July 22, 1940

CONCURRENCE IN FIRST REPORT OF SPECIAL COMMITTEE


Hon. N. A. McLARTY (Minister of Labour) presented the first report of the special committee on Bill No. 98, respecting unemployment insurance, and moved that the report be concurred in. Motion agreed to.


EUROPEAN WAR

STATEMENT OF PRIME MINISTER WITH RESPECT TO HITLER'S REICHSTAG SPEECH OF JULY 19

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):

Since this House of Commons adjourned on Friday last, hon. members will have read accounts of the speech delivered by Herr Hitler to the reichstag on that day. The speech was accompanied by newspaper reports that many parts of Europe were threatened with famine. Some semi-official statements, presumably inspired, were also issued from German sources concerning the future of Canada. In the circumstances a word in Canada's parliament concerning Hitler's latest utterance may not be out of place.

Hitler's speech abounds with the historical falsehoods which have characterized his utterances since the outbreak of war. His words and his works are both known. His words have been a succession of promises made and of promises broken. His works have been cruelty, rapine, bloodshed and violence.

His speech was characterized by Hitler as an appeal to reason and common sense. It purported to be concerned with peace. In reality it was mostly, if not entirely, a threat of dire calamity to millions of innocent beings, and exhibited a reliance upon force and violence greater than that which Hitler has displayed in any of his previous utterances. There was not so much as a suggestion of conditions or terms upon which peace could be discussed. The speech contained, however, most specific references to "unending suffering and misery" for millions, and to "complete annihilation" of either the British or the German people-Hitler's own people-and the prediction that unless the dictator's will prevailed, a great empire would be destroyed. All this was from one who in the same address professed a deep disgust for the type of unscrupulous politician who wrecks entire nations and states.

The speech calls for no words in reply. It answers itself. The one comment that obviously may fittingly be made upon it is that so far as the future of the war is concerned, deception has run its course. Resolute action alone will decide how suffering and misery are to be ended, whether it is tyranny or freedom that is to be annihilated, whether civilization is to be destroyed or to survive.

As to the threatened disaster to the peoples of Europe, none will regret a calamity to the innocent victims of persecution and aggression more than the people of Canada who have built this nation upon the foundation of tolerance, good will, peace and racial generosity. But if such a calamity does occur none will identify more clearly its creators and originators. The men who will have brought famine to Europe will be the same men who have brought fire and slaughter to Poland, to Norway, to Holland, to Belgium and to France. Against all of Hitler's prophecies there stands another prophecy that throughout the ages has never failed to come to pass. Sooner or later sure retribution will overtake the tyrant who defies the law of God and man. Until that retribution comes to undo the wrong done by the guilty, the peoples of the British commonwealth will continue to face every ordeal with fearless eyes and unflinching courage.

With reference to the destiny of Canada all I wish to say is that the destiny of Canada will be determined not by Hitler, not by Mussolini nor by any combination of aggressors, but by the free will of the people of Canada in accordance with their tried and traditional loyalty.

Hitler has spoken of peace and of a new social order. He has done so, however, in accents of war. He has chosen to talk about negotiations in the language of domination. Let me say that the mind that is capable of conceiving thoughts of wholesale destruction and complete annihilation is not a mind that is capable of envisaging either concepts of justice or the blessings of peace. Least of all is it able to build "a new social order and the finest possible standard of culture", as Hitler claims has been his intention. The peace that will finally come to the world will be the peace that the free men of the world desire and understand, a peace that their sacrifices have won. It will not be a German peace. It will not be that false nazi peace where men move amid the hushed suspense of fear in the presence of the spy, the gangster and the Gestapo. Above all, it will never be a peace based on a conception of the subordination of individual personality to the control of the materialistic and warlike state. It will

Canada's War Effort

be a peace which will reestablish liberty and affirm the rights of men. It will be a peace under which men and women can speak the truth in their hearts and live their lives without fear; a peace in which labour will have dignity, religion will have freedom, and little children will have security.

The nations of the British commonwealth no doubt have had many failings, but they have loved and honoured justice and mercy. To-day they do not fight for power, they do not fight for the preservation of any form of government; they fight the battle of mankind. The battleground has moved to the very home of freedom itself. There and now the great qualities of the people of the British isles shine more brightly than ever. The invasion of those islands will be the invasion of the sanctuaries of all free men. Their invader is our invader. Canadians are prouder than ever to share with the men and women of Britain the rigours of the conflict, and to stand shoulder to shoulder with them in the defence of political freedom, social justice and human liberty.

Topic:   EUROPEAN WAR
Subtopic:   STATEMENT OF PRIME MINISTER WITH RESPECT TO HITLER'S REICHSTAG SPEECH OF JULY 19
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NAT

Richard Burpee Hanson (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Hon. R. B. HANSON (Leader of the Opposition):

I am glad, Mr. Speaker, that the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) has made this declaration. We in Canada have read with horror and dismay the declaration of the intention of the dictators, and I am sure the public will welcome this declaration by the Prime Minister of Canada.

Topic:   EUROPEAN WAR
Subtopic:   STATEMENT OF PRIME MINISTER WITH RESPECT TO HITLER'S REICHSTAG SPEECH OF JULY 19
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BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

REQUEST FOR STATEMENT AS TO CANADA'S WAR EFFORT-MOBILIZATION REGULATIONS- FURTHER LEGISLATION

NAT

Richard Burpee Hanson (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Hon. R. B. HANSON (Leader of the Opposition):

I desire to make a few brief observations at this point, with the permission of the house, with respect to certain things which I think should be discussed in this house before prorogation.

Over the week-end it was announced by the Department of National Defence that Major General Crerar has been appointed chief of the general staff, displacing General Anderson, who is to become inspector general for central Canada in place of General Ashton, retired. I make no criticism of this change, which I think was generally expected when it was announced that General Crerar was returning to Canada to become vice-chief of the general staff. The only comment I think I should make is that the announcement came more rapidly than was generally anticipated.

I rise, however, to make a request of the ministry. This house will prorogue in about two weeks, unless the government decides not

to prorogue but to adjourn for a period of time; and that is what I think should be done. In my view parliament should not prorogue but should stand adjourned until a definite date, which should be anticipated in case any great national emergency, such as an invasion, should arise. But whether the government decides to prorogue or adjourn, before the house rises opportunity should be given for a general discussion of the government's war effort. I do not think there would be full opportunity under the general estimates. Something more is required.

We have had a cabinet reorganization, such as it is. We have had a number of press releases from the government, including a number from the Minister of Munitions and Supply. A recent one dealt with the setting up of the five companies recently organized and wholly owned by the government, and their purpose. Then on Monday, July 8, in announcing the shuffle in the cabinet, the Prime Minister gave a long tabulated list of the war set-up of the government. Still later, on the 18th of this month, he announced the set-up in his own office, including a statement defining the duties of Mr. Brockington.

Notwithstanding all this machinery announced by the government, however, strangely enough the country is without any definite and concrete statement of what it is actually doing and what is its war effort. From time to time we have announcements of huge contracts being awarded, of vast financial obligations incurred; but, after all, no one has told the house and the country just what are the concrete results. We are always being told what the government proposes to do. We are never told what the performance is. On paper the proposals look impressive, but it is results that count.

During the last two or three weeks, in fact since July 8, I have refrained from making any demand upon the ministry for information; but two weeks have elapsed and nothing but the merest platitudes have been given out by the ministry through the medium of the press, while nothing has been given in the house. How many divisions are to go overseas? What is the production of war supplies and material? What progress, if any, has been made in the construction of tanks, of big guns, of motorized equipment, of munitions? I have been given in confidence by the Minister of National Defence a statement of Bren gun production. I am not at liberty to divulge it, and have not done so. All I can safely say is that it is not impressive. It may be up to the schedule of a peace time programme, but Canada is at war; and what may be satisfactory in peace time is not good enough in war time. Then there is the question of the defence of our Atlantic coast.

Canada's War Effort

These are but samples of the thoughts which are surging through my mind and through the minds of the people of the country, who after all are paying the bills. The Prime Minister and the members of his government apparently are content, having made our war effort the prerogative of their own party, to keep within their own bosoms the story of our war effort, of our performance as distinguished from promises. There may be a reason for this silence, this secrecy; I do not know. I am no longer given any information by the ministry, though I think I am entitled, as a matter of right, to know what is going on, as I made clear on a previous occasion, for my own guidance in the house. That information has been denied to me.

