February 16, 1937

LIB

Thomas Alexander Crerar (Minister of Mines and Resources)

Liberal

Mr. CRERAR:

Advanced socialism.

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CCF

James Shaver Woodsworth

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

Mr. WOODSWORTH:

Hear, hear.

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LIB

Thomas Alexander Crerar (Minister of Mines and Resources)

Liberal

Mr. CRERAR:

I am glad to hear my hon. friend say, "Hear, hear."

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CCF

James Shaver Woodsworth

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

Mr. WOODSWORTH:

We have always

said it.

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LIB

Thomas Alexander Crerar (Minister of Mines and Resources)

Liberal

Mr. CRERAR:

But I would say to the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre that he would be a little more frank and, may I add, a little more honest with the Canadian people if he would state openly that his party is a socialist party. There is no discredit in being a socialist. But what are the socialist parties in the world doing to-day in this matter of defence? I have already cited the experience of the socialist party in Great Britain, Mr. Ramsay MacDonald's experience in both his first and second governments. Though I understand my hon. friends in the opposite corner have not the admiration for Mr. Ramsay MacDonald that they once had, still to-day Mr. MacDonald is a member of a government which has just announced the greatest program of expenditure for defence purposes that has ever been announced in Great Britain.

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?

Thomas Miller Bell

Mr. COLD WELL:

And he is a saddened, broken old man.

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LIB

Thomas Alexander Crerar (Minister of Mines and Resources)

Liberal

Mr. CRERAR:

Well, we shall take France, which has a socialist government, a popular front government with a socialist prime minister, a gentleman who has been a socialist all his life, or at any rate all his political life. He is not a broken old man. What is his attitude towards this question? I venture to say that Mr. Blum's government is spending as much, if not more, on defence as has been spent by any government in France since the war. What about Sweden? That is a socialist state, or a semi-socialist state, which my hon. friends hold up to us as an example. What is Sweden doing? That country is off to one side of Europe; it has not been at war for as long as Canada has not been at war, but to-day Sweden is spending two or three dollars for every dollar we are proposing to spend for defence in Canada. So I do not think that argument holds.

Perhaps the real reason for the amendment which has been moved by the hon. member for Vancouver North lies a little deeper than the mere negation of the estimates brought down by the Minister of National Defence (Mr. Mackenzie). As someone has already said, this resolution has two wings. Let me read it:

National Defence-Mr. Crerar

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

If the amendment had stopped there, it would have been clear-cut and understandable. But it does not stop there; it goes on:

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

From the amendment it seems to me fair to ask this question: If this government had brought down estimates that satisfied the requirements of the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre and his associates in regard to adequate provision for the social security of all sections of the Canadian people, would my hon. friends be taking the position they have taken with regard to these defence estimates?

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CCF

Major James William Coldwell

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

Mr. COLDWELL:

We would be glad to get $14,000,000 towards that end.

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LIB

Thomas Alexander Crerar (Minister of Mines and Resources)

Liberal

Mr. CRERAR:

That begs the question. I think it is a fair inference from the amendment to say that if a sufficient amount of money to satisfy my hon. friends were being voted in this house for purposes of social security- though I do not know what social security may mean, in the terms of this resolution-then they would not be objecting to the estimates which have been brought down by the Minister of National Defence.

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CCF

James Shaver Woodsworth

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

Mr. WOODSWORTH:

If this is not simply an oratorical question, may I say that we are absolutely opposed to the increases in the defence estimates. Particularly is this an outstanding injustice when nothing is being done and no money can be found for social security.

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?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Oh, oh.

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LIB

Thomas Alexander Crerar (Minister of Mines and Resources)

Liberal

Mr. CRERAR:

If that is so, why did not the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre see that his lieutenant the hon. member for Vancouver North worded his amendment in a different fashion?

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CCF

James Shaver Woodsworth

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

Mr. WOODSWORTH:

It is well worded; I have no objection to the wording of it.

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LIB

Thomas Alexander Crerar (Minister of Mines and Resources)

Liberal

Mr. CRERAR:

So far as provision for social security is concerned, I do not know what the hon. member has in mind. This is not the time to discuss that aspect of our many problems, but I would remind the hon. member that this country is providing to-day, in pensions of one kind and another, through federal and provincial governments, a great deal indeed by way of social security.

I may say, however, that the estimates have not lightly been put forward by the government. No government with any sense of re-31111-61

sponsibility to the Canadian people, having in mind the unemployment which exists and the onerous burden of taxation resting upon our people, would lightly put forward additional expenditures on defence or anything else. It was only because the government, after most serious consideration, came to the conclusion that it was their bounden duty to do so, that these estimates were placed before parliament.

What is Canada's position? We have attained practically all the attributes of nationhood. So far as our conduct of our internal and external affairs is concerned, Canada is to-day complete mistress in her own house. That position brings with it some responsibilities. If we look around the world we must realize that unquestionably, so far as world peace is concerned, the position is grave. That point has been traversed by many who have preceded me in the debate. Whether we like it or not, there are forces abroad in the world to-day which to all appearances are leading the world to destruction or into another great war. Are we to stand peacefully aside and make no preparation for any contingency which may arise? It is all very well for hon. members to talk, but if Canada should be invaded-and that is not beyond the bounds of possibility, in view of the progress modern science has made-

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CCF

Major James William Coldwell

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

Mr. COLDWELL:

Will the minister tell us who is likely to invade us or attack us?

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LIB

Thomas Alexander Crerar (Minister of Mines and Resources)

Liberal

Mr. CRERAR:

I am not a prophet any more than the hon. member, although, if I went into the prophesying business I might do a little better than he has done.

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CCF

Major James William Coldwell

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

Mr. COLDWELL:

We hope so.

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LIB

Thomas Alexander Crerar (Minister of Mines and Resources)

Liberal

Mr. CRERAR:

The United States did not want to go into the great war. President Wilson did everything he could to keep that country out of the war. On more than one occasion he declared that the United States was too proud to fight. But that country found itself impelled by forces which could not be foreseen, forces which were uncontrollable, to enter the war.

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CCF

Major James William Coldwell

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

Mr. COLDWELL:

The war debt.

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LIB

Thomas Alexander Crerar (Minister of Mines and Resources)

Liberal

Mr. CRERAR:

War debt nothing 1 No one can measure the forces at work to-day; no one can judge what the possible effects may be. No matter how much Canada may dislike any war activity, if she found herself in a position where she had to defend herself, would hon. members be proud of a situation they had created whereby she had not the means to carry out that defence? I am satis-

National Defence-Mr. Crerar

fied the judgment of history on that course would be severe indeed.

We have to take account of these things. Let me repeat that the government does not desire to add to the burdens of the Canadian people. We are not going into this matter lightly as the hon. members for Vancouver North and Rosetown-Biggar indicated.

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February 16, 1937