November 13, 1941

CON

Norman James Macdonald Lockhart

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LOCKHART:

I want to associate myself with the remarks which have just been made. I should like to have some information as to the connection there may be between men who are in the category outlined this afternoon and unemployment insurance. There seems to be an impression about that these men are to be taken care of-that is, those who are not able to establish their right to a pension.

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LIB

Ian Alistair Mackenzie (Minister of Pensions and National Health)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE (Vancouver Centre):

I have not the full tabulation under my hand, but it will be recalled that after this session convened a copy of the order in council itself, along with an explanatory memorandum, was sent to every hon. member. The basic and fundamental reason for this order in council

was to establish the principle that anyone who enlisted for overseas service would not lose as compared with the civilian who was engaged in an insured occupation. The time spent by a man in the forces will count, and there will be a contribution by the treasury. As my hon. friend will recall, benefits were also provided for occupational training, for industrial training, for university or professional training, and also for those who could not get into insured occupations. These might be termed out of work benefits. The men would be given credit for their service and would draw benefits while awaiting employment. There is a further provision in the order in council covering those who might come back from overseas and who in the opinion of those who were supervising the provisions of the order in council could be reconditioned-someone objected yesterday to the use of that word, but that is the only one that I can think of-made over again for industrial life. These men would be' given benefits while they were being reconditioned. Briefly speaking, these are the important provisions of the order in council.

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CON

Norman James Macdonald Lockhart

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LOCKHART:

I suggest to the minister that these provisions be put into effect as quickly as possible.

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LIB

Ian Alistair Mackenzie (Minister of Pensions and National Health)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE (Vancouver Centre):

They are in effect now. That is why we passed them by order in council.

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NAT

William Earl Rowe

National Government

Mr. ROWE:

Has the government considered giving special preference in the civil service to men who enlist voluntarily for overseas service as compared with those who might be conscripted for home service where there is not likely to be any fighting?

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LIB

Ian Alistair Mackenzie (Minister of Pensions and National Health)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE (Vancouver Centre):

There is a preference clause in all government contracts covering ex-service men of the old war or of the present war. During the second or third day of the present session I tabled an order in council which extended the provisions of the Civil Service Act having to do with ex-service men of the great war to ex-service men of this war, with the limitation that they must have resided in Canada before enlisting in the present war.

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NAT

Ernest Edward Perley

National Government

Mr. E. E. PERLEY (Qu'Appelle):

Mr. Chairman, I hear many rumblings about me; members are asking how long this is going to continue, how long they are going to be kept here. I have been sitting here since November 3, wondering just what benefits the country and the government itself have derived from what has taken place in this house. What have we learned, I would ask, that we did not know before from the press releases furnished by the information bureau? We get them

The War-Mr. Perley

every other day or so, and incidentally I think there is a considerable waste of money there.

Frankly I think this parliament should have prorogued and we should have entered upon a new session. It would have saved all this discussion which is going on across the floor of this house and which will all be gone over again next January. As it is now, private members have no rights, no resolutions to discuss, and there are no bills before the house. True, we have the privilege of questioning members of the government, and we have had five pretty fair statements from five members of the cabinet. Some of them were quite lengthy. They gave some information, but a lot of it was in our possession already through the press releases from the information bureau.

I deem it my duty to make one or two observations on our war effort, and I shall try to be constructive. We often hear the phrase repeated, "an all-out war effort" or "a 100 per cent war effort." I believe the Canadian people are not all convinced that we are having an all-out war effort, and to prove that the Canadian people are looking for a greater effort I should like to quote from resolutions I have here. One is from a large organization in the west. In a letter which I have just received they state that they passed a resolution asking that members of parliament insist forthwith the passing of the necessary measures to place Canada on a total or all-out war effort. They go on to state what they mean by that. They mean the complete mobilization of all industry and everything else, even the intellectual resources of Canada. The Canadian Legion is already on record for an all-out war effort. Before I came to Ottawa this session I was put on the spot by the branch of the Canadian Legion in my constituency, and I did not hesitate to agree with some of the things which they advocate should be done in order to have an all-out war effort in Canada.

