Sir WILFRID LAURIER:
It is well that we should understand exactly what are the principles of this Bill. They are very clear and well known; I am surprised that they should be discussed -at all. The principle of the Bill is that every man between the ages of 20 and 35 is liable to be a soldier. There is no distinction; the law is that every male British subject in Canada is liable to service. He will be called upon and he will be obliged to obey; he has no- recourse except that of going before a tribunal and claiming exemption. Exemption can be claimed upon various grounds. He can say: my health is not good. He can say: my family are suffering. Or he can say: I am a big banker;
I have a big business to carry on; therefore I should not be called upon to perform military service. Subsection (d) of section 11, which contains the exemptions, provides that exemption m-ay be granted if it be shown:
That serious hardship would ensue, if the man were placed on active service, owing to his exceptional financial or business obligations or domestic position;
What is the meaning of "his exceptional financial or business obligations"? As I understand it, a banker who has a large financial institution can claim exemption on that account, and it will be for the tribunal to declare whether his claim is right or wrong.
Subtopic: CONSIDERATION OF THE BILL IN COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE HOUSE.