SINCLAIR, The Hon. James, P.C., B.Sc., M.A.

Personal Data

Coast-Capilano (British Columbia)
Birth Date
May 26, 1908
Deceased Date
February 7, 1984
civil engineer

Parliamentary Career

March 26, 1940 - April 16, 1945
  Vancouver North (British Columbia)
June 11, 1945 - April 30, 1949
  Vancouver North (British Columbia)
  • Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Finance (January 19, 1949 - April 30, 1949)
June 27, 1949 - June 13, 1953
  Coast-Capilano (British Columbia)
  • Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Finance (July 11, 1949 - October 14, 1952)
  • Minister of Fisheries (October 15, 1952 - June 20, 1957)
August 10, 1953 - April 12, 1957
  Coast-Capilano (British Columbia)
  • Minister of Fisheries (October 15, 1952 - June 20, 1957)
June 10, 1957 - February 1, 1958
  Coast-Capilano (British Columbia)
  • Minister of Fisheries (October 15, 1952 - June 20, 1957)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 792 of 793)

February 7, 1944

Mr. JAMES SINCLAIR (Vancouver North):

Mr. Speaker, it is more than three years since I last had the opportunity to stand in my place and address this house. I have no apology to offer for my absence; for my constituents knew when they elected me that I had enlisted in the R.C.A.F. I am very glad to say, however, that they have not suffered by my absence, because my colleague and very good friend the hon. member for Fraser Valley (Mr. Cruickshank) has taken care of my riding in the interval, and for that I thank him. I have, however, one complaint. He has set so high a standard of service to my riding that it is going to be very awkward for me to measure up to it.

When I last spoke in this house I believe I was regarded as a rather impatient and critical supporter of this government. I may tell this house I was consoled when I was in the British House of Commons in 1942 to hear Mr. Churchill tell his followers not to be mealy-mouthed in debate and chicken-hearted in the lobbies. May I now tell this house that while I may still be critical of some points, my service overseas has given me increasing pride and confidence in this government's conduct of Canada's war effort. I know it is increasingly the custom in this country to complain and rant about every minor restriction and regulation that the government has of necessity to impose in this country because of the war. People also point, of course, to other countries and compare our actions in the most unfavourable light. That seems to be the line taken in Canada. Those of us who have served in Britain and the middle east and the far east have a much better appreciation of what Canada has done. We have lived in countries where there has been a very marked increase in the cost of living, where there is no wage ceiling. Because of government control of wages soldiers realize that there is no great gap between their earnings and the wages of war workers in industry.

It is not, however, only the members of this house who feel an increasing pride in Canada's war effort. I need not recount to this house our efforts on the war front; I need not recount to this house our efforts on the production front. That has been very well said by Mr. Churchill himself. I can, however, tell this house of my own personal pride in that last great advance across Libya in seeing

that the greater part of the vast fleet of trucks which moved the supplies of the 8th army and desert air force across the desert came from Windsor and Oshawa. A very great portion of the supplies in those trucks, of food, guns and ammunition, were also of Canadian origin -even a little beer; very little beer. I shall speak of that on a later occasion.

On the home front I believe the government is worthy of much more praise than has come its way. What has impressed me, and I know what has impressed most returning soldiers, is the abundance of everything in Canada, an abundance of food, of clothing, of cars on the streets. After the war-worn clothing of England, needfully strict rationing, and the total absence of pleasure driving, we find Canada practically a country at peace. The second thing which impresses a returned soldier is how little the cost of living has changed in this country in his absence-a signal tribute to the government's lone and brave fight against the perils of inflation. I say "lone" advisedly; for I believe the government has received little praise in this country for its magnificent effort.

The imposition of ceilings on wages has I believe aroused labour. The imposition of a ceiling on prices has aroused the farmers and business men; yet these steps are unavoidable if there is to be a real control of inflation. Everyone in this country seems to agree with the principle but objects very bitterly to the practice if it affects them personally. No mention of wTage control can be made at this time, however, without reference to P.C. 9384. I am not one who is going to rant and rail against government by order in council. Anyone who has been at war knows the necessity of instant executive action, and that power should be given to a government which has the confidence of this parliament. But I do believe that any such order in council should be capable of justification to parliament by the minister concerned. I do not believe that a Liberal minister of labour can so justify certain clauses in this order.

May I turn first to the actual constitution of this war labour board. There is a common complaint in this country from coast to coast that labour has not been given adequate representation on the many government war boards. If there is one board on which labour should have decent representation it is this national war labour board; yet we find that on a ooard of six they have one nominee. It is true that the government nominates four members and that one of these may be a labour man, but labour does not want government appointees; labour wants its own nominees.

The Address-Mr. Sinclair

To my mind there are three groups involved in wage control, the employer, the employee and the public as represented by the government; and I would say that it would be fair to set up a board of six consisting of two nominees from each of these groups.

My next objection is to the third stated object of the order, which is:

. . . to provide machinery for an orderly

rectification of any gross 'inequalities and injustices in wage rates so established. . . .

