January 26, 1917

REPORTS.


Report of the Minister of Agriculture for the year ending March 31, 1916-Hon. Mr. Burrell. Report of the Department of Public Works for the year ending March 31, 1916 -Hon. Mr. Rogers.


DOMINION LANDS ACT-PROPOSED AMENDMENT.


Mr. George E. McCraney (Saskatoon) moved for leave to introduce Bill, No. 12, to amend the Dominion Lands Act. He said: The proposed amendment is to insert a new section, 30A, as follows: 30A-Tha Minister may issue letters patent to any entrant for a pre-emption or to any entrant for a purchased homestead who has complied with the requirements of Section 27 or Section 28 of this Act as the case may be, except as to the payment of moneys due in respect of the said pre-emption or purchased homestead. The said letters patent shall be issued pursuant to regulations to be made by the Governor in Council and the lands patented under this section shall remain charged with the moneys due to the Crown until satisfied according to law. The purpose in view is to enable the Minister of the Interior to issue patent to pre-emptionp and purchased homesteads, subject to the payment of the moneys due to the Government, in cases where all the other requirements of the Act, including residence and cultivation, have been complied with. It frequently happens that a settler has done all his duties except that of paying the' balance of the purchase price of $3 per acre due to the Government. He wishes to borrow money on his land, and the usual advance by mortgagees in such cases is in the neighbourhood of $1,000, but he is unable to give the mortgage because of the balance owing to the Government, which must be paid before patent can issue. He is forbidden by the Dominion Lands Act to pledge his rights in the pre-emption or purchased homestead, and rarely has other security. In the case of moneys owing to the Government for seed grain, patent issues subject to a lien for the amount. It is proposed to permit a similar practice regarding pre-emptions and purchased homesteads. . Motion agreed to and Bill read the first time.


WESTERN COAL MINING.


On the Orders of the Day:


LIB

Edward Mortimer Macdonald

Liberal

Mr. MACDONALD:

I desire to call the attention of the Minister of Labour to the following telegram which I have received from the miners of 'Coleman, Alberta:

Coleman, Alta., Jan. 25, 1917,

E. M. Macdonald,

Ottawa, Ont.

The following resolution was unanimously passed at a full meeting of Carbondale Miners' Union:

"That in the opinion of the miners of the Carbondale Miners' Union at a meeting held to-night, we consider that the action of the Government relative to the bonus of nine and one-half per cent., according to the finding of the Commission re high cost of living is unwarrantable and unjust, and calculated to be an incentive for the men to strike.

"That a copy of this resolution be forwarded to Premier Borden and E. M. Macdonald."

We earnestly desire your good offices in this matter.

J. A. McDonald,

George E. Hogan, Secretary.

I may explain that this telegram was sent to me by virtue of the fact that a number of miners from my constituency have been working in the vicinity from which this telegram comes. I ask What action the Government has taken in regard to the bonus of nine and a half per cent which is alleged in this telegram to be objectionable. I ask also for information as to the exact situation of matters at Coleman.

Topic:   WESTERN COAL MINING.
Permalink
CON

Thomas Wilson Crothers (Minister of Labour)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Hon. T. W. CROTHERS (Minister of Labour):

I have had no information directly from Coleman, and cannot say anything beyond what I said the day before yesterday. Negotiations are in progress which, I expect, will result in a satisfactory settlement within the next few days- I do not think it would be in the interest of any one concerned to go into the details of those negotiations.

Topic:   WESTERN COAL MINING.
Permalink
LIB

Edward Mortimer Macdonald

Liberal

Mr. MACDONALD:

I think the hon.

minister should tell the House what the action was which was taken by the Government and to which the telegram refers.

Topic:   WESTERN COAL MINING.
Permalink
CON

Thomas Wilson Crothers (Minister of Labour)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CROTHERS:

Several of the officers of the Union at Fernie and other points in that district-District No. 18-came here in November last and submitted their desire either for a second war bonus of twenty-five per cent or an investigation as to what had been the increase in the cost of living between certain dates, and an undertaking that this increase should be paid in addition to the increase of ten per cent that had been given them on the 15th of August. They were quite satisfied with the gentleman who was appointed to investigate the question of the increased cost of living; in fact, I think they themselves suggested his name. This gentleman carried on the inquiry and reported that the increase in the cost of living within the period named had been nine and one-half

per cent- This is the first time that I have heard any objections to that finding. The only question that has come up since the finding was made is as to how it is to be carried out.

