Mr. John Hunter (Parkdale):
When the debate adjourned last night, Mr. Speaker, I had indicated that I intended to make some remarks on external affairs. However, before I go on with them I would call the attention of the house to the fact that another one of those very sad cases occurred last night in Toronto. A young girl of 13 was attacked and killed. I hope the Minister of Justice (Mr. Garson) together with the attorneys general of the provinces can work out some form of procedure to help control this type of thing.
In so far as my remarks on external affairs are concerned, I enter upon those with some timidity in view of the fact that there are experts on this subject in the house who know so much more about it than I do. However, I do want to make some remarks along this line. I suppose even a cat can look at a king. *
While there are many troubled spots throughout the world, some of which could boil over at any time into either a local conflict or a major conflict, yet I think it must be conceded that the long-term and enduring problem is that of Russian communism. Many of these hot spots throughout the world are caused by communist propaganda and communist infiltration. Therefore the main problem, the long-term and enduring problem, boils down to the question of Russia and her purposes.
The extent of her conquests have been rather drastic since the war. As we all know, she has the Baltic states, with the exception of Finland. She has taken over Poland; she has retained the Ukraine; she has Eastern Germany, Rumania, Bulgaria and Czechoslovakia. China and northern French IndoChina have followed her policy.
In addition, from a political point of view her adherents have made considerable political gains in many countries. We just have to face the fact that any portion of the world where there is social, economic or political injustice, is a likely spot for communist infiltration. The communists have no scruples; they can promise anything, whereas when we try to help we have to fulfil our promises. Therefore ours are restrained, carefully thought out, and inclined to be rather smaller than the communist promises. Accordingly it is a more difficult problem for us; the same as it is more difficult for a government in power than for an opposition, who can make extravagant promises.
The armed forces of the Russians are there not entirely for protection. Of course they state they are there for protection, but they are there for other purposes. They are there also for intimidation, and if a suitable occasion arose I suggest they would be there for
The Address-Mr. Hunter aggression. At the moment we hope they are there mainly for intimidation. But the trouble with that type of thing is that their armed forces bear no relationship to their economy, because their economy is in the complete control of the government, which, of course, is a totalitarian government. By taking complete control of the government and of the economy, and certainly brooking no opposition of any kind, they are in the position where they can gear their economy to an armed forces economy and a heavy industry economy; whereas in a democracy we have to keep things on a sounder basis and aim at genuine prosperity rather than an enforced economy.
I suppose that the thermonuclear weapons which are now possessed by the Russians may have an effect which is quite different from what people expect. Many people are frightened that there will be a world catastrophe, which could easily happen, but it might possibly have the other effect. If enough people realize the extreme danger, it may well be that instead of a thermonuclear war we will have peace, or in the alternative we might have more or less a stalemate in nuclear weapons and have the traditional type of war break out in which thermonuclear weapons would not be used. That is a strong possibility. If Russia attacked, obviously thermonuclear weapons would be used; but if a war started in a small way and slowly kindled into a major conflict we could easily have a war using traditional weapons only and not thermonuclear weapons.
Since Russia is a totalitarian state, they need not consult the wishes of their people, and do not. I do not think we quite appreciate how strong that makes them, in the sense that they can gear their whole economy to whatever particular phase of activity they wish to engage in at that time. Also, the people have no say in what the government does. If they venture a contrary opinion they are sent to labour camps. They are subject to excessive propaganda, really, of an active and inactive kind. Since they are subject to excessive propaganda from birth they are not in a position to even think clearly or from a detached or impartial point of view. They have no knowledge except what is imparted to them through government propaganda.
In addition there is a great inactive type of propaganda to which they are subject. They do not allow the people to move. They are not permitted to leave the country; they are not permitted to get education by travel, and accordingly they are not in a position to judge the propaganda that is incessantly
poured out to them in Russia, or at least partially counter it by seeing what is actually happening abroad.
As long as the Russians keep their people within the confines of their iron curtain it is quite obvious that they will not be in a position to gather any real knowledge of what happens outside. We may laugh at their propaganda and say it is incredible, but if you have heard nothing else, if it is continuous and persistent it is easy to understand that people may become adjusted to it and have complete faith in it. I am quite confident that the people of the satellite countries may not believe that propaganda because they have known better, but when two generations of Russian people have been brought up under that system it is easy to understand that they would believe in it and be willing to fight for it.
I believe it would be ridiculous to think that at any time we could have a revolution in Russia, barring the development of internal changes over a period of time. The present system is bound to last for a considerable length of time, subject to the outbreak of war which might destroy it. It must be remembered that this is not a moral government, it is an unmoral government. They are guided by what they wish to achieve, not by any moral principles. As long as they work on that basis no government should be naive enough to believe in their word or to believe in any signed agreement entered into by them, because they will keep it only as long as it suits their purpose.