Up to this point I agree, but in the mention of the words "gross inequalities and injustices in wage rates" I take it to be tacitly admitted that such conditions still obtain in some parts of this country. The wage ceiling should be elastic. There is no intention of freezing sweatshop wages for the duration of the war. However, the joker is in the last clause, which reads:

... in so far as it is possible consistently with the paramount principle of the maintenance of stability in prices. . . .

In other words an increase can be given in sweat-shop wages provided it does not affect the price of the product of that sweat-shop, which is manifestly impossible. The people of Canada do not believe in sweat-shop wages; they are willing to pay prices which will give the labourer a decent wage.

I think all hon. members will agree that strikes caused by disputes between unions over jurisdiction and other such illegal strikes should be outlawed in time of peace as in time of war. Hon. members may debate whether the right to strike after due arbitration and conciliation should be given to labour in war time; but I do not think many hon. members of this house will agree to the terms contained in sections 33 to 36 of this order. These have to do with prosecutions for offences, the first with the case of an employer who contravenes the order by paying illegal wages or causing a lockout. Section 33 (2) provides that the burden of proof shall be on the accused. Section 35 deals with the employee who is alleged to have taken part in an illegal strike; it provides that the burden of proof that the strike was not illegal shall rest on the accused. Section 36 deals with the man who is alleged to have aided or abetted an illegal strike; it provides also that the burden of proof that the strike was not illegal shall rest on the accused. To my scanty legal knowledge this means just one thing: that the man is taken to be guilty until he proves his innocence, and this in the year 1944, in the fifth year of this war for freedom. I cannot conceive why the Minister of Labour should introduce these things; I cannot conceive why the Minister of Justice should permit it. It

[Mr. Sinclair.)

cannot be said to be due to the exigencies of war, because I have taken part in summary trials and in courts martial in Libya within the sound of battle, and even there the airman was considered innocent in every particular until he was proved to be guilty.

These bad causes have had one good effect; they have united Canadian labour from coast to coast as never before. A.F. of L. unions, C.I.O. unions, independent unions, and in fact all but the lackey company unions, are unanimous in their opposition to these features. I therefore urge the government to rescind this order, and to replace it with an order which will treat labour, to use the phrase of the hon. member for Vancouver East (Mr. Maclnnis), not as a commodity but rather as a deserving partner in Canada's war effort, because the record of Canadian labour in this war is good. AVe who have been overseas know that it is better than the British and American records. Our wonderful war production record has been made possible by the efforts of the Canadian working man. In so urging I speak not only for the labour unions in my riding but also for the Liberals of my constituency, who at their annual convention last month condemned these clauses in the strongest terms as being contrary to their conception of Liberalism.

Next I should like to touch very briefly upon the speech from the throne, which I believe to be one of the most heartening and progressive programmes ever offered to the people of Canada. I believe that national health insurance, adequate old age pensions as a right and not as a charity, and a national housing plan, when carried to fruition will be the very brightest jewels in my honoured leader's long career of public service. As far as health insurance is concerned, fortunately in this country there is a very large body of men who are completely sold on the idea; I refer to the 750,000 men in the services who are now receiving the benefits of state medicine. So, too, with family allowances; here again we in the services have had actual experience. I have never heard a single unmarried airman complain because a married man of the same rank, doing the same job, actually was getting more money because of his dependents' allowance; they all agree that it is a first-class thing. I understand that there is considerable opposition from some groups because they feel that this is going to give undue advantage to the large families of French Canada. I say this is a reproach not to the large families of French Canada but to the small families or lack of families in the rest of Canada. If family allowances increase

The Address-Mr. Sinclair

the size of the families in the rest of Canada it will be a very fine thing, far better than any system of unrestricted or selected immigration.

The part of the speech from the throne which most interests me, naturally, is that part dealing with reconstruction, rehabilitation, demobilization and reestablishment. I do not intend to speak of reconstruction or demobilization now, but I should like to speak on the rehabilitation of the soldier who returns from overseas. I do not pretend to be the spokesman of the man overseas; however, I do say that I have a fair knowledge of what the airman overseas is thinking. Life with the Sth army in the desert and with the Canadian army in Sicily has given me a little knowledge of the soldier. The sixty-five days I spent at sea in convoy and my trip home on a Canadian destroyer at least gave me contact with our sailors and our merchant mariners. Discussions with these groups have convinced me that they have a common outlook on rehabilitation, so that when I say "soldier" or "sailor" or "airman", these words are interchangeable. In one way the service man of this war is very different from the service man of the last war. Those who fought so bravely in Flanders fields really believed they were fighting to create a world worth living in, because they had not known the aftermath of a world war. Those who are fighting in this war have no such illusions. They know the bitter disillusionment of the soldiers of the last war. They remember the years of the hungry thirties, and they are determined that this is not going to happen to them. Unlike the soldiers of the last war, when they return they are going to have two very powerful organizations to give them guidance, the Canadian Legion and the Army and Navy Veterans.

