June 19, 1942

LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

That was not what the hon. member said. He said they would not be speaking French, but to-day they speak French in Maine and in Louisiana.

Topic:   MOBILIZATION ACT
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NAT

John Ritchie MacNicol

National Government

Mr. MacNICOL:

No, I said it would not be the language of instruction, any more than it is in the state of Louisiana. I am in favour of its remaining the language of instruction in Quebec, as long as they want to keep it

Mobilization Act-Mr. MacNicol

there. Do not try to put words in my mouth. I am only pointing out what would have happened if certain things had not been done in 1776 and 1812.

During the recent Quebec by-election certain speakers made some very unkind statements. I do not know by whom they were made, but I read one denouncing our participation in the war because, it was charged, the British always got others to fight their battles for them. That is not true. Up to November last United Kingdom soldiers suffered 71-3 per cent of all casualties, while soldiers from the dominions suffered 18-2 per cent, colonial troops 5 per cent and Indian troops 5-5 per cent, while in Norway and France troops from the British Isles outnumbered those from other parts of the empire by seventy to one. I believe fair statements should be made about everyone. Certainly I would be the last to make an unkind statement about anyone, and I do not like to see such statements made about the people from whom I am descended. Many times we have heard about enlistments in this country. Major-General LaFleche, D.S.O., a very brilliant soldier with a wonderful record, recently gave the figures of enlistments in Canada, which were published in the Edmonton Journal and again in the Peace River Record, from which newspaper I clipped them. The figures were as follows:

Total Voluntary Enlistments

Quebec

Ontario

Nova Scotia and Prince Edward

Island

New Brunswick

Manitoba

Saskatchewan

Alberta

British Columbia

66,133

158,691

33,005

21,861

39,384

32.437

35,391

39,254

Enlistments per 1,000 Population Nova Scotia and Prince Edward

Island 49.5

Manitoba 49.0

British Columbia 48.3

New Brunswick 42.8

Alberta 44.4

Ontario 42.6

Saskatchewan 36.6

Quebec 20.4

1 do not know up to what date these figures go, but they are worth taking as a guide. I am not finding fault with Quebec at all. I want to be fair; I think the rest of us should enlist more than the province of Quebec. Someone said here the other day that Quebec should not be expected to enlist as many men, and I agree. I think they have done magnificently, considering everything, and they are as good fighters as we have anywhere. I am not disparaging them in any

shape or form, but surely I should not be criticized for being fair to the other provinces.

I want to pass on to the Minister of National War Services (Mr. Thorson), and I

shall be very brief with him. At page 3413 of Hansard he said:

Furthermore, Canada has the largest volunteer armed force of any nation in the world. That is something of which Canada might well be pi'oud.

Well, if the figures which I have quoted with respect to New Zealand, Australia, South Africa and Great Britain are correct, the minister said a lot more than would seem to be shown by the facts. Because if we have enlisted only 505,000-and I am not discrediting that, because it is a big enlistment-it does not compare in percentage, with what we would have enlisted had our enlistments been at the same ratio as those in New Zealand and Australia.

The minister made a comparison between what happened at the time of the great war and what is happening to-day. He said that by 1917 Canada had enlisted 417,371 men. It will be remembered, however, that our population in 1916, on which those figures are based, was only 8,035,000. On the other hand the enlistment figures given by the minister for 1942 are based on a 1941 population of

11,420,000. On that basis we should have in the army to-day in Canada about 593,000 men, not 505,000.

I know it will be said that another hundred thousand are being called up. But we are now speaking of the men actually in the army, and comparing that number with those who were in the army at the time of the great war.

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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

Then there is the air force and the navy, in addition.

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NAT

John Ritchie MacNicol

National Government

Mr. MacNICOL:

I am taking the figure of

505,000 given by the minister a few days ago.

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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

In the army.

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NAT

John Ritchie MacNicol

National Government

Mr. MacNICOL:

Is the air force not in the armed forces? Are sailors not in the armed forces?

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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

I do not think they were included.

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NAT

John Ritchie MacNicol

National Government

Mr. MacNICOL:

I just took the figures that were given.

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NAT

Richard Burpee Hanson (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. HANSON (York-Sunbury):

Certainly they are included.

