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:

We have made an exemption in this Act which is not to be found in the United States enactment at all, and we have done it because we thought it was a reasonable thing to do.

I repeat that I can find nothing of the same character in the United States.Act.

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

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

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir ROBERT BORDEN:

In regard to religious orders. Does my hon. friend desire that we shall so amend this Act as to make it conformable in this respect to the United States Act? If we fixed a date under this Act it would be of no practical service for the purpose which my hon. friend has in mind; it would even defeat that purpose if we were to strike out the provision in regard to members of religious orders. I think my hon. friend has taken a very unfortunate position. If we accepted his suggestion and followed the precedent of the United States, I think he would have a great deal more cause for criticism and complaint than he has to-day.

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

Samuel Hughes

Liberal-Conservative

Sir SAM HUGHES:

What is the meaning of subsection (c) of section 11 which exempts students?

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

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

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir ROBERT BORDEN:

It means that students, whether divinity or medical, or science, or any other quality of students,

can make claim for exemption before the tribunals. I have pointed that out already.

I think it is generally understood.

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

Wilfrid Laurier (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER:

Let us compare the legislation of the United States with our own legislation. Here is our clause:

6. Clergy, including divinity students and members of any recognized order of an exclusively religious character, and ministers of all religious denominations existing in Canada at the date of the passing of this Act.

Now, take the United States Act:

. Sec. 4. That the Vice-President of the United States, the officers, legislative, executive, and judicial, of the United States and of the several States, Territories, and District of Columbia, regular or duly ordained ministers of religion, students who at the time of the approval of this Act are preparing for the ministry in recognized theological or divinity schools

shall be exempt. I recognize that in one respect our legislation is more liberal than the United States legislation and I give credit to my right hon. friend for that. I refer to the provision whereby we exempt religious orders-the United States has not done that. But, it must be admitted that in another respect the legislation of the Americans is more- liberal than ours, in that they have exempted divinity students.

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

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

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir ROBERT BORDEN:

They have not exempted divinity students except those enrolled at a particular date,-"students who at the time of the approval of this Act."

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

Wilfrid Laurier (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER:

the .country will be more likely to abide by it.

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

Rodolphe Lemieux

Liberal

Mr. LBMIEUX:

I am no theologian, but I beg humbly to differ with the right hon. leader of the Opposition (Sir Wilfrid Laur-ier) when he challenges the statement of the Prime Minister that our legislation is more liberal than that of the United States, in respect to the exemption of the orders of the church. In the Roman Catholic church the clergy is divided into secular clergy and regular clergy. What is called the regular clergy comprises the religious orders, and the secular clergy are the diocesan clergy, the priests, the ecclesiastics. The Minister of Justice will certainly agree with me in that distinction. The United States legislation uses the distinction of the church. Section 4 of the United States Act mentions the exemptions. They include:

The Vice-President of the United States, the officers of the legislature, executive and Judiciary of the United States and of the several states, territories and the district of Columbia, regular and duly ordained ministers of religion, students who, at the time of the approval of this Act, are preparing for the ministry in recognized theological or divinity schools. "

Therefore there is no distinction as between the American and the Canadian exemption, except that we use different words. In Canada, as well as in the United States, the regular and the secular clergy, are both exempted. There was no necessity, in my judgment for making the distinction in section 6 of the schedule. At all events it is there, but it is also in the American legislation. As to the .theological students, every one who knows the training given to young men in our colleges by the ecclesiastics will appreciate that they are the only professors in our classical institutions. Therefore, if you do not grant them the exemption, you deprive our young men of their professors.

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

Charles Joseph Doherty (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. DOHERTY:

I regret that the hon. gentleman has moved this amendment. With all respect I may say that he, as. well as other gentlemen who have spoken on the subject, seem to be under some misapprehension as to the meaning of the words used. It w'as pointed out that the reason why the amendment was dropped was that the words " divinity students " covered a very large class of people, quite 'beyond the class of people now under discussion, and with regard to whom there was no desire for exemption, and, on the contrary, a good deal of opposition to tlie idea of exemption. Furthermore, as has already been said, and as the hon. member for Bonaventure (Mr. Marcil) has pointed out,

