January 29, 1917


Charles Murphy


Hon. CHARLES MURPHY (Russell):

Mr. Speaker, I was at a loss to understand many of the statements of the hon. gentleman who has just taken his seat (Mr. Edwards) until I heard him towards the close of his address remark that he was somewhat of a poet. It is well known that poets enjoy a license not accorded to other people. Those of us on this side of the House who are endeavouring in this debate to confine ourselves to facts relating to this war and the conduct of the war must be excused if we refrain from following the flights of this poetic gentleman and any of his friends on that side of the House who may also court the muse.

Mr. Speaker, the political history of the county which you have the honour to represent in this House contains a notable record of public achievement on the part of its representatives both in the Legislature and in Parliament, a record of which your native province is justly proud. In your person, Mr. Speaker, that record has been enhanced by your elevation to the position of first commoner of the Dominion. The congratulations that you have received from your fellow members, and to which I now desire to add my own, are not only an earnest of the belief held by both sides of the House that you will worthily maintain the traditions of the high office to which you have been called, but they are also an assurance that you can count upon your fellow members at all times, and under all circumstances, to assist you in upholding those traditions.

Let me associate myself with those gentlemen on both sides of the House who have extended their felicitations to the mover and the seconder of the address for 15

the way in which they discharged the duties assigned to them at the opening of this session.

This debate has now been in progress for a week. It has 'been confined chiefly, and properly, to the discussion of the Government's conduct of Canada's part in this war. Incidental to that discussion there has been some analysis of the correspondence exchanged between the right hon. the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Borden) and the ex-Minister of Militia (Sir Sam Hughes). Mention has also been made of the Bruce report upon hospital conditions overseas and of the failure of the Ross rifle under active service conditions. Dealing only with these three heads of criticism, I desire, Sir, before going into details, to point out that if what the ex-Mini&teT of Militia says in hie correspondence be true, if what Dr. Bruce says in his hospital report be true, and if what General Haig says in his report on the Ross rifle be true, then it is clear that unnumbered Canadian lives have been needlessly sacrificed, and that the responsibility rests upon the Government and upon the Government alone. If the Government seeks to escape this responsibility, then I submit that a searching inquiry in each ease is necessary, and that these inquiries should be commenced before the House rises for the proposed adjournment. The Prime Minister has already suggested that the approaching recess might be utilized by a committee to revise the Consolidated Railway Act. Important as that work is, it is vastly inferior to the duty cast upon us, as the representatives of the Canadan people, to fix the responsibility for the needless loss of Canadian lives, and for that reason, Sir, I urge, from my place on the floor of this House, that three committees be appointed to investigate the Hughes charges, the Bruca charges and the failure of the Ross rifle, and that these committees conduct their inquiries during the approaching parliamentary recess and have their reports ready when Parliament reassembles after the Prime Minister's return from the Imperial Conference. If this is not done the conclusion will be irresistible that no matter what the Government, or its apologists, may say, its failure to order these inquiries will be due to the fact that it dare not run the risk of the exposures that these inquiries would bring to light. From that position there is no escape .for the Government.

the Bruce Report blamed, and blamed what the Bruce report praised. The matter cannot 'be left in this shape, and nothing short of a thorough inquiry will satisfy public opinion. I need only make one citation from each report to pro

It has been found on investigation that many of the officers who have been given commissions have been failures as medical men at home, or are over age, or are drug fiends, or addicted to alcoholism, and these officers are not only of little or no use as C. A. M. C. officers, but their presence on an overseas unit is a detriment to the efficiency of that corps.

And dealing with this particular finding, the Baptie report says:

As to allegations of unfitness among officers selected for commissions in the Canadian Medicals, through being over age or addicted to alcohol and other drugs, etc., this is not borne out by facts. Had Col. Bruce added what must have been within his knowledge, that the proportion of undesirables in the corps is at least as low as in any other branch of the service, there would have been no objection to his criticism.

Commenting on these two findings, the Toronto Globe, in its editorial of January 5, 1917, had this to say:

To ask the people of Canada to set aside Col Bruce's specific charges respecting the drug and alcoholic habits of some of the Canadian medicals on the ground that "the proportion of undesirables in the corps is at least as low as in any other branch of the, service," is an insult to the intelligence of Ministers at Ottawa, and to the common sense of the relatives of the men who have gone overseas to fight. The Canadian people will insist that there must he no proportion of undesirables among the medical men entrusted with the grave issues of life and death in the military hospitals. No drug fiends or alcoholic victims should be allowed to remain for a single day in the Canadian Army Medical Service. The thing is intolerable. The Government mfist act, and aet at once.

The Baptie report is not the last word in this controversy. The etiquette of the medical profession is not worth the life of a single Canadian soldier. When Parliament meets the facts must he dragged to the light of day. There is no room in the Canadian Medical Service for a single drug fiend or drunkard. The life of the soldier who is serving his country in the trenches is too sacred to be gambled away in the operating theatre or sick ward by medical men whose efficiency the Baptie report refuses to guarantee.

In the absence of the details of these two reports, there I will leave the matter for the present.

Last week the right hon. Prime Minister (Sir Robert Borden) laid on the table of the House correspondence relating to the Roes rifle. A glance through the file shows that the correspondence is not complete, but

[Mr. Murphy. 1

there is enough of it to prove that our soldiers were not equipped with the proper weapon to defend themselves against the attacks of the enemy. By way of preface to the correspondence, it is, in my judgment, advisable to place before the House a few important facts that will help to a better understanding of the general situation regarding the Ross rifle and its manufacture in 'Canada.

The Breech mechanism of the Ross rifle was the invention of Sir Charles Rose. The bolt had a straight pull, or single motion, as compared with the half turn and pull, or double motion, of every other military rifle. This was supposed to be an advantage in quick firing.

The Liberal Government of Canada, the late 'Sir Frederick Borden being then Minister of Militia, entered upon the manufacture of military rifles for the Canadian militia under contract with Sdr 'Charles Ross, and adopted the Ross patent as the Canadian model. The Ross Company manufactured sporting as well as military rifles, and from time to time developed their rifle for sporting and target purposes, with the result that, at the outbreak of the war, the latest make of Ross rifle was recognized as equal to the best target rifle in the world. It was therefore not unreasonable to believe that the Canadian troops were going overseas armed with the best weapon available. This was the belief of the Canadian people, and they rested confident in that belief.

The Canadian First Division went into the trenches in January, 1915. It was very soon found that the conditions that made the Ross a good sporting or target rifle did not fit it for service at the front.

The battle otf St. Julien, iin April, 1915, was the first real test to which the Ross rifle was submitted. It is now a matter of common knowledge that the Rosts rifle failed under that test. How many of the ^Canadian casualties were due to the failure of the Ross rifle can never be known, but without doubt they were numerous and terrible. Not only were the losses great, but the danger of actual defeat was even more terrible. Not to flinch at the surprise of the German gas was heroism, but it was even greater heroism for our men not to flinch at the still more unnerving surprise of the failure of the weapon placed in their hands upon whose efficiency their lives and the holding of their positions depended.

The occurrences at 'St. Julien must have come to the knowledge of this Government

within twenty-four hours after that battle. There is no evidence of this fact in the correspondence brought down and still less evidence of any action having been taken on the initiative of the Government to remedy matters.

The earliest mention of the Ross rifle in the correspondence is in a report of Sir John French to the British War Office, dated June 19, 1915, in which he states that, having looked carefully into the merits of the Ross rifle he had found that the Canadian infantry had so lost confidence in it that he bad re-armed the First Canadian Division, then under his command, with Lee-Enfields before the battle of June 15, and that even before that date three thousand men of the division had armed themselves with Lee-Enfields without authority.

In other words, 3,000 Canadians had been so convinced of the inefficiency of the Ross rifle that they had thrown away their Ross rifles whenever they could pick up a Lee-Enfield. The obvious inference is that the only reason all the Canadians had not armed themselves with Lee-Enfields was because they could not get them without authority. General French gave as the reason for his rejection of the Ross that it could not be relied upon to work effieently under rapid fire with British ammunition, and that Canadian ammunition was not available.

There is nothing on the file to show that any correspondence took place between June 19, 1915, the date of General French's report to the War Office, and March 30, 1916. That there should have been no such correspondence is unthinkable. The Canadian Government knew that the First Division had been re-armed as a result of the experience at the battle of St. Julien and subsequent engagements. They were arming and placing in the field two new divisions. Either they corresponded with General French on the subject of the Ross rifle, or they did not. If they did, the correspondence has been suppressed in the file brought down-an absolutely damning action-or they ignored the fact that the Ross rifle had been discarded by General. French for stated and definite cause-a still more damning action.

