Mr. BOULAY (Translation):
Mr. Chairman, before the exemption clause is finally adopted, I would like to again express my regret that the 'Government have not seen fit to accept the suggestion offered by some of the members in order to exempt the farmers from compulsory military service. After all that has been said in this House,
I am led to understand, that under subsection (a) every one or almost any one can be exempted from military service; I believe the. hon. member for Edmonton (Mr. Oliver) has thus expressed himself. I perfectly understand that the farmers may be placed under this head, but at .all events, they will be no less under the obligation of
appearing before some tribunal within a certain delay, just as will be the case for all men between twenty and fonty-five years o.f age, while, if a general exemption had 'been provided for in the Act itself, they (would have been relieved of such an obligation. Moreover, this obligation cannot but entail numerous inconveniences, specially if this Act should be enforced during harvest time. Some members have expressed the opinion that such a clause would be an insult to the agricultural class. To me this argument does not seem a serious one, inasmuch as our farmers are not over scrupulous on the subject, and that they could enlist anyway whenever they saw fit. The farmers are so necessary in Canada that they should not be enticed to enlist in any way whatever.
I now want to draw the attention of the House to a charge which has been laid here by three members, a charge we ought to investigate as I believe.
I stated when I spoke in this House on June 27 ultimo that I had heard that a large number of young Englishmen had emigrated to Canada during the first months of the war in order to evade compulsory military service enacted in England. The hon. member for Montcalm (Mr. Lafortune) made the same assertion in this House on July 5th, last Thursday. I will quote his own words:
Frequently, we see steamers coming into port with some 700 or $(00 young Englishmen on board; we see them strutting, with a new walking stick, along the streets of Montreal. They come over to our country to fill the places of our French Canadian boys who are expelled from our stores and our mills, in order to force them, in a sense, to enlist.
At this point the hon. member for L'Islet (Mr. Paqnet) interrupted the hon. member for Montcalm and asked him:
Subtopic: CONSIDERATION OF THE BILL IN COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE HOUSE.