February 18, 1937

LIB

Robert Emmett Finn

Liberal

Mr. FINN:

I hope so. I cannot see that

far myself.

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CCF

Angus MacInnis

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

Mr. MacINNIS:

There is no reason why

you should not; it is easy to travel.

Mr. O'NEILL: Will the hon. member

permit a question?

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CCF

Angus MacInnis

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

Mr. MacINNIS:

No; the hon. member

will have forty minutes after I have finished.

The Minister of National Defence then went on to refer to the speech that was made by the present Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) in reply to the cooperative commonwealth resolution of 1933. He drew our attention to the now famous fourteen points. I have refreshed my memory in regard to the fourteen points which were laid down by the leader [DOT]of the opposition of that day, now the Prime Minister, and I find that the first of them did not deal with the lack of national security in this country. As a matter of fact, after reading all fourteen points and the whole of Lis speech, I could find nothing in it regarding national defence. I can find nothing in it referring to the unprotected condition of this country. The following was the right hon. gentleman's first point, which will be found at page 2510 of Hansard of 1933:

As unemployment is a matter of very great concern I shall give it first consideration.

Further on he says that the Liberal party is pledged to introduce a national system of unemployment insurance. But the very first thing this government did when they came into office, this government pledged to introduce a system of unemployment insurance, was to harpoon the efforts that had been made to put such a measure on the statute books of this country.

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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

Mr. Speaker, I do not think that statement ought to go unchallenged. The statement that this government started in to harpoon the unemployment insurance scheme is surely wholly

incorrect. The| government merely sought to get an authoritative expression of opinion which would guide everyone in the country with respect to the legislation, and we have received it. We advised this course at the time the legislation was introduced.

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CCF

Angus MacInnis

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

Mr. MacINNIS:

The government may have done that, but it did more than that. There are other ways in which we can get an expression of opinion as to whether or not a statute is within the powers of this dominion.

Evidently when this statement giving the fourteen points was made the right hon. gentleman thought that he could put unemployment insurance into effect. If not, why was the statement made? The act having been passed by this parliament, in my opinion it would have been much better to leave it in effect and have some body other than the government refer it to the courts.

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LIB

Ernest Lapointe (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. LAPOINTE (Quebec East):

Yes, and spend millions of dollars before finding out whether the expenditures were legal.

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CCF

Angus MacInnis

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

Mr. MacINNIS:

We might, and we might not. We have taken that course in other matters. That was the way it was done in connection with the Lemieux act. Had that been done, we might have found ways and means of giving effect to the legislation. We cannot do that now, until some more definite ways are found of changing it.

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LIB

Ernest Lapointe (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. LAPOINTE (Quebec East):

Yes-illegal ways and unlawful means.

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CCF

Angus MacInnis

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

Mr. MacINNIS:

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LIB

Robert Emmett Finn

Liberal

Mr. FINN:

You are a mind reader.

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CCF

Angus MacInnis

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

Mr. MacINNIS:

I would say further that he is not meeting the same class of returned men as is the Minister of National Defence.

He does not meet those men in the lobbies of the Hotel Vancouver and the Chateau Laurier; he meets them in other places.

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LIB

Robert Emmett Finn

Liberal

Mr. FINN:

Where?

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CCF

Angus MacInnis

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

Mr. MacINNIS:

On the bread line.

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LIB

Robert Emmett Finn

Liberal

Mr. FINN:

Where is that?

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CCF

Angus MacInnis

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

Mr. MacINNIS:

My hon. friend's understanding of conditions in the dominion is worse than I thought it was if he does not know the whereabouts of a bread line in any city in Canada. In the Vancouver Province of January 23, 1937, I noticed this item:

Returned soldiers and their families are urgently in need of underclothes and shoes. If donors will phone the Returned Soldiers' Club, Seymour 7570, contributions will be called for.

Those are the men whom the hon. member for Vancouver North meets and who bring their problems to him. Those men are not concerned with the matter of military dress, which was the subject of a military order that was put on Hansard by the present deputy speaker (Mr. Sanderson). These men do not care whether ties are thirty-one inches long or not. They are concerned about the question whether they are going to have a shirt or a pair of shoes to wear. There is undoubtedly a difference between the returned soldiers with whom the minister, on the one hand, and the hon. member for Vancouver North, on the other, come in contact. In the military orders issued and put on the records of this house in 1935 by the present deputy speaker I find this item:

Paragraph 49, Dress Regulations for the Canadian militia, 1932, prescribes a black bow tie, and this paragraph is being amended by adding thereto the words "with square ends." Ties with pointed ends should not be worn, and the edges of the bow should be straight and parallel.

