B.C. court ruling against father in child hormone treatment case sets dangerous precedent
Lawyer John Carpay is president of the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (JCCF.ca) which has applied to intervene before the BC Court of Appeal in the case of AB v. CD and EF.
The case of AB v. CD and EF is now before the British Columbia Court of Appeal.
A court order prohibits the publication of the names of the born-female child (“AB”), the child’s father (“CD”), the child’s mother (“EF”) and the medical professionals involved in this case.
The court’s order also prohibits using biologically accurate pronouns to refer to this born-female child.
The story of AB
The father and mother divorced about four years ago. Since that time, their female-born child was frequently in trouble in school, seeing school counsellors on a regular basis.
With the support and affirmation of school counsellors, the female-born child began to transition to a male identity, including taking on a male name.
This was kept a secret from the father, even though custody is legally shared between him and his ex-wife, and despite his legal right to know all significant happenings and developments pertaining to his own child.
The father only found out after seeing his child in a school yearbook, dressed up as a boy with a new male name below the picture.
The child continued to meet with school counsellors who supported AB presenting to others as a male. They referred the child to a psychologist (“Dr. IJ”) who advocates for transgenderism, who then referred the child to “Dr. GH” at the B.C. Children’s Hospital.
In December of 2018, Dr. GH sent the father a letter stating that the Children’s Hospital would begin giving the child testosterone within two weeks, without the father’s consent.
Father worried about long term consequences
For the next several months, Children’s Hospital staff pressured the father to consent to the treatment. The father had grave concerns about the so-called treatment, and with good reason. He was also concerned about starting the treatment prior to proper consideration being given to treating AB for depression.
According to a 2011 Swedish study, people who receive affirmation therapy, cross-sex hormone therapy and surgical manipulation of their bodies, experience life-long psychological trauma and a suicide rate 19 times higher than the general population.
Further, cross-sex hormones result in irreparable changes such as increased risk of cancers, heart disease, osteoporosis and permanent infertility. Other changes include permanent voice changes, facial hair, and lower bone density.
In 2018, Brown University published Lisa Littman’s findings from a case study with 256 parents evidencing the rapid onset of gender dysphoria in adolescent girls. The study evidences a correlation between social media use and peer influence as twin factors contributing to the phenomenon.
Gender dysphoria is often linked with mental health problems and childhood trauma. It may be triggered by peer pressure, or by their social environment, but gender confusion typically desists following puberty.
The psychologist who was treating AB, Dr. IJ, has publicly stated that only 2% to 20% of transgender kids stay transgender. The vast majority grow out of it. Dr. IJ’s claim is consistent with medical research, which shows that more than 80% of gender-confused children accept their biological gender by the time they are 18, absent “affirmation therapy” and cross-sex hormones.
However, if gender-confused children receive pubertal suppressant drugs and opposite-sex hormones, most will continue with the gender transition process past the age of 18.
The full and long-term results of gender transition treatments received by minors are unknown at this time, due to lack of medical information and lack of comprehensive, long-term studies on the treatment’s impact on children.
The court ruling under appeal
On February 27, 2019, Justice Bowden of the Supreme Court of British Columbia declared that it was in the best interests of the child to receive the controversial cross-sex hormone treatments and/or pubertal suppressant drugs, and/or whatever other treatment may be recommended by the BC Children’s Hospital, including surgeries such as mastectomy.
Justice Bowden further ordered that the female-born child be acknowledged and referred to as male, and be referred to only by the child’s new male name, both in the legal proceedings and generally.
This order applies to AB’s father, and everyone else, effectively requiring people to re-align their conscience, beliefs, opinions and expressions accordingly.
Further, Justice Bowden also specifically forbade the father from attempting to persuade AB to abandon this experimental treatment that carries life-altering, permanent consequences.
Calling the female-born child by the name assigned at birth, or referring to the child using biologically correct pronouns, or trying to persuade the child not to proceed with irreversible treatments, would constitute “family violence” under BC’s Family Law Act, according to this judge.
Compelled speech violates Charter freedom of expression rights
The Justice Centre is applying to intervene in this case to address the violation of constitutional rights and freedoms, namely the rights of children and parents as protected by section 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms: the right to “life, liberty and security of the person.”
