Mr. F. D. MacKENZIE (Neepawa):
Mr. Speaker, as very often happens when a question is before this house, after several members have taken part in the debate there is
very little to be said. It is not my intention to try to bring anything new into the discussion, but rather to emphasize and stress an idea already put forward.
In my opinion the first and third parts of the resolution have received more consideration than they deserve. The Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) I think disposed of these completely. The second part of the resolution contains the germ of an idea which has some merit of a very practical kind. However, the wording of the resolution is too all-embracing, so much so that it defeats its own purpose. I think the
resolution should read something like this:
That, in the opinion of this house, legislation should be placed on the statute books of Canada ensuring that on the outbreak of war, in which Canada was engaged, Canadian citizens should not profiteer at the expense of their country.
Perhaps it could read something like this:
That legislation should be enacted committing the country to the principle that should Canada ever be called upon to fight, either in defence of her frontiers or for other reasons, all the resources of the country such as men, money and material should be mobilized in a national scheme.
It could be put shortly as follows:
If and when Canada goes to war, all the country's resources shall be nationalized.
In my opinion a resolution in the terms of the last one I have read would merit support.
When we returned to Canada from the last war there was a general feeling among the boys whom I knew that the conscription of wealth and labour, as well as of men for fighting, should be the basis of any arrangement for Canada entering another war. This opinion has become more general; as time has gone on I have found that more people support it. It is supported also by editorials in the press. From my own observations I have come to believe that the view is now very widely held that if Canada is forced into another war or undertakes another war, there must be a conscription of men and money.
This opinion is being expressed not only on the streets, in the clubs, and in the editorial columns of our newspapers, but by organizations of various kinds. Resolutions in support of this principle have been passed by organizations of province-wide strength. I hold in my hand a copy of a resolution passed by such an organization. I refer to the United Farmers of Manitoba, an organization which has always stood for sane, progressive and forward policies and which has
Foreign Policy-Mr. MacKenzie (Neepawa)
always shown a careful, intelligent and conscientious leadership. This is no wild, irresponsible group of radical agriculturists; it is a body made up of men possessing keen minds and sound judgment. And generally speaking they are all peace loving men. On November 27, 28 and 29 a provincial conference of this organization was held at Neepawa. I should like to quote briefly from a resolution adopted at that meeting dealing with this very matter. The debate thereon was very interesting and in my opinion compared quite favourably with the debate we have just, listened to on this resolution. I listened to men whose voices in years past had been heard and heard with effect right here in this chamber. Two findings of more than ordinary importance were agreed upon and embodied in a resolution. Right here may I say that the government might very well note the support in this resolution for their defence program, an implied support offered prior to the announced government program and anticipating some such program of defence. May I quote briefly:
Whereas under the changed conditions as regards world peace, many people expect the Canadian government to enter upon a new and extended defence program, and
Whereas, in our opinion, one of the vital elements in any defence policy should be the maintenance and extension of the spirit of peace,
Therefore, be it resolved that we urge upon the government that if any defence budget is adopted, a reasonable and definite proportion of the total sum be devoted to promoting the peace spirit among our people and to giving the peoples of the world to know that in the hearts of our people there is a deep, intense and universal desire to live at peace with them all.
The resolution goes on to show how this plan might be put into operation, but I shall not take up the time of the house with the details. It continues:
That in the undertaking of any preparations for the possible contingency of war (1) the government take steps to commit the nation to the principle that immediately upon the declaration of war, financial control of all industry shall be assumed by the government so that profiteering of every kind, out of war conditions and services, shall be rendered impossible and that all wealth shall be conserved and applied to the national purpose of maintenance of the population and the realization of the nation's war objective.
I commend this next clause to the attention of the Minister of National Defence. It reads:
That the working out of plans for such mobilization of economic resources be made a part of any defence policy upon which the nation may enter.
I think hon. members will agree with me that the resolution I have quoted needs little elucidation. When one reads it carefully and follows out all its implications, can there be any doubt that here is possibly the greatest assurance of peace obtainable anywhere? It may be nationalization, yes, but only after a declaration of war and only after the ground .has been prepared well ahead of time. There will have to be nationalization in some form or other should Canada enter another war. If legislation to this effect is placed upon our statute books so that all may know that the next war will not mean fat profits, that it will mean nationalization, the mobilization of all the men and resources for the country's fight, I ask you if we are likely to have another war in which Canada is concerned.
When we refer to the munitions maker I think we have in mind anyone who makes a profit out of war. Will the munitions maker want war when he knows that this plan has been put in effect? Will he want war when he knows that the government in case of war will immediately step in and take over control of all the production of the state? Think of this in all its implications. I want to leave this question with you.
How practicable is this resolution? Having seen something of war operations in more than one theatre, I know the tremendous problem of organization involved. The problem would not be increased, but rather would be lessened by preparation ahead of time. I realize that there are difficulties in the way of obtaining goods and services when the profit motive is removed; it might be said that we would be crippling our own cause as other nations would not do likewise, but I answer that by saying: If you have considered all the implications of the scheme and their consequences you will see, as I see, that this applies only after we are at war-at war under a national scheme-and if there is a firing squad for cowardice, for slacking or other mistakes on the fighting front, there would no doubt, under a scheme of nationalization, be the same arrangement for slackers on the home front, just as there is in Russia to-diay.
I think the people should thin!' of these things and be prepared for what is ahead if Canada enters another war. For myself I cannot conceive of the country ever entering another war on the free and easy basis on which we did the last. And when hon. members object to this scheme because it means nationalization in war, and would lead to a possible continuation of the same type of government after war, I would answer, quite
Foreign Policy-Mr. Marshall
true; but what hope of a democratic form of government, what hope of anything but dictatorship or anarchy, or what hope of any kind would follow another world war?
I cannot, Mr. Speaker, support the resolution as it stands on the order paper.
Subtopic: PROPOSED STATEMENT OF PRINCIPLES TO APPLY IN RESPECT OF WAR, THE CAUSES OF WAR, AND WAR MUNITIONS OR MATERIALS