November 13, 1940

STATEMENT RESPECTING INQUIRY AS TO EMPLOYMENT ON CONSTRUCTION OF ARMY HUTS


On the orders of the day:


LIB

Pierre-François Casgrain (Secretary of State of Canada)

Liberal

Hon. P. F. CASGRAIN (Secretary of State):

With reference to the question asked yesterday on the orders of the day by the hon. member for Cape Breton South (Mr. Gillis) I may say that all construction in connection with internment camps is performed under the engineering branch of the Department of National Defence. I have made inquiries and have ascertained that the services of no prisoners of war have been employed in construction work outside the internment camps. In a few instances where the construction of all the buildings had not been completed when the prisoners of war arrived, their services were used to complete the buildings and the camp equipment in order to avoid additional expense to the public treasury and to ensure speedy completion. The employment of these prisoners on such work was conducted in strict accordance with the international convention relative to the treatment of prisoners of war, and any payment made therefor was in compliance with the provisions of that convention.

Topic:   STATEMENT RESPECTING INQUIRY AS TO EMPLOYMENT ON CONSTRUCTION OF ARMY HUTS
Permalink

GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH

CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY


The house resumed from Tuesday, November 12, consideration of the motion of Mr. Brooke Claxton for an address to His Excellency the Governor General in reply to his speech at the opening of the session, and the amendment thereto of Mr. Hanson (York-Sunbury). Mr. M.J. COLDWELL (Rosetown-Biggar): War has effectively closed our principal markets for farm products. Our Canadian farmers realize that the necessities of the blockade make it quite improper to export food and other basic materials to countries which may in turn supply Germany and her victims. But they insist that exports of minerals and other supplies shall be controlled in precisely the same manner. Our agricultural problems are, however, not due to war conditions exclusively. Economic nationalism and the increase in production encouraged by the first great war, and made possible by the mechanization and scientific development of agriculture, have combined to increase the difficulties of Canadian agriculture. The lack



The Address-Mr. Caldwell



of any intelligent policy or direction on the part of the government has greatly increased the difficulties. In western Canada particularly, restriction of delivery, causing a serious loss of financial return, together with a lack of proper storage space, and lost markets, have caused a condition which endangers the entire economy. The wheat situation can best be illustrated by saying that the carryover of last year's crop, including stocks of Canadian wheat in the United States, was 301,000,000 bushels. The last estimate of the new 1940 crop is 561.000. 000 bushels, so that for all purposes we have over 860,000,000 bushels available in this crop year. If domestic and foreign requirements reach 350,000,000 bushels, which in my opinion is too much to hope for, our carryover into the next crop year will be more than 500,000,000 bushels, or nearly 50.000. 000 bushels more than all elevator and storage capacity in Canada. This, however, is not the calamity it appears to be, because it may well become our greatest war asset. For Britain it is an assurance that so long as she can keep the seaways open we have over two years' supply of food for her in our own country; and second, it is an assurance to the suffering people of Europe that as soon as they care to and can cooperate with us in the overthrow of the dictators they too can be fed. In that respect it may prove to be a trump card. We therefore contend that the burden of carrying this asset ought not to be left with the producers, but should be assumed by the entire nation. Since similar conditions face other branches of agriculture, we would make these suggestions: 1. That the marketing of all farm produce by appropriate boards with adequate producer representation be provided for. 2. The suppression of gambling and speculation in food products, including of course the closing of the grain exchange. 3. The acquisition by marketing boards of all farm produce at parity prices. 4. A cash advance on grain properly stored on the farms of 75 per cent of the wheat board|s initial payment, and an issue of participation certificates on all farm produce marketed through the appropriate boards. 5. That on the participation certificates issued last year an interim payment should be made at once. This would assist the farmers to provide proper farm storage for grain, enabling the producers to benefit from the storage charges, now being paid to elevator and other companies. [Mi Coldwdl.] 6. That all processing and packing plants be brought under cooperative or public ownership and control, to eliminate monopoly exploitation and to establish parity prices. 7. The appointment of a full-time Minister of Agriculture devoting exclusive attention to the industry, and the transfer of all agricultural marketing boards from the Department of Trade and Commerce to the Department of Agriculture. The policies suggested require the establishment of a planning commission for the agricultural industry. Such a commission should recommend future policy, coordinate the work of the marketing boards and prepare plans for the saving and storage of surplus products during the war period. It Should arrange for adequate distribution of food to persons on relief, on small pensions and on low standards of living. It should arrange also for the establishment of a domestic freight rate which would enable producers in other parts of Canada to use our lower grades of grain for the feeding of live stock. In addition, it should arrange for the export to Great Britain without profit to Canada of surplus supplies of food now rationed in the mother country. But let me emphasize that in addition to this immediate policy it should recommend longterm plans for the rehabilitation of the agricultural industry. There are other matters which time will allow me only to mention briefly now. Foremost among them are the defence of Canada regulations. As I indicated to the special committee at the close of last session, I am far from satisfied with them in their revised form. I believe that every accused person and every accused organization ought to have the right of an immediate and fair trial before an impartial tribunal. I realize that provisions of a different sort relating to the examination of witnesses may be necessary during the war, but an accused and his counsel should have the right to examine fully the written evidence upon which detentions and internments of British citizens are made. In other words, we are again demanding that the rule of law shall be safeguarded and observed. Without these guarantees there can be no democracy and we are in danger of establishing in Canada the very system which we are fighting abroad. The government should provide the house as early as possible in this session with an opportunity of discussing the report of the special committee which dealt with the defence of Canada regulations at the last session. Last evening the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) concluded his remarks with a reference to war and peace aims. I was disappointed that he left the matter, shorn The Address-Mr. Blackmore of all the verbiage, with a statement that our ability to defeat the enemy would determine our opportunity of building a new social order. With that rather trite statement I fancy we can all agree. But we affirm our belief that this government owes it to the Canadian people, and to our men in the armed forces particularly, to define its aims in consultation with the British and the allied governments. Democratic Canadians want this war to end in a lasting peace based on social and economic justice and the rule of law nationally and internationally. To achieve these ends peace must be negotiated between peoples freed of course from the threat of force. Great and small nations must realize that their security depends upon collective security and not purely upon national power. This conception involves the establishment of an international authority superior to individual states and the abandonment of force as an instrument of national policy. It therefore follows that all people must have the right to develop their own civilization and that the rights of national, racial and religious minorities must be guaranteed and respected. This involves the renunciation of all forms of exploitation and the making of provision for economic cooperation and equal access to raw materials and to the markets of the world. In our opinion a statement of such aims at this time would do much to destroy the influence of Hitler and Mussolini in their own countries and consolidate democratic peoples behind the allied cause. 1 here are other matters which I should have liked to discuss at some length but time does not permit me to do so. We are of the opinion that the government is doing the right thing in calling a conference to consider the Sirois report. Much of the factual material gathered together by the commission will be of great value to students and others in considering the dominion-provincial problems which have to be solved at this time and in relating them to the necessities of our war and post war problems. We shall be glad to give the matter our most intelligent consideration. I should like to close with the thought that to-day we are witnessing an unhealthy war boom. Employment is increasing; our factories are busy; some prices are rising and bank loans are on the increase. But this is not prosperity in the sense that we use the term in peace time. Neither is it the solution, for which we have been looking, of our unemployment problem. The solution lies deeper and will require great and fundamental changes for which we must prepare. We are witnessing the passing of an age. We must revamp, reform and revitalize our constitutional. economic and social relationships in 14873-sj preparation for the great task of rebuilding on new foundations a world which at the present time is being subjected to physical and moral deterioration.


SC

John Horne Blackmore

Social Credit

Mr. J. H. BLACKMORE (Lethbridge):

Mr. Speaker, inasmuch as the members of this group were elected on March 26 as New Democracy members I believe I would be remiss in my duty if I neglected to seize the first opportunity to refer in this house to certain recent occurrences.

