That Was before the election.
Sir WILFRID LAURIER:
That was during the election, not before. Shortly after
the election, the Minister of Militia gave to the press a most significant interview. On January 4 last, the press of Ottawa contained this interview, which had been given to the whole miiisterial press, by the Minister of Militia:
"The Minister stated during the election campaign that, notwithstanding the machinery of the Military Service Act, if bona, fide farmers effectively engaged in the production of foodstuffs, failed to secure exemption and were called up for military service, he would consider it his duty to relieve such men from military service, in order that they might return to their work on the farms and increase tile production of foodstuffs.
"It is pointed out that it wasi not intended, nor was it within the power of the Minister of Militia, to abrogate the provisions of the Military Service Act, and the executive action above referred to could not in any case be taken except when men were actually called up under the Act.
"It follows, therefore, that farmers who failed to secure exemption at the hands of the local tribunals should prosecute their appeals in the usual manner, as provided in the Military Service Act. Applications for leave to appeal should be addressed-in all cases to the Registrar of the district concerned.
"If a farmer who has actually joined up still considers that he has grounds for exemption he should state his case to his commanding officer, who will take necessary action on his behalf.
"Farmers claiming exemption should take advantage of the advice and assistance of the representatives of the Department of Agriculture, who were appointed under Order-inCounoil in each county. These representatives will take cases up with the district military representative, and- will prosecute appeals on behalf of farmers wherever they think it necessary to do so.
Let me call the attention of the House again to these words:
Farmers claiming exemption should take advantage of the advice and assistance of the representatives of the Department of Agriculture, who were appointed under Order in Council in each county. These representatives will take cases up with the military representative and will prosecute appeals on behalf of farmers wherever they think it necessary to do so.
So we have the spectacle of the Minister of Militia trying to obtain recruits and the Minister of Agriculture trying to obtain exemptions for them. The Government is a House divided -against itself; the Minister of Militia, on the one hand, wanting to get soldiers, and- the Minister of Agriculture, on the other hand, wanting to get farmers. There is not a man in this House who does not know that the last election was carried on the -implied, if not the distinct, pledge that farmers would not !be amenable to the Military Service Act. I could point to more than one-half-three-quarters-of the gentlemen sitting before me who were elected upon the direct or the
If you do that, you cannot avoid having difficulties and bickerings, and all the evil results that follow bickerings.
'In regard' to this matter, I have said [DOT]all that I have to say, but I shall add one word more. In this matter, as in all matters, I have always, since I have had a seat in this House, even before I occupied the official position which I now occupy, approached every question which has come under discussion, never from the point of view of my native province, but always in the broad view which could appeal to all Canadians whatever their race or their origin. Upon this occasion I shall speak for the province of Quebec since it has been brought into the discussion, more than I have ever done before. I shall say this to the Government and to the country. The people of Quebec, while they are opposed to this law, will make their objections and their protests as behooves the free men that they are. But when the verdict has been pronounced, they will, as behooves the free men that they are, loyally accept it and carry it out, because if it is the right of every citizen worthy of British freedom,' to combat any measure which he believes ill-advised and ill-timed as this measure is, it is his duty, 'loyally to resipect and to abide by the law, and to take to himself the consequences whatever they may be, however much he may disapprove of the law. It is with that feeling that I appeal to the House on the present occasion, if it is not yet too late, not to go further with this measure, but to consider it carefully, and weigh it by all the methods provided by the British system of Government which we enjoy. Then let Parliament make its decision.
Hon. NEWTON WESLEY ROWELL (President of the Council):
I rise to support the resolution moved by my right hon. friend the Prime Minister. In answer to the request of my right hon. friend the leader of the Opposition that a further reason should be given for the presentation of this resolution to the House at the present time, I say that the answer is contained in a much 'better form than I could give it in the order of the day issued in the midst of the present great conflict by Lieutenant-General Sir Arthur Currie to the Canadian forces at the front, and bearing date the 27th day of March, 1918. I shall read that order:
In an endeavour to reach an immediate decision the enemy has gathered all his forces and struck a mighty blow at the British Army. Overwhelmed by sheer weight of numbers the
['Sir Wilfrid Laurier.]
British divisions in the line between the Scarpe and the Oise have fallen back fighting hard, steady and undismayed. Measures have been taken successfully to meet the German onslaught. The French have gathered a powerful army commanded by a most able and trusted leader and this army is now moving swiftly to our help. Fresh British divisions are being thrown in. The Canadians are soon to be engaged. Our Motor-Machine-Gun brigade has already played a most gallant part and once again covered itself with glory.
Looking back with pride on the unbroken record of your glorious achievements, asking you to realize that to-day the fate of the British Empire hangs in the balance, I place my trust In the Canadian Corps, knowing that where Canadians are engaged, there can be no giving way. Under the orders of your devoted officers in the coming battle, you will advance or fall where you stand facing the enemy.
To those who fall I say: "You will not die but step into immortality. Your mothers will not lament your fate but will be proud to have borne such sons. Your names will be revered forever by your grateful country and God will take you unto Himself."
Canadians, in this fateful hour, I command you and I trust you to fight as you have ever fought, with all your strength, with all your determination, with all your tranquil courage. On many a hard-fought field of battle you have overcome this enemy and with God's help you shall achieve victory once more.
When our Canadian troops, under the inspiration of that nolble appeal of their commander are on the battle line holding back the Prussian invaders, the responsibility rests upon the Government of Canada to ensure that our brave soldiers are adequately reinforced and supported. If the leader of the Opposition wishes to know the reasons for the introduction of this resolution to the House, the answer is: This
Government is pledged to the House and to the country to maintain our divisions at the front with adequate reinforcements to repel the onslaughts of the Teuton hordes.
We cannot consider the issue before the House and the country to-day in the light of the situation that existed a year ago. We cannot consider it in the light of the conditions that existed even when this Parliament opened one month ago. The whole world situation has changed within the last thirty days. We must he alive to the present conditions and face the situation as it exists, and, .as honest men, meet the situation by measures .adequate to the need. This, Mr. Speaker, is the reason, and I submit, the all-sufficient reason, for the resolution now before the House. We must consider it, as I have said, in the light of the present war situation. The Prime Minister has pointed out the effect of Russia's withdrawal from the war; that it has resulted in an addition to the Germanic
forces on the western front of possibly not less than 1,600,000 men. But that is not all. When the attack of the Teutonic forces upon the Italian army in the latter part of last year broke the Italian line, and the heel of the conqueror stood upon the soil of northern Italy, Britain and France, with their reserves already not too adequate to meet the situation on the western front, had to send forces to Italy to help strengthen the Italian resistance, and to break the attack of the Austrian and German armies. Every one who has followed the course of events knows that the expeditionary forces sent by France and Britain to Italy greatly stiffened the Italian resistance, and enabled our valiant Allies to regain some of the ground that had been lost. But the effect of sending those forces to Italy was to weaken the reserves of the Allies on the western front at the very moment when Germany was strengthening her forces there by hundreds of thousands of men. We must recognize in the success which has so far attended the German arms the real effect of that great augmentation of German forces on the one hand, and of the diminution to some 'extent of the forces of the Allies on the other. The war can only be won and the. cause of civilization saved if the forces of the Allies on the western front are sufficiently strengthened to enable them to stem the German tide until our troops can be augmented sufficiently to achieve final victory. It is in the light of these events that we must view the present situation.
