June 16, 1942

LIB

Thomas Vien (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. DEPUTY SPEAKER:

Order. The hon. gentleman should consult his notes a little less freely.

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LIB

Maurice Lalonde

Liberal

Mr. LALONDE:

We would have had at least the satisfaction of knowing that the people would have given a clear-cut and definite answer rather than an equivocal response.

One may object that the decision regarding the opportunity of enforcing conscription is a matter for the military authorities, that the members of the house and the common backstreet people are not in a position to decide whether or not conscription is to be applied. May I point out that such nation-wide politics-

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LIB

Thomas Vien (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. DEPUTY SPEAKER:

Order. I must take notice that the hon. gentleman is reading his speech.

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LIB

Harry Raymond Fleming

Liberal

Mr. FLEMING:

I am sitting right behind him, and he is not.

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LIB

Maurice Lalonde

Liberal

Mr. LALONDE:

Mr. Speaker, I should like to abide by your ruling, but I should like to have a clear-cut ruling as to whether I am reading my speech or whether I am just consulting my notes. If I have not the right to read at any part of my speech, all right; I will sit down. If I have the right just to glance at my notes, I will go on. But I should like to be treated in the same way as any other hon. member.

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LIB

Thomas Vien (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. DEPUTY SPEAKER:

My desire is simply to apply the rule as impartially as possible, and to mete out the same treatment to all hon. members. However, the rule binds me. I must hold that it is not permissible to read one's speech, except, of course, with unanimous consent. When exception is taken to the reading of a speech, there is no option; the rule must be applied. While the hon. gentleman has the right to consult his notes, he may not read his speech.

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LIB

Maurice Lalonde

Liberal

Mr. LALONDE:

I am merely consulting my notes, Mr. Speaker.

The question asked by the plebiscite was misleading, so much so that the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) himself was bound to say to the Tory party, both over the radio and in the house, that a "yes" vote was not a vote of confidence in the government's administration; while on the other hand he ventured to tell his invisible audience that he would not carry on the administration of the country without being vested with the fullest confidence of the Canadian people. This, in the

Mobilization Act-Mr. Lalonde

minds of our people, gave rise to confusion, and it is one of the reasons why I am justified in taking the stand I take now.

We have been told that the bill now before the house is not a conscription measure. I respectfully submit that while Bill No. 80 does not in its phraseology embody conscription, nevertheless, section 3 of the mobilization act being repealed under its authority, every obstacle is removed from the full conscription of men for overseas service; it means that this bill, enlarging the scope of the mobilization act, is in itself the embodiment of the principle of conscription for overseas service. When the bill is adopted, the government of Canada will have authority to impose conscription by order in council without being obliged to come before the house with that order in council, according to section 5 of the mobilization act. It is a form of dictatorship that I cannot approve. As a matter of fact, the cabinet has approved more than 25,000 orders in council, of which 300 have been passed against existing laws on our statute books.

If I were sure that the amended mobilization act would be applied by the present administration I would have less hesitation in voting against the bill? But who can say? Who can look into the future and tell me that the mobilization act as amended by Bill No. 80 will be enforced by this present administration? I urge hon. members to look with the closest scrutiny into the proposition. Who will use this formidable instrument, forged by this parliament, to apply conscription for overseas service? History repeats itself. One can read the memoirs of the late Sir Robert Borden and tell me whether the present political situation is not paralleled by the difficult situation that existed in 1917, when the military authorities urged the government, through the medium of the national defence department, to apply conscription; and if the controversy reaches the climax it did in 1917, when Sir Robert Borden proposed conscription to his cabinet, I have no hesitation in saying that this intensely feared union government will be formed and will have at its disposal the necessary machinery to impose conscription of its own making. When the Prime Minister urges his followers to give his government full confidence he is asking us to vest that confidence in any future government, either a union government or a Tory government.

(Translation): Mr. Speaker, we are told that conscription is not necessary. We have heard official statements to the effect that it may never become necessary. This very afternoon, one of our most influential cabinet ministers declared that such a step was not at all re-

quired. Yet the cry for conscription goes on. The voluntary enlistment system is more than adequate. The tide of aggression is nearing our shores. The atmosphere of collective peace which had reigned in this country for a few years has now disappeared, and we are coming to realize that danger threatens us on every side. I do not hesitate to say that I would readily support any measure obliging Canadians to defend their American homeland, as well as the territories neighbouring our own, for such a measure would be based on the principle underlying the Mobilization Act we passed in 1940. But the bill we are now considering is simply a conscription measure in disguise. The solemn pledges which I have made and which were confirmed by my constituents, prevent me from adopting any stand other than the one I now adhere to.

It has been charged in certain sections of the country that our province is not contributing to Canadian unity. The protests that have risen and will rise in this chamber, Mr. Speaker, constitute a peremptory argument demonstrating the utter falsehood of this gratuitous claim. We have been striving for national unity ever since the first French Canadian set foot on Canadian soil. We were striving for Canadian unity when sacrifices of men and money were demanded of us in 1917-18.

We were striving for Canadian unity when we declared war in 1939 and accepted all the consequences thereof. That was the goal in view when we accepted the Mobilization Act, on condition that there be no conscription for overseas service. We strove for Canadian unity by voting record war budgets, on condition that there be no conscription for overseas service. We accepted and worked for the idea of Canadian unity by enlisting in numbers sufficient to prevent our being charged with cowardice, on condition that there be no conscription for overseas service. We agreed to lend to the government for war purposes millions upon biillions of dollars drawn from the savings of poor and rich alike, on condition that there be no conscription for overseas service. We did not object to granting Britain a gift of one billion dollars, because these funds were to serve in the defence of ideals we hold dear, but the same condition applied that there be no conscription. We accepted the principle of the plebiscite following the most formal commitments made in the house and outside it, to the effect that conscription for overseas service would never be passed. And after all this, Mr. Speaker, we are asked to be false to our promises and we are accused

Mobilization Act-Mr. Cleaver

of not having understood the real meaning of Canadian patriotism. I protest against this. We understand it as well as anyone else in this war, and we shall continue to pay the taxes required for the triumph of our cause.

It has been said that we are against conscription because we come from the province of Quebec. Mr. Speaker, I oppose conscription, not because I am a French Canadian and a Catholic; but because I do not think it is necessary and because I am pledged by my word of honour given to those people who have honoured me with their confidence.

Last Sunday, in every Catholic church in Canada, a letter was read, bearing the signature of every Catholic bishop or archbishop of Canada. What was the purport of that letter? Mr. Speaker, I wish I could put it on the record, so that our fellow citizens who do not share our faith and our racial origin would realize that the Catholic clergy of our dominion are the mainstay of our hopes in final victory.

And now, Mr. Speaker, I shall conclude. I have stated my reasons for voting against conscription. It will be no pleasure for me to withdraw my support from the political party in which I have always set my fondest hopes. I do it without animosity. Mr. Speaker, I realize fully the difficult position of our Prime Minister. However, I feel that I am discharging my duty to my constituents and to all those who have honoured me with their confidence. Mr. Speaker, when the final curtain has dropped on the bloody conflict waging through the world at the present time, when this distressing period has ended, when dusk has at last spread its shadows on this agonizing day, when, on the morning of victory the people sing their hymn of deliverance and when from the blood-stained soil where our sons rest come forth promises of a new order founded on justice and charity, we shall all together, hand in hand, resume our victorious march towards progress and peace.

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LIB

Hughes Cleaver

Liberal

Mr. HUGHES CLEAVER (Halton):

The Prime Minister again.

-that we plod wearily along a winding and unlighted road, in the pious hope that somehow, sime time, somewhere, we may grope, stumble and flounder into the open light of victory?

Mobilization Act-Mr. Cleaver

I ask hon. members, is this fair comment on Canada's war effort? It is not the duty of any hon. member of this house to make such slighting statements regarding Canada's war effort, much less the duty of the leader of a loyal opposition. No one knows better than he the wonderful war effort this country is making; and as I listened to those words I just wondered what General McNaughton and his gallant men overseas would think of that description, that gross slander, if you will, of Canada's war effort. I wondered how the' boys in our twenty-five odd air squadrons overseas would feel when they heard Canada's war effort being described as a stumbling, floundering effort. And what about the boys in the Canadian navy, engaged in constant convoy duty on the Atlantic? How would they like to have Canada's war effort, their war effort, described and maligned in that fashion? Do they believe that we are *"plodding wearily along an unlighted road, in the pious hope that we may stumble into the open light of victory"? Then coming to the industrial production in Canada, how will

H. R. MacMillan, the friend of the leader of the opposition, and the forty odd thousand men engaged in the shipbuilding programme, take a statement of that kind in regard to Canada's war effort? And what about Ralph Bell and the hundred thousand odd Canadians who this year-will be engaged in building aircraft, for victory? How will they take that sort of description of Canada's war effort? Will they think it is fair criticism? I could go across the entire picture of Canada's war effort and challenge the leader of the opposition to name one person engaged in that effort who would dream of making such statements.

In the light of these comments I want to read again just what the hon. leader of the opposition did state, at page 3252 of Hansard:

Shall he insist that we continue with interminable detours to victory? That is what we have had for thirty-two months.

Is that an honest statement?

Shall he insist that we plod wearily along a winding and unlighted road, in the pious hope that somehow, sometime, somewhere, we may grope, stumble and flounder into the open light of victory?

Then the leader of the opposition goes on to say that what we need to-day in Canada is courageous national leadership. I now ask him a pointed question. What sort of national leadership has he been giving us? Has he done anything to improve Canada's war morale? Has he done anything to inspire in the hearts of Canadians pride in the war effort which this country is making?

[Mr. Cleaver.)

Coming now to his stand on the other question, that of conscription for overseas service, I should like to quote several further extracts from the speech delivered by the hon. gentleman last Wednesday. At page 3249 of Hansard the hon. gentleman said:

. . . we cannot have total war effort without unlimited selective national service.

