April 3, 1922

CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

I have never contended, and have never even said, that the ministers who came into the Government had been or were in favour of conscription.

Topic:   MILITARY SERVICE ACT, 1917 AMENDMENT BILL
Permalink
LIB
LIB

Joseph Archambault

Liberal

Mr. ARCHAMBAULT:

Was the question of the attitude of the ministers on conscription never discussed before their entrance into the Cabinet?

Topic:   MILITARY SERVICE ACT, 1917 AMENDMENT BILL
Permalink
LIB

Napoléon Kemner Laflamme

Liberal

Mr. N. K. LAFLAMME (Drummond-Arthabasba) :

The bill proposes to repeal a statute which is no longer in effect, because it is exhausted. The Government takes that view and so does the leader of the Opposition. That is also the opinion of the law officers. Surely the war was concluded by the ratification of the three Treaties, Versailles, St. Germain and Sevres. There is nothing for us to discuss here, so why bring such a question before the House. The discussion will not advance the business of the House one iota. Its only effect is to transfer to this Chamber-for a motive I am unable to appreciate-a debate which will have not the slightest effect upon the members of this House, whatever influence it might have if conducted from the hustings.

Mr. HENRI E. LAVIGUEUR (Quebec County): When conducting the fight in my constituency at the last election I had to face opponents who demanded of me that I should ask Parliament, if circumstances permit, to repeal the Conscription Act. At that time I happened to have as my opponent Mr., Armand Lavergne, the chief of the Nationalist party in the district of Quebec. That gentleman opposed me on the ground that I had not asked Parliament to repeal the act of 1917. Mr. Lavergne was supported in that fight by chiefs of the Conservative party, some of whom were the intimate friends of the leader of the Opposition. I told the electors at the time exactly what the hon. member who has just taken his seat has stated to the House

that the Conscription Act was dead and that there was no need to repeal a dead law. Now I am happy to have the statement I made at that time confirmed in this House by no less a person than the leader of the Opposition himself.

Mr. H. A. FORTIER (Labelle), (Translation) : Mr. Speaker, I have but a few remarks to add with reference to the proposed legislation which is before this House. I do not wish to recall the unpleasant reminiscences of the last general election. The electors of the county of Labelle returned me with such a large majority that I can afford, in this instance, to be magnanimous and not take any notice of the declarations made by my opponents. I then declared in the presence of my electors that there was no necessity of a special bill for the repeal of the Military Service Act as the latter did not exist. These declarations, I believe, are absolutely identical to those made in this House by the hon. leader of the Government (Mr. Mackenzie King), and moreover by the right hon. leader of the Opposition (Mr. Meighen). I still hold to this opinion as I contended before my electors, that no necessity exists to bring in a special bill for the repeal of the Conscription Act. However, seeing that the Prime Minister has given us communication of a letter of the legal adviser to the Justice Department, leading to the belief

National Defence

that perhaps in certain parts of the country, there seems to exist doubts on the advisability of such a bill, I emphatically declare that I am in favour of this bill, if its mover persists in submitting it to the consideration of this House. I have always been opposed to conscription, and if the measure is necessary, I shall gladly give my support to a bill which would repeal the Military Service Act of 1917.

Topic:   MILITARY SERVICE ACT, 1917 AMENDMENT BILL
Permalink
LIB

Hewitt Bostock (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

In my judgment this-discussion is out of order. Any resolution presented in the House must have something positive as to its effect. If a motion is made or a bill introduced with a view to repeal legislation, that legislation must be in existence. From the opinions of the Law Officers of the House of Commons and of the Deputy Minister of Justice, and, after the opinion expressed by some of the leaders on both sides, I come to the conclusion that the Military Service Act, 1917, cannot be repealed, because it has exhausted itself, and is considered as non-existent at present in the statutes. Therefore I give it as my opinion that this bill should be dropped and that the discussion should not proceed and I so rule.