In addition to the rights of children to be protected by those who love them the most and know them the best (the parents), this case also raises the important issue of compelled speech.
The court, which is an arm of government, has told the father what he must call his own child, in conversations with the child and even in conversations with third parties.
Compelled speech violates free expression as protected by section 2(b) of the Charter, and has been described by the Supreme Court of Canada as “totalitarian, and as such alien to the tradition of free nations like Canada.”
In addition to protecting every person’s freedom to speak, hear and listen, the Charter also protects the right not to be compelled by the government (including the courts) to utter words which are not one’s own.
The Charter is violated when the courts, or any apparatus of the state, demands that citizens refer to any individual with words that are not freely chosen by them, especially when uttering such words commits the speaker to a belief they do not adhere to.
A mockery is made of free expression, not to mention liberal democracy itself, if citizens are ordered by the courts to speak against their will that which they regard as wrong or false.
Protecting children by protecting parents
The Charter protects the liberty and security interests of parents in the raising and caring for their own children, including a right to make decisions for them in fundamental matters such as participating in elective irreversible medical interventions. Further, a child’s section 7 Charter rights include the right to have the protection of parents, and the right to have parents make decisions for the well-being of the child.
Human minds are not fully developed until sometime around the age of 25. Prior to reaching the age of 18, children cannot buy alcohol, tobacco or marijuana. Children can’t vote, run for office, or join the military.
They can’t even get a tattoo without the permission of both parents.
By law, they must have parental guidance for a great host of activities. At the age of 12 or even 15, children cannot possibly understand the full and long-term implications of cross-sex hormone treatment, resulting in lower bone density, permanent changes to voice and facial hair, and irreversible infertility.
Parents across Canada, regardless of creed, race or political view, have a deeply personal and abiding interest in their children’s health and long-term happiness.
The Charter, like the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of the Child, recognizes that parents are typically in a far better position than the state to raise children and to make decisions regarding their care.
The Supreme Court of Canada has ruled that the Charter gives parents rights generally to make decisions for the good of their children. The law recognizes that nobody is more invested in protecting children
Section 7 of the Charter thus protects a parent’s right to withhold consent for an elective, experimental and largely irreversible treatment such as puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones and gender reassignment surgery, pending a child reaching a certain age and becoming what is legally described as a “mature minor.”
The government, which includes the courts, is precluded—except in the rarest of circumstances not present in this case—from interfering with the parent’s rights to raise his child in accordance with what he reasonably believes is best for the child, and to protect the child from the irreversible consequences of unnecessary and risky medical interventions with irreversible consequences, such as gender transition treatment.
What makes for a “mature minor” in law?
Part of what qualifies a minor to be recognized as legally “mature” (able to make adult decisions independently from her parents and from the government) is her ability to think through difficult issues and deal maturely with opposing viewpoints.
In cases involving teenage Jehovah’s Witnesses who refuse life-saving blood transfusions, one of the things considered by courts, when assessing whether the minor is legally “mature” and able to make this decision on her own, is her capacity to hear and consider differing viewpoints.
If a child is already dealing with significant emotional and mental stress that impedes her ability to rationalize and consider
Justice Bowden’s Order prohibits the father from trying to persuade his female-born child to refrain from experimental and irreversible testosterone treatments. This assumes that the child is not sufficiently mature to handle differing opinions and to think through the pros and cons of different options.
If true, this means the child is not a mature minor.
If the child is not a mature minor, the child cannot decide on serious and irreversible medical treatments; it’s up to the parents. Yet the lower court views the child as mature enough to decide on experimental medical treatments, but not mature enough to deal with the father’s objections.
There should be no irreversible medical treatment until the parents agree, or the child reaches the age and acquires the maturity of a “mature minor.” Neither the government nor the courts will pick up the pieces of this child’s life if they are wrong regarding these treatments.
It will be the parents.
The Conservatives have won a majority under the leadership of now British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
In victory, Johnson declared a “new dawn” in Britain, while noting that he had been given an overwhelming mandate to get Brexit done.