Topic:   WESTERN COAL MINING.
Permalink

THE GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH.

ADDRESS IN REPLY.


Consideration of the motion of Mr. G. C. Wilson (Wentwprth) for an Address to His Excellency the -Governor General in reply to his speech at the opening of the session, resumed from Thursday, January 25. Mr. ARTHUR B. COPP (Westmorland): I should like to say, Sir, if you are not already overburdened with the congratulations that have been showered upon you by hon. gentlemen who have taken part in this debate, that it gives me the greatest possible personal pleasure to congratulate you upon the position that you have attained -as Speaker of this House. Your constituency and mine lie side by side; we are very near neighbours at home, and we were brought up together. Knowing you personally so well and so favourably, I feel that I cannot allow this occasion to pass without expressing my pleasure upon your attaining your present high office. The only regret I have is that, inasmuch as the Speakership is controlled by the party in power, I cannot hope that you will hold that office for any great length of time. In that you will hold it for a time, however, I offer you my most hearty congratulations. I regret exceedingly, Sir, that during the course of this debate, comparisons and contrasts have 'been made between the two great peoples of this country with regard to recruiting. I do not say how much foundation there is f,or the attacks which have come from the other side of the House as to the slowness of recruiting in the province of Quebec or the reasons therefor, but as a Canadian citizen and as a member of this House I regret that any such acrimonious remarks should be made or that contrasts should be suggested or comparisons instituted between the two great races that go to make up the greatest colony of the Empire. I say that I regret this, and cannot understand why it should be sp. The constituency which I represent in the province of New Brunswick, the county of Westmorland, is composed of people of the two great races, and I want to say that my French Acadian friends in that county have in this crisis stood nobly by Canada -and by the Empire. They have done their full part in the matter of recruiting and of subscribing to the different funds which have for their object the carrying on of this war. While we have in my county two races, two creeds, two nationalities, we do not look upon each other as different races; we are not pulling apart; on the contrary we are united and are becoming more united day by day and year by year. I want to say to the credit of the Acadian people that they have done their part willingly and in a straightforward manner. The clergy representing the Acadian people have taken the same platform with those of other denominations throughout the county of Westmorland and have done their part in urging, exhorting, almost imploring the people to do their duty. The people have done their full part, and I am glad to pay this tribute to my friends in the county pf Westmorland. In the Address with which His Excellency has been pleased to open this Parliament, there are not many subjects for consideration. There are three in particular, those referring to the organization of national service, the fiftieth anniversary of Canadian Confederation, and the extension of the term of Parliament. I am sure that every one of us subscribes earnestly and sincerely to the words spoken in regard to the valour of our Canadian troops and the manner in which they have acquitted themselves at the front. No one would question the courage, bravery, and resourcefulness of the Canadian boys who have gone to fight for their country. We knew from the history and traditions of the people of Canada that they would do their full part when the opportunity came, and the whole country must realize that they have done their duty nobly and well; that they are doing it now, and will continue to do it until the termination of this great struggle. The number of men who have gone to the front is mentioned in the Address as being, roughly, 400,000. We are very glad to know that that number of our Canadian boys have donned khaki and gone to the front to do their bit. On the first of January, 1916, the right hon. Prime Minister stated that 500.000 troops would be raised in Canada. We must realize that that promise meant the enlisting and sending to the front of 500.000 troops, as well as the recruiting of many men in addition to that in order to supply the wastage from the 500,000 and in order to keep the Canadian army up to that strength. I quite agree with the view expressed by a number of hon. gentlemen who have addressed the House, that we require men not only at the front but in the munition factories, on the' farms, in the forests, and in other lines of work which are being carried on in Canada. But, Sir, like the hon. member for South York (Mr. W. F. Maclean) who addressed the House yesterday afternoon, while I realize the importance of carrying on the country's industries, I believe that more honour and more responsibility rest upon the man who leaves his home and family, goes to the front and shoulders a rifle in order that he may do his part in the trenches. It is there that the war is being actually fought, and the quicker the men are in the trenches the quicker the termination of the war will come-and an early termination of the war is the one great desire of the people of Canada. Another clause in His Excellency's speech draws attention to the fact that we are on the threshold of the fiftieth anniversary of the birth of the Dominion, and suggests that some suitable ceremony should be held to commemorate that event. I quite agree that that would be a most noble and a most proper .thing for Canadians to do. I regret that we cannot hold out the hope that we will be able to commemorate that event by a celebration because of the termination of the war. But while that seems to be beyond the bounds of probability, I sincerely trust that the Government will take into consideration a suitable commemoration of the fiftieth anniversary of the natal day of our Dominion, of which we are all so proud. I associate myself with those who have suggested that we should not hold any celebration that would be attended with any large expenditure of money. The hon. member for Guys-borough (Mr. Sinclair) made what I thought an excellent suggestion; that is, that the event be commemorated by the erection of a memorial hospital to be used by returned disabled soldiers. Some measure of that kind might well be taken into consideration, and I believe it would meet with the full approbation of every person in the Dominion of Canada. While we realize that Canada will soon pass the fiftieth milestone in her history, we might for a moment refer to the fact that during all that time the Government of this country has been carried on very largely, if not wholly, along party political lines. Today there seems to he a whisper in the atmosphere, murmurs here and there, that the time has arrived when the people of the Dominion could very well lay aside their party differences and work together more 11 harmoniously than under the party system, in the interests of the country. That suggestion has been referred to even on the floor of this House. It has been mentioned by many newspapers throughout Canada. It has been discussed, and resolutions have been passed upon it in Boards of Trades, Trade and Labour Council meetings, municipal council meetings, church organizations and other organizations that have the welfare of the country at heart. But I am forced to stop for a moment and ask myself, as I believe the people of Canada are asking themselves, why is this proposal made? Why is the suggestion now thrown out that we should have a different form of Government from what we have had in the past? It seems to me, speaking from my experience and knowledge of conditions in my own, province, that the men who are asking, yea demanding, that we, should have a different form of Government, that we should have a national Government or a coalition Government, are members of the Conservative party in the different provinces, and that they realize that their own party, which has been in charge of the affairs of this, country for the past five years, has been weighed in the balance and found wanting; that it has made a miserable failure of the management of the affairs of Canada. That is the situation. I am quite willing to give to my hon. friends all the credit due them in regard to what they claim to be the awful burden that has been east upon them by reason of this war. I realize that, Sir. But that is no proper reason to give to the country for their failure to conduct its affairs properly. It simply shows that they have been unable to rise to the occasion and deal with the extra burdens thus thrown upon them. Their friends throughout the different counties and provinces are now asking that we should no longer have paity government; they say that they want men taken into the Government who are able to take over the burden of administration, and give them assistance to carry on the work which they have been unable to perform. I am not at all opposed to what may be called a national Government. I am of the opinion that some change must take place. But what is this national Government that is being talked about in the press of our country? What is the national Government that the Trades and Labour people want? What is the national Government that the Board of Trade of the city of Winnipeg wants? I see in the Citizen of to-day a despatch which reads:



