July 19, 1917

CON

Robert Laird Borden (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir ROBERT BORDEN:

In England the word " clergy " alone is used. We, perhaps, have a wider range of denominations in Canada than they have in England, but we use the same word as is used in Great ' Britain, and add, so that there shall be equal treatment of all recognized religious denominations in this country, the words:

" and ministers of all religious denominations existing in Canada at the date of the passing of this Act." Therefore, it seems to me, whatever may be the meaning of the word " clergy "-and I think it must have a well defined meaning or it would not have been included in the statute in Great Britain-we have made it sufficiently wide to guarantee equal treatment to all recognized religious denominations.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   MILITARY SERVICE ACT, 1917.
Permalink
LIB

Rodolphe Lemieux

Liberal

Mr. LEMIEUX:

So that the clause, according to the latest amendment,-will read:

Clergy, including members of any recognized order of an exclusively religious charac-

ter, and ministers of all religious denominations existing in Canada at the date of the passing of this Act.

How does this affect the ecclesiastics? Before becoming a priest, a young man has generally completed his course of studies in our classical colleges. I speak from experience, as I was educated in one of the Quebec colleges. The course of studies begins with the Latin course, and continues until the student has attained the class called rhetoric. That is in the sixth year.

Then there are two years of philosophy, the course beginning in the sixth year and being completed in the eighth. Many of these young men, hawing thus completed their course, become what I might call junior professors in these colleges-I am speaking of the Catholic institutions, of course. These professors are considered as belonging to the minor orders, because it takes from three to four years more before a student can be ordained for the priesthood. I would like to know if these professors in our colleges will be granted exemption. There is another point. The section says, "Clergy, including members of any recognized order of an exclusively religious character." We have in the Catholic church what are called [DOT] contemplative orders-and my hon. friend from Victoria (Sir Sam Hughes) is, no doubt, very familiar with this class of our religious orders.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   MILITARY SERVICE ACT, 1917.
Permalink
L-C

Samuel Hughes

Liberal-Conservative

Sir SAM HUGHES:

I do not know what my hon. friend means by "Catholic." Does he mean Roman Catholic?

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   MILITARY SERVICE ACT, 1917.
Permalink
LIB

Rodolphe Lemieux

Liberal

Mr. LEMIEUX:

Oh, yes. We have contemplative orders such as the Trappists and others. There is one Trappist monastery in the province of New Brunswick, and there are two or three in the province of Quebec. These Trappists, although belonging to a contemplative order, devote a considerable portion of their time to farming; in fact, one of the finest f-arms between Montreal and Ottawa is the Trappist farm at Oka. The Trappists have there an agricultural college which is subsidized by the Government of the province of Quebec, and also, I believe, by this Government. Will these Trappists, who aTe not members of an order of a.n exclusively religious character, but who devote themselves to farming in the public interest, be amenable to military service under this law? I now come to the main point. Might I not suggest to the right hon. leader of the Government that the committee might very well adopt, without offending anybody, exactly

the same language as was used in the United States conscription measure? Here is the text of the American regulation granting exemption to "students preparing for the ministry in any recognized theological or divinity school." If there is any apprehension, as was stated, that there will be a rush of young men to the theological colleges, you could insert a provision that those who were divinity students at the date of the passing of this Act shall be exempted? At least, the law would not apply to those students who entered our theological colleges without any idea that this legislation would be placed on the statute books. It seems to me that is a very reasonable suggestion. I do not think there would be any agitation against this privilege being accorded to this class of our fellow-citizens.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   MILITARY SERVICE ACT, 1917.
Permalink
L-C

Samuel Hughes

Liberal-Conservative

Sir SAM HUGHES:

Why should the

clergy be exempt? There are 250 clergymen of the dburch of which I have the honour to he an outside pillar, now fighting as combatants at the front, and hundreds more are there as chaplains. I do not see Why any clergyman should he exempt. They are a splendid lot of men. Certainly I do not see why any student should be exempt.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   MILITARY SERVICE ACT, 1917.
Permalink
CON

Robert Laird Borden (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir ROBERT BORDEN:

As far as the

word " clergy " is concerned, I wish to correct a misstatement that I made. I said that the word " clergy " was used in the British Act, hut that is not so; the words used in the British Act are " in holy orders." But in our Militia Act the word " clergy " is used. Our Militia. Act excepts " clergy and ministers of all religious denominations."

