April 5, 1918 (13th Parliament, 1st Session)


John Allister Currie



Mr. Speaker, it is with a great deal of diffidence that I have brought this motion forward. Every one is conscious-no one in this House more than I-that we have had serious disturbances in the city of Quebec, and in the province of Quebec generally. I have not brought the motion forward, as has been suggested, for the purpose of self advertisement in any manner, shape or form. I have not raised it for the purpose of stirring up any political trouble or faction; and as far as I am personally concerned, my treatment of this subject will be as mild as the tone of any discussion that has ever taken place in this House. But it must be noticeable to every person, it must be common knowledge to everyone, that if there is anything that this House should discuss, it is this very matter which I have brought before you to-day.
For nearly a year this question has been before the public. In undertaking to raise it here, great pressure was brought to bear upon me not to proceed with it to-day. I

could have rightly brought this question before the House in two ways. I could have brought it up, as I am now doing, in the old-fashioned method of having a discussion on a public question without bringing on a vote. No vote of want of confidence is asked under this motion; all that is sought is a simple discussion. It is very important, indeed, that the House should discuss matters of this character relating to documents laid upon the Table by ministers of the Crown. Under the rules of the House, when a minister answers a question or makes a statement to the House, no discussion is allowed, and the only way in which a discussion can be obtained on this subject is under the present rule by moving the adjournment of the House to discuss a matter of grave urgency. There is another way by which discussion could be caused, and that is by moving a motion on going into Committee of Supply. Now we all know that the House has had very little opportunity since it has met this session to bring up any question on going into Committee of Supply. If this question were brought up on the motion to go into Committee of Supply, it would have had to be brought up as a want of confidence motion in the Government of the day. Now as I am one of the supporters of the Government of the day, and wholly in sympathy with the ideas and objects that the Union Government has placed before the people, and it would not look very well for me to raise this question through the medium of a motion of want of confidence. For that reason, I have had recourse to the present procedure, and there will be a free and open discussion of the whole question, and for such free and open discussion the whole country is waiting.
These are my reasons for having brought the matter forward in this manner. I hope to lay my statement of the case clearly before the House, and then the ministers of the Crown, as well as other members of the House, will have the opportunity of discussing it fully and freely. Now under other circumstances this question would not have been of very great importance, because every member who sits in this House, certainly all the old members, kno*v that during the last session of the House there were frequent outbursts of rioting of this character in the province of Quebec. The matter was suppressed by the newspapers and nothing was said about it in this House, because during the last session every member felt under a great deal of restraint. We could not criticise anything
openly and above board, for the simple reason that voluntary service was the method then in operation of securing men for the war, and if a man spoke out his mind here on any of the public questions at that time, it would have been said that he was injuring recruiting. In fact, on more than one occasion at that time matters were raised in the House which the public press declared were injurious to that cause. As a soldier, as one who has taken part in the war, as one whose whole heart is in this war-
Some hon. -MEMBERS: Oh! Oh!
Mr. CURiRIE: I have taken a little part in the war.

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