Mr. H. R. EMMERSON (Westmorland) moved that the house go into committee of the whole on private bills.
Mr. JEAN-FRANCOIS POULIOT (Temis-couata); With regard to these divorce bills, they are said to come from the province of Quebec. But I have made a little list from those bills, taking a few of them at random. For instance, in the Williamson case the place of birth of the husband was Montreal; of the wife, Westmount; place of marriage Montreal. In the case of Cohen the husband was
born in Russia, the wife in Rumania, and they were married in Montreal. In the case of McMartin the husband was born in Oyster Bay, New York; the wife at Shreveport, Louisiana, and they were married in Oyster Bay, New York. In the Hislop case the husband was born in Rumania, the wife in Russia, and they were married in Montreal. In the Oravec case they are people from Winnipeg and were married there. In the Klajner or Klein case the husband was born in Bendzin, and the wife in Bendzin, and the place of marriage was Poland. In the case of the Skinners there is no place of birth of husband or wife, but they were married in London. In the Resnick case both parties were born in Russia, and they were married in Montreal. In the Adams case the husband was born at Petrolia, Ontario; the wife at Martha-ville, Ontario, and they were married at Sault Ste. Marie. In the case of O'Sullivan both parties were born and married in England. In the Macdonald case both were born at Saint John, New Brunswick and married there.
It surprises me very much that it was said afterwards that these divorce laws are for the people of the province of Quebec. I have quoted many instances of people who came from other provinces or from Russia, Rumania and everywhere. I do not see the propriety of having that kind of legislation on divorce in our statute books. The number of divorce acts in the statute books is almost incredible. I saw an answer which was given to the hon. member for Maisonneuve-Rose-mount (Mr. Fournier) the other day about the number of divorces and the fact is not at all as represented to him. I made a calculation for the years 1928 to 1937 inclusive, and found the number of private bills that were divorce bills was 1,069. That means that in 1,069 cases the House of Commons passed those bills through first reading, second reading, committee and third reading; the same thing was done in the senate, and His Excellency the Governor General, the representative of the king, had to put his name on each divorce act. We have more important things to discuss than those, especially when one picks at random the evidence in any one of those cases and finds it is always the same story. There is an investigator who looks through the keyhole and says, "I am the bell boy;" he gets in and sees a woman there with a man, a bottle of whiskey half full, two glasses, or perhaps the bottle is empty. They report that to the senate; the parties are asked if there is connivance, and the complainant says there is no connivance. Then the august body of the senate says, "We must grant them a divorce." We hear parliament
spoken of as the high court of parliament. The only thing on which parliament is acting as a court is divorce. We are using our legislative authority in a judicial capacity.