April 1, 1938

LIB

Vincent-Joseph Pottier

Liberal

Mr. POTTIER:

No; they were within twenty-five miles of shore. As I have already indicated, in this report there will be found reference to no less than twenty-one such schooners, and there were some 737 claims, chiefly of individual fishermen or other persons on board those vessels. That was what happened in the last war. Just try to imagine what will happen if we have another war I We shall have submarines and airships to contend with, particularly if the same countries are involved. Can anyone argue, in the light of these facts, that we should not make provision for our defence?

In the maritimes we have two particular interests: First, the defence of our person and property and, second, the defence of our trade routes, as indicated in the policy of the government. There may be some people in some parts of Canada who care little for our person and property. I submit, however, that as Canadians we are entitled to defence proportionate to what the whole of Canada can adequately provide. It must not be

[Mr. Pottier.l

forgotten that if one portion of Canada is seized, it means wreck and ruin for the remaining portion. A foothold anywhere in Canada means disaster to the whole country.

The second interest of the maritimes is the defence of our coastal trade routes to the United States, Great Britain, the West Indies and other parts of the world. We live by the sea. In my constitutency of Yarmouth-Shel-burne-Clare, for example, the new wealth produced each year through commodities being shipped out of Canada comes from fisheries, lumber and farming. From fisheries we receive approximately $1,150,000; from lumber, approximately $250,000, and from farming, roughly $300,000. That is all new wealth created by reason of these trade routes. That is the only way in which we can buy the manufactured articles, clothes and flour produced in the other portions of Canada. Do away with these routes and we cannot buy. The people have nothing but starvation facing them, particularly in my constituency, if, for example, trade routes to the United States are interrupted in such a way that we cannot ship our fish, particularly lobsters. If that takes place, we can no longer buy from any other portion of Canada. One must also remember that through these trade routes pour out the products not only of the maritimes but of all the rest of Canada. Cut off these life lines, and not only the maritimes but every other portion of Canada will suffer.

These are all possibilities, and every serious Canadian must realize that such eventualities must be provided for. I ask hon. members to keep in mind what happened in the last war on the Atlantic coast in general. We were obliged practically to borrow a patrol squadron, and even with that the German submarines were all along our coast. At the same time I ask hon. members to try to visualize the probabilities in case of another war, to understand the necessity for maintaining as far as possible adequate protection of our coast lines and trade routes. I should like to suggest also to the Minister of National Defence that we in the maritimes look with what I might call a bit of jealousy, perhaps, at the steps taken for the defence of the Pacific coast. I suggest to the minister that so far as possible the defence of the two coast lines should be developed along the same lines and as nearly as possible at the same time. The amount estimated and the policy of the government in the expenditure of that amount should have the support of every hon. member. [DOT]

In conclusion, I compliment the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King), the Minister of National Defence (Mr. Mackenzie)

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and other members of the government upon the sound and orderly procedure they are following in the defence of Canada.

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CON

Alfred Johnson Brooks

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. A. J. BROOKS (Royal):

Mr. Chairman, may I at the outset congratulate the hon. member who has just taken his seat upon the excellent address he has made. I listened this afternoon to the speeches, and I hope I may be pardoned if I do not attempt to follow very closely the observations which were made. These addresses seemed excellent, so far as the history of the League of Nations, the Locarno pact, and other matters of that kind are concerned; but unfortunately we are living in a practical world, and the conditions which face the people of Canada, and people outside Canada, are not particularly connected with the history of the past, but have a closer bearing on what may happen to us in the future.

One remark of the hon. member for Essex East (Mr. Martin), which I am sure commends itself to all, is that our first duty is to keep our country out of war. I believe every Canadian has that ideal in mind, and it is our fond hope that Canada may never again be involved in a great war. The further question which presents itself is this: If we fail to keep Canada out of war, what preparation have we made to defend ourselves?

The debate during the last ten days on defence estimates must indicate that during the last few years Canada has become more defence conscious than at any other time in her history. It is not my intention to deal with the many pertinent events responsible for this attitude of mind among our people, but I believe one of the most striking examples of the change of attitude has been shown by the change of mind of certain members of the House of Commons during the past year. We remember that one year ago, when the estimates of the minister were before the committee, certain members of his party, and of the government, were strongly opposed to them. This year some of those same members have stated definitely that they are supporting the estimates for the present year although the amount is practically the same. This is indeed an evidence of the change of mind not only of people throughout the country but of members of the House of Commons.

Candidly, I believe this change of mind is more than justified. I believe it is prompted not by any great, national nervous sentiment sweeping the country, but by that age old instinct of self-preservation. We, in conjunction with other peace loving nations of the

world, realize that in a world evidently gone mad with the false doctrine of brute force, the only thing to do is to make some effort to protect ourselves in the event of our becoming the object or victim of aggression.

I congratulate the minister upon his able speech delivered a week ago in presenting his estimates to the committee, and I also congratulate him upon his defence program, so far as it goes. I assume the minister required considerable courage to raise the estimates even to the amount at which they now stand, although still inadequate.

I should like to follow the observations of the hon. member for Shelburne-Yarmouth-Clare (Mr. Pottier) in discussing these estimates, and matters of defence as they apply to the maritime provinces. I believe I may be pardoned for limiting my remarks in this way, because members from other parts of Canada have discussed the estimates from a sectional standpoint.

It is generally admitted by all that our two coast lines are the vulnerable sections of ohe dominion. They are also the sections which require the greatest expenditures for defence and which must be guarded most carefully. We are very fortunate indeed in having two great oceans separating us from the warring nations of other parts of the world. Yearly those oceans are becoming narrower, and we are becoming more vulnerable on account of the inventions of war and methods of warcraft. Then, too, we are fortunate in having to the south of us a friendly nation. For over one hundred and twenty-five years the United States has been a friendly and peaceful neighbour, and I believe we are justified in feeling that that country will continue to be friendly and peaceful so far as we are concerned.

