February 24, 1943 (19th Parliament, 4th Session)


Thomas Langton Church

National Government

Mr. T. L. CHURCH (Broadview):

Mr. Speaker, I should like first to refer to a principle laid down in the amendment of the official opposition. It contains what might be called three C's. I support that policy, but I think the amendment left out many more letters of the alphabet. After all is said and done we are meeting as a House of Commons to do the best we can in the greatest emergency which has confronted the world. The war is our first and most important topic.
A few days ago when I asked the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) for one day to debate a question respecting social security, and some other matters in connection with human resources, he said that an opportunity would not be given. However I believe if it had been given it would have shortened this debate on the address in reply. The country, the House of Commons, and the mother country would have known where Canada stands on the war at the present time.
The speeches which have been delivered in the house during the last two or three days have cleared up an idea I had all along, from the beginning of the war to the present day, as to what has kept us back in our war effort. The first part of the amendment deals with human resources-man-power and woman-power. Does the conscription of man-power and woman-power cover what the government has been doing? Young people of seventeen, eighteen and nineteen years have enlisted to fight for what? They enlisted to fight to save the world from slavery, to fight for ideals, to fight for the right to live. They did not enlist voluntarily to shovel snow. No; they enlisted to fight Hitler. They did not enlist and give up their jobs voluntarily to go out and shovel snow for the benefit of the Canadian National Railways or others. Why could not some of Mr. Donald Gordon's celebrated homeside fusiliers have been drafted for that work? Why not have used some of the stay-at-home army also for that work? There is no such thing as home defence. The battle is being decided overseas in Africa, and in other theatres of war.
Despite the money the country is spending for uniforms, 5,376 air force officials never wore uniforms in their lives. Yesterday Mr. Beurling, a young flying officer, was in Toronto. Yet in many places throughout Canada some of those 5,376 who never wore uniforms got commissions as squadron leaders, although they know nothing about the air. I doubt if some

The Address-Mr. Church
of them would know how to fire a fire-cracker, a pin-wheel, a sky-rocket, or anything of that kind. The people of this country are not getting value in their investments for home defence and a home army vote is largely wasted-and that applies to the navy and the army as well. My good friend the Minister of National Defence for Air (Mr. Power) is a very popular man in Toronto, and I should not like to say anything not correct about his department. I sympathize with the three defence ministers in the work they are doing. We rejoice in the way the whole history of courage and heroism is being rewritten on land, on the sea and in the air, by our soldiers in this war. But after what was said yesterday, to-day and last Friday I wonder how Canada has made as good a showing as it has up to the present time, so far as human resources and production are concerned. We must remember the noble courage and patriotism of the men who are actually doing the work in the three forces overseas-not the large standing army of intellectuals in control in the seats of government here in Ottawa and throughout Canada. The real men are doing the fighting at the front, while these intellectuals stay at home and talk pacifism and planning. If they have their way we shall have another war. 1 was in Toronto the other day, and I had brought to my attention some of the work done by the women's army. They are doing splendid work now. There were about twenty-five or thirty of them on the train. One of them came up to me and asked if I was Mr. Church. I said, "Do you think I am? Do I look like him?" Then they began to doubt it. I asked some of them where they came from and they said they came from the farm. I am sorry the hon. member for Parkdale (Mr. Bruce) is not at the moment in his place, and perhaps I should not mention the question of labour battalions. That is all we have in the mother country since the war started-labour battalions. New Zealand and Australia were sending troops to north Africa long before we were.
Canada was the first in the diamond jubilee procession in 1897, but the last of all the colonies to send a contingent to South Africa in 1899. It was said that to do that would be against the British North America Act and the constitution. The loyal people of Canada, not all in one party then, compelled the government of that day to send a contingent to South Africa, and from that day forward it was an example of policy that when Britain is at war, Canada is also at war.
We hear a lot about the newspapers. They have done good work; yet the president of the Canadian Press Association criticized this
House of Commons last December when he said that the load on the press is very heavy these days as we have a very weak- parliamentary opposition; a strong opposition is a spur to any government and also acts as a check on their power.
If that is so why do they blindfold the people and not give them the actual facts of what is going on here? We might as well meet in secret for all the information given out by some members of the press as to what is going on in this house. Yet this is the only forum where the average man on the street can have his grievance remedied. When the opposition and the private member cease to function, parliamentary government is at an end.
I disagree with the statement made the other day by the Prime Minister that on a motion to go into supply an hon. member can bring up any matter covered by a private member's resolution. Nearly three-quarters of the time of this house last year was devoted to talking about a referendum, Bill No. 80, to amend the mobilization act, and the many phases of the on-again, off-again conscription of human resources. No time' was given last session to a discussion of some of the ideas put forward by private members.
I do not believe in this idea of having labour battalions. I do not believe in conscripting young men and putting them to shovelling snow and labour on farms when they have enlisted to fight Hitler. I see these young men on the train and they want to know what is the matter with the House of Commons. They want to know what has come over this parliament when w-e carry on a debate like the one we have had during the last two or three days. It is bad advertising of this country in New Zealand and Australia, especially when we have done as little as we have in north Africa. The people of this country are in a very critical mood at the present time.
Reference has been made to farm labour. I saw some of the ladies of the women's army on the train the other day, and I asked them where they had come from. They told me they used to be on farms, that they used to be helping their parents running market gardens, but they thought they would come in and join the army because there was more money in it and it was kind of fun to be wearing a uniform. I am not one of those who believe in a youth movement with a capital "Y" along the lines suggested some years ago by the hon. member for Peel (Mr. Graydon). The youth movement which has been talked about in and out of this house is not the movement that
The Address-Mr. Church

