January 28, 1942

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 (Minister of National Defence for Air):

Speaking for the air force, all the air force is available for service in the United States if the necessity should arise.

Hon. ANGUS L. MACDONALD (Minister of National Defence for Naval Services): That is true of the navy.

Topic:   JOINT DEFENCE
Subtopic:   POSSIBILITY OF SENDING CANADIAN SOLDIERS TO ASSISTANCE OF UNITED STATES
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RATIONING IN CANADA AND THE UNITED STATES- BEET SUGAR CAPACITY-CONFECTIONERY INDUSTRY


On the orders of the day:


LIB

James Lorimer Ilsley (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Hon. J. L. ILSLEY (Minister of Finance):

Mr. Speaker, perhaps I should give an answer

to a question asked on Monday by the hon. member for Lethbridge (Mr. Blackmore). The first part of his question was:

Why has the sugar ration in Canada been set at three-quarters of a pound per person while in the United States it is fixed at one pound?

The answer is supplied by part of a press release issued by Mr. Leon Henderson on Monday, from which I quote:

Consumption of sugar this year-

He is speaking about the United States.

-should average close to one pound per person per week. This does not mean that under the rationing plan now being proposed it will be possible to buy that much per person each week for home use. Actually, the initial sales under the plan may not be more than three-quarters of a pound per week per person; since sugar will have to be provided for people who eat in hotels, restaurants and institutions, sugar so consumed will help make up the annual total of fifty pounds per person. . . .

The ration of three-quarters of a pound per person in Canada relates to home use and therefore is consistent with the rationing plan adopted in the United States. The latter part of the hon. member's question was:

Again, have any steps been taken or has any plan been made to increase Canada's beet sugar productive capacity by the building of factories? If not, why not?

If the hon. member is asking that consideration be given to that question, I can assure him that consideration will be given to it. _ I may say, however, that the sugar administrator advised the beet sugar industry some time ago that they should do everything possible to bring production of beets up to the maximum capacity of their factories. If this were possible in the case of the two factories in Alberta, it would mean that beet sugar production would exceed the total requirements of the three prairie provinces.

Topic:   RATIONING IN CANADA AND THE UNITED STATES- BEET SUGAR CAPACITY-CONFECTIONERY INDUSTRY
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NAT

Richard Burpee Hanson (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

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

While the minister is dealing with this point, and if I am in order, I should like to ask whether any decision has been reached with respect to the allocation of sugar to confectionery manufacturers. During the ten long years of the depression I do not think there was any other industry that suffered more than this one. Most of the confectionery manufacturers had to absorb the sugar tax. In arriving at any decision I hope consideration will be given to that fact. Has any policy been announced or adopted with respect to the allocation of sugar to this industry?

Topic:   RATIONING IN CANADA AND THE UNITED STATES- BEET SUGAR CAPACITY-CONFECTIONERY INDUSTRY
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LIB

James Lorimer Ilsley (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. ILSLEY:

I shall have to make inquiry from the wartime prices and trade board before I can answer that question.

The Address-Mr. Abbott

Topic:   RATIONING IN CANADA AND THE UNITED STATES- BEET SUGAR CAPACITY-CONFECTIONERY INDUSTRY
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GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH

CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY


The house resumed from Tuesday, January 27, consideration of the motion of Mr. Alphonse Fournier 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. Coldwell. Mr. DOUGLAS C. ABBOTT (St. Antoine-Westmount): Mr. Speaker, I should like- to add my tribute to those which have been paid already to the hon. member for Hull (Mr. Fournier) and the hon. member for Brantford City (Mr. Macdonald) who moved and seconded the address in reply to the speech from the throne. As the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) has already said, from the point of view of both substance and the manner of presentation their speeches were outstanding. Of course, I may say that that is no more than I would have expected from two such distinguished members of my own profession. I propose now to place before the house certain views which I hold on two rather controversial questions, the question of conscription and the related issue of the plebiscite. May I say at the outset I realize that for some months there has been a feeling in my constituency that I should have made a public statement of my views on these questions. I have been in public life for only a short time, and, rightly or wrongly, I decided that any statement which I might have to make on a matter of public policy of a controversial nature would be made in the house and not before service clubs or in "Letters to the Editor." So far I have adhered to that rule. I am now taking advantage of the first opportunity I have had of placing my views on these questions on record. Like most returned men, I am personally a believer in conscription. Those are my personal views and, I think, the views of a good many others, including the majority of my constituents. But I am satisfied that had an attempt been made to enforce this policy at the outset of the war, the result would have been disastrous. I am convinced that it would have split this country from one end to the other, and that our war effort to date would not have achieved anything like it has done. So far as I am concerned, the question which I must ask myself, and which I think every hon. member must ask himself, is: What policy will result in this country putting forth its maximum war effort? I am prepared to support any policy which I believe will accomplish that object. I intend that any remarks which I shall make to-day with reference to conscription shall apply to conscription for the armed forces. That is the field in which the controversy appears to be most acute. As the Prime Minister indicated in his speech on Monday afternoon, the war effort of this country covers a pretty broad field. The army aspect is only one aspect of our war effort. It is evident to me that in a country of this size there must be a top limit to that armed force effort. That top limit is something on which I do not feel qualified to express an opinion, and I doubt whether there are very many people in this country, or, for that matter, in this parliament, who are in a position to give an informed opinion on .that question. It depends obviously, it seems to me, on a great many facts which of necessity can be known to only a few people. As was stated here, yesterday, we are a nation of some eleven and a half or twelve million .people, and as an editor friend of mine wrote the other day, a considerable number of those people have either not yet cut their eye-teeth or lost them forever. Therefore, if we accept the statement which has often been made that it takes anywhere from twelve to fifteen men or women to support one fighting man, it does not require any knowledge of higher mathematics to realize that our armed forces cannot be as extensive as some of our more enthusiastic citizens would lead us to believe. I take it that the purpose of conscription or compulsory service is to provide an adequate body of trained fighting men; and, of course, since the training takes time, that training cannot 'be deferred until the need at the front becomes urgent. We have at present in this country a considerable number of men in training under the compulsory system. We can call up and train more, and it seems to me that the controversy in recent months has turned entirely on the question whether we should now adopt a policy of saying that these men will be liable for military service elsewhere than in Canada, or whether that decision should be deferred until the need in the fighting areas becomes apparent. At the moment the men we are calling up are not, of course, available for service outside the territorial limits of Canada. The provisions of the National Resources Mobilization Act provide that they shall not be so liable. So far as training is concerned, the result is the same. The men are being trained; but as matters stand at present, when trained, if they are required outside, they cannot be sent. That is because the government went before the people of this coun- The Address-Mr. Abbott try in March, 1940, and expressly pledged itself that, if returned to power, it would not enforce compulsory service for the armed forces overseas. This brings me to the second part of my lanarks, namely, the proposed plebiscite, which in effect is asking, as we all know, that the government be given a free hand, that they be released from that pledge and be in a position, if the situation demands it, to send our armed forces whereever they may be required. We pride ourselves, Mr. Speaker, that we are living in a democracy, and we say that we are fighting to preserve that system. The whole basis of that system, as I have always understood it, is that the will of the majority shall prevail. As I said a moment ago, the government of this country went before the people less than two years ago and made an express statement that it would not enforce compulsory sendee for overseas. The government was returned on that basis. It has frequently been referred to as the pledge of the Prime Minister, but in my view the pledge is not the pledge of the Prime Minister alone but the pledge of every Liberal candidate who offered himself for election. So far as I personally am concerned, conscription was not an issue in my riding. I do not recall that it was referred to at any time during the campaign. It certainly was not referred to by me; nevertheless I consider I am just as much bound by that pledge or commitment as any other Liberal member who was elected in March, 1940. One reason, by no means the only reason, but one reason wdiv the present Prime Minister of Canada has retained the confidence of his fellow Canadians for a longer time, I think, than any other Prime Minister in the history of this country is that the Canadian people know that when he gives a pledge or makes a commitment, it will be respected. I have no sympathy with the view that political pledges are made to be broken; I do not particularly care what the circumstances are; it savours too much to me of the doctrine that the end justifies the means. The government is charged with evading responsibility. If insistence on respecting a pledge solemnly given is evading responsibility, the charge is correct, but that does not coincide with my definition of that term. On this question of responsibility I should like to say a word or two about the Minister of Public Works (Mr. Cardin). As we all know, the minister has gone through a long illness, and we are delighted to see that he has made such a splendid recovery. I do not think anyone in this country could have criticized him had he decided that he had already given generously of his time and ability to the public service, and that for reasons of health he should now retire to the side-lines and leave responsibility to someone else. He has not done that. I do not know, but I strongly suspect, that his return to the duties of his office and in this house are much against the advice of his medical advisers. Whether that be so or not, it does not strike me as being an evasion of responsibility, and I commend his action as an example to those numerous critics who are always so willing to define other people's responsibilities. I have heard other criticism of the plebiscite on the basis of the effect it will have outside. I think the hon. member for Duf-ferin-Simcoe (Mr. Rowe) said last night that it did not matter what effect the plebiscite had on our enemies, but that it did matter how it affected our friends, and I presume he had particular reference to our great neighbour nation, the United States. Frankly, Mr. Speaker, that is a form of criticism which does not carry very much weight with me either. Anyone who listened to the speech of the Prime Minister the other day-as a matter of fact he did not need to listen to that speech because he knew it before-must realize that the war effort of this country is a magnificent one. We sometimes worry too much about what other people think about us and not enough about what we are actually doing. It is what we do that counts, and I venture to say that the war effort of this country will stand comparison with that of any other. So far as the United States is concerned, I would be the last to minimize the efforts they are putting forward, but from the outset of the war their interests were just as much at stake as our own. They have come in now. They are in, and I think it will still be some little time before, either on a proportionate basis, or on any other basis you wish to take, their effort will come up to ours. I have no doubt it will, but in the meantime we need not worry particularly about whether our war effort will be misunderstood in the United States. I should like now to make a brief personal reference on this question of plebiscite. I have had a certain number of communications, by telegram, letter and otherwise, intimating that the stand which it was assumed I was taking on this question was dictated by considerations of political expediency or party loyalty or the like. Well, I am almost forty-three years of age, and except for some two and a half years I served overseas in the last war I have lived all my life in this country. I suppose that on the basis of the mortality tables I may have another twenty or twenty-five years to go. I have three young children The Address-Mr. Abbott



