July 6, 1942

NAT

Grote Stirling

National Government

Hon. GROTE STIRLING (Yale):

Mr. Speaker, it will not take me very long to state

my position with regard to the bill now before the house for second reading. Its purpose is to amend the National Resources Mobilization Act of 1940 by repealing the restrictive section which stands in the way of posting a trained man to a unit which is to serve overseas, which restriction was placed in that act because of a commitment the government had previously made and which it found was an obstacle in the path of a total war effort. To rid itself of that commitment it held a plebiscite. We did not agree with the holding of the plebiscite; we argued against it, and stated our objections. However, those objections were overruled and the plebiscite became law'. We threw ourselves with considerable energy into the campaign, which was to endeavour to facilitate the getting out of the vote all through Canada so that the electors might state their answer to the question being asked them. As everybody knows, the result of that plebiscite was a strong affirmative vote. We still believe that the government did not follow the right course in not energetically and courageously taking the steps which it considered should be taken, and, if necessary, asking parliament for its opinion thereon.

Certainly I support the bill. But the situation does not seem to be quite as simple as that. Speaking on the plebiscite bill in February the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) stated that in the opinion of the government it was not necessary to introduce conscription, that if that time did come the government proposed to state the facts to parliament and let parliament decide. On introducing this bill a month ago, however, the Prime Minister, although stating again that the government felt that conscription was not necessary, went on to say that in his opinion this was the time and certainly this was the place in which the question of conscription should be debated, and that as he did not want conscription to be twice debated, perhaps in the same year, now was the time to debate it. It has been debated to some extent. Debates culminate in votes. Therefore this vote, which will be taken perhaps to-morrow, being a division on the second reading of the bill, will have to be used by hon. members to answer two questions. It will not be an entanglement for me because I am prepared to support the bill and all that the bill entails, but I can well imagine that there may be hon. members who desire to support the bill which removes the commitments of the government but who are not prepared to vote for conscription.

It is a matter worth recording that ever since the beginning of the war the government

Mobilization Act-Mr. Stirling

has proceeded nervously and haltingly toward a total war. The extent to which Canada's war effort has been magnificent does not appear to me to have been due so much to the effort of the government as it has to the strident expressions of public opinion which have reached us from the country. It will be recalled that on May 22, 1940, the date on which in the parliament of the United Kingdom an emergency bill containing very wide powers was introduced, passed through all its stages, and received the royal assent, the leader of the opposition (Mr. Hanson) asked the Prime Minister whether the government had considered the advisability of doing likewise. The Prime Minister replied that consideration had been given to measures of a sweeping character, but that he could not say more until he had seen the United Kingdom legislation.

Four weeks passed and then at an interview with the Prime Minister, sought and obtained by the leader of the opposition, somewhat detailed proposals were made to the right hon. gentleman that the government should bring in a measure which would give it very wide powers indeed to cope with the alarming situation. By the signal mercy of God alone the British and allied troops had been evacuated successfully from Dunkirk, but Britain then stood alone faced by a powerful enemy drunk with success, and the only assistance then forthcoming-France was tottering to a fall- was from the dominions, which were gradually gathering in force. I was present at that interview, and a discussion ensued between the Prime Minister and his colleagues and the leader of the opposition. The leader of the opposition pressed upon the Prime Minister the desirability of' creating for his government far wider powers than they then had.

The Prime Minister suggested that the matter might be allowed to rest for twenty-four hours before the Leader of the Opposition made any public statement thereon, and that was acceded to by the colleagues of the Leader of the Opposition after he had discussed it with them. On the following day, June 18, 1940, the Prime Minister introduced the national resources mobilization bill, and the house gave it first and second readings. It was printed and distributed; the house gave it third reading on June 20, and it received the royal assent on June 21. The official opposition had proposed it to the government. A month later it had pressed it on the government and only then was it introduced; and, warmly supported by the opposition, it became law.

The first notable action under the mobilization act was the holding of a national regis-

tration, a numbering of the people, an effort to find out just exactly what people there were and what they might be able to do best. It was announced by the Prime Minister on his introduction of the bill, in these words:

A national registration of Canada's manpower will accordingly be instituted at once.

[DOT]ri emPhasize the fact that this registration will have nothing whatever to do with the recruitment of men for overseas service.

The registration took place on August 19, 20 and 21 of 1940. But it must be remembered that just about a year before, that is a day or two after Canada entered the war, the hon. member for Broadview (Mr. Church) advocated just such a numbering of the people. This was his phraseology:

A general survey of all skilled labour and man-power in order to throw light on the adequacy or inadequacy of Canada's resources and to plan in advance the proper allocation of our man-power between the ages of eighteen and sixty-five.

That was on September 9, 1939. Eight months later, nothing having been done in that direction, he placed a question on the order paper asking whether such a registration would be undertaken, to which the Prime Minister replied that "it was not customary to announce government policy in answer to specific questions on the order paper".

On the 27th of May, the hon. member for Waterloo South (Mr. Homuth) again emphasized the necessity for such a registration, for the reasons already given, but also for another reason, namely, to enable the government to tackle the question of the fifth columnists, which at least in some parts of Canada was causing considerable alarm to the people. And he also would have liked to have the registration include all men and women above the age of sixteen.

On the same day the leader of the opposition appealed to the Minister of National Defence asking for a comprehensive survey of the availability and suitability of industrial activity to help win the war, to which the late Hon. Norman Rogers replied that national registration "had received the careful study to which it was entitled".

Thus again the official opposition, carrying out its expressed determination to do all in its power to help the government in its war effort, proposed in detail action which, months later, was effected.

The registration was the basis for placing young men of chosen ages and of certain medical categories in training camps, and the first period of that training was a thirty-day period. It must be remembered that the

Mobilization Act-Mr. Stirling

Prime Minister now refers to the placing of the men in training camps under the 1940 act as an acceptance of the policy of conscription. The first phase was for thirty-day training periods; that was in October of 1940. Almost at once a clamour arose in the country that a thirty-day period for training was utterly inadequate, that these young men after but a few days of actual training work would slip back into civil life and that their work would largely be lost.

