February 1, 1916 (12th Parliament, 6th Session)

LIB

George Perry Graham

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM:

We got it in a few places, and worst in Ontario, but I may remind my hon. friend that two members from Ontario were elected having as their plank "no Canadian Navy," and that Mr. Bour-as-sa went into their constituencies and gave that plank to them. I -say again that if those twenty-one men were on this side of the House this Government could not last twenty-four hours. That being the case-I am not going into that any further; I refer to it merely as a premise to what I am going to say-it is not sufficient for the Government to say: we are all right now. The best recruiting that can be done in the province of Quebec can be accomplished by those twenty-one men going throughout that province where they went in 1911, and telling the young m-en they were wrong, and that personal service was requisite for the young men of Canada. It will not do for them to merely stand up in this House and say so, because many young men would not hear them. I will give the House a little personal experience I hiad. I know the French-Canadian character perhaps as well as any English-speaking member of this House, because I associate with them a great deal. I was in Montreal a few weeks ago and had a conversation with three or four very bright and highly educated
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young men, none brighter in the Dominion. We began discussing the question of recruiting, and they strongly demurred to what had been said in the Ontario newspapers. I was urging recruiting as strongly as 1 could when one young man turned to me and said: " Here is the other side of it,
Mr. Graham. In 1911 I was a youth, IT years old, just at an impressionable age. At the door of the church, which I attended, a gentleman who is now a minister of the Crown, argued most strenuously that we were not required, either by loyalty, by the British North America Act, or by anything else, to take part in lany war, outside of fighting, if necessary, on our own shores for the defence of Canada. That impressed me as a young man, and the impression has not left me. Now, I see that man, holding those views which have never been repudiated, taken into the Government of the Dominion of Canada, and I ask myself, can that man be serious in asking me to recruit in 1915?" That was the argument put up by the young man; I am not going further into it, but in all kindness to the Government, and to those gentlemen who support it, I say that the only way by. which the harm that has been done in Quebec can be undone is for those gentlemen to go through the province as they did in 1911, and, instead of advocating no personal service, to impress upon the young men the duty and privilege of personal service, and, as far as possible, take back what they said in 1911.
Now, I -come to another thing which I believe hurts recruiting in- the province of Quebec, -and that is the remarks made by the Ontario newspapers. I can speak freely on this matter, being associated with the press -myself. Nothing is to be gained in the work of recruiting by abusing anybody. You c-anmot get a young Canadian, if he is worthy the name of a young Canuck, to do anything iby abusing him; but you -can lead him to do anything if you can show him it is right to do it in the first place. In Ontario, where weiboast so much of our loyalty that we have to carry Union Jacks to be expressive enough sometimes, criticisms have been made in certain newspapers concerning the attitude of Quebec, which are hindering recruiting in the latter province in a degree second only to that I have already referred to. I -adjure the press of Ontario to -stop this carping, and to remember only this one thing: that we are not French, we are not German, we are not Scotch, we are not English; we are citizens of the

Dominion of Canada, prepared to fight for tile great cause in which we are so deeply interested.
Sir, in Ontario, we have our own troubles regarding recruiting. I go into a farming community to recruit and am met with 'the question right away, " What should I <do?" As one man told me, "my sons have all gone West but one, and either I have to reduce to a minimum the production of my ;faxm, I have to keep him at home, or else you will have to provide me with labour. 'What a<m I to do?" Really, Mr. Speaker, although I did what little I could for some months in Ontario. I was in a quandary in that case. I think that the time has come lvhen some pronouncement ought to be made by those in authority as to what is the duty of a>
young man in those circumstances. I have had young men in Ontario tell me: " We would' be willing and glad to recruit, but here is the situation: if I go, I leave my father absolutely alone on a 100-acre farm and production will stop." In those circumstances I am not so sure that the man is not entitled to stay at home. We must keep a level head in this matter, and try to do what is best in the circumstances;; and if it be better for a man to continue to produce to assist in feeding the Allies, it is very questionable whether he should enlist for he might be doing just as valuable work on his farm.
I have gone to a workshop-I am entering into details. because I have practically done nothing else since August but attend recruiting and patriotic meetings-and discussed the matter with the manufacturer. He said to me: " We are manufacturing shells or clothing or boots, as the case may be; here is our order; it is a rush order, what are we to do? My son is ready to go, or so-and-so in my factory wants to go, but if they do I must get some one else, or production must stop." I made this proposition: " Cannot some person who has advanced beyond the military age do that work?" I was taken into a foundry where they were doing a lot of work. The men were pushed, for it is very exacting work.
This man said to me: " These young men are getting out these forgings; no old men could do this work; if I let these young men go I curtail the output of my establishment, which the Munitions Board says I must speed up." You see there are very great difficulties in the way.
There are other difficulties, and this is a question which has been put to me within the last week. The men who go to the front

