Mr. J. H. HARRIS (Danforth):
Mr. Speaker, in common with a large number of members in this chamber, and a considerable number of people across Canada who are thinking these days, my greatest concern is whether or not we are giving everything that we might in an all-out war effort. These thoughts are brought most forcibly to my mind, and they crowd out all else, when I remember what Winston Churchill said not
The Address-Mr. Harris (Danjorth)
so long ago with regard to the part that our own Canadian boys will probably play, and perhaps very shortly, in this conflict. Within a few months, when the invasion season returns, we may find our Canadians in the United Kingdom in one of the bloodiest battles the world has ever known. Surely that one expression of opinion, coming from the world's greatest statesman to-day, should do more to unite our people than some of the bickerings we hear across this floor. And when that great statesman further said that 1942 might see a clearing up of the skies, provided that we use our man-power-hesaid man-power first; brain-power was second -virility and valour in an all-out effort, and provided that we stay at our task, thatgreat galaxy of English-speaking peoples would give a good account of themselves in 1942, he no doubt had good reason for
making the statement.
So we have our task before us, and I
implore each and all to apply themselves to the task. It was my pleasure to emphasize the same sentiment on armistice day, November 11, 1941, in this chamber. I felt a sense of frustration then, as to what we as individual members were doing. I still feel the same sense of frustration, that we are not doing enough to-day.
If the premise I lay down is sound, and if we should have this unity to accomplish the common goal, then I have no difficulty in endorsing the mild-mannered, calm statements made with respect to unity by the hon. member for Hull (Mr. Fournier). But without taking time to compliment him upon his speech-and he understands where I stand in the matter-I say to him and to all hon. members that the deductions he drew from the arguments he set up do not in their entirety meet with my views. And when I say they do not meet with my views I am thinking of what has happened both before and since he spoke. I call as my first witness the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King). While appreciating the load he is carrying and the difficulties which surround his position in these days, I suggest that he take the keynote of the speech of the hon. member for Hull, the keynote of unity, and that in all his utterances he should see to it that no word comes from his lips which would tend to set our people one against the other.
I have in mind a reference made in this chamber by the Prime Minister when he was referring to certain people from Toronto, in answer to a question by the hon. member for Broadview (Mr. Church). The Prime Minister did not see fit to withdraw his
statement that some people from Toronto take too literally what they read in the press. Not a very serious statement, no- but you know, Mr. Speaker, and I know, that when tinder is as dry as it is now, waiting to be ignited to a flame of passion among the different elements of our people, it does not take much to set it off. And it takes very much less when responsible members in this chamber are the ones to light the tinder. How much faster does it rage when the Prime Minister is the one to set the match!
A word about Toronto in a moment or two, but a word first about one of the first citizens of Toronto. For seven years the hon. member for Broadview was first magistrate of that city. During those most trying years he took his place as a servant of the people, giving leadership in respect to matters of profound magnitude during the last war. What train came back with invalids from the last war, what train came back with returned soldiers, whether it arrived at two o'clock in the morning or two o'clock in the afternoon, did not find the hon. member for Broadview, Toronto's first magistrate, in company with his city clerk, Mr. James Somers, O.B.E., waiting to meet it? The city authorities were always given instructions to see that these men, their wives and families, were cared for. That service was given unremittingly for twenty-four hours of the day.
Since that time, what hon. member will gainsay the fact that on every occasion on which the question of empire connection of the great Anglo-Saxon race in Great Britain and throughout the empire has been discussed, the hon. member for Broadview has risen in his place and given voice to the maintenance of that connection which we all hold so dear.
Every time the opportunity presented itself he offered his empire views, which were largely the views of a great number of hon. members in this chamber as well as of the people of the city of Toronto. I say to these hon. members, and in a moment I shall recite whence they come, that they should 'remember that they are speaking of a great city. Toronto is no mean city. It is a city of industry, a city of intelligence and a city of integrity. This great city with its fine educational institutions, this great city with its extensive public ownership system, is always ready to rise up on every occasion of emergency to help out in war loans or anything else. The young men of that city are ready also to undertake the supreme job of work, that of seeing that the ranks of our different divisions are filled with men ready
The Address-Mr. Harris (Danjorth)
to serve the empire during this difficult time. I do not say that Toronto is in the premier position in this regard, but her record will compare most favourably with that of any other city.
So I say as kindly and as sincerely as I can that it ill behooves the hon. member for Springfield (Mr. Turner) to rise in his place and say what he did. He comes from Manitoba, a province that we love as we love all Canadian provinces. I do not think he should drag in the name of Toronto for his own political purposes. It would have been far better for my hon. friend, before discussing the question he had in his mind at that time, to go into a caucus of the Manitoba provincial members and obtain their views as to what he should enunciate on the floor of this Canadian House of Commons on behalf of Manitoba.
