February 6, 1942

PRESS REPORT OP SPEECH OP CANDIDATE IN QUEBEC EAST BY-ELECTION


On the orders of the day:


NAT

Richard Burpee Hanson (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

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

My attention has been called to a press report of a statement by Mr. Bouchard, who is a candidate in the by-election in the constituency of Quebec East, in a speech prepared for delivery in that city a few days ago, in which he gave utterance to sentiments which were suppressed by the censor on the ground that they were a violation of the defence of Canada regulations. I have not seen the speech, but no doubt officials of the government and members of the government themselves have seen it. I ask the government if investigation has been made with respect to the contents of this speech. If it was in violation of the defence of Canada regulations it was properly suppressed by order of the censor, and if it was in violation of such regulations, what action does the government propose to take in the premises, having regard to what it did in the case of the mayor of Montreal?

Topic:   PRESS REPORT OP SPEECH OP CANDIDATE IN QUEBEC EAST BY-ELECTION
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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Right Hon. W. L. MACKENZIE KING (Prime Minister):

May I say to my hon. friend that I have no knowledge of what has been said or censored, but I shall look into the matter. I might say further to my hon. friend and to the house that it is a pretty difficult matter to decide what is the wisest course to take with respect to censoring political speeches. Men can be made martyrs of if their words are suppressed; on the other hand they are apt to convey an entirely false impression to others than themselves with respect to the significance of their words if they are allowed to speak freely. In these matters I think at this time we shall have to trust largely to the common sense of the people.

Topic:   PRESS REPORT OP SPEECH OP CANDIDATE IN QUEBEC EAST BY-ELECTION
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YUKON AIRPORTS

QUESTION AS TO DEFENCE MEASURES IN STRATEGIC AREAS


On the orders of the day:


NAT

George Black

National Government

Mr. GEORGE BLACK (Yukon):

I wish to ask the Minister of National Defence (Mr. Ralston) whether any steps have been taken for the defence of the airports at White Horse, Dawson, Mayo and Watson Lake in the Yrukon. The government have recently spent a good deal of public money on some of those airports, and they are worth taking

The Address-Mr. MacKenzie (Vancouver)

care of. The airport at White Horse is in a particularly strategic position for the service of northern Canada and the territory of Alaska. I should like to know whether anything is being done towards the defence of these airports.

Topic:   YUKON AIRPORTS
Subtopic:   QUESTION AS TO DEFENCE MEASURES IN STRATEGIC AREAS
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LIB

James Layton Ralston (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Hon. J. L. RALSTON (Minister of National Defence):

I will consult with my *colleague the Minister of National Defence for Air (Mr. Power) and give my hon. friend an answer later.

Topic:   YUKON AIRPORTS
Subtopic:   QUESTION AS TO DEFENCE MEASURES IN STRATEGIC AREAS
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GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH

*CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY


The house resumed from Thursday, February 5, 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. Hon. IAN A. MACKENZIE (Minister of Pensions and National Health): On Thursday, January 22, Mr. Speaker, you informed this house of the speech of His Excellency the Governor General. On Friday, January 23, the hon. member for Hull (Mr. Fournier), seconded by the hon. member for Brantford City (Mr. Macdonald), moved that we "beg leave to offer our humble thanks to your excellency for the gracious speech which your excellency has addressed to both houses of parliament." On that occasion both the mover and the seconder observed the finest traditions of our parliamentary institutions, and to the tributes that have been paid to them from all parts of this house I should like, in a spirit of deepest sincerity, to add my own. Then, sir, on January 26, those who were privileged to be here had the pleasure of hearing two very able addresses, one from my hon. friend the leader of the opposition (Mr. Hanson), which, although I did not have the pleasure of hearing it, on account of being engaged on important duties elsewhere, I read most carefully. And I am left amazed as to why the Conservative party in this country found it necessary to supplant him in the leadership of his party at this time. There was also that magnificent and comprehensive address of my right hon. leader (Mr. Mackenzie King), probably one of the finest in his distinguished public career, which is going to continue for many years in the history of our dominion. My hon. friend the leader of the opposition outlined seven essential points in our war effort. May I say to him immediately that I agree with him in regard to every one of those seven points. The only question is as to priorities. With one of his remarks I take leave partly to disagree. I quote him, as reported at page 21 of Hansard: The defence of the nation lies in Britain, in the English channel, in the North sea, in Russia, in the Near East, in the Far East; wherever the enemy may be found. There, overseas, lies Canada's defence her first line of defence. I think we are all agreed on that principle; at least I hope we are. Well, sir, while that was definitely true some three months ago, I hold that it is not unqualifiedly true in Canada at the present time. I say that to-day the defence of Canada lies not only on those far frontiers, but also along the indented inlets of British Columbia, along our exposed Atlantic coast, along all the shores of the Dominion of Canada. The other evening we had a speech by my good friend the hon. member for Vancouver South (Mr. Green), pointing out the potential dangers to our Pacific shores. In parts- and I say this kindly-that speech may have been ill-considered and unguarded; yet in its essential thesis, which I took to be a waking up of Canada to the necessity of taking the utmost possible measures for the defence of the Pacific coast, I find myself in substantial agreement with it. As a matter of fact, quite unintentionally and without his being aware of it, the hon. member's address was a condemnation of most of the speeches we have heard from his colleagues of the Conservative party during the course of this debate. They have insisted, practically to the exclusion of everything else, on raising one issue and one alone in this house at this time; that is, compulsory selective service for the army overseas. As the Prime Minister very carefully and prudently stated in his address there is no real difference except on this point between the policies of the major parties in this house. As reported at page 32 of Hansard the Prime Minister said: Freed from the emotions and passions aroused by the storm of controversy, it will be seen that the only difference that does exist is a difference with respect to the application of compulsion in raising men for military service overseas. And again; The issue, therefore, between the government and its opponents narrows down solely to the question of the application of compulsion i,n raising men for the army. ... It should be added that the issue thus narrowed to conscription for overseas service in the army 372 COMMONS The Address-Mr. Mackenzie (Vancouver) relates only to a possible future contingency, since up to the present the active army has secured the necessary recruits on a voluntary basis. The last quotation is from page 33 of Hansard. The new policy of the government was announced by the Prime Minister in what I have previously termed that magnificent and comprehensive address. I quote his words, as reported, at page 39 of Hansard: During 1942, that is this year, up to March 31 next, it is proposed to create overseas a Canadian army of two army corps. ... In addition, all necessary ancillary units to serve these two corps will be provided. This involves changing the fourth division to an armoured division and raising another tank brigade, together with the necessary ancillary troops and headquarters staff organizations. Then, sir, an amendment was moved by the leader of the opposition-an indictment containing four counts against this administration. If the house supports any one of these counts, it votes non-confidence in this government. The first count in the indictment is that the governmenL-. . . have sought to evade their responsibility by holding a plebiscite, which, in the view of this house, is the negation of responsible government. The second count regrets that the government has not introduced additional measures designed to- . . . mobilize the W'ealth and material resources and, on a selective basis, the full man and woman power of the nation, to the end that the nation may wage total war in any theatre of war. It is in the last few words that the only real difference which divides us is given expression. In the third count my hon. friend regrets that the government has not introduced additional measures designed to- . . . supply the imperative needs of agriculture, industry, and the fighting forces of the nation. The fourth count is an expression of regret that the government has not introduced additional measures designed to- prepare for the post-war period. I have yet to hear any hon. member on the other side suggest what the sponsors of the amendment had in mind with regard to the last two counts of their indictment. I should now like to deal briefly with the amendment to the amendment moved by the hon. member for Rosetown-Biggar (Mr. Coldwell), who is not in his seat at the moment. It is expressed also by way of a vote of non-confidence in this administration, and regrets that the government- . . . have used the sweeping powers conferred by the National Resources Mobilization Act mainly for the conscription of men for home defence, and in the opinion of this house no total effort adequate to meet the present needs of the war, domestic problems and the preparation for post-war conditions is possible without total mobilization of wealth, industry and finance, as well as human resources. Therefore this house respectfully requests that the forthcoming plebiscite should seek the support of the people of Canada for the complete and effective conscription of war industries, accumulated wealth and financial institutions, at the same time and on the same basis of sacrifice as the suggested extension of the conscription of man-power. In regard to the various arguments introduced by my hon. friend under these headings, I regret that I cannot support them. In his address, however, he made one important statement to which I would give my complete support. It appears at page 56 of Hansard: If we are to have this all-out war effort, it must be on the basis of national unity. Every discussion of these matters in this house and in the country ought to be undertaken with due regard to the unity of our people of all races, creeds and tongues. Had the nature and objective of our war effort been clearly placed before the people, our unity would not be endangered. This house has failed to realize that the greatest danger to our unity in war is exactly the same danger we face in peace, the danger from inequality of sacrifice and opportunity. Let us now, Mr. Speaker, look back