Mr. Speaker, I would like to propose an amendment to the wording of the bill as it relates to spousal and child support payments. As currently drafted, the wording found in clause 2 leaves the bill open to interpretation due to the narrow definition of spouse in the French language. While the word spouse applies to both married and common-law couples in English, the corresponding French word only applies to those who are married. As a result, the courts may determine that common-law spouses are not eligible to receive payments under the bill, which was certainly not its original intent.
In order to clarify this section of the bill, I propose a new text for clause 2 that would now read, “any amount owing by the offender as a result of an order for maintenance, alimony or family financial support”. With this change, we remove the focus on spouse and bring the bill in line with the language found in the Family Orders and Agreements Enforcement Assistance Act. This ensures better consistency with both the federal and provincial laws.
I would ask all hon. members to accept this amendment to the bill.