Ottawa,   Ont.—S0tatistics Canada report at the end of April said that our marriages are on shaky grounds.  Chief statistician Ivan Fellegi said that the rise of divorce and common-law relationships over he last twenty years makes it appear that the institution of marriage have held firm for centuries, is being shaken to its foundations.  Similarly Jean Dumas, co-author of the study, said that we are facing a very important change in the form of conjugal life.

In 1977, about 11 percent of babies were born to unmarried parents; by 1988 the figure was doubled—22 percent.

In 1968, about 11,000 marriages ended in divorce; in 1987, about 90,000.

Last October, the Montreal Gazette reported startling rise in –out of wedlock births in Quebec.  Thirty-one percent of children born in 1990 women were to women not legally married.  In the Gaspe region, it was an astonishing 56 percent.

Gazette columnist Henry Aubin linked the trend to a turning away from institutions—the Church, federalism, and the nuclear family.  “Before we relinquish even more massively this traditional family structure,” he asked, “would it be worthwhile for sociologists, psychologists and other experts to ponder the ramifications?”

Mr. Dumas says the changes reflect a move away from pulling together as a society to an emphasis on the rights of individuals.

“One thing is sure” he states, “We are very unlikely to return to the old-fashioned society.  We will never go back.”