Frédéric DORION

DORION, Frédéric, Q.C., B.A., LL.L.

Parliamentary Career

November 30, 1942 - April 16, 1945
  Charlevoix--Saguenay (Quebec)
June 11, 1945 - April 30, 1949
  Charlevoix--Saguenay (Quebec)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 5 of 65)

February 24, 1949

Mr. Dorion:

On the same day, September 8, 1939, at page 47 of Hansard, Mr. Woodsworth said this:

We laud the courage of those who go to the front; yes, I have boys of my own, and I hope they are not cowards, but if any one of those boys, not from cowardice but really through belief, is willing to take his stand on this matter and, if necessary, to face a concentration camp or a firing squad, I shall be more proud of that boy than if he enlisted for the war.

Speaking of de Bernonville, the member for Winnipeg North (Mr. Stewart) said, at page 794 of Hansard:

-the Germans made him military commandant of the Lyons area, a post that would go only to one of the most tried and true supporters of the nazi cause.

Speaking especially of de Bernonville, the hon. member says, as reported at page 794 of Hansard:

This time the Germans made him military commandant of the Lyons area, a post that would go only to one of the most tried and true supporters of the nazi cause. His special task was to set up a counter-resistance police to combat the French maquis. In this he was concerned particularly with identifying British and other allied officers who dropped into France by parachute to aid the resistance movement. His work resulted in the death of many of these allied soldiers, it was said. This information came out during the Toulouse trial at which de Bernonville was convicted in absentia.

First, I must take exception to the statement made by the hon. member to the effect that de Bernonville was given military command by the Germans. Everyone knows that it was the Vichy government which ruled southern France after 1940; and we must not forget that nearly every country recognized the legality of the Vichy government. Our own country, like many others, even had an official representative there. But the part of the statement to which I wish to draw special attention is the one concerning the conviction of de Bernonville by a Toulouse tribunal. Here I wish to report a description of the kinds of tribunals that were supposed to administer justice in southern France, and particularly in Toulouse, after the liberation of France. To make that demonstration, I shall not depend upon unknown and unverified statements, but will quote from an article published in the American Mercury in April, 1946; it was written by Donald B. Robinson and is entitled, Blood Bath in France. The excerpts that I am about to quote will show the hon. member for Winnipeg North what was going on in that part of France when de Bernonville was condemned in absentia. Mr. Robinson writes as follows:

As a member of the civil affairs headquarters of the American seventh army, stationed in Marseilles during and after the liberation, I personally witnessed the communist terror which reigned in southern France after the defeat of the nazi armies . . .

[Mr. Speaker.)

Further on he says:

During those months in the summer and autumn of 1944, revolution almost engulfed the south of France, and the communists were doing everything in their power to foment it. . . Almost immediately, bitter factionalism broke out among the native population, and the watchword "unity" which had been an all lips at the hour of liberation was forgotten. Within ten days a reign of terror was in full swing all the way from Toulouse in the southwest to Nice and the Italian border. The streets of every city and town were thronged with toughlooking civilians carrying every variety of arms, from stilettos to rifles, hand grenades and tommy guns. They raced wildly down the boulevards in automobiles whose doors had been removed to permit the occupants to shoot easily on the move. They scoured all sections, looking not only for the hated Vichy militiamen but for anyone else who had incurred their political enmity. Even the liberating Americans were not immune. American soldiers were killed and wounded. I was shot at myself, more than a dozen times.

Further on he goes on to say this:

What happened in Marseilles was typical. The FFI-

FFI stands for Forces Franchises de l'lnterieur, French forces of the interior.

-totalled about 1,600 members when the city was liberated. Within two weeks, according to a report by American army intelligence officers, this number had swelled to 4,500 as "all the hoodlums and grudge-payers flocked to the colours after the fighting was over." The same report stated that soon thereafter the total membership "dropped to about 3,000 as the original members, mostly reliable citizens, returned to their normal pursuits, leaving the undesirable elements as the great bulk of the organization.

A little further on he says:

At least two allied officers who had been carrying on espionage in Vichy France were killed; their FFI captors refused even to inquire of the nearby American army concerning their claim that they belonged to the allied forces.

On the following page I read this:

In Toulouse-

Always Toulouse, where de Bernonville was condemned.

-where the communist element was very strong, the situation was so tense that residents urged American occupation of the city for a few weeks until "the armed communist element could be brought under control."