And again:

As in the past, my position to-day is that a full, all-out war effort on the part of Canada is possible only if all the material resources and man-power of the nation are fully mobilized, without restrictions of any kind.

Keep in mind those words, "as in the past". And again I quote:

Shall he insist that we continue with interminable detours to victory? That is what we have had for thirty-two months.

I think a fair summary of the quotations I have just read, Mr. Speaker, would be this. The leader of the opposition tells the house, "We cannot have a total war effort without conscription for overseas service. I have believed in conscription for overseas service all along." I think that would be a fair summary of those statements.

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NAT

Karl Kenneth Homuth

National Government

Mr. HOMUTH:

Not very.

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LIB

Hughes Cleaver

Liberal

Mr. CLEAVER:

Well, I expected to hear from my hon. friend; I have been disappointed that he has been quiet for so long. Now let us look at the record and see whether it substantiates the statement of the hon. gentleman. Before doing so, however, I should like to say with all the vehemence at my command that I sincerely believe that a majority of the people of Canada still feel that this country will make a better war effort and will raise better armed forces under the voluntary system than under conscription, and that conscription should be resorted to only when all else has failed. Now let us look at the record of the leader of the opposition and see whether he has been in favour of conscription during all these thirty-two months of alleged "detouring". I say at once that the record conclusively proves that he is either a new convert or that he did not have the courage of his convictions and did not voice them. Just a few months ago the leader of the opposition spoke at the head of the lakes, and is reported in the Port Arthur News-Chronicle of August 5 last as follows:

Honourable R. B. Hanson, national Conservative leader, told a luncheon meeting of lake head and district supporters at the Royal Edward hotel yesterday he was not sure that public opinion is ready for a declaration for all-out national service.

He was not sure. It will be noted that at that meeting he was speaking to his own

Mobilization Act-Mr. Cleaver

supporters. Did this great national leader tell his own supporters that this country could not have an all-out war effort without conscription for overseas service? Did he tell them that he had always been in favour of conscription for overseas service? No. Instead of that, what did he tell them? He said he was not sure that public opinion was ready. Then later in the year he spoke in Toronto, again to a group of his own supporters, the Albany club; he is quoted in the Toronto Telegram-and I hope he will not accuse the Telegram of misquoting him-of October 29 last. What did he say, this hon. gentleman who now says we cannot have an all-out war effort without conscription, and that he has always supported conscription for overseas? Here is what he told his own supporters at that time:

I have been urged to declare for conscription of man-power. What would happen if I did? Immediately the Conservative party in parliament nailed conscription to its masthead we'd consolidate all those forces that have been opposed to us. . . . they would be marshalled against us. Some will disagree with this view. I have studied it from every angle. If it were put to a plebiscite, I don't know what would happen. I wish you could see the letters I have received, letters from mothers who didn't raise their boy to be a soldier.

Here we have the national leader of the Conservative party, who last Wednesday expressed in this house the views I have quoted, speaking to his own supporters in the city of Toronto less than eight months ago. Did' he tell them, "We must have conscription"? Did he tell them, "We cannot have a total war effort without conscription"? No. He told them it would not be politically wise. He told them he had received letters from mothers who did not raise their boys to be soldiers. But I want to be fair to the hon. gentleman. It is quite within the realm of possibility that he did not compose that written speech that was read to the house. If the speech was inspired by Toronto I beg of him to tell those gentlemen in Toronto, the next time he gets advice from them, to get themselves elected by popular vote and then come to this house and make their own speeches. There are two constituencies vacant right now, one of which is Winnipeg North Centre and the other, Charlevoix-Saguenay.

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CON

Joseph Henry Harris

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HARRIS (Danforth):

I do not think the hon. member has a right to assume that this message came from Toronto, and then to quote from the message as having come from Toronto.

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LIB

Hughes Cleaver

Liberal

Mr. CLEAVER:

I should have been surprised if the hon. member for Danforth had

not objected. However I shall have a little of something for him in a moment or two. Probably he will then get up and answer it.

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NAT

Richard Burpee Hanson (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. HANSON (York-Sunbury):

Mr. Speaker, on a question of privilege, I deny absolutely that anybody but myself wrote that speech, or that it was inspired from any quarter. The young man now speaking is drawing on his imagination-one which is much too fertile. What he has said should be withdrawn.

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LIB

Hughes Cleaver

Liberal

Mr. CLEAVER:

I accept the hon. member's explanation. I should like now to deal with another point. I object strenuously to the organized effort being made in this country to misrepresent the whole situation and to light facial fires. In three editorials this year the Toronto Globe and Mail has stated that the promise made by Liberals and Conservatives alike in the 1940 election was made purely to appease Quebec. Fortunately through our newspapers we have a record of what happened in the past. As we know, before the election the political parties advertised their platform, and they stated in advertisements what they stood for. Those statements were made to attract votes. I hold in my hand a full page advertisement appearing in the Toronto Telegram the day before the election vote. This advertisement was sponsored by the "National Government" headquarters. Leading up to this there were three teaser advertisements-little five-column displays to attract the attention of the people, so that they would finally see the real advertisement. I shall read the one of these teaser advertisements which appeared on March 20:

Vote for these National Government candidates in Toronto ridings:

Parkdale, Doctor Herbert A. Bruce,

Davenport, John R. MacNicol,

Broadview, T. L. Church,

Danforth, J. H. Harris-

The hon. member who interrupted a moment ago. Then follows a complete list of every National Government candidate in Toronto at that time. That teaser advertisement appeared in the issues of March 20, 23 and 25. Then followed the grand finale. I have made inquiries and I find that this advertisement would cost National Government headquarters between $400 and $500-so that they were not fooling. They really meant it.

This advertisement begins with the words, "Manion the man," and continues:

National government or Liberal party, which does Canada want?

Then follow the planks of the platform, one of which reads: "I am against conscription." I

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ask the hon. member for Danforth (Mr. Harris), who interrupted a few moments ago, and every other Conservative member from Toronto: Did these hon. members contribute their share of the $400 or $500 to publish those advertisements in the Toronto Telegram, telling the people of that city that they were opposed to conscription? Did they do that just to appease Quebec?

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CON

Joseph Henry Harris

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HARRIS (Danforth):

If the hon.

member wishes an answer as to who paid, I can give it. It is a simple one, of only two or three words: it is none of your business.

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LIB

Hughes Cleaver

Liberal

Mr. CLEAVER:

I thank the hon. member for Danforth, and I agree that is the . only answer he could give me. That promise was made on practically every political platform across Canada. It was not made solely to please or appease Quebec. It was made because we all believed that this country would make a better war effort, would raise a better army perhaps, under the voluntary system, than we could ever have raised under conscription. Besides that, we had had a very unsatisfactory and bitter experience with conscription at the time of the last war.

The bill now before us for second reading has for its purpose the removal of territorial restrictions in connection with the services rendered by men raised under the National Resources Mobilization Act. The plebiscite vote was called to permit the people of Canada to release not only the government but every hon. member in the house from promises which most of us had given to the effect that conscription would never be enforced for service overseas. Everyone now realizes that the present war may be a very long one. Events move rapidly. The time may come when voluntary recruiting will dry up. No one knows what will happen. It is only a matter of good business judgment to come back to the people and, in the light of existing circumstances, ask for release from the pledge.

During the debate in the house on the plebiscite, and throughout the campaign in the country, the pledge was given by the leader of the opposition that this was not a vote for conscription. I read now an extract from his speech delivered over the national radio network on April 20:

This plebiscite is simply to give the government and Mr. King release from a commitment not to enlist men for overseas service by compulsory methods. That primarily is the only issue involved. Emphatically it is not in this specific vote an issue for or against compulsory service for overseas. It is merely a vote to release, or refuse to release, Mr. King from a preelection pledge.

Concluding the speech, he said:

You are not called upon by this plebiscite to declare for or against conscription for overseas service. That may come; it does not follow from this plebiscite.

Note those words: "It does not follow from this plebiscite."

Let us now analyse the vote. There were 2,921,206 who voted "yes" and 1,608,609 who voted "no". At page 3245 of Hansard the leader of the opposition is reported in these words:

We laboured unitedly to achieve an affirmative result.

And again:

-and I believe we contributed mightily to the result.

The government did likewise; the government gave a similar assurance to the people that this was not a vote of conscription. The Prime Minister coupled with that the definite assurance that conscription would not be enforced until it could be demonstrated that it was necessary. On top of that practically every private member of this house campaigned his own riding for a "yes" vote. I spoke at eight meetings in my riding, and I sent out circular letters, signed not' only by myself but by the defeated Conservative candidate, which asked the voters to vote "yes", and which assured them that they were not voting for conscription.

If in the final analysis the total effect of all that-the total weight of the Conservative party, the total weight of the Liberal party and the personal influence of all members of this house; if that combined effort caused only 700,000 voters to vote "yes", who would otherwise have noted "no", then the plebiscite would have been defeated had it not been for the assurance which was given. So I say to those who would lightly brush aside this assurance: Think well before talking that way any more. I could hardly believe my ears when I heard the leader of the opposition, at page 3245, state in the house last Wednesday, "any effort to make it appear that the affirmative vote was nothing more than a release of the government and of parliament is not facing the facts." On April 20 he said that it was merely a vote to release the Prime Minister from his preelection pledge, and on June 10, less than two months afterwards, he said, "If you consider the vote anything more than a release, you are not facing the facts." Did you ever see such a right about face in less than two months? I suggest to my hon. friend that the outstanding reason why the Conservative party does not hold the public confidence to-day is that they do not keep their promises. Further I say that this last

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episode proves conclusively to me that they do not even intend to keep their promises when they make them.

