May 22, 1922

LIB

James Murdock (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Hon. JAMES MURDOCK (Minister of Labour) :

Mr. Speaker, there were some other telegrams and letters marked " personal " or " private," which I showed to the hon. member for North Winnipeg (Mr. McMurray), and I asked him if it would be proper and necessary for the purposes that he had in mind, to make those telegrams or letters public. He suggested to me that such as were brought down would be entirely sufficient. But I shall be indeed glad to let my hon. friend see the entire file, including those to which I have just referred, if he desires to do so.

_PRIME MINISTERS' CONFERENCE

On the Orders of the Day:

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LAB

Joseph Tweed Shaw

Labour

Mr. J. T. SHAW (West Calgary) :

Mr. Speaker, I should like to ask the Prime Minister if he would be prepared to fix a date for a full discussion by this Parliament of the report of the proceedings of the last Imperial Conference.

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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Liberal

Hon. W. L. MACKENZIE KING (Prime Minister) :

Mr. Speaker, I think the subject is one of sufficient importance to have it fully discussed in the House, and the Government will be pleased to arrange a time; I cannot say, at the moment, just when.

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COOLIE LABOUR ON BRITISH SHIPS


On the Orders of the Day:


LAB

James Shaver Woodsworth

Labour

Mr. J. S. WOODSWORTH (Centre Winnipeg) :

Mr. Speaker, according to the

May number of the Official Journal of the Marine Engineers of Canada, I notice that British ships manned by coolie crews are engaged in coastwise port traffic on the Atlantic seaboard. In view of the discussion and the resolutions which were passed the other night in this House on the orien-

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tal question, I should like to know if the Government will take steps to protect Canadian seamen against the unfair competition of coolie labour on board British ships engaged in coastwise trade.

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LIB

Ernest Lapointe (Minister of Marine and Fisheries)

Liberal

Hon. ERNEST LAPOINTE (Minister of Marine and Fisheries) :

The matter has been engaging the attention of the Department of Marine and Fisheries, and steps are being taken to meet the views of my hon. friend.

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NAVAL SERVICE


The House again in Committee of Supply, Mr. Gordon in the Chair: Naval Service-To provide for the maintenance of the Royal Canadian Navy, $1,500,000.


PRO

Edward Joseph Garland

Progressive

Mr. GARLAND (Bow River) :

I believe, a year ago last December, there was a balance of some $115,000 due from the New Brunswick Roller Mills in connection with the sale of the Niobe. Has that balance yet been paid?

Hon. GEORGE P. GRAHAM (Minister of the Naval Service) : The situation is this. The Niobe and two submarines were sold for $135,000; $20,000 was paid and the balance remained. The Government took action against the purchasers to recover the balance due; but discovered, through the Justice Department, that there was not much to be realized, and that the best thing they could do, acting on the advice of that department was, as some say, to run to cover. As a result the department got back the Niobe, $5,000 in money, and the amount of costs. The Niobe was advertised for sale by auction recently and sold for some $41,000.

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LIB
LIB

George Perry Graham (Minister of Militia and Defence; Minister of the Naval Service)

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM:

A cheque has been received for it.

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PRO
LIB

George Perry Graham (Minister of Militia and Defence; Minister of the Naval Service)

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM:

To an American firm, H. B. Hintner's Sons Co., I believe.

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PRO
LIB

George Perry Graham (Minister of Militia and Defence; Minister of the Naval Service)

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM:

I cannot answer offhand; I will get that information and submit it later.

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PRO

Edward Joseph Garland

Progressive

Mr. GARLAND (Bow River) :

I have that information available. The original cost was $1,200,000. Do I understand that the total amount received by the Government for the Niobe and two submarines was $60,000? i

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LIB

George Perry Graham (Minister of Militia and Defence; Minister of the Naval Service)

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM:

It was $66,000 odd.

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CON

Thomas Langton Church

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CHURCH:

I contend that the fleet units should be kept up and toe increased from year to year. At all events, nothing should be done, until after the next Imperial Conference, that might tend to its disintegration. It is true that a Disarmament Conference was recently held in Washington, the object of which was to reduce arms and create a naval holiday. But it will he remembered that Mr. Harding's policy, and that of the Republican party in the last American election, was one of opposition to the League of Nations. On every platform of the United States they .voiced their opposition to the League, and although after their election public opinion forced that government to summon a new conference, the one recently held at the American capital, the American shipyards have nevertheless 'been kept busy. The conference at Washington declared a shipbuilding holiday, but so far as Canada is concerned there was no necessity for this: Canada has always enjoyed a maritime holiday. She has been content to sponge on the hard earnings of the British taxpayers, who have had to pay heavy taxes on sugar, bread, coffee, tea and all sorts of other necessities in order to maintain a navy to protect our shores. Now, while the conference at Washington recommends a curtailment in the building of capital ships of war, this does not prevent President Harding's administration from going on with the construction of a merchant marine. And after all is said and done, as I pointed out the other night, the merchant marine has always been the backbone of British maritime strength, from the days of Drake and Frobisher and Hawkins down to the present time. There is nothing in the recommendations of the Washington conference to prevent the people of the United States from launching a great shipbuilding policy and building as many merchant marine ships as they please. And they are doing so. You go down the New Haven and Hartford road, passing through all the towns from Boston to New York, and down the Atlantic seaboard, and at every seaport you will find shipbuilding plants, which were closed for some time

