A group advocating grandparents’ rights is hoping the election brings a change in government.
© AMANDA JESS - THE NEWS
Carolina Leone, left, has been a member of the Grandparents’ Rights Association for three years. She came from Tatamagouche to protest the NDP in New Glasgow on Oct. 5 with fellow members and president Pauline Glenn, right.
Pauline Glenn and other members of the Grandparents’ Rights Association protested outside Justice Minister Ross Landry’s constituency office on Oct. 5 because they say the New Democratic Party doesn’t “see their side.”
“Grandparents don’t realize how quickly they can lose their rights,” Glenn says.
She has been president of the Nova Scotia association since it started 13 years ago.
The Wallace resident says they’re simply looking for a grandparent’s value to be recognized by law, allowing them access to their grandchildren in divorce and custody battles.
They’re not looking for custody, unless the child has nowhere else to go.
Landry says he does support grandparents’ rights and that’s why he brought forth legislation amending the Maintenance and Custody Act in 2012.
The amendments allowed grandparents to seek leave of the court, meaning they could request an application for custody or access to a child.
“I firmly believe in grandparents’ rights. I’m a grandfather myself,” Landry said in a phone interview in response to the protest.
He says the court firstly considers the child’s best interests as well as the custodial parent’s.
Glenn said she knows grandparents that have gone through this process and were left with nothing but legal bills.
She wants a law that grants rights to grandparents for contact and visitation that doesn’t require seeking leave of the court.
She knows some grandparents shouldn’t have access to their grandchildren and suggests the courts could screen them before allowing contact.
Grandparents have a lot to offer and teach, she says. They can hand down their life experience, provide a sense of security and instill confidence in children.
“We’re hoping they’ll forget about the politics and think of the children,” Glenn says about all of the parties.
On Sept. 28, Progressive Conservative Party leader Jamie Baillie announced plans to pass legislation that requires all access and custody orders to consider the grandparents.
It prevents the person with custody from blocking a grandparents’ access to the child without due cause.
They’ve tried to pass this bill in the past without success.
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