January 25, 1917 (12th Parliament, 7th Session)


William Findlay Maclean

Independent Conservative


How can this be done? If we can unite for the conduct of the busi-9i
ness of this House, as has been shown here on many occasions, does not the safety of the nation and the welfare of the Empire demand a similar unity? When the conduct of business calls for union, both parties seem willing to unite. Every one of us are doing our utmost for the war, and by union you will force Liberals and Conservatives to do all they can for the attainment of the great end we have in view. Instead of making charges against each other, you will get them to work for the successful prosecution of the war. That means something. There would be no dissensions in this country over recruiting. There would be no dissensions as to the enforcement of the Militia Act. I believe that the day has come when about the first thing to do is to enforce the Militia Act. It may be that we shall have to come to conscription in this country, and I am not afraid to say that if the situation becomes any more critical and the liberties of the world become more endangered, I am ready for conscription. If we are to have conscription we ought to have behind us, supporting it, a united people, a united Parliament and a united Government. To my mind the situation is even more serious than I have indicated. The war has been going on now for over two and a half years, and victory is not yet in sight. The struggle may be extended, and may run into another year. We all hope that it will end this year, hut if so, and if the end is to. be successful, every effort will need to he consecrated to that end. There should not be a single voice raised from a partisan point of view.
Party politics are all right; they have been at the bottom of our constitutional system for many and many a year. But when a supreme struggle comes there has to be a different attitude in the matter, and instead of looking to the advantage of a party we should only take into consideration the success of the war, the greatest war the world ever saw. I am not going to criticise the Government in power to-day, but we have in office a Government that is a peacetime Government and the result of a peace election, and I am not quite prepared to say that because a Government is the outcome of a peace election that Government is the best possible Government for the conduct of a war. A war Cabinet has to be forged out of different material from that out of which a peace Government is formed. I do not say that there is better material in the other party; not for a moment do I

say that the material is better in the one party or the other. I believe that the best material for winning the war is to be found in both parties, and that a union of both parties in order to get a really strong war Cabinet is the only way in which Canada oan successfully play her part in the conduct of this war-
I come to another phase of the matter. I cannot come to this House and say that the House can advise or tell the Government what to do. The only thing that I can suggest, or that anybody in the country can suggest, is that the Prime Minister might see his way to approach the Opposition to the end that there may be union of the two parties and of all classes in this country for the successful prosecution of the war. It is the Prime Minister's absolute right to do this. We in this House cannot tell him what to do; nobody oan tell him. The initiative rests absolutely with him. He may think, as he has a right to think, that he should riot intervene in this matter. Then there is left the only other thing, the indirect drive of public opinion. And he does not need to respect that or obey it, but it might have some influence upon him. All that I am trying to urge upon him, or rather upon the House and the country, is that instead of following the course we have followed, resulting more or less in dissension and disagreement, and also in a manifestation of disloyalty, we ought to try at this stage of the proceedings to follow the example of other countries and have a united party, a united people, and a united Parliament to prosecute the war and to stop the bickering that we have seen in the press and that, I fear, we shall see hereafter to a greater extent-
The Prime Minister does not need to listen to any suggestion of this kind, but if he will listen he will hear something in the country in the direction of what I am stating here to-day. First of all, I want to . speak for my own city of Toronto; I want to speak for the province of Ontario, and I believe I am voicing the views of the people of Toronto and of Ontario, when I say that they are in favour of uniting and solidifying the country for the winning of this war, irrespective of party views or party fortunes. They want to see the people of Canada united. In this connection I want to call the attention of the House to the bon entente banquet given in the city of Toronto and attended by representative citizens of Quebec and Ontario. The big business men and the bankers were there, and
I never saw such a representative meeting in Toronto. If I gathered anything from that meeting it was that the people of Toronto, as represented by their leading citizens, were in favour of joining together the people of Ontario and the people of Quebec, French-speaking and English-speaking, in order to win the war. That is the sentiment of the people of Ontario, and I believe it is the sentiment of the people everywhere. I think it is the sentiment of the great West, and I have had opportunities, directly and indirectly, of ascertaining what the people of the West are thinking upon this question. My summing up of it is that the people of the West are among the most loyal in all Canada and are prepared to make the greatest sacrifices in order to bring about the successful conclusion of this war. They have sent to the front their full quota of soldiers and are prepared to send others. I met farmers in the West within the last two or three weeks who, speaking on behalf of themselves and of their fellow-farmers, said: The Government can have every bushel of wheat that is left in our barns-and they have immense stores yet-if they say they want it for the winning of the war, they can have it, take it at their own price and we will never object. That is the feeling of the West. I ' believe that the same feeling animates the whole of the people of Canada. There was a meeting held here the other night, a meeting of the Canadian Club of Ottawa. I was not able to attend, but from what I gathered of that meeting I believe that the members of that club are in favour of a Canadian policy and a united Canada in regard to this war. I know that is the feeling wihioh has been expressed by some of the Canadian Clubs in the West, and that is the feeling which is being expressed all over. It was expressed yesterday, I believe, by the Canadian Club of Winnipeg. We may have to wait a time until they have had the opportunity of expressing their opinions, but the feeling of the people of Canada is for union and the discouragement of any kind of dissension until the war is . won. -
If the Prime Minister saw fit to make a bid in the direction which I have suggested-and it is only a suggestion-what should we get? First of all we should get a war cabinet, and that is the essential thing in this matter. You want a war cabinet and you want men in that cabinet who will best represent the sentiment of the people. I do not think that a cabinet, selected in time of peace, is the best

