June 12, 1922

LIB

George Perry Graham (Minister of Militia and Defence; Minister of the Naval Service)

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM:

I cannot speak from technical legal knowledge; but the Government's object in this is to establish a new department, called the Department of National Defence. The establishment of that new department, as I understand the matter, could not be made by Order in Council. It is true, as the right hon. gentleman (Mr. Meighen) says, there is a provision by which you can send departments or portions of departments from one department to another; but in this instance we are doing more than that, we are establishing a new department and making provision that this department shall include the Departments of Naval Service, Aviation and Militia. It will not continue to be a Militia Department; it will be a department of a broader scope, called National Defence. This bill changes the title of the minister, and there is another amendment which has been introduced which will enable the minister to be paid under this new arrangement. While many of the things that were in this bill in the first place could have been done by Order in Council, it was the desire of the Government that it should be made clear that what we were doing was by statute and to make the rearrangement of this department statutory. The Senate has made some changes; but it has not changed the important features of the bill, and the amendments that they have made will not prevent the minister from carrying out, by Order in Council, what he intended to do by statute. But I maintain that the bill is necessary if practically a new department is to be established.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL DEFENCE
Subtopic:   CONCURRENCE IN AMENDMENTS MADE BY THE SENATE
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CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

I have not yet succeeded in turning up the statute; but having read it some weeks ago, I can speak from memory until I can get the statute before me that I may read it. I am not arguing that the Government, under the statute that now exists, can create a new department; but the Government can unite departments, amalgamate them, and there is no limit to the amalgamation which the Government has power to make. It may be that the department so formed by the union of other departments would require to be called by the name of one of the other departments. It would not be a very serious matter if this department were to continue to be known as the Department of Militia and Defence instead of the Department of National Defence, and it would scarcely be worth while passing a new statute to alter the name. The old name is just as significant as this, and this one has no advantage except, perhaps, that of brevity. Naval Service would be included under the title of Defence; but the old title is just as embracive as is the present one. Consequently, the Government was able, under the statute as it was, to do what it seeks to do by this bill. The minister says: "Oh, under the old statute we acted by Order in Council; we want to act by statute." Under this statute the minister must act by Order in Council, just as under the old.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL DEFENCE
Subtopic:   CONCURRENCE IN AMENDMENTS MADE BY THE SENATE
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LIB

George Perry Graham (Minister of Militia and Defence; Minister of the Naval Service)

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM:

Now.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL DEFENCE
Subtopic:   CONCURRENCE IN AMENDMENTS MADE BY THE SENATE
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CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

Undoubtedly. Statutes determine the will of Parliament. Statutes enable the Government to do certain things.

Defence Bill

The old statute determined the will of Parliament and enabled the Government to do this work of amalgamation as it might see fit. This new bill does just the same thing; it is coming back to Parliament, I fear, merely for purposes of advertisement, in order to enable the Government to do what it already could do. Of course, I know that under the original bill the Government was able to do what it could not do under the old statute; that is to say, under the original bill, it was virtually able to take the whole Department of Defence, the Departments of Militia, Naval Service and Aviation, out of the operation of the Civil Service Act. Now, under the amendments of the Senate, I understand, the Government cannot do that,-all credit to those instrumental in protecting the public to that extent. But now we have this bill, and the minister has not made clear what he can do under this bill that he could not have done without the bill. Let me read the former statute, which was assented to on the 12th April, 1918:

His Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate and House of Commons of Canada, enacts as follows:-

1. (1) The Governor in Council shall have power,-

(a) to transfer any powers, duties or functions or the control or supervision of any part of the public service from one minister of the Crown to any other minister of the Crown or from one department or portion of the public service to any other department of portion of the public service; or,

(b) to amalgamate and combine any two or more departments under one minister of the Crown and under one deputy minister,

(2) All orders made by the Governor in Council under the provisions of this act shall be laid before both Houses of Parliament within fifteen days after they are made if Parliament is then sitting, and if not, then within fifteen days from the commencement of the next ensuing session of Parliament.

