February 22, 1916



George Eulas Foster (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Conservative (1867-1942)


With the consent of the House, I beg to move that Mr. Carroll be appointed to the Committee on Public Accounts, replacing Mr. Neely.


Motion agreed to.


Hon T. W. CROTHERS (Minister of , Labour) moved for leave to introduce Bill No. 37, to amend the White Phosphorus Matches Act. He said: The Act as it now stands prohibits the manufacture of matches from white phosphorus from and after the 1st of January, 1915, and also prohibits the sale or use of such matches after the 1st of January, 1916. The manufacturers ceased manufacturing on the 1st of January, 1915, but they were unable during the next year to dispose of all the matches they had in stock, and on the 1st of January, 1916, a great many people still had matches on hand, and under the Act they were liable to prosecution if they attempted to sell or use them. This Bill gives the manufacturers six months longer in Which to dispose of their stock on hand, and it gives those using these matches a year from the 1st of January, 1916, to use them up.


Charles Murphy



Has the minister proof that the manufacturers had actually ceased manufacturing on the 1st of January, 1915?


Thomas Wilson Crothers (Minister of Labour)

Conservative (1867-1942)


Yes, I am satisfied as to that.


Motion agreed to, and Bill read the first time.


Consideration of the proposed motion of Sir Thomas White (Minister of Finance) for the Committee of Ways and Means, resumed from Thursday, February 17.


John Allister Currie

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. J. A. CURRIE (North Simcoe):

Mr. Speaker, it is some time since I have had the privilege of addressing my colleagues in this House, for reasons which are well known to us all. It is a great pleasure to be here to-day and once more to address those whom I have met on the floor of this House, sometimes in gladiatorial political combat, sometimes assisting in the various projects before the country. I congratulate the House upon the splendid spirit of unity which it has displayed throughout this great war. There is no question that this House has given to the whole British Empire an example of freedom from political controversy. For, although we here may fondly imagine that there is no such thing as controversy in the British House of Commons, any one who receives and reads the debates of that House, will see that the spirit of politics is still rife. In this House the criticisms have been rather mild, and the Opposition has given every assistance to the Government to carry on the great work that is before us all. The leader of the Opposition (Sir Wilfrid Laurier) has shown great patriotism in seconding the desires of the Government. I congratulate him upon that and upon the fact that he has, as it were, held back the restless spirits behind him, who, quite naturally, I acknowledge, feel a bit anxious to take a fall out of the Government. The conduct of the'leader of the Opposition in this respect has made for himself a name in the political history of this country which will never be forgotten. Of course there is, and must necessarily be, a certain amount of political sniping going on in this House as well as in the country. Any sniping here is done in the broad light of day; but sometimes, I am sorry to say, it is done in the country about the way it is done at the front-by getting behind the

lines and getting in a lick at some poor 'soldier-politician-behind his back. But we have had nothing but splendid assistance on both sides of the House to carry forward all the measures that have come before Parliament in these very strenuous times.

I desire to congratulate the Minister of Finance (Sir Thomas White) particularly, upon the very excellent Budget speech he made in this House, and the lucid manner in which he explained the financial position of the country. He is to be complimented and congratulated also upon his excellent conduct of the public finances during the last year and a half. There is no question that the situation of this country, when the war broke out, was exceedingly grave. We had undertaken public works, tremendous railway extensions, which had just reached the point where their securities would naturally be marketable and the railways placed upon a sound foundation. Great expenditures had taken place and the resources of the country had been pledged for a number of years. The instant the war came every industry was stilled, every wheel ceased to move. Those who recall the strenuous days of the opening weeks of the war, know that manufacturing in this country virtually ceased. In that we had an example of the state this country would be in should this House do anything that would cause a cessation of manufacturing operations. For, after all, the manufacturing industries of the country are just as essential to the country's success as any other department of our industrial life. A number of these industries, being very strong financially, continued to operate, and very shortly there was a gratifying recovery.

During the past year the country has made some of the greatest discoveries that it has ever made. We Canadians are very much inclined at all times to belittle ourselves, to consider ourselves, perhaps, as not so capable mentally or otherwise as other people. I deprecate that condition of mind among the members of this House or among the people of this country. When the first contingent left for the front a great many people felt that it would have to be broken up and merged with British regular troops. During the past year, however, it has been found that the Canadian soldier is as good a fighting man as any soldier on the continent of Europe.

Another strange thing has occurred. In connection with the tremendous expenditures with which we have been confronted, the Minister of Finance has been able to

raise in Canada, by means of bond sales to the people, the enormous sum of $100,000,000. Two years ago no one would have conceived it possible that in a time of war the Minister of Finance could raise even $50,000,000 in Canada for war purposes; yet the minister got over $100,000,000. If we make the war pay in this country, as Pitt made a war pay in England, I am sure that the Minister of Finance will have no difficulty in getting all the money necessary to meet the requirements of Canada's participation in the conflict, and that not only $100,000,000, but, if necessary, $500,000,000, can easily be raised in Canada.

The Budget contains very few features upon which any remarks could be offered. The new policy of assessing corporations is one that will doubtless meet with considerable opposition. In my study of political economy I have observed that there are two kinds of taxation, direct and indirect. There is no doubt that this proposed taxation of profits is a form of direct taxation. In considering this matter we should always bear in mind that in their legislation the people keep constantly in view two things: they desire, first, that no special interest shall have anything to do with the making of the laws that pertain to the administration of justice; and, secondly, that no special interest shall have anything to do with the laws dealing with the imposition of taxes. We should deal with every business institution and every commercial concern and every individual as being free and equal in the eyes of the law. One feature of this proposed legislation that may create some opposition on the part of members perhaps on both sides of the House is the provision to make it retroactive. I confess that I threw away almost all my books on political economy when I went to the war, and I have not since been able to find them. In those to which I have had reference, however, I find no case in which taxation has been made retroactive. The desire has always been to place the burden of any year's taxation upon that particular year, and I am satisfied that when the Bill comes before the House, the minister will take that matter into his very serious consideration. Retroactive legislation should be resorted to only after we have reached the limit of our taxation. If we had failed by means Of customs and excise taxes to obtain the necessary revenue, it might have been wise to raise money by means of retroactive legislation of this kind. We are legislating

in this House with a view to doing the best for our country. If we put aside all partisan considerations, as I think we should under the circumstances, we will agree that the minister did not, perhaps, give wise consideration to that feature of the proposed legislation. However, when the Bill comes before the House, many of its provisions will be discussed, and many of them will be changed.

I desire to congratulate the minister upon placing a duty upon apples coming into this country. Before the war I had the pleasure_of going West almost every year. One thing that has always struck me is that the fruit trade in the West, especially in the Middle West, was entirely under the control of the American Fruit Trust. It did not matter whether Canadian apples were good or cheap, no man selling apples in the West would dare purchase eastern or western Canadian apples if he was getting other fruits from American firms. The American Fruit Trust informed the retailers and jobbers in the Canadian West that if they wanted to get oranges, bananas, and lemons from the United States, they must purchase also American grapes, apples, and other fruits. The result was that our fruit was blocked out of the Canadian Northwest. Great areas of fine ajoples are under culture in British Columbia, and it is necessary to see that this basic industry is properly protected.

Large quantities of oil are imported into this country, and of necessity there must be some form of taxation, particularly in view of the fact that in various sections of the country we have other kinds of fuel, such as coal.

'The tax which we are objecting to, 'that which .applies to companies, will strike quiet a number of the most efficient companies in Canada, while a number of companies owned by foreigners will be entirely free from taxation. There are in Canada a large number of concerns controlled by foreigners; some of them as a matter of fact are controlled by Germans. A large copper corporation in the West is controlled by a German syndicate by means of trustees. We have it on the authority of a statement in the British House of Commons, made last month by men of responsibility, that the nickel industry in Canada is controlled by the Krupp interests through trustees in the United States. When you bear in mind the fact that the nickel mines of Canada alone are sufficiently wealthy to finance the war for five 8r ten years and still leave a dividend, you will realize how important

the control of these mines is to the Germans. Some action should be taken to see that materials connected with this industry are manufactured in Canada; at the very least, they should be subject to some taxation. The same state of affairs existed in Australia, where zinc concentrates of great value were controlled by German syndicates with headquarters at Frankfurt. The Government of Australia took the bull by the horns. They immediately cancelled the ownership of these mines controlled by the Germans, and the British Government is now getting these zinc concentrates from Australia. I 'think it would be wise for the Government of this country to make a thorough investigation into the affairs of the International Nickel Company with a view to ascertaining whether the statements to which I have referred are true. If its affairs are controlled by Germans, we should know it; Germans are not very friendly to us just at this time.

