February 4, 1942

CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY


The house resumed from Tuesday, February 3, 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.


NAT

Thomas Langton Church

National Government

Mr. T. L. CHURCH (Broadview):

Mr. Speaker, the war is Canada's only business at the present time; it overshadows everything else. Nothing else matters. There are a large

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number of domestic problems which at other times would be very important, but in the face of war nothing else amounts to very much until the war is won.

I have read over the various addresses which have been made in this house since the beginning of the session; and it is altogether too bad for parliamentary government in Canada that the real issue, the war, which is now not far from Canada's shores, cannot be discussed without many of the personalities and some of the arguments which have been used in this particular debate.

After all is said and done, principles are bigger than individuals. Criticism is to be expected in times like these; and those who sit on this side of the house have given the government pretty good support since the war started. I believe that it is the desire of every good citizen in this country from coast to coast to cooperate with the government so long as it does its duty and tries to achieve a full war effort. But this is not the first government which has failed in time of war. The Asquith government went out of office in 1916. Why? Because it tried to conduct a war on a political basis, the way the present Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) is trying to conduct this one-on a Liberal basis. So Mr. Asquith went out of office. The present government is carrying on in the same way. I defy anybody,to successfully contradict that statement. Not one hon. member from the Toronto district who is a Conservative has been invited since the day the war started to see a thing, either in the army, the navy or the air force. The first letter of invitation we received was yesterday, from the army council, to members of parliament-who did not need any invitation to go on government property, notwithstanding all the restrictions imposed by the Minister of Munitions and Supply (Mr. Howe). By the way, if the Prime Minister cannot be here, I hope that his assistant, the deputy leader, will sit in his seat, because I believe that some criticism is necessary in reference to statements which have been and are being made in this chamber and outside it. I have said that the first invitation which hon. members from the Toronto district got was from the army council, to go down to some building-the Jackson building, I believe-have their photographs taken, receive some card and obtain a pass1 port, if they wished to visit some ships of the Royal Canadian Navy and some air force establishments and various camps in the Toronto district. For myself I do not intend to accept this invitation, because I believe that the certificate of a member signed by the respected Clerk of the House of Commons to each member of the house should be sufficient for the purpose.

I was not able to go to the last war, but 1 tried to do my duty to all classes of citizens, no matter who they were; politics did not enter into it at all.

I say that this belated invitation effort is very much out of place. Criticism is a tonic which stirs governments to action. So long as it is founded on fact and is not influenced by political bias, it helps and encourages an administration and often assists it, even against some of its own' friends. Of course criticism should be based on fact and be impartial, and critical comment, if it is to be valuable, must be fair. Before one makes a speech containing any criticism, he should look around him; he should try in some degree to discern the future; he should be sure of his facts, because facts are facts, and history always repeats itself.

It is true that the government is not alone responsible for earlier reductions of military estimates. It had to assume the consequences of inadequate appropriations made by itself and other administrations as well, as a result of the depression and refusal to face the facts. As I have contended frequently in this house, all parties are to blame for the present situation, for listening to the pacifists and refusing to arm before it was too late.

The opposition has a duty to perform; and I may say that in my opinion the government have not acted fairly towards us in the house in the matter of the war effort. AVe as Canadians and members of the British empire have no divine right to expect victory. The path is not going to be an easy one. The government seem to think there is a royal road to victory, and have neglected to prepare for this war on land and sea, and in the air. Victory can only come out of resolute leadership, total war effort, service and real sacrifice. There is no use boasting about victory and talking as if it were our right by divine law. We can gain victory only by telling the truth to the people, facing the real facts, and building up from the worst of the facts. The hour has come, the men were ready, but machinery and mechanization are not ready. We are now going to take a plebiscite, and that gives the country plain evidence of the fact that we have not yet learned any lessons either from the last war or from this one, and that we refuse to act. We are getting farther away from the main object of the time-to win the war. We have been outbuilt by the Germans and outwitted by them in diplomacy and strategy.

As a member of the House of Commons I believe in certain principles, and one of them is that we should always tell the people the truth. That is a very important thing, and I say to the Prime Minister now that the

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policy he has enunciated on behalf of the government is not satisfactory. I say to him that he should not be afraid to tell the people that he has made a mistake. The Canadian people do not expect its leaders to be gods, nor do they expect hon. gentlemen opposite to fulfil their pledges. I say to the Prime Minister: "Don't go with the multitude to do wrong." Since this war started, the Senate and the House of Commons have seemed to be like the two lost tribes of the children of Israel, and the altogether forgotten agencies of any parliamentary government. The Senate has been given no new duties. One pledge which the Prime Minister made to me at the last session and the session before was that during the recess of parliament he would consider the question of what should be done to bring about closer cooperation between the two houses of parliament with a view to getting more work done by the Senate in connection with our war effort. One body says it has been here only four or five hours since last June and since the war started, has done nothing to aid the war effort. This is not its fault.

The House of Commons seems to be the forgotten agency of government. The session seems to be a sort of "on again, off again, on again." The doors are sometimes locked and the Senate goes home itself because there is no work for it to do. If there were a reallocation of duties a greater war effort would be effected. I think the less said about pledges, the better for all concerned. The Prime Minister and some hon. members seem to be very much afraid of the newspapers. They are worried by the newspapers. As I said when I first entered the house in 1921, "you can never answer a newspaper because it always has the last word."

In my opinion, the plebiscite is just a box-office appeal to. the cash customers-the voters. That is all it is-a box-office appeal at a late hour. And under the plebiscite for the next four months Canada will be off the track altogether as far as its war effort is concerned.

In the speech from the throne there is nothing but a lot of evasion and platitudes and all that sort of thing. The speech has left out any mention of those things that should be done, and it has forgotten the things that should have been done long ago but have not been accomplished. The speech declares:

The conflict can have but one of two outcomes. Either tyranny, based on terror and brutality, must be overthrown; . . .

I do not think tyranny will be overthrown by a plebiscite, by taking a vote of the people while failing to protect them. Hitler will not be bluffed by any plebiscite on our part.