My right hon. friend the leader of the Opposition has spoken of the constitutional aspect of the resolution. He has said that the passing of the earlier Order in Council bearing on the Military Service Act, and now the submission of this Order in Council to the House, is a wide departure from constitutional government. Just one word as to that. Under the War Measures Act, passed to give the Government power to deal with an emergency, the Government exercised the power given it to pass the first Order in Council to which my right hon. friend has referred. All will concede that if time was not of the very essence of the emergency the ordinary parliamentary procedure would be to introduce an amending Act in the ordinary way. But under the conditions that existed when that Order in Council was passed; in view of the critical situation which had developed owing to the Quebec riots, time was of the essence of the situation, and to prevent further bloodshed and to deter further outbreaks the Government exercised its power under the War Measures Act to pass that Order in Council, and so far as we can see the result has been beneficial.
Coming to the present Order in Council my right hon. friend says that the proper course is to introduce a Bill. Again I say, that under ordinary conditions that would undoubtedly be the procedure but here again time is all important. My right hon. friend says you cannot get the men before a certain date. The very fact that it will take possibly three or four months to give these men the necessary training, and to get them organized, transported and trained to go into the battle line, makes it of the utmost urgent importance that there should not be a single day's delay. That, I say to my right hon. friend, is the reason for presenting a resolution to the House, which can be disposed of in a day, rather than to consume possibly weeks of time by the ordinary parliamentary procedure of putting a Bill through both Houses of Parliament. In this case Parliament has all the liberty of action it would have in the consideration of a Bill. Parliament has the proposal submitted to it, and if it sees fit, it can amend that proposal. The resolution is before the House and the country, and the House is called on to pass judgment upon it.
The power which the passage of this resolution will give to the Governor in Council is ~no larger than the power which the Governor in Council now enjoys under the Militia Act of Canada. Under that Act the Governor in Council is empowered to call out compulsorily all the men in Canada between the ages of 18 and 60, put them on military service, and send them out of the country for the defence of Canada. Under the Militia Act it is not necessary to submit even a resolution to this House, or ask for the approval of Parliament. The only condition is that if Parliament is not in session it must be called within fifteen days. And, Sir, the Militia Act has been on the statute book for years.
When was it placed on the statute book?
And I venture to think
that Canadians would wholly mistake the seriousness of the world struggle in which we are engaged if they should think they had done their duty by limiting themselves to either the one or the other. Every nation involved in this struggle has had to gather together all its energies and resources, and throw them into the scale to help achieve victory. Our duty in Canada is to send men, food, ships, munitions and money. Canada's duty is to do everything that she can do.
* Mr. ROWELL: We entered the struggle and we pledged our future on the issue. Canada has staked her liberty and all her resources on the outcome of this war, and it is our duty and our glorious privilege to throw all our energies into it to help restore peace and security to this war-cursed world. My right hon. friend has said, that the people of Canada were promised that the farmers would not he taken. I can speak for myself, and I think in this respect I can speak for my colleagues: If there was one clear pledge the Government made to the country; if there was one clear mandate the Government received from the country, it was that Canada should maintain our divisions up to strength and provide adequate reinforcements.
We do not wish to take men from the farms. The Government did not decide , on the form of this Order in Council without considering the food situation in all its aspects, without considering its possible effect upon agriculture. The Government did not decide on this Order in Council until they became convinced, that our gallant men could not be reinforced nor the cause of liberty made safe, without this Order. In view of that
paramount necessity, individual preferences and every other consideration must be laid .aside to provide ithe necessary men. Every horn, member of this House knows that many men in his own riding will be affected by this legislation. I represent an agricultural constituency in the province of Ontario, and I recognize that many of my own electors will be called out for service under this Order in Council. I know it will not be popular, I know it will cause distress and sorrow in many a home; I know sacrifices must be made, but, if, in a great national crisis, the Government entrusted with the responsibility of guiding the destinies of Canada were to be swayed from the path of duty because a measure may be unpopular, or because there may be individual sorrow in a home, when the sanctity of every home in the land is imperilled, and were to neglect the sacred duty they owe to their country, that Government would be unworthy of the confidence of the Canadian people.
I say, Mr. Speaker, with great respect, that while I recognize that this proposition will cause inconvenience, and in many cases real hardship, I do not believe that on the whole, if the people of this country receive it in the right spirit, it will seriously diminish our agricultural production this year. Let us look at the situation and test it by what other nations have done; and I make these comparisons, not with a view of minimizing our effort, which has been magnificent, but rather to encourage our people by a knowledge of what other countries at war have been able to achieve.
Take first the situation in Great Britain. The Prime Minister has given figures of the number of men called to the colours ' up to January of this year, for both the army and the navy in the different portions of the United Kingdom. Those figures give a total of 5,600,000 men which the United Kingdom has contributed up to the month of January last. Under the new Man Power Bill they are raising five hundred thousand more men, and they also passed another Bill in January last under which a substantial number have been called to the colours. But even if we take the figures at five million six hundred thousand, it means that the Old Land has put into the battle line, or called up for service in the army or navy over twelve per cent of her entire population. If the same standard were applied to Canada it would mean that we
would send almost a million men. Britain has called out that large force of men, and at the same time she has increased her agricultural production. She has organized and developed a gigantic munitions industry, and has millions of men and women engaged in producing munitions; she has increased her shipbuilding, and while doing all these things, she has increased her agricultural production. How has she been able to achieve this remarkable result? By organizing the man-power and the woman-power of the nation and by throwing her whole strength into the struggle; I believe, Sir, that Canada will show the same spirit, that the broad-minded and patriotic men and women of Canada will rise to meet this emergency.
If there is one thing which the people of Canada are determined to do; if there is one thing they proclaimed last election in tcnes that could not be misunderstood, it is that Canada will never desert the gallant men who to-day in the trenches of Flanders are fighting for her liberty.
Now, let us look at what Canada's war effort has been in the past, so that we may consider what the resources of Canada are to meet the demands of the present and the future. The Prime Minister has pointed out that we had sent overseas up to the 31st March, of the present year,
364,000 men. We have been in the habit iii the past of discussing Canada's contribution to the war on the basis of pur total enlistments. That is interesting and valuable as indicating the spirit of the Canadian people, but it does not help us to measure our real war effort or to determine the force withdrawn 'from civilian life for that effort. Our real military contribution is measured by the men we send overseas, plus the number we have available to be sent overseas. And, measured in that way - and I am now speaking of our splendid force-Canada's war effort is something fewer than 400,000 men, approximately about 5 per cent of our population, if you reckon our population at about eight millions. Many men who enlisted have been discharged in Canada for various causes, physically unfit, too old, or because they have been too young, and some have deserted. These have all found their way back into civil life, and they are all part of the whole producing army, and not to be counted as part of Canada's Military effort. Compared with Canada's 5 per cent of her population Great Britain's effort is over 12 per cent of her population and she is now calling for 500,000 more men. I quite recognize
the fact that a very much larger percentage of the people of Canada is engaged in agriculture than in Great Britain, and that if we drew upon Canadians to the same extent that they have drawn upon the people of Great Britain, we would seriously cripple agriculture. But no one is proposing to draw upon the people of Canada to the extent that the people of Great Britain have been drawn upon. No one is proposing to increase our forces by 600,000 men. What I submit to the House and the country is that we can send the additional men necessary to reinforce our men at the front, and, at the same time, by utilizing our forces at home, the man-power and the woman-power, we can maintain agricultural production and all other essential industries.