On November 12, a month after the camps started, the leader of the opposition asked that the training period be extended to four months, half of which should be training of a preliminary character and the other half training of a more detailed nature, graduation being required from the one to the other. That suggestion also was adopted, and the four months training period began in February of 1941. But at the end of the period, whether it was thirty days or four months, the trained men would return to civil life and a good deal of the training work that had been accomplished, costing time and money on the part of the taxpayers and the men and the instructors who were appointed for that purpose, would largely be lost; and once more it was the leader of the opposition who first drew attention to the necessity of retaining the services of these trained men, and who put it into words in this form when he was speaking in the house on March 14, on the war appropriation bill;

Under these regulations in a limited sense that is true; but the country has no right under these regulations to use these men to defend this country abroad, and that is the weakness of the whole position. The country has the right to utilize the services of these men in the event of an invasion of Canada. But time and again we have had it explained in this house by the ministry that the first line of defence in this country is not here but over there. Why, then, has the government not had the courage to go the whole way and retain the absolute right to utilize the services of these men for the defence of Canada over there, aftergiving them four months' training and spending the huge sums of money that have been spent on military education? That is going the whole length and putting the thing in a nutshell.

Two months after the camps started on a four-months basis the announcement was made that the trained men would be retained in the active army for the duration of the war.

There are four occasions on which the official opposition pressed on the government schemes and suggestions, some detailed in extent, and urgently demanded in the country, and which, after a lapse of months, were adopted and put into operation by the government. And they were not the only suggestions made to the government. The official opposition was by no

means the only body of thought in this country which was pressing suggestions on the government for a more rapid mobilization of all that Canada had and could use. Those manifestations were growing before 1941 particularly, and hon. members will not forget the statement put forward by the Canadian Legion, which seemed to pick up all those thoughts which were raging through the country and bring them under one head. Let me read one phrase which occurs toward the end of that call, so well-known throughout the country as the Canadian Legion's statement;

Canada needs and is seeking a courageous, a moral and a spiritual lead. You yourself, sir-

The statement was addressed to the Prime Minister.

-have forcibly and repeatedly made known your own clear knowledge of the issues at stake and of the terrible dangers which lie ahead. Canada wants you to implement to the full your inspired pronouncement: "There is only one wav to meet 'total war' and that is by 'total effort'-effort not for a day, or a week, or a month, but every day until victory is won.

I have no doubt that I am not singular amongst hon. members in having been literally deluged with resolutions from societies and associations of every description, who seem to have been impelled, after that call from the legion was put forth, to add their support, by resolution, by letter, by postcard, by word of mouth. They came in every form and description of manifesto that could possibly be used, and indeed another eruption of postcards is taking place at the present time, all emphasizing the same note-total effort for total war. The pressure that the people of Canada have brought to bear on Canada is the measure to-day of Canada's war effort.

Now I come to occasions when greater activity was urged upon the government to provide more materials for war.

On May 28, 1940, the leader of the opposition (Mr. Hanson) asked for a statement from the government on the production of tanks. On the same day the hon. member for Parkdale (Mr. Bruce) alluded to the shortage of tanks for training. He also asked a question on the order paper, followed a few days later by a question by myself, for the relevant papers connected with the correspondence between the manufacturers and the government on the subject of tanks, to which the minister a few days later replied that search was being made but that so far no relevant documents had reached him. The following day the hon. member for Parkdale returned to the subject and gave details of firms capable of undertaking such work if directed to proceed, remarking-so truly- that there was no manufacture that Canadian

Mobilization Act-Mr. Stirling

industry could not undertake if it was directed so to do. That is a fact which Canadian industry and Canadian labour have proved up to the hilt. The gist of the minister's reply was that it was not so far the policy of the government to proceed with the manufacture of tanks; that Canadian industry was becoming increasingly busy in making things which it had never made before; that the difficulties connected with obtaining the necessary raw materials and the designs, tools and machines, were veiy great, but were gradually being overcome. But Dunkirk had been evacuated; France had fallen; the United Kingdom had lost $2,000,000,000 worth of equipment. The policy of the government changed, Canadian industry was directed to make tanks, it was assisted to make tanks, and Canadian industiy and Canadian labour to-day are making tanks. I read in the Montreal Gazette of June 30:

The cruiser tank, made in Canada, is of Canadian design. Its cast steel welded armour plate, which makes the use of rivets unnecessary, presents no flat surface. The rounded contour renders it less vulnerable to direct hits.

Not only is Canadian industry being directed and assisted to make tanks; Canadian industry and Canadian labour are making tanks which are being used on many fronts to-day, and those tanks are actually made to the design of Canadian designers who, making use of the information and knowledge gleaned so far, have been able to adapt their special knowledge to the furthering and the proving of design of these instruments of war.

I go a little further, with regard to shipbuilding. Hon. members will remember that, not so very long after the outbreak of war, Canada embarked on the making of corvettes for Britain and for us, also the making of mine-sweepers, patrol ships and a great variety of smaller craft. But she did not get busy with the building of freighters. The toll of sinkings rose, and every now and again became so intense that it was a larger figure than the output of the shipbuilding yards of the allied countries. The Canadian government did not seem to be ready to go into the building of freighters. The hon. member for Vancouver South (Mr. Green), speaking in this house on June 14, 1940, said-Hansard, page 785:

I would ask the minister if it would not be possible for Canada now to enter upon a programme for the construction of ships up to, let us say, 10,000 tons.

On March 10, 1941-the question was still open after ten months-the leader of the opposition used these words-Hansard, page 1391:

I, believe that the genius of our people and their desire to see a rehabilitation of this industry in the maritime provinces is sufficient to overcome what are insuperable difficulties in the minds of some persons, but which fade into insignificance when one gets down to realities.

The following day the hon. member for Davenport (Mr. MacNicol) said-Hansard, page 1450:

In my judgment ... the minister will find shortly that the whole shipbuilding programme will have to be revamped with the objective of perhaps making it one hundred times bigger than it is to-day.

It would not be so very much bigger, seeing that practically none were being built at that time. On April 1, 1941, the hon. member for Cumberland (Mr. Black), said- Hansard, page 2077:

If shipbuilding is as urgent as we believe it to be, the number of ships being built in Nova Scotia should be manyfold the number being built to-day. The minister says that the shipyards of Nova Scotia should be humming. Why are they not humming? Because there is no humming on the part of the minister and the government and those associated with them.

