June 18, 1942

IS, 1942


Mobilization Act-Mr. Raymond be Canadians, proud of the stock from which we come, not forgetting its virtues and its greatness, but Canadians, with our eyes fixed on the development of this our country, united in spirit. Then, I venture to hope, we will build the sort of society that was pictured by the Hebrew prophet of old, where every man may sit under his own vine and fig tree, enjoying the fruits of his own labour, and where none dare molest him or make him afraid.


LIB

Maxime Raymond

Liberal

Mr. MAXIME RAYMOND (Beauharnois-Laprairie) (Translation):

Mr. Speaker, when war was declared in September 1939, there were two different schools of thought, one of which favoured participation, while the other opposed it. The province of Quebec, especially, remembered that our participation in the European war of 1914 had led us to conscription, with the unfortunate results that we know.

Taking part in the debate, I had then voiced the fear that our participation, once again, would lead us to conscription. Unfortunately, events have already borne out my

forecast.

The Right Hon. Mr. Lapointe, wishing, as he said, to prevent disunity, suggested the following compromise on behalf of the province of Quebec: "Participation without conscription".

I wish to quote the statement he made on September 9, 1939:

Sir, I believe that at this time there are two extreme sides of opinions Which we should avoid and which would make for the disunity of Canada at a time when we need the very opposite. First, there are those who . . . say that Canada can and should remain neutral. . . .

The other school consists of those who . . . are promoting courses which would disunite Canada-because such measures will never be accepted or enforced by and in a most important section of the country. The whole province of Quebec-and I speak with all the responsibility and the solemnity I can give to my words- will never agree to accept compulsory service or conscription outside Canada. I will go farther than that: When I say the whole province of Quebec I mean that I personally agree with them. I am authorized by my colleagues in the cabinet from the province of Quebec . . . to say that we will never agree to conscription and will never be members or supporters of a government that will try to enforce it. Is that clear enough?

Then he added:

Provided these points are understood, we are willing to offer our services without limitation and to devote our best efforts for the success of the cause we all have at heart. And those in Quebec who say that we will have conscription in spite of what some of us are saying, are doing the work of disunity, the work of the foe, the work of the enemy. (House of Commons Debates, second session, 1939, page 68.)

I shall now quote what the Prime Minister said, on February 25 last, about the pledge given at that time:

When the war came in Europe and this parliament met to decide whether Canada would enter the war or not, a declaration was made by the government of the day that, if Canada did enter the war, there would not be compulsory service for overseas, but that service for overseas would be by voluntary enlistment. That declaration was made when this house was deciding whether Canada should go into the war or not. And that statement was made not by the government to hon. members of parliament only, but by members of parliament of all parties speaking to the people of the country, and assuring them of the position that would be taken. I submit that no more solemn undertaking could possibly have been given to the people of Canada than that which was given to them by their representatives in the House of Commons at that time. (Hansard, 1942, page 824).

This compromise was then agreed upon by parliament and ratified by the entire Canadian people at the general election of March, 1940. And the present administration gave the most solemn assurances that it would respect it. Therefore was it binding upon the government and parliament, as well as upon the political parties of Canada and the conscriptionists, for the duration of the war, because Mr. Lapointe had taken care to specify that:

The province of Quebec would never accept conscription for service outside Canada.

Later on when the government introduced the National Resources Mobilization Act of 1940, an act which parliament passed on June 20, 1940, the 1939 agreement was explicitly acknowledged. A special provision was inserted with a view to fulfilling the terms of that agreement, that is section 3 which excluded conscription for overseas service.

On this occasion, the Prime Minister and the Right Hon. Mr. Lapointe made the following statements:

The Prime Minister:

Recruitment for service overseas will be maintained on a voluntary basis. . . . The bill to be introduced to-day in no way affects the raising of men to serve in the armed forces overseas. Once again I wish to repeat my undertaking, frequently given, that no measure for the conscription of men for overseas service will be introduced by the present administration.

(Hansard, June 18, 1940, page 854).

... We have in the present bill purposely by a special clause in this measure kept a pledge which we on this side of the house made before and at the beginning of the war, that we would not, while this administration was in office, enact a law for the conscription of men to be sent overseas. We have kept that promise by a clause which is specifically set forth in the bill that is before the house to-day.

(Hansard, June 18, 1940, page 900.)

Mobilization Act-Mr. Raymond

Mr. Lapointe, on the same day:

Somebody speaks of the pledges given. I invite all my friends to read the observations I made in this house when war was declared.-. . I then said to my fellow-countrymen that the province, one of whose representatives I have the honour to be, was opposed to compulsory military service overseas, and that we would fight it . . . that I would fight it; that if it were proposed by my government I would resign from that government.

That is what I said and that is what I repeat to-day. (Hansard, June 18, 1940, page 877.)

If Mr. Lapointe were here to-day, I have no doubt he would fight this bill.

