December 3, 1940

NATIONAL DEFENCE

LEAVE TO MEMBERS OF PARLIAMENT ON ACTIVE SERVICE IN CANADA TO ATTEND SESSIONS


On the orders of the day:


CCF

Thomas Clement (Tommy) Douglas

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. T. C. DOUGLAS (Weyburn):

I

should like to direct a question to the associate Minister of National Defence (Mr. Power):

1. Has a regulation been issued by the Department of National Defence denying leave to members of parliament on active service in Canada who may desire to attend parliamentary sessions?

2. Would the minister care to tell the house the nature and purpose of any such regulation and if a similar regulation is in operation in Great Britain?

Topic:   NATIONAL DEFENCE
Subtopic:   LEAVE TO MEMBERS OF PARLIAMENT ON ACTIVE SERVICE IN CANADA TO ATTEND SESSIONS
Permalink
LIB

Charles Gavan Power (Associate Minister of National Defence; Minister of National Defence for Air; Minister of National Defence for Air and Associate Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Hon. C. G. POWER (Associate Minister of National Defence):

My hon. friend was

good enough to give me notice of these questions.

If I may be permitted to speak for the senior service, there are no members of parliament in the navy. With respect to the air force, an order has been issued-not a regulation-to the effect that no special leave will be granted to members of parliament which will take them away from their train-

The Address-Mr. Hanson (York-Sunbury)

ing. It is however possible on request that members of parliament may obtain from two to four days for the purpose of attending parliament should that be necessary.

With regard to the army, there is an order, issued on January 23, addressed "To district officers commanding, all military districts":

Members of parliament and provincial legislatures appointed to active service units.

Leave of absence.

I am to inform you that such members of the federal parliament and provincial legislatures as may have been enrolled in units called out for .active service, will be permitted, so long as their units remain in Canada, if they so desire, to attend the sessions and be granted leave of absence without pay and allowances for the periods of such absence.

To sum up: With respect to the navy, at the moment no members of parliament are in the service. With respect to the air force, no special leave is granted to attend the sessions of parliament. With respect to the army, there is an old regulation to the effect that if they do attend the sessions of parliament they will do so without obtaining pay and allowance.

As regards the rest of the question, I am not familiar with the practice that obtains in Great Britain.

Topic:   NATIONAL DEFENCE
Subtopic:   LEAVE TO MEMBERS OF PARLIAMENT ON ACTIVE SERVICE IN CANADA TO ATTEND SESSIONS
Permalink

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

PROCEEDING TO ORDER FOR RESUMING DEBATE ON ADDRESS

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):

It was understood yesterday that we would not to-day resume the debate on the motion of the Minister of Finance (Mr. Usley) but would proceed with the special order and continue the debate on the address. If therefore the house is agreeable I shall ask that we proceed to that order.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   PROCEEDING TO ORDER FOR RESUMING DEBATE ON ADDRESS
Permalink

GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH

CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY


The house resumed from Monday, December 2, 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) and the amendment to the amendment of Mr. Blackmore.


NAT

Richard Burpee Hanson (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

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

I desire to detain the house for a brief period of time in order that I may sum up my impressions with respect to this protracted debate.

The debate proper started three weeks ago to-day, and we have listened to progress reports from eight ministers of the crown.

I had almost expected a ninth, because we were hoping to hear from the Minister of Pensions (Mr. Mackenzie) all last week. I think perhaps some word is due from him with respect to what is proposed to be done for men who went overseas with the Canadian active service force or those who did not go overseas and have now been discharged from the army. I understand they number about

15,000, and men are being let out every day. They do constitute a real problem for Canada, for the government and for the communities in which they live. It would appear to me that a statement should be made by the Minister of Pensions and National Health as to the government policy. I understand that a policy has been laid down and is crystallized in a lengthy order in council, which I have endeavoured to study but which I think is not clearly understood by the country. Therefore if a convenient time could be arranged for a statement from the Minister of Pensions and National Health in this regard I think it would be of some importance.

