Note: Other responses to Schnall's ruling are available from Focus on the Family Canada and www.ChildrenTaken.com.
March 4, 2003
Families, and especially children, in Ontario need protection
from the risk of emotional, physical and financial harm which
occurs whenever the Children's Aid Society enters their lives
without just cause.
In a document dated February 27 and released March 3, 2003, Judge
Schnall has finally given her reasons for ruling that the
evidence collected in the June 2002 voir dire trial _is_
admissible in the Aylmer child protection hearing.
Many were hoping this high-profile conflict with the Children's
Aid Society (CAS) and the long, stressful waiting would lead to a
legal precedent in favour of family rights. Regrettably, in her
written reasons Judge Schnall has confirmed suspicions of her
bias toward anti-family CAS practices. (If she doesn't work for
CAS already, Schnall is admirably qualified to uphold their
Visit Elgin County CAS web site for their March 3, 2003 Press
Release. There you can also download a PDF file of Schnall's
Steve Bailey of Elgin County CAS says he is satisfied that
Schnall upheld the actions of the CAS in apprehending the
children. He's also pleased that the ruling did not challenge
Ontario laws and CAS practices, which allows trampling family
rights in favour of so called "child protection."
The press release then describes the status of the Aylmer case:
"In terms of next steps, the child protection hearing must be
concluded so that the Court can determine whether the children
are in need of protection as defined in the provincial Child and
Family Services Act. If such a finding is made the Court must
determine what further intervention if any, is required to
protect the seven children from further harm or risk of harm.
Further court dates are scheduled for March 25, 26 and 31."
Schnall's 102 page ruling lists some of the history of the case,
the legal positions of the various parties, and her conclusions
which suspiciously resemble the position argued by CAS' lawyer,
Alfred Mamo in the June 2002 hearings.
In response to the argument that the family's right to life,
liberty and security of person (Section 7, Canadian Charter of
Rights and Freedoms) was unjustly violated in the July 4th, 2001
apprehension, Schnall disagreed. She says that the parents must
cooperate to allow the CAS to dig up evidence, that this is in
the interest of child protection, and that parent's right to
discipline and privacy are trumped by "child protection" law.
"Thus, I am of the view that there has been no breach of the
parents' section 7 rights that has not been in accordance with
the substantive and procedural requirements of the principles of
fundamental justice." (Page 41,42)
However, in reaching this ill-considered conclusion, Schnall
forgets a number important principles of fundamental justice,
such as: the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty;
the right to be secure against unreasonable search or seizure;
the existence of reasonable and probable grounds; the existence
of compelling, substantiated evidence; and the right not to be
arbitrarily detained or imprisoned. See "Legal Rights" at
In her reasoning Schnall misses the whole point, which is that
the CAS apprehended the children without a warrant when there was
no immediate or compelling evidence that the children needed to
Schnall follows the CAS in berating Pastor Hildebrandt for
speaking to the media and defending the family (who were new to
Canada and spoke very little English). The bold stand of Pastor
Hildebrandt in generating public outrage at the original child
apprehension was certainly a significant factor which allowed the
children to return to their family home in a record 22 days,
while typically it takes six months for children to be returned
once apprehended by CAS. In all these proceedings Pastor
Hildebrandt has shown concern for the well-being of the children
and the family, and he has been actively defending civil freedom
in this country. The CAS on the other hand has shown interest
only in justifying its groundless and ill-advised child
apprehension on July 4, 2001 at great expense the family,
taxpayers, and a host of voluntary contributors. What is the
CAS's real interest? The well-being of children? Or forcing its
humanist ideology on the families of Elgin County?
Schnall's ruling confirms widespread concern that there are
serious problems with the child protection laws passed by the
Ontario government in 2000. The CAS' general disregard for the
integrity of families, and its intolerance toward the culture and
lifestyle of Canada's religious and immigrant populations is
unacceptable. Coupled with its extended apprehension powers, the
threat posed by CAS cannot be ignored any longer. The families
of Ontario are at risk until the powers of the CAS are limited.
Even then the CAS needs a thorough overhaul of its tactics and
attitudes regarding child protection.
The CAS in Ontario should either disband, or embrace a
constructive mandate. It must stop arrogantly and disruptively
seeking to protect children from all real, imagined and potential
harm by removing them from their family home. In this fallen
world children will always be at risk, sometimes from parents,
sometimes from foster parents, and sometimes from government
agencies. In the Aylmer family "child protection" case, it was a
government agency which traumatized seven children and their
parents, and embroiled them in a costly, stressful legal fight
which has already gone on for over a year and a half.
Family Aid Society Notes:
Since last update, I have received a number of stories, and
become aware of a number of new cases. A few have been willing
to publish their stories on the web site. If you would like to
make even an anonymous version of your story public, it would
be helpful to gain momentum for CAS reform.
We have opened a bank account so you can make donations which
will be used to support families practically. Or if you would
like to make a donation directly to help a family defending
themselves against CAS in court, ask me and I'll give you a
Family Aid S
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