It was on a Wednesday evening; the house was not sitting. What did I see there? There was a picture shown which had been produced by the national film board, and paid for by the government. It was a moving picture of the Prime Minister and the cabinet, and the title was that the cabinet was busy preparing ballots on conscription. That is the government's stand today. Let us see now what the Prime Minister said not long ago. As reported at page 44 of Hansard of January 26, the Prime Minister said this:
The government is not announcing a new policy. What we propose to do is to extend what, in fact, we have been doing right along, that is, to apply the principle progressively. In other words, we intend to continue to extend the application of national selective service to meet new needs as they arrive.
On November 12, last, I made it very plain to parliament that, with respect to the mobilization of man-power, the government's policy was one of national selective service; and, also, that an extension of the application of compulsory
The Address-Mr. Johnston (Bow River)
selective service-conscription, if you will-was a part of that policy. Let me repeat my exact words.
I want it to be distinctly understood that so far as the principle of compulsory selective national service is concerned for Canada, in Canada, I stand for that principle. I have never taken any other stand. It is the position that I have held all along. It has been applied in connection with military training, and applied in a number of other directions I might mention. How much further it will be applied the house will learn as the government takes its decisions on that matter.
I do not think there is any doubt as to why this plebiscite is being taken. It is again to lull the people into a sense of false security. There is an agitation now for a greater war effort, but rather than increase our war effort the government would sell the country out in order to save its political party. It is quite evident-there is no assumption about it-that there is a decided split within the cabinet on this question; and if the cabinet themselves are not united and the house itself is not, how in the world are the people going to be united?
I do not think there is any question that there is no shortage of men; the government so assure us. The Prime Minister has said that there are plenty for the navy, plenty for the air force, and plenty for the army up to date. The Minister of National War Services (Mr. Thorson) said that it was quite satisfactory; the Minister of National Defence (Mr. Ralston) said just a few days ago that on one day alone 500 enlisted; so they are satisfied, surely. Yet the Minister of Finance (Mr. Ilsley) said the other day that he was not satisfied, and the Minister of Pensions and National Health is not satisfied. Nevertheless we are going to spend two and a half to three million dollars in order to settle a political quarrel between the Liberal and Conservative parties. And we are going to continue the same policy as before. Who would have the audacity to go out from this parliament and ask the pe.ople to contribute to the war loan, ask the children in the schools to give up their nickels and dimes to buy war savings stamps, when this government can so carelessly spend two and a half to three million dollars to settle a political question? It is unfortunate indeed that the government have placed themselves in such an embarrassing position; that is, it is unfortunate for the government. It might be a good thing for Hitler, but it is very tough on Canada.
We advocated in 1939 that the first thing that should be done was the conscription of finance so that money would be available for all the needs of our war effort and for the agricultural effort of the country. We advocated the conscription of industry and of natural resources before the conscription of man-power. I still believe that is the soundest stand that could have been taken then, and I think it is high time it was taken now. One of the things we are short of, as has been shown time and time again, is our equipment for the fighting forces. We saw what happened in Norway because of lack of sufficient material; we saw what happened in France, Holland, Belgium, Greece, Crete, Singapore, Hong Kong and Libya. How much more is it going to take to wake this government up? I do not think anything will wake them up short of a bomb dropped on this building.
I was interested the other day in the discussion of British Columbia defences. This might be interesting to the Minister of Pensions and National Health because he is going to be over there some day, maybe. This is from a letter received on January 26, 1942:
There is much talk about conscription now. I'd like to bring to your notice how the 17th Battalion on searchlight duty at Victoria are equipped right now. They have two Bren gun carriers minus the guns and an old rifle each, some with the sights gone and forty-two rounds of ammunition each. Pity the Jap plane that encounters these fellows.
What a tragedy! I do not know whether the statement is true or not, but the Minister of Pensions and National Health probably knows. I know that when a parliamentary committee went to a certain camp, one of the largest in the country, for many thousands of men there was one Bren gun. It is time the people knew these things. Yet we have a book like the one I have in my hand. Here is the Minister of Munitions and Supply (Mr. Howe) named right on the first page. "A nation transformed." I should say it is. It is signed "C. D. Howe, Minister of Munitions and Supply." "Canada supplies the tools of war," and anyone who looks at this would not question our war effort. Look at the shells piled up, and the ships and shipbuilding plants. All over the country we are producing war supplies and aeroplanes. Here are mines and factories. It must have cost a nice penny to put out this book; one would just think there was a tremendous flow of materials for our war effort. What does Douglas Bell company say about our war effort?
This is from the Ottawa Citizen of February 3 last, reporting a speech by Mr. Hepburn in connection with the Welland by-election:
To switch public attention from the plebiscite issue the federal government had instituted sugar rationing "notwithstanding the fact that there was no shortage and no one was hoarding", Mr. Hepburn said. This was another case of
The Address-Mr. Johnston (Bow River)
"fooling the public" just as the federal government had done in speaking of Canadian-made planes and Canadian-made tanks.
He charged that Ralph Bell, director of aircraft production, had stated for the purpose of helping Labour Minister Mitchell's campaign-
This is something for the Minister of Munitions and Supply to listen to:
-that three hundred aeroplane engines a month would soon be turned out at the Chrysler plant in Windsor, Ont. Mr. Hepburn said he had cheeked on this with John Mansfield, president of the company, who had told him that "if everything goes well it will be eighteen months before we can make one engine and even then parts will have to be imported."
Then in the same paper they speak of the Ottawa Car and Aircraft company that had to close down or at least lay off five hundred men. Over a year ago I brought to the attention of the government this very company, and I do not think the government ever made any investigation regarding the labour conditions there that I pointed out. We had a chance to visit the company, and they were doing good work but the president then told me they were working on aeroplanes for which they had no contract with the government. When I asked him how he knew he would get a contract he said: "We don't know, we just have hopes. We cannot wait on the government, they are too slow." I should like to know what the Minister of Munitions and Supply is doing about these five hundred men laid off. To talk about all-out production is ridiculous. Here we sit around and fiddle away and our factories are only working part time. I was talking to Mr. Quain, president of the Ottawa Car and Aircraft company, again the day before yesterday on the telephone. He said that his company is not the only one in this situation, that there are dozens all over the country just like it.
Not long ago I went to see the rolling mills at Calgary; it closed at five o'clock each afternoon. In June last when I was talking to the Minister of Munitions and Supply about this rolling mill and telling him we wanted to get it open, the minister said they did not need that type of steel.
Topic: GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH
Subtopic: CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
I will withdraw the statement on the condition that I can refer to the words in Hansard to-morrow. I think I have the right to read it to-morrow.
That is our all-out war effort. Just to show how much the government knows about our all-out war effort, I asked a question of the former Minister of Labour (Mr. McLarty). I asked the question because I wanted to find out what our total war effort amounted to. I put three questions on the order paper, the first being:
1. How many factories in Canada, producing war supplies, are working 24 hours per day, 365 days in the year?
That would be a one hundred per cent war effort, as the Prime Minister said out west. Listen to what the acting Minister of Labour
said, as reported at page 200 of Hansard of February 2, 1942:
Except in connection with certain industrial disputes the hours of labour in industrial employment are a matter of provincial jurisdiction and no comprehensive statistics exist to answer the above questions.
In other words, they do not know how many factories are working full time. What a sad plight after nearly three years of war! The second question was:
2. How many factories in Canada producing such supplies are working 24 hours a day, 6 days a week, throughout the year?
That is only part time. This is the answer that was given:
Under the recently established national and regional war labour boards, however, the dominion and provincial governments are cooperating in the handling of most matters relating to employment conditions.
Can you imagine such an answer to a direct question?
The third question was:
3. How many factories in Canada producing war supplies are working less than 6 days a week, 24 hours per day?
Listen to the reply:
In this connection there is being established a joint system of inspection and reporting which is designed to produce the data requested.
This reveals absolute ignorance of the working conditions of industry in the country. Where are we going to end up? If there is not another Hong Kong, it will not be the government's fault.
I remember in 1938 when I was speaking in this house about oil production in Alberta and trying to get the government at that time to develop the oil fields; and again in 1939 when
The Address-Mr. Johnston (Bow River)
war first broke out I pointed out to them that it was not beyond the stretch of imagination that the German forces would be down into Iraq and Iran, in the Persian oil fields, taking Britain's supply of oil, and I said that one of the greatest needs was to increase production of oil in Alberta and construct a pipeline across to the Pacific coast. But I was laughed at as frightening the people of Canada. I was regarded as an alarmist. But what is being done to-day? That very thing may happen, though we hope not. But if it does, can we meet our obligations? What is being done by the government now to increase oil production?
A man came into my room during the last session and told me that in Regina there was a refinery which had a system whereby they could extract oil from the tar sands of Athabaska, but he said that they needed a little financial assistance and he was here seeking help from the government. At the time he spoke to me, however, he had not been able to make any headway with the government. The company itself had spent over 815,000 in developing this method of extracting oil. I asked him whether it could extract gasoline and compete with other commercial companies, and he said, "yes; the byproduct alone will enable us to do that." But what is the government doing about it? What is being done about working conditions in Kirkland Lake? Those men have complied with every possible request from the government. The only ones who have defied the government are the owners, and the government are deliberately starving the men into submission to the financial interests and doing nothing. Yet they talk about unity. They are even breaking the labour organizations in the country, splitting the country as wide open as races; and they have the audacity to say that they are advocating unity. What a sad plight!
We are surely taking care of profits. The people of the country know quite well that large profits are being made, and yet we are asking soldiers to fight for $1.30 a day. We are asking the farmers to produce at a loss, and the Minister of Agriculture (Mr Gardiner) is saying to them: "You fellows should not expect to make money in war time; you will have to lose a million or two at the beginning of the war and at the end." But here are the banks-what profits are they making? Let me give some figures from a house return filed in 1940. Column 1 of a table I have here shows net profits after published provisions for dominion and provincial taxes shown in column 2 but before appropriations for bank premises, pension funds, etc.,
shown in column 3; and the percentage of net profits to capital paid up is given as follows for the banks mentioned:
Bank net profits
Nova Scotia 16-18
Canadienne Nationale 10-68
At six o'clock the house took recess.
The house resumed at eight o'clock.
Topic: GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH
Subtopic: CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
Just before the house rose, there was some difference between the Minister of Munitions and Supply (Mr. Howe) and myself in regard to the question of steel. I want to settle that question right now. On June 11, 1941, at page 3812 of Hansard, I find these words:
Mr. Johnston (Bow River): The minister
speaks of it as being a business proposition and no concern of his department; but if this country needs steel, it is this government's business.
Mr. Howe: We do not need that particular steel.
And later I said:
I think the point is well put by the minister, and I am not going to say any more about it because I understand now that we do not need the steel.
Mr. Howe: I said, we do not need that steel.
Mr. Johnston (Bow River): I understand
now that the minister means that we do not need this scrap iron which it is the purpose of the salvage campaign to gather because we do not need the steel which would be produced from that scrap iron.
Mr. Howe: I said nothing of the kind. I
said that we did not need that steel.
Then later I said:
There is not a thing that I will not do to help win this war, but I certainly am not going out^ to ask our people to give this scrap iron if it is not necessary. If we do not need that steel, then I am through as far as that part is concerned.
I think that definitely settles the question which we were discussing before recess.
