February 18, 1937

LIB

Pierre Gauthier

Liberal

Mr. GAUTHIER (Translation):

Mr. Speaker, in rising to speak on the motion of the hon. member for Vancouver North, I had no other purpose than that of expressing openly my views, and I am sure that they will be respected as much as I respect those of others. May I hope, sir, that the stand I am taking will be well understood by my political leaders, whom I still trust, even though I may not share their views on the advisability of increasing these estimates, also by those who are from another race than my own, and by others whose political faith is different from that to which I boast to belong since I entered public life.

I was born, and I live in a French-Canadian province which is part of the Canadian confederation. Although proud of being a French-Canadian, I am proud also of being a citizen of Canada. And I dare believe that following the observations I wish to offer bo this house, I shall 'have no apology to make, no regret, and that I shall still have the satisfaction of being able to face my compatriots, whether in the province of Quebec or in any other province of this dominion.

The motion of the hon. member may be divided into two parts, for the object of this discussion. Thus the first one:

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

And the second one:

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

Judging by the several speeches which have been delivered in this house, it is clear that the majority do not consider this increase as being unreasonable; on the contrary, that it is necessary and that it is our urgent duty to support it with all the strength of which a real patriot is capable. A smaller number of hon. members believe that we are not

National Defence-Mr. Gauthier

financially in a position to ask the Canadian people to vote, through their representatives in parliament, another 14 millions for national defence, that there is not such an immediate threat of invasion, and that our geographical position protects us somehow against any ambitions on the part of other nations. Mr. Speaker, I share these last views and I shall vote against the increase in the defence estimates.

We hear some people say: Of course, if an increase of a few millions to make our army more up to date and more efficient amounted to a declaration of war, or if it were likely to lead us to war, we Would be the first to vote against it; but let us hope that we would be consistent enough not to give a vote of confidence in the government immediately after- voting against an increase in the defence estimates. Mr. Speaker, since when does the liberal platform consist exclusively in a plan of national defence? Why would it be inconsistent to vote confidence in the government, and at the same time to vote against the increase of military estimates only?

The Liberals have never known of any bondage within the ranks of their party, and Canadian Liberalism owes its strength to the fact that it has no limitations of any kind. All the honourable members are, as I am myself, opposed to participation in foreign wars, but should war break out to-morrow and the empire be involved in it, they cannot tell in advance that Canada would not follow the same course as in 1914. Unforeseen circumstances will again cause the boundaries of Canada to be shifted perhaps beyond Flanders.

Let me quote a statement made on the 5th instant by Sir Samuel Hoare, first lord of the .admiralty, as reported by the Canadian Press:

Speaking at a dinner of the Bradford chamber of commerce, Sir Samuel stated the sister -states of the empire would find any system of isolated local defence extravagant and inefficient.

I shall quote at once a few comments by Sir Wilfrid Laurier upon the Guthrie amendment to Bill No. 21, introduced during the 1912-1913 session, by Sir Robert Borden, prime minister. On page 7232 of Hansard, Sir Wilfrid is reported as having said:

I now come to a consideration of the fact, made manifest by one of the last speeches of Mr. Churchill, that the admiralty favours contribution and not autonomous organization. This is not a new thing: the British admiralty has always preferred a system of imperial contribution to the idea of autonomous organisation. At the imperial conference in 1902, Lord Selborne, the predecessor of Mr. Churchill, made a proposal that we should have imperial contributions.

In 1902, in 1912, in 1937, the outstanding men who have successively discharged the duties of first lord of the British Admiralty took an entirely similar view. Sir Robert Borden shared this opinion and requested the House of Commons to vote 35 million dollars as a contribution to the naval forces of the empire. Laurier had gone down to defeat on the navy issue and he, a Liberal who believed in expenditures for this country's own defence, put up a stout fight for the triumph of his views. And we saw men who had fiercely opposed him in Quebec, we saw erstwhile nationalists turn Conservatives overnight and vote for the policy of a contribution to the empire. That was not Laurier's policy, and that is not, it seems to me, the present government's policy.

On August 4, 1914, war broke out. What did Canada do? Even those who had helped to defeat Laurier forgot their speeches on behalf of the Canadian homeland, even prominent supporters of Laurier forsook him in order to join the Union government and vote for war.

In spite of the oft-repeated assurance that national service registration would not lead to conscription, compulsory military service was established here, (I don't say that in the house) What happened, sir?