On March 30, 1916, nine months after General French had discarded the Ross rifle, these rifles were still being delivered and accepted by the Canadian Government. On that date the Prime Minister cabled Sir George Perley that the Government was seriously considering letting a further contract for 100,000 Ross rifles, delivery to

begin in April, 1917, two years after the disastrous failure of the rifle at St. Julien.

On May 12, 1916, almost a full year after the Ross had been discarded vby General French and the First Division re-armed with Lee-Enfields, Sir Max Aitken cabled Sir Sam Hughes:-

Serious situation has arisen regarding Ross rifle. I request that you will show this telegram to the Prime Minister.

There is nothing further in the correspondence to show directly what the situation was or how serious it was, but a passage in a report of Sir Douglas Haig to the War Office, dated May 28, 1916, may be regarded as throwing some light on it. General Haig reports that as a service rifle the Ross is less trustworthy than the Lee-En-field and that it has not the confidence of the Canadian troops. He therefore recommends that the Second and Third Divisions be armed with Lee-Enfields, and he continues:

The inquiry on which these conclusions are based was the outcome of an urgent application from a battalion of the Third Canadian Division for re-armament with the short Dee-Enfield rifle, in consequence of a high percentage of jams experienced with these Ross rifles during a hostile attack on May 1, 1916.

Mr. Speaker, there is terrible significance in General Haig's guarded language. What a high percentage of rifle jams during a hostile attack meant in Canadian casualties we have no means of calculating, but the casualties must have been appalling when they impelled an urgent application from Canadian troops for re-armament with the Lee-Enfiald rifle.

It will be observed, Sir, that the hostile attack mentioned by General Haig took place on May 1, 1916. Obviously it was to. the failure of the Ross rifle in that engagement that Sir Max Aitken referred in his cable to Sir Sam Hughes on May 12, 1916, when he said:

Serious situation has arisen regarding Ross rifle. I request that you will show this telegram to the Prime Minister. '

And yet, with the information conveyed by this cablegram and with all the other information that they had in their possession, the right hon. Prime Minister and his Minister of Public Works stood in their places in this House on May 17, 1916, and specifically denied knowledge of the failures of the Ross rifle. The Minister of Public Works even suggested the imprisonment of those who would criticise it. The Prime Minister said [DOT]


I desire to say in the first place, that even if the Ross rifle were the best rifle in the world, it would be possible to destroy its usefulness by making and circulating public statements about it, and it is far from patriotic service to discredit the only rifle we are capable of producing in Canada at present. No one is more convinced of the absolute necessity that our men fighting in the trenches shall be served with an efficient and effective weapon than the members of the Government in common with all good citizens.

On the same occasion his trusted colleague the Minister of Public Works (Mr. Rogers) said:- i

The conditions complained of at that time have all been remedied. The chamber of the Ross rifle has been enlarged.

1 may interject here that when the story of the enlarging of the chamber of that rifle comes out there will be something more to be said in this House regarding the matter.

The chamber of the Ross rifle has been enlarged in such a manner that the difficulties that were met with a year or more ago have been corrected. So far as I know, with any in-' fo''mution it has been possible for me to obtain, there has been no difficulty and no jamming of the Ross rifle for many months past.

Now, Sir, one would think that after receiving Sir Max Aitkens' cablegram of May 12 ; after the discussion in this House on May 17, and after receiving the report of General Haig of May 28, the Prime Minister would no longer desire to keep an inefficient weapon in the hands of the Canadian troops. But, Sir, incredible as it may "eem, such was his desire. It will be recalled that the battle of Zillebeke lasted from June 2 to June 12. On June 7, 1916, while the battle of Zillebeke, where the Canadian losses were even greater than at St. Julien, was still raging, the Prime Minister dispatched a lengthy argument about the Ross rifle to the War Office, in which - this statement occurs:-

The Ross rifle is the only one we are at present equipped to make in Canada and we believe it to be efficient if properly handled.

To this General Haig'promptly replied ih a report to the British War Office, dated June 21, 1916, in which he 'Confirmed his previous report as to re-arming with the Lee-Enfield .after consultation with the Officer in command during recent heavy fighting near Ypres, " The experience of the commanding officer in this fighting was that the Canadians of the 3rd division, at least, had ' lost confidence in their rifles '

The hideous significance of these words can be read in the casualty lists and in the fact that in the attack of June 2 the Ger-

mans captured 700 yards of Canadian trenches, which were retaken lateT by the first Canadian division, which was armed with the Lee-Enfield rifle. General Haig's report of June 21 concludes:-

I must therefore adhere to my recommendation that the 2nd and 3rd Canadian divisions should be re-armed shortly with the short Lee-Enfield rifle, and I would urge that the necessary steps to give effect thereto be taken without delay.

Notwithstanding General Haig's statement of the urgency of the case and its approval by the Army Council, which offered to supply Lee-Enfields, and which requested that no more Ross rifles be brought to England, it was not until August 30, 1916., more than thirteen months after General French's report and sixteen months after the failure of the rifle had been demonstrated at the battle of St. Julien, that the Government of Canada finally gave its consent to the British War Office supplying Lee-Enfields to the second and third Canadian divisions, but expressed the hope that no re-arming had been done without their knowledge.

The correspondence closes with a reply from Bonar Law to Sir Robert Borden, stating that the fourth division sent to France with the Ross rifles had already been re-armed with Lee-Enfields; that is, they bad- been re-armed without the knowledge or consent of this Canadian Government.

As to the assertion by the Prime Minister on June 7, 1916, that " the Ross rifle is the only one we are equipped to make in Canada," the obvious answer is given by the Army 'Council in their memorandum of July 11, 1916, that the Government of Canada alter the equipment to make Lee-Enfields, Mark III, with improvements. The contractor, Sir Charles Ross, has publicly and repeatedly stated that he is and has always been ready to 'adjust his equipment to any requirements oif the Governement, regardless of his contract.

That brings me to a brief consideration of the part recently played by the Solicitor General in connection with the public discussion of the Ross rifle. Speaking at Montreal in December last, the Solicitor General sought to absolve the Government of its guilty conduct by saying:-

As soon as the report that the rifle was defective reached the Government, what could the Government do? We. were bound by the contract made by the late Administration.

The speech in which this statement was made led to a newspaper controversy, in the course of which Sir Charles Ross wrote to the Ottawa Citizen and stated his position under the contract to be as follows:

Since the outbreak of the war, I have endeavoured to assist the Government to turn out a rifle satisfactory in every respect, not standing upon the letter of the contract but acting upon the spirit of it.

The Citizen then asked Sir Charles Ross if he had made his position clear to the Government, and he replied by repeating the sentence I have just quoted. In response to a further question as to whether [DOT]the Solicitor General was right in affirming at Montreal that the Government was bound by the contract made by the former Administration, (Sir Charles Ross wrote:

I am quite willing to reply to your [DOT]question, but to enable me to select the most appropriate extracts from official documents to back up my statement, I should like to know authoritatively first just what Mr. Meighen means by the word [DOT]'bound".

Now, Sir, up to the present time the Solicitor General has not replied to Sir Charles Ross's challenge, and if he does not do- .so the public will conclude that once more he has been found out in the game of political sophistry, find this time in a matter affecting the lives of thousands of *Canadian soldiers.

Air. Speaker, I conclude as I began. If what the ex-Minister of Militia says in his correspondence 'be true, if what Dr, Bruce says in his hospital report be true, and if what General Haig says in his reports on the Ross rifle be true, then it is clear that unnumbered Canadian lives have been needlessly sacrificed, and that the responsibility rests upon the Government and upon the Government alone. If the Government disavows or seeks to escape this responsibility, then I submit that a searching inquiry in each case is necessary, and that these inquiries should be commenced before this House rises for the proposed adjournment.


James Joseph Hughes


Mr. J. J. HUGHES (Kings P. E. I.):

ceived, the subcontractors being largely themselves. It was known that they had made inordinate profits. That amount was reduced afterwards upon further investigation to $31,000,000. The statement of General Bertram under oath was that, on the first order for 200,000 shells that they had obtained from the War Office in the autumn of 1914, they had made an excess profit of $52,000. They intended to give that money to the Patriotic Fund, but they consulted General Hughes and he advised them to return it to the War Office and this they proposed' to do. But this strange feature of the case came up that notwithstanding the fact that they had made $52,000 of excess profits on the first order, they wanted to increase the price on subsequent orders so that, I suppose, they would have more money to return.

