January 29, 1963

NDP

Herbert Wilfred Herridge

New Democratic Party

Mr. Herridge:

I simply wish to ask the hon. member whether he is going to explain to the house the purpose of the bill so that we shall understand clearly what we are dealing with.

Topic:   THE EVANGELICAL LUTHERAN SYNOD OF WESTERN CANADA
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PC

Kenneth Hamill (Ken) More

Progressive Conservative

Mr. More:

The purpose of this bill, Mr. Speaker, as set out in the explanatory notes, is to give effect to an agreement of consolidation, effective as of July 1, 1962, whereby four large branches of the Lutheran church in the United States and Canada, namely American Evangelical Lutheran Church, the Augustana Evangelical Lutheran Church, the Finnish Evangelical Lutheran Church of America and the United Lutheran Church in America agreed to consolidate under the name of "Lutheran Church in America". The Evangelical Lutheran Synod of Western Canada was one of the synods of the United Lutheran Church in America.

The territorial jurisdiction of the Evangelical Lutheran Synod of Western Canada included the provinces of British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and that part of Ontario lying west of the 86th meridian of longitude, the Yukon territory and the Northwest Territories.

Under the terms of consolidation, this synod is to be known as central Canada synod of the Lutheran church in America and the territorial jurisdiction is to be limited to the provinces of Saskatchewan and Manitoba and that portion of the province of Ontario lying west of the 88th meridian of longitude.

Clause 1 of the bill changes the name of the corporation in accordance with the agreement of consolidation.

Clause 2 of the bill provides for the adherence of the corporation to the Lutheran church in America in ecclesiastical matters.

Topic:   THE EVANGELICAL LUTHERAN SYNOD OF WESTERN CANADA
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Motion agreed to, bill read the second time and referred to the standing committee on miscellaneous private bills.


SONJA BAGRY


The house in committee on Bill No. SD-6, for the relief of Sonja Bagry-Mr. Mandziuk -Mr. Paul in the chair. On clause 1.


NDP

Frank Howard

New Democratic Party

Mr. Howard:

In so far as the bill before us is concerned, I have taken the liberty in the last few minutes of looking at the evidence upon which the bill is founded. There are a number of strange things about it which I think should be examined very closely by committee of the whole before the committee decides to recommend the bill to the house. I would particularly draw your attention to a few changes which were made in the petition as it was originally drafted and as it now appears in printed form before us. These changes took place before the committee of the Senate, and some of them make one wonder what the Senate committee was thinking about or trying to do when it made these changes.

In the first instance, part 1 of the petition upon which this bill is founded reads:

That on or about the 8th of May, 1945, your petitioner was lawfully married to the said-

Then, there is the name of the respondent.

-in Braunschweig, Germany.

However, in the evidence which was given before the committee by the petitioner, from which I should like to read a few excerpts, with the committee keeping in mind that the petition which is now printed before us contains the note that on or about the 8 May 1945, the marriage took place, different statements are made. The petitioner appeared, was sworn and proceeded to give certain evidence to which I must refer now. She identified herself, her address, occupation, religion and where she was married. Then, these questions were asked by the clerk of the committee:

Q. When were you married?

A. July 26, 1945.

There was no hesitation, just a direct statement, July 26, 1945. You will recall the petition as it is now printed gives the date as May 8, 1945. Then, the clerk says:

Q. I show you a document. Do you recognize this document?

A. Yes.

Q. What is it?

A. That is a marriage paper.

Q. Are the statements in it correct?

A. Yes.

Q. Have you seen this document before?

A. Well, I have it.

Q. You sent it in?

A. Yes.

Then, the marriage certificate was filed as exhibit 1. There are some other questions about recognizing a photograph of her husband and then the lawyer, Mr. Masse, asks these questions:

Q. I understand you were married on the 14th July, 1945?

A. Yes.

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Previously, she had answered it was July 26, 1945 and now she says it was July 14, 1945. Then, the chairman of the committee interrupts and asks:

Q. Do you know the date you were married?

A. I don't know.

Q. What month were you married?

A. I think it is June or May, I don't remember.

Q. What does the marriage certificate say?

A. In May, I think.

Topic:   SONJA BAGRY
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Arthur Massé

Mr. Masse:

The 8th of May.

