February 21, 1941

RAILWAY ACT AMENDMENT

PROPOSED APPLICATION OF CROWSNEST PASS RATES ON GRAIN WESTWARD AS WELL AS EASTWARD


Mr. THOMAS REID (New Westminster) moved for leave to introduce Bill No. 15, to amend the Railway Act. He said: This bill proposes a slight amendment to section 325 of the Railway Act. The purpose of the amendment is to rectify what was omitted when the Railway Act was last amended by parliament in 1925, by granting to the people of British Columbia the same consideration in the matter of freight rates on all grains and flour to the Pacific coast as was given to the other provinces at that time. The adoption of this amendment will not only remove a grave injustice of many years' standing, thereby enabling the people of British Columbia to procure their flour and feed grains at costs comparable to those in other War Appropriation Bill



provinces, but will also provide a wider market in British Columbia for the surplus wheat held in the three prairie provinces. Motion agreed to and bill read the first time.


DECENNIAL CENSUS

INQUIRY AS TO DECISION TO PROCEED IN 1941 AND APPOINTMENT OP COMMISSIONERS


On the orders of the day:


CCF

Alexander Malcolm Nicholson

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

Mr. A. M. NICHOLSON (Mackenzie):

I should like to direct a question to the Minister of Trade and Commerce (Mr. MacKinnon). Has it definitely been decided by the government to proceed with the two million dollar expenditure in connection with the taking of the 1941 census? If so, when will parliament be advised as to the names of the commissioners for the various constituencies?

Topic:   DECENNIAL CENSUS
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LIB

James Angus MacKinnon (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Hon. J. A. MacKINNON (Minister of Trade and Commerce):

The hon. member

for Mackenzie has just sent me notice that he proposed to ask this question this afternoon. Preliminary arrangements have been made for taking the census this year. I understand that census commissioners have been appointed.

I may say that if the census is proceeded with, enumerators will be selected from all parties, returned men in all cases where available, and women where practicable.

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NAT

Richard Burpee Hanson (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. HANSON (York-Sunbury):

There is

much virtue in an "if," but what about the "if"? We should have a statement of policy from the government now.

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LIB

James Angus MacKinnon (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Mr. MacKINNON (Edmonton West) :

I

think I have answered the question as fully as I can at the present moment.

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WAR APPROPRIATION BILL

PROVISION FOR GRANTING TO HIS MAJESTY AID FOR NATIONAL DEFENCE AND SECURITY


The house resumed from Thursday, February 20, consideration in committee of a resolution to provide sums not exceeding SI.300,000,000 for the year ending March 31, 1942, for the carrying out of measures consequent upon the existence of a state of war-Mr. Usley-Mr. Bradette in the chair.


LIB

Jean-François Pouliot

Liberal

Mr. POULIOT:

Some little discussion has taken place on this resolution in this house and in this committee since the beginning of the week. What I have not heard of it I have read in Hansard.

I have been in politics for quite a number of years, and amongst the rank and file members of the Liberal party there is only my

friend the hon. member for St. Mary (Mr. Deslauriers) who is my senior. Therefore I can speak with the experience of years in active politics and in debate in this house. On the other side of the house I see my dear old friend the independent member for Comox-Alberni (Mr. Neill), and one of the members from Toronto (Mr. Harris), who is very jovial when he wishes to be, or when he is not frowning. There is the leader of the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation (Mr. Woodsworth), who has always been very kind to me as a colleague. Then in the cabinet itself there is my chief, the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King); there is my beloved leader for the province of Quebec; there are the other ministers from Quebec and the Minister of Mines and Resources (Mr. Crerar), all of whom are senior to me here. Other ministers I have seen come and go, and with one or two exceptions I hope those who sit on the treasury benches to-day will remain there for a long time.

The air is thick and unbreathable. I have never witnessed such backstage intrigue as there is now in high quarters. I am disgusted with the ways in which intrigue is being carried on in the holy name of patriotism wdien we know that behind it is a group of scoundrels, buccaneers, racketeers, pirates, who are trying to get hold of Canada's wealth for their own purposes. It is hateful; and whether it comes from Winnipeg, Vancouver, Toronto or this city of Ottawa it is no less shameful. We do not want to see the few enriched at the expense of the many. We want to see our soldiers well clothed and well armed, given useful weapons with which to gain the victory. We do not want any slackers in uniform to infest some of the branches of the Department of National Defence, such as that of the judge advocate general; and I know wlvat I am saying. I do not hate Tories, but I hate Toryism, especially under the guise of Liberalism.

