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


Shortly after the government issued these little blue cards, one of which I have here, the squadron had an open forum of both aircrew and ground crew to discuss these problems. That little meeting on a forward landing ground at dusk was to me the most educative and interesting experience I had1 overseas. Out of it emerged one bald, bare fact. These men do not want charity or pity in the way of being given a hand-out. All they want is the same fighting chance in peace time as they are now taking for their country in war time. I think I can summarize briefly as follows the collective opinion of their meeting that night:

When the war broke out and our country needed us, the government accepted our services. They took us and trained us in the best manner in the very best of training institutes. During that period of training they clothed and fed us and provided full medical and dental treatment. They paid us a basic rate of at least $1.30 per day and full service dependents' allowance to our dependents, amounting in all to $75 per month for a single man, $110 per month for a married man and $134 a month for a married man with two children. When we have served our country and returned to train for peace we want, first of all, jobs. If we cannot fill those jobs, we want the necessary training. We want jobs not of death and destruction but of peace and construction, under similar conditions of pay and allowances.

With this simple demand no one can find fault. I believe the people of Canada themselves are willing to give these boys that much.

Let me trace what happens to a soldier when he is honourably discharged under existing regulations. Here I must compliment my friend the Minister of Pensions and National Health (Mr. Mackenzie) upon his recent action which has cut my feet from under me in my criticism of the old regulations. Under the old regulations a man needing medical treatment was discharged and then given a pension on a much lower scale. Under the exist-

The Address-Mr. Sinclair

mg regulations he is retained in uniform while undergoing treatment. Officers are paid at the rate of flying officers or the equivalent, and airmen at their existing pay. The retention of the uniform is a fine thing, because a disabled man in uniform is an object of respect; in civilian clothes he is quite often the recipient of unwanted1 pity. If he is partly disabled, on completion of the treatment he comes under the Pension Act. I do not propose to speak of that matter at this time, although here again I should like to compliment the minister on the recently announced extension of the burnt-out pension scheme.

We now have a man in good health ready for discharge. First he gets his clothing allowance so that he may return to civilian life. Previously this was the ridiculous sum of S35, but it has lately been increased to $65. This sum may be sufficient for a man who has been less than a year in the service, because it would permit him to supplement his civilian clothing, but it certainly is not sufficient for a man who has been overseas for three or four years. Quite often when he returns he has outgrown his clothing; it may be moth-eaten, or his loving relatives may have given it away to the Salvation Army or the Red Cross. I would say that the clothing allowance should be based on a sliding scale according to length and character of service.

There is another important point about the clothing allowance which I want to bring out. Before a man gets his clothing allowance he must turn in his uniform. He is allowed to keep his shirts, underwear, socks and shoes, but he must turn in his gun, tools, uniform, blankets and things like that. Since I returned home 'I have been stationed at a west coast station. One wet day a man paraded in the squadron dressed only in a sweater and a pair of white cook's trousers and wanted a pass to go to town. He was reproved for parading in such clothing, let alone for asking to go to town, but he explained that he had just turned in his uniform, had got his $65 and now wanted to go to town to get his civilian clothes. When I told that to my colleague, the hon. member for Fraser Valley, that old soldier, with his customary vigour, said that if he had been in that man's place he would have paraded to town in the shirt, underwear, socks and shoes which his grateful country had allowed him to keep.

The very least this country could do for an honourably discharged soldier is to allow him to keep his uniform. The cost of a No. 1 blue is $13.70. When it is turned in it becomes a No. 2 blue worth just $7. A No. 2 blue when turned in is either made into salvage or given t"' the Indian department. It would not cost

'Mr. Sinclair.]

the government over $7. Giving the uniform to the air man-I am confining my remarks to the air force-would permit him to return to his home town in uniform. More than that, he would be able to spend his $85 wisely. He could use that money to supplement his civilian clothing when he is at home by purchasing from the home town stores. Let me tell this house that every sailor, soldier or airman is just as proud of his uniform as any officer, and will want to keep it so that in the years to come he can show his children and his grandchildren the uniform in which he served his king.

