Mr. Speaker, I have some concluding comments for this second reading stage of debate on Bill C-560. I look forward to this, and I look forward to speaking again, hopefully, if the bill gets to committee and passes at that stage, amended or intact, and then back to the House. However, it has been an interesting process.
Over the past several months, I have heard from Canadians from coast to coast, from every province, from la belle province all the way across to western Canada and British Columbia. Over the course of the past years, I have heard from thousands of people.
I will confess from the get-go that the bill is not from my creative imagination per se. Certainly, I have carried the banner over the years, but there are some significant groups in the country that are involved in this.
I want to credit and thank Lawyers for Shared Parenting, a very distinguished group of lawyers that works in collaborative law and sees that all of these different things we have tried in the past, such as mediation and various other things, really have not got to the heart of the problems that of the flawed family law system.
I also want to thank the National Parents Organization, Preserving the Bond Between Parents and Children.
I want to thank Leading Women for Shared Parenting for the very considerable job it has done, and the number of its distinguished women across our country and the world grows every day.
Most of all, I want to thank the Canadian Equal Parenting Council, a very broad umbrella group comprised of 35 to 40 groups across the country that all have their own individual chapters. There is a sizeable number of people represented within these groups.
As well, I want to thank the many researchers with whom I have had the privilege to be in touch. They have weighed in on this, provided input and so on. Certainly, they will be prepared to come to committee. They are from Canada and abroad. A large consensus paper was recently written by a bunch of these individuals who have the intellectual heft on the social science kind of research that is being done.
This is coming at us in an avalanche. We are now beginning to better understand what the best interests of children are, adding already to those different criteria and parameters in the courts across the provinces.
Particularly, children want to love and be loved by both parents. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child talks about that very necessary thing.
Long-time supporters of the New Democratic Party, Liberals, Conservatives, Bloc Québécois and the Green Party, from every region across the country, have been calling their elected representatives to stand up for the best interest of Canada's children in a divorce by voting in favour of Bill C-560.
I want to make the point that, resoundingly, across party lines, across the entire country, a number of polls over the last years show support at 80% and upwards, or just hovering at about 79%, in all provinces by all parties represented in the House and by both genders. In fact, it is about 80% in support from men and about 1% or 2% more for women.
Members may ask why women even more than men are supportive of this equal shared parenting bill or this concept. It is because those men and women may marry again or have another partner. The issue of children having access to them consumes them and creates different dynamics in those relationships as well.
In fact, the current adversarial litigation system of settling child-related disputes is focused on parental rights. It is about winning the boat, the car, the house and the battle over the children. The present system is focused on the rights of the parents, whereas this bill is focused on the rights of the children. It would actually foster settlements, reduce the litigation and so on in the best interest of children.
We have had the discussion about the myth of the fifty-fifty. It is actually in the 35% to 50% range. We have talked about how this is not a cookie-cutter, one-size-fits-all solution. There are variations and arrangements that could be made. This is to drive it to the best interest of children so they have access to both mom and dad, aside from abuse or neglect.
I would encourage my colleagues to read some of the good material that has been sent to them. Read the bill itself, and not what the Canadian Bar Association is saying about the bill. Read the myths and fact document that has been circulated to members.
Please help me to get this to committee where it can be looked at for further amendments or adjustments, so we do the right thing in the best interests of children in the days ahead by way of passing the bill.