As was pointed out by the hon. member who preceded me in the debate, more money has been expended on the Pacific than on the Atlantic coast. When we ask ourselves why there is a difference in expenditures, the answer becomes obvious. As our first line of defence on the Atlantic coast we have the British fleet, a fact which was carefully pointed out by the minister. While we do not give general expression to the idea, we all realize that in eastern Canada we must rely upon the British fleet for our defence, but that on the western coast we cannot rely upon any particular fleet. For that reason we must spend more to defend that section of the country. I do not believe there are more potential enemies on the Pacific coast than on the Atlantic; but because we have England and the British fleet on the Atlantic coast we may feel, more safety in that section of

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the country, and a justification for spending more money on the Pacific than on the Atlantic.

Many hon. members have said that the English navy is our first line of defence. May I point out that I believe it to be the only line of defence at the present time so far as eastern Canada is concerned, and it is not costing the people of Canada one cent. Nevertheless there have been very few words of appreciation uttered in this house for that, defence. As reported at page 1650 of Hansard, the minister said:

In regard to the exact position of Canada it is only fair to say that to-day the main deterrent against a major attack upon this country by a European power is the existence of the British fleet in north Atlantic waters. An attack on Canada's overseas trade at the most congested points on our coasts in the opinion of those most competent to observe and advise would be limited to minor raiding forces.

We all recognize that fact: The English fleet is our first line of defence.

What is the second line of defence for our eastern ports? It might possibly be considered to be the Canadian fleet. The Canadian fleet on the Atlantic consists of two destroyers and some mine sweepers. Does the minister consider that these ships can provide any defence for our coast should the first line of defence be defeated? I am satisfied that should the British navy be defeated and enemy battleships come to our coast, our destroyers with their limited gun range could offer practically no defence, even against one battleship.

Our third line of defence, as far as our ports are concerned, are the coastal batteries which are to be established. I understand that on the Pacific coast the first stage of development has been completed and that they are now continuing with the second stage. Perhaps I might inquire of the minister how many stages there are altogether?

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LIB

Ian Alistair Mackenzie (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE (Vancouver):

The works on the Pacific will take about three years, that is for interim armament. That does not take into consideration any permanent ordnance in the form of heavy guns.

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CON

Alfred Johnson Brooks

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BROOKS:

The first stage has not even been started yet on the Atlantic coast. As far as any defence batteries are concerned, the Atlantic coast cannot expect any protection for at least three years. I understand that it is very difficult to obtain guns of the type necessary to defend our coast.

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LIB

Ian Alistair Mackenzie (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE (Vancouver):

It is absolutely impossible as long as we insist on ordnance uniform with that of Great Britain.

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CON

Alfred Johnson Brooks

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BROOKS:

I assume the minister wants to get the most modern defence equipment.

I come now to what might be considered our fourth line of defence, that is, our air force. It has been said that the people of Canada have become air-minded, but I was wondering if the statement made by the minister is borne out by the opinion of many military experts. On page 1649 of Hansard he is reported as follows:

Let me say just one word with reference to the functions of the air force in connection with the government's program. A well equipped and efficient air force is, in my opinion, of primary importance for the protection of Canadian territory and waters, and in view of the rapidly increasing performance of modern aircraft the possibility of attack by such means is to-day a probability.

The minister says that our air force is to be our great defence against attack. In this connection I notice that four air fields have been established in the maritime provinces at Yarmouth, Dartmouth, Truro and Sydney, all in the province of Nova Scotia. In matters of defence I do not want to be at all narrow-minded, but I would point out to the minister that the two great ports on the Atlantic are Halifax and Saint John. If both these two ports are to be defended by means of aeroplanes, a landing field should be established in the vicinity of Saint John. It seems to me that when the question of the establishment of air fields was being considered, some consideration should have been given to Saint John as it is one of our great Canadian ports. The town of Sussex is the centre of a military training area for the province of New Brunswick. There are many splendid fields nearby which could be easily developed as airports. Any of these would be within easy distance of Saint John.

Reverting again to the value of aeroplanes for defence, I am sure that the minister and hon. members know that in the civil war now raging in Spain every arm is being tried out to determine its practicability. Experts of all nations have been watching the development of armaments in that devastated country. I should like to quote from a statement by Thomas R. Phillips, a member of the faculty of the United States general staff school and at present the United States army expert in Spain. His opinion of aeroplanes as a means of defence is as follows:

Americans for many years have been subjected to the affirmation of an axiom to the effect that the best defence against aerial attack is our own air force. In Spain this has not proved true in its literal sense.

I think it was the hon. member for Vancouver North who referred the other day

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to the time required for an aeroplane to leave the field and reach the necessary altitude to fight off oncoming bombers or other attacking aeroplanes. I quote again: .

The reason our own pursuit in our back yards cannot protect us is not complex, though it is little understood. In soldier terminology, it is a matter of time and space-time for warning, time to reach a fighting altitude, and distance to be flown before interception. Defending airplanes are presumed to be able to leave the ground fifteen minutes after receiving warning. This assumption is generous. It presupposes that the squadrons are alert-that is, pilots on hand and engines warmed up periodically to insure safe take-off. When planes are widely scattered on the ground and hidden from enemy bombers, the time allowed for takeoff must be increased to more than fifteen minutes. After taking off and forming into squadrons, the pursuit must climb to fifteen thousand or more feet. Another seven or eight minutes gone. Thus a minimum of twenty-two minutes' warning is required to give the defenders time to get off the ground and make ready to fight. Translated into warning distance, the warning system, if the attacking bombers approach at 250 miles an hour, must give warning when the enemy bombers are ninety-two miles distant.

