February 16, 1937

LIB

John Frederick Johnston

Liberal

Mr. J. F. JOHNSTON (Lake Centre):

I wish to direct a question to t'he Minister of Finance (Mr. Dunning) with regard to the percentage of reduction in debts by the board of review now operating in the province of Saskatchewan. It has been reported that under the present board the percentage of reduction is 43-9 as against 27-8 under the previous board. My question is this: will farmers whose cases were reviewed by the previous board be permitted to resubmit them and have them reviewed by the present board?

Hon. CHARLES A. DUNNING (Minister of Finance): There is no provision in the law which would enable such a rehearing as my hon. friend requests. As he and other interested members are aware, the privy council has recently held the particular statute

in question to be valid. Until that decision was reached no detailed consideration had been given to the possibility of amendments, and I cannot indicate at this stage whether amendments will or will not be proposed this session.

Topic:   FARMERS' CREDITORS ARRANGEMENT ACT
Subtopic:   REDUCTION OP DEBTS BY BOARD OF REVIEW IN SASKATCHEWAN
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SUPPLY-NATIONAL DEFENCE CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON AMENDMENT TO MOTION OF MINISTER OF FINANCE


The house resumed from Monday February 15, consideration of the motion of Mr. Dunning that the house go into committee of supply, and the proposed amendment thereto of Mr. MacNeil.


LIB-PRO

Joseph Thorarinn Thorson

Liberal Progressive

Mr. J. T. THORSON (Selkirk):

It is the right of every hon. member to criticize any policy that is submitted to this house for its consideration, and that right becomes a duty when the member believes the policy to be contrary to the welfare of Canada. It is for that reason that I take part in this debate.

My mind rebels against the possibility of Canada participating in another war if such participation can be avoided. Our first duty must be the maintenance of peace. We must safeguard as far as possible our own people from the appalling consequences of war. The welfare of Canada must be our supreme concern. I will not go so far as to say that there are no possible circumstances under which Canada should go to war. Some great fundamental principle might demand it, and I have no doubt that if such a contingency should arise, Canada would courageously face the call of duty. But Canada must herself decide whether she will participate in war. She must also decide for herself whether she should prepare for war. It is that question which in my humble opinion is involved in this debate.

I assert, as the right hon. Prime Minister of Canada (Mr. Mackenzie King) has frequently done, the right of this parliament to decide whether and to what extent Canada shall participate if war is declared. I assert her right not to participate if that is her desire. I go even further and assert Canada's right to declare her neutrality if she wishes to do so; for I believe that every question of peace and war in which Canada may be involved is for the Canadian people to decide and for no one else. However, it is not my intention at this time to enter upon a debate on this constitutional point.

Before we embark upon a policy that may lead to Canadian participation in war let us think of the possible consequences in terms of human life and the effect upon

National Defence-Mr. Thorson

the individuals for whose welfare we are for the time being responsible. Have we forgotten the terrible cost of the last war and the absolute futility of that war? What does the record tell us? Here it is: ten million men killed, twenty million others wounded or disabled, nine million orphans, five million widows, ten million homeless refugees, and $186,000,000,000 wasted. That is only a rough story of the cost in human life and money of the great war, a war that settled absolutely nothing.

Canada played a noble part in that war, but at what an appalling cost, not only to those who were engaged in it but to posterity as well. I have here a statement of the cost to Canada of the last war. It is difficult to obtain exact figures and the figures which I shall cite are subject to some adjustments, but they are, I believe, substantially correct. The statement is as follows:

Sums directly paid out for war purposes, demobilization and adjustment of war claims from

the commencement of the war

to March 31, 1936 $1,697,352,212

Sums paid out as interest on the war debt for the same period,

approximately 1,600,000,000

Sums paid out for war pensions,

approximately 685,000,000

Cost of administration of soldiers' civil reestablishment,

approximately 228,797,650

Cost of administration of soldier

land settlement, approximately 25,403,704

Losses on soldier land settlement,

approximately 75,000,000

Cost of care of patients and medical examination of pensioners 45,474,988

This makes the immense total of over $4,357,000,000. This vast sum includes the major item of direct monetary costs incurred by the nation at large. It does not include the direct or indirect losses occasioned to private individuals by reason of the war or the dislocations caused by the war, nor does it take into account the enormous loss of human life-60,000 young men-or the human suffering that has been the lot of those who participated in the last war, and their dependents.

This vast sum of approximately $4,500,000,000 has been paid by the Canadian people for the last war, an average of approximately $200,000,000 per annum for the past twenty-two years. What could that great sum have accomplished for the Canadian people if it had been devoted to the cause of peace and the social and economic welfare of our people? Is it any wonder that men should hesitate about embarking upon another war and be fearful of any policies that may tend in that direction?

Moreover, that war has not yet been paid for. An enormous annual cost for the last war still remains upon our shoulders to be paid this year, next year and annually almost in perpetuity. For the year ending March 31, 1936, the cost to Canada of the last war may roughly be estimated as follows:

Sums directly paid for war purposes, demobilization and adjustment of war claims $ 54,843

Share of interest payments attributable to our war debt, approximately 100,000,000

Sums paid out for war pensions.. 41,521,577Cost of administration of soldiers' civil reestablishment, approximately. .

10,000,000Cost of administration of soldier land settlement, approximately.. 750,000Cost of the care of patients and medical examination of pensioners

2,863,991

This represents the immense total of over $155,000,000. If that sum could have been used for purposes of peace instead of having had to be applied in payment of the obligations imposed by the war, what could it mean in increased opportunities for the Canadian people, particularly for that great body of the youth of Canada on whose door the knock of opportunity has not been heard?

Therefore, Mr. Speaker, I approach this subject from the point of view of the welfare of the Canadian people. I am not at all concerned with what other countries may think of Canada. My first duty is to Canada, my own country, and to my fellow Canadians; to save this country, if at all possible, from participation in another war the consequences of which will be even more destructive than those of the last war.

What are the reasons advanced for this new policy? We are entitled to examine them closely and to accept or reject them. It has been sought to justify the increases in the naval, militia and air force estimates on the ground that they are necessary for national self defence purposes, and that the mone3's voted will be used exclusively for such purposes. These purposes are said to be threefold : to combat subversive elements in our midst; to protect our trade routes, and to repel foreign invasion. Let our thinking be clear before we embark upon a policy that may perhaps, even contrary to the wishes of those who initiate it, march by rapid stages from one of purely national self defence to a very different one of participation in a war, contrary to the best interests of our country. It is our duty to examine this question from the viewpoint of the welfare of Canada and Canadians; for, if this is the beginning of a policy of preparation for war, and if we are

National Defence-Mr. Thorson

commencing to engage in a race of armaments, the time for a protest against such a policy is now, before the policy gets under way and beyond our control.

I have heard it stated that this increased vote is necessary to enable us to combat subversive elements in our midst. Obviously the naval vote is not intended for such a purpose. Is our air force or our militia to be increased for this purpose? Is it our intention to combat those whose political views differ from those we hold ourselves, with an increased air force or an increased army? It is only necessary to ask the question to demonstrate its absurdity.

Are we. then, proposing to defend our trade routes? May I remind this house that Canada sells her wheat to ninety-nine different countries throughout the world, and that her other exports also go to a large number of countries. Are we going to defend all our trade routes? Obviously Canada cannot attempt any such project. Our external trade is of vital importance to us, it is true, but we would pay too great a price for it if we had to embark upon a naval program adequate to its protection. If we do not intend to protect all our trade routes, which are we to abandon and which should we protect? I again remind this house that during the last fiscal year fifty-three per cent of our export trade went to foreign countries and forty-seven per cent to the United Kingdom and other British countries. Our trade is international and with all the world. The argument that this vote is necessary for the protection of our external trade must in my opinion be dismissed as untenable.

