Mr. MICHAEL LUCHKOVIGH (Vegre-ville):
Mr. Speaker, before the Easter recess
I made the remark that connivance, condonation or collusion were grounds for rejection; in other words, that they were defences, so far as the respondent was concerned, against the granting of a divorce to the petitioner. The hon. member for Queens-Lunenburg (Mr. Ernst) asked me this question:
Will the hon. member permit a question? Will he indicate where in the evidence there is shown to be any connivance with respect to the particular act on which this petition is based?
I do not intend to speak at any great length on this matter to-night, because I realize that there are other more important matters awaiting the consideration of the members of this house. Therefore my remaining remarks in this regard will be very brief. The evidence shows that Mr. Roberts obtained for Mrs. Roberts a pass to Reno. He had no objection whatever to her proceeding to Reno; indeed, he did everything to make it possible for her to go there in order to get a divorce. To my way of thinking that certainly was an act of connivance; there must have 'been some incentive, otherwise the petitioner would not have done that. In summing up the evidence before the private bills committee the solicitor for the petitioner, Mr. Ker, stated that Mrs. Roberts was using this Reno divorce as a cloak to cover up her relations with the corespondent, Mr. Jenkins. I think that argument could be used both ways. If it was a cloak with which Mrs. Roberts covered up her relations with this corespondent it might be said just as easily that it was a cloak which was used to cover up the relations of the petitioner with this so called Miss X.
In his memorandum to the members of the House of Commons, Mr. Roberts makes
Clarence MacGregor Roberts
much of the fact that prior to this case being heard by the private bills committee a memorandum was sent to the members of that committee by the respondent, but Mr. Roberts is doing the same thing when he sends his memorandum not only to the members of the committee 'but to every member of this chamber. In other words he regards as a sin what has been done by his wife but as a virtue what he has done himself, in sending this memorandum to all the members of the house. When Mr. Roberts says the members of the private bills committee have been misled and deceived might I remind him that the circulation of this memorandum certainly has not done anything to shed any new light on the situation. If anything the petitioner has hurt his case rather than helped it. The first paragraph of this memorandum reads as follows:
Before the senate committee the act of adultery was proven definitely by three reliable witnesses whose evidence was unshaken in cross-examination and accepted by the senate. The evidence of respondent and corespondent in denial is valueless. The record shows various instances where they have directly contradicted themselves when confronted with sworn statements made in the Montreal courts, and' the fact that they deceived petitioner by going to Maine and living in the same house for two weeks is conclusive as to their relationship.
Might I remind the house that these three gentlemen mentioned by the petitioner were unemployed at the time and were hired by the petitioner to get evidence against Mrs. Roberts, the respondent. The evidence they secured was of a very dubious and suspicious character. It seems to me that the evidence was made too convenient for these three so-called detectives; the stage was set too perfectly for them, as is shown in the evidence. This Mrs. Roberts, the respondent, and this Mr. Jenkins, the corespondent, were charged with committing the offence upon which this petition was based in the living room, with all the blinds up, with a bridge lamp and a ceiling light burning and with an uncle washing dishes in the adjacent kitchen. While this alleged offence was being committed these three detectives-tomcats I might call them-were upon the roof of an adjacent building opposite, fifteen feet away. These tomcats with the microscopic eyes were up on that roof when they should have been down in the lane below rummaging among the tin cans and the refuse contained therein. They were prowling about under the starlight and the radiant beams of a midnight moon when they should have been announcing their presence to the respondent from the back gate or the back fence. Instead of that they made their way-pussyfooted, as it were-into this respondent's boudoir. I do not attach very much credence to the evidence of these so-called detectives.
As I have already said, the evidence is of too suspicious and too dubious a nature for any hon. member to believe. So far as the main incident to which reference is made in paragraph 1 of the memorandum is concerned, I say Mr. Roberts, the petitioner, might have given us an account of the three weeks' journey with the so-called Madam X. He describes the relations of Mrs. Roberts, his wife, with Mr. Jenkins, the corespondent, as flagrant misconduct. In other words according to his view it is a sin for his wife to run around with another man but it was a virtue for him to run around with Madam X. I do not know why he has called her Madam X, unless it be that there was a long string of women whom he designated 'by letters of the alphabet and that at this time he had reached the letter X. Probably Madam X had had the most recent claim to his affections.