January 28, 1916

CON

Pierre Édouard Blondin (Minister of Mines; Secretary of State of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BLONDIN:

I was answering the Hon. Mr. Caron, and my hon. friend will not deny that Mr. Caron was attacking us at the time.

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LIB

Ernest Lapointe

Liberal

Mr. LAPOINTE:

Will my hon. friend state in this House that the Liberals voted with the Government on the new tariff brought down by the Minister of Finance last year? He will say so at Louiseville, but he will not repeat the statement in this House. Mr. Cousineau, leader of the Opposition in the province' of Quebec, was on the same platform with the Secretary of State, and spoke a few words about the Dominion subsidy:

Since the Conservative Government is in power in Ottawa it is very difficult to reach an effective understanding between the federal and local governments. Should the Conservatives acquire the confidence of the majority in the province of Quebec, the re-adjustment of the federal subsidy will be an easy problem to solve.

I now come to the Postmaster General, and I regret to do so, because I have the greatest personal regard for him.

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LIB

Ernest Lapointe

Liberal

Mr. LAPOINTE:

Unfortunately, even

saints have weaknesses, and the Postmaster General is not above reproach. At one of his so-called patriotic meetings my hon. friend said at Notre-Dame du Lac:

I am told that there is here a large Conservative majority. I congratulate you, gentlemen, and I hope that you will increase it further, in order to send to us in the House of Commons a Conservative member upon whom we shall always be able to rely.

I am quoting from l'Evenement of October 11, 1915. My hon. friend the Postmaster General will have to admit that he was trying to recruit Conservatives as well as soldiers. The following day the Postmaster General spoke at a Fraserville meeting, and l'Evenement of October 12, 1915, in reporting this speech, says:

Dube Hall proved too small to contain all the good Conservatives who flocked in yesterday to hear the speech of the Hon. Mr. Cas-grain, Postmaster General in the Borden cabinet.

Really, his speech was a patriotic op'-on the whole. The only statement which 1 did not like was this one:

Compare the line of conduct followed by both governments in the inquiries held regarding the scandals. Whilst the Liberals endeavoured to conceal' everything, the Conservatives have established complete light and chastized the guilty parties. This is proven by the act of Sir Robert Borden in expelling from the party Garland and Foster, found guilty of theft and graft. t

My friends from Nova Scotia will be able to use that speech of my Ihon. friend. My hon. friend complained that those meetings were described as political meetings. If he has been wrongly interpreted he has been so interpreted by those who participated in the meetings and even by the organizers. Every hon. member knows that Mr. Charles Beaubien, of Montreal, was appointed to the Senate in December. Mr. Beaubien is a clever and highly estimable gentleman, and as long as a Conservative has to be appointed his appointment deserves approval. My friend Mr. Beaubien was known, if not as the principal, as one of the principal, organizers of the Conservative party in the province of Quebec. After his appointment he gave an interview, wlhich was published in the Montreal Gazette Of December 3, 1915. Here is what he said:

He especially wanted to say that in his opinion the war policy of the present Administration is endorsed by 95 per cent of the people of this province. Neither did he think that the political situation could be called anything but hopeful in Quebec., Hard work would, of course, be necessary-

I believe that.

-on the part of the ministers and their followers-

Here is the sentence to which I call the attention of my friend:

-and he thought that the activity they had displayed during' the past few weeks was a safe promise for the future.

I have some more extracts, but I will keep them in store for that happy occasion when my hon. friend discusses that matter, as he has announced his intention of doing.

The right hon. the Prime Minister, speaking in this House on the last day of the last session of Parliament and referring to the appropriations voted for the war, said:

It will be the duty of the Government to see that not one single dollar of it shall be lost

or wasted, so that we may he enabled at another session of Parliament to give an account of our stewardship.