Next, our man is given a discharge button. This is a most excellent thing, as is the provision of a button to those who have volunteered but have been found unfit, who have tried to join but have been rejected for medical reasons. My one suggestion here is that these buttons are not well enough known in Canada and do not get the honour they deserve. I suggest that the government should omit one of these civilian morale advertisements that clutter up our newspapers'and devote the same space to returned soldier morale by featuring, first of all, the red maple leaf of the man who tried to join, who tried to do his bit, and the discharge button given to the man who has been honourably discharged, who has done his bit. In that way the people of Canada would come to know these badges and honour them.

Now our man is ready for his gratuity. I dislike the term "gratuity" because it implies charity. What he actually gets is a grant in aid to enable him to tide himself over the very difficult period of demobilization. At present this is one month's pay of rank and allowances for those with more than six months' service. With both the method of payment and the payment I disagree. There is a great difference between the need of, say, a Seaforth private in Italy who has been serving for $1.50 a day and wTho is returned to civilian life, and a major-general whose service has been confined to the rigours of Ottawa at $20 a day. Theoretically the higher the rank, the easier it is for a man to return to civilian life. The Seaforth private will go back to civilian life with $45, whereas the major-general will be given $600. This is a case of to them that have had, more shall be given, and to them that have had very1 little, very little shall be given.

I would take the minister's own yardstick in the case of medical treatment. The basic pay of a flying officer, an army lieutenant or a navy sub-lieutenant should be the basis for paying gratuities to all service men on discharge, and for each year of overseas service

The Address-Mr. Sinclair

or eighteen months of voluntary service in Canada the man should be given one month's pay at this rate.

Our man is now fit, discharged with his clothing allowance, button, and grant in aid. Now comes rehabilitation. Men in this war differ from men in the last in another way. There has been a high degree of mechanization in this war, and there is a great proportion of skilled tradesmen in the service. Three-quarters of the ground men in the air force are highly skilled technicians, fitters, riggers, wireless operators, welders, and so on. The same is true to a lesser extent of the men in the army and navy. These men are going to have very little trouble in getting jobs when they return, if the jobs are there. That, of course, is the problem of reconstruction.

There is a second group who will have little trouble, those who will return to their civilian occupations because of the government's very good soldier reinstatement act.

There remains another group, estimated by the Canadian Legion to be between 150,000 and 200,000, who will have no civilian trade or who will want to complete their training which was interrupted by the war. In this group will be the very greatest number of the men who deserve best by this country, the actual combatants, the soldier in the line, the aircrew in the air, the sailors on our fighting ships whose only trade right now is to kill or be killed. I have had the opportunity of carefully studying the educational programme drawn up by Doctor Weir and his staff under the Minister of Pensions and National Health, and I find it a wonderful scheme. No returned soldier can say that a suitable training syllabus to train him on his return to civilian life was not prepared. My objection is a simple one. The soldier, sailor or airman will not be able to take this programme because of financial inadequacy. Let me read from this little soldier blue book on the subject of grants-in-aid:

Grants may be provided to service men while taking refresher courses, vocational training, university education, awaiting return from crops or private enterprise, temporarily incapacitated or out of work, if fit and capable of working.

All very admirable and completely comprehensive. These grants cover (a) tuition fees, student fees, athletic fees or other charges and costs of courses given; (c) allowances for dependents. These are on the service scale as regards children, and I find no complaint with either of these clauses (a) and (c). It is clause (b) that I find fault with. Clause (b) provides for living allowances of $44.20 a month for a single man and $62.40 a month for a married man. This living allowance can be regarded as a basic $44.20, plus $18.20 for wife. Against this I protest.

To begin with, as a mathematician I am fascinated by the $44.20. I would certainly like to know the mathematical basis on which the need and reward of a service man can be figured right down to twenty cents. I am told it is based on unemployment insurance benefits. I scorn that comparison. There is no conceivable relation between reestablishing a veteran who has served his king and country and unemployment insurance benefits.