This was a bill passed by the late government without any sounding of trumpets.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL DEFENCE
Subtopic:   CONCURRENCE IN AMENDMENTS MADE BY THE SENATE
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LIB

Jacques Bureau (Minister of Customs and Excise)

Liberal

Mr. BUREAU:

In 1919?

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL DEFENCE
Subtopic:   CONCURRENCE IN AMENDMENTS MADE BY THE SENATE
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CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

In 1918. Under this act the minister could do all he set out to do under the original legislation, save the evasion of the Civil Service Act and the holding of two deputies instead of one. Consequently, all the minister really set out to do by the new legislation was, first, to evade the Civil Service Act and, second, to preserve two deputies instead of one. Now, why does the minister withdraw this bill and act under the legislation that is already on the statute books?

(.Mr. Meighen 1

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL DEFENCE
Subtopic:   CONCURRENCE IN AMENDMENTS MADE BY THE SENATE
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LIB

Jacques Bureau (Minister of Customs and Excise)

Liberal

Mr. BUREAU:

In 1921 there was a fusion of the Inland Revenue Department and the Customs Department, and my right hon. friend passed legislation covering the matter, because he had to amend certain statutes. Certain words had to be changed to authorize the proceedings under the new Customs and Excise Act, and legislation was therefore necessary.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL DEFENCE
Subtopic:   CONCURRENCE IN AMENDMENTS MADE BY THE SENATE
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CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

What was the subsequent act?

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL DEFENCE
Subtopic:   CONCURRENCE IN AMENDMENTS MADE BY THE SENATE
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LIB

Jacques Bureau (Minister of Customs and Excise)

Liberal

Mr. BUREAU:

I cannot give the

chapter.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL DEFENCE
Subtopic:   CONCURRENCE IN AMENDMENTS MADE BY THE SENATE
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LIB

George Perry Graham (Minister of Militia and Defence; Minister of the Naval Service)

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM:

I do not think hon. members have a right to make half a dozen speeches at this stage.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL DEFENCE
Subtopic:   CONCURRENCE IN AMENDMENTS MADE BY THE SENATE
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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

If hon. gentlemen desire to discuss the matter in detail we had better go into committee.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL DEFENCE
Subtopic:   CONCURRENCE IN AMENDMENTS MADE BY THE SENATE
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LIB

George Perry Graham (Minister of Militia and Defence; Minister of the Naval Service)

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM:

I move, Mr. Speaker, that the House do now resolve itself into Committee of the Whole to consider the proposed amendments.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL DEFENCE
Subtopic:   CONCURRENCE IN AMENDMENTS MADE BY THE SENATE
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Motion agreed to, and the House went into Committee, Mr. Gordon in the Chair. On Amendment 5, page 2, line 12-Leave out sub-clauses (5) and (6) of clause 5.


PRO

Robert Milton Johnson

Progressive

Mr. JOHNSON (Moosejaw) :

Do I

understand the leader of the Opposition (Mr. Meighen) to say that it is not necessary to pass legislation, because the object in view could be secured by Order in Council, but that such Order in Council would have to come before Parliament for ratification?

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL DEFENCE
Subtopic:   CONCURRENCE IN AMENDMENTS MADE BY THE SENATE
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CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

The statute reads, like all others of the kind, that the regulations passed by the Governor in Council under the authority of the act must be laid on the Table of the House within fifteen days, if the House is sitting, or within fifteen days of its next ensuing session.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL DEFENCE
Subtopic:   CONCURRENCE IN AMENDMENTS MADE BY THE SENATE
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LIB

George Perry Graham (Minister of Militia and Defence; Minister of the Naval Service)

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM:

The statute gives certain powers, but not all the powers which the present situation demands. My right hon. friend says that we could, without additional legislation, bring other departments into the Department of Militia. I should like him to try to bring the Naval Service under the Militia Department. Possibly it may be a small thing, but the Government decided to follow the practice that obtains in several of the other overseas dominions and call the defence department the Department of National Defence, which would include the militia and the navy. It will be conceded, I think,

