July 15, 1903

CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).

As to the scope of the sections, we shall have an opportunity of discussing them later. But, looking at the framing of them, we have subclause A,

subclause B and then comes subclause C. I suppose that the words * because such other person is an officer or man of the active militia,' are intended to qualify subclauses A and B as well as the preceding part of subclause C.

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The MINISTER OF JUSTICE.

It must be so, or the clause would remain inoperative.

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).

But tie remaining portion of the clause seems to me not in the same line-it seems disconnected. You have three clauses stating an offence, then a qualifying clause stating the purpose which must be expressed or otherwise the offence is not constituted, and then ' or who dissuades any other person from enlisting in the active militia or any corps thereof by threat of injury to him, in case he should so enlist, in respect of his trade, business or employment.' It seems to me, that if you could make another subsection

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The MINISTER OF JUSTICE.

It would be better drafting.

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).

I think so.

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CON

William Rees Brock

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BROCK.

There is a converse to this clause. I think, that should be taken notice of. A militiaman is called out by the authorities, say in the city of Toronto, to guard the property of the citizens in case of a strike. The soldier, having friends amongst the unions, immediately afterwards sends in his resignation because he refuses to serve. You would punish the employer because he refuses to engage a man of that kind, but is there any punishment for the militiaman who refuses to be called out on occasions of that kind or refuses to remain in the militia because he has friends in the unions whom he does not wish to oppose ?

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The MINISTER OF JUSTICE.

The lion. Minister of Militia is more familiar than 1 am with the law on that point. But my recollection is that a man joins the colours for three years, and if, during that time he refuses to serve, he becomes liable to a penalty under the Enlistment Act. And he cannot resign. That is my understanding of the Militia Act.

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CON

William Rees Brock

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BROCK.

But I speak of something that actually took place. Immediately after the strike in Toronto some of the members of the militia who had been called out sent in their resignation. Whether they could do so legally or not, I do not know. Bui they declared their intention of not serving under the circumstances. But I believe there is no penalty for that.

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L-C

Samuel Hughes

Liberal-Conservative

Mr. HUGHES (Victoria).

No officer should accept a man's resignation under such circumstances. A man has no authority to resign his position in the militia, and no officer is obliged to give him his discharge. A man enlists for three years and cannot leave the service during that time except

by the consent of his officer. A man may be dismissed, or lie is sometimes given his discharge for sufficient reasons, but he should not be given his discharge for such reasons as those mentioned by the hon. gentleman for Centre Toronto (Mr. Brock). I rather think the whole clause will do good in directing the attention of the employers of labour to the responsibility and duty resting upon them to encourage the militia. It is very common to find in cities and towns that militiamen employed by large firms are discouraged from remaining in the corps, instead of being encouraged, because the employers do not want to have anything to do with them in case they may be engaged in maintaining order or be called out to defend the country. The very men who will receive the most benefit from the protection that the militia affords we find not upholding the militia but trying to discourage their men from belonging to the corps.

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CON

Frederick Debartzch Monk

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MONK.

As the hon. minister will admit, this is rather tentative legislation. But I think that the principle in 75a it would be made clearer by some modification of the section. I would make the suggestion to the Minister of Justice to stop at 75a for this year and leave out the other. I think that 75b is going a little far in declaring it unlawful for any association of any kind to discriminate against any of its members because they belong to the militia. I do not mean to say that it is not right to legislate in that sense, but it is entering upon a new field. I would suggest to the Minister of Justice that he should leave out 75a and be satisfied with 75b for the present. It is possible that some associations will find it necessary to discriminate, or to provide that its members should not belong to the militia, and I would not like to say that such a circumstance would not occur.

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The MINISTER OF JUSTICE.

