September 17, 1917

LIB

Frank Oliver

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER:

Take it at its minimum scientific food value, and on the basis of our rations in April, 1917, it would have giver, us:

Weeks.

Flour for the whole United Kingdom... 43

Sugar for the whole United Kingdom... 33

Our three war Governments, confronted who the increasing certainty of at least a three years' war, have allowed the drink trade to destroy this vast reserve of food. It will not do for Mr. Lloyd George to blame his predecessors. He has carried on their policy of food destruction. In -the first four months of 1917 he has allowed the destruction of 400,000 tons of grain to holster up this trade in drink. It would give the United Kingdom its bread rations for thirty days ; it would make all the difference till the harvest is over.

Another paragraph, page 15, reads as follows :

And now we have a new idea from the Food Control Department; it is a coloured poster of a Union Jack and a big loaf on it and "Waste not, want not," printed in big type. It was being printed on the day the Prime Minister

told the nation that America had found it is no use waving a neutral flag in the teeth of a shark. It is an eloquent and true saying, but it is also true that It is no use waving platitudes from copy books in the teeth of a wolf at the door. The Prime Minister says he is taking no chances. Let us be quite sure. We once had a Government of which men said its motto was "Wait and See." Are we better off, or are we worse, with a Government that sees and waits?

I think these extracts give a very clear idea of the purpose of the book. I notice that the report of Surgeon-General Fother-ingham placed before the House by the Prime Minister has no good foundation but that it is an attempt to justify an action taken by the censorship under the authority of the Government for which there was no authority at all.

Topic:   FORBIDDEN CIKCULATION IN CANADA.
Subtopic:   "THE FIDDLERS"-STATEMENT BY HON.
Sub-subtopic:   FRANK OLIVER-AMENDMENT NEGATIVED.
Permalink
CON

Hugh Boulton Morphy

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MORPHY:

Does the hon. gentleman pretend to say that there is nothing objectionable in the hook?

Topic:   FORBIDDEN CIKCULATION IN CANADA.
Subtopic:   "THE FIDDLERS"-STATEMENT BY HON.
Sub-subtopic:   FRANK OLIVER-AMENDMENT NEGATIVED.
Permalink
LIB

Frank Oliver

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER:

I do not say there is nothing objectionable.

Topic:   FORBIDDEN CIKCULATION IN CANADA.
Subtopic:   "THE FIDDLERS"-STATEMENT BY HON.
Sub-subtopic:   FRANK OLIVER-AMENDMENT NEGATIVED.
Permalink
CON

Hugh Boulton Morphy

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MORPHY:

Does the hon. gentleman find much that is objectionable in the hook?

Topic:   FORBIDDEN CIKCULATION IN CANADA.
Subtopic:   "THE FIDDLERS"-STATEMENT BY HON.
Sub-subtopic:   FRANK OLIVER-AMENDMENT NEGATIVED.
Permalink
LIB

Frank Oliver

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER:

Not to me. But I can easily understand that it is very objectionable to the distillery trade of Canada as it is to the distillery trade of England.

Topic:   FORBIDDEN CIKCULATION IN CANADA.
Subtopic:   "THE FIDDLERS"-STATEMENT BY HON.
Sub-subtopic:   FRANK OLIVER-AMENDMENT NEGATIVED.
Permalink
CON

Hugh Boulton Morphy

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MORPHY:

I refer to the reflections upon the Canadian soldiers.

Topic:   FORBIDDEN CIKCULATION IN CANADA.
Subtopic:   "THE FIDDLERS"-STATEMENT BY HON.
Sub-subtopic:   FRANK OLIVER-AMENDMENT NEGATIVED.
Permalink
LIB

Frank Oliver

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER:

There are no reflections in the book on the Canadian soldiers-absolutely none made and none intended. To make it quite clear that there is no authority for the suppression of this book I will read the sections of the Order in Council which describe what constitutes objectionable matter that would bring it within the terms of the Order in Council.

Topic:   FORBIDDEN CIKCULATION IN CANADA.
Subtopic:   "THE FIDDLERS"-STATEMENT BY HON.
Sub-subtopic:   FRANK OLIVER-AMENDMENT NEGATIVED.
Permalink
LIB

William Cameron Edwards

Liberal

Mr. EDWARDS:

Mr. Speaker, I would call your attention to the fact that there is not a quorum present.

