June 19, 1942

LIB

Georges Parent (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

No. All in favour of the motion will say Aye.

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?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Aye.

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LIB

Georges Parent (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

All opposed to the motion will say Nay.

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?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Nay.

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LIB

Georges Parent (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

In my opinion the ayes have it.

Motion (Mr. O'Neill) withdrawn.

Mobilization Act-Mr. Gibson

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MOBILIZATION ACT

AMENDMENT TO REPEAL SECTION 3 PROVIDING LIMITATION IN RESPECT OP SERVICE OVERSEAS


The house resumed from Thursday, June 18, consideration of the motion of Mr. Mackenzie King for the second reading of Bill No. 80, to amend the National Resources Mobilization Act, 1940, and the amendment thereto of Mr. Roy.


LIB

Colin William George Gibson (Minister of National Revenue)

Liberal

Hon. C. W. G. GIBSON (Minister of National Revenue):

Mr. Speaker, hon. members have already spent nearly two weeks in discussing the provisions and merits of this bill. A great deal has already been said both for and against with respect to the measure. I see no need to prolong the debate by a long speech, but I should like to express my views respecting the necessity or desirability of immediate conscription for service overseas.

Under the provisions of the National Resources Mobilization Act we already have authority to call up or conscript all the resources of this country, with the single exception of the calling up of men for overseas service. The bill under consideration removes that single exception and enables the government to make the most effective uses of all our resources as the exigencies of the situation may at any time dictate. I am supporting this bill not because I feel that conscription for overseas service is immediately necessary, but because I realize that should the necessity arise we must be in position to be able to put it into operation without delay.

I do not intend to reply to those who are opposed to the calling up of men for service beyond the territorial limits of this country, as I think it would take longer than the forty minutes that I am allowed to bring about any change in their point of view. Nor do I wish to deal with the suggestion that has been made that conscription of man-power should be automatically coupled with conscription of wealth. Under the provisions of the National Resources Mobilization Act we already have authority to conscript wealth, and I consider that any discussion on the subject may well be postponed until we come to the budget debate. What I do intend to discuss to-day is the suggestion that has been made so often that conscription is essential to total war, and we cannot have a total war without conscription.

The leader of the opposition (Mr. Hanson) has appealed for selective national service in every sphere of home activity. The other day the hon. member for Lake Centre (Mr. Diefenbaker) was asked if he believed it was

desirable at the moment to have conscription for overseas service and he replied, "I say that the time has come when there is only one mobilization that will assure equality and fairness and unity in Canada." He then went on to say, "and that is by establishing selective service for overseas immediately."

I do not doubt that all those advocating immediate conscription are anxious that this country should develop the greatest national effort of which we are capable-and to do so at the earliest possible day. With that I am in complete accord. Where we differ is not in the object to be attained, but as to the means of attaining that object. It by no means follows that the introduction of conscription automatically means an increased effort or more satisfactory results, particularly in this country where we know that a considerable portion of our population is definitely opposed to it. I am not an anti-eonscriptionist, but I have served under both systems, and I do not agree with the view that conscription is necessarily the best method of producing an effective fighting force.

In considering the question of conscription, or selective national service as my hon. friends prefer to call it, many arguments have been advanced in its favour, particularly the argument that it is the fairest method of securing men. It is claimed that by forcing all classes and groups to bear their share of the dangers and the sacrifices that are entailed, the bravest and best will not be sacrificed for the benefit of those who are unwilling to serve. On the face of it that is a sound argument, and if our man-power consisted of standard units where every man was of an identical pattern, moulded in the same mould, that method would prove to be not only fair but also equally effective. What that proposal does not take into consideration is the difference in effectiveness between men who are willing and those who are unwilling to serve, between the volunteer and the unwilling conscript.

Just at this point I should like to make it quite clear that I do not suggest for a moment that because a man has not volunteered he is necessary unwilling to serve. I realize quite well that there are probably many men throughout the country who would willingly offer their services, but who consider that for one reason or another, owing to various obligations, they are not justified in doing so. But it is also true that there are other men who have no desire to serve, who have no intention of volunteering and who, on the contrary, have every intention of avoiding all service if possible. Those are the men I have referred to as unwilling conscripts; those are the men

Mobilization Act-Mr. Gibson

whom the advocates of immediate conscription hope to sweep into the army in their desire to secure for this country an all-out effort.