But the British War Office cabled that they could not pay a higher price and would not place any more orders in Canada if they were not taken at the original price. They [DOT] were taken at the original price and in the spring of 1915 the surplus profits had amounted to $14,800,000. They were going on mounting up and the prospective profits were $31,000,000. Now, there is a strange circumstance in-connection with this. General Bertram on his oath said that in the fall of 1914 that they had consulted the Minister of Militia and Defence as to what they would do with the money, and he advised them to return it to the War Office. The Minister of Militia and Defence knew, ac-according to this testimony, what was to be done with the surplus profits. I think it is the constitutional principle that what one member of the Government knows all know. The Opposition, during the greater part of the session, was accusing the Shell Committee of having charged the War Office and the British Government an enormous price for shells. A complete answer would have been that all the excess profits should be returned to the British Government. Yet the Minister of Militia and Defence spoke three or four times on the ubject, the Prime Minister twice, the Solicitor General twice, and the Minister of Finance at least once, and not one of these hon. gentlemen ever intimated that a dollar of this money was to be returned. This restitution, if I may call it that, in the opinion of nearly every than you meet on the street and who is familiar with the circumstances, was the result of the investigation made by Carvell and Kyte and pressed by members of the Opposition on the Government. That is

what brought, about the Meredith-Duff Commission of inquiry and apparently what brought about the return to the British Government of these enormous sums of money. Yet, the newspapers in Canada-for instance, a newspaper in my own province, the Charlottetown Guardian-have not a word to say in favour of the movers of this motion, but they call them carrion birds, who were wasting the time of Parliament in having this investigation held. This is the record of the Government in regard to this matter.

When we come to this year and read the correspondence that has taken place between the ex-Minister of Militia and the Prime Minister, we find tnat every assertion made by the Opposition against the Government is supported by the statement of the ex-Minister of Militia and that many others of a more serious and damaging character are made. The statement of that hon. gentleman reveals a condition of affairs that few men in this country thought was possible. The statements of the ex-Minister of Militia are made by a man who knows what he is talking about and he states that tlie second division had to be held up four months at Valeartier while the grafters were quarrelling amongst themselves as to the division of the spoils and that the Prime Minister of Canada was looking on hopelessly and could not do anything'. He states that the Prime Minister and other members of the Government were intriguing against himself and that intrigues were going on all the time. He stated that some of the order in council, and actions of the Prime Minister, could have had only three mqtives and that not one of these motives was in the interest of the men, or officers, of the army or in the interest of the successful prosecution of the war. Could a more damaging statement yf the case be made? The matter is so serious that an investigation should surely proceed. My hon. friend from Russell (Mr. Murphy) has asked for an investigation and he proposes that it shall proceed during the adjournment. I repeat that before this correspondence was made public I do not believe there were ten men in Canada who thought that the conditions were so serious as they have been shown to be or that anything like what we now know was going on.

The Prime Minister admits in his speech some of the statements made by the ex-Minister of Militia are correct. Up to this time neither the Prime Minister nor any other minister has denied any of the statements and I say as a member of this

House that if the Prime Minister fully appreciated his responsibilities to the country he would either deny and disprove these statements oi the ex-Minister of Militia or he would resign his position. I have stated that the Prime Minister in his speech on the Address a *few days ago actually admitted the correctness of some of the istatements. made by the ex-Minister of Militia and Defence. He stated that an order in council was passed taking from the ex-Minister of Militia and Defence much of the authority that he possessed over the troops in Great Britain and France, that this order in council was passed during the miirueter's absence and that he was not notified of it.

That was a serious matter indeed. Here was an order in council passed in the absence of the very man who should know more about military affairs than any other member of the Council, a man who was considered by the Prime Minister and other members of the Government to be exceptionally capable, and well qualified for the position he held. Without his knowledge this order An council was passed, taking from him the power he had previously exercised over the troops in Great Britain. What was the result? As soon as the ex-Minister of Militia heard of this he came back, and the Government, apparently fearing his wrath, cowering before his anger, tactually rescinded the order in council, and gave him back the power he had previously possessed. The Prime Minister says the order in council was amended: the ex-Minister of Militia in the correspondence says that it was rescinded. That, I suppose, is a sample of the Prime Minister's firmness and decision. The Prime Minister said the other day in reply to the leader of the Opposition that he was quite willing to compare his firmness and decision with that of any other man in Canada, and particularly with that of the leader of the Opposition. The incident to which I have referred does not appear to me to reveal very great firmness or strength of character.

But the most serious matter of all arises in regard to the rifle with which the Canadian troops were armed. It is new known from the report of General French' that he had to withdraw the first line of Canadian infantry from the trenches because of the ineffective weapon with which they were armed. He had to withdraw them, I suppose, in order to save their lives, to prevent them from being slaughtered, from being murdered. But notwithstanding

that this fact was known to the Canadian Government, the Second and Third Divisions were armed with the same weapon, and as has been pointed out here tonight, notwithstanding all the information the Government had in regard to this matter, last session, when this question was before the House, The Prime Minister and the Minister of Public Works stood in their places and said they had no knowledge of the fact that the Ross rifle was inefficient and there were defects in the British rifle, they said. This is the most serious thing that has ever transpired in the Dominion, and nothing has done so much to injure recruiting in this country, or is injuring it so much at the present time as the correspondence which took place between the ex-Minister of Militia and the Prime Minister, and the charges that are therein made and have not been denied. How could it be expected that there would be effective recruiting under such circumstances?

The hon. member for Frontenae (Mr. Edwards) said this afternoon that the falling off in recruiting was due to the speeches made by members from the province of Quebec. No member from the province of Quebec ever could do so much damage to the Government as the letters written by the ex-Minister of Militia. But the defence of the Ross rifle made by the Solicitor-General, Mr. Meighen, is worse than all, with its cold-blooded, heartless, calculating cynicism, when he said that the Government of Canada was bound by a contract to arm the troops with a rifle that was not good; bound by a contract to send out troops to be slaughtered in the trenches without one chance in ten of defending themselves. If ten thousand contracts existed, it would not justify the Government in an action of that kind. The worst that could happen to the Government, if they were bound by a contract, would be a suit for damages brought by Sir Charles Ross, the manufacturer of the rifle. But would any man in his senses bring an action against the Government under such circumstances? Sik Charles Ross says that the Solicitor General ha'd no foundation for the statement he made, and that he had never tried to force an ineffective weapon on the Government of Canada. Supposing an action had been brought-agiainst the Government, Parliament would most certainly indemnify the Government for any damages incurred. An ex-

cuse O'f that king may be satisfactory to a few strong Tory newspapers, such as the Toronto News and the Charlottetown Guardian, but it will not bring consolation to the mothers in Canada, to the Rachaels that are weeping for their children and will not be comforted because they are not. It is possible that many of the casualties among our troops were due to the fact that they had no chance of defending themselves. This is a matter that will have to be investigated, and that will have to be investigated before an extension is given, and a matter that should be investigated before the Government even ask for an extension.

I did not intend to say anything with regard to naval matters, but I shall say a word as the subject has been referred to this afternoon by the hon. member from Fontenac. If there is one thing the present Government and the Conservative party should be ashamed of it is their action in regard to naval affairs in this country. It is well known that when the subject was introduced into the House by 'the present Minister of Trade and Commerce in 1909, the resolution then proposed was accepted by the Government of the day, and after one or two verbal amendments had been made at the request of the present Prime Minister, then the hon. member for Halifax (Sir Robert Borden), the resolution passed unanimously, every member voting for it except the hon. member for Jacques Cartier, the late Mr. Monk. The Government took immediate action, and the very next session brought in and placed upon the statute book the Naval Service Act. Acting on the advice of the British Admiralty, Canada entered into an arrangement with Australia and New Zealand, whereby this country would do its duty in naval matters, thereby carrying out the mandate of Parliament as unanimously expressed a year or two before. All reasonable speed was made. Tenders were called for and examined; the Admiralty was consulted, and arrangements were made with Australia and New Zealand. We were all to act in concert. The Nationalist party of Quebec-this is an old story, but is worth repeating-Monk, Pelletier and all the rest of them, and the present members who sit on the Government benches from that province, opposed the arrangement and denounced both parties for it. An election was held in Drummond and Artha-baska. The .Nationalists put up a candidate, and so did the Liberals. The Conservatives had no candidate, and a newspaper in Montreal wired the present Minister of

Trade and Commerce asking which candidate Conservatives should vote for, as they had no candidate of their own, and the reply of the man who brought in that resolution in 1909 (Sir George Foster) was, "Defeat Laurier by any means, fair or foul. Let the navy so." *

Yes let the navy go-let the Empire take care of itself-leit Great Britain take care . of herself-but defeat Laurier, let the consequences be what they may. This was the Nationalist campaign in Drummond and Arthabaska, 'and from that day to this the alliance between the Nationalist party and the Conservative party has been cemented.