To-day, trustworthy men are governing Canada. Their policy is Canadian, as was Laurier's policy, but nevertheless Canadian blood was shed in Flanders. A country with a population of 10 million inhabitants, overcome by war fever and imperialistic enthusiasm, raised within a few months a large army. Public men who had unflinchingly opposed our participation in foreign wars voted for the dispatch of troops to help the empire. Circumstances were beyond human control, events were compelling men to act against their own will and Canada became involved in a foreign war. Such sacrifices were made by an unprepared country.

The vote we are called upon to give on the increase in our military estimates is one that expands not only our defensive power, but also our contributing capacity whenever the alarm is raised. And should the same thing happen, should events compel our leaders to act against their own will, it would be too late then to oppose armaments and to make known our refusal to participate in a foreign war in which the empire would be involved. It would be too late then to prevent war preparations and in the excitement that seizes a people in time of war, we would hear again the words: "Aye, Aye, ready.''

1006 COMMONS

National Defence-Mr. Gauthier

How much more will the lords of the admiralty, encouraged by circumstances and events, be tempted to play upon Canadian feelings when our country is so prepared as to be able to give a contribution more in keeping with their requirements. Now is the time to give them a warning.

Some might think that the importance of this debate is being overexaggerated. I would vote as willingly as anyone the millions which are requested if we had not such a heavy national debt, if we had a larger population to take care of taxes, and if work were more plentiful.

Why should Canada, at a time when she envisions a brighter future, when she is recovering her faith in her destinies thanks to an essentially Canadian policy, why should our country be halted on her triumphal march against economic and financial difficulties? Why should a war threat, originating not here but outside, introduce feelings of uneasiness and uncertainty about the future, into her now confident mind. She needs all her strength, all her energy if she is to win an ultimate victory, and emerge from the chaos of the post-war depression. Let those who are in favour of armaments and war carry on, if they wish, their unending quarrels. As for us, we want peace and we wish they would let us work peacefully towards securing unity and prosperity for the Canadian people. Many years ago, Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald said in an address delivered before the American congress: "We are all overarmed."

Personally, I believe that this debate and this vote are of the utmost importance and if I am taking such a stand on this question, the reason is that I have somewhat studied the history of European and many other countries. I have witnessed, as everyone has, the mournful events that have occurred since 1914 and if the same thing is to happen again, I want my vote to result neither directly nor indirectly in the participation of Canadian men in a war that would be none of our concern.

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LIB

Liguori Lacombe

Liberal

Mr. LACOMBE:

Hear, hear!

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LIB

Pierre Gauthier

Liberal

Mr. GAUTHIER:

I do not presume, Mr. Speaker, to think that my vote may prevent war or my country's participation in a foreign war. Others in this house voted against conscription, which was nevertheless passed by parliament.

But they availed themselves, as I am doing now, of the right to state frankly their views, and their names have not been banished from the minds of their compatriots as if they had betrayed their country.

But war has not broken out, and I might be told to wait before passing judgment. I am waiting, Mr. Speaker, trying meanwhile to secure information about the opinions that are being entertained within the empire, in view of the so urgent need of armaments. On the 7th instant, the following statement- reported by the Canadian Press in cooperation with the Havas agency-appeared in the London Sunday Times:

Possibility of the dominions sharing expenses of the new rearmament program.

The dominions, the paper says, "could not. for example, continue to enjoy the priceless advantage of her fleet protection if they allowed Great Britain to be crushed through the air, British rearmament is at present a heavy charge on the taxpayer, the contribution now being four times that of 1914, when Great Britain already had the highest tax rate in the world.

"The burden of armaments will be far heavier than in any period of peace in our history. The line of security is to survey and utilize as far as possible the resources of the whole empire for the empire's defence."

Such is the opinion pu't forward by a London paper, and at this time when all nations of the British Commonwealth are arming, the writer believes, so it seems, that when England launches a program of armaments, Canada and the other parts of the empire should follow suit.

In a recent article published in the Montreal Star, we could read the following:

(Text) The French Canadians are not alone in asking to be shown that they should fight in any particular war. That is the attitude of all the people in this hemisphere. When the Great war broke suddenly on the world in August, 1914, Canada prepared with splendid promptness to send an expeditionary force. Her leader knew that they simply must do it-that it wat literally a matter of life or death, but her people did not. Eighty-five per cent of the first regiments that sailed for Salisbury Plain were old countrymen. What did this very significant circumstance show? Clearly that the old countrymen resident in Canada responded automatically to the call when the flag went under fire. That is the European psychology. But the Canadians took time to look into the situation and think it over. When they were convinced that it was their fight they responded nobly-but not until they were convinced. French Canada as a whole was never convinced. Many French Canadians were, however, and many of them went and died gallantly on the field of battle.

But the Canadians took time to look into the situation and think it over. When they were convinced that it was their fight they responded nobly, but not until they were convinced.

I hope, Mr. Speaker, that they should never be convinced to go abroad, and in doing my utmost to convince them, should an external war break out in the future, to stay

National Defence-Mr. Gauthier

here in Canada and keep t'heir strength and their blood for their own country, I am convinced that I would be doing my duty. French Canada as a whole was never convinced -(translation) but conscription convinced them, English-speaking Canadians and Frenchspeaking Canadians, that they had to go, and many of them went to be killed in defence of democracy and of the empire. They could not resist circumstances and events, and I wonder if those who died on a foreign soil would find exaggerated the importance of this debate during which Canadians like them, who do not wish to see their fellow citizens, perhaps their sons, go through the same sad experience, are trying in every way to explain their point of view. I wonder-I fear not their judgment-if they would brand us as traitors or unpatriotic.

Needless for me to mention over again the arguments brought forward by the honourable members who spoke before me on the possibility of having to cope with trouble from wdthin our own territory. I believe the increased strength of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the finest police organization in the world, would keep us sheltered from danger. But. Mr. Speaker, and here I am dealing with the second part of the motion under discussion, certain agitations can be prevented, not by force but by a well organized, constant, fearless and intelligent struggle. You will gather from this that I wish to refer to the menace of communism.

The second part of the motion of the honourable member for Vancouver North reads as follows:

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

In this, Mr. Speaker, I see an oratorical precaution and a socialistic anxiety.

The Almighty has decreed the existence of classes differing intellectually, financially and socially. To think that everybody is equal, that all the minds are equally brilliant, that man is endowed with qualities that exist and find their expression to the same degree, is only a dream.

Those who tried to make humanity believe the opposite was possible were the real founders of the socialistic idea, the first open door to the large communistic structure.

Class antagonism marked the beginning of their activities. The First Internationale was organized in the early fifties of the nineteenth century, when an industrial exhibition was in progress in London.

When Karl Marx issued his famous call: "Proletarians of all nations, unite," the socialists and communists began their activities.

To achieve its purpose, the Neo-Messianian School, to which belonged Heine and Marx, was striving to materialize the religious aspirations of an entire race.

And this was being accomplished inasmuch as possible in the silence of cells, where the communistic poison was flowing abundantly.

Disturbances fomented here and there for the purpose of making an important catch or humbling those who were called the tyrants of proletariat, and the same insidious propaganda was recurring. In the meantime, the Second Internationale was established. Jaures was one of its chief propagandists. He was even making use of the Bible and going down mine pits with it to preach his gospel where the proletarians were at work.

Years went by, then came the Third Internationale, the one responsible for the downfall of the Czars, the one that is trying to upset the political economy of the whole world.

The real important work is not done by force; it is the cells hidden behind various appellations which, in displaying a feverish diligence and a wonderful perfection of organization, spread the materialistic idea, the idea without morality, the idea without authority, the idea without God. The family has always been the object of their attention. Destruction begins there; this is where they prepare the masses by breaking the sacred bonds of family. We have to meet them there and defeat them by persuasion, sound morality and real Christian charity as our sole weapons.

In my province, young men's associations have begun the fight, a fair, gallant and patriotic fight for the preservation of race and nationality. Let us arm and assist them, and should any socialistically-inspired legislation whatsoever jeopardize their task of renovating and reconstructing, let the representatives of the people vote with courage, even if in their midst, hypocritical followers, while not deserting them, support them faintly in their endeavours, or even go so far as placing obstructions in the way often, like Jaures with the Bible, ably interpreted, and in the name of every thing that is most sacred.

Socialism and communism have nowhere created a Garden of Eden, and despite their brilliant and sometimes delusive appearance, they only bring trouble, misery and the loss of one's illusions.

A great Spanish prelate said: "Give an illusion to the distressed and a pretext to the hot-headed, and you will have a revoluton."

Let our administrators assist the distressed through fair and careful legislation and let not the hot-headed find any pretext in this legislation. Such is our duty. A great Canadian patriot once said: "Future is not a fact;

National Defence-Mr. Gauthier

we have bo create it ourselves." Being the humble representative of a rural constituency, I do not claim to be a creator but, as representative of the people, my first and only thought is their peace and happiness.

Mr. Speaker, I regret the incident that occurred at the beginning of my speech. I wonder how the words spoken by me could have been construed as an attack upon one of the honourable members. I am not a lawyer, but a humble country doctor and notwithstanding my knowledge of medicine and neurology, I am unable to do any kind of mind-reading, and I ask those who know me-there are several here-why should I be blamed for entertaining a thought that I never had?

