March 7, 1930 (16th Parliament, 4th Session)


Arnold Neilson Smith


Mr. SMITH (Stormont):

Then things
would remain as they are, and we could consider whether any further action should be taken.
The question of granting divorce, and the method of granting it, is a very large one. At present we have no other machinery than is provided in this parliament for granting divorce in Ontario and Quebec. The fact remains that every year divorce in the province of Ontario is stetadily increasing. From the province of Quebec, fortunately, very few divorce cases are brought to this parliament, and in this bill iwe are not concerned in any way with the divorce problem in that province. I have some figures here which I gathered in 1928. In the session of that year, 296 notices of intention to apply to parliament for bills of divorce were given in The Canada Gazette. Of the foregoing, 268 petitions were actually presented in the
Senate and dealt with by the committee on divorce, as follows:
Unopposed eases heard and recommended.. 233 Opposed cases heard and recommended.. 7 Unopposed cases heard and rejected 3
Opposed cases heard and rejected 6
Cases not dealt with owing to delays not having expired, etc [DOT] 19
Total ..268
Of the petitions recommended, 94 were by husbands and 146 by wives, the grounds being as follows:
Adultery 237
Other grounds 3
Divorce Court-Mr. Smith (Stormont)
Of the applications recommended, 215 were from residents of the province of Ontario, and 25 from the province of Quebec.
A comparison of the number of divorces and annulments of marriage granted by the parliament of Canada in the last ten years follows:
1921.. 1922. .
1926.. 1926-27
From those figures you will see, Mr. Speaker, that divorce is increasing rapidly in the province of Ontario, and it was for that reason that I was very glad to bring a bill before parliament, subject to such proposed amendments as I have outlined, that would allow Ontario to give consideration to the matter of establishing a divorce court in the province and considering whether such a court would have the effect of lessening or increasing divorce. If it would have the effect of increasing divorce and making it easier, then certainly the premier of the province and his cabinet would not think of asking for a divorce court, but if after giving serious consideration to the matter they were of the opinion that it would lessen divorce, I am quite sure that they would pass an order in council agreeing to the issue of the proclamation bringing the act into force. That was my idea in sponsoring the bill.
If the sponsor of the bill brought down this year will signify his willingness to consider amendments of that character if the bill goes into committee, I would be very happy to vote in favour of the second reading of his bill; not, I want to make clear, in any way to make divorce easier, but that Ontario would then have the opportunity of considering whether or not the establishment of a divorce court in the province would lessen the large number of divorces. I would be quite content to abide by the decision of Premier Ferguson and his cabinet as to whether such a court would have the effect desired. I do not think anybody in this house, certainly none of my friends on this side of the house that I have been in touch with, is anxious to do anything to make divorce easier. In fact my conversation has led me to conclude that everyone looks upon divorce as an evil; something that we have, but something that we would like to get along without. I want to make it very clear that in sponsoring the bill of two years ago I did so only with the under-fMr. A. N. Smith.]
standing that I would propose the amendments which I have outlined to-night, and I would again point out to the sponsor of the bill this year that if he will give me the assurance that he will accept such amendments to his bill, I shall be pleased to vote in favour of the second reading of it.

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