There is much more along the same line. As I say, it has been the experience in Spain that the aeroplane does not provide the best defence for towns and cities. It has been proved that it is better when used as an offensive weapon. The other day an hon. member inquired as to the feasibility of aeroplanes as a defence against attack by battleships. It is the opinion of many military experts that it is becoming more difficult for an aeroplane successfully to attack a battleship or any other type of ship. This difficulty arises from the height at which an aeroplane must fly. From fifteen to eighteen thousand feet up, to escape anti-aircraft guns on every battleship, the battleship itself appears as a mere speck on the ocean, and in view of the speed at which the aeroplane flies, and the apparent size of the target, it is almost impossible for an aeroplane to bomb a ship on the ocean.

Our fifth line of defence for our ports-and I think it is the most practical and useful a defence our cities and towns could have-is anti-aircraft artillery. This has been proven conclusively on the battlefields of Spain and in other parts of the world where conflicts have been taking place. I should like to quote again from the article from which I quoted a few moments ago:

Great success and dismal failures have been exhibited by anti-aircraft artillery in Spain. Both can be accounted for by the degree of training of the gunners and relative excellence of the equipment. Antique French guns, first used by the government, failed completely. New German equipment, with robot-operated direction finders which send aiming data electrically to the guns, have scored remarkably. The

Englishman, Air Commodore Charlton, after a visit to insurgent Spain, wrote that the German gunners, in the first three or four salvos, would pip off a bomber at 12,000 feet practically every time, if it was flying a straight course.

That shows how effective anti-aircraft artillery has become. The article goes on to say:

The German anti-aircraft artillery of 88 millimetres calibre-about three and one half inches-fires accurately to an altitude of 25,000 feet. The government now has a large amount of Russian anti-aircraft artillery modelled after the German. Due to poor manufacture, as well as indifferent training of the gunners, it has not performed well.

Against low-flying planes, Spain is a proving ground for the German 20 millimetres-about 8 inch-automatic anti-aircraft cannon. This gun, with two barrels, fires high-explosive projectiles, 360 rounds a minute. Each shell is equipped with a supersensitive fuse which will explode on contact with airplane fabric. It is remarkably effective. The gunner follows the smoking tracers like the spray of a hose and quickly gets his stream of fire on the airplane.

The success of anti-aircraft guns in Spain has started all Europe feverishly building quantities of them. European nations see that cities and rear areas cannot be protected by airplanes; only the anti-aircraft guns are always ready and waiting. Great Britain bought the entire output, for three years, of certain types of anti-aircraft guns of the Bofors factory in Sweden. France has revised its production plans. Italy is dissatisfied with its combination anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapon. Their experience has proved that the anti-aircraft gun must be constructed for its special use.

I am pointing these things out simply to bring to the minister's attention that if we are to protect, especially during the three years in which we are building gun emplacements, our coastal areas and our cities and towns from bombing raids, which as the minister stated the other day is the most likely form of attack, we must have in these areas anti-aircraft guns. We should have effective anti-aircraft artillery in the city of Montreal, in the city of Quebec, in the ports of Saint John and Halifax, and on the Pacific coast.

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CON
CON

Alfred Johnson Brooks

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BROOKS:

We might even consider it necessary to have anti-aircraft artillery in Toronto. I think the minister will agree that there is a great scarcity of these guns. The article from which I have quoted states that at the present time there are only forty-two such guns in the United States, and it would require, for the defence of New York city alone, nine hundred of them.

I point out these facts to show again that the only defence we have for our eastern Canadian ports at the present time is the

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British navy, and it is the only defence which we are likely to have for some time to come.

As an ex-militia man I wish to commend the minister for the attention he is giving to the different branches of our military services. The permanent force, I understand, is to be slightly increased, but not even the most extreme pacifist in this country or anywhere else could accuse us of being militaristic considering the small permanent force we have.

As regards the non-permanent force, I am sure the minister will agree that during the years of the depression and in past years, when it has been almost impossible to get money for militia purposes the non-permanent militia in Canada has carried on in an admirable manner considering all handicaps. I know of officers and men in different units who have been willing to go into camp on half pay, and other officers who have contributed all their pay in order that more men might be trained and the force become more efficient. It is also true-and this shows the importance of our militia to Canada-that during the last war the officers of the nonpermanent militia formed the nucleus for the training of the battalions that went overseas, and I would suggest to the minister that any money which is spent on training officers is money well spent. It is not possible or desirable to train a large standing army in Canada, but we know that, if trouble comes, it is much easier to train the men and prepare the troops by virtue of having well trained, capable officers. We also know that it takes many years, especially in these days of technical equipment, to train men for positions as officers.

The hon. member for Vancouver North (Mr. MacNeil) mentioned training for physical fitness in Canada. I do not intend to stress that point, but every nation in the world to-day

and we in Canada learned this lesson in the last war-is aware that physical fitness is one of the ways in which any country must first prepare to defend itself in time of emergency.

A great deal has been said about Canada's foreign policy. I do not consider myself qualified to discuss the question; but I have my own humble opinion, and it is simply this, that we should be united for the defence of the empire. Britain's foreign policy, as it was given to the world a few days ago by Mr. Chamberlain, went further. He said that England would go to the defence of France if necessary, and to the defence of Belgium. I do not think it is perhaps necessary for us in this country to go that far. As a matter of

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fact, I would be loath to see Canada have to send an expeditionary force across the ocean again to defend any country except England or some other part of the British Empire.

