“Mother” may soon be replaced in Ontario law by the term “birth parent.”
That’s what’s incorporated in amendments contained in the Liberal government’s proposed Bill 28 which is designed to change the “Children’s Law Reform Act, the Vital Statistics Act and various other acts respecting parentage.”
Premier Kathleen Wynne’s government says a new All Families Are Equal Act will modernize the definition of families.
“People in Ontario value diversity and equality — that’s why all parents and their kids need to be treated equally under the law,” said Wynne spokesperson Clare Graham.
But opponents complain Wynne is re-defining the Ontario family.
“The communists had their one-child policy; Ontario has Wynne’s four-parent policy. Being a father or mother has been trivialized,” said Queenie Yu, who’s also a vocal critic of Ontario’s sex-ed curriculum.
She plans to be loud again.
Many religious and ethnic groups — also upset about “age inappropriate” introduction of sexual and gender identity teachings — are preparing for battle, too.
“The premier is re-engineering the family,” said Charles McVety, of Canada Christian College. “She removes ‘mother’ 17 times. Removes ‘father’ 23 times. The Act is amended by striking out the ‘mother’ and substituting it with ‘birth parent’ and ‘father’ with the word ‘parent.’”
However Graham countered “there is no one way to start and raise a family” and offered assurances that the terms “mother and father” will remain on a child’s birth certificate.
“We’re proposing to update Ontario’s parentage laws so that parents who have a baby with the help of a doctor don’t need to spend their money on a lawyer and go to court just so they can be their own kid’s parents,” said Graham. “The best thing for a kid is that there is no uncertainty about who their parents are. At the end of the day, this is about ensuring that all kids are treated equally by recognizing the legal status of their parents no matter if their parents are LGBTQ2+ or straight, and no matter if they were conceived with the help of a doctor.”
Progressive Conservative MPP Randy Hillier last week argued there needs to be more time for study, insisting the bill was introduced with too much haste.
And McVety agreed the government is rushing the bill through, calling it a “war on mothers” which could lead to the breakdown of the traditional family.
“Mothers are the bedrock of society and their love gives life,” said McVety. “A mother can take the place of all others but no one else can take the place of a mother.”
Yu added everything is moving so fast that the bill hasn’t been translated into Chinese languages, excluding some from the democratic process.
“The government is trying to erase all trace of biological parents from these children for an ideological motive,” she said. “It’s just unnatural.”
Meanwhile, with focus on the Blue Jays games, will public hearings at Queen’s Park Monday and Tuesday be noticed?
McVety will speak to the committee at 5:40 p.m Monday. Yu is slated to speak at 5:40 p.m. Tuesday. There are 20 others on the agenda.
Interesting debate. My feeling is modern family realities need to be accepted in law but it’s insulting to eliminate the words “mother and father.” They need to restore that.
But Wynne spokesperson Graham said the bill merely updates legal wording to comply with today’s norms.
“The reality is, family structures are diverse, and there are many people who need a doctor’s help to have a baby,” said Graham. “The definition of who is a parent in Ontario law hasn’t been updated since 1978 — a lot has changed since then. Right now, that definition is too narrow and excludes parents of modern families.”
Ironically, soon it could also exclude the words “mother” and “father.”