July 10, 1917

CON

Arthur Meighen (Solicitor General of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

My hon. friend will see that, inasmuch as these regulations are promulgated first by the central appeal judge, it vrould be improper on my part to even indicate what regulations that authority should recommend. At the same time, I can say that there seems no reason to doubt that the requirements of this Bill can be filled without taking such men from agricultural pursuits as would reduce agricultural production.

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LIB
CON

Arthur Meighen (Solicitor General of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

Without taking such

men from agriculture as will reduce our agricultural production.

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LIB

Alexander Kenneth Maclean

Liberal

Mr. A. K. MACLEAN:

I suppose that

statement would apply to other productive pursuits such as fishing, lumbering and mining?

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CON

Arthur Meighen (Solicitor General of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

I see no reason at all for believing that the production of this country cannot be fully maintained and the requirements of this Bill filled as well.

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LIB

Edmond Proulx

Liberal

Mr. PROULX:

The central appeal judge will be pretty well governed in making the regulations by what is said in Parliament. We pass the law; we are the representatives of the people and we should say who should be exempted from this conscription. If Par-

liament affirms the principle that agriculture is such an important industry and sp necessary in the carrying on of this war that those engaged in agricultural pursuits should fbe as lightly touched as possible by conscription, the central appeal judge will be pretty well governed in framing the regulations by the opinion of this Parliament. I approve pf the amendment proposed by the hon. member for Chambly and Vercheres (Mr. Rainville). 'In certain subsections and clauses different occupations are mentioned such as financial and other occupations whilst the agricultural occupation is mentioned only in the preamble pf the Bill. Agricultural occupation is as useful, if not more useful than, financial or professional occupation.

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CON

Arthur Meighen (Solicitor General of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

Where are the other occupations mentioned?

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LIB

Edmond Proulx

Liberal

Mr. PROULX:

In subsection (d) of section 11:

(d) That serious hardship would ensue, if the man were placed on active service, owing to his exceptional financial or business obligations or domestic position;

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CON

Arthur Meighen (Solicitor General of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

That class mentioned in subsection (d) docs not relate to occupation, but to obligations. It may be that the peculiar obligations under which a man is, domestic, financial or business, are such that he should be accorded special treatment in the interests of the community.

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CON

George Eulas Foster (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir GEORGE FOSTER:

As to the individual man.

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CON

Arthur Meighen (Solicitor General of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

That is, it would be a serious hardship and would likely inflict hardship on others if that particular individual, owing not to his occupation but to his obligations were taken.

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LIB

Edmond Proulx

Liberal

Mr. PROULX:

Farmers have large obligations. Many of them have large mortgages on their farms.

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CON

Arthur Meighen (Solicitor General of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

Then they would come under that clause.

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LIB
CON

Hugh Boulton Morphy

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MORPHY:

I beg to suggest a change in the wording of subsection (a) of section

11. That subsection reads:

(a) That it is expedient in the national interest that the man should, instead of being employed in military service, be engaged in other work in which he is habitually engaged ;

I think the phraseology is a little unfortunate. Instead of saying "i6 habitually engaged," it should read "has been for a certain period of time past habitually engaged." We might say at least one year prior to the passing of this Act, or at the time the war broke out. My idea is that exemptions under this Bill should: be to real diasses of the people. As the clause reads, hundreds of young men may 'rush to the farms who do not know anything about farming. They may have gone there during the last week, and under the phraseology here such young men could go to

the tribunal and say: I am farming, I

am hired out and have been for a month- at exorbitant wages.' In that way a man might escape service. I think that, in the interest of the country, there should be added to that clause- >ne words "for at least one year prior to the passing of this Act."

Something should be added to indicate that he must be a real farmer, a real fisherman, a real something, and not a man who is attempting to avoid service by taking up one of these occupations. The same thing applies to clause (f) in relation to conscientious objectors. The clause reads:

That he conscientiously objects to the undertaking of combatant service and is prohibited from so doing by the tenets and articles of faith, in effect at the date of the passing of this Act, of any organized religious denomination existing and well recognized in Canada at such date, and to which he in good faith belongs; and if any of the grounds of such application be established, a certificate of exemption shall be granted to such man.

I would change that section to read "that existed before the 4th of August, 1914," being the time of the declaration of war. I do not know whether any one kn-owe what orders have arisen in view of the possibilities of such an Act as this. The section as it reads now would apply to any coterie of persons who wotfld say: We belong to a certain branch of a sect well known and organized in Canada. I think there should be a time limit there.

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CON

George Henry Bradbury

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BRADBURY:

If a man does not

want to defend the state he should not have citizenship, no matter who he is.

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CON

Hugh Boulton Morphy

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MORPHY:

There are certain people who have conscientious objections to combatant service and are protected by the law. My objection is to having others slip in and say they -are exempted when they are not. In other words, a real conscientious objector should be exempted.