They fail to ask themselves whether or not the inclusion of those men would serve to strengthen or maintain the present morale and efficiency of our fighting forces. To my mind there is little doubt what the answer would be if a commanding officer of an overseas unit were offered his choice of being reinforced by volunteers or conscripts. The man who has enlisted has voluntarily decided for himself to enter the service, knowing well the risks involved, and is prepared to face the dangers that he will be called upon to meet. That man has joined with a purpose, that of playing his part in our effort to destroy the enemy. But what is the outlook of the unwilling conscript? He has not undertaken to undergo hardship; he has not undertaken to face danger and possible death-quite the contrary. He has tried to avoid them. That is the man who will be called up under conscription. I wonder how valuable his contribution will be to our total war effort. What some people seem to forget is that warfare to-day does not consist of hurling huge masses of men against each other, with the balance in favour of the greatest number. To-day war is mechanized, highly technical, and demanding individual initiative in the use of the weapons that are provided. The best weapons in the world will be useless unless the men using them are prepared to use them bravely and intelligently. Under these circumstances it would seem to be obvious that so long as a volunteer force can be maintained in the field it will be a more effective fighting force than one partly or wholly composed of conscripts.

We sometimes hear the question asked, "why should the best go first?" That is a reasonable question. It is obviously unfair. But the fact remains that if we are to win this war we require the services of our best, and the best services of our best, without, if possible, having their strength diluted and their efficiency reduced by having in their ranks those who have had to be forced to serve. It is difficult to understand the attitude of some people when they apologize for the fact that our overseas forces are purely voluntary. We hear no such complaint in connection with the air force or the navy, although both these forces are raised on a purely voluntary basis.

I do not think I have ever heard it suggested that conscription should be applied either to the air force or to the navy. Does anyone consider that it requires less skill and courage to operate a tank than it does to fly

a plane, or that higher qualities of initiative and daring are required by the parachutists than in the commandos? I certainly would not say so. And yet we have the demand for conscription confined to service in the army only.

Our overseas force has often been referred to as the spearhead of the defence forces of Britain. We are proud of that title, and it is our duty to keep that spearhead keen and reinforced as far as possible, by men who are up to the present standard.

The leader of the opposition, referring to the impressions abroad as to our war effort, said:

These impressions exist because of the fact that we do not send men outside of Canada.

I disagree with him entirely as to this, because such impressions are certainly not based upon the facts.

When this country, with a population of under twelve million people, while employing

800,000 persons in war production, as well as over a million engaged in agriculture, can, by voluntary enlistment, raise over 500,000 men for our fighting forces, one would almost expect to hear the people of Canada boasting of the fact.

I have in my hand an item appearing in this morning's issue of the Ottawa Journal which is a fair sample of the publicity that creates the impressions referred to. It is a report of a speech by Lieutenant-Colonel T. A. Kidd, a veteran of the last war, at a meeting held in Toronto. Colonel Kidd is reported to have said:

We as a nation want to walk step by step with the United States. Conscription has produced an army for them to send to Ireland and England while our government calls for volunteers only. It is a thoroughly disgraceful situation and must react upon our national influence in the future.

That is what was said, instead of indicating to our American allies that when they have raised forces of approximately six million men, by compulsory means or otherwise, they will have proportionately equalled the record of Canada, a record that we have accomplished on a voluntary basis. In saying that I am not in any way belittling the effort of our great neighbour the United States. But instead of giving out that picture the impression is given out that we have something to be ashamed of, that we are ashamed that our volunteers have not been conscripted.

Instead of taking pride in the fact that over half a million Canadians have freely offered their lives, that the whole of our overseas forces have been raised and maintained on a voluntary basis, we have a section of our

Mobilization Act-Mr. MacNicol

people, and of our press, apologizing for our contribution, because it has not been compulsory.

