July 24, 1917

FORBIDDEN CIRCULATION IN CANADA.

THE CENSORSHIP.


On the Orders of the Day:


CON

Robert Laird Borden (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir ROBERT BORDEN:

I might say to the hon. member for Edmonton (Mr.

Oliver) that I expect we shall be able shortly to make a statement in connection 'with the exclusion from Canada of the book called "The Fiddlers," which he brought to our attention. One of the chief objections to the book is that it contains certain statements which are entirely unwarranted with regard to the conduct of the men of the Canadian Expeditionary Force. I think it proper that whenever any action is taken in the matter some statement should be made expressing the view of the Government as to the absolute unreliability of the book, so far as these statements are concerned. To-morroW, or, at the outside, Thursday, we shall be able to make a full statement to the House.

In connection with the same matter, my hon. friend from Russell (Mr. Murphy) asked me about the deputy chief censor, and, speaking on the spur of the moment, I am afraid I rather confused the press censor and the deputy chief censor. I should like to make the matter perfectly clear. The action in this case was taken on the report of the chief press censor for Canada, that is Lieutenant-Colonel E. J. Chambers, who is an officer under the Secretary of State. He is not connected with the British press censorship in any way, but is an independent officer acting in this country and discharging in this country the same functions as the chief press censor discharges in the United Kingdom. I confused him for the moment with the deputy chief censor, Lieutenant-Colonel C. F. Hamilton, who is administering in Canada the cable and wireless censorship. He is an officer of the Department of Militia and Defence, and works in co-operation with the chief censor in London, who is the head of the cable and wireless censorship for the whole Empire. I should also add that there is an additional officer wiho has duties in connection with censorship in this country, that is Dr. Coulter, the Deputy Postmaster General, who is the chief mail censor for Canada. There has been more or less confusion in the nomenclature regarding these various officers, both in this country and in the United Kingdom. I think it is desirable to make this statement to the House, and I hope it is perfectly intelligible.

Topic:   FORBIDDEN CIRCULATION IN CANADA.
Subtopic:   THE CENSORSHIP.
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MILITARY SERVICE ACT-1917.

THIRD READING OF THE BILL.


Right Hon. Sir ROBERT BORDEN (Prime Minister) moved the third reading of Bill No. 75, respecting Military Service.


LIB

John Gillanders Turriff

Liberal

Mr. J. G. TURRIFF (Assiniboia):

Mr. Speaker, as I happened to be absent during most of the discussion on the second reading of the Bill, I desire now to say a few words, as I think it is due to my constituents to explain why I am supporting the Bill, especially as, in doing that, I am voting contrary to my leader and to the majority of the members who sit around him. Let me say here that while I am taking this course I claim that I am staying absolutely by the policy of the Liberal party that was enunciated at the time the war broke out; which was that Canada should put every man, every resource, and every dollar at the back of the Empire to win this war. That was the policy of this House until notice was given of this Bill. But as recruiting has largely fallen off, it seems to me that the provision in this Bill is the only sensible way, the only proper way, in which we can secure the necessary men to carry on the war, as I understood it was the policy of both sides of the House to carry it on.

I voted against submitting the matter to a referendum for two reasons. One was that if it carried it did not lead us anywhere, so far as I could see. The second reason was that a referendum on the straight question of conscription orno conscription was beaten beforeit started. We have one provincethat is practically solid against it, rich and poor, learned and simple, Liberal and Conservative alike. We have also a very large foreign vote throughout the country, and' I do not think that any one could expect that the Germans and Austrians would vote to be conscripted to fight against their own countries. Then, joined to these two large votes, you would have practically

every slacker from the Atlantic to the Pacific, who would take that position, and in my judgment conscription would be beaten on a referendum. In my judgment also, and I say it in all kindness, the great majority of the members who in this House voted for conscription voted for it on the understanding that it could not possibly carry on a vote in the country. Well, while I would endorse the statement that if the majority would vote for it it ought to be the law of the land, I think a time may come when the majority should not say what the law of the land will be. That may not sound logical, but remember that we are at war, and the first consideration is to win the war, and if, by any vote that may be taken on a referendum, conscription would be turned down, what possible chance have

we to win the war? Does any man think that after this coming election is over, with all the hard things that will be said, all the bitter things that will be said by our friends from Ontario, from the West, and from Quebec, from all over the Dominion, that there will be much recruiting in Quebec by the voluntary system, or in Ontario, or in the West? This election will end voluntary recruiting. My friends here, many of them, say that we will be able to get the men. Well, if that is the case, why not go a little bit further and unite everybody and say that if we do not get the men by the voluntary system to enable Canada to maintain the position which she has taken all along, then we will apply the law and get them in that way. That seems to me to be a reasonable position. But many do not view it in that light. They have as good a right to their opinion as I have to mine, but my opinion is that we are out to win this war.