Coming to my own views on conscription, I wish to admit frankly that the vote in Quebec was a great surprise and a bitter disappointment to me. Nevertheless the taking of the plebiscite has served a useful purpose and has been of great assistance in the final solution of the problem, in that it has clearly indicated just what is our problem. Whether we like it or not, irrespective of who is to blame for the feeling, irrespective of the cause, we in Canada are faced to-day with the fact that 80 per cent of our French-Canadian population are bitterly opposed to conscription for overseas service until it can be demonstrated to them that it is necessary. This being so, it is quite apparent to me that nothing but harm could ensue to Canada's war effort were we to attempt to impose conscription at the present time before it is necessary.

Up to date French Canada has come along the full mile with us on a voluntary basis. We have had over 70,000 recruits from Quebec for service anywhere in the world. Quebec has gone over the top with the Red Cross campaigns, the victory loan campaigns, the war service and every other war campaign that has been put on. On top of that, the production of war equipment and war supplies in Quebec is equal to the production of any province in the country. If any hon. member doubts that statement, I ask him to visit the gun plant at Sorel, the aircraft plants at Montreal, and the great shipbuilding plants in the province. In the light of all this, is it wise to imperil all this voluntary effort on the part of one-quarter of our population by imposing conscription before the need for it actually exists?

Let us analyse for a moment the one and only reason which is advanced by anyone in favour of conscription. I have yet to hear any member of the house assert that the voluntary system is not raising the men required for our military programme. I have yet to hear any serious criticism of Canada's military programme. No one knows better than the Minister of National Defence (Mr. Ralston) what that programme should be. On February 10 of this year the minister outlined Canada's requirements for the following fifteen months. He told us that we would need 70,000 to 80,000 men for the air force, 13,000 men for the navy, and from 90,000 to 100,000 men for the army. Those were the requirements for the period1 January 1, 1942, to March 31, 1943. We have raised already by voluntary enlistment over 80,000 of those men. It is quite obvious therefore that our military

requirements will be met by voluntary enlistments months before we need them. Even the Globe and Mail in a recent editorial admitted that voluntary recruiting is taking care of our military programme. It said:

The real gravamen of the indictment against the voluntary system lies in the unfairness of its incidence.

It is not that there is any shortage of voluntary enlistments; it is that we have not equality of service. I do not believe that the present campaign for conscription was instituted by those who honestly believe in conscription. I believe it is purely political in its character. I cannot lose sight of some of the sources from which the present campaign started. You cannot collect $600,000,000 by means of the income tax, as we have done in twelve months, without treading on someone's toes. During the last war less than $10,000,000 in income tax was collected under the national government. Why would they not want national government? The only way to get national government is to advocate conscription.

There are some disgruntled politicians in this country who would sabotage Canada's war effort or do anything to gain their own selfish ends. If anyone could convince me that conscription would lead to equality of service, I would gladly revise my views. I think one example is enough to prove how illusory the term "equality of service" is. During the last week an air force officer, a boy from my community, was reported missing after a raid over Germany. He was a bright, healthy, clean living boy who had been a leader in sports at high school and who had graduated in agriculture from the Guelph agricultural college. He enlisted in the air force, qualified as a pilot, and went overseas a few months ago. Last week Tim was posted as missing. I ask you to place the sacrifice of * this young man in the scales on one side of the balance; then on the other side pile on the contribution made by his chum in Canada. I do not care if he works twenty hours a day in a factory, I do not care if he gives all his surplus wages for war purposes, I do not care what he does; his sacrifice is not comparable to the sacrifice of the young lad who gave his life. There are superloyalists who drum up "equality of service" as an argument in order to try to divert French Canada from the war effort. I say to them: "Forget about equality of service;

there is no such thing." I have heard other people say, "Let us slough off French Canada and get on with the war." Did you ever hear such a reckless statement?

Did you ever hear of a hockey team winning a game with 25 per cent of its team in the

Mobilization Act-Mr. Cleaver

penalty box? Again, I admit at once that French Canadians are one step behind those of English-speaking Canada with regard to conscription, and why should they not be? Blood ties are stronger than any other ties. But what would you think of a cruiser convoy that would steam away from 25 per cent of its merchant ships simply because they were one knot an hour slower than the other ships in the convoy?

There is another point on which I should like to touch before I conclude. The fact that this whole conscription issue has been magnified far beyond its true import is another proof that it is politically inspired. It does not affect the air force, nor does it affect the navy. Great Britain, notwithstanding the fact that she is under constant threat of invasion, still holds to the voluntary system for both the air force and the navy. This fact speaks much more eloquently than any words of mine could speak in favour of the voluntary system.

Again, conscription does not affect the gift to Britain of one billion dollars' worth of planes, tanks, guns and foodstuffs, which in dollar value is three times the total effort of this country in the peak year of the last war. In 1918 this country spent for all its war purposes only $343,000,000, and inflated dollars at that. Conscription does not affect our war production of foodstuffs. Conscription does not affect our industrial production of planes, tanks, guns, shells and the like. This problem simmers down to about one-fiftieth of Canada's total war effort, because in the final analysis the problem is just the difference between the number of men you would raise by the voluntary process and the number you would raise by conscription.

There is one thought in closing which I think should be expressed. Some day the war will be over. When that day comes this country will be faced with a very trying reconstruction period. During that period we English-speaking people will have to unite with our French-speaking neighbours in an endeavour to build a nation where life will be worth living. Should we imperil that end by doing something now which will needlessly antagonize one-quarter of our population? Should we endanger the present war effort, the present sympathy of French Canada, by doing something just to please conscriptionist Tories?

I cannot do better than close with the following words uttered by the leader of the opposition on Wednesday last, as reported in Hansard at page 3246. I do not agree at all with his application of the word, but I do agree with the words. He said this:

|Mr. Cleaver.]

Have you thought this matter through to the end? I fear not. I beg of you while there is yet time to pause and think this thing clear through.

I commend that, Mr. Speaker, with all the sincerity at my command to my fellow English-speaking members of the house.

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CCF

Joseph William Noseworthy

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

Mr. J. W. NOSEWORTHY (York South):

The Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) some days ago, when introducing this bill, informed us that the conscription issue now before parliament is one of the most controversial issues raised in Canada since confederation. He furthermore went on to point out that political leaders of all parties and those interested in the unity of the people of Canada have tried to keep this issue in the background since the beginning of the war. The fact facing us to-day, however, is that the issue has emerged, has demanded attention, has demanded a solution. The glaring fact stands out that we have in one section of Canada a large minority group opposed to conscription for overseas service. We have scattered through all the other provinces more minority groups who also are opposed to conscription for overseas service. We have across the country an overwhelming English-speaking majority who are supporting, and vigorously supporting, conscription for overseas service. Out of this, Mr. Speaker, I see the alarming fact that French-speaking Canadians and English-speaking Canadians, after having lived together in the same country for nearly 200 years, have failed to become a united nation.

It is not a question of loyalty to Canada. No one questions the loyalty of the Frenchspeaking Canadians to Canada. Our different attitudes toward this question are largely a matter of differences in our attitudes towards the British empire and the British flag. Those attitudes go back deep into our history, deep into the histories of our races. This is not the time or the place to examine the cause or to discover where the blame for that lack of unity lies. For once in my life I can agree with both Liberal and Conservative. I can agree with them each as each charges the other with the responsibility of the situation in which we find ourselves to-day. But as an educationist I would lay the blame not only on our political parties. I want to register my protest against the educational systems of every province in that they have failed to teach our boys and girls the essentials of a unified citizenship. In our schools in every province we have been teaching our boys and girls our differences. We have been emphasizing our differences. We have been failing to emphasize the points on which as citizens

Mobilization Act-Mr. Noseworthy

we are all agreed. I want on this occasion to register my protest against such a system of education.

The question before us must be examined in the light of the war itself and our war effort. This war is a life and death struggle to preserve human freedom, our institutions, our churches, our homes, our family life. It is a war to preserve our freedom of speech, our freedom of association, our free democratic institutions. It is a war to preserve our right to exercise our franchise. It is a war to preserve the freedom of our courts. These, Mr. Speaker, are freedoms which have been assured to all English-speaking and French-speaking Canadians for nearly 200 years under the British flag. Whether or not our heart is warmed at the sight of that flag, whether or not our emotions are stirred at the mention of that empire, the fact remains that under and within that empire and under that flag we have won and maintained freedoms that are vital to the existence of both French-speaking and English-speaking Canadians. They are of vital importance to all of us regardless entirely of racial ancestry. Those are the freedoms that are threatened to-day by a ruthless enemy who would impose upon all alike, English-speaking and French-speaking Canadians, and upon all the peoples of the world, his will and his way of life, which would bring with it the destruction and obliteration of those freedoms and institutions which we should unite in preserving.

This war is no mere question of preserving or saving British territory or the territory of any other country; it is not even'a war to preserve British capitalists or any other capitalists in their right to exploit the masses of the people in any part of the British empire or of any other empire. It is a war that is being, fought to preserve the principles upon which our civilization is based. That is the first of our war aims. As we were told by Mr. Nash some days ago, we, too, like the New Zealanders, are fighting to hold what we have, what we have gained through the centuries. But we are fighting for more than that. We are not merely fighting to hold fast to that which we have acquired; we are fighting to make new advances, fighting for new freedoms, for those new freedoms which have found expression in the Atlantic charter -freedom from want and freedom from fear. We are fighting to assure to the working people of this country the simple elementary right of earning a living, the right to a job, the right to a decent standard of living, of which tens of thousands have been deprived in the past. We are fighting to give to the

boys and girls of this dominion an equal opportunity to become educated and to develop into useful Canadian citizens.

