July 13, 1917 (12th Parliament, 7th Session)


Frank Oliver



I do not know why my hon. friend objects to political talk, when he uses so much of it himself, and when he claims to be so successful in its use. This is not a matter of political talk. We are dealing with a measure whose importance I need not attempt to exaggerate, a measure which, in its terms, in its introduction, in every argument that is used for it, is a slur against the patriotism of the people of Canada. I want to say that, in my humble judgment, the patriotism of the common people of Canada, as shown by the service they have rendered in this war, does not warrant a slur by anybody, whether they hold a high or a low position, and when this Government declares, in the preamble of the Bill, that it is rendered necessary because our people have not shown a sufficiently enthusiastic military spirit, I claim it is for them to justify that assertion, and not merely to declare it. They throw that slur against the people of the country, and demand the passage of this measure. There are other industries in this country, besides munition making. We have heard a great deal about the industry of agriculture. The district I come from is one of the leaders of this country in the matter of agriculture and production. To-day the need of food is as great as the need of munitions. The production of food is the great demand of all the Allies. But there was never any protest from the food producers of Alberta against enlistment in Alberta, and there was no slackening of enlistment in Alberta, because of politics, or because of anything else.

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