As a further reassurance to the province of Quebec, which had been the object of the anti-conscriptionist agreement, three days after the adoption of this measure, on June 23, 1940, on the occasion of the feast of their patron saint, the Prime Minister sent the French Canadians a special message from which I quote the following paragraphs:

Message from the Prime Minister to the French Canadians on St. Jean Baptiste Day.

On this festival of the patron saint of French Canada, I wish to address a message to my French-Canadian compatriots. . . .

In order to put the government in a position to meet the growing menace, parliament passed last week the National Resources Mobilization Act. . . . The mobilization of our man-power is limited solely and exclusively to the defence of Canada on our own soil and in our own territorial waters. Recruitment for service overseas will be maintained on a voluntary basis. The solemn assurance, which I have frequently given to parliament, that no measure for the conscription of men for overseas service will be introduced by the present administration has once again been placed upon the record of parliament.

I appeal to my compatriots of French Canada ... to give to this measure of national defence their whole-hearted support.

The province of Quebec, ever ready to defend Canada, has, on the faith of these definite pledges, granted its loyal support to this measure. Now, the government propose to amend it by striking out the restrictions concerning conscription for overseas service. Thus, the Mobilization Act of 1940, applying for military service in Canada only, would become a conscription act for overseas service in any part of the world.

Consequently, the proposed amendment to the Mobilization Act, is moved in violation of the agreement of September, 1939, approved by the Canadian electorate in March, 1940, and incorporated in the Mobilization Act.

It is claimed that the result of the plebiscite has been to release the government from past commitments. Who could release the government from this pledge regarding conscription? Not the conscriptionists; they had made the pledge; not the Prime Minister who,

on April 27, registered his vote to release himself from his own commitment; not the other ministers and members of the house, who had made the same pledge; but only those in favour of whom the commitment was made. This commitment was made in favour of the province of Quebec, in whose name Mr. Lapointe was speaking when he proposed a compromise, when he stated the conditions of our participation. These conditions were unreservedly accepted; they have been acknowledged in the Mobilization Act of 1940, which it is now proposed to amend; and the Prime Minister, on behalf of his government, guaranteed its fulfilment three days later, in a special message sent to the French Canadians, on June 23, 1940.

Therefore, only the province of Quebec could release the government from their commitments. Since it has overwhelmingly refused to do so, the government are not released. No one would dare to move an amendment to the confederation act of 1867, which would deprive the province of Quebec of certain rights granted therein, without the consent of the interested province, even though it were the wish of all the other provinces. This would be applying the principle that might is right.

I would go further. Were the government convinced that the majority vote given by the provinces released them from the commitments taken towards Quebec, they still would not be justified in adopting a conscription measure for service overseas.

Has the 1939 agreement been proved faulty? No, the results prove the opposite.

Have the two reasons which brought about the anticonscription agreement of 1939 disappeared? No. They are even more cogent to-day, for past experience has proved, since the very beginning of war, that the voluntary system has amply fulfilled the needs of the army, and nothing show-s that it may be less efficient in the future. The two reasons alluded to were the following: the need of maintaining national unity and the inefficiency of conscription.

What is the position after two years and nine months of war?

Canada is more profoundly divided on the subject of conscription than ever before- the plebiscite proves this-and we know that conscription will mean disunity with its train of consequences. Moreover, neither the efficiency, nor the necessity of conscription have been demonstrated. The Prime Minister has even stated, on moving the second reading of the bill, "that it was not necessary now and that it might never become necessary".

