January 18, 1916

CON

William Thomas White (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir THOMAS WHITE:

I speak subject to correction by my right hon. friend the Prime Minister, but I believe that the Canadian Government has agreed to pay all the cost of transportation 'also; in other words, we desire to pay the entire cost of the Canadian Expeditionary Force abroad.

Topic:   CANADA'S SHARE OF WAR EXPENDITURE.
Permalink

THE GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH.

ADDRESS IN REPLY.


Consideration of the motion of Mr. Alfred Thompson for an address to His Royal Highness the Governor General in reply to his speech at the opening of the session, resumed from Monday, January 17.


CON

Thomas Chase Casgrain (Postmaster General)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Hon. T. CHASE CASGRAIN (Postmaster-General) :

Mr. Speaker, it must have been a source of gratification to my right hon. friend the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Borden)-it certainly was a source of gratification to his colleagues-to notice the acclaim with which the people of Canada received the announcement made by him at the beginning of the year that half a million Canadian soldiers would be raised to participate in this war few the

vindication of British justice and British freedom. So far, two leaders of the Opposition party have so expressed their views on that announcement that no doubt remains, if ever there was a doubt, about its unanimous endorsation by the whole people of Canada. We already had some indication a3 to how this announcement had been received by what had appeared in the press of the country. The comments of the leading Liberal journals of Canada proved that the Prime Minister was right in believing that although Canada had been doing her share in the war up to the date of the declaration made by my right hon. friend, Canada was ready to make still further sacrifices to support the cause of the Allies. May I give some citations on this point? Le Soleil, of Quebec, after discussing the question of the contribution of Canada to the cause of the Allies, ends an article of the 7th of January, 1916, by saying:

It cannot be decently pretended that this sacrifice-

Meaning the sacrifice of five hundred thousand men.

is above the forces of Canada; it is a little more than one-eighth of the total male population of the country.

A correspondent wrote to the Toronto Globe asking what would George Brown say if he were living and saw the tremendous expense to which this country was put by its participation in this war. The Globe answered on the 11th of January:

But on the main issue Sir Robert Borden is right, and the great mass of the people of the Dominion, irrespective of political ties, will endorse his decision. Canada joins with Britain in the declaration made by Premier Asquith on her behalf when he said: " We shall not

sheathe the sword, which we have not lightly drawn, until Belgium has recovered more than she has sacrificed; until France is adequately secured against menace; until the rights of the smaller nationalities have been placed upon an unassailable foundation, and until the military domination of Prussia is finally destroyed." If George Brown were here he would say amen to every word in that declaration of the nation's purpose.

In an article which appeared under the signature of my hon. friend from Bonaven-ture (Mr. Marcil) in the Montreal Herald of the 6th of January, I read:

The announcement made by Sir Robert Borden that his government have decided to authorize the enlistment of 500,000 men for overseas service will not be a surprise to the country. It will be a welcome announcement to the Empire and will demonstrate once more that Canadians are in this war in earnest, and that they are decided to leave nothing undone

to achieve victory and a lasting peace. Sir Robert and his colleagues have had carte blanche, from the very start, the Liberal leader, .Sir Wilfrid Laurier, and his colleagues in the House having assured the government of support in their military measures. Not only have ' the federal Liberals done this, but many leaders in the provincial field, Sir Lomer Gouin ir. Quebec, Mr. Rowell in Ontario, and the other Liberal leaders in other provinces having promised and given support and co-Operation The moment Canada entered the ring it coulc not rest with any half measure.

These articles, I believe, Sir, represent the sentiments of the country. In the speech which my hon. friend the member for Red Deer (Mr. Michael Clark) made to the House last evening, he made allusion to the number of men which the Government had decided to send to the other side; and without criticising at all the tremendous outlay which this involved, he expressed the feeling of -anxiety of the people of this country at the delay between the recruiting of the regiments and their despatch to the trenches. My -hon. and gallant friend, the Minister of Militia (Sir Sam Hughes) will no doubt give a full explanation of this; but as far as I can gather from the information I have, it is due to no fault of the Government. One must take into consideration the difficulty of transportation, and then again, if I am correctly informed, we send across as many troops as possible unde: the circumstances. Once they arrive on the other side they are under the control and command of the British authorities.

May I say, Sir, that the speech of the hon. member for Red Deer commended itself to me by its dignity of tone; indeed the tone of the debate so well set by my hon. friends who proposed and seconded the Address, the hon. member for the Yukon (Mr. Alfred Thompson) and the hon. member for l'lslet (Mr. Paquet) has been characterized by the loftiest patriotism. I commend particularly to the attention of the House the remarks made by my hon. friend from l'lslet. The members of the House who could not follow him in the language in which his speech was delivered, I arc sure will find in the translation of that speech the real sentiments which animate the people of . the province o! Quebec in this momentous crisis I trust, Sir, that in the tew remarks whiol I am about to present to the House, 1 shall say nothing in manner or in form which may -be disagreeable in any Way to my hon. friends on the other -side, or tc any one in the country who may diftei from me on the great questions at issue.

My hon. friend from Red Deer alluded to the splendid spirit w-hioh exists in the

West, and I am a witness to the truth of what he -says. Last sumiper I had occasion for two purposes to visit the West

that great portion of our Dominion of which we are so proud. The first purpose which I had in view was to judge at first hand, to hear with my own ears- and to see with -my own -eyes, the postal situation there. The second purpose, and probably the most important one, was that I wished to allay certain prejudices, and to conv-ey to any who might be misled conr-ect opiln-ion-s and ideas as to the situation in Quebec.

I had read in some of the western papers that there was such an anti-war feeling in the province of Quebec that the Liberal party-and I do n-ot wish to make the Liberal party responsible for this- wished to profit by this feeling to bring on an election, hoping by that means to secure a greater number of supporters in the province of Quebec. It seems to me-and I -think I am -correct in this view-that there is nothing which will detract m-o-re from the unity and harmony which should exist between all sections of the country, than the arousing of -suspicions and pre-/ judices between those of different race and faith who compose our federation. I wished to d-o as much a-s I could to allay those prejudices -and- susceptibilities-, and suspicions, and to work so far -as lay in my power for that brotherly love and good will which above all other things, should exist at this time dn Canada.

