For two months, Mariecar Jackson has been trying to find her seven-year-old daughter, who she says was taken by her ex-husband to an unknown location because he did not want the girl to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
Now Regina, the mother of the Sask. Area, is turning to the public for help in a desperate attempt to find the young girl.
“In a pandemic, we just want to be with our family. We just want everyone to be safe, and I do not know where she is,” Jackson told CTV National News.
“It’s not good for a seven-year-old to live in hiding. It just breaks my heart.”
Jackson’s ex-husband, Michael, refused to return to seven-year-old Sarah after a visit in November. Mariecar wanted her daughter vaccinated; Michael, who is against the vaccine, did not.
Mariecar believes that Sarah is being kept away from other children, out of school and in hiding.
Meanwhile, Michael appeared in a right-wing talk show from an undisclosed location last week to discuss his views on the vaccine. During the interview, uploaded to the online platform Rumble, he and the host exchange undocumented and disproven stories about COVID-19 vaccines, including false claims that the MRNA vaccine alters human DNA.
“I’m her father, it’s my job to protect her,” he says in the video.
“Even if there’s one in a million chances that your daughter could not even die, but there’s one in a million chances that she could not have a baby, would that not be enough?”
The missing girl is visible in the background for much of the interview. At one point, the host asks if the daughter wants the vaccine, after which her father points the camera at her.
“It can change your DNA. I do not think God wants me to. It can make you sick and kill you,” the girl said.
The Saskatchewan RCMP says they are investigating the case but will not comment further on the case.
Her mother says she still wants her daughter to be vaccinated, but says her biggest concern is that she will return home safely. She says she is willing to make the decision in court and let a judge decide.
Lawrence Pinsky, a family lawyer in Winnipeg, Man., Says this kind of vaccine-related strife is becoming more common in Canada as the pandemic continues.
“[This] has changed over time and has become more of an issue of vaccination, with people asking the court to either vaccinate or ban vaccination of their children, ”Pinsky told CTV National News.
“But the courts have been pretty clear all over the country, but especially in Manitoba, the starting point is that vaccination is in a child’s best interest.”
In September, a lawsuit in Saskatchewan involving divorced parents who disagreed on the vaccine issue drew national headlines, with the judge eventually taking sides with the father, who wanted their 13-year-old daughter to be shot.
In December, a judge in Alberta ruled in favor of a woman fighting with her ex-husband over whether their children would be vaccinated against COVID-19, the first case of its kind in the province.
In a similar case in Quebec, a Supreme Court judge ruled in favor of a mother who wanted her 12-year-old vaccinated against her father’s wishes.
“There may be an unusual case where the parent may be able to prove that the vaccine for the particular child is not justified, it would be extremely rare and you would have to bring strong evidence,” Pinsky said.
“In theory, if one could show some medical reason with special evidence, there would be a case. Otherwise, the presumption would be that vaccines are in the best interest of the child.”