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NNSL Photo/graphic

Mark Bogan, regional co-ordinator for Fathers For Justice Canada, pictured here in front of the territorial legislature, went on a hunger strike last week. He was hoping to draw attention to the plight of single fathers in the NWT unable to have contact with their children following divorce or separation. - Jason Unrau/NNSL photo

Advocate's hunger strike over

Jason Unrau
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (Nov 08/06) - Mark Bogan celebrated the end to his three-day hunger strike Wednesday with a ham and cheese sandwich.

The regional co-ordinator for Fathers For Justice Canada had been picketing the legislative assembly to raise awareness about the plight of single fathers.

"We were sufficiently pleased with the comments coming from the justice minister," said Bogan Friday, explaining his decision to end the protest.

"Although we don't know what that action might be, at this point we've asked for a seat at the table and some kind of input into how the GNWT is going to conduct this review."

Bogan was referring to an expected review of the government's family law policy.For the past 14 years Bogan has had little success in gaining visitation rights for his two children from two marriages.

"It's gotten to the point where I've submitted every conceivable application known and still can't find a vehicle to initiate contact with my children," said Bogan, who lost seven pounds during his hunger strike. "I've been unable to see or speak with both my children for over five years."

Great Slave MLA Bill Braden said there was "systemic bias" when it came to awarding custody to one parent following a divorce. After questioning from Braden and Kam Lake MLA Dave Ramsay on the subject, Justice Minister Brendan Bell gave assurances the government will continue to work on addressing the matter.

"This government is advancing some principles and making some reforms (and) the best way forward is to gauge the level of interest with provincial colleagues," said Bell.

"But a comprehensive law review takes a lot of time and this is federal jurisdiction. In the meantime, we will make sure we have a mediation process for couples going through (divorce)."