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NAT

John Ritchie MacNicol

National Government

Mr. MacNICOL:

In 1918 our population was 8.328.382. Toward the end of the first great war, in 1918, Canada had 628,964 in its fighting forces. On the basis of this year's

3498 COMMONS

Mobilization Act-Mr. MacNicol

population, taking the figures in the same ratio, Canada should have in its fighting forces next year 875,000 persons. Perhaps it will have; I do not know. All I am trying to say is that Canada's war effort has been good, but it could be a good deal better.

I turn now to the Minister of Mines and Resources (Mr. Crerar), and I quote from his observations at page 3438 where he is reported as having said:

If it were an imperialistic war I have no hesitation in saying to this house that so far as my influence and power in this country goes, and I admit that it is not very great, I would be opposed to such a war.

I have heard statements of that kind before.

I have always thought I was fairly well posted in history, yet I cannot recall any imperialistic war. Was the South African war an imperialistic war? I do not think so. Was the Russian war an imperialistic war? I do not think so. Can anyone name an imperialistic war, having in mind the background of that war?

I do not like to hear any man discrediting the history of the British empire. That is not a proper kind of talk. I am a Canadian and a Britisher. I cannot picture separating Canada from the empire. To maintain it within that empire I am convinced that our armed forces will have to be greatly enlarged. I do not see how it can be done in any way other than by national compulsory selective service both for men and for resources, as advocated by the leader of this party. The government must have some such idea as that, because if it had not, why would it have gone to the expense of holding a plebiscite and introducing Bill No. 80? It must have some idea that in order to raise the necessary number of men it will have to bring in compulsory selective service.

I believe I have referred to some observations of the Minister of National Revenue (Mr. Gibson) who spoke immediately prior to me. Perhaps I have completed my discussion of the subject matters in hand. I feel, like all other hon. members, that we are in very serious, perilous and dangerous times. It is not a time when any of us should do anything to stir up strife. I would refuse to be a party to the stirring up of strife in any shape or form, nor do I believe anything I have said to-day would cause strife. Referring to the ministers, I believe I have spoken fairly, nor can it be suggested that I have criticized them unduly. I have taken only a few words from what each has said, because the time is here when it is unity we want above everything else.

(Mr. MacNicol.]

I believe every hon. member is as sincere as I am in his desire to win the war. But how are we going to do it if we spend our time in matters which do not count? We cannot win unless we concentrate on every effort required to push the war to a successful conclusion. That is our bounden and our imperative duty.

I am not going to find fault with the government because of its carrying on in war as a political government. The problem is theirs. Perhaps they are doing it as well as can be expected, from a government organized along political party lines. But I keep asking myself whether or not the time has come to organize some other plan. I am not going to advocate national government. I am not interested in whether national government is preached or not. But certainly it will require all the intelligence, all the effort and all the ability not only of Canadians but also of Britishers and our allies to win the war. I keep saying to myself: If all Canadians do not get behind the winning of the war, by making an all-out effort, and if we lose the war, will any of us have any privileges after the war? Will we have anything left if the Germans and the Japanese dominate this country? Only to-day we heard what hon. members had to say about the Japanese.

I should like to close with something I read a day or two ago with respect to the second invasion of Britain, as it was known in those days, by the Romans in 43 A.D. Those who are familiar with history will remember that Emperor Claudius launched an invasion. He stayed a short time, and took a great fancy to the country-so much so, in fact, that when he returned to Rome he sent his best generals and his best troops. But even in those days the British were tough. They fought like tigers, and they made up their minds that they were not going to be beaten without a real struggle. After ten years of war their great leader Caractacus appeared in the western part of England. He had been.driven into the mountains of Wales. He continued to fight where he had only enough ground for his army to stand on. In the end his resistance was overcome by force of numbers. On the day before his capture he said to his followers something which I think is equally applicable to-day, something which would apply to every hon. member and to each of us who lives within the empire and who loves it-and I love the empire, as much as any man can love it. He said:

This day, my fellow warriors, decides the fate of Britain. The era of liberty or eternal bondage begins from this very day.

Mobilization Act-Mr. Macdonald (Brantford)

And can we not say the era of liberty or eternal bondage begins from this day? The Prime Minister of Great Britain is to-day in Washington. Why did he go to Washington? Because he is going to give all that is in him to save this empire. That is what we must all do. It will take all in each of us to save the empire.

