September 9, 1939


Major James William Coldwell

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

Mr. M. J. COLDWELL (Rosetown-Biggar):

1914-18, but the war did none of these things; on the contrary, it left us with the seeds of the present conflict.

Some of us at the close of the great war saw in the League of Nations an instrument to preserve peace and to establish a better world order. We saw it undermined by the very leaders who to-day are faced with war. When collective action could have been used to prevent war it was not used, and one of the first acts of our own government, I am sorry to say, was the one to which the Prime Minister himself referred yesterday, namely, the withdrawal of oil sanctions against Italy in the Ethiopian difficulty in 1935. I am not going to enter into recriminations, but before we are asked to vote for the speech from the throne and its implications, which have been further clarified this afternoon, we ought to be told what the war aims really are so far as Canada is concerned. Without such a statement we can scarcely be expected to vote for the address, even though for other reasons we might like to do so.

In an article in the Christian Science Monitor of September 6 Sir Norman Angell has something to say on this point-the point that collective security against violence is the basis of all civilization and of all organized society. I quote:

Will a victory of Britain and Prance mean 'llc^ory /or thtit constitutional principle, so tjmt henceforth it will be evident to aggressors that they will have to meet not merely the power ot their intended victim, but the power "/.y Part of civilization? If that is indeed the principle for which our countries are hghtmg and it triumphs, then their triumph *n a very exact sense save civilization; will help the world to end that anarchy, that absence m the international field of all law against violence which lies at the root of war; will give to force in the international field the olhce which it has within nations-the office of withstanding violence by collective defence of the victim so that law and reason may prevail.

But that triumph depends upon a condition winch should be of especial interest to readers of the Christian Science Monitor, the condition namely of believing deeply that this is indeed the purpose of our arms. If we think that the mere defeat of Germany will of itself give the peace we shall, of course, fail, for we defeated Germany twenty-one years ago and that defeat and our victory has not given peace. That costly victory proved futile because afterwards, although each was willing to use force to defend himself, we were not willing to use it to defend law when others and not ourselves happened to be the victim of its violation. If as a result of this war we are brought to realize that only so can force be made an instrument of peace, security, and justice, and the lesson is carried to the world, then our agonieB will not have been in vain.

IMr. Coldwell.]

As one who has always opposed war, who until very recently believed that all international problems could be settled by conference rather than by force, I am of the opinion that if we reconstitute the League of Nations it will involve the surrender perhaps of that portion of national sovereignty which involves the use of force; 'but, as in every civilized community, we shall have to recognize the fact that a reconstituted, reorganized league for law will require some power placed behind it which will enable that society to enforce its decisions upon an aggressor nation.

Where does Canada stand in relation to this problem? Before we are asked to approve the speech from the throne we should be informed, it seems to me, without evasion, without equivocation or mental reservation, what our peace aims are-because I prefer so to describe them. That brings me to another thought; what of our domestic policy during the war? Are we going to permit one group in our land to profit at the expense of all the rest of us? Already fortunes are being made out of the rise in price of certain stocks on the speculative market. Prices of commodities have risen also. The price of flour has risen without warrant, because the Canadian carry-over of wheat was all disposed of to the millers, exporters or speculators at least a month before this crisis developed, and at a very low price. The 100,000,000 bushels or so, speaking in round figures, of our carry-over of wheat was still mainly in Canada. Neither our government nor our farmers who produced it will reap any gain from that wheat. Only those who to-day stand between us and those who need it will make rich gains. I submit that the government should take effective steps to see that this does not happen. The same with sugar. In this city over the last week-end butter went up 7 cents per pound in the course of a day or two, and the hon. member for Lethbridge (Mr. Blackmore) last night gave the increase in the price of lard.

I have had letters from constituents of my own pointing out to me that almost immediately the price of flour went up; and we all know what has happened to the price of sugar. These profits are being taken by middlemen of various types and, incidentally, on the instructions of large monopolistic distributors, at least in some instances. We urge, indeed we have the right to demand, that in view of what is happening the government should do what is being done in some other countries when it becomes necessary; it should exercise its power to commandeer these supplies and fix prices as a symbol of good faith with respect to its promises. That should be done

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Mr. Coldwell

before we vote on the speech from the throne. Unless it is done, I feel that I shall have to vote against the speech from the throne.

Moreover, when the bills for financing war activities are brought down they should be accompanied by proposals for paying for this war as it is being waged. We should not inflict on the generation that follows us the cost of another great war. And we must not permit an increase in the already almost intolerable burden of national and other public debt. We believe that there are untouched financial resources which the government may still tap, or resources that have been only partly tapped as yet. The reduction in corporation income tax granted in the last budget should immediately be repealed ; taxes on higher incomes should be increased at once, and an excess profits tax and capital gains tax should be instituted. By a capital gains tax I mean a tax on the unearned increment due to the rise in stocks and shares and other securities on account of the present crisis. A capital gains tax, properly applied, would prevent fortunes being made out of the agony of the present crisis and provide a large revenue. As we have so frequently urged in this house, the manufacture of arms, munitions and war material should be nationalized. If the government will not go that far immediately, at least they should bring them under direct public control and eliminate all private gain from these essential war


I emphasize this because we believe that, apart from the defence of our own shores, our major contribution to the allied cause can be made in the economic field. We are the nearest dominion to Europe. We have tremendous resources. In modem war huge masses of men are being replaced by mechanized units which require vast quantities of supplies to maintain them in the line. Frenzied demands for the enlistment of more and more men, if granted, may defeat the very object in view, success in this straggle. This was to a more limited extent true in the last war. Sir Wilfrid Laurier, for example, noted that condition in a letter which he wrote on May 15, 1917, to Sir Allen Ayles-worth, in connection with the problem of conscription, in which he said:

There is a shortage of labour in agriculture and industry, in fact in every field where brawn and muscles are needed, and in tho_ face of this condition people there are still yelling for more men being taken away from occupations in which they are so much needed.

That was during the great war. Sir Wilfrid went on to say that had they been in power when the crisis came in 1914 the first thing they would have done would have been to

survey the entire Canadian scene and see exactly what men could be spared, and not do what was then done, allow, or rather urge, men who were badly needed in other capacities to enlist and go overseas and be taken away from the production that was towards the end of the war so badly needed.

Then, what are we going to do about the young men who are called up for defence or who join the forces of the crown at this time? To my mind the condition of such young men is one of the tragedies of war. Not only the risk of death or of being maimed or contracting disease and so on, but the effect of war upon their future, ought to be taken into consideration immediately. We believe, as I have said, that the sending of expeditionary forces is unnecessary and unwise. But if we enlist men for home defence their future after the war should be a matter of grave consideration now. Provision should be made to enable them to continue their education and preparation for civilian life after peace has been proclaimed. We do not know when peace will come; we pray it may come soon, but whether soon or late, we should be considering some preparation now. Unemployment existed before the war came, in spite of increasing preparations for the struggle. I have often said that such relief as the world has had from unemployment over the past few years has been largely due to the mad armament race that was going on, and that I wondered what would happen if disarmament came either as a result of international conferences, as I hoped, or as a result of war. Here we are faced with what may be a long war, and we shall have to meet the consequences that follow. Unemployment, then, should receive some consideration now. To my mind the government should establish at once a committee, upon which labour, farmers, industrialists and others shall be adequately represented, to prepare for the aftermath of the war. Unprepared in this respect, Canada may share in the general chaos which may overwhelm Europe when the war ends. I believe that that is one of the alternatives that the world faces at the present time-chaos as a result of the struggle which is now being waged. We should do our best to see that we are not faced with anything of that sort in Canada.

These are present problems. To my mind there ought to be no thought of adjourning this parliament until some consideration has been given to them. Indeed I go further, and say that perhaps a number of committees of this house might be set up to study these problems and advise and assist the government upon them. We were sent here as members of parliament to meet grave problems


The Address-Mr. Coldwell

that might arise from time to time, and at least some hon. members of this house may be expected to devote their energies to them freely as a war service.

The speech from the throne says that a state of war exists. Until this afternoon we did not quite know what that meant, but we now know more clearly. The Cooperative Commonwealth Federation - because I am speaking not only for myself, but also for the movement with which I am associated-has placed before the house some of its thought in connection with this situation, and in doing so has endeavoured to offer some constructive proposals. We do not expect all of them to be adopted immediately, but we offer them for the consideration of the house in the hope that at least some of them may be helpful in meeting the situation that we now face and which we shall face in the days to come. Frenzied speeches, heroic appeals and frantic efforts, such as we are witnessing here and there throughout the country, in my opinion will hinder rather than help the government in this crisis.

We of this group abhor war; we have said that over and over again. I know other members of the house feel as we do, but perhaps we have been rather more vocal in that respect, if I may put it that way, than some other people who may abhor it equally. We believe that the causes of these wars lie in the contradictions of the present economic system all across the world. In spite of that, however, we recognize that in this struggle there may be other factors. The future of our democratic institutions and the stopping of aggression may be involved as well. We do not think, as some appear to think, that war is a Christian duty. Rather indeed we regard its occurrence as an indictment of our Christian society, and we urge the people of Canada to respect those who have a conscientious objection to participation in war on that account. Let us remember that we are being told this war is being waged to preserve democracy and prevent aggression. Surely these things, like charity, should begin at home. And let there be no interference with the right of labour to organize, with the right of farmers to demand and receive a proper reward for their products and their labour, with the rights of free speech, of peaceful assembly and of religious freedom. The measure of our success, it seems to me, will be our success in preventing regimentation and repression and in maintaining, yes and extending, our democratic rights, which totalitarianism in every form and under every guise threatens throughout the world. We must see to it that in Canada at least the lights of such freedom as we have are not blacked out.


Maxime Raymond


Mr. MAXIME RAYMOND (Beauharnois-Laprairie) (Translation):

Mr. Speaker, at the general election of 1925 a Liberal convention held at Valleyfield invited me to be a candidate in the county of Beauhamois. In accepting the invitation I made it a point to set forth clearly my attitude in respect of foreign policy, and this is how I concluded my speeech: "Should I be elected as member for Beauhamois county, I will go to parliament to preach a policy of autonomy, a Canadian policy formulated in Ottawa and not in London, a policy of Canada for the Canadians."

The mandate I then received from the electors of Beauharnois county was given to me again at every subsequent general election, particularly in 1935 by the electors of Beauharnois-Laprairie, and I am conscious of having faithfully fulfilled it. To-day I should be failing in my duty were I not to give utterance to the views of practically all the electors of Beauharnois-Laprairie and to oppose with all my might the principle, enunciated in the speech from the throne, of participation in a European war.

I have already set forth my views respecting our foreign policy; they have not changed one iota. The statements I made in this house in April last are truer than ever. There is no such thing as a war of ideologies, there are only wars of interest. History is there to prove it. Each country bases its policy on its own interests. Let us do likewise.

According to the manner in which a question is approached, opinions may differ with the greatest sincerity, but it seems to me that were every one to be guided by the principle laid down by Lord Tweedsmuir that

Canada is a sovereign nation and a Canadian's first loyalty should be not to the British commonwealth but to Canada,

we would achieve that unity of thought which is so necessary to Canada. This principle, which I make my own, will guide me in the observations I am about to make.

Before embarking on a war whose consequences will be ruinous, to say the least, we should be entitled to ask ourselves why we should fight, for what purpose and in whose interest. Why would we be fighting? Not to defend Canada's territory. It is neither attacked nor threatened. Not to repel an attack on England, for it is England that has declared war on Germany.

We would be fighting to defend the territory of Poland, because Great Britain, "in order to honour her guarantees and her treaty obligations," decided to declare war upon Germany following the invasion of Poland.

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But are we obliged to fight every time that England sees fit to go to war ? Assuredly not. We have been told again and again that we are a sovereign nation. Where then is the justification?

We have no commitments with respect to Poland. If England guaranteed the frontiers of that country, including Teschen which was taken by Poland from Czechoslovakia at the time of the dismemberment of that country last October, violating the Munich pact after the manner of Germany-that does not concern us; and I do not see why we should be called upon to pay a debt incurred by England, without our consent, for certain considerations of interest to her. And what a debt!

During the debate on conscription in the British House of Commons on May 8 last, Mr. Lloyd George made an urgent appeal that England should hasten negotiations with Russia, saying:

Without Russia, our guarantees given to Poland, Roumania and Greece are the most dangerous commitments which any country has ever undertaken. I would add that they would be foolish guarantees.

In September last, Mr. Chamberlain put forward as a reason for non-intervention in Czechoslovakia the fact that England had no treaty with that country, that it was a war in a remote country, between people of whom she knew nothing. WTell, we have no treaty with Poland; Poland is even more distant than Czechoslovakia and Poles are not better known to us than are the Czechs. Moreover we have no interest in Poland.

But, we are told; this is the fight for civilization, for our freedom.

Was it to this end that an alliance was sought with barbaric Russia, where every vestige of freedom has been suppressed?- Ideological wars, as I have amply demonstrated in this house, are a myth. The only wars ever fought are clashes of interests which end in treaties-for instance, the treaty of Versailles-allowing the victors to divide the spoils without giving a thought to the economic, financial, social or political consequences of their action, while the vanquished dream of revenge. Whence the expression: " war is the result of treaties." The war of 1914 is the most striking example of this nature.

It has been said that Jules Cambon, on the night of the signing of the Versailles treaty, was accosted by a woman who exclaimed: "Well, sir, this is the day of victory!-Yes, madam," he replied, "this is the day of victory!" And he added: "All these people believe everything is ended, yet I wonder just what is beginning."

Two years ago I visited Budapest, the capital of Hungary. In one of the public squares I saw four flags flying at half-mast over a flower-bed designed to represent the map of Hungary as it stood before the war. Flowers of various colours indicated the four provinces lost through the treaty of Versailles and wherein still live millions of Hungarians. "We shall reconquer them," said the guide who was with me; "we have added to our daily prayers one for the liberation of our fellow-countrymen and our lost provinces." Such was the result of a treaty which had stripped this country of the natural resources vital to its economic life.

Border disputes are of little moment in comparison with, the disorder in production and trade which reduces certain countries to famine.

The publications of the universal assembly for peace, a body established by the League of Nations with a view to deal with international situations that are apt to provoke war, contain a detailed analysis of the three principal economic causes of war: the problem of raw materials, that of labour and that of trade outlets.

