February 1, 1943 (19th Parliament, 4th Session)


Major James William Coldwell

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


Yes, not to speak of members of parliament, as the hon. member for York-Sunbury (Mr. Hanson) has added. The whole man-power question has been mishandled from the beginning, and grave injury has been done in many instances. The government's industrial labour record is also bad, but I intend to leave that record for a thorough discussion by some of mv colleagues.

The Address-Mr. Coldwell
I wish now to move an amendment to the amendment. This afternoon the leader of the opposition moved an interesting amendment. The three clauses dealt with the use of Canada's man- and woman-power; it asked for a rational labour policy, and it sought to provide adequate measures for the assistance of Canadian agriculture. We are in agreement with those three aims; but in spite of the professions of the party sitting with new garments in this house, I think it is altogether significant that the amendment deals only with human power and agriculture, complaining that these have not been sufficiently mobilized. It fails to make any mention of what I have just referred to in this house, the necessity for the mobilization of industry and wealth. If you are going to demand a labour policy, if you are going to demand an industrial policy on a compulsory basis, then at the same time you must also demand something which is more necessary at the present time because compulsory mobilization of man-power is already in effect. I refer to the compulsory mobilization of industry and wealth. I read the programme of the Winnipeg convention and I think I noticed two little words. After calling for the mobilization of man-power, the leader of the opposition, this afternoon, called for the mobilization of industry and wealth, "where necessary." I suspected that there was a joker in the policy adopted by the convention which was attended by my hon. friends, and therefore I want to move the following amendment, seconded by the hon. member for Vancouver East (Mr. Maclnnis):
That the motion be further amended by adding to the amendment the following words,

"And further we regret that Your Excellency's advisers have failed to take the necessary action to achieve a total war effort by neglecting to apply the powers contained in the National Resources Mobilization Act to war industries and financial institutions in the same manner as they are being applied to the mobilization of man-power for military service."
I am not going to deal to-night with the pressing need for a reduction of farm debt because, as I said before, my time is not unlimited. I shall not deal with the question of adequate parity prices for agricultural products, because this will be dealt with by some of my colleagues. But I do wish to say a few words about the Casablanca conference about which the Prime Minister made some explanation to-night. This was a conference between the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and the President of the United States. We share the satisfaction expressed in the speech from the throne; but we regret, because of circumstances of course, that
Premier Stalin and Generalissimo Chiang-Kai-Shek were not present. We feel that if they could not have been present themselves, they might have been represented there.
The remarkably successful invasion of north Africa by Anglo-American armies was one of the most remarkable feats of organization the world has ever seen and one to which we should pay tribute. But the situation which developed thereafter, I believe, filled everyone with any sense of democracy with grave apprehension. I know it did me. Nor has that apprehension been allayed by the retention in places of great power of former French collaborationists with the nazis. The appointment as Governor of Algiers of Peyrouton, the friend of Pierre Flandin, the former minister of the interior of the Vichy government and former minister to Argentina, if I am not mistaken, has strengthened this feeling of misgiving across the world.
For example, we know that Jewish refugees from nazi aggression and volunteers who fought against the fascist and nazi troops in Spain when this war was being rehearsed are still languishing in north African prison camps under conditions which are reported to be particularly vile. It seems to me that Canada, as one of the united nations with her sons and her materials fighting in every quarter of the globe, has earned the right to make herself heard on behalf of persecuted democrats and oppressed minorities wherever they may be found. I want to go further than that and say that in my opinion the time has arrived when Canada as one of the smaller nations sharing the sacrifices of this war should demand on her own behalf and on behalf of all the small nations a voice in the inner councils of the united nations. I realize, of course, as the Prime Minister has said, that it is impossible to call together the representatives of all the nations involved in this war on every occasion, but I certainly think a meeting of the nations should be held in the near future, at which meeting the nations themselves could appoint a small executive council to carry on with the conduct and strategy of the war.
I know that at least one of our great allies, China, feels the need for the formation of an executive council of the united nations. Such a body is essential if we are to achieve greater unification and closer cooperation in the formulation of a more effective war strategy, a clearer understanding of war aims and a more regular exchange of views regarding the post-war world for which the democratic peoples are fighting. I take it that the democratic peoples know, in a vague sort of way it is true, the kind of world for which
The Address-Mr. Coldwell

