men’s Issues, 2014 for those who wish to read instead of listen, and want to be able to search for remarks, and for posterity from this historic event. Our thanks to Rick Westlake for providing these transcripts. The “committee” referred to here by Anne Cools, and her friend Roger Gallaway, was a joint committee of the Canadian Parliament to try to reform Canadian family law. Cools was our first speaker on the first official day of our conference, 27 June 2014.–DE 

(Introduction by The Honorable Roger Gallaway, former Member of the Canadian Parliament)

 … At the end of 1998 I happened to present, to the House of Commons, the final report of the Committee. It recommended some very revolutionary ideas, such as  shared parenting. It recommended that if you’re going to allege domestic violence, you’d better be prepared to prove it. And, of course, none of this has come, in Canada, to fruition. Here I am, sixteen years later and nothing has changed in Canada. In fact, if anything, it’s backed up.

But the one constant in all of this is Anne Cools. Here we are, sixteen years later, Anne –  older, too; yes, your hair is grey, I still don’t have any. Here we are, sixteen years later, in the center of North America, as I like to think of it as being, talking about the same things. But I detect that there’s more determination, I detect there’s a greater perspective, and I detect that Anne Cools has something important to say this morning.

So it gives me great pleasure to join with you this morning in welcoming my friend, and I think our friend, Senator Anne Cools.

I would like to say that this is something of a special moment for me today, because I am in the presence of several of you – but two people, both of whom mean a great deal to me. And one of them is my dear friend who just introduced me, Roger Gallaway. And Roger Gallaway, I would love to thank you publicly for your work for your work and contribution on this file. And I would also like to say to many of you that Roger and I – the two of us – were a multitude, in politics, on the floor of the House.

I would also like to acknowledge again my dear friend, Erin Pizzey …as I said before, my soul-sister my soul-mate, as we came to similar conclusions and did similar work on two sides of the Atlantic. We’ve been very close friends now for many years, but we always knew of each other’s existence before we met. And she and I have traveled a few miles together in Canada, as well…

I would just like to say that the cause that is before you and the things that you fight for are valid and just, and you should pursue your work at all times. I am seventy years of age, and I am on the home stretch of my public career. So you, and younger soldiers, must come. So I encourage soldiers to arm themselves, and to put on battle gear, because it is a fight.

I want to do a few things, but one of the first things I want to do is to offer Roger a little bit of support in respect of what he just said. And the important thing about that committee, and I’ll come back to that in a moment, was the enormity of the public support of fathers. And this is not easily understood by many today, who will still find themselves in desolate conditions. And we must remember at all times that no Divorce Act, and no Act of Parliament, ever intended or legislated the dispossession of fathers of their children, or the dispossession of children of their fathers. Somewhere in the idea of the administration of the law, that has been happening and has happened.

But, in respect of what Roger had just said about the enormous support that that committee’s work enjoyed, I’d like to quote a poll that was published November 23rd, 1998 in the Ottawa Citizen, in an article actually written by a journalist called Chris Collum, I think it was. I just happened to have it here, inside of another speech. And, the front-page article was headlined – quote: “Public Backs Fathers’ Rights: Astonishing Majority Wants Change to Laws on Access to Children, Compass Poll Shows.” Compass was the polling company that had done it.

The pollster, Dr. Wynn, was quoted in the article saying – quote – “I cannot find an adjective to describe the intensity of public dismay over family issues and the unfulfilled rights of fathers and children. I am surprised, because these issues haven’t been on the agenda of Canadian politics for a very long time. The most astonishing thing is the absolute consensus among men and women about how the rights and obligations of fathers and children are being ignored.”

So yes, the Committee was a tough go, and we won the issues, and we won public opinion. But the Act still has not been changed.

But we fought on. There were two future amendments to the Act, two future bills, and we worked, Roger and I, and buried them both. We got them well-buried. And so, we’re still waiting.

But there has been a lot of change on the ground, and–because I stay in touch with many people on the ground. Last summer I visited a particular jurisdiction in Canada, and it made me very proud and happy of the work that we had done, because I sat in the courts and I heard what the judges were saying and doing. And there was one particular instance where a particular party was seeking to have the other party – it was a wife seeking to have the husband, or the ex-husband, deprived of access. And I actually heard that judge say, “Don’t even ask for it. I do not deny any father access to his children without strong and good reasons.”