This, I submit, is a programme on which both French- and English-speaking Canadians can unite. It is a programme which will call for the best in all our people. The question of where our men should fight, the question of how our men should be called up for service, must be determined in the light of that great issue. Personally I want to see the enemy defeated before he reaches our shores. I have no desire to see our shores invaded, our women and children bombed, if by any means, in cooperation with our allies, we can defeat the enemy abroad before he reaches us here in Canada. We must not make the mistake that the smaller nations of Europe made when they failed to cooperate with one another to meet the enemy, and went down to defeat one by one. We must give to the allied cause everything we can while our allies are standing against the enemy. We must not wait even to join forces with our neighbours to the south in the hope of defeating the enemy when he reaches this continent. On the contrary, we must join forces abroad with England, Russia, China, the United States and all the other nations; for on that programme and on that programme alone depends our hope of success in this war.

The whole question of a balanced war effort is brought to the fore by the introduction of this bill. The question for us to decide primarily is this: How can Canada make her most effective contribution to the cause of the allied nations? Can that most effective contribution be made by conscription of man-power for overseas service? Can it be made by voluntary enlistment? That is the vital question for us to settle; and in the light of that, other questions become minor ones. The conscription of man-power for overseas service is inextricably bound up with the whole question of our war effort. It cannot be separated; it cannot be isolated. It cannot be treated as a separate question, as a scientist would separate a disease germ and examine it in order to effect a cure.

In considering conscription for overseas service, we must of necessity take into consideration and carefully weight the opposition of a large minority group, largest in Quebec but not confined by any means entirely to Quebec. The relative importance of that opposition must be considered. The fact is there and it must be faced and faced intelligently. No immediate purpose can be served by trying to avoid it. The question that I

Mobilization Act-Mr. Noseworthy

as a member of the house must decide in relation to this bill is whether or not the government's measure is such that in the light of all the known facts it will enable Canada to put forth her most effective war effort. To-day, near the end of the third year of the war, we are brought face to face with this question, which must have seemed inevitable to every intelligent public person in this country since the day war was declared.

We have for three years dodged that issue, hoping against hope-and in that I think the opposition as well as the government members share-that time would eventually make the decision easy. Neither time nor the plebiscite has removed the difficulty. In my humble opinion both time and the plebiscite have served to intensify it. In the bill before us the government does not, in my opinion, face up to the question. In this bill the government asks to be given a free hand to decide this question in its own time and in its own way.

The Prime Minister assures us that conscription for overseas service is not now necessary. Other ministers and other supporters of the government have given us the same assurance; they assure us that it may never be necessary. Yet we have been told by the hon. member for Trinity (Mr. Roebuck) and other hon. members that those of us who supported a "yes" vote on the plebiscite and whose constituencies voted "yes" on that plebiscite are under some form of obligation to our constituents to vote "yes" on this bill. With all due deference to the Prime Minister, the hon. member for Trinity and others, I cannot follow that logic. In the plebiscite the electorate was asked one question, whether or not it was willing to release the government from a certain commitment.

I fail to see why, because my constituents voted to release the government from that commitment, I am bound to give the government a free hand to decide whether or not conscription shall be introduced, how it shall be introduced, and when. I may be illogical, but by no process of reasoning can I find that the one should be the result of the other.

Hon. members were not elected to give a blank cheque to this government or any other government on this or any other issue. If in the light of its knowledge of the war situation the government is convinced that conscription is unnecessary, and does not want to take the responsibility of bringing in a conscription bill, that is its responsibility. If on the other hand, in the light of its knowledge of the war situation it feels that conscription is necessary, then I submit that such a bill should be [Mr. Noseworthy.)

placed before this house; and the government in introducing that bill should be prepared to explain to the house not only the nature of the bill and the terms under which the bill is to be enforced, but also the necessity for such a bill. I shall vote against this bill, first as a protest against the undemocratic procedure followed by the government in relation to this vital matter.

The Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Gardiner) and the hon. member for Swift Current (Mr. Graham) both expressed opposition to the six points introduced by the leader of our movement on the ground of what they called state socialism. The minister and the hon. member are both supporting this bill, which to me is the very essence of state socialism. The government is asking us to give it the right to decide when and how, if at any time, conscription is to be introduced. When we suggest that wealth should be conscripted, that industry should be conscripted simultaneously with and on the same basis as man-power, it becomes to the hon. gentlemen state socialism. Yet they suggest that this house should give over to the governor in council its prerogative to discuss, to decide and to vote upon this issue.

I shall vote against this bill for a second reason. This bill is not even a bill for the conscription of man-power. Even if it were a bill for the conscription of man-power only,

I should be obliged to vote against it. I was elected to this house on a platform which called for total conscription for total war. I set before my electors throughout my entire campaign the programme that was placed on Hansard here the other day by the leader of this movement. If my constituents had wanted conscription of man-power only, I should not be in this house. That platform was set forth very ably by my opponent, and he had supporting him influential newspapers and a number of prominent public men. The York South electors were in no doubt whatever concerning the kind of conscription they wanted. It was conscription of man-power, wealth and industiy for the duration of the war. There is no doubt in my mind that if such a programme were placed before the common people of this country, the people who make up our armed forces, the people who man our ships on the sea and in the air, the people who man our farms and factories, those people would to-day vote overwhelmingly for total conscription of man-power, wealth and industry, because that is the only policy which will enable Canada to put forth a maximum war effort that is worthy of the great cause for which we are fighting.

Mobilization Act

Mr. Noseworthy

I wish briefly to discuss just what we mean by the conscription of industry. In that connection, with the permission of the house I should like to read one short paragraph from our leader's speech in which he dealt with that subject. I quote from page 3263 of Hansard:

The third proposal we make is either government ownership or, where that is not feasible, complete government control of all war industry. Tied in directly with this is the next proposal, that dollar-a-year men should be replaced by national administrators paid exclusively by the state, and that labour and farm organizations be given a proper share in the control of war production.

That briefly sets forth our position with regard to the conscription of industry. When lion, members talk about state socialism or about disrupting our war effort by the adoption of the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation programme, I would call their attention to the fact that we do not propose to disrupt the war effort by nationalizing all war industries during the war. Our leader's * statement was, "either government ownership or . . . complete government control of all war industry". I realize, as I am sure every other hon. member realizes, that to attempt government ownership of all industry during the war would be suicidal, that it would disrupt our war effort. What we do insist is that there must be complete control; that complete control for the duration of the war is essential. Industrial plants and their policies should be entirely directed by a national production council. The last word in production should be that, not of the owner or manager, but of a government agency.

In any industry the direction concerns itself with some of the following problems, among others. There is the problem of what and how much is to be produced. There is the problem of when a certain amount of production is to be carried on. There is the problem of whether or not a plant is to be expanded. There is the relationship between one particular plant and others engaged in the same industry. There is the question of cost and the question of profit. There is the question of the relationship of labour to management in a plant, and the question of technical improvements and research. All these problems should be definitely and absolutely controlled for the duration of the war, in order to ensure maximum production, by a government production agency.

In the very nature of things private industry is bound, even in time of war, to consider the problems I have mentioned on the basis of its competitive position, both now and after the war. Investigating committees of the United States, such as the Truman committee of the senate and the Tollen committee of the house of representatives, have given us numerous examples of how private industry has hampered war production. We had the exposures concerning the aluminum industry, the rubber industry, the automobile industry, the aircraft industry, the steel industry and others. There have been deliberate monopoly hindrances to industrial expansion, and interference with the United States programme for defence. Does any member of this house imagine for one moment that International Nickel in Canada, for instance, is any different from International Nickel in the United States; that the Standard Oil subsidiaries in this country are any different from _ Standard Oil in the United States, or that the tactics of monopolistic industry in this country differ in any respect from those of its associates in the United States? The unfortunate thing is that we have not this knowledge in Canada. I am reminded of an article appearing in this week's Nation in which the writer, after deploring the shortage of nickel, makes this remark: "It is unfortunate that we can do nothing about nickel production because Canada has no investigating committee to look into the workings of International Nickel." Even if there were no interference, it is only natural that private industry should be concerned with its own position, and that it should come in conflict with the national production plan. We must say to private war industries that for the duration of the war industiy must be entirely at the service of the nation. All the problems to which I have referred must be settled by an appropriate government agency on the basis of war needs, and on the basis of our national objective, which is victory.

I do hot care whether the plant remains in the hands of the owners for the duration of the war. What we want is to have such government control exerted as to assure maximum production during the war. If at the end of the war the people of Canada are prepared to continue the capitalist system, then there will be no choice but to hand back these controls to the private owners. But if by popular vote the Canadian people decide that it is in their interests that these industries should become and remain publicly owned, that is for the people themselves to decide by ballot. In connection with the steel industry in Canada, for example, the proposition which I have put forth would mean that every rolling mill, every open hearth, every electric furnace, all the scrap and all the smaller plants would form part of one national steel unit, and each would perform whatever operation it was most fitted to perform in the interests of the nation.

Mobilization Act-Mr. Noseworthy

No longer would there be competition for scrap, competition for orders, competition for production, with an eye to the non-war market. Nor would there be competition for returns.

That proposition can be applied to other industries. I need not emphasize the importance of production. I have here a clipping in which the deputy minister of munitions and supply is quoted as saying that a gun, a tank or a plane to-day is worth five next month and thirty next year. But we are not getting maximum production under our present system. I have travelled throughout the length and breadth of this province, in which many of our industries are situated, and I have yet to find any group of workers who are agreed that the industry in which they are working is putting forth a maximum production.

I hold in my hand a memorandum from a young man who for three months was employed in one of our industries. He was in the adjusting department of an organization producing range-finders, but at the expiration of three months he resigned because he had nothing to do. He tells me that, first of all, he put in three months training at one of our war emergency schools, and that at the expiration of that time he just sat on a stool. All he had to do was to sit, hour after hour, and hold in his hand a little three-foot stick. He grew tired of that, so he turned the flanges on a little piece of scrap metal, nailed it to the floor and made a permanent stick. But in doing that he lost his job. That was all that could be found for this man, who had had three months' training, in a vital war industry.

