January 24, 1917

CON

William Humphrey Bennett

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. W. H. BENNETT:

-because in

Orillia the mayoj gave the names.

Topic:   WILFRID LAURIER.
Permalink
LIB

Edward Walter Nesbitt

Liberal

Mr. NESBITT:

I referred to the hon.

member who spoke before me (Mr. Boys). He said, that when he was asked he gave the names of all the merchants. I think he deserves great credit for that, but at the same time I do not know why he was asked.

Another thing I should like to say to the Government-and any suggestions I make are made with a view to improvement. A great many of the young men who have enlisted complain that officers are put over their heads who should not be put over their heads, and that seniority does not count. In a great many instances they say that very young men are put over the heads of men who are much more experienced. When I say more experienced, I do not mean more experienced in war, because all the officers of this citizen soldiery of ours have had little experience in war, but are more experienced in the ways of the world, and more experienced in business. They say that this has gone so far that in some cases officers, when their commands were taken over, were immediately shifted to other commands. In one or two instances, a shift took place three or four times, but some of the men were kept here, and were not sent to the front. They were in the way of some men here who were ambitious to get to the front

and who had enlisted in order to get to the front. I have no complaint to make on this head against the late Minister of Militia (Sir Sam Hughes). While he may have made mistakes, in my judgment, favouritism was not one of them. In fact it is rumoured that it was because he was not willing to display political favouritism that disputes arose between him and other members of the Government. I have been told by men who have returned from England that political favouritism under the present regime is rampant there, and that the boys are not getting a fair show. I have been told that by men who have been there to see, and I bring the matter to the attention of the Government because, if there is any truth in the statement-and there must be some, for they say that where there is smoke there is fire-steps should be taken to correct the evil. My informants are men I have known for years, men in whose word I have every faith. They told me. that not only is political favouritism rampant in England at the present time, so far as our troops are concerned, but that the wastage is large, and that the expenses are out of all reason. No doubt my honourable friends on the other side of the House may not believe these statements, but they are not in a position to know.

Topic:   WILFRID LAURIER.
Permalink
CON
LIB

Edward Walter Nesbitt

Liberal

Mr. NESBITT:

I can bring the men to my honourable friend. I believe them, and if they appeared before my honourable friend, face to face, they would teil him in his teeth that it was so.

Topic:   WILFRID LAURIER.
Permalink
CON

George Henry Bradbury

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BRADBURY:

Permit me just a word. The honourable gentleman is not speaking by the book. If be knew the men who are in authority in England, he would not make that statement.

Topic:   WILFRID LAURIER.
Permalink
LIB
CON
LIB
CON

George Henry Bradbury

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BRADBURY:

General Turner was one of the strongest Liberals in Quebec.

Topic:   WILFRID LAURIER.
Permalink
LIB
CON

George Henry Bradbury

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BRADBURY:

Sir George Perley is the minister. If I understand the situation, and I think I do, the commanding officers make their recommendations to Sir George Perley, and I understand, and know, that,

so far as the political end of the question is concerned, the Liberal gets the best of it over in England every time.

Topic:   WILFRID LAURIER.
Permalink
LIB

Edward Walter Nesbitt

Liberal

Mr. NESBITT:

I have the greatest possible respect for Sir George Perley's business ability, but I think he is a very strong partisan. What I stated a moment ago came from men who have been there, and they said that it was positively a fact, otherwise I would not bring it to the attention of the Government. I do not bring it forward for the purpose of censuring the Government; I bring it to their notice so that, if the ^statements are true, the matter may be corrected. I repeat that I have every faith in Sir George Perley's business ability, but I do not have sufficient faith in him to think that he would not show partisanship. I do not know anything about General Turner. I never heard of him until this war started.

Topic:   WILFRID LAURIER.
Permalink
CON

John Douglas Hazen (Minister of Marine and Fisheries; Minister of the Naval Service)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HAZEN:

Surely my hon. friend

heard of him in the South African .war. He won the Victoria Cross in that war.

