February 24, 1943

PC

John George Diefenbaker

Progressive Conservative

Mr. DIEFENBAKER:

No; but every other provision, in so far as the right to postponement is concerned, has been flagrantly broken, not only in western Canada but throughout the dominion. Why take away the right to the issue of prerogative writs? If the federal government wishes to make sure that every province shall have the same administration, that there shall be equality of call-up, equality in administration, equality in interpretation of the regulations, why not have an appeal? There was an appeal to the Military Service Act at the time of the last war. It would not be an appeal as of right, but an appeal where regulations are being flouted. During the last war there was an appeal to a judge of the supreme court, such judge having the right to decide whether the crown or the applicant called to the colours was receiving justice in

The Address-Mr. Diejenbaker

accordance with the principles set forth in the law as it then stood. Why not embody all those regulations in a statute? The military service act contained the law instead of its being embodied in regulations.

Why deny the government the right of appeal from the board's decision in any province which is not administering the regulations properly, and has been granting too many postponements? Why not grant the crown the right to appeal against the decisions made by a board which is departing from the provisions of the law? On the other hand, can one think of anything more ridiculous than this? Provision is made in the regulations for postponements in respect of agricultural workers, labourers and employers, and definite rights are established; yet farmers and farm labourers are being called up for service every day. What is the government doing? The minister decided apparently that the proper course to take would be to send out a letter explaining the regulations to the boards. I do not think the regulations require any particular interpretation. They provide that every person who on March 23, 1942, was bona fide engaged in agriculture was entitled to postponement. I am not arguing the rightness or the wrongness of that; that is the law. But that law is not being carried out. The government admits that it is not being carried out, but says that it is the fault of the boards. The day before yesterday the Prime Minister did something he has never done before; he assumed responsibility on the part of the government for what the boards are doing when he said that when boards and administrative bodies are set up, the government must assume the responsibility for their acts. This is an excerpt from the letter which was sent out to interpret the circumstances under which postponement should be granted. It is dated February 3, 1942, and is entitled. " Mobilization Act interpretative letter No. 1." It says this:

This is the first of such letters which will be issued by the labour department. As you will observe it is numbered. It is hoped that they will be helpful.

It goes on to say:

After conferring with the man-power committee of the cabinet it has been decided that interpretative letters will be sent out from time to time indicating in some detail the policy in respect to the various phases of the national selective service mobilization regulations.

I ask the government at this session to bring down a statute regarding man-power; do not restore prerogative rights but restore the right of leave to appeal to a supreme court judge so that every one of the national selective service boards in the various provinces will administer the law on the same basis. The letter continues:

The growing scarcity of agricultural labour makes it increasingly important that essential agricultural workers be encouraged to remain on farms.

And again:

Farm workers who apply for postponement from military training are to be granted postponement until further notice.

And also:

A person who may not have been employed in agriculture on March 23, 1942, but who has become engaged in agriculture since that time, and is shown to be essential to agriculture, may be considered for postponement on application if the merits of the case are established.

The regulations remain as they were before, that a man must have been engaged in agriculture before March 23, 1942, but they have opened the door a little wider by this letter to the boards charged with the administration of the regulations and directing that they take into consideration the granting of postponement to those who are not entitled to it under the regulations.

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?

An hon. MEMBER:

Is that legal?

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PC

John George Diefenbaker

Progressive Conservative

Mr. DIEFENBAKER:

Everything is legal when there is no right of appeal. Section 14 (1) of the regulations in connection with conscientious objectors reads in part:

. . . the minister may prescribe to carry out alternative service and to continue to carry out alternative service for the duration of the war unless it be established to the satisfaction of the registrar that such person is not medically fit to perform such alternative service.

I contend that the regulations if subject to interpretation contrary to their meaning may be used for reasons of political expediency. Under the regulations a conscientious objector is required to serve in alternative service. It is only right that when a man is truly a conscientious objector his scruples should be considered. These men have been sent to the national parks and they have been building roads. Under the regulations they are required to serve for the duration of the war. When a man is called up in the army he is called up for service for the duration, and the regulations provide that conscientious objectors should do so, too.

Have these regulations been carried into effect? The first thing that happened was that promises were made to the Doukhobors during the election campaign of 1940 that they had nothing to worry about. On February 29, 1940, a letter in a return brought down in 1940 alleges that the Prime Minister had a conversation with the Doukhobors and assured them that the government would grant exemption certificates in the case of conscription or

The Address-Mr. Diejenbaker

compulsory service. Under the law the Douk-hobors did not have a right to postponement or exemption with the exception of those who had come to Canada in 1898, but during the election campaign the Prime Minister told them that they had nothing to worry about.

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LIB

Jean-François Pouliot

Liberal

Mr. POULIOT:

I understand the hon. member lives in Prince Albert. Are there many Doukhobors in that constituency?

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PC

John George Diefenbaker

Progressive Conservative

Mr. DIEFENBAKER:

I am not dealing with this matter from the point of view of that constituency; I am trying to be entirely dispassionate. Strangely enough, after this house adjourned in 1940 and after the national resources mobilization regulations were passed, another order in council was issued which not only exempted Doukhobors who had entered Canada under the order in council of December 6, 1898, and the "descendants of such immigrants who have continued without interruption to be members of the aforesaid sect or denomination", but granted new rights to these people.

