January 25, 1917

?

An hon. MEMBER:

You can give the names.

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CON

Robert Rogers (Minister of Public Works)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ROGERS:

No, I cannot.

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George Perry Graham

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM:

Do not commit yourselves.

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Rodolphe Lemieux

Liberal

Mr. LEMIEUX:

After the elections had been won in that way, the members of the new government, of course, held divergent views on the essential issues which had been fought at the polls; and when they were sworn in, one could not help remembering the incident referred to by my classical friend, the ex-Secretary of State; one could not help remembering what Lord Melbourne once said to his colleagues: "Gentlemen, it does not matter what views we hold in the Cabinet, but, mind, we must hold the same views before the public." In the Borden Government are Royalists and Republicans. There is a combination of the Guelphs and the Ghibellines, of the Lancasters and the Ybrks, the two Roses, the Red and the White; an unholy alliance indeed. It reminded me of the very composite character of Lord Chatham's administration as described by Burke in one of his great speeches. Speaking of that administration, in which there were Whigs and Tories, " the King's Friends," as they were called, because in those days they claimed to be the King's only friends, Burke said:

He made an administration so checkered and speckled; he put together a piece of joinery, so crossly indented and whimsically dovetailed ; a cabinet so variously inlaid; such a piece of diversified mosaic; such a tesselated pavement without cement; here a bit of black stone, and there a bit of white; patriots and courtiers, King's friends and republicans; Whigs and Tories; treacherous fi lends and enemies; that it was indeed a very curious show; but utterly unsafe to touch and insecure to stand.

Mr. Speaker, that is the best description I could give-and I thank the immortal Burke for affording it to me-of the present Tory-Nationalist Government. The Tory party is not unlike the untamed horse immortalized by Byron in "Mazep-pa," the untamed horse which rushed out into the passes of the mountains, through the vales and across the fords, but could not unshackle itself because it boTe the weight of Mazeppa on its back. The present administration is saddled with the Nationalist party, and it will carry it until the day of judgment; and when that day comes, both the horse and Mazeppa will be torn into pieces. The Tory-Nationalist party at present also reminds one of the robe of Nessus. The Tories cannot tear it away without suffering excruciating pain, and the supreme pain of a Tory is the loss of office.

Some people are very much excited over the Dorchester election. I know that there

are a number of Orange representatives in this House. It is their right to belong to Orange lodges,-I myself would like to be invited to speak before an Orange audience at times. Be that as it may, I call their attention to a statement made by the Sentinel, the official organ of Orangeism in Canada. The Sentinel of January 25, 1917, contains the following, which I specially direct to the attention of my hon. friends, the Minister of Public Works (Mr. Rogers), the Minister of Customs (Mr. Reid) and the Minister of Marine and Fisheries (Mr. Hazen).

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George Perry Graham

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM:

The Minister of the

Canadian navy.

Mr. LEMIEUX; Yes, of the Canadian navy, and I promise that I will not speak of the obsolescence of the Canadian navy. I call their attention to this statement published by the Sentinel, and I hope that to-morrow the chain of papers from the Atlantic to the Pacific which seems to receive its inspiration from Ottawa will publish it. Would you believe it, Mr. Speaker, the Sentinel "views with satisfaction the nomination of an opponent to Mr. Sevigny in Dorchester."

Some hon. MEMBERS; Hear, hear.

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Rodolphe Lemieux

Liberal

Mr. LEMIEUX:

The Sentinel says:

If he is defeated, it will open the way for an English-speaking member of the House to become Postmaster-General. Besides, it is well to have a show-down with the Nationalists without delay. The sooner the country is made aware of the course this type of politi.ian intends to take the better it will be all round.

Let me repeat these words: "The sooner the country is made aware of the course this type of politician intends to take, the better it will be all round."

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Robert Rogers (Minister of Public Works)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ROGERS:

Thait refers to Cannon.

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Rodolphe Lemieux

Liberal

Mr. LEMIEUX:

The Sentinel of January 25 contains another very interesting statement, and I call upon my hon. friends who belong to Orange lodges to listen to this:

The by-election in Dorchester, Quebec, supplies an informing spectacle for the electors of Canada. The candidates are Albert Sevigny, the new Minister of Inland Revenue, and Lucien Cannon, who sat for that constituency in the Quebec Legislature. Mr. Sevigny won his seat in Dorchester in 1911 by playing the Nationalist game. His appeal to the electors of that county was upon lines dictated by Mr. Bourassa. On the present occasion he fnds it impossible to talk Nationalism because he is a member of the Borden Government, and must defend the policy of that Administration. In 1911, he was the candidate of a party

which was not in power, and played the Nationalist to get votes. The situation is different to-day. He must be more circumspect in his utterances. No doubt that is why he places a greater restraint upon himself than is found necessary by his opponent, Mr. Cannon.

Ah, Mr. Speaker, you have it all in the Orange Sentinel. They played the game in 1911, they played the Nationalist game and to-day they affect to be horrified at the idea that Mr. Albert Sevigny should be opposed by one of those disloyal Liberals in the province of Quebec.

