SUPERIOR COURT OF JUSTICE
 When did it become illegal to ask questions? Especially in the courtroom?
 And when did it become unfashionable for judges to receive answers? Especially when children’s lives are at stake?
 How did we lower our guard and let the words “unacceptable beliefs” get paired together? In a democracy? On the Scales of Justice?
 Should judges sit back as the concept of “Judicial Notice” gets hijacked from a rule of evidence to a substitute for evidence
 And is “misinformation” even a real word? Or has it become a crass, self-serving tool to pre-empt scrutiny and discredit your opponent? To de-legitimize questions and strategically avoid giving answers. Blanket denials are almost never acceptable in our adversarial system. Each party always has the onus to prove their case and yet “misinformation” has crept into the court lexicon. A childish – but sinister – way of saying “You’re so wrong, I don’t even have to explain why you’re wrong.”
 What does any of this have to do with family court? Sadly, these days it has everything to do with family court.
 Because when society demonizes and punishes anyone who disagrees – or even dares to ask really important questions – the resulting polarization, disrespect, and simmering anger can have devastating consequences for the mothers, fathers and children I deal with on a daily basis.
 It’s becoming harder for family court judges to turn enemies into friends — when governments are so recklessly turning friends into enemies.
 The motion before me is a typical – and frightening – example of how far we are drifting from cherished values.
 The father wants two children ages 12 and 10 to receive COVID vaccinations. The mother is opposed.
 Now, answer honestly. Did the previous paragraph give you enough information to form an opinion about how this case should turn out?
 We’re all weary. We all wish COVID would just go away. But pandemic fatigue is no excuse for short-cuts and lowering our standards. We all have to guard against the unconscious bias of thinking “Why won’t these people just do what the government tells them to do?”
 We have to decide on the basis of the best interests of each particular child in each particular fact situation.
 We have to rely on – and insist upon – evidence.
With Thanks to Viva Frei for bringing this to my attention