June 18, 1942


Ross Wilfred Gray


Mr. R. W. GRAY (Lambton West):

Mr. Speaker, I am glad to follow the hon. member for Cariboo (Mr. Turgeon) in this debate. For five years we were associated together as chief whip and deputy whip of this house. During that period we worked together with the definite purpose in mind of establishing a better understanding between party and party and between member and member as it related to the conduct of the House of Commons. The hon. member is one of a long line of public men who bore and still bear his name, men who have served the state and the dominion. Reading their speeches and *watching their actions makes it easy to understand that my hon. friend. and former associate should express the tolerant views he has to-day and at the same time make such a vigorous statement as to where he stands. I should like to refer also to the statement of the hon. member for Cochrane (Mr. Bradette). Canada needs more men of the type of the hon. member.

The moral obstacle to compulsory service has been removed, and the amendment provided by Bill No. 80 now before the house is the logical first legal step. In introducing this bill, the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) is simply following the mandate given to him on April 27 last. In the interpretation of the question asked of the electors the Prime Minister was quite right in saying that it was permissive, not mandatory. The question was purposely phrased in the way it was.

Mobilization Act-Mr. Gray

On the other hand, if the government are under any illusion as to what the great majority of the "yes" voters meant, what they believed would follow onee the hands of the government were freed, then I say to the government, and particularly to the ministers from Ontario: You have not been among the electors since that day.

I am not going to refer to the successive experiments that have been made in connection with the man-power question. Suffice it to say that we have fumbled the ball with too many passes. While it must be admitted that we have recovered the ball, we have left the spectators, in this case the Canadian public, in a state of bewilderment and daze as to what we shall do on the five-yard line. That line has been reached; we are in the crucial year 1942. That is not my opinion; it is the opinion of the military experts of the united nations. Having this knowledge and facing the fact that the war remains to be won, the hon. member for Vancouver East (Mr. Maclnnis) asked in the house on Monday last; as reported at page 3343 of Hansard:

What we as a people expect to get out of the war.

I am amazed that a responsible member of this house, a member of a party aspiring to leadership in this country, should ask that question. I can tell the hon. member in a sentence what we expect to get out of this war. We hope to get the privilege of living as free men. We may lose all that we have built for the future; we may lose all that we have built in this crucial hour. That matters not; what is important is that we may be able to build for the future, that we may have the privilege of starting again. On January 1, 1942, Canada signed a declaration and became a member of the united nations. In part we said:

Being convinced that complete victory over their enemies is essential to defend life, liberty, independence and religious freedom, and to preserve human rights and justice in their own lands as well as in other lands, and that they are now engaged in a common struggle against savage and brutal forces seeking to subjugate the world.

We are discussing the methods of fulfilling that obligation. The question turns on the advisability of continuing two systems, two armies: one, a voluntary army for service anywhere; the other, a conscript army for service in Canada alone. How can it be said that we can defend freedom up to the limit of those who are willing, or, in other words, up to the limit of those who are willing to volunteer. How can we take our proper place at the council table until we have shown that there is no limit in our participation?

The ink had scarcely dried after we had signed that declaration before the congress of the United States removed the restriction upon service contained in their national service act of 1940. I should like to quote part of the preamble of that act because, as one reads it, he realizes that we in Canada have the same possibilities for the future. Congress had this to say:

The congress further declares that in a free society the obligations and privileges of military training and service should be shared generally in accordance with a fair and just system of selective compulsory military training and service.

Their act contained a territorial restriction similar to the one contained in our National Resources Mobilization Act. The restriction in their act read:

Persons inducted into the land forces of the United States under this act shall not be employed beyond the limits of the western hemisphere except in the territories and possessions of the United States, including the Philippine islands.

There are members in this house who would agree with that restriction, who would contend that it should remain on the statute books in its present form. Nevertheless, on December 13, 1941, or five days after the United States of America declared war upon her enemies, congress enacted a measure which removed the territorial restrictions I have mentioned and made it possible for United States soldiers to serve in any part of the world during the period of the war and for the six months immediately following its termination. That was definite and positive action which has placed thousands of United States soldiers in the British isles and throughout the empire. We are told that with the enemy approaching from the east and the west we are now prepared to move immediately men called up under the National Resources Mobilization Act to Newfoundland and other islands and territories including the United States.

With that stand I am in full accord. But I might say, in passing, that we might be accused of having broken a pledge in requiring, under the legislation as it stands to-day, that the men called up shall serve elsewhere than within the confines of Canada. But that is an academic point, and Canadians with whom I have been in contact are in no mood for academic discussions in this country. They see in this new approach, extending beyond the boundaries of Canada our jurisdiction over the men called up, the old, discredited policy of appeasement creeping back into our national life. That policy should have no place among the united nations, and least of all within the British empire. Let us put a stop to these

Mobilization Act-Mr. Gray

subtle retreats from one position to another. Let us, if necessary, be brutally frank with the Canadian people and especially with those who believe that Canada can be defended on Canada's shores. The place to defeat the enemy is where you find the enemy-and before he reaches Canada. If it is good to go out and meet,him in Alaska and Newfoundland, it is better to go out and meet him in Trance, Holland and Germany. In case there may be some who still doubt this, let me put upon the record a message placed before this country by the Prime Minister on the eve of the plebiscite. In a signed statement published in all the leading Canadian papers under the caption, "The Plebiscite As I See It", these two paragraphs of the Prime Minister's statement appeared:

A part of our forces should be kept in Canada to protect us against attack; a part of our forces should be sent overseas to help defeat the enemy and thus prevent him from attacking Canada. Both tasks are equally essential to our safety. Anyone who tells you that only one of these tasks is necessary is deceiving you. Unless we continue to do all we can to help others, we shall have no right to expect them to do all they can to help us. Until the present tide of conquest is turned into overwhelming defeat for the enemy, no country -and assuredly not Canada-can consider itself secure.

Here surely is the most powerful of reasons why every effort should be made, as it is being made, alike by the United States and Canada, to help the other united nations to engage the enemy and tpy to defeat him where he is to be found to-day. We cannot defend our country and save our homes and families by waiting at home for the enemy to attack us. Every country that has stood behind its own defences in this war has sooner or later been attacked. To remain on the defensive is the surest way to bring the war to Canada.

With that statement I am in full agreement. We differ apparently only with regard to the method by which what is desired can be accomplished.

It has been stated by the government that the voluntary method of obtaining men has succeeded and will suffice for the March, 1942, to March, 1943, programme. How can we say that the voluntary method has succeeded when it has never been tested? How can we say that we have sufficient man-power entering into the army when we do not know what we may expect during the period 1942-43? To say that we have sufficient man-power coming into the army is to say that the year 1942 will remain just as it is in this month of June, 1942, and this, sir, in spite of the fact that on every side we hear of a determination to establish a second front, in which second front Canadians will undoubtedly be in the vanguard. To say that we have enough men is to say

that we know with some degree of certainty the number of casualties we shall suffer in battle. Turn for a moment to world war No. 1. Let me give a few figures of Canadian casualties in that war. On the Somme Canadians had, in round figures, 23,000 casualties; at Vimy Ridge, 13,000; at Passchendaele,

24,000. Let us study well those figures, and look at all the possibilities for 1942 before we say that the voluntary system has succeeded. But whether the voluntary system has succeeded or not, whether it will supply enough men or not, I ask the house this question: Is the voluntary system a scientific, businesslike way of making sure that we have total war through total effort? Is it a fair method? Is it a sure method? Is it a just method?

Hon. members who oppose conscription may say that those of us who favour it exaggerate its military value. Perhaps that is true. I doubt whether anything can fill one with more pride than the fact that he has volunteered to serve his country wherever he may be sent, and as far as I am concerned I never will retreat from the fact that I volunteered to serve my country wherever I might be sent. At the same time, is it fair, is it just, that we should have a voluntary system under which whole families have offered their all, while other families have offered nothing? Is it fair that residents of Canada who are not citizens should be waiting to step immediately into jobs opened by reason of our own boys having volunteered for active service? I ask the house that question because that problem exists to-day. It is true that the Prime Minister on March 24, if I remember correctly, promised that that would be remedied, but we have not yet had anything resembling a corrective.

Answer, if you will, that we are getting enough men. Then answer this further question: Is not a comprehensive, all-embracing selective service system the fairest and surest way to see that each and every one of us will pull his fair share of the load? Unlike some members of the government I care not what liberties I surrender during the period of the war. I am prepared afterwards to come back and demand that these liberties be restored to this house, but in the meantime I am prepared to surrender them as long as I am sure that we are giving to this country the fullest measure of support in the war effort.

I urge, Mr. Speaker, as I have urged before in this house, that after this bill is passed- and I propose to support it-that we immediately-and by that I mean now, not six months or a year hence-take such action as may be necessary to bring into operation

Mobilization Act-Mr. Abbott

compulsory selective service, unrestricted as to geographical limits, with regard to the army, and combined with it a scientific allocation of the man-power of this country to industry, to the farm and to the forces.

It has been urged that an unrestricted scheme of selective service can be put into effect in an emergency. Every nation that waited to put its house in order until the emergency arose, has fallen. With a great and powerful neighbour ready to come to our aid that would not be our fate, but do we desire to depend on that neighbour? Certainly not. We must be prepared to sacrifice according to our ability, having due regard to our population and resources. We may be lacking in numbers owing to the size of our population, but let it never be said that we are lacking in the equality of our sacrifice.

We complain that our splendid war effort is not appreciated in the United States. Anyone who has visited in the United States since the first of January, 1942, will realize that that is all too true. How can we succeed in overcoming the insidious propaganda campaign now being used against us throughout that land unless we are prepared to admit that we are willing to send men wherever the necessity arises? At the risk of being told that I am the mouthpiece of the premier of Ontario, I say this, that that changing, as he said, from "I can't" to "I won't" is what we are doing to-day here in this house.

Mr. Speaker, we cannot and must not wait for an emergency. Again I repeat, with all the emphasis at my command, let us take positive action now. When that action is taken, and not until then, will the words in the united nations' declaration, that "each government pledges itself to employ its full resources, military or economic against those members of the tripartite pact and its adherents with which such government is at war," attain its true significance, and Canada with head erect take her place by the side of the united nations, satisfied that, come what may, we have given our all in the great cause for which we freely entered this war. In the words of Kipling:

For all we have and are,

For all our children's fate,

Stand up and take the war.

The Hun is at the gate!

At six o'clock the house took recess.

After Recess

The house resumed at eight o'clock.

Topic:   IS, 1942

Douglas Charles Abbott


Mr. D. C. ABBOTT (St. Antoine-West-mount):

I am afraid that what I have to say [Mr. Gray.l

this evening will be to some extent a repetition of what I said when I last spoke in the house on January 28, but that is inevitable because nothing has occurred since that time to cause me to change the views which I then expressed concerning the matters that are at issue in this bill.

I do not very often indulge in prophecy, but I did say at the end of my remarks on that occasion that I felt sure that in my constituency the result of the plebiscite would be an overwhelming "yes" vote to release the government and give it a free hand to conduct the war as it saw- fit. That prophecy was fulfilled. The constituency of St. Antoine Westmount gave an 87 per cent "yes" vote the highest I think in the province of Quebec, and comparing favourably with any constituency in the country. What was of equal interest to me, over 80 per cent of those eligible to exercise the vote did so. As hon. members know, my constituency is predominantly English-speaking; nevertheless there are many thousands of citizens of French origin who live in that riding.

During the last week or so there has been a good deal of discussion as to the effect of the plebiscite and the action which should be taken by the government as a result of the affirmative vote. The question on which the people were asked to express an opinion was a simple one. They were asked:

Are you in favour of releasing the government from any obligation arising out of any past commitments restricting the methods of raising men for military service?

The result we all know. Unfortunately, in my own province of Quebec the majority of the voters said "no." They were asked to express their opinion; they did so, and that was their right. But there can be no question in the mind of any hon. member that the vast majority of the people of Canada wish that the government should be freed from any past commitments in respect of the method of raising men for overseas service, and should be free, if the situation demands it, to send men raised by the compulsory method anywhere in the world. I believe that the bill now before the house is the inevitable sequel of that verdict.

There are some in this house and outside who are urging that the government should go very much further and should now impose conscription for overseas service. Let me say at once that I do not agree with that view. Among those who take that view appears to be my hon. friend the leader of the opposition (Mr. Hanson) and certain members, at any rate of his party. Unfortunately, I was not present in the house when he made his speech on June 10. I was in Toronto with the

Mobilization Act-Mr. Abbott

members of the war expenditures committee, on which committee I am serving. I read his speech carefully in Hansard and, from all I have heard, it was delivered in his usual able and forceful manner. But I was surprised to read one statement which he made, because I remember clearly another statement made in his broadcast address on April 20. I listened to that broadcast; it was extremely well done and delivered, as I am sure his address in the house was, in a convincing manner: This is what he said on June 10 in the house, as reported at page 3245 of Hansard:

Let there be no mistake about the will of the people as reflected by the plebiscite. 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 as expressed at the polls. When the government is freed from its pledges, which release has been secured on the terms which the government itself defined, the very act which frees the government and makes compulsory service at home and abroad the law of the land.

And then a little later:

It is not what we thought but what the people thought when they voted "yes".

That statement was made a few minutes after the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) had concluded his address, in the course of which he quoted tjhe words used by my hon. friend in his broadcast of April 20, and I should like to quote those words again. My hon. friend said:

This plebiscite is simply to give to 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.


That is, he is speaking to the people of Canada.

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.

As I said, I find it hard to understand that rather amazing volte face on the part of my hon. friend. I do not know whether he is gifted as a mind-reader or whether he has sources of information which are not available to the rest of us, but I cannot help feeling that he is confusing the opinions expressed by certain vocal groups in this country and certain editorial writers in certain newspapers with the opinions of the majority of the Canadian people.

As far as I am concerned I have not changed my views. I think the question appearing on the ballot paper was very clear and meant

TMr. Abbott.!

what it said, and that as a result of the vote the government has been released from commitments, moral or otherwise, not to impose conscription for overseas service.

But I do not think we are justified in assuming that that vote means anything more. I am perfectly conscious, of course, that a great many people who voted "yes" on the plebiscite would like to have conscription for overseas service imposed immediately. But I am sure that those people are not in the majority. I feel that the repeal of section 3 of the National Resources Mobilization Act, the measure now before the house, is an inevitable consequence of that vote, and that the government should be free from any limitations, legal or otherwise, free to exercise its judgment as to whether men raised by the compulsory method should be sent outside the territorial limits of Canada.

As I said when I spoke on January 28, I am one of those who would like to have seen a system of selective service, along the lines of that in force in Great Britain and in the United States, imposed in this country from the very outset of the war. But as I also said at that time, I was convinced from the outset that any attempt to impose such a system would have been disastrous and that we should not have attained anything like the results in our war effort that have been achieved. Nothing which has occurred since September, 1939, has in any way caused me to change my views on that point.

The government have said through the Prime Minister, the Minister of National Defence (Mr. Ralston) and some of the other ministers that conscription for overseas service is not at present necessary. I accept that statement. I believe it is correct; no one is in a better position to know than the government. The question is primarily a military one and can be decided only by someone in possession of all the information, information which, of necessity, cannot be known to very many people, and certainly not to all members of this house.

Since July, 1940, we have had a statute which permits the raising of men by the compulsory method in Canada. That power has been exercised. I believe that those steps should be continued. I heard the Minister of National War Services (Mr. Thorson) say in the house the other day, and saw in the newspapers a day or two before, that we proposed to call up 15,000 men, I think it is, in the month of July under the act. These men go into training; under the regulations now in force they are in for the duration of the war; and, as far as the training is concerned, I assume they will receive exactly the same

Mobilization Act-Mr. Abbott

training as if they had enlisted voluntarily for overseas service. It is perfectly obvious to any hon. member that if circumstances arise in which voluntary enlistments are not sufficient, if our troops get into action overseas and there are casualties, those men may have to be sent overseas. I have no licence to speak for the province of Quebec or the Frenchspeaking members from that province, but I venture to say that if such circumstances should arise, we would find there would be no objection from Quebec. The chief difficulty is that the people of that province are not satisfied, for reasons which I do not propose to discuss now, that conscription is necessary; but if it is shown to be necessary, I believe that province would not only accept it but accept it readily.

Canada having raised a large army on the voluntary basis, I think something over a quarter of a million men, I am personally opposed to any change in that method unless it is absolutely necessary. There are a number of reasons which have caused me to hold that view. There is the traditional temperament of the Canadian people, to which the Minister of National Defence (Mr. Ralston) referred in one of his speeches. There is the admitted opposition, particularly of the province of Quebec, but also of certain other sections of the country. There is, however, one other difficulty which has been touched upon, but with which I should like to deal for a moment, and it has influenced me because I have had a practical demonstration of this particular reason for not changing from the voluntary system. I refer to the difficulty of combining a volunteer force and a conscript force. I can speak from experience in that regard, because in the summer of 1918 the battery with which I was serving in France received a certain number of conscripts, though not very many. I am afraid the rules of parliamentary decorum do not permit me to give the house in actual terms'what the volunteers called these conscripts, but I can assure you, Mr. Speaker, that they were treated with contempt. That situation does not make for a good army, and I am satisfied that there are very few men in the active army to-day who want to serve with men raised under the compulsory system.

Topic:   IS, 1942

Richard Burpee Hanson (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. HANSON (York-Sunbury):

If I may ask the hon. gentleman a question, have we not that situation to-day in Canada?

Topic:   IS, 1942

Douglas Charles Abbott



I will answer that question by saying that perhaps that is the very reason why we should not change from the voluntary to the compulsory method, so far as our overseas army is concerned. I am not able to say whether men raised under the

compulsory method are serving in the same units with men who enlisted voluntarily. If that is the situation, my personal belief is that it should not be.

Topic:   IS, 1942

Douglas Charles Abbott



I have stated only my own view. But be the situation as it may, I have seen with my own eyes the practical result of trying to combine the two classes of recruits. I readily concede that under certain circumstances, if we were suffering heavy losses and so on, such a system would have to go by the board, but I suggest that when conditions such as I have described arise on active service, it does not require very much imagination to realize how much more difficult it would be when troops were in garrison or in training, as the bulk of our troops are to-day. I believe, as I have already said, that we should continue to enlist and train all the eligible men in this country who can be taken without hampering our production of food, munitions and the maintenance of other services essential to the conduct of the war. But I also believe that we should continue the system of voluntary enlistment as far as the overseas army is concerned. When this bill passes, the government will be placed in the position of being completely free to act at any time the circumstances should require it, and not only free to act, but charged with the responsibility of so acting, should the voluntary system prove inadequate.

In the speech of the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King), which like that of the leader of the opposition (Mr. Hanson) I did not have an opportunity of hearing, a phrase was used which struck me when I read it. As reported at page 3228 of Hansard the Prime Minister said:

The real nature and extent of Canada's war effort has, for more than a year past, been obscured because of a persistent effort to make conscription for overseas service the symbol of , a total war effort, regardless of whether or not the voluntary method was proving t wholly adequate.

I agree entirely with that statement, and I think it extremely unfortunate that such an effort should have been made. Nothing was heard of it until about a year ago, but since that time there has been a persistent attempt in certain sections of this country and in certain sections of the press to use conscription for overseas service as a symbol for total effort. I do not particularly hold with the practice of quoting editorials in the house, but I wish to make reference to an editorial which

Mobilization Act-Mr. Abbott

appeared in the Ottawa Journal of June 16, in which the writer dealt with the sentence I have just quoted, "conscription for overseas service being used as the symbol of a total war effort." The gist of the editorial was that it was one of the favourite arguments of government apologists that the pebple who were urging conscription are obsessed by it as a symbol, confuse it with total war. I am not going to read the whole of the editorial, but I wish to make reference to the last paragraph:

Quebec's opposition to conscription is perhaps understandable. What is harder to understand is the intellectual contortions of those in English-speaking Canada who, believing in conscription, yet think they must accept the party line first, last and all the time-the while salving their consciences with loud cries of independence over things that rarely matter.

Again, Mr. Speaker, when I spoke on January 28 last I again had occasion to refer to this matter of party loyalty and the like, and I do not propose to repeat now what I said then. Let me say, however, that the views which I then expressed, and which I am expressing to-night, represent my own sincere and considered opinions as to what is best in the interests of Canada and of our war effort. I expressed those views not only as an individual but also on my responsibility as a member of this house and not, may I say, under the umbrella of the editorial "we".

Before I sit down I want to make brief reference to the attitude taken by the leader of the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation group and some of his supporters with respect to this bill. The address of the hon. member for Rosetown-Biggar (Mr. Coldwell) was, too, one of the speeches I had not the pleasure of hearing. However, I read it. As usual, it was an able and, I assume, a carefully prepared speech. My hon. friend outlined in sufficiently broad and general terms his solution for the various national problems arising out of the war. I do not propose to discuss those proposals now, because I think a more suitable opportunity will be accorded at another time. I simply wish to say that I do not think my hon. friend is justified in opposing this bill because the parliament of Canada is not prepared to put into effect the particular social and economic measures he and his group believe would be better for the Dominion of Canada.

As I have said, the bill is to remove restrictions which I believe the people of this country, including those in my hon. friend's constituency, have clearly held they wish to have removed. I cannot believe that he or his party is justified in voting against the

[Mr. Abbott 1

bill simply because parliament is not prepared to adopt the economic measures for which he


There is one particular feature of his remarks, and those of the hon. member for Wcyburn (Mr. Douglas) to which I should like to refer, and I am sorry the hon. member for Weyburn is not in the house, but I understand he has gone to camp with his reserve unit. I refer to the statement that huge and excessive profits are being made out of this war. Such statements are not only untrue but definitely harmful to the war effort of the dominion.

The hon. member for Rosetown-Biggar followed the practice, one I have seen him adopt before, of quoting figures and percentages of one kind and another. Later, in the evening, the hon. member for Weyburn produced elaborate tables, which he placed on Hansard. Those tables purported to show the profits made by certain selected companies in 1941, as compared with the profits made in 1940 and the average profit between 1936 and 1939. Those statements prove absolutely nothing, so far as establishing the point my hon. friend had in mind was concerned, namely that unreasonable and excessive profits were being made as a result of the war. They were only selected lists containing the names of certain companies. There was no reference whatever to the thousands of other companies and industries the profits of which not only have not increased but are probably substantially diminished. I have no doubt that in a great many instances companies have sustained losses. There was, however, no attempt made to set out the names of such companies. *

No indication was given as to the increased taxation these companies have paid. There is no indication given as to the dividends paid. As hon. members are aware, industrial profits and business profits, in the case of companies, are taxed twice. They are taxed in the hands of the company, and when distributed among the shareholders they are taxed again in the hands of those shareholders. The rates now in force are pretty substantial. Perhaps I would not be going too far afield if I were to say that after next Tuesday we may find those rates still higher.

I protest against this system of using simple and plausible catch-phrases, such as that of "taking the profits out of war", with which principle we all agree, in order to appeal to masses of people who have no opportunity of checking the accuracy or otherwise of the statements made. I do not

Mobilization Act-Mrs. Nielsen

know what experience my hon. friend has had in business, but my understanding is that his experience has been rather limited. Had he had any experience, I think he would realize that, in order to eat, the business man has to make a profit. Otherwise he would have the same difficulty some of us here would have in performing that very necessary function if we did not receive our indemnity cheques at the end of each month.

I repeat, I protest against the general statement that business and industry are making huge and excessive profits out of the war. I am satisfied that that is not so. While statements of that kind may be useful in getting votes-and as to that I am not prepared to speak with any degree of authority-one thing is certain: they do not help our war effort.

I have endeavoured to make my position with respect to the bill now before us as clear as I can. I intend to vote for it. The repeal of section 3 is, in my opinion, the necessary sequel to the vote on the plebiscite. I do not want the present method of raising men for overseas service changed, unless it is absolutely necessary to do so. I believe the responsibility for making that decision should rest with the government, because it alone can have the information necessary to the making of such a decision. I believe, too, that in time of war we must trust our government. So far as I am concerned, I do trust it. If I might conclude my observations by paraphrasing a statement made by the Prime Minister in one of his broadcasts just before the plebiscite, I would say to the members of this house and to the people of Canada: If you are not prepared to trust your own government, whom or what are you prepared to trust?

Mrs. DORISE W. NIELSEN (North Battle-ford) : Mr. Speaker, before proceeding to make such remarks as I wish to make with respect to the amendment to the National Resources Mobilization Act, I should like first of all to take this opportunity of expressing my pleasure and appreciation of the new pacts which have just been signed between the three great powers in the world to-day, Great Britain, the Soviet Union and the United States of America. These new pacts are of world-wide significance, and I believe that in expressing my pleasure I am joined by the great majority of the Canadian people who see in these pacts the cementing of friendship and understanding among those who together are fighting a common enemy. These three great world powers, besides working together for the defeat of their common enemy, are now pledging themselves to work together for that enduring world peace so much desired by all the peoples of the world.