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:

Will my hon. friend allow me to say that the Minister of Pensions and National Health has unfortunately suffered from an attack of flu during the past week and for that reason was prevented from being in the house. He was here yesterday and hoped to be able to speak. When he found he was not in shape for speaking he so informed me and intimated that he would speak to-day. I received word from the minister this morning that he did not think it would be possible for him to be in the house this afternoon. He hopes however to be able to make a statement before the week is out. If he himself is unable to do so, a statement will be made by one of the other ministers covering the subject raised.

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

Richard Burpee Hanson (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. HANSON (York-Sunbury):

I quite

appreciate that, and that will be satisfactory-

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

Georges Parent (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

Order. I think the hon. leader of the opposition will appreciate what I am going to say. We have now before us a motion, an amendment and a subamendment. The leader of the opposition has already spoken on the main motion and moved his amendment. Citation No. 410 of Beauchesne reads:

Amendments to the address are moved by way of additions thereto. A general debate may take place on the address, but when an amendment is proposed the discussion should be strictly confined to the subject matter of the amendment.

I take it from the remarks the leader of the opposition has already made that he proposes to discuss the main motion and whatever may have subsequently come before the

606 COMMONS

The Address-Mr. Hanson (York-Sunbury)

house, but according to the citation I have quoted it is not in order at the present stage of the debate to discuss other than the terms of the subamendment. If I permit the leader of the opposition to engage in a general discussion in regard to all that has taken place I shall have to permit other hon. members of the house to do so, which would be contrary to the rules. Any other hon. member could take the same position and again discuss the main motion. I therefore desire to call the attention of the leader of the opposition to the rule and to point out that so far as relevancy is concerned any remarks at the present stage should be addressed solely to the subamendment.

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

Richard Burpee Hanson (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. HANSON (York-Sunbury):

Of course that was my intention, and my interpretation of the subamendment is that it is of very wide character and will allow very wide latitude.

I am glad to have the Prime Minister's undertaking that a statement will be made in connection with the important matter to which I have alluded.

The subamendment to which Mr. Speaker has so properly called my attention is so wide in its scope, having to do with the financing of the war and the general attitude thereto, that I am fully conscious that I am within my right in discussing what contributions have been made to the debate by ministers on previous occasions, and my remarks will largely be confined thereto.

Speaking in this debate prior to the moving of the subamendment I asked the government to give to the people of Canada a clear, truthful, factual and honest statement, free from propaganda and partisanship, so that we might examine it and know the nature and extent of Canada's war effort. I am asking myself to-day, and I ask hon. members of this house who have listened to those reports in the intervening days, how far they measure up to the requirements, judged by the standard to which I have alluded. I am bound to say that I personally listened to them with mixed feelings, and, may I say, with a sense of frustration and futility. And I am of opinion that this feeling must have been present in the minds of a large number of supporters of the government who have taken part in this debate, because we have listened from time to time to private members in this house supporting the administration who have given evidence not only of their desire to assist the government in its war effort, but of the absolute lack of facility and opportunity to make a contribution.

Many of the statements made by the ministers were factual; many were not. In my view there was less evidence of propa-

ganda intended to bolster up the government's position than in the statements to which we listened in the month of July last. For that I am truly grateful.

But still there is discernible most subtle evidence of propaganda, and that I believe is the effect on the mind of the public. There was throughout, with the possible exception of one address, a total failure to adopt and promote a more realistic attitude towards the war. May I at this juncture-

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

Jean-François Pouliot

Liberal

Mr. POULIOT:

Would the hon. gentleman be kind enough to define what he means by "a more realistic attitude towards the war"?

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

Richard Burpee Hanson (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. HANSON (York-Sunbury):

I am

afraid I could not explain it to the hon. member, and I do not think I shall take the time of the house to make the attempt.

May I at this juncture refer to an address delivered last night in the city of Toronto by the premier of Ontario, in which he made a plea for a more realistic war attitude on the part of this government, and in which he turned his guns on a tight little group turning out propaganda in Ottawa. In that address he referred to the fact that Canadians have been told by the press agents of the government that an all-Canadian squadron flying all-Canadian Spitfires was organized and fighting in England. He went on to say:

Not one of these pilots had been trained as Canadian flyers. Many of them went over there after we turned down the empire training scheme. They paid their way over or worked their way over and were trained by the Royal Air Force.