I have, heard the hon. Minister of Trade and Commerce make a number of able speeches in this House, but I confess that I never heard him make a more eloquent speech than he did the other evening. The hon. minister is fully alive to the fact that the Germans have decided to carry on after the conclusion of this war a great trade war against the Allies. Possibly the hon. gentleman's position did not permit his making known what suggestions have been adopted or what course is being taken to meet the German onslaught that is sure to take place after this war is over. Hon. gentlemen may say: how do you know that the Germans

intend to carry on a commercial war at the conclusion of the present conflict? We all know that whether Germany wins or loses, she will at least have Austria included within her Empire.

In Germany they are already looking forward to the carrying on of a further commercial war against the Allies. Early in December a Secret Congress was held in Vienna between the "various interests of Germany and Austria and the various states within the German Bund. At that congress certain resolutions were agreed to that are to govern their conduct after the war. There was but one purpose in those resolutions, to retain their interior trade to themselves and to take trade away from the Allies. We all know very well how Germany has conducted its affairs for a number of years. It might be well for us to take a short retrospect of

of Falkland Islands had not been fought. Nevertheless, a very few weeks afterwards the navy accomplished all that the Empire expected it to accomplish. We must bear in mind that everything in this war depends upon the British Navy. It does not matter how bravely our men may fight; it does not matter how much money the Minister of Finance may have; the fact remains that the products of the farm in this country would not be worth 15 cents on the dollar were it not for the British Navy. I think that the Navy should always be borne in mind, especially by those who farm the wheat fields in the West. We must bear in mind this: that if we want free wheat- and I confess I see no reason why we should not have free wheat, always bearing in mind that whilst this war is on we are all dependent upon the British Navy to market our crops. The British Navy has marketed the Canadian crops this year, and not only the crops of this country, but those of the other dominions and colonies, Australia included. Would it be well for us to endanger that support by allowing our products to be diluted with foreign grain? That is something we should consider when we are talking of the question of free wheat, and perhaps it would be well to leave the discussion of free wheat over until after the war.

Well, the British Navy saw us safely over to Great Britain. When we landed, we were immediately sent to the highest plateau in England, known as Salisbury Plain. Salisbury Plain is one of the most historic spots in England. There you will see the remains of Britons, Romans, and Normans. There were gathered at times the military people of England for three or four thousand years; mounds there mark the graves of forgotten kings and warriors. We were the latest warriors to reach Salisbury Plain, and we certainly had a time of it whilst we were there. When we reached that camp we imagined that we were going to be drilled by English officers, and that our work would be easy for us. At that time, however, Great Britain was in the throes of mobilizing Kitchener's army. Thousands of men were joining the colours, and the authorities could not get enough instructors to train the troops, with the result that pensioners of 70 and 80 years of age were called upon to help in the work of instruction. The Canadian force supplied some instructors to the British Army, my own batttalion amongst the number, and I am very

pleased to say that one of the lads from my battalion won the Military Cross at the Dardanelles the other day. He joined the British Army from the ranks of my regiment, and to-day he is a major in the British army. That speaks for Canadian merit. Some 18 or 20 others took commissions, and assisted in instructing that great army which was still in the process of organization. WThen I left England in midsummer last year, fully 50 per cent had not then received their uniforms, arms, or equipment, and yet we in Canada continually proclaim our helplessness, and rail because a man does not get his uniform and equipment the moment he enlists. Few of us have any idea of the enormous amount of work that Great Britain had to accomplish in order to arm herself for this momentous struggle.

To-day Canada has virtually twice as many regular troops as Great Britain had at the beginning of the war. One hundred and fifty thousand men-just imagine what a paltry army that British army was. Why, we would hardly go out to see it march past in Canada now, when we talk in hundreds of thousands. We had considerable difficulties there. The climate was very disagreeable, and we were kept under canvas which was not very good, canvas which looked rather like cheesecloth. We were kept under that canvas all through the fall of the year and during a very wet season. It rained continually; it was the wettest season they had ever had on Salisbury Plains. One author has written something about the rains on Salisbury Plains being very bad for the men, anfl he was perfectly right, so -far as that goes. The weather was exceedingly bad, but the troops stood it well. They drilled regularly every day and at night, twice a week, under our own officers, and I may say that our own officers far exceeded expectations in that respect. Fuss and feathers were cut out almost entirely. Officers from the front came over to give us some idea of the conditions there, and our officers studied the methods and results, and organized the force until when it went to France it was one of the best divisions there. Ever since 1 joined the force, I have been "soldiering," and therefore my lips are closed with regard to a great many things that occurred at the front, because it does not do for a man who wears a military uniform to discuss questions that appertain to civil affairs or to military matters. Here I am free to speak, and there is one matter that I wish the Government would

look into, and especially my hon. friend the Minister of Finance (Sir Thomas White) who is looking after the dollars. It is this: While we were on those plains, for about a month and a half, forty or fifty per cent of our men were taken away from the battalions daily by fatigues. These men were employed in building huts, digging trenches, constructing railways and carrying on great public works on Salisbury Plain and quite gladly and nobly they went to work and did their duty. We all believed we were doing our bit for the Crown, for the King, and we worked night and day struggling to get the camp into shape not only for ourselves but for. Kitchener's army. We left greater monuments on those plains than did the Romans or the ancient Druids, that built Stonehenge, because we built railways and use-, ful works of that kind that they did not know anything about. However, this is the point that I am referring to particularly: Our men received 25 cents a day from the English contractors, in addition to their pay, for working as they had done. When I had returned from the front and was in England, I ascertained that all the work that our troops had done there had been done for one or two English contractors and that the Government of this country had been giving these English contractors a free gift of virtually $1.10 per day for thousands of men employed. I hope the Government will take that matter into consideration. I do not know that it has been made known to the minister but it is a very serious matter. The contractors who were paid for that work by the British Government should be made to make restitution to this Government the wages of the men who were employed there, amounting to hundreds of thousands of dollars. That is quite clear, is it not?

That is only one example, but we must know that in times of war there are conditions under which contractors and grafters will try to get into the twilight zone between this and other colonies and the British Government. We must take very great care to see that contractors of that kind are not robbing this country or robbing the British Government. I say that unhesitatingly. There must not be any roses hung over the tables where contracts are being made between contractors and the Government. Everything must be open and aboveboard. The people of this country are desirous of doing everything in their power for the war. They


are giving their last dollar and their dearest sons to the welfare of the Empire, but that being the case we should make sure that no advantage is taken of the unusual conditions which prevail in war time. It must be remembered that they have rascals in Great Britain just- the same as they have every place else. I was told that the Government had made an important contract with a German Jew for all the lumber that was used by the War Office in England, and that this man had, got a commission and something like a million pounds. I understand that he was subsequently punished. I trust that they now 4 p.m. have got him in the Tower or a concentration camp. Rascality of that kind must be stopped. Things like that have occurred also in other countries. In France much money was diverted by fraudulent contractors, and the same thing occurred in Russia, but that is all over now. The governments concerned took prompt action, and punishment followed. I trust that before this war is over steps will be taken to find out from the Commander-in-Chief of the. Canadian forces how and why it was that our men were employed in that way, and why the money equivalent of their wages was not refunded to this Government. This is a very disagreeable thing for me to discuss, but it is one of the things that many officers and men asked me to take up when I came home. I could not, while wearing the uniform, say a word about it, because it was not my privilege until I spoke in the House of Commons. I have spoken of this question and I have done so in the hope that the Government will inquire into it.

After we had spent a certain time on Salisbury Plain we were sent to France. Within a few weeks after the time that we had finished the building of these huts we were taken to France. That was all right; we were anxious to go there. Would it be occupying the time of the House too much if I were to describe the trenches in France and various matters illustrating the life of our men at the front?

Topic:   THE BUDGET.

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Go on; go on.

Topic:   THE BUDGET.