Mr. Joseph P. Kennedy, United States ambassador to Great Britain who recently returned home, is reported in the Boston Globe to have said during the course of an interview :

Democracy is finished in England. It may be here. Because it comes to a question of feeding people.

This is a rude shock. Have we not been hearing that we are fighting for democracy? Were not the nations on our side incessantly characterized as the democracies, as opposed to the dictators? Was not Britain held up to us as the leader, the bulwark of democracy? Now we hear this! It is true that Mr. Kennedy hastened to explain that his remarks were intended to be "off the record," but that fact will only make them the more significant.

It is well that Canadians should note what Mr. Kennedy was reported to have said of democracy in the United States. In that country there would seem to be dangerous trends. I wonder if our Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) knew about those trends. I hope that throughout his efforts to bind Canada more and more closely to the United States he has taken and will continue to take adequate precautions to safeguard Canadian democracy.

But there is circulating a malodorous rumour of another sort. Into the October. 1940, issue of Canadian Business, that impeccable bulwark of all things orthodox and reactionary in Canada, there somehow crept an article entitled "The U.S. and Us," by one Leslie Roberts, in which we find such passages as this:

You might also say Britain has been com-munized, but you certainly could not say she had been Stalinized, and there is a vast difference except to a man who cringes when he sees labels.

And such bold notes as:

The joint defence plan is more than politics, it presages a new international, industrial and economic order in North America.

and:

Canada can expect a "communization" such as Britain has seen, although the transition will be more gradual.

The Address-Mr. Blackmore

and:

Planned production, the standardization and interchangeability of munitions and equipment in both countries is beginning.

So now Canada is to be communized but not Stalinized, is it? Are we to understand, then, that Canada is to be Leninized or perhaps Trotsky-ized? And what is the difference between the brand of communism Canada is to have and the brand that has been so meticulously declared unlawful, which has been so dutifully hunted down and so rigorously punished? How astonishing all this is; how astounding, how utterly bewildering!

Certainly it is time for a new democracy, for a philosophy that knows not only how to talk about democracy but how to recognize it, safeguard it, preserve it and perfect it among men. Perhaps no one has better defined democracy than did Lincoln when he characterized it as government of the people, by the people and for the people. To bring his statement up to date we might specify "what" people, making the expression read: "Government of all the people, by the majority of the people, for the greatest good of the greatest possible number of the people, especially the common people."

There should be at least three kinds of democracy: social, political and economic. Towards each of these three the British peoples throughout the generations have striven fervently and sternly. By insisting upon freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of association and freedom of religion we have made some progress towards social democracy. By establishing the vote by secret ballot, universal suffrage, representation by population, a carefully elaborated system of parliamentary institutions, responsible government and the like, our fathers have attained a fair measure of political democracy. Several pernicious influences, however, have been and are now at work disintegrating our political democracy. These influences fall under two main categories.

The first category comprises economic considerations: fear of the loss of a job or of advancement, fear of the loss of patronage and other similar fears deter many men from voting sincerely. Then powerful interests constantly seek to modify the policies of parties and the behaviour of governments. The second category comprises intellectual and emotional considerations. Propaganda distorts people's understanding and judgment and beclouds the issues in elections. Each year these forces are becoming more and more intense and devastating in subversive effect. Meanwhile life is growing more complex and, to the average citizen, incomprehensible. Political democracy is gravely endangered.

Economic democracy has been dreamed of and striven for but never achieved in any substantial measure. Economic democracy is fundamental. Without it the other kinds of democracy are becoming more and more futile and will cease to exist. We must have economic democracy.

How to attain economic democracy and so establish it that it will endure is one of the main considerations of our generation. The London Economist has envisioned the object to be achieved. It is quoted by the Western Producer of October 31, 1940, as saying:

The thirties are over and gone, and the time has come for constitutional guarantees to the right of food, clothing, medical care and education, along with free speech, press and worship.

How to achieve this is the problem. People will insist that it be done. Two plans are developing in men's minds. One of these presupposes a socialistic dictatorship more or less resembling that of Hitler, Mussolini or Stalin. It means the destruction of democracy. The other plan declares that power can be decentralized, that ownership can be decentralized, and that individual freedom and security can be maintained. The great example of this second plan to attain a higher economic democracy and self-government of other kinds is social credit.

I beg leave to move in the following terms an amendment to the amendment which has already been moved:

That the following be added to the amendment:

" And this house further regrets the failure of the government to adopt a monetary policy that would permit a maximum war effort without either increasing debt or reducing the standards of living below that necessary for maintaining maximum efficiency ;

Furthermore this house is of the opinion that a continuation of the present financial policy will further destroy the precious liberties so essential to. and recognized as being inherent in a true democracy."

Social credit proposes to use the national credit to provide money without additional debt, without additional taxation. Social crediters maintain that in any well-organized and well-managed state with rich and varied resources, such as we have in Canada, the national credit can and should be used to provide fair prices and adequate home markets for all essential industries.

What a boon to the wheat growers would be the application in Canada of the social credit technique! Without it, as Canadians are now going, our farmers will be destroyed. Wheat growers and other primary producers must have fair prices, involving cost, plus a just profit. They must have markets-if not abroad, then at home, and, if necessary, by

The Address-Mr. Blackmore

government purchase. The wheat situation in western Canada is an example of how serious the condition is becoming among our producers. At the present time the supply is as follows: According to figures I have obtained we had, before this year's crop was reaped, a carryover of 300,000,000 bushels. The latest estimate for this year's crop shows an amount of 547,179,000 bushels, of which quantity the west produced 540,000,000 bushels.

With regard to markets, in our domestic market and under the present system Canada can use 140,000,000 bushels. Great Britain will probably take 150,000,000 bushels, and others will take 30,000,000 bushels. The carryover will, as everyone knows, be the largest in history. What does this mean? In the west, alone, 300.000 farmers will be affected, and the condition will affect more than 20 per cent of Canada's export, 25,000,000 of Canada's best acres and two billion dollars of investment. When we consider the whole of Canada the figures become much more impressive than the ones I have placed on record.

What is the storage situation? Canada's storing capacity, including terminals, is estimated at 425,000,000 bushels. The line elevator companies and the wheat pool, by constructing additional bins, are estimated to be about to supply space for 25,000,000 bushels more. That is not enough. The result is that we have a most deplorable situation. I have seen huge quantities of wheat, wheat upon which this country may be dependent for its very existence, heaped in roadside ditches, piled up in the fields, in danger of wasting.

That is not all -which concerns the western farmer. It seems that few people realize that there is a rapidly rising secondary price structure. According to the Searle letter of October 23, 1940, prices of the 147 commodities western farmers buy have risen, since 1914, as follows:

Percentage of increase in price since 1914 Per cent

Groceries 22

Clothing 33

House equipment 66

Farm equipment 44

Farm machinery 67

Municipal taxes 74

The whole 147 articles sent out in the Searle index now cost on an average 42 per cent more than they did in 1914.

According to the same letter, since the present war broke out the cost of articles the

farmer must buy has risen on an average of 8 per cent. The following are some specific increases:

Percentage of increase in price in last 12 months Per cent

Groceries 14

Clothing 7

Household equipment 11

Farm equipment 7'5

Farm machinery 7

Municipal taxes 2

These index figures indicate increased cost of absolute necessities for living and producing. It is impossible for the average hon. member sitting in comfort in this chamber, without knowledge of the situation confronting those farmers, to realize even remotely how serious the picture has become. The Searle index shows that the actual cost of living of farmers has risen more in the first year of this war than it did in the first year of the last war. The index points out that one bushel of wheat now has only 54 per cent of the purchasing power it had in 1913 and 1914.

