That the petition of the Right Rev. Tekon for an Act of incorporation under the name of the Bishop of the Orthodox Russo-Greek Catholic Church be referred back to the Select Committee on Standing Orders for further consideration.
Tbe purpose of the motion is to secure further consideration by the Committee on Standing Orders of an application for incorporation made by the bishop of the Orthodox Greek Church, so as to enable church property to be held in the name of the bishop as incorporator. The Standing Orders Committee found on examining the advertisements which were required to be published in both English and French, that the word ' Bishop ' which was used in the English advertisement in the ' Canada Gazette ' was translated ' Diocese ' in the French. For this reason I understand the committee took the ground that the advertisements were irregular, and that they were justified in rejecting the Bill. 1 am not complaining of the action of the committee, for no doubt it was within the letter of the law, but the Bill having been placed in my charge I think it is only fair to point out that the parties interested have spent a very considerable sum of money on the extensive advertising required, and that although the committee possibly was right in throwing out the' Bill on this technicality, yet the applicants were entirely within the spirit of the law. They had complied fully with every requirement as to advertising so that all parties interested had full notice of the application. There was no mistake as to the application itself, and it seems to me that it would be fair for the House to consider the matter in its broader light and, not throw out the application, thus rendering useless the large expenditure which has been made by the applicants, because of what was merely a mistake of translation, and which has no bearing whatever on the real purpose of the application.
Mr. LaRIVIERE. There can be no objection at all to the Incorporation of the Greek Church in Canada, and, I for one, look at this question in its broadest aspect. At the same time I contend that these things must be done regularly, and according to the rules of parliament. The committee has thrown out the petition in this case because the rules of the House had not been complied with in regard to advertising. But there are other reasons than that, which the committee did not go Into.
I shall cite one reason which in my estimation is fatal to this application. Here is a person living in San Francisco and claiming to be the bishop of the Greek Church of British North America, applying as the sole incorporator. In the first place he is a foreigner, and in the second place he does not live in this country, and according to May and all the authorities, no foreigner has the right to petition this House if he is not living in this country. That was not considered by the committee because the House had, through error in the first instance, received a petition which should not have been received. If I take an interest in this question it is because there are quite a large number of these Greek Church people in my own riding and I am satisfied, in fact I know that none of them have been apprised of what has been going on; none of them know what the so-called bishop in San Francisco is asking from this parliament. But, Sir, I look on this question from a broader standpoint, and I find that in the State of New York
Would the hon. member (Mr. LaRivi&re) pardon me if I ask him a question? Is he aware, whether the Galicians or Russians in his constituency do or do not belong to the Greek Orthodox Chui-ch, because if they do not belong to the Orthodox Church, the bishop does not claim any jurisdiction over them ?
Mr. LaRIVIERE. There are a large number of Galicians in my riding belonging to the so-called Orthodox Greek Church. Others belong to the Ruthenian, and others to the Latin Rite Church, both of which are branches of the Roman Catholic Church. But I speak with regard to the Greek Church Galicians of whom some reside in my riding and some in my hon. friend's riding ; and I say that the Greek Church, which is now seeking to be incorporated, is a government church, that is to say, the official church of Russia. In the state of New York, where that Church is incorporated, it is incorporated only upon the application of the Plenipotentiary Minister of Russia. He is the person incorporated, because the bishop and other officials of the Greek Church are appointed by the government of Russia. Therefore there is more than the incorporation of this bishop involved in this question. There is the fact that we are asked to incorporate the whole Church, which is a State Church in Russia.
Will the hon. gentleman answer a question ? That may be all very good when the Bill comes before us, but does he think that is a reason against granting the application now being made, which is that it may come before us ?
Mr. LaRIVIERE. I say that incidentally these other questions may be discussed;
but jnore than that, the committee has found that the rules of this House have not been complied with, and upon that finding the petition has been set aside ; and I think it would be just as well for us to wait a little longer and study this question before passing prematurely an Act of parliament to incorporate a church which is under the control of the government of Russia. Another year is not long to wait, and then the proper notices can be given ; because we do not know this bishop from San Francisco.
