Protest first step to change

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An overhaul of the province’s Maintenance Enforcement Program is no doubt welcome news to a group of fathers who recently held a protest in Truro.

On March 21, a small but determined group of fathers took their message to the street, staging a day-long peaceful protest in front of the Nova Scotia Provincial Court building on Prince Street where family court proceedings are held.

Armed with signs that read “First a dad now a visitor” and “Not just a sperm or money bank but a dad” they set out to bring attention to what they say are lopsided laws regarding a father’s rights when it comes to access and support.

They said in an interview with the Truro Daily News that while the system was initially designed to protect against dead-beat dads, they feel it now allows court decisions to be taken too far in the opposite direction, enabling some mothers to abuse the system. They also claim it leaves fathers of split families with barely enough income to survive.

The response by readers on www.trurodaily.com who commented on a story about the protest seems to show many people agree with the men’s position.

The justice department announced on Tuesday they are looking for feedback from

Nova Scotians who make or receive support payments, offering them a chance to share their ideas on how to improve the program.

Government is launching a client advisory group for the Maintenance Enforcement Program. The program collects court-ordered spousal and child support payments, playing an important role between separated parents initially designed to have the best interests of the children at the centre.

The client advisory group is open to payors and recipients who are willing to share their experiences and feedback on how services could be improved.

They want to hear directly from the families involved, whether they are newly enrolled or have been with the program for many years.

Full details are available at http://novascotia.ca/just/mep. People have until April 30 to share their thoughts with officials.

People protesting for change should embrace this opportunity to share their thoughts with lawmakers to bring about change if it is determined by public opinion to be needed.

Organizations: Nova Scotia Provincial Court, Truro Daily News

Geographic location: Prince Street

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