to other days; perhaps from the experience of the past we may learn some lessons for the present and the future. In 1917, when the great Sir Wilfrid Laurier, Hugh Guthrie, Fred Pardee and others in that memorable debate upon the referendum urged the conscription of wealth in Canada, they advocated measures which are in full operation in Canada at the present time. To-day we have no tax-free bonds in which the wealthy man can secure his riches under the guise of patriotism. At the time of which I speak there was not even a federal income tax, which only came, in its somewhat restricted form, largely as a result of the arguments advanced during the session of 1917 in favour of the conscription of wealth, by those great Liberal leaders, although they were severed in regard to that particular issue. In this war I submit that we have gone a great deal farther than anything dreamed of in those days by the most ardent supporters of the conscription of wealth. The hon. member who moved the amendment to the amendment-and I am not holding this against him-is a socialist, and is completely within his rights in advocating socialism for Canada. But he has been doing so for many years, and the electors of Canada have not yet approved of his policy. When he calls for the conscription of industry, accumulated wealth and financial institutions, this might mean one of two things. If it The Address-Mr. Mackenzie (Vancouver) means the conscription of large incomes, the prevention of profiteering, the utilization of our material resources, no matter to whom they belong, for the prosecution of the war, then I say that this government not only has been given the power to do these things but has done them, and is accelerating the application of its power at a rate that has amazed the entire world. What is it that we have done? We have limited the profits of industry. We have taxed away a substantial portion of what is left under that limitation. We have done away with profits altogether in a tremendous proportion of our war industries, by setting up state-owned factories. We have taxed the personal incomes of the wealthy almost if not quite to the point of confiscation. We have told the people who have supplies of steel, copper, lumber, and a thousand and one commodities, that not the owners thereof but the Dominion of Canada shall decide what they shall do with their property, to whom they shall supply it and at what price. We have gone into industrial plants and told the proprietors what they are to make and at what price they are to sell it. We have in control of our financial institutions a national bank which, with its many controls, is compelling the use of our national finances for the benefit of the nation. We have taken over private property, without compunction, when needed for national purposes. We have restricted and curtailed luxury spending so that private moneys shall be at the disposal of the state. We have told the grocers and the butchers that they shall not let scarcity be an excuse for increasing the price of the people's food. We took far-reaching measures for national security, such as the Unemployment Insurance Aot and the postdischarge reestablishment plan. These things we have done and are continuing to do with ever-increasing scope and severity. We have .gone farther than any other country whose economy is based upon free enterprise. The marvel is that we have been able to go so far and so fast as we have, without impairing our national efficiency. These things which I have described are the conscription of wealth-conscription to an extent unprecedented in any state whose economy is based upon a system of free enterprise. But, Mr. Speaker, if the amendment of my hon. friend goes farther than the limitations which I have described, then it asks this house to declare for the abolition of free enterprise and for the substitution of state socialism, a measure which would involve revolution in our whole economic system in Canada. In peace time I would indeed be prepared to debate that issue with the hon. member for Rosetown-Biggar on its merits, and perhaps I might go very far along that road with him. I would disagree with him upon the main issues, and the public would then have an opportunity at recurring elections of deciding the merits and the demerits of the issues at stake. But I submit in the strongest possible way that such a debate in war time is a dissipation of energy. We must in this crisis use the organization which we have attained, use it to the best advantage, and with all the improvements we can make to it, in carrying out the purpose-which, after all, is the purpose of us all-of winning this war for Canada, for the empire, for democracy and for freedom itself. I have heard arguments from time to time in this 'house about loss of time while we seek to ascertain the will of the people. But the loss of time and efficiency which would be involved in changing Canada from' a system of free enterprise to one of socialism is such as to make any such proposal in war time, to my mind, grotesque and absurd. This amende ment, therefore, is not a proposal to use socialism for the more effective prosecution of the war; it is an attempt to use the war as a justification for a socialist revolution. I humbly submit to my fellow Canadians in the house, to hon. members, that there has been too much of that sort of thing in Canada. Every party or clique with a hobby has been using the war as an argument to justify its particular theory. I would, sir, with great respect suggest that it would be more in our national interest to throw our favourite political theories to one side and concentrate our energies for the time being on using our equipment-our present economic system-for the prosecution of this great and terrible war. Even if one were convinced that a socialist state would foe better equipped to prosecute a successful war, a proposition to which the majority of members in the house and the people of Canada would not subscribe, this is no time to divert our energies from defeating the enemy to the confusing and colossal task of uprooting the whole system of private enterprise. But, sir, on the broad principle of equality of sacrifice, in so far as we are able to adopt it, 'the present government has made greater strides in the past two or three years than we have ever known before in the records of our Canadian history. The government's programme is based upon the curtailment of luxuries and economic waste to the greatest possible extent. New measures in this direction are being introduced as rapidly as we can organize the procedure for administration. Greatly, therefore, as one sympathizes with 374 COMMONS The Address-Mr. Mackenzie (Vancouver) the spirit which prompted the amendment to the amendment, one is forced to ask at this time that it be defeated in the house, because, in the first place, it expresses a want of confidence in the government; because, in the second place, the machinery for its accomplishment is already on the statute books of this country, and because, in the third place, underlying it is the demand for a socialist revolution in Canada, in the midst of a war. I now come back again to the main amendment moved by my hon. friend the leader of the opposition. In language which is far from being definite or specific, it refers to the question of compulsory selective service for overseas in the army. Before I discuss that issue, as I mean to do later on, fairly, freely and frankly, may I say a word about the last paragraph of the amendment. That paragraph refers to measures designed to meet post-war problems. I do not know, Mr. Speaker, what exactly was in the minds of hon. members opposite when they drafted this particular amendment. I do say, however, that the government has submitted to this house a series of far-reaching measures dealing with post-war problems, and I am glad to be able to say that at least two further important measures will be submitted at the present session. The Unemployment Insurance Act of 1940 was primarily a post-war measure. The postdischarge plan, which was passed by order in council, but tabled in the house immediately after it was passed, giving the benefit of the Unemployment