At a regular meeting to-night the Winnipeg Board of Trade passed a resolution favouring a national Government. Before I would feel like committing myself to a national Government, I should like some information as to what this national Government would be and what class of me would be called to its councils.


?

An hon. MEMBER:

Tories.

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

Arthur Bliss Copp

Liberal

Mr. COPP:

Yes, and not only is it true in regard to the colonels in England, but it applies also to majors, captains, and the subordinate officers. This, article goes on to say that to-day in England alone we have at least 4,000 men in the Records Office. What about New Zealand and other dominions which have officers there? It is costing these dominions a mere bagatelle compared with what it is costing the Dominion of Canada for the upkeep of officers. I have no fault to find with a man being a lieutenant-colonel, or drawing the pay which is attached to his office, but if a lieutenant-colonel has nothing to do, and if he is not willing to take the rank of lieutenant, or some other subordinate position, and go to the front, he should resign and the remuneration that is being paid to him should be stopped, and he should come back to this country and assume the role of a private citizen as the rest of us are doing. I could go on and illustrate by a thousand and one instances how money is being wasted in Canada along this very line. The time has arrived when those who are in charge of the affairs of this country should call a halt, should clean house, and take the people of Canada into their confidence and give a strict account of their stewardship. Let me say to the First Minister that that is his first duty. He not only represents the Conservative party, but he, as the Premier of the Dominion, represents the people of Canada, and the people are clamouring, they are demanding, that they should have a full, frank and honest disclosure of what has taken place in the past and what he is going to do in the future in regard to the conduct of this war.