John Allister Currie

Conservative (1867-1942)


I do not wish to occupy the time of the House at too great length. Well, the troops went over to France. Some of you may have heard stories about our troops; it has been said that they were drunkards and all sorts' of things. I can now state, for the information of the House, that eighty per cent of the men in my


corps, which was no better than the others, never took a drop of liquor of any kind during all the time they were in England, or after they had left England for the front. They were all fine, clean young fellows, who had gone to France intent on doing their duty to themselves and to the Crown, and they were anxious to be a credit to Canada. When they had reached France they were sent immediately up to the trenches. They were first sent to the ancient town of Hazebrouck, where they detrained. That is right in old Flanders. It has been stated that England had two, or three, million men there when we were sent over. That is not a fact. A return brought down in the House of Lords shows that Great Britain did not have more than 350,000 effective bayonets in France when we went there; so that we were a good sized unit to be added to the British force at the front. We took our position prepared to fight for Great Britain. Before going into the trenches we went into billets behind the trenches. These billets are composed of farm houses generally knocked about a good deal by shells. There will be a stable, a stall here and there, and there will be one or two rooms in the house which have not been destroyed by shell fire. Shells are likely to arrive at any time, as some of the German guns have a long range, and their fire is effective at a distance of ten miles. The various companies of the battalions are divided amongst these farm houses, and the farmers supply the men with milk, butter, and things of that kind. These farmers are not young men. There are only old men, boys and women left at the farms, and I will say to the credit of our men that there never was a single complaint against our men by the farmers in Flanders and that they behaved themselves like gentlemen. Flemish farmers have again and again expressed to me their appreciation of this fact. The Germans had overrun that country, and you can see evidences of German atrocities which it is unnecessary for me to mention here; there were ample evidences before our eyes at every place we went. A Flemish farmer said to me: We have had German troops, French troops, English and Indian troops, but the troops that behave themselves best when at our farms are the Canadians. 1 wish to bear testimony here to the men of the first Canadian division with which I was, and I am satisfied ''hat the men of all the other Canadian divisions will behave themselves equally well. The trenches

that we went into first were in front of Fromelle, or within three-quarters of a mile of rue d'Enfers, which is the main road running into Aubers, where the battle of Neuve Chapelle was fought. These trenches are not exactly the same as those that you see pictured and which are shown as deep ditches. The deep ditches are communicating trenches. The trenches all through this whole country are really parapets about four feet high covered with sand bags and provided behind with willow trestles or basket work so that the men can stand up close to the parapets. The reason of that is that if you dig one or two feet below the surface you are in water. The result is that the permanent entrenchments must be all built up. The men entrench themselves in this way: The troops, after being engaged in battle, are told to dig in and every man digs a little hole for himself in the ground. He carries an entrenching tool on his back which he brings out, places on its handle and proceeds, while he is lying down, to dig himself a little hole in the ground. He gets into this and in about twenty minutes every man is lying under cover and if he gets any sleep at all it is then although the guns are playing upon these parapets and entrenchments. All the work is done at night. The shovels are brought down by the engineers and the men throw up a parapet four or four and a half feet high all along their line. They place wire entanglements in front of the entrenchments. Then, behind these parapets they place little dugouts into which the men slip when they want to have a little , sleep. In these trenches there is a rigid rule of discipline. The men are all required to be kept awake during the night. They are not allowed to sleep. If they do sleep they sleep with their rifles under their heads. Every man has to have his uniform and his boots on, his arms in his hand, his equipment ready and his ammunition in bandolier and belt holding 300 rounds, strapped around him. All through the night magnesium flares illuminate the sky between the trenches, and it becomes so bright that you can read a newspaper at a distance of even half a mile behind the trenches. These flares are for the purpose of illuminating that dead man's ground between the trenches, the devil strip. The patrols go in and out at night from both sides and fight in that interval where there is no law and nothing but death if any one is seen there. Along about the grey dawn, half an hour before daybreak, word is


passed from mouth to mouth-all orders are given in that way-for the men to "stand to their arms," and the men get into position behind the parapets, so that, if necessary, they can repel an attack. They then stand to arms until half an hour after daylight, when they get the word to "stand down," and then they proceed first to clean their equipment, and after that to shave and clean themselves. After they come out of the trenches, they look as clean as any of us here do, because our Canadian soldiers are endeavouring to carry out the rule of the best regiments in the British service, that every one must shave and clean himself every day, so that he may look clean and respectable; it does not matter if his clothes are dirty and muddy. The soldiers carry out this rule, because it makes for discipline, and there is no better disciplined force in the world than our Canadian soldiers who have gone over to France. You may talk about the discipline of Caesar's legions, but they never had better discipline than the Canadian troops. Discipline means the sense of duty to carry on all the work cheerfully as told, and our soldiers are all obsessed with an intense desire to do their duty and to behave themselves like men. If a soldier misbehaves himself or is dirty-it does not matter who he is-the officers do not have to take action; the men immediately bring him to attention, and -in about five minutes give him enough to make him go and clean himself and behave himself in future. Thus the discipline is self-imposed and as rigid as I could make it, the men carrying out their orders to the letter. This makes life agreeable to the officers, and the Canadian people have good reason to be proud of the men who represent them on the other side at the trenches.

Now, I want to bear testimony to the excellent food that is given to our soldiers. Nothing in the way of food that they require is refused them by the Government, and this Government deserves to be thanked by them for that food. The English troops,

I may say, are just as well fed

as we are. I hope the men will be given to understand, as they should understand, that this Canadian Government is paying for everything supplied to our men at the front. Some weeks ago, at the opening of the session, the Minister of Finance stated that Canada was paying for everything in connection with our troops. That is a glorious idea. Some people, not only Canadians, but some who are not Canadians, had an idea that we were not paying our

share in that respect, that the- British Government was paying and feeding our men. At the front, if a soldier sleeps in a barn, his officer has to give a requisition to the farmer that this soldier has slept in his barn for so many nights, because, as we are in a friendly country, everything has to be paid for and is charged to us. All the supplies of our Canadian troops, ammunition, food, and everything else, is paid for by us, and that condition of affairs should be made known more publicly in Great Britain than it is at the present time. I have been told many times in England and in Scotland, and the people there know, that our Canadian soldiers are receiving much larger pay than the English Tommies. The English soldier gets Is. 6d. a day at most; the non-commissioned officers, of course, receive higher pay and the English officers get much higher pay than the Canadian officers, notwithstanding that some members would like to see the pay of the Canadian- officers reduced. The English officers also get a larger allowance than the Canadian officers, but the English Tommy gets only Is. 6d., whereas our men get 4s. 6d. per day. Over in England the wealthy man is putting up the money required by Great Britain and Ireland for this war. He is paying taxes and buying war bonds. He is called the "British taxpayer," and he has been a notable factor in the history and development of Great Britain since the time of the Magna Charta. This British taxpayer admires the Canadian soldier; he has nothing but praise for the brilliant qualities in action and the bravery of the Canadian soldier, but he has a haunting idea that he is perhaps paying a little too much for our troops as compared with his own. Many men have^asked me: " Colonel, do you not think it is unfair that the Canadian soldier should be getting four shillings and sixpence a day while our men have to serve for Is. 6d.? I was not sure myself, until the statement was made by the Minister of Finance here, that Canada was paying ajl the salaries of our men. That is not generally known in (Great Britain, and I think that the sooner it is known within the walls of the British Parliament by some notable man, there or by some member of the Government there, that, so far as Canada is concerned, all the expenses of our troops at the front are being borne by us, the better it will be for everyone concerned. That fact

sould be made known for many reasons which I do not wish to discuss at this place and time. This being a fact, the position of our army at the front is to some extent different from what it is generally supposed to be, and in view of the fact that we aie paying for everything for *our own men, Canadians should command our own men and we should have some representation upon the committee that deals with the supplies and the handling of our troops in Great Britain. We are operating along with the British troops and the Indian troops, and the Indian troops are in exactly the same position as the Canadian troops, because India pays for everything connected with her own troops. India does not hesitate to have a say in matters connected with her troops and she has a representative in the British Cabinet, seated at the table with the British ministers, discussing Indian affairs and this war. We are in a slightly different position, and, so far as I am concerned as a member of this House, I bring this matter to the attention of the House, because I think we are amply justified in asking that we may appoint a committee in Great Britain representing this Government that may be able to control not only the expenditure of money in connection with our troops at the front, but promotions, appointments, and other matters of great importance. The question of promotions is a rather troublesome one. The British officers in command of the troops consider that they have all the say in connection with the promotion's in our troops, whilst the Army Act places all such matters in connection with the troops in the hands of the Government of the colonies that send armies to assist the Empire, stating that they have a perfect right to have their own rules and regulations in reference to pay, appointments and promotions, provided they pay the troops. It is very disagreeable for a young man who has served continually during the war to find out that his promotion is 'held back when officers no-t at the front have been promoted. Perhaps he may be entitled to a majority or to be second in command in his regiment owing to casualties which have occurred. His promotion, however, is held up for weeks. I am sorry that the Minister of Militia is not here, because I have received several letters from the front to the effect that, whilst some who have started as lieutenants in this country and who have not gone to the front at all are now

commanding regiments, many young men who have served at the front, a number of them graduates of our Royal Military College, still remain without promotions, whilst civilians at home are without experience, are aspiring to tlie command of brigades and divisions. Something should be done by the minister to bring before this House measures that would adjust this, so that these men may know that their promotions are being promptly looked after. Because, as we all know, what is everybody's business is nobody's business and is never looked after. The British Government-the War Office- does not want to take the responsibility in this matter; and I suppose there is not an overwhelming desire on the part of the officials here to undertake the responsibility of matters of promotion abroad. But these are vital matters in the trenches and should be attended to.

I have spoken of the food, now the clothing of the men'-it could not be better. It is first-class clothing, warm blankets, and all kept clean. Behind the lines, established in the breweries-that country is, dotted with breweries; there is one at every comer-are great baths where at least 100 men can bathe at once. The result is that they can run off three or four battalions a day, so that the men have a nice warm bath once a week. I mention these things because I am sure that hon. members are interested in knowing how our soldiers are cared for.