There are four instances, over nearly two years, of endeavours on the part of members of the opposition to get the government started on the building of freighters, against the day when the submarine menace-and it has unfortunately come true on the west side of the Atlantic-would be sinking ships at such a rate that the shipbuilding powers of the allies would not keep up with it. Again the minister made his defence. He stated that the difficulty so far was to find the necessary labour to keep the repair yards going, and that until that difficulty had been met it would not be possible in his opinion to proceed to shipbuilding. But that difficulty was surmounted, the registration had taken place, and if it was possible then and in subsequent months to find and adapt the necessary labour, I maintain that it would have been possible a year beforehand to do so.

I do not place these things on record at this time in a spirit of belittlement of what Canada's effort has amounted to-not at all -but because there seems to be surrounding this government a mutual admiration society of supporters who do nothing but nauseatingly stroke the back of the government and place it on record that the government and the government only is responsible for what Canada has accomplished. I do not put this on record for the purpose of patting the opposition on the back-the opposition was merely carrying out its distinct statement to the government of its desire to help-but

Mobilization Act-Mr. Stirling

because through this country there are organizations in great numbers, besides individuals, who from the beginning have endeavoured to bring pressure to bear upon the government to get busy and busier than they had been up till then. And now the government wants to remove the hindrance.

In approaching the question of an amendment to the mobilization act we have listened to speeches from three service ministers and several of their colleagues-most interesting speeches-and the comparing of the one with the other gives food for a great deal of thought. But I notice that in the speech of the Minister of National Revenue (Mr. Gibson) he was expressing some dissatisfaction with what he called the conscript. He used the illustration of the commanding officer of a unit in need of reinforcements who would certainly choose the volunteer before he would choose the conscript. But does he shut his eyes to the fact that in this country to-day units of the Canadian active army are composed in just that way? They are composed of volunteers, augmented by compelled men; and if it is a difficulty in the one case it is certainly a difficulty in the other. The hon. member for Vancouver South (Mr. Green) the other day called the attention of the house to difficulties that were arising in the units within Canada with regard to their training, with regard to their relations the one to the other, with regard to the duties to which they are put. It certainly is not a happy condition and there is but one way in which it can be overcome, and that is by the use of the policy of conscription, which the Prime Minister says was included in the 1940 act at the time of its passing.

I now come for a few moments to the question of what the electors of Yale, whose mouthpiece I am in this house, meant by their vote. The Prime Minister had asserted again and again that they were not asked to decide on conscription, but just whether they were ready to free the government from its commitments. I wonder how many times I was asked: "What does this question mean?" I wonder how many times I was asked "What will the government do if the answer is 'yes', or if the answer is 'no'?" I wonder how many times it was said to me, "Well, I know what I mean by voting 'yes' on this plebiscite". To all these queries there was only one answer I could give; I could only quote the sphinx. They had to take the answer as best they might. But they went to the polls, and they went to the polls in greater numbers than I had expected, in greater numbers than in recent general elections. I had certainly been afraid of the apathy that 44561-249

might have been shown by the people of Canada with regard to this plebiscite, but in all Yale 77 per cent of those who could vote did vote. In the city in which I live, 92 per cent of the people who could vote did vote, and 84 per cent of them voted "yes". In Vernon, to the north, 85 per cent voted "yes", in Penticton to the south 88 per cent, and in all Yale 83 per cent voted "yes".

What do I take it that they meant by their "yes", vote? Judging by conversations, correspondence, resolutions, representations through their press, I take it without any doubt whatever that Yale voted five to one "yes" because it was desirous of releasing the government from anything that stood in its path, so that it might proceed to make use of the very wide powers contained in section 2 of the act, powers so wide that the government is empowered thereby to make use of men and women, their possessions, everything that Canada has and can use, which can be adapted to the purposes of total war. That is what they meant by voting "yes". It is quite true that a certain proportion of those who voted "yes" wanted something more than that. They wanted compulsion for service anywhere. How large that fraction is neither I nor anybody else can say, but I know something of the reasons why those who held that view did hold them.

I do not think it was for the purpose of increasing the size of Canada's military forces overseas. . I do not think they knew the facts sufficiently. They have no opinion with regard to that. What the government had undertaken to do on Canada's behalf, and how far they had succeeded in doing it, nobody knew. We did not know it in this house. We have been listening to the speeches of service ministers and others for months past, interwoven with figures of man-power, and I know that they have baffled me. We asked supplementary questions, and answers were not always given, but those that the ministers considered could be given were frequently for some period which did not fit into the general picture. We could not fit them into the picture of those who had been discharged from the service, those whose medical category had been changed, those who were placed in certain work which it was not proper to divulge to us. So we could not get, at least I have never been able to get, a clear picture in my mind as to how the Canadian military forces are divided, where they are, and in what numbers they are proceeding overseas. I do not think, therefore, that that was the reason why the people of Yale so largely voted "yes."

Mobilization Act-Mr. Stirling

There were three other reasons. One was that they were looking at what they believed to be their best men going and their less worthy men remaining behind, and vacancies in labour being filled by those who in their opinion might have gone. In the second place, they were listening to the stories of their men on leave, their men in their correspondence from active service units, describing just what [DOT]the hon. member for Vancouver South described of what was going on in the active service units within Canada doing their training here. And they even went so far in many cases as to allege that the presence of these compelled men in a unit, who would have to be removed before that unit could be sent overseas, was having the effect of preventing that unit from being included in overseas contingents. The third reason was perhaps the strongest of the three. They did not know the extent of the commitment of Canada's military forces overseas, but they read, and they are proud to read, that it is perhaps the finest and the best trained and best equipped force that modern warfare has ever seen, and they know that when the time comes it will be used in the forefront of the battle. Sadly do I remember that that means casualties, and I wonder how you can possibly fill the vacancies caused by casualties if you do not start now to do the training. If you wait until too late to train these men for modern mechanized war we shall but have a repetition of some of the saddest incidents in Canadian military history. I think there is no doubt, if I read the minds of those in Yale constituency who voted "yes," that the majority of them desired conscription, although I am not in a position to say how large that number is.

