opinion of the members of the Court, in any way relates to or has a bearing on the matter, reports as follows :-
1. The Court assembled in Quebec on Monday, May 27, 1917, and took the evidence of twenty-two witnesses under oath, and then adjourned to Toronto to take the evidence of witnesses whose names had been furnished by the newspapers in which the reports were published.
2. The evidence taken was received from the Mayor, Chief of Civil Police, Provost-Marshal, the Provincial Police, the Harbour Police, the City Detectives, the Officer Commanding and the Sergeant-Major of the Discharge Depot, the Civil Magistrates, the Revenue Department, the Military Staff of M.D. No. 5, the Great War Veterans' Association, the Khaki Club, the Patriotic Fund, the Convalescent Home, a Minister of the Methodist Church, and several returned soldiers and citizens, in addition to which the Court visited the College Street Hospital in Toronto and made inquiries at the Base Hospital, Toronto, for the purpose of obtaining all evidence that could possibly have any bearing on the subject under investigation.
3. From the evidence it appears clear to the Court that there is no hostility or ill-feeing on the part of any class of citizens in Quebec towards returned soldiers or any other soldiers, nor does there appear to - have been any maltreatment of returned soldiers by any class of citizens, nor has any such treatment been permitted.
4. The evidence discloses that some soldiers have obtained liquor without any restriction, some of which appears to have been of a very inferior quality, and, being under its influence, they have caused some minor disturbances, the blame for which cannot be placed under the citizens of Quebec.
5. Whenever any misconduct on the part of the soldiers has come to the notice of the civil authorities, the offenders in all cases appear to have been handed over to the military authorities to deal with-the greatest harmony existing between the civil and military authorities.
6. The evidence discloses that latterly there has grown up an indifference on the part of French Canadian citizens towards soldiers in general, largely due, in the belief of the Court, to the continual -accusations that the French Canadians are disloyal and hostile to any participation in the war.
7. Owing to this indifference and to the belief firiqly fixed in the minds of the great majority of soldiers that the province of Quebec has not done her duty in the war, minor incidents, which would otherwise have passed unnoticed, have been grossly exaggerated and given rise to the accusations published.
The Court is of the opinion:-
1. That there is no foundation whatever for the articles published in certain newspapers submitted to and investigated by this Court.
2. That all newspapers should be prohibited from publishing articles of this nature.
3. That the sale of liquor to soldiers in the city of Quebec should be absolutely prohibited.
- E. S. Wigleth, Col.,
Gregor Barcley, Major.
Signed at Ottawa, this 18th day of May, 1917.
This investigation was held in Quebec on the complaint of some officers commanding the troop passing through the province of Quebec, and especially my county of Rimouski.
Certain allegations were made by the member for Dufferin (Mr. Best), who seemed to be glad to make these charges against the citizens of Quebec. I wish that he were here to listen to a denial of those charges, not only on my own part, but on the part of the commissioners who were chosen to make the investigation. I expected that, on the receipt of the report of the commissioners, the member for Dufferin would at least get up and say that he had been deceived and that the report which he had given to the House and to the country was entirely false and unfounded. He did not do this, however, and it is my duty to-night as the representative of one of the counties against which this accusation was directed, to tell the hon. gentleman that he should have retracted what he said on that occasion. The facts may have been misrepresented to him, but having made the charges he should have accepted the verdict of the Commission and have made a statement to the House to that effect.
Now, leaving out of consideration the facts which have been established by the above figures beyond all possibility of disproof, and .admitting for the sake of argument that the province of Quebec did not give to the cause the number of soldiers that was expected of her, I say that the situation in which we are placed in this country by the will of the majority, the numberless persecutions we are made to suffer, against our language, our schools and our religion, would fully justify our standing aloof in the present war, if we had no other motives to fall in line but the gratitude we owe the majority in this country. If we look hack to the past and delve into history, we easily understand why the French Canadian cannot throw all his efforts in this struggle with the samfe spirit and courage that animate his persecutors. Were we not spurred on by the alliance of England, France and Belgium, leagued together for the defence of violated rights and desecrated treaties, no French Canadian, when he sees his race the constant prey of detractors in this country, would be justified in ever pulling a trigger.