I was also referring to bank returns, and I should like to mention a few more of the profits being made by industry, in order to see if some of these difficulties cannot be cleared
The Address-Mr. Johnston (Bow River)
up. I have in my hand a page from The Monetary Times of November 22, 1941, where I find this report:
Report of the International Nickel Company of Canada, Limited, and subsidiaries for the nine months ended September 30, 1941, show's a net profit in terms of United States currency of $25,695,938 after all charges, depreciation, provision for income and franchise taxes, etc. When the preferred dividend requirements were met, this net was equivalent to $1.66 a share on the 14,584,025 no par shares of common stock outstanding. This compared with a net profit of $26,425,104, equal to $1.71 a common share in the corresponding period a year ago, and $26,584,806, or $1.72 a share, in the same nine months of 1939.
Then here is the report on another company:
Present indications are -that earnings of Steelman Bros., Limited, will be sufficient to absorb the higher rate of taxation and that net profits for 1941 will be as good as 1940, when net, after all charges, totalled $274,664, equal, after preferred dividends, to $2.85 a share on the common. Sales in the ten months ended October 31, were well ahead of the similar period of 1940 and profits, before provision for taxes, were proportionally higher than the increase in volume.
Canadian Bakeries, Limited, Calgary, Alberta, reported a net profit of $34,160 for the year ended August 31, 1941. This compared with $20,824 in the preceding year. Net was equal to $3.74 a share on the 5 per cent preference ' stock compared with $2.26 a share for the preceding fiscal year.
This shows that some companies are still making quite good profits. I believe one of our greatest difficulties, and one that should be faced immediately, is the question of production. I was quite amused to hear the reply given the other day by the Minister of Finance to a question asked by the hon. member for Lethbridge (Mr. Blackmore) in regard to sugar. The minister said, as reported at page 109 of Hansard:
If the hon. member is asking that consideration be given to that question, I can assure him that consideration will be given to it. I may say, however, that the sugar administrator advised the beet sugar industry some time ago that they should do everything possible to bring production of beets up to the maximum capacity of their factories. If this were possible in the case of the two factories in Alberta, it would mean that beet sugar production would exceed the total requirements of the three prairie provinces.
My point is this: The minister says the
administrator advised the beet sugar industry some time ago to see if it could not bring up production to capacity. I do not think that is the mobilization of industry; I do not think that is the conscription of industry. Why does the responsible minister not go to the industry and say, "Here, we are not asking
you to bring production up to capacity; we are telling you to do so." The government should see that industry is carried on in a proper way. If the people know that industry is working to capacity; if they know that industry is completely mobilized, as it certainly is not now, I am quite positive that you will find a much greater degree of unity. It is no use going round to these industries and appealing to their patriotism; that will not work. The Minister of Munitions and Supply tried that. Let me read what he said on September 12, 1939, as reported at page 179 of Hansard:
The provision of five per cent was put in the last act after a good deal of consideration as a minimum return for the service rendered, but it was one which men of considerable experience believed to be unworkable. I can say to my hon. friend that from that day to this the defence purchasing board has done its very best to place contracts on that basis and has used every pressure that could be brought to bear in the form of patriotism, and so on, but to date it has not succeeded in placing a single contract on that basis.
Notice that; he appealed to their patriotism, but he was not able to get a single contract on that basis.
To carry that provision into another bill would be out of the question at this time. That part of the act we can consider as having proven to be unworkable.
I believe that is definite proof that industry is not going to do as the government wishes unless pressure is brought to bear. The minister told us he even appealed to patriotism. This is a time of war; apparently the government is not going to appeal to the patriotism of the ordinary man to get him into the army; he is going to be forced in. Why not do the same thing with industry? I think it very unfortunate that in this, the third year of war, this country should be divided within itself. There is great discontent among the working classes, who feel that they are not being given fair treatment. It is the common people who have to bear the burden. They not only have to pay for the war but have to go and fight it as well. The workers, the farmers and the common people are the ones who have to produce the food and make the tools, and now they are being asked to pay for the war as well. As long as we have discontent and disunity we shall never progress as we should. We have a law which provides that anyone found guilty of sabotage resulting either directly or indirectly in loss of life shall be subject to the death penalty. _ I believe that those responsible for retarding our war effort, no matter who they may be.
The Address-Mr. Black (Cumberland)
should be brought before a court of justice and, if found guilty, given the full penalty provided by iaw.
I want to conclude with the words of Mr. Bevin, speaking in the British house, which words bn this occasion I take as my own. He said:
Let bitterness and discontent get into the hearts of my army of workers and then, by God, we have lost the war.
Topic: GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH
Subtopic: CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
Mr. Speaker, we are now approaching the crisis of this, the greatest war in history. All that we hold dear is at stake. Mr. Churchill has said that though the British empire survive for a thousand years, history would regard this as our greatest hour. We all have a responsibility. The people have their responsibility, and members of parliament have a greater responsibility. As a member of parliament I am prepared to assume my responsibility and discharge it according to what I believe to be the interests of Canada, the British people and our allies.
1 believe our first duty is to our enlisted men, the men in the fighting services; to give them support; so to organize the resources and man-power of this country that they will have the greatest possible cooperation. This does not mean that every person called up to give service to his country must go into the fighting forces. It means that every person should be called to that station where he can give the best service. In the town of Amherst, for instance, we have working in the liquor store three men who should be working at their trades, one as a machinist, another as an expert moulder, and the third as a sheet metal worker. If they are called upon to do war work, I believe they would be willing to discharge their full duty. My idea of selective service is the calling up of each man to do the work he is best fitted to do.
I believe the county of Cumberland will compare favourably with any other constituency in Canada as to percentage of enlisted men. Some of our districts have as high as 10 per cent of their population in the armed services. Conscription, therefore, would not affect those districts very much, although it might rearrange the man-power, and put some men at more useful war work.
I feel I have a special duty to the returned men and, so far as I am able, I shall carry out their wishes and requests. I owe a special duty to patriotic bodies, groups of women and war workers, and individuals in the community who have appealed to me to take a stand with respect to the conscription
plebiscite. I have resolutions from Red Cross organizations, church workers and municipal bodies asking that I make known their wishes to parliament, and- that I be guided by what they consider to be in the interests of the country at this time. I am prepared to do that. They are behind the veterans' organizations in Canada calling for a complete, full war effort. So far as I know, there is not an elector in Cumberland who is not prepared to do his full duty in carrying on the war. So far as I know, there is not an elector who does not wish the government to govern the country at this time, and mobilize all our resources and man-power so that we may put forth our greatest effort.
No government ever had more whole-hearted support in carrying on the war than this government has had from the opposition. The complaint with respect to the government is that it has not gone faster and done more. I was nominated in the constituency of Cumberland against my wishes and my interests. I was elected opposed to a partisan administration in a time of war. I promised to support any government in measures to win the war. I do not want office. I do not want the responsibility, myself, in the matter of administration. I wish only to do my duty to the men in the fighting services, the people of Canada and our allies.
The people of Cumberland take great pride in and have the utmost good-will toward the Minister of National Defence (Mr. Ralston) in the tremendous task which is his. We want him to work in the Churchill way; let him give direction; let him see that all our resources are harnessed and that each man and woman is placed in his or her proper station. Let him see that the armed services are given all the support they require, that the greatest production is attained from both factories and field, and that everything possible is done to win the war. The government knows the facts; it should lead the way. It should give guidance to the people. It should give direction as to what measures should be adopted in carrying on the war, without a plebiscite. '
The people of Cumberland expect me to act for them; they do not want me to shirk responsibility. They do not want the mothers, wives and sisters to have the responsibility of saying what shall be done with respect to conscription. They do not want delay; they do not want expense. They fear disunity, and they fear, too, that bitterness will be created by the plebiscite. They want parliament and the government to act. I have doubts whether more than twenty-five per cent of the electors will go to the polls to vote. There is grave
The Address-Mr. Black (Cumberland)
doubt as to the result. What will our enemies say if the decision is not emphatic? What will our allies do? What do they think now?
There is the question of the present war loan. I have had a personal appeal from the Minister of Finance (Mr. Ilsley). He has appealed to me as a member of the House of Commons to do what I can to make the victory loan a success, and I am prepared to do that.
We have in Cumberland a committee which operated during the last loan, and will continue to operate. They gave their services without commissions. This committee had the confidence of the people of Cumberland. There is no question of plebiscite, so far as their efforts are concerned; there is, no question of party allegiance. They are all working for the country, all trying to do their duty, with no political consideration.
Whether we like it or not, we are in the greatest war of all time; with one task to perform, and that is to get on with the war. I am opposed to a plebiscite because it gives comfort to our enemies and humiliates our partners and allies. I oppose it because it shifts the responsibility from those who were elected to carry it. It does not show strength of leadership; it dampens the spirit of our people and disheartens our fighting forces. Never in their history did the British people take a plebiscite in the face of the enemy, or decide war policies in terms of votes while the battle was raging. Yet, there never were enemies as ruthless as those we are now facing.
During the last election conscription was not an issue in Cumberland, but I cannot say that the government did not make political capital out of it. They endeavoured to offer people an easy, popular war. It is true, too, that the leaders of the Liberal party in Nova Scotia made political capital out of it by saying that while both leaders, the present Prime Minister and Doctor Manion, were on record as being opposed to conscription at the last election, yet Doctor Manion had been in favour of it during the last war and had written a book justifying his action. They . left it to the electors to decide whom they could trust to protect them from conscription after the election.
There is no question as to the seriousness of the war, and there is no question that the Prime Minister appreciates that seriousness. During the November sitting he told us "that the war had grown in intensity and extent", "that every conceivable means by which freedom can be crushed is to-day being employed by nazi Germany", "that world domination was Germany's aim", "that it has taken the past two years for most countries
to come to see the all-encompassing aspect of the conflict and that the cause is indeed the highest which it has ever been given to man to defend". Since then, Japan has struck and has been on the offensive for two months. We have had Hong Kong and Singapore and the retirement in north Africa. We are threatened on our eastern and western coasts. The hon. member for Vancouver South (Mr. Green) and the hon. member for New Westminster (Mr. Reid) have warned the house of the menace to our western shores. The danger is as great, if not greater on the Atlantic coast. Our shipping, our oil works, our steel works, our mines and our wTar industries are in danger, and yet we are told that the electors must give direction, that this is not the responsibility of the government.
My constituents expect parliament and the government to take the proper action. We have conscription now for home defence, and we have that without a mandate. The electors were not consulted, so why should they be consulted now? In the past, little respect has been shown for the voters. Responsible government has meant the type of government practised by British people down through the years. An article appearing in the Ottawa Journal puts the situation very well:
In the proposition for a plebiscite which the speech from the throne announces on parliament hill, there is a diabolical ingenuity on Prime Minister King's part. For whatever the result may be, it will free his skirts from obligations and give him a new lease on political life. Consider the proposition:
Then follows a quotation from the speech from the throne:
"My ministers accordingly, will seek, from the people, by means of a plebiscite, release from any obligation arising out of any past commitments restricting the methods of raising men for military service."
Now, you who read this, which way are you going to vote?
If you vote yes, to free Mr. King from all previous commitments, you vote to give Mr. King continued power with a free hand.
If you vote no, to hold him to his previous commitments, you vote against conscription. Because, Mr. King's essential previous commitment was that he would never introduce conscription.
So, if you vote yes, you leave Mr. King free in power; if you vote no-not to release him from his pledge-you endorse his stand against conscription.
And if you happen to be a conscriptionist, and vote to release Mr. King from his pledge against conscription, you don't even get anything out of that. Because, Mr. King, makes no promise to introduce conscription even if the plebiscite gives him a free hand.