With wheat at such a ruinous level, so far as its purchasing power is concerned, imagine the tragic plight of the farmer, with his grocery bill, gasoline bill, repair bill, taxes and a wide variety of other bills still unpaid, in a position to sell only part of his crop! Imagine the plight of those who trusted him and supplied those commodities! Imagine what will happen to his credit next year when he undertakes to put in another crop! Who will advance him the gasoline? Who will trust him for repairs to machinery? What effect will that condition have on Canada's productive power next year? Imagine what is happening to those Who would have sold to him! And this is a consideration which affects eastern Canada particularly.

Let it be borne in mind constantly that when the western farmer cannot buy, the eastern producer cannot sell and cannot obtain payment for the commodities he has already sold. If eastern producers cannot sell, then those same eastern producers cannot continue to produce. The economic strength of Canada is impaired to the extent to which production falls off.

Topic:   GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
Permalink
LIB

John Knox Blair

Liberal

Mr. BLAIR:

What about the eastern

farmer?

Topic:   GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
Permalink
SC

John Horne Blackmore

Social Credit

Mr. BLACKMORE:

The same thing applies to the eastern farmer. I happen to come from the west. If I came from the east I would speak for him. But I do not see why other hon. members do not say more for the eastern farmer.

The Address-Mr. Blackmore

radio and through the propaganda machine to-day which will be a disgrace to the sponsors of it ten years from now.

The government can increase production by loans to producers. It is advancing, and quite generously, I read, money to concerns which are to build munitions factories and other means of producing the goods that we shall need in this war. There is nothing wrong with extending the application of that principle to include the producers of any other commodity, watermelons, for instance, if we wish to have more of them.

Again, why not give assistance to both the producers and consumers of goods? Why not bonus home production? Already the government is paying, I understand, a bonus on choice cheese, and that is a sound way of stimulating the production of choice cheese. Why not try bonusing the production of any other commodity that we are in danger of running short of?

People may ask, where will the money come from? Let those people read Professor Plumptre and then try to get sense out of their question. We can bonus the producers. Why not, for example, bonus the producers of our sugar? I have time and again on the floor of this house urged that our beet sugar industry should be assisted by way of bonus, but I never hear of anything being done about it. Why not do it if there is danger of a shortage of sugar? Why not bonus if there is danger of a shortage of oil and of each of a wide variety of other products?

Why not grant the consumers a bonus as we do in Alberta through the Alberta treasury branch? It would, I know, be a disgrace for this government to adopt any monetary policy advocated in Alberta. But the time may come when men will yet go to Alberta for instruction. They may find that there is still good to come out of Nazareth.

Why not bonus both producers and consumers by providing cheaper freight rates; for example, by extending and increasing the subventions on coal to other commodities so that Alberta wheat, for instance, may be sent out to British Columbia chicken producers? Why not? Men are tremendously worried about the surplus of wheat, but one hears of no attempt being made to modify the freight rate structure to enable our Alberta wheat to move more cheaply to the egg producers in British Columbia. Freight rates would be the first thing a common sense administration would think of. Why not remove the sales tax on certain desired commodities; why not have a tariff exemption on certain essential raw materials and component parts required in the production of commodities the supply of which we wish to increase?

All these measures would tend to prevent inflation by increasing the supply of goods. Other means of preventing inflation would be to encourage investment and production by fair remunerative prices, by assuring the producers of immunity from injurious taxation and from destructive changes in tariff policy.

I suggest to the government that it study social credit proposals. Solutions for the ills of the world have been discovered in less reputable sources in times past. Let the government learn the truth about social credit and then through its elaborate propaganda machine, always at work, tell the Canadian people the truth about social credit. Tell the people what inflation is, and what causes it, and how it can be prevented. Tell the people the cause of the adverse exchange rate on our Canadian dollar. Tell them what economic nationalism really means. Tell them why nations with a shortage of resources have resorted to economic nationalism and will continue to resort to economic nationalism as a measure of self-preservation. Tell the people the truth so that they will know these things. Why not tell the people of the real productive power of Canada with respect to the various commodities of Canada? Why not tell them of the real consumptive power of Canada? If that is done, the people will be ready for the introduction of social credit.

When we have sound economic production, sound economic consumption and a sound economic price structure in Canada, we shall be well on our way to the introduction of the much maligned system of social credit. Social credit is just common sense in action. Then and only then, when the government introduces those three things, sound economic production, sound economic consumption, and a sound economic price structure, can Canada contribute to the maximum, of her glorious power in defence of her heritage, her people, her empire and her king.

Topic:   GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
Permalink
LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

Perhaps the house will permit me to make a statement which I believe will be of intense interest to all, and in so doing to follow the example of the Prime Minister of Great Britain, who interrupted the proceedings of the British House of Commons to-day to make the statement which I wish to quote.

Topic:   GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
Permalink

NAVAL ACTION IN MEDITERRANEAN

SUCCESSFUL ATTACK ON ITALIAN FLEET AT TARANTO


-mr. churchill's comments


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, in the British House of Commons to-day Mr. Churchill

Naval Action in Mediterranean

read a communique from the British Admiralty. In doing so he said:

I feel it my duty to bring this glorious episode to the immediate notice of the house. As a result of a determined and highly successful attack which reflects the greatest honour on the fleet air arm, only three of the Italian battleships now remain effective.

This result, while affecting decisively the balance of naval power in the Mediterranean, also carries with it reactions upon the naval situation in every quarter of the globe.

The following is the Admiralty's statement. It is now appearing in the evening papers:

The Royal Navy has struck a crippling blow at the Italian fleet, the main units of which were lying snuggling behind their shore defences in their main base at Taranto.

On the night of November 11-12, aircraft of the fleet air arm carried out an attack, the results of which have now been established by photographic reconnaissance.

It is now known that one battleship of the Littorio (35,000 ton) class is badly down by the bows, that her forecastle is under water, and that she has a heavy list to starboard. (The Littorio and Vitorrio Veneto, only recently commissioned, are among the most powerful battleships in the world.)

One battleship of the Cavour (Conte de Cavour, 23,622 ton) class has been beached and, from her stern up and including the after turret, is under water. The ship is listing heavily to starboard.

It has not been possible to establish the fact with certainty but it appeals probable that a second battleship of the Cavour class also has been severely damaged. (Italy has four battleships of the Cavour class.)

In the inner harbour two cruisers are listed to starboard and are surrounded by oil fuel. Two fleet auxiliaries are lying with their sterns under water.

The total strength of the Italian battle fleet was six battleships, two of the Littorio class, which have just been put into service, and four of the recently reconstructed Cavour class.

As a result of this determined and highly successful attack probably only three Italian battleships now remain effective.

It will be recalled that the Italian communique issued on the 12th of November admitted that one warship had been badly damaged. The Italian communique also claimed that six of our aircraft were shot down and three more probably shot down. In fact only two of our aircraft are missing, and it is noted that the enemy claim that part of the crew have been taken prisoner.

On the night of November 9-10 a successful bombardment was carried out on Sidi Barrani. The fire was returned by shore batteries, but our ships sustained no damage and no casualties.

The Mediterranean fleet have also continued to harass the Italian army communications in Libya.

It is also reported that one of our submarines has recently attacked a convoy of two supply ships escorted by a destroyer. As a result, one heavily-laden ship of 3,000 tons was sunk and a second ship certainly was damaged, and probably was sunk.

After reading that communique Mr. Churchill concluded with these words:

The spirit of the Royal Navy, shown in this daring attack, is also exemplified in the forlorn and heroic action fought by the captain, officers and ship's company of His Majesty's ship Jervis Bay in giving battle against overwhelming odds in order to protect the merchant convoy which they were escorting and thus secure the escape of by far the greater part of the convoy.