When this Government came into, power they found1 two. training ships in. commission., one at Halifax and one at Esquimalt, they found a Naval College established, they found a large number of men enlisted for the navy. They dismantled the .ships and discharged the crews. They did everything they could do to discredit the enterprise. They had promised the people of Quebec that they would repeal the Naval Service Act. In the very first session, after they came into, power the member for Yamaska (Mr. Mondou) asked if they intended to implement their promise, and the present Minister of the Naval Service (Mr. Hazen) said they did. But they did not repeal the Naval Service Act, and it is under that Act that we have done whatever we have done in the way of 'assisting the Mother Country on the sea. Not only did they discharge the crews .and dismantle the ships when they came into power, but they filled the boilers and tubes of the Niobe at Halifax with a composition, and when1 war was declared it took over a month to dig o.ut that cam-position. and to- get the vessel ready for isea. Had she been ready to go to sea on the declaration of war, she could have captured enough German merchantmen before they could get to. safety to. pay for the whole Canadian navy.

In the session of 1912-13 this. Government brought in what is known as the Naval Aid Bill, appropriating $35,000,000 to build three ships to be presented to the British Admiralty. The Prime Minister in introducing that Bill said that if it did not pass, or if there were any strenuous opposition to it, he would dissolve Parliament and consult the people. He failed to carry out that promise. It has been stated, here today, and has been stated over and over again by the party press in the country, that the Senate killed that Bill. The Senate did nothing of the kind, Sir George

Ross, who was leading the Senate when the Bill went before that body, said that, inasmuch a= this was a departure from the principle laid down by both parties and unanimously adopted in the House of Commons, the Senate would withold its consent until the people of Canada would be consulted. It would not have taken more than two or three months at most to consult the people. Then, had the Conservatives been returned to- power, they could have gone on with the Naval Aid Bill, and if the Liberals had been carried into power again they would have proceeded with their scheme. But, rather than endanger their political necks, the Conservative party withdrew the Bill. But, more than that, Sir George Ross pointed out to the Government that there was no need for that Bill in order to carry out what the Government said they wished to carry out, but that everything they proposed could be done under the Naval Service Act; under that Act the Government could build three ships of war, or any other number they wished, 'build them in England or anywhere else they chose, and, after they were built, might do with them whatever they liked, and neither the Senate nor anybody else would prevent them. Then, why did they not proceed under the Naval Service Act? Because had they proceeded under that Act they would have acknowledged the principle that Canada ought to provide men as well as ships and that was. a principle the Nationalists of Quebec would not allow the Government to accept. No other reason * than this can be given for their course, unless we are to assume that the Government was entirely insincere and was merely looking for an excuse to drop the whole affair. There was no reason why Canada should not have been in as good a position as Australia if the legislation' placed upon the statute books by the Liberal Government under Sir Wilfrid Laurier, with the consent and advice of the Admiralty and by arrangement with Australia, had been proceeded with. We should have had ships on the ocean when this war broke out, as well as Australia, and probably the Canadian ships would have taken as glorious a part in this struggle as did the Sydney when she captured the German raider.

It was stated by the hon. member for Prontenac (Mr. Edwards) this afternoon that if Admiral Beatty had had three more dreadnoughts in the Jutland battle he would probably have won a greater victory, and that if Canada had done her duty in 1913 these three ships would nave been

available to the British Admiralty. The very day before Parliament prorogued in the session of 1913 the Prime Minister stated that, because Canada had declined to build these ships the British Admiralty was proceeding with three additional ships, and would have them ready for sea as quickly as they could be finished. There was, therefore, no diminution in the number of ships at the command of the British Admiralty, when the war broke out, in consequence of Canada's action. The Prime Minister further stated on that occasion that, if the Government remained in power, as he believed it would, before its term expired he would bring down legislation to purchase three ships, or to pay for the three additional ships the Admiralty was building -another pledge the Prime Minister forgot to implement.

In shprt, there is no other thing the party in power has done since coming into office that is so discreditable as their action in this matter. I have already spoken of their dismantling the ships and discharging their crews. It is only this year that we have taken up the naval service again. To-day, under the Naval Service Act placed upon the statute-book by the Liberal Administration under Sir Wilfrid Laurier, we are recruiting all over Canada men for the navy. But four or five years of valuable time have been lost. We were told that Canadians would not enter either the Imperial or the Canadian navy. Time and again, when the matter was under discussion in the session of 1913, we were solemnly told that Canadians had no desire to enter the navy and that you could not get Canadian ships manned. But we find that, even after 400,000 men or thereabouts have been taken from Canada for the army, there is a considerable number of Canadians left who wish to join the navy, men for whom the seafaring life has attractions. Had it not been for the action of the Conservative party in this matter, Canada would have been in as proud a position as Australia.

These are some of the reasons why I think *any man of the party of hon. gentlemen opposite is ilbadvised who raises this question, at all. I can .see nothing to justify this Government's asking for an extension of the term of Parliament. Moreover, I see many reasons why the members of Parliament should refuse to grant an extension, particularly if full investigation is not made into the question of the Ross rifle and into other matters, including the very serious charges made by the ex-Minister of Militia and Defence against the Prime Minister

and his former colleagues in the Government.


Donald Nicholson

Conservative (1867-1942)


Mr. Speaker, I wish before this

debate is closed to say a few words. Not being accustomed to public speaking I shall have to draw very largely from notes that I have made, and I hope that the House will bear with me in the few observations that I desire to make. Coming, as I do, from the smallest province of this broad Dominion, but representing the chief county of . that province, I feel that I should place my views before the House, and I shall do so as briefly as possible.

- I feel that tire part that Canada has taken in the most momentous events of history, the war, is a matter of the heartiest congratulations not only to this country, but to the Empire at large,, Three years will have elapsed next August since the beginning of the war, and I need not say. that the situation to-day from the Allies' standpoint is infinitely more favourable for a victorious ending of the war than it was when Parliament last assembled. Throughout Canada there is no dislocation of business; prosperity abounds from the Atlantic te the Pacific, in spite of the great conflict. In my own province, in which I am particularly interested, prosperity has prevailed and increased under Conservative rule. In proof of this, Sir, I should like to submit the following facts.

The value of field products for the year amounted to nearly $13,000,000. To this may be added the yield of the fisheries, which was $1,000,000, making $14,000,0001 worth of products of land and sea which were shared amongst scarcely 100,000 peopleimportant enterprises in Prince Edward Island which have been originated and carried out by the Conservative Government go to make for greater prosperity and continued development of our resources. In brief, I might refer to the completion of the car ferry terminals at Carleton Head, giving the Island complete connection with the mainland and the Intercolonial railway and carrying out in their entirety the terms upon which the province entered Confederation.

And who, Sir, have the people of Prince Edward Island to thank for this great boon? When the Prime Minister visited, in his political campaign, the province of Prince Edward Island during elections of 1911, he gave a pledge to the people that if the Conservative Government were returned to power, a car ferry would be constructed and

the broken lank between the Island and the mainland would be united. How nobly and generously the right hon. leader of the Government has fulfilled that pledge, let the magnificent terminals at Capes Traverse and Tormentine and the splendid car ferry steamer now operating between the Island and the mainland tell. Besides, through freight rates now exist between the Island and the mainland, thus eliminating the long grievance of the three short hauls, and proving a lasting benefit to our trade. These matters, which speak louder than any words of mine, show that when a prime minister of the Conservative party undertakes to carry out a great enterprise for the benefit of a province or of the Dominion, he crystallizes his words into action,

The passage of progressive and beneficial legislation has marked the administration of this Government. It -has from the first day it assumed office particularly looked after the interests of the farming community-The expenditures on agriculture have almost doubled since Hon. Martin Burrell became minister, while the Aid to Agriculture Bill, .appropriating ten million dollars for cooperation with the provinces in the development of the agricultural industry, is the greatest advance ever made by a Canadian Government.