the word " clergy " has a perfectly clear and perfectly defined meaning, and I have no hesitation in saying, after satisfying myself on the subject, that the word " clergy " covers anybody who has holy orders of any kind, including the minor orders, as the hon. member for Bonaventure says. The right hon. leader of the Opposition (Sir Wilfrid Laurier) will recognize that the theological student, from the moment he gets his tonsure, or minor orders, which he does at the end of his first year-or, at all events, that is the general practice-enters and forms part of the clergy. My right hon. friend shakes his head? I am not making that statement without having verified it on the very best authority. I have satisfied myself beyond peradventure on that subject. So that that leaves, under the class to be covered as divinity students so far as the Catholic colleges are concerned, only the young men just coming in, before they have got any orders. Let me point out that if we adopted the American system and said we excepted divinity students actually such at the time of the approval of this Act, that would not affect young men entering the colleges in this coming Septein-her, and that would be the only class of young men who would have no orders at all. Any young men, being students, who. would not yet have received their orders, are, in view of the provisions we have for their addressing themselves to the tribunal and the grounds which they may urge before these tribunals-amply and perfectly protected in every proper case. Of course, nobody can disguise the fact that the class of people we are ' speaking of are my friends in the cl,osest sort of way as they are the friends of other gentlemen who have spoken. I think that people who look to the protection of these gentlemen in legitimate cases would perhaps do well to realize that, as regards the very small number affected, there is no injustice being done in their being submitted to putting the circumstances of then-case before the tribunals, just as everybody else does. Sometimes one suffers from one's friends' zeal, and it is not always useful to the friends you want to help to try to differentiate them from the rest of the population within which they are called upon to live. I understand the delicacy of this question, and I think hon. gentlemen do too. There are marked differences of opinion about this matter. But we have all got to try to live together, respecting, and where needed maybe protecting, each other's feelings, and where that can bo

attained without taking the position of claiming for a particular class special privileges, it is surely much better to do so-much better in the interest of that very class itself. So I venture to say that if bon. gentlemen would accept what is being done instead of endeavouring to insist on putting the class of persons of whom we are speaking into an especially privileged position, they would in reality be acting in a manner much more likely to be of real service to the class concerned, and at the same time they would avoid giving unnecessary offence to others who may entertain very strong opinions against exceptions and exemptions in general.

Of course this Act has not been prepared without knowing just what the words in it really mean. Judging by the observations that have been made, I think I may venture to say that the hon. member for Bonaventure, at all events, has looked more carefully into the exact .meaning of the words than perhaps the right hon. leader of the Opposition and other hon. gentlemen have done. I am convinced that this motion is being moved under a complete misapprehension. I am convinced that it will not serve the purpose that it is sought and may have effects that are viery undesirable. The hon, gentleman knows as well as I do that all classes of theological students go into their class some time in September or October. Those who are entering their second year, having had the tonsure, are clergy and do not need special mention. Those who are only beginners will not have become divinity students until *they so enter in September or October, so that if we were to exempt those who were divinity students on the date of the approval of this Act we would not be reaching this last class at all. I do not think it is wise to discuss the reasons that lead people to take sides on this question, because it all depends upon a person's point of view, and discussions of that kind rarely *end in converting one or the other, but rather in creating a certain feeling which certainly is not desirable to be created.- I do not think I should be overstepping the bounds if I appealed to the hon. member for Rouville to reconsider the advisability of his insistence upon the specific words which he now suggests, which, as I have already pointed out will produce no good *results, and which, if persisted in, will tend to create a feeling of irritation which under ail the conditions under which this measure is being passed and under all the conditions under which it will have to be enforced, it is highly desirable to avoid by every means in the power of each of us.

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

William Pugsley

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY:

I have very great difficulty indeed in knowing how to vote on the amendment suggested by the hon. member for Rouville, after hearing the remarks of the Minister of Justice. If I apprehend him aright, what he says is this: It is not desirable to press the amendment because under the section as amended at the instance of the Prime Minister, divinity students in one church will be exempt.

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

Charles Joseph Doherty (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. DOHERTY:

Clergy will be exempt.

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

William Pugsley

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY:

Divinity students, my

hon. friend said.

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

Charles Joseph Doherty (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. DOHERTY:

Some people are both

clergy and divinity students.

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

William Pugsley

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY:

The minister said that after the students have been at college a few months-certainly not more than a year-they become members of a religious order, and ipso facto they would become exempt from the provisions of the law.

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

Charles Joseph Doherty (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. DOHERTY:

They come under the exception as clergy; that is not talcing them out of the provisions of the Act making the exception.

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

William Pugsley

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY:

They do not become

clergy in one year.

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

Charles Joseph Doherty (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. DOHERTY:

They certainly do.

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

William Pugsley

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY:

I understood the minister to say that the divinity students, after a certain number of months not exceeding one year, become attached as divinity students to one of the minor religious orders.

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

Charles Joseph Doherty (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. DOHERTY:

They become clergy. Mr. PUGSLEY: The minister says that under this section, " members of any recognized order of an exclusively religious character," would be exempt. It follows from the reasoning of my hon. friend-I do not know whether he intended it or not -that striking out these words would prevent divinity students of all churches in this country except one from being exempt. Not being familiar with the subject I should like to ask what is meant by " any recognized order of an exclusively religious character?"

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

July 19, 1917