Now, it might be fitting for me to give a description of the great fight in which the Canadians so distinguished themselves. And when I say " Canadians," I want to include all the men in our ranks who came from the Old Country. Every one of these old countrymen who wears the strap on his shoulder " Canada " is as good a Canadian as I am, a native-born. And he is anxious to be known as a Canadian; there is no desire on his part to be known as an Englishman, Irishman, or Scotchman. He belongs to the Canadian army and is a Canadian, just as an Irishman in an Irish Highland regiment likes to be considered a Scotchman.

Topic:   THE BUDGET.

George Perry Graham



They have to have them to get up a good Scotch regiment.

Mr. CURRIE. These is something in that, but in the army there is no question of nationality. All our men are Canadians. And as to other nationalities there is no distinction. I had with me a number of

Irishmen and to one I gave the military cross for his bravery, and he deserved it. He wore kilts like the rest. I had several Englishmen, and nothing too good could be said of them. I had some of our friends from Lower Canada-there were a number of them with me. No braver men or better troops ever stood in shoe-leather than the French-Canadians who were with the First Division. When you fight alongside of men and see them press on, fighting with their hands, and bayonets, and rifles, and all standing to it without quailing, you realize the merits of those men and know the stuff the real Canadian is made of. The French-speaking Canadian militia has had ' a glorious history. Think of that corps in the campaigns of Montcalm and Wolfe. We know that when Canada was handed over to the British Crown the Canadian militia did not surrender, but marched out with drums beating, colours flying, matchlocks burning, and with all the honours of war. And the men who are fighting on the front to-da^, men alongside of whom I fought, the men of the Royal Highlanders of Montreal and the Montreal regiment, and some in my own regiment, were worthy successors of those brave men who tried to defeat the British over a hundred years ago. It makes me very tired indeed when I see the efforts made to stir up strife irj this country with the old weapons of the seventeenth century. These men at the front forget all these things. Those here who are trying to stir up trouble should go to the trenches for at least a few days. There they will see the wild Orangemen of Ontario dying, hundreds of them, alongside their comrades from the province of Quebec. And what for? For the very language and ideals over which there is trouble in this country; for the liberties of France; for the rights of that French-speaking people, the Belgians; for the integrity and independence of Belgium, " the beloved daughter of the Church." All these ideas of race and religion have been thrown into the sea by the men who have gone across; there is nothing of that among them. When a man has been under fire for twenty-four hours he reconciles himself to death. And he has a great respect for the man alongside him. The devotion of those men dying there should be an example to us in this country. In the shattered churches behind the lines, you find priests of the old faith praying there for these Orangemen and the rest of us in the trenches, praying that we may be safe and victorious. That is

an example for the whole world, and surely it should put an end for ever to strife in this country. I would urge those who seek to stir up trouble to go to the front and see what is taking place there. You will find the bodies of these same Orangemen that are derided by some here, and about whom such a'row is raised by agitators, buried in cemeteries the walls of which have been thrown down, buried in consecrated ground; no question as to religion there in the presence of the Great Tragedy. And this Great Tragedy is not enacted on that embattled ground alone; it is here, at our doors, it is in this very chamber as real as among these men in Flanders-unless they win. Surely we have something else to do here than to stir up strife. It ill becomes any man of military age.to carry on such an agitation among our people. Where the fighting goes on we come to know each other. And I can assure you that, so far as those are concerned who seek political preferment by means of such agitation, the men who have fought and learned lessons of toleration in the trenches-for they have votes-will take care of those agitators.

Perhaps the House would desire to hear something of the battle of St. Julien, and it may not be amiss for me to put on record a few words concerning it here. For no doubt future historians will take up this Hansard to see what one who was present had to say about it.

The Canadians took over the French trenches immediately east and north of the city of Ypres, in Belgium. I may explain that all Belgium is gone except a strip about twenty miles wide and thirty miles long-that is all that is left to the brave King Albert and his people to fight in. The rest is in the hands of the Germans. But it will not be always thus. The last city in Belgium is the city of Ypres. The Allies had thrown around it cordons of their troops and had driven the Germans back about six miles all around the city, forming what they call a salient. On the extreme north, along the canal to the sea the Belgian troops were holding. Then came the French, the "Iron Division" from Nancy, whose lines ran along the northeast section of this salient. Then came the Turoos, native Algerian troops, and brave troops they are. I do not say they were not justified in fleeing when the gas came. The French left their trenches, a*d we took them over, having a position between the Turcos and the British troops, who held the line southwest to Labasse.

Strong fighting had taken place there. The parapets were low, and many a German was piled up in these parapets and in the mud under foot, and almost every inch of the ground behind us was covered with the graves of the brave French defenders of that section and the Germans killed in trying to take the ground. Honourable members sitting here, I think, have little idea of the conditions under which our troops are fighting. Death is in the air every moment. Night or day, if a man raises his head above the parapet, he is liable to re-oeive a rifle bullet. Every five minutes a shell will hit the parapet or the trenches. Of course, everybody is placed so as to avoid danger as much as possible, but not a day passes when there are not one or two casualties, sometimes three or four, in every Canadian battalion, as you will see by the lists in the newspapers. And we were giving it back with interest to the Germans across the hundred yards of space in the same way. Four days after we had taken over the French trenches, on the 19th of April, between five and six o'clock in the afternoon, we noticed a tremendous rifle fire breaking out along the line occupied by the Turcos. Then we observed a huge cloud of greenish-yellow smoke, like, the smoke of burning straw. The rifle fire increased in intensity, and the shell fire became something terrible. The German guns gave what the newspapers call " a curtain of flame " on the forward lines of the Turcos' trenches. One of my companies was in the garrison of one of the villages behind that sector, St. Julien. When I first saw that the attack was coming, I was at the front line in company with Adjutant Dansereau, who is a native of Quebec, and one of the bravest men that ever stood in shoe leather. When we noticed the smoke and the intense firing, we immediately came to the conclusion that a tremendous thrust was being made against the French line at that point. We hurried back into the village of St. Julien and ordered our troops there to stand to. Shortly afterwards we noticed the figures of the French Turcos coming across the fields towards the village. Adjutant Dansereau, with a number of other young officers

Guy Drummond and Major Noseworthy among them-ran out to meet and to stop the Turcos. Dansereau rallied about two hundred of them into my trenches; the others were rallied into the trenches in front of the village. Drummond and Noseworthy fell gallantly, stemming the retreat. The Turcos told us that the Germans had suddenly

turned a stream of gas on their lines, which, with the wind blowing about four miles an hour, quickly crossed the intervening space of 100 or 150 yards which intervened between the trenches. The opposing trenches are never more than 400 yards apart; indeed, the intervening distance is seldom more than 100 yards. When the gas first came the Turcos stuck to their trenches, and fully twenty per cent of their men died in their tracks. You can easily realize why so many of these poor, ignorant, coloured troops were so panic-stricken that they ran. Those who did not run were shot by machine guns or struck by shrapnel as they tried to make their way out of the trenches, so that only a remnant of their brigades reached the village. I desire to bear testimony to the courage of these men, even though they did retire. Out of the 200 men who were put in the forward trench at St. Julien, not more than sixteen remained alive after the battle; and the sixteen became prisoners of the Germans. You will see, therefore, that it was not lack of courage that caused the Turcos to retire. Well, the "Germans were coming on, and it was up to the Canadians to fight a rearguard action. I am speaking now not as a soldier, but in my civilian capacity; so I can give praise where it is due. I am sure, therefore, that a word of praise for General Turner will not be out of place. He is an officer in whom we Canadians all have confidence; and he is one of the bravest men in the British Army to-day. He is a Victoria Cross man, and a true soldier from the soles of his feet to the top of his head. General Turner immediately grasped the situation. The 10th and 16th battalions, which were in what they call brigade reserve at Ypres, formed up in the dusk of the evening west of the village of St. Julien, fixed bayonets, ported arms, and started to drive the Germans back. They drove the Germans back nearly a mile, many men falling in the engagement. No braver deed is recorded in the annals of the British Army than the charge of the 16th and 10th at St. Julien wood. Many of the Germans, who threw up their hands, were cowardly enough, after the troops had passed over, to shoot our men in the back. Between 60 and 70 per cent of the charging battalions were wiped out; that is, were killed or wounded. I have not time to mention the bravery of the officers who fell during that fight. The regiments dug in at the edge of the wood, and then the 7th hurried up to form a link between the villages

of iSt. Julien and the extreme point of the triangle held by the Mbntreal Highlanders and by my battalion. The first brigade was hurried up from west of the canal in reserve, and they helped to drive the Germans back and reconstitute the line., We stopped the rush that night. 1 understand that in the rush five army corps were in front of us. One of my men who had been a prisoner, but who, having lost his eye, was allowed to return, told me that six double lines of Germans were dug in in the fields behind the front of our lines. It was well known that there were 250,000 Germans in front of the Canadians in that fight; the odds, therefore, were about 20 to 1. That the Canadians were able to stop the rush of the Germans speaks well for their bravery. There was no hesitation, no question as to whether or not the force of the enemy was overpowering. It was a rearguard fight, and the Canadians held their ground because there. was nothing between the Canadians and Calais. If the German army had broken through, they would in two days reach Calais. It was necessary to sacrifice men, and we did not hesitate to do it.

