June 2, 1921 (13th Parliament, 5th Session)

UNION

Arthur Meighen (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Unionist

Mr. MEIGHEN:

They may have been
commandeered, but the officers and crew were paid just the same as those of ships that were not commandeered. It would never do for this Government to treat men in that position differently from those who were in other merchant ships that were not taken over by the Admiralty. They were not enlisted men, nor were they impressed into the service; they were simply there because that was the job that suited them best; they were suiting their own ends in going there. It may be that some were animated by a higher purpose, but we cannot assume that all were. There is no question that there is a very material

difference between that class and those who were impressed into the direct service of the country during the war whether on sea or on land. There is no difference at all between the class of men for whom this consideration is sought and others who suffered by reason of Germany's conduct of the war, whether they were on board the Lusitania or any other ship. I cannot see the point of difference. Furthermore this matter was thoroughly reviewed before the committee which sat this session and was doubtless before the committee in previous sessions. The committee having taken the evidence, weighed the consequences, measured just how far conceding this request would lead us, and reported their recommendation, surely it is the part of wisdom for us to accept their finding.

Topic:   RETURNED SOLDIERS' INSURANCE ACT
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