I said that there were from
25.000 to 50,000 Quebeckers now fighting in France. I am sure that there are at least five or six battalions-and I know that the Minister of Militia will bear me out in this -and perhaps seven battalions, excluding the Forestry, Railway Construction, Medical units, and the reserve battalions in England. Surely some hon. gentlemen opposite have forgotten to read their newspapers, or have forgotten that not long ago they read in the English papers of the deeds of the 22nd Battalion which stormed the Sugar Refinery and won the streets of Couroellete. Surely they have heard of what our men accomplished at Vimy. Surely they will remember the account cabled a few days ago by Phillip Gibbs of the work of a machine gun unit from Quebec, which for ten days helped to stay the advance of the victorious Hun. Some of their remarks make me think of something which happened in France during the disastrous days of June, 1916, when, unfortunately for the Canadian corps, a certain portion of it lost some lines of trenches, and was ordered to retake them. The attack was made, and the troops had to advance across 600 to 800 yards of open ground in broad daylight. A charge was made, and some 580 men were lost inside of an hour, and I do not know how many officers. Shortly afterwards, a British staff officer-staff officers do not as a rule visit the front line, came along and, after congratulating the colonel on the discipline and bravery of his men, said: "I wish particularly to make a remark about
the company on the left; the company on the left behaved themselves under fire like the very best of the regular troops." The colonel answered: "Those are the French Canadians." Very much surprised, the staff officer said: "The next man who says a word about the French Canadians, I would like to break his block off." That is the translation in the vernacular of what he said. In saying that, I have no warlike intentions towards hon. gentlemen opposite, because of reasons not unconnected with the war I am unable to indulge in fisticuffs. I only wish that English staff officer had been here to listen to the speech on the national ideals of the French Canadians delivered by the hon. gentleman from Edmonton (Mr. Mackie), wtho has just spoken.
As member for one of the constituencies Of the city of Quebec, I intend to do something which, perhaps, has not been done to the extent it might have been during the course of this debate, that is to talk about the Quebec riots. I represent a constituency somewhat mixed both ias to race and as to the various classes which are contained therein. Something more than three-fifths are French Canadians and the remaining two-fifths are Irish and English Canadians. It is about equally divided between the professional and clerical classes and the labouring classes. Some disorders did occur in my constituency, but they were not brought about by any of my constituents. Unfortunately, the constituency contained the offices of two newspapers, L'Evenemen't and the Chronicle, which had aroused the ire of a certain portion of the population, and they were made victims of the attack. However, on Thursday, 28th March, a certain young man named Mer-cier, of whom you have all heard, was asked for his papers by one Evanturel or one Belanger, it matters not which, and on not being able to produce them, he offered to telephone for them or send for them to his home. A man named Moisan offered to go for them.
This offer was refused; the young man was taken to the police station, -and afterwards released when his papers were produced. In the meantime the crowd got unruly; -certain passages occurred between the crowd and the policemen, lit has mot been brought out in the debate that the man Belanger, whose pedigree yon have heard, having safely escaped from the police station, returned because he had seen one of his old pals in- the crowd who had said something to- him. He came back and s-poke to hi-s pal -about it, and that really started
the whole fight. 'The vtfhole thing would have been over with a few broken heads -rows such as that have occurred in other places. There weTe riots in Val-cartier camp when some of the soldiers thought that -the persons who sold tobacco and -cigarettes to them were charging too ' much for the g-oods. I remember in the early days of the war that some of the soldiers tore down two or three of the stalls where cigarettes were sold, and there were a few broken- heads. There have been riots, I understand, even in -Camp Borden -tl do -no-t know why. I remember -that there was -a riot in Folkestone, England- perhaps some hon. gentlemen opposite were in Folkestone at that time-when some of the -Canadian troops were displeased with the manner in which they had been treated by the British redcaps, the military police. A riot of considerable proportions occurred, and when the firemen came to turn on the hose they were served in- the same way as it w-as attempted to s-erve the firemen in Quebec
the hose was cut, and they had to turn out British troops who were garrisoned in Folkestone to put down the riot. Nobody, however, thought of -proclaiming martial law for the soldiers. If soldiers will get out of hand-anybody who has eeived as -a soldier know-s what discipline, particularly in the 'Canadian forces, m-eans-if soldiers will get out of hand, I say, how much more must we expect the ordinary every-day mob to get out of hand.
On the evening of Thursday, or the -following evening, the people were saying -to each other -throughout the to-wn that they were going to the auditorium. On arriving there they did nothing for about twenty-five of thirty minutes. Some songs were sung and a few pieces of snow -thrown, but no one was harmed. Finally, the crowd broke in. In order to reach that part of the auditorium building in which the registrar's office is situated one has to climb very narrow stairs, which can scarcely be mounted by two persons abreast. There were, I understand, in the district of Quell p.m. Ibec-I have an answer on the subject to -a -question which I put to. the Minister of Militia last week- some forty or forty-two Dominion detectives. Surely these detectives, on a stairway where not two men could climb abreast, if they were worth their salt; if -they were worth anything to the Government which hired them and paid them to annoy the people of Quebec, should have defended the auditorium building and not have had to rely on the military power. However, the burning occurred, and on the following evening a
kind of attack, or, rather, a sing-song, occurred at the drill hall in Quebec. Two or three hundred young men came up from St. Roch's to the drill hall and there were met by the troops. I do not think it has been brought out so far in the reports of hon. gentlemen opposite that the Riot Act was read on this occasion. I happened to be present, and I heard it read by the troops. The crowd then were caused to disperse very easily, and little of any account was done. Early in the evening, before the Riot Act had been read, snow was thrown-and in that connection I wish to congratulate the troops for their forbearance in not acting any worse than they did.
Next day, Sunday, March 31, the troops were ordered to empty the stores in St. Roch's, lower town. While they were thus employed at the store of Herman Young and Company a certain amount of snow was thrown at them and there the first shot of what we might consider the riot part of the occurrences was fired. Though it has not yet been brought out 'by hon. gentlemen opposite, this first shot was fired by the troops, and three innocent citizens who were something like a quarter of a mile away, were wounded.
Sir ROBERT BORDEN; Of course, the hon. gentleman realizes that that is not General Lessard's account.
Topic: ADOLPHE STEIN.