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LIB

Robert Emmett Finn

Liberal

Mr. FINN:

Hear, hear.

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CCF

Angus MacInnis

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

Mr. MacINNIS:

Then section (C) reads:

Particular attention should be paid to the dimensions of the tie, which should be about two inches wide at the ends, and the length of the tie, in inches, should be twice the size of the collar, namely, an officer wearing a ISi collar should wear a tie approximately 31 inches long.

The returned men the hon. member for Vancouver North had in his mind are not concerned whether the tie is thirty-one inches long or forty-one inches long. They are more concerned with having a shirt, with having a coat, with having shoes in which they can walk about in the Vancouver rain. These are the men he is interested in. It is no wonder he brings their troubles and miseries before

1000 COMMONS

National Defence-Mr. Maclnnis

this house. I can see the hon. member for Vancouver North when a returned man comes up to him, shabbily dressed, with no soles to his shoes, having to keep his coat collar up because he has no shirt on, and I can see the pained expression on the face of the hon. member-I have watched him-and he says, "Well my friend, I am sorry, but we are going to have 102 aeroplanes, just think of that. Your shoes may be bad, but look, we are going to have 102 aeroplanes to protect you." Protect him from what? They cannot protect him from poverty and misery, and if they cannot protect him from that they cannot protect him from anything. This returned man says to the hon. member, " Do you know where I can get a pair of cast-off shoes?" He replies, " Well, your shoes may be poor, but we are going to have mine sweepers in Vancouver harbour; just think of that! Never mind your shoes, just think of the mine sweepers." Should he not, and should we not bring those conditions to the attention of this house?

The Minister of National Defence, made reference to the resolution passed at the annual conference of the Labour party of Great Britain at Edinburgh this year. He gathered from that resolution that the Labour party in Great Britain was favouring the military program of the British government. But such is not the case. On page 906 of Hansard he quoted the resolution.

That in view of the threatening attitude of dictatorships which are increasing their armaments at an unprecedented rate, flouting international law, and refusing to cooperate in the work of organizing peace, this conference declares that the armed strength of the countries loyal to the League of Nations must be conditioned by the armed strength of the potential aggressors.

The conference therefore reaffirms the policy of the labour party,-

Notice this:

-to maintain such defence forces as are consistent with our country's responsibility as a member of the League of Nations.

Note: "As a member of the League of Nations."

I was present at that conference, and the statement was made quite definitely that that amendment did not obligate the parliamentary Labour party to vote for increased armaments in the House of Commons. They were free to oppose them if they saw fit, and we see by to-day's Montreal Gazette that they have done that. In a report of the discussion that took place on the armaments increase in the British House of Commons yesterday, I find this:

Frederick Pethick-Lawrence, a former financial secretary of the treasury, led for labour. He announced labour would vote against the resolution, due to two main reasons.

It is not necessary for me to state those reasons, but the fact is that labour is opposing the rearmament program of the British government, but would support a rearmament program if the British government would give wholehearted allegiance to the League of Nations. And not only is the Labour party opposing the British government in their rearmament program, but the Liberal party is opposing it.

Sir Archibald Sinclair for the opposition Liberals pressed the point of foreign policy. He charged the country now' was paying the price for the government's "feebleness and vacillation" in the Ethiopian dispute.

So there is no point in saying that the British Labour party is at present in favour of the government's rearmament program.

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LIB

Paul Joseph James Martin

Liberal

Mr. MARTIN:

Will the hon. member permit a question? I was present at Edinburgh at the conference to which he refers. Is it not true that at that conference it was resolved by the Labour party to support the then rearmament program of His Majesty's government of the United Kingdom as distinguished from the decisions of the past week?

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CCF

Angus MacInnis

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

Mr. MacINNIS:

No; it is not true.

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LIB

Paul Joseph James Martin

Liberal

Mr. MARTIN:

I say it is true.

Mr. MaoINNIS: Well, we must differ on that point. The leader of the opposition, Major Attlee, made the statement quite clearly that the resolution then passed at the conference put the Labour party under no obligation to support the armament program of the British government.

