July 19, 1917

CON

Arthur Meighen (Solicitor General of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

I do think well of the idea of publicity, but I think the right hon. gentleman will see that we could not enjoin publicity of each individual application and the reasons in support of it or against it. It is expected that all tribunals will hold their meetings in public except in such cases as a court would hear in camera, and that, of course, will give a great deal of local publicity.

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

Wilfrid Laurier (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER:

There is some force in the objection that there may be cases in which it would be not only invidious but unjust to the individual that there [DOT]should be publicity. But the law is always -applied with some common sense, and in a case of that kind what publicity was given would be so arranged as not to cause injury to the individual. If the degree of publicity is left .to regulations, that is uncertain, but if it is inserted in the statute it is certain.

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

Arthur Meighen (Solicitor General of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

Under regulations a

much better tand cheaper method may be worked out than we could devise here. The same argument can be made against leaving anything- to regulations as against leaving this. We have left as little as possible to regulations, much less than is left in the Militia Act; and what is left seems can be

done better by regulation than in this House.

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

William Pugsley

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY:

The matter having been drtavvn to the attention of the minister, I am content to withdraw the motion.

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

Wilfrid Laurier (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER:

I wish to suggest an amendment, to section 6, which I think the minister will accept. It deals with the constitution of the local tribunals. I would move it after subsection 5. The section provides for the organization of the tribunals. They are to be created in different manners according to provinces, and then certain duties are imposed on them by .sections 4 and 5. Section 4 gays :

The names and addresses of all persons appointed on a local tribunal shall, as may be provided by regulations, be communicated to the minister.

(b) The minister may by telegraph or otherwise appoint one or both members, as the case may be, of any local tribunal, if he has not received, within such period before the tribunal is to sit as may be fixed by regulation, the names and addresses of members duly appointed,

(c) A vacancy occurring shall be filled by the authority who appointed the member vacating, and if not so filled or if communication of same as aforesaid has not been received by the minister within such period as may be fixed by regulation, the minister may fill such vacancy.

(5) Any person duly appointed a member of a local tribunal shall, unless relieved in writing by the authority appointing him, perform his duties as such member, and' any person who without reasonable excuse fails So to do shall be guilty of an offence and liable on summary conviction to a penalty not exceeding five hundred dollars.

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

Arthur Meighen (Solicitor General of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

That has been amended.

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

Wilfrid Laurier (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER:

I would have preferred that the members of the local tribunals should be judges, but the Government have thought' otherwise. The Bill provides that laymen may be appointed to the tribunals, as well as judges. I have here an amendment which I hope the Government will accept. It is as follows:

Every member of a local tribunal unless he is the judge of a court shall before entering upon his duties make oath before a judge that he will faithfully and impartially perform his duties under this Act. That oath may be taken before a judge of any court of record or commissioner appointed to receive affidavits or a justice of the peace.

The judge, of course, would be bound by his oath of office, but under the Bill the layman is not compelled to take an oath at all. My hon. friend knows that veiy wide discretionary powers are vested in the tribunals. They have to use their best judgment as to whether this or that man can better serve the country in his usual

[Mr. Meighen.J

vocation at home, or fighting at the front. An unusual degree of latitude is allowed, and it seems to me that if we bound the members of the tribunals by oath it would simply be a further guarantee of impartiality and fairness. If my hon. friend agrees to this, I will move accordingly.

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

Arthur Meighen (Solicitor General of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

The proposal of the

leader of the Opposition meets with no objection at all from me. I thought of that point before, but I apprehended a little difficulty in compelling a member of the tribunal to take an oath. But we are here compelling him to act, and 1 think we might compel him to take an oath that he will act fairly. The question seemed to me to be surrounded with some difficulty but I do not think the difficulty is insuperable. If he is compelled to act, he is compellable to take an oath or such other affirmation as is consistent with his beliefs. I think well of the suggestion of my right hon. friend. I would suggest that the committee reconsider the clause on the motion of the leader of the Opposition, and that I be given an opportunity to look over the drafting so as to make it parallel with the drafting of the other clauses of the Act.

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

Daniel Duncan McKenzie

Liberal

Mr. McKENZIE:

It will be noticed that subsection 4 of section 4, and subsections 1, 2 and 3 of section 16, create criminal offences which are triable by a tribunal or by a court having criminal jurisdiction. In the preceding paragraphs of-the section it is held out that those committing any of these offences have the right of appeal. I submit that subsection 6 of section 5 takes away any such right, because it says in effect that you cannot get away from any of the tribunals. I do not think that was the intention of the Government.