There is another phase of this matter to which I want to devote the closing minutes of my time. Some week or two ago in this debate I listened to a speech by the hon. member for Pontiac (Mr. McDonald). It was a bitter speech, and I imagine that the old-fashioned way of answering would have been for a similarly bitter speech to be made from this side of the house. Alas! there is ample material for such a speech-but it would have done no good. It would but add another handful of fuel to the flames of controversy. The hon. member told us that seared into his mind there were utterances of his opponents. Does he think he is alone in that? There are certain phrases seared into my mind which were used by a prominent Liberal French leader in the by-election in Rimouski, which was followed a few months later by the by-election as a result of which I found myself a member of this House

of Commons. I do not repeat those dreadful words. I shall not repeat them; they would do no good. But if I am ready to endeavour to forget such things and to move forward on a better road, may I not appeal to the hon. member for Pontiac that he also should endeavour to forget such things as he remembers were spoken by his opponents, so that together, and supported by what I believe to be a tremendous number of people of this country, we should move along a road which will lead to better things?

I listened with great interest to the hon. member for Richelieu-Vercheres (Mr. Cardin), who left his seat in the government because be believed his leader had misled his people. He spoke of the French Canadians having made concession after concession. He surely does not think that they were the only ones who made concessions. He spoke of the accident of nature whereby my blood is apt to tingle when British institutions are in danger, whereas by another accident of nature he has to make use of his reasoning powers before he can express his admiration for British institutions. As he spoke I wondered whether, being no less intelligent than I, he had made use of all his powers in endeavouring to withstand those awful inaccuracies used among his compatriots, that the great war was an imperial war. An imperial war? With British troops, supported by troops from the dominions, endeavouring, shoulder to shoulder with French troops, to repel the invaders of France-and that this war is an English war! Did you ever hear such nonsense? An English war more than an American war, more than a war for the allied countries, every one of those countries that wants above all else to return to a condition under which they may have liberty to think and worship as they will?

On Saturday the United States commemorated their great day. There arrived in Ottawa 200 of their soldiers, and their band, to take part with us in army week. Did they come up here with an idea that this war, in which we and they and seventeen other nations are engaged, was an English war? Surely the hon. member and those other great leaders of French-Canadian thought on whose words his compatriots hang, surely if they had made in the twenty years before 1938 speeches such as some have made since . 1938 we should not be face to face with such a conglomeration of falsehood as apparently rules in some quarters of this country.

I make an appeal to him-

Topic:   MOBILIZATION ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO REPEAL SECTION 3 PROVIDING LIMITATION IN RESPECT TO SERVICE OVERSEAS
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LIB

Georges Parent (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

I am sorry to inform the hon. member that his time has expired.

Mobilization Act-Mr. Michaud,

Topic:   MOBILIZATION ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO REPEAL SECTION 3 PROVIDING LIMITATION IN RESPECT TO SERVICE OVERSEAS
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?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Go on. Finish.

Topic:   MOBILIZATION ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO REPEAL SECTION 3 PROVIDING LIMITATION IN RESPECT TO SERVICE OVERSEAS
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NAT

Grote Stirling

National Government

Mr. STIRLING:

May I finish that

sentence?

Topic:   MOBILIZATION ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO REPEAL SECTION 3 PROVIDING LIMITATION IN RESPECT TO SERVICE OVERSEAS
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LIB

Georges Parent (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

If there is unanimous

consent.

Topic:   MOBILIZATION ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO REPEAL SECTION 3 PROVIDING LIMITATION IN RESPECT TO SERVICE OVERSEAS
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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

I object. The hon.

gentleman cut three minutes off my time the other day.

Topic:   MOBILIZATION ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO REPEAL SECTION 3 PROVIDING LIMITATION IN RESPECT TO SERVICE OVERSEAS
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LIB

Joseph Enoil Michaud (Minister of Public Works; Minister of Fisheries)

Liberal

Hon. J. E. MICHAUD (Minister.of Fisheries) :

I feel impelled to offer you, Mr. Speaker, my apology for injecting myself into a debate which has been protracted beyond reasonable limits. If I do so, and crave your indulgence for a few minutes, it is not for the purpose of throwing any new light on the subject., because I feel that all that could be said pro and con on the question now before the house has been said. If I take the privilege of placing my views on record it is more for the purpose of preventing my silence from being misinterpreted in the future.

In the few moments which I shall take I shall use the English language. I would much prefer to use my own mother tongue; I would feel more at ease and I would have at my command a much broader vocabulary with which to express the shades of my thought. However I realize that were I to speak in French only thirty per cent of the members of the house would follow my remarks, while by using the English language I am presumptuous enough to hope that all those who are within the sound of my voice will be able to understand what I have to say. The fact that if I use my mother tongue in this instance I would not be understood by seventy per cent of the membership of this house is, under the present circumstances, not without its significance. And it is for the purpose of answering the appeal made a few moments ago by the hon. member for Yale (Mr. Stirling) that I will try to convey my thoughts in a language which is not my mother tongue, but which I have adopted and which I delight to use even in the poor manner which is at my command.

I want to make plain at the outset that I am not speaking for any particular section of the country or any particular group in the country. What I have to express are my own personal views, which I believe are shared by many Canadians, wherever in this country they may happen to live or whatever may be their ancestral origin.

The question now being debated, which has been discussed in this parliament and out of it for many days, has, more than any other matter that has arrested public attention within the last twenty-five years, served to emphasize how difficult it is to administer a

country like Canada, so diversified from the point of view of geography, so diversified from the point of view of the different racial elements composing it, and so diversified because, being a young country, it has not yet attained the full maturity of nationhood and the various component elements have not yet been melted into one nation, thinking alike from coast to coast throughout an area extending for more than three thousand miles. It has also emphasized how difficult it is for anyone to undertake to lead a government such as the government of Canada; to mould and bring together different shades of opinion, the views expressed by different elements in the country, and to arrive at one expression which will be the expression of the whole Canadian nation. Nothing more emphasizes this difficulty than a question such as this. Even in connection with a matter of life and death for the nation, we find people professing to be united as to the object desired, but so divided as to the means of attaining that object that one is led to believe that sometimes the end is lost sight of in the mass of details with regard to methods and means of attaining that end. In order, therefore to indicate fully my conclusions I want again to place the question on record, because one is apt to forget what this discussion is all about if once in a while the real question is not brought back into focus before the eyes of those who have to consider it.