appeals to the young people serving in the three armed forces to-day, when youth is in the forces.
Reference has been made to the scarcity of farm labour. Young people from the high schools and the public schools of Toronto go out to work on the farm yearly, and start this year on April 1. No government has ever had a real agricultural policy. If we formed labour battalions, what use would the representatives of the three armed forces in the cabinet be? What use would I be on a farm? I doubt if some members know how many pounds there are in a bushel of buckwheat, barley or timothy seed. But I am just as much a farmer as is the leader of the opposition, or the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Gardiner), or the acting head of the government (Mr. Crerar) whom I see over there and who used to sit on this side of the house some years ago as a Progressive.
I am a Conservative and I have never been anything else. They can put all kinds of prefixes in front of that name, but I am still a Conservative. I told my constituents that when I was elected for the present parliament I am a Conservative and nothing else. I agree with that part of the amendment which refers to the contribution to agriculture, but without proper housing, health aid, direct current and proper education there can be no real health and happiness on the farm.
We hear a great deal of talk about planning, but neither victory nor any kind of planning can bring about the millennium. No kind of planning will ever abolish the law of supply and demand. I do not believe in many of the utopian speeches that have been made all over the country about planning. These men of ours who have been fighting Hitler have been referred to by the author Strube, who immortalized them as the little men who saved England in this war. When the soldiers come back they will know how to take care of reconstruction and planning and all that sort of thing-these men who beat the axis dictators as well.
I believe in the incentive of free enterprise subject to reasonable state control. The right to possess private property is derived from nature and not from man. The state has no right to abolish that, but it can regulate its use. The principles of the Conservative party are work for our own workmen, markets for our own products and labour for our own workers. Trade barriers and nations will always exist and no one will ever be able to change them. I do not believe in this policy of planning from the cradle to the grave, of total regimentation. There can be

no liberty in a regimented state. Everybody will be working for the state. Freedom from want means freedom for a job and from unemployment.
Some of the planners made a very poor job before the w'ar of foreseeing this conflict. I remember before the war when rearmament received little or no support in this house. In 1936, 1937 and 1938 it was said that I was a war-monger. It was said that there would be no war when a bill in connection with this same question of human resources was introduced by the former member for Selkirk on March 31, 1939. It was said in that bill that if war came Canada would be neutral and parliament would decide. When this war started I recalled to the pacifists in the house the words of Jeremiah: "Where are now your prophets which prophesied unto you, saying, the King of Babylon shall not come against you, nor against this land?"
We have reached the gravest hour of the war. This is the wrong time for a discussion such as we have had in this house during the last few days. The people of the mother country are wondering what is the matter with Canada just at a time when Great Britain and her allies are going to take the offensive. At such a time we hear all this criticism about home defence and the appointment of committees on man-power and other matters mentioned in the text of one of the amendments. We do not know who is going to win the battle of the Atlantic. What is the use of talking about labour and the problems of labour, agriculture and industry when the ships we build and the food they carry are being sunk before they reach their destination, -when we lose both the ships and their cargoes in the Atlantic. Mr. Lyttelton, British minister of production, said in New York on November 11, that the great armada to North Africa, to Morocco and Algiers, consisted of 500 merchant ships and 350 warships. That would mean armed ships, but they had 120 of an escort fleet.
That magnificent armada is the backbone of the north Atlantic fleet, and the 120 escort boats can never get back into the north Atlantic service. We have reached, the most grievous hour in the battle of the Atlantic, and I would ask my fellow-members from Quebec who have spoken of the man-power requirements on the farm and in industry to read the report that was published by the Polish government in London last December, giving an account of the way in which the Germans are exterminating the Jewish population in Poland-and then read the handwriting on the wall. Members of the British House

