May 17, 1940

EUROPEAN WAR

INQUIRY AS TO RECENT DEVELOPMENTS ON THE WESTERN PRONT


lion. R. B. HANSON (Leader of the Opposition): Mr. Speaker, with your permission I should like to address a question to the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King). In view of the serious although, I hope, not critical situation which apparently has developed on the western front during the last few hours, is he prepared to make any statement to the house at this juncture?


LIB

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

Liberal

Right Hon. W. L. MACKENZIE KING (Prime Minister):

My hon. friend was kind enough to mention to me in advance of this afternoon's sitting that he would ask the question which he has just put to me. I might point out, as the house will observe, that there are no orders on to-day's order paper except the special order for the consideration of the address, to which precedence was given by resolution of the house yesterday; the procedure will be to take up at once the consideration of the address. However, the house will, I believe, agree that my hon. friend was quite right in availing himself of the earliest opportunity to ask the question he has just asked. I draw attention to the absence of orders of the day on to-day's order paper only lest some other members might feel that they were not being accorded an equal right if His Honour the Speaker ruled we should proceed at once to the consideration of the address.

Our most recent information indicates continued penetration by German forces along the Franco-Belgian border west of Sedan. For the most part the enemy forces engaged consist of mechanized forces assisted by aircraft. The situation is serious but is not considered critical. The French command are taking energetic steps, in cooperation with the United Kingdom, and it is expected the situation will be stabilized. The British and French air forces have proved very effective and a British air raid on the Ruhr has done great damage to the enemy. There is no doubt, however, that the situation is grave.

Topic:   EUROPEAN WAR
Subtopic:   INQUIRY AS TO RECENT DEVELOPMENTS ON THE WESTERN PRONT
Permalink
NAT

Richard Burpee Hanson (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. HANSON (York-Sunbury):

With the permission of the house, may I add this. There is no doubt, as the Prime Minister has said, that the situation is very serious; let us pray that it is not critical. Having regard to that fact, may I, on behalf of the party which I have the honour to represent in this house, offer to the Prime Minister and the govern-

The Address-Mr. Lapointe (Lotbiniere)

ment our whole-hearted support in any measures or actions which he may desire the house to take at this time.

Topic:   EUROPEAN WAR
Subtopic:   INQUIRY AS TO RECENT DEVELOPMENTS ON THE WESTERN PRONT
Permalink
LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

May I express to the leader of the opposition (Mr. Hanson) my own very deep appreciation, and equally that of the government as a whole, of his kindness in availing himself of the earliest, opportunity to offer to the government his support and that of his party in such action as the government may deem it necessary to take at this critical time. My hon. friend's words were not unexpected; I felt that we should be able to rely upon his helpful cooperation at a time such as this.

Topic:   EUROPEAN WAR
Subtopic:   INQUIRY AS TO RECENT DEVELOPMENTS ON THE WESTERN PRONT
Permalink

SPEECH FROM THE THRONE

ADDRESS IN REPLY, MOVED BY MR. HUGHES LAPOINTE (LOTBINIERE) AND SECONDED BY MR. JAMES SINCLAIR (VANCOUVER NORTH)


The house proceeded to the consideration of the speech delivered by His Excellency the Administrator at the opening of the session.


LIB

Hugues Lapointe

Liberal

Mr. HUGUES LAPOINTE (Lotbiniere) (Translation):

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate as a high privilege the great honour which the Prime Minister has kindly conferred upon me at the beginning of this important session of a new parliament.

In my name and on behalf of those who have elected me as their representative in this House, I wish to tender him my heartfelt thanks.

There are here many new members who, like myself, have been summoned for the first time to the nation's parliament, and I am pleased to note that youth has secured its just share of success at the last election. Indeed, the Canadian Parliament has not since a long time numbered so many young men among its members, and I believe that the nation is justified in being glad of that. I am sure that their presence will not have the effect of dividing this House into groups made up according to age disparities but that it will rather insure a greater understanding of the serious problems which will be laid before us. It is essential, during the troublous and difficult times in which we are are now living, that the government should have the cooperation of citizens of all ages and classes. What the new members lack in experience will undoubtedly be offset by their sincerity in the performance of their duty and by their desire to dedicate all their talent and energy to the service of their country. The post-war period will give rise to problems disturbingly acute, the impact of which will unavoidably be felt more severely by youth than by any other class of the popula-95826-2

tion. On their solution will depend the future well-being of our generation and of those which are still unborn.

We feel that we are cooperating in a great and useful work, and the clouds which are now darkening the world's horizon heighten the sense of responsibility which is an inherent part of our mandates.