That is the situation which is being placed before the electors with the holding of this
. FEBRUARY 9, 1942
The Address-Mr. Black (Cumberland)
plebiscite. We also have the statement by Mr. Godbout, premier of Quebec, by the Minister of Justice, Mr. St. Laurent, that there will be no conscription. The Minister of Finance (Mr. Usley), the Minister of Pensions and National Health (Mr. Mackenzie), and others who have spoken in favour of the plebiscite, indicate that conscription will be put into effect. As yet we have not had a statement from the Minister of National Defence. I feel that the members of parliament. and the people of this country should have a definite statement from the minister, and that at once.
I should like to say something with respect to the work of the Minister of Munitions and Supply (Mr. Howe). He has had many commendations, and I wish to add mine. He has done his utmost to harness the industries of this country, but there are many in this house and throughout the country who look upon that as a party accomplishment rather than the work of all the people. The taxpayers are not given very much credit. They are the ones who provide the money when parliament votes huge sums. During the fiscal year 1939-40, a total of $127,000,000 was expended to carry on the war; in the following year, 1940-41, the expenditures amounted to $778,000,000; in 1941-42 a total of $1,450,000,000 was voted, but we have not yet had a report as to how much of that will be expended by the end of the year. The Prime Minister announced in his speech during this session that in 1942-43 a total of $3,000,000,000 would have to be provided. All that is needed is to name a sum up in the billions and parliament votes it without question. The easiest thing to get in this parliament is a vote of one, two, three or five billion dollars provided it is required for carrying on the war. That is, as far as the members of parliament are concerned, and I think they are supported by the people of Canada. In addition to these large sums, there are the expenditures made by this government on behalf of the British government and also in connection with the lease-lend bill of the United States.
All this does not mean that there are not grave misgivings all over Canada as to whether all this money is being wisely expended. Many people are convinced that there is extravagance and waste, but it is popular to spend money, and this is not questioned to any great extent when it is done for the purposes of war. The public are told that they are protected in connection with these expenditures by a parliamentary committee on war expenditures. I have been a member of that committee, and I do not want the members of parliament or the people of this 44561-28
country to get the impression that any committee can safeguard them with regard to these enormous expenditures. We are not looking for scandal; we are not looking for waste, but the responsibility is upon this committee to give as great protection as possible with respect to these expenditures. The committee can touch only the fringe of these expenditures. While the responsibility is placed upon us to safeguard the public interest, it is impossible for us to do that, no matter how hard we try or how great our effort.
Topic: GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH
Subtopic: CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
Apparently the election returns are on the minds of all hon. members rather than what I am trying to say. Capital expenditures in the way of assistance to industry as reported by the Minister of Munitions and Supply on February 5 amounted to $268,499,894. Details were given, and the information was made public through parliament. Among these expenditures was one of $18,450,128, comprising different items for the John Inglis works, where the Bren gun and other automatic guns are being manufactured. Great credit is taken by the Minister of Pensions and National Health for the work done at the John Inglis plant. Canada adopted the Bren gun, and with an expenditure of $18,450,128 of public funds, as of February 25, we should expect substantial results. It is one of the main armament plants of the country. Since February 25, I presume that additional millions may have been provided, and from an industry that is subsidized to that extent we are entitled to get results. It should not be looked upon as a political accomplishment. It is an accomplishment of the taxpayers of this country. They are the ones who provide the money, and we are gratified if good results have been secured from expenditures of this kind.
The Minister of Munitions and Supply made a further report on November 4, that appropriations for capital assistance to industry aggregated, on that date, $550,000,000, or more than double the expenditure reported the previous February 25. I asked for particulars of that expenditure, but up to the present time we have not obtaned them. We have the responsibility at least of knowing where this money has been spent. We have not that information up to the present time.
In the constituency of Cumberland which I represent we have a number of war industries and they have done excellent work. There is a general complaint in the maritime
The Address-Mr. Black (Cumberland)
provinces that they have not 'had their share of the war expenditure, and I am sure that that complaint is warranted by an examination of the figures. In the town of Amherst we have a large industry, operated by Canadian Car and Foundry company, engaged in the production of aeroplanes. They were late in getting to work, but the results there compare favourably with those of any other like industry in Canada. I want to give credit to the Minister of Munitions and Supply and to Mr. Ralph Bell, director of aeroplane construction, for the splendid work accomplished in aircraft construction. A great deal of the credit in Amherst is due to the men and women employees. It is the expectation that this industry will be further expanded and that it will do still better work in the building of aeroplanes.
There is an air field at Amherst. The land was purchased by the town, and it shared with the government in the cost of the landing field, so that the aeroplanes might be tested. I think it is d-ue the town and the workmen engaged in aircraft production in Amherst that this field be made a standard air field. It is not fair that the taxpayers or the industry should bear the cost, inasmuch as air fields are provided all over Canada out of government funds. I know of no other community that has been called upon to assume such responsibility.
There are other war industries in the town of Amherst which have done splendid work. I take pride in the production from the coal mines in the county of Cumberland. They have increased their production since the beginning of the war, and their output compares favourably with that of coal mines in any other community in Canada. Their production has increased notwithstanding that about ten per cent of the population have put on the uniform. I am also proud of the coalminers of the county of Cumberland in that there have been no major labour disturbances and no slow-down strikes there. They have done their duty in providing this necessary war material required to operate our industries and our railways. I believe the labour unions in Cumberland county would separate from their parent organization rather than be a party to a slow-down strike.
There are other matters not so directly connected with the war but of great interest to Nova Scotia and the maritime provinces. There is the matter of old age pensions. It is hard for the aged people who are the recipients of the pension to understand why in Nova Scotia the average amount of the old age pension is only $14.90 a month, in New Brunswick, $14.71, and in Prince Edward Island, $11.26, while in Ontario it is $18.55,
and in British Columbia, $19.12. British Columbia is not satisfied with this, the largest old age pension paid in Canada, for the provincial government out of its own revenues increases that monthly payment by $5 a month. I believe it is due to the old age pensioner in the maritime provinces, where the cost of living has increased, that there should be a substantial increase.
There are some misgivings in the maritime provinces with respect to the government's shipbuilding programme. There has been some activity in those provinces, but on a very small scale in comparison with other parts of Canada. It is hard for our people to understand why there should be a shipbuilding programme of $500,000,000 in British Columbia, while there is an expenditure of only a few million dollars in the maritime provinces.
The maritime board of trade has made representations with respect to matters affecting the maritime provinces. At their recent meeting in Moncton, a resolution was passed asking that the Prince Edward Island car ferry the S.S. Charlottetown that was lost, be replaced as quickly as possible. The people of Springhill, supported by the people of the maritime provinces, feel that the car ferry should be coal-burning rather than oil-burning. There was regret that the present boat was transformed from a coal-burner to an oil-burner.
They passed a resolution asking for a wider distribution of war orders. They asked that transportation facilities across the strait of Canso be improved in the interest of the coal and steel industry of Nova Scotia. I believe that railway carried the heaviest traffic of any railway- of its class in this country.
There were other resolutions passed by the maritime boards of trade requiring the attention of the government and the departments at Ottawa. Many people in the maritime provinces want to know why sugar and a hundred and one other articles should be controlled, while there is no control on the importation and distribution of intoxicating liquors. These are representations made by church bodies and others, and they are entitled to consideration by the government.
There is also a feeling in the maritime provinces that they have not had full consideration in the setting up of war industries. There has been more bonusing of industry in this country than was ever dreamed of, amounting to $550,000,000 by November last. Industries that are necessary and vital to Canada's war effort were built up by the national policy in days long gone by. Many of our war industries should be encouraged
The Address-Mrs. Casselman
that would have a peace-time value and importance; those industries should be located in the outlying parts of Canada, in order that there might be better distribution of industry. I do not believe that the government have taken full advantage of the opportunity to have war industry and peace time industry equitably distributed.
We all believe that we are going to win this war; but until each one is summoned to his or her station, the tendency is to let the other fellow do it. Morale is suffering, and there is lack of confidence. Many think this is a political war. I was sorry the other day to hear the hon. member for Huron-Perth (Mr. Golding), the hon. member for Northumberland, Ontario (Mr. Fraser), the hon. member for Moose Jaw (Mr. Ross), and even the hon. member for Vancouver Centre (Mr. Mackenzie) make an attack on citizens of this country who believe that the greatest possible effort is not being put forward for the winning of the war. It is hard to understand why there should now be a plebiscite in order to make the government do their duty at this time. I am opposed to the plebiscite. I believe it is the duty of the government to act in this time of war.
I hope some day to see on parliament hill two more statues. I should like to see one to Winston Churchill, the man who has given leadership before the war and during the war, in whom the people of the democratic world have such confidence. I should also like to see a statue to one of our greatest, if not the greatest Canadian, Sir Charles Tupper. It is long overdue.
We are told there should be unity in this country, but there are many indications that such is not the case. I was very much disturbed recently by reading a statement of the Minister of Justice who is running in Quebec East:
I know that the word "conscription" brings you back to 1917. Do not put us in a position where a Meighen movement will come in and will impose it (conscription) on us with bayonets and machine guns.
I do not know how we are going to have unity in this country when one minister will make a statement of that kind in one part of the country, while the government is calling for unity and the greatest possible effort in other parts of Canada. I know that the people of this country are back of this or any government in the greatest possible effort to bring this war to a successful termination, and statements such as that by one who is seeking a seat in this parliament do not make for unity.
There never was a government that had such support from the opposition as the present 44561-28J
government has had. We support them in all [DOT]measures that are necessary for carrying on the war. We do not want responsibility; we do not want office-I speak for myself and I think for my associates-but we do want to do our duty and help the government and those who have this responsibility. We want action, united action, and we want this country to put forth every effort in winning the war. We all have a duty, and, speaking for myself and for my associates, we are ready to discharge that responsibility. The times in which we live are very serious, too serious to play politics or take any action that would tend to weaken our war effort. It is my belief that Nova Scotia is prepared to discharge its full duty in carrying on the war, but what the people of my province want is leadership. They want the government to govern the country, and they do not believe a plebiscite is necessary at this time.
Mrs. CORA T. CASSELMAN (Edmonton East): Mr. Speaker, may I extend my congratulations to the mover and the seconder of the motion for the address in reply to the speech from the throne. I commend them for the excellence and the comprehensive nature of their speeches.
I should like to bring before the house some matters that have already been discussed here and which I have no doubt will be referred to again. I have noticed some repetition in speeches that have already been made, so I am not alone in repeating things that have been said before. Let me add, however, that I am under no obligation to the four hundred or the two hundred, and that I have not submitted my remarks to be blue-pencilled by any member of the government or of the opposition. What I say is my own.
To me there are two main objectives before the country at the present time: first, the winning of the war, and second, the extension of the cause of democracy. I consider, as almost everyone else does, that the winning of the war is the chief of all our aims at this time, and I believe that the carrying of the plebiscite by a sweeping majority will contribute materially to our war effort. At the moment, however, I wish to address myself to the second object I have mentioned, namely, the advancement of the cause of democracy; because, in my opinion, although this may be an inopportune time to bring in measures for the advancement of democracy, nevertheless there may be no better time even after the war. Indeed, these may be the best years that we shall have in which to introduce such measures as I intend to discuss for a moment or two.
The Address-Mrs. Casselman
Let me refer to a question mentioned frequently before in this house, that of old age pensions. I submit that the amount paid is too small; a sum of twenty dollars a month is inadequate to meet the everyday, inescapable, ordinary expenses of the pensioner. Of course, he is allowed to earn or receive up to one dollar a day, but how can he earn it? It is physically impossible. A senator may earn it; a practising doctor or lawyer may earn it; perhaps you and I may earn it at the age of seventy. But as far as those who apply for the old age pension are concerned, they cannot. They are too old. The age limit is too high. The pensioner was already too old to earn five years before the time he actually applied for pension; that is to say, at the age of 65. Many pensioners were out of work before reaching that age and had a long stretch of hard years ahead of them before becoming eligible. I could tell you stories of pensioners, decent, worthy, upright citizens, who have had to struggle along; but I do not want to appeal to your emotions, but rather appeal to reason. Hon. members can see for themselves in their own constituencies people in receipt of small old age pensions who need some additional help.