Insurance Act to members of the armed forces, and providing other measures of assistance to discharged men, is a post-war measure of the highest importance. At the last session a competent committee of members of parliament assisted in the revision and amendment of the Pension Act. At the same time that committee reviewed the work of a dozen committees of civil servants and others, covering the whole field of civil reestablishment of members of our forces. That committee submitted a report containing certain recommendations, and I should like at an appropriate time to place on record the actual action taken in regard to each of its specific recommendations. Of the measures to be introduced at this session, one will deal with a system of land settlement which, I believe, will be found by all members of the house to be one of the most constructive and far-reaching proposals of its kind ever submitted to parliament. In regard to the main problem of reconstruction, the government appointed a committee consisting of six of our most dis- (Mr. Ian Mackenzie.] tinguished Canadian citizens-and I should like to place on Hansard at a future time, for the information of hon. members, the names of its personnel. When the opportunity presents itself, I intend to proceed with a comprehensive analysis of the work already carried out, both administratively and by research, but I submit it is not possible at the present time to introduce any further measure which could be effective. Therefore I fail to understand the exact significance of that point in the amendment moved by my hon. friend the leader of the opposition. I wish now to revert to what is, after allr the main theme of this debate, and the main theme of the main and rather beclouded' amendment. 1 must agree with my right hon. leader that it certainly is not definitely or specifically expressed. The government of this country had three alternatives before it. One was to disregard completely its solemn and sacred pledge given to the people and come out for overseas conscription, as a national policy. I ask hon. members in all corners of the house to envision what would have been the effect in the house and country. The result would be a divided and disunited nation in Canada at the present time. The second alternative was, as a government, regardless of possible future developments and necessities, to come out against conscription. I ask hon. gentlemen to envision what would be the effect in this house or in -this country-and I reply again: A divided and disunited nation. The government has, in my humble judgment, taken the only honourable course, that is, asking for relief from a pledge which was solemnly and sacredly given in the very midst of a war, and by which this government must stand until it is released therefrom by the people themselves, or until the government itself should fall. We are not taking a referendum on the merits or demerits of conscription itself. We are asking the people to give us the authority, in case the nation's necessity demands it, to act, irrespective of previous pledges, in the best interests of this country and of the cause for which we are fighting to-day and must, I fear, fight for many years. Indeed, if we were asking for a referendum on the merits of the issue, there is nothing contrary to tradition in that. Australia took two referenda on conscription in the midst of the last war. Canada had a general election on the issue in the midst of the last war. . Let me trace history very briefly. In 1917 the issue arose in this house. Sir Wilfrid Laurier, the then honoured leader of the The Address-Mr. Mackenzie (Vancouver) opposition, that magnificent leader of the province of Quebec, moved in this house for a referendum on the issue and said that as far as his influence went, he and the province which he directly represented would be bound by the result of that referendum. However, his amendment was defeated, and the country was subjected to a general election under the iniquitous War-time Elections Act, which divided Canada and has been responsible for the division of Canada from 1917 until 1942. Mr. Speaker, there was taken on the strength of the Canadian expeditionary force in the last war a total of 619,636 men. Of these there were obtained by voluntary enlistment, 536,281 men. The number raised by the Military Service Act, after all exemptions were dealt with, was only 83,355. When the Military Service Act became law, the total voluntary recruits were approximately 435,000. After the Military Service Act became law, the number who joined was 184,000. After the passage of the military service law, we obtained by the voluntary enlistment of all classes who did not come within the confines of that act, 83,355 out of 184,000. Therefore, even during the regime of the Military Service Act, the voluntary system produced more recruits than conscription, and of Canada's army in 1914-18, five-sixths were volunteers and only one-sixth were obtained by conscription. That issue passed, but there survived the grave national disunity which has never yet been completely suppressed in our dominion. Then we come to 1925 when the present leader of the Conservative party, who is now seeking election in a constituency in Ontario, delivered an address in Hamilton on November 16. I am going to quote only one paragraph of that address. I have the complete speech here and if any hon. member wants it in full I am ready to make it available. He said this: The government would have to act on its judgment, but before there was anything in the way of participation involving the dispatch of troops, the will of the people of Canada should first be obtained. I have myself not the slightest fear but that, if danger threatened Canada again, this country would respond as it responded in 1914, but I believe, in future, it will be best for all that, before a government takes a step so momentous as the dispatch of troops, the will of the people should be known. A few days later, at Actonvale, Quebec, during the course of a by-election in Bagot county, the same distinguished gentleman spoke as follows: If a crisis should occur in which our country's peace would be threatened, I declare, so long as the reins of power are in my hands, I declare this country will not send a man out of Canada without the country being consulted. Neither one party or the other was of that opinion when the last war broke out. Both parties agreed that immediate action must be taken, but the decision of the Conservative party to-day is that the people, as well as parliament, must decide such action. The phraseology of my hon. friend's amendment is that this is a negation of responsible government, but the gentleman who is to-day the leader of the Conservative party went beyond the confines of parliament. Speaking in that by-election, he said that "the people, as well as parliament, must decide such action". That is all we are asking for to-day, that the will of the people shall prevail on a lesser issue, that is, to give the government the power, if necessary, to be free to exercise its authority to send troops by compulsion to serve anywhere. What we refer to the people is much smaller in its phase than what Mr Meighen declared in 1925 should be referred to the people. Then we come to March, 1939, just prior to the outbreak of the present war. The then leader of the . Conservative party spoke on March 28 as follows: Because of the danger of attack upon Canada itself and because of the necessity of maintaining Canada as a united nation, I do not believe that Canadian youth should be conscripted to fight outside the borders of Canada. And again he used these words: Conscription in the last war led to violent racial antagonisms and much disharmony, and was of no real military value. The leader whom they followed gave the same pledge to the people that we gave. At the special war session, on September 8, 1939, the Prime Minister made the following statement as reported on page 36 of Hansard: The present government believe 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. Next came the challenge from Quebec referred to by my hon. friend who spoke yesterday afternoon. The four ministers in this administration