January 30, 1942

LIB

James Layton Ralston (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. RALSTON:

I said nothing of the kind.

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CON

John George Diefenbaker

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. DIEFENBAKER:

How are they to be obtained? What is our system of mobilization? Conscription for service in Canada penalizes the youth from twenty-one to twenty-four years because of his age. Every day one receives complaints from young men who are in the service about the coercion that is being used, young men who say they are being browbeaten and intimidated in an effort to get them to go overseas. Records can be given. Let the government investigate the situation in military district No. 12. Farmer boys have been called up whose brothers are already serving overseas. They leave their homesteads when there is no possibility of securing the necessary labour to work them. They are brought into the city and placed in a position where enlistment for overseas is forced upon them. And the government calls this voluntary enlistment!

Why have we no planned coordination in the empire? Why are we not represented in an imperial war cabinet? I suggest that it would be fitting to take one of the ministers of national defence in Canada and send him over to England to cooperate with the ministers from other parts of the empire. The other parts of the empire have asked for this but the Prime Minister says that we are getting along as well as we need to at the present time. What is the psychological effect going to be in Australia, in New Zealand, in south Africa, if Canada persists in this action? I cannot understand the attitude of the government in refusing the offer of a place for Canada in a war cabinet as proposed by the Prime Minister of Great Britain. The membership was not refused directly, but acceptance has been postponed indefinitely.

Australia is fearful and afraid. Has any good reason been given why Canada is not a member of the Pacific defence council? The failure in Hong Kong apparently arose because the government was not aware of the probability of Japan coming into the war. If they had been, they would not have sent untrained men over there. We have a joint defence council for Canada and the United States headed by Mayor LaGuardia. Did he not tell Canada of the danger? That the danger was known in the United States is revealed in the report of Mr. Justice Roberts on the Pearl Harbour disaster. He said:

As early as October 16, the commanders were, warned of the possibility of an attack by Japan on the United States and were directed to take precautions and make preparatory dispositions in the light of this information. A significant warning message was communicated to both the local commanders on November 24. On November 27 each responsible commander was warned that hostilities were momentarily possible.

The Address-Mr. Diejenbaker

The warnings indicated war and war only. What was the reason the munitions did not arrive in Hong Kong? Was it that there was no appreciation of the danger? Was it that they were shipped in a slow ship? Is that the explanation? I am glad the whole matter is to be investigated, and I express the prayer and hope there will be no more Hong Kongs.

Why not mobilize man-power now? The Minister of Agriculture is authority for the statement made on September 12 last that Canada could still muster a million men without interfering in any way with the production of primary products and industry. He went on to point out that 1,198,000 single men between the ages of eighteen and forty-four are still available. But the excuse given to-day is that we cannot do that because we have not the necessary man-power for industry and we would not be able to equip the troops. Well, we have the answer to that in a speech delivered by the Minister of Munitions and Supply (Mr. Howe) on September 11, 1941, when he said:

As a matter of fact the problem of equipment for our Canadian armed forces is one that no longer gives concern.

He went on to point out that we had almost reached the limit of Canada's industrial production. He said:

The Department of Munitions and Supply has been entrusted with the task of mobilizing Canada's full productive capacity for the manufacture of munitions and war supplies. As minister of that department I feel that I can now report practical fulfilment of that task.

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LIB

James Layton Ralston (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. RALSTON:

If my hon. friend will permit me, he has used the word "munitions" twice with reference to the Hong Kong expedition. Probably he misunderstood. The munitions went with the ship. It was the mechanized vehicles that did not reach there. Perhaps my hon. friend will allow me to make that correction.

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CON

John George Diefenbaker

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. DIEFENBAKER:

That is perfectly true. I was referring to the mechanized equipment.

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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

Perhaps the hon. member will also permit me to put the record straight. As a matter of fact my statement was this: If a million men are necessary, the other seven million could do the work necessary to keep them there.

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NAT

Richard Burpee Hanson (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. HANSON (York-Sunbury):

That is not what the press said.

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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

That is what the press said, if I was reported properly.

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CON

John George Diefenbaker

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. DIEFENBAKER:

Here is what the Minister of Agriculture said as reported by the press:

Canada can muster 1,000,000 men for the armed forces and still attain the necessary production in farm and factory, Agriculture Minister Gardiner said last night in a Reconsecration Week speech on the national network of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

If 1,000,000 men were called to arms, he said, there would still be 7,000,000 persons over 16 years of age left and these "properly organized and determined to stand behind the armed forces can operate all our farms, our factories and places of business in a manner which will give us the production required."

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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

If my hon. friend will permit me, because this matter has been referred to three times in the house already, in the last sentence he has read he has quoted what I actually said. But before that in the first sentence he read the newspaper lead.

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CON

John George Diefenbaker

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. DIEFENBAKER:

The Minister of Agriculture made the statement as reported by the press.

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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

I made the statement as reported in the last sentence that was read.

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NAT

Richard Burpee Hanson (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. HANSON (York-Sunbury):

Who is making the speech?

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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

I am making a correction.

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CON

John George Diefenbaker

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. DIEFENBAKER:

The record speaks for itself, but as usual the Minister of Agriculture, after making one statement, finds it necessary to withdraw part of it when challenged later on.

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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

I am not recalling any part'of the statement I made. My statement is reported in the press and properly reported, but I am not responsible for the reporter's lead. 1

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CON

John George Diefenbaker

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. DIEFENBAKER:

We are not going to get into an argument over reporters' leads, except to say that this reporter's lead summarizes exactly what the minister said.

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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

It does not. Read it

again.

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?

An hon. MEMBER:

The minister has never denied it until to-day.

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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

I corrected it last session when the same speaker was speaking. I made him read it a second time.

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NAT

Richard Burpee Hanson (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. HANSON (York-Sunbury):

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, surely the minister knows the rules of this house much better than that. If he wants to make a correction, there is a proper time and place.

The Address-Mr. Diejenbaker

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January 30, 1942