March 2, 1942

PRIVILEGE-MR. POULIOT REFERENCE TO LETTER IN OTTAWA "CITIZEN" FROM JAMES E. BROOKS


Mr. JEAN-FRANQOIS POULIOT (Temis-couata): Mr. Speaker, as a private Liberal member and a French Canadian from the province of Quebec it is my duty to rise to a question of privilege in respect of a letter published by the Ottawa Citizen in its issue of February 18. The letter is headed "Shadow of Vichy in Canada," and is addressed to the editor of the Citizen in these words: Winston Churchill says that the lowest point in the war was when the French folded up. French politicians were responsible. Can it happen in Canada that the representatives of French-Canadian political remote control can cause the same thing here? Think it over. Vichy is still represented at Ottawa. French Canada controls 65 seats in the House of Commons. There are only 245. 'Nuff said. James E. Brooks Montreal, February 16, 1942. This James E. Brooks is the president of the James E. Brooks Cotton company, of Montreal. His business address is 614 St. James street, Montreal; his home address is Sea Island Beach, Georgia. The records of the customs offices will show that he deals in cotton imported from United States and Brazilian firms which are enemy controlled. Does he not know the names Esteve Brothers, or J. Kahn and Company, of Campanera? The money he pays for this cotton goes to Italy or Germany, because it is cotton that was originally bought for and on account of German and Italian principals. He gets it cheap and sells it to well-known Canadian textile firms, who are not averse to exploiting their French-Canadian employees. The proof of this could be found in the files of the customs department. If a return were tabled of Canadian firms which trade with the enemy, no French-Canadian firm would be found in that list; only good "patriots" who are shouting for conscription. And no French Canadian is on the board of directors of any such company. Brooks purchased time over American radio stations, as an American of the south, and probably a member of the Ku Klux Klan, to carry on a political campaign during the last by-election in Welland and York South, in favour of Arthur Meighen. It is time that these "patriots"-


?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Order.

Plebiscite Act-Report oj Committee

Topic:   PRIVILEGE-MR. POULIOT REFERENCE TO LETTER IN OTTAWA "CITIZEN" FROM JAMES E. BROOKS
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LIB

Jean-François Pouliot

Liberal

Mr. POULIOT:

-who trade with the enemy for profit, should be shown up when they want to conscript the good farmers' sons. I wonder if that dirty Brooks is not well acquainted with the fellow who sent an electoral death threat and an electoral silver bullet to Arthur Meighen during the last by-election.

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NAT

Richard Burpee Hanson (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. HANSON (York-Sunbury):

Have we

to listen to tirades like that?

Topic:   PRIVILEGE-MR. POULIOT REFERENCE TO LETTER IN OTTAWA "CITIZEN" FROM JAMES E. BROOKS
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PLEBISCITE ACT

SECOND REPORT OP SPECIAL COMMITTEE


Hon. N. A. McLARTY (Secretary of State) presented the second report of the special committee appointed to consider Bill No. 10, respecting the taking of a plebiscite in every electoral district in Canada and the taking of the votes of such plebiscite of Canadian service voters stationed within and without Canada, as follows: Your committee has held four sittings. Representations were made to it on behalf of the residents of the Yellowknife administrative district in the Northwest Territories. Careful consideration was given to Bill No. 10, "The Dominion Plebiscite Act 1942" and your committee have agreed to report the said bill with amendments. A reprint of the bill, as amended, has been ordered.


SUSPENSION OP STANDING ORDER 21 TO PROCEED WITH BILL THIS DAY

LIB

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

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, in announcing on Friday evening the business for to-day, I did not mention the possibility of the house considering the plebiscite bill. I did refer to the matter on the previous evening. I then stated that if the bill were given its second reading that evening it was possible that we might be in a position to consider it on Monday when it would have been reported back to committee of the whole.

The bill has just been reported back to committee of the whole and, as the leader of the opposition and all hon. members are aware, the government is anxious to proceed with it as quickly as possible. Under the circumstances I was going to ask if hon. members would give their consent to proceeding with discussion of the bill in committee of the whole to-day. If we are to proceed a motion will, of course, be required, because the rule is that there must be forty-eight hours' notice after a bill is reported back from any standing or special committee before it can be considered. There is another rule, however, which provides that in respect of an important matter consent may be obtained and a measure proceeded with.