who, I hope, have considerably longer. If anybody tells me that the stand which I take or the views which I express on questions such as we are now considering, relating to the prosecution of this war, are dictated or actuated by motives such as I have suggested, I will say to these people that they are talking utter rubbish. I know that in war time we are in danger of giving our emotions free rein, and we have to make allowance for that; but I believe we could do with a lot less high-powered emotion and a lot more careful analytical thinking. ' In that connection I was struck by a phrase that occurred in a sermon I listened to last Sunday in Montreal. It was delivered by the Reverend Mr. Wilkinson, rector of the church of St. James the Apostle. He was discussing this question of thinking, and he said: "Some people who think they are thinking are only rearranging their prejudices." I was very much encouraged to read in the press on Saturday night the statement made by Mr. Alex Walker, Dominion President of the Canadian Legion, of which I am a member. Mr. Walker said that all branches of the legion would work to secure an overwhelming result at the polls so that this plebiscite would be transformed into a weapon of victory. I congratulate Mr. Walker upon that statement. I think it is an example of clear thinking


NAT

James Arthur Ross

National Government

Mr. ROSS (Souris):

What else did he say?

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

Douglas Charles Abbott

Liberal

Mr. ABBOTT:

-such as I have referred to. I congratulate him and commend that attitude to some other organizations such as committees for total war and the like.

It seems to me that no useful purpose is going to be served by interminable debate in this house or outside as to the desirability or otherwise of this plebiscite. We are going to have it, and, in spite of what some people may have to say, it is a thoroughly democratic procedure. I spoke a moment ago about responsibility, and I suggest that the people of this country as a whole now have an opportunity to assume their responsibility, to turn out and vote and show each other, and the rest of the world if you will, that democracy can be made to work even in war time. So far as my own constituency is concerned, I have no doubt as to the result. I cannot believe that it will be other than an overwhelming affirmative answer to release the government from its pledge and to give it a free hand to conduct the war as it sees fit.

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

Liguori Lacombe

Independent Liberal

Mr. LIGUORI LACOMBB (Laval-Two Mountains) (Translation):

Mr. Speaker, the government has made solemn promises and

parliament has no power to release it from commitments which induced our population to return it to power. It is for this reason that I shall again revert to the ticklish question of conscription in order to hammer a truly Canadian mentality into the minds of the ultra-loyalists, if such a thing is possible. Allow me to recall to them the recent political history of our country, which is also theirs.

Speaking on 'conscription, the Right Honourable Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) on March 30, 1930, made the following statement before this house, as you may read on page 2426 of Hansard:

One strategic fact is clear: the crossing of the oceans is not likely to recur. Two years ago, I expressed in this house the view that it was extremely doubtful if any of the British dominions would ever send another expeditionary force to Europe.