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LIB

Levi Thomson

Liberal

Mr. LEVI THOMSON:

I think the

amendment before us is too broad, to start with, and it is very questionable whether it is required at all. I agree with 'the 'hon. gentleman from Selkirk (Mir. Bradbury) and the ihom. gentleman from Assiniboda (Mr. Turriff) who both have had some experience in this matter. I do not think it is necessary that we should use the term suggested in regard to those engaged in agricultural or industrial pursuits, especially the latter, because it is altogether too broad. We use the term " industrial," and it covers .almost everything in the coun-

try. Then, while the clause, .as it would read after the proposed amendiment, would not, of itself, positively exempt any one, the trouble is it might be considered as exempting them, and might cause a great deal of dissatisfaction, when certain people found they were not exempted. Some people engaged in agriculture in some parts might be dispensed with. In the part of the oo-untiry in which the Solicitor General and I live, I presume there .are not very many who could be dispensed with, because the farms are large, and the country is so thoroughly drained of suitable farm help, that the danger is that we will not have enough men to attend to our harvest and threshing. But I think .that is not the case throughout .the whole of Canada. I think the suggestion of the hon. gentleman from Perth (Mr. Morphy) would work a very serious hardship in the western country. I think my hon. friend will find that the people in the West move .around a great deal more than they do in the East. W.e find hundreds of men engaged bona fide in farming, just as faithfully as any man in the country is engaged in that occupation, but they have only started this season. They have bought farms, and expect to raise thousands of bushels of grain. A man may be working alone, as many of them are. Heunay have thousands of bushels of grain growing mow, but if my hon. friend's suggestion were adopted, he would not be exempt at all; he could not possibly be exempt, >and the grain would have to go to waste, because if we take men from the farms in the western country, as my ihom. friend1 will understand very well, and compel them to. go. to the front, the crop will be almost sure to go to waste. There are no surplus men to be had there. Every farmer there is required to look after the farms. There may be odd men, such as the hon. member from Assiniboia (Mr. Turriff) suggests, who are trying to hold the farmers up. I have no objection to seeing those fellows being sent away, even if they are farm labourers. I think it would be safe for us to leave the clause as it stands. I desire to make a suggestion, but I am not sure how pertinent it is. We have referred occasionally to regulations made under the Militia Act, and to rules of court, made by judges of the supreme court of the different provinces.

It seems to me that there is considerable difference in th'e application of those regulations. The rules of court cover technical questions, which can be better dealt with by the judges of the supreme court than

any one else, and the regulations under the Militia Act cover technical question^ which can be better dealt with by the Government, advised by their military officers. But I believe that this House is in a better position to deal with these exemptions than any one else, and I suggest to the Government that they should consider the advisability of making such regulations as apply to the exemptions a part of the Act.

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?

Mr. A. K. MAOLEAN@Halifax

make it a matter of statute.

Mr. THOMSON: Whether we adopt

that suggestion or not, I should like to have the regulations, at least under this particular section, disposed of by this House. Make them part of the statute, if you like.

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CON

Joseph Hormisdas Rainville (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. RAINVILLE:

1 agree with some of the suggestions made by the hon. gentleman from Assiniboia (Mr. Turriff). With regard to these exemption sections, we would like to know how the provision is going to work. The first exception, (a), refers to the man who is habitually engaged in a certain kind of work. The second exemption (b), refers to the man who has special qualifications, and the third exemption (c), deals with the man who is being educated or trained. The fourth (d), provides for the case of a man who has exceptional financial or business obligations. The fifth exemption (e), refers to health or infirmity, and the sixth exemption (f), deals with conscientious objections. The judge will be called upon to decide on these very cases, and the duty of the judge will be to find the 100,000 men who are to be sent to the front. When that point is reached, is that all? I say: No, it i-s not all. Some people are demanding the conscription of wealth; I would claim conscription for the promotion of agriculture and industry. Then another question is: who is going to direct the rejections or exemptions? Who is going to say that a man who is keeping a cigar store, for instance, would be more useful if he were placed on the farm? Then we have the case of the man on the farm who is doing nothing in the way of producing. Who is going to direct that he shall be exempted? Will it be the judge? It is impossible to think that a judge can deal with that. We will have to get some kind of machinery in the administration to deal with those exemptions, and get together the full strength of the nation, and direct it in the best interests of Canada and of the Em-

pire, in the way of producing food, stimulating industry, and developing our mines and fisheries. Although we have kept the National Service Commission out of this Bill, I was thinking thajt every exemption dealt with in this clause .of exemptions by the judge should be sent, with full information, on a card, to some authority, where it could be dealt with, because every one knows the National Service cards were filled up in a very unsatisfactory manner. The National Service Commission cannot accomplish anything with the cards, signed as they have been. Why not take this opportunity, with this big organization which will be established all over Canada-and maybe outside of Canada, for some people went away without reason- and get these cards, and all information obtained by the National Service Commission, and we may have the conscription of wealth, or agriculture or industry, whatever we may call it, and have machinery that will direct our people where they can go in order to render the best service to the country and to humanity. That is the first consideration and if we do not want to face a great shortage of food something of this kind must be done. And this shortage will not take place in Canada only. Everybody knows, considering what is taking place everywhere, that we may have to face a shortage of food all over the world. We may face shortage of every production in other countries, and we may have the manufacturers producing products that are not useful. If we1 insert a provision on the very first page of this Bill that agriculture and industry shall be* the first consideration to be dealt with by the Government then we can use the full strength of the nation. The first consideration should be, not the farmer himself, but that which is produced by the farmer. I am not claiming exemption for the farmer; I am claiming what may be called the conscription of agriculture for the benefit of the people of this Dominion. When I put it that way, I do not think that hon. gentlemen can attribute to my words any other sense than that in which I utter them. One gentleman has said that such a course would be an insult to the farmers. I do not see why. If it is admitted that we should conscript for the army; that we should conscript wealth, agriculture, industry; then I say that agriculture is the first to be taken care of. If a farmer should not be producing enough, it would be the duty of a judge to say; You are not producing what you should; you go

to the war, and we will put another man in your place. The result would be the production of what is necessary to feed the people. I do not consider that this would be an insult to the farmer, and I challenge those who contend that such is the intention of my amendment. My desire is that there shall be put on the farms all the hands available to work the lands properly and ensure a maximum amount of production throughout the country.

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July 10, 1917