possible cabinet for the conduct of a war. If you had a war cabinet you would get a good start. The cabinet to-day may represent the people of the country, but it is to be remembered that it is six years since we had an election and the greatest political force that Canada ever saw has been developed and developed in the Canadian West within the last five years. I have paid some attention in my own way to what has been going on in the West and I have found out what that force is, The greatest democratic force in Canada today is located in the Canadian West. They are men of progressive ideas, they have new ideas in regard to economic questions, they have strong ideas in regard to this war, and they constitute a powerful political element in this country which is bound to dominate the country in the next election and say how it is to be governed. That element should have a voice in the national Government which, I hope, will be created forthwith. The support of that great and new democratic and modern element which has developed in the West would be the greatest backing that the Prime Minister could have in the successful carrying on of the war. The new war cabinet, which I hope we will have, will also find a place for a representative of labour in this country. What is the strength of the new war cabinet in Britain to-day? It is that it is headed by Lloyd George, who has the confidence of the labour men of the Mother Country and who has in his war cabinet the Right Hon. Arthur Henderson, one of the ablest representatives of labour in the British Islands. The British Parliament to-day has in it not two or three labour representatives, but it has a great number-I forget whether it is forty or fifty. For the first time labpur there has a strong and absolute fores in the conduct of the war; and labour in Canada, under the proposal I suggest, would be represented in this new cabinet, and the working men, who are at times questioning what has been suggested to them in connection with the conduct of the war, would come in and would be a strong influence in aiding the Government. Would it not be a good thing if in some way we could find a way of uniting our people in accomplishing the object for which we are striving in this war? If we could have labour represented in the war cabinet, if we could have the farming element represented -Hand the great producing element to-day is the farming element, and they are all loyal
and devoted to the cause-it would be a good thing because such a readjustment would bring about that union Which is so necessary to success.
The farmers and working men of this country want to know something about two things. A good mission has been undertaken by the hon. member for Calgary (Mr. Bennett) with a view of bringing about the mobilization of the man power of the country. 1 am glad to know that satisfactory progress has been made
in that direction. But not only have we to mobilize the man power, we have to mobilize the industrial power and the accumulated profits if we are to succeed in this war;
and the only proper way to mobilize the man power of this country and its resources, for the successful prosecution of the war, is to reconstruct the Cabinet in such a way that it will be representative of the farmers of this country and of labour. If we had a National Government such as I have described, we should have all the support for the war that we now have, and we should have a more definite declaration from the farmers and from organized labour as to where they stand with regard to the war. The whole resources of our country would be mobilized.
You cannot mobilize labour only. You have also to mobilize the profits that have been made in this country and devote them to the war. So far the talk has been largely of the mobilization of men, but I want to see a mobilization of all the resources of the country, as well as of our man power, in order that they may be devoted to success in this .struggle.
Not only have we before us his great task of winning the war, and it is still ahead of us, but there is another very serious task to be accomplished, and that is the regeneration and reconstruction of our country after the war. How can we build up this country and find employment for all our people after the war unless we have some kind of co-operation between the two parties to that end? I say that neither the Conservative party nor the Liberal party in this country, as we know them to-day, is in a position to reconstruct this country after the war unless the two parties co-operate. That may be a rather strong statement to make, but when you see how stupendous the task is, and what are the things that have to be done, and how easy it is to create dissension over these things if dissensions

are encouraged by party appeals, you can also see how easy it would be to reconstruct the country if there was unity between all parties, and a united Parliament, as we ought to have. And the first thing in the work oi reconstruction in this country is what? Great reforms in regard to the finances of our country. As I have said before in this House-and the war has fully justified what I have said-we have got to have in this country a national currency instead of a banking currency, and we have to have a great system of re-discounting in connection with our finances.

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