The soldiers know what they want; what they want must be established in concrete legislation long before the end of the war, and they must know of it. That the government lealize this is shown by the fact that legislation has been brought down, that blue cards were issued to soldiers telling them about it, and that later on little blue booklets were issued. I feel, however, that the present programme falls far short of what the soldiers expect in one respect. Since the speech from the throne has announced that certain amend- ( ments are to be made I hope that my comments will be taken not as critical of the past but as constructive for the future. To introduce this subject to the house I can do no better than quote the collective opinion of the members of the squadron which I have just left, the City of Windsor squadron. This

squadron could well be taken as being representative of the Canadian fighting man overseas. They have had greater and more varied combat experience than any other unit in the Canadian army or air force during this war. They have served in Great Britain, in Egypt, in Cyprus, in Libya, (in Tunisia, in Malta, in Sicily, and now they are the crack fighter squadron with the desert air force in Italy.

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November 14, 1940

Mr. JAMES SINCLAIR (Vancouver North):

Mr. Speaker, in rising to speak this

evening I must first thank those who made it possible for me to speak so early in this debate. I am quite aware that there are many who are quite senior members to me who would like to speak this evening, and since my leave has expired and I am returning to my post to-night I feel grateful to them for having yielded me this opportunity.

To-night I am speaking not so much as the member for Vancouver North, but as one who has had the good fortune to be accepted in one of the services. I regard it as good fortune because we who are private members have no more rights and no more exemptions than any other citizen of this country. So we can regard it as good fortune to be in an active service unit. It may be that some of my constituents feel that because I am in the service I cannot give to the affairs of my riding the time and consideration which they should have. I can reassure my constituents. Perhaps I have suffered some handicaps, but the minister and my colleagues among the private members have been more than kind in seeing that the affairs of my riding have not been neglected.

I regret exceedingly that I was not in the house last night to hear my hon. friend the member for Hastings-Peterborough (Mr. White) speak. Although we are both in active service I must say that there is little in his speech with which I can agree. That, probably, is a good sign of a democracy-that even in a service where men in the positions we hold may be expected, if they think at all, to think the same, we hold these diverse opinions.

I think I can say, on behalf of other hon. members on our side who are in the sendee, that we feel strongly about the inference one would draw from the opening paragraph of the hon. member's speech, that he regarded it as a virtue not to have had a commission from this government. I should like to point out to the hon. member that the great majority of the men in the active service of Canada to-day are not professional soldiers; they are ordinary peace-loving citizens during times of peace. When we joined up we did so, not under a Liberal government or any other government, but as citizens entering the Canadian army. I should like to point out, too, that we private members who are fortunate enough to be in the service are not in it because we are in politics. I can assure

The Address-Mr. Sinclair

him, as can many other hon. members, that we are in it despite the fact that we are in politics, because the recruiting officers and the chiefs of staff of the three services have shown a real reluctance to have members of parliament in their ranks-perhaps an understandable reluctance based on a fear that w>e would take advantage of our position. Other members of this house have tried since the beginning of the war to enlist and would, I believe, have been in the service a long time ago had it not been for the fact that they were in politics.

The hon. member made some mention of "lightning promotions." The only promotion I know of among hon. members who have enlisted is the promotion recently given, and-I can say this from the bottom of my heart-most deservedly given to the hon. member for Greenwood (Mr. Massey), who is now at Trenton camp doing a wonderful job. That was no "lightning promotion"; it was to my mind a normal promotion somewhat overdue.

Perhaps I may be allowed in a kind way to say just one more thing to the hon. member for Hastings-Peterborough. He said that his was not a political appointment from this government. He was appointed in August, 1930. Hon. members may recall that the government of the Right Hon. R. B. Bennett was elected in July, 1930.

The whole tenor of my speech will be a little different from that of my hon. friend, in that I do not think this house is the proper place in which to bring up a great number of quibbling little matters, for instance as to whether certain units of the non-permanent active militia went to camp with one, or two, army shirts. Surely one who has the rights of a member of parliament should bring these matters directly to the minister concerned-the one man who more than any other wants to see that the army is run as efficiently as possible and who will do everything in his power to that end.

There has been criticism of delay in supplying certain articles, such as socks and shirts, to the non-permanent active militia. But these men were not naked; all of them had clothes and shirts of their own. They, too, realized, I think, that we are in a war. Those who saw the terrible pictures which were shown early last week, by the courtesy of the Minister of Trade and Commerce (Mr. MacKinnon), of the German war effort and the way in which the Germans smashed through the Netherlands, will realize that whether or not the non-permanent active militia were all outfitted completely at the start does not matter very much. The thing

which matters is, whether our first line, the navy and the air force, is being properly equipped as fast as this country can equip it. Speaking for the only service I know, the air force, I can say in this house to-night that it is.

I do not intend to speak at length on the general plan or the success of the empire air training scheme. The activities of the air force generally have been widely discussed and have received abundant praise from independent military authorities in this country and in the United States, and, what is most important of all, from those authorities in the United Kingdom who are fighting the fight in the air and who should know whether or not this scheme, which is now becoming the back-bone of the defence of Britain, and what we hope will soon be the battle of Germany, is succeeding.

