May 23, 1921 (13th Parliament, 5th Session)

LIB

Charles Adolphe Stein

Liberal

Mr. STEIN:

I have a few remarks to offer against the adoption of this Bill by the committee. I am sorry to feel compelled to delay the House, but I think it is my duty to oppose the Bill on grounds that I shall offer presently to the committee.
I have read very carefully the evidence that was submitted to the divorce committee of the Senate on this Bill, and in my humble opinion there is not sufficient ground for granting a divorce. Contrary to my custom, I took the trouble to read the testimony in a few other divorce cases, and I found that in every other case much stronger evidence was adduced than was offered in this particular case. In no other case has a divorce been granted on so little evidence as in the present case. Now, I have no special interest in this matter, but I am informed that this is the first time that a divorce has been granted in the province of Quebec, from which I come, and I believe I speak for my colleagues, who share my views on this question, when I' say that we do not want this Bill to pass this committee without our humble protest, whatever the result may be. From a legal standpoint, I do not think there is sufficient evidence to warrant the granting of a divorce. It was shown, in two or three actions that came before the Superior Court of the province of Quebec in the district of Montreal, between the same parties, that the suppliant, even if his allegations were true, was far more guilty than he alleges his wife to be. But his wife, before
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the Superior Court of Quebec, has formally and absolutely denied the accusations against her. I have here extracts from the deposition of the husband, Alphonse Le-Moyne de Martigny, given before the Superior Court in Montreal on February 22nd, 1919. I shall read from the evidence:
Q. Do you keep house?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. Alone?
A. Yes, sir. [DOT] .
Q. There is no woman with you?
A. Yes, to keep my house.
Q. What is her name?
Objected to this proof as illegal.
Q. Do you refuse to answer?
A. Absolutely.
Q. Do you swear that you do not live maritally with this woman?
A. It depends on the interpretation of the word ''maritally.' .
Q. That you live as man and wife with her?
A. What do you mean by that?
Q. You must know, I am [DOT] not obliged to explain.
A. If you ask the question, I shall answer.
Q. You cannot answer the question?
A. I do not know your interpretation.
Q. You do not know what it is to live maritally with a woman?
A. Not from the legal point of view.
Q. You have travelled with this woman?
A. Am I obliged to answer? that is what I want to know.
Q. Do you refuse to answer?
A. No, sir.
Q. You have travelled with her?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. Where did you go with her?
A. To the United States.
Q. Did you go -to 'Europe?
A. I refuse to answer. I have travelled seven (7) months. '
Q. Always with the same woman?
A. No, sir.
Q. You had another?
A. Certainly. *
Q. How long have you been with this one, the one that you are living with?
A. I refuse to answer.
Q. How long have you been with the other?
A. Which other? .
Q. I do not know. Do you refuse to answer?
A. It is impossible for me to answer that. I do not know which.
Q. You have had many?
A. Naturally.
Q. Many?
A. Many.
Q. Here, at Montreal, have you told us how long you have been with this woman? [DOT]
A. At Montreal, since 1915.
Here are extracts from the evidence of the wife, taken on the 11th day of March, 1919, at Montreal: [DOT]
Q. You live with Mr. V. S. Perry?
A. Mr. V. S. Perry hoards with me.
Q. Is it not true that you have been living in adultery with him during the last five (5) years ?
A. It is false, absolutely false.
Q. Have you ever had oarnal relations with Mr. Perry?
A. Never.

The evidence goes on to say:
Q. Now, have you ever told your husband that you were living with Mr. Perry?
A. No, never. *
The husband, before the Divorce Committee, stated that his wife had admitted to him having committed adultery. Of course, he does not use those words, but he alleges that she has admitted, to him, having lived with the man in question. Before the Divorce Committee Two witnesses, a sewing girl and a man of 84, a janitor, appeared on behalf of the suppliant, the husband, but neither of them was able to prove anything definite. They said they had never witnessed anything that would make them believe that Mrs. de Martigny and Mr. Perry were living as man and wife. On April 23, 1919, judgment was rendered by the Superior Court at Montreal, holding that de Martigny had not proven adultery on the part of his wife. In the month of June, 1920, an action was again taken in the Superior Court by the mother of de Martigny to obtain the custody of the minor child, a little girl of eight years. Again the court held that adultery with Perry had not been proven and refused to give the custody of the child to the grandmother. In two instances Mrs. Perry was allowed alimony by the Superior Court-$75 a month in the first instance, which was increased to $125 a month on the second petition.

Topic:   PRIVATE BILLS FIRST AND SECOND READINGS
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