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Speech in Senate Chamber: Senator Cools speaks to her bill, Bill S-12, An Act to amend the Divorce Act (child of the marriage), and the legal concept of 'adult children'.

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Cools, seconded by the Honourable Senator Chalifoux, for the second reading of Bill S-12, to amend the Divorce Act (child of the marriage).—(Honourable Senator Cools).

 Hon. Anne C. Cools: Honourable senators, I rise to speak to Bill S-12, to amend the Divorce Act. This bill is about the legal obligation imposed by the Divorce Act on divorced parents to pay child support for their children who are older than the age of majority and who are, in fact, adults at law. Bill S-12 will address that category of persons now inappropriately styled as adult children. The term "adult children" is an impossible schizoid legal concept that is only possible in family law.

Honourable senators, I dedicate my bill to our retired colleague Senator Duncan Jessiman, who was a soldier in the cause of children of divorce and in the cause of fairness and balance in divorce law.

On 1997's Bill C-41, that famous Senate fight on the Divorce Act, it was said that we two, Senator Jessiman and I, were a multitude. We in the Senate amended Bill C-41, trying to avert many of the terrible social and family problems that have been caused by the child support guidelines and by also the wrong —  nay false — legal concept termed "adult children." This term provides its own legal condemnation. Bill S-12 will delete the words "or other cause" from the Divorce Act's definition of "child of the marriage." Those are the three words that had troubled Senator Jessiman and that judges have pummeled into the opposite of Parliament's intention. This deletion will clarify the statutory economic obligations of divorced spouses to their adult offspring and, particularly, will clarify economic relations between divorced spouses to each other in respect of their adult offspring pursuant to the Divorce Act.

Honourable senators, I shall relate the background of Senator Jessiman's, other senators' and my 1997 work on that deeply flawed bill, Bill C-41, to amend the Divorce Act, the Family Orders and Agreements Enforcement Assistance Act, the Garnishment, Attachment and Pension Diversion Act and the Canada Shipping Act.

Bill C-41 had been an amendment to the l986 Divorce Act, whose primary purpose had been to create child support guidelines. The instrument for creating these guidelines was regulations, what we call delegated legislation. Clause 11 of Bill C-41 created section 26.1 of the current Divorce Act, which in turn established regulations to the Divorce Act, being a set of tables and table amounts, dollar quantums, as directives to the courts and judges.

These regulations were styled the child support guidelines. This method of giving direction to justices, by regulations and delegated legislation, was unprecedented, unparliamentary and was as questionable then as it is now. These guidelines instituted a new legal and economic regime in child support in family law. This regime devised calculations of child support guidelines that would disregard the custodial parent's income, mostly mothers, and would be based on and paid only by the non-custodial parent's income, mostly fathers.

To do this, Bill C-41, in its clause 2. and clause 5.(5), proposed, unsuccessfully due to the Senate, to repeal those provisions of the 1986 Divorce Act, being sections 15.(8) and 17.(8), which gave children of divorce their entitlement to financial support from both parents, both mothers and fathers, according to their means. Those sections were important, not only for the Divorce Act but also because they are one of only two federal statutes in which the entitlement of children was ever placed into law.

The proposed repealed provision, section 15.(8) as the similar 17.(8) read:

An order made under this section that provides for the support of a child of the marriage should

(a) recognize that the spouses have a joint financial obligation to maintain the child; and

(b) apportion that obligation between the spouses according to their relative abilities to contribute to the performance of the obligation.

I repeat, Bill C-41 would have repealed mutuality — the mutual obligation of both parents to financially support their children — and instead would have substituted a regime that placed the burden for financial support on the shoulders of one parent only, the non-custodial parent, mostly fathers.

Honourable senators, those provisions, those sections of the Divorce Act, had been equality sections directed at economic independence and self-sufficiency for women. They had been part of the family law reforms of the late 1970s and early 1980s wherein marriage and divorce were intended to be founded on equality between spouses in assets, liabilities and parenting.

Bill C-41 rejected equality for women and created the guidelines by repealing the obligation of both parents, mothers and fathers, to financially support their children. In this regressive and backward action, it proposed that payments of financial support for children would be the liability and responsibility of the non-custodial parent, the paying parent, mostly fathers.

