June 22, 1917

LIB
CON
LIB

Edward Walter Nesbitt

Liberal

Mr. NESBITT:

I understand that the Pensions Commission consists of Mr. Ross, Mr. Todd and Mr. Labatt.

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CON

William Humphrey Bennett

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

I did not say that he was one of the commissioners; I said that he was on the Pensions Commission.

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LIB

Edward Walter Nesbitt

Liberal

Mr. NESBITT:

Oh, he got into a clerkship, I suppose. You should never have allowed him to get that clerkship; you had better dismiss*him.

Mr. LAlLOR: It surely was not partisanship that induced the Government to send Colonel Andrew Thompson, of Ottawa, into my county to take charge of a battalion that had already been recruited.

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?

An hon. MEMBER:

Why should he not go?

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CON

Francis Ramsey Lalor

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LALOR:

I say that he was not sent there because of partisanship.

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LIB

Edward Walter Nesbitt

Liberal

Mr. NESBITT:

My hon. friend is quite willing that Colonel Andrew Thompson should go overseas and risk his life at the front. I do not know if there is anything-

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CON

Edgar Nelson Rhodes (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPEAKER:

May I direct the attention of hon. gentlemen to the fact that there are entirely too many interjections? Hon. memibers ought to extend to the House the courtesy of rising if they wish to make remarks.

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LIB

Edward Walter Nesbitt

Liberal

Mr. NESBITT:

Thank you, Mr. Speaker; I was not getting into trouble. I never noticed that my hon. friends were desirous of stopping any Liberals from going to the front.. They have always been perfectly willing that Liberals should go to the firing line, and I suppose they will continue to be.

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CON
LIB
CON
CON
LIB

Edward Walter Nesbitt

Liberal

Mr. NESBITT:

In introducing this Bill the Prime Minister said that the Militia Act, vrhich has been on the statute book for many years, did not provide for the proper selection of men for military service. I refer hon. gentlemen to section 27 of the Militia Act, which is as follows:-

When men are required to organize or complete a' corps at any time, either for training or for an emergency, and enough men do not volunteer to complete the quota required, the men liable to serve shall be drafted by ballot; hut at no time shall more than one son belonging to the same family residing in the same house, if there are more than one inscribed on the Militia roll, be drawn, unless the number of names so inscribed is insufficient to complete the required proportion of service men.

Nothing in this Bill, so far as I know, provides for such selection as is provided for in that section of the Militia Act. Nothing in this Bill allows selection, except according to the discretion of the tribunal appointed for the purpose. Without desiring to throw out any reflection, I may say that this tribunal will be appointed by hon. gentlemen opposite. There is nothing in the Bill to indicate how the selections shall be made; there is nothing in it which provides for any organization of labour.

I have pointed out that the militia workers, for whom advertisements were floated

about in the newspapers, were paid from $2.50 to $8 a day, whereas the man who went to fight was paid $1.10 a day, besides being maintained and furnished with equipment. It is the duty of this country to pay the man who has actually to go to the front better than he has been paid. There is absolutely no comparison between the duties a man working in a militia factory performs and in the duties a man going to the front performs, and why men should be asked to go to the front for $1.10 a day, including equipment and maintenance, when a man working in a militia factory received from $2.50 to $8 a day, is more than I can comprehend and is aBsolutely unfair. The Minister of Finance said this afternoon that there was plenty of money for the support of the men at the front. The Government, therefore, should take steps now to pay our fighting men more than they are receiving at present.

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LIB

William Cameron Edwards

Liberal

Mr. EDWARDS:

Can the hon. member fix any amount of pay per day which he thinks would be commensurate with the sacrifices incurred and the risks taken by the men at the front?

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LIB

Edward Walter Nesbitt

Liberal

Mr. NESBITT:

Certainly not, but does that prevent us from paying them a reasonable remuneration? It would take a great deal of money, but there are a great many people in this country to share the burden. The men at the front enlisted for patriotic purposes; they did not enlist for the sake of the pay, but that is no reason why we should not give them a reasonable remuneration. Is it?

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LIB
LIB

Edward Walter Nesbitt

Liberal

Mr. NESBITT:

Then we absolutely agree. That brings me to the question of taxation which the hon. member for South Renfrew (Mr. Graham) touched upon this afternoon. The Minister of Finance this afternoon made an admirable speech, with which I cannot possibly find any fault excepting that he emphasized the fact that we have as much need for effort now as we ever had before. Surely such a statement was unnecessary. Any one in this country over five years old who reads about the war knows that it is absolutely necessary to make as much effort now as it was before. Then the minister, discussing the objections taken by some hon. members on this side of the House to the Bill, discussed the question: Shall we not send troops outside of Canada? There is no question as to whether we should send troops outside of

Canada or not; the question is as to the methods of raising troops, whether by vol-untarysm or by conscription, to send to the front; at least, that is my understanding of the arguments presented on this side of the House. The Minister of Finance also stated that the voluntary system had failed in England, and he quoted the Conscription Bill there. The minister must bear in mind that the English people, before bringing conscription into force, organized labour and industry in

9 p.m. England. That is the difference between this country and England. I am not going to discuss what the minister should do in regard to taxation; but while the minister has taxed wisely in many waye, I have never agreed with his blanket increase of 7J per cent, and he will notice that while the United States complimented him to the extent of saying they were going to do likewise, they afterwards did not do so. Every one in this country, no matter whether he is rich or ordinarily well off, or in whatever financial condition he may be, will have to pay more taxes on account of the war. We cannot continue to borrow. I think we have paid $100,000,000 towards the expenditures of the war. Am I correct in that?

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CON

William Thomas White (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir THOMAS WHITE:

This year we paid $60,000,000 on account of principal. So far as I know, only ourselves and Great Britain are paying towards the principal of war expenditure.

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June 22, 1917