I should like also on this occasion to express my appreciation of the government's action in now opening diploiiiatic relations with our allies, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, after a whole year of their gallant fight. I welcome these changes in government policy by a government which, a few years ago, was following so strictly its policy of isolation. I noticed in the Journal of to-day a short editorial with regard to the exchange of ministers between Canada and the soviet union. I think this idea is, in the main, agreeable to our people. With your permission, Mr. Speaker, I should like to read this, because I believe it is worthy of our notice, representing, as I think it does, the opinion of a great many Canadian people. It states:

Whether they have communism in Russia to-day, or ever had much of it, we do not know (though we doubt it), but what we do know is that Russia is to-day showing herself worthy of a high place in the comity of civilized nations, and that all of us should be proud of the decision of last week bringing diplomatic relations between this country and the Soviet republics, with an exchange of ministers. Coming on the heels of the momentous mutual aid pact between Russia and Great Britain and the scarcely less vital agreement between Moscow and Washington, it is a heartening thing. [DOT]

Russia is not merely playing a glorious role in this war; she is destined to play a mighty role in post-war reconstruction and peace. In that happy day, when fear of tyrants will have passed and nations once more return to peaceful pursuits, trade between this country and the Russian republics may well be a great and beneficial thing.

There will be a warm welcome in Canada and in Ottawa for Josef Stalin's representative.

I believe that is in accord with the sentiments of the Canadian people. Those of us who follow closely the press of the allied nations realize that among those people the slow tide of public opinion has been gaining momentum and has now reached the peak in its flow in the direction of offensive action in the immediate future. Meetings which have been held in Great Britain, in the United States and in this country have showed that the people are voicing their opinions and have expressed the need of offensive action and the opening up of a western front. The great air raids which have been carried out by both British and Canadian airmen have received world-wide applause from the allied peoples and have been taken as the beginning of an offensive which must be carried on by the land forces to the continent of Europe. I believe the Minister of National Defence (Mr. Ralston) was correctly voicing the opinion of the Canadian people when he said before the Rotary club of Montreal, as reported in the Journal of June 16:

Mobilization Act-Mrs. Nielsen

The people are calling for action and so are the Canadian troops in Britain.

In this country at meetings of trade union groups, meetings of farmers and meetings of other citizens, this sentiment has been voiced repeatedly. When Mr. Churchill spoke over the air recently he expressed great appreciation of the voicing of public opinion which had occurred at a huge meeting of the British people in Trafalgar square. He said that in his opinion it was a good thing to see the aggressive spirit of the British people expressed in demanding the immediate opening of the western front and the carrying of the offensive into Hitler's country.

As I listened to the speech of the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) in opening this debate I was sorry that he had not voiced more strongly his approval of the Canadian people's wish and desire to see a stronger and ever-continuing momentum to our war effort. I may have been wrong, but it seemed to me that I could sense more of a negative tone in the words of the Prime Minister. At a time like this, when all the allied nations are solidifying and unifying their efforts, I cannot help feeling that a debate such as this is out of tune with the rest of the world. It is behind the times; it is completely out of step with things. As I listened to the Prime Minister it almost seemed that by the very volume of his words he was seeking to escape facing the responsibility of this situation which is peculiarly Canadian.

I want to impress upon the members of the house that there can be no escape from reality with honour. We must face up to the realities of our own particular situation. To delay facing up to them is to make the breaches ever wider. There can be no escape from the fact that we must have an army ready and prepared. We have in Great Britain an army which is, as the Minister of National Defence has said, ready and waiting for action. Those soldiers are anxious to know that there is in Canada an army equipped and trained and ready to fill the breaches in their ranks as they occur. It takes time to train men and to make them acquainted with the methods of modern warfare, so that they may be able to use the equipment and machinery which the workers are preparing for them.

When we approach a crisis such as the one we are approaching in 1942, we cannot afford to neglect one item which constitutes total war. I cannot agree that any condition should be imposed upon our support of a total war effort, as I believe has been done by the members of the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation. I am in favour of doing everything which will make a more efficient and

stronger effort, and I will support to the limit everything which can be done and everything which must still be done to make an all-out war effort. I believe that the wages of our working people must be increased so that they may have the virility and strength to carry on with their jobs. I believe that further measures must be taken to protect the health of the Canadian people. I believe that we must go on to limit the high rate of interest on our borrowings and that we must tax more those who are able to pay. We must place further limitations upon profits. All these things we must do, and this government which is pledged to total war must see that they are dione.

Conscription alone is not total war; it is only one component part of total war. I do not feel that we should limit our total war by imposing any conditions. I admit that the government have done some things to make total war, and I am ready to support them in any other measure which they may take to make total war possible. They have already gone a long way in the taxation of corporations and higher incomes. Recently they did something which, I believe, will be most valuable. The Minister of Munitions and Supply (Mr. Howe) suggested that labour-management committees should be set up to further the efforts of the workers in our factories for a more efficient and greater production. All these things are part and parcel of total war, but conscription is also one component part of that effort.

I do not see how any government or any group committed to total war can omit conscription from that effort. If we fail to face the issues that are confronting us to-day the breaches which exist already because of differences of opinion on conscription will widen still more. The tide of -war will not wait; it flows on.

I am going to support the government's amendment for the deletion of section 3 of the mobilization act, because I believe it is a step in the right direction, although I am not satisfied that it is going sufficiently far.

During this debate many speeches have been made on behalf of the French-speaking people of our nation, and I want to compliment the Minister of Justice (Mr. St. Laurent) upon the address he delivered the other evening. It was a splendid speech. He has a wise and great understanding of the people whom he represents, and I hope that, as time goes on, he will take increasing leadership in bringing together his people with the rest of us. We all of us have a love of tradition. We all have ' a love of our heritage of the past, of the things which are dear to us because they have

Mobilization Act

Mrs. Nielsen

been handed on to us by our forefathers. It is true that we must preserve all the best of the past and bring it along with us. But to-day stands between the past and the future. To-day stands between yesterday and tomorrow. If to-day we are going to allow ourselves to be bound and shackled by the prejudices of yesterday, I feel that we shall fail to go forward and place our feet upon the threshold of to-morrow as a free people should. We cannot afford to be bound and shackled by the past.

It is true that the French-speaking people hate the idea of conscription, and they have good reason to do so. They have been forced against their will to support imperialism, in which they had no interest, in which they had no voice, and to which they had no adherence. But because of these wrongs of the past there is no need to keep alive and rekindle prejudices now, under such different circumstances.

The hon. member for Richelieu-Vercheres (Mr. Cardin) claims to have been a leader of his people. Why, then, did he lead them to support the arch-imperialist Chamberlain in 1940, and why now, when imperialism is choking to death in the whirlwind of its own making, does he separate us on this question of conscription? The French-speaking people of this nation to-day need a leader, someone who has the courage to come out boldly and tell them that there no longer exists the reason for their antagonism to conscription, that it is finished, that it is gone and belongs to the past. Maybe the Minister of Justice is that man. I hope he will be. To give leadership to people does not mean to take advantage of their prejudices and, by playing upon those prejudices, seek to ingratiate yourself. That is the work of the demagogue. The demagogue uses the feelings and the emotions of the people to whip them into hysteria. But the demagogue is not concerned with the lasting work or peace of the people. The word of the demagogue is, as my old friend Omar Khayyam said:

Like Snow upon the Desert's dusty Face,

Lighting a little hour or two-is gone.

What we want in this country is leadership, not demagoguery. This is a time when it is necessary to speak the truth to the people, now more than it has ever been- necessary before. We need leaders to-day. Leaders step out ahead of the people. They do not just say what the people are thinking. They step out ahead of them and show what is necessary to be done. They speak the truth, even if it is not agreeable at the present time, even if it is not pleasant, even if it is not immediately 44561-219

acceptable; for truth will prevail, and truth alone will save the people not only of this nation but of the world.

This is not the last war-it is not like the last war or like any war that has gone before. It is different, and it must be fought in new ways and with new means. Total war alone will save the people of the world from the menace which is before them.

I could not help deploring the statements made the other evening by the Minister of National War Services (Mr. Thorson). He was not willing to admit that conscription was a part of total war, although he admitted there were several other parts of total war which the official opposition was sometimes apt to overlook. As I was listening to him I found it was quite natural for him to take the line which he did, because the Minister of National War Services has a record for appeasement. Away back when collective security might have spared the world some of the slaughter of to-day he was for isolation, and when aggressive action might have done something to avert disaster he was favouring appeasement. I cannot believe to-day that the people of Canada will listen to the Minister of National War Services in what he is saying on the question of conscription. I cannot believe that this government is willing to let a man with a record such as that voic' the opinion of the government on this question of conscription.

I would appeal to the Minister of Justice and to the Prime Minister to speak to the people of Quebec now, boldly, and tell them the truth which they must know sooner or later. It would be a very fine gesture and a great thing if the Prime Minister would go to them and honestly admit some of the mistakes of the past. Perhaps it would be even better if he went to them and admitted that for years the people of the province of Quebec have been a depressed minority. Take the question of their labour and their wages. It has been lower than that of most of the other provinces. The small farmers of Quebec have an inadequate income. The social services and the health standards of the province have been away below the rest of Canada and a blot upon our whole nation. It was not any fault of theirs alone. The fault has been with us, that we have allowed one province to suffer in this way. I would say that a part of total war would be to raise those standards and bring the people of Quebec up to an equality with the rest of the Canadian people. Admit to them that these things have been unjust and wrong; and when you give them equality and bring them up to the level of the rest of the Canadians, then ask them to

Mobilization Act-Mrs. Nielsen

accept equal responsibility with the rest of us. Then I believe that thousands of them would respond and would recognize that even conscription was a component part of total war and would accept it on that basis.

There are others in Canada besides the French-speaking people of the province of Quebec who are opposed to conscription. During the Easter recess I spent three weeks, a great deal of time and money and energy, in trying to get around my own huge constituency. I travelled over roads which were almost impassable. One day I spent nine hours in going thirty-five miles in a car, trying to get around among the people of my constituency to present a viewpoint which I thought they should hear before they cast a ballot in the plebiscite. The Saskatchewan farmers have not yet been in a position where they have been able to feel they are giving all that they can. Total war has not come to them yet. They have not been assisted enough to change over from peace-time to war-time production of food. They have not felt themselves taking their share, and for that reason, perhaps, some are hanging back a little from taking a responsibility that they should take. If only the government would realize how wide and how broad all these things are, how intimately concerned they are with total war, I believe that much more could be done.

To-day our Prime Minister and the Minister of Justice have an opportunity before them such as never occurred before. I believe that in the year 1942 we can write a record on the pages of history which would be similar to that which was written in the year 1837. In those days Mackenzie and Papineau turned their backs upon the past and faced the future. They had faith in the people and their idealism, and they believed in Canada. To-day, in 1942, if the Prime Minister and the Minister of Justice would gather again in their hands the ravelled edges of the two great peoples of this country and bind them together in a stronger knot, turning their backs upon the past and facing the future, confident in the people and in their ability to win, this year would go down, not only as a year of victory, but as a year of greater and deeper unity than the people of Canada have ever known.

It needed courage in 1837 to go ahead against opposition. It would need great courage to-day on the part of the Prime Minister, but it could be done. We could do these things the same as those who have gone before us if we had the courage. Personally I would pledge myself, although I am but one small entity, to tell the truth to the people in this country, that conscription and all the elements

[Mrs. Nielsen. J

of total war must be faced and must be accepted because there is only one thing for us, to fight or to die.

The hon. member for Richelieu-Vercheres

belongs now, because of his actions, to the past. But that is no reason why the younger of the French-speaking members of this house should naturally follow him. It is their job to accept new responsibilities. It is their job to fight for the equality of their people among the rest of us here in Canada. It is their job to try to strengthen the ties of unity, by accepting equality of sacrifice and all those things which are necessary for a nation which is going forward. The tide of war and aggression rolls on in a mighty wave. Those who now speak and act against total war will find themselves, like the king of whom we read away back in history, Canute, who thought he could stay the waves. Those who to-day speak against one aspect of total war and refuse to accept any one portion of it will find themselves engulfed as the people of the world sweep on to victory. Those who are afraid of all that total war implies; those who fail to wage total war, will find only annihilation. The challenge of 1942 to all Canadians is to fight or to perish. The two great peoples which make up this nation must decide here and now to stand side by side and to fight and to live, because the future belongs to us.

Topic:   IS, 1942

Ernest Bertrand



During the debate on the plebiscite I listened very carefully to the speeches made by the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) and the members of all parties, and I was at times surprised to see how a simple issue could be obscured to such an extent.

