September 11, 1939

?

An hon. MEMBER:

Why?

Topic:   WAR APPROPRIATION BILL
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR GRANTING TO HIS MAJESTY AID FOR NATIONAL DEFENCE AND SECURITY
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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

It is a resolution which has been recommended by His Excellency the Governor General, and the amendment is out of order for that reason.

Topic:   WAR APPROPRIATION BILL
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR GRANTING TO HIS MAJESTY AID FOR NATIONAL DEFENCE AND SECURITY
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CCF

Major James William Coldwell

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

Mr. COLDWELL:

Would such an amendment be in order on the bill?

Topic:   WAR APPROPRIATION BILL
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR GRANTING TO HIS MAJESTY AID FOR NATIONAL DEFENCE AND SECURITY
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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

I would prefer to leave that to His Honour the Speaker to say at a time when the bill has been introduced, but the amendment offered is certainly out of order on the resolution.

Resolution reported, read the second time and concurred in. Mr. Ilsley thereupon moved for leave to introduce Bill No. 4, for granting to his majesty aid for national defence and security.

Motion agreed to and bill read the first time.

Mr. ILSLEY moved the second reading of the bill.

Topic:   WAR APPROPRIATION BILL
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR GRANTING TO HIS MAJESTY AID FOR NATIONAL DEFENCE AND SECURITY
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LIB

Édouard Lacroix

Liberal

Mr. LACROIX (Quebec-Montmorency) (Translation):

Mr. Speaker, I have an amendment to move on the second reading, seconded by the hon. member for Laval-Two Mountains (Mr. Lacombe), as follows:

That the said bill be not now read the second time, 'but that this house express the opinion that the moneys to be appropriated and placed at the disposal of the government shall not be expended for any naval, military and air operations outside the limits of Canada.

Topic:   WAR APPROPRIATION BILL
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR GRANTING TO HIS MAJESTY AID FOR NATIONAL DEFENCE AND SECURITY
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LIB

Walter Edward Foster (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

I think this amendment is wit of order because it deals with the provisions of the bill and for that reason, in my opinion, it cannot be considered. See May, page 391. I declare the amendment out of order.

Topic:   WAR APPROPRIATION BILL
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR GRANTING TO HIS MAJESTY AID FOR NATIONAL DEFENCE AND SECURITY
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Motion agreed to, bill read the second time, and the house went into committee thereon, Mr. Sanderson in the chair. Section 1 agreed to. £Mr. Quelch.] On section 2-Appropriation.


CON

Howard Charles Green

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GREEN:

This section of the bill deals with one of the matters in connection with which I should like to make a suggestion, and I take this opportunity of placing three suggestions before the Prime Minister and the cabinet. This week Canadians from coast to coast are facing the new and difficult world in which they find themselves with a seriousness and determination which have not been known in this nation during the lifetime of any hon. member who is present in this house this afternoon, and I believe Canadians are looking not only to the government but to every hon. member of this house for leadership as they have never done before. There is a great opportunity for us to steady the nation and to show the path that it should follow.

Naturally the responsibility falls largely upon the Prime Minister and his cabinet, and I am sure that none of the other members of the House of Commons envy them the difficult task they are facing in these days. But there is also a responsibility upon each one of us, even those of us who sit on the back benches and who have been in the public service for but a short time. For this reason I was glad to hear the Prime Minister of this nation state the other day that he welcomed and invited suggestions.

I suggest in the first place that we take a more definite stand concerning an expeditionary force. The statement of the Prime Minister with regard to such a force will be found at page 35 of Hansard, where he is repented as follows:

The question of an expeditionary force or units of service overseas is particularly one of wide reaching significance which will require the fullest examination.

He then went on to refer to what had been done in Australia, where it had been stated that the government had not yet seriously considered dispatching an expeditionary force overseas. The Prime Minister said that was also the attitude being adopted by the Canadian government. But I should like to point out that the position of Australia is different from the position of Canada. Australia is more isolated and has potential enemies within close reach. It is certainly not protected to the extent that we are by the great nation to the south. Australia's problem is different from the problem of Canada. Canada has a larger population; it is the senior dominion,

War Appropriation Bill

and I submit that Canada should not hang back and wait for Australia to give a lead. Australia will be there when the time comes; there is no doubt about that, but in the meantime Canada should take the lead.

I fear that the announcement by the Prime Minister may give the nation the impression that we in this parliament are half-hearted in our conduct of the war. I realize that that is not the case, but I say simply that that impression may be created. It may be felt by Canadians-and I think this is particularly true of my own province of British Columbia-that Canada is not going to do her fair share. It is vital to maintaining the spirit of our people that they be able to feel that Canada is doing her part.