Let me give some figures with respect to the other portions of the Empire. As the Prime Minister has intimated, the recent confidential information the Government has received as to the contributions of the other portions of the Empire cannot now be given to this House or to the country. I have taken a very deep interest ever since the war began in the military contributions of the different portions of the Empire. I have endeavoured to keep in touch with the number of men raised in. each dominion, and almost a year ago I obtained from the Australian High Commissioner in London, and from the High Commissioner of New Zealand, approximate figures of their contributions in men and in money up to that date. About the same time I obtained information from South Africa in reference to its contribution. While I cannot speak of the situation to-day, I can tell you of the situation as it existed a year ago, and then I will make one or two comments with reference to it. If you compare the number of men actually sent overseas up to one year ago, it would have been necessary for Canada to have sent overseas up to that date two hundred thousand more men than we had sent in order that our [DOT]contribution should have equalled that of Australia. I think the relative situation of Canada has improved since that time; the discrepancy is not so great to-day. One of the reasons is that Australia has not been able to keep up her monthly reinforcements on the scale she contemplated, because compulsory service was rejected in Australia. Consequently the situation to-day is that Canada is steadily gaining on Australia, and the difference is not so great as it was a year ago. But taking the situation as it exists to-day, from information gathered, not from confidential sources, but from statements in Australian papers and by
Australian public men, if we sent across the seas 100,000 more men, even more than
100,000 more men, our contribution in men in proportion to our population would not then exceed Australia's contribution up to the present time.
New Zealand with a population of about
1,100,000, has maintained one division at the front since ever the outbreak of the war. On the basis of population, that would make at least seven divisions for us, and we would have to send overseas between two and three hundred thousand more men to make our contribution equal to that of New Zealand in proportion to our population.
If we take into consideration the men that South Africa put into the war in German Southwest Africa and German Southeast Africa, as well as the men she has sent over the seas, we would have to make a still larger contribution in order to be on a par with South Africa.
What I want to say to my right hon. friend (Sir Wilfrid Laurier) and to the members of the House is this: if the Motherland-Great Britain, Ireland, Scotland- if the great Commonwealth of Australia, if New Zealand, and if South Africa, the youngest member of our commonwealth, composed of men of divers races which, until recent years, were warring against each otner, could send into the fighting line for tne defence of the flag ai.^ of -berty these great numbers of men, should the largest, oldest and wealthiest of all the dominions of the Empire hesitate in this hour of the Empire's crisis?
And, Mr. Speaker, I would be false to the situation as I believe it to be at the front, I would be false to gallant men I saw overseas a year and a half ago, I would be false to what I believe to be my duty to Canada and to the cause of liberty, if I did not, with all the energy of my being, urge this legislation upon the House. I said Britain had met the situation by mobilizing woman power and resources. How many women do hon. gentlemen think are employed in war services in Great Britain? There are 2,852,200 enrolled in war service in Great Britain.
They have in banking and finance, 63,700 women; in the Civil Service, 163,000; in commerce, 820,000; in munitions, 700,000; in national factories, in the metal and chemical trades, 819,000; in shipbuilding in July
1917, 16,500; in agriculture, 270,000.
They have also organized their women to serve behind the lines in France and to help the soldiers at the front. In February, 1917, they organized the Women's Auxiliary Army Corps. Within less than a year recruits for this service were being enlisted at the rate of 10,000 a month. The "Waacs," as they are familiarly called, are part and parcel of the British army, working under military rules and regulations. They are in service both in France and in England, and engaged in these occupations: cooks and waitresses in military camps; clerical work; signalling; drivers in motor transport, service; salvage-the conversion into useful material of the debris of tne battlefield; postal service; the care of soldiers' graves. Then they have the Women's Royal Naval Service, familiarly called the "Wrens," who are performing similar service for the navy. The women of Britain know what the women of Belgium and Northern France have suffered. They know that their homes and liberty are in peril. They know that their husbands and brothers laid down their lives in their defence, and whether it be on the farms or at home, or behind the battle lines, the women of Great Britain are with the men of Great Britain to see this war through to a victorious conclusion.
Sir, the women of Canada wish only the same opportunity. When our gallant men went overseas, with the first, second, third and fourth contingents and subsequent units-the hearts of the women of
Canada went with the soldier * boys to the front, and to-day the hearts of many of the mothers of Canada lie buried with their boys in the graves of France and Flanders. We have only to speak the word and the mothers and sisters of our soldiers will undertake any work that this nation ealls them to undertake, in order that the boys may be reinforced and victory achieved. The women have said to the Government: "Give us the chance to serve." The Women's Conference held some weeks ago with the War Committee of the Cabinet submitted a list of occupations upon which the women of Canada would be glad to enter if the nation wished them to serve. I say that we can reinforce our men at the front; we can send all the men that are needed; we can send more than we can get by calling up the class mentioned, and yet have sufficient labour at home for maintaining all the essential industries of Canada.
What I said of Great Britain is equally, if not more, true of France. One who has
had the opportunity of visiting France during the war cannot but be moved by the service which is being rendered by the women of France. The women .of Europe do more work on the soil than do the women of Canada or the United States, but in France women who had not previously been engaged in farm work were working on the farms early and late. The French Minister of Agriculture a month after the war broke out, when he thought the struggle would be over in a few months, called upon the women of France to gather the harvest and prepare the soil for the coming spring, so that when their husbands and brothers and sons returned from the war they would find the soil ready for the sowing. But the husbands, brothers and sons have not returned. The women of France sowed the grain in the spring of 1915 and gathered the harvest of that year. They prepared the soil in the autumn of 1915; they sowed the grain in the spring of 1910, and when I was there in the summer of 1916 they were gathering the harvest. I did not see an able-bodied young man in all the fields of France; the harvests were being gathered by the women, the boys and the old men. I went into a great munition plant in Paris, where I found thousands cf women employed in making munitions. I said to the director: " Where did these women come from? Who are they?" He said: " They are mostly the wives
and sisters of soldiers at the front." These women were making shells in order that thedr sons and husbands and brothers might have the means of defeating and driving back the foe, and might thereby the sooner return to their loved ones at home. Do you mean to tell me that the women of Canada will not do for their country what the women of Britain and France are doing for theirs? In Britain and France the less essential industries have been cut out. When it is suggested that we cut out less essential industries in Canada, the question is at once asked: " What will your workmen do? You should not stop an industry until you know whether there is work for the men." I submit that, without detriment to any vital interests, we could close up many of the non-essential industries of Canada and relieve the men therein engaged for war work. Canada has not yet got down to this war as the nations of Europe have, and the time has come when we must realize the urgency of the situation and be prepared to deal with it.
France, as the Prime Minister has said, has given one in six of her entire popula-
tion to this struggle. She has poured out her life-blood like water in order that she may defend the homes and liberties of her people. When I was in France they had just received word of the Lille deportations, to which the Prime Minister referred, when the wives and daughters of the French people in the conquered territory were forced from their homes and sent behind the German lines. Do you wonder that there was no talk of peace in France? Do you wonder that every man you met said: " There is only one thing for France, death or victory." The gallant men of France have been inspired by that spirit. I would that in Canada, from the Atlantic to the Pacific, we should all be imbued with the spirit of France, and that, with her, we might cry, "Until death or victory."
The leader of the Opposition has spoken of the splendid fighting qualities of the French Canadians at the front. With every word that my hon. friend says in that respect I am in cordial agreement. No men ever fought better at the front than the men who have gone from the province of Quebec. Shortly after the Somme battle I received a letter from a Toronto officer who had been engaged in that fight. In the capture of Courcelette the battalion that held the apex of the advance was the gallant 22nd from the province of Quebec. A Toronto company went in to relieve them in the midst of the battle, and this officer, who was himself wounded a few days afterwards, wrote me this letter from a hospital:
I would like to tell you about the French Canadians at Courcelette. The official eye witness story is nothing compared to the facts. My company relieved the 2'2nd on the 17th September, and I saw their work and know what they did. No troops, not even the Guards, could have done better. Even if Quebec has been slow in recruiting, the courage and heroism of Colonel Tremblay and his men in that tight atones for a lot. When I relieved him, he had only two officers besides himself and eighty' men left out of his battalion, and they were fighting like devils still.