There was no plebiscite when he invaded Norway, Poland and Czechoslovakia. There was no chance for those people to take a plebiscite. There was no plebiscite in Holland and Belgium. With his savage, mechanized hordes he swept through those countries, and France also, with the result that the whole of Europe collapsed. He beat them to a standstill in diplomacy and strategy, because his war and foreign policies and his strategy have all been a united part of a consistent, considered system, with great preparation and foresight.

In this house for the past ten years I have championed some causes when it was neither fashionable nor popular to do so. For instance, I have always been firm in advocating the British connection, and I have argued for rearmament and cooperation with Great Britain, but this did not appeal to the house because I was one of the last left of the die-hards of British imperialism. The House of Commons and the government of the day thought it was all right to depend upon disarmament, pacifism, and they preferred to associate themselves with peace pacts, protocols, the discredited League of Nations, the Monroe doctrine, the Kellogg note, Locarno, Pan-Americanism, and things of that sort. The time that should have been spent in rearming and preparing for what we have to face now was spent in listening to peace pacts and disarmament, and to the declarations: "We have no commitments; parliament will decide." Every nation that

wanted to write a note would find a willing reader in the Canadian government. From 1935 to 1940 I repeatedly urged upon the government the importance of rearmament, and of taking definite steps looking towards defence. I deprecated the habit of hon. gentlemen opposite of building castles in the air instead of facing realities. You need only look at the index of the debates in the house from 1935 to 1940 to see the position I took in that period with regard to defence and foreign affairs.

The greatest sin which Canada has committed is that of unpreparedness in the face of the greatest disaster in all history. That is the first and gravest sin of this dominion. We thought we had all eternity to prepare for war. The government of the day, I suggest, instead of hoisting its patron saint, the plebiscite, might far better put up in front of the parliament buildings a bust of Canada's patron saint. And who is Canada's patron saint? Ethelred the Unready. He should be installed as the patron saint of Canada and of this government. We have been too late in everything we have done in connection with this war, even in the present

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policy of the plebiscite. I suggest also that the government might erect a statue to Harold, who left Hastings and by forced marches arrived too late to meet William the Norman.

Canada has been too late in everything since this war began. It has been the same thing in the army, the navy and the air force; and owing largely to the urging and promptings of this country before the war, Britain parted with her defences, throwing them to the four winds of heaven, and also parted with her friends. At the end of the last war she had the finest army, navy and air force the world had ever seen, but Canada was not anxious to maintain the defences of the empire. Instead; we built castles in the air, like the league, Pan-Americanism, the Monroe doctrine, and so forth.

In my opinion it is no discredit and no disparagement to some hon. gentlemen opposite who have served the country admirably in days of peace to find themselves unfitted for leadership in war, because peace and war are two entirely different conditions. The political executives in Canada have not done well since the war started, and it could not be expected that they would.

They have supported peace pacts, peace agreements, protocols and the like, and believed that these could take the place of service and sacrifice, something in the history of the world never possible. Some of our peace political executives in Canada have lacked the element of courage, decision, the first essential, and the country has not been given the vigorous leadership it needs.

Party politics should be put into cold storage, as I said before the war started, until the war is won and for one year after; for if we lose, Hitler will not only put it there but will make life not worth living for our people.

Now Hitler seeks to capture the future by the present; Canada's policy is the opposite; it seeks to capture the present by talking about what it will do later. We are all along talking of what we are going to do in 1942, 1943, 1944. I predicated in 1937, 1938, 1939 that if war came, it would take two years to train a man and two or three to get munitions. The government are making a great mistake; they are not ready and they do not intend a total war, so they have resorted to delays and vacuum and coma and fear and doubt of a useless plebiscite to kill time. As Tennyson says in the early part of his "In Memoriam":

Our little systems have their day;

They have their day and cease to be;

They are but broken lights of thee,

But thou, O Lord, art more than they.

I say the policy which the Prime Minister has announced is a follow-your-leader policy, "your leader is your policy," a "me-too" policy. Did you ever hear of such a policy in any country that prizes its liberty or in a free parliament?

In Ottawa and in Ontario the Conservative party went out of office on the follow-your-leader policy. Ontario will never tolerate it. I opposed the general referendum in 1924 and 1925. I said in this house

it is on five or six pages of Hansard-that in time of war I would never as a member -of this house allow Mr. General Election to become commander in chief of the British forces; that I would never allow Mr. General Election to become admiral of the British fleet, because before Mr. General Election could open his ballot boxes the enemy might proceed up the St. Lawrence by land, sea or in the air and bomb the citadel at Quebec and bomb this very chamber in which we are meeting. That is the policy I then announced regarding the referendum and do now.

I have here many pages of Hansard. I had a motion on going into supply because I was very much dissatisfied with the government, and on March 21, 1939, on a motion to go -into supply, I moved a want of confidence motion in the government's foreign policy and defence policy. I said that the true facts were kept from the people of Canada; that we were not given any information regarding the real picture, and I took a stand in the house on that -date regarding the British empire, -rearmament and this war. I quoted the Prime Minister of Great Britain, Mr. Chamberlain, where he said in the British House of Commons:

If the people are not allowed to know the facts; if they are only allowed to know what their rulers choose them to know, then that people are in danger of being led to embark upon a course which may presently lead them to disaster.

That is found on page 2095 of Hansard for 1939. Again, on the opening -of parliament on February 14, 1938, I had twenty-two questions on the oide-r paper with reference to Canada's pacifist part in the war that seemed sure to be coming. My questions dealt with the Washington -conference, that ill-fated conference at Washington in 1921 and 1922, whiph d-rove Japan into Germany's arms, and the mission of Lord Halifax to Hitler, the Tokyo legation, the Sino-Japanese conflict, Canada and the Nine Power conference, the Prime Minister's visit to Hitler in Berlin in 1937. The Prime Minister was not satisfied for the British government to deal with Hitler, and he went to visit Hitler himself to let him know

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Canada was a nation. My question is found on page 391 of Hansard for February 14, 1938, and was as follows:

1. On whose invitation did the Prime Minister visit Berlin and the German goverhment of Herr Hitler in 1937, and on what days was the visit made?