It is to this type of propaganda that we have to read or listen to that I take objection. It is not factual.

May I here pause to remind the house and the country that on September 4 last the Minister of National Defence (Mr. Ralston) in opening the campaign for the second war loan, referred with great pride to the fact that a squadron of flyers on the other side had flown Hurricane planes made in Canada by Canadian working men in Canadian factories. To me that was an astonishing statement, because I had not understood that anything of the sort had been attempted in Canada. I had been following this question of aeroplane construction in Canada for some months and I knew that the most we could claim was that these Hurricanes had been assembled in Canada, but that the major parts had been made elsewhere. Now it is that kind of propaganda that in my view is calculated to lull the Canadian people into a false sense of security as to our war effort. And I leave with members of this house and with the country the thought that we should

The Address-Mr. Hanson (York-Sunbury)

not be fed with statements of that kind, which are not factual and are not based on the naked truth.

I believe the lack of realism on the part of the government's war effort was in a measure corrected yesterday when the Minister of Finance (Mr. Ilsley) brought down his first budget of the session. A careful perusal of his remarks and of the resolutions which he proposed, portions of which in my view were long overdue, will bring to the Canadian people a realization of what I have long visualized as necessary.

It will be recalled that as long ago as last July, after the fall of France, I called upon the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) to declare a state of national emergency in Canada. My theory then was that we would have to shock the Canadian people into a realization of the seriousness of the situation. What did we get? We got the national registration, and we got the mobilization act. The first measure has been used as a basis for the improvised thirty-day training scheme. But has it been used in connection with the mobilization of labour? Has it been used in connection with the mobilization of the material assets of this country? If so I suggest to you, Mr. Speaker, that there is absolutely no evidence of any such use having been made of it. And with respect to the thirty-day training plan and the mobilization act itself, was that anything more than an improvisation to ward off attacks on the government? Was it more than a half-way measure, the importance and value of which only time will tell? I suggest that it was only this.

I shall not pursue at this time the theme of yesterday's budget, except to say that in my view the government has announced some measures which should have been put into effect some time ago. In some respects it has not gone far enough, and I submit that there are serious omissions. Our exchange position is serious, I think much more serious than the Minister of Finance intimated to the country yesterday, and perhaps he was wise in not telling the whole story. He must have information that is denied to me, but I do say to the house and to the country that I have sufficient information at my command to lead me to think that the situation is serious, and that if we are to maintain anything like the present equilibrium we shall have to go far beyond the $60,000,000 or $70,000,000 which was indicated as the objective of yesterday's budget.

May I now attempt a brief review of the statements made by the various ministers, dealing first wfith that of the Prime Minister.

In his prepared speech delivered on November 12, instead of giving the Canadian people

factual information as to a concerted war effort the Prime Minister took an hour and a half to tell the Canadian people his views on the international situation as it had developed in the last few months. It was all very interesting, but I submit that it was not what the Canadian people were looking for. They are intelligent; they know for themselves what is the international situation. We did not expect the Prime Minister to deliver a review of the recent history of European developments or international developments; rather were we asking for a factual statement in a concrete way as to what he and his government were doing to help win the war. Because of that many of us were disappointed; and after reading newspaper comment from one end of the country to the other I believe the Canadian people were disappointed.

In my view, however, there was one outstanding omission from the Prime Minister's review of international affairs, having regard to the declarations contained in the speech from the throne and subsequent declarations. I ask him now: What, if any, are the commitments of this country to the United States qua Ogdensburg?

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:

None.

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

Mr HANSON (York-Sunbury):

All right; that is a very good answer. There are no commitments, and I am perfectly satisfied with that. But if there were commitments we ought to be told what they are. In the course of his remarks the Prime Minister took to himself great credit-and I do not deny it to him -for having built up a spirit of friendship with the United States.

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

December 3, 1940