One political fact is equally clear: in a war to save the liberty of others, and thus our own, we should not sacrifice our own liberty or our own unity. Planning and coordination would be essential, but the necessary coordination could be made, and if this government were in power it 'would be made, without sacrificing those vital ends and conditions of our existence. Profits could and would be rigidly controlled, and profiteering suppressed. But men's lives and men's wills cannot be put on the same basis as goods and profits. The present government believes that conscription of men for overseas service would not be necessary or an effective step. Let me say that so long as this government may be in power, no such measure will be enacted.

On the following day, the right hon. Minister of Justice made the following statement, recorded on page 2468 of Hansard of March 31, 1939; this is his greatest title to glory, in spite of all that may be said by Ernest Lapointe's self-seeking eulogists who are now attempting to exploit here his brilliant career in order to enhance petty interests implacably branded by his whole life. The former Minister of Justice used the following words:

Now I am going to touch a subject which is a delicate one. The French Canadians will never agree that any government has the right to force them to military service on the other side of the ocean. In 1917, that was my view, and I have never altered it. I believe that conscription, in 1917, was a blunder of frightful magnitude, and that we are still reaping the sad and sorry results of that ill-conceived policy. I was pleased that my hon. friend the leader of the opposition (Mr. Manion) said yesterday, what I have myself learned, that the results did not in any way justify the taking of the risk; because in the end very few conscripts ever saw the front lines during the war. All should be reconciled to the doctrine which I have just expounded. The best way, the most effective way of helping is not the way that would divide our country and tear it asunder.

The Address-Mr. Lacombe

We are not alone in that view. Australia has always been against conscription. South Africa will never have conscription, Ireland would never have conscription. I think I am true to my concept of Canadian unity when I say that I shall always fight against this policy; I would not be a member of a government that would enact it; and not only that, but I say with all my responsibility to the people of Canada that I would oppose any government that would enforce it. I agree with what was said yesterday by the leader of the opposition and the Prime Minister, and what was said by Mr. Bruce of Australia, that the time for expeditionary forces overseas is certainly past, and it would not be the most effective way to help our allies.

These grave statements have been accepted with satisfaction by the whole country. At the general election of March 26, 1940, the Canadian electorate overwhelmingly approved a thoroughly Canadian policy and nothing else. Of the two main party leaders engaged in the struggle, one claimed that the Canadian government's war policy was inefficient on account of its moderation. However, he stated that it should remain on a voluntary and free footing. The other laid down as a principle that our war effort should remain moderate, voluntary and free. Of two evils, the Canadians chose the lesser. The popular vote of March 26, 1940, expressed a choice of a thoroughly Canadian policy more than anything else. However, neither of the leaders had thought that a time would come when war contingencies would alter the situation. War remains indifferent to all political machinations and no one, even though he be the greatest genius, may foretell its emergencies. Once war is declared all its consequences must perforce be accepted and endured. The soldier deserving of the name never spares even his own blood. Only war profiteers measure their efforts by their value in gold, for they are too petty to rise to the heroism of the soldier who stands ready , to make the supreme sacrifice.

Military and financial imperialism, the petty interests and criminal hypocrisy of war profiteers should not be allowed to impose conscription on a whole nation who condemned it scarcely a year ago. Let the government deal, once for all, with these fomenters of national disunity and these war profiteers! Those -who clamour for conscription are abusing the government of the people for the people and are insulting democracy, the defenders of which they claim to be. Wilfully ignoring the will of the electorate, as clearly expressed on March 26, 1940, they set themselves up as would-be dictators of Canada. A country which, through the might of her resources and the valour of her blood fights dictatorship must, by all means, free public

opinion from the hateful theories of those fosterers of discord and disorder. They are the ones who are truly sabotaging the war effort and the national defence.

I shall now demand, once again, exemption from military service for farmers. The ultrar loyalists should not construe this request as the expression of a feeling peculiar to my province. There is no better evidence for that fact that the letters I have recently received from many places. Of whatever race they may be, the writers, like the majority of true Canadians, wish to save our agriculture from disaster and our nation from bankruptcy. Loyal and true to their King, they believe that they can serve him best on the very soil where unprecedented efforts and sacrifices are being made. The warning cry sounded in the letters written to me by those people is as follows:

I should like to read a letter which I have received from New Brunswick;

Royal Road,

Feb. 21, 1941.