As I said a moment ago, I believe that the foreign policy of Canada can very well be tied up with that of the other nations of the British commonwealth, for the defence of the empire collectively, and individually if necessary. Ex-Premier Baldwin, speaking a short time ago, said that Britain's first line of defence was on the Rhine. We in Canada have no assurance where the first line of defence for Canada may be. I do not think we can assert conclusively that our first line will be the shores of the Pacific coast or the Atlantic coast. It may be better for us, in conjunction with Great Britain and perhaps some other country, to stop the enemy from crossing the Atlantic and landing on our shores. I mentioned a little while ago, and it was observed by some other speaker this afternoon, that Canada is well qualified to provide airmen not only for the defence of our coasts but for defensive service abroad if need be. The aeroplane is an offensive weapon, and should it become necessary for Canada to join in the defence of the empire and act in her own defence, we might very properly, in order to strengthen what would be our first line of defence, send airmen overseas if England should be attacked. I am convinced-and I think every sane person in this dominion is of the same opinion-that if England should be destroyed, it would be too late for Canada to protect herself. We claim that we are a nation. As a nation, it is our responsibility to protect our citizens, not only at home but abroad. They should be able to rely upon the protection of Canada whether they are in this country or any other. A few days ago the hon. member for Beauharnois-Laprairie (Mr. Raymond), in an excellent speech, with much of which, however, I do not agree, said:

Would England or the United States protect us? As far as England is concerned, we cannot expect from her anything that goes beyond her own interest.

As a Canadian, I object to that statement. I do not think it can be said that Britain has been concerned only with her own interests and the protection of her own people. For a hundred years England has helped to protect this country of ours. She did so before we reached the status of a nation, and, as declared in her policy, she is prepared to do so to-day. I should like to call the attention of hon. members to an incident which happened not very long ago in China, during the

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troubles there. Many hon. members must have read about it. It will be remembered that up one of the Chinese rivers a Canadian mission from the province of Quebec was in great danger, not only from Japanese forces but from bandits in the Chinese army. It was not a Canadian detachment that went to the defence of the mission; a British gunboat manned by a British crew and guided by one of the good fathers of the mission went to the protection of our people. England was protecting Canadians in that country, and it cannot be said that she was actuated by any selfish motive.

There is not an hon. member but can claim that since the last war England's policy has been one of peace. If she were an aggressor nation, there would be a reason why Canada and other nations would not care to join with her. But her national policy has been one of peace and non-aggression. If, as was stated here this afternoon, the League of Nations has failed, that failure cannot be laid on the shoulders of Great Britain. England has done everything that is nationally possible for a country to do to hold the league together. As regards the Locarno pact, the Washington treaty, and any other treaty into which she has entered with any other nation, she has done her share and more. I am satisfied that had other nations, members of the league, done as much as England did, the world would not be in the unhappy position it is in to-day.

Let it be remembered that other nations are seeking alliance with England. They are not afraid of the involvements of an alliance. In this country we hear much talk of collective security. We know that Canada could not stand alone; but if we wish for collective security, how can we hope to defend ourselves better than by uniting with other parts of the British Empire? If France, Belgium, and many other countries are willing to join with England, I am satisfied that we should be safer and our defence against aggression would be stronger if it were known that we are united with England as far as empire defence is concerned.

I have said that in these days we hear some boasting about our Canadian nationhood. We are all proud of Canada, and with good reason; we are Canadians first. It has been said that we should be proud to be a nation. I remember that during the great war it was the Canadian corps that placed the Canadian name so high in the opinion of the world at that time and as it stands to-day. It was through the achievements of the Canadian corps and Canada's fighting troops that Canada became a nation. But there was no great clamour among the men who fought over-51952-124

seas for "Canadian status." That was left to the politicians and those who remained at home. We were proud to wear on our shoulder-straps the word "Canada." But we were not particularly anxious that we should be known as a nation; it was enough for us that we were part of the British Empire.

I intend to support the estimates of the hon. minister. I wish him all speed with them. I hope that there will be no necessity to use the armaments he is preparing for the defence of our country, and I realize that time is the essence of the matter. In the meanwhile, until we have our coast defended, until we can obtain guns suitable for coast defence, until we have the anti-air-craft guns necessary to defend our cities, let us pray that there shall be peace at home and abroad; and at the same time, I believe, we shall be justified in thanking God that we have the British navy.

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LIB

Henry Sidney Hamilton

Liberal

Mr. H. S. HAMILTON (Algoma West):

Although we are in committee on one of the items in the estimates of the Department of National Defence, the discussion has been quite general on the defence policy of Canada; and as I have definite views on that subject, and as it is undoubtedly important, I feel a sense of obligation to express them. I have followed carefully most of the speeches. In considering them I find that there are some common grounds on which apparently most hon. members agree. My desire is to see what these common grounds are and then give my views in regard to the points where there are differences of opinion.

First, I should like to congratulate the Minister of National Defence (Mr. Mackenzie) upon what I consider the successful way in which he has fulfilled an extremely difficult role, finding a defence policy along what might be called the middle road, in which I am sure he will secure the support of the majority of the members of this house. By accident a few days ago I happened to read some remarks of the Right Hon. John Bright, delivered in Birmingham on January 13, 1878, on the danger of war with Russia. To me his remarks carry a warning by which I wish to benefit in discussing the subject now before us. I read from a volume in Everyman's Library entitled Selected Speeches of the Right Hon. John Bright, MR., on Public Questions, at page 169:

It is a painful and terrible thing to think how easy it is to stir up a nation to war. Take up any recent history of this country from the time of William III until now, for two centuries or nearly so and you will find that wars are always supported by a class of arguments which after the war is over the people find were arguments they should not have listened to. It is just so now, for unfor-

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tunately there still remains the disposition to be excited on these questions. Some poet, I forget which, has said

Religion, freedom, vengeance, what you will,

A word's enough to raise mankind to kill; Some cunning phrase by faction caught and spread,

That guilt may reign and wolves and worms be fed.