Topic:   NAVAL ACTION IN MEDITERRANEAN
Subtopic:   SUCCESSFUL ATTACK ON ITALIAN FLEET AT TARANTO
Sub-subtopic:   STATEMENT OF BRITISH ADMIRALTY
Permalink

GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH

CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY


The house resumed consideration of the motion of Mr. Brooke Claxton for an address to His Exellency the Governor General in reply to his speech at the opening of the session, and the amendment thereto of Mr. Hanson (York-Sunbury), and the amendment to the amendment of Mr. Blackmore.


LIB

Joseph Thorarinn Thorson

Liberal

Mr. J. T. THORSON (Selkirk):

I am sure that every hon. member will be greatly heartened by the splendid news which the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) has just announced, the great victory of the Royal Navy, and I am equally sure that every hon. member rejoices in the fact that we meet in this session under much more favourable circumstances than those that faced us at the beginning of the last session. At that time the nazis had just overrun the low countries, Denmark had surrendered without a struggle, Norway was being crushed into submission, and the fall of France was imminent. We felt one shock after the other and we were dismayed. The dramatic evacuation of Dunkirk, followed by the tragic fall of France made the defence of Great Britain itself a matter of intense concern. Dramatic events took place quickly in Great Britain, which fast became an island fortress. We were dismayed in Canada. There was anxiety here that our war effort was not adequate. The government had been elected, in the main, I believe, because the people of Canada had confidence in the administration and felt that it would give Canada a wise and careful administration of its war effort. That war effort had been geared to the war effort of Great Britain, which had been conducted in an orderly and somewhat leisurely manner. The dramatic turn of events in Europe changed all that. It changed the course of events in Great Britain. The anxiety that was felt in Canada was reflected in this house in the spirited criticism that came from hon. members opposite. The government of Canada made rapid decisions. It took one step after another in quick succession. It rapidly increased the size of the army and the navy.

The Address-Mr. Thorson

It accelerated the British commonwealth air training plan, it made provision for the mobilization of the man-power and the material resources of the country, it provided for national registration, which was subsequently carried out with great success, and stepped up the arrangements for munitions and supplies. I think it may safely be said that the government came out of that session in as good command of the situation as could reasonably be expected. I think also that some measure of praise is due to hon. members opposite for the part they played in bringing about that result for their criticism of the efforts of the government had its due effect. I am confident that the end of the session saw the Canadian people with confidence in the administration of the country and conviction that the government was doing its utmost to meet the needs of Canada in the discharge of its national duty.

In this session we meet under much more favourable circumstances, although the war outlook is still grim and ominous and victory is not yet in sight. I am free to confess that personally I feel a great deal happier over the war prospects than I did three months ago. This is due in large measure to two great events that have taken place. The first is that the battle of Britain, and particularly the battle of London, although not yet over, have resulted in a major nazi defeat. The world has seen great exhibitions of heroism and courage in the course of its history-the Spartans at Thermopylae; the great French at Verdun; the Canadians at Ypres. But the world has never seen a greater exhibition of fortitude than that displayed by the civilian population of London during the past two months. If there is one predominating thought in the mind of every member of this house it is one of profound admiration of the grim determination and splendid morale which the people of London have displayed in the face of the most savage and ruthless attack that has ever been made in the history of the world upon a great city. The people of Great Britain have shown that the nazis cannot successfully invade that island. They have shown that there are definite limits to the nazi might. The Germans are not invincible. One phase of the war, the possibility of an invasion of Great Britain, has to some extent been concluded.

The second great event is the formulation of a joint defence policy by the United States and Canada and the changed attitude of the people of the United States to the war and their fixed determination to give Great Britain " all aid short of war." By reason of that change of attitude in the United States that country has now become a great potential

reservoir of victory for our cause, and for their cause as well for there is a growing realization in that country of the fact that the battle lor civilization capnot safely be left to this hemisphere, but must be fought in Europe, where the enemies of civilization exist. There have been strong critics of the Prime Minister in his long period of public life, but no one will deny him his fair measure of praise for the splendid part that he has played in promoting friendly relations between Canada and our great neighbour. We are deeply grateful to the United States for the assistance that it has given and for the assistance that it is still to give, and we are thankful-I think I can say this in the name of the whole Canadian people-that we have in the present Prime Minister a leader who can be relied upon to preserve and promote the strong and growing feeling of friendliness and common purpose which exists between our country and our great neighbour.

These two events of which I have spoken have given the people of Canada a strong feeling of personal security; for we have now two definite lines of defence. The first line of defence is in Great Britain, and that line has not yet been broken; indeed it is stronger to-day than it was five months ago. But we have also a second line of defence, on this hemisphere, in our alliance with the United States, with it# great power of mass production, and the splendid spirit of its people, who have never yet been defeated. Both of these lines of defence must be retained by the people of Canada; for both are of incalculable value to us.

Our own war effort has made rapid progress. Our army and navy have been increased in size and efficiency, and our commonwealth air training plan has been rushed forward with surprising and gratifying speed. I need not dwell on this subject, for particulars have already been given by the Prime Minister and more particulars will be afforded by the government as this debate proceeds.

But there is one aspect of the present situation which does cause me some concern and I deem it my duty to deal with it. It is absurd to say that the sense of personal security of which I spoke a moment ago was deliberately created by the government or that the sense of security is really false. A sense of security does exist by reason of the facts that I have mentioned, and it is worth having; but there are some dangers involved in it; for I am afraid that there is not even yet a sufficient realization in this country of the supreme necessity on our part of safeguarding and maintaining our security. It is quite true that serious warnings have been given, both by Mr. Churchill in Great Britain

The Address-Mr. Thorson

and by our own Prime Minister, but the fact remains that Canada has not yet really suffered from the war.

Apart from war casualties, and fortunately they have been comparatively few, no one thus far in Canada has really been hurt by the war. The financial volume of business in this country reached in September its highest point in twenty years and employment in industry reached its highest level in the same period. Very few people in Canada are worse off than they were before the war, and countless thousands of persons have found their financial positions greatly improved. 1 he impact of tax increases has hardly yet been felt. The cost of living has not greatly increased. Indeed, at the moment, we are in the midst of an exhilarating war construction and industrial expansion boom.

I think that this feeling of personal security had something to do with the slowness of the Canadian response to the war loan, but it would be absurd to say that the war loan was a failure. Nevertheless, the people of Canada are not yet as fully conscious as, in my opinion, they ought to be of the necessity of making the utmost personal sacrifices to ensure the continuance of the security which they now enjoy. Such warnings as the Prime Minister gave last night must be continually emphasized. While we are happy that the threatened nazi invasion of Great Britain has failed, every responsible person knows that there are grim days ahead, that there is serious danger involved in the intensified nazi submarine campaign, and that war-weariness is bound to bring about some reduction of morale. It is one thing for Great Britain to avert defeat by staving off an invasion, but it is quite another thing to accomplish victory. Great Britain will need every possible assistance that we can give her, and it is our solemn duty as a freedom-loving nation to give her our maximum aid.

For this reason we, as members of parliament and representatives of the people, will wish to know, not only what progress has been made with our war effort-and we are proud of its increasing momentum-but, what is perhaps even more important at this stage of our war effort, we will wish to be informed as to what has not yet been done and what must still be done. Are there any deficiencies in our war effort? If so, what are they and what steps can be taken to remedy them? Are we running short of efficient man-power in our war industries? If so, what efforts are being made to train men for special purposes? Is our war effort being restricted in any manner by financial considerations? If so, in what respect and how can these restrictions be removed? I suggest that it is on such matters 14873-61

as these that we should concentrate our attention this session, and I am confident that if we do so the government will emerge from this session, as it did from the last one, with confident-, on the part of the Canadian people that, it is doing its utmost to discharge our national duty.