from Quebec staked their political lives upon the issue as to whether Quebec should come into a total war effort with the rest of Canada. In that campaign 'the Liberal forces were returned by a tremendous majority on a policy of cooperation with the rest of Canada in regard to our effort in the war. Then came something which has become rather familiar in the last few years. The government was challenged by the government of Ontario. We have at the present time another challenge from the same Mr. Hepburn, from the same government which has been somewhat disrupted this morning. The challenge came from Mr. Hepburn 376 COMMONS The Address-Mr. Mackenzie (Vancouver) and his government, a resolution made by the premier himself, supported by his companion Colonel George Drew, in the following words: That this house has heard with interest the reports made by the Prime Minister and the leader of the opposition of the result of their visit to Ottawa, to discuss war measures with the national government and this house hereby endorses the statements made by the two members in question and joins with them in regretting that the federal government at Ottawa has made so little effort to prosecute Canada's duty in the war in the vigorous manner the people of Canada desire to see. The Prime Minister of this country immediately decided to challenge the condemnation by the government of Ontario of the policy of this administration by appealing to the people, and the Prime Minister and his supporters in this house were returned by the free will of the free people of this free dominion with the greatest majority in the whole history of our party. In that election campaign, the leader of the Conservative party used these words: No one knows better than Mr. King my position against conscription, because he was present in the house on March 30 last when I made my position very clear. What happened next? The present leader of the opposition-there have been so many leaders I have great difficulty in keeping track of them-was entrusted with his present responsibility, which I may say without hesitation he has filled splendidly in this house. He made a tour of the Canadian west. Speaking at Fort William at a luncheon tendered to him by members of the Lakehead Conservative clubs last summer, he indicated that he was not sure of the feeling in the west in regard to this question of conscription. He used these words, as taken from the press. It is my considered opinion that mobilization will come, but not unless it has public support. It is the duty of the citizens of the country, if they believe in the right of the principle, to stimulate public opinion. That was the stand of my hon. friend. If that was their duty, it is his duty and the duty of those who sit around him here to-day. But he did more than that. He spoke in Toronto, in one of the great resorts of those who are high up in the political and social register in that great city, the Albany club, to members of the Conservative party. This is the declaration of my hon. friend who is the acting leader of the opposition in this house: I have been urged to declare for conscription of man-power. What would happen if I did? Immediately the Conservative party in parliament nailed conscription to its masthead, we would consolidate all those forces that have been opposed to us since 1917, and they would be marshalled against us. Conscription is bound to come to the front more and more insistently- Then listen to this: -but it must come from the people themselves. Those are the words of the acting leader of the Conservative party, the leader of the Conservative party in this house, less than three months ago, when he was speaking in Toronto. He said: . . . but it must come from the people themselves. That is exactly the policy of this government and of all honest supporters of this government in this house to-day. He went on to say: Some will disagree with this view. I have studied it from every angle. If it were put to a plebiscite, I don't know what would happen. I wish you could see the letters I have received -letters from mothers who say they didn't raise their boy to be a soldier. Then he said: "Our sense of citizenship must be such that we will go out and tell the people what the situation is," but "if you make conscription a political issue, you'll retard its adoption." Well, sir, they have certainly made it a political issue, but not for one second, I believe, at the urging of the leader of their party in this house but of that coterie outside who are the first cousins of the gold-diggers on the roof-garden. I wonder whether his own followers in this house will be satisfied to be classified, in the language of their own house leader, as amongst those who are retarding the adoption of conscription? On November 13, 1941, the Right Hon. Arthur Meighen, after a curious conclave in this capital city of Canada, and after a week's peculiar pondering, accepted the leadership of the Conservative party from which he was kicked out by Howard Ferguson and the group in Winnipeg in 1927. In accepting the leadership, after a certain amount of coercion by my hon. friends opposite, Right Hon. Arthur Meighen said: I shall, therefore, urge with all the power I can bring to bear compulsory selective service over the whole field of war. So that now, despite the pledges made by hon. members opposite in the election of 1940, pledges by which they are sacredly bound to-day, commitments to which they gave their solemn adherence-despite these pledges, just because the outside leader spoke as I have mentioned, conscription is now officially raised as a political issue in the Dominion of Canada. Therefore, Mr. Speaker, it must be debated calmly and emphatically; but not now. It is not the issue before this house now. The issue now is to trust the people-now, as Mr. FEBRUARY 6, 1942 377 The Address-Mr. Mackenzie (Vancouver) Meighen said in Hamilton and in Bagot, and as my hon. friend opposite said to his loyal friends of the Albany club, in Toronto, on the thirty-first day of October. Then, adding their voice to that of the new leader, there was appointed the other day at a sinister meeting on the roof-garden of an illustrious hotel in Toronto a committee of two hundred, who are opposed to the will of the people of Canada expressing itself. They are the people who are to decide on compulsory service. Are they more powerful, more influential than the mass of the voting people in this freedom-loving country? If that day ever comes in Canada, this will no longer be a free land, and it is to keep Canada a free land that our glorious troops are fighting to-day and wall fight to-morrow and every day until peace comes again to us all. William Jennings Bryan once said: \ou shall not press down upon the brow of labour this crown of thorn. You shall not crucify mankind upon a cross of gold. But that is what the members of that committee, inspired by the great wealthy interests of Canada, would do. They are endeavouring to get control of parliament and to dictate its policies. Under compulsion and coercion they would, for the sake of imposing their special point of view on others, crucify the unity of Canada on a cross of gold. So, Mr. Speaker, what are the alternatives now? What are we asking for? The speech from the throne has plainly stated that what we seek from the people of Canada is a release from our pledges, and just as truly as parliament controls the government, just as truly, at least in a democracy, do the people control parliament. We are, therefore, going back to the source of our power, to the people themselves and asking them to give us this complete freedom of action to act upon these great national questions in the light of the necessities of the nation as we see them, and our rights and responsibilities as God gives us the power and the strength to see them and to assess them. There were certain obligations mentioned by my right hon. leader and certain obligations mentioned by the leader of the opposition. To my mind it is entirely a question of priorities. This war is entirely different from the great war of twenty-five years ago. This war has changed in its aspect as far as we are concerned, very vitally indeed in