George Randolph PEARKES

PEARKES, The Hon. George Randolph, V.C., P.C., C.C., D.S.O., M.C., C.D.

Personal Data

Party
Progressive Conservative
Constituency
Esquimalt--Saanich (British Columbia)
Birth Date
February 26, 1888
Deceased Date
May 30, 1984
Website
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Pearkes
PARLINFO
http://www.parl.gc.ca/parlinfo/Files/Parliamentarian.aspx?Item=a5d20b47-6869-470c-8621-982e467cd0dd&Language=E&Section=ALL
Profession
soldier

Parliamentary Career

June 11, 1945 - April 30, 1949
PC
  Nanaimo (British Columbia)
June 27, 1949 - June 13, 1953
PC
  Nanaimo (British Columbia)
August 10, 1953 - April 12, 1957
PC
  Esquimalt--Saanich (British Columbia)
June 10, 1957 - February 1, 1958
PC
  Esquimalt--Saanich (British Columbia)
  • Minister of National Defence (June 21, 1957 - October 10, 1960)
March 31, 1958 - April 19, 1962
PC
  Esquimalt--Saanich (British Columbia)
  • Minister of National Defence (June 21, 1957 - October 10, 1960)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 790 of 790)


September 14, 1945

Mr. G. R. PEARKES (Nanaimo):

Mr. Speaker, may I direct a question to the Minister of National Defence for the army? Is he aware that a large number of desirable and experienced personnel who would otherwise consider remaining in the Canadian armed forces are now being discharged daily owing to lack of information as to the future size and conditions of service in the permanent forces to be maintained by this country? Will the minister make a statement on this subject?

Topic:   CANADIAN ARMED FORCES
Subtopic:   INQUIRY AS TO PERSONNEL DESIROUS OF REMAINING IN SERVICE
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September 11, 1945

Mr. G. R. PEARKES (Nanaimo):

Mr. Speaker, I trust it will not be considered presumption on the part of one who has been in this house for so short a time to rise thus

early in the debate on the speech from the throne; but I do so because of my intense interest in the welfare of those old comrades of mine who served in this war and in the first world war-an interest which I believe is shared by all hon. members.

I know that you will realize that a new member standing on his feet for the first time in the House of Commons is under considerable strain. I remember the great men who have sat in these seats before me for many years, and I hope that their wisdom, their courage and their ability will nerve me to do the task which I see before me, to-day and in the months to come.

I represent, sir, the most westerly of all constituencies, that of Nanaimo, on the southern portion of Vancouver island. It is a paradise, but I would not like anybody to feel that it is by any means an old man's home, because there are great industries in that constituency, and great natural resources to be developed which will give employment for our returning service men.

Amongst those industries I would like to refer for a moment to the logging industry. We have a climate which combines bright sunshine and a good deal of moisture; this enables trees to grow to immense height and great girth. That logging industry has been an essential industry during these war years, and will be during the years of reconstruction. It is on the very threshhold of great and new developments, such as the production of plywoods and plastics and the utilization of the various waste products of the forest. Conditions in the camps are infinitely better than they were a few years ago, and they offer to returning men a clean, wholesome and out-of-door life which I am sure will be attractive to a great many of our soldiers, sailors and airmen. New machinery has been introduced. The industry needs outside help, because the men connected with it have been struggling during these war years. The actual loggers, the employees, the members of the I.W.A., have adhered most rigidly during all these years to their nonstrike pledge. The operational branches of the industry have not always been able to select the best timber from their point of view for cutting, but have answered nobly to the request of the government to turn out every foot of lumber that they possibly could. The companies and the loggers themselves have paid large amounts into the dominion treasury by virtue of their income taxes and excess profit returns. Might I suggest that, in order to sustain the yield, the government might see fit to encourage

The Address-Mr. Pearkes

that industry and to help in some measure to remove or lessen the danger of the great bugbear of the logging industry, which is the forest fire. If we can have a sustained yield we can give employment to many returned men.

Another industry I should like to mention is that of our commercial and sporting fisheries. The harvest of our ocean consists of many varieties of fish-salmon, cod, halibut, tuna, pilchards; even the dogfish, for the sake of its liver; the oyster; also the seaweed-all opening up grand opportunities for returning men to follow that particular kind of work. Never before have the fishermen of British Columbia had such fine floating equipment as they have to-day. Science has come to the help of the fisherman by giving him means of locating shoals of fish, of improving the system of transporting to the markets the fish which have been caught, and of presenting them in better condition than ever before.

