April 18, 1962

PC

Daniel Roland Michener (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Speaker:

I think the difficulty is that the time of the house now is reserved for government business, and as long as there is government business on the order paper we could not pass automatically to the next order of business, which is private members' business. Perhaps a motion could be agreed to that we now proceed to the business in question?

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   REQUEST TO PROCEED WITH PRIVATE MEMBERS' BUSINESS
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PC

Gordon Minto Churchill (Minister of Veterans Affairs; Leader of the Government in the House of Commons; Progressive Conservative Party House Leader)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Churchill:

I would move that we now proceed to a consideration of private members' business, private bills, special order.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   REQUEST TO PROCEED WITH PRIVATE MEMBERS' BUSINESS
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PC

Daniel Roland Michener (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Speaker:

The Minister of Veterans Affairs has suggested a motion to pass to private members' business, but I am afraid there is a technical difficulty to accepting the motion. In effect it would be necessary to suspend standing order 15, which regulates our business, and that can only be done on proper notice. The alternative, in the absence of proceeding with the order paper, would be to move that the sitting be suspended until five o'clock.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   REQUEST TO PROCEED WITH PRIVATE MEMBERS' BUSINESS
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LIB

Paul Theodore Hellyer

Liberal

Mr. Hellyer:

Perhaps now that hon. members have had a chance to reflect quietly on this, unanimous consent might be given to moving the clock ahead to five o'clock.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   REQUEST TO PROCEED WITH PRIVATE MEMBERS' BUSINESS
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NDP

Herbert Wilfred Herridge

New Democratic Party

Mr. Herridge:

We agree to that proposal.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   REQUEST TO PROCEED WITH PRIVATE MEMBERS' BUSINESS
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PC

Daniel Roland Michener (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Speaker:

I understand that the house may be willing to agree unanimously that it is now five o'clock and proceed to the business that is ordered for that time.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   REQUEST TO PROCEED WITH PRIVATE MEMBERS' BUSINESS
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?

Some hon. Members:

Agreed.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   REQUEST TO PROCEED WITH PRIVATE MEMBERS' BUSINESS
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NDP

Frank Howard

New Democratic Party

Mr. Howard:

We agree to call it six o'clock, if the government so desires.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   REQUEST TO PROCEED WITH PRIVATE MEMBERS' BUSINESS
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PC

Daniel Roland Michener (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Speaker:

The house will now proceed to the consideration of private members' business as listed on the order paper for today.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   REQUEST TO PROCEED WITH PRIVATE MEMBERS' BUSINESS
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PRIVATE BILLS

PC

Daniel Roland Michener (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Speaker:

Before putting the motion with respect to Bill SD-2, is the house agreeable to consider the divorce bills in groups?

Topic:   PRIVATE BILLS
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NDP

Frank Howard

New Democratic Party

Mr. Howard:

I think they should be called in the order they appear on the order paper.

[Mr. Churchill.!

Topic:   PRIVATE BILLS
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PC

John George Diefenbaker (Prime Minister)

Progressive Conservative

Right Hon. J. G. Diefenbaker (Prime Minister):

I wonder whether hon. gentlemen who have expressed their views strongly would give consideration to the taking of these bills in groups. They have received the full attention of the other place and each of them has been examined. If there are some cases that hon. gentlemen regard as needing further examination, well and good, but I would point out the fact that the people who made these applications did so in good faith.

The law has been as it is and they accepted in groups and if we proceed to ask for royal assent in what has been done at a quarter to six this evening, these bills will die when dissolution takes place. The result will be that those who have the right to expect that parliament will deal with their cases will suffer irreparable loss, besides being subjected to a long delay before the next parliament.

1 realize there are strong feelings on this matter. At the same time I do something I have not done before-I make an appeal to hon. members that they permit the taking of all the cases, excepting those they designate as a result of their reading as desiring further consideration. I would hope it would not be said of us that we, under law, denied those who are proceeding under law their rights and privileges.

Topic:   PRIVATE BILLS
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NDP

Frank Howard

New Democratic Party

Mr. Frank Howard (Skeena):

I should like to make a comment on the suggestion made by the Prime Minister. His remarks and the appeal he has expressed now have been uppermost in our minds for the last three years, ever since we became interested in the procedure followed in parliament in dealing with these particular cases.