A great deal has been said about the wonderful organization of the air ministry in their development of this empire air training scheme. Sufficient credit will never be given to the minister, the deputy minister and the air staff in the tremendous task they have faced, one phase of which, for example, has been to enlarge a force which numbered a thousand a year ago in the active force to over thirty thousand at the present time.

I do not intend here to enumerate the fields and hangars and planes, or the instructors and the pilots turned out already. That has been done, that will be done by people more competent than I am to speak, but I will say that one thing has been overlooked. This scheme could not have succeeded as it has, and as it will, if it depended only upon the work of the minister, the deputy minister and the air staff. This plan has succeeded mainly because the rank and file of the air force, the aircraftmen, the non-commissioned officers, the warrant officers and the junior officers, have faith and confidence in the staff; and the reason why they have that confidence is that they know that the men heading this effort are no mere brass hats; the heads of the air force are men who fought in the last war, know what war is and will stand for no red tape. That, to my mind, after seeing a little of the force, in a very lowly rank, is the real reason why this government, why the minister and why his excellent organization have functioned so well. [DOT]

I do not intend to enlarge upon how well the empire air training scheme is progressing. I think it would be as wrong for me to say here to-night, in connection with the first classes that are turned out, how many pilots, how many observers and how many gunners are being sent overseas, as it was for another

The Address-Mr. Sinclair

man in another place to say recently how many British airmen were planning to make the hazardous trip across the submarine-infested ocean. I did not, however, come here to speak praise of the air force organization; it speaks for itself. I do, however, want to speak as a man in the service and as a member trying to represent these great numbers of voters who have left their ridings and are now living in barracks and camps and who deserve an active voice in this house. I am going to bring up two or three little points which to them are important.

The first is the matter of rentals in soldier towns. As hon. members know, in a great number of the air force and soldier camps the wives of the men, especially those without families, have tried to follow and stay near their men as long as possible. In the little villages alongside these encampments this has led to unwarranted profiteering. These women who want to stay with their men are naturally not very well off. The government has begun recently to control these rentals in the larger towns. May I ask them to extend that control as soon as possible to the little towns in the neighbourhood of air force and service camps, because to attempt to profiteer at the expense of these soldiers' families who want to be near their men as long as they can, seems the harshest of all sorts of profiteering.

There is also the matter of rentals in industrial centres which have boomed because of war activities. In these centres also there have been instances of rental profiteering. In North Vancouver and in the town of Powell River activity has increased, there has been a demand for space, and rentals have been rising. I received this morning a letter from a soldier's wife in Powell River who complained of her rent being raised, the inference being that these workers coming in can pay more and therefore she is being squeezed out. I hope the government will as soon as possible extend the rent control to these smaller centres.

Another matter about industrial war activity that I might mention in relation to my own riding is the problem of the shipyards in North Vancouver. These are the best shipyards on the Pacific coast, perhaps the best in Canada. There was considerable trouble a year ago with regard to awarding government contracts there because of the fact that labour costs in British Columbia are higher. We are proud of that in British Columbia, in that we have a higher standard of living than the rest of Canada, but that militated against our getting the contracts. I am glad to say that the minister did place contracts for mine-sweepers and corvettes, but these ships

have now been built and the shipyards are laying off their men. We have read rumours that cargo boats are to be built in the United States for the British government, and certain United States yards are getting ready for a shipbuilding programme. As our men are being laid off, there are agents in North Vancouver now attempting to induce our workers to go to Bremerton when their work in North Vancouver is finished. These shipyard workers I believe are just as important to the war activities of this country as are the riggers and fitters in the airport across the harbour, and must be kept employed here.

There is one question in the mind of every soldier, sailor and airman in Canada at the present time. Every night now when they pick up a newspaper they want to see what parliament has done about this matter of transportation on leave. There has been perhaps a good deal of nonsense talked by people who knew little about the matter, but whose hearts cry out for soldiers to get every concession the government can give them before they go overseas. One of the most popular misconceptions is that leave is one of the soldier's rights. The soldiers and airmen understand that leave is not a right, it is a privilege. If their conduct has been good and if the service at the time can spare them, certain leaves may be granted: in the air force, for example, thirty-six hours at the week-ends in which they are not on duty; forty-eight hours once a month, and two weeks once every six months. These leaves are not necessarily for the men to return to their homes; these men joined up to fight a war and certainly they do not expect to get home for every forty-eight hours' leave. Leaves are for relaxation and refreshment and to get away for a little while from army discipline. There is, however, to every man in the service one great attraction, that of home. In the kit box of the airman in the barracks are pictures of those he left behind. When they talk in the barracks, around the hangars, it is of their home towns and the friends there. When they think they are going overseas, it is only natural to desire to go home; that desire is very strong.

