I wrote, "The trial dates are indeed distant. Annoyance at MCFD over this is misdirected. Neither the Ministry nor its lawyers control the calendar. The court clerk’s calendar is full of prior scheduled cases. Our B.C. Court system is jam-packed with family related cases. The scheduling of a Hoare/Van Dyk case is dependent upon the availability of a judge, of the Ministry lawyer, of Derek’s lawyer, and of court room facilities. All of these individual schedules must find a harmonized meeting place."
Derek said, “Yes that is correct Ron it was not the ministry who sets the trial date, it is based on the availability of all parties (courts, MCFD, Lawyers, Amie and myself). In this case I believe those are the next available court dates.”
I wondered whether as upset as Derek and all of us were at the distant scheduling for the court case, it was still not sinking in that the outside date may not even be realistic. It could be longer. I wrote, "It is sensible for me to point out that the outside date of February 15th 2013 is not the conclusion of this ordeal. The judge will then take time to deliberate and research case law and render a decision in writing and that could be another three to six months (May or Aug 2013)."
Derek then said, “Ouch I had no idea that was true, I sorta hoped that it would be resolved that day or shortly thereafter. Also the process does continue after that point, because that hearing will be a CCO (continuing custody) hearing, I will still possess my parental rights which must be stripped in a later hearing called Termination I believe.”
I am well aware of the rationale that compels Derek to take the position of not visiting his little girl. He knows better than anyone what seeing her and leaving her would do to a child who doesn't process data well. But I wondered whether Derek might be changing his mind when he learned how long it would be that he would be without her. So I said to Derek, "Ayn will be eleven by the time of the trial and if you hold fast to your conviction about not seeing her, it will have been 1 ½ years since she has seen you. We have all learned your rationale. Many on this page have been sympathetic to that position. I wonder whether any readers now question the merit of not seeing one’s own daughter, of running the risk of creating for MCFD this commanding evidence of non compliance or if not that disinterest. MCFD lawyers could label non visitation anything they choose."
He listened and told us the following. “Hmmmm, well certainly when I made that decision I could never have dreamed it would be 1 1/2 years, I imagined like a week or two. However I believe my rationale withstands the time argument. As a side note I have provided MCFD with alternatives I would consider acceptable but have yet to get a response to them. Even now I cannot imagine that this will actually run all the way to Feb, possible but dubious.”
I said to Derek, "You sound resigned when you say that finally, with the trial dates set, you can see the end of the judicial process, the finish. Win or lose it will be the end, is the way you put it. Is that truly the way you are going forward with this Derek? Did you really want a trial so much that you are prepared for a verdict whether win or lose? Winning is getting her back. Losing is losing her. Is principle that important that you would forego mediation and rather go to trial? Is this what has happened? I am trying to understand."
Here was the way Derek spoke to that. “A good question Ron, actually when I wrote that I first put it as a near certainty that I will win, and then changed it, I do believe that if the justice systems works at all then I win hands down. I am nowhere even close to resignation (not really part of my vocab). And yes principle is that important, the reality is that if I now live in a country, if we now live in a country where this sort of thing can happen lawfully we are in a lot of trouble and ought to know it. I do believe I will win, and if I lose then I believe it becomes readily apparent at how distorted our legislation has become. As per the foregoing of "mediation", I think that requires further comment, I was willing to forego, formal mediation as I believe it is unlikely to garner any significant changes or dialog between the parties, which has not or could not be done in informal mediation. I have already spent dozens of hours in mediation with MCFD, and I think that formalizing it and trying to get a mediator caught up to speed on the cases intricacies will be very hard and render the venture likely pointless. I am more than happy to continue my informal dialog with MCFD though. And we must remember that there are 2 processes at work, the case conference and trial are simply portions of the judicial process; the ministerial process and dialog does not have to cease simply due to how far along in the judicial process we are. But I want the judicial process to complete ASAP as I believe I am right.”
I concluded with, "Then in your last paragraph you mention meeting the new social worker and learning where you go from here, that is between now and 2013. Can you explain for us what you mean by considerations of where you go and what you do next, as well as the host of possibilities to which you refer?”
Here was Derek’s response. “Well hmm, that would be a very long write-up so I’ll jot out a Cole's notes version. First off, because I have yet to meet with the new SW I still have no idea whether we will be picking up where I left off with the other worker. If we are simply continuing from where we left off this will transpire far differently then if we have to "restart", which by the way I would be very reluctant to do. There are many possibilities open to me at this time as per how to proceed: I can begin to push this far more in terms of the judiciary, oversight bodies, and complaint processes; this is something which we have avoided thus far in order to give the informal mediation a chance to work. If MCFD is going to scrap the dozens of hours put in so far, then I have little reason to believe that our meeting would ever be productive. There are the humans rights issues and tribunals, the ombudsman, emergency hearings and even a writ of Habeas Corpus. I am going to presumably focus even more on the media and getting the word out that this sort of thing can and is happening (including the waits and the baselessness of reason). Fundraising has likely jumped into the forefront as well, as I will be requiring experts and perhaps some really experienced legal advice ($$$). I also have to continue to advocate for Ayn and her treatment while in care, as well as their seeming inability to keep me in the loop with updates despite their assurances that they would do so. The list goes on; suffice to say there are a litany of things to work on and decisions to make.”