When this officer returned to Canada for a period of convalescence he related this further incident in connection with that battle. On the 17th of September, or the. morning of the 18th, just as the relief was being made, the Germans started to come over the trenches again. Colonel Tremblay, with but two officers and eighty men left, came to this Toronto officer, after they had been fighting for days there without relief, and asked, if they could not stay with him to see it through again?" That is the spirit of the gallant French Canadian soldiers who have gone across the sea.
We have heard this afternoon of the unity of Canada. I believe Canadian unity is possible, and I ask: How can we achieve Canadian unity? We can achieve it just as our English and French Canadians achieve it at the front-by marching together to a great objective, seeking to serve and to sacrifice together, and if, under this resolution, the sons of Ontario and Quebec go forth to fight for the homes and liberties of Canada, and if they fight and die together on the fields of France and Flanders and mingle their blood in a. common grave, %e men who return to Canada will put an end to racial strife in this country; they will stand together for a -united Canada. We cannot unite by arguing; "we can unite by working together for a great objective in which we all believe. I believe that with the cheerful acceptance of this proposal, with the going forth of the men of Ontario and Quebec, you have started on the course of real and lasting unity; you have started on a course which will bind together the conflicting interests, the different races and ' the different creeds in this country.
Canada stands at the parting of the ways. The situation at the front is, as the Prime Minister has said, grave heyond description. Our boys have fought with a courage and a heroism unsurpassed in history. The generals of the Allied armies on the western .front agree that there is no finer fighting corps on the whole western front than the Canadians. Some go further and say that it is the best. Our Canadian soldiers are giving their lives for us. What are we going to do for them? They went overseas with the pledge and promise of the people of Canada that we would stand by them; that we would back them up; that we would send them reinforcements, that we would not desert them. Are we going to keep our pledge to those gallant men? That is the question you and I must answer at this hour. From the Atlantic to the Pacific throughout the Dominion of Canada there is but one answer in the hearts of the people, and that is: Canada must and will stand by her men to the limit of Canada's power and resources.
The issue may determine our future, our liberties, the cause of humanity, civilization. Each of us has the great privilege, in this critical hour of human history, to make a contribution to the future welfare, not only of Canada, but of the human race. Shall we do it? Shall we do it as men? Shall we do it as our fathers did over a century ago? The German must be defeated.
Right must triumph. The cause of liberty must prevail. Canada will not stain her glorious record; Canada will add a new and glorious chapter to her history; Canada will fight to the last for the sacred cause of liberty, for British freedom, for civilization.
Mr. J. P. MOLLOY (Provencher):
Mr. Speaker, I am sure the House will bear with me for the short time I intend to occupy, as a plain and unassuming member of this House, in order to put in a few simple words my position regarding the resolution now before the House. As one who comes from an agricultural constituency in the Far West, and in the face of the methods that were used by my opponent in the last election and by those who supported him on the very question that we have before us to-day, I fail to understand this sudden right about face on the part of the Government. It appears to me that this is a breach of faith on the part of the Government because men throughout the length and breadth of the land were led to understand that those of our countrymen who followed agricultural pursuits, if they supported the Government, would be exempted and would be allowed to pursue the even tenor of their ways. That statement was made in my county from door to door, and I am sure the same course was pursued in every county in this Dominion. (The people of western Canada accepted the word of the Government; they accepted the word of the Minister of Militia, and I, as a Canadian, knew what the Minister of Militia meant, when coming in from one of the outlying districts I was handed a copy of the Free Press in which the minister was reported as stating that those connected with agriculture would be exempted; that the Government would see to it that they were exempted. The word went out throughout the length and breadth of the land that those men would be allowed to remain at home. On the strength of that statement, what did the people at home do? Farmers, in Manitoba and in other parts of western Canada, .and, I am sure, in eastern Canada as well, mortgaged their very future on the appeal that was made to them as true and patriotic citizens of this country,
I want to say here that every man and woman whom I know in this country is a true and patriotic citizen. Those who could not go to the front, including those who had sent their sons overseas, said: We shall do something for the war. As this Government and as the whole country knows, they prepared to increase production. What has
this Government and every member of it said to the people? Increase production. What did we hear within the last two or three days? We are facing a world famine. There was written by an able citizen, Mr. Ewart, an article whieh was entitled "The World Famine." We know for a fact that, the world over, there is a shortage of food. Practical farmers in western Canada are going to sow the crop, but what are we going to reap? No one knows. But we shall endeavour to reap a crop. What is the first move this Government is making? The people to-day are seeding wheat which is the .first grain sown in western Canada. I would refer every member of this Government to an article in an organ that supported them through thick and thin in the last election. The article is dated April 16, and it gives, a summary of conditions regarding seeding in western Canada. What does it say regarding the labour situation in the province of Manitoba?
Labour supply seems fairly satisfactory; twenty-four .points report "sufficient" ; six report supply "fair," "adequate" or "good"; five points report help very short and remainder "barely enough" or "normal."
What is the report from the province of Saskatchewan?
In regard to labour supply for the land, 35 points reports "sufficient" ; 12 report "short" or "scarce" ; only three points state labour plentiful.
What does the province of Alberta say in regard to the labour situation?
Fiarm labour is given as "sufficient" at eight points, "scarce" at four, and "good" at one.
Every farmer from western 'Canada will bear me out when I say that we are paying a higher rate of wages than we ever paid before. We all .admit that and we are willing to put up with it, because we know that labour is getting scarce. It is also reported on the same page as the article from which I have been reading that although labour is fairly sufficient for seeding there is no provision for the harvest. We all hope the harvest will be an abundant one in the interest of the Allies and of this country. The more bountiful the harvest will be, the greater will be the burden upon the people of this country to harvest it and ship it to the Old Country when that time arrives.
I say it is a mistake for the Government to take the hoys of nineteen to twenty-three years of age from the farm, particularly at this time of the year. Western Canada has d'one its share pretty well so far as this war is concerned, not only
in the matter of production but in the number of men they have sent to the front, and some off their best will never come *back. I say it is taking the people of the country by the throat at this particular time. After all the turmoil of the last election, the thing was simmering down pretty well; it was simmering down in my county at all events, and I said to the people of the county of Provencher: " Abide by the law," as every true citizen would have done. After the promises held out by the Government before the last election I say it is a deception to conscript the farmers no'w. It is not in the interest of the Canadian people to iput these regulations into force and rob the farmers of the help which is now all too scarce. What are we going to do in the fall if we take away the experienced' Canadian boy who can hook up and drive six horses at any kind of work, or the farmer's son who can take hold of the tractor or his father's threshing machine and run it as good as any man? I repeat this is a mistake. There are able men in the Government but I say to them in all common sense they are making a big mistake in pursuing the policy they now propose to carry out. Who else considers it a mistake? A member of the Government; the Minister of Agriculture in 'the plainest words in the English language says it is a mistake. I have known him a long time and have great respect for him. Let me quote from an interview with the Minister of Agriculture which appeared in the Ottawa Citizen of April 17th. It is well worth reading, but I will quote only the last paragraph :
Despite the difficulties, we must produce more food tihan we have ever done before. Set apart all your land fit for growing crops, and (plant *as much wheat as you can. Let me add one word about next year.
He was thinking not only about this year but next year too, which he had a perfect right to do. He goes on:
Plan to bring as much new land on your farm under cultivation for another crop as possible and thus increase your acreage for next year. It will be needed then just as much as .now.
It will be needed more than now (There are other authorities in western Canada besides the Minister of Agriculture, 'with all due deference to him. In the same issue of the Ottawa Citizen there is a statement by Roderick Mackenzie, secretary of the Canadian Council of Agriculture, and a candidate for Parliament for the constituency of Brandon in the last election but
later withdrawing in favour of the Union Government candidate. He says:
The farm labour situation will be affected and production will be interfered with by the new [Military Service regulation. He would not go so far as to say that the new measure would be opposed. He believed it was in the interest of the country that those farmers between the ages of twenty and1 twenty-three who had previously been granted' exemption should be permitted- to remain on the land. It had been shown, he declared, that increased pio-duetion was now a vital factor from the point of view of winning the war. To take these producers from the land would consequently interfere with the policy outlined.
