April 5, 1918

UNION

Robert Laird Borden (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Unionist

Sir ROBERT BORDEN:

All the people

of Canada are -sensitive to injustice, and all the people of Canada, I 'hope are law-abiding to as great an extent as those whom he represents. The right hon. gentleman states that on the occasion to which he alludes one of the young men produced his papers and the other did not; and, to the action of the officers on that occasion, he attributes the riots and disturbances which afterwards occurred. He attaches great importance to the fact that the young

man was not permitted1 to telephone to his parents from the bowling alley, but was taken to the police station, and a telephone message, or some message, was there sent to his parents. That does not seem- to be an incident which would reasonably account for the disturbance that subsequently took place. I assure ,my right hon. friend -that incidents of the same character by the hundred have occurred in other parts of the country, and there has been no riot. I entirely admit that the enforcement of a law like this, without any previous system of registration, occasions a great deal of difficulty to the -Government, and, very often, a great deal of inconvenience to the people among whom it is enforced. But we are in a time of war, and is there to be a riot in Quebec, or any where else, because, instead of permitting a young man to telephone to- his home and bring his parents to him, he was taken to the police station and a message was sent from there? That was my right hon. friend's point, nothing more and nothing less. Upon that, and certain other considerations to which I -shall call attention, he bases his argument. He says that the -men who have, been selected to enforce this Act in the province of Quebec are not of a proper typ-e. But he -also says that the higher officers who have been selected in that province are of the right type, -and he found no fault -with them. These constables were selected, I have not the -slightest doubt, by the very men whom he commends, and he, and every hon. gentleman, -m-ust understand that when yon seek for men to enforce an Act of this nature amongst an unsympathetic population you cannot al-w-ays get men- of the -most polite and refined type.

Topic:   THE QUEBEC DISTURBANCES.
Subtopic:   MOTION OF MR. J. A. CURRIE FOR LEAVE TO ADJOURN THE HOUSE TO DISCUSS.
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?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Hear, hear.

Topic:   THE QUEBEC DISTURBANCES.
Subtopic:   MOTION OF MR. J. A. CURRIE FOR LEAVE TO ADJOURN THE HOUSE TO DISCUSS.
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UNION

Robert Laird Borden (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Unionist

Sir ROBERT BORDEN:

The Minister

of Justice, and those who have been advising him in these matters, have undoubtedly done the best they co-uld in that regard, and T find in the statements of my right hon. friend no justification whatever for his -suggestion -that "these riots -are due to some act of the Government

Topic:   THE QUEBEC DISTURBANCES.
Subtopic:   MOTION OF MR. J. A. CURRIE FOR LEAVE TO ADJOURN THE HOUSE TO DISCUSS.
Permalink
?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Hear, hear.

Topic:   THE QUEBEC DISTURBANCES.
Subtopic:   MOTION OF MR. J. A. CURRIE FOR LEAVE TO ADJOURN THE HOUSE TO DISCUSS.
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UNION

Robert Laird Borden (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Unionist

Sir ROBERT BORDEN :

And I feel

that that observation, and oerain others, to which -my right hon friend gave utterance, are particularly unfortunate in view of the conditions which prevail in- the province of Quebec. '

Topic:   THE QUEBEC DISTURBANCES.
Subtopic:   MOTION OF MR. J. A. CURRIE FOR LEAVE TO ADJOURN THE HOUSE TO DISCUSS.
Permalink
?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Hear, hear.

Topic:   THE QUEBEC DISTURBANCES.
Subtopic:   MOTION OF MR. J. A. CURRIE FOR LEAVE TO ADJOURN THE HOUSE TO DISCUSS.
Permalink
UNION

Robert Laird Borden (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Unionist

Sir ROBERT BORDEN:

My right hon. friend says that the leaders in these dis-turtances were not Quebec men.

Topic:   THE QUEBEC DISTURBANCES.
Subtopic:   MOTION OF MR. J. A. CURRIE FOR LEAVE TO ADJOURN THE HOUSE TO DISCUSS.
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UNION

Samuel Hughes

Unionist

Sir SAM HUGHES:

He said that they were not from Quebec city.

Topic:   THE QUEBEC DISTURBANCES.
Subtopic:   MOTION OF MR. J. A. CURRIE FOR LEAVE TO ADJOURN THE HOUSE TO DISCUSS.
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UNION

Robert Laird Borden (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Unionist

Sir ROBERT BORDEN:

That they were not residents of Quebec city. I hope that is so. I do not know. But I do regret that, if they were not citizens of Quebec, the appeals which they made produced so great an effect upon the population of Quebec.

Topic:   THE QUEBEC DISTURBANCES.
Subtopic:   MOTION OF MR. J. A. CURRIE FOR LEAVE TO ADJOURN THE HOUSE TO DISCUSS.
Permalink
?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Hear, hear.

