Who have served on the high seas in a seagoing ship of war in the naval forces of His Majesty.
During the war a large number of ships were employed by this country in Canadian waters, performing, I have no doubt, very valuable service. In many instances these ships were employed within harbours doing necessary and important work. If we include that class of men, we should consider whether a preference should be given to them over any other person or class of persons in Canada. Did my hon. friends have any officer of the Naval Department before them to assist them in determining the meaning of these words and what persons would come within the definition?
Probably my hon. friend (Mr. Cronyn) would allow me to reply briefly for him. Until this change was made to which the hon. member (Mr. Maclean) refers, sailors who served in the Royal Canadian Navy during the war were not placed on a parity with soldiers who served overseas. This is to put the Canadian sailor on an equal footing with the soldier. It alludes only to Canadian officers and men who served in the Royal Canadian Navy during the war.
It is perhaps dangerous to express an opinion upon a matter so delicate as this without having on opportunity of considering the matter, which opportuity I have not had. I am inclined to doubt very much the wisdom of extending a preference of this nature to all persons who served with His Majesty's Navy during the war. I, of course, have not in mind Canadians who were serving on any of His Majesty's ships, who were liable to be, or who were engaged in action, or who were employed in dangerous or hazardous work. But I doubt very much the wisdom of placing in this position persons who were in His Majesty's service and who were doing, say, harbour work, during the war. It may be that the persons I instance do not come within the terms of this clause, but I want to be sure about the matter, and I am rather disposed to feel that they would come within it.
makes it abundantly clear; it refers only to those sailors who have served on the high seas. Any of the men in the Naval Service who were simply on shore, for instance in the dockyard at Halifax, would not be included in this at all,
but I am sure that my hon. friend will agree with me that the Canadians who served in the navy on the high seas are perfectly entitled to what this Bill intends to give them.
I could not give my hon. friend the names of all the ships at the moment, but there would be the "Rainbow," for instance, the "Niobe," and the mine sweepers and trawlers that were operating on the Atlantic coast.
The committee, I suppose, gave consideration to this, but I doubt very much if this question has been given the full consideration it deserves. While I do not intend to oppose the amendment, I have very grave doubts myself. I am very sorry indeed that this amendment has been moved to the Bill.
I move to amend the Bill by adding thereto the following:
Section 33A of the said Act as enacted by chapter forty-one of the statutes of 1920, is hereby amended by adding at the end thereof the following words:
(11) Epiphany Day.
(12) Ascension Day.
(13) All Saints Day.
(14) Conception Day.
In accepting this amendment the House will only be endorsing the pledges which were given to it by the former Prime Minister, the right hon. member for King's (Sir Robert Borden), and by the present Prime Minister (Mr. Meighen) regarding Catholic religious obligatory holidays. You will remember, Mr. Chairman, that the question came up for the first time last year on an amendment made by the Senate. The House did not concur in the amendment made by the Senate, and we did not press a motion to the effect I have now made because the Prime Minister of that day, the right hon. member for King's, assured the House that Catholic civil servants would not be disturbed in their privileges as to obligatory religious holidays. Later on, in November last, it transpired that an order was issued in all the departments here at Ottawa and in other cities, that Catholic civil employees had to work on the religious obligatory holidays. At the beginning of the present session, we asked the Government to carry out the pledge which was given to the House by the former Prime Minister, and during the month of
May the present Prime Minister in answer to a question that I asked on the Orders of the Day stated that in the future the religious obligatory holidays would be observed in the Civil Service.
I must ask the hon. member to cite the rule under which notice is required for an amendment to a public or government Bill. There is a rule which requires notice of an amendment to be moved in Committee of the Whole to a private Bill, but I know of no such rule in the case of a public Bill.
It has always been customary to give notice. The hon. member for London (Mr. Cronyn) gave notice of his amendments in the Votes and Proceedings, and I think the hon. member for Nicolet should have done the same. Whether there is a rule or not it has always been the practice in this Parliament to give notice.
