the question, now, because we are entitled to know whether the working or the operation or the application of the act of 1940 has been successful. What I find strange is that as soon as something is decided by this house, ns soon as some legislation is passed by the house in one direction, the opposite is done. The purpose of this legislation was the defence of Canada within its own boundaries, and it was after the fall of France that the government decided to establish conscription for home defence. But it was never for home defence; the object was to bring boys to camps where they were submitted to high pressure in order to induce them to enlist for service overseas.
I listened with interest and sorrow to the remarks of the hon. member for Stormont (Mr. Chevrier). He is one of the best debaters in this house, and he has sugar-coated pills. But he knows very well about what happened at Cornwall, though no one objected to his remarks. He knows very well that there was no camp in regard to which the complaints were so numerous. I do not want to be unfair to anyone; I do not want to be unfair to the commanding officer of that camp, because perhaps he was following closely instructions he had been receiving from higher officers in the Department of National Defence and was bound to execute those instructions. Nevertheless I had numerous complaints. I have not so many friends in that part of the country as the hon. member for Stormont, but I have seen young soldiers coming from that camp at Cornwall who told me that the difference between rice soup and rice pudding was that little raisins were floating in the rice pudding, and so on and so on. But that is of no importance whatever. These are frugal men, and they do not insist so much upon the quality of the food that is offered them. Still they were subjected to a thing that is the cause of divorce; I mean mental cruelty. Those who were unwilling to enlist for service overseas were treated differently; they were made to wash the floors and so on. They had no better treatment than was accorded the winner of the Victoria Cross *whom I brought to the committee the other day and who was cleaning spittoons in the house. I regret very much that during the last twenty-five years no one has taught the" children what a hero is and who were the heroes of the last war. There were published some expensive books which nobody read; but the little boys and girls in the schools were not told of the prowess of the men, which was the honour and glory of the heroes of that war.
There is now another call for recruits. I have here a large French newspaper, the largest in America, La Presse of Montreal,
and on the front page of the second section there is a news item of wide interest. Not only 15,000 recruits are to be called, not only 25,000. but 100,000 are to be called shortly, probably before the end of the year. I will translate that news item, which is of wide interest:
Thirty thousand recruits will be called in Quebec.
Of the 100,000 young men who will be called in service from August, in the whole dominion, it is believed that approximately 30,000 will be from the province of Quebec, we learn from an official source to-day. Medical classes A and B, and the classes from twenty to thirty years of age will be called. We have already observed that some young men of the twenty-year class have already received their notice.
The need of men in the army is more and more urgent and it is on account of that that there is such a call en masse. Nevertheless, if we consider that 30 to 40 per cent of the recruits are refused as unfit for military service, that number will not in fact be so large.
To come to what I said in the first place, after the Minister of National Defence went to London in the winter of 1940-41 and spent some time there, he undoubtedly made a pledge on behalf of this country to the British government. What was the number of Canadian men that he pledged to Great Britain on that occasion? No ope knows. I have asked, but I have never obtained that information. The minister referred to it at one meeting at which two federal members were present, in the railway committee room of this building, some time after the adjournment of this house. Not only were we not informed of the number of men that had been pledged by the Minister of National Defence, but we were never informed as members of parliament that the Minister of National Defence had pledged men to Great Britain on that occasion. He told it at a meeting where there were many officers and only those two members of parliament; no other member of parliament was there, and I am surprised that my colleague and I have been kept in ignorance of what was done in England by the minister during that winter.
The number of men requisitioned by the Department of National Defence is twice the number that was required after that trip of the minister to Great Britain. What were the other commitments of this government or of any other member of this government to the British government with regard to the sending of men from Canada to Great Britain? We see that a certain number of men are called at certain periods, but we do not know the basis for that call.
Mr. Chairman, what I am saying now is just as much for the defence of Fraser Valley
Topic: BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic: EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic: APPLICATION OF CIVIL SERVICE SUPERANNUATION ACT TO CERTAIN DIPLOMATIC OR CONSULAR REPRESENTATIVES