Mr. RENE JUTRAS (Provencher) (Translation) :
Mr. Speaker, I should like to draw attention to the fluency and eloquence of the hon. member for St. Lawrence-St. George (Mr. Claxton) and to tender him my sincere congratulations. Following the noble words which you have been privileged to hear and applaud, and bearing in mind the fact that I represent here a constituency whose very name, Provencher, recalls the virtues and devotion of the great prelate who brought into outstanding prominence the name of my race, and who, with the cross, implanted civilization in Manitoba, I feel constrained to request your kind consideration.
On this occasion, as a free member of a free parliament, a title whose importance and honour I fully appreciate to-day, I deem it my duty to avoid oratorical devices or stock phrases, and I shall merely seek to express my thoughts as a Canadian.
I wish to thank the right hon. the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) for the honour he has bestowed upon my friends and electors from Provencher, when he entrusted me the task of seconding the address in reply to the speech from the throne. Consequently, my constituents from Provencher desire to pay him a respectful tribute and to acknowledge the honour thus bestowed upon them.
May I also convey to him my gratitude for the acumen he has shown in the numerous decisions which he has taken with coolness and efficiency since the beginning of the present emergency. I believe, Mr. Speaker, that the Canadian people as a whole are convinced that this war is truly Canada's war., and that the efficient defence of the country lies in the use of the organized and united power and force of this dominion for the annihilation of the German hordes.
Any one who travels over Canada to-day is gripped by a spirit of resolute determination and confidence, because he notices that this population, among which many citizens had been compelled, for some years back, to put away their tools on account of the depression and join the march on the exhausted source of public funds, this very population is to-day exceedingly busy erecting hangars, airdromes and factories in the fulfilment of a common aim. Throughout our valleys, our plains and our hillsides, buildings are springing up as our field crops do in the spring, and the wheels of industry are humming without interruption. That is truly the answer of the Canadian people to the stirring appeal of the London chimes, an appeal that was far remote but nevertheless quite clear.
The Address-Mr. Jutras
I desire to pay a tribute to the British people, who have brought to mankind the vision of a better world. The blood, the tears, the toil, the stout determination of the men, women and children of Great Britain have opened an era of heroism and restored to the world the common ideals of free people. Their sacrifices will spare us many of their sufferings. They have shown us that a democracy can survive, that it can secure from its citizens a supreme and constant devotion, and that it can also create a world better than any system wherein the cost of material progress is the degradation of human mind. And the intrepid leader of that people, Winston Churchill, is the living symbol of the unity of the democracies, a unity which constitutes the strongest hope of mankind. All praise to that people so fiercely proud of its traditions and of its liberty! All praise as well to those Frenchmen who have so proudly shed their blood in defence of their freedom! Their country, their noble country, has fallen, but we refuse to believe that their soul is dead. I shall simply repeat to them the words of the right hon. Minister of Justice (Mr. Lapointe): "You have not only our affection, but our support", and those of that great Frenchman, Gambetta, regarding the future of France: "Think of it always, speak of it never."
I am not one of those who, gulled by nazi propaganda, believe that the totalitarian system is necessarily more efficient and can easily dominate the democratic regimes. It would be foolish to deny the extraordinary power of the German military machine, but its ruthless efficiency is no proof of the strength of the totalitarian regimes or of the weakness of the democracies. Let the latter never forget the resistance opposed by one small nation against more than a hundred million aggressors prepared by twenty-two years of totalitarianism. The sole effect of the totalitarian system is to stamp out all sense of humanity. The triumphant barbarism which brought Germany within an ace of victory will assuredly lead it to a defeat from which it will never recover.
I also wish to say a word about the agreement concluded between Great Britain and the United States. This agreement is the most significant and noteworthy event in Anglo-American history. It constitutes a tangible proof that these two nations are living on good terms with each other and are working out together in brotherly fashion the solution of the military and naval problems of their common defence. May I express my gratitude to my leader who has always wholeheartedly sought to cultivate and [Mr. Jutras.l
develop this spirit of cooperation and good understanding with our neighbours to the south. Canada has become an indissoluble link of better understanding and cordiality between the British Empire and the United States. The noble task of consolidating between the British and the Americans the strongest and most durable friendship in the history of nations is an ideal, a summit which we shall reach through unwavering loyalty to Great Britain and acts of respectful friendship towards the United States. It goes without saying that when countries have common interests to defend their first act is to study their common interests and problems together and to divide the responsibilities between them. The speeches delivered during the recent presidential election campaign in the United States have clearly shown us that the soul of the American people is with us in the struggle we have undertaken for freedom and independence. Though we are neighbours, we live in the same house. The agreement in question assures us that all the doors of our house will be closed to the plunderers of nations.
I still have a tribute to pay, a tribute owed to the citizens of Canada, to the members of this house and to the Government for the wonderful esprit de corps and the complete cooperation which they manifested on the occasion of the national registration. This same spirit of Christian and patriotic abnegation has showed itself every day in the application of the National Mobilization Act. Canada is marching loyally with its sister nations. No nation with so generous a soul can perish, however hard the trial.
