May 10, 1909

IND

William Findlay Maclean

Independent Conservative

Mr. W. P. MACLEAN.

Is not the conclusion to be drawn that the trial of these cases, if it is to be conducted after the manner of a court, should be conducted in a court created for that pupose, and that the principles on which divorce is to be granted should be accurately defined as in the case of any other statute? The parliament of Canada to-day is over-worked and we all know that these divorce cases are becoming more numerous. The function of parliament, to my mind, is altogether legislative, and it should not exercise the powers of a court. The way out of the difficulty would appear to be to decide that the time has arrived when Canada ought to have a general divorce law on the strictest lines, and that that law ought to be administered in a court and that this parliament, now over-worked, ought to be relieved of the work of dealing with questions of divorce.

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CON

Frederick Debartzch Monk

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MONK.

For my part I am not prepared to say that the great amount of work which this parliament has to perform is much hindered or increased by the divorces with which we have to deal, because before the bills come to us they are practically settled_ by the judgment rendered by the Committee of the Senate. That has been my experience. I think that the great evil of divorce has not yet become serious enough in Canada for us to require the institution of a special tribunal for that purpose. We have examples in the United States and in Europe of the dreadful evil that divorce has produced there. We have been singularly free from it in this country, wonderfully free. It is an evil which has now reached us and is increasing, but the reason given by my hon. friend that we have a great deal of work to do in this parliament is not one which commends itself at any rate to me. As long as possible we should avoid passing any law on divorce, and defer the creation of any such tribunal as my hon. friend has proposed. That is my view of the case. We have hitherto been able to dispose of these cases by a very careful examination in the Senate, and I see no reason to depart from that course.

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LIB

Frank Broadstreet Carvell

Liberal

Mr. CARVELL.

My hon. frend will not deem me discourteous if I say that in my judgment the position he lays down is almost untenable. If my hon. friend would propose that this parliament pass legislation absolutely barring the granting of divorces in Canada I almost think I would feel like sanctioning and agreeing to such Mr. R. L. BORDEN.

a proposition, but the moment you admit that divorce is right in principle-and we admit that when we pass divorce legislation every year-then I think we are absolutely unreasonable when we say that this relief should be granted by parliament and should not be relegated to a proper court. I quite agree with the hon. member for South York (Mr. Maclean), once we admit the principle of granting divorce. [DOT]

. ^[DOT] MACLEAN. We permit it by

the British North America Act.

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Mr CARVELL.

Yes, I understand that Act allows divorce courts in provinces which had these courts at the time, but this parliament has the right to abolish these courts. I have had some experience in connection with divorce courts in the province of New Brunswick and have read the reports of the Divorce Committee in the Senate. In the latter it seems to me divorces have been granted on evidence which would be laughed at in any ordinary court. My hon. friend the leader of the opposition pointed out that in England there is.a King's Proctor. True we do not have a King's Proctor in New Brunswick, but it is the special duty of the judge to act as such, and I assure you he is very careful to perform the duties cast on him by the law. It is impossible to get a divorce in New Brunswick unless every condition of the law is complied with. In that law a number of fundamental conditions are laid down, and it is the duty of the judge to see that no divorce is granted until each one of^these conditions has been complied with. But that cannot be said of the proceedings in the Senate. I have read the reports and have seen cases in which the question was never even asked as to whether there was any collusion between the parties, and divorces have been granted in eases which were the absolute result, of collusion. That would be impossible in proceedings before an ordinary court such as we have in our province. On reading over the evidence in this case, I find that all sorts of hearsay testimony were admitted such as would not be considered in a police court or any other court in Canada. In my judgment, once we admit the principle of divorce, we ought to relegate the ques tion to a court which will properly weigh the evidence, which will not allow improper evidence, and which will not grant a divorce unless the conditions of the law have been complied with.

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CON

Edward Arthur Lancaster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LANCASTER.

I would agree with the hon. gentleman in his conclusions if I could accept his premise, but that I cannot do. I cannot admit that the principle of divorce is right. I am satisfied that the best interests of the country are served by our doing all we can to prevent divorces. I had the temerity some two or three sessions

ago to make a considerable argument on the question, but it was useless in convincing the majority, and a divorce then went through on evidence which would not justify a court in granting even judicial separation. Speaking for myself, I do think that in the interest of the state, we ought to do all we can to prevent divorce and make our young people understand that once they get married they must remain married.'

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LIB

Henry Horton Miller

Liberal

Mr. MILLER.

There is one thing I notice, and that is that the Senate committee attaches too much weight to the evidence of paid professional detectives. Such evidence would not be admitted by our courts except with the greatest degree of suspicion.

Bill reported, read the third time and passed. (

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MANITOBA AND NORTHWEST RAILWAY COMPANY.