So – there’s that happening. So let me just move on to say – Let us look to try to understand how we’ve got here and why we are here, and so on. So I thought I could take a little quick stroll through a look at some of the law, in respect of wives and husbands, and in respect of mutual obligations and expectations and entitlements.

So let us begin, for example – some of this is going to surprise some of you – let us begin with William Blackstone, as I mentioned before, and his work on the common law. In his book, Chapter 15, called “Of Persons,
he writes a whole section on relations between husband and wife.

So when women refer to “hundreds of years of oppression,” it’s not quite accurate. Not quite accurate. And I would like to make the point that the law views marriage as a civil contract between a husband and a wife – agreements agreed upon, voluntary unions agreed upon. But they left the holiness of the union entirely to the ecclesiastical law; many people do not realize that, now. So the Church’s canon law used to look after that whole area. And the law, in its civil aspect, treated it as and like a contract. Agreements made, agreements honored. And to dishonor the contract was viewed as a violation of things holy, and things legal.

So … I want to put this quotation out to you, for your own thoughts. And he says, quote – because yesterday, I made the point that men have been the protectors of women for centuries. And all of a sudden, men became the ‘enemies’ of women. So really, it’s a staggering, staggering thing.

So, let me read how Mr. Blackstone concluded that chapter – quote: “These are the chief legal effects of marriage, joint or coverture, upon which we may observe that even the disabilities which the wife lies under are, for the most part, intended for her protection and benefit; so great a favorite is the female sex of the laws of England.”

Remember, all a woman had to do is go to a store and charge any amount of goods, and husband was just expected to pay. And they did, dutifully, you know. So let us understand the position of the law. I have searched Blackstone, looking for that “Rule of Thumb.” It doesn’t exist. It’s not there. It’s not there. So I just want us to set our minds thinking about the protection–you see, because I still wonder, how could we allow such violation of human beings as what we’re seeing today?

So I’d like to cite you the old – you wouldn’t know this, unless you’re from Ontario–Roger would know of this–the old Deserted Wives and Children’s Maintenance Act. This was the predecessor to the Family Law Reform Act of 1978. Quote – Remember, “Deserted Wives” so you’re going to be interested to learn the definition of “desertion.” Obviously if a man leaves and abandons the home, it’s a desertion. But there’s another kind of desertion, which I shall quote:

“Section 2, sub 2: A married woman shall be deemed to have been deserted within the meaning of this section when she is living apart from her husband because of his acts of cruelty; or of his refusal or neglect, without sufficient cause, to supply her with food and other necessaries, when able so to do; or of the husband having been guilty of adultery that has not been condoned and that is duly proved, notwithstanding the existence of a separation agreement.”

Here again you see the law protecting women; constant protection. And I knew that act like the back of my hand, because when I was building shelters and assisting women and children in difficulty, that was the Act by which those women were sustained by endowments and payments from Government. That’s a very complicated system under the general Welfare system – very complicated, but we don’t have to go there.

Just to give you another example, the old Married Women’s Property Act of 1859. In that era, women started to be able to own property separately from their husbands. And so let’s look at the — And this Married Women’s Property Act was still in force, I believe, up until the Family Law Reform Act, I think – Roger’s nodding, so it was in force.

So we look at Section 13, and we find that  protection, and look at the extent of protection. So, “Section 13, sub 1: Any married woman –” this, having a judgment for alimony, who lives apart from her husband, whose husband is mentally incompetent, and on and on and on – listen to this: “– may obtain an order of protection, entitling her, notwithstanding her coverture, to have and to enjoy all the earnings of her minor children, and any acquisitions therefrom, free from the debts and obligations of her husband and from his control or disposition, and without his consent, in as full and ample a manner as if she were continued sole and unmarried.”

So I’m just trying to show you how the Law has always protected women. And, in the context of social Society, of Society and how it was structured in those days, it made perfect sense. And remember, you know, these laws were made in a time when jobs weren’t plentiful. And besides, all the classes of the community did not marry. Marriage was for those who could afford – could afford – to do these things. I mean, we keep forgetting that. And the vast numbers of – in the British Territories, the vast numbers of persons who were unmarried depended on the Common Law. Therefore you get the expression, “common-law relationships,” to which and from which flowed many benefits.

