Updates from March, 2011 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Kate 19:54 on 2011/03/25 Permalink | Reply  

    As all the world knows, the case of “Eric” and “Lola” is going to the Supreme Court, which may change the Quebec status quo on common law marriage – i.e., there isn’t any, and children have the right to support but ex-partners do not. Often this is put in the context of a “legal fight that, if successful, could improve the lives of many Quebec women left impoverished after their relationship ends” as Sue Montgomery puts it here; Lola’s high-powered lawyer seems personally intent on seeing this change happen.

    But what bothers me is that legal precedent could be rewritten over such a massively atypical couple. Because “Eric” could spare $50 million and not even notice, it doesn’t mean that every Joe whose ex takes him to court can necessarily underwrite her expenses for years after the breakup.

    I liked the words of the judge in a lower court who said she would not change the law because with one stroke she would effectively be marrying the million Quebec adults who have willingly entered into cohabitation outside the constraints of legal marriage. That was Solomonic. The rest of this seems to be social change masquerading as justice.

     
    • Marc 20:38 on 2011/03/25 Permalink

      There’s a civil status identity crisis in this province. RAMQ, Revenu (QC and Fed) and other agencies view any two people living under the same roof for 12 months or more as spouses; irrespective if they’re married or not. So basically the gov’t decides who’s married. Then we hear that Quebec is the only place that doesn’t recognize common law. Uh, hello? Anybody home? Isn’t that what said agencies are doing with their über-liberal definition of spouse? Are folks not allowed to choose for themselves any more?

    • Kevin 20:54 on 2011/03/25 Permalink

      I think the SCOC hearing is necessary, because for too long many people have thought they were entitled to the same rights as married couples.
      The shame is that in this case, many in the peanut gallery can’t get past the astronomical sums of money involved- but we’re talking billions made by one of the most successful people in the country…

    • Kate 00:00 on 2011/03/26 Permalink

      because for too long many people have thought they were entitled to the same rights as married couples.

      Changing the laws to match a misapprehension is a very strange idea.

      If you want the same rights as married couples, the solution is obvious. Get married. If you don’t, you can cohabit more freely – unless the Supreme Court takes the option away from you.

    • JaneyB 09:48 on 2011/03/26 Permalink

      Due to too much TV or something, Quebeckers just believe that there is common-law marriage here. Periodic media campaigns by the notary association don’t seem to help. It is a huge problem as many women end up with no rights to their partners’ pensions, family home, testament etc when their partners die or separate – even after 20 years together. It’s not really about the 2-year liaisons. Why don’t most women demand the legal protection of civil marriage after all the media awareness efforts? Maybe they don’t think they can get their partner to say yes so they just continue and hope it won’t affect them. It is baffling. The problem is enormous. It would be better for the govt to change the law but Charest seems to be waiting for the SCOC to rule first.

    • Ian 10:47 on 2011/03/26 Permalink

      Quebec should absolutely have commonlaw status as in the ROC, it’s not a question of diminishing rights, it’s a question of preserving rights. We’re talking about a couple with kids that jointly files taxes here… if one person in a marriage who makes more money than the other one leaves their partner with the kid to go on to a new life, that person is going to be paying child support & alimony, and rightly so. Also, in the Quebec version, if one partner in an unofficiated marriage dies, guess what – the surviving partner doesn’t inherit their property unless there was a will. I think it’s great that the ROC recognizes commonlaw and affords the same legal rights as an “officially” married couple – especially since we’re taxed the same. I can see the argument that it grandfathers in a whole bunch of people who don’t necessarily want to be considered “married” but you know what? The alternative as poor “Eric” has so clearly demonstrated is Mom or Dad can, if dissatisfeid, just go on their merry way while the other person is left with the bills and the kid. That’s just f-ed up.

    • Kate 10:58 on 2011/03/26 Permalink

      TV has also given Canadians the impression we get a Miranda warning if we’re arrested, and probably a lot of us expect the court system to look more like the U.S. model because of American crime shows and legal dramas. That doesn’t mean we should change our legal system to a closer approximation of these mistaken ideas. If anything, it probably means we should teach kids (and adults!) something like civics so we know what the basic government and legal ideas are here and understand, among other things, that if you like it, you should put a ring on it.

    • Kate 12:44 on 2011/03/26 Permalink

      To be honest, under those circumstances I don’t see what problem you have getting married. You’re not the first person I’ve encountered who wants the stability, the legal protections, the social status – everything, in fact, but the baggage that comes with the word “marriage.” Constructing a whole other legal status that’s marriage in all but name strikes me as silly.

    • Ian 12:02 on 2011/03/26 Permalink

      Again I’m going to disagree with you Kate – there are many of us who don’t think there’s any relevance to “putting a ring on it” but are quite willing to be in a committed relationship. For those of us who reject marriage and civil union and are taxed as if we were in a legally recognized spousal relationship, not having the protections of commonlaw is a bad idea. Recognizing commonlaw relationships isn’t about Quebec maintaining individual rights, it’s about Quebec catching up with the rest of Canada.