“A new dawn rises on a new day and on a new government,” Mr. Johnson told party supporters early Friday morning. “Getting Brexit done is now the irresistible, inarguable decision of the British people… We will get Brexit done on time, by the 31st of January, no ifs, no buts, no maybes.”
While votes continue to be counted in some races, Johnson’s Conservatives have won 364 seats giving them a majority of almost 80 seats in the House of Commons.
These are the best results for a winning party since 1987, while also being the worst showing for labour since 1935.
In response to the massive defeat, Jeremy Corbyn stated that he would not lead the party in the next election.
“This is obviously a very disappointing night for the Labour party with the result that we’ve got,” Mr. Corbyn said after winning his seat in north London. “I will discuss with our party to ensure there is a process now of reflection on this result and on the policies the party will take going forward.”
Following his announcement, reports have said a leadership race will be held early next year.
While Labour dropped, ensuring a steady Brexit, the SNP managed large gains winning 48 out of 59 seats in Scotland, setting the nation up for a second independence referendum.
Nicola Sturgeon the leader of the SNP stated in her speech that “Jogonson has no mandate whatsoever to take Scotland out of the EU.”
In response to the election results, the pound rose by more than 2% on Thursday, sending the signal that markets now believe an exit from the EU is now guaranteed.
The jump placed the Pound Sterling at a 19-month high versus the dollar-its strongest levels against the euro since after the 2016 Brexit referendum.
British stocks also showed signs of increase with the benchmark FTSE 100 gaining 1.5% in early trade while the FTSE 250 index of midsize British companies added more than 4%.
Chinese Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou may be one step closer to freedom from her ankle bracelet and house arrest in her Vancouver mansion now that a B.C. judge approved her lawyers’ application for more documents to be released this week, which could potentially reveal more coordination between Canadian and American authorities in the lead up to her arrest on Dec. 1 of 2018.
“When you drill down, the defence is saying, ‘You are not disclosing everything to us. We think that you knew about Meng Wanzhou was coming to Canada… and the US intelligence agencies, commercial agencies knew she was coming, so you cooked something up to sucker punch her,” Christopher Hicks, Toronto criminal lawyer and founding partner of Hicks Adams LLP who’s not involved in Meng’s case, said to The Post Millennial.
“They’re asking for a whole bunch of material. If it really does exist, and they’re going to get their hands on it, it could be explosive.”
Meng, whose father founded the Shenzhen-based company, was first arrested from the extradition request of the US authorities who are accusing her of fraud, breaking the rules of sanctions against Iran.
The Globe and Mail published a lengthy article, on the eve of the one-year anniversary of Meng’s arrest, which included Canadian and American sources claiming the plan to arrest Meng came together very last minute, with only a day’s notice given to Canadian authorities that the US wanted her arrested when her flight landed in Canada.
This narrative of very short notice, Hicks says, could crumble depending on what is found in the new documents Meng’s counsel has forced the authorities involved to produce, including the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) and RCMP.
The Globe and Mail article also paraphrased part of an interview with Scott Kennedy, China expert of Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies, who told the newspaper there were three ways this international fracas between the two most powerful nations in the world could be resolved: “Canadian courts could say the U.S. has not provided proof to warrant an extradition, and set her free; Huawei can negotiate a plea deal with the U.S. Justice Department that leads to a withdrawal of the extradition request; or a deal between Mr. Trump and Mr. Xi could lead to her freedom.”
But legal experts such as Hicks, as well as Meng’s own all-star legal counsel, would argue there’s a fourth alternative that’s a distinct possibility. If Meng’s Charter rights are found to have been violated in the three hours she was detained before being arrested, she could be set free and the evidence gathered from her electronics found inadmissible.
In affidavits and notes from RCMP and CBSA officers already in the court record, and obtained by The Post Millennial, there are several parts of the execution of the arrest of Meng that the defence alleges the Canadian authorities failed in their duty to perform due process.
The first point of contention is that the CBSA did not tell Meng her rights when they detained her (which Meng’s lawyers’ are arguing was under false pretense) for a customs inspection.
“Never mind if you’re under arrest, if you’re a suspect, and the police are talking to you, they have to tell you that you have your rights,” said Hicks.
