LACROIX, Wilfrid, F.R.A.I.C.

Personal Data

Québec--Montmorency (Quebec)
Birth Date
March 6, 1891
Deceased Date
August 30, 1970

Parliamentary Career

October 14, 1935 - January 25, 1940
  Québec--Montmorency (Quebec)
March 26, 1940 - April 16, 1945
  Québec--Montmorency (Quebec)
November 24, 1944 - April 16, 1945
  Québec--Montmorency (Quebec)
June 11, 1945 - April 30, 1949
  Québec--Montmorency (Quebec)
June 27, 1949 - June 13, 1953
  Québec--Montmorency (Quebec)
August 10, 1953 - April 12, 1957
  Québec--Montmorency (Quebec)
June 10, 1957 - February 1, 1958
  Québec--Montmorency (Quebec)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 42 of 43)

February 22, 1937

1. What revenue was received by the government during the year 1936 from the -06 wharfage per ton on grain received into the private elevators of Sorel?

fMr. I. Mackenzie.]

2. Since when have wharfage charges been made on grain received in the port of Sorel, and what amount was collected in this connection during 1936?

3. What are the rates of wharfage charges

on grain in the ports of: (a) Sorel; (b) Quebec; (c) Montreal? _

4. What revenue was received by the government during 1936 from wharfage on grain received in the ports of: (a) Sorel; (b) Quebec; (cl Montreal?

5. What quantity of grain, in bushels, was

received and stored, during the year 1936, in the ports of: (a) Sorel; (b) Quebec; (c)


6. What is the storage capacity for grain,

in bushels, in the ports of: (a) Sorel; (b)

Quebec; (c) Montreal?

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February 18, 1937

Mr. WILFRID LACROIX (Quebec-Mont-morency) (Translation):

Mr. Speaker, I

wrote the following letter to the right hon. the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) on December 31, 1936:

As a member of parliament, I take the liberty of making certain suggestions to you respecting military expenditures which, according to rumours, will show a substantial increase in the coming estimates.

I believe the province of Quebec would frown on this increase which would be interpreted as a direction from London.

Do you not think that our policy should aim at avoiding all participation in European wars, even if England were compelled to intervene in a conflict by reason of treaties or agreements that bind or may bind her to France and Belgium?

In order to avoid all misunderstanding, has the hour not arrived when we should hold a permanent seat in the Pan-American Conference? This gesture would indicate the part we mean to play in European conflicts in which England might be interested.

Should Canada not consider that the time has arrived when it should sever its connection with the League of Nations and study at the same time its status in the British Commonwealth. The fact that our King is the King of England should not imply that we must join in a war on the European or Asiatic continent or in any other quarter of the globe.

It is evident that if Canada clearly defines by legislative enactment its intention not to inter-fere in any war of the empire, such a course would free us, in the event of European or Asiatic difficulties, from the possibility of attack and would prevent all military expenditures both useless and disastrous for a young country such as ours.

1 make these observations to you in a spirit of humility, as a Canadian who loves his country and as a Liberal trustful in the political wisdom of his party.

Please accept, Mr. Prime Minister, the expression of my deepest regards.

And the right hon. the Prime Minister wrote me the following reply on January 19, 1937:

I read with much interest your letter of December 31 respecting military expenditures and Canada's foreign policy.

With respect to expenditures having to do with defence, any expenditure contemplated and decided upon will as in the past relate to the defence of Canada. We consider that whatever action Canada will take in this regard is a matter to be determined by the Canadian

government and parliament, and our defence estimates were not discussed with London on this occasion any more than in any other circumstance.

The policy of our government is to strive by all possible means to avoid war. There exists a wide difference of opinion in Canada and in other countries as to the best way of achieving that end. As regards the League of Nations,

I do not think it would be advisable to withdraw from that body which if properly developed can constitute a powerful agency for conciliation and peace throughout the world.

I would prefer seeking the safeguards against the danger which you see in our relations with the League of Nations by calling it into play as an instrument of conciliation and study rather than as an instrument for the application of economic or military sanctions. I am pleased to forward you herewith a copy of the speech I delivered at Geneva during the last assembly;

I believe it will clearly indicate to you the line of conduct suggested on subjects pertaining to the league and on other matters.

The matter of relationships to be established with the Pan-American Conference is an important question. We have given the matter attention but it involves more than one factor which must be taken into account.

I am pleased to know that you interest yourself in these important questions and I greatly value the clarity with which you have outlined to me the views you hold on the difficult situation that confronts us.

I do not want to question the words of the right hon. Prime Minister when he tells us:

We consider that whatever action Canada will take in this regard is a matter to be determined by the Canadian government and parliament.