Everywhere I -went in the West I was received not only with the greatest courtesy but with the greatest sympathy. It *was impressed upon me everywhere-that I was indeed a welcome messenger from the province of Quebec. Upon my return to Eastern- Canada it seemed to me the imperative duty devolved on me of going into my own province, and placing before its people the real issues which confronted them. In the -month of September, October, and a part of November, I held eighteen or twenty meetings in the eastern -section of the province. My colleagues the Minister -of Inland Revenue (Mr. P-aten-aude) -and the Secretary of State (Mr. Blond-in) held other meetings in the central part of the province and in the district of Montreal. The reason for holding these meetings was to bring home to the people the origin and nature of the present conflict, and the results which were bound to follow from the unthinkable possibility of a German victory. As far -as I could see while addressing audiences -sometimes twenty-five hundred or three thous-

and people in the most remote districts, my remarks were well received. I was listened to not only with courtesy, hut with sympathy, andi the opinions and ideas which I gave expression to were received with approbation 'by the people of my province. These meetings were held with no political object in view, and it is scarcely necessary for me, I hope, to deny the unworthy allegation made in _ some quarters, that, under the guise of holding patriotic meetings, we were holding political meetings in which to expound the principles of the Conservative party. I believe that under the system of Government under which we live it is the duty of the ministers of the Crown to visit from time to time the different parts of the country, and more particularly the different parts of the provinces they represent, so that there may be a bond of sympathy and union between the ministers of the Crown and the people whom they represent. I believe that in that respect we should take a leaf from the book of the great English statesmen, who are continually speaking to their constituents. That is the reason why I thought it was incumbent upon me, and why my colleagues in the Government from the province of Quebec thought it was incumbent on them to explain directly to the people the real position of affairs, so that they might judge for themselves of the action and conduct of the Government. It is true, Sir-and I must tell the whole truth- that at these meetings I defended the Government from what I considered to be unfounded and unfair attacks; but on no occasion did I make any attack on my political opponents, or introduce any controversial matter. It was not that I think the case we Liberal-Conservatives are called upon to defend is not a good case; not that I think there is no cause of complaint in respect to the opinions held on the other side; but it was that I did npt think the occasion warranted any controversy. It was because that I sincerely believe that the only subject that should occupy the attention of our people at the present time is this war in which the very existence of this country is at stake.

I wish, Sir, to render justice to whom justice is due. It was not only the Conservative ministers who held patriotic meetings in the province of Quebec. The right hon. leader of the Opposition (Sir Wilfrid Laurier) held such meetings, some of which I had the honour to attend. The hon. member for Eouville (Mr. Lemieux),

and the hon. member for Bonaventure (Mr. Marcil) also took part in patriotic meetings. I regret, however, that others who should know better did not follow their leaders, but gave expression to opinions in some distant parts of the country which were not in consonance with the expressions which fell from the lips of their leaders. But, so as not to detract from the tone of this debate, which has been conducted on higher than party lines, I shall say no more on this at present, leaving to another and perhaps less dignified - occasion its discussion. '

What struck me most in these meetings in the province of Quebec which I attended was the manifest prosperity of the farmers. Everywhere we went we saw evidences of this great prosperity. I well remember that at a large meeting in the constituency of my hon. friend from Chicoutimi and Saguenay (Mr. Girard), at which there were' present at least three thousand people, in that new country, which but a few years ago was- nothing but a forest, we saw the farmers coming to the meetings in their automobiles and in carriages -drawn by teams of splendid horses. Everywhere was to be found convincing proof to our friends from the other provinces, should they come to visit us, that Quebec is one of the most prosperous provinces in the Dominion.

Topic:   THE GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH.
Subtopic:   ADDRESS IN REPLY.
Permalink
LIB

Edmond Proulx

Liberal

Mr. PROULX:

That was the result of Liberal rule.

Topic:   THE GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH.
Subtopic:   ADDRESS IN REPLY.
Permalink
LIB

Joseph Philippe Baby Casgrain

Liberal

Mr. CASGRAIN :

I do not agree with my hon. friend. When we were in these more remote districts of the province of Quebec, we seemed to be very far indeed from the scene of the war. The residents have not yet felt the touch of the war; and such was the prosperity and peace wjaich prevailed that we could not help thinking that even moire than three thousand miles separated us from the theatre of hostilities. It has been said by an hon. member in this debate that recruiting was not quite so rapid in the province of Quebec and the eastern provinces as in the West. But let me point out that with the first contingent we sent 2,500 FrenclnCanadians. Let me mention to my hon. friends the names of some of the officers who are serving in this war. At present we have in Canada Colonels Dansereau, Barre, Derosiers, Majors Do Serres and Ranger, and Captains Leprohon and Roy, who have returned to Canada from the front and who are either organizing new battalions or otherwise help-

ing to recruit new regiments in the province of Quebec. Among those still in the theatre of the war we have Brigadier General Landry, Lt.-Col. Edouard Banet, Lt.-Gol. Henri Panet, Majors Lebel, Gagnon, Verret, Milot, Chaballe, Captains Lefebvre, McDonald, Lemieux, Lacroix, Brosseau, Darche, H. Beaudry, Lieut. Pinnode, Capt. Garon, Capt. Leblanc (son of Quebec's Governor), Capt. Caron, Capt. Du-chene and Capt. Picard. Some of the best families in the province of Quebec are represented, among them De Beaujeus, DeSalaberrys, Laviolettes, Babys and de Lanaudieres. And surely it is a spectacle to be admired when we see the descendants of those who fought against the British for supremacy in Canada fighting side by side with the Allies.

My hon. friend from Red Deer (Mr. Clark) has the proud advantage of having one if not two sons at the front. Let me congratulate him sincerely. And may I be permitted to say that there are five men of my own name, of my own flesh and blood, who are now wearing the King's uniform and doing their duty" in this war- there were six, but one has made the supreme sacrifice on the- field of battle.

I have shown that the Prime Minister's announcement at the beginning of this war was vrell received by this House, by the press, and by the country, and that is due, I have no doubt to the united efforts of the political leaders.' Let me call attention to a point which was referred to in the speech of my hon. friend from L'Islet (Mt. Paquet), and it is this: the Catholic Church in the province of Quebec, as in days of old, has done its duty. At the very beginning of the war, a pastoral letter was issued by the archbishops and bishops of Quebec calling upon their flocks to respond to the call of duty and to serve the flag. The memorable words quoted in this House the other day by my hon. friend from L'Islet and also by my .hon. friend from Yukon (Mr Thompson) are there to show that the Catholic Church, the hierarchy and the clergy, in the present war as during the Napoleonic wars, are faithful to the British flag and to the free institutions which have given them such great liberties in the Dominion of Canada.

And what has been the result of all these efforts? Up to the first of December, 1915, there were at least 9,-000 French-Canadi^ns enlisted in the army. It is difficult to tell the exact number of French-Canadians now enlisted or the number that were enlisted at that time., because -as hon. members of

the House are aware, many of those British soldiers who came across with Wolfe settled in Quebec and adopted the language of those among whom they came to live, so that to-day there are Frasers, Blackburns Warrens, McLeans, and many others of similar names the descendants of. these hardy British soldiers, who speak not one word of English. But I take from the official lists which have been furnished me by the Militia Department, that on the first if December last, there were 9,000 men bearing French names who had already en-isted.