Topic:   FORBIDDEN CIKCULATION IN CANADA.
Subtopic:   "THE FIDDLERS"-STATEMENT BY HON.
Sub-subtopic:   FRANK OLIVER-AMENDMENT NEGATIVED.
Permalink
CON

Edgar Nelson Rhodes (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPEAKER:

I direct the clerk to take down the names.

The deputy clerk having taken down the names:

Topic:   FORBIDDEN CIKCULATION IN CANADA.
Subtopic:   "THE FIDDLERS"-STATEMENT BY HON.
Sub-subtopic:   FRANK OLIVER-AMENDMENT NEGATIVED.
Permalink
CON

Edgar Nelson Rhodes (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPEAKER:

The hon. member (Mr. Oliver) may proceed; there is a quorum present.

Topic:   FORBIDDEN CIKCULATION IN CANADA.
Subtopic:   "THE FIDDLERS"-STATEMENT BY HON.
Sub-subtopic:   FRANK OLIVER-AMENDMENT NEGATIVED.
Permalink
LIB

William Cameron Edwards

Liberal

Mr. EDWARDS:

Might I ask you, Mr. Speaker, how many constitute a quorum?

Topic:   FORBIDDEN CIKCULATION IN CANADA.
Subtopic:   "THE FIDDLERS"-STATEMENT BY HON.
Sub-subtopic:   FRANK OLIVER-AMENDMENT NEGATIVED.
Permalink
CON

Edgar Nelson Rhodes (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPEAKER:

Twenty, including the Speaker.

Topic:   FORBIDDEN CIKCULATION IN CANADA.
Subtopic:   "THE FIDDLERS"-STATEMENT BY HON.
Sub-subtopic:   FRANK OLIVER-AMENDMENT NEGATIVED.
Permalink
LIB

Frank Oliver

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER:

I would like to read the terms of the Order in Council under which

376}

the prohibition of the book is supposed to have taken place.

Whenever in this order the expression objectionable matter is used it shall be construed to mean and include:

(a) Any information with respect to the movements, numbers, description, condition or disposition of any of the forces, ships or aircraft of His Majesty or any of His Majesty's allies, or with respect to the plans or conduct or supposed plans or conduct of any naval or military operations by any such forces, ships or air craft, or with respect to the supply, description, condition, transport, or manufacture or storage of war materials, or with respect to any works or measures undertaken for or connected with or intended for the fortification of any place, or any information of such a nature as is calculated to be or might be directly or indirectly useful to the enemy, and

(b) Any photograph, sketch, plan, model or other representation of any naval or military work or any dock or harbour work, of such a nature that such representations thereof are calculated to be or might be, directly or indirectly, useful to the enemy, and

(c) Any false report or false statement concerning the causes or the operations of the present war, and

(d) Any report or statement intended or likely to cause disaffection to His Majesty or to interfere with the success of His Majesty's forces or of the forces of His Majesty's allies by land or sea, or to prejudice His Majesty's relations with foreign powers, and

(e) Any report or statement intended or likely to prejudice the recruiting, training, discipline or administration of any of His Majesty's forces or the operation or administration of any Act or Order in Council concerning National Service.

(f) Any report or description or purported report or description of the proceedings of any secret session of either Senate or Commons of Canada held in pursuance of a resolution passed by such Senate or Commons except such report thereof as may be officially communicated through the Secretary of State of Canada, and

(g) Any report or description or purported report or description of the proceedings at any meeting of the Cabinet of Canada, and

(h) The contents of any confidential document belonging to or any confidential information obtained from any government department or any person in the service of His Majesty.