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LIB

Alphonse Fournier

Liberal

Mr. ALPHONSE FOURNIER (Hull) (Translation):

Mr Speaker, I hope that in

the course of the brief remarks I intend to make on the matter under discussion, I will not be interrupted on a point of order especially if it is raised by a member of the party to which I belong. I have great respect for the opinions of all those who spoke before me and all I ask of my colleagues is to respect mine. Before I proceed any further, I am bound to say however that the speeches I heard induced me to select my leaders; that selection I made a long time ago, but I am convinced that my country would be well advised to ignore the advice or the policy suggested by the honourable members for Portneuf (Mr. Gauthier), for Quebec West and South (Mr. Parent), for Laval-Two Mountains, (Mr. Lacombe), for Vancouver North (Mr. Mac-Neil), for Rosetown-Biggar (Mr. Coldwell), for Vancouver East (Mr. Maclnnis) and other members of the C.C.F. party. In the best interests of my country, I think I should follow the advice given us by the members of the present government who, in the past, have given sufficient proofs of their devotion to their country and of their knowledge of Canadian international politics.

For the past two days, the object of this debate seems to have shifted. I have always been under the impression that the motion that the house go into committee of supply and the amendment to that motion called for consideration of the increase in defence estimates. I find, however, that many members who spoke on that question have not limited *their observations to that increase but have considered the matter from the point of view [DOT]of Canada's participation in foreign wars, of the sending of expeditionary forces and even of effecting direct contributions to the mother country. To one who knows that for forty

years a nationalist movement has been organized in the province of Quebec for the purpose of throwing Canadian politics into confusion, especially when the Liberal party was in power, that shift in the discussion is no surprise.

Twice we have contributed to imperial wars since confederation. First in 1899, when a Canadian contingent was sent to the Transvaal to take part in a war which many people thought unjust. I have often wondered, in pondering over history, if the leader of my party was not yet at that time imbued with that colonial spirit which made it compulsory to take part in the imperial wars. As soon as that contingent had departed, the nationalist movement came into life under the leadership of very brilliant men. in the province of Quebec, with the result that, in 1911, the Liberal government which had decided to build for our national defence a few ships, some cruisers and torpedo boats for the protection of our coasts, had to face a furious attack on the part of the nationalists.

In that election, the Liberal party lost 25 seats in the province of Quebec. The Canadian navy in that province and the reciprocity treaty in the western provinces were the main issues during the electoral campaign. The slogan in the western provinces was: No truck, no trade with the Yankees.

When these 25 members took their seats in the House of Commons they were determined to vote against any participation in imperial wars. The following year, the new government voted a direct contribution of $35,000,000 to help the British navy. I do not think that more than three or four of the 25 members which had been elected to prevent Canada of helping or taking part in foreign or imperial wars voted against this contribution of $35,000,000. And then the same men who advocated in the province of Quebec that exaggerated nationalism announced that they were admirers of the empire and that they had become imperialists.

I was in Ottawa when war broke out in 1914. Parliament was summoned immediately, two or three days later 50 millions were hastily voted and Canada was engaged in an imperial war. Our contributions to the great war increased ever since and they finally led to conscription. Our contribution to the great war and conscription have been used as an argument by those who criticize now the increase in the defence estimates. I do not blame them because they seem to confuse the expressions " increase in defence estimates " and " participation in imperial wars."

National Defence-Mr. Fournier

I will endeavour, in the course of my remarks, to give my own opinion on this subject. I am not a country doctor; I am just a lawyer who tried to learn the history of his country and to give to his fellow-citizens the benefit of whatever experience he had acquired in this house. After the great war, the whole world hoped- for eternal peace but to-day, after nearly twenty years of peace I find the same spirit of militarism still rampant.

Coming back to what I said about the part taken by Canada in two foreign wars, I want to mention the fact that it happened at a time when our expenditures were at their lowest and when we were least prepared for war. In 1899, at the time of the Transvaal war, our militia estimates were practically nil. Did the lack of militia estimates prevent us from taking part in that war? Not at all. In 1914, following the 1911 period and after the bill respecting our contribution of $35,000,000 had been defeated in the Senate, we were still finding ourselves in a period where no provision had been made towards national defence. Did that prevent parliament from voting in favour of our participation in that imperial war? Not at all.

I think, Mr. Speaker, that we should make a distinction between these two matters: "Increase in the estimates for the protection of our country," and "participation in imperial wars, sending expeditionary forces or making direct contributions to Great Britain."

We should consider now what will be the future status of our country. We are part of the British Empire. Are we satisfied to belong to the commonwealth of British nations? Personally, I am.