Topic:   IS, 1942
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IS, 1942


Mobilization Act-Mr. Raymond, Here is what the Prime Minister stated on February 25 last concerning conscription: During the last war the question of conscription came up near the end of the conflict. I will not go into what took place at the time except to remind hon. members of the fact that nothing in the political history of Canada since confederation has given rise to so much bitterness, so much ill feeling, or has done so much in the way of dividing the peoples of this country, setting one lot against another, as did the conscription issue at that particular time (Hansard, 1942, page 823.) Shall we repeat the experience? The statement made on May 12, 1941, by the Minister of National Defence (Mr. Ralston) proves that the measure is not opportune: I understand that my hon. friend has been advocating what he calls national compulsory service. Last night, in an address to the people of Canada, I issued a call for 32,000 men in the next two months. I want to say to my hon. friend that if he could do anything to interfere with that call, possibly to interfere with a full response to it, it would be the advocacy of the measures which he proposes at this time. . . . We went into this war a united people. . . . The National Resources Mobilization Act was accepted by this house and by the whole country. The thirty-day plan for compulsory training was accepted by every province including Quebec. The four-months compulsory training plan was accepted by every province. I may say that young men in the province of Quebec have come to the camps in larger surplus numbers perhaps than in any other province. The announcement which I made the other day that men who were in camp for compulsory training would be required to take their places in the coastal defence garrisons or in other duty in Canada has met with a like response. I cannot understand why at this time, just after I have launched a recruiting campaign, my hon. friend should interject this discordant note into our national unity. . . . I say to my hon. friend in all seriousness that at this time there is no need of advocating a system such as he suggests. . . . If the method which the hon. member has suggested were adopted, it would be a method different from what the commonwealth of Australia has adopted. ... I point out to him that this country in 1917 was seared, was divided, by the very issue which he mentions. We have unity in this country, and I ask my hon. friend to try to help us preserve it, rather than attempting to drive a wedge of disunion into a war effort of which I think Canada ought well to be proud. . . . I deprecate in public men and in others the attitude of advocating something different for which no need has been established, because I believe it interferes with our war effort. (Hansard, 1941, pages 2729 and 2730.) This statement of the Minister of National Defence is truer to-day than a year ago. During the present debate the Prime Minister has stated that the programme of the Minister of National Defence for the fifteen month period from January 1, 1942, to March 31, 1943, provided for the raising of 90,000 to 100,000 men and, according to an official return brought down in this house on June 9, it appears that during the first five months alone 52,615 men have already enlisted, of which 11,918 were in the one month of May. Why then should we be asked to vote a legislation which is not only not necessary but harmful? Allow me to quote again the words of the Minister of National Defence: Why at this time interject this discordant note into our national unity? In advocating something different for which no need has been established, it interferes with our war effort. It was the duty of the government, before thinking of introducing a conscription measure for service overseas, to obtain from the province of Quebec release from the anticonscription pledge which they had given to her and to undertake afterwards to prove the efficiency and necessity of conscription. What could be the avowed purpose of those who demand conscription? I can conceive only one, the purpose of increasing the war effort. Now, the Prime Minister said last week: There is nothing to indicate that application of compulsion now would add anything to Canada's total contribution to the winning of the war. There are two methods of raising men: the voluntary system and conscription. In the last war, we resorted to conscription, which was a failure; while in this war we have followed the voluntary system, which has given splendid results. The facts are there to show it: "More men are offering themselves for training to-day than the administration is able to train", the Prime Minister has said. "Our training camps are full for months to come", the Minister of Munitions and Supply (Mr. Howe) has stated. "There is no lack whatever of recruits for -the navy; there is still a very considerable waiting list", as we have been told by the Minister of National Defence for Naval Services (Mr. Macdonald). And according to the Minister of National Defence for Air (Mr. Power), recruiting is six months ahead of schedule. To-day food and munitions are what we need most to win the war. This has been stated time and time again. In March last, a British correspondent, Harold Guard, wrote that "the defeats hitherto suffered are due to the lack of armaments". The reverse in Java was not due to the lack of men but to the lack of fighter planes.