Democracy should do two things: It should extend a helping hand to those who are not able to help themselves, and it should also put forth the hand of compulsion to prevent from becoming pensioners those who later on, thirty or forty years hence, might find themselves in such circumstances. This could be done by asking such persons now, during the years of their earning capacity, to contribute to a scheme for their use later on.
I have studied the speech made by the Minister of Finance (Mr. Ilsley) on November 14 on this topic-an excellent speech. He appeals to the logic of the situation. In fact, when he was in Edmonton last year and addressed an audience on the question of taxation, there were many favourable comments afterwards and some people said that his address on taxation made one almost enjoy the paying of taxes. The minister gave reasons for not increasing pensions. At page 4427 of Hansard he is reported to have said:
It will be noted that in several provinces there is considerable leeway for increasing the average amount of pension paid if the province so desires.
That is a good argument. He goes on to speak of the cost-of-living index at the time the act was passed in 1927, which was higher . then than it is now. That also is a good argument, though not infallible. The amount paid even then was too low. The things on which the pensioner has to spend money-food and
clothing, rent and so on-are all somewhat higher than the average cost-of-living index at the present time, and therefore pensioners are in greater need of assistance now.
In my opinion the administration of this act might be a little more liberal. Sometimes I think the pensioner is not given the benefit of the doubt. Sometimes the conditions imposed, the certificates and forms, partake rather too much of the letter of the law rather than the spirit; so that although checks are necessary, I should like to see more leeway given when the pensioner's view clashes with that of the administrators.
The minister sets out the difference in cost of living between different provinces and indicates the many difficulties there are in the way of raising the old age pension-dual control, dual contribution, on the part of the province 25 per cent, and of the dominion 75 per cent, and the fact that the province administers the act. These difficulties are very real. He also sets forth the reason that there may be need for constitutional amendments in order to make any change in the pension law as it stands at the present time.
I am not alone in advocating changes in the pension law. We have had many speeches touching upon this question. Changes are being asked for not only by pensioners but by others as well; there are thousands who would be glad to see some scheme advanced. I suggest that there should be a short-term policy and a long-term policy in this regard. In the short-term policy I would at least grant a cost-of-living bonus to pensioners. In this connection I would quote a sentence from the minister's speech as reported at page 4429 of Hansard-.
If any of the provinces desire to do so-
That is, to increase the pension.
-the government is prepared to amend the regulations and, if necessary, the act, to ensure that such supplementary payments by a province do not entail a reduction in the pension payable under the act.
I am glad to see that British Columbia has taken note of this and increased its pension; and at the present time Alberta is considering the question.
Then there is the long-term policy. In that regard I should like to see some consideration given to the point the minister discusses, the question of a pension on a contributory basis. He says-and I think this is right- that the matter will never be settled satisfactorily until such a scheme is worked out. I would urge the setting up of a committee to look into the matter to find out if it can be linked up with the Unemployment Insurance Act, if that is possible, in order to provide
The Address-Mrs. Casselman
for contributions to be made during the earning years so that there will be a sum of money which, by right, will be the pensioner's when he reaches the age at which a pension is necessary. There would be need for an amendment to the constitution. The minister said it would be necessary. All right. If so, the constitution was made for man, not man for the constitution, and I think by cooperation, based on good will, between the provinces, such amendment might be adopted.
To me, Mr. Speaker, social security does not depend solely upon the granting of pensions to supplement deficiencies in the earning power of the individual. It depends also upon the right of the individual to earn his own living and upon the conservation and development of the natural resources of the country. That is one direction in which the government could help. In that category I place the question of the bituminous tar sands of Alberta. We need oil at the present time. It may be that oil will help decide the war. In the Athabaska tar sands we have a tremendous reservoir of oil. The Canadian Mining and Metallurgy Bulletin of February, 1941, sets forth some of the estimates of the amount of oil in those deposits. The dominion expert, who has occupied that position since 1913, says 100 billion barrels of oil could be extracted from the tar sands of Fort McMurray. The United States expert places the figure at 250 billion barrels, while the potential production of the entire world, apart from this deposit, is given as only 35 billion barrels. Therefore at the lower estimate we have something like three times the potential production of the rest of the world. I realize that provincial control also enters into this question, but it seems to me that the federal government might do something toward the development of that resource. The oil is there and a process has been developed for the extraction. Perhaps I may be permitted to read a paragraph from a bulletin published by thfe bureau of mines of the Department of Mines and Resources in March, 1941:
Between 1927 and 1930, a total of two thousand tons was shipped for laboratory investigations, and a further three thousand tons was used in the construction of demonstration pavements and road surfaces. During 1931 to 1938, International Bitumen Company processed small amounts of bituminous sand at its plant at Bitumont, Alberta, producing asphalt for paving and roofing and 37,500 gallons of fuel oil. . . .
During 1940, Abasand Oils, Limited, continued the building of its separation plant and refinery on Horse river near McMurray and the development of a system of quarrying the bituminous sand. The separation plant is designed to treat 400 tons of sand, and the refinery to treat 600 barrels of charging stock per twenty-four hours.
Unfortunately that plant was destroyed, in part, by fire in November, 1941, but the reports state that gasoline, diesel fuel and other refined products have been commercially produced. There, then, is the oil; there is the possible need for military purposes; there is the process that has been developed, and I think we could make something of that at this time of crisis.
Again, there is the question of roads. Hon. members from British Columbia have stated that their great province might be isolated if bombs should be dropped at strategic points, such as bridges or tunnels. There are two railroads into British Columbia, and the Big Bend highway, which is not and cannot be kept open the year round. There is another route which might be developed, that through Yellowhead pass-the Tete Jaune-down along the North Thompson river from Jasper to Vancouver. Some parts of that road have already been constructed. The gravel highway between Blue River and Kamloops, for instance, would have to be made into an all-weather road. There are stretches from Jasper to Blue River that could be joined up by a new road; I believe they amount to about one hundred miles, in three different sections. This is one way in which we could improve our connections between the prairie provinces and British Columbia. Hon. members from that province have pointed out that in British Columbia there are numbers of unwanted Japanese who might provide labour for a project such as this. I should like to stress, however, that our own Canadians who are unemployed, who have not been absorbed into industry in the west, who are perhaps too old or physically unfit for the army but who might do work of this kind, should be given treatment at least equal to if not better than that given any alien in connection with any such scheme. There is need for another route into British Columbia; there is the labour and there is the equipment, for I believe that much of the machinery used in the construction of the air bases on the way to Alaska might be made available for this project. I commend this suggestion to the house. It may be that officials of the government are considering it already, because I have noticed that some of the things we discuss here already are under consideration by the government.
In connection with the question of roads I should like also to mention the suggestion that it might be of military significance to build a road from the United States boundary to Alaska. There are several possible routes. If such a road were built, it might be necessary to use it quickly. I am not unmindful, of course, that this road would pass through
The Address-Mrs. Casselmcm
the city of Edmonton. That would be a great advantage to those who travel the road, who also would be brought within reach of Jasper park, one of the most beautiful playgrounds on this continent. Therefore the construction of such a road might have significance, not only now, in connection with military purposes, but in peace time for tourist traffic through the west.
Another matter I should like to mention is the health of the country, than which there is nothing more important both in peace and in war. I think the setting up of a committee on nutrition, in the Department of Pensions and National Health, was a good move, because it will help build up the health of the people. I believe even amid the clamour of war we might consider some health insurance scheme. I believe also we might build up national supplies of food, which would be available to a hungry Europe or Asia when the sea lanes are open once more. Even now, before it becomes necessary, we might also consider creating some reservoir of drugs and medicines, because, if the experience after this war is like that after the last one, there may be need of more drugs and medicines for civilian and military use than may be available. The conditions that prevail at present in Europe are the very conditions that make epidemics likely to occur.
Again, to my mind the man in the ranks in our services should be better paid. I recall that in the statement given by the Minister of Finance on November 14 last, figures were presented to show that the Canadian private is as well paid as any other soldier in the world; yet he receives less in many cases than the industrial worker whose contribution is so all-important now. Would it not be possible to give the privates in our armed forces savings certificates which would be theirs at the end of the war; theirs, because they had earned them by military service; theirs, for their own reestablishment when the war is over? That would ease the situation for many a man and woman if, like the industrial worker, the soldier earned savings certificates, to be repaid when similar loans are repaid in Canada.
I think it would also help toward stability, toward transition from war-time to peace-time economy. Those are just some of the measures about which I have been thinking which would tend to do that which was set out in the Atlantic charter by Roosevelt and Churchill. Give to every man "the right to live out his life, in freedom from want and fear."
These aims are important, but they can be dreams only, if the war is not won. We must be victorious, and to my mind the carrying
of the plebiscite is a step forward in that direction. It would free the government from promises made or implied at a time when we felt that if Canada produced the tools for war, then she was making a very great contribution-as indeed she was. She has made a magnificent contribution in that regard.
If we look again at the speech of the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) on the address in reply to the speech from the throne, we shall find what contribution Canada has made along the lines of munitions and supply. It gives me a great deal of pleasure in that connection to quote from the Magazine Digest of December, 1941, excerpts from a short article commenting on "King of Canada," and setting forth what the Prime Minister has done in the building of Canada, both in peace and in war. I find this:
Historians, I believe, will have a very special page for King. They will recall how in 1922, by refusing to be stampeded by Lloyd George he caused the British government to think twice, and thus saved the world from a futile war against Turkey.
"Refusing to be stampeded." Then, there is this:
Long before Kipling's "If" was written, King began associating with all kinds of men and still remained true to himself.
"True to himself," interpreted in the light of doing what he thought was best under the circumstances. And lest there might be some narrow interpretation of that expression "to himself," let me say that it follows those lines of Shakespeare:
This above all; to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day
Thou canst not then be false to any man.
There is also this sentence:
Certain Canadian newspapers accuse him of lacking colour, of failing to inspire his country to an all-out war effort. Yet this colourless country gentleman-
My apologies to him.
-working always through and with his cabinet, has inspired Canada to the greatest war effort, proportionate to population and wealth, of any English-speaking nation, excepting only Britain.
To come back to the plebiscite, I would say that its purpose is that of freeing from promises implied or definitely stated under a democratic system. It will do that by an appeal to the voice of the people. It was hoped that this might be done in calmness. It was hoped that it would be done while the nation was not yet as closely entangled in war as it might be later-if war comes to our own doorstep. It was hoped that it would be done before emotion ran riot, before alarms which are now in the near distance, were right on our own doorstep.
The Address-Mrs. Casselman
Canada could dramatically-I repeat the word "dramatically"-put itself on record as being behind whatever sacrifice or duty may be imposed upon us by this war. With his own hand and making his own cross, the individual may stand behind the country's war effort. To me it is not a desertion of our lads overseas; to me it is stating that we are right there behind them, and that no matter what comes and no matter what duty or sacrifice is required, we individually, by the crosses we make with our own hands, place ourselves back of them. To many a person it will be an individual pledge to some soldier, sailor or airman. Let me point out that there are just as many on this side of the house as on the other side who have sons, brothers or other relatives overseas. There are just as many proportionately on this side as on that who served in the last great war. There are just as many who are intimately and personally concerned with the outcome as it will affect the whole country-our Canada.
