Home > Events > Women's Revolution > The Femmes d'aujourd'hui Show on Radio-Canada

Standard version of the video

Excerpt from the Femme d’aujourd’hui show on the rights of the divorced woman aired on March 17, 1969 and hosted by Aline Desjardins.
Image Description
The Femmes d'aujourd'hui Show on Radio-Canada [Aline Desjardin]: During the survey conducted jointly by the Institut Vanier de la famille and the Office de révision du code civile women questioned indicated their desire to create an organization charged with collecting alimony in their stead.
Renée Larochelle discusses the question with Miss Ethel Groffier (?) who, as a jurist participated in the survey for the Office de revision du code civile and with Solange Chalvin, journalist with the Devoir, who led a survey of the problem of spousal separation
[Renée Larochelle]: Are financial problems singularly important for women who are separated? Miss Groffier
[Ethel Groffier]: I think that is it the most serious question in fact, it is about knowing how to manage a budget and feed the children, where will the money come from? And especially if the husband does not pay alimony, that is the big problem.
[Solange Chalvin]: Yes, and I also discovered on my own that it was, in reality, the primary cause of separation or divorce. We are led to believe that sexual dissention is really the primary reason underlying separation or divorce, whereas it is poverty or problems agreeing on financial issues that are truly an important motive.
[RL]: Does separation or divorce fix things then?
[EG]: Well, I wouldn't say it is a solution that fixes everything, however, among the women we questioned, the separated women,
A fairly large proportion among them indicated that it was hard, but despite everything, they felt more reassured than before.
My financial situation is better, it is still precarious, but there is a certain measure of stability.
Whether the woman works or receives social assistance, there is something coming in each week on a regular basis.
[RL]: It was mentioned earlier that three quarters of the women who are separated, are unable to obtain the alimony to which they are entitled.
Well it might be good to first establish the following: are there many separated women?
Do we have any idea of the number of separated couples?
[ÉG]: Well in 1968, there were 3202 separations in the District of Montréal.
[SC]: Yes and on the question at issue, it is said that one in four marriages currently leads to separation or divorce in Canada.
So it is a pretty important number, I think.
[RL]: And of this number, three quarters of the women say that they have a hard time obtaining their alimony.
[EG]: That's correct
[RL]: They are demanding the creation of an organization to collect the alimony.
Do you think it is a good solution?
[EG]: Well, obviously I think that there should be something like this, but I cannot say what type of organization or how it should operate, but one might conceive of two things.
First ideally, an organization would pay the alimony to a woman separated for so many weeks and recover the alimony from the husband.
And there is what exists in some countries and in London, for example and, to some extent, in Ontario.
It is an organization that collects the alimony, meaning the husband is held to pay his alimony to say, family court.
This is much more impressive that paying directly to his wife.
If the husband fails to pay his alimony, the court sends him a summons to appear to explain why and the pressure is much greater on the husband.
[SL]: Yes, and from the standpoint of security, I think that for separated women and their children it would provide a formidable security because it is terrible for those women. On the one hand, many among them do not receive their alimony and even those who receive it are forced to beg, excuse the expression, to ask for it and they never know from one month to the next if...