For a few months now, Mattias Battauz has been in front of the courthouse carrying a sign “like an idiot.”
The Red Deer resident said he’s in the middle of a contentious custody battle. He’s been one of two people in front of the courthouse, but he’s hoping for more.
He manages two fathers’ rights movement Facebook pages, one for Alberta and one for Canada. This Monday he’s heading back out to the Red Deer Courthouse, 4909 48th Ave., for a rally in support of fathers’ rights.
“Hopefully at some point someone will really look at it and make a change to family law,” said Battauz, adding he thinks the current system.
He plans to start the rally at 8 a.m. Monday morning. Though he’s not sure how many people will be out there, but he’s hoping for a nice crowd.
“Our goal is to have a peaceful gathering and raise awareness of a growing problem,” said Battauz. “At the end of the day, we feel the interest of the children aren’t being put first.”
Battauz said that while it is a called the fathers’ rights movement, he sees it more as an equal rights movement. He said he hasn’t seen three of his children in more than a year and is fighting for custody of them.
“Even though our page is called fathers’ rights, we don’t have a gender bias,” said Battauz. “Our goal is for equal parenting, not just the kids should be with the dad.”
The fathers’ rights movement wants reforms to a wide range of issues including family law, shared parenting, child support, divorce, government involvement, parental rights and parental leave.
“It’s about raising awareness and hopefully, hopefully, at some point will see some changes for my benefit and for any other father, parent or child out there,” said Battauz. “I think there should be more opportunities for parents who want to be a part of their children’s lives.”