they were formerly war plants-but are, most of them, now busily engaged executing orders both from private individuals and from the government. The object is to supply a fleet of merchant ships that shall carry the American flag into the seven seas to secure trade for that country. They are spending millions of dol-

lars in expanding the merchant marine, in the hope that eventually, notwithstanding the sentiments or the recommendations of the conference at Washington, they may out-distance the British merchant marine fleet, to which this Empire owes so much. I tell you, Mr. Speaker, that we are living in a fool's paradise, so far as that conference is concerned. The world has witnessed similar conferences before. Such conferences have been held at various times in the last hundred years; they were held in Gladstone's day; and they have always failed to a greater or less extent of their purpose. We need not, therefore, be over sanguine as to the efficacy of the latest assembly at Washington. Take the Genoa conference, again. What hopes can we entertain in respect of it when we think of the secret treaty between Germany and Russia. Russia to-day has a million and a quarter men mobilized and she is in a warlike mood. The conference at Genoa has virtually failed, and the outlook in Europe is far from reassuring today. As one leading French statesman said the other day, as reported in the various newspapers, war is as imminent to-day as it was immediately prior to August, 1914. I want to emphasize as strongly as I can the inadequacy of the present vote. I think the Government should at least retain the fleet unit they now have as it has been.

At the Naval College at Halifax there are forty cadets now undergoing training. In a couple of years' time they will have graduated, and what is to become of them then? What also of the forty who have graduated now on our fleet unit? What is to become of the college itself? I should like to see that college continued and the fleet unit maintained until another Imperial Conference is held at any rate. Talk about economy! We shall pay up in millions a little later for our folly in reducing this vote. It will prove to have been no economy at all.

Now perhaps the Government will inform the committee, with whom they consulted in framing their policy. Have they consulted the British Admiralty? Have they even consulted their own experts? If so, where are the written reports? Who is responsible for the recommendation to reduce the vote from $2,500,000 to $1,500,000? I do not see how it is that this is the only department-that of defence-that is singled out for a forty per cent or fifty per cent reduction. Is this an honourable policy? Is it, indeed, a justifiable policy?

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Are we to go back a hundred and fifty years to a Crown teolony status and (be dependent on the army and navy of the Mother Country in time of trouble? Are we going to continue to sponge on the British taxpayer? If so, it is a most humiliating position for this country, especially in viefr of what Canada did in the great war.

New Zealand and Australia have coordinated their naval policies, and to-day they have real, effective navies instead of a few fish trawlers. Following the example of those dominions, I think fit would be a good thing to ask the British Government to have Admiral of the Fleet, Lord Beatty, make a report on the naval defence of Canada so that it may be available for the next Imperial Conference.

I am very much disappointed with the policy of the Government because had they continued the policy of building up a fleet unit we would obtain some tangible results. It has been said that, as an Empire, we came into being by the sea, and that we cannot exist without the sea. The sea is His, and He made fit. Great Britain, as we all know, is primarily a maritime nation, and I think it will be generally agreed that Canada, with her 6,000 miles of coast lines on the Atlantic and Pacific, should also be, and is to a great extent, a maritime nation. She leads in rowing, canoeing, yachting, fishing and lumbering, but what opportunities do the Government propose to give our young men who excel in aquatic sports and would brake good sailors, to develop themselves as mariners so that in peace or war the country could rely on them, to man its merchant marine and its navy and fleet units? The only opportunities are in the shape of a couple of weeks' drill in fire halls or armouries each year! I disagree absolutely with this policy, for it cannot possibly be of any use to us. I venture to say that those landlubber, three-weeks-trained young men, on their first ocean trip, would prove toy sailors, and get seasick, and many in that time would be unable to even swim a .stroke. They would be quite unsuitable to man the magnificent fleet of our First Lord of the Admiralty.

Last week the hon. member for Assini-jboia (Mr. Gould) said the next war would be fought in the heavens above. I do not agree with him; I thfink the next war will be fought in the earth beneath. But apparently Canada's First Lord of the Admiralty is under the impression that the .next war will be fought among the fishes in the waters under the earth. This magnificent toy fleet of his, which is to be maintained at a cost of 17 cents per capita, will be a myth, so far as any effective defence for our shores goes: it may, however, keep a few fish in order.

