Charles Stephen BOOTH

BOOTH, Lt. Col. Charles Stephen, LL.B.

Personal Data

Winnipeg North (Manitoba)
Birth Date
January 27, 1897
Deceased Date
August 30, 1988

Parliamentary Career

March 26, 1940 - April 16, 1945
  Winnipeg North (Manitoba)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 1 of 27)

February 2, 1943


Before the six o'clock recess I was speaking of the work of the auxiliary service organizations for the troops overseas and was mentioning some of the many things that are provided by way of entertainment and recreation for the troops. From that I do not want to leave the impression that life is just a continual round of pleasure for the boys in England. Training is not only realistic but very hard. Manoeuvres are carried on continuously and the troops will march twenty-five miles a day, day after day, and continue fighting throughout that time. In a pinch I have seen an infantry regiment march forty miles between daybreak and night-fall.

I should like to describe the demonstration which was put on by General McNaughton in

December to celebrate the third anniversary of the arrival of the Canadian troops in England. There were all kinds of vehicles, big tanks, little jeeps, troop carriers, tank recovery vehicles, mobile workshops, ambulances, weapons of war, vehicles of war of all kinds. The demonstration lasted for about two hours and it was a marvellous exhibition of the make-up of the Canadian army in England. It was most impressive, and yet I think perhaps the most impressive unit of all to me was the last one to pass the reviewing stand. The review took place on a wide country road in the south of England. The road1 stretched almost as far as the eye could see in both directions, and as this last unit came into sight in the distance, about a mile away, it appeared to be a column of infantry coming along at a steady trot. As they came nearer we could see that they were carrying full equipment. They were carrying their rifles. On they came, and when they passed the reviewing stand not a man was out of place. Their alignment was perfect and there was not a sign of distress on any' one of those keen healthy faces. And on they went, maintaining that steady pace up the road until they disappeared in the distance. To me that was more impressive than all the tanks and guns in the whole parade. To me it typified the calm, steady, persistent spirit of the Canadian army, and I am satisfied that that spirit will remain until the job is done, no matter what may be the odds, no matter how great the task.

I have referred to certain matters which affect the morale of the troops. Three others I want to mention quite briefly in passing. First, there is the relationship between officers and men. These officers and men have worked together, some of them for three years now, and there is a spirit of mutual understanding and respect which can be gained only by men working together, striving together toward a common end. The men know that the officers will do as much as and more than the men themselves will do, and I am thoroughly satisfied that when the time comes the results of this will be manifest and will be of tremendous advantage to us.

Next is discipline and military justice. Discipline is good, and I attribute it in large measure to that same spirit which exists between officers and men. At the same time we have our offenders. You cannot have the thousands of men we have without having some bad eggs, and we have our troubles. However, in the administration of military justice, first of all we endeavour to ensure that everyone is fairly treated, both in the administration of justice and in the review of sentences. We bear in mind the fact

The Address-Mr. Booth

that these men are soldiers and that the sooner we get them back out of the "jug" the sooner will they be efficient fighting soldiers once again. This question of the review of sentence is considered to be so important that the policy in regard to it is centralized at Canadian military headquarters, and the senior officer at that headquarters, General Montague, gives his personal attention to every one of these reviews and himself signs whatever order is made with respect to them. We find that this is bearing fruit, because any man who demonstrates that he has learnt his lesson, who shows by his actions that he is willing to turn over a new leaf, is given an opportunity to do so. We are getting results. Notwithstanding the long time we have been there, our statistics show that relatively fewer offences are being committed. Between August, 1941, and August, 1942, there was a proportionate reduction of over 20 per cent in the numbers of all offences committed. I have not the later figures, but I do know that a steady decline is being maintained.

The third point with regard to morale affects particularly the people at home and is most important. It is a matter of letters from home. Not only do we want more letters but we want better letters. It is a sad thing to hear of a Canadian soldier who has been in England for two and a half years and who has not received' a single letter or a single parcel. It is hard to imagine the feelings of that man as he sees week after week his comrades receiving letters and parcels. It is one of the most damaging things so far as morale is concerned. It is true the people at home are busy, but there is too much of a tendency to put off. It is easy for the family to leave it to mother, but mother is busy too. So that quantity is one of the things we want, and next is quality, and I am not sure that is not even more important.

The boys over there are hungry for news. They want to know what is happening in the home town, what is happening to the family and to the neighbours across the street, or in the town hall or the community hall or whatever it may be, and it is only in letters from home that they can get that information. They are looking for cheerful letters. They like to feel that the people at home, *while missing them, are not unhappy. So very often we hear of cases perhaps of a wife who is lonely, who is feeling badly, just pouring out all her complaints in her letters t-o her husband overseas. It is proper that she should discuss her problems, but to pour out troubles for the sake of filling paper is not a service to anyone. An even worse class of letter, of which unfor-

tunately we get too many, is that sent by trouble-makers, an interfering neighbour, perhaps a jealous mother-in-law, who writes and suggests that Mary is not behaving or that she is not looking after the children. There are many such cases where these complaints are true, but there are many more which we have had investigated by reputable authorities here and we have found them' to be absolutely without foundation. I mention these matters because they are of real importance to the boys overseas.