We now ask the right hon. gentleman and the Government to give that account to us and to the people of Canada. From- one end of the country to the other there are rumours and charges of wrong-doing against men for whom the Government is responsible, more especially the Shell Committee, which was the creature of the Government. Specific instances have been mentioned by hon. gentlemen in the course of this debate. That Shell Committee, under the eyes of the Government, and certain departments of the Government, seem to have allowed and encouraged combinations in which patriotism and fiinancial cupidity are amalgamated in very discernible doses. The interest of Canada and Britain seems to have been mixed up with the interests of a few rings of selfish financiers. It is np to the Government to clear the atmosphere. I regret to say that since the speech of my hon. friend the Solicitor General the Government of Canada stands in a humiliating position before the country. By their hesitation, their quibbling, their resorting - to technicalities for the purpose of avoiding investigation, the members of the Government are assuming the part of the accused instead of being the accusers. They should have been willing and anxious to grant an immediate and thorough investigation in order that those unworthy speculators who are trying to enrich themselves unduly out of the blood of our soldiers and the misfortunes of our country should be discovered and dealt with most severely. The honour of the Government and this Parliament is at stake; the honour of the people of Canada is at stake; and on behalf of those whom I have the honour to represent in this Parliament, I ask the right hon. the Prime Minister of my country to do full justice, and not to allow himself to be carried away by the sentiments which seem to animate some of his followers and his colleagues. The noble actions of the sons of Canada in the battlefields of Europe have covered the name of this country with glory. They have written with their blood one of -the -finest pages of Canadian history. We owe it to them to leave intact and untarnished this great page which they have written, and we can do so by divorcing it from the unfortunate condition ' which has been shown during the last few days to exist in our internal affairs. We owe it to those who have died for their

King and country; we owe it to those who are still upholding the honour and interest of Canada; we owe it to those who will come after us. This is the wish which I sincerely hope may be realized, and by such an achievement we shall leave unblemished the glorious history of our national participation in this great war.

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CON

James Davis Taylor

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. J. D. TAYLOR (New Westminster):

Mr. Speaker, may I add to the general expression my felicitation that so worthy a representative of my native county has attained the dignity of presiding officer of this House. It is always a pleasure to me to associate myself with felicitations of any kind ' cqnnected with the province of Quebec, just as it is a matter of perennial regret that long absence has dissociated me from the picturesque politics of the province which to my Irish instincts are attractive in the proportion that they are strenuous.

The outstanding feature of the sessional programme as indicated in the speech now under discussion, is a request for authorization of the increase of the Canadian Expeditionary Force to 500,000 men, an enrollment calling for the serious attention of every member of this House whether with regard to his personal interests or with regard to his influence upon his own constituency. That from this call the' members of this House do not consider themselves exempt is abundantly evident from the fact of the many places vacant by attendance of members at the front or in serious training, and also by the presence here of so many officers in the King's uniform whose participation in the affairs of Parliament is yet made possible because their enlistment is only in the earlier stages. For myself, it is a matter of pride that I have been granted a command in the draft called for a few months ago to bring our first enlistment up to two hundred and fifty thousand. And, as in the thirty-seven years since I first had the privilege of assuming .the Queen's uniform, I have passed through all the stages from private and gunner to the rank of commanding officer, I trust it will not be imputed to me as it has been imputed to others connected with the public life of this country that I secured the privilege of commanding an overseas regiment for any political reason or for any reason other than that it was the position naturally coming to me because of my rank in the militia and the only one for which my years make me eligible.

CMr. E. Lapointe.]

I desire to pay a tribute to the splendid executive courage of the Minister of Militia (Sir Sam Hughes) in the conduct of Canada's share in this war. Criticism is inevitable, and so far as that criticism is based on truth or on 'honest belief, it seems to me that it should mot be resented. Irregularities are to be expected in the conduct of affairs on so huge a scale and eternal vigilance is necessary to prevent these irregularities developing into scandal. But, the business of the present hour being the prosecution of the war, the minor consideration of dealing adequately with those who seek to traffic indecently in the country's difficulties may very well be put in the background for the present. It is my hope, however, that at the proper time the searchlight will be turned on all questions connected with the commercial side of this campaign; and I have no apprehension that the Conserva-titve party or any One in authority in it will be found shielding in any degree, any person to whom censure or penalty should be .accorded. In my opinion, howeveT, the duty of the hour is not investigation or recrimination, but Tat'her the exercise of every possible means to supply 'the men necessary-first to encourage and then to reinforce our advance guard at the front, and to supply to them promptly and adequately the munitions without which the personal bravery of our soldiers must end only in sacrifice.

Fortunately, the splendid spirit of the Canadian people makes it unnecessary to discuss seriously in this Dominion how our legions may be secured, and it is a matter [DOT]for regret in my opinion that the bogie of the word " conscription " has been introduced to cause discord in the minds of free citizens to whom any form of compulsion is distasteful. It seems to me that the word " conscription " is most unfortunately chosen to represent the idea involved, and that since the temper of the Canadian people is to regard service for the Empire as a privilege to be coveted rather than as a duty irksome and only to be assumed of necessity, the work of selection might well be presented as the drawing of a prize rather than as a penalty. In that sense, I am heartily in favour of a ballot for positions in the military service to award to each citizen in proper turn in time of emergency the rank for which he has fitted himself in time of peace. Under such circumstances no man of self-respect, in my opinion, would wish to assert the chief

