June 27, 1935

CON

Hugh Guthrie (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GUTHRIE:

Mr. .Chairman, while I think my hon. friend from Winnipeg North Centre (Mr. Woodsworth) has wandered pretty far from the item under discussion, I am very glad that he has had the opportunity of discussing this item as he has discussed it. I am glad the opportunity has been afforded him of stating, as clearly as he has stated to-night, that the present strike marchers' movement from the west towards Ottawa is essentially a communistic movement, led by communistic influence and communistic organizations.

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LAB
CON

Hugh Guthrie (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GUTHRIE:

I think probably the organizations to which he refers are those we know as the unemployed association in Toronto, the Workers' Unity League, the Workers' Defence League, the Young Corn-92582-257*

munist League and a number of others the names of which I cannot remember for the moment. There was a time when they openly called themselves communists, but in the province of Ontario the communist society or association was pronounced an unlawful association by the highest courts in the province, and that judgment still stands. So when these communistic leaders reached Ottawa a week or ten days ago they were openly members of an unlawful association.

Altogether apart from that, however, the whole movement eastward has been in defiance, and in rather open defiance, of the law of the land. From information that comes to me-and it comes once a week-I have not a doubt but that the disruption of the camps, of which my hon. friend has spoken to-night, was the result of communistic propaganda. It is the result of the efforts of the Bucks, the Boychuks, the Ewens, the Popovichs and the rest of them. I have known of it for some time; there have been no overt acts in regard to which I could start legal proceedings, but it has culminated in this so called marchers' strike, and the leaders of that striking party are outstanding communists. So I am glad my hon. friend from Winnipeg North Centre has made the matter clear in his speech tonight.

Now the hon. member asks why the strike marchers were not stopped before they reached Regina. This move was organized in the city of Vancouver without notice to anybody; a thousand of them-between eight hundred and one thousand, to be more accurate- boarded Canadian Pacific railway trains one night. There was no force there to stop them. They went eastward through the province of British Columbia, and it was suggested that they should be stopped in British Columbia. There was no force to stop them. They came eastward again to Calgary, and they practically worked their will on that city. They established pickets around the employment bureau; they demanded rights, food, sustenance, and said if they did not get their demands they would help themselves. We had no force there to stop them; we had not taken any steps through the mounted police or the militia. They came eastward again to Regina. At that point both railway companies complained and said they were entirely unable to cope with the difficulty. By this time the number had swollen to some 1,500, recently increased to over 2,000, I believe. The railway constabulary could not cope with the situation. Both railways applied to the government. Both railways applied to the provincial government at Regina

Supply-National Defence

without any result. We thought it was our duty to maintain law and order and to prevent unlawful travel upon the railways of Canada by those strikers in contravention of the clear provision of the Railway Act under which both our railways operate.

When these representations were made to the government the government asked the mounted police to assist in preserving order and in preserving the safety of railway traffic not only for passengers but for employers and for trekkers as well, and to see that railway property was not further trespassed upon. We had to place sufficient of the mounted police at Regina to see that the law would be regarded, and they are there yet. The delegation came to Ottawa, as my hon. friend from Winnipeg North Centre has described, and the demands they made were the demands he has discussed this evening. Following their return to Regina they have announced that they are going to persevere in their effort to reach Ottawa, whether by rail or by highway travel I do not know. At the request of the railways, however, and in the interests of the citizens of Regina and of Canada in general, the mounted police have been instructed to see that the law is maintained and that these men do not come eastward in breach of the law.

As the Prime Minister announced in this house a day or two ago, a camp has been established where they will be fed, housed and oared for in every reasonable way until a final disposition is made of their case in regard to where they will go ultimately. They can go back to the camps whence they came, or there will be no objection to their going to other camps. Those marchers who have homes and desire to return there will be assisted. These things have been made public to the marchers in Regina. A number of them are ready to go to the camp but they are not permitted to do so by the communist leaders. Their baggage has been seized and they cannot get their kits. The office opened for the purpose of arranging to put these men in the camp has been picketed by the communist leaders and their men. That is the situation which obtained in Regina at four o'clock this afternoon. The law will be maintained and the marchers have been notified to that effect. Accommodation is offered to them; they will be fed and housed in the excellent camp established. If they do not go to that camp and persist in breaking the law I am afraid they must take the consequences.