On Friday the Germans gassed the front line again. They had come to realize, however, that the Canadians would keep on fighting like savage Indians, and would not throw up their hands as long as life and ammunition lasted. One wounded man in a ditch would hold up a wlfole battalion of Germans. Wherever they crossed bayonets with our men, our men overpowered them, and again and again the Germans were countered and driven out of our trenches. On Saturday morning they gassed us again, this time the attack being directed against the Montreal regiment and my battalion, which held the extreme angle of the salient. We were surrounded by Germans on three sides. Possibly 1,500 guns were turned loose on our sector; a shell fell about every ten feet. Out of forty-seven men who went into a small trench about 100 yards to the left of where I stood, only seventeen men came out after fifteen minutes shelling; the rest were killed by Jack Johnsons-great shells that fill the air with black and green smoke so thick that you could almost cut it with a knife. A number of the men applied wet bandoliers to their noses and escaped the gas in that way. We were not then supplied with respirators such as they have now. It was but the third day of our experience with German gas. In spite of the gas, the men held their line until late in the afternoon, when support came. On Friday evening LU-

Col. Hart McHarg, who was in command of the 7th, got into a broken-down house from which the Germans were distant about twenty feet. While making an attempt to get out of the house he was shot and killed. Many other brave officers fell that day. On Saturday morning the Germans got a piece of our front trenches. They paid dearly for it. On Saturday afternoon the English troops came up and relieved us. I want to bear testimony to the extreme courage and bravery of these new British troops. They were not regulars, but Kitchener's army. They were fresh from England, had never fired a shot in anger in their lives, and did not know what the inside of the German trench was like. They took over our trenches, and their battalion lost possibly 50 per cent of its members, showing you that, with proper drill and discipline, the British troops are the equal of any troops and can hold any troops in the world. That makes us all feel satisfied that before this war is over we are going to have great and glorious victories.

I shall not refer to the few of our battalions who came out further than to say that I do not think any of the Canadian regiments' could muster more than three hundred men out of the eight hundred or nine hundred with which they went into that fight. All through the fight our brigadier was with us and with him the gallant officer who was his brigade major, the son of the Minister of Militia, a young man who is simply one of the bravest of the brave-there is no question about his ability as a soldier and his bravery. His commanding officer, General Turner, had to take the cooks and all the men he could scrape up at his headquarters to fight the Germans, who were within 150 yards, the first evening. A young officer from Winnipeg, McDonald, was shot in the brigade quarters by a shell that came into the room and the house was burned-not a particle of the barns and buildings where General Turner had his headquarters was left. Still he hung on, although we all thought he was killed. Our brigade got out about four o'clock on Monday morning and went into action again at eight o'clock the same morning, each of the battalions about 300 strong. Mine had 22 unwounded men and only two officers, myself and my second in command.

Something may have been said and has been said, there has been some gossip about my conduct at the front. I want to state to you gentlemen present here that

all through my career as an officer I constantly had in view ithe fact also that I was one of the members of this House and that I should comport myself in accordance with its dignity and honour. Far greater responsibilities rested upon me than upon anybody else there, but I never found the fact that I was a member of Parliament had anything at all to do with assisting me in any possible way, because I did not presume upon that; I took very great care that I never presumed or asked anything for myself from any person; neither political favour nor military favour of any kind have I asked for myself. There has, as I have said, been a little gossip. The men in my regiment and my officers know that when a battle takes place and I am there with them it is my duty to be there to lead them, rifle in hand; and after the battle is over I am the man who knows whether they comported themselves with bravery and dignity or not. The man who knows whether I did my duty there is Brigadier General Turner, V.C., who was with me all through the fight, and who shared the same dig-in with me during part of the remaining twelve days of the battle when we were in the thick of it night and day. When I was invalided to England he was good enough to ask for four days more leave for me. I got six days to start with and he was pleased to give me four days more, and he wrote me a letter which I think it is only right, in justice to myself, I should put oil record here as it will show that the words I have spoken to you are true. This letter was written on the 10th of May, virtually on the battlefield. The general was in the thick of the fight at Festubert a few days later. General Turner does not hesitate to go in with his men. He does not ask any officer or man in his brigade to do anything that he was not willing to do himself. That is the kind of man he is. He is an opponent of mine politically, so you will understand that there is no scratching of one another's backs, and no politics in this, He wrote to me:

Dear Colonel:

Leave has been extended for four days as requested.

The process of reorganizing is a heavy one.

Your battalion will have lost its identity as the 48th Highlanders.

In forwarding recommendation for " Mention in Despatches " it has given me great pleasure including your name for the valuable services rendered at St. Julien.

According to medical officers and my own opinion you are entitled to a good rest or suitable staff employment.

You have done more than called for as a regimental officer.

With best wishes, believe me,

Yours sincerely,

R. E. W. Turner.

General Turner, in his modesty, has not added the words letters "V.C." after his name, as he was entitled to do. That letter speaks for itself.. So far as my conduct is concerned, there is nothing to be ashamed of there. So far as the conduct of any Canadian soldier in the Canadian army that took part in that battle is concerned there is nothing to be ashamed of as far as I know. I am speaking for them all. If anything has been said or done since to my injury there are only two men who stood between me and any decorations that might have come to me, or any "mention in despatches," and these were General Alderson-and the Minister of Militia here. One was six miles back of the line all through the fight, and the other was attending to his duty in Canada, several thousand miles away. I choose to take the verdict of the man who stood over me in the trenches and the men that fought alongside of me.

We will now pass from what is a very disagreeable thing for me to speak of a personal matter, because a soldier has only his honour; you get nothing but hard knocks out of war and a little honour; so let us turn to the question of the war itself. We have now some 250,000 men ready for the field, and we are asked to get more men and yet more men. There are three things we will need: men, money, and munitions, and then more money and munitions. Of men we have now 250,000, and I often wish that this country had been blessed with national service before this war broke out. Then there would have been no heart burnings. The French people ihave national service, and you have no idea of their attachment to their country, and the excellent way in which that service works out. In France, when war broke out, every man, woman and child in the state was mobilized for war. The man whose place was behind the desk at the bank was left there, that was his place. The man who was to till the ground was left there. The only son of the widow, the only hope and support of a widow, or th,e bread winner of a small family, he was not taken off to the war. Places were adjusted for everybody, and there were no qualms of conscience in anybody, whether he should don khaki or

not; or whether we was of age or not, whether he should go to the front or not.

I find in this country men of my acquaintance of my age who have never served in any military capacity whose consciences are disturbing them constantly because they are not at the front. Their place if they led sedentary lives at home. There is^ a 'great difference between national service and conscription. Under conscription the names of the men in the community. are taken and put in a hat. If twenty men are needed twenty names are drawn out. It used to be the custom with conscription, and I do not think any law has been passed to change it, that if a rich man's name were drawn he could hire a poor boy a substitute to take his place. That form of conscription bore very hardly on the poor. But in France, where they have national service, the mother who rocks the boy in the cradle knows he has to tight for France and she glories in that. Many of them told me last year they were glad their boys would be old enough and able to take part in the war. Talk about their conduct in this war! Our ideas of the French people are in many cases entirely erroneous. The ideas put in hook? by novelists are often contemptible. There are no finer people, no more casual people, no more cool and collected people under danger-and I have seen them in the fight, in the middle of it-than the French. One of our officers, a Highlander, and a very brave man, who was wounded the other day, said to me: These Frenchmen in front of us carry on this battle just as casually as if they were working on a railroad job. Anybody who has seen them fighting knows that there is no chance in the world of the Germans winning, so far as fighting is concerned. The social qualities of the French and their discipline are very good. They were holding nearly 400 miles of these trenches I have described to you while the great British Empire was holding something like 35 miles. So you can understand the work and labours they had and the difficulties with which they had to contend. When we got into trouble their brigades marched to our assistance, took their places and helped us out and helped to finish the big battle of Ypres, which ended in a victory for the Allies, because it stopped the great German rush on the west front for a year. They have national service in France. If we had had national service we would have had no difficulty now; everybody would have known that he had his place, and then there would not have been

any qualms of conscience in the breasts of those who are now wondering if they should not get into khaki because I or somebody else has done so. They would have their place, and their proper place perhaps would be on the lines of communication; perhaps behind the men in the trenches, or perhaps legislating here. The legislators in France have to attend to their duties, even if men are fighting at the front. We must get the 500,000 men, and I feel satisfied that, in view of the martial ardour of the people of this country -and I am speaking now more particularly of the Canadians, who number over 80 per cent of the population-we will get them; there is no doubt about that. Even if we have to take action, even if we have to adopt some form of national service, I think 90 per cent of the people of this country would say immediately, "Amen, let the older men take our places and let the younger men go." Why should a middle aged man with a large family go to fight in this war, and leave the young fellows who have no ties to stay at home? I received a letter the other day from a .man at the front who is 53 years of age, and who has a wife and twelve children at home, and for over 12 months he has been under fire in the trenches. It is very unfair that a man of his years and position should have to go when there are hundreds of young men in the country quite capable of bearing arms; and it would be the best thing in the world for them.