the last three months. The leader of the opposition told us-and I must say he was expressing the orthodox military opinion-that the defence of Canada lay on those far-flung frontiers where the battle rages furiously to-day. I am inclined to think, and certainly if I believe the assertions of the leader of the opposition, the order of priorities has changed. Regardless of what our requirements may be for the defence of Canada, having committed ourselves already, as we have done in the past and we are doing here to-day in the speech from the throne, to certain obligations, of sending troops overseas, I have no hesitation in asserting that the first obligation upon Canada, the first priority, is to make sure that essential reinforcements to provide against wastage by battle or other causes must be provided for those we have trained or are training to send beyond our borders to fight for our country. That, Mr. Speaker, is the least we can do. That is an obligation of honour, and when hon. gentlemen opposite accuse us of not supporting our boys overseas, I wish to tell them now that not only will this government support them by providing the best equipment in all the world but will support them with essential reinforcements wherever they may be employed or wherever they may be engaged. If we get a mandate in the affirmative from the people of Canada to release us from our pledges, and if voluntary enlistments should not be sufficient to provide these reinforcements, then as far as I am concerned my recommendation would be to resort to all measures and means that may be necessary to see that these essential reinforcements of trained men are forthcoming, and forthcoming in time. Then 1 come to the second priority. Possibly it should be the first. I am sure that there are some of my friends who would put it first, and I am not saying they are not correct. A few months ago the defence of Canada was not the vital problem it is to-day. On account, however, of the shifting fortunes of war, the defence of Canada is a very vital problem at the present moment. I must say frankly that I do believe our duty is, at the moment, to use all our resources to see that our two coastlines have all the protection that the manhood of Canada can supply and the producing industries of Canada can equip. For that purpose we have the fullest authority under the National Resources Mobilization Act, and that authority we shall use, as was announced by the Prime Minister at the opening of this debate. Therefore, Mr. Speaker, in seeking this authority from this house at the moment by 378 COMMONS The Address-Mr. Mackenzie (Vancouver) way of the adoption of a resolution, and by seeking this authority from the people later on, as fast as we possibly can obtain it, if there is to be any delay in obtaining the authority, the delay will not be occasioned by us, and the responsibility for that delay shall rest elsewhere. We are appealing, in my humble judgment, to the altitudes of truth and to the high ways of honour. Next we come to our contribution-I can only mention it briefly as I go along-in munitions, in supplies and in food, already well described by several speakers in this debate. I believe most definitely that, for us, man-power is not the greatest problem in this world battle. If man-power alone were all, then the teeming millions of China would be decisive. I believe that our most effective contribution most certainly comes from our factories, our farms, our fisheries and our fields. Hon. gentlemen opposite have raised the question of delay. But this argument ignores two facts. One is that the government already has complete power to draft men for service in Canada. That authority has been and is being exercised to the maximum extent to which our military advisers say they are able to accommodate, train and equip the men so drafted. As I have just stated, the problem of cooperating with our allies overseas is not entirely one of man-power. The demand from Russia, China, and Great Britain is for equipment, and Canada has used her productive capacity to the extent of sending at least half of her production of military equipment to other countries. Canadian guns and tanks and armoured cars, Canadian equipment of many kinds, have already seen service in Russia, Libya, Malaya and China. In so far as Canada's man-power contribution is concerned, we have sent the greatest possible force that could be equipped without depriving our allies of equipment needed on the vital battle fronts. In this argument that a plebiscite involves delay, the suggestion has been advanced that we are not in a position to send reinforcements to the men already operating overseas. I say definitely and emphatically that that is not so. It has not been considered advisable to publish full particulars about the strength of our forces; but as we examine the figures that have been published, we are able to estimate the strength of the formations overseas. We know that substantial numbers of the troops now overseas are themselves reinforcements. We know approximately the numbers of men in Canada who enlisted voluntarily for service anywhere. Then, with regard to the question of national unity, which some regard as of little importance in connection with this issue, some, not in this house so much as outside, in their lofty pretensions and their exuberant protestations, scoff at this question of national unity in Canada. I humbly venture to suggest to you, sir, that if there is, during the hard, anxious and difficult days ahead for all of us, one thing in Canada above all else necessary in our dominion, it is the unity of our people from shore to shore. We have had in Canada nearly two hundred years of national life on the basis of a partnership between the French and the English, and, later on, of other European races. This is one of the greatest achievements in all history in the interests of peace. Twenty-four years ago, however, through gross mismanagement in this country, the seed of suspicion and distrust between the two major races was sown. Rightly or wrongly-it does not matter much at this stage-the feeling was definitely engendered in French Canada that the other great race was putting French-Canadians in a position of inferiority. We have endeavoured in the present war in every way possible to avoid any such situation. We have had, up to the present time, a united effort, by representatives of the two races and of others, associated in the government, associated in parliament and associated in the armed forces in a common effort to exert Canada's maximum strength in the struggle against forces of evil, forces which are hated with equal intensity by all Canadians, no matter from what race they come. If, sir, through the heedless overexuberance of fanatical extremists on both sides, we were to divide the component parts of our population and set up conflict between them, theloss of efficiency in our national war effort would inevitably be tremendous and irretrievable. Certain old sores continue to rankle even now in the hearts of humble people on the farms and in the villages of one of our greatest provinces. Nevertheless, to-day, theleaders of French Canada in this parliament have undertaken to go out into the counties of Quebec and appeal to their people to free the government from a pledge which was given with honesty, with sincerity, and in the best interests of the nation. As a Scottish-Canadian, I would pay tribute to the courage and patriotism of my French-Canadian colleagues in the cabinet and in this house for the courage and devotion they have shown in their willingness to give leadership to their people in overcoming ancient grudges and old prejudices. As a Scottish- The Address-Mr. Mackenzie (Vancouver) Canadian I may be permitted, however, to appeal to my fellow Canadians to hold their hands at this critical hour and to do nothing which will militate against the success of the noble effort which French-Canadian leaders have pledged themselves to undertake at this time. Let us rather seek paths of cooperation and harmony so that together, as Canadians, we may march as one united nation together to victory! Now, Mr. Speaker, I come to a brief discussion of the plebiscite.