We are asked to approve legislation amending an act of parliament assented to on June 21, 1940, and entitled The National Resources Mobilization Act, 1940. Section 2 of that act, which contains the substance of it, reads as follows:

Subject to the provisions of section three hereof, the governor in council may do and authorize such acts and things, and make from time to time such orders and regulations, requiring persons to place themselves, their services and their property at the disposal of his majesty in the right of Canada, as may be deemed necessary or expedient for securing the public safety, the defence of Canada, the maintenance of public order, or the efficient prosecution of the war, or for maintaining supplies or services essential to the life of the community.

Section 3 of the same act, which we are now asked to remove from the statute, reads as follows:

The powers conferred by the next preceding section may not be exercised for the purpose of requiring persons to serve in the military, naval or air forces outside of Canada and the territorial waters thereof.

The reasons for which we are asked to remove this section were enumerated by the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) on.

Mobilization Act-Mr. Michaud

June 10, when he moved the second reading of Bill No. 80, which is now under discussion. At that time the Prime Minister referred to the speech from the throne, in which are found the following paragraphs:

My advisers believe that the magnitude and balanced nature of Canada's war effort is being obscured and impaired by controversy concerning commitments with respect to the methods of raising men for military service which were made prior to the spread of the war to all parts of the world.

The government is of the opinion that, at this time of gravest crisis in the world's history, the administration, subject only to its responsibility to parliament, should in this connection and irrespective of any previous commitments, possess complete freedom to act in accordance with its judgment of the needs of the situation as they may arise.

Then the right hon. gentleman went on to

say, at page 3227 of Hansard for June 10:

You will observe that there were three purposes in holding the plebiscite. The first was that nothing should be allowed to obscure or impair the magnitude and balanced nature of Canada's war effort; the second, that the administration, subject only to its responsibility to parliament, should possess complete freedom to act in accordance with this judgment of the needs of the situation as they may arise in the prosecution of the war; and the third, which has a direct bearing upon the first two, that the government and parliament should not be bound by past commitments, but be free to discuss and to decide, on its merits, the extent of the use of conscription.

Apparently there is unanimity in this house and in the country with regard to the necessity of the government having a free hand and being in a position to take whatever steps are necessary to conduct the war and clear the way for our march to victory. Nevertheless, when we come to consider the means to adopt to attain that end, we find that various opinions are offered and that the nation is apparently divided not simply into two factions but into half a dozen factions at least. May I indicate and underline the main points on which the people of this country, through their spokesmen in the House of Commons, are divided?

First we have a group which suggests that nothing should be done, that section 3 should not be eliminated, that the government should not be given a free hand until finance and industry have been mobilized and conscripted.

We have another group which holds the view and advocates that the government should have no right or power to mobilize man-power for overseas service until industry and finance have been mobilized and conscripted concurrently with man-power.

We have a third group which holds that man-power only should be conscripted, and mobilized by compulsion now.

As between these three sets of opinions there is much difference. There is no one view which commands a strong enough body of opinion in the country to justify its adoption by the government as the expression of the will of the majority of the Canadian people. If the government were to predicate the mobilization of the army upon mobilization of all the other resources in the country, I am sure that would not meet with the approval of the majority of public opinion, because, whatever may be the merits of such a policy, public opinion is not yet ready to accept it. On the other hand, as to total mobilization of man-power now for service anywhere, it has not yet been demonstrated that the need is urgent or that this step is necessary to make the war effort total.

In the face of these divergent views what is the Prime Minister to do? Before going any further, may I refer to another set of views which is held by a large percentage of our population-complete opposition to compulsory service for overseas. In order to understand fully this attitude and these views which are held by Canadians of French origin in this country, let me open up the background and show where these views have their origin and where this opposition to conscription for overseas service takes its root.

It cannot be said that Canadians, whether of French or of British origin, are unalterably opposed to conscription, because they are favourable to compulsory service for the defence of their country. They have approved it in the mobilization act, and they still approve it so far as compulsory service is applicable to the defence of our own country. They are in favour of conscription for the defence of Canada. On the other hand, they are opposed to conscription for overseas.

What does "overseas" mean? To the French Canadian, to those whose racial roots have grown in the soil of Canada for over 300 years, to the descendants of those who came here from 300 to 400 years ago from the land of their forbears to which they never returned and have never shown any inclination to return, overseas means the land of the French revolution with all its terrors, the land of perpetual war and social upheaval, the land whence came their conquerors, the land of the imperialists, whether British, French or German. For a people like the French Canadians, not internationally minded, overseas wars have never had any appeal. French Canadians have never thought that it was

Mobilization Act-Mr. Michaud

their national duty to enlist to fight overseas wars, whether they be for the support of British, French or German imperialism. The French Canadian has never considered it a part of his national duties to accept any obligation to fight in a war beyond the territorial limits of his own country.

In order to indicate the opinion of those who write and are in position to speak for the Canadian people, in order to show how little internationally minded are the French Canadians, I should like to quote an excerpt from an article by the Abbe Arthur Maheux, published in a booklet entitled "Food for Thought", put out by the Canadian association for adult education. I quote:

From the beginning the French Canadians were far from being internationally minded. The first settlers who came from France in the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries were mostly craftsmen who became farmers in new France. Even in the homeland their outlook had been local rather than national. They were more interested in Normandy, Perche, Anjou, Poitou, Aunis, Saintonge, than in France as a whole. Other countries were of little concern to them.

In new France they virtually lost sight of Europe. For them Europe meant only wars into which they were forced against their will and against their immediate interests. France controlled their life, dictated policies, and forbade the development of desired industries. The result was that the settlers soon became North American in outlook. That spirit grew stronger with the cession of Canada to England in 1763. Then they were really Canadians in name as they had been in feeling and tradition since perhaps 1698 or the treaty of Ryswiek.