I have no hesitation, Mr. Speaker, in saying that if it remains possible to continue to reinforce our voluntary forces overseas with further volunteers from this country, I am strongly in favour of doing so, and I may add that I feel perfectly sure our troops overseas will be of the same opinion.

But it must be realized that this country has undertaken a tremendous war programme, a programme that entails not only the maintenance of our fighting forces, but also the production of huge quantities of war supplies and foodstuffs, and our resources in man-power, as well as in material supply, will undoubtedly be taxed to the limit. Up to the present, voluntary reinforcements have been forthcoming well up to the estimates of all our requirements. But it is possible that a time may come when the voluntary system may fail to supply the reinforcements equal to the demand, and that is a contingency that we must face and be prepared to meet. In such circumstances, I am certainly in favour of the immediate adoption of conscription of men for overseas service, and the government is asking to have section 3 eliminated to enable it, when necessary, to adopt the same method of raising men for our forces abroad as is now authorized for home defence.

In conclusion, Mr. Speaker, I would like to say this, that Canadians are proud, and have reason to be proud, of the forces which represent us beyond our shores, and those men are entitled to our assurance, and to know, that we in this country are prepared to support them to the very utmost limit of our power.

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NAT

John Ritchie MacNicol

National Government

Mr. J. R. MacNICOL (Davenport):

Mr. Speaker, I am going to vote for this bill in order to remove the last obstruction which, the government believes, prevents it from initiating compulsory service in any field of war.

On the tenth of this month, with all the other members of the house who were present, I listened very attentively to the address of the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) when he introduced Bill No. 80 and opened this debate. The bill calls for the removal from the National Resources Mobilization Act of section 3, which imposes the only limitation in the act upon enlistment for overseas service. I am of the opinion that when section 3 is removed, the act being then in full force, the government will have authority to introduce national compulsory selective service for any field of war.

But when the Prime Minister sat down I must confess that I was not just sure what the exact policy of the government is or is going to be. I remember very well that the Prime Minister suggested three views. There was first the view of those who want immediately-all-out compulsory military service for any theatre of war, and there was the view of those who did not want all-out compulsory military service under any circumstances. The Prime Minister said, at page 3236:

Each of these is a very extreme view and attitude. Neither extreme, I believe, should be permitted to prevail.

Then he went on to say that there was a third view:

-a view which I believe, accords with the opinion most generally held throughout the dominion. It is that conscription for service overseas should be inaugurated only if and when, in the opinion of the government, it becomes necessary to the security of our country and to the maintenance of its war effort. That view is the one which is held by the government. It represents the government's policy with respect to conscription for service overseas.

He added:

In a word, that policy may be described as not necessarily conscription but conscription if necessary.

So that when he had finished I was just where I was when he began. I could not put my finger on the policy of the government, and I doubt if anybody could. Am I not right in my view of the Prime Minister's speech? Evidently the house agrees that I am. Last week, following the Prime Minister, we had speeches by six of his ministers, each one of whom spent a good deal of time trying to persuade our compatriots of Quebec that this bill does not really mean anything, that it does not mean conscription, that in any event it does not mean that the country is going to have a compulsory all-out effort. Certainly not in my time has there been such an array of talent. Each day, except last Friday, as the first speech of the day we had the fortune of hearing a capable minister debate the question whether this bill meant anything or not. I am sure every hon. member will admit that so far as the province of Quebec is concerned -I speak kindly of that province, and have always held myself to be one of its warm supporters-the voters believed that when they voted "no" they voted against conscription. Will anyone doubt that? I see a number of hon. members from Quebec nodding their heads. I agree that when the province of Quebec voted "no" its people were sure they were voting against conscription. I believe I can say also that in the other eight provinces the great majority but not all of those who