The Prime Minister said that his Government was prepared to continue the naval policy of Sir Wilfrid Laurier of 1910. In that year the Liberal party moved the following amendment in the House of Commons to the naval resolution proposed by the Borden Government:

This House regrets to learn the intention of the Government to indefinitely postpone the carrying out by Canada of a permanent naval policy.

It is the opinion of this House that measures should he taken at the present session to give effect actively and speedily to the permanent naval policy embodied in the Naval Service Act of 1910 passed pursuant to the resolution unanimously approved by this House in March 1909.

This House is further of the opinion that to increase the power and mobility of the Imperial navy by the addition by Canada under the above act of two fleet units, to be stationed on the Atlantic and Pacific coasts of Canada, respectively, rather than by a contribution of money or ships, is the policy best calculated to afford relief to the United Kingdom in respect to the burden of Imperial naval defence, and in the words of the Admiralty memorandum, to restore greater freedom to the movements of the British squadrons in every sea and directly promote the security of the Do-minions; and that the Government of Canada should take such steps as shall lead to the accomplishment of this purpose as speedily as possible.

That could be done under the act of 1910. I am informed that it is the intention to construct three battleships under his bill. If hon. gentlemen or the government of the day wanted four or five, they could build them wherever they pleased under the act of 1910.

Further on he says:

No disunion; the Admiralty and House of Commons all one in defence of the Empire; that is the position in which we should be today.

Again he says:

Under the Laurier Act of 1910 provision was made for the training of men on board training ships, and in naval schools and colleges, so that the ships, as soon as constructed, would be prepared to go to sea and fill their place in the naval defence of Canada and the Empire as the case might be.

That was the policy of the Liberal party. In conclusion he states the principles of . the Liberal party in the .matter of naval defence as follows:

It stands for the defence of the Empire, from Australia to the Pole. Not on the North sea alone, hut on every sea where the British flag floats in time of danger.

iSecondly, we stand for as many battleships of the most modern type as are required; at any rate to the limit of our resources.

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Thirdly, we stand for a permanent Canadian navy to guard our coast and trade routes and commerce with Great Britain, and all other nations at peace with the Empire.

Fourthly, we stand for the construction of a navy and shipyards, using for that purpose the product of Canadian industry and building it by the industry of our people.

Fifthly, we stand for the training of our own seamen in naval schools and colleges, and on board training ships, so that when our ships go out to sea they will represent Canadian blood and bone and flesh, and sentiment.

Sixthly, we stand for placing our ships at the disposal of the King in case of emergency, or at any tijne, at the expense of Canada, and not at the expense of the British taxpayer.

The leader of the Liberal party in the Senate argued in favour of contribution; and if ever there was a time when we should make a contribution, it is here and now. Canada owes it to the Mother Country and its magnificent fleet-that the awful horrors of war were not visited upon our own soil and that the war did not cost us many millions more than it did. Sir George Ross says further:

Our hearts, hopes and money to go with the ships wherever they are called to fight for the integrity of the Empire.

Seventhly, we stand for co-operation with His Majesty's dominions beyond the sea in forming one solid phalanx if need be, with all the powers they represent, in the defence of Britain for the peace of the world.

Eighthly, we stand for unity and defence if the emergency arises, and we do not propose to question the wisdom of the Admiralty as to how or where that emergency has arisen, or with whom or why we are called upon to fight for the Empire. If you can get any better foundation, I will go with you, and I will stand on a stronger platform than any own if you build me one. We want to be in the strongest position and we want to do that in perfect independence.

Where does the Liberal party stand to-' day? By their seventeen-eent-a4iead policy they have discarded the eight planks laid down by Sir George Ross which I have just read.

In conclusion, Mr. Chairman, I may say that the people of Canada are disappointed and humiliated by the attitude of the Government of the day. It has been stated that we are a nation; but notwithstanding the great part taken by Canada in the war, notwithstanding the status which we are supposed to have attained, in the matter of naval policy we are going back to the state of affairs which existed one hundred and fifty years ago-Canada-a so-called nation-is to continue to sponge on the British taxpayer and, through the action of the Government in this matter, is reverting to the position of a Crown colony.