On the order: Consideration of an amendment made by the Senate to Bill (No. 81) respecting the Manitoba and Northwest Railway Company of Canada,-Mr. Cash. Mr. CASH moved that the amendment made by the Senate be disagreed to for the following reasons: 1. Because the condition imposed by the said amendment is unusual and embarrasing to the company and is of such a character that it would, if adopted, prevent the company going on with its operations. 2. Because the company has already shown its good faith by work already performed, and the penalty provided in the said amendment to meet the requirements is unnecessary and would be ineffective; and that a message be sent to the Senate to acquaint their honours therewith.


LIB

Wilfrid Laurier (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER.

What is the amendment?

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LIB
LIB
LIB
LIB

David Bradley Neely

Liberal

Mr. NEELY.

That is not the point. The building of ten miles of road alone might not be of any special benefit to the com-, munity, but I am satisfied that if the Canadian Pacific Railway were compelled to build ten miles they would not stop at that but would carry out the project and make it of some benefit to the community. The promoter of the Bill, I think, is well aware of the fact that the people of that part of

the country are very anxious to have this branch line built. There is a settlement in my own constituency whose people have to haul the products of their farms forty miles to market over the worst possible road at this season. I refer to the settlement of St. Brieux. These people, mainly from the province of Quebec, came into that part of the country some years ago on the distinct understanding that this branch line should be built. I am here to speak for these people and to say that they would very much prefer that this charter, so much abused by the Canadian Pacific Railway, should be put out of existence, rather than that the company should be allowed to go on and fcol the people as they have done for so many years.

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CON
LIB

David Bradley Neely

Liberal

Mr. NEELY.

So far as the original intent of the charter is concerned, they have-

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CON

Haughton Lennox

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LENNOX.

The hon. member does not understand me. I desire to know if the people to whom he refers have made any representations on the subject? Have they forwarded a petition or done anything to show their attitude?

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LIB

David Bradley Neely

Liberal

Mr. NEELY.

I have had personal letters from a large number of the settlers. I have had the strongest representations from them both by letter and by word of mouth. But, even if I had no such representations, the very map of the province would show that what I have said is true-that these people are forty miles from a market and that this line would go directly to the settlement.

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LIB

John Gillanders Turriff

Liberal

Mr. J. G. TURRIFF (East Assiniboia).

I agree altogether with the remarks of the hon. member for Humboldt (Mr. Neely). I think the amendment proposed by the Senate _is a good amendment, and that the Senate showed good judgment, good common sense in adopting such an amendment. Let us consider what the motion of the hon. member for Mackenzie (Mr. Cash) says. This amendment of the Senate is objected to:

First, because the condition imposed by the said amendment is unusual and embarrassing to the company and is of such a character that it would, if adopted, prevent the company from going on with their operations.

Here is a wealthy company, as pointed out by my hon. friend (Mr. Neely), and here is a charter, twenty-nine years old, which this wealthy company has held for sixteen years, and they come before this House now and put a resolution into the hand of the promoter of this Bill that the building of ten miles of the road thus chartered will embarrass the company and will prevent them from going on with their operations. If that is the case-though I do Mr. NEELY.

not for a moment believe that it is the case -surely to goodness we ought to maintain in the Bill the amendment which the Senate has made.

My hon. friend asks what good it would do to build ten miles of road. The object is to get the terminus of the road ten miles nearer to the people who have to haul their grain 40 miles. But the Senate was very moderate, and we are proposing to accept their views. There is no doubt that if the company has to build 10 miles, and in all probability when they are at it, they may build 20 miles. But in a good many cases in the west these roads will add 10 miles to their line during one season, and not any more. I want to point out that it would be a great advantage to hundreds of people who are living 30, 40, or 50 miles from the road, to have 10 miles cut off at one end. Any one who has hauled wheat 40 miles to market will realize the advantage of that. I would also point out that the consideration advanced by the hon. member for Humboldt (Mr. Neely) should have greater weight with this House than the consideration advanced by my hon. friend from Mackenzie (Mr. Cash), because the point on the line where this branch will start, that is at Sheho, is practically on the west side of the constituency of my hon. friend from Mackenzie, it is only some seven or eight miles within the boun-diary of his constituency, so the road is practically outside his constituency, and is nearly altogether in the constituencies of the hon. member for Humboldt and the hon. member for Prince Albert (Mr. Rutan.) They represent the views of the people, and the people have said that they prefer to have the charter cancelled altogether unless there is a clause put in the Bill this year providing for a certain amount of building to be done. The people have asked for that, why should they not have their way? Why should they not be considered? Why should we not adopt the amendment of the Senate? It is a fair and reasonable amendment, it is in the interest of the people and in the interest of the railway company also; and if it is a fact that the building of ten miles of railroad is something that the Canadian Pacific Railway cannot do, then let us annul the charter altogether and let somebody else come in that can build 10 miles of railroad in one year.

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CON

David Henderson

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HENDERSON.

I cannot agree with the hon. gentleman who has just taken his seat (Mr. Turriff). I think that if we compelled the company, in that great western country of such vast proportions, to construct 10 miles of a road, it might possibly land them in a ploughed field or in a slough.

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LIB

May 10, 1909