April 3, 1945 (19th Parliament, 6th Session)


Douglas Gooderham Ross

National Government

Mr. ROSS (St. Paul's):

Mr. Chairman, in
considering the estimates for the Canadian navy the first thing that comes to my mind is the gallant service that has been rendered by the men of the merchant marine. We know what they have gone through; we know the perils they have had to meet, whether serving under charter to the Royal Navy, with the Canadian navy or on our inland waters. We remember the days when the U-boats were sinking so many ships in the Atlantic; and with all this in mind one wonders why the government of Canada has not treated these men more or less in the same way it has treated those serving in the Canadian navy. The men of the merchant marine have practically enlisted for the duration of the war. No one can say they have not rendered wonderful service, and I believe some revision should be made to bring their pensions more nearly in line with those of the navy. I hope the government will take this point into consideration.
I do not think anyone but a Scotsman could have made the address in honour of our navy to which we listened to-night. An Englishman might have done it almost as well, while an Irishman perhaps would not have done quite so well. The first English, Irish and Scottish people to come to this country were principally sea-faring men, with the spirit of-adventure in their blood. They came to this country and settled it, but they had the sea in their blood, and when the call came they wanted to get into the Canadian navy. In days gone by, whenever they could find a little pool of water they founded a yacht club or made some arrangement whereby they could go boating; they still loved to be on the water. To my mind that is one reason why we have the stuff that we have in the Royal Canadian Navy to-day.
Canadians have always been willing to help out the navy. Just here I should like to pay my compliments to the Navy League of Can-

War Appropriation*-Naval Services
ada, which has done so much for this country, and on which some of my best friends have served.
No nation in the world will ever be worth its salt unless it is a maritime nation. We must never forget "Hearts of Oak". And even those boys who live away out on the prairies, where there is very little water, must never forget the traditions of those little islands over there, the traditions of the sea and of the navy, and all that those things had meant for civilization and for progress in the world.
I take great pleasure in viewing what has been done by the boys who have gone from Toronto to service in the navy. I take pride, too, in what has been done by the yacht clubs in my city. What Toronto needs, however, is recognition, and with our great love of the sea, and a realization that world trade depends upon the sea, we in Toronto say that our rights should be recognized.
Then, further, we should have that easy access to the sea which for so many years we have been trying to get. Already access can be gained from western Canada to points as far east as Toronto. But what we want now is the development of the St. Lawrence waterways. When we have that we shall have something to satisfy the lads who have come from my part of Canada. They will take some satisfaction from our being developed into an ocean port.
The minister spoke about shipbuilding. Let me point out to the committee that many of those frigates and corvettes were built in the Toronto shipbuilding yards.

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