I submit that there is nothing contained in those sections that warrants the prohibition of the circulation of this book. Yet, notwithstanding that fact, the circulation of the book is forbidden or prohibited under penalty of the imposition of a fine not exceeding $5,000, or imprisonment for any term not exceeding five years, or both fine and imprisonment. I submit that such penalties should not be invoked except in case of infraction of the lawe as laid down, and when the Government undertakes to bring within the range of this punishment actions that are not offences under the law, the Government is taking a position

that cannot be characterized in modem language. This is particularly strange because this book is printed in England, is circulated in England and, so far as I am aware, is not prohibited in England. It is not prohibited in Australia. It is only in Canada that it is prohibited. I have here an advertisement which appeared in the British Weekly, a high-class publication of England:

The Fiddlers, a new book by Arthur Mee, author of Defeat. Drink in the Witness GBox. Startling indictment of the British Government and the liquor trade. Playing with the greatest enemy force outside of Berlin. The facts about the food crisis. How drink has broken down the nation's food reserves. The ruin of our soldiers' homes. The war upon the soldiers' children. The effect of drink on the war by land and sea. How the drink trade is imperilling the Empire-with the truth about what a great Canadian paper calls The Blackest Tragedy of the War. A remarkable map of the allied countries and prohibition, showing how the allies are stopping drink to win the war. With cartoons, tables, new facts, and hundreds of witnesses to the way in which drink is prolonging the war. Published by Morgan & Scott. For sale everywhere the English language is spoken except in Canada.

Topic:   FORBIDDEN CIKCULATION IN CANADA.
Subtopic:   "THE FIDDLERS"-STATEMENT BY HON.
Sub-subtopic:   FRANK OLIVER-AMENDMENT NEGATIVED.
Permalink
LIB

Charles Avila Wilson

Liberal

Mr. C. A. WILSON:

Is .that in the advertisement?

Topic:   FORBIDDEN CIKCULATION IN CANADA.
Subtopic:   "THE FIDDLERS"-STATEMENT BY HON.
Sub-subtopic:   FRANK OLIVER-AMENDMENT NEGATIVED.
Permalink
LIB

Frank Oliver

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER:

Topic:   FORBIDDEN CIKCULATION IN CANADA.
Subtopic:   "THE FIDDLERS"-STATEMENT BY HON.
Sub-subtopic:   FRANK OLIVER-AMENDMENT NEGATIVED.
Permalink
CON

John Allister Currie

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CURRIE:

Who is the author of this book? Is he an Austrian or a German, or where does he come from? Where was he born?

Topic:   FORBIDDEN CIKCULATION IN CANADA.
Subtopic:   "THE FIDDLERS"-STATEMENT BY HON.
Sub-subtopic:   FRANK OLIVER-AMENDMENT NEGATIVED.
Permalink
LIB

Frank Oliver

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER:

I do not know.

Topic:   FORBIDDEN CIKCULATION IN CANADA.
Subtopic:   "THE FIDDLERS"-STATEMENT BY HON.
Sub-subtopic:   FRANK OLIVER-AMENDMENT NEGATIVED.
Permalink
CON

John Allister Currie

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CURRIE:

The hon. gentleman

spends the whole evening reading statements of an obscure writer in England, wasting the time of the House.

Topic:   FORBIDDEN CIKCULATION IN CANADA.
Subtopic:   "THE FIDDLERS"-STATEMENT BY HON.
Sub-subtopic:   FRANK OLIVER-AMENDMENT NEGATIVED.
Permalink
LIB

Frank Oliver

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER:

The writer is very far

from being obscure. He 'is one of the greatest writers in England, and an Englishman. As a Canadian, I, for one, protest most strongly, in the words of this English writer, that this Government of Canada has no right to use the authority that Parliament has placed in its hands for the purpose of preventing the circulation in the Dominion of Canada of information that will be to the prejudice of those who conduct the distilleries and breweries, in this country. Has the Government sunk so low that it has used its authority in that way? And, having done so, it comes before Parliament with the report of Surgeon-General Fotheringham presented by the Prime Minister in the attempt to make the people of Canada believe that this book was written as an attack upon the soldiers of Canada. I say no more discreditable exhibition was ever made by any Government in any country. My information is that there are many good men and1 true throughout this Dominion of Canada who have informed the Government that they hold copies of this book, and they defy Government to put in force the terms of the Order in Council. It is up to the Government, either to withdraw that Order in Council, or to enforce it. I move in amendment:

That all the words after the word "That" be struck out and the following substituted therefor :

"In the opinion of this House, inasmuch as the book called "The Fiddlers" does not contain matter in contravention of the terms of the consolidated Orders in Council respecting censorship, hut is a work inspired by high moral purpose and calculated to direct public attention to the evils of the liquor traffic in the United Kingdom, it should not be suppressed."