Let me review our war effort as I see it as a lay member, so to speak. Since we entered the war in 1939, our war effort has developed in three phases. The first two years of the war were the development period. We were building factories, developing plant capacity. That required a lot of men, a lot of work, a lot of complicated machinery and tools. We now have these factories, some of which have received large financial assistance from the government, running in the aggregate into hundreds of millions of dollars. These plants are all interlocked, so to speak. Not one of them is producing a complete tank or aeroplane, for instance, but is engaged in manufacturing component parts. They are all

[Mr. Power.

interlocked, and as I said a moment ago, the government has contributed to their establishment hundreds of millions of dollars. There may have been mistakes made and waste in many instances. We had a committee of this house set up to inquire into government expenditures. I shall not comment upon its report, but it is only fair to say that under no government could all this development work have been done without mistakes and some waste. It is the duty of parliament and of the government now to tighten up on waste. That was the development phase.

The second phase is production. It is now necessary for the government to see that all these factories engaged on war work click, work in unison, work together as a unit. I have heard rumblings as to what is going on, that there is not the unison there might be. It is the duty of the government to see that these war plants click. The Minister of Munitions and Supply referred to that matter the other day. He said that the production of one gun or one tank might take one month, that in the second or third month six might be produced, in the fourth or fifth month, thirty-six, and I believe we have now reached the stage where we might produce 336 in a month if the government would see that these plants are clicking.

The third phase is the output of materials and a system of priorities. Tremendous production capacity has been provided. I think it is only fair to the government to say that. But now it is up to the government to see that the materials required are provided. I have in my hand a little pamphlet entitled, "Priorities and Controls in Canada" which I think it would be well for every hon. member to read. We are now at the stage where there is a strain on the capacity of the organizations which are producing materials such as steel, brass and copper. We are now in this third phase, producing the materials which are necessary. But we must have coordination so that one plant will not hold another one up.

Since the start of the war training schools have been set up. I think that is right, and a great deal of good work has been done by the schools. The men are now ready to come out of these training schools and go into factories wherever they may be required. I believe it is the duty of the government to enrol and train more men in these training schools. But the government also has a responsibility to see to the proper distribution of these men.

At this stage surely there should be no more strikes in Canada. We are at war; it is a very serious war, and strikes should not be permitted to interfere with our war effort.

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Since the war broke out, we of the opposition in this house have been responsible to a considerable degree in bringing our war effort up to its present stage, by pepping up the government, jacking them up by constructive criticism. At the very outset of the war our leader said that as far as he and the group he represents were concerned we would support the war effort at all times and give constructive, helpful criticism, and I believe that considerable credit for what has been accomplished is due to the opposition and the constructive suggestions they have offered1.

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LIB
NAT

Ernest Edward Perley

National Government

Mr. PERLEY:

The hon. member can speak after I have finished. I have said very little during the last two weeks, and I am trying to suggest something that might be helpful to the government and its war effort.

From what we have heard from different ministers, there has been a shortage of recruits for the armed forces. Men are not available. By all military authorities whom I have heard or have seen quoted it is agreed, I believe, that we must have more men in the forces both to attack and to hold the ground after the attack. Those who have had the opportunity and privilege of going overseas and seeing what is going on there say that men are needed. All of them may not have said so publicly; there is a lot of secrecy in connection with this business: maybe the delegation which is now on its way back will have something more to tell us.

It is the government's responsibility to protect the projects which they have assisted, the factories and industrial organizations which they have helped to bring to the point of production, by providing them with the men needed to do the job in the factories. The other important job is to provide for the needs of the armed forces. I believe there are enough men in Canada to take care of both, but the situation now is rather like this, that if ten men who are roaming the streets have it put up to them that there are two great jobs to be done, what is going to happen if all of them say, "We will go into the army", or if they all say, "We will go into industrial plants to make good wages"? I say, therefore, that it is up to the government to protect both these two great activities by seeing that there is a proper distribution of men.