That serves to show some of the background of the French Canadian and explains his objection to fighting either overseas or beyond the limits of his country. Canadians of French origin have always been willing to bear arms for the defence of their country. In 1760 they fought against the British and lost, but sixteen years later they fought with the British in order to prevent the invasion of Canada by another branch of the British family living to the south. In 1812 they again took up arms for the defence of their country and to support the British crown and British authority in Canada. This has happened all down through history. Perhaps I may be permitted to mention another instance where Canadians of French descent fought to uphold the British crown and British traditions in Canada. I refer to the incidents which preceded the signing of the Webster-Ashburton treaty on August 9, 1842.

On August 9 of this year one hundred years will have elapsed since the last regretful incident between the United States and Canada. The Ashburton treaty settled many

questions, but one important one from the Canadian standpoint was the dispute over the international and the north-eastern boundary between the state of Maine and the province of New Brunswick. In 1820 Maine was made a state in the union. A large wooded territory extended to the Quebec border and to what was then New Brunswick, but the exact line of demarcation between the three countries had never been clearly established and located.

United States citizens from Maine came north to settle upon what French settlers, who had been there for several years, considered to be their land. For fifteen years United States citizens tried to take possession of this territory by hoisting the United States flag on the north side of the St. John river. This land was inhabited and settled by French fugitives from old Acadia, by people who about twenty-five years previously had seen their lands and property destroyed. They had had to take refuge in the hinterland in order to escape the persecutions of British bureaucrats who thought it profitable to take possession of their lands and scatter the owners through the forests. For fifteen years this territory had been defended by people of French origin, by people who not long before had been looked upon as rebels, by people who had been chased over the ocean and who had found their way through the forests and had tried to take possession of land which they thought belonged to them. In 1842 this part of New Brunswick and Quebec was saved to the British crown by the loyalty and persistent determination of the French settlers of that country who protected it against the invaders, against the Bostonians as they were called.

It cannot be said that the French Canadians are not loyal, are not true to their land and are not ready to defend their country. Like many others, Canadians of French origin have not yet fully realized that this war is no longer a British or European war, but has become a Canadian and world war. To support this statement I should like to quote not a Canadian of French origin but an article written by Mr. Leslie Roberts and which appeared in the Toronto Saturday Night of January 17, 1942:

From its inception, the war has been hammered home to Canadians as an empire war. We are far less Canadian than we were in 1939. The words "British" and "empire" occur in almost every sentence of the war news and the newscasts. Practically nobody has stressed the fact that this is a Canadian war, which Canadians are fighting in order to save the Canadian way of life for the people of Canada.

Mobilization Act-Mr. Michaud

We have facing us, and we have to contend with, four different suggestions as to what should be the policy of the government in waging total war to save the Canadian way of life. There are those who suggest that material, financial and industrial resources should be mobilized first, and next, human resources. We have the suggestion that all resources, whether material or human, should be mobilized concurrently but that the mobilization of man-power should not take place before the mobilization of material resources. We have the suggestion that the mobilization of man-power should be compulsory and immediate. On the other hand we have the suggestion that man-power should not be mobilized for overseas or for service outside the territorial limits of Canada.

In the face of such a jigsaw puzzle, what is the duty of the leader of the government? What is the duty of the government? It is to find a place for each piece and a piece for each place; and that has been the policy pursued by the Prime Minister. Notwithstanding the fact that he has been attacked from within and without, he has persistently and consistently tried to mould and integrate each set of views so that each should fit in its place and a place should be found for each, so that it would be possible for the Canadian nation to offer to the enemy a picture which would spell in bold letters Canada's total war effort. In the working out of this puzzle the Prime Minister has proceeded on two basic principles: unity and balance. The war effort of Canada cannot be total and complete unless it is properly balanced, unless each department having to contribute to the effort is properly balanced both in materials and in men. The war effort of Canada cannot be said to be total and complete if it is not the expression of the wish and the will and the work of all sections of this country and all elements composing the Canadian nation.

Therefore, Mr. Speaker, I feel that, notwithstanding the difficulties which have to be encountered, notwithstanding the fact that the Prime Minister and the government have been criticized and vilified for not adopting, to the exclusion of all others, one set of views, by those who are preferring them, I feel that he has followed the right policy. He has followed the policy which has characterized the Canadian statesmen who have achieved something and who have their names on the roll of history. He has pursued the patient, reasonable and tactful way which was followed on occasions not as difficult as

the one we are going through, but nevertheless, difficult according to the times, by Sir John A. Macdonald, by Cartier, by Sir Wilfrid Laurier, and also by Sir Robert Borden until he made the mistake of yielding to an element which caused him to bring about during the last war a policy which inflicted such a deep wound in the side of the nation that after twenty-five years it is not yet healed.

So long as our Prime Minister continues to follow such a policy of prudence, of trying to get all the different viewpoints and to induce all elements to unite in the war effort, I shall give him my full support.

So far as I am concerned, Mr. Speaker, conscription, to me, is neither a fetish, a symbol, nor an article of faith; it is merely a method of levying men and goods required to support the war needs of Canada. Whether or when this method should be resorted to depends on circumstances which may exist at a given moment. So far we have been fortunate enough to have , carried on our war effort without having recourse to compulsory measures for overseas service. We have raised an army which is a credit to our country without having recourse to compulsion, and it is my hope and wish that we shall never have to resort to compulsory measures to fill the ranks of our army. Were such a method instituted at the present time, before the Canadian public fully realizes how difficult the situation is, how necessary it is to do everything possible to defend our countiy, it would be suicidal instead of being helpful; it would impair our effort rather than help it. Nevertheless, in time of crisis, I feel-

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LIB

Alphonse Fournier

Liberal

The ACTING SPEAKER (Mr. Fournier, Hull):

The hon. gentleman has spoken forty minutes.

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?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Go on.

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LIB

Joseph Enoil Michaud (Minister of Public Works; Minister of Fisheries)

Liberal

Mr. MICHAUD:

In time of crisis, I feel the government must have full and unlimited authority to work for the security of the nation, and the security of the nation should be the ultimate law. That is why I support the measure which the government has presented to the house, in order to give the government, the Prime Minister, whoever may be at the head of affairs, full and complete authority to do the best under the circumstances when they arise.

