Certainly that is what
he will do. It will be a vote of confidence by his own party; of course it will.
By the majority.
Yes, elected by the people of the country and whipped into line by party politics. I cannot help thinking that this whole debate could have been settled Ijy the Liberal party itself. Do you know, Mr. Speaker, what I think should have taken place? Of course I may be blamed for not having recommended this to the leader of the opposition, but do you know what I think he should have done when the resolution preceding this bill was brought down? He should have said to his party, to the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation group, and to this
Mobilization Act-Mr. Raymond.
meantime the population of Ontario had increased and was larger than the population of Quebec, and they asked, not equal representation, but proportional representation, and for the sake of national unity the province of Quebec again consented. As a matter of fact, we have not even proportional representation, but that is something about which I shall have to speak on some other occasion. In 1939, when war was declared, the province of Quebec was asked to consent to participation, again in the name of national unity, and the province of Quebec consented to participation, but on the express condition that there would never be any question of conscription. Now in the name of national unity Quebec is again asked to consent to conscription, notwithstanding the pledge that had been given in 1939 to that province. Well, there must be a limit to sacrifice, always at the expense of the province of Quebec.
Reference has also been made by the leader of the opposition to privileges enjoyed in the province of Quebec by virtue of the British North America Act. Let me say that these are not privileges but rights.
Mr. HANSON (York-Sunbury):
Did I use the word "privileges"? I said "contractual obligations."
They are rights. There was a contract in 1867, and I dare anyone in this house or anyone outside it to cite one fact to show that the province of Quebec has not fulfilled all its obligations under the British North America Act. In the province of Quebec French Canadians are the majority, and we have always fulfilled our obligations and always respected the rights of the minority. Unfortunately, however, I do not think the same can be said of all the other provinces.
This afternoon the hon. member for Trinity said that in a democracy the majority should rule. I agree entirely with that principle. In a democracy the majority should rule, but may I add that the majority should never abuse its powers, and when a pledge has been given by the majority to the minority it is sacred. In this Case a most solemn pledge, so qualified by the Prime Minister, was given by the majority to the minority. Think of it! We are now asked to pass a bill to conscript men tb go and fight for a broken pledge. It has been said that the government has been released from that pledge. That is not a fact. The government has not been relieved from its pledge because the pledge was given to the minority. I have only to refer to the compromise made in September, 1939. Mr. Lapointe, speaking in the name of the province of Quebec, said this, when war was
declared. I am quoting from page 68 of Hansard of that date:
The whole province of Quebec . . . will never agree to accept compulsory service or conscription outside of Canada. . . .
Provided these points are understood, we are willing to offer our services without limitation and to devote our best efforts for the success of the cause we all have at heart.
This is the condition which has been asked of the majority for our participation. It was agreed to, and the Prime Minister has said that it was the most solemn pledge that had ever been given to a group. When they say that the plebiscite has relieved the government from its pledge I say no, because the pledge was given by the majority to the minority, and the province of Quebec has voted almost unanimously against relieving the government from this pledge. But to-day we are asked in the name of national unity to relieve the government from its pledge when the population has refused to do so; and because the province of Quebec is refusing, some people treat the province of Quebec as a disloyal province. Since when has disloyalty consisted in asking someone to respect their pledge? Is it not the one who wants to violate the pledge that is disloyal?
I am not going to insist any more, but I wanted to say to the house before this bill passes that if it is passed it is passed at the price of a broken pledge.
Mr. E. G. HANSELL (Macleod):
I would not rise to take part in this debate but for the fact that we of this group have remained silent. We have not yet spoken to this bill, and therefore it behooves us to say just a word before the vote is taken.