We must get these men as quickly as possible. The nation that has the greatest number of men, the largest number of guns, and the greatest amount of equipment at the front, is the nation that is going to win this war. We must not say: We cannot do this, and we must not expend this or that money, because the war is likely to stop soon. Do not believe, gentlemen of the House of Commons, that this war is going to end in six months or in a year. The Germans have won so far; bear that in mind, and whilst they may want peace, and whilst it would be to their interest to * secure peace at this moment-and nobody knows that better than the Germans themselves-we should see to it that they do not get peace. What has kept us back was our lack of preparation. Germany has got 65 per cent of industrial France; she has the coal mines and the iron mines; and she has Austria, for Austria will be the lamb that will lie down inside the German lion when this war is over. There will be no Austrian emperor then; take that for

granted, even if Germany is beaten. Then Germany has the Balkan States, and there is no doubt that she has won great territory. But in the language of Joseph Chamberlain, are we down-hearted? Not a bit of it, because history teaches us that we must pass through at least two years of muddling in a great war before the tide turns in our favour. Those of us who read history know that in the war between the Parliament under Cromwell and the King that at the end of two years Pym was dead, Hampden was killed and all the great leaders of Parliament of that day were either dead or killed. Very few besides Cromwell and Milton were left, but the tide turned at the end of two years, and then there came great victories which won the parliamentary liberties that we now enjoy and cherish. Take the Seven Years' War. During the first two years of that war on the continent of Europe the battle of Kolin was lost. There was also the convention of Closterseven, the loss of Minorca, the defeat of Braddock, the fall of Fort Necessity. It looked as if the end were near. The French had everything. Then the great Pitt came and there was victory from which Great Britain emerged stronger than she had ever been before. She -secured the Spanish and French colonies, among them Canada, and for the first time obtained absolute command of Die seas. Reverting for a moment to Cromwell, I may recall that at that time were passed the Navigation Laws, and to-day they are reading the preamble of those navigation laws in the House of Commons in England, and wondering why they ever gave them up. Adam Smith says they were the wisest piece of legislation ever enacted.

Again, take the Napoleonic wars. The first two years secured for Britain the command of the sea, but there was mutiny at home and in many cases defeat abroad, the same as had happened in the previous wars. Pitt the Younger succeeded in getting command of the sea, cabinet after cabinet was formed, and coalition government after coalition framed by that great statesman, to the end that the country might succeed. Nevertheless, history shows that during the first two years nothing was done apart from securing the command of -the seas. Then the tide turned and victories came. Need I make any further reference to history? The tide is turning now so far as we are concerned. It has turned in Asia. The Russians have captured the great city of Erzerum, and

the keys of Constantinople are always on the south side of the Bosphorus. They have always been there, and the Allies should be thundering at the gates of the city of the Turks before many months have elapsed.

So far as we are concerned, the fight has to be finished on the western front, and Canada must be there. We must have' arms, w-e must have men, but in the meantime we must not hesitate to establish great arsenals here to manufacture rifles, guns and munitions. We will need them all. It is a great mistake for us to spend our money abroad; it is a great mistake for the Empire to send its money abroad for munitions. There would have been no question at all as to the value of the English pound if everything possible had been done to bring about the manufacture of munitions in Britain or in the Empire. Why, the German guns that fired shells at my soldiers and myself day after day in Flanders, were made out of Canadian nickel and chrome steel. The rifles that fired at us had barrels that were made out of Canadian nickel steel. Every one of them was stamped " nickel steel," but they should have borne the motto "mined in Canada." This country has virtually the monopoly of nickel in the world. The French own New Caledonia, where there is nickel, but we are the only people in the world that have chrome ore in large quantities at the present time. There are loads of it in the province of Quebec, and it requires chrome and nickel to make the best electrical steel. The best guns that are being used in this war are not those of Krupps, but those of France and Austria, and the reason why they are the best is that the steel of which they are made is chrome nickel steel made by an electrical furnace. We have all the electricity we need, in this country; we have the nickel, and the chrome, and therefore we should go into the manufacture of arms and munitions on a large scale. The result would be that large amounts of money would be made in this country, and Canada would become great and prosperous.

As I have said before, when this war is over, we should see to it that we have made it pay, the -same as Pitt made war pay. I think the consensus of opinion in this House of Commons is that everything must be done to bring about that happy state of things. After the war broke out possibly 75 per cent of the factories in England were closed and the people were walk-

FEBRUARY 22, 19i'3

ing the stfeets. Before I left England last year I took occasion to visit Woolwich arsenal, and I saw the operations connected with the manufacture of guns and shells and fuses, and of all the articles that are needed in war. I spent syne time there, and took complete notes of every operation in that connection. I have a knowledge of machine tools, and of automatic machinery, so that I apprehend everything that was done in that arsenal. And let me say that I saw nothing done there which the people of this country could not do just as well. We have workmen just as able, and engineers that will hold their own with the engineers at Woolwich.

We must endeavour before this - war is over to put ourselves in a position to reap every advantage from Our great natural conditions. What a great thing it would be if this country were to become the greatest munition and arm producing country in the world. We have a monopoly of the raw materials that make cannon. To make cannon requires a certain amount of nickel, and also a certain amount of chrome, otherwise the temper of the metal will not last when the gun is fired quickly. We are spending enough money on this war to build these great plants for us and operate them. Now is our opportunity. If we let it pass it may never come again. If we deprive the Germans of our nickel, their predominance as an arm producing country will cease for ever. We will not be troubled with so many wars.

That is the whole secret of it. In all these localities we should be doing everything we can to bring about the establishment of works of this kind. I know that the Government have had a great many things to contend with and that they cannot do everything. I am speaking freely because, as a result of this great war, we have thrown our text books on economy into the fire and we have also thrown away a great deal of our politics.

1 think that some steps should be taken to inaugurate a policy similar to that carried out by Mr. Lloyd George in the old country. When he found that there were only three or four industries in Great Britain making shells and guns, and that they were trying to " hog " it all, he realized that it was necessary for him to get busy and increase the output of munitions. He called on the shoemakers, the cloth manufacturers and the steel makers and he said to these people: "We want you to make

material for the army." They said: "We have not any money to go into the manufacture of these articles." "Why?" he asked. They said: "We must have money with which to get machinery; the machinery that we require to make that stuff will be of no value after the war. Times are hard, we have no money, we have been fighting the Germans in the matter of commerce for years &nd we are without funds for the purchase of new machinery." That was true. He said: "You name what you want and the Government will provide you with it; if you want machinery for making munitions the Government will give you the capital that you require." He went to the manufacturers of clothing, of rifles, of shells, and made the same proposition to them. Hundreds of factories were established ia that way and to-day they are all going and prosperous. They are making large returns on their capital. Now, Mr. Lloyd George goes back to these manufacturers and says: "Well, gentlemen, you have made enough money to pay for these machines, for which the Government advanced you capital, you have got everything in first-class shape, you are making big profits and now I think the time has come when the Government should go into partnership with you and take 25 per cent of your earnings.." He is therefore quite justified in doing that. Something of that kind ought to be done in this country.

The day has gone by when we can stick fast to the old policy of letting everybody look after himself. England has advanced one hundred years in that respect during the last two years. Take it from me, if you had mentioned in England three years ago that there was a possibility of the Government taking over the railways of that country you would have been laughed at. you would have been told that there were so many interests at stake that nobody could get legislation of that kind through the British House of Commons. Yet, in one night the Government took over the railways of Great Britain and, with the exception of one or two small branches, they are bow all under Government operation and control. The Government have gone behind the munition manufacturers and they are going to go behind other kinds of manufacturers. Read the debates that are taking place in the English House of Commons almost every day and see what members of Parliament are saying about what they are going to do after the

war. They tell you that the Government are going to arrange banking 5 p.m. facilities, that they are going to stand behind their own manufacturers and that they are going to use every means in their power to control the commerce of the world. That is the proper policy and it is time that we should consider a policy of that kind.