This is not enough. We did not consider [DOT],he province of Quebec, when it enlisted ),000 men was doing its full duty, and every effort has been put forward to ensure that n this great cause the province of Quebec thall bear its full share in the defence of :he Empire. At the present time, apart 'rom the regiments of Colonels Gaudet and irohambault which are on the other side * )f the ocean, there are now organized or reing organized in the province of Quebec, [DOT]egiments under Colonels Dansereau, Barre, Readman, Piuze, and last, but not least, mder Major Asselin, the Nationalist. Let ne say here that all praise is due to Mr. isseli-n. I take it that it is not a crime for i man to change his views or his political ipinions.

Topic:   THE GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH.
Subtopic:   ADDRESS IN REPLY.
Permalink
LIB
LIB

Joseph Philippe Baby Casgrain

Liberal

Mr. CASGRAIN:

When he changes them right. In the words of M. Guizot, ' celui qua ne change pas d'avis est un sot." But, Sir, when I spoke of the unanimity of sentiment in the province of Quebec I was not forgetting what had been published in a paper which is well known to many members of this House, and from the columns of which I desire to read a few articles. On September 18, 1914, Le Devoir, of Montreal, under the signature of M. Henri Bourassa, published an article in which that gentleman first laid down the principle that- Canada, as an irresponsible dependency of Great Britain, had no moral or constitutional obligation in regard to or immediate interest in the present conflict, and then diis article proceeded:

Independently of these colonial obligations, which from the standpoint of history, the constitution or the facts, are inexistent, is it possible for Canada as a young nation (nation embryonnaire), as a community of men, to remain indifferent in respect to the European jonflict? .

To this second question, as to the first, 1 ,-eply without hesitation : no !

Topic:   THE GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH.
Subtopic:   ADDRESS IN REPLY.
Permalink
LIB

Rodolphe Lemieux

Liberal

Hon. RODOLBHE LEMIEUX (Rouville):

Mr. Speaker, let me at once congratulate my hon. friend, the Postmaster General (Mr. Casgrain), on the very able and very patriotic address which he has just delivered to the House. I was unfortunate last year to be absent from the House mostly every day during the session on account of illness, but I have been amply repaid today in listening to my hon. friend. Let me say to the right hon. gentleman who leads the House (Sir Robert Borden) that he and his party are to be congratulated on their new acquisition. In speaking as he has spoken, the Postmaster General has followed and obeyed life-long convictions; the language which he has used to-day is the language which he used in 1911 and in all the general elections which have taken place since he entered politics. During the recess the hon. gentleman visited the West, and there delivered many patriotic ad' dresses. These addresses were received in the spirit in which they ought to be received. Passing from the West my hon. friend came East. He was needed in the East, as you know, Mr. Speaker; he addressed several large gatherings; and I can give him credit for this, that at least he made two important converts. If there is such a thing as a ministerial heaven, there should be more rejoicing in that heaven

over the two sinners whom he brought with him than over many of the just that are around him.

I now pass to the speech of His Rdyal Highness the Governor General. For the third session Parliament has lived under the shadow of the greatest conflict in the history of mankind. I need not repeat, Mr. Speaker, what has been said from the beginning of the sittings of this House, that there can be only one opinion, only one determination, as regards the great issue confronting us: that we must help carry to a successful conclusion this terrible war. The issue is and must be all-absorbing. All others are mere contingencies compared with it. All others should fade away and vanish. Sir, it is in that spirit that the members of the Liberal party have approached this great issue. Prior to the declaration of war on the 4th August, 1914, the right hon. the leader of the Liberal party (Sir Wilfrid Laurier), the veteran among the privy councillors in Canada, and probably in His Majesty's dominions, spoke thus:

I have often declared that if the mother country were ever in danger, or if danger even threatened, Canada would render assistance to the full extent of her power. In view of the critical nature of the situation, I have cancelled all my meetings. Pending such great questions there should be a truce to party strife.

Sir, as a humble follower of my right hon. friend, I am proud to say that he has lived up to that patriotic pledge. During the recess he ~ has addressed meetings at Napanee, in the province of Ontario, here, in the city of Ottawa, in his old native village of St. Lin, at Sherbrooke, and, a few days ago, in Montreal, and he has consistently and eloquently appealed to the yeomanry of this country to buckle on their armour for service in His Majesty's army. That has not been the attitude only of my right hon. friend individually; it has been the official attitude of the Liberal party. On the 21st December last representatives of the Liberal party met in Ottawa, and they unanimously passed the following resolution, which speaks their sentiments and their opinions:

The National Liberal Committee is of opinion that so long as the war lasts, the Liberal party should continue as it has from the first to give its chief attention to the tremendous struggle in which the country is engaged and that, to that end, it should continue to give loyal support to all necessary war measures whilst exercising a vigilant supervision of the conduct of the Government, both in military and civil matters.

I am pleased to hear that my hon. friend from Peterboro (Mr. Burnham) has asked the Clerk of the House to wipe out from the Votes and Proceedings the notice of motion which he gave at the beginning of this session. My hon. friend from Peterboro reminds me of the Lord High Chamberlain in the Imperial Parliament at Westminster. We know that for three hundred years, at the opening of Parliament, the Lord High Chamberlain, accompanied by the Yeoman of the Guard, and all bearing halberds and carrying lanterns, visits and scrutinizes the regions underneath the Parliament buildings at Westminster, to see if, perchance, he can find any Guy Fawkes of gunpowder plot fame . My hon. friend has fortunately found out that this meeting of the members of the Liberal party a few days before the opening of this Parliament did not smack of any Guy Fawkes or gunpowder plot.

Sir, there is a truce, but that truce, I must say, does not spell abdication. We agree, both sides of the House, both currents of public opinion in Canada, as to the essential thing, namely, the legitimate prosecution of this war, but as to the scope of legislative enactments, as to the expenditure of public money, as to the mode of taxation, I reserve my right to be critical and to investigate if need be. The Government must expect to-day more than ever a strict control and scrutiny of its actions. The functions of the government in any British country are of the nature of a trust, generally speaking, and more so during a war when the expenditure are as stupendous as they are to-day. It is not a trust in the ordinary sense of the word; it is a sacred trust, and surely the Government will expect that His Majesty's loyal Opposition will be inclined to ask questions and be critical at times. This perhaps may surprise some of my fellow members, but I take my brief from probably the greatest of all parliamentarians in Great Britain. I refer to the immortal Burke. When he, for the first time, offered himself as a candidate in the old city of Bristol, he used the following language: '

Your representative owes you not his industry only but his judgment and betrays instead of serving you if he sacrifices that to your opinion.

