February 15, 1937




1. Was regular delivery of mail made in the cities of Canada on Christmas day, 1936, and on New Year's day, 1937?

2. Was such delivery made in all Canadian cities?

3. If such delivery was not made in all Canadian cities, in which city or cities was such delivery not made?




George Halsey Perley

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir GEORGE PERLEY (for Mr. Bennett):

For a copy of all orders in council, correspondence, documents and papers dealing with the retirement from the public service of (a) Mr. Hector Charlesworth; (b) Colonel C. A. Chauveau, K.C.; and (c) Lieutenant-Colonel W. Arthur Steel, M.C.

Labour Disputes-Mr. Rogers



On the orders of the day: Mr. 0. B. ELLIOTT (Kindersley): Before the orders of the day are called I should like to ask the Minister of Labour (Mr. Rogers) if he is prepared to make a statement with regard to the dispute between the Canadian Pacific Railway and the Canadian National Railways and their employees. Hon. NORMAN McL. ROGERS (Minister of Labour): The hon. member for Kindersley (Mr. Elliott) was kind enough to give me notice of his intention to ask this question. The procedure followed under the Industrial Disputes Investigation Act in dealing with reports made by boards of conciliation has been to send to both parties to the dispute copies of the report and ask them to state whether or not they are willing to accept the recommendation of the board. This was done in the present instance. A reply was received from the representatives of the employees advising the department that the report was not acceptable, and further stating that a strike ballot was being prepared for submission to the employees. This reply from the employees was immediately communicated to the presidents of the Canadian Pacific and Canadian National Railways. On February 4 Sir Edward Beatty and Mr. Hungerford acknowledged receipt of the report of the board of conciliation and indicated their attitude toward it in the following paragraph: The railways are prepared to accept the recommendation of the board as a basis for an agreement between the railways and the employees for the adjustment of the dispute. The railways in the conciliation conferences having offered, as stated in the board's report, to reduce the rate of deduction from compensation from 10 per cent to 9 per cent as from February 1, 1937, they will immediately take the necessary steps to put into effect that part of the board's recommendation. I may say that I have had informal discussions with representatives of both parties to the dispute, since the conciliation board made its report. I cannot usefully add anything further to this statement at the present time, except to say that we are keeping in constant touch with the situation.


On the orders of the day:


Angus MacInnis

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. ANGUS MacINNIS (Vancouver East):

Before the orders of the day are proceeded with I should like to ask a question of the

Minister of Labour (Mr. Rogers). It has been drawn to my attention by wire from Vancouver over the week end that there has been trouble between the management of the Bums packing plant in Vancouver and the employees; whether it is a strike or a lockout I do not know at the moment, but it has been going on for the last seven weeks. I should like to know whether a dispute of this kind comes under the activities of the Federal Department of Labour, and if so, what action if any has been taken.

Hon. NORMAN McL. ROGERS (Minister of Labour): The hon member was good enough to inform me that he would ask this question to-day. Our information indicates that on December 29, 1936, nineteen employees of the Burns plant were dismissed. These were mostly employees who had been in the service of the company for many years, and seven of them composed the entire executive of the union formed in April, 1936. A strike followed immediately.

The western representative of the Department of Labour, Mr. Harrison, at once interviewed the company's manager with a view to settlement by conciliation. On a number of occasions subsequently both Mr. Harrison and Mr. Bell, Deputy Minister of Labour for British Columbia, conferred with the company manager and union officials in an effort to bring about a conference between the parties. They were not successful. The company manager refused to meet the dismissed strikers and employees jointly, and the employees refused to meet the management unless the dismissed employees were also present. Mr. Harrison, the representative of the dominion Department of Labour, went to Calgary in an endeavour to secure the consent of the president of the company to allow the dispute to be dealt with by a board of conciliation under the Industrial Disputes Investigation Act, but has been unsuccessful up to this time. The employees have agreed to a board being established. For this type of industry a board can be set up only by joint consent of the parties involved in the dispute.

I might say that I have been in touch with the Minister of Labour for British Columbia, and it seems probable that an inquiry will be instituted under provincial legislation.



On the orders of the day:


James Shaver Woodsworth

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

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

According to the Canadian Press, Sir Francis Floud, High Commissioner for the United Kingdom, speaking in Montreal


National Defence-Mr. MacNcil

on Saturday, made reference to the proposed new trade agreement between Canada and the United Kingdom, saying:

We have reached a conclusion, and I hope the new agreement will be presented to the Canadian parliament very shortly.

I should like to know whether the government can give us any indication as to when parliament will be informed as to the terms of this agreement.