Now, how are we going to win the war if out four divisions at the front keep dropping off?-and can any one imagine from reading the papers to-day that we are near the end of the war? Look at what is going on. I read in the papers yesterday that, since the first of January of this year, three million, five hundred and seven thousand and some odd tons of shipping had been sunk by German submarines- over three and a half millions of tons. And to-day Germany is holding back her enemies on every front, and what will be the result if we do not maintain our position in the lines? Mr. Speaker, I received a letter only the day before yesterday from an officer in high command at the front. I know him fairly well. He is a thoroughly reliable man, and a friend of the members on this side of the House. In that letter he says:

I hope the coalition is a success and conscription becomes law. We are getting short of men, and if any serious fighting takes place in the near future our supply of reserves here will be about depleted. If the 5th Division is sent to France as an independent fighting unit before we get more reinforcements, it will leave us in a very bad state for reinforcements. I hope they leave the 5th Division until conscription gets in good working shape.

That is the opinion of a man who went to the front with the first contingent. He is to-day in England, looking after the preparation of the men who are to go to- the front. If I felt that there was any possible chance of a no conscription Government being able to get the men, and being able to send them to the front and that Canada under that system would be enabled to main-

tain the position that she has held right in the front line since the beginning of the war, it would be the greatest pleasure to me. It is not a pleasure for me, nor for any man who has been as strong a party man as I have been, not to be able to agree with those who are sitting around me. It is forty-eight years this summer since I took my first active part for the Liberal party, and to-day, Mr. Speaker, I claim that I am as good a Liberal as I ever was, and hope to remain eo; but I am going to support whichever party will do their utmost to win the war and see that Canada does her part in winning this war. There are times when the majority should not rule. Let me point out to hon. members in this House that in the year 1897 my friends on this side of the House took a referendum on the question of the liquor traffic, and the majority of the people voted for the supression of the liquor traffic, but my friends on this side did riot carry that out, and I absolutely think they were right, but if it was right at that time, why should it be wrong to-day for the red blooded men of this country to say that the men who do not fight should not dictate to the rest of the men of Canada? The thing is to win this war; we can settle our party differences afterwards. In my judgment there should have been conscription at the first, but I am not going to blame hon. members opposite, because if we had been in power we should not have adopted it. Why? Because no one diearnt that the war would last as long as it has, and there were more men offering than could be handled at that time. But now, when the volunteer enlistment has stopped, how else are we going to get the men? I think the hon member from Hum-bolt (Mr. Neely) stated on the second reading that every government had an inherent right to take men for the defence of the country. Why should the men not be taken for the defence of the country? It is no use saying, "We will defend the country when we are attacked on Canadian shores." The place to defend Canadian shores to-day is on the fields of France and Flanders. What good could a Canadian army do fighting on Canadian soil, if the British and French armies were overcome and Germany could land an army in Canada? It would be too late; and I think many of my hon fiiends will regret in the future the line of action that is taken today. Glorious pages of history are being written by Canadian sons at the front. But when half the men of France of military age are killed in defending France

and defending Canada as well; when thousands and tens of thousands of women and girls in France and Flanders are being practically driven into slavery-into white slavery at that-and subjected to such indignities that their friends only wish they were in their graves, I solemnly believe that the people who stand by quietly and do not want Canada to send more men to the front to keep our army intact will reproach themselves in the years to come for the action that is being taken to-day.

I believe that until the end of the war it would be much better if we had a national Government. I do not think the present occupants of the treasury benches are in a good position to administer the conscription law; I do not think a party government composed of those now on this side of the House would be in the best position to do so. I think it would be a mighty good thing for Canada if the two parties could bury their differences for the time and unite in forming a national Government until the war is over. Then no one would take off his coat with greater pleasure to fight the battles of Liberalism than I would. I have not much sympathy with hon. members across the floor of the House, never had, and never expect to have. It would be no great pleasure for me to work with them. But I say that in view of the conditions of to-day, when the fate of the Empire and of the country is trembling in the balance, this is no time for us to be fighting out our party issues. We should drop them in the meantime, form a national 'Government, continue the w.ar and win it, and settle our differences as best we may afterwards.

