Mr. D. D. McKENZIE (Cape Breton North and Victoria) :
Mr. Speaker, I propose to speak on the subject of the Budget, I must say at once .that I do not pose as a military critic, nor did I have any expectation that we were going to fight the war over again, and that all the breeze' and enthusiasm and eloquence which during the war served their purpose for the Government were to be rehashed and revamped
this afternoon by the Minister of Militia (Mr. Guthrie). Let me assure the minister that if there is any patriotic assistance necessary for any soldiers in this country, the Opposition is just as anxious as he is to meet their views and their just demands. Can anything be more ridiculous, Mr. Speaker, than the idea that this vote of eleven odd millions which is in the Estimates for the purposes of militia is going to be a godsend to the wives and children and homes of the soldiers of this country? It is not the intention of the vote; such an end cannot possibly be accomplished by it. Now, what judgment are we to pass upon the speech of the hon. Minister of Militia? It is not necessary for the purposes of the militia vote; it has nothing to do with it. It is simply an attempt to throw, dust into the eyes of the returned soldiers and make them believe that the Government is in the right while the hon. member for Shelburne and Queen's and the leader of the Opposition are proceeding in the opposite direction. But nothing of the kind has happened so far as hon. members on this side are concerned as regards assistance to the returned soldier. Let hon. gentlemen opposite read the resolutions that are being sent to them from time to time by returned soldiers, resolutions that are being passed by associations of war veterans all over the country. The last resolution of that kind was passed, I think, by the veterans' organization for the whole of Canada, met in conference in some central city-a resolution calling upon the Government to resign and to let competent men administer the country's affairs. I suppose this strong speech this afternoon is for the purpose of telling the returned soldiers who are passing these resolutions that there is still some kick in the old horse and that something is going to be done.
I do not propose to follow the enthusiastic eloquence of the hon. minister. But could anything be more absurd than for sane men, men who are of age, to be sitting in this House on this beautiful May afternoon discussing expenditures upon war material and war operations in Canada as compared with those of the republics of South America, for instance? Could anything be more ridiculous? We are not an independent nation. We are not defending ourselves against the outside world. Is the Prime Minister or the Minister of Militia prepared to say that we are going to start an expenditure in this country for the purpose of defending ourselves against
our neighbours to the south? Will nine millions of people arm themselves to protect their country against 110,000,000 or 120,000,000 people? Is that what we are called upon to do? Nobody would think for one moment of such a thing. Does the Prime Minister or the Minister of Militia think that the fact that we live alongside a splendid, civilized, God-fearing, law-abiding nation counts for nothing at all? Must me make the same expenditure on armaments, take the same steps for the purpose of protecting our homes, as if we lived down among the Hottentots, in the wilds of South Africa? If that is the theory that is put forward by the Minister of Militia, I assure him that the sound, sensible people of Canada think differently. They are going to take advantage of the fact that they live alongside the class of people that I have just described. We have lived in peace alongside the United States for more than a hundred years, and we want to continue that situation. We do not want to start any trouble between ourselves and our friends across the line or elsewhere by showing that we are spending millions every year upon armaments. Will any member of the Government say that our military expenditures and our military preparations are anything but supplemental to those of the Mother Country and the other dominions? That is the attitude which wie have always taken; that is the attitude which we take to-day. When the Mother Country is in danger, when she declares war, we are with her, just as Australia, New Zealand and South Africa and all parts of this great Empire are with her. It is not my understanding of the sentiments of the people of this country that we are to keep up an army and a navy so far as that will make us an independent nation and enable us to fight against our neighbour to the south of us -if such a ridiculous and absurd condition could possibly be conceived. Sir, when the people of this country look for cheaper food, cheaper clothing, cheaper supplies for the maintenance of their families; when they crave for work to enable them to earn the moneys that they require, the Minister of Militia tells them: "We have nothing to offer to you; we have xio public works for you; the factories are closed. You who have no bread for your children; you who need clothing for the members of your families; you who cannot sleep at night because of the troubles which beset you-you must bear
in mind that the percentage of the cost of armaments to revenue in Canada is less than it is in Brazil. That is what you may feed your children with; that is the consolation the Government has to give you." Sir, it is not necessary to argue that the people of Canada to-day are thinking more of the necessities of life than they are of military matters. I do not think I should occupy any further time in following up these comparisons. Our idea is to get clear of expenditures of this kind so far as we possibly can. Only a few days -ago the ex-Prime Minister, the right hon. member for King's (Sir Robert Borden) delivered an address in this House on constitutional law and constitutional history, on the relations which should exist between one country and another, and on some of the effects of war. And what did he say? He rebuked the Government by saying that the aim should be to drop all appearances of keeping up a military force in this country; that we should come back to peace and harmony and- brotherhood. That, I imagine, should be a sufficient answer to the Government for the policy which they are pursuing in military matters. The right hon. member for King's was in charge of the country's affairs during the war and was familiar with all its phases and all the relations which it brought about as between nations-more familiar with them, perhaps, than either the present Prime Minister or the Minister of Militia. We on this side may not always be willing to follow the right hon. member for King's, but I think this is one case in which the people are quite willing to accept his advice. Let us live as peaceably as we can; let us make as little military expenditure as we can; let us get back as quickly as possible to the happy times of pre-war days. Why did thousands of our boys lay down their lives upon the battlefields of France and Flanders if not to establish peace and harmony in this country and forever to down the dragon of war?
If we are to keep up this warlike spirit after the war is over, if no fruit is to be obtained as a result of those sacrifices, we have, to my mind, largely in vain sacrificed the lives of our boys. Nobody need preach to me any higher ideals of our soldiers than I have; and if the day comes, if ever it comes, when it is necessary for this House to give proper recognition to the way in which it appreciates and values the services of those men, I am sure hon. gentlemen on
[Mr. McKenzie. 1
this side will not be found lacking in expressing in a tangible way the manner in which they understand their responsibilities and duties in that regard. I do not take kindly to the lecture which was handed out to us this afternoon by the Minister of Militia and Defence (Mr. Guthrie), as if it was necessary to preach a gospel of that kind to hon. gentlemen who sit on this side of the House.
Leaving the military business at that, I wish to refer briefly to the first part of the speech of the minister in connection with the Budget. He pointed out the same old fallacy, which has been preached to us for the last number of years, that the Government has a surplus. Can anything be more absurd than to say that we have a deficit of nearly $200,000,000, and at the same time to tell us that we have a surplus? I do not know, nor can I understand, where that surplus comes from. On the face of the figures, which are as plain as they can be, we have a deficit of nearly $200,000,000, but at the same time we are told iby the Minister of Militia that we have a surplus.
Subtopic: REVISED EDITION. COMMONS