These fishermen do not congregate and live in the big cities; they prefer to have their families scattered among a number of small towns throughout Vancouver island. But while their floating equipment is better now than ever before, they need protection during the winter storms for that floating equipment. Before the war that industry was largely in the hands of the Japanese, and the Japanese drove many of our white fishermen off our Canadian waters. The money they made they sent back to a foreign land. To-day our white fishermen have captured that trade and are spending their money in Canada. Never again must Japanese be allowed to capture the fishing industry of British Columbia.

I have not time this afternoon to go into any great detail regarding the mining industry and the agriculture of British Columbia. I would like to say one word about the great number of people who cater to the visitors who come to our island. They are in all kinds of little private enterprises, such as the corner grocery store, the wayside garage, the hotel, the tourist camp. Those people have been struggling during this war because, due to restrictions on gasoline and difficulties of transportation, the number of visitors has not been as great as in pre-war days. The younger men from those families have in the main joined the armed services and gone overseas. Their parents have shown commendable courage in keeping homes together during these years and in struggling to earn their livelihood. Their great hopes are that their sons and daughters will soon return from the duties they have undertaken in the defence of their country, and that the burden of

taxation will be relieved so as to enable them to establish gainful business for those sons and daughters when they return.

When V-E Day was declared in Europe it was announced that the Canadian army would be required to provide an occupational force for Germany, also a Far Eastern Force for war against Japan, and that surplus personnel would be' returned to their homes as soon as they could be spared, it being recognized that some would have to remain on in essential positions. The men who volunteered for the Far Eastern Force and for the occupational army were in the main younger men who had not seen quite so much service, had not been subjected to the toils and brunt of battle quite so much as those who had gone overseas either with the 1st or 2nd Canadian division in 1939 and 1940.

It was announced that the surplus which very largely consisted of those men who had borne the brunt of battle for the longest time, would be returned upon a point system, and the points were announced as being two points for every month of service in Canada, three points for every month of service in a theatre of war, and a bonus if a man was married. It was generally believed that the policy of first-in, first-out, would be followed as closely as it was practical for the authorities to adhere to that policy. Everybody realized that it was not possible to adhere rigidly to the first-in, first-out policy but that exceptions would have to be made of some key personnel who would have to be retained overseas, as well as releasing some to industry and other walks of life, of men for higher education, special training and so forth. But the country believed, and the constituents of Nanaimo believed, that so far as possible, the-policy would be adhered to of returning first those men who had served the longest so>

that they might have the first opportunity of becoming reestablished and fitting themselves into civilian life.

Gradually that policy has been whittled down, and I have prepared a list of exceptions which have been made which I should like to give to the house because I think it will show to hon. members that that policy has been departed from far more than the people of this country ever expected it would be.

This is the list of exceptions. First of all, all men who were on compassionate leave on V-E day, provided they were on compassionate leave on V-J day, would be granted their discharge. This and the following exceptions all apply to the army in Canada. So far as the army overseas was concerned we were told that the men were to be brought back on a

The Address-Mr. Pearkes

point-score system, and as an example of how they would be brought back, the official pamphlet gave these figures:

If 20,000 were to be sent back during one of the early months of demobilization, 5,000 would have a point-score of between 225 and 250, 5,000 between 200 and 225, and 10,000 between 175 and 200. I want hon. members to notice the points which an overseas man was required to have in order to expect early demobilization.

To come back to the list, those men of the army in Canada who were on compassionate leave on V-E day, provided they were on compassionate leave on V-J day, may be discharged. The same thing applies to those who were on compassionate farm leave, and to men who desired to go to college or university provided they had a written acceptance from the university officials. They also may be discharged. Men on account of what may be considered their age or low pulhem profile, even though that pulhem profile is not so low as to render them physically unfit, and for whom no employment could be found in the army, may be discharged. Any man who on March 31 of this year had a point-score of 130 may be discharged if he is in Canada. Any man who is returned wounded, any repatriated prisoner of war; any man *who served during the war of 1914-18; any *man who has reached the age of forty-two; [DOT]any man, no matter how short a time he has served in the army in Canada, provided he 'held a job at the time of his enlistment, -no matter for how short a time, if only for one day, may be discharged if he has a score *of 105 points. If he has not 105 points, he may receive long-term leave so that he may, I presume, get thoroughly reestablished in that job before a man with a higher point-score comes back from overseas. Any lad who had not reached his nineteenth birthday; young men, who I suggest might well benefit by a few months in the Canadian army where they could relieve a long-term service man; any man who is still retained at the district depot and has not been passed on to the training camp established at Vernon; any man who can claim to be going to employment of national importance-any man who is illiterate; any man who is unable to speak English or French sufficiently to receive training-all these may be discharged. This Mr. Speaker, is throwing the gates wide open. A soldier may go up to the sergeant-major, and if he cannot speak French, all he has to do is to shrug his shoulders and say, "Me no speak English" and he is out-out to go and seek a job before the long-service men come back from overseas.

