Richard Clive COOPER

COOPER, Lt. Col. Richard Clive

Personal Data

Party
Unionist
Constituency
Vancouver South (British Columbia)
Birth Date
December 31, 1881
Deceased Date
March 10, 1940
Website
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Clive_Cooper
PARLINFO
http://www.parl.gc.ca/parlinfo/Files/Parliamentarian.aspx?Item=3eb5c3bf-5293-4167-a8dc-79527bb53cca&Language=E&Section=ALL
Profession
accountant

Parliamentary Career

December 17, 1917 - October 4, 1921
UNION
  Vancouver South (British Columbia)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 9 of 10)


March 27, 1919

Mr. COOPER:

Will the hon. member quote any word of mine that was at all along the line the hon. member suggests?

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   DAYLIGHT SAVING.
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March 27, 1919

Mr. RICHARD CLIVE COOPER (Vancouver South) moved:

That, in the opinion of this House, it is expedient to re-enact at once Chapter 2, Statutes of 1918, "The Daylight Saving Act, 1918."

He said: In deference to requests received from large centres of population all over the country I bring this matter before the House in order that hon. gentlemen may express their opinion with regard to it.

In the matter of daylight saving there is a clear, dividing line between two conflicting interests. On the one side we have the dwellers in the cities and towns, and on the other the farming interests. The question is: whose claims are the stronger? I am

not going into the subject in detail, but I wish to point out that while the dwellers in the cities and towns are practically unanimous in their approval of daylight saving, the farmers are not. Many farmers all over Canada, particularly in the West, would gladly support daylight saving legislation.

I do not intend to deal with this question in the light of any precedent; that Germany, England and France have found daylight saving of value does not matter. To my mind the question is whether the reenactment of the Daylight Saving Act would benefit the majority of the people of Canada. I believe the largest number of people in Canada reside in the cities and large towns and work within the confines of four walls -in offices, stores, laundries, factories,- where the ventilation leaves much to be desired. As they are in the majority, the demands of these people for an extra few hours of daylight throughout the summer months must be given consideration. Moreover, the desire of the mothers and the children to get out in the sunlight after the father has come home from work must be regarded by all reasonable men who desire to conserve and improve the greatest asset in our national life; the children.

' Reading the speeches dealing with this matter last year, I was impressed by the fact that mention of a very large labouring class was carefully omitted. I refer to the miners of Canada, who, with their wives and children, embrace some three hundred and fifty thousand persons. Only the dwellers in cities and the farmers were mentioned in the discussion of the matter last year; an odd fisherman or two was brought into it, I think, but not to make any matter. So that if we consider the wishes of the miners we shall find-as I know from a conversation I had to-day-that they sincerely desire to have the extra hour of daylight during the summer months. They work for the most part in the darkness under ground, and they will appreciate the extra time which the daylight saving enactment will enable their wives and children to spend in the sunlight with them.

A daylight saving enactment comes into effect in the United States on the 30th day of this month, and if we do not follow the example set by our big neighbour to the south, a great deal of confusion is bound to result. I should like to point to a lesson to be learned from the great war. Up to the spring of 1918 the Allied armies were struggling along under a divided command, and the results were not such as we desired. But from the time that we came under one undivided command, that of Marshal Foch, our success was speedy and was continued until it culminated in victory and the Armistice on November 11, 1918. I submit that application of the principle that brought us success in that case oan be made to the action of Canada and the United States with regard to daylight saving.

It has been very truly said that the farmers are the backbone of the country. But if that backbone is too rigid, it becomes a

detriment to many of the country's interests. The farmers are divided on this question. Those who live close, to towns and railways are opposed to daylight saving, while those who live at a distance from the towns and railways are more or less indifferent. In the West there are large farming communities of foreign settlers, the Doukhobors and the Mennonites, for instance, who own huge tracts of land and care nothing for the movement of the hands of the clock. If a vote were taken on this question among the farmers of the West and the votes of the farmers living close to towns and railways balanced against the votes of foreign settlers and farmers living distant from towns and railways, the majority would be in favour of daylight saving. I believe- it will not be denied that for many years, even before I came to Canada and probably before I was born, the people of Canada from the Atlantic to the Pacific have been living under artificial time. That time has always been dictated by the railway companies. Would it hurt the farmer in any way to add another little bit of artificial time? I submit it would not. I sincerely believe that in this Daylight Saving there is no obstacle to the best interest of the farming communities, and in every centre of population throughout Canada there is a strong and insistent demand for it. I have had, from all parts of Canada, a large number of communications, only one of which, which arrived at 2.20 p.m. to-day, but which covers Canada from coast to coast, I purpose reading: .

The Canadian Credit Mens' Trust Association, Limited, representing the wholesale trade from coast to coast strongly endorse re-enactment Daylight Saving law commercial classes largely preponderating over agriculture minority and living in large centres would receive great *benefit without injuring agricultural classes can we do anything to strengthen your hands?

The endorsement therein contained is, I believe, the sentiment of the majority'of the people of Canada.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   DAYLIGHT SAVING.
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March 6, 1919

Mr. RICHARD CLIVE COOPER (South Vancouver):

Mr. Speaker, before dealing

with the matters that I wish to take up in connection with the debate on the Address in reply to the speech from the Throne, I desire to refer at some length to the remarks made by the hon. member for Victoria (Sir Sam Hughes). I am glad to state that a better man than I will take this matter up and will deal with the Cambrai and Mons battles from personal knowledge of these great events. I allude to Col. Peck, V.C. The hon. member for Victoria-Haliburton has given us an honour roll of the members of this House. We find that it is very inaccurate and incomplete and that the recapitulation of services given by that hon. member ds not actually in accord with events as they occurred. In dealing with one hon. member of this House, the hon. member for Simcoe (Mr. Currie), the hon. member for Victoria takes occasion to defend his own action, as well as the action of the hon. member for Simcoe, at the battle of St. Julien in 1915.

I have nothing to say in regard to the hon. member for Simcoe, but as the insinuation is made that the only man who could be confused with him is Brigadier-General A.