For my part, if we lose the war I do not want to live. Politics is nothing to me. I should much rather die than lose the war and be under eternal bondage. We will remember that at that time Caractacus was defeated. He was dragged through the streets of Rome-my memory fails me as to whether he died immediately thereafter-and for 400 years those tight little islands were under Roman domination. Pray God that this empire and its most beautiful and greatest dominion, Canada, will not be under the Rome of to-day, with its Mussolini, the Germany of to-day with its Hitler, or the Japan of to-day with its Hirohito. Let us together do our utmost to save this country. Let us try to have harmony. If they are having trouble in the province of Quebec, as has been mentioned, why not let the best people of the country sit around the table with our friends and compatriots and try to solve the problem? They are fine people, and they have been here for a long time. Some of my own people first came here in 1758 as soldiers.

Topic:   MOBILIZATION ACT
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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

Why not forget the only thing that divides us, this talk about conscription?

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NAT

John Ritchie MacNicol

National Government

Mr. MacNICOL:

We should be able to sit around a table and straighten out our difficulties. The minister refers to national compulsory sendee. You are offering a bill to allow you to put it in. The minister who just sat down said he is for it if it has to come; the Prime Minister said that he was for it if and when it has to come. Is the Minister of Agriculture the only member of the government who is not for an all-out effort to win this war?

Topic:   MOBILIZATION ACT
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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

I said the same thing.

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LIB

William Ross Macdonald

Liberal

Mr. W. R. MACDONALD (Brantford City):

Mr. Speaker, when the National

Resources Mobilization Act was before the house very few members took part in the debate thereon. The resolution was introduced by the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) on Tuesday, June 18, 1940, and by Thursday, June 20, the bill had passed its third reading with the unanimous approval of the house. Since that time great changes have

taken place in the international situation. The Germans have completed their conquest of continental Europe and have attacked Russia and seized a large portion of her territory. The Japanese have swept through the Philippines, Hong Kong, Malaya, Singapore and Burma. The United States has entered the war on the side of the allied nations. Ships have been sunk within the territorial waters of Canada. The enemy has landed on the western hemisphere.

When the act was passed in 1940 all the world expected that the Germans would enter upon a major attack on Great Britain. Canadians volunteered in large numbers to go to the defence of Britain, and had I been a younger man I would have joined up in that defence. At that time many in Canada felt that this was a war to defend Great Britain, but conditions have changed to-day. The war has come to our shores, and everyone must realize by now that we are marching side by side, not only with Great Britain in the defence of Britain, but with the united nations in the defence of Britain, Canada and all other democratic nations, and to preserve our very existence. It is no longer a British war, no longer a foreign war; it is Canada's war. As the Prime Minister has said so often, it is a war started by imperialistic Germany, now joined by imperialistic Japan, to destroy Christianity for all time to come.

The mobilization act provides for the conscription of ail our resources, both human and material. Under that act our material resources may be sent to any part of the world in defence of Canada or for the efficient prosecution of the war. At the time of the passing of the act many hon. members of whom I was not one, felt that since this was, in their opinion, a foreign war, men should not be sent beyond the shores of Canada unless they volunteered to go. Accordingly a section to that effect was inserted in the act, and I would remind hon. members that every member of this house voted for the insertion of that section in the act.

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NAT

Richard Burpee Hanson (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. HANSON (York-Sunbury):

On the theory that half a loaf was better than no bread.

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LIB

William Ross Macdonald

Liberal

Mr. MACDONALD (Brantford City):

3502 COMMONS

Mobilization Act-Mr. Macdonald (Brantford)

risk their lives for their country. I wish it were possible to determine how many workers we can put in munition plants and on farms and at other necessary services, and how many in the armed forces. We could then have a goal toward which to strive, both on the home front and1 on the battle front. Both fronts must be kept up to strength if we are to win this war. But never let it be said that Canada wanted only to supply the munitions. A neutral country could do as much. My hope is that when the history of this war is written it will be recorded that Canada played an important part as an arsenal for the allied nations, but that she played a greater part by the heroic deeds of her soldiers, her sailors and her airmen.