Our world status could be settled in two different ways. We should endeavour to obtain an effective commercial and economic protection. We might become an integral part of the republic to the south. I cannot accept that plan. We might gain our independence right now. If the Canadian parliament were to proclaim its independence, I have no doubt that Great Britain would be at a loss to find means to prevent a nation of eleven million people from proclaiming its independence while at the same time maintaining bonds of friendship with her. We have to choose between those three policies. Are we to become independent? What would our independence mean in the world, from a military standpoint? Do you think that we would enjoy the sympathy of our great neighbour to the south if we were not sheltered by the might of the British commonwealth of nations? I wonder if the United States would still have the same consideration for 31111-64

Canada. Because we are a growing nation, because we have not yet reached the phase of maturity and because we still have to rely on somebody else for the development of our territory, we must not as yet become independent. Surely our population is too small to defend the country against an aggressor.

Could we be an integral part of the United States without increasing our defence estimates? Do you believe for one moment. Sir, that the United States would let us sit quietly without contributing our share of taxation for the defence of our common territory? Considering that the United States are spending 400 million dollars to increase their navy, do you think that we would be exempt from contributing our share of taxes for such armaments? Being a part of that great republic we would be submerged by their 120 million inhabitants and we would pay our share of all future wars, which may not happen but which nevertheless cost money. We would have to make those expenses but our say in the matter would be that of ten or eleven million people as against 120 millions; our influence would only be a twelfth or a thirteenth of what we have to-day as part of the British Empire. To-day, we have an autonomous parliament. If we are allowed to express such different views as have been heard in the last few days, it is due to the fact that we have a free parliament. We can approve or denounce any measure brought down by the government. Such is our present status.

Now let us look at other countries of the world. What do we find? At the present time nations are divided into two groups. We have, first, the empires possessing vast territories: Great Britain, France, Russia, United States. How have Great Britain, France and Russia acquired their territories? By resorting to violence, to war. If Great Britain is in possession of our country to-day, it is through conquest; if she holds India, it is through force; if she took possession of Australia, it is through occupancy; if she is in possession of Transvaal and South Africa, it is the result of war.

Look at the great French empire in Africa. You will find that it is the result of conquest. Russia has conquered Siberia and other parts of Asia. United States have not so many possessions. But how have they acquired them? West Indies, Cuba, which is under their protectorate, the Philippines are all in their power as a result of the Spanish war. If those nations have been able to extend their territories in the world and if their

National Defence-Mr. Fournier

citizens have secured the trade of the conquered countries and are consequently in a position to do business in all parts of the world, if those nations have acquired all those possessions, it is through war.

Do you think that in the other group of nations, including Germany, Italy and Japan, no men could1 be found who have not been thinking and studying history and reaching the same conclusions as we have? Those three nations, stifled in their boundaries, will some day enlarge their possessions by resorting to violence, armaments, war and conquest. Take the last two instances of invasions: Manchuria, conquered in order to provide an outlet for Japanese citizens; and the conquest of Ethiopia, the natural resources of which England and France coveted. But those two great powers, rather than start a world war, let Italy take possession of tha/t immense area in which she could' pour her surplus population.

Germany is overcrowded. She demands eolonies. She casts greedy eyes on Poland. She is preparing for war and is armed up to the teeth.

Do you think the nations in the latter group, dissatisfied with their lot and jealous of other great powers, have been arming in order merely to have the satisfaction of looking at fine soldiers parading the streets? Those nations follow the example set by the nation to which we all belong. War will break out some day. Let us still hope that it will not be too soon and that we will not be called upon to participate in it.

I would now like to make a statement, sir. As a matter of principle, I am opposed to foreign wars, to our participation in wars fought in Europe, Africa or Asia. But I will not admit that,, being an integral part of the British Empire, in the event of our territory being invaded, we should stand aloof. I am in favour of defending the Canadian .territory. If the day ever comes when we must defend it, I want to be in the position of the man who buys insurance, as the hon. member for Bellechasse (Mr. Boulanger) said, I want to take the insurance before any accident happens. I want a little protection at home.

On that question of defence estimates, I have been and I am consulting every day electors in my constituency, and I will tell you an incident which confirms my own views. In our town, we have one of the finest regiments in Canada. That regiment has been in existence for more than twenty years, but without quarters suitable to its normal development. On more than one occasion, we have asked for a drill hall in Hull in order to accommodate our regiment.

