March 6, 1919 (13th Parliament, 2nd Session)

L LIB

Isaac Ellis Pedlow

Laurier Liberal

Mr. PEDLOW (resuming):

As a parenthesis in the remarks that I was proceeding to make when the distinguished officer,

the hon. member for Skeena, B.C., entered the Chamber, I pause to express our sense of the great honour that he has conferred not only on Canada but also on this House. He has, like many another soldier:
" Trod deadly road to deadly toil Thickly strewn with dead,
Where noon-day sun and midnight oil Light the soldiers' tread.
I am delighted to have the privilege of welcoming him to this House to-day, and I trust that his distinguished career will be continued, to the benefit of this country, for many years to come.
When the distinguished hon. member (Mr. Peck) entered the House, I was about to call attention to some of the qualities of our late lamented leader who has passed beyond that bourne from which no traveller returns, and I was associating his name with those of some of the men most prominent in the world's history-with Macdonald in our own land, with Gladstone, and Disraeli, as well -as a host of other great and shining lights who have graced the brightest pages of history, in Great Britain and on the continent of Europe, as well as of Lincoln and others in the great nation to the south of us, all stars of the first magnitude, as Laurier undoubtedly was. The late Sir Wilfrid Laurier's wonderful and many outstanding graces endeared him to all who had the pleasure of coming into his presence. To know him intimately was to love and admire our old chief beyond my power to express in words. Alas! this striking, unique personality will grace these halls no more in the flesh, that great masterly intellect is stilled for all time to come, but the work he was permitted, during his fifty odd years of political activities to do for his own beloved country will live forever more as an everlasting monument to his life and memory:
Short davs ago
He lived, felt dawn, saw sunsets glow,
Loved and was loved, but now he lies
In yonder fields.
To you from falling hands he threw The Torch-be yours to hold it high.
If you break faith with him who died He shall not sleep though roses grow
In yonder fields.
My next duty, Mr. Speaker, is to refer to the leader of our party who has been selected to occupy the place of our late lamented chief. While performing our duty to the memory of our late chief, we, on this side of the House at least, are not forgetful of our duty to his successor, and the loyalty we owe to him. It is with the very greatest of pleasure I assure him today publicly, as I have already assured I
him privately, of my loyalty in the very important position, both in the party and in the country, to which he has been elected, with so much unanimity by his fellow members in the House. His Majesty's loyal Opposition has at all times a very important part to play in the affairs of our nation-never greater than at the present moment, and the person filling the trying position of leader of the Opposition deserves, and will have, in order to induce good government, the united, wholehearted assistance of every one of his followers in this Parliament.
The entrance a moment ago to this deliberative assembly of the distinguished officer (Mr. Peck), to whom I made reference, reminds one forcibly of the fact that the war is over, and we thank God for it. After four long weary years of incessant appeal to the god of battles he has heard and answered our cry, and the prayer for peace is no longer heard in the land. In its place we have songs of praise out of grateful hearts, instead of the spirit of heaviness, for national salvation, and the greatest victory in freedom's cause ever fought and won, bringing in its train the dawn of a new era with such startling suddenness that we hardly knew how to give the thanks that we actually felt the occasion demanded of us. It is not with the slightest desire to dim the sword of Foch and his gallant fighting men, or to take from it the slightest touch of its power and glory, but I would say with him, and all the great commanders associated with him on both sea and land, in the words of Richelieu :
Let us own it; There is "one" above