It was pointed out last night that the average soldier who has a home and a wife to whom he has assigned pay; in other words, the man who is anxious to go home, has for himself at the most 819 a month. That may be enough for a man at Petawawa whose home is in Ontario to get home, but it will not finance a trip from Vancouver back east or vice versa. I do not suggest for a moment that free transportation should be given to

The Address-Mr. Sinclair

soldiers on the short leaves, but I do think, and I believe the people of Canada think, and certainly the soldiers, sailors and airmen feel that the government might give them the bare cost of transportation on their semiannual two weeks' leave. In the Royal Air Force, in fact in all the services in the old country, that is done. Of course distances there are shorter, travel does not cost so much as here, with our great distances. But that argument can be used just as truly the other way. The smaller fares for those short distances can be more easily paid by the British soldier than the fares for the long distances that some of our soldiers have to travel. From my conversations with people coming across Canada recently I am convinced that the people feel that this thing should be granted no matter what the cost. We in this house are so used to appealing to the government for money that perhaps we tend to forget that it is not the government's own money, it is the money of the people of Canada which they have entrusted to the government to spend. I believe this is one thing which the people of Canada do wish for their soldiers, and this adds strength to our plea that at least on their long leaves some consideration be given to provide free transportation-not for officers, because they can provide their own, but for the men at $1.30 a day, soldiers, sailors and airmen.

One other question relating to leave which I should like to bring up is the inequality of leave, especially in the air force, as far as this two weeks' leave is concerned. The air force was recruited, not as the army was, by localities; the air force is recruited on a national scale from Victoria to Halifax. The men pour into central pools and are then sent out to stations as they are needed, without regard to the localities from which they come. Yet, when their two weeks' leave is granted, if it can be granted, it is inequitable. For example, we have a number of large training centres in Ontario. The boys from British Columbia who get two weeks' leave have really five or six days' leave, by the time they travel home and back. If a man has the good fortune to be close to his home he gets twelve or fourteen days. I might go further and take the hon. member who spoke last night as an example. The government have ruled that we members are entitled only to the army leave that we get as ordinary soldiers. It may be a little hard on us, but as far as the feeling of the force is concerned it is an excellent thing that we get no special privileges. On the one hand a soldier member who lives in Ontario can get to the house for almost his whole

fourteen days' leave, but my colleague the hon. member for Nanaimo (Mr. Chambers) or myself get at the most seven days. I feel that some consideration should be given to this matter by the Department of National Defence. Here again the Royal Air Force have taken this into consideration. In their most recent orders regarding leave they say:

Personnel proceeding on leave to and from the Orkney and Shetland islands are to be granted sufficient total leave to ensure that they have seven days at home.

I would respectfully suggest to the government that some such provision also be made for the long leaves of those who must travel great distances to get home.

There is one special plea I should like to make to-night for one very special group, the air crew's. Under the empire air training scheme these men graduate in classes, and they are given what is called a last leave of ten days in which to return to their homes. I think that expression "last leave" is fitting in this instance, because they know, as we do, that a great number of them will never return, and that is their last chance to see those whom they leave behind. Here again the same situation obtains; the British Columbia boy who has been trained at Trenton, for example, where so many of them finish, will have only two days of his last leave to spend a.t home. It is true that they receive half fare warrants on the trains. I suggest that this one special group, to which Winston Churchill must have referred when he used the expression that has become immortal that "never in history have so many owed so much to so few"; this special group who will be hurtling through the air in Hurricanes and Spitfires, be given half fare warrants not on the trains but on the trans-Canada planes, so that they may have at least eight of their ten days at home.

The air training scheme has become really an empire scheme within the last two months, with the arrival of the Australians and New Zealanders. We in Vancouver have had the pleasure of seeing these recruits pass through our city, and it can justly be said that they are the cream of the antipodes. They have come a long way; they get here after spending three weeks at sea. We all know that first impressions are the most lasting, yet these men are hurried through our city to their training centres. We all agree that speed is the main essential of this empire air training scheme, but the people of Vancouver would like to do something for these Australians and New Zealanders as they pass through, to show them how Canada feels about their arrival. The last contingent arrived in Vancouver at six o'clock in the evening, after a voyage lasting three weeks, and at seven-fifteen

The Address-Mr. Wright

they left for a station on the plains of Saskatchewan. I do not know whether the minister is the proper person to approach, or whether this should be said to the Australian authorities, but I should like to suggest that at least one day and one night be allowed between disembarkation and the trip to the prairies, in order that two things may be accomplished: first, that these men may be given a proper reception in the loveliest city of Canada and, second, that the people of Vancouver may have an opportunity to show these men, who have come so far to fight in the common cause, what they can do for them. Various service organizations in our city are only too willing to undertake in rotation the entertainment of each contingent as it arrives.

In closing I should like to say one thing to the minister and the government on behalf of the rank and file of the air force. They believe in this government; especially they believe in the minister and staff who are running the air force. That is why they do not mind going into camps that may be not quite finished, perhaps without water for a day or so, without public complaint. They grouse privately, but as we all know, soldiers always grouse. These men understand the driving necessity of expanding operations as quickly as possible. They are willing to overlook minor discomforts because they realize that this is a war. On behalf of these men, the riggers, the fitters, the engineers and the air crews, I say to this government and to the minister in particular, "Keep at it the way you are going".