In one of these works, it is stated that:

No more than individuals, can the proletarian countries resign themselves forever to remain such in neighbourhood of richly endowed and satisfied nations. Until such time as the world takes the necessary steps with a view to systematically and logically solving these problems in a spirit of international fellowship, there shall exist this struggle for economic life, too often the prelude of military war.

Walter Lippmann, the famous American publicist, openly sympathetic to the so-called democratic nations, has written:

The great crime of post-war politics in Europe, was that the victorious powers took advantage of their supremacy to monopolize the resources of the world.

The struggle for peace is a struggle for international justice, for a more equitable and humane social order.

We shall hear clever speakers tell us with a voice full of humanitarian quavers that we must fight for democracy, liberty and a Christian social order. Those are words which are but too often misused. A short time ago, England and France endeavoured to conclude a mutual assistance pact with Russia, that antichristian and materialistic state, which is dreaded because of her perfidious doctrines, and is a hot-bed of revolutionary propaganda.

No one can pretend that the Soviets are interested in the welfare of democracy in the world after having destroyed it in their own

The Address-Mr. Raymond

from the people authorizing it to decide upon our participation in a foreign war. At the general election of 1935 the Prime Minister stated that this question would be submitted to the people by means of a plebiscite. This is what he said to a vast gathering assembled in Quebec city on September 7, 1935, as reported in the newspaper Le Canada of the 9th, under the following heading:

No war for Canada

Messrs. King and Lapointe declare themselves against Canada's participation in war. A clear statement of Liberal policy.

Mr. Bennett stated the other night that Canada would not enter into any conflict unless her own interests were at stake. I do not consider this statement sufficient. Who is to decide whether Canada's interests are at stake or not? There is at present in Canada only one man invested with authority to make the decision, and that man is Mr. Bennett.

I say that Mr. Bennett has no right to commit Canada in any way, directly or indirectly, or to take any action whatever as regards the possibility of war.

The people of Canada, he said, are opposed to war, and a war in such a distant part of the world holds no interest for Canada. Mr. Bennett has no right to commit the country before consulting the people by means of a plebiscite.

Not only has parliament no mandate to vote for participation, but the people who voted for the right hon. the Prime Minister on the strength of his statement intimated to him their opposition to any participation in a foreign war. And since 1935, the voters have given no indication of any change of mind in this respect. During the by-elections of Lotbiniere, in December, 1937, and of Saint-Henri, in January, 1938, the government candidate was elected on the strength of declarations made by the ministers to the effect that we would not participate in an external war. "We shall remain at home," one minister stated.

Before there is any question of entering a European conflict to save democracy, let us first begin to practise it in this country. If, however, it should appear desirable to amend the verdict of 1935, then let the matter be put to the people through a plebiscite.

When the measures destined to put our militia, our naval or air forces in active service outside Canada come up before the house, I intend .to request that nothing whatever foe done before the voters have made known their approval by referendum or plebiscite.

We are told that our participation shall foe voluntary, yet I do not hesitate to say that any participation will logically lead to conscription, in the event of a long war.

It is claimed that the motive for participation is the triumph of civilization and the safeguarding of our liberty. Now, what will happen in six months or a year, or more, as

it did in 1914, should the present struggle be prolonged and become a war of attrition, and should recruiting prove inadequate? Our freedom will still be at stake, and civilization still be threatened. If we participate in this conflict, it will be for the purpose of increasing the chances of victory and we shall be obliged to make use of every resource at our command.

It is impossible to wage a successful war with unequal arms.

If the enemy countries have means of mobilizing an armed force, such as conscription, which guarantee them a much more considerable establishment and enable them to fill up the gaps, it is inevitable that their opponents, in order to counterbalance this superiority, should eventually be forced, sooner or later, willy nilly, to use the same methods. None can predict how long the war will last, but it is possible to foresee that it will be a long drawn-out struggle, a bloody and exhausting conflict. Thus, when those who shall have enlisted to serve overseas, our own men this time, will call for help at the front, what will you answer if there are not enough volunteers? It will no longer be a matter of assisting others but of helping our own countrymen.

How can you guarantee that conscription will not then be enforced?

Should we enter the maelstrom, only God knows when we shall emerge, and how badly hurt we shall be! And for the second time, we shall be ruined after giving up our lives for others.

We were assured previously, in order to hasten the adoption of the national defence program, that the sole object of these measures was the safeguarding of our neutrality, and not participation in an external war. However, since the undertaking of this program in 1937, the matter of participation has come up on two occasions: in September, 1938, and this year in earnest.

The Prime Minister, after promising to hold a plebiscite, merely consults parliament. The Minister of Justice and some of his colleagues from the province of Quebec, have stated they were opposed to participation and assured us that there would be none, yet we are now being asked to vote it.

I have no doubt that the right hon. Minister of Justice will resign from the cabinet should conscription be enforced; nevertheless, this will not prevent us from being drafted as we were in 1917. Mr. Patenaude had promised, after Mr. Borden, that there would be no conscription; he resigned but we had conscription three years after the outbreak of war.

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Mr. Chamberlain, in England, had stated in February or March, that he would not impose conscription in time of peace. Two or three months later, it was imposed.

If we adopt a policy of participation, as I said, it will lead us to conscription if war goes on for a long time.

Why should we not remain neutral? We would thus take the same course that was taken by the United States, our neighbour, a country of America like our own, whose interests are about similar to ours and which has adopted a policy of neutrality. Can it be that the United States are wrong in remaining neutral? Who could claim that they are? The principles of civilization and liberty are just as dear to the Americans as they are to us. One after the other, the countries of South America have taken the same course. Southern Ireland, a member of the commonwealth like Canada, but quite near the seat of warfare, remains neutral; why should we not, separated as we are by an ocean from the scene of the conflict? South Africa merely gives moral support.

Why should we not adopt a policy which would keep us out of conflicts, as in the case of Belgium, Holland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Switzerland, Finland, and so forth?

Let us compare the geographic situation of those countries with our own. We are far, far away, while they are quite near. All these countries with a democratic form of government treasure their governmental institutions just as much as any other nation, they love liberty just as much and are just as anxious to preserve it as any other country; yet, they remain neutral. Are they unfaithful to their duty in declaring their neutrality? Who would dare say so? They are protecting their liberty by remaining neutral. Being free countries, they simply act according to their interests like the nations which are waging war.

But the difference between them and ourselves is that they are not seeking instructions in London, they are governed by their own interests.

As a sovereign and free nation, were we to consider nothing but our own interests, our attitude in the present conflict should be determined independently from England's policy. And my stand on this matter is based on what the Prime Minister himself said in this house, May 24, 1938:

No two countries have the same neighbours, the same relationships; no two countries can have the same questions to deal with, the same policies for their solution. Argentina and Finland, China and Switzerland, have widely different preoccupations. ...

And so, even in times of world disturbance, the policies of no two countries can be alike,

provided they are rooted in their own interests or the ideals in which their interests are sublimated and are not merely echoes of the policies of other countries.

Is that clear enough?

The interests of European nations are not the interests of American countries.

The interests of Poland in Europe are not the interests of Canada in America; neither are the interests of England in Europe similar to the interests of Canada in America.

And all the more reason why we should declare ourselves neutral when democratic countries in Europe are doing so.

Now is the time to put into practice the words of Lord Tweedsmuir: "A Canadian owes his first loyalty to Canada."

Our friendly feelings towards Britain, France and Poland are one thing, the realities of life are another.

Our duty is to protect Canada against the consequences of participation in a European war.

Who could claim that Canada would not be risking greater harm to her children, to her wordly possessions, by taking part in the war than by keeping out of the conflict just as the United States and others are doing? Let us recall the words which the Prime Minister uttered on May 24, 1938:

... We should find no cause for fear in our isolation, if we consider ourselves alone.

Instead of going off to fight for the security of Poland's vulnerable and distant frontiers, let us adopt, in common with other countries, a policy of neutrality.

Let it be a friendly neutrality toward Great Britain, France and Poland, supplying them with the necessary food products they require and the basic materials essential for their economic activities.

During the great war, the Allies obtained from the rest of the world their needed requirements in war material and food supplies; trade statistics are there to show it.

Even the Reich could not have carried on until 1918 without Scandinavian ores.

Let us therefore declare neutrality. Our geographical position warrants it; our economic conditions make it imperative and our own interest makes it a duty. I take for granted that when the Prime Minister stated that parliament would decide, he had in mind a free parliament, for it would otherwise not be the expression of the will of parliament and there would be no reason to consult it. That would no longer be democracy but dictatorship, and it is against dictatorship that we are asked to fight.

Now I appeal to this free parliament, according to the wish expressed by the Prime

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Minister, and before Canada's participation has been decided, I ask every member of this house to consider the case of the Canadian born in Canada or settled here permanently,-the Canadian of Canada, the true Canadian, the 100 per cent Canadian,-proud of his freedom and independence, who has been taught to love the Canadian soil, to whom political leaders in Canada and England have said on numerous occasions. "With the statute of Westminster, Canada is now a sovereign, free ajad independent state," and who says to himself: I never refused to defend my country and I am always ready to defend it. My forefathers have even fought to keep it for the British crown in 1775 and 1812. In 1914, I was asked to go to Europe in order to fight for the triumph of democracy. I went and I sent my sons who died on the battlefield or came back crippled; I have been ruined myself, and what was the result? Dictatorship has replaced democracy in most countries-almost the only countries that retained democracy are those that had been neutral; there was frantic scheming to share in the spoils; my country got nothing. At the League of Nations, where every country is supposed to work for peace, I read somewhere-and I am quoting just one instance- that the French delegate Dumont insisted strongly on the advisability of recognizing submarines as legitimate means of defence- and that delegate had a large interest in the building of submarines. I learned that my sons were killed at the front with shells manufactured by countries at whose side I was fighting. I noticed that England was instrumental in Germany's recovery. I learned that the financiers of London were interested in German armament factories, while financiers of Berlin were interested in munition plants controlled in England. I learned that, not later than last month, while rushing to conclude alliances in order to put a check on Germany, England and France were selling war material to Germany.

And now a new war breaks out in Europe, far, far away from us, at a time when I am still crushed under the burden of taxation to pay for the last war; and, as in 1914,1 am told that I must participate in it because one must defend democracy and liberty, while I notice that my neighbours, the United States, an American and democratic country like mine, and all the other countries of America, as well as Ireland, a member of the British commonwealth, and all the democratic countries of Europe like Holland, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Switzerland, Belgium and others, remain neutral.

Is there any reason why I should go to war or send my sons to be killed, perhaps by shells manufactured in England or in France or by other war material supplied by these two countries-why I should ruin myself? And when I recall that the Prime Minister told me, in 1935, that a war in these remote countries did not interest him, or again in 1938 "that we had neither the power nor the competence to regulate the destiny of countries situated thousands of miles away from our own";-that the Minister of Justice told me, not later than December 12 last, in Quebec: "Instead of waging war in a foreign land, we shall remain here and defend our beloved Canada."

Well, as a one hundred per cent Canadian, I understand these words, I understand this state of mind, and I appeal to every true Canadian-is there a single person who could blame this Canadian for saying: "I shall take no part in this conflict, I refuse to fight on behalf of foreign interests, I refuse to ruin myself for the sake of others, and instead of going to war in a foreign land, I shall remain here to defend the country I love."

I appeal to every true Canadian in this house to understand these feelings, and to consider well, before thrusting upon us any participation in an external war, the future of this country and of confederation.


Ernest Lapointe (Secretary of State of Canada; Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)


Right Hon. ERNEST LAPOINTE (Minister of Justice):

Mr. Speaker, I will ask the hon. member for Beauharnois-Laprairie (Mr. Raymond) to forgive me if in following him I use the English language, with my usual difficulty. I do so because most of my remarks are addressed rather to the Englishspeaking majority in the house, and I think perhaps it is best that I should be understood by them; I know my hon. friend will understand me.

These are indeed grave and solemn circumstances, and no member can rise in his place to take part in this debate without feeling a deep sense of responsibility. The hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre (Mr. Woodsworth) last night, at the conclusion of his remarks, which he had made with his usual freedom of expression, thanked Providence that he could speak and have freedom to express his opinions in the Canadian parliament, under British institutions, knowing that he could not do so in other places. I believe the hon. member for Beauharnois-Laprairie may have the same feeling. But I would ask the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre and the hon. member for Beauharnois-Laprairie whether it is not worth while for us to preserve those very institutions and that freedom of expression which we enjoy

The Address-Mr. Lapointe (Quebec East)

in the Canadian parliament. This session and this debate show conclusively that there are things which are worth preserving.

The hon. member for Lethbridge (Mr. Blackmore), in the course of his remarks last night, said that democracy, unfortunately, does not work. Well, here we have the working of democracy

that the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre could make the speech which he made last night.


Robert James Manion (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)


Without being shot.


Ernest Lapointe (Secretary of State of Canada; Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)


Mr. LAPOINTE (Quebec East):

Mr. Speaker, from the numerous documents which have been circulated and laid on the table there is one missing to which I desire to call the attention of the house, and it is an important one. I refer to the message which His Majesty the King broadcast last Sunday, the third of September. With the permission of the house I should like to put on Hansard two or three sentences only of his majesty's message over the radio. His majesty said:

In this grave hour, perhaps the most fateful in our history, I send to every household of my peoples, both at home and overseas, this message, spoken with the same depth of feeling for each one of you as if I were able to cross your threshold and speak to you myself.

And further, speaking of the principle of the use of force and might against right:

Such a principle, stripped of all disguise, is surely the mere primitive doctrine that might is right. If this principle were established

throughout the world, the freedom of our own country and of the whole British commonwealth of nations would be in danger.

But far more than this, the peoples of the world would be kept in the bondage of fear, and all hopes of settled peace and security, of justice and liberty, among nations, would be ended.

This is the ultimate issue which confronts us. For the sake of all that we ourselves hold dear, and of the world order and peace, it is unthinkable that we should refuse to meet the challenge.

It is to this high purpose that I now call my people at home and my peoples across the seas who will make our cause their own.

Our king, Mr. Speaker, is at war, and this parliament is sitting to decide whether we shall make his cause our own.

I well remember the circumstances under which this house met in 1914. The conditions were similar. Of course, that was a long time ago, and very few members are present in this house to-day who were here on that occasion. My good friend and colleague the Minister of Public Works (Mr. Cardin), my hon. friend the member for Kootenay East (Mr. Stevens) and I are the only three left of the parliament of 1914. There was unanimity in the parliament of 1914-unanimity in favour of the decision which the govern-87134-5

ment of that day had taken-and there were only two speeches on the address, that of the Prime Minister, Sir Robert Borden, and that of my beloved leader, Sir Wilfrid Laurier.