Topic:   WILFRID LAURIER.
Permalink
LIB

Edward Walter Nesbitt

Liberal

Mr. NESBITT:

willing to continue their good work, -and no doubt they will. _

But the -Government of this -country are 'called upon above all others to see that the moneys that have been taken in are properly expended. The Minister of Fin-[DOT] ance (Sir Thomas White) has devised means for providing enormous sums of money. Now, at is just -as- necessary for -a Minister of Finance to watch the expenditure of the money he raises, as it is to raise the money, and I am -sorry to say that, in my judgment, he has not been as careful in watching the expenditure in certain directions, some of which I have mentioned -this afternoon, as he has been effective -in collecting the money _

Let me again emphasise to my hon. friends opposite, whether they believe the thing-s I have been telling them this afternoon or not, there are a good many people in the country who d-o believe them, and it has hurt recruiting very materially -and is still hurting it. Nothing could have' hurt recruiting more in our section of the country than the establishment of Camp Borden. It sickened all the fellows who went there, and sickened them badly. They said they were perfectly willing to stand all sorts of things in the trenches, but before getting there they did not wish to be subjected to all the discomforts they had to put up with at Oamp Borden. That camp must have cost a lot of money; I do not know how much, but I -suppose we shall hear later on. At all events, i-t must have cost an enormous sum, and I Tegret th-at it hurt recruiting in the way it did. It is up to the Government to rectify all these matters I have spoken of, if my -statements are correct.

Mr. W. F. COCKSHUTT (Brantford); Mr. Speaker, I desi-re to make a few observations upon the speech from the Throne, which is. now before the House, but before doing -so I presume I may be allowed to concur -in -all the flattering expressions of bon. gentlemen with regard to the Speaker, to the mover and the seconder of the Address, -and to out distinguished Governor General. I will not take up the time of the House elaborating in that regard.

After another year of w-ar we find ourselves confronted with a situation, perhaps, as serious -as any that has confronted this Empire -in modem times. I do not desire ' to be either a pessimist or an optimist in the few remarks I sh-all make in regard -to the w-ar. I look upon the w-ar as the supreme question that is before the country, just -as it was a year ago, and the winning of the war should he the first duty of all

Canadian citizens. The men who -are out to win the war are the men th-at ought to be esteemed for their works' s-ake, and any Government that leaves anything undone that could be done to win the war will not colnmend itself to the people of Canada, or of the Empire.

In reviewing the operations of -the past year we find that comparatively little progress has been m-ade on either land or sea. That, we must confess; and where progress has been made it has been made more in the wrong direction than in the right. The losses of the various belligerents are staggering, simply astounding. I have not heard -any gentleman who has spoken so far attempt to tell the House how many the total casualties have been. We h-ave heard the Dominion casualties placed at -about 70,000, but the casualties of the two great contending parties -have not been mentioned s-o far as. I know. I m-ade a rough estimate a few weeks ago and tried to be conservative in my figures. I figured that up to that time the casualties on both -sides -amounted to sixteen and a half millions. That seemed an astounding number, and I was afraid I had over-estimated it. A few days later, however, General Von Hindenburg, who has been heard of considerably during the war, gave an interview to the press in which he stated that the losses to the Allies alone amounted to fifteen millions. When I saw that statement, I began to think I. -had been fairly conservative in putting the figure at 16,500,000. The casualties on the German side, which are all published, amounted to upwards of 4,000,000 at the beginning of the year, according to their own lists. The French casualties are not reported, and therefore we cannot very well tell w-hat their figure-s are. The Bus-sian casualties have run into several millions, probably 6,000,000 to 8,000,000; for it must be remembered that Bussia is holding almost entirely alone about 1,000 miles of battle front with the assistance of only a small country, Bum-ania. The recent entry of Bumania into the w-ar has not brought that advantage to the Allies that we perhaps at first expected, and I very much regret that her entry into the- war should have been signalized by such severe losses as they sustained almost immediately, and which they apparently have continued to sustain up to the present time. Evidently they were not prepared for the encounter. Who was their advisor, and why they entered before they were ready, will be revealed later on, and I think it will appear as it has appeared on many other occ.as-

ions, that *me one has blundered.