I have faith in him and in his ministers, but I ask myself if the events that may occur following a declaration of war against the United Kingdom by any nation, will not be so swiftly moving in character that they will control government action in such a manner that parliament will find itself face to face with an accomplished fact and will be merely called upon to ratify an existing policy.

Moreover, were we not given a concrete example recently bearing out what I have just said, when, on the day following the abdication of King Edward the Eighth, the government by a mere order in council recognized his successor and set in motion the mechanism of the Statute of Westminster in such a manner that when parliament convened we had but one thing to do: approve what had been done.

As a matter of fact, I readily bow to the decision taken and approve whole-heartedly the order in council that gave us as successor to Edward the Eighth His Majesty George the Sixth; yet, when I analyse the events that followed one another at the time, I recall the words of Georges Sorel in a conversation captioned " Democracy is compelled to act

National Defence-Mr. Lacroix

like other forms of government," and of whom Mussolini said at the end of 1934: "I owe what I am to Georges Sorel."

That which concerns the internal affairs of a country is much less visible than that which relates to external affairs. In the latter case, the part ministers play greatly resembles, even in a democracy, that of an absolute sovereign. Once a conversation is started with the representatives of a foreign power, no obstacle can paralyse a responsible minister. A diplomatic conversation is a sort of battle in which the most unforeseen factors suddenly crop up, and a minister who would telephone every ten minutes to the Speaker of a house before answering his colleagues would be quickly put out of action.

With respect to the management of affairs, one must resign oneself to accept that those who are charged with same enjoy freedom of movement, lacking which they cannot do anything. The error of democracies consists in wanting to control government in all its acts, but control implies acknowledgment of an act after that act has taken place. If harm has been done one consoles oneself by the dismissal of a minister, but it is a poor consolation and the country derives no effective reparation from it.

What was known of yore as "the prince's secret" exists nowadays with all the added complications and niceties of modern international politics; and, admitting, for a moment, that there is a state without "prince's secrets," the ministers of that state will have to deal with other nations which do have "prince's secrets." As a consequence, secret diplomacy will hold sway and the ministers of that state will have to bear it without being able to do anything whatever about it. Hence, they will be compelled, if they' wish to serve their country profitably, to subscribe to views of which the parliamentarian, their judge, and the voter who elected their judge, cannot form the least idea.

The political conditions of a nation, its industrial and commercial interests, its fiscal revenues, the obligations of its neighbourhoods, the maintenance of its influence, are so many skeins that unwind into extremely complicated ramifications which the gentleman reading his newspaper in the tram-car could not possibly suspect by the widest stretch of the imagination.

Hence, Mr. Speaker, there is not the slightest shadow of doubt that events which will arise will control the decision of the ministry, a decision compelling rapid action with respect to the interests of what is called to-day the Commonwealth of British Nations; but that is probably where the Canadian people will not find themselves in agreement with the men then in power, and one must not, as I see it, overlook any security factor as regards our eventual non-participation in wars wherein the interest of the United Kingdom, alone, may be involved.

We are told that the League of Nations is an agency for peace; I have grave doubts as to that, for, in the event of a war in which the League of Nations would declare Japan the aggressor country, the economic sanction

machinery of the League of Nations would function immediately in favour of Russia; and as for us, members of the league, we would be compelled, as in the case of Ethiopia, to give effect to the covenants we signed as a member of the league: I say the League of Nations would compel us to apply economic sanctions to Japan. There is not a shadow of doubt that the adoption by our country of such economic sanctions with respect to Japan would be considered by that nation an act that would justify it in invading our country; and we would be face to face with the distressing situation of a country such as ours which holds communism in horror, aligning itself with a nation whose ideal is absolutely contrary to that of our Canadian people; for, in this country, our history, our traditions, our very existence rest on a belief that is the corner-stone of any society that aims to live and respect itself, that is to say, belief in God. Now, Russian communism involves the complete negation of God, the basis of our social structure. No, Mr. Speaker, I do not believe that the League of Nations as constituted, is an instrument for peace. I look upon Geneva, its magnificient lake, the luxuriant verdure surrounding the palace of the League of Nations simply as a place well-suited for politicians who are holiday-bent.

We are told that should we vote the increased military estimates which are presently submitted to our approval, such sums will never be utilized beyond our country. Now, if I turn to the Canada Militia Act, I find that Section 64 reads in part as follows:

The Governor in Council may place the militia or any part thereof in active service anywhere in Canada and also beyond Canada for the defence thereof, at any time when it appears advisable so to do by reason of emergency.

Who tells us that the government then holding office will not apply that clause of the Militia Act which empowers the cabinet, by a simple order in council, to use our military organization beyond Canada?

No, Mr. Speaker, I think there is only one logical course for us to follow: that is to occupy as soon as possible a seat at the PanAmerican Conference to which, as a matter of fact, we were invited by that good friend of ours and lover of peace, Mr. Franklin Roosevelt. We would thus be proclaiming to all nations our desire to remain what we are actually, an essentially American nation. As a result, with the immense resources that are at our disposal, we would find ourselves free to devote, in a spirit of peace, all our efforts to the development of our country, instead of burdening our budget with a fairly

National Defence-Mr. Kuhl

heavy outlay for military purposes. We have not yet emerged from the crisis borne of the war and our commitments resulting from our participation in the conflict of 1914-1918 now exceed 84,600,000,000.

I do not approve the amendment proposed by my hon. colleague from Vancouver North (Mr. MacNeil), because part of it censures the government concerning its social legislation; and I do not hesitate to state that in that field the country never had a man with a better understanding of the interests of the labour class than my hon. colleague the Minister of Labour (Mr. Rogers) whose direct action in connection with the labour legislation adopted by this house has proven extremely helpful in the realm of relations between employers and employees. On the other hand, I wish to state that I shall vote against the increased military appropriations because I am convinced our country owes it to itself to direct its efforts into other channels of greater benefit to the Canadian community to which we have the honour to belong.

Subtopic:   Hull, P.Q.
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February 8, 1937

1. Is the National Harbours Board taking steps to provide the harbour of the city of Quebec with a public coal dock?

2. If so, when will this facility be in operation?

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February 1, 1937

1. What quantity of ties was purchased in the province of Quebec, in 1936, for the Canadian National Railways?

2. To what persons or companies were contracts for the sale and delivery of such ties awarded?

3. What quantity was awarded to each?

4. What price was paid to each?

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January 28, 1937

Mr. LACROIX (Quebec-Montmorency):

The Quebec-Montmorency chamber of commerce have submitted to the board of railway commissioners an application seeking to modify the boundary limits within which the Bell Telephone Company serves the city of

Railway Act-Telephone Tolls

Quebec. In accordance with the view then expressed by the chairman of the board, that they are without any authority as far as the fixing of that boundary limit is concerned, and after agreement with my colleague the Minister of Transport (Mr. Howe), I am presenting this bill to clarify the law so as to allow the board to render judgments in keeping with the facts submitted to them.

(Translation): IMr. Speaker, some time

ago I was called before the board; of Railway Commissioners, in Quebec City, to represent electors from my county who wished to lay before the board a complaint regarding the Bell Telephone Company's service in Quebec-Montmorency county. In my riding, which encircles the city of Quebec, there are several small industries and industrial centres which have constant business intercourse with the city of Quebec and which need therefore, for the marketing of their products, to keep continually in contact with that city, from an industrial as well as an agricultural viewpoint, and which have to exchange telephone calls with the city every day, even four and five times a day. They must pay long distance toll charges each time they put in a call for the city of Quebec. Even when they are unsuccessful in reaching the proper party, they must perforce pay for their useless call. When the farmers of my riding who market their products in the city of Quebec have to make four or five calls a day, it means a daily outlay of 40 cents. There is moreover a charge of so much per mile which they must pay to the company according to the present rates. If we wish to promote the development of our cities, to allow a more regular intercourse between the rural and urban population, we must provide greater facilities, especially to those people who live in the vicinity of the city of Quebec.

When I appeared before the Railway Board, the Bell Telephone replied: "The expenditures which you demand, which you would have us make would be too heavy for the Bell Telephone Company." So I put the following question to one of the company's representatives: How much would that amount to? The Bell Telephone official could not say. Well now, gentlemen, if we wish to hold back the forces of communism, the best way is to see that public utilities give satisfaction to those that have to foot the bill. Before the Railway Board, I asked the same company, represented by its attorneys: What are your profits? And they answered: We will let you know later. I have here a report of that company showing its profits. How much do they amount to, Mr. Speaker? In 1936-I mean the net profits-they amounted to $8,343,819. And you will note that the total operating costs, for the same year, amounted to $10,748,896. I claim that part of what is called "operating costs" is distributed to the Northern Electric, a Bell Telephone subsidiary company, consisting of a few Bell Telephone shareholders. They are hiding their profits, they dare not distribute them to the Bell Telephone Company, to its shareholders; there is an effort made to hide from the public what the earned dividends really are and the public is even precluded from benefiting by the profits accrued to the company. This constitutes a social injustice. I appeal to the members of this house, and through you, Mr. Speaker, to the people of this country, and I say that, ever since 1927, never has the Bell Telephone made the public aware of its profit, even to the smallest extent, and never has the Bell Telephone given the public the benefit of an appreciable change in its rates.

Once again, Mr. Speaker, are we really anxious to stem the rising tide of communism in this country? The best manner in which to attain that end is to allow the common people, those who wish to live and breathe freely in our beautiful Canada, sufficient means for sustenance, and to provide the Canadian people with public services which are really for their own use.

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