With unanimous consent the hon. member may proceed.
Mr. MACKENZIE KING:
I suggest, Mr. Speaker, that under standing order 37 the minister is entitled to continue, in reply to a motion of want of confidence. He is the first minister who has had an opportunity to reply.
Mr. HANSON (York-Sunbury):
Oh, no, but let him go ahead; I am quite satisfied. I would not for one moment attempt to stop him.
Mr. MACKENZIE KING:
My point is that the rule applies not only to one minister, but possibly to two or more ministers replying to the motion.
Mr. HANSON (York-Sunbury):
That is only quibbling; but let him go on.
It might be well to point out that standing order 37 is in these terms:
No member, except the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition, or a minister moving a government order and the member speaking in reply immediately after such minister, or a member making a motion of no confidence" in the government-
Mr. HANSON (York-Sunbury):
That is it.
"-and a minister replying thereto-"
Mr. MACKENZIE KING:
That is it.
"-shall speak for more than forty minutes at a time in any debate." The minister is now replying to that which, in essence, is a motion of no confidence in the government. Therefore he is entitled to speak longer than forty minutes.
Mr. HANSON (York-Sunbury):
That is stretching it. How many replies are there?
This very point was raised in the session of 1931 when the present member for Yukon (Mr. Black) was in the chair. On that occasion a minister was replying to an amendment which was considered to be a vote of no confidence in the government, and it was ruled that in replying the minister was entitled to unlimited time. I take the same position. The minister is now replying to that which in essence is a vote of
The Address-Mr. Gardiner
no confidence, and under standing order 37 he is entitled to speak more than forty minutes.
I had not intended to continue beyond the point I have now reached, and because of that I did not bring any notes with me to deal with the matter. For that reason I shall discuss it only briefly, in any case-at least, I hope I shall be brief. If I were to tell the Whole story I could not be.
In order to follow up the observations I made at the beginning of my speech it will be necessary for me to read the first part of the amendment moved by the leader of the opposition (Mr. Hanson).
Mr. HANSON (York-Sunbury):
The motion of want of confidence is that of the hon. member for Lethbridge (Mr. Blackmore). I submit in his observations the minister is going beyond the rules. However I have no objection; I believe he ought to be allowed to make his speech. If he had not taken so much time with his blitzkrieg at the beginning, he would have had time to complete what he had to say.
Mr. Speaker has given his ruling, and I am proceeding on the basis of it. With reference to the " blitzkrieg "
I would just like to suggest that when the leader of the opposition can rise in his place and move an amendment Which to all intents and purposes is one of want of confidence in the government, and when the leader of another group can get up and make a similar motion, and it is then suggested that no one can reply, I say we have gone a long way from the democratic kind of government.
I do not wonder that the leader of the opposition does not want me to read the amendment again, because the first part of it is in these words:
We respectfully submit to Your Excellency that this house regrets that the government has continued to soothe the Canadian people regarding the war effort of the nation, thereby creating a false sense of security when a clear-cut call to action is desperately needed.
The clear-cut call to action, Mr. Speaker, came on September 3, 1939. The government of Canada acted even in advance of that date, in order to prepare for that clear call. When the clear call came, the government of this country placed itself side by side with the government of Great Britain to fight the enemies of democracy. So we have remained, down to this day.
During the time I was in Great Britain I had the opportunity of seeing most of what is to be seen. The government of Great Britain did what they always do for representatives of this government who go over
there. They placed their officials, they placed themselves and all the organizations set up to take care of the production of munitions and arms and shipping at the disposal of myself and those who went with me. Not only did they do that, but they placed at our disposal facilities to enable us to see everything that was to be seen. _ _
I visited everything that I cared to visit from the port of Dover in the south-incidentally it was being shelled and bombed the day I weis there-to Kyle in the north of Scotland. I visited Wales. I visited many of the parts I cannot name. I visited shipping points. I visited plants in which aeroplanes were being constructed. I visited munitions plants and saw all stages of their production.
I visited plants that are producing small arms, and other plants that are building the largest guns being produced in Great Britain at the present time. I should add to that something which is perhaps as important as anything I have said up to this point, namely that I spent all of four weeks, but three week-ends in the city of London, where bombing is going on continuously.
After seeing all that I have seen-eleven million people walking the streets of London in day-time and at night, if they had to go out, making their way about in the darkness as best they could-I have come back with the feeling that if I never had pride before in the fact that I am a citizen of the British empire, I could not but be inspired by the endurance of these people and the courageous front they are presenting to the attacks of the kind which are being made-attacks not on armies, but on old men, old women, boys, girls and mothers. Fourteen thousand civilians have been killed in the battle of Britain, and less than three hundred soldiers. _ Yet the civilian population of Great Britain, and particularly that of London, is standing up to the attack with all the fortitude and endurance of a well-trained army.