I do not think the conscription Bill of my hon. friend the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Borden) goes far enough. I want to see conscription of men, but, in addition to that, I want to see, along with it, the conscription of resources and the conscription of wealth, and I use the term "conscription of wealth " in the same sense as my hon. friend from South Renfrew (Mr. Graham) used it the other day, and in the sense in which the Minister of Finance (Sir Thomas White) has used it. I do not think the Government should go to the bank and lay hands on $10,000, which some man had placed there. I hold that if the man with an income of $50,000 to $100,000 who is not -as many such men are not-paying as much taxes as the average man here, were tapped for ten or twenty per cent of his cash income until the war was over it would not be a bad idea. Take the man

who has a cash income of $100,000 a yeai; could he not live very well upon $75,000 or $80,000?

If my hon. friends opposite attempt to enforce a measure for the conscription of men without conscripting wealth by the imposition of an income tax that will fall equitably upon .all, their conscription measure will not be a success. They should not attempt to conscript wealth only; one is just as necessary as the otheT.

I am supporting the third reading of this Bill on the understanding that, .as the Minister of Trade and Commerce (Sir George Foster) told us the otheT day, during this session legislation will be introduced to provide for the levying of an income fax under which each person will pay in accordance with his ability.

I thought it due to my constituents to make it clear that I am for the winning o.f this war and that I propose to support any party that will win this war. It has never been the practice of the Anglo-Saxon race or of the French race to lie down in the middle of the fight; .and I, for one, do not propose to do so. During the last three years I have done what I could to induce men to go to the front and fight, and I am not going to go back on the men who have gone. I will try to be loyal to the men who have gone to the front some of whom have laid down their lives; I am anxious that the sacrifices that have been made shall not have been in vain. It i.s the duty of every man in Canada to see that Canada maintains her position in the struggle for the freedom of our own country, the freedom of Great Britain, the freedom of the British Empire, of the Allies and of the world.

Topic:   MILITARY SERVICE ACT-1917.
Subtopic:   THIRD READING OF THE BILL.
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LIB

Frederick Forsyth Pardee

Liberal

Mr. F. F. PARDEE (West Lambton):

Mr. Speaker, I do not know that I have anything new to- say to the Hou.se with regard to this Bill. There seems, however, to be some .misunderstanding as to my position in certain matters. I desire to detain the House for ,a few minutes to refer to the report of the meeting of the Liberal members of the House of .Commons and the Liberal Candidates in Ontario for the House of Commons, which was held in Toronto on Friday last. The report states that certain conclusions were arrived at, as set out in the issue of the Globe of 21st July. The report further goes on to- say that the Ontario federal Liberal members .and the candidates in the field, after earnest consideration, came to certain conclusions unanimously. Let me say to the country that I do not agree with those conclusions. I stand exactly where I .stood

when I spoke on the 'second reading of this

Bill. I am a conscriptionist Liberal, with all that that implies, believing that the .adoption of conscription i.s the only way for Canada properly to prosecute her part in this war. I stand to-day where I have stood for months past. Notwithstanding the fact that I expressed regret in this House the other evening that it was seemingly impossible to have a national Government, I believe that the affairs of this country to-day demand a national Government, if it can be formed on a proper basis for the proper administration of those affairs. I am speaking for no other person or persons who attended that meeting; I speak for myself alone, and I propose to follow my line of conduct as vigorously in the future as I have in the past. 1 expressed these very sentiments at that meeting.

Topic:   MILITARY SERVICE ACT-1917.
Subtopic:   THIRD READING OF THE BILL.
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LIB

Hugh Guthrie

Liberal

Mr. HUGH GUTHRIE (South Wellington) :

Mr. Speaker, may J be permitted to add a word to what has just been said by the member for West Lambton (Mr. Pardee). I do this because I have received over a score of letters from the constituency which I represent, protesting not against the article in question, but against the statement that certain conclusions were unanimously supported at that meeting. I take this opportunity of answering these various letters from my place in the House. I merely say that the report in question is not in accordance with my views. With regard to the Military Service Bill, I expressed my views fully in this House in the month of June last, and I have seen no reason in the interval which has since elapsed to change those views. Indeed, my views are more confirmed now than they were then. I sincerely hope that when this Bill comes to a vote upon the third reading, a majority even greater in its favour than on the second reading may be rolled up, in order that the country may see where the largest element in the House of Commons stands in regard to this measure.

Topic:   MILITARY SERVICE ACT-1917.
Subtopic:   THIRD READING OF THE BILL.
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?

Right Hon. S@

Mr. Speaker, in view of the speeches to which the House has just listened, especially the speech of the member for Assiniboia (Mr Turriff), with whom I have been associated for so many years, I crave no indulgence, though I may rise to fruitless effort, for placing once more before the House the dangers which in my judgment must follow if the Bill now before us is enacted and put into operation.