The Right Honourable the Prime Minister achieved, on March 26 last, the greatest personal victory ever won by a government leader in Canada. No mark of confidence from the electorate has ever been so striking. The collective spirit of the Canadian nation found its expression in the recent vote and the prime minister's victory was the triumph of common sense. The government's war effort has been appraised and the people have endorsed it with a clear-cut verdict. For those of us who are from the province of Quebec the last election had a particular significance. It indicated that the province trusted her representatives; indeed, she gave an unmistakable proof of that trust on two occasions. The vote of March 26 was merely a confirmation of the verdict of October 25, when certain political leaders thought it clever to wage a provincial campaign on federal grounds, and I must say that we had a feeling of legitimate pride, during the last electoral campaign, when we heard that in some other provinces the contest was being waged on the slogan "Do like Quebec, vote unity." The vote in Quebec has shown that the province is just as mindful of her duty as she is jealous of her rights.

The unanimous approval which the Canadian people gave to the prime minister's policy has made his government truly national. The compact majority which supports him is not made up of loosely connected groups. It represents the whole country.

The government's victory has still another significance. It has shown that abuse and insult, and malicious personal attacks are not looked upon with favour during a critical period like this one and that the people will not allow their best servants to be slandered with impunity.

In the constituency of Lotbiniere, which has done me the honour of electing me, as happened in several other constituencies, the contest was on the question of our participation in the war. The answer has been unequivocal and I am proud to transmit it to this House.

Upon this question of participation in this great conflict, I should like, Mr. Speaker, to quote the words of an eminent preacher whose sermons and lectures have been heard by distinguished audiences in Montreal during these latter months. On April 5th, Rev.

10 COMMONS

The Address-Mr. Lapointe (Lotbiniere)

Father Ducatillon delivered a masterly lecture which he had entitled "Civilization, the true stake for which the war is being fought". After showing the part played by Christianity in the world's civilization, and the pagan programme which Naziism and communism have initiated, the distinguished cleric concluded as follows: "No one is justified in keeping aloof from the present conflict, since it is war for or against right, for or against culture, for or against civilization."

We have seen treaties broken, and nations invaded; in short, everything that has upheld civilization until now and everything that could ensure the security of nations has been trampled upon.

Just a few days ago, three neutral countries whose only fault was that they trusted in solemn covenants, fell victims to their good faith and were treacherously attacked. May I mention in particular the heroic Belgians, those martyrs of the last war, who are once again defending their land against, that new invasion of barbarians.

Will any one say that we are not interested in all that? Will any one say that the wild beast which has broken loose upon the world does not constitute a danger for us? Will any one say that we can remain unconcerned about the fate of liberty and of those principles to which all free men have clung tenaciously for so many centuries?

For my part, I refuse to believe that my fellow citizens can stand by unconcernedly while these principles are engulfed in the surging tide of the abominable doctrines and practises of the Hitlerian and Soviet dictatorships. How can we remain neutral when this diabolic doctrine of "Might is

right" threatens the entire world?

We believe in eternal justice and truth, twin beacons a passing cloud may dim momentarily, but which must reappear and shine forth with a sovereign radiance, toguide a civilization founded on Faith and

Hope. Such are the truths we are committed to defend.

Now what would be for us the consequences of a German victory? I have never been, nor do I intend ever to become an ardent supporter of out-and-out imperialism. History teaches us that empires, being essentially the product of human enterprise, can never as such stand wholly free from imperfection. Yet I state without hesitation that at this critical moment in the lives of all nations, when the very existence of our democratic institutions is threatened, the dismemberment of the British Empire, as well as the defeat of France our ally, would be an irreparable catastrophe, opening wide the gates

to all the subversive doctrines which are not without causing a certain degree of apprehension to the very ones who have made it fashionable, in certain circles, to denounce the present system. Everyone is aware that the dismemberment of the British Empire is one of the avowed war aims of the German Reich, and Hitler has never ceased to predict that the Empire would crumble the day war was declared in Europe.

Now, Mr. Speaker, I ask the hon. members of this house, I ask all my fellow citizens, would we not be deeply affected under the present circumstances by the consequences of such a dismemberment? What would become of us in the event of such a disaster? What would become of those who have, at the moment, nothing but criticism for the ties that bind us to England? Do they believe for a second that a victorious Germany would pay little heed to Canada with her immense resources and wealth? Do they believe that we Canadians, a small nation of some ten million people, occupying a territory five times the size of France, could safeguard the freedom and autonomy we enjoy to-day? Do they believe, especially, that w'e could long maintain our racial characteristics, our mentality, our liberty and our faith?

I am aware that numerous hypotheses have been advanced with regard to the consequences of an enemy victory. Some have claimed that in such circumstances there could only accrue a greater measure of autonomy to our country because, they allege, our neighbours to the south would never permit a German invasion of Canada.