Then the Minister of National Defence referred to Sweden. There is no comparison in this matter between Sweden and Canada. Sweden is an old nation which is very close to the centre of trouble in Europe. In Sweden most of their present armaments are of long standing. When the question of increase in military expenditures for the defence of Sweden came up in the Rigsdag last spring this is the position the social democratic party took. They said they would not consider external defence separate from internal defence; in other words they would not consider external defence separate from social security within. They had proposed a measure to increase old age pensions, and because they would not accept the rearmament program suggested by the opposition they were defeated. They went to the country and were returned, as was certain would be the case, with an increased majority. There is no comparison here to be made between Sweden and Canada.

National Defence-Mr. Maclnnis

Among the fourteen points of the Liberal platform I notice that regarding the last one, referring to our foreign relations, he said, "We would seek to further the League of Nations in its work." Unfortunately that part of the program has not been fulfilled, any more than that dealing with unemployment insurance. Almost the first thing they did after coming into office was to sabotage the league, and to a great extent the Canadian government is responsible for the position the League of Nations is in to-day

The Minister of National Defence told us there was no new policy and there were no increases; then he went on to tell us what the increases were. I have often wondered what are the uses of those increases in arms, planes and military equipment and supplies at the present time. I wonder how much protection the men who line up at Hamilton Hall, in my hon. friend's constituency, every day in order to get their handout of clothes are going to get under this scheme. In British Columbia we are going to be protected from the Japanese. In the prairie provinces we need aeroplanes to protect us against sporadic raids on our sources of food supply. In Quebec we are going to be protected from subversive elements. In a speech delivered in this city on February 10 of last year the Minister of National Defence said:

There are two cardinal and guiding principles to be borne in mind when establishing a system of national defence; first, we must have the defence forces sufficient to control subversive elements from within and sufficient to repel attacks from without.

It is rather strange that in his address in the house on Monday evening of this week the minister made no reference at all to subversive elements. We were toldthat these increases in the military forces of the country were necessary in orderto maintain our neutrality. Yet when thequestion of Canada remaining neutral in any future war was brought up in the house some weeks ago the government took the position that it would be impossible for Canada to say in advance that she would remain neutral

under any circumstances, that no one could say whether or not we could remain neutral.

Now I should like to know what are "tlTe subversive elements for which we require such enormous increases. Evidently in 1936 this was the important point in the program of the Minister of National Defence, because he put it first. Is there any indication that the present forces in the country are inadequate to cope with any situation that may develop? In my opinion there is no more to fear from disorder within this country today than there has been at any time within

the last twenty years; in fact I think there is less to fear. But who are the subversive elements against which we are going to guard ourselves, and can it be shown that an increased military force is a satisfactory way of dealing with them? Does the Minister of National Defence take the position that what he is pleased to call subversive elements "just growed" like Topsy in Uncle Tom's Cabin? Should he not take the modern view that cause and effect follow each other as a natural sequence? The modern way of dealing with unrest within a country is to try to find the causes of the unrest. If the minister would take a little time to associate himself with the people who do the work of this country he would soon find that there is reason enough for social unrest. If he would take time to read the briefs that have been presented before the textile inquiry he would acquire a better understanding of why sometimes people are driven to action which may be considered illegal, in an effort to remove their economic difficulties.

The textile commission was investigating conditions largely in the province of Quebec. Is it merely an accident that on the part of members from that province we find emphasis placed on the necessity of increasing armaments in order to preserve the country from subversive elements?-as one of those hon. members said the other evening, communist and labour troubles? For myself, after I read certain sections of the brief presented to the commissioner investigating the textile companies I came to the conclusion that if there are subversive elements at work within the province of Quebec those elements are not the communists or the labour organizations. They are the textile companies themselves. But I doubt very much if a bomber would be sent by this government to protect the workers from exploitation by those companies. I would point out also that, in our fast moving world, those who to-day are crying loudly for the putting down of subversive elements, to-morrow may find themselves to be the subversive elements. In consequence it behooves us to get busy and make an attempt to remove the conditions which generate subversive activities rather than to prepare to suppress such activities, which are more or less protests against intolerable conditions.

We are arming for defence. As the minister mentioned each increase in armaments, he told the house that they were for defence. The speakers on the government side of the house, when they attempted to defend the policy of the government at all, took the same line. Of course there is nothing new in that;

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National Defence-Mr. Maclnnis

all countries are arming for defence. Great Britain is arming for defence. The United States is arming for defence; Russia is arming for defence. Do not let us forget that following the discussion in the House of Commons in England yesterday with reference to their armament program, a man prominent in navy circles in the United States made the statement that in view of the increasing expenditure on arms in Great Britain the United States might also have to increase her armaments.

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February 18, 1937