One other alleged justification for this increased vote remains. We are told that we must be prepared to resist foreign invasion. Against whom must we prepare? Is it against Japan? Are we to militarize our Pacific coast? Is it against Germany? Do we intend to militarize the St. Lawrence and our Atlantic coast? What plans have we for these purposes? We are entitled to know such plans, if indeed any exist. Why should Canada not take advantage of her favourable geographical position? We must face facts, and admit that no nation can successfully invade Canada unless the United States is a consenting party to such an invasion. Does any person think for a moment that the United States would permit Canada to be invaded, either by Japan from the west or by any European nation from the east? Their own self-interest in this country would preclude any such possibility. Canada is safe from foreign invasion so long as the United States remains a friendly

country. There is only one country that could annex Canada, and that country is the United States. Against that great country Canada could not successfully defend herself, but from that country I can see no danger of invasion and no necessity for national self defence. These are facts. Why should Canada not take advantage of them? Other countries rely upon their surrounding circumstances, upon their geographical position or upon such balances of power as may exist or can be created, whichever is of the greatest advantage to them. Is it right for other countries to do this and wrong for Canada to follow a similar course? I may be told that this is an unworthy attitude for Canada to take, but where the welfare of Canada and of the Canadian people is involved, I care not what others may think of our attitude. We do not need to demonstrate Canadian courage to the rest of the world. Sixty thousand Canadians-and I am proud that my own brother was one of them-did so with their lives during the last war. Indeed, Mr. Speaker, it has always been easy for man to show his heroism on the field of battle; throughout all the ages man has been instinctively courageous when the hour of his trial has come. Often it is more difficult to stand for peace than to yield to the call of war.

I do not believe that these increases are necessary for purely national self-defence purposes, and I am afraid that something more than purely national self defence is or may be involved in this new policy. I sincerely hope that my fears are groundless, but I believe it to be my duty to sound a strong note of warning.

Is there any other justification for increased armaments for Canada? Are we under any obligations to other countries to arm ourselves? If the history of the League of Nations during the past few years had been different, my answer might be in the affirmative. After the great war was over the League of Nations was created. It was to be a great organization of all the nations of tlhe world for the purpose of preserving the peace of the world. Frequently it has been said that the League of Nations has failed. I do not altogether agree with that point of view; for there have been many events that have happened since the league was constituted, which would have thrown the world into war if there had been no league. It is not the League of Nations that has failed; rather is it true that the great powers have failed the league and been false to the hopes of humanity. All the great powers must share the blame-the United States for their refusal to enter the league; France, perhaps most of

National Defence-Mr. Thorson

Topic:   SUPPLY-NATIONAL DEFENCE CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON AMENDMENT TO MOTION OF MINISTER OF FINANCE
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SC

Percy John Rowe

Social Credit

Mr. P. J. ROWE (Athabaska):

Mr. Speaker, the main purpose of the amendment before the house is to prevent consideration of the estimates of the Department of National Defence. Necessarily it involves as a main consideration the question as to what Canada's policy should be from the standpoint of armaments and military force. It is from this point of view that I desire to discuss it.

To-day there cannot possibly be any question as to the ramifications of international armament firms and the support they have received from international bankers. Neither can it be challenged that more and more each month the world is furnished with disclosures which, to put it mildly indeed, would astound even those who in the past have considered that a war must necessarily be part of our modern civilization. On numerous occasions in the house I have argued this point, and placed on record much evidence which still remains unchallenged. The evidence shows that preparation for war never takes the slightest notice of the welfare of the people who supposedly are to be saved when armed conflict occurs. It is well known that informed opinion throughout the world to-day deprecates war with all its sufferings and with the wanton destruction of human and material wealth that it inevitably entails. It has also been amply shown that war preparations are definitely linked up with the monetary and financial system, and that the minds of the people are prepared in advance by the press which seemingly at every opportunity and on

every occasion is willing and anxious to support the policy of increased armaments. The result of this publicity is evidenced on all sides throughout the world in the ever-mounting expenditures made for the purposes of armaments in this wild race in which the world is now engaged and which may easily result in the destruction of our civilization through another armed conflict of nations.

Even soldiers seem to be kept in the dark as to what they are fighting for. It is only after years, it is only after a level-headed survey of the true conditions, that they express their utter disgust and most severe condemnation of war and all its implications. I should like to quote General Smedley Butler, who is reported in Common Sense Magazine for November, 1935. General Butler had distinguished service in the American army for a period of thirty-five years and is the author of numerous books on military affairs. He said:

In the past two years large national guard forces have seen active service in 20 strikes in as many different states, from the Pacific coast to New England, from Minnesota to Georgia. They have used gas, bullets and tanks -the most lethal weapons of modern war- against striking workers. Casualty lists have been impressive. In one instance they erected barbed wire concentration camps in Georgia to "coordinate" striking workers with all the efficiency of the fascist repressive technique.

I spent thirty-three years as a member of our country's most agile military force-the marine corps. I spent most of my time being a high-class muscle man for big business, for Wall street and for the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer for capitalism. I suspected I was just part of a racket at the time. Now I am sure of it. Like all members of the military profession I never had an original thought until I left the service.

Thus I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen central American republics for the benefit of Wall street. I helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers in 1909-12. I brought light to the Dominican republic for American sugar interests in 1916. I helped make Honduras "right" for American fruit companies in 1903. In China in 1927 I helped to see to it that Standard oil went its way unmolested.

During those years I had ... a swell racket. I was rewarded with honours, medals, promotions. Looking back on it, I feel I might have given A1 Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three city districts. We marines operated on three continents. The war racket operates at full swing in our own country to-day. Make no mistake. We no longer fulfill by our example as a nation the role of leader in disarmament

928 COMMONS

National Defence-Mr, Rowe (Athabaska)

and peace-maker to mankind. Our present war preparations and military expenditures forever nullify the Kellogg peace pact to which we subscribed.

Training regulations No. 10-5 of the war department contain the official "doctrine of war," for the United States. . . . Section V, paragraph 6. says "the object to be attained by (military) training is to enable the army to wage offensive warfare," . . . Let us remember that the military ideal of our country has never been defensive warfare. Since the revolution, only the United Kingdom has beaten our record for square miles of territory acquired by military conquest. . . . Our whole history shows we have never fought a defensive war. Our armed forces have up to date plans for offensive warfare against almost every country on the globe-all in the sacred name of "national defence." Should some affront be given to our national honour by Japan, say, there is a plan ready to be put in operation against the Japanese. . . . And the same for almost any nation you might care to name. The war department and the government, under the present law, is at the mercy of the rulers of industry and finance. . . . We support armed forces that have all the evils of the old time European prussianized military systems.

The correction of these evils is our immediate duty. We must deny to our armed forces the functions of diplomats, politicians and agents provocateurs. . . . There must be no more

reactionary and destructive intelligence work. The true domestic enemies of our nation

hunger, injustice and exploitation-should concern the military intelligence-not the subversive shadows of their own creation. . . . Nations should consider whether, after all, their best defence might not be to divert to social welfare the effort, energy, and money spent preparing for offensive war.

When conditions develop to the point where the further existence of the money machine is imperilled, a gigantic international abattoir is set up and into it are poured millions of the finest of the world's youth to be slaughtered for the benefit of the money machine and nothing else. Ambassador Page cabled to President Wilson from London on March 5, 1917, saying, among other things-

If we should go to war with Germany, all the money would be kept in our country, trade would be continued and enlarged until the war ends, and after the war Europe would continue to buy food, and would buy from us also an enormous supply of things to re-equip her peace industries. We should thus reap the profit of an uninterrupted, perhaps and enlarging trade, over a number of years, and we should hold their securities in payment. . . . Perhaps our going to war is the only way in which our present preeminent position can be maintained and a panic averted.

Let us see what followed: A month and a day after receiving this cablegram, President Wilson declared war on Germany. This is unchallengeable evidence that financial considerations and not human considerations were at the very root of the American entrance

rMr. P. J. Rowe.]

into the European conflict. Remember the declaration of President Wilson a few days before his death, when he said:

Is there a man or woman, nay is there a child, in this audience, who does not know that the seeds of war are sown in hot, successful commercial rivalry?