We all remember with what great satisfaction the Conservative newspapers-and I am bound to say a number of the Liberal newspapers and Liberals as well-throughout the Dominion, regarded the fact that when this war broke out it was the good fortune of Canada to have as Minister of Militia a man of the enthusiasm, energy and experience of the ex-Minister of Militia and Defence (Sir Sam Hughes). I am

bound to say, Sir, because I want to be honest and frank about it, that I never looked upon the ex-Minister of Militia as being any better than the friends with whom he was associated. I looked upon the Government as a whole, and I felt that the whole Government were responsible for the administration of the affairs of this country, and particularly with regard to the affairs appertaining to this war. Public newspapers, particularly newspapers supporting .the Government, would come out day after day and week after week and tell us what a wonderful man the ex-Minister of Militia was, and what a fortunate thing, what an admirable thing it was, that we had such a man administering the military affairs of the country. Yea, in different places, he was referred to as the Kitchener of Canada. What has taken place? If the ex-Minister of Militia was entitled to the praises which were so lavishly bestowed upon hiip during the past two years and until very recently, what do these same newspapers have to say now? You take up a newspaper since the resignation of our genial friend as Minister of Militia, and what do you find? You may find one line in the whole column referring to the energy he displayed, but the rest of the column will be devoted to the many weaknesses he showed as a member of the Government.

I now propose to take up in some detail the correspondence that has passed between the ex-Minister of Militia and the First Minister. I contend that this correspondence which has passed between two members of the Cabinet requires more than a passing notice. It seems to me that it cannot be answered by the right honourable the First Minister as he attempted to answer it the other day when, following my right honourable friend the leader of the Opposition, he rose in his place and said that he did not propose to discuss the question of the resignation of the Minister of Militia and Defence. I suppose that may be privately his right, but I contend that the Premier of this Dominion owes it to the people of the country to enlighten them as to what has taken place in regard to this matter. The letters that were written by the ex-Minister of Militia to the First Minister contain the most glaring charges that were ever levelled against the Prime Minister or the responsible head of any Government in this Dominion and yet no attempt has been made to answer these charges. Hon. gentlemen on this side of the House have referred to the matter and it has been fMr. Copp.l

passed by; not a word has been uttered to give to the people of Canada any just or cogent reason why the ex-Minister of Militia is to-day out of the Cabinet. No excuse is offered, no defence is made against the awful charges that the ex-minister has made against the First Minister in regard to this matter. I want to refer to this correspondence. I want to read some paragraphs from the letters that, passed between these gentlemen and to comment upon them after I read them. The first I want to read is a paragraph from a letter from the ex-Minister of Militia dated October 23, 1916, in answer to one from the Premier, and it is as follows:

. Regarding your letter and memorandum, permit the following: From the outset I

strongly objected to the fact that practically the entire management of our force, our supplies, our equipment, our transport, etc., had been taken completely out of our hands, and was controlled by the British authorities, we, notwithstanding, paying the bill.

In October, 1914, In conversation on the subject, with the late Earl Kitchener, he pointed out that the Canadian High Commissioner had intimated to him that it was the desire of the Canadian Government that these, troops should be regarded as purely British, and that Canada should have nothing to say in their management while in England or at the front.

I think that is a most significant sentence. He says that in October, 1914, this trouble had taken place. Back as far as October, 1914, there was dissatisfaction, bickering and cleavage in the minds of the members of the Cabinet. The war broke out in August, 1914, and in October, 1914, the trouble had already commenced in the Cabinet. I have no reason to doubt, Sir, that in any Cabinet there must be differences of opinion. Men do not always see alike on many great public questions, but I contend, and I think I am only contending for what is a sound constitutional doctrine, that when the Cabinet takes up and threshes out the matters that come before them, their decision must be presented to the public as a united and unanimous one and they must work together harmoniously and unanimously in the interests of the whole country.

Further we find this statement:-

I drew his attention to Section 177 of the Army Act, and to the spirit and principles of the Constitution, but he again intimated that he understood it was the desire of the Canadian Government that the troops were to be handed over to them absolutely as British Regulars. To this I objected, and1 pointed out that I fully believed that our force under officers of our own selection should, at the front, be under the command of the British t'oma-ruier in Chief; yet the appointment of officers at the

front and the control of everything in connection with the force while in Britain, should be entirely with Canada; but I further stated that I felt in such a great struggle where each was actuated by proper motives, there should be no need of friction.