In reply to my hon. friend from Rou-ville (Mr. Lemieux) I think the words " .members of any recognized order of an exclusively religious character " are perfectly plain. I do not care to express any opinion in advance as to what the tribunals will determine. Certain it is that if there is any inconsistency in the interpretation it can he corrected by the Central Appeal Judge. With (regard to theological students, it was largely the view expressed by my hon. friend from Bonaventure (Mr. Miarcdl) foT whom I have great respect, that led me to reconsider the matter as I did. He is my guide in this Tespect, and I am content to place his authority against that of my hon. friend from Rouville.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   MILITARY SERVICE ACT, 1917.
Permalink
LIB

Wilfrid Laurier (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER:

I had not the

pleasure of hearing the observations of my

Non. friend from Bonaventure on this subject, but whatever his observations may have been, there is evidently a want of knowledge in the House upon a. subject with which we in the province of Quebec are all fauniiliaT. The other day any right hon. friend (Sir Robert Borden) introduced an amendment including divinity students in the exempted classes. To-day he proposes to remove them; in other words, divinity students will be liable to military service under this Act. This will include a very large number of young men in my province who, I believe, should be exempted. I do not know whether the hon. member for Bonaventure conveyed to the Prime Minister the idea that these young men are part of the clergy. They certainly are not, and upon this point I can safely appeal to my hon. friend the Minister of Justice (Mr. Doherty). In our province the system of education varies somewhat from the system followed in the other provinces. In the province- of Quebec the higher education is in the hands of the classical colleges. The course in those colleges consists of eight years, and embraces some of the subjects in the curriculum of the universities of other provinces. The classical course includes Greek, Latin, all forms of art, literature and so on. After the eight year course those who elect to do so can take their degrees in other professions, such as the law and so on. Quite a number of young men elect to become theological students and take a further course.

They are preparing themselves for the priesthood, though they may not become priests until after a certain number of years. These men who are devoting themselves to the priesthood but who are not yet part of the clergy make up a large class that ought to be exempted under this Act. The ex-Minister of Militia (Sir Sam Hughes) says that priests or members of the clergy should not be exempt; that all citizens should be liable to this law. I believe that for about 20 years all citizens of France, no matter what their profession, have, been liable to military service and, in time of peace as well as in time of war have been required to spend two or three and a half years in the barracks for military instruction. Although this law was adopted in France, it has always met with strong objection on the part of a large section of jhe community. To me it is a matter of doubt whether the French republic was well inspired when it took that position. The French republic might have been well ad-

[Sir Wilfrid Laurler.J

vised if in this matter it had followed the example of its neighbour, the British nation, by exempting religious orders from military service.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   MILITARY SERVICE ACT, 1917.
Permalink
L-C

Samuel Hughes

Liberal-Conservative

Sir SAM HUGHES:

Fifty thousand of them, good men, are in the fighting line to-day.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   MILITARY SERVICE ACT, 1917.
Permalink
LIB

Wilfrid Laurier (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER:

It is to the

great credit of all these religious orders that they have responded nobly to the call of duty. No citizens of the French Republic have done better, or have shown greater courage than these men have. I believe that even if they had been exempted, large numbers of them would have come forward and offered their services. But although these men have been doing their share in defending the soil of the French Republic from invasion, they have always believed, and still believe, that they should be exempted from military duty. At all events, that is the French view. On the other side of the channel they hold a different view. In France they have conscripted everybody, without exception. In England they have not conscripted everybody; they have made certain exemptions amongst which have been included religious orders. We live in a British country and in a matter of this kind it seems to me that we would be right in following the precedent of British freedom and British legislation rather than that of the French republic. I regret exceedingly that my right hon. friend has departed from the provision that he put in the other day and has come back to the Bill as it was originally printed; that is, that he has decided not to exempt divinity students. These young men are preparing for a calling which is supposed to take them away from the thing we have in view, and I hope that my hon. friend will not persist in his decision, that he will agree to leave the Bill as it stands.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   MILITARY SERVICE ACT, 1917.
Permalink
CON

