Mr. Speaker, I have some history and experience in this regard, having practised family law for some 10 years.
I not only encourage registered domestic partnerships, I encourage marriage contracts. I have represented many people who have been through difficult divorce situations. I represented people in common law relationships, before the courts took the initiative to define what were the rights of people who had not gone through a marriage ceremony but who lived in a common law relationship for a long time. It seemed to me it would have been a whole lot clearer, a whole lot saner, a whole lot easier and probably a whole lot cheaper if those parties had registered what the nature of their agreement was, what assets would be divided, what assets would be shared, what obligations if any would arise from the termination of the relationship.
Registered domestic partnerships are a good thing. They lend clarity. In terms of survivor benefits, I agree it would take care of the issue I raised which was brought to me by a constituent about someone who wants to ensure that the person who has looked after them who may be a family member is entitled to share in the benefits that a traditional spouse before the supreme court changed that definition would have shared in.
I thank the member for the question. I think it is an important question. I would have no objection to it.