rising to a point of order. These remarks are entirely out of order. The hon. member for Temiscouata will take his seat if he is a gentleman when I raise a point of order. What has this to do with the resolution before the committee? How long have we to suffer this sort of thing?
I think the hon. member for Temiscouata must realize that it is difficult for the Chairman to keep speakers within the limits of the item before us. All I can do is to ask hon. members to keep their discussion within the limits.
I have nearly concluded my remarks, but I have just one word to say to the leader of the opposition. He does not realize that when I speak as I do I am avenging him for the fate which he suffered at the hands of his former supporters. Although I disagreed entirely with him I preferred to hear him advocating conscription as official leader of the opposition or leader of the Conservative or the Progressive Conservative party or the N. G. party-call it what you will-to reading the rosewater speeches of his present leader. At least I knew where he stood, and I fought him on that ground. But I will tell him another thing. I never rose to interrupt him except when he was interrupting me. I have given all members the opportunity to say what they wanted, and I
will tell the former leader of the opposition that he did not help his cause by speaking as he did. I tell him further that I regret that the Progressive Conservative party did not choose a pure Conservative as their leader. Instead they went out to find a man who had been able to form a small scale union government in Manitoba and they brought him here for the same purpose, thinking that with John Bracken as their leader they would have a union government at Ottawa. That is why I am opposed to John Bracken, because a union government would destroy the freedom of opposition in this house. It would prevent an opposition from expressing fair and just criticism of the actions of the government. That is why I am opposed to union government.
I think the hon. member for York-Sunbury is still for it, and if he thinks that John Bracken is the man in Canada who can do it he is making a great mistake. I do not want to discuss conscription, I do not want to discuss national government, but I will fight John Bracken, and as he is the chosen leader he must be strong enough to defend himself. But he goes away all the time. He is a wandering Jew-an Isaac Laquedem.
I rise to a point of order, Mr. Chairman. I am quite sure that the hon. member for Temiscouata on reflection will not want to cast aspersion upon the leader of our party. I am quite sure that he has gone a little further than he intended. It is not very often, Mr. Chairman, that it is necessary for me to rise in my place and defend the good name and reputation of a man who has been chosen the leader of a great party in Canada, the Hon. John Bracken. But I do so here with a great deal of pride and pleasure. I would ask the hon. member for Temiscouata not to follow his present line of argument; for at a time like this especially he should not cast reflections on a good Canadian who is trying to do his duty as Mr. Bracken is.
May I ask a question of the Minister of Labour? I wanted to ask the hon. member for Temiscouata but I was not permitted. But first of all I would like to associate myself with the leader of the Progressive Conservative party. I have never found it necessary to lower myself by making personal remarks about the leader or prospective leader of a party in the house. I just wanted to help the hon. member for Temiscouata. As I understand it, the Minister of Labour has complete charge of all labour in all parts of this dominion. I do not want any unfairness done to any member of this house, particularly to the hon. member for Temiscouata, so I appeal to the minister, as head of the selective service, to see that the hon. member for Temiscouata is properly and adequately served. I notice that the Chronicle of June 23, 1943, has this heading: "Extra stenographers called in to handle Pouliot's mail".
Mr. Chairman, in the manpower discussions in this house nothing has been emphasized more than the need for farm labour. Perhaps there is not a district in this dominion in which there will be found a greater number of husky robust men, farmers too, of military age than in the district of West Kootenay. I refer to the Doulchobors. They were born and brought up on the land; they are natural farmers, but they are leaving the farm for the older members of the family to work while they drift into the community centres to exploit the labour market, to take advantage in every way of positions which have been vacated by men who have joined the armed services.
The hon. member for Yale (Mr. Stirling) yesterday repeated the story of the admission of the Doukhobors to Canada. They were admitted and given the fullest immunity from military service. But that order also provided that they must present a certificate from the authorities in their own community, that was forty-four years ago. I am going to ask, what happens when the Doukhobor community no longer exists and when there is no authority to grant the certificate? The question also arises, does that immunity from military service extend to the descendants of the original Doukhobors? The 'Minister of Justice has ruled that it does, and under the mobilization act the same ruling has been followed. The fact remains that the government-not this particular government but every government both federal and provincial -are afraid to enforce the law in connection with this religious sect.
I have in my district some 3,500 Doukhobors. That is an approximate estimate. A national registration was taken about a year after the war was declared. The registrar sent capable and responsible men into that community to register the Doukhobors, and they did the best thej' could. But the one purpose of the Doukhobors was to evade registration. It will take a good strong armed force of ex-service men or mounted policemen to register these Doukhobors, and a half dozen of them should go into that community and register every one of them. More than that, they should see to it that these Doukhobors are not allowed to continue to drift into West Kootenay district from Saskatchewan for the purpose of hiding their identity. For many years I attempted to bring to the attention of the government the defiance of the law by this sect, and I have to say that about the only time one could secure the interest of hon. members was when they were visualizing a description of a nude parade. Then they all sat to attention. If some of them had to experience the continued bombing and firing of schools, of which there were twenty-two or twenty-three cases within a few years, while teachers were sleeping in the living apartments of the school and were able to escape only because those apartments were on the ground floor; and perhaps if hon. members had to suffer the humiliation of their wives and daughters who had to witness these nude parades, they would look at these things in a different manner. But you can never interest any government. Whether it be present or previous federal governments or provincial governments, all are afraid to enforce the law. It is a humiliation which this dominion must endure. A great nation which raises an army of 500,000 men, which looks after several thousands of prisoners of war, which can move 25,000 Japanese, has not the ability, has not the______
I have followed with a keen interest the speeches delivered this afternoon by hon. members of this house. Whether they belong to the Progressive Conservative party, the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation or the Social Credit party, we can rightly put them in the same class. They are in perfect agreement with the government. They complain about the farm labour shortage, but all of them, one after the other, have voted against the amendments and the resolutions I moved in favour of the exemption of farmers. How inconsistent and hypocritical is such an action, Mr. Chairman! Certain statements are long overdue in this house and we are prepared to make them to-day.
