CANADA – MATTEO – 1997: (1997) (Return ordered) Matteo v Parodi. Child taken by the mother to Canada. Superior Court ordered return of child to Argentina. Court of Appeal upheld Superior Court’s decision.

Matteo v Parodi (Canada 1997)Montreal Court of Appeal No. 500-09-005331-970 and
9 International Abduction [CANADA 1997]


No. 500-09-005331-970

On 07 Aug 1997

(in Chambers)

Maria Magdalena Matteo,


Miguel Angel Parodi,




001 I am seized of two applications — one for a stay, the
other seeking provisional execution — of a judgment of the
Superior Court rendered by LeBel J. pursuant to the Act
Respecting the Civil Aspects of International and
Interprovincia1 Child Abduction.

002 Justice LeBel rendered judgment orally, in view of the
urgency of the matter, on July 31, 1997; her detailed
written reasons were filed on August 7.

003 In her written reasons, Justice LeBel noted:

Devant le Tribunal, il est admis que la convention
s’applique, c’est-a-dire qu’il s’agit d’un cas
d’enlevement international d’enfants au sens de la
convention, ce qui justifierait la demande de
retour. De toute facon, les faits le demontrent.
Madame etait autorisee a sortir l’enfant du pays
pour une periode de trente jours ce qui impliquait
evidemment, un retour en Argentine qui n’a pas eu
lieu. Monsieur a done droit de demander retour.

Madame invoque le deuxiime paragraphe de l’article
21 de la loi pour contester la demande de retour.
Selon elle il existerait “un risque grave que le
retour de ltenfant ne l’expose a un danger
physique ou psychique, ou de toute autre maniere,
ne le place dans une situation intolerable”. Elle
demande donc a la Cour superieure de refuser
d’ordonner le retour de l’enfant. Les allegations
a l’appui de cette demande vent un peu de la meme
nature que celles que j’ai deja relatees: monsieur
est un monstre et le retour placerait l’enfant
dans une situation de danger ou dans une situation

004 Justice LeRel did not believe the evidence given by Ms.
Matteo, the appellant, in support of her submissions under
s. 21 of the Act.

005 She found that the facts alleged had not been proven:

Encore une fois, le Tribunal conclut que ces faits
ne vent pas prouves. Dans certains cas, des
temoignages ont ete carrement faux; dans d’autres,
den incidents mineurs ant ete mantes en epingle.
Il y a peut-etre eu des paroles ou des gestes
regrettables. Si out, selon la preuve, ce vent des
gestes ou des paroles qui se seraient adresses a
madame ou a l’un ou l’autre de ses firs, Juan
Diego ou Alfredo, et non a Geronimo.

Or, dans ce cas-ci, la question qui se pose est la
situation de Geronimo. La question est de savoir
si Geronimo serait mis en danger ou en peril par
un retour dans son pays natal, qui permettrait, du
moins pour l’instant, un rapprochement avec son

Or, le Tribunal conclut que s’il analyse la
situation du point de vue de Geronimo, il ne peut
pas conclure qu’il existe un risque grave que le
retour de l’enfant l’expose a un danger physique
ou psychique ou, de toute autre maniere, le place
dans une situation intolerable.

006 After considering the policy purposes of the Act and
the international obligations which it aims to implement, FN
01 Justice LeBel ordered the immediate return of the child
to Argentina.

007 On August 6, 1997, Justice LeBel delivered the
following “Jugement de Correctlon”:

CONSIDERANT le jugement prononce a l’audience le
31 juillet 1997;

CONSIDERANT le fait que, par inadvertence, ce
jugement ne traite pas de la demande d’ordonner
l’execution nonobstant appel;

CONSIDERANT qu’il s’agit ici de la garde de
l’enfant Geronimo Matteo Parodi;

CONSIDERANT qu’il s’agit ici d’un cas d’urgence
exceptionnelle parce qu’un retard dans l’execution
de l’ordonnance serait tout a fait malsain pour

CONSTDERANT qu’il serait approprie que l’enfant
passe des vacances avec son pere et qu’il n’y a
aucune raison de craindre que l’enfant ne soit pas
ramene au Canada si un jugement l’ordonne;

CONSIDERANT la requete verbale du procureur de
monsieur Parodi et l’article 475 CPC;

CONSIDERANT les circonstances de l’affaire;

PAR CES MOTIFS, le tribunal

ACCUEILLE la requete verbale;

ORDONNE que les conclusions du jugement rendu le
31 juillet 1997 soient amendees pour y ajouter la
conclusion suivante:

ORDONNE l’ execution provisoire nonobstant appel;


008 Arrangements have been made to ensure that the child,
upon arriving in Argentina, will be greeted at the airport
by an Argentinian judge having jurisdiction in the matter.

