June 21, 1917


John Hampden Burnham

Conservative (1867-1942)


Will the hon. gentleman state why he objects to the Minister of Justice administering the Act?


Charles Murphy



I do not object, if the minister wishes to act. I am merely making a suggestion. Referring to the speech of the hon. gentleman from South Wellington (Mr. Guthrie), I may observe that in form and in tone that speech was as unexceptionable as any I have heard delivered in Parliament. I may say. the same about that of the hon. gentleman from Lambton (Mr. Pardee); and, as I am in a generous mood, I think I would extend that compliment to the hon. Solicitor General (Mr. Meighen). I desire'to say further, with reference to the speech of my hon. friend from South Wellington, that I do not agree with his arguments and conclusions, save in one instance, namely, when he said that he did not believe that this Bill would be successfully enforced by a single political party. I share that belief in its entirety. The Government wrould do well to hearken to th.e warning contained in the speech of the hon. gentleman from South Wellington, because it is manifest that the Government alone cannot put this Bill in force. Mr. Speaker, let us rid ourselves of cant. This Bill attempts the impossible. That the Government knows this to be the case was hinted by the hon. Minister of Labour yesterday when he intimated that the operation of the Bill might be postponed. Is that not why it contains the provision that it is not to come into force until a proclamation is issued? It is not yet too late for the Government to be frank and courageous. Let them acknowledge that their action was hasty, and that it is better to yield before than after they have caused a disastrous cleavage in our national life.

More than once during this debate we .have heard it stated that criticism that is not constructive is not helpful. Mindful of that, and responding to the Prime Minister's request for suggestions, I desire on my own account, and speaking for myself, to submit a constructive war-time policy to the Government. In the order in which

its features occurred to me, and from the point of view of necessity and the public good, I suggest that, instead of enacting this Bill, the Government should adopt the motion of which notice was given by my hon. friend from South Renfrew (Mr. Graham) on the 13th of the present month, and pass the necessary legislation to give it immediate efiect, so that every moral and material force available in the Dominion and not yet reached would make its contribution as man power as done. Stop horse-racing, stop the publication and sale of racing forms, stop all games and sports conducted merely for raising gate money, close all bar rooms, pool rooms, billiard rooms and moving picture shows. Under the existing law make a national survey, showing who are engaged at productive or other necessary work,

and those who are not. Give those who are not so engaged, who are of military age, and who cannot satisfactorily account for not being at such work, 'the option of enlisting voluntarily, or of doing necessary work for which they are suited, and if all the men .and means required are not procured in this way then take counsel with the leader of the Opposition, and with the Premiers of all the Provinces, as to what further should be done. This course will involve no delay or avoidable hardship. It will impress the whole country with the seriousness and the good faith of the Government, as well as the gravity of the work ' the Government has in hand. It will be a guarantee against unfair discrimination of any kind. It will appeal to the people's sense of fair play and equal sacrifice. It will evoke the spirit of nation-wide patriotism. It will stimulate generous rivalry instead of prejudice and passion. It will stop national waste of man power and resources. And, in my belief, the response will exceed that which the most sanguine can expect. In any event, Sir, I make the suggestion in all sincerity, and in order to avoid the dangers to which I believe the Government's present course is leading.

In conclusion, I have a last appealto make. On Parliament Hill there is a monument composed of two figures, those of Baldwin an Lafontaine. United in life, this Parliament wisely decided that in the nation's memory they would not be separated in death. There they stand, and for all time there they will stand, gazing into the distance across the Ottawa river and beyond the sky line of the Laurentian hills-two figures, the embodiment in bronze of a noble ideal, typifying the union of the two great forces in our

national life, 'both consecrated to the attainment of a lofty and a sacred purpose. As we pass by that monument should we not, particularly in these days of our country's stress and trial, take vision md inspiration from the history of the two great Canadians whom it commemorates? And what more inspiring chapiter of that history can we recall for the benefit of our fellow citizens and to point their way to present duty than that which tells us that when Baldwin was defeated in the province of Ontario he was promptly elected for the county of Rimoueki in the province of Quebec, and that, when later on, Lafon-taine met defeat iii his native province, he was just as promptly elected for one of the divisions of the county of York, in the province of Ontario? That is the spirit that we should strive to have prevail in every province in this Dominion. That is the example we should follow, and we will follow it only if our minds be illumined by the constitutional light that guided the steps of Baldwin and Lafomtaine, only if our hearts be attuned as theirs were, to constant forbearance and mutual good will. What was possible in Canada three-quarters of a century ago should be possible today. Nay, more; what was possible in . Canada three-quarters of a century ago should much more easily be possible today. Believing that, I urge the Government to withdraw this Bill or to suspend its consideration until the people shall have been consulted. If neither of these courses be adopted, it is my conviction that the best service that can be rendered in behalf of national unity is to vote against this Bill, and if the Government persists in its announced intention ,of forcing a division upon the amendment placed in .,your hands by the right hon. leader of the Opposition, I will vote' for that amendment as an earnest of my desire to promote peace and unity at hpme and content and effectiveness among our soldiers overseas.

At six o'clock the House took recess.

After Recess.

The House resumed at eight .o'clock.

Mr. J. A. lM. ARMSTRONG (North York): Mr. Speaker, in rising to make a few observations on the Bill now before the House,

I am prompted, not by any desire to impede in any way the progress of the Bill, but by a desire to exercise my prerogative in order to place myself on record with regard to the principle of compulsory ser-fMr. Murphy.l

vice, because many months ago, before conscription became a live issue around the corridors of this House, I advocated it publicly in the riding that I have the honour to represent. Those who know the political history of the part of the province from which I come, know that the riding of North York has long claimed to (be the birthplace and cradle of reform; that it has given to the public life of Canada men like George Brown, William Lyon Mackenzie, Sir William Mulock, and Sir Allen Aylesworth, names that are closely interwoven with the history and principle of old-time Liberalism. The hpn. member for Russell (Mr. Murphy) mentioned, during the course of his remarks this afternoon the names of Lount and Matthews as two martyrs to the cause of liberty. I would like to supplement his remarks by informing the House that the chief lieutenants of William Lyon Mackenzie lived practically *all their lives in the vicinity where I live to-day, and where my father and grandfather lived before me, and that there are living there to-day the descendants of those .lieutenants of Mackenzie, the descendants of the men who, according to the hon. member for Russell, fought for liberty in the days gone by. I stand in this House, to a certain extent at least, by virtue of the *support of those 'men. I am proud to say that those families are to-day well represented on the fields of France, and I think, therefore, I can claim, as much as any [DOT]man in this House, tp represent the two great political lines of thought in Ontario.

I stated a moment ago that I advocated conscription a year ago. I did so for these reasons: I knew that the people I represent were British tp the core; I knew that, under the voluntary system that was then in *force, we could not hope to secure the men that were required; I knew that we dare not longer turn a deaf ear to the cry from our brothers overseas. I, therefore

advocated conscription, based upon

a plan that would take every available fit man in his proper turn, having regard to industrial conditions and the need at home. For the same reasons, I stand ready to support the Military Service Bill now before the House. Subsequent events have tended only to strengthen my conviction that the course which the Government purpose taking under this Bill is the only course possible if Canada is to maintain her proper part in this great world-struggle. When the great republic to the south of us became involved in this war, notwithstanding the fact that she had not previously been

affected by the war, but rather had fattened and grown rich by reason of her commercial dealings with the then Allied nations-and one might have thought that under such conditions she would have hesitated before plunging the whole resources of the nation in men and money into the war-she did not hesitate nor equivocate, but she put through a Conscription Bill and called out her efficient man-power to the colours, thereby laying down the principle that every citizen of the State is a servant of the State, and that he who accepts and enjoys the benefits of citizenship must be prepared and willing to accept the responsibilities which that citizenship entails, the proof of which willingness is to stand for and fight for the welfare of the State. This cannot be done by agitating any narrow or provincial policy; it cannot be done by pandering to -any local class or race, in particular in this country of ours. I have ever claimed that selfishness is and always has been the curse of humanity. I do not say this with any acrimony or -any desire to be unduly offensive in this House; I give it aa my candid opinion that selfishness is the main-spring behind the opposition to conscription, not only in this House but throughout this country.