I do not see my revered chief in his seat to-day, but I am sure he remembers when I was a young member and came to him for assistance in connection with the difficulties confronting me. He has always been very kind. Sometimes I was indignant when he refused me, when I was fighting for the good cause of freedom and liberty for which our soldiers are fighting now on the soil of England. I believe they should be here to protect our families in Canada, in sufficient numbers and properly equipped to give us all a feeling of security. I remember our beloved leader in the province of Quebec when he was still a young lawyer at Riviere du Loup; in those days he, too, was very kind to me. We have fought many battles together. I remember on

War Appropriation Bill

one occasion having dinner with him in Quebec city, on the day he was to give his decision to the electors of Quebec East, Sir Wilfrid Laurier's old seat. The Minister of Justice (Mr. Lapointe) was grieved to have to leave his dear electors of Kamouraska county, who had given him his start in public life.

There are other ministers who have been kind to me, and whom I have supported' against the Tories and against hypocrites of every description. Starting in the west there is my hon. friend the Minister of Pensions and National Health (Mr. Mackenzie), who, I am sure, remembers the days when the Bren gun matter was discussed. One afternoon about three o'clock, after one of the Tories from Toronto had spoken, I rose in my place to defend the minister; and although Hansard does not record it, I was so pleased to hear my chief the Prime Minister say, "hear, hear" when I was giving h ... to the other side. Then there is the Minister of Trade and Commerce (Mr. MacKinnon), who comes from Alberta. At one time he was the lone Liberal member from that province, but thanks to his good work and popularity the Liberal representation from Alberta is much larger now, and it is very brilliant. Then there is our friend the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Gardiner), who is a born fighter. Sometimes I do not agree with his policies, but he is a Liberal to the core, and he is the kind I like.

Passing over Manitoba and coming to Ontario, we come to Windsor. I was the Liberal member who spoke on behalf of the party at the nomination of the Minister of Labour (Mr. McLarty), who, I believe, is one of the best members of the cabinet and who has a secretary well worthy of him. They both have the spirit of the old school. Both are broad-minded; both are liberal minded; both are worthy of the confidence that is reposed in them. Then there is my hon. friend the Postmaster General (Mr. Mulock), my friend of all time, my right arm in the civil service committee. We fought and won many battles together, and no one was more pleased than I when he took over the Post Office Department. There is also my hon. friend the Minister of National Revenue (Mr. Gibson), who is doing very well. He is a young man, but his merit has been recognized by his chief and his colleagues, and we are all proud of him.

Coming to the province of Quebec, I have already spoken of my leader there. There is also my hon. friend the Minister of National Defence for Air (Mr. Power). He is all right. He is just as bright and as conscientious as he could be. His only trouble is that sometimes he is betrayed by those under him, but he is clever enough to realize who is responsible and to deal with such matters himself. I remember when we prepared political cam-14873-57

paigns together. Those were the happiest days of my life; I enjoyed them very much, because we had discovered the truth to tell the people. Then there is my hon. friend the Secretary of State (Mr. Casgrain). I am sure one of his proudest recollections is that of the day when he came to Trois Pistoles to protest against the gerrymander which was being carried on by the Tories. At that time he spoke to an enthusiastic crowd of ten thousand people, who were cheering all the Liberals and giving something else to the other party. There is also my hon. friend the Minister of Public Works (Mr. Cardin), who is not well at the present time and to whom we wish a speedy recovery.

Going down to the maritimes, there is my hon. friend the Minister of Fisheries (Mr. Michaud). I remember being at Campbell-ton at the side of the Prime Minister, who was then leader of the opposition, supporting the Minister of Fisheries in his first campaign to become a member of this House of Commons. At that time, as I remember, two mass meetings were held simultaneously in the two theatres in the city, and when the leader of the opposition and some other persons tried to express their views only two or three dozen people stayed to listen to them.