Surely citizenship in Canada means equality, and there can be no justification for extending the privilege granted to the original settlers who entered Canada under the order in council of 1898. Most of these people defied the government. They just said that they were not going to do anything, and they have pretty well carried out that threat. A few of them went up to parks for three or four months. I do not know what the total expenditures were, but a great deal of money was expended in the payment of wages to them during the time they were in the national parks.

During the calendar year expenditures at Prince Albert park amounted to $50,711; at Kootenay park, $17,000; at Riding Mountain park, $63,000; at Jasper park, $46,000, and so on. These men performed alternative service there for a short while. But the law says that they shall serve for the duration of the war. Mr. MacNamara, director of national selective service, sent out to the various service boards a letter, approved by the Minister of Labour, stating in effect that they were not to carry out the provisions of the regulations; that Doukhobors should not be directed to report for alternative service any more as long as they were employed in essential work in agriculture.

Just follow that through. It is a devious course but it explains why it is that the government refused to put these regulations into statute form. If such an amendment to the law had been brought before this parliament there is not a member of this house who will rise in his place and say that this house would

have voted to exclude these men from alterna tive service for the duration of the war. Why was it done? Agriculture is asked to produce on an ever-expanding scale, and agriculture is willing to do that. There is no question that the farmers to-day are contributing a great deal. In Saskatchewan, in my constituency, there are few young men left to-day. I say to the government that it is building up the greatest resentment among the people of my province when it allows special rights to any group, and especially when those rights are extended contrary to the regulations which are supposed to be followed by the various boards throughout the dominion. I shall not deal further with that question, but I think I have covered it well enough to-

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LIB

Thomas Vien (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

The hon. member's time

has expired, but he may finish his sentence.

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PC

John George Diefenbaker

Progressive Conservative

Mr. DIEFENBAKER:

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, for the courtesy extended to me. I was just going to conclude by saying this, that the man-power situation must be dealt with. We cannot avoid our responsibility to assure our men overseas that reinforcements will be forthcoming. We do not discharge our responsibility to ensure national unity during this war and after unless we insist upon qqual interpretation and equal enforcement of the law in all parts of Canada. That can only be done, I submit, through restoring the provision in the Military Service Act for an appeal so that when the regulations are not followed rights will accrue, either to the crown or to the applicant.

Above all, Mr. Speaker, I protest against regulations being altered by letters such as the one to which I have referred, and this letter is just the first of a series of instructions to the national war service boards. What will the other letters contain?

Mr. JEAN-FRANCOIS POULIOT (Temiscouata): Mr. Speaker, my hon. friend the hon. member for Lake Centre (Mr. Diefenbaker) always makes a good speech, and he has said many things to-day with which I agree, although I cannot agree with all that he said.

I listened this afternoon to my hon. friend the member for Labelle (Mr. Lalonde) who made a plea for an amnesty for the sons of farmers. At a place called St. Modeste in my constituency-there is a place of that name only in my constituency-I made the very same suggestion in the course of last summer. In my humble view all those who are farmers and have not volunteered for the armed services should have been granted an amnesty

The Address-Mr. Pouliot

from October 15 to December 31, and a notice should have been published weekly in all the weeklies of Canada, and twice a week, in a prominent place in the paper, in each of the dailies throughout Canada, to inform the farmers and the farmers' sons that they were being granted an amnesty. And what kind of amnesty? The right to get in touch with their registrars without having to fear any punishment because they had not, for one reason or another, reported when called upon to do so. I met a high official of one of the departments and I was greatly surprised at his understanding of the Canadian feeling regarding a matter of this kind. Do you know, Mr. Speaker, what he told me? He said, "Oh! that would be the spark that would set the whole country on fire." I do not believe so, and I presume that the hon. member for Lake Centre thinks as I do about it. This is a matter that as members of the House of Commons we have not only a right but a duty to discuss freely without fear or favour in this house.

When, sir, I speak of an amnesty, I mean a real amnesty with a result in view, not merely an amnesty on a piece of paper that is sent out to the chairmen of the boards and that gives no security to any draftee or conscript. What I regret is the hypocrisy which has surrounded the calling of men for their training. Once I wrote an article on advice to trainees, or conscripts; the title was "Conseils aux Consents"-"Advice to Conscripts." What I was telling them was to observe the law and to take advantage of it to claim their right to stay on the land when their duty-their family duty and in most cases their national duty- was to be on the land. And do you know what was the suggested correction that was made to me? My advice was within the law; nothing was said about the advice given; the only thing I was blamed for was the use of the word "consents"-conscripts. Hypocrisy!

I have complained once about Mr. Claude Melangon when he was on the wartime information board. I was justified in doing so because the propaganda board was no good. I could have made the same complaint about the other member, the English-speaking fellow who was denounced, and rightly so, by the hon. member for Broadview (Mr. Church). But I am not narrow-minded enough to withhold credit for the good things a man may do; and it is my personal opinion that the memorandum prepared by Mr. Claude Melangon favouring an amnesty in respect of farmers is an excellent one, and I will ask either the Minister of Labour (Mr. Mitchell), or the Minister of National War Services (Mr. LaFleche), who is here at the moment, kindly to table this 72537-44

report at the earliest possible date. I will tell you more than that, that I have also been informed that, if the trainees or conscripts- meaning probably the farmers and the farmers' sons-have not yet enjoyed that amnesty, the Department of Labour is not responsible; it is the Department of National War Services which has refused to give its assent to the proposal.