That brings me to the point that I think there must be some plan and some direction given by the government. Those men who are not now in the forces or even in the trainees' camps must have direction. Let me

illustrate. There is Mr. Jones out in Saskatchewan; he is a farmer and he has a crop to take off; he has five or six new binders, and there are five or six men for the job. Suppose he had not the power of direction, to say to the six men, "Get on these six binders and complete the job". The men might say, "Oh, the heck with it"; perhaps three would say, "We are not going to get on the binders," and the others might decide that they would wait for the threshing season, or one or two might make up their minds to wait until the farmer was trucking it out, because that is where the money is. If he were without power of direction to put the six men to work at the right spot, the crop would be ruined, perhaps by snowstorms-we have had a lot of them this fall. But if he had the power to say, "You get on to that job", the job would be completed properly and in time. I say that that is what the government should do now. They have the power. To my mind the only way in which it can be done is by a system of selective national service.

We have arrived at the point that the government have the responsibility to protect the industries which they have assisted with millions of money and which are now tooled up and ready to go. They are the only ones who can give the direction we need in Canada to-day. I for one do not care how it is done, or whether it is done by this government or some other government. This is the suggestion that I have to make: use selective national service and get to work on the job.

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LIB

Leslie Alexander Mutch

Liberal

Mr. MUTCH:

It seems to me that in the last little while we have wandered a long way from the Department of National Defence. Is the minister now in a position to answer questions in his capacity of minister for air? If he is, I would recall the statement which he made the other day, when, speaking in this chamber, he mentioned the unconditional nature of enlistment in the Royal Canadian Air Force, and referred to the fact that all those who enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force enlisted for service wherever they were sent. Would he care to expand that statement a little bit about the liability of ground crews, and many others in the service, for service anywhere? I do not think that is generally understood.

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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

Mr. POWER:

In the air force there is not any such thing as enlisting for home defence or for the defence of Canada. Just by way of digression, at one time there was a suggestion that certain Free Frenchmen would like to enlist on the condition that they should not fight against their own country. I did

The War-Mr. Ross. (St. Paul's)

not think that was advisable. I said that if they enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force they would go wherever they were told and fight wherever they were asked to fight. I can quite understand their feelings in the matter, and I do not think those who did feel like enlisting were deterred by that reply.

Some time last summer it was decided that, instead of sending overseas only aircrew, that is those who man the aircraft on actual operations, we would also send over a number of men to carry on ground duties, to maintain the aircraft and do work as aero-engine mechanics and all the various duties that go with the care and maintenance of aeroplanes. We have been sending such men overseas and shall continue to do so. In view of the number of our squadrons overseas, I expect that before long there will be several thousand ground crew also over there, and any one in the Royal Canadian Air Force, in any one of the categories, is liable to be called upon to go overseas at any time.

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NAT

Douglas Gooderham Ross

National Government

Mr. D. G. ROSS (St. Paul's):

I should like to make a few remarks at this time. The city of Toronto is in military district No. 2, and a number of regiments are there. One battery of artillery is being formed by our famous former manager of the hockey team, Connie Smythe, and he is doing a magnificent job, but he is finding it very difficult to get men. Great efforts are being put forward to get recruits, and many people are helping, but the thing which disturbs me more than anything else is, what will happen when we cannot get them? Yesterday I listened with great interest to the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) when he made his statement to the House of Commons, and I was very much disappointed at his closing remarks, when, speaking of conscription for overseas service, he said:

So far as I am concerned, without any consultation of the people on that subject, I do not intend to take the responsibility of supporting any policy of conscription for service overseas.