At the outbreak of war nearly three years ago, the whole of Canada was pledged by her representatives -assembled in Parliament, to the full extent of her resources in men and money. We heard no word at that time of a referendum. Was the voice of the leader of the Opposition heard at that time asking that the people's voice should be heard with regard to our participation in the war? If was not, and I am glad, and I am ready and willing to say that every true Canadian was proud to see the leader of the Opposition stand shoulder to shoulder with the Prime Minister, pledging himself and his followers to stand behind the Government to the full extent of Canada's resources in men and money until victory was achieved. I leave it to the judgment of the House and of the. people of Canada how the leader of the Opposition has fulfilled that pledge.

Some men have had the temerity to say-that Canada has done enough in this war. The hon. member for Rouville (Mr. Lem-ieux) implied that in his speech yesterday, and the hon. member for Russell (Mr. Murphy) indirectly implied it in his speech this afternoon. Canada has not done enough until this war is won, and it cannot be won without men. Canada has not done enough until that great military machine, conceived and perfected by Germany during the last fifty years, that- machine which since the outbreak of hostilities has violated every law of God and man, is smashed beyond repair, and it cannot be smashed without men. Canada has not done enough until the power of the houses of the Hapsburgs and the Hohenzollerns is a thing of the past, and that cannot be achieved without men. Until we are assured beyond the peradventure of a doubt that liberty, justice, truth and national honour shall not perish from the earth, Canada has not done enough; -and we cannot achieve that end until victory is won on the field of battle, and we cannot achieve that victory without men. Four hundred thousand of Canada's sons have, up to to-day answered the call of the motherland. Thousands and thousands of our homes are to-day under the shadow of death and bereavement. Thousands of Canada's mothers, wives, sisters and sweethearts will go down to their graves with their heads bowed in sorrow and their hearts torn with anguish, mourning "for the touch of a vanished hand and the -sound of a voice that is still." With thousands of our homes thrown into mourning, with the cry of our boys ringing across the waters calling for help, with the very life of the nation hanging in the balance, shall we stop in our fight for liberty, justice and humanity because, forsooth, certain elements in this country say: We do not like the idea of being forced to do our duty?

Why is conscription necessary at this time? I do not wish to be offensive,"and as far as possible I shall -avoid any acrimonious remarks, but I believe in calling a spade a spade, and in justice to the rest of Canada, I must say that the reason why conscription faces us to-day is because French Canada has failed to do its duty. I am not going into all the reasons why enlistment has been apparently so dilatory in that province, but in my humble judgment if the province of Quebec had come up to the same standard set by the other parts of Canada, conscription would not have been heard of about the corridors of this House for many months to come.

A great deal has been said by speakers who have preceded me as to whether or not Canada had the right to send her troops beyond her borders under the old Militia Act. I have listened to both sides of that argument, and while I am forced to say in all honesty that I am convinced the leader of the Government has made his case clear,

and doubly so since I have listened to the Solicitor General (Mr. Meighen) this afternoon, I personally do not care two' straws whether it is constitutional or not. Personally I would puncture the constitution a dozen times, if it was necessary, in order to stand by the boys at the front and to uphold Canada's honour in this struggle. The Prime Minister has presented to Parliament a Bilb the object of which is to implement Canada's pledge to the boys who have gone overseas. The leader of the Opposition offers a referendum. The call is for men, and he offers a vote. The Minister of Labour yesterday made the statement that the referendum was an insult to the people of Canada, and I believe he was not far wrong, and I will give my reasons. No fair-minded man will deny that we need men at the front, and no fair-minded man will deny that the voluntary system has fallen down. Therefore it follows as the night follows day that the only way to get men is by compulsory service. As we have promised to support the men at the front, the duty therefore devolves upon the Canadian people of getting the men by enforcing conscription. The right hon. leader of the Opposition proposes that we should say to the people of Canada: We want you to answer Yea or Nay to this question, "Are you ready to do your duty?" Personally I entirely agree with the hon. member for Wellington (Mr. Guthrie) as to the whole policy of the referendum; I do not believe in a referendum. If I were to vote for a referendum pn such a question as this I should feel that I was evaCting my personal responsibilities in this House in a very cowardly way; however, that is only the personal opinion of a very humble and obscure back-bencher, and I utter it solely for the purpose of putting it on Hansard, and not in the expectation that it will carry any weight in this House.

The hon. member for West Lambton (Mr. Pardee) said this afternoon that this was the saddest day of his life, when he was breaking away from the leader he had followed for years. I can thoroughly enter into his feelings, although I have never been, and hope I never shall be, in that unfortunate position. But I can tell him that that is not the only sad thing about the condition that exists in this House to-day. One of the saddest sights this country ever saw or ever will see was when the leader of the Opposition stood up in his place in this House and opposed this Bill. He, the acknowledged leader of French Canada and the chief of a great party in this country, fMr. Armstrong.]

should have been reminded by that flag beneath whose broad folds he stood of all the privileges and liberties which his French compatriots enjoy, and which have been guaranteed by the nation for which that flag .stands. It should have reminded him of the great men in days gone by who have lived and died for the nation it represents, and of the boys who at that very hour were fighting and bleeding and dying on the fields and in the trenches of France and Flanders for the liberties of which we boast so' proudly in this House.

I throw aside the constitutional arguments in discussing this question, as they do not affect me one way or the other. There is too much at stake and the people of this country have not the time to discuss the constitution at this hour. I say it is time the boys at the front had a rest, and it is up to us to see that they get a rest. I claim that every boy who left this country for overseas held a moral mortgage on the available manhood of Canada who remained at home, and I claim that we have heard their call from three thousand miles away to those in authority in Canada that that mortgage be foreclosed and the debt paid. I claim it is high time we got busy and paid that debt, high time to implement the pledge given long before the first man left our shores.

What are the arguments against this Bill? Or rather against the principle of this Bill, because if there is any argument at all it is against the principle of conscription. Almost every hon. member who has spoken has" attacked the volunteer system as it was in operation under the Conservative party. I do not wish to be unfair to any hon. member, and I would not refer to these things at all if they had not been hurled at us across the floor of the House by the hon. member for Rouvi'lle (Mr. Lemieux) the other night. He prefaced his remarks by saying that he would be very moderate though firm, but before he got through he indulged in some of the most extreme and violent language heard in this House since the debate started. He claimed that the reason why recruiting had fallen down in the province of Quebec was that it had never been given a fair trial. The hon. member for Bussell ('Mr. Murphy) also claimed the same thing, as did the hon. member for North Cape Breton (Mr. McKenzie), who says he has followed his right hon. leader for thirty years, and we must take his word for anything he says. Let me read what the hon. member for Bouville says. He was replying

to a question by the .hon. member for North Perth (Mr. Morphy):

If the hon. gentleman thinks that there can he a wave of enthusiasm in the province of Quebec in favour of recruiting with the means that have been employed, he is sadly mistaken. I will give my hon. friend the reason why at once. A few days ago my hon. friend from Duiferin (Mr. Best) rose from his seat in this House and read a statement which had been published by the Orange Sentinel to the effect that the soldiers passing through the province of Quebec had been insulted, and that some of them had even been stoned at Riviere du Loup.

This has also been referred to by my hon. friend from Russell. In fairness to ray hon. friend from Dufferin (Mr. Best)

I should like to point out that he did not read that statement from the Orange Sentinel at all, but from a Toronto daily newspaper. I should also like to point out the fact that the hon. member for Rouville seems to have entirely overlooked the fact that we have been at war for nearly three years. This incident took place this session, and yet he points to it as a reason why recruiting has fallen down in the province of Quebec during the two' and a half years previous. ,1 .might go further. The hon. member for Kamouraska (Mr. Lapointe) has the same peculiar ideas about recruiting in his native province. He said:

Only a few days ago two great Toronto newspapers were engaged in an acrimonious controversy as to which of the two had written the more violent, bitter articles against Quebec and her inhabitants.