The plebiscite in its simplest form is a prayer to the Canadian people. It means this: Please allow the government to do whatever necessary whenever necessary to attain the best war effort possible. I have no doubt that this measure was arrived at after due consideration by a government which has shown in the conduct of the war and of the problems incident thereto, far-sightedness, good judgment, absolute integrity and high courage, in the sense of being opposed to thoughtless undertakings. One has to remember that the plebiscite was decided when Japan was heading south, sweeping everything before her, and nobody knew where she would stop and when she would stop. An army able to conquer the Philippines, Hong Kong, the formidable base of Singapore, and the Netherlands East Indies might as well have conquered Alaska and established itself along our western coast. After the conquest of France and of so many neutral nations by the nazis in Europe,

Mobilization Act-Mr. Bertrand (Laurier)

the Japanese thrust was certainly a climax of a situation unprecedented in the whole history of the world. The wisdom of asking our Canadian people for a plebiscite might have been doubted by some people, some goodthinking people, at the time, but to-day I think it the only thing which gives this government absolute freedom to meet any situation whatsoever.

This country is difficult-very difficult-to govern. Though powerful, it is a very young nation. In the life of a nation calendar years do not mean so much; it is periods of time that count-centuries, half-centuries, or similar periods according to whether the historical life of the nation is intense and important during those periods. When a nation has gone through crucial times; when its citizens have to suffer in common great calamities which test to the utmost its heart, nerves and sinews, the experience undoubtedly helps to cement the national unity. In Canada we have had very few of these periods of intense national life. The nation was built by the common sense of the two races headed by such great statesmen as Baldwin, Macdonald, Sir Oliver Mowat, Lafontaine, Cartier and Laurier. Unfortunately, Mr. Speaker, their work has often been marred by the influence of men who have been unable to grasp situations of national scope and have been content with easy and passing popularity. If one goes around this very building he will notice monuments erected to men of the first class; but whether he goes around this building or any other legislative building in this country he will not find any monuments erected to the second class.

On the 28th day of May, reading the Montreal Daily Star, I found at page 19 two different news items. One is the report of a speech by Mr. Rene Chaloult, of Quebec, on the treatment being given to my compatriots of the province of Quebec; and on the very same page, On the right-hand side, is a protest by Mr. J. W. Carson, Orange leader, about the status given to the French language in this province. That is, I think, a veiy good example of how difficult it is to govern this country. [DOT]

May I give the house a few illuminating paragraphs. I am quoting Mr. Chaloult's speech. It was made in the Quebec legislative assembly, probably to cover another speech of which I do not want to speak now but which the criminal courts in Montreal will have to study very carefully in the near future. Mr. Chaloult said that after going through the province he had found much discontent and lack of enthusiasm among the people, because, said he, French Canadians have 44561-219i

become aware that their rights as citizens of Canada are not respected in either the army, the navy or other war services as regards employment and salaries.

From what we read of his statements made in Montreal, Thetford Mines and many other places, I take it that Mr. Chaloult did not try to appease the discontent of which he is speaking. I quote:

Continuing, the member for Lotbinicre claimed that in the various government commissions and in war industries, French Canada is far from receiving its rightful share. "As regards war industries, especially those for the construction of heavy machinery, they are kept outside of Quebec."

Surely, in his trips around the province, Mr. Chaloult should have known that in Sorel, for example, Sorel Industries are manufacturing 25-pounder guns and that other industries at the same place are building corvettes and 10,000-ton freighters. These industries happen to be in the hands of our compatriots the French Canadians. If there were any more of these industries able to do the same work, I have no doubt that they would also be loaded with work and would have all they could do. But Mr. Chaloult says, as regards war industries, especially those for the construction of heavy machinery, they are kept outside of Quebec. He should have known that Vickers in Montreal are building 10,000-ton freighters and aeroplanes; that the Canadian National Railways plant in Point St. Charles is manufacturing heavy naval guns, and that many other plants in the province of Quebec are manufacturing very heavy machinery. Noorduyn, Fairchilds, the Angus shops; Dominion Engineering Company and many others; there is not a large plant in Montreal that is not working on war orders, and mostly heavy machinery.

Let me quote further:

It has been said that, if this were the case, it was due mainly to the lack of a proper training in technical education. If this were true, the government would have to shoulder its responsibility, for it is proved that, given a proper chance, French Canadians can stand their own against any other nationality.

Mr. Chaloult was speaking in Quebec. I do not know whether he was referring to the government of Quebec or the federal government; but since he was making a speech against this government in the Quebec legislative assembly, I take it he was talking about the responsibility of this government. Technical education and any other branch of education are within the jurisdiction of the province. Mr. Chaloult is a member of the very legislature that can cure that situation.


Mobilization Act-Mr. Bertrand (Laurier)

I admit that technical education in my province is not as advanced as it should be, but to impute the consequences of this shortcoming to misunderstanding between Frenchspeaking and English-speaking citizens is absolutely wrong. It does, however, give good food in speeches made especially to inflame one race against the other, and it also gives good food to the newspapers that are reporting such speeches.

On the other side of the page I find this:

Quebec stand deplored by Orange leader.

I will quote some of these pearls, they are pearls indeed:

J. W. Carson, London, Ont., the grand master, yesterday told the 83rd annual meeting of the Grand Lodge of Ontario west, "It is almost unbelievable that many leaders in the province of Quebec are still opposing a total war effort."

He is again confusing total war effort with conscription.

He is reported further as saying:

Mr. Carson read a resolution adopted by the Orange order at the outbreak of war urging conscription of wealth, industry and man-power. "It is the same to-day," he said, adding that conscription is fair to all; "Let us have no special privileges for any group or province."

We shall see a little later how funny Mr. Carson's ideas about privileges are.

Further down he says:

The unwarranted obtrusion of the French language is further aggravated by the announcers and artists of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

Not only the announcers but the artists! Mr. Carson does not even want to hear Faust, Carmen, Manon or any other operas in the language in which they were written. But- I am sure he would be ready to hear Tannhauser in German or Cavalleria Rusticana in Italian. If he does not want to hear opera, or if he wants to limit his pleasure of hearing it to opera in the English language, so much the worse for him.

I take this opportunity to congratulate the city of Toronto-which is the musical centre of Canada-

Topic:   IS, 1942

An hon. MEMBER:

Oh, no.

Topic:   IS, 1942

Ernest Bertrand


Mr. BERTRAND (Laurier):

Yes, it is, and a place where good music is very well received, whether written by a German, Italian, English, French or any other good composer, including Russian composers who are very much in demand these days.

Topic:   IS, 1942

Gordon Graydon

National Government


What about the hon. member for New Westminster (Mr. Reid)? You have left him out.

Topic:   IS, 1942

Ernest Bertrand


Mr. BERTRAND (Laurier):

Well, I suppose that would be very popular in Toronto. It is even popular in Montreal.

I quote the last paragraph of Mr. Carson's speech:

Mr. Carson said the order-

That is the Orange order.

-must feel the deepest concern over the fact that people of British extraction represent less than 50 per cent of the total population. Census figures, about to be released, would show that Quebec's population increased 17 per cent since 1931, while the increase for the whole dominion was a little below 10 per cent.

Surely this cannot be laid at the door of the French race in the province of Quebec. This complaint has been repeated very often; it is laughable, but I wonder if in these days Mr. Carson is a racialist. If he is, he should remember that Hitler is one, too, and that the war to-day is the result of the theories propounded by Hitler in his "Mein Kampf". A passage like this would be in its place in "Mein Kampf", and the only thing we would have to change would be "British extraction" to "German stock".

This shows how difficult it is to govern this country in time of crisis. Similar speeches are being made in both sections of this dominion. Well, Mr. Speaker, every time a citizen indulges in remarks of this kind and tries to gain the applause of his people by condemning, or saying anything unpleasant and very often untrue about the other race, he does not render a service to his country. Untruths, half-truths and generalized statements which are apt to create resentment on the part of one race as against the other, hurt the war effort and should be condemned by all goodthinking citizens. I would say that there should be more demagogues in the Petawawa internment camp, and personally I think there are newspapers that should have been banned or at least censured long ago. Speaking for myself, I say it does not matter whether these newspapers have long English names or short French names; if, day after day, they publish vicious and destructive criticism in a time of war like this, they should be stopped.

The government is facing two fronts in connection with Bill No. 80. We have to face people who are bound to enforce conscription, whose speeches, whether or not they are clothed in mild language, mean one thing only: "We want conscription, whether it is necessary or not." They are trade-marking their request under the name of "selective service," but it does not mean anything but conscip-tion. For them the plebiscite means conscription immediately. Whatever was written on

Mobilization Act-Mr. Bertrand. (Laurier)

the ballot, whatever was said by the ministers of this government, did not count. It was not what was written or what was said; it was what they had in their own mind that counted. Well, after three years of war I am told that 90 per cent of our active army has not yet had the chance of shooting at German soldiers. Our farmers are clamouring for help. Our manufacturers are in great need of technicians and other help, but it does not matter to the conscriptionists. They would regiment our whole population. They would Hitlerize our country, and they alone would be the masters to do it.

Then, on the second front we have those who want no conscription, even if it ever becomes necessary. In passing, let me say that we know now that these latter members are going to vote with those who want not only conscription of men but at the same time conscription of wealth, and both immediately. Politics makes strange bedfellows, they say. There might be an argument as to whether conscription may be necessary at some future time; but no one will dare carry the argument to the point of saying that we do not want conscription at any time, whether or not it ever becomes necessary. The last part of the sentence is carefully left out; it is brushed aside with a wave of the hand. These people claim that our war programme was set out in 1940. They say that all parties pledged themselves to no conscription for service outside Canada and that, therefore, we have to stand by those pledges given to the Canadian electors. They do not even admit that unforeseen changes have taken place in the war situation which require changes in the programme. They close their eyes to the forthcoming threat. In a word, they are more afraid of conscription than of the war itself.

Between these extremists, those favouring immediate conscription whether necessary or not and those favouring no conscription even if it ever becomes necessary, we have the programme of this government: "Give us complete liberty of action. We will not impose conscription unless it becomes necessary." How reasonable such an attitude appears to me when compared with the other two. I challenge the suggestion that the overwhelming majority for the affirmative in the plebiscite vote was given with the idea that it meant immediate conscription. I credit the citizens of this country with more intelligence and reasoning power. They read and understood the ballot. They voted to release or not to release the government from previous pledges, and that was all. After the plebiscite there still was a barrier to liberty of action. This time it was a legal barrier, and the government

took the first opportunity to remove that barrier. This repeal, as the Minister of Justice (Mr. St. Laurent) said yesterday, is the absolute, logical consequence of the affirmative vote on the plebiscite; and if this government was not taking this step, it could be said that it was either remiss in its duty or childish in submitting a plebiscite to the Canadian electorate.

If we do not adopt Bill No. 80, no soldiers except those who enlisted voluntarily could be sent to Alaska, to the Hawaiian islands- from which we could be attacked-to the west coast of the United States, or to Mexico. That would be so also on the eastern coast; we could not send any soldiers to Newfoundland, Labrador, Greenland, Iceland, Bermuda, the Panama canal or the eastern coast of the United States. However, if our own coast, either east or west, were invaded, how loudly would we clamour for the help of United States troops. Is this a situation that any member of this parliament, proud of his country, can tolerate? I say it is not; and this, I believe, is the thought of the best citizens on this subject. If any hon. member is ready to say that his constituents do not understand such arguments, he pays them no compliment. I have faith in my constituents, and I am sure they do understand. We have not been elected as messenger boys. I have another idea as to members of parliament. We have been chosen as members to direct policy according to the best of our judgment and ability. How many of the Liberal members from Quebec who are voting against the government today have been elected by the nationalist vote? How many have been supported by Le Devoir, and how many are going to be supported by this newspaper when the next general election comes round? I do not want to indulge in flattery. I hate flattery and have always had respect for any man who speaks his mind outright. I may say, however, that the name of our Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) is going to be a banner for generations^ to come, not only in Quebec but in the whole of Canada. I for one am not going to wave this banner in easy-going days, and hide it or drop it in days of difficulties. I have faith in him.

The Conservative party have not brought forward any amendment, and reserve their rights to propose one in committee. We have no doubt as to where they shall stand, when we remember the applause they gave to certain hon. members who spoke this afternoon. We will await that amendment.