The discussion on the estimates of the Minister of Labour (Mr. Mitchell) has been await-
ed with much concern for many weeks. All is not well as regards man-power. In connection with war industries, agriculture, commerce or civilian industries, we are witnessing the dismal failure of the organization of manpower in Canada. Agriculture is facing a shortage of experienced men through the action and by the fault of the government, who have always denied the farmers complete and definite exemption from compulsory military service. Indeed, they have through their huge majority in parliament and in collusion with all opposition groups with the exception of ten members of this house, invariably voted down all the resolutions and amendments I have moved along that line. It would seem that the government's single purpose is to bring about a shortage of agricultural products. Their first duty was to stimulate by every possible means the production of foodstuffs that are indispensable to the army and the civilian population of Canada. What have they done? They have called for military service thousands of farmers. They are still doing it in spite of our constant protests. On the one hand, they advocate agricultural overproduction and on the other hand they subsidize the western farmers so that the latter may reduce their production. That is the government's policy. On the one hand, they request the farmers to produce as much as they can, and on the other hand, they deprive them of every means whereby they could do it, in taking away from them their best workers. What conclusion is to be drawn from such an attitude? What must we think of such an administration? If we consider that seeding is not yet completed in many provinces of eastern Canada, and that thousands of farmers are still kept in military camps notwithstanding all requests and in spite of our protests, we cannot condemn too strongly the disastrous policy of this government. Who will restore to farmers the dairy herds that have been slaughtered for the lack of help, the farms sold for a mere song or left uncultivated. Who will set on its feet again our agricultural economy so thoroughly shaken by a most unwise policy? Who will return to the farm the numerous farmers who have moved to the cities under the incentive of remunerative but uncertain jobs? We can never be too insistent in reproaching the government for having destroyed our first line of defence in the country, agriculture. However, the day when they will be called to account is approaching. Those who are responsible for the present sorry state of affairs may be convinced of one thing: the Canadian people will have their revenge and treat according to their desserts
those politicians whose blind obstinacy will have ruined our agriculture and given a mortal blow to our economic and financial set-up.
And the government set forth as an excuse the so-called postponements granted to farmers. Mr. Chairman, I shall say a few words about them. Let us be frank. How much trouble and bother, how many attestations before a notary public, and visits to their members of parliament and how much loss of time do these precious postponements occasion. What a joke! On the other hand, how many requests have had no other answer than a railway or bus ticket accompanied by a notice to report at a military camp. Let us stop being hypocrites. The government have deceived us long enough. We are now witnessing, in this country, the worst example of hypocrisy and lying of all ages. Never before have so many promises been broken when their fulfilment was known to be an impossibility from the beginning. Never have so many sacred undertakings been trampled, underfoot by a government who climbed into power by promising to adopt a programme the exact opposite of that which is implemented. This government has been guilty of the worst breach of trust ever. Is it surprising that dissatisfaction is apparent in every section of the country? Is it surprising that strikes are breaking out all over Canada? The people, whom the government themselves have 60 often let down, are rightfully mistrustful and alarmed. They groan under burdensome taxes brought about by the extravagance and the shameful waste of a government so thriftless that our money will remain devaluated for a long time to come. Our dollar is now worth 10 cents less than the American dollar whereas, before the outbreak of the war, in 1939, it was worth 17 cents more. Our whole resources are mobilized, not only for war purposes, but for the enrichment of a flock of vultures wrangling over the last scraps of our economy. Witness the Lynches, in Montreal, the Engineering Works, that stole $250,000 from the government who took two and a half years to find it out. In the space of a few months, the government purchase close to a million dollars' worth of luxurious furniture for military camps. The same hypocrisy and deceit are always in evidence. The government recklessly spend the taxpayers' money. Scandals multiply. Our war expenditures committee is made up of eighteen Liberals and six members of the opposition. Can you see any fairness and equity in such a set up? We have here in the cabinet three new millionaires who have made their money since the war's outbreak. We shall denounce them at the proper time and
place. Fortunes are being built up. I say to the Minister of Justice (Mr. St. Laurent) that the minions of the regime are having a wonderful time and that those war profiteers all fondly hope that the war may last forever. They don't care a fig for our soldiers. They scoop up money by the handful out of our revenue and, as we shall prove in due course, they celebrate on behalf of those who work, who suffer and who toll. This shameful situation besmirches the fair name and spells the ruin of a country which, but yesterday, was proud and free! Not only that but, in the very name of freedom, liberties are now being despoiled which were dearly bought after centuries of struggle and include the most precious and sacred of them all-the freedom of speech. I appeal now to the Minister of Justice in the case of Mr. Camillien Houde, former mayor of Montreal, who is being shamefully persecuted. Why did the minister withdraw the charges against Colonel Drew? Yes, why did he?
I suggest the hon. member is out of order when he refers to the case of Mr. Camillien Houde while the house is discussing the estimates of the Minister of Labour (Mr. Mitchell). He will probably have full opportunity to do so later. I submit the hon. member is out of order.