Why should there be a division with the first wife who has obtained a divorce, surely, on legitimate grounds against the husband? The husband remarries, and he dies. Who is legally and morally entitled to the pension? Assuredly the first wife, and there should be no division with the second. The second may be only the paramour of that man. This is encouraging vice. Let my hon. friend think over the matter.
You could not deprive the legal wife, the wife who under the law of
the land is his wife, with whom he may be living at the time of his death, of her pension. In the case suggested by my, hon. friend, he says we might intervene, but on what ground could we deprive her of her pension? We would have to pass on the character of every wife, in the case of the second wife.
Mr. LEIMI'EUX: My hon. friend is too pious not to see the difference in the two oases. I am serious in the matter. Here is [DOT]the first wife who has obtained, for cause, a divorce against her husband, .probably and possibly-and let us take it for granted- because he was committing adultery with this woman who becomes his second wife. A divorce is granted; he marries his paramour; then he dies. By what law, moral or otherwise, will you pay the pension to the paramour because she had gone through the ceremony of marriage, which certainly she did not consider as a sacrament but purely as a contract that could be broken at any given moment. The first wife is living; she is an honest, respectable woman, and yet the pension will be divided between her and the paramour. This is creating a very strange state of affairs in society.
member would do, if he were a commissioner, that is probably what the commissioners will do, and that is why I would support the proposal, especially as clause 37 gives discretion to the commissioners to do the very thing which the hon. gentleman himself would do if he were a commissioner.
Surely my hon. friend will not give any discretionary powers when morally and conscientiously no other course can be taken than the one I have mentioned. Why should 1 leave a discretionary power to a commissioner, that he shall pay, if he so pleases, either to the honest woman, the woman who has been wronged, or to the paramour who has been the cause of all the misfortune that has happened to the honest woman and who probably has been the cause that the children have been scattered amongst other families or in refuges? Surely my hon. friend will reconsider that.
My hon. friend becomes very sympathetic with the victim whom he describes. Men of experience know that there will be for the consideration of this commission a thousand and one cases with different slants of sentiment, and sympathy, and morals, and justice, and right, which this Parliament cannot now foresee; and in order that pure and simple justice may be done, I should much prefer that discretion be given to the commissioners who, it may be presumed, will be men of discernment, rather than try now to build up a law on a series of hypothetical cases. The question as to whose wife shall she be or whose husband shall he be, who shall receive a pension, sounds extremely familiar.
I remember, in the Scriptures, the Saviour was asked on one occasion whose wife should she be after she had married seven brothers, and I do not know quite what the answer was. I do not think there was one.
There the Saviour was laying down a law to cover cases which he foresaw would arise. We cannot legislate for every possible case, but if we secure the right kind of men for commissioners and give them discretionary power in cases of this kind, I think we can trust them to do justice.
In such a case as cited, where the legitimate wife and her children are living, the board should have no discretionary powers. The legitimate wife should share the pension with no other woman in the land. If a man abandons his legitimate wife and children the pension should still go to her.
It is not as simple to give decisions in reference to the complex marriage relations that exist as hon. gentlemen seem to think. My hon. friend (Mr. Marcil) takes a position diametrically opposed to that taken by my hon. friend (Mr. Lemieux). He says the legitimate wife should get the pension and not share it with the other wife. Now if a woman has secured a divorce from her husband she no longer is his legitimate wife, and even if he has gone
through a form of marriage with the paramour who was the cause of the divorce being granted, she is. the legitimate wife because the law recognizes as the wife of the man the woman to whom he has been married, his first wife having been divorced.