I said that I felt much happier over the war outlook than I did three months ago. Confidence in our ultimate success is essential, but excess of confidence and the taking of victory for granted have elements of danger that may well impede the success of our war efforts. The realities of the grim struggle in which we are engaged and the necessity of making every possible sacrifice must be continually placed before our people. I do not say that we should deliberately seek to create fear in our people, but it seems to be a fact that in all great conflicts nations make their strongest and most successful efforts when they are most hard pressed. Confidence of victory is valuable, but fear of possible disaster is an even more powerful incentive to united effort. It was fear of an invasion of Great Britain that stirred the people of that country to a united and determined war effort which has challenged the admiration of the world. It was fear of the possible destruction of Great Britain and the invasion of this hemisphere that brought about a changed sentiment towards the war in the United States and created their determination to give Great Britain all aid short of war. These facts should not be forgotten, and our own people must be kept continuously alive to the realization that an excess of optimism is dangerous. Victory for our cause is made more certain by a continuing realization of the appalling consequences of defeat and the necessity for the utmost sacrifice on the part of our people to prevent it.

In addition to making this country more conscious than it is at the present time of the grimness of the struggle in which we are engaged, in my opinion it is also necessary to embark immediately upon a programme of national reform which will at one and the same time accomplish two definite purposes: first, enable Canada to make its maximum contribution to the aid of Great Britain by removing any impediment to the success of our war effort that may exist in our national structure; and, second, at the same time lay the foundation for a strong Canada that will enable us to withstand the strains of the post-war period and prove to the people of Canada that democracy can work and is worth fighting for

It would not be possible or desirable at this stage to elaborate the particulars of

The Address

Mr. Thorson

such a programme of national reform, but its outlines may be roughly sketched. In the first place we should establish a proper financial structure for this dominion and its provinces which will enable them to perform their respective functions with efficiency and economy. Second, we should ensure proper relations between industry and labour so that Canada may become a truly great industrial power. Finally, we should establish a policy for primary industry in Canada that will enable our primary producers to continue efficiently the production of the basic wealth of this country.

In this connection I hope that at a very early date the government will give this house an opportunity for a special debate on our wheat problem, with the house in committee of the whole. I urge that this debate should take place before the house rises for the Christmas recess, so thal a carefully thought out wheat policy may be announced as early in the new year as possible. In my opinion such a debate would be preferable to a random discussion of the wheat question during the course of this debate.

Much of the programme of national reform which I suggest is contained in the recommendations of the royal commission on dominion-provincial relations, in what is called the Sirois report. I strongly recommend the recommendations contained in that report and sincerely urge their adoption at the earliest possible date. I was deeply stirred by the quiet announcement made by the Prime Minister that he had invited the premiers of the provinces to attend a conference here in Ottawa some time in January, and I read with interest his letter of invitation to the premiers with his indication of the government's approval of the report. I am glad to learn that all the provinces have indicated their intention of being represented. I sincerely hope that this conference will be successful, for I am convinced that the adoption of the recommendations and their implementation by the necessary legislative and administrative action will constitute the greatest act of Canadian statesmanship since confederation itself. At the same time it will serve the twofold purpose of increasing the efficiency of our war effort and establishing the foundations for a greater and stronger Canada, of which every Canadian may be justly proud.

In the short space of time at my disposal it would not be possible even to summarize the recommendations contained in the Sirois report. The main ones have to do with financial adjustments as between the dominion and the provinces. A very brief summary of these

financial recommendations appears on page 86 of volume 2 of the report. I find it difficult to restrain my language in expressing my appreciation of this report and the splendid principles upon which it is based. I believe it to be the oustanding Canadian document since confederation. It is likewise a human document; for it is concerned with the welfare of the people of Canada as a whole, through the maintenance and expansion of the national income and its better distribution for the purpose of providing a greater measure of social and economic security. The report realizes the need for national unity in this country. It is a great unifying document for Canada, but it does not in any sense propose any centralization of authority. It stresses the need of a national minimum standard of social services in Canada as essential to national unity, but it fully respects the federal system and completely preserves provincial liberty of action in spheres which are primarily cultural and social.

In my opinion the commissioners have successfully carried out the instructions that were given them, and we should be deeply grateful to them for the careful study which they have made and particularly for the singleness of purpose that runs through almost every line of the report: concern for the welfare of the people of Canada from coast to coast. They have in true reality recaptured the spirit of confederation itself. This is a great reconfederation document, applying the principles of confederation to the changed needs and conditions of to-day. The commissioners also stress the necessity of continued and increased cooperation between the dominion and the provinces. They do not conceive of the provinces of Canada as nine separate, independent entities but rather as nine provinces interdependent upon each other and bound together by one bond, the bond of Canada.

It has been urged that we should defer consideration of the report until after the war. I do not agree with this point of view. This country will be put to severe financial strains before this war is over, and we shall have to eliminate every financial obstacle that stands in our way. If our financial structure was utterly inadequate for Canada in time of peace, it is even more necessary now than it would be in peace-time to make the changes recommended by the report. They are essential to the success of our war effort, and I sincerely hope that when we are summoned again in the new year one of our major tasks will be the necessary legislative and administrative action to implement the recommendations of the Sirois report; for I am confident that if we do that a new era for Canada will begin.

The Address-Mr. Thor son

The speech from the throne is a unique document in that there is no reference in it to any specific legislation. The whole speech centres upon the Canadian war effort, and ends with a pledge for the prosecution of the war to the utmost of our strength. This is singularly appropriate at this session; for nothing must be allowed to detract our attention from our war effort. There is no country in the world more fortunately situated than Canada is to-day. I wonder how many people in Canada really appreciate the blessings that we enjoy. But Canada must be prepared to pay the price for its continued security. We must ensure the continuance of the personal security that we enjoy, and there is no premium of insurance within our power that is too high to pay.

There is one other note I should like to sound, and that is the need for the highest degree of national unity. Canada will need the aid of all Canadians, not only those of British origin, but also those of French origin and those whose origin is neither British nor French. Mr. Speaker, may I remind you of the fact that approximately half the people of Canada are not of British origin? Those people are not tied to Great Britain by ties of blood, but rather because of the principles for which Great Britain stands-personal freedom, liberty, and regard for the sacred rights of human personality; indeed these are the rights for which we fight. All of us are proud, regardless of our origin, to be associated with Great Britain in her heroic struggle, and we must not fail.

I should like to associate myself with the eloquent pleas made by the hon. member for St. Lawrence-St. George (Mr. Claxton) and the hon. member for Provencher (Mr. Jutras) for a sympathetic understanding and appreciation of the different points of view that exist in Canada, knowing that the people of Canada can be and are bound all together in one unity by the common tie of Canada.

In the special war session of 1939 I had no hesitation in urging Canada's participation in the war to the utmost of her capacity. I felt it my duty to speak on that occasion by reason of certain views that I had previously strongly expressed. I spoke in the course of that debate as one who has sometimes been described as a " pacifist," and some of my friends have twitted me on what they have described as a change of heart. No change of heart has taken place. There is still honour in the term " pacifist," as I understand it. A great pacifist has passed away in Great Britain. He believed that it was his solemn duty, as the leader of his nation, to keep his people free from war and to hold them on the

path of peace as long as peace was possible; that the maintenance of peace was his sacred responsibility, unless some issue greater than peace itself was involved. Perhaps history will be kinder to him than we have been during the past few months, and will honour him for the nobility of his purpose, in spite of the fact that his efforts met with failure.

I am still a pacifist, in the sense that I have described, but love of peace must give way when an issue greater .than peace is involved. Therefore I had no hesitation in voting for Canadian participation in the war, in the special war session of 1939; for an issue greater than peace had emerged. Indeed, the cause of humanity itself was in grave peril.

