July 11, 1917

CON

Arthur Meighen (Solicitor General of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

And it is contrary to What you state.

Topic:   MILITARY SERVICE ACT, 1917.
Subtopic:   CONSIDERATION OF THE BILL IN COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE HOUSE.
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LIB

Frank Oliver

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER:

I am entitled to place a fair interpretation upon it, according to my judgment.

Topic:   MILITARY SERVICE ACT, 1917.
Subtopic:   CONSIDERATION OF THE BILL IN COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE HOUSE.
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CON

Arthur Meighen (Solicitor General of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

But not to misrepresent. Let me say that I would not trust to my hon. friend's judgment, because he has gone wrong.

Topic:   MILITARY SERVICE ACT, 1917.
Subtopic:   CONSIDERATION OF THE BILL IN COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE HOUSE.
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LIB

Frank Oliver

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER:

My hon. friend will have to trust Hansard. I have read Hansard to the House, and as a member of this House I .am entitled to interpret what my hon. friend says in the fair light of the English language. That is what I have done.

Topic:   MILITARY SERVICE ACT, 1917.
Subtopic:   CONSIDERATION OF THE BILL IN COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE HOUSE.
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CON

Arthur Meighen (Solicitor General of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

No, that is what you have not done.

Topic:   MILITARY SERVICE ACT, 1917.
Subtopic:   CONSIDERATION OF THE BILL IN COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE HOUSE.
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LIB

Frank Oliver

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER:

And it will be accepted both by my hon. friend and his friends, that that is what has been done. I will not delay the House by re-reading what my hon. friend has said. The purpose of it is so evident that he will pardon me if, living in another part of the country, under different conditions, to which part of the country my hon. friend has not extended his assurances of protection, and to which he refuses to extend any assurance of protection, if I feel some question in my mind that this Bill does not protect the interests of the people of the country, because it is not intended to Dirotect them.

As a matter of fact, it does not. We must depend on the fair play of the Government for bringing forward the men who are to give military service. I interpret his assurance to the province of Quebec as meaning that special favour will be given in that province and I have no faith in the assurance that the Bill will be administered fairly and that the men will be brought forward. If he intended that it should be administered fairly, why should he not say to this House, following up and correcting the statement of his colleague, how 'many men are to be taken from the province of Quebec and how many from Alberta? His

colleague made the suggestion to the House for the purpose of its being sent throughout the country so as to influence the public mind just as he made this statement for the purpose of influencing the public mind. We are entitled to hold the view that if the Government will not make provision in the Bill that it shall be administered fairly as between man and man, industry and industry, and section and section, it is because they do not intend to so administer it.

Topic:   MILITARY SERVICE ACT, 1917.
Subtopic:   CONSIDERATION OF THE BILL IN COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE HOUSE.
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CON

John Hampden Burnham

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BURNHAM:

May I ask the hon. gentleman-

Topic:   MILITARY SERVICE ACT, 1917.
Subtopic:   CONSIDERATION OF THE BILL IN COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE HOUSE.
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?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Carried:

Topic:   MILITARY SERVICE ACT, 1917.
Subtopic:   CONSIDERATION OF THE BILL IN COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE HOUSE.
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CON

John Hampden Burnham

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BURNHAM:

Oh, all right. Since the hon. gentleman (Mr. Oliver) has ascertained that in the last analysis the enforcement of this Bill depends upon this Government, and since he, or his side could have introduced safeguards by joining in a coalition Government will he explain why it is that the Liberal party in Parliament refused to join in the coalition which might have been effected?

Topic:   MILITARY SERVICE ACT, 1917.
Subtopic:   CONSIDERATION OF THE BILL IN COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE HOUSE.
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LIB

Frank Oliver

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER:

I am afraid I will have to disclaim responsibility in the matter.