That being said, sir-and I know what I am talking about-I come to the amendment moved by the hon. member for Peel (Mr. Graydon), who is the leader of his party in the house and the acting leader of his party at large. The leader at large of his party, in every speech which he has delivered since his accession to these important functions, has never missed one occasion to complain about the bureaucracy that we have here in Ottawa, and it is a very great surprise to me that the amendment moved by my hon. friend the house leader of the opposition does not say a word about it. I cannot conceive why that is so. There is the leader, among crowds of people, complaining about the bureaucracy which we have here in Ottawa, yet on the first official occasion that the party, which gathers daily to discuss its own problems, had the opportunity to enunciate this view in the house, where laws are made and where the state of things which is so much deplored by their leader may be corrected, they do not take advantage of it.

It will not be untimely to remind the house of the logical consequence of the intervention of a member of parliament who, years ago, was the first one to denounce bureaucracy in this house. In the first place let us go back to the session of 1936, though we might go back before that. We might go back to the time when Mr. Bennett was the leader, of the government and when questions were put on the order paper with the purpose of getting some information about the twelve thousand people whom he had imported to this city. The figures are of record; they are downstairs in the vaults of this house.

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?

An hon. MEMBER:

Carried.

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LIB

Jean-François Pouliot

Liberal

Mr. POULIOT:

I will ask the hon. member to keep peace.

And, sir, they cannot complain about me. I did my best for them. I remember that in 1936, the session which I have already mentioned, I gave them four lectures on parliamentary procedure, from ten o'clock to eleven; and to my great pride and satisfaction those addresses were attended by sixty members. I hope that one of those who

The Address-Mr. Pouliot

came to my lectures will remember that I never told them to act as the hon. member did while another member was speaking.

But now, sir, going back to those dark days when K. B. Bennett was the big boss in this house, I remember that there was one member who was standing alone against Mr. Bennett and all his social legislation-and against his own party-one.

The party policy at the time was to criticize Bennett behind closed doors, criticize him in the house and vote for him when the legislation came before the house, under the pretext that we were for the principle of it although it was said that it was just good propaganda prepared by brother-in-law Herridge. Therefore to be logical with myself, in 1936 I had the opportunity to see one of these pieces of legislation that had not been submitted to the supreme court for legal consideration, and I asked for its repeal.. I remember very well when Sir George Perley, acting- prime minister, was piloting that legislation in 1935, and I was interrupted by the late Mr. Lapointe. He told me it was useless to discuss that legislation. The next day the Ottawa papers had some little notes about my humble self: " 'Pouliot silenced by Lapointe,' reads the headline. This ranks as the week's most notable performance."-the Journal. "Pouliot silenced, the sun extinguished, Niagara stopped."-the Citizen. Of course I did not pay much attention to that; I found it very funny. But aft,er Bennett was overturned and after this party came to power I moved the repeal of that act, entitled, The Economic Council of Canada Act, 1935. Of course it was pretty difficult on account of the views expressed by our own leaders when Sir George Perley piloted it through this house, but, after a broadside in the morning, the bill was passed in five or ten minutes, second reading, committee, third reading and up to the senate.

Mr. Bennett's idea was to have a subgovernment composed of the deputy heads of some departments, to advise the government about what was to be done by the government. It was the first suggestion of government by remote control. Those individuals were to meet together to draft policies that afterwards were to be adopted by the government and then given to us to swallow. I objected to that. And now, sir, hon. members will find that statute, which is a very short one, repealing Bennett's economic council of Canada. It is 1 Edward VIII, chapter 5. It was a symbol of what had to be done with regard to bureaucracy in this country, killing in the egg the idea of an economic council, a brain trust. That was the idea.

Now, sir, we have gone pretty far. Why? Precisely because the men Bennett put at the control are precisely those who are at the controls to-day, especially in the Department of Finance.

After that it was not long before I had the honour to preside over the parliamentary committee on the civil service. You also, sir, were a distinguished member of that committee. I can tell all the hon. members who belonged to it that that committee, with one exception, that is myself, was the cream of the House of Commons. But, sir, you know as well as my hon. friend the Minister of Public Works (Mr. Fournier) and my hon. friend the Postmaster General (Mr. Mulock) how assiduous was our work, how difficult it was. You know the trouble that we had to secure files transferred from the civil service commission to the House of Commons and the trouble we had to quote before the committee what was in those files. I was not believed when I told the government, and not only the government, but when I told the Liberal party fifteen days ahead, that we would have a unanimous report. But we had that unanimous report, owing to the sense of duty of the members of that committee, who understood that that report could not be perfect in the view of each one, but should represent an average view of parliament on the matter of the civil service.