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

Arthur Meighen (Solicitor General of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

It is not the intention at all. I fully understand the argument of my hon. friend. He argues that- as subsection 6 of section 5 prevents habeas corpus and prevents the review of any proceedings of a tribunal, consequently any tribunal which tries a man who fails to report for duty, even though it is an ordinary court of justice, is protected and its proceedings restrained from review.

I do not take that view, for this reason. Section 6 is the section that establishes tribunals. It establishes first local tribunals, then appeal tribunals-that is, a Central Appeal Judge. Then it proceeds, "Any tribunal may hear evidence," and so on, and the Governor in Council may make

regulations as to how these tribunals shall act. Then it says that any tribunal may have such procedure as it may determine for itself, if not otherwise governed by regulation. Then it says that no member of any tribunal shall be responsible, and then that no proceeding authorized or pending before any tribunal shall be restrained, etc. .

I submit to the committee-at all events, it is very strongly my own view-that "any tribunal" means any tribunal covered by the section, just as "any tribunal" in subsection 2 means any tribunal in the section, and just as "any tribunal" referred to in subsection 3 means any tribunal in the section. The word "tribunal" consequently cannot be interpreted in clause 6 as being any wider than the tribunal in clause 2. They are all in the same section. That is the intent, and that is the law. If there is any chance, however, of it being wide enough to include a court of justice the Bill will be amended to meet the view of hon. members. I will give the point further consideration before eight o'clock.

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

Daniel Duncan McKenzie

Liberal

Mr. McKENZIB:

I Wish particularly to draw the Prime Minister's attention to this matter, because I think it can clearly be argued that the word covers any tribunals.

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:

I disagree entirely. I do not think the word "tribunal" has any special legal meaning as used in this Bill. You could not have the word "tribunal" meaning one thing in the first five subsections, and meaning something more in the last subsection; that would be contrary to all principles of interpretation that I am familiar with, and therefore I would not imagine, although I suppose members of our profession can argue almost anything, that any court will give it that interpretation.

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

Daniel Duncan McKenzie

Liberal

Mr. McKENZIE:

All I say is that a county court is a tribunal; a magistrate's court is a tribunal. I think we are making it unnecessarily fine when we ask the judges before whom these cases come to say: this is a tribunal, or this is not a tribunal.

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:

If you take the word " tribunal " in its widest sense, you might say that the Parliament of Canada is a tribunal or that the Board of Railway Commissioners is a tribunal. I am speaking of the legal interpretation of the word. I do not imagine that this section can be interpreted in any other way than the Solicitor General has suggested. However, we will give it consideration.

Mr. MteKENZIE: If the provision is

confined to that section, it is all right, but it may be considered as having general application to the whole Act. That is what I would like to have made clear.

Mr. MARCH.: Is there any provision

in the Act, aside from publication in the Canada Gazette, for returns being made or information being submitted as to what has been done under the Act?

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:

There is no

special provision for it in the Act, but the ministers responsible for the administration of the Act-and, indeed, the Government generally-would naturally give to Parliament in the ordinary administration of public affairs all information on the subject that would be available and desirable.

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

Rodolphe Lemieux

Liberal

Mr. LEMIEUX:

May I ask the right

hon. gentleman that the Minister of Finance, who is back from Washington, be made acquainted with the subject of our conversation across the Table this afternoon concerning the insurance feature of this Conscription Bill?

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 hon. friend has taken up so much of my attention this afternoon that I have had no opportunity of speaking to the Minister of Finance.

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

Rodolphe Lemieux

Liberal

Mr. LEMIEUX:

I would ask him, before we dispose of the third reading, to ask the Minister of Finance whether he has considered some legislation along this line. I assure my hon. friend that the matter is engaging the attention of many young men who are liable to he called. If the Minister of Finance has in contemplation some legislation along this line, it might facilitate considerably the administration of the present Bill.

At six o'clock the committee took recess.

After Recess.

The committee resumed at eight o'clock.

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

John Hampden Burnham

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BURNHAM:

Before this Bill goes

out of committee, I should like to say a word on an entirely non-eontroversial subject. One of the abuses, if I may call it so, of the whole military system in Canada, and one which has brought most unmerited punishment upon the Administration, is the case of a man wdio attests at a different age from his real age. That has been a favourite trick. Men have said that they were of a certain .age, and since the Army Act does not provide that swearing to a false age is perjury, but provides the oppo-

site, they escape punishment. The consequence is that many of those men referred to by hon. gentlemen opposite, who landed in England performed various functions there and then returned or were rejected, got there solely because they said they were forty-four years of age when they were really fifty-four; and when they "were ready to return, they said that they were fifty-four, -and were returned accordingly. There are officers who are beyond military age and who know it. They were not rejected, and at any rate before 1917, they had in many oases good grounds for supposing that they could get to the front because the case of officers is somewhat different from that of men.

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

July 19, 1917