May 23, 1940

IND

Joseph Sasseville Roy

Independent Conservative

Mr. ROY:

If he asked parliament to vote millions, it was solely for the defence of Canada in Canada. During a by-election held in Lotbiniere, he himself stated the same thing. In Quebec last fall, while participating in the provincial election campaign, the right hon. Minister of Justice declared himself opposed to conscription as well as to the sending of an expeditionary force overseas. All this was merely for the purpose of obtaining votes, of capitalizing on the antiimperialist feeling he has fostered in that province, not a very difficult task since our soul, as I said a moment ago, is essentially Canadian and desires nothing else than to contribute to the progress of this country. A great deal of political capital was made out of this last March.

No one should mistake the real meaning of the vote given last March 26. During that campaign, every Liberal candidate stood against imperialism. The Liberal party's campaign rested on the issue of limited participation in the war. The government itself made the very same declarations and undertook the same commitments. They warned the people of Quebec against the Conservatives, claiming that a national government meant conscription. The right hon. Prime Minister himself stated over the air that the national government advocated by Dr. Manion was synonymous with conscription. Here again did they capitalize upon antiimperialist and anti-conscriptionist feeling.

It would appear much easier to be absolutely opposed to participation as well as antiimperialist and anti-conscriptionist when one is in the opposition in peace time than when one is in power and at war.

Where are to-day these men who claim to represent in this house the point of view and ideas of the province of Quebec? What have they to say these opponents of imperialism? What is their reaction while everyone here loudly demands conscription?

They stand behind the rampart

about which such a great deal was said in Quebec during the recent campaign-holding their breath in order not to be discovered.

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

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Ridiculous!

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

Joseph Sasseville Roy

Independent Conservative

Mr. ROY:

If these courageous gentlemen, wish to speak, they enjoy as well as I the privilege of doing so. I shall go even further and say it is their duty, and that their province expects them to do so.

Let them rise and fight in this critical hour for the principles they have defended during the last twenty-five years.

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

Hugues Lapointe

Liberal

Mr. HUGUES LAPOINTE (Translation):

May I request the hon. member to stick to the facts. The present issue has nothing whatever to do with conscription.

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

Thomas Vien (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. DEPUTY SPEAKER (Translation):

I would like to point out to the hon. member that the motion at present before the house is a motion to the effect that the Speaker leave his chair in order that the matter of an appropriation of $700,000,000 toward Canada's war effort may be discussed. As the hon. member for Lotbiniere (Mr. Hugues Lapointe) has just remarked, the matter of conscription is not before the house. I feel that I must draw the hon. member's attention to the fact that he should, as far as possible, confine his remarks to the subject which is now being discussed in the house.

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

Joseph Sasseville Roy

Independent Conservative

Mr. ROY (Translation):

Mr. Speaker, I beg to apologize if I have unwittingly broken the rules, for this is my maiden speech in this house. My object is to offset what has been said by imperialistic hon. members of this house in favour of a greater participation, for we all admit that the situation is quite serious, and I wish to state why our province is opposed to imperialism. It is because we have been led to adopt that attitude. I may be told that there is no sense in declaring a moderate war against Germany, but, as a matter of fact, that is what was promised to us.

To-day, we must guard against a fifth column that might cause us as much harm as Denmark, Czechoslovakia, Belgium and Holland have had to suffer. Consequently, before spending too much money in an external war, it behooves us to analyse carefully the needs of our country and the dangers with which we are confronted. I believe in the possibility of steering a middle course and reaching an agreement upon the participation that would be most effective. Since September, the situation of European countries has changed considerably. The French and British empires have lost allied territories,, so that they are now deprived of important sources of supply. England and France may be bombed, ravaged, but not beaten-God forbid that they should be-they may be-ravaged to such an extent that their productive capacity will be greatly impaired. They are not lacking in men; what they need is food, arms and munitions. Well, if England and France have lost considerable sources of supplies in Europe through German conquests, it would be highly important to devote our efforts to the organization of our 'natural

War Appropriation-Mr. Adamson

resources with a view to filling their needs. It would therefore be urgent to have our w'orkers produce as much as possible in order to supply the armies with what they may eventually lack. It is in that direction that we should turn our efforts and not in the direction of supplying men. It is by mobilizing all our wealth for the benefit of our allies that we will contribute to the defeat of the enemy.

Any measure involving compulsory enlistment would constitute a menace to Canadian unity. Everybody is agreed on that. Let us ward off such danger and we will avoid graver disorders perhaps than those that took place in 1918.