The hon. member for Fraser Valley (Mr. Cruiekshank) does not consider that any speech he makes is complete unless he is able to slam somebody or something. Because of his sense of humour, we try to forgive him his shortcomings. His depositing of the Japs in Ontario, however, is something with which I shall deal when the proper time comes. I would say to the hon. member for Fraser Valley that it does not help things in Canada to-day to single out one part of the country and say something about it which is absolutely unnecessary.
The hon. member for Beauce (Mr. Lacroix) is a business man of some standing and a French-Canadian colleague for whom I have admiration as I have for gll French-Canadian members. Their forbears came to this country in 1666; I would be proud if mine could date back that far. They are real Canadians, but I do not think they should drag in the name of the city of Toronto in order to support their contentions. I have been twenty years in this house, and I ask you to search the records to find one word that ever came from my lips which was in any way derogatory to those who were Canadians long before we were. The reverse is true.
I pause for a moment to make reference to the late Minister of Justice. I regret his passing. He was a great personal friend, and I should like to interject my tribute at this time. As my time is short I am sure you will understand why I do not enlarge upon it at the moment. In my younger days in 1922 I advocated the development of the Quebec harbour.
Moose Jaw cannot be very proud to-day of its representative because of what he read into the record. Mark you, I am not saying anything to the newer members of this house about reading things into the record, but when one of the older members reads into the record
an essay of the kind read in last night by the hon. member for Moose Jaw (Mr. Ross), it does not make for unity in this country. We all understand that the hon. member for Temiscouata (Mr. Pouliot) must take a rise out of every question that comes along. I think he realizes that Toronto is a city of learning, and I forgive him for some of the things he said, but not all. The hon. member for Cochrane (Mr. Bradette) was fair when he said that 99J per cent of the people of Toronto are sound and all right. I quite agree with him, as I think all hon. members do in their hearts. You all know that Toronto is a great city and that you should not stir up strife at this time. If my pleadings will have any effect upon hon. members in this chamber, the matter will be allowed to rest there.
The Minister of Finance (Mr. Ilsley) is coming along with a war loan. The people of Canada must subscribe to it; they must oversubscribe the loan. I hope everything possible will be done to see that it is oversubscribed. The committee for total war effort will get behind this war loan. Too much has been said about those who signed that petition. I do not know them, but they are men and women of the ilk of those who sit in front of me. That is political history, and I do not want to drag in politics. I plead with the two hundred who signed: forget about 'what has been said about you in this chamber and see to it that everything possible is done to make sure that this war loan goes over. I know they will do that. In fact, they have accepted the challenge already. I endorse what they say in their resolutions and advertising. I should like to say something else: they have proved themselves to be
greater Canadians than they are partisans. When the war loan comes along I am sure they will be greater Canadians than they are partisans, and I am satisfied that the loan will go over.
To my mind our people to-day are not fully conscious of their total responsibilities in the struggle that faces us. We have too many carnival makers. The theatres are crowded, the hotel lobbies are filled, our transportation facilities are taxed to their limit. We are spending money, a lot of it recklessly. Something is being done to curb this spending, but I say that these same carnival makers, these convention attenders and whatnot, will see to it that the enthusiasm they have for their country will put over our war loan. I am not fearful of the result.
What makes them slow down, as well as those of us who perhaps have more responsibility, is the sort of appeasement policy which seems to envelop particularly the Prime
The Address-Mr. Harris (Danjorth)
Minister. In history we have had the "wait and see" policy, which almost destroyed our effort in the last war. After that, we had a tendency to take too much for granted. In Washington, for example, we had the Japanese ambassador talking to a great statesman of the United States while at that very moment Pearl Harbour was being smashed. Then, before that, we had a gentleman with an umbrella. I do not say that disparagingly at all. These were great men. The "wait and see" man was a great man, so was the man with an umbrella, and so also the man who talked with the Japanese envoy while Pearl Harbour was being bombed. But the man with a dog-the dog is now dead-should take lessons from what happened on these other occasions and discontinue his appeasement policy. He should step into the breach and lay the whip on our backs, give us more work to do, expect more from us and get more from the Canadian people. I am satisfied that in such a policy he would be endorsed by the Canadian people.
The hon. member who seconded the address W'as Macdonald by name but not in stature. He read most of what he had to say, and the thought ran through my mind, as it did as I listened to previous observations, that it would have been far better if. he had thrown his notes to one side and let his heart and mind coordinate so that he could give voice to what was in his very soul, instead of reading an essay, as is done by so many other members, Mr. Speaker, in violation of the rules of the house. It would have been far better if the hon. gentleman had let his heart and mind speak, instead of simply letting his mind read something which kills the soul and leaves it dead. This has happened on many occasions, and it must have happened to my hon. friend when he shifted his position on the question of the plebiscite. Surely after he had been overseas and seen what he saw there-some of us have not been so fortunate but we will get there yet-he must have realized that the position he took in this debate did not live up to the traditions of the British or his own record. I am sure the gallant gentleman must have had heartburnings when his own Local Council of Women sent him a resolution denouncing the plebiscite, and when his own branch of the Trades and Labour Congress sent him a resolution in similar terms.