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privilege of citizenship, the franchise, while opposing or shirking the duty of serving; and the manhood of the country, making, on enlistment, personal sacrifices which in many cases bear severely on their dependents, would be freed from the worry of the thought that the gratification of their desire for .service h)ad left ibheir mothers and sisters, or their wives and children, under conditions less favourable than those of their acquaintance who disregarded the call of duty when it came to them. I would give opportunity to those Who had not the privilege of personal service to compensate themselves by making the most generous provision possible for the dependents of soldiers serving in the field or who have answered the last roll-call, as well as those who return to us unfitted for ordinary pursuits. I am pleased that the subject of more adequate pensions has been introduced, since, though the Canadian scale is comparatively liberal, it was not made for conditions such as those of this war, where the magnitude of the numbers engaged makes it idle to expect that the ordinary offices of philanthrophy in the several communities can provide for any deficiency in the scale for the dependents of disabled or returned invalided soldiers. So that the mind of the volunteers should be set at ease, I think it most advisable that authoritative announcement that steps to increase the pension scale should be made as early as possible. In following Imperial example and seeking an extension of the life of Parliament, in my opinion the Government interpret properly the will of the Canadian people. How can we be united in the preparation for warfare .and in every patriotic endeavour at home while the desire to secure party supremacy is allowed sway; and when, an election being supposed to be imminent, our citizens are armed to the teeth politically, each watching with jealousy the movements of every rival? But of what avail is an .armistice in the matter of an actual ballot if the campaign is not interrupted? Thaf is the German idea, as I see it, of an armistice to bury the dead, used for the purpose of placing the big guns in better positions. Observations of some hon. gentlemen opposite while this debate has been in progress make the situation well capable of illustration by picturing the members of this House *as invited to an entertainment, say to promote recruiting or to enlarge the Patriotic Fund, to which some of the members who addressed this House recently would proEDITION * > COMMONb ceed in a spirit anything but philanthropic. For example, there is the hon. member for Cape Breton North (Mr. McKenzie), who, I am sorry to see is not in his seat. I can very well picture him on the approach to this gathering arguing that the motor cars bearing the guests were not coming along what he considered the proper road, and as resenting this I can conceive him strewing tacks along the way of these erring motors. Then, take the hon. member for St. John city (Mr. Pugsley), and I have in my mind's eye his progress along the pavement from the street to the meeting place, having distributed along the walk a collection of banana peels, and then standing at the door and watching the downfall of the unwary guests, but offering an urbane welcome to those who bad escaped the pitfalls. Then there is the hon. member for Pictou (Mr. Macdonald), who also is absent. After listening carefully to his address the other night, I saw in my mind's eye his early and furtive entry into the tea-room and his carefully anointing with vinegar the jugs of cream. I pictured next another absent critic of the Administration, the hon. member for Carleton, N.B., (Mr. Carvell) whose role, it seems to me, would be having asked permission to dry a small bundle of hay in one of the stoves on the premises, to mix with the bay a noxious perfume in order that he might make his influence felt on the olfactory nerves of his audience, if he could not impress them by any other means. It seems to me that the result of the various performances of these absent critics would do anything but make for the peace and harmony of a patriotic gathering. Under these circumstances' the threat, if it were threat-the promise, or sinister suggestion, whichever it was-of the hon. member for Carleton, that Canadians, because of his criticism and the criticism of those like him, should refrain either from enlisting or from subscribing to the Patriotic Fund, would be very likely to receive some attention. The cream of the present campaign undoubtedly had been [DOT] the efficiency and the overwhelming superiority of the navy. Yet the hon/ member for Pictou. puts this to the acid touch of his complaint that Canada has neglected to gild the refined gold in that she has not offered what he thinks should have been the" proper assistance to the Imperial Navy in the shape of strengthening their naval brigade. I will deal with his remarks practically in so far only as they affect conditions on the Pacific Coast, although he had a good deal to say about conditions at Halifax also. Take first the steamship Rainbow, the protection bequeathed to us by the late Government. The hon. gentleman informed this House that that ship was dismantled and useless at the beginning of the campaign. But on the contrary, so reckless was the hon. gentleman in his assertions and so little care did he take to have ground for the criticism that he levelled against the Government, that the fact is quite the opposite. At the opening of the war the Rainbow was in full commission. In the spring of 1914, Canada had undertaken to send a ship to the Behring Sea Patrol to replace the Algerine and the Shearwater of the Imperial Navy, which were detained on the Mexican coast by the trouble arising in that country. The Rainbow was fitted for this service, and was prepared to leave when war broke out. The ship was immediately placed at the disposal of the Admiralty, and -has been at such disposal ever since. The -complement of the Rainbow was completed by the addition of a numbeT of Royal Nav-al Canadian Volunteer Reserve ratings who had been training at Esquimalt, and the ship put to sea immediately to protect the Canadian coasts. A report in British Columbia at the time which caused great apprehension, was to the effect that the German -ships Leipzig and Numb erg wer e off the American coast. The Rainbow went south to meet these ships, and, by so doing, enabled the little Imperial -ships Shearwater and Algerine to regain Esquimalt in safety; and also deterred the German vessels from entering the Canadian harbours without, at least -a serious conflict. The hon. gentleman also complains of inattention on the part of this Government to requests from British Columbia for the -formation locally of a branch of the Royal Naval Reserve. In this case also he is mistaken. During the year before the war the question of the organization of naval reserves was taken up by the Department of the Naval Service. In the fall of 1913, authority was given to organize a company in Victoria, B.C., in a preliminary manner, and facilities were given for drilling in the Esquimalt dbckyard, the direction of the movement being undertaken by the naval officers at that station. During the winter of 1913-14, a -scheme for organization was drawn up, which was put into effect by Order in Council. In the spring of 1914 arrangements were made with the Admiralty to obtain officers for the training of a corps of volunteers to be distributed throughout the country. 5 p.m. -A company was organized in Victoria and another in Vancouver, and the organization was being perfected when war broke out. The Admiralty stated that they were unable to send out the officers who were to have undertaken the training of these bodies. It was, therefore, necessary to postpone the projected organization, but the measures which were authorized were utilized for the purpose of enlisting volunteers to serve for the period of the war on the Niobe and Rainbow, to man patrol vessels and to take part in other defensive measures on the coasts of Canada. These men have been extremely useful and ' have done good service-service which has been recognized by the Imperial officers wjio have been associated with those two vessels since the outbreak ef the war. While the German vessels were patrolling the Pacific, some 450 men were enlisted in the province of British Columbia and were divided into various patrol services along the coast. After Admiral Sturdee's victory at the Falkland islands, it was no longer necessary to keep such a large number of the volunteers on service, and all. men wishing to join overseas forces were allowed to resign, and a number of other men who wished to rejoin their families were also allowed to leave the force. A number of these volunteers are still serving on the Rainbow, the Shearwater and the submarines, and employed on patrol and other duties as well. The hon. member for Piotou seems to be under a misapprehension as to the requirements, if not the functions, of the Royal naval brigade. At the beginning of the war the Admiralty called out the Royal naval reserves, composed of men engaged in mercantile marine, but trained to a certain extent in the Royal Navy. When these men responded to the call, the Admiralty found themselves with a large body of trained seamen, from which they manned the ships ready to put to sea, and still had a considerable number of men over. The naval brigade, thus organized, while formed of reserve seamen, was partly officered [DOT] by naval officers and partly by army officers. The men were trained as a military unit and given the uniform of the land forces; they were armed and equipped in exactly the same way as the infantry regiments, and took 25J their places in the trenches alongside of the latter. The point of this is that as Canada was already sending land forces in quite as large number as the Imperial Government could handle, it made no difference to that Government whether we sent those forces under the name of a navaJl. .brigade, a® the hon. member for Pictou suggests we should have done, or whether we enrolled them as infantry and sent them over under the name, as well as to perform the duties, of land forces. A feature of the early part of this debate was the submarine warfare of the hon. member for St. John city (Mr. Pugsley) who, when taken to task from this side of the House, excused himself on the ground that his periscope was the press of Vancouver and Victoria. I am sorry the hon. gentleman is not present, because I would have liked in his presence to remove from him the last vestige of protection or excuse for having, with the product of the peculiar state of mental exaltation in which he must have been on his visit to the coast, given so inadequate and distorted a report of what he learned from his perusal of the press of Victoria and Vancouver. Since the hon. gentleman spoke in this House, I have been looking up the press of Victoria and Vancouver to which he had access, and which, he says, he carefully perused. I find that that press contradicts him in every particular, that there is no manner of complaint that he has alleged here and that is dealt with by the evidence as read by the Solicitor General, which was not adequately covered by the press of Victoria and Vancouver at that time; and that there are no facts which, to a man with any interest in the subject, would not have been disclosed by the perusal of that evidence. I find a statement by the hon. gentleman, for instance, that there was no explanation o,f the division of the submarine money into three drafts. On the contrary, we read in the newspapers an exact explanation, first by the manager of the bank as to the nature and amounts of the drafts; next by Mr. Paterson, the agent of the Company, as to why those divisions were made, and as to what disposition was made of each dra„ft. Further, I find that the receipts from the recipients of those drafts, showing the purpose of them, were produced before the Commission, and are on file with the other documents. I find in the statement made by the hon. member for St. John the reiteration that he was justified in supposing that Captain Logan should have known something about