It is marvellous that morale is so high after we have been so long in England. Three years of waiting is a severe test. I believe, however, that events have to some extent helped to carry us over the waiting period. When we first went to England everything was new; everything was different; we were training, getting ready for the job. Then came the fall of France, and the Canadian division at that time assumed much greater importance than one would expect its size could warrant. The fact is that the Canadian division was practically the only force that was intact and reasonably well equipped. Britain had been pouring out her troops and weapons overseas; when the boys came back from France they came back with nothing, and the Canadian division assumed the real defence of England

a poor enough force when one considers now what was against it. Fortunately the Royal Air Force, in which there are many, many Canadians, defeated the Luftwaffe, with the result that the probability of invasion during the winter of 1940-41 became remote. We were given a breathing spell. During that winter and the next spring our army was growing; England was busy making replacements for the weapons she had lost, and the situation eased a little. But Britain was still pouring out her troops and supplies to other theatres of war. Therefore the Canadian force, by this time growing, still continued its vital role of guarding the homeland. During that period there was little trouble with the men; they knew they were doing a job, and they were satisfied to do it.

Time -went on. The boys were looking for a fight. However, bombing over Britain continued and our men saw the sacrifices, the uncomplaining sacrifices, of the British civilians. What soldier could honestly complain when he saw how much was being suffered by others?

The winter of 1941-42 was a difficult period. The invasion scare was passing and the boys were again becoming a little restless. However, with the spring there was new hope that at last we were going to get into action. There

The Address-Mr. Senn

were large scale manoeuvres, assault landing practices. We were getting closer to the real thing.

Then came Dieppe. Great as was the cost of Dieppe, the lessons we learned and the experience we gained are invaluable. We shall not know until the last line is written how many lives may be saved by reason of the experience gained at that time. Many of our boys were bitterly disappointed that they had missed the show, but at the same time they knew that Canada had at last been in a real fight, and our boys had demonstrated not only that they could take it but that they could hand it out. Dieppe was a promise to them that their turn was coming.

So time went on. We saw the happenings in North Africa, in West Africa, and more recently in Russia. At last we can see the shape of things to come. We feel now, at long last, that we are really going to be in it. When and where the attack will come we shall not be told until the time comes. Just how we are going to find the ships, how we are going to find all the forces that will be necessary to sustain and maintain an attack on the continent, I do not know'. All we know is that the Canadian army is there to lead that attack, that it can break its way in and is ready and able to carry on. But if we are to maintain our morale we must get into that fight, and soon. The boys went over there to do a job; they are not bloodthirsty, but they went to do a job and want to get it over.

Now as to the post-war period. Everyone over there is concerned more or less about what is going to happen to him vdien this show is over. I think the boys appreciate the arrangements that have been made so far with regard to post-war rehabilitation, but they do want to see more. They are not overly concerned ; they are trusting the people of Canada and the government of Canada to ensure that adequate provision will be made for them when they return. They are not looking for hand-outs; all they ask is a chance to w'ork and make their own way, and they wish to be sure that there will be security for those, the wounded, the sick, and their dependents, who will not be able to look after themselves.

I cannot close without just a word about our leaders, Generals McNaughton, Crerar, Montague and Sansom. I know them all. I have worked under them and with them, and it has been a privilege to do so. The army commander, General McNaughton, is of course outstanding; he is a great soldier and a great leader. The others are fine soldiers, men in whom the troops overseas have the greatest confidence. Theirs is a great task and a great

responsibility. But I firmly believe that they will measure up to that task and that responsibility to the limit.

I have said that our army is eager to be on its way. Let me add that we do not believe that the mere fact of our landing on the continent of Europe will cause our enemies to collapse. We know there is much hard fighting ahead; our losses will be grievous and there will be much sorrow in Canada. Knowing all these things, we look forward to the struggle with confidence and in the sure knowledge that nothing will be left undone by the people of Canada to ensure that we shall be able to carry on to the end. [DOT]

Mr. MARK C. SENN (Haldimand): Mr. Speaker, for special reasons I feel that at this time I must disregard the suggestion made by my leader (Mr. Graydon) yesterday and offer my congratulations to the mover (Mr. Harris) and the seconder (Mr. Halle) of the address in reply. I do this for two reasons: first, because I believe that in offering my compliments to these gallant gentlemen I also pay tribute to the armed forces of Canada to which they belong. My second reason is that if I am correctly informed, these two gentlemen represent in this house rural ridings somewhat similar to my own.