But the hon. member for Kamouraska has -apparently overlooked the fact that we have *been at war for nearly three years. The *hon. member for Rouville (Mr. Lemieux) has another very unique argument. He *says that the people of Montreal would not enlist because a Methodist minister was *put in charge of recruiting. That opens up *the whole question of the volunteer system. I do not take any stock in any of these excuses. I believe in rendering unto Caesar the things which are Caesars, and I believe in giving credit where credit is due. I will give credit to the late Minister of Militia and Defence (Sir Sam Hughes) for the energy and spirit that he put into the work when he was at it. I will give credit to every member of this Government and to every member of this House for the -magnificent effort they have made to stimulate recruiting throughout Canada, but after all the credit is due to- the boys themselves who came forward voluntarily-I speak for the Anglo-Saxon parts of Canada-to the recruiting stations early in the game by hundreds

of thousands, from the east, west, north *and south, and who did not care two cents whether the man they found behind- the recruiting desk was black or white, Jew or *Gentile, an evangelist or a Jesuit priest. *The credit is entirely due to these boys. *Yet, the hon. member for Rouville says that the reason they did not enlist in Montreal was because a Methodist minister was placed in charge of recruiting.

Just one word in passing, about my own opinion of the volunteer system. This war *has changed many ideas; it has changed *nearly all our ideas. At the outbreak of the war I thought the volunteer system was the only thing, but my mind has *changed and I am convinced that while it is a beautiful thing, while it is a grand thing while it calls out all that is best in a man, yet, if you are engaged in a war of the magnitude of this war, it is the most unfair, unjust, unbusinesslike way of waging warfare that was ever conceived by the mind of man.

The hon. member for Kamouraska spoke last night about the equality of sacrifice. I challenge any one in this House or in the Dominion to show me a greater example *of inequality of sacrifice than that which *obtains to-day in Canada under the volunteer system. Hon. gentlemen opposite, including the leader of .the Opposition, have referred more or less to what has been termed the Nationalist-Conservative alliance. I am not going to say here whether that alliance ever existed or whether it did not. Personally, I do not believe, at this serious time in the nation's history in digging into old recoids in order to throw a slur across the floor of this House. If I did I might point out to my hon. friends that they should go back to the day when the seed was sown and follow it up to the day when it brought forth fruit in the shape of the Nationalist party. They will find that some hon. gentlemen on their .own side of the House were responsible for the sowing of that seed. But this is not the time to refer to that. I want to- ibe fair to the leader of the Opposition, but I want t.o point out to him that when he raised his voice in opposition to this Bill, he,- unwittingly no doubt, formed an alliance that he cannot separate himself from in all the years that are to come. He formed an alliance with Tancrede Marsil for one, and he I\ad long ago formed an alliance with Lucien Cannon in Dorchester. He has formed an alliance with Tancrede Marsil, the reactionary, who has been shouting from the plat-

form in the large centres of Queibec that we owe nothing to England, that we will meet force with force, and I think the other day he even threatened to march on Otta/wa if this Bill should become law. I repeat I do not want to be unfair to the leader of the Opposition, but he knows as well as I do that in the next campaign in this country, when the Government goes to the people, as it must in the course of time, he will at least receive the benefit of the efforts of these men during that campaign and he cannot break away from the result. I also want to give the leader of the Opposition an opportunity of correcting an impression that might be left by the perusal of an article that I happened to read in one of the Montreal papers the other day. I think I am not misstating the position of the hon. gentleman when I say that his reason for refusing coalition was the fact that conscription had been decided upon by the leader of the Government. In reading the issue of the Montreal Gazette, dated June 19, I find the following statement:

Sir Wilfrid Laurier's statement in Parliament that Canada was not in danger was the dominant note. Tancrede Marsil used the Liberal chieftain's argument, and also quoted other sections of Sir Wilfrid's speech in support of the campaign which he and his friends have been waging, taking great comfort from the speech, but saying that it did not mean that the battle against conscription was definitely gained, and also pointing out that the aim of the agitation had still another end, that of forcing general elections. The fact that there is no coalition nor unionist government was due to the agitation that had been raised, and this same agitation he believed had given Sir Wilfrid the necessary backing to fight the battle in Parliament against conscription.

I simply place that on record to show that the leader of the Opposition, in taking the stand that he has taken, has placed himself in a very peculiar- position.

I appeal to my compatriots from the province of Quebec: Is it right, is it just, is it human, that our boys who are now in the trenches should fight on, fight on by themselves without any help, when their cries are ringing in our ears continuously? Very often these cries escape from their dying lips. Is that fair? Some hon. gentlemen say that if you force this Bill through the House you will have civil war. I listened to the eloquent speech of the hon. member for Bonaventure (Mr. Marcil), and the burden of it from beginning to end was that the French people were a peace-loving, law-abiding people. I much prefer to think that than to think that the French Canadian

people would raise any trouble in this country, or that we should be led to believe that they contemplate civil war. I think too much of the French Canadian people, and I believe that they think too much of themselves, to entertain any such idea, and I believe that when this Bill goes on the statute book, it will be accepted by the people of French Canada in the same spirit as it will be accepted by the people of Anglo-Saxon Canada.

Has the position that this country would be in if this Bill did not go through ever occurred to the members of this House? In such a case, look ahead into the years that are to come, when you and I and all the rest have passed away; I can see our children and our children's children turning the pages of history and reading the record of the nation's shame. After all the sacrifices we have made, after all the blood that has been shed, I ask you, Mr. Speaker, I ask every member of this House and I ask the people of Canada: Do we want to hand down to our children this record of shame and humiliation? Shall we ask posterity-shall we force posterity-to wear that crown of thorns? Would it not be immeasurably preferable, no matter what the sacrifice may be, no matter how much our ideas may differ, that we should have the satisfaction of knowing that those who come after us can turn to the pages of history, can read of battles fought, of battles won, of a nation saved by brave deeds, and know that the Canadians of this day measured up to the standard of their forefathers, and that from the beginning to the end of this war, they kept ever before them as their watchword the immortal words of Nelson: "England expects every man this day will do his duty."

It is said that this is too great a sacrifice to ask. They tell us that it is not fair to ask the mothers of Canada to give up their boys. Let me point out to this House that the boys who have gone were just as dear to their mothers as the boys who remain at home, that the sacrifice that the mothers of those boys who have gone made is just as great as that which the mothers of those who remain at home will be asked to make. We all know that the sacrifice will be great. We know it must be great, unfortunately so. But we also know that no great good ever came to anybody or to any nation without sacrifice. We know that the greatest boon to humanity was bought and paid for by blood on the hill of Calvary. We are aware that the human mind cannot conceive, nor the human

tongue frame, words that will take the tear from the eye or the ache from the heart of the mother whose boy is gone. But we do know that, while she may go down through life with her heart torn with sorrow and anguish, she has the satisfaction of knowing that when she passes to the great beyond, she can stand before the God that gave her life and say: I gave part of myself, my own flesh and blood, in order that the principles that Thou has laid down for the guidance of humanity, principles that were engraven upon the tablets of stone in the days of Moses, may continue to prevail through all the ages amongst the children of men, and in order that liberty arid justice and the principles of Christianity may be the heritage of all men to all generations.


Louis Joseph Gauthier


Mr. L. J. GAUTHIER (St. Hyacinthe):

Mr. Speaker, although we have been told from the other side of the House that members on this side when they were making speeches were losing time, that time was not for speeches, but for deeds, I think it is my duty, in a debate of this kind, to go on record, because I want to discuss this situation as it is, and I want to appeal to the good sense of my fellow members, expecting that at least there may be some to-day in this House who may listen to the language of reason. We all agree that war is a necessity, we all agree that to fight war you must have men; but we all agree, too, that the sacrifices of every country must be made, not according to the principles of hysteria, but in accordance with the principles of sound judgment and good administration.