I also want to show you another kind, a different kind of protection than these, but in respect of protection from criminal prosecution; to diminish responsibility. So I shall go to the Criminal Code, Section 233: Infanticide. Most of us think that the term “infanticide” means the killing of a child, but it does not. It means the killing of a child by a female person. And very few people are aware of this distinction, but it diminishes responsibility. So I shall read you the Section–and I do all of this so you can see I didn’t make any of this up. The idea’s not pulled out of the sky, or out of my pleasure or of my will. I have grounded myself at all times in the Law of the Country, the Law that we are supposed to and have abided by.

So quote Section 233 of the Criminal code, currently: “A female person commits infanticide when by a willful act or omission she causes the death of her newly born child, if at the time of the act or omission she is not fully recovered from the effects of giving birth to the child and by reason thereof or of the effect of lactation consequent on the birth of the child her mind is then disturbed.”

This is contemporary law.

So — I collect these things, and as I have said before, I have made it my business to try to grasp, to understand, the sources and the origins of what Erin Pizzey calls “the Evil Empire.”

I would like to go to the Muses, now. We’re leaving the Law, and we’re going to the Muses, and the poets, and in today’s community, the song writers. So, I’m going to introduce you to a dear old song called “Frankie and Johnny.” I’m not a singer, I’ve never been able to sing. But you remember, Frankie and Johnny were lovers – oh lordy, how they could love, and on and on. Well, we must remember, that everybody forgets that Frankie murdered Johnny – Frankie is the woman; Frankie murdered Johnny, everybody forgets that! And – I’m not wearing my glasses, but let me see if I can read this – so, Johnny had gone out and he was coming on to a very pretty girl named Nellie Bly, a high brown – I mean, this is America – high brown Nellie Bly, let me read this for you:

So it says here, Frankie got out – that’s right, she goes home — oh, that’s right, she goes to somebody and she says, have you seen Johnny? And the fellow says, “Ain’t gonna tell you no lie; Johnny went by ‘bout an hour ago with a girl named Nellie Bly.” And forward to the refrain, “He was your man, but he done you wrong.” This goes through the whole song – “He was your man, but he done you wrong.”

Anyway, so Frankie goes home and gets Johnny’s gun, and comes back and looks up, and in the window “so high” – and let me quote the poem, “saw her Johnny man a’ lovin-up that high brown Nellie Bly … He was her man, but he done her wrong … Then Johnny saw Frankie a’coming; out the back door he did scout – but Frankie took aim with her pistol, and the gun went root-a-toot-toot-toot!” That’s the end of Johnny.

So, the Muses include this in a lot of their work. And finally, in this layer, a group of quotations; I come to the Greek tragedy, and Euripides, and Medea. Medea. And this is all stuff I’ve read, myself, for years. Somewhere around 431, Euripides writes his famous Greek tragedy, Medea, about Medea and Jason and Medea’s murder of their two sons. Medea was a Greek enchantress who had helped Jason to obtain the Golden Fleece. When Jason deserted her for another woman, she planned and carried out the murder of their two sons. So I am going to read to you from Medea, from an older version that matches the one I would have read in school many years ago. And this is what Medea has to say:

“Let no man think that I am a feeble, frail-hearted woman, who sits with folded hands. No, let them know me for the opposite of that.”

Continuing: “One who knows how to hurt her enemies.”

Her maid is very distressed about the act that she’s about to commit — and if time allowed, I’d read more of it, because it really is very insightful. But she looks at the maid and pledges the female to silence in the following words:

“Say nothing of the plans I have prepared. Don’t say a word, if you are loyal to your mistress, and loyal to the race of woman.”

So I just put that out to you, just to inform us of our cultural norms, and to remind us of the standards that we expect to abide by.

So having said all that, I want to come directly to a few of the issues that we canvassed yesterday, and to one of my pet points, which is that violence, divorce, and all of these issues are all about the most vulnerable of all relationships – intimate – intimate love relationships, where vulnerability is the order of the day, and intimacy. So I want to say that my perspective has always been that a balance of fairness and equilibrium, grounded in the notion that human beings and human relationships are extremely complex, and that intimate family relationships involve personal vulnerabilities, elusive dynamics, and multiple emotions.

Managing human relations and human dynamics is challenging, even for the well-equipped personality. For the not-so-well equipped, managing human relations is daunting and sometimes nearly impossible.