Topic:   MILITARY SERVICE ACT, 1917 AMENDMENT BILL
Permalink

DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL DEFENCE


Hon. GEORGE P. GRAHAM (Minister of Militia and Defence) moved that the House to-morrow go into Committee of the Whole on the following proposed resolution: Resolved-1. That it is expedient to bring in a measure to create a department of the Government of Canada to be called the Department of National Defence, over which a Minister of the Crown shall preside who shall be the Minister of National Defence. 2. That the Minister shall be charged with all matters relating to Defence, including the Militia, the Military, Naval, Air and Police Services of Canada. 3. That there shall be a Deputy Minister of National Defence who shall be appointed by the Governor in Council, and hold office during pleasure, and such officers may be appointed as are necessary for the carrying on of the business of the department. 4. That the Governor in Council on the recommendation of the Minister may appoint an officer who shall, in relation to the Naval Service exercise all the powers and duties vested in the Deputy Minister of the Naval Service by or under The Naval Service Act, and who shall have the rank and salary of a Deputy Head of a department, and shall be a member of the Defence Council. 5. That the Governor in Council on the recommendation of the Minister may appoint an officer to be known as Comptroller, who under the Deputy Minister of National Defence, shall be charged with all financial matters pertaining to the Department of National Defence. TMr. Fortier ] 6. That any person whose position is abolished on the coming into force of the Act to be based upon these Resolutions may, on the recommendation of the Minister, be appointed by the Governor in Council to such position in the Department and with such rank, title and salary as shall be prescribed. 7. That if any person is removed from office or an appointment in consequence of the abolition of his office or his appointment by the Act based upon these Resolutions or by any order or regulation thereunder, or is retired within two years after the coming into force of the said Act, the Governor in Council may grant him a gratuity, retiring or superannuation allowance, or pension not exceeding such as he would have been entitled or eligible to receive if he had been retired under the provisions of any Act applicable to him, after adding from one to three years, as the Governor in Council may deem advisable, to his actual term of service. 8. That provision be made to vest the powers, duties and functions vested in the Ministers and Deputy Ministers under the various Acts relating to the Naval Service, the Militia, Militia Pensions, the Royal Military College, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Dominion Police, in the Minister of National Defence and the Deputy Minister of National Defence respectively :-Provided that the powers vested in the Deputy Minister of the Naval Service under the Naval Service Act shall be exercised by the officer appointed for that purpose as aforesaid. 9. That provision be made to constitute a Defence Council to advise the Minister on all matters of Defence, including or relating to the Militia, the Military, Naval, Air and Police Services of Canada, and on all matters referred to it by the Minister, and to perform such other duties as may be prescribed by the Governor in Council. He said: I beg to inform the House that His Excellency the Governor General having been apprised of the subject matter of the resolution commends it to the consideration of the House. Motion agreed to.


SUPPLY-AGRICULTURE


House in Committee of Supply, Mr. Gordon in the Chair. Department of Agriculture :- Salaries ? 640,717 50 Contingencies 135,000 00


PRO

Henry Elvins Spencer

Progressive

Mr. SPENCER:

On page 87 there is an item, "Chief, sheep and goat division, $3,210." Will the minister tell me what the duties of this gentleman are?

Topic:   SUPPLY-AGRICULTURE
Permalink
LIB

William Richard Motherwell (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Hon. W. R. MOTHERWELL (Minister of Agriculture) :

That gentleman has

charge of the marketing of these animals and the development of new strains or breeds. It may seem strange to my hon. friend that we should be raising goats in our country, but we are. They are in use, sometimes for milk purposes, as well as for their meat.

Supply-A grieu Iture

Topic:   SUPPLY-AGRICULTURE
Permalink
CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

I think it would be opportune now if the Minister of Agriculture would give us an explanation of an appointment which has been made in his department to a post that it had not been considered necessary to fill for some time, and the making of which, so far as any information I have goes, was wholly against the provision, the spirit, if not, indeed, the letter of the Civil Service Act. I refer to the appointment of Mr. Duncan Marshall to the position of Commissioner of Agriculture. The Civil Service Commission classified this position and1 fixed the maximum salary, I think, at $4,200. Even with the classification there, owing to the fact that the Agricultural Instruction Act had got wholly under way, there was no very great difficulty to Ibe encountered in the completion of the grants to be -made under that act. It was not considered necessary to fill the position and incur that expenditure, because the officers of the department felt themselves wholly capable of taking care of all the work that had been done previously by the commissioner. Notwithstanding this the present Government has appointed a Commissioner of Agriculture, and as the reports state-and I do not think it is disputed-has repealed the Civil1 Service recommendation as to salary, and gone beyond the maximum by about $1,800 to commence with, giving Mr. Marshall $6,000 a year at the public expense. I believe that in relation to certain subjects in his department we have had the spectacle lately of the deputy minister- who by the way draws only $6,000 himself- having an officer under him drawing the same salary. I do not know whether the minister counts the Commissioner of Agriculture under the deputy minister or not. Possibly there are two executive heads in his department. We have had the spectacle of these two officers giving diametrically opposite statements as to matters affecting the department in relation to the embargo. I think the House is entitled to an explanation as to why they saw fit to fasten this charge on the public, and whether or not it was on the recommendation of the Deputy Minister of Agriculture, a most efficient officer.