Among ether important measures may be mentioned the Bill to regulate cold storage warehouses and the legislation to regulate the sale and manufacture of dairy products. The latter measure is designed not only to protect both producer and consumer and to prevent the adulteration of butter, but also to guard against imposition upon the farmer by buyers. All this particularly benefits the agricultural province of Prince Edward Island.

It would take me a long time, Mr. Speaker, and it would weary the House, if I attempted to enumerate the many Bills of great importance and vast benefit to Canada that have been passed since this Government came into office. In the Departments of Justice, Trade and Commerce and Post Office-in all departments beneficial measures have been applied. Hon. L. P. Pelletier, the late Postmaster-General, was responsible for two Bills providing for increased pay to the underpaid letter-carriers, mail clerks and other employees of the department in the outside service.

Then, Sir, in addition to all these, the Tariff Bill must not be forgotten. The Tariff Bill has placed the steel industry on a sound basis without injuring the con-

sumer in Canada, while there was a substantial out in the tariff on agricultural implements. The whole design of the Tariff Bill was to encourage the home market, looking also to the protection of all classes, particularly the farming community.

Two important and progressive Bills which could not be passed during the last session because of lack of time were the Bill to Consolidate the Railway Act and the Co-operative Credit Bill. These- are two of the most advanced pieces of legislation ever introduced into Parliament. They will, no doubt, be dealt with this session. Then there was _the Canadian Northern Bill, which settles the Liberal Government's legacy, provides for the completion of the Transcontinental Railway, and gives the Government outright $40,000,000 worth of stock.

It was with great pleasure, Mr. Speaker, that I read the splendid address of the Minister of Finance (Sir Thomas White), delivered at Halifax last October before the Board of Trade of that city. It was a masterly statement of the manner in which Canada is carrying out her duty and her priviege of assisting the cause of the Empire in this great war. Tributes were paid by leading business citizens of that city to Sir Thomas White's administration of the Department of Finance.

Mr. G. S. Campbell and Hon. G. E. Falconer, were hearty and spontaneous and evidently voiced the feelings of all the business men of Halifax.

The minister pointed out that within two years, Canada had recruited, equipped and was now maintaining an army of 360,000 men, of whom 250,000 had been sent overseas to fight for their King and country. Besides this, we have floated in our own market loans aggregating $200,000,000, with $300,000,000 offered by the public. To- quote the minister:

At the outbreak of the war, with our adverse balance of trade and our foreign obligations for interest, it was the obvious policy of the Dominion to borrow as much as possible abroad to prevent gold exports. We consequently borrowed from the Imperial Government for our war expenditures and arranged loans in New York. There came a time, when with our trade balance favourable and our savings increasing, we were able to place the first domestic war loan in Canada. We asked for fifty millions. The public gave us one hundred millions. In September of this year, we asked for one hun-d-el millions. The public offered us two hundred milllions.

And in these trenchant words, the minister summed up his address:

" What is the important question from a financial standpoint with relation to the war ". And he answered his own question by pointing out that, with the Dominion Government spending $750,000 and the Imperial Munitions Board spending over $1,000,000 a day in this country, the important point is, how is this high expenditure to be financed? The Imperial Government cannot pay for munitions made in Canada by drawing cheques on the Bank of England. It can do so only by establishing dollar credits in Canada, and that can be accomplished only by the people of this country placing large sums to the credit of the Imperial Government. " If we give them the money we can get all the orders we want, and more," said Sir Thomas, " but we must save." Here, Sir, is a striking tribute to the patriotism and generosity of our people, and one that proves, beyond all dispute, how willing we were to spend our means and strength for the Empire.

In times like these, when rigid economy is the watchword, it is surprising and most gratifying to find that the revenues of Canada are abounding, and that so far the pinch of war has not been fejt to any appreciable extent in this country. In the course of the coming few years, the question of where to obtain sufficient governmental revenue in Canada is likely to become a matter of serious discussion. If this anticipation is realized, the great public debt which Canada is now assuming will not be entirely a misfortune. Somehow, the debt will * be met-or the interest on it will-and nothing terrible will happen. The soil of this country is rich enough to yield a living to all who are able and ready to put it to the test. Had it not been for the development of war business, yielding, in many instances, exceptional profits, the Federal Government would have been put to it to devise taxation to produce the necessary revenue. These profits, it is presumed, will, in the course of a few years, disappear, and the Government will again have to seek other sources of revenue.

I also notice, Mr. Speaker, that the Hon. J. D. Hazen, Minister of Marine and Fisheries, has been doing his bit as head of that great department, during the w-ar. After the war broke out, the Canadian Government asked the British authorities how they could best help, and suggested recruiting men for the navy as well as for land forces. At first there w-as no need of these for the pavy, but since then, the naval building programme has become greatly accelerated

and many new ships having been put into service, these have had to be manned and there has been an increasing call for sailors. To-day the Imperial Navy, which has swept the seas, bottled up the German fleet in the Kiel canal, and guarded the whole of the Empire, requires men.- The navy at all costs must be maintained at full fighting strength.

And the Hon. J- D. Hazen, in an interview, as reported in the press says:

As soon as Canada was made aware Of the change in the situation in regard to the navy, we offered to form an overseas division of the Royal Naval Canadian Volunteer Reserve and lend them to the Admiralty for service in the Imperial army. The Admiralty was pleased to accept the offer and asked if possible that five thousand' men he sent, out of which two thousand would he required by the end of the present year. Every recruit Canada gives to this force will mean the saving of one soldier for the British army, for if the necessary men are not secured, the conscripts at present serving in the army will have to he transferred to the navy.

All this goes to show how admirably the three departments of State, Militia and Marine, have been working together for our own country, in the assistance rendered to the Empire.

In the Departments of Public Works and Trade and Commerce, the showing is magnificent, and the Dominion Trade Returns record abounding national prosperity. The figures for September, completing the record for the first six months of the last fiscal year, show that in six months ending September 30, 1916, the aggregate foreign trade of the Dominion had surpassed high water mark for the best twelve months panada knew before the outbreak of the war. For the month of September itself, our foreign trade amounted in value to $161,797,951, as against $92,687,862, for the corresponding month of 1915. For the six months from April 1, to September 30, Canada's foreign trade reached the enormous and altogether unprecedented aggregate of $1,148,809,402, as against $550,535,360, foT the corresponding period of 1915. Imports for the first six months reached a total of $390,995,024, being almost double the volume of import trade during the corresponding period of last year. In September our imports totalled $68,796,262, showing an increase of some $30,000,000 over September, 1915.

But by far the greatest expansion has been in the export trade of the Dominion. For the six months it has considerably more than doubled, the total being $536,721,514 as compared with $246,392,148, for the six months ending September 30, 1915.

The greatest expansion has been in the volume of exports of agricultural products and manufactured goods. During the six months agricultural products to the value of $206,141,036 have been exported, as compared with $146,794,343 for the corresponding six months of 1915. Manufactured goods have been exported during the period under consideration to the value of $190.823,240, as against a total of something like $70,000,000 for the corresponding period of 1915.

These figures tell a tale of industrial and commercial growth vastly in excess of anything that was thought possible two or three years ago. The records establish, beyond peradventure, that the foreign trade of Canada, for the fiscal year, will be vastly greater than any record ever achieved by a country of seven or eight millions. Commercially and industrially, Canada is forging ahead at a rate which must bring pride and satisfaction to all patriotic Canadians.

I might outline some of the very important matters regarding the policy of the Government towards the province of Prince Edward Island, besides the completion of the car ferry, which make for the betterment of our people and the advancement of our province.

There are great terminals being constructed at Halifax and harbour improvements made. These are all for the benefit of trade and commerce in that part of Canada, and Prince Edward Island, being contiguous to Nova Scotia, will share to a certain extent in the benefit flowing from the vast works nearing completion there. Then there have been improvements in St. John harbour, which also will, to a certain extent, benefit the island, as it is now on the eve of being connected with the mainland.

I might also refer to the fixing of our representation in the House of Commons, whereby this province has now four representatives, although at one time it looked as if the entire representation of the province might be swept away, owing to the fact that our population was not increasing at as rapid a rate as that of the pivotal province of Quebec

Then I might refer to the increased subsidy paid to Prince Edward Island by the Federal Government, whereby the province is given the handsome sum of $100,000 a year of additional revenue. The establishment, too, by the Federal Government of the means by which agricultural education has been brought within the reach of our

farmers and their children has been of enormous benefit. The expending of nearly $30,000 a year will thus enable professors and instructors in agriculture and horticulture to live amongst us and spend their time instructing our people in the latest and best methods regarding these two important branches of industry.