May I also congratulate the hon. member (Mr. Booth) who has just taken his seat upon his maiden speech. The description he gave of conditions in the Canadian army overseas was very interesting indeed.

I intend to speak briefly this evening, and to confine my remarks almost entirely to one question, the position in which agriculture in Canada finds itself to-day. I am sure everyone will agree that the production of food is just as essential to our war effort as any other kind of production in which we may engage. The farmers of Canada know this to be true, and they are doing their best to achieve that maximum contribution to the war effort which is expected of them. Unfortunately they are labouring under most severe handicaps in many ways, handicaps which they find themselves powerless to overcome, but which I believe must be removed if we are to achieve the greatest possible effort in the production of foodstuffs in this country.

The speech from the throne falls logically into two parts. The opening paragraphs are devoted to questions dealing with the war, and I am sure we all agree that measures concerning our participation in the war should be the first consideration of this house. The needs of our army, our navy and our air force must be considered most carefully, and I believe

The Address-Mr. Senn

it is the duty of the government to inform the house as fully as possible to what extent these needs are being met, just as it is the duty of an opposition to criticize when criticism seems necessary, and to offer suggestions of a constructive nature.

The second part of the speech from the throne deals with the legislative programme of the government, and, if I may say so, this part of the speech is more conspicuous because of the omission of certain subjects than because of those matters with which it deals. The amendment which was offered by my leader yesterday, and which I intend to support, recites three of these subjects. First, there was the question of man-power; second, the question of labour and third, questions concerning the problems of agriculture. It seems to me most disappointing that nothing is said in the speech from the throne about any solution of the important and immediate problems which confront agriculture. It is true that some suggestion was put forth that a study is to be made in order to see that primary industry shall receive an adequate income after the war, but there is no indication that measures are to be undertaken to overcome the shortage of labour on the farms and to see to it that prices of farm products bear a fair relationship to the cost of the goods and services which the farmer must buy.

It is difficult for me, and I believe the country will find it difficult, to understand why no undertaking to deal with these questions is apparent in the speech from the throne. Certainly some solution must be found; otherwise agriculture will be unable to achieve that effort which we all hope it may put forth. Moreover, I do not believe it will be able to meet the demands which have been placed upon it for higher food production. Those demands necessarily are very heavy. In his speech yesterday the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) made some reference to the volume of foodstuffs being shipped to the United Kingdom, and took unto himself and his government a certain amount of credit for that achievement. Undoubtedly there was a very large production in Canada last year; it was a remarkable achievement. The farmers of Canada worked early and late and did everything humanly possible to bring about that result, and I believe they are entitled to any credit which may accrue because of the magnificent contribution we made in that regard.

I have said that the demands upon agriculture are particularly heavy. Production goals for 1943 were set at a dominion-provincial agricultural conference held last December.

I believe that meeting was convened by the agricultural supplies board, and those goals provide for substantial increases in food production as compared with 1942. For instance, in the case of meat an* increase of 285,000,000 pounds was asked, or an increase of 16 per cent as compared with 1942 and 18 per cent as compared with 1941. I believe last year we had the greatest production of hogs in the history of Canada, but there the increase asked for is 28-5 per cent, a fairly large increase. In the case of dairy products the increase asked for amounts to some 6 per cent as compared with 1942. I believe the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Gardiner), who was present at that meeting, gave out figures showing the increases that were asked in various lines of farm production. For instance, in Ontario the increase over 1942 in connection with hogs was some 400,000, or 20 per cent; in the case of butter, 15 per cent; eggs, 15 per cent; lambs, 20 per cent; cattle, 10 per cent; potatoes, 5 per cent, while the production of cheese was to remain at the same level.

I wash to point out that these increases were not asked for in connection with only a few lines of farm products they were requested in connection with almost every line of farm production, and if the house will bear with me I should like to mention the figures in order to show the increases on the wide range of products for 1943. They are as follows:



Beef cattle 9.0

Hogs 28-5

Sheep and lambs 12'0

Butter 14.7

Powdered milk 42-9

Poultry io-o

Eggs 29-5

0ats 11-6

Barley 44.3

Hay and clover 7-7

Alfalfa 17-4

Flax seed 67-6

Sugar beets 42'2

Potatoes 40.7

I think the house will agree at once that this is a fairly large contribution for agriculture to be asked to make, in view of the conditions existing in the industry at the present time, in view of the shortage of labour and in view of other matters I shall mention as I proceed. I have stated already that production in 1942 was high. Last, year we were blessed with bumper crops, and in most sections of the country we enjoyed ideal weather for the harvesting of those crops. But if I may be allowed to say so, I believe those crops w'ere harvested-at least in eastern Canada-at the expense of preparation for

The Address-Mr. Senn

the 1943 crop. In eastern Canada and particularly in Ontario a very small acreage of fall wheat was sown. Fall ploughing was only nicely under way in many sections at the freeze-up, and there were large areas left in grass which would have been ploughed but for the fear in the minds of the farmers that they would be unable to harvest their crop in the fall of 1943.

