Jean-Joseph DENIS

DENIS, Jean-Joseph, Q.C.

Personal Data

Party
Liberal
Constituency
Joliette (Quebec)
Birth Date
January 27, 1876
Deceased Date
September 22, 1960
Website
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jean-Joseph_Denis
PARLINFO
http://www.parl.gc.ca/parlinfo/Files/Parliamentarian.aspx?Item=691705c6-e71f-4fae-a033-f5eeacf51c8d&Language=E&Section=ALL
Profession
lawyer

Parliamentary Career

December 17, 1917 - October 4, 1921
L LIB
  Joliette (Quebec)
December 6, 1921 - September 5, 1925
LIB
  Joliette (Quebec)
October 29, 1925 - July 2, 1926
LIB
  Joliette (Quebec)
September 14, 1926 - May 30, 1930
LIB
  Joliette (Quebec)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 147 of 148)


April 24, 1918

Mr. DENIS:

I think eoone plan should be provided by which the name of the person who pressed or shipped the hay might be readily ascertained. Perhaps this could be accomplished by providing that the label should bear the name of the seller or of the presser rather than the number of his licence. In any case, I suggest that some scheme be adopted undeT which a buyer of hay in the United States or * elsewhere may be able to say: this particular bale of hay was bought from so-and-so. If this could be brought about, justice would be done both to seller and to buyer.

At six o'clock the committee took recese.

After Recess.

The committee resumed at eight o'clock.

Topic:   NATURALIZATION ACT, 1914.
Subtopic:   CORRECTION OF CLERICAL, ERROR IN FRENCH VERSION.
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April 24, 1918

Mr. DENIS:

There is a great deal of good in this Bill, and, in fact, we have accepted the principle of it. I am afraid, if section 340F is struck out altogether, we shall, to a great extent, lose the benefit of the Bill. I therefore move that section 340F be replaced by the following:

3 4 OF. Every seller of hay or straw in Canada shall affix to every hale of hay or straw sold or offered for sale a tag, having thereon, plainly written and legible, the name of the seller and the weight of the bale.

This amendment does not go as far as the section drafted, but it retains the provision that on each hale of hay or straw there shall be the name of the man from whom it comes and the weight of the bale.

Topic:   NATURALIZATION ACT, 1914.
Subtopic:   CORRECTION OF CLERICAL, ERROR IN FRENCH VERSION.
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April 10, 1918

Mr. DENIS:

Not by any means. I am quoting the law, and the intention of the law. is that the husband shall be the head of the family. If we give the wife the same rights as her husband it might separate the family and' array the wife against her husband. We have seen by Article 175 that the wife is obliged to live with her husband and follow him wherever he thinks fit to reside. If we refer to Article 1292 we find the same principle laid down; in fact, we find this principle all through the Civil Code of Quebec. It is a basic principle of our civil law now in existence that the husband shall be the leader, and that the

rights of the wife, or woman, shall be confined to the family council.

Before taking my seat I sihould like to summarize any objections to this Bill. I say that the Holy Scriptures, -theology, ancient philosophy, Christian philosophy, history, anatomy, physiology, political economy, and feminine psychology, all seem to indicate th-at the place of women in this world is not -amid the strife of the political arena, -but in- her home. Let me give one or two facts. In the United States the right- to vote has been granted to women. This -right to vote necessarily entails the right to become a candidate in the elections for Congress or for Parliament. At the last, election in the United States, Miss Jeanette Rankin was elected to Congress from the state of Montana, the first woman ever elected to the Congress of that country. When she first entered the House o-f Representatives -her name was freely mentioned in the newspapers, and -many people had thei-r eyes on her to see what she would do. The first important -measure that cam-e up in Congress after this lady had taken her 6eat was the question of declaring war against Germany. After the question had been discussed at length Miss Rankin was called on to vote, but she would not speak; she was called the second time, and still she would not speak; when called the -third time she wept, and at last she said- in a voice scarcely audible that she -was n-ot willing to throw her country into war, and she voted with the very small minority against the declaration of war. In the opinion of a great number of hon. members in this House, Miss Rankin certainly did not prove that it was a considerable asset to have women in parliament, -nor I do not think it will be an asset to have them in public life. The experiences of Miss Eva Zaintz, in the Russian " Battalion of Death," have been published in this country. Miss Zaintz was a soldier in the ranks of that battalion. Nothing could be more pathetic than the case of these "'omen who enrolled voluntarily to defend their country when the men of Russia would no longer defend it. I will not take up the time of the House to give details. These women have shown to the world, if ever it will be shown, that they were heroes equal to the best that this wonderful war has produced. They had their hair cut. They donned soldiers' uniforms. They went through their training. They swore they Would fight until death for their country, and that if every soldier in Russia ran away from the Huns, they would stand

their ground. And what happened? They fought the exterior enemies of their country and many of them were killed. Then they fought the interior enemies, the Bol-sheviki, and many others of these women were killed, and at the conclusion the premier, Kerensky, was so horrified that he ordered the disbandment of the .Battalion of Death. All those that remained returned to their homes, and Miss Zaintz adds that after that she made her way with her aged father across Siberia and came to America. Her action reminds one of the Trojan hero of yore, fleeing from Troy, carrying his aged father upon his shoulders, to avoid the vengeance of the Greeks. And yet this woman writes to-day that there is a place for men and women, and it was not their place to go and form this Battalion of Death because they were altogether out of their sphere. The case which I am citing to this House might seem to be an exceptional one. I might relate at length facts in regard to it, but I am simply mentioning this to show, that from my point of view, there is a place for man and a place for woman in this world. Consequently, I say it is a social question, a moral question, a question of education, a question of local tendencies, a question or family traditions a question of race traditions, and a question of personal aspirations and feelings. And for all those considerations I think that this central power of Canada should not interfere in this matter, but should leave it to be decided .by each province in Canada. That, Sir, is my conclusion. We do not want to interfere with the rights of the Anglo-Saxon ladies of Ontario or elsewhere, nor to interfere with their aspirations and traditions. We shall be very happy if they find happiness in getting the right to vote. Let every race, let every family and every province-which is, perhaps, to a certain extent, a large family-decide as to their needs and settle this question for themselves. I have every admiration for the fair sex, but I would be very sorry to think that this admiration went to the extent of sacrificing all the traditions that we have known ever since this world has existed. I say very humbly that I have not been convinced that I should give my support to this Bill.