The critics may say that the taking of the plebiscite will delay the war effort. Yet the raising of troops, the training of men, the building of ships and the making of munitions are going forward right now, just as has been the case in the past. Those troops trained for home service may serve overseas, if it becomes necessary through the passage of events in the next few months. They may be volunteer forces or they may not. Many of our volunteers who are over there now were not coerced, as has been suggested. They have gone of their own free will to fight for the cause, because they know what they are fighting for. They have gone to keep from our shores the war they do not want to fight on these shores.
And let me remind those who may be anti-conscriptionists, if that question arises, that the Germans have fought on foreign soil in many wars over a hundred years. They have fought and lost or won their wars on foreign soil. To those who may be anti-conscription-ist, I ask this question: If other nations took that view, namely the view that their men were valuable only on their own shores, where would Great Britain's navy be right now? It would be in its own home waters, and not over here helping to protect our shores. We must keep these things in mind, if we wish to keep the balance true, and particularly if the anti-conscriptionist issue arises.
But the carrying of the plebiscite does not mean necessarily that the question of conscription will follow, and I do not think it should. The purpose of the plebiscite is that of freeing the government's hands to do whatever is necessary for the winning of the
. war. But the question of conscription should and must be settled by those to whom conditions are known and who have access to all possible information. In my opinion we should proceed only on that basis, so far as conscription is concerned.
We may fail in our war effort. The League of Nations failed to keep peace, and in my view, the greatest reason for that failure was lack of cooperation among the nations. Hitler's armies have swept through Europe. In my opinion the chief reason was the lack of cooperation among nations. Why should Canada's war effort lag? To my mind it would lag only through a lack of cooperation among the people of Canada-yes, a lack of cooperation.
Czechoslovakia fell not only because of Munich. It broke because three and a half million people living in Sudetenland ceased to cooperate, and because the nationalist cry was raised in their midst. Czechoslovakia broke because Slovakia, another province, ceased to cooperate. Is there a parallel in Canada? I hate to suggest it, and I apologize to loyal Canadians of whatever extraction they may be because the comparison is not an exact one. Yet one of the reasons for Czechoslovakia's downfall was a lack of cooperation within its own borders and the raising of a nationalist cry which laid it open to the treachery of the enemy without.
Let us be a united nation; let us go forward together to the winning of the war. Our greatest contribution may not be made by the men and women in the armed forces, in the fields, in the mines, in the forests, in our industries or on the farms; it may not be won chiefly by our foodstuffs, our munitions, our ships, our war effort; it will be won by the morale of our people, and to that morale every man, woman and child in Canada contributes. That contribution may be a plus quantity or a minus quantity, but every individual contributes to the sum total in Canada of the will for victory.
Perhaps ninety per cent of us will do nothing spectacular to win the war; we shall go about doing our same old jobs, perhaps more thoroughly and cheerfully; perhaps we shall take on some volunteer work that we ourselves find; perhaps we shall take part in the salvage campaign or help with the Red Cross; we practise some economy, we do not buy some extra we had planned to buy; we pay our taxes, subscribe to war loans and buy war savings stamps and certificates. All this may not be spectacular, but it is a real part in
The Address-Mr. May hew
our war effort. It is forever true that the backbone of a country is the people who "obey the law, do the dull tasks to make the nation strong."
Let us remember that Mr. Churchill has told us to keep our eye on the ball. Our goal is to win the war and thus advance the cause of democracy. We must reach out toward that goal which Churchill has called "the march of the common man toward his true and just inheritance."
Topic: GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH
Subtopic: CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
Mr. Speaker, the hon. member for Hull (Mr. Fournier) and the hon. member for Brantford City (Mr. Macdonald) have received many compliments and congratulations upon the speeches which they delivered to this house in response to the speech from the throne. To those compliments and congratulations I think they are justly entitled. When we heard who was going to lead this debate we expected that they would set a high standard for the rest of us to follow. I should like also to congratulate the leader of the opposition (Mr. Hanson) and the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) upon speeches which I believe set an all-time high for quality. But they are not the only ones. The leaders of the other two groups should be congratulated. It was rather interesting to listen to those speeches, to read them again, and to note that, after all, there W'as not much difference in the thing that is essential to us at the present time, that is, the winning of the war.
The hon. member for Rosetown-Biggar (Mr. Coldwell) suggests that there should be conscription of wealth. The Minister of Finance (Mr. Ilsley) claims that there is conscription of wealth and that we shall probably realize this more after he announces his budget within a few weeks. Hon. members on the other side think it is not only conscription, but to some extent confiscation of wealth. Whatever it may be, the ordinary taxpayer is not accustomed to thinking of it as we do in this house. He knows that he is having difficulty in paying what taxes are levied against him. But he is doing it without complaint, which is a good indication that the people of Canada are in earnest and are willing to support this war to the utmost. Before I go any further I should like to congratulate the hon. member for Edmonton East (Mrs. Cassel-man), who has just resumed her seat, upon what I consider to be a most excellent speech. I understand that this is her first speech in the House of Commons, and I recall that in my first speech I advocated a somewhat similar policy, that we should have an all-out inclusive, contributory superannuation fund in
Canada so that our old people might be relieved of fear and have something set by for themselves in their old age.
I should like to refer briefly to the election of 1940. At that time I asked the people of Victoria to give me their support that I might represent them in this parliament supporting the present government. In doing that, I said repeatedly, and my statement was sincere, that the present Prime Minister and the other members of his government were as capable, sincere and trustworthy as any group of men in Canada who were then available to lead the government in a vigorous war effort. If an election were to be held to-day, I could say the same thing with equal sincerity. In fact I believe I could more easily prove my statement, because since that time we have had some additions to the cabinet which I think has strengthened it greatly.
In this regard I have in mind the Minister of National Defence for Naval Services (Mr. Macdonald) who left the province of Nova Scotia to lend a hand to Canada at this time. We heard nothing but compliments of the naval service and the fine contribution that has been made by it. I cannot help but think of how experience has brought out the worth of some of the other members, such as the Minister of National Defence (Mr. Ralston), previously Minister of Finance. I think of the present Minister of Finance and of what he has done. The people of Canada are pleased with his success, and I am sure that his speech in the house on February 4 has greatly encouraged the people of Canada and has added to his own growing prestige.
I am saying this for two purposes. One purpose is to emphasize my personal belief in these men; the other is to increase, if I possibly can, their prestige and the confidence which the people of this country have in their leaders. Confidence in our leaders is one of the things that we absolutely need, and anyone who tries to dissipate that is doing an injustice to Canada. Not only have these men created confidence in themselves, they have produced results. I am sure that as Canadians we are all proud of what Canada has contributed to this war-contributed in the way of naval development, contributed to the army and contributed to the air force. I should not have forgotten the hon. Minister of National Defence for Air (Mr. Power), because the completion of the air-training scheme for which he is responsible will go down in Canada's history and remain for all time a bright jewel in Canada's crown of dignity. To anyone who is lacking in appreciation of Canada's wrar effort I would recommend a journey from one end of the country
The Address-Mr. May hew
to the other and a visit to our naval docks and naval yards, our shipbuilding plants and our munition industries, and I am sure they would come home delighted with what they saw and encouraged and proud to be Canadians.
This is not the time to eulogize too much our own government or pat them on the back. It is rather a time when we should take perhaps the opposite point of view and do a little criticizing. It is not good enough for us to review what we have done and say: "We have done well and therefore let us be content." Rather is it a time for us to say: "No, have we done our best, have we put everything we have into this struggle, everything in the way of man-power, machinery and resources? Have we extracted the last ounce and given the last penny to help win this war?" Nothing but our utmost should satisfy us at this time, and therefore, Mr. Speaker, I thank God for the critics, provided that their criticism is honest and based on facts, or even on their own opinions, even if that opinion may not be so good. I do not care for criticism that is based on prejudice or on politics. I hope that although some of what I have to say will be critical of what has happened, it will be taken in the spirit in which it is given, and I want to assure you, Mr. Speaker, that I have not been trying to build up a straw-man for the purpose of knocking him down again.
I should like to say a word or two in connection with the Japanese situation in British Columbia. Here, again, my first words will be words of commendation of the government. Within a few hours of the Japanese treachery at Pearl Harbour, which has so disjointed our outlook at the present time, this government gave instructions to that portion of the Canadian navy on the Pacific coast to round up and bring into the Fraser river all Japanese boats and their personnel. That operation was conducted in true Canadian navy style. I believe that no offence was given to any of those brought in, but they were brought in. They went past my own door in long lines as they were convoyed from different parts of the island and along the coastline, and it was not an easy task. The Canadian navy had to go into every inlet, every village, every settlement, along a shoreline of over 2,000 miles. It is over one thousand miles around the island on which I live. Yet that task was accomplished, and accomplished without any indignities to the Japanese who were brought in.
But here my compliments, so far as the Japanese situation is concerned, must, I am sorry to say. end. We still leave them free
to move around in British Columbia just about where they will. I think our own defence should be the first consideration. The men who were gathered in were afterwards allowed to go back to the islands, and along the shoreline, and do whatever they wished to do, and so far as I know, many of them are still in those places. I wonder whether the government or anyone else can give us any assurance that these Japanese have not already cached munitions and arms of various kinds in different places along that long coastline. If that has not been done, it is just our good fortune, because there was nothing done to hinder them. There were some thousands of fishing boats which were capable of going three or four or five hundred miles out to sea, there was nothing to prevent a Japanese merchant boat from delivering to them arms to be cached along our coastline; and to-day, for all we know, at this very minute, they may be directing their friends to these caches for arms to be used against us.
I listened to what the Prime Minister had to say in the house this afternoon. I am sorry I could not grasp all of it, although I tried hard to follow him. One thing I understood him to say was that the Japanese nationals would be taken care of. I suppose he means that those Japanese who have been naturalized within the last three or four or five years, or ten years if you will, are no longer considered Japanese because they have signed a paper. Well, we have the Pearl Harbour incident to show that the signing of a naturalization paper does not mean a great deal to them. I also understood from the Prime Minister that the government was going to intern only those Japanese who are between the ages of eighteen and forty-five. While I am over forty-five myself, I think I could create quite a lot of trouble yet, and when I was under eighteen I think I could get into quite a lot of devilment too. Therefore I would not care to trust them, and I do not think we have any right to do so. I know that in my city there are a good many people who have lived anywhere from fifteen to fifty years in Japan. They have educated their children in England or in Canada, and although they have lived in Japan all those years, they still count themselves Canadians or British. Can we expect more of a Japanese than we do of our own people? Blood is thicker than water. These people must be taken care of; we ask that it be done with the least inconvenience and that they be provided with proper shelter and proper care. We do not wish one of them molested, or treated in any way that we would not want our own people to be treated, but we want them taken
The Address-Mr. Mayhem
care of. I would not want to be the one responsible for sorting out the loyal Japanese from the disloyal. Perhaps some of our professors have a special kind of X-ray with which they could distinguish the good from the bad, but it is not in the possession of the common man.
Now a word or two on the plebiscite. I think it was a bad promise. But the promise was given by all parties in this house. The Prime Minister, when he gave that promise, gave it in the hearing of us all, and by our silence we gave our consent and shared in the promise, I think, however, most of us, particularly we old men, should have known better than to give such a promise. No one can tell what is going to happen in war time, and certainly that is true as far as this war is concerned. Nevertheless that promise was made. Much as I dislike the thought of a plebiscite, partly because of the expense and partly because of the delay-the hon. member for Edmonton East said our work is continuing, but if it has not caused any loss of time outside this house it has at least delayed us here, because most of this debate on the address in reply to the speech from the throne has been centred round that one point-yet I think it is the least of several evils, and perhaps we can turn what is at present a liability into an asset to this country if as good Canadians we get out and try to put this over eighty or ninety per cent at least. But our good friends from Quebec might surprise some of the people who are doing a great deal of talking about conscription.
