Filial Responsibility

China is considering a law that would force children to visit their elderly parents. And here in Canada, nearly every province has a law on the books allowing parents to sue their children for financial support. We meet a daughter who is being sued by her mother.


Filial Responsibility - Donna Anderson

We started this segment with a song from Chen Hong, it was a smash hit in China. It's title roughly translates as Often Going Back Home to Visit Our Parents. And filial responsibility isn't just something to sing about in China. The government has proposed a new law that would force children to visit their parents. We asked Anthony Germain -- CBC Radio's China Correspondent -- to give us a sense of what's behind the proposed law.

Now, the idea of a law that requires children to care for their elders may seem a little foreign... and it got us wondering if this kind of law could fly here in this Country. And to our surprise, we discovered that every province in Canada -- with exception of Alberta -- has legislation on the books that does just that.

These filial responsibility laws - as they're known - have been around for decades. And while it doesn't happen often, every once in a while a parent sues his or her adult children for financial support. Donna Anderson and her brothers are currently being sued by their mother. She was in Vancouver.

Filial Responsibility - Janneke Lewis

For a better understanding of how the law works in this case, we were joined by Janneke Lewis. She's the lawyer representing Donna's brother Keith. She was in Vancouver.

Filial Responsibility - Judith Wahl

We weren't able to get in touch with Donna and Keith's mother, Shirley Anderson. But we did ask Don McLeod for his take on filial responsibility. He's a lawyer in Victoria who - up until last month - was representing Shirley Anderson.

There have been campaigns to scrap the laws that allow parents to sue their children for support. But Judith Wahl says there are good reasons to keep them. She is a lawyer and the Executive Director of the Advocacy Centre for the Elderly. She was in Toronto.

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