I do not share this opinion which is rather devoid of pride. It is undoubtedly true that there exist between Canada and the United States friendly relations which are extremely helpful to us in the present conflict. Our geographical position as well as our economic interests bind us strongly together. On the other hand, is there not reason to fear that these veiy factors may tend to weaken our position as a separate entity among the nations of the world and inevitably lead to a total absorption which, though preferable to German domination, would nevertheless mean the complete disappearance of everything Canadian? For my part, I confess that I would rather remain a good neighbour.

Mr. Speaker, the country has rallied to the leadership of a man who is sure of his ground, whose concern for our national interests is everywhere manifest and wrho is worthy of trust. Is it not therefore the duty of every patriotic citizen to give wholehearted support

The Address-Mr. Lapointe (Lotbiniere)

to those whom the people have unequivocally chosen as their leaders during this trying period of our national life?

Consequently, let us now forget any disagreements which may have arisen between us during the last campaign. Let us not burden with personal considerations the solution of our national problems.

This country has entered the war of its own volition, as a free nation. It has done so, not under the orders of a foreign power nor by act of a foreign government, but by an Act of its own Parliament freely voting to participate in the European conflict. The people have recently approved this stand of the Canadian Government, in circumstances with which you are all familiar.

Is it not thus imperative that all cooperate in the effort already launched? Is it noit necessary that the unity so achieved be made evident in all fields of endeavour, in order to advance efficiently the work accomplished since Canada is too great and beautiful a country for us to allow her to be divided by misunderstanding at a time when we should be strongly united. A nation is a living organism whose functions are all interdependent, and anyone attempting to destroy this solidarity at a time when it is vitally important would be guilty of treason.

The work begun must be efficiently pursued and the unity achieved at the outbreak of war maintained. It follows that we must devote all our energy to the attainment of these ends, failing which all our efforts would, to my mind, be wasted. These two aims are inseparably bound together. The achievement of the first is predicated on the existence of the second.

In order to achieve this first aim, I believe it imperative for the government to pursue the policy established a.t the outbreak of war, and since then applied with energy and determination.

This policy has taken into account the most effective ways of exerting Canada's war effort and assisting our allies.

May I be permitted especially to praise the part played by our country in the drafting and development of the great Commonwealth air training scheme? Recent events have made clear the vital importance of a powerful air force, and Canada's efforts in this field should prove a decisive factor in settling the issue of the present conflict.

I would also like to congratulate the government for having taken all the measures necessary to safeguard and maintain our financial and economic position.

Our efforts in the allied cause shall prove valuable only insofar as we remain a strong 95826-2J

nation, economically as well as morally. The presence of a bankrupt country in the allied ranks would be a liability rather than an asset to the cause we are pledged to defend.

Moreover, the government will have to adopt measures designed to prevent, as much as possible, any rupture of balance in the normal life of this nation resulting from the war. Legislation has already been passed in order to curb any profiteering such as the Canadian consumer experienced between 1914-18. To the same end, the government has eliminated all political patronage in the administration of the Department of National Defence. Through the Bank of Canada, the country's credit has been stabilized. Other measures will undoubtedly have to be adopted as we go along to cope with future problems. The effective pursuit of the war will inevitably call for sacrifices on the part of the Canadian people who will be subjected to all manner of restrictions, but such sacrifices in a common cause are a pledge of unity, and we have the right to expect that the Canadian nation will emerge from this war stronger and more united than ever.

That second aim, the preservation of Canadian unity, we must achieve and maintain, if we want to safeguard the future of our country. Canada must remain united. We are at war of our own free will. Canada's war effort is voluntary and must remain voluntary. Suggestions to the contrary coming from scattered quarters would lead to catastrophe.

Canada is fighting in defence of international decency, inviolability of treaties and respect for sacred pledges. Our people would never allow our public men to break with impunity the solemn undertakings given to the nation.

Nothing should be done, no word should be uttered that could in any way destroy national unity.

God forbid, Mr. Speaker, that we repeat the mistakes of the last war. Let us so apply our effort that we may, once the hostilities are over, carry on as a homogeneous nation.

Let us not forget that we are Canadians first and that it is our duty to think and act as Canadians. In this connection, may I be permitted to pay tribute to the memory of one whose death has deeply grieved the whole Canadian nation: Lord Tweedsmuir. Although he had spent only a few years with us, he had learned to understand and love our people, and for a great many his record in Canada could serve as an object-lesson in true patriotism. Lord Tweedsmuir once said that a Canadian's first loyalty should be to Canada. It is my conviction that this principle should

12 COMMONS

The Address-Mr. Lapointe (Lotbiniere)

be the guiding light of every honourable member of this house during the present Parliament.

Another task devolving upon the government under present conditions is that of planning for the post-war period. There again we must draw a lesson from the last war. If our participation in the European conflict creates problems of a special nature, our eventual return to normalcy after the war may prove equally difficult.