Topic:   SUPPLY-AGRICULTURE
Permalink
LIB

William Richard Motherwell (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. MOTHERWELL:

This is a matter that does not come under the head of civil government as Mr. Mashall's salary is dealt with in the estimate for the administration of the Agricultural Instruction Act. With your permission, Mr. Chairman, however, I wall be very pleased to give the explanation.

Topic:   SUPPLY-AGRICULTURE
Permalink
CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

How does the minister justify taking an officer's salary, which is a civil government matter, out of civil government, and putting it under the other estimate?

Topic:   SUPPLY-AGRICULTURE
Permalink
LIB

William Richard Motherwell (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. MOTHERWELL:

Mr. Duncan

Marshall has not been appointed Commissioner of Agriculture at all.

Topic:   SUPPLY-AGRICULTURE
Permalink
CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

What position has he been appointed to?

Topic:   SUPPLY-AGRICULTURE
Permalink
LIB

William Richard Motherwell (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. MOTHERWELL:

If I have the permission of the Chair, I will read the Order in Council, and probably that will speak for itself. I may say that I think answers to questions in regard to this matter were tabled to-day: This is the Order in Council:

The Committee of the Privy Council have had before them a report, dated 1st February, 1922, from the Minister of Agriculture, submitting that the Agricultural Instruction Act under which the suih of $1,100,000 annually has been granted to the Provincial Departments of Agriculture for the purpose of aiding agricultural instruction in the provinces expires March 31st, 1923.

The minister states that in view of the extraordinary and exceptional conditions in the agricultural world it is highly desirable that an investigation be made into the advisability of the continuation, discontinuation or emendation of the provisions of this Act; the amounts to be paid, and the methods of calculating such amounts in the event of its. extension; and the scope of the work of the provinces to be undertaken- with the assistance of funds provided thereunder.

It is considered advisable that a commissioner be appointed under section 38c of the Civil Service Act as amended by chapter 22 of the Statutes of 1921, to conduct the investigation indicated above, and to inquire into such other agricultural problems as may be desirable and necessary.

The minister, therefore recommends that Mr. Duncan Marshall, of Olds, Alberta, be appointed as a commissioner for the above purpose, and to perform such other duties of a cognate nature as may be delegated to him.

The minister further recommends that Mr. Marshall be paid a salary at the rate of $6,000 per annum, said salary to be paid from the appropriation provided for the administration of the Agricultural Instruction Act and that this appointment date from January 15, 1922.

The committee concur in the foregoing recommendations and submit the same for approval.

I will read simply that part of section 38a:, beginning within five lines of the bottom, which has to do more particularly with the subject under consideration:

Nothing in this Act shall affect the powers of the Governor in Council with respeot to the appointment of any commissioner or other member of any Hoyal or other commission or board, or any deputy head.

Supply-A griculture

The appointment was made under that section, not as Commissioner of Agriculture, but as a commissioner to make certain investigations with respect to the continuance, or non-continuance or amendment of the Agricultural Instruction Act. That is what he is engaged in doing now, and I hope we shall have his report in time to determine what will be the character of the legislation. The hon. member for Centre Vancouver (Mr. Stevens), in his speech on the Address, referred to the absence of any reference to this. We are contemplating bringing down legislation; but before doing so, we shall have the special report stating how this legislation can be improved or extended, or whether it should be left just the way it is.

Topic:   SUPPLY-AGRICULTURE
Permalink
PRO

Thomas Alexander Crerar

Progressive

Mr. CRERAR:

Am I to gather from my hon. friend's remarks that this question is not a permanent one?

Topic:   SUPPLY-AGRICULTURE
Permalink
LIB
PRO

April 3, 1922