I remember during the naval debate the speech delivered by the hon. the Minister of Trade and Commerce (Sir G-eorge Poster). He heard all these quotations in the House, he listened to them and he looked somewhat despairing at times. How could he get out of it? As the Sentinel states here, it was only too true that they had played the Nationalist game in order to reach the ministerial benches. But, he took his courage in both hands and bluntly said: Yes, there was an alliance, but who won?- and he concluded by stating that the Tory party had had the better of it. I differ from the hon. Minister of Trade and Commerce. Who won? Duplicity won and Canada lost. But what about the poor people of the province of Quebec who were led astray by the colleagues of my hon. friend? Their lot is a sorry one indeed and I pity the electors of Dorchester. They are traduced to-day by those very men who, five years ago, bargained in hard cash for the support of Mr. Bourassa, who, according to the Toronto News, spoke in Nipissdng like a man inspired, whose words and sentences glowed like coals of fire. This is the same Nationalist leader who, according to Sir John Willison to-day, grows contemptible as he grows in experience. Of course, Mr. Bourassa is no more in alliance with the Tory party. He is still a Nationalist, but Sir John Willison, who has been knighted by the Tory party, thinks that Mr. Bourassa grows contemptible as he grows in experience. Yet, the good honest people of Ontario are led to believe that the great realities of the war, its needs and duties, are not grasped as speedily in Quebec as they ought to be. Notwithstand-9 p.m. ing the despicable campaign of 1911, waged by these three Cabinet ministers, Quebec, I am proud to say, is honourably represented in the trenches and at the front. Let us talk sense

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Robert Rogers (Minister of Public Works)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ROGERS:

Hear, hear.

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Rodolphe Lemieux

Liberal

Mr. LEMIEUX:

If my hon, friend will

explain why the National Service is oppos-

10i

ed in Winnipeg, Regina and in some other cities in the West, while the labour unionists in Montreal of FrenchJCanadiian origin are standing for it, I am sure it will be very interesting to the House. Recruiting is active in urban centres. It is not in rural centres. Where you have industrial centres you have active recruiting. The French-iCanadian is not militaristic. During the early days of British domination it is known, and you can verify it by reading any elementary history of Canada, the French Canadian farmers were disarmed. They were ordered by the authorities to give up the arms that were in their possession and for a hundred years they have enjoyed uninterrupted peace. It is not surprising that you do not find within the province of Quebec the same military spirit that you find amongst people who have come from Europe, who have been brought up in military environment. The French Canadian is above all a tiller of the soil. Remember also, that there is no immigration coming from the old country to replenish the homes o'f Quebec, whilst during the past twentydive or thirty years there has been in the English speaking provinces, and especially in Ontario and the West, a steady stream of British immigration. Therefore, it is easier, amongst the newcomers, to find recruits than it is in the rural sections of Quebec.

I have not the exact figures but I take the figures which have been given by the press. By the press here in Ottawa it was stated two or three weeks ago that according to our rosters there were something like 35,000 French Canadians at the front or who bad enlisted and were ready to go. This figure includes not only the soldiers who actually bear arms, but also those in the hospital and auxiliary services. Senator Mason last year in the Senate gave figures which established that sixty per cent of the recruits were to be found amongst the British born and that forty per cent must be divided between the foreign bom, the Anglo-Canadian bom and the French-Canadian bom. When you come to analyse these figures and to make up the averages you find, as I stated a moment ago, that the showing of the province of Quebec is quite honourable. * I regret that in the press of this province and elsewhere Quebec is being branded as a province of slackers and shirkers.

I make hold to say that with proper recruiting arrangements, and proper recruiting agents, goodly numbers of men could still be got in the province of Quebec, if the Government wish to carry out their promise

of giving to the Mother Country 500,000 men. But do not send into the province of Quebec as recruiting agents your three Cabinet ministers, who in 1911 preached the very contrary doctrine to the people of that province.

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John Dowsley Reid (Minister of Customs)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. REID:

Why don't you do it?

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Rodolphe Lemieux

Liberal

Mr. LEMIEUX:

Have I ever refused to deliver a recruiting speech in the province of Quebec? From the very day that war was declared I have been at the service of my fellowmen. Who recruited the 22nd Battalion, which fought so nobly at Cour-celette? Sir, I claim some credit for having helped to recruit that battalion. I joined my humble voice with that of the late Postmaster General and the right hon, leader of the Opposition, and in less than three months we had raised a splendid regiment. I was also elected chairman of the civilian committee that helped to raise the Asselin Regiment, and in less than three months we had raised that battalion, which, I regret to say, instead of being sent to the .front was sent to Bermuda to do the work of the negroes there. It should have been despatched at once to England, If that had been done, it would now be in the battle line. I addressed meeting after meeting, appealing for recruits. No less than three weeks ago I addressed the people of Montreal East, and urged them to sign the National Service cards. I explained to them that National Service did not mean conscription, but the mobilization of the economic wealth of the country. Sir, have I done nothing to help in recruiting? My nephew, a youth of 22, was killed at the Battle of Ypres, a cousin is serving at the front at the present time, and I have' given my only boy, 18 years old, to the service of His Majesty. That is my answer to the hon. gentleman. But I have too much respect for the decencies of public life and too much regard for the common sense of my fellow-men in the province of Quebec to parade myself with the three Nationalists who appealed to that province, not with the hope of getting recruits, but with the hope of being interrupted and. mobbed, in order to make votes in Ontario for the Tory party. What happened in Montreal the other day when the right hon, the Prime Minister went to Montreal, accompanied by my hon. friend from Oalgary (Mr. Bennett), and by the present Secretary of State (Mr. Patenaude)? I say without hesitation that the right hon. gentleman was given more than a fair hearing; he was cheered and cheered to the echo, as the leader, not of