I vividly remember Senator Jessiman's distress as a lawyer and a senator when I brought this to his notice. Of interest is that Bill C-41 had also neglected, not accidentally, to address the relationship of the non-custodial parent, the paying parent, mostly fathers, with their children. It intentionally ignored the custody and access question.

Senator Jessiman and I adopted the position that Bill C-41 and its child support guideline regulations were deeply flawed. We upheld the need for fairness, balance and equilibrium in divorce and family law. Most Canadians are deeply indebted to him and to those senators who supported us. The public support for the Senate in those actions was unparalleled and unequaled before or since.

Honourable senators, then as now I assert that the econometric model on which the child support guidelines was based specifically and deliberately abandoned the objects of fairness and child-centredness. Bill C-41 was a blatant and unveiled attempt to increase the level and quantum of money payments made by support paying parents, mostly fathers, to support receiving parents, mostly mothers.

Bill C-41's child support guidelines had been constructed on a particular Statistics Canada econometric model that Statistics Canada itself had later described as arbitrary and inaccurate in its August 1999 publication "Low income measures, low income after-tax cut-offs and low income after-tax measures."

The expenditure model itself was inadequate to the task. In the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology neither did then Liberal minister of justice Allan Rock nor his departmental officials provide the senators with sufficient information, explanation and justification about the model itself.

The evidence indicates that the child support guidelines were never about the best interests of children but were instead about a transfer of wealth from support-paying parents, mostly fathers, to support-receiving parents, mostly mothers, under the guise of child support.

The child support guidelines used a design model intended to punish support-paying parents and intended to drive non-custodial parents, mostly fathers, out of their children's lives, and reinforced the fracturing of relationships between children and parents in divorce.

The child support guidelines were bad economics, bad public policy and bad family law. That a purely feminist ideological theory on economic relations between men and women should be constructed into regulations under the Divorce Act, under the guise and title of child support, is a serious matter and deserves study.

Honourable senators, prior to the Senate's encounter with Bill C-41, Queen's University Law Professor Nicholas Bala wrote about the guidelines in a 1996 article entitled "Ottawa's New Child Support Regime: A Guide to the Guidelines." He said, at page 311:

One of the most controversial aspects of the guidelines is that the assessment of child support will begin with the payer's income alone.... This focus on the payer's income and ignoring the custodial parent's income seems inconsistent with the objective of having the child benefit from 'the financial means of both parents'.

Good public policy and the best interests of the child dictate that the department's modelers should have utilized a econometric model that took account of both parents', both mothers' and fathers', incomes and household size. The department should have utilized an income-shares model.

As senators know, we amended clause 11 of Bill C-41 and reinstated into the divorce law that important principle that Bill C-41 had proposed to repeal, being that a child of divorce is entitled to the financial support of both parents, both mothers and fathers.

The result was that the current provision of the Divorce Act establishing the regulation guidelines, section 26.1(2), now reads:

The guidelines shall be based on the principle that spouses have a joint financial obligation to maintain the children of the marriage in accordance with their relative abilities to contribute to the performance of that obligation.

Honourable senators, children are little persons who need the financial support of both their parents. Both parents must have meaningful relationships and meaningful involvement in their children's lives.

I turn now to the subject of Bill S-12, the adult offspring of divorce, a favourite concern of Senator Jessiman's. The issue is the age to which parents are compelled, by force of law, by statute, by the Divorce Act, to financially support their offspring. From 1968 to 1997, that age was 16 years. In 1997, Bill C-41 raised that statutory age from 16 years to the age of majority for most offspring, and past the age of majority for the ill and disabled, and also proposed, unsuccessfully, support for those adult offspring who were pursuing post-secondary education. En passant, by the Divorce Act, the age of majority is the age set by the laws of the province in which the child ordinarily resides or, if the child ordinarily resides outside Canada, is eighteen years of age.

Honourable senators, support or maintenance of adult offspring bears some discussion. Many of us believe that after their children reach the age of majority parents of means have a moral, but not a statutory, obligation to support needy or distressed adult offspring. Conversely, needy adult offspring who are mentally and physically capable have a corollary moral obligation to negotiate such needed financial assistance with their parents from a cooperative, or at the least a non-hostile, posture.