The American senate, in a report on corporate earnings and government revenues, being senate document 256, sixty-fifth congress, second session, shows very definitely that Mr. Page's recommendations bore their fruits. From this report I quote some of the profits which have been admitted, and it must be remembered that these figures were supplied by the firms involved. There are some illuminating figures in this report. Twenty-two meat packing firms reported profits of 100 per cent or more. Sixteen cotton yarn manufacturers reported profits of 100 per cent or more. Thirty-nine garment manufacturers reported profits of 100 per cent or more. Fifteen steel plants and rolling mills reported profits of more than 100 per cent. Bituminous coal producers in the Appalachian field reported as follows: 135 firms had profits of over 100 per cent but under 500 per cent; 21 had profits of over 500 per cent but under 1,000 per cent, and 14 firms reported profits of over 1,000 per cent. Every day while the great war lasted 20,000 men and boys were killed, wounded or taken prisoner. Of the 66,000,000 mobilized, roughly 10,000,000 were killed at the front. The Swedish society for the study of the social consequences of the war reports that, including deaths among noncombatants and deaths resulting from epidemics arising out of the war, we have the appalling total of 40,000,000 dead as a direct result of the war. The total cost, estimated at $337,000,000,000, would require to meet it a payment of $20,000 an hour from the birth of Christ until the end of the world war. If the cablegram of Ambassador Page had been blazoned on the front pages of the world press I doubt very much whether the American people would have considered it their patriotic duty to embark upon a mission of mass murder, particularly had they then known that their effective participation on the battlefields of Europe would have resulted in the creation of 21,000 new millionaires in the United States as a direct result of war-time activities-we had six or seven hundred new millionaires in Canada as well-with no less than $58,000,000 of new profits for the du Ponts, about whom we have heard something in this house within the last few days; one of our civil servants is very closely connected with the du Ponts. The Central Leather Company increased its annual divi-

National Defence-Mr. Rowe (Athabaska)

dends 1,100 per cent; the General Chemical Company, 1,400 per cent; International Nickel, 1,700 per cent. It is inconceivable that American soldiers went to war for that.

I cannot conceive that hon. members can be asked to consider increasing expenditures for armaments and defence without being specifically informed of the dangers that threaten us in the immediate future. It is my opinion that if this country is to be asked to embark with all other nations of the world in a mad armaments race, the first duty of this government is to furnish the house and the people with a complete and detailed report of the reasons why we are to arm, against whom we are to arm, and for what purposes these armaments are to be used. It is folly to assume that the increased expenditures this year can afford defensive protection to this country, and it is reasonable to assume that this year's estimates are merely the thin end of a wedge that will be driven even deeper into our national finances if we once allow it to enter. Surely the people of this land are entitled to full knowledge on questions such as these: What guarantee can the government give that there will be no war profiteering? What assurance is there that at this very moment our natural resources are not being turned into implements of war?

An hon MEMBER: They are.

Topic:   SUPPLY-NATIONAL DEFENCE CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON AMENDMENT TO MOTION OF MINISTER OF FINANCE
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SC

Percy John Rowe

Social Credit

Mr. ROWE (Athabaska):

What firms in Canada are at present engaged in the manufacture of armaments, munitions and war supplies for Great Britian or any other countries? What profits are actually being reaped by Canadian concerns through the provision of such materials? And-perhaps more serious than all else-what guarantee have we that our youth will not be expected to face the very arms and be targets for the very munitions that are now being exported from this country?

I cannot conceive a better description of the causes of war than that recently furnished me in a letter from Mr. John Hargrave, an author of repute, whose book Summertime Ends, published by Bobbs Merrill Company, New York, is most illuminating. Mr.' Hargrave has made an extensive study of world economic systems and has inquired deeply into the causes of war. I quote from his letter:

War is the inevitable result of a faulty financial system of distribution in which the "home market" of every country fails to be fully effective, and in which, therefore, the scramble for export markets abroad becomes imperative.

It is essential that each great producing country should make its own "home market" effective by the issue and use of its own debt-31111-59

free consumer-credit. This is the only way in which it is possible to eliminate the root cause of war.

When we are dealing with a matter of this kind, surely it is incumbent upon us as the representatives of the people to give consideration to causes rather than to effects. I suggest that the spectre of all the wars in history will rise up-on the day of judgment-and point an accusing finger at the leaders of mankind, because it is only to cover their own stupidity and folly and refusal to think that the common people are led to the shambles. It has gone on for centuries; it is about time to put a stop to it. I challenge anyone to find .that there is any other cause of modern wars than the one that I have just stated in my quotation from Mr. Hargrave s letter. May I further suggest that this statement is an accurate analysis of the root causes of war. May I say also that it is futile for this country to embark upon a policy of armaments and defence without thoroughly investigating the economic causes of war, and having found them, proceeding immediately to remove them.

Perhaps it is well to have in mind the words of the Minister of Defence (Mr. Mackenzie), speaking at Ottawa on February 7, 1936. In stating the two cardinal principles of defence, the minister said:

First we must have the defence forces sufficient to control subversive elements from within, and sufficient also to repel attacks from without.

We have heard a great deal about subversive elements from within. Unfortunately many members of the government have not very well described what these elements are. Does the government fear that the people of this country, with its more than a million on relief, will rebel against the continued policy of scarcity? Does the government believe tha,t our youth will become tired of walking our streets and roaming through our provinces in futile search for work? Does the government believe the taxpayers of this land are becoming so overburdened with taxes that the almighty dollars of interest will have to be extracted from their pockets with the aid of bayonets? I repeat that the Canadian people, who in the ultimate must pay with their blood and dollars for armaments, are entitled to receive from this government without further delay a clear statement of the intentions of the government; and particularly, if there are such great dangers within our borders, let the government point its finger at these so-called subversive elements.

I for one believe that Canadians aio a peaceful people. I believe indeed tint they are

930 COMMONS

National Defence-Mr. Rowe (Athabaska)

too peaceful. I have long since expected that they would cry very loudly against the continuance of economic conditions so contrary to their welfare and so definitely opposed to the policies possible in this enlightened age.

I very well recall the many discussions in this house relating to old age pensions, pensions for the blind, veterans' assistance and other measures of social welfare. Inevitably during these debates the house was informed that these things were very nice and very desirable, but there has always been a nigger in the woodpile; always there has been no money available for such services. Just the other day the Minister of Finance (Mr. Dunning) rebuked the hon. member for Ros-thern (Mr. Tucker) because he had the temerity to advocate some slight departure from the rules of orthodox finance. The cry of inflation is regularly raised in this chamber. For my part I would much prefer the methods advocated by the hon. member for Rosthern than again to see the national debt increased by loans, as will be inevitable if we embark upon this wild armaments program.

To hon. members representing the province of Quebec-and I include ministers of the crown from that province-I would say that if I am at all a judge of public opinion the French-Canadians in this country are a peace-loving race who strenuously object to any warlike activities on the part of this country. I willingly concede the high patriotism of French Canada, but it is a patriotism devoted to their homes and our national institutions and one that is very little concerned with entanglements beyond our borders.

In closing I express my intention of supporting the motion because in my opinion this house lacks the complete information necessary before embarking on a policy of armaments; because the financial position of the country cannot permit of this added burden under our present orthodox financial methods, and primarily because I consider that the essential problems in Canada must first be solved, and that the duty of this government is to achieve for all complete economic security before launching on the production of nonessentials. I am forcibly reminded of the many promises made by the present government's supporters during the last election campaign. I recall the statement of the Prime Minister on the night of the election, to the effect that "the battle in the next parliament will be between the power of the people and the power of money." The amendments to the Bank of Canada Act last year gave the first victory to the power of money. This

year, let our actions in parliament be such as to give victory to the power of the people.

Topic:   SUPPLY-NATIONAL DEFENCE CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON AMENDMENT TO MOTION OF MINISTER OF FINANCE
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LIB-PRO

James Allison Glen

Liberal Progressive

Mr. J. A. GLEN (Marquette) :

This debate centres around the amendment moved by the hon. member for Vancouver North (Mr. MacNeil) which reads:

That all the words after the word "that" in the motion be struck out and the following substituted therefor:

"This house views with grave concern the startling increases of expenditure proposed by the government for purposes of national armament in contrast with the inadequate provision for the social security of all section of the Canadian people."

As the Minister of National Defence (Mr. Mackenzie) said, this is a double-barrelled motion in that it contains two major propositions, one as to defence, and the other as to social security. I may say at the outset that I cannot support the amendment and I will give reasons therefor.