On the second reading of this Bill, as the House recollects, I moved that the principle

.'5722

of it should be referred to the people. The Minister of Trade and Commerce (Sir George Foster) who spoke immediately afterward on behalf of the Government, characterized this amendment as a miserable, dilatory motion. That it was a dilatory motion I do not dispute; I asked that the House should pause before imposing such a measure upon the people. Whether or not it was a miserable expedient, time alone can tell-nay, time has already told. It required but a few weeks to get the answer. That answer is already written, not upon the walls of this hall, in flaming and mysterious letters, to be explained only by a seer, but in very plain language in the records of this House, in the division upon the second reading, and even in the spectacle which is offered every day in the division of opinion that exists among both parties upon this question. The reason which I urged against this Bill was that, presented as it was, after the numerous statements which had been made by the Prime Minister and the Government that compulsion would not he resorted to; that to the very last we would win the war on the voluntary principle, if this Bill were forced upon the people by a moribund Parliament, division, irritation, friction, and disunion would follow.

Already we have the verification of my statement, even 'before this Bill has left this House. The statement which I made was combatted by many hon. members on both sides of the House, and by none more vigorously than by the Solicitor General (Mr. Meighen), who spoke after the Minister of Trade and Commerce. The Solicitor General took the ground that no such disunion would follow from the intentions, of the Government, which were to be found within the four corners of the Bill, and which were to get more soldiers to fill the ranks of our army. As to the intentions of the Government, I do not purpose entering into any discussion here and now. If there be those who have affirmed-and there are some-that the intention of the Government was more to win the elections rather than to win the war, on such a statement I do not offer any reflection at all, and I do not purpose entering into any discussion at the present time in regard to it. If there be those who contend that this measure was forced upon, the Government by the jingoes and the ultra-imperialists, who, not only in this country, but in all British countries, have tried to force upon those countries the continental mili-

[Sir Wilfrid T.aurier. 1

tary system of Europe, I have no intention ' of entering into any discussion in regard to that. To those who, like the Solicitor General, affirm that the intentions of the Government are to be found within the fdur corners of the Bill, I have only this observation to offer: That I accept the statement as it was made, but the attitude and the conduct of the Government showed a singular lack of foresight and forethought. I charge against the Government, in introducing this measure as they did, without any more preparation than they made, and upon their declaration, maintained, since the first day of the war that there would be no compulsion, and that they would continue the voluntary system; that to precipitate this Bill as it has been precipitated upon the people certainly showed that no calculation had been made as to what would be its effect, and although its intentions were not sinister, the results were sinister, and in this House and in this country, more violent speeches have been made than were ever before heard. The Solicitor General spoke very confidently as to the result of this Bill-more confidently, perhaps, than he felt. He stated that he had no doubt that the Bill, when it was studied by the people, would produce no bad effects. Perhaps I had better read his language. He said:

I am as confident as I have ever been of anything in my life that if the members of this House, reading- and studying this Bill, and hearing this debate, will go to their constituents and tell them the meaning, purpose and spirit of this Bill there will be no possibility whatever of discord or resistance.

This was very easily said. Whence comee this assurance of my hon. friend? Would he speak to-day with the same assurance?

I have no doubt that he did what he said should be done, namely, that he studied the Bilk; that he explained it to his followers; that he showed them there was nothing in it to which they could take exception. How do I know that he did that? He would have been recreant to his office, to his duty and to his self respect, if he had not attempted to explain this Bill to his followers and to show that there was nothing in it to which exception coul 1 be taken. But he failed, as anybody must fail who had to give the same explanation. I followed the speech of the Solicitor General with more than usual attention. It was, as customary with him, a closely-knit argument. Still. I thought the tone of his speech was not free from anxiety and doubt. There was a passage in particular which struck me very forcibly. I do not know

what effect it had on the other members of the House who listened to it. He said:

We are told this action will result in disunion. I see no reason why it should produce disunion. It should not produce it. It is framed to avoid, disunion. Let no man deceive himself. We do not avoid disunion by dropping back to where we were, any more than we avoid disunion by going ahead with this measure. I see no more peril in the one course than in the other.