Before approving the scheme, I asked its promoter to ascertain what the general opinion was and to inform me if a majority of the population, of organizations and of persons of standing in my constituency were in favour of the proposal. The movement was started in the spring of 1935. I asked the leading organizations in my district for their opinion before taking a stand myself. The archbishop of the diocese has been approached on that question by Mr. Thomas Monoion, chairman of the Senior Chamber of Commerce. I have a copy of a letter addressed by Mgr. Forbes to Mr. Moncion, on May 13, 1935, and I will read it:

May 13, 1935.

Mr. Thomas Moncion,

Chairman of the Senior Chamber

of Commerce,

Hull, Que.

Dear Sir:

Having been acquainted with the request that the Hull Senior Chamber of Commerce has the intention of presenting to the dominion government for the building of a drill hall in the city of Hull, it gives me great pleasure to encourage such a movement and to wish it success. I will go so far as encouraging it by means of the present letter. It seems to me that a drill hall is essential in Hull, because of the existence of a regular regiment. Its construction would provide work for the numerous unemployed in the city; and the existence of such a building would be useful to the city of Hull in various occasions, in addition to giving accommodation to soldiers.

Believe me yours religiously,

(Signed) Guillaume Forbes,

Archbishop of Ottawa.

A few days ago, after tihe defence estimates had been brought down in the house, my parish priest wrote to me as follows, under date of January 30, 1937:

Les Missionnaires Oblats de Marie-Immaculee, Presbytere Notre-Dame-de-Grhee,

Hull, Que., January 30, 1937.

Mr. Alphonse Fournier, M.P.,

House of Commons,

Ottawa.

Dear Mr. Fournier:

Those interested in the plan have asked me to write a letter for the purpose of recommending the building of a drill hall in Hull. I willingly grant that request.

The Hull Regiment, in existence for many years, has so far been accommodated in rented quarters, while, in other cities, military units have suitable buildings. In consequence it

seems only reasonable that the Hull regiment have their own drill hall, considering moreover that the project would have the effect of relieving unemployment in these times of distress.

National Defence-Mr. Fournier

For those two reasons, it is with pleasure that I approve the request that has been sent to you.

Believe me yours truly,

(Signed) Alcide Beland, o.m.i., Parish Priest.

But I was not content with obtaining an expression of opinion from my archbishop and my parish priest, I also sought the views of the Conservative member for Hull at Quebec.

An lion. MEMBER: National?

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LIB

Alphonse Fournier

Liberal

Mr. FOURNIER:

Not the National, but the Conservative party. Here is his letter:

Hull, P.Q., February 1, 1937. Mr. Alphonse Fournier, C.R., M.P.,

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Hull, P.Q.


Dear Sir: I take the liberty of writing you to state that I heartily endorse the plan for a drill hall in the city of Hull. I understand that the larger cities in the province of Quebec have a drill hall and I trust the federal government will think of Hull this year. I invite attention from the ministers on this point. This drill hall meets a real need and I trust your efforts will be crowned with success. I will find it a pleasure and make it my duty to join at any time any delegation calling on the Minister of National Defence. Cordially yours, Alexandre Tache, M.P.P. I will go a step further: L'Association Catholique des Voyageurs de Commerce in my home town goes the length of adopting a resolution and writes me the following letter: Hull, January 30, 1937. Mr. Alphonse Fournier, M.P.,


Hull, P.Q.


Dear Sir: The O.V.C. of Notre-Dame de Hull was pleased to learn of your efforts in an endeavour to obtain a drill hall for our city. Commendable efforts on the part of all our associations failed a few years ago to obtain such a favour from the government. We venture to believe that we will be fortunate in our present endeavour. Although opposed to any militaristic idea or imperialistic tendency, the A.Y.C. is glad to give its support that the city of Hull may obtain a drill hall such as other cities have enjoyed for long years past. You will recall the date on which the National Defence estimates were brought down. A resolution to that effect was adopted last evening, January 29, at our regular meeting. Assuring you, sir, of our deep consideration, we beg to remain Faithfully yours, L'A.C.V. de Notre-Dame-de-Hull, Georges-H. Grondin, President.


LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. LAPOINTE:

January of this year?

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LIB

Alphonse Fournier

Liberal

Mr. FOURNIER:

Yes, January 30, 1937.

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LIB

Vincent Dupuis

Liberal

Mr. DUPUIS:

They have changed their

minds.

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LIB

Alphonse Fournier

Liberal

Mr. FOURNIER:

Now, so as to obtain

adequate support for my argument before the house, I also approached l'A.C.J.C., my home town branch being the Groupe Reboul, and they also wrote supporting the plan. Only, as young men, I admire their perspicacity: foreseeing the discussion which was to take place in this house, they wrote:

Hull, P.Q., January 28, 1937. Mr. Alphonse Fournier, M.P.,

Main St.,

Topic:   SUPPLY-NATIONAL DEFENCE CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON AMENDMENT TO MOTION OF MINISTER OF FINANCE
Subtopic:   Hull, P.Q.
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Hull, P.Q.