When I went to Great Britain I took with me a picture I had seen in a theatre in Ottawa just before leaving the country. It showed the wharves and docks in east London, burning. The landscape as far as one could see was dotted with chimneys standing alone and with walls of buildings partly destroyed. The final scene was that of a group of school boys and girls who were looking at a demolished tenement which had once been their home. I took that picture to Great Britain. I took a picture which I had envisioned from broadcasts I had heard, some of them from Germany. When I left Canada I thought that Great Britain must be fairly well tied up as a result of the attacks which are being made. But when I arrived on
The Address-Mr. Gardiner
the other side I was agreeably surprised to find that in the port at which we landed I had to go round and look for the buildings which had been destroyed. I had to search for damage to wharves. I had to search for damage to shipping. As I went down in daylight from that port on my way to London I had to search for any damage that had been done, either to the artery' of transportation upon which I was travelling or to the surrounding country.
When I reached London the picture was a little different. But even though buildings were destroyed here and there, for every one destroyed there were a hundred or a thousand, depending upon the district concerned, still standing. We heard of one store being bombed while we were on our way to Britain, but I was able to buy in that particular store most of the things required while I was in Britain. I walked into it a few hours after I reached London. I saw young girls and clerks who had been working there for years. I saw men and women who, I suppose, had been associated with the business all their lives-standing behind the counters and doing business in the same old way. I walked up and down the streets and saw signs "open as usual" on building after building, and on those of which the windows had been broken, I saw the inscription, "more open than usual." That showed the spirit of the people.
On my second day in London I was walking down Piccadilly and I heard my first bomb when outside. I wondered whether it was landing just on the other side of the building which I was passing, or whether it was a mile or so away. I looked around to see where I might go if the next one hit a little closer, and I was surprised to see young men and women riding up and down the street on bicycles, going to their work as usual and carrying on with a spirit which indicated that Hitler could not scare them. I am reminded of an incident which I think will impress everyone in the house. On the boat going over was a group of Americans on their way to fly in the service of Britain. One of them came back on the ship on which we returned, having to return to the United States on business. He told us that he had been in a certain hotel when one wing of the building was blown away. He came down the next morning and was talking to the lady in charge of the hotel. She said, "You know, Hitler puts those whistles on the bombs to scare us." He replied, "Well, he has made a hundred per cent job of it with me." He then went on to say that Hitler certainly had not succeeded in scaring the proprietress of this
hotel, or the girls who were waiting on the tables. He had not succeeded in scaring those who had to go to their different places of business.
This is the spirit of Britain at the present time. Having seen Britain carrying on in that way, having seen London carrrying on in that way, I do not think the people of Canada or the members of this house need have any worry as to the final outcome of the war.
In his speech the leader of the opposition (Mr. Hanson) referred to a remark made by the Prime Minister of England to the effect that England would be ready to take the offensive in 1942. That is the spirit of Britain to-day-that they will be ready to take the offensive in 1942. In the meantime they are carrying on. In order to bear out the contention of the first part of his amendment, a little later on the leader of the opposition referred to the fact that when the members of the United States delegation were in Canada the week before I left they found that Canada was preparing to be in position to take the offensive in 1942. Having regard to those two statements by the leader of the opposition, I can scarcely understand the necessity for his amendment.
Britain is carrying on with the idea that she has sufficient forces, sufficient supplies, sufficient in the way of defence, particularly in her fleet and in what air force she has at the present time, to prevent a landing in Britain. She is confident that if an invasion is attempted by Hitler she will be able to repel it, even though some troops do land on her shores. She is saying to her people and to Canada that the most important task to be performed at the present time, while Britain is holding the channel, while Britain is holding the fort for the democratic nations of the west in order that they may prepare and help her prepare, is to provide the wherewithal to put men in the field. Without quoting anyone on the matter, may I say that the impression I gathered from my discussions in Britain was that it would be a crime on the part of any government in any democratic country to play into the hands of the totalitarian states of Europe by attempting at this time to put on an offensive.
Our task to-day is that of holding the line where the line now is, in the channel, in Britain, and doing everything we can as a country to help Britain out in her herculean effort. At the same time we must keep it in mind that when the day does come to go forward, not only must we have every man fully supplied with guns, with all the
The Address-Mr. Gray don
machines of war and the means of transportation necessary to take him forward as rapidly as Hitler crossed Europe, but we must have the necessary trained man-power to handle all the instruments of war and put them into operation against Hitler on the continent. It will require the most careful coordination possible to bring these two desired results to completion at the same time. It is only when our armies have driven his armies back to the borders they should occupy that we will have proven to the world that democracy must and will be kept secure.