009 I am advised that arrangements have also been made
enabling the appellant, who is the child’s mother, to arrive
in Argentina a few hours later.

010 As I said at the outset, there are two applications
before me. The first, by appellant, seeks a stay of the
order made by LeBel J.; the second, by respondent, seeks
immediate execution of that order, notwithstanding the

011 Counsel for the parties and for the Attorney General,
who have throughout the proceedings discharged their
respective duties with skill, dignity and courtesy to one
another and to the Court, agreed to have both applications
dealt with together this morning.

012 At the conclusion of the hearing, I felt bound to
decide that the judgment of the Superior Court should not be

013 The appellant has failed to demonstrate any evident
weakness in that judgment.

014 The grounds she has raised relate essentially to
findings of credibility with which appellate courts cannot
interfere in the absence of manifest error. No such error
has been shown.

015 There is no suggestion that the trial judge erred in
her interpretation of the governing legal principles or,
more particularly, in concluding that this is a case of
child abduction within the meaning of the Act.

016 The appellant contends that the correction filed by the
trial judge is of no legal effect, since the matter was by
then already under appeal. This submission is based on the
wording of article 475 C.C.P. and on article 549 an well.

017 I am prepared to assume that appellant’s submission in
this regard is well-founded, but think it right to note that
the correction was made upon the express request of
respondent and without objection, on jurisdictional grounds,
by appellant.

018 In any event, by agreement of the parties, appellant’s
application for a stay and respondent’s application for
provisional execution were dealt with simultaneously before
me. And, whatever the legal effect of the correction entered
by the trial judge, my own jurisdiction to order provisional
execution of the original judgment is not disputed.

019 As a matter of form, I have concluded that this
jurisdiction should be exercised by allowing respondent’s
motion and dismissing appellant’s motion, without costs in
both instances.

020 I wish to add a further word to which I attach
particular importance.

021 My judgment in this matter relates exclusively to the
requirements of the Act under which respondent’s application
was made and to the international obligations assumed by
Canada under the Convention to which I have referred.

022 These imperatives are set out in the preamble to the

WHEREAS the Convention on the Civil Aspects of
International Child Abduction signed at the Hague
on 25 October 1980 aims to protect children
internationally from the harmful effects of their
wrongful removal or retention;

Whereas the convention establishes procedures to
ensure the prompt return of children to the State
of their habitual residence and to secure
protection for rights of access;

Whereas Quebec subscribes to the principles and
rules set forth in the Convention and it is
expedient to apply them to the largest possible
number of cases; …

[Emphasis added.]

023 I refer as well to the explanatory notes accompanying
the draft legislation (B111 72) on first reading:

Ce projet de loi a pour objet d’assurer
l’application au Quebec des principes et des
regles de la Convention de la Haye du 25 octobre
1980 sur les aspects civils de l’enlevement
international d’enfants. Il permettra en outre au
gouvernement d’etendre l’application de ces
principes et de ces regles sur une base de
reciprocite a tout Etat province ou territoire
designes par decret.

Il vise a assurer qu’un enfant deplace ou retenu
illicitement ratourn le plus tot possible dans le
milieu on vlvait anterieurement sans chercher a
regler le problem de l’attribution du droit de
garde, afin que la situation de fait prevalent
avant He deplacement ou le non-ratour illicite
soit retablie rapidement. Il vise egalement
assurer le respect du droit devisite. [Emphasis

024 There is no real dispute that the child Geronimo was
wrongfully removed from Argentina and is being retained in
Canada in breach of the governing domestic law. Nor has any
ground been made out for declining to return him promptly to
the country from which he was removed.

025 In so ordering however I wish to make it perfectly
clear that my decision is not intended to have any bearing
on the underlying issues of custody.

026 Nor do I mean in any way to suggest that appellant
ought never to be permitted to return to Canada, temporarily
or permanently, with or without Geronimo.

027 Those issues remain to be resolved by other tribunals
and according to criteria that do not apply here.


For the appellant:
Marlye Monfiston
Sonia Heyeur

For the respondent:
Real LeBlanc

For the mis en cause:
Jean-Frangois Boulais

Dates of hearing: August 6 and 7. 1997

1. See the Convention on the Civil Aspects of
International Child Abduction, signed by Canada
and more than 20 other countries at The Hague on
October 25, 1980.