May 14, 1919

L LIB

James Alexander Robb (Chief Government Whip)

Laurier Liberal

Mr. ROBB:

The Acting Prime Minister apparently forgot the Highways Bill.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE-LEGISLATION PROMISED IN SPEECH FROM THRONE.
Permalink
UNION

William Thomas White (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Unionist

Sir THOMAS WHITE:

That is before the House in a resolution.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE-LEGISLATION PROMISED IN SPEECH FROM THRONE.
Permalink
L LIB

James Alexander Robb (Chief Government Whip)

Laurier Liberal

Mr. ROBB:

There is no Bill.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE-LEGISLATION PROMISED IN SPEECH FROM THRONE.
Permalink
UNION

William Thomas White (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Unionist

Sir THOMAS WHITE:

My hon. friend is sufficiently informed as to Parliamentary procedure to know that the passage of the resolution precedes the Bill.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE-LEGISLATION PROMISED IN SPEECH FROM THRONE.
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THE MILITARY SERVICE ACT.


On the Orders of the Day:


L LIB

Emmanuel Berchmans Devlin

Laurier Liberal

Mr. E. B. DEVLIN (Wright):

I wish to raise a question of considerable public interest, one of which I have already given the minister notice, and I raise it with a certain amount of reluctance. I refer to the matter of dealing with the administration of justice in Canada at the present moment. I do not wish to refer to the Military Service Act unduly, and I do not want to raise any of the nightmares of the war, but there has come to my notice a certain matter which I do not think bears out the principle upon which our constitution is founded, namely, those of freedom and justice to all the provinces of the Dominion. Certain young men who voluntarily reported and were granted exemption by the Military Service tribunals failed to renew their application for exemption after the Order in Council had been passed in the month of April, 1918, cancelling all previous exemptions. When they reached the city of Hull, which is the judicial centre, they found themselves in this peculiar predicament.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   THE MILITARY SERVICE ACT.
Sub-subtopic:   ADMINISTRATION IN WRIGHT COUNTY.
Permalink
UNION

Edgar Nelson Rhodes (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Unionist

Mr. SPEAKER:

I regret very much to have to call the hon. member to order, but he is in effect entering into a discussion. If he wishes to submit a question to the Government it will be quite in order for him to do so, but not to enter into a discussion of the merits of the case.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   THE MILITARY SERVICE ACT.
Sub-subtopic:   ADMINISTRATION IN WRIGHT COUNTY.
Permalink
L LIB

Emmanuel Berchmans Devlin

Laurier Liberal

Mr. DEVLIN:

It seemed ridiculous to put the question before giving the minister the necessary information. However, I have already spoken to him about the matter over the telephone, and I shall now simply ask him to give the House the reason why the judicial district of Hull, which is in the province of Quebec, should have been declared not competent to deal with any matter respecting the Military Service Act, and why young men coming before the tribunals in that judicial district have been ordered to go. to Kingston for court-martial or else be tried before a court in the province of Ontario.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   THE MILITARY SERVICE ACT.
Sub-subtopic:   ADMINISTRATION IN WRIGHT COUNTY.
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UNION

Arthur Meighen (Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Unionist

Hon. ARTHUR MEIGHEN (Acting Minister of Justice):

Through the courtesy of the hon. member (Mr. Devlin) I have been able to make inquiry as to the point he brings to the attention of the House and in respect of which he asks a question. I apprehend his question to be one demanding the reason why certain defaulters under the Military Service Act whose residence is in the province of Quebec, and, I think, in the county of Wright, have upon apprehension been ordered to appear before a court-martial, or before a magistrate. in Ottawa rather than before a magistrate in the county of Wright.

The name of the magistrate in the county of Wright is Mr. Goyette. The House will recall that when, three or four months ago, an Order in Council was passed under the authority of the Military Service Act and *the War Measures Act, whereby the prosecution was empowered, should a magistrate by his conduct reveal a lack of appreciation of the meaning of me Military Service Act and of his duties under that Act, to refuse to take any more cases before that magistrate, but to take them instead before a court-martial. That Order was found to be necessary by reason of the idea prevalent in the minds of certain magistrates at all events, that there was in reality no substantial offence in the violation of the Military Service Act uemanding more than a merely nominal punishment. I am sorry to have to say that the Department of Justice came to the conclusion that the case of Magistrate Goyette was one that demanded action under that Order in Council, and they refused longer to take cases before him.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   THE MILITARY SERVICE ACT.
Sub-subtopic:   ADMINISTRATION IN WRIGHT COUNTY.
Permalink
L LIB

Emmanuel Berchmans Devlin

Laurier Liberal

Mr. DEVLIN:

I understood that that referred to cases where the magistrate had already taken action. In this case thq young men were not apprehended, but voluntarily gave themselves up.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   THE MILITARY SERVICE ACT.
Sub-subtopic:   ADMINISTRATION IN WRIGHT COUNTY.
Permalink
UNION

Arthur Meighen (Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Unionist

Mr. MEIGHEN:

It is a case in which the magistrate has taken action, and by the character of his action has shown that he is not a magistrate before whom other cases of that kind should be taken.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   THE MILITARY SERVICE ACT.
Sub-subtopic:   ADMINISTRATION IN WRIGHT COUNTY.
Permalink
L LIB

Emmanuel Berchmans Devlin

Laurier Liberal

Mr. DEVLIN:

Was any report made by the Justice Department to the Attorney General of the province as to the conduct of the magistrate in question?

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   THE MILITARY SERVICE ACT.
Sub-subtopic:   ADMINISTRATION IN WRIGHT COUNTY.
Permalink
UNION

Arthur Meighen (Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Unionist

Mr. MEIGHEN:

None that I know of in the case of Magistrate Goyette. There was one made in the case of a magistrate in the city of Quebec, which I am sorry to say was not very fruitful of results. As to

IMr, Devlin.]

