That is not the only ground.
If I am not well informed in that regard, I stand corrected, but that is my understanding of the matter. I have tried to be a bit of a student of this subject. How successful I have been is of course a matter of opinion, but I claim that the survival of a nation or a race is dependent very largely, if not entirely, upon the moral character of the people. Conversely, the downfall of a nation is caused, I venture to say, entirely by its loose character, its loose living, its disregard for the divine prerogatives of God our Creator and Father.
I am not alone in my alarm at the extent to which divorce is becoming a subject of meagre concern to the people of this country, and, as the hon. member for Bow River (Mr. Johnston) interjects, to this House of Commons. I agree. I noticed when you were reading these bills, Mr. Chairman, it was as though you were reading a book. It is all a matter of routine. We have approximately eighty-nine divorce bills to pass this afternoon. We regard it as a matter of routine, a matter of course; all we have to do is to read the names, call the sections, and presto! the man or woman is separated from wife or husband as the case may be.
That is not good enough. We have to regard things a little more seriously than we do. I believe I am right in saying that practically all British law is based upon the laws given by the greatest of all law givers, and the laws given by Moses were not merely the product of human thinking. In my opinion at any rate, very largely the ancient Jewish race was the race used by Almighty God through which he might deal with the world, and in the giving of laws through Moses there was the basis upon which the Creator of all mankind was thenceforward to establish a properly constituted government of the human race.
I claim that the laws of Moses in respect of the matter of divorce are, shall I say, a reflection of the mind of the Creator. Of course I shall be open to question in respect
to that interpretation. But the laws of Moses regarded the matter of divorce as so serious that the penalty imposed for adultery was none other than death by stoning. Of course I am not recommending that. My friend interjects that there would be a lot of dead men in Canada if that were done. Nevertheless that is the basis of it all. It is a crime against the human race, and I say again that I am alarmed at the loose way in which this entire subject is handled. I shall come back to that in a moment.
I have chosen this case because it seems to be outstanding in its lack of evidence that adultery was committed. The woman of course was seen alone with a man. What man among us has not at some time or other been seen alone with a lady friend? This lady happened to drive this man home several times while her husband was out of town. That was all brought into the evidence. Now, that sort of evidence is pretty scanty. While the bill is not based entirely upon that, it is based partly upon it. I will read some passages that show that point.
Give us the Saturday
night and Sunday morning episode.
I do not know what
my friend is talking about.
I am asking the hon.
member to give us the evidence on which this divorce application was founded.
I will read some.
Yes, you will leave out
the important part.
My hon. friend can speak if he wishes and bring out further evidence if he thinks it necessary. It is some time since I read this, and I have not every page at my finger tips. An hon. member says, "Don't waste our time." I am not concerned about that remark. I have as much right to sit at my desk or stand and speak as any other hon member. I did not waste any time last night when I gave up my place in order that the budget debate might be concluded.
I have been unable to find any specific evidence in this case which could be regarded as proper ground for divorce. This lady drove a man around alone-she admitted it. I think it was about five times in the course of three months.
The divorce committee sized up this evidence in a very peculiar way. That is what I am more or less taking objection to. I like to weigh a case on grounds indicated by evidence, but in this case I do not find any. I could read a lot of little pieces from the evidence that might be regarded as spicy, but I am
not going to do that. But any hon. member can go through this case and I declare he will not find any evidence of the ground upon which we in this country grant divorces.
Let me read something from page 122:
Q. Did you at any time-I am sorry to put this question to you-
I will not read that. The woman denies the accusation.
The Hon. Mr-perhaps I better not read the name; call him Mr. X. It is one of the gentlemen on the committee in the other house.
Mr. HANSELL. Yes. It is page 122:
Hon. Mr. X.:
Q. Did you kiss Charlie?-A. No.
Q. Ever?-A. No.
Q. Did Charlie kiss you?-A. No
Q. Put his arms around you?-A. No.
Q. I should like to ask a question about something that puzzles me. Why did you keep going out to the race course and giving Charlie rides? You were a married woman and you knew your husband would object to your meeting Charlie and taking him. Why did you do it?-A. I didn't keep giving him rides. I mean, it happened on two occasions.