    • Ian 13:06 on 2011/03/26 Permalink

      Why the heck do I need some priest or judge to “officially” recognize my relationship when it’s already official insofar as it’s recognized by the government when it comes time to pay taxes? I don’t go to church and I’m damned if I’m going to pay a licensing fee so some pencil-pusher can solemnly avow what is basically a done deal already. If you have kids, you’re as good as married anyhow – it only makes sense to have legal protections in place should one of the partners decide to pull up stakes and leave the other one hanging. I mean here we are being maneuvered into an individual rights debate but really we’re arguing about whether one of the richest men in all of Canada should have to pay alimony to the mother of his children that he lived with as a spouse for many years. It seems a bit absurd to me that anyone should be allowed to get away with that. Maybe I’m touchy because both I and my wife were abandoned by our mothers and raised by single fathers, at a period of time when the government wouldn’t give any child support to single fathers at all.

    • Marc 13:23 on 2011/03/26 Permalink

      If you don’t like all the pomp & circumstance and/or associated costs of marriage, that’s fine. But find some way to make it official; go to city hall and sign some papers. Just because some think they should become automatically “married” without doing anything official doesn’t mean it should be like that for all. And besides merely living under the same roof for 12 months gets you recognized as spouses whether you like it or not.

    • Ian 13:27 on 2011/03/26 Permalink

      Only for tax purposes, Marc. That’s why Eric is being sued for alimony by his ex.
      I’m sure there’s many less monied women than Lola in the same boat, ditched by their “husbands”, unprotected by the law. Nearly a third of all children in Quebec are born to unmarried parents. It’s about time the law caught up with the social reality.

    • Marc 15:29 on 2011/03/26 Permalink

      More than just tax purposes, Ian. RAMQ also operates like this with respect to drug insurance and other social services like welfare also have the same spousal stipulation. Example: two college roommates have been living together for more than a year, yet are still in college. One has access to their own group insurance plan through some means. RAMQ will view these two people as spouses and the other person MUST withdraw from the public plan and go on his/her roomie’s group insurance. That’s just f***ed up if you ask me.

    • Alex 10:34 on 2011/04/06 Permalink

      I agree. Living with a spouse for a very long time and having children should equivalent to as if the couple were married. There really isn’t a difference. I wouldn’t agree the couple didn’t have children, but if there is…….it should really be considered. A lot of people don’t get married to protect themselves and maybe they should think twice before bringing a child in this world that could possibly or easily be rejected if the relationship doesn’t work out. Hopefully people will put much more thought before jumping into things…..then once they both decide to live together and have children they know the decision they made was for the right reason and will do anything to keep the family together. Maybe there will be a lot more people choosing not to live together, and thats fine. The ones that choose too….will know exactly what they are walking into, and will be walking in with good faith. Maybe there will be less pregnancies in this province, but the ones who choose to have a child will be welcoming them to a great beginning and a loving family.I only agree to this law if children are involved. Its just my opinion but I believe choosing to bring a child in this world is far more of a commitment then deciding to get married.

    • doreen 13:14 on 2012/01/14 Permalink

      The court case is on Jan 18th 2012 in Ottawa, at the Supreme Court of Canada at 9:00, and I hope to be there and see if things will change with this barbaric law – only in Quebec now. We commonlaw partners fall in love just as married folks do- we pay the same taxes-but when we decide to part- as in my case after 8 years- we are told {I don,t have to pay you anything, as it is the law in Quebec.}!! I spent more then my partner and took monies from my Rif, etc. etc. –but to no avail- Now I am very poor, and have lost over143,000.00 plus my pride and dignity, and now have only poorness, humiliation, hardly any faith- So I pray for myself and 1.2 million women such as myself- that we will be equal to the remainder of Canada-!! THIS YEAR 2012

  • Kate 14:03 on 2011/03/25 Permalink | Reply  

    The 40th Parliament of Canada is history, brought down over the question of the Harper government’s contempt and the non-confidence motion brought by the Liberals. I guess this guy can put his placards back up – after tomorrow morning, anyway.

     
    • Chris 00:06 on 2011/03/26 Permalink

      The 40th Parliament of Canada sucked! Good riddance. Alas, the 41st is not looking promising. We need proportional representation!

    • Kate 00:20 on 2011/03/26 Permalink

      But how do you switch a country to proportional representation when it’s seldom if ever in the interest of the ruling party to do so?

    • Chris 00:24 on 2011/03/26 Permalink

      Precisely. But not impossible. The Egyptians pulled off better.

    • Ian 12:03 on 2011/03/26 Permalink

      I thought the whole point of non-proportional representation is to ensure less populated regions like the maritimes or up north get to have their concerns aired in Parliament too…

  • Kate 07:53 on 2011/03/25 Permalink | Reply  

    Recycling is now a habit for most residents of the city, although it’s stalled short of the 60% objective the city set for itself.

     
  • Kate 07:50 on 2011/03/25 Permalink | Reply  

    Fagstein takes note of a new bus route and other route improvements.

     
  • Kate 00:07 on 2011/03/25 Permalink | Reply  

    This is a wonderfully cinematic money-laundering story centered on a modest money-changing storefront in Chinatown. The trial continues.

     
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