Sir WILFRID LAURIER:
formed their whole duty. The statement of the Prime Minister proceeds:
*The incidents which have taken place have made it apparent to the Government that some amendments will toe necessary to the Military Service Act. One of those which is now in preparation is this: That (persons who engage
in active or forcible resistance to the enforcement of the Act shall toe forthwith enrolled in the military forces of Canada, without regard to whether their class has been called out.
Three days ago the Prime Minister, speaking in his place, stated that, in order to put in uniform a man who is not to-day called upon to go on service by the law, it was necessary to have an amendment to the Military Act. To-day this is done by Order in Council. Where is the authority of the Governor in Council to amend the statute? My hon. friend will tell me he has that power under the War Measures Act. If he tells me that, I will tell him if he has that power under, the War Measures Act, he has the same power to conscript everybody, without the authority of Parliament, simply by Order in Council. But he has not that authority, and he knows it well. He had to pass a statute last session in order to enforce conscription. That law has been passed, and now when he tells me that this law which was placed on the statute last year can be amended by Order in Council, I say it is simply an abuse of the powers which are vested in the Governor in Council, and it is assuming a power which the Governor in Council does not possess..
We are here to-day, proud to say that we are British subjects. At all events I am proud to say so. I have always proclaimed myself a British subject. No man is a greater admirer of British institutions than I am. And why? Because if there is one authority in the British Empire . which is the supreme authority, it is not the power of the King, but it is the majesty of the law; and a law can be destroyed only by another law. But let me call attention of my hon. friend to this precedent: In 1798, when Ireland was in a state of rebellion, the French had sent an expedition to Ireland under the command of General Hoche, and Wolfe Tone, a member of that expedition, was captured by the military authorities, court-martialled and sentenced to death. But habeas corpus proceedings were taken, and Wolfe Tone was taken out of the custody of the military authorities, and declared a free subject-free from the military authorities altogether. My last word is this: We must have peace, we must
have order, we must have protection for our property and the law must be observed. I say this with the greater authority in that I am not a believer in the law. I thought it was a mistake, but it has been adopted by the Canadian people, and the will of the people is the law.
Eight hon. Sir ROBERT BORDEN (Prime
Minister): Mr. Speaker, I have listened with a great deal of interest to what has been put forward in this debate. I shall not pretend, in making the few observations that I shall offer, to- follow precisely everything that has been alleged by all the speakers. My -hon. friend from Simcoe (Mr. Currie) has gone into these matters with a good deal of detail as to which it is perhaps not necessary that I should follow him. I should not care to commit myself absolutely to his conception of the events that occurred during the last session of Parliament. He, and the hon. member for Vancouver (Mr. Stevens) as well, seemed to be impressed with the idea that the Military Service Act has been enforced with too great moderation in the province of Quebec, and my right hon. friend the leader of the Opposition (Sir Wilfrid LaurieT) is impressed with a contrary appreciation of the situation in that province.
There were some observations made in regard to the newspaper press of the country and particularly the newspaper press in the province of Quebec. The general principle of British parliamentary government-and that principle has received no stronger illustration than in the United Kingdom itself-has been not to' interfere with the right of free speech unless it is absolutely necessary by reason of a great emergency. Any one who has seen men, even during this war, airing their opinions and criticisms in -Hyde Park will realize the truth of what I am saying. I do not know, anything about the advertisement which is alleged tp have been inserted in Le Devoir. I presume the hon. gentleman who brought it to the attention of the House is right in his conception that these matters have been left to some business agency apart altogether from any consideration of patronage and that the advertisement has found its way into the columns of Le Devoir in that way. I do not know of any other explanation.
Reference was also made by the hon. member for Simcoe to Col. Machin's interview with Col. Lavergne. I have documents under my, hand to show that the interview which took place, I think at the suggestion of Mr. Taschereau, was not an interview
by Col. Machin in any official capacity as he so explained to Col. Lavergne at the time.
Subtopic: MOTION OF MR. J. A. CURRIE FOR LEAVE TO ADJOURN THE HOUSE TO DISCUSS.