That report, sir, is still on the shelf covered with dust. Nothing was done. The civil service commission has contended that the recommendations of the report have been acted upon, and I see my friend the hon. member for Huron-Perth (Mr. Golding) who was also a distinguished member of that committee-I have not time to mention them all. It was just a smoke screen.

Afterwards when the Prime Minister asked me to sit again as chairman of the committee I said to him: Provided the unanimous report is acted upon, all right, sir, I shall be happy to do that, although it takes much of my time. And, Mr. Speaker, you know what happened. It was suggested that we proceed without any other base, that the matter should be considered again without the first report being adopted. Then the committee brought in a second report, a unanimous report, the same as the first. That was in 1939, and nothing was done since.

It was not surprising that bureaucrats jeered at parliament. When we considered together with the other members of the committee the question of the civil service it was the first time in the history of parliament that the question of the civil service was considered from the point of view of the service that

The Address-Mr. Pouliot

each civil servant can render to the state. The same thing was done under the chairmanship of my hon. friend the Minister of Public Works. We achieved the same result. But our work was in vain. It served no purpose except to give those bureaucrats an opportunity to glorify themselves once more.

I do not wish to take too much time, but there is something else I must mention. Once there was a meeting of an organization called the professional institute, composed of civil servants who receive fat salaries and who are sure that they are all experts. They took the opportunity to criticize parliament, and I got in touch with the ministers of the departments in which they were employed. I was able to get satisfactory replies from the late Hon. Mr. Rinfret, who was then Secretary of State, from the present Minister of Mines and Resources (Mr. Crerar) and the present Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Gardiner). On November 9, 1938, I wrote one other minister a letter in which among other things I said:

During last session at several sittings of the civil service committee I brought the attention of the members of the committee to the fact that the civil servants must always respect our parliamentary institutions. Personally I pay no attention at all to what may be said about my own self, but on the other hand I cannot remain indifferent to the remark passed by one of your employees- .

I mentioned the name.

-president-elect of the institute, who spoke about the proportion of high-minded members of the committee on that occasion. I enclose a list of the members of the committee. Will you please tell Mr. So-and-so to be more precise and indicate those who according to his views are high-minded gentlemen and those who are not.

I thought it very improper for any civil servant, whether belonging to the professional institute or not, to make a distinction, between high-minded and low-minded members of parliament. The minister to whom that letter was addressed is not in the house now, otherwise I would name him. He has an inferiority complex with regard to bureaucrats; he thought every time a civil servant said or did something it was perfect, and that members of parliament should bow to them. Of course we bow on the street but not in. this house.

Then, sir, I did something else in an attempt to clean up the statute books. Of course the act repealing the measure creating the economic council did not cost the state anything, since there was no litigation, but it was different in connection with the other legislation. Those other acts were submitted to the courts for a decision. In order to deal with 72537-44 i

this point I have to go back to the dark times of Bennett. Mr. Bennett was the lord of this country before he entered the House of Lords. It was impossible to make him change his mind in connection with the draft legislation prepared by Mr. Herridge. The only recourse, when Mr. Bennett had the power in his hands, was to move that his legislation should be submitted to the Supreme Court of Canada for a decision as to its validity. I did suggest that this action be taken, and later it was taken by the leader of the Liberal party, who was then leader of the opposition. At the time, however, his motion was voted down. After the Liberal party was returned to power, however, in spite of the fact that every Liberal candidate throughout the country had decried that legislation as being only blah-blah, as being political expediency and political propaganda, the government decided to submit the legislation to the courts, with the exception of the measure to which I have referred, which put the government in the position of agreeing with the principles of the legislation, though they had said it was merely political expediency.

These matters were submitted to the courts, and at no small cost. If the government had acted in connection with all the so-called legislation of Bennett as it acted in connection with the economic council measure, a great deal of money would have been saved. I have before me the details as to the cost of that litigation before the Supreme Court of Canada and the privy council. I am not going to mention any names, but this may be surprising to you, Mr. Speaker, though you are a prominent counsel. One gentleman received $23,928.92, which is pretty good. That was in connection with the litigation before both our supreme court and the privy council. In connection with the supreme court litigation only, Mr. Justice Rowell's account amounted to $13,267.35, while Mr. Justice Robertson's account in connection with the appeal to the privy council was $12,219.03. There were other lawyers as well. The fourth charged $6,742.52; the fifth, $3,122.99 and the sixth, $2,844.02. Then there was something for the stenographer, something more for printing and so on, making a total of $66,042.64 which was spent to have the supreme court and the privy council decide that Bennett's so-called social legislation was just a fake. This was money that should have been given to the unemployed, because it was spent at precisely the time the government refused to give the provinces any assistance in connection with unemployment relief.

That is not all, sir. The very day I heard that these so-called social acts had been de-

The Address-Mr. Pouliot

dared ultra vires by the privy council in London, I placed several bills on the order paper. If hon. members would like to check what I am saying I would refer them to the evening sitting of March 2, 1937, when I moved five bills to repeal five acts that were on the statute books and that had been declared ultra vires.