In view of that fact I am constrained to demand that the situation be clarified and remedied. We began ten months ago in a feeble way. The first nine months of our war effort was pitiful. Not until events began to happen in the theatre of war did the ministry apparently wake up to the seriousness of the siuation. It was not until the middle of June, just a little over a month ago, that any results were apparent. Since then, and then only, has Canada been getting into her war stride. There have been changes at national defence headquarters. I am agreed in those changes. The minister, too long delayed at the Department of Finance, has had an opportunity to review the position. The time has now arrived when the ministry should take the house and the country into their confidence and tell us just what is the position. We have been without information too long. I invite the ministry to do so this week; in any event before we depart for our homes, which will be within the next ten days.

It may well be that the ministry will decide that they cannot, with safety to the state, give publicly all their plans. But there are some things which can and should be made public, and as soon as possible.

One important thing is in my mind. We passed recently the national resources mobilization bill. Under this bill, and under another bill passed subsequently, we delegated to the new ministry of war services the duty and obligation of setting up and defining the terms under which men are to be drafted for service in the defence of Canada. This is a great power to vest in any one minister. Before this house adjourns, those regulations should be laid on the table so that we may have the opportunity of examination and discussion. I do not want this house to adjourn without this opportunity, and it should not be denied to us.

So far we have only had a brief statement of the principles to be followed. These principles may or may not be followed. Some other principles may be set up which would not be satisfactory. In any event, we should and must know what the regulations are. It will not do to withhold them until after our departure, and I demand that they be tabled. Any good draughtsman, with the legislation before him, with the provisions of the Militia Act, with the experience of the last war, with the provisions of the English act before him, could draft these regulations in two days. Has this been done? So far we do not know; but it should be done and the result placed before the house and the country.

With respect to those matters which are secret, or which it may not be in the public interest, in the interest of the safety of the state, to reveal, I suggest that if such matters cannot be openly discussed, then we should have a secret session of the house. Generally speaking I am not in favour of secret sessions. I believe everything should be open and aboveboard. Let the light of day in upon matters and they will become clear. That may not, however, be the wisest course in war-time in respect to those matters which have to do with our home defence. If the government on its responsibility will say that the information in relation to such matters as home defence and kindred subjects cannot be revealed publicly, I would not question their judgment.

But I do think they could trust the members of this house. After all, we were elected, among other things, to carry on Canada's war, albeit under a party government. We have a definite responsibility to the public which sent us here, and if we are to discharge that responsibility we should know what is proposed.

I therefore invite the ministry to make available to the house publicly the present status of our war endeavour, and with regard to those portions of that effort which are secret and confidential, then I ask the ministry to decide and make the whole known to us in a secret session of this house, in order that we may be informed and take such intelligent action, or to refrain from action and criticism, as patriotism, loyalty, good judgment and common sense shall dictate.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   REQUEST FOR STATEMENT AS TO CANADA'S WAR EFFORT-MOBILIZATION REGULATIONS- FURTHER LEGISLATION
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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):

Mr. Speaker, with the

suggestion of my bon. friend the leader of the opposition (Mr. Hanson), that before prorogation the house should have a statement on the part of the ministry with respect to Canada's war effort, something in the nature

Canada's War Effort

of a comprehensive review, I am in entire accord; and I am sure my colleagues are equally in accord. I believe they have a desire to see that a more or less comprehensive statement is given of what has been achieved and what is being undertaken.

However I cannot agree with my hon. friend when he says that the country is not aware of what is being done. The truth of the matter is that from week to week, if not from day to day, the country has been given information on some particular aspect of Canada's war effort, from some department of the ministry. It may be that the information being given in this manner, scattered over periods of time, the sum total of, or the complete results are not as apparent as they would be if set forth in a collective or all embracing manner. As a matter of fact the administration had intended that when the estimates for the Department of National Defence were being considered in the committee of .the whole, an opportunity for such a review would be given and availed of. I believe I may promise my hon. friend, the leader of the opposition, the government will be only too pleased to give to the house the kind of statement which I believe he has in mind.

The leader of the opposition said that the government had taken, as the prerogative of its own party, the carrying on of Canada's war effort. I do not believe that that statement is wholly accurate. In fact, as my hon. friend knows, I have gone out of my way to try to find some means whereby we could make clear to hon. gentlemen opposite that we were prepared to share with representatives of their different groups not merely the responsibility, but the power which necessarily goes with the direction and carrying on of Canada's war effort. The replies received to my overtures made it clear I think that of necessity, not as a special prerogative, the government, as the party returned to power in the recent general election, must take the responsibility to carry on the war effort, and to carry it on in accordance with our usual constitutional procedure.