Magistrate Goyette-I speak now with moderate, but not with absolute certainty-some time ago it was considered by reason of his conduct that these cases should be taken elsewhere. Subsequently, evidence was brought forward that he would better discharge his duty, and return to his jurisdiction was made. This month, however, by reason of his action in a series of cases it was determined that we could no longer , submit the administration of the Act to him as a magistrate. In 'this connection I cannot do better than read a report made to the Acting Chief Commissioner of Police at Ottawa by an official of the Dominion Police in respect of the action of the magistrate this month. The report is dated the 9th of May, and reads as follows:

Attached copies of several reports from my inspector with reference to cases recently prosecuted before Magistrate Goyette at Buckingham, Que., and also at Hull, Que.

I wish specially to draw your attention to the cases which were dismissed by Magistrate Goyette on the grounds that the men were sick at the time they were ordered to report, and that they did not recover until the armistice was signed. These men had been ordered to report as far back as March 18, 1918, and it is unreasonable to suppose that they were sick all this time. These cases were remanded previous to the sentence being passed, and I am of the opinion that this was done to give these men an opportunity to put in a defence so that the magistrate could have some grounds to dismiss them.

Further, I wish to draw your attention to the several cases which were dismissed in Hull today on the grounds, my inspector informs me, that the magistrate considered that these men were farmers and were doing their duty much better as such than they would as soldiers.

In other words, he was assuming the jurisdiction of the tribunals under the Act, instead of acting as a magistrate sitting upon the case of a defaulter. The report continues:

In connection with these cases, none of the accused appeared in person, but Mr. Fortier, M.P. defended them, and it looks very much to me as if he has considerable influence with the magistrate in regard to his decisions.

In view of the large number of cases which have been dismissed where there is really no legitimate excuse or defence made, do you not think it would be advisable to again turn over the defaulters apprehended in this district to the A.P.M. for court-martial?

To this report the Acting Chief Commissioner of Police appended his note " Submitted for approval," A. J. Cawdron, and Mr. Newcombe appended his note " Yes, court-martial." In support of that, I shall read some subsidiary reports on individual eases:

Ottawa, May 7, 1919.

Memorandum for Chief Inspector A. H. Holden.

Daily Report for the 6th instant.

Re: Joseph Hamelin, SC 253364, Buckingham, Que., Group 3.

I beg to report that the subject appeared before Judge Goyette at Buckingham.

This case was dismissed through affidavits that he was sick at the time he was supposed to report, and when he got better the armistice was signed, so he thought all was over.

The date this man was ordered to report was May 2, 1918, so he has been in default something over a year.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   THE MILITARY SERVICE ACT.
Sub-subtopic:   ADMINISTRATION IN WRIGHT COUNTY.
Permalink
UNION

Samuel Hughes

Unionist

Sir SAM HUGHES:

Who made that report?

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   THE MILITARY SERVICE ACT.
Sub-subtopic:   ADMINISTRATION IN WRIGHT COUNTY.
Permalink
UNION

Arthur Meighen (Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Unionist

Mr. MEIGHEN:

Arthur J. Dumais, Inspector of Dominion Police. The other cases are as follows:

Ovide Robitaille, Buckingham, Quebec-I beg to report that the subject appeared before Judge Goyette at Buckingham. This case was dismissed through affidavits that he was sick at the time he was supposed to report, and when he got better the armistice - was signed, so he thought all was over.

William Laberge, Masson, Quebec-I

beg to report that the subject appeared before Judge Goyette at Buckingham. This case was dismissed through affidavits that he was sick at the time he was supposed to report, and when he got better the armistice was signed, so he thought all was over.

Oscar Goulet, Masson, Quebec - I beg to report that the subject appeared before Judge Goyette at Buckingham. This case was dismissed through affidavits that he was sick at the time he was [DOT] supposed to report, and when he got better the armistice was signed, so he thought all was over.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   THE MILITARY SERVICE ACT.
Sub-subtopic:   ADMINISTRATION IN WRIGHT COUNTY.
Permalink
L LIB

Samuel William Jacobs

Laurier Liberal

Mr. JACOBS:

Mr. Speaker, I rise to a point of order. It seems to me that the hon. gentleman is going pretty far in his criticism of the Bench, and in that connection I wish to refer him to Bourinot, page 358, as follows:

All references to judges and courts of justice and to personages of high official station, of the nature of personal attacks and censure have always been considered unparliamentary and the speakers of the British and Canadian Houses have always treated them as breaches of order.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   THE MILITARY SERVICE ACT.
Sub-subtopic:   ADMINISTRATION IN WRIGHT COUNTY.
Permalink
UNION

Edgar Nelson Rhodes (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Unionist

Mr. SPEAKER:

I do not understand that the reference has anything to do with the Bench whatsoever; it merely concerns a magistrate.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   THE MILITARY SERVICE ACT.
Sub-subtopic:   ADMINISTRATION IN WRIGHT COUNTY.
Permalink
L LIB

Samuel William Jacobs

Laurier Liberal

Mr. JACOBS:

I understand the criticism is made in regard to a magistrate sitting as a judge on the Bench.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   THE MILITARY SERVICE ACT.
Sub-subtopic:   ADMINISTRATION IN WRIGHT COUNTY.
Permalink
UNION

Edgar Nelson Rhodes (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Unionist

Mr. SPEAKER:

That rule has never been held applicable to magistrates; only to judges.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   THE MILITARY SERVICE ACT.
Sub-subtopic:   ADMINISTRATION IN WRIGHT COUNTY.
Permalink

May 14, 1919