the price of the submarines by reason of the fact that, as shown by his bill which forms part of the record presented to. this House last session, he was engaged for fifteen days in this business. On reading the Victoria press for my own information, I find that that is most carefully and thoroughly dealt with, that Captain Logan's evidence was to the effect that his first connection with the submarine business was on Sunday, August' 2, the declaration of war. being on the' 4th, and that the greater part of the fifteen days, for which he has put in a bill to the Government, was taken up, not by negotiations for the sale of those submarines, as the remarks of the hon. member for St. John would lead this House to believe, but, as plainly stated by Captain Logan himself, in the endeavour to secure torpedoes and other supplies for the craft after their purchase and delivery to Esqui-malt dockyard. So, Mr. Speaker, we have an addition to our cause for amazement that an hon. gentleman should have attempted to inform this House as to the facts of an incident, facts wlhich he said reflected severely, not only upon the politicians whom he connected with the transaction, but upon a most esteemed retired member of the judiciary engaged as a Royal Commissioner, and that he should have presumed to cast reflections, with no warrant at all in fact, so far as his own statements as to where he procured these facts admit of investigation of his allegations to this House. Then, again, .Mr. Speaker, so far as the participation of counsel* for the Liberal party in British Columbia is concerned, I would like to add something to what has gone upon record, something which, wlhen I was perusing the press of the Coast for the purposes intended, I saw very fully set forth. I find that when Commissioner Davidson refused the counsel for the Liberal party the right to appear as such, on the ground that one party could not be represented without the other, at the same time he extended to him a most cordial invitation to attend at the sessions of the Commission, and to give Mr. Thompson, the official counsel, all the assistance in his power.


