I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m a complicated person. I have proof. I have cursed a blue steak while listening to Gabriel’s Oboe. In my defense, it only happened once.
I was thinking about this when I awoke from my slumber and remembered I have to go over to a friend’s tonight and copy some documents for a court case I’m involved in. You see, I launched a civil action against the people in our province who are paid to protect children, who have that responsibility both financially and morally, and who I believe failed my children. The co-defendant is the Corporation of Delta, who applied the criminal record of another individual bearing the same name and birth date as myself, to my file, causing everyone involved in the ensuing fight for custody of my children to believe I was a crack-addicted prostitute. I am, I have never been, either of those things.
At least, that’s what I am standing for.
In any case, I have come to marvel at the heaviness of our legal system. Believe me, I started this process as someone who believed deeply in justice, who held the notion that our courts and our judges are capable of meting out justice, holding wrongdoers accountable and upholding a sense of decency and morality for all of us, saying, “Look. This is an ideal to which we can all work toward. We can be good people. ” I still believe that’s the goal, even though everything I’ve seen thus far would lead most ordinary people to believe that law and justice is nothing more than using the right words and scaring the right people. It really is an adversarial system and it doesn’t take long when you’re in it, to see that the worst in people are brought out by this approach. When the lawyers approach the bench, I can almost see their ruthlessness rise up from just below the surface of themselves and paint their cheeks with a fiery hue. I see their adversary, the lay people who recognize that a great misdeed has been done to them and, because their pockets are light must suck it up or fight. I can see their fear. I can smell it, as clearly as I catch a whiff of my own.
I am about to enter court on Friday and have the lawyer who represents the Ministry for Children and Families inform me that I cannot bring an action against the Ministry, or MCFD as it’s affectionately known, or even McFamilies, as it was known by in the 90′s. (I suppose it accurately captured the ‘drive-through’ nature of child protection here, and probably everywhere else.) I must name Her Majesty the Queen in Right of the Province of British Columbia as the defendant, my adversary. I feel small, suddenly, and I can’t help but think that if we are expected to represent ourselves as lay people because we cannot afford the cost of a lawyer then, despite the frustrations of judges and the well-heeled attorneys at the bench, we must be given a chance to make our own case, as laborious as that may be. Indeed, we are forced into making our own case if we are to expect any measure of justice at all.
As if that weren’t bad enough, I have been told that, even after that amendment (the third…I wasn’t allowed to name the Delta Police as a defendant either, I had to name Corporation of Delta), the Ministry will argue that they owed no duty of care to my children’s parent. I suppose it is that simple argument that gave the Ministry the wherewithal to permit themselves to award my children’s father with, at most, sole custody and at least eventually more access to them than I was allowed. He introduced my oldest daughter to crack and alcohol when she was 13, during that access. I wonder if they believe they owed a duty of care to my children? If so, why not ease the already over-taxed Average Joe and admit liability so we can all go home and my children and I can finally live together in some semblance of peace and normalcy? If not, if they actually believe, as they say they do, that they owe nothing for the serious errors in due diligence, there is nothing left for me to say. I must stand in absolute awe at the indifference. Is there anything more harmful to the collective sense of hope in a better future?
I carry that with me, that and a host of other grievances, including my marrying such a person in the first place. Some are my own bad judgment, some reflect the bad judgment of others. These are things that come to pass and I may not try this matter in the court of public opinion although I suspect I may be too late for that.
It’s always interesting to me when I hear people say, “I can’t comment about that. It’s before the courts.” We are the courts, people. We, any of us, can walk into any courtroom any day of the week and watch and listen as justice is handed out to trespassers. Justice is served. Accountability is honored. Or not. It’s at this point I realize how it is that we are actually NOT a democracy; we are, in fact, ruled by a Queen. I thought Pierre Trudeau had changed all of that, back in 1982, when he wrested our sovereignty from the British and brought our Constitution home and defined it with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Still, all legal process brought against government is brought against the Queen. Now, there’s a lady with a big skirt.
Just some food for thought, but I must go now. Gabriel’s Oboe is playing.