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grossly immoral life is ground for annulling the tie which binds the clergyman to his church. Desertion compels the husband to pay alimony to an innocent wife, and sufficient cruelty warrants her in living wholly apart from the man to whom the law has bound her by every legal means in its power. Why should the law grant only a partial remedy in cases of this kind? Why not grant complete relief when grave wrongs are admitted to exist, and great danger likely to result from the continuance of a condition condemned by the law and only feebly remedied ? Social and sentimental reasons do not affect the question. Divorce is not the cause of the looseness of married life. Rather it is the logical outcome of wicked and sinful men and women, whose immoral lives are the result of a licentious and unholy system of living and a condition springing from the corrupt and degenerate tendencies of humanity. Society has much to answer for in this connection, especially when we find, as we do, that apparently a large and influential class, instead of dealing out justice to the sinner, winks at his lapses, and welcomes him as a family guest. The remedy does not lie in preventing divorce. The true remedy consists in an exaltation of life.
For my own part, I am induced for the reasons therein given to follow the report of the majority in its main features, and I cannot see that the enlargement of the causes for divorces along the lines indicated would produce the evils which some people think would result from the changes proposed, if carried into effect. The state of the divorce laws in the United States is not relevant. The conditions are entirely different, and the easy methods of getting a divorce in many of the States are not contemplated here. We look only for sound, conservative and substantial grounds on which a divorce may be granted, and not for the creation of a Court too readily available to the man or woman who is tired of married life, or whose respective tempers may not harmonize, nor should we advocate remedies so difficult and costly as to make the Court a millionaire's tribunal.
This brings me to the question of the constitution of the Court itself. It is manifest that on the trial of issues of pure fact, Judges who are experienced in weighing evidence are best qualified to deal with matrimonial causes. Many of the members of the Divorce Committee of the Canadian Senate are laymen. They are engaged in business or callings which are quite foreign to the conception and consideration of the probative force of evidence. A few hours of each session, and an experience only extending over the time they have been members of the Senate, represent the training available to them, and it cannot be expected that they could analyze, weigh and estimate the value of the statements made by witnesses as a Judge can do in the light of varied and daily experience, or with that knowledge and penetration, which are the product of half a lifetime at the Bar, and later, on the Bench. It is true there are lawyers on the Committee, but there is not, and cannot be the same searching enquiry, the same judicial quality which we expect and get from the trained and experienced jurist.
I have, therefore, come to the conclusion that we should have a purely judicial tribunal for divorce cases, composed of at least three Judges, in order to lessen the danger of unconscious reasoning of a dogmatic tendency. They should be of the Province in which the parties to the marriage reside, and on any legal question there should be the right of appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada. Each Province should be divided into districts, and the Court should sit as often as expedient for the hearing of causes. They should also have power to deal with separation on well-defined grounds, as set out in the Report to which I have referred. If this method were adopted, the Court would be available to the laborer as well as to the millionaire, and there would be practically a certainty of justice being done without any danger of the heavens falling. The procedure should be of the simplest and least expensive character, and power ought to be given to the Court to assess in favour of an innocent wife reasonable damages against her husband. The rules of evidence should be stringently applied, and the strictest proof of the merits should be demanded when the case is being tried, whilst the cost and means of getting to trial should be moderate and within the reach of worthy suppliants seeking only justice.
What other suggestion may be made? There is one of importance, and I think of great value, although I hesitate to advance it at present, because it might tend to weaken my main contentions in the minds of some of those who on the whole may agree with me. It is this: In every case where
the husband is found guilty of the offences, or any of them,
which warrant an absolute decree against him, and a dissolution of the marriage, a punishment ought to be imposed. Let us compare other conditions of the law with the misdeeds
which ought to warrant a divorce. A violation of a snow by-law carried with it a fine. A trifling matter from a moral standpoint may be ground for imprisonment. The stealing of a loaf of bread for a starving family sends a man to gaol. Yielding to temptation and taking some trifling article from a bargain counter is penalized by perhaps a month in a cell. But the gravest of crimes against the Divine laws, and a vicious defiance of the well-recognized principles of morality are allowed to go unpunished and treated as a matter only of scandal and idle gossip. There should be some deterrent, some dread of the future consequences ever present to the mind of a man who has taken a young girl from her home under a promise to protect and provide for her as a wife, and who, in violation of this, has used her as an unresisting object on which he could vent his anger and exercise his cruelty. If proved, why should not the tribunal have the right to punish * A witness who clearly commits perjury in the box is dealt with at once, and a Judge orders that he be forthwith arrested and prosecuted for the crime. Half a dozen serious crimes may be proved on divorce proceedings, but the man goes free and a judgment is given, a Committee's report is made or a private Act passed, granting him that result which but for his own misconduct he would perhaps have cheerfully applied for on his own account. I do not think there is anything more I could say to advantage. I believe as much as any one does in the sanctity which ought to exist in connection with the marriage relation, and the care we ought to exercise in dealing with the question I have discussed, but in a matter of this kind, if that sanctity has been desecrated by either husband or wife, or by both, it no longer exists, and the marriage relationship is a hollow mockery and a thing defiled. And when it is found by proper judicial enquiry that one of two lives is blasted and that death itself would be a relief, it surely cannot be argued that a tribunal which pronounces bare justice is acting contrary to the laws of God or the higher principles of modern civilization.