Some will say it is a wonderful benefit. How they wished they had had it when they attended college! I am sure that the minister, when he recalls his own grim struggle on meagre bursaries through Scottish universities, might regard it as munificent. I worked my way through university by working in the mines, and would have been highly pleased with such assistance. But here again the comparison fails. These are not boys struggling ahead for themselves, but men who have earned men's wages, who have hazarded their lives and sacrificed the best and most formative years of their lives for their country, on meagre pay, and who deserve well by their country'. Now when they return they are to be trained for peace. Even from the point of view of the narrowest and most selfish of national interests it is our duty to see them properly reestablished; for they represent our greatest single national asset, the fittest, the bravest, the most self-sacrificing of our youth, those who will create the Canada to come.

I am going to give you actual examples of what is happening to-day. At the beginning of the war, when air force standards were high, junior matriculation or better was required. As the drain on man-power began, standards relaxed, but still a certain minimum equivalent to second year high school mathematics was necessary. To enable candidates lacking this to qualify for the air force, the dominion-provincial youth training plan began giving this training to otherwise qualified candidates. They got only $1.25 a day subsistence. As the need grew greater, the air force took over those lads who where deficient in elementary education and sent them to public schools. In Vancouver, for example, to-day there are about 400 attending two public schools and a technical school. Now these lads get $1.25 a day for board as they lodge near the schools, and $1.30 a day basic airman's pay, a total of $76.50 a month in cash, plus airmen's clothing, full medical and dental care, all costs of tuition, and all the opportunities for free or cheap entertainment and recreation available for men in uniform. Their one complaint is that $37.50 a month is not adequate for board and lodging in Vancouver.

Also in Vancouver we have returned men starting rehabilitation training. Take the case

The Address-Mr. Sinclair

of a pilot with three years' overseas service who is resuming his interrupted course in engineering at the university of British Columbia. He gets his tuition fees, as the trainee does, and $44.20 in cash-nothing else. No clothing, no medical care except for war injuries, no dental treatment, no opportunities for free or cheap entertainment or recreation. Deduct the $37.50 which the government deems adequate for board for the trainee and we get this comparison:

To the man who is getting elementary education to enable him to begin real air force training to serve his country, $39 a month in cash, tuition fees, board and lodging, clothing, full medical and dental treatment, free or cheap recreation and entertainment. To the man who has served his country on the field of battle and is now training for peace, $6.70 in cash, tuition fees, board and lodging, no clothing, medical treatment only for war injuries, no dental treatment, no chance for free or cheap entertainment or recreation.

I mentioned before that in this group are going to be a large proportion of the most deserving, the actual combatants, the soldiers in the line, the aircrew and the fighting sailors.

In a sympathetic and understanding speech some sessions ago, the Minister of National Defence for Air (Mr. Power) pointed out that this group would present the greatest problems on return; for not only had jobs to be found, but the men would have to be conditioned to accept the quiet routine of civilian life after years of great hardships, intense excitement and the most incredible nervous strain in the line of battle. What hope is there for conditioning these men to a normal civilian life on a net cash grant of $6.70 a month, out of which they must pay for replacement of clothing, laundry, car fare, medical and dental treatment, recreation, and then find money for leading a normal civilian life? I tell this house that if these men return to such conditions their song will not be "Land of Hope and Glory"; it may well be the red flag. They will remember Kipling's bitter little song, "Tommy Atkins":

But it's "Thin red line of 'eroes", when the drums begin to roll.

That is what it was when they were called up. But when they find themselves getting $6.70 a month it will be "We serve no redcoats here". These men will know the score, just like Kipling's Tommy did.

An' Tommy ain't a bloomin' fool-you bet that Tommy sees!

No Canadian at home should accept the excuse that what we are doing is more than

IMr. Sinclair.]

any other country is doing. There is only one standard: to our ownselves be true. Give these men the one thing they are asking for, the same fighting chance in training for peace that we gave them when we were training them for war. I therefore propose that a basic sum of $75 a month be paid, plus standard service allowance to wife and children, plus medical and dental care at the nearest military establishment, for the duration of the period of rehabilitation. This is still less than the trainee taking elementary training gets, but it will give the returned soldier a fighting chance. That is all he wants.

While on the subject thete are one or two other things in this booklet that I would like to mention. First, soldier land settlement. I do not know very many airmen who are proposing to go on the land after this war. That may be because farm life is unsuitable after service in the air force. It may be because they remember too well soldier settlement after the last war. It may be because they remember too well the plight of experienced farmers before the present war.