W. Currie of the 2nd Infantry Brigade as he was then, I venture to take up the cudgels on his behalf. We find that the hon. member for Victoria is ubiquitous. There seemed to be some system of telepathy existing between him and the hon. member for Simcoe. We find that every movement of this particular officer during the battle of St. Julien was known to the then Minister of Militia sitting safely at home in Ottawa. I do not intend to enter into any discussion as regards where Col. Currie was at the battle of St. Julien but I will say that for the first time in my life, between six a.m. and seven a.m. on April 24, 1915,

I saw Col. J. A. Currie of the 15th Battalion and spoke to him. I did not see him again until I came here last session. In the latter part of 1915 I was in England and I read * with extreme disgust the remarks made by the then Minister of Militia and Defence in defence of this particular officer. As I before stated, it is only because of my intention to clear the name of our greatest Canadian soldier from any stigma that I am making these remarks.

On the evening of the 22nd April, 1915, I was, with part of my company, within 200 yards of the village of St. Julien and Gen. Currie was at Brigade Battle headquarters at Fortuin and there I received certain orders from him. It was at this time that the gas came over, the Turcos came streaming back while St. Julien was being laid flat. I moved out to the fields. It was wise. I met Gen. Currie and he said: " Cooper,

come along over to Brigade Headquarters until we see what is going to be done." We got orders to move up in support of the 8th Battalion. 1 did not see General Currie again until the night of the 23rd'April, 1915, when he came out to see how we were getting on at the Kerrselaere cross-roads. On the 24th April I spoke to General Currie about five o'clock in the afternoon at For- * tuin. Subsequently, during the night he took the remnants of two battalions of his brigade on to the Gra-venstafel ridge. The remnants consisted of my own battalion, the 7th, and the 10th, Western Canadians. General Currie placed us in position and told us what he knew of the situation in front of us. Then he went to headquarters of the 8th and 5th Battalions who were on our right flank. The next occasion on which I saw General Currie was on the early morning of the 26th when we rejoined the remnants of our brigade at St. Jean. General Currie then led the brigade composed of the remnants of the 5th, 7th, 8th and 10th Battalions up to a line in advance of Fortuin and the Hannabeke, where we re-

mained until the Tuesday night, he establishing his brigade headquarters alongside of us and personally went around to cheer up the men of the brigade. On leaving the salient on the night of the 28th April, General Currie was the last man out. I would further refer to the hon. member's remark.

Well, Sir, frpm the outset of this war I am on record as standing for the saving of the lives of our boys unless it was absolutely necessary that they should be sacrificed.

'Having placed this on record in Hansard, I may ask if he gave this matter the consideration he states when he forced the Ross rifle on the 2nd and subsequent divisions of Canadian troops. The hon. member speaks of Cambrai in the following terms:

I know Cambrai well. General Mewburn has seen Cambrai.

And so on. He says he knows Cambrai. So do I, but only on the map, and I venture to suggest that that is the fullest knowledge the hon. member also has of it. The hon. gentleman quoted from a letter written by him to the Right Hon. the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Borden) which, in Hansard is undated and which says in part:

Any ass can sit back and simply order battalion after battalion to go forward to certain death. General Foch does hot want that sort of thing, neither do the people of Canada.

His remark. is only to true, but also is it true of those who stand hack 3,500 milles and, without full information to guide them, undertake to criticise.

For the information of the hon. member I would draw his attention to the result of the Cambrai battle. Official information shows us that the Canadian Artillery fired 7,000 tons of ammunition against visible targets of troops. In close formation our heavy artillery engaged two hundred such targets. We captured more than seven thousand prisoners and two hundred pieces of heavy and field artillery. Our total captures from the 8th of August until the 1st October amounted to twenty-eight thousand prisoners, five hundred guns, over three thousand machine guns, and an immense quantity of stores. The battle of Cambrai was the deciding one of this period of the war. It broke the great Hindenburg line, and left an open country with only natural obstacles for our troops to fight over in front of them. In giving this information, Sir, I am quoting from official sources. The hon. member spoke of Cambrai as though it were a tragedy. I submit, Mr. Speaker, that far from being a tragedy, it presents

material for an epic, worthy to rank with those written of the " contemptibles " and our own First Division; at the second battle of Ypres.

Now let me refer to the capture of Mons. Official information shows us that on the 9th November, 1918, the Huns were in full retreat along the whole front of the British armies; that Maubeuge was occupied by the guards and the 62nd Division, with the Canadian Corps approaching Mons. Five British armies, with cavalry and cyclists operating in advance of the infantry, were making a steady forward movement; only in the neighbourhood of Mons was any determined opposition met with. Here we find the Canadians advancing towards the town from the south and west, and working round it on the north. Our Third Division captured Mons in the early morning of the 11th of November, killing, wounding, or taking prisoner all the German garrison. The total casualty list shows seventy-five of all ranks, while they took over a hundred unwounded prisoners. This battle, fought on the holy ground that their glorious predecessors, " the old contemptibles," had to retire from against overwhelming odds in 1914, must surely remain indelibly impressed on the memory of the splendid men who were privileged to take part in this action, and on the people of Canada as a fitting culmination to the great work of our corps. \

The hon. member spoke as follows about the Mons battle:-

I have just this to say about Mons. Were I in authority the officer who, four hours before the armistice was signed, although he had been notified beforehand that the armistice was to begin at eleven o'clock, ordered the attack on Mons, thus needlessly sacrificing the lives of Canadian soldiers, would be tried summarily by court martial and punished so far as the law would allow. There was no glory to be gained, and you cannot find one Canadian soldier returning from France who will not curse the name of the officer who ordered the attack on Mons.

