Emily Murphy, "Article III: About Marriage
Settlements," ms. Courtesy of City of Edmonton Archives.
"Realizing the inadequacy of our property laws in
marriage, the Canadian National Council of Women has been
passing of late resolutions anent the enactment of a fair
and uniform basis for alimony. This is only to be expected
from a council of women seeing that while the women get 65
per cent of the divorces, they get 100 per cent of the
alimony. . . . It was a waggish and unregenerate male who
drew attention to this. . . .
It is worth trying though if we must still be pestered
with actions for alimony—actions which, for the most part,
come to a sudden termination by the departure of the
cash-keeper to other and more peaceful realms. There is
doubt of it, our plan is weak and sags in the middle.
In the discussion of this matter with hundreds of
ill-clad, hungry and disenchanted wives, it has become
plainly palpable that their chief interest in alimony lies
in the fact that it is an allowance.
In her own home, a wife who is ill-endowed with this
world's plenishings can, if she have sufficient grounds,
attain to comparative comfort and improve her condition
financially by leaving home. Freed from the responsibility
of the household, by means of alimony, she may actually rise
to the position where she is no longer 'the poor relation'.
. . . Yes, yes, it is thus our labors and well-meant laws
have made a lemon out of a thoroughly good apple, and no
wonder 'tis withering to our mouths.'
There is another angle to this grotesque perversion of
alimony as by law established. Having secured the allowance,
and having been freed from the duties of home, there is
nothing to prevent the wife from earning something on the
side. She can secure excellent remuneration as a cook, a
stenographer or even professionally and, strange as it may
seem, prefers this alternative to the labor of extracting a
difficult dollar from a difficult husband.
Of course, it may be the husband feels that, in his
spouse, he drew no angel down and is heartily glad to be rid
of her. She was only a blot on his landscape. Nevertheless,
this is a situation that does not make for the stability of