January 29, 1917

LIB

Charles Marcil

Liberal

Mr. MARCIL:

I will tell my hon. friend exactly how things are. We are all interested in recruiting at the present time. The Rev. Father Freve, who is, I understand, in the employ of the Militia Depart-rnent, has been going through the whole county of Bonaventure, accompanied by two officers. They have practically made a house to house visit, and I am told that the reports are very satisfactory. My hon. friend can obtain the exact figures from the Militia Department at any time.

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CON
LIB

Rodolphe Lemieux

Liberal

Mr. LEMIEUX:

Yes, I received a telegram from Mr. Asselin saying how proud he was to inform me that he had been ordered to go to Bermuda. I suppose it is for training bur-poses, as other battalions have been sent to Bermuda, and that ultimately it will go to France. It is very anxious to go to the front.

What do you think, Mr. Speaker, what can any person think of an hon. member who was a member of the Liberal Government getting up in this House and making the statement that the Asselin regiment was sent to Bermuda to do the work of negroes

when that same gentleman had stated last session that he had received a telegram from Colonel Asselin to the effect that he was proud to have been sent to Bermuda? What could have been his object? Hon. gentlemen opposite talk about the failure in getting recruits. I will tell them why we are not getting recruits in the province of Quebec as we should get them, and as we would get them if the people of that province were allowed to follow their own consciences in the matter. It is because hon. gentlemen like the member for Bonaventure, (Mr. Mar-cil) and the member for Rouville, (Mr. Lemiepx) are poisoning the minds of the people of Quebec, and have been doing so for the last two or three years. That is the reason why the province of Quebec is not recruiting as it should in this war.

The French Canadian Battalion referred to was not the only battalion sent to Bermuda. A battalion from the city of Ottawa was sent there, but no reference was made to that fact by the hon. gentleman. Why was the Asselin Battalion sent to Bermuda? As the hon. member for Rouville says it was raised in three months, which shows what men can do when they go to work earnestly and sincerely. What was the best course to follow if they wanted to get that regiment to the front? Was it not to send it to Bermuda where they could train during the winter to better advantage than they could here? That is the reason why these battalions went there. The Asselin regiment was sent to the front and like every other battalion containing French-Canadians, it has done splendid service. No better men have been placed in the field by any country on God's earth or have done better work-that is the admission of officers-than the French-Can-adian soldiers who have gone overseas. I pay them that tribute, and I pay it gladly. The only thing is, we want more of them,

I repeat that we would have more of them but for such poisonous stuff as has been circulated in the province of Quebec by hon. gentlemen who occupy seats in this House.

. What are the figures in regard to recruiting in this country? Allow me to place upon Hansard the figures by provinces. These figures show the enlistments up to December 31, 1916:

Ontario 157,908

Quebec 41,729

Maritime provinces 34,802

Manitoba and Saskatchewan. 77'254

Alberta 34,517

British Columbia 37,575

(Mr. Edwards.]

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LIB
CON

John Wesley Edwards

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. EDWARDS:

I would not be certain, but I think these figures were given the other day by the Prime Minister himself. They do not include reservists or any one of that kind. I am not perhaps prepared to give the answer to my hon. friend that he -would naturally expect, but I will state that the figures I am now giving are up to the end of December, and they are from the Militia Department.

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LIB

Frank Oliver

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER:

May I give the reason

why I asked the question? I wish to say, on behalf of the province of Alberta, that the figures aTe absolutely incorrect in that they do not give that province credit for all the men who have been recruited.

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CON

John Wesley Edwards

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. EDWARDS:

Well, the statement is up to December 31, 1916. My hon. friend may have other information. These figures total 383,967, and the return which I have here shows a total to January 17 pf 387,409. What is your district, please?.

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LIB
CON
LIB
CON

John Wesley Edwards

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. EDWARDS:

The return for No. 13, is 34,659 to the middle of January, which differs little from the figure I have given -34,517 to December 31, 1916.