Our hon. friends on the other side of the House, who- have pointed out a good many of what they consider blunders on the part of this Government, must admit that those blunders are very small in comparison with the blunders that have been committed across the water by almost all the countries engaged in the war. But that is to be expected; it is only natural. All men are human, and all err more or less, and it is to be expected that in so great a matter as this mistakes will be made. My hon. friend from North Oxford (Mr. Nesbitt) who has just 6poken-and I give him credit for making a speech that was fair; he has not tried to be unfair, I am sure-has told us of a few blunders that he thinks the Government have made, and among others he mentioned Camp Borden. I do not know whether he ever visited that camp or not. I hardly think he did, or he would not have made the sweeping statements he did. Personally, I spent two days at the camp and they were two of the worst days of the summer when the temperature was between 90 and 100 in the shade, and from my experience I can tell my hon. friend that he vastly over-estimates the damage which he thinks was done to recruiting by reason of the existence of Camp Borden. As camps go>, it is an excellent piece of ground, and those who put in the winter at Salisbury Plains could tell my hon, friend, if he had not heard from them already, that it would be like an oasis in the desert as compared with the mud that they endured for about six months at Salisbury Plain, and thiat even at the camp near Quebec, Valcartier, that he has referred to as being very adequate and efficient, the mud conditions were just as bad as were the dust conditions at Camp Borden.

We all regret that stumbling blocks have come in the way of recruiting, and it is only just that a good deal of attention should be paid to it. The matter of recruiting should cause us all a good deal of thought at the present time. The figures that were presented by my hon-friend from South Simcoe (Mr. Boys) a few minutes ago and which I now hold in my hand, are worthy of the study of hon. gentlemen, and I can scarcely -see, wnen we are enlisting under the voluntary system, why any member from any particular part of the Dominion should feel sensitive when the figures of his constituency or his province are mentioned, unless he- -himself feels guilty that he has not done what he should

have done with regard to his own community and has not taken the leadership of the men in -his community to enlist in this great -struggle. That -the figures speak for themselves is evident, and they tell this les-son, that while a' voluntary system may be -all right for a small war, there are a great many citizens in every country who do not realize the value of freedom, who are not prepared to make the necessary sacrifices for freedom, but who would rather stay at home and pile up wealth at their ease and let the other people do the fighting. I do not wish to speak abo-ut anything I may or may not have done in the war; I have tried to do my duty; but I am proud to say that I belong to the only division -in- that list, Division No. 2, of the province of Ontario, that has furnished its full quota of the 500,000 promised.

Topic:   WILFRID LAURIER.
Permalink
CON
CON

William Foster Cockshutt

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. COCKSHUTT:

Unless- No. 3 has

caught up very recently, No. 2 i-s the only . one that has completed its full quota. Toronto, of course, is a big town and is capable of taking all the bouquets that maybe thrown to it, but Brantford is also in No. 2 Division, and it has helped Toronto a little, and so has Hamilton, which is not a small town, and so has St. Catharines. The result is that from that district we are credited with 81,537 up to the end of the year. No. 1 Division, in which London is the centre, and No. 3 Division, of which Kingston i-s the centre, have both made an excellent showing, and the figures are such that they can he read with satisfaction by any member from any part of the province. The figures for the wih-ole province are 148,914. Since the end of the year, of course, there (have been further additions, and I think the total is now nearly 180,000. Six per cent of the population of 2,500,000 would make

150,000, so in the whole of Canada, if we are to raise the whole of the 500,000 promised, the proportion -should be not less than six per cent. The county of Brant, from which I have the honour to-come, is named after the great chief who led the forces under the British over a hundred years ago and maintained the British flag in the western part o>f the province of Ontario and saved a great part of Canada to the Empire at that time. The first man from the county of Brant who fell in the present war was also named Brant, and was an Indian from the Six Nation reserve, -showing that there are some people in the Dominion of Canada who, although they do not have British blood in their veins, know a good Government when