As I have said, the presence of a large number of young members in this house ought to prove helpful in solving our national problems. They should give special attention to post-war problems.

During the dark years which may lie ahead of us, the youth of this country will be called upon to make the greatest sacrifice. Those of our jmung men w'ho are already overseas and the others who will sail shortly have a right to expect that, in return for their sacrifices, their government will take appropriate measures to ensure that their lot will not be worse when they return to this country. Provision will have to be made for the civil reestablishment of those who have not hesitated to risk their future in the cause of justice and in defence of civilization.

This planning for the post-war period must also be extended to other fields. If, as a free nation, we are bound to help save civilization now in jeopardy, we must by the same token discover a formula whereby the welfare of humanity may be secured.

All nations firmly believe, for a time at least, in the possibility of a durable peace and in the effectiveness of institutions designed to bring about the peaceful solution of disputes. The failure of the League of Nations does not prevent this hope from rising anew to-day. Indeed, the human race would soon disappear if it gave way to despair. Public opinion in democratic countries is fully aware of the deadly peril with which western civilization would be faced as a result of a Nazi or Soviet triumph over the international community, and demands a better and more effective formula than that of 1919.

Of what avail would be the sacrifices made and the losses suffered if the settlement effected at the end of the present conflict were to result once again in nothing more than a twenty-year truce. For my part, I am convinced that divine Providence, having ever guided our destiny', will not fail us now and that God will inspire the nations that have taken up arms to safeguard world peace and freedom against what has been fittingly termed "the common front of barbarism."

Mr. Speaker, it is our earnest desire that Canada should exert among all other nations

rMr. Hugues Lapointe.]

a beneficent influence toward world peace and the establishment of better relations between all countries. Such influence cannot become an important force unless we introduce at home certain reforms that would make of Canada a nation united and strong, socially, economically, and politically.

That is why I have noted with satisfaction that the report on Dominion-Provincial relations in the various spheres of activity has now been submitted to this house. This document, probably the most important since Confederation, is the work of prominent men. experts in constitutional larv; may I be permitted to add that the Chairman of the Commission, Doctor Joseph Sirois, was my professor at Laval university. These men have brought to their task all of their knowledge, patriotism and experience.

In considering the recommendations contained in this report, the various governments should take into account the new conditions which have arisen in our national life.

Surely the Fathers of Confederation could not foresee the evolution which has taken place during the past 75 years, and should certain changes become necessary because of new conditions, we should not hesitate to make them.

To that end, the greatest possible degree of cooperation should exist between the Dominion and the provinces. In this sphere also there is no room for political considerations. Besides, our population will make the necessary distinctions and will not deny its support to the proper measure of reform; our people would not even lend an ear to those who, taking an easy course, set themselves up as defenders of rights and principles contested by no one and which, in fact, must remain inviolate.

I know of no greater danger for a minority in this country than to stand in the way of reforms necessitated by our social conditions and to oppose any measure deemed progressive and essential.

I could not fittingly conclude these remarks without expressing the deep satisfaction which we have felt on hearing that His Excellency Lord Athlone had been designated for the post of Governor General of Canada. Our new viceroy has had a distinguished career and his appointment is a great honour to this country'.

Lord Athlone and Her Royal Highness the Princess Alice will receive in every part of Canada a most loyal and enthusiastic welcome. Their near association with Their Majesties King George and Queen Elizabeth will draw even closer the bonds which unite us to our gracious sovereigns, whose visit to Canada last year shall ever be remembered.

The Address-Mr. Sinclair

(Text) Mr. Speaker, one of the most remarkable developments of the present war has been the joining of France and England into one nation for all military and economic purposes. Many prophecies have been made regarding the outcome of this union after the war. At the present time their imports are for the use of both nations, their monetary systems have been harmonized, custom barriers have been adjusted. In short, the whole economic life of the two nations has been coordinated for the purpose of war. The understanding between these two countries is being observed in other spheres of activity. Their literature is being fully exchanged and the teaching and learning of each other's language has increased tremendously. In short, the union between the two countries has been not only material, but also intellectual and spiritual. What the outcome of this union will be after the war, it is hard to tell. Some observers have gone so far as to prophesy the union of France and England into one nation.

At a reception given at the Sorbonne to Lord De La Warr, former president of the Board of Education' in the British government, Monsieur Albert Sarraut, Minister of Education in the government of France used these words:

It is our intention to spread as much as possible the * study and use of the English language in France and vice versa. To speak another language is not sufficient. We shall teach France to the English people and England to the French people. We aim to create such a mutual understanding, that it shall not be necessary any longer to interpret words which will be understood immediately in their deepest sense. When we have finished with war, we hope that our children will be ready to help us in the task of rebuilding the world, not through the efforts of two people of different ideas, but through those of one common spiritual nation and one uniform civilization.