Q. You met him quite often at the race course?-A. Twice.
Q. And you went to the Pot-au-Feu and had meals twice?-A. Those were the only two times.
Q. And the policeman caught you. That was three times. And you picked him up and drove him down the road, and you admitted you were driving when you were followed by the green car. That was another time. That sort of thing extended over a couple of months. Why did you do that? You were a married woman, with a baby. Why did you do that?-A. I knew him, and if I was driving that way I stopped and picked him up.
Q. But you made it convenient to be always there when Charlie needed a ear. Why did you do that?-A. I imagine he needed a car at other times.
Q. Yes, but every time you had a chance you were there. Why did you do that? You gave Charlie how many rides altogether, from the date your husband left until July 25?-A. About five times.
Q. You are sure not more than that?-A. Yes.
Q. Why did you do that? Did you write your husband and tell him you were doing that?- A. No.
The woman was perfectly honest in what she was answering.
Q. You never told you husband until long afterwards, did you. about Charlie? Did you ever tell your husband about him?-A. Yes, I told my husband about Charlie.
Q. When?-A. Tn fact, I asked him if I could not play golf with him.
Q. When?-A. Some time in June, I believe.
Q. After he came back from the coast?- A. Yes.
I do not know how much of this I should read.
Q. The thing that puzzles me, as one of the judges here, is why you kept giving this man rides, why you went to the Pot-au-Feu and had meals with him, why you were worried about that green car following, and why you were worried when you were caught by the policeman. Why did you do those things? Your brother-inlaw was ready to go driving with you, and
was ready to go driving with you. But you took Charlie. Why did you do that?-A. It was in the day time. If he had any place to go, I gave him a lift, that was all.
Q. That does not satisfy me. You knew that your husband would not like it, your driving Charlie like that, because you had been discussing this divorce business before, you had been discussing it over three or four or five years?- A. Well, my husband had been discussing it.
Q. You knew it; you had taken part?- A. Yes.
Q. And you deliberately went out with Charlie, after those troubles with your husband. You have to satisfy me on that before you get my vote.
Before she could get the vote of one of the members of the committee she had to satisfy him as to why she drove out in her car with Charlie. That had nothing whatever to do with any evidence of actual adultery.
You have not done it yet.
That is, she had not satisfied him.
Supposing your whole story is true, I am not satisfied about those incidents. You and your husband had discussed this divorce business over a period of four or five years, and yet you deliberately took Charlie out on four or five occasions. . . . Why did you do that?
And the detectives swear it was many times more.
Q. Yes, the same detective agency that you mentioned, which confirms their story that they were following you.-A. Yes, I knew they were following me.
Q. Then why did you keep picking up Charlie, with those facts before you? That is what you have to explain to this committee.
I claim that was not proper evidence to be brought out before that committee.
You have to get rid of that onus.
That is, the onus of driving that man around.
Q. Were you doing it for pure cussedness? Some women would. Were you?-A. No.
I shall conclude with just a few more lines. Listen to this:
Q. I cannot imagine Charlie getting in that car so many times and not kissing you. My senses say that this cannot happen.
Imagine that going into the evidence.
A. Why can't it happen?
Q. I do not see how it could happen. But, leave that out. You knew in June you were being followed?-A. Yes.
Q. And you still persisted in those drives with Charlie?
We cannot understand why
Charlie would be so different from the members of this committee in the same circumstances.
Well, Mr. Speaker, I do not suppose I shall ever be a Liberal; in fact I know I never shall be. I do not suppose I shall ever be a Conservative. Therefore I do not suppose I shall ever reach the senate. But if I do reach the senate I trust I shall not be placed on a committee such as this, if they have to weigh evidence of this kind and make statements like these.
Mind you, Charlie is twenty-seven; don't forget that. Pardon me for interrupting. I want to give the woman a chance and tell her the difficulty that is in my mind. She was warned.
