January 23, 1917 (12th Parliament, 7th Session)


William Pugsley



I am not sure as to that. The decisions, I think, are limited to countries which are foreign to the Em-
[Sir Robert Borden.I
pire. I do not know about divorces obtained in countries forming part of the Empire, but not in Canada. Paragraph 4 provides:
No person shall be liable to be convicted of bigamy in respect of having gone through a form of marriage in a place not in Canada, unless such persbn, being a British subject resident in Canada, leaves Canada with intent to go through such form of marriage.
Under the law as it now is, if a divorce were obtained in .a foreign country and a marriage were to take place in that country the party would not be liable for bigamy unless he or she actually went there with the intention of getting married. My hon. friend will see what opportunities for evasion that would present. The Bill which I propose provides for the case of a bona fide divorce obtained from a court having competent jurisdiction and obtained by a party who has become, although previously a resident of Canada, a bona fide resident of such foreign country, residence to be continued at least for a period of one year before divorce proceedings have been instituted. Then there must be notice given to *the husband or wife, as the case may be. The divorce must be obtained on a full statement of facts and the marriage must not take place until the expiration of two years from the time of obtaining the divorce. In cases of that kind the Bill provides that there shall be no-criminal proceedings instituted by reason of the subsequent marriage. I think it is desirable that proper safeguards should be thrown around cases of this nature in order to prevent scandals which sometimes arise, but instances have come to my knowledge, and they had also come to the knowledge of the then hon. member for Regina, where, when divorces have been obtained bona fide by residents of a foreign country and the parties deciding to return to Canada, criminal proceedings might have been taken both for bigamy and for adultery. When the Bill has passed its second reading it might be referred to a special committee, who might consider it in reference to the whole of the law bearing on the subject.

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