Whatever changes are being made, it seems certain that from the war will emerge a new relationship between France and England which will surely have its effects in future history and which will serve as a symbol of bonne entente for the other nations of the world. If so, I feel that we, Canadians, should rejoice at such an outcome and feel a legitimate pride in that we have already realized such a union.

In saying so, may I be permitted modestly to point out that never before in the history of our country has this union been more complete than it is now and that it has been under the leadership of two men whose whole careers have been devoted to this task, and who have for such a long time cooperated in intimate friendship and collaboration. I refer to the Right Hon. the

Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) and to the Right Hon. the Minister of Justice (Mr. Lapointe).

(Translation) Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to move, seconded by the hon. member for Vancouver North (Mr. Sinclair) that the following address be presented to His Excellency the Administrator of the Government of Canada:

May it please Your Excellency:

We, His Majesty's most dutiful and loyal subjects, the House of Commons of Canada, in parliament assembled, beg leave to offer our humble thanks to Your Excellency for the gracious speech which Your Excellency has addressed to both houses of parliament.

Topic:   SPEECH FROM THE THRONE
Subtopic:   ADDRESS IN REPLY, MOVED BY MR. HUGHES LAPOINTE (LOTBINIERE) AND SECONDED BY MR. JAMES SINCLAIR (VANCOUVER NORTH)
Permalink
LIB

James Sinclair

Liberal

Mr. JAMES SINCLAIR (Vancouver North):

Mr. Speaker, in rising to second the resolution which has just been moved by the hon. member for Lotbiniere (Mr. Hugues Lapointe), I must confess that I have never before been so aware of my own limitations as after hearing his brilliant and eloquent address. The right hon. Minister of Justice (Mr. Ernest Lapointe), during his long and distinguished career in Canadian public service, has enjoyed many great personal triumphs, but I know that none has ever made him feel prouder or happier than he is at this moment, after hearing his son so ably begin what will undoubtedly be a parliamentary career as long and successful as that of his distinguished father.

May I offer to you, Mr. Speaker, my congratulations upon your election by this honourable house to the distinguished position which you now occupy. What little confidence I may possess this afternoon is because of my consciousness that I can seek shelter and sanctuary in these somewhat strange surroundings under the sway of your kindly Doric.

May I also, if indeed that be not temerity, offer my sincere felicitations to the leader of the opposition (Mr. Hanson) upon the honour that his party has conferred upon him. I am assured that his great gifts will be a real asset to his party, to this parliament and to our country.

May I in a special way thank the right hon. the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) for the honour he has done my constituents in Vancouver North in selecting me to second the motion for an address in reply to the speech from the throne. On their behalf, too, may I congratulate him on becoming Prime Minister for the fifth time. Four years ago he was elected to office by the mandate of the Canadian people, supported by the greatest majority ever accorded to any Canadian Prime Minister. To-day, after an election fought solely on his administration since that time, we find him returned to office with a majority surpassing even that of 1935.

The Address

Mr. Sinclair

No words of mine, nor for that matter no words of the most able and eloquent member of this house, could so strikingly testify to his outstanding qualities of leadership as did the collective voice of the Canadian people from Cape Breton to Nootka sound when it spoke on the 26th day of March of this year. The record of his administrations and the repeated and overwhelming approval given to him by the people of Canada mark the Prime Minister as our greatest leader since confederation.

All Canada was saddened this spring by the death of the governor general, Lord Tweedsmuir. We have always been fortunate in the calibre of the men who have held this high office, and it is neither an exaggeration nor a reflection to say that none was as highly and as warmly regarded by the common people of Canada as was Lord Tweedsmuir. Of humble parentage, he won his education in a manner which is traditional with Scottish scholars, by bursaries at Glasgow university, by fellowships at Oxford. His administrative ability was early recognized, and he went to South Africa as one of that group of brilliant young men who were trained for public service by Lord Milner. Then came literature-fiction, history, and, above all, incomparable biography.

He served with distinction in the great war, and afterwards returned to public life as a member of the mother of parliaments. When he came to Canada we already felt that we knew him well through his books, and soon we all had a chance to see and hear and meet him. We saw him in our great cities; we saw him in the pioneer settlements on our distant frontiers; we saw him in the small communities which are the real Canada, and we marvelled at his untiring industry and his burning desire to know our country from coast to coast and our people through and through.