I conclude, Mr. Speaker, with one other note. I spoke in the special war session as a Canadian. I do so again. During a long period of schooling both in this country and in England, and both as a student and as a teacher, I have watched with pride the growth of Canada as a nation. When I was privileged to enter this house first, some fourteen years ago, it was my hope that I might be able to make some contribution to the development of the great country that has been kind to me, and has given to me the great opportunities that I have been privileged to enjoy.

I have always been an ardent admirer of the institutions and traditions that we have inherited from Great Britain, with their emphasis on freedom, and liberty, and the right and duty of self-determination and selfdevelopment. Perhaps I come by that admiration naturally, by reason of the fact that I inherit by racial origin, a longer tradition of personal liberty and freedom than is enjoyed by any other member in this house.

I have often spoken in this house on Canadian matters, relating to the development of Canadian nationality, on our equality of status with other nations of the British commonwealth, of the desirability of separate representation of Canada abroad, of our right and of our duty to determine all issues of policy, whether domestic or external, for ourselves- even the supreme issue of peace or war.

We have now seen Canada emerge from her former colonial status to that of full nationhood. When we entered this war, independently as we did and of our own free will as a free nation, we passed the greatest milestone in our history as a nation. I have always believed in the development of Canada as a nation. I have always shared the views-and I have never hesitated to express them-that were put forward by Sir Robert Borden when he said that Canada could not truly fulfil her destiny short of sovereignty. When we entered the war we assumed great

The Address-Mr. Thor son

responsibilities. I had a feeling of personal pride in the course that we took; for I had urged in this house, in the face of considerable opposition, that Canada must exercise freedom of choice in the supreme issue of peace or war and I was confident that she could always be trusted to face each issue as it arose in the interests of the Canadian people. I was not disappointed in that faith.

I am supremely confident that after this war is over there will be a great surge of truly Canadian sentiment in this country, and that the prophecy of Sir Wilfrid Laurier that this century belongs to Canada will ultimately be fulfilled. I am jealous of the honour of Canada as a nation. When this war is over I would not want anyone to be able to say that Canada had entered the war as a nation but had failed in her national duty; that she had promised her utmost aid to Great Britain but had failed to give it. There must be no blemish upon our national honour. It is our solemn and sacred national duty to carry out the pledge contained in the speech from the throne. Therefore, as a Canadian, devoutly proud of my country, I pledge my utmost support toward a maximum Canadian war effort in aid of Great Britain in her heroic and magnificent struggle for the cause of civilization.

Mr. GEORGE S. WHITE (Hastings-Peterborough): Mr. Speaker, sin-ce the last

time I appeared in this house I have been serving as adjutant of the second battalion of the Hastings and Prince Edward regiment, having enlisted on June 29. Notwithstanding what has been said to the contrary, I did not receive my commission from this government. I received my commission in August, 1930, and since that date I have been actively connected with the Hastings and Prince Edward regiment. I have held my present rank for over five years and was adjutant of the battalion long before the war. I trust hon. members will pardon me for making these personal remarks, but I do so in order that no one in this house will think I have received one of these lightning promotions of which we hear from time to time.

At the time of the formation of our battalion there were two officers at headquarters -the colonel and myself. Since July 1, I have seen our unit expand until at the present time there are over 900 all ranks, without taking into account those who have recently been attached to the unit on paper only from the training centres. During this period I have observed many things first-hand of which the public are entirely ignorant or in connection with which they have been misinformed. I should like to assure the Min-

ister of National Defence (Mr. Ralston) that while some of my remarks may be critical, I offer them in the most friendly manner as constructive criticism. I also hope to be able to offer to him and the government some suggestions which may tend to overcome many of the objectionable things which are now inflicted upon our military forces.

I had looked forward with much interest to the address of the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) which he delivered yesterday because I had hoped to learn more of our war aims, but I was disappointed. As a review of historical events, both ancient and modern, his speech was splendid, but that is not what the people of Canada are demanding to-day. The people want to be told in plain, simple language the military objectives of this government. They want to know by what plans the government aims to arrive at these objectives. The time has long passed for flowery adjectives and fervent statements of loyalty. Surely it can be taken for granted that every hon. member is a loyal British subject. It should not be necessary for them to try to outdo each other in allegations of extreme loyalty. Let the actions of hon. members speak for themselves. The people of this dominion are quite able to judge whether or not this government is doing all that it should in the prosecution of the war.

Let this government give the public the true facts of our war effort without this continual window-dressing. The Prime Minister is a lawyer, but he had a very poor case to present in his speech yesterday. Like a skilful lawyer addressing a jury, he skated round his subject very carefully. He used eloquent language and made obscure references to the real points of the case. He criticized the leader of the opposition (Mr. Hanson) at some length for his use of the words "lull" and "soothe". Yet the Prime Minister in referring to the manufacture of planes in Canada stated that the output had been increased two or three hundred per cent. This sounds marvellous, but how much better it would have been if the Prime Minister had said that in July or August of this year the output of planes was two, four or five planes, or whatever the correct figure is, and then made the comparison with the output in September or October of this year.

The Prime Minister paid a tribute to the non-permanent units, but he failed to give any outline of the future of these units. The rumour persists at the present time that these units are to be demobilized. Their training period will be ended this month. He also

The Address-Mr. White

paid a tribute to the manner in which the national registration had been carried out.

I remember, however, that in June I pressed the Prime Minister on two different occas-sions to state whether or not there would be a registration before any young men were called up. It was only after this matter had been pressed quite strongly that we were able to get the information that there would be a national registration before any young men were called up under the Mobilization Act.

I say again to the government: Let us have the plain facts. How many divisions is it intended to raise in Canada? What does the government intend to do about altering the present set-up of the training centres? Why not tell the exact truth about the production of war materials? W e should be told why we have not the machine guns, rifles, ammunition and the dozen other essential commodities necessary for the training of a 1940 army. If an offensive starts in Europe and our casualties are heavy, have the necessary precautions been taken to supply the first division with trained reinforcements? Every man who has been connected with the militia knows that for each man in the front line there must be five to seven men back to the recruiting office in order to keep him there.

I do not expect miracles to happen in connection with the training of men or the production of equipment. In the short time since I have been adjutant of my unit I have come to realize the many difficulties that beset the officers in forming and looking after a unit of only 900 men. At the same time we must remember that to-day we are in the fifteenth month of the war, and surely at this date there should be a sufficient supply of the essential war materials. Perhaps the Minister of National Defence will tell us when he speaks just how many Bren guns are being manufactured to-day and how many have been manufactured to date. This government, and this government alone, must assume responsibility for the present state of equipment of our armed forces. In England Mr. Churchill frankly tells the nation what is being done. He does not paint glowing pictures. Only a short time ago in a speech he offered the British people tears and sweat and dark hours, but here in Canada this government has seen fit to attach to many of the departments highly paid propaganda writers who colour the news and release only comments and opinions which are favourable to the government, so that anyone reading their reports in the press is led to believe that we are making marvellous progress, that there is nothing to fear, that Canada is going in high gear. All I ask the government to do is

to present the true picture, to tell us exactly where we stand in the matter of production to-day.

At the very time our non-permanent active militia units were called up in June of this year, conditions looked very black in Europe. Up to that time there had been no shortage of recruits for the Canadian active service force. In fact a young man who wished to enlist in the Canadian active service force in my county or in this province had to search about for a place where recruiting was going on for the Canadian active service force. Whatever influenced the government to call up the non-permanent active militia units for only thirty days' training a year is known only to themselves. In a very short time, in record time in fact, those units were all over-strength, and recruiting for them stopped on August 15. Yet at the date those units were called up there was no clothing of any kind available for them. There were no rifles, no machine guns or other articles of equipment necessary for infantry rifle battalions. Everyone must realize that you cannot enlist men and keep them doing squad drill forever. It was over two months before the first uniforms were issued to my unit. The issue consisted of a cap, a blouse tunic, a pair of trousers, a shirt, a belt and a pair of boots. This clothing was issued two days before the unit left to train at Petawawa camp. Despite many articles that have appeared in the press from time to time as to the enormous quantities of clothing being turned out, this government was unable to issue more than one shirt to each man. The men had no socks and they have not yet received any socks. They received no underwear. They did not have a greatcoat or a cardigan jacket or a sweater of any kind. As for personal articles they received none at all. What a contrast is the list of issue used in all the non-permanent active militia units and the list of equipment actually supplied at the training camp.