(Text) As we enter upon this new session, Mr. Speaker, every one realizes that it will be one of the most momentous in the whole history of the Dominion of Canada, and no one is more conscious of the tremendous responsibility that rests upon his shoulders than the private member. It would be idle for me to take up the time of this house in an effort to review the events which have taken place in Europe and their significance to Canada.
Since the fall of France, when the whole world seemed on the verge of collapse, a new world has arisen stronger and more determined than ever. It is our foremost duty to keep it as such and never to relax our efforts. We are fully confident that the Canadian people are doing all that is possible, but our enthusiasm has led us to wonder if we should not now attempt the impossible. Before Dunkirk it was thought impossible to evacuate in a few days from a half shattered harbour more than 30,000 men. The optimists said that 50,000 might be evacuated
The Address-Mr. Jutras
but the fact is that 335,000 were saved. The allies had tried all that was possible; they were then faced with the necessity of doing the impossible, and they did it. This fine spirit of Dunkirk is not confined to the European continent. It has found expression on many occasions in Canada since the outbreak of war and is now, I believe, more alive than it ever was.
To-day France, our noble ally, has fallen. She lies with guns pointed at her heart and disarmed. Relations between Great Britain and France are becoming more and more acrimonious. It would be most unfair to try to judge downtrodden France, and any discussion of the hypothetical decisions of her government is bound to lead us into misrepresentations as well as misunderstandings, and to risk our great asset, the unity of our beloved dominion.
Many people of France have lost their lives, and those who have survived are menaced by tyranny. Great Britain and France have great confidence in one another. Mr. Speaker, I beg of hon. members of this house and of all Canadian citizens that they save that confidence, the one thing that can be saved. I cannot think of a better way to do it than to think of our friends, their kindness and affection. No matter what is said of the Frenchmen, no matter what is said of the Englishmen, let us think of certain Frenchmen, let us think of certain Englishmen who we know are incapable of any but noble and generous thoughts. Let us extend our kindness and friendliness. The need for kindness in the world to-day is appalling, and yet there lies, I believe, our strength and the key to this new and modern world to which we have harnessed our lives and for which we are shedding our blood.
I wish to refer briefly, Mr. Speaker, to the problem of agriculture, which has become a national problem and an integral part of our war effort. It is made clear by every process of logic and by the proof of historic fact that the wealth of a nation, the character of its people, the quality and permanence of its institutions, are all dependent upon a sound and sufficient agricultural foundation. Not armies or navies, or commerce, or diversity of manufactures, or great distributive systems, or anything other than the farm, is the anchor which will hold through the storms of time which sweep all else away.
The last great war was the principal cause of Canada's rise to the position of a great wheat exporting country. Canada expanded her acreage to become the leading wheat exporting nation of the world, which position she still holds. At the time of the declaration of war some people expected wheat to 14873-2}
soar in price simply because a war was in progress. They overlooked the fact that Europe had been preparing for war for several years and that substantial reserves had been stored up in that continent. Never before has a major war started with such an abundant supply of food in the world.
The prairie farmers realize that they are called upon to guarantee ample supplies of food for the allies during the war. They have learned to produce abundantly. Gradually, by the use of machines, agriculture is being relieved of back-breaking manual labour. The faithful and diligent horse is gradually being relegated to the background, and fast, efficient and economic machines take its place. One hundred years ago it took the efforts of ninety per cent of the population, busily employed on farms, to feed and clothe the nation. To-day twenty-five per cent of that population can easily do the job. This great productivity has served only to beat down prices to penurious levels.
There are three million Canadians living on farms, and there are another two millions living in rural areas whose livelihood depends almost directly on agriculture. Thus when agriculture's existence is imperilled by low prices, five million Canadians suffer jointly. The western farmers realize the complexity of the problem and are not asking for excess profits, but they feel that a reasonable parity should be maintained between the prices of farm products and the prices of the things they have to buy.
(Translation) At the outset of this new session, I express the hope that nothing will be said or done in this house which might be prejudicial to what is still our most valuable asset: national unity. The effective defence of our country requires the concentration of our efforts at such a place and time, and in such a way, that they will best contribute to the defeat of the German armies. Our real aim is the mobilization of a well-organized and wisely-led Canadian people. We have already achieved this, to a large extent, and we shall march on towards this goal with a common will, as long as we enjoy the full confidence of the Canadian people.
If mobilization on a national scale has been such a success, it is due, I believe, to equality in sacrifice. All able-bodied citizens must be prepared to make the same sacrifices, and all classes will find comfort in the thought that there will be no exemptions. This is of prime importance. There must also exist equality of financial contribution. I will abstain from enlarging upon this point, but will briefly refer to excessive war profits. Means of controlling such excesses are not wanting and it must be stated that such as have been put
The Address-Mr. Hanson (York-Sunbury)
into force during the last session have proven quite efficient. For this, the Canadian people are grateful to their leaders, retaining withal their constant vigilance in this regard.
While government contracts should not insure what might be considered excessive profits, it would nevertheless be contrary to public interest that their financial basis be such as to paralyse contractors and limit their productive capacity.
We are confident that under firm and competent direction Canadian industry will prove equal to the task of ensuring maximum results from our war effort.
Topic: GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH
Subtopic: ADDRESS IN REPLY, MOVED .BY MR. BROOKE CLAXTON AND SECONDED BY MR. RENE JUTRAS