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CON

Horatio Clarence Hocken

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. H. C. HOCKEN (West Toronto) :

Mr. Chairman, I do not flatter myself that anything I can say will change the policy of the Government. At the same time, I think it is my duty to voice a protest against the reduction that has been made in the naval estimates. There can be no doubt whatever that the amount put in last year was the absolute minimum to be 4 p.m. of any service whatever, to be of *any value in keeping a naval organization of some small degree of efficiency. The Government have thought it wise to reduce the appropriation to the point where practically no reasonable result can be obtained. Now, sir, if' they were wiping out the naval appropriation altogether, there might at least be some ground of economy upon which they could argue; but what they have done is to make an appropriation for an expenditure of a million and a half which can produce no result whatever. Two or three trawlers out on the Pacific and two or three trawlers on the Atlantic, with a torpedo boat, is to be the naval establishment of this country for the next year. I do not believe, Sir, that this meets with the approval of the people of Canada. I know how anxious the people of this country are for economy; I am as keen as any member of the House to reduce the expenditure; but I think that at a time like this there should be some appreciation of our duty in the matter of providing for the defence of Canada and of showing a desire not to continue to lean entirely upon the navy of the Mother Country.

In discussing this question the other night the right hon. leader of the Op'po-sition (Mr. Meighen) made a remark which indicated that, in his mind at least, the state of affairs existing throughout the world was not such as to justify our dispensing with the little degree of efficiency that we had in our naval service. I want to read to the committee the opinion of a man who ought to be a competent authority on that particular subject. When Right Hon. Lloyd George reached London yesterday he presented a picture of Europe which must make every man harbour a fear of the possibility of another outbreak on that continent; and if that is the case, surely it behooves us at a time like this not to wipe out the effectiveness and efficiency of the naval establishment that we have, hut, if anything, to increase it. Mr. Lloyd George, referring to the Genoa Con-

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ference and to the Hague Conference which is to be held, said:

You must remember that a few weeks ago there were armies massing on frontiers extending over thousands of miles with every evident intention of marching against each other, and the whole centre of Europe was in a state of fear and trembling because they were expecting the march of these armies and a renewal of the terrible conflicts of the last few years. By the Genoa conference the march of these armies has been arrested, and I believe that an order will never be given for a single battalion to go forward.

Let me draw your attention, Mr. Chairman, to the fact that the march of these armies has been arrested for a period of eight months. That is all that any nation in Europe is committed to do; and if that was the state of affairs two months ago; if all they have been able to do by a conference of two months is to enter into an armistice or a truce for eight months, I think we must regard the situation as one of very great seriousness'-certainly one which does not justify this country in destroying what . little naval establishment we have.

I am not a militarist, Mr. Chairman, but I hope I am a self-respecting citizen of Canada who is prepared to do his part in defending his country; and I believe that is the attitude of the people of this country generally. For that reason I believe they will not be content with the appropriation which has been made, and the plans which have been outlined, for carrying on our small naval operations. It is not a question of economy, because I think I can convince the committee that more money is being expended in ways that are entirely unnecessary than has been cut off these estimates.

My hon. friends to the left, a short time ago, went down to the city of Quebec. I do not know who was the personal conductor of that expedition, but I understand the purpose of it was to convince those hon. members that an expenditure of a million and a half for improvements to Quebec harbour was a wise and necessary expenditure. Well, I was greatly interested upon their return from Quebec to hear one of these hon. members stand up and say he did not at all approve of extending the facilities there, because the existing facilities were sufficient to handle twice the amount of business that was done last year or that will be done this season. I point out there a wasteful expenditure of at least a million and a half of dollars on the harbour of Quebec. I have no objection to an expenditure of $5,000,000 on the harbour of Montreal, because I believe that additional facilities, especially for loading and unloading, are required there. I think that, perhaps, is an expenditure that can be justified and which is reasonable in its character, but why this House should spend a million and a half dollars on unnecessary work and cut a million and a half of dollars off the naval estimates is something I cannot understand and something, I think, which will not be justified by the people of this country. We must either make it plain that we are going to adopt efficient action, or else do nothing at all. It cannot be argued that this reduction has been made on the score of economy. I want to make my protest against wasteful expenditures of the kind alluded to and the cutting off of necessary expenditure such as we find here in this particular branch of the service. As my hon. friend from North Toronto (Mr. Church) said a few moments ago, there has been a large amount of money spent, and a very large organization created, in this country for the development of any naval talent, or desire for naval service, that may be latent in the youths of the country. That work has been accomplished by voluntary contributions and expenditure. In many points in Canada the Navy League is developing what talent or inclination there may be for naval service among our boys, and they hope to direct that talent or inclination to the service of the country. What inducement is there for them to go on and spend money collected from private sources on a service of that kind if we are going to cut out and destroy the naval establishment we have had in the past? I submit, the Government is making a great mistake; and they will be apprised of that in an unmistakable manner by the Canadian public when the time comes. I want to join my hon. friend from North Toronto in registering a protest against the destruction of the naval service of this Dominion.

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May 22, 1922