Topic:   MILITARY SERVICE ACT, 1917.
Subtopic:   CONSIDERATION OF THE BILL IN COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE HOUSE.
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CON

Richard Blain

Conservative (1867-1942)

The CHAIRMAN (Mr. Blain):

Perhaps I should direct the attention of the committee to this rule:

Speeches in Committee of the Whole must he strictly relevant to the item or clause under consideration.

I am only reading this in the hope that we will be able to keep order in the committee. The committee, I am sure, is as anxious about that as I am.

Topic:   MILITARY SERVICE ACT, 1917.
Subtopic:   CONSIDERATION OF THE BILL IN COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE HOUSE.
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LIB

Frank Oliver

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER:

There is another feature of the administration of the Bill to which I wish to draw the attention of the minister, and that is the question of appeals. When a man is called up and the tribunal decides that he is entitled to be exempted, the appeal from that decision depends upon the Government. Assuming that there is a section in which public opinion is not in favour of military service, that the tribunal as appointed reflects public sentiment in that case, that those who go forward and ask for exemption, are given exemption, it is absolutely within the responsibility of the Government, under the provisions of this Bill, to see that these cases are appealed. Essential power then is in the hands of the Government to see that this Bill is properly enforced. The Government, while professing to divest itself of the responsibility-which, in my humble judgment, it should not do-does

not so divest itself of responsibility, and therefore there is all the more reason why provisions should be in the Bill which would protect the public interest and the public welfare. I have used the reference that my hon. friend has made to the province of Quebec. The Minister of Inland Revenue referred to the province of Quebec. It is not that I have anything to say about how they administer their affairs in Quebec, but if I am compelled to read what they say as indicating an intention to extend favouritism to that province, I expect a square deal in my own province. Favouritism in one part of the country might just as well be favouritism in another part of the country and it is for that reason that I ask that provision may be made in the Bill.

Topic:   MILITARY SERVICE ACT, 1917.
Subtopic:   CONSIDERATION OF THE BILL IN COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE HOUSE.
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CON

Arthur Meighen (Solicitor General of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

I, first of all, wish to thank my hon. friend from Edmonton (Mr. Oliver), for extracting and quoting so generous a portion of my speech of the 21st June which formed a very fertile oasis in the dreary desert of his own address. I cannot extend my thanks further or compliment him on his ability in interpreting words. His method of interpreting words is that when I stated that the Bill makes no favourites of provinces, he takes that to be a statement that it makes a favourite of the province of Quebec. All the difference there is between my statement and his, I find, is that there is a "not" in my statement and the " not " is left out of his interpretation. I am inclined to agree with my hon. friend in one conclusion. He says that if the Bill is administered unfairly by the parties responsible for its administration it will not be a success. I do not think there is any doubt about that. But in the choice of those tribunals hon. gentlemen opposite aTe to have just as much to do as we have. That is the statement of the Prime Minister and it is the policy of the Government. We provide for a condition under which the best men will be selected.

Topic:   MILITARY SERVICE ACT, 1917.
Subtopic:   CONSIDERATION OF THE BILL IN COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE HOUSE.
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LIB

Edward Walter Nesbitt

Liberal

Mr. NESBITT:

How would they have

the selection?

Topic:   MILITARY SERVICE ACT, 1917.
Subtopic:   CONSIDERATION OF THE BILL IN COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE HOUSE.
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CON

Arthur Meighen (Solicitor General of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

Because the board of

selection which names one of the members of the tribunal is intended to be composed of persons chosen by hon. members opposite to as great an extent as persons are chosen by hon. members on this side of the House. That is the intention and it has already been so stated. The board selects one member of each local tribunal and a judge selects the other. I do not think it is ex.ag-

gerating the condition of affairs on the bench to say that most of the county court judges in Canada to-day were appointed by hon. gentlemen opposite. lit is ait least within the mark to say that in the choice of this board of selection, hon. gentlemen opposite and those appointed by them, will have really more to say than hon. members on this side and those appointed by them. The appeal tribunals which are above the local tribunals 'and which are to correct errors made by the local tribunals 'Consist solely of judges, and I do not think it is wrong to say that most of these judges also were appointed by hon. gentlemen opposite. That is in the nature of things because they were in power for sixteen years while we have been in power for something over five years. Then, the central appeal judge is chosen from the Supreme Count bench, consequently there again hon. gentlemen opposite have already reposed perhaps the highest standard of confidence that could be reposed' in any man in Canada. If, under these circumstances, we have to assume that we are going to have a set of worthless local tribunals, a worthless central appeal judge, and .a worthless Government, of course the Bill will not be a success.