I may truly say, Mr. Speaker, that it was a red-letter day in the history of this county, which I have the honour to represent, and the province at large, when the Conservative Government came into power in 1911.

There are other important things which have taken place under Government rule, but it would take a man of more eloquent tongue than mine to enumerate them. Naturally, owing to the truce between the two parties, the people, I take it, Sir, have not been taking the same profound and active interest in party politics that they took when the Empire was at peace. I may tell you that the little province of Prince Edward Island, with only, according to the census taken in 1911, a population of 93,728 people, has nearly 3,000 of its sons enlisted in the war, or about three and a half per cent. This I consider, Sir, owing to the smallness of our province and the limited number of our people, a most gratifying showing. We have raised in that province two siege batteries and one of the most magnificent regiments, the latter being composed of 1,200 men. In that regiment the largest proportion of the men are Scotchmen. There are descendants of the men of Tipperary and there are also descendants of the men of the North of Ireland. We have had considerable talk about what the French-Canadians have done and have not done. There are only about 10,000 French-Canadians in Prince Edward Island, but I notice one name-that of Arsenault-in the regimental list about fifty times. The French-Canadians have done more than their proportion down there. It shows that they are under good political influences in that part of Canada.

Many homes throughout the island are in mourning for boys who have found their

graves on the battlefields of Europe. Yet with courage and confidence our people down in Prince Edward Island, in common with all peoples of the British Empire, Canada, Australia, India and all allied nations, are facing the Huns, and assisting in bringing about their ultimate defeat in order to preserve the freedom of mankind and the liberty of the world.

I can speak with deep feeling of the sacrifices made by the people of Prince Edward Island. I feel, Sir, that I have a right to stand on the floor of this House and eulogize the bravery, self-sacrifice and loyalty of our people to our King and country. Two members of my own household are at the front, and I know that I am looking into the faces of those all around me who have sons or other relatives at the front, yet who have not hesitated to say to their boys or their girls "Go forward, do your bit, and may God be with you till we meet again."

Canada has done and is doing her part and the Government, and notably the Prime Minister and the Minister of Militia, have worked miracles in this country since the war began. I have already referred to what has been accomplished, but I feel, Sir, that this is the paramount thought in all our minds, and I desire to place before Parliament and the country the fact that the province from which I come has responded as nobly and as loyally as any other part of the British Empire.

The prosperity of the year perhaps is better told as follows:-The close of the calendar year found the revenue of Canada well in advance of last year's receipts. The Customs revenue for December amounted to $11,884,000, as compared with $9,432,000 for the corresponding month last year, an increase of $2,451,000. In the nine months of the fiscal year the Customs revenue reached a total of $106,613,000, an increase of $34,891,000. Further, I may state that Canada's total exports for the eleven months ending November 1916 were $979,646,833, as compared with $559,893,809 in 1915 and $389,467,415 in 1914. Her total imports for the same period were:

1916. 1915. 1914.Canada's total exports (11 months, ending Nov.) Canada's total imports (11 months ending Nov.) Canada's total trade (11 months, ending Nov.). $ 979,646,838 698,976,783 1,078,623,621 500.000. 000 167.000. 000 126.000. 000 10,564,043,329 1,295,870,723 20,681,441 $ 559,893,809 405,949,673 965,843,482 750,000,000 376.448.000 391.947.000 7,797,430,809 1,120,954,457 41,162,321 $ 389,467,415 450,926,446 840,393,861 318.419.000 140.958.000 250.654.000 8,063,539,898 1,016.879,005 30,741,292Western wheat crop (bush.)

. Value of Western grain crop Deposits in Banks in Canada, November 30.. Failures, liabilities for 9 months

While dwelling on the expanding revenues of our country and the prosperity which these figures tell, we must not lose sight of the fact that conditions, although so vastly favorable to the producer, are bearing somewhat heavily upon the consumer. Not for one instant do I admit, Sir, that the Government should be held responsible for the exceedingly high price of foodstuffs to the consumer. The law of supply and demand governs these, and the prices of commodities are fixed by the increase or lessening in the demand for such. Such is the condition we find in this country today, for while there are splendid prices for all the farmer has to sell, those who dwell in cities feel that the burden for necessities is greater than before. But this Canada is largely agricultural, the farmers predominate, so all that makes for the increased prosperity of the consumer. This may sound paradoxical to some, Mr. Speaker, but with greater demand and higher prices for the producer, there will naturally follow more demand for labor and higher wages for the working-man, and the city dwellers generally. With your permission, Sir, I would like to quote the following editorial, which appeared in the Toronto "News", not long ago:

Prices are high. Wheat merely shows the way to meat products, to vegetables, to dairy products. An unfavorable summer may have some partial influence on prices by creating local scarcity, but the main cause is the war. Russia's wheat must be reserved for home consumption. The closing of the Dardanelles and the Bosphorus removes Russia as a competitor in the world's markets. Indian wheat is subjected to high insurance rates and there is a famine in ocean transport. A bad season in Argentina and a half crop in America, with tonnage scarce, make a combination that necessarily would force up the pricey even though not one man was speculating in grain futures. Meat consumption is greater than ever before because fighting men are liberally fed, perhaps in many cases more liberally fed than in peace times. Millions of men are in arms and war has put an end to stock-breeding in large tracts of fire-swept countryside. So all food products are in great demand, while the supply is stationary or even lower than before the war. Other necessaries are affected. Leather is expensive, steel prices are high, every fabric is more difficult to secure.

A few weeks ago, the Russian Government placed one order in England for 9,000,000 yards of woollens. The mills are shorthanded, or manned by inexperienced workers. The British Government's demands are firstly filled and rightly so. Broad-cloth is made in these days after all the khaki orders are filled, and before the new ones come in. The marvel is not that living is so expensive, but that it is comparatively so cheap. In the year 1810, wheat in England was 110s, a quarter (8 bushels). This is equivalent to about $3.43 a bushel. It was due wholly to the Napoleonic wars, and even two years after Waterloo normal conditions had not

[Mr. Nicholson.)

returned for in 1817 it had risen to 148s or $4.62 a bushel.

People do not realize that they must suffer in some way when more than half the civilized world is enduring ordeal by battle. There can be no war without sacrifice. Undoubtedly men will be found who will seek to trade on the necessities of others in order to make unseemly and sometimes criminal profits. If such men or combinations of men can be found, it is certainly the duty of the Government to curb their operations.

Now, Sir, I believe that in the spring of 1916 this Government was spending at the rate of one million dollars a month in separation allowances. Besides this, there are some 360,000 men, in arms, for which the Government must provide salaries, and all that goes to make up the complexity of the organization and equipment of a modern army. These are all rather extraordinary expenditures called forth by the war. Nobody is objecting to these, vast though they may be. But, Sir, the taxes must be increased, higher duties must he levied and the people must realize that economy will have to be practised, in order to meet the outlay. The Government must set the example in this regard. It must economize in the face and stress of these perilous times. It must use its best wisdom and see where necessary retrenchment may be introduced and operated. It must set the people an example, because, should the war continue, times naturally will become harder and unless the Government and the people begin to practise rigid economy in all departments of public service and in all personal activities, the result will be discouraging and disastrous. However, I am satisfied that the Government in its wisdom, with the wise and far seeing statesmen whom we have in the Borden Cabinet, fully realize the gravity of the present and the seriousness of the future situation, and will not only crystalize into legislation the i principle of economy, wherever possible, but will also educate the people of this country to be careful in all their outlays and save, to a certain extent at least, their money, and not to now indulge in the frivolous pleasures and reckless extravagances so prevalent in times of peace.

There is another matter, Mr. Speaker, while I am referring to conditions in the Maritime Provinces, and that is with respect to ship-building, and the bonusing or assisting of individuals or companies in the construction of such. In our province particularly, the press has been printing innumerable letters from sea captains and ship-builders, besides editorials, upon the important subject of the coastwise trade and the building of ships. So keenly has

this subject been advocated that the Government appointed a commission of three gentlemen to investigate into this trade, particularly in regard to the delay of sailing vessels procuring their cargoes of coal at the coal ports. This commission held meetings at Halifax, Charlottetown and Sydney, and probably in other points of the Maritime Provinces, but the result of their deliberations has not yet been disclosed.