Mobilization Act-Mr. Raymond As regards food, farmers are constantly being urged to increase their production. Since the defeat of Holland and Denmark, her main sources of supply, England is more and more dependent on Canada for her food. The demand is for more bacon, eggs, cheese, and butter, but some people would reduce the number of producers at a time when farm labour is already inadequate. The following is a convincing statement to be found in the April 23, 1942, issue of The Patriot, a paper published in London, England: For us, food is the crux of the war. Our food supply is not a matter of greediness, it is a matter of winning or losing the war. ... If our food supply fails, we join the conquered. Our farmers cannot produce enough food for our own people; yet we are feeding armies of Canadian and American soldiers we have shipped here. These soldiers hamper our war effort by needing extra food cargoes. . . . Our ships ought to bring raw materials and food instead of bringing hearty-eating Canadians and Americans. ... It would greatly help our war effort if all Canadian and American soldiers here were sent back to Canada and America. The Prime Minister has stated; If the bill is amended as proposed, it is not the intention of the government to resort to conscription for service overseas unless circumstances should arise which would render the use of compulsion imperative. Why then this eagerness to have written into our statutes legislation which there is no intention of putting i-'to force, particularly when this measure is a source of deep disunity in the country and constitutes a breach of a formal undertaking? The Prime Minister did state that conscription was not an issue in the plebiscite- and, once the plebiscite vote had been taken, there was no delay in introducing the conscription measure. Moreover, he forgets what he told us on June 18, 1940, when this legislation was adopted. Allow me to remind him of it. The Prime Minister, replying to what had been said by some hon. members on the mobilization bill, said: . . . Another point raised by some hon. members was expressed by the hon. member for Weyburn (Mr. Douglas), in the following words: "We support what the bill purports to stand for, but we would like to know if it will be used for what it purports to be?" Well, I must say that that is a singularly odd question to ask at this particular moment. . . . What is the sense of introducing any legislation in this parliament if what appears in black and white and in type as a statute of Canada does not mean that the government intends to give effect to what appears in the statute? I tell my hon. friend that so far as the government is concerned, we have put in this bill what we think is necessary, and we intend to administer it in accordance with what we think is necessary. It must be apparent [Mr. Raymond.1 that the bill will be carried out in accordance with the purport of its provisions. (Hansard, June 18, 1940, page 902.) The 1940 legislation provided for limited conscription for service in Canada; once this amendment is adopted, it will be conscription without reservation, of all wealth and of all men, women and children, without any age or other limitation, anywhere and at the discretion of the government. We shall then have in our statute books the most thoroughgoing conscription legislation possible, without any age limitation, without exemptions, or exemption boards contrary to that of 1917 which affected only men between nineteen and forty-five years of age, and provided for various exempted categories with boards to hear the applications. The 100,000 or 125,000 men conscripted for the defence of Canada in Canada shall automatically become conscripts for overseas service. As to the application of this measure, one may judge from the Prime Minister's statements at the time it was adopted: What is the sense of introducing any legislation in this parliament if what appears in black and white and in type as a statute of Canada does not mean that the government intends to give effect to what appears in the statute? And we are told to-day, that there is no intention of enforcing the measure. Mr. Speaker, we are leading up to the gravest crisis of mistrust during the post-war period that any government has ever had to face. Before 1939 we were told that the day of expeditionary corps to Europe was past, yet war had barely been declared in September, 1939, than the departure of a first contingent for overseas was announced. Our participation in this war was to have been moderate and according to our means. It is now without limitation. The Mobilization Act of 1940 was enacted supposedly to train our men for home defence, but it has served mostly to prepare them for overseas service. Our training camps have become recruiting centres for the active force, and we are not unaware of the means employed to force trainees to join up. What is known as the voluntary system of recruitment has turned into a disguised conscription plan. A great many men between the ages of seventeen and forty-five, even married men with families, have no alternative other than to enlist or go destitute, for the simple reason that they are barred from employment and can enlist for service overseas only. Mobilization Act-Mr. Raymond Legislative measures are passed whose avowed meaning is revealed to be quite different in the light of subsequent facts. A conscription measure for overseas service is termed a national resources mobilization act. We play upon words. Our young men are mobilized with the assurance, pledged in the statute book, that they will be trained for home defence only, and once their training is completed we pass an amendment authorizing the government to send them without notice to any theatre of war. In order to obtain the consent to participation of an important section of our people, or to win elections in the province of Quebec, solemn pledges are given that conscription will not be enforced. Yet once their consent is obtained or the election won, a conscription measure is introduced. To obtain an affirmative vote on the plebiscite, the administration tells us that conscription is not the issue on which the people are required to pass. Yet hardly have the results been published than it introduces a conscription measure, claiming it to be the logical outcome of the plebiscite vote. While the most solemn pledges are being broken in the name of the rights of the majority, we are asked to fight for the rights of minorities. Truly the post-war period will be worse than that of the war itself. The people will have lost faith in governments whose equivocal methods during the conflict have accumulated such bitterness and rancour, and God knows what trouble is brewing for the future. The conscription voted in 1942 will appear infinitely more odious and revolting than that of 1917, and it will have much more serious results. When war was declared in 1914, no anti-conscription pledges had been given such as in 1939. When Sir Robert Borden introduced the conscription act in 1917, it was because the voluntary system of recruiting was no longer adequate and conscription was judged necessary, while in 1942 the voluntary system is admittedly adequate and conscription unnecessary. In 1942, we proceed to train young men on the pretext that we are preparing the defence of Canada in Canada, and once they are trained, they become conscripts for overseas service; in 1917 we knew nothing of conscription by our own experience, but in 1942, we know what disastrous consequences it entails. If, in 1917, we could be misled as to the consequences of conscription, the same mistake would be unpardonable in 1942. The Prime Minister, while moving this conscription measure, has referred to national unity. Who are those who, at the present time, are putting national unity in jeopardy? Those who insist that pledges should be kept or those who break them? May I be permitted to quote the words of the Right Hon. Ernest Lapointe, broadcast in February, 1940, and May, 1941, and to compare them to the utterances of the Prime Minister on January 21, last: On February 22, 1940, Mr. Lapointe stated over the radio: The maintenance of Canadian unity demands that our military effort be voluntary and remain such. On May 15, 1941, he spoke the following words over the radio: Those who favour compulsory service for overseas are impeding our national war effort and the great cause of Canadian unity so essential in this great crisis. On January 21, 1942, Mr. King, as recorded in Hansard, while speaking in praise of Mr. Lapointe, said in the House of Commons: With nothing was he so profoundly concerned as with the preservation of national unity. And he added: I pray that the spirit of Ernest Lapointe will continue to be a guide and an inspiration to all Canadians. Surely, Ernest Lapointe's ideal did not give birth to this conscription bill, to which Canadian unity is sacrificed. Unity will never be attained by the strength of number or by orders in council. We are willing to show regard for the opinions of conscientious objectors or to abide by the agreement entered into with Mennon-ites and Doukhobors, recently come to our country, but we refuse to recognize agreements entered into with French Canadians, who have always inhabited the country. If the majority, in spite of previous commitments and in spite of the success of voluntary enlistment, persist in enforcing on the minority an enlistment system known to be inefficient, this minority will submit to the majority, but will not forget. The province of Quebec, whose motto is "Je me souviens" has not forgotten the conscription act of 1917; it will have still stronger reasons for not forgetting the similar measure of 1942.