I remember that same afternoon I met a minister. He was trembling and shaking, and he said, "What will happen if you go on with this? Mr. Cahan will surely speak." Nobody ever understood anything he said. I moved the second reading of each bill. The debate was adjourned, and hon. members may see in Hansard that the debate on each bill was adjourned by the Prime Minister. Of course that debate was never resumed. My idea was to make a clean-up in the statute books, and to get rid of legislation that was no good. That was so much the condition that when it was decided to pass unemployment insurance legislation we had to go to London to get permission, because otherwise our legislation would have been ultra vires. That is an extraordinary thing. When the new unemployment insurance measure was passed the old one was repealed by the same statute. And, even more peculiar, it was the old act which was rejuvenated in a new one exactly the same as the old one. The four others are still on the statute book.

What is the use of legislating? Certainly some very strange things happen. In view of the possibility of future debates on the point I bring to the attention of the house a letter I wrote the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) on March 13, 1939. I shall not read it again, because it is already reported at page 4599 of Hansard for 1939. Since the beginning of the session the hon. member for Richelieu-Yercheres (Mr. Cardin) has told many truths. But in order to enjoy to the full our parliamentary rights members of parliament must be in a position to say what they have to say about any civil servant or any high official. They are paid from moneys voted by us, and it is essential to have a check upon them. We are here for that purpose, and to prevent any abuse of authority on the part of those operating under the government and parliament. Otherwise we would have no order here or in the country.

It is most difficult for a private member to sponsor legislation of a public nature. I know of course that it is very easy to sponsor divorce bills. In these days however we do not have the same privileges in connection with public legislation. In view of that condition I would ask the government, and particularly the Minister of Justice (Mr. St. Laurent)

to see to it that members of parliament are not called here merely to vote taxation, but that they are called to do some legislating for the welfare of the Canadian people at large.

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NAT

Thomas Langton Church

National Government

Mr. T. L. CHURCH (Broadview):

Mr. Speaker, I should like first to refer to a principle laid down in the amendment of the official opposition. It contains what might be called three C's. I support that policy, but I think the amendment left out many more letters of the alphabet. After all is said and done we are meeting as a House of Commons to do the best we can in the greatest emergency which has confronted the world. The war is our first and most important topic.

A few days ago when I asked the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) for one day to debate a question respecting social security, and some other matters in connection with human resources, he said that an opportunity would not be given. However I believe if it had been given it would have shortened this debate on the address in reply. The country, the House of Commons, and the mother country would have known where Canada stands on the war at the present time.

The speeches which have been delivered in the house during the last two or three days have cleared up an idea I had all along, from the beginning of the war to the present day, as to what has kept us back in our war effort. The first part of the amendment deals with human resources-man-power and woman-power. Does the conscription of man-power and woman-power cover what the government has been doing? Young people of seventeen, eighteen and nineteen years have enlisted to fight for what? They enlisted to fight to save the world from slavery, to fight for ideals, to fight for the right to live. They did not enlist voluntarily to shovel snow. No; they enlisted to fight Hitler. They did not enlist and give up their jobs voluntarily to go out and shovel snow for the benefit of the Canadian National Railways or others. Why could not some of Mr. Donald Gordon's celebrated homeside fusiliers have been drafted for that work? Why not have used some of the stay-at-home army also for that work? There is no such thing as home defence. The battle is being decided overseas in Africa, and in other theatres of war.

Despite the money the country is spending for uniforms, 5,376 air force officials never wore uniforms in their lives. Yesterday Mr. Beurling, a young flying officer, was in Toronto. Yet in many places throughout Canada some of those 5,376 who never wore uniforms got commissions as squadron leaders, although they know nothing about the air. I doubt if some

The Address-Mr. Church

of them would know how to fire a fire-cracker, a pin-wheel, a sky-rocket, or anything of that kind. The people of this country are not getting value in their investments for home defence and a home army vote is largely wasted-and that applies to the navy and the army as well. My good friend the Minister of National Defence for Air (Mr. Power) is a very popular man in Toronto, and I should not like to say anything not correct about his department. I sympathize with the three defence ministers in the work they are doing. We rejoice in the way the whole history of courage and heroism is being rewritten on land, on the sea and in the air, by our soldiers in this war. But after what was said yesterday, to-day and last Friday I wonder how Canada has made as good a showing as it has up to the present time, so far as human resources and production are concerned. We must remember the noble courage and patriotism of the men who are actually doing the work in the three forces overseas-not the large standing army of intellectuals in control in the seats of government here in Ottawa and throughout Canada. The real men are doing the fighting at the front, while these intellectuals stay at home and talk pacifism and planning. If they have their way we shall have another war. 1 was in Toronto the other day, and I had brought to my attention some of the work done by the women's army. They are doing splendid work now. There were about twenty-five or thirty of them on the train. One of them came up to me and asked if I was Mr. Church. I said, "Do you think I am? Do I look like him?" Then they began to doubt it. I asked some of them where they came from and they said they came from the farm. I am sorry the hon. member for Parkdale (Mr. Bruce) is not at the moment in his place, and perhaps I should not mention the question of labour battalions. That is all we have in the mother country since the war started-labour battalions. New Zealand and Australia were sending troops to north Africa long before we were.

Canada was the first in the diamond jubilee procession in 1897, but the last of all the colonies to send a contingent to South Africa in 1899. It was said that to do that would be against the British North America Act and the constitution. The loyal people of Canada, not all in one party then, compelled the government of that day to send a contingent to South Africa, and from that day forward it was an example of policy that when Britain is at war, Canada is also at war.

