February 19, 1937

LIB

Ian Alistair Mackenzie (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE (Vancouver):

And two nursing sisters.

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UFOL

Agnes Campbell Macphail

United Farmers of Ontario-Labour

Miss MACPHAIL:

Then I am sure the men and officers will be well taken care of. It is a large number of people to go, and I suppose there will also be a number from the House of Commons and from the cabinet, and it may be from the opposition as well. If all these people then are going over to the imperial conference and the coronation, one is not unduly pessimistic or alarmist if one thinks, as I do, that when they return there will be an agitation, a further agitation shall we say, for an increase in military estimates, and that the increase which we have this year will be but the beginning.

We have been reading statements made by Sir Samuel Hoare, and I notice it took about four different statements in the British House of Commons to make it clear that he did not mean what he said. That of course is not quite so remarkable; we get used to that. At any rate there was quite a lot of explaining.

I think too there has been some talk, if my reading this week has been correct, about subversive elements in Canada, and that one needs a bit of an army to take care of these elements. If there is anything which will cause revolt in the minds of the Canadian people it is that this great number of people are going overseas, at government expense, for the coronation and the ceremonies connected therewith, and millions being spent for defence. I have-and so has every hon. member-letters coming to my desk day after day telling about awful conditions in my constituency, conditions that on many occasions are found in the families of the men who fought in the last war.

Just before I came to Ottawa I called at the home of a veteran in my constituency, a man who had won military honours, but who is now totally incapacitated and will never work again. He has six children, and was living in a house not fit for anyone to live in. In connection with the house was a miserable little yard, around which was a

picket fence with only one picket here and there. It was a place in which no one should live, much less anyone who served in the last war and won decorations. I am sure that man will be extremely interested to hear that these 334-or whatever the number is- officers, men and nursing sisters are going to the coronation. I am sure he will be extremely interested to learn that Canada is to be saved by an expenditure of $13,500,000 to keep the mines swept-if you sweep mines- off the St. Lawrence waterways, and to keep bombs from dropping on elevators. The veteran gets no pension or allowance.

The Minister of Justice (Mr. Lapointe) is a man whom I have always respected and admired.

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?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Hear, hear.

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UFOL

Agnes Campbell Macphail

United Farmers of Ontario-Labour

Miss MACPHAIL:

Yet only the other day he pulled the old boner about the defence of women and children. I know only one worse, and that is the one about the protection of widows and orphans. He talked about the need to protect the women and children. Well, let me tell the house about families in Ottawa who might need some defence-and it won't be accomplished with mine sweepers on the St. Lawrence river, either. There are 390 families on relief in Ottawa, each living in one room; there are 6S7 families on relief in Ottawa, each living in two rooms. Just think of the agony of a woman with an unemployed husband trying to raise a family in one room and at the same time remain sane! It actually makes me feel ill, when I listen to the oratory to which we have been treated in this week in view of such conditions at our very door.

In Canada we still have a million people on relief. We hear a great deal of talk about Canada as the plum for which all nations are looking-all ready to pick it off. It is a plum, all right, with a million people still on relief.

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CCF

Thomas Clement (Tommy) Douglas

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

Mr. DOUGLAS:

A sour plum.

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UFOL

Agnes Campbell Macphail

United Farmers of Ontario-Labour

Miss MACPHAIL:

I believe the Montreal Gazette - would not, by any stretch of the imagination, be called a socialist paper, and yet only on Tuesday of this week, February 16, I found this heading in the middle of the front page: " Shattered health and morale found among city's unemployed." The article goes on to contradict the claim that " Low economic standards " do not involve " low health standards." It would take a good deal of reading to place the whole article before the house, but briefly they have done research work in 173 cases and have found that out of that number, in 97 cases unemployment was. the major problem. The article states:

National Defence-Miss Macphail

Included in the total were 112 "out-of-works" -83 heads of families and 29 single men and women... Out of this comparatively representative group, social workers found 50 cases of "serious and more or less permanent illness." Ten families so lacked clothing that children could not attend school and adults were prevented from going to clinics to get necessary treatment.