Over the past few years, perhaps too vigorously at times, we have proposed a variety of alternatives to the present system. Without going into the full details of those alternatives, we have asked that, even though there should be no great desire or agreement to proceed to establish an alternate procedure, at least the government should indicate that it be made the subject matter of intensive study by a royal commission. Were that done it would indicate the government was taking steps to deal with this particular question, which might even be confined to the question of parliamentary divorces.

As I say, we have proposed a number of alternatives but they have all reached a dead end. That is very regrettable to me. It is painful to me, to the hon. member for Tim-iskaming and to others who concerned themselves with the problems and difficulties facing the individuals making petitions to parliament. Indeed it is difficult and painful at this last hour, as it might well be, to have

to say that we feel we cannot agree to the suggestion made by the right hon. gentleman. Had there been coupled with that suggestion some announcement of government policy with respect to dealing with this question in a forthright and definite way, then the reply we now make would probably be quite different.

Again, it is just as regrettable, painful and disturbing to us as it is to everybody else to have to decline to accept the suggestion made by the Prime Minister.

Topic:   PRIVATE BILLS
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PC

Daniel Roland Michener (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Speaker:

Well, in the absence of some agreed method of dealing with the situation with which the house is confronted, I have no other course but to proceed according to the order paper and the rule book. It being five o'clock I do now leave the chair for the house to resolve itself into committee of the whole to deal with Bill SD-2.

Topic:   PRIVATE BILLS
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BRUCE REID CAMPBELL


The house in committee on Bill No. SD-2, for the relief of Bruce Reid Campbell-Mr. Martineau in the chair. On clause 1-Marriage dissolved.


PC

Paul Raymond Martineau (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Progressive Conservative

The Chairman:

Shall clause 1 carry?

Topic:   BRUCE REID CAMPBELL
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NDP

William Arnold Peters

New Democratic Party

Mr. Peters:

We now have on the order paper 327 bills and prior to today we have had only two hours' opportunity to investigate the allegations in these bills. I believe we should have a much longer time today to look into some of these bills.

The bill before us asks for relief for Bruce Reid Campbell, domiciled in the province of Quebec. The petition indicates that the marriage took place in the county of Middlesex, England. The adultery took place in the province of Quebec.

This marriage was solemnized in the Church of England; it was duly published and celebrated by Arthur Douglas Young, rector. At the time of the marriage the petitioner was a solicitor in the Canadian army. He was temporarily resident in England but domiciled in the province of Quebec, Canada. His wife, June Ethel Phyllis Campbell, was domiciled in England before the marriage, and since the return to this country of the husband and wife the parties have declared the province of Quebec to be their domicile, in the district of Montreal.

Mr. Chairman, in this case, again, there are children. One of the matters which has concerned us very greatly is the fact that this particular marriage comes under the British North America Act and gives the federal government jurisdiction in the matter. Out of that marriage there is issue; Malcolm Harold Campbell, Donald Ernest Campbell and 26207-1-199J

Divorce Bills

Janice Anne Campbell. The petition contains the information that there have been no legal proceedings between the plaintiff and the respondent as to the maintenance of the children; there has been no agreement or arrangement between the spouses with reference to the children.

This matter of maintenance of children has been argued in the past and probably will be argued in the future. I presume it is a legal argument beyond my ability or comprehension. However, it would seem to me as a layman that if the federal government has the responsibility for this marriage, they must also have the responsibility for any children born of the marriage. There has been considerable discussion in other places regarding the residency clause, and because a particular province is concerned it has been said that the children of the marriage are the responsibility of the provincial authorities and not the federal government.

In this case, Mr. Chairman, we are concerned with whether or not this petition should be granted, but in this case the passing of the bill will give relief to only one person, we assume, if the charge of adultery is correct, and that of course is a matter that warrants some discussion. The fact that we are considering giving relief to the petitioner will create a certain amount of hardship for the children of this marriage.

These children are all of an age at which they are not expected to look after themselves. The first child was born in 1947, the second in 1949 and the third in 1951; therefore they are still of an age when they can expect and should receive parental assistance. Because the question of the maintenance of these children has not been dealt with in the province, because there has been no previous legal application before the courts in connection with their support, this becomes a matter for this committee to consider now, because we are being asked to grant relief to the husband in this particular case, who of necessity would be the breadwinner of the family. Therefore I think in this particular case we should be very much concerned about what happens to the children. I presume that before consideration is given to this question there will have to be some indication that the children have been taken care of and that they will be looked after financially if we separate them by law from their parents.

Mr. Chairman, I would like to refer to the evidence given in this particular case because I think it is important. I would refer the committee to page 11 of the proceedings held in the other place in regard to this matter:

Divorce Bills

By Senator Cameron:

Q. Are your children with your wile? A. Yes, I thought it best to allow her to have their custody.

By the Chairman:

Q. Your wife has had custody of the children all the time? A. Yes.

Q. You entered into a definite agreement with her about that, did you? A. No, we discussed this until finally my lawyer drew up an agreement.

Q. That agreement has been signed, has it? A. Yes, on November 30.

Q. That agreement gives her what? A. Custody of the children.

Q. Do you pay her any money? A. No, sir. In the past I have been paying, though.

Q. But there is nothing in the agreement requiring you to pay her any maintenance? A. In the future, no sir.

Q. You have no monetary responsibility so far as the agreement is concerned? A. In the future, no.

Q. How long have you been separated now? A. I moved downstairs in September, 1961.

Q. Do you go to see the children at all? A. I occasionally drop up in the evening. My mother owns the property, it is three flats.

Q. They are still living on your mother's property? A. Yes, on the top floor.

Q. How old are the children? A. My oldest boy is 14, the next one is 12, and my daughter is 10.

Q. Are they all going to school? A. Yes.

Q. They are being satisfactorily schooled? A. Yes.

Q. Properly clothed and looked after? A. Yes.

By Mr. Gomery:

Q. Do you know what plans are to be made in the future concerning your children? A. Just the fact that my wife wants to marry another man and he has promised to bring the children up properly and they will be schooled and well taken care of.

It is apparent from this evidence that the matter of the custody of these children has not been settled. While it has been argued on occasion that there are certain matters which enter into provincial jurisdiction, I think that because this matter comes under a section of the British North America Act which establishes in parliament the responsibility for marriage and divorce, by implication we are responsible for looking after the children of the marriage.

When somebody petitions parliament he should at least be prepared to say what he is going to do in relation to the issue of the marriage. I believe that the issue of the marriage is a part of and cannot be divided from the original marriage. The issue is part of the marriage, and I believe there is no hon. member in the committee this afternoon who would not agree that one of our major concerns in granting this petition is the side effects and the results it will have on those being affected by this particular bill. It is evident that the corespondent in most of these cases has a direct interest in the future of the arrangements set out in the petition or in the evidence. In many cases, if the petition is granted he or she will marry the defending party in the case. In other cases, of course, they say they have nothing to do with the affair at all and that their names

fMr. Peters.]

were improperly used. We have set up machinery in the other place to consider these matters. The position of the innocent party in the proceedings is discussed as is the position of other people who may be involved. In these circumstances I think no one would disagree that before these petitions can be granted parliament should be satisfied that a suitable arrangement has been made for the protection of the children concerned in these cases.

The father in the case now before us has indicated that the second man involved, the corespondent, has agreed to accept the children as his own and to provide support for them. I suggest this is an unrealistic way of looking at the situation. Certainly, he should have some responsibility for the care of the children. However, I do not believe we have any direct relationship with the corespondent in this case. We are not at liberty to determine whether he has agreed to accept these responsibilities. We are dealing with what normally would be called hearsay evidence. This is not, in my opinion, the type of arrangement of which we should approve. This is one of the problems with which we have been faced during the past two or three years, and I believe it would be better if, in fairness to all the parties concerned in the case before us, there were an arrangement which would satisfy the house as to the probability of the children being cared for, educated and given sustenance in their formative years.

There is another matter with which I am concerned in relation to this petition, and it is the possibility that the citizenship of these children may be changed. The adultery alleged is supposed to have been committed with one Arthur Dewing of Stamford in Connecticut, which is one of the states of the United States. It may be that we are not even protecting the birthright of these children, their right to remain Canadians, because they are under age and if they are accepted by a foster father they may even lose their right to be Canadian citizens. I believe no one in Canada would want a decision of this type to be made for these children with no protection from the court which is granting the separation.

Topic:   BRUCE REID CAMPBELL
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PC

Ellen Louks Fairclough (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration)

Progressive Conservative

Mrs. Fairclough:

I do not wish to get into the debate but I should like to set the hon. member's mind at rest in that regard. If these children were born in Canada they are Canadian citizens.

Topic:   BRUCE REID CAMPBELL
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April 18, 1962