I have made a synopsis of the remarks I wish to place on Hansard. There are six questions that I wish to discuss, but I wish to tell you immediately that the number of questions will not give you an indication of the length of my address, because I do not want to detain the House too long. I want to discuss: first, what are the propositions before the House, second, what is the actual available man-power in Canada; third, what is the man-power necessary for our economic life; fourth, what motive has actuated the amendment to the amendment; fifth, what is the purport of the Bill; and sixth, why I favour the amendment of my leader (Sir Wilfrid Laurier).

The right hon. the Rrime Minister claims that, according to the Militia Act, the Government is empowered to levy the militia of this country, and Canada, on account of the war, having to face an emergency,-this Government is entitled and empowered

to send militia beyond the borders of Canada, and that our first line of defence is in France. The right hon. leader of the Opposition (Sir Wilfrid Laurier) asks of the House that the Bill be submitted to the people, and that it shall not become law unless it has been endorsed by the majority of our population. The amendment to the amendment, moved by the hon. member for Berthier (Mr. Barrette), seconded by the hon. member for Labelle (Mr. Achim), pro- " poses the six months' hoist. What, accord- -ing to the census figures, is the available man-power of Canada? At page 42 of the Canada Year Book of 1914, we find that in 1911 the whole population of Canada was ^ 7,206,643, divided, as stated at page 43 of the same book, into, male population, 3,821,995, and, female population, 3,384,648.

At page 70 of the same book, we find that , out of this male population of 3,821,995, you must take the following who are unfit or exempted on account of age. (I must say, before giving these figures to the House, that I have calculated the number of men over fourteen years of age, because, the census having taken place in 1911, the=e boys are now- twenty years of age, and so fall under the proposed law. And I have figured down to the male population aged forty years, because, with the same calculation, these men have now attained the age of forty-six years and they are exempted.) Under one year, there were 93,513; from one to four years, 354,106; from five to nine years, 395,045; from ten to fourteen years, 354,911; from forty to forty-four, 213,018; from forty-five to forty-nine, 178,715; from fifty to fifty-four, 152,718; from fifty-five to fifty-nine, 112,952; from sixty to sixty-four, 94,318; sixty-five and over, 159,-605;-making a grand total unfit or exempted on account of age of 2,119,501 men. Thus our available man-power at that time, deducting those that were unfit or exempted according to the census figures given us, was 1,702,494. At page 15 of volume 2 of the census of 1911 we find that the number of defectives in the male population was 15,530, leaving a balance of 1,686,964.

We have enlisted, some say 400,000, others says 411,000, others say 430,000 men. Let us figure it at 405,000.

So that we have, in this country, an available actual man power of 1,281,964. I must admit that to this amount should be added' the male immigrants of military age who have come to Canada since 1911. We have no official figures as to the number. It is true, the ex-Minister of Militia and Defence

(Sir Sam Hughes) has given us 500,000 as the approximate number. But coming from that source I should figure that the real number of male immigrants since 1911 is about half, because in every statement by the ex-Minister of Militia and Defence you must figure on at least 50 per cent of bombast. So that you would have an actual available man power of 1,331,964.

The next question, Sir, is, what is, according to the 1911 census, the man-power required to secure the expansion and the development of our economic life in this country. It is all right enough to say: "We hear the clamour of the boys at the front, they cry for help and want us to send more men." This afternoon I heard the Solicitor General (Mr. Meighen) state that we had signed the bond and we had to pay it. That would be all -right if we had the means to do it. I contend, Sir, taking the figures of the census and the available man;power necessary for our economic life, that we are unaible to supply the number of men that are asked for without paralyzing our economic life. In the sixth volume of the census of 1911 we find figures giving the male population interested in the development of trade, transportation and economic life. The numbers are as follows:-

Agriculture 917,848

Building trades 245,990

Domestic ancT personal service 75,134

Civil and municipal government 72,531

Fishing and hunting 34,547

Forestry 42,901

Manufacture 392,781

Mining 62,707

Commerce 240,903

Transportation 210,602

Making a grand total of 2,296,022

Out of this, we have supplied more than 400,000 men. Is it possible that a Government situated as this Government is, with the responsibility which I am pointing out, will not listen to argument, and that the language of reason will not appeal to them? Hon. gentlemen speaking in this House in favour of the Bill are making comparisons between European countries and Canada. I believe, Sir, that the comparison cannot stand. The European countries are thickly settled, having every year an overflow of population, and they must seek an outlet for that overflow. Canada is a new country, thinly settled, having immense resources, requiring, outside .of our available supply of man-power, the constant overflow of population from the European countries. We are unable to develop the resources of this country, as they should be developed, with our own supply of men, and it is un-

fair to make a comparison -between Canada and the European countries. Canada need's more man-power, and that is the reason we have spent millions of dollars to bring immigrants to this country to assist development. Since the beginning of the war, we have made sacrifices, we have appealed to young people, to women and to old men, to assist in our trade, our agriculture, .our factories and in all the branches of our economical development to take the place of the boys who have gone to the front. There is a shortage of man-power. My hon. friend from Rouville (Mr. Lemieux) proved that the -Government had appealed to the United States for 50,000 farm labourers. Is it not a fact that the Imperial Munitions Board is complaining constantly of the scarcity of wage earners and man-power, and that half of the big corporations in this country have asked the Government to stop enlistments because there is a scarcity of man-power? The ex-Minister of Militia and Defence, told the House and the country that the Government, at the request of the munition workers, had retarded enlistment. Yet, in the face of all this, the Government asks us to pass a Bill which will send 100,000 more -men to the front. I know the responsibility that rests on my shoulders. I have listened to the address of the hon. gentleman who has just spoken (Mr. J. A. M. Armstrong). I am not afraid of threats, and I am not going to be stampeded or forced to support a measure which I do not wish to support.


Some hon. MEMBERS:

Hear, hear.


Louis Joseph Gauthier



The fact that I belong to the minority, and that I come from the province of Quebec, will not prevent me from uttering. sentences I think I should utter in the defence of the cause for which I stand here. I do not say that the 100,000 should not be sent. I do not say we have done too much. I do not say we should do no more. But, before sending 100,000 of our young men to the front, causing us to run the risk of endangering our economic life, it is the duty of the Government to go to the people and ask them if they are ready to make the sacrifice of paralyzing the development of this country for all years to come. If the people are satisfied to make the sacrifice, we pledge ourselves that we will bow to the will of the majority of the population. What more can you ask?

We claim that the Government has no mandate from the people in respect to this measure. We may be wrong, but we may be right, I do not wish t-o discuss the legal aspect of the question; I want to discuss

it simply from a business standpoint and with due regard to the feelings of the people whom I represent. The legal aspects of this question are numerous. Some say that the Government is empowered to take this course; others say that it is not.

I shall not discuss that; it is sufficient for me to say that the Government have enough responsibilities; that they should not shoulder any additional responsibilities that they are not compelled to assume.

I was amazed at the amendment to the amendment introduced by the member for Berthier (Mr. Barrette) and seconded by the member for Labelle (Mr. Acbim). These two gentlemen belonged to the 54th battalion of Sherbrooke; they were appoint-ted lieutenants on March 6, 1915. This can be proved by referring to page 362 of the quarterly Militia List, edition of May 30, 1917. But after having enlisted they decided, one to propose and the other to second the motion that this Bill be given the six months' hoist. I suppose, although they had enlisted, they decided that they did not want to fight.

We are engaged in a very serious debate, 'but permit me to say that I consider this amendment to the amendment to be a farce. It has been engineered not by the mover and the seconder of the motion, but by the Government itself. It is all very well to ask that opinions be sacrificed; it is all very well to plead the magnitude of the task which confronts us; when the Government appeal to the good-will of the Opposition, they should, in my humble judgment, play the game fairly. They have played the game; they have laid on the table of the House their trump card -the little joker from Berthier.