Next Sunday will be consecrated to asking God to bless our armies and to protect our country and our institutions. I think that on that day every hon. member of this house should particularly pray God to grant us the wisdom necessary to triumph without jeopardizing the future of our countiy, in order that she may come out of her conflict stronger than ever, that we may understand one another better and that our hearts may beat in unison for our homeland which is Canada.

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

Agar Rodney Adamson

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. A. R. ADAMSON (York West):

Mr. Speaker, it is with great misgivings that I rise in the house for the first time, not only because of my very obvious shortcomings, but because I feel that this is an hour the seriousness of which requires action, not words. It is only because what I have to say to-night will in my view be of some assistance to the government in its very heavy task that I rise in my place and take up the time of this honourable house.

During the course of the debate on the motion it was apparent to me that each member of the government who spoke took great care to stress the fact that the government was not conducting a limited liability war. They took very great care to leave that impression, and each one of them used the word "complacency". The government "doth protest too much, methinks".

Mr. Speaker, it is not my intention to reopen the old sores of the campaign or to expect an explanation of many of the statements which were made at that time but which to this date have not been satisfactorily explained. However, since I have been sitting in the house, two points have been raised by my leader, the leader of the opposition (Mr. Hanson), which have not yet been satisfactorily answered by the government. I refer first to the suggestion made by my leader that some drastic alterations of plans were

made on those three crucial days, September 3, 4 and 5. Hon. members must realize that we had and still have a very capable general staff, and I think it will be agreed that it was inconceivable that the general staff did not have some plan, some mobilization order or some scheme prepared, the orders and blue prints of which were in operation or in existence, to be used in the event of hostilities breaking out.

As I am informed, this plan called for the immediate concentration of four divisions: one at Camp Borden, one at Yalcartier, one at Sarcee, one elsewhere, and a very considerable concentration of artillery and ancillary troops at Petawawa. On September 3 the royal engineers in Toronto immediately began the purchase of large amounts of equipment, lumber and other supplies for huts and other buildings to be erected at Camp Borden. Work was carried on through the night of September 3, a Sunday, and again on the following Monday. On the Monday afternoon, that day being Labour day, a drastic change was ordered by Ottawa. Hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of equipment had been ordered and sent to its destination, but nothing more was done. That equipment lay at Camp Borden for several months. The 300 carpenters who had been hired went up to Camp Borden, but were discharged shortly afterwards. The Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) will have to show why that plan was altered. Otherwise, the militia department must have been working under an entirely erroneous conception for those three days. I happen to have seen the material so I know of what I speak.

The present leader of the opposition brought up the matter of faulty gas masks and his statement was absolutely and categorically denied by the Minister of National Defence (Mr. Rogers). As a member of this house I naturally took his word to be true, but quite by accident I happened to meet a friend of mine who had soldiered with me. In the course of a casual conversation he asked me if I had heard about the 90,000 gas masks which had to be got rid of, and I said, "No." He told me that they had had to be sent back to the manufacturer because they were not suitable for the new type of gas which had been perfected. I questioned him further about this because he had no possible opportunity of seeing Hansard. I contend that his is a statement which will require an answer from the Minister of National Defence.

I have some knowledge of chemical warfare and I understand that this new gas is one of the hydrocarbons, similar to carbon monoxide

War Appropriation-Mr. Adamson

As hon. members who have worn gas masks will know, the hydrocarbons are not filterable by an ordinary respirator. Carbon monoxide has not been used because it dissipates rapidly into the air, but apparently this new gas has been perfected. This is a matter of grave importance, and I think the Minister of National Defence should tell us whether the situation has been satisfactorily cleared up. Perhaps hon. members will be interested to know something of the pathology of these two types of gases. I should like to quote Doctor Axel Hdser, the famous Swedish expert on Experimental Pathology:

Certain poison gases specifically attack the terminal organs-

That is the nerve ganglia. He continues:

The action of phosgene on the finest ramifications of the pneumo-gastric nerves which surround the alveoli is somewhat different. The patient himself is not aware of it. By the action of the gas on the nerve extremities the walls of the alveoli, which separate the capillary vessels from the air cells, become porous and the blood serum begins to filter into the alveoli, till air can no longer penetrate to provide the red corpuscles with their oxygen.

And further:

Asphyxiating gases cause loss of oxygen by preventing the entry of air into the blood. Other gases produce the same effect differently; carbon monoxide, for instance, attacks the red corpuscles and combines with haemoglobin so as to prevent its ordinary function of absorbing oxygen and carrying it into all the organs. The patient then succumbs to internal asphyxia, the lungs remaining full of oxygen but the blood being badly provided with it. Carbon monoxide, however, owing to its low density, is only employed in special circumstances as a war gas.