The Prime Minister has told us that he has a mandate from the people to lead this country during war time. He has told us that we must fight an all-out war and that we must have an all-out effort. The Prime Minister must take the full responsibility for fighting this all-out war and exerting this all-out effort. He must take such steps from day to day, even from hour to hour, as may be necessary for the safety of the state. Now is the time for the Prime Minister to lead this country in the light of all the information which he has and the information which he has obtained from the Prime Minister of Great Britain and

from Mr. Roosevelt. The members of this house should in some way be enlightened as to what information he has so that we can understand why he still takes the stand he does. Does the mother of parliaments not have closed sessions every three or four weeks where information is disclosed to the members? Is it not better and more helpful if such information is disclosed to the members of the house? We are in dire peril these days; I think the Prime Minister knows that. We ought to be told how dire the peril is. We know what Hitler proposed to do; we know how he has carried out his plan. Do we believe it?

The defence of Britain is the defence of Canada, and our Canadian soldiers are taking part in that defence. We cannot let them down. How can a population of forty to fifty million people provide the men for ultimate victory? That is the population which Great Britain has to draw on. The combined efforts of all the nations of the commonwealth as well as all the democracies of the world are going to be needed to do this job. We must do our part. It is not a party matter; it is not a political matter; it is a national life and death struggle. The Prime Minister must put into force fearlessly and regardless of criticism and of party those policies which will be best for the preservation of Canada, knowing full well that the Canadian people and this parliament will back him up.

He has been urged from time to time to form a national government, but has refused and has given his reasons. He has taken into his non-parliamentary ranks many prominent men of varying and non-political views, and a certain amount of satisfaction has been obtained from that. The public have been satisfied to a certain extent. But party lines are different now. Old differences such as tariffs, et cetera, mean little to-day. The major differences can be only between those who are for an all-out war effort and those who are not. The knowledge of the truth will come to all eventually, but if the Prime Minister waits for it to come to all before acting, it may be too late.

Are there any who still disbelieve Hitler's programme laid down in Mein Kampjf Many thought he was a mad fool in 1936, 1937, 1938, even up to 1939, but he put into practice the plan set down in his book. The conquest of Poland, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, Holland, Belgium, France, Norway, Yugoslavia, Greece, Roumania, almost all on time. It is true his time-table was held up by the valiant Poles and Greeks and some of the others to a certain extent. The Russians are doing the job now, and we cannot let them down.

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I ask the question, who comes next? There is no doubt he will attempt an invasion of England. It will fail. Then the forces of right, including those of Canada, must be prepared to invade Hitler's domain, fight him to a finish and smash him once and for all. We must prepare now. Mr. Churchill yesterday told us that by 1943 we shall be able to invade the continent. We must be ready. What is the alternative, if we do not go on and smash this man Hitler? The axe will hang over our heads until it is done. Are we not in the same position as Great Britain? Are we to be outdone by that great, indomitable leader, Winston Churchill? He said:

If the battle is to be won we must provide our men with ever-increasing quantities of weapons and ammunition. We must have quickly more aeroplanes, more tanks, guns, shells. There is imperious need for these vital munitions, and then in the emergency we shall not hesitate to take every step, even the most drastic, to call forth from our people the last ounce, the last inch of effort of which we are capable.

The interest of property, the hours of labour, are nothing compared with the struggle for life and honour, for right and freedom, to which we have vowed ourselves.

Have we not vowed ourselves to the same principles? Are our interests any different? I say now that we as Canadians must not hesitate; that the Prime Minister can and should lead this country and that the people will follow him, regardless of how drastic the action required. There has been no hesitation on the part of the government in bringing in drastic legislation, in fact revolutionary legislation, by order in council. I have no doubt that the people would have accepted this legislation perhaps a little better than they have-they have accepted it very well, but it would have been better to bring it in as legislation on the floor of the house so that it could be discussed. There might be useful information brought out and possibly a few changes made.

There must be equality of sacrifice and service in this mobilization of our full human and material resources for whatever eventuality, each man in his right place. The welfare and safety of Canadians, of the British commonwealth of nations, yes, of the whole world, are at stake. This must override our traditional individual choice of action.

I have hesitated to speak before, feeling that the Prime Minister, by reason of his words spoken so often in his appeals to the people that he intended to have a total effort, that we must have a total effort, must fight a total war, would, when the time came, make good these words with action. T cannot say

how disappointed I am that the Prime Minister is not willing to take the full responsibility for this total effort, as he told us yesterday.