Mr. J. B. L. Lacombe,

I saw by tfye paper where you are going to ask for exemption for people engaged in agriculture. May you meet with every success.

My husband is a cripple, he lost his leg two years ago when his team ran aw'ay with him on a reaper. Our only help and support is a son and if he has to go in training, we don't know what in the world we are going to do. May you get every support.

Yours truly,

Mrs. William Neailis, Fredericton, R.R. No. 1, N.B.

That is from the constituency of the leader of the opposition (Mr. Hanson).

Another letter which I should like to read is from Saskatchewan:

Balcarres, Sask.,

March 1, 1941.

Mr. J. B. L. Lacombe,

Ottawa, Ont.

Dear Sir,

An item on Feb. 26,. issued of Free Press Prairie Farmer that all farm youth be exempted from training. I beg to ask why parties in my position cannot obtain help to get back to another start. I am married, 44 years of age, *wife and two children, girl 16, able to work and boy 11, school age. I have tried to exist on $7 municipal relief and such odd jobs as I could pick at very small wages for the last three years. Lost nine horses through disease, had to sell other stock. Have applied to governmental service, also offered to join the army but not fit. Now I must vacate the building I live in with nowhere else to go as mortgage company wishes us to move. Then I have no money for advance rent on house in town also need clothing, fuel and groceries, etc. for family use which I cannot get work nor money to pay for. I was drafted off a farm while the sole support of my parents in last war and saw thirteen months army service. I have tried

The Address-Mr. Lacombe

every branch of government service for employment to no avail. I and my family are badly destitute. I would like to know why something cannot be done to give families in my position another start even in agriculture work. There are two or three in the same position in this district. I would like to buy more certificates but would also like to be in position to make a fair living for my family. Also hoping something can be done to give in this matter chance, I beg to remain,

Respectfully yours,

D. T. Young,

Box 1095, Balcarres, Saskatchewan.

I may add that similar representations have been made to me by a great number of English-speaking farmers from Ontario, the mariti-mes and the prairies. However, the letters containing those representations were confidential and I would be unfair to the writers if I were to state their names.

History repeats itself. During the last war, thousands of- Canadian farmers of every racial extraction, over eight thousand of them in fact, laid before Sir Robert Borden in this capital of Canada, a unanimous petition urging the then prime minister to exempt their sons from compulsory military service. They met the head of the nation during the winter of 1918 at a huge meeting that took place in one of the theatres of this city. Sir Robert Borden rejected the petition presented by the farmers, who in turn defeated his successor at the election of December 6, 1921. In the prairies and in Ontario', the Progressives and the United Farmers returned a considerable number of members, and as a result, for nine years the Liberal party itself would have been unable to remain in power without their support. Almost a decade elapsed before the Conservative party again took power on July 28, 1930.

Those events should teach a lesson to those who might be tempted to repeat the frightful blunder of 1917. The common people's reactions would be still more dreadfu-l in a second post-war period.

At a time when the farmer is the most affected by the minimum prices regulations, and when he is deprii'ed of the help he needs for cultivating his land, it is important to exempt from -military service farmers' sons, farm labourers and all persons who are working in industries related to agriculture. Exemption courts should be set up in all constituencies. Invested with the necessary powers, such courts would be instructed to seek the most efficient means of preserving agriculture, our first line of defence.

The letters I have mentioned express an opinion held throughout the country by those who believe in the survival of Canada through agriculture. Those letters show how

well-grounded are the demands which I have felt constrained to submit again to parliament. As regards conscription for overseas service, the great majority of Canadians, from whatever race they may be descended, are against it. That is evidenced by the vote given by the young men in all Canadian universities. Canadian citizens, whatever their age, their condition, their calling or their residence, have rejected conscription in the past and they are still condemning that measure. The financial sharks, who through their unbridled greed have rearmed the axis powers, are alone in again supporting conscription. Those traitors to their country who were branded by Winston Churchill himself scarcely four years ago in the British House of Commons, are still demanding conscription. Those rascals who have plenty of money will only be satisfied when they have fully appropriated our resources, our incomes and our blood. I say again as emphatically las I can "Our first line of defence is in Canada." And if, unfortunately we were sooner or later to face an invasion, those who have neglected to rearm our country for the benefit of military and financial imperialism shall have to bear the dreadful consequences of such an invasion.

Here is a letter sent to me by a Toronto citizen. It is a good illustration of the true Canadian national sentiments shared by all those who believe that our main duty is the protection and defence of our own shores.