CON

Arthur Meighen (Solicitor General of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

Did the counsel for the Liberal party stay?

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CON
LIB

George Perry Graham

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM:

I think that is hardly

fair. There are no hon. gentlemen who stay in the House as steadily as one of the hon. gentlemen to who my hon. friend is referring. This is Friday, some of these gentlemen may have been called away, and we do not know why members cannot be in the House. My hon. friend may be a sinner in that respect himself at times.

Mr. TAYLOR; I grant I am very often out of the House, but I would feel it my duty to remain if I had gone so far afield as to make accusations against a province with .which I had no personal concern. Had I made such accusations, had I dragged in affairs so extraneous to my own personal duty, I would have felt some responsibility to attend while an opportunity was given for the answers to be delivered.

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CON

James Davis Taylor

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. TAYLOR:

Two of these hon. gentlemen were present when I commenced my remarks; so that, as to the hon. member for St. John (Mr. Pugsley) and the hon. member for North Cape Breton (Mr. McKenzie), their absence from the House at this moment is purely voluntary and is not occasioned by any circumstances over which they have no control.

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LIB

Archibald Blake McCoig

Liberal

Mr. A. B. McCQIG (West Kent):

Mr. Speaker, in rising to say a few words in this debate, I wish to join with previous speakers in extending to you, Sir, my most hearty congratulations upon your promotion to the high office which you now occupy. I feel satisfied that I am only expressing the sentiments of hon. gentlemen on both sides1 of the House when I say that I feel confident that you will discharge the duties of this high and honourable position with that ability and impar-

390 '

tiality which have characterized your distinguished predecessors.

I regretted very much to hear some of my hon. friends on this side of the House make the complaint that in the selection of regimental officers, and other officials of the Militia Department, in their respective constituencies, discrimination was shown against those of their friends who might be of the Liberal persuasion. I am glad to say that in the county of Kent, a portion of which I have the honour to represent in this House, appointments such as have been described have not been made. When companies were formed by the Militia Department, the officers were selected from the very best- men regardless of their political opinions.