Hon. CHARLES A. DUNNING (Minister of Finance): Mr. Speaker, I think it was on Friday that the right hon. leader of the opposition (Mr. Bennett) asked me a question along these lines, the answer to which doubtless escaped the hon. member who has just spoken. I indicated then that while conclusions have been reached, a great deal of what might be called tidying up requires to be done in putting into words all the details of such an important document. That work is proceeding, and I hope to be able to indicate to the house within a week as to when we can deal with it.



Hon. CHARLES A. DUNNING (Minister of Finance) moved that the house go into committee of supply.


Charles Grant MacNeil

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. C. G. MacNEIL (Vancouver North):


National Dejence-Mr. MacNeil

were made at the outbreak of war by the general staff. The effective military strategy that later developed came from Britain's amateur soldiers. Thousands of lives were lost as a result of these ghastly and stupid blunders, because professional soldiers without vision were entrusted with great responsibilities and could not readily adapt their ideas to the changes in the requirements of modem warfare. Apparently it has always been so in the British Empire. We are about in the same position in Canada.

If any of us make an earnest endeavour to face this question of defence, we are asked to place blind trust in the advice of an organization in which, because of our experience in the last eighteen years, we have no reason to have confidence. As evidence of this I suggest it is an open secret that the powerfully entrenched clique or national union of generals, colonels and majors who actually control the military policy of Canada offered definite opposition to the very modest plan of reorganization of the department which was recently attempted by the minister. Here I think I should make a few suggestions to the minister. I would suggest that he issue an order forbidding the use of dress uniforms in Canada and the use of uniforms at any time except when a man is actually on duty. We might thus discourage the time and money-wasting activities of individuals whose only apparent function is to strut like peacocks in their gorgeous plumage on ceremonial occasions. If the danger is as great as suggested by the Minister of Justice (Mr. Lapointe) in his recent remarks in this house, and if our main consideration is to resist invaders who may land on our coast, why not more thoroughly overhaul this department? Why not wipe out the unnecessary administrative headquarters of thirteen military districts and establish coastal and defence headquarters on the Atlantic and Pacific with central administrative control at some central point. Eliminate parades and ceremonies that have no other purpose than that of training? If we pay for technical services at rates sven higher than those sometimes demanded in industry, why can not the minister demand the same standard of efficiency and the same attention to duty as we find demanded in all branches of competitive industry at this time? Let us have more attention to duty and less attention to the social round; that would make for much greater efficiency. Why should general orders-as we find them in sessional papers-be cluttered up with instructions to officers as to how many buttons there should be here and there, what the

[Mr. MacNeil.)

width of a dress tie should be, and all that sort of thing, in order that men may appear in their authorized regalia on ceremonial occasions?

I submit that one of the first and most necessary contributions to national defence, and one that should be made before we pay over additional millions, is so to purge the present establishment as to place it on a businesslike and sensible basis. Eliminate patronage, social nonsense and obsolete military routine, and there might be some opportunity for men in that department to do something, men who have some technical knowledge and grasp of the requirements of national defence. If the country wants defence, there might then be some hope of its getting value for its money.

I have followed attentively the debates of this house and particularly the remarks of the ministers of the crown on this subject in a personal effort to make a conscientious approach to this matter, which I consider of vital consequence to our people at this time. I have been trying to reason my way through to a rational approach free from the prejudice, fear and hysteria that usually characterize the consideration of matters of this sort. I find that many people have been made aware, by the remarks of ministers, of some vague external danger, and they have a hazy idea that something should be done about it; but very few have reasoned their way through to a conception of what would constitute an adequate or first-class defence program in Canada. I cannot, for instance, accept the suggestions made in this house recently by the hon. member for Bow River (Mr. Johnston) when he said on the fourth instant that we should have the world's best fleet in our waters, the world's best army in our land, and the world's best air fleet in our own country. I hope I am not doing him an injustice when I quote his remarks apart from the context. I mention this because it illustrates a sentiment that is expressed by some people at this time without any very clear conception of where such reasoning leads them, and the rather preposterous and absurd conclusions that follow from suggestions of that kind. If we are to have the world's finest navy in our waters we shall require one that surpasses the British navy, which has now a naval tonnage of 1,161,000, with something like 200,000 additional tonnage under construction, and a personnel of something like 90,000 seamen. If we were to have the world's finest army we should need an army greater than Germany's or the Soviet union's, 1,300,000 men under arms. And if we were to have the world's greatest air force we should have to

National Defence-Mr. MacNeil

have a fleet greater than that of the Soviet union or that of Germany, in excess of 4,000 aircraft. To establish and maintain such an organization would require almost three times the available man power in Canada and it would be necessary for us to conscript women and children to man our industries. It would require at least four times our present total national revenue, reported by the Minister of Finance last year to be something like $372,000,000. As a matter of fact, if we continued along these lines we should so disorganize industry and bankrupt the country that it would not be worth defending. A little sober reflection will convince us that we cannot prepare to shoot it out with all comers.