Those who are going on the land expect three conditions to be fulfilled. First, that the land be suitable. They are not going to try to raise crops on barren acres. Second, that it be cleared. No British Columbia boy is going to spend the rest of his life trying to tear up British Columbia stumps by hand. Third, that the land be accessible to market.

I have two observations on finance. Every soldier, sailor or airman who reads page 13, and continues to read until he finds that the ex-service man must make a down payment to the government of ten per cent of the cost of the land, or $480, and that this down payment must be made prior to the receipt of any financial assistance, is going to say, "Where the blank am I going to get a down payment of $480?" Out of their savings or their war pay of one dollar and one-half a day? No. Out of this gratuity of $45 in all that the government is proposing to pay? No. From our chartered banks or money lenders? No. Where? I ask the government. It may well bother them. It is bothering, I know, many soldiers, sailors and airmen.

I had thought that in view of the experience in soldier settlement after the last war, the government's approach would be a little different. I do not like making statements without figures, but I am quite sure that if all the cost of land settlement boards and administration and legal costs and surveys and royal commissions were added up, the total would vastly overshadow the actual returns. I therefore propose that any soldier who is still

The Address-Mr. Esling

fanning his land after five years be given his farm outright. This would save the government money; it would give the soldier a real incentive to farm, and it would mean the end of at least one war board after the war, because five years after the end of the war the work of the land board would automati-. eally end, not drearily drag on for twenty-five years as has the present land board.

There is one conspicuous omission from this little booklet. The soldier will read it through and say, "Where am I going to live after the war?'' We all know what an appalling shortage of houses there is all over Canada. A national housing scheme must come, but ahead of this must be a provision of some decent place for the returned soldier to live in. I am proud of the industrial war workers' housing project in my riding. Similar provision can be made for the soldiers-not mansions fit for heroes to live in, but decent homes fit for good Canadians.

One thing more, in conclusion. In my maiden speech I am supposed to have suggested that there was too much complacency in Ottawa. I heard a lot about that. As a returned soldier I would like to say again that there is far too much complacency and selfsatisfaction. Not in Ottawa, however, but in the country at large. I believe that the government are far ahead of the people in realizing that 1944 is no year for complacency or selfsatisfaction. Our early days in this war were nothing but one -long tale of defeats and reverses. Now that the tide has just begun to turn, and we are having occasional victories, too many people in this country are relaxing and thinking that the war is practically won. The days of great advances over the deserts of Libya or the plains of Russia are past. The fighting becomes more dogged, more bitter, day by day. The bloodiest battle that British troops have ever attempted is just over the horizon.

When we come back we hear a lot about sacrifices in Canada, restrictions, regulations, loss of earning power, and things like that. These are not sacrifices; they are minor hardships incidental to war. It is those who have given their lives, those who offered strong young bodies to their country and who have returned with those bodies shattered, those who have lost sons, husbands, fathers-these are the ones who can talk of sacrifice. Our women folk too: the mothers who are sick with apprehension when they read of our nightly loss of bombers for fear their boys have gone flaming down in the night; the wives who pale at the approach of a telegraph boy for fear he brings the dreaded message; the quiet anguish of all women who can but

watch and pray at home while separated from their men overseas-these know the terror and horror of war.

A little earlier I spoke rather strongly of this wage control order. When I read, however, in yesterday's press that certain labour leaders in Canada are proposing an illegal one-day strike as a protest, I am filled with nausea and disgust. Such an action will not help labour with the people of Canada, and I should be ashamed of this government if it paid any heed to such a protest. Such a strike will hurt just one group-the fighting men overseas. A one-day strike will mean that when that bloody morning dawns and our Canadians wade ashore on the beaches of France under a hell of fire and bombing, they will have been weakened by the lack of one day's output of war material, in the most terrible battle in which Canadian troops ever engaged. Let me tell you that those who survive will remember it.