In a newspaper a few days ago I saw this question: "How many Paul Emil Lamarches

will be in the present parliament when the question is raised?" Well, my late friend Paul Emil Lamarche was one of the best men I have ever met. He was a nationalist member, elected in 1911, and opposed to all participation in wars overseas. He was here and he gave his support to the policy of the government of that day, and if all the members to whom this newspaper was addressing itself do as Paul Emil Lamarche did, they will vote for the policy of the present government. And we cooperated afterwards.

To those who criticize me to-day and who claim that I have changed my views, let me say that I am quite willing to show them the text of the speeches which I made on many occasions during the war. The change came on the conscription issue, which unfortunately was projected into the field at the time and which has sown the seeds of discord of which even to-day we are reaping the bitter fruit. When the war was over I made myself a propagandist of peace. I have always been a strong supporter of the League of Nations and have advocated its principles in my province and elsewhere, I have told my fellow countrymen persistently that it would be useless to think there might be a grave conflict into which we would not be drawn, and that the only way for us to escape war was to work and try to prevent it. Unfortunately, however, not many of those who clamour to-day were then helping to advance the cause of peace; rather, they were ridiculing the League of Nations and similar institutions.

I hate war with all my heart and conscience, but devotion to peace does not mean ignorance or blindness. The Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) hates war and has devoted much of his time and energy to promoting the instruments of peace. Indeed, until the very last moment, when clouds hung heavily over the world, he was sending messages beseeching the dictators and the president of Poland to try to find means of avoiding this tremendous catastrophe. England has worked for peace. I know it; I have attended many of the conferences since the end of the great war, both in Geneva and in London. It is a base calumny to say that England is responsible for anything that has led to the present conflict. France has worked continuously for peace, and it is a slander to say that France is responsible in any way for the conflict. These


The Address-Mr. Lapointe (Quebec East)

nations have gone so far in their efforts to preserve peace that they have been the subject of strong and bitter criticism on the part of many people in their respective countries because of what was called, with derision, the "appeasement" policy. As regards Munich, I am not so sure that the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre (Mr. Woodsworth) did not last year blame the powers who were responsible for the peace at Munich. Last night he seemed to criticize the democratic powers for having allowed the dictators to invade and take possession of other countries. But surely if Canada, allied with Britain or France, had then gone to the rescue of these victims, and if my hon. friend entertained then the same principles and the same views that he expressed last night, he would have opposed the government of Canada for taking such a step.

Every speech that has been made has shown that this will be a gigantic conflict-the British empire, the dominions and France against Nazi Germany, and Bolshevist Russia, who looms up on the horizon. I will not repeat what the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Manion) and the other speakers have said regarding the character of the conflict and the principles and ideals which underlie it. I share largely the views and opinions of my friend the hon. member for Selkirk (Mr. Thorson). I know what a great friend of peace he is. Like him, I deeply regret being compelled to follow this course, but in my soul and conscience I cannot take any other.

Will you allow me, sir, to reply to a certain campaign which is being carried on in my own province by certain people? My arguments last session-and I am happy that the occasion was given to me before this conflict came to express my views on the matter-my arguments last session as to the insurmountable difficulties in the way of Canada being neutral from a real and practical point of view, and the almost insurmountable difficulties from a legal point of view, still stand. Nobody in my province- I call attention to that; newspapermen, members of parliament or others-has answered them, has tried to answer them. Even my good friend the hon. member for Beauharnois-Laprairie, who spoke to-day for neutrality, has never said a word to show that it was possible for Canada to be neutral.

A week or so ago I went to take part in the Canadian Bar Association convention in the city of Quebec. A committee of that association had the same day considered the proposed bill of the hon. member for St. Lawrence-St. George (Mr. Cahan) to do away with appeals to the privy council, and the decision was that they were opposed to doing away with such

appeals. In conversation with a leading member of the bar and of the association from the province of Quebec I was told by him that he might share my views and those of the hon. member for St. Lawrence-St. George, but that the lawyers of the province of Quebec were trusting more in the lords of the privy council for their judicial decisions than in the majority of the Supreme Court of Canada, coming from the other provinces. Well, if some of our leading men who entertain these views now are for the neutrality of Canada, they still desire that judicial decisions affecting Canada shall be given by the judges in England.

Under our constitution, even after the statute of Westminster-for it was left there because Canada wanted it to be left-we cannot amend the constitution of the Dominion of Canada in any way without applying to the parliament at Westminster. How then can anybody say that we have no interest, that there is no link there, when the powers of legislating which we have we derive from the parliament at Westminster? It is our own will- I am not saying mine, but the will of the majority-that it should be so, and it is still so. How can we say that we have no bond with the parliament which gives us our power to legislate as it exists to-day?

I gave last session, and I will not repeat them to-day, some of the reasons why it is impossible, practically, for Canada to be neutral in a big war in which England is engaged. We have a common national status; a British subject in Canada is a British subject in London or anywhere in the commonwealth, and a British subject in England is a British subject in Canada. We are using the diplomatic and consular fuctions of Great Britain throughout the world. Some of the most important sections of our criminal code are predicated on the absence of neutrality in the relations between Canada and Great Britain. The Foreign Enlistment Act, which we enacted only a year or so ago, indicates that Canada cannot be neutral, at least without repealing that legislation. I wish those who express great sentiments and views would answer me once on these matters; I should like it. Our shipping legislation is predicated on our alliance with Great Britain and our relations with her. If we had neutrality all Canadian ports would be closed to all armed vessels of Britain, and in time of war merchant ships have to arm themselves in order to travel over the ocean. As I said last year, the citizens of my city of Quebec would have to prevent the Empress oj Britain from coming to Quebec harbour during a war, because she would have guns to protect her when travelling on the ocean. We would have to prevent enlistment

The Address-Mr. Lapointe (Quebec East)

on Canadian soil for the army or navy of Britain. Still some of the agitators who spoke at meetings last week said: "Let Britain come and enlist people; we have no objection; they will go and be paid by England." But this could not be done. If they do not know it, will they please learn it from me to-day? We would have to protect our neutrality against British vessels; Canadians would have to fight British vessels, if they wanted to be neutral during a war. We would have to intern British sailors who came to take refuge in any of Canada's ports. Does any hon. member believe that Canadians would permit British sailors to be interned anywhere in this country?

We have contracts and agreements with Britain for the use of the dry docks at Halifax and Esquimalt; we are bound by contracts. That is not neutrality. Of course we could change that; we could cancel and break all those contracts and engagements, but does my hon. friend think that the majority of Canadians would stand for it at this time?

I have given the definition of neutrality, the recognized definition, which is that of Oppenheim, the authority on international law:

Neutrality may be defined as the attitude of impartiality adopted by a third state towards belligerents and recognized by belligerents, such attitude creating rights and duties between the impartial state and the belligerents.

Could such an attitude of impartiality be possible in Canada during a war, having regard to the present international situation? Could Canadians in one section of the country compel other Canadians in other sections to remain neutral and to enforce such neutrality even against their own king, if that should be necessary? Well, some people talk of mitigated neutrality; two respectable newspapers, whose views on this question are not exactly my own, have used that expression. Last year, following the discussion on foreign affairs in this parliament, I received a letter from a lawyer in Montreal, mind you, telling me, "You are absolutely wrong. We do not speak of neutrality as it is under international law; we are speaking of ordinary neutrality." Well, Mr. Speaker, as a constitutional student -as I think I am-as a public mam and as Minister of Justice of Canada I state, with all my responsibility, that there is no such thing as mitigated or partial neutrality. A country is neutral, with all that neutrality implies in the way of rights and duties towards belligerents and other neutrals, or she is a belligerent with all that belligerency implies in the way of rights and duties towards other belligerents and neutral countries. Respectable newspapers have said that we should have a mitigated neutrality, most favourable to Eng-87134- H

land; I am not speaking of the unspeakable sheets which cast vituperation, insults and slanders on Canadian public men and on England and France. One respectable newspaper used the words, "neutrality sympathetic to England and Poland." Of course there again there is no such thing. I will add that, like faith, sympathy without works is a dead sympathy.

I will go further; neutrality on the part of Canada at this time could not be other than a move favourable to the enemies of England and France. With the possible exception of the Soviet union we have perhaps the greatest store and widest range of raw materials necessary for the carrying on of a war. This war, more particularly in its initial stages, will be largely in the air. Planes will do their utmost to destroy the industries and aviation centres of the enemy. Industry may become so crippled in the countries at war that replacements will become slow and difficult; and do not forget that Russia seems disposed to place her resources at the disposal of Germany. Britain and France will need our resources as a matter of life or death; and, sir, any such so-called favourable neutrality would be directly to the disadvantage of Britain and France. I say to every member of this house and to every citizen of Canada that by doing nothing, by being neutral, we actually would be taking the side of Adolf Hitler.

Some say we are not interested. People were saying that last Sunday, at the very moment an enemy submarine was torpedoing the liner Athenia, which was carrying over five hundred Canadian passengers who might have lost their lives. We are not interested! We are interested in the outcome of this war in every way, not only because of the possibility mentioned by my hon. friend yesterday. Canada is the finest land that could become the prey of any enemy at the end of a war. But what about the West Indies, Newfoundland and all the other British possessions which, in the event of the defeat of Britain would come under German nazi rule? Would it be in the interests of Canada to have such neighbours in such close proximity?

Much has been said about an expeditionary force. Let me say first that I agree with what the Prime Minister said yesterday. Applications are pouring in-and they are coming from Quebec also-from people who want to enlist. Far from urging people to do so, we have so far taken the position that it is better to act in an orderly way, to avoid confusion and consult with those whom we want to help. But if the need comes, does any member of the house think any Canadian government, whether this or any other, could stop the


The Address-Mr. Lapointe (Quebec East)

thousands of volunteers who would like to fight for Britain and France? Does my hon. friend from Beauharnois-Laprairie believe that a government, even if he were a member of it, could resist the pressure from all parts of Canada for an expeditionary force? Unfortunately, or according to my own view fortunately, this country has to be ruled by one government, and no government could stay in office if it refused to do what the large majority of Canadians wanted it to do.

But another proposal has been made in some newspapers and at meetings which have been held during the last few days, and I am almost ashamed to refer to it. Some say, " Let volunteers go if they wish but let England pay for them, or let those who take the initiative in organizing regiments pay the cost." They say, " Go, but let England bear the cost, or pay it yourselves." Well, Mr. Speaker, this is a shameless, dishonourable proposal. They say, " You may give your life; you may shed your blood, but your country refuses to pay the expense incidental to your sacrifice." I am too proud, too conscious of Canadian dignity, to discuss such a proposal. I am surprised that any man of whom it may be said, in the words of our national song, " 11 est ne d'une race fiere," coujd entertain this disgraceful suggestion. In the middle ages European countries were hiring mercenaries throughout the world to fight their battles. Canadians will never be mercenaries paid by any country-not even by Britain. If Canadians go to the front line of the battle they will go voluntarily as Canadians, under the control of Canada, commanded by Canadians and maintained by the Dominion of Canada.

A word now on a subject which has been discussed by many hon. members-tolerance, toleration, moderation-its supreme necessity. Not only in a time of war-and I think the hon. member for Rosetown-Biggar (Mr. Coldwell) alluded to this point this afternoon -but afterwards, we are going to live together. Sons of one country, brothers in one family, for the future of Canada as for the successful prosecution of the war is it not imperative that no section of Canada, no race, no creed, should inflict upon the other sections, the other races or the other creeds incurable wounds which might destroy our country forever?

Now I come to a rather delicate subject. But I will say what I have to say in the same frank manner as that in which so far I have said what I have had to say. And I may tell the hon. member for Lethbridge (Mr. Blackmore) and other members of his party that I should not like to say anything which they might in any way consider personally

offensive. But, sir, I believe that at this time there are two extreme sides of opinion which we should avoid and which would make for the disunity of Canada at a time when we need the very opposite. First, there are those who close their eyes to stern realities and say that Canada can and should remain neutral. In doing so they use, towards England, towards the empire and towards France, a language which I should like to see a little more moderate, a language which I submit is not calculated to promote unity in Canada. They say-and the hon. member who preceded me said it-"for the sake of unity let us be neutral." I am telling the hon. member where I differ from him. I know, and I believe he should know, that for the sake of unity we cannot be neutral in Canada.

The other school consists of those who also close their eyes to realities and are promoting courses which would disunite Canada-because such measures will never be accepted or enforced by and in a most important section of the country. The whole province of Quebec-[DOT] and I speak with all the responsibility and all the solemnity I can give to my words-will never agree to accept compulsory service or conscription outside Canada. I will go farther than that: When I say the whole province of Quebec I mean that I personally agree with them. I am authorized by my colleagues in the cabinet from the province of Quebec-the veteran leader of the senate, my good friend and colleague, the Minister of Public Works (Mr. Cardin), my friend and fellow townsman and colleague, the Minister of Pensions and National Health (Mr. Power) -to say that we will never agree to conscription and will never be members or supporters of a government that will try to enforce it. Is that clear enough?

I ask you, Mr. Speaker, is it not worth while to the Canadian nation, when the nation is at war, to preserve unity on the side on which Canada will be-this unity which is represented by the province of Quebec in the government-behind the measures being taken to help our mother country and France?

May I add that if my hon. friends and myself from Quebec were forced to leave the government I question whether anyone would be able to take our place. If my hon. friends in the far corner of the house opposite: if the Ottawa Citizen, which just now is waging a campaign for conscription, think they are serving Canada by splitting it at the very outset of the war, then I say they are gravely and seriously wrong.

Provided these points are understood, we are willing to offer our services without limitation and to devote our best efforts for the

The Address-Mr. Landeryou

success of the cause we all have at heart. And those in Quebec who say that we will have conscription, in spite of what some of us are saying, are doing the work of disunity, the *work of the foe, the work of the enemy. They weaken by their conduct and their words the authority of those who represent them in the government. So far as the insults and abuses of agitators are concerned-I disdain them! They will not deter me from the path of duty, as God gives me light to see it. I will protect them against themselves. I believe the majority in my province trust me; I have never deceived them, and I will not deceive them now. I have been told that my present stand means my political death. Well, at least it would not be a dishonourable end, and I am ready to make sacrifices for the sake of being right. But let me assure you, Mr. Speaker, that if only I can keep my physical strength, fall I shall not; and my friends shall not fall, either.