In spite of these large crops last year, however, it has been shown by the leader of the opposition that shortages already are beginning to develop, that several kinds of farm products are rationed already and that others may be rationed shortly. Some mention was made yesterday of the rationing of butter which, as everybody knows, is an accomplished fact. The Prime Minister took the leader of the opposition to task for not stating that the rationing and the shortage of butter were occasioned by heavy shipments overseas. As a matter of fact I have made some investigations, and I cannot find that there was a pound of butter shipped overseas to the United Kingdom last year. In the case of beef, another farm item which is likely to be rationed in the near future, if we can believe the Minister of Agriculture who, according to radio reports, made a statement to that effect at Brandon a short time ago, there has been very little if any sent overseas. Therefore I think the Prime Minister was perhaps w'ide of the mark in criticizing the leader of the opposition for making such a statement.

The government has had plenty of warning that there is a labour shortage on the farms of Canada. A short time ago I mentioned the dominion-provincial conference held in December. At that conference where the provinces were represented, where the Department of Agriculture at Ottawa was represented and where the federation of agriculture and other farm organizations were present, a committee was set up to study farm labour problems. They brought down to that conference a report which, I believe, was passed. I have in my hand a copy of the report, and I must say it makes interesting reading. With the permission of the house I will place on record what it contains. The report of the conference on skilled farm labour quoted in the Farmer's Advocate of December 24, states:

In view of this increased production required for 1943, in face of the decreasing labour supply the conference is of the opinion that the urgent necessity for conserving and supplementing skilled farm labour available must be recognized. And in view of. the misunderstanding and confusion which exists w-ith respect to farm man-power, the importance of a clearer

definition of the man-power policy as it is expected to apply to agriculture is evident. With a view to contributing to the solution of the difficulties inherent in the farm man-power problem the following proposals are submitted for the consideration of the national selective service authorities.

There are five of these proposals, and I shall state them as briefly as possible to the house. They are:

1. That agricultural man-power policies be administered with the assistance of local farm committees, and the provincial departments of agriculture working in conjunction with the employment and selective service offices.

As far as I am aware no local farm committees have been set up, and if the provincial departments of agriculture are working in conjunction with the employment and selective service officers it is certainly to only a very limited degree. Then:

2. That the initial call-up which goes out to men on the farm be reworded so that they will clearly understand what the notice means in respect to their status as an essential agricultural worker, and state definitely what procedure they should follow for obtaining deferment.

I saw these notices not so very long ago, and as far as I know there has not yet been any change in them. If there has been a change it has been of only a very minor nature. So that as far as I know the second recommendation has not been implemented up to the present time.

3. That all farm workers whose essentiality has been established should be given some form of official recognition which would indicate they are performing an important war service.

That is something which should have been done long ago. Many a skilled farm labourer has left the farm to enlist-and all honour to him for doing so-who would have served his country just as well if he had stayed on the farm to produce foodstuffs. He would have been doing just as useful a service there as he could possibly perform in the armed forces. I believe such men would have been perfectly satisfied to remain on the farms, had they had some way of showdng that they were doing their part, and that they were willing to do anything demanded of them.

4. That a much larger proportion of men on farms where essentiality has been established be granted the longest postponement term with each successive call.

I believe in some instances that suggestion has been followed. Postponements have been granted on the U.F.N.-until further notice- basis. I believe those postponements are fairly permanent. But when the National Resources Mobilization Act was introduced, and it was found that no exemptions were to be allowed, and that only postponements were

The Address-Mr. Senn

permitted, I for one protested against that procedure because, after all, farmers must be assured that they are going to have sufficient help on the farms to harvest their crops. Otherwise they are not going to produce, and are not going to plan for production as they otherwise would. I see no reason up to the moment why young men eligible for war service who are allowed to return to the farm because they are absolutely needed to carry on food production should not have exemptions rather than postponements from time to time.

Those are some of the recommendations made by the conference to the Minister of Agriculture, to be carried to the appropriate authorities. As far as I have been able to ascertain, up to the present time those recommendations have not been carried out, at least in their entirety. I hesitate to discuss the matter of labour at much greater length. Every one knows that for years past there has been a constant exodus of young men and older men from the farms to the cities. They have been lured) there by the hope of higher wages and shorter hours of labour. That condition was greatly accentuated during the early years of the war and, as I have already stated, farm labour shortage was very much increased by voluntary enlistments.