LIB

James Gray Turgeon

Liberal

Mr. J. G. TURGEON (Cariboo):

Mr. Speaker, it is my intention to vote for this bill, and when the bill' has become law and the government is clothed with all the powers which a government ought to have in time of war, particularly when the war is coming so close to us, I intend, as a citizen who is anxious to see this war ended successfully as quickly as possible, to accept every measure

Mobilization Act-Mr. Turgeon

of compulsion which the circumstances may demand and this government may think it necessary to enforce. And when I say compulsion, I mean the compulsion of persons, of industry and of finance.

It is my intention to deal a little later with the question of conscription itself, with the lack of unity which it is alleged exists to-day and on which we are embarking, it is said, because of the course of action taken by this government since the commencement of this war. The only respect in which I would differ from that is this: I should not say the course of action taken by this government since the commencement of the war, because the complaints against this government with respect to so-called lack of unity go back before the commencement of the war. There was a complaint because the government decided to have Canada participate in the war. But before I deal with conscription and these other things may I say a few words directed chiefly to those who for a long time have been trying to throw the question of conscription for overseas service into the field of combat, and also to those who are going out of their way to enter into an internecine struggle with those who are so anxious for conscription. My word is a friendly one, but at the same time it is a very serious one.

The Japanese are now virtually upon the coast of Canada. We in this house and people in Montreal, or Toronto, or any other place in Canada may continue to be protagonists of a dispute and may continue to argue; but my word of warning is this, that we from British Columbia and Alberta and the Yukon are not going to sit down and wait while that question is argued and permit the Japanese devils to raid and rape and slaughter and torture us; and that is the condition which this country is facing to-day.

I am not trying to be over-serious, but some of you will remember that for a long long time I have been calling the attention of this parliament and this government to what was approaching on our western coast. We have to-day a word of warning from the chief of staff who has taken over active command at Victoria, correcting a wrong impression arising from a statement which he made yesterday, and which was interpreted by the newspapers to mean that the presence of the Japanese on the Aleutian islands did not mean very much, that it was only a diversion. We have to-day an official statement by the army heads that the occupation of some of the

Aleutian islands by the Japanese is a matter of definite seriousness.

Let me call attention to the timing of this assault upon the Aleutian islands. We have known for a long time that Germany and Russia were going to get to death grips in the Caucasus, and we have also seen a clear trend of the struggle in the direction of Murmansk and Archangel and Leningrad. I have here a clipping:

Arctic regions loom as next allied front. Highly important operations seem imminent around top of Norway and Murmansk coast where control of Upper Scandinavia would give united nations link with Russia and place them in position to strike at Germany.

While these preparations were taking place Japan was making her initial thrusts in the south Pacific, and to-day, just at the moment when there might be a final assault either at Murmansk or the Kerch peninsula, Japan has come northward into the Bering sea and has taken possession of part of the Aleutian islands. It is an interesting fact that the best description of Alaska ever published was written a few years ago by a German; every bay, every indentation of Alaska, is set out in that book. It is another singular thing that the man who wrote the book is one of the military advisers of Hitler, who is conducting the war against the world.

This is June. From June to September the Arctic ocean is open. The whole northern coast of Russia from Murmansk and Archangel on the west to the Bering strait on the east is traversable by ships properly equipped with ice-breaking apparatus. There may be nothing whatever in the combination of * facts that just about the time that northern sea is opening Japan has taken possession of some of the Aleutian islands. It may be a series of accidents that it has happened at this particular hour, that this particular hour coincides so wonderfully with what is taking place in other parts of Russia as I mentioned a few moments ago. I talked in this chamber some time ago and I showed hon. members what all of them know now, but which I venture to say only a very few knew a few months back, because we have accustomed ourselves to look at the Mercator maps which show only lines allegedly north and south.

I used my arm some time ago to show how the Pacific coast lies. I said my elbow was Vancouver, and what people do not realize is that there is an hour's difference in time between Vancouver and Yukon territory. Here is Vancouver, here is Yukon, here is Alaska. Forty-seven miles away is Siberia, and all along that Siberian coast are some of the best air fields in the world, built a while

Mobilization Act-Mr. Turgeon

back by Russian labour with the aid of German skill and German direction. Those airports are there, ready to be taken possession of by the Japanese. I am of the opinion -I may be altogether wrong-that before long we shall find Japan attacking Russia, and that this is the cause of her first move into the Aleutian islands. If in addition to what she has taken from the United States she secures control of some of these airfields along the Russian coast, then Alaska, the Yukon, northern Alberta and northern British Columbia will be at the mercy of the Japanese hordes, except to the extent that we shall have prepared ourselves to meet the onslaught.

