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

UNION

Robert Laird Borden (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Unionist

Sir ROBERT BORDEN:

All the people
of Canada are -sensitive to injustice, and all the people of Canada, I 'hope are law-abiding to as great an extent as those whom he represents. The right hon. gentleman states that on the occasion to which he alludes one of the young men produced his papers and the other did not; and, to the action of the officers on that occasion, he attributes the riots and disturbances which afterwards occurred. He attaches great importance to the fact that the young
man was not permitted1 to telephone to his parents from the bowling alley, but was taken to the police station, and a telephone message, or some message, was there sent to his parents. That does not seem- to be an incident which would reasonably account for the disturbance that subsequently took place. I assure ,my right hon. friend -that incidents of the same character by the hundred have occurred in other parts of the country, and there has been no riot. I entirely admit that the enforcement of a law like this, without any previous system of registration, occasions a great deal of difficulty to the -Government, and, very often, a great deal of inconvenience to the people among whom it is enforced. But we are in a time of war, and is there to be a riot in Quebec, or any where else, because, instead of permitting a young man to telephone to- his home and bring his parents to him, he was taken to the police station and a message was sent from there? That was my right hon. friend's point, nothing more and nothing less. Upon that, and certain other considerations to which I -shall call attention, he bases his argument. He says that the -men who have, been selected to enforce this Act in the province of Quebec are not of a proper typ-e. But he -also says that the higher officers who have been selected in that province are of the right type, -and he found no fault -with them. These constables were selected, I have not the -slightest doubt, by the very men whom he commends, and he, and every hon. gentleman, -m-ust understand that when yon seek for men to enforce an Act of this nature amongst an unsympathetic population you cannot al-w-ays get men- of the -most polite and refined type.

Topic:   THE QUEBEC DISTURBANCES.
Subtopic:   MOTION OF MR. J. A. CURRIE FOR LEAVE TO ADJOURN THE HOUSE TO DISCUSS.
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