"Some cunning phrase by faction caught and spread," like the cunning phrase of the balance of power, which has been described as the ghastly phantom which the government of this country has been pursuing for two centuries and has never yet overtaken. Some cunning phrase like that we have now of "British interests." Lord Derby has said the wisest thing that has been uttered by any member of this administration during the discussions on this war when he said that the greatest of British interests is peace. And a hundred, far more than a hundred public meetings have lately said the same; and millions of households of men and women have thought the same. To-night we shall say amen to this wise declaration. I am delighted to see this grand meeting in this noble hall. This building is consecrated to peace and freedom. You are here in your thousands representing the countless multitudes outside. May we _ not to-night join our voices in this resolution that so far as we are concerned the sanguinary record of the history of our country shall be closed, that we will open a new page on which shall henceforth be inscribed only the blessed message of mercy and of peace?

I wish personally to remember the warning how easy it is to stir up a nation to war, and what a painful and terrible thing it is. I have been impressed in the discussions before this committee with the obvious anxiety of all hon. members to let it be known that they and we, this house and the people of Canada, are anxious to follow as our foremost object the preservation of peace. It is because I feel the government have so carefully and studiously set their course to achieve that object that I wish to compliment the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) and the government upon their efforts toward that end.

I heard a question asked to-day by the hon. member for Rosetown-Biggar (Mr. Coldwell) as to the policy of Canada on oil sanctions. For myself I thank the Prime Minister and the government for the action they took in that matter. It may be all very well for Canada to take responsibility for possibly plunging Europe into a terrible war, a war in which millions of men would be slaughtered, and Canada herself perhaps be able to stand aloof from participation in that war. If Canada had been responsible, as she might well have been, for a war of the proportions that might have broken out, I think it would have been a ghastly thing if Canada herself had not thrown all her force and strength and all her man power into subduing the conflagration which she had brought about. If Canada

was ready to follow the possible consequences, well and good. If she was not prepared to follow those consequences, the course she took was a wise one; and personally I am pleased that she took that course.

The hon. member for Grey-Bruce (Miss Macphail), in commenting upon the fact that we do not prevent the exportation of raw materials which may be used in warfare, said that it just did not make sense to be sending out to other countries, potential enemies, material which might be used against Canadians. I agree with her; it does not make sense. Yet I think there is a just reason for it. To-night we have a terrible situation in Asia and in Europe. We feel sympathy for the British statesmen with such terrible responsibilities on their shoulders-how they bear them I do not know-striving as best they can so to adjust and direct their course as to avoid war which might otherwise result. I do not know the factors involved; I do not know how close they are to war; but I can see that the existing situation is precarious. European humanity is under a sword similar to that which hung above the head of Damocles, a naked sword, a terrible sword, a sword suspended by a hair. I believe that to-day statesmen who represent Great Britain and other nations are exerting their best efforts to ensure that that sword does not fall, with the terrible consequences which would result to humanity in Europe, millions of human beings who would be killed or suffer through the destruction of their homes and their country. My feeling is that I and other members of this house, as well as the government, should be very careful that, in ignorance or lack of information, we do not do something which might sever that hair. So, while I realize that it seems foolish to be sending munitions out of the country, without fuller knowledge we cannot afford to do things which might bring about such serious consequences in Europe.

I said that I thought there was some common ground on which hon. members were in agreement. I think this committee agrees that we are prepared to defend Canada. I believe the hon. member for Vancouver North (Mr. MacNeil) emphasized that fact, and I think other speakers have indicated that there is general agreement throughout this chamber that we should do those things which are necessary to defend Canada. The difficulty is in ascertaining what constitutes defence. What is involved in the defence of Canada? What are the limitations of defending Canada? It is apparent at once, I think, that what might be termed local defence, the actual repelling of invasion of our territories by

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hostile forces, either on Canadian soil or at our shores, constitutes defending Canada. I think that is agreed. The anxiety of some is that we are not framing our defence policy or building our defence force for that definite purpose, but that we have in mind not facing the issue on Canadian soil or Canadian shores but rather in some way participating in that defence beyond Canada. My thought in that connection is that if war comes, we shall be up against stark reality. It will not be speeches in this house, words, votes or resolutions; it will be reality in its starkest form that we shall be up against, and I have no doubt whatever what will happen. The sound war strategy that will safeguard our people will prevail. Call it war hysteria or what you will, our people will demand that measures be taken which will safeguard this nation. If the change in sentiment in this house that I think is obvious as compared with last year has been brought about by what has happened during the last few months, how much greater would the change be if the things that have occurred elsewhere had occurred in Canada? The hon. member for Rosetown-Biggar said that civilization stood aghast at the barbarities of Barcelona, What if those barbarities had occurred on Canadian soil? Though not as likely, they are as possible on Canadian soil as in Barcelona or Shanghai, and if these atrocities that have occurred overseas, which have brought about a changed opinion in this house, had happened on Canadian soil, the aroused sentiment that would result would be what would guide Canadian policy when that day came.

The Minister of National Defence, as well as the Prime Minister, has stated that we have no commitments. I am glad of that, and I think the committee will accept that assurance. The hon. member for Vancouver North intimated that, without our intentionally being committed, events themselves would commit us to certain lines of action. My thought is that what will commit us to certain policies will be the events which will occur and which, if they are of major significance, will cause the Canadian people to speak to this house in no uncertain manner, and so guide this house in the action that should be taken. Ours are not the commitments of the government or the commitments resulting from any policy brought into this house by the minister and put forward as the policy of the government. There are no commitments of that kind at the present time. I do not think there should be any. I believe in Canada we should reserve our decisions until events occur which make it necessary for us to choose our course. But 51952-1241

if, when that time comes, there are nations such as we have to-day, world powers with the philosophies, the ruthless attitude and the arrogant aggression which guide some countries to-day to such a great extent, if there is any serious threat to Canada I think it my duty to say that I have no doubt at all that then Canada will associate herself with those nations which can and will preserve her integrity, and will fight to bring about that result, wherever sound war strategy suggests that such fighting should take place.