2. What were the subject matters discussed and was the government of Great Britain advised or consulted about this visit?

3. Will a summary of the matter discussed be laid on the table of the house?

4. Was the subject of establishing a Canadian embassy to Germany under discussion?

5. Did the Prime Minister of Canada make any proposals during said discussions, and if so, what were they?

6. Was the subject of the ceding of the German colonies by Great Britain discussed?

7. Were any economic or international questions in their relation to Canada discussed, and, if so, what questions?

8. What is Canada's foreign policy with respect to Germany?

9. Is such foreign policy a Canadian policy, or is it in harmony with the foreign policy of Great Britain?

The Prime Minister replied with a reply that was no reply at all.

Then there was a Nyon conference to prevent piracy on the Mediterranean and on aid to Britain in the Pacific by funds for the Singapore base. I had urged for many years in this house that for maritime freedom in the Pacific a grant should be made by Canada; also the adoption of the Jellico report and a vast empire shipbuilding policy; the training of 5,000 cadets a year; that Singapore meant more in Pacific protection to Canada than to Australia or New Zealand. And what was the policy of the government? They would not give a dollar, even on Lincoln's birthday, 1938, when the Singapore base was opened four years ago this month. The Australian and New Zealand fleets were there and the United States fleet and the British fleet. But where was Canada? Canada, which was first in the diamond jubilee procession, was the last to send a contingent to South Africa; the government of that day, 1897, said it was against the constitution and against the British North America Act. Canada refused to protect our Pacific coast lines in 1935 to 1940 as it did in 1938.

They have carried out that policy from that day to this, and what has been the result? There was an imperial conference in 1937; the question of shipping and the Pacific question were up, but Canada used the old hackneyed phrase as to the Pacific, "We have no commitments; parliament will decide." They refused to join New Zealand and Australia in an empire shipping plan or enter the shipping conference; they refused here the programme

I offered of a large shipbuilding policy for the empire (1936-38), or to train some of the men who at that time were riding the rods, or a national register for national service.

Then we come to Canada's navy. On the same date, February 14, 1938, I asked, as reported at page 392 of Hansard of that year:

1. What does Canada's navy consist of, and where is it now located?

2. Did the Department of National Defence, on January 5 or 6, 1938, release the schedule of good-will cruises, 1938, for this fleet, in navy orders?

3. Has part of the fleet already set out to sea, and to what destination?

4. Have any of the fleet gone to Sino-Japanese waters?

5. Did part of His Majesty's Canadian navy go to sea, on January 1, on a three-months' cruise to Bermuda, St. Kitts. Barbadoes, St. Lucia and Granada on the Atlantic?

6. Who is the present admiral of the Canadian fleet, and where are his headquarters?

7. What is the total per annum cost to maintain this fleet, and how many officers and men have they?

We have it that Canada's navy then had a tonnage of only that of one large tramp steamer.

Many other questions were asked and replied to, and there were many other occasions on which I brought these matters to the attention of the house, urging naval protection for Canada and our empire.

On March 31, 1939, I talked out the bill of the present Minister of National War Services (Mr. Thorson), who would not even support a small increase in the military estimates and whose policy was that if war came, Canada would be neutral; and although I talked his bill out, it was applauded from a large majority of the house.

On Friday, March 17, 1939, I asked this question:

Will the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) be in a position at the first of the week to give the house any information on the foreign situation, in view of its great importance to the people of Canada?

That is found on page 1991 of Hansard for March 17, 1939. The Right Hon. Ernest Lapointe replied:

The government will take notice of the question of my hon. friend, and I have no doubt the Prime Minister will satisfy his legitimate curiosity.

I wish to compliment those hon. members who have asserted the rights and privileges and functions of members of parliament. Burke has stated what our rights and privileges are:

Theirs were formerly the feelings of Mr. Hampden when called upon for the payment of twenty shillings. Would twenty shillings

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have ruined Mr. Hampden's fortune? No. But the payment of half twenty shillings, on the principle on which it was demanded, would have made him a slave.

Then, as to the rights and functions of members of parliament, Mr. Chamberlain and Mr. Churchill have given the same opinion. Burke had this to say in his address at a time of grave danger in 1774 to his electors and to the sheriffs of Bristol which he represented in parliament:

Certainly, gentlemen, it ought to be the happiness and glory of a representative to live in the strictest union, the closest correspondence, and the most unreserved communication with his constituents. Their wishes ought to have great weight with him; their opinion, high respect, their business, unremitted attention. It is his duty to sacrifice his repose, his pleasures, his satisfactions, to theirs; and above all, ever, and in all cases, to prefer their interest to his own. But his unbiased opinion, his mature judgment, his enlightened conscience, he ought not to sacrifice to you, to any man, or to any set of men living. These he does not derive from your pleasure; no, nor from the law and the constitution. They are a trust from Providence, for the abuse of which he is deeply answerable. Your representative owes you, not his industry only, but his judgment; and he betrays, instead of serving you, if he sacrifices it to your opinion. . . .

You choose a member, indeed; but when you have chosen him, he is not member for Bristol, but he is a member of parliament. If the local constituent should have an interest, or should form any hasty opinion, evidently opposite to the real good of the rest of the community, the member for that place ought to be as far, as any other, from any endeavour to give it effect. . . .

We are members for a free country; and surely we all know, that the machine of a free constitution is no simple thing; but as intricate and as delicate as it is valuable.

Mr. Churchill reasserted that principle of free assembly, free debates, in the British House of Commons last week, in these words:

I don't see why this should hamper anyone. If a member has helpful criticisms to make or even severe correction to administer, that may be perfectly consistent with thinking that in respect of the administration such as it is he might go farther and fare worse.

If a member dislikes the government very much and feels that it is in the public interest that it should be broken up, he ought to have the manhood to testify to his opinion. Nobody need be mealy-mouthed in this debate.