his party, but of the country, by the French-Canadiams who were massed in that laTge hall. The hon. member for Calgary also addressed the meeting and received a very cordial reception. But the moment the Secretary of State appeared on the platform he was hissed into silence. Why? Because the people were disgusted at the idea that a gentleman who had branded the Tory and Liberal parties as traitors in 1911, because, forsooth, they stood for King and Empire, bad the audacity to come before the people and preach the very contrary doctrine to that he preached.in 1911. What happened a few hours afterwards? The Prime Minister went to old city of Quebec accompanied by my hon. friend from Calgary and by the late Postmaster General. The Prime Minister was listened to there with careful attention, and was supported by the Prime Minister of the province of Quebec, Sir Lomer Gouin, whose son is leaving for the front in a few days. The hon. member for Calgary was given a good reception, as was also the late iPostmaster General, who, although not persona grata in the province of Quebec, was none the less respected, because the people knew that his ideas and principles of to-day were the ideas and principles which he had always cherished and expounded before them. They knew he was no traitor. Do not be mistaken; do not be led astray with the false notion that some hon. gentlemen have, that the speeches of the three Nationalist members of the Cabinet will help the cause of recruiting in the province of Quebec. The habitants have common sense and good judgment. But enough of this subject.

Let me say a word or two about the Imperial conference. I am glad that the right hon. the Prime Minister ' should have accepted the suggestion which was made by the right hon. the leader of the Opposition. We know that the right hon. gentleman will nobly represent the greatest of the overseas dominions at that important conference. I notice that his presence at that conference is made necessary, to use the language of the speech from the Throne, "for war purposes only." I am glad that the right hon. gentleman will not commit Canada to anything at the conference except what is regarded as necessary for the winning of the war. But I am rather surprised that in connection with that conference the North-cliffe press has evolved a scheme of reorgan-zing the Empire. I know there are people who are not satisfied with the present condition of the Empire. There are some

ambitious people who are uneasy at the Empire's' present position, and wish to reorganize it. It is easy to reorganize the British Empire, according to them. They take their pen and a few sheets of paper, frame a new constitution, publish books, and believe that with the dissemination of their ideas the Empire will at once be reorganized.

May I give, first of all, the sound of that alarm hell which preceded the invitation to that conference. I notice that in the month of October, Lord Northcliffe, who is so busy defeating Liberal Governments in the old country, sent out a series of cables, which hear a marked resemblance whether they are circulated in South Africa, New Zealand, Newfoundland, Australia, or Canada. One of these cables reads as follows:-

X voice the widespread feelings of the Canadians, South Africans and Australians here that it is for the dominions, with the breath of broader life, to revivify and give fresh boldness to authority. Fresh blood from Greater Britain is urgently needed in the central administration now.

The moment has come for courage, greater campaigns and real initiative. Will the dominions show the way?

About that time appeared the book of Mr. Lionel Curtis, The Problem of the Commonwealth, in which he states bluntly that the overseas dominions-

may manage their own domestic affairs, regulate their commerce, create forces by land and sea, and do anything they please short of attempting to handle for themselves the ultimate issues of national life and death. Those issues, the moment they are raised, must be left to a Government in which they have no more voice than the peoples of India, of Egypt, or of Fiji.' So far as the first, last, and greatest of all national interests are concerned, they are not self-governing dominions. They are simply dependencies, and no thinking man can face this conclusion and yet believe that communities like Canada and Australia cant long continue to accept that position.

It is strange that a very noisy minority on the other side think that we are absolutely dissatisfied in Canada, Australia and elsewhere, and that there is an urgent need of reorganizing the Empire in order to centralize the army and the navy in Downing street, and possibly to enact a hostile tariff against the world.

The Nation, a good radical review published in London, speaking about the purpose of the Imperial Conference, contains the fallowing: Of course, I would not myself offer such comments, because, forsooth, I should be considered as being very disloyal.

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John Douglas Hazen (Minister of Marine and Fisheries; Minister of the Naval Service)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HAZEN:

Is the hon. member reading from the National Review?

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Rodolphe Lemieux

Liberal

Mr. LEMIEUX:

No, from the Nation, It says:-

The immediate practical purpose of this Imperial Conference is a little harder to discern than its emotional significance. It may suggest in a subtle, non-committal way to hia new patrons that they need fear from him no inconvenient enthusiasm for any constructive idea of international peace, and it does this without wounding the feelings of the rest of the nation. But what is the immediate purpose? The immediate purpose is apparently to enlarge the war cabinet. We had been led to understand that the Empire would be imperilled, and victory jeopardized, if the War Council were to consist of more than three men -Mr. George and two others. We saw with alarm that it expanded to five. It will presently be swollen by the addition of another six or seven, who are to attend its sessions continuously' and rank with its members, apparently giving a majority to the representatives of the dominions. There will be some able figures among the colonial premiers. But with the exception of General Botha, we should doubt if any of them will bring an appreciable contribution to its military wisdom. It is doubtful whether the Borden Government stands for Canada in any other sense than as a stop-gap to the coming Liberal reaction. Mr. Hughes (if he is still Prime Minister of a Commonwealth which has rejected his policy by a mass vote) may have energy and a certain facile eloquence. But it is a strange Cabinet which admits him as an adviser on European strategy and statecraft and excludes Mr. Balfour.

I myself dare not make such comments. They are made by a good old English radical editor, and there seems to be much common sense in the lines I have just quoted.