Before going to camp one company of two hundred men of my battalion had no socks and they were unable to obtain them from the government. So I myself wrote to the Red Cross and asked for two hundred pairs of socks, and the Red Cross replied as they always do, "Certainly you can have them." Anyone who has trained at Petawawa camp knows that it becomes very cold there at night; yet these men were sent there without overcoats, and without sweaters, just in summer uniforms, and there was not a single place in that camp where there was a fire. If a man got his feet wet, or his clothing was damp, there was no place where he could go to dry himself and his clothing. In my opinion

so

The Address-Mr. White

September is far too late to have a camp under canvas at Petawawa. It has been published in routine orders that summer clothing is not to be worn after the sixteenth of September; yet there are many men in my unit who are still drilling in summer clothing because there is not enough serge battle-dress to go round. In one company alone there are eighty men who have no winter clothing. These men are drilling either in civilian dress or in summer denim drill-and this after the battalion had been mobilized for nearly five months.

Our unit was issued rifles two days before going to camp, with the 306 Lee-Enfield. Up to that time our company at Madoc had only three rifles, which had been borrowed privately, with which .to instruct over two hundred men. There was absolutely no opportunity to train these men in the care and use of the rifle or in musketry before going to camp. I should like to point out to hon. members that there is a great difference between the 306 Lee-Enfield rifle and the rifle known as the short Lee-Enfield which was used in the last war, and which is used to-day for firing on the ranges. The difference briefly is this. The safety catch is different; the action of the bolt and of the magazine is different; but, most important of all, the sights on the two rifles are entirely different. The point of balance is also different in the two rifles. This may seem a small matter, but in .teaching men to slope arms, present arms, port arms and go through .other movements you must instruct them in detail just where to grasp *the rifle and how.

At camp each man fired a round of musketry with a short Lee-Enfield rifle. When the man was ready to lie down on the ranges he was handed a short Lee-Enfield rifle, and there were just enough rifles to go round, one for each target. The point is this. What is the use of attempting to train men in musketry with one type of rifle and then asking them to go on the ranges and fire with another type of rifle which they have never seen before?

With reference to machine guns, the men in my unit had never seen a machine gun until they went to Petawawa camp, except for the one we carved out of wood. At Petawawa camp there was one Bren gun in the entire camp for one day, and the man who wrote the orders for that day must have had a sense of humour because at the bottom of the order with reference to the Bren gun he wrote, "The gun will pass briefly through your unit." It was the same thing in regard .to gas training. Some twenty-two men from my battalion-and we had 660 men in camp-were given very brief instruction in gas. I realize that gas has not figured to any great extent in

this war so far, but at the same time it is essential that every soldier should receive training with regard to gas. But without proper equipment how can we possibly give these men gas training?

I wish to impress upon hon. gentlemen that these matters are no secret at all because every man who attended Petawawa camp, and there were several thousands of them, knows the actual conditions. I should like to ask the Minister of National Defence whether the district officers .throughout Canada were consulted before these men were sent to camp, or were these men sent to camp purely for propaganda purposes? On several occasions after these camps were closed I saw, in the press, references to the men who had been at the camps as trained men.

Before leaving the question of the nonpermanent units I would pay a short tribute to the rank and file. I would point out that many of these men travel up to forty miles at their own expense in order to obtain training. Their pay for one night is sixty cents. Let me give an illustration. In the village of Bancroft, which has a population of about S00, there are over 100 men in the Canadian active service force and over 200 men from Bancroft and the surrounding district connected with the non-permanent unit.

At the present time these non-permanent units are conducting classes for the qualification of junior officers and non-commissioned officers. In my unit we are conducting five separate and distinct schools. Officers and non-commissioned officers attend these classes at night and on Sunday and they are allowed no compensation of any sort for travelling expenses. All other non-permanent units are conducting similar classes. I would make a suggestion to the government. Instead of having thirty or forty or fifty classes conducted in one district, why not have one central class for a period of two or three weeks, where men and officers will be called in to take instruction all day? At the present time the plan of running schools in connection with each battalion for the qualification of officers and non-commissioned officers, in the midst of a war, is almost a farce. Such a course might be all right in a time of peace, but certainly it hardly appears proper in the midst of a war.

Some hon. members who were in France in the early days of the last war will recall the old type of bomb made out of a jam tin. Well, the non-permanent units are to-day making the same type of bombs. The only bombs we have for instruction are jam tin bombs along with some old Mills bombs brought home as souvenirs and a couple of

The Address-Mr. White

German potato-masher bombs. We have no Webb equipment in the whole battalion. For example, you cannot instruct a man how to fix bayonets because he has no belt with frog whereby to carry the bayonet. We have no gas equipment of any kind; we have no aim correctors, no landscape targets, no aiming rests. In short, apart from rifles and bayonets, we have no equipment except what we have been able to manufacture ourselves, such as home-made bombs, bayonet standards, winter camouflage, barbed wire fencing and so on.

I would say to the Minister of National Defence that if national defence headquarters expect these units to drill and to have the men properly instructed, they must give us the necessary equipment for the purpose. Surely in one unit we could have at least one Bren gun. We could borrow at least one anti-tank gun and we could have a few gas masks and some kind of bombs and grenades. As a matter of fact, we cannot even get sufficient printed manuals. These men in the non-permanent units will have completed their training within a matter of a very few days and, as I mentioned a moment ago, the Minister of National Defence will perhaps make a statement as to what is to become of these units in the future.

I would refer to another matter that affects the militia. If my remarks in this regard are incorrect, or if the matters complained of have already been adjusted, I shall appreciate it if the minister will correct me.

The first battalion of the Hastings and Prince Edward regiment is in England. It went to France with the first division. The return of the first division from the front to England and the tragic events that followed are too well known to call for any comment, but many of these officers-in fact all the officers in the first division-lost all their personal kit. Some cabled home for money. I would point out to the government that this loss was occasioned through no fault or neglect of the officers themselves, but no provision has been made to reimburse them for the expense to which they have been put to replace the lost kit. Some such action should be taken. If the government have already remedied this situation, then I commend them for doing so.

I would also call the attention of the Minister of National Defence to the armoury in the village of Norwood. It is a first-class armoury in every respect but one that is not being used at all. In the adjoining town of Campbellford, some ten miles away, there is no armoury of any kind, but there is quartered there a company of the Midland regiment, and yet Norwood, where there is an

armoury with fine facilities, is passed up. Surely at this time full use should be made of all armouries.

The leader of the opposition (Mr. Hanson) yesterday referred to training centres. I would add a few remarks. Will the Minister of National Defence tell this house and the country the names of the men or the committee of men who advised the government and recommended this training scheme of thirty days? I remember very well when the mobilization bill came up for discussion last June. In Hansard of June 18, at page 899, the Prime Minister is reported as follows:

The point I wish to bring home at the moment is this: It is essential that we should let this country know that there is an emergent condition of very grave character, and that not an hour nor a moment should be lost in giving the government all the enabling powers that it may need to deal with this new situation.

In the same speech he said, at the same page:

. . . the time has come when we must mobilize to the full the whole resources of this country.