Mobilization Act^Mr. MacNicol

voted "yes" voted for national compulsory service in any theatre of war. I have as much right to say that as others have to assert that Quebec voted "no" against compulsory service in any theatre of war. I know that in Ontario, and specifically in the capital city of Toronto, the general impression during the plebiscite campaign was that an affirmative vote was a vote for all-out compulsory national service in any theatre of war. At the very commencement, a group of men, headed by Colonel Reynolds, of the Canadian Corps Association, and Major Everett Bristol, organized a meeting in Toronto, which was held in the Royal York hotel, and which I attended. Under the direction of a committee which was formed there to support the "yes" vote, quite an advertising campaign was carried on. I have some of the advertisements here. They are good. One of them shows Adolf Hitler pinning an iron cross on a non-voter, and represents him as saying, "Thank you for not coming out to vote". In Toronto we thought that not to vote was equivalent to voting "no". Later on we find this, "If you don't want to earn Hitler's praise, vote-and vote yes!" This was published in all the Toronto papers, and, I assume, in the papers around about.

The next cartoon I have here depicts, in really good caricature, Mussolini, Hirohito and Hitler, and says "Let's wipe the smirk off these mugsl Vote 'yes!'." A well-written article follows:

"Divide and rule"-this is the plan of Hitler & Co. Can't you imagine the smirk on Hitler's moronic mug when the people of Austria- Czechoslovakia-Yugoslavia argued amongst themselves until too late and the hun hordes walked in? Don't you remember the newsreel picture showing Hitler doing a jig on receiving news on the fall of France? And now we have the spectacle in India-a people divided. Monday, April 27th, will give the unholy trio-Hitler, Hirohito and Mussolini

Canada's answer. That day we have our opportunity to prove that on the question of an all-out war effort we are a united people. And, remember, a skimpy majority isn[t much better than a negative vote. It would indicate that we, too, are a divided people. We must vote-and we must vote "yes" in such numbers that our enemies and our allies will know where we in Canada stand in this all-out fight for freedom.

Then another cartoon-I will refer to just one more-portrays a sailor, a soldier and an airman, and represents them as saying:

Don't fail us! Vote "yes"!

Place yourself in the position of our fighting men. You are taking a tank into battle. You are flying a bomber over Germany. You are riding in mid-Atlantic on a storm-tossed corvette. You hear suddenly that Canada has failed to ring up an overwhelming "yes" vote on April 27. What would be your feelings as you rode into battle with the enemy who seeks not only your destruction but the enslavement of your country?

And so on. Now, Mr. Speaker, those advertisements and write-ups, repeated daily, had a lot to do with bringing about the affirmative vote in Toronto and in Ontario generally. What was the trend of that vote?

So far as I can find out, the riding of Eglinton, in North Toronto, registered the largest "yes" vote in Canada-96 per cent "yes", 4 per cent "no". Toronto itself voted 93 per cent "yes". Over 90 per cent of the voters in my riding, and 92 per cent in the constituency of Dufferin-Simcoe, voted "yes". Two ridings in Ontario voted "no". Russell gave only 37 per cent "yes", and Prescott only 32 per cent in the affirmative. In both ridings the vote was against conscription, or against all-out compulsory service in any theatre of war. In like manner the rest of us voted for national selective all-out service in any theatre of war. In the dominion the total "yes" vote was 2,921,206, and the "no" vote was 1,608,609.

I think I have said enough, Mr. Speaker, to prove that in eight of the provinces, in any event, the majority vote was for all-out compulsory service. I do not say that 100 per cent of those who voted voted that way, but the vast majority did. That vote, we are told, cost $1,600,000 including what was spent during the campaign itself, and I wish to compare that $1,600,000 with another $1,600,000 which was raised by a great newspaper that supported the "yes" vote. I refer to the Toronto Telegram. For the last two years that newspaper has been carrying on at its own expense the British war victims campaign fund whereby it has raised the sum I have mentioned, SI,600,000. There has been some support from outside the city, on the part of about a hundred weeklies and dailies, but the Telegram itself and its 700 employees all participate in the conduct of this campaign, and there are eight employees in the office who devote their whole time to this work, directing the British war victims campaign fund. They use one-tenth of their zinc in placing such cuts as I have here in the paper. I have in my hand as an example pictures of twenty-eight children, three from Norwood, Ontario, and twenty-five in the city of Toronto itself, who have been carrying on this work. Children will be seen on the street-corners selling all kinds of things to get money for the fund. They deny themselves; they do not go to shows, and they give all the money they can get together to the fund. They may have a party and give the proceeds to the fund. These twenty-eight children raised on this particular day, June 13, the sum of $60.15.