He had the same great love of the outdoors that so many Canadians have, and we from British Columbia are proud to think that the mountains and valleys, the lakes and streams, and the great forests and the broad ranges of Tweedsmuir park will be forever a fitting and ever green memorial to this man whom I can *rightly call a great Canadian. The man who was bom John Buchan, a son of the manse, .and who died the first Baron Tweedsmuir, a great proconsul of a great empire, may best be described in the words he himself used of Lincoln:

He conducted the ordinary business of life in phrases of homespun simplicity, but when necessary he could attain a nobility of speech and a profundity of thought which have rarely 'been equalled. He was a plain man, loving

fMr. Sinclair.]

his fellows and happy among them, but when the crisis came he could stand alone. He could talk with crowds and keep his virtue; he could preserve the common touch and yet walk with God.

I know, Mr. Speaker, that you will understand me when I say that we who hail from the far west felt a very natural pride yesterday when parliament was opened by the Administrator, Chief Justice Sir Lyman Duff. This great jurist, who by his profound learning has brought added dignity and prestige to his high office, first achieved recognition in the fair city of Victoria.

The people of Canada look forward with the greatest pleasure to welcoming the new governor general, the Earl of Athlone, and his gracious lady, when they come to our shores in the near future. It is a curious coincidence that the noble earl should come to us at this time; for twenty-six years ago, just before our entry into the last war, he was designated our governor general. At that time he asked to be excused so that he could go on service in France, and throughout that war he served with great valour and distinction. Subsequently he became the governor general of South Africa and he so completely captured the hearts of the people of our sister dominion that they asked him to remain for a second term. We are indeed fortunate to have this great soldier and statesman as governor general during the dark days ahead.

I understand that it is the privilege of the member performing this pleasant task to say a few words about his own constituency. Vancouver North, the riding which I have the honour to represent, is not as its name suggests, a part of the great city of Vancouver. It lies to -the east, to the north and .to the northwest of that city, extending from the banks of the Fraser river across to Burrard inlet, and then up the coast for some two hundred miles. I feel quite safe in saying that it is the most diversified industrial riding in British Columbia, containing as it does logging camps, sawmills, pulp and paper mills, the greatest copper mine in the British empire, shipyards, oil refineries, railway shops, extensive salmon and cod fisheries, quarries, grain elevators and a number of manufacturing plants.

The chief problem of this riding has always been to find world markets for the many products of its industries. In no part of this country have the trade expansion policies of the preceding administration been of such immediate and practical benefit, and the people of my riding are keenly appreciative of the great efforts of the government in this connection. In recent months the war has considerably increased the demand for the

The Address-Mr. Sinclair

products of my riding, but unfortunately it is becoming exceedingly difficult to secure adequate cargo space to transport these goods to overseas markets. In the timber industry especially this condition has become serious, and it is my hope that the government will soon consider measures looking to its alleviation.

My riding also includes three of the loveliest suburbs of Vancouver, but I regret to say that two of these municipalities are in the hands of receivers. It is the feeling of the residents of North Vancouver that their financial difficulties are mainly due to the action taken in removing most of the taxable waterfront in North Vancouver from the municipal assesssment rolls, and to the operation by a national agency of the Second Narrows bridge which was built and financed by the people of this district. At a later date I hope to draw the attention of the government to these matters in greater detail.

My riding has one other important asset, one which I believe is often claimed for other ridings. I believe that nowhere in Canada is there such a magnificent and varied display of scenic grandeur as is to be found on the coast of British Columbia. Our snow-capped mountains, our beautiful lakes and streams; our matchless coastline indented with innumerable great bays and deep fiords and dotted with countless islands; our unexcelled hunting, fishing, mountaineering and ski-ing, and above all, our salubrious climate, which is the envy of all Canada, serve to make the coast of British Columbia the mecca of tourists and sportsmen from all comers of the globe.

Transcending and overshadowing every other issue before this house, Mr. Speaker, is the war in which the British and French nations are engulfed. This war is not of our seeking, but is a conflict which was forced upon us when it became apparent that the brutalities, the treacheries and the aggressions of nazi Germany directed against its small and defenceless neighbours were destroying the peace of the entire world and could not be curbed by mere appeals for decency and tolerance and justice or by the ordinary processes of international law. To preserve the rights for which our forefathers fought and died since magna charta, the people of Canada, speaking through their freely chosen representatives assembled in parliament, decided that the time had come to meet force with force. Some two months ago the people of Canada approved the united war effort of the preceding administration. The people of Canada now expect this government to press forward with all the resources at their command to help our allies bring this dreadful conflict to a speedy and successful conclusion.

There were some who believed that complete neutrality should be Canada's attitude; they cited the long and successful neutrality of the Scandinavian and low countries as proof of the wisdom of that course. The terrible events of the last month .must have proved a rude awakening to these people.