Britain believes that this continent is going to do more to help her than any other part of the world in the supplying of foodstuffs, such as I have been discussing this afternoon, and in providing the necessary munitions of war and equipment. More than anything else, we can help by providing the ammunition to be put into the guns that are to be used by the army. Britain is in position to-day to defend herself and she will be in position in 1942 to go forward on the offensive. When she is in that position Canada will be marching side by side with her just as she has been ever since September, 1939.
Mr. GORDON GRAYDON (Peel):
Mr. Speaker, along with other hon. members I listened with rapt attention and concern to the latter part of the speech of the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Gardiner). I listened with deep interest to the middle part of his speech, and I listened with not a little humour to the first part of his address. I want to say to all who are within range of my voice that what the Minister of Agriculture so aptly said at the end of his speech was something which the Canadian people needed to have said to them. Perhaps the same thing would apply to the middle part of his speech, but I say with all seriousness and concern that the Canadian people in these days did not need the first part of the minister's address.
I doubt if there is a member in the chamber who has a higher regard personally for the Minister of Agriculture than I. I think we all realize his abilities and capacity. I was going to say at the start of my address, had the minister not preceded me, that this house and parliament were meeting in a different atmosphere from that which prevailed last session, but I had to amend my remarks because the minister's speech to-day was very much like the one he made at the opening of the previous session of the house. May I say to him in all kindness and good humour because I do not want him to take any offence-I would rather he take a lesson than take offence-that many people 14S73-8
in Canada feel that, however much of a colossus the Minister of Agriculture might be regarded by many other persons in different parts of the dominion, the work of the cabinet should be divided up among the various ministers. If the Department of National War Services is as important a department as we were led to believe when it was first formed, and if one of the most important domestic problems facing the people of this country to-day is that of the farmer, then surely if people are complaining to-day that one man should hold in his own hands these two portfolios, what will they think after his speech this afternoon when he constituted himself the minister of national Liberal defence in the dominion? It almost seemed to me as he was speaking that he was posing as one of the commanding officers of a Liberal Maginot line which had long ceased to exist so far as being an important factor in the public affairs of Canada is concerned.
The atmosphere of the house has changed somewhat since last we met here. It will be recalled vividly by every hon. member how this house met last session in a very sober and serious, almost a militant mood. We were fearful of certain consequences from the events then taking place abroad, and our fears seemed to justify every precaution being taken and every warning which was then being given.
But to-day, because of the very circumstances which the Minister of Agriculture so well explained in the latter part of his address, the people of the Dominion of Canada are convinced that Great Britain is not in the same dangerous position she was in during those days. She has shown by the courage and grim determination of her people from one end of the British isles to the other that Great Britian is prepared and able to take care of herself against the best that the aggressor nations can throw against her. Therefore to-day, while danger still exists, there is much more confidence among our people and the world at large in Britain's chance of success. But that does not mean that there should not be a word of caution given to the Canadian people to-day. I am afraid that throughout the length and breadth of this country there does appear at times to be a certain apathy regarding our war effort. I am not going to lay the blame for that on any particular individual or any one organization or any particular government. But I say that if Canada and its people, as the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) said, must pass through darker and more terrible days before victory is achieved, then if the government does no more than show
The Address-Mr. Graydon
by its war effort as it is unfolded to us that it is earnest and aggressive in seeing to it that the last ounce of Canada's strength is utilized for the purpose of achieving victory for the empire, it will have done a good job in calling parliament together at this time.
To my fellow members of the opposition I say that our duty as I see it is not to embarrass or unnecessarily to criticize the government in power, which is charged with responsibility for the conduct of our war effort. As I see it, it is not our duty as members of his majesty's loyal opposition to place political barbed wire entanglements in front of the efforts of the government in power, but rather as members of the opposition we should see to it by way of criticism, suggestion and otherwise that the war effort of Canada is increased in its tempo and that the maximum results are obtained by reason of our efforts in that direction.