If the house would give its consent I should like to move:

That bill No. 10, an act respecting the taking of a plebiscite in every electoral district in Canada and the taking of the votes at such plebiscite of Canadian service voters stationed within and without Canada, be considered in committee of the whole this day and that standing order 21 be suspended in relation thereto.

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NAT

Richard Burpee Hanson (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

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

Mr. Speaker, I have no desire to delay the passage of the bill. I believe everything that could be said against it has been said more than once. I am content therefore to accede to this order of business, if there is an understanding that we will not hurry over the bill and the regulations. Frankly I have not been able to read all the regulations. They are most voluminous, and there are at least one or two which to my mind are contentious. If there is an undertaking that it will not be forced through to-day I should be quite agreeable. What would be the alternative? What other business would we go on with if we did not take up this bill? Would we take the agriculture resolutions?

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

No, not the agriculture resolutions.

MLr. HANSON (York-Sunbury): Not to-day?

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

No, not to-day. There are two resolutions with respect to trade with south American republics; in fact there are three. I doubt if they would take very long. There is also a resolution to be moved by the Minister of Pensions and National Health which might possibly come up this evening. I mentioned that we might wish to move into committee of supply to call one or two items. I have no hesitation in giving my hon. friend the assurance he has asked for.

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NAT

Richard Burpee Hanson (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. HANSON (York-Sunbury):

With

respect to the trade agreements, my colleague, the hon. member for Victoria-Carleton (Mr. Hatfield), probably knows more about these from the standpoint of business than anyone in this house. He was desirous of speaking but he has gone to bed with a bad cold and oannot be in the chamber to-day. If some means could be afforded whereby this could be [DOT]held over, say until to-morrow or the next day, we would be most grateful. In the meantime I shall be glad to facilitate matters as much as I can.

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

There is no immediate haste with regard to the trade agreements.

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LIB

Maxime Raymond

Liberal

Mr. MAXIME RAYMOND (Beauharnois-Laprairie):

I would ask the Prime Minister not to proceed with this bill to-day, because many hon. members who are interested in it

922 COMMONS

Plebiscite Act-Report of Committee

are not here. They were under the impression that we were not going to proceed with this measure to-day. Besides, I should like to have time to read the provisions of the bill, which are voluminous.

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LIB

Joseph-Arthur Bradette

Liberal

Mr. BRADETTE:

The members should be here.

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

May I say to my hon. friend that the bill may take some little time in committee and I think there will be ample opportunity for hon. members to discuss the matters they would wish to discuss on the bill. If we proceeded with it this afternoon there would be an opportunity afforded also this evening for discussion. As to having discussion begin now in committee of the whole, I hope my hon. friend will not press his objection. If we find as we proceed that we are going too rapidly, the committee will I am sure agree not to conclude discussion at the present time but to permit a general discussion later on.

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LIB

Maxime Raymond

Liberal

Mr. RAYMOND:

If the Prime Minister will agree that section 4 will not be passed I am agreeable.

Mr. JEAN-FRANCOIS POULIOT (Temis-couata): Mr. Speaker, speaking on this motion, it was stated by the right hon. the Prime Minister that a certain entente had been arrived at between the allied countries regarding the conduct of this war. My privilege to-day is to offer a primeur to the house. I am sorry I have not the English translation of that word for the benefit of my hon. friends. What I have to offer is a magnificent letter which is a worthy preface to any discussion or debate on a bill like this. This letter was sent by ferry command by a prominent citizen of the metropolis of Canada, the city of Montreal, and it was received this morning in London by no less a person that the Prime Minister of Great Britain, Right Hon. Winston Churchill. Here is the letter which I hold in my hand and which I have the privilege to read to this hon. chamber:

Montreal, February 25, 1942. Mr. Prime Minister:

A citizen of the commonwealth, no matter how humble, always enjoys the right to communicate with the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, to give him his reflections and make known to him his thoughts. There are moments, rare it is true, when .the right becomes a duty. I think that, for the writer, that moment has arrived, sir.

Mr. Prime Minister, the citizen who writes is a Canadian of the French language, a loyal subject of the king of Canada faithful to the culture of his forebears devoted 'to the Franco-British union in Canada,

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LIB

Georges Parent (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

Order. The motion before the house is that Bill No. 10 be considered

in committee of the whole this day and that standing order 21 be suspended in relation thereto. I take it that the hon. member is speaking to the merits of the bill, and this could more properly be discussed in committee of the whole rather than at this time.

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March 2, 1942