The Address-Mr. Ferland
of Commons on Thursday, December 17 last, in an unforgettable moment of emotion stood in silence for a minute after hearing Mr. Eden's protest against German savagery against the Jews. Over one million human beings have been exterminated in Poland by the Germans or taken to abattoirs to die there. Think what might happen to Quebec if the axis powers got up the St. Lawrence river and invaded this country! As I said in 1937, can we afford to wait until the enemy on land, sea and in the air has come up the St. Lawrence and blown up the citadel? I plead with my fellow-members from Quebec province to think of what has happened to Poland, where a million people have been taken by the Germans like a lot of cattle and sent to abattoirs where they have been butchered. It is the most brutal crime the world has ever seen. I ask, Mr. Speaker, that a copy of the report of the Polish government in London on German atrocities in Poland be laid on the table and that Canada should pass a vote of protest against this atrocity. Canada would soon have been next and Quebec and central Canada would have had the gestapo police, the whip, the concentration camps, forced labour, and would have been taken to Germany for slaughter.
I have always been a consistent supporter of the principles which I have enunciated today. I believe that we should do our duty to the mother country, and I will not support any party in or out of this house that fails to do its duty to the mother country both in this war and after the war. It is the mother country that has saved our shores from a slavery worse than death. We have been a party with two principles. We have had the principles of Sir John A. Macdonald, which yet have a large following in Canada to-day. But we are no longer living in the past. We want a policy that has been brought up to date to meet such a war and conditions after it. The only real socialism that I have seen in Ontario has come through the efforts of the Conservative party, which introduced1 wise labour legislation in the province and gave us the eight-hour day. It was the city of Toronto and the province of Ontario that first gave women the right to vote, and took over the water powers of the province so that the farmer and the city man could get direct current at cost under the system of public ownership where there are no huge dividends to pay to stockholders.
The mother country cannot live without her export and import trade. She must import twenty-five out of twenty-seven vital raw materials. She has coal and half the iron and steel she requires, but she must import all the other important raw materials. She cannot live without her import and export trade and
without her empire, and we should deal fairly with her by seeing that she gets the raw materials of the empire she needs. I do not want to see the mother country left after this war starved and without an empire she has spent a fortune to develop. I have respect for our great ally and for the great President of the United States, but after the war I think the United States will become isolationist again and the mother country will need the raw materials of this country and of the British empire. She cannot exist without the dominions, for an import and an export trade is vital to her. Otherwise, Great Britain will become a second Denmark, a second-class power, just an outpost on the edge of Europe for the United States of America.
I am a supporter of the Conservative party. I have never been anything else. I was unfortunately unable to go to the convention at Winnipeg. I did not attend the previous convention in 1938 at Ottawa. I am not much good at attending conventions. I was never much good at organizing political matters of that description. But I have a great respect for those who attended the convention, and I believe they did the best they could. I will support them in and out of the house because I am a Conservative.
In conclusion, may I express the hope that our side will not forget the duty which it owes to the mother country, which we have always supported, and which by holding off the axis powers has saved our shores from a slavery which would have meant that in Canada we would have the gestapo, the endless tramp of marching feet, the execution squad and all that kind of thing-a system under which tens of thousands of the people of Quebec and Ontario would be moved over to Germany to be slaughtered in the abattoirs just like the people of Poland have been.

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