As I understand it, the improvement in this hydrocarbon gas is such that new respirator filters must be employed. I should like the Minister of National Defence to clear this matter up.

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

George Alexander Cruickshank

Liberal

Mr. CRUICKSHANK:

Mr. Speaker, I am a new member here and I do not know if I may ask the hon. member a question. I may be out of order, but I should like to ask him if the Minister of National Defence (Mr. Rogers) is supposed to know what gas will be used to-morrow?

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

Agar Rodney Adamson

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ADAMSON:

Yes, that is his job.

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

George Alexander Cruickshank

Liberal

Mr. CRUICKSHANK:

To-morrow?

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

Agar Rodney Adamson

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ADAMSON:

He categorically denied that this had happened. I merely bring this up to outline the situation, and I am sure the Minister of National Defence will be able to clarify it. The matter is so serious that I thought it was worth while bringing it to the attention of this house.

We are facing an extremely grave situation. W e are up against an entirely new type of warfare. None of us in this house has experienced this particular type of warfare before.

It is my opinion that we should take immediate steps to organize the country on the best basis for overseas service and home defence. We are not sure from where or how the next blow will fall. I suggest that in view of the terrible peril in which we are to-day,, the recruiting of a third division is completely inadequate.

I suggest that the government take stock of the entire Canadian picture and tiy to produce those troops for which we in Canada have a peculiar genius. My riding is one of the largest railway ridings in Canada and railroad men come to me and ask why a railway corps cannot be organized. They talk about the wonderful work of Canadian railway troops at the battle of Vimy ridge. This was perhaps the best example up to that time or since of the splendid coordination of all arms of the service-air, railway, transport, infantry and artillery. It was the first occasion on which all arms of the service operated together and started moving at a certain zero hour. I think the organization of a railway troops corps should be proceeded with immediately.

There is another matter. We in Canada are peculiarly blessed in having a great number of highly trained hard-rock miners. In South Africa all the mining is done by natives, but we have skilled miners and tunnelers who are familiar with all types of rock and earth conditions. That presents a unique opportunity; for not only are our miners accustomed to working under different conditions as between one camp and another, but conditions often vary substantially from one end of a camp to the other. I suggest that the government utilize the services of these highly skilled men. Here we have an industry that has built and perfected a great number of new tools to suit conditions in Canada. Certainly we do not know what type of warfare we may have to meet in the coming months or the coming years; but we do know that a great part of Europe is mountainous and rocky, and a corps of expert miners, trained in the use of power tools and hard-rock equipment, would be a tremendous asset if we were called upon to fight in Italy or in some of the Balkan states. I make that suggestion to the government in all sincerity.

Another suggestion I have to make is with regard to mountaineer troops. At the outbreak of war the Canadian Amateur Ski Association sent word to all ski clubs and to all its branches and posts and received an

War Appropriation-Mr. Adamson

absolutely unanimous 100 per cent reply from young men trained as skiers, many of them trained in the art of mountaineering. They offered themselves unreservedly to serve their country in time of peril. After recent events I do not have to tell members of this house what a tremendous advantage a trained corps of mountaineer troops would be to Canada. If invasion should unfortunately come to our shores, we have mountains and we have snow, and we will need such troops. I suggest, therefore, that the government take steps to train a corps of mountaineer troops in the shortest possible time.

I come now to the tanks. Here again we have in Canada a great number of loggers, men used to driving heavy trucks and heavy transports, men used to driving mining and logging trains in our great north country. They are almost trained now as tank drivers. They are used to picking their way across country; they understand heavy machinery and how to work it. One of the most serious criticisms that can be levelled against the present administration in view of recent events in the low countries is that we have not a great tank corps here in Canada. That is something we could have built up. It would perhaps take time to build aeroplane engines, but we have steel mills and the great automobile industry, which has built caterpillar tractors. We have men who have operated them and who could do so again. I wish some member of the government could rise in his place and tell me, "We have a thousand tanks. We have begun to establish a great tank corps." Nothing would give me greater pleasure than to hear the government say that we have tanks at the present time and that we are operating them. But in Oshawa to-day a tank battalion is being trained, and it uses a piece of rope carried between two men to represent a tank. That is almost as severe an indictment against the government as anything I know.

To make matters worse, in Toronto we organized a charity to help train tank troops. It was called the armoured troops fund. It was a public charity, not for the purpose of providing socks or comforts for the troops training at Camp Borden, but to provide equipment for tank units, research and development of actual vehicles of war. I quote from the prospectus of the fund:

For further research and development of apparatus utilizing "electric eye" for use with miniature range enabling indoor gunnery training of superior value to be given at low cost with high degree of safety.