We have heard about a plebiscite. I must congratulate the hon. member for Beauharnois-Laprairie upon the fact that at least he did not speak of a separate plebiscite, a plebiscite by provinces. They know that in the other provinces the majority would be one way, and they have wanted to have a plebiscite for only the province of Quebec, separated from the others, in which the opposite decision might be given. In other words, we would have a Balkanized Canada, a plebiscite by provinces. A plebiscite in connection with a declaration of war-well, of course it is not done, and never has been done.

I am pleased that my hon. friend has mentioned the words which the Prime Minister uttered at Quebec in September, 1935. This argument has been used at many of the meetings that have been held, and it is a most deceptive statement to make. I know my hon, friend did not do it purposely. I have before me the report which appeared in the English and Canadian Press of what was said by the Prime Minister. It must be remembered that this statement was made during an election when there was no parliament. He said:

Canada must not be committed to war in the interval before the installation of a new parliament without an expression of popular will in a plebiscite.

If you will read the whole speech you will see that the comments which have been made with regard to it are not deserved. My hon. friend has said that the present policy of the government shows that he was right in opposing the votes for military expenditures which have been introduced in this house. May I tell him that every one of those items which were voted in previous years were for the defence of Canada, and that is still so. If there should be an expeditionary force it will have to be equipped and paid for with other money, because these other votes are for the defence of Canada.

I desire to conclude my remarks by referring to what was said by our gracious queen at Halifax when she was leaving Canada to return to the homeland. Her words in French went to the heart of every man, woman and child in my province. She said, "Que Dieu benisse le Canada." God bless Canada. Yes, God bless Canada. God save Canada. God save Canada's honour, Canada's soul, Canada's dignity, Canada's conscience.

God give Canadians the light which will indicate to them where their duty lies in this' hour of trial so that our children and our children's children may inherit a land where freedom and peace shall prevail, where our social, political and religious institutions may be secure and from which the tyrannical doctrines of nazism and communism are forever banished. Yes, God bless Canada. God bless our queen. God bless our king.


John Charles Landeryou

Social Credit

Mr. J. C. LANDERYOU (Calgary East):

Mr. Speaker, I am sorry that the right hon. gentleman who has just taken his seat (Mr. Lapointe) has seen fit to declare that the group of which I am a member has attempted to cause a split in Canada at the time. I think after reading the statement made by the hon. member for Lethbridge (Mr. Blackmore) he will agree that we have not in any way attempted to cause any split or undue concern to the government by any statements that we have made. We have declared for equality of service and sacrifice, which means conscription of finance, industry and man power. We as a party stand united for national service for complete efficiency. Everything must be organized and directed toward the quick and unquestionable defeat of the dictator of Europe. Pacifism will not defeat nazism. Britons never will be slaves. That is why we demand the defeat of Hitler.

He was not satisfied with the enslavement of his own people and the destruction of democracy in his own country. He embarked upon a war of aggression to destroy democracy in the other free nations of the world. He has challenged the British empire, and that is why we have urged upon the government the necessity of universal conscription of finance, industry and man power. This alone will ensure equality of service and sacrifice, which

The Address-Mr. Lacombe

in turn ensures the maximum effectiveness of Canada. I greatly deplore the fact that the government has tied its hands in respect to conscription. In our opinion the position of the government is based solely upon political expediency. The cooperation of the Conservative party in this matter will unquestionably cause them to bear their share of the ultimate condemnation.

We take the position that the government should declare war upon Germany as soon as it is expedient. We have refrained from moving any amendment or taking any action which might cause any delay in this matter. We have offered our cooperation and our recommendations to the government. We are satisfied that our position has been clearly stated to the people of Canada.

At six o'clock the house took recess.

After Recess

The house resumed at eight o'clock.


Mountains) (Translation): Mr. Speaker, I

followed with profound interest the speech delivered to-day by the right lion, the Minister of Justice (M;r. Lapointe). However, I regret to have still to differ in opinion with him. If Canada's neutrality has to be sacrificed for the sake of national unity, I assert that it is too high a price to pay for a community of ideas the maintenance of which would lead our country to irreparable disaster and ruin.

Taking up the expression used by the Minister of Justice I say: God save Canada! God bless Canada! But may He preserve it from the forces of anarchy which are leading peoples to destruction, to carnage and to war! God protect our country and ensure its survival on this land of America, the only territory which is really ours and truly Canadian.

The speech from the throne, drafted in rather vague terms, does not specify the bills which the government intends to lay before parliament. However, it informs the members of the House of Commons and the hon. members of the Senate that they have been summonded at the earliest moment in order that the government may seek authority for the measures necessary for the defence of Canada, and for cooperation in the determined effort which is being made to resist further aggression, and to prevent the appeal to force instead of to pacific means in the settlement of international disputes.

It is clear that the words "further aggression" have reference to Europe, inasmuch as Canada has not been and is not being attacked. It is likewise clear that "cooperation in the

[Mr. I.anderyoud

determined effort which is being made to resist further aggression" is cooperation directed against the aggression of which Europe and not Canada is now the theatre. And the speech from the throne, though couched in veiled terms, foreshadows intervention in international disputes, since it is sought to prevent the appeal to force in their settlement. The speech says further:

Proposals for further effective action by Canada will be laid before you.

What must be inferred from all that? If words still have a meaning, the government is asking parliament to participate in the present European war. Besides, addressing parliament yesterday, the Prime Minister made up for the reticence of the speech from the throne by stating that Canada must stand shoulder to shoulder with England in the horrible catastrophe which has just befallen Europe.

The leader of the opposition (Mr. Manion) has offered his entire cooperation to the Prime Minister. Like the Prime Minister, he laid stress on the effective cooperation which, in 1 is opinion. Canada should give to England in the present conflict. But this effort, the Prime Minister asserted, will be only voluntary. Thus it is that both leaders stand ready calmly to lead Canada towards the path of war and ruin. Does anyone really believe that our contribution will be limited to voluntary enlistment? Should the war be a long one, we shall inevitably have conscription. We do not want any participation whatever, even voluntary, in a war in which we 1 ave no interest and about which Ihe Canadian people have not been consulted. We should reject all participation if we do not want to wake to-morrow to find conscription in force. It is inconceivable that certain members of this house, among others the hon. member for Lethbridge (Mr. Black-more) should wish to see conscription established. Have they reflected upon the injustice, the antagonism -and tie ruin inherent in such a doctrine? Do they believe they can eradicate injustice by exalting injustice itself? Do they delude themselves to the point of thinking that the sons of Canada will accept conscription to satisfy the criminal appetites of war profiteers? I protest with all my might against allowing Canadians to go abroad to be mowed down by German machine guns which some of our industrialists have helped to manufacture with Canadian metal. The address will not be voted unanimously by the house, for I absolutely refuse to vote for it in its present form.

The Address-Mr. Lacombe

I find on page 246 of Volume 1 of Hansard for 1937 the following statement made by the Prime Minister of Canada:

My hon. friend referred to the estimates. He stated some were claiming they were evidence of preparation for another European war. The hon. member asked: Are these estimates for that purpose? Are they for the defence of Canada, or what are they for? I am not going to anticipate what the Minister of Defence (Mr. Mackenzie) may have to say when the estimates of his department are before this house for discussion. But I do wish to say at once that, as far as the estimates presented to parliament at this session are concerned, any increase placed there has been only and solely because of what the government believe to be necessary for the defence of Canada, and for Canada alone. The estimates have not been framed with any thought of participation in European wars. They have not been framed as a result of any combined effort or consultation with the British authorities, beyond what would obviously be in the interests of all in the matter of gaining the benefit of expert opinion where expert opinion was obviously desirable. So far as policy is concerned, I wish to make it perfectly clear that no request of any kind has gone from the British government to our government with respect to a single item that appears in the estimates as they have been brought down. Whatever is there as a result of what this government feel is necessary in Canada to-day, Canada being part of the world as the world is to-day.

My hon. friend has referred to the United States and the detached position of that nation, and the determination of the United States not to become entangled in European or Asiatic affairs. What he said in that regard is perfectly true. But it must be obvious that at no previous time has the United States found it necessary to spend the amount of money it is spending to-day on purposes of defence. May I repeat that whatever has been done or is being proposed with respect to necessary increases and expenditure to bring Canada s defence to a more efficient standard than at present has been done with consideration for the needs of Canada and of Canada alone.

The prime minister was speaking at that time on a resolution introduced by the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre (Mr. Woodsworth). That resolution dealt with the neutrality of Canada regardless of the belligerents, with war profiteers and with the means whereby causes of international conflicts and social injustice could be discovered and removed. On that 25th day of January, 1937, the leader of the Canadian government did claim that he was considering solely the defence of Canada and of Canada alone. Much was being said at that time about the increase in the militia estimates which, it was claimed, were solely for the protection of Canada. However, the government failed or forgot to amend the Militia Act and the Naval Service Act so as to make them consistent with the prerogatives, the autonomy and the privileges recognized and guaranteed

by the statute of Westminster. From that moment, it was no longer possible for me to agree with other hon. members of this house that the increase in the militia estimates was solely for the defence of Canada. What is now occurring and the policy which Canada has adopted are a complete justification of our stand, for we are witnessing to-day the change of our national defence into an imperial defence. Heretofore an autonomous and free nation, Canada is reverting to the colonial status. The code of our constitutional liberty enunciated and confirmed by the statute of Westminster is apparently relegated to the realm of fiction, or it may be that it was never anything but a hoax, whose imaginary benefits have been vaunted in parliament and on the hustings for more than a decade. Should it be so, I do not hesitate to say that the people of this country will not forget the devious and deceitful assertions of a host of public men about our participation in the last war and the compulsory military service act. The Canadian people would, on that score, be justified in taking severely to task those from whom they ought to have expected truth and enlightenment.

Since there are some who believe that Canada is no longer Canada and that the boundaries of our fatherland must be extended overseas, my mandate as member of the. Canadian parliament, my lineage, my past, the survival of my fellow-citizens and of my country, the safeguard of our traditions, of our constitution and of our dearly bought prerogatives, make it imperative for me to resist with the utmost energy the sending of a single battalion and of a single Canadian soldier to the European continent or anywhere outside of Canada.

My parliamentary mandate, no more than the mandate of my colleagues in this house, has not been renewed since October 14th, 1935. Participal ion of Canada in external wars was not referred to the electors at the last general election. Public opinion, which is the very basis of democracy, has not expressed itself either for or against such participation and has not sanctioned it. That is why I claim that the paramount duty of the government is to request His Excellency the Governor General to dissolve parliament at once so as to give the Canadian people an opportunity of approving or rejecting any contribution, even on a voluntary basis, from Canada in extraterritorial wars.

Should I fail to maintain my attitude as I have clearly defined it so far, I would be untrue to myself, I would be betraying the people of my constituency and disowning all the principles which I embraced on my entry into

The Address-Mr. Lacombe

public life and which have never ceased to lead me towards an exclusively Canadian policy. My first vote was cast against any participation by Canada in war and against the odious conscription act, of which I was an unfortunate victim, along with the men of my own generation. Twenty two years will soon have elapsed since the day that I began the fight against the compulsory military service act which, unfortunately, was adopted after a desperate fight in which deceit and falsehood vied with the pathetic seriousness of the hour. In the fall of 1917, I put forth all my small ability and the ardour of my youth-God knows that one has plenty when one is twenty years old!- to ensure the triumph of a Canadian mentality and to contribute as far as possible to the safeguard of our young men who, soon after, were to be ostracized, pursued, tracked down and torn from their homes to be thrown into barracks by conscription. Even when hostilities had ceased, prison terms were imposed on young men whom the government had been unable to force into service. Shameful reprisals, unworthy of a power who boasted of having contributed to the triumph of liberty and civilization! However, like the youth of to-day, young men of twenty years ago were loyal to their king; but, likewise, they believed that they could best serve him in no other place than Canada, their only country.

It is for the sake of the survival of that country that I beseech the house to reject any participation in external wars. It is in the name of the terrible experience acquired during the last war that I ask parliament not to forget that another participation in external wars would complete the ruin of Canada. It is unnecessary for me to recall the whole story of our appalling experience in the last war. However it is my duty to remind the house that our unrestricted participation in the last world conflict has cost us and still costs us billions of dollars, while 60,000 of our fellow citizens were mowed down by gun fire on the European soil. Neither can I forget our national debt which, if we take into account provincial and municipal debts, amounts to $950 per capita. In this fateful hour, it is in the public interest to note that our total debt is more than 8 billions and that it increases at the fearful pace of more than 250 millions a year. In the face of an economic situation such as to frighten even the least fainthearted, who would dare to decree the suicide of the nation? Why should the ruin of Canada follow automatically that of Europe? But the financial disaster cannot be compared with the moral downfall and the horrible misfortune which would inevitably befall the people of the country, if the parliamentary

[Mr. Lacombe.1

majority was to decide, together with a financial contribution, the sending of an expeditionary force outside the Canadian territory. Canada is still bleeding too much from the wounds of the last war to be subjected to an even greater burden. I shudder at the thought that a catastrophe, worse in its devastation than the last conflict, is drawing us inevitably this time to the abyss. I urge the house to weigh the extent and the depth of the precipice while it is still time. We must not wait until to-morrow. Let us proclaim the neutrality of Canada while it is still time. The statute of Westminster has conferred upon us the power to legislate in regard to our foreign policy. Subsection 3 of that statute says:

It is hereby declared and enacted that the parliament of a dominion has full power to make laws having extra-territorial operation.

The complete and final sovereignty of Canada, her full and absolute abstention from participation in external wars, her neutrality must be proclaimed before the irreparable mistake of another adventure is made.

As soon as the government decided, during the session of 1937, to increase the defence estimates, I voiced my opposition to such an undertaking because the militia and defence act, as it now stands in the statute book of Canada, authorizes the expenditure of such moneys for participation in external wars. How many times have we not asked to have this measure amended? How many times have we not given assurance of our exclusively Canadian viewpoint, convinced that we were thus splendidly serving our country? And yet, the militia and defence act has not been amended one whit.