As a Liberal, as a Canadian, as a free citizen of a free country, though I agree with the Government on the essential thing, the legitimate prosecution of the war, and the necessary expenditures entailed by that

war, I wish to reserve for myself the right to criticise and to investigate if need be. Let me give a case in point. Without traducing any one, without making any accusations, I am simply referring to the rumors which are at the present time / saturating the atmosphere of this capital city of the Dominion. We all know that, acting under the direction of this Government, a commission has been appointed to give shell orders for the British authorities throughout the various industrial centres of Canada. That commission has been replaced of late. It is being said, and it has been said, that large orders were given without any tender. It is being said, it is hinted, that orders were distributed amongst the members of that commission. It is being said that extensive profits, profits abnormally high, were made. I do not know, I am not in a position to state if this is a true statement of the fact, and I make no accusations, but I say, Sir, that it is the duty of this Parliament to investigate, to scrutinise and to know whether such is true or not.

Oh, I know that people say that this ' Government, that this Parliament, has nothing to do with that commission, that the money was spent ^on behalf of the British Government, and that therefore we have nothing to investigate. Let me give the answer to that quibble by citing the words emanating from the trenchant pen of one gentleman who sat in this House when first I was elected in 1896, from a man whose crisp style is well known to the Conservative organizers in this country -I refer to my friend Mr. Ross Robertson, of the Toronto Telegram. Here is the answer made to that quibble by Mr. Ross Robertson writing in the Toronto Telegram of November 30, 1915:

The worst sort of quibble travels in the suggestion that the shell committee was spending the money of the British taxpayers, and the work of that committee is therefore none of Sir1 Robert Borden's business. The shell committed was acting on behalf of Sir Robert Borden, just as Sir Robert Borden was acting on behalf of the Canadian people. The shell committed was not the steward of Canada's money. Thd shell committee was the steward of Canada's honour. >.

I make no accusations, I feel sure that the right hon. gentleman, who is the steward of Canada's honour, as was so well said and penned by my friend Mr. Ross Robertson, can answer any charges that may be made on account of that committee's action.

This being said about our right to criti-

else and to investigate, let me now pass to tlie speech from the Throne and state at once that it is an agreeable duty for me to join with my hon. friend the Postmaster General (Mr. Oasgrain) in saying that the speech from the Throne this year reflects the admiration and the pride of the Canadian people at large for the noble achievements of those who fought and died in the trenches in Flanders. At Festubert, at Langemarek, and at St. Eloi, our soldiers, as the right hon. the leader of the Opposition well said yesterday, fought like veterans and heroes. They maintained high the traditions of the nation; they made immortal the name and the fame of our common country Canada. Sir, my right hop. friend the leader of the House was kind enough yesterday to mention the noblq deed of Major Roy who fell in the trenches. Let me reciprocate with him and take off my hat in mentioning the name of Guy Drummond who left his palatial home in Montreal, who had in his possession all the happiness which life could yield a man, million's to spend, a bright intelligence, who left the shores of Canada with the Princess Patricia Regiment, and wiho fell like a hero in the trenches of Flanders. The effort of Canada is happily summarized and fully justified, it seems to me, in two phrases of the speech, as follows:

The Empire's part therein has been amply maintained at sea by the aspiring1 achievements of the Navy and on land by the distinguished valour of the great armies which have enrolled themselves in all parts of His Majesty's dominions for the common defence of our liberty.

And further:

Equally praiseworthy and impressive has been the self-sacrificing and loyal spirit shown by all the Canadian people who have freely dedicated their manhood and substance to the common defence of the Empire.

I have no hesitation in proclaiming high and loud that the common defence of the Empire means in my humble judgment the common defence of our liberty. In this sense my hon. friend the Postmaster General is right when he says that in the present war the first line of defence of Canada is in the plains of Flanders. I forget the name of the American statesman who once said, " I stand for my country right or wrong." The more I study the causes of this conflict, the more I am convinced that Great Britain is in the right in this war. The crime of blood guiltiness does not lie at her gate. History will say that she sought to prevent the strife from the very beginning, 4

but that she could not view with indifference the brutal outrage perpetrated on poor Belgium and the unprovoked terrorism displayed on the Meuse and further on in Champagne. Great Britain was not attacked: France and Russia were attacked.

Britain might have awaited the onslaught; she might have stood clear even; she might have husbanded her resourced of men and money; she might simply and swiftly have prepared; she might even have loomed over the stricken adversaries in the end and claimed for herself the hegemony of Europe: but Britain did not do so. In the light of history it will he said that Britain did not do so; that she spontaneously and bravely threw her trident into the scale; that she threw her gold into the scale; that she threw her racial record, her great prestige; that she threw and is throwing in the balance the whole puissance of the .mighty British Empire-and all

for what? for that principle of the liberty of the individual which is the mainstay of the British institutions as against mediaeval autocracy. In the light of history, in the eyes of civilization. Germany on the contrary stands at the bar. She, and she alone, is responsible for this awful conflagration. Her aim, lust of conquest; her ambition, the domination of the world. And in order to dominate the world she had to crush the small nationalities. In order to dominate the world she had to maim France for the second time. In order to dominate the world, she had to humble the British Empire. This is why I say that in the present conflict the common defence of the British Empire, as stated in the Speech from the Throne, means the common defence of our liberties.

It has 'been said that we owe nothing to England. Sir, the whole structure of the British Empire is 'based on freedom, religious and civil freedom; and the fall of the British Empire would mean the destruc. tion of those liberal institutions which 'are so necessary to mankind. It would mean the revival of autocracy and the disappearance from the world of those principles of government 'by the people for the people which were once so eloquently defined by the greatest of Americans, Abraham Lincoln. Need I say with my hon. friend the Postmaster General that we of French origin in this House and in this country, inspired by the memories of the past stand by the British ideals of government in this crisis. We know, as students of history, what is Britain's true glory. Britain's true glory,. Sir, is not Agincourt, it is not even

Topic:   THE GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH.
Subtopic:   ADDRESS IN REPLY.
Permalink
LIB

Joseph Philippe Baby Casgrain

Liberal

Mr. CASGRAIN:

The ghost is in the

closet now.

Mr., LEMIEUX: It is an old man with a long beard. His name spells deficit, and he seems to be installed in the Post Office Department, not for many years to come, I hope, but for some time at least, unless my hon. friend takes a leaf from my book or from the book of Sir William Mulock.