Then Mr. Emmanuel Shinwell, labour member for Seaham, interjected:

Is it to be a free vote?

To this Mr. Churchill replied:

It is to be a free vote under all conditions which have made the conduct of parliamentary government possible. Surely the honourable gentleman is not a man to be frightened of the whip.

Then he went on to say:

It may seem silly to us, but in those minds abroad it is mischievous to our common interests and efforts. I am certainly not asking for any special favours in these circumstances, but I am sure the house would wish to make its position clear.

Therefore I stand by the ancient constitutional and parliamentary doctrine of free debate and faithful voting. . . .

That was his opinion. And when Mr. Churchill speaks he tells the plain truth; his speeches are his own; he does not mince his words, and the people listen to him. He reasserted the rights and privileges of the private member; and the British House of Commons supported him because he believes in free parliamentary and press criticism as part of the British democratic system. What a difference here in this house and in Canada! The first duty of yes-men in Germany is to find out what the fuehrer wants and then to make the planets dance to his desires. Yes-men are not all astrologers; it is a pity they are not, for they would be the better for it. They exist in all classes of society and in all communities, and their mark everywhere is the dread of freedom. These authoritarian governments, Germany, Italy and Japan, exist only because of yes-men and nodders. When a leader emerges he is acclaimed by them, and he drives the country to ruin to their resounding cheers. No opposition is possible in the dictator-ridden countries, it is true, but the evolution of tyranny in Germany and Italy has been possible only because of those who were ready to surrender to usurpation. Once these dictators are installed, they cannot be unseated without a general upset accompanied by force and revolution. In Canada, fortunately, we can speak our mind. There are grave dangera ahead, and reasonable criticism is necessary.

I spoke in this house on March 14, 1927, at page 1168 of Hansard as to the functions and duties of a private member. Those functions and duties are still more important in war time than in peace time. At that time, speaking as a private member of the house, I said, although a strong Conservative:

Unplaced, unpensioned, no man's heir or slave. I neither look for nor care for honour or the patronizing approval of any party. . . . There is only one consolation for a public man, and that is the approval of his own conscience, a sense of duty done. ... I will not knowingly and conscientiously offend any man either byword or deed, but I will stand by the principles of public rights as I see them, which I have supported for twenty-five years in the province of Ontario. But if I am placed in the position of having to defend these principles and must speak, I will speak what I at heart believe to be the truth, moderately, kindly, temperately, but yet plainly, and will call a spade a spade, v . . But while I wear the party uniform.

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I will never wear its plush. I will take my position among the rank and file, however humble it may be, but it will be as a volunteer and not as a "flunkey".

With reference to the situation at Hong Kong, the people of this country do not want any more talk. They want to know the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. The story of Hong Kong goes back twenty-one years to the ill-fated Washington conference of 1921. It starts when Britain, urged by Canada, decided that Hong Kong no longer should be a first class base but should become a second class base.

This plebiscite or referendum has all of us at sea, and it is not going to be any help in obtaining recruits. I believe the Minister of National Defence (Mr. Ralston) has worked hard; I think his heart has been in his work.

I do not wish to criticize him or anybody else; but if we had had proper recruiting methods we would have had a million men under the voluntary system. We did not follow the proper method. Our young people had the right spirit; they were bent on giving service, but they were discouraged. They went to the recruiting stations; they *had the real spirit of service, but they were not properly dealt with. All the respite after Munich, and even after war began, went for nothing. The patriotic fervour of our people was not properly directed. The old phrase, "Strike while the iron is hot," was forgotten; and as a result, a little later on we had the most direct methods of conscription and insult used on our young people in these thirty days' and four months' training camps. The vaulting ambition of youth was dampened; the government did not take the initiative, and as a result voluntary recruiting fell down. The navy and air force, however, have had no difficulty in securing recruits.

As I said in this house on November 7 of last year, as reported at page 4175 of Hansard:

In the first year of the war the mechanized hordes conquered Norway, Czechoslovakia, the low countries, Belgium, Holland and, last but not least, France. In the second year of the war they swept over Jugoslavia and Greece, and the mechanization still goes on. What is the position in Canada? We are now in the third year of the war and the government can give us no definite war programme for the next twelve months. As I said when this war began, the big question was man-power. I was told it was not, but it was food and munitions. Has there been any war in the history of mankind in which man-power has not played a major part? I say there has not; and if the government of the day 'had taken the right stand at the start, voluntary recruiting would not have reached the state in which it is to-day. We should have had a million men. During the first months of the war the country was willing to give the ministers time _ to become war-minded instead of believing in pacifism

and disarmament; but two years of armed warfare should be sufficient to bring about that changed mentality. We should be taking active steps to see that in this third year of the war ours should be a total war effort from coast to coast. Now we find the government without any concerted, coordinated war planning for the coming year, to deal with the demands of the military services and the other demands in connection with production, shipbuilding, agriculture and so on. Home defence will never win any war; there is no possibility of that. We should take stock of our military position. The people want to know the facts, but they oamnot get them. As I said in 1937, are we to wait until the enemy comes up the St. Lawrence by air, land and sea, and bombs the citadel and this very building? All the protection we have is provided by Great Britain, and the United States would be attacked also but for the British navy. The small nations of Europe have been enslaved by this mechanized army; they have endured the spies, the sergeant-majors, the concentration camps, the loud speaker, the tramping of feet, the gestapo, the whips, the spirit of barbarism, brutality and savagery; and but for Britain we on this continent would be compelled to suffer the same experiences. Yet we do not pay her tribute.

What are we going to do about it? Sooner or later there must be another Peninsular war on the continent, and what is Canada doing to prepare for it in man-power to aid the mother country? New Zealand and Australia were represented in Africa, Greece, Syria and other countries. Canada was not. Now we have been told by one of the ministers, within the last day or two, that no Canadian troops can be moved out of England without the authority of this government. That is just what I said in this house last June, that not a man could be sent from England without the permission of the government of this country. That is a fine state of affairs. That is not a total war effort, or coordination with Britain; that is not showing cooperation with the other parts of this empire. The time has now come when there should be a change. I think we need something more than words, something more than the essays and all that sort of thing we have been getting. The people should know the extent of our war effort and exactly what our position is.