Turning now to Nova Scotia we find representing that province two brilliant members of the cabinet. There is the Minister of National Defence for Naval Affairs (Mr. Macdonald), who now occupies the seat of Kingston City, the traditional constituency of Sir John A. Macdonald, and who is doing well in his department because he is an honest man. I pay the same compliment to the Minister of Finance. I remember, in days gone by when the party was in opposition, we were both in the attic. We were neighbours, our rooms were close together, and when I wanted to coin a phrase to damn Mr. Bennett he ivas my Webster.

I rise to congratulate among others the hon. member for Trinity (Mr. Roebuck) upon the excellent speech he made yesterday. He belongs to the old traditional school, and when he speaks he is listened to. When he says something it carries weight.

Let us come now to the tremendous sum which we are asked to vote in this resolution. It represents one-half of the total debt of Canada from confederation until now. It is a tremendous amount; everyone says so. And to meet the expenditures contemplated it has been suggested that we adopt the conclusions of the Sirois report. I am against it. I have published editorials in a French daily, which has the largest circulation in the province of Quebec, in order to set forth my views on the

War Appropriation Bill

dominion government; I was fighting Bennett on behalf of the Liberal party. I do not hesitate to repeat to my hon. friend what I had already said in the house when he was in England. He told us that there should be no party politics in war. Am I right in that? Well, if it is all right for me, it should be all right for him; and if I cannot recommend any one of my electors to an appointment in the militia, I do not see how he can recommend anybody from Barclay's bank, of which he was one of the directors, and put him in the Department of National Defence, as in the case of Mr. Magee, or bring someone into the Department of Munitions and Supply, as was done with Mr. Borden. I do not suppose that only in Barclay's Bank of Canada are there to be found able men. I said that when he was away, and I say it now he is here. He may listen to me if he wishes. If not, it is his own business.

With regard to the Minister of Munitions and Supply (Mr. Howe), I will tell him that when I was fighting Bennett during the five years he was in power; when I was supporting the present Minister of National Defence, who was then the financial pundit of the Liberal party; when I was supporting and applauding the Minister of Munitions and Supply-I would like to see him here, not behind the curtain; he is smoking a pipe; I would like him to come into the chamber and listen to what I am saying-I was not building elevators for R. B. Bennett at different places in Canada. I have no lesson to receive from these gentlemen, because I am fighting the cause of the Liberal party for my chief, the Prime Minister of Canada. I am glad to see the minister being applauded by good Tories. But I am fighting the cause of the Liberal party for my chief in order that he shall not be stabbed in the back after they have burned enough incense under his nose.

With reference to this matter, one of the most serious that we have discussed, it is time to see that there is a master, and that the master should be the Prime Minister of Canada, my chief. We should see also that the working members of the cabinet should not be suffering the weight of intrigue or the trouble of intrigue from any of their colleagues or from anyone holding a responsible position under one of these gentlemen.

I shall be through in a moment, but there is something else I want to say. It is that some of these people have not always been

burning incense under the nose of the Prime Minister. There is the hon. member for Parkdale (Mr. Bruce), who said that the Prime Minister was well qualified for peacetime leadership, but that in war time his qualifications for peace-time leadership disqualified him for war-time leadership. That was said in May last. This is a copy that I have received from Hansard, and since I never correct my speeches and I rely on Hansard, I have this in my hand. He said:

I have been a friend of the Prime Minister of Canada for many years and have admired his many excellent qualities. He was prepared, as few in this country have ever been, by long years of education and training in statecraft for public life. He is a man of high character, a man of peace. I wonder whether these qualities, which are so admirable in times of peace, are not the very qualities which disqualify him now in time of war.

Some hon. Members: No, no.

An hon. Member: Shame.

Mr. Bruce: The Prime Minister's Asquithian attitude of "wait and see", or in other words, let public opinion become crystallized and then follow it, may have been good statecraft for a virile people in ordinary peace times, but it is not the attitude for war time.

Mr. Grant: He was elected in war time.