Dear Sir: We have recently learned from the press that the question of constructing a drill hall in our city was being seriously considered. Some influential people in this city as well as a particular association have looked favourably upon the projected execution of this work. May we be allowed in turn to request your support for this purpose? It is true that in these markedly unsettled times, when everyone talks only of conflicts, this might seem, in the eyes of some people, to be of bad omen, but as it does not appear to us to be the opportune moment for passing judgment on the various opinions which may be entertained-which we have been satisfied to do amongst ourselves- we will limit ourselves simply to request your support for this plan because it will be a source of employment for several unemployed and it will endow our city with a beautiful building. We trust you will give consideration to this request and thanking you in anticipation of your usual kind attention, we beg to remain Faithfully yours, Le Groupe Reboul de Hull, Aurfele Cousineau, President.


LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. LAPOINTE:

Hear, hear.

Topic:   SUPPLY-NATIONAL DEFENCE CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON AMENDMENT TO MOTION OF MINISTER OF FINANCE
Subtopic:   Hull, P.Q.
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LIB

Alphonse Fournier

Liberal

Mr. FOURNIER:

But I went a bit further, I approached the still younger group, I called on the Jocistes:

Hull, January 30, 1937.

To Mr. Alphonse Fournier, M.P.,

Topic:   SUPPLY-NATIONAL DEFENCE CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON AMENDMENT TO MOTION OF MINISTER OF FINANCE
Subtopic:   Hull, P.Q.
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Hull, P.Q.


La Jeunesse Ouvriere, Section Notre-Dame, endorses the proposed drill hall for the city of Hull. Louis Raymond Cousineau. Having previously had to deal with the young people, I endeavoured to see the older ones, and a resolution was passed by the Saint-Jean-Baptiste Society in my own city, requesting that a drill hall be built in our locality. I shall not read the whole letter, but in it is contained a restriction to the effect that they are not imperialists, that they do 31111-64i