This is in the city of Montreal; of course mine sweepers on the St. Lawrence might help!

Many families were living in houses condemned by the board of health, and in 11 eases overcrowding was reported as "acute."

That is only one paragraph. There is no common sense in talking about military defence for women and children who are living under conditions such as that. I would not want the Minister of Justice to think that men die more bravely than women. The history of the world, right from the beginning, shows that women die bravely and very many times under conditions which could have been improved to such a degree as to avoid death. We have such conditions throughout Canada.

In my opinion the $13,500,000 we are going to spend to increase our defence could be better spent. I suppose we would not have got even the little bit for the blind this year, but the government would not have nerve enough to bring down $13,500,000 for increased defence, and not do something for the blind. We still have throughout Canada people who are totally incapacitated. On the same day to which I referred previously I called to see a young man who has been completely bedridden since his eleventh year. He is brave; he is intelligent and he is poverty stricken. There is nothing I can do except help him personally. Every hon. member knows of cases of that kind. But we have not the money to help people who are totally incapacitated, because we are so busy defending the women and children by increasing defence expenditure.

Then, the expenditure is useless. Thirteen and a half million dollars extra to defend Canada

why, if all the people in Canada stood along each coast and had all those finely decorated fellows with their thirteen-inch ties- and I will come to that in a minute-and their brass hats and the bagpipes-

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?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Hear, hear.

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UFOL

Agnes Campbell Macphail

United Farmers of Ontario-Labour

Miss MACPHAIL:

I admit the bagpipes would do more than anything else to drive an enemy away.

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LIB

Thomas Reid

Liberal

Mr. REID:

I object very strenuously to the last statement.

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UFOL

Agnes Campbell Macphail

United Farmers of Ontario-Labour

Miss MACPHAIL:

Mr. Speaker, I did not say who was playing the bagpipes. But I do say that if all the armed forces of Canada stood along our coasts, despite the increased military expenditures we would not be able to defend this country against any enemy who wished to attack us. When we have eleven million people in a country the size of this, we must rely upon good will-and upon good will I do rely. So, that is one person who has answered the Prime Minister's question.

Then the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) was upset about the thirteen-inch tie. I was not in the house at the time so I do not knowr who first referred to it, but I do know that the Prime Minister stated that the homes in which the thirteen-inch ties were worn were tidier than other homes. Or was it as tidy? What about the farmers? I do not think any of them know how long their ties are; in fact not all of them have ties. Yet they are the people who produce the wealth of Canada. What about the men who come out of our mines all covered with grime; what about the people who work in our industrial plants-do they know the length of their ties? Are they less important or less loyal because of that? Did we rely upon the thirteen-inch tie boys between 1914 and 1918? I do not think so. What about the mothers of this country who are forced to remake threadbare clothing in order that their children may be clothed, who must wash and iron and scrimp and scrape in order to raise their families in tidy homes? Do they wear ties thirteen inches long? The Prime Minister was hurt that these men could not come into the house to defend themselves. Any hon. member who wants to make a speech in defence of thirteen-inch ties will have an opportunity to do so when I am finished. I have heard the leaders of both the old parties spend many hours talking about men who could not come into the house to defend themselves. Did not the leader of the silent party talk for two hours the other night about Mr. John Vallance, who cannot come into the house to defend himself?

I have always been glad I am not a member of either of the old parties because I could not vote for other than what I believe. The Prime Minister quoted some beautiful lines-"to thine own self be true." That is what I have tried to do in this house and 1 will continue to do it in connection with this vote. I believe, if party discipline were removed, the Prime Minister would be surprised at the number of his followers who would vote: for this amendment and against an increase in the military estimates.

National Defence-Mr. Woodsworth

In my opinion the premise of all the speeches made in defence of this increase is absolutely false. Preparedness does not bring peace. Preparedness brings only preparedness and more preparedness. Everybody keeps prepared until finally the thing they have been preparing for comes, and that is not peace; it is war.

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CCF

James Shaver Woodsworth

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

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

Mr. Speaker-

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?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Oh, oh.