We hear a lot about the newspapers. They have done good work; yet the president of the Canadian Press Association criticized this

House of Commons last December when he said that the load on the press is very heavy these days as we have a very weak- parliamentary opposition; a strong opposition is a spur to any government and also acts as a check on their power.

If that is so why do they blindfold the people and not give them the actual facts of what is going on here? We might as well meet in secret for all the information given out by some members of the press as to what is going on in this house. Yet this is the only forum where the average man on the street can have his grievance remedied. When the opposition and the private member cease to function, parliamentary government is at an end.

I disagree with the statement made the other day by the Prime Minister that on a motion to go into supply an hon. member can bring up any matter covered by a private member's resolution. Nearly three-quarters of the time of this house last year was devoted to talking about a referendum, Bill No. 80, to amend the mobilization act, and the many phases of the on-again, off-again conscription of human resources. No time' was given last session to a discussion of some of the ideas put forward by private members.

I do not believe in this idea of having labour battalions. I do not believe in conscripting young men and putting them to shovelling snow and labour on farms when they have enlisted to fight Hitler. I see these young men on the train and they want to know what is the matter with the House of Commons. They want to know what has come over this parliament when w-e carry on a debate like the one we have had during the last two or three days. It is bad advertising of this country in New Zealand and Australia, especially when we have done as little as we have in north Africa. The people of this country are in a very critical mood at the present time.

Reference has been made to farm labour. I saw some of the ladies of the women's army on the train the other day, and I asked them where they had come from. They told me they used to be on farms, that they used to be helping their parents running market gardens, but they thought they would come in and join the army because there was more money in it and it was kind of fun to be wearing a uniform. I am not one of those who believe in a youth movement with a capital "Y" along the lines suggested some years ago by the hon. member for Peel (Mr. Graydon). The youth movement which has been talked about in and out of this house is not the movement that

The Address-Mr. Church

appeals to the young people serving in the three armed forces to-day, when youth is in the forces.

Reference has been made to the scarcity of farm labour. Young people from the high schools and the public schools of Toronto go out to work on the farm yearly, and start this year on April 1. No government has ever had a real agricultural policy. If we formed labour battalions, what use would the representatives of the three armed forces in the cabinet be? What use would I be on a farm? I doubt if some members know how many pounds there are in a bushel of buckwheat, barley or timothy seed. But I am just as much a farmer as is the leader of the opposition, or the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Gardiner), or the acting head of the government (Mr. Crerar) whom I see over there and who used to sit on this side of the house some years ago as a Progressive.

I am a Conservative and I have never been anything else. They can put all kinds of prefixes in front of that name, but I am still a Conservative. I told my constituents that when I was elected for the present parliament I am a Conservative and nothing else. I agree with that part of the amendment which refers to the contribution to agriculture, but without proper housing, health aid, direct current and proper education there can be no real health and happiness on the farm.

We hear a great deal of talk about planning, but neither victory nor any kind of planning can bring about the millennium. No kind of planning will ever abolish the law of supply and demand. I do not believe in many of the utopian speeches that have been made all over the country about planning. These men of ours who have been fighting Hitler have been referred to by the author Strube, who immortalized them as the little men who saved England in this war. When the soldiers come back they will know how to take care of reconstruction and planning and all that sort of thing-these men who beat the axis dictators as well.

I believe in the incentive of free enterprise subject to reasonable state control. The right to possess private property is derived from nature and not from man. The state has no right to abolish that, but it can regulate its use. The principles of the Conservative party are work for our own workmen, markets for our own products and labour for our own workers. Trade barriers and nations will always exist and no one will ever be able to change them. I do not believe in this policy of planning from the cradle to the grave, of total regimentation. There can be

no liberty in a regimented state. Everybody will be working for the state. Freedom from want means freedom for a job and from unemployment.

Some of the planners made a very poor job before the w'ar of foreseeing this conflict. I remember before the war when rearmament received little or no support in this house. In 1936, 1937 and 1938 it was said that I was a war-monger. It was said that there would be no war when a bill in connection with this same question of human resources was introduced by the former member for Selkirk on March 31, 1939. It was said in that bill that if war came Canada would be neutral and parliament would decide. When this war started I recalled to the pacifists in the house the words of Jeremiah: "Where are now your prophets which prophesied unto you, saying, the King of Babylon shall not come against you, nor against this land?"

We have reached the gravest hour of the war. This is the wrong time for a discussion such as we have had in this house during the last few days. The people of the mother country are wondering what is the matter with Canada just at a time when Great Britain and her allies are going to take the offensive. At such a time we hear all this criticism about home defence and the appointment of committees on man-power and other matters mentioned in the text of one of the amendments. We do not know who is going to win the battle of the Atlantic. What is the use of talking about labour and the problems of labour, agriculture and industry when the ships we build and the food they carry are being sunk before they reach their destination, -when we lose both the ships and their cargoes in the Atlantic. Mr. Lyttelton, British minister of production, said in New York on November 11, that the great armada to North Africa, to Morocco and Algiers, consisted of 500 merchant ships and 350 warships. That would mean armed ships, but they had 120 of an escort fleet.

