Sir WTLFRID LAURIER moved for leave to introduce Bill (No. 95) respecting the Naval Service of Canada. He said: Mr. Speaker, it was understood when the House adjourned for the Christmas recess that, upon resuming our sittings, my hon. friend the Minister of Marine and Fisheries (Mr. Brodeur) would introduce the Naval Bill which was foreshadowed in the speech from the Throne and expose the policy of the government in regard to it. Unfortunately, my hon. friend the Minister of Marine and Fisheries is to-day in such a condition of health that he cannot be present, but with a view of not disappointing the House and of expediting its business, my hon. friend has asked me to introduce the measure for him. He hopes, and still more I hope, that when the Bill is brought up for second reading early next week he will be able to be in his place to move the second reading and then go fully into the whole question and all the details of policy and administration connected with it. My object, therefore, to-day will be simply to introduce the Bill and give to the House its
salient features, reserving for the second reading the more general discussion of the measure.
The Bill which will be laid upon the table is entitled ' An Act respecting the Naval Service of Canada.' It provides for the creation of a naval force to be composed of a permanent corps, a reserve force, and a volunteer force on the same pattern 'absolutely as the present organization of the militia force. The Bill, I may say, follows the Militia Act in many respects, and does not materially depart from it except in one feature. Under the Militia Act it is provided that the whole male population of Canada, from the age of 18 to the age of 60, is liable to military service. Should an emergency arise the whole male population within these ages may be called upon for service. Some discretion is vested in the government under the law. The first class is composed of men from 18 to 30 years of age, the second class of men from 30 to 45, and the last class of men from 45 to 60 years of age, and should the volunteer force in its different classes not be sufficient there may be an enrolment and balloting under the law. Nothing of that kind is to take place under the present Bill, no man in this country, under the Naval Service Act or any other, will be liable to military service on the sea. In this matter the present Bill departs altogether from the Militia Act; every man who will be enrolled for naval service in Canada will be enrolled by voluntary engagement, there is no compulsion of any kind, no conscription, no enrolment and no balloting.
The Bill provides that the naval force shall be under the control of the Department of Marine and Fisheries.
It further provides that there shall be a director of naval service who must be of the rank of rear admiral or at least of captain.
The department shall be assisted by a naval board who will advise the department.
The terms bf engagement will be determined by the governor in council.
Commissions in the naval militia will issue in the name of His Majesty.
These are the general features so far as the organization of the force is concerned.
Coming now to the service which will be required from the force, 'active service,' as defined by the Act, means service or duty during an emergency, and ' emergency ' means war, invasion or insurrection, real or apprehended.
The Act provides also, that, at any time, vhen the Governor in Council deems it ad-\ isable, in case of war, invasion or insurrection, the force may be called into active service. There is also an important provision to which I at once call the attention of the House, that while the naval force is to be 55J
under the control of the Canadian government, and more directly under the control of the Department of Marine, yet, in case of emergency the Governor in Council may place at the disposal of His Majesty for general service in the royal navy the naval service or any part thereof and any ships or vessels of the naval service and any officers or men serving on these vessels or any officers or men of the naval service. There is a subsequent prevision that, if such action is. taken by the Governor in Council at a time when parliament is not sitting parliament shall immediately be called. This provision is taken from the Militia Act and reads as follows:
Whenever the Governor in Council places the naval service, or any part thereof, on active service, if parliament is then separated by such adjournment or prorogation as will not expire within ten days, a proclamation shall be issued for the meeting of parliament within fifteen days, and parliament shall accordingly meet and sit upon the day appointed by such proclamation, and shall continue to sit and act in like manner as if it stood adjourned or prorogued to the same day.
Provision is made for pensions of the officers of the naval service, these provisions being closely akin to. if not actually taken from, the Militia Act now in force. Another important feature of the Bill is that it provides for the establishment of a naval college on the pattern of the military college now in existence at Kingston. It also declares that the naval discipline shall be in the form of the King's regulations.
These, Mr. Sneaker, are the leading features of the Bill. Of course, the matter can be very largely elaborated, but I do not think that any elaboration is necessary to an understanding of the matter. In* resume. it provides for the creation of a naval force; in this there are to be three classes as in the militia, the permanent, force, the reserve and tire volunteer force. The naval service may be placed at the disposal of His Majesty in case of war.