Nothing would be more dangerous than to create the impression that Canada can rely solely on armaments for defence. Even to attempt anything of the sort would be like a small boy brandishing a toy pistol in the face of a dangerous and well-armed bandit.

I was impressed by the recent remarks of the Minister of Justice on this subject. He spoke feelingly of the necessity of protecting our women and children. Every red-blooded man in this chamber will applaud that sentiment. But from what shall we protect them? Should we not know? As I listened to his remarks I wished that he had spoken with the same tender solicitude for the protection of women and children to-day who are being exposed to, and, if I may use the expression, destroyed by foes even more deadly than those we may have to meet from abroad-poverty, malnutrition and social insecurity. Many thousands of our homes are being laid waste to-day, and we might well consider the advisability of using our knowledge of science at this stage to benefit our people rather than to plot the destruction of our fellow beings.

But what actually are the potential dangers from which we must defend our homes? The minister suggested that the madmen of Europe might break loose and descend upon our shores. He evidently contemplated a combination of either fascist or communist powers that might find it possible to dispatch an expeditionary force with suflicient striking power to seize and occupy Canadian territory. In order that I might explore thoroughly the possibilities of such a menace I took counsel with some of the arm-chair strategists or fireside generals who are so actively engaged in propaganda for bigger and better military preparations, to see just where I stood and to try to strike a definite balance of thought on this matter. I asked


them: Do we require defence against the

United^ States? They agreed with me that it is inconceivable that the United States would suddenly develop warlike intentions toward Canada; and if they did, no protection that we might provide would be of avail. Apart from all sentimental considerations, however, the American people would hardly undertake to blow up an enterprise in which they have such a large investment. And what are the potential dangers from across the Atlantic? Are there any powers that are looking longingly at Canada and that could afford to risk the enmity of the United States by attacking Canada? Could any great power or combination of powers develop a striking force that could actually seize and occupy Canadian territory? These strategists suggest that Germany or Italy might mobilize a fleet which would endanger Canada, or that Russia and France might combine on such a venture, or the social democratic governments of Scandinavia, using Ireland or Greenland or Newfoundland as bases from which to direct operations against our shores. But they were not prepared to say what might happen while such enterprises were under way. Could any of these powers, while engaged in striking a blow at Canada, effectively protect their own frontiers, or deal with other obstacles which would certainly arise in their path? Any such development would presuppose the total collapse of Great Britain, in which case we would be very definitely in alliance with the United States. Or, looking across the Pacific, could we reasonably anticipate that Japan might successfully plot the conquest of Canada? Here again they would definitely have to reckon with the United States. Perhaps the forces of the Soviet union might cross the Behring straits and descend upon us from the north on skis.

Every possibility was canvassed, but after exploring every angle of the situation as presented in the world to-day it could not be shown that there was even a remote possibility that any power could seriously consider an attempt to seize and occupy Canadian territory, unless they were crystal gazing. Crystal gazing just about describes many of the statements made by our militaristic friends.

Let us go one step further. Assume that it is within the range of possibility that some first-class power might descend in force on our shores and seize our territory; what would we require in the way of defence? It is estimated by those who have some knowledge of the subject that successfully to resist any such invasion we should require first of all naval


National Defence-Mr. MacNeil

squadrons on either coast of at least 250,000 tons with a personnel of 15,000 men. We should1 require mines, mine-sweepers and minelayers. We should require fortifications along the coasts of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and right down the St. Lawrence to Montreal as formidable as those on the Franco-German frontier, not to overlook the fortifications that would be necessary on Vancouver Island and the lower mainland of British Columbia- yes, and someone suggests Hudson bay. We would require strong mobile forces behind such fortifications. And as transportation systems are vital in a scheme of defence we should practically have to rebuild our railway systems in those areas. In addition we should require at least half a million mem under arms, with all1 the equipment of modern warfare.

Our resources in wealth and man power do not permit us even to start on such a program of defence, in order to be equal to any emergency which we might have to face if Canada were to attempt defence alone, without the friendly intervention of the United States. If we should attempt to proceed too far in that direction we most certainly would be inviting aggression rather than depending on our alliances to remain at peace. If there should be any general outbreak of hostilities the worst we might anticipate, in my opinion, would be sporadic visits of raiders attempting to molest shipping in our harbours, hit and run squadrons or submarines or possibly aircraft. For defence against these raids we do not require any additional expenditure, if we accomplish reasonable concentration on *coastal defences so as to make it hazardous for raiders, and so thus effectually ward them off. It does not follow that by providing more costly armaments and more elaborate defences we shall enjoy any greater security or be able to sleep more soundly at night.

