February 19, 1937

CCF

James Shaver Woodsworth

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

Mr. WOODSWORTH:

I am not discussing what was voted.

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LIB

Vincent Dupuis

Liberal

Mr. DUPUIS:

Oh.

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CCF

James Shaver Woodsworth

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

Mr. WOODSWORTH:

They voted large sums. But let me say that side 'by side with those large sums they have also spent an enormous amount on social security-which this government does not propose to do.

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LIB

Ernest Bertrand

Liberal

Mr. BERTRAND (Laurier):

Yet they have unemployment in enormous numbers.

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CCF

James Shaver Woodsworth

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

Mr. WOODSWORTH:

The other day the Minister of Mines and Resources (Mr.. Crerar) referred to the position which I had taken during the great war, and that was one reason why I felt I could hardly let this debate close without stating my personal position. The minister himself, as he reminded us, was taken into the Union government, and that government brought conscription to this country. At that time the present leader of the opposition (Mr. Bennett) was director genera! of war services in charge of the registration scheme. I myself at that time was the director of the bureau of social research for the governments of Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta, all of which at that time happened to be Liberal. When the registration scheme was proposed, I felt that I could no longer remain silent, and I wrote this letter to the Winnipeg Free Press, under date of December 28, 1916:

Yesterday morning there came to me a circular letter asking my help in making the national service registration scheme a success. As I am opposed to that scheme, it would seem my duty as a citizen to state that opposition and the grounds on which it is based. For this end I would ask the courtesy of your columns in presenting the following considerations:

1. The citizens of Canada have been given no opportunity of expressing themselves with regard to the far-reaching principle involved in this matter.

2. Since "life is more than meat and the body more than raiment," conscription of material possessions should, in all justice, precede an attempt to force men to risk their lives and the welfare of their families.

3. It is not at all clear who is to decide whether or not a man's present work is of national importance. It is stated that the brewery workers in England are exempt. What guarantee have we that Canadian decisions will be any more sound, and who are the members of the board that decides the question of such importance to the individual?

4. How is registration or subsequent conscription, physical or moral, to be enforced? Is intimidation to be used? Is blacklisting to be employed? What other method? Is this measure to be equally enforced across the country? For example, in Quebec, or among the Mennonites in the west?

This registration is no mere census. It seems to look in the direction of a measure of conscription. As some of us cannot consciously engage in military service, we are bound to resist what-if the war continues-will inevitably lead to forced service.

I have no shame in reading to-day that

statement opposing conscription, even though the reading of it was called forth by the Minister of Mines and Resources, who at that time held a responsible position in the Union government which put over conscription. My letter cost me my position. I was driven into the wilderness. I was not active in politics at that time, and up to that time had not been. Sir Wilfrid Laurier also at that time went into the wilderness.

The Minister of National Defence the other day quoted scripture in support of the government's policy. I do not belong to any church to-day, but it makes me fairly sick to hear anyone quoting the New Testament in support of war or preparation for war. I felt so strongly upon this matter while the war was on that in 1918 I sent in my resignation from the ministry of the then Methodist church. I propose to read a paragraph or two from that document. It is not easy for me to do so, but it may show what war will mean to Canada when the next war comes:

The war has gone on now for four years. As far back as 1906, I had been led to realize something of the horror and futility and wickedness of war. When the proposals were being made for Canada to assist in the naval defence of the empire, I spoke and wrote against such a policy. Since the sudden outbreak of the war, there has been little opportunity to protest against our nation and empire participating in the war. However, as the war progressed, 1 have protested against the curtailment of our liberties which is going on under the pressure of military necessity and the passions of war.

According to my understanding of economics and sociology, the war is the inevitable outcome of the existing social organization with its undemocratic forms of government and competitive system of industry. For me, it is ignorance, or a closed mind, or camouflage, or hypocrisy, to solemnly assert that a murder in Servia or the invasion of Belgium or the glaring injustices and horrible outrages are the cause of the war.

1072 COMMONS

National Defence-Mr. Woodsworth

Nor, through the war, do I see any way out of our difficulties. The devil of militarism cannot be driven out by the power of militarism without the successful nations themselves becoming militarized. Permanent peace can come only through the development of good will. There is no redemptive power in physical force.

This brings me to the Christian point of view. For me, the teachings and spirit of Jesus are absolutely irreconcilable with the advocacy of war. Christianity may be an impossible idealism, but so long as I hold it, ever so unworthily, I must refuse, as far as may be, to participate in or to influence others to participate in war. When the policy of the state-whether that state be nominally Christian or not-conflicts with my conception of .*ight and wrong, then I must obey God rather than man. As a minister, I must proclaim the truth as it is revealed to me. I am not a pro-German; I am not lacking, I think, in patriotism; I trust that I am not a "slacker" or a coward. I had thought that as a Christian minister I was a messenger of the Prince of Peace.

That was written twenty years ago and I have no reason to feel ashamed of the stand

I took at that time, though it led me into strange paths.

More than ever before I am convinced of the futility of war; more than ever I am convinced that armaments are no insurance against war. In the present crisis it seems to me we need men of vision and faith who will strike out along altogether different lines. Unfortunately as a nation, we to-day are proposing to travel the same old road over which the nations have travelled for centuries past and which has led inevitably to disaster.