Speaking at the time the leader of the Social Credit group said that his party would not wish to share any responsibility with a government carrying on Canada's war effort upon the present financial basis. He pointed out that if he were to be associated with a ministry carrying on the war effort, that ministry would have to have a wholly different financial system upon which to administer the affairs of the country. So I would assume that if we were to suggest that he enter what might be

called a union government he would find it impossible to come in, on that score.

Then, my hon. friend the leader of the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation said that he and his party had been elected to expound a certain economic system and philosophy in this house, an order of socialism-and I believe he used that word, and by nodding his head he appears to approve what I say. He pointed out that he would feel that they were bound to support those doctrines, and to have colleagues support them, if they were to become merged in a government which would be in the nature of a union government.

Then, finally the leader of the opposition stated that he had been elected to oppose the government, and that for that reason he did not feel that he or his colleagues could be expected to enter anything in the nature of a union government.

I take no exception to the points of view expressed by hon. gentlemen opposite, but what I would point out to them is this: When they speak about the administration placing party before war effort, of seeking to govern by rule or virtue of party, they are all open to this veiy criticism, in view of the positions they have respectively taken. They have each stated in their own respective ways that to them their respective parties, and the principles for which their parties stand, are the principles they are here to support; and that inasmuch as those principles differ from the principles of the government they would not be prepared to enter into a union government administration, even for the purpose of carrying on Canada's war effort.

Much was said at the time of which I speak about the embarrassing position in which members of the opposition might be placed if, as was suggested, they were to become associate members of the war committee of the cabinet. It was said that being placed in such a position would mean responsibility without power. My conception of it was quite the opposite. It was an offer to give to hon. gentlemen opposite a measure of power, without responsibility. I say that because I made it clear that with respect to whatever might be considered in the war committee of the cabinet, they would have a voice equal to that of the other members who might take part in discussions, and that in presenting their points of view they would be in a position to make suggestions, to give advice and counsel and to press their views on any matter connected with Canada's war effort. I pointed out that while all that was true, the final word or the final responsibility would have to rest with the government. I made it equally clear that that responsibility would be taken by the government, and that we would not expect any

Canada's War Effort

measure of responsibility to be assumed by the associate members, other than such as hon. members associated in any great work would feel it necessary to assume. I made it clear that notwithstanding their association with the war committee of the cabinet they would be free to criticize the administration, as they might wish.

I mention these facts only because my hon. friend has referred to an effort by this party to carry on the war effort, as its prerogative. We are carrying it on-not as our prerogative, but as our duty, just as my hon. friend has said that he desires to carry on his duties and responsibilities as the leader of the opposition, duties and responsibilities second only and in many respects quite as important as those carried by members of the government.

While I am speaking I might perhaps say a word as to the work of the remainder of the session. As the leader of the opposition has intimated, there is not only a general desire on the part of hon. members to have the work of the present session wound up within the course of the next few days, but equally there is a belief that this should be possible. I wish it distinctly understood that so far as the government is concerned we are not going to seek to apply pressure to hon. members to end discussion or endeavour to prevent discussion. What we should like is to have consultation between the whips in order that the matters which it is desired to have discussed may be brought up as soon as possible, and other matters, not so pressing or relevant, left until toward the end of the session.

The leader of the opposition has asked me to give him a statement of the additional bills likely to be introduced this session. I have in my hand what I believe is a complete list of all further proposed legislation. Hon. members will see that this is not of a character likely to occasion a prolongation of the session. First, there is the Canadian National Railways financing and guarantee bill. This is an annual bill to provide for the capital expenditures of the Canadian National Railways for the current year. There will be a bill to amend the Tariff Board Act. This is simply to provide for a reduction in the salary of the chairman of the board. There will be a bill to amend the Prairie Farm Assistance Act, 1939. There will be amendments to the Canadian Wheat Board Act, and a resolution to provide for 'the ratification of a trade treaty between Canada and the Dominican Republic. There will be what is designated as the compensation (defence) bill, 1940. This will have to do with compensation for ships, space on ships or aircraft requisitioned or taken over for defence purposes. I understand there are

supplementary estimates, but not of any proportion. With what is on the order paper, this proposed legislation gives a complete picture of what remains to be done during the balance of the session.