they see it, who know good, institutions when they see them, and who are able to appreciate what British justice and British honour means, not only in this country, but wherever the British flag floats. I mention that simply as a tribute' to an Indian tribe that has lived in the county for the last 100 years, forfeiting their rights in the States when they moved from the Mohawk valley. This should be mentioned in order that other citizens who have * come in from other countries may realize that they have a duty and should be called upon to discharge their share the same as the aborigines of this country. We have a population of about eight millions in round figures, of which probably five million are of British stock and the rest speaking anywhere from fifty to seventy-five different languages, not including, the Indian languages of the various tribes scattered throughout our North country. Therefore, we have plenty of languages that we can speak in, but very few of these people who have come into the Dominion of Canada have taken up their part as citizens of the Empire and have entered this war on the side of liberty, justice and civilization. That we regret. I do not want to be harsh in anything that I shall say. I think I may say that I have in my heart the one desire, and that is that the best shall be done that Canada can do, and that we shall sustain our part and finally win the war, but I do not think there is any use in blinking at facts, and the facts of those figures are that there are certain parts of the Dominion of Canada that, under the voluntary system, are not doing their duty. I am sorry to say that, but those of us who have made the sacrifice -and I come from a community that has done so both in men and money-and have filled up the full quota, think it is up to other parts of Canada, if recruiting is slack, to be- getting busy and doing something.

I have had the privilege of being in close communication with many men from the front ever since the war began, not only members of my own family and immediate circle, but many officers who have gone from the city of Brantford and the county of Brant. I have had from them accounts of everything that is going on, but I have yet to meet the first man or to receive the first letter that has not spoken in the highest terms of commendation of our valorous ally, the French, as they are found in old France. The feeling that is in the hearts of the boys who have gone over from

[Mr. Cockshutt.}

Canada is that, although Britain has done well and although Russia has done well, the honours of the war, so far as the Allies are concerned, must so far be yielded to the glorious land of France. Some of our boys too, very fond of our own flag, very fond of the flag that waves now, are just as ready to fight under the tri-colour of France in this war as they are under the Union Jack, and will give just as good an account of themselves. But when I say that, Sir. I want you to understand that it is the tricolour as it is unfurled by such men as Briamd, Joffre iand Nivelle at the front, and not the tri-colour as it is waved by such men as Bourassa, Lavergne or Cannon. ThaJ is the 'tri-colour that our Canadian boys are ready to fight under; it is the tricolour as it is waved in the land of France, the land of chivalry, the garden of romance, as we are told by the poet, which in this war has laid on the altar of her race every man, woman and child that can do a useful service.

When this war broke out I said: At last Canada will be a united country; nothing can keep Canada from doing her full duty to the Empire in this great war. Fancy my chagrin, fancy my surprise, when I read the figures that show what our neighboring province is doing in recruiting when the land from which their forefathers came is bleeding to death and is calling for help from her sons on this side of the water. Surely they have not forgotten the hole of the pit from whence they were digged. Surely, a call such as this should resound throughout the province of Quebec. I call upon the leaders of that province, while it is yet time-I only regret that I cannot speak French or I should be glad to go there and speak-to give their help that the dear old land of France may be brought from under the foot of the enemy. I think this call should come to them as strongly as it has come to the British province of Ontario or to the plains of the West. I believe it does, but that it has not been carried into that Province as it has been carried throughout Ontario. In our province, every school-house, every cross-roads, every platform, every pulpit, has been made use of for recruiting meetings. In the county from which I come we have recruited almost ten per cent of the total population, and most of these men are at the front or across the water. If this were done everywhere there would be no call for more men to-day. The Prime Minister has given us the figures, and for my part, I think they are optimistic,

yet they show that we are nearly 100,000 men short, and I think even that does not fully allow for wastage. So, there is still more to do. Men of Canada, everywhere, of every race and creed, let us get together to win this war. For hon. gentlemen opposite will not be in power, nor shall we be in power, if you let the Germans win the war, you can bet on that,-there will be no government of this kind in Canada in that case. The appeal comes to us now, while the war is yet in the winning, to see to it that the boys at the front are supported, and that the necessary recrujts shall go across steadily and freely.

I have spoken of the valour of France. It is written on Verdun. Verdun is the proudest spot in the whole history of the Allies in this war. I do not know whether we fully realize what the French did there, but I will occupy a few moments-and I do not often trouble the House-to read something of what Verdun has meant:

The execution of the new coup was entrusted to General Mangin in charge of four divisions respectively commanded by Generals Muteau, Guyot de iSalins, Garnier du Plessis, anti Passaga. The opposing German forces consisted of five divisions, the attack being timed for 10 a.m. on December 15. The French went through the Germans like butter, despite their inferior numbers, and simply shattered the enemy. They took between 11,000 and 12,000 prisoners, including nearly 300 officers, capturing several seemingly impregnable positions, of which * Pepper Hill was the centre, and regaining all the ground they had lost since February 24. In addition the German killed and wounded amounted to over 30,000, no fewer than 160 guns were taken or destroyed1, while the most marvellous part of this great feat of * arms were the French losses, which, all told, did not exceed 1,500.