Topic:   GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
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September 11, 1945

Mr. PEARKES:

Any man who is considered by his commanding officer as untrainable because he may be considered unreliable, and any man can pose as being unreliable; any man who is indifferent to service; in other words, any man who does not want to be a soldier, any man who will not respond to discipline-these are the men that you are letting out to go and seek jobs which the men who have been bearing the brunt of this war cannot come back and seek.

I realize that shipping is a difficulty and they cannot come back all at once. But why is any man who is serving in Canada now able to go out and take the jobs which are now available and which are growing fewer and fewer as the weeks and months go by?

It is for these reasons that I charge that the government is demobilizing our service forces to the detriment of the men who have fought the longest. Thirty or forty years ago Mr. Rudyard Kipling wrote a poem which I quote in part:

A man o' four-an'-twenty that 'asn't learned of a trade-

Beside "Reserve" agin' his name-'e'd better never been made.

These men who are overseas went over four or five years ago at the age of nineteen, twenty or twenty-one. They have reached their twenty-fourth birthday and they will find it increasingly difficult to find jobs in which they may learn a trade. Perhaps it is because of that that last week it was announced in the papers that there was to be a continuing army in Canada, a continuing army because of the uncertain condition in the world, because we could not foresee what dangers might arise. Nobody will take exception to that. Service in that continuing army was however restricted to those men who are in the active army or who have recently left the active army and would like to come back again. But there was one condition set, namely, that they must be prepared to serve wherever Canada required them to serve-a reasonable condition. At the same time we are continuing another or second continuing army, a continuing army of fine young men of good physique who have had months of training and who are not eligible for the first continuing army because they are not prepared to go and serve wherever Canada wants them to serve should an emergency arise.

[Mr. Pearkes. 1

The Address-Mr. Zaplitny

I have not the up-to-date figures, but the last figures which were published showed that there were some 16,000 of these N.R.M.A. soldiers still in Canada who were fit for the infantry and some twelve or fourteen thousand who were fit for the other arms of the service. Some of these men will desire to get out of the army, but there are a great many of them who like the security of the Canadian army in Canada. They are provided with three meals a day. They have comfortable lodgings in hutments. They have hot and cold water laid on. They have officers who will endeavour to make their training as interesting as possible. They are provided with free picture shows and all types of recreation. Only two weeks ago a sports meeting was held in Victoria where men of this type were brought in at the country's expense from all over British Columbia in order that they might show their physical prowess.

These men like to serve in the Canadian army provided they are not ordered to go wherever Canada may require them. You may say that if an emergency comes they will then be ordered to go. If an emergency comes it may come quickly and we shall want trained men. But an army is not made up purely and solely of trained men. It is made up of trained units which have been welded together; and I tell you, speaking as an old soldier, that the veteran and the shirker wifi not work in harness together during that period of training in Canada. Therefore efficiency is lost, and all the time additional taxation is required in order to maintain this second continuing army.

The Secretary of State yesterday referred in glowing terms to the contributions Canada had made to this war. We were all proud to hear of that effort. But, sir, I claim that there is one blot on that escutcheon and it is now time to remove it. We should no longer have this bifocal army through which one class of men see it as their duty to go wherever their country calls them while the other class see their duty as lying only in so far as the shores of Canada restrict their activities.

I said that we have in Nanaimo opportunities for absorbing the men who come back from overseas in the reconstruction and in the development of our industries and national resources. I said that the people of my constituency urgently require their boys back from overseas. They desire relief from taxation. It is because, as I have shown to-day, the demobilization as now being carried out is working to the serious disadvantage of our men overseas that I support the amendment which has been put forward by our leader, and I

believe that every returned man in this house, irrespective of the party to which he belongs, should support that amendment for that reason. Furthermore, I believe that the maintenance, the continuation of this futile two-army system should cease immediately.

Topic:   GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
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September 11, 1945

Mr. PEARKES:

I said1 distinctly that they should be welded into one army.

Topic:   GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
Full View Permalink