Parental Rights Trampled in Transitioning Child Case
by Danielle Martell
The relationship between parents and children is perhaps the most precious of human relationships and, as such, the family structure should be protected and defended. Parents are the ones who look out for the best interests of their children and see them through the hardest times, loving them through it all. It is because of a parent’s persistent, committed, determined love that they have God-given rights and responsibilities to make important decisions on behalf of their children until they reach adulthood. In Canada, we recognize these intrinsic rights and call them “parental rights.”
However, since the recent ruling of B.C. Supreme Court Justice Gregory Bowden on a transgender child’s case, this question persists: Are parents losing their parental rights, including the right to make crucial decisions on behalf of their children? If they are, who gets to make these decisions? If it’s not the parents, is it doctors, psychologists, the child’s teachers, or the state?
On February 27, 2019 the father of a 14-year-old transgender child was handed a court ruling from Justice Bowden which abolished his parental consent. Though the child was naturally born female, this child has identified as male since age 11 at a Delta, BC school under SOGI 123 policies. The school was helping the child socially transition without the father’s knowledge. It wasn’t until he saw his child with a male name in the school year book that he discovered this social transition. When the child sought medical hormone treatments to change to a male body, the father did not consent. However, BC Children’s Hospital informed the father his consent was irrelevant. The father immediately sought legal help.
Angelina Ireland, (People’s Party candidate for Delta, BC), aided this father in obtaining legal aid and sat through all the court proceedings. She explains that the father merely wanted to give his child time to reach the age of maturity prior to making this life-altering decision. There are many concerns with the treatment, including disrupting puberty, sterilizing fertility, affecting bone density and brain development, and many more serious consequences.
Justice Bowden’s ruling, based on the Infants Act, has many people concerned that his ruling severely infringes on a vast variety of Canadian freedoms. Bowden ruled that the child is “exclusively entitled to consent to medical treatment for gender dysphoria…, is permitted to apply to change his gender pursuant to s. 27 of the Vital Statistics Act, without the consent of his father or mother…,” and if the father tries “to persuade” his child “to abandon treatment for gender dysphoria,” or calls his child by the child’s “birth name” or by “female pronouns,” this will be considered “family violence.”
Ireland commented on this government-compelled speech saying that this is an attack on our freedoms on so many levels. “This is an attack on parental rights, which are fundamental rights given to people in a free society. It’s an attack on freedom of speech… freedom of religion… freedom of conscience. This whole case reeks of totalitarianism.”
In addition to this, a publication ban was issued which disallows the public to know the names of the family. Furthermore, it extends to any health or social care workers along with others who have encouraged the child to take these life-altering measures. As such, the publication ban protects these workers from being identified, leaving the public vulnerable to their influence.
Ireland remarks, “It’s absolutely draconian. George Orwell would blush – what is occurring in this country today with regard to the state control over our children. They have threatened to put him [the father] in jail, numerous times if he dares to speak to anyone outside of his two lawyers.”
She says, “Parents should be shaking in their boots to know what the state is capable of doing, and not only capable, but is quite happy to take their kids away from them if they don’t get in lockstep with this ideology.” She laments that, as Canadians, “we’ve forgotten that it’s the people who make the legislation, not the judges,” which is how the charter functions. What we see happening here is “super legislators,” and Ireland says, “this is not democracy.”
The father has appealed the BC Supreme Court’s decision and is currently awaiting a ruling from the BC Court of Appeal. Ireland has called the City of Delta “ground zero for the decimation of parental rights in Canada.”
The severe threats this judgement has posed to Canadian freedoms has led Ireland to join with others in forming the Caenis Foundation. They intend to fight for parental rights and speak on behalf of parents who have been “literally silenced by the courts on pain of imprisonment.” They also want to advocate for children and bring awareness to the public. Ireland states, “We want to talk particularly about the children in foster care. Those kids can’t talk for themselves because they have no parents. The state is their parent and we feel like they are particularly vulnerable.” Among others, Ireland is joined by Jen Smith (a transgender man who is a vocal activist speaking against the government legislating away our freedoms). To donate to the Caenis Foundation visit www.caenis.org.