There can be no doubt but that the delays at the coal ports have been very serious and engendered a big loss to owners of the smaller sailing vessels. Indeed, so much so, that they have been to a great extent driven out of the trade and off the seas. I could cite instances innumerable in proof of my statement, but I do not care to weary the House by so doing. Suffice it to say that the merchant marine of Canada, from holding fourth place in the world-some contend third place-has greatly degenerated, and to-day, I am well informed that the Scandinavian flag has supplanted the flag of the British in regard to the merchant marine on the Seven Seas.

In the "Canadian Railway and Marine World" for October, 1916, a long article appears, entitled, "The Dominion Government asked to start ocean ship-building." The Quebec Board of Trade, in their action, affirmed that they thought it would be wise for ,the Government to take the initiative and build six or more commercial steamships of eight or ten thousand tonnage each; say tw'o at Montreal, two at Quebec and two in the Maritime Provinces, on the basis of the cost of labour and material, plus a reasonable percentage for the builder. By doing this, they would introduce an element of competition, and at the same time establish a basis of cost to guide them in the legislation necessary to establish this most important industry.

I could easily refer to statistics which show that the United States shipyards had at that time on the stocks three hundred and sixty-eight steel steamships, aggregating more than one million tons, and that there are more than twice the number of ships carrying the Stars and Stripes than there were before the war. If they can do this, with wages for shipwrights as high as seventy-five cents an hour, surely we can do much better with the more moderate scale of wages prevailing in Canada.

For these and other reasons which I might advance, I do hope the Government will see fit to respond to the wishes of the people and take action in the near future

161 *

in the matter of encouraging ship-building and alleviating the grievances complained of by the coasters.

Ship-building is bonused in Norway, Russia, British Columbia, England, New foundland and the United States, and I suppose in all the great nations. So for the good of Canada, its future and its continued prosperity, I trust the matter will be seriously considered by the House.

There is one paragraph in the Address that I wish to refer to, and that is with reference to the fiftieth year of Confederation in Canada. To me as a Canadian born, it is very cheering to see the financial condition our country is in notwithstanding the war. Let us go back to the year 1867 for a moment. The total revenue of this Country then was $13,000,000. In 1873 the revenue was $17,000,000. After 1873, a great man, Hon. Alexander Mackenzie, became Premier, and at the end of has term of office, in 1878, our revenue had only increased to $23,000,000 or $24,000,000. Then there was a change of Government, and in 1896, at the end of their term, our revenue had amounted to $40,000,000. That is only twenty-one years ago- A new government came in under the leadership of the right hon. Sir Wilfrid Laurier, and at the end of his term of office our revenue amounted to $100,000,000. I am given to understand that this year pur revenue will amount to $180,000,000. I am sure the wonderful advance we have made in the last fifty years must be cheering to every Canadian.

I should also like to call the attention of the House to the debt of Canada. In 1911, after those fifty years, the net debt of Canada was about $346,000,000. When the war commenced, after three years of Conservative rule, the debt amounted to not one dollar more, which is very gratifying. At the end of those fifty years, after providing for the expenditures of the various departments, there was a surplus of $250,000,000. But for that surplus of $250,000,000, our debt instead of being $346,000,000 would be $596,000,000. This is most gratifying tp every Canadian.

I do not want to be controversial, but I wish to' say a word in regard to some of the remarks of the hon. member for Bona-venture (Mr. Marcil) the other day. I perfectly agree with (him in what he said about t,he French Canadian people. I am often down in the province of Quebec, at fairs and public gatherings of one sort or another, and I am quite satisfied there could not be any better people in the world than the French Canadians. The hon. me,m-

Then he goes on to say:

From to-morrow, the first day of the new year, our authorized forces will he 500,000 men. This announcement is made in token of Canada's unflinching resolve to crown the justice of her cause with victory and an abiding lyeace.

When the Prime Minister made that statement the people concluded that he had information which would lead him to believe that he could easily send 500,000 men overseas. He tells us1 now that he sent 434,529. Let us analyse those figures for a moment. On active militia duty in Canada there are 9,052 men; in the permanent force, 2,470; in the munition works in Britain, 3,000; in the British Army Reserves, 2,750; British Naval Reserves, 1,000; French Naval Reserves, 5,000; Russian Reserves, 7,500; Italian Reserves, 5,000; making a total of 35,772 to be deducted from the 434,529.

I proceed, with an analysis of the right hon. gentlemen's figures. He tells us that up to December 31 there were overseas 280,562 men; in the Imperial service, 9,550; in the Imperial and Allied Reserves, 17,500; in the Canadian Naval Service, 3,310. Therefore, according to the right hon. gentleman's figures, the total number that left Canada was 310,922. There are training in Canada at the present time 48,312; active militia on guard duty, 9,052; permanent force, 2,470, making a total in Canada of 59,834. The total number enlisted for service is stated to be 434,529 and the total number sent overseas and remaining in Canada, 370,756, leaving a balance of 63,763 who have not been sent overseas 'and who are not now in Canada. The Prime Minister did not tell us where they were.

The right hon. gentleman tells us that at the front there are 110,000 men; under orders for the front, 10,000; and doing sundry services in England, 17,383. The casualties are 71,263, making a total of 209,646. If, as the right hon. gentleman's figures show, the total number sent overseas amounts to 280,562 and the total number accounted for only 209,646, what has become of the 70,916? I have no doubt that before the House adjourns and the right hon. gentleman goes away he will explain this discrepancy, because it is necessary that we should have some accurate statement from him upon which we may base our calculations. If the Prime Minister gives the people to understand that there are overseas 434,000 of the 500,000 whom he intended to send, they will say: since the Prime Minister asked for only

[Mr. Devlin.l

500.000 men, why so much energy with a view to further recruiting? If he does not, and we must deduct over 70,000 from the figures that he has already given, there is necessity for even greater activity in recruiting. On the other hand, some hon. gentlemen who occupy the treasury benches are telling the people of the province of Quebec that it is important for them to keep the men upon their land and to increase production.

And then, if they followed that advice, there are hon. gentlemen opposite who would come into this House and tell the members and the people of. Canada that because the province of Quebec, forsooth, listened to certain ministers, they were therefore disloyal. I hold absolutely no brief from the province of Quebec to defend it in connection with its system of recruiting, absolutely no brief; but I should like, in justice to those who might feel disposed to go overseas and who have not gone, or to those who are overseas doing their best, to point out to this House the exact status of the province of Quebec as compared with the province of Ontario. I did say this afternoon that men from the adjoining counties of Pontiac, Wright, Labelle and Argenteuil were included in military district No. 3, the Kingston military district. That is the information which is given to me; it may not be absolutely correct. What I wish to convey to the House is that every man who comes from one of these counties in the province of Quebec and enlists here in the city of Ottawa, where the recruiting offices are, is put down as coming from the province of Ontario, and Ontario is given the credit, whereas they should be allotted to the province of Quebec. That is the point I' wished to bring out when the hon. member for Frontenac (Mr. Edwards) was speaking. I said that I wanted to make a comparison between the two provinces, for the better understanding of those who are interested in the recruiting movement and who are disposed to believe that the province of Quebec is not doing what it should. In Quebec in 1912 we received 50,602 immigrants. At the same time Ontario received

100,000. In 1913 we received 64,835 in Quebec, while Ontario received 122,000. In 1914 we received 80,000 in Quebec, while Ontario received 123,792. In 1915, when immigration had fallen off, Quebec received

31.000 and Ontario 44,000. So that you have more of the immigrants who came into the country to draw from in Ontario than you have in Quebec. You have more of the

men who were born in the British Isles and ' who are resident in the province of Ontario to draw from than we have in the agricultural province of Quebec. You have, to begin with, 500,000 more people to draw from in Ontario than we have in Quebec. You have, according to the statistics of 1911,

71,000 more families in the province of Ontario than we have in the province of Quebec. What does that mean? If you take only one man per family, you would have right away 71,000 more men in the province of Ontario who would be eligible to go overseas than we have in Quebec.


Emmanuel Berchmans Devlin



There is another point. I grant you that the families are somewhat bigger. It is not uncommon in the province of Quebec to find a family with ten children; indeed I have known families of twenty children.