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CCF

James Shaver Woodsworth

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

Mr. WOODSWORTH:

There are some hon. members on the opposite side of the house who seem to think that an argument can be made by banging on their desks and boohing. On previous occasions the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) himself has made appeals that order should be maintained in the house, and I trust that decorum will be maintained to-night.

In this debate we have had the fullest discussion of foreign policy that has taken place in this house in the fifteen years I have been a member. On the whole I think the debate has been carried on in a very good spirit.

May I say to the Prime Minister that our group has never made any pretensions to having a monopoly of any virtue, but we do claim to have equal rights in this house with other members. We contend that we should be able to state our convictions without having our motives impugned. I take it that we are all good Canadians in this house and although we may differ, and differ very radically, as to what the policy of this country should be, it is our responsibility to state our convictions as clearly and as strongly as we can.

I regret the nature of the very lengthy statement which the Prime Minister made in the earlier part of his address as it seems to me that he was guilty of a greater unfairness than could possibly be suggested in the wording of our resolution. I was glad to hear him practically identify social security with social services, although it seems to me that he carried the idea of social services to a rather extreme length. Certain Frenchspeaking members tried to make out that social security had some 'hidden connection with communism or something else which they considered might be of a dangerous nature. Surely we are all familiar enough with the phrases that have become so common in this country, m the United States and throughout the world as not to link up social security or social services with a particular kind of political philosophy.

The Prime Minister put in education as part of the social services and he included also the care of the unemployed and of the returned men. I think we must recognize that a very considerable part of the unemployment in this countiy was due to the after-effects of the war, and undoubtedly the disabilities of the returned men were directly due to the war. The amounts under these headings ought to be in the other column. The same thing could be said with regard to the enormous interest which we pay upon our public debt, the greater part of which was incurred because of the war. All these things should be in the war column.

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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:

May I say to my hon. friend that there are no estimates for war. These estimates are for defence against aggression; they are not for aggression.

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CCF

James Shaver Woodsworth

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

Mr. WOODSWORTH:

It was in so-called defence that the last war was fought. Everybody knows that sometimes attack is the best means of defence. We have been told by leading British statesmen that to-day the Rhine is the frontier of Great Britain. That is the way it is going to work out when another war comes.

We have had the unusual spectacle all through this debate of the great Conservative party being unrepresented in the discussion. I suppose they have the right to choose the time when they will put forward the representations of their party, but it is peculiar that on such an important matter as this they have remained silent. It is not very often that that is the case, and perhaps that gives point to this observation. Further, it is worth consideration that if certain members on the Liberal side carry out their professed intention, the government will get through its estimates only with the help of the Conservatives who are usually regarded as the imperialist party.

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?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

No.

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CCF

James Shaver Woodsworth

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

Mr. AVOODSWORTH:

I have listened to the debates and we shall see how things work out. It is strange that in this matter the Conservatives should be so close to at least one section of the government. The Prime Minister's adroitness in making compromises may still be his undoing. Instead of pleasing everybody, he may succeed in satisfying no one.

This is undoubtedly a move in the direction of assuming our share in the defence of the empire. I suppose as such it will be for the moment satisfactory to the authorities at Westminster. At the same time, put in the

National Defence-Mr. Woodsworth

form of the defence of our own Canadian shores, it may win the support of some of the people in Canada who hardly realize the serious implications of these estimates.

It is only a couple of weeks ago that the government rejected my neutrality motion. The Prime Minister said: We cannot decide in advance. Yet now we find that he is advocating a purely defence policy, with armaments sufficient only to protect our neutrality. I asked that we should remain neutral whoever the belligerents might be, and the Prime Minister only two weeks ago said that that would never do. But now he has come to the point of view that these are merely defence estimates, and that we must not do anything more than protect our neutrality. I hope this may be one of the gains of the debate.

But we are still left very much in the dark. If war should break out in Europe, will the Prime Minister state that he would not go to the help of the motherland? I think not. If he stands, therefore, for the solidarity of the empire, Canada's policy cannot remain a purely defence policy.