During the session of 1937, we submitted amendments calling for certain reductions in the military estimates, but we were enormously outvoted. Be that as it may, we are determined more than ever to awake and foster throughout this country a truly Canadian spirit. We have no other desire than to live in harmony with our countrymen, whatever may be their racial origin. Still, are we first of all concerned with the reorganization of our economic life so deeply affected by our participation in the last war. Our devotion to our only true national duty springs from a patriotic spirit that is exclusively Canadian. Against colonialism we shall always set the autonomy of Canada, against slavery, our freedom. To the underground influences which endeavour by every possible means to urge the nations on to slaughter and war, we shall continue to oppose a doctrine of economy, peace and sovereignty. We shall consider the present and future of Canada in the light of the new prerogatives granted and sanctioned by the treaty of

The Address-Mr. Church

Westminster. We shall continue ceaselessly to proclaim that our leaders must devote all their energies to life-giving projects and not to death-dealing ones.

To give to our youth the employment that ennobles and enriches existence, must be the ideal of those who govern the destiny of this country. To do otherwise would be to place in jeopardy all national life, pride and unity. The Canadian people have only one fatherland to defend, and that is Canada. This country must survive the slaughter of war by refraining from all intervention in European conflicts and in the military undertakings of any nation whatsoever. Armed with a strong national spirit and with the calm and peaceful courage which fosters happiness and prosperity, Canada owes it to her glorious past, to her present and to her future to devote all her resources to the better management of the country, the advancement of her people and the exclusive defence of her territory.

I suggested to the Prime Minister, a few moments ago, that be advise the governor general to dissolve parliament with the object of holding a plebiscite. In such a plebiscite, every young man who is liable to be called to the colours, though he be not yet of age, should be given a right to cast his ballot. Indeed, have they not a prior right to decide what shall be the position taken by Canada in the present conflict who will be called upon to lay down their lives to atone for the irreparable mistake? They who feel secure against any calamity possess a lesser right than youth when it comes to demanding the supreme sacrifice. That is my reason, while maintaining an unshakable opposition to any participation by Canada in extraterritorial wars, for urging that the youth of my country be granted this measure of justice.

Just a closing word. They who will knowingly or unwittingly lead the country to ruin shall bear through the ages the appalling responsibility for having sacrificed once more the life blood of a nation which is in no way concerned with European quarrels. Future generations shall brand as they deserve such as shall have refused our disabled, bruised, and exhausted land, feeling yet the painful effects, even after more than twenty years, from its participation in the last war, a complete abstention from any further participation in foreign wars and the boon of neutrality.

In closing my .remarks. M,r. Speaker, I have the honour to move, seconded by the 87134-6

hon. member for Quebec-Montmorency (Mr. Lacroix):

That the following words be added to the address:

That this, house regrets that the government did not deem it fitting to advise His Excellency the Governor General that Canada should refrain from participating in war outside of Canada.


Thomas Langton Church

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. T. L. CHURCH (Broadview):

Mr. Speaker, I propose to occupy only a very few minutes of the time of the house. In fact I did not intend to take part in this debate, as I took part in the debate on this question on the motion to go into supply on March 21 last, when I predicted the very grave trouble and danger that the British Empire is in to-day. I do not wish to reply to the remarks of the hon. member (Mr. Lacombe) who has just spoken; he is entitled to his views. He is a university man; if I remember rightly, he entered the university about 1914 and came out in 1918. Representing a city which sent

60,000 people to the war, and in which there are 7,000 homes to which the soldiers did not come back, I can say to him in all kindness, that I owe a duty to those men who lie buried in France and Flanders. To my hon. friend who urges non-participation on. behalf of the people of his province I say that in my view he does not represent all the people of his province. I say to him that the students of McGill, Queens, Toronto, Western and other Canadian universities enlisted almost as one man, with the result that the universities were almost closed for lack of regular students.

I would not have spoken in this debate but for the challenge that a vote of this house is necessary in this situation which confronts the world to-day, the greatest peril and danger that the world has ever known. No vote is necessary, because it is well known that when Britain is at war Canada is at war. That has always been the doctrine and policy of this country, but now we have to have a vote on the matter to please the fancy and imagination of our friends the new status people. Changing status is one of the causes of this trouble in this country. They wanted to have written down in black and white the constitution of our empire. What has been the result? We have seen the result in South Africa, in southern Ireland, and in this country. They now want to take a vote of this house before Canada declares war. In 1914 Sir Robert Borden decided the policy of the

The Address

Mr. Church

country, that when Great Britain is at war Canada is at war; he voted immediate aid to Britain, and the people backed him up unanimously. To-day what have we? We have a situation in which to please the fancy and imagination of our new status friends there must first be a vote of the members of this house. I can say to them to-night, in substance and in fact, that the 1,340 passengers on the Athenia were not given a chance to vote for or against war; the dictators sent that ship to the bottom of the sea, and I say we owe a duty to those passengers to-night. I think instead of quoting Lowell and other authors it would have been far better if in his speech which lasted nearly four hours the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) had quoted Mr. Chamberlain, who spoke for sixteen minutes, and our own king, who received such a glorious reception in this country who spoke for six minutes. One of the most remarkable things in Canada to-day is the tremendous popularity of the monarchy and the decline in popularity of the House of Commons. Why? Because we sit here in a grave emergency like this considering not the substance but the form, which I say is absolutely unnecessary. We all know we are at war.

This new status of ours, as I have said, is in part responsible for the situation that exists in the world to-day. As a former premier of France said, you never know what to expect from the British empire; it has so many units; they are so far apart and they all claim equal status, so it is pretty hard to deal with them and get a finality or unity. That is so, and that is one of the causes of the present situation. I think in all the churches of the land we should offer thanks to-morrow to those two glorious countries, France and England. Eventually in France eight million men will be under arms, and in that country many of our young men sleep their last sleep. We should all offer up prayers to-morrow in all the churches;. as the psalmist says, "If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?" We should offer our thanks in all Canada to Britain and France for our salvation, safety and security.

I believe all the freedom we have in Canada to-day, the freedom in the pulpit, in the press, in the legislatures, and in the universities, we owe to the mother country, and but for the protection of the British and French fleets our churches would not be opening tomorrow. I have heard enough of this talk of non-participation in war. The first people to be attacked will be the people of the mari-times, Quebec, and British Columbia. If it were not for God's greatest secular gift to

humanity, the British and French fleets, every house and every store in every city from coast to coast in this country as well as all the cities on the Atlantic seaboard in the United States would be blackened out tonight.

In a time such as this the press has a duty to perform, and I believe the press has measured up to that duty splendidly. I am afraid I cannot say the same of the radio, which should be under censorship to help maintain the morale of the people. I wish to offer only constructive suggestions at this time, because this is a time of war and in such a time it is the duty of the opposition to support the government as much as possible, to accord the maximum of support with the minimum of criticism. That is what we, as an opposition, are here for to-day. I believe the people should have been given the facts. So long as hon. gentlemen opposite constitute the government of the day, the responsibility is upon them to decide on the policy to be followed by this country, but I believe it would have been far better if during the past nine months the Prime Minister and the Department of External Affairs had given the people of Canada all the facts. The lack of appreciation of the militia that exists to-day and the apathy the public has shown are due in part to the fact that the people have not been given all the information and the facts to which I believe they are entitled. In my opinion the people to blame for the tragedy of to-day are the pacifists, the peace societies and the league. They led Britain to scrap the finest army, air force and navy the world ever saw, and you cannot get it back in a day or generation. Do hon. members forget that Germany nearly defeated the whole world in the last war? She opposed the whole civilized world for four and a half years and would have won but for the fact that, we had those efficient forces. So I say that instead of a motion of this kind we should pass a resolution of appreciation to the people of Great Britain and France for fighting for our security, for protecting our shores with those magnificent forces.

In my opinion one of the greatest errors the government has made has been to underestimate the great patriotism of the people of this country. We talk about man power. Why, Great Britain will have only 600,000 men at the end of the next three years, so I say it is very important that voluntary recruiting at once should be encouraged in all our cities and towns on a wide scale, and that proper equipment, pay and active aid should be provided. We should also have taken some action with regard to foodstuffs. I have asked the

The Address-Mr. Lacroix (Montmorency)

Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Gardiner) several times within the last two years to consider the establishment of food reservoirs in Great Britain where our grain and other foodstuffs could have been stored, but nothing has been done. So far as munitions are concerned, it will take over a year before anything very much can be done; it takes that long and more to get trained men for defence, and untrained men are only a wastage, so we should coordinate and cooperate with Britain.

There will be a further discussion on this subject, I believe, so I need not take very much more of the time of the house. I am surprised, however, that no steps have been taken bv the government in the way of a general survey of all skilled labour and man' power in order to throw light on the adequacy or inadequacy of Canada's resources and to plan in advance the proper allocation of our man power between the ages of eighteen and sixty-five. A national register of this kind could be controlled by a national board through forms prepared by the board and mailed free to the census bureau or the bureau of statistics, and should include the number of men available for the necessary production of equipment and munitions. It should also provide for a proper allocation of classified personnel for defence and community purposes in general, and should seek the cooperation of industry, the trade unions, the provinces and the municipalities.

I believe that if the people of this country are awakened to the gravity and danger they will rise to the task. To my hon. friends from Quebec I say that after all is said and done there is no such thing as the defence of Canada. Our first line of defence is Great Britain and France, and if they fail it is good-bye to Canada and its defences and goodbye to all the defences we think we have in Canada, and it will be all over We have only a small army, air force and navy Upon whom would the people of the gulf of St Lawrence depend for defence if it were not for the British navy? Not on our small fleet. Remember the submarine menace of the last war; of every four ships that went out one did not come back. I recall well this menace many times here. The situation is more acute now. So I say Canada's first line of defence is Great Britain and France. If they fail, the whole world will go into outer darkness, and that goes for Canada too. If Britain fails, it will be all over.

In conclusion I wish to challenge the motion changing our policy, creating the precedent that in time of war a resolution of this house is necessary. Parliament might better have 87134-

taken steps to prepare Canada by security and defences during the last two years, but in my opinion nothing much was done.


Wilfrid Lacroix


Mr. WILFRID LACROIX (Quebec-Montmoremcy) (Translation):

Mr. Speaker, I have carefully listened to the following statement made yesterday by the right hon. the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King):

The information we have obtained indicates that the most immediate and effective further means of cooperation would be a rapid expansion of air training, and of air and naval facilities, and the despatch of trained air personnel. These measures we propose to institute immediately.

If my understanding is correct, Mr. Speaker, this means that the government intends to participate by first sending air forces overseas and later, in conformity with the declaration made this afternoon by the right hon. the Minister of Justice (Mr. Lapointe) -probably much later-to send a voluntary expeditionary force.

Last year, I made a statement before the house which was contained in an editorial of the only liberal newspaper in Quebec city, le Soleil. Le Soleil, which is a fairly well known publicity medium in the province of Quebec, is taken, I believe, to at least reflect the views and thought of the liberals in the province. And what did that editorial state? I make the statement my own, not changing a line, a sentence, even a comma. The article, which appeared on March 31, 1939, was headed: "No conscription, but. . ." This is what it said:

Undoubtedly, should Britain call her sons to her aid, we shall see a legion of young Canadians rushing to answer the call of the mother country. In smaller numbers, Canadians of French or foreign descent shall follow their example, with sentiments toward Great Britain the strength of which shall be all the greater for the respect shown by British policy for the right of their respective native lands to freely determine their own destiny. To leave these voluntary recruits be absorbed into the imperial forces would be to follow the dictates of wisdom. Otherwise, should our national government raise Canadian contingents on its own, they would then assume a triple heavy responsibility: in the first place, that of acting in such a manner as to invite violent reprisals against Canada; in the second place, that of involving the credit of the country in a disastrous venture; and in the third place, that of accepting the consequences, logical or sentimental, which attach to such participation in a foreign war.

If we stop to analyse these three reasons, and if we look into them in the light of the policy which was set forth in the house this afternoon, we have a right to consider, as Canadians, what shall be the consequences attending upon the action we take when deciding to participate in a foreign war, arising from any cause whatsoever.


The Address-Mr. Lacroix (Montmorency)

As a consequence of the last war our debt now stands at four billion dollars. Should the present war last for any length of time, I may state without fear of exaggeration that it may reach 10 or 12 billion dollars in consequence of taking such a part in foreign wars.

As the Prime Minister stated himself, we must first mobilize our industries, we must first mobilize our national economy. This means, in plain words, that Canadian industry shall take care of all the unemployed in the country, that these shall be absorbed to the last man. And we have the right, I believe, before taking such an important step, to consider the problems with which we shall be faced, once the war is ended, as the result of this industrial and commercial mobilization of our country. When, on the morrow of victory, all those who will have had highly remunerated employment in our industries during the war shall be dismissed, together with those who, in one way or another have benefited by the war, in addition to all those who shall have been under arms during this period, we shall have on our hands an army of unemployed, an army of men suddenly become destitute and having to cope just as suddenly with new problems. And in what position shall we be, Mr. Speaker, to solve these problems? I say and I repeat that our country will be bankrupt. We shall have nothing on our hands but a bankrupt country whose financial resources will have been drained by participation, and it is this drainage which will prevent us, once the hostilities have ceased, from being able, by means of unemployment allowances, to take care of our destitute people, and, what is more, from being able to discharge the obligations which we shall have assumed toward the great war veterans, their widows and their children.

Mr. Speaker, I believe that, in connection with the problem which the house is now discussing, we must also consider the post-war problems, and, among them, none is more important than the industrial, commercial and military demobilization. I am satisfied that those who actively seek to force participation upon us are not inspired by the lessons of the past and are not looking forward to the future, because I claim that, if general bankruptcy creates in this country after the war a chaotic condition as a consequence of the obligations which we will incur, we will inevitably' throw ourselves in the arms of our powerful neighbours to the south. What will be the result, for us of the province of Quebec, if, as a consequence of our participation in this war-should it materialize, which I do not want to see-and of our financial situa-

tion, we throw ourselves in the arms of our neighbours who will have remained neutral and who will have at their disposal all the necessary financial resources? It will mean- and I wish to emphasize that point-the disappearance from our old province of Quebec of the institutions and the traditions for which our forefathers have fought and for which I myself continue to fight in advocating a policy of non-participation.

Mr. Speaker, we speak of the neutrality of the United States. Let me read a statement made by Mr. Herbert Hoover, former president of the United States, who speaks as an American while I speak as a Canadian.

Mr. Hoover said:

The whole nazi system is repugnant to the American people and the greatest sympathy of the Americans will go to the democracies, but, no matter what our sympathies may be, we cannot settle the problems of Europe.

Well, let me say this: Whatever its intervention may be, Canada cannot, any more than the United States, settle the problems of Europe.