In the debate which has taken place yesterday and to-day a good deal has been said with regard to expeditionary forces which Canada might raise to take part in a European war. I listened very carefully, as most hon. members did, to the speech made by the Minister of National Defence, and nowhere throughout that whole speech was there any word with reference to offence; wholly and solely was that speech intended to convey what was the purpose of Canada in the realm of defence. There is no one, I am sure, in this house or throughout the dominion who is anxious for an increase in armament expenditures. All of us hate the idea that there should be any increase in these expenditures from which we are suffering so much in our economic structure. But, Mr. Speaker, when the hon. member for Selkirk states that there is bound to be controversy in regard to these estimates, he is of course entirely correct. I do not think, however, that he is speaking for the Liberal opinion throughout the western part of our country, and I know he is not speaking for a great many of the young men who may ultimately have to take part in war. I have in my hands a resolution passed by the Junior Liberals Resolutions Committee of Manitoba, a study group of eighty within the province, who have gathered and correlated most of the opinions expressed by the young men in the Liberal ranks in the province. They passed a resolution to this effect:

Therefore be it resolved, that Canada work for immediate Teform of the league; first, by reorganization of the world court, so that it will command the confidence of all nations, large or small, in its settlement of disputes; second, by the guarantee of collective aid, if

National Defence-Mr. Glen

attacked, to those members of the league who have faithfully carried out their league obligations; and third, by the establishment of a coordinated international, land, air and sea force, to which Canada should pledge a proportionate contribution, for the enforcement of international law,

That Canada's land, air and sea forces be increased and modernized, until adequate for coastal defence, and suitable for a contribution to an international police force,

That if Canada is involved in a conflict all wealth and all industry be conscripted,

That generally, Canada's foreign policy be based on complete support of the league, and that no conflict be engaged in, save for the purpose of enforcing the authority of the league and supporting a system of collective security,

And finally, if after such steps have been taken, it is indisputably clear that there is insufficient armed force at the disposal of the league to effectively enforce its decisions then Canada should reconsider or postpone its league policy, and if continued bad faith is displayed by the great powers in the league, then Canada should withdraw her support and take whatever measures are necessary for her own security.

I read that resolution for the purpose of demonstrating that throughout this country to-day all men and. all women of this dominion are concerned with what is the foreign policy of Canada, and I think I can start out with this axiomatic remark, that our foreign policy, to be a sound policy, must defend the existence and promote the welfare of Canada. If Canada were not so placed geographically that a war in Europe might seem-and I emphasize the word "seem" -remote to Canada, the answer to our foreign policy might very easily be arrived at. But situated and placed as we are, there are those who urge that Canada adopt a policy of isolation. Well, Mr. Speaker, those who advocate such a policy must choose between two kinds of policy-armed isolation and a deliberate detachment from other countries, or a defenceless Pacific isolation until some foreign power likes to put an end to it. Canada must sooner or later face the question of its relationship and obligations to other countries, particularly those included in the present British commonwealth. When we heard the news that arrived from Great Britain the^ other day, the appalling news that two billion dollars were to be obtained by loan in order to increase the armaments of Great Britain, we stood back in amazement and wondered what madness was here that such a thing should be necessary in Great Britain.

I do not think anyone will disagree with me when I say that the government of Britain when they undertook to make that loan did so not because of any false fears but because of the realization that nothing but stark necessity was making them enter the world's money market to borrow money for armament

31111-59J

purposes. It was not the policy of Mr. Baldwin's government, for he was elected on a peace policy; and you will remember, Mr. Speaker, the outraged convictions of many people in Britain when the Baldwin government proposed to depart from that policy. They found that public opinion was stronger even than the government, and they had to withdraw from the position they had taken in connection with the Laval-Hoare agreement. That is evidence to me, sir, that there is a real fear in the minds of those who are competent to judge that war may be upon us in 1937.

I was reading at the beginning of the year an article by Mr. A. G. Gardiner, an internationally known publicist. In this article he was pointing to the fateful year of 1937 and indicating those who might again create war in this world. He referred particularly, of course, to Hitler and Mussolini as the two men who seemed to have the say-so as to whether there shall or shall not be war. He discussed many things that were happening in both these countries, and I should like to preface my remarks, before going on to deal with these estimates, with the reasons why the government of this country should take stock of her forces in order to meet any potential attack on the pant of a foreign country. Mr. Gardiner pointed out-I might say in passing that he is no friend of the government of the day in Britain; as a matter of fact he is a man of peace so outstanding that he is internationally known-that Goering had said that the German people must have guns, and not butter. That is a striking phrase, but I think it is emblematic of the policies that obtain in Germany to-day; they are more concerned with guns than they are with the food of the people. He also pointed out that there were fifteen million families in Germany to-day who are being mobilized against famine; that there were regulations against the hoarding of gold, and that the nation was compelled to take what it could get to eat in the way of food, and not what it wanted. He also referred to the desperate need of money in Germany. When I read that, it was so striking that I had to memorize it, and I was really glad to think that I was in Canada and not in Germany; for only recently they passed a law in Germany inflicting the death penalty by beheading upon those who smuggled money or securities abroad or maintained funds abroad without reporting them to the Reichsbank. I am sure hon. members will agree that it is a mighty good thing to be living in Canada to-day, despite all its adversities.

To add to these horrors there is now being consummated, and it is becoming more and

National Defence-Mr. Glen

More apparent, a union between Hitler and Mussolini. They are supreme; they _ may do anything. The sanctity of the bond is not in their vocabulary. Hon. gentlemen will remember that when the gentleman's agreement was made between Britain and Italy, at the very moment that Lord Lothian's committee was sitting and endeavouring to complete its regulations regarding the non-intervention pact so far as Spain was concerned, the port of Malaga was being taken with the assistance of fifteen thousand Italian troops. Those troops could not leave Italy without the knowledge, if not the consent, of Mussolini. These are the men, Mr. Speaker, whom we may have to fight against. The nations that they represent apparently have no voice in the foreign policies of their governments. Only the sweet will of both these strutting braggarts rules the world of peace. What does that mean so far as Canada is concerned? It has brought vividly before this country what may happen in the year 1937 unless precautions are taken.

I assume from what I have heard of the arguments in this debate that the main thing that is troubling people to-day is the question of the implications respecting empire defence in the increased estimates of the Minister of National Defence. If I may take the word of the Minister of National Defence in the speech he made in this house yesterday, he clearly stated and reiterated that there was no meaning to be attached to any such implications, that the policy of the government was not for offence but for defence, and that the government did not propose to form any expeditionary force for a European war.

The last war created a nationalism which has been rampant over the whole face of the world. Instead of nations living together harmoniously and trading with one another they are to-day living in fear that they may be fighting each other to-morrow, simply because of the caprice of any one of these dictators. Everyone knows that the rape of Abyssinia took place not because there was any conflict between Italy and Abyssinia, but simply because Mussolini had to still the flames of revolt throughout his whole country, and couldl only do so by giving to his people a promise of gain and of glory. Canada is not immune from attack by either of these two gentlemen. If the internal affairs of either Italy or Germany compel them again to enter the field of war, do you think for one moment that they have not in their minds this vast domain of Canada, where eleven millions of people occupy half a continent, and where foodstuffs are so abundant that we are able to feed' many nations of the world? Naturally they would look to Canada, and if

it should happen that either of these countries were in conflict with Britain, what do you think would be the first object of either of them, if not to stifle the trade routes from Canada to Britain, and if possible starve Britain?

Some would say, and have said in the course of this debate, that we propose to take care of the trade routes by which food is carried from Canada to Britain. There could be nothing more ridiculous. The very paucity of the estimates and the magnitude of such a task is surely the answer. It could not possibly be. Nevertheless both Italy and Germany may and undoubtedly will recognize that the stifling or cutting off of the trade routes from Canada to Britain would be equivalent to a victory over Britain. There is no need for Italy or Germany to land one soldier on the shores of Britain if they can stifle the trade routes leading thereto, and that certainly would be one of the first things they would attempt to do.

Some would say they might come to Canada.

