The house resumed from Thursday, February 18, consideration of the motion of Mr. W. E. Harris (Grey-Bruce) for an address to His Excellency the Governor General in reply to his speech at the opening of the session, and the amendment thereto of Mr. Graydon, and the amendment to the amendment of Mr. Cardin.
Mr. JEAN-FRANQOIS POULIOT (Temis-couata): Mr. Speaker, I have been in politics for thirty-four years, and I am in my nineteenth year as a member of parliament. This is the most important debate that has ever taken place in this chamber. The purpose of the debate is to know precisely whether our war effort is to continue or whether it is to stop on account of the lack of man-power in industry at large; and when I say that I want to make special mention of agriculture, of railways, and of war industry properly so called.
Since the beginning of the war I have regretted very deeply that the instruments at the disposal of the government for propaganda-and I mention the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Wartime Information pamphlets, and the censor-have not been used at all to help the Canadian people understand the real aim and purpose of the National Resources Mobilization Act.
A halo of glory has been placed around the heads of those wearing the uniform- quite properly so for those who are really in the army, but very improperly so for the slackers in uniform; and there has been a real deficiency in the fact that the farmers of this country, who are doing work that is essential in war as well as in peace, the railwaymen who carry men and food across the country, the workmen in the war industries, those who make arms and ammunition,
The Address-Mr. Pouliot
have not perhaps in the public mind the same glory that has been bestowed upon the army. But if they did not exist, if they were not doing work that is so essential, the army would be unable to fight. I regret, therefore, that the Canadian people have been left under a false impression by such propaganda, which was intended to serve ends other than those *we are fighting for.
If you look at a watch, if you look at a clock, you will see the hands that mark the time, but you will not see the movements of the clock which do the work and owing to which the hands indicate the right time. We do not see those movements. The work of the farmers, the work of the railwaymen, the work of the men in war industries has been unseen by many, but it has been real; and to-day, if some countries in the world are fighting our enemy with such success, that success is due not only to the soldiers who are in the field, or the sailors at sea, but also to the humble working men covered with sweat, whose overalls are covered with grease spots and who do work which is indispensable now, which cannot be ignored and which must have the best encouragement possible from the country which, so far as we are concerned, we represent, in this house.
There is one more reason why it is my duty to point out that this is the most important debate that has ever taken place in this parliament, because now the eyes of all my hon. colleagues are opening to the reality of facts. What I deeply admire from the bottom of my heart is the unanimity of expression in all the speeches which have been delivered by hon. members, from the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) down to the most humble member. Members of parliament observe that the bright skies of enthusiasm are dissipated. For the first time since the beginning of the war members of parliament are considering war objectively. They are considering war with the logical purpose of winning by putting everyone in his place, in order that each man, whether he be in the army or out of the army, shall do the very best he can towards our common aim, which is victory.
The acoustics of this chamber are not very good and, therefore, I have taken the trouble, rather I should say it was a satisfaction, a pleasure; to read the speeches that have been delivered by all hon. members, showing a unanimity of expression that reveals unanimity of purpose in seeing to it that the National Resources Mobilization Act shall be enforced so that it can guarantee to the army that they will always have food and arms and munitions and guarantee to the civilian
population that they shall not suffer from any shortage of food.
I have made a list giving the names of all hon. members who have spoken on man-power since the beginning of this debate, and the pages of Hansard to which I refer; The Prime Minister, page 45; the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Gardiner), 267-271; the hon. member for New Westminster (Mr. Reid), 130-131; the hon. member for Richelieu-Vercheres (Mr. Cardin), 284; the hon. member for Champlain (Mr. Brunelle), 315-316; the hon. member for Edmonton East (Mrs. Cassel-man), 355; the hon. member for Elgin (Mr. Mills), 365; the hon. member for Rimouski (Mr. d'Anjou), 428-429-and may I congratulate him upon his excellent speech-the hon. member for Macdonald (Mr. Weir), 476; the hon. member for Durham (Mr. Rickard), 483484; the hon. member for Bellechasse (Mr. Picard), 497; the hon. member for Compton (Mr. Blanchette) who is the Quebec whip for the government, 513-514, and the member for Temiscouata, 343-344. All those fourteen government members spoke the same way about it. We want the mobilization act to be useful in this country; we do not want it to serve only one purpose among the many that are expected from it; we want it to give a full result. I shall say a word about that in a moment.
Speaking on the other side of the house my hon. friends will pardon me; this list is not complete; it goes to the day before yesterday, but I will make special mention of yesterday- the hon. member for Gaspe (Mr. Roy) made an excellent speech, pages 317-326 of Hansard; the hon. member for Charlevoix-Saguenay (Mr. Dorion), 456, the hon. member for Beauharnois-Laprairie (Mr. Raymond), 310312; the hon. member for Laval-Two Mountains (Mr. Lacombe) 478; the hon. member for North Battleford (Mrs. Nielsen), 150-151; the hon. member for Weyburn (Mr. Douglas), 516; the hon. member for Rose-town-Biggar (Mr. Coldwell), 58-59; the hon. member for Melfort (Mr. Wright), 97-98; the hon. member for Mackenzie (Mr. Nicholson), 348; the hon. member for Vancouver East (Mr. Maclnnis), 372; the hon. member for Yorkton (Mr. Castleden) 431, and the hon. member for Red Deer (Mr Shaw) 289.
With regard to the Conservative side of the house I have heard to-day that to some people it looks strange that the official opposition, which has been battling for some time for conscription for overseas at all costs, has now adopted another view. Their view is now in comformity with what has been