June 21, 1917

LIB

Marie Joseph Demers

Liberal

Mr. DEMERS (translation):

If we had a general election immediately, I would tell my eleetofs that the question of conscription would be submitted to them by plebiscite unless the Government agreed to have a plebiscite at the time the election was being held.

Topic:   '2558 COMMONS
Permalink
CON

Herbert Brown Ames

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir HERBERT AMES (translation):

I do not exactly understand; if you will allow me, from your point of view, is there a difference between a referendum pure and simple and a general election?

Topic:   '2558 COMMONS
Permalink
LIB

Marie Joseph Demers

Liberal

Mr. DEMERS (translation):

Certainly, if, in a general election, the question were not separately put, the voters' opinion, as to this special question, would perhaps not be known-and I believe the question should be put in a most special manner, so that the voter may give a distinct answer, and I do think the only way out of the difficulty would be to submit the question through a plebiscite, either at the time of the election or subsequently, if the Liberal party came into power and the movement in favour of conscription should be continued.

I was just about to quote the words spoken by the hon. the Minister of Trade and Commerce, when I was interrupted- and, indeed, it has afforded me pleasure- by the hon. member for St. Antoine. I shall now quote from the statement made by the hon. Minister of Trade and Commerce :

The great question in the war at the present time is feeding the Allies, feeding the Allies for the rest of the war, and more especially for the next six months. A submarine can sink a 6,000 ton vessel in two minutes, but it takes months to build one. The critical time is between now and the end of 1917, and whatever goods we can have in that period is our bounden duty to save.

To further confirm my views, I just read this morning, in a Montreal paper, an interview given by Lord Rhondda, food controller in England, an interview which took place on the I9th of the present month. Here is what lie says:

In this war, and especially at this stage, food-power is co-equal with man-power," said Lord Rhondda, the new food controller in an interview to-day. "The problem of Great Britain's food primarily depends upon the supply, and in the main the solution of the problem of supply lies in America. I am sure they will not let us down."

And further:

For this we depend to a vital degree upon the United States and Canada. No one recognizes that more fully than I do.

Mr. Speaker, in concluding I will say that our duty just now in this country, considering the assistance we can give the Allies and the very future of our country, is first, to practice the strictest economy, and then to apply ourselves to promoting the interests of agriculture and production generally, and we must also think of preserving in this country at least the germ of life which shall be necessary to us in order to face and to solve the after-the-war problems of which we have been given so gloomy and dismaying representations.

On motion of Mr. Hazen the House adjourned at 11.05 p.m.

Friday, June 22, 1917.

Topic:   '2558 COMMONS
Permalink

June 21, 1917