July 11, 1917 (12th Parliament, 7th Session)


Arthur Meighen (Solicitor General of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)


Because the board of
selection which names one of the members of the tribunal is intended to be composed of persons chosen by hon. members opposite to as great an extent as persons are chosen by hon. members on this side of the House. That is the intention and it has already been so stated. The board selects one member of each local tribunal and a judge selects the other. I do not think it is ex.ag-

gerating the condition of affairs on the bench to say that most of the county court judges in Canada to-day were appointed by hon. gentlemen opposite. lit is ait least within the mark to say that in the choice of this board of selection, hon. gentlemen opposite and those appointed by them, will have really more to say than hon. members on this side and those appointed by them. The appeal tribunals which are above the local tribunals 'and which are to correct errors made by the local tribunals 'Consist solely of judges, and I do not think it is wrong to say that most of these judges also were appointed by hon. gentlemen opposite. That is in the nature of things because they were in power for sixteen years while we have been in power for something over five years. Then, the central appeal judge is chosen from the Supreme Count bench, consequently there again hon. gentlemen opposite have already reposed perhaps the highest standard of confidence that could be reposed' in any man in Canada. If, under these circumstances, we have to assume that we are going to have a set of worthless local tribunals, a worthless central appeal judge, and .a worthless Government, of course the Bill will not be a success.
That is the only conclusion in which I can agree with the hon. member for Edmonton. But I have not lost faith in human nature. The hon. jpember for Edmonton has hem in a state of cerebral distemper or something lately-I do not know what is wrong. He seems to have no faith or confidence in any one. This is a selective compulsory service Bill. We want to apply a process of selection to get those men. In working that out I should like to have employed the finest analysing and selective instrument in the world, which is the human mind. The hon. member for Edmonton, on the contrary, would rather commit that task to a box of dice or to some instrument of chance, having lost faith in human nature. I have not lost faith in my fellow men. The hon. member wants to substitute blind chance for human judgment. He has no confidence in two men, but all kinds of confidence in two straws. That is the difference between myself and the hon. member for Edmonton. It is a question of the choice of the best method. I am in agreement with him also that what he stated this afternoon had been stated by him before; in fact I would go further and say it has been stated by him over and over again before and has been answered before. I cannot congratulate him upon having made any impression by

that kind of so-called reasoning upon either his own side of the House or this side. All I can do is to reaffirm now that, so far as we have been able to do it, ihe principles imbedded in this Bill are the principles which, fairly acted upon by reasonable men, will select the most available men for the front, which is the primary object, with the least injury to agricultural and industrial pursuits at home. That is the purpose, and if, in effecting that purpose, there is any definite suggestion or amendment that in the opinion of hon. gentlemen will secure that end more clearly and certainly, -we shall be only too glad to hear it.

Full View