Were the young men to be taken from the land, whait would be the situation in this House to-day? Gentlemen on this side of the House would be on, that side, and gentlemen on that side would be on this side, and nobody knows that better than the practical men from western Canada who are now in the Government. I have lived in the county of Provencher for. forty-one years and have had a little experience mixing with the people, and I know a man in this House-I caught his eye only a moment ago-who said to me during the heat of the last election contest. "The people will not vote for conscription; the farmers are all .against it." The farmers were .all against it, and notw the Government is doing what I said they would do at that time. The farmers were led away by the Government's promises. For my part, so long as I live I will never be led away by the promise of any politician. What arguments did the Government use in the last election? They would go to a man who had two- sons at the front and say: You vote for Union Government and your boy will come home. Then they would go to the other man who had nobody at the front and say: You are a fanner; you vote for Union Government and your boy will stay at home. That was the situation. I have never done anything, nor will I do anything, to interfere with this Government in carrying on the war; I am in this war heart and soul, just as much as any other man, and how could it be otherwise? I say the present policy of the Government is a mistake; there is no occasion for it at the present time. Everybody knows that the situation is desperate, but the Government would do better to follow along the lines laid down by the Tight hon. the leader of the Opposition. The present policy of the Government is simply deceiving-that is the only word to describe it- the people who loyally supported them in the last election. It is tightening the screws on con-
scription more and more, now that they have a big majority. I want to support the boys at the front and I am going to support the war; I have always supported the war. But I say to the Government, in the name of everything that is good try and do something; and I believe there are men in the Government big enough to do something. For God's sake stop dividing the people as you are doing from day to day. A man is now to be branded as a traitor who might have his heart and soul in the war simply for expressing an opinion. I do not question one word in the statement of my hon. friend the President of the Privy Council-, I made the same appeal as he did last November to people to help win the war, and I am willing to do that now. I had hoped this thing had gone by for the time being, and that I could come here and give this Government honest, straightforward and independent support on everything in connection, with the war, but it seems that they want to load it on and load it on from day to day. I disagree with them and I am going to move the following amendment seconded by the hon. member for Prince P.E.I. (Mr. Read):
That all the words after "that" he struck out and the following substituted therefor:
The House regrets that the proposed Order in Council departs entirely from the principle of the Order in Council of December 3, 1917, allowing the exemption of those whose services are essential for promoting agricultural production; and the House therefore declares that the proposed Order in Council should be amended so that it shall provide for the exemption of those who are now actually and effectively engaged and so urgently needed in the production of foodstuffs upon the farms of Canada.
At six o'clock the House took recess.
The House resumed at eight o'clock.
Hon. F. B. CARVELL (Minister of Public Works):
Mr. Speaker, on rising to address the House this evening on what I consider the most momentous question which has ever been discussed in a Canadian parliament, I shall try to confine my few remarks to what I consider the very gist of the question, and in doing so I wish not to hurt the feelings of any person, and yet I must declare the principles which, in my judgment, have actuated the Government in passing this Order in Council and proposing it to Parliament; and when that is done I consider I have performed my duty. I have listened to my right hon. friend the leader of the Opposition (Sir Wilfrid Lauri .Mr Jlollov, 1
ier) in the very reasonable' criticism which he offered to this proposal this afternoon, and I listened also to the argument of my hon. friend from Provencher (Mr. Molloy) who has moved the amendment to the proposed resolution. My right hon. friend claimed., in the first place, that the Government was departing from all the well-recognized principles of constitutional government in Canada in passing an Order in Council of such tremendous importance as the .present one when Parliament was in session. With that statement I have not the faintest quarrel in the world. I realize that such a course has never been adopted in Canada before. I realize that, were this proposal made in peace time, no government would be justified in adopting it. But I could not help thinking all the time my right hon. friend was discussing this matter that he was forgetting the real situation and the real reason why this Order in Council has been passed. He was forgetting the fact that the civilization of the world is trembling in the balance, and there is nothing in this world which will save the situation in France and Flanders except men. My right hon. friend talks about the Prussian militarism of the Government in passing a law to provide-because that is what it amounts to-for the immediate and effective reinforcement of our troops at the front. I am not going into any long dissertation as to the necessity for the reinforcement of the troops. The Prime Minister has given figures which I think ought to convince any one that there is a real necessity for reinforcing Canadian divisions-not so much perhaps for reinforcing them at present, but a necessity which may arise at any time. That necessity may be arising to-night. Mr. Speaker. we have no idea what is going on in that horrible battlefield now; the whole Canadian army corps may be wrapped in a life and death struggle with the Huns; it may be that thousands of our men have been slain to-day, or will be slain to-morrow. But if the Canadian army corps is not in this condition to-night, and will not be in this condition next week, we know the British army has been under the most terrible strain under which any army has ever -been in this world. We know the conditions are so serious that a portion of the French army had to be withdrawn from other spheres of activity and sent to the relief of the British, and we know that was not done without the very strongest reasons imaginable. I do not have to argue with this House, or with any intelligent man or
woman in Canada, as to the necessity for men in this titanic struggle. But without labouring the question, I would like to ask my right bon friend (Sir Wilfrid Laurier) and other gentlemen opposite if there is any difference in the principle between taking the opinion of the House of Commons and the Senate on a resolution, -and taking the opinion of the same bodies by the ordinary circuitous method, of passing a Bill? The only difference I can see is that if the principle of this proposed Order in Council be adopted it will become law to-morrow. If you introduced a Bill in this House it might become law in four weeks from to-morrow. That is all I can say. I cannot see any difference between the House of Commons voting upon a principle of this kind once, and voting on it four or five or six times. That is all it means. Under the ordinary methods of procedure as outlined by my right hon. friend this afternoon, a Bill gets its first reading, its second reading, goes -into committee and comes back for third reading. It then goes to the Senate and goes through the same procedure there, and we know -that, even if we apply closure at every step we take, which the rules of Parliament provide for, it is doubtful if the Bill could become law in three weeks, and it might take four weeks. In the meantime the Canadian army corps may be cut to pieces. "But," they say, "you cannot get the men there for four months." If you lose one month it will be. five months before you get tbem there. Therefore, -as a member of the House of some years standing, as a man who, I think, knows something of constitutional rights and privileges, and one who holds them as dear as any man in Canada, I make no apology, "and I have every justification for the course we are pursuing in taking the opinion of the Parliament of Canada at the earliest possible moment, and getting the men- to the front as soon as we can. Therefore, I do not wish to discuss this any longer. I lay down the principle that the first and only duty of this Government and Parliament is to stand by- the men at the front and to see that they are reinforced and supported in every possible way.
