I must accept your ruling, Mr. Chairman, but I think in this instance you did not have an opportunity to declare the section carried. I had barely taken my seat when the hon. gentleman at the other end of the chamber was on his feet discussing his subject.
reverse its decision. That may be done by the House but I am sure if a vote of the committee were taken on the subject the great majority would support the Chair. The clause was put to the committee and was carried before the hon. member for Nicolet rose to submit his amendment.
I am not disputing your statement, Mr. Chairman, that the motion was put and carried, but I think we at this end of the chamber should insist that both the Chairman and the members who address the Chair speak loud enough so that we can hear. I think we are entitled to that much consideration at least; if not, we had better go home.
Mr. Chairman, I am not going to persist in the position I took, but I heard some hon. gentleman across the way say a moment ago that the motion was put and members voted upon it. I am prepared to accept your statement, Sir, that you declared the section carried, but I am not prepared to accept the statement of any hon. gentleman that the motion was put to the committee and carried by a vote.
I am sure the committee desires to do justice to every hon. member and it is not often that the Chairman is told that he cannot be heard. If I were allowed to make a suggestion it would be that when we have disposed of the amendment now under consideration, we return, by unanimous consent, to the clause which has been adopted, for the purpose of allowing the hon. member for Halifax (Mr. Maclean) to conclude his remarks.
that the manner in which the legislation with regard to these four days came to be enacted was very unfortunate. As has been said, those days were struck out by an amendment in the Senate to a bill that went from this House without having reference to the subject matter of that Bill. I mention that because I desire to say that the method now sought to be adopted to provide a remedy is just as unsatisfactory as was that employed to bring
about the condition. We are in this position, that whatever may be the legal interpretation of that disposition, we have the pledge of the Prime Minister that what happened before that legislation will continue to happen, and we have that verified by the fact that it has happened, with the exception of the days in regard to which the misunderstanding arose.
out the reason why. We have that pledge, and we have it accompanied by the further pledge that the whole subject of putting our legislation with regard to these holidays in better shape will be dealt with.
friend allow me a question? As Minister of Justice and the legal head of the Government, does he claim that the Senate has the right concerning the Civil Service Act to set aside section 32, subparagraph 11 of the Statutes of Canada?
Senate has the right to amend any statute of Canada if it obtains the concurrence of this House. However, I should like to confine myself to just what is germane to this particular matter. I am asked why the condition referred to should not be remedied in this way. My answer is perfectly simple. Those whom the hon. member for Quebec East spoke as pleading for have the absolute assurance that they will have just what they are asking for, accompanied by the further declaration that this entire subject will be taken up with a view to putting our legislation in a more satisfactory condition. Now, I appeal to hon. gentlemen, is it not desirable that a question of this kind, which is susceptible perhaps of arousing feeling in some measure, perhaps justified, should be dealt with in the manner least likely to give rise to any such feeling? And is it not more to the interest of those who desire to have the fullest liberty-and I am among their number-to observe their religious 'holidays, that the subject should be so dealt with so long as in the meantime they have that full privilege? I appeal most earnestly to the hon. gentleman who has made this motion and whose sentiment in regard to these days I have no doubt is identical with my own, to withdraw the motion and afford the opportunity of action being taken such as I have suggested, and so bring about an adjustment that will leave behind it no hard feelings.
Last session, when the Bill amending the Civil Service Act came to this House from the Senate, I took a position somewhat different from that taken by the majority of members on this side. The effect of the amendment then adopted by the Senate was to place Roman Catholic civil servants in such a position that if they obeyed the law of the land they violated their conscientious convictions and if they followed their conscientious convictions they disregarded the law of the land. It seemed to me that that was an illogical position for the Senate and for this House to take. I hold that view now just as strongly as I held it last session. The hon. gentleman who has introduced this amendment should, in my view, accept the assurance which has been given him by the Government and withdraw the amendment. I say that for this reason: in the first place, it is the expectation that the House will finish its business to-morrow, and if we adopt this amendment and send it to the Senate we can hardly expect the Senate in a few minutes or a few hours to reverse the decision which they arrived at last year. Notwithstanding the amendment that was made last year, the holidays have been given to those of the Roman Catholic faith in the Civil Service; a most generous interpretation of the law has been given. The Government hfis assured the hon. member that it is their intention that this whole matter will 'be taken up later-and for myself I think it should have been taken up long ago. It is the evident intention, then, of the Government to settle this matter once for all upon the best judgment that can be brought to bear upon it, and upon an unbiased consideration of all the facts. Now, I do not think that the hon. member for Quebec East (Mr. Lapointe) is not warranted in taking the position that he takes here this evening. But I can see the reason why he does so; he wants to be in a position to go to certain people in his province and present the case that they are being unjustly and unfairly treated. That is the position; he would be disappointed if he did not have an opportunity to carry that tale to the people. If the hon. gentleman wanted to be consistent; if he was as much concerned in this matter as he would like the House to believe he is, he should have taken advantage of opportunities available earlier in the session to' have the matter fully discussed and to have our opinion passed on to the Senate with full opportunity for them to discuss [Mr. Doherty. 1
it. But he did not avail himself of that opportunity at any time in the session, and now, within twenty-four hours or thereabouts of the end of the session, he avails himself of what he evidently looks upon as a golden opportunity to raise a religious cry amongst his people in the province of Quebec.