Further on I read:

Then American officers and men began to draw FFI fire. These "accidents" coincided with a change in the French communist party line towards the United States. For the first few weeks after the liberation, all Frenchmen were unanimous in fervent gratitude to the Americans. Then the communists, evidently fearing that France would turn against Russia, began sniping at our forces. Since most of the newspapers of southern France were communist-controlled, an almost unanimous tirade of unjustified complaints arose in the press against the American army. There was also a crescendo of word-of-mouth propaganda. Civil affairs officers noted an organized communist-inspired campaign to discredit America and Americans with the French.

I wish to read one more passage. Speaking of General Parkman, the author writes this:

He was soon forced to intervene in another connection. In all parts of the south the FFI established drumhead courts whose judges were usually persons acceptable to the communists. These courts-marital, which had no legal basis whatever, tried thousands of Frenchmen, most of whom were sentenced to death or to long terms of imprisonment. The most notorious of these courts were at Nimes, Perpignan, and Toulouse.

The place where de Bernonville was condemned. To continue:

Such a scandal resulted from their illegal and summary proceedings that General Parkman wrote to General de Gaulle's military delegate, General Henri Cochet, insisting that the courts-martial be discontinued and succeeded by ordinary processes of law.

Mr. Robinson finishes his article by saying:

Such is the fuel under the bubbling cauldron of hate that is France today.

This was written in April, 1946. To continue:

If it boils over into further bloodshed and death, the world should at least know who is responsible.

When I heard the hon. member for Winnipeg North vindicating the French maquis, I knew that he was not well acquainted with all the information that could enable him to have an exact idea of that organization.

Regarding the maquis, the hon. member is reported at page 793 of Hansard to have said:

A word about the maquis might be in order. The maquis are men who gave back to France her soul during the war. They are the men who gave back to France her honour after the betrayal of Vichy. They are the men who died, not only to free France from nazi persecution but also to enable us to live in Canada as free men and women. The men of the maquis are heroes whose names will be remembered wherever there are free men.

We know, Mr. Speaker, that the maquis could be classified under three headings, namely, the military maquis; the communist maquis; and the terrorist maquis. Skirmishes, and even pitched battles, took place among members of the various underground movements, although the communist underground and the terrorist underground, outnumbering all others, were practically amalgamated. In a press conference in October, 1948, Mr. Francisque Gay, the present ambassador of France here in Ottawa) admitted that at the outset the resistance movement in France was ninety per cent communist.

Several underground leaders in the maquis were Russians. Their title of soviet agent gave them prestige and a part as leader. May I mention Kadewz Kosinski, in the Pas-de-Calais; Captain Votcharemko, great torturer of the group known as "Captain Marius' gang", who operated in the department of Saone-et-Loire; Captain Alexandre and Lieu-

The Address-Mr. Dorion tenant Sabourov, of the red army, who played an important part in the Auvergne underground, and this band of Georgian killers who controlled the Dordogne underground, as was revealed in the course of a trial.

Sometimes they received orders from Moscow. No doubt this led to the apparently unexplainable assassination of leading personalities, such as General Debeney, army commanding officer during the first great war; or General Noel, former army commanding officer, Grand Officier de la Legion d'Honneur, kidnapped and assassinated with twelve other persons at Dorat, in the Haute-Vienne. There again, it happened that the victims were bona fide members of the resistance movement. Let me mention the case of Baron Henry Reille-Soult, hero of the first war, organizer of a military underground, who during the second world war invented a sighting gear, the plans of which he was able to forward to the allies.

Here is the evidence of Madame Reille-Soult, recently published in newspapers:

On July 21, 1944, Baron Henry Reille-Soult and his wife were arrested at Rancho and handed over to the group called "he Chouan". which controlled the maquis in the forest of Lussac-les-Chateaux. After twenty-six days of terrible agony, they were compelled, with numerous other Frenchmen, to travel by forced marches across the region, to be then tried by a mock tribunal and locked up in a pig-sty. At the same time, under pretext of requisition, their property was looted, their livestock stolen, and their chambermaid raped by their tormentors, and they were finally freed after handing over a cheque for 60,000 francs.