I have been told by some of the ministers in the last few days that no Canadian troops have been moved out of England without the authority of the government. I said that last June, that no man could be sent from Great Britain without permission of the government of this country. It is a fine state of affairs when, in a total war effort there is no guarantee to Britain that there will be full cooperation of other parts of the empire. The time has now come for a change, and the people should know the facts.

I may say that we are living in a world to-day where force is the only argument. Then, how is civilization going to be preserved without an army? The Prime Minister, speaking in Quebec city a few days before the 1935 election, said that Canada is never going to be carried into another war without a

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plebiscite. Yet in 1939 he carried this country into war without a plebiscite. The Minister of Transport (Mr. Cardin) said the same thing in 1935, namely, that never again would Canada send troops overseas. But Canada has sent troops overseas, and he is still a member of the government.

I have a great deal of sympathy with the people at the Pacific coast. But this plebiscite does not help them at all. This pompous measure may preserve the dignity of a few people in Ottawa, but in my opinion there is no authority for the plebiscite. It is a hollow mockery. There is no mandate for it. There is nothing in it with which to fight Hitler. It will be a plebiscite without any act, or any way to see the cause and effect of it.

The people are very much dissatisfied with the conduct of the war as it has been carried on so far. They wish to support the government, if they can. Then, with respect to a war cabinet may I point out that in my opinion, in not having a war cabinet the government has made a fatal mistake. One thing which we noticed before the outbreak of the war was the tremendous popularity of the monarchy, the decay of parliament and the decline of the House of Commons. I say there has been a decline, because our functions have been taken away from us by outside boards and bureaucrats. His Majesty the King is beloved the empire over, and we admire the courage and cheerfulness of the king and queen. We must remember that our king is the King of Canada. There should be a war cabinet, with some one beside him, as was the situation 'in the great war to represent Canada before him.

I believe the Prime Minister would have been well advised to have a war cabinet. That is an absolute necessity. New Zealand and Australia want a war cabinet. In the great crisis of the last war the war cabinet proved to be a great success, and I believe that Canadian sentiment is behind it. I hope it may yet develop. It created comradeship among empire troops, and that is something which should be extended. I repeat that I believe the people of Canada are behind it.

I say this because to-day London is the centre of Christendom. We have the battle of London, the battle of the Pacific and the battle of the Atlantic and I believe that such a war cabinet is necessary. I believe all such questions should be dealt with at an imperial conference. I gave reasons for this on May 7, 1941, as follows:

1. Empire shipping and trade policy.

2. Eire bases and the battle of the Atlantic, and increased protection on this ocean for Canadian trade.

[Mr. Church.1

3. The creation of a long-distance defence and foreign policy.

4. Trade, defence, migration and refugees.

5. The lease-lend bill and -its application to Britain and empire policy.

6. The Pacific question; also re the leasing of bases in Newfoundland, the West Indies and Canada's foreign policy therein. She will find herself bound by it.

7. The financial adjustment of cost-

And all that kind of thing, and-

8. The giving away of parts of our empire and Atlantic ports and bases from Newfoundland to British Gu-iana, in exchange for 52 obsolete warships.

I believe all these questions should be dealt with at an imperial conference.

At the present time the government has violated nearly all its pledges. It violated tariff pledges for ten or fifteen years, and in addition to that it has violated1 many other pledges I need not mention.

There is one pledge which has to do with bureaucracies. I see the Minister of Munitions and Supply (Mr. Howe) in his seat. He has established what is known as a transit commission, headed by a transit commissioner. What is that official going to do? I say to the minister, "Hands off Toronto's public utilities." They are operating at cost, and doing something in the war. I repeat, "Hands off those utilities." Then, he has a transit commissioner from Quebec city.

I find this article in a newspaper (Toronto Telegram, February 3rd);

Public transportation is approaching critical conditions in eve-ry city on this continent. . . . The T.T.C. has even been asked by the federal transit controller as -to whether any oars could be spared for other cities in Canad-a, where the situation is very bad. He lias the authority to -arbitrarily take them, if absolutely necessary, and some buses intended for us already have been diverted to war plants.

We wish, of course, that we had been able to obtain the 60 new street ca-rs ordered in 1940 for use this winter. The old Toronto Railway cars that are being used are not efficient or comfortable. We know -it, but the authorities at Ottawa would not even consider granting permission to buy new street oars as long as any old cars could be used at all.

Nobody knows what the effect of gasoline rationing on April 1, and the tire restrictions, will -have on public transportation.

And so on. Those are the words of Mr. Patten, General Manager of the Toronto Transportation Commission.

All of these bureaucratic boards have been established. And so the House of Commons is only the forgotten appendage of government; there is no more security.

I have some -other matters in mind, but I shall take an opportunity to refer to them la.ter on. With particular reference to the Pacific question, -however, I believe the

The Address-Mr. Ilsley

danger is not far from Canada. The Japanese have submarines which can cross the Pacific ocean, and I believe the day is not far distant when we may be in actual danger.

I am not opposed to the policy of building a road to Alaska. The United States should build that road, if it is to go through to Alaska. In addition to that the government should use lease-lend funds, because it is a matter of home defence. After all is said and done, there is no such thing as home defence. If the British fleet goes down, and if the Royal Air Force fails, the enemy will be on our shores very soon.

I must commend the hon. member for Eglinton (Mr. Hoblitzell) who is my representative in the House of Commons. I commend him particularly for his refusal to support the policy of "follow your leader," and the principle of making a member of parliament just a "me-too" for anything the government may propose.

On a later occasion I hope to have an opportunity of dealing with the Pacific question in detail, and I want to deal in further detail with all the boards which have been established under the auspices of the government.