While I say this to our own members on this side with regard to unnecessary criticism of the government, may I also say that a similar responsibility rests upon the Prime Minister, his colleagues in the cabinet, and the government supporters in this house. I say this seriously, I mean every word of it, and I direct it particularly to the Prime Minister now sitting in his seat, that there has been, I believe, in the past some thought in the minds of the government that everything that those sitting on this side of the house brought forward had some reference to the political fortunes of the party with which the speaker was identified. I hope that that will never be thought of his majesty's loyal opposition, because, Mr. Speaker, the opposition is sincerely anxious that Canada's war effort be prosecuted with the utmost vigour; and when criticisms are made, it is the duty of the government to take those criticisms in that light, as made for the advancement of the welfare of our fighting forces and of our Canadian war effort generally. It is a means whereby public opinion throughout the country can be brought solidly behind our war effort and a means of ensuring that every essential thing is done in the proper prosecution of our war effort. Within the four corners of what I have outlined lies, I believe, the real function of the opposition in this house. I myself have never felt more earnest in my desire to see the government do its best in prosecuting Canada's war effort. Let the Prime Minister and members of the government generally take all the political kudos they like out of that war effort, but let them give us the very best they have. That is what we are asking and we ask for nothing less than that.
I shall make only three or four suggestions to the government, and I believe they all have an important bearing on our national war effort at this time.
May I say first that I believe we are not exercising proper economy in the ordinary expenditures of this country. I may be entirely wrong but I am convinced that the government is not meeting the wishes of the Canadian people so far as ordinary expenditures are concerned, apart altogether from our war effort. People do not mind money being spent on our war effort, although even there they want it spent in a proper way, because all our people realize that their money in the banks, all the money they have invested in property, bonds and in insurance companies will amount to nothing unless Great Britain, Canada and the empire generally win this war. That is why they raise no objection to money being spent properly on our war effort. But may I point out that for the fiscal year ended March 31, 1939, the budgeted ordinary expenditures of the dominion-and I am taking these figures from the estimates themselves-amounted to $430,000,000. That was in time of peace. Those same ordinary expenditures for carrying on the affairs of the country amounted in the fiscal year ended March 31, 1940, to
$520,000,000. During part of that year we were at war. But the estimates for this fiscal year ending March 31, 1941, so far as ordinary expenditures are concerned, were cut only to the amount of $448,000,000, which is $18,000,000 more than our expenditures amounted to in a time of peace in the fiscal year ended March 31, 1939. This is not good enough for the people of Canada. They want economy in our ordinary expenditures.
Another thought which has been much in my mind for a number of years is that this government might devote a good deal of attention to the question of the height of the salaries which some men are getting for their participation in our war effort. Let us have a fair deal in this respect. I would not like to be considered a demagogue, but, regarding the salaries which are received by civilians connected with our war effort who take no risk whatsoever, I would plead with the government to review the circumstances and at once remedy the inequalities, wherever they may be found.
We have experienced, in the present stage of our war preparations, a great scarcity of trained men and trained women. There are many who would go back as far as the time before the declaration of war to criticize the government on this account. To my mind, however, that is water under the bridge: I
The Address-Mr. Gray don
am not going to bring that up because after all it will not assist or advance our war effort. But I suggest that it is not too late for the administration to take a firm grip of the matter and see that, for the strenuous years that no doubt lie ahead, there will be a sufficiency of citizens trained for the necessary activities to which our war effort will lead. Already there are groups of women throughout the country taking the initiative in this matter. I suggest that the Minister of National Defence (Mr. Ralston) take cognizance of these groups which are in training and see that they are given the necessary encouragement, so that we shall have not only an adequate number of men and women trained for defensive purposes, but also an adequate number of men and women trained for our requirements in connection with the manufacture of munitions of war.
References were made in the able speech of the hon. member for Hastings-Peterborough (Mr. White) to the question of soldiers' transportation. Perhaps nothing more need be said than again to draw the matter to the minister's attention. I believe the Minister of National Defence will be well advised to take into sympathetic consideration the merits of this claim, which is being voiced not only by the men of the armed forces, but [DOT]by their dependents all over Canada who are suffering from the inability of these soldiers, because of their financial obligations, to pay the cost of transportation for long distances while on leave.
Akin to this is another matter which I do not believe has been mentioned. I am sorry that the Postmaster General (Mr. Mulock), who is a neighbour of mine, is not in his seat. I am one who believes that we cannot do too much for the men who are standing between us and Hitler and Mussolini. Sometimes we forget this. Sometimes, absorbed in our big administrative set-ups, our war boards and the like, we forget that there has to be somebody to stand eventually at the point of the gun between the aggressor nations and ourselves. The men who have enlisted, the men who are in active service for our country, deserve in my opinion very special consideration. The question of transportation is one matter; another is the provision of some arrangement for free postage on parcels and letters going from Canada to our troops overseas and vice versa. It might even go further and include the troops in this dominion and elsewhere. After all, it is not very much to ask of the government. There would not be any great loss of revenue, and it would be one more 14873-8i
indication that the people and the government of Canada are anxious to do something for those who in their behalf have taken upon themselves the risk of losing life or limb.