The suggestion made there by the hon. member for Victoria and Haliburton, and given broadcast to the fathers, mothers, wives and children of Canadian soldiers, is that General Currie, for his own glorification, deliberately gave the order to capture Mons on the morning of the armistice. A graver indictment of a man I have never heard; in effect, the indictment is wholesale murder. Now, I want to protect General Currie's name to the utmost that an humble member of the army, like myself, can. A little later I will endeavour to explain the chain of authority that exists in

the British army, and you will then see that whoever may have been responsible for the order for the attack on Mons, General Currie and the Canadian Corps were just a " cog in the wheel." The hon. member has, I believe, some claim to distinction in regard to winning the South African War. He is an honorary Lieutenant-General in the Service, and for this reason he should at least be as au fait with matters of a military nature as a sergeant. But a sergeant would know all about the chain of - authority in the army and would not have made such a foolish statement as the hon. member made here. At the time of the armistice, on November 11, 1918, we find that the Huns were still an unbeaten force. We find that they still occupied entrenchments behind barbed wire, with their guns, ammunition, and units practically intact. They were still an efficient fighting force. Now, I would like to put the situation to the House in this way: Probably all of you, at one time or another, have seen, if not a prize fight, then a boxing match. I would suggest that the position the Allied armies were in on the morning of the 11th November is somewhat the same as a man who is boxing another, and has his opponent almost down and out. The winner knows that the bell is going to ring in about fifteen seconds, but from some notion of chivalry-doubtless a foolish sentiment-he does not knock his opponent out. That is the position of the Allied army before the Huns on the date mentioned. They had no guarantee that the armistice was going to be signed; they had to hammer the brute to be certain that he would sign it.'

I would now like to deal with the chain of authority in the army, and I promise not to detain the House unduly in doing so.

At six o'clock the House took recess.

After Recess.

The House resumed at eight o'clock.

Topic:   GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH.
Subtopic:   ADDRESS IN REPLY.
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March 6, 1919

Mr. RICHARD CLIVE COOPER (continuing) :

Mr. Speaker, at six o'clock I was proceeding to detail the chain of authority as it existed in the British Army. As is well known to most people in Canada and the civilized world, Allied operations from last spring were in the hands of Marshal Foch, assisted by an Allied staff. Marshal Foch, assisted by his staff, was responsible for the plan of campaign in all theatres of war in Europe. He, therefore, laid out his plan of campaign, dealing more particularly with the western front. On forming his

campaign he called together the leaders of the various Allied armies in France, explained what he wanted done, and gave them their part in the operation. These Allied Commanders in their turn called in the general officers-in our own case- commanding the British armies and allotted them their part in the operations to take place. The General Officer Commanding the army, in his turn, calls on the General Officers Commanding the army corps and allots them their portion of the scheme inside of his army. The Army Corps commanders then call the divisional commanders together, wrho are allotted their portion of the work inside of the Army Corps. The divisional commanders call the brigade commanders together and allot them their portion of the work inside of the divisional part of the operation. The brigade commanders call the battalion commanders together and allot them their part of the work inside of the brigade. The battalion commanders then collect the company commanders and company officers and explain the work in so far as it is necessary for these officers to know it, and they in their turn go back to the companies and tell the non-commissioned officers and men what is expected of them. In dealing, therefore, with the suggestion that has been advanced that General Currie was responsible for unnecessary loss of life in the Canadian Corps at Cambrai and Mons, it will easily be seen that General Currie was just one small cog in a very large wheel. His was the part that the Allied staff had allotted to him and, just as in the days of the old Light Brigade, " His not to reason why "; he simply carried out orders.

I turn now to another portion of the hon. gentleman's remarks, not made, in this House. I regret that the hon. gentleman is not in his chair, as I hate to hit a man behind his back. Here, however, is a point that I feel very strongly upon and about which I should like to speak.

We understand, Sir, that we are entitled to criticise our own people; but we of the Canadian Army resent very strongly a criticism of the British Army by a man who was not there. I turn to a cutting from a newspaper report of a speech delivered by the hon. member at London, Ontario. He says:

They stood their ground while the Yorks and Durhams threw away their Lee-Enfields and ran because they had "bum" ammunition. On the third day some of the Canadians got some of this ammunition themselves.

Sir, the hon. member rises to a wonderful defamatory height in this connection; his egotism and his dogmatism are absolutely inimitable. But I submit to you, Sir, and to the people of Canada that Canadian brothers in arms will not stand for one moment any reflection being cast upon our Imperial brothers. He referred to two regiments; I shall speak of one of which I know. The Durham Light Infantry came in across the Zonnebeke front and took over part of the trenches of the 8th Battalion, the " Little Black Devils ", and they subsequently vacated their trenches during the afternoon of Sunday, the twenty-fifth of April, 1915. The hon. member has quite omitted to mention that these battalions were part of a Northumbrian division which had been less than two days in France, and were hurled into that hell of gas and high explosive and machine gun fire. He says they ran away. As far as the Durhams are concerned, that is not true; the Durhams retired in perfect order-too perfect order, Sir-they retired in platoons, and. I saw them cut to pieces, leaving their dead behind in swathes. It is a pity that the license of this House is not better taken care of. Free speech is well in its way, but speech that is too free is very bad.

I turn for a moment to go one further than the Minister of Militia did'this afternoon, and when I have gone that one further I think that every Canadian will thrill with pride. I have taken the trouble to work out a little bit of detail as regards our Canadian decorations. I find that 418,052 men went overseas and that 15,750 won decorations and mentions, of which 3,333 were mentions and 443 one bar or more to decorations. The Minister mentioned that this afternoon, but the point I would like to make is that if one decoration had been given to one man instead of one man earning two or more decorations, one man in approximately twenty-seven of the Canadians who went overseas to fight would have been decorated. I think that is a wonderful record. The tale is not yet told, of course, of decorations; we may find three or four hundred more going to our splendid men.

I quote from the Toronto Globe of the sixth of this month, and I feel sure that many thousands of the people of Canada will re-echo the sentiment contained therein:

The terrors of the war have been great and manifold for our gallant men in Prance, but Sir Sam Hughes is a greater than any of them. The enemy never dealt a fouler blow than that

22i

directed by Sir Sam Hughes against the leaders of the Canadian Army still in the field and unable to defend themselves.