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LIB

Frank Oliver

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER:

I do not wish to reflect upon the hon. gentleman's figures, but I do not want the statement to be made, apparently, officially and to go, apparently, uncontradicted. Alberta is credited only with the number of men in the battalions that have been enlisted there, but there have been .at least 10,000 men recruited in Alberta for units whose headquarters were outside of the province and these men are credited to those other provinces and units.

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CON

John Wesley Edwards

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. EDWARDS:

That, of course, iis true of every province. I could name dozens of men from my own county who, in the last four, or five, or ten years, have left my county and gone to. some part of the prairie west to settle. Of course, I do not feel that I have a right in these figures to include them amongst the recruits from the province of Ontario. At all events, I have no desire in the world to minimise what Alberta has done. My hon. friend will I know give me credit for that?

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LIB
CON

John Wesley Edwards

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. EDWARDS:

When we take into consideration' the population of each of these various districts or divisions, as represented by the last census, that of 1911, we find that the enlistments per thousand ox population are as follows:

Ontario 63

Quebec 20

Maritime provinces 38

Manitoba and Saskatchewan .... 81

Alberta 92

British Columbia 104

Let me put that in another way. The Prime Minister asked for half a million men. What would be the allotment, or fair share, of that half million men to be put down to each of the provinces? The following table will show the allotment of each of the provinces and the percentage of the allotment which has been enlisted:

Province Allotment. Percentage Enlisted.Ontario 170,213 93.Quebec. 138,298 30Maritime provinces 65,957 53Manitoba and Saskatchewan (including a portion of Northwestern Ontario 70,213 110Alberta 34,517 135British Columbia. . 29,787 126Now, commenting upon this statement,might I here remind the hon. member for

Bonaventure (Mr. Marcil) that he made a little mistake the other day, not intentionally, of course, if Hansard has correctly reported him, in saying that the population of Ontario was one million greater than the population of Quebec. I do not know where he gets those figures. The population of Ontario is 2,500,000, according to the last Dominion census, and the population of Quebec is a little over 2,000,000. He was just wrong by about half a million. It will be seen that Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia have enlisted more than their allotment. I may say, also, that these figures are based upon the census of 1911, and it is only fair to state that the population of the western provinces probably has increased more rapidly than has the population of the eastern provinces since that time. But the showing of the western provinces is magnificent; we are all proud of the showing they have made and the members from the west have every reason for pride in what the divisions represented by them have done.

Let me point out to the House, Mr. Speaker, that if the province of Quebec had done as well as the Maritime Provinces, that is to say, if Quebec had recruited 53

per cent of its allotment, instead of 30 per cent, it would mean 31,568 more men in uniform to-day, and it would bring the total up to 415,535. If Quebec had recruited, as well as the province of Ontario, 93 per cent of its allotment, it would mean 86,888 more men, and bring the total up to 470,855. The provinces of the west have done better than Ontario even, but if Quebec had done as well as Ontario-and there is no reason why Quebec should not do as well as Ontario-then, counting in the reservists and so on, we would have to-day more than the half million men that were promised by the Right Hon. Sir Robert Borden.

Let me still further call your attention to this fact, that Manitoba 'and Saskatchewan have contributed 7,041 over their allotment in the half million, British Columbia, 7,970 over its allotment, and Alberta, 8,985. Altogether the western provinces have contributed 23,996 more men than their allotment or fair share of the half million promised by the Prime Minister.

Is there anything fair about that? Do you wonder that in certain parts of the country there are people who say that we should have compulsory service? Do you wonder that there are in several parts of Canada people who see the unfairness of this, who recognize that one of the greatest provinces of this Dominion has been rather behind in the matter of recruiting while the other provinces are making up the numbers required of them? More than that I want to say this: Our boys at the front feel this and feel it keenly. They are obliged to stay in the trenches for months and months at a time instead of getting that relief which they are entitled to. On the enlistment-30,000 or 40,000 more French-Canadians, or recruits from the province of Quebec, would give them more opportunities to go back and rest and more chance of coming out of the war.