I congratulate that patriotic gentleman, Mr. C. O. Knowles, the editor in chief of the paper, and those associated with him upon the

Mobilization Act-Mr. MacNicol

splendid work they have done in raising the money they have got together. But I want to touch further on another side of this matter. It seems to me that in addition to the money, they have done something incomparable in the patriotic fervour which they have instilled into thousands of children throughout Ontario. They have instilled into these children a love for Canada and also a love for the empire. We hear too much in this house and outside about Canada as a sovereign nation, but so far as I am concerned I say clearly that the block in which I live in Toronto cannot be separated from ward 6; ward 6 cannot be separated from Toronto; Toronto cannot be separated from Ontario; Ontario cannot be separated from Canada, and Canada cannot be separated from the British empire.

I will now take up the views expressed by the several ministers who have spoken. First of all I would refer to the remarks of the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Gardiner). I have always had, and I still have, a warm feeling for that hon. gentleman, but in the course of his speech he made one statement to which I will now refer, in regard to which I disagree with him, a statement which I do not think he would have made had he given more thought to the question. He was replying to something that my leader (Mr. Hanson) had said in reference to national government. Perhaps that rather stirred him up a bit, and he made this statement, as reported at page 3329 of Hansard-.

The only kind of government which could bring that kind of policy-

That is, the policy my leader had mentioned, an all-out national selective service policy of men and resources.

The only kind of government which could bring that kind of policy into effect in Canada at present, the only kind of government which would undertake to do so, would be the government with no political past and no desire to have a political future.

Those words are far below the opinion I have of the minister, and I say to myself that they were spoken rather hurriedly and do not express his inmost feelings.

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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

May I suggest that they did not have to do with conscription of manpower for overseas.

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NAT

John Ritchie MacNicol

National Government

Mr. MacNICOL:

If they do express the

minister's opinion, then in the name of heaven, if and when conscription is to be brought in- and the minister who has just taken his seat (Mr. Gibson) said he was in favour of it- how can conscription be put into effect except 44561-221J

by a national government? How can it be done if you are to attain the end the minister suggests?

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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

My hon. friend will

agree that that statement does not refer tO' conscription of men for service overseas. It refers to a discussion of policy in which the leader of the opposition said that he was not talking about that question.

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NAT

John Ritchie MacNicol

National Government

Mr. MacNICOL:

May I read four lines

to the minister and express the hope that he will keep them before him on every occasion in the future when he feels inclined: to make any statement associating political activities with the conduct of this empire's war, in this life and death struggle, when politics should not be entering into it at all.

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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

I have a much higher

conception of politics than the hon. member appears to have. If I thought there was anything wrong with politics, I would not be in it.

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NAT

John Ritchie MacNicol

National Government

Mr. MacNICOL:

If the minister will keep these lines before him he will not make that statement again. These are the words of J. G. Holland taken from Scribner's magazine, 1883:

God give us men! A time like this demands

Strong minds, great hearts, true faith and ready hands;

Men whom the lust of office does not kill;

Men whom the spoils of office cannot buy.

For my part I would- rather stay in opposition if I lived 1,000 years than be associated with a government that would conduct a war on the basis of party politics. That is all I have to say about the minister's remarks.

I come next to the Minister of Munitions and Supply (Mr. Howe), who told a very fine story from his point of view. A great deal has been said about what Canada has done. Well, I am proud of what Canada has done, but I am one of those who believe that Canada could do a great deal more, and I think Canada should have done a great deal more. The minister said something about Australia. What has Australia done? The population of Australia is only 7,000,000, and our population is 11,420,000. Australia has enlisted in the active armed forces, serving either away or at^ home 8 per cent of the population. That is to say, 572,000 have enlisted, in addition to ancillary forces. The figures I have quoted are from "Keesing's Contemporary" of September 20-27, 1941. Had Canada enlisted 8 per cent of its population, Canada would have had 913,000 men instead of 505,000, as the minister said. Of course, someone will say that Canada is doing so much more than Australia in the manufacture of munitions.