It would be most unwise to expect a revolution in Russia and the establishment of a democratic government. That might happen under certain circumstances in the satellite countries, but certainly not in Russia proper at the present time. The people there have never known democracy. Russia is the largest police state in the world. The days when the peasants might gather up their scythes and go out and murder the aristocrats are over. Today a revolution requires scientific and modern weapons and well-trained men to handle them, and nothing in Russia would ever be permitted to reach that stage.
I think it is quite clear that there has been no change in the purpose of the Russians. Last year many people had hopes that after the death of Stalin the government there might become somewhat softer in its outlook, might be inclined to be more friendly toward the democratic nations, might be more inclined to indicate that they thought they could live side by side. I do not think the original purpose of the Russians has ever been lost. At the present time the Russians
The Address-Mr. Hunter
have no intention of giving up their eventual plans for world conquest and the establishment of world communism.
In view of that fact it is quite obvious that this will be a long drawn out proposition. Our first duty and obligation is to maintain our allegiance to the United Nations and to NATO, of which our Prime Minister (Mr. St. Laurent) might be considered the father. While they are both equally important, I think it is most vital that we continue our adherence to NATO which is actually giving us the physical strength to resist if something does happen. Of course this involves the continuation of large armed forces, and I think for many years we must look forward to spending a large proportion of the money collected from the public on our armed forces. However, I think that will prove to be a cheap form of insurance in the long run.
Another thing we are going to have to do is guard our economy. I think it is most vital in any democratic country which desires to maintain itself against communism that the economy be watched most closely. We must remain prosperous; we must retain high employment, because everyone knows that part of the communist propaganda is directed at unemployment, bread lines and things of that kind. The hope of communist countries is that the democracies will have a breakdown in their economies. Accordingly that is something that will have to be watched very carefully. Fortunately it has been watched very carefully, and the present government will continue to watch it and prevent anything like the depression which was predicted last year by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Drew).
I think one thing we will have to recognize eventually is the importance of education, which is under the exclusive legislative jurisdiction of the provinces. We will have to realize the importance of giving what assistance we can. What form this assistance may take is something I will gladly leave to the judgment of our Prime Minister, but what I am getting at is this. Any country which hopes to compete with communism and keep up its scientific reputation and its rate of scientific advancement must have able instructors in its universities. It is only by having able instructors in our universities that we will be able to turn out trained scientists who will keep us abreast or ahead of the scientific competition which has been entered into between Russian communism and the democracies. Something must be done in this connection, particularly in keeping up the scientific progress of our country.
Of course we have done great things along these lines with our atomic energy plant at
Chalk River and our other research work, and I think the federal government has gone far beyond what many governments have done. We will certainly have to keep our eyes on this in order that we may not only keep abreast of scientific development but ahead of it if possible.
We must continue what we have been doing in helping less fortunate nations under the Colombo plan. We have made considerable contributions under this plan, and this year we are increasing them. It may be that eventually we will have to increase them again. If we are going to avoid trouble spots in the world we should try to help less fortunate countries. After all, we are not the biggest country in the world, but we should try to help cure the economic, social and political ills of these trouble spots. We will have to spend money to do it, and it will take a great deal of patience and a great deal of tact.
I suppose one of the reasons the democracies are so powerful is the fact that they are governments of the people, but I think it is also quite clear that democracy in competition with communism, with the totalitarian government, has certain apparent weaknesses. In the long run I do not think they are weaknesses, I think they are evidence of strength; but we must face the fact that the communists have complete control over their people and can compel them to do anything whether they like it or not.
We do not believe in that sort of thing; we believe that the people must be convinced as to what we are doing. That is the strength of a democracy. But in the case of short-term urgency it could be a weakness, because a democracy cannot act as rapidly as a totalitarian state. What it boils down to is that as a long-term proposition we will have to continue to keep eternal vigilance and never relax.
I was astonished to hear the Leader of the Opposition say that the speech from the throne contained little but easy assurances and uninformative platitudes. I do not know exactly what the Leader of the Opposition was looking for, but if he was looking for a side show or something fascinating, then he came to the wrong place. The speech from the throne is an indication of government policy. It has to do with the serious business of governing the country, and for somebody to look for excitement or something of that kind in the speech from the throne is absolutely absurd. As I say, it is serious business.
The government was not in a position to say anything in the speech from the throne regarding the important matter of health
284 HOUSE OF
The Address-Mr. W. M. Howe insurance but there may be something later on because, as you all know, the Prime Minister has called a conference with the provinces to consider that particular phase of social security. To say that either we are doing nothing, or that there is a failure to disclose these things, is to my mind a most unfair statement; but I suppose it was not unexpected.
I shall close simply by saying that I hope the Secretary of State for External Affairs will forgive my temerity in entering into a discussion of external affairs, and I trust that what 1 have said has not been so bad that 1 shall be disowned immediately.
Topic: REQUEST THAT GOVERNMENT SUPPLY PORTION OF HOUSING ACT FUNDS
Subtopic: SPEECH FROM THE THRONE