I have talked to the House possibly long enough. There is nothing, as far as this war is concerned, that interests us more than the future. I see a glorious future arising from this war for this country and for the whole Empire. No longer will the British Empire be regarded as a bundle of sticks, a collection of shreds and patches. You will see, before this war is over, representatives of all the colonies having seats in the House of Commons; I have ne hesitation in saying that. But, there is plenty of time for that. The war is not going to be over to-morrow. We must not be in a hurry. We must do everything in our power to achieve the victory which we all hope for. If necessary, this House and this Government should take steps to assure the Mother Country that whatever can be done to bring about victory and the consolidation of the Empire we are prepared to do. Let us all pray that the day will come when we shall have, not an inglorious peace, but a splendid victory crowning our arms and sanctifying the sacrifices of our soldiers and people, when we shall have a great, free, united, happy and prosperous Empire presided over-as the great Pitt prayed for-by a pious and patriotic King and Emperor.

Topic:   THE BUDGET.

Edward Walter Nesbitt


Mr. E. W. NESBITT (North Oxford):

Mr. Speaker, as this is the first time I have spoken since you have occupied the Chair,

I would like to congratulate you on your rapid elevation, and to express the hope and belief that you will discharge the duties not only with honour to yourself but with credi.t to the high position which you occupy. I also desire to congratulate the Government on the choice of a Deputy Sp'eaker. The hon. gentleman who occupies that position (Mr. Rhodes) is a very strong personal friend of mine, and I think that both sides of the House will be satisfied with his discharge of the duties of the Deputy Speaker.

I would like to congratulate my hon. friend the-Minister of Finance (Sir Thomas White) on the very lucid and brief manner in which he placed the Budget before the House. I also desire to congratulate the gallant colonel from North Sirocoe (Mr.

John A. Currie) who has just taken his seat. I listened to his speech with a great deal of interest, because it gave us a great deal of information. But, as far as the political end of it is concerned, it will not be necessary for me to make any extended remarks. Whether I could derive any advantage from such a reference, if it were necessary to make it, is another question. But, I must congratulate him on the tone of his address and upon the way that he delivered it. As far as his prophecies are concerned, I am neither a prophet nor the son of a prophet, nor an admirer of prophecies, and therefore I will not attempt to answer that portion of his remarks, because, if we live long enough, we will all see, when the war ends, how the country will work out the problems which will confront it. I have no hesitation in expressing the belief that Canada will take care of herself.

When the war first started, I confess that the men of this country did not realize the seriousness of the situation. I believe that a great many people, especially the men. thought that the war, being over in France, or Flanders, or Russia, it did not touch us as closely as we now realize it does. Not so, however, with our women. Our women from the very first put all their energy, not only into providing comforts for our own men, their sons, brothers and fathers, but helping in Belgian Relief and Red Cross work. These women in many instances were better and more systematically organized than a great many movements, even under the Government supervision, that we have heard of.

I am not speaking now of this particular Government. The work that these women have been doing for the men at the front and for the relief of the suffering caused by this great war has been admirable and their organization has been splendid. Some of the newspapers have recently been agitating that the women should take the place of men for manual labour. Personally, I thank God that our women have not so far found it necessary to do manual labour, and I sincerely hope that it will not be found necessary in this country at any time for them to do so. During last summer as I travelled through the . country I am sorry to say I saw some farmers whose wives and daughters had to assist them in the removal of the crops, and I have no doubt that owing to the number of men who have been taken away on account of this unfortunate war, the same thing will have to be done to a certain extent in the future; but some of the news-

papers are agitating that women generally should undertake manual labour. I hope that will not be necessary. I think that for the last two or three months the people of this country have fully realized what they have to undertake. I believe that they are prepared not only to furnish the men necessary for recruiting purposes, but to pay whatever is necessary for the proper support of the army that Canada has to send to the front, no matter what the size of that army may have to be. They are ready, as the Minister of Finance has said, to economize and sacrifice to a certain extent; but they are looking to the Government for an example in the practice of economy. If the people have to economize as individuals, there is. nothing that will make them so sore, if I may use the word, as to see what they consider wastefulness on the part of this Government. Now, there may be some misunderstanding, but questions are asked US every day even with regard to the expenditure of the Militia Department. Many men ask me, on the train and off the train, at home and away from home, various questions which I will attempt to repeat. They ask me: "Why is it necessary

for an outside magistrate or some

such person to swear in a recruit when the officers are there to swear him in? If it is necessary, are these outside men paid for the work?" They ask me: "Why is it necessary to have an outside doctor to examine the recruits when there are doctors belonging to each battalion? If it is necessary, are these doctors paid for the work?" They ask me: "If two or three men are recruited in a village, are these men paid from the time they are recruited, from the time they are taken away from their work? Are they paid in full While they are sitting around the village shoe-shop or the village blacksmith shop doing nothing, not even drilling, or are they paid just the difference between what they would earn if they were not enlisted and what they earn as recruits?" I know that men are getting very scarce in some of the towns throughout Ontario; I do not know as to the other provinces. Is it necessary that these men, before a battalion is filled, should be left doing nothing in the villages? What benefit do we get in that way? Many people also say to me: "Is it necessary that these battalions should be kept so long drilling instead of being sent to camps with other battalions-so that they can be taught the methods of warfare as it is carried on at the front?"

1 am not complaining about these things; 1 am simply stating what people ask me and what I cannot answer. It is for the Government or for the Department of Militia to answer these questions. At the same time, the men who ask these questions are willing to support the Government to the utmost extent in recruiting; they are willing also to pay to the utmost extent to bring this country and this Empire out victorious in this war.

As I have stated, it is up to this Government to set the example in economy. In looking over the estimates for the year, one cannot help feeling that during the last four or five years, since 1911, there cannot have been such improvements made in the public service that the ordinary Estimates should have been increased from about $87,000,000 in 1911 to about $158,000,000 in 1916. Just as the manager of an institution is responsible for any increase in expenditure^ so the Government must explain the reason of this increase and tell us why the Estimates cannot be decreased without materially affecting the service that will be rendered to this country. The Government can certainly make a decrease in the Estimates of the Department of Public Works. I think .it is very bad policy for the Government of a country, just as it is for the management of a business, to put in the Estimates items that they do not intend to expend. Of course, it may be a good thing politically. I myself am a pooT politician; that is, I do not believe in taking political advantage by placing such items in the Estimates. If the Department of Public Works has no intention of erecting these buildings and constructing these various little public works, such as wharves and breakwaters, why does the Government put the items in the Estimates? It must have been for a political reason, for the purpose of convincing a section of country that benefit to them was intended by the construction of some public work at the general expense. There can be no other reason. Now, that is too bad. My hon. friend from North Simcoe (Mr. Currie) has been telling us about the unity of this country and about doing away with politics. In the face of that it is too bad that the Government should put in their Estimates appropriations that they have no intention of spending, as acknowledged by the Minister of Finance, to the extent fo $23,000,000. There is no possible reason that I can see why the Estimates should not be cut down by $35,000,000 more, for

that amount of__ saving could be effected without injury to the public service. The Government itself should set the example if it wants the people to economize. Let us look for a moment at the expenditures that have been incurred. In the first three years of their tenure of office the Government had surpluses aggregating $133,000,-

000. The Minister of Finance now tells us that at the end of the year the debt of this country will be $580,000,000, an increase of $243,000,000 over what it was. So that, with increased debt and expenditure of surplus, the Government have done away with $376,000,000 in something less than five years. And what have they to show for it? The Minist r of Finance may tell us of some things that they have to show, but he could not possibly make the list such as would justify this expenditure. Why, the post office expenses have jumped from about $7,000,000 or ' $8,000,000-I have not the exact figures before me-to $17,000,000 or $18,000,000. It is quite true that the Government has extended rural mail delivery, and for that I give them credit, but the expenditure on rural mail delivery would be only a drop in the 'bucket of this great increased post office expense. That increase is absolutely absurd. Now, if the Minister of Finance does noit intend to spend the $158,000,000 represented by these estimates, why cannot he strike out those amounts he does not intend to spend, as we come to them in committee? He asks us to unite with the Government in not playing politics and not talking politics. Why not, then, be honest with us and with the people and state openly what expenditures are to be made? I believe that from their estimates for public buildings and other similar works, the Government could strike out items aggregating $7,000,000 without doing a particle of harm. Then, in our expenditures on public works to be charged to oa,pital account, other great reductions could be made. They need not stop such great works as the Welland canal and the improvements at St. John and at Vancouver. Let these works go on to a limited extent. The Government need not fear that they will throw men into idleness, for the general labour market will take all the men that can be released from public works. While -I know that my friends on this side are as guilty as those on the other side in regard to the Hudson Bay railway, certainly there is no pressure this year, so far as I know, for the ex-

penditure of great sums of public money on that work.

Now I come to the revenue side of the account. The minister has shown us, and I am glad he was in a position to do so, that the revenues have increased very materially during the last six months. But I would have him remember that a great deal of that revenue has been obtained from customs charges on machinery imported for the manufacture of munitions, and that importation has about ceased. Besides, a great, deal of revenue in January and the early part of February was obtained because merchants and manufacturers throughout the country looked to see higher duties on many lines of goods. They did not know on what lines, for the minister quite properly, had not taken them into his confidence. But I know that vast -quantities of material for manufacturers were imported. Therefore, I doubt if the revenues will increase as fast during the next two months as they increased during the last two months.