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July 3, 1940

Mr. JAMES SINCLAIR (Vancouver North):

I should like to ask a question of the Minister of Justice (Mr. Lapointe) respecting a matter of immediate concern to every decent citizen in Vancouver. My question is based on an item appearing in the Vancouver Sun of June 29. It is as follows:

Joe Celona freed after serving only five years of ten-year sentence.

The item continues:

Joe Celona convicted and sentenced to ten years in the federal penitentiary for implication in the white slave traffic has been released on executive clemency at Ottawa, it was confirmed here to-day.

This man, Celona, prior to 1934 was the openly acknowledged vice lord of Vancouver, dominating the underworld of this city more completely than did Capone in Chicago.

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July 3, 1940


This is an important matter. I know that when men such as this are released it is done upon the recommendation or the advice of local authorities. For that reason I would ask the Minister of Justice

National Registration

if this man Celona, who debauched and depraved hundreds of girls, and who corrupted the police force and the city administration, was released on the recommendation of Hon. G. S. Wismer, attorney general for the province of British Columbia?

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May 17, 1940

Mr. JAMES SINCLAIR (Vancouver North):

Mr. Speaker, in rising to second the resolution which has just been moved by the hon. member for Lotbiniere (Mr. Hugues Lapointe), I must confess that I have never before been so aware of my own limitations as after hearing his brilliant and eloquent address. The right hon. Minister of Justice (Mr. Ernest Lapointe), during his long and distinguished career in Canadian public service, has enjoyed many great personal triumphs, but I know that none has ever made him feel prouder or happier than he is at this moment, after hearing his son so ably begin what will undoubtedly be a parliamentary career as long and successful as that of his distinguished father.

May I offer to you, Mr. Speaker, my congratulations upon your election by this honourable house to the distinguished position which you now occupy. What little confidence I may possess this afternoon is because of my consciousness that I can seek shelter and sanctuary in these somewhat strange surroundings under the sway of your kindly Doric.

May I also, if indeed that be not temerity, offer my sincere felicitations to the leader of the opposition (Mr. Hanson) upon the honour that his party has conferred upon him. I am assured that his great gifts will be a real asset to his party, to this parliament and to our country.

May I in a special way thank the right hon. the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) for the honour he has done my constituents in Vancouver North in selecting me to second the motion for an address in reply to the speech from the throne. On their behalf, too, may I congratulate him on becoming Prime Minister for the fifth time. Four years ago he was elected to office by the mandate of the Canadian people, supported by the greatest majority ever accorded to any Canadian Prime Minister. To-day, after an election fought solely on his administration since that time, we find him returned to office with a majority surpassing even that of 1935.

The Address

Mr. Sinclair

No words of mine, nor for that matter no words of the most able and eloquent member of this house, could so strikingly testify to his outstanding qualities of leadership as did the collective voice of the Canadian people from Cape Breton to Nootka sound when it spoke on the 26th day of March of this year. The record of his administrations and the repeated and overwhelming approval given to him by the people of Canada mark the Prime Minister as our greatest leader since confederation.

All Canada was saddened this spring by the death of the governor general, Lord Tweedsmuir. We have always been fortunate in the calibre of the men who have held this high office, and it is neither an exaggeration nor a reflection to say that none was as highly and as warmly regarded by the common people of Canada as was Lord Tweedsmuir. Of humble parentage, he won his education in a manner which is traditional with Scottish scholars, by bursaries at Glasgow university, by fellowships at Oxford. His administrative ability was early recognized, and he went to South Africa as one of that group of brilliant young men who were trained for public service by Lord Milner. Then came literature-fiction, history, and, above all, incomparable biography.

He served with distinction in the great war, and afterwards returned to public life as a member of the mother of parliaments. When he came to Canada we already felt that we knew him well through his books, and soon we all had a chance to see and hear and meet him. We saw him in our great cities; we saw him in the pioneer settlements on our distant frontiers; we saw him in the small communities which are the real Canada, and we marvelled at his untiring industry and his burning desire to know our country from coast to coast and our people through and through.

He had the same great love of the outdoors that so many Canadians have, and we from British Columbia are proud to think that the mountains and valleys, the lakes and streams, and the great forests and the broad ranges of Tweedsmuir park will be forever a fitting and ever green memorial to this man whom I can *rightly call a great Canadian. The man who was bom John Buchan, a son of the manse, .and who died the first Baron Tweedsmuir, a great proconsul of a great empire, may best be described in the words he himself used of Lincoln:

He conducted the ordinary business of life in phrases of homespun simplicity, but when necessary he could attain a nobility of speech and a profundity of thought which have rarely 'been equalled. He was a plain man, loving

fMr. Sinclair.]

his fellows and happy among them, but when the crisis came he could stand alone. He could talk with crowds and keep his virtue; he could preserve the common touch and yet walk with God.