It was very interesting indeed to listen to the speech of the bon. member for Berthier. He spoke of his conscience, of his profound love for his race and for his province, and of the disinterestedness of the sentiments which he entertained for the welfare of the whole community. But he intermingled his references

to the future of Canada and the aspirations of the different races in this country with remarks concerning public works in his riding. He told us that since he had been elected, more public works had been carried on in the county that- he represented than had been the case since Confederation. He seeks to have us believe that in taking the courageous stand that he has taken, he is liable to be deprived of patronage. Let the hon. gentleman be at peace. I ask him, for the sake

of our individual peace on this side of the House, not to trouble us with such laments, because we know that in this matter he is hand in hand with the Government. His amendment, being a negative one, would have been ruled out of order if it had not been introduced with the consent of the Government.

9 p.m. As it stands in order, the hon, member need not feel uneasy; he is all right. - My opinion is that after this debate is over the hon. member will keep on going to the shrine of the golden calf, under the benevolent eye of his master. He deserves a reward from his master, but he deserves also a punishment from his electors. I hope that he will get his reward, because I am sure that he will get his punishment. On the altar of partisanship he has sacrificed more than his life; he has slaughtered without mercy the shattered remnant of his honour. He is entitled to the reward, and I hope he will get it.

I come now to an examination of the Bill itself. It is a wonderful Bill. One of the peculiar aspects of it is that everybody wants to conscript the other fellow. -Hon. gentlemen from the West who favour the Bill do so on the condition that the measure will conscript Ontario; those members from Ontario who favour the Bill do so upon the understanding that Quebec will be conscripted. In order that everybody should be satisfied, the Solicitor General (Mr. Meighen) this afternoon, in his most suave manner, assured the people of Quebec not to worry, because the Bill would bear more lightly upon Quebec than upon the other provinces. The Government wants to raise 100,000 men-but imagine, Sir, somebody in each province explaining that the operations of the proposed Act will not reach that province! Where are they going to get the men, if nobody is conscripted?

The Bill is drafted in such a way, however, that it appeals to every part ,of the country except Quebec. Although I am only a back bencher, I am going to have the audacity-not in the name of my province, from which I hold no mandate, but on my own behalf-to answer some of the remarks of the Solicitor General.

He says that the Bill will bear more lightly on Quebec than on the other provinces. I protest against that sentiment. We resent the insult whether direct or indirect. Thank Heaven we do not belong to a race of cowards. We are willing to do our share to the bitter end, and no man in this House nor

in this country can tell us that if we vote for the Bill we shall be exempted. We do not want to be put in reserve. Our forefathers discovered this country; we have no other country in the world. This country is ours; we want to fight to the limit for it, because we-have the protection of the state I will not allow any hon. gentleman to cast a slur upon us. I am not a minister of the *Crown in this Government, thank Heaven !

I would like, en passant, to say a fjw words in answer to one of our former friends, the hon. member for South Wellington (Mr. Guthrie). Let me prove how profound our distrust is of this Bill. Here is a gentleman who has seen fit to leave his party and his chief. His argument is this: He wants to secure farm labour for his riding, contending that in supporting this' Bil), he will get the farm help he requires. Here is a Bill drafted to enlist 100,000 men and send them overseas. There is a scarcity of labour, and when the 100,000 men will have gone away, the hon. member will get his farm help. That is why he supports the Bill. I am not surprised because I have heard the hon. member stating recently that the war has compelled us to act illogically, and he is living up to his statement. To convince his colleagues and the other members that he was in the right upon this question, he was obliged to Tesort to a new mandate. He is called in this House as a representative of South Wellington. Does he represent his constituents on this question? I say: no, because, if he did, he would not refuse to submit the question to them. Does he represent labour? No, organized labour in 'this country is against the Bill. Does he represent . the Britishdborn who have come to this country since the beginning of the war? No, they are against the Bill; they left their country so as not to, be called upon to perform military service. Does he represent the country? No, he tells us that if the Bill is submitted to the people, it will be defeated. What then does he represent? He represents the honour of Canada. I will not make any comment. Here is an hon. gentleman, who stated in his address the * other day that nine out of ten of the voters of this country would poll their votes against this measure, pretending to impose upon the people a measure that thsy would not stand for. If that is not Toryism of the best brand, I do not know what Toryism is.

The supporters of the Bill claim that the Canadian Expeditionary Force requires

100,000 men, and that this Bill is designed to supply that number. The Prime Minister has pledged the word of Canada, and, to use the very language of the Solicitor General this afternoon, the Government have signed the bond and we have to pay it. Was the pledge made for the assistance of the Empire or for the asistance of Canada? I would like to answer these questions. The Empire requires good-will and unity from the Dominions overseas. This Bill means animosity between the races and the cessation of a united and combined effort. Is that going to help the Empire? Not at all. The Empire requires food and ammunition. This Bill will deprive the Mother Country of the necessary flow of our productions, both agricultural and mechanical. Is the pledge going to help Canada? No. Canada cannot progress without peace, harmony and mutual understanding. Under this Bill, we shall get just the contrary. More than that, the splendid contributions of Canada, already freely given to Great Britain will be in vain. Unless you supply everything you have promised, unless you redeem in their entirety the pledges and the promises, your effort will be in vain. _

For the proof that the pledge was made without consulting any one and without regard to the capacity or the resources of the country, we have only to look at the Bill. To supplement the promise and to redeem the pledge, the Government is compelled to have recourse to compulsion, and with compulsion you are going to have disruption. Will that save or help the Empire? I say: no. Why then was the pledge made? If it was not for the aid of the Empire nor for the aid of Canada, was it made to win the war and save the Empire? I know that the British authorities have sent here an officer who, after taking into consideration our resources in man-power and the necessity for Canada to supply food and ammunition, has made a report to the Government asking Canada to supply fifty per cent of the number of men we have so far furnished. The Government must be aware of this report, because I have been told by a gentleman who has seen and read that report, that such a report exists. Why make such a pledge? My belief is that the pledge was made to secure a new lease of power for the Administration. I have no hesitation in stating that the purport of the Bill is iniquitous and nefarious.

I come now to the amendment. We have a democratic Government and the people

should rule. Why should the Government refuse to appeal to the people? They want a united effort on the part of all our citizens. Let them appeal to the people then, and get rid of all disunion. I say that the Government has set a bad example. Distrust breeds distrust, and confidence engenders confidence. We have been told in the House that one member of the cabinet exchanged letters not so long ago with the Prime Minister, making certain charges against the conduct of a certain department by one of his colleagues, and the colleague concerned was not cognizant of this charge. If ministers cannot agree amongst themselves, if they distrust each other, it is not to be wondered at if they distrust the people. Why should not the Government appeal to the people? Let them state their case before the country, and if the people are made aware of the pledge that has been given and of the necessity as it exists in the mind of the Government, I am confident that we can trust them. Do you think, Sir, that for political purposes one part of the country would refuse to acknowledge the signature, the bond, the promise, the pledge which had been given in good faith by the Government of this country? No, Sir.

Before resuming my seat I shall be very frank with the House. I want to make a few remarks in the name of my people. This is one of the most solemn hours of my life. It may be the last opportunity I shall have of addressing the House of Commons and my country. I say to the Government: If you press this measure through, my people, declaring that this Government has no mandate, will use the very Bill itself to fight the matter out. We acknowledge that in this fight there will be pain and suffering. We may have to go to the direst consequences. My people are willing to go to the limit if you impose upon them such a piece- of legislation; I believe they are right, and I will do as they intend to do.