Topic:   FORBIDDEN CIKCULATION IN CANADA.
Subtopic:   "THE FIDDLERS"-STATEMENT BY HON.
Sub-subtopic:   FRANK OLIVER-AMENDMENT NEGATIVED.
Permalink
CON

Arthur Meighen (Solicitor General of Canada; Minister of Mines; Secretary of State of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Hon. ARTHUR MEIGHEN:

I am afraid I cannot congratulate my hon. friend from Edmonton (Mr. Oliver) on the fairness of presenting this amendment at this late hour of the nigfht, without notice to the Government. He gave no notice, so far as I am aware of it, and I think I should have been aware of it. if any notice had been given.

. It concerns a subject with regard to which, of course, the entire Government have the usual constitutional responsibility, but which has been peculiarly under the review of the Minister of Justice. The Minister of Justice (Mr. Doherty) had gone home long before we arrived at this particular order. The Prime Minister also, who has taken some interest in the question, had gone home before we had arrived at this order. Still, without notice, this amendment is brought upon us. No notice was given to the Administration; none of us were in possession of the documents appertaining to the motion. None of us were in possession of the book itself, or of the report of officers of the Government-either of the press censor or of Colonel Fothering-hami-referring to it. We are asked to meet an amendment so precipitated. This much I know positively: the action taken in this matter was fully recommended in writing by the chief press censor for Canada, Lieut.-Colonel Chambers. I cannot understand the attitude of any hon. member who would assume for a moment that when he made that recommendation Lieut.-Col. Chambers had any ulterior motive-indeed, any motive at all save that of discharging to the best of his judgment and .ability the duties of chief press censor. I do not know what is being done at present in England in regard to this matter. I rather think that [DOT]the Minister of Justice would know he was *conducting inquiries with the British Government with a view to ascertaining their attitude towards this publication. I know that he got a reply of some indefiniteness, and that he sent for more information; what information he received, I do not know.

This book is calculated to do harm here in Canada in a way that appertains to us peculiarly, but that does not appertain in the same way to Great Britain. It contains foul libels upon the soldiers of this country. I did not have the matter particularly under my review, but I remember an assertion in the book that a large proportion of the returned soldiers of Canada were to-day in insane asylums or afflicted with insanity by reason of disease brought on by drinking in Great Britain. A more utterly libellous and scandalous assertion could not well be conceived by any one. There are in the book other assertions approaching that^-to put it mildly-in the grossness of their inaccuracy. It is true that many portions of the book have not peculiar application here, but the people have no way of telling or measuring the accuracy, the correctness,

or the fairness of the assertions in the book that appertain only to Great Britain. Our information is, to put it mildly, that many of these assertions are grossly exaggerated; that they will create a false impression throughout the country as to conditions overseas. But it was with particular regard to the assertions in the publication relative to the soldiers of this country-assertions reported to us by our own reliable authorities to be absolutely false; assertions which those who ought to know should recognize as absolutely false-that the recommendation was made and followed. I do not think that we .should be doing our whole duty in this country if we permit, untrammelled and uncorrected-at all events, without some restriction-a book to receive circulation which does so libel our overseas men, which does so falsely paint conditions overseas. Final action with regard to this-whether or not it has (been taken I am not in a position to say just now- was withheld pending the receipt of the information that was cabled for. As the Minister of Justice has arrived, I shall not pursue the matter further. I do emphasize again, however, tlhe unfairness to the House and to the Government of introducing after eleven o'clock at night, without any notice, a motion upon a subject entirely foreign to that which for the most part is now before Parliament.

Amendment negatived on division, and motion to go into Committee of Supply agreed to.

Topic:   FORBIDDEN CIKCULATION IN CANADA.
Subtopic:   "THE FIDDLERS"-STATEMENT BY HON.
Sub-subtopic:   FRANK OLIVER-AMENDMENT NEGATIVED.
Permalink

September 17, 1917