After all, when we examine our military and naval preparations we find' that we are not simply planning for defence of Canadian shores. It is hypocritical to pretend that such is the case. As I view it, we are planning to intervene on the side of Great Britain in a European struggle. The plans disclosed point clearly to preparations for the training and equipment of an overseas expeditionary force. From every side we read inspired editorials and articles preparing public sentiment for this contingency. An emergency will be declared, the declaration of war in Great Britain will be given effect in Canada, whatever procedure may be followed. Sentiment will run at fever pitch, and little consideration will be given to the causes leading to the outbreak of war. Our military caste to which we have given so much power, will

attempt to move our boys into the appointed place in the line of empire defence. Why else have we ten or twelve imperial officers at present on exchange in Canada? Because the drift of policy is in this direction, it is necessary to point out the danger of costly blunders into which we may be led by overzealous professional war maniacs.

It may be a magnificent gesture to rush to the assistance of the motherland, but it may not be sound military strategy. Here we are in grave danger of thinking in terms of the last war. Many military strategists agree that in the next war Great Britain may be fighting on three or four fronts, and it may not be feasible to divert sufficient naval strength to convoy troops across the Atlantic, or supplies for the maintenance of such an expeditionary force. It may easily be that we may squander not only our millions, but the lives of thousands of Canadians in vain by considering defence plans on that basis. If we participate in such a war it may prove the better strategy merely to protect our harbours, using our man power in the production of essential war materials. Apart from these considerations we might play a far greater part by interpreting the peaceful intentions and good will of the British people to our great neighbour to the south. The more warlike our intentions, the more we disqualify ourselves for such an important mission.

It has been well said that Canada has no enemies. If we are attacked it will be because of our relationship with Great Britain or of our proximity to the United States. If either of these powers gets us into trouble we have no choice but to rely on it for defence against invasion from a first class enemy power. It is not a question of sponging on the motherland or hiding behind the skirts of the United States, as is so often said in derision. It is vain for us to rely on armaments that we ourselves can provide. There is no point in ruining ourselves merely to satisfy false national pride. In the final analysis the question will be settled, not on a basis of. sentiment, but as a matter of good business. Canada will find its defence, in the event of a major outbreak of war, in those alliances made possible because Canada is an important source of essential raw materials, and a source of these materials which will be far removed from the scene of conflict.

It is incredible that we should place our sole reliance for defence on armaments. It has been demonstrated that in modem warfare one of the most important factors is the organization of war industries. Armaments and armies are of little use unless industry is

National Defence-Mr. MacNeil

organized to maintain them in action. This organization cannot be accomplished over .night. There must be an immediate and continuous supply of goods and munitions. Such a plan cannot be left to chance, as was shown during the last war. If therefore we are asked to make additional sacrifices in order to support the burden of armaments, and if the danger is as great as has been suggested, why has no mention been made of the part that Canadian industry must play in such a program? The planlessness of modern competitive methods will not effectively serve the national interest in a time of grave danger. The authority of the government must be exercised or extended in some degree to assure the efficient maintenance of a national plan which will bring into play the maximum industrial effort. I do not suggest that it should be put into operation now, but our industrial leaders should be warned, and our people should know it, that they must serve the national interest in time of danger, according to plan, as may be determined by the exigencies of the situation.

There is general agreement, I find, that war profiteering activities should be restricted not only during war but in advance of war. There are few who served in the last war who do not remember with some bitterness the inequalities of sacrifice and duty imposed on the Canadian people at that time. The results of those inequalities are still painfully apparent. We may not be able to equalize the sacrifices of war, but at least we can plan to demand the same level of patriotism on the economic plane as may be demanded in the field. We do not agree, as was suggested by the Prime Minister, that we should await the outbreak of war to face this issue, or that men should lay down their lives with the incentive only of patriotism while others should engage in war production in comparative security with the incentive of profit. Such measures to be effective in order to restrain war profiteering should be introduced now. The issue has been faced already in the United States, and plans have been prepared. There is no valid reason why, if we are truly interested in an effective defence program, we should not now introduce similar measures in Canada.