Nevertheless, Mr. Speaker, I am in favour of a total war effort, and I believe it is the common desire of all the people of Canada that this total war effort shall be continued until we have won the last battle and also win the peace. I think the resolution of the Canadian Legion calling for total war is not calling for conscription in the narrow sense; it is calling for a reallocation of the man-power of Canada, a reallocation of the activities of industry in Canada. It is calling for the efforts of our women as well as our men and for the maximum effort of finance as well as man-power. The Canadian Legion recognize, as you and I do, that an idle dollar is very little use, any more than an idle man. Therefore they ask for an all-out effort of man-power, woman-power, power of our industries, power of our farms, our mines and' our timber, a total war effort. It seems to me rather strange that we have an oil controller, a food controller, a canned fruit controller, and I understand that the other day a controller of men's working gloves was appointed, but we have not anyone
yet definitely set apart to reallocate and control man-power and the industrial power of Canada. I would recommend that some such step'be taken.
When I think of total war I think back to the farm a few miles up the line here where I was born; I think of the effort it took to convert that land from stubborn bush into a fertile farm. Then I multiply that effort by the hundreds of thousands of farms throughout Canada, particularly eastern Canada. I think also of the institutions that have grown up in Canada, of our churches, schools, universities, the great railroads that span this continent from sea to sea; that represents the work of our fathers and grandfathers and is the corner-stone of Canada. It is upon that corner-stone that we had expected to raise in peace and industry a nation that would be the pride of the world. But we have been thwarted in that endeavour. Perhaps we men from the west are a little impatient. We have not got our roots down in the soil of Canada to the same extent as men in eastern Canada; we have not been accustomed to living year after year and generation after generation in one house.
We have not had to carry in ox-carts and wagons the stones to build our churches, schools and homes. Almost in a few years we found the place grown up, and I am wondering whether we are probably not a little too anxious to rush the older and more settled places in some of the things we would have them do. But if the people in eastern Canada have their roots more solidly embedded in the country; if there is a sentimental tie that is binding them to Canada, greater than in the case of the people in the west, is it not equally clear that they would rather fight the enemy on somebody else's soil than see that enemy desecrate all that their grandfathers and fathers had worked for in Canada? I think they would rather be in the position of burning their enemy's homes than having the enemy burn theirs, and I am satisfied that, when the time comes, the province of Quebec, as it has done on every occasion, will come forward and do the right thing in the interests of Canada. They will do it again. I plead for consideration. Let us not be too hasty in what we are thinking about.
May I make a statement or two about our war defences on the Pacific coast. I should not like to leave for a moment the impression in this house or in the country that I am in any way opposed to the policy which the government has adopted since the beginning of the war, of reorganizing the defence of Great Britain, our first and most urgent defence need. Nor has that position changed greatly,
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although at the present time we are a victim of the pincer movement on a world scale that has never been known or thought of before.
Hitler, the leader of the three, set the style by conquering countries one by one and fooling the others as he went along. He started in Norway and went straight through to the Black sea, as Churchill said in 1938 that he would. We have a similar position to-day on the Pacific coast. We have the Japanese, the counterpart of Hitler; starting in Malaya, working their way to Singapore, into the Philippines, into the Indies and to Australia and New Zealand; and how do we know that Canada is not the next? Of what use are we to ourselves or to anybody else if we allow the Japanese to go on indefinitely conquering and getting control of the Pacific? We have a little time to spare. I urge the minister and the government to make use of that time to the utmost of their ability and to see that the west coast of British Columbia is supplied with everything with which it is possible to supply it-with guns and tanks, and not with a company of men, but with divisions of men.
The minister said he would have them ready to move. I should like to see them move at least west of the Great Divide where we know we can get them when we want them. I am not implying that we have no defences on the coast. I know well enough that we have, and I know that the defences on the coast have been greatly increased in the last two months. But when the city of London is not immune from bombs and destruction, with all the defences it has, or when we may go to Berlin and bomb that city at will, surely we cannot say that we have sufficient safeguards to take care of our vital spots.
I do not think for a moment that the Japanese are particularly interested in the bombing or destruction of our cities in British Columbia; that would not be worth their while. It is too risky, and it would cost them too much in effort to drop bombs simply for the purpose of destroying a house. The Japanese know that dropping bombs in civilian places will not hurt the morale of the Canadian people, for that has been too well tested in Great Britain, and there would be no greater effect on us in British Columbia. But there are some vital spots. For instance, he would not mind dropping a bomb and destroying the only remaining dry dock of Great Britain on the Pacific coast, the one at Esquimalt. He would be glad to destroy the only means of communication we have between Australia and New Zealand. He would be only too pleased, as the hon. member for Kootenay West (Mr. Esling) said the other day, to bomb the largest munitions factory in Canada. He would not hesitate to dislocate the rest of
Canada from British Columbia if the opportunity came his way-and he will try to make that opportunity. I therefore ask that we be given not only consideration, but men and materials.
I was pleased to notice in the paper the other day that the minister intends making greater use of the reserve forces. I think this move is well taken, but it is a little late. The reserve forces to-day are composed of men who are not in the military category, or if they are in the military category, they are looking after industry or business of some kind and it is more essential to Canada that their services should be given in that direction. But they are willing to spend their nights and holidays in training and equipping themselves for the protection of the people on the coast.
I think they should be given a warm welcome and every encouragement and given equipment. They should be given instructions how to train and should be told what is expected of them.
When the Hun was at the vei-y gates of Leningrad, Stalin called on the people of that city to come out en masse and defend the place. We people on the Pacific coast are willing to come out en masse to defend our places, but what good would we be? We would only be in the way of the regular soldiers. I ask the minister, therefore, to give this matter his earnest and, I am sure, immediate consideration.
I have spoken longer than I intended but I wish to finish by a recapitulation or short summary of the points I have tried to bring out in my address. The first thing that is required in Canada is the preservation of unity. This cannot be left to the government alone. They can help, but unity can be maintained in this country only by individual effort, by our trying to understand and to appreciate the other fellow's position, no matter which coast he is on, no matter what his religion or his race may be. One of the things that would help bring about unity in Canada, particularly during the war, would be a complete moratorium on party politics.
I ask for a reallocation of man-power in this country, putting to work those who are idle, training the inefficient so that they may be of value. Just here I should like to mention one point. We have in Canada a group of unwanted men. They are not the Japanese; they are the men fifty years of age and up. There are thousands of them, if not in the east, certainly in the west, who are conscientiously searching for some way to help in this war effort. But they are not being encouraged. To-day there is a definite competition for men between the ages of eighteen and forty-five, competition not
The Address-Mr. Mayhew
limited to the three services but also between industry and the services. These are the men most useful to us, but in my opinion that competition should cease right away, and we should try to make use of all the man and woman power of Canada.
Then I would ask that the factories be treated on the same basis as the men; that they be asked to do what is needed. They do not need to be told. I do not agree with the hon. gentleman opposite who said a short time ago that industry must be driven to do what we want it to do. There is not an industry that I know of that is not only too anxious to turn over its plant and do what the government wishes it to do.
Then I suggest that the government stop talking about our natural resources, and make use of them. For years I have been telling this government that in British Columbia we have mountains of iron ore that is not being used even yet; and it is still there. Quite recently one industry was set up in the east because it was said there was no power to run it in British Columbia. This plant, I believe, is designed to produce a hundred tons of magnesium a day. Just imagine; no power in British Columbia! Why, if there is anything of which we have plenty, it is power, but no one seems ready to get to work and develop it.
Then I would stop asking our people to do things. We asked them to save gasoline, and it was a flop. We are asking them to save sugar, and that is in a fair way to be another flop. If you want anything done you must tell the people what you want. Over the week-end I went to Winnipeg. Sitting opposite me in the dining car was a gentleman who I thought would know better; but when the sugar bowl was passed and the waiter asked how many lumps he wished he said, "Five." As a member of parliament I almost felt that he was trying to insult me by that action. I went into the observation car, where I overheard two ladies telling each other how they could' get all the sugar they wanted because they divided their business between two grocers and could get their five pounds a week from each. As long as we have people like that, it is a great discouragement to those who are glad to help voluntarily.
In conclusion, I suggest that the government tell the people of their plans. Do not be afraid to give us the bad news as well as the good news, when it comes. We have courage; we have intelligence; we are loyal, and we will help you to a man. After the war is over, we may tell you what we think of you, but in this crisis we will all give all we have.
Mr. WILFRID LaCROIX (Quebec-Mont-morency) (Translation): Mr. Speaker, two months ago, the dominion parliament was bereaved by death of one of its greatest debaters, the Liberal party, of the man who embodied the "sound judgment" of the cabinet; the French-Canadian race, of the most noble and worthy leader it has probably ever had, and the country, of one of her greatest statesmen. Accordingly, the whole nation, without any consideration of race, creed or party, paid reverent homage to that statesman and patriot, bitterly mourning his demise.
Never in the history of Canada was such a unanimous tribute paid to a public man called by death while in the service of his country. All the provinces, even the most remote, were represented at the funeral of the great departed. The leaders of all parties paid tribute to his memory. All the newspapers in the country dealt at length with his qualities as a statesman and even as a private citizen. From many European countries came messages of condolence to the right hon. the Prime Minister of Canada (Mr. Mackenzie King). The pope himself sent his representative to his bedside to bestow his blessing upon him. Cardinal Villeneuve, leader of the Catholic church in Canada, conducted his funeral service and delivered an oration which he entitled "A Christian has departed."
Why was there such unanimity before those mortal remains? Why? The reason is that Lapointe was "an honest man." Lapointe never betrayed his race. Lapointe never broke his word. Lapointe never altered his principles.
During forty years spent in political life, Lapointe ever held to the principle of voluntary enlistment, a principle which he learned from Laurier, founder of the real Canadian Liberal doctrine. Lapointe denounced for twenty-five years the conscription enforced in 1917. In 1939, Lapointe asked the province of Quebec, at the time of the provincial elections, for a token of confidence in his war policy. Again in 1940 Lapointe stood for the same principle at the time of the federal election, namely, voluntary enlistment. Were he alive to-day, Lapointe would still be in favour of voluntary enlistment. And I am satisfied that there would be no reference to a plebiscite in the speech from the throne, because Lapointe would have convinced the government of the danger to national unity which such a measure entailed. His sound judgment would have led him to foresee what is happening to-day throughout the country.
Never before in the history of this country have the importance, the great worth and the authority of a political leader been so promptly
The Address-Mr. LaCroix (Montmorency)
appreciated after his death. Can it be that scarcely two months after he has gone there should be no one in Ottawa to retain any respect for the principles or the memory of Lapointe? It seems I can still hear his powerful voice stating:
I will resign from the cabinet and denounce those who would impose conscription for overseas upon my fellow-citizens.
They who advocate conscription for overseas are opposed to national unity.
The sons of Canada will never be compelled to serve outside the borders of Canada, so long as I am a member of the government.
We have there some of the statements made by Mr. Lapointe when he set forth the principle of the "voluntary system". That is what the Liberal leaders in Ottawa, and particularly all members in this house, specially those from Quebec, must not forget. Those are the principles on which Lapointe had sixty-four Quebec members elected to the federal house. Those principles were not advocated through hypocrisy and for electoral purposes only. On the contrary, what Lapointe sought above all was "national unity", the welfare of the country.