I am proud to say that when the first contingent left Canada we sent a couple of companies from the county of Kent, and the .man in charge was Major George Smith, a Liberal in politics. He fought at the front with his men behind him on many occasions, and I am sorry .to inform the House that in the last great battle in which he was engaged he was killed while attacking a third trench after he and his men had already captured two. I wish to extend to the Prime Minister of this country and to the Minister of Militia the most sincere thanks of my constituents, as well as my own, for the kind letters of condolence that they extended to Major Smith's wife and orphan son. I am glad to inform the House that since that time many of the brightest young men in the county of Kent have left for the front to do battle in defence of their country-not only men in the humbler walks of life, but sons of our wealthiest families in the city of Chatham, and in the municipalities and in the whole county. I am also glad to say that the ladies of Kent county have at all times endeavoured to do their duty. Whether in connection with the Red Cross Society, the Daughters of the Empire, or some other patriotic association, the ladies of my county, like the many ladies we see at different times in the galleries of this building, are providing comforts for those who have gone to the front, working from the time they get up in the morning till they go to bed at night. The ladies in the country districts in the county of Kent went so far last harvest as to can hundreds and hundreds of qparts of peaches and forwarded them to the front, and the boys at the front have expressed their appreciation not

only for the fruit that has been sent them, but for the many other acts of kindness which have been extended to them by the industrious women of Kent. The fund which was provided to look after the boys at the front from the county has, I am glad to say, on no occasion been exhausted. I see by the Patriotic Bulletin, issued under the direction of the hon. member for St. Antoine (Sir Herbert Ames), that Kent county raised $85,000 in three days for the Patriotic Fund. Furthermore, Mr. Harry Collins, the local treasurer of the fund, has assured Sir Herbert Ames that the city of Chatham and county promised $150,000 for the year 1916. I think we all admire Sir Herbert Ames. He has given much of his time and attention to the Patriotic Fund, and as its secretary enjoys the confidence, I believe, of all members of this House and of the people as a whole. When he visited Chatham he was received there in the most unpartisan way imaginable, and he said that the county had contributed even more generously than the figures showed, as they had previously spent the sum of $15,000 for the use of the wives and dependents of the soldiers who had enlisted at an earlier date.

I am also glad to inform the House that the Minister of Militia has given instructions to form a Kent battalion, known as the 186th, for overseas service, and they have already obtained some three or four hundred splendid fellows. The man at the * head of that battalion is Lt. Colonel Neil Smith, a Liberal. The Minister of Militia appointed him befcause he knew that he was the best man that could be found for the position, not only in the county of Kent, but possibly in the whole of Ontario. The Minister of Militia knew him personally. Lt. Colonel Neil Smith is such an expert marksman that he was chosen for the Bisley team which went to England some years ago, and he did honour to the county of Kent while he was there, for he carried off some of the highest prizes.- He was selected to go with the Bisley team on another occasion, and I am proud to say that in competition with the greatest marksmen in the Empire he was second in the competition for the highest prize awarded. He not only brought honour on himself, and on the Minister of Militia who appointed him, but upon the Dominion of Canada, the county of Kent, and will say, also, on the new battalion which is now being formed. When the day comes for this battalion to leave Canada, Lt. Colonel

Smith will have associated with him as officers some of the brightest young men that ever breathed the breath of life, Liberals and Conservatives, and I doubt whether a finer fighting force will be found than the 186th Kent Battalion. When the occasion presents itself at the front I know that the 186th will do themselves proud, and do the Empire proud. I say this in all seriousness; in the county of Kent we fight elections as keenly as in any other section of Canada, but when the elections are over politics are forgotten, and we work for the very best interests of the county. As far as great industries in the city of Chatham are concerned, if the Prime Minister were in his seat he would bear me out in saying that Chatham has the very best industries of any city of its size in the wlhole Dominion. I remember well the Premier paying us a visit during the elections of 1911. On that occasion I had the privilege of hearing the right hon. gentleman address one of the largest meetings ever held in the county, and he paid one of the highest compliments to our industries that has ever been paid by any statesman or leader of any great political party.

I do not remember his words exactly, but he was so impressed with our industries and the agricultural district surrounding the city of Chatham that when he came back to headquarters in Ottawa he insisted upon the Minister of Finance paying us a visit, also the Minister of Trade and Commerce, the Minister of Labour, the Minister of Justice, and, as regards members on the back benches, the hon. member for East Lambton (Mr. J. E. Armstrong), the hon. member for East Peterborough (Mr. Sexsmith), and the hon. Mr. Good-eve, who represented Kootenay at that time, but has since been promoted. All these gentlemen came to see the splendid industries established in the city of Chatham and the splendid agricultural sections surrounding it. After they had done their part in paying compliments to our splendid city and county, we also had a visit from: Sir Clifford Sifton and Mr. Arthur Hawkes, who also paid their respects to the people of the county of Kent, and I am sure that all these hon. gentlemen will hear me out when I say that no honest Government could conscientiously, if they considered for a moment the industries in the county of Kent, let contracts as they have done by the hundreds of millions of dollars and overlook that county and city of which they said they were so proud,