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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

I should like to ask the minister what circumstances have arisen since the time at which the main estimates were presented to .parliament to necessi-

tate the large increases which have been made in these items. As has been pointed out, these additional sums asked for amount to $1,651,000 for militia services; $145,000 for naval services and $1,302,900 for aviation; a total of over $3,000,000 is being asked for in addition to the amounts voted in the main estimates presented to this house some four months ago. Those main estimates showed considerable increases over the appropriations of the previous year and at that time we were told by the minister that the increases were necessitated by the very things which he has stated to-night, namely, the necessity for normal replacements and additions. I should like to know what circumstances have arisen in the last few months to necessitate these large supplementary votes on top of the increased votes in the main estimates. The main estimates for 1935-36 showed an increase over the appropriations of 1934-35 of $117,,136 for militia services, an increase of $28,000 for naval services and an increase of $738,000 for aviation. Those increases amounted to something over $883,000, but the estimates were passed in the belief that they would cover all that was necessary for these services. Instead of that being so, we are being asked to-night to vote not an amount equal to the increases in the general estimates but an amount of over $3,000,000. There must be some explanation for this very large increase. The main estimates for these three services total something like $14,250,000 while these supplementary estimates total over $3,000,000, or nearly one-fifth of the main estimates. What has arisen during the last four months to necessitate an increase of one-fifth over the main estimates?

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CON

Grote Stirling (Minister of Fisheries; Minister of National Defence)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STIRLING:

So far I have been able to give an explanation of only one item, as the discussion has strayed very far afield1 to the relief camps of British Columbia- and the incidents now occurring in Regina. I shall be glad to give an explanation of each of these items as it comes up. The right hon. gentleman asked why I use the same argument to-night to explain these increases as I used before. The reason is that the dilapidations had occurred then and have occurred since. At that time I argued that these buildings, this equipment and these properties of the department should be put in a proper state of repair. When the main estimates were being considered over four months ago the government was not of the opinion that the money should be forthcoming for the degree of restoration which I thought was proper. I continued to press this matter believing that it was .penny wise

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and pound foolish not to keep up the properties as they should be kept up, not to permit the training of the non-permanent active militia and allow it to drop be'low a certain point, and to allow the ships of the Royal Canadian Navy to get into such a condition that subsequent restoration would cost considerably more than at present. The government has seen fit to advance the amount necessary for what can be roughly termed restoration from beginning to end, whether it be material, property or human personnel.

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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

There is one

item here for the permanent force, further amount required, $265,000. What dilapidation has taken place in the permanent force to require that amount?

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CON

Grote Stirling (Minister of Fisheries; Minister of National Defence)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STIRLING:

Are we going to jump

from item to item, or shall we take them all as one general item?

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CON

Raymond Ducharme Morand (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Conservative (1867-1942)

The CHAIRMAN:

Perhaps we had betteT deal with one item at a time.

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CON

Thomas Langton Church

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CHURCH:

If the hon. member for

Winnipeg North Centre (Mr. Woodlsworth) had his way, our defence force would be reduced to the boy scouts and girt guides. I would direct the attention of the hon. member to the fact that awtay back in 1870 and 1885 Canada and' the northwest territories were saved from dislocation by the very volunteers he is criticizing to-night. The city of Toronto furnished the Queen's Own, the Grenadiers and the Bodyguard, the latter commanded by the late Colonel Denison. These men had to march 250 miles through the wilderness and across frozen country, with little else bult dog biscuits and hard tack to eat, in order to save the very territory from which the hon. gentleman comes and avenge the death of that great patriot, Thomas Scott. Let me tell the hon. gentleman that Toronto sent 65,000 men to the great war and 6,000 never returned. They went to fight in a great cause, for freedom and for civilization; many of them are buried in France and Flanders and there are hundreds more in Christie street hospital who will never come out of that institution well. They went to the war to fight for the hon. member and others. Since I first came to this house I hake seen these estimates reduced from $16,000,000 down to about $8,000,000. These militia units are commanded by business men and patriots and quite often they are farced to put their hands into their own pockets in o'rder to provide the necessities for their regiments. But the officers, non-commissioned officers and men

do this gladly for their country. They are just as fond of peace and security and just as opposed to war and militarism as the pacifists in this house and1 out of it, foir whose freedom they fought on land and sea and in the air. Let me say to hon. gentlemen opposite that we do not know where to find the Liberal party on this question of militia estimates. It is a game of ins and outs as far as they are concerned. They do not care a hoot what becomes of the defences of this country. The government has already reduced the militia estimates from fifteen to approximately eight million dollars, and the result has been that the service has been starved. Many of our returned men are suffering to-d'ay; many are dying daily, and thousands are in their graves. Seven men were carried out of Christie street hospital last week-end. The women and children of these seven families are suffering untold privations.