This is an important occasion in the history of Canada. It may be, as the Prime Minister suggests, that we are simply advancing a little bit further along the line of the policy adopted by his party. It may be that our armaments are not great compared with those of Europe, but I submit that we are at the crossroads and definitely choosing the road of military preparedness. I had hoped that we had learned the lessons of the last war and would undertake to strike out along new lines, getting at the causes of war and putting our faith in fair play and good will. We can do this in Canada much more readily than can most of the nations in war-ridden Europe. I believe that Canada has a wonderful chance along new lines.

The other day in our papers I read the brave words of one of the elder statesmen of Japan, Mr. Yukio Ozaki. In the midst of the frenzy and fanaticism and militarism that prevail in that country Mr. Ozaki dared to give words of warning to his people; he dared to advocate a policy of peace. Personally, I regard it as one of the great privileges of my life that two or three years ago I had the

honour of being received by Mr. Ozaki in his own home at Karuizawa. He was at one time Minister of Justice, a member of parliament, and is an ex-mayor of Tokyo. Speaking at Karuizawa a few days before I met him, he said:

We must find a new way to peace. We must search a road to justice. The world must prepare to have a world court of justice which can settle the conflicts when they arise, but by other ways than using force. The victory of the strongest won by not appealing to justice is only for the barbarous and the primitive.

We denounce some of these other nations as barbarous and primitive and we say that the world has gone mad. And it has. But why should we say that the only thing for us to do is to go mad also. That is an absurd position.

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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:

Yes, this house can laugh if it pleases. If it sees anything funny either in the interruption or in what I have been saying, it is perfectly welcome to scoff. Unfortunately-or fortunately perhaps-I have had to endure some scoffing in my time and I can take a little more, but I want to say to my fellow members, many of whom I have known for years, it does seem to me, irrespective of the way this vote goes, that we as Canadians should understand that Europe is going down, and down, and down, because it has relied on force.

A few days ago I moved a resolution that we should maintain neutrality, not because I was indifferent to the affairs of Europe but because I thought that if we could cut ourselves free we should have time to develop other policies on this continent and avoid the disaster which must overtake Europe if she pursues the policy of force. I know there are people in Europe who are just as much for peace as are any of us in this house. I know there are people in England, many of them, who voted for the peace ballot, who are just as sincere and earnest in the pursuit of peaceful methods as are any of us. I mentioned one of my friends in Japan, and there are those even in Germany and Italy, and in other countries where fascist dictatorship exists, who are still hoping for better days and still trying to witness to the faith that is in them.

I could wish that our country, so blessed in resources, so blessed in its geographical position, instead of following the lead of Europe, would rather decide that we shall work out our destiny in our own way by other and more civilized methods than the world has yet known. If at the close of this debate the

National Defence-Mr. Woodsworth

estimates are adopted as they stand, I shall not be utterly discouraged, because I am confident that despite passion and party prejudice there are many in this country who are earnestly looking for some other and better way. Whatever is true of this house, I know that throughout the country there are tens of thousands of our young men and young women-many of them children of the men who fought at the front in the last war-who cherish the great hope a way may be found so that they will not be asked to sacrifice their lives as their fathers did, but rather may be able to live out a nobler and fuller life and take their part as patriotic citizens in building up in this dominion a civilization based upon peace.

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CCF

Abraham Albert Heaps

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

Mr. HEAPS:

Mr. Speaker, I was paired

with the Minister of Mines and Resources (Mr. Crerar). Had I voted I would have voted for the amendment.

Supply-Defence-M emorials

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SC

John Charles Landeryou

Social Credit

Mr. LANDERYOU:

I was paired with the hon. member for Essex East (Mr. Martin). Had I voted I would have voted for the amendment.

Motion agreed to and the house went into committee of supply, Mr. Sanderson in the chair.

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DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL DEFENCE


Miscellaneous.-To provide for expenses in connection with the Book of Remembrance to be placed on the altar of the memorial chamber in the Houses of Parliament, $8,000.


CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

Perhaps the minister

would tell us how far advanced the work is.

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LIB

Ian Alistair Mackenzie (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Hon. IAN MACKENZIE (Minister of National Defence):

Mr. Chairman, the contract for the completion of the Book of Remembrance was let about five years ago, and it was then thought the book would be completed this year. Unfortunately, however, the work is of such an artistic nature it has taken longer than it was thought it would. It will now take in the neighbourhood of two more years to complete the book; that will be in 1939.

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CCF

Abraham Albert Heaps

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

Mr. HEAPS:

What will the book have

cost, when it is completed?

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LIB

Ian Alistair Mackenzie (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE (Vancouver):

The

original contract was for $35,000. To that must be added this year's vote and probably a vote of a similar amount next year, making a total of $51,000.

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CCF

Major James William Coldwell

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

Mr. COLDWELL:

lit is rather ironical

that we should consider this vote immediately after voting the increased estimates for the Department of National Defence. Where is the work being done?

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LIB

Ian Alistair Mackenzie (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE (Vancouver):

In the

city of Ottawa. Mr. Purves is the artist, and an honorary committee works in conjunction with him.

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Item agreed to. Battlefields memorials, $51,340.


CCF

Charles Grant MacNeil

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

Mr. MacNEIL:

What work is still under

way, in connection with memorials?

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LIB

Ian Alistair Mackenzie (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE (Vancouver):

The work on memorials is practically completed. Before the completion of the Vimy memorial seven others had been erected, Vimy being the last of all the Canadian battlefields memorials overseas. That is one of the reasons for the reduction in the vote this year.

.

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February 19, 1937