June 28, 1943

LIB

Humphrey Mitchell (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. MITCHELL:

To date there have been 1,351 prosecutions, of which 1,326 have been won by the crown.

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PC

John George Diefenbaker

Progressive Conservative

Mr. DIEFENBAKER:

Is that in connection with national registration?

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LIB

Humphrey Mitchell (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. MITCHELL:

Yes, and 14,932 in the hands of the police at this time.

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PC

John George Diefenbaker

Progressive Conservative

Mr. DIEFENBAKER:

No, no; those figures do not answer me at all. Those are figures connected with prosecutions for failure to answer the call-up for military service. I am talking about prosecutions for failure to register under national registration.

Let me say this, too, that the figures the minister has placed before the committee show conclusively how indifferently evasion of the call-up is being enforced. I shall give figures in connection with the call-up, not from the revised list, but from the booklet "Canada at War", issued in February last by the wartime information board. The figures are to be found at pages 22, 23 and 24. They show the government admits that 135,890, of those called up, namely 1,028,753, never replied. They did not answer the call. And of the remainder, after deductions are made for those who received postponements, and for those proved medically unfit, there were 205,776 still unaccounted for. That makes a total of 341,000 men unaccounted for in December, 1942. Those are the studied figures sent out by the wartime information board. As a matter of fact, to-day the minister says there are only 13,000 or 14,000 delinquents in Canada.

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LIB

Humphrey Mitchell (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. MITCHELL:

I never said that. Fourteen thousand names have been handed to the police.

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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

*Mr. GARDINER:

Thirteen hundred have

been already in court.

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PC

John George Diefenbaker

Progressive Conservative

Mr. DIEFENBAKER:

Fourteen thousand names have been handed to the police. Even in February, as shown at page 24 of this

War Appropriation-Labour

booklet, it was admitted that the total number of medical notices undelivered was 87,485; military training notices undelivered, 9,345, and cases pending, delinquents, or otherwise unaccounted for, 98,128. Those are the wartime information board's figures in February last, and they show the number admitted to be delinquents, out of approximately 1,000,000 calls, to have been 194,958 men.

If the government would admit that it is having difficulty; that it cannot enforce the law; that it has not the moral suasion; that it has not the necessary police force, and that it was endeavouring to enforce the law equally, then one would have more sympathy with the minister's department. But that is not the answer.

I wish now to refer to Mr. MacNamara's speech to the Academy of Political Science in New York, in which he gave various reasons why it is difficult to mobilize [DOT] man-power in Canada. In this speech, to which I referred the other day, he closes with these words:

We have felt our way slowly; are still feeling our way.

Well, Mr. Chairman, after four years of war are not the people of this country entitled to better than that? Can we not have a better answer than that with respect to inequality of call and inequality of opportunity of service for the people of this dominion? Can we not have a better answer than that we have felt our way slowly, and that we are still feeling our way?

When I read this speech I ask myself this question: What defence does the government offer to this speech wherein is set out the situation in Canada respecting man-power? What defence does it offer as to why there has not been the type of war effort Canada has a right to demand? On the first page he states that the situation in Canada is different from that in the United States. It states:

While time will not permit a detailed analysis of the differences and similarities between Canada and the United States, it seems advisable to mention some of the more significant items in any such comparison as a background against which you may consider Canada's manpower policy.

Like the United States, Canada is a federal union, but, because there are only nine provinces as against forty-eight states, the opinion of each province probably carries a greater weight in determining federal policy than does that of any single state.

That statement is a negation of the principles of the Canadian confederation, and a denial of the hopes of the fathers of confederation. That statement, translated into simple terms, means this, that in Canada any one province, be it Saskatchewan, or any

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other province, may hold the government back, because of the greater influence possessed by one province in a confederation of nine, than one state in a confederation of forty-eight states.

Next follows something that is rather interesting, am admission of what we have contended on many occasions, that the government of this nation, in so far as the war is concerned, is a matter of government by order in council. This is what Mr. Mac-Namara said:

Most of Canada's war-time policies are expressed in orders in council comparable to your executive orders, passed by the cabinet under this authority and simply tabled in parliament.

It remained for the deputy minister to place before the people of the United States that which has been denied times without number in this house, that parliament has ceased to function in so far as the war-time policies of Canada are concerned, and that they owe their inception in orders in council. Then follows the strangest doctrine I have ever heard advanced by any Canadian. I know my hon. friends from Quebec are just as anxious as anyone else for equality of service.