Mr. Speaker, I pay tribute to the heroism of the people of Poland who are defending the sacred soil of their country. They are now writing one of the most beautiful pages in the history of their country. I pay tribute to the heroism of the Englishman and of the Frenchman who are defending the soil of their countries, but I also pay tribute to the good common sense of the Canadian who wishes to remain a Canadian. That will be my last word.


René-Antoine Pelletier

Social Credit

Mr. R. A. PELLETIER (Peace River):

Mr. Speaker, all of us realize at this time that we have indeed entered upon a very grave hour. This afternoon we listened with great attention to the dramatic and convincing appeal of the Minister of Justice (Mr. Lapointe), a member of parliament representing a constituency in the province of Quebec. We have also had the pleasure of listening to two other hon. members from the same province, both of whom held entirely different views to those expressed this afternoon by the Minister of Justice. This afternoon the Minister of Justice stated clearly and definitely the position of Canada with regard to our relationship with Great Britain and the rest of the empire. We know that so far as we are concerned at the present time the attitude taken by the Minister of Justice cannot be questioned.

So far as Canada is concerned the fact is that we are committed to be of help to Great Britain. This is a fact which could not have been ignored by hon. members from the province of Quebec prior to the present situation. During the course of his remarks this afternoon

The Address-Mr. Pelletier

the Minister of Justice said that we in this corner of the house must take upon our shoulders the full responsibility for dividing this country at this particular time. But where does this division come from? I ask hon. members if it comes from our group. So far as we are concerned we feel that we are taking the right attitude. Why? Because we know it always has been the policy of this government to commit us to the defence of Canada, of Great Britain and of the British empire.

When we passed estimates in this house for defence, it was a question of the defence of what? Of Canada only? Of course not. Those estimates were for the defence of the British empire as well as of ourselves. Yet to-day when we are called upon, to use those defences, on behalf not only of Canada but of the British empire, there are those in this country who say that we should have nothing to do with the British empire. I am sorry I cannot take that particular stand. In this grave hour I am in duty bound to follow the Minister of Justice of Canada because I believe that he has set out the position in a manner which cannot possibly be contradicted.

He has called upon Canada to unite. I repeat that we in this comer have sought to bring about unity in Canada by providing the means whereby we can at least have equality of sacrifice. In my opinion certain, hon. members from other parts of the country have failed to see the significance of what we have attempted to do and have seen fit to take a different course. They have been led to believe that the word "conscription" means something horrid. Who is to blame for that? I think my hon. leader pointed out quite clearly last night that the word had been used for political purposes and for political advantages. If to-day we are faced with a grave situation, if to-day there is possibly a lack of unity, who is to blame? It is those in Canada who played politics with the word "conscription" and sought to divide the country for a political expediency.

It is no use making recriminations. It is no use going back over the past. We have at the present time a situation which must be faced. I believe it was said by someone this afternoon that if we do not fight to defend the frontier of the Rhine, the time will come when we shall have to defend the frontier of the St. Lawrence. In my opinion that is quite correct. Those of us who do not want to take full, adequate and efficient measures for the protection of our own country may one day be called upon to face the same situation as other men and women have had to face. Not only have men. in other countries

had to sacrifice their blood and their lives, but their wives and daughters have had to serve behind guns in the trenches and elsewhere.

So far as the remarks this afternoon of the Minister of Justice are concerned, we in this corner take the stand that we quite agree with him in connection with the legal standing that exists between Canada and the rest of the British empire. We belong to the British empire, and we are committed to that action. The only way in which we could do otherwise would be for this parliament to declare its independence of the British empire, and I am sure that none of us is ready to do that at the present time. However, there is another question. The Minister of Justice stated definitely and clearly that he was absolutely opposed to conscription. He stated that if it was a question of coming down to conscription, he and certain of his colleagues whom he named would be prepared to step out and let others take their places.

Where does the division come from? Does it come from this corner of the house or does it come from somewhere else? We have sought to bring about equality of sacrifice in this country. We believe firmly that the only method by which that can be brought about is by universal conscription, what we have termed the conscription of finance, industry and man power. We have called conscription the poor man's friend. If hon. members in some parts of this house will reflect, I know they cannot help but take the same attitude we are taking. Only to-day I stood upon the corner of one of the streets in Ottawa, and what did I see? I saw some of the boys who had been newly conscripted walking up the street. Who were they? They were those whom we saw in the bread lines only a short time ago. They had been driven to conscription because of what? They were compelled to take this course because economic circumstances were such that they were forced to go somewhere in order to get a decent suit of clothes to put upon their backs and some bread to eat.

That is the situation, and there are those who say that conscription is something unfair. Those people fail to take cognizance of the fact that economic circumstances are forcing this conscription. They fail to realize that perhaps there are other men who are in a position different from that of these poor boys who have been unemployed up to the present time. There are men in this country who are not necessarily obliged to join up to get a suit of clothes and $1.30 a day. The only way whereby we can have justice and fair play is to bring about the conscription of man

The Address-Mr. Pelletier

power. We are insisting on that, but we are not insisting upon it any more than we are insisting upon the conscription of financial and industrial power.

We believe that in order to have efficiency, in order to prevent more bungling, in order to have more strength, in order to have some unity, it is necessary to have, not just the one but the three together. I ask hon. members to think about this. When Canadian mothers see their boys go out of the country to fight elsewhere-and that is what is going to happen-what will be the attitude of the other mothers? They will say, "We are going to see that our boys do not go across." In time the government will realize that pressure of public opinion will inevitably bring them to that conclusion. Then where will the Minister of Justice stand? He has declared himself to-day as being absolutely and bitterly opposed to conscription, and yet we know that he will have to face that situation at some time in the future.

There are other reasons why the situation is so grave at the present time; and we have urged the complete conscription of all our resources in Canada because we believe that this is absolutely necessary. We believe further that the time to do it is now, when there is some vitality left in this country, and not to wait until we have a situation where we are unable to do anything because of economic circumstances. The time to take such action is now.

Let me refer for a moment to the remarks of the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King). First, let me say that we fully realize how grave are the responsibilities resting upon the administration of this country at the present time. We realize full well that it is their duty and responsibility to give guidance, to supply information, and to let the house know what is going on so as to enable the members to reach sound and proper conclusions, and it is because we have placed our trust in the Prime Minister and in his advisers, and because we have listened to his words of warning, that we have come to the conclusion we have reached. Let me read his words once again. Are these not serious words? The Prime Minister at page 22 of Hansard said:

My hon. friend also gave his impression of what would be the prize the Germans would Beek in the event of victory. He said the prize would be Canada. I noticed in the press last evening that one of the German papers which is supposed to be an organ of the administration had quoted Hitler as saying that if England wished to fight she must remember that if she entered this fight the prize of victory would be the British empire.

Yet we are told in this house that if we oppose the government at this time we are not defending Canada; and that statement is made after it has been boldly stated that Germany's prize, if she won victory in this war, would be Canada. What logic or consistency is there in that argument? Are we to wait until the enemy has reached our frontiers before we strike a blow? That is not a question for us to decide; it is for those who are in a position to know best how this country should be defended.

The Prime Minister went on:

And as my hon. friend has said, there is no portion of the globe which some other nations covet so much, that any nation would be likely to covet so much, as this Dominion of Canada. There is no other portion of the earth's surface that contains such wealth as lies buried here. Nowhere are there such stretches of territory capable of feeding-not hundreds of thousands, but millions of people for generations and generations to come. No, Mr. Speaker, the ambition of this dictator is not Poland.

Again I repeat, these words are given us on the authority of the Prime Minister of this country, who is in a position to know, and therefore the only possible attitude we can take is one of complete reliance upon the information that he has given us. He has informed us that, not Great Britain, not France or some other European country, but Canada itself is facing danger, and the danger is not simply that a few of our soldiers might be killed abroad but that Canada may be invaded. So, as was said by another speaker this afternoon, if we lose the battle on the Rhine frontier the frontier of Canada might be the shores of the St. Lawrence.

There is someone else whom I can quote to show the gravity of the present situation. We have the words of Prime Minister Chamberlain in his letter of August 22, 1939, to the German chancellor, in which I find this paragraph :

It would be a dangerous illusion to think that if war once starts it will come to an early end even if success on any one of the several fronts on which it will be engaged should have been secured.

In the face of that statement, given to us upon the authority of the government, what do we find the policy of the Canadian government to be? It has declared for a policy of partial participation in the war. It has declared its desire to send overseas a certain portion of Canada's forces. But when the time comes for replacements to be provided, who is going to take the place of those who have been wiped out? They can be supplied only from our own country, and that is why I think the Minister of Justice placed

The Address-Mr. Heon

himself in an unsound position this afternoon, because none of us knows what is going to happen in the future.

We in this comer have agitated for a concrete, effective policy which would lead to unity and efficient conduct of our part in the war, a policy which would also prevent bungling and profiteering, and yet we have been told that we are trying to split the country in two. If that had been our attitude it would have been easy for us to move an amendment in order to precipitate such a condition, but we have made it quite clear to the Prime Minister that we do not desire to bring about any such condition in this dominion, that our only interest is in securing fair play for all concerned, and we say that the only just policy for Canada is a policy of complete conscription.

Nobody likes to face the thought of conscription. So far as we in this comer are concerned, at all events, so far as I am concerned, whatever the word "conscription" might convey to some people I am not afraid to face it because in my opinion it is the only action to take. It is the only way to ensure that everybody shall share equally in the sacrifices that will have to be made.

There are many things happening in Canada to-day, and one that surprised me was the attitude of the great leader of the Conservative party. I believe that he is not contributing to this country simply by stating that he will cooperate with the government, when the government has not taken the proper steps. Cooperate in what, I should like to know?

Once again I repeat that we in this corner are not afraid to face the word "conscription." We believe it has been used in the past for reasons of political expediency, by people jockeying to secure positions satisfactory to themselves. Motives have been ascribed to us for our attitude to-day. I deny those motives. We have taken this course for the simple reason that we believe it is in the best interests of this country, and because we are firmly convinced that before hostilities come to an end it will be the only means of saving Canada.

Stress has been laid upon the conscription of man power, but I would point out that we place just as much stress upon the conscription of finance. Some people have asked what we mean by the conscription of finance, and in order to be prepared we have set out definitely and concretely what we mean by the conscription of finance. Let me place it on the record.

We advocate the conscription of finance:

(a) By the creation by the government ol the necessary credit and currency combined, with definite price regulation to prevent any serious inflationary rise in prices;

(b) By borrowing abroad only for the purpose of obtaining needed goods and services beyond the capacity of our people to furnish;

(c) By placing an embargo on capital and capital assets as at the date of the declaration of war;

(d) By requiring that financial institutions and corporations reveal all undisclosed reserves as at the date of the declaration of war, and that these be forthwith conscripted by the government.

(e) By introducing more steeply graded income and profits taxes;

(f) By providing that all equivocation and/or evasion in this regard shall be treated as a treasonable offence.

That is what we have set out with regard to the conscription of finance. We would do the same so far as industry is concerned. When we say that we believe in regimentation at this time and in peace time, does that necessarily imply dictatorship? Of course not. It is simply to secure an effective method of control for the distribution of the products which we have at the present time.

We all realize that when any one of us speaks here this evening, we are slowing up the process of the declaration of war by this country because the Prime Minister made that statement quite plainly this afternoon, and he is now awaiting the vote of this parliament to decide what to do. So far as I am concerned, I have not much more to say, though many things could be said. All I wish to do is to make this assertion in conclusion. We have done what we have done because we believe it is in the best interests of the country. Personally I can do no more than offer my own services to the Minister of National Defence, and I do so here and now for any purpose for which he might wish to use them. This is the way we feel in this comer. Even though our hands, as Mr. Churchill said, become engaged in warlike gestures, nevertheless our hearts will remain at peace if we do our duty. We are doing our duty and we intend to see that others shall do theirs.


Georges-Henri Héon

Independent Conservative

Mr. G. H. HEON (Argenteuil) (Tramslationi):

Mr. Speaker, I had intended to speak in French, but considering the importance of the subject under discussion and the advisability of being immediately understood by ail the members of the house in the event of some lion, member wishing to ask me questions or to challenge some of my statements,

The Address-Mr. Heon

I shall speak -in English, one of two official languages used by the King and Queen of Canada during their -recent sojourn in this country.

(Text) Mr. Speaker, the free and autonomous Canadian nation finds itself to-day in one of -tlie most serious situations with which it has ever been confronted. Although pressing and urgent domestic problems are still unsolved, a decision has been made for the nation, and by this decision all dutiful Canadians must abide whether it be in conformity with their own personal views or no-t. Through -this commitment we find ourselves at the side of Britain, Poland and France in their struggle against Herr Hitler and his adventurers, who are seeking to dominate the world by force.

Various opinions have been and are being held as to the wisdom of such a momentous decision; yet at this stage we cannot help feeling deeply that the utmost moderation should be observed in pronouncements and that calm thinking and cool judgment should be with all of us. Public men of both races, whether in the federal, the provincial or the municipal arena, who will seek to capitalize upon this extremely dangerous moment to further their own cheap political advancement, and, to achieve this end, will publicly fan the searing flames of racial antagonism or divided loyalties, are traitors to Canada, because they seek thus to wreck the whole edifice of Cana-dianism which generations of French and English-Canadians have so laboriously striven to erect during the last 150 years.

Equally condemnable are those dishonest and unfair propagandists who distort the issues at stake and print or utter words that inspire fear in the minds of Canadian women and children. Our people do'not need to be sold the idea of the present war, and grotesque propaganda will not help them to decide where their duty lies. Freedom must reign in every Canadian mind and heart, particularly at this time; for no positive reaction will come that will be profound and sincere unless every Canadian in his heart and soul has decided freely where his loyalty lies.

Are we not to profit by the lessons of the last war? Must we see reenacted those deplorable scenes and hear again those utterances which then took place, thereby causing bitter antagonism between our two great races? Shall we have repetitions of the deep dissensions wrought by the war and the conscription issues, which were then used by unscrupulous politicians to secure votes and to set one section of the country against another? I cannot believe that this will be so, and we should pledge ourselves immediately so to conduct ourselves during the

present war that Canada shall emerge from this crucible a stronger, freer and more united nation.

