Mr. T. C. DOUGLAS (Weyburn) moved:
That, in the opinion of this house, legislation should be immediately brought down by the government of the day providing that, in the event of another war involving Canada's active participation, every agency, financial, industrial, transportation or natural resources, shall automatically be conscripted for the duration of such a war, and that a penalty be imposed for the violation thereof.
He said: Mr. Speaker, I do not present
this motion to the house as one who has lost all hope of peace or as one who anticipates another war. But in view of the fear of an impending conflict, to which the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) and the Minister of Justice (Mr. Lapointe) referred this afternoon, I believe the policy which this country would follow in the event of war should be discussed at this time.
This motion is in no way inconsistent with the resolutions that have been presented and the pleas for peace that- have been made from time to time by our group in this chamber. It follows in logical sequence those of the hon. member for Winnipeg North (Mr. Heaps) and the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre (Mr. Woodsworth). The hon. member for Winnipeg North asked that we should have a peace conference that might prevent war. The hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre asked that, if this was impossible, we in Canada should refrain from entering into such a war. Now, in this motion, I am suggesting that if it is impossible to keep out of a war, at least we should state clearly to the people of Canada the steps which we shall pursue in the prosecution of such a war.
At the outset, may I direct attention to the fact that if we are drawn into the maelstrom of war the legislation asked for in this motion would be invaluable. On the other hand, should war be averted, which I am sure is the wish of every hon. member, no harm possibly can have been done by placing upon the statute books of Canada measures such as are suggested in this resolution.
In the first place, may I point out to hon. members that this motion does not request the nationalization of industry. Personally I would favour such a step, but for the purposes for which this motion is intended nationalization would be unnecessary. The
War Measures-Mr. Douglas
word "conscription" does not mean or imply social ownership. It means the compulsory enlistment or the regulation, control and regimentation of industry in the interests of the state during a pressing emergency. It would mean the strict control and supervision of industry to prevent citizens from making large sums of money at the expense of the state. It would mean the fixing of prices, the stabilization of wages and the national control of finance and credit, to the end that no person or group of persons, by reason of their age, their occupation or their particular position, should be enabled to benefit while other sections of the population were engaged in making sacrifices in defence of their country. It should be pointed out that this idea is not new and that practically every nation engaged in the last war was moving slowly toward this situation when the armistice was signed. In Great Britain, when Mr. Lloyd George was appointed Minister of Munitions, he began the coordination of industry in an endeavour to harness more efficiently the resources of the nation, and the British profiteering act of 1919 was a further step in this direction.
In March, 1918, Bernard Baruch was appointed head of the war industries board in the United States, and undertook to organize distribution so that the army's needs would be supplied, and the prices paid by civilians for depleted supplies of goods would be kept down to a reasonable level. This body fixed prices, stabilized wages, and even proceeded, to fix prices on the basic commodities purchased by the consumer. Products were graded according to quality and sold at a fixed price according to grade. For instance, a person not having a war industries board card in the window was not permitted to sell shoes. Rents as well as the prices of wearing apparel and food products were to have been fixed, but the armistice made unnecessary any further action on the part of the board.
Mr. Baruch, who was an outstanding and successful American business man, was so convinced by his experience as chairman of the war industries board of the necessity of such a step that he has since been a constant advocate of a program to take profit out of war, and has spent a small fortune in research work along this line. In the Atlantic Monthly of January, 1926, he outlines in the following terms the program submitted by the war industries board:
In the event of war, the president would have power, acting through another war industries board, to fix prices at what was considered a fair level before the war. It would be
illegal to buy, sell, serve or rent at any other than these prices. Brakes would be applied to every agency of inflation before the hurtful process started. The draft board would have before it the estimated needs of every business and profession in its relationship to the conduct of the war, and men would be selected accordingly. Prices would be made public and readjusted every three months, so that consumers would have redress if prices were considered too high. Money would be controlled and directed like any other resource.
Mr. Baruch continues:
A man should no more be permitted in war time to use his money as he w'ishes than he should be permitted to use the product of his mill or factory. Each part of the community must adjust its wants to the great undertaking in order to win.
Be goes on>
If the government in the future has authority to fix prices and distribution of mateiials and labour, rent and use of man-power, transportation and all the things necessary for the conduct of war, any rise in prices will be prevented, even in the anticipation of war. This plan will remove the possibility of anyone's urging w'ar as a means of making profits. The fact that profits would be less in war than in peace, and that w-ealth and resources would be directed by the government might have some active deterring influence on men of great resources. Instead of being passive they might become active advocates of peace.