It is owing to the splendid work done by the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King), dating back, as I said once before in this house, to his meeting with President Roosevelt in Ogdensburg when the joint defence board was set up, that we have a series of airports running from Edmonton and Vancouver and Prince George on to White Horse and from there to Alaska. Originally intended as a line of defence, the time has come when this series of airports must be made a line of offence. I am just as serious as I can possibly be in once more informing the Prime Minister and the government, and you, Mr. Speaker, that the only possible chance of saving northwestern Canada from the kind of assault that has overrun European and Asiatic countries is for us to take offensive action against Japan. If we can secure the consent of Russia, or if Russia and Japan become embroiled, as I feel certain they will, then we shall have to send our armies into Siberia. If we cannot get the consent of Russia, then we shall have to go across the Bering sea or directly across the northern Pacific from Prince Rupert.

But unfortunately the Japanese are already ahead of us, because they have gained a foothold in the north Pacific only a few miles from Bering strait. If the northern coast of Russia is open from June to September, lying west of Bering strait, the northern coast of Canada is open from June to September lying east of Bering strait. It is possible that the Japanese could encircle Alaska and attack both Alaska and Canada from the north, with practically nothing between their objectives and their armed forces. That is why for a long long time I have been urging upon this government two things: first, the appointment of a minister for war; because the time has come when we must wage war. I have been urging that since last year. For some time I have been urging also that we should amend the mobilization act at least in such manner as to make it legally possible for our soldiers

to be sent across the Pacific or into Siberia as the case may be. Once more I urge that upon the government.

Let me now leave the Japanese situation and come for a few minutes to other fields that are natural ground of debate in this chamber.

, I wish to say a few words about conscription. Unfortunately this particular legislation is being interpreted as a direct application of conscription for overseas service, and therefore the debate has turned almost entirely on subjects relating purely to conscription for service overseas.

There has been some discussion about what was meant by the plebiscite. I am going to read two paragraphs of the statement that I made to my constituents in connection with the plebiscite. I said:

A vote on the plebiscite is not a vote for me or against me. It is not a vote for the government or against the government. It is not, in the ordinary sense, even a vote for or against conscription.

An "X" in the "Yes" column is a vote telling the government of our urgent desire for an all-out war effort to the full limit of our resources, both human and material, in whatever manner our military and civil leaders require, and the circumstances of the war demand, no matter what the cost may be.

I do not think there is any confusion about that statement. But that is not my justification for supporting this bill, or for the statement made by me a little while back that I would follow this government in any action that the circumstances of the war forced them to.take. My justification is, first, that I am a citizen of Canada; second, that I am a member of this Canadian parliament. I made that announcement in this house before the plebiscite was held. At best the result of the plebiscite was only an indication to us of what the people wanted. Quite frankly-I say it here and put it on the record and it can go back to my constituency-I do not regard the vote in my constituency as an instruction, an order, a command to me. It was not so meant, and I am not accepting it as such. I am taking the stand I do to-day because of a viewpoint that is mine as a member of this house and as a citizen of Canada who realizes how close to us the war is coming.

There are two forms of opposition to this bill, based entirely on the ground of conscription. One comes from our friends of the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation, who contend that the bill should not become law, that the government should not be given a clearance for action until they have told us and the country, in advance and in detail, just what every financial and industrial measure is to be, or until we twist up our

Mobilization Act-Mr. Turgeon

whole constitution' into a socialistic state or state capitalism. I know that most hon. members would take clear exception to that statement. But I have here the appeal made by the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation in connection with the plebiscite. It is a very good appeal-and may I digress for a moment to say a word of thanks and appreciation to the different political associations in my ridiug for the way in which they cooperated to bring the plebiscite question to a successful issue. The statement, I say, is a good one, and that is why I wish to read part of it now, because I should like our Cooperative Commonwealth Federation friends to say whether the statement that was made by them during the plebiscite is their present stand. After calling attention to some bad things done in connection with the war, as they had every right to do, the statement says:

Nevertheless the plebiscite is being held, and we feel that the government should not be able to point to any real or imaginary obstacle to an effective war effort. In the present critical situation, the Canadian government should be free to act in the best interests of Canada and her allies. The plebiscite should therefore be answered by a "yes" vote.

Then they append the six proposals which they would like to see enacted. First, however, they ask the people for a "yes" vote, so that the government of Canada may be free morally, and then become free legally, of any restrictions that might have been hampering effective action.