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LIB

Pierre-François Casgrain (Secretary of State of Canada)

Liberal

Hon. PIERRE FRANCOIS CASGRAIN (Secretary of State):

Mr. Chairman, I had not intended to take part in this debate, but after listening to some of the speeches that have been delivered by hon. gentlemen opposite I feel it my duty to express my views to this parliament and the country.

A great many members of this House of Commons are advocating a total war effort and are seeking, both within and without this house, to promote the idea of conscription for service overseas. Let them not contradict me; that is what they want. We are in this parliament as representatives of the people of this country. During the campaign preceding the last general election the Canadian people were made acquainted with the aims and aspirations of every party. At that time the people of Canada from the Atlantic to the Pacific were told that no party, including the Liberal and Conservative parties, was in favour of conscription for service overseas. Therefore the mandate given the Liberal party to govern the affairs of the country during this war was given on the principle of voluntary service. Parliament has no mandate to change this policy now without consulting the people. Canadians have not changed their minds; they still approve the present programme of the government. There have been several byelections throughout the country, at which Liberal candidates have been elected by large majorities, which proves that the policy of this government still has the support of the people. At the last by-election held in Alberta the hon. member for Edmonton East received a real mandate from the people of that constituency; and her campaign was conducted on the slogan, "No graft and no partisanship." That showed a real approval of the actions and policies of this government.

Hon. gentlemen opposite now seem to want compulsory enlistment for overseas service. I say the great majority of the Canadian people do not want it, and I know the vast majority of the population of the province from which I come are against it. The other day I listened with great attention to the hon. member for Danforth (Mr. Harris), who referred to the absence from this house of the right hon. leader of the Liberal party in the province of Quebec, the gallant hon. member for Quebec East (Mr. Lapointe), who at present is ill, and also to the absence of the Minister of Public Works (Mr. Cardin), who is away for the same reason. I am not

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going to try to speak for those hon. gentlemen, but I am going to speak as one representing the province of Quebec. I can say that the entire population of that province is as one in supporting the policies of the right hon. Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King). The feeling of the province of Quebec is that we should follow the provisions of the mobilization act that was adopted about a year ago; and my compatriots in Quebec are ready to serve anywhere from the Atlantic to the Pacific in the defence of our country, which is a sacred duty and obligation which all decent Canadians understand. Up to the present that mobilization act has done all that it was expected to do; according to the speeches of the ministers of defence, within the last six months 105,773 men enlisted in the army, the navy and air force, which I think is a very good record. In addition we have some 110,000 of our compatriots serving in England, ready to go into action whenever their services may be required. The right hon. Prime Minister was in England only recently; he saw our men over there and has reported, as has been stated in the press throughout Canada, that at the present time there is no body of men in England better equipped than the Canadian corps. At the time of Dunkirk in 1940 the only corps in England equipped and ready to face the enemy was the Canadian corps.

These are facts of which we should be proud. Under the policies of the present government, since the beginning of the war we have been able to bring about these results and it has been made known throughout the world that Canada is doing its full share and will continue to do so. Under the mobilization act the government has at its disposal adequate forces for the defence of the country, wherever they may be required and provision has been made whereby those who of their own free will wish to serve overseas, for the defence of the empire at large, are permitted to do so.

Before it could be agreed that the statements of hon. gentlemen opposite were true and ought to be considered seriously, it would have to be shown that the mobilization act and the laws of the land had not brought about the results which were expected. Far from that being the situation, I say, and I do not believe I can be contradicted, that at the present time we have in England an army consisting of four divisions and one tank brigade. With all the Canadians who have enlisted in the air force, the navy and the other services, I believe we have about twelve divisions compared with the four divisions we had in the last war. I think that is a brilliant record, of which we should all be proud.

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NAT

Richard Burpee Hanson (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. HANSON (York-Sunbury):

Surely the hon. gentleman cannot say we have twelve divisions, if he knows what a division is.

