Walter Edward Foster (Speaker of the Senate)
With reference to the question of privilege raised yesterday by the hon. member for Peace River (Mr. Pelletier) as to his right to introduce a bill to repeal the Military Service Act, 1917, I beg to state that I have looked into the matter most carefully and have read the statute in question and have examined also the revised statutes of Canada, 1927.
The main contention of the hon. member for Peace River is that since it was possible for the Minister of Finance (Mr. Dunning) to introduce a bill to revive and amend a statute which is listed as spent, then he has the right to introduce a bill to repeal a similar statute. Reviving a dead law is possible and permissible. If the hon. member's bill provided that the Military Service Act be revived, it would be in order, but he proposes to repeal it after it has been actually repealed by this house. It is listed in schedule A of the revised statutes of Canada, 1927, which is entitled: "Acts and parts of acts repealed, from the date of coming into force of the revised statutes of Canada, 1927."
When the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre (Mr. Woodsworth) asked for leave to introduce his bill in 1922, the Military Service Act was spent but it had not yet been repealed by statute. This is the reason why the bill was placed on the order paper, but Mr. Speaker Lemieux ruled it out because the act, although still on the statute books, was spent.
If that decision were right, and I am sure it was, there is a better reason this year to rule out the bill of the hon. member for Peace River. That reason is that the Military Service Act has disappeared from the statute book.