Sir, participation in the wars of the Empire overseas must be settled by the Parliament and people of Canada as such wars arise, and not by a war council in Downing street. There are too many men anxious to rebuild the Empire. Lord Derby, possibly the best friend of the present Governor General of Canada, speaking at a farewell banquet given to the Duke of Devonshire in London, used the following language, which I commend to all the busybodies who wish to frame a new constitution for the British Empire:-

New relations may arise after the war between ourselves and the dominions, but none can be as strong as these which are binding us. now. People talk glibly of a new constitution. Well, I am a Conservative, and the old Constitution is good enough for me when it gives such results as during the present war. Anything that can bind us together more closely, let it be done, but do not let us think by making a cast iron Constitution for ourselves or the dominions we are going to increase the affection they have for us.

This is good reasoning, which I commend to the right hon. gentleman who will represent us at the next Imperial Conference.

One other word from a little book which I read a few years ago, which was published by the famous English journalist, Mr. J. A. Spender, under the very captious title, The Foundations of British Policy. He says this, which applies exactly to the present situation:-

The great thing for the moment is that the self-governing states are becoming thoroughly alive to the importance of this question, and our business is to make it easy for them to go forward. That we certainly shall not do, if we present them with the cut-and-dried logical dilemmas which are so much in favour with certain schools of strategists and Imperialists. Either, say these people, you must come under the control of the Admiralty or your navies "will be useless in time of war; either your support must be unconditional or the Imperial *Government must disregard it as a factor in its offensive scheme; either you must do more and come closer, or you may as well do nothing tor the real purposes of war. If these logical martinets had their way, there might be an Imperial fleet directed from Whitehall; but there would not long be a British Empire.

Again I commend those words of wisdom to the re-organizers of the British Empire.

In conclusion, Sir, let me say that I fully agree with the paragraph in the Address having reference to the fiftieth anniversary of our Confederation. Some years ago I moved a resolution in the old House of Commons in anticipation of that event, and I suggested that a fitting commemoration would be the holding of a universal exhibition in Canada. But war has upset, this plan, and to-day we are left with no programme for a fitting and proper commemoration of that great event. May I make the suggestion, Mr. Speaker, that no monument, no spectacular demonstration can make more for the welfare of the Dominion that the healthy movement which I am pleased to state has been inaugurated by the Fourth Estate in this country: I mean the "bonne entente" movement. Much credit is due to the British-Canadian journalist who has started the "bonne entente" movement; I refer to Mr. Arthur Hawkes, one of the editors of the Toronto Star. That movement, which has already budded into life, will, I believe, continue and will grow in proportion as the months and years roll on. There could be no better commemoration of the founding of our Confederation that this " bonne entente " movement. It should be promoted and firmly rooted in Canada. There should also be more intercourse between the east and the west. Mr. Speaker, we need no monument to celebrate this fiftieth anniversary [DOT]of the union of the Canadian provinces it we but live up to the ideals of the Fathers

.

of Confederation, which ideals have 'been revivified by the " bonne entente

Mr. Speaker, when the new Parliament Buildings shall have risen from the ashes of the old, I hope that on its portals there shall be inscribed the watchword of the Scotch Highlanders when they were fighting with the French in France against a common enemy-"bon accord." Let us fervently hope that the star of union, harmony and justice will soon rise over Canada's fair land.

Mr. JOHN H. SINCLAIR (Guysborougli): I wish to congratulate you, Mr. Speaker, on your promotion to the Chair. It is no small honour to be the Speaker of the Canadian House of Commons. If I remember rightly, you are the first Nova Scotian who has had the v,onour of occupying that position, and we on this side of the House who have come from that province feel that we have some share in the honour that has come to you. I feel sure, Sir, that you will prove yourself to be worthy of the long line of distinguished men who have occupied that position in the past. I trust that you will have no occasion, however, during the present session of Parliament to put any of us on this side of the House in the Tower, or to use that weapon of political warfare known as the guillotine which the Government has placed in your hands.

In the Speech from the Throne reference has been made to the celebration of the national jubilee of' this Dominion. We all agree that such an important event as the completion of the first fifty years of our history is one that should not go unnoticed. I trust, however, that no gaudy or expensive display will be thought of, for such a thing would be out of keeping at the present time. All good citizens are thinking these days of how they may best play their part in the great struggle in which the nation is engaged. Permit me to suggest, Sir, that the occasion be used to call for a very large contribution-I do not know how much but would suggest fifty millions of dollars-to equip and endow a home for battered and disabled soldiers, somewhat after the plan of the Chelsea Hospital in London, which is one of the great institutions of that great city. That hospital was built some 240 years ago, and it has been one of the glories of the British Empire that they have always taken good care of the veterans who have risked their lives in the Empire's cause. There is room in that hospital for about