Now we come to the real question at issue, and that is whether or not we are justified in forcibly taking men from the ordinary avocations of life and putting them in the army. We fought out this question a year ago. We spent over two months in this Parliament discussing it, and the Parliament as then constituted declared by a very substantial majority in
favour of the principle, and the people of Canada by an overwhelming majority declared in favour of the same principle when the question was submitted to them a few months later. Therefore, I say that constitutionally this Government has all the justification and all the authority which any Government requires to go ahead and produce the necessary' recruits in the most effective and expeditious manner. But my hon. friend from Pro-vencher (Mr. Molloy) comes in with an amendment, the substance of which is that instead of passing this Order in Council, we should amend it so as to provide that exemption be granted to practically every person who belongs to the agricultural part of Canada: I represent perhaps one of the most complete agricultural districts in the Dominion of Canada. Probably three-quarters of my constituents-I do not know but nine-tenths-are of the farming population. I realize that this Order in Council is going to take many men whose labours will be lost to the farm and whose labours are needed on the farm. What is true of my constituency is true, I suppose, of three-quarters of the constituencies in Canada. I do not doubt for a moment that there will be some dislocation of agricultural labour in Canada. It may be possible that a few farms will not produce as much, on account of this resolution, as they would have produced if the resolution had not been passed. Do not think for a moment that the Government has not canvassed this matter from every possible ' standpoint. Do not think for a moment we did not realize that there might be some dislocations. But every time we discussed it we have been brought back to one proposition-which is required most in the battlefield to-day, men or wheat? If I believed we could not raise wheat if we sent these men, then I would hesitate very, very seriously before I would vote for this resolution; but I want to tell hon. members that the labour possibilities 'of Canada are not nearly exhausted, and I want to tell the hon. member for Proveneher that if we adopted his amendment we would be right back to the condition of affairs which existed in Canada since the month of October last. We started out last October to get 100,000 men by the combing out process, by allowing exemption to very many different classes of people, by allowing people to come forward and say: It is necessary I should remain on the farm, and it is necessary for business reasons, for family reasons, and for one reason or another, that I should be exempted.
The result is that these exemption tribunals have gone on, the appeal tribunals have followed them, and in four months we have not succeeded in getting more than thirty thousand men by the circuitous, cumbersome machinery that was enacted last year. If we go on under the present conditions for four months longer we would not probably get thirty thousand more. Now it comes down to the hard question of expediency. Are we going on with the present method and allow our sons, brothers and friends to be slaughtered at the front, and possibly allow the war to be lost, or are "vve going to act as sane and courageous men ought to act? If it be necessary to sweep away some of the safeguards of the constitution, then sweep them away and get the men; there is no other course to pursue. I take it, Sir, that the man who has not the ability, the man who has not the will, to meet a situation of this kind and meet it with a hand of iron is not fit to hold a position m any government in any country in times of war. My right hon. friend (Sir Wilfrid Laurier) talked about voluntary recruiting, and gave figures for 1917 and part of 1916 to show what had been accomplished by that method. Up to the month of July or August last there was no more warm advocate of the voluntary recruiting system in Canada than I was. I have stated in Parliament, and I repeat now, that, perhaps, there is not a man in Canada to whom the word " conscription " is more repulsive than it is to myself. I wanted to exhaust the recruiting system to the very limit before I decided to differ with my old leader (Sir Wilfrid Laurier), whom I have always loved and have not yet ceased to love. It was one of the most serious situations of my lifetime, and one which comes to few, I am glad to say, in the political life of Canada. Yet, Sir, looking the matter over, realizing that in the "whole of 1917 out of some seventy-five thousand volunteers, less than twenty-five thousand of those were volunteers for the infantry, one could appreciate the seriousness of the situation. You cannot wage this war, or any war, without infantry. We did not get as .many infantry as we lost in the month of November last in the way of casualties. We found that voluntary enlistment had absolutely fallen down as a means of securing the troops we need. Consequently, there is no other way in the world to get men except by the method we are now adopting.
No man regrets to a greater degree than I do the fact that it is necessary to call
upon farmers' sons and take them away from the farms; no man realizes more clearly than T do what that means to the fathers and mothers of these young men; no man, I believe, realizes more clearly than I do, the necessity of having men upon the farms. But I want to tell my hon. friends that if we do not adopt this resolution we would simply be going over and over again along the circuitous route, which has proved such a dismal failure as a means of bringing in men. It has been said by some person, the remark is not original with me, that the Military Service Act as it is now enforced is a splendid exemption Act, but a very poor conscription Act; it has produced something like two hundred thousand exemptions and about thirty thousand soldiers. I want to ask my hon. friends opposite, can we go on and win the war under these conditions? That is all there is to it. Is it better that we leave these young men on the farms, and not only on the farms but in the workshops, and all the different avocations of life in Canada, than do as we propose to do?
My hon. friends are talKing about exempting farmers. That only touches a certain percentage, not a very large percentage either, of the men who will be taken under this Act; and the moment you adopt your system of exemptions in order to exempt the farming class, you will have practically the same results as we have had 'in the past. But, Sir, I am not as pessimistic over the agricultural situation in Canada as my hon. friends opposite seem to be. It has been pointed out this afternoon, and it is within the knowledge of every member this evening, that in France, in England, in all the European countries, people are working upon the farms and producing foodstuffs who never thought of doing such a thing until this war broke out; There is an enormous quantity of labour available for the farmers that has never been touched heretofore. I am not very well acquainted with the conditions in western Canada, and therefore I am not in. a position to personally gainsay the statement made by my hon. friend from Provenoher (Mr. Molloy), but I know something about the conditions in eastern Canada; and I tell my hon. friend that there are hundreds and thousands of men in eastern Canada who can be impressed for work upon the farms if this Government has only enough courage to go on and do it. We have made a start,- and I am speaking now with some sense of responsibility. We have, passed an Order
in Council which makes it a criminal offence, under certain conditions, for men to be unemployed. But the Order in Council hardly goes as far as I would like to see it go. Still, I am always thankful for small favours, and once we have adopted the principle it will not be very hard to extend it. You can go round the city of Ottawa, or the city of Montreal, in fact any city in Canada, and you will find young men attending the moving picture shows in the afternoon, you will find them loafing in the parks, you will find them standing on the street corners, you will find them in all conditions and avocations in life, men who may be taken and impressed for farm service. We are taking a registration of the man and woman power of Canada, and we hope to complete it by the middle of June. Up to the present time y/e have not decided, we have not gone so far as to say these men shall be conscripted to work. We think they ought to be at work. I think, Mr. Speaker, if this Parliament adopts the principle of taking a certain class of men without exemption and putting them into the army to fight, there cannot be very much difficulty in getting the people of Canada and the Parliament of Canada to stand behind us and say that men shall work where they ought to work. I am not laying that down as a settled policy of the Government, I am only giving my own views; but it follows as logically as night follows day. Why, Sir, if a man had said to me four years ago that I would be standing up here to-night advocating the conscription of men to go into the army I would have said he was an arrant fool, and I think that is practically true of every man in this House. But four years of war have produced a wonderful change in the sentiments of members of this House, and a wonderful change in the sentiments of the people of Canada. The people of Canada to-day are prepared to stand for things which they would not have dreamed of standing for four years ago, and they will stand for still more drastic measures inside of four months if the necessity arises. Therefore, I want to give notice here, so far as I am concerned at least-and I think I am pretty well voicing the sentiments of my colleagues and of the supporters of the Government, and, I believe, of the people of Canada-that if it becomes necessary to impress for service on the farm certain people who have not been farmers heretofore, the people will stand by us and the Government will not hesitate to do its duty in order to see that production is increased to .the requisite extent, I am not going
to advocate to-night that women should labour on the farm, although women can do so. Women can run machinery and 'can do many things on the farm that they have not hitherto done. The boys who are attending college can be taken away from those colleges and put on the farms. Young men who are loafing on city streets can be taken and put on the farms; and with all the resources in eastern Canada at least, and with the powers of the Government and the will of the people exercised as, they should be, I have no doubt whatever as to what will take place so far as farming is concerned. Therefore, I have no hesitation in voting against this amendment. I realize that in doing this I am not going to please a great body of my constituents, but I think that my friends around me who are ready to vote for this resolution, feel the same as I do. The time has gone by when any man has any right to consider what may be popular or unpopular. The one great question which every man in this Parliament should ask himself to-night is this: What is necessary in the interests of this country at large; what is necessary in order to see that Canada does her full duty with a view of bringing this [DOT] war to a successful termination?