I turn now to a matter that I conceive it to be my duty-rightly or wrongly, I do not know, rightly, I believe,-to touch upon. I have the honour to suggest to the Government that they make General Sir Arthur Currie, K.C.B., some monetary grant of generous proportions as a recognition of his wonderful service in command of the Canadian Corps. It has been the custom in the Empire to reward our great men in a like manner and we here at home should not fail in this regard. We find that our great leader comes back with all the honours in the shape of decorations that a grateful home Government can bestow upon him, and we, in our turn, must do something worthy of the glory which he has brought to us. I am proud to say- this is reflected glory, of course-that I knew General Currie before the war in Victoria, B.C. I enlisted at the same time as he did and I served in the same brigade. Without a tinge of envy, I congratulate him on his work. Victoria congratulates her citizen, and Canada will congratulate her son.

Let me now discuss a few subjects that are of general interest to Canada as a whole, and possibly more especially to my own part of the world. In passing, I would like to refer to the two officers, members of this House, who moved and seconded the Address. They did well-"but then, they are Canadian soldiers."

The sudden transition from war to peace has, I believe, found us, to a certain extent, unprepared. I believe that we are better prepared than any other of our Allies, and I feel confident that if we all work together to help the schemes that, the Government is now putting into operation, Canada will not suffer in any great degree, in the near future.

I should like to allude, for a moment, to the visits of our Cabinet Ministers to the West. There is only one way in which our country can be held together. It is vast; it has diverse nationalities; it has many diverse problems, and the only way for the Government to know the feeling of each portion is for the members of this Government to travel. I will welcome, as every man in my own province will welcome, the visit of any member of the Government at any time he can come.

As a comparatively new comer to Canada and as a new member of this House, it may seem presumption that I should refer to the late great leader of the Opposition.

I followed the late, great leader's career long before I came to Canada. I remember him as an outstanding figure in the Diamond Jubilee, although I was not at that time in England. Canada has suffered a great loss. The Empire has suffered a loss. I trust that Canada will rise to greater heights by reason of the example that he has left us.

I turn now to something that may be new to this House, and this may even not be the proper place in which to bring this matter up. In my notes, I have this headed "War Memorials." People's thoughts are now turning to memorials to perpetuate the memory of our fallen, but unfortunately, their thoughts are turning to stone and iron to perpetuate flesh and blood. That is wrong. It is not worthy of the men who gave their lives that we might be free. I suggest that there is a greater, nobler, finer memorial to be erected to our fallen. 1 suggest that education is the only possible, adequate method of perpetuating the memory of the "immortals." Before I came to Canada, I spent some eleven years of my life in South Africa and some eight years of that in Rhodesia. During that time, on three occasions, I was with the late Rt. Hon. Cecil Rhodes, in three of his trips into the south Gazaland country. On two occasions before the South African war, and the last time was a few months before he died. At that time, he was working out his scheme of scholarships. I was a youngstei then and did not take very much interest in it. He often said to me: " Cooper, education is the greatest factor on earth." I said, " Yes." I did not think much about it. He said that he was going to establish a scheme that would reach into every country in the world, and he did so. 1 suggest that this country can perpetuate the memory of her immortals in no better way than by founding scholarships along the same lines, with such amendments to the Rhodes' Scholarships as may be necessary. These scholarships, I would suggest, would go, in the first instance, to those young men who, when the war began, were in the transition period between school and business life and who, owing to the war have lost one or more years of their lives. They should be the first to be considered. Needless to say, there would have to be some kind of educational test. The scheme would not be practical without it. The second people to be considered would be the children of our soldiers, not only oi those who have fallen, but of those who are still living. At the end of a certain term

of years, these scholarships could be turned over at large to the children of this country. There would be no question of creed. All would be on an equal basis. The scheme, endorsed by the Federal Government and supported by every provincial and municipal Government interested and given to the people of Canada to subscribe a capital sum, would, I have not the least doubt, bring from the people of Canada alone a sum amounting to twenty or more million dollars. Such a sum would be adequate for between one thousand to fifteen hundred children a year. Work that out in percentage of our population and see what it means in ten, fifteen or twenty years. I do not see any reason for the scheme not succeeding. I feel that the wealthy men in Canada will give freely; that those who have lost their sons or their husbands will give freely for other people's sons or husbands; that the poor people who cannot afford much, will, seeing so much likely to be offered for their children in the future, also make an effort to subscribe. So I think there is very little doubt that the money could be subscribed, and the scheme would be limited only by the amount subscribed.

There is another point. Our desire for the future is to receive such a class of immigrant that we will never think of turning him out. Our eyes naturally turn to the Mother Country, and I submit that if the many hard-working people *who are anxious to emigrate, for many reasons, one of which is education, see the advantages that Canada offers to her children, they will come to this country. I notice in a cutting from the London Daily Mail of February 3 that two hundred Canadian fighting men are to be selected from students in the overseas forces for British university training while they are awaiting demobilization. One hundred are to be chosen from the men in France and the other hundred from the men in England, but only those students who have completed their second year in medicine, theology, agriculture, engineering, law, etc., in some Canadian university are eligible. That is good, Sir, but it does not go far enough. This scheme may seem somewhat Utopian, but I really do not see any reason why it cannot be made a reality if the Government will appoint the right men to foster the idea.

There is a matter of importance which I have not yet heard discussed in this House.

I refer to national service. We have just . concluded a great war which has taught us, if anything, one great lesson, and that is to be ready. I do not purpose to enter into

details of any particular scheme. I only say that now, with the ending of a great war, it is our duty to prepare for future wars. The training of our children should be carefully gone into in the schools so that if we are at any time confronted with another war our children will be ready to step into arms without any loss of time. If we had been prepared in 1914 it is more than likely this war would not have been fought. If it had been fought, and we had been prepared, it would have been ended very much sooner, with a huge saving of blood, misery and treasure. It is our duty then to provide properly organized units with proper leaders. I have talked with many officers coming back from France who have compared the men who enlisted under the Military Service Act with the volunteer, and not a single one will give the same credit to a draftee that he will give to a volunteer. There is not a volunteer that can possibly fight on equal terms with a draftee. It is our duty then to do away with such unfortunate things. Let us make every one serve the country. It should be the pride of every man, woman and child to serve the country that gave him or her birth. Further, Sir, it should be the duty of the 'Government to see that its people are ready.