National Defence-Mr. Fournier not wish to take any part in wars, claiming however that the construction of a drill hall in Hull would in no way affect a declaration of war on the part of Canada or Great Britain at a future time. I have also a letter from The National Catholic Union. Then come the more sedate citizens in my city-the municipal council- who passed the following resolution, on the 1st February, 1937: That this council supports the resolution passed by the Hull chamber of commerce under date of January 22, 1937, in connection with the building of a drill hall in Hull, and that copy of the present resolution be sent to Mr. Fournier, member of parliament. Certified to be a true copy from the minutes of the Hull city council. H.-Leon Leblanc, Clerk. The small property owners' association have no apprenhension as to the building of a drill hall in our community. I am in receipt from them of a resolution requesting my support for the proposal. The Sons of Canada, a well-known organization in our country, passed a lengthy resolution giving their hearty support to the building of the drill hall, and adding: Even though a drill hall were built in Hull, do you think that the government shall at once declare a war or participate in a war? Not at all; I do not think so; no more than I am of the opinion that in passing the present estimates the government's intention is to declare a war on any one whatsoever or to take part in a foreign war. It requires far-fetched arguments to lead one to believe that such a slight increase of 15 million dollars may Touse the world to the extent of leading to a world war at the end of this session. I do not think so. So as to forget none, I shall proceed. The most widely read paper in my own city is Le Droit, published in Ottawa. I have here an article under the signature of Mr. Henri Lessard who is in charge of the editorial page devoted to Hull. Mr. Lessard is not an imperialist; he is opposed to foreign wars, as well as to any expeditionary forces being sent for participation in a war in Great Britain, in Europe, or elsewhere. This is what he has to say: The building of a drill hall in Hull would not necessarily mean a greater drive towards militarism or imperialism. In fact, for years past we have had in Hull a local regiment, a regiment which forms part of the non-permanent militia and of which our city is justly proud as a result of the fame this corps has won as well as for the part it takes in connection with our various public ceremonies, both civil and religious. The regiment is a French Canadian one. [Mr. Fournier.1 The article from which I have just quoted is dated the 29th of January, when the national defence estimates were laid on the table of the house. Mr. Lessard concludes as follows: We are surely not spoiled by the dominion government, whose seat is close to us; they know or should know what our requirements are. Let us hope that this time we shall be given more favourable consideration. It surely would not be once too many. In all fairness to the author of that article, I may say that a few days ago he called me up over the phone and inquired as to what was my stand in connection with the debate now taking place. I replied that I was listening with an attention, at which I was wondering myself, to every speech delivered in the house and that I was endeavouring to find, in the arguments offered on both sides, a happy medium, in other words, such a solution as should be arrived at by a government fully aware of their responsibilities at the present time, in connection with military matters. Naturally, his telephone call is being answered to-day. I am in favour of the 14 million dollars increase. I do not want the government to continue along these lines next year, but having closely followed the debates in this house and knowing as I do the leaders of my party, I am safe in saying that they would be ashamed of the statements made by them since the opening of the session, had they not spoken the truth. In support of my contention, may I quote from a speech delivered by the leader of the Liberal party. I would rather believe in his words than in anything said by the members of C.C.F. group, or even by my colleagues in the Liberal party. This is what he tells us-believe it or not: I always believe a man until such time as I am satisfied that I am deceived by him. Then, we have what the right honourable the Prime Minister stated when speaking to the resolution moved by the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre (Mr. Woodsworth): 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 believe to be necessary for the defence of Canada, and for Canada alone. And then: 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. Would the Prime Minister mislead, not only the public, but the members of his own party? I do not think so. Would the honourable the Minister of Justice (Mr. Lapointe) involve us in a foreign war? I do not think he would. National Defence-Mr. Brunette Are the four ministers from the province of Quebec inspired by militaristic or imperialistic ideas? It would be a repudiation of all their past, a surrender of the political ideal they have extolled and preached for the last 35 or 40 years. Would it be possible to believe that these men, who have attained the zenith of their political career and-some of whom are in their declining years, would come before the parliament of t'heir country and deceive their faithful supporters? If it were true, I would lose all confidence in human organizations. Do you think that they would come before the parliament of their country to say openly: " Let us vote 14 million dollars " while they would be whispering to us: "Do not say it, but it is for the purpose of sending an expeditionary force to fight in England "? There are people who go on repeating that our public men have debased themselves on the point of making utterances before the parliament of their country contrary to 'their own views. I am one of those who would abandon their own party if I thought that the present government could be so insincere. There are some people and representatives of certain organizations who are now going through the length and breadth of our province and are advising the people as they have done before, but they will have to admit, as they have done in the past, before crowded meetings, that they have become reconciled with the former leader of the Liberal party. Why did they make their peace with him if they were right before? I sincerely believe that it is not the members of the present government who are insincere but rather those who, in the hope of getting the upper hand in our province, neglect none of the means which might make them succeed, and stoop to all kinds of stratagems for the purpose of misleading the people. I am convinced that I express truthfully the sentiments of the population of our province. Now, as I want to cover the whole question, I must say that I have received a resolution passed by the junior chamber of commerce of the city of Hull, in which they express their opposition to the construction of a drill hall in our city on the ground that they have asked for the construction of an auditorium, and that the building of a drill hall would interfere with their plans for a recreation centre. I am told that the same organization held another meeting a few days ago at which some young men denounced in the most violent terms any kind of participation in the wars of the empire. I sympathize with the young people of my city and of my constituency. I am just as opposed to any participation in the wars of the empire, but when they say that the increase of the military appropriations is equivalent to participation in war. I cannot agree with them. I have not yet heard of a supporter of the present government who is going to vote for the amendment of the honourable member for Vancouver North. I do not think there will be any. Either to-night, to-morrow or Monday we shall have to vote for the amendment or for the motion of the Minister of Finance. The Liberal party is going to give its unanimous support to the main motion and will vote against the amendment. Then, when we go into committee of supply, those who are opposed to the increase in the military appropriations will be free to make their objections; it is their right. I repeat that I respect their opinions, as I want my own opinion to be respected. If the supporters of the government are displeased with its policy, they are at liberty to vote against it. After listening to the speech of the Minister of Defence, I wondered if he could add anything to what he said. Will he be asked to give the names of the ships we are going to purchase? What other details could be asked for? Has he got to tell us the number of buttons on each uniform? Shall he have to tell us the colour of the brick to be used in the construction of the drill hall? We must not stoop to such trifles, and since we have in the past given our confidence to men who are better informed than we are, since we have praised these same men, and told the people of our province that they are the great public men of our country, they must to-day retain our confidence. Is it because you do not see the question from the same angle that you are going to withdraw your support from them? Are the people of the province of Quebec going to say that their four ministers do no longer enjoy their confidence? They would not be justified in doing so. In so far as I am concerned, in my capacity as member for the constituency of Hull, I shall vote in favour of the increased appropriations, but I shall oppose any kind of participation in foreign wars.


February 18, 1937