540 pensioners, each one of whom has his own room, which is his home. He has in that room his own furniture, books and pictures. He is at liberty to go and come when he pleases. Attendants bring him his meals, if he would rather have them in his own room than in the general dining-room. He can go away for two or three months, if he wishes, and visit his friends. This room is his home, he is entitled to occupy it for life, and he is among his old comrades. In connection with the Chelsea Hospital is a chapel in which are hung the flags that have been captured by the veterans in the various battles in which they have figured on behalf of the Empire, and trophies of war are hung around the hall. Many of these men are unfit to do any kind of work. This hospital is open only to men who have distinguished themselves in battle and who have lost their sight or limbs in defence of the Empire. One of the most interesting sights that I saw at the Coronation ceremony in 1911 was a group of old soldiers who were standing at the end of the street called Shoe Lane, waiting for the King's procession to go by. These old fellows were battered and broken; some of them had lost arms or legs and some of them were blind. Some fifteen of them were grouped at this point, ready to salute the King as he passed, and the King stopped his carriage to speak to them. I afterwards learned that they were inmates of Chelsea Hospital and that they were the sole survivors of the Light Brigade. I do not suggest that this hospital which I am advocating should be available for all wounded soldiers or that it should in any sense take the place of the pension system. The pension system would suffice for the majority of eases. Among the four hundred thousand men who have enlisted, many of whom will be wounded, there will be broken and battered men, and lonely men, who will not have any families of their own, and they will be more contented amoilg their own comrades at a place like this. Then, too, it seems to me that this would be a fitting memorial for the Canadian people to erect in memory of the war. The greatest achievement that Canada has yet won has been the part that she has taken in this war. It is more important, to my mind, to commemorate this than to commemorate the Jubilee. The very fact that in this country of free institutions we have been able to recruit between three hundred thousand and four hundred thousand men without any compulsion, is to my mind one of the triumphs of democracy; and this would be a fitting way to commemorate it. It would also be an opportunity for some of the older men among us, who are too old to fight, to contribute towards the comfort of those men who have sacrificed so much for us.

Mr. Speaker, this debate would be much more interesting to me if hon. gentlemen opposite would take a more active part in it. What is the reason that there is no response from the other side of the House? Hon. gentlemen on this side have raised some very important questions. My hon. friend from Pictou (Mr. Macdonald) has attacked the military record of this Government; he has raised such important questions as military promotions, whether they are made on merit or by favour. He has also raised the question of the treatment of the sick and wounded as dealt with in Dr. Bruce's report. These vital questions call for some answer from the leaders of the Government, but we have not had that response from them which we are entitled to expect. It looks to me as if when my hon. friend from Pictou spoke, all the big batteries on the other side were silenced. We have1 had some bombardment from the smaller mortars and machine guns, but we should like to hear from the big batteries, we should like to have some answer to these accusations, if there is any answer possible. It is awkward for us on this side of the House, as no man wants to be caught thrashing a dead donkey.

However, in this debate, the one overshadowing question is the war. The Empire is at war, and it is at war with the greatest military power in the world. When the Empire is at war, Canada is at war. This war has already lasted two and a half years, and the end is not yet in sight. We have three thousand miles between ourselves and the seat of the contest; the enemy has not yet knocked at our gates, but why? Because the strong arm of Great Britain and the strong arm of France are keeping him back, and because the British Navy still rules the seas. This war is not Great Britain's war any more than it is our war. This battle line, extending over these vast plains and along the river banks and the foot-hills of the/mountains for thousands of miles on the eastern and western fronts is our battle line; and the result of this conflict is just as important for Canada as it is for Great Britain, or for France, or for Belgium. It is not a question of doing our share. I have seen that suggested in cer-

so far as the large expenditures of the country were concerned.

Take the question of the Ross rifle, and you will find there a glaring case of incompetence and indecision. The * best judges were surely the men on the firing line who were using that rifle. As early as June,

1915,, Sir John French condemned the Ross rifle for the following reasons:

(1) That the Ross rifle could not be relied

upon to work smoothly with the ammunition then available, and '

(2) The want of confidence in the Ross rifle which a large number of the Canadian infantry felt was evidenced by the fact that 3,000 of them had re-armed themselves with Lee-Enfields taken from casualties.

You see, Mr. Speaker, that Canadian soldier on the battlefield had to hunt round for a dead German, or a dead Englishman, to get a rifle fit to fight with. That is how matters stood when Sir John French wrote that letter in June, 1915, You would suppose that this condition of affairs would have been corrected, that, on receiving that letter from Sir John French, some effort would have been made by the Government to see that a proper rifle was placed in the hands of the Canadian soldiers. That was not done and we have the proof that it was not done. Nearly a year after that, in May, 1916, nothing definite had been done and [DOT]Canadian soldiers were still armed with the Ross rifle. Then we have a report from Sir Douglas Haig to the War Office, in which he says:-

I have satisfied myself, after extensive inquiries carried out throughout the Canadian, corps, that as a service rifle, the Ross is less .trustworthy than the Lee-Enfield, and that the majority of the men armed with the Ross rifle have not the confidence in it that It is so essential they should possess. The inquiry upon which these conclusions are based was the outcome of an urgent application from a battalion of the 3rd Canadian Division for re-armament with the short Lee-Enfield rifle in consequence of a high percentage of jams experienced with their Ross rifles during a hostile attack on the 1st of May, 1916.

You see that nearly a year after Sir John French had laid his complaint before the Canadian Government, the soldiers were still using the Ross rifle, and that, in a hostile attack, in which they were sent into battle in May, 1916, there had been a very large percentage of jams, as reported by Sir Douglas Haig. This is a matter in connection with which delay and indecision was nothing short of a crime. It is plain from the two paragraphs I have read, the one written by Sir John French, and dated June, 1915, and the second by Sir Douglas Haig, dated May, 1916, that nothing definite was

done for nearly a year. In other words, a year after Sir John French had reported that the rifle could not be relied upon, 20,000 Canadian soldiers were sent into action armed with this unreliable rifle, and the soldiers themselves had to petition Sir Douglas Haig to make some change so that they would have a proper arm to go into battle with. This letter of Sir Douglas Haig bears date the 1st of May, 1916, and, if it was a cable message, and no doubt it was, it must have been in the hands of the Government on the 17th May, 1916, when the hon. Minister of Public Works (Mr. Rogers) threatened to confine the editor of the Ottawa ..Citizen in the tower because he had published the Alderson letter relating to the same matter.