I turn to another subject-one that has occasioned intense bitterness not alone in Government circles-I am not alluding to Ottawa, though I know it is rife in Ottawa -but in other parts of the country, and particularly in Vancouver. In the Government service there are employed very many women who need not of necessity earn their living. These women have, in most cases, got there, not by competence, but by influence, and I say it is unfair competition against their more needy sisters. I think the Government should take a hand in this matter and clean up the Government services as far as they possibly can. I know that a great many women worked during the war for patriotic reasons, but there were a large number also who worked for patriotic reasons plus salary.

I now come to the question of our natural resources, and one in particular I wish to mention. It seems to me the natural resources of our country have been the plaything of political parties. They have been handed out for services rendered; the nature of the service need not be specified. But now the time has come for that to cease. For the future we must as far as in our power lies conserve the natural resources of Canada for the British. One industry in particular-the fishing industry in British Columbia, with which I am more familiar than any other-is packed full of all kinds of aliens who only became naturalized for the sole purpose of exploiting the fisheries of British Columbia. They gave us no service in the war; in fact, in many cases they were openly hostile to the cause of the Allies. The smaller kinds of licenses, such as the gill-net and the purse-seine were granted largely as political favours and in a great many cases, particular^ as regards the canneries, a virtual monoply has been created for a favoured few. I submit that in this particular industry very careful revision should be made of the licenses issued, and those who have not given service should be passed over in favour of those who have. At all events, those who have served should be given the preference. I find. that last year there were 5,288 gill-net licenses issued in the province of British Columbia, of which 700 were held by Britishers, which includes natural born-Canadians and men from all parts of the British Empire; Indians, the indigenous natives of British Columbia, 1,130; Japanese, 2,620, or 49.70 per cent; 'Swedes, 105, or 2 per cent, and iSwedes in many cases were nearly as bad as the Huns; Finns, who are closely allied to the Swedes, 106, or 3.70 per cent; Norwegians, who are slightly better than the previous two, 220 or 4.20 per cent; Greeks, 59; Austrian, 32; Spanish, 25; German, 21, and other nationalities, 170. Of course, these are all naturalized British subjects. I am not dealing with the other and more valuable types of licenses, because I cannot obtain the figures from the department, but, what I want the House to note carefully is, that outside the Indians, the British born have 13.23 per cent gill-net licenses in British Columbia waters, the balance going to aliens.

I find a lesolution standing in the name of the hon. member for Comox-Alberni (Mr. Clements), dealing with the subject of enemy aliens. Should I be in order, Mr. Speaker, in discussing that matter now?

Topic:   GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH.
Subtopic:   ADDRESS IN REPLY.
Full View Permalink

March 6, 1919

Mr. COOPER:

The province of British Columbia is concerned in having large government works undertaken at once, and wherever it is possible that a return may be had, even if not for years to come. In British Columbia we have not the industries of the older provinces, and we must necessarily have public works to carry us through this transition period. I congratu-

late the Minister of Public Works (Mr. Carvell) on the policy of public works which he has launched. I would point out in that connection that in our province we must re-absorb the 51,000 men'-less casualties-whom we sent to the war, and many more besides. I am told that the wonderful climate of British Columbia attracts many, and I understand that we are getting some 35,000 more people. We have not work for them at this time, and the only way to absorb them at present is by starting public works.

I trust the Minister of Immigration and Colonization (Mr. Calder) will go carefully with immigration. Let him bear in mind the large number that are coming back, for whom it will not be easy immediately to find places. I further hope that the policy followed by previous party governments will not., be followed by this administration but the future interests of our country will be considered-we do not hold our country for ourselves, we hold it for the future.

Amongst the Orders in Council brought down is No. 179, which deals with the payment of passage to the dependents of soldiers being brought back to Canada or who were never in Canada before. I wish to tell the Minister of Immigration and Colonization that that Order in Council is rank discrimination, that njany of the women and children whose passages back to Canada are being paid by the Government, are people who remained in the Old Country and ate the Old Country's much-needed bread against the wishes of that government, with these people it was purely a matter of selfishness. One cannot condemn them, of course, because their nearest and dearest were there. But the majority should have been considered. I think that, if it is the intention of the Government to pay the passages of these people, then it is its duty to pay also the passages of those who came back to Canada prior to November 11, 1918.

The War Service gratuity is a method of covering the transition period between doffing the uniform and putting on the mufti. It is not the best way out, in my opinion; I am afraid it will cost the country much unnecessary money. But it is good. Yet here again we have discrimination; the Order in Council was not properly thought out. I want to bring to the attention of the. Government a very just claim in connection with this war service gratuity, the claim of the Imperial reservist who lived in Canada prior to the war and who, when

IMr. Cooper.]

the war started, rushed home to join the colours. He went home and served for 1 s. 1 d. a day-say twenty-seven cents a day. Our Canadian soldiers got 31.10 a day. The Imperial soldier had no reason to complain because the Patriotic Fund came forward generously and augmented his pay to approximately the same as that of the Canadian soldier. But, while they are grateful for that, they are slightly discriminated against by this Order in Council dealing with the war service gratuity. I understand that that is not our business, but I submit to you that these men gave just as efficient service to Canada and to the Empire as did the Canadian soldiers. They have come back to their homes in Canada and have to live under Canadian conditions, and therefore they are entitled to the same war gratuity as are the Canadian soldiers. The Imperial Government has issued a war service gratuity, but no distinction is made between single and married men. Therefore, the private soldier with war service from 1914 up to the present time, if a single man, would receive approximately $200 less than his more fortunate Canadian brother, while the married man would receive approximately $450 less than the married soldier in a Canadian unit. I trust the Government will look into this matter; I sincerely believe that these men have a just claim.

Now, I turn to consider very briefly the case of the man who served in Canada. That man, metaphorically speaking, has been hooted by every Tom, Dick and Harry in the country, he has been called a slacker and other opprobrious names, in many cases without any justification whatever.

There are many splendid men in the service in Canada who have eaten their hearts out to go to the front but who have been discriminated against. We find that the man who had given service in Canada, and was demobilized prior to the 11th November, 1918, does not benefit under the terms of the war service gratuity. It is unintentional discrimination perhaps but it is certainly discrimination.