Mr. JOHN H. BURNHAM (West Peterborough) : Mr. Speaker, I followed the speaker who has just sat down (Mr. Gauthier) with considerable interest until he reached his climax, his threat, which has so frightened me that I hardly think I shall be able to continue. I will do my best, however, and I promise not to detain the House very long. This amendment refers in a few words to a referendum, for which it calls. If there is to be an appeal to the people both the right hon. the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Borden) and the right hon. the Minister of Trade and

Commerce (Sir George Foster) have made it quite clear that they prefer an election. In his negotiations with the right hon. the leader of the Opposition (Sir Wilfrid Lau-rier), the Prime Minister, in answer to the request of the leader of the Opposition, freely offered to hold a general election if a coalition government were formed and the Conscription Bill put through. There has, therefore, been a declaration by this Government, bearing in mind what the Prime Minister and the Minister of Trade and Commerce have said, that they are willing to consult the people by general election, but not by referendum. The wisdom of that course I do not presume for one moment to question. Rightly or wrongly, our Government have given the Opposition the idea that with a very little urging they, can get this Government to consult the country by means of a general election at least. The right hon. Minister of Trade and Commerce said

I would not be willing to go to the people with a referendum under these conditions, without giving first my lead in the representative position I have.

. That is, he would be willing to go if he had first given the people a lead. He also said:-

What we propose is to do, in the light of the experience and knowledge that we have, our plain duty, and let the people pass their verdict as they choose later, or by history.

The Government therefore have clearly offered to procure a mandate from the people. The question then resolves itself into a general election or a referendum. A six months' hoist is before the House, but it is beneath my contempt; I decline to discuss it. The referendum I will discuss, 'because it purports to refer to the will of the people. But that other abortion proposes to deny the propriety of goipg to the people, and is more Germanesque than the Germans ever were. It denies the right of the people to pronounce upon this policy, and sweeps that right aside whilst proclaiming its passion for liberty in this House. What we have got tied up to in this House God only knows, and it is time there was some sort of demonstration in the country to wipe it out of existence. Where it came from I do not understand, but where it is going I have a pretty good idea.

If a general election were held the leaders of the various parties would be required to announce their policy. It does not follow that there would be only two leaders and only two policies; there might be a dozen. When the election was over the Governor

General would have the right and the discretion to call upon the man whom he thought most likely to form a stable government, and he would do so. In the event of a referendum being taken if the people said yea we should be in the same position we are in now. But if the people said nay, where would we be? We would be nowhere. The Governor General could not appeal to the present leader of the Opposition, for he would have expressed no opinion. The only people who would have expressed an opinion would be the Nationalists. Would he send for them?

The referendum would lead us into a technical and political calamity. It would be an absolute impossibility. There can be no excuse for it m the face of this great conflict or for debate upcn the form of going to the people. It is too absurd. If we go to the people and get the people's verdict let it be, as my hon. friend the Minister of Trade and Commerce (Sir George Foster) said, in a manly, responsible way. Let us stand sponsor for our opinions, let us go and tell the people what we think, and abide by the consequences and not on Dick Swiveller or Artful Dodger principles. Let us not reduce ourselves to the vulgarity of being mere politicians; let us at least rise to the height of those splendid men who have given us such a glorious lead in France and Flanders, let us show that we are worthy of being related to them by taking the action which must be taken, without delay.

There can be no question but that the justification for the Government's course in going to the people is plain. The people are the basis of democratic Government. We are here as the representatives of the people and only as representatives of the people. The people indeed are doing the fighting, they supply the sinews of war, they pay the taxes, they furnish by their franchise, the moral and political power; the people are all in all. We are but a few trustees who have been entrusted with the task of carrying out their mighty wishes. As Mr. Balfour has so well said: "If

democracy fails us now we are indeed undone." _

It must be expected that we will have some weaklings amongst us, that some- perhaps many-will fail to rise to the height of this great conflict. That is but natural. But if we are to fight as a united, powerful people, worthy of our place amongst the nations it must be as a fairly, fully and justly organized people. Every man must do his duty and we must remember that just as there may be the shirker or slacker

amongst us, so there will be the financial slacker, the man who declines to come forward^ and place his resources at the disposal of the country. I myself know men whose resources consist of money. The cost of their living is but little more than that of the humblest amongst us. They have no children; they have no hostages to fortune. They do not even come within the purview of the Finance Minister's tax on sugar for "they do not take sugar." The fact is that they give to this great conflict just exactly what suits them, which is often not very much. When I am confronted by the statement of a class of people who say: We understand conscription of men but we cannot consent to the conscription of wealth because, while we understand the conscription of men, we cannot comprehend the conscription of wealth. I am at a loss to understand it and I cannot but suspect the motives of the men who make it. Is that right? When they find out what direct taxation in its multitudinous forms means-and how prone some people of all political parties are to side-step direct responsibility-although they do not recognize the positive principle, they are quite able to say promptly what the negative is and they are sure, after looking at it from .all aspects, that they do not understand it. Well, all you have to do to show that you do understand a thing is to show absolutely that you do not understand it, because there is no getting away from a proposition which you are able to deny from all angles and all points. The shirking of such men will soon, I understand and hope, come to an end.

It will not please the people, and they will not stand for it. It must be remembered that there are two sorts of people who do not want a general election. One is the man who is unduly optimistic, and the other is the man who. hopes that.you will not get a mandate and that thus you will break up the whole support of Canada in the war and, that it will end in disaster and confusion. They are the two extremes. These things must be remembered.

Conscription is spoken of as a terrible thing as if it were a form of compulsion that had emanated from the Evil One. Cannot . we realize that consqription, when passed upon by the people becomes not conscription or compulsion but the will of the people? The man who rejects it rejects not compulsion or conscription but the will of the people. He is not a protester; he is a rebel. He belongs then to the minority, and instead of complaining of the tyranny

of the majority he should at least be circumspect enough to view the conduct of the

' minority not only with suspicion but with a just regard to punishment by the country. The minority cannot rule the majority; the people in the majority will not permit it.

^ I was very much pleased to hear the hon.- gentleman who has just sat down (Mr. Gauthier) admit, as indeed the leader of the Opposition has admitted, that once the people have given Jheir mandate all Canada must obey. But the question then arises: Can Canada give a mandate? I say most distinctly it can. There is not a man at the front who does not write regularly to his relatives or to some one. Let him indite, not ordinary epistles of affection, but what he thinks on the clear-cut issue of conscription or no conscription. The correspondence system, and the delivery of letters at the front is marvellous, it is up to date and to say that it is impossible to take the votes of the men at the front in face of the fact that they receive and give letters, parcels, all sorts of things, materials of every description, by post, with the exception of a few who may be wounded who are carried to hospitals and who are for a time unable to use their hands, is to take a position that the situation does not warrant. All, with the exception of the badly wounded, could mark their ballots. No man is on the fighting line for more than ten days at a time, many of them much less. I am. within the mark in saying that in the most extreme cases no man is on the fighting line, or the immediate relief line, for longer than fifteen days, and then he goes back to his battalion, which will not be very far away, for rest, recuperation and training.

Thus in the course of fifteen days every man in the army who could make his mark at all could vote, and if to-night .it was decided to have an election, all that would be necessary would be to flash the tidings across the water, hand the ballots to the responsible parties, see that the colonels of the battalions were apprised of the fact. Furnished with the ballots, they, with their magnificent organization, could see to it, by means of a muster parade or any other kind of parade you like, or through their subordinate officers, that every man was furnished with an opportunity for marking his ballot, and you would have a vote from the men at the front far larger in proportion than ever you would have if they were here in Canada, because the average 163J ; 1

vote is never more than sixty per cent, and: you may rest assured that, wounded or not: wounded, you would get ninety-five per cent of the vote at the front. It is easy.