This is a singular confession of impotence. Mark the words. There is peril behind and in front whether this measure is proceeded with or not. That confirms what I said a moment ago, namely, that the Government was singularly deficient in foresight and forethought when it introduced such a measure without calculating the effects as they were calculated by the Solicitor General. *

But the Bill is before us at the present time, and we have to deal with it. The apple of discord has been thrown into this assembly and already the assembly is divided on it. It is nothing new in Parliamentary history for a Government when it introduces a new measure, to find itself deserted by its followers or its friends. That has happened in this country; it has happened in all countries where there are parliaments. It is, however, something which is very unusual when a measure is introduced which creates division, not only in the one party, but in the two parties at the same time. Why should I be blind to what has happened? I have already heard three of my friends take exception to the course which I have taken as the leader of the party. I find myself on the present occasion estranged from friends who were just as near and dear to me as any of my own brothers. I need not tell the House- every one will believe me-that such an estrangement, even if it be only temporary and upon this question alone, is a wrench at one's very heart strings; but every one of my hon. friends knows that I have not tried to impose my views upon any of my followers. I respect their consciences; I would not attempt to bring any one of them around to my way of thinking. I have my conscience and they have theirs; tout this situation shows that we are face to face with a cleavage which, unless it is checked, may rend and tear this Canada of ours down to the very roots. Such is the situation and no one can be blind to it. If there are in this House men who affect to be impervious to the situation, to be careless about it, I am not one of them. If I may give a personal allusion, this is a matter which has caused me a

great deal of anxiety within the past two weeks. But what is the use of lamenting over a situation? We must face the situation like men. 'What is the attitude of the Government with regard to the situation? How are they purposing to settle it? We have had the answer from the Minister of Trade and Commerce (Sir George Foster), when he rose after me to answer my speech on that occasion. The answer is simply these words of my right hon. friend:

What we propose is to do, in the light of the experience and knowledge that we have, our plain duty, and let the people pass their verdict as they choose later, or by history. At least, we will stand as not having been afraid.

That is the only position which is to' be taken by the Government. They will carry this measure by coercion, let the consequences be what they may. This attitude of coercion and this disregard of the consequences which may follow, coming from friends of mine on the other side, grounded in Toryism, do not surprise me, but I am more surprised when friends of mine, Liberals brought up in the old days of the Liberal school in which I myself have been torought up, take no more concern upon this question than is taken on the other side. May I call attention to the attitude Of my good friend the hon. member for South Wellington (Mr. Guthrie) who, speaking upon this very subject said:

He (Sir Wilfrid Laurier) has referred to another question, which I will discuss very, very briefly; that is that this Parliament is in the nature of a moribund parliament, or, as he described it, a rump parliament, his contention being that, on that ground, this House should not deal with it.

I do not take that view of the matter. My view is that this Parliament is in every respect legally constituted.

There is no doubt at all that this Parliament is legally constituted, and so long as it is not dissolved, either by the effluxion of time or by the decree of the Governor General, it can pass this law and many other laws equally nefarious and equally dangerous to the Canadian people. But that is not the point I wish to bring before the House.

It is not a question of legality or illegality, but a question of policy. Is it wise, is it prudent, is it good statesmanship to force on the Canadian people at the present time such a measure as is now before the House? Upon this point I have simply to say to my hon. friend, who was brought up in the same school as I was, that again and again, not only in England but in every

other country under British institutions, and particularly in Canada, Parliament has been dissolved for the purpose of consulting the people on a measure which it had the power to pass. The last instance I recall is the reciprocity question, on which we went to the country six years ago. We could have passed that law, for we had a majority behind us, but we preferred to submit it to the people, and for my part I am prouder to be standing here defeated by the will of the people than I should be if I had denied to the people the right to have their way upon this question.

All through my long parliamentary career my object has been to try and convince. But where I could not convince I would not coerce. The attitude of the Government upon this question is simply that we must have more soldiers at the front. A letter has been read from General Currie, commanding our forces in France, asking for more soldiers. There is nothing new in that. I do not know of the general who, now or at any other time in history, did not ask ifor more soldiers. I say to my hon. friend from Assiniboia, I say from the bottom of my heart, that I stand on the same platform to-day that I have stood on from the very first day of this war; my conviction is still the same. I wish that we could send more soldiers to General Currie. I wish that our population and our resources would allow of our sending not only half -a million but a million men. But the question is how many men can we take from the life of the nation at the present time without imperilling the public services which are essential to this country, and essential to carrying on our share of the war. This is a subject which, in my humble opinion, has not been sufficiently considered by the Government. They went into this war without any previous calculation whatever, without taking any census of our resources in men and in other respects. They asked for

100.000 men, 200,000 men, 300,000 men,

400.000 men, and, at last, for 500,000 men. When they reached the 500,000 figure they were told by several people that they could not get the men. One of the most important captains of industry in this country, Lord Shaughnessy, expressed his opinion in no uncertain terms, that the men could not be got without injury to the public services. But the Government paid no. heed to that. They paid no heed to the other consideration, that it is not only men the Allies require at the present time, but food. They paid no heed to the question whether the

men could not be better employed in producing food in Canada than in fighting at the front.