Raymond Daniel, New York Times correspondent, in September 1944, wrote about the reign of the F.F.I., French forces of the interior, of the snipers and the members of the underground or maquisards in Paris. He described these irregular formations composed mainly of young loafers-such is the expression used by him-using guns, grenades, and machine pistols in the streets of Paris. People were denouncing their neighbours, believed to be collaborationists, to these guttersnipes, not to the police. On a mere denunciation originating from the first comer, members of the resistance movement invaded a house, arresting or killing the occupants. There again it happened that they robbed and killed people who were far better resistants than they were themselves. Pierre Tattinger, president of the municipal council of Paris at the time of the liberation, said, "The liberation committee was a committee of arrest, nothing else".

Here is the opinion of the eminent sociologist Joseph Folliet who, in September last, wrote in Les Etudes, the great Jesuit review:

Repression has taken the aspect of political revenge, and not of serene and universal justice. How

The Address-Mr. Dorion can we believe in a purging justice? Depending upon the time and place, the same charge warrants a death sentence here, twenty years' hard labour there, five years of national indignity elsewhere. Under the same general label of "treason" were classified traitors in the technical sense of the word, all the spectrum of "collaboration", every shade of "Petainism" including, sometimes, those who refused the collaboration program.

Now that we know of the mock tribunals existing in Toulouse, France, and it was in Toulouse that Bernonville was condemned in absentia; now that we know of the entire control of the tribunals by the communist maquis; it is worth knowing the type of man Bernonville is. At the age of twenty, he was made Chevalier de la Legion d'Honneur for his military exploits. At the age of twenty-three, he became Officer de la Legion d'Honneur for similar accomplishments. He later on was given seven citations and la Croix de Guerre 1918. He was wounded five times and bears the scars of thirty wounds. In 1940, he was singled out in the army orders of the day and awarded la Croix de Guerre 1940. This citation was published in the official journal of France. This is the record of a man whom the hon. member for Winnipeg North (Mr. Stewart) wants us to believe to be a traitor to his country.

When he gave evidence before the court in Montreal last fall, he made a sworn declaration which has never been denied, and cannot be denied by anyone, in which he related his actions and conduct during the war.

He accepted from Marshal Petain the functions of military governor of the district of Lyon. He was a full military commandant. He was entrusted with the security of people and supplies which was then in a precarious stage, having barely one day of food supply ahead. He also stated in the course of his sworn evidence that he had a secret mission with the purpose of preserving and saving all the military units and material under his command, to put them at the disposal of the allies at a moment to be decided by the chief of the French state. On August 20, 1944, his functions terminated and he met that day one of the principal leaders of the French underground and informed the latter of his military forces and material which he had salvaged from the Germans. One-half hour later, he was arrested by the gestapo and incarcerated in Nancy. He was released when the Americans reached that city.

At six o'clock the house took recess.

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February 17, 1949

Mr. Frederic Dorion (Charlevoix-Saguenay):

I should like to direct a question to the Secretary of State for External Affairs. Was Canada represented yesterday when the representatives of the civilized countries of the world expressed their condolences to His Holiness the Pope on the sentencing of Cardinal Mindszenty?

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February 16, 1949

Mr. Frederic Dorion (Charlevoix-Saguenay):

In view of certain remarks that have just been made, I feel bound to add a few words.

I had not intended to participate in this debate, but I believe it behooves me to do so, on account of some remarks which the hon. member for Rosetown-Biggar (Mr. Coldwell) has just made. Even if this debate has only served to reveal the stand of our public men with regard to certain ideologies which are now spreading across Canada, I must say that it has had a good result.

Even though the leader of the C.C.F. should make a show of fighting communism, as he has claimed he was doing these last few days, even though he should tell us to protect ourselves against communism, it is well that we should know where he stands. It is edifying to see him take the defence of communism as he has just done by his remarks on the province of Quebec.

I am proud of the fact that the present government of the province of Quebec has set an example to the whole world in the fight it is now waging against communism, against the subversive ideologies of this day; and if governments had followed the same course in Hungary, in Czechoslovakia, in Poland and in Roumania, we would not have to lament what is now taking place, we would not have to lament the scandalous persecutions which we are now witnessing.

It is well, Mr. Speaker, that we should know what direction our political men are taking, and who are their supporters and friends; and I am glad that this debate has been initiated this afternoon, because it has given us the opportunity of ascertaining where the friends of communists are to be found.


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February 15, 1949

Mr. Dorion:

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member for Gaspe also stated that in the matter at issue, the provincial premiers should rise and make strong representations against the government's stand at this time.

That is a peculiar way in which to discuss the problem now before the house. After all, it is here, in the House of Commons, that we should decide whether or not one of the clauses of the British North America Act is to be cast aside.