Now let us take the Post Office Department. In 1896 the expenditure in the Post Office Department was $3,752,805. In 1911, when a handsome surplus' was shown, it had increased to $7,954,000 or an increase of a little over $4,000,000 in fifteen years- and we were selling stamps at two, cents instead of three cents. By the way, let me congratulate by hon. friend on having relieved the people from the task of having to lick two stamps for every letter. In fifteen years we increased the expenditure by only $4,000,000. When the Hon, Mr. Pelletier appeared in that department and when he hugged the ghost, the expenditure increased from $7,954,000 in 1911, to $12,822,000 in 1914, and to $14,956,000 in 1915, an increase of nearly $5,000,000 in the three years and of nearly $7,000,000 in the four years. In other words, the increase in the annual cost of administration of the department for the fifteen years prior to 1911 was something like $4,000,000 while the increase for the four years following was something like $7,000,000. My hon. friend is a business man, besides being a brilliant jurist. I will ask him to restore the surplus which had superseded that ghost, and to rid once more the department of that deficit. Of course it

means hard work on the part of my hon. friend. I am glad to see that he is still young hardy and jaunty. He has broad shoulders. It requires, indeed, quite an Atlas to carry the burden left to him by his immediate predecessor. I must not forget that he has three hundred and fifty thousand Pelletier padlocks to carry in the Post Office Department. If that is too heavy a load for his shoulders let him send them to the scrap heap or to the Shell Committee who might use them to make shells. Sir, in these days of loans and huge expenditures, let me tell the Minister of Finance that he might well adopt a policy of economy and retrenchment. I said in those days of loans. I hope that some time during this session the Minister of Finance shall be permitted to explain to the House, to the country, and to the noble seventeen of Toronto, how it came that he went-yes to New York to borrow money from the American financial institutions ; he borrowed money from the United States! No truck, no trade with the Americans save when it is necessary to run a Tory Government machinery! Mr. Speaker, my hon. friend became a convert or a pervert after that famous meeting in Toronto when it was announced as part of the political gospel of hon. gentlemen opposite that there should1 be no truck and no trade with the Yankees. Before that he was, I know, a sound and consistent Liberal, and though it is true that he broke away from modern Liberals like the right hon. the leader of the Liberal party, surely he must hold dearly in his memory and green in his heart the name and fame of Mr. Gladstone. I shall not surprise my hon. friend when I say that Gladstone was, perhaps, the greatest exemplar in public finance in any country of the world. So keen was Gladstone in his battle for economy and retrenchment that that master of phrases, Disraeli, once said of him: "His duty is to supply ways and means, yet he is proposing votes with innuendo and recommending expenditures in whispered invective." My hon. friend the Minister of Finance learned in thewhispering campaign of 1911 how towhisper. I know that he is notstrong in invective. He has not the

vocabulary of his friend the Minister of Militia and Defence. He is the Webster of the ministerial party, so far as invective is concerned. I would ask my hon. friend to learn invective from that Webster-I do not refer to the Webster of Broek-ville-Yes, I would ask my hon. friend

to iearn how to, whisper invective when the Minister of Public Works, or the Minister of Customs, or even the Minister of our Navy, are besieging him for such huge expenditures as appear in the blue books this year. The words of Gladstone should be remembered by my hon. friend. What did Gladstone say?

Economy is the first and great article in my financial creed. . . The Chancellor of the Exchequer should boldly uphold economy in detail and it is the mark of a chicken-hearted chancellor when he shrinks from holdng economy in detail, when because it is a question of only two or three thousand pounds, he says that it is no matter. He is ridiculed no doubt, for what is called candle ends and cheese parings, but he is not worth his salt if he is not ready to save what are meant by candle ends and cheese parings in the cause of the country.

I know the Minister of Finance is the salt of the earth, but he is not worth his salt if he cannot save the candle ends and the cheese parings for the cause of his country, which is now engaged in a terrible conflict, involving large inroads upon the revenues of the country, a country which is being taxed, and taxed severely, because of the war.

We must not forget that when peace is restored this country will be saddled with a huge war* debt. The public debt in the month of November last was $501,668,167.71. If the war lasts two years longer Canada will be saddled with a debt of over rather than under one billion dollars. Therefore, the first lesson which my hon. friend the Minister of Finance has to learn is the lesson of economy, the most stringent economy. He has been borrowing and wasting too much, and a halt should be called, because he should not forget that while the burden of debt must be borne, the capacity to bear it is limited. Peace will some day be restored, and this country will have to face most serious problems. The land problem seems to me the most important, and I congratulate my hon. friend the member for Red Deer (Mr. Michael Clark) on the compliments which he paid in his speech yesterday to the farmers of Canada. The farmers of Canada are' to-day, and to-morrow will be, the best hopes of this country. The roots -of manhood are in the soil of Canada. "That mation is strongest," said Froude, "which -has the largest proportion of its people with a direct interest in the land." In some jparts of it, Canada may be an industrial country, but to a limited extent. Canada is bound to become the greatest farming section of the American continent. Our system of immigration in the past has net

been as successful as it should have been. Thousands of immigrants have left their homesteads for city life; there is a congestion in the cities .to-day, and many of these immigrants are a burden on the municipalities. With the fertility of our soil, with the advertising given to Canada abroad during the last 20 years, we should have had in this country a population of at least 20,000,000 people, whereas we have barely a population of 8,000,000. The farming industry of Canada must be specially looked after when peace is restored, because it is our great national asset for the future, as it has been this year, and unless we increase out output we cannot hope to meet our annual interest payments on the huge war debt that will be accumulated. The world, we know, is-hungry for the foodstuffs of Canada, for her wheat, and for her meats and dairy products. We have millions of vacant acres, i and with men eager for work, land needing to be worked, and the world ready to buy the products of such work, our country should emerge successfully from the wave of economic depression which now exists. I read only yesterday a description of the probable situation in Europe after the war, a description which is very graphic, in my judgment. This is published in the Daily Mail, of London, England, by Mr. T. Wells. He says:

Twenty-five million men have taken up arms. It is estimated that nine million already have been slain or disabled, and that the total destruction of life in Europe in two years of war wifi be twenty million.

This is the combatant waste alone. Civilian populations everywhere in Europe, even of neutral nations, are affected by the physical and nerve stress of Armageddon. Nearly everywhere the birth-rate is falling, the death-rate rising. British births are already 40,000 a year less and deaths 50,000 more than in 1913, a net deficit of 90,000 lives a year-the total population of whole towns like Coventry or Northampton, Paris is losing similarly, and Berlin and Vienna much more heavily.

When the great war is over a shrunken Europe will realize that no plague of the Mid- ' die Ages ever ravaged it like the black death that came from Potsdam.

The direct monetary cost of the war to the belligerents can he put at nearly ten thousand million pounds a year, figures that, like the astronomers' distances, outpass the human conception. Titanic as they are, the figures of the indirect cost of the war exceed them; lost trade, lost production, and creations of science, art, humanitarianism and discovery that have perished in embryo.

Europe after the war will be a little Europe, with a population not much greater than the population of Europe before the - Napoleonic wars, a Europe with these stupendous social problems:

Three women to two men of marriageable ace.

More old men than young men.

More boys than workers in their prime.

More physically unfit than physically fit.

Millions of men to be fitted again into civil employment, millions of women who have learned man's work and earned his wages.-

Millions of manual workers who will have become accustomed to wages twice or three times as high as they earned in pre-war days, and who will still expect those wages.

Greatly diminished food supplies for many years owing to ravage of cultivated lands, diminished breeding stock, and shortage of production. ,

High commercial freights, dear imports, and handicapped exports, owing to shortage of ships.