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LIB
PC

John George Diefenbaker

Progressive Conservative

Mr. DIEFENBAKER:

Equality of privilege and equality of opportunity for service. The deputy minister said:

Consequently all government policy has to run the gauntlet of democratic review, in that disapproval of any major policy would necessitate the resignation of the government and, unless the opposition could command a sure majority in the house, an appeal to the country in the form of a general election.

Although Canada like the United States is a land of many peoples, the fact that we spring chiefly from two main stocks. French and British, somewhat complicates, although it also enriches, our political and social life.

Certainly it enriches our political and social life. I continue:

Every government policy must be framed with due regard to their special rights-

That is true.

-and their convictions.

If that statement represents the viewpoint of the government, it denies the hope that this country will ever become united from the Atlantic to the Pacific, it denies an opportunity to the people of this nation to become Canadian, united, firm, strong and free under the British crown, united in their desire to dedicate themselves to common service and common sacrifice. I repudiate the doctrine enunciated in that speech. That will not make for true Canadianism. It is the type of doctrine

War Appropriation-Labour

that will tear this country asunder, will split our people apart, and will separate us, instead of bringing us together in the bonds of common sacrifice in war.

Is it not time that we gave to the people of all parts of Canada equal rights of service, so as thereby to enrich the Canadianism of which we are so proud? We should give an opportunity to every man and woman in every part of Canada to serve equally as nearly as possible. The people in the province of Quebec are perfectly willing to defend Canada. They accepted the National Resources Mobilization Act; they accepted the principle of service for the defence of Canada, but under the enforcement of the legislation to-day they are being denied the opportunity that the other eight provinces have, namely, the privilege and honour to march together regardless of racial origin in a union such as we have never known before.

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CCF

George Hugh Castleden

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. CASTLEDEN:

The parliamentary

assistant to the minister tried to spread some sugar over the selective service policy when he termed it the master plan. The fact that the figures given on Wednesday have had to be revised this evening would seem to be a contradiction of what he was trying to say.

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LIB
CCF

George Hugh Castleden

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. CASTLEDEN:

We tried to base our argument on the figures that were given on Wednesday, and those that were given this evening make it rather difficult for us to estimate exactly what is going on. Why was not this explanation given on Wednesday?

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LIB

Humphrey Mitchell (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. MITCHELL:

In view of the confusion I thought I would give a simpler statement.

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CCF

George Hugh Castleden

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. CASTLEDEN:

Apparently it was required, but it should have been given on Wednesday. I think it must be admitted that when the board in one province grants postponements to the extent of ninety-three per cent and the board in another province grants them only to the extent of sixty-one per cent, the average for the whole dominion being eighty per cent, there is something definitely wrong. I realize that there are difficulties in this selective service the same as there are in many of the things we are trying to do in this war, but there is something wrong when the board in one province shows a tendency not to grant postponements to this extent. The government should have rectified this. I cannot understand why this condition should have been allowed to exist for two or three years. It is unfortunate that Saskatchewan should

have been singled out in this way. I live in that province; I come in contact with the people, and I hear of cases such as that of the only son of a man practically blind1 who was taken off the farm, while two or three miles away two or three sons are allowed to remain. Such inequalities should not exist.

It seems to me the registration of 1940 was badly conducted. I do not know the minister's estimate of it, but I believe it was worth very little. The fact that selective service has operated under so many ministers in three years is proof of the situation we are getting into. The figures given this evening with regard to the number of call-ups and the number of cases in the hands of the police is evidence that the thing has been working poorly. Those who have not answered their call-ups have not been checked up soon enough. The difficulty with the board in Saskatchewan must have been owing to personnel. Who was the representative of the army sitting in with that board?

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LIB

Humphrey Mitchell (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. MITCHELL:

There is no representative of the army who is a member of the board, but the representative sitting in was Lieutenant-Colonel A. S. Redford.

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CCF

George Hugh Castleden

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. CASTLEDEN:

Is he also officer commanding district depot No. 12?

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LIB
CCF

George Hugh Castleden

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. CASTLEDEN:

I think we ought to have that information.

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LIB

Humphrey Mitchell (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. MITCHELL:

I shall be glad to get it for the hon. member. I let the army run their own show because I have a large enough undertaking myself.

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CCF

George Hugh Castleden

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. CASTLEDEN:

It seems to me there is something wrong here, too.

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June 28, 1943