Mrs. Simma Holt (Vancouver-Kingsway):
Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of the hon. member for Surrey-White Rock (Mr. Friesen). I thank him on behalf of the people I have been working for and for myself. It seems we are perpetually confronted with at least one of these problems. I have not just been faced with province to province parent kidnappings, but also with international kidnappings. Just one case has kept me and many other people occupied for more than two years, and it is still not resolved. I will outline that in a few moments. If this bill goes through, we will then treat children born in Canada as though they were citizens and have the rights and protections of citizens.
When I first became involved in this the whole country was up in arms about the kidnapping of the heir to the Seagram's estate. There was a great outcry. However, when five small children were kidnapped from a Mission, B.C. mother no one cared if she got her children back. All the resources of legal aid were used to pay for some Hong Kong drug traffickers in Vancouver, but there was not a cent for this mother of five children to find her children, and virtually save their lives from the putative father in the Philippines, whose reputation and character were less than safe for these youngsters.
The hon. member for Surrey-White Rock questions what they will be at age 18. I ask that too. Perhaps they will grow up in another country. Did they, as Canadian citizens, not have the right and the protection of our nation under the law?
On July 30, 1975, because of the case of Mildred Watson Clarke of Mission, B.C., I rose in this House and asked for help from the then Minister of Justice. At that time I said, and I quote:
Children are citizens and should receive all the rights and protection of a person, a citizen, within the law. However, throughout Canada children are being kidnapped by a parent in defiance of court orders on custody.
I asked then for criminal law to deter would-be parent kidnappers.
Although there were several cases many people were working on at that time, this was the most appalling case. The hon. member for Surrey-White Rock, the leader in the Senate, Ray Perrault and his staff, Mr. Kenneth Burke of the Legal Department of External Affairs, the Superintendent of Child Welfare of B.C., Victor Belknap were all working on the case. We even tried to break the law and kidnap the children back because we felt those children had a right to be home with their mother.
The law did not give them help, so we had to do everything, including trying to hire policemen and criminals to get them back. I asked in this House July 30, 1975, that we create laws so that extradition treaties could help youngsters such as these.
The children of Mildred Clarke of Surrey were kidnapped on Mother's Day, a very nice token. We talk of Mother's Day and motherhood with great warmth, but we do not do a darn
March 15, 1977
thing to help a mother and her five children who need her love and tender care.
I support this bill completely. With a bill of this sort, I hope that we can get some extradition treaties implemented, identical to those we have for other kidnappings, hijackings, and theft of children.
In the case of Mildred Clarke, I want to tell the House what I went through to try to get help for this woman in 1975 when she first approached me. There was a petition with hundreds of names. I went to the legal operations staff of External Affairs, to a Mr. Burke. He has handled dozens of cases, and succeeded in reuniting some mothers and children.
I wrote to Mrs. Marcos, the wife of the president of the Philippines. I went to the British Columbia attorney general, a member of that great humane NDP government at that time, to see if he would intervene. He did nothing. However, he went to the United Nations international conference on crime in Geneva and got miles of world-wide publicity on his supposed concern over parent kidnapping children. He did nothing for Mrs. Clarke or the other women who were mentioned in this House.
The Prime Minister (Mr. Trudeau) was approached directly. He tried to intervene. We were told that only the head of this state could get to the heads of these different states and obtain any help.
Today I have a new case, a child named Lucienne Dulong. The mother, Loredana Dulong, and the baby's grandfather, Peter Weichel, raised over $10,000 to get the child back from France. The provincial court of B.C. (family division) issued an order awarding custody of Lucienne to the mother, granting the father visiting rights and ordering him not to take the child out of the court's area of jurisdiction. The father agreed to that, and three days later he took the child across the border to Seattle, and flew from there back to France.
The French consulate in Vancouver was wrong and perhaps acted illegally by aiding Andre Mathew Dulong, the kidnapper, giving him the necessary documents to take the child out of the country. The consulate knew of the court order, and what they did once, they can do again.
The Vancouver police issued a warrant for Andre's arrest which, under pressure now from the French government to the federal government and the B.C. attorney-general's department, they want to set aside. This means that after kidnapping the child and having her brought back at tremendous cost to the mother and maternal grandfather, that man can again slip into Canada and kidnap the child. Hopefully this bill will be a deterrent to any such action and perhaps there will be protection for children and the rights of children.
It is fundamental that a child born in Canada should have the rights of a citizen and that court orders should not be defied. But it seems that where children are concerned they can be put to barter in our country, and that the destruction of a child is irrevelant when it comes to the law.
Yes, we will chase all over the country and use all the resources of international law to rescue the adult heir to a wealthy estate, but there is no protection in the courts, not even interprovincially, there is no unification in law, to protect children from these parents. We are using children in barter and retribution. The day is here when we must do everything to end this obviously criminal type behavior. In the meantime, I am personally fighting the so-called "reasonable access" to children. "Reasonable access" can become the right to kidnap a child if a parent has money, has mobility, or has a foreign connection.
I went to court recently with a girl who had been divorced from her Dutch husband. She had a nine-month-old baby. We fought in the court and we even got legal aid at the last moment so he had no access at all; the only possible access would be by court order and under tight supervision. This man would find it difficult to abduct the child and take her to Holland.
In most cases it is men. They do seem to have the resources, the mobility and just do not seem to be tied as much to the child as the woman.
The child, in school is also threatened. There must be protection within the school system for these children.
Today there are probably more children than ever before in history who are victims of broken homes. They have the right of Canadian citizens; they have the right to be protected; and they have the right of every resource of the law even more than any other kidnap victims in our society. I hope this bill is not talked out and that it does go to the committee.
Subtopic: CRIMINAL CODE