LIB

Georges Parent (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

The hon. member has exceeded his time.

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?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Proceed.

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LIB

Ian Alistair Mackenzie (Minister of Pensions and National Health)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE (Vancouver Centre):

Mr. Speaker, through you may I express my profound thanks to the house for its courtesy.

The challenge has been thrown across the floor of this house, the challenge has been reechoed in the editorials of leading publications of this country, "Why a plebiscite on this issue?" Let me remind this house that Australia took twice a referendum on conscription in the midst of the last war. Let me remind the house that Canada had a general election on this issue in the midst of the last war. The present proposal, therefore, although it has nothing whatsoever to do with the merits or demerits of compulsory selective service for overseas, is no departure from well-established practice.

The leaders of the Conservative party have no valid reason for professing to be shocked at the present government adopting a proposal which, in some form, they themselves have repeatedly advocated, and which they themselves utilized. Their policy is that whatever the government does is wrong, even when it does a thing which they themselves have previously advocated.

To the question, "Why a plebiscite?" let me give an answer, not in my own language, for the moment, but in the language of an eminent Canadian who is not to-day a member of this house. He said:

Surely it is worth while in any British country to have the people understand once for all that they are in control of the great policies of that country and that their control is real and not merely a sham. .

And then again this same gentleman, a former Prime Minister of Canada, went on to say in the same context:

Now the next objection urged is this: that the very fact of submitting such questions to the electors contemplates the idea, possibly, that the electorate might decide adversely, and then the consequences would be terrible. . . . You can trust the people in this matter as in

everything else, if you give the people the truth. . . . Bring that right down in the hearts of the people and you can trust the people of this country.

Those are not my words, or the words of the Prime Minister, or the words of Sir Wilfrid Laurier. They are the words of Arthur Meighen uttered in Winnipeg on October 11, 1927. They are the words of the man who is to-day the leader of the Conservative party. And his followers ask us across the floor of this house, "Why a plebiscite?"-the question which was answered by Mr. Meighen in that speech at Winnipeg: "Trust the people, because the people rule."

The present campaign, which is inspired by that group on the roof-top in Toronto is not so much a war against Germany and Italy, it is a war against this cabinet and against our revered leader, the Prime Minister of Canada. If these loose-talking, gold-digging Tories believe for one second that any member of this administration is not one hundred per cent behind our leader the Prime Minister, it is the greatest mistake they ever made in their lives. Our war against Germany, Italy and Japan is a war for freedom and democracy, the establishment of decency and honour, and the observance of pledges; and every Liberal or Conservative member in this house was elected on a platform that expressly stated that conscription for overseas service would not be adopted in Canada.