These are only a few of the major problems that will confront Europe after the war.

Sir, out of all this "awful welter Canada may benefit, Canada may profit, and that profit will go, must go first to the tillers of the soil. The farmer will secure a high price for his produce. So the policy of the Government at the present day should be to increase our farming population, to increase the yearly volume of agricultural products and to do away with the artificial barriers which exist in the West, to give the farmer of Canada fair play, a free hand and thus help him to make , headway after this waT is over.

New conditions will be created in belligerent countries and in neutral countries as well.- Has the Government provided for the return of our soldiers? Has the Government provided 'fior the return of those soldiers to civilian life and industry? The employment of our returning soldiers is one question and the large influx of immigration to Canada after the war is another. A meeting was held the other day in Montreal under the chairmanship of the Anglican bishop-His Lordship Bishop Farthing. At that meeting a memorandum was prepared which in a few days will be presented to the Government. That memorandum contains data and facts as regards the conditions of unemployment in the large centres and as regards the .urgency of the establishment of labour bureaus throughout Canada. What reliable nation-wide organisation does Canada possess to deal with the following gigantitc problems at the close of the war? The replacing of returned troops in suitable occupation; the readjustment of dislocated industrial conditions and the transference of workers from war industries to normal industrial occupations; the industrial training and technical equipment of potential citizens to meet the strenuous and fierce competition for industrial and

commercial expansion; the handling of the stream of immigration which will set in when peace is concluded; the replacing' of interned aliens from concentration camps throughout the country. These aTe the questions which were discussed the other evening at that meeting in Montreal at which the largest and most influential bodies in the city were represented. The memorandum will be submitted to my right hon. friend in a few days. A deputation headed by the Bishop of Montreal will he here. I hope that the Government will take the necessary measures to protect our returning soldiers, to protect. the immigrants who will come into this country in large numbers after the war and to provide as much as possible for the distribution of employment among the various industrial centres of Canada.

I have just mentioned the question of technical education. There is a most interesting report on the shelves of the Department of Labour on the all-important question of technical education. Has the Government taken any action on this report? Has the Government the intention of taking any action on it? We know that the success of Germany and of the United States from the industrial point of view, and, in a measure, of England and France, is due to their system of technical education. I am pleased to know that there has been established of late years a splendid technical institution in the city of Montreal. But that is not enough. The Federal Government ought to help the provinces to establish and multiply technical institutes in order to equip the young men of this country for the economic battles of the future.

One word about another question. My right hon. friend the Prime Minister yesterday said that he would apeak until after six o'clock in order to impart to the House the result of his trip to the Mother country during the recess. I waited and waited and listened attentively with bated breath to my right hon. friend as I always do. I expected something startling from him and yet, Mr. Speaker, will I surprise him when' I say that I was sadly disappointed in his statements. It is very interesting indeed to know that he met the Prime Minister of England and the Minister of Munitions, Mr. Lloyd George, that he discussed the question of remounts and other sundry matters, but 'I expected from him a statement as regards

that promise which he has made on so many occasions to the faithful jingoes of *Toronto. Long before the war, my right hon. friend repeated time and time again, - is he has done since the war, that the old *rder of things had passed away and that tow on, Canada would have a voice in the affairs of the Empire. To be just with my right hon. friend let me quote his ipsissima verba in Toronto in 1913:

Those whom those questions concern must always reckon with the Inborn feeling in the Canadian breast that a British subject living in this Dominion must ultimately have as potent a voice in the government and the guidance of this worldwide Empire as the British subject living in the United Kingdom.

And after this deliverance I know that the stout and faithful from Toronto expected that within a very short time indeed that voice would be heard in the councils of Downing street. My hon. friend the Minister of Trade and Commerce (Sir George Foster) went further. Speaking in April last in Toronto again he said:

Before the war many persons argued that Canada ought to have no foreign' policy. Now Canada had a foreign policy and that was the policy of the British Empire. For good or ill they had taken an advanced position, and from tihis time forward they must have a united foreign policy.

At Folkestone in England on the 4th of August, 1915, my right hon. friend the Prime Minister said:

The old order has in some measui'e passed away. Once for all it has been borne upon the minds and souls of all of us that the great policies which touch and control the issues of peace and war concern more than the peoples of these islands.

I know the old historic city of Folkestone, and I feel that perhaps the words of my right hon. friend, eloquent and wise as they were, had not much effect on the plain people of Folkestone; but I know that when he spoke at Folkestone he spoke for the stout and faithful of Toronto.

Topic:   THE GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH.
Subtopic:   ADDRESS IN REPLY.
Permalink
CON

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

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir ROBERT BORDEN:

As a matter of fact I did not speak at Folkestone at all.

Topic:   THE GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH.
Subtopic:   ADDRESS IN REPLY.
Permalink
LIB

Rodolphe Lemieux

Liberal

Mr. LEMIEUX:

It is reported in "The New Empire Partnership," a book published by Mr. Percy Hurd, page 289. I will pass the book to my right hon. friend. Anyway, did he use anywhere the words that I have quote?

Topic:   THE GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH.
Subtopic:   ADDRESS IN REPLY.
Permalink
CON

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

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir ROBERT BORDEN:

That is very likely.

Topic:   THE GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH.
Subtopic:   ADDRESS IN REPLY.
Permalink
LIB

Rodolphe Lemieux

Liberal

Mr. LEMIEUX:

An event took place

anyway which was heralded by the jingo [Me. Lemieux.]

press as really an epoch-making event. On the 15th day of July, 1915-

Topic:   THE GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH.
Subtopic:   ADDRESS IN REPLY.
Permalink
LIB
LIB

Rodolphe Lemieux

Liberal

Mr. LEMIEUX:

On the 15th of July,

1915-not the 12th-the English . press reported that by the invitation of the British Prime Minister, Sir Robert Borden, the Prime Minister of the Dominion of Canada, attended a meeting of the Cabinet at Downing street. If my right hon. friend can break the news to an impatient listener, I would like to know if he was present at that meeting of the British Cabinet as a spectator or if he was there as a participator; or let him say at once what I suggest as the case, wras he playing to a Toronto gallery? The country is entitled to know this. Trub, Mr. Bonar Law said at Folkestone on the 4th of August, 1915:

The time will come wjien the whole of the self-governing dominions, in proportion to their population and resources, will share with the motherland in the duty and honour of governing the British Empire."