Robert Laird Borden (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir ROBERT BORDEN:

My right hon. friend has commended the British example, which he regards as the highest expression of the freedom of the individual in such matters. I would point out that in Great Britain the exception reads as follows:

Men in holy orders or regular ministers of any religious denomination.

We have gone further than that. If, as has been suggested by hon. gentlemen on the other side, we had proceeded under the Militia Act instead of bringing in this Bill, what would have been the result? That Militia Act tvas passed under the Administration of my right hon. friend. He says

that a clause exempting divinity students should be included. He did not include it in 1904. His exception then was: " clergy and ministers of all denominations," which is not as wide a clause as that which we have introduced. If, then, the view that he entertains is a wise one, it is astonishing that it did not occur to him in 1904. If we had proceeded under the Militia Act to . select men by ballot and that selection had included divinity students, what would their position be as compared with their position under this legislation as I propose to leave it? Under the Militia Act there would be no possible exemption for any such person. He would not be within the exception, and there was no provision for exemption in the Militia Act. Under this legislation such divinity students as are not included in the minor orders of the clergy might be called out, but. they would still have the right to go before a tribunal and claim exemption under one of the appropriate clauses. In doing that they would have a privilege which they could not have exercised under the legislation which my right hon. friend passed in 1904.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   MILITARY SERVICE ACT, 1917.
Permalink
LIB

Wilfrid Laurier (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER:

When I referred to British institutions it was in reference to the comparison which the exMinister of Militia (Sir Sam Hughes) made as to the practice in France. In that respect British institutions are certainly, in the matter of the preservation

4 p.in. of human freedom, ahead of the institutions of the French Republic. As to the Militia Act, we discussed that matter before, and I shall not now refer to it at length. The Militia Act of 1904, which was introduced by the Government over which I presided, was simply a consolidation of English Acts. I do not know that many changes were made; so far as I remember, no change was made in that clause, which goes back to 1868. But we are not now in the year 1868; we are in the year 1917 and we are legislating for a practical purpose. We are legislating to bring in a Conscription Act, a thing unknown in Canada up to the present time so far as active service is concerned. I think my hon. friend was well advised when the other day he introduced a provision exempting that class of young men who intend to devote themselves to the priesthood. To-day, for reasons of his own, he thinks that he should not do so. All I can say is this: he may carry out his present intention, but in my humble judgment he

will be making the Act even more difficult of execution than it was before.

Mr. EUGENE PAQUET (LTslet) (translation) [DOT] Mr. Chairman, I agree entirely with the opinion expressed by the right hon. leader of the' Opposition. I hope that the Government will comply with the wishes so well stated by one of our statesmen who knows to perfection the province of Quebec. Therefore I could not too earnestly beg the Prime Minister to give satisfaction to the wish just expressed by the right hon. leader of the Opposition.

As our province will have enough to suffer under this bill, I hope the Government will do all in its power not to raise therein any religious strife.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   MILITARY SERVICE ACT, 1917.
Permalink
LIB

Edmond Proulx

Liberal

Mr. PROULX:

The Prime Minister gave good reasons the other day for amending the exceptions by including therein divinity students'. In this connection he consulted the law of the United States, in which divinity students are specially exempted. He now wants to make another amendment taking out of the Bill the exception which he asked the House to adopt the other day, giving as his authority the position taken by the member for Bonaventure (Mr. Marcil). I am not very sure that my hon. friend from Bonaventure is right. He is only a layman like the rest of us in this House, and he is not a doctor of divinity. I prefer to accept the opinion of the leader of the Opposition-