The other objection to the passing of this legislation has been referred to on several occasions during this debate. It is that this is the action of the imperialists. As far as I can see there is not the slightest tinge of imperialism to this legislation. I cannot speak so directly to my French-Canadian colleagues as could the hon. member for Cochrane (Mr. Bradette), who was able to say that he was born in the province of Quebec. I was born in New Brunswick, but my father is still living, and he was born in the province of Quebec. A moment ago I saw here the hon. member who represents the constituency in which my father was born and in which his family lived for over two hundred years before his birth. My father would not object to the action I am taking to-day, and I am certain that the remainder of his family still living in the province of Quebec would not object, either. But they would object, and would have every right- to object, if they thought that action was taken because of the nature of the appeal or demand that has been made in certain parts of Canada since shortly after the beginning of the war, and certainly since the

election of 1940, in connection with conscription for overseas service. As was so eloquently pointed out the other day by the ex-Minister of Public Works (Mr. Cardin), with whom I also have the greatest sympathy, there is a great deal in what he described as the difference between the instincts of the French Canadian and the emotional instincts of the English-speaking Canadians. I have a little of both in me, so perhaps I can understand each better than either can understand the other. I know exactly what the hon. member for Riehelieu-Vercheres meant, and I know that he is right. But he is not right in feeling that the appeal which is made to him, to me and to all hon. members whether from Quebec or British Columbia, is an appeal based upon the imperialistic instinct; and when I speak of the appeal now, I mean the appeal to give this government complete freedom of action so that the Prime Minister and those associated with him may be able to perform, at any given moment, whatever action the circumstances of the war may demand. That is all this bill is asking. If this were an imperialistic war; if this were similar to some of the wars which took place in the past, that might not be so. I think it was the Minister of Mines and Resources (Mr. Crerar) who spoke to-day of the Boer war. There is no doubt that the Boer war had no other objective than imperialistic expansion; there is no question of that. But there is also no question whatever that the present war is not an imperialistic war, except from the point of view of Germany. Germany is the nation that is trying to expand its imperial possessions. Germany is the nation that is trying to destroy the world so that it may build another world more suited to its own natural instincts.

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

And Japan.

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James Gray Turgeon

Liberal

Mr. TURGEON:

And now, as is pointed out by the Prime Minister, Germany has been joined by Japan, which is coming very, very close to us now. So we have a combination of complete imperialism, German and Japanese, trying to break down all opposition in the world so that whatever may happen in future will be as a result of their dictation. I have here a statement issued in the United States before that country entered the war, a statement which I assume was made in reply to what we call the isolationist movement in that country. This statement was made by the Right Reverend John A. Rvan. D.D . one of the greatest Catholic theologians on this continent; and, mind you, he was appealing to a country that was not at war when he said:

Mobilization Act-Mr. Turgeon

If Hitler conquers Russia, his power will be immensely increased to carry through the devastating outrages which he has already planned: first, to defeat Britain and then inflict immense damage upon the United States; second, to continue in subjection the various peoples that he has already enslaved; third, to destroy Christianity and Christian civilization.

That is as clear a description of the German objective as it would be possible to frame. In his appeal to Americans, not then at war, the reverend gentleman went on to say;

Americans who look upon these injuries and calamities as of little or no importance, so long as actual invasion is not imminent, may consider themselves patriotic, but they are not intelligently patriotic. Americans who assert that we should await the near menace of invasion before we use military measures against Hitler may consider themselves patriotic, but they are not intelligently patriotic. Americans who oppose military aid to Britain, even as a means of averting the danger of actual war on our own soil, may consider themselves patriotic, but they are not intelligently patriotic. American Catholics who assert that we have no moral obligation to use military measures outside the United States, in order to prevent the destruction of the Christian religion and Christian civilization by Hitler in Europe, are, wittingly or unwittingly, subscribing to one of the propositions condemned by Pope Pius IX in the "Syllabus of Errors".

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

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

What is that quotation from?

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James Gray Turgeon

Liberal

Mr. TURGEON:

I have not the heading, but it is from the Voice oj Austria of August last, and, as hon. members know, Doctor Ryan is one of the greatest Catholic clerics in the United States.

I read that quotation with this end in view. There is a feeling, which was referred to by the ex-Minister of Public Works, that no matter what action might be taken by this government to bring the war to a successful conclusion, such action was being taken either at the dictate or as a result of the whispered voice of the imperial government. It is not necessary to say here that that is absurdly wrong.

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Pierre-Joseph-Arthur Cardin

Liberal

Mr. CARDIN:

I desire to interrupt the hon. member, because he is not repeating exactly what I said. I never said what he has just referred to. He is misinterpreting my observations entirely.

