July 19, 1917 (12th Parliament, 7th Session)

CON

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

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir ROBERT BORDEN:

I made some inquiry on the subject and I have satisfied myself that if we were to adopt the United States amendment, with a date fixed by the time wfien the Act comes into force, it would be of no practical service because it would not include divinity students in this country. The reason is that the divinity course in this country begins in September and ends in June. Any person who would have completed that course would have been

admitted to the minor orders to which my , hon. friend from Bonaventure alluded. The word "ordination" which is used, I think, in the extract read, obviously means the admission to an order. There is more than one order of the clergy in different churches. For instance, in the church to which I belong, there are bishops, priests, and deacons. They are all clergy as distinguished from the laity. In the Roman Catholic church, as I understand, there is perhaps a greater number of orders. At all events, I accepted the interpretation which the hon. member for Bonaventure put upon the wrord. In view of the circumstance I have mentioned, that the words "divinity students" would include a great many who would come under the definition of "clergy," it was thought that those who were not within the meaning of that word might be left to exemption by tribunals instead of absolute exemption under this clause.

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