Over the last week-end I spoke to a group of men from one of our Toronto aeroplane plants. They told me that in that plant groups of men stand around day after day, with nothing to do. They spend their time in the washroom, and in making tools for themselves. They are told that there is no material. The contract is on a cost-plus basis, and the government pays the men's wages as long as they remain at the plant. There seems to be no necessity for production in that plant. These men, veterans of the great war, are now protesting against the type of thing taking place to-day in our war production factories.

I mentioned this condition to an engineer of twenty years standing in the Canadian General Electric plant at Kingston. He said, "If you were to say week on end instead of day on end, you would be describing the Kingston situation exactly".

Shortages have already developed. There is a shortage of copper because three companies

TMr, Noseworthy.]

which control 90 per cent of the world's copper have refused to mine it at the price set by the United States government.

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LIB

Georges Parent (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

I am sorry to interrupt, but the hon. member's time has expired.

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LIB

Louis Philippe Lizotte

Liberal

Mr. L. P. LIZOTTE (Kamouraska):

(Translation). Mr. Speaker, the last time I had the honour to address the house ,was during the debate on the plebiscite, February 5 last, when I opposed this referendum to the people which the government deemed necessary. I did not imagine that I might have to rise again a few weeks later to record anew my opposition to a government measure, and to vote against a bill authorizing the conscription of men for overseas service.

I confess, Mr. Speaker, that I foresaw, as the logical result of this plebiscite, that compulsory service in any theatre of war would be resorted to, but I sincerely believed that the administration would wait a few months and give a fair trial to the voluntary system, which has furnished such excellent results, before introducing this grave measure, the stumbling block of national unity in this country.

The government's pledges at the time gave us no warning whatever of such a rapid climax.

The bill we are now considering and which was introduced only fifteen days after the plebiscite vote, fully justifies the stand taken at the very outset by a small group of Liberal members.

Truly, for once, I would have preferred being wrong. I am pleased to see now that a large number of our colleagues from Quebec, who claimed previously that we were on the wrong track, have the courage to admit they were in error.

We had guessed only too well the colour of the cat in the bag held out to the electorate. We had a thousand reasons for warning the voters of the province of Quebec and especially the people of our own constituencies. We were justified in telling them that the plebiscite was, the direct road to conscription for overseas service, and that voting day, April 27, would be the last occasion given to them to pass on this grave issue. In this connection, I recall the observation made by a famous Canadian orator, whom the former Minister of Public Works (Mr. Cardin) knew intimately: "There are times when it is right to be wrong, but it is never wrong to be right."

If Quebec, on her part, fully understood the issue at stake, how can anyone blame her to-day for frankly expressing her opinion in the matter, as she was requested to do?

Under our democratic system, it is true that the minority must yield to the majority and

Mobilization Act-Mr. Lizotte

obey the laws of the country; however, the minority must be granted the privilege of stating its views. The province of Quebec could do no more, on plebiscite day, April 27 last, and it has done so peacefully, although courageously and eloquently. Who will deny to my fellow citizens the right to think independently and to express their thoughts in their own words?

It is hard to deny that the French Canadians are not newcomers in this country of ours. They have been bound to the Canadian soil for the last 300 years; they have conquered the vast forests and settled the greater part of the territories we now inhabit. Among their assets, they reckon their toil, their sacrifices, their struggles for the right to speak their own language, to profess their own religion and to keep their own traditions; all this confers on them the right at least to state their opinion on subjects of general interest to the country. They must have the right to resist sentimental appeals and judge this matter of conscription with great calm. I may state in passing, that, on plebiscite day, Quebec was probably the only province whose decision was based on a full knowledge of the question.

Indeed, in no other province had this subject been so fully discussed, before April 27. In our province the campaign has been waged both for the affirmative and the negative. In other parts of the country no one has stated the arguments in favour of the negative vote; the campaign was exclusively for the affirmative and the arguments never appealed to the intellect, but only to sentiment. In Quebec alone have the two points of view been expounded ; the arguments in favour of a "no" vote have been as prominent as those favouring an affirmative verdict. And it is after such a controversial discussion of the whole subject, that I state that Quebec, was in a better position than any other province to judge the matter intelligently.

After the war, when peace of mind is restored, it will be easier to realize that ordinary common sense has again taken refuge in the province of Quebec.

It was so evidently acknowledged that the French-speaking province constituted an important part of the Canadian population, that it was to that province that the government made the commitments from which they later asked the English-speaking provinces to release them.

In 1939, the following proposition was made to Quebec: support us in declaring war and we pledge ourselves never to adopt conscription for overseas service. The answer was: Yes.

Support us in participating in the bloody European war through our men, our supplies our munitions and we pledge ourselves never to adopt conscription. Quebec answered, Yes.

Support us in implementing a mobilization measure to train our men in our country and even to conscript them for the defence of Canada; we shall insert in the act a section- section 3 which we are now asked to strike out-which will protect you against conscription for overseas. Again the answer of Quebec was: Yes.

One day we were told: a moderate war effort is now out of the question; we must go the whole way in resources, munitions, armaments and finance, if we are to stop Hitler; we must resort to a total war; however, we shall not have conscription. Quebec's answer, again, was: Yes.

Another day we were told: your savings must be turned over to the state through a victory loan; you must contribute to the Red Cross fund; your daughters and wives must forgo their leisures to supply, free of charge, articles of clothing to our soldiers. Make these sacrifices courageously. We shall not have conscription for overseas service. Again, Quebec magnanimously answered: Yes.

Quebec was told that her sons were needed for the defence of the British Isles and to fight Hitler in foreign lands. However, we could rest assured that our sons could continue to enlist voluntarily and voluntarily lay their lives down for freedom and civilization. Quebec again, in a magnificent effort, answered: Yes. .

Those, Mr. Speaker, were the happy days, the days where all provinces worked hand in hand, where the various races had faith in one another; those were the days when the perfect unity wrought by Lapointe and Cardin remained sacred.

However, once the great Canadian leader had departed, the Quebec people were told: We now wish to cancel the solemn pledges we made to you about conscription for service overseas. We therefore ask you to release us from our commitments.

That time, the Quebec people, who believed in the pledged word arose in a body and answered: No!

Quebec was told, at the time of the plebiscite, that conscription was not an issue; yet, a fortnight after the answer had been given, the government introduced in this house a bill authorizing conscription for service overseas under the pretext that such a reversal of policy is a logical outcome of the answer given in the plebiscite by a majority of the people in this country. Quebec-and

338S

Mobilization Act-Mr. Lizotte

there is nothing surprising about that- answers to-day even more emphatically: No!

Could a different answer logically be expected?

It should not be forgotten that the Quebec people were not the only ones who answered "no". In all fairness, it should not be overlooked that hundreds of thousands of citizens voted "no" in the English-speaking provinces. Outside the province of Quebec, 600,000 people gave a negative answer, which would represent the yote in the four provinces which have the smallest population. Yet, no one has, to my knowledge, charged with disloyalty our English-speaking fellow citizens who voted "no", and who thereby voiced their opposition to conscription.

Why have we refused to release the government from its commitments and why do we maintain our opposition to conscription for service overseas?

Let us overlook, if you wish, the doctrine that has been advocated for 25 years by our outstanding statesmen; let us overlook the formal and solemn promises that have been made to the Canadian electors for, according to the new political code now in force, it seems that the pledged word is no more the pledged word. These two words should, I imagine, disappear from the political dictionary according to the circumstances, the contingencies and the whims of the party in power.

We cannot understand why Canada, a small country with a population of ten million, which has given a war effort proportionately greater than the other allied countries and which is prepared to pursue the same course under the same principle, has to impose compulsory service for overseas while other countries and other dominions, as much interested as we are, refuse to adopt such a policy.

It has been said and I repeat that the Australian parliament has just voted against conscription. The dominion of south Africa has refused to impose this coercive measure that some people want to impose upon us.

Northern Ireland, a part of the United Kingdom, has also refused to adopt that policy. And I have not yet heard it said that the citizens of that country were to be considered as disloyal because they had not agreed to coercion being applied to send their sons abroad. On the contrary, it is unanimously admitted that they are waging a total war. Then I ask you, Mr. Speaker, why should Canada and the province of Quebec be treated in a different way.

At six o'clock the house took recess.

After Recess

The house resumed at eight o'clock.

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LIB

Louis Philippe Lizotte

Liberal

Mr. LIZOTTE:

Mr. Speaker, indulging in a good habit of mine I will not tax the patience of the house too much, because, along with all other members, I am anxious to hear my learned colleague from the Quebec bar, the hon. Minister of Justice (Mr. St. Laurent).

When the house adjourned at six o'clock, I was motivating our opposition to compulsory military service for overseas and, particularly, our opposition to the present bill embodying the principle of conscription.

Is there anybody to assert to-day that the voluntary system of recruiting is inadequate? To believe such a statement, it would be necessary to ignore the declarations made by the Prime Minister and those made by the Minister of National Defence (Mr. Ralston) as well as the reports made by the officers in charge of recruiting. During the last few months, more men were enlisted in the active army than were necessary to fill its quotas, and the French Canadians responded more fully than other elements in this dominion. Let anyone contradicting this statement furnish the figures we have been asking for so long about the racial origins of the members of our active army, and we shall see!

And now, Mr. Speaker, what about national unity? In a speech broadcast on February 22, 1940, the Right Hon. Ernest Lapointe said:

Did not our party succeed in convincing most members of parliament that to maintain unity in Canada our war effort must be and must remain on a voluntary basis?

That is still a requisite of national unity which must appeal to most hon. members.

On February 5, I said in this house that the plebiscite that was imposed upon us would jeopardize national unity and destroy the life-work of Messrs. King, Lapointe, Cardin and Power. Was I not right? Consider what has taken place since April 27.