I will read a letter from Toronto:

172 Oakmount Road,

May 9, 1941,

Toronto, Ontario.

Liguori Lacombe, M.P.,

Parliament Buildings,

Ottawa, Ontario.

Dear Sir,

It was most refreshing to read your recent speech against conscription. I had long ago given up hope that any of our representatives thought the same way that I and many of my fellow citizens do.

The imperialists will probably ruin our country financially but, as long as you are championing -Canada's rights, I do not think they will desiccate our national unity. This war is following the same pattern as the last one, and the imperialists are again preparing to fertilize Europe with Canadians. When are we going to assert ourselves as a Canadian and American nation?

With best wishes, I remain,

Sincerely,

John V. Newton.

I shall read another letter sent to me by an honest Ontario farmer, requesting, for his sons working on the farm, exemption from compulsory military service and training. This letter is worded as follows:

The Address-Mr. Lacombe

Springfield, Ontario, February 20, 1941.

Dear Sir,

I read in the London Free Press to-day of your resolution exempting all young men who are engaged in farming from military training, and I want to congratulate you for your stand. Not that I think that farmers or their sons are any better to fight for their country than anybody else, but I do think that a good many of them can serve their country better by staying on the land. It does seem to me that there are some at Ottawa who do not understand conditions pertaining to agriculture. Now I would like to state, and you can use this if it will be of any benefit in getting your resolution through. One year ago last fall, my wife and I bought one hundred acres with the understanding that our son was to take it over when he was twenty-one. Well, he went on and worked it last year, cleaned it up for accredited cattle, has sixty acres ploughed;'he has a contract signed to grow peas and beans for the canning company. Now the point is, what is he going to do. He will be twenty-one in June. Under the present law it would seem the only thing he can do would be to sell his stock, which we have been trying to build up for years. I might add that this farm is three miles away from my own farm, and I have all I can possibly do to work my own farm.

Yours truly,

Harvey Nigh, Springfield, Elgin County, R.R. No. 1, Ontario.

(Text) Let me add just one word on agriculture. Every hand is needed on the farm, and the farmer plays an essential part in the war effort. Farmers, farm labourers and all persons employed in industries relating to agriculture should, therefore, not be called up for military training. Whether the farmer be engaged in the production of food, in the raising of live stock or in lumbering, he provides our fighting men with food, clothing and shelter. I urge that we exempt the farmers from military training.

Concerning the matter of conscription for overseas service, I believe I am justified in repeating what I said in this house on April 30, 1941. The adoption of such a measure would endanger the very foundation of national unity. It would imperil true Canadianism which must be prevalent and alive in all our people and their leaders. Let us not repeat our past monstrous mistakes.

Before concluding, I beg to remind the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) and the government of their commitments toward the people of Canada. When Canada was on the verge of declaring war upon Germany, that is on September 8, 1939, the Prime Minister stated in this house, as reported at page 36 of Hansard for 1939:

I wish now to repeat the undertaking I gave in parliament on behalf of the government on March 31. The present government believes that conscription of men for overseas service will not be a necessary or an effective step. No such measure will be introduced by the present administration.

Even a few months after the last general election, the Prime Minister made the following declaration, as reported at page 966 of Hansard for June 20, 1940:

Those who were anti-conscriptionists were against conscription for service overseas, and as long as this government is in office we are going to maintain that position and see that effect is given to it. That is just one of the reasons why, in carrying out the will and the wishes of the people, we do not propose to take into this government any of those whose object in coming into the ministry would be to see that conscription overseas was again made one of the issues in this country.

As to the amendment moved by the leader of the opposition, I do not approve of it, and my constituents could not approve of it either. This amendment deplores the plebiscite on conscription for overseas service, but it is not opposed to conscription itself. Therefore, as I have always been against conscription, I will not, in this difficult moment, shun the fulfilment of my duty. I request the government to respect its pledges and the terms of the anti-conscriptionist mandate, which it received from the people of Canada on March 26, 1940.

