May 23, 1921

UNION

Hugh Guthrie (Solicitor General of Canada; Minister of Militia and Defence)

Unionist

Mr. GUTHRIE:

The session was so far advanced before the Bill reached its second reading that in the ordinary course it could not be passed unless the Government took it over. The Government approved of the principle of the Bill, and it is hoped that the committee will approve it.

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L LIB

Samuel William Jacobs

Laurier Liberal

Mr. JACOBS:

The Government is simply robbing the hon. member for South Renfrew of his own little ewe lamb.

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UNION

Hugh Guthrie (Solicitor General of Canada; Minister of Militia and Defence)

Unionist

Mr. GUTHRIE:

No. I am sure we

will be glad to accord the hon. member for South Renfrew any honour to which he may* be entitled for having been the first to make the suggestion last session.

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L LIB

Samuel William Jacobs

Laurier Liberal

Mr. JACOBS:

It indicates that the

Government is two years behind those on this side of the House in adopting good legislation.

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UNION

Hugh Guthrie (Solicitor General of Canada; Minister of Militia and Defence)

Unionist

Mr. GUTHRIE:

Coming to section 2, I

submit to the committee that the language might well be amended by striking out the words in the eighth line "by which Canada was delivered from her enemies." If words to that effect are to be inserted, I would rather substitute "by which Canada triumphed over her enemies." But'I think it would be better if we eliminated the words altogether.

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L LIB

Samuel William Jacobs

Laurier Liberal

Mr. JACOBS:

How would the section

read then?

Throughout Canada iij each and every year the Monday in the week in which is the eleventh day of November, being the day in 1918 in which the Great War was triumphantly concluded by an armistice, shall be a legal holiday and shall be kept and observed as such under the name of Armistice Day.

That is the way it will read if the amendment carries.

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UNION

Robert Laird Borden

Unionist

Sir ROBERT BORDEN:

I should think that instead of the word "is" in the sixth line the words "shall occur" should be substituted; it is the future tense.

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UNION

Hugh Guthrie (Solicitor General of Canada; Minister of Militia and Defence)

Unionist

Mr. GUTHRIE:

I think that would be better. That may be incorporated in the amendment.

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UNION

Michael Steele

Unionist

The CHAIRMAN (Mr. Steele):

Mr. Guthrie moves that clause 2 of Bill 119 be amended by striking out the word "is" in the sixth line and adding the words "shall occur" after the word "November" in line 7, and by striking out the words "by which Canada was delivered from her enemies" in lines 8 and 9.

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Amendment agreed to.


L LIB

Isaac Ellis Pedlow

Laurier Liberal

Mr. PEDLOW:

Mr. Chairman, the Solicitor General is not quite correct in stating that this measure was introduced by me last year. In the first session of 1919, that which immediately followed the cessation of hostilities, I proposed the following resolution, which appears as No. 37 on page 25 of the Order Paper of Monday, April 7:

That, in the opinion of this House, November 11 of each year should be set aside as a day of national thanksgiving', to be a perpetual memorial to the signing of the armistice, ending the great world war.

Almost immediately after that resolution appeared on the Order Paper the press of Canada from one end of the country to the other commented favourably on the proposal. But for some years prior to that time, at the request of the Commercial Travellers' Association of Canada, Thanksgiving Day had been observed on the Monday of the week in which that holiday ordinarily occurred. A delegation of commercial travellers came from Toronto to Ottawa, bringing with them the secretary of their association, and interviewed me with a view towards seeing whether I would not adopt as the holiday the day on which the armistice was signed, which was the second Monday in November, instead of adopting the date, November 11. In my judgment it mattered very little

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REVISED EDITION. COMMONS '


whether the exact date or the exact day was named; either would serve the idea I had in mind, and th'e naming of the day instead of the date would, at the same time, meet the wishes of this large and influential body of citizens. In view, therefore, of the representations then made I had no hesitation in adopting the suggestion, and instead of proceeding with my resolution as it appeared on the Order Paper I introduced, on April 9, 1919, Bill No. 66, "An Act respecting Thanksgiving Day." This Bill was prepared by the parliamentary counsel, so I presume it was in proper form. The Bill was as follows: 1. The annual thanksgiving day, heretofore held on a day fixed by proclamation of the Governor in Council, shall hereafter be held on the second Monday of November in each year, as a perpetual memorial of the victorious conclusion of the recent war, in addition to such other reasons as may be prescribed by proclamation of the Governor in Council for that purpose published; and paragraph (11) of section thirty-four of the Interpretation Act, and paragraph (a) of section forty-three of the Bills of Exchange Act, chapters one, and one hundred and nineteen, of the Revised Statutes of Canada, 1906, are amended by adding "Thanksgiving Day" to the lists of holidays and non-juridical days, mentioned in the said paragraphs. This Bill received its ,first reading in the first session of 1919. I endeavoured to have it proceeded with during that session but without success. However, during the second session of 1919, on September 4, I introduced a Bill in exactly the same form, Bill No. 2.