There are some who, ignoring all our sacrifices and self-denials so far, would throw eight provinces against one. We are called isolationists, traitors, cowards, fifth columnists, and this solely because, although willing to contribute to the common cause, our opinions differ as to a method of carrying on the war effort that they suggest knowing it to be useless and detrimental to victory.

We are already making enough concessions, in my humble opinion, that this minor one should at least be granted to us, for the sake of national unity. But I am led to believe that national unity is not very highly prized

Mobilization Act-Mr. Lizotte

in some quarters; they prefer to give way to feelings that have nothing evangelical about them.

If it must be, Quebec will submit to isolation, as we were isolated in 1917, but let my friends, especially those from Ontario, remember that Toronto is as far removed from Quebec as Quebec is from Toronto and that we can perfectly stand alone, if the two most important provinces of confederation must be isolated.

Any conscription measure for overseas service will necessarily impede the defence of Canada. If we admit that our country is threatened, we must also admit that its defence is our first duty. I fail to understand that the fact that our country is endangered; that German submarines are presently or have been in the gulf of St. Lawrence; that our coasts are exposed to enemy fire, could be turned into arguments in favour of a measure, the immediate effect of which would deprive Canada of all its defenders. I must admit that the logic of such a conclusion is beyond me.

If the enemy is already on our coasts, shall we make an appointment to meet him in the British Isles? He might not keep the rendezvous, and, on our return, perhaps we would find him comfortably entrenched in our homes.

We are told that it is imperative for us to search the enemy at a great distance, since it is impossible to defend our shores due to the vastness of the ground we have to cover. To me, this seems a good reason to keep all our forces within our boundaries, unless we are strong enough to trap the enemy on his own territory.

If we improve the means of communication within the country, we shall be in a better position to assemble, in due time, the necessary troops in the threatened area. To attain this end, we need all our men. If we are short of them, I feel that this is a sufficient reason to keep all we have.

I claim that, to draw our defenders from the coasts at a time when the enemy is at our doors is not only illogical, but an act of desertion for which, I am sure history 'will make us answerable.

In his speech of June 10, the Prime Minister admitted that conscription for overseas service was not required at the moment. I share the same opinion and that is one of the main reasons why I am presently opposed to any conscription measure for overseas service. In the same speech, the Prime Minister stated in substance that, by the plebiscite, the government requested the Canadian population to release them from previous commitments and that they had obtained this release. For this reason, the government is now asking parliament to give them the same freedom of action.

As for me, I must reply to the right hon. Prime Minister that the people of Quebec have refused to release most of their representatives from past commitments. The voters in my constituency have refused to release me from mine, and I who represent them here have no right to release the government and no mandate to support this measure.

I shall not take up the time of the house any longer. I merely wished to emphasize the reasons for which we oppose conscription for overseas service that the government desires to enforce.

I now feel justified in having obeyed the dictates of my conscience by adopting the stand I did at the outset of the session. And if I felt obliged to forsake, over this dangerous issue, the leadership of a man in whom I placed the utmost confidence, you may be sure I did so with regret. It is sometimes possible to come to terms with a government over fiscal issues, but never in the matter of a blood tax.

If Mr. King should ever enforce conscription for overseas service in Canada, he will betray his past and repudiate his best friends. In such an event, it is not Quebec that will forsake Mr. King, but Mr. King who will forsake Quebec.

I urgently request our leader, before he takes the supreme decision of enforcing this grave measure, despite the solemn pledges he gave our province and this country-and from which the province of Quebec in particular has not released him-to remember the substantial and generous support he has ever enjoyed from the solid Quebec bloc, for it is this bloc that has been the cornerstone of the Liberal party and has kept it in power.

Hon. LOUIS S. ST. LAURENT (Minister of Justice): (Translation) Mr. Speaker, I had always hoped to deliver in the French language my first speech in this house, but as I began to jot down my notes I remembered that in 1920 I had the opportunity of speaking at a congress of the Canadian Bar association, before an audience made up of citizens from every part of the country. Now, I wish to quote to-night part of what I said at that time, and to make a few statements with regard to the relations between French-speaking and English-speaking citizens and I would not like to leave any of my English-speaking fellow-members under the impression that I would have made my remarks stronger in French than

Mobilization Act-Mr. St. Laurent

I would dare make them in the language which is more familiar to them. Besides, all my fellow-members from the province of Quebec will understand me just as well in English as in French. Moreover, if any one outside this house, whether in the province of Quebec or elsewhere is sufficiently anxious to know what I said, he will find an accurate translation of my remarks in the French Hansard.

(Text) Mr. Speaker, I had intended to make all my remarks in this debate in French, but I have some things to say about the relations between English-speaking and Frenchspeaking Canadians, which I should not like any of my English-speaking colleagues to feel that I tvould express more freely in French than I would wish to do in the language which they understand better.

This debate, and the agitation of which it has been the occasion in the country and in the press, may seem to a great many of us to be regrettable incidents in the life of the Canadian nation.

The bill Itself is the logical consequence of the recent vote on the plebiscite, and the attitude of those who support the bill and of those who oppose it is probably also the logical consequence of the way in which the electors themselves divided on the plebiscite.

It is, of course, unfortunate that such divisions of opinion in the Canadian nation should occur, but these divisions are unavoidable, and may remain unavoidable for a long time to come. They are regretted by many good Canadiane, but I do not think they should be looked upon as discouraging. They seem to be one of the unescapable consequences of the situation in which providence has placed the citizens of this nation. Although it is true that Canadians of the two major races usually act as realists, all too frequently, in their speeches, in their discussions and in their dissensions, they adhere to ideals and fancies which it is difficult to reconcile.

They are descended from two different stocks, stocks which for centuries were inimical, and whose social developments were different. These social developments remained different because of the determination, conscious or unconscious, of each person to assert apparent and well-characterized reasons for_ preferring his nationality, his mentality, his aspirations, and his social concepts, to those of the other race, and even at times to regard the very qualities of the other race as defects.

Providence has placed vigorous offsprings of these two races side by side in these new lands of America; and stern reality, without taking from them any of their racial traits, (Mr. St. Laurent.]

has forced them to work together toward the building up of a new nation. This paradoxical situation has always been evident to everybody, and even during peace time thoughtful Canadians have always sensed the necessity of taking it into account.

It was in 1920 at a meeting of the Canadian Bar association that I was called upon for the first time, here in Ottaw'a, to speak to a group made up of Canadian citizens from all parts of Canada. I ventured to say then that we were all of one country and though, had it been given to us to choose, some might have preferred less heterogeneous groupings, these groupings did constitute the mass of the Canadian people, the only material out of which the Canadian nation can grow. I added at that time:

If we hope to see a broad national spirit weld our people more closely together, should we not be mindful that such a spirit must involve the pride of the individual in the well ordered state of social conditions throughout the whole of Canada, as well as in the natural beauties and incomparable resources of its far-flung provinces? A national spirit cannot attach to the soil alone; it must comprise men who dwell upon it, the institutions which make them a body politic, and also the private laws which crystallize their attitude towards each other and their methods of realizing human progress.

There has been some progress since 1920; and in spite of the difficulties of these times, in spite of all that has been said and written in these last months, yes, and even in spite of the vote that will be given on this bill, that progress will not be wiped out. Of course, further progress must still be made, and I need only refer to something which has been said in this very house in corroboration of the assertion. May I call your attention, sir, to the words of the hon. leader of the opposition (Mr. Hanson), spoken in this debate on Wednesday last and reported at page 3246 of Hansard:

I have only to refer to the letter written a few days ago by the hon. Minister of Justice (Mr. St. Laurent) to an officer of a political association in his own constituency, in which will be found this statement:

"There is no intention for the time being to bring in conscription for overseas service, and I am sure that the present government wrould bring in such a measure only if it were absolutely necessary for our own salvation."

And he continues:

Note the words "for our own salvation"-not for world salvation, not for the salvation of the united nations, not for the salvation of democracy and Christian civilization and all the ideals for which we are fighting-no, for our own salvation. What a narrow, limited-I was almost going to say unworthy vision is there, my countrymen!

Mobilization Act-Mr. St. Laurent

The words "for our own salvation" are a literal translation of those I used in French, *"pour notre propre salut." In the French context it was quite apparent that they referred to the defence and survival of Canada as contrasted with interests overseas, and it is also perhaps sufficiently clear in the translation. In any event I have nothing to withdraw from even their English translation. I do not feel any unworthiness in asserting that the duty of citizenship to bear arms and fight and die is a duty which the citizen owes only to his own country and its interests. Of course the salvation of his own country and its interests may, as they do in this instance, involve full participation in all the joint ventures of his and the other nations banded together in the common task of overcoming the common foe. But beyond that there is no obligation. It may be great and glorious to fight and die for the world's salvation, for the salvation of the united nations, for the salvation of democracy and Christian civilisation; but that is a privilege of each man, a privilege he has the right to choose for himself; it is not a duty which citizenship imposes as an obligation correlative to the rights which citizenship guarantees as a privilege.

I reassert that view with all earnestness, and I venture to inform you, sir, that this is not a view which I seized upon as an opportunist to make an apt reply to the secretary of the Liberal association in my constituency. I well remember discussing with a friend of the leader of the opposition on September 20, 1939, this very question, and I will ask the privilege of repeating now some of the exact language I used at that time. Speaking of the people of my province, I said:

Our loyalty cannot be expected to be one of traditional affection and sentiment but it is one based almost solely on a utilitarian viewpoint.

Because of that viewpoint it is felt that our first duty is to Canada, and that Canadian interests must come first. Some feel that Canadian interests were well served by what we did in the last war, but many others feel that we went in much sooner than Canada's interest required and because of that provided more than our share of the north American contribution.

Though some would volunteer to fight for France for sentimental reasons, no one would dare to say that it was a national duty for Canadians to fight for France. Similarly, though some would volunteer to fight for the United Kingdom, people here would not feel that it is a national duty for Canadians as such to do so.

