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


Charles Gavan Power

Laurier Liberal


I withdraw my statements with regard to the judge. However, there was a feeling in Quebec that certain members of the Bench were more or less inclined to be adverse to the draftees. Even that did not affect things very much until the Government adopted the system of Government by Order in Council. First, an Order in Council was passed to the effect that the family physician was no longer to be considered as an expert in the case, that his finding was to be submitted to the Board of Medical Review, and the decision of the Board of Medical Review was to be final. In one case a family physician produced a sworn certificate before the judge to the effect that Mr. So-and-So was an epileptic and had suffered from epileptic fits all his life. That man went before the Board of

Medical Review and he was classed A-l because he could not have an epileptic fit at the proper time to convince the Board of Medical Review. These cases were well known. Everybody in Quebec talked about them.
Then, we had another Order in Council to the effect that the delays foreseen by the law-that is three days and, in some cases, twenty days, to allow for appeal from the decision of the first tribunal-would no lpnger count. Apparently, from the interpretation which we have had of this Order in Council, these delays were only to count in favour of the Government. A poor devil who wished to apply for his exemption, and who had been in the bush somewhere, or in the back blocks, had not a chance within the twenty days and was conscripted; whereas, if through lack of diligence on the part of the officers of the Government, the public representatives, and others, thfey had forgotten to apply for the review of a certain man's exemption, the Government representatives were perfectly at liberty to take the law into their own hands and see that the appeal was carried on. There was a further Order in Council prohibiting rehearing, but with that I am not familiar.
However, these are only some of the causes. The question of the men who were placed in charge of the enforcement of the Military Service Act has already been very fully dealt with by my right hon. friend the leader of the Opposition, but there were other things which were said, and I think with some show of justice, because arrests took place in Montreal and it was stated that certain Dominion detectives held up people on the streets, and, if their papers were not exactly right, these Dominion detectives asked them to give them $2, or $5, or $1.0, and they would let them go free. I understand that certain people were arrested in Montreal under those circumstances. There was another rumour. This is for the information of my hon. friend who asked :me a question some time ago. I hope to be able to substantiate it at some other time, because I cannot substantiate it to-night. But it is a rumour and I am giving the causes of the riot. It was rumoured among the people that the Dominion detectives were in the habit of tearing up the exemption papers.

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