It is for us in this house to decide whether we shall violate a provision of this act and, even if the provincial premiers should protest officially, I believe it is here that the matter should be discussed; it is for us to take a definite stand on whether we intend to respect the federative agreement.

I might add too that some protests have been made already, if I am not mistaken, some of them quite vigorous, especially by the premier of Quebec. The hon. member for Gaspe will note too that quite recently those representations had some repercussions in the constituency of Nicolet-Yamaska.

fMr. Dorion.]

I have heard in this debate, Mr. Speaker, a most peculiar argument. I quote:

The fact that the bill providing for union with Newfoundland was unanimously adopted by the house prevented the amendment now before us from being presented.

Well, such is not my way of considering this matter. When the bill was first presented, the question was to deal with the principle of the union with Newfoundland and to determine the terms of this union.

But today we are considering the procedure, and as a proof of this, the Prime Minister himself refers to the "procedure" when dealing with the resolution.

I quote the following, from page 494 of Hansard:

It is well known in this house and by the public that there were provisions in the British North America Act of 1867 looking to the union of Newfoundland with Canada-

And from the same page, in the next column:

The terms of section 146 of the British North America Act being no longer applicable, another procedure had to be resorted to.

A little further on, I quote:

There is a second reason why procedure not expressly provided for in the British North America Act was resorted to. If that procedure had not been followed there might have been some question as to its legal effect.

Therefore, the address we are now discussing and the amendment that is submitted to us have to do with the procedure to be followed for achieving the union of Newfoundland with Canada, and that procedure is all the more important since it involves a basic principle expounded in the British North America Act.

Reference has often been made to that provision of section 146 and it is there that we find the principle to be followed in such a case as this one.

Besides, if those provisions of section 146 had been followed, it is quite probable that no one would have seen fit to start the present debate, because in that case we would have remained within the limits of the constitution as established at the time of confederation. For instance, in the case of the entry of Prince Edward Island, there was no need of consulting the provinces, because the methods and the provisions of the British North America Act were then followed.

The same thing happened when British Columbia joined the confederation. Consequently, when those two provinces were annexed, it was not necessary to initiate a

debate like this one, because at that time we followed closely the provisions of the British North America Act.

But now these provisions are being cast aside.

What amazes me is that we have come to the point where not only do we consider it unnecessary to consult the provinces, but we do not even trouble ourselves to propose an amendment; the provisions of the British North America Act are simply ignored.

Since the first fight I had the occasion to put up in this house, since 1943, we have reached the point where not only is the constitution amended without any regard for the provinces, without their consent, but where a statute such as the one we have before us is passed by bluntly casting aside one of the provisions of the British North America Act. There is no question even of amending section 146.

Well, I find that extremely important and extremely dangerous for our country.

Besides, that is why I submit, Mr. Speaker, that when we see a statement such as that made by the right hon. the Prime Minister

It must not be forgotten that the British North America Act was passed in 1867, almost eighty-two years ago, and that conditions in this country, its people, its parliament and its government are not the same today as they were then. I was surprised at the attitude expressed this afternoon by the hon. member for Charlevoix-Saguenay. Most of us from my province derive perhaps some sentimental satisfaction from the developments that have taken place and that have brought about the situation whereby the prerogative of His Majesty is now exercised on the advice of ministers responsible to his Canadian subjects, but the hon. member for Charlevoix-Saguenay seems to be one of those who have lagged behind, and he is not willing to keep pace with the developments that time has brought about.

As if, because the British North America Act is 82 years old, we should now consider it obsolete, consider it as fit only to be thrown, for that reason, into the waste-basket.

I submit, Mr. Speaker, that such views strongly jeopardize the future of our country. Thus, when this amendment came up for discussion, I considered that if the provisions of the British North America Act were to be put aside, it was imperative to consult the provin-


ces because we would be following a different procedure from that provided in the act.

Why should we not consult the provinces? If one or many provinces raise any objection would it not be expedient first to consider the objection in order to deal with it before the entry of Newfoundland into the confederation? If no objection is raised, would not the entry of Newfoundland appear even more solemn? Would it not be easier then for the people of Newfoundland to become true Canadians, even if only because it would bring about that consolidation of Canadian unity we so often ask for? I feel that for these reasons we should adopt the amendment now before the house.


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February 15, 1949

Mr. Dorion:

Mr. Speaker, I do not think "the hon. member is entitled to make a new speech. If he wants to put a question to me, I am ready to answer it.

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