The Order in Council dealing with clothing allowance gives the first men to come back $8 to $13 and they had to hand in their uniform. 'This was subsequently increased to $35 but was not made retroactive. I can readily understand that the departments concerned in this matter would have to work possibly until the [judgment day in dealing with these retroactive measures, but, in all fairness, I think something should be done to meet the many justifiable com-

plaints that are received from all over the country in connection with this matter.

In the clothing allowance, as in war service gratuity, the draftee benefits at the expense of his volunteer brother. This is hardly fair. I want to take up the case of the officers for one moment because they are not allowed to speak for themselves. I want to deal with the $100 that was given to the officers in England last year. We find that an officer who went to England and never got any farther than England, on August 1, 1918, was entitled to an extra $100 clothing allowance, making in a year or fifteen months $350. We have against that an officer who served overseas and in Canada since September, 1914, and who had to do with the inadequate allowance of $250.

I do not believe that there is a single officer in Canada who would make any complaint except for what appears to be discrimination. I submit that men who have given good service in Canada, but who have not gone to England or Prance, should have been given this extra allowance, not because they desired it but in order to equalize matters.

The Minister of Militia this afternoon mentioned the War Service Button. We have been very generous in our distribution of War Service Buttons but there is a class of men that we have overlooked. There are many thousands of men who, with the best intentions in the world, joined up to go and have a smack at the Huns but who, for some reason or other, were disqualified and never got there. Many of these young men looking physically fit have had the finger of scorn pointed at them as they walked down the street. Is it not possible to give them some badge by which they could show their fellow men that they had tried to go?

The Land Settlement Act is an excellent piece of legislation. I would like to see it put into force, just as quickly as ever the Government can, but I should like to see the matter dealt with according to various provincial problems and conditions. What might be adequate provision for a Prairie Province is not adequate for a province like British Columbia, we will say. I would like to see the measure very much increased in its scope. I think it desirable that men who have given good service in Canada should benefit by its provisions. I need hardly point out to the House that every man we can send to the land, who proves to be an efficient farmer, is a national asset, and that every man we can drag away from the city is a. saving in labour unrest. A large amount of labour unrest comes in the winter months when we have men from

the prairie, farms, bush, and fisheries flocking into town, some with a little money and who, when they have no money left and no work, sit around and make mischief.

Pensions are, in my opinion, inadequate. They are unequal in the way they are determined. I do not think that the method of determining pensions is the right one. I believe that better service could be given if a board were provided in each province, or, where provinces are alike in conditions, in two or more provinces, to deal with peculiar provincial matters. I believe also it would be a wise provision, or until conditions are stabilized, to look at this question of pensions from the rural or city standpoint. It is' unquestionably a fact that a person cannot live, in a city in the same way that he can out on a farm, and where a person of necessity must live in the city, that fact should be considered. I would suggest that pensions err on the side of generosity consistent with our financial strength.

Prohibition is a very vexed question. I will stand behind the Government, in so far as I am personally concerned, for total prohibition for one year from date. I believe it will be in the best interests of the country that liquor should not find its way freely into the hands of the people until our conditions are stabilized. After that time it should go to the people of the country to decide. I will not say what they should decide for.

In thinking out new taxes to meet the interest on our huge outlay during the war, I sincerely trust my hon. friend the Minister of Finance (Sir Thomas White) will not overlook the very large number of people who to-day do not come within the provisions of the present income tax. I allude to single men earning from $800 to $1,100 a year and who might very well pay a small amount into the Government's coffers.

I will ask the Government to go a little farther in the matter of vocational training. It has been found in many cases that the term allowed for the learning of a certain industry or profession is not adequate. It would be an act of kindness to many young men who are in the transition period if an extra fortnight-in some cases a month, in other cases possibly as high as six months,-were allowed so that they could complete their course and become useful citizens of the country.

Further, I would ask the Government to enlarge the scope of the vocational training, whereby it could embrace the young man who went overseas under age, and whose return was asked by his parents on thr t

score, but who is now debarred from the benefits of the vocational training.

I congratulate the Government on its wisdom in placing the Royal North West Mounted Police in the Western Provinces, because I think it is really the only way whereby Federal legislation will be properly administered.

I have never been a party man, for I have always felt that the cult of party led to a neglect of national ideals, and that the country always suffered from it. I was glad when ip December, 1917, so many men from the other side of the House joined up with those that were on this side, and made a strong party with a united front to face the problems of the future. I trust that hon. gentlemen will not be too exacting in their demands from the Government, but will help it in all reasonable ways in their power, in order to get the country back into a real stable condition.

One more remark and I shall close. It amused me intensely to listen to the wild poetic flights that some hon. gentlemen on the other side of the House

9 p.m. indulged in. There was a delightful parody, for example, by the hon. member for Lunenburg (Mr. Duff). I cannot at the moment recall it, but if I remember rightly, it was plagiarized from a hymn book. That hon. gentleman enjoys a Scotch name, and must surely be familiar with Bobbie Burns. I will therefore quote from the words of the immortal Bobbie, in answer to the hon. gentleman's eulogy of the leader of the Opposition :

Oh, wad some power the giftie gie U3 To see ourselves as others see us!

It would from many a blunder free us, And foolish notion.

Mr. JOSEPH M. DEMERS (St. Johns and Iberville) (Translation): Mr. Speaker, at first I wish to refer to the renowned and _ well beloved leader of the Liberal party whose sudden death has so brutally robbed his fellow citizens of their affection and admiration.

I shall not venture to even attempt to add to the remarkable tributes which have been successively paid to his memory by religious and lay orators in most eloquent sermons and speeches, as well as by journalists in writings that are wonderful in style and inspiration.

I simply wish to lay quietly the tribute of my grief on the grave barely closed of this great man, who personified so well the

CMr. Cooler. ]

noblest and best qualities of his race, which is also mine.

I do not intend to prolong this debate, I am usually brief and so shall be to-day. But I thought it was my duty to address this House on this occasion, as I believe there cannot be a more favourable one for a member to express his views and make his observations on the political condition such as he sees it.