As I sat here and listened to the debate on this bill as well as on its resolution stage, but more particularly to what I have heard to-day, I have been convinced of one thing, that there are political parties in this house that have something that they have to defend. I come to you this evening, Mr. Speaker, and I say that the only wise stand that could ever have been taken in time of war from the very beginning, from the time Canada declared war on Germany, was a stand for an all-out war effort. That is the stand that this group with which I am affiliated took in those days. It is the only stand that needs no defence. It is the only common-sense stand. It is not a political stand. We tossed politics to the wind in those days; we went out to this country as all parties went out, but we went out and told our constituents that war was war. There are no degrees in war. When the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) speaks of things having
Mobilization Act-Mr. Maclnnis
A great many things have happened since 1939. I could believe far more in the sincerity of the Prime Minister in many of the things he said if he had not cheered the canards of the leader of the opposition earlier this evening. But if we have changed our position, so has the Prime Minister. As late as March 30, 1939, he said, as reported in Hansard at page 2419:
We have tremendous tasks to do at home, in housing the people, in earing for the aged and helpless, in relieving drought and unemployment, in building roads, in meeting our heavy burden of debt, in making provision for Canada's defence, and in bringing our standards of living and civilization to the levels our knowledge now makes possible. There is no great margin of realizable wealth for this purpose; we must, to a greater or less extent, choose between keeping our own house in order, and trying to save Europe and Asia. The idea that every twenty years this country should automatically and as a matter of course take part in a war overseas for democracy or self-determination of other small nations, that a country which has all it can do to run itself should feel called upon to save, periodically, a continent that cannot run itself, and to these ends risk the lives of its people, risk bankruptcy and political disunion, seems to many a nightmare and sheer madness.
That was in 1939. My right hon. friend referred to-night to Munich, and said that at the time of Munich he told his cabinet that if war developed at that time Canada should go into the war. Yet eight or nine months later he said that for Canada to take part in these foreign wars was sheer madness. Was the right hon. gentleman on that occasion currying favour with the province of Quebec? If he wants his protestations of sincerity to be taken at their face value, he should not cheer or pound his desk when the leader of the opposition in his ignorance casts aspersions on this group. I may say that since this war began we have advocated one thing only; we have demanded that if we are going to conscript men and use men's lives in winning this war, we should conscript the wealth and the industries of the country to fight the war. I want to tell the Prime Minister that there is not a group in this house, neither his own members, nor the official opposition, nor the group to my left, who have been more careful not to embarrass either himself or his ministers in the carrying on of the war than the group which sits behind me in these rows of seats. I challenge him to bring forward one instance where we have said or done anything that could possibly embarrass him. We did not do so because we realize the importance of winning this war.
I regret having to take up the time of the house to discuss these matters to-night, but unfortunately the leader of the opposition
had to be answered. The statesmanship shown by the leaders of the two major groups in the house this evening is something that should give the people of Canada food for thought. We have an amendment before us which would delay this bill going into action, even such action as is offered by the government. Since its only purpose is to delay the measure, this group will vote against the amendment.
Mr. MAXIME RAYMOND (Beauharnois-Laprairie):
Mr. DOUGLAS (Weybum):
Is this an
That appears to be the
position of my hon. friends. Let us see what was adopted as our foreign policy in 1933. I doubt if the leader of the opposition has ever read it. Pointing his finger at the government side benches he said, "Did you ever read it?" If he has read it, he does not understand it. This section in the programme reads:
A foreign policy designed to obtain international economic cooperation and to promote disarmament and world peace.
That is the kernel of the statement. We then elaborated it by saying:
Canada has a vital interest in world peace. We propose, therefore, to do everything in our power to advance the idea of international cooperation as represented by the League of Nations and the International Labour Organization. We would extend our diplomatic machinery for keeping in touch with the main centres of world interest. But we believe that genuine international cooperation is incompatible with the capitalist regime which is in force in most countries, and that strenuous efforts are needed to rescue the league from its present condition of being mainly a league of capitalist great powers. We stand resolutely against all participation in imperialist wars. Within the British commonwealth, Canada must maintain her autonomy as a completely self-governing nation. We must resist all attempts to build up a new economic British empire in place of the old political one, since such attempts readily lend themselves to the purpose of capitalist exploitation and may easily lead to further world wars. Canada must refuse to be entangled in any more wars fought to make the world safe for capitalism.
Let me tell this house that we have not departed one iota from that statement.