The preceding administration was elected in peace time, to govern this country in peace time. Long before the war clouds began to gather in Europe, we are proud to remember that despite vigorous opposition this government began to build up our national defences and to prepare the skeleton organization for the control of the economic resources of this country should war develop. We on the Pacific coast have had a better opportunity than most people in other parts of Canada to see and appreciate the great work of the Department of National Defence in providing us with an adequate system of coastal defences. The people of Vancouver Centre recently showed their approval in no uncertain terms of the man chiefly responsible for that program of coast defence.

The present government takes over its duties refreshed and invigorated by the overwhelming mandate of the people of Canada, and is directly charged with the great task of immediately supplying the .maximum military, financial and economic aid to our allies in this death struggle. I am sure that in this house to-day partisanship will be cast aside and members of all parties will devote all their energies to assisting the government in this great task.

Mention is made in the speech from the throne of increased taxation to assist in financing the war. I think everyone in Canada realized that increased taxation must come. I am sure that today no one objects, because everyone understands only too clearly that if we lose this war, we lose everything. No financial sacrifice can equal that of those who are leaving homes and loved ones behind and offering their lives for their country.

Second only in importance to our great war effort is the planning for the reconstruction and rehabilitation of this country after the war is won. It has been said that no peace-loving democracy is ever adequately prepared for war. It is surely equally true that a democracy at war should plan and prepare for peace.

There has been another bitter struggle fought in this country during the last ten years, a struggle which has been waged, grimly and silently, in far too many Canadian homes. I refer to the never-ending struggle against unemployment, poverty and disease, against old age haunted by the fear of want; the struggle of the youth of the

The Address-Mr. Sinclair

country who have been frustrated in a desperate search for gainful employment. These are the enemies which destroyed the struggling post-war democracies of central Europe; these are the foes we must conquer in the post-war years if Canada is to survive as a free country.

The measures adopted by the preceding administration to combat these conditions were proving increasingly successful in peace time. I need mention only briefly the expanding markets provided by their trade policies; the beginning of a national forestry plan through dominion-provincial forestry camps; assistance in the development of tourist and mining roads and trails; vocational training in the cities and farm training in rural areas for our young people; municipal assistance, the National Housing Act, home improvement loans, and numerous great public works projects. This programme must of necessity be greatly extended and expanded to meet the needs of the post-war years.

We must plan to reconstruct not only our industrial and economic organizations but also the social structure of this nation. It has been increasingly apparent in recent years that grave difficulties in government are occasioned by the present division of responsibility among the federal, provincial and municipal authorities. The British North America Act was drawn up in 1S67 to meet the needs of the Canada of that time, a Canada vastly different from the Canada of to-day; a Canada, for example, in which our present chief problem, unemployment, did not exist. It is high time that the constitution of Canada was revised to bring it abreast of present conditions in this modern changing world. It is a matter of satisfaction, therefore, that the report of the royal commission on dominion-provincial relations has been tabled, and it is the hope of all Canada that out of the recommendations of this report the framework of a new Canada may be designed which will allow the governments of this country to grapple effectively and efficiently with the problems which will develop in the post-war years.

As the representative of an industrial riding I am gratified to learn from the speech from the throne that an amendment of the British North America Act is being sought to permit the introduction of a national scheme of unemployment insurance. Such legislation will be most welcome in every part of Canada. While it is true that unemployment insurance is no solution of the problem of unemployment, it will serve as a buffer to lessen the shock of unemployment on the individual as well as on the community at large.

Measures for the rehabilitation of our soldiers when demobilized will of necessity, I

think, have to be expanded to include provisions for war workers and others who will be directly or indirectly affected by the cessation of hostilities. The government will probably profit by the experience in the matter of soldiers' civil reestablishment after the last war.

The honour of seconding the address in reply to the speech from the throne is one which any young member may well prize, since it affords 'him an opportunity to speak to the house so soon after his arrival, to felicitate the leaders of his country, to mention briefly the problems of his riding, to review with pride the past accomplishments of his party, and to hold out high hopes for the success Df the program outlined in the speech from the throne. To-day, however, this honour seems singularly unimportant; for the minds of all of us here are heavily burdened with just one thought, the progress of the war in which we are now engaged.

For far too long we have taken for granted the rights and privileges of British subjects, and the vast resources and the boundless opportunities of this land of ours. Now that all of this is in jeopardy we realize that these things are infinitely precious, that life without them would be impossible. Our freedom of speech, our freedom of person, our freedom from racial and religious intolerance, our right to elect freely by secret ballot, our government-all these things will surely perish if we lose this struggle.

Until a month ago it was generally thought that this war was to be a defensive war, a war of exhaustion and attrition in which the economic resources of the nation would eventually be of more value than the military organization. The events of the last month have changed the whole outlook. The German hordes have sw'ept across Denmark and Norway and are now sweeping across the low countries. It is apparent that man power and the material of warfare are the crying needs of our allies, and it is our manifest duty to aid them in this way as speedily as possible, no matter what the cost may be.