Such measures would serve a twofold purpose. They would provide for more adequate defence and at the same time would act as a deterrent to unwise and reckless war sentiment. I do not suggest for a moment that our business men are consciously conspiring to provoke war, but I do know that there are branches of the armament industry in Canada. As has been

suggested already by the Prime Minister, these people manufacture armaments for profit and only for profit, and their greatest profit is found in a time such as this, when fears are aroused and armament competition is keen. I cannot close my eyes to tl e fact that the anticipation of war profits, is we find it existing at present in Canada, has the effect of arousing a dangerous pre-war psychology. I ask hon. members to consider the situation as it exists in Canada to-day, to examine the stock market quotations, particularly with regard to the stocks of firms engaged in the manufacture of armaments. Go down the list one by one and you will find that there has been an increase of one hundred per cent in capital profit in the last six months. The profiteers are now casl ing in on the profits of the next war.

The danger of the situation is that Canadian industry is finding too great an investment in the making of war. Canadian industry is being offered too great an incentive, a dangerous temptation, to inspire a pre-war pyschology. In Great Britain they are well aware of this danger. They have instituted measures to audit, to restrict and in some measure to control profits made on the manufacture of munitions and war equipment. They have instituted measures to license the export of war materials. We have taken no such steps in Canada. We apparently prefer to close our eyes to the situation which exists and to go on our way. I direct the attention of members to the increase in our shipments, to Morocco, as follows:

September $ 1,929

October 16.461

November 4,392

December 4^836

September $296,752

October 291,135

November 678,101

December 505,809

It will be seen that in the last two months of 1936 our exports increased by over half a million dollars per month. Unquestionably large profits are being made on material exported to Morocco for the assistance of the fascist insurgents in Spain. Already we have a large investment in the making of war.

It is generally recognized by financial experts that if we should face another war emergency the government could not possibly finance along orthodox lines. Financial writers generally agree with that conclusion. In this connection I would refer to the findings brought down by a committee of the senate of the United States, after an exhaustive study of various aspects of this question. I need


National Defence-Mr. MacNeil

not detain the house by reading the report at length, but it points out that immediately upon the outbreak of war the country is overtaken by dangerous inflation, and that unless preparation is made in advance no steps can be taken then to defend a country against what is described as a very subtle foe.

For all these reasons, Mr. Speaker, I submit that the government is not justified in asking for greater expenditures on armaments until a defence program has been brought down which also includes measures to provide for:

1. Heavy and sharply graduated taxes on incomes in the higher brackets, with fewer exemptions and heavier penalties.

2. Provision whereby the government may draft " useful " industrial management into the military service at military rates of pay.

3. A system for control of commodities and commodity exchange.

4. A system for control of securities and securities exchange, and supervision of new issues.

5. Provision for the government to fix and regulate prices, establish priorities and conscript the use of necessary property and equipment.

If the government intends to assume authority to demand the lives of our young men can it in all justice refuse to exercise some authority over the property of individuals? If this were done there would be a great deal less enthusiasm for war preparations on the part of those who now hope to escape sacrifice.

A defence program is not a defence program in the strict sense of the term unless it incorporates such provisions as I have suggested. Since no such provisions are now incorporated in our proposed defence program I can very well understand why business leaders everywhere are giving it their approval. They quite openly state in their public remarks that it will afford a very satisfactory and profitable stimulus to business at this time. We hear these words from the same men who have been actively advocating a reduction in our relief expenditure and the elimination from the relief lists of so called racketeers. When we consider how in the past contracts have been made and orders for supplies have been placed with various firms in Canada we can readily understand why their mouths are now watering at the prospect of a generous cut from this juicy melon. Unless some control is exercised in the public interest I predict that this expenditure will become nothing more or less than a camouflaged pork barrel, and the painful part is that it will be artfully draped with the folds of the familiar red, white and blue of our ensign.

Another thing that apparently has been overlooked is the fact that we will require men to man our guns, men who are physically fit and technically trained. If we are to expand our armament preparation we must face the issue of compulsory military service in Canada, even as they are facing that issue in Great Britain at the present time. I have no hesitation in saying that compulsory military service in time of peace is repugnant to Canadian traditions. Nevertheless we must take it for granted that compulsory military service must come sooner or later if we are to prepare for war. Whether or not we rely upon voluntary enlistment in the meantime we must face this problem, as they had to face it in Great Britain, that a large percentage of our young men at this time are below the physical standards usually set for military service. It has been admitted that our military organization does not intend to assume any particular responsibility with regard to the physical fitness of our young men or their technical training. Apparently they are regarded simply as another crop of cannon fodder. One point was stressed over and over again by our late corps commander, General Sir Arthur Currie. I believe I may not with propriety quote his words concerning national defence, but I may observe that on this one point he had vision. He said, that given the right leadership, if we had in Canada physically fit young men we might cheerfully face any emergency of defence. He added however that one of the most important factors is that we should have available for military service men who are physically fit.