There is another question in regard to which indecision has been shown and that is the question of patronage which has been referred to in this debate. We do not forget that the leader of this Government pledged the party to the abolition of patronage. If, Mr. Speaker, you read the Halifax platform, as I have no doubt you often do, you will find that what I am stating is true, that we were to have no more patronage after the Conservative party attained power. There are men who occupy seats on the other side of the House who used to make stormy speeches in regard to this question. I am thinking of one especially at this moment, my hon. friend the Minister of Customs (Mr. Reid). I recollect how flushed his face was as he denounced the crime of patronage from the Opposition benches. In those days he set his face against it like flint, but since he has got into power he sets his face not like a flint but like a pudding. Nobody will deny that patronage is rampant so far as this Government is concerned. Officers of the Department of Militia and Defence were examined under oath before the Public Accounts Committee. The purchasing agent of the Depart- * ment of Militia and Defence admitted that he had 8,000 names on his patronage list. We a3ked him to bring the list to the committee room. He told us that it was a card system and that he would have to bring it in a wheelbarrow. It will not be denied by hon. gentlemen opposite that if there was such a large list as that in the War department alone, it must be still more formidable when you take into consideration all the other departments of Government. Our whole war system has developed into a huge system of outdoor

relief for the Conservative party. We have to-day a minister of t'he Crown Tunning an election in the' county of Dorchester, in the province of Quebec, and he appealed to the people there the other day on this question. He said: if you elect

10 p.m. me you will have a friend on the Government benches; if you elect Mr. Cannon, you will have a man sitting in the cold shades of opposition who cannot do anything for you; meaning that the patronage system was the avowed policy of the present administration. Vote for me and we will get something for you; we will get jobs for you; we will get military expenditure for you; whether you fight or not, you will get the money of the Canadian people because we will give it to you, if you elect me. That is the doctrine. Then, the Prime Minister responds by sending this gentleman a telegram congratulating him on the campaign he is conducting. He made no reference to his speech on patronage, but his speech on patronage was a very material part of his campaign and the Prime Minister ought to have made reference to it and condemned it. There is not much leadership about that. You must admit after all is said and done, that this country belongs to the people and not to the Conservative party.

But, this lack of decision on the part of the Prime Minister and the leaders of the Government is not confined to military operations. You can go over the whole history of the present Administration and you will see signs of inaction and half measures. Take the high cost of living; instead of doing something definite about the high cost of living which is oppressing the workingman all over this Dominion the Government adopted the usual subterfuge of appointing a royal commission. This royal commission sat for about a year and then produced a report that did not contain one practical suggestion. There has been nothing done' with it. The evidence upon which the report is based is so voluminous that no man has ever had time to rea,d it, and the commission having got through with it the Government seems to have lost interest in the whole matter. It reminds one of Dickens' story about the celebrated Micawber who, when he was pressed for a debt that he could not pay, and when it came to the point at last that he was about to be sued, gave a promissory note and said: Thank God that is paid:

Take another instance. When the railway situation became acute about four years ago, instead of outlining a vigorous railway policy for Canada, the Government as usual allowed the matter to drift. But in the meantime the Government was pressed by the railways for money. If I remember rightly, in the year 1914, $15,000,000 was paid out, in 1915 $45,000,000, and in 1916 $10,000,000. In those three years $70,000,000 in all went into the sinkhole of the Canadian Northern, and after that money was all gone the Government resorted to its usual method of appointing a royal commission to find out what they should do next. The royal commission has not yet reported, and the Lord knows what kind of -a report they will give and whether the Government will follow their advice when they get the report. Now, every toon- member of the House knows very well that the railway situation is not a question for a Royal Commission to solve- What is wanted is some kind of a railway policy, and the decision and the courage to carry it out.

Then take the question of the commandeering of Canadian ships. Here was another case of indeqjsion. When the war broke out this Government should have acted promptly in regard to that matter. They did nothing. The Imperial Government began to commandeer Canadan ships without reference to the Canadian Government. They did not ask their advice at all. I believe that ,after the ships were all commandeered the Canadian Government did pass some kind of an Order in Council authorizing themselves to commandeer Canadian ships. I do not say that Canadian ships should not be commandeered. I do not say that Canadian ships should not be used by the War Department for any necessary purposes in connection with the war- Canadian ships should be used as well as British ships, ana I am sure every Canadian ship-owner would be willing to give his last ship for the purpose of carrying on the war. But the commandeering of our ships should have been done by the Canadian Government and not by the British Government. Then the ships could be turned over as required. This is a free country; we have a Government of our own, and we manage our own affairs. The Imperial Government has no more right to commandeer ships than they had the right to commandeer Canadian men or Canadian money, and they would not have done it if our Government had looked after Canadian interests as they should have done. That

is another ease in which the Government showed its characteristic indecision.