Will the most powerful administration which the country has had so far, withdraw before the invasion of the howling mob of rotten financiers? Behind the ramparts threatened by the assault of conscriptionists, will our leaders stand up in front of the enemy, who wants to sacrifice at all costs the defence of Canada upon the altar of military and financial imperialism? Will they respect their pledges and the mandate which they received from the people? This is what we shall see. Personally, I will not free the government from its commitments and promises because, in accordance with the terms of its mandate and1 the constitution of the country, it may and must administer the country during at least three years without imposing conscription. I will not free it from any pledge it has given against compulsory service overseas, because our total war effort must be directed more thap ever to the total defence of Canada before all. The leader of the opposition stated that our line of defence was everywhere in this confused universe. He grieved over the fate of Australia, which is dangerously threatened. He fears that Halifax, Saint John, Vancouver or Quebec may meet with the fate

The Address-Mr. Lacombe

of Pearl Harbour. If that is true, our first line of defence more than ever is on our shores, and our first duty is toward Canada.

The leader of the opposition, in his amendment, is asking for a total national war effort and for the mobilization, in any theatre of war, of our complete effective in man and woman-power. He also requests the total mobilization of the wealth and material resources of the country to be used for war purposes throughout the world. He does not speak of the defence of our shores.

Are Halifax, Vancouver, Saint John and Quebec adequately protected, or is their defence merely casual? Are the more thickly populated cities of Canada ready to face an air invasion from the enemy? These matters do not seem to interest the leader of the opposition or the government. They believe that we should fight in Europe, Asia, Africa, the South Sea islands and undergo the utmost sacrifices in natural resources, munitions and man-power, even if Canada must neglect its own defence and suffer the same fate as the countries dominated and subdued by the enemy. The commonwealth of Australia is seriously threatened, while its heroic soldiers are facing death in Africa and thousands of others were mowed down by the enemy in Greece and in Crete less than one year ago. Did the government and the opposition come to an understanding to reserve the same deplorable fate for Canada?

From their former actions, from their former statements, I can only arrive at the conclusion that at present we are facing the most antiCanadian and imperialist policy which the country has seen so far. Therefore, fully aware of my responsibilities toward my constituency and my country, I will vote against the address in reply to the speech from the throne. I will vote against the amendment and against the amendment to the amendment, because the latter also calls for the conscription of man-power for overseas service, as well as for the conscription of wealth.

When the rules of the house allow it and when hon. members have voted on the amendment to the amendment proposed by the hon. member for Rosetown-Biggar (Mr. Coldwell), seconded by the hon. member for Quebec-Montmorency (Mr. LaCroix), I will immediately move an amendment to the amendment requesting that the government keep its pledges and the terms of the mandate which it received from the people of Canada during the general elections of March 26, 1940, against conscription for overseas service.

I will close with the following statement: The formation of a Canadian party is neces-

sary. I will adhere to this party which was originated to-day in this House of Commons. Other hon. members also will adhere to it, together with all true Canadians. Our policy will be directed toward the prime defence of Canada, toward the best interests of the country in the economic and social domain. This doctrine, believe me, will not be the exclusive prerogative of one province. It will shine over the whole country and over all loyal Canadians, faithful to His Majesty the King of England, who is also the King of Canada.

Mr. Speaker, may the extreme inequalities of wealth which have led our democracy to the verge of the abyss disappear from this world. Was not this wish expressed in the war aims of the allies, as approved by His Majesty the King, by the Archbishop of Westminster, and again recently by Prime . Minister Churchill and President Roosevelt when they drafted the charter of the Atlantic? May the war profiteers and the thieves of Val cartier camp who took away from our worthy soldiers the food which was intended for them perish also. May the corrupters of democracy perish in order that we may save whatever good and praiseworthy elements are still left in it. May the traitors to our country perish, those who have rearmed Japan and the axis powers to the prejudice of the allies and Canada. Let us sever the last link which ties us to those renegades who have forsaken their sacred pledges, and let us join the Canadian party which has just been created in this house. We shall soon set forth the doctrine of the new Canadian party which has been established in the best interests of the country.

The new Canadian party requests better remuneration for our land, sea and air forces. The wages received by employees of our war industries are two, three and even four times as great as those received by our soldiers. Those employees work only eight hours a day. The soldier who gives his life, who sometimes wrecks his future when he outlives the battle, gets but a meagre compensation. No soldier, airman or seaman should receive less than $4 a day, exclusive of his uniform, upkeep and food. The first duty of the Canadian party will be to retain the farmer on the land, to produce munitions and supplies, to organize the defence of Canada before all, and to give the defenders of our country the fair remuneration to which they are entitled.

Mr. KARL K. HOMUTH (Waterloo South): Mr. Speaker, I have on my desk the speech from the throne. We usually look upon that speech as the legislative menu card for the coming session, but a careful study of this

The Address-Mr. Homuth

document almost leads one to believe that this menu card was prepared in a country which was on very severe rations. One item that we had expected to see on the card is not there, and in its place is something that is certainly not palatable to most people of the country and is absolutely nauseous to a great many. I refer to the question of the plebiscite.