Sways the harmonious mystery of the world Even better than prime ministers.
Napoleon once claimed that the Lord was on the side of the cause with the greatest number of battalions, yet he, too, although almost a world conqueror, met his Waterloo. But with us the eternal question today is, how was the invader of Belgium held in check at Liege and in Northern France at Mons, and from' Mons to the Marne, until the cause of right was able to secure the greater weight of arms and men? Was the ability to struggle on against tremendously overwhelming odds simply and solely based on the dogged human pluck of men, -or was it not that there was something greater than mere material will power, something inspired? Was there not that something behind the arm speaking through the souls to the minds and muscles of the men? kitchener's little army of

contemptibles, in order -to stem the tide and onrush of the German hordes, fought every inch of the way from Mons to the Marne and buried themselves in everlasting glory by the thousand in France and Flanders' fields. And so, Mr. Speaker, let us to-day with a new vision repeat, once more, and with an added meaning, the prayer of Kipling's Recessional:
Lord God of Hosts be with us yet,
Lest we forget, lest we forget.
Now, Mr. Speaker, turning more particularly to the matter that is immediately before us on this occasion, the speech from the Throne, I have much pleasure, in common with all who have preceded me on both sides of the House, in tendering my hearty congratulations to the mover and seconder of the Address. The hon. member from Calgary East (Mr, Redman) certainly acquitted himself most excellently in the effort that he put forth on the occasion of his address, and as to the effort of the hon. member for Fort William and Rainy River (Mr. Manion), nothing else was to be expected than the able and eloquent speech which we had the pleasure of listening to from him. I was Tather interested though in some of the remarks of these hon. gentlemen, and I feel satisfied, notwithstanding the fact that they acquitted themselves well, that there was something held back, something ,that they did not care to lay before the House as coming from them, notwithstanding the fact that they claim to be the representatives of the returning men, and all honour to them because they themselves are returned men, but a fellow-feeling should make them wondrous kind. And for some unknown reason these hon. gentlemen seemed to hold back the information that they possessed, and failed to name the conditions that they wished to present to the House. For instance, the hon. member for- Calgary East stated'that the returned soldiers should not be hampered and irritated by red tape and unnecessary rules. .That, Sir, indicated to my mind that the hon. gentleman from Calgary East knew more than he cared to put on the pages of Hansard. I have evidence here to prove that there is considerable red tape in connection with the return of our soldiers from overseas. There is much uneasiness in the minds of returned soldiers; they are not at all satisfied with their treatment on coming back to Canada, having in view the fact that before they left Canada for the front they were assured that nothing would be too good for them when they came back. We find that the conditions on some of the
transports which brought soldiers home were not any too good. We find also that when the men return here they do not receive at the hands of the Government the consideration that they deserve. I have in mind one case of a young man who a( the age of sixteen volunteered as of an older age to serve the British Empire in the South African war. Immediately on the outbreak of the war on August 4, 1914, that same boy, who was then an employee of the Government in Ottawa, volunteered for service overseas and spent three years of his life in the fighting line in France and Flanders. He returned to Canada and again took up a position in the department from which he had retired to go overseas.
I would expect' the member for Calgary East (Mr. Redman) and the member for Fort William and Rainy River (Mr. Man-ion) to champion the cause of such men, but they did not rise to the occasion, although I feel sure that they had the evidence at hand. After spending three years overseas on military service, this young man finds himself out-distanced and outclassed by men who failed to volunteer for service and who have been holding down positions in the Civil Service of Canada during the war. This returned soldier is in receipt of a salary of $1,500, while those who were his juniors when he left for- overseas are receiving $1,900 and $2,000 for similar services. From the evidence which is placed in my hands from day to day, it seems to me that the returned soldier and the returning soldiers are not receiving at the hands of this Government the treatment that they were assured they would receive, not even the treatment that they deserve.
I have here a letter of another character.' Two boys of the same family volunteered for military service immediately on the outbreak of war in 1914, and both are still overseas. In the early months of the fighting one of them was taken prisoner and was in captivity in Germany for over three years. When the armistice was signed he was a prisoner in Holland. On November 22 he was returned to England, and since, that date he has been so moved about from pillar to post that he has become lost in the " machine " over there and we cannot find any trace of him. I will read a letter which he wrote to his mother, dated at London, February 3, in which he states:
I am back in London; it is not that I want to be here, but that X got frozen out ^ of the camps. I have been down at Witley since December 5th, trying to get sent home, without any success. They sent us from Witley to Sea-

Topic:   GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH. ADDRESS IN REPLY.
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