The first change that 1 notice with regard to revenue is the duty on apples. My hon. friend from North Simcoe (Mr. Currie) said he was pleased to see that duty put on because it will help the people of British Columbia. That is one of the inconveniences of our widespread Dominion-what is meat for one province is poison for another. While this duty may benefit the people of British Columbia, it will prove a great detriment to the people of the prairie provinces. My hon. friend from North Simcoe says that no apples are shipped from Ontario or British Columbia to the Prairie Provinces. But so far as my own section of country is concerned that is not correct, for we ship many carloads of apples to the West; and, travelling in the West, I have found that there was a great consumption of Ontario apples and of British Columbia apples as well. I do not believe that we people in Ontario demanded this increased duty. For my part, I never heard it even mentioned. 1 know, from the prices that many men get who ship apples to the West, that the unfortunate people of the West must pay through the nose, as the saying is, for the apples they get. Now, while this duty may help the people of British Columbia, I would like to see them help themselves by competing with the Washington apple growers, just as people compete in any other line of business. I believe that the people of British Columbia could compete with the growers of the American West,

even without any duty, and I have no doubt the people of Ontario could hold their own against the American competition as well; -and, so far as I know, the apple-growers of Ontario are quite willing to do so.

As to the duty on crude oil, the only people upon whom this will bear very heavily, so far as I know, are the Canadian Pacific Railway Company.

Topic:   THE BUDGET.

Edward Walter Nesbitt



The Government will get something out of the Grand Trunk Pacific company by reason of the duty on crude oil, but their action is rather ungenerous, considering the amount that will be taken from the Canadian Pacific Railway company. I admit that the Canadian Pacific Railway company is a great corporation ; so far as I know they are willing to bear their share of the cost of this great war. But I think it is rather heaping it bn to take a quarter of their profits over seven per cent, at the same time hitting them on the head so far as crude oil is concerned.

In the resolution which the hon. Minister of Finance submitted in connection with his new taxation proposals I find the following :

That there shall be charged, levied and paid to His Majesty a tax of twenty-five per centum of the amount by which the profits arising from any trade or business subject to the tax in every accounting period ending after the fourth day of August, one thousand nine hundred and fourteen.

The banks, I think, end their fiscal year 'in November; therefore, their first accounting period under this legislation would begin in November, 1914. If it was my hon. friend's intention to make this legislation retroactive from the beginning of the year,

I am not sure that he will succeed; he will certainly strike those banks whose accounting periods end in the latter part of the year if he causes the tax to cover the whole accounting period. I suppose the banks have already paid the one per cent on their note issue, as provided by the Budget of last year. Some persons say you cannot strike the banks too hard. I do not agree with that. My hon. friend realizes, I am sure, that any tax imposed upon industry finally comes back to the ultimate consumer. Every large manufacturing concern knows that an increase of one-quarte.r, or one-eighth, in the charge for cheques and drafts, would compensate them for the extra taxation. In

any case, all these things come ljack to the ultimate consumer.

Clause 6 of the second resolution reads:

That the capital employed in the trade or business of an incorporated company having its head office or other principal place of business in Canada shall be the amount paid up on its capital stock.

In Ontario many companies have issued capital stock as common stock that is paid up according to the laws of the provinces. In some way they have got round the law and arranged that the stock that is issued is just as much paid up as the preferred stock. I shall not call the great companies monopolies; it is my experience that the so-called monopolies are so overloaded with overhead expenses that the ordinary small business that is well run can easily compete with it. A number of large corporations-I shall not call them monopolies- have issued a great deal of common stock and have been capitalized to such an extent that this proposed ligslation will not touch them at all. The hon. minister shakes . his head. I do not know how he is going to get out of that, because there will be lawsuit after lawsuit if he does not recognize as paid up stock the stock which the province of Ontario recognizes as such. This being the case, a number of large corporations-I need not name them-cement companies, steel companies, and other large corporations that have great quantity of common stock, will not be touched by this legislation.

Topic:   THE BUDGET.

William Thomas White (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Conservative (1867-1942)


There will be a definition of " amount paid up on stock " which will prevent, I think, undue advantage in the case of over-capitalization.

Topic:   THE BUDGET.

Edward Walter Nesbitt



That gives rise to the

observation that it is possible for a Government to take too much power into its own hands. What are we fighting for in Flanders and France? What are we spending this money for, if not to protect the right of the Englishman to be master in his own house? What are we spending this money for, if not to maintain what we call British fair play? Is it fair for the Government to take a man by the throat and make him pay what he should not pay? Is it fair for the Government arbitrarily to say what the stock of my company shall be when the Government have given me the right to issue that stock, the very Government that is going to take away that right? My hon. friend has no

right, in my judgment-leaning as I always do to British fair-play for every human being-to arbitrarily say just what that stock will be. That brings me to the people who will be most affected by the tax in the case of corporations. They are the people who are a credit to this country, those who very likely started with a small capitalization and have toiled might and day, with the greatest perseverance and industry, to work up a business in this country; and every member in this House who is in the manufacturing business and who has worked up a paying industry in this country knows what hard work it was. He knows that he kept down his capital stock and did hot try to make money out of the flotation of stock in his company, by selling it throughout the length and breadth of the land, preying on his neighbours. He has attended to his own business and made it pay and has very likely gone without dividends for ten or fifteen years to get the business in a position to compete with his neighbours in the rest of the world. He is the fallow who will have to pay one-quarter of the profits over and above his seven per cent, because he has no other recourse. Take the man who is in a partnership or who is individually carrying on business. He also has worked, as I have stated in reference to corporations-and I might call a corporation one man because in all successful corporation businesses that I know of the success largely depends on one individual in that corporation. Take the fellow who has no partners, who is doing business by himself. He has worked till he is grey headed very likely, until he has built up a business of which he is proud, and of which his town is proud-^and his country should be. He will be affected by this tax, while the great corporations, with what is sometimes called watered stock, with their great issues of capital stock, are not affected although they above all human beings in the world should be affected if you want to get at the rich man,-and I am taking it for granted that the Government want to get at the men who are capable of paying. The one person who escapes this tax is the fellow who promoted big corporations and sold the stock to everybody he could. Some of these promoters have put millions into their pockets by these promotions, yet they are not touched at all, they go scot free. I would find them if I had to take a searchlight. The man who has built up his business has to pay. I do not believe he will complain; I think he will pay and

pay nobly without complaining. But let us be fair, that is what we are trying to do in this parliament, or should be. Bet us try and be fair to him if he is willing to pay. There is no use in driving a willing horse to death.

Now I come to the question of the $50,00b minimum. Why should it be set at $50,000?

I have been asking myself that question ever since the Budget came down. If my friend here has a company capitalised at $50,000, or is in a partnership with $50,000 invested, he is subjected to this tax; while I have only $40,000 invested, yet am making just as much in proportion as he, why should I not pay? Why should there be any limit? I do not see any sense in that. I might not have to pay as much as he, but I have just as much right to pay my proportion as the man with $50,000 invested. I do not see anv reason for arbitrarily setting $50,000, because I believe that the fellow who has not the $50,000 is just as willing to pay his proportion as the man who has, and I think he has as much right to pay as the man who has. What I do object to more than anything else is the escape of the very men, the large capitalists, who have no possible chance, in my judgment, of paying seven per cent on their capital stock. These men escape. The men who promote these corporations escape. Take the men who sit quietly on their pants and do not do a thing for the country or anybody else, the fellows who have money invested in bonds and in real estate from which they derive rents, some of them worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, why should they escape? You take that very type of man in your town; he never goes to a town meeting, never helps the town, is never willing to come forward to help with anything. He quietly gathers in his rent and his bond interest and that sort of thing. Why should he escape? I ask the minister. They are the fellows who ought to pay. Half of them are getting old and they cannot live forever and certainly they cannot take their money with them. Even when they die, in the cases of nine-tenths of them their children will quarrel like the deuce about their money. Why should such men not contribute, if only to promote peace in their families? The thing gets more absurd as we get along.

Now I come to the worst feature, the retroactive legislation. No human being can defend that. We none of us know where we are at or when we are finished.

If the Finance Minister and the Government wanted to get at the men who were supplying munitions and supplying war material for this war, why did they not take the example of a celebrated colleague now deceased and be bold enough to be honest and honest enough' to be bold, and get at them? Why whip all the other fellows over their shoulders? While I am opposed to retroactive legislation, absolutely, in any form, still, under the circumstances, considering the fact that people from one end of this country to the other say that these men who have supplied war munitions have made enormous fortunes, I believe that the people in Canada would have endorsed the action of the Minister of Militia and the Government if they had taken not one-quarter after seven per cent, but one-half.

Topic:   THE BUDGET.

February 22, 1916