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From: "Laframboise, Donna" <>

To: 'David Shackleton' <>

Subject: RE: ECMAS Article

Date: Thu, 19 Apr 2001 14:41:06 -0400

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Thanks for the note. And thank you, again, for the call a few weeks ago.


You're a nice person but, no offense intended, in my view you're politically

naive. If you really think any fathers' rights/non-custodial parents' group

has any chance of being taken seriously by the public - or of ever getting

government funding - with people such as Mr. Adams and Mr. Christensen

involved, you don't appreciate the way the real world works.


I have NOT held ECMAS Edmonton to a higher standard than the rape crisis

centres and the battered women's shelters I have loudly and frequently

criticized. It is the SAME standard.


The men who go to ECMAS Edmonton's support group have more than enough

problems already. They do not need to be associating with people whose

views/pasts will complicate their lives. And they certainly do not need to

be preyed on by people urging them to fire their lawyers and hire a

discredited, disbarred individual. [Given the libelous nature of this e-mail, it is so clearly relevant to my lawsuit that her original failure to turn it over to us can hardly have been other than deliberate. (That she might still have forgotten about it is highly implausible: the recipient posted her 'preyed on' comment on a divorce-reform e-mail list--that's how I learned about it in the first place--and was subsequently chastised by her for doing so.)]          [Back]

I make it quite clear I am quoting people anonymously in order to protect

them from repercussions in divorce court. I could not, in good conscience,

jeopardize their court cases for the sake of this story. The fact that I am

now being criticized for protecting them by someone such as yourself is

absolutely outrageous. Their remarks are NOT hearsay. I interviewed them

carefully and at length. I gave them anonymity just as I have given people

who criticized women's shelters anonymity. Why did you not complain about

this in those stories?


As for not presenting the other side, Mr. Christensen refused to answer when

I asked him if he'd ever urged anyone to fire their lawyer and hire Mr.

Adams. Had he provided a response, it would have appeared in the story. Mr.

Adams' version of events, you will note, is presented at some length. He

took advantage of the opportunity to respond to these allegations and

readers have been apprised of his remarks.


It's profoundly depressing that people such as yourself are so politically

unsophisticated. Your movement doesn't have a hope of getting off the ground

if basic stuff like this is over your heads.


best wishes,






Donna Laframboise

The National Post

1450 Don Mills Road, Suite 300

Toronto, Ontario

M3B 3R5


phone: 416-383-2374

fax: 416-383-2439


> ----------

> From:     David Shackleton

> Sent:     Thursday, April 19, 2001 8:53

> To:       Donna Laframboise

> Subject: ECMAS Article


> Donna,


> I am sure you know how supportive I am of you personally, and your work in

> support of truth and honesty in journalism.  I know how much criticism you

> take for your courageous writing.  As a friend, I will do for you what I

> hope my friends would do for me if they saw me slipping into error.


> After we spoke a couple of weeks ago, I went and re-read the relevant

> portions of Ferrel Christensen's book, which I have here.  As I read, it

> seemed to me that your concerns about what he had written were

> exaggerated,

> but I chose to wait and see.


> After seeing your article in the Post, I think that, for the first time

> that

> I can recall, you have made some journalistic distortions of the kind that

> I

> am used to seeing from other journalists, but not from you.  However, I

> could be wrong about this: if I am, please set me straight.  And, probably

> unnecessarily, I reassure you that this is not about our friendship (if I

> may presume to name it that): my respect for you is undiminished.  I

> greatly

> dislike the personal, judgemental criticism that I see all the time within

> our movement, from people who are unable to separate the issue from the

> individual.  I am not one who shares this common disability.


> Donna, I think that in your article you erred in three areas.  The first

> is

> in regards to Ferrel's book.  You wrote in your article, "[Ferrel] equates

> loving

> parents, who teach their children sexual restraint, with pedophiles:

> "Given that children are particularly vulnerable to coercion," he

> writes, "protecting them from being pressured or forced into something

> which, in present social conditions, can be highly distressing or even

> psychologically damaging is a serious concern [though it is potentially

> no more so than the practice of coercing them not to act sexually]."