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   MILITARY SERVICE ACT, 1917.
Permalink
CON

George Eulas Foster (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir GEORGE FOSTER:

They are making my right hon. friend (Sir Wilfrid Laurier) a Doctor of Divinity.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   MILITARY SERVICE ACT, 1917.
Permalink
LIB

Wilfrid Laurier (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER:

Yes.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   MILITARY SERVICE ACT, 1917.
Permalink
LIB

Edmond Proulx

Liberal

Mr. PROULX:

I am inclined to the view

that divinity students, so far as the Roman Catholic church is concerned, who are not ordained, would not in this Bill be included in the word "clergy," so what would be the objection to making the section more explicit by the addition which, my right hon. friend had the other day in the Bill? My hon. friend from Rouville said that the wording might be changed and the wording of the United States law adopted. I prefer the amendment made by my right hon. friend, and I would prefer that the section should stand as it was amended the other day. If the language is going to be changed, the amendment suggested by the hon. member for Rouville does not go far enough.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   MILITARY SERVICE ACT, 1917.
Permalink
LIB

Charles Marcil

Liberal

Mr. MARCIL:

I wish to thank the Prime Minister for the kind alhision he has made to me. The remarks I made on this matter were after the right hon. gentleman had introduced his amendment, and they were practically in support of that amendment. I was a member of this House in 1904 when the Militia Act was passed, and amongst other exemptions we had these two: Clergymen and ministers of all religious denominations, and professors in colleges and universities and teachers belonging to religious orders. I supported the amendment the right hon. gentleman suggested because in the Roman Catholic faith a young man has to go through a course spread over four or five years before becoming an ordained priest; and I wanted to make sure that this class were included in the clause of the section now amended by the right hon. gentleman.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   MILITARY SERVICE ACT, 1917.
Permalink
CON

Robert Laird Borden (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir ROBERT BORDEN:

I think they are.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   MILITARY SERVICE ACT, 1917.
Permalink
LIB

Charles Marcil

Liberal

Mr. MARCIL:

The hon. member for Rouble has referred to the Trappist Order. The Christian Brotherhood is another religious order in Canada; its members devote themselves to the cause of education. Christian Brothers will be found in all countries of the globe doing yeoman service. I suppose a member of the Christian Brotherhood would also come under the term "religious orders," although their special work is teaching and is not exclusively religious. The Trappists devote special attention to agriculture. In view of this particular situation, I would ask the right hon. gentleman to allow the section to stand as he amended it the other day.

Mr. OLIVER; In my judgment, there is a vast difference between the Militia Act and the present Bill, inasmuch as the Militia Act was passed for the purpose of raising men for military service, whereas, as I understand the present Bill as presented by the Prime Minister, its purpose is to exempt men from' military service. I would like to say further that, as I understand this present Bill, its exemption provisions are ample to protect the divinity students of any church whom the Government may see fit to protect.

Mr. GRAHAM; I may be put out of my own church for what I am about to say-

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   MILITARY SERVICE ACT, 1917.
Permalink
CON

George Eulas Foster (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir GEORGE FOSTER:

Are you sure

you are in?

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   MILITARY SERVICE ACT, 1917.
Permalink
LIB

George Perry Graham

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM:

My right hon. friend

raises a question of public policy to which I cannot Teply. So far as the church to

which I have the honour to belong, is concerned, I would not exempt the clergy, and I am saying that on the authority of the clergy themselves. Some of the heads of the different conferences have written me suggesting that they do not wish to be exempted in this Bill, even although they are ordained clergymen. I have another reason for my statement, and this is treading on ecclesiastical ground. This is war time, and I am speaking for those who have written to me when I say that sacrifices ought to be made by all equally, and the clergy who have corresponded with me assure me that they are anxious to do their full part. So long as there was on the statute book no law asking that others, who perhaps are in a less influential position, should go, they did not feel it their duty to go although many of them have enlisted.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   MILITARY SERVICE ACT, 1917.
Permalink

July 19, 1917