That is the only conclusion in which I can agree with the hon. member for Edmonton. But I have not lost faith in human nature. The hon. jpember for Edmonton has hem in a state of cerebral distemper or something lately-I do not know what is wrong. He seems to have no faith or confidence in any one. This is a selective compulsory service Bill. We want to apply a process of selection to get those men. In working that out I should like to have employed the finest analysing and selective instrument in the world, which is the human mind. The hon. member for Edmonton, on the contrary, would rather commit that task to a box of dice or to some instrument of chance, having lost faith in human nature. I have not lost faith in my fellow men. The hon. member wants to substitute blind chance for human judgment. He has no confidence in two men, but all kinds of confidence in two straws. That is the difference between myself and the hon. member for Edmonton. It is a question of the choice of the best method. I am in agreement with him also that what he stated this afternoon had been stated by him before; in fact I would go further and say it has been stated by him over and over again before and has been answered before. I cannot congratulate him upon having made any impression by

that kind of so-called reasoning upon either his own side of the House or this side. All I can do is to reaffirm now that, so far as we have been able to do it, ihe principles imbedded in this Bill are the principles which, fairly acted upon by reasonable men, will select the most available men for the front, which is the primary object, with the least injury to agricultural and industrial pursuits at home. That is the purpose, and if, in effecting that purpose, there is any definite suggestion or amendment that in the opinion of hon. gentlemen will secure that end more clearly and certainly, -we shall be only too glad to hear it.

Topic:   MILITARY SERVICE ACT, 1917.
Subtopic:   CONSIDERATION OF THE BILL IN COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE HOUSE.
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LIB

George Perry Graham

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM:

Do I understand that the suggestions that have been made concerning the forming of these tribunals have been already rejected by the Government.

Topic:   MILITARY SERVICE ACT, 1917.
Subtopic:   CONSIDERATION OF THE BILL IN COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE HOUSE.
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CON

Arthur Meighen (Solicitor General of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

No. I do not think that any suggestion has been made from either side of the House inconsistent with the principle that I eaid was to 'be adopted, namely, that the same say in the choice of the board of selection should be given to hon. gentlemen opposite as to hon. gentlemen on this side of the House.

Topic:   MILITARY SERVICE ACT, 1917.
Subtopic:   CONSIDERATION OF THE BILL IN COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE HOUSE.
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LIB

George Perry Graham

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM:

We were urging that

county court judges should be chosen to act on these boards, and I inferred that that suggestion had been rejected.

Topic:   MILITARY SERVICE ACT, 1917.
Subtopic:   CONSIDERATION OF THE BILL IN COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE HOUSE.
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CON

Arthur Meighen (Solicitor General of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

That was a suggestion, hut it has nothing to do with the argument on the point I was making. I have gone very carefully over the notes made on the suggestions of yesterday, and some of them, I think, can be embodied with advantage in the Bill. It would seem to me best to take them up in rotation later.

Topic:   MILITARY SERVICE ACT, 1917.
Subtopic:   CONSIDERATION OF THE BILL IN COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE HOUSE.
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LIB

George Perry Graham

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM:

Suppose that 100,000

men are not secured by the calling up of the first class and that by the calling up of the second class 110,000 are secured. Does not the Solicitor General think that, notwithstanding what he has said, the ballot would be the fairest possible way to make a choice?

Topic:   MILITARY SERVICE ACT, 1917.
Subtopic:   CONSIDERATION OF THE BILL IN COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE HOUSE.
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July 11, 1917