they are fighting. Such a council should be concerned, too, with evolving an international instrument capable of dispensing justice and enforcing law and order in the post-war world.
These are not Anglo-American problems alone; they are the common problems of all the united nations. It is sometimes argued that we are represented now by the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. That is not my view, nor is it the view of Australia, as Prime Minister Curtin's speech to the people of the United States made abundantly clear. Those of us who heard that speech last week will remember the unmistakable manner in which he expressed his views over the air, speaking not to the government of the United States, not to its great President, but, as he said, appealing directly to the people of the United States. I suggest that Canada should join her voice to those of China, Australia and the other nations who are urging the formation of an executive council of the united nations. A united purpose to win the war, a united purpose to rebuild the world is essential to the well-being of mankind, but it is manifestly impossible to go into these matters at length to-day. I am asking the Prime Minister now to arrange for an early debate on the place of Canada in the council and strategy of the united nations.
It is, I think, significant that last year the speech from the throne made no reference to the fate of our army which we had dispatched to Hong Kong, and this year no reference is made to the gallant and major part played by the Canadian soldiers at Dieppe. I understand that the Dieppe attack was reviewed carefully at Westminster. It should be reviewed equally carefully by this house, because in the main our own men were involved. This house, too, should be made aware of the extent of the submarine menace to our shipping, of the steps taken to defend our coasts and coastal waters, and to what extent, if at all, we rely on the United States army for the defence of any of the vital strategic defence areas of this country or just beyond it. The government must decide whether all this should be done in open or closed session, but the time has come when hon. members should insist on a complete report to this parliament. In view of Canada's contribution to the common cause we should not allow ourselves to become the mere satellite of any of our major allies. Because of our peculiar position between the two great Anglo-Saxon nations, because of the fact that we are not interested in the building up of any sort of imperialism, and because of the fact that across the north
of our country stretches the main air route between the great populated areas of the world, Canada's voice may be of more importance in the future than most of us can realize now.
My time is just about up, but in my concluding remarks there are one or two other things that I want to say. I am glad to note that the Prime Minister is thinking of relieving his ministers of some of the work and duties in this house. We are told in the speech from the throne that assistance will be given to them. I have suggested on more than one occasion in former years that the government adopt in this house the British system of under-secretaries, not only because I believe it would relieve the ministers, but because I believe it is good that the younger members of the party in power should have an opportunity of gaining that experience which is essential in an institution of this description. I therefore am veiy glad to welcome the proposal of the Prime Minister. It has been made before; it has been supported in this house from all quarters of the house before; and I sincerely hope that this time the suggestion will be carried out, not only as a war measure but as a policy of future governments in this country.
I was disappointed, however, to hear the Prime Minister say that he thought a revision of the rules of the house ought not to be undertaken during this period of war. I saw, as did the hon. member for Parry Sound (Mr. Slaght) who is sitting right opposite me tonight, His Majesty the King read the speech from the throne in Great Britain at eleven o'clock one morning. We went to the commons gallery and we heard the mover and .the seconder of the address; we heard the leader of the Labour opposition, we heard the leader of the Liberal party; we heard the first ten minutes of Mr. Churchill's speech as Prime Minister; and we were on our way to luncheon shortly after one o'clock. In two hours that business had passed through the British house. I have read the rules of some of our sister nations, New Zealand, for example, where the rules have been changed in comparatively recent years; and in my opinion if we would modernize the rules we could do very much in this house without interfering whatsoever with freedom of expression or freedom of speech.
After what I have said, I do not want to transgress the rules of the house by going beyond my time limit as I am apt to do; but I want to say again, Mr. Speaker, that other matters connected with the government's proposals will be dealt with by my colleagues when they have an opportunity to speak.

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