From the debate which has taken place in the house thus far it would appear that the objection to the present amendment comes from three sources: first, from those who think the amendment does not go far enough; second, from those who think the amendment goes too far and is altogether unnecessary; third, from those who approve the principle of the amendment but are opposed to the method by which it is suggested that compulsory military service for overseas should be put into effect should that ever become necessary. I have dealt either directly or by implication with the first two objections. There remains the third, namely, the method by which it is proposed to put compulsory service for overseas into effect should that ever become necessary. The government proposes to do it by new regulations through order in council rather than by act of parliament. Generally speaking, I am opposed to government by order in council. But, as the leader of the opposition pointed out in his address on this measure, this is emergency legislation. In fact, in the preamble of the bill itself the word "emergency" is used. Let me quote:

Whereas by reason of developments since the outbreak of the present war a special emergency has arisen and the national safety of the country has become endangered. . . .

And again:

Whereas it is, therefore, expedient to confer . . . special emergency powers to permit of the mobilization of all of the effective resources of the nation. . . .

The act goes further. It actually provides that its provisions shall become operative by order in council. Let me again quote from the act. Section 2 reads:

Subject to the provisions of section three hereof, the governor in council may do and authorize such acts and things, . . .

And then, again, section 6 reads:

The governor in council may prescribe the penalties . . .

It is therefore evident that when this act was passed in 1940 everyone agreed that its provisions should be put into effect by order in council. All the provisions of the act which are now effective have become effective by order in council. By order in council we called men for thirty days' training. By order in council we extended that to four months' training; by order in council we extended it for the duration of the war, and no one has objected thus far to the orders in council. The amendment will merely extend the government's power so that it can compel men to go overseas for the defence of Canada. That will be an emergency. Parliament may not be sitting. Imagine the cry which would go up in at least eight provinces of the dominion if it were suggested that, after striking out the clause which restricts service to Canada, another clause should be inserted which would make further legislation by parliament necessary before compulsion could be applied! If such a clause were added, the present amendment would make no effective change in the act, and the hands of the government would still be tied.

It has been argued forcibly in this house that because the electors in some particular constituency voted "yes" on the recent plebiscite, the member for that constituency should vote for the amendment in this house. If such an argument is sound, it is equally logical to argue that because a constituency voted overwhelmingly "no", the member representing that constituency should vote against this amendment. To my mind that is the wrong basis on which an hon. member should determine his actions in parliament. In all matters we should bring to parliament the viewpoint of our electors, both the majority electors and the minority electors in our constituencies, and we should listen to the viewpoints of other members, who likewise should express the opinions of the majority and minority electors in their ridings. Then, having heard and considered all the viewpoints, we should do those things which we think are in the best interests of all Canadians.

The question on which the people voted was:

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 people voted by an overwhelming majority to release the government. But the government is responsible to parliament. Therefore parliament, after having sought the advice of the people, should, provided they feel that it is in the best interests of Canada to do so, carry out the wishes of the people and release the government from past pledges

Mobilization Act-Mr. Macdonald (Brantford)

so that it can administer this act in accordance with its provisions. These, as I have pointed out, provide for the administration not by parliament but by order in council. Surely no one in this house wants a second debate on this issue. Let us debate it now. Let us decide it once and for all time now, and leave it with the government to bring in compulsion for overseas service when it is necessary to do so.

If, however, some hon. members feel that parliamentary government is being disregarded, there is a simple way in which the government could, if it thought it desirable, ensure effective parliamentary control in this matter. If and when it reaches the decision that the voluntary system is no longer adequate and that men serving compulsorily should be sent overseas, the government might come to parliament, announce its decision and the reasons therefor, and stand or fall on a vote of this house. There need be no debate; there should be no debate in such an emergency.

By following this course, the government would know it had the backing of parliament, and members of parliament would know the true situation and be in a position to explain it to their constituents.

This was the method followed when Canada decided to declare war. No time was lost; no time was wasted; and yet the supremacy of parliament was maintained.

There is another matter to which I should like to refer. We will all admit that as yet war has brought little hardship and suffering to many people in Canada. There have been casualty lists, and our hearts go out to those who have lost loved ones and to those whose loved ones are daily risking their lives on land, on sea, and in the air. But for the vast majority it has been a comfortable war, and we have gone unconcernedly along our way with the implicit faith of a child in ultimate victory. In fact, some of us have thought that we could win this war without fighting it, and for that reason many view as unnecessary any proposed amendment to the act. We may as well face the fact now that it will be necessary for us to fight this war and that we shall be forced to take the offensive. We must open up a second front. We cannot win the war without it. When or where a second front will be opened up, I do not presume to say, but I do say that we must begin to think in terms of offence rather than in terms of defence. In the early days of the war it was natural that we should have been satisfied with the old British slogan, "What we have, we'll hold"; but surely, after seeing our possessions passing one by one into the hands of the enemy, we must begin to realize that if we would hold what we have, if we would hold our own 44561-222

beloved Canada, we must start thinking and planning and acting on the offensive rather than on the defensive.