There are certain duties cast upon a Government in any country in times of stress such as these are; and in addition to that there are certain duties cast upon every good citizen of a country in such times as we are passing through now. I realize, that up to the beginning of this war we had so much freedom in Canada that the ordinary man and woman could not understand or realize what it meant when any of this freedom was taken away from him. We had never been taught war in Canada; we never believed it would be necessary to teach our people their duty in time of war. And, when it became necessary to teach them, I can quite understand that it was hard for them to realize-it is hard for people in Canada today to realize-that the first duty of every citizen in a time of stress and clanger is to stand up for his State. They have been taught differently from that in European countries, and while we all abhor the nece^ sity of it, yet we realize that in Europe for decades they have been taught that when a nation is at war the first duty of every man is to respond to the call of the army. As I said before, I realize that it has taken a good deal of education to beat these things into the heads of the people of Canada, but our people have risen to the occasion, I think, in a manner which calls
for the commendation of every man who gives it serious consideration. When you realize, Sir, that over four hundred thousand men have voluntarily given up their homes and all that is near and dear to them, and have gone into the army ready to make the supreme sacrifice, it proves that there is a splendid public sentiment in Canada, a public sentiment above and beyond what any of us imagined.
But there is no use in trying to hide it. Practically all the men in Canada who were willing to volunteer and take their chances have been recruited. If you want evidence of that, all you have to do is to look around and see what has been done by the remaining people of Canada to evade military service under the conscription law. And I want to say here, as publicly and as forcibly as T can, that the attempts to evade the conscription law are not entirely confined to the province of Quebec. A great deal has been said in this House during the last four weeks about that province. From the figures given here by the Prime Minister this afternoon, we must all realize that the number of Frenchspeaking Canadians who have enlisted is not very great. I am not here to find fault or to criticise; I have not a word of condemnation to say to them. It is a bald fact that stares everybody in the face. But there are thousands and tens of thousands, yes, hundreds of thousands, of people in the rest of Canada who have tried as assiduously as they could to evade military service. Among the farming classes, every device has been resorted to which the ingenuity of man could think of. Men by the score have been practically adopted by their neighbours on the ground that it was necessary to work their farms, and through that have obtained exemption; and the next day these young men have gone away from that farm as if it were a pest house, with no intention of ever returning to it. This thing has gone on in English Canada to my knowledge. I do not believe there is one section where it has not gone on. Therefore I think I ought to say that it is just as necessary that w'e have some method of securing these men in the English portions of Canada as it is in the province of Quebec. It may not gather in as many men-possibly not; but the principle is the same, and the same law that applies to the one will apply to the others.
There are duties cast upon a Government in times like these which no member can refuse to look in the face, and the man who is not willing to look them in the face
and grapple with them had better get out of the Government and hand the duties of government over to some man who has the courage to perform them. We have known this situation since last January. We could see at that time that the Military Service Act was not producing the men required. We have tried to speed it up, have tried to enforce its provisions; we have tried to get men, and have failed to a very great extent. I dare say that, if we went on with all the appeals now pending before the central appeal judge, we might get more men; but we would never get
100,000 men or anything like it. Therefore it became the duty of this Government either to face the situation, or hand it over to men who would face it. We decided to face it. After careful consideration we have brought down this measure. We have placed it before you and we ask you to adopt it. We know there will be criticism in the country; thousands will not like it, there is no question about that. We know it will be as displeasing to many of our followers as it is to many of our opponents. Nevertheless, it is a stern necessity staring us in the face, and we are not going to flinch from it. I nave no doubt whatever but that it will be carried by an overwhelming majority*; I wish it could be made unanimous, I had hoped that it would be carried unanimously. But I will go further, and say that if this measure did not pass in this House, I would not give up the - fight. There are other ways. I would not give in until everything had been done that possibly could be done. Notwithstanding that this measure will not be popular in the country, I would not hesitate to go to the people and ask them to pass, judgment upon it, and I have every faith in the world that the verdict would be as favourable as it was in December last.
Now, sir, I do not think that I should argue the necessity for getting these men. We are all reading the papers every day. There cannot be a man or woman in Canada who is not aware of what has taken place in Europe during the last forxr weeks. On the 21st of March the enemy, after concentrating all the forces which he could possibly draw from the eastern front after the collapse of Russia, after withdrawing all the men possible from the Italian and every other front, made up his mind that he simply had to break through the British line or throw up his hands. And the result i3 that the British army in France and
Flanders has been subjected to the most terrible ordeal which any body of troops has ever been subjected to in history. The most terrible onslaught which human ingenuity could devise has been hurled upon that army. While they have gone back, they have not broken. But it is no use for any man to hug himself and say: "Oh, the British army has always won, and, somehow or other, they will win." They have accomplished wonders, and no man is prouder of his country and nation than I am of mine to-night. There is no man who realizes the perilous situation to a greater extent than I do. If every man in this House and in Canada realized the situation in France as I do to-night, we would not be standing here and arguing as to how we shall get men. When I think of the horrible consequences which would follow if Germany should win, when I realize what would have followed had they succeeded in carrying out their object, and how nearly they did succeed in breaking through, I almost tremble. Do hon. gentlemen realize what would have happened if they had broken through, or if the British and French armies had been separated? The British army would have been forced to capitulate. When the Germans had reached the channel ports and the means of communications between Great Britain and France had been cut off, France would have been forced to surrender also. Do people want German guns in the St. Lawrence river, or German guns along our Atlantic coast, to wake them up to a sense of their duty? That is what will happen if they break through our line. Nothing on this earth can stop them from breaking through that line except men, more men, and still more men. I hope that no one will think that I am drawing upon my imagination in this respect, and trying to make the picture darker than it should be, (because I am endeavouring to present my view as it impresses itself upon me. I do not think that my conclusions are unreasonable; I do not think it is unreasonable to assume that if the Germans do break through, the things may happen which I have suggested to you. And should that be the case, what would be the use of your farms? What would be the use of your property? What in the world matters if that happens? Does any man here want his family and his female relatives subjected to the degradation which has been heaped upon the people of France and Belgium? All these things might happen, and 61
probably would happen, in such an eventuality as I have mentioned.
I know that I shall 'be called an alarmist; people will say that I have tried to scare the public into accepting this measure. I am not doing that; I am simply giving my honest opinion, which I have arrived at after viery careful reasoning; and I think that hundreds of people in Canada, if they speak out their minds, will tell you that they have come to a similar conclusion. I have never been a pessimist. I have always believed that we shall win this war, and I believe so still. But I have always fried to look this matter in the face and to realize what might happen in case we did not do our duty and this war should be lost.
I took the trouble this afternoon to look up a few of the remarks I made in this House on the 27th day of June last, on the second reading of the Military Service Bill. The question under consideration at that time was whether this matter should be referred to the people of Canada by means of a referendum, or whether the Bill providing for compulsory military service should be adopted by the House. When I voted with the then Government and against my own leader and many of my friends, I reasoned the matter out just as I am trying to reason it out to you tonight. I want to read simply one paragraph from my remarks, which will show you that my mind was travelling along the same channel nine months- ago as it is tonight. I said:
Sir, I am not the keeper -of my brother's conscience ; I am the last man in the world to force any other man to vote with me who does not wish to vote with me. I hope I -am big enough to give any man who differs from me the credit of being just as honest in his convictions as I am 'honest in mine. And I have just as much respect for the honesty of the man who declares he will vote for the referendum as I have for my own. But I cannot help asking: Should the referendum be defeated, what then? That Is a question X cannot get around. I do not say it will toe defeated. I do not say that Parliament ought to pass a law if it is sure that in doing so it is going against the will of the people. But again I come back to my first proposition : This country is at war and
must have men; this oountry must go on doing its duty. Again I say: Suppose the referendum is defeated, what then? And, not being the keeper of any other man's conscience, I have no fault to find with the man who says he is willing to take this chance. But so far as I am concerned, I can only say, it is not good enough for me.