There are numerous other instances of the same kind. I could name one in connection with the naval controversy. You will recollect, Sir, the indecision that was shown by the Government in that matter. You will remember that the question of the repeal of the Naval Service Act hung fire for a great many months; that certain gentlemen elected on that issue in the province of Quebec insisted on an answer in the House; that day after day the question was read by Mr- Speaker, " Do you intend to repeal the Canadian Naval Service Act?" That question stood on the Order Paper for months. The answer finally was given, " Yes, we intend to repeal the Act." But they never did repeal it. Again the Prime Minister himself, when he returned from England in 1912, at a large public meeting in the city of Montreal, propounded a naval policy for his party. My policy, he says, is to ask Parliament to vote $35,000,000 to build three dreadnoughts for the Admiralty, and if Parliament refuses to vote the money I shall appeal to the people. The Prime Minister carried out the first part of his programme and asked Parliament to vote the money. Parliament refused to vote it, and the Prime Minister could never make up his mind to make his appeal to the people of Canada. It was another case of indecision.

I have given a large number of these cases to show that hon. gentlemen opposite are past masters in the art of marking time. I do not know whether anything can be done to rouse them. If I might be permitted to use the elegant language of my hon. friend the ex-Minister of Militia, I would say: "The time has come when this Government should begin to scratch gravel."

I wish to refer for a few moments to another matter. Since we last met the long-looked-for report of Sir Charles Davidson has been made public. Now, Sir, if royal commissions are to be used for the purpose of delaying exposure, the first prize must certainly be given to Sir Charles Davidson. After two years he has brought down his report, and the report, now that it is brought down, turns out to be chiefly white-wash. Permit me to select one case as a sample. I refer to the case of the sale to Col. J. Wesley Allison of 3,000,000 rounds of small-arms ammunition. It will be remembered that the auditor general brought this scandal to the attention of the

House and the country. When the war broke out, the Government had in the arsenal at Quebec 3,000,000 rounds of small arms ammunition. They kept it there for several months, and then sold it privately to Col. J. Wesley Allison for $20 per 1,000 rounds. The ammunition had cost $34 per

1,000 rounds to make. When this transaction was exposed in the House it was defended by the ex-Minister of Militia, supported by the Prime Minister, on the ground that it was sold to Vickers Limited for the purpose of testing guns. We accepted that explanation at the time, but that explanation had to be abandoned when Vickers Limited denied ever having anything to do with the purchase of the ammunition. After considerable investigation the truth came out that the ammunition was sold, not to Vickers Limited at all, but with the assistance of Sir Trevor Dawson, one of the directors of Vickers Limited, it was sold direct to the British Admiralty for $25 per 1,000 rounds, giving a profit of $15,000 to Col. Allison out of the transaction. Judge Davidson cannot discover anything corrupt or anything wrong in this transaction. There is one phase of it, however, to which he does not refer at all, but which I think is the main question in regard to it, and that is this. In the early period of the war, when, as I have stated, this small arms ammunition was lying idle in the arsenal at Quebec, ammunition was more valuable to the British Government than gold dollars. It was scarce and could not be procured. Hon. gentlemen will remember the battle of Mons, when General French, with his little army of 75,000 men and 250 guns, was forced to retreat until the Germans were almost knocking at the gates of Paris before they were turned back. Machine guns were scarce and ammunition was scarcer; everybody knew that. This was the case, and of course every member of the present Administration knew it. Yet all that time, while British soldiers were being shot in their tracks for lack of ammunition, our Government had 3,000,000 rounds of small-arm am-muniton packed away in the arsenal at Quebec and never offered to make use of it.

What would you expect the Government to do, Mr. Speaker? If you had been Minister of Militia, I know what you would have done. The first thing you would have done would be to send a cable message across the ocean to the Admiralty, saying: We have here in Canada three million rounds of ammunition; can you make use of it? If you can

you are welcome to it for nothing. That would be the kind of message you would send. No such a message was ever sent, but instead of that the ammunition was kept in the arsenal at Quebec for several months, badly as it was wanted on the other side, and then it was sold privately to a friend of the ex-minister for the sum of $20 a thousand rounds. What excuse was given? One was that the ammunition was defective. Was the ammunition defective? I doubt it. There is evidence the other way. It turns out that the ammunition was used by the army, and so far as I can learn, it was good ammunition; but I do not care whether it was defective or not, the skirts of the Government cannot be cleared in that way. If the ammunition was defective, then it should not have been sold at all, because it would be a crime to put defective ammunition into the hands of any one from whom it would find its way into the hands of the British soldiers. If the ammunition was not defective it should have been sent direct to the British Admiralty without the intervention of Allison or any other boodler.

The question of the extension of Parliament has been referred to in the speech from the Throne. It is not necessary for me at this stage to deal with that question at any length, but an extension ought to be preceded by an accounting on the part of the Government. At the last session Parliament voted $270,000,000 of expenditures. Would it not be reasonable that the Government should tell us something o.f what they did with all that money before they ask for a second lease of power? I confess that I do not like the manner in which the application for this extension was announced, by the present Minister of Militia (Mr. Kemp). The decision appears to have been reached at a meeting of the Cabinet some weeks ago, and the present Minister of Militia, when he had the Cabinet committed to apply for another year, immediately gave the announcement to the Toronto newspapers, and in the announcement he said that if the Liberal party did not agree unanimously to the proposal there would be an election. As we have been living under the threat of an election for a good while, of course, that did not affect us very much. The example of Great Britain has been referred to, and it was alleged that extensions of Parliament have been made there, but the example of Great Britain cannot be quoted as justification in this case. If any one will look into what has happened in Great Britain he will see that they have had a coalition Government, all parties being represented in that

Government. If any one political party in Great Britain had attempted to run the Government of that country on party or patronage lines, as the Canadian Government has been doing here, that political party would not have lasted for three months.