That magnificent armada is the backbone of the north Atlantic fleet, and the 120 escort boats can never get back into the north Atlantic service. We have reached, the most grievous hour in the battle of the Atlantic, and I would ask my fellow-members from Quebec who have spoken of the man-power requirements on the farm and in industry to read the report that was published by the Polish government in London last December, giving an account of the way in which the Germans are exterminating the Jewish population in Poland-and then read the handwriting on the wall. Members of the British House

The Address-Mr. Ferland

of Commons on Thursday, December 17 last, in an unforgettable moment of emotion stood in silence for a minute after hearing Mr. Eden's protest against German savagery against the Jews. Over one million human beings have been exterminated in Poland by the Germans or taken to abattoirs to die there. Think what might happen to Quebec if the axis powers got up the St. Lawrence river and invaded this country! As I said in 1937, can we afford to wait until the enemy on land, sea and in the air has come up the St. Lawrence and blown up the citadel? I plead with my fellow-members from Quebec province to think of what has happened to Poland, where a million people have been taken by the Germans like a lot of cattle and sent to abattoirs where they have been butchered. It is the most brutal crime the world has ever seen. I ask, Mr. Speaker, that a copy of the report of the Polish government in London on German atrocities in Poland be laid on the table and that Canada should pass a vote of protest against this atrocity. Canada would soon have been next and Quebec and central Canada would have had the gestapo police, the whip, the concentration camps, forced labour, and would have been taken to Germany for slaughter.

I have always been a consistent supporter of the principles which I have enunciated today. I believe that we should do our duty to the mother country, and I will not support any party in or out of this house that fails to do its duty to the mother country both in this war and after the war. It is the mother country that has saved our shores from a slavery worse than death. We have been a party with two principles. We have had the principles of Sir John A. Macdonald, which yet have a large following in Canada to-day. But we are no longer living in the past. We want a policy that has been brought up to date to meet such a war and conditions after it. The only real socialism that I have seen in Ontario has come through the efforts of the Conservative party, which introduced1 wise labour legislation in the province and gave us the eight-hour day. It was the city of Toronto and the province of Ontario that first gave women the right to vote, and took over the water powers of the province so that the farmer and the city man could get direct current at cost under the system of public ownership where there are no huge dividends to pay to stockholders.

The mother country cannot live without her export and import trade. She must import twenty-five out of twenty-seven vital raw materials. She has coal and half the iron and steel she requires, but she must import all the other important raw materials. She cannot live without her import and export trade and

without her empire, and we should deal fairly with her by seeing that she gets the raw materials of the empire she needs. I do not want to see the mother country left after this war starved and without an empire she has spent a fortune to develop. I have respect for our great ally and for the great President of the United States, but after the war I think the United States will become isolationist again and the mother country will need the raw materials of this country and of the British empire. She cannot exist without the dominions, for an import and an export trade is vital to her. Otherwise, Great Britain will become a second Denmark, a second-class power, just an outpost on the edge of Europe for the United States of America.

I am a supporter of the Conservative party. I have never been anything else. I was unfortunately unable to go to the convention at Winnipeg. I did not attend the previous convention in 1938 at Ottawa. I am not much good at attending conventions. I was never much good at organizing political matters of that description. But I have a great respect for those who attended the convention, and I believe they did the best they could. I will support them in and out of the house because I am a Conservative.

In conclusion, may I express the hope that our side will not forget the duty which it owes to the mother country, which we have always supported, and which by holding off the axis powers has saved our shores from a slavery which would have meant that in Canada we would have the gestapo, the endless tramp of marching feet, the execution squad and all that kind of thing-a system under which tens of thousands of the people of Quebec and Ontario would be moved over to Germany to be slaughtered in the abattoirs just like the people of Poland have been.

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LIB

Charles-Édouard Ferland

Liberal

Mr. C. E. FERLAND:

Mr. Speaker, the Conservative party, through its leader, is asking us to adopt an amendment to the address in reply to the speech from the throne. This amendment, which is very indefinite and might appeal to various shades of public opinion, is full of promises of exemption from military service.

I will nevertheless vote against this amendment because, fundamentally, it is a motion of want of confidence in the present government. Besides, the promises made by the Conservative party are seldom worth very much. I am afraid that the promises contained in the amendment moved by the Conservatives is not worth the paper on which they are written. When I was called to the bar of my province in 1917, I have had the occasion for a certain period,

The Address-Mr. Ferland

in 1917, and especially in 1918, prior to the end of the war, to appear before military tribunals on behalf of a great many farmers. I successfully defended eight or nine hundred of them, and we believed then, as well as we do now, that farmers would help to win the war and would serve their country better by remaining on the land.

Now, in the conscription act of 1917, the Conservatives had promised exemption to the farmers. They even were to organize tribunals. There were local tribunals which heard all cases in the province of Quebec under the chairmanship of two officers. There was besides an appeal tribunal presided over, in each district, by a judge of the superior court. After the tribunals had granted a great many exemptions to farmers, the Conservative government which was then in power, passed an order in council cancelling all decisions given by such tribunals which had been sitting under that act to exempt farmers. And to-day the same Conservative party, after twenty odd years, is asking us to withdraw our confidence from the Liberal party, and to place it in them, because they will exempt farmers, and will grant all kinds of exemptions, and their war effort will be much more satisfactory than that of the Liberal party.