I do not think that is too far-fetched a statement to make. It is in the minds of all that in 1933 General Balbo came with his air squadron to Canada and to Chicago, and surely it is not beyond our imagination to conceive that the machinery of war and the lessons gained in war have been so emphasized and assimilated-and war technique so improved beyond recognition-that to-day there is a real fear that we might be invaded by either of those two countries. It is said that the distance is too great. Let me recall that when Mussolini was organizing his suicide squadrons-and some gentleman asked the other day how the invaders proposed to get back if they ever did come to this country-those who made up the personnel of the suicide squadrons pledged themselves for particular purposes with no idea that they would ever return. If an aerial squadron came to Canada it could destroy our eastern ports; Montreal could be reduced to ashes, and the elevators containing grain intended for overseas might be destroyed. I do not think it is too far-fetched to suggest that as a possibility that might occur during a war. Navies alone are not needed; navies of the air are needed, and these foreign governments are addressing themselves to that feature of warfare more than to any other.

Then it is said that if Canada should be invaded we could depend upon the United States to protect us, that the Monroe doctrine would apply. I wonder if hon. members who refer to the Monroe doctrine realize its implications. It is not statutory; it was contained in the presidential address of President Monroe delivered as far back as the second

National Defence-Mr. Glen

day of December, 1823. I need not read it all, but I shall read what is material as far as any assistance by the United States in the defence of Canada is concerned. This is the important part:

We owe it, therefore, to candour, and to the amicable relations existing between the United States and those powers, to declare that we should consider any attempt on their part to extend their system to any portion of this hemisphere as dangerous to our peace and safety. .

It will be noted that the reference is to the extension of their system. But President Monroe went further:

With the existing colonies or dependencies of any European power we have not interfered and shall not interfere-

At that time I assume Canada was a colony of a European power:

-but with the governments who have declared their independence and maintained it, and whose independence we have on great consideration and on just principles acknowledged, we could not view any interposition for the purpose of oppressing them, or controlling in any other manner their destiny, by any European power, in any other light than as the manifestation of an unfriendly disposition towards the United States.

Then further:

In the war between those new governments and Spain we declared our neutrality at the time of their recognition, and to this we have adhered, and shall continue to adhere, provided no change shall occur which, in the judgment of the competent authorities of this government, shall make a corresponding change on the part of the United States indispensable to their security.

What I have just read, Mr. Speaker, means this: If Italy or Germany were to declare war on Great Britain, is it in the mind of anyone that they would not treat Canada as a belligerent? If one of these countries takes up the burden of war again we may be assured that these birds of prey are not likely to issue any formal declaration of war. It will come at a moment's notice. The president of the United States and his congress would take some time in preparing a mandate, and if they issued any such document they would become a belligerent as against this other nation with which they had no quarrel. The difficulty is easily seen, and it is not too much to say that the United States is not bound automatically by the Monroe doctrine. I think it is fair to say that any support given by the United States would be given because their own interests in connection with trade or the lives of their citizens demanded it of them. In the meantime the damage would have been done.

When the Minister of National Defence was making his statement the other day he reiterated the fact that there was no thought in his mind of any of this appropriation being used other than in the defence of Canada. In the eloquent terms with which 'he expressed his point of view he was only expressing the view of the government, and I am quite sure he did not exceed the instructions of the cabinet. When I look at the cabinet, Mr. Speaker, I see men. who speak my language and who are affiliated with me politically. If it were not so I cannot conceive of the Prime Minister coming into this house and saying on several occasions, with all the emphasis at his command, that on no occasion has there been any commitment or any undertaking given to any government on the face of the earth with regard to these estimates, and that the only meaning to be drawn from the increased vote now asked of this house is that it is to be used simply and solely for purposes of defence. And in addition, Mr. Speaker, both the Minister of National Defence and the Prime Minister have stated what I think is generally accepted throughout the dominion, that in no case shall Canada enter into a war which involves the sending of an expeditionary force out of the country until the consent of parliament has been obtained. I believe that is the policy of the government of the day, and I think it was also the policy of the previous government.

That does not necessarily mean, however, that this country will not defend itself against aggression, and as I understood the speech of the Minister of National Defence the purpose of these increased estimates is that we may have the equipment necessary in order to protect our shores. I am prepared absolutely to accept the statement of policy that has been made on behalf of the government. I know they will carry out that policy, and I am going just a little further. The Prime Minister has taken many political steps during his career. He will be the leader of the delegation which will leave Canada in May to attend the coronation, and following the coronation there will be an imperial conference at which all the nations of the commonwealth will be represented. The Prime Minister has already established a precedent; when he negotiated an economic treaty with the United States he was the first statesman in the whole world to make a breach in the tariff and economic walls surrounding the nationalist countries of the world. He did make a breach, and that breach has been widening ever since. Men are beginning to realize that the peace of the world

National Defence-Mr. Glen

depends to a large extent upon economic interpenetration and trade between countries rather than upon force of arms.

I am going to suggest to the Prime Minister that when he goes to the imperial conference he take with him the viewpoint expressed in this debate, and declare in unmistakable terms in every address he makes that Canada is nauseated with war and that we are anxious that the League of Nations should again function in order to bring about peace in the world. Canada's influence may not be as great as that of some of the larger nations. Numerically we are not strong, but I do not think anyone will deny that potentially, in our citizens and our resources, no country is superior to us. I suggest therefore that at the imperial conference the Prime Minister again take the initiative within that commonwealth league of nations upon which the hope of the peace of the world still rests, and that he there and then communicate to those countries comprising the British commonwealth of nations the fact that Canada does not want war. We ask him therefore to say to the British nations "Let us, if we can, canvass the situation again."

In an address delivered a few days ago the Minister of Justice (Mr. Lapointe) said that the league was not dead. I believe I am voicing the views of most hon. members and a vast majority of the people throughout the country when I say that in the league lies the hope of peace. It behooves Canada to exhaust every effort towards making it the commanding influence compelling peace in the world.

Topic:   SUPPLY-NATIONAL DEFENCE CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON AMENDMENT TO MOTION OF MINISTER OF FINANCE
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LIB

Joseph-Alphida Crête

Liberal

Mr. J. ALPHIDA CRETE (St. Mau-rice-Lafleche) (Translation):

Mr. Speaker,

since the question of national defence means so much to all Canadians, may I be allowed first to remind the house that the stand I am taking is purely from a Canadian point of view. I love my country well enough to wish for its happiness and security; I love it well enough not to lay it open to trouble and agitation; I love it well enough to desire that it be respected by other powers, and I love it well enough not to base my political views on personal ambitions or patronage contingencies. I am not opposed to the principle of national defence, but such principle may surely be considered from different angles, and it is in that spirit that I intend to discuss the present estimates in order to see whether they properly answer their purpose.

Responsible as we are towards our respective constituents, I think that it is our duty to give our best consideration to the defence

estimates. What we have to consider to-day is not the annual vote of $15,000,000, but a substantially increased appropriation which is about twice what the government saw fit to ask for last year. Since that time I admit that our economic prospects have become brighter, but the public debt is nevertheless very large, and our very financial condition has to be accounted with in relation to the estimates that we are discussing, when you consider that our debt is largely due to the military venture of 1914-1918. These circumstances as a whole have led me to ponder and to ponder seriously over the situation, considering the opinion of my constituents who, in that regard, hold the same views as in the last election when they voted, at least in my province, on the strength of the oft-repeated statements of the leaders and candidates of the different parties. Today, the people are getting excited over this question and watch the stand that each one is going to take in view of their promises. When I heard, last night, one of my compatriots end his speech by saying: "I would be a traitor to my race if I thought that we were not taking the means of protecting ourselves," I wondered whether his attitude, prompted, I am sure, by the purest of patriotism, fully agreed with the feelings of our Canadian people in the province of Quebec.

In spite of the civic virtues which such statement entails I am afraid that it will not be greatly appreciated by his compatriots, even in this chamber.