Lapointe was and has always been sincere, and we who followed him also were, still are and will remain so.
It is on the principle of the "voluntary system" that the present government in Ottawa secured its own election as well as that of Mr. Godbout in Quebec. The present leader of the Quebec government stated in 1939 that he would stand against his own party if it ever tried to impose conscription for overseas service.
Those are Mr. Lapointe's Liberal principles for which we fought and for which we are still resolved to fight.
Mr. Speaker, I have in the past made tremendous sacrifices for the preservation of principles which I had advocated. To-day I object most emphatically and most decidedly to the statement contained in the speech from the throne and in which we are asked to set aside the promise, the convictions and the sacred principles of Lapointe.
Mr. Speaker, the walls of this house still echo with this great patriot's protests against that infamous measure, conscription, which split the countiy in 1917.
I shall never forget Mr. Lapointe's protests against that measure and, for that reason, I shall vote against conscription. I shall even cast my vote against the plebiscite which imperialists have thrust upon the cabinet, because it constitutes the first step towards conscription.
I shall respect the memory of Lapointe. Lapointe died on duty. Lapointe died after
struggling, particularly for two and a half years, against the financial organization which seeks to impose conscription for service overseas. The whole of Canada, for which Lapointe laid down his life, asks us to revere his memoiy. Those who die for their country deserve that on their graves people come and pray, and revere their memory.
In his speech of January 26, 1942, Prime Minister the Right Hon. William Lyon Mackenzie King informed the house that the question to be submitted to the people when the plebiscite is held, will be as follows:
Are you in favour of releasing the government from any obligation arising out of any past commitments restricting the methods of raising men for military service?
By this, the government means: "Will you release us from the pledge we took on March 26, 1940, at the time of the last general election, to refrain from forcibly sending on military service outside the country men who are now or who may later be conscripted for service within Canada?"
Farther on, in this same speech of January 26, 1942, the right hon. the Prime Minister said, and these are his own words:
In the presentation of the plebiscite to the electorate the desire of the administration to possess complete freedom of action will, of course, receive the vigorous and whole-hearted support of all members of the government and of the Canadian people.
I understand the government would have us answer yes; they expressed a strong desire to that effect and they will marshal all their propaganda services to get the people to release them of their promises about conscription for service overseas, promises made to the people just two years ago during a general election and when the war was already started.
Since the government ask the people to release them of their obligations, it is obvious that they intend to use the permission so given and that we shall soon have conscription for service overseas. Moreover, there can be no misunderstanding about it, because in the speech from the throne, the government, through His Excellency the Governor General, have this to say:
The government is of the opinion that, at this time of gravest crisis in the world's history, the administration, subject only to its responsibility to parliament, should in this connection and irrespective of any previous commitments, possess complete freedom to act in accordance with its judgment of the needs of the situation as they may arise.
My ministers accordingly will seek, from the people, by means of a plebiscite, release from any obligation arising out of any past commitments restricting the methods of raising men for military service.
The Address-Mr. LaCroix (Montmorency)
The speech from the throne does not contain the words "conscription for service overseas", but that is what they have in mind. The government do not say directly that the present administration will adopt such a measure, but the clever wording of the document should deceive no one. This plebiscite is in reality on conscription for service overseas, a measure which the government now believe necessary; otherwise, they would not seek to be released of their promises against conscription.
Besides, here is what says on the subject, in its editorial page, the organ of the Liberal Party in western Canada, the Winnipeg Free Press on the 27th of January, 1942:
But, though Mr. King thus limited himself yesterday, the limitation is formal and the commitment to conscription must be regarded as complete. We predict with assurance that the plebiscite will be followed by the introduction of a bill which will incorporate conscription for military service overseas. The bill will be supported by the government and it will pass. This prophecy is made because any other interpretation of Mr. King's speech is meaningless and because neither his government nor any other that could be formed in Canada could survive if this were not done.
I agree entirely with Hon. Adclard Godbout, premier of the province of Quebec, when he said at the annual convention of the Liberal Association of St. Denis-Dorion, on the 26th of January last, as reproduced in Le Canada of Tuesday, January 27, 1942:
I believe that conscription for service overseas would be a crime at the present time. I know that the situation of Australia will guide the wisdom of the man who governs us and might put some sense in the heads of those who have none.
I do not doubt the sincerity of the Right Hon. William Lyon Mackenzie King and he wishes no doubt to gain time, in order to put off as much as possible the date, fatal for national unity, when it will become necessary to have conscription for service overseas, but I know too that the shameless blackmail of the group headed by the Right Hon. Mr. Meighen-whose political life has come to an end with the election returns of Ontario-will not stop, and that under the pressure of those members of the cabinet who care the least for Canada, he will have to give in, at the greatest expense of what he and Right Hon. Ernest Lapointe had tried so hard to create, national unity.
For, if we were to release the government from its commitments of the last general election, who knows what might happen in three or four months!
At the present time I consider that it would be a momentous error to send men to foreign
lands now that we must actively prepare for the defence of our own country. It is rumoured, just now, that we are considering sending men to England or to Alaska, a United States possession. Gentlemen, please let us not forget that the United States have a population of 130 million and Britain 50 million people, while we have but 11 million inhabitants from which to raise an army to defend a territory as large as the whole of Europe. Let us not make the same mistake as Australia which, after supplying men for Libya, Greece, Singapore and many other theatres of war, has not nearly enough left for the defence of its own shores which may be incessantly subjected to attack by Japan. Australia is now sending an S.O.S. to Britain and Canada, and the United Kingdom, in spite of its 50 million population is turning again to us for supplying the necessary forces.
It is time for us to forsake imperialistic ideals; let us collect our wits and, amidst this general panic, think first of our own country which is presently being submerged under sentiments that are anything but Canadian.
Moreover, let me submit to the attention of the house the utterances of the right hon. the Prime Minister, on January 26, 1942, and the argument he had, over the plebiscite, with the hon. member for Waterloo South (Mr. Homuth), who, as everyone knows, is among the most enthusiastic imperialists in the whole house. I quote:
It will be seen that in seeking freedom for itself to act on all matters pertaining to war in accordance with its judgment, the government is taking a course which will remove all legitimate excuse for controversy, and the course best calculated to maintain the unity of the country in this time of war.
Mr. Homuth: Then what will they do?
Mr. Mackenzie King: That will depend in
part upon what my hon. friend and those who are round him will do.
Mr. Homuth: Do not worry about us.
So, the Prime Minister makes his future decisions dependent upon those of the Tory party, since we all know that the hon. member for Waterloo South is one of the most prominent members of that party.
I cannot see why our policy should be dictated by a party which has passed into oblivion-as shown by the results of to-day's elections-and which is now no more than a historical relic. The Conservative party does not represent public opinion and the few people who still cling to it feel ashamed to say so. On that subject, may I be permitted to quote an editorial from Le Soleil, a Liberal newspaper from Quebec, dated January 23, 1942, and which reads as follows:
An illusion to be dropped and a danger to be avoided.
The Address-Mr. LaCroix (Montmorency)
So the Canadian government had not foreseen everything when they made their promises to the people, before the war and since then, and when some ministers were saying that conscription for overseas service was not advisable. Now the Prime Minister asks the electors to be released from a rash promise so as to replace the Liberal formula of the war effort by the formula of total war which he borrows from the Tories, and he does not tell us how he is going to apply it.
Mr. Mackenzie King admits that the war policy which he has followed so far is no longer sufficient in the present critical turn of the world conflict, and he would like his government to be released from all past commitments which could interfere with his future actions. The date of the plebiscite is not yet announced but its object is very apparent in the speech from the throne.
Consequently, with a view to warding off the criticism and intrigues of the Tory party, the government are placing the electorate in a position to assume direct responsibility for shaping the future government policy.
And it goes on:
Le Soleil, a Liberal paper from Quebec, does not wish to conceal its surprise at the stand taken by the King government. But when it is about to lose a cherished illusion, it will refrain from aggravating, through useless agitation, an already tense situation. The only comment it wishes to make to-day is that such a policy does not seem consistent with parliamentary tradition. Under the circumstances would Sir Wilfrid Laurier have taken the course followed by Mr. King?
In enforcing conscription for service outside this country an endeavour will be made to invoke the stand taken by the Americans. Their participation in the war will of course be decisive, but in order to do what we have accomplished as regards military participation, they will have to raise an army of seven million and a half men and send one million and a half men overseas.
Besides, through the Mobilization Act and voluntary enlistments we have been able to raise 500,000 men in Canada. Having regard to population, England should have an army of two million and a half men, had young Englishmen enlisted in the same proportion as young Canadians. I for one feel that the danger which now threatens our own soil forbids us to weaken our own defence unduly; it even makes it imperative for us to strengthen it. Now, the best way of achieving this, in view of our small population and the extent of the territory to be protected, is to keep our soldiers right here for the defence of the country.
Are not our leaders in duty bound to ensure the protection of our coasts, in order to forestall any threatened landing, and are not those coasts extensive enough to require as many men as we can mobilize without jeopardizing the gigantic building and training programme already under way?
We shall be attacked because we have declared war and I am convinced that parliament would not have declared war if the King-Lapointe compromise had not been accepted by the people of this country and if the people had known then that the intention was to enforce conscription for service outside Canada.
Having voted against the declaration of war, I am in a position to speak of this quite freely. I knew then what would logically follow as a consequence of the policy adopted by the House of Commons. There were those, at the time, who said I -was a visionary, but I now find justification for my stand in the following words spoken on January 26, 1942, by the Right Hon. William Lyon Mackenzie King, Prime Minister of Canada. I quote:
Every hon. member of this house knows that, except for the assurance that, in the event of a European war, there w-ould be no conscription for service overseas, this parliament would never have decided, in the immediate and unanimous manner in which it did, to stand at the side of Britain in the resistance of aggression, and the defence of freedom.
Hon. members are also aware that if, at the time when Canada's participation in the war was challenged in an election in the province of Quebec by a government professing a different political faith, a like assurance with respect to service overseas had not been given, in the name of the present government by the late Right Hon. Ernest Lapointe, by the Minister of Public Works (Mr. Cardin), and other Liberal leaders and members of this House of Commons from the province of Quebec, the verdict of the people of that province might have been wholly different.
Once again I would warn my fellow-citizens of the consequences of a plebiscite through which the government asks to be released of its undertaking to oppose conscription for overseas service. I am convinced that we shall have conscription for service outside Canada. If this does not come about under the present Prime Minister, it will be under another, but the people in my constituency and in my province are strongly opposed to any conscription for overseas service, not through any fear of going abroad, but simply from love of country and a determination to ensure its intelligent defence.
Besides, there could be no ambiguity about that, because, answering a question asked in the House of Commons by the hon. leader of the opposition (Mr. Hanson), on January 27, 1942, the Prime Minister stated the following, which will be found in Hansard, at page 60:
When my hon. friend goes on to ask me what I am going to do with respect to any expression of view which may be made by the people in connection with any reference which will be made to them, may I say to him that in seeking
The Address-Mr. LaCroix (Montmorency)
to get relief from past commitments I am not going to begin by making new and fresh commitments. In seeking freedom on the part of the ministry I am not going to start in by seeking to tie my own hands.
That is the answer to that part of the question.
My hon. friend asked a further question, whether there was any understanding between myself and Mr. Godbout, express or implied, as to the position which I would take as a result of any plebiscite that would be presented to the people. May I say to him that there is no understanding, express or implied, with Mr. Godbout or with any other person on earth, with respect to the attitude that I propose to take after the people have expressed their views with -regard to giving the government a free hand.