From the beginning of this debate we have heard of re-adjustment and reconstruction. Under ordinary circumstances, there would be not any question of re-adjustment or re-construction before we had made our inventory, so as to realize to what extent we were disorganized. However we find ourselves under such exceptional circumstances that we need not take stock, for the disorganization is complete, general, manifest and admitted by all.

We are politically, socially and economically disorganized. Such is the condition, Mr. Speaker, in which we find our country after the war. Before the war, we had a constitutional and democratic government, now we have but a dictatorship; we had a Parliament and this Parliament has been ignored by the Government during and after the war and now perhaps more than ever before. The representatives of the people were left aside, and instead opthe guarantee of a parliamentary legislation, we were swamped by Orders in Council, thus doing away with our constitutional guarantees.

If the Government intend to carry on a work of reconstruction, first of all, they must' re-establish democracy in this country, namely the government of the people through their representatives.

Before the war, Canada had the reputation of being above all a land of liberty. The Government has changed it all and individual liberty, the freedom of speech and of the press were abolished and replaced by coercion and intimidation.

Therefore, Mr. Speaker, if we wish to reconstruct, we must re-establish freedom in this country; we must abolish the censorship immediately, for there is no reason now to maintain it and we must let the people absolutely at liberty to express freely their opinion.

Before the war we had an Election Act based upon principles of justice and fair play, but it was replaced by a system of selection.

That Act is a blot on our statute books, which it will be difficult to fully obliterate. That legislation was an Act of cowardice on the part of the Government and a flagrant

breach of the right inherent in British citizenship. None could have been more detrimental to our country.

At home, it proved loathsome to a great many people, and should such disgust be too often provoked through cynical and arbitrary legislation like the War-time Elections Act, peace would very likely be imperilled in this country.

Abroad, that law has put the fair name of our political institutions in jeopardy, and should Canada ever want to secure foreign labour in the future for the development of our immense resources, I am very much afraid that the War-time Elections Act will show that it has caused our country an irreparable prejudice, as it seejns hard to con-conceive that foreigners will be very anxious to come to this country, when they know how Canada treated her alien population during the elections of 1917.

The great majority of those who came into Canada did so, because they wanted to avoid persecution at the hands of the autocratic governments of Europe and because they thought they were coming into a free country. They were attracted and almost carried here by lecturers and agents who had exalted the humanity of our laws, who had promised they would be granted and enjoy equal rights. And then, all of a sudden, they must realize that after they had been persuaded to abandon their nationality, they were made practically homeless, that is men without a country. What a splendid advertisement for Canada to have it spread abroad, how the foreign element was treated in this country ! We had not long to wait to see the results, as it was reported in the press a short time ago that immigrants whom we had brought here at considerable expense, were withdrawing their deposits from the banks to go back to their native countries, notwithstanding the bad conditions that obtain throughout Europe. Evidently these people are absolutely disappointed; they did not find here that which they were looking for and which they had been promised to secure. They will now go back to Europe and advertise Canada in their own way, according to the treatment they have been submitted to here.

We heard-and I don't know whether it were not repeated in this House-that the Government should frame a policy with regard to aliens. Well, Mr. Speaker, it seems to me that if the Government wish to adopt some policy to that effect, they should exercise great care and fully consider what may be the future needs of this country as regards immigration, because the policy thus adopted will surely have a considerable influence and will be an important factor in the foreigner's appreciation of this country's opportunities, in case they intend to come here and seek a fortune.

At any rate, Mr. Speaker, there is one thing which we need not think over very long, that is to repeal the War-Times Elections Act as soon as possible. I believe it is easy to do it. The war is over and there are members of the Government who were shocked by that legislation even in war time. Knowing as we do the earnestness of their convictions, we can easily imagine the efforts they must bring to bear upon their colleagues to induce them to repeal that evil and fatal legislation.

Then, Mr. Speaker, once we have carried out that work of clearing our statutes, let us enact such a law, that the people will be satisfied that the Government had not in view a political machine but a desire to secure the full and free experiment of public Opinion. I hope that this new Act will be framed on the underlying principles of the Act which was in force before the war, particularly as concerns the making out of the rolls. I trust that the system of having these rolls made out by municipal councils will be maintained as. much as possible, that is almost everywhere in Canada. And I also hope, Mr. Speaker, that we shall never see any more government appointed commissioners entrusted with that work.

The hon. gentlemen recall the Dominion Elections Act of 1896, the enforcement of which resulted in such crying abuses that the Liberal party made the repeal of that famous legislation a special plank of their platform.

The making out of the lists of voters by commissioners appointed by the Government looked to me in my youth and would look to me yet like a board of arbitrators all the members of which would be appointed by one single party.

Now, Mr. Speaker, may I be permitted to refer briefly to another very important issue which was dealt with by hon. members who spoke before me and more particularly by the hon. member for Dorchester, in the beautiful address with which he favoured this House the other evening. I refer to the question of the independence of the judiciary. I regret to charge this Government with having more than.once infringed upon the independence and sullied the fair name of the judiciary, through their untimely interference with their duties. There was some serious clashing recently between the Department of Justice and some of the judges, and I regret to say that the Depart-

ment of Justice did not always emerge with credit.

For a Government to question the integrity, competence or wisdom of our judges and entertain ails'- distrust for them is tantamount to shaking the confidence of the people in an institution which we always considered as being a guarantee of social order and the safeguard of the liberties and rights of the people. A Government who do not respect the independence of magistrates make an exceptionally serious mistake, for which we must call them to account, for it means the sapping of the foundation of our social structure.

I promised I would be brief, Mr. Speaker, and I shall pass on to another subject without any oratorical precautions.

Let me refer to the way of dealing with the defaulters. I believe this is a very important matter for this country at the present moment. I must say right now that I agree with hon. members who advocated a general amnesty, and here are some of the reasons which make me think so.

I was informed that there were 40,000 defaulters in the country, the majority of whom are among the rural population. In all, 100,000 young men answered the call under the Military Service Act, which meant that the Government has hit the mark and if all those who were called had reported, about 40,000 would have been left aside; but I will not use this as an argument.