In such circumstances, when facing stem reality, if Canada thought the safety of her territory and her existence as a nation were in jeopardy, she would demand that some leader, some man capable of following sound war strategy, should guide this nation in doing that which was most necessary to preserve intact our liberty and our territory. I am not referring to local raids, which we must keep in mind; I do not mean safeguarding our coasts in a local sense against anything that might take place in major or minor conflicts. I am talking of real threats to the safety of our country. Then sir, is it not right that we should ask: Could this nation stand by. and would it stand by, and see Great Britain and possibly the United States defeated or destroyed, and not consider that the defences of Canada were being broken down. Can we avoid, or do we not in our souls feel that if Great Britain were crushed, our. first line of defence, as it has been described, would go with her? I would feel it. If the United States were crushed or destroyed, or were rendered incapable of assisting or of cooperating with Canada, would we not feel that we had lost a very important element of our defence? I think we would; I would feel it. And if those great nations were either destroyed or rendered incapable of aiding or cooperating with us, then, sir, would Canada, under the circumstances I have suggested, be able to safeguard herself? I do not think so.

My thought is that for the time being we cannot decide what Canada will do in the event of war. That would depend upon a hundred and one factors. The bombing of Barcelona would be different from the bombing of London; the bombing of London would be different from the bombing of Quebec or Halifax. I do not know what would happen if the House of Commons at Ottawa were bombed while the members were in session.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL DEFENCE
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CCF
LIB

Henry Sidney Hamilton

Liberal

Mr. HAMILTON:

These matters are not decided finally until the issue is before us. I am not taking exception to what I think

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is desirable-the education, if one would dare to call it that, which comes from these discussions and is sent out to implant in the hearts of our people a very real desire for peace, and a willingness to secure that peace not only by action but by inaction. And, sir, if we can decide what constitutes defence, the next question is: With what do we defend our country? With what do we defend it, either in the localized sense of coastal defence or territorial defence, or in the broader sense of association or cooperation with other greater powers, through safeguarding it wherever the war strategy of events may decree that we should defend it. I shall not attempt to discuss the technical end of what our force should consist. But in building a defensive force for Canada there are a few general matters which I should like to emphasize.

The first thing to secure in an armed force for Canada whether it be an air, naval or military force, is morale. That -has always been considered one of the most important factors in any powerful, armed force, and I think it is brought about by confidence. There are things which poison the morale of an armed force. I believe any military man who has served overseas will appreciate that.

We have heard a great deal about profits made while men serve without much remuneration in a deadly game. I emphasize, in passing, that one of the most important matters would be to eliminate profit, with all its ramifications, should our forces ever have to take part in any warfare, and even in connection with the building up of our forces at the present time. I know something about this. I know the effect that things which occurred during the past war had upon me. There is a sense of injustice which must permeate the ranks of any force where, when they are risking their lives in a veiy real way, they are conscious of unfairness, and of advantage being taken of conditions in order to secure monetary or other advantages to which the people who seek them are not entitled.

If I were attempting in any way to say in advance what we would do in case of war- and I would not attempt to do that-in connection with profits alone I would have many suggestions to make. I wish to say this, however, that if it ever becomes my responsibility -and I hope it never will-to say what this parliament should do under certain conditions, involving the possibility of war, I hope and trust that I shall take a definite stand on the elimination of profits in connection with war. I would go even farther than that; I would think not only of money profits. We would

IMr. Hamilton.]

have to see to it that there was some fairness in the decision as to who should serve in the front lines. If I were suggesting what might be advisable-and I do not profess to do so at this time-I might be inclined to suggest, as a brake on the possibility of our inconsiderately going into war, that the members of the House of Commons who vote for it, and who are under the age of fifty-five years, would have an opportunity of serving in the front line, and that parliament would see that they did have that opportunity.

Morale comes from confidence. Those in power and authority, and those who hold positions of strength, should use their powers fairly and for the benefit of those who are less able to take the advantages which some people higher up may take. I believe it was the hon. member for Rosetown-Biggar who said that many of the soldiers who fought in the last war have become disillusioned, and that they have lost those things for which they fought-or words to that effect. I cannot agree altogether with the hon. member, and I do not like to permit his statement to go entirely unchallenged.

Great sacrifices were made by Canada, and many lives were lost. It is true that we are disappointed in many things. It is true that many things we thought we would attain have not been attained. But I think it is going too far to say that we lost those things for which we fought. We still have the integrity of Canada. We still have the existence and integrity of the British Commonwealth' of Nations. It is not right to say what we lost until we know what would have happened, had the reverse occurred. Since then we have brought about what we hope will be a great and enduring force for the betterment of world affairs. Since that time we have brought about a British Commonwealth of Nations. It may be that the right to do this was preserved by the fighting which occurred in Europe over twenty years ago.

It has been said that any force which we might raise in Canada would be more or less useless for defence purposes. That may be true in the narrow sense. If the great powers with whom we are closely associated are destroyed and we have to depend upon ourselves, that might be true. As the hon. member who has just spoken has said, the Canadian corps is a comparatively small unit, but modesty compels me to say that it was one of the best fighting units on the western front. It contributed materially to the winning of the war by the allies. The army that Britain dispatched to the continent when the war first broke out was quite small. That army is known now as the Old Contemptibles, but on more than one occasion they saved the

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channel ports for Britain. Our defence forces when acting in cooperation with the defence forces of other countries can be a powerful military machine. Isolated and separated that may not be true; but if the final test Comes eventually, we shall undoubtedly be associated with others and we can rest assured that a powerful fighting unit can be built up in Canada. This unit will not be too large, but we shall endeavour to make it as perfect as possible so that if it must be used it will be something upon which we can depend and of which we shall be proud.