are not sure of the financial standing of their families while they are gone. I am not saying this in spirit of carping criticism; I just wish to bring it to the attention of the Government and before the hon. gentleman who is managing the Patriotic Fund- A man with a family is asked to enlist. He immediately wants to know whether his family will be protected. He is told that the Government provides so much in various ways and that the Patriotic Fund provides so much. But under the present arrangement if the Patriotic Fund falls down, that man's family also falls down. That is not the way to get recruits, and it is one of the difficulties that must be overcome. I am in favour of the Patriotic Fund in as large amounts as can be secured from the very liberal people of Canada, but I do say that it is the duty of a government engaged in a great national war such as this to be able to say to every man who goes to the front, and not only to say it but to guarantee the carrying out of their promise, that that man's wife and children will get a certain stated amount while he is gone. There should be no question of the Patriotic Fund entering into the amount that will be guaranteed that man's family while he is gone. The present arrangement is against recruiting, and I give this criticism in all kindness to the Government. It would help recruiting all over Canada if the Government would fix a sum sufficient to keep a soldier's family, and if the soldier was guaranteed that the Government stood behind the pledge to give that sum. The soldier would then feel that his family would not be dependent upon the kindness of neighbours whose bowels of compassion might dry up, and leave his family without the money he thought they were going to get.
I have another remark to make with reference to the various funds, and I say it advisedly. There are too many people passing the hat. I do not mean that I would advocate any lessening of effort, but I think it is time, the Government concentrated the efforts and the givings of the people into certain well-defined channels. Let me give a little personal experience. I have spoken at various towns on behalf of recruiting and the Patriotic Fund. In one place I found the town divided into two camps; one was working for one fund, and another for another, and they were actually quarrelling with each other, spending their energy fighting each other instead

of spending it collecting money for this great purpose. In another place, and this happened in more than one town, I was asked to speak at what might be called an opposition meeting. There were two camps organized for money-raising purposes, and each was trying to get its meeting in ahead of the other. A minister of the Crown and myself quite innocently nearly got into a mix-up over it. I think it is high time the Government took the direction of the collection of all funds into its own hands so far as possible, and then have the spending of those funds carried on through well-defined channels, so that the people would know when a persqn came collecting money he or she was duly authorized, and the money would go where it was intended to go-
There is another point. I think it is a mistake that the wives of the soldiers who have gone to the front should be treated in a - patronizing way when they are getting their money. I know families who are proud in spirit, and entitled to be proud in spirit, for they are among nature's noblemen and noble women, though in ordinary circumstances. Ladies with the very best intentions, with a heart bubbling over to do something, would visit these homes, and without knowing it, would leave the impression that they were peddling out a charitable pittance to some person who for some fault of their own was on the municipality or the Government. That is not the way funds should be distributed. Every man who goes to the front is earning his money more than we who are at home, and his family is entitled by right to that' money, and no person has any right whatever to treat that soldier's family as if they were getting a charitable dole to which they were not *entitled. These soldiers' wives are. not on the charity of the people. The people of Canada owe them a debt of gratitude. They do not owe the people a dollar. There should be some arrangement by which these soldiers' wives could feel the equal or superior of those who visit them at their homes and bring them the money. But that is not the ease at the present time. Men have told me that they would not enlist so long as their families were going to be patronized and treated as if they were on charity by reason of some act of omission or commission performed by the soldier.
There is another thing I would like to say with reference to passing the hat. The Minister of Militia is not here, but I will point out what I mean. Nearly every battalion, I am told, needs a few things that the Government does not provide. Why should not the Government provide these things if they are needed? Why should any company be asking a citizen to give them a kitchen with which to do the cooking for the men? "

Topic:   THE GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH.
Subtopic:   * ADDRESS IN REPLY.
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