The Prime Minister despairs of the league as an alternative to national armaments. But let me ask, Why did the league fail? Why have we the world crisis to-day? In England they are not quite so fond of endorsing the policy of the government in power. I should like to read a very severe criticism of the Baldwin government which appeared recently in the London News Chronicle, which I believe is the London organ of Liberal opinion:

Under a system of collective security of which Great Britain was the most powerful political member, the combined forces of peace-loving members of the league could have stayed the challenge of an aggressor.

When the challenge came the British government broke away in an act of dramatic cowardice which brought upon Britain the contempt of the whole world and left heT almost without a friend, stripped both of her political and moral prestige and weakened in her military security.

That is why we must rearm now-and we should never cease to drive it home.

That is the voice of a considerable section of the Liberals in Great Britain. In this country the Liberals simply follow the lead of Mr. Baldwin, and are prepared to arm just as the British government is preparing to arm.

With regard to the situation in. Great Britain may I read a sentence or two from the January number of Current History:

Re-elected in 1935 upon a pacifist, strongly pro-league mandate, the cabinet was essentially interested in rearmament and the maintenance of British imperialistic interests. In one of

the most amazing statements ever made by a democratic statesman, Mr. Baldwin described the dilemma in November:

"Supposing I had gone to the country and said that Germany was rearming and that we must rearm, does anybody think that this pacific democracy would have rallied to that cry at that moment? I cannot think of anything that would have made the loss of the election, from my point of view, more certain."

An extraordinary confession! Mr. Baldwin kept silent in order to be elected, and then proceeded to put into operation a program which he knew had not been and would not be endorsed by the electorate. I am not accusing our Prime Minister of having done that, but I think my friend the hon. member for Grey-Bruce (Miss Macphail) is quite right when she asserted that had this been the issue in the last election the Liberals would not have been returned to power. And now that they are returned, they take advantage of their large majority to put over a military program of this kind.

Canada to-day is becoming defence conscious, thanks to the publicity campaign carried on by the Minister of National Defence (Mr. Mackenzie). To-morrow Canada will become war conscious. Let me read a Canadian Press dispatch from Montreal which appeared in our papers of February 18:

McGill University has received a communication from Colonel L. R. Lafleche, Deputy Minister of National Defence, asking that medical students be given instruction in methods of treatment of persons suffering from poison gas, Doctor A. Grant Fleming, dean of the faculty of medicine, said last night.

The letter, containing an outline of modern methods of treatment, was referred to the medical faculty, Doctor Fleming said, and would be given due consideration.

We are now preparing bombs to drop on defenceless men, women and children, and undoubtedly we may well prepare to have bombs dropped upon us. It seems as if in absolute helplessness we just sit and watch a war come upon us. As I listened to this debate I could not but think of the situation that existed immediately prior to the last war. I looked up the Life and Letters of Sir Wilfrid Laurier by Oscar Douglas Skelton. Let me read a paragraph or so which seems to be so true of the situation to-day:

The mad rivalries of European empires and the struggles of oppressed and oppressing nationalities were bringing the world nearer the verge of war. Statesmanship appeared to be bankrupt; save for the feeble farce of the Hague and rare individual missions and mediations, the nations appeared unable to find or unwilling to seek any solution, other than the futile-

Listen:

-futile attempt of each to make itself stronger than every other by shifting alliance and mounting armament.

1070 COMMONS

National Defence-Mr. Woodsworth

Again:

For some years a vigorous press and organization campaign in the English-speaking provinces had endeavoured to convince Canadians that in leaving Britain to assume the whole burden of the empire's naval defence they were acting an ignoble part-

The very argument that we hear to-day with regard to defence in general-that if we failed to prepare we would be acting an ignoble part:

-inconsistent with either imperialist or nationalist ideals. Feeling in favour of action was growing, and now the crisis precipitated the vague sentiment. There had been little counter-propaganda. Here and there a nationalist critic had questioned the myth of British protection, or repeated Cartwright's epigram that "all that Canada owed England was Christian forgiveness," or insisted that the navy was an agency wholly of British policy. Still more rare had been the more fundamental criticism of the whole policy of armed rivalry; there was little first-hand knowledge in Canada of foreign affairs, or at least of the rivalries of European states which appropriated that title, and little likelihood that the cure would come before the disease. Sir Wilfrid had denounced the vortex of militarism.