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PC

Gordon Campbell Chown (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Progressive Conservative

The Chairman:

1945?

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Arthur Massé

Mr. Masse:

Yes.

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PC

Gordon Campbell Chown (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Progressive Conservative

The Chairman:

You had better amend the petition.

Then, the committee approves an amendment to the petition showing the date which appears on the marriage certificate. Let us remember that it took a series of questions by the clerk of the committee, by the lawyer representing her and by the chairman to get information as to the exact date of the marriage, and the answers ranged over two different months and two different dates in one month. Perhaps this is not important in itself, but it is important I think when we connect it with the other alterations and changes which were made in the petition and the other inconsistencies in the evidence given by those who appeared as witnesses.

There was another change which took place in the petition as it was originally presented and as it now appears before us. This was in clause No. 6 of the petition which now reads:

That after the said marriage and until the month of June, 1951, your petitioner lived and cohabited with the said-in Braunschweig, Germany to the month of November, 1947, and thereafter in Montreal, Canada, and that two children were born of the said marriage-

Then, the petition gives their names and the dates of their birth. In the petition as originally presented it indicated that there was only one child born of the marriage. Subsequent evidence brought to light the fact that there were two, one of whom had died, I believe in 1953. Accordingly, the petition was amended to cite the facts as they were, correctly.

That particular clause 6 of the petition also says that they came here to Canada in November, 1947 from Germany, and in the evidence which is given later on as to what time it was that they came here, the petitioner was not quite sure when it was and had to be prompted somewhat by the lawyer with respect to that particular time, but that was subsequently cleared up.

There is one other change in the petition which I submit is of great importance and should be studied at some length by this committee. It concerns clause 7 which I gather is the one of main substance, namely

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that which alleges the commission of adultery. As it is printed the petition reads as follows:

That during the month of January, 1961 and on numerous other occasions in 1961 the said... committed adultery with one .. . housewife, residing at-

Further on it alleges that they were living, residing, cohabitating at that address as man and wife, or what is loosely referred to as a common law relationship. The particular point with which we must concern ourselves is that during the month of June, 1961, adultery was committed.

The committee must remember that petitions are not hastily drawn up. A petition is prepared by a lawyer who undoubtedly acquaints himself as fully as possible with all the facts to make sure everything is correct in the petition so far as its allegations are concerned. Now, the original petition reads: "That in the night of June 13th, 1961" certain things took place. That is subsequently changed by the committee of the other place to read "during the month of June, 1961". Instead of confining it to one evening or one day they expanded it to embrace the entire month of June.

I submit that was done for a particular purpose by the senators on the committee in the other place, namely, to bend over backwards if necessary to ensure that the allegations of adultery were proven, because if June 13 had remained in the petition, as will be shown later on, none of the three witnesses who appeared on behalf of the petitioner had any knowledge of what happened on the night of June 13 when it was originally alleged adultery took place. I say that the senators in the other place, in their overzealous desire for proper court procedures, expanded this period to give the benefit to the petitioner.

Topic:   SONJA BAGRY
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PC
NDP

Frank Howard

New Democratic Party

Mr. Howard:

In answer to my hon. friend who interjects, all he has to do is communicate with the Prime Minister to try to inject some backbone into the Prime Minister, and perhaps then we will get some solution to this particular problem.

One of the witnesses called was a Joseph Szabo who, having been sworn, testified as to his name and his age being 33, his place of living being Montreal and his occupation being a cutter. He is not, as has been the case in many instances, a private investigator or detective, but an ordinary citizen following an ordinary course of activity. He is shown a photograph of the respondent. He recognizes the portrait and identifies it as the respondent, or husband in this particular case. Then certain questions are asked of him as follows:

Q. Do you know where he lives?

A. X know.

Q. What is his address?

He gives the address as it was contained in the petition.

Q. Do you know how long he has been living there, or since when do you know he has been living there?

A. I know since 1960, August.

Q. How do you know he is living there?

A. I was boarding there.

Here is an individual who lived as a boarder, I suppose for about a year, in a particular house where this respondent is alleged to have committed adultery.