Again, the Government say that it is a patriotic duty on our part to agree to this extension. The question is: Are they sincere about this? To me it looks a little like an invitation to walk into their parlour. What is the Minister of Inland Revenue saying about this? He made some reference to it the other day in one of his speeches in Dorchester county. He said that when we agreed to this extension last year, we all stultified ourselves. That is the view he takes of that matter. Let me quote a paragraph from the speech of Mr. Sevigny, delivered at St. Justin:-

Mr. Cannon pretends that the Conservatives are corrupt, Mr. Sevigny went on, but what happened at the last session? The Conservatives asked the Liberals if they would allow them to go on for another year, and the Liberals said 'All right, go ahead, we have no objection,' and that is the corrupt Government of which Mr Cannon speaks.

All I can say is that if by agreeing to this proposed extension I am to become responsible for the Yoakum scandal, the Allison scandal, the motor truck scandal, the Garland scandal and the Foster scandal and all the other numerous scandals, then I shall be compelled to vote against the extension. I do not see why we should ignore the Constitution altogether unless some arrangement is made by which all parties can be represented. The electors of Canada, if permitted, would settle this question in twenty-four hours; an election would clear the atmosphere, and if the Liberals should win, as I think they would, it would bring about certain very important things. This Government had its human weaknesses before the war started at all, and we all know that no saints or archangels have been added to it since that date. Those people who object so strongly to an election ought to be reminded that it is for free institutions that the people of Canada and the people of Great Britain are fighting. A certain Conservative newspaper and two or three windy orators of the baser type have been saying that' it would not be safe to entrust the administration of this country to the Liberal party, but I do not pay much attention to what men of that stamp say. They are the pole-cats of public life,

and I hope that their influence, if they have any, will not be felt outside of a few back concessions in the province of Ontario.

While I believe in a change, I do not say that these gentlemen across the way are all bad. There is a mixture of bad and good, but I am afraid that the bad predominates. The activities of the patronage hunter, the greed of the grafter, the zeal of the political heeler and the hopes of the Godly, are all so inextricably tangled up together, and it is pretty hard to do anything with a combination like that. While these gentlemen retain power they do pretty much as they please, as they are not subject to any law but themselves, but it is our duty on this side of the House to remind them that the ten commandments are still in force in this country.

Now, assuming that an election comes, and the Liberal party wins, it would accomplish several things:

1. It would give to the country a vigorous government fresh from the people with a mandate to carry on the war, not in a half-hearted way as at present, but with the whole might of the nation enlisted in the task.

2. It would give us a trade policy that would make for expansion and development and would place the country in a position to grapple with the conditions that are certain to arise after the war.

3. It would bring the Liberal policy of British Preference again to the front and free Canada from the reproach of having increased the taxation against British goods at a time when the old land was engaged in a life and death struggle with the greatest military power in the world.

4. It would give Canada a naval policy that would at lea.,t restore her self-respect and place us in the saim class on the sea as the Commonwealth of Australia.

5. In short, it would give us clean, honest and progressive government, and cut * the claws of the grafter.

Mr. Speaker, when one looks over the political history of 1916 one is not surprised that hon. gentlemen opposite prefer an extension to an election. Look, for example, at the defeats suffered by the Conservative party in the provincial arena during the past year. There have been four provincial general elections. In Nova Scotia 30 Liberals and 13 Conservatives were elected; in Quebec, 73 Liberals and 6 Conservatives; in Manitoba, 44 Liberals and 4 Conservatives, and in British Columbia 32 Liberals and 10 Conservatives. The Conservative

press takes the ground that a general election would be a calamity. Perhaps it would be a calamity to them, but I submit it would be the dawn of a new day to the people of Canada.

I should like to point out that the defeat of the Liberal party in 1911 was brought about by means that cannot be repeated in 1917. What hon. gentleman opposite is shouting to-day: "No truck or trade with the Yankees?" We do not hear a word of that to-day. Who over there is demanding the repeal of the Ne Temere Act? Even the hon. member for West Peterborough (Mr. Burnham) is quiet at the present time. Who is claiming to win ten seats, or even one seat, in the province of Ontario on the issue of the Farmers* Bank? You never hear of it. Who is boring holes in the flag or cursing Laurier because he is an English imperialist? Who is pledging himself to-repeal the Naval Service Act, or promising free medicine for the fishermen of the Maritime Provinces? Mr. Speaker, it is a matter of pride to us on this side of the House that while those bogus issues that won seats for the Tory party in 1911 have all gone to the limbo where they belong, the-two .great issues on which the Liberal party stood in 1911 are as good to-day as they were then. I refer, Sir, to the Canadian navy and to reciprocity with the United States. That is the reason why we on this side of the House are willing to carry on and to strive for the ideals of our party. We are proud of the Liberal party, proud of our leader, proud of the past history of that party and of those watchwords of duty, freedom and manly effort that have made it great in the past and will alone keep it great in the future.

Mr. ARHTUR B. COPP (Westmorland): Mr. Speaker, I wish to address myself to the House for a short time, and as it is now late in the evening and it is not my desire to keep the House too late, I move the adjournment of the debate.

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

Motion agreed to, and debate adjourned. On motion of Hon. Mr. Regers, the House adjourned at 10.30 p.m. Friday, January 26, 1917.


January 25, 1917