However, Mr. Speaker, to those who find that our war effort is too great, I would say that the Conservative party asserted its position on Friday afternoon through its leader who stated that if the present Conservative amendment is adopted, it will lead to an increased war effort. Many people believe at this time that our war effort cannot be increased and that we have reached the ultimate limit of our ability to share in this war.

Mr. Speaker, under our constitution and our parliamentary law, the speech from the throne is not subject to amendment. It is impossible to amend a motion for adoption of the address. All that can be done is to oppose government policy, to move a vote of want of confidence for the purpose of condemning the whole government policy and, if such a motion of want of confidence or if such amendment by the opposition carries, the government is defeated. That is why I shall vote against the present Conservative amendment.

That is also why I cannot support the other amendments and I have voted against the amendment moved yesterday by the hon. member for Gaspe (Mr. Roy) who had thought that, because a pastor who seems utterly devoid of discretion and but poorly endowed with common sense, has written and published abusive articles against the Roman Catholic church and against our spiritual leaders it

constitutes a valid grounds for the hon. member to propose a motion of want of confidence. He asked us to defeat the government because that pastor had insulted our church. What a genius! What a sum of intelligence was required to ask for the defeat of the government on a question of religion 1 However, I know full well why the amendment was moved. It was because our hon. friend from Gaspe expected to embarrass us. He knew the government would not be defeated on the amendment but he probably expected that his friends in the' province of Quebec would later say of him: "See how staunch a Catholic our member is!"

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?

Mr ROY:

Mr. Speaker, I rise to a point of order. The hon. member has just said that, in moving my amendment last night I had the intention of going into Quebec later on and saying that such-and-such an hon. member had voted so-and-so. I do not think that according to the rules he has a right to impute to me any intentions, and I ask him to withdraw those words.

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?

An hon. MEMBER:

Just deny them now.

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LIB

Charles-Édouard Ferland

Liberal

Mr. FERLAND:

I accept the wordi of the hon. member for Gaspe (Mr. Roy;. I have nothing else to say on that question. He can rest assured that I do not wish to impute to him any motives.

Mr. Speaker, there is perhaps some confusion in certain sections of the country following the many amendments that have been moved, especially in these difficult times. For that reason, I have deemed it advisable to explain why I intend to support the government. In 1940, I received a mandate from my electors; it was a formal mandate to support the Liberal government, subject, however, to my opposing conscription of men for overseas service. Last year, in February I think, the government brought down the famous plebiscite act. Prior to the vote which took place on April 27, 1942, I addressed a message to my electors of Joliette-PAssomp-tion-Montcalm, explaining why I had supported the government on the plebiscite act;

I told them I had done so because the amendment moved was a motion of want of confidence and that the government would have been defeated and replaced by another government if it had not received the support of the Quebec members. But I told my electors that I still had confidence in our leader the Prime Minister of Canada and that whatever government might be in power, I would vote against them if they ever attempted to pass conscription for overseas service.

Canadian Navy-Submarine Operations

Mr. Speaker, I have kept my word. In June, 1942, I think, the government had the bill of conscription for service overseas passed, and I not only protested against it in this house, but I broke with my party and my leader and I voted against the government. Fifty-three other French Canadian members gave a similar vote and broke with the Liberal party by voting against conscription. I had no reason to walk across the house and to desert my party, even though that conscription bill was incorporated in the statutes of Canada, because at the time, before the vote was taken on that amendment to the Mobilization Act, the Prime Minister of Canada repeated once more that conscription of men for overseas service had never been, was not and probably would never be necessary.

But the Prime Minister, in a speech delivered in the House of Commons, gave us his word of honour and a verbal guarantee when he solemnly declared that if it ever became necessary to enforce that conscription measure for service overseas by order in council, he would not put conscription into force without previously consulting parliament, and without being authorized by parliament through a vote of its members. We have continued ever since to fight and to contribute to the war effort. I must say, Mr. Speaker, that in spite of all the difficulties we had to face, in spite of certain errors that we have pointed out for correction in this house where free speech is recognized, in party caucus, in the newspapers and elsewhere, I have confidence in the Prime Minister of Canada and I say there is not in the whole country a man who enjoys the confidence of the electors to a higher degree.

Mr. Speaker, I notice that it is near six o'clock and I want to conclude my remarks in order to give the house a chance to vote on the amendment now before us and on the main motion.

I shall vote against the Conservative amendment and I shall support the government on the main motion.

Mr. NORMAN J. M. LOCKHART (Lincoln): Mr. Speaker, it was not my intention to participate in this debate, but within the past few days certain incidents have taken place on which I think I should say something.

I am satisfied to continue for the next five or six minutes if you wish, but I shall probably take half an hour. Therefore I respectfully move the adjournment of the debate.

Motion agreed to and debate adjourned.

On motion of Mr. Fournier (Hull) the house adjourned at 5.55 p.m.

Thursday, February 25, 1943

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February 24, 1943