Men cannot be made fit in any brief space of time. I suggest that if we are in earnest about the problem of national defence we cannot overlook the serious and tragic position of our young men of to-day. It has been officially reported that approximately 150,000 men between the ages of eighteen and twenty-five are without gainful employment, which means that they are without the opportunity to make themselves fit and without opportunities to acquire any form of technical knowledge. We now propose to divert millions of dollars for armament and thereby still further deprive them of opportunities they have a right to expect. Certainly increased armaments spell lowered living standards for the workers of Canada.

I have found that many of these young men are now reaching manhood without the slightest chance of even having the necessary diet with which to build up physical stamina necessary to meet the struggle of life, let

National Defence-Mr. Coldwell

alone the more severe tests of warfare. We cannot justify the purchase of naval vessels and war equipment until we give these young men in the pursuits of peace an opportunity to realize more fully the rights of their manhood. If we are sincere about the defence of our women and children we should realize that our greatest bulwark and protection is a young Canadian manhood, physically fit, technically trained and with a stake in the country they are asked to defend. If they are made ready and given an opportunity to play their part in the development of our country in peaceful endeavour, they will not fail it in any defence emergency.

I submit we are being asked to support measures of defence which offer no defence. We are being asked to jeopardize our social security and to perpetuate social inequalities without the assurance that there will be additional security against danger from war. In the name of national defence we are facing commitments which mean anything but the defence of Canadian soil or Canadian homes. We desire peace, and we are taking the road to war. I submit, Mr. Speaker, that the situation demands a straightforward statement from the government as to its intentions for the future.


Major James William Coldwell

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. M. J. COLDWELL (Rosetown-Biggar):

Mr. Speaker, It is with some hesitation that I rise to follow the hon. member for Vancouver North (Mr. MacNeil) who has just placed before the house a complete analysis both of the estimates for the Department of National Defence and of the situation surrounding the entire defence problem.

At the outset I am going to ask the government to give the house an answer to the question which has been asked again and again this session with respect to foreign policy, and to present to us an outline of the policy which Canada is at present pursuing. For we insist that not a dollar should be expended for national defence, so-called, until we in this country know precisely the policy which makes that defence necessary.

Students of foreign affairs know well that invariably parliaments base their defence programs upon their foreign policies. I believe that is particularly true of Great Britain. Her naval, military and air force estimates are framed by experts on the basis of the policy laid down by the foreign office. In this chamber we have the Secretary of State for External Affairs, in the person of the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King), and we are asking that before we are called upon to vote the estimates he lay before the house the precise policy which undoubtedly he has placed

before the Department of National Defence and upon which these increased estimates are based. We cannot discuss the estimates intelligently without such outline. I believe it is the right and duty of parliament to receive the statement and to consider the advice given.

Up to two years ago estimates in Great Britain were based upon what was known as the ten-year rule-that is, that there would be no major outbreak of war within a period of ten years. But obviously in the past year or two that basis has been abandoned, and it seems to me that the present estimates for Canadian defence are also based upon an abandonment of the idea that there will be no major war in the near future. What, may I ask, has made the change in imperial policy necessary? Was it not the determination of great imperial interests to disregard their league responsibilities and at all costs to defend the economic imperialism they had established over regions in Africa and Asia, and over which they still wished to continue undisputed mandate or control? We find that simultaneously with the resultant breakdown in the ideal of collective security, Canada is faced with an increase in her national defence estimates. Is there a connection between the imperial policy and the increase in our estimates?

We are told by the Prime Minister that if war should come, Canada would decide. But, taking these estimates at their face value, it seems to me that some sort of decision has already been made. We contend that information regarding any such decision should be given to parliament. Apparently, that some understanding exists, is the point of view of Sir Samuel Hoare, whose policies were repudiated a little more than a year ago by the British people, and the statesman upon whose shoulders probably more than upon those of any other rests the responsibility for the overthrow of what we might call the collective system of security. A few days ago, on February 6, Sir Samuel Hoare was reported in the Montreal Gazette as follows:

Sir Samuel referred to the empire's unity in the major developments of the last twenty years-the outbreak of the war in 1914, the illness of George V in 1928, the silver jubilee in 1935, King George's death and the abdication crisis.

He urged expansion and development of a common outlook iln the empire through economic development and the study of imperial defence problems.

"I believe these two fields are closely connected. For unless we do our utmost to foster the economic development of the empire the units that compose it will not be economically right enough to take their full share of empire responsibilities."