Such negotiations, such mutual support and assistance, form an important role in most families, and rightly so, for that is the function of families — cooperation and support in need. Mutual support, mutual relations, and mutual cooperation are the essence of adult family relationships, particularly those with financial and economic dimensions. In financial matters in adult relationships between able persons, mutual agreement is the natural order. Mutual agreement is the natural order that governs the exchange of money and economic relations between human beings. That is especially true in families. The exchange of money and financial assistance between adult family members in all families is always vulnerable, but that is particularly so in divorced families.

These financial exchanges in families are highly responsive to particular human factors and peculiar human needs, which include humane consideration and interaction, and humane dialogue. Financial exchange is a function of human and humane exchange.

Now let us look at divorce, and what the Divorce Act has to say about adult offspring of divorced parents, adults who are the issue of the marriage, and their economic relationship to their divorced parents.

Honourable senators, I have explained the development of the definition of the legal term "child of the marriage" from 1968 until now for the purposes of court ordered child support. Like the 1968 act, the 1986 Divorce Act, section 2(1), defined "child of the marriage" as follows:

. . . "child of the marriage" means a child of two spouses or former spouses who, at the material time,

(a) is under the age of sixteen years, or

(b) is sixteen years of age or over and under their charge but unable, by reason of illness, disability or other cause, to withdraw from their charge or to obtain the necessaries of life;

Bill C-41's definition of child of the marriage expanded the statutory age for parental support from 16 years to the age of majority, and also proposed artificially to expand it beyond the age of majority to include university students. It did so by including the words "pursuit of reasonable education" after the words "illness and disability" and before the words "or other cause", thereby enmeshing university education with serious uncontrolled disability, therein proposing to redefine the adult offspring university student as a child of the marriage.

Bill C-41's clause 1(2) stated that a child of the marriage is one that:

(a) is under the age of majority and who has not withdrawn from their charge, or

(b) is the age of majority or over and under their charge but unable, by reason of illness, disability, pursuit of reasonable education or other cause, to withdraw from their charge or to obtain the necessaries of life;

The Senate amended Bill C-41 to delete the words "pursuit of reasonable education" so that section 2(1) of the current Divorce Act reads exactly as did Bill C-41, minus those four words.

Honourable senators, on February 13, 1997, at third reading of Bill C-41, Senator Jessiman explained our deletion of the words "pursuit of reasonable education" from the definition of "child of the marriage". He also explained the problem with the interpretation of the words "or other cause" in the courts, saying, at page 1539 of Debates of the Senate:

Another part of the bill we were unhappy with was a proposed amendment to the Divorce Act to codify what the courts have determined is the present law under the act —  that is, that pursuit of reasonable education is, in some circumstances, a reason to compel a divorced, non-custodial spouse to continue to pay child support to the custodial spouse for a child even though the child has reached the age of majority and in some cases is in his late twenties.

Senator Jessiman told us that the judges had used the words "or other cause" to create parental obligation to pay child maintenance to ex-spouses for adult offspring through university. He continued:

It is the words "other cause" that the courts have said allow such interpretation, that is, that the pursuit of reasonable education falls within "other cause". The courts have held that the ejusdim generis rule does not apply because the words "illness and disability" are all encompassing and "other cause" would be redundant or have no meaning, if the courts applied the rule. The courts have ruled that it must have been the intention of Parliament to give meaning to such words.

It was the view of senators on this side of the chamber that the courts were wrong and have been wrong.

Honourable senators, Senator Jessiman showed clearly that the courts' interpretation was wrong because it would mean that a child of divorce would have greater rights than a child of an intact married couple. This very question was profoundly posed by Justices Tallis, Cameron, and Gerwing in the 1996 Saskatchewan Court of Appeal case Bradley v. Zaba. They said, at paragraph 10, Report of Family Law, Volume 1, Fourth Series:

A further consideration is whether the child could have reasonably expected one or both of the parents to have continued to furnish support if the marriage had not broken down.

This pivotal point turns on the process by which divorced parents have acquired a statutory obligation that intact married parents do not have, and consequently, on the process by which children of divorce have acquired greater rights to university education than children of intact marriages have. It turns on the difference between legal obligations and moral obligations, and on how the courts have transformed the moral obligation of divorced parents to provide financial support to adult offspring during university years into a legal obligation by using the words "or other cause". Senator Jessiman told us that these obligations and duties are exclusive to divorced parents, and are not possessed by intact married families.