But this is a mere opinion, an obiter dictum of Mr. Bonar Law, who no doubt clings to the opinions he held before being a member of the coalition government. But the statesman who really spoke for the British Government is Mr. Asquith, who in 1911-and I wish my right hon. friend would think of this-was present at an Imperial Conference in which the right hon. gentleman who leads the Opposition took part when the proposal was made by Sir Joseph Ward, the Prime Minister for New Zealand, for the very thing which has been propounded so assiduously and so insidiously by the right hon. gentleman during the last few years, that is, the idea that the Dominion should have a voice in the councils of the Empire and should dictate the terms of peace and war in the foreign policies of Great Britain. Mr. Asquith's answer was very plain. It reads as follows:

It would impair, if not altogether destroy, tha authority of the Government of the United Kingdom, in such grave matters as the conduct of foreign policy, the conclusion of treaties, the declaration and maintenance of peace, or the declaration of war, and indeed, all those relations with foreign powers, necessarily of the most delicate character, which are now in the hands of the Imperial Government, subject to its responsibility to the Imperial Parliament -that authority cannot be shared, and the coexistence side by side with the Cabinet of the United Kingdom of this proposed body-it does not matter what name you call it for the moment-clothed with the functions and the jurisdiction which Sir Joseph Ward proposed to invest it with, would in our judgment, be abso-

lutely fatal to our present system of responsible government.

Now, Mr. Asquith has not varied his opinion; he has never said that he has retracted that statement, and until he declares that he has retracted it, I say that my right hon. friend in his claim for a voice in the councils of the Empire is only playing to the gallery. The modem, the sane idea of the British Empire is that of Gladstone, is that of Asquith, that its unity is based on the freedom of each of its component parts. Sir, freedom alone breeds the loyalty of the dominions. For my part, notwithstanding the hopes expressed by the right hon. the leader of the House, I am satisfied with my lot as a Canadian and as a British subject. Canada has won responsible government. Formerly England drafted our tariff, managed our post office, looked after the public works-and perhaps it was not a bad thing for Canada compared with the present-day administration-involved us in her commercial treaties, and defended Canada with her regulars. But, Sir, we have outlived that policy; we have moved towards greater efficiency, greater self-reliance and more complete self-government. I am proud of what we have acquired-our full freedom, -and I do not care to be involved in the foreign policies of Downing street. As Canadians we are masters in our own house; we none the less recognize the Empire as a fact; nay, we welcome it as a trust. As our freedom grew our reverence for the Motherland grew, proceeding from the depths of our hearts. Sir, when, in August, 1914, the tragic hour came, the Canadian people, before responding to the call of duty, did not insist that they should have a voice in the councils of the Empire. The Canadian privates, the Canadian officers, did not volunteer on any sordid considerations of a preferential tariff policy. They knew that, though fighting for Britain's cause in their full freedom, they could at the same time tax British imports. Yes, Mr. Speaker, the Canadian people responded with one heart and one voice to the call oi duty. They were moved by higher, loftier motives than those suggested by some jingoes. Of our soldiers it might well be said, as the Latin poet said of the Rom an legions, "Amor patriae'ratione valentior."

Topic:   THE GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH.
Subtopic:   ADDRESS IN REPLY.
Permalink
CON

William Foster Cockshutt

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. W. F. COCKSHUTT (Brantford):

Mr. Speaker, I wish to congratulate our hon. friend from Yukon (Mr. Thompson) on the splendid address he gave us yesterday, showing a great deal of thoughtful research,

and drawing to our attention many facts of history that were both inspiring and educational. The hon. member who seconded the resolution (Mr. Paquet) also made an admirable address. I am sure both these hon. gentlemen are worthy of the thanks of this House for the manner in which they dealt with the important questions-that are before us. The Prime Minister (Sir Robert Borden) also gave us a very excellent resume of his visit to the front, and I am sure that his words of encouragement and praise of the Canadian soldier found an echo in the hearts and minds of all on both sides of the House. *

The war in which we are engaged has called for very strenuous efforts during the year through which we have passed and since we last assembled here. It will call, perhaps, for a great deal more vigorous efforts in the future than it has called for up to the present. I am sure there are no hon. gentlemen on either side of the House who will begrudge in any way the expenditures that have been made in connection with the sending of our forces overseas. -Up to date, as I understand it, we have vpted about $150,000,000. Probably not the whole of that is yet expended, and that has run us for nearly a year and a half of the war. In that time 80,000 Canadian soldiers have crossed the water, probably 100,000 or 120,000 have been gathered ready to cross the water, and a further call is now being made for 250,000 more troops to be prepared to take their places at the front as soon as their services are needed.

These, of course, are very large matters for a country such as Canada which has not been accustomed to efforts of this kind within the past hundred years. We have been brought up to believe- that we lived in a country of perpetual peace, that our peace was never likely to be assailed from outside our own borders. For this reason when the war broke out Canada's permanent force consisted of probably not more than three or four thousand men, and the militia, which is the backbone of the defence of Canada, consisted of not more than fifty thousand men-though nominally, perhaps, seventy-five thousand were-enrolled. I question if more than fifty thousand were ever under training in any one year. So it was a very large undertaking that faced the Minister of Militia (Sir Sam Hughes) when he was called upon on very short notice to prepare the first expeditionary force. The call that went out in August, 1914, met with a more hearty

response than might have been expected under the conditions that then prevailed. Upwards of thirty thousand men answered the call almost immediately, and within a few weeks were embarked to cross the water. That is not a very large force as compared with the armies of Europe, it is true. Yet that flotilla that went from Canada at that time, consisting of the transports and their naval convoy, was the greatest force that had ever crossed any sea since the world began in any one unit, so far as I am aware, and I think I am speaking according to the records of history. Upwards of thirty thousand men were embarked on these transports, and they were convoyed by a large number of cruisers and battleships and some of the lesser arms of the naval service.

All of these troops were successfully landed on the shores of Great Britain; not a man was lost. And in all the transfers that have been made to and fro during the war across the Straits'into France and overseas, and also to the Mediterranean, scarcely any mishap has occurred. That speaks volumes for the efficiency of the British fleet. We have cause for thankfulness, in the opening .of the New Year, that the British fleet, which was supreme when the war began, still commands the Seven *Seas, and is supreme upon every water. This is a fact that cannot be gainsaid even by our enemies, and day by day the blockade of German ports is being tightened by the watchfulness of that fleet. It is true, in the early stages of the war, the- British fleet did not perhaps put into force all those measures that we may now think should have been put into force earlier. The Declaration of London, under which we as an Empire were endeavouring to work, and which has perhaps received very little consideration in this House, has made a very important change in the manner of naval warfare, and in regard to those articles that were considered contraband of war. Therefore, for a considerable time the enemy received a very large supply of articles that were absolutely necessary to enable it to carry on the war effectively. Particularly was this true of cotton, which was allowed to cross until a few months ago, and which, though perhaps it was not landed directly in Germany, no doubt found its destination there very soon after it had crossed the water. Also, German reservists, under the Declaration of London, were allowed to cross in neutral vessels and take their places in the ranks of

the German army, though Britain could have seized them in the early stages of the war and taken them off these ships, as she is now prepared to do. But at that time the enemy was given the benefit of every doubt and the naval service was conducted with a laxity which some might have said was commendable, but which in reality was feeding the enemy in such a way that its cost was all the higher in the late stages of the war. [DOT]