What will be the practical results for Quebec of voting against the repeal of section 3? Apart from being wooed by the Cooperative


Mobilization Act-Mr. Bertrand (Laurier)

Commonwealth Federation, which is in favour of immediate conscription of wealth and manpower, what is Quebec going to gain by it? These hon. members claim that the province does not want conscription, and think it is not necessary and might never be necessary. I grant this, for the benefit of discussion; but from this very point of view, voting against the government on this bill is bringing conscription nearer to them. These hon. members have to take into consideration that they are joining with those who are at the very extreme-conscription of wealth and man-power. If they are sincere, which I do not doubt at all, they would want all other members to vote against the bill, which would mean the defeat of this government.

What would then be the result? We would then have an immediate union government, with conscription as the first article of its programme. There would not be any discussion as to whether conscription would be necessary or not. We would get it right away. Has this phase been explained to their electors? I doubt it. When I hear hon. members saying that they have confidence in the Prime Minister, but that they are bound to vote against this bill, in so serious a matter, I cannot help thinking of Rostand's play L'Aiglon-"Je ne suis pas prisonnier mais." II y a un mais- j'ai confiance mais.

The Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Gardiner) told us that no government, except a union government, would be able to impose conscription. I believe that. If hon. members [DOT]from Quebec do not want immediate conscription, why then open the only road that would pave the way for it? Many Liberals of my district who voted "no" on the plebiscite have seen that danger, and have since warned me about it. I thank them heartily. I had seen this danger right from the start. I am sure many deep-thinking citizens in every district also see the danger. Reasonable people, however, are not noisy and still less vociferous, but they should let their member know what they think of this situation.

I have confidence in our Prime Minister, and know that any change to-day would be for the worse. We never had a Prime Minister more deeply rooted in the very soil of Canada. He belongs to three generations of Canadians who have lived and fought for free institutions. And nothing shall ever come out of his mind which is not going to be in the best interests of Canada. He has spent his life in studying the history of political affairs throughout the world. Ever since the war started, his policy has been persistent, free of undue influence and of false manoeuvres. Up to this issue he has kept the

country united so that its war effort has been highly praised by the two greatest statesmen of our time, namely, Churchill and Roosevelt. When his work is finished, I am sure we shall have reached a point never yet attained, where it will be fashionable at last to boast of being first, last and always a true Canadian.

I heard the hon. member for North Battle-ford (Mrs. Nielsen) and was surprised at the picture she painted of the province of Quebec. I might tell her that in Quebec people are just as happy as they can be, under present circumstances. I might add that when the hon. member came to Montreal and spoke at the Atwater market she was not meeting the farmers of Quebec. The large audience there w'as composed mainly of people who were bom far away from Canada-not even in any of the other provinces of Canada. She cannot judge the population of Quebec by these people who, although they are good citizens, do not represent the true spirit of my race in Quebec.

Topic:   IS, 1942

Raymond Pierre Eudes


Mr. RAYMOND EUDES (Hochelaga) (Translation):

Mr. Speaker, the bill we are now considering will shape, in a measure whose exact scope we are unable to determine, the future of the two main racial groups in this country. Their disagreement over the plebiscite issue has Stirred wide popular feeling.

The French Canadians are charged with shutting their eyes to a danger that is imminent and with refusing their fellow citizens of Canada the cooperation required to safeguard the precious interests at stake. Setting apart from the French-Canadian mass the handful of fanatics whose influence, be it said, is non-existent, I maintain that the attitude of this mass is essentially a Canadian and patriotic one.

This attitude is explained and justified by certain characteristics of the French-Canadian mentality, of which it would take too long to give a detailed account. However, a review of the facts from which that mentality derives will simplify our task. These are manifold, stemming principally from the varied conditions that have regulated the existence of French Canadians in this country.

The first to set foot on this continent, our forefathers were fired with the ambition of founding here a new France wherein would flourish the tongue and the faith of their ancestors. In the pursuit of this ideal, we see them struggle for a century and a half against nature and the elements, against hostile natives, often without the support of the mother country. Through this struggle they become deeply attached to the soil of new

Mobilization Act-Mr. Eudes

France, on which they have sweated and bled. Their dream has barely begun to take shape when they pass under British rule. France having left them to their own devices, the French Canadians elect to remain on Canadian soil. Henceforth Canada will be their only homeland.

Now opens the period of struggle for the maintenance of their language, their faith and their traditions. Their uncompromising stand and the understanding which has always shown them a section of the conquering race, enable them to resist with success the attempts made by another section of the English element to assimilate them. Struggling side by side with their English fellow citizens, they finally obtain from Britain recognition of their parliamentary, economic and political rights.

Briefly, their history is the history of their struggles, of struggles which rooted their soul deep in the soil of Canada and gave them a thorough aversion for any kind of compulsion. Historic and cultural ties bind the French Canadians to France, and they are deeply sympathetic and grateful to their erstwhile conquerors for the broadmindedness they have shown. But they have only one homeland and that is Canada.

To be forced to fight outside their country is something the French Canadians abhor. There are many reasons for this: the 1917 conscription measure with its injustices; the pledges given over a period of twenty years by a government in whom French Canada had placed the utmost confidence, to the effect that conscription would never again be enforced. t |

It is now established that the French Canadians have kept Canada under the British crown. They will always fight heroically in defence of their country. One must recognize that this defence may entail fighting outside the boundaries of Canada. If help for England has been preached since the outbreak of the war, no one seems to have remembered that Canada must see to her own defence and it has not yet been proven that to safeguard their country, Canadians must fight in Europe or in Asia.

No one therefore should be shocked at the attitude taken by the French Canadians. A feeling which three centuries have rooted into the hearts of a people cannot disappear overnight. Through failure to understand the French Canadians, hostility is seen in an eminently patriotic and Canadian sentiment that could have been used to great advantage.

There exists a further obstacle to complete agreement between our two racial groups. In its dealings with the majority, a minority

never gives more than it receives. The history of Ireland, Czechoslovakia and India furnishes ample proof of this.

Now the British North America Act guarantees to the French minority rights equal to those of the majority. Yet since July 1, 1867, we have never fully enjoyed in practice that justice and equality promised in our constitution. And so the existence of a Canadian nation must remain a dream until such time as French Canadians throughout the dominion enjoy the same fair and equitable treatment which is granted to the English minority in Quebec by the French majority.

This principle must govern in the field of education and religion, in the civil service and in our economic life. For a few years now, a praiseworthy but timid effort has been made along this line in certain fields. A military career, for instance, has been made more readily accessible to French Canadians who have long requested a military college. Good understanding as between our two racial groups generally, was growing stronger. There is the danger to-day that this structure may break down entirely.

These brief remarks, Mr. Speaker, are an explanation of the attitude of French Canadians on the present bill. Those who consider the repugnance shown by French Canadians for conscription as a lack of appreciation of the gravity of the hour and as a refusal to cooperate in a common cause, fail to recognize the part played by French Canadians in the present conflict, even in the armed forces overseas. I marvel, for my part, that such conditions notwithstanding, the French Canadians should have so generously borne their share of the burden. And we are still far from that participation which had been promised, a free and voluntary participation, moderate and in keeping with our means. Like their fellow citizens, the French Canadians desire an allied victory and work with all their might towards that end. In the provincial election of 1939, in the federal election of 1940 and in the recent by-elections, the province of Quebec clearly made known her desire to remain united with the rest of Canada and her unswerving determination to win this war.

In the light of these observations, Mr. Speaker, I now undertake a brief analysis of the legislation before the house.

Let us study the nature and the scope of the measure. Its purpose is to delete section 3 from the Mobilization Act. Now this legislation gives the governor in council the power to require persons to place themselves, their services and their property at the disposal

Mobilization Act-Mr. Eudes

of his majesty for the efficient prosecution of the war. Power is therefore vested in the government to coerce citizens of Canada into military service. If military service is no longer restricted to the boundaries of Canada and her territorial waters one must conclude that the government will have power to coerce Canadians into fighting outside of their country.

Such is the exact meaning of this bill. As to its nature, opinions differ. Some contend that the amendment will turn the mobilization act into a conscription measure. Others maintain that it merely removes an obstacle which deprived the government of their complete freedom of action. In other words, it is not conscription but the power to extend compulsory military service beyond the limits of the country.

Now, when taken as the people generally understand it, conscription is precisely this coercion with regard to military service outside the boundaries of the country. Therefore, if the Mobilization Act, so amended, does not make conscription enforceable at once, it recognizes the principle of conscription and its enforcement will necessarily follow. How, indeed, will the government be able to resist the pressure which has already been brought to bear upon them for the enforcement of conscription? We are told that there will be no conscription unless it should become necessary. Would it not be more logical not to pass a legislation than to pass it in the secret hope that it will remain a dead letter? For, once a measure is written into the statute books, through the very essence of things a psychological factor comes into play which prompts the mind to believe that its enforcement has become necessary. This bill which establishes the principle of conscription must unavoidably lead to its enforcement.

Now, conscription has two inherent defects. Being a compulsory measure, it interferes with personal liberty. Under it, a man becomes a soldier against his will. He does not dedicate himself wholly to the higher interests of the nation. His soul lacks the enthusiasm, the sacred fire with which battles are won. He is less a soldier than a civilian bearing arms against his will. A volunteer places himself entirely at the disposal of his country. Such a sacrifice is his pride, it sets him apart from the conscript and is derived from the enthusiasm which inspires heroic deeds. To put him on the same footing as the conscript would create in both a psychological condition whereby the army's efficiency might be impaired.

However, conscription has one advantage. It increases the number of men in the land

[Mr. Eudea.l

forces ready for service anywhere, since, in the opinion of experts, it cannot be applied with regard to the navy or the air force.

Let us consider the approximate strength of our armed forces. There are over 115,000 men in the air force; 33,000 in the navy and 320,000 in the active army, a total of about 470,000 soldiers ready to serve outside the borders of this country. Our reserve army includes about

130.000 men. Thus, Canada has under arms

600.000 men, or about 5-2 per cent of its total population of approximately 11,500,000. There are in Canada about 1,365,000 men between the ages of 16 and 60. The proportion of men in that age group who are now under arms is then about 46 per cent. On the other hand, nearly 80 per cent of our armed forces, or 4 per cent of our total population, are willing to serve outside the country. Applying those percentages to other countries, we note with surprise that our army, relatively speaking, compares favourably with all. Thus, if the United States had the same proportion of men under arms, with their population of about 150.630,700 they would have an army of over

7.800.000 men.

Canada has had to keep at home a large number of soldiers ever since our country has been under the threat of enemy attacks.

A study of the above basic facts shows that the advantages of conscription are purely hypothetical. In fact, conscription will send a few thousand men overseas, men who are already needed by agriculture, industry and commerce. As the disadvantages of conscription far surpass its sole and questionable advantage, this method should be used only in case of absolute necessity.

Such is the opinion of the government, of the majority of hon. members and of the people of Canada, since before the government considered themselves even morally entitled to debate the matter, they held a plebiscite.

This absolute necessity does not exist. On the strength of official statements of the government, voluntary enlistment is satisfactory and conscription is not and may never become necessary.

However, Mr. Speaker, a bill has been introduced which not only sanctions the principle of conscription, but fatally leads to its enforcement. Therefore, the government recognize a principle, the enforcement of which they reprove. The only logical attitude is to condemn the principle itself.

Nevertheless, we are urged to adopt this bill, which is essential to the common good. The common good is the public interest of the country. It is the law that transcends all individual interest. Let us seek the exact nature of this common good

Mobilization Act-Mr. Eudes

Some claim it to be the aim sought by the majority. Because the plebiscite vote was affirmative, the adoption of this measure would be imperative and the minority should accept it.

First, I must state that this affirmative vote has no power of law. It is a mere expression of opinion. The minority must submit to the law, but it retains the democratic privilege of expressing opinions at variance with that of the majority and of discussing the opinion of the majority.

I do not agree that the aim sought by the majority necessarily represents the common good and, furthermore, I claim that the majority of our people, in spite of the affirmative vote cast on the plebiscite, do not desire conscription.

This conclusion is clearly inferred from the very nature of the plebiscite question, from the debate on the plebiscite bill, from the statements made by opposition party leaders during the plebiscite campaign and finally from the statements of the Prime Minister and his colleagues before, during and after the plebiscite. This campaign has doubtless seriously influenced the vote. For a number of our citizens, the affirmative vote was a token of confidence in the government and even a means to avoid conscription. Therefore, the true significance of the vote is not that which it is endeavoured to attach to it.

The supporters of the bill claim that the public interest demands that our soldiers fight the enemy wherever he may be and consequently, demands that this bill be passed. Let us, for the moment, suppose that this point of view is reasonable. Is Canada powerful enough to defend all fronts, to watch over all the oceans? She is not alone in the fight. She has many powerful allies as determined as she is to make logical and reasonable sacrifices for victory over the enemy. We have a strong army of volunteers entirely composed of first-rate soldiers every one of whom will fight bravely in defence of their country. Every day this army grows stronger in proportion to our reserve of man-power. In what measure would conscription add to this army? These volunteers are willing to fight wherever their presence is required. The common good is thus better served than by conscription.