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James Gray Turgeon

Liberal

Mr. TURGEON:

First, I take the hon. member's statement at its full value and, if I said anything that offended him, I withdraw completely and immediately. But what I was saying, or meant to say-and perhaps I did not express myself correctly-was not what the hon. member said, but rather what he referred to. I was saying there is a feeling that every action taken in connection with this war is taken as a result of some instructions or some

advice given to us by Great Britain. As a matter of fact-I do not intend to turn it up-

I have before me an issue of the New Commonwealth, the Cooperative Commonwealth newspaper, published in Toronto. The issue I have is one which appeared just a few months before the outbreak of war. In that issue practically the same statement is made, and it is attributed to the United States magazine Time. i

To return to my original thought, that feeling has prevailed in many parts of Canada-and not only in Quebec, because the paper to which I referred is published in Toronto. I say that feeling is absurdly wrong, because the two things implied by it could not exist together-first, the desire of Great Britain so to act and, second, the willingness of Ottawa, in its present surroundings, to carry out and obey instructions of that kind.

Mr. HANSON (York-Sunbury); Has any responsible person or party, aside from the source from which the hon. member has just quoted, made that assertion in Canada? Has any such party or person made the assertion that we are being dictated to by the British government in our war effort?

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Richard Burpee Hanson (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. HANSON (York-Sunbury):

I never heard it.

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James Gray Turgeon

Liberal

Mr. TURGEON:

But what do people mean when they talk about imperialism dictating our actions?

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Richard Burpee Hanson (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. HANSON (York-Sunbury):

We have not said that.

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James Gray Turgeon

Liberal

Mr. TURGEON:

No, and I am not criticizing my hon. friend, in the least, in that connection. However, there is a criticism which I shall direct to him, if I have the time. As a matter of fact, I appreciate the action the leader of the opposition (Mr. Hanson) and his party are taking on this particular occasion.

The criticism I would make of the leader of the opposition arises from an editorial appearing in yesterday's Ottawa Journal. The other day he talked about strangulation of unity, and referred to the Prime Minister's oft-repeated declaration that he wanted unity. In that connection the leader of the opposition said, "He does not want national unity; he wants party unity." I would ask this question: If the Prime Minister was thinking only of party unity, would he bring into this house a measure which he knew was going to be opposed by men who had been his greatest and most loyal party followers? The Journal editorial, which I was going to criticize, states

Mobilization Act-Mr. Turgeon

that all this casuistry and all this caucussing meant only one thing, that we are not going to have conscription. Then the editorial continues:

We would like to ask this question: If Quebec had voted "yes", would we not have had conscription immediately?

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

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

We certainly would not.

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James Gray Turgeon

Liberal

Mr. TURGEON:

The Prime Minister says we certainly would not, and I agree with him. May I point out to the Ottawa Journal that the bill now under debate was introduced in the house by the Prime Minister before any Liberal caucus was held after the adjournment of the house for the Easter recess. The bill was introduced purely as a government measure, and without any caucus being held until after it came before this chamber.

I was going to say something about unity, but perhaps I have spoken too long on other matters. I may not have sufficient time at my disposal to deal with the subject of unity in the manner in which I had intended. But this I will say: we are not, as has been stated, in the greatest state of disunity that this country has ever seen. There is not an hon. member who will not admit that on several occasions in our past history the disunity has been much greater than it is to-day. I think of 1917, and even of 1910 and 1911.

At this time we are having a difference of opinion. One of the greatest opponents of the measure from Quebec-I believe it was the hon. member for Kamouraska (Mr. Lizotte)- when speaking the other day said two things. He said, first, "It is true that the majority must rule; but, we the minority, until final action is taken, have a right to state our views." Nobody can object to that. No one has any right to accuse hon. members opposed to this measure, or opposed to the stand I take, of bringing about disunity.

The second statement made by the hon. member was that if the Prime Minister ever brings in conscription he will be false to his past history and false to Canada. That was the keynote of the thought of those who have opposed the bill on the ground that it is conscription for overseas service. The hon. member for Kamouraska laid his finger on the point at issue, and he has a perfect right to feel, if he wishes, that if in the future the Prime Minister takes the action the hon. member does not want taken, the right hon. gentleman would be acting falsely. But I say, with all respect, that the hon. member has not the right at the same time to say that this particular bill is in itself the imposition of conscription for overseas service. It is not the

imposition of conscription for overseas service. It is a measure to give to the government the power to act, a power which the people of Canada generally said they wanted the government to have. Speaking not only as a member from British Columbia, but also as a Canadian who was born in the east and has travelled across this land until he has reached the Pacific coast, I say it is clearing the way for basic, positive and militarily offensive action by Canada against the Japanese, before they encroach upon this land and are able to spread across the country that awful web which has been extended over so many parts of Asia and Europe.

I know-I just know it myself, by instinct -that none of the hon. members from Quebec who take a stand different from the one I take will feel the least bit offended by anything I have said to-day. I should like to conclude my address with the hope that, because I did not make myself clear a few minutes ago, the hon. member for Richelieu-Vercheres will not feel hurt by anything I said.

I thank hon. members for the courtesy they have extended to me during my remarks.

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June 18, 1942