Life and human intimacy is a difficult road for many. Human emotions such as love, anger, expectations, and disappointments are driving forces. Human needs and human emotions are compelling. Human complexities, further complicated by the fact that human beings frequently have little or no understanding of what and why they feel, and little or no insight into the effects of their own behavior on those with whom they live.

I wish to quote a very famous theological type. His name was Jacques Gillet, and he wrote a lot on personal discernment. And Gillet – and I got this in a book written by a priest named Father Greene, quoting Gillet saying, “We all work in darkness, in a way.” And Gillet says, “There’s the darkness in man himself” – in us – “who is incapable of seeing his own heart clearly; incapable of grasping completely the seriousness of his actions and the results deriving from them.”

I’ve counseled couples – and you know, they could be two countries they are so far apart – trying to bring some reconciliation between them. And if you can persevere, and if they trust you, you can do it.

So, on observing human behavior, the inescapable conclusion is that human beings, both men and women, are afflicted by their own imperfections, frailties and woundedness, and this condition seems to govern a lot of human behavior. It appears that the more imperfect and wounded a person is, the less tolerant that person is of others’ imperfection and woundedness. Human capacity for misunderstanding is great.

Men and women are equally capable of vice and virtue. Vice and virtue are human characteristics, not gendered ones. I have politically repudiated the two prevalent notions introduced into the public discourse by radical gender feminist ideology: that women are morally superior to men, that men are morally inferior to women, and that somehow men are just plain naturally ‘morally defective.’

The false proposition of women’s inherent virtue and men’s inherent vice has dominated and deformed family and criminal law policy for the past several decades. Much public policy on domestic violence, particularly arrest, charging, and prosecution policy, has been founded on this deformity, wreaking havoc in the lives of people, many of whom are ill [sound issue]

Is that better? … Okay, good. At any event, I was saying that many human beings are ill-prepared and ill-equipped to handle such havoc. And there have been many, large numbers of suicides on these matters. And the empirical evidence on violence within intimate-partner relationships and within families, confirms that domestic violence has been falsely framed as violence against women, and as a gendered issue, and as a woman’s question.

I just want to lay out again, that is my position. And I think that I have been speaking with great balance, and fairness, and equilibrium, which is all I’ve ever strived to attain in the Law.

I want to touch, very briefly, the whole business of The Patriarchy, because this was raised yesterday. And there’s another concept that has wreaked havoc on us.

I believe I said, yesterday, that we are not ever to underestimate the sense of protection that men feel for women, because I can tell you I’ve seen bill after bill being passed, with all the men agreeing, because they were told “this bill was needed to protect women.” And so there has been explanation why so many people would vote so willingly on many of these issues.

But let’s get to “Patriarchy,” to show you the extent to which this — this wrong-headed, misinformed, uninformed, ill-informed point of view has seeped into the entire system.

So, around 1990, the Government of Canada sponsored a multi-million-dollar project. It was called the Canadian Panel on Violence Against Women. Its 1993 report was named, “Changing the Landscape: Ending Violence, Achieving Equality.” Its titles and sub-titles were steeped in radical gender feminist nomenclature. Part I was called “The Context.” Chapter 1 was entitled “The Feminist Lens.” Chapter 1 also called a section called “Looking Through A Feminist Lens.” Another section was called, “Patriarchy and Violence,” while another was entitled “Heterosexism.” Heterosexism!

We panned it in caucus this year – as it came up, the liberal caucus panned it.

The report informed that the concept of “Patriarchy” was essential to the Panel’s analysis of the nature of gender inequality and violence against women – I’m speaking about a report of a very respectable panel! The report explained “Patriarchy” thus – quote: “Patriarchy is not just a central concept in feminist analysis. For many women, it is also a daily reality. The most violent and profound expression of patriarchal power sits at their dinner tables every evening, and sleeps in their beds at night.”

The report described “Heterosexism” – quote: “Heterosexism is the assumption that a woman’s life will be organized around, and defined in relationship, in relation to a man.” The report also told that Canadian society is organized around “compulsory heterosexuality,” and that “heterosexism” is embedded in all State institutions that women are likely to call upon: the police, the justice system, religious institutions, et cetera.

Colleagues – friends, here – distinguished guests – these concepts had more to do with constructing an ideological framework, and less to do with assisting families in crisis. Nothing to do with assisting families in crisis. And if you have worked with these families, as Erin and I have, you really see people who are begging for help. And I don’t know if some of you know a lot about crisis intervention, but there’s a point in person’s lives – if, at that critical moment, you reach out and give them that help and make that intervention, you’re capable of causing them to transform themselves; and they even transform their behavior.

