July 11, 1917

CON

Arthur Meighen (Solicitor General of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

Clause 3 stands. Now, we are at clause 4. As to clause 4 a suggestion was made by the leader of the Opposition and also it was made independently by hon. members on this side of the House and pressed, I remember, by the hon. member for New Westminster (Mr. Taylor) that there should be a diversion of jurisdiction between the Militia Service Act and the Army Act on one hand and this Act on the other, that the line should be clearly fixed where the Militia Service Act ceases to operate, as it were, in regard to prosecutions and penalties and where the Army Act commences to operate. It was urged that there should not be -an alternative jurisdiction and it was further urged by the hon. member for Perth (Mr. Morphy) that there should be a more severe penalty. Careful consideration has been given to the proposals and I wish to suggest .to the committee that the suggestions be met in this way: That sub-clause 4 of section 4 of the Bill be amended to read as follows:

Any man who is called out, and who without reasonable excuse fails to report as aforesaid, shall be guilty of absenting himself without leave, and shall be liable, on summary conviction, to imprisonment for any term not exceeding five years with hard labor.

The result is that we create here only the offence of absenting -himself without leave as committed by the man who fails to report and who is made liable to report under this Bill.

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

John Allister Currie

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CURRIE:

Why use the term "absent without leave" because "absent without leave" under the Army Act is a different thing altogether. Why not say "refuses to report? Absence without leave is treated by the commanding officers constantly and a man^ is fined for a few days' absence. A confusion of terms might arise.

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 do not think the name is very important; in fact, it might be just as well to call it an offence. It seems to me to be fully the same offence as that committed by the man who, having enrolled, absents himself without leave. Consequently, I think the name is quite appropriate, but if we simply called it an offence the effect would -Be exactly the same.

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

William Pugsley

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY:

That leaves out paragraph (a) altogether?

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:

Yes, it leaves o-ut the

creation of the offence by this Bill that he who-, having reported, does not remain o-n active service where placed, leaving that offence to- be taken care of by the Army Acit. There is another alternative jurisdiction. He is between the civil and military t-ri-

b,imals/ and the line is clearly drawn between the operation of the Army Act and this 'Act. The punishment for absenting himself without leave is made five years with hard labour. It was thought that as no one could commit the offence except a man who wias physically fit for military service that punishment would suit him.

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

Rodolphe Lemieux

Liberal

Mr. LEMIEUX:

You increase the penalty from three years to five years?

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:

On the well-known principle of making the punishment fit the crim-e. It is hoped that this will have a greater preventive effect.

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

Daniel Duncan McKenzie

Liberal

Mr. McKENZIE:

Does failing to go and

register constitute the offence with which the minister is dealing?

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:

Failing to report if it

is his duty to report under this Act.

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

Daniel Duncan McKenzie

Liberal

Mr. McKENZIE:

There is another matter involved. There should be the greatest certainty that the individual has had notice before he is subjected to punishment. This is similar to the offence of contempt of court in the case of a juror or witness, and in such a case the-judge requires very clear evidence that the individual has had notice. The mere proclamation of the Military Service Act would not be sufficient to justify us in treating ias a criminal a man who did not obey all its provisions.

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:

The effect would be that the Government would have to assume responsibility for that notice reaching every man in the country. I do not think if my hon. friend were a member of a Government he would -cane to assume that responsibility. If it should be shown to- a judge that the person charged was n-o't aware o-f the proclamation or had no notice of his duty, that fact might be pleaded by way of excuse, and it would be for the judge to decide.

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

Rodolphe Lemieux

Liberal

Mr. LEMIEUX:

Where must he report,

to the military authorities?

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:

Under the Militia Act.

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

John Allister Currie

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CURRIE:

In the administration of

the l^w, I think that these -men should be compelled first to serve in the army and then to serve their term in prison. If a man wanted -to avoid going to the war he might prefer to take his chance of getting two or three years in the penitentiary, with good food and -clothing and perhaps a little stone breaking, which is not as hard as trench work, to going to the front. I had a letter from a 'Canadian who got into trouble of this kind in the Old Country and

who was finally given two years; but he had first to join the -conscript army and go to the trenches. If a -man is capable of service he should not be relieved of his obligation to serve simply because he stays away and a magistrate sentences him to a year in prison.

Then account should be taken of the large number of men who are enlisted in the militia and the Canadian defence force. They claim exemption under this Act. These men have enlisted under a valid contract for three years, and under the Militia Act are exempted from service abroad. I know a number of men under these -circumstances who say they are not liable under this Act. How is that condition to be -met under 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:

Unless they are -also

members of the -Canadian Expeditionary Forces they are liable. Every one is liable except those who are exempted, and they are not exempted.

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

John Allister Currie

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CURRIE:

How can the Government void that valid contract unless th-ese men are specifically mentioned. There -should be some clause distinctly stating that these men are not exempt. There was the same trouble in England. The territorials would not serve abroad, saying they had enlisted for three years for service at home and would not seTve abroad. The -Government had to disband the territorial regiments, and that threw these men back under the ordinary Act. It should be made clear that this Act applies to all men enlisted in the Canadian militia. 'The hon. member for St, John (Mr. Pugsley) said that this Bill will be interpreted not by this Parliament hut by the cpurts. A man will make a claim in the court, and unless the Act is clear on every point, the judges may rule against him. It is not the first time Parliament has passed a Bill and the judges have decided that it was not good law.

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

Rodolphe Lemieux

Liberal

Mr. LEMIEUX:

As has been stated over and over again during the debate, our militia men, under the Militia Act, can serve beyond Canada. Therefore, our militia men can serve overseas.

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

John Allister Currie

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CURRIE:

Yes, but the proclamation under the Militia Act has not been made yet, and they are not liable to serve abroad until the proclamation has been made.

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

Arthur Meighen (Solicitor General of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

The amendment I propose will make subsection 4 read as follows:

Any man who is called out, and who without reasonable excuse fails to report as aforesaid, shall be guilty of an offence, and shall be liable, on summary conviction, to imprison-

ment for any terra not exceeding five years j with hard labour.

That is the maximum penalty. It may he less.

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

John Allister Currie

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CURRIE:

Would the Solicitor

General consider the advisability of inserting a provision that the mere fact of a man being sentenced under this section shall not release him from liability to serve under this Act? I think common sense would tell us that that would be a proper provision.

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