This is no time for self-satisfaction and selfcomplacency in Canada about our war record, our industrial record, our home front record. This is the year of decision, the year which will decide a rapid victory or a long and protracted war ending probably in a stalemate; a year of blood, sweat and tears for every one of the United nations; a year when our fighting men must be given every conceivable aid and support and encouragement by every man, woman and child in Canada, no matter what the personal cost may be.

Mr. W. Iv. ESLING (Kootenay West).: May I join with all members of this house in a generous welcome to the hon. member for Vancouver North (Mr. Sinclair), who has just returned to his parliamentary duties. He has given the people of this country a clear and accurate presentation of the indebtedness of the government and the people to the fighting forces overseas, and it is to be hoped that full note will be taken of his submission.

As the speech from the throne presents an extensive programme of new and revised legislation, my reference to it at this, early stage of the session is with the hope that the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) will include in that programme better provision and better opportunities for handicapped people in the dominion, no matter what that handicap may be. The speech contains one point about employment and another on pensions, each of which is closely associated with a third, social security, and on that social security is to be based the new postwar order which is the topic of discussion in every community across Canada. If the government is really in earnest in bringing


The Address-Mr. Esling

this new order into effect, there is no better time than the present to establish a foundation for it.

At the meeting of the social security committee, perhaps the most interesting and informative submission was that presented by Colonel E. A. Baker, of the Canadian National Institute for the Blind. If I could persuade the members of this house to visit the workshops of the blind in the larger cities across Canada they would get a first-hand view of the effort and the energy of blind persons to become self-supporting. They are doing splendid work and their one endeavour is to be free and divorced from all government support.

Colonel Baker's submission was unique in the fact that, instead of asking the government for something, it proposed to relieve the government and the taxpayers from a contribution by way of old age pensions. As hon. members know, a blind person is pensioned at forty. He is permitted to earn, in addition to the pension, the sum of $200 if he is single. That makes $440. A married man is permitted to have 8S05 including pension. Because he is blind it must not be thought that he is not just as keen to have the comforts and joys of family life and to bring up his children as the children of sighted persons are brought up. And so I ask hon. members this question: Would any man in this House of Commons like to be in- the position of having to rear a family on $805 a year, which is the limit set for married men?

It is to that end that Colonel Baker suggests the new method whereby, instead of deducting dollar for dollar in excess of the amount a blind person is permitted to earn, the government will deduct only fifty cents from the pension, so that the blind person may continue to earn until he has reached $680, at which time the pension is wiped out entirely and he no longer receives benefits from the government. That looks like a reasonable proposal. Further, the proposal is that a blind boy who is taking his limited vocational training be pensioned at the age of twenty-one. He too will be better fitted to earn his living. As his earnings increased there would return to the government that proportion of his pension, so that the government would be free. It would be an incentive to all blind persons to earn as much as possible and be released from the receipt of a pension from the authorities. Regardless of what a man's earnings might be in one year, he would still be eligible for pension-the next, but he would be most earnest in his endeavour to free himself from the necessity of receiving a pension.

The submission further suggests that, legislation for the welfare of the blind, including pension, be placed under a separate act.

I should like to refer to a matter that came up at the last session. It has to do with those people who are hard of hearing. That is in the nature of a handicap and it is something to which people give little thought. Many times a child in school is backward, perhaps depressed, and is often spoken of as indifferent or as being, in more direct terms, "dumb", Quite often that is due entirely to the fact that the child's hearing is impaired. That is borne out by a national health survey made in 1935 and 1936, which showed that there were in Canada 155,000 adults who were hard of hearing. The survey showed also that two per cent of the children of school age had defective hearing. As a result there has been incorporated in Canada the national society for the hard of hearing and for the deaf. It has a splendid membership across the dominion. The purpose of the society is to assist people who are hard of hearing or deaf, by way of welfare work and particularly by placing them in positions so that they may be able to maintain themselves.

At the last session, in referring to certain people, I used a word which I know some distributors and manufacturers take exception to-the word "racket." The fact is however that there are people who are making immense sums of money out of the afflicted. The hearing device is beyond the reach of so many people who are hard of hearing. In the first place, these people are not able to earn a normal standard of living and they are deprived of the benefits of this device because it sells from S150 to $200, though the instrument is a very simple one and the material in it represents just about one-eighth of the cost of this hearing aid. .