We cannot and should not at this trying time cast epithets at one another; rather must we gather in one mighty effort to keep this great country together, remembering always that a disunited, bankrupt Canada would be a severe liability to the British commonwealth of nations. Accusations of disloyalty and treason must not be carelessly flung around just because important sections of Canadian public opinion have vastly differed up to now on the all-important question of foreign policy. Speakers have said it before me. Our various racial elements make for division of opinion, and Canada would be the poorest country in this troubled world to live in, similar to Russia and Germany, if anyone were made to suffer because he dared to offer a sincere opinion as to what Canada should or should not do in- the event of war. We are told that we are engaged in a war to end dictatorship. Well, we would be a dictatorship ourselves if attempts were made to impose extremist views on that section of Canadians whose ancestors fled from Europe to escape those very conditions which we are now being asked to help to- sweep from the face of Europe itself.

May I now -be allowed, on behalf of my own people, to make this urgent plea to my English-Canadian friends? Never have I striven to be more sincere or convincing in all my life than in the appeal I am about to make. An immense majority of my compatriots have never concerned themselves with foreign affairs. They have never kept track of the sinuous courses of European diplomacy, nor have they taken time out to look up the meaning of " putsch " and " anschluss " or seek on a map of Europe the strategical value of Memel and Pomorze, Warsaw and Lodz, Lauterbourg or the Saar basin.

The Frencli-Canadian has been mostly concerned, as were his ancestors before him, with clearing the forest, tilling the soil and providing food and shelter for the children with whom providence has blessed him from year to year. The practice of the golden rule, the presentation to the nation of stalwart intelligent sons and daughters, the defence of their territory against aggression, have been to my compatriots their main expressions of patriotism. The church, the little village, the large family, the soil enriched with their sweat, the peace and restfulness of the Quebec countryside, have drawn and kept their attention for three hundred years. The sons of French Canada have not been brought up in an atmosphere of militarism, nor have they

The Address-Mr. Heon

spent their young days in playing with toy cannon and soldiers. Most of them have never shouldered a gun except to provide game for the family table. Very few have ever had even elementary military training. It cannot be expected then that in three days every one of them will be clamouring for a one-way passage to the western front, or that, like some of us, their hearts will skip a beat at the mention of peace in Europe and the independence of Poland. Yet their honesty of purpose, their love of freedom, their devotion to Christian institutions, their loyalty to their king, cannot be challenged. It may well be that this passionate love for their own land has somewhat obscured the wider, the more international outlook on the welfare of mankind which we are now being asked to uphold and defend. But let me assure hon. members that when Baptiste discovers that his freedom, institutions and essential rights which he prizes so dearly are really threatened, there will be no one who will fight more savagely to defend them. Meanwhile do not judge him harshly or impute to him motives that he never even conceived. Give him the British treatment of fair play and fair dealing, and his courage will not fail when an emergency arises.

Now, Mr. Speaker, speaking as a French-Canadian and proud to be one, I wish to state most emphatically that my race never contemplated disloyalty to the king, nor is there at this moment any doubt as to where our duty lies. Our long and honourable history testifies eloquently to that effect, and it can be truthfully said that if this country is in danger of attack from within or without, if it be true that our liberties and freedom, our institutions and existence, are seriously threatened, every single French-Canadian, young and old, will approve and support each and every motivated step taken to ensure the maintenance of our status as a free nation within the British commonwealth, together with assuring the absolute inviolability of our territory.

Mr. Speaker, I have in this house at one time-and I do not regret it-expressed nationalistic views. I am still at heart a nationalist. But I claim to be also a good Canadian. And I have no shame in shelving my nationalistic principles for the time of this war. I have stated in this house that I was of the opinion that Canada was not necessarily at war when Great Britain was at war, and I have insisted that we should be the masters of our own destiny and that we should not and could not docilely accept direction of our foreign policy from anyone else. I still submit that we cannot be made pawns on the international chessboard, nor should we be ordered about. I still adhere profoundly to these views,

and I have no apology to offer for having expressed them in times of peace. Further, I believe and have always believed that under international law our neutrality might have been proclaimed, provided we had had the means to defend it. Yet it would serve no purpose to discuss these views to-day, because the issue of neutrality or war has been decided by our government and we have oast in our lot with that of Great Britain and France. The government of the day has a large majority. I have no doubt that it will declare itself able and willing to accept full responsibility for what has been done and will be done in the time to come.

I do not mind stating here that had France and Great Britain concluded an alliance with Soviet Russia, I should have doubted their sincerity in the defence of Christianity, and would have opposed participation, because I would have considered such an alliance a direct prostitution of all the Christian principles of freedom and individual liberty which we have now undertaken to uphold and defend. The evident perfection of the double-crossing methods followed by the Russian authorities should be sufficient indication of what may be expected here in Canada if communism is allowed to filter through. Communism can do no less than undermine our national edifice, and it should be considered an open enemy to Canada on the same footing as nazism. These two false ideologies are basically the same, and a further immediate danger lurks in the fact that they have to all intents and purposes recently merged in Europe, and will certainly do so here if not immediately checkmated. Yet there are some individuals in Canada who still have sufficient effrontery to glorify the communistic principles of their Russian comrades.

I accept unreservedly the view which has been expressed that we are in a state of war now, not so much because we are a part of the British commonwealth of free nations but because the government have already made known in the world that Canada stands at the side of Great Britain. That, in my humble opinion, is a direct and positive commitment from which we cannot recede, and we must abide by it. The government have spoken to the world for the nation, and we are definitely, irrevocably bound by what our government have said and done.

I for one deeply regret that the enormous sacrifices of men and money during the last war have not provided Canada with sufficient guarantees of lasting peace and of no further participation in continental wars. There is no doubt that after the present conflict is over, Canada will secure a clearer definition of its

The Address-Mr. Heon

international status, so that it will not be eternally bound to the changing courses of European diplomacy. However, this does not change our present international situation, and we must be prepared to face a long war with a treacherous, inhuman and diabolically intelligent enemy.

This parliament must now decide the degree and form of cooperation which Canada shall furnish to its allies. To my mind this cooperation should be such that, although it shall be precious and constant, it will not endanger the unity and internal peace of this nation, nor bring about financial ruin or economic suicide. The preservation of true Canadian interests should be our prime purpose, over and above the desire to help our allies, because we must ever remember that we owe ourselves first to Canada, which, notwithstanding what may be said, is the first country we are sworn to honour and defend. Nothing, however, should be done to weaken faith in the British link, and we must proceed by such means and degrees as will convince every Canadian that it is a privilege and an honour to belong to the commonwealth instead of a burden. Nothing should be done in the nature of coercion which will even faintly resemble nazi means -and methods. British ties and connections appear indispensable to most of us, but we must be prepared to do what is essential to preserve and maintain these links here. More than ever I think we must take stock of our financial situation and the everyday living conditions of our own people before we allow our loyalty and sympathy to run away with our better judgment. Our first responsibility is the welfare and security of our people, and we would not be serving the cause of the commonwealth or the principles of government it has come to represent if in these early days of conflict we embarked upon a policy of such proportions that the physical and economic well-being of the bulk of our population would be seriously threatened.

In the three days preceding this session, Mr. Speaker, in common with so many others from the province of Quebec I was inundated with letters and telegrams telling me what I should do and what I should not do. In view of these communications I immediately set out to consult representative English and French-Canadians in every poll of my constituency, and those I invited to my caucuses were both Liberals and Conservatives. I have spoken to clergymen, labourers, farmers, industrialists, young men and mothers, and I obtained these results: fifteen per cent favour enforced participation to the last man and the last dollar. Twenty per cent are for complete

CMr. Heon.]

isolation. Sixty-five per cent want cooperation within our means and resources, preferably by the extension of credits, gifts of provisions and foodstuffs, and the manufacture of planes and munitions. I must say frankly and sincerely, however, that in my constituency at least there is a very strong and earnest sentiment against conscription of man power.

My first duty, as I see it, is to the constituents who elected me, and I adopt the views expressed by the majority of my constituents, in whose good, hard common sense I have absolute faith. So, Mr. Speaker, I shall support cooperation with Great Britain and France. That cooperation, however, must first take into account our immediate and best Canadian interests, and that cooperation must not deprive the individual Canadian of his inalienable right to choose honestly for himself whether he shall or shall not serve. The preservation of individual liberty and freedom must be the keynote of this cooperation; for he only serves devotedly a cause which he espouses freely, while he who fights for a cause in which he does not believe is beaten before he starts. Perhaps I could best express my thoughts on the matter by saying that those who have indicated a desire to enlist can be immediately accommodated, while those who think they can best serve Canada by carrying on their tasks at home should not be molested. As I said before, we are engaged in a struggle for freedom. Let freedom of thought and action be first maintained and honoured within our own borders. Let every Canadian be made to feel that freedom, autonomy, justice and absolute liberty for everyone will forever be practised in this country, in time of peace as in time of war.

With these reservations I declare without hesitation that I choose to align myself with those other Canadians who feel that their greatest security and best guarantee at this time lie within the British commonwealth. Let me repeat that: I align myself with those who feel that their peace, security and welfare at the moment lie in the sincere acceptance of the will of the majority of this house. I shall vote for the address simply and only to indicate my willingness to cooperate. Of course at the same time I reserve tie right to decide on each measure and estimate that may be brought into the house. I do not subscribe to a blank cheque policy in matters of war, because when it comes to the lives of men and colossal expenditures, every elected member must very carefully study the measures brought down, since they directly affect the immediate safety and welfare of every man, woman and child in each constituency throughout the country.

The Address-Mr. Factor

Now, Mr. Speaker, I wish to close with these words: War is the very negation of

Christianity. Evidently, instead of rearming morally, as we should have been doing, we as individuals and as nations have been in some way derelict to the divine's precepts. Should it be said that God has cast his wrath upon the world and ordered that for the second time in twenty-five years we must be subjected to anxiety and misery? Be that as it may, it behooves Christianity to accept respectfully that which has been permitted by Him to happen. Surely we must no longer hesitate to vow voluntary obedience to His command, "Love thy neighbour." We must abandon and fight to the last ditch the pagan concept of an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. Yet I am sure victory shall be achieved, for He will not permit that one man shall rule by the sword without dying by the sword.

(Translation) Before bringing my remarks to a close, Mr. Speaker, I have a few words to say in French, words which I address to my bon. friends from Laval-Two Mountains (Mr. Lacombe) and from Quebec-Montmorency (Mr. Lacroix) both of whom I hold in high esteem and whose principles I share. I wish to state to these two bon. friends that should, in my opinion, -there exist the slightest chance of their viewpoints being adopted, I would certainly make a personal effort to support them; but I am enough of a realist to know that such a view cannot be adopted and would not be concurred in by the house or by the majority of the Canadian people at this particular juncture. And I do not intend to make the mistake of alienating a majority group which, at this very moment, is absolutely friendly and favourably disposed. Nor shall I play into the hands of a certain group which would like nothing better than to stir up the other provinces against our own, for the purpose of furthering their imperialistic ends. I am too well aware of the fanaticism of this group to play into their hands. For a purely local and immediate political success, it would have been quite easy for me to adhere to the views respecting isolation which I have once advocated. Some of my former supporters will brand me as a traitor and a coward. I know, still, as the saying goes, I have consulted my conscience, and I know that in casting my vote in favour of cooperation, but against the sending of an expeditionary force and against conscription, in this critical hour, I am really and truly serving my compatriots; and I am prepared to go and meet my constituents at any time.


Samuel Factor


Mr. SAMUEL FACTOR (Spadina):

Mr. *Speaker, may I congratulate the hon. member

(Mr. Heon) who has just taken his seat upon his fine, sincere and eloquent address.

On April 8, 1937, just about two and a half years ago, I had the privilege of addressing this house on the Canada-Germany trade agreement. My observations in that connection are to be found at page 2736 of Hansard for that year. At that time I spoke of the violence, the terror and the brutality directed by the nazi regime against a vast number of law-abiding and God-fearing people of all races and creeds. I appealed to hon. members and to all my fellow-Canadians, lovers of French chivalry and traditional British freedom, to raise their voices against Hitlerism, which had set a path of conquest and destruction. Mine was a lone voice in parliament at that time.

To-day, sir, we are plunged into this terrible tragedy called war. It is not of our making; we wanted peace. Great Britain and France wanted peace; but Hitler, the economic and social destroyer of minorities, the suppressor of the Catholic church, the persecutor of that brave Protestant pastor and servant of the church, Niemoller, has flaunted the opinion of the world's most civilized nations, and has made war upon us. Upon his head, sir, lies the blood and guilt of the many lives that will be sacrificed by the democracies on the altar of liberty.

How then, under these circumstances, can anyone oppose the rendering by Canada of such assistance as is essential? If the war is to be won against autocracy and national savagery, all that we are asked to do in this parliament to-day is to express our firm determination to do all we can to help Great Britain and France, the motherlands from which the two races in Canada have sprung. I cannot conceive, sir, how any of my fellow-citizens in any of the provinces of Canada can refuse whole-heartedly to support brave Britain and heroic France in this battle with the forces of evil and injustice.

Mr. Speaker, I am a Canadian. I was never more proud than I am to-day of being a British subject living under the far-flung union jack. I represent a large and cosmopolitan constituency. I do not represent any particular race or creed, but rather I represent all Canadians. But I am a member of a race and faith which throughout its history has stood and suffered for the principles of democracy. I belong to a minority that appreciates the blessings of liberty, such as we enjoy under the British system of government.

As one who took a small part in the last war, and who is ready to serve again, I can tell you, sir, speaking on behalf of my coreligionists in this country, that we are to a

The Address-Mr. Harris

man with Great Britain and France in the war these two great nations have been forced to wage to save not only civilization but our very souls. Canada has been generous to our race. All that we are we owe to our fellow-citizens, and we are ready to do all we can to destroy that system which has enslaved the German people and which seeks and threatens to extend its sway.

Before I conclude, sir, may I be permitted to pay a well deserved tribute to the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) for the splendid judgment he showed and the patience he exhibited during the very trying days which preceded England's declaration of war.

Mr. Speaker, those connected with the Liberal, Conservative, Cooperative Commonwealth Federation and Social Credit parties, French-Canadians, English-Canadians, Jews and Gentiles are to-day all Canadians; and as a united people we shall carry on to the victory that will be ours.


Joseph Henry Harris

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. J. H. HARRIS (Danforth):

Mr. Speaker, at this critical time I feel very deeply the responsibility of saying a few words. But it is a duty I owe to the house and to my people to say at least one or two sentences which I would hope might help to unify and solidify the action of our Canadian people and Canadian public opinion at this time.