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LIB

James Lorimer Ilsley (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, the principle of government solidarity is fairly well understood in the country. The people generally know that when the speech from the throne states government policy, that is the policy of the whole government and has the concurrence of every member of the government. This fact, however, does not prevent questions being asked as to whether this concurrence is reluctant or formal, on the part of certain members of the government, or wholehearted and sincere. My main purpose in speaking in this debate is to make it clear beyond doubt to my friends in my own province, and members of the business community, with which the Department of Finance brings me constantly in close contact and to everyone else -who is interested in the matter, that my concurrence in the plebiscite policy is based on conviction, and is given without any doubt or reservation whatsoever.

I would not take part in the debate unless I felt it to be my duty to make this fact perfectly clear. I have been surprised by the confusion of thought which exists in the country on this matter, and I have been amazed by the extent to which thought has been submerged by emotion. Even after allowance is made for the extravagance of language, which is attributable perhaps to by-elections, I can hardly believe that such words as have been used and are being used

should be used about a policy which appears to me to be natural, honourable and

desirable.

Words such as cowardly, dastardly, contemptible, shameful, humiliating, crowning indignity, and so forth, have been used. I must say that the members of this house have shown a sense of their responsibility in regard to the use of language far greater than that which has been exhibited outside. They know, I think, as a result of their association with their fellow members from all parts of Canada, that violent language is inappropriate to this situation. But some of the members and certain spite-infused and hate-inspired enemies of the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) have simply let themselves go. They have let themselves go in a way that will make them ashamed of themselves in future months and years.

On the other hand I am convinced that however the step that this government is taking now may appear to these individuals at the moment, it will be looked back upon after a lapse of months and years as the right thing to have done and the best thing to have done in all the circumstances. At times such as these ministers and members should express themselves with simplicity and sincerity. Every syllable they utter should be the truth as they see it, nothing more and nothing less. If they do this, if they pour out their true selves, so to speak, they cannot dissociate themselves from certain fundamental factors such as their heritage and their environment.

My own background is that of the country districts of Nova Scotia. I represent people whose ancestors for the most part left the British isles centuries ago, people whose loyalty to the British empire, whose belief in the British empire and its institutions, are deep-seated, and for that matter taken for granted. They call it the British empire, not the British commonwealth of nations. They do not think too much about home defence. Through the centuries their sons have fought in distant parts of the world and they know that the defence of the British isles is their defence. The distinction between serving in Canada and serving overseas is a distinction which for them has no meaning whatever. They would consider it their duty to defend what they call the British empire, and what I call the British empire, in any part of the world in which the continued existence of the empire was in peril. Their young men are serving in great numbers, proportionately to the population, in the army, in the navy and in the air. These brave young men, the finest and best of Nova Scotians, are being killed. To-day one is missing in Libya, to-morrow another is shot down

The Address-Mr. Ilsley

over the North sea or in France. Casualties bring still more enlistments. The whole population is determined that the war shall be won and be won as speedily as possible. In the minds of some there may be something old-fashioned about this environment, about this attitude, but can anyone deny the inspired soundness and nobility of it?

These are the people whom I have had the honour-and I mean the honour-of representing in this house since 1926, and whose viewpoint, which is my own view-point, I reflect in the cabinet. I want to make this perfectly clear so that my remarks upon the plebiscite may be more thoroughly and completely understood. These people believe and I believe that this government, without too much regard for remotely distant consequences, should adopt the most efficient and effective methods now of carrying on the war. I believe that the programme which we plan should for the immediate future, the coming year, be a programme which will strain the human and material resources of this country to the limit. I have, therefore, agreed as Minister of Fi.nance to a war programme for the coming fiscal year which in my opinion, and in the opinion of my advisers, is the extreme limit of what this country can do, having in mind its human and material resources. I am in favour of pursuing a policy which will make for the fullest possible measure of success for that programme.

One issue between the government and its more sincere opponents seems to me to be this: Will the continuation of the voluntary system for overseas service, at least for the time being-we have the compulsory system in many other lines of the war activity-make for a greater success in our programme than would its abandonment? I wish to say that neither as a member of the government nor as a member of the war committee of the cabinet, nor otherwise, have I been able to find any evidence that the abandonment of the voluntary system and the substitution of the compulsory system in respect to that part of our war effort represented by overseas army service would help at this moment in our war effort.

Surely no one can deny that the voluntary system to date has functioned magnificently. In what single respect has it fallen down? Any question as to the success of the voluntary system for overseas service is not as to its success at the moment but as to its success in the future. No one can tell what methods, what degree of compulsion may be required in the months and years to come, but this government, in my judgment, having in mind its commitments at the last election, would not

be true to its trust if it allowed the situation to drift in directions not now possible to foresee without appealing now to the people, when we know that the appeal can be made without sacrifice of military advantage, to release the government from its commitments so that the government will be completely free to lead this nation wherever it is necessary for this nation to go and by whatever methods it is necessary to adopt to bring about the successful and earliest possible termination of the war.

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NAT

Karl Kenneth Homuth

National Government

Mr. HOMUTH:

What if they do not release them?

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LIB

James Lorimer Ilsley (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. ILSLEY:

sters with enormous military striking power are running amuck, no country is safe which withdraws behind and seeks to defend itself behind its own borders. They fail to see that the war we now fight is not a war for imperialistic aggrandizement but a death struggle between two types of civilization. They fail to see that for us it is a war of survival, survival of our integrity as a state, of our free institutions, of our democratic way of life. They fail to see that Canada's destiny as a free or a slave state may be decided mot on her own soil, but in far distant parts of the -world, and that the magnitude of Canada's contribution to the struggle may readily tip the scales.

However mistaken their point of view may seem to us, it is one which we must recognize. It is one which is held by minority groups in several sections of this country. It is strongly held, charged with emotion. It is one which has its roots deep in the past. It is, at least in part, due to incredible blunders made by ourselves during the last war. Surely we should not repeat these blunders by attempting to ride roughshod over opinions *which differ from ours, by breaking pledges, and using the powers we undoubtedly have to force a measure through this house, with no attempt first made to assure that there is for it the maximum amount of understanding, and therefore of sympathy and consent, throughout the country. Surely we should not Jeopardize the gains we have made since the last war and sacrifice the substantial measure of national unity which has been achieved in this war by adopting the arbitrary, unrestrained and provocative methods which the vehement advocates of conscription now would have us use. Certainly those of us who believe in a total Canadian effort for total war should avoid such methods as they would the plague.