Something has been said in this house about soldier pensions. I have here a return that was brought down to an order of the house, and it shows that the great government presided over by the present Prime Minister has done more for pensions and relief than has been done 'by any government since the war closed. The figures show that Mr. Justice Taylor of the pension commission has settled more oases, that more pensions have been granted on compassionate grounds, and more clothing has been given. There is a vote in the estimates of $500,000 to take care of those on relief and others not otherwise provided for.

I want to say t'o the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre, whose speeches I often read, that we have had sixteen years now of this peace talk, peace agreements, peace pacts, and pacifist talk; we have had four or five international conferences on disarmament, and the net result has been the absolute failure of the open diplomacy policy of Woodrow Wilson. So far as I am concerned I have never been enthusiastic about the League of Nations. They had similar leagues of nations ever since the days of Hannibal and Scipio in the old Roman empire. It was said in the olden days that Rome, Italy and Greece would never lose th'eir supremacy, that Spain and Carthage would never lose command of the sea, but both happened. Let me say to the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre that England to-day has lost command of the sea. I have here the official figures for Great Britain, France, Italy, Japan, United States and Germany, showing the ships of the line, the cruisers, the destroyers, the submarines and aircraft, and without reading all these

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figures I may summarize them by saying that the net result is that England has lost command of the sea as a result of pacifist talk and doings. My hon. friend from Winnipeg North Centre, assisted by some Liberals and Progressives, is very fond of talking pacifism. They look upon anyone in the militia to-day as almost a public enemy. But, Mr. Chairman, the militia is a police foree necessary for the protection of this country. I do not know what is going to happen to Canada, with her little navy and small army, now that England has lost her command of the sea.

While I do not wish to criticize the league unnecessarily because in many ways it has done useful work for humanity, I say now, as I said the other day with respect to the deplorable situation of the league, that it depends upon compromise rather than upon justice. The league refuses to face the facts. It insists on the theoretical equality of all nations, and yet whenever it has had to deal with a problem of first importance it has failed. The League of Nations to-day is reduced to the allies who won the war, France, Italy and Great Britain. It was Woodrow Wilson who started the league, but the United States have persistently refused to join it; Japan has quit it; Italy is ou the verge of quitting it, and so the league to-day is reduced to those allies which won the war. Neither the United States nor Russia will join the league. Japan will not rejoin it. She demands the application of the Monroe doctrine in the far east. So you can see the absolute failure of the very policies which Woodrow Wilson propounded, and those of the pacifists in this house.

Now what have we got in Canada in the way of defence forces to-day? We have practically no defence forces at all in case of trouble. We have even abolished the little bit of a vote we had for the cadet movement. It never was a military movement, but it taught respect for authority, discipline, courtesy aud many other of those manly instincts that go to make a man, but to-day this cadet movement has 'been abolished even in the city from which I come. That in my opinion is a retrograde step. Hon. gentlemen opposite are opposing such institutions for the good of the children as the girl guides and the boy scouts, and many other praiseworthy movements of that kind. Canada's vote for defence is the lowest per capita in the world.

In conclusion I should like to quote a few paragraphs from an article, Sea Power Surrendered, by Captain B. Acworth, D.S.O., R.N., which gives statistics of the naval strength of the great nations of the world. Where will Canada be now if a foreign foe

sails up the St. Lawrence, with our little navy? Our British navy now uses oil from Persia and South America instead of coal, and is dependent on a foreign supply of oil in war, as Captain Acworth says. I quote:

Indeed, this danger is clearly apparent to the government; for has not Mr. Baldwin warned the country that so long as he has any responsibility in the nation's affairs he will not sanction the use of the British navy for blockade without first consulting America? Has not Great Britain taken up the cudgels against our old friend Japan on behalf of the oil combines, though the British Empire contains only two per cent of the oil resources of the world? Has not Mr. Baldwin flatly refused to see a deputation consisting of distinguished admirals, shipowners, and marine engineers who only asked to be allowed to place before him a reasoned case for designing all future ships for alternative coal and oil firing? Has he not expressed the determination of the government, despite all reasoned argument, to retain the British navy on an exclusively oil-fired basis to the exclusion of dual-firing which would place fuel monopolists under the thumb of British sea power instead of the reverse?

So long as British sea power is governed by international influences over which the public, at the present time, has no control, the technicalities of a sound naval policy are therefore irrelevant. _

There was a time when British foreign policy rested upon British sea supremacy. In those days there was an atmosphere of peace about the world which we to-day have every reason to envy.