The eyes of Canada are on this chamber now. If they are, is it not then our duty to see to it that we unify our action and go forward with a united front? The reason for it is here before us. We know it; we realize it; our people know it and our people realize it. Christianity, democracy and personal liberty are fighting for their existence. As my hon. leader has said, the die is cast. I endorse heartily what he said in his speech on behalf of the people of Canada. While Great Britain and France are engaged in a war of life and death, we are engaged in a war of life and death, and there is no neutrality for Canada.

I endorse what the Minister of Justice (Mr. Lapointe) had to say in that regard. In this chamber there should be no bodies of opinion prevailing in one direction while other bodies of opinion prevail in another direction. When the hon. member for Selkirk (Mr. Thorson) rose in his place to-day and reminded us of the body of opinion the principles of which he had enunciated some few years ago, and then closed his speech by saying, "Now I am a Canadian; I represent Canada and will go as a Canadian through the tragedy which confronts us," I felt proud of him. But I was a little disturbed. This afternoon we heard the brilliant speech of the Minister of Justice during which he stated that there could be no fMr. Factor.]

neutrality. I hope he was not throwing down the gauntlet in connection with conscription. I hope he will not raise this question after the vote has been taken. I hope that the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King), in the speeches that he may make from now on, will not turn round and appeal to one section of his followers here and to another section somewhere else. I hope he will speak straight out on behalf of Canada and not emphasize any particular opinion or idea of any group. I say this in all kindness. I say to the Minister of Justice: While you were saying this afternoon that you were ready to retire from public life on the conscription issue, the men who had been recruited into the army were not thinking of that particular issue and they do not want to be reminded of it at this time.

There are enough of them volunteering, so why dampen their enthusiasm? This is not the time. I rather liked the speech made by the gallant member for Algoma West (Mr. Hamilton). His speech ought to have been enough, along with the speech of the seconder (Mr. Blanchette). After we had heard the speeches of the two leaders the vote should have been taken then and there, but now a debate has been precipitated. I have seen hon. members rise in their places at this time to enunciate their own principles. The Social Credit party is guilty of that. I was sorry to see that and hence I felt that I ought to rise and plead that there should be no more of that until this war is over. The leader of the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation (Mr. Woodsworth) enunciated his views with regard to the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation movement which is taking place in Canada.

There is only one movement in Canada at the present time. That is the movement toward a united force of all the Canadian people to cooperate with Britain and France through, this difficult time. There should be no lines between race and creed; there should be no boundaries between the provinces, until this war is over. There should be no differences between rural and city life, between rural and city activities. I plead with, employers of labour and with employees to have no strife at this time. There should be no oceans between the different component parts which go to make up our commonwealth of nations. We ought to work as one to save Christianity and ourselves.

The people are filled with patriotic fervour at the present time, but they have not sufficient outlet for this feeling. I say to the government and to all members of this house: When you ask for calmness, courage and fortitude on the part of our people, you

The Address-Mr. Harris

should be ready to give them some leadership in providing some sort of activity that will take up their time. They should be given some patriotic work which they can grasp; they should be given something to do. They cannot play baseball and they are not interested in amusements and moving pictures. They do not even want to go fishing. If they do go, they take along their radios and spend more time listening to the radio news than in carrying on the art of fishing. We should provide activities for the people. Women do not want to play bridge at this time because their hearts are not in it. Their hearts are filled with the difficulties which the nation is facing at this time.

I say quite reverently that Lent is on at the present time for the Canadian people and something must be done to take up this slack. It is Saturday night and to-morrow more people will be attending church than would ordinarily be the case. I ask those who would support this amendment: Are

you ready to let Herr Hitler take away from our children and our children's children the privilege' of going to church? I ask them to abstain from voting for the amendment. What are we going to do to occupy the minds of the people? In my opinion there should be an immediate census of the capabilities of individual Canadians, of industries, of producers and of what they can produce. We ought to know where subversive elements are to be found in this country so that they may be controlled.

The civil service commission has a list of people who are fitted for different jobs. Every one of our citizenship should be registered so that we may know how he or she can best help the country. This ought to be gone on with at once. During the last tragic war in 1914-18 there were many examples of round pegs being fitted into square holes. This should not be repeated after that experience. The Prime Minister went on at some length to explain that the provinces were solidly behind him, but he did not indicate what particular line of help he was going to ask them to give. I should like to make one or two constructive suggestions. Inasmuch as the provinces are charged with the responsibility of education, I suggest that the students in the secondary schools ought to be told more about present-day geography and about the present situation. They ought to be told, as the Prime Minister told us yesterday, that in March, 1935, Herr Hitler, the chancellor of the Reichstag, announced that he had made a non-aggression pact with Poland. Yet Herr

Hitler declared war on Poland. He stated that they did not want to interfere with any of the smaller states, yet he rode roughshod over them. The students in the secondary schools should know this story so that they can go home and tell it to their mothers and fathers. Then the Canadian people would be more seized with their responsibilities and know more about what should be done.

I think the nursing curriculum in many of our hospitals should be shortened so that trained nurses would be available when their services are required. The clever young nurses in training of eighteen years of age who have passed their matriculation are perhaps of too tender years to enlist for war service, but many of those who could not get their matriculation and who are now twenty-five years of age or so should be permitted to train as war-time nurses and be available for service. We should shorten the nursing curriculum so that trained nurses would be available to take care of our soldiers when they find themselves in need of nursing service. Put the provinces to work and see that all essential power plants are running smoothly and that the power is there to operate industry. See to it that in the municipalities where there are so many factories lying idle, a list is made and that these plants be made available for production for the Canadian people.

To the Minister of Trade and Commerce (Mr. Euler) and to the Minister of National Revenue (Mr. Ilsley) I say that one of your responsibilities is to see to it that raw materials should not be permitted to go out of this country if they are required in Canada, and thought ought to be given to an embargo on the required materials.

To the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Gardiner) I say that if this is going to be a war of attrition lasting three or four years, see to it that increased production of all kinds of farm products is encouraged and that there be a careful conservation of our foodstuffs.

I close, Mr. Speaker, with this one thought. Fifty years ago in Canada we thought of the peoples of the maritimes as being the sons and daughters of Wolfe's Highlanders who fought on the Plains of Abraham, or of those Scotch people who came over on the steam- _ ship Hector. We thought of the people in British Columbia as English ranchers and of some Nordic people working in lumber mills. But now these Nordics and all these other people are Canadians of the first calibre; they are fine Canadians. We were disturbed at one time about the people who were settling on the western plains, but we know that they are real Canadians. We knew at that time and

The Address-Mr. Poole

we know now that our compatriots in the province of Quebec were Canadians long before you and I were. They love their Canada. We know that in the province of Ontario in that day and generation people were thought of as English, Irish or Scotch; but now all these people, without thought of their particular ancestry, realize that they are Canadians, and I plead with them as Christian Canadians that from now on, after this vote is taken, let us have no dissension of opinion in this house as to what must be done to accomplish what we have set out to do.


Eric Joseph Poole

Social Credit

Mr. E. J. POOLE (Red Deer):

Mr. Speaker, I shall not take up much of the time of the house, and I question if I would have spoken at all had it not been for some of the criticism levelled against this group to-day.

During the past two days a plea has been made for tolerance, but I note that those who are most loud in their appeals for tolerance are the least willing to practise it. I listened just now to the opening remarks of the hon. member for Danforth (Mr. Harris), when he accused this group of endeavouring to put over its own particular doctrines. I do not know how that accusation can be justified. Surely we did not come down to the house on this occasion simply to say yes to everything that the government proposed, without offering any constructive suggestions of our own. Are we to lose sight utterly of what may occur in the days ahead?

The hon. member for Rosetown-Biggar (Mr. Coldwell) also made a plea for tolerance, but he did not show very much tolerance himself when he endeavoured to make political capital at the expense of this group by accusing us of believing in regimentation and in dictatorships under the guise of social credit. I ask you, Mr. Speaker, what group in this house leans more closely towards regimentation than the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation? Surely it must be evident that if w'e are to take over the means of production, it requires regimentation and a dictatorship. I notice that the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation have greatly changed their views in the past year. Last year, for instance, the hon. member would sooner go to gaol than go to war, and now this year they are differentiating between home service and service abroad. That is all nonsense; there is no difference. There should be no line of demarcation between the two services. Service for Canada means service anywhere for Canada, and without the facts before us we cannot tell w'here the front line of defence will be. If it is on the Rhine, that is where we should be as Canadians.

This group here has made its stand clear. We have made no bones about saying what we believe should be done in the present situation. Canada probably before this night is over will be at war. We shall never defeat the forces of Hitler by lip service. This group has proposed the conscription of finance, industry and man power. Why do we propose the conscription of man power? Because ^'e know that those who yesterday were public liabilities, those who were referred to by one member last session as "yaps," those who were driven from one town in one constituency to another town in another constituency because they were so embarrassingly plentiful and were a liability and charge against that city, will to-morrow be our national heroes. But they should not be the only ones. They should not be driven to war because of their economic circumstances. If you can tell me, Mr. Speaker, of a worse kind of conscription than that, I should like to hear of it. We are determined that in this war it shall be not only the working man's son who shall go but the rich man's son as well, that it shall not be just the working men's sons who shall lay down their lives for Canada while finance goes free; and the time to discuss these things is not when war is over but before war begins.

Probably the objection the previous speaker (Mr. Harris) had was to the conscription of finance that we propose. But, Mr. Speaker, we are irrevocably opposed to a dictatorship by Hitler, on the one hand, and to a dictatorship by finance on the other. They are equally obnoxious. and we in this group, representing a body of Canadian opinion, will fight both kinds of dictatorship on any front.

It has often been said in this house during the last few years since I have been a member that there was no money for public works. But there will be no question about money being provided for war. We know that we have been forced into war. but if we are going into it let us go into it with everything that we have, not with just half of what we have. We do not want the same cry that was raised when the last war was over and the survivors came straggling back to this country, those who had offered their all and then had to fight for the next twenty years for pensions and for jobs, only to be told by an apathetic parliament: We have not the money. Nor do we want them to be told, when it is proposed to create credit and currency, that this would mean inflation of a dangerous kind.

I suppose it is not in order to discuss these matters. The hon. member who spoke before me does not like any reference to them, but we must not blind ourselves to the facts. We

The Address-Mr. Lawson

in this group are fact finders; we work upon facts and not fiction. What objection is there to conscription of industry? Are we going to place ourselves in the position of the man who once said to Jesus that he had done everything, that he had led a good life, and who wanted to know what more he could do. The Lord said, "Go and give that which you have," but the man did not come back.

The hon. member for Rosetown-Biggar (Mr. Coldweli) is prepared to support war only to the extent of providing ammunition for others to fire. Those who believe in a profitless society have no objection to profits in time of war. Surely it must be evident to all of us that if you ship one load of wheat to a British port you are at war, because foodstuffs are just as essential as arms. Those who do not want Canada to participate in order to protect its own frontiers and to take its part within the British commonwealth of nations should ask themselves whether they are prepared to cut themselves off from all possibility of trade within the empire in future days. Surely that is something strange, coming particularly from members of a party whose whole political philosophy and planning are based upon the principle of exports. And now in time of war they would not participate.

I was born in England. My mother is there now and so are two of my sisters. They are in one of the greatest industrial centres of that country. When war comes to this dominion, and when conscription of wealth is declared, I shall be prepared as a Canadian citizen to do my share and to don a uniform for my country, Canada. But, Mr. Speaker, we should hesitate at any time to conscript men and allow finance to reap the reward of conflict in terms of dollars and cents.

Last year I read a report on the munitions industry compiled by a committee of the United States congress, in which it was shown that millions had been made out of war. It is no use talking about that when we are in the midst of war. These vultures are with us now and they will take every possible advantage they can of the situation. To these people human life means nothing. We claim that there must be equality of sacrifice, and that means equality of sacrifice by finance, by industry and by men.

The hon. member for Peace River (Mr. Pelletier) said that conscription was the working man's friend. What he meant by that was that when war comes, public assistance of every kind is cut off, and to force a man into war alll you have to do is to take away from him his meal ticket. The poor will go; they have always done so. And they have always been despised too.

I do not think a greater mistake could be made at this time than to participate in the war in a half-hearted manner. When you go to war you go to win, and therefore we should harness the whole forces of this country without exception. And finance should be the first to be conscripted. I hope that when this question is discussed on the political platform, man power will not be emphasized and finance subdued in the discussions by those who oppose us politically. We make it definite: finance, industry and man power.

There is another matter to which I wish to refer. Some guarantee should be given to those who go, whether as volunteers or under conscription, that they will receive better treatment after the next war than the men received after the last. In my constituency there is a man who this week lost his farm, which he purchased under the soldier settlement board. This man served overseas for four years and brought up four children. He cut down the trees on his farm, clearing eighty acres in twenty years. Yet to-day he has lost that farm. Is that fair treatment? He had no pension, notwithstanding appeals, because some nincompoop in the department locally did not like his politics. Someone pleads for tolerance. Well, if evidence is needed in support of the statement I make, I can give it; and if I prove that it is true, I would ask hon. members to help me to eradicate that sort of thing.

This group will support the motion; it will support the government. We believe that we are in for a long war and we believe that it is going to be bigger than the last; but we should enter it united, with a determination to wipe from this earth those who have denied ail reason and who know only force. That can best be done by putting all the resources of the country into the effort.


James Earl Lawson

Conservative (1867-1942)

Hon. J. E. LAWSON (York South):

Mr. Speaker, the exigency of war makes it imperative that the business before the house should be dealt with with the utmost dispatch. Therefore I shall be very brief. I intend to vote in favour of the motion because that motion stands for the participation of Canada by the side of Great Britain and in support of the democracies. In the course of his enunciation of the policy of the government before this house the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King), in dealing with one subject matter, namely, conscription made the following statement:

No such measure will be introduced by the present administration.

Lest my vote in support of the motion should be misconstrued by some, I rise merely to

The Address-Mr. Lawson

record that by that vote I do not subscribe to the policy contained in the words I have just quoted.

Amendment (Mr. Lacombe) negatived.


Walter Edward Foster (Speaker of the Senate)



The question is on the main motion. Those in favour of the main motion will please say, "aye."


Some hon. MEMBERS:



Walter Edward Foster (Speaker of the Senate)



Those opposed will please say "nay."


Some hon. MEMBERS:



Walter Edward Foster (Speaker of the Senate)



I declare the motion carried.


James Shaver Woodsworth

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


There were some of us opposed to the main motion.


September 9, 1939