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


Onésiphore Turgeon



Coming from a province by the. Atlantic seacoast where harmony has, for so many years, reigned supreme, in the preservation of which harmony it [DOT] has been my lot during my life-time, so far as my capacity has permitted me, to co-operate, may I be permitted to appeal to the leader of the Government as earnestly as I have ever done that, in view of the explanations given by the leader of the Opposition and by my hon. friend from St. John (Mr. Pugsley), if he lets the Bill stand as it read last Friday when it was returned to the printers to be reprinted in its present form, lie will not cause any disappointment in the country. If he does not accept the suggestion of the leader of the Opposition, I hope he will at least accept the amendment of the hon. member for Rouville (Mr. Lemieux)? In New Brunswick, which is comparable with Quebec, so far as the Roman Catholic faith is con-

cerned, the young men who to-day are students of theology, are attached either to the Order in which they are studying or to the bishops to whom they have allied themselves. Every bishop in New Brunswick, Roman Catholic as well as Anglican, is depending on those young men's services which would be available in a year or two. If we take away ten, twenty or thirty of those young men from the clergy of New Brunswick in each diocese we impede the proper exercise of the civilizing effect of Christianity on humanity for which cause we are fighting.
Hon. Mr. SEVI'GNY (translation): Mr. Chairman, I have heard several members state that the clergy of certain religious denominations have asked that they should not be exempted. On the other hand, I hear my compatriots who belong to my own religion, declare thqt the clergy of the province of Quebec should he exempted. I carry no brief, any more than my hon. colleagues of the province of Quebec, to speak here on behalf of the clergy, but I do sufficiently admire the Catholic clergy to declare here, in this House, and anywhere in this country, that they are just as brave, as loyal and as courageous as the clergy of any other religious denomination in Canada.
I do not pretend to be any more of a Catholic than any of my colleagues; but I have for my faith all possible respect and confidence; I follow it and it is that same worship I shall teach my children, I state that no one in this House is justified in saying that the Catholic clergy are not ready to do their duty as well as the clergy of the other denominations in this country. Besides, the clergy of the province of Quebec, as well as the clergy of the rest of the country, are exempted under this Act. It is well known that, in the Catholic religion, as soon as a young man has become _a subdeacon, he is considered a member of the clergy.

Subtopic:   MILITARY SERVICE ACT, 1917.
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