That, sir, was my way of thinking and speaking in September, 1939, when I had no other responsibility than that of a private citizen of French origin, proud of my face

and proud of being able to assert everywhere and at all times that our real Canadian patriotism was not inferior to that of any other citizens of this country.

In my view, conscription or no conscription was not then a proper test of that patriotism. I still adhere to the view that it is not now a proper test. It is our conception of the rights and obligations of citizenship which is at the root of whatever opposition there is in my province or among the people of my race to what they understand by conscription. It is not a word they are opposed to; it is the thing which the word "conscription" has come to symbolize in their minds. In their minds, conscription is the theory that they can be forced to enrol, train, fight and die for some other cause than that of their own country.

Of course, when an issue becomes controversial, there is a great deal of confused thinking, and still more loose talking about it, but in reality this dispute is just one of the manifestations of the fundamental reason for most of our difficulties.

I stated to the electors of Quebec East, in my address to them in opening my campaign on February 2, that there were in this country two very different concepts with respect to the real patriotism of its people. One, which is that of practically all Canadians of French origin, and a great many I am sure, if not the majority, of Canadians of other origins, has found its expression in the famous phrase used by Lord Tweedsmuir in 1937:

Canada is a sovereign nation and cannot take her attitude to the world docilely from Britain, or from the United States, or from anybody else. A Canadian's first loyalty is not to the British commonwealth of nations but to Canada and to Canada's King, and those who deny this are doing, to my mind, a great disservice to the commonwealth.

The other conception seems to many of us in Quebec to be characterized by a blind, sentimental, proud and even arrogant attachment to England, not only as the mother country, but as the real homeland toward which all loyal British hearts should ever turn. Did not a former prime minister of Canada on abandoning his mantle of leadership say, "I am going back home"? And did not another former prime minister of Canada reply, "How I envy you!"

Before I came to Ottawa I did not often read the Toronto newspapers, but I happened to be in the latter city on September 10, 1941, and I cut out from one of them the following leader:

Mr. King misstates Canada's attitude.

In his speech in London, Premier King told the British people that while Canada was proud

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of her position in the empire, her position in the empire would not of itself have sufficed to bring her into the war, and that unless Canadians had been satisfied that Hitler planned to dominate the world they would not have backed Britain in her struggle. Mr. King, whatever his own views about entry into the war may have been, is quite wrong about Canada and the Canadian people. If he had tried to keep this country out of a war in which the safety of Britain was at stake he would have been swept out of office by a tide of anger which neither he nor his government could have withstood.

I cut that article out because it seemed to me so truly to reveal the true mentality of a certain number of my English-speaking fellow citizens. To them it would appear that Canada could never be anything but a conquered colony, and the constant evolution of the last century of Canadian history, and even the statute of Westminster, have remained absolutely meaningless to them.

Sir Robert Borden was not of that school; but there are still too many hon. gentlemen opposite and their friends and supporters in certain parts of Canada whose footsteps seem to have lagged in the path which the Canadian nation has been treading since the days of William Lyon Mackenzie and Joseph Papineau, and those of Georges Etienne Cartier and John A. Macdonald, of Wilfrid Laurier and Newton Rowell, right down to the right hon. Prime Minister and my own immediate predecessor in the office of Minister of Justice.

Colonialism is one of the obstacles in the way of national unity. Unfortunately the difficulty is accentuated by the way in which Canada's war effort is sometimes viewed and spoken of, even outside Canada. We Canadians, of my province at least, do not feel that our participation in this war is just a part of somebody else's contribution to the common cause. We feel that Canada is in this war on its own, in its own interests; and without detracting one whit from our unbounded admiration for the great and valiant leaders of the United Kingdom and the United States, we feel that the rightful leader of and spokesman for Canada in the councils of the united nations is the head of our own state, the Prime Minister of Canada. We deplore the too frequently apparent tendency to forget or to overlook that fact.

Another obstacle to national unity is the attitude of those who look upon this war merely as a resumption of the last war, who feel that it should be carried on in the same way, with the same number of infantrymen holding the same lines and suffering the same ghastly numbers of terrible casualties. The

Canadian people, I think, generally realize that this is not the trench warfare on a single front of the last war. It is not warfare to be won by the concentration of troops at any one given point. It is warfare all over the face of the globe, warfare on the seven seas, warfare in every sky, warfare in the shipyards and in the docks, in the factories and on the farms. I will not further develop that point, which was so much better developed this afternoon by my colleague the Minister of Munitions and Supply (Mr. Howe). No one denies that the whole of our man-power should be employed, but how and where it can most effectively serve is not a question to be determined by the memories and fancies of those who have been constantly advocating immediate and rigorous general conscription for overseas service.

Another obstacle to national unity, and even to the most effective prosecution of this war, is the attitude of so many Canadians who loudly assert that we cannot have a total war effort without that kind of conscription. The leader of the opposition has said that we cannot have total war without full compulsory selective service for any and every theatre of war. Do the hon. gentleman and those whose views he expresses really think that Australia is not at the present time waging total war? Do hon. gentlemen who have supporters who belong to the Orange lodges of Ontario seriously contend that the people of northern Ireland, the men of Ulster and Belfast, are not waging total war? Australia and northern Ireland have not had to resort to conscription to do the things that constitute their total effort.

Another obstacle to national unity is the accusation levelled against French Canadians that they and their leaders, and especially their clergy, are deliberately abstaining from greater participation in the armed forces in order to bring about an increase in their proportion of the Canadian population, an increase in what the Shieldses and the Silcoxes, and even the Globe and Mail, have been pleased to call "French-Canada's stranglehold on this dominion." My opponent in Quebec East, among several demagogic appeals which he made, urged that very thing; and I need not tell you, sir, what was the answer of the large majority of the sound, sensible, thinking Canadians of that constituency. Had they not spoken their minds about it in the way they did, I would not be here addressing you this evening. To impute such thoughts and motives to our clergy is an indignity against which I protest with all the earnestness I can command. May I call your attention, sir, to just one or two passages in a collective pastoral

Mobilization Act-Mr. St. Laurent

letter signed by His Eminence the Cardinal and all the archbishops and bishops of the Roman Catholic church in this country, fifty-nine of them, and read in all the Catholic churches of Canada either on June 7 or June 14, 1942:

Because of continued developments in the war zone, our hopes for a complete victory, together with a just and lasting peace, seem deferred to a future more distant than we had anticipated. Indeed, the danger is coming nearer home and is threatening more ominously everyday.

And further on:

One lias only to study the anti-Christian doctrines and principles of nazism in the light of the encyclical "Mit brennender Sorge" of Pope Pius XI, and of the statements of the German hierarchy, and of the record of oppression and destruction in every country which has come under the yoke of nazism, to realize the extremities of barbarism, persecution and irreligion, to which it would reduce all nations in the world conquest of which it dreams and towards which it strives.

Consequently, dearly beloved in Christ, we were not surprised but sincerely and deeply elated at seeing you, from the very beginning of the conflict, generously respond to the call of your country. Truly a glorious page in our history will recall the devotion, courage and heroism aroused in our people by this present war.

Dearly beloved in Christ, you have taken your place side by side with your fellow citizens of every class and creed, in this ready and generous response.

And still further:

We must acknowledge that this spirit of sacrifice and devotion finds its highest expression in those who courageously enter active service, on land, on the sea, or in the air. We owe-

That is, the Catholic church.

-a tremendous debt of gratitude to our fellow citizens who are bravely rendering such admirable service to their country and to humanity in general. Their heroic courage is a pledge of final victory; their loyalty is a credit to our country; their fidelity to duty is the bulwark of our freedom. Every day we become more proud of their constancy and courage in the face of obstacles and struggles. They are showing themselves worthy of the past history of our brave young nation.

And just a few more lines, though I would commend the whole letter to the attention of lion, members who want to know what leaders of my church are thinking and saying to their people:

However, we must remember that a modern war is not won by the fighting forces alone. The war inflicted on us by our enemies demands a combined effort on the part of all people. We must therefore be prepared to support our fighting forces also in a material way; by our labour in war industries and agriculture and by participating in the auxiliary services. Again, by investing in w-ar loans, by readily accepting the regulations concerning the saving and rationing of our resources, by submitting to the thousand restrictions imposed on us by wartime

production and civilian defence, by assisting in plans for rehabilitation after the war; in all these ways we can devote ourselves to the welfare of 'our country. It is a source of joy to us that you have grasped this truth and have responded generously.

That, sir, is the attitude of the clergy of my faith; and may I add that of the fifty-nine signatories of this pastoral letter, thirty-five are of my race.

Of course there are extremists of my race. You have no doubt been scandalized, as I have been scandalized, to hear it asserted:

(Translation) Despite any and all opposition, we shall have our French State; and it shall be young, strong, radiant and beautiful, a spiritual centre, the dynamic pole of French America.

I ventured to suggest in a recent broadcast that we of French origin would be well advised to lay aside that chimerical dream, at least during these times of war and, I think, for a long time afterwards, if not forever. I was quickly and severely taken to task by a young writer in a young newspaper which was publishing the ninth issue of its first volume. But neither you nor I nor any other sincere and thinking citizen of this country need attach too much importance to the assertion that this is the attitude of the youth of my race. I have talked with thoughtful leaders of the nationalist movement-and I believe them to be sincere-and they have assured me that none of them are looking to the establishment of a sovereign French state on this continent-not at least during the lifetime of anyone living to-day.

I said at the outset that we must be realists, and that in fact we are realists, though we speak and discuss and even bicker all too frequently on fanciful premises. We of French origin are now about three million units of the Canadian population. A hundred and seventy-five years of British connection have conclusively shown that we are not going to be assimilated. Our ancestors have been here for three centuries. Members of my own family have witnessed all the important events in Canadian history. Our roots have bored deeply into this land which our ancestors wrested from the forest primeval. This Canada is our country and our only country. It is here we are anchored by ties which cannot be destroyed, and it is here that we must stay.