It is manifest that the campaign of 1917 will not materialize as we had hoped. We had expected that the offensive of this year would be effective. We had supposed that an offensive would take place on all fronts, especially on the western front, where we expected the Allies would pierce the German line, and roll it back to the Rhine. I have no doubt these plans were laid, and if they could have been carried out the effect would have been as I have stated. Unfortunately, events in Russia materially interfered with, the plans, and enabled Germany to transfer thousands of men from the Russian front to the western front, with the result that the Allied offensive was checked. But there is some comfort to be found in the situation. There is one good omen, it seems to me. The strategy of the German staff in this war has been to strike wherever they thought there was a weak spot in the Allied line. They would throw an overwhelming force upon that point, with the object of breaking down resistance, and pushing into the Allied territory as far as possible, and then they would entrench. Such has been their strategy since the beginning of the war. At the very opening of the war Germany attacked Belgium, in the face of the treaty which she had herself signed, because she knew that by attacking France through Belgium she could break through the French frontier at its weakest point. The same thing happened in Roumania. Instead of protecting their own frontier, the Roumanians invaded Transylvania and the Germans at once penetrated Roumania, and have remained in possession of it ever since. As I said, there is some comfort to be found in the war situation. When the Russian revolution took place everybody expected that the Germans would begin their much-talked-of offensive to Petrograd. The fact that it has not taken place is simply an evidence that the Germans did not have the men. Their resources in men are beginning to fail. It is an evidence that the policy of attrition, which was inaugurated by the Allies in 1914, after the battle of the Marne, is commencing to tell. And if the German forces are being depleted it is due almost altogether to the British navy, which day in and day out, at all times and at all seasons, has brought pressure to bear upon the German Empire by its blockade in the North sea. The Germans have countered by sub-

marine warfare, and have brought about a very serious position, perhaps the most serious of the war, but there is this comfort in it: it seems to me that already the effort of Germany in this respect has failed. They expected to achieve their object by submarine warfare within four- or five months, but we all know that that object has not been achieved. But there is, however, a heavy toll to pay, and the duty has been imposed upon the Canadian people to produce more than we have ever done, because we have not only to send food to feed the people of England, but also to make up for the food that week by week is being sent to the bottom of the sea. But all these considerations seem to have been of no consequence to the Government. The Government seem to have paid no attention to them. Their energy has been employed in the last few weeks upon this new policy of compulsion. The genesis of this new policy still remains obscure.

It never wias sufficiently explained, it never was explained at all, how, from one day to the other, the Government changed their attitude from voluntary to compulsory service. But, upon this point, at all events, if we do- not know what the genesis was, unfortunately, we know what have been the results and the results have been to impress many classes in the community with a sense of deception; that is with a realization that -they have been deceived by the Government.

I contrast the action of the Government with the action of President Wilson. When President Wilson had made up his mind that war with Germany was inevitable, what did he do? He did not launch his policy upon the people but he consulted almost every class of the community. He consulted his opponents of the Republican party, he consulted the great Democratic party, he consulted the churches, he had their assistance, he consulted the American citizens of German, origin, and the consequence was that the day that he put his policy before the people every American citizen was behind him. Has that been the policy of the present Government? How did they manage this matter? They have consulted no one outside of their own- Cabinet. One of the first bodies that they should have consulted was the labour party. They did not consult the Labour party-far from it. The labour party came *to the (Government and we have it on the statement of one of the most prominent members of that organization that it has been deceived by the Government. On the

15th June Mr. J. G. Watters, President of the Dominion Trades and Labour Congress, made this statement:

Up till the time the Prime Minister left for London we had repeated assurances that conscription was . not contemplated by the Government. On the 27th of December last while discussing with him the registration scheme of the National Service Board, he stated, in connection with the adoption of conscription in the hearing of Vice-Presidents Simpson and Rigg, Secretary Draper and myself that he would consider it his duty to consult organized labour before undertaking to act on a matter of such grave importance.

The first intimation I had was in the daily press and no official of our Congress was consulted. -

We were not consulted, but the Congress executive sought an interview with the Prime Minister after his pronouncement on May 18 last to learn his reasons for his changed attitude. There was not the shadow of a reason revealed at the interview to warrant a change from voluntary to compulsory service. On the contrary, the statements made by the Prime Minister, taken in conjunction with the information I gleaned while in Washington the week previous, all went to demonstrate that the need of the hour was not men at the front so much as food for the people in our Motherland, Prance and Italy, the means of transportation of the same by overcoming the submarine menace, and the manufacturing of all war supplies and building of ships.

Here is a direct statement that the labour people were deceived as a Tesult of the announcement of their policy by the 'Government.