Dominating this building in which we sit is a peace tower erected to commemorate the sacrifices of the last war. In that tower is a hall of remembrance to sixty thousand Canadians who gave their lives for their country. Across Canada from coast to coast are tens of thousands of returned soldiers whose lives have been broken by the injuries they sustained in the last war. These are terrible reminders to us of the price other Canadians have paid that we might have this freedom.

This parliament meets in the darkest days since our nation was born. The hopes and the prayers of all Canada are with us to-day.

Royal Canadian Air Force

This is no time for complacency. It is a time for united effort, for ceaseless endeavour; above all, for action, fearless action. This is the time to subordinate all other affairs, to smash away the political bickerings and the departmental red tape which in the past have impeded democratic action. This is the time to mobilize with ruthless speed every resource of this vast country.

We, the Commons of Canada, assembled within these four walls, have the power to do these things, and the people of Canada, who sent us here, expect us to use that power so that we and our allies, with God's aid, may win a peace which will ensure the freedom of the peoples of this world.

On motion of Mr. Hanson (York-Sunbury) the debate was adjourned.

On motion of Mr. Mackenzie King the house adjourned at 4.30 p.m.

Monday, May 20, 1940

Topic:   SPEECH FROM THE THRONE
Subtopic:   ADDRESS IN REPLY, MOVED BY MR. HUGHES LAPOINTE (LOTBINIERE) AND SECONDED BY MR. JAMES SINCLAIR (VANCOUVER NORTH)
Permalink

EUROPEAN WAR

INQUIRY AS TO RECENT DEVELOPMENTS ON THE WESTERN PRONT


lion. R. B. HANSON (Leader of the Opposition): Mr. Speaker, with your permission I should like to address a question to the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King). In view of the serious although, I hope, not critical situation which apparently has developed on the western front during the last few hours, is he prepared to make any statement to the house at this juncture?


LIB

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

Liberal

Right Hon. W. L. MACKENZIE KING (Prime Minister):

My hon. friend was kind enough to mention to me in advance of this afternoon's sitting that he would ask the question which he has just put to me. I might point out, as the house will observe, that there are no orders on to-day's order paper except the special order for the consideration of the address, to which precedence was given by resolution of the house yesterday; the procedure will be to take up at once the consideration of the address. However, the house will, I believe, agree that my hon. friend was quite right in availing himself of the earliest opportunity to ask the question he has just asked. I draw attention to the absence of orders of the day on to-day's order paper only lest some other members might feel that they were not being accorded an equal right if His Honour the Speaker ruled we should proceed at once to the consideration of the address.

Our most recent information indicates continued penetration by German forces along the Franco-Belgian border west of Sedan. For the most part the enemy forces engaged consist of mechanized forces assisted by aircraft. The situation is serious but is not considered critical. The French command are taking energetic steps, in cooperation with the United Kingdom, and it is expected the situation will be stabilized. The British and French air forces have proved very effective and a British air raid on the Ruhr has done great damage to the enemy. There is no doubt, however, that the situation is grave.

Topic:   EUROPEAN WAR
Subtopic:   INQUIRY AS TO RECENT DEVELOPMENTS ON THE WESTERN PRONT
Permalink
NAT

Richard Burpee Hanson (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. HANSON (York-Sunbury):

With the permission of the house, may I add this. There is no doubt, as the Prime Minister has said, that the situation is very serious; let us pray that it is not critical. Having regard to that fact, may I, on behalf of the party which I have the honour to represent in this house, offer to the Prime Minister and the govern-

The Address-Mr. Lapointe (Lotbiniere)

ment our whole-hearted support in any measures or actions which he may desire the house to take at this time.

Topic:   EUROPEAN WAR
Subtopic:   INQUIRY AS TO RECENT DEVELOPMENTS ON THE WESTERN PRONT
Permalink
LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

May I express to the leader of the opposition (Mr. Hanson) my own very deep appreciation, and equally that of the government as a whole, of his kindness in availing himself of the earliest, opportunity to offer to the government his support and that of his party in such action as the government may deem it necessary to take at this critical time. My hon. friend's words were not unexpected; I felt that we should be able to rely upon his helpful cooperation at a time such as this.

Topic:   EUROPEAN WAR
Subtopic:   INQUIRY AS TO RECENT DEVELOPMENTS ON THE WESTERN PRONT
Permalink

SPEECH FROM THE THRONE

ADDRESS IN REPLY, MOVED BY MR. HUGHES LAPOINTE (LOTBINIERE) AND SECONDED BY MR. JAMES SINCLAIR (VANCOUVER NORTH)


The house proceeded to the consideration of the speech delivered by His Excellency the Administrator at the opening of the session.


May 17, 1940