And none of this matches anything that I’ve ever seen or worked with.

But – anyway, I just wanted to say that by this time I was already well distancing myself from this thing that was being called “Feminism.” And the one statement that really took me entirely over the edge was one made by a feminist, an American feminist, whose name is Sally Miller Gearhart. And she wrote an article called, ‘The Future, If There Is One, Is Female.’ And it was published in her 1982 book, Reweaving the Web of Life: Feminism and Nonviolence.  Hold that – “Feminism and Nonviolence.” Quote: “To secure a world of female values and female freedom, we must, I believe, add one more element to the structure of the future… (Laugh) …The ratio of men to women must be radically reduced, so that men approximate only ten percent of the total population.”

I mean, this is – I mean, how can you take that seriously? I mean – can you take somebody like that seriously? Anyway, for me, that was the end. That was the end! Thereafter, I never described myself, any more, as a feminist.

I want to come, now, to the old phenomena of false allegations and prosecution, and so on, and this, again, has been a great distress and a great set of problems within the system itself. And the practices were developed by certain feminist lawyers, and it seemed to be to make these accusations in the body of civil proceedings. And, as you know, there’s a difference between civil proceedings and criminal proceedings; the standard is much higher and heftier in criminal ones. But this became so rampant that if you – and I actually recorded, on the floor of the House, of the Senate, 52 instances of men who were falsely accused of abusing their own children. And the cases that I put were proven; the accusations were proven to be false. And the judges were quite tough and hard in their descriptions. So I only put cases before the House – 52, I just recorded them one after the other, and quoted them because I figure another soldier will come along, at some point in time, and just pick up that work.

But I want to give you, to read to you, from the mind of some of the judges, to see what they were saying at the time. And one of them makes the following statement: it was a case where husband and wife – she had accused him of hitting her; turns out he was nowhere near her, at the time the event was supposed to have happened. But this is what the judge says, and I’ll read that to you. Paragraph 19, in acquitting – It was a criminal proceeding, so in acquitting the husband, he made the following statement, the judge made the following statement about the wife – quote: “I find the evidence of the complainant and her mother to be contradictory, confusing, contrary, conflicting, irreconcilable, and quite frankly, false.” He also continued and expressed an opinion; it’s the only one I’ve been able to find, in years, about Zero Tolerance policy. And he said the following:

“I want to make two further comments, because one is curious as to how a man could be falsely accused in these circumstances, right up to and including a trial. The reasons are quite clear to me, and disturbing: First, the police apparently have a policy of zero tolerance in domestic-assault cases. Any zero-tolerance policy is dangerous. It is especially dangerous when it is not properly applied.”

So that was re: the false accusations between two spouses, by a wife as against a husband.

But I can tell you, in the cases of children, if you want to see men reduced to pulp, is to watch a man who will talk to you about him being accused of sexually abusing his — his little children. And there’s something in the hearts of most men and fathers that find that so soul-destroying – not only repugnant, but soul-destroying – that they can be accused of it. I remember one time Roger and I had a particular guy who actually said to him, “Accuse me of murder, but don’t accuse me of hurting my child like this!”

So I just want to tell you — any day of the week, we had twenty of these cases coming to our attention. But there’s a few judges, more than a few actually, who were taking notice. And I want to take note of another particular judge in a case – and I’m looking for the exact words where he says, he quotes: “There are far too many prosecutors declining to make the hard decision –” This is Justice Saunderson – “There are far too many prosecutors declining to make the hard decisions, lest they offend some interest-group, or incur the displeasure of their superiors who themselves are subjected to pressure from the same groups. The result can be made to work hardship in individual cases.”

He’s going to continue … he talks about the wife, because he says, the wife herself testified that she was drunk and in an out-of-control rampage against–because she was upset by something the husband’s ex-wife had said to her. So the judge continued, and he criticized the Crown for not charging her for her assaults! It’s very interesting, saying it created a double standard. And his exact words are, here, quote: “The mere fact of this prosecution sends a very clear message: A woman in a relationship with a man can provoke him, degrade him, strike him, and throw objects at him with impunity; but if he offers the least physical response, he will be charged with assault.”