Emmanuel Berchmans Devlin



Providence 'has not given to each family only boys; a great many families include several girls. But take the ordinary family: there is the father, who is working the farm; he cannot work it alone, he needs one of his sons to work with him. My hon- friend knows that labour conditions in this country are very stringent at the present time. If the farmer keeps just one son we may find that the remaining members of the family are not eligible for service. I know any number of families situated in that way. So that, following out my hon. friend's statement of larger families, while that is true, there are a great many more young children. But there are 71,000 more families in Ontario. I am not making an argument out of this, I assure my hon. friend; I am simply putting the facts as I have been able to gather: them. My 'hon- friend and other hon. gentlemen will draw their own conclusions. I want to further say that in the province of Ontario, according to the statistics of 1911, there wrere 348,681 inhabitants who were born in the British Isles, while in the province of Quebec there were only 67,920. Now, if credit is going to be given to Canadians for going abroad, if that is the argument in measuring loyalty to the Canadian born, you have got to eliminate the 67,000 from the province of Quebec who were born in the British Isles, and you have got to eliminate the 348,681 British born in Ontario. I simply want to point that out, and hon. gentlemen in this House will draw

their own conclusions. I make no argument of it, because I have not yet been able to obtain from the Militia Department the number of soldiers by nationality who have gone across the sea.

Let me instance one further fact in speaking of Quebec, and that is that in 1916 when there was a call made to contribute towards the Patriotic Fund, by a population of

2,600,000 (the estimated population at the present moment of the province of Ontario), there was contributed $1,750,000; and I for one would like to say that I heartily congratulate the province of Ontario for hawing made such a noble contribution to the Patriotic Fund. In the province of Quebec, with a population of 500,000 less, we gave $1,675,000- In other words, we gave per capita a contribution of 80 cents, whereas Ontario gave a per capita contribution of 68 cents. It would not be logical upon my part to try and make an argument out of this statement, as I hardly think that that is the way in which we ought to measure loyalty in this countiy to the British Empire, but there the statement is.


Hugh Boulton Morphy

Conservative (1867-1942)


Is the hon. gentleman referring to Governmental grants, or to grants from all sources?


Emmanuel Berchmans Devlin



I am speaking of all grants in 1916. These are the figures I have. If I were to speak of this year I would point out that the Government of the province of Quebec had donated $1,000,000 to the Patriotic Fund. I believe they did perfectly right; I make no argument out of it, because I do not measure loyalty thereby.

I have made reference to a statement made by the hon. member for Dufferin (Mr. Best), and before closing my remarks I should like to further deal with it. The statement appears in the press, and I hope the hon. gentleman will correct me if my citation from his speech is not as he delivered it. Speaking in the county of Carleton the other day, he said:-

In the province of Quebec the church was keeping its people in a feeling of enmity against those who were delivering them in the present war.

Reading that, I thought that a member of this House might eliminate such talk in war time. That statement is altogether false. In the churches in the province of Quebec-and I do not except any denomination in this statement-every Sunday prayeTS are asked for the cause of freedom and for the success of British arms. The hon. gentleman (Mr. Best) went on as reported:-

Touching upon the Dorchester by-election he declared the best thing that could happen would be that the Government candidate be defeated for it would show Quebec up for what she really was. He referred significantly to certain agitation going on for a purpose, to cope with which all English-speaking Grits) and Tories should throw their political differences to the winds and stand out as true British subjects. If there was an election held the Conservative party would win because he believed every intelligent English-speaking elector would vote for the Government. He* said the French-speaking and the dissatisfied Germans would vote against them-

He excepts the Germans who are not dissatisfied and whom he thinks would therefore vote for the Government. He proceeds:

-and he asked where would the Englishspeaking people be if the Government changed. The next Premier would have been elected by the French and Germans and he would legislate for them. The English-speaking people should face the situation squarely and throw political differences to the wind.

When I read that statement, my mind went back to the report of Lord Durham made in 1839 upon the state of affairs in this country. Lord Durham, among other things, reported the fact as an instance of the state of feeling at that time, that there were two lines of steamers plying between the city of Montreal and the city of Quebec, one line owned by English capitalists, and the other line by French Canadians. There was considerable feeling between the rival companies, and the French papers advised their friends not to take the English boats, and the English papers retorted by asking the English-speaking people not to take the French boats because those boats were owned by radicals, rebels, and disloyal people. The best answer I could give, if I wanted to find an answer, as to whether the province of Quebec was doing its duty in this war, and as to whether gentlemen occu-cupying seats on this side of the House were doing what they believed in their consciences to be right, would be found in a notable speech which was delivered by an hon. gentleman who till recently occupied the position of Postmaster General. I refer to the late Hon. Thomas Chase Casgrain, a gentleman for whom I had a very high personal regard. The speech was delivered by him at a luncheon given in his honour by the Canadian Club of Vancouver, B.C., on the 16th August, 1915, and this is the note he sounds:

I am not giving these different figures and instances in any vainglorious spirit, or because I believe that the loyalty of the French-Canadians can be attacked or doubted, but coming through the other day on the train I was pained to read in one of the western

papers the following statement: "Liberals

believe that the anti-war feeling in Quebec will give them at least fifty seats in that province, and they seem to be determined to risk their political fortunes on this sentiment in that province." I hold no brief for the Liberal party, but I am enforced to say, in the face of the statement contained in this newspaper, that there is no anti-war feeling in the province of Quebec. At the very outset, in company with Sir Wilfrid Laurier, my predecessor, the Hon. Rodolphe Lemieux, Sir Lomer Gouin, Premier of tile province,, and Mr. Margchal, K.C., I addressed a tremendous patriotic gathering! in Sohmer Park, in the city of Montreal, and all of us, laying aside our political differences, told the people that the sole pre-occupation of everybody should be the proper means to be taken by Canada to fulfil its duty and take its share in the great war of aggression which is being waged against the Empire. The result of this meeting was the immediate recruiting of the 22nd French-Canadian Regiment under Colonel Gaudet. Not only was the voice of French-Canadian public men heard in this connection, but the voice of the Roman Catholic bishops of the province, who, in a collective pastoral letter, gave the proper direction to their flocks and impressed upon them their duties and their obligations.

I am sorry that I have been obliged to go beyond the grave to find testimony to the patriotic policy of the Liberal party of Canada at the present time. I thought that hon. gentlemen in this House would credit us with some degree of sincerity and with wishing to do our level best in this awful time of struggle, but, Sir, in going beyond the tomb, I go to an authority which I think no hon. gentleman on the other side of the House will gainsay. Whilst my distinguished leader, (Sir Wilfrid Laurier) the hon. member for Rouville, (Mr. Lemieux) the hon. member for Bonaventure, (Mr. Marcil) and many other members from the province pf Quebec were out doing what they could to aid recruiting, what was one Cabinet minister doing? A truce had been proclaimed. The present Minister of Militia (Mr. Kemp) stated in the city of Toronto that there never had been a truce There was a truce and, that truce was in full operation in the month of May, 1915. The hon. the Minister of Labour (Mr. Ciothers) went to the town of Aylmer, in the county of Wright, which I have the honour to represent and I was very glad to see the Minister go there. But, was he there to speak for recruiting, was he there telling the people what their ideal should be, was he there telling the people that there was a truce? No, he was not. Here are some of the things that he did say:

"While the Borden Government has been heart and soul at work looking after the war, Sir Wilfrid and his supporters have been kicking at petty thefts which, by the way, were

perpetrated by Grits left in office by the Laurier administration, instead of standing shoulder to shoulder with us in this fight for civilization.

'^Speaking about the boots scandal, do you wonder that mistakes were made, when thisi country, which had often talked of and played at war, had to gather together and equip an army of 33,000 men for the front? Mistakes must surely be made by us all; X make them every day."

The speaker then went into a rOsumO of pre-election promises that the Government has carried out during the three and a half years they have been in power, and took a heavy dig at the Senate, whom he dubbed as "a' bunch of old fossils," who were at the beck and call of Sir Wilfrid Laurier, who put the majority of them there.

He sent his audience into roars of laughter by giving an imitation of the mannerisms of some of the senators, and wound up with an exhortation to the new association to dig in, and produce a fighting organization which would result at the next general election in placing Wright county in the ranks of the Blues, where she belongs.

At a moment when the two. political parties were supposed to have a truce! I will leave to the consideration of the House whether the attitude of the Minister of Labour is toi be commended; ihe speaking in the town of Aylmer and delivering election speeches, whilst the leader of the Opposition is addressing big meetings in the province of Quebec and calling upon the young men to enlist in this great struggle for liberty and civilization. I would like to say a few words more but, in view of the lateness of the hour, might I suggest the adjournment of the debate?

On motion of Mr. Devlin the debate was adjourned.

On motion of Mr. Rogers the House adjourned at 11.35 p.m.

Tuesday, January 30, 1917.


January 29, 1917