HC Deb 27 March 1945 vol 409 cc1288-9
5. Commander Sir Archibald Southby

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Dominions Affairs whether his attention has been called to cases where members of the Canadian Forces serving in this country, being the fathers of babies born to British girls to whom they were not married, have refused to accept airy liability in respect of the child; and whether, in view of the hardship and injustice thereby entailed, he will approach the Canadian Government with a view to maKinģ arrangements whereby in such cases where legal action has been taken and paternity proved, the legal liability shall be discharged by the Canadian citizen.

The Under-Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs (Mr. Emrys-Evans)

I understand that if an affiliation order is made by a court against a Canadian soldier the Canadian military authorities make such deductions as they deem appropriate from the pay of the soldier concerned for the benefit of the mother. Once, however, a soldier has been discharged, there is no way in which payment of the order can be enforced by the Canadian authorities. Civil proceedings could then be taken against the man in the courts of the appropriate Province in Canada.

Sir A. Southby

Does not the Minister appreciate the complete impossibility of any English girl taKinģ proceedings in a court in Canada? Will he not make representations to the Canadian Government that this is a liability which they should properly accept on behalf of their men fighting overseas?

Mr. Emrys-Evans

While fully appreciating the points raised by my hon. and gallant Friend, I must point out that this is a question which will require legislation both in this country and in Canada, and that until we have passed legislation here it will be difficult to take up the matter with the Canadian Government.

Sir Patrick Hannon

Is the Minister taKinģ any steps to put this matter right? Is it not very serious that these girls should be put in this position in this country? Has any proposal been made to the Canadian Government to adjust this difficulty?

Mr. Emrys-Evans

As I have pointed out, legislation would have to take place in this country in the first place, as well as in Canada.

Mr. Rhys Davies

Is it not possible for the Minister to regard this as a general issue, especially as girls cannot get any money in respect of babies born of American soldiers, let alone Canadian soldiers, and raise the problem with His Majesty's Government, so that representations can be made to the several Governments abroad involved in this connection?

Mr. Emrys-Evans

That point should be raised with the Home Secretary.