when they paid us those complimentary visits at that particular time. Contracts for shells and 'boxes have been let not only in the city of St. Thomas, which the hon. Minister of Labour (Mr. Crothers) has the honour of representing, but in the city of London, in the town of Ingersoll; but when the Shell Committee came down the Grand Trunk line, they missed the city of Chatham, jumped over to the town of Walker-ville, and gave that town a big contract. As we had some industries that were lying idle, that could manufacture shells or other goods required by the Militia Department for the carrying on of this war, we sent deputation after deputation of the very best citizens of the city of Chatham to wait on the different members of the Government and on other men connected with it Who, we thought, might persuade the Government to give our manufacturers some work, because a number of our factories were closing down and a number of men capable of doing work along this particular line were anxious for,employment. As proud, however, as all these ministers of the Government and their colleagues were of the city of Chatham, not one dollar's worth of shells or boxes was given to that beautiful city. Seeing that they had visited the city, I thought that it would be well for me to write the Minister of Labour, believing that he would have the, patronage of the southwestern part of Ontario. I received from that hon. gentleman a very kind letter in which he asked me to write to Colonel Bertram. I took advantage of his suggestion and wrote to Colonel Bertram, and I received a reply from the colonel assuring me that the contracts were all awarded for the shells that were needed at that particular time, but that he would not overlook Chatham at the very earliest opportunity when there were any shell contracts to be let, and that our manufacturers could be sure that they would get their share. While at that time we were in need of work for our labouring men, who are as good a class of mechanics and labourers as are to be found in the province of Ontario, we were unable to get work for them, and all I have to say is this, that thanks to the progressive board of trade and the council and certain intelligent citizens of the city of Chatham, those factories which at that time were in need of contracts to make shells and boxes are going to be working full blast, and our labouring men will be employed without any thanks to the present Administration. We enjoy to-day the proud distinction of being one of

the cities that have not gone back at this time of financial stress and trouble, and our city is going to go ahead. In the near future a large sugar plant will be erected which will mean the expenditure of about a million dollars, and other industries are being established at .the present time. And I simply want to assure this Government that 'as far as the city of Chatham is concerned, even if they cannot see their way clear to give us. any contracts or any work, the labouring men as well as the manufacturers throughout the county will do everything in their power to put up money and to send men to assist this Government in bringing to a successful conclusion the war which is now raging.

. I was particularly pleased to hear the hon. Minister of Militia the other afternoon when he addressed this House make the following statement, as reported on page 304 of Hansard:

Let us take up next the Militia appointments. Two divisional commanders out of three are good staunch Liberals. I refer to General Currie, of Victoria, and to General Turner, of Quebec, two of the finest fellows who ever stood inside jackets, and two of the best men to be found in the Dominion.

Sir Wilfrid Laurier: Hear, hear.

Sir Sam Hughes: Not a solitary Conservative in the Whole Dominion objected when I nominated these men for brigadiers long ago. The other one is General Mercer. As regards the politics of the brigadiers, I understand they are about half and half. I do not know what my own son's politics may be, but I know he will vote straight anyway. As regards the lower commanders, I am told by those who ****<. looked up the matter-I have not looked up myself, it would make no difference anyway-that three-fourths of them are Liberal and one-fourth Tory.

It is gratifying to me as one of the younger members of this House to hear the Minister of Militia give not only to the members of this House but to the people throughout the length and breadth [DOT]of Canada, the assurance that the Liberal party is doing its share in sending men and officers to assist in this great struggle. There are some who make invidious comparisons, men who we sometimes say belong to the flag-waving party. These men, in. the face of this announcement, will never again dare to say that the Liberal party in this great struggle is not doing its duty in the way of supplying officers, when we already have three out of four commanding the different companies and regiments. .

On this and on other occasions there have come up matters to which almost every speaker has referred, and there is one which is certainly very ahiusing.

Speakers on the opposite side, and on this side, are all referring, Sir, to two gentlemen from your native province, Mr. Bourassa and Mr. Lavergne, and they all seem to be trying to drop them like two hot coals. In the constituency which I represent, one of the great points made during the campaign at the last general election was that all that the Conservatives needed was to win twenty-two seats. In the Conservative paper of my city, on the night when the hon. Minister of Finance addressed the electors in my riding, there was quite a long article saying that twenty-two seats would win the election for Sir Robert Borden, and in the report of that meeting in the paper there was given a summary of how it could be accomplished; that is, that Mr. Bourassa would carry many seats in Quebec, because the fight was not on the reciprocity issue, but the great issue

was that the people of Quebec were opposed to Laurier and his navy. This was the argument they were putting up-that they would carry so many seats in Ontario, so many seats in the Maritime Provinces and the West, and Bourassa would carry so many .seats in Quebec, and this would put the Conservatitve party into power. Let me assure hon. gentlemen that, so far as the county of Kent is concerned, on patriotic lines we are a united people, and will do everything possible to assist this Government in carrying on our share of the war.