I warn the government and the country that unless something is done, and done soon, to assure the farmers of Canada of a more adequate supply of farm labour, the production goals for 1943, to which I have already referred, will never be attained. Owing to the lack of preparation for the 1943 crop, unless something is dome I doubt very much whether it will reach the production reached in 1942.

There is another factor which to a great extent affects food production by farmers. I refer to the price ceilings which have been established on so many lines of farm produce by the wartime prices and trade board. My complaint about those ceilings is that they do not establish parity. I can see no reason for the disparity in farm prices. I do not believe the wartime prices and trade board can offer any reasonable excuse as to why there is not a fair relationship between farm prices and the cost of goods and services the farmer must buy. We have more than one proof of the condition which exists. Our federal and provincial governments have recognized the fact, because they are paying bonuses to-day on quite a number of farm products.

In addition to that, the present federal government is setting arbitrary prices on wheat. I have always felt that these ceilings were unfair to agriculture and I have often doubted whether they were necessary or

needed at all. In fact, speaking in the house last year from' this same place I said that I did not think high prices hadi done any harm ini the last war. At that time the farmers were enabled because of higher prices to pay off their mortgages in a great many instances and to set aside money which stood them in good stead during the days of the depression. Up to the present time I have not seen any reasons whatever why I should, change my mind. Undoubtedly the imposition of price ceilings at levels at which they standi to-day has resulted in a great deal of confusion and discouragement to the agricultural industry.

I go on to give what I think is even more convincing proof that these price ceilings are not at a high enough level. Agriculture to-day, as in the past, is not enjoying a fair share of the national income. Hon. members will remember that when the Sirois report was brought down it showed that for the ten years ending in 1938 agriculture in the Dominion of Canada enjoyed only about 10 per cent of the national income although the farmers comprised over one-third of the population. The situation has been very little better during the past four years. Although prices for farm products are somewhat higher, they still present a most alarming picture.

I have in my hand a statement from the bureau of statistics entitled, "Relative importance of agriculture to other sectors of the national economy of Canada". I do not intend to burden the house with a lengthy recital of the figures which this statement contains. There is shown not only the total figures of national income and farm income, but the percentage of farm income originating in agriculture in relation to the national income, at farm prices obtained from the records of gross incomes throughout Canada. I should like to point out that these figures are made up from four items: first, cash sales of farm products; second, the value of products produced and consumed on the farm; third, the computed rental of the farm house, although I have never been able to understand just why this should be included, and, fourth, government bonus payments. While the percentage of national income enjoyed by agriculture is somewhat higher than for the ten-year period prior to 1938, which I quoted, a moment ago, it has not yet reached a. fair level. For the year 1939 our farmers received 14-8 per cent of the national income; for the year 1940, 13-1 per cent; for 1941, 13-1 per cent and for 1942, 13-3 per cent.

It will be seen that despite price ceilings and, bonuses which have been offered by both federal and provincial governments, the farmer

The Address-Mr. Senn

of Canada to-day is in the unfortunate position of not receiving his fair share of the national income. I will go further and say that in most instances he is not receiving for his products prices which will pay for the cost of production and give him a reasonable profit. May I pause here to say I am glad that in the fourteen points which the new leader of the Progressive Conservative party enunciated some time ago there is included the principle that all classes of primary producers should receive a fair share of the national income.

Moreover, if agriculture is to reach the production which is being asked for the year 1943, it is absolutely essential that the farmer should not be asked to produce at a loss. I do not believe that Canada will ever enjoy the prosperity to which our agricultural areas and resources entitle us unless our primary producers can buy the goods and services they need. I believe it is an economic fact that income derived from primary production creates the buying power of the country. It is new wealth which is being produced each year, and for that reason it is one of the factors which contribute very largely to the country's buying power. If the farmers and other primary producers of this country or of any country are not prosperous, that country cannot enjoy the prosperity which it should.

I am not pleading for extremely high prices for farm products. I am not asking for prices which will bolster up inefficient or poor management. I am not asking for prices which will encourage the cultivation, of the submarginal lands in certain areas of this country. If we see to it that the farmers receive a fair price for their products, they will deliver the goods. There is no doubt that if the farmer is assured reasonable prices, if he is supplied with a reasonable amount of labour, he will produce to the fullest extent.

There is another reason why these price ceilings are not satisfactory. If there is one thing more than another that the farmers have complained of in days gone by, it is the rapid and violent fluctuations which occur from time to time in farm prices. A farmer must plan a long time ahead. If he is going to produce grain he must plough his land anywhere from six months to a year before he can place the grain on the market or even feed it to his stock. It seems to me that stability in farm prices is absolutely essential, and yet the wartime prices and trade board has perpetuated this system of price fluctuation. In the case of butter, prices are on a sliding scale, and the same applies to beef.