This, however, will all be corrected as time goes on. It was inevitable that the education of the British people to meet the conditions of a world-wide war should be a matter of gradual growth, and so it has been a matter of gradual growth. But to-day the old lion, which some people think has been rather slow to wake up, has finally got going pretty strong; and if the signs do not fail it appears to me that the enemy will have reason to regret that he has twisted the tail of the lion. Britain has now under arms probably four millions of men, with possibly 250,000 employed in the naval service of the Empire; and further calls have gone out in Britain lately, and it is not un reasonable to expect that in the very near future we shall have five millions of men under arms in Britain and serving in Flanders, France, the Near East, Mesopotamia, Egypt, South Africa and other countries in which the war is being carried on. The vastness of the war has been something that was not contemplated in its earlier stages, and there has been a tendency on the part of almost everyone to underrate the capacity of the enemy and so to underrate the requirements of men, munitions and ships. For this reason we were pretty slow in getting started in that great conflict. It took Great Britain about three weeks to get the first 120,000 men on the firing line, and probably Great Britain's standing army at the moment war broke out did not exceed 150,000 of thoroughly trained and effective troops, ready for immediate action. Thank God for that small army! It was not large, but it did its part at a time when it was very much needed. It was on the spot at the time when the critical stage of the German advance on Paris was reached. We all know the history of the great fight at Mons and where the British were first engaged; and how both Great Britain and her French Allies were gradually driven back until the Marne was reached and German guns were almost heard within the city of Paris itself. They came very close to the city of Paris-they reached a point

only about twenty-five miles from the Capital of France.

The right hon. leader of the Opposition expressed the horror with which he views the possibility of conscription. It is to be hoped that we will not require conscription in the Dominion of Canada. Probably, in the present state of public opinion no government could live that attempted to put conscription in force in this country at the present time. But while we may not be ready at the moment to adopt it ourselves, we should be very slow to condemn [DOT]it in others, because it is conscription that has saved the day and that has put us as near victory as we are. If you condemn conscription you condemn the policy of France, of Italy, of Russia, and of Servia, as well as of Germany. In other words, all the Allies of Great Britain to-day are fighting under, a conscriptive system. Where would France and Paris have been had France been as unprepared as the British were on land? Let anyone think of that for one moment. France was an armed camp the day war was declared. Every man knew his place, every man knew his duty; and to-day there is not an ineffectual man, we are told, in the whole of France who has not donned the arms and insignia of the French army and taken his place at the battle front, while the women and the old men are carrying on the work of the farm, in the field, in the factories and in the marts of commerce. That whole nation to-day is one armed camp as a result of the conscriptive system and of the universal training system which has done so much to head off the enemy. A great war is a good deal like a great fire. Those members who have been in Ottawa a good many years have seen some very threatening conflagrations in this neighbourhood, and very close to this city. A fire brigade that can put two good streams of water on a conflagration when it is starting is worth more than a fire brigade that can put on two hundred or three hundred after the conflagration has spread. It is the same way with regard to a nation. A nation thoroughly prepared, that can immediately jump into the breach and take its place against the enemy, is in a better position than one that has to hunt around, as Canada had, to get new recruits who know nothing of war, to train them and equip them as soldiers, send them across the sea and get them into the firing line. Time was the essence of the contract, and time was on the side of the man who was ready; and had it not been that our great

and bold ally, France, in this war was more ready than we were, on land, we would have had a sorry tale to tell to-day, there is little doubt of that. The same may be said with regard to Belgium. Belgium was a peaceable country, a land that had not been led to expect that it would have any part in any great war in Europe, its neutrality having been guaranteed by all the great powers. And so Belgium was not well prepared for war. But for three weeks almost, that little country, with its gallant little band of 150,000 men, held up the German hordes at the border, and that three weeks enabled the British to get their forces across and tackle the enemy about the time the Belgians were exhausted. Look what happened in the country of Belgium, a little land but with almost the same population as the whole of Canada, seven millions of people, where we have perhaps seven and a half millions! For three weeks that little gallant band of Belgians held up the whole of the German army, and that gave Britain a chance to get her 120,000 men of the first division across, and gave France a chance to have her millions prepared, which she did in short order. Russia came forward with an immense army; Serbia was early on the field, a little country, gallant but impoverished and decimated and devastated to-day in a way that challenges the sympathy and pity of all communities. That lot might have fallen to us had it not been for our geographical position; and while we to-day have heard the sound of no foreign gun in Canada, and perhaps will not, if we a.re fortunate, in the whole course of this war, yet the fight is just as much ours to-day as it is the fight of Belgium, of Serbia, 'of Russia, of France or of Great Britain. We are then a peaceable country, a country where from almost every pulpit peace has been preached, and the wonder is that our people have been able in so short a time to overcome a prejudice that had been inculcated into their minds from their youth up, and to take their place now and rank with the armies of Europe in valour and in glorious deeds upon the battlefields. The roll of our first contingent, made up from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and comprising representatives from every province, from every city, from every town, from every hamlet, and from many farms scattered throughout the length and breadth of the land, included men who it vras said were somewhat lacking in discipline; but though they had comparatively little preparation

for the fray, they went to the front, and wihen the crucial test came at Langemarck, at St. Julien, at Givenchy, at Ypres, and at other points of which you all have heard -when the trial came, the Canadians were just as good as the best. Even the Germans themselves admitted that uip to that time they had met no better soldiers than those who came from the western plains and the eastern provinces of the Dominion of Canada. We were all proud of the gallant deeds they performed on that day, and when the startling news came to us in the latter days of April that more than one-hajf of our first contingent had been wiped out, after three or four days of the most strenuous fighting that had taken place since the war began, the spirit of the Canadian soldier was reflected in the Canadian people at home. There is no better test of the vitality and endurance of a people than adversity, and the grim determination with which Canadians received the blackest news that has ever come across the Atlantic to this country, and learned that upwards of ten thousand of our men had gone down in that one fight-I say the grim determination with which our men, yes, and the mothers, and the wives received that news showed that the Canadian people were a people who not only could stand prosperity, but had the grace of God in their hearts to carry them through the days of adversity.

At six o'clock, the House took recess.

The House resumed at eight o'clock.

Topic:   THE GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH.
Subtopic:   ADDRESS IN REPLY.
Permalink
CON
LIB

Rodolphe Lemieux

Liberal

Mr. LEMIEUX:

I do not disagree with my hon. friend as regards the war expenditure; I stand with the Government as regards that. What I objected to was the huge ordinary expenditure. That is where I wish the Government to practise economy.

Topic:   THE GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH.
Subtopic:   ADDRESS IN REPLY.
Permalink

January 18, 1916