I go so far as to agree that circumstances have so changed in the progress of the war that the government and parliament itself, including hon. members opposite, should ask the country to be freed from this pledge. I do not, however, see in the immediate developments at this time-but this is a purely personal opinion-any reason for increasing our overseas commitments beyond those already made and those announced in the speech from the throne. On the contrary, there are arguments such as those used by the hon. member for Vancouver South (Mr. Green) which, in my opinion, strongly suggest the desirability of strengthening our Canadian defences within our own domain, the Dominion of Canada.

The time has now come, and definitely come, when the government should be free, without breaking faith with the people, from whom all our authority comes, to adopt any course which will most effectively contribute to the successful outcome of the war and the effective defence of our Canadian soil.

If taking the plebiscite involved delay in some vital phase of our war effort, I could sympathize with those who argue against taking it. But since, in my judgment, it does

380 COMMONS

The Address-Mr. Mackenzie (Vancouver)

not and cannot involve any delay which hinders or hampers or retards our war effort, I now appeal to those who feel that the government's hands should be freed, to stop this noisy panie-mongering appeal and get out into the country and convince those who need convincing to vote affirmatively on this great plebiscite to ascertain the will of the Canadian people. In that way we have some prospect of maintaining national unity.

The method suggested by a small element, that the government should disregard its pledges, could lead to nothing but strife, dissension, antagonism and charges of betrayal. What would be the attitude of the opposition if this government, without consulting the people, had broken its solemn pledges and proceeded with measures that were definitely in defiance of those pledges? No one likes a plebiscite for its own sake, but I submit it is the only honourable way to deal with a situation which is as much the result of actions of hon. members opposite and of their leader who is not in this house, as it is of actions of this government.

I have heard during the progress of this debate questions hurled across the floor of the house: What will the government do after this vote has been taken? Well, if one were to accept the argument of the hon. member for Vancouver South about the situation existing on the Pacific coast, it would almost lead some people to the conclusion that we should not send another soldier out of the country.

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NAT

Howard Charles Green

National Government

Mr. GREEN:

I did not say that.

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LIB

Ian Alistair Mackenzie (Minister of Pensions and National Health)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE (Vancouver Centre):

I do not suggest that my hon. friend said it, but I suggest that what he said might influence some people to think no further soldiers should be sent out of Canada.

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NAT

Howard Charles Green

National Government

Mr. GREEN:

I would say that we should do both.

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LIB

Ian Alistair Mackenzie (Minister of Pensions and National Health)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE (Vancouver Centre):

I am glad my hon. friend has amended his opinion.

On the other hand, if we listened to those who advocate another point of view, we might be led into a course which might greatly imperil the defence of our own Canadian soil. The situation on the Pacific coast we all know hinges on the outcome of the present battle in the far ea9t, and the outcome of that struggle is not yet determined.

Now a word on the question of man-power. Some figures have come to my attention, but in their application I do not attempt to speak with final authority. Figures in regard to our man-power resources are undergoing most intensive study at the present time, in order that we may have the most complete and

accurate information possible. That is the sort of information that any country must have before any final decision is reached in regard to the broad placement of its manpower.

Our duty in Canada is, first, to defend our own territory to the uttermost; and second, to contribute to the striking power of the united nations in such a way as, in the end, to destroy the enemy. This involves the best possible use of our man-power.

The census reveals that Canada's population is approximately 43 per cent greater now than at the time of the last war. But a detailed analysis indicates that the increase in the-number of men of military age is not nearly as great as the increase in the general population. In 1914 Canada had just had a tremendous influx of young immigrants, mostly unmarried and of military age.

In the last war, when industry utilized less than half as many people as are engaged in war production to-day, when we had no air training plan and no real problem of home defence, Canada supported in the field four army divisions, and a fifth was mobilized but had to be broken up for reinforcements. The government were advised by their military staff in pre-war years that having regard to population and the claims of other services, the number of divisions which this country could maintain in warfare was seven. We have already formed six, and we have made demands upon our man-power for other purposes not fully anticipated when those estimates were made.

Let us consider how we have utilized our resources. Financially, Canada has declared that there is no limit; that what we have capacity to do physically we can and will endeavour to finance.

Industrially, we have undertaken tasks of a kind and magnitude never attempted in Canada before. Prior to the outbreak of this war Canada had never manufactured any weapons except rifles, although the manufacture of machine guns had been begun. We had made a small beginning in the production of modern service types of aircraft, never made in Canada prior to 1937. To-day Canada is turning out tanks, heavy and light artillery guns. We have the greatest machine gun factory to-day in the whole world-and for that, with some modesty, I may perhaps claim some credit-and we are manufacturing seven different types of service aircraft.

In the last war, Canada recruited into the Canadian expeditionary force, by the voluntary system and conscription combined,

619,000 men in four and a half years of war. She utilized also 275,000 in war industry, a

The Address-Mr. Mackenzie (Vancouver)

total of 894,000 men. In the present war, in two and a half years we have built up the strength of our armed forces to over 400,000 men, and in addition we are utilizing in industry 625,000 persons of whom 550,000 are men.

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NAT

Howard Charles Green

National Government

Mr. GREEN:

May I ask the minister a [DOT]question? While he is giving these figures, can he tell us how many men have been discharged from the forces?

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February 6, 1942