Mr. SAMUEL GOBEIL (Compton):
Mr. Speaker, it has been stated that we of the Catholic church would in any event vote against divorce on account of our religious principles. That is true, but I wish to remind the house that where there is no dissent, as there is in this case, we always refrain from expressing our opinion. But in this particular case I do not want to vote without making a few remarks. I do not wish to repeat what has been said on a previous occasion and again to-night, but I do not think there can be any doubt that there has been connivance between the petitioner and the respondent. I am not quite sure that it has been mentioned here that the husband provided his wife with a pass to Reno so that she could obtain a divorce. It is quite true that the pass was not used when the petitioner found that a divorce in Reno would not help him in Canada. There are other facts that clearly establish connivance between the petitioner and the respondent.
There is this other angle. It seems to me that a petitioner when he asks for a divorce should come before the senate committee with clean hands. While I have not read the whole of the evidence there is not a doubt in my mind that the petitioner is not in that situation. I will not say that the petitioner is worse than the respondent, but I say that he certainly did not come before the committee with clean hands.
Another reason why I cannot vote in favour of this motion is that the respondent is a mother who from the start seems to' have cared for her children. In the letter that was read before the committee by the hon. mem-
Clarence MacGregor Roberts
ber for Queens-Lunenburg (Mr. Ernst), and which will be found at page 106 of the evidence, I find these two paragraphs:
You wanted a divorce at one time, Greg, and made me feel for nearly a year I was in the way. Only the good God above knows what I suffered during that time and for a long time after-I am sure you can't know what a blow it can mean to a wife and mother to know there is someone else who is taking her place.
Later on in the letter she writes:
I had begun to think you had other reasons besides the one you gave me-and worried through sleepless nights if you would not stick to your word about the children either. You promised them to me, Greg, I doubt if I would have come out as soon as I did if we had not talked this affair over and you wished me to get away as soon as possible.
The respondent apparently has always cared for her children as should a respectable mother. The care of the children will probably be affected by the decision of this house. A case is now pending in the courts to decide whether the wife or husband shall have the care of the children, and there is no doubt that if this divorce is granted the children will not be given to the mother. The wife is asking for a certain amount of money for the care of the children and for her own needs, and that question will probably be affected by the decision of this house. I have no desire to prevent a vote on this question but I do want to state my reasons for voting against the motion.
Mr. LESLIE G. BELL (St. Antoine): Mr. Speaker, before entering the chamber this evening I had no intention of speaking on this bill. The hon. member for Compton (Mr. Gobeil) belongs to a different faith from that to which I belong, but my faith is also opposed to divorce. Aside from these questions there is the responsibility of a member of parliament in connection with questions of this sort which at times must be aired in the house. The demands of this humble petitioner should receive justice.
What are the facts of this case? A man and a woman are married and they cannot agree. Rightly or wrongly there is connivance, or whatever you wish to call it, and the woman proceeds to Reno and obtains an American divorce. It is all right for the hon. member to ask about the children, but did this woman think about her children when she went to Reno and obtained an American divorce? Not at all. After getting her divorce she comes back to Montreal, but does she want to live as a divorced woman? No, she wants to live as a married woman. Why? Because she will then be able to obtain alimony from her husband in the courts of the province of
Quebec. Either this woman is right or she is wrong; either she wants a divorce or she does not want a divorce. This parliament is her last court of appeal. When the husband came to the senate committee to ask for a divorce, what haippens? He proved adultery against this woman. That evidence was submitted to the senate committee and he was granted a divorce.
Topic: CLARENCE MACGREGOR ROBERTS