Many references have been made to the speech of the hon. member for Carleton (Mr. Carvell), especially in the speech of the hon. Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Burrell), whom I am glad to see in his place. I feel that I speak for every hon. member on this side of the House when I assure the hon. minister that so far as he is personally concerned we regard him as one of the finest gentlemen we have in this House at this time. I believe the member for Carleton rendered a great service not only to this Parliament hut also to the agriculturists of Canada in placing before this House the charges he made with regard to the contracts in his own province. It is greatly to the credit of the hon. member for Carleton that he at last woke up the Minister of Agriculture to deliver a speech with the fire and vim that the minister displayed. If the minister would only follow up his great agitation of a year ago for "Patriotism and Production" with the same force and energy that he displayed

in his abuse of the hon. member for Car-leton, it would be a great blessing for the agriculturists of Canada. What has the hon. mimilster been doing itttie iasit two or three sessions? I put that question to the respected colleagues of the hon. minister. The charge is made that a contract has been entered into for 15,000 tons of hay at $23 a ton. I cannot understand why the members on the Conservative side of the House, particularly those from the province of Ontario, elected by the agriculturists of that province, will sit in their places and pound their desks when the minister announces a contract of this kind, when there are tons upon tons of hay in the province of Ontario for which we cannot get more than $12 or $13 a ton. No person knows better than I do that if one cannot get a market for his products it is mighty little use to grow them. But if the minister wished to contract for 15,000 tons of hay-I put this to hon. gentlemen on the other side who are interested in agriculture-would it not have been better to divide that up into two or three contracts of moderate size and give to the farmers of Ontario-of whom we are so proud at election times particularly, and to whom we always/appeal for support-an opportunity to supply the requirements? In the southwestern part of Ontario we have the best hay-producing section in this whole dominion.

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Archibald Blake McCoig

Liberal

Mr. McCOIG:

Out of respect to the hon. gentleman (Mr. Lemieux), I will revise that, and say that we can produce hay equally good and in equally large quantities with any other section of the Dominion. But * if we can not sell our hay to the Government or to the people of our own large cities, then, if we see a market across the line, we want the privilege of sending our hay to that market. But what has happened? This contract is let at $23 a ton to friends of the Government-that is not denied by the minister-and the very minute that contract is let an embargo is put upon hay so that it can not be sent out of this country. That simply means that the Minister of Agriculture was neglecting the men whom he is alleged to represent in this House.

In the same way, on the first day of May last, a very similar thing was done by this Government when it passed an order in council placing an embargo on wool. The Minister of Agriculture-

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Archibald Blake McCoig

Liberal

Mr. McCOIG:

I appeal to you, Mr. Speaker-you have been one of my old friends on the ball ground. The hon. member for North Essex had his innings the other day, and I think the House will allow me my innings to-day. I say that on the first day of May last an embargo was placed upon wool, and I appeal to the Minister of Agriculture if that is not so. This was in the warm season when the farmers were shearing their sheep-at any rate that was the case in my own constituency. Now, naturally, farmers in humble circumstances do not know the minds of this Government and of the Minister of Agriculture. They naturally thought that this embargo was put on for keeps. They would not suppose that it was done for a joke. These farmers assumed that this was a business act by business men. And so they went on and sold their-wool. At the time the embargo was put on the price of wool was 30 cents a pound. On 8th May it was 20-25 cents; on 15th May it was down to 20 cents, and the same on 22nd May. But the agricultural papers of the province of Ontario put up such a fight that the minister could not stand it, and so he put the embargo off. Immediately the price went back to 25 cents, and by 25th June it was 35 cents. The difference in price between this date and the time when the embargo was on was 15 cents a pound, and who was the loser? The loser was the man in humble circumstances, wherever he may live throughout the length and breadth of Canada, who was engaged in the sheep industry. The loss of the average man in this matter was enough to have paid his hired man for the season. .

At six o'clock, the House took recess.

The House resumed at eight o'clock.

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PRIVATE BILLS.

SECOND READINGS.

January 28, 1916