National Defence-Mr. Coldwell

In these words, it seems to me we find the fundamental basis of those vested financial and economic interests which have from time to time crippled the League of Nations because their policies, to use Sir Samuel Hoare's own words, have been based "upon the expansion and development of a common outlook in the empire through economic development and the study of imperial defence." Obviously in his mind economic interests and armaments were closely related, and a league of nations which did not serve those eternal interests, as they have been called, had to be disregarded from time to time. If it is not for such interests that we are asked to vote millions to prepare our sons for the slaughter, let the government answer the question by telling us upon what other policy this demand for increased armaments is based; and until that has been done clearly, I maintain that we should unanimously oppose the increase in these estimates. If, then, the government can justify a war preparedness program, let us immediately prepare for war, as was suggested by my friend from Vancouver North, by organizing our potential war industries for national defence, and let us make them perform their service, not without recompense, but for the equivalent of the S1.10 a day which this country gave its soldiers in the last war.

In spite of the defence of the International Nickel Company, for example, which was made by one of our Liberal friends from the other side of the house the other evening, with its profit of $23,000,000 in the first nine months of last year, I say that under these conditions, with the people fearing war, no corporation should be allowed to make that amount of profit in an industry which is in large measure an industry based on preparation for war. If we are to call upon the Canadian people to make sacrifices, let these great war industries set the example of sacrifice first, and now. That is our suggestion. Otherwise we should not vote an additional dollar for preparedness.

In an interview given a few days ago at Jamaica, the Right Hon. David Lloyd George, speaking of the tremendous so-called defence expenditures, had this to say:

The world is going mad. At the present moment we are spending $1,500,000,000 for armaments.

That, may I add, was before the announcement the other evening of the additional war loan for $2,000,000,000 that is proposed in Great Britain. Mr. Lloyd George continued:

Ten years ago the entire world spent $3,500,000,000 for armaments, and now it is spending $12,500,000,000. They have almost quadrupled it in the past ten years, and it is still going up.

The report continues:

The veteran British Liberal leader was bitter about the huge sums the mother country was spending on rearmament while "we have found it very difficult to get a few millions for the relief of suffering in the distressed areas.

For a very small proportion of that sum of money we could have had unbelievable empire development; but no, the whole money is to go to the dogs of war."

Now the question we are asking is this: Are we in Canada going to join in this mad race without knowing precisely the policy that underlies the increased estimates upon which we shall shortly have to vote? Our answer in this little group is, of course, no, because we believe that such defence preparations only breed fear, and that hate, which, in turn, is the child of fear.

The Minister of Justice (Mr. Lapointe), speaking in the house this session, devoted a good deal of attention to the relationship between armaments and Canadian neutrality. He argued that increased armaments and neutrality go together, that if we want to remain outside of an impending conflict we must see to it that we shall be able to defend the women and children of our country if madmen should attack us. Does he really believe that our women and children are in any danger of attack from without? Have they not endured) great suffering and an attack upon their standards of living from within for the last few years? And have they not needed even greater expenditures for their protection during those years than they have enjoyed? Is not this the attack that we should have been considering, rather than endeavouring to justify preparations for the slaughter of the grown-up children of the very women in whose names attempts are made to justify these defence estimates?

Writing in 1914, shortly after the outbreak of the great war, Lord Grey had this to say of such preparediness:

The increase of armaments that is intended in each nation to produce consciousness of strength and a sense of security does not produce these effects.

On the contrary, it produces the consciousness of strength of other nations and a sense of fear. The enormous growth of armaments in Europe, the sense of insecurity and fear caused by them-it was these that made war inevitable.

And yet in the face of such opinions we who are separated from the volcanoes of Europe and Asia by mighty oceans, we who live in peace and amity beside a great people to the south, are being called upon to make preparations for war and to join in what I might term potential international suicide, which, unless checked, will become a reality.

National Defence-Mr. Coldwell

The Secretary of State (Mr. Rinfret) the other evening ridiculed the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre (Mr. Woodsworth) and his plea for neutrality, by asking of what use his neutrality resolution would be in the face of an invader approaching our shores. May I ask the Secretary of State of what use two second-hand destroyers would be in the case of an invader coming to our shores? May I also ask him if he really thinks a neutral Canada could or would be invaded by a European or an Asiatic foe? Any nation embarking on such a mad adventure would have to come across a minimum of 3,000 miles of water. Apart from the Monroe doctrine and the statement of President Roosevelt made at Buenos Aires a short time ago, the feat is a military impossibility, and intelligent naval and military men know it. Mussolini, for example, did not begin his Ethiopian war until he had assembled some four hundred thousand troops in Africa. These he required to subdue ten million primitive Abyssinians. I venture to say that to subdue ten million Canadians equipped with our present defences and industrial development would require the transportation of at least as many men, and there is not a single nation in the world, including Great Britain which has sufficient ships to do this effectively, even if we had no friends and no allies. For public men to frighten timid and ill-informed folk with threats of overseas invasion is, if I might use the term employed by the leader of the opposition (Mr. Bennett) the other evening, to do violence to their own intelligence and the intelligence of this nation. Moreover, an invading force must always reckon on a possible retreat. That is a fundamental of military strategy. The great Prussian general Bliicher was asked by his emperor if he could land an army in England. He answered, "Yes, your majesty, but how would we get back?" That is the problem which an invader must always face.