May I add that such attitude as I shall take at the time will be taken in the light of all the circumstances as I may know them as a member of the government, and of all conditions as I know them in regard to this country and, as far as I am able to know something about them, conditions in other countries as well.
Consequently, there can be no doubt that if the plebiscite carries, the government will be absolutely free to enact conscription.
In view of my past attitude on this question and of my promises to my constituents, I consider it my duty to vote against the speech from the throne.
Moreover, I am in duty bound, contrary to the Prime Minister's wishes, to urge upon my constituents not to release the government from their commitments.
I sincerely and earnestly hope that the people will refuse to release the government from their pledges, and I am sure my views in this regard will be shared by my constituents and by the whole province of Quebec. If others turn a deaf ear to that fire-brand who seems to be putting conscription even above victory, there is every likelihood that the government's request will be turned down. Such refusal will settle the issue once and for all and, at the same time, will teach a lesson to those imperialists bent on blackmailing the government on that question and who are forcing them to ruin us by donations-a billion at a time-out of all proportion to our means.
Mr. King, being of sound judgment, could try to balance our participation on a rational basis, and none of his possible immediate successors would give us better satisfaction on this point.
If, God forbid, the plebiscite is carried, as the government hopes, and an act establishing conscription for service overseas is passed by a liberal or a union government, I want to tell
him right now that the province of Quebec will never accept such a solution, and that it will take advantage of the first opportunity offered at the polls to express its contempt.
There is another matter that I believe my duty to bring before the house; I refer to representatives of big corporations who ' serve the country as dollar-a-year men. Occupying key positions, or at least posts of observation, it is for them possible to advise their companies as to future contracts and government's projects. As a result, war industry is a profitable proposition.
Besides, proof of it lies in the comparative balance-sheets, for the first nine months of 1941, of the large companies that control industrial production at the present time.
I want to protest emphatically against that policy which gives all contracts to the large industries, at the expense of the small industries. That is particularly true of us, from the district of Quebec, who do not have large industries.
The Truman committee, of the United States senate, which held an inquiry on the subject in the United States, has just handed its report to the council of United States ministers, and already Mr. Roosevelt has taken drastic steps to correct that situation considered disastrous for the small industries. Why not imitate the United States government, for our problem is the same, and it is advisable for us, possibly more than for the United States, to adopt the remedy suggested by the Truman report?
Moreover, I wish to express in this house my disapproval of the one billion dollar gift to England, as well as of the seven hundred million dollar loan, bearing no interest, which, I have every reason to believe, will never be reimbursed.
My compatriots, already bled white by existing taxes, will have to pay for these gifts which no excess of generosity can justify. There are limits to the running of a country, thinly populated, that has been thrown into a conflict by circumstances which I have condemned when war was declared and which I do not wish to discuss again to-day. This imperialistic folly, 'this shameless blackmail coming from the least Canadian section of the country, to whose will the government always seems ready to yield, will inevitably incite us to break away from the empire after the war, and will throw us into a financial condition which will burden us for generations to come.
The Address-Mr. Hanson (Skeena)
I must also, on the floor of this house, as I have done in previous years, protest energetically against the small measure of consideration given to French Canadians in war services and organizations. It seems that the deeper we get into this war, the fewer French Canadians are appointed. Such appointments are becoming so unusual that it has become very hard to locate their recipients; yet, we make up a third of the population and we are incessantly reminded that national unity must be safeguarded. It seems to me, that the best way to promote national unity is by giving fairer treatment, in this country, to the descendants of the first settlers.
The unfair treatment of French Canadians, at the present time, in all fields of endeavour, will convince them more and more that the present conflict is not a Canadian war, but truly a war waged for the exclusive benefit of the British empire.
As a consequence, it would not be at all surprising, after the war, for the Canadian population to seek total independence or annexation to the United States.
We are profoundly attached to our soil, our traditions and our language. No government charged with the administration of this country, may overlook the fact that one-third of its population, although Frenchspeaking, contribute its fair share of tax payments and personal sacrifice for the prosecution of the war.
For this reason, the French Canadian is entitled to his share in the administration, and, being first and emphatically a Canadian, when requested to increase his war effort, it is necessary that he be convinced by deeds that he is serving Canada and Canada only.
No fitter conclusion to my speech could I find but to quote the words of Leslie Roberts, in the Saturday Night of January 17, 1942:
Why does French Canada still hate the idea of conscription for service overseas, despite the assault by Japan and the threat to our own western coast?
The answer is that Quebeckers are Canada-minded but not empire-minded. Like other Canadians, they have heard a lot about serving Britain and the empire and very little about serving Canada.
Says Mr. Roberts: ... if anybody wants French Canada to accept the idea of fighting anywhere in the world, other than voluntarily, the idea of Canadian survival necessity must first be driven home, not empire survival, not British necessity, not even the survival of democracy.
Topic: GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH
Subtopic: CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
Mr. Speaker, I should like in a humble way to offer a few remarks in this debate. I shall not speak from the French-Canadian or the Anglo-Saxon point of view because I happen to be an immigrant
to this country. I am one of those two million people whom Canada has invited to her shores from other parts of the world. I am pleased to have had that invitation from the two great races in Canada, French and English, and I am trying to be worthy of the privileges extended to me by being a good Canadian.
I feel it is my duty to address the members of the house briefly at this time because I am the representative of a part of Canada the importance of which in the present war effort is absolutely essential. My constituency of Skeena, and particularly its principal city of Prince Rupert, are in the forefront of war activities. It would be unwise to go into details, but the foregoing statement is nevertheless a statement of fact.
None of us at this time should in any way make statements or give out information that might be a comfort to our enemies and an embarrassment to ourselves. I am satisfied that the national defence authorities have done everything possible to provide for the defence of that vital empire link which I represent. My only desire in this respect is to state publicly what I know and feel. The northwest coast of British Columbia and its great seaport of Prince Rupert are of such vast importance that every possible effort should be made to bring its de'fences to the point where it may continue, in spite of whatever enemy action may come, to serve as part of the life-line between the source of supply in our war and our troops afloat, on land, or in the air who must unfailingly receive from us the supplies and the munitions necessary not only to prevent them from being placed at a disadvantage but to assure them of superiority in this respect. Hand in hand with active defence must go the efforts of the civilian population itself to make sure of a degree of protection in the case of enemy attack.
Canada, since its formation, has taken part in all the wars of the empire. Previously our share, and our proper share, which was undertaken gladly, was to send abroad to a theatre of war far from our own shores our representatives to assist in the preservation of the British empire and of those ideals of fairness and justice for which it stands.
This war has forced upon us a realization that we can no longer ignore our complete duty. The war has been brought home not only to the armed forces of the world but to its civilian population. No man can guarantee that the dread effects of war will not be brought home to our Canadian cities and most surely to those on our coastlines; and those ports which form a part of our supply line will for the same reason be the obvious objective of enemy attack.
The Address-Mr. Hanson (Skeena)
I want to dwell for a few momenta on the subject of air raid precautions, one of the most essential services and one in which Great Britain has distinguished herself. Throughout the areas of Canada subject to the risk of enemy attack, a civilian organization has been formed, on a purely voluntary basis, to guarantee that our armed forces will be supported by an organized and trained civilian population. These efforts are generally referred to as "air raid precautions." Throughout the riding which I represent, and particularly in the city of Prince Rupert, to which I have referred, patriotic citizens have created voluntary organizations to deal with this matter. In Prince Rupert men and women are freely giving of their time and submitting themselves to training in order to form part of an organized body to meet the dangers that may come their way.
We have all followed what has been happening in the last few days; we realize that Hitler and the axis powers have been trying to destroy our communications by sinking our ships; and if we lose Singapore, which God forbid, the axis powers may next go after the big shipping ports on the British and United States coasts. I have in mind Esquimalt, Prince Rupert and other great sea ports.
I cannot speak too highly of the degree of public service demonstrated by the air raid precautions organization in the city of Prince Rupert. Private citizens and public servants have given freely of their time. They have held practices testing their ability, and I am sure that in the event of enemy action the citizens of the coastal communities will prove as capable as the population of any British city.
Perhaps to a greater degree than is true of any other portion of Canada my constituency is confronted with an alien problem. For many years fishing has been a chief industry of British Columbia and the city of Prince Rupert and my constituency constitute the capital of that industry. The fishing industry of British Columbia has been very largely in the hands of Japanese. It may not be a matter of common knowledge that the largest centre for distribution of what is perhaps the finest edible fish in the world, the halibut, is Prince Rupert. Of the twenty-nine million pounds produced in Canada, British Columbia produces fourteen million and, of that, eleven million pounds come from our district.
So large a place does the halibut fishing occupy in Prince Rupert that a small boy
fM>. O. Hanson.]
there saying his prayers one night in front of his mother said, "Our Father which are in Heaven, Halibut be Thy Name." That is how vital the halibut fishing industry is to Prince Rupert. If that industry is going to be taken away and left to the oriental who is now our enemy, I wish the government to understand what it means in the development of that part of the country.
There is a concentration of Japanese fishermen in the coastal waters which touch my constituency. Whatever may be said of the possible menace of the large Japanese population there-their numbers are from 20,000 to 30,000-it can be said with truth that it is amongst those of this race who are engaged in the fishing industry that our greatest potential danger lies. It may be that the smaller number of aliens of this race who are engaged in farming do not present a serious problem, but Japanese fishermen do present a problem, and I urge upon this government with all the emphasis I can give this statement that these alien enemies should justly and fairly be removed from the coastal areas where they are capable of doing such great harm. This matter has been brought up by several hon. members from British Columbia, and I urge that all Japanese of military age should be removed from that area.
Long ago I referred to the necessity of highway communication between Prince Rupert and the interior of British Columbia, which means with the rest of Canada. While this has long been desirable from the commercial point of view, because of the war situation it now becomes an absolute necessity. In making this statement at this time I am sure I shall not be considered as talking only for the benefit of the constituency which I have the honour to represent; it is a strategic necessity for the defence of Canada. This government which has done so much in so many ways knows that anything of this kind is of great concern, and will realize without further elaboration on my part the seriousness of the situation and take immediate and effective steps in this matter which is of such importance for the defence of our country. I cannot state too strongly that this is an enterprise which should be undertaken at once.
Personally I think it is unnecessary for me to state my stand regarding this vi'ar, because I offered my services, and my son and my son-in-law have done likewise. Not only have
I offered my services, but the money which I have made through the privileges afforded me, an immigrant, I offered at the beginning of the war, free of charge. Therefore I speak for all Canadians, whether we call ourselves French-Canadians or whatever our racial origin may be, those whom you invited to come to Canada and make it a cosmopolitan country. The finest expression of genuine patriotism that has been given in this house in my long experience of its activities was expressed on Friday by the hon. member for Vancouver Centre (Mr. Mackenzie), our minister from British Columbia. I appeal to hon. members and to all Canadians: If you were sincere in the invitation which you gave to people of other lands, including myself, some forty years ago, and which no doubt you are going to give again, in this crisis through which we are now passing, let us all forget whether we are east or west, whether our birthplace was this or that, and all be Canadians.
A word in conclusion. I am not going to refer to what has happened in the elections to-day, but I do wish to say that my namesake, the hon. leader of the opposition has fulfilled his duties with great credit to himself, and it is apparent that there is no one who could do better. Since the electors have shown that the Mackenzie King government still has the support of the people of Canada, let us accept that and all work together to make Canada greater yet.
On motion of Mr. Ward the debate was adjourned.
On motion of Mr. Crerar the house adjourned at 10.50 p.m.
Tuesday, February 10, 1942
Topic: GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH
Subtopic: CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY