Bona ARSENAULT

ARSENAULT, Bona, C.M.

Personal Data

Party
Liberal
Constituency
Bonaventure (Quebec)
Birth Date
October 4, 1903
Deceased Date
July 4, 1993
Website
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bona_Arsenault
PARLINFO
http://www.parl.gc.ca/parlinfo/Files/Parliamentarian.aspx?Item=414611c5-593a-4084-9c41-ea6d6a98f438&Language=E&Section=ALL
Profession
author, business manager, editor, insurance agent, insurance broker, journalist, public relations officer

Parliamentary Career

June 11, 1945 - April 30, 1949
IND
  Bonaventure (Quebec)
June 27, 1949 - June 13, 1953
LIB
  Bonaventure (Quebec)
August 10, 1953 - April 12, 1957
LIB
  Bonaventure (Quebec)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 41 of 42)


March 21, 1946

Mr. BONA ARSENAULT (Bonaventure):

Mr. Speaker, during the last session of parliament, a resolution was voted in this chamber, which read in part as follows:

Resolved, that in the opinion of this house, it is expedient that Canada possess a distinctive national flag and that a joint committee of the Senate and of the House of Commons be appointed to consider and report upon a suitable design for such a flag . . .

The joint committee appointed held two

meetings, on November 27 and December 4, 1945.

About fifteen hundred various flag designs were tabled before the members of the committee, who felt unable to formulate a specific recommendation in the short time at their disposal. A similar joint committee will be set up to continue the study of this important question at the present session of parliament.

Therefore the choice of a national flag for our country stands amongst the matters of major importance which will be dealt with by the members of this house in the course of the coming weeks. My intention in bringing this subject forward at this early stage of the session, and purposely before the flag joint committee resumes its work, is to give to this contentious but at the same time vital problem an entirely new approach, an approach which is not based on either English-Canadian or French-Canadian sentiment but merely upon daring logic. At the same time I am endeavouring to bring, in this important national issue, my modest but sincere contribution to national unity.

For many years there has been a growing sentiment in favour of a distinctive national flag in every part of Canada. Although a young nation, Canada finds herself to-day one of the important powers of the world. In the course of the last thirty years our country has performed great achievements from which Canadians derive a glowing national pride,

and this translates itself into a distinctive Canadian spirit. This new Canadian spirit grew to unexpected proportions during these last war years, particularly amongst our service men and women. As a result, never before in our history has there been a time when Canadians were prouder of being Canadians. And anywhere in the world where a Canadian may go to-day, he is welcomed, he is greeted, and he is highly respected as soon as he identifies himself as a Canadian.

Certainly the time has come when that Canadian, proud as he is of his own land, should be given a distinctive sign by which he could easily, promptly and fully identify himself at first sight as being a Canadian. The time is now due when this country, our country, should be given a distinctive national flag by which she could distinctly identify herself from other parts of the world, a Canadian flag that would make every Canadian boy and girl live, not for the country his or her ancestors came from, one or two or three hundred years ago, but live for, work for, fight for, and be ready to die for his or her own sacred native land-Canada.

Nothing has contributed more to the rise of sectionalism in this country in the past than the lack of a national flag, in Canada and for Canada. We need a national flag, distinctly Canadian, which will recall to all Canadians that their hearts should be broad enough to love their family, their village, their province, but above all, their Canada, a national flag which will infuse into the hearts and minds of Canadians a sound sentiment of duty and responsibility toward their land, all of their land.

Had we all been true Canadians in the past; had we steadily instilled the principles of Canadianism, without hyphens, without descriptive prefixes; had we "let the dead bury their dead"; had we had a distinctive national flag, then most of the differences which tend to divide us Canadians of different racial extractions, especially in periods of national emergency, would never have arisen.

At this point, may I recall that perhaps no individuals in Canada hold more power in their hands to spread about unity throughout this country than the representatives of the Ottawa press gallery.

Speaking from the experience which I have gathered during the last session of parliament,-may I add that in no other place in Canada have I 'found a more tangible and more sincere spirit in favour of Canadian unity than amongst our good friends of the press gallery. They can rest assured that their constant and valuable efforts in favour of bringing about

The Address-Mr. Arsenault

a better spirit of understanding in this country are widely recognized and highly appreciated by all true Canadians.

Other apostles of Canadian unity can also be found in the editorial rooms of many of our leading Canadian dailies, weeklies or periodicals as well as in the newsrooms of our broadcasting stations. To indicate to what extent the majority of Canadians of either language are able to agree on matters of principle pertaining to the government of this country, may I give as striking examples the editorials written day after day, and week after week, by two outstanding Canadian journalists. One is English speaking, the other is French speaking. One is Mr. B. K. Sandwell, editor in chief of Saturday Night of Toronto, whose editorials are widely welcomed in the province of Quebec as much as they are in other parts of Canada. The other is Mr. Eugene L'Heureux of Quebec city, who for many years contributed regularly to five daily newspapers in the province of Quebec. Mr. L'Heureux' daily editorials reflect the sentiments and the deep thoughts of the majority of the people of the province of Quebec, yet they could be translated and published in newspapers of English expression throughout Canada, and win the approval of most English speaking Canadians, as well as Mr. Sandwelks editorials could be translated into French and published in any newspapers of French expression and be well received by Quebec readers at large. What is the reason? Both are true Canadians, and represent each in his respective sphere the sentiments of all true Canadians of either language.

At six o'clock the house took recess.

After Recess

The house resumed at eight o'clock.

Topic:   GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH
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March 21, 1946

Mr. ARSENAULT:

From a letter sent out to the members of the Senate and the House of Commons in October last by the Toronto assembly No. 107 of the Native Sons of Canada, I quote briefly:

In a national flag if more than one emblem is displayed the upper lefthand corner next to the staff is reserved for the emblem of the dominant state, and the lower rightband comer on the fly is reserved for the vassal or subservient state.

A national flag speaks of the authority of the parliament of the country if represents. The union jack speaks of the authority of the parliament of the United Kingdom, and its inclusion in the place of honour in a. Canadian flag means that Canada is >a dependency of the United Kingdom.

May I quote now again, briefly, from an editorial published in the well known Toronto weekly, Saturday Night, on October 27, 1945, entitled, "Nation and Flag":

Surely the opponents of the official recognition of a Canadian, flag must see, if they will look at the matter with their brains and not with their feelings, that it is fundamentally absurd for nation A, which is so distinct from nation" B, that it can be at peace when nation B is at war and at war when B is at pfeace to insist that its flag and the flag of B are and must ever remain identical.

A national flag is a symbol of sovereignty. The sovereignty of Canada is vested in the Canadian people, as the sovereignty of the United Kingdom is vested in the people of the kingdom. They are not the same sovereignty. They do not need the same flag.

If there are any Canadians who should be entitled to have something to say about the choice of a national flag in Canada, I assume that this house will agree with me that they are those gallant, courageous and brave young service men and women who in this last war year after year-and they were long years- thousands of miles away from their native land were doing the fighting.

In the December 10, 1945 issue of the Canadian army forces newspaper The Maple Leal published in London, England, I read that service men speak out loudly for a truly Canadian flag. May I quote briefly:

Reported erroneously in ia Canadian dispatch as having been approved by the king as the national flag of Canada, but later found to be only one of a thousand designs submitted, the controversial banner incorporated a union jack in the upper lefthand corner, a sprig of three maple leaves in the centre of a white field and three golden fleur-de-lis on a blue circle in the upper right-hand corner. That the matter of Canada's flag is close to the heart of Canadians overseas is shown by the fact that more letters were received on this subject in the past two days than on any other subject or controversy over an ordinary two-week period.

Here is a short quotation from an editorial published in The Maple Leaf qn this subject entitled, "Ottawa Papers Please Copy":

Who has a better right to voice their opinion on the proposed all-Canadian flag than the men and women of Canada's fighting forces now being demobilized ?

Elsewhere on this page are excerpts from letters written by all ranks of servicemen and women of the navy, army and R.C.A.F. Almost of one accord they express a well-round "No" to the proposed flag, the sketch of which appeared in the December 6 issue of The Maple Leaf. We know that the story of this particular flag is not official, but it has served to uproot a flood of opinion that cannot be ignored. _

A recent Gallup poll resulted in sixty-eight per cent of the people in Canada wanting an entirely distinctive flag. And now the voice _ of Canadians in the United Kingdom is being heard in no uncertain terms. We believe that their ideas should carry as much weight as Canadians at home. To the committee at home in whose hands lies the final selection, we say . . . please note.

In this convincing manner the editor of The Maple Leaf supports the opinion of his correspondents on the flag issue. And I sincerely hope that every member of the house will carefully note the opinion expressed by our servicemen and women on the choice of the national flag, such as outlined in The Maple Leaf. With them I repeat:

Who has a better right to voice an opinion on the proposed all-Gandian flag than the men and women of Canada's fighting forces now being demobilized?

And I will add: Who knows better than they the meaning of sacrifice for country?

At this point I wish to make a clear distinction between a national flag, an official flag and an authorized flag or ensign. Canada has an authorized ensign and an official flag. Canada has as yet no national flag. Canada has had an authorized ensign since 1892. That is the red ensign with the Canadian coat of arms in the fly which was authorized for use by merchant vessels registered in Canada. That was confirmed by the Canadian Shipping Act of 1934.

Canada has had an official flag since 1911. The union jack was officially declared to be the proper flag to be flown on land in Canada. I cannot think of any reason, historical, constitutional or otherwise why the union jack and the red ensign should not be retained in their particular places to fulfil their particular functions, one as our king's flag and the symbol of our membership in the British commonwealth of nations, the other as the ensign of our merchant ships, with perhaps a maple leaf in the lower right-hand corner instead of the coat of arms of Canada.

All nations of the world at all times have used different flags for different tactical purposes. Those flags have been described as national, official or authorized flags or ensigns. Speaking before the joint committee on December 4, 1945, the Secretary of State (Mr. MARCH 21, 1946

The Address-Mr. Arsenault

Martin) declared that Great Britain at present uses over one hundred different designs of national, official or authorized flags or ensigns. Those who go to Montreal once in a while can see in the Windsor station over twenty-one designs of British flags. Prior to the last war France was using at least seven different flags which were entirely different from one another. Besides the tricolour there was the Tripoli merchant flag, the Algiers flag, the Tunis flag, the French Cochin-China flag, the kingdom of Siam ensign and the Madagascar flag.

To-day the United States of America are using at least six different flag designs. There are the stars and stripes, the President's flag, the United States union jack, the United States yacht ensign, the United States revenue flag and the Hawaiian flag. Although Hawaii is a possession of the United States, their flag has nothing at all of the stars and stripes in its design. Another example, is the island of Malta which is a British possession. They also have a national flag which has absolutely nothing in common with the union jack. As we all recall, that flag is the Maltese red cross on a white field. There are scores of other examples that could be given all along the line.

As do other leading countries of the world, Canada may use different designs of flags, either national, official or authorized, for different tactical purposes. Canadians could at

this time, on behalf of unity, take advantage of these exceptional circumstances and the great interest aroused by the choice of a national flag to settle onde and for all, not only this matter of the choice of a national flag for Canada but the whole question of our Canadian flag and ensigns. This should be settled by an act of this parliament of a free nation.

Since Canada is a member of the British commonwealth, united to her sister nations under the constitutional authority of the same king, I cannot very well see why anyone in this country could reasonably object to the full-sized union jack being officially recognized by this parliament as the official symbol of our partnership in the commonwealth, the finest example in history of mutual friendship between nations and one of the strongest means of maintaining peace in the world in these trying days.

Too much is involved to try to put forward any sort of narrow nationalism in the face of the distressful conditions that we find in the world to-day. Not only should we help to maintain the British commonwealth of nations, we should have a commonwealth of all the nations of the world based on the same principles of mutual friendship and collaboration. The union jack is here to stay, to stay as long as Canada is ready to share her obligations and the benefits of her privileges as part of the British commonwealth of nations. There is a great principle involved in this issue with far-reaching consequences which cannot be overlooked by anyone. As a French-speaking representative in this house from the province of Quebec may I say that Quebec will be the last province of Canada to pull down the union jack. Our religion, our language, our civil rights were guaranteed and granted to us French-speaking Canadians under the union jack. As the right hon. Minister of Justice (Mr. St. Laurent) stated in the house on November 13, 1945:

It is under the union jack that the institutions of this Canadian nation have grown' and developed and have 'brought us to the point where now, and for a good many years now, the dominion is and has been an autonomous state subject in no phase of its domestic or its external affairs to any other authority than this Canadian parliament.

I notice that my time is just about up, but with the unanimous consent of the house I should like to finish stating my conclusions. They will take only a few more minutes. The province of Quebec also remembers, as much as any other part of Canada, those uncertain and crucial days of 1940 and 1941 when there occurred the collapse of France and of all organized armed resistance on the European continent, when the United States had not had Pearl Harbor and when Soviet Russia had not yet entered the war. Quebec realizes that we Frenchspeaking Canadians or English-speaking Canadians would all be slaves of Germany to-day had it not been for the three crosses of Saint George, Saint Andrew and Saint Patrick which were joined together and lifted proudly by Great Britain along with the dominions against the enemies of mankind,

As evidence of this contention and without any discriminating intentions, may I say that while the red ensign, the authorized flag of our merchant navy, is flown on these parliament buildings, the union jack, the full-sized union jack still unfolds itself to the breeze on parliament hill of Quebec only a few acres away from the very spot where 187 years ago two chivalrous and gallant soldiers, Wolfe and Montcalm, sealed the fate of this country.

Canada's constitutional position to-day with respect to Great Britain is similar to the position of Scotland with respect to England from 1603 to 1707. For over one hundred years the two kingdoms of Scotland and England were united under one king but had separate parliaments. For over one hundred years, from 1603, the year of the union of the two kingdoms under one king, until 1707, the year of

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the legislative union of the two countries, each of fhese nations had their national flag but both nations used the union jack at the same time as the king's flag, the flag of their union under the same king.

To-day Canada is constitutionally an equal of Great Britain. Each country has a separate parliament but both countries are united under the same king. Each country has the same symbol of allegiance to the king, the union jack. Canada has an ofEcial flag, the union jack. Canada has an authorized ensign for her merchant marine, the red ensign. Canada now needs a national flag such as both England and Scotland had prior to the legislative union of the two countries. Therefore, I propose, as the only possible satisfactory and final settlement of the flag issue in Canada, the following, which will undoubtedly win the almost unanimous support of all true Canadians of whatever racial extraction or language:

1. That this parliament of a free, autonomous and independent nation reconfirms the union jack as Canada's king's flag and as the official symbol of our country's partnership in the British commonwealth of nations.

2. That this parliament maintains the red ensign in the functions it has filled ever since 1892 as the naval ensign of Canada's merchant marine, with possibly the coat of arms being replaced by the maple leaf.

3. That this parliament gives to the Canadian nation a national flag, which will not be an English-Canadian flag, or a French-Cana-dian flag, or an English and French colonial flag, but an all-Canadian national flag.

Speaking in this house on November 13, 1945, the right hon. Minister of Justice (Mr. St. Laurent) declared:

The purpose for which it is suggested there should be a distinctive national flag is to have a symbol that all Canadians can look upon as distinctively their own, not because they want to discard the union jack, but because the union jack is not distinctively their own and because they feel that their nation has now reached the stature in the family of nations that requires it to have something which can be regarded as its own.

On February 14, 1938, when the flag ques-tiontion came up in this house, the right hon. the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) made the following statement:

The use of the union jack on anything that is distinctively Canadian in the United States does not help to emphasize the individuality of this country or its distinct nationality; it helps to submerge them together.

The hon.. Minister of Veterans Affairs (Mr. Mackenzie), speaking in this house on the same subject on November 8, 1945, said:

We in Canada have shared the union jack, and we shall always honour it as the symbol of much that is best and most precious in our heritage; but we have had nothing that has been peculiarly and indisputably our own, that would symbolize Canada, all of Canada and everyone in Canada. There should be something that all can see and look to with pride, as the symbol of this great nation of ours, to which affection and loyalty can attach, and which can become the sign of the unity and purpose that will make Canada great.

One final quotation. The hon. member for Rosetown-Biggar (Mr. Coldwell), speaking in this house on November 8, 1945, said:

I wish to see Canada with a distinctive flag, and in my opinion the red ensign with -a coat of arms on it, which I would rather say nothing about, is not a distinctive flag. . . . The flag of the British commonwealth is the union jack, and we respect it, but I am pleased indeed to know that my hon. friends to the right are prepared .to recognize that the time has come when Canada should have a flag of her own.

Mr. Speaker, Canada is a free nation, just as politically free from Great Britain as Great Britain is free from her, and certainly more economically independent from the British isles than she is from us. Therefore a national flag for Chnada must not constitute the symbol of what Canada was when she stood as a colony under the supreme authority and jurisdiction of the imperial parliament, but of what she is to-day, an independent nation, a respected power amongst the nations of the world.

Like most countries Canada has a symbol which is recognized1 the world over as the expression of Canadian nationality. That emblem is the maple leaf. On this one thing we find the Canadian people almost unanimous, that the maple leaf must be given the position of honour in the proposed national flag if it is to be ad all-Canadian flag.

Topic:   GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH
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October 30, 1945

Mr. ARSENAULT:

At this point of the debate on army estimates, I wish to draw the attention of the house to certain facts and make a few suggestions in the light of two important events of recent years, events which, whether we desired them or not, made of Canada, not only a nation, but a nation occupying a most important strategical position among the other countries of the world.

The first of those two historic events occurred without conflict and without any shock. To begin with there was Canada's constitutional change from a crown colony to a sovereign and autonomous state. Then came the more and more preponderant part our country has played in international affairs. Finally, the last five years of war have made Canada a nation among other nations of the world, a nation which on the morroW will proudly confer the title of "Canadian citizen" on the peoples of this vast and rich country, a nation which will have its own flag and, I hope, its own national anthem.

If Canada is one of the smallest nations in respect of her population, she is-one of the largest in terms of her contribution to victory in the recent war, and precisely on account of her international status and her astonishing growth, she has contracted heavy obligations toward her own people as well as toward other countries of the world.

The second historic event seized the world with fright. The day the first atomic bomb burst with unbelievably destructive force on the Japanese city of Hiroshima a new world took shape before us, a world in which there is. no place for international isolationism; a world where human society, whether British, American, French, Chinese or Russian, is joined; a world where it will be necessary to find peace formulas more fruitful than those dictated by national or individual egoism. By reducing the city of Hiroshima to dust that day the atomic bomb made of a point north of Alberta a strategic position comparable with

Gibraltar, the Dardanelles or the Panama canal. In that area are located perhaps the richest deposits in the world of uranium pitchblende, the basic material used by science to fashion the most murderous and destructive war weapon the genius of man has ever invented. From a glance at the world map one realizes that these deposits lie much farther from eastern Canada, for instance, than from such other countries as United States and even Russia. This should give every one of us Canadians serious concern when we consider our wealth, the immense possibilities of our natural resources, and the unlimited potential power of this young nation of ours.

The time has come for us to realize, whether we be English or French speaking, that our rich country, due to the fundamental changes and scientific developments which have taken place in the world during the last five or six years, stands to-day as an open field almost beckoning an invitation to potential invaders. The importance of this blunt fact can never be over-emphasized. Therefore, because of Canada's strategic position in the world to-day; because of the vulnerability of her rich soil which stands as a target at the crossroads of modern warfare, and because of the unprecedented chaos in which the nations of the world find themselves to-day, Canadians soon will have to decide whether they should build and maintain a first class post-war military force to protect their territory and meet their obligations toward humanity, or whether they should leave this task to other friendly nations. The last alternative obviously would mean the eventual establishment in Canada of British or United States forces, if not international forces, commensurate -with our strategic importance and our wealth in uranium and natural resources.

This is the issue that will have to be faced sooner or later. Whatever we decide, we should break away from the past.. We should adopt a new mentality, the mentality of a nation which has reached maturity, a nation where isolationism in the future will never be able to find serious supporters, either in Quebec or elsewhere.

As far back as we can go in history there have always been wars. For thousands of years the world has survived only as the result of armistices. After every great war the world has lulled itself with wishful thinking that there would be no more wars, only to be brusquely awakened by the clatter of more and more destructive war machines. I am one of those who hold the strong belief that as war always came in the past, dangers of war

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still lie ahead. We all believe that to a greater or less degree, otherwise we would not be debating the army estimates this afternoon. On October 11, in a statement issued by the Canadian press, General Crerar made the following declaration:

The time is long overdue when we Canadians should think mainly in terms of the next generation and not so importantly in terms of the next election.

Then he continued:

I plead for the abandonment of "wishful thinking" and a general realization on the part of all Canadians that for the future we must be able quickly to mobilize important and efficient armed forces if we are to do our share, not only in maintaining the civilization we have so far reached, but also in developing our social relationships, national and international, to a yet higher standard.

In the years preceding the last world war, Mr. Speaker, the entire democratic world was more or less Maginot-line minded. There is a danger to-day that we may become atomic-bomb minded. The atomic bomb is not an antidote to war; it would only make wars more destructive, more inhuman and more terrible. Thank God if the wisdom of democratic leaders can gear this world to permanent and enduring peace; but due to present imperialistic rivalries bluntly displayed by the failure of the recent five-power conference I am much more inclined to believe that, barring a miracle, to-day we stand much closer to a third world war than we stood to a second world war on armistice day,, 1918.

To be prepared for dangers which may come is of the utmost importance. (Canada had its experience with unpreparedness in the past. Lessons of history must signify something to our generation and to this parliament. Therefore, because Canada has now become an important nation, she needs a well-reorganized, well-equipped, well-trained and well-paid army. She needs a permanent army of which every Canadian can be proud; an army which should be made attractive to all young Canadians of whatever racial origin; a Canadian army which will be a sign of strength, not of weakness. Obviously all this will cost money, but it must not be forgotten that the price paid for the organization and maintenance of an army constitutes an insurance premium on a policy which all civilized and progressive nations of the world are called upon to pay for their own security as well as for the obligations contracted toward other friendly nations.

Now. as to the participation of French-Canadians in the Canadian army, I was indeed proud the other day to hear the hon. member for Nanaimo (Mr. Pearkes) pay an impressive tribute to the French-Canadian soldiers. The

fMr. Arsenault.]

hon. member recalled that it was at Passchen-daele in 1917 that he won the Victoria Cross while fighting with French-Canadians. Many of those who fought and died at Passchendaele were sons of Bonaventure constituency, which I represent in this chamber.

I was also much interested to hear the hon. member for Nanaimo give a striking description of the outstanding performance of the French-Canadian soldiers from Le Regiment de Hull stationed at Vernon and Courtenay, British Columbia in 1943, many hundreds of whom were also from Bonaventure county. The hon. member knows that French Canadians are not cowards, as they have been directly or indirectly described during the last few years for purposes of political expediency. The hon. member knows that French-speaking soldiers have always given proof of as much bravery on the battle-fields as have any other soldiers in the world. But those young men from Quebec are looking for leadership; you can lead them, but you cannot drive them Let us not claim equality of sacrifice from them if at the same time we are not'prepared to give them equality of opportunity. The other day questions were placed on the order paper by the hon. member for Lake Centre (Mr. Diefenbaker), the answers to which showed that there were more absent without leave from the army in the province of Quebec than m any other part of Canada. Yes, Mr. Speaker, there are. Obviously there are; and I am surprised to see that there are not a greater number absent without leave to-day in Quebec considering the attitude of some politicians toward those young men in recent years, and the treatment given the young soldiers from Quebec in certain parts of this country during the last world war. '

I have here letters of protest signed by 133 French-Canadian soldiers stationed at Vernon, British Columbia, in 1944, describing to some extent the harsh treatment that those young men received who belonged to the N.R.M.A. personnel, under the Pacific command. Scores of protestations were sent to province of Quebec officials and newspapers by French-Canadian soldiers stationed at Vernon, Courtenay, and many other points in Canada during the last war. As a result the matter was brought up by provincial members in the Quebec legislature, and the Quebec city council repeatedly sought, under resolution moved by Alderman Joseph Matte, copies of which I have here, to have a royal commission set up to investigate the treatment of French-

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speaking soldiers. But the investigation was never granted. The defence minister of that time, Colonel Ralston, took the responsibility to refuse it repeatedly. French Canadians once more felt that they had been frustrated in the granting of most elementary rights.

A large number of these young men could not say two words in English, and were farmers' or fishermen's sons who in the first instance should never have been brought into the army. They had asked for farm leave, but their requests were always flatly, systematically and bluntly turned down by stupid officers, in spite of the right they had to be granted farm leaves. The first chance they had to go home, they went home and they stayed home. Who to-day should be surprised to find those unfortunate young men on the AWOL lists, considering that everything has been done to make them hate the Canadian army? Who should be scandalized when French-Canadian soldiers throughout the war were treated in this country as poor relatives, when they were not depicted as cowards, zombies or shirkers, and then to be offered on the very eve of Japanese surrender sermons on equality of sacrifice and conscription for Japan? Surely that is a discriminating situation.

Let us give the young men of Quebec equality of opportunity in a reorganized Canadian army, as free of stupid brass hats as possible, and no one will have to come along in Quebec and preach equality of sacrifice to them.

And yet to-day there are scores of young French Canadians who fought throughout the whole war with the R.C.A.F. who volunteered for service in the Pacific, and who are told that they must accept their discharge, despite their wish to stay in the permanent force. I also know numbers of brilliant French-speaking officers in the army who are desirous of following a military career, but they are flatly discarded by the brass hats. This is done in spite of this government's policy of establishing in Canada a military force in keeping with the importance of our country and of our obligations.

I know that the Minister of National Defence is doing some housecleaning at the present time. He certainly deserves the support of all parties in the house for his outstanding performance as an upright, courageous, effective, sincere and far-sighted Minister of National Defence.

And if the committee wants to hear more about French-speaking Canadians not having had equality of opportunity in the Canadian army, may I refer bon. members to the list of personnel at National Defence headquarters in Ottawa at the time Colonel Ralston was minister. The following is the list of personnel:

Principal Secretary: Miss 0. J. Waters

Deputy Minister (C): Lt.-Col. G. S. Currie, Deputy Minister (D): Lt.-Col. H. Desrosiers, Assistant Deputy Minister: Mr. Jack Pembroke. Parliamentary Assistant to Minister: Mr. W. C. Macdonald. Military Secretary: Colonel H. A. Dyde. Judge Advocate-General: Brigadier

R. J. Orde. Director of Public Relations: Colonel F. X. Jennings.

Of the nine members on the staff, only one, Lieut.-Col. Desrosiers, was French Canadian.

Of the seventeen members on the branch of the general staff, there was not one French Canadian.

Of the twenty-eight members of the branch of the AdjutanLGeneral, only two were French Canadians, namely the Vice-Adjutant General, Brigadier M. Noel and the Director of Records, Col. C. L. Laurin.

Of the ten members on the branch of the Quartermaster-general, there was not one French Canadian.

Of the seventeen members in the branch of the Master-General of the Ordnance, again there was not one French Canadian.

The grand total for national defence headquarters in Ottawa stands at three French Canadians out of a total of 72. Is that what can be termed a Canadian partnership? And the same discriminatory situation applied all the way down the list, as far down as that little Quebec farmer's son who did not speak English, and found himself lost, hundreds if not thousands of miles away from his home, where he was often requested to speak "white", or had to hunt for a translator to try to explain his wants, if not his grievances, to the officers-some intelligent and broadminded, and others very stupid and narrowminded, but who, whether intelligent or stupid, did not know his mentality and were not in a position to find out what his aptitudes were because they did not understand his language.

It is under such circumstances that a certain category of politician during these last years has thought it a very smart idea to try to climb to power by representing the young men of Quebec as being disloyal at a time when scores of French Canadians were merely the victims of a disgraceful system and others of a stupid, shameful and anti-Canadian boycott in the Canadian army. Their plea for

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equality of sacrifice, made in a way which was interpreted in Quebec and outside of Quebec as being directed against Quebec, did not carry them very far. They had been warned over and over again of the depth of the ditch into which they were heading, but instead of taking the advice of the man on the street, they listened to the sweet whisperings of the men of Bay street.

But they learned at their own expense that there was no anti-Quebec faction in this country or among the servicemen which amounted to anything worth while. They were also bluntly told by the electorate on the same day that no political party can ever dream of getting into power or being maintained in office in Canada without securing a fair support from the French-speaking population of this country and that, in order to win that support, one must deserve it.

If human means can achieve equality of sacrifice on earth, and I do not know of any gauge yet invented by man to measure it, it will be achieved in our country the day equality of opportunity is assured to all young Canadians; of whatever racial extraction, creed or language. Therefore I submit that we should undertake a complete reorganization of our militia system, getting rid of anything that tends to restrict the army to the time-worn system of other years and taking the necessary steps to give French Canadians equality of opportunity in the Canadian army. I urge that a French-Canadian college, similar to the Royal Military College at Kingston, be established in the province of Quebec. In order to create a better feeling and improve harmony and efficiency, I suggest that members of both the permanent and reserve forces be given their training in various provinces and that all officers having French-speaking Canadians under their command be bilingual.

This would help young men from all parts of Canada to understand the problems of each other. It would provide an excellent opportunity for an important section of our population to learn both official languages of this country. This in turn would lead to greater unity. We will need greater unity because no one dare say that Canada may' not be the battlefield in another world war. Until now we have always thought of raising armed forces to fight in other countries in wars that at times appeared to be the business of others rather than our own. We know that our forces overseas helped to keep war away from this continent, but in the next war it is quite

possible that this fair land of ours will be one of the first to be attacked, not because of any particular animosity toward our people but because of the riches of our uranium deposits, our industrial possibilities, and the wealth of our resources. I think our returning veterans will agree that if another war should come, Canada will not go unscathed.

Speaking of veterans, and this is my last word, I would urge that we do all possible to help them rehabilitate themselves and that we see that they do not suffer as a result of their absence on the most unselfish job man ever took, that of offering his life for the happiness of others. If we treat our veterans rightly, they will be the leaders in the spreading of unity throughout the country. Then with our own national flag, our own national anthem and a truly Canadian mentality, w:e will be able to march shoulder to shoulder to that place in international affairs that belongs rightly to a young, virile and ambitious nation such as ours.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL DEFENCE
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October 24, 1945

Mr. ARSENAULT:

All right; just give me one minute.

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS
Subtopic:   OLD AGE PENSIONS
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October 24, 1945

Mr. ARSENAULT:

These words became so familiar to the Micmac Indians in that part of the country that, when Jacques Cartier landed in Gaspe, supposing him to be of the same race as their previous visitors, they kept repeating "Aca nada", "Aca nada", so much so that Jacques Cartier decided to call this country "Canada".

The early French settlers in Acadia succeeded in winning the friendship of those Algonkian and Micmac Indians to the extent that when Acadia was ceded to Great Britain in 1713, English settlement in the country was impossible on any extensive scale for half a century, and at the time of the dispersion of the Acadians in 1755, thanks to the cooperation of those Indians-who were very likely the paratroopers of those days-many Acadians escaped through the woods of New Brunswick and reached what is to-day called Bonaventure county, where my own ancestors 47696-93

established themselves in 1758. I never could find out exactly what amount of gratitude my ancestors owed to those Indians, but I would not be surprised if those Micmacs and Algonkians helped them to flee from the bad men-I was just going to say, from the Tories -of that time. Therefore I am in favour of the resolution of the hon. member for Calgary East (Mr. Harkness).

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS
Subtopic:   OLD AGE PENSIONS
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