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


Rodolphe Lemieux



If my hon, friend will
explain why the National Service is oppos-
ed in Winnipeg, Regina and in some other cities in the West, while the labour unionists in Montreal of FrenchJCanadiian origin are standing for it, I am sure it will be very interesting to the House. Recruiting is active in urban centres. It is not in rural centres. Where you have industrial centres you have active recruiting. The French-iCanadian is not militaristic. During the early days of British domination it is known, and you can verify it by reading any elementary history of Canada, the French Canadian farmers were disarmed. They were ordered by the authorities to give up the arms that were in their possession and for a hundred years they have enjoyed uninterrupted peace. It is not surprising that you do not find within the province of Quebec the same military spirit that you find amongst people who have come from Europe, who have been brought up in military environment. The French Canadian is above all a tiller of the soil. Remember also, that there is no immigration coming from the old country to replenish the homes o'f Quebec, whilst during the past twentydive or thirty years there has been in the English speaking provinces, and especially in Ontario and the West, a steady stream of British immigration. Therefore, it is easier, amongst the newcomers, to find recruits than it is in the rural sections of Quebec.
I have not the exact figures but I take the figures which have been given by the press. By the press here in Ottawa it was stated two or three weeks ago that according to our rosters there were something like 35,000 French Canadians at the front or who bad enlisted and were ready to go. This figure includes not only the soldiers who actually bear arms, but also those in the hospital and auxiliary services. Senator Mason last year in the Senate gave figures which established that sixty per cent of the recruits were to be found amongst the British born and that forty per cent must be divided between the foreign bom, the Anglo-Canadian bom and the French-Canadian bom. When you come to analyse these figures and to make up the averages you find, as I stated a moment ago, that the showing of the province of Quebec is quite honourable. * I regret that in the press of this province and elsewhere Quebec is being branded as a province of slackers and shirkers.
I make hold to say that with proper recruiting arrangements, and proper recruiting agents, goodly numbers of men could still be got in the province of Quebec, if the Government wish to carry out their promise

of giving to the Mother Country 500,000 men. But do not send into the province of Quebec as recruiting agents your three Cabinet ministers, who in 1911 preached the very contrary doctrine to the people of that province.

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