Recently in France the government took steps to bring the entire armament industry under direct government control, with a view not only to prevent certain armament manufacturers from supplying potential enemies, but to ensure greater efficiency in the event of the outbreak of war.
In discussing the resolution of the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King', said:
Even if we succeeded in bringing about the nationalization of industry to the extent that all w'ar materials could be manufactured without profit, I am afraid that for a long time to come we would not recover what in the interval we had lost in the way of individual initiative and freedom.
May I point out that the experience in the last war was just the opposite to the assertion made by the Prime Minister. Those who have followed closely the herculean efforts of Lloyd George during the famous shell shortage of 1915, or the struggles of Bernard Baruch in the United States, will never claim that private industry is able efficiently to supply the needs of a country at war. In practically every country engaged in the last war it was necessary to impose government control, and to place many of the entrepreneurs in managerial capacities in their own plants.
War Measures-Mr. Douglas
With reference to loss of initiative, I think the house will recognize that in time of war thousands of people are compelled to suppress their desire for initiative and are expected for the good of the state to subjugate their individual desire to centralized authority so that the war may be more efficiently conducted.
The motion is not an attempt to force the nationalization of industry upon the country or to suggest any policy which would make toward the lessening of our efficiency in the event of a declaration of war. The intention of the motion is that we shall begin now to take the necessary steps to remove the element of profit from any war which may occur in which Canada shall be involved, and that all the industrial, financial and human resources of the nation shall be mobilized for the purpose of bringing such war to a successful termination. Let me, therefore, draw to the attention of hon. members some of the advantages to be derived from taking the necessary steps to place upon the statute books legislation which would immediately conscript all wealth in the event of Canada participating in a war.
The first reason for advocating such a course is that private manufacture of arms permits a condition whereby individuals, and groups of individuals, motivated by the desire for profit, constantly foment war scares and stir up international friction. There is perhaps no story quite so black as the history of the armament manufacturers of Europe, Great Britain and the United States. The activities of private manufacturers of armaments may be divided roughly into three classes: First, their activities prior to the great war; second, their activities during the great war, and, third, their activities in the post-war period. For the purpose of this debate it is unnecessary to trace the origin of great armament firms such as Krupp in Germany; Schneider Creusot in France; Armstrong and Vickers in England; Gatling, Maxim and du Pont in the United States. Suffice it to say that for half a century before the great war these firms were growing in power in different parts of the world. They exchanged patents. They owned shares in each other's companies. They bought influential newspapers and periodicals, and put members of the civil and military authorities on their pay-rolls. I refer hon. members to a study of the armament industry written by Doctor Engelbrecht and Hanighen, entitled Merchants of Death, or Philip Noel-Baker's book entitled The Private Manufacture of Armaments, or E. Staley's War and the Private Investor. These three books are heavily documented. They are prepared not by journalists, but by men of research.
Very early in their development, armament manufacturers were quick to learn two things. One was that patriotism is not always profitable, and that to refuse to sell equipment to an enemy or a potential enemy may be patriotic, but it is very poor business. So the Franco-Prussian war was won by the assistance of Schneider's artillery, and Sir Basil Zaharoff, the wily Greek, showed his impartiality by selling submarines not only to his native Greece but also to her oppressor, Turkey. The pompom guns which wrought such devastating havoc in the Boer war were sold to South Africa by the British firm of Vickers. Krupp manufactured in Germany armour-plating for battleships that were later destined to defeat the fatherland in the great war. British arms-manufacturers fortified the Dardanelles where later thousands of young Anzacs were to meet their death. Some of the manipulations of this den of thieves were almost amusing. For instance, after the Russo-Japanese war Schneider wanted to rearm the Russian army, but found that the Russians were lacking in the necessary finances. Schneider thereupon organized a banking syndicate and floated a loan in Paris to facilitate the Russian rearmament. The Russian revolution which took place in 1917 resulted in the repudiation of all debts, and as a consequence the French people found that they had equipped the Russian army but had paid for it themselves.
The second great lesson which the members of the armament ring were quick to [DOT] learn was that times of peace and security meant times of depression in their particular line of business. Consequently, they sowed discord in an attempt to keep the nations of Europe in a constant state of military and naval preparedness. For instance, Schneider had placed in those French papers which he owned statements purporting to have been made by German military officials boasting about their superior military strength as compared with that of France. The response was, of course, an increased military expenditure by the French. This was immediately brought to the attention of the German people and resulted in a similar step being taken by that country. In this way suspicion was kept at fever heat and every opportunity was taken by these salesmen of death to keep every nation in a maximum state of military and naval preparedness.