I know, Mr. Speaker, that you will understand me when I say that we who hail from the far west felt a very natural pride yesterday when parliament was opened by the Administrator, Chief Justice Sir Lyman Duff. This great jurist, who by his profound learning has brought added dignity and prestige to his high office, first achieved recognition in the fair city of Victoria.

The people of Canada look forward with the greatest pleasure to welcoming the new governor general, the Earl of Athlone, and his gracious lady, when they come to our shores in the near future. It is a curious coincidence that the noble earl should come to us at this time; for twenty-six years ago, just before our entry into the last war, he was designated our governor general. At that time he asked to be excused so that he could go on service in France, and throughout that war he served with great valour and distinction. Subsequently he became the governor general of South Africa and he so completely captured the hearts of the people of our sister dominion that they asked him to remain for a second term. We are indeed fortunate to have this great soldier and statesman as governor general during the dark days ahead.

I understand that it is the privilege of the member performing this pleasant task to say a few words about his own constituency. Vancouver North, the riding which I have the honour to represent, is not as its name suggests, a part of the great city of Vancouver. It lies to -the east, to the north and .to the northwest of that city, extending from the banks of the Fraser river across to Burrard inlet, and then up the coast for some two hundred miles. I feel quite safe in saying that it is the most diversified industrial riding in British Columbia, containing as it does logging camps, sawmills, pulp and paper mills, the greatest copper mine in the British empire, shipyards, oil refineries, railway shops, extensive salmon and cod fisheries, quarries, grain elevators and a number of manufacturing plants.

The chief problem of this riding has always been to find world markets for the many products of its industries. In no part of this country have the trade expansion policies of the preceding administration been of such immediate and practical benefit, and the people of my riding are keenly appreciative of the great efforts of the government in this connection. In recent months the war has considerably increased the demand for the

The Address-Mr. Sinclair

products of my riding, but unfortunately it is becoming exceedingly difficult to secure adequate cargo space to transport these goods to overseas markets. In the timber industry especially this condition has become serious, and it is my hope that the government will soon consider measures looking to its alleviation.

My riding also includes three of the loveliest suburbs of Vancouver, but I regret to say that two of these municipalities are in the hands of receivers. It is the feeling of the residents of North Vancouver that their financial difficulties are mainly due to the action taken in removing most of the taxable waterfront in North Vancouver from the municipal assesssment rolls, and to the operation by a national agency of the Second Narrows bridge which was built and financed by the people of this district. At a later date I hope to draw the attention of the government to these matters in greater detail.

My riding has one other important asset, one which I believe is often claimed for other ridings. I believe that nowhere in Canada is there such a magnificent and varied display of scenic grandeur as is to be found on the coast of British Columbia. Our snow-capped mountains, our beautiful lakes and streams; our matchless coastline indented with innumerable great bays and deep fiords and dotted with countless islands; our unexcelled hunting, fishing, mountaineering and ski-ing, and above all, our salubrious climate, which is the envy of all Canada, serve to make the coast of British Columbia the mecca of tourists and sportsmen from all comers of the globe.

Transcending and overshadowing every other issue before this house, Mr. Speaker, is the war in which the British and French nations are engulfed. This war is not of our seeking, but is a conflict which was forced upon us when it became apparent that the brutalities, the treacheries and the aggressions of nazi Germany directed against its small and defenceless neighbours were destroying the peace of the entire world and could not be curbed by mere appeals for decency and tolerance and justice or by the ordinary processes of international law. To preserve the rights for which our forefathers fought and died since magna charta, the people of Canada, speaking through their freely chosen representatives assembled in parliament, decided that the time had come to meet force with force. Some two months ago the people of Canada approved the united war effort of the preceding administration. The people of Canada now expect this government to press forward with all the resources at their command to help our allies bring this dreadful conflict to a speedy and successful conclusion.

There were some who believed that complete neutrality should be Canada's attitude; they cited the long and successful neutrality of the Scandinavian and low countries as proof of the wisdom of that course. The terrible events of the last month .must have proved a rude awakening to these people.

The preceding administration was elected in peace time, to govern this country in peace time. Long before the war clouds began to gather in Europe, we are proud to remember that despite vigorous opposition this government began to build up our national defences and to prepare the skeleton organization for the control of the economic resources of this country should war develop. We on the Pacific coast have had a better opportunity than most people in other parts of Canada to see and appreciate the great work of the Department of National Defence in providing us with an adequate system of coastal defences. The people of Vancouver Centre recently showed their approval in no uncertain terms of the man chiefly responsible for that program of coast defence.

The present government takes over its duties refreshed and invigorated by the overwhelming mandate of the people of Canada, and is directly charged with the great task of immediately supplying the .maximum military, financial and economic aid to our allies in this death struggle. I am sure that in this house to-day partisanship will be cast aside and members of all parties will devote all their energies to assisting the government in this great task.

Mention is made in the speech from the throne of increased taxation to assist in financing the war. I think everyone in Canada realized that increased taxation must come. I am sure that today no one objects, because everyone understands only too clearly that if we lose this war, we lose everything. No financial sacrifice can equal that of those who are leaving homes and loved ones behind and offering their lives for their country.