UNION

Michael Steele

Unionist

The CHAIRMAN (Mr. Steele):

I would direct the hon. gentleman's attention to the fact that clause 2 of the Bill is under consideration. I am afraid he is wandering away from that clause.

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L LIB

Isaac Ellis Pedlow

Laurier Liberal

Mr. PEDLOW:

I am keeping as close as I can to clause 2. I wish to give the reasons for an amendment which I intend to propose, and my remarks are all leading up to that point. Shall I proceed, Mr. Chairman, along that line?

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UNION

Michael Steele

Unionist

The CHAIRMAN (Mr. Steele):

Perhaps the hon. gentleman would reach the conclusion without laying the foundation.

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L LIB

Isaac Ellis Pedlow

Laurier Liberal

Mr. PEDLOW:

It is necessary that I should proceed in this way, because the Solicitor General, who has charge of this Bill, has stated that it was introduced at the last session, which is not correct, and I want to show the history of the Bill. Now, Bill No. 2 was passed through several stages in the second session of 1919 and was brought down to the third reading.

On the third reading a difficulty arose through the fact that the Bill had been amended in committee and it was my desire that it should be again referred back for consideration. The member for South Perth (Mr. Steele) on that occasion, moved the six months' hoist, and the motion was carried by the small majority of five. I felt then, as I feel to-day, that the Bill as originally! introduced by me had (many features of merit and was deserving of better consideration at the hands of the House. I felt, and still feel, that the opposition to the Bill was not in accordance with the best traditions of this House. It seemed to be the determination of hon. gentlemen opposite that because this Bill had been introduced by a member of the Opposition, it should be thrown out. In that connection I should not include all hon. gentlemen opposite, because I noted with pleasure that several leading members and supporters of the Government approved of and voted for the measure as introduced by me at that time. It was a great pleasure to me to have had that support, but on that occasion there was, on the Goverivment side of the House, a certain circle of members who seemed to be seized of the idea that it was an intolerable situation for a member of the Opposition to get away with a proposition of this kind. Consequently, the order went forth that the Bill must be killed in the final stages, so the executioner came along and the hon. member for Perth South was the chief executioner on that occasion.

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L LIB
L LIB

Isaac Ellis Pedlow

Laurier Liberal

Mr. PEDLOW:

It was not a slow poison, I can assure the committee, because it was sudden death on that occasion. From that time to the present, there have been appeals from one end of the country to the other for reconsideration of this matter, and last Armistice Day the appeal was so insistent that it evidently had its effect. I am sorry that Canada was denied by a small majority of -her representatives the privilege of observing Armistice Day on the first anniversary of that event and of continuing the observance for all time to come. Armistice Day appealed to me, not for the purpose of observing a great victory over our enemies, but for the purpose of observing a cessation of the hostilities that had raged so long in the great world war. To-day I do not see any reason why the change suggested by the hon. member for Parkdale (Mr. Mowat) in the first instance this year, and the Solicitor General (Mr. Guthrie), who

has taken over the measure on behalf of the Government to see it through on the present occasion should be made. I understand, in a general way, that the change is made out of regard for the feelings of the hon. member for Brantford (Mr. Cock-shutt), who was one of the strenuous opponents of my proposition in the first instance. I do not see any reason why the proposition as introduced by me in the first instance should be changed now. The change does not add to clearness in the matter, and, as a matter of fact, it makes the proposition so indefinite and roundabout that one would have to do some figuring before he could reach a definite conclusion which day was intended to be observed. If you, Sir, will follow me in reading the second clause of the Bill, I think you will come to the same conclusion. I think you are clear enough in vision and intelligence to do so. The clause reads:

Throughout Canada in each and every year the Monday in the week to which is the eleventh day of November, being the day in 1918 in which the Great War was triumphantly concluded by an armistice by which Canada was delivered from her enemies, shall be a legal holiday and shall be kept and observed as such under the name of Armistice Day.

That phraseology reminds me of the Irishman's clock, one of those old wag-of-the-wall on which you pull a chain in order to wind it up. Some of the older members of the House may have seen an instrument of that kind. By the way, the clocks around this chamber remind me somewhat of the incident to which I am referring, because no two of them are ever at the same time.

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CON

May 23, 1921