As a means of hastening the date of prorogation, I had thought of placing to-day on the votes and proceedings a notice of motion to begin morning sittings on Thursday of this week. I will have the notice placed there and hon. members will have an opportunity of considering it in the meantime. May I say to those hon. members who have not been in previous parliaments that I do not think I have been in a parliament when it was not found both advisable and necessary at the end of the session to have morning, as well as afternoon and evening sittings, if the business of parliament was to be wound up within a definite time. If there is a desire to prorogue at an early date, the commencement of morning sittings during the present week should enable us to conclude the business of the present session, if not this week, at least in the early part of the following week.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   REQUEST FOR STATEMENT AS TO CANADA'S WAR EFFORT-MOBILIZATION REGULATIONS- FURTHER LEGISLATION
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NAT

Richard Burpee Hanson (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. HANSON (York-Sunbury):

Would the Prime Minister consider my request that regulations issued under the mobilization act be tabled prior to prorogation? I do not ask that he give a definite answer now, because he will probably want to consult with the department, but I think we should know to-morrow whether we are to get these before parliament prorogues.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   REQUEST FOR STATEMENT AS TO CANADA'S WAR EFFORT-MOBILIZATION REGULATIONS- FURTHER LEGISLATION
Permalink
LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

I shall have a word with my colleague immediately concerned, and if possible I shall give my hon. friend an answer to-morrOw.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   REQUEST FOR STATEMENT AS TO CANADA'S WAR EFFORT-MOBILIZATION REGULATIONS- FURTHER LEGISLATION
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?

Thomas Miller Bell

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

Mr. Speaker, there is nothing before the house, but perhaps I may be permitted to endorse the viewpoint of the leader of the opposition. We feel that something more than a statement of what the government is doing is needed before prorogation or adjournment occurs. While we dislike the idea of secret sessions, we are in accord with the suggestion that an opportunity be given to discuss frankly and freely certain matters which we have hesitated to bring up in connection with Canada's defence effort. May I just say to the right hon. gentleman who referred to me a few moments ago that when I spoke of our endeavour to advance a particular philosophy, that was done in reply to a suggestion which had been made in the province of Saskatchewan by members of the Liberal party. I quote from my own remarks as reported on page 1521 of Hansard of July 11:

*-one of the aims of the Liberal party was given as the annihilation of communism, nazism,

Questions

fascism and socialism. Consequently it would be manifestly impossible for those of us who hold the point of view of the socialist leaders who now constitute so large a part of the British government to associate ourselves with those who intend to destroy the very philosophy which we hold.

Again I desire to endorse the suggestion of the leader of the opposition that we be given an opportunity of discussing Canada's defence problems, in such a manner that we shall not be giving information or be charged with giving information to the enemy. And I think that we should adjourn rather than prorogue.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   REQUEST FOR STATEMENT AS TO CANADA'S WAR EFFORT-MOBILIZATION REGULATIONS- FURTHER LEGISLATION
Permalink

RAILWAYS AND SHIPPING

REFERENCE TO COMMITTEE OF SUPPLY OF ESTIMATES APPROVED BY SECOND REPORT OF STANDING COMMITTEE

LIB

James Lorimer Ilsley (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Hon. J. L. ILSLEY (Minister of Finance) moved:

That items numbers 445, 446, 458, 459 and 460 of the estimates for the year 1940-41 be referred to the committee of supply.

It will be recalled that on Friday last a report was presented to the house by the standing committee on railways and shipping. At that time you, Mr. Speaker, gave a ruling to the effect that that report could not be referred to the committee of supply, but that the estimates referred to therein should be so referred. Accordingly I am making this motion.

Topic:   RAILWAYS AND SHIPPING
Subtopic:   REFERENCE TO COMMITTEE OF SUPPLY OF ESTIMATES APPROVED BY SECOND REPORT OF STANDING COMMITTEE
Permalink

Motion agreed to.


PRIVATE BILLS

FIRST READINGS-SENATE BILLS


Bill No. 105, for the relief of John Bernard Hughes.-Mr. Bercovitch. Bill No. 106, for the relief of Annie Block Smilovitch.-Mr. Bercovitch. Bill No. 107, for the relief of Charles-Auguste Armand Lionel Beaupre.-Mr. Abbott. Bill No. 108, for the relief of Albert Lennox Brown.-Mr. Bercovitch. Bill No. 109, for the relief of Talitha Emily Findlay.-Mr. Graydon. Bill No. 110, for the relief of Joseph Armand Odilon Boucher.-Mr. Factor. Bill No. Ill, for the relief of Doris Bertha Schwartz.-Mr. Cleaver.


July 22, 1940