Second only in importance to our great war effort is the planning for the reconstruction and rehabilitation of this country after the war is won. It has been said that no peace-loving democracy is ever adequately prepared for war. It is surely equally true that a democracy at war should plan and prepare for peace.

There has been another bitter struggle fought in this country during the last ten years, a struggle which has been waged, grimly and silently, in far too many Canadian homes. I refer to the never-ending struggle against unemployment, poverty and disease, against old age haunted by the fear of want; the struggle of the youth of the

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country who have been frustrated in a desperate search for gainful employment. These are the enemies which destroyed the struggling post-war democracies of central Europe; these are the foes we must conquer in the post-war years if Canada is to survive as a free country.

The measures adopted by the preceding administration to combat these conditions were proving increasingly successful in peace time. I need mention only briefly the expanding markets provided by their trade policies; the beginning of a national forestry plan through dominion-provincial forestry camps; assistance in the development of tourist and mining roads and trails; vocational training in the cities and farm training in rural areas for our young people; municipal assistance, the National Housing Act, home improvement loans, and numerous great public works projects. This programme must of necessity be greatly extended and expanded to meet the needs of the post-war years.

We must plan to reconstruct not only our industrial and economic organizations but also the social structure of this nation. It has been increasingly apparent in recent years that grave difficulties in government are occasioned by the present division of responsibility among the federal, provincial and municipal authorities. The British North America Act was drawn up in 1S67 to meet the needs of the Canada of that time, a Canada vastly different from the Canada of to-day; a Canada, for example, in which our present chief problem, unemployment, did not exist. It is high time that the constitution of Canada was revised to bring it abreast of present conditions in this modern changing world. It is a matter of satisfaction, therefore, that the report of the royal commission on dominion-provincial relations has been tabled, and it is the hope of all Canada that out of the recommendations of this report the framework of a new Canada may be designed which will allow the governments of this country to grapple effectively and efficiently with the problems which will develop in the post-war years.

As the representative of an industrial riding I am gratified to learn from the speech from the throne that an amendment of the British North America Act is being sought to permit the introduction of a national scheme of unemployment insurance. Such legislation will be most welcome in every part of Canada. While it is true that unemployment insurance is no solution of the problem of unemployment, it will serve as a buffer to lessen the shock of unemployment on the individual as well as on the community at large.

Measures for the rehabilitation of our soldiers when demobilized will of necessity, I

think, have to be expanded to include provisions for war workers and others who will be directly or indirectly affected by the cessation of hostilities. The government will probably profit by the experience in the matter of soldiers' civil reestablishment after the last war.

The honour of seconding the address in reply to the speech from the throne is one which any young member may well prize, since it affords 'him an opportunity to speak to the house so soon after his arrival, to felicitate the leaders of his country, to mention briefly the problems of his riding, to review with pride the past accomplishments of his party, and to hold out high hopes for the success Df the program outlined in the speech from the throne. To-day, however, this honour seems singularly unimportant; for the minds of all of us here are heavily burdened with just one thought, the progress of the war in which we are now engaged.

For far too long we have taken for granted the rights and privileges of British subjects, and the vast resources and the boundless opportunities of this land of ours. Now that all of this is in jeopardy we realize that these things are infinitely precious, that life without them would be impossible. Our freedom of speech, our freedom of person, our freedom from racial and religious intolerance, our right to elect freely by secret ballot, our government-all these things will surely perish if we lose this struggle.

Until a month ago it was generally thought that this war was to be a defensive war, a war of exhaustion and attrition in which the economic resources of the nation would eventually be of more value than the military organization. The events of the last month have changed the whole outlook. The German hordes have sw'ept across Denmark and Norway and are now sweeping across the low countries. It is apparent that man power and the material of warfare are the crying needs of our allies, and it is our manifest duty to aid them in this way as speedily as possible, no matter what the cost may be.

Dominating this building in which we sit is a peace tower erected to commemorate the sacrifices of the last war. In that tower is a hall of remembrance to sixty thousand Canadians who gave their lives for their country. Across Canada from coast to coast are tens of thousands of returned soldiers whose lives have been broken by the injuries they sustained in the last war. These are terrible reminders to us of the price other Canadians have paid that we might have this freedom.

This parliament meets in the darkest days since our nation was born. The hopes and the prayers of all Canada are with us to-day.

Royal Canadian Air Force

This is no time for complacency. It is a time for united effort, for ceaseless endeavour; above all, for action, fearless action. This is the time to subordinate all other affairs, to smash away the political bickerings and the departmental red tape which in the past have impeded democratic action. This is the time to mobilize with ruthless speed every resource of this vast country.

We, the Commons of Canada, assembled within these four walls, have the power to do these things, and the people of Canada, who sent us here, expect us to use that power so that we and our allies, with God's aid, may win a peace which will ensure the freedom of the peoples of this world.

On motion of Mr. Hanson (York-Sunbury) the debate was adjourned.

On motion of Mr. Mackenzie King the house adjourned at 4.30 p.m.

Monday, May 20, 1940

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