I regret, Mr. Speaker, that the time is so limited. I had a few more remarks to add, but I will reserve them until we sit in committee.

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CCF

Angus MacInnis

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

Mr. ANGUS MacINNIS (Vancouver East):

Mr. Speaker, this group has not taken a very

Mobilization Act-Mr. Maclnnis

great part in this debate between two wings of the government party, but an amendment has been moved and we thought we should make our decision on this amendment clear. The amendment was moved on June 18 by the hon. member for Gaspe (Mr. Roy), and it reads:

That all the words after the word "that" in the motion be deleted and the following substituted therefor:

"This house is of the opinion that the policy of the government respecting mobilization, instead of drawing closer the union of the two races in Canada has fostered dissensions which might cause an internal war, thus destroying the ideal set forth by the fathers of confederation."

This group endeavoured to move an amendment to the motion for second reading which would indicate our attitude to the bill, but in that we failed. However, we must say that we cannot support this amendment because, though we disagree with the bill as it now is, we cannot give our support to the idea that any section of the Canadian people is entitled to oppose legislation that has been brought into being by the will of this parliament. When we do not agree with legislation we state our position here; but when parliament has passed it, then we feel bound to accept such legislation. So we cannot oppose this bill on the basis that it might cause strife within Canada. If any measure is administered equitably, then the will of the majority must always prevail.

As I mentioned, we tried to state our position in relation to the bill as it now stands, and we failed. One of our reasons for opposing the bill is our belief that a conscription measure of this nature is of sufficient importance that all the regulations incidental to it should be placed before this house before they become law.

Within the last few weeks there has come to my notice a scandalous misuse of the national war services regulations in Canada. So, in addition to stating our position on the amendment already mentioned, I wish to draw these matters to the attention of the house because I do not believe that such procedure should be allowed to continue.

During the discussion on the war appropriation resolution I drew to the attention of the Minister of National War Services (Mr. Thorson) what at that time I believed to be a misuse of the regulations for the purpose of removing a labour organizer from his functions as such. The minister investigated the matter and found that in his opinion the national war services regulations have been used for that purpose; and, acting on what he found, he sent the following telegram to the person indicated1 therein. I am quoting from a return to a motion moved by myself in this house on June 19. I am reading a copy of a telegram from the Minister of National War Services to the Hon. A. M. Manson, chairman of the national war services board, division K, Vancouver:

Re Alan C. Wright: Your telegram dated yesterday received and contents noted. I confirm directions contained in my telegram re this man. Please comply with directions contained therein immediately. Notify all persons concerned that notice to report for military training has been cancelled with cancellation effective morning May 21.

J. T. Thorson,

Minister of National War Services.

I also wish to read from a letter addressed to Major-General L. R. LaFleche, D.S.O., associate deputy minister of national war services, Ottawa, Ontario, and signed by A. M. Manson, national war services board, Vancouver. I will not read the whole of the letter because it is rather long. I will quote two paragraphs which would indicate that if what the boards are doing in other parts of Canada is the same as what the board is doing in Vancouver, it is time the boards were changed and people put in charge of them who have some idea of proper democratic British procedure in such matters. Referring to Alan C. Wright, I quote:

Some nine months ago this board arrived at the conclusion that there were several hundred young men in this province who had come in from other provinces and had not notified the registrar of the fact that they were resident here. We were firmly of the opinion that they had not in all probability notified the registrar of the administrative division from which they had come that they had moved to British Columbia. We have been in touch with the employment service of Canada with a view to rounding up as many of these nomads as possible. We were of the opinion that they were a disorderly element and that the situation was not satisfactory.

I did not know that, if someone considers a person "disorderly" that is sufficient reason to notify such persons to report foi military service. It is not even in the order in council that being disorderly is a reason for being called up for military service. There are other remedies, and the chairman of the national war services board is not the man to put these remedies into effect. It is none of his concern; it is none of his business.

Early in this year we called in the Vancouver chief of police for a conference and asked his assistance in cleaning up the situation; he had had considerable trouble with young men who were at loose ends.

That is, young men who were out of work.

We suggested to him that in all such cases he should have his officers ask men of this class

3948 COMMONS

Mobilization Act-Mr. Maclnnis

to produce their registration cards and furnish information from these' registration cards to our registrar. The chief thought the idea was an excellent one and has been cooperating with us along these lines. I would just add that all through the depression-

To justify his action the chairman goes back to the depression from 1930 on.

and subsequently Vancouver city has had hundreds of drifters come in from other provinces as far east as Quebec, and they have been a source of great trouble.

Why have they been a source of great trouble? Because the government of this country could not or would not find for them the wherewithal to live.

The letter continues:

I gathered from the press that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police approached the above named Wright some weeks ago and asked for the production of his registration card. That was not done on instruction or suggestion of our registrar or of any member of this board. However it was reported to us that Wright was of callable age and had been in this province for some time and that he had come here from the east. It was further reported to us that he was engendering trouble in our war industry. Upon being assured that we had ao record of a change of address, I personally requested that his registration card should be sent from administrative division B to this registration division; that was done in April and his card disclosed that he was of callage age.

I submit that is not the business of the chairman of the national war services board to ask that any card be moved from one district to another. There is a procedure for that, but it does not lie with the chairman of the national war services board in any division.

The Hon. Mr. Manson was rather peeved at the attitude of and the action taken by the Minister of National War Services. I wish here to congratulate the minister upon the action he took; I doubt whether there is another minister in the cabinet who would have taken the same action upon finding the same condition. So the chairman of the board sent a long telegram, three foolscap pages-I suppose this is an example of war economy-to the minister, justifying his position. I shall not read the whole telegram. It is dated May 22, 1942, addressed to Hon. J. T. Thorson:

Re Alan Chamberlain Wright, K 2683. Respectfully draw attention facts following information given me April 21 last that above-named had been here some time and that he was registered electoral district 166 B division. I requested B division transfer card here which done April 27. Found callable and I then requested my registrar send notice medical which done April 29. Doctor reported May 2 category A and Wright called May 6 for camp May 21. On May 4 registrar received letter from Wright requesting postponement for at least three

[Mr. Maclnnis.1

months and stating resident of Toronto and here temporarily on organization work for steel workers organizing committee and stating reasons postponement. Day or two later board heard two gentlemen who requested permission make representations on Wright's behalf. Day or two later again Wright with four others attended before board for an hour. Board formed very unfavourable opinion Wright as obviously bitter hot-headed and temperamentally unsuited for work on which engaged.