The right hon. the Prime Minister, in answer to a question which I put on the Orders of the Day, stated that in the future Catholic civil employees would enjoy the privilege of not working on obligatory religious holidays. I understand that after that, in order to put all the civil employees on an equal footing, an Order in Council was passed declaring that Ascension Day was to be considered as a legal holiday throughout the Civil Service. The amendment which I propose is only for the purpose of legalizing the pledges which were given on that occasion by the former Prime Minister and the present Prime Minister.
I remember when this question came up last year on an^ amend-TTiont made by the Senate to the Civil Service Act, the little exchange of argument that (took place between my right hon. friend the member for King's (Sir Robert Borden) and myself, and with your permission, Mr. Chairman, I shall quote what was said on that occasion, June 26 of last year.
I shall take the point of order submitted by the hon. member under consideration, but my first impression would be to declare the amendment to be in order. It will be remembered that this section fixing the statutory holidays was introduced last year by the Senate, and not by this House. That would confirm my opinion that it cannot be considered as a matter of involving a charge upon the public treasury.
number of holidays mentioned in the Civil Service Act at the present time is larger than the number of holidays mentioned in the Interpretation Act. I may, however, be in error on that point. The fact that the country would not get service for the salary paid on the holidays is a very remote circumstance to be considered in connection with the regularity of the motion.
I shall give a definite ruling later but meanwhile, the hon. member may proceed.
I was referring to the little exchange which took place between the right hon. member for King's and myself during the discussion on the amendment made by the Senate to the Civil Service Act last year. I said (Hansard p. 4261): ,
Why should we not accept the precedent which has been created, which has been observed and which has never been challenged- Sir Robert Borden: Nobody Is challenging it. Mr. Lemieux: No, but if we agree to the amendment of the Senate we depart from the custom which has been established. We do away with a time-honoured usage, and we may not always have a Prime Minister who is so broadminded as is the right hon. gentleman. He says that no exception will be taken to the observance of these holidays
The holidays proposed in ,the amendment of my hon. friend from Nicolet.
Well and good, but still under the amendment of rthe Senate in which we are asked to concur, these holidays will be done away with. .
Sir Robert Borden: No.
Mr. Lemieux: That is as I understand it. Sir Robert Borden: I should like to make it plain to the hon. gentleman. If there was no statutory provision on the subject, matters would go on in this country exactly as they have done for the past fifty years. It would continue to depend upon custom and convention to which ray hon. friend has alluded. Now the Senate have given the force of law to a portion of that custom and convention.
Mr. Lemieux: I take it that under the amendment of the Senate it is for the future decided that certain religious holidays which have existed by custom since Confederation are abolished.
Sir Robert Borden: I thought I had informed my hon. friend that the acceptance of the Senate amendment is not intended to disturb the custom and convention that has existed for something like fifty years.
Mr. Lemieux: I am quite ready to accept my right hon. friend's -word. X shall never doubt it, ibut at all events I understood that the amendment of the Senate did what I have stated.
Resting on that assurance, given by the right hon. gentleman, the amendment of the Senate was concurred in by the House of Commons; but my right hon. friend resigned, and the usual religious holidays on the occasions mentioned in the amendment moved by my hon. friend from Nicoiet (Mr. Trahan), namely Epiphany Day, All Saints' Day, Conception Day, and Ascension Day, were not all observed. I may freely say that the right hon. Prime Minister (Mr. Meighen) this year, on the occasion of Ascension Day, had an Order in Council passed to maintain the custom of the past in connection with that festivity; and while I do not suggest that my right hon. friend was a party to it-far be it from me to say that-the Order in Council took effect only in the city of Ottawa. The Outside Service did not benefit by it, and consequently, as regards the other festivities, such as All Saints' Day and Conception Day, the usuage and custom was not followed. I know from letters received from some of the civil servants that there was some objection taken to the decision of the various heads of departments. All that my hon. friend asks by the amendment is to re-establish the custom and time-honoured usage that has obtained since Confederation under Macdonald, under Tupper, under Thompson, under Abbot, under Laurier, under Mackenzie Bowell, under Alexander Mackenzie, and under Borden. I want my right hon. friend the present Prime Minister also to follow the precedent which all his great predecessors have observed.