I am quite willing to consider the advisability of passing these sections which, as the hon. gentleman has properly said, are of a tentative character in legislation, but I do not think it would be proper for us to pass 75a and not pass 75b. 75a really imposes a penalty on the employer if he in any way interferes with the freedom of action of his employee with respect to joining the militia force; that is to say, it is a ' protection for the employee as against the employer. But on the other hand, if we impose penalties on the employer under these circumstances, is it quite fair to allow any combination of labour to discriminate against one of themselves because he happens to belong to the militia force ? Why do you distinguish between the two ? I am willing to allow the whole matter to be enlarged, because, as I said a moment ago, perhaps public opinion is not ripe for legislation of this sort. I thought it proper,

however, to draw the attention of the House to it; but if we legislate as against the employer, I cannot see any reason to justify us in allowing the trades unions to go absolutely free.

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CON

Edward Frederick Clarke

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CLARKE.

I understand the minister to say that his object in proposing legislation of this kind was to prevent employers from discharging men who perform militia duties from time to time. Has any case come under the notice of the minister in which employers of labour have actually dismissed their men because they belonged to the Canadian militia, when they were called out ?

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The MINISTER OF JUSTICE.

I cannot say that such a case has come to my notice. But in connection with the recent troubles in Montreal, it has come to my notice that threats were made by employers against their employees because they were obliged to do service during the course of the strike. Representations were made to us in connection with these threats, and it was because of those representations that I have introduced these particular sections.

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CON

Edward Frederick Clarke

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CLARKE.

I understood from the hon. gentleman that, having drawn public attention to this question, he did not feel it necessary to insist upon passing these sections. I think the hon. gentleman is extremely wise in taking that course.

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The MINISTER OF JUSTICE.

I am ill the hands of the House on that subject. It is a matter to which I would like to call the attention of the public, and if there is any strong opinion one way or the other expressed between this time, and when the Bill comes up again for consideration, we will take that into account. But I must say that, speaking for myself, any attempt to interfere with our militia force is a thing that I would endeavour to prevent. That is my own feeling.

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IND

Arthur W. Puttee

Independent Labour

Mr. PUTTEE.

Does the minister think that 75a covers the case entirely ? It seems to me it only applies when that relationship between employer and employee is already established. A considerable number of the largest employing concerns in the country insist upon men, before they become employees, signing an agreement that would probably keep them from joining the militia or any other institution that would be apt to take them away from their duties at any time. They insist on men, before becoming employees, signing an agreement that would debar them from either joining the militia or becoming municipal candidates, and that kind of thing, anything that would take them away from their duties at any specific times. Does 75a touch that matter at all ?

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The MINISTER OF JUSTICE.

I am not sure that the terms used are quite broad enough to meet the case put by the hon. gentleman. But while I may sympathize

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LIB

Charles Fitzpatrick (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Hon. Mr. FITZPATRICK.

with the employer who would endeavour to prevent his employee from taking part in a municipal contest, I would have no sympathy with him if he endeavoured to interfere with the desire of his employee to join the militia force. If the hon. gentleman speaks of his own personal knowledge and says that there are employers who force men, before becoming employees, to enter into a contract obliging them not to enter the militia, I would be glad to deal with these gentlemen also.

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IND

Arthur W. Puttee

Independent Labour

Mr. PUTTEE.

I do not know that in any of these agreements the word " militia " is used, but I would think such a contract would apply to the militia or to any other institution that a man desired to join. As a matter of fact, when an employer places an agreement of this kind before a man, the latter feels that he must have employment in any case, and he signs one of these agreements, and I should imagine that it restricted his liberty to join the militia.

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CON

William Rees Brock

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BROCK.

In a matter of this kind we must act with some fairness. If a merchant has some particular employment that requires the continuous time of a bookkeeper or a cashier, do you mean to tell me that if he said to that man, on entering his employment; I cannot give you this employment if you require to be absent for two weeks every year on the militia-do you mean to tell me that you would put that merchant into jail under those circumstances ? You would have half the merchants of Canada in jail, under certain circumstances. There are certain positions, not only in commercial companies, but in lawyers' offices and others, where at particular times it would mean the ruination of a man's business to take away some of his employees for weeks at a time. There are positions, I know in my own case there are positions, where it would be a serious loss if a clerk were to be called out at certain seasons of the year to drill. I think you would have to make some exceptions in cases of that kind.

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July 15, 1903