Honourable senators, the true nature of child support payments for adult offspring paid by non-custodial parents to custodial parents, pursuant to the statutory definition of adult offspring as children of the marriage who are in the custody of the custodial parent, is seen by examining the Income Tax Act and its treatment of child support payments and the 1997 Bill C-93 amendment to that act.

Bill C-93's long title was An Act to amend the Income Tax Act, the Income Tax Application Rules and another Act related to the Income Tax Act. Bill C-93 was a companion act to Bill C-41. From 1942 until 1997, the Income Tax Act had treated child support payments pursuant to divorce or court orders as a tax deduction for the paying parent. This allowed income tax to be paid at the lower earner's tax rate. That scheme was intended to benefit women, because they received the money, income from ex-husbands, and could pay little or at least less income tax. This scheme gave the advantage to women and maximized child support payments. It kept more money in divorced families' hands, especially women's.

In 1997, inspired by the Supreme Court of Canada's 1995 R. v. Thibodeau decision, Bill C-93 amended the Income Tax Act to end that regime. The result was a tax windfall to the government and a loss to divorced families, particularly lower income women. About this windfall, on December 12, 1996, then Minister of Justice Rock told the Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology that it would amount to about $1 billion dollars over the next five years.

Honourable senators, from 1942 to 1997, the singular purpose for non-custodial parents, by agreement, to pay child support payments to the custodial parent for adult offspring in university had been this beneficial tax treatment. Under the Divorce Act, in financial support of adult offspring in university, the dominant issue has always been who should be the recipient of that money, the custodial parent or the adult child. Most adult offspring want that money paid to them directly. Most non-custodial parents wish to pay that money directly to their offspring. The singular purpose since 1942 for paying parents, mostly non-custodial fathers, to pay receiving parents, mostly custodial mothers, for adult offspring in university rather than the adult offspring directly, had been the tax treatment of such payments.

Honourable senators, Bill C-93 eliminated the tax treatment, the tax deduction. It eliminated the singular rationale, the singular incentive, that had ever existed for any divorced spouse to pay the ex-spouse money as child support for adult offspring in post-secondary education. A consequence of Bill C-93 was that the true interests of the adult offspring and the wishes of non-custodial parents emerged. Such should have prevailed to permit adult offspring to become the direct recipients of that money for their own maintenance for education from their non-custodial parent, mostly fathers. Further, the contributions to that same adult offspring from their custodial parent, mostly mothers, could be identified clearly. However, this was not to be. This natural, legal, economic and familial consequence, being the direct payment from mostly fathers to adult offspring was not to be. In fact, this natural result was wilfully blocked by Bill C-41. The natural result was averted and in its stead Bill C-41, by means of its definition of 'child of the marriage' by the Divorce Act, contrived to compel those parents, mostly fathers, to subordinate the financial interests of their adult offspring in university to the financial interest of the ex-spouse. It therein gave ex-spouses a new and greater financial interest than it did to the adult offspring. The deliberate redirection of this money, of these financial payments from the adult offspring to the ex-spouse, reveals the true nature of Bill C-41. It shows clearly that so-called child support for adult offspring is really spousal support for ex-spouses. The financial needs of the adult offspring were and are subordinate and secondary to the primary financial interests of the ex-spouse. This is what 1997's Bill C-41 did by proposing to insert 'pursuit of reasonable education' into the definition of "child of the marriage", and by defining "adult offspring" as "children still in the custody of the custodial parent." Imagine a parent having custody of a 25-year-old able-bodied and able-minded young man or woman.

Honourable senators, often the actual financial benefit to the adult offspring is minimal because, as we know too well, the paying parent has no guarantee that the adult offspring will benefit financially and, as is too common, the paying parent has no knowledge of the school or courses the offspring is enrolled in. Most often, the paying parent has little or no influence in the choice of university and courses. There is no accountability whatsoever. In order to correct the matter, the paying parent, mostly the father, is in the absurd position of trying to vary custody by a new custody order. Imagine, honourable senators, non-custodial parents, mostly fathers, going to court to vary a custody order to obtain custody of a 25 year old from the custodial mother. It is even more ridiculous than a custodial parent having custody of that 25-year-old young adult. The backwardness is made manifest. Financial maintenance of adult offspring is a matter of conscience for parents in both intact and divorced families. The parents' support of adult offspring attending university is a matter of conscience. It is not a matter of legal obligation.