I should like to tell the chairman of the national war services board that perhaps there are two people who are unfit for the work on which they are engaged. Mr. Wright may be, but Hon. Mr. Manson definitely is, and nothing could more definitely show that than his own statement.

The telegram continues:

Later board ascertained this man's activities definitely subversive.

Something had to be found on this man. They called him up so that he could not carry on his work as organizer, and so something had to be found to justify the action taken.

Later board ascertained this man's activities definitely subversive industrial peace in two or three plants. In the first two the government and particularly the admiralty had demanded top-speed production. Later information disclosed that in plant which is one of two in the world producing a weapon which the admiralty regards as the most effective defence weapon available against aerial attack this man's activities had resulted in 25 per cent slow-down of production and some sabotage of tools and materials which almost irreplacable and certainly irreplacable for some considerable time. My hoard realized this slow-down and sabotage would cost the lives of our own and allied men and might easily cost the loss of the finest ship in the British navy. The board unanimously concluded no sound reasons for postponement put forward and request was refused on eighteenth. With this decision representative of national defence department and representative of national labour supply board attached to our board were in entire accord.

But it was not until after they had called up this man and after all the preliminaries had been gone through and after he had been told to report for military service that they found all this out. If this is true as stated in this telegram, Wright's place is not in the army; he should have been arrested and tried in a court of law.

Now I have the minister's reply to Hon. Mr. Manson. I shall not read the entire letter; I shall read just the pertinent paragraphs:

Ottawa, May 23, 1942.

Hon. A. M. Manson,

Chairman, National WTar Services Board, Vancouver, B.C.

Re Alan C. Wright

My review of all the facts with regard to this matter whi ch have been brought to my atten-

Mobilization Act-Mr. Maclnnis

tion has led me to the conclusion that it may reasonably be inferred from the facts that this man's card was transferred from division B at Toronto to division K at Vancouver for the purpose of giving your board jurisdiction to order him to report for military training and thereby to remove him from the labour activities in which he was engaged.

I say again that I congratulate the minister upom his courageous action. The minister goes on:

I do not dispute the statements that this man has been troublesome nor do I have any doubt that you and the members of your board were actuated by motives that commended themselves to you.

On the other hand I am of the opinion that there is grave doubt as to the regularity of the proceedings that were taken in this man's case. The national war services regulations are of great importance at the present time and it is essential that they should be administered with such regularity and uniformity as is possible. Moreover, they must not be administered for any purpose other than the purposes for which they were designed. They must not be made the instrument of settling disputes. They must not, for example, be made an instrument for interfering with or attempting to settle labour disputes. Indeed they must not be used for any purpose which is ulterior or foreign to the true intent and spirit of the regulations.

In my opinion it may reasonably be inferred from the chain of events in this particular case that a definite plan of action was conceived in Vancouver to remove the above from his activities as a labour organizer by the expedient of using the machinery of the national war services regulations for the purpose and that you, as chairman of the national war services board, took an active part in this plan.

I submit that after the minister sends a letter like that to the chairman of a national war services board with an accusation of that importance, the next step for the minister to take is to ask that chairman to resign, because he has demonstrated by his own words that he is unfit for the position he holds. The people, the fathers and mothers of the young men who are called for service in this country and who have the misfortune to come before Mr. Justice Manson, should insist that he resign that position and give his attention to some other work that comes within the measure of his intellect and understanding.

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LIB

Joseph Thorarinn Thorson (Minister of National War Services)

Liberal

Mr. THORSON:

Would my hon. friend

think it fair to allow one incident, one error, let us say, to offset the excellent service that the chairman of the board has given under very difficult circumstances?

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CCF

Angus MacInnis

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

Mr. MacINNIS:

The minister suggests

that this is just one case, one instance. How do I know it is only one instance?

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LIB

Joseph Thorarinn Thorson (Minister of National War Services)

Liberal

Mr. THORSON:

It is the only one I have heard of.

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CCF

Angus MacInnis

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

Mr. MacINNIS:

Yes, it may be the only

one. In his letter to Major-General LaFleche, I think it was, Mr. Manson said that on this particular occasion they had called up 126 men. Those were perhaps men who did not have the intelligence, the drive and the initiative that Alan Wright had, and consequently did not make an issue of it. But the whole tenor of Mr. Manson's action was to get rid of Wright, as the minister very properly said, because of his labour activities.

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LIB

Arthur Graeme Slaght

Liberal

Mr. SLAGHT:

I should like to raise a

point of order, if the hon. member will permit me.

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CCF

Angus MacInnis

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

Mr. MacINNIS:

I cannot prevent it.

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LIB

Arthur Graeme Slaght

Liberal

Mr. SLAGHT:

I came into the chamber on purpose to listen to my hon. friend discuss Bill No. 80, because I have regard for his views on many matters. But while the subject with which he has occupied his time may be of interest and may be of importance, it does seem to me that it has nothing whatever to do with Bill No. 80, which proposes to strike out section 3 of the National Resources Mobilization Act, which section places a restriction on where men who are called up may be sent to serve. Surely we are far afield in this discussion.

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CCF

Angus MacInnis

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

Mr. MacINNIS:

Well, Mr. Speaker, surely this short bill, No. 80, cannot be taken by itself. It must be taken in connection with the bill it amends; and the bill it amends gives the government the right to do anything mentioned therein. The calling up of men for military service is mentioned in the bill, and surely the way in which these men are called up is a proper subject for debate when this bill is under discussion.

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LIB

Arthur Graeme Slaght

Liberal

Mr. SLAGHT:

Again on a point of order, I appreciate what my hon. friend says; but under the present law men are capable of being called up, and the case in question occurred under the existing law, which it is not proposed to disturb at all by Bill No. 80. I still think my hon. friend is out of order.

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July 6, 1942