These were my considered views nine months ago; they have since then been substantiated, strengthened, and modified- to some extent. I say now that the question is not whether the majority of the people
are in favour of a referendum or of conscription, but, what is the duty of the Government and Parliament in view of the conditions which exist in Europe to-night?
I am willing to brueh aside all my preconceived ideas of constitutional rights in times of peace, and to say frankly and openly that, no matter whether it be popular or unpopular,-I would go so far as to say, no matter whether the majority of the people are behind it or not-it is our duty to go on and get every man we possibly can get without crippling the ordinary affairs of the country. Entertaining these views, my duty is clear, and I hope that I shall be able to convince every man who listens to me to-night that his duty lies along the same path as mine.
A splendid sentiment has been exhibited by the people of Canada. I said a while ago that over 400,000 men had voluntarily answered the call of duty, had gone to the front, and had faced conditions of which no man can have a proper conception unless he has been there to become familiar with them. I regret to say, however, that something else is required in the sentiment of Canada to-day to make it what I should like to see it. Everything is not as lovely as the sentiment expressed by the action of the 400,000 men who voluntarily offered their lives, if necessary, for their country. I am very sorry to say that there is a sentiment throughout the country which does not measure up to that high standard. There are people who have used the war as a means of getting rich to an extent which they had never dreamed of. There are men who come to the Government-" patriots " who want to help win the war, but to win it in some way by which they can make themselves rich-and want everything in the world one possibly can imagine. There are men who come to the Government and want things for which they have no right to ask. There are men who come to the Government without asking for a moment where the money which their proposals involve is to come from. There are men who never consider for a moment what the revenues of the country are or what is the extent of the debt which is being piled up. " Patriots " come to the Government every day who want to build everything from a ship down to the smallest article of commerce, and who want the Government not only to furnish the money to do it with, but the money which will make them rich for the rest of their lives.
While I am on this subject, there is a class of men to whom I want to address my respects to-night, and that is the fMr. Car veil.] .
labouring men of Canada. I know that what I am going to say may not be very popular. I do not wonder that the labouring men of Canada are making a demand for increased wages every day in the week, when their employers are getting rich beyond the dreams of avarice. But I want to say here to-night-I give this not as the opinion of the Government, but as my own private opinion-that no man in Canada is justified in laying down his tools and saying: I will not work at any necessary industry in this country. No man is justified in saying: I will not mine coal; I will not produce steel; I will not run a railroad; I will not do other things necessary in the ordinary affairs of the country. They may have grievances, and those grievances could be remedied; but they should never quit work, nor should the employer ever cause the conditions to be such that they can quit work. I know that this is beyond the question under consideration, but as I am speaking of the sentiment of Canada, I cannot resist the temptation of making these statements. They may not please many people, but they are not made for the purpose of pleasing. They are made with a view to causing a few more people in Canada to think who have not thought in the past. I am sorry to say that thousands of men in Canada to-day have looked upon this war as a God-given opportunity of getting rich beyond their former dreams. I may be saying something which is unpleasant to myself and unpleasant to them, but in doing so it is possible that I may cause some people to think of things to which they have not given consideration before. I hope that the people will rise to the occasion and realize that this is not a time to get rich; that this is not a time to quibble over small things; it is a time when every man, and every woman, and every child almost, should say: What can I best do to play my part in putting Canada in a position to do her full part in winning this war?
I do not wish to say more than I ought to say, nor do I desire to leave anything unsaid which it is in my heart to say to-night. I am sorry that my hon. friend has moved this resolution and that he proposes, as I imagine, to divide the House upon it. If this amendment be carried, we shall simply have the old question of exemptions .tried over again and the whole purpose of the resolution will be defeated.
I hope my friend the right hon. leader of the Opposition (Sir Wilfrid Laurier) will not think me rude if I say to him that I
was disappointed this afternoon at the concluding part of his remarks. It is true he did what I, knowing him as long as I have, realized he would do. He said to the people of his province that they must obey this law. I would have been very much surprised if he had said anything else, but I wish he had gone further and said to his people: Not only is it your duty to obey this law, but it is your duty to come forward without this law. I wish every one of my hon. friends opposite, every one of my hon. friends on this side of the House, and, in fact, every hon. member, would say to the people of his constituency, no matter who they may be: We are living in the greatest crisis this world has ever known; we are living in a time when nothing but the strong arm and the blood of the men of Canada can save the situation; it is not a question of obeying the law when the minions of the law come and take the men, but it is a question of saying to the young men: Turn out like men; do your duty like men; assume the responsibility of citizenship without being compelled to do it; take your share, play the part which the 400,000 men who have gone before have played in this gigantic conflict. I am not given to poetry; perhaps there is less poetry in me than in any other man who has ever lived, but I wish to put on Hansard for the third time a few lines which were written by a soldier at the front, and which were quoted in this House on two former occasions:
Take up our quarrel with the foe.
To you from falling .hands we throw The torch,-be yours to hold it high;
If ye break faith with us who die,
We shall not sleep though poppies grow In Flanders' fields.
I can only say in conclusion: God help the man on whom is cast the responsibility of playing any part in carrying on the Government of this country who breaks faith with the 40,000 men who have given up their lives on Flanders fields, and the 100,000 men who have been wounded and who have gone through pangs which no man can conceive unless he has had a like experience. The responsibility is a terrible one. I have sufficient faith in the people of this country to believe that they will hold the torch on high; that they will not break faith with those men, and I have sufficient faith in them to believe that they will pass this law; that they will nobly and sincerely uphold the Government in enforcing the law. Those men who are enlisted under it will go to the front and add more lustre to the name of Canada. They will make Canada a coun-614
try upon which every man and all our children and children's children will be proud to look back and say: When the terrible stress came, the people of Canada did not break faith with the men who fought and died for them, but they stood up like brave men and fought, and, if necessary, died themselves in order that civilization might live upon the earth.
The House divided upon the proposed
amendment of Mr. Molloy: Yeas. Messieurs:
Bourassa, Lapointe (St. James),
Boyer, Laurier (Sir Wilfrid),
Chisholm, McGibbon (Argenteuil),
Delisle, Marcile (Bagot),
Gauthier, Read (Prince, P.E.I.),
Kennedy, (Queens, P.E.I.),
LanetOt, Trahan, Turgeon, Vien.-70. Nays. Messieurs :
Andrews, Hughes (Sir Sam),
Armstrong (Lambton), Keefer,
Borden (Sir Robert), Bowman,
\ JJUUIUUIUII f ,
Mackie (Renfrew), Maclean (Halifax), McGibbon (Muskoka), McGregor,
McLean (Royal), McQuarrie,
Clark (Red Deer), (Queens, P.E.I.),
Clarke (Wellington), Nickle,
Cowan, Reid (Grenville),
Crerar, Reid (Mackenzie),
Crowe, Sexsmith, .
Douglas (Cape Breton Spinney,
S. & Rich.), Stacey,
Foster (Sir George), Thompson (Weyburn),
Foster (York), Thompson (Hastings),
Fraser, Thomson (Qu'Appelle),
Harrison, Wilson (Wentworth),
Hartt, Wilson (Saskatoon).-
I was paired with the hon. member for South York (Mr. W. F. Maclean). Had I voted I would have voted for the amendment.
Mr. JAMES M. DOUGLAS: I was paired with the hon. member for Compton (Mr. Hunt). Had I voted I would have voted against the amendment.
I was paired with the hon. member for Antigonish and Guysbor-ough (Mr. Sinclair). Had I voted I would have voted against the amendment.