By repealing section 3 of the mobilization act, Canada's war effort would be placed in its true perspective. Such a measure would constitute an answer to the impassioned demands of those who refuse to believe in the efficiency of that effort, because it excludes conscription. According to them, the government close their eyes to fundamental realities lest some of their supporters be displeased.

In my opinion, too much attention is paid to this criticism. A sincere man who puts prejudice aside and takes the trouble to consider what progress has been made since September, 1939: the quantity, quality and variety of our production in many fields; the number and worth of our troops and auxiliary services; the great sacrifices made by all classes; the contributions to war services and war loans; the earnestness of the government to see that those sacrifices are- shared equally and that inflation is checked; such a man will say with Churchill and Roosevelt that Canada is doing her duty, her whole duty.

If our war effort is inadequate because conscription is excluded from it, then Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and all our allies who have not yet adopted conscription for service outside of their territorial limits would stand accused of not doing their duty. And what of those sections of the empire that remained neutral?

Efficient propaganda is the best means of placing our war effort in its true perspective. Our propaganda has improved but there is still a great deal of room for improvement.

I wonder if the repeal of section 3 will open the eyes of the government's critics. Do they want conscription in order to win the war or to embarrass the government and get back in power?

This bill will not open the eyes of those who do not wish to see. It sacrifices the majority of the people who believed in the present government because they were sure that conscription would never be imposed, to the interests of a minority that will always be adverse to this government, no matter what it does.

All these vain and clever excuses are contrary to public interest, Mr. Speaker. It is in the public interest that we be victorious and that we prepare a brighter future. Victory will be achieved through the coordinated action of the allies. Each and every one of us should contribute to the common cause according to his ability. It has been shown that the Canadian war effort should be directed four ways: (1) the production and transportation of war materials, of goods and commodities which our allies cannot produce in sufficient quantity; (2) the maintenance of an army, an air force, and a navy ready to fight outside the country; (3) the maintenance of adequate forces for home defence; (4) the supply of essential civil needs.

Conscription, in theory, and in the feeble measure which I have indicated, may increase the number of men for service outside the country. That would be its only effect, undoubtedly of secondary importance.

Mobilization Act-Mr. Gingues

On the other hand, Canada will never be able to make a total war effort and at the same time prepare a brighter future for her people, if justice is ignored and if national unity is disrupted. A house divided against itself shall perish. Canada is the result of a covenant freely entered into by her two main racial groups and by her nine provinces. If the sacred union of her citizens is torn asunder, Canada cannot survive.

It has not been proved, and it shall never be proved that conscription can help our country to attain victory and a real peace. On the contrary, it is certain that through its enforcement Canada will be torn asunder, and who knows if the wound would ever heal?

Mr. Speaker, it is because I wish to serve the public interest and my country and because I respect the sincerity of my compatriots that I cannot approve of the principle of this bill.

It is in adversity that a nation finds the energy from which a powerful national life is born. I sincerely hope, Mr. Speaker, that the present period of adversity will be the source of a better understanding among my fellow citizens, enlightened by a true sense of justice and real Canadianism. In such an event, our sacrifices will not have been in vain.

Topic:   IS, 1942

Maurice Gingues


Mr. MAURICE GINGUES (Sherbrooke) (Translation):

Mr. Speaker, as I wish to comply with the rules, I have scribbled only a few notes with the help of which I shall endeavour to explain briefly to the house and to the country at large my attitude towards the bill now before us.

To understand the present state of mind of the population of my constituency and of my province, it would be well to review concisely the events which have taken place since September, 1939. In 1939, Hitler, the worst gangster the world has ever known, launched his country into a conflict which was to spread all over the world. Almost at once, Canada took her place at the side of the mother country against the common foe. A few weeks later, in the province of Quebec, some people hoping to be returned to power brought about a general election. It is on that occasion that some of our statesmen, who had so well represented the province of Quebec for so many years in the federal arena, came to our people and asked them to accept the principle of participation in the war.

During that campaign, we saw neither the chairman of Club of the Two Hundred of Toronto, nor the leader of the official opposi-

tion. The Liberal leaders of our province were the only ones who came, not like demagogues, but like real statesmen and patriots, to face the people and sell them the idea. But we achieved success, Mr. Speaker, because our people were told that we were to have a free, moderate and voluntary war effort. A few months had elapsed when in 1940 parliament was dissolved and we went once more to the people of Canada from one end of the country to the other. We met our electors, met them face to face and stated our policy. Every party leader, even the leader of the opposition at the time, expressed his opposition to the principle of conscripting men for overseas service. We also, from Quebec, expressed once again our opposition to the principle of conscripting men for overseas service. If we have come here, if we have been chosen to voice in this chamber the opinion held by our constituents at home, it is, I repeat, Mr. Speaker, because we told the people that our war effort would be free, moderate and voluntary.

A few months later, however, we went on with the national registration. It was accepted by the province of Quebec as well as by every other section of the country. Some time later, the 1940 Mobilization Act was put into the statute books. The province of Quebec submitted to it as did all the others and responded to the call. It had been understood, however, when this legislation was voted into the statute books, that military training would last thirty days.

A few months later, by order in council,- and I was one of the hon. members of this house who received this information through the newspapers,-training was extended to a period of four months. Another few months later, by order in council again, military service was decreed for the duration. The province of Quebec, Mr. Speaker, the young men in my county gave a generous answer to the call of their country, and yet we are told that we have not done enough and that we are afraid of this conscription measure. If we oppose conscription it is not that we fear it, but rather that we do not believe in the method. We believe in voluntary effort. Our young men's contribution to victory will prove much more efficient than any effort given under coercion.

Mr. Speaker, when I consider the events which have taken place in this country during the last two years, I am forced to conclude that the present government, led by the right hon. Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenize King)

Mobilization Act-Mr. Rheaume

had wrought a great miracle, for less than three years ago Canada, an extremely peaceful country, was refusing to vote even a few paltry dollars for its own defence or toward participation in any conflict whatever.

Hardly two years have gone by and Canada is now on a war footing. The youth of the country is up in arms before the foe. They have answered the call everywhere and the government which has accomplished such a feat in our land can be said to have wrought a miracle, Mr. Speaker. We had recourse to a plebiscite a few months ago, we asked the people if they were disposed to release the present government from their commitments to the people as regards conscription for overseas service, so that the government might be responsible only to parliament, to the representatives of the people. I supported this measure at the beginning of the session. I had faith in my leaders and I felt it was my duty to support the legislation. And I am proud of it, not ashamed. I am still less ashamed to have gone before my electors to ask them to give an affirmative answer on the plebiscite. I was satisfied, that evening, when I found that I had obtained very nearly 7,000 affirmative votes. But here again, Mr. Speaker, there were five or six thousand electors in my county who voted "yes" because they had confidence in their representative, because they felt confident that the only vote to be given on conscription would be given here, in the House of Commons, by their own chosen representative, and also because they knew that in voting "yes" they were releasing the government from their commitments as regards conscription and that the latter would then be responsible only to parliament where the question was to be discussed in the light of our needs.

I shall vote against the bill. I shall do so with regret, Mr. Speaker, but I will vote against the bill because it calls for the conscription of men for overseas service. Whenever I have had the opportunity to address any gathering in my province and my constituency, I declared that I was opposed to this measure. My leaders heard me say this and did nothing to stop me. That occurred, I repeat, every time I have had occasion to address a meeting. I said I would never vote for such a measure, not because I fear conscription, but because I do not believe in that method. I want to say to the hon. member for North Battleford (Mrs. Nielsen), who was born in my constituency of Sherbrooke, that when I return home, perhaps sooner than I 44561-220J

think, and when I meet my fellow workmen in the shops where I was working when the Liberal party selected me as its official candidate, I intend to do so without losing their respect. I wish to spend the rest of my life in my native town. Although I have asked my electors to vote "yes" at the plebiscite, I want to be able, Mr. Speaker, to greet my people, to meet them and to work hand in hand with them in the interests of my constituency, of my province and of my country. I thank you.

Topic:   IS, 1942

Pierre Auguste Martial Rhéaume


Mr. MARTIAL RHEAUME (St. Johns-Iberville-Napierville) (Translation):

Mr. Speaker, I do not intend to speak at great length on Bill 80. I shall oppose the measure, for I sincerely believe that the willingness to resort to conscription denotes a lack of confidence in the patriotism of the young men of this country.

When war broke out, in September, 1939, the right hon. Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) and the late Right Hon. Ernest Lapointe, stated that we were freely entering the war at the side of England on one condition that there would be no conscription for overseas service. When, in the provincial election of 1939, I visited all the towns of my constituency, which extends over two provincial counties, I asked my constituents to cast their votes in favour of the Liberal party and to lend their whole support to the views outlined by the hon. ministers who had taken part in that campaign, the late Right Hon. Mr. Lapointe, the former Minister of Public Works (Mr. Cardin) and the hon. Minister of National Defence for Air (Mr. Power).

In the 1940 election, the hon. Prime Minister clearly set out his policy to the electorate and sought approval of his attitude in dealing with the country's war effort. I stated at the time that we had entered the war of our own free will and that there would be no conscription. I also undertook to oppose conscription for overseas service if such a measure was ever passed by any government. The constituents whom I have represented in this house since 1930 honoured me with their confidence and I think I would break my promises to them in supporting this bill. In further justification I need but recall the statements of the hon. Minister of National Defence (Mr. Ralston) who stated in recent weeks that, since November last, voluntary enlistments have increased from month to month and even beyond his expectations. The hon. Minister of National Defence for Air has likewise stated that this arm of the service had all the men it required, despite the restrictions applied on such enlistments. Then again, the hon. Minister of National

Mobilization Act-Mr. Rheaume

Defence for Naval Services (Mr. Macdonald) admitted on the floor of the house that over

4,000 sailors could not be taken on strength through lack of training facilities.

Since the outbreak of the war, the Conservative party has been content to accuse the government of inactivity and to level criticism at the various departments of national defence, not excepting that of national war services, and has failed to make a single suggestion of a constructive nature.

Australia refused to enact conscription; yet is there an hon. member of this house who can say that the war effort of that country has not been as efficient, if not more so, than that of any of our allied nations now engaged in the conflict?

During the 1940 elections, the two political leaders pledged themselves not to establish conscription for overseas service. Judging by the attitude taken by the Conservatives of my own riding who supported me during those elections, I understand they did not have any faith in the declarations made by the Conservative party for the purpose of obtaining votes and as a means of getting into power. The Conservatives in the province of Quebec, as well as in the other provinces, gave their support to the Liberal party because they believed in the policy and programme of the right hon. Prime Minister, if I may judge by the three counties on the island of Montreal: St. Lawrence-St. George, St.

Antoine-Westmount and Mount Royal which gave the Liberal candidates overwhelming majorities and which had always been Conservative strongholds since their beginning. From what has happened in these three counties, I am in a position to assert that in the province of Ontario and elsewhere a similar change took place, owing to the fact that they believed the right hon. Prime Minister more capable of administering the affairs of the country than the Conservative party.

The Liberal party came into office with a majority never attained by any of the previous governments and I believe that that meant an approval of their platform. In my opinion, :he Prime Minister, with such a majority, has a mandate which should give him a free hand in the conduct of the war without his accepting the political suggestions of the opposition.

Many hon. members have declared in this house that the vote of April 27 was a vote for conscription. I agree with the ex-Minister of Public Works when he declared in his speech of June 11 that if it had been asked clearly: Are you for or against conscription, the vote would not have been the same in the other provinces as well as in Quebec. I

[Mr. Rheaume. 1

know that I have obtained over 2,500 "yes" votes in my riding because my electors were convinced that a "yes" vote meant a vote of confidence and not a vote for conscription.

I am sure that if the question had simply been put thus: Are you for or against conscription, there would have been many members outside Quebec who would not have been relieved of their commitments. For my part I have not been relieved of my promises and, even if I had been, I would still vote against the bill. I knew that - the electors of my county were against conscription, if I can rely on the vote given in my riding in 1917 when I spoke for the Liberal candidate, who was then sick, during the whole electoral campaign. Only 311 votes were given for the candidate in favour of conscription.

The Liberal party has been accused of raising the conscription issue at every election during the last twenty-five years, but I would say to my hon. friends of the opposition that it was first brought up by the Conservatives during the by-election which was held in Drummond-Arthabaska.