I asked the Minister of Finance during my remarks last year if he would not appeal to the wartime prices and trade board and ask what was a reasonable price at which this instrument should be sold, and the minister kindly did so. I think he was disappointed in the reply, as I was, because the board seemed to assume that it had no concern about hearing devices except as the price applied to the base period of September to October, 1941. The minister must have thought that he was right or he would not have asked his question of the board, but the board replied that they had called in half a dozen distributors from the Montreal district and had been informed that the prices at which these distributors were selling the instrument were the prices that prevailed in the basic period of 1941. Suppose that by some combination of circumstances or war conditions just before that basic period the distributors had jumped the price $100, the reply of the wartime prices and trade board

The Address-Mr. Esling

would have justified the asking today of $300 or $250 instead of current prices. What I particularly asked last year was that the wartime prices and trade board refer this matter to the national research council and to have . the national research council determine a fair and reasonable price at which the people of Canada could be supplied with this device. Apparently nobody seemed to be responsible. As I say, the wartime prices and trade board was not concerned. The Minister of Pensions and National Health (Mr. Mackenzie) said that his department was having an expert body look into the matter, but in so far as it went beyond the department he did not think he had any authority to deal with it. Well, it does seem to me that the minister, as minister of health, should take particular steps to see that the Department of Pensions and National Health does take up this matter and does see that the national research council determine a reasonable price.

There are other complications that arise, because the picture has changed entirely since the last session, and the change indicates exactly what the national research council could have done. One of the largest radio manufacturers in the United States has placed a cheaper instrument upon the market. It sells at $40 in the United States as against $150 and $200 in this country. The Department of Pensions has accepted that instrument. It is being dealt with through the orthopaedic branch. It has secured the approval of the American medical society; it has secured the approval of our own national research council. What should be kept in mind is this: that United States concern has practically broken the combination which sells the hearing device on the Canadian market at a price of $150 to ' $200; and it is for that reason we may expect chaos in the distribution or in the marketing of cheaper grades of instruments to the deaf and hard of hearing people. There are other difficulties. There are high pressure salesmen who are able to convince a buyer that he should have this instrument or that. After he has paid his money, however, he finds that it does not answer the purpose. My suggestion to the government is that they have the national research council go into this matter and establish a specific code for the standardization of material and construction; for achievement and performance; for the permit and for the nature of advertising, and arrive at a graded cost of such instruments in accordance with the cost of the material, the cost of construction, distribution and research that should apply. I know that the government does not want to go into this business,

but it should go into the business of protecting the general public against these high pressure salesmen; it should go into the business of seeing that no instruments are sold in Canada unless they pass the approval of the national research council.

I make an appeal to the Minister of Finance. I ask him to have a thought for these people who with great difficulty have saved sufficient money to purchase one of these instruments. It is true that there is no customs duty on them, but there is a war exchange tax of ten per cent and a sales tax of eight per cent. There is also an upkeep cost of about $25 a year. I ask the minister if he will not, in thinking this matter over, endeavour to have these three items deducted from a person's income tax, just as is a reasonable portion of one's doctors' and hospital bills.

The other day the Prime Minister spoke about the various committees and the work which was ahead of them. Every member of this house knows that the members of these committees were worked to the limit at the last session. They were worked to the extent that they had to sit between sessions. May I offer the suggestion that some of this work be turned over to the members of the red chamber. Senators are capable men. They are able to deal with this committee work perhaps as well as the members of the House of Commons. Any committee appointed in the red chamber has a majority of government members; therefore there is no danger of a report being presented contrary to the wishes of the government. If you go through the "Parliamentary Guide" you will find that of the eighty-one members of the red chamber one-third of them have been either members of a government occupying ministerial positions or leaders of parties in their respective provinces. Surely we all know that when they were called to the red chamber, due thought was given to their responsibility and to their qualifications for carrying out the duties of their office, and it is merely with a view to hurrying the session and placing a lot of the work where it could be well done that I offer this suggestion. There is another reason, and it is this: for practically one-quarter of the time of the last session the Senate was without anything to do.

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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


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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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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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

The Address-Mr. Sinclair

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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