There will be opportunities to deal with other departments of the government as the session proceeds. I want to deal particularly with the questions of man-power and money as they affect our war effort, and with the suggestion that we are having a plebiscite to relieve the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) from a promise which he made.

In the first place the voluntary system has fallen down. I think every hon. member in the house will admit that that is so. The proof is to be found in the radio addresses and speeches of high ranking army officials and important members of the government. Anyone who attends the recruiting meetings that are being frantically called throughout this province will realize only too well how the whole system of voluntary recruiting has fallen down.

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LIB

Leslie Alexander Mutch

Liberal

Mr. MUTCH:

That is pure nonsense.

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NAT

Karl Kenneth Homuth

National Government

Mr. HOMUTH:

It is not pure nonsense. If it is pure nonsense, then my hon. friend's leaders in the cabinet and the various officers who are out recruiting are not telling the truth.

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LIB

Leslie Alexander Mutch

Liberal

Mr. MUTCH:

It is either nonsense or sabotage; the hon. member can have it either way. I know something about it.

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NAT

Karl Kenneth Homuth

National Government

Mr. HOMUTH:

So do I. I know a lot about it. The hon. member will have an opportunity of expressing his views.

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NAT

Gordon Knapman Fraser

National Government

Mr. FRASER (Peterborough West):

Make him withdraw "sabotage."

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NAT

Karl Kenneth Homuth

National Government

Mr. HOMUTH:

I did not hear him say it. Oh well, no one pays any attention to what he says anyway.

The very fact that the government have decided that we should have a plebiscite, the very fact that they are asking the people of this country to release them from their promises with respect to service overseas, should be ample proof that the voluntary system has fallen down. Certainly if they were getting all the recruits they needed, the Prime Minister would never suggest having a plebiscite on this question.

If the situation is so serious, there is only one answer-national selective service. We have to get them in; we must have men to

fill up the ranks when the time comes. If we cannot get them in voluntarily, then we must have national selective service. All we expect is that the government of the day shall have the courage to see to it that the men who have enlisted for overseas service, the men who have already left the shores of Canada, are not going to be deserted. Certainly no hon. member would suggest that the ranks of these men who have gone overseas should, when the time comes, be decimated by any failure to give them the necessary support. Surely no one would expect us to say to them: We have no more men to send to support you; so far as that phase of our war effort is concerned we are through.

When we declared war on Germany, and I was one of the members of parliament who sat here and voted for the declaration of war on Germany, did we say to Herr Hitler: We are declaring war on you and if you ever dare come near our shores we will slap your wrist and send you back? Or did we say to Germany; We are declaring war on you and we are going to fight you anywhere to drive from the face of this globe the vicious philosophy you preach. Isn't that what we said? There is only one way in which we can do that, and it is to fight our enemy where-ever he can be found. When we declared war on Japan did we say to Japan: We are going to wait until you come here before we fight you? Did we say that to any nation with which we declared ourselves at war?

I am surprised, Mr. Speaker, at the reluctance of the government to take the courageous move they ought to take in order to get the required number of men. The only reason they give for not doing so is that the Prime Minister made a certain promise. Certainly he made a promise. But does that mean that no matter how serious this war may become, no matter how closely it may approach our shores, no matter how many men we lose, the Prime Minister is not prepared to fill up their ranks because of that promise he made; that instead he is going to take a plebiscite? That promise was given by the Prime Minister before the ravage of Norway and Denmark and Holland and Belgium. It was made before Dunkirk; it was made before Greece; it was made before the murderous attack by Japan, not only on'the United States but on ourselves, in which we lost two regiments at Hong Kong.

If this were the only political promise the Prime Minister had ever made, or if he had been in public life only a short time, then I would say that in trying to keep such a pledge he was taking a real statesmanlike responsibility. Or if he had carried out all the promises that he has made in his long

The Address-Mr. Homuth

political life, then we might unhesitatingly say that this is just what you would expect him to do, to be consistent with the course he had followed during all his political life. But, Mr. Speaker, his political life is cluttered not only with broken promises but with promises that he has made and failed to carry out and never will carry out.

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LIB

George Alexander Cruickshank

Liberal

Mr. CRUICKSHANK:

Name them.

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January 28, 1942