Mobilization Act-Mr. MacNicol

Well, I do not know about that. Australia too has done a magnificent job in the manufacture of munitions. The fact is that this year they are spending $5,000,000,000 on the manufacture of munitions, according to March 15 "Vital Speeches of the Day." That is a creditable turn-out. I have no doubt they have many more men to-day in the armed forces, because since these figures were printed, Japan has moved into their orbit.

New Zealand has a population of 1,336,000. What has little New Zealand done? It had 66,500 in its expeditionary force, ready to be sent to wherever the fighting was going on;

133.000 at home, 33,000 in the air force and

6.000 in the navy, or a total of 238,500. That amounts to It) per cent. If Canada enlisted in its armed forces as many men as New Zealand has enlisted, in proportion to population, we would have 1,656,000 men under arms. And take South Africa, which has a white population of only 2,000,000, about one-sixth the population of Canada. South Africa has enlisted 190,000 men for overseas service and

43.000 men for home service, or 114 per cent of her population. In proportion to population, Canada, with 11,420,000 people, at the same rate would have enlisted 1,313,000 men. The figures for South Africa were taken from the Canadian Geographical magazine for January, and the New Zealand figures from the same magazine for February.

A good deal has been said about England, and often I have heard remarks made about that country which were not very complimentary. I do not like remarks of that kind. The British people have done the most marvellous job of any nation in the world, bar none, in this war. In the Ottawa Citizen of this morning I read an article which stated that the total figures were impressive. Of a total population between the ages of fourteen and sixty-five, amounting to 33,000,000 people, some 22,000,000, or 66 per cent, are in the armed forces, civil defence or industry, leaving

11,000,000 for other work. That is a tremendous enlistment in the armed forces and in industry in the old country. In addition they have just reached the total expenditure of $44,000,000,000 in the prosecution of the war. Canada has done well, but Canada has to do a lot better to match these other countries to which I have just referred.

I want to say a word or two about the speech of the Minister of Justice (Mr. St. Laurent), who certainly excelled himself in delivery, in diction and in choice of language. In those three characteristics, and perhaps

others, his speech was brilliant, but I should like to refer to something he said appearing at page 3391 of Hansard:

I do not feel any unworthiness in asserting that the duty of citizenship to bear arms and fight and die is a duty which the citizen owes only to his own country and its interests.

I should like to ask the Minister of Justice this. If in 1776 the people of Great Britain had adopted that attitude toward the Canada of that day, what would have happened to the people of the province of Quebec and where would their language be to-day? I am absolutely in agreement that everything given them under act or treaty should be carried out. If we are to have harmony in this country we must recognize the rights of others. But if the British had not come over here in 1776 there would have been no French spoken in Quebec to-day; and had they not come again in 1812 there would have been no French spoken in Quebec to-day as an official language, any more than there is in the state of Louisiana.

Topic:   MOBILIZATION ACT
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LIB

Ian Alistair Mackenzie (Minister of Pensions and National Health)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE (Vancouver Centre):

Quebec saved Canada in 1812.

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NAT

John Ritchie MacNicol

National Government

Mr. MacNICOL:

They did a grand job in that war, as no one knows better than I do. They certainly fought heroically at Chateau-guay and elsewhere; but do not forget the western division, that fought in western Ontario and over into the state of Michigan. I give the French all the credit they deserve; they did magnificently, but on the other hand I am not going to discredit our own people.

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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

They still speak French in New Orleans and in Louisiana.

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NAT

John Ritchie MacNicol

National Government

Mr. MacNICOL:

I can tell the minister that some forty years ago French, as a language of instruction, was abolished in the state schools of Louisiana. I am not in favour of abolishing it in Quebec; do not take that out of what I said. I am in favour of granting French Canadians every privilege to which they are entitled. All I am pointing out is that if in 1776 and 1812 the British had not come here and done what they did, Canada would have been part of the United States to-day.

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June 19, 1942