I am in duty bound to tell this House and the country the truth, the whole truth.
While admitting that the. French Canadians of the province of Quebec have
not answered the call to arms in very large numbers, one must take into account the various reasons which have helped to withhold them. If we go back to the origins of the French and English nations, we find between them a deep-rooted rivalry from the very first centuries of the Middle Ages; during all that time, until the defeat of Napoleon in 1815, British armies have constantly waged war on French territory. ' And while those two countries were battling in Europe on land and sea, a like struggle was being waged in America, especially in Canada. Immediately after the foundation of Quebec in 1608, the Iroquois Indians, whom the New England settlers supplied with arms, massacred our missionaries and the French pioneers of_ Canada and Acadia. And there is still subsisting the painful emotion caused by the barbarous expulsion of the Acadians in 1755, the wiping out of an entire peaceful people, an act for which its authors are branded in history with a mark of infamy.
Before the English conquest in 1760, the arms of the two nations in Canada were continually pitted against each other; there was between the two races an incessant enmity. After the conquest, the struggle passed from the battlefield to the economic and social arena. Ever unabashed, the English laid hold of everything within their reach; they monopolized trade. Attempts were made to Anglicize the French left in the country and to instil into their minds tenets contrary to their faith. At different periods their language was the object of legislative attacks, until the numberless persecutions became intolerable and resulted in the disastrous troubles of 183738. The conquerors had apparently forgotten the events of 1775, 1812 and 1814, when the French Canadians saved Canada for England. All the sacrifices of our fathers were counted for nought, and before being allowed to breathe the air of liberty *they had to take up arms.
In 1867, the old Canadian provinces got together and secured the enactment of the British North America Act. Confederation, at the time of its passing, was by a large number believed to he a blessing, but now one wonders if it is not the most disastrous compact the province of Quebec ever entered into. I say disastrous, because the Fathers of Confederation who represented the province of Quebec were led into traps from which we cannot extricate ourselves. Thus while our friends from Ontario saw to it that the Act should read in express terms that in the province of Quebec the
English language will enjoy equal rights with French, the same privilege was denied the French language in Ontario. The Quebec legislators would say at the time: "We must trust the English majority and expect generous treatment at their hands; we have their word, what more is needed."
'Such were the arguments used to secure from the .inhabitants of Quebec their acceptance of the most perfidious and nefarious compact that could he devised, and which has proved the source of 'all the language .and racial troubles that exist today between the French Canadians and the province of Ontario. Without 'any guarantee being required, w.e have been surrendered, .and without guarantees we axe, left to-day, left at the tender mercies of a fanaticism which, radiates- from the University of Toronto 'and spreads to the legislature and the press. Our rights in Manitoba had been guaranteed, but the English majority, German-like, tore up its treaties and repudiated its signature.
'Since 1867, in all the provinces Of the Dominion, the English element is attempting to get the upper hand, and denying our rights. The province of Quebec dedply resents those injustices. Take the Civil 'Service; i't is .practically controlled by the English-speaking people. They get the best situations. I could prove my statement by [DOT]quoting from the list I have here before me the nationality Of the higher officials of the service. The figures- are from last year's public accounts. There 'are:
French Canadians 27
Our population entitles us to 50 of those positions instead of 27. Those conditions- I would not like my hon. friends on the other side to be deceived by the figures just quoted-existed in 1911, when we came into power; the grievance is one of long standing; things even went from bad to worse under the Liberal Tule. In 1896, when we were defeated, there Were four Frenchspeaking deputy ministers in various departments, while in 1911 only one was left. Things have improved since, for to-iday there are three French-speaking deputy ministers.
The same discrimination is to be found in the various classes of the public service. One can go into many of the offices without being able to get any one who1 understands French, and a French Canadian who succeeds to an English official has to perform the same duties for a smaller remuneration. Thiat is the case with the harbourmaster of