The other day when I heard that prominent Liberals were laying a wreath on the monument of Sir Wilfrid Laurier, I thought they might far better have tried to understand his position and follow his lead. Sir Wilfrid Laurier had denounced the vortex of militarism. Sir William Mulock in 1906 had declared :

This Canada of ours is the only country in the world worth living in that is not burdened with great military debts. Keep it on those lines... .Remember that this is the last spot of refuge on God's green earth where men can come and not pay tribute for the sins of their ancestors.

Already we are paying tribute for the sins of our ancestors, and if these estimates should go through we shall pile up a still greater debt and create a situation in which our children cannot inherit what we have inherited.

Let me quote a few words from Sir Wilfrid Laurier, in which he spoke of the blandishments that one met with in going to London. I wish that Sir Wilfrid's protege and successor could keep those words in mind as he goes to the imperial conference:

In this campaign, which no one could appreciate until he had been in the thick of it, social pressure is the subtlest and most effective force. In 1897 and 1902 it was Mr. Chamberlain's personal insistence that was strongest, but in 1907 and after, society pressure was the chief force. It is hard to stand up against the flattery of a gracious duchess. Weak men's heads are turned in an evening, and there are few who can resist long. We were dined and wined by royalty and aristocracy and plutocracy, and always the talk was of Empire, Empire, Empire.

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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:

May I say to my hon. friend that I have been through a couple of rounds and came out all right. I hope to be able to do so again.

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CCF

James Shaver Woodsworth

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

Mr. WOODSWORTH:

The estimates do

not seem to show that.

Our resolution has been characterized as a double-barrelled one. We are further told that unless we prepare to defend ourselves we are exhibiting a lack of self-respect; we are sponging on somebody else. We are told that we must fulfil our honourable obligations. I ask, what of our obligations to our own people here in Canada? We have a million people on relief; are we fulfilling our obligations to them? I think even the government cannot claim that. The best they can do is to invoke the British North America Act and hide behind constitutional difficulties. We have some 50,000 unemployed soldiers. Are we performing our obligations to them? I cannot think that we are. We have poor housing conditions. We have enormous debts that are crushing the lives out of a great many of our western farmers and making impossible recovery in many sections of this country. We can do nothing for these classes; yet no expenditure is too great and nothing is too good for those who wish to prepare for war.

A few days ago I received a very interesting copy of the Halifax Herald of January 28, in which there is a front page editorial dealing with the program of President Roosevelt. This is a quotation from the address of the president:

I see millions of families trying to live on incomes so meagre that the pall of family disaster hangs over them day by day.

I see millions whose daily lives in city and on farm continue under conditions labelled indecent by a so-called polite society half a century ago.

I see millions denied education, recreation and the opportunity to better their lot and the lot of their children.

I see millions lacking the means to buy products of farm and factory and by their poverty denying work and productiveness to many other millions.

I see one-third of a nation ill-housed, ill-clad, ill-nourished.

And he added:

It is not in despair that I paint you that picture. I paint it for you in hope-because the nation, seeing and understanding the injustice of it, proposes to paint it out.

The editorial comments:

What the president of the United States has said about his country applies with equal force to this country. Canada, with its population of around eleven million people, is in no better case proportionately than the neighbouring republic.

National Defence-Mr. Woodsworth

And what the president of the United States has demanded in social justice and social security for the people of his own country, is what is being demanded for the Canadian people.

I wish that this government, calling itself by the name of Liberal, would follow a lead of that kind instead of falling back on age-old methods which have in the past proved so futile.

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LIB

Vincent Dupuis

Liberal

Mr. DUPUIS:

Would the hon. member say how much was voted at Washington for national defence?

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February 19, 1937