I cannot understand the difficulty of it. I asked time and time again, before I returned from the Old Country, why it was that there was such an objection, and the answer I received was not that there would be difficulty in taking the vote, but that it was not considered wise to inflame the minds of the men with a multitude of issues, Avoid the multitude of issues and you have it. The men are discussing from day to day the question | of conscription and support. Let them say what they think on that one issue, and I will venture the assertion that you will have the vote of the men at the front satisfactorily taken, counted in London, and the tidings here, weeks before you have the vote taken in Canada. * We must be just in regard to this matter, and I must say that to any utterance of Sir Joseph Flavelle, a gentleman whom I know well-I used to sit near him in school; unfortunately I did not acquire his ability,

I just acquired his acquaintance-we must attach great weight. In discussing his caution to Canada about her man-power, he says:

I am led to say this because I remember the necessity of securing further support for the men at the front, means there will be considerable impairment

Not diminution, but impairment.

-of the present factory working forces in Canada.

Quite clearly when the head of the Munitions Board-and he has proven himself to be a faultless, a flawless manager of munition producing in Canada; so much so that he stands extremely high in Imperial confidence-utters this warning at this time, he is wise enough to know what it means, and that is that we must be duly and properly organized. The point I wish to make in connection with this is that this statement of the head of the Munitions Board has given a reasonable cause or subject of protest to those who demand the mandate of an election. When he has thrown doubt upon the ability of Canada to furnish, without great care, more man power for the front, he has handed material for the very protest these gentlemen are making, and, like those other men high in authority who have stated that they have no objection to an election, he has placed us in that very position that we must give due regard to the necessity or



'[DOT]the opportunity of a mandate and to the tact of there being danger of decreasing the man-power in the country. The stability of a nation depends upon the fairness, the force, the vigour and the strength, the convincing manner, in which its affairs are administered. To quote the Munitions Board once again, there is not a murmur except from the politicians who have been unable to exercise any influence with the Munitions Board, and the reason they complain is, not because they wished to do anything improper, but because sundry of their constituents kept shoving them and urging them over and over again, asking them to exercise their influence, and they have found that it could not be done. In that way Sir Joseph Flavelle has established the confidence of the people, and also has shown conclusively that, as an organizer in that most difficult and nebulous part of our industry, namely the making of munitions, a thing we never did before, he is a past-master. Let some man, then, be put in charge of agriculture; let another man be put in charge of food; let another man be put in charge of man-power; let another man be put in charge of a fair distribution of taxes, throwing all the resources of the country into the general pot, and not asking the working classes to hand over the men and the taxes both and do all the work-which they certainly will not do, and we in fairness should not expect them to do-and when we have organized, and when we have obtained, toy moving rapidly, the mandate of the people, then, when we are com scious of onr strength, the minority must give way. Then the Nationalists and all the other kickers will -have to subside, and we shall hear no more of them. This course will not only have the effect of enabling us to assist in the war, but it will also have a splendid effect upon Canada for all time to come. Mr. GEORGE MoCRANEY (Saskatoon): Mr. Speaker, after a number of leading members of this House have dealt with this question, we have the experience which always occurs, that those who follow up repeat many of the arguments that have been used, and their contribution very often is only that they have given expression to views which have already been pronounced. I do not know that I can present to the House at this hour anything that is striking, but the fact that I have views on the question that is before us is the apology which I make for taking up the time of the House. What are the responsibilities which we owe to 300,000 men who are now in England, France and Flanders, in the King's uniform, under authority of this Parliament? We shall answer the question pretty much in the views we hold as to the relation which the citizen hears to the state. Some of us hold the view that the relations are reciprocal, that the citizen who is damaged in his person, in his right, or in his property, has a right to the protection of the state, and also that when the state is in danger, the state lias a right to call upon the citizen for his property and for his person in its defence. There is another point of view which is put forward. It is that the state must protect individuals and minorities, in their persons, their rights and properties, tout that when the state is in jeopardy it is optional on the part of the citizen whether he shall serve it or not. In this latter view military necessity plays no part. The only contingency under which the state might call upon the citizen is that our country should toe invaded and all the horrors of an alien army be in our midst. To our forces in France and Flanders it denies all help except voluntary aid. If that view -prevails, with the failure of recruiting efforts our men at the front are left to dwindle in numbers, to be discouraged in spirit, with .companies growing smaller, and with final abandonment by our people. There are those who hold against conscription on principle. They have held that view for a number of years. If the last three years, with all its events, and the changes in opinion which the events have brought, have made no change in thejr point of view on such a principle as this, there is no tragedy which can happen between now and the end of the war that would change their minds.


Some hon. MEMBERS:

Hear, hear.

Topic:   '2558 COMMONS

George Ewan McCraney



No disaster could disturb principles so firmly set. There are few of us who do not abhor the idea of war at all, and the necessity for any compulsion of the citizens, and it is only under the most urgent necessity that we would consider such a thing. All of us had hoped that the war would have been concluded long before this, and that there would have been no occasion -for legislation of the character that is now before the House. It is because of the question of time involved in the submarine menace, and also because of the practical withdrawal of Russia, that the seriousness of the situation has come

before us, and that we are obliged now to consider methods of reinforcing our men . on the battle line. My hon. friend from St. Hyacinthe (Mr. Gauthier) quoted the census returns to prove that we had not any men to spare to send to the front. I have never gone through the census reports, and T do not propose to. I have passed in front of the entrance to a number of picture shows in our cities, and 1 obtained all the information I wanted. I have no doubt there are other places we could go, to see ydung men in numbers shouting " Down with conscription," and we can easily make up our minds as to whether there is a surplus population that would be better otherwise employed. As to the necessities of the case, we have the assurance of the Prime Minister, who takes the responsibility of saying more men are required. We have figures given to us, showing'that our losses are much in excess of the recruiting that is going on. We have the words of the men who come back to us, who tell us that more are needed. We are under obligations, as a Parliament, to fill up the ranks. We have sent those young men forward with all the assurances that this Parliament can givb, and without any reserve as to whether further reinforcements would be by voluntary system or by conscription. Those of us who have been able to do so have made eloquent speeches bidding them farewell, which speeches become only empty platitudes unless w'e propose to make them good. We find that the wounded in

battle, are obliged, after recovering, to go back into the trenches. Notwithstanding the testimony which my gallant friend from West Peterborough (Mr. Burnham) gives that men are only ten days in the front trenches, I am told that for seven and eight months they are never away from the battlefront, although not exposed to actual danger. Men are being sent home now not wounded, but because they are medically unfit to stay there longer. When these conditions prevail, I say that no man who has been wounded should be obliged to go back into the battleline. No man should be obliged to stay in France, either on the battleline or in the near reserve, without having sufficient rest. There are plenty of young men in our country to take their places, and I think we ought to see to it, so far as we have power, that their places are filled by these young men. It is said we need do nothing, because there are 100,000 ipen in England in reserve. If the Government

meet some of the returned soldiers they will find that one of the sorest points is that there are so many senior officers in England who are unwilling to go over to France as lieutenants. I hope the Government,will institute an inquiry, and have everybody sent home who is not of use there. I am not speaking from the standpoint alone of the military requirements at the front, but I should think an investigation of that character would relieve the sense of injustice that is felt, which we hear of every time we meet returned soldiers. I do not suppose they tell their troubles to members of the Government. I know they tell them to other individuals. I have seen it stated unofficially that the reserves in England are good for only about five months. The months pass quickly, and we have to make our decision and adopt our measures. I would like to believe that further recruiting would make up the reinforcements required. If that were so, I would urge the Government to withdraw the Bill and try recruiting first, but I would say that, if that attempt failed, the men's places must be filled, and, if the recruits cannot be obtained under the voluntary system they must be obtained anyway, and that there must be compulsion. But I know that those who hold against compulsion on principle would not agree to that, even as an ultimate resort, and it is useless to talk to them about it.

The Government has presented the Bill. The Bill is subject to any amendment that will tend to further its objects. It meets the present need, because its purpose is to supply men.