However, it was during the great war that the armament manufacturers showed themselves in their true colours. The great war revealed the fact that these armament manufacturers have no country and own no loyalty other than their personal gain and the satiation of their unending greed. The great war was a mass of contradiction. British ships foundered
War Measures-Mr. Douglas
in the Dardanelles because of British-made mines and were crippled by British-made guns. French troops in Bulgaria were repulsed by French 75 mm. guns in the hands of their enemies. Bulgarian and Roumanian troops fought each other with weapons bought from the same firm. The Skoda company helped to rearm Russia and the Russians turned their Austrian-made guns against the Austrian armies.
The international solidarity of the armament manufacturers was shown by the Briey-Dombasle incident. The great iron mines of the French armament industry are in the Briey basin. Early in the war these were captured by the German forces and immediately used to supply Germany's ever increasing demand for armaments. In 1916 the French advanced sufficiently in this territory to bring the Briey basin well within the range of their heavy artillery. Throughout the entire war it would have been possible to continue aeroplane bombing operations against this section. It would have been possible at any time from 1916 to 1918 to destroy the mines and brass furnaces of the Briey district and to cut off the supply of metal which was keeping the German military machine operating. Yet, throughout the duration of the war, Briey remained one of the so-called quite sectors. Documentary evidence has since been produced in the French Chambei of Deputies showing that when queries were made as to why the iron mines at Briey had not been reduced to ashes, the reply of headquarters was, "If we destroy Briey, the Germans will at once retaliate and destroy our plant at Dombasle." That is, both sides would have been badly crippled; the war would have come to an end long before it did, and perhaps a million or more men would not have been killed. To the armament manufacturers this would have been the supreme tragedy.
Throughout the duration of the war there was a most significant and confused international trade in war materials even between enemy nations. German industrialists were shipping scrap-iron to France via Switzerland at the rate of 150,000 tons a month to be used to tear German boys to pieces. In the attack on Verdun German boys found themselves impaled on barbed wire which had been made a few months before in Germany. English merchants shipped into Germany through Scandinavia, glycerine and Canadian nickel which it was known perfectly well would be used to mangle English soldiers in the trenches. French nickel also found its tortuous way, greased by profit, into Germany.
The construction of German submarines would have been practically impossible but for the shipment of French aluminum which arrived in Germany via Switzerland. Volumes of evidence have been produced by the Carnegie endowment for international peace, the Walter Haines school for international relations at Johns Hopkins university and the Nye commission appointed by the senate of the United States, to show that throughout the entire war patriotism was sacrificed to the making of profits and human lives were destroyed in order that dividends might be earned on armament shares. In every country that participated in the great war amazing profits were made by companies selling war materials to various governments.
With the cessation of hostilities in 1918 the armament makers had to resort once again to their old tactics of keeping nations in a constant state of armed preparedness and of stirring up international friction wherever possible. Before the war to end war was quite finished, Schneider, Vickers, Skoda and Krupp were busily engaged again. In fact, the peace conference was still in session when war broke out between Greece and Turkey. The British supported Greece and Vickers arms were amply supplied to the Greeks who advanced into Asia Minor. The French were also interested in that particular area and consequently did not prevent Schneider from arming the Turks. We have the ironical picture of the British and French delegates sitting at the peace conference while Greek soldiers with British guns were engaged in the task of fighting Turkish soldiers armed with French guns. An American correspondent reported as follows:
First I saw the retreat of the Greeks. They left behind artillery and machine guns all of which bore the mark of the English firm of Vickers. Then I witnessed the triumphant entry of the Turks into Smyrna. They brought with them magnificent guns made by Schneider-Creusot. On that day I understood what the entente cordiale meant.
When the Riff uprising took place in Morocco it was put down at great cost of French soldiers. These wild tribesmen were found to possess large supplies of excellent modern military equipment of French manufacture. Discreet silence in official and journalistic quarters stifled comment on this discovery.
The rearmament of Germany under Adolf Hitler was financed and carried out to a very large extent by the firm of Skoda in Czechoslovakia and the Schneider-Creusot firm in France. In 1933, despite the fact that the treaty of Versailles forbade Germany from having a military air force, the Germans
War Measures-Mr. Douglas
placed an order with a British aircraft manufacturer for sixty of the most efficient fighting planes in the market. Only the intervention of the British air ministry prevented the delivery of the planes to help in Germany's rearmament program. Nor are we here in Canada altogether free from this unscrupulous trade in blood and slaughter. With the consent of the house I should like to place on Hansard a table secured from the external trade branch of the Dominion Bureau of Statistics dealing with the export trade of Canada. From this table it will be seen that our exports of nickel have doubled.
Subtopic: MOTION FOR CONSCRIPTION OF ALL AGENCIES AND RESOURCES FOR DURATION OF HOSTILITIES