Again, in the same speech, the Prime Minister said, at page 902:

What is the sense of introducing any legislation in this parliament if what appears in black and white and in type as a statute of Canada does not mean that the government intends to give effect to what appears in the statute?

One would have thought, listening to the Prime Minister that day, that his government had some marvellous plan which would unfold itself as soon as they received the necessary legislation, but now we see the sad results. The vote on that occasion shows that of the 204 members in the house, 202 were in favour of the plan and only two were opposed. I would ask the Minister of National Defence a further question: Before his department decided on this plan, did he consult the ranking district officers throughout Canada to obtain suggestions and advice as to how the plan should be worked out?

Let us look at the scheme for a moment, a scheme which these highly paid propaganda writers can hardly find enough adjectives to describe. Certainly the artist whom the government employed to draw the comic strip which is enclosed in the registered letter that every man receives when he is called up should at least have a medal struck in his honour. I would suggest that if he draws any further military comics he get a military man to advise him, because he has made several military mistakes. I think I am quite safe in saying that nearly one hundred per cent of the men who took the first thirty-day training had not had any previous military

The Address-Mr. White

experience. It is a well recognized fact that discipline is one of the first essentials of army training. Hon. members who were in France during the last war can probably recall from their own experience many instances where it was only discipline which saved the occasion. But army discipline is not something which can be crammed down the recruit's throat at once; it enters into all his training. The average recruit going to a training centre needs a course of physical training along with a good diet in order to build him up and put him in physical condition for the hard army training, to be followed up with squad drill, route marches, instruction in the rifle, musketry, machine gun, gas training, military tactics, field craft and all the other work which enters into the training of the 1940 soldier. I understand that the present syllabus of the training centre calls for the recruit to do his first firing in musketry on the ranges after his eighth day in camp. It appears to me, Mr. Speaker, almost impossible that a recruit going into the army for the first time can absorb in a matter of eight days enough knowledge about the rifle and musketry, along with his other training, to obtain any benefit from firing on the ranges. The recruit is hurried from one lecture to another, from one course to another. In my opinion he absorbs only a smattering of many subjects and receives real training in none.

When you are training a large body of men, they can advance only as fast as the slow men in the class will permit. At the end of a thirty-day period the average recruit is only finding himself and is getting into the swing of the army, but he goes off home and the next draft comes in. It was pointed out yesterday by the leader of the opposition that to speak of thirty days' training is not correct, because when there is taken from the thirty days the time allotted to various preliminaries, holidays, and the rest of it, you will find that the recruit has not more than twenty days of actual training period; yet this training scheme costs the Dominion of Canada between fifty and sixty million dollars a year. Under the present plan it is estimated that three hundred thousand men will receive a month's training in the first year. Would it not be better to have sixty thousand men properly trained and equipped than three hundred thousand men with one month's training and only partly equipped? In the event of an emergency, with three hundred thousand men with one month's training, what use would they be? In my opinion they would be only an undisciplined mob, and without discipline the condition is hopeless.

I should like to suggest a plan to the Minister of National Defence, and I sincerely trust that he will give it earnest consideration.

I mentioned a moment ago that the nonpermanent units will finish their training within a matter of days. I would suggest that when these recruits are called up, they should be posted to the various non-permanent units for a period of two months. They would be documented, medically examined and outfitted with clothing and equipment. They would take a proper course in physical drill and elementary instruction in the rifle, machine gun and squad drill. At the end of the two months they would go to a training centre where they would train as a battalion. They would there complete their musketry training, run off their proper course of firing on the ranges; they would also fire with machine guns and anti-tank guns; they could take a proper course of training where gas chambers are available; they could take part in battalion manoeuvres and military schemes and do field engineering; in short, they would complete their training. At the end of a four months' period you would turn out a very creditable class of soldier, a force of men who would do more than give a good account of themselves if the occasion arose. The reason why I suggest a two months' period of training with the non-permanent forces is that in that time they could take all the rough spots off these men and get them out of the elementary or awkward squad stage so that when they went to the training centre they could immediately start on intensive training. I earnestly urge on the minister that before next January, when the next class of men is called for training, he will make some modifications in the present scheme.

I wish to make it perfectly plain that I am not condemning in any way the training centre. I approve this training, but I feel that the nature of the training which is being received is inadequate. Before leaving this topic I have only one further suggestion, namely, that every man who is rejected as medically unfit by the local examining physician should be called in and reexamined by a medical board of at least three men.

I was very much disappointed yesterday at the reply which was made by the Minister of National Defence to a question as to what arrangement, if any, had been made for soldiers' transportation on Christmas leave. It is unfortunate that this government has consistently refused to grant the soldier free transportation. All members of this house and their families, railway employees and their families, and many other classes of people in Canada are granted free transportation. Yet the soldieT, who is more entitled to it

The Address-Mr. White

than anyone else, is denied this privilege. Drive on any highway in this province and you will see that hundreds and hundreds of men are obliged to thumb a ride home. A private soldier receives for a thirty-day month $39. If he is married he is obliged to assign $20 to his wife. That leaves him $19 a month for cigarettes, canteen, haircuts, soap and other small articles, and the dozens of other articles on which a soldier has to spend money. Thus, when the time comes for leave, the soldier is not in a financial position to pay his transportation home. At Camp Borden there are many soldiers from the Belleville and Kingston district, and as far east as Broekville. At Petawawa are many soldiers from areas a long distance away. These men are unable to pay transportation home even though they receive at the present time a round trip for the price of a single ticket. What is the result? You find the number of men absent without leave is increasing all the time. You find that discipline is suffering. But the worst feature is the growing feeling of resentment among the soldiers. Surely any man who has grit enough to enlist in the Canadian active service force and is willing to give everything, even his life, is entitled to the very best this country can give him during his training period. I would have thought that this government would benefit by the lesson learned in the last war, because we all realize that in time of war the emotional strain is much greater, and the average soldier will go to almost any length to get home to see his family or his sweetheart.

Another feature I wish to mention is the cheerlessness of such camps as Petawawa. This camp may be all right in the summer, but it certainly is no place for winter training, and yet I understand that there are several thousand men who are quartered there and will continue to be there during the winter months. Petawawa is some fourteen miles from the town of Pembroke. From now on, as the days are getting shorter, the men are off parade at four-thirty o'clock in the afternoon or shortly thereafter. Apart from the Y.M.C.A. and other service club huts there is no provision for their recreation or amusement. Where troops are quartered in towns and cities they have a decided advantage, because they can go down town; they can change their surroundings; there are picture shows and bowling alleys which they can visit and where they can meet their friends. These are simple matters, but they all tend to break the monotony of the soldier's life. But at Petawawa, which is only a sample of such places, there is no such provision; and as I pointed out before, many of the men are a great distance from their homes and unable to pay the cost of transportation.

Apparently the government realizes that this condition is becoming serious, because within the last ten days orders were issued by national defence headquarters that all troops were to be instructed that to ride on trains or use other methods of transportation without payment was an offence and must cease. But this illustrates again the lengths to which the soldier will go in order to get home. I would make the following suggestion to the government, that every soldier be allowed two week-end leaves a month, one leave with free transportation, the second leave at his own expense. The leave with free transportation would be to his own home or, if his home were too distant, to whatever point he would choose. But there should be attached the condition that the soldier would be entitled to these two leaves only if he had committed no offences during the preceding month. I am more than satisfied that if some such plan were adopted, the various commanding officers and others charged with discipline would find most of their difficulties disappear. The soldier then would be more content and his family would more readily accept his absence. But whether or not this plan is adopted, I cannot too strongly urge upon the government the necessity of doing something about free transportation for soldiers, and in particular that they make a special effort to give this free transportation in connection with leave for Christmas and New Year's, which are fast approaching.

Topic:   GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
Permalink

November 13, 1940