In this respect may I pause to make a suggestion. Under the present arrangement

the peak of beef prices will be reached next May. Farmers all over the country, particularly those who have an abundance of feed, are bolding their cattle in the hope of realizing these high prices next May. That is one reason why there is to-day a scarcity of beef on the markets of Canada. I would point out that there is grave danger that when the time comes when these higher prices are to be paid there will be such a glut on the market that the abattoirs will be forced to reduce prices in order to cope with the situation. The whole price ceiling policy to-day as it applies to beef seems to me to be most complicated and blundering.

There is another reason I should like to advance to show why it is unsatisfactory. A ceiling price has been placed on beef and it has had the effect of setting a price for killer cattle. But the price of Stockers has been allowed to find its own level, and last fall when many men were anxious to buy stockers they found that the price was actually higher than for the cattle which were finished in their stables and which the farmers wanted to sell. The result was that in a great many instances those cattle were held over, and the feed lots in Ontario and eastern Canada were allowed to remain vacant. That was a most unsatisfactory and unhealthy condition to prevail, particularly when we are so badly in need of beef. _

There is another matter to which I wish to refer. Last fall, when the beef shortage began to become apparent and when the quota of cattle which we were supposed to export to the United States began to operate in the last three months, the government set up a food corporation the duty of which was to purchase the cattle which were destined for the United States. Drovers went into the country, bought up these cattle at Canadian prices and then sold them to the food corporation at United States prices which were as much as twenty and twenty-five dollars more than the farmer received for the cattle. Somebody made a handsome profit out of these transactions and certainly it was not the farmer, the man who was entitled to it. I am afraid that the activities of the food corporation at that time cost the country a very pretty penny indeed. I have pointed out these matters in the hope that something will be done to remedy the situation.

Just for a moment I should like to refer to another matter. I listened with a good deal of interest and attention last night to the remarks made by the leader of the socialistic group to my left. With his description of conditions in agriculture I very largely agree, but in a recent address which he delivered over the

The Address-Mr. Wood

radio he condemned what he termed "rugged individualism", and he laid the blame for the world-wide depression of the thirties on its door-step. I cannot agree with that statement. The depression was world-wide. It was just as prevalent and just as serious in those countries where private enterprise and individualism were shackled as in our own country or in any other democratic country. It is true farmers will never become wealthy, but if proper measures for their benefit are taken they may arrive at a competence which will provide a fair measure of security. One thing farmers prize above all else is their pride of possession. It guarantees to them the privilege of private enterprise and the right to follow their own way of life. We are at present fighting for these things, for our liberty and freedom. Nowhere are these privileges exemplified in all their beauty and in all their value more than on the Canadian farm. It would be a tragedy, if after these rights have been saved and retained for us by our brave men at the front, they should be taken away from us by any system of regimentation or state control such as is advocated to-day by our friends of the socialistic party.

I know, Mr. Speaker, that my remarks have been rather rambling. They have not been made in any spirit of carping criticism of the government. They have been made with a real desire to point out some of the difficulties under which agriculture is labouring at the present time and, if possible, to point out the way in which these difficulties may be remedied. There is no doubt that farmers, if they are given a reasonable opportunity, are only too anxious to cooperate in our war effort, and I believe that if the remedies which I have suggested are applied and the farmer is assured of a reasonable supply of labour and of a fair price for his products over and above the cost of production, he will produce to his full capacity.

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February 2, 1943

Mr. C. S. BOOTH (Winnipeg North):

Mr. Speaker, I regard myself as most fortunate, after two and a half years overseas, to find that the course of my duties has made it possible for me to return to my seat in the house, if even only for a few days, and to speak for the first time. I do regret sincerely it has not been possible for me to give more care and attention to the special problems of my own constituency of Winnipeg North. I believe however, my constituents appreciate that the work I have been doing is of some importance. Perhaps they appreciate it more because almost seventy per cent of them have their origin in countries now suffering under nazi oppression.

If I can make any contribution to the debate, it would be by telling the house something of - what is taking place in connection with the Canadian army overseas. I will not give statistics, because I do not think the people at home want them. I can say, however, that we have a grand army. They are grand men, and all are good Canadians who are over there to fight for their homes.

What people at home want to know is, I believe, how those men are being treated, how they train, how they do their work and how they play. I wish to make a few observations regarding these questions. Those of us who were over there during the previous unpleasantness, and who have again taken part in this one, are very much impressed by some of the improvements in certain aspects of training, accommodation, and also particularly in connection with some of the auxiliary services.

As a rear rank private in 1916 and 1917, I was never able to understand how the continuous drudgery of forming fours and marking time was going to win the war. Nowadays however, it is very much different. Battle drill, assault landings and the like bear a direct relationship to the job the men are going to do when they get into battle. They can really see and understand what their training is leading to, and for that reason they enter into their training readily and heartily.