The hon. member for Macleod (Mr. Hansell) referred to the fact that the Minister of National Defence had mentioned the liberties enjoyed in Canada. He did not agree altogether with the statement that we enjoyed complete liberty and he went on to point out his reasons. For some weeks the group to which the hon. member belongs contested in this house the policies of this government. They have the liberty to try to achieve those things which they say do not exist at the present time. I admit that we have not complete liberty when we get into the realm of economics. Complete economic security is something that we must yet attain, and that should be the main purpose of this parliament. But we have that which is so essential and vital, the key liberties that must be maintained. We have the right of free discussion. We have a free House of Commons, despite all that has been said against that contention. We have the right to dissent and disagree. We have the right to move resolutions condemning the government. All these rights have long since disappeared from many parts of the world.

I was surprised to hear the hon. member for Rosetown-Biggar say that one valid reason for a defence force was the necessity to defend democracy. There are three great democratic nations in the world. In any effort that is made to preserve democracy we must consider our relationship with Great Britain and the United States. I have lived in a border town all my life. I have been always able to see the United States on the southern side of the river. I have always seen the stars and stripes flying from their flagpoles; I have always heard the bugle calls from their barracks across the river; I have seen their men in uniform marching along, but ever since I was a boy none of these things has suggested anything but security, safety and friendship. I made this statement at the unveiling of a peace plaque at Sault Ste. Marie a few years ago, and I am glad to repeat it in this chamber. I forget his exact words, but President Roosevelt has said that the international boundary line is simply a line uniting the two nations.

I know that if the people in the town to the south of the town in which I live were in danger, we would feel as though our homes and our town were in danger. I am sure that if we were in danger they would have the same thought.

I think to-night of the terrible responsibilities and burdens carried by British statesmen. My heart goes out to them in the decisions they have to make. The whole world looks to Britain to guide the free nations of the world through the precarious situation that exists to-day. It is a prayer, perhaps inarticulate that:

Tile meteor flag of England

Shall yet terrific burn;

Till danger's troubled night depart,

And the star of peace return.

I believe that is the prayer in the hearts of millions and millions of people outside the British Isles. These are my personal views.

I end by saying that the greatest principle in our defence policy should be a united Canada. We must let the world know that we stand for peace and are ready to use our strength and resources to maintain it. We must let it be known that we are ready to bring it about where it does not exist. We must declare that when those things which we hold dear and precious are in danger, we are prepared to fight. I think the Minister of National Defence has gone a long way toward evolving a defence policy that will join together all parts of Canada. If the dread day ever comes and our armed forces have to march to war, I trust that beside them in spirit will march the whole Canadian nation.

Mr. H. C. GREEN (Vancouver South); Mr. Chairman, may I congratulate the member for Algoma West (Mr. Hamilton) upon the splendid speech he has just made. I think it was a most worth while effort.

While I realize that the minister has had a very heavy day, I doubt whether in all his long career in the public service he has listened so long and said so little in any one day. However, I know it will be both soothing and refreshing for him to finish out this bad day by listening to a few words from a fellow-townsman.

To me it is tragic that less than twenty years after the armistice we in this parliament should be forced to consider policies for the defence of the Canadian people in a world which appears to have gone mad. I am sure this is disheartening to every member of this house, and particularly to the minister and the other returned soldier mem-

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bers of parliament. However, it is a situation that has to be faced, and in fairness to our people I think we should consider fairly and fully this whole question of defence in order that they may have all the facts before them and be that much better able to come to a proper decision as to what policy Canada should adopt.

I have a few suggestions to make to the minister which I hope will be helpful, also a few criticisms which I hope will also prove helpful. I make them in no spirit of partisanship whatever, because on this question of defence I think partisanship should be kept to the minimum.

I intend to speak first of the local defence of our Pacific coast, and finally-I am afraid it will not be to-night-on the general problem of defence and the question of Canada's foreign policy.

I should like, then, first of all, to carry you away on a magic carpet to the Pacific coast, to help you to get the point of view of those Canadians who live beside the Pacific ocean, or, in other words, the people of British Columbia, of whom I feel quite certain there will be about one million when the next census of Canada is taken in three years' time. Canada is a nation with an outlook on both the Pacific and the Atlantic, and in that I think we are fortunate. It always stirs me when I read the motto over the main door of this building, "The wholesome sea is at her gates, her gates both east and west," because I think it means a great deal to us as a nation to have this outlook on the two great oceans. I am quite sure it makes our people all the more moderate and all the more understanding in their dealings with the other peoples of the world.

Like the people in the rest of Canada, those Canadians who live on the Pacific slope are a peace-loving people. I think their main aim is to be on friendly relations with the other peoples with whom they come in contact and with whom they do business. We are particularly friendly with our neighbours of the Pacific states and of Alaska. They occupy much the same position in the union as we do in the dominion. Their problems are very much the same as ours, and there is a great deal of travel between our province and these Pacific states and the territory of Alaska. I think the two peoples have a very good understanding of each other, and there is a warm friendship between them.

We also have a most friendly feeling for the people of our sister dominions, Australia and New Zealand. I have no doubt it is difficult for eastern Canadians to realize

(Mr. Green.]

just how much we are concerned with and interested in what happens in these two sister dominions. We have had for decades a line of ships running from Vancouver to Australia and New Zealand. We have done a great trade with these other British people, and our feelings for them are the warmest.