In September, 1939, when war was imminent, when we were called here to attend the session of parliament which was to decide whether Canada should enter into the war or not, the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation called together its national council-the only political party in Canada which gave its members an
opportunity to decide before they came into parliament as to whether we would participate in the war or not-and after two days' discussion the national council came to the conclusion that, although there might be certain imperialist factors connected with the war, the issues at stake were such that we were not unconcerned as to which side should win, and because we were not unconcerned as to which side would win we favoured participation by Canada in the war. Referring to imperialist wars, unfortunately we have, in the past, engaged in imperialist wars. The Minister of Mines and Resources (M,r. Crerar), speaking on this bill at an earlier date, said that if this had been another war like the Boer war he would be opposed to participation; and if this had been an imperialist war like the Boer war the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation would have opposed it, regardless of what the consequences might be.
The leader of the opposition talks about his desire to win this war, and he makes the welkin ring telling us how necessary it is to sacrifice everything in order to win it; yet, during the discussion on the budget resolutions the only thing he seemed to be concerned with was that he and those whom he represents should keep what they have. It was a fine thing to send our young men to give their lives, and it was also the correct thing to make the young men of future generations pay for the war, as long as his "savings of a lifetime" were not touched. Let me tell my hon. friend that unless he understands better than he seems to do now what is at stake in this war he will wake up some fine morning and find that, in the winning of the war, a world revolution has taken place wherein the savings that he and the privileged classes of the world have piled up will have disappeared, but in their place will come security for everyone; because those world changes are the issues at stake in this war. I do not, however, expect the hon. gentleman to understand that.
The leader of the opposition was not satisfied with calling attention to our foreign policy statement, which I have demonstrated is a perfectly good statement. He had to refer to a statement supposed to have been made by the leader of this group to the effect that he would rather see his son dead than have him join the army. I am not sure whether my hon. friend put it in just those words, but that was the import of his statement. He, however, failed to tell the house, though I have no doubt that he knows it, that the only son of the leader of this group is to-day in the armed forces.
Mobilization Act-Mr. Maclnnis
them what they voted for. They want total war, total conscription, and this is what they voted for and got. The Prime Minister is
reported at page 4014 of Hansard as having said:
I intend, therefore, if the time should come when the government decides that it has become necessary to send overseas men who have not volunteered for general service, and I should be in office at the time, to ask my colleagues to join me in seeing that parliament is immediately informed of the government's decision.
I skip a few lines:
I intend, at the same time, to see that, before the administration assumes the additional responsibility of enforcing its decision, lion, members are given an opportunity, not for any second debate on the question of conscription, but of showing tlieir confidence or want of confidence in the administration.
My hon. friends want total war; they want total conscription, and they got another delay. And they voted for it. No wonder they are sore. My particular purpose in rising to-night was to refer to the statement which was made by the leader of the opposition, and which was cheered by the Prime Minister, that this group in voting against the amendment to the National Resources Mobilization Act did so in order to curry favour with members from the province of Quebec. There is not a particle of truth in that statement. But if there should be, why did my hon. friends to the right vote for a bill which they despised? I will tell the house why. They voted for it because they were afraid to be found voting with what they called the "nationalists" from the province of Quebec. That was the reason. We did not vote against the bill for any such unworthy purpose. Our position and the position of my hon. friends opposite from Quebec are as far apart as the poles. The leader of this group, the hon. member for Rosetown-Biggar (Mr. Coldwell), put the case quite clearly and beyond the possibility of a doubt when speaking in this debate on July 7. The hon. member is reported at page 3997 of Hansard as saying:
What should this house do? In our opinion, this house should decide now, at once, without further delay, for total mobilization of industry, of wealth and of man-power. But what are we doing under this bill that we are discussing? We are merely allowing the government once more to postpone its decision on one phase of the mobilization that I have mentioned, and that not the most important.
That is not what my hon. friends from Quebec want. There is no similarity between what my hon. friends from Quebec want and what we want. They do not want this bill at all; they do not want mobilization of manpower, of wealth, of finance, of industry-we want conscription of all of them. How can my hon. friends of the official opposition then
say that we voted against the bill in order to curry favour with the nationalists from the province of Quebec?
Who said that?
Mr. MaeINNIS: Your leader.
Then it must be right.