The difficulty that happened to be in that hon. gentleman's mind was not the question of whether or not this woman had committed a crime, and I call it a crime regardless of whether it is so regarded in the criminal code; the difficulty this committee member had was that she was going out for rides with some other man twenty-seven years of age. That, Mr. Speaker, is the sort of thing that is inflicted upon this honourable house when we grind through the mill some ninety divorce cases, as we are asked to do this afternoon. I appeal to the house-I should not say in order to show this country that we are not simply a divorce mill-to take some of this evidence into consideration and turn down these bills where adultery has not been absolutely and positively proved. I for one am going to vote against this bill, as I will vote against most of them. If adultery has been committed, however, then I believe divorce is the proper thing.
Just one further word before I sit down. I believe most of these bills give those concerned the right to remarry, a matter which has been discussed in this house previously. Some time ago I referred to the laws of Moses, under which the penalty for this crime was death. I need not say to this honourable house that the Creator of all mankind desires to have in existence a pure and unadulterated race; notwithstanding that, some of these persons who are granted divorces reek from head to foot with social disease. We give them the right to marry again; yes, and as an hon. member suggests, they can be divorced the second or third time, if they wish. I say that sort of system is entirely too loose for a nation which expects to enjoy the smiling countenance and approval of Our Father and God.
Mr. LaCROIX (Quebec - Montmorency) (Translation): Mr. Chairman, we are being asked to consider ninety divorce bills. I
listened attentively to the speech delivered by the hon. member for Macleod (Mr. Hansell) and I protest vigorously against the wholesale passing of these measures.
Who are those called upon to judge the evidence given in these divorce cases submitted to the Senate and the House of Commons? Senators who have reached a certain age, old fizgigs who for the most part have a certain decorative value but who are in no way qualified to interpret the laws of evidence and treat with contempt the testimony they hear, as the hon. member for Macleod pointed out a moment ago. They assemble in Ottawa where they sit for a very few days before returning home and, presto, we have about ninety divorce bills dumped into our laps, all to be passed within the space of fifteen minutes or so!
Mr. Chairman, the House of Commons is not a divorce mill. It is true that the province of Quebec has no divorce courts and we desire none, for the sanctioning of divorce goes against the principles of our religious faith. Personally I oppose divorce, but if the law makes such a procedure mandatory let us at least entrust to a qualified agency the consideration of these divorce cases.
Since I have been here in Ottawa, I know for a fact that the House of Commons has passed as many as 200 divorce bills in a single session. Mr. Chairman, it is high time that something were done. That is why I intend to move that a vote be taken on each of these bills and particularly on Bill No. 31, the evidence concerning which has just been submitted to us and appears most insufficient to my mind.
I may say in passing that I regret to see certain hon. members accept, thoughtlessly I am sure, the chairmanship of house committees of this nature. I note that it is the custom to pass these bills in a wholesale fashion, more often than not without discussion. That is a mistake and we should have started long ago to vote against these divorce bills.
Mr. LALONDE (Translation):
I wish to join the hon. member for Quebec-Montmorency (Mr. LaCroix) in protesting against the wholesale passing of the divorce bills now before us. Last year, and this year again I believe, I was appointed to the divorce committee of the House of Commons but I never sat there. I have always refused to sit on that committee and I will not change my mind. I have no wish to sanction decisions that exemplify the deplorable conditions prevailing in our Christian society. I agree with what the hon. member for Macleod (Mr. Hansell) has so aptly said, and I shall vote against this bill. I take this opportunity to point out that the
time has come for all hon. members, whatever their race or religion, to do something for the improvement of our society. There is an urgent need for the reconstruction of Christian society on a sound basis despite the fact that, owing to some differences on matters of principle, divorce is recognized in certain provinces while Quebec opposes it on many grounds.
As I said, I wish to join in the protests that have been voiced this afternoon and I repeat that if a vote is taken I shall register my opposition to the bill.
(Text) Some hon. MEMBERS: Carried.
The ACTING CHAIRMAN (Mr. McCann):
Those in favour of section 1 will please say "aye."
Mr. LaCROIX (Quebec-Montmorency): We are asking for a vote.
Only four are standing.
Take a registered vote. We are asking for a recorded vote.