> Nowhere in what you quote, or in the rest of Ferrel's book that I can

> find,

> does he do anything that can remotely be described as equating loving

> parents with pedophiles.  Loving parents do the best they can, by their

> lights, to instill socially appropriate sexual morals and behaviours into

> their children.  Does the repression of natural sexuality that they

> encourage or enforce do harm to their children?  I would suspect that it

> does: to say that it doesn't would be to suggest that such parents bring

> none of their own discomfort with sexuality to their decision process

> about

> what is appropriate for their children, or use only guilt-free or

> shame-free

> processes in directing their children, and neither of these suggestions

> are

> commonly true today.  The difference, however, from this inadvertant

> damage

> that good parents do to their children and the behaviour of pedophiles is

> that the pedophile is interested PRIMARILY in the satisfaction of his or

> her

> own sexual desires through the kids, while good parents try strenuously to

> consider what is best for their children.


> The comparison you make is thus a slur, Donna, a smear, and unsupported by

> anything Ferrel has written.  He has done us a service by clearly

> articulating one side of an important question, namely, the issue of what

> is

> appropriate parental and societal sexual guidance for children.

> Unfortunately, this is an area where we are highly emotional as a society,

> reacting often without thinking.  It seems to me that there is some of

> this

> kind of reaction in your own response.


> The second area in which I think you err is in the question of what should

> be done by ECMAS Edmonton regarding the memberships of [Tim] Abrams and

> Ferrel Christensen.  I agree with you that the election of Mr. Abrams to

> Vice President of the organization was an error, and seriously undermined

> the credibility and potentially the effectiveness of the organization.

> However, Mr. Abrams resigned swiftly, for which he is to be commended.

> You

> seem to be taking the position that both he and Ferrel should be ejected

> from the organizaation.  This is too extreme.  Inclusiveness and openness

> are important principles, and people should not be excluded from

> membership

> in democratic organizations because of their views (Ferrel) or their past

> crimes, for which they have paid ([Tim]).  The fact is, Ms. Malenfant is

> mistaken when she says, "You cannot legitimately speak on behalf of the

> falsely accused while holding the belief that sex in childhood is a good

> thing."  Actually, it is quite possible to hold the belief that sex

> between

> consenting minors is a good thing, and simultaneously to speak on behalf

> of

> those ADULTS falsely accused of sexual abuse of children.  The two issues

> are separate, and Ferrel is careful to separate them in his book, as you

> note in your article.


> My third point is about your use of anonymous witnesses.  What these four

> say about Ferrel's and [Tim]'s behaviour and statements is both hearsay and

> anonymous.  I think that you erred in quoting their recollections,

> unchallengeable by those they are accusing because of their anonymity, so

> extensively. 


> Overall, Donna, I want to suggest to you that perhaps your laudable desire

> for the fathers' rights movement to put its house in order and operate

> effectively and professionally might have caused you to try to hold them

> to

> a higher standard of behaviour than you would other organizations.  God

> knows we have our problems, and there may indeed be a story in the ECMAS

> events.  However, I think that the story probably should have ended when

> Mr.

> Abrams resigned from the ECMAS executive.  We live in a land of free

> speech

> and free assembly, and Ferrel is entitled to his views, and [Tim] is

> entitled

> to attempt to recruit clients at ECMAS meetings.  You presented no

> evidence

> that the organization (i.e., the executive) supported or endorsed either

> Ferrel's views about child sexuality or [Tim]'s activities as a paralegal.

> As simply members, even prominent members, their views and activities are

> neither illegal nor unethical.


> Donna, I'll leave it there.  I hope that you find my arguments to be

> useful,

> and I assure you once again of my consistent respect and admiration for

> your

> commitment to journalism of integrity.


> Feel free to call me at (613) 832-2284 if you would like to talk about any

> of this.


> Sincerely,


> David Shackleton, Editor and Publisher

> Everyman: A Men's Journal

> PO Box 4617, Station E, Ottawa, ON  K1S 5H8, CANADA


> "The World Changes When We Do"