My hon. friend, by forcing the course which he appears to have forced in the Committee on Standing Orders, is preventing this House getting any opportunity whatever of studying the question. I do not suppose that my hon. friend thinks we should take the statement of a member of the Standing Orders Committee as to the merits of a Bill. If the Standing Orders Committee constituted themselves a committee for the purpose of deciding on the merits of legislation, and sought some technical ground to prevent legislation coming before the House, it would be very difficult for this House to get any legislation of that kind before it. According to the statement of my hon. friend from Alberta (Mr. Oliver), the Standing Orders Committee, no doubt in the strict exercise of their powers- I am not questioning that-have seen fit to throw out an application for incorporation on the ground that while the English notice was quite correct in form, the French notice had the word ' diocese ' instead of ' bishop.' I submit that the reason and common sense of this House will not sustain that position. If the Standing Orders Committee took a position of that kind in regard to all the legislation that came before it, it would be impossible for this House to do business. I know nothing about the Bill ; I never heard of it until the hon. member for Alberta stood up a moment ago ; but I think the hon. member for Alberta should have an opportunity of going before the committee
If the hon. gentleman will allow me to read the report, as chairman of the committee, I will make that clear. The report is :
That while the notices have been published for the full time required, they are irregular in other respects.
While on my feet, I may be allowed to remark that the irregularity was the one mentioned by the Minister of the Interior ; and another point that came up was that although it was not denied that the advertisement had been published, there was not before the committee a copy of the paper in which it was published. The promoter of
the Bill stated to the committee that he could produce the evidence later, and the petition was thrown out with the hint that if he could produce the evidence later, the House, would send the Bill back to the committee.
That is what my hon. friend from Alberta asks to be done, and surely this House is not going to prevent any person who applies for legislation and has spent the necessary amount of money for the purpose, from getting his right because the promoter of the Bill did not have a copy of the newspaper when the committee met. I think I am within the common sense and reason of both sides of the House when I say that the committee should at least reconsider the matter, and later on, if there is anything in the objections of the hon. member for Pro-vencher, the House will have an opportunity to consider them.
Does not the whole question rest on the mistranslation of a word ? Two or three letters are dropped out, so as to make ' diocesan,' which is often used for bishop, read ' diocese ' ; and I think the contention is well made that because of a mere formality of that kind, the Bill ought not to be prevented from reaching the House. These are growing times, and if there is anything we want in this country, it is more bishops. If we have not one from Russia, let us get one. Let us have free trade in bishops-I think that is the policy of hon. gentlemen opposite-and the more of them the merrier.
I think that is not the question before the House at all. I think it is the regularity or irregularity of a petition. If this House is petitioned by a foreigner, who is neither a British subject nor a resident of the country, I do not see how this House can receive the petition, or send it to the Standing Orders Committee.
The rule which we have invariably followed, as far as practicable, in every case has been to sustain the report of the committee, unless a very strong case be shown to the contrary. If I understand the report, the petition was rejected because of a certain irregularity in the notice. The report is as follows :
Your committee have also considered the petition of the Right Reverend Tikhon, for an Act of incorporation under the name of the Bishop of the Orthodox Russo-Greek Catholic Church, and find that while the notices have been published for the full time required, they are irregular in other respects.
I regret that the report did not say what was the precise irregularity ; but I apprehend that it is not the fault of the promoter of the Bill if the report is not as full as it might have been. I understand-and there is no controversy on this point-that the only irregularity on which the Bill was rejected was that the word ' bishop ' was translated by the word ' diocese ' instead of the French word ' eveque.' This is the statement made by my hon. friend from Alberta (Mr. Oliver). But that was not the only objection. Though the notices were published the full time in the territories, they were only published a week in Manitoba. That is shown by the declaration of the promoter of the Bill. At all events the committee considered the notice as sufficient, because they say so in their report. But it appears the committee found there was an irregularity in the translation. The word ' bishop ' being translated ' diocese.' If that be so, the promoters should not be punished for a mistake for which they were not responsible ; and if that be the only point of objection, the committee, it seems to me took an extreme view. Without going into a consideration of the point adduced by my hon. friend from Provencher (Mr. LaRivi&re) that this bishop is a foreigner, I may say that that is a question, not for the committee, but for the House, and therefore I am disposed to support the motion of the hon. member for Alberta.