The principal reason for which I favour a general amnesty is that I am convinced that this Government is responsible to a large extent for the passive resistance which was manifested.

Our people were not prepared for conscription which was repugnant to them, because militarism was unknown in America. Not only were they not prepared, but this Government exerted themselves in letting the people believe that conscription would never be established.

I refer you to the statement made by the Prime Minister himself within and without this House in 1916, and I ask hon. members to remember what occurred in the election of Dorchester in February 1917, when a Cabinet Minister was re-elected as an anti-conscriptionist and supported by another member of the Government who expressed similar views. Was that what you would call preparing public opinion for conscription?

Two months after the Dorchester election in which the young men were told how easy it would be for them to cross over the border if need be, this Government submitted their Compulsory Military Service CM. Demers.]

Act. Then the elections came. What did they say to the people during the campaign? They said that the farmers and their sons would not be called upon to serve in the army, and it is through such false representations that they succeeded in securing the great majority of the votes in the rural constituencies throughout the Dominion, except in the province of Quebec. Furthermore, in order to countenance the statements made by the Unionist speakers during the elections in 1917, this Government passed an Order in Council providing for the exemption of farm labourers from military service. Is that what you would call preparing the people for the enforcement of conscription? And after that you are surprised that there were some refractory ones. It is under such circumstances that we are asked to deal rigorously with people who unfortunately were so candid as to believe in the sincerity of those who solicited their votes and the very men who benefited by such trickery and false representations would now like to enact legislation with a view to apprehending their victims !

Well, Mr. Speaker, I say: That is enough cynicism.

There is another consideration, namely that no good can come out of any harsh measures that may be taken regarding the defaulters. They say there are 40,000. If we decide to deal with them, we must deal with them all. How many millions shall we have to spend in our endeavour to detect them all? We shall be compelled to use an army for that purpose and then to apprehend them; we shall have to build jails to put them in and spend millions to feed them during their detention. When you consider that most of these defaulters are farmers, you will realize what waste of time and disorganization in labour it would represent.

Let those who expect any good out of such harsh treatment be undeceived. We shall only succeed in bringing shame upon 40,000 young men, who, under the present circumstances, represent not only an important, but also a necessary asset, and most of whom belong to respectable families who have assisted one way or another in carrying on the war. We would only discourage and demoralize an army of workers who could prove very useful to the country.

The Government, in spite of the elementary principles of any democratic system, recently passed an ukase imposing a penalty of from $250 to $5,000 or $10,000 upon defaulters, which means that only the poor will go to jail; the others who have means will, for a money consideration, continue to enjoy their freedom. Indeed, this is a nice

way to ajsply the principles of equal rights, but the same thing can be said of the selective Conscription Act which allowed the rich to take advantage of every kind of jurisdiction to avoid enlistment, while the poor were compelled to submit to this condition and enlist.

Therefore we should not be surprised that the workers are avowed enemies of militarism. They are so instinctively, because they know what is good or bad for them and history has taught them long ago that every time a war breaks out they, the poor, have to pay the greatest tribute of blood.

Moreover, Mr. Speaker, I submit that this Government, instead of collecting fines from defaulters, should remember the enormous and absolutely useless expenses to which the conscripts and their families were put. I would like this Government to recall the fickleness which they showed in the enforcing of the Military Service Act, which fickleness caused the conscripts and their families to spend millions, for we have not forgotten that after they had established exemption tribunals, the Government capriciously abolished all exemptions that had been granted, thus putting the conscripts to considerable expense.

I think the Military Service Act has cost everybody enough up to now and that this Government should not further burden the people of this country. Moreover, they would reap no benefit by being too severe. They would only cause a considerable discontent throughout this country which would impede the work of re-construction that we must soon undertake, as we would create much unwillingness among our people.

We fought to secure a world peace. Let us have it first at home. I believe there is enough unrest everywhere without making it any worse. This Government should not only use leniency, but, in all justice, pardon those boys whose education they neglected and perverted, inasmuch as the purpose referred to was concerned.

There are many more matters upon which it is worth while calling public attention at the present time and which must be considered immediately by all those who are interested in the welfare of our country. There is the question of autonomy.

Since I have uttered the word " autonomy," though it was not intended to come within the scope of my remarks, I feel that all I need to say is that this question of the autonomy of Canada is causing much interest throughout this country at the present time. Public opinion feels anxious and uneasy over what is going on to-day in Great Britain regarding the Dominions. As

far as I am concerned-I regret to say it, but 1 do so because I feel it is necessary-I have no confidence in the ability of the Prime Minister in defending and safeguarding Canada's autonomy; I do not believe in his patriotism as a Canadian because I look upon him as an Imperialist first and always.

At the present time, the status of our Dominion is undetermined, unsettled and uncertain; the press reports are contradictory; we do not know whereat we stand. They have talked about the creation of an Imperial Council in which all the Dominions will be represented. Well, Mr. Speaker, I submit that the creation of any Imperial body in which all Dominions should be represented, would mean the complete surrender of the autonomy of these Dominions. But I hope, Mr. Speaker, that we have not fallen so low that the status of Canada can be modified without the representatives of the people being consulted, and I trust that if ever a change is made, it will be made by those who received the proper authority from the hands of the people.

There are many other questions which were discussed in this House and which will come up again before us, such as the cost of living, a most important problem at th^ present time; the tariff; the civil re-establishment of returned soldiers; the labour question and the special attention which we are called upon to give to what I shall call the great industry of the country, I mean agriculture, every one of these problems is of vital interest to the future of Canada and I intend to deal with them later during the present session, but, on this occasion, I thought I should limit my remarks to what I consider the first step in the work of re-construction.

After we have re-established a constitutional and democratic government and freedom in this country, when we have a Franchise Act based upon principles of justice, when the Government realize the importance of the sacredness of the prestige and dignity of the judiciary, when the sword of Damocles that is held oyer the head of many of our fellow-citizens is taken down, then, Sir, we shall have established a solid foundation upon which we may confidently build up our national fabric.

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