Topic:   THE QUEBEC DISTURBANCES.
Subtopic:   MOTION OF MR. J. A. CURRIE FOR LEAVE TO ADJOURN THE HOUSE TO DISCUSS.
Permalink
UNION

Robert Laird Borden (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Unionist

Sir ROBERT BORDEN:

My right hon. friend finds fault also with the Government because he thinks Gen. Lessard should have been employed sooner. My right hon. friend would not desire to mislead the House in any way, and therefore I presume that he has forgotten what I stated in the late Parliament. I personally sent for Gen. Lessard nearly two years ago and asked him to take charge of recruiting in the province of Quebec.

Topic:   THE QUEBEC DISTURBANCES.
Subtopic:   MOTION OF MR. J. A. CURRIE FOR LEAVE TO ADJOURN THE HOUSE TO DISCUSS.
Permalink
?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Hear, hear.

Topic:   THE QUEBEC DISTURBANCES.
Subtopic:   MOTION OF MR. J. A. CURRIE FOR LEAVE TO ADJOURN THE HOUSE TO DISCUSS.
Permalink
UNION

Robert Laird Borden (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Unionist

Sir ROBERT BORDEN:

I not only asked him, hut I very strongly urged him to do it; and after mature reflection and consideration he declined to undertake that duty. We sent him to the city of Quebec some months ago, and he remained there during the early part of the enforcement of this Act; and then, owing to requirements in the Maritime Provinces, he had to be sent there to deal with certain important matters. When this riot broke out we ordered him to proceed to Quebec and take command there, and he has done so. He has discharged his duty well and adequately and I do not doubt that he will continue so to do.

My right hon. friend then went on to criticise the Order in Council that we have brought down, and, in what sense I do not know, he said there 'has been a great falling down by the Government. He quoted some words which I uttered in this House a few days ago, and he intimated that in some way the Government had departed from that promise. I said that the Military Service Act was to be amended in a certain respect, and the Military Service Act has been amended in that respect.

Topic:   THE QUEBEC DISTURBANCES.
Subtopic:   MOTION OF MR. J. A. CURRIE FOR LEAVE TO ADJOURN THE HOUSE TO DISCUSS.
Permalink
?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Hear, hear.

Topic:   THE QUEBEC DISTURBANCES.
Subtopic:   MOTION OF MR. J. A. CURRIE FOR LEAVE TO ADJOURN THE HOUSE TO DISCUSS.
Permalink
UNION

Robert Laird Borden (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Unionist

Sir ROBERT BORDEN:

My right hon.

friend saye that we should have come to Parliament. I say that, under the conditions that confront this country at the pres-

['Slr Robert Borden.]

ent time, we would have been derelict in our duty if we had waited to come to Parliament. I felt, and I still feel, that we should act at once, and we did act at once. It will be open to my right hon. friend, if he desires to do so, to challenge our action by a vote in this House.

He says that we should have the spirit of conciliation; that this is not the spirit of conciliation; that the Order in Council contains authority to give to the military control in any proclaimed district. That law is of general application throughout Canada, just ae the Military Service Act is of general application. Whenever conditions arise in the province of Quebec, or in any part of that province, or in any other province in Canada, which bring it within the terms of that Order in Council, the powers which it confers will be exercised.

Topic:   THE QUEBEC DISTURBANCES.
Subtopic:   MOTION OF MR. J. A. CURRIE FOR LEAVE TO ADJOURN THE HOUSE TO DISCUSS.
Permalink
?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Hear, hear.

Topic:   THE QUEBEC DISTURBANCES.
Subtopic:   MOTION OF MR. J. A. CURRIE FOR LEAVE TO ADJOURN THE HOUSE TO DISCUSS.
Permalink
UNION

Robert Laird Borden (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Unionist

Sir ROBERT BORDEN:

Topic:   THE QUEBEC DISTURBANCES.
Subtopic:   MOTION OF MR. J. A. CURRIE FOR LEAVE TO ADJOURN THE HOUSE TO DISCUSS.
Permalink
?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Hear, hear.

Topic:   THE QUEBEC DISTURBANCES.
Subtopic:   MOTION OF MR. J. A. CURRIE FOR LEAVE TO ADJOURN THE HOUSE TO DISCUSS.
Permalink
UNION

Robert Laird Borden (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Unionist

Sir ROBERT BORDEN:

The civil authorities did not act. WeTe we then to hold our hand? No, we are not to hold1 our hand. In this I think my right hon. friend agrees: that it was our duty to use such force as was found necessary to prevent disorder, to preserve public peace, and to ensure the enforcement of the Military Service Act. I would further suggest to my right hon. Mend that expressions such as he has used are not helpful to that very conciliation for which he so strongly appeals. I concur in that appeal, but he tells us in a very eloquent period: "Now is the time to put aside all our differences, to stand together and unite as one people in the carrying on of this war;" then, in the same breath he attacks the Government in violent language and characterizes the passing of this necessary Order in Council as an abuse of power.

Topic:   THE QUEBEC DISTURBANCES.
Subtopic:   MOTION OF MR. J. A. CURRIE FOR LEAVE TO ADJOURN THE HOUSE TO DISCUSS.
Permalink
?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

So it is.

Topic:   THE QUEBEC DISTURBANCES.
Subtopic:   MOTION OF MR. J. A. CURRIE FOR LEAVE TO ADJOURN THE HOUSE TO DISCUSS.
Permalink

April 5, 1918