I can well understand that such a force is not needed in Great Britain at the present time, and may not be needed for months, but eventually it will be needed and should be recruited and trained in preparation for that time. We cannot pick up an expeditionary force on a few days' notice. It is not like going to a store to buy something and getting it off the shelves immediately. To be effective such a force must be trained for six months or perhaps for a year, and we should begin at once. I have all of the old soldier's horror of rushing half-trained men into war, which would mean not giving these fine young Canadians who will compose the expeditionary force a fair chance for their lives. Any war should be fought by properly trained men.

But what do we find in Canada to-day?- and I suggest this, not to be critical, but in the hope that the fault may be remedied before we go any further. We find that men are being recruited for a Canadian active service force-and if I am incorrect with respect to any of these statements I would ask the Minister of National Defence (Mr. Mackenzie) to set me right. The regulations show that men are being enlisted for home service only. In my own city of Vancouver the explanation has been given in the press repeatedly that later, if required, there will be recruiting for an overseas force, and that such members of the active service force now being recruited as wish to serve overseas can then sign on again; in other words, that they can reenlist. Actually the majority of these young men right across Canada believe that they are enlisting for overseas service, and the situation as it now exists will mean confusion, delay, and inefficiency.

I point out to the government what has happened in New Zealand. I am reading from a press report of September 8:

The New Zealand government decided to-day to raise a special military force for service within and beyond the dominion.

Then it goes on to give the particulars. Canada should follow that example. We should change our method of recruiting and have men enlist for either home or overseas service, and parliament should announce to the Canadian people the preparation of a force that can be used if necessary as an expeditionary force.

Remember that these recruits are volunteers. With those of the other dominions they will be the only volunteers, so far as we know, serving in this war. We are raising an army of men who enlist of their own free will, not blindly, but for a purpose, and the purpose of the great majority of the men who are enlisting to-day is to smash Hitlerism. That must be done overseas, and must be done by trained troops. If we leave this question of an expeditionary force in the air I believe we shall see a rapid falling off in recruiting and a rapid deterioration in the morale of our people.

My second suggestion is this: For the

present Canada is to be represented in the actual fighting by our young lads who go overseas as air personnel. The Prime Minister said the other day

I am quoting from page 35 of Hansard-"and .the dispatch of trained air personnel." Again the Minister of National Revenue (Mr. Ilsley) to-day said that airmen would be sent overseas just as rapidly as possible. They will be the very cream of our young manhood, and I suggest that they be allowed to fight as Canadians in Canadian squadrons, and not merely be sent over as "air orphans," to be lost sight of in British squadrons. Those of us who were privileged to serve in the Canadian corps in the last war will remember the thrill that came from having that name "Canada" on our shoulder straps. These young airmen should be placed in the same position, and be followed and encouraged and cheered by this nation as no body of our young men has been before.

Finally, and as a third suggestion, I think we must at once find ways to break this vicious circle of rising prices. We have not yet been at war for two days but already the war profiteer is reaping his harvest. I would read to the house a wire I have received from the mayor of Vancouver, dated September 8. He says:

Would suggest immediate action be taken by government to prevent price manipulation and hoarding of essential foodstuffs. Already there is marked upward swing in prices here without any justification whatsoever. It is working terrific hardship upon those on relief and in lower income brackets. If this state of affairs is allowed to continue and those who have already hoarded not made to disgorge it is

War Appropriation Bill

inevitable that much justifiable resentment and unrest will ensue. Would suggest you try to have market commissioner McGuigan of this city appointed here at once to protect our consumers' rights. The local situation is urgent.

J. Lyle Telford,

Mayor.

That could be confirmed by every member of this house, I have no doubt. This sort of thing must be stopped and stopped quickly. It affects every single Canadian, and particularly, and oh, so disastrously, does it affect Canadians who are on relief or on government aid of one type or another, numbering, according to the Labour Gazette, in May of this year almost one million people, a total of 934,000, The same applies to thousands of Canadians who are on the verge of relief, and to pensioners of the last war, war veterans' allowance recipients, old age pensioners, mothers on provincial allowance, and finally- and I ask the committee to note this-the dependents of these young men who are now enlisting, the dependents of our new soldiers. For all of these the raising of prices means semi-starvation.

This war is a war of nerves, far more so than the last war. How can we expect the Canadian people to keep their nerve and to keep up their spirit under such conditions? I suggest that the government take steps at once to investigate each price increase, even if they have to use the local municipal authorities for that purpose, and that if any improper increase is found, the person responsible be dealt with summarily and severely. Somewhere in most of these increases there is somebody trying to profiteer. It is seldom the retailer, but somewhere in that chain there is a man profiteering. If our present criminal code does not cover such an action, an amendment should be brought in at this session. If this price racketeering-for that is what it is-is stopped, and stopped quickly, nothing will do more to keep the morale of our people high and to maintain confidence in this parliament.