With respect to accommodation may I say that our men are well provided for in England. In the reinforcement units the permanent buildings are well equipped; and even troops on operational duties are well taken care of. I believe I can say that our hospitals in England are better equipped than most of the civilian hospitals in that country. Notwithstanding the peculiarities of English weather, the health of the troops is quite good.

One change I have noticed from the last war is in the matter of feeding. I have some terrible recollections of the Newfoundland cod

The Address-Mr. Booth

sent over to us in 1917 and 1918, along with a lot of other funny things they used to give us. To-day an intelligent approach has been made toward the problem of feeding the troops. First of all, our cooks are well trained. We are getting away from the idea of the unit providing its own cook, and hanging on to him throughout the piece. We have all our cooks in one packet. There is one place in a reinforcement unit where they undergo their initial training. Then, if a cook becomes a casualty in a field unit, they can whistle up another immediately through second echelon. And they can be quite sure, no matter where he originated, that he will be a well-trained cook and will know his job.

The next phase of the matter of feeding is that in each of our formations overseas we have a catering officer. Of course there is not too much food in England nowadays. For the first two or three weeks after I got back to Canada I was most uncomfortable after almost every meal. This was simply because I had got used to pulling in my belt and restraining my appetite. I think this has been an excellent thing for a lot of people. When rations are not too plentiful it is necessary that the greatest care be taken to ensure that the fullest benefit will be secured from them. Therefore catering advisers, who are specially trained, are provided. They travel around among the units, look over the cookhouses, consult with the commanding officers and advise on how to set up attractive menus and to get the best value out of the food.

We have added to this service lately and have now in the office of the director of medical services a nutritional officer whose job, among other things, is to ensure that the quantity and quality of the rations supplied are adequate to sustain the men and to ensure that they will be perfectly fit for the duties they have to perform. It is true that in England the troops get much more by way of rations than the civilians. While the civilian in England has a fairly tight belt, I can say that this is not the case to anything like the same degree with our Canadian soldiers. The British soldiers, of course, are treated on the same basis as ours.

I should like to tell the house something about the educational services overseas. At the beginning of the war the Canadian Legion stepped in and undertook to provide educational services. .They have done a splendid job. In 1940, or even before that, there was appointed overseas a director of educational services. This gentleman is assisted by educational advisers who are qualified teachers or professors and have a thorough knowledge of

the kind of work the legion is doing. One of the main objects the legion had in mind in setting up this service was to provide facilities for those men who wished, to raise their standard of education or perhaps undertake vocational classes or special courses. Education is a special pet of General McNaughton, and he has done everything in his power to encourage the men and to have his officers encourage the men to take these courses. Hon. members may be surprised to hear that over 20,000 men in the Canadian army in England are taking classes or courses of one kind or another during the present winter. I am quite satisfied that nothing like that happened in the last war, at least not until it was over.

There has been some change recently in the educational set-up overseas. The army found that it was calling more and more upon the legion to provide facilities for education in certain specific cases. For example, there might be other ranks who possessed qualifications which would fit them to become officers but who found they were somewhat lacking in general knowledge. Quite often it was some time since they had been to school and they needed a little polishing up. We called upon the legion to provide courses for this purpose. Strangely enough, we found that there were some illiterates in our army in England and we had to set up special classes to take care of them. There are many other ways in which education may be provided which is of direct benefit to the army as such. With very little increase in staff, using most of the facilities that were already there, we have now an army educational service in the Canadian army overseas.

A point of interest in passing is that this army of ours is an army of specialists. There are thousands and thousands of young men in the army over there who have learned trades of which perhaps they knew nothing when they went overseas. I am hopeful that when this war is over we shall find that a goodly proportion of these boys will find themselves much better equipped to fight the battle of life than they were when they joined up.

I should like to say something about the work of the auxiliary service organizations. I suppose all hon. members know that there are four of these organizations, the Canadian Legion, the Knights of Columbus, the Salvation Army and the Y.M.C.A. Early in the war these four organizations volunteered to provide auxiliary services to the troops. In the first year they put on drives for funds, each one handling its own drive and each securing its own money. Of course they did

The Address-Mr. Booth

not each secure the same amount. As they came in to this work, some of the organizations found themselves particularly well qualified to carry it on, while others were not so well qualified. In any event the important thing was that they were there, and were ready and willing and reasonably able to carry on. We had nothing else which could' have done the job at that time.

The next year the decision was taken that the drives for funds would be consolidated into one, and that was done. In the meantime the work went on steadily. Let me complete the matter of finances. In 1942 the decision was taken that the funds for these services would be provided from the treasury. Controlling these funds and the expenditure of them in Canada is the war services budget committee. I know nothing of the situation in Canada, but I do want to mention a little about the work of these organizations in England because it has been of such great importance to us there. AVithout this work, particularly during the last year and a half, I just do not know how we would have maintained the morale of our men at the high level at which it now stands.