Q. Was Mr. Bagry living alone in that dwelling?

A. No, he wasn't. He was living with his wife.

Q. With his wife?

A. Yes.

Q. Do you know his wife? Can you show to us who his wife is?

A. Yes, this person here.

Obviously he pointed to somebody in the committee room. Then it continues:

By the Chairman:

Q. You are pointing to the corespondent?

A. Yes.

Q. I show you the petitioner in this case. That is not the woman you mean, is it?

A. No, I never saw her (the petitioner) in my life.

The same question is asked again and then another question:

Q. Do you know the other woman as the wife of Mr. Bagry?

A. Yes.

This indicates, on the evidence of this gentleman, who was a boarder at this residence, that for the period of time he was a boarder there until at least the time when the petition was presented-that would be from August, 1960 until June, 1961-the respondent and corespondent were living together as man and wife and presumably the corespondent was using the surname of the respondent, as one would think would happen. That in itself should be sufficient grounds upon which to grant the divorce, namely that a set of circumstances show a couple are living together as man and wife and one of them is married to somebody else. Apparently the lawyer did not think so because he proceeded to ask further questions. Apparently the Senate committee did not think that was sufficient either, and they proceeded to hear other witnesses and make other inquiries. The lawyer, Mr. Masse, asks this witness some of those further questions:

Q. How long have you boarded there?

A. A little over a year.

Q. Would you tell us how many rooms there were in the apartment where he was living?

A. There were two bedrooms: the one I was living in and another bedroom with them.

Q. Who was sleeping in the other bedroom?

A. Both of them.

Q. Did you have a chance to see the inside of this room?

A. No. I had but not at night, sometimes.

That sounds as if it is the Minister of National Defence interpreting the statement of the Prime Minister.

Topic:   SONJA BAGRY
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An hon. Member:

Get back to the subject.

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NDP

Frank Howard

New Democratic Party

Mr. Howard:

My hon. friend enjoyed the recitation from this evidence so much, by his jocular response, that I thought he was inviting me to go a little bit further into other jocular things, such as the defence policy of the government. The evidence continues:

Q. Do you know how many beds there were in that room?

A. Only one.

Q. Was it a small or a large bed?

As if that makes an difference with two people living together as man wife and in the same room. Anyway the answer is:

It was a large bed, a chesterfield that opened up at night.

Q. Were you living there during the month of June, 1961?

A. Yes.

Q. All through the month?

A. Yes.

Q. And every night the corespondent slept in the same room as the respondent, Mr.-

Then there is the name of the respondent:

A. Yes.

Q. Was she or he absent for one night?

A. I don't understand the question.

Q. Were they away from the house some time during the month of June?

A. I don't remember.

Q. You don't remember them being away?

A. No.

Then the chairman interrupts to deal with the significance of the June 13 date in the original petition as the one night upon which adultery was supposed to have taken place. The chairman asks:

What significance has your pleading of June 13?

Topic:   SONJA BAGRY
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Arthur Massé

Mr. Masse:

Because we have one witness who was there during the night and can state that they were there.

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PC

Gordon Campbell Chown (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Progressive Conservative

The Chairman:

But this witness cannot testify as to that?

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Arthur Massé

Mr. Masse:

No.

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PC

Gordon Campbell Chown (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Progressive Conservative

The Chairman:

All right.

Topic:   SONJA BAGRY
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Arthur Massé

Mr. Masse:

That is all for this witness.

So throughout this matter, Mr. Chairman, we find there is one witness who says there existed a so-called common law relationship with this couple living together as man and wife, the woman representing herself by name as the wife of the respondent; they were living together, sleeping together and cohabiting in one room in a bed chesterfield, a chesterfield that at night makes down into a bed. But when it comes to the night in question to which the petitioner refers, the witness is ignorant of that night or is not able to recall anything about it with regard to whether or

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not the couple were there, or the like. So he leaves the scene as a witness because he is unable to deal with this particular night of June 13.

Following him there is another witness, a gentleman by the name of Albert Zchilter. He is sworn and gives the information as to his name, his age being 53, his address, and his occupation as a grocer. It is interesting to note there, Mr. Chairman, that the address which he gives for himself is in the same block and on the same street as that given in the petition and as that which the first witness gave as his place of residence as a boarder throughout the period of time in question.

Topic:   SONJA BAGRY
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PC

Rémi Paul (Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Progressive Conservative

The Deputy Chairman:

Order. I regret to inform the hon. member that his time has expired.

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January 29, 1963