But, that is not all. When the Government introduced) the system of national .service, for which they issued their cards, it was thought that- these cards might be considered as being perhaps the first move towards conscription. In this connection they sought the assistance of the church. I do not know whether they consulted other high dignitaries of the church (but I do know that they consulted a high dignitary of the church in Montreal. I do not know what passed between him and the ministers who interviewed him, my hon. friend the Minister of Justice (Mr. Doherty) and my hon. friend the Postmaster General (Mr. Blondin), but the impression was conveyed to this high dignitary that there would he *no. conscription. The Minister of Justice stated the other day that he had 4 p.m. -made no' promise. Of course, I accept his statement. He made no promise but, whether he made any promise or not to the high dignitaTy when seeking to obtain his assistance, the impression that he left on the mind of this high dignitary was that there would be no conscription. I grant that my hon. friend may have made no promise hut that was

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Subtopic:   THIRD READING OF THE BILL.
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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir ROBERT BORDEN:

I must take exception to my right hon. friend's quotation. I do not think that I put it in the way he suggests.

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Subtopic:   THIRD READING OF THE BILL.
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LIB

Wilfrid Laurier (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER:

My hon. friend stated, if he stated anything, that conscription was not contemplated.

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Subtopic:   THIRD READING OF THE BILL.
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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir ROBERT BORDEN:

Yes, exactly.

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Subtopic:   THIRD READING OF THE BILL.
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LIB

Wilfrid Laurier (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER:

I asked him at the time what was the meaning of this

500,000 promise, I wanted to have a plain answer, and my hon. friend answered that conscription was not contemplated. We had his statement in our ears, when we granted this extension, that conscription was not contemplated., and yet within twelve months it was executed.

'Sir ROBERT BORDEN: I must take exception again. My right hon. friend's chronology is very defective.

Topic:   MILITARY SERVICE ACT-1917.
Subtopic:   THIRD READING OF THE BILL.
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LIB

Wilfrid Laurier (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER:

In what respect?

Topic:   MILITARY SERVICE ACT-1917.
Subtopic:   THIRD READING OF THE BILL.
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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir ROBERT BORDEN:

The statement

was made in January, 1916, if I remember correctly. My right hon. friend states that conscription was announced within twelve months.

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LIB

Wilfrid Laurier (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER:

Well, that

would he only four months longer. The fact remains that the Prime Minister asked this Parliament to grant an extension which was a twelve months' extension, and during these twelve months he brought in a Bill which he said would not he introduced. The statement made to-day in justification of this measure is that recruiting has failed. Recruiting has not failed, but recruiting has decreased, I admit. If recruiting has decreased the fault and blame lie at the door of the gentlemen who occupy the treasury benches. I make that statement and I make it advisedly. We have had in this House, during this present session, recriminations and recriminations and differences between the ex-Minister of Militia and Defence (Sir Sam Hughes) and my right hon. friend the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Borden), and the Minister of Finance (Sir Thomas White) as to what has taken place in regard to recruiting. The ex-Minister of Militia complained that he had been interfered with in his recruiting. He stated in one speech, and he repeated it here, that if recruiting had decreased, it was because his work had been interfered with toy the Prime Minister and the Minister of Finance. There is no doubt about that. That is a statement that everybody .has heard. Explanations or excuses have been from time to time offered. It may he true that the minister was never actually stopped in his recruiting, but he was told how not to recruit. He was told: Do not go to this part of the country, do not go to that part of the country, do not go amongst manufacturers, do not do this, do not do that, and the result was that, being interfered with the work stopped, and, of course, recruiting failed.

You will remember, Sir, the famous chapter in one of Charles Dickens works as to the effect of the circumlocution office. It is an exact description of what is taking place with this Government. Charles Dickens somewhere says, speaking of what he called the circumlocution office:

The circumlocution office was (as everybody knows without being told) the most important department under Government. No public business of any kind could possibly be done at any time without the acquiescence of this circumlocution office. Its finger was in the largest public pie and in the smallest public tart. Whatever was required to he done, the circumlocution office was beforehand with ail the public departments, in the art of perceiving how not to do it.

That is the case with my hon. friend the ex-Minister of Militia (Sir Sam Hughes); he was told how not to do it; he was balked

at every step, and here we have the consequence. When the Government places as the basis of this Bill the fact that there has been no recruiting for some time past, they do not impugn anybody but themselves, and they show up their own delinquencies. But, Sir, after all here is the Bill, as I said a moment ago, and we have it before us. The strongest indictment which was made against this Bill, in my humble judgment, was made by the hon. member for South * Wellington (Mr. Guthrie) in a speech which he delivered a few weeks ago. He said that this Bill, if it became law, could not be carried out unless it were'by the joint effort of a union government. What does this mean? If it means anything it means that the sentiment against this Bill is so strong, is so rooted in all parts of the community, that the Bill is such a departure from the traditions of the past, that it requires the efforts of the two political parties to put it into operation. If that be true, and if this measure was unavoidable, it should have come in, not as the measure of a party government, but as the measure of a coalition government.