Honourable senators, I shall turn now to some case law. The 1997 British Columbia Supreme Court case of Garrow v. Garrow was about a 24-year-old offspring on whose education and other items the father had spent over $50,000 in 1994 and 1995. The mother sought an additional $42,000 in child support, supposedly for this 24 year old's education. Mr. Justice Curtis granted her only $15,000 saying, at paragraph 22, Quick Law version:

That which generosity or affection might motivate a person to pay to a child's support is one thing, that which the law ought to compel is entirely another matter.

Honourable senators, I move to the 1992 Nova Scotia Supreme Court case Crook v. Crook. The ex-spouse was seeking spousal support for herself of $2,000 per month plus child support for two adult offspring, a 23 year old and a 22 year old, both of whom already had university degrees. She was seeking a declaration that those two adult offspring were children of the marriage and in her custody. Mr. Justice Goodfellow said, at paragraph 24, Nova Scotia Reports, Volume 115, Second Series:

. . . however, the words of the Divorce Act "or other cause, to withdraw from their charge or to obtain the necessaries of life" has been interpreted by the courts to essentially crystallize a moral obligation to provide one's children with an education into a legal obligation.

Mr. Justice Goodfellow ruled that those two adult offspring were not "children of the marriage", saying, at paragraph 27:

There is no doubt that the parents wished their children to pursue a university education. I have not conducted any exhaustive research; however, I do not recall ever seeing a case, other than by agreement, where an order for support was made for a child who had already obtained a university degree or where the child had already completed education to the level of a diploma in a trade or vocation. It seems to me there should be a reasonable prima facie limitation to the words 'other cause' and that in cases such as this where both children have already obtained university education to the bachelor degree level, there would have to be exceptional circumstances to warrant fixing of a legal obligation beyond that level. I find that neither Matthew or Michelle come within the definition of 'child' in the Divorce Act of Canada.

Mr. Justice Goodfellow also noted that Mr. Crook's financial abilities were greatly diminished and did not grant her child support for the adult offspring but did grant Mrs. Crook $1,300 per month in spousal support.

Honourable senators, as Senator Jessiman told us, the question turns on the judicial construction of the words 'or other cause' and Parliament's intention on enacting those words. Clearly, when the 1968 Divorce Act created its first definition of the "child of the marriage" to include adult offspring beyond the age of majority, Parliament intended that no seriously ill, mentally or physically disabled offspring should be left as the sole financial liability of one divorced parent or the other. The intention was physical or mental disability of such a kind as to render the "over the age of majority adult offspring" incapacitated and unable to support themselves. The intention of Parliament has always been disability and sickness caused by some cause or reason beyond the control of their persons; that is, disability caused by nature, accident or vicissitudes or life condition or act of God. Parliament, in its remedial provisions of the Divorce Act, has never intended to impose upon any divorced father, or any divorced mother, excessive legal responsibilities or any responsibilities in excess of those of non-divorced, still married parents. Parliament intended to create no economic privilege for children of divorce. Neither did it intend any economic opportunity for custodial parents, mostly mothers. Finally, a university education is not an incapacity or disabling life condition. Obtaining a university education is an enabling life-state and a self-induced state.

Honourable senators, I move now to parental alienation and the relationships between support paying parents and their adult offspring. Parental alienation is the shutting out of parents, mostly fathers, from their children's lives, and from any meaningful involvement in their children's lives. The 1986 Ontario Supreme Court case Law v. Law was about two adult offspring, Kimberly, aged 22, and Lisa, aged 19. The father on marrying the mother had adopted the two children from her previous marriage. Though only married for seven years, this man had faithfully paid child support for them until the eldest was 21, even though both of these adult offspring, instigated by their mother, had repudiated any relationship with him. The alienated father brought an application to terminate child support payments for these two adult offspring. Mr. Justice Fleury terminated the support and in his 1986 judgment said, at page 462, Report of Family Law, Volume 2, Third Series:

Kimberley has certainly withdrawn from the applicant's charge as a result of her failure to maintain any contact with him. Although it is sufficient that she be in the custodial parent's charge, I am of the view that where, as here, a mature child unilaterally terminates a relationship with one of the parents without any apparent reason, that is a factor to be considered by the trial judge in determining whether it would be 'fit and just' to provide maintenance for that child. A father-child relationship is more than a simple economic dependency. The father is burdened with heavy financial responsibilities and the child has very few duties in return. It seems reasonable to demand that a child who expects to receive support entertain some type of relationship with his or her father in the absence of any conduct by the father which might justify the child's neglect of his or her filial duties.