In November, 1910, some political canvassers were going around the country, wearing a sailor's uniform, with a writing-book under the arm, stopping at every house and taking down the name of every boy who was of military age and telling them that if they voted for the Liberal candidate, their sons would be forced to fight in the war and would become cannon fodder. That campaign was financed, as was the 1911 campaign, by the Conservative party. I well remember that some hon. men who now sit in the upper house and on the bench were then saying that shooting holes through the British flag was necessary in order to breathe the air of freedom. The Liberal party has always been too loyal to the British crown to utter such words. I disapprove all extremist policies in Quebec as well as anywhere else. There are some extremists in Ontario also and among them are the chief of the Orange lodge and the minister, Shields. These two men spoke of the province of Quebec in terms of greater violence towards the French Canadians of Catholic faith than the French Canadians themselves would use against the Englishspeaking people. In Quebec the religious issue has never been raised against anybody in Canada.

Happily, their opinions are not held by all our English fellow-citizens and I am proud to have among my friends many English members of this house. In my division, the Englishspeaking Canadians are not fanatics, thank God! and live in good understanding with

Mobilization Act-Mr. Rheaume

the French-speaking citizens. But why does the Grand Master of the Orange Lodge, relying on calculations of his own, based on the last Canadian census, contend that the Catholics will form the majority in this country in 1975 and that necessarily they should be exterminated? Is it because our forefathers were the first settlers in this country and because our missionaries shed their blood in their courageous devotion to the task of civilizing and evangelizing the Indian tribes? Can Mr. Shields say as much of his ancestors?'

Mr. Chairman. I believe that the Catholics of this country are as loyal to the British cause as the head of the Orange lodge. At the time the King and Queen visited Canada, the province of Quebec had no reason to be ashamed of the way the people greeted them. The French-Canadian people of the province of Quebec have welcomed their majesties with as much enthusiasm as the people of any other province.

With regard to pastor Shields, who says that the Roman Catholic church is a racket, I must say to this gentleman that if he were devoting all his energy to stimulating recruiting and good-will between the two races, he wmuld promote national unity to a much higher degree than he has done these last years. .

The hon. Minister of Justice (Mr. St. Laurent) quoted in the speech he delivered yesterday, a letter signed by all the bishops and archbishops of this country, of which thirty-five are French Canadians, urging Catholics to do their utmost to win the war. I believe that our Catholic clergy has accomplished much more for victory than this pastor Shields with his offensive statements against the Catholic people of this country. Judging him by his writings, he is, in my mind, either a maniac or a lunatic. French Canadians should not be subjected to such insults; they have contributed to victory much more than this idiot will ever do. May I, Mr. Speaker, point out that the publicity that this man is seeking for himself, by exploiting in his neighbourhood prejudices against Catholics, is insulting not only to Catholics in Canada, but to Catholics in England and in every other allied country.

Can it be said that the province of Quebec has not done her share in the present war? Each time the government has appealed to this province, either in connection with a loan or with enlistments, they have met with a ready response.

The report tabled on May 11 last by the Minister of National War Services (Mr. Thorson) and recorded in Hansard, shows that 24,283 men were called for the four months

training period in Ontario, 37,117 in Quebec, 4,920 in Nova Scotia, 3,898 in New Brunswick, 602 in Prince Edward Island, 6,884 in Manitoba, 5,783 in British Columbia, 6,771 in Saskatchewan and 6,695 in Alberta. It is therefore evident that the number of men mobilized in Quebec is greater than that in any other province. The figures show that out of the total number of trainees, 35 per cent join the active force.

Moreover, according to a report published in the press last April, four provinces out of nine had passed their quota. As regards the number of trainees sent to camps, Quebec has 1,336 over her quota, New Brunswick has 260, Saskatchewan, 192, and Nova Scotia, 153, while the other provinces did not provide the required number.

This goes to show that the province of Quebec generously responds to the calls of the war services department. Compared to the number of calls, the proportion of postponements requested and granted in the province of Quebec is lower than in some other provinces. In two provinces only, Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia, is the proportion inferior to that of Quebec. The percentage of postponements requested and granted for the province of Quebec is 70-2, while for Ontario it is 77-7, for Prince Edward Island, 84-1, for New Brunswick, 91-7, for Alberta, 93-2, and for British Columbia, 93-5. Would the conscription measure, so highly favoured as the only means to attain a total war effort, give much better results?

All the members of the cabinet, as well as the majority of the hon. members, acknowledge that conscription is not necessary at the present moment, and that it may never be necessary.

Since voluntary enlistments yield all the recruits needed and more than are required to bring the various units to full strength, it is evident that there is no need to resort to compulsory measures in order to increase our war effort in this regard.

_ The Minister of National Defence, the Minister of Naval Services and the Air Minister have all declared that we have enough recruits to take care of our needs for many months to come. Why then do we need coercion or compulsory service? The government admit themselves that voluntary enlistments are sufficient; they even say that most probably they will be sufficient for a long time according to the man-power still available. Voluntary enlistments are rapidly exhausting the reserve we draw on for our armed forces and, according to the statement of the Prime Minister himself, there is now in the country a shortage of men for our various essential

Mobilization Act-Mr. Rheaume

war industries. How then could conscription further our war effort? Neither could it bring up to strength more quickly our various armed forces. Therefore it is a measure which cannot have any effect whatever on our war effort. Its only effect would be rather to create bitterness and dissensions, which would certainly be likely to hamper considerably our war effort.

Nobody can maintain, as I have already said, that conscription of men for overseas service can be a useful and efficient means of saving our country.

Knowing that the people of the province of Quebec are patriots and being certain that this measure is only a symbol forged in the imagination of citizens who think of England before they think of their own country, I cannot blame my province and my constituents because they are opposed to this bill. They know that it is not only useless but detrimental to national unity, which is so necessary to attain a total war effort and to achieve success in the struggle which we have willingly undertaken.

The province of Quebec, as it has been said and repeated, is ready to throw all her energies, all her resources in an effective effort to achieve victory. Quebec is ready to sacrifice everything to save our country and Christian civilization from the dishonour which menaces it. To that end she rallies to the rest of the country and, in union, harmony and peace, she will make a truly total effort not through compulsion and force, but through her wise patriotism and her good-will, to bring the tragic struggle which threatens our liberties so seriously to a successful end, so that God may surely crown our efforts with victory.

Topic:   IS, 1942

Joseph Jean


Mr. JOSEPH JEAN (Mercier) (Translation) :

Mr. Speaker, much good will come from the present debate on whether the principle of conscription for overseas service should be adopted.

True, we are not all of the same opinion on that question. But the views exchanged during that discussion will, I am sure, dispel a lot of misunderstandings and will contribute to bringing closer the different groups of our population, if practical conclusions are arrived at.

Many believe that conscription of men for service anywhere outside Canada is the only prerequisite of our war effort, and they demand its immediate adoption.

Others believe that this measure is only incidental to our participation in the war and that it is not necessary for the present

but that the government must be authorized to put it into effect soon, if circumstances were to warrant it.

Still a third group, also numerous, believe that conscription for overseas service is a useless and vexatious measure detrimental to Canada's war effort and that it should never be imposed.

Arguments, more or less valid according to the views on the matter, are put forward by all sides. And to choose between those conflicting opinions may appear difficult at first for impartial and unprejudiced minds.

The time at my disposal does not allow me to review the arguments so ably developed by both sides. Neither do I intend to discuss with those who would accept either point of view, on condition that their doubtful economic theories be recognized.

The moment is ill chosen to try and upset our whole economic system, and to seek the favour of the people, at this critical hour, with formulas perhaps attractive but in no way reliable, is to say the least out of place.

I would like, however, to correct a wrong impression which the outcome of the plebiscite, held on the 27th of April last, has left in the mind of many persons and which has more deeply marked differences of opinion, as I just said. Since Quebec was the only province to vote negatively on the plebiscite, there seemed to exist a feeling in some quarters that Quebec, or rather the Canadians of French origin, are opposed to the total war effort of the present government.

For those who believe that conscription is a symbol of total war, the fact that Canadians of French origin oppose conscription leads them to doubt our loyalty. I could quote many unkind remarks from articles published in reviews and newspapers with a view to give countenance to the legend that my own people are not as loyal as the other citizens of this country. But that would not improve the good relations which must exist between the different racial groups. Nothing is more, unjust, more detrimental to our war effort than the accusations, the insinuations and even the threats levelled against us, particularly since the plebiscite. This suspicion of one section of our population against another is one of the weapons used by our foes in this war, and that weapon is not supplied to our foes by the French Canadians. We French Canadians do not need to dim the loyalty of other people so as to show ours.

So far, in the present war, we have maintained an attitude which is in no wise discreditable; it compares favourably with the stand taken by any other group in this country.

Mobilization Act-Mr. Jean

Although we have often been treated unfairly and discriminated against,-I will not say since confederation, but since the beginning of the war-we have nevertheless done our whole duty and proven our determination to play our part in the present conflict, with all the means at our disposal.

During the course of two elections, one provincial and the other federal, the province of Quebec has indicated most clearly its intention to cooperate with the majority.

We voted unanimously for participation in the war; we did so, not for sentimental reasons but after a thorough study of the matter, as the former Minister of Public Works, the hon. member for Richelieu-Vercheres (Mr. Cardin) so eloquently put it the other day.

We have consented to our troops being sent overseas and, if I am not mistaken, a Quebec regiment, made up mostly of French Canadians, was the first to be brought up to strength and to journey to England.

Our young boys are enlisting and they will continue to enlist until final victory, if we only recognize and appreciate the value of their sacrifice. I do not claim glory for what those of my family are doing in this war. But I must say that I have only two sons. They were both students and were preparing a brilliant future, and they both enlisted for service overseas, thus risking their future, because they thought it was their duty toward their country and their fellow citizens so to do. And there are many families in the province of Quebec that could say the same thing I am saying to-night.

But that is not all. War work in all its forms and war loans have met in our province with a warm and enthusiastic welcome. We have complied without murmur with the restrictions and orders contained in some

25,000 orders in council passed since the beginning of the war, most of them having been prepared in good faith, I hope, by officials evidently ignorant of the laws and customs of the province of Quebec.

After the downfall of France, we did not hesitate in the face of additional dangers threatening our country from closer at hand, to support the principle of conscription of wealth and men as applied to the defence of Canada.

Surely it is not the French-speaking members in this house who, by causing obstruction, have delayed the government in their attempt to adopt the necessary measures in connection with our war effort.

Up to the present our manner of behaving has left absolutely no ground for the charges, insinuations and threats directed against us.

We have done our share willingly and generously; nevertheless it must be admitted that we were not invited to participate in this war as partners. I wonder if those who suspect our loyalty would have been willing to do as much under such circumstances.

Knowing the difficulties encountered daily and which we must overcome in order to vindicate even the least of our rights; having in mind our lack of influence and importance in every field of activity; comparing the sacrifices we have already made with the unfavourable treatment given us, unconsciously perhaps, by the majority; no one has the right to cast any doubt on our loyalty, and I claim, Mr. Speaker, that no one can teach us anything about patriotism.

Notwithstanding the remarks made by the hon. member for Laurier (Mr. Bertrand), finance, industry and commerce are practically closed to us. Civil service and army positions are distributed to us with disconcerting niggardliness. If we check the list of all those occupying key positions in the war industries, at the head' of government departments and on the staff of new boards organized for the efficient prosecution of the war, I am convinced that our well-meaning Englishspeaking fellow-citizens will not feel proud when they realize what a small share is allotted to us. Such is not the case in Ottawa only, for the same condition obtains even in the province of Quebec.

You may not believe this, Mr. Speaker, but in certain parts of the province of Quebec, the mass of our workers were required to learn a language foreign to them so as to understand the orders of their unilingual bosses. Not very long ago, signs were posted at the entrance to certain war plants of the province of Quebec and advertisements appeared in the press stating that French-Canad'ian workers need not apply for employment. "No French-speaking needed" was the notice printed on those posters.

It is claimed that we are neither competent nor qualified to fill important posts in the army, the war industries and the various government bodies specially employed in organizing our war effort. This argument is worthless. I wonder where, in 1939, could be found men skilled in the arts and trades of the present war. All the methods obtaining in this war

Mobilization Act-Mr. Jean

are new and we all had to acquire our experience from September, 1939, on. The French Canadians were as able as their fellow-citizens to adapt themselves to these new duties.

Much also has been said of these so-called experts who give their services free to the government for the duration of the war, and it seems that we are to be blamed for not having provided such men. One should not fall for that kind of camouflage. All these supermen who carry self-abnegation to such a degree as to be working apparently for nothing are not making such a great sacrifice. Most of them, if not all, are loaned by companies who get war contracts, and until the contrary is proved, I am positive that their salaries in the company books are charged to war contract accounts and that, finally, they receive more from the government than if they were directly employed by it. At any event, on the same terms, the province of Quebec would be able to provide a great many such experts.