Here are the humble observations that I for one venture to offer to the hon. members of this house. Mr. Speaker, the first question that comes to our mind in this: Why such an increase in the estimates of the Department of National Defence? For what purposes do we start building armaments? We may assume two things: We are building arms either for the empire, or for Canada. For the empire? We may have thought so for a time. I need not remind the house of the numerous formal visits of certain emissaries from Great Britain and of their untimely statements, so much so that the hon. Minister of National Defence (Mr. Mackenzie) himself had to correct them, from a Canadian point of view, in order to reassure public opinion. Even in Canada, some representative people repeated these appeals and echoed them to the four corners of our dominion. But to talk about arming for the empire, Mr. Speaker, would preclude us from speaking about national defence, because, after all, Canada must not be synonymous with the empire, and everybody knows that the empire does not mean Canada.

National Defence-Mr. Crete

However, to-day, we are told that we are dealing with a. plan of national defence, that is to say, if we take the proper meaning of the words, a plan exclusively for the defence of Canada. Besides, I think that it is actually the intention of the present government who positively say so in tl^eir statements. Therefore, we are not arming for the empire, but for Canada, and for Canada alone.

But even for Canada I do not think it is advisable in the present circumstances to increase our defence budget by 15 millions. It seems to me that neither our geographical position, nor our political status, nor our financial condition justifies such an additional expenditure.

Canada, being, geographically speaking, an extension of the United States toward the north, has in the south a conventional open boundary 3,000 miles long. Let us suppose for an instant, in order to illustrate my point, that we be attacked from that side. All the Canadians fit to wear a uniform, all the conscripts, would not be able to cover efficiently one-third of the 45th parallel. And how would we build up our reserves? Are we going to put up a Chinese wall, a Maginot line? Even if we did succeed in fortifying the great lakes district well enough to make it safe against any invasion, the frontier would nevertheless remain open on a distance of 2,500 miles.

An attack from the Japanese, in the west, on the Pacific coast, would never be tolerated by our neighbours who have common interests with Canada on that coast and who will always keep the road open to Alaska. Everywhere else, we may depend on the assistance of the 'United States because of the Monroe doctrine, which was further emphasized in the positive statement which the president of the United States made while in Quebec, last summer.

Let us now consider the problems connected with our political status, and the conclusions are the same. For instance, if you look over the history of the last century you will see that there was no important conflict on Canadian territory since 1814. Of course, I know very well that war breaks out suddenly, but everybody knows that an armed conflict can be but the outcome of difficulties which have been made worse by years of serious economic misunderstanding or unsatisfied racial ambitions. But we in Canada, who are in peace with all the nations of the world and are cited as an example even in the League of Nations, how could we understand the uneasiness and the agitation of our warmongers.

A cursory examination of possible causes of war all over our planet at this time shows

that those governing ideas which are shaking the old world-communism, fascism, lust for conquest-do not represent for us any real war threat. I shall deal later with the danger arising out of communism. No country could pick a quarrel with us in order to secure colonies, for we have none. It will be recalled that, at Versailles, it was not deemed necessary to allot us the smallest share of colonial spoils: that is another benefit we have reaped from our participation in the last war! Thus, the latest warnings of the German dictator are not meant for us. We have no colonies and we will not go to war in order to secure any. Considering the present population of Canada, our natural resources and our industrial wealth are, on the whole, sufficient for our needs; we even find it possible to export outside the empire our most plentiful products. In that field, the Prime Minister has clearly understood the importance which the lowering of tariff walls may take for the preservation of international peace. If, in some unusual instances, we had to lower these walls to still lower levels, we did that, as will be recalled, to avoid a disastrous war and to comply with the terms of a covenant.

In my opinion, our financial position is another serious objection to such a substantial increase in the appropriations with which we are dealing. Let us not forget that our per capita debt amounts to .$272. Let us consider, also, what burden the organization of an efficient national defence would mean for the taxpayers in this country. With such a vast territory, with our scattered population, what could we do with $15,000,000? Why, hundreds of millions would be required, and even then the efficiency of our defence would be doubtful.

Obviously, Mr. Speaker, the organization of our defence upon an efficient basis is beset with numerous difficulties most of which are physically insuperable. I even venture to think that the officers of the Department of National Defence realized that, since the plan which is now submitted to us is not what can properly be called a national defence plan. Indeed, as we look over the estimates, we notice that quite a few items which show an increase over last year, are for the purchase of offensive arms.

As a matter of fact, we notice the greatest increase under the head of military aviation. Yet, we all know that in time of war aircraft are primarily used as weapons of attack. However, I do not question their usefulness as a means of defence, And in the proposed purchases which we are called upon to approve,

National Defence-Mr. Crete

X notice 24 bombing planes and 12 fighting planes not to mention 27 training planes! Light infantry, as it were!

Another important part of the estimates which we are requested to vote is to be used for the purchase of two destroyers which Great Britain will soon deliver to us. They are to replace H.M.S. Champlain and H.M.S. Vancouver which, I am told, used to spend a few months each winter in southern waters, that is in the West Indies. If those two destroyers are absolutely necessary for our defence, I am far from feeling safe when they are there. I am even informed that immediately after they reach Canada in March, they will be sent on their cruise and will not return-God help us-before May next!

A little further, I notice that the Quebec fortifications have not been overlooked, $15,000 being appropriated for rebuilding the walls! Perhaps such an appropriation is timely but to those who are familiar with Quebec city, this item is more calculated to perpetuate our past military glory than to ensure our safety in case of war.

As regards our strategic points, Halifax and Vancouver, where there is a remote chance that we might be attacked, I notice that the money to be spent in their defence form but a small percentage of the $15,000,000; there, as in Quebec, the work is more in the nature of a useless precautionary measure. For all these reasons, it seems impossible to conclude that this plan will be efficient. Let no one claim that such is an anti-Canadian view. However brutal and regrettable it may be, reality is still reality; we are physically incapable of defending ourselves adequately, whatever defence plans we may resort to.

It might be said after all that these expenditures would provide employment and give their daily bread to thousands of unemployed. But I suppose no mention is made of the two destroyers that will reach our shores next month from England where they have been built; it is quite evident that no reference is made to the 102 new planes to be built shortly by large Canadian and foreign plants without any noticeable increase in their regular staff. What is left? A few undertakings requiring the hiring of experts which will be contracted for by individuals who also will not employ any additional workers.

Mr. Speaker, my criticism in certain quarters may seem harsh, but in view of the future, I wish it to be constructive, and I candidly believe that war material is not building material.

Should collective inaction and passiveness be inferred from the above considerations, Mr. Speaker? Should we be satisfied with

[Mr. Cr**- 1

our lot without hoping for a stronger Canada, respected by her neighbours and all foreign powers? Such is not my point of view. I believe in certain methods of ensuring our security, and I trust this house will permit me to suggest them briefly. Whether we like it or not, we are inhabiting the North American* continent; all of us wish and aim to be Canadians to the core, but we must take into account our geographical position, that is to say, in the wide sense of the term, we must be Canadians living in America, I am not saying under the American flag, and far less under European flags. I believe in the Pan-American co-operation towards peace, and when I look at the results of our happy relations with our neighbours to the south, I still find greater advantages in this co-operation. The trade agreement alone entered into last year by the government constitutes an evidence in support of my statement, which is becoming more startling every day.

Mr. Speaker, I am in favour of preventing all trouble within our borders; every subversive movement, communistic or otherwise, should be eradicated at all costs; a limited budget tending to reduce the strength of our constabulary would certainly be unsound economy, an uncalled for parsimony. But it is with great satisfaction that I find a vote of $6,000,000 for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. I am not in a position to state whether or not the amount is sufficient, but at any rate it is far from being excessive. However I cannot explain the purchase of 102 new airplanes, even if the atmosphere smacks of communism. It is our right and duty to patrol our coasts through close watch, but I do not think that the sight of our cruisers will prevent smugglers from operating in our coastal waters.

I believe the duty of the present hour to be the putting into effect of a well-understood national economy rather than a risky defence policy. We must help in restoring our economic life in its various aspects, lest we forget that death is the great provider of armament factories. Again I ask, Mr. Speaker, if an adequate formula for national defence could not be found in the quest for economic stability. In fact experience tells us that a prosperous nation does not seek to overthrow the government nor does it engage in class warfare. A contented nation does not envy its neighbour's fate and wishes harm to nobody. Even if we could suppress all causes of domestic agitation, I claim that possibilities of conflicts would be so much reduced and would become less imminent.