Then there is the attitude of another class of opponents, those represented by the 'hon. member for Waterloo South (Mr. Homuth) -Who interrupted me a few minutes ago, who base their objection on the fear that the plebiscite may be defeated. This is the argument of those who are all-out for conscription whatever the consequences, whether it wrecks national unity, whether it helps or hurts the war effort. This is the argument of those who do not trust the people, the argument of those who would have parliament put through conscription without consulting the people, whether the people approve or not. Their position seems to me to be wholly untenable.

Conscription is only a method. The efficiency of any method is to be measured1 by how it works. I am free to confess that in my opinion, if it were strongly opposed by a

majority of the Canadian people, it would be a far less efficient and effective method of providing reinforcements for our troops overseas than the continuation of the voluntary method. Its adoption under such circumstances would, I believe, impede and retard the war effort, not to mention any other disastrous consequences which it would have to the fabric and unity of the state. But I for one wish to express emphatically my belief -that the plebiscite will result in an overwhelming majority of the Canadian people voting to release the government from any past pledges which might now prohibit it from using its discretion to fight this war by any method that seems necessary to win it.

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NAT

Richard Burpee Hanson (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. HANSON (York-Sunbury):

Then what?

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LIB

James Lorimer Ilsley (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. ILSLEY:

I need not say that I personally will do my utmost to bring about that result.

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NAT

Richard Burpee Hanson (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. HANSON (York-Sunbury):

Then what?

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LIB

James Lorimer Ilsley (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. ILSLEY:

We shall be free to act and we will act in the best interests of the country and of the war effort;

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NAT

Richard Burpee Hanson (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. HANSON (York-Sunbury):

Free to do nothing.

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LIB

James Lorimer Ilsley (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. ILSLEY:

The first outcry was that this was a plebiscite on conscription; the second outcry now is that it is not a plebiscite on conscription. There is, in my opinion, only one possible danger which need cause fear about the result, and of this I speak with some trepidation. That danger is the possibility that some of the advocates of conscription may go so far in their use of unrestrained, abusive and provocative language, may so let their emotions run away with their intelligence, as to provoke an equally violent emotional resistance on the part of those who do not now believe in or may not yet have made up their minds about selective military service.

Then it is said that the plebiscite is a costly process. Estimates running all the way from a million and a quarter to five million dollars have been made, some of them gross overestimates. This argument, Toronto Saturday Night said, is put forward by people who raise no objection to the continued expenditure by Canadians of vastly greater sums every week upon light entertainment, imported luxury foods, sport, travel and other non-military objectives. They translate the cost of the plebiscite into terms of the bombers and corvettes it would buy, as if the limitation of our supply of these military articles were the amount of money we can spend, whereas it is * really the plant capacity and skilled labour available for their production, none of which

The Address-Mr. Ilsley

would be diverted by taking a plebiscite. Despite this rebuttal of the argument, I as Minister of Finance am interested in saving every dollar that can possibly be saved. If the cost of the plebiscite could be saved; if, in other words, taking the plebiscite represented wasted effort, I would be the first to want that money saved and that waste eliminated. But I cannot believe that it represents waste or needless expenditure of public funds. If so, it might be said that the prolonged debates in this parliament represent waste. That is the charge that Hitler makes, that all costly and time-consuming processes of parliamentary government represent needless waste and inefficiency-that a dictatorship is cheaper and more efficient.

I do not think I need labour this point. We who believe in democracy are willing to pay the price of democracy. We believe that the values received are worth the price we have to pay. If as a result of the plebiscite we can bring home to all our people what this war really means; if we can spread a better realization of the fact that Canada is being defended and must be defended not just on its own shores but in England, on the sands of Libya, on the Russian steppes and in the far-off islands of the south western Pacific; if we can help to dissipate any lingering remnant there may be of the doctrine of isolationism, then probably no price will be too high to pay. If we can accomplish these results, as I believe we can; if those who believe in total war and in the principles of a comprehensive selective service, seek loyally and fervently, and without ulterior motives, to achieve their aims by democratic rather than by fascist methods, then I verily believe that the result of the demonstration of a united national will be of immense value to the country's war effort, a striking contribution to the cause for which we fight.

Then there is the threat of a strike against the victory loan. It is in connection with this controversy over the alleged costliness of the plebiscite that a development has arisen which has shocked me immeasurably. I refer to the letters addressed to myself by several persons, published in certain newspapers, threatening to cancel their regular purchases of war savings certificates and to boycott the new victory loan, in order apparently to scare the government into abandoning the proposed plebiscite or to punish the government for deciding to take it. I cannot believe that the writers of these letters can have given a moment's consideration to the significance of their irresponsible action; and to the credit of the press, some newspapers which believe strongly in

immediate conscription for overseas service have written editorials of protest against this type of opposition.

If the individuals concerned will stop to think, they will realize that their threatened action means nothing less than a strike against the state, a strike against our men in the armed forces, a direct sabotaging of the country's war effort. It is fascism, the attempted use of force to bring about a change in government policy. No doubt these individuals feel strongly as to the soundness of their own opinions, but unless I am greatly mistaken they would be the first to condemn a labour group which threatened to strike in a vital war industry. Their own position is even less defensible.

Surely there is no justification for fascist methods in this country. Surely we still believe in the democratic process. Let such individuals express their opinions as strongly as they will. Let them attempt to convert their fellow-citizens, their members of parliament. Let them seek by any democratic means to overturn the government if they disagree with its policies and decisions. But no Canadian should strike against the state.

No Canadian should boycott a vital part of the war effort. In our war financing activities we have received the unstinted support and cooperation of men and newspapers of all parties and all shades of opinion. I have repeatedly expressed my warm appreciation of that cooperation, and I now do so again. I am confident that however much we may disagree on methods and policies in other fields we can continue to work in complete harmony in the enormously important task of raising the vast sums of money required to pay our soldiers, sailors and airmen and their dependents and to provide them with the best equipment which we can buy or produce.