We also have kindly feelings for the peoples of China and Japan. We have had business dealings with them for decades, and we have had a line of ships running from Vancouver and Victoria to the orient for many, many years. We have had many contacts with the peoples of the orient. For example, a great many of our own new citizens, particularly in the last few years, have been Britishers retiring from the orient, and this has meant that we have had a little different outlook towards the orient and perhaps a little better understanding of the problems which face the oriental peoples. I must admit that our relations with them have been made difficult by reason of the extensive immigration from the oriental countries to British Columbia. It has served as an irritant because we have felt that we could not assimilate these people. But apart from this problem there has been the friendliest feeling between the people of the Pacific province and the peoples of those two great oriental countries.

Summing it up, we are much interested in what goes on in all these countries on the Pacific, and we are also very much affected by what happens there. Also, like the great majority of other Canadians, I think our people are firm in their belief in the British commonwealth, and in the ideals of the League of Nations.

That is the background, but in the last year on the Pacific coast we have been very much concerned over the aggressive attitude of Japan towards China, and more particularly over the threats by Japan against Great Britain. Many people in our province believe that if the Japanese had decided to challenge the British commonwealth, for example, by attacking Hongkong-and for a short time last fall there seemed to be a chance that that would be done-we on the Pacific coast might very reasonably be faced with a raid. Many people thought that was a distinct possibility. The situation was made doubly menacing by the fact that on our coast we had no adequate defences; that there were settled in our province thousands of their compatriots in strategic positions, some at the mouth of the great Fraser river and others up the river, where they straddled the two transcontinental railways, our main communication with the east, and that there were at

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least twelve hundred fishing boats plying up and down our coast manned by Japanese fishermen. These things all made us think, and think very seriously, of the question of the defence of the Pacific coast. And remember that Japan is nearer to British Columbia than it is to Australia. I realize it is not a pleasant prospect.

It is not pleasant to realize that some Canadian people were in danger and could not be protected, but such was, and perhaps is, the case. The people on the Pacific coast remember that this is not the first time they have been placed in that position. In 1914, when war broke out, German cruisers of the China fleet got away on the Pacific. We had for defence one old cruiser-I believe it was the Rainbow-and one sloop-the minister will know the name-I think it was the Sheerwater. That constituted our defence. Sir Richard McBride, who was then premier of British Columbia, went to Seattle a day or two before the outbreak of war and was able to beg, borrow or steal-I do not use the last word seriously, because they cost quite a lot of money-two submarines which were there, having been built to the order of one of the South American republics. It was felt on the Pacific coast, whether rightly or not, that those submarines had a great deal to do with keeping the German cruisers away from Vancouver and Victoria. Later in the war our Pacific coast was protected by the Japanese navy, for which service we give them all due credit. I would point out to the committee that the Monroe doctrine was in force then just as much as it is now, but we on the Pacific coast were protected not by any unit of the United States fleet but by ships of the Japanese navy.

This ridiculous situation-as ridiculous now as it was in 1914-was caused by the fact that the Canadian parliament for years has been toying with the problem of defending the Pacific coast. Until early in the present century Great Britain protected it with a fleet, a garrison and fortifications at Esquimalt. Then Canada took over, and the result was that the fortifications were allowed to deteriorate 'and that we have never had on the Pacific coast more than one or two old ships until the last few years, when we had, first, one modern destroyer, and now we have two. I understand from the minister that the number is to be increased to .four. A start has been made on modernizing the forts; some new fortifications are being constructed, and an attempt is being made to build up an air force-for all of which I give the minister and the government due credit. But, unlike the situation on the Atlantic, there is within thousands of miles no British fleet upon which we can rely for aid. Singapore is seven thousand miles away. Another British fleet is stationed in the British West Indies, also thousands of miles away and therefore of no practical use in the defence of our coast. It follows that we can expect no help from the British fleet. Apparently the government is relying upon the United States navy. In his speech the other day the minister said, at page 1793 of Hansard:

Just as the British navy on the Atlantic is our greatest security in that quarter, so I think it might be reasonable to assume that in a major conflagration we should have friendly fleets-

He used the word "fleets," although I do not know where the other fleet was to come from. -upon the Pacific ocean, and the severity of raids upon our western seaboard would be limited-

Apparently even the minister does not believe that raids could be stopped at present, and they cannot.

by the strength and the position of these friendly fleets. Our major defensive buffer on the Pacific coast is not the Pacific ocean alone but the existence there of friendly fleets. There is no commitment or understanding in regard to these matters, but at this time I think reasonable assumptions are justifiable.

In other words, Mr. Chairman, it is a pious hope. Even then the United States fleet is expected only to limit the severity of the raids. We are apparently not in a position to protect our western seaboard from attack. I agree with the minister that the danger is from hit-and-run raids, possibly by a raiding fleet with an aircraft carrier or carriers. I believe that there is also, as he says, a danger of minor attacks to secure bases or to seize some of our resources. For instance, in the coastal area we have many pulp industries, copper mines and other resources, all of which might easily be held by an attack of that type. The Queen Charlotte islands, containing an area of approximately 3,800 square miles and almost uninhabited, would appear to be a splendid place for an enemy to attempt to establish a base. But I think the minister overlooked the fact that, in addition, our trade routes might be blockaded. There is an extensive trade going out of the ports of Vancouver, New Westminster and Victoria, and a considerable trade up the coast-my information is that over two hundred settlements on toe Pacific coast depend upon boat communication for their supplies-and I fear that an enemy fleet might seriously interfere with all this trade. The. danger is there, and the protection is not. I submit that the question for

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the Canadian government to answer is this: Is it in a position now to protect those Canadians who live on the Pacific slope? If it is not-and the answer certainly is no-then steps should be taken at once.

Mr. Chairman, I have not finished, and it is now about eleven o'clock.

Progress reported.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL DEFENCE
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At eleven o'clock the house adjourned, without question put, pursuant to standing order. Monday, April 4, 1938


April 1, 1938