“You’re supposed to arrest someone, not sucker them into making statements, or handing over their electronic information.”
RCMP officers’ notes show the initial plan to arrest Meng would have involved an RCMP officer arresting her on the plane as soon as it landed at Vancouver International Airport.
On the morning of Dec. 1, the day of the arrest, the RCMP and CBSA devised a new, revised plan, in which Meng would first be detained by the CBSA.
Her lawyers assert this last-minute new plan ended up violating the court order in the warrant, which called for Wanzhou’s “immediate arrest” upon arriving in Canada.
Affidavits and notes from Canadian authorities also reveal that during that detention period CBSA officers gathered evidence, including Meng’s and her business associates electronics, which they then passed along to the RCMP who were working on behalf of US authorities instructions. The RCMP also provided mylar bags–special foil bags to preserve the contents of electronics from intercepting signals of remote devices that are capable of wiping or altering the contents–to the CBSA.
The CBSA also compelled Meng to provide her password to her phones and then passed this information along to the RCMP. According to documents authorities’ communications before the court, Meng was arrested seven minutes later by the RCMP after giving her password to the CBSA officers, who didn’t look at the contents of her electronic devices for their customs inspection, but instead retrieved them for other means.
During the September court hearing a Crown Prosecutor admitted it was a “mistake” by the CBSA officers to share the password with the RCMP.
The court documents also reveal that the CBSA withheld her luggage despite their being no customs violations found because the officers were coordinating with the RCMP who went up the chain of command to the Canadian Department of Justice to see if the FBI wanted the luggage.
The defence also argues that Meng repeatedly asked why she was being detained by the CBSA but wasn’t given the real reason behind the supposed routine custom inspection or told her Charter rights.
Meng’s defence team also asserts the officers’ affidavits are leaving out key, unfavourable information, which led to the latest court application for further documnetation being approved by the judge.
“So the arrest warrant was for an immediate arrest,” Richard Kurland, a lawyer and federal policy analyst not involved in the case, said to the Vancouver Courrier in October. “Immediate means immediate means immediate. It doesn’t mean after she gets off the plane. It doesn’t mean after she collects her luggage. It doesn’t mean after her customs examination, and it doesn’t mean after several hours of questioning. That’s not immediate.”
Former Liberal deputy prime minister John Manley recently said in an interview that Canada should have avoided detaining Meng through “creative incompetence” by purposefully bungling detaining her, letting her slip away to her destination in Mexico.
In light of the evidence presented thus far in the court, and more possible records of coordination between Canada and US authorities being revealed in the near future, the intended or unintended bungling of the arrest of Meng could ultimately be what gets Canada out of its current predicament with China; a predicament that has thus far led to stiff trade sanctions against Canadian farmers and the retaliatory arrests of former diplomat Michael Kovrig and entrepreneur Michael Spavor, still stuck in harsh conditions in Chinese prison cells.
Private school perks was internal matter forcing Scheer's resignation before media leak, says insider
News the Conservative Party paid for private schooling of outgoing leader Andrew Scheer’s children was never intended for public consumption, but precipitated Scheer’s resignation, according to a 21-year-old, nascent party insider and co-founder of #ScheerMustGo.
“Spare me the spiel about your family. We all know what this was really all about and when (Scheer) saw the writing on the wall, he thought he would bow out,” Anthony Koch told The Post Millennial late Thursday afternoon, hours after Scheer’s House of Commons announcement that he was stepping down.
About the same time Scheer was addressing the Commons about his departure, Global News’ Parliament Hill bureau chief Mercedes Stephenson Tweeted that his resignation was over “party money to pay for his children’s private school education.”
Following Question Period, Conservative MP Ed Fast – who declined a critics role in Scheer’s Opposition benches; a symbolic rebuke of the party leader – said the private schooling perk “is a party matter” and that Scheer’s exit was dignified.
“All I will say is (Scheer) did it with dignity and grace and I expect I’ll have more to say in the coming days and weeks,” said Fast.
“He is putting the party first, the interests of Canadians first and the interests of his family first. And that’s why very much appreciate how he did it and all the credit.”
Conservative Tim Uppal, who made a comeback in the 2019 election by knocking out Liberal-incumbent and former Industry Minister Amerjeet Sohi, suggested Scheer’s exit was a foregone conclusion.