On this point, we cannot also ignore the opinions of our young men. Without any concerted movement, students from Toronto

National Defence-Mr. Lacombe

and from Quebec do not think differently on the question of armaments. Read their papers; you will find in them the same feelings and the same conclusions. Our young men are not in favour of militia expenditures, as they know they will be the ones to pay in the last resort.

Building airplanes, increasing war material and voting estimates to that effect is certainly not the policy we need at the present time. Let us arm ourselves if we wish; however slightly it may be, the fact remains nevertheless that we are plunging into the armaments race when previously everything ran so smoothly. Look at the old world having to bear the burden of past wars, rent by internecine strife and troubled by the outlook of a precarious future; see it look hopelessly for an era of security and real peace. A most terrifying situation that has been going on for years, while the Canadian people were cheerfully marching to the conquest of its destiny under a sun whose light had no blood-stained appearance. Everybody admired and1 envied our peaceful atmosphere, and rightly so.

Now, Mr. Speaker, I cannot leave what I might call the imperialistic clasp to throw myself in the arms of socialism, so in the first place I shall vote against the motion of the hon. member for Vancouver North, leaving the question of deciding as to my vote when the various items of National Defence estimates are considered.

Topic:   SUPPLY-NATIONAL DEFENCE CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON AMENDMENT TO MOTION OF MINISTER OF FINANCE
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LIB

Liguori Lacombe

Liberal

Mr. LIGUORI LACOMBE (Laval-Two Mountains):

Mr. Speaker, before I proceed

to speak in my mother tongue, I should like to say a few words on this very important matter now being debated in this house. The hon. member for Selkirk (Mr. Thorson), who spoke a few moments ago, deserves sincere congratulation upon having made such a splendid speech. Personally, as a true Canadian, I will fight unflinchingly against the participation by Canada in imperial extraterritorial or European wars. If I should come to the conclusion, after hearing the explanations by the government for the increase in the estimates for national defence, that these are to be used for extra-territorial wars, I shall vote against the item. Why? Because in my humble opinion the great task of the government is to review our tremendous taxation, to pay our national debt largely due to the war and to give more general support to the great industry of agriculture. Let us keep our young men on our Canadian soil. Let us give employment to Canadian citizens. Let us develop our natural resources and bring about more happiness and prosperity to the people of Canada.

The amendment suggested by the hon. member for Vancouver North (Mr. MacNeil) is not only a condemnation of the proposed increase in national defence, but a motion of non-confidence in the general political program of the government. Consequently I shall not give my approbation to the amendment, but I reserve my freedom of speech and my freedom to vote as I desire on the question of the increased cost of national defence.

(Translation): Mr. Speaker, I find in the House of Commons' votes and1 proceedings of Feruary 16, 193(7, page 141, the following amendment:-

The order being read for the house to resolve itself again into committee of supply;

Mr. Dunning moved, that Mr. Speaker do now leave the chair.

Mr. MacNeil, seconded by Mr. Coldwell, moved in amendment thereto: that all the words after the word "That" in the motion be struck out and the following substituted therefore:

"this house views with grave concern the startling increases of expenditure proposed by the government for purposes of national armament-

And the hon. member did not stop there.

-in contrast with the inadequate provision for the social security of all sections of the Canadian people."

Mr. Speaker, I frankly admit that I will not follow the hon. member on the ground that is covered by the last part of his motion of non confidence.

I belong to a generation which has had to suffer so much from the war that I cannot shirk what I consider my duty in taking part in the present debate. Conscripted in 1917, I am not unmindful of all the offences, the injustice and the abominations which youth had to go through during these tragic days.

Going back twenty years I can still see these young men ostracised, pursued, surrounded, taken away from their homes and thrown into barracks. Even when the war was over the government at that time endeavoured to fine or imprison the young men who had refused to abide by the odious conscription act. In fact, incarceration was the penalty meted out to those from whom the government had been unable to get the price of blood. Shameful retaliation of an inauspicious period which undoubtedly no member of this house would wish to go through again.

The last great world war caused the ruin of individuals, families and even nations. Our ill-considered participation in that conflict led Canada to the verge of destruction. To take part in another war abroad would mean Canada's complete downfall.

938 COMMONS

National Defence-Mr. Lacombe

I need not recall the history of our unfortunate venture in the last war. I shall also abstain from recalling the extravagant expenditure which it entailed, the thousands of millions in taxes which it cost us and is still costing us, as well as the enormous number of lives that we lost through it. Therefore I state that I am positively opposed to our participation in conflicts abroad. In that regard I shall be unflinching and relentless even if I have to oppose any government. Should a catastrophe occur in central Europe or elsewhere let us not be mad enough again to meddle with it.

You cannot deny the fact that the people were deeply concerned when they heard of the government's intention to increase the national defence estimates. Nobody could blame a Canadian worthy of the name for having at heart the preservation of his home, of his heritage, and of his country. Has he not a right, because of this conviction and this very pride which is a credit to him, to demand from the government a clear and definite statement showing the necessity for such heavy sacrifices. After all it is the Canadian taxpayer who will pay. There is nothing more distressing than doubt and insecurity especially in connection with an issue as serious as the one which we are presently discussing in this chamber. That is why I cannot just now decide as to the advisability of this government measure, though the right hon. the Prime Minister, when he spoke in this house on January 25 last, seems to have stated in plain, definite, firm and clear terms, the exact condition as regards the defence of our territory and nothing else but our territory. In order that there be no mistake, I am going to quote the very words of the right hon. the Prime Minister as they were reported in Hansard of January 25, 1&S7.

My hon. friend referred to the estimates. He stated some were claiming they were evidence of preparation for another European war. The hon. member asked, Were these estimates for that purpose, or were they for the defence of Canada, or what were they for? I am not going to anticipate what the Minister of Defence (Mr. Mackenzie) may have to say when the estimates of his department are before this house for discussion. But I do wish to say at once that, as far as the estimates presented to parliament at this session are concerned, any increase placed there has been only and solely because of what the government believes to be necessary for the defence of Canada, and for Canada alone. The estimates have not been framed with any thought of participation in European wars. They have not been framed as a result of any combined effort or consultation with the British authorities, beyond what would obviously be in the interests of all in the matter of gaining the benefit of expert opinion where expert opinion was obviously desirable. So far as

policy is concerned, I wish to make it perfectly clear, that no request of any kind has come from the British government to our government with respect to a single item that appears in the estimates as they have been brought down. Whatever is there is there as a result of what this government feel is necessary in Canada to-day, Canada being part of the world as the world is to-day.

May I repeat that whatever has been done or is being proposed with respect to necessary increases and expenditure to bring Canada's defence to a more efficient standard than at present has been done with consideration for the needs of Canada and of Canada alone.

Mr. Speaker, I have spent twenty years of my public life in criticizing, nay, in cursing compulsory military service. How many times have I not denounced Canada's participation in the last war? How many times have I not inveighed against the unaccountable attitude and the lamentable error of public men of that time, as also against their excessive imperialism and their lack of Canadianism? My opinion and my stand have not changed a whit since that time.

On October 7, 1935, when the candidates came up for nomination at the last general election, I stated that I was utterly opposed to Canada's participation in any extra-territorial conflict. During that unforgettable political meeting, held in St. Martin, in that fine electoral district of Laval-Two Mountains which I have the honour to represent in parliament, a man in the audience asked me what would be my stand upon Canada's participation in foreign wars. My answer was "I will vote against it."

The men and women electors of Laval-Two Mountains have endorsed in no uncertain way my opposition to Canada's participation in any war. In fact, even in my constituency of Laval-Two Mountains so shamelessly gerrymandered in the sordid hope of ensuring the election of my opponent, I was returned with an overwhelming majority. Yet, nothing was overlooked in the attempt to defeat me; they resorted to political literature, to ample election funds, to promises, and even to the distribution of spurious ballots. Therefore, I need not go to my constituents in order to know that they are unalterably opposed to Canada's participation in any foreign war. I will respect the verdict of the electors of my constituency. In so doing, I shall be discharging but a noble duty toward my country. If I were to do otherwise I should be betraying the interests of the people and making myself unworthy of their confidence. Are not Canada's war wounds still far from being healed? The experience of the past ought to be a lesson for our country. The task of recovering

National Defence-Mr. Lacombe

from the unprecedented sacrifices which she has already made is such a heavy burden that the consequences of some other mad venture should not be added to it. If any government, whatever its political creed, wishes to consummate the ruin of Canada, it will encounter the patriotic resistance of a people to whom experience has taught a lesson.