The four organizations each has a senior representative in London. They work in cooperation with the three services, the army, the navy and the air force. I shall speak only about the army because that is what I know about, but in any event the services available to the army are available also to the other services. The control in England is this: on the one hand there are the senior representatives of the four organizations; there are the heads of the forces, and then, as a third party, there is the overseas executive committee of the budget committee in Canada which controls the finances.

In passing I want to say just a word about that committee. It was set up quite recently, and it consists of five prominent Canadians who live in London, -with Sir Edward Peacock as the chairman. We have found that the existence of that committee has solved a great many of our problems. It has speeded up the provision of services to the men and, what is most important, Sir Edward Peacock has the confidence of the organizations as well as the confidence of the services. A\Thile he and his committee scrutinize expenditures most carefully, their first concern is to provide essential services to the troops.

The work overseas of the auxiliary services is divided into two main classifications. The first classification, by far the most important, is that in regard to the services to the troops in the units in the field. This is carried on by means of auxiliary service supervisors who

are trained personnel provided by the organizations to do this work. They are allocated to the troops in the field on the basis of one supervisor for each 800 men,. The large units have their own supervisor, but in the case of the smaller units, two or three may be served by one supervisor.

Because of the developments over the past three years the four organizations have now reached the point where each is providing the same measure of service. Each organization looks after approximately one-fourth of the troops overseas, and each has about the same number of supervisors. These supervisors are allocated to the units in accordance with our plan, and this is the kind of service they provide: Each of them has a car, and he may have one or two or three military helpers. He has a moving-picture outfit; he may have a canteen; he has a library, and he spends his time looking after the welfare of the troops, putting on picture shows in the evenings, organizing concert parties, sing-songs and games of all kinds. It is most important work, and it is of the utmost value at the present time because so many of our troops are spread around the countryside of England miles away, in many instances, from the big centres.

In addition, with the field formations, we have mobile canteens, which are under the charge of the supervisors. While these mobile canteens are not so necessary now, they will be of great value when the troops become engaged in active operations and they will then be used to provide essential services for the troops.

The organizations also provide recreation centres in troop areas. They provide leave hostels in London and elsewhere. At the present time in Canadian hostels in London there are some 2,800 beds, and they are full most of the time; indeed, every week-end there is an overflow of from one to two thousand who have to be taken care of in accommodation provided from British sources.

Each organization has also taken on a special project. The Y.M.CA.. look after a large share of the recreation centres. They also look after the major sports events for the whole army. Their experts advise the army on sports matters.

The Canadian Legion, in addition to having education as one of its projects, looks after the organization of concert parties. It trains and equips them. We have four soldier concert parties in operation at the present time. In addition, the legion provides entertainment, by professional performers who go around and visit the troops week after week.

The Address-Mr. Booth

The Salvation Army has performed a most useful work in purchasing and supplying moving-picture films for the whole army. It has in circulation at the present time a library of over sixty feature movie films, the same kind that can be seen in the moving-picture houses in this country. It has also hundreds of shorts and newsreels.

The Knights of Columbus have as their special project the providing of hospitality for the troops. Notwithstanding the rationing restrictions and restrictions of many other kinds, the people of Great Britain have been most generous in providing hospitality for Canadian soldiers and officers. The Knights of Columbus have a long list of individuals throughout the country who are willing to provide accommodation for our troops on leave. They have an office in London and sub-offices in the troop areas, and any Canadian soldier or officer going on leave who wishes to be entertained anywhere in the United Kingdom has only to get in touch with one of their offices and he can secure just about what he wants in the line of entertainment. It may be salmon fishing or a spot of grouse shooting, or he may want to spend his leave with some literary companions, or he may just want to go some place where he will not be bothered. Any of these things and many more can be provided for him. Thousands and thousands of our Canadian boys are going out into British homes every month as a result of this hospitality. Therefore it will be seen that the auxiliary services overseas are doing a splendid job for our troops.

At six o'clock the house took recess.

After Recess

The house resumed at eight o'clock.

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May 5, 1939


That may be, but let us discuss the proposals and decide them in a regular manner.

Then the estimates; I have not checked carefully the estimates myself, but I think not more than twenty-five per cent of them have been considered. It is all very1 well to say, "Well, the estimates are there and we have to take them or leave them; we cannot help ourselves." But that is contrary to the whole principle of parliamentary procedure and the rights of parliament. After all, in practice the estimates provide the only opportunity we have for review of the activities of the various departments of government. Most of these departments have not been under review at all, and now it is proposed in the dying hours of the session to rush through the major part of the estimates without consideration.

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May 5, 1939


Why change the name of this company?

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May 5, 1939


I said, and I repeat, that it seems to me our primary responsibility as a parliament is to do the business of this country-


Business oj the House-Saturday Sitting

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