I may be told that I was asked, and my friend from South Wellington may have had it in his mind that I was asked, to he a party to a coalition government. Sir, I was asked to form part of a coalition government when the policy had been framed, when the Bill had been prepared as a party measure, by a party government; and when it had been framed, deliberated on in council, determined upon, and launched before the public. When the Government could not retrace their steps, my poor assistance, such as it might have been, was sought. If, Sir, the Government had been in earnest, they would have consulted me before they determined on their measure. But they did not consult me, they did not ask my opinion upon conscription; they did not ask me what would be my opinion upon .its possibilities, its results, and its dangers; they did not ask me to discuss with them the situation, against which [they wepe determined to close their eyes; but when they had concocted a measure, then they were kind enough to ask me to carry on what they had devised in their wisdom. As in the play of children, they ask,ed me: close your

eyes and open, your mouth and swallow. I refused.

Sir, some of my Mends have reminded me, some of my Liberal friends have reminded me, that George Brown once entered 'into a coalition Government. He did, and under such circumstances nobody would

blame him. In those days, party government in Canada had come to a deadlock. The powerful agitation of George Brown, asking for representation by population, had depleted the majority of the Conservative party until there was a deadlock between the two parties. Then mutual friends asked that George Brown should enter into a coalition. He asked the basis of it, and when representation by population wasgranted, which had been refused up to that time by John A. Macdonald, when the principle of union of the provinces had also been granted, which also hadbeen refused by Macdonald,. hethen entered into a coalition. But,

Sir, I was not approached in the same way. I have my views upon conscription. They have not changed. It is not a pleasure for me to find myself at variance with so many of the friends I have around me; hut I thought and still believe that a measure of conscription, under the circumstances, was an apple of discord, and I could not accept it. That is all I have to say upon that point.

But I may be asked: what is your policy; it is not sufficient for the Opposition to say " nay " to any proposition, what is your policy? Sir, I laid my policy before Parliament upon the second reading of the Bill. I asked that a referendum should he had and the judgment of the people taken upon this question. I have not the merit of this policy; it did not originate with me; it was not my own device. Sir, it was asked by the whole organized body of labour in the Dominion of Canada. We are familiar with the strong resolutions which have been placed upon the table of this House, passed by the central labour organizations. Every member of this House, I would venture to say, at all events, the large majority of the members of this House, I am sure, have received from labour organizations within their ridings, petitions, resolutions and communications to that effect. I have received them by the bushel. They are there, before the House, and, Sir, under such circumstances I say I have no merit in having proposed that policy. That policy would have given us peace, harmony, and concord, which to-day are in much danger. Objections were made to it, and what were the objections? The objections were that this policy of a referendum should not be granted because, forsooth, the soldiers could not vote. Well, Sir, we passed a law two years ago to give the franchise to the soldiers, and by the same measure we established machinery to

give facilities to the soldiers to express their views. Are we to be told that this law is a mere scrap of paper, that it is a mere dead letter, that it cannot be put into execution? Why, Sir, are we to be told that those who two years ago were so insistent upon passing this law intended it only as clap trap? If, Sir, when this measure was proposed, we on this side of the House had opposed it, and if we had defeated it, the welkin would have rung and would be still ringing with denunciation against those who had deprived the soldiers of the sacred right to vote. We did not oppose it; the law is there, and when we are told that the law cannot be put into force upon a referendum or an election, when we have given the right of voting to the soldiers, hon. members are simiply playing with the common sense of the country when they advance such an argument.

Topic:   MILITARY SERVICE ACT-1917.
Subtopic:   THIRD READING OF THE BILL.
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CON

Angus Claude Macdonell

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. A. C. MACDONELL:

Is the right hon. member aware that the Act to which he is referring provides only that soldiers shall have votes in elections and not on a referendum?

Topic:   MILITARY SERVICE ACT-1917.
Subtopic:   THIRD READING OF THE BILL.
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LIB

Wilfrid Laurier (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER:

Yes, I am

aware of that. I am aware also that the Parliament which gave them power to vote in elections could give them power to vote on a referendum. The difficulty is not serious. .

Topic:   MILITARY SERVICE ACT-1917.
Subtopic:   THIRD READING OF THE BILL.
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July 24, 1917