There is no other land on the face of the globe to which we, Canadians of French origin, can go; but we are not alone here. We are less than 30 per cent of the Canadian population and less than 2 per cent of the Englishspeaking population of the north American continent. We know that we could not dominate Canada, just as we know that Canada

Mobilization Act-Mr. St. Laurent

could not dominate the north American continent; nor have we any wish for domination over anyone. But we do wish to be recognized as full partners and full citizens anywhere and everywhere in Canada.

We are Canadians, and we intend to remain Canadians. Canada has been for the last seventy-five years the "Dominion of Canada", organized by and governed under the British North America Act of 1867, and the amendments thereto. That act did not create an ideal situation. It is not an ideal situation for a nation to see its sovereignty split up between different governments and legislative bodies. It is not an ideal situation to have to resort so frequently to the courts of justice to have them determine whether or not a statute which has been passed by a parliament or a legislature is or is not a valid law entitled to obedience and execution.

But the problem which the fathers of confederation had to deal with was a real problem, and it had to be solved in a realistic fashion. That problem may or may not be as acute now as it was then, but it still exists and, if it had to be solved again, thinking Canadians, those who know how to face facts in a realistic way-and they are the majority everywhere-would still have to solve it in much' the same fashion.

This war is another problem, and a very real problem. It may have appeared to some at the outset to have started out to be just another European war. But we were all very soon forced to recognize its true nature, and also recognize that it is a war which has to be won, or Canada will go down with the rest of Christian civilization. We are all determined that it shall be won, and I think we are all, or at least the very great majority of us all, resolved to do everything and anything that may be necessary so that it shall be won.

Of course there are a great many who are violently opposed to the thing symbolized by the word "conscription". During the recent plebiscite campaign they organized a vigorous movement to secure a negative vote. You possibly may think, sir, that thej' also, or at least a great many of them, are an obstacle to national unity. Be that as it may; does it not strike you as passing strange that in order to get a hearing among the people of my province they had to call themselves a league for the defence of Canada? It may be that they do not envisage the defence of Canada as you do, or as I do; but they recognized that the people to whom they wished to appeal were just as determined as you are or as I am that Canada shall be defended and shall be successfully defended.

I do not think, sir, that this league portends any serious menace to the ultimate unity of Canada-and by "Canada" I still mean the confederation of all the Canadian provinces. Such movements may be sincere, but unless they deal with national problems in a realistic and realizable fashion, they are not movements that endure.

I wonder how many of our colleagues remember that in 1849 there was formed in Montreal a "League for the Separation of Canada from the British Connection and the Union upon Equitable Terms with the Great North-American Confederacy of Sovereign States"? I wonder how many know that an annexation manifesto was signed by 793 prominent citizens of Montreal, to offset the terrible catastrophe that resulted from the repeal of the corn laws in the mother country -a movement that was termed in the North British Mail of the time in the following rather illuminating language:

It is not the tyranny of the Colonial Office, the partisanship of Lord Elgin, the predominance of the French race, the inconveniences of monarchy, or the superior advantages of republicanism which form the impelling force of the Canadian Annexationists, but the loss of protection previously afforded to Canadian products. The loyalty of these gentlemen begins and ends with a discriminating duty in favour of their wheat and butter. Give the merchants of Montreal a monopoly of the British markets, and they are red-hot Britons; place them on a fair equality with the merchants of the world, and they become true-blue Americans.

I wonder how many know that of the twenty officers of the annexation association, sixteen were English-speaking Canadians, and four were French-speaking Canadians.

Mr. Speaker, that was in 1849; and we of the generation of 1942 know that the British connection was not broken. We know that all that was achieved and all that remains of this movement is the fact that the descendants of those who signed the manifesto are none too proud of what was done, and that is why I have not mentioned any names in connection with it.

We know that all else which remains are a few copies of the manifesto ;nd a few articles about it in the archives of our better-stocked libraries. I think we may confidently hope that what will remain of the present league for the defence of Canada will also be some stray pages of newspapers or pamphlets in the archives of the better-stocked libraries of future generations.

The real league for the defence of Canada, in so far as the people of my race are concerned, has no signed role of membership, or any specially elected officers to speak on its behalf. Its spokesmen have habitually been the leaders of my church. It is they who gave

Mobilization Act-Mr. St. Laurent

the real lead in 1775 and in 1812; it is they who also helped pacify the state after the troubles of 1837. It is they who facilitated the acceptance by Lower Canada in 1867 of the pact of confederation. It is they, again, who say' to the people of my race and my religion at this time, "The danger is coming nearer home and is threatening more ominously every day," and who add that "love of country and devotion to duty finds its highest expression in those who courageously enter active service on land, on sea and in the air."

The people of my race sometimes speak in their legislature, the Legislative Assembly of Quebec. There has been some miscpneeption about the purport and effect of a resolution adopted in that legislature by 61 "ayes" against 7 "nays" on May 20, last. I shall read just the first recital, and I would invite those who have entertained the idea that the Legislative Assembly of Quebec was pronouncing against an all-out war effort to listen to the text of the resolution. The first recital is:

That whereas the province of Quebec, by the voice of its legislature, intends to reaffirm its unalterable determination to carry on, together with the other provinces of the country, the war effort made since the beginning of hostilities, until final victory.

Although I have spoken at considerable length, I have not yet adverted to the real problem raised by the motion for the second reading of this bill. This bill is to amend an enabling statute and to enlarge the powers conferred by that statute. Neither the original statute noT the bill determine what must be done to win the war. But they do empower the government to adopt all and any such measures as may be required to that end. I am convinced that we all want to win the war and that we are all prepared to submit to any measure which may be absolutely necessary for that purpose. One of the French papers which waged a most vigorous campaign for the "no" vote during the plebiscite, had this to say on April 16:

The Canadian government would betray its duty if in the case of absolute necessity it did not resort to conscription for overseas service. Its moral undertakings can avail, the government is morally bound not to impose conscription for overseas service, only in the event that measure is not absolutely necessary to maintain the free existence of Canada.

No thinking person can, therefore, have any objection to the government resorting to conscription for overseas service in the event of absolute necessity. The question, therefore, as to whether or not this enabling legislation should be passed is one of confidence in the government to use it only if and when it may be necessary to do so.

I was surprised and pained to learn from my former colleague, the Minister of Public Works (Mr. Cardin) that he could not support this enabling legislation and felt that it was his duty to resign in protest against it. I shall not take time to examine the legislation; I shall not take time to examine the regulations; I shall not take time to examine the proclamations, nor shall I take time to examine the special regulations under the Militia Act; there .may be other opportunities to do that. I was indeed sorry to part company with my hon. colleague; but in spite of the difficulties which the future may hold in store for the members of this government, I felt that it was my duty to carry my portion of whatever responsibility may be involved.

Others of my colleagues in this house from the province of Quebec have intimated that they, too, felt that they could not assume the responsibility of supporting this legislation. They say that they made promises to their constituents and that, just as the Prime Minister could not act until he had been relieved from his previous undertakings, they felt that they have not been relieved. This is a matter which each man must decide according to his own conscience.

I have had but little experience here, but I have had thirty-seven years experience at the bar of Quebec. Every time a client brought me a case, I conducted that case. If he was not satisfied with the measures I thought were useful and necessary to prosecute the case to a successful conclusion, he got another lawyer. I had to determine what was required; that was within my province. In this house it is not a case of Burke having said so. I submit to you, Mr. Speaker, that legislation is a matter of judgment and discretion, discerning determination, not a matter of will. It is not because Burke said so; it is because we have been elected to this Canadian parliament to conduct to the best of our ability the business of Canada in such a manner as will enable Canada to survive, that each one of us should exercise his own best judgment.

My time has practically expired, and I do not want to trespass on this my first occasion. I have had a flattering reception in public life. When the right hon. Prime Minister invited me to join his government and my acceptance was publicized, the press of the whole country was most flattering. You, sir, and all my colleagues in this house have been most kind to me. I accepted these responsibilities because I have always felt that it was possible for English-speaking Canadians and French-speaking Canadians to get along together. I still think that there is more in each

Mobilization Act-Mr. St. Laurent

group worthy of admiration, worthy of being conserved, than there are things which might make one group offensive to the other. It may not be easy to make that apparent to everybody at all times, but the attempt to make it apparent to all Canadians seems to me to be a task worthy of the best efforts of all true Canadians. My hope was and still is that I may be of some assistance in the accomplishment of as much of that task as is possible in our dajr and generation. I venture to suggest that some part of that task will be promoted if the citizens of both groups will put forth their best endeavours to avoid irritation and exasperation in those of the other group. I do not use the word "appeasement," because that word has fallen into ill repute. No Canadian requires to be appeased, but all Canadians require to have inspired in them a greater and ever-increasing measure of confidence in the sincerity and right-mindedness of their fellow Canadians.

I think this Canadian government, made up as it is of sincere Canadians drawn from all the principal races which make up the Canadian population, can be trusted, even in a time of crisis, to do the right thing at the right time and in the right manner. I will vote for this bill because I think its adoption is an expression of that confidence in ourselves and in our desire that Canada shall survive and that future generations of Canadians will still have, as we ourselves have had, the rights described by the Prime Minister in this language:

The right of men, rich and poor, to be treated as men; the right of men to make the laws by which they shall be governed; the right of men to work where they will at what they will; the right of womankind to the serenity and sanctity of the home; the right of children to play in safety under peaceful heavens; the right of old men and women to the tranquillity of their sunset; the right to speak the truth in our hearts; the right to worship in our own way, the God in whom we believe.

Topic:   MOBILIZATION ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO REPEAL SECTION 3 PROVIDING LIMITATION IN RESPECT OF SERVICE OVERSEAS
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June 16, 1942