These are things of a practical character, and I bring them to the attention of the House because I think the House should be seized of the factst I think the time has arrived in the Dominion of Canada when it behooves every 'horn, gentleman opposite from the province of Quebec to go down to that province and place the facts fairly before the people. Tell t'htem that it is not only the men of France who are laying down, their lives in this war, but the women of France, and, I miay add, the children as well. Tell them that England is doing her part, that to-day there are millions of British! soldiers in France gradually

crowding the German foe back off French soil. Tell them that the very best blood of England is being sacrificed in defence of liberty and justice. Point out to them what German success in ths war would mean to the province of Quebec as well as to the rest of Canada. Place men of the Bourasa and Lavergme type, who have been preaching treason for years, where they belong. I believe the people of the province of Quebec would respond ito such an appeal if hon. gentlemen opposite did not at the same time breathe in their ears excuses for not recruiting, as they have done from time to time, and as was done just recently by the right hon. gentleman who leads the liberal party in this country. Speaking in Montreal, on the 4th or 5th of June, at a meeting in aid of the 178th Battalion, the right hon. leader of tihle Opposition referred to a recitation which bad just been given on the suppression of the French language in Alsace, and said:

There was something very apropos in the choice of this recitation, because the French language is menaced in other countries besides Alsace. . . So long as there are French

mothe-s in Canada the French language will not die.

That remark was naturally received with vociferous applause. A few days later another man from Quebec, speaking at Hull, said: ^

Do not deceive yourselves. The Prussianism in Alsace-Lorraine is not so oppressive as the Prussianism of Ontario and Manitoba.

That man was Bourassa. You will note, Mr. Speaker, the same ring in both these quotations. The language used by Mr. Bourassa is almost word for word the same as that used by the right hon. leader of the Opposition in Montreal. And what was the purpose of using such language at a recruiting meeting in the city of Montreal? Was the right hon. gentleman more concerned in getting political recruits than recruits for the army? What other interpretation can you place' on his language? What earthly reason was there for making use- of language of that kind at a meeting the object of which was to induce men to come forward and enlist? Were statements of that kind calculated to make men come forward and enlist? Were they not rather calculated to make men who wanted an excuse quote his very words as the reason why they should not enlist? That is the sort of thing I condemn, and I am not the man to stand up and condemn men like the hon. member for Bonaventure (Mr. Marcil) and the hon. member for Rouville

(Mr. Lemieux), and let pass what I think should be condemned in a man very much higher than either of them can ever hope to be.

That is not the only expression that has been made use of by the right hon. gentleman in times past to which I wish to refer. At that same meeting in Montreal he said that the thought that had been with him in all his long political career was "to perfect the harmony and bring together the two elements composing our nation." It seems to me, Sir, that the right hon. gentleman was very unfortunate in the means which he adopted to bring about harmony. He was unfortunate last session in forcing this House to pass upon the bilingual question. Why could he not have waited until the Privy Council had given its decision? Why? Because it would not have had the same political effect. Because it was necessary to make an appeal to the people of the province of Quebec, and that was as good a thing as he could possibly get to appeal to them on. His concern was to consolidate, if it was possible, the province of Quebec for political purposes, not to consolidate it in the interests of this war or in the interests of the Empire. The right hon. gentleman from time to time has made use of expressions which have led astray the people of his province, and many other people in this country. What was his object years ago when speaking in Boston he said:

.It is a mistake, a fatal mistake, to make allegiance, British allegiance the basis of trade.

It seems to me that language of that kind used by the right hon. gentleman in a foreign country has a bad ring to it. Referring to British displomacy in 1892, he

said:-

British diplomacy in so far as Canada is concerned has been a record of failure, of surrender and sacrifice.

In using that language, was it the right hon. gentleman's idea to bring together the two peoples and win the respect of the people of Canada for British institutions, or was his object to come nearer to the day when he would reach the goal of his aspirations, which he has repeatedly stated to be the independence of Canada? The right hon. gentleman also used the following language in this House in 1892 (Hansard, p. 1145):-

The hon. gentleman stated also that at Boston I had said that the conduct of Great Britain and of Canada during the American Civil war had been unworthy of British civili-

nation. Sir, I would not have been guilty of making that statement in a foreign country if X had not made it again and again in my native land, and even on the floor of this House. In the year 1889, X stated in the presence of the Government what I stated in Boston, that in my estimation the conduct of Great Britain and the conduct -of Canada had been unworthy of the civilization both of Great Britain and of Canada. I stated the same thing at Boston.

What was his object in making use of statements of that kind? Those statements are not in accordance with the facts. The right hon. gentleman should know that the Archives of Canada contain the published thanks of the Government of the United States of that day to the Government of Canada and the Canadian people for the wise, prudent, neutral and conservative course which they took during that Civil War. Yet the right hon. gentleman goes to Boston, in a foreign country, and declares that Canada and Great Britain should be ashamed of their conduct during the American Civil War. I could cite many similar utterances of the hon. gentleman. Speaking of British diplomacy, he said:-

Is there a Canadian anywhere who would not hail with joy the day when we would be deprived of the services of British diplomacy?

At another time he said that if he had been on the banks of the Saskatchewan when the Northwest half-breed rebellion broke out he would have taken up arms against the Government. I understand that the present Minister of Justice (Mr. Doherty) and the ex-Minister of Militia (Sir Sam Hughes) fought to suppress that rebellion. Just fancy what a calamity it would have been to this country if the right hon. gentleman had gone out there and shouldered a musket and his aim had been true, and he had deprived this country of the present Minister of Justice, or, horror of horrors, if he had deprived it of the services of the ex-Minister of Militia. The only hope these hon. gentlemen would have had would be that the right hon. gentleman was as inaccurate in his marksmanship with the rifle as in his marksmanship throughout his political life.

I wish to call attention to another statement of the right hon. gentleman. Speaking in this House the other day, he said:-

After the passing of a year I think I can repeat that the only complete victory which is being won in this war is the victory which is being achieved by the British Navy.

With those sentiments I heartily agree. This is not the first time the British navy has stood as the bulwark of the liberties of mankind. Ever since the days of Elizabeth

the British navy has been the strongest guarantee the world has had of the security of its liberties.

The British navy has kept fourteen million square miles of British territory, during the continuance of this war, so that not A single hostile German has placed his dirty foot upon one inch of it. It has adequately protected in their homes four hundred and fifty millions of this earth's people who live on British soil. It has protected our commerce, and not ours alone but that of France, that of Russia, that of our Allies, and it has driven the commerce of Germany from the seas, and has forced her cruisers and battleships to hide behind land fortifications. We are not the only people who may be thankful that there is a British navy. Over there in the United States are a hundred millions who, if they ever lift their eyes from their money-bags long enough to offer a prayer to Heaven, are thanking God every day they live that there is a British navy. And well they may, because it stands as their security as well as ours.

I wish to call the attention of the House to one fact in this connection. After that memorable battle which Sir David Beatty fought, the Secretary of State for the Colonies sent to the Governor of New Zealand, and also to the Governor of the Malayan States cablegrams of thanks and congratulation. These cablegrams were identical except in the name of the ship referred to; in one case the Malaya and in the other the New Zealand. The cable to the Malayan States was as follows:

The battleship Malaya was in the thick of the naval fight on May 31, and the Admiralty desire once more to place on record the debt of the Mother Country to the Federated Malay States for the generosity which has enabled the navy to place so valuable a unit in the fighting line. ,

Every man of us, I care not whether he sits on this side of the House or on the other, would be glad to-day if we could read a telegram from the Secretary of State for the Colonies, saying that the battleship Canada, or more than one of our battleships, had been in that fight as were the battleships from New Zealand and Malaya. The premier oversea dominion of this Empire, the brightest jewel in the British Crown as we proudly call it, could not supply a battleship for that fighting line, but the Malayan States and every other oversea dominion took part in strengthening that navy which means the very existence of this country, our national

independence, and the liberties we prize. Let me add one word. I quote now from the naval expert of the London Chronicle, a newspaper regarded as the mouthpiece of the British Liberals and one of the strongest supporters of the Government of that time, the Asquith Government, in a discussion of the naval battle to which I have referred.

Sir David Beatty could have overwhelmed the enemy if Britain could have given him three or lour more battle cruisers than were assigned to his command.

Had Sir David Beatty had three or four more battleships, he could have smashed and obliterated the German fleet. And whose fault is it that he did not have these battleships? The blame is not to be laid at the door of hon. gentlemen on this side. We voted the money; we were willing to spend $35,000,000 in supplying three battle cruisers to strengthen the navy. But opposition came from the leader of the other side of the House, and the Bill was defeated by his partisan Senate at his command. The responsibility lies at his door. It was the party of hon. gentlemen opposite who refused to allow us to strengthen that navy which they, as well as we on this side, recognize as the greatest guarantee of our liberty and our greatest security from danger.

At six o'clock the House took recess;

After Recess.

The House resumed at eight o'clock.

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LIB

William Cameron Edwards

Liberal

Mr. EDWARDS (continuing):

I wish to place upon Hansard one or two more extracts from the remarks of probably one of the greatest authors that this country has ever produced. I refer to the right hon. gentleman who leads the Opposition. One of the gems in the political literature of the right hon. gentleman is the following statement:

I am ready any day, whether I am charged with annexation or not, to take a Yankee dollar in preference to an English shilling.

Whatever the faults of the right hon. gentleman may be, no one can truthfully say that he is mercenary. He is not a man who is after the dollars for himself, and never has been; therefore when he made use of this expression he was not laying particular emphasis upon the value of a shilling or of a dollar-he was rather using the words in another sense. Such expressions are unfortunate, especially when

they come from a man who has occupied the position which the right hon. gentleman has occupied.

At the time of the South African war he said:

There is no menace to Canada, and although we may be willing to contribute troops, I do not see how we can do so.

But when an agitation arose from one end of this country to the other in favour of taking action, troops were sent from Canada. If we except tho'-se sent by Lord Strathcona, about 2,500 men were sent to play their part in that war-and they were sent on the c.o.d. principle.

At the Imperial Conference in 1907 Dr. Smart, Premier of Cape Colony, brought forward this resolution:

That this Conference, recognizing the vast importance of the services rendered by the navy to the defence of the Empire and tha protection of its trade, and the paramount importance of continuing to maintain the navy in the highest possible state of efficiency, considers it to be the duty of the Dominions De-yond the seas to make such contribution towards the upkeep of the navy, as may bd determined by their local legislatures, the contribution to take the form of a grant of mon;'y, the establishment of local naval defence, or such other services, in such manner as may be decided upon after consultation with the Admiralty and as would best accord with their varying circumstances.

Speaking to that resolution, the Right Hon. Sir Wilfrid Laurier said:

I am sorry to say so far as Canada is concerned that we cannot agree to the resolution. For my part, if the motion were pressed to a conclusion, I should have to vote against it.

I do not think that on that occasion the [DOT] right hon. gentleman truly represented the sentiments and feeling of the people of Canada. These expressions of the right hon. gentleman have had a great deal to do with the framing of opinion in Canada, especially in his native province, where he is held in high and, one would almost say, venerable-esteem by the great mass of the people as one of their compatriots.

The hon. member for Rouville (Mr. Le-mieux) in the course of his remarks the other day made a vigourous attempt to connect the Prime Minister with the Nationalist party. He referred to the by election in Drummond and Arthabaska, in which Mr.. *Gilbert was elected. He said that Mr. Gilbert had run as a Nationalist and had been introduced in the House by the present Prime Minister; the hon. gentleman's idea being to link up the Prime Minister with the Nationalists. If my hon. friend will

turn to Hansard of November 28, 1910, he will find that Mr. Gilbert was introduced not by the present Prime Minister but by the Hon. Mr. Monk and Dr. Paquet, the member for L'Jslet. I merely refer to that to set the matter right in the minds of the people. We have ample evidence that there is not now and never has been anything in common between the Nationalists or the principles for which they stand and the right hon. Prime Minister. They are as far apart as the poles. Not an expression which has been uttered by the leader of the Nationalist party or any member of it can find its counterpart in any utterances by the Prime Minister. On the contrary, expressions used by Henri Bourassa and other leading Nationalists in the province of Quebec do find their counterparts in language repeated again and again for years back Dy the right hon, gentleman who leads the Opposition.

I wish again to refer for a moment to the matter of recruiting. The member for Rouville (Mr. Lemieux) said on January 18, 1916, page 54 of Hansard for that year:

In six months, the turn of the tide having taken place, the public of the province of Quebec will have been educated-yes, educated as regards this war, because the population being largely rural, and having enjoyed peace for a hundred years, is not, as many would think, so much affected by events in Europe as other sections "of Canada, because it is Canadian born, seven, eight, nine, ten generations back. I say that the public, having been made acquainted with the facts concerning the war, thanks to the eloquence of the right hon. leader of the Opposition, thanks to the campaign of my hon. friend the Postmaster General, thanks to the articles published by the Quebec press-

He does not mention, what part of the Quebec press; I suppose he does noit refer to Le Devoir.

within six months we shall have nearer 20,000 than 15,000 new recruits in the province of Quebec.

After two- years of the bloodiest conflict that the world has ever seen; after two years of fighting that had been drawing to the limit upon the resources of the Empire in men and: money, the hon. gentleman looked forward to what would be done at the end of another six months. Well, the six months have passed, Something must have been wrong in the methods of the educational processs which, as the hon. gentleman suggests, was being vigorously carried out by 'his right hon. leader. Some [DOT]little word: -muse have been1 thrown in which weakened the influence of even his most eloquent appeal for recruits.

In speaking of enlistment this afternoon

I was not quite fair to the province of Ontario. The figures relating ito certain portions of Ontario, embracing the large towns of Port Arthur, Fort Willi,aim, Rat Portage, and Rainy River, were included in those relating to Saskatchewan and Manitoba. It is estimated that some 6,000 men have enlisted from this district, the northwestern part of Ontario1. I do mot know whether or not that is strictly correct; at any rate a number of enlistments included in the figures for Saskatchewan 'and Manitoba should very properly have been, included in those relating to Ontario. This would -bring the Ontario figures up to 96 per cent of -the total allotment of the 500,000 instead of 93 per cent, still showing an excess on the part of Saskatchewan and Manitoba over their allotment.

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LIB

Emmanuel Berchmans Devlin

Liberal

Mr. DEVLIN:

The same applies to the provinces of Ontario and Quebec: in Military District No. 3, the Kingston district, for instance.

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CON

John Wesley Edwards

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. EDWARDS:

I did not understand that district No. 3 included any portion of the province of Quebec.

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LIB

Emmanuel Berchmans Devlin

Liberal

Mr. DEVLIN:

I understand that it

includes Pontiac, Wright, Labelle and Argenteuil.

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CON

John Wesley Edwards

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. EDWARDS:

I was not aware of that; I am very glad to accept the correction. I am credibly informed, however, that the total number of Freneh-Canadian enlistments in Canada sincfe the war began is 17,400, of whom 14,200 have gone overseas.

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January 29, 1917