Mr. MaeINNIS: If it is, it would be the first right thing he ever said in his life. The leader of this group went on to say:
I want to make it very clear, as I said on June 11 when this measure was under discussion then, that we do not propose to be parties to this kind of political manoeuvring, for such it clearly is. We shall make our protest to-night by easting our vote against this measure.
My hon. friends to my right were parties to that political manoeuvring. Indeed, the whole procedure leading up to this bill, the plebiscite and the amendment to the National Resources Mobilization Act is about as clever a bit of trickery as was ever perpetrated on the people of this country. Several times to-night the Prime Minister said that he wanted to make it perfectly clear where the house stands in this matter. Does any hon. member know where we stand at the present time or what our position will be when we come back to this house if the government undertakes to give effect to the powers taken under this bill? No one knows, and the longer the Prime Minister talks about it the less clear everyone is in regard to it.
The leader of the opposition was not satisfied with the position he had put himself in by supporting a bill that he did not want; he went another step this afternoon. The hon. member for Richelieu-Vercheres (Mr. Cardin) -I am not quoting his words-said that this was one of the worst bills ever introduced in a democratic parliament. The leader of the opposition said that he was in almost perfect agreement with the hon. member. Yet he voted for that "worst" bill, and his followers voted with him.
The leader of the opposition pretends to feel concern over the political fortunes of this party because we voted against this bill. He should not worry over our affairs; he has enough to do looking after his own party. However, he should not even worry much about the fortunes of his own party because those fortunes are all in the past. Referring to the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation he said it was impossible to make a silk purse out of a sow's ear. I shall take the hon. gentleman's word for that, because no one is in a better position to give an expert opinion on that subject. All his political life he has been figuratively trying to make a silk purse out of a sow's ear. He has ended with
Mobilization Act-Mr. Maclnnis
to this house for an expression of confidence at any time, undue time will not be consumed in debate. Hon. members will be given within a certain period of time, a chance to show where they stand and that will be a period of time which the people of this country will deem reasonable and sufficient for the purpose. I hope that is clear so that the country and hon. members will see there are not any delays whatsoever. Once the decision of the government is reached the government is going to proceed immediately and rapidly with the question of confidence and in carrying out to the full the intent and purpose of its decision.
I have spoken at greater length than I had intended to speak. My hon. friend closed his remarks with an appeal for unity at this particular time of war. I am not going to make that appeal in my own words, but, like my hon. friend, I should like to leave a few words with hon. members at the close of this long and very important debate. The words I wish to leave to-night are words which interpret better than any I have ever seen anywhere else what I believe to be the real inner meaning and significance of this great struggle.
I doubt if the people of Canada as yet begin to realize, not only the scope of this war, not only the terrible character of it, not only the rapidity with which it is encroaching upon the very confines and coasts of this continent. I doubt if they realize, or have yet fully realized, what this war really means to mankind.
Of all I have read on the subject, no passage has impressed me more than one I came across written by a young Canadian woman now in her thirties who, for some ten years or more suffered as an invalid. This young lady, Audrey Alexandra Brown, was born in Nanaimo, and is now living, I believe, in Victoria, out on the Pacific coast. I give these words to the hon. members to-night as words to be taken into the hearts of all, excepting none. I give them as words to be kept constantly before us to help us realize the character and the magnitude of the task it is our duty to seek to meet:
There is no place for separatism and dissension among us now, if there ever was. For it is plain that mankind has come to the crossroads. It is easy to cast back to Genghis Khan or the dark ages and declare that nothing is happening now which did not happen then. It is easy, it is comforting, and it is a lie. Certainly, brutality and force are not new among men. It has always been true that, as the Psalms have it, "the dark places of the earth are full of the habitations of cruelty". Men who are little more than savages can be expected to behave as beasts. But never before in history has a nominally civilized, a nominally
Christian nation deliberately made the profession "Evil be thou my good". This war is unlike all other wars, for the deformed monstrosities that sheltered in darkness have crawled out of that darkness and openly challenged the world for the possession of its soul! They no longer fight under cover, they flaunt in steel. For Germany to win this war would not mean merely a re-drawing of boundaries or a shift in sovereignty. It would mean the destruction of the free spirit of man.
There can be no stronger plea for national unity.