My hon. friend the member for Cariboo (Mr. Turgeon), who gave us such an eloquent address the other day, called in the Army and Navy Veterans, of which he was a member and quoted something they had said prior to the assembling of this house. Why did he 44561-26
not quote the resolution he had received from that body on that day, dated February 2, and tell us that the Army and Navy Veterans, and not only that body but thirty-two other veteran organizations and kindred bodies in solemn convention assembled, had passed unanimously and sent to the hon. Prime Minister a demand for conscription at once, and no plebiscite at all. It is so easy to pick out here and there something which suits your purpose. We all know the Legion. They are men of experience, honourable and gallant men, and there are some of them in the cabinet. There they sat on the treasury benches, sphinx-like for quite a while, but gradually one by one they have risen from their seats to give voice to the feelings within them, and little by little they are getting a little closer to the precipice, as I think some call it, with regard to compulsory overseas service which they want to get over. We had an example to-day in the Minister of Pensions and National Health (Mr. Mackenzie). His address brought him a little closer to the brink of the precipice. Why not take the whole jump? But the Prime Minister says no. After that most eloquent address had been given by my leader in this chamber, in which he covered the ground so thoroughly, point by point, in the fashion of a learned gentleman in building up our case, the Prime Minister followed him to tear it down, and then after delivering his speech he caucused his members, and then caucused them again. The fuehrer had spoken, and the members of the cabinet sat dormant and silent. They seemed to be anaesthetized; they could not give voice to what was in their heart and mind. It was the war loan campaign which provided an excuse for the first minister to rise in his place and express his views, and to-day we have had another minister, the Minister of Pensions and National Health, as the second example. I began to think for a while that there was no war on except the war between the different elements within the Liberal party, but one by one the ministers are breaking away from the position they took in the earlier days of the session. But they are not yet giving full expression to what they really think about the plebiscite. That is verboten. The fuehrer has spoken to them, and the result is that we are not getting a free expression of opinion from hon. gentlemen opposite.
Of course, Mr. Speaker, we in this party shall vote for the plebiscite if it is forced upon us. We will vote "Ja" in the same
The Address-Mr. Harris (Danforth)
manner as the Czechoslovakians and the Sudetens voted "Ja", but not for the same reason. They were afraid to vote against their plebiscite. We are voting for the plebiscite because we have been put in a position where a coin is flipped in such a way that heads you win and tails I lose. I do not say that disparagingly, but that is exactly how it stands. You know, Mr. Speaker, where we stand in this chamber. We would not let Canada down by voting no, and the present administration knows that. But had we no plebiscite at all, the Prime Minister and my hon. leader (Mr. Hanson) would have been in a much stronger position to vote on a resolution presented to this chamber on the question, and I am sure that it would have received almost the unanimous vote of this house.
Not only that, Mr. Speaker, but the sound people of Canada have provided us with this edifice in which to enunciate for them their views. Their views of two years ago have no bearing on the views of the Canadian people to-day. I took a note while my hon. friend the minister of pensions was speaking with regard to marshalling public opinion. To-day we find marshalled against us a common enemy possessed of a strength and1 force that we never even dreamed of in 1940 when the last election took place. Not only that: the common enemy is right at our gates. It is no time to stop and take a plebiscite.
Let me recite some of the other reasons, as briefly and hurriedly as I can.
I have been through six elections. Two hundred and fifty thousand people had the opportunity of voting in the different constituencies which I have had the honour to represent. The money spent by parties, by newspapers, by private individuals and by the candidates themselves, amounted to well over a dollar for each vote which was cast in those elections. Yet, with all the energy, the enthusiasm and the interest aroused over the many issues which have arisen during the last twenty years to excite our people and bring them to the polls; with the assistance of the clergy, of the schools, and all other agencies, the proportion of voters to those entitled to vote amounted to not more than 52 T per cent-we will call it 53 per cent for easy figuring. The Stevens candidate got 1-4 per cent, the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation candidate polled 1-6 per cent-he came in lately; previously the Labour party candidate got 1-4 per cent-the Liberal party, 13-2 per cent; and Conservative supporters honoured me with 35-4 per cent. And this, as I have said, as a result of much energy, effort and enthusiasm and all manner of means
employed to bring people to the polls: we did not get anything like a complete expression of opinion. Nor will you get much of an expression of opinion by this plebiscite, for you will be unable to get the people to the polls. Of course you will get the malcontents. But do you want them? Of course you do not. Nevertheless the plebiscite is going to be held.
Let me give the government one warning now with regard to the temper of the Canadian people on this matter. Do not have dominion ministers publicize this plebiscite on the screen. Not long ago I was humiliated, while a newsreel was being run, to hear our Prime Minister booed and hissed when his picture was on the screen. That is bad business. I was ashamed of our Canadian people when I heard it. And it did not happen in the city of Toronto.
Subtopic: *CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY