May 1, 1944

NAT

James Arthur Ross

National Government

Mr. ROSS (Souris):

The minister is not telling me that when a young man appears before that board and states he is an agriculturist he is granted extension without asking for it?

Topic:   WAR APPROPRIATION BILL
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR GRANTING TO HIS MAJESTY AID FOR NATIONAL DEFENCE AND SECURITY
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LIB

Joseph-Arthur Bradette (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

The CHAIRMAN:

Order. I will ask the hon. member to address the Chair.

Topic:   WAR APPROPRIATION BILL
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR GRANTING TO HIS MAJESTY AID FOR NATIONAL DEFENCE AND SECURITY
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NAT

James Arthur Ross

National Government

Mr. ROSS (Souris):

I am sorry.

Topic:   WAR APPROPRIATION BILL
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR GRANTING TO HIS MAJESTY AID FOR NATIONAL DEFENCE AND SECURITY
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LIB

Joseph-Arthur Bradette (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

The CHAIRMAN:

It is a rule which should be followed.

Topic:   WAR APPROPRIATION BILL
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR GRANTING TO HIS MAJESTY AID FOR NATIONAL DEFENCE AND SECURITY
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NAT

James Arthur Ross

National Government

Mr. ROSS (Souris):

I understood the minister to say that when a young man appeared and said he was an agriculturist he was automatically granted a postponement or an exemption. My understanding is that he must ask for a postponement or exemption.

Topic:   WAR APPROPRIATION BILL
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR GRANTING TO HIS MAJESTY AID FOR NATIONAL DEFENCE AND SECURITY
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LIB

Humphrey Mitchell (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. MITCHELL:

That is quite true.

Topic:   WAR APPROPRIATION BILL
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR GRANTING TO HIS MAJESTY AID FOR NATIONAL DEFENCE AND SECURITY
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NAT

James Arthur Ross

National Government

Mr. ROSS (Souris):

And then he does not always get it. But he must ask, in any event.

Topic:   WAR APPROPRIATION BILL
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR GRANTING TO HIS MAJESTY AID FOR NATIONAL DEFENCE AND SECURITY
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LIB

Humphrey Mitchell (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. MITCHELL:

I think that follows. If you went before a board, what is the first thing I would ask if I were chairman of the board? My first question would be, "What is your occupation?" The applicant says he is a farmer. It is just as simple as that.

Topic:   WAR APPROPRIATION BILL
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR GRANTING TO HIS MAJESTY AID FOR NATIONAL DEFENCE AND SECURITY
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NAT

James Arthur Ross

National Government

Mr. ROSS (Souris):

The point I was trying to make is that this is a policy of playing on a young man's feelings to get him in the armed services, and the minister states he must ask for postponement or exemption. This board in no case advise the young man that he should be back on the farm or be in industry; they want him to enlist in this draft army, and every effort is put forward to achieve that end. I think the minister will agree that that is right.

Topic:   WAR APPROPRIATION BILL
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR GRANTING TO HIS MAJESTY AID FOR NATIONAL DEFENCE AND SECURITY
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LIB

Humphrey Mitchell (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. MITCHELL:

No. I cannot agree with that, and I cannot keep on explaining.

Topic:   WAR APPROPRIATION BILL
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR GRANTING TO HIS MAJESTY AID FOR NATIONAL DEFENCE AND SECURITY
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NAT

James Arthur Ross

National Government

Mr. ROSS (Souris):

Under the regulations the young man must make application in writing for postponement.

Topic:   WAR APPROPRIATION BILL
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR GRANTING TO HIS MAJESTY AID FOR NATIONAL DEFENCE AND SECURITY
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LIB

Donat Raymond

Liberal

Mr. RAYMOND:

I desire to make a very few observations, and the first one will be with respect to the order in which the items of this department are discussed. When, on February 11, the Minister of Finance introduced his resolution to provide for the sum of $3,650 millions, he made a break-down of the estimated war expenditure and indicated the order in which the various items should be discussed. I do not know why there has been this inversion of the order which was indicated by the Minister of Finance for the discussion of the estimates. Is it because the minister wanted to pass his estimate on a Friday evening or on a Monday? To-day we were supplied with a sheet showing a statement of estimated amounts required by the Department of Labour, and instead of having as the first item, as indicated by the Minister of Finance, the war emergency training programme, we find the national selective service programme. I am at a loss to know why this change has been made. The leader of the opposition has time and again complained about not knowing what was going on, what was to be discussed after we come here. We do not know what discussion will take place or what the order will be. In this case the minister has seen fit to change the order indicated, which we were entitled to believe would be adhered to. Moreover, we were supplied this afternoon with a statement printed in English only. I asked for a French copy of it but I was told there was none. The French language has a right in this house, and I am one of those who believe that, if it has, it is high time we were entitled to a French copy of everything printed. Last week we were discussing amendments to the standing orders of the house and were supplied only with an English copy. An hon. member opposite asked for a French copy and could not get it and to-day again we cannot get a French copy. We have only an

War Appropriation-Labour

English copy, which is different, as indicated on February 11 by the Minister of Finance.

And now I intend to continue my observations in French.

(Translation): I wish to bring to the

attention of the committee the obviously absurd manner in which the provisions of the mobilization act are carried out. I do not know whether conditions are the same in the other provinces, but such is the situation in the province of Quebec. On February 8, 1943, *the minister sent us a copy of some directions given in connection with the growing shortage of farm labour. Here is one passage which I wish to quote:

Owing to the growing shortage of farm labour, it becomes increasingly important to encourage essential farm workers to remain on the land.

That is the direction which the Minister of Labour was giving with a view to keeping farm labour on the land. Unfortunately, those instructions were not followed, and I am going to give many examples. The other day, during the discussion of the estimates of the Minister of National Defence (Mr. Ralston), I brought some facts to his attention and he referred me to the Minister of Mobilization, adding that all he has to do is to ask the Minister of Mobilization for a certain number of recruits, and he undertakes to call them.

Well, it has happened many times that a farmer who had already been examined and placed in category E, and who was accordingly unfit for military service, was called again for a new medical examination in Montreal. The other day, the Minister of National Defence pointed out that it may sometimes be important that a new examination be made of recruits or of men liable to be called.

That was the case of a farmer who had already been called for medical examination and who, therefore, had applied for postponement as a farmer. The Department of Mobilization was aware of all the facts; they knew that the man was a farmer, that as a result of the first medical examination he had been put in category E, but they were calling him again for a new medical examination, at the very time when farmers were requested to remain on their farms. And I could mention several cases. There is, for instance, the case of a young married man who owned a 160-acre farm which he operated alone. He had to lose one or two days to undergo a new medical examination in Montreal and during his absence his neighbours had to take care of his herd of cows. That was an unnecessary expense, in the first place, and a loss of time for that farmer.

I would ask the minister to tell us how many farmers have been called for a second

medical examination. I would ask him when opportunity allows, to kindly give me this information, and to tell me the cost of this second examination of farmers in the circumstances I have just mentioned. There are also other cases. A number of men were called for medical examination and although they applied for a postponement, they were ordered to report to a military training camp two or three days after undergoing the examination. This was a violation of the mobilization regulation which reads as follows:

T'he registrar shall not, while an application for a postponement order is pending before the board, send the applicant an "order-military training."

After submitting to the medical examination,, the applicant had fourteen days in which to apply for a postponement, and he had done so. And there is a large number of similar cases. I do not claim, however, that all this was done since the present minister is in charge of the department. However, I have in my files numerous cases where a called-up man who had applied for a postponement two or three days after receiving the first notice, received an "Order-Military Training". What was the consequence? A good many farmers went to training camps, under the impression that their request for a postponement had been rejected. And it took not only days and weeks, but often months to get them out of the camps after they had proved that they were farmers' sons and were entitled to deferments. During that time farms were neglected.

I recall the case of a 72 year old farmer, whose only son was railed up. The old man was left alone to look after the farm and a herd of dairy cows. The son's postponement *was not granted and he had to go to a training camp, where he had to stay for months before being released. The neighbours had to tend the cows and look after the other farm work. Farmers are asked to increase production; rationing has been resorted to; a shortage of farm help is being experienced; crops are rotting on the field and, nevertheless, farmers' sons are still being called up. Last week, a creamery operator who processes the cream of the farmers of the township, and -who makes butter for which there is such an acute need, saw with great dismay his buttermaker called up for a medical examination although he had been given a postponement until next July. Can anyone imagine such a way of carrying out the provisions of the act? That man had been granted a postponement until July and he -was called for a new medical examination. He was kept away from his farm during three

War Appropriation-Labour

days, and meanwhile there was an accumulation of cream because no one there could make his butter.

And what about the recruits who are called and who suffer from tuberculosis. The following question was recently asked:

How many members of the armed forces on duty in Canada only have been discharged on account of tuberculosis of the lungs?

The answer was that 2,489 persons had been discharged from the army because they were suffering from, tuberculosis. And it was further stated:

Most of the cases had the disease on enlistment and were discharged as soon as the result of the X-ray plates was known.

How is it that they had been accepted in the army if they were suffering from tuberculosis? 2,489 men were suffering with this disease and were nevertheless kept in the armed forces, thereby exposing the others to possible contamination. Had ordinary care been taken, this would not have happened. I shall say nothing of the expense this represented for the taxpayers who always pay the bill in the end.

In spite of statements to the effect that fewer men are required, within Canada, for the defence of the country, more men are being called. I asked a question from the minister last March and, on the 27th of that month, he gave me his reply. Here is my question:

How many persons were called for their medical examination under the mobilization act, (a) during the month of January, 1944; (b) during the month of February, 1944; (c) from March 1 to March 15, 1944?

The answer was:

January, 1944, 26,007; February, 1944, 23,119; March 1-15, 1944, 8,174.

To a second question worded as follows:

How many persons received a notice to report 'or military training under the mobilization act, (a) during the month of January, 1944; fb) during the month of February, 1944; (c) from March 1 to March 15, 1944?

The following answer was given:

January. 1944, 14.766; February, 1944, 12,172; March 1-15, 1944, 6,950.

And it is stated that fewer men are required within Canada, for the defence of the country. Well, let us stop fooling the public by insinuating that the men called for defence of Canada within Canada are really brought into the army for this purpose. It is to train recruits for overseas service, as the minister admitted the other day. It is a method of disguised conscription for overseas.

I come now to the order issued a few weeks ago by the Minister of Labour and which

compels every employer to report his employees who might not be complying with the Mobilization Act. This order even compels the father to report his son, the brother his brother, under penalty of a fine or imprisonment.

Male employee comprises any man in your employ, including those related to you.

And in a set of instructions, later supplied to employers, the same definition appears:

The expression "employer" also comprises any farmer operating a farm and who has a male employee even if he be his son or a relative.

I state without hesitation that, in this order the government is resorting to methods unworthy of a civilized country. To my mind, nothing is more inhuman, more antisocial than to compel parents to denounce their own children. In the name of the mogt elementary principles of justice and charity, I ask the government to remove this shameful order from our statutes. In this, I simply echo the numerous protests that have come from all parts of the country. All our public bodies have expressed their disapproval. In spite of all this, such an order is maintained.

I also wish to call the ministers' attention to order in council C.P. 1355, of March 4, 1940, which reads as follows:

The minister, upon 'being informed by the Department of National Defence that a specified number of men are required for military training, may instruct any registrar to apply these regulations to a specified number of _ men from his division, and may inform a registrar how many French-speaking men are required.

I ask the minister why he has inserted in this order in council a special provision relating to French-speaking Canadians. I thought that in this country of ours we were all Canadians and that when men are called into [DOT]the army there should be no distinction between French Canadians or English Canadians or Canadians of any other race, because we are all Canadians. I fail to see the object of this special distinction applying to French Canadians. As long as the Minister of Labour has not given a satisfactory explanation, I shall take it that this provision has been aimed at the French Canadians.

I shall have other remarks to make on this department's estimates. For the present, I call the minister's attention to he facts I have indicated to [DOT] the house, in the hope that he will give them due consideration and that he will take steps to remedy the difficulties I have mentioned.

Topic:   WAR APPROPRIATION BILL
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR GRANTING TO HIS MAJESTY AID FOR NATIONAL DEFENCE AND SECURITY
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SC

Anthony Hlynka

Social Credit

Mr. HLYNKA:

I would not have risen at this time had not the minister stated that

War Appropriation-Labour

"all a young man has to do when called up is to say that he is engaged in agriculture and he is automatically granted a postponement." The minister is entirely wrong. In practice the onus of proof at all times falls upon the man applying for postponement. As a matter of fact, the applicant is sent a questionnaire which must be filled out and signed by a mounted policeman if there is one within a radius of twenty miles; in most cases applicants send in sworn affidavits setting out the facts. I should like to tell the minister also that even many of those who have been granted postponements are advised from time to time that their postponements are cancelled, and that they must make new applications if they wish their cases reconsidered. In most of these cases conditions have not changed; yet the men are told that their postponements cannot be extended indefinitely. Why, then, should the minister make the statement in the house that agricultural postponements are readily granted when applied for, when he should know that such is not the case?

The point I wish to stress is that we know that men are needed for the armed services and that pressure is being applied to obtain men engaged in agriculture. They are told that their postponements cannot be carried on indefinitely and that sooner or later they will have to report for duty. We should be frank about the situation and state it in clear terms. The man-power policy of the government is that if a mobilization board finds that a man can be persuaded to enter the armed services, everything possible is done to get him to do so, even though he may be absolutely necessary on the farm. He cannot obtain his postponement unless and until he can prove beyond doubt that his parents could not possibly carry on without him. Statements like the one the minister made do not clarify the situation. When touring my constituency I was asked by many of my constituents, "Why does the government continue to announce over the air and in the press that postponements are being granted, while applications for postponement are in many cases flatly refused?" I think the minister should tell the house and the country that our man-power pool is being exhausted, and that pressure is being applied to get as many men as possible for the armed services, wherever they may be obtained.

Topic:   WAR APPROPRIATION BILL
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR GRANTING TO HIS MAJESTY AID FOR NATIONAL DEFENCE AND SECURITY
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LIB

Humphrey Mitchell (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. MITCHELL:

I do not think my hon. friend should put up a straw man just in order to knock him down again. The hon. gentleman has suggested that I have not been frank. Perhaps I was too simple. Some people think that if they make a statement so complicated

that they do not understand it themselves, other people should understand it. I told the hon. member for Souris it was as simple as this. A man goes to the board and asks for a postponement. If on investigation he is proven to be a farmer, the application is granted.

Topic:   WAR APPROPRIATION BILL
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR GRANTING TO HIS MAJESTY AID FOR NATIONAL DEFENCE AND SECURITY
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SC

Anthony Hlynka

Social Credit

Mr. HLYNKA:

Not so easily.

Topic:   WAR APPROPRIATION BILL
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR GRANTING TO HIS MAJESTY AID FOR NATIONAL DEFENCE AND SECURITY
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LIB

Humphrey Mitchell (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. MITCHELL:

Let us look at the record of postponements. The figures are as follows:

Farming

Fishing

Lumbering

Mining

Essential industries and services..

Students

Conscientious objectors

Merchant marine

Compassionate

All others

145,529

2.317

5,382

2,562

52,341

14,497

8,285

2,729

2,443

16.540

Total 252,625

Most of the conscientious objectors are farmers as well. It will be seen from these figures that over fifty per cent of the postponements covering all industry in Canada are granted in connection with agriculture. I think that should be an indication that the boards across this country have given due regard to the directives or regulations concerning the protection of the industry of agriculture.

Topic:   WAR APPROPRIATION BILL
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR GRANTING TO HIS MAJESTY AID FOR NATIONAL DEFENCE AND SECURITY
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SC

Anthony Hlynka

Social Credit

Mr. HLYNKA:

I am not saying anything

about the boards. The boards are placed in an impossible position. They are told to get the men.

Topic:   WAR APPROPRIATION BILL
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR GRANTING TO HIS MAJESTY AID FOR NATIONAL DEFENCE AND SECURITY
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LIB

Humphrey Mitchell (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. MITCHELL:

They are not told to

get the men contrary to regulations. Probably my hon. friend wants to go out and make a speech when he gets back home, but I cannot let a statement like that go by.

Topic:   WAR APPROPRIATION BILL
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR GRANTING TO HIS MAJESTY AID FOR NATIONAL DEFENCE AND SECURITY
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SC

Anthony Hlynka

Social Credit

Mr. HLYNKA:

In my office upstairs_ I

have a number of applications and affidavits concerning cases where there is only one son left at home, with two or three quarter-sections of land to look after. The father may well be up in his late sixties or early seventies; yet the application for postponement is refused. I am speaking from the practical point of view; I have taken up many of these cases. To say in this chamber that "all a man has to do is to say that he is needed in agriculture and he is granted a postponement" is not in accordance with facts. I did not find that to be true in the part of the country from which I come.

Topic:   WAR APPROPRIATION BILL
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR GRANTING TO HIS MAJESTY AID FOR NATIONAL DEFENCE AND SECURITY
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NAT

Douglas Gooderham Ross

National Government

Mr. ROSS (St. Paul's):

Did I understand the minister to say that one out of every six men called was rejected?

War Appropriation-Labour

Topic:   WAR APPROPRIATION BILL
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR GRANTING TO HIS MAJESTY AID FOR NATIONAL DEFENCE AND SECURITY
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May 1, 1944