ADDRESS OF W. C. MIKEL, K.C., OF BELLEVILLE, PRESIDENT OF THE ONTARIO BAR ASSOCIATION, AT THE ANNUAL MEETING OF THE ASSOCIATION, 1912.
Six YEARs' ExISTENCE.
The Ontario Bar Association has completed the sixth year of its existence, and while the past six years may be regarded as a formative period, still the Association has justified its existence even during this struggling period of infancy by achievements that would do credit to an older and stronger organization.
It has been fortunate in having Sir Mortimer Clarke, Sir J. M. Gibson, and E. F. B. Johnston, K.C., for Honorary Presidents, and A. H. Clarke, K.C., M.P., of Windsor, Hon. Mr. Justice Hodgins (before being called to the Bench) and Mr. Charles Elliott of Toronto, and S. F. Lazier, K.C., of Hamilton, for Presidents. With such men as these as its head, failure was impossible.
CAME BY EvoluTION.
It did not come into existence suddenly and meteorlike, but came by the slow and natural process of evolution. In what may be called the embryonic stage (a period of gestation of nine years) delegates from the various County Law Library Associations once a year journeyed to Toronto to discuss matters of interest to these organizations, but it was soon found that there were many topics of interest to the legal profession generally outside of the scope of the County Law Library Associations, and which needed also representatives from counties where there were no such Associations.
STARTED WITH FIFTY MEMBERs.
The formation of a permanent organization of the members of the legal profession for the Province was discussed from time to time at these meetings, and as the year 1906 was drawing to a close the Ontario Bar Association was launched with about fifty members. So well has this step been appreciated by the lawyers of Ontario, that the membership has increased to over five hundred and the Association has developed into a force of great strength and activity, capable of exercising a useful influence in the Province generally.
NOT A UNION TO KEEP UP PRICEs.
The Association is a factor that must be reckoned with, if for nothing else than because of the unselfishness of its aims. The members are not banded together to compel the public to employ only themselves or restrain each other from rendering their services below a fixed price. The Ontario Bar Association has no object except that which is for the benefit of the whole people.
LAwYERS’ UNION DIFFERS FROM ALL OTHER UNIONS.
There is nothing in the rules of the Association or in the regulations governing the legal profession generally, that prevents a lawyer giving his services for as small a remuneration as he wishes or for no remuneration if he chooses. There are however stringent provisions preventing him from charging more than the fixed scale of costs. In these respects lawyers' unions differ from all other trusts, combinations and unions of the present day, which prevent their members charging less than a fixed amount but permit them to charge as much more as they like, and therefore have for their chief object enhanced prices, which necessarily increase the cost of living.
LAW YERs NoT RESPONSIBLE FOR INCREASED COST of LIVING.
The legal profession cannot be charged with having contributed to the increased cost of living which has in recent years featured so largely, as the scale of costs now in force has been practically the same for the last twenty-five years.
LAW YERS ENTITLED TO THE GRATITUDE OF THE PUBLIC.
There is no other class which has done so much for the public. It is the lawyer who is in the forefront of every great struggle for liberty. It is the lawyer who has overthrown the tyranny and oppression of monarchs, oligarchies, and power
ful classes. It is the lawyer who has guided barbarism along
the treacherous march to civilization. It is the lawyer who has made the great power of the press possible. There is no community in which the people are in such abject control of