Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for kicking off debate on this issue. I think it is a very important issue and there are some dimensions that I hope the member and other colleagues will raise in the debate because it is not just men and women and how they live in our country separately. The issue for me is how the family survives, men and women together raising children. Society as we know it would cease to exist without the family and without those children.
A report from the Vanier Institute on the Family stated that there is one divorce for every two marriages in Canada, according to the latest statistics; a 50 per cent divorce rate in Canada.
In addition, the member would know that 23 per cent of all families in Canada are lone parent families. I want to make sure the member hears this; lone parent families, not single mother families. That 23 per cent of lone parent families account for 46 per cent to 53 per cent, depending on the research, of children living in poverty.
In my view, a significant portion of the member's argument has ignored the fact that the crisis of the family in Canada, particularly the breakdown of the traditional nuclear family, has been a major contributor to the poverty of women in Canada. Half the marriages break down and the vast majority of arrangements give custody of children to the women and in any family breakdown if both
parents' income stays the same that is going to result in poverty for no other reason other than there is a second residence and second living costs.
Does the member not believe that the crisis of the family in Canada, the breakdown of the family, is a major consideration in terms of dealing with the issue of economic independence of women?