Honourable senators, Senator Jessiman and I had explained that the courts had pressed the words "or other cause" prior to 1997. In 1997, in Bill C-41, the Senate, supported by the House of Commons, specifically rejected and defeated the concept "pursuit of reasonable education" as a ground for imposing legal obligations under the Divorce Act for the financial maintenance of adult offspring.

Despite this clear expression of Parliament's intention about the legal obligation of divorced parents and its clear instructions to the courts, the courts have continued to expand the words "or other cause" simply to include the claims of ex-spouses for child support payable to themselves. Therefore, my Bill S-12 proposes to delete those three words from the current Divorce Act to avoid judicial exaggeration of those words to mean that which Parliament never intended so as to attain outcomes contrary to Parliament's intention, outcomes not in the best interest of the children but certainly in the best interest of the ex-spouse, the custodial, recipient parent.

Senator Jessiman and myself had obtained a commitment that the Senate Standing Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology would monitor the implementation of the child support guidelines. On November 5, 1997, the Senate gave the committee the order of reference to do so. The committee addressed the issue of adult offspring of divorced parents and addressed it in its interim report, introduced in the Senate on June 18, 1998.

The interim report went to the heart of the matter. The heart of the matter is that financial obligations to adult offspring of divorce should be payable directly to the adult offspring by the divorced parent. The interim report's chapter entitled "Areas of Particular Concern, Part A: Special or Extraordinary Expenses" stated at page 9:

When the Committee previously studied Bill C-41 and the then draft Guidelines, certain Senators were concerned, and have remained concerned, about the treatment of support for adult children who are pursuing post-secondary education.

The interim report continued:

The Committee heard testimony as to some of the anomalous situations that can arise as a result of including these adult children within the basic table amounts. For example, it is possible for a custodial spouse to receive significant amounts of money for such a child, while the child attends university in another city. The degree to which the recipient of the money passes it along to the student is entirely discretionary.

The interim report concluded:

Thus, both parents would be responsible according to their financial means, and the means of the child, and the recipient spouse would not be in a position to benefit unduly. . . . In most cases, we believe that the obligations of each parent would best be payable directly to the child.

The interim report's fifth recommendation recites this fact that the obligations of each parent would be best payable directly to the child, the adult offspring.

Honourable senators, Bill S-12 offers my solution, the deletion of those three words "or other cause" from the Divorce Act. I believe that this will remedy the present problems. This will uphold the maxim that, in law, a person cannot be both child and adult simultaneously. It also will uphold the principle that adult offspring should not be a source of economic enrichment for ex-spouses. This economic enrichment is often a financial disadvantage to the adult offspring.

The courts have transformed a moral obligation of parents to contribute towards the post-secondary education of their adult offspring into a legal obligation solely and singularly in instances of divorce. This transformation has created a class of adult offspring with exclusive economic rights to financial maintenance. Further, by the failure to take account of the financial means of the custodial parent, mostly mothers, and by focusing primarily, if not solely, on the income of the non-custodial parent, mostly fathers, the present situation has become a national crisis. Bill S-12 will place post-secondary education of adult offspring and the financing thereof into the field of mutual agreement between adults.

Most non-custodial parents of means will assist their adult offspring for post-secondary education, but they do so based on trustful and voluntary cooperation. As I said, the essential problem has always been the recipient of that financial assistance, the custodial parent, mostly the mother, or the adult offspring.

The evidence is strong and overwhelming that correction is needed in the administration of civil justice in family and divorce law. Senate committee reports have said this; the Special Joint Senate and House of Commons Committee on Child Custody and Access has said this; opinion polls have said this; the country's public opinion has said this; but still Minister of Justice Anne McLellan continues to say that she will take no action before the year 2002.

Honourable senators, the law of child support in Canada in divorce in respect of adult offspring is sadly in need of change and needs immediate attention and reform. I urge honourable senators to give Bill S-12 their due and proper consideration.

On motion of Senator Sparrow, debate adjourned.

The remainder of this day's Senate Debates available here.