“I was surprised on the timing. I didn’t know about it but I wish him well. I respect that he’s taking time out to be with his family,” Uppal said.
“I came into work thinking it was just a regular day and things have definitely changed.”
Asked about the party picking up the Scheer family’s private school bill, Uppal would only say that “the party’s statement addressed that quite well.”
Shortly after Stephenson’s tweet, the Conservative Party’s executive director Dustin van Vugt issued a statement that Scheer “began to inform members of his staff earlier this week about his decision to resign.”
Van Vugt’s statement described the private school perk as “normal practice for political parties”.
“Shortly after Mr. Scheer was elected leader…I made a standard offer to cover costs associated with moving his family from Regina to Ottawa,” writes van Vugt.
“This includes a differential in schooling costs…all proper procedures were followed.”
But the way #ScheerMustGo co-founder Koch describes it, the information was floating around Conservative ranks for some time and was allegedly given to former Conservative MP and minister John Baird, who is currently conducting an internal review of the losing campaign.
“Initially it was divulged to Mr. Baird,” claims Koch, who said it came from former Scheer staffers.
“The path they wanted to take was give it to Baird and have the pressure be internal, have (Scheer) leave and then that way it doesn’t have to be this big media extravaganza. Unfortunately, other people had other ideas and that faction won out – that’s why it started to get sprinkled around.”
Baird was unreachable for comment prior to publication of this story.
As for Koch’s involvement with the party, he has worked for Conservative MPs in the past, including interim Conservative leader Rona Ambrose; touted as a possible successor to Scheer.
The young Conservative and McGill University student said he never supported Scheer and instead worked on Dragon’s Den TV personality Kevin O’Leary’s leadership campaign and then for Maxime Bernier’s.
O’Leary ultimately bowed out of the race, while Scheer eventually won a narrow victory over Bernier.
Despite winning the popular vote and leading the Conservatives to a bigger seat share in the October general election, Scheer’s popularity has topped out, according to Koch who began working on the campaign to oust him “the day after” Trudeau won his minority government.
“And today, I’m a happy man,” said Koch.
According to Koch, he’s the youngest Conservative party member among a core group of 15 #ScheerMustGo enthusiasts who began making inroads and gathering support from likeminded Conservative caucus MPs that Koch declined to name.
“The greatest advantage that Andrew Scheer had going into the last election was that nobody knew who he was. The problem is, over the course of the election people got to know him and if you look at any available polling information, the more people saw Mr. Scheer, the lower his favourability rating went,” said Koch.
“And especially in parts of the country where we needed to win to have a chance of forming government. So it was clear going into a next election, he wasn’t going to have that advantage.”
New Democrat MP Alexandre Boulerice said how media coverage of Scheer’s resignation unfolded on the Hill “looks like an internal party fight.”
“The last nail in the coffin was this story, taking money from the Conservative party to help pay for the private school of his children,” Boulerice told TPM after Question Period.
“The only ones who had this private information was Conservatives, so the only ones who could leak it to the press were the Conservatives…this is something that can happen in a party but when it’s secret and you don’t tell it to the caucus or the members, it can come and backfire like this.”
During his resignation address to the House of Commons, Scheer said putting his family first weighed heavily on his decision before thanking his Conservative colleagues.
“We have accomplished a lot on both the government and opposition sides of the benches. Most importantly, we have kept our party united and strong,” said Scheer.
“That is why I felt it was appropriate to speak to my friends and colleagues today in the House of Commons about one of the most difficult decisions I have ever made.”
Ontario is getting rid of the cap on the number of cannabis shops that can be owned by private retailers. CBC News has confirmed that the Ford government “will be issuing approximately 20 new cannabis store authorizations starting in April 2020.”
Attorney General Doug Downey issued a press release that read:
“In response to the federal government’s decision to legalize cannabis, our government is determined to open the cannabis market as responsibly as possible. We have said all along that opening more legal stores is the most effective way to combat the illicit market, protect our kids and keep our communities safe.”
The new, retailer-friendly approach begins January 6th, when the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario will start accepting applications from potential retailers.