Then he says:-

X do not know whether the Canadian High Commissioner had the authority of the Canadian Government or not.

That means that, although he was a member of the Cabinet, he did not know what authority Sir George Perley had as High Commissioner. He goes on to say:-

But a day or two later that gentleman of his own initiative strongly spoke to me and briefly said, "You do not pretend surely to have anything to do with the Canadian soldiers in Britain.'' I suggested that he might be well advised to study not alone the Canadian Military law, but the British Army Act, as well as comprehend the spirit of the constitution. I felt then, as I feel to-day, and as I am pleased to say the entire British Government and the War Office officers also realize to-day that our officers and men being in the pay of Canada, Canada should absolutely control them in Canada and in Britain, excepting in so far as securing camping grounds ip concerned; and at the front for everything excepting the command and general administration under the command. However, for the first ten months our suggestions were practically ignored, our equipment, stores, supplies, armament, . everything provided by us was set aside.

That means that the ex-Minister of Militia attaches his signature to a statement that ten months after the outbreak of the war all the supplies provided by Canada, all the trucks, all the equipment, everything-and we know that it amounted to millions of dollars' worth-were set aside and scrapped in England, and we, the people of Canada, are called upon to pay this enormous wastage and extravagance on the part of the Government because of their bickerings and their incapacity, because they were unable to grapple with the question and make prompt and definite decisions for the benefit of the country. He goes on to say:-

The pay department was found to be absolutely chaotic; the medical service modelled on the British, lacked system, efficiency and comprehensiveness.

There is another charge in regard to which it seems to me the people of Canada, the fathers and mothers of the soldiers who have gone to the front, are perfectly within their right when they not only ask, but demand in a respectful but in a most emphatic manner, that they should be given some explanation. In that sentence the exMinister of Militia implies a great deal more than he says. The phrase about the

medical service lacking efficiency tells the fathers and the mothers of the boys at the front that when their kith and kin and flesh and blood are wounded or taken sick and are brought to the English hospitals, they are not given proper care and attention. Could anything be more detrimental to recruiting in the Dominion of Canada than that very statement. And yet that has been published, not by a Liberal newspaper, not by a Liberal on the hustings, tout by one of the sworn members of the Cabinet, who has since resigned his seat. The time has arrived when we, as independent people of this country, should and do demand some explanations in regard to the matter. I cannot understand so many right-thinking, honest Conservatives throughout the length and breadth of this Dominion sitting quietly by and humbly following their party when we find one of their own Cabinet ministers making such an outrageous charge against the Government in regard to this matter that is uppermost in the minds of our people. The ex-minister says:-

The pay department was found to be absolutely chaotic.

We know that from experience. I doubt if there is an honourable member in this House who has not had letters and telegrams, who has not been personally and privately communicated with in regard to this very subject, in reference not only to the Mother Country, but to Canada. I have here letters and memoranda from scores of women from my own constituency who have been unable to get their separation allowance or their assigned pay from their sons and their husbands properly adjusted. I know one case in my own town where a woman had a son at the front and had been receiving from Ottawa his assigned pay for fifteen months, month by month. All at once this pay stopped. She wrote a letter to the department here, and when she got her reply, she could not understand it and brought it to me. The answer was that they had not this young man's name on their records at all. She thought of course that something had happened to her boy and that his

4 p.m. name had been cut out, that he had been killed and she had not been advised. I wrote to the department pointing out that there was an error somewhere, because I enclosed one of the printed circulars that are sent with the cheques, and that the boy's name must be on the record. They then changed their answer and wrote in reply that the boy's name was there but that they would have to

communicate with the pay office in London before the matter could be rectified. That is an illustration of what is taking place. The Minister of Labour (Mr. Croth-ers) smiles. He takes so little notice of people who are looking to him and the Government to take some interest in their affairs that he sits here and smiles and laughs in the face of members when they bring to the attention ,of this House some of the rights of the common people of this country. It is not becoming to the Minister of Labour to do that. Every one knows that he has never taken an active interest nor spent a serious moment in his life in looking after the interests of the people whom he is supposed to represent.

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

Edgar Nelson Rhodes (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPEAKER:

Order. The hon. gentleman is going a little too far.

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

Edgar Nelson Rhodes (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPEAKER:

I think, when the hon. gentleman sees his language in Hansard to-morrow, he will be the first to admit that he is going entirely too far.

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

January 26, 1917