Topic:   WOMAN SUFFRAGE.
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April 10, 1918

Mr. DENIS:

It is because last year we wanted to give the right to vote to a certain class of persons who were expected to help this Government to win the elections? This year I suppose compunction has come to the hearts of my hon. friends on the other side, and they want to repair the injustice which they did last year to a large majority of the women of this country by depriving them of the right to vote. This year, therefore, the Government is presenting to this House a Bill on its merits which will give the right to vote to all the women of this

country. If the Bill were presented last year for the sole reason I have mentioned, I congratulate hon. members on the other side on the sinister success they achieved. They certainly made no mistake last year if they gave the right to vote to a certain class of persons with the sole intent of winning the elections. If I may be allowed to use an expression which I have often heard in the speeches of the Prime Minister, I might say that this Bill of last year, drafted as it was, was certainly "fully adequate." It was adequate because it fulfilled the purpose for which it was drafted.

Let us examine the merits of this question. The question is a very wide one and one on which a great deal may be said. Th.e few remarks which I intend to make to the committee will, I am sure, be very incomplete. If we refer to sacred history, as far back as we can go, if we read the first chapter of Genesis, we find that woman was given only as an aid and consolation to man. We find that all through the Holy Scriptures that woman has no other part. She does not govern. She does not command. She has her place in no council except in that of the family. Profane history in antiquity does not show woman in any other role than as an aid and consolation to man, or else in an inferior role. The highest philosophy of antiquity has not conceived any other function for woman than that of companion to man. We all know that a companion is not a principal. A companion is a person whose object it is to follow and assist a principal, but not a person who is supposed herself to be a principal. In all domains of life, from childhood through middle age into old age, whether in science, literature, philosophy or religion, we do not find that woman has shown any superiority. Perhaps, as the hon. member for Berthier (iMr. Gervais) has said, that was because woman was not given an opportunity to develop her mind and her talents. At all events, as it is now, we must admit that woman has shown no real superiority except in so far as sentiment or imagination is concerned.

The physiology of woman, the anatomy of woman, reveals that she is in this world for the purpose of love and motherhood and not for the purpose of political strife. If the father has to he away from the home, it is the part of the mother to remain at home. I do not mean to say that .she should be confined to the house, nor that her mind should be closed to all intellectual subjects; but one of the two has to remain in the home, and if it is not the

mother, it will have to be the father, to take care of the children, so long as there are to be children in this world. From that point of view, I say if the father is not to remain in the home, then the mother should. If we give the right to vote to woman, we must as a consequence give her the right to attend political meetings, .because what is the use of giving her the right to vote, if she is not to be well informed in regard to politics? Women must know for whom they are voting and why they are voting. Consequently, it is a matter not only of marking a ballot, but of studying the politics of one's country, which of course entails the necessity for women attending and assisting at political meetings.

Topic:   WOMAN SUFFRAGE.
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April 10, 1918

Mr. DENIS:

When the Prime Minister moved the second reading of this Bill, he spoke as follows-I quote from page 95 of Unrevised Hansard:

I do not depend for this upon, the considerations which I have placed before the House as to the condition of provincial legislation on the subject. X do not even base it on the wonderful and' conspicuous service and sacrifice which women have rendered to the national cause in the war. Apart from all these, I can see that women are entitled to the franchise on their merits, and it is upon that basis that this Bill is presented to Parliament for its consideration.

Not being very familiar with the English language, I thought it wise to consult Webster's dictionary as to the meaning of the word "merit" when employed in this connection; and this is the definition I found:

The quality or relation of deserving well or ill.

From this definition of the word which the Prime Minister used we find that this Bill is presented for the acceptance of the House on the principle that it is based on

conditions stable and permanent. A Bill presented on its merits is a Bill based on principles which are supposed to the true now, which -were supposed to toe true yesterday, and which will be true in time to come. I would contrast a Bill presented on its merits to what I would call-I wish to be corrected if I am mistaken-an emergency Bill. The question of woman suffrage is not a new one in this House. Last year, there was presented to this House a Bill to give a certain class of women the right to vote. This year, a new Woman Suffrage Bill is submitted for our consideration. I have found it hard to believe that the two Bills do not conflict. Although it may seem rather strange to some hon. members, I would go so far as to say that the ideas contained in the Bill of last year and in the Bill of this year appear to me to be opposed to each other. That may seem paradoxical, but nevertheless I am convinced that the merits of one Bill defeats the merits of the other. Let me explain what I mean. The principle of a Bill presented on its merits was true yesterday, it is true, to-day, and it will be true in the future. Consequently, if last year it was true, on its merits, that woman deserved the right to vote, why is it that last year only a certain class of women were given the right to vote? The merits of the case were the same last year. If it is true and correct to say that on the merits of the case women are entitled to vote, how is it that last year the right to vote was not given to all the women of this country? Is it to be supposed that the admiration or condescension of, the Government towards the whole class was only in its infancy last year, while this year it has attained to its full growth and maturity. If last year we ignored what is this year the merits of the case, it must have been because there was a reason. What is the reason? I cannot find any other reason than this-

Topic:   WOMAN SUFFRAGE.
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