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LIB

Pierre-François Casgrain (Secretary of State of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. CASGRAIN:

There is another point

I should like to bring to the attention of hon. members. Sometimes people wish to make it seem that the province from which I come has not done its full share. I do not say that these people point directly at us and single us out, but they claim that if recruiting is not as active as they would like it, that has been due to lack of interest in the affairs of the country and because our people have not done what they should. I wish to say most emphatically that the people of Quebec have responded to the call to the best of their ability; and if some changes had been made and improvements brought about, the response would have been even better. Only yesterday I read in one of the Ottawa newspapers a letter signed by a former member of this house, Mrs. George Black, who said:

With extreme regret, as well as great annoyance, I have noted a growing habit of accusing Quebec of lack of loyalty to Canada and the empire, because of an aversion to compulsory military service.

Probably no member of parliament, with his wife, does of necessity cover more of Canada from the far north to the east than do George Black, M.P. for Yukon, and I. In our many trips across Canada, we have observed as much apathy and lack of enthusiasm for active service in the armed forces of Canada in other provinces as in Quebec.

Let us of the other parts of this dominion forget our smug complacency and force ourselves to realize that Quebec is as loyal as the other provinces.

We are component parts of a great empire. Let each one do his, or her, part to unite Canada in support of that empire, forgetting petty racial and religious prejudices. We must work, we must fight for the right to worship one God, to be loyal to one king, and to hold a united empire, that our children's children may enjoy the freedom we hold so dear.

There is a great deal in this letter over which some hon. members in the house, and other people outside, should ponder. I do not wish to carry on this debate much longer. We have heard in the house many speeches from quarters directly opposite the government. They have pointed out that the government has been lagging and derelict in its duty. I want to ask hon. members if there was foundation for any of those criticisms.

The government of the present Prime Minister has at all times been able to handle the situation with one thing in view, that of maintaining unity in this country-unity of the various races in Canada. Without that we would not be able to carry on this war. I do not wish to attribute motives to any other

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persons, but some who are facing me to-day, and others in other parts of the country, are carrying on certain propaganda in the press. I say to them, and to all those who hold such views, to consider that they are not giving good service to the Canadian people and the empire at large.

In all the provinces of Canada are to be found peoples of various races, creeds and religions. It is the aim of the country to keep all those various elements united together in order that we may present a united front, and be able to carry the burdens of the day and to give to this dominion of ours and to the empire the greatest service possible. It is helping the empire to defeat Hitler, and that is the aim of this country. It is the aim of this government, and it is the aim of all British countries.

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NAT

William Earl Rowe

National Government

Hon. W. EARL ROWE (Dufferin-Simcoe):

Mr. Chairman, I have listened with considerable interest to the Secretary of State (Mr. Casgrain). I, like him, do not rise more often than many other hon. members who have not been here as long as the minister or myself. WTith much of what he has said I can agree. I join with him in wishing for this country national unity of the highest order. There is no greater purpose that any member of the house, or any elector in the country, can have than that of national unity.

But, Mr. Chairman, may I draw your attention to the fact that consideration must be given to a great section of this country if we are going to maintain the necessary unity, and bring about that all-out war effort about which we are all talking. I have every respect for the hon. member who has just taken his seat. He and I have sat in the house for many years. I know he bespeaks at least the feeling of those who elected him. But when he speaks of pre-election pledges, may I point out to him that I am not going to indulge in them to-day, because he knows them better than I-and I know them better than I am going to tell the committee now.

I do not believe that to-day this government has a mandate from the people of Canada for many of the things it is doing. It is all very well to say that it has no mandate for selective conscription; but when I hear the Minister of National Defence (Mr. Ralston) on the one hand, saying that we are out for an all-out war effort; that the Canadian front is on the English channel, and that the defence of Canada is over there, and when I hear on the other side someone saying that he has election pledges, and that we cannot have selective service for overseas, but that we will adopt conscription or compulsory service for Canada, then I begin to wonder

where the front line really is. This government has inaugurated conscription. Did they tell the electors of Quebec or of Ontario that they were going to inaugurate conscription? Did they say to the farmer boys throughout the country that they would take them off the farm, whether their fathers were ill or their mothers in hospital, whether the farm went idle, or whether they had to have auction sales? No-silence gives consent.