For further development of a "light-projector" gun for gunnery training in tanks or vehicles

across country. This apparatus enables observation of fire under field conditions without the use of ammunition.

For research and development of a simple and sturdy two-way radio telephone set. At present only ^ two expensive British standard sets are available. A technician has already been sent to Camp Borden to assist in the design and when plans and specifications and a model set are prepared the defence department will be asked to furnish them.

For research and development of a basic training vehicle, a vehicle having the general characteristics of the tank on which training may be given in driving, maintenance, gunnery and practice without wearing out the standard tank equipment, to be constructed using commercial truck chassis and standard parts as far as possible.

There was a considerable amount of other equipment. The ironical thing about it all is that at the bottom of the circular appears this statement underlined:

Donations to the fund wall be exempt from income tax up to fifty per cent of the net taxable income.

Hon. members will be lucky if we have any income to be taxed on unless we do better than we are doing at ithe present time.

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

Norman McLeod Rogers (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. ROGERS:

Would the hon. member permit me to ask a question?

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

Agar Rodney Adamson

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ADAMSON:

Certainly.

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

Norman McLeod Rogers (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. ROGERS:

I understand that during my absence my hon. friend made some reference to a considerable number of gas masks which had had to be discarded. I am very sorry that I was not in my seat. He will understand that it was not possible, because I was engaged on other important business; but if he would not mind repeating his statement, I should be very glad to deal with it now.

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

Agar Rodney Adamson

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ADAMSON:

The statement I made was this, that in reply to the leader of the opposition, who stated that some 90,000 gas masks had had to be discarded, the hon. minister made a categorical denial that this was done. I happened to have met one of the troops at the gas training school who served with .me. Obviously he had not seen Hansard. His statement, "Did you hear about the 90,000 gas masks which had to be sent back to the manufacturer?" rather startled me, in view of the categorical denial given by the minister to the statement of the leader of the opposition. I questioned him further, and he said that a new type of gas has been perfected and is now in use. Apparently it is one of the new hydrocarbon compounds such as carbon monoxide. I happen to know that carbon monoxide will penetrate the old-fashioned gas mask, and I was interested enough in the matter to bring it up for the purpose of obtaining a statement from the

War Appropriation-Mr. Adamson

minister, because I myself was through the gas school last summer and received gas instruction at camp Niagara, so I happen to know that these hydrocarbons are a filterable gas, they cannot be stopped by the filter which is in use.

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

Norman McLeod Rogers (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. ROGERS:

If my hon. friend will permit me; I know he wishes to be fair, and I wish to be equally fair with him. The statement as made by the leader of the opposition was one which I felt ought to be dealt with at the time. The leader of the opposition stated that a very large number of these gas masks had had to be discarded. I said that that statement was incorrect. I afterwards confirmed my statement by discussion with the master general of the ordnance, who, as my hon. friend is aware, is responsible for the manufacture of gas masks. I am sure my hon. friend will understand that it is not always possible to give complete information in a matter of that kind at this time. But I was perfectly correct in stating, as I did at the time, that the statement made by the leader of the opposition was not accurate.

The truth of the matter is that certain of the components of the container of the gas mask had to be changed in accordance with a change in actual conditions. As my hon. friend is well aware, that has been done and the gas masks have not had to be discarded. Originally the gas masks were made to war office specifications, and the change was made just as soon as possible.

I may say that I have a report in connection with the entire matter from the master general of the ordnance, which report I shall be pleased to place before the leader of the opposition to-morrow at his' convenience. I felt that it was in the interests of the house that I should deal at once with the matter which has been raised here to-night.

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

Olof Hanson

Liberal

Mr. HANSON (York^unbury):

The only difficulty is that my statement was too sweeping. There was in fact some basis for the inference in view of the change that has been necessary to meet the present situation.

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

Norman McLeod Rogers (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. ROGERS:

I shall be very glad indeed to place the whole situation before my hon. friend.

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

Richard Burpee Hanson (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. HANSON (York-Sunbury):

I think it would have been better if my hon. friend had given me the information yesterday if he had it. Perhaps he did not have it.

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

Norman McLeod Rogers (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. ROGERS:

I had not the entire information before me, but I had enough to warrant my saying that the statement was not correct.

Topic:   WAR APPROPRIATION BILL
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR GRANTING TO HIS MAJESTY AID FOR NATIONAL DEFENCE AND SECURITY
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May 23, 1940