Topic:   WAR APPROPRIATION BILL
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR GRANTING TO HIS MAJESTY AID FOR NATIONAL DEFENCE AND SECURITY
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CCF

Charles Grant MacNeil

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

Mr. MacNEIL:

We have now reached the point where we must discuss the extent of our military action. This, in my opinion, must be a matter of grave, cool and deliberate appraisement. We cannot make the grave decisions involved purely on a basis of sentiment or emotion. It is now a matter of national strategy; and no greater injury could be done to our country at this time than to attempt to dictate its strategy by unreasoning emotion. As a dominion we are now at war. -War is a grim and deadly business. It demands not only cool judgment but a balanced strategy. Personally I refuse to be stampeded

fMr, Green.]

by slogans that are now being coined to whip up a suicidal hysteria. For reasons which were not based on sound strategy, decisions were made in the last war which we all now admit were blunders. By reason of these blunders thousands of young Canadians were sacrificed needlessly. As a small nation facing an unpredictable war, facing an unpredictable alignment of forces, the conservation of our man power is a paramount consideration.

I want to think as soberly of these matters now as when I see long Canadian casualty lists and attempt to weigh the loss of life against the objectives attained. I want to think as soberly of these matters here as though I were actually facing death on the field. I want to think as soberly now of these matters as when I am faced with the problems of peace rehabilitation and national reconstruction at the termination of hostilities.

War talk is a heady brew. May I say, as one who knows something of war, that perhaps the greatest stupidity of war is the impulse to plunge headlong into the conflict with a mistaken heroism and discard the strategy of the ultimate aim for the brave but melodramatic moment. Now that we are at war, nothing is more important than the calculation of a course which will bring us quickly and efficiently to the establishment of enduring peace based on justice.

We have been drawn into war as a part of the British commonwealth. Our war policies, I assume, will therefore be coordinated with those of the commonwealth. To the extent that Canada is left vulnerable the British front will be vulnerable. It is clear that as a first step in a coordinated plan, we shall be expected to place Canada in a reasonable and proper state of defence. At the same time may I point out that any unwise extension of any war effort which would undermine our defence would hamper rather than assist Great Britain. It would be the height of folly to expose the British front to a flanking movement and jeopardize a vital source of essential supplies. We invite defeat if we push forward into a salient which we have not the strength to hold.

This parliament must now decide whether Canadian lives are to be sacrificed on European battlefields. We cannot leave this decision simply to the British high command. We cannot allow this decision to be determined by hysteria or unreasoning emotion; and I submit that, from the standpoint of national or commonwealth strategy, there is no justification for sending any expeditionary force to Europe. It is on considerations of the national interest as I have attempted to

War Appropriation Bill

define it that the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation is opposed to military action overseas.

Canada's war objectives have been stated by the Prime Minister and the Minister of Justice. The first of these, according to the Prime Minister, are home defence, internal security, defence of British and French possessions in this hemisphere, economic blockade and pressure, and supply of war materials to the allies. In addition he asked blanket approval of an indefinite extension of these war objectives to military participation abroad if and when, after consultation with the British authorities, the government decides such action to be advisable. The Minister of Justice speaks of Canadians in the front line of battle " under the control of Canada, commanded by Canadians and maintained by the Dominion of Canada." We can only interpret this as meaning that the government is paving the way for action on other fronts.

We of the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation are not in agreement with such an extension of policy. In our statement we have offered no objections to measures for home defence and economic assistance to the British and French people. We do say that the measure of Canada's direct and vital concern in this straggle does not justify the shedding of Canadian blood on European soil. This is the policy enunciated by the governments of some of our sister dominions. This is the correct policy for Canada. Canadian participation in this war does not compel military participation abroad. On the contrary, we can make our best contribution to the commonwealth and at the same time safeguard the interests and future of the Canadian people by limiting our assistance in the way we have proposed.

It is important that we should clearly define now our position on this aspect of the problem. If we launch any measure of military operations abroad there will ultimately be no limit, regardless of present intentions. We must now face the fact, and face it calmly and frankly, that if we sanction any degree or form of military participation in Europe it will give rise to an increasing demand for more direct military intervention on a much larger scale.

It is possible now to discuss these problems calmly. It may not be possible to discuss them calmly when casualty lists from Europe come home. May I point this out, with no desire to detain the house at undue length? It is idle to brush aside the conscription issue if we plan now for military intervention in Europe. An expeditionary force and the

publication of casualty lists resulting from the operations of such a force mean inevitably that the conscription of man power will come to Canada. I cannot conceive of any wartime administration, having advanced to that stage in the struggle, doing otherwise than was done by Sir Robert Borden in 1917, when he said that, with an expeditionary force of

237,000 men in the field, because of inability to secure the necessary reinforcements, in order to avert national disaster, it was necessary to introduce conscription of man power in Canada.

