July 19, 1917

L-C
LIB

George Perry Graham

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM:

But if the necessity at the front is imperative, they want to be classed the same as the other men. I have another reason. In the Methodist church we have in many places two congregations where one minister, particularly in war time, could serve all the people, because out of those churches have gone many young men, and some older men.

I see no reason why we should not have a concerted effort by which the clergy and the congregations of the Methodist Church would worship together with the two ministers used where only one is Required.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   MILITARY SERVICE ACT, 1917.
Permalink
CON

Richard Blain

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BLATN:

My hon. friend will understand, of course, that there is in the Bill nothing to prevent any clergyman or any other person from going to the front if he wants to go.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   MILITARY SERVICE ACT, 1917.
Permalink
LIB

George Perry Graham

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM:

I have read the Bill and I understood that before, but it is a great responsibility-

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   MILITARY SERVICE ACT, 1917.
Permalink
CON

Richard Blain

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BLAIN:

I understand the hon. gentleman takes no objection to that. The Bill does not prohibit any Methodist minister or any clergyman of any other denomination going to the war if he wants to go.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   MILITARY SERVICE ACT, 1917.
Permalink
LIB

George Perry Graham

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM:

The purpose of this Bill is officially to exempt them, and that makes a difference, because a man, if he is exempted, must have twice as much enthusiasm about going to the front as he would have under other circumstances. The Bill says to the clergymen: The country does not

3 ULY 19, 1917

35G5

expect you to go. The clergy of the Methodist church do not want to he exempted.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   MILITARY SERVICE ACT, 1917.
Permalink
LIB

Wilfrid Laurier (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER:

There are exemptions and exceptions provided for in this Bill, -and under them the ,parties affected may claim exemption or they may not, just as they please. There is in the section which we are discussing nothing to prevent any member of a church from enlisting if he chooses to do so, and taking his share in the fight. There are, however, exemptions for the protection of the consciences of those who have conscientious objections to fighting. We have in section 11, paragraph (f) this exemption:

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.

That is nothing new. It is part of the English legislation which has been in existence as far back, I think, as Charles II, and was enacted for the Quakers, who had objection to military service. It was done because under the common law every citizen in Great Britain was liable at any time to military service to repel invasion or if the country was in danger. But even then the liberty of conscience which is always so strong in Great Britain led the British Parliament to exempt the Quakers because they had religious objection to spilling blood, and for two hundred or three hundred years the Quakers have been exempt from military service. Divinity students do not come in that category, but the same reasons which would apply to the Quakers would also apply to those young men who, I think, can claim as a matter of conscience that they should not be called for military service. I regret exceedingly that my right hon. friend has not persevered in the amendment he brought in the other day. If the present amendment is carried, it will not assist in making this Act more popular in certain parts of the country, but will have the reverse effect.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   MILITARY SERVICE ACT, 1917.
Permalink
LIB

Rodolphe Lemieux

Liberal

Mr. LEMIEUX:

The United States has no more state church than we have in Canada, yet they have decided to exempt students. We are allies of the United States in this waT, our cause is theirs, and I do not see why we should not-do as they have done. I will therefore move in amendment to the motion made by my right hon. friend: That the words "divinity students" be struck off and replaced by the following:

"Students preparing for the ministry in any recognized theological or divinity school."

These are exactly the words of the United fdates Act. I move this amendment because, as has been explained by the right hon. leader of the Opposition (Sir Wilfrid Laurier) and as my hon. friend the Minister of Justice (Mr. Doherty) knows full well, the divinity students in the church to which he and I belong are tne professors in our colleges. In the province of Quebec we have something like twenty classical colleges. I am speaking from memory and may be wrong as to the exact number. The body of- professors is made up of those young theological students, and if the exemption does not cover them the colleges will be deprived of the services of these young men as professors. As I explained a moment ago, when a .young theological student has taught his pupils during his theological course, which lasts three or four years, he becomes an ordained priest, and is then attached to the institution, if he is a man of marked ability in the course of studies, or he takes a vicarage and later on a "cure", in the diocese, and thus becomes a regular member -of the diocesan clergy. He is the spirtual head of a parish, and as such is exempt in any event under the bill. If you refuse exemption to young theological students in our colleges you prevent the youth of our province from obtaining their education at those classical colleges. If the United States, where out of a total population of 103,000,000 there are barely 12,000,000 Roman Catholics-I am not exact as to the proportion-congress has thought proper to include this exemption in their Conscription Act, it seems to me in Canada, where 45 per cent of the population is Roman Catholic, we should not be afraid to accept what concession they have made on the matter. It was stated during the course of the debate that there would be a rush towards theological studies by the young men if such exemption were included in the Bill. That is a very poor argument indeed and I protest most strongly against the insinuation. No man of honour would desecrate himself to the extent of accepting Holy Orders with a view to avoid a duty imposed by legislation of Parliament. No young man with any conscience would attempt to do such an immoral act-the qualification is not too strong-in order to avoid service under the present legislation. I hope the committee will at least accept the text of the United States legislation on this subject.