Mr. Bruce: It is now absolutely imperative that we have a man of action who will lead public opinion instead of following it. This man must have a strong and forceful character, must be one who will not be influenced by personal or private considerations, and will be ready to brush aside red tape and all other obstacles in the way of quick and decisive action. Last evening we had an illustration of party loyalty on the part of the Minister of Finance which was most commendable. When I listened to him I could not help the reflection that history may repeat itself and that what has happened in the mother country might with advantage happen here. The Minister of Finance enjoys the respect and confidence of both sides of this house, as well as that of the people of Canada generally. With his splendid war record, his undoubted ability in finance and law, his well known driving force and character, may I venture to suggest that he is the one man in the Prime Minister's cabinet-

Mr. Martin: You are trying to undermine

him.

Mr. Bruce: -qualified and equipped to lead a war government. The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom was changed in spite of the fact that Mr. Chamberlain had very strong support in the House of Commons, 418 supporters as against the combined Liberal and Labour strength of 197, but he was forced by pressure of public opinion to hand over the seals of office to Mr. Churchill, a man of great energy and ability in whom the people had confidence.

The minister referred to, who was one of the colleagues of the Prime Minister, did not disavow what was said by the hon. member for Parkdale; he listened to him just as though he had been drinking honey and milk. Afterwards, when I denounced bitterly

War Appropriation Bill

any project of a union or national government, I was interrupted by the hon. gentleman from Prince Edward Island. I proceeded just the same. I said that, in spite of the fact that we are at war, we can make jokes occasionally, and it is not necessary to have long faces all the time.

I have fought against national government and I am fighting it now because I know very well that, as soon as there is no opposition, the sky will be the limit in matters of expenditure, graft, and so on. I do not say that the ministers themselves graft, but I say that they protect people who do graft. I can tell them what is being done at St. Paul 1'Ermite at the expense of either England or Canada. Nobody knows who is responsible, but the war expenditure was supposed to be $5,000,000, and now it is $25,000,000. People are stealing every piece of material they can find there, and the foremen close their eyes. It is a scandal. I do not say that to denounce the government; I say it to denounce the scandals themselves, and it comes from a Liberal. The leader of the opposition was not astute enough to do that himself. He probably knew of what was happening; everybody knew of it; but he continued to praise those men, saying that they were marvellous men, high calibre men.

And now, what are we to have? We are supposed to have a union government; with Arthur Meighen; with a gentleman from Vancouver; with Stewart, the controller, the head of the Tories in Nova Scotia; all these people will come in, and when they are in they will stab our chief in the back. That is the programme, and I wanted to bring these matters to light in a very clear and unequivocal way, in order that there shall be no misunderstanding or mistake about it.

I have stood firmly for the Liberal party all my life. My father did so, when he was elected with Sir Wilfrid Laurier in 1896, when he denounced those who tried to stand in his way when he wanted some progress for his own constituents or for the country in general. I am true to the traditions of my grandfather, who voted against confederation because he found in it disguised unification. I am true to the traditions of my greatgrandfather, who voted for the ninety-two resolutions, and who also gave his seat of Rimouski to Baldwin when he was defeated in York. Those were the Liberals of other times. When my father was fighting his way into parliament there were very few Liberals in the province of Quebec, and the propaganda they were using were the speeches of Blake, Cartwright and Mills, both in English and translated into French. That was the

Liberal food which was being given to the people of the province of Quebec. I wonder what those great men of the past would say if they were here to-day. I am sure they would say: "Pouliot, you are right. What you are saying now is most unpleasant for you to say, but it is your duty to say it in order that the country may not go to the dogs."

I was born a British subject-

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LIB

Joseph-Arthur Bradette

Liberal

The CHAIRMAN (Mr. Bradette):

I am sorry to interrupt the hon. member, but his time is up.

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?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Go ahead.

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LIB

Jean-François Pouliot

Liberal

Mr. POULIOT:

My father was a British subject, and a loyal British subject. My grandfather was a loj'al British subject and so were all my ancestors from the time that Canada was given away by France to England. Now that our king is the king of Canada, I am proud to be a loyal Canadian subject, and my son and grandson, like me, will be loyal British subjects.

So far as those gentlemen of whom I have spoken are concerned, I consider them so small that I shall pay no more attention to them. On the other hand, my interest in the state is supreme, and I think it is my duty, not only as a Liberal but as a good Canadian who is true to the best British traditions, to speak my mind freely in this house in order that the members who did not know what was happening behind the scenes might know it now.