I could add indefinitely to the list of these grievances, but what I said of them is, I hope, sufficient proof that our attitude up to now deserves something better than malevolant insinuations. Like the rest of this country, we want to contribute to the extreme limit in this effort.

Let there be an end to the mistrust of which we are the victims; let us be considered as associates and all misunderstandings will disappear between us. National unity and the effective prosecution of the war require goodl-will and harmony between all the citizens of the country. We shall all fail to do our duty if we do not try to understand one another better. After all, it is our common country that is in danger. We are all called to defend it. If we carry our internal dissensions to the battlefields, we shall certainly endanger the issue of the conflict. A certain degree of good-will and a little more frankness and logic would easily bridge these differences.

I believe the results of the plebiscite are being misinterpreted. The meaning which certain people seek to attach to the "no" and "yes" votes is illfounded. In the mind of certain voters the vote given may have been meant as a vote for or against conscription for overseas service. But that was not the issue placed before the people.

Those of my hon. colleagues who have secured a "yes" vote in their constituencies have not thereby received a mandate to vote for conscription.

They have simply been authorized freely to study the subject on its merit without being bound by the promises all parties made during the election campaign of 1940.

I might, for my part, argue that I do not enjoy such a privilege, since the majority of my electors have given a negative answer. But, for the purposes of this discussion, I shall accept the argument of those who contend that we were released by a majority of the people in this country, and I shall avail myself of that liberty to vote as a free man, according to the dictates of my conscience and in furtherance of what I deem to be the interest of the country as a whole.

It has been said time and again that conscription of men for overseas service would be unenforceable in Canada at this time for the following reasons:

1. It has been possible to bring our armed forces up to strength through the voluntary system of enlistment;

2. Military officers who have been consulted in this regard do not want conscripted men in the army recruited for service overseas;

3. The enforcement of such a measure would sow the seeds of discord, destroy forever national unity and wreck our war effort;

4. The need of men at home, for the defence of Canada and the production of munitions and foodstuffs is more pressing than the sending of men overseas.

I could adduce against conscription no better reasons than those which have been given by the right hon. the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) and most of the cabinet members since the opening of this debate.

If I am to judge by all those statements, the government's policy in this connection is well defined, and the government must know the situation after two years and nine months of war.

This discussion has clearly shown that the policy of the government is to refrain from conscripting men for overseas service.

I entirely agree with that policy, Mr. Speaker, and that is why I cannot vote for this bill.

As every one will admit, the only power which the government will secure if Bill No. 80 goes through is the power to enforce conscription for overseas service.

How could I logically agree to the introduction of such a power into our statutes when the government do not wish to use it and tell us that its enforcement would be detrimental to our war effort?

I urge the government to withdraw this bill which they consider as unnecessary. Let

Mobilization Act-Mr. Denis

them not introduce into our legislation a principle which is questionable to say the least and which others might be tempted to apply should the occasion arise.

Topic:   IS, 1942

Azellus Denis


Mr. AZELLUS DENIS (St. Denis) (Translation) :

Mr. Speaker, after the brilliant oration of the hon. member for Richelieu-Vercheres (Mr. Cardin), nothing more can be said in evidence of the fact that the bill now before the house is a full and genuine conscription measure for overseas service. But, most amazing to me, not only is this baneful law useless, but it is harmful to our war effort. Rather should the present government bend all its efforts to correct wrongs and breaches of existing laws and regulations, which wrongs and breaches are the true causes of disunion, misunderstanding and apathy. After hearing the hon. member for Richelieu-Vercheres who, with his customary eloquence, gave a memorable improvisation which will go down in history as a masterpiece of logic and courage, parliament has just realized that it has lost as a minister of the crown one of its wisest counsellors. Man of experience and of good judgment, of duty and of honour, he went so far as to sacrifice his health in claiming the rights of his fellow-citizens of the province of Quebec whose undisputed leader he remains in this house.

The views of the hon. member for Richelieu-Vercheres had been anxiously awaited in all parts of the country and I can assure you, Mr. Speaker, that no one has been disappointed. Since he has so ably interpreted the feelings of his province and other sections of the country, tokens of admiration have come from every direction. I am pleased to speak in the name of the electors of Saint Denis to tell him how proud w^e are of him and to declare once more that he enjoys our fullest confidence.

In spite of the conspiracy of silence waged against him, in spite of the flagrant and mysterious reversals of opinion of certain newspapers, his name, his sincerity and his courage will ever remain engraven in the hearts of his grateful fellow-citizens. I regret, Mr. Speaker, that the hon. Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenize King) has not yielded to the advice of the hon. member for Richelieu-Vercheres; I regret that he has fallen in the trap set by the imperialists, the Tories and the high finance magnates. I regret that he has been swayed by a press campaign which has induced him to introduce such an inopportune

measure. If he expects gratitude from the Tories, imperialists and financiers for this action, he greatly deludes himself. He was wrong in preferring the advice of those who have always been and always will be his adversaries to that of friends who have so frankly helped and supported him throughout his public life.

This measure is premature, Mr. Speaker, for, so far, its necessity has never been demonstrated; on the contrary, every effort has been put forth to prove that it is unnecessary.

A useless measure, the Prime Minister having stated that it will not be enforced.

A useless measure, in view of his statement that he can always invoke the War Measures Act of 1914. How then may we explain his apprehension, lest the summoning of parliament should prove too slow a method in case of an emergency?

I am told that this measure would tend to correct a false impression prevalent among the united nations as to the extent of our war effort. Would they be satisfied with a measure which will not even be enforced? On the other hand, there will be grounds for such an impression once they discover that we are trying to pull the wool over their eyes by adopting useless measures, laws which tend to divide our people. This false impression will become a true impression if the government persists in allowing the newspapers to print what they please, without control or censorship, and to be so bold as to cast doubt upon statements made by allied military leaders, even to belittling the successes of their armies in the eyes of the Canadian people.

Let us read together a statement, chosen amongst a hundred others, which appeared in the Ottawa Evening Journal of June 9, 1942. It is entitled, "That Midway Battle".

I quote from the Ottawa Morning Journal of Tuesday, June 9, 1942, an article under the heading "That Midway Battle":

Saturday night and all day Sunday the radio proclaimed a great victory by the United States fleet in the vicinity of Midway island, some 1,300 miles from Hawaii.

This was completely justified by the official statement of U.S. Admiral Nimitz. "Our citizens", he said, "can now repoice that a momentous victory is in the making-Pearl Harbour has now been partially avenged. Perhaps", he added, with a mild pun, "we will be forgiven if we claim wre are about 'Midway' to our objective."

That statement, with a table of enemy losses

two or three Jap carriers sunk, battleships and cruisers damaged-had right of way in the week-end. Then Sunday evening Admiral King held a press conference in Washington, and discussed the Pacific battle cautiously. He would not say the Japanese had been "defeated" although they had withdrawn from the battle.

Mobilization Act-Mr. Denis

The outcome "might" decide the course of the war in the Pacific, but the full extent of damage to Japanese ships was not known. American losses, in any event, were relatively light. Monday's dispatches threw little additional light on the affair. The Japanese had suffered heavily, but it was not clear that their plan of campaign had been thrown out of gear, and the battle had been broken off.

We can say, because critics in his own country already have said it, that there was a certain regrettable flamboyaney about Admiral Nimitz's declaration-and let nobody suggest, after Libya, Hong Kong and Singapore, that we aren't competent to detect the flamboyant.

Admiral Nimitz, from the thick of the combat, invited his fellow-countrymen to ring the church bells and hang out the flags, to rejoice in a momentous victory. That was plain enough, and nobody can wonder that the broadcasters "went to town" cn the news. But it seems that after a very successful opening phase the battle did not go quite the way of his optimistic prediction-such things have happened before. The enemy got away and contact was lost.

What remains is, however, a substantial victory. The Japanese lost at least two carriers, with their aeroplanes and a destroyer. We are told of no American losses except a destroyer sunk. If the Japanese fleet was headed for Hawaii or Alaska, and now is "limping home" for repairs, as one commentator put it, the affair may turn out to have momentous consequences. But it does appear the language of Admiral Nimitz might have been a bit more restrained, because he built up expectations which events could not sustain.

I wonder if the Minister of Justice (Mr. St. Laurent) should not examine this statement, instead of presenting useless acts for adoption.

Such a statement, Mr. Speaker, is far from favourable to us, and it does not come from Quebec. In my humble opinion, it should never have been made public, even if punishment is meted out.

The Prime Minister speaks about national unity and the leader of the opposition (Mr. Hanson) about the defence of Christianity. How could the government authorize the publication of a speech delivered in Toronto on May 7, 1942, by the Grand Master of the Orange Lodge, Mr. J. W. Carson, and in which he insulted the French-Canadian race and the Catholic church? That statement does not come from Quebec. Such statements and publications are not designed to stir up the enthusiasm and the patriotism of millions of our allies who speak French and profess the Catholic faith.

Instead of presenting useless and detrimental acts for adoption, the government should strive to prevent such statements and publications, if our population is to be encouraged to rise in defence of Christianity, to live in harmony and good understanding

and to maintain good relations with our neighbours. I am afraid the harm is done, Mr. Speaker, even if punishment is meted out.

Somebody from Toronto, a man by the name of Shields, who is president of the Canadian Protestant League, said recently in Winnipeg that the Roman Catholic church is the worst "racket" in the world and the most dangerous fifth column that has threatened any country in this war. (Canada, June 12, 1942.)

And it is not the only statement of this nature he has made. Do you think those statements and publications are to be recommended as a means of promoting patriotism and a friendly understanding among our people and among our neighbours and allies, a considerable proportion of which profess the Roman Catholic faith? And I would remind you, Mr. Speaker, that those statements are not from the province of Quebec; harm is done even though a penalty be imposed.

Mr. Speaker, since the beginning of this war, I have a feeling that in Canada we have signed an illegal contract; I say illegal, because of the two contracting parties, only a small group shares in the profits, while the remaining Canadians are allowed only the losses. For instance, I can hardly understand how it is that in military district No. 4, almost entirely a French-speaking district, there are at headquarters 148 officers of which only thirty-four are of French-Canad'ian descent.

Topic:   IS, 1942

An hon. MEMBER:


Topic:   IS, 1942

Azellus Denis



I must add that nine out of those thirty-four French-Canadian officers do not speak French.

Topic:   IS, 1942

An hon. MEMBER:


Topic:   IS, 1942

Azellus Denis



And that out of those 114 officers of English descent practically all of them speak English only. I find it odd also that very often a stranger has been assigned as commanding officer in the case of regiments that have been mobilized, when in these respective regiments may be found officers capable of fulfilling such duties.

That, and not section 3 of the Mobilization Act, is what hampers our war effort. You cannot, for example, achieve a total war effort by letting dollar-a-year men become all-powerful in the administration and distribution of war contracts, when thousands

Japanese Nationals

of small industries, manufacturers and plants are systematically eliminated because they are not big enough to tender for those contracts always extremely large and that only important companies can fill.

It would be so easy to help those small industries in view of the rationing and restrictions, if the government would distribute to them directly small contracts that they can fill or make them participate in some other way in our war effort.

The hon. member for Gaspe (Mr. Roy) mentioned the other day the deplorable situation of our Canadian hostelries. I would say that garage keepers are also affected, as are automobile dealers and all the manufacturers and producers of non-essential goods. They are all going to be ruined if the government leaves them to the mercy of big contractors who give them work only when they cannot do otherwise.

Instead of following such a course, the government have introduced a conscription measure which is unnecessary, a measure which may mean the sending, unheralded, to any theatre of war, of thousands of mobilized men to whom the solemn promise had been made that they would not be compelled to serve overseas.

That is a direct provocation not only to the French Canadians, but also to the Englishspeaking Canadians who have been mobilized. The Prime Minister leaves the sword of Damocles hanging over the heads of Canadians, and I do not want to incur the risk of helping him in that, lest another should cut the thread from which it hangs.

I suppose with the utmost energy this measure which, should it go through, may overnight fall into other hands and the enforcement of which would eventually confront me with an accomplished fact, and this without my being aware of it early enough to discuss and oppose it.

If this government want a total war effort, I would suggest that they should remedy whatever defects may now exist rather than enact a conscription measure which instead of remedying those defects will certainly make them worse.

On motion of Mr. McLean (Simcoe East) the debate was adjourned.

Topic:   IS, 1942

June 18, 1942