There is a piece of work, there is something to be proud of. I would like to have that story told at every cross-roads in the province of Quebec, to show that the old race from which the people of Quebec have sprung is more than a match for the Germans to-day. And are the French of this country any less able to meet the enemy in the gate than are the French of old France?

I am glad to see that my right hon. friend who leads the Opposition (Sir Wilfrid Laurier) nods to me. I am sure he knows that the French race are as valourous as any race in the world, and as valourous as they have proven themselves on many a battlefield of the past. This quarrel is more France's quarrel than Great Britain's; France has more to lose in the war to-day than has Great Britain. Britain has been immune, not one enemy has set foot

upon her soil except as a spy or a prisoner; France, at this moment, finds her most valuable territory in the hands of the enemy. Nine millions of her people have been barred from their homes and driven to find other places in which to rest their heads. Their coal and other mines, requisite for a great industrial people, are in the hands of the Germans. Is it a time yet to talk of peace? I like the style of our good old friend, Colonel Denison, in a crisis such as this. I believe he sent a cable across the Atlantic to this effect: Tell Emperor William we will not discuss peace until every soldier is withdrawn from Belgium, and France, and Serbia, and all the resources of these countries given back to those to whom they belong.

It seems a big proposition to make this war; it is going to be a bigger proposition, or at least quite as big, to make peace. When you consider the confusion into which the world has fallen, you cannot but wonder how this turmoil can be brought to an end. I believe that our Prime Minister (Sir Robert Borden) is going to England to attend a conference in which, possibly, peace may be discussed. Though I am not a believer in the immediate advent of peace, we cannot forget that some day the peace that we hope for will arrive. I desire to say a word on the making of peace. I was brought up in the old school; I was brought up largely on oatmeal porridge and the Scriptures and I have not forgotten some of the things that were put into me in both respects in my early days. I was taught that the man who will not work shall not eat. And recently, in discussing the position of our neighbours to the South and the stand taken by President Wilson, I thought a parallel might be made to those Scripture terms and that as we say that he who will not work shall not eat, so we might say: He who will not fight shall not say. In other words, I believe that the entry of President Wilson into the war at the present time with his pen is not opportune. That is my opinion; it may be wrong. I have some press clippings here, and I am going to read two or three of them. It appears to me that the idea that President Wilson has launched is most inopportune and most inapplicable to the situation as we find it. He told us in the document that was issued in December that he could see no difference between the aims and objects of the two sides. Well, I am rather sorry for a man who cannot see the difference, and I think that if we should point out the difference to him it would be a blessing.

Topic:   WILFRID LAURIER.
Permalink
LIB

William Pugsley

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY:

It is claimed in the

United States that what he said was: " as claimed by their respective governments, and as announced to their own people." That is the qualification that is put upon it there. *

Topic:   WILFRID LAURIER.
Permalink
CON

William Foster Cockshutt

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. COCKSHUTT:

Unless my hon. friend is an emissary from the President, I do not think I can quite accept his interpretation.

Topic:   WILFRID LAURIER.
Permalink
LIB

William Pugsley

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY:

I happened to be in the United States when, the note was >sent, and when it was quoted in the newspapers. That is the interpretation that was put upon it.

Topic:   WILFRID LAURIER.
Permalink
CON

William Foster Cockshutt

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. COCKSHUTT:

My hon. friend was probably reading it in the apology for the first remarks. It is very clear to my mind, though it may not be cilear to the hon. member for St. John city, that the President sees very little difference between the aims of the respective sides. That, I think, he has made clear. He sees very little difference in the objects for which we .are striving, and he thinks it is a good time now to call it off. He says that there can be no peace with victory; that neither side will get the victory. I do not want to misrepresent the President of the United States; he is very high up and I am very low down. My hen. friend thinks that I misquoted hirri. I am not the only one who misquoted him, or misunderstood him, if that is the case. I do not care to put very much of these clippings on Hansard, but I wish to read expression of opinions held by others with regard to the utterance of the President. The following appeared yesterday in the local press, copied from the London Globe-not the Toronto Globe:-

Continuing, the newspaper says:

"And then you wrote a second note, and then a third, because you were seeking the suffrage of electors in whose ears the last cries of their drowning countrymen were smothered beneath the tinkle of piling dollars."