My hon. friend who once followed the views of the farmers in another part of the house, did not talk that way. The Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Gardiner) did not talk that way, when he was travelling down the middle of the road looking for votes. The-Secretary of State did not tell the electors that, when he visited Ontario, nor did the Minister of National Defence for Air (Mr. Power), who is very popular wherever he goes. Yes, there are many things they did not tell. But I am not going to take time to refer to some of the things the minister did tell the electors throughout Quebec. I have too deep a conviction respecting my own responsibilities in the house, and yours, Mr. Chairman, and this parliament's, in this time of terrible crisis.

I am not going to stir up dangerous issues, but I was surprised by the statement made by the Prime Minister last night. I think he went only far enough in that regard to leave us where we are. But I do say that this government has no more mandate to conscript the boys of this country for home defence than it has a mandate for selective service where the Minister of National Defence says the front line is, namely, on the shores of Great Britain.

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?

An hon. MEMBER:

A hundred and eighty to forty.

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NAT

William Earl Rowe

National Government

Mr. ROWE:

That is all my hon. friends can think about-elections, elections. They are fearful of another election, and boasting still about the last one. They are playing politics, just as Nero fiddled while Rome burned. Let me say to them that they cannot blow hot and cold on this great issue.

Yet the Minister of National Defence says that the defence of Canada is overseas, and someone else rises in his place and says, "We will conscript men only for the defence of Canada." From the same government someone else says, "We have no mandate for conscription". Then, on the other side of the picture someone says, "We have a mandate for this form of compulsory service in our dominion". In other words, they say, "We will not tell the electors we would compel anyone to join the army, but after the election

The War-Mr. Rowe

is over we will compel the men to join the army-not where there is going to be any fighting, not where the Minister of National Defence says the danger is. We will not take a chance and give it further effect without going back for a political squabble in the country."

Let us face the facts. I believe the hon. member for Qu'Appelle (Mr. Perley) said this afternoon that it was almost unnecessary to be here, and that he would like to get away. I think he is right. I wonder now why we came here. The newspapers of this country have been filled to overflowing with legislation passed by orders in council. The newspapers suggested there would be legislation when we came here, but when we arrive we find the order paper has nothing on it but a few unanswered questions and a few discarded resolutions. Talk about depending upon the people-why, this government has scarcely depended upon parliament.

I have sat in the house and listened to the present Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) and other hon. members, condemning the Bennett government for legislating by order in council, condemning them for issuing blank cheques, and talking about dictatorship through order in council. Never since confederation has a government passed more orders in council than the present one.

I do not wish to be unfair to the Prime Minister, because he is carrying a terrible load. Yes, he is carrying a load heavier than he would have to carry if he would take parliament into his confidence. He is carrying a heavier load than he would have to carry if he took the country into his confidence.

I make no apologies for my own party. We hear much talk about a mandate, but neither party knew in 1939 what was going to happen. Billboards were put up all across this country when we were both seeking election. We had a similar policy on this issue as those who sit to your right, Mr. Chairman, we stated that there would be no conscription. But we are now in a crisis; we are in the midst of the flash and flame of the greatest peril this country has ever faced. An hon. member says that the government has the support of 180 members. I plead, then, with the Prime Minister of this country to face these facts that confront us. We are facing the greatest peril the British empire has ever faced. There are 180 members behind him, so surely he will have sufficient-I shall not say courage -confidence to go ahead; surely he will not be afraid.

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?

An hon. MEMBER :

Afraid of what?

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NAT

William Earl Rowe

National Government

Mr. ROWE:

Afraid of the ballot box; that is what hon. members opposite are afraid of.

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November 13, 1941