So, having said it, I just threw this out for you.

I’m coming to my last subject matter now, and — and the whole business of the best interests of the child. Because we saw in this period of time, the last many years, where men were treated as observers in their children’s lives. And there’s one particular judge who actually – a female judge who actually created, said that, in a case: They’re observers. The non-custodial parents are “observers” in their children’s lives, which of course is now something we reject.

The power of Governments and the State in respect of children and custody is infinite power, and it is never time-dated. And I want to explain to you a little bit, to those who are interested — I searched for about two years, trying to find the origin of the term “the best interests of the child.” And I found it; and it was introduced into Canada’s divorce law in – Roger, you’d be interested – in 1984, Minister MacGuigan’s changes. That government – that bill never saw the light of day, because it died on the old paper as liberals were defeated, Mr. Trudeau’s people were defeated in the general election, September 1984. But I remember that bill very well, and the Minister’s intention at the time was that by putting that phrase into the bill in respect of custody and access – because his policy was that children of divorce should have maximum access to other siblings, to both parents, to grandparents. And you find this in all of his policy papers, which were distributed across the country, and conferences that he summoned, of people in the field, and I was one of them, at one point. And very clearly — he had been a law professor, so he was a lawyer’s lawyer — and he sincerely believed that that term would come on the ground, would transform itself into shared parenting.

And that would have happened if the ground didn’t change suddenly.

Let me just come back to where that term comes from. That term comes out of those great powers of the King. The American Constitution no longer – Americans no longer appreciate the sense of the King, in the Constitution, that perpetual sovereign ever-present in the Constitution; but in Canada, it is still alive in our Constitution. And these are the powers of the King. In England, the Lord Chancellor was the most powerful man after the King. He was so powerful he could even cancel the King’s letters-patent. And the term, the business, of child welfare, developed out of the King’s protection of children, that was owed to the knights and all those individuals who fought for him. That’s where you got terms like “wards.”

If you remember, when you were children there was a childhood thing called Robin Hood. Remember, Maid Marian was the ward of the King.

So, if the King had knights who left orphaned children, infants–and it was a very sophisticated and complete system–that he owed that child protection, and the lands of that child protection. And that when that child became of age, all those properties were expected to be delivered to that child, who hopefully would fight for the next King. And at one point, they developed their own separate Courts of Wards, and liveries, to do that. But as time went by, the Lord Chancellor’s Court took over those matters. And even to this day, you call the “Law of Equity” – all that, the Lord Chancellor’s Courts dealt in what they call the Law of Equity, which is the Law that grants justice, not just Law. The Common Law Courts grant justice according to the Law; the Courts of Equity grant justice which might have been neglected in the administration of the laws. It’s a very, very interesting system.

So, in Canada, the Common Law Courts and the Equity Courts merged in 1881. So now every Superior Court judge of Canada has that inherent power to protect children. And the doctrine was called “parens patriae.” And this is why something like custody is never final; so they can award custody; if something goes wrong, they can change that custody. But the protection over a child is – protection is eternal. And it’s an enormous power; and — well, that’s another story for another day. But somehow or the other, the interests of the child and the interests of the child’s mother have got confused in the last many years.

So I wanted to say to you that that term, “best interests of the child,” was intended to be a ground for greater sharing in the relationship, and a greater sharing in children; because 1984 was a time when all this nonsense was coming to an end, and men were picking up children and taking them for walks – and it’s a beautiful thing. I’m a bicycle rider, on Saturday mornings, and – I’m not a good bicycle rider, I have a bad back, but I still do it – and you’ll watch these young families, Mum and Dad and two or three little children on bicycles. And it’s a beautiful delight to watch. And they don’t stop to debate who should stop and change the little one’s diaper; somebody just does it. It’s a wonderful thing to watch, and it’s how couples should relate, and it’s how most couples do relate.

But in any event, that is the origin of the term, “the best interests of the child.” And I think it’s a worthy term, I think it’s a worthy concept. It’s an ancient concept that can be defended by hundreds of years, now, of jurisprudence. And I would suggest that we would uphold it and defend it, and continue to challenge the orthodoxy in the name of “the best interests of the child.”

Now, I hope I’ve left a few minutes for questions, and I hope that we have a few questions, but that in — a quick summary —  is a statement on the state of the Law, on the state of Society, in respect; and a lot of this other stuff about men is just purely imaginary.

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