At the outbreak of war we dreaded the years which were before us because of the many horrors war would bring. Many of us had fought and had miraculously lived through the last war, and we knew what a terrible hell war was. However, we were soon to be told that it was to be an economic war, that we would slowly but surely starve the enemy into submission and that comparatively few soldiers, sailors and airmen would be killed; in other words, that it would be a comfortable war. Accordingly our armed forces sat down in the comparative quiet and comfort and safety of the Maginot line. I do not need to tell you, sir, what a rude awakening was in store for us. I do not need to tell you of the gallant defensive action which our troops carried out. No men ever fought with greater courage and no generals ever showed greater defensive strategy than in the retreat of 1940, and then came the miraculous and providential delivery from Dunkirk. Mr. Churchill said:

We shall defend our island whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the beaches, we shall light on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills. We shall never surrender.

The British people worked like Trojans and surrounded their island with what we and they hope will be invulnerable defensive works, not jumping-off places from which they can attack the enemy, but defensive barriers which the enemy cannot surmount. Then the British people went to work in the factories. They forged the necessary defensive weapons and, secure behind their barriers, said, "Let 'em all come!" And you and I sat back here in Canada and said "Let 'em all come!" We said, "They can't get into that great British island, that great island fortress." We said, "They can't get through the British fleet to our shores," and we sat down on what we thought was the security of the defences built by someone else for us.

To-day, when ships are being sunk along the Atlantic coast and in the gulf of St. Lawrence and along the Pacific coast, we find that war is at our very shores and immediately the cry from our defence-minded population goes out, "Send no more men out of Canada"; "Bring back to defend our shores all the Canadians in Britain." I am sure the Prime Minister; I am sure this government will never yield to this defensive, defeatist short-sighted attitude. This war will never be won or lost on Canadian soil. The enemy may not make any landings on our shores; but if the enemy, without having attempted to set foot in Canada, wins a complete, ultimate and decisive

3504 COMMONS

Mobilization Act-Mr. Macdonald (Brantjord)

victory abroad, then Canada will be lost to you and to me and to our children and to our children's children.

We have heard a great deal about psychological warfare. The first psychological change which we must make is from the defensive to the offensive state of mind. This does not mean the armed forces only. It means all the people, because, before this war is over, we shall all be in it, either on the home front or in the battle front, and this applies not only to Canada, but to the United States, to Britain and to all our allies. It is hopeless to think that any one of them can do it alone. We all must be ready to give our all, not only our money, not only our property, but also our very lives in this titanic struggle. There are many things worse than death, and one would be life under Japanese taskmasters. If we would preserve our way of life; if we would preserve our democratic institutions; if we would preserve our very freedom, it may be necessary for many of us-and all of us must be prepared-to lose our lives to save our way of life, our democratic institutions and our freedom.

In conclusion, I would appeal to all hon. members, irrespective of party, province, creed or race to rally behind the government at this time of national crisis. Under our democratic form of government it is impossible for the Prime Minister to be the political leader of all Canadians. It should, however, be remembered that he is the Prime Minister of all Canadians. Some hon. members would prefer a Prime Minister of their particular political stripe, but for the time being at least that is not possible. Why not then accept his leadership and give him whole-hearted cooperation. Hon. members as individuals might prefer another Prime Minister, but let us be frank about the matter; let us face the facts. Is there another man in Canada who would be as generally acceptable to all the people of Canada as the present Prime Minister? For sixteen years he has guided the destinies of our people and kept us united as no other leader could have done. Give him the support which he so justly merits, and I am confident that under his leadership Canada will play such a magnificent part in this war that generations of Canadians yet unborn will forever glory in the accomplishments of our farmers and working men and working women and in the heroic deeds of our soldiers, sailors and airmen.

On motion of Mr. Macdonald (Kingston City) the debate was adjourned.

On motion of Mr. Mackenzie King the house adjourned at 6 p.m. '

Monday, June, 22, 1942

Topic:   MOBILIZATION ACT
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June 19, 1942