I say, then, that these estimates cannot be construed as defence estimates, but that in reality they provide for the training and equipping of a potential expeditionary force to send abroad. The government may not consciously believe that that is the interpretation we should put upon them, but in view of the fact that we do not need these defence forces for the defence of our own shores, or an increase in that defence, what other interpretation is possible? Or again the government may say, in the words of the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King), that when the time comes Canada will decide. But we know that when war hysteria comes, the people will be governed by newspaper, radio and other propaganda. We know that to our

sorrow. Even under conditions such as we now have, newspapers at any time are liable to tell their writers that they must put the soft pedal on criticisms of national defence. Those of us who have been reading the editorials in some papers friendly to the government now in office know that there has been a change of attitude during the past few months. To-day sedulously they are saying that the people must decide this, that and the other thing, but all the time they are endeavouring to show the people that we must prepare for war. We also know this, that upon the declaration of wTar the people will not know the truth of the situation. Somebody once said that in war truth is the first casualty, and when we look back on the great war and we realize the preposterous things that we were told in order to drive men at each others' throats-told in English, in German, in French, in Italian-we know beyond doubt that truth was the first casualty of the great war. That war taught us that lying is a necessary military device, and if propaganda is artfully and carefully placed before them, war lies will take into war even a peace-loving and generous people; even the Canadian people.

Some people have said that in part our opposition to the defence estimates is due to our distrust of the policies of the national government of Great Britain. I think that is partly true. Moreover, the judgment recently rendered by the privy council makes me all the more careful in dealing with these estimates. I am looking forward with a good deal of interest to the interpretation to this house by the Minister of Justice (Mr. Lapointe) of the meaning of the references to, for example, Canada's power to make .treaties, and references to Canada's legal subservience, to a degree at least, to the will of the imperial parliament. To some extent in the light of those utterances I am anxious that we shall carefully consider the problem before us. Unfortunately no government has done more than has the present national government of Great Britain to undermine faith in the League of Nations.


An hon. MEMBER:



Major James William Coldwell

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)


I was one of those who hoped when the great war ended that the British commonwealth of nations would form within the league a nucleus around which collective security for all the world might ultimately be achieved. I confess that to-day I am sadly disillusioned in that regard. Though I believe that the league offered a great ideal to our people and that we must rebuild the League of Nations, I recognize that the


National Defence-Mr. Coldwell

British national government quite lately undermined the league. Let me point out one or two incidents that, I think, make that clear. Speaking at Glasgow on November 22, 1934, Mr. Baldwin said:

It is curious that there is growing among the Labour party support for what is called a collective peace system. Well now, a collective peace system in my view is perfectly impracticable.

Mr. Baldwin proceeded to state his reasons for his conclusion that the collective peace system under the League of Nations was "hardly worth considering." Yet less than six months later we find Mr. Anthony Eden, one of the members of his cabinet, stating:

It is clear that our part should be to pursue a foreign policy that is frank, stalwart and above all firm in support of the League of Nations and of the collective peace system.

Less than two weeks after that Mr. Baldwin himself stated:

The League of Nations is the sheet anchor of British foreign policy.

Why this extraordinary example of blowing cold and blowing hot in relation to the league? This is an example of the attitude that has undermined confidence in the league. In my opinion it was not unrelated to the fact that during the intervening six months a peace ballot had been taken in Great Britain and overwhelmingly the British people had shown their faith in the league and in some measure of collective security within the league.

The dictatorships that threaten the world are made, perhaps, more real by the approach of a war. Most of us in this house realize, I believe, that if through our defence preparedness, through our military commitments, we plunge into war, we too may lose, as other nations undoubtedly will lose, democratic institutions upon entry into war. I desire to see no form of dictatorship.


Paul Joseph James Martin



The hon. gentleman used the phrase " military commitments." Is he suggesting that this country has any military commitments?


Major James William Coldwell

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)


I did not catch the question.


February 15, 1937