"You did not dare resent the piracy and murder and now, forsooth, we who have given our best and bravest by the hundred thousand and treasure by the thousand million to save the world, we must at your bidding lay down our arms and dream with you your foolish dream of peace.

"You and the great nation whose chief magistrate you are, stirred no finger to save public law from being violated. You may say, and say truly, that the United States had not the power. How, then, can you ask us to trust our lives and liberties, the future of our race, the safety of our Empire and the destinies of all mankind to the flimsy guarantees with which you would buckler the peace of the world?

"The men who tore up the scrap of paper; the men who laughed at your notes and sunk fresh ships while you were thinking of fresh phrases, will respect force and nothing else."

That is one view of a British paper. Here is a view from the land of France:-

A peace which has for its beginning the greatest crime in history will not he a just nor solid peace. First we wish 'sanctions and reparations'-if President Wilson accepts these indispensible guarantees, the future is easy.

This French paper thinks that we would be building a peace on the greatest crime in history. I have only one other expression of opinion here; it is that of a man who *has occupied the same position as President Wilson and is, therefore, entitled to some consideration. I refer to Colonel Theodore Roosevelt, who should know something about what the attitude of a president of the United States should be. The article says::-

The colonel bitterly announced that until an emphatic stand is taken by the American (government on the Belgian deportations any statement about our "stand for righteousness in the nebulous future is both ridiculous and insincere.''

"It is well, however, unless the words of our Government in this matter are to be accepted as the most empty of all idle and empty words, jo remember two or three plain hits of homely fact.

"The first is that it is worthless to make promises about the future unless in the present we keep those we have already made.

That is a truism.

Unless this Government is prepared at this moment to take emphatic position as regards such a hideous outrage as the deportation of the men and women of northern France and Belgium, it is both ridiculous and insincere for us to mouth about standing for righteousness in the nebulous future.

"Moreover, unless this Government can bring the peace of justice to Mexico it had better not talk about securing the peace of justice throughout the world'.

"As regards freedom of the seas, the most important element in it is freedom from murder, and until this Government has taken an effective stand to prevent the murder of its citizens by submarines on the high seas, it makes itself an object of derision by speaking for the freedom of the seas, Interfering with life is worse than interfering with property.

That is ipart of what ex-Piresident Theodore F.oosevelt has to say about it. It seems particularly unfortunate, therefore, that our esteemed fellow-citizen to the south, President Wilson, should have felt called upon to interfere in the^ battle that is going on among pretty nearly all the nations of Europe. One of the proverbs of Solomon comes to my mind just at the moment; it is this: "He that passeth by, and meddleth with strife belonging not to him, is like a man that taketh a dog by the ears." He will get bitten on the right and he will get

bitten on the left-and behind, an hon. gentleman says.

We would have been delighted to see President Wilson and the great nation that he represents get into the water while the swimming was good. In other words, we would have been delighted to have them cast their lot with the Allied nations who are fighting for civilization, for humanity and for the right of the smaller nations of Europe to live. He had a good chance to do it. He now has a Utopian idea that he wants to introduce and that he wants incorporated in the peace which is to come. Well, although I believe that this war will terminate within the next two or three years, I believe that if we have to incorporate President Wilson's Utopian idea in the peace arrangements, we won't have peace in a hundred years. I do not believe that it will be accomplished. It is not for this world; it is for the millennium. It belongs to the next world entirely, and will never be found here. The views of President Wilson are entitled to our consideration, but, as we are reminded by Theodore Roosevelt, he has a think coming as to these guarantees he purposes giving us with regard to a future peace forevermore. I like the sound of that; it is a great and glorious phrase: glorious peace forevermore, and no more great wars.

Topic:   WILFRID LAURIER.
Permalink

January 24, 1917