June 3, 1921 (13th Parliament, 5th Session)


Ernest Lapointe

Laurier Liberal


I will show my hon. friend. In the Civil Service Act no holiday was mentioned in a special way. What was observed was what the Interpretation Act states must be considered as a holiday, and those days mentioned in the amendment of my hon. friend from Nicolet, are in that clause of the Interpretation Act. It was better to leave the Civil Service Act as it was than to introduce this amendment which was introduced in the Senate, for the purpose-and it was so stated in the Senate, and it can be seen in the Hansard- of refusing those holidays mentioned in the motion of my hon. friend from Nicolet. Now, Mr. Chairman, those days, under the laws of the Catholic religion are obligation days, which means that those who are of the Catholic faith must observe those days as they must observe Sunday. They cannot work on those days. It is a duty to conscience, and they must observe those days as holidays. Why should any gentleman in Canada object to that? Who is injured by that? Why should we be bound to plead for this? A few years ago an Act was passed by this Parliament prohibiting many things being done on Sunday, the Lord's Day, because people who believed that those things must not be done en Sunday petitioned this Parliament. There was a large number of the population of this country who thought that this law was too strict, and that many things had been forbidden which should he tolerated by law, but because it was contrary to the religious feelings of a large portion of the people of the country, that law was passed and accepted by everybody. Why refuse-not this concession-to sanction by law what has been done since Confederation? Why refuse to recognize that those employees of the Government should not be obliged to work on the four days mentioned in the amendment of my hon. friend from Nicolet? It is all right to say that they shall be granted a holiday, but that is not very certain, and they cannot reiy on that. At the last minute before one of these holidays, last fall, an Order in Council was passed, but, as my hon. friend from

Maisonneuve (Mr. Lemieux) says, it only applied to Ottawa, and I received protests from many electors of the city of Quebec stating that they had been required to work on that day. Under the circumstances, Mr. Chairman, I feel bound to vote for the amendment of my hon. friend from Nicolet.

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