Mr. ANGUS MacINNIS (Vancouver East):
Mr. Speaker, we have witnessed a rather unusual spectacle in the house this afternoon and evening. Before the dinner recess the leader of the opposition (Mr. Hanson) took occasion to castigate all and sundry in the wildest terms. In this he was cheered by the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King). However, the leader of the opposition had a good dinner and returned in much better spirits, and made a perfervid plea for unity.
The Prime Minister drew this contradiction to the attention of the leader of the opposition and then proceeded for an hour and a half to do the very same thing, in turn ending up with an ardent plea for unity. It is a terrible spectacle at this time, coming from the two leaders of the two major parties in this house.
I would noi take the time of the house in commenting on this procedure or in speaking in this debate had it not been for the fact that the leader of the opposition said certain things which we just cannot let pass. Speaking earlier to-day, the leader of this group (Mr. Coldwell) made reference to the statement of the leader of the opposition that the . Prime Minister had looped the loop three times, and that in that he was supported by the official opposition. I believe he added that later there had been another loop.
In any event this is what the leader of the opposition said on July 7, following the second reading of the bill, and as reported at page 4017 of Hansard:
Before the motion is put, Mr. Chairman, if I may, I should like to make this statement. Because of the speech that was made by the right hon. the Prime Minister to-night concluding the debate and at a time when no one else could reply, a speech in which it was indicated that the government has looped the loop three times ....
That statement was made after the leader of the opposition and his party had voted with the government that had looped the loop. Consequently the opposition also looped the loop. I am not a bit surprised that the leader of the opposition and his followers are feeling sore over the position in which they have become entangled. I am now going to show
Mobilization Act-Mr. Mackenzie King
and the end of this year there could not be a debate on it, even if some hon. members might wish to have one. Every hon. member knows that His Honour the Speaker would immediately rule out of order a second debate on conscription, even if this house would tolerate it. It would be against the rules of the house, so there is no use in anyone seeking to make out that I am trying to have a second debate on the question of conscription, that I am going to take a long time in order to get this matter settled. This matter will be settled to-night, I believe, as far as this House of Commons is concerned. Then this bill will go to the senate and later will be given assent by the governor general. That will settle the question of the power .the government will have, and according to my policy already stated the decision will be settled by the administration under the power given to it by this legislation.
But, Mr. Speaker, it is a very different thing when a decision has been reached which places additional responsibilities on the ministry, responsibilities which must be viewed by any wise ministry in the light of all that has gone before; in the light of all that has taken place during this debate in this House of Commons; in the light, as my hon. friend the former minister said this afternoon, of what is going to be the result of the enforcement of that policy not only in the immediate future but for all time to come; I say when all that responsibility is added to the responsibility already on the shoulders of the ministry, I think it very desirable that this House of Commons should say whether it is prepared to give its support to the administration to carry on with that extra responsibility, or whether it is going to withhold its support just at the- time it is most needed. That does not mean a matter of taking any time. I will not delay to look up his words, but my hon. friend the leader of the opposition said something to the effect that I was going to ask for a second debate on conscription.
Mr. HANSON (York-Sunbury):
Mr. MACKENZIE KING:
My hon. friend is quite right; that I was going to put through conscription by closure.
Mr. HANSON (York-Sunbury):
vote of confidence by closure.
Mr. MACKENZIE KING:
No; my hon.
friend said conscription by closure. I will quote his words, so that there may be no mistake about it. Here is what my hon. friend said, as reported at page 4550 of Hansard:
Later in that speech of Tuesday, July 7, the Prime Minister indicated that the debate would have to be curtailed. Well, who will do the curtailing. There is only one way to curtail debate in parliament, and that is by invoking the rules with respect to closure. Consequently, what the Prime Minister said on July 7 was that the action of his government in imposing conscription would be submitted again to debate in the House of Commons, but that closure would be applied in the debate, and the motion or resolution put through under closure.
There could be no clearer words than those. My hon. friend says he did not use them, but-
Mr. HANSON (York-Sunbury):
I did not say that.
Mr. MACKENZIE KING:
Then what did he say?
Mr. HANSON (York-Sunbury):
The record will speak for itself.