Defence Bill

that this is wise, and hon. gentlemen will agree that it becomes necessary, if we are to do that, to have this legislation in order to create that new department. The object is not, as my right hon. friend suggests, to get around the Civil Service Commission. That is all imaginary. Correspondence passed between the commission and myself and they thoroughly understand the object of the Government, which is not as my right hon. friend indicates. Owing to the amendments a classification will have to be made before clerks from other branches are taken in. Under the terms of the original bill we could have taken them in and then they would have been classified, but it would take three or four weeks longer to make the amalgamation, That is the only difference; but there is no attempt to get around the Civil Service Commission.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL DEFENCE
Subtopic:   CONCURRENCE IN AMENDMENTS MADE BY THE SENATE
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LIB

Jacques Bureau (Minister of Customs and Excise)

Liberal

Mr. BUREAU:

The same procedure was followed by my right hon. friend (Mr. Meighen) when he was in power. Last year he amalgamated the departments of Inland Revenue and Customs, under Chapter 26, 11-12 George V, in exactly the same way as we propose here. And it is only natural that legislation should be passed, because you have to amend certain sections of the existing act. This act is cited as "the Department of Customs and Excise Act". Section 2 reads:

The Minister of Customs and Excise shall be substituted for the Minister of Customs and for the Minister of Inland Revenue, etc.

The change is made by statute.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL DEFENCE
Subtopic:   CONCURRENCE IN AMENDMENTS MADE BY THE SENATE
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CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

The act to which my hon. friend refers undoubtedly was passed, but he will find that it was composed practically entirely of amendments to the old act, entirely aside from the question of amalgamation. Certainly if the amalgamated departments are to be known by a new name legislation is necessary, if it is considered important enough. And there may be one or two other things in the present case that make legislation indispensable. I do not know what they are, and I ask the minister to point out what there is in the new legislation that he could not do under the existing statute.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL DEFENCE
Subtopic:   CONCURRENCE IN AMENDMENTS MADE BY THE SENATE
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LIB

George Perry Graham (Minister of Militia and Defence; Minister of the Naval Service)

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM:

I have pointed out one very important thing, and that is the necessity for changing the name. At least, we think it is better to have the department called the Department of National Defence, and the change therefore necessitates new legislation. Let me quote a part of section 7:

7. (1) All the powers, duties and functions vested in any minister or deputy minister by The Naval Service Act, chapter forty-three of the statutes of 1910; the Militia Act, chapter forty-one of the Revised Statutes of Canada, 1906 ; the Militia Pension Act, chapter forty-two of the said Revised Statutes; the Royal Military College Act, chapter forty-three of the said Revised Statutes, and all Acts in amendment of any of the said acts, shall be vested in and performed and exercised by the Minister and Deputy Minister of National Defence respectively, and wherever the terms "Department" "Minister", anid "Deputy Minister" appear or are referred to in any of the said acts, or in any order or regulation made under any of the said Acts, the same shall, after the passing of this act, mean the Department of National Defence, the Minister of National Defence, and the Deputy Minister of National Defence respectively.

It seems to me that this plan is so plain that there can be no reasonable objection. The right hon. gentleman said that the statute which he cited gave the Government the right to make the amalgamation in the way it chose. That being the case, we choose to make it this way, by statute, which is the simpler and better way.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL DEFENCE
Subtopic:   CONCURRENCE IN AMENDMENTS MADE BY THE SENATE
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CON

John Babington Macaulay Baxter

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BAXTER:

If the minister only

wants to change the name, I do not see why we should not get together and assist him. In view of the reduction in the estimates for the militia and naval defence, why not call the new department the Department of National Pretence?

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL DEFENCE
Subtopic:   CONCURRENCE IN AMENDMENTS MADE BY THE SENATE
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June 12, 1922