Mr. GAUVREAU, (Temiscouata) (translation) : Mr. Chairman, not only shall I

vote for the amendment moved by the hon. member from Rouville (Mr. Lemieux), but moreover, I deem it incumbent on me to say a few words in this connection, after all, it is well that the country should know where we are at in regard to this clause. [DOT]

The original clause as it was amended at the request of the Prime Minister, the proposer of the Bill, must have been good since it was agreed upon by the House, and if my memory serves me right, when the amendment moved by the Prime Minister has been submitted to the approval of the House, the hon. members oh the other side were pleased to come and ask us not only to refrain from putting difficulties in the way, but even to further its enactment, for they said they had found it hard to have it agreed to. Consequently I believe if is well that the people of this country should be acquainted with what is going on here and with the reasons which may have induced the Prime Minister to so amend his own amendment and to turn about. I deem it my duty to say that the clause as amended by the Prime Minister himself - should remain in the Bill and that there is no reason whatever to revert now to the former clause as the amendment which he had moved was the one which in his own words was to be retained in the Act.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   MILITARY SERVICE ACT, 1917.
Permalink
CON

Robert Laird Borden (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir ROBERT BORDEN:

My hon. friend (Mr. Lemieux) is not quite frank in quoting in his amendement the words to be found in the United States Act. The wording of the United States Act is:

Students who at the time of the approval of this Act are preparing for the ministry in recognized theological or divinity schools.

My hon. friend proposes this amendment and wishes us to understand it to be the same.

Including students preparing for the minis try in any recognized theological or divinity school.

This is not the same thing as the United States enactment, and my hon. friend knows perfectly well it is not the same. If he proposes that the exact enactment of the United States should be followed, he might be good enough to consider what the effect would be.. If we follow the precedent of the United States, we must strike out the words: " members of any recognized order of an exclusively religious character." Does my hon. friend desire to have these words excluded? I do not

think they are found in the United States

Act.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   MILITARY SERVICE ACT, 1917.
Permalink
LIB

Rodolphe Lemieux

Liberal

Mr. LEMIEUX:

I will send the official bulletin to my right hon. friend.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   MILITARY SERVICE ACT, 1917.
Permalink
CON

Robert Laird Borden (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir ROBERT BORDEN:

I have the Act

before me.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   MILITARY SERVICE ACT, 1917.
Permalink
LIB

Rodolphe Lemieux

Liberal

Mr. LEMIEUX:

I have a copy of the

official bulletin containing information for persons registering under the selective draft issued at Washington on the 9th. I will send it to my right hon. friend.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   MILITARY SERVICE ACT, 1917.
Permalink
CON

Robert Laird Borden (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir ROBERT BORDEN:

I will leave that for a moment until I investigate. My hon. friend says that he has some information which is not consistent with my view. But he has not adopted the provisions of the United States Act for he is leaving out the limitation to which I have alluded and which confines the operation of the section in the United States to those who were recognized students in a divinity 'school at the time the Act went into effect, a very different thing indeed from what my hon. friend suggests.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   MILITARY SERVICE ACT, 1917.
Permalink
LIB

Rodolphe Lemieux

Liberal

Mr. LEMIEUX:

I bad penned my amendment before suggesting a moment ago-

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   MILITARY SERVICE ACT, 1917.
Permalink
?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Oh, oh.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   MILITARY SERVICE ACT, 1917.
Permalink
LIB

Rodolphe Lemieux

Liberal

Mr. LEMIEUX:

What is the matter? I had penned my amendment and had put it into the hands of the Prime Minister before 1 suggested that date might be fixed. I have no objection to a date being fixed, if the committee will accept the American text.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   MILITARY SERVICE ACT, 1917.
Permalink
CON

Robert Laird Borden (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir ROBERT BORDEN:

If the date were fixed as the 6th July, according to my information, it would be of absolutely no service whatever because it would not include persons who are divinity students. According to my information, after -they have been engaged in study for a year -as divim ity -students, they pass to the minor orders of clergy -and they are covered by the word "clergy".

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   MILITARY SERVICE ACT, 1917.
Permalink
LIB

Wilfrid Laurier (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER:

Not necessarily.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   MILITARY SERVICE ACT, 1917.
Permalink
CON

Robert Laird Borden (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir ROBERT BORDEN:

I am so informed. My right hon. friend's information wpuld .possibly be more reliable than my own, but I think my information is accurate.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   MILITARY SERVICE ACT, 1917.
Permalink
LIB

Wilfrid Laurier (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER:

The criticism offered toy my right -hon. friend the Prime Minister to the -amendment proposed by my hon. friend from Rouville (Mr. Lemieux) is purely verbal and technical. If

we accept the idea it is easy to frame a clause which will express it. The only thing that my hon. friend from R.ouville contends-and I venture to affirm and support his contention-is that theological students, a class which is well known at least in one province of the Dominion, should be exempted as they 'are exempted by the words in the amendment which was adopted the last time we had this Bill before the committee. Whether the amendment is accepted or not makes a vast difference. In the United States that class of young men is excepted from the operation of the law. In the. United States they exempt divinity students and students in theology. Under this Bill, if my hon. friend's amendment is not adopted, they will not be exempted. I would suggest to my right hon, friend that the relations between the United States and Canada are very close. The system of selfgovernment is very much the same; the interchange of commerce is becoming every day more diffused; we are fighting for the same cause, and I would suggest that this is creating a great contrast between the legislation of the United States and our own legislation.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   MILITARY SERVICE ACT, 1917.
Permalink

July 19, 1917