The chief object of British foreign policy is now, seemingly, the defence of this country without the support of sea-power-a policy called "collective security." So great a change in the British attitude to defence must clearly have an argument, and the argument seems to be the rise of air-power. Some appear to think that sea power can no longer provide security. Others believe that air power is a buttress of sea power which we can afford to diminish if air power is increased. Both these views are demonstrably unsound. To-day Great Britain is more dependent for her food and raw material upon sea transport than at any time in her history. Our ability to pursue our civilized activities, and to defend ourselves, whether by means of the navy, the army, or the air force, is absolutely dependent upon sea-borne foreign oil.

Just fancy an enemy fleet sailing up the St. Lawrence, and Canada dependent on Persia and South America for oil.

The mechanization of the army, and a strengthened air force, make increased, not decreased, demands upon sea transport and sea defence. Yet the government, by subsidy, is encouraging a "scrap and build_ policy" for merchant ships, a cardinal condition of the subsidy being the construction of an "up-to-date" (? Diesel) vessel for every two coal-fired ships destroyed.

We in Canada* are dependent on the British fleet for keepiing open our trade routes and our commerce and protecting our shores, and

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we do not pay a cent of taxes for its upkeep, but the British taxpayer is heavily taxed for that purpose; he pays taxes on his tea and sugar and many other commodities to protect our shores while Canada sponges on the British taxpayer for defence and for maritime freedom. Let me say to the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre that the volunteers who went to the west in 1870 and again in 1885 tried to get a small vote of $1,000. As a child I saw them going to the Northwest rebellion. And long afterwards an effort was made to have a plaque put up in Queens park to these veterans of 1870 and 1885 and their application w'as refused:. It was not the fault of this government. They were also refused a small grant to send the survivors of that little force from Halifax and Montreal out to Winnipeg where they fought to save this country, and that section of the country represented by the horn, member. I can tell the hon. gentleman that I heard1 the same speeches away back in 1910, 1911, 1912 and again in 1913 and 1914. I heard the same speeches at the time of the South African war. But facts must be faced, and we cannot sponge on the mother country so far as our defence is concerned.

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IND

Angus MacInnis

Independent Labour

Mr. MacINNIS:

Will any of the work carried out under this item be done by relief labour on the basis of twenty cents a day?

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CON

Grote Stirling (Minister of Fisheries; Minister of National Defence)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STIRLING:

No.

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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

I do not think I could better illustrate what I should like to say in reference to these estimates as a whole than by the observations made by the minister on this particular item. The first item under National Defence is engineer services and works, further amount required, S400,000. This is a supplementary item that has come in since the main estimates were presented four months ago. The total amount asked for in the main estimates in connection with engineer services for 1935-36 was $297,500, which was exactly the amount voted in the previous year. If in 1934-35 $297,500 was enough, and inasmuch as the government in its main estimates asked for the same amount this year, surely it was not treating the house fairly or taking the house into the confidence of the government, as it should have been in respect of supply, not to have told us that when the supplementary estimates were brought down we should be asked to vote an amount twice as large as we were voting in the main estimates. If the minister can give a satisfactory explanation I will not press the matter; but to ask this house to

pass, for engineer services and works, $297,500 in the main estimates and get it through on the understanding that the government was not asking for more than was voted the previous year, and now to come in with supplementary estimates and ask for $400,000 as a further amount required, is simply not treating the house as it should be treated in the matter of supply.

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CON

Grote Stirling (Minister of Fisheries; Minister of National Defence)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STIRLING:

I am sure the right hon.

gentleman was in when I gave the explanation. He must have heard that $150,000 was for the arrangements at Rookcliffe of which he knows, and which were entirely new and separate from the main estimate. I have told him the reason why in my opinion it was necessary to lay further figures before the government with regard to dilapidations in buildings, and I have told him why I put forward a request for further money for the citadel of Quebec after my visit of inspection there and seeing the extent of the damage. If these explanations are not sufficient to convince the right hon. gentleman, I have nothing more to say.

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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

They are not sufficient, because my hon. friend now says that out of the $400,000, $150,000 is required for Rockeliffe and something for the Quebec walls. Assuming that $50,000 is required for the Quebec walls

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CON

Grote Stirling (Minister of Fisheries; Minister of National Defence)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STIRLING:

Seventy thousand.

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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

That makes

$220,000, and the item is for $400,000. There is an extra $200,000, all but $20,000 unaccounted for by the explanation. It is therefore not satisfactory.

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CON

Grote Stirling (Minister of Fisheries; Minister of National Defence)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STIRLING:

Let me repeat. The

right hon. gentleman was in his place when I read every item of the $400,000 and he asks me now to repeat them.

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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

No, he did

not read every item.

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CON

Grote Stirling (Minister of Fisheries; Minister of National Defence)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STIRLING:

I beg your pardon, I

did.

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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

He read a

number of items but he did not give the figures.

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June 27, 1935