One or two other important considerations occur to me. Unquestionably, as the straggle advances, the industries of other countries will be devastated. The production of essential materials will be difficult. More and more they will look to Canada and rely on Canada for essential materials. We have after all only eleven million people; and the most careful, deliberate, cool, almost ruthless appraisal must be made of the dangers of diverting any substantial number of men from productive enterprise at this time to combatant service.

I suggest this further, that any attempt under present circumstances to enforce conscription in Canada would virtually immobilize Canada because of the marked degree of disunity which would be created.

I think we should also keep in mind the strength and the geographical position of our country, and now plan for peace rehabilitation and consider the problems with which this small nation will be confronted at the termination of hostilities.

Other speakers have traversed that ground. In order that the point may be clear, that we may have a definite declaration of policy by the government, I move this amendment:

That section 2, subsection 1 (b) be amended to read as follows:

(b) The conduct of naval, military and air operations in or adjacent to Canada.

Some lion. MEMBERS: Question.

Topic:   WAR APPROPRIATION BILL
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR GRANTING TO HIS MAJESTY AID FOR NATIONAL DEFENCE AND SECURITY
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LIB

Frederick George Sanderson (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

The CHAIRMAN:

Shall the amendment carry? Will those in favour please say aye?

Some lion. MEMBERS: Aye.

Topic:   WAR APPROPRIATION BILL
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR GRANTING TO HIS MAJESTY AID FOR NATIONAL DEFENCE AND SECURITY
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LIB

Frederick George Sanderson (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

The CHAIRMAN:

Those opposed will

please say nay.

Topic:   WAR APPROPRIATION BILL
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR GRANTING TO HIS MAJESTY AID FOR NATIONAL DEFENCE AND SECURITY
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?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Nay.

Topic:   WAR APPROPRIATION BILL
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR GRANTING TO HIS MAJESTY AID FOR NATIONAL DEFENCE AND SECURITY
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LIB

Édouard Lacroix

Liberal

Mr. LACROIX (Beauce):

Mr. Chairman, I had risen-[DOT]

Topic:   WAR APPROPRIATION BILL
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR GRANTING TO HIS MAJESTY AID FOR NATIONAL DEFENCE AND SECURITY
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LIB

Frederick George Sanderson (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

The CHAIRMAN:

Order. The amendment

is lost.

Topic:   WAR APPROPRIATION BILL
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR GRANTING TO HIS MAJESTY AID FOR NATIONAL DEFENCE AND SECURITY
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LIB

Édouard Lacroix

Liberal

Mr. LACROIX (Quebec-Montmorency) (Translation):

Mr. Chairman, I request that the vote be recorded.

War Appropriation Bill

Topic:   WAR APPROPRIATION BILL
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR GRANTING TO HIS MAJESTY AID FOR NATIONAL DEFENCE AND SECURITY
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LIB

Liguori Lacombe

Liberal

Mr. LACOMBE:

I second the motion of

the hon. member for Quebec-Montmorency.

Topic:   WAR APPROPRIATION BILL
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR GRANTING TO HIS MAJESTY AID FOR NATIONAL DEFENCE AND SECURITY
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LIB

Wilfrid Lacroix

Liberal

Mr. LACROIX (Quebec-Montmorency):

We are five here who insist that the vote be recorded.

Topic:   WAR APPROPRIATION BILL
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR GRANTING TO HIS MAJESTY AID FOR NATIONAL DEFENCE AND SECURITY
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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. LAPOINTE (Quebec East):

The hon. member was standing.

Topic:   WAR APPROPRIATION BILL
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR GRANTING TO HIS MAJESTY AID FOR NATIONAL DEFENCE AND SECURITY
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LIB

Frederick George Sanderson (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

The CHAIRMAN:

Order.

Topic:   WAR APPROPRIATION BILL
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR GRANTING TO HIS MAJESTY AID FOR NATIONAL DEFENCE AND SECURITY
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LIB

Wilfrid Gariépy

Liberal

Mr. GARIEPY:

Mr. Chairman, this is a matter of fairness. I rise to a point of order. The hon. member for Beauce was standing awaiting his chance to speak before the amendment was put, and you persisted in going on with the proceedings while the hon. member for Beauce claimed the floor. It is most unfair in a matter of this importance that if the hon. member for Beauce has any remarks to make he should be deprived of an opportunity to make them when he rises to do so.

Topic:   WAR APPROPRIATION BILL
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR GRANTING TO HIS MAJESTY AID FOR NATIONAL DEFENCE AND SECURITY
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September 11, 1939