In conclusion let me appeal to all Canadians for moderation, restraint and reasonableness. In some cases I know my appeal will fall on deaf ears, for example in the case of the premier of Ontario. He would laugh at me, he would laugh at my appeal. But this is not true of most Canadians. Unity is still possible in Canada if we take ourselves in hand. The other day when the Prime Minister was speaking, appealing for unity, I understand that an hon. member interjected, "What unity?" Well, let no one scoff at unity or despair of unity. We can maintain unity by the course we are taking. But we would shatter it into a thousand bits if we followed the course advocated by any single faction of extremists in the camps-not the camp- against us. The objective of all of us is a total war effort in the interest of the earliest

The Address-Mr. Ilsley

possible termination of the war. Surely no one doubts that this is the objective of the government. Surely these wild men who accuse us of having some sordid motives, of thinking of our political futures, do not believe what they are saying. I have no sons, but look at almost any danger area in the world, at almost any theatre of war, and you will find there a son or sons of some minister of this government.

Well, if we have no ulterior motives, and if our opponents have none, surely there is no unscalable barrier to agreement on methods to unity and understanding.

I close with Mr. Churchill's words on unity, which he uttered in the British House of Commons last Tuesday. He said:

We should not allow ourselves to be rattled when this or that other place has been captured, because once the ultimate power of the United States is brought into play it will move forward remorselessly, provided we fight with the greatest vigour and tenacity and provided we, above all, remain united.

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CCF

Clarence Gillis

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

Mr. CLARENCE GILLIS (Cape Breton South):

I am sure that every hon. member listened with a great deal of interest to the statement just made by the Minister of Finance (Mr. Ilsley). Coming from Nova Scotia also, from another section of it, and perhaps representing a totally different environment, I am going to endeavour to express my opinion on the matter now under debate.

Before I proceed to discuss the plebiscite I should like to refer briefly to a statement or statements made last evening by the hon. member for Peterborough West (Mr. Fraser). At the time he made the statements I endeavoured to correct them and was ruled out of order, and if this debate closes there will not be another opportunity of setting the record straight on that matter.

It is not my intention, and as a rule this group does not waste the time of the house in placing our political views before the house; we endeavour to stick to the issues and to be as brief and explicit as possible. However, when statements are made obviously for political effect, directed at this group, and those statements are not correct we must of necessity answer them.

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NAT

Gordon Knapman Fraser

National Government

Mr. FRASER (Peterborough West):

It was in answer to a political speech made by a member of that group.

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CCF

Clarence Gillis

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

Mr. GILLIS:

The matter to which I wish to refer is the statement made by the hon. member as reported on page 276 of Hansard of February 3 when he said:

An hon. member to my left said to-day that anyone who is employing a person for work he could do himself should fire that person.

I take it from that observation that the hon. member meant that domestic help should be discharged. He continued:

I believe that is practically what was said to my left this afternoon, and that is the meaning the people throughout the country will take.

That is that domestic help should go. I do not believe in that principle. At the time that statement was made I endeavoured to correct it as it was not the statement made by the hon. member for Melfort (Mr. Wright) to whom the hon. member for Peterborough West was referring. What the hon. member for Melfort did say, as reported by Hansard, is this as reported on page 268 of yesterday's Hansard:

I believe we should measure our taxation in this way: that we should take in taxes in this country all income which enables any person to employ, either directly or indirectly, the services of any man or woman to do for him something which he is physically able to do for himself.

The hon. member for Melfort was dealing directly with the question of taxation. The hon. member for Peterborough West was dealing with the dismissal of domestic help and made a very broad and sweeping statement which could very easily have been misunderstood. We realize perfectly why he was making that statement.

I should like to draw attention to another statement which is not in accordance with the facts. The hon. member for Peterborough West said, as reported on page 281, that "these widows should be praised for buying war bonds and certificates, instead of being ridiculed." He went on to talk about widows and coupon clippers. What I am concerned about is this statement:

. . . though the other day for an hour and a half there was not one Cooperative Commonwealth Federation member in the house. These people will wonder why the government has asked them to buy war bonds and certificates when a member of this house says they are saboteurs.

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NAT

Gordon Knapman Fraser

National Government

Mr. FRASER (Peterborough West):

The hon. member who is speaking said "saboteurs".

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CCF

Clarence Gillis

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

Mr. GILLIS:

Correct. I am going to explain it. The hon. member for Yonkton made an observation with respect to coupon clippers, bond holders, those who conducted a sit-down strike to remove the five per cent limitation on profits, and so forth, and I interjected in that connection "saboteurs". I consider the people who at such a time put a gun to the head of the government when the British empire with its back to the wall was being driven towards Dunkirk, and who demanded their pound of flesh and retarded necessary

The Address-Mr. Gillis

production in this country to supply Britain with the machinery necessary to defend herself, were saboteurs. I said that then and I say that now.

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NAT

Gordon Knapman Fraser

National Government

Mr. FRASER (Peterborough West):

The hon. member said "any coupon clipper" and you said "saboteurs".

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CCF

Clarence Gillis

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

Mr. GILLIS:

Exactly. As to members of this group not being in their seats for an hour and a half on a certain day, there is no foundation for that statement. The hon. member cannot name a day when at least some of the members of this group were not in the house. No party in this house attends the sessions more religiously than the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation and social credit groups. For two days this week, while the delegation from the west was in Ottawa, the five members of this group from Saskatchewan were meeting with that delegation, endeavouring to assist them in ironing out their problems. But at no time while this house has been sitting have we all been out of the chamber; at least either the hon. member for Vancouver East (Mr. Maclnnis) or I were here listening and paying attention to what was going on.

Then the hon. member referred to an indemnity of S30 a day, a statement which was also misleading and which might be misunderstood.

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NAT

Gordon Knapman Fraser

National Government

Mr. FRASER (Peterborough West):

I

said $30 for a day and a half.

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February 4, 1942