I wish now particularly to draw the attention of the Minister of Munitions and Supply (Mr. Howe) to a matter which, although it has already been mentioned in this house, has perhaps not been emphasized to any extent. It is the minister's onerous duty to look after the affairs of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation in so far as their relation to the House of Commons is concerned. I am one who has consistently urged, in this chamber and out of it, that we should have some review of the situation at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, so that what I have to say this afternoon is no new idea of mine. I was amazed to find, in the issue of the Globe and Mail of October 24, 1940, under an Ottawa date mark of October 23, the following news item:
Alan B. Plaunt, member of CBC's board of governors since 1936, has resigned because he could "not continue to accept responsibility for conditions of organization and management," he revealed last night.
The news item goes on to say:
Plaunt tendered bis resignation on August 30, to Hon. C. D. Howe. Dissatisfaction with conditions in the organization led to his making a confidential survey last summer, Mr. Plaunt said to-night. His report was submitted to the board of governors last autumn and no action has since been taken.
In his letter of resignation Plaunt stated he was taking the step because, "I feel that as a public trustee I should not accept responsibility for the internal organization and executive direction of the corporation when I have long ceased to have confidence in it."
That is the situation, Mr. Speaker, which, I think the minister himself will agree, should be aired before the country at once. I shall be very much surprised if he will not bring this to a parliamentary committee for review at once. I think I know something about his view in this matter, and I am sure that all that needs to be done is to draw his attention to it. The letter which is alleged to have been sent by Mr. Plaunt to the minister contained these two paragraphs, which are so short that I should like to put them on Hansard:
I would have taken this step early in the year had not my colleagues given me some reason to hope that the serious defects revealed by the reports prepared at their unanimous request by Mr. J. C. Thompson and myself would be remedied. I have however finally been obliged to conclude that this is not the case.
It is my considered view that the present conditions seriously hamper the corporation in fulfilling its function in the war emergency and prejudice its survival as an effective instrument of national unity afterward.
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I have always been a supporter of the national idea in broadcasting; and for that reason and others, may I suggest that the minister lose no time in, first of all, tabling the correspondence between that member of the board of governors and himself, and any other pertinent letters. This, I see, has already been asked for on the order paper. More than that, I call upon the government now to see that we have a special committee this session to deal with the matters which were raised by Mr. Plaunt in his letter of resignation. Remember that in this country nearly $3,000,000 of the people's money is collected through radio licence fees, and the public have a right to know what is going on. This letter of resignation was tendered in August, and I suggest that the government should lose no further time in dealing with the matter so that the people of Canada can come to a conclusion once for all.
I want now to deal with a matter referred to by the Minister of Agriculture this afternoon. I do not know whether I was one of those to whom he referred who could not by the greatest stretch of imagination be called farmers. Perhaps he is right with regard to that; I would not suggest that I am a farmer. But when I was out west this year I learned that he was not a farmer either, he was a school teacher, so I do not think people who live in glass houses should be throwing too many missiles my way.
That was about thirtyfive years ago.
I understood the minister did not claim to be even that old. But what the minister said about agriculture being one of our main problems is correct. I think agriculture should come into its own this session as far as attention in the debates of this house is concerned. While industry in many places has been getting a fair share of war orders, and the labour slack has been partly taken up, the war seems to have meant very little in the way of helping the farmers of Canada in the marketing of their crops. In many instances markets have been cut off. I could not help feeling sorry for and having a deep sympathy with the men and women of western Canada when I paid them a visit for a couple of weeks this fall. I realize to the full, as everyone in Canada must who sees their conditions, that the western farmer, as well as the farmer of eastern Canada, must have a fair break if he is to exist at all in this economy as w'e have it. There are certain major items which affect the farmer's condition. The war effort has of course produced a scarcity of farm help. There has also been a rise in the prices of many commodities that the farmer
buys. Many men in our part of the country have had to pay a good deal more for binder twine and agricultural implements this year, to say nothing of the ordinary expenditure for maintaining their homes and their undertakings. But while all this is going on, let us see whether the bright picture of wider markets painted by the minister this afternoon is as bright as it ought to be. While he went overseas to try to get markets for Canadian producers, he might have barred the back-door before he left so as not to let too much come in; for, after all, it is not much use selling on one side and taking it in on the other.
I have here a few figures which I should like to quote. From January 1 to September 30 of this year-September being the last month for which we have figures-according to the bureau of statistics we allowed into this country over 34 million pounds of United States pork and pork products of a value of $3,405,530.
Nearly all in the first