June 28, 1943

NAT

Douglas Gooderham Ross

National Government

Mr. ROSS (St. Paul's):

Are there 129,000 who enlisted voluntarily?

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF LABOUR
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LIB
NAT
LIB

Humphrey Mitchell (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. MITCHELL:

It may be extraordinary, but they are in the army.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF LABOUR
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NAT

Douglas Gooderham Ross

National Government

Mr. ROSS (St. Pauls'):

The number called was 988,000 odd, and the number examined

608.000, and out of the 608,000 that turned up you have 129,000 that you cannot account for. We do not know where they are.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF LABOUR
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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

They did not have to turn up if they went into the army.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF LABOUR
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NAT

Douglas Gooderham Ross

National Government

Mr. ROSS (St. Paul's):

I should like to ask the Minister of Agriculture how he knows they went into the army, and if he can tell me just why they went into the army.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF LABOUR
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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

Because I was the minister in charge of the registration the hon. gentleman is talking about, at the time it was made. There were 54,000 men who were enlisted at that time, which number added to the

988.000, makes the total registered who were of military age. Since that time men have been called, and they have enlisted in the army and did not have to report to this board.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF LABOUR
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NAT
LIB
NAT

Douglas Gooderham Ross

National Government

Mr. ROSS (St. Paul's):

They are part of the 608,000 who did report to be examined; and out of the 608.000 we have only accounted for the number I mentioned. I think that this is a farce of a statement, which does not give us anything at all. It is just a lot of figures that no one knows anything about, not even the government. They are trying to make excuses for the whole thing, but here you have

988.000 who were called, and you have 608,000 who responded, which leaves 380,000 about whom we know nothing. We know that some of those are in the army, that no doubt some of them have died and so on, but there were

608.000 examined during that time. What has happened to them? Then we have these

289.000 who were called, who had notices sent out to them. Nothing has been said during the debate, so far as I know, about any of the notices going astray in regard to these

289.000 men. They were examined and they were called; notices went out to them, but we never heard from 129,000 of them, and we do not know anything about them. No one knows anything about them, not even the government. The minister tries to make excuses for this state of affairs and goes away back to 1940, when he was in charge of the registration. I think he did a pretty good job at that time; I know I helped him all I could, as we all did. Perhaps I was one of the first members of this house to call for a national registration; that was away back in 1940. Do hon. members remember the registration cards we had to fill out, with all the questions on it; asking city people if they could milk cows, and all that sort of thing? By the way, I should like to ask the minister if he was responsible for drawing up that card and asking all those questions to find out if people in the cities could milk cows, and so on.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF LABOUR
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?

An hon. MEMBER:

Order.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF LABOUR
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NAT

Douglas Gooderham Ross

National Government

Mr. ROSS (St. Paul's):

Did someone speak? The whole thing is just like that; some ghost here behind me said something; I do not know what it was, and that is the whole situation as far as I can see it. The point is that the government never wanted to get down to compulsory national selective service anyway. They made up their minds they were going to do this whole thing by evolution; they were going to go away back to the old monkeys and see if they could not get some of the monkeys to become men. Thank heaven we had a tremendous number of men who wanted to

War Appropriation-Labour

volunteer and who did so. The answer to the whole question is that the government are not interested in where these 128,000 men may be; they are missing, but no matter. You can take this whole table and it is not worth the powder to blow it up; it is the same, as a matter of fact, as the government's national selective policy.

As I was listening to the hon. member for Essex East, who is the parliamentary assistant to the minister, I thought of the words I used on Friday night in describing the policy of the government. First, I said it was vaporous. Well, it was vaporous when the hon. member spoke to-night; there is no question about that. The next word I used-perhaps I did not go far enough-was that it was vacuous. Well, you know the dictionary meaning of "vacuous"; I believe it means empty, without anything in it, and that was what I thought of as I listened to the minister's parliamentary assistant. I do not think he is quite that bad, but there you are. It will be remembered that the hon. member for Vancouver Centre criticized me the other night for not saying enough, but the third word 1 used in describing the policy of the government was that it was vacillating. Well, did he vacillate to-night. That is exactly what he did; and then when he got through with his speech he said, "We won't use compulsion. We never have, and we do not want to have compulsion in this thing at all. We are going to continue on a voluntary basis." Then, when I asked him a question, as to whether they did not have compulsion, he replied, "yes, but only in two cases." Well, those two cases are for home defence, and for everyone between the ages of sixteen and sixty-five. There you are; that is the whole thing. Here is your list, and it is not worth anything; the figures on it do not mean a thing.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF LABOUR
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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

You are making quite a speech on it.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF LABOUR
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NAT

Douglas Gooderham Ross

National Government

Mr. ROSS (St. Paul's):

I cannot hear the hon. gentleman. I rather like him; he is a pretty good minister of agriculture, but he is a better politician. He has the province of Saskatchewan right in the palm of his hand, or he thinks he has. Wait until the next election comes along; perhaps he will find that it is not in the palm of his hand as he thought. He is clever, however, and I like to hear him speak in this house. I believe he is a smarter man than we give him credit for being, and I am sure he will say these things are as I have described them, that these figures in this table are worthless and do not mean a thing.

I will ask him the question: does he not admit that?

Mr. Douglas G. Ross.]

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF LABOUR
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LIB
NAT

Douglas Gooderham Ross

National Government

Mr. ROSS (St. Paul's):

The minister does admit it; I can see him nodding his head. Well, Mr. Chairman, I have many other things I wanted to speak about but I am afraid I was side-tracked.

Progress reported.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF LABOUR
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At eleven o'clock the house adjourned, without question put, pursuant to standing order. Tuesday, June 29, 1943


June 28, 1943