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LIB

James Layton Ralston (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. RALSTON:

Mr. Chairman, I do not propose to detain the committee for very long. I regret that my hon. friend (Mr. Pouliot) has seen fit to make a vicious attack upon me. He is quite entitled to do that if he sees fit, but it does seem to me that it is not entirely consistent with the professions of friendship he has made, a friendship which I have endeavoured, during my period in public life and all the time I have been in this house, to maintain with him.

I do not propose to permit the discussion of the resolution before the committee to be delayed by any personal references on my part. I consider this resolution to involve the most serious matters with which this country has had to deal since confederation. At the time of the debate last session to which my hon. friend referred, exactly the same situation existed. I was dealing then with an appropriation bill of $700,000,000 and was endeavouring to get the house into committee to consider it. I did not think it necessary at that time to beat my breast and proclaim my loyalty to my leader. I think I have endeavoured to show that by my actions during my lifetime

War Appropriation Bill

Nor do I need to take the time of the committee in referring to my ancestors. My hon. friend can go back and refer to his if he wants to. I have, however, rather distinct recollections of my own ancestry in the ranks of Liberalism, if that is of any interest regarding loyalty to my leader. I only want to say this, that I have been true to my leader. I have endeavoured, in season and out of season, to support him not only when he was in power but when he was out of power. I have endeavoured to do my duty by my party and by the country as I saw it, and it does not lie in the mouth of any hon. gentleman in this house to make the reflections which my hon. friend has seen fit to make to-day. I am not in the habit of proclaiming my loyalty either to my country or to my leader or to my party. I endeavour to make actions speak louder than words.

May I allude, Mr. Chairman, to two other references which my hon. friend has made. He has referred to Mr. Victor Sifton, who happens to be master-general of the ordnance at the present time. Mr. Sifton, a gentleman from Manitoba, came down here as a citizen of this country to assist Mr. Philip Chester, who had agreed to take for a limited time the position of master-general of the ordnance. Mr. Sifton came down here to assist him in connection with the reorganization of that branch of the department in order that we might attain the greatest possible efficiency in the obtaining of supplies which were all important. Mr. Sifton assisted Mr. Chester, and Mr. Chester gave us his valuable business experience in connection with that work. After about three months, Mr. Chester felt that he was able to leave that office in such shape that he believed it would carry on efficiently. Before he left, he recommended in the strongest possible terms that Mr. Sifton be made master-general of the ordnance. Hon. gentlemen will understand that there might have been some heart-burning on the part of military officers in connection with that appointment. I want to say to the house that it was only after the gravest consideration that Mr. Sifton was appointed. He was appointed because of Mr. Chester's recommendation, and because of what I knew of his personal character and ability. I am glad to say that his appointment was universally accepted by the military officers with whom he is associated. Mr. Sifton is carrying on as any patriotic citizen would want to do, and without salary and without expenses of any kind, giving his services to this country as master-general of the ordnance. I want to say of Mr. Sifton, because he cannot speak for himself, that I have the highest possible confidence in him and believe that his adminis-

(Mr. Ralston.]

tration will be for the great benefit of Canada, particularly in connection with that important branch of our undertaking.

With regard to Colonel Magee, president of Barclay's bank, I asked Colonel Magee to come to Ottawa. My hon. friend is quite right in that. I personally asked Colonel Magee to come to Ottawa to assist me as senior executive assistant. He came here and has been here ever since. I want to say that I would be greatly surprised if Colonel Magee has given my hon. friend the slightest ground for the attack which he has made on him to-day. I believe he has met all members courteously, has endeavoured to give the very best attention which could possibly be given to the many important matters with w'hich he has had to deal and has been sympathetic and highly efficient in all these matters. I know he has done his level best as a patriotic and extremely capable Canadian to promote the interests of our dominion at this time when we are at war.

That is all I have to say with regard to those matters.

This matter of $200 a day-

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NAT

Richard Burpee Hanson (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. HANSON (York-Sunbury):

May I

suggest to the minister that he say a word on behalf of the judge advocate-general in view of the vicious attack which was made upon him.

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February 21, 1941