As far as I am concerned, I am not going, in this year of their glorious centennial, to disparage, through my actions, the noble sacrifice of the patriots who brought fame to my constituency. As a descendant of the heroic conquerors of our political liberties, I will never cease to honour their glorious memory. If the patriots of St. Eustache, of St. Denis, of St. Charles, of Upper and Lower Canada had to consider the defence of our territory, and of our territory alone, what stand would they take under the present circumstances? Would they refuse to protect our homes, our families, our traditions, our institutions and the liberties that they have gradually wrested from the shameful oligarchy of their era? But I ask what constitutes our country, our land, our nation if it is not the sum total of the liberties conquered so dearly, if it is not also every man, woman and child of Canada living on the land and by the land of this country. I humbly believe that the answer to this question is the solution of the problem with which we are faced. It is from whence the light will come. I would vainly look for that light in a troubled, nervous, and gloomy world, where I can only find suspicion, doubt and war clouds, and where I hear nothing but machine guns firing, big guns roaring and the deafening noise of armaments. We will find the answer that will shed light on the whole issue only in a peaceful Canada that is faithful to her institutions, her laws, her liberties, her creeds, her constitution.

Should we consent to these national defence increases for the preservation of this peace, the safeguard of our institutions, the stability of constituted authority, the protection of our Canadian people, the defence of our territory, and of our territory alone? Before committing myself to these proposals, I shall wait for the clear, accurate and definite statement of the government whose sacred duty it is to place such unequivocally and without any ambiguity before parliament and the people of Canada. Who could deny it? There are subversive elements now rampant in Canada. An undisguised outcry is heard from certain quarters. It is not very reassuring as to order and peace in this country. Here is a dangerous

enemy 1 This is the one we have to subdue and render powerless if we do not care to find ourselves one day in the turmoil of social revolution and disorder. We need more than inoperative laws to crush down these dangerous agitators, these trouble-makers. A penalty is necessary. I easily believe that the government is determined to preserve peace, order and good government in Canada. It is a sacred duty on their part to organize the protection of their nationals and of our institutions. No authority has the right to evade the primary responsibility of suppressing any attempt made by unruly elements to undermine constituted authority. There comes a time when persuasion is of no avail in the checking of the unlawful movements of certain extremists whose object seems to be to smash, demolish and destroy everything. The sentiment of the law-abiding and peaceful population has been aroused. Important municipalities have increased their constabulary. In the United States, the recent strike at the General Motors plants necessitated the calling out of the National Guard. During the deplorable floods that occurred in the great neighbouring republic, the American army rendered valuable services. But this was on American territory and for the sole benefit of the republic as well as to the exclusive advantage of its population. Should these happenings justify our national defence increases? I will answer that at the proper time.

In conclusion, Mr. Speaker, I might add that an important section of the Canadian population will strongly object to these national defence increases, unless a considerable part of these estimates are designed to provide work for the Canadian citizens. It is far better to give the people an opportunity to work than to maintain the depressing policy of direct relief. Under the late administration, direct relief has drained more than $600,000,000 from the national treasury. Lastly, after considering all the reasons brought forward in this house for or against the defence increases, I shall cast my vote in the best interests of my country.

Before taking my seat, I wish to say to the imperialists and the imperialistically inclined: Mind your own business. Canada is now a nation enjoying freedom in her internal as well as her external affairs. The Canadian people will not heed your advice or counsel. Greater and more enduring than the strength of armaments, the doctrine that finds its expression in the great commandment of charity should be the ideal of nations. The more nations drift away from this doctrine, the more they will sink into the quicksands

040 COMMONS

National Defence-Mr. Landeryou

where shall perish all civilizations born of hatred, rivalry and antagonism between races and generations.

Another word before concluding, and I should like every representative of the people to know its significance. Down with Canada's participation in foreign warsl Let us remain unalterably attached to our soil, and develop our unbounded natural resources. Let us reduce the war taxes that still burden our people so heavily, and wipe out our national debt. Let us keep our young men at home and give them work to ennoble their lives. Let us vote money for agriculture that has helped to feed the allies during the last war. Let us again make use of our farmers whose courage has never faltered. Thus a peaceful happy and prosperous Canada will constitute an appeasing example to the other nations and her influence will shine on the rest of the world. By way of final statement, may I say that I will oppose any increase in the national defence estimates until such time as I am convinced that they will never be used towards Canada's participation in foreign wars.

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SC

John Charles Landeryou

Social Credit

Mr. J. C. LANDERYOU (Calgary East):

I agree with the Minister of Defence (Mr. Mackenzie) and others who declare that Canada must be prepared to defend herself, that she must have national security. However, national security cannot be secured simply by the building of armaments. We must establish economic security in Canada, for in my opinion we cannot have national security without first achieving economic security. It would appear that the improvement in world conditions is mainly due to the enormous expenditures, estimated at over fifteen billions of dollars, on armaments. It is indeed strange that a world rich in real and potential production should be passing through such a depression, during which millions of people are unemployed, millions more living on the borderline of starvation, and various social and economic institutions being undermined simply because there is no money. In Canada we have a million unemployed. Our factories are slowed down; our expenditures on education and health facilities are being restricted, and many of our municipal and provincial governments are practically bankrupt. We have no money for this; we have no money for that. The world over-

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LIB

Robert Emmett Finn

Liberal

Mr. FINN:

Mr. Speaker, may I ask the hon. member, where does he get these facts?

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SC

John Charles Landeryou

Social Credit

Mr. LANDERYOU:

Which facts is the hon. member referring to?

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LIB

Robert Emmett Finn

Liberal

Mr. FINN:

The facts that the hon. gentleman just related to the house.

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SC

John Charles Landeryou

Social Credit

Mr. LANDERYOU:

These facts have been stated by the leader of the opposition (Mr. Bennett). He said that approximately fifteen billion dollars have been expended by various governments on war preparations.

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LIB

Robert Emmett Finn

Liberal

Mr. FINN:

Then I would invite my hon. friend to asik the leader of the opposition if he concurs in the statements of the hon. member.

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SC

John Charles Landeryou

Social Credit

Mr. LANDERYOU:

I believe the leader of the opposition will confirm the statement I made.

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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

Yes; I think that was what was reported, and I got it from a credible source.

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?

An hon. MEMBER:

Where is the reporter?

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SC

John Charles Landeryou

Social Credit

Mr. LANDERYOU:

Where does the money come from to send men into the bowels of the earth to take out the minerals which are sent into the great smelters and from there to huge factories to be turned into instruments of destruction? I am looking forward to the day when the labouring population of the world will refuse to' go into the mines or the forests or the smelters or the factories to turn out instruments of destruction or, as they are sometimes called, armaments of defence. I am looking forward1 to the day when billions of dollars will be put to work to facilitate production, from our natural resources, of all the things that civilized men and women to-day require-automobiles, electrical equipment, pleasure ships, et cetera, rather than destroyers, bombers, machine guns and anti-aircraft guns. We hear the statement often repeated that Great Britain and Canada are strongholds of democracy. I believe that Canadians have as much liberty as any people on earth, but we have not yet achieved complete democracy. The democracy we have in Canada to-day is being steadily undermined by self-seeking autocrats.

I am supporting the amendment because in my opinion we should not provide for the building of battleships and the construction of guns until we have at least adequately provided for war veterans and their families and have taken more definite steps to provide for the millions of unemployed and underpaid workers. I am opposed, to borrowing money for war purposes. The people of Canada are tired of the debt pyramiding which has taken place in the past, and which has brought about chaotic conditions in our economic life. The government must finance the building up of armaments without creating further debts in this country.

National Defence-Mr. Jean

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February 16, 1937