An amendment to the Bill has been moved by the leader of the Opposition. That amendment recognizes no need, suggests no remedy, applies no alternative; it proposes only that there shall be a referendum. The number of votes available from our soldiers in France, Flanders, England and Canada is about 300,000. It has been stated in the House-almost as a matter of generosity-that that vote would be taken. But I do not know why the trenches, hospitals and camps should be invaded with ballot boxes in order that we may find opt whether the soldiers want reinforcements. In Scripture, the example of the unnatural father is the man who, when his son asked for bread, gave him a stone. The object of this amendment is, in answer to the request of the men for reinforcements, to give them a referendum. If the House declares itself in favour of a referendum, we shall go down to history as

being in the position, of the unnatural father who gave his son a stone when he asked for bread. Let us give bread, not a stone; let.us give reinforcements, not a referendum. ,

The male population of military age in Canada may be roughly divided into two -classes: those who can go but will not, and those who would go but cannot. I do not see how any assistance could be given to the men in France by giving ( these people an opportunity of expressing 'their opinion through a referendum. The only thing accomplished by a referendum is the providing of a line of retreat.

We have never appreciated the fact that the sacrifice made by the soldier is for the benefit of the community. We who are at home should bear burdens commensurate with our immunity from the conditions of the battlefield. Perhaps the present apathy towards recruiting and the attitude of a large part of the public in regard to this Bill are due to the fact that many of us have profited rather than .suffered as a result of the war. Manufacturers have flourished; wages have greatly increased; mercantile businesses have multiplied their volume of trade; higher prices have come for agricultural products. In a material sense, only those who receive salaries or large incomes are bearing greater financial burdens than before the war. Our war finance has 'been carried on largely by borrowed money. We have raised comparatively little more than ordinary expenditure; only about $100,000,000 has been applied on a war expenditure of $700,000,000. I should like to see a stronger war policy In financial matters, the taxation of incomes and wealth, and an endeavour to even up the burdens borne by those who suffer and those who are able to save by the sacrifices of the soldiers. I welcome the announcement of the Finance Minister that a measure for the imposing of an income tax will be introduced. I hope that he will not stop there; that he will, by fixed and equitable principles, get larger contributions from those who receive the greatest-

Topic:   '2558 COMMONS

George Ewan McCraney



By a unanimous vote we passed a resolution last session asking

the Imperial authorities to extend the life of this Parliament. Since then we have assumed all the responsibilities and all the duties which pertain to members of this Assembly. One of our duties is public leadership. The public expect that from the members of Parliament, 'but a referendum would at once deny them that leadership. The people are entitled to the judgment of this House in respect to

10 p.m. the desirability of enforcing a measure of compulsory service. Having regard to the feeling which is abroad, I have come to the conclusion, since the bringing down of this measure was announced, that compulsory military service should not be enforced under the authority of this Parliament. This is a moribund Parliament; we would do better to have an election. My suggestion is that before this Bill is passed, the Government amend the section which relates to the coming of the Act into operation so as to provide that the Order in Council making it effective should not he passed until after a general election. Some people, I know, feel that a general election would fan certain smouldering sparks into a great conflagration. I have a more hopeful outlook than that- at least I did have when I came into the Chamber to-night, but it has been somewhat dissipated by the remarks of the member for St. Hyacinthe (Mr. Gauthier). I hope that the hon. gentleman will reconsider his position. He has always had the reputation of being fair and reasonable; and some parts of his speech did bear out that reputation. The character of an election depends upon the members of this House-if they do not abdicate their leadership. Up to this evening the character Df this debate was most moderate. Perhaps the member for St. Hyacinthe was tempted to take the attitude that he did by the remarks of the member for North York (Mr. J. A. Armstrong); those who follow may take warning. I believe that this debate can be conducted reasonably and without passion, just as other debates have been which have dealt with serious and important questions. My hope is that a general election will cause, not a great conflagration, but the dying away of the smoking embers. We have confidence that the leadership of this country, even though it may disagree with the principle of the Bill, will use its best efforts after a general election to secure the obedience of the people to the law.

Those are the assurances of men in this House, and I take them at their word. It

may be said that the holding of a general election would cause a delay in bringing this measure into operation. I can imagine nothing more disastrous than the passage of this Bill and an attempt by this Parliament to apply it to some portions of this country. I do not think there would be any gain of time in that way; I believe time would be lost, and sometimes the longest way round is the shortest way there. My advice to the Government is to let it be known to the public that this Bill will not be enforced until after a general election. The public will understand the matter well; the passage of the Bill will be facilitated; many objections which are now made to the Bill will be removed, and I believe in the end the result will be more satisfactory than if any other course is pursued.

In this House we aTe overwhelmed by suspicion of each other; we suspect each other of playing a political game. I do not want to say that such a thing does not exist in this House, but I believe that if in this Parliament the prospect of a general election were four or five years distant, the temptation of that thing would be far removed, and we would get the best results under new conditions and with new men.

In saying what I have said to-night, I have spoken at variance with the views which have been expressed by my right hon. leader (Sir Wilfrid Laurier). With the Chief Whip of the party (Mr. Pardee). I feel that, having followed our leader for quite a number of years, it is with regret that I take the course I do. But I wish to say of my leader and his course upon this measure, notwithstanding the strictures that have been passed by my hon. friend from North York (Mr. J. A. M. Armstrong), that I believe the attitude of the leader of the Opposition is dictated by considerations which appeal to him as being his highest patriotic duty.

In this year we celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of Confederation. In the years since Confederation we have never previously had before us a question so full of national danger and requiring higher statesmanship. Perhaps I have been too optimise tic in hoping that an election contest would be carried on with moderation and good sense, but I prefer to have that optimism. I hope the events of the next few months will do credit to the members of this Parliament and full justice to the 300,000 men on the other side of the water who are looking to us for reinforcements,

and will justify the Confederation of which our forefathers laid the foundation half a century ago.

Mr. JOS. DEMEKS (St. John and Iberville)1 (Translation): As the debate which is now engrossing the attention of Parliament, and of the country is of greater consequence than any that have ever taken place in this House, it stands to reason that many hon. gentlemen should deem it their duty to give expression to their views and feelings.

I do not rise, Sir to participate at any length in the debate that is now in progress, as I have no idea that I shall be able to add very much, if anything, to the exhaustive statements of those who have spoken before me; for, as my hon. friend (Mr. McCraney) has remarked, at this stage of the debate, those who follow up contribute very few new arguments and their speeches vary only in the shape given to the expression of their views.

Without any further delay, I enter upon the subject.

If the right hon. the Prime Minister is to be believed, no new principle is involved in the Bill which he is now presenting to the consideration of the House, and which it is but an amendment to the existing Militia Acts, with the addition of a few clauses and the elimination of a few others.

Now, Mr. Speaker, if such should be the case, the right hon. leader of the House, with this Bill, could certainly not compass the object he has in view, and he could certainly not provide for the compulsory enlistment of 100,000 men for overseas service; because, if the principle embodied in our existing Militia Act is to be maintained in the Bill under consideration, the Government could not put our militia on active service in Europe, without violating the policy and the letter of our Militia Act.

I submit, Sir, that the words in the Militia Act " beyond Canada for the defence thereof " merely convey the meaning that our militia may be called out beyond our frontiers to repel the invader.

From the day our first Militia Act was passed, in 1868, down to our own times, our lawgivers never contemplated or had anything in view besides the defence of Canada in North America.

Up to 1868, their were to be found in our Statute book formal enactments which never gave rise to ambiguity. In 1868, the Act of 1863 was superseded, and although the framers of the Act did not express any intention of changing the policy of the law, however as some exception was taken to

worse or better than the move made by the Government.

Has the Prime Minister satisfied himself, for a single moment, that his measure would make for union among the citizens of this country? Has the Prime Minister satisfied himself for a single moment, that his measure would promote greater unity of action? I do not grant him such ingenous ness. He must have known that the contrary would happen; he should have known that the first and only sure result, would be to intensify the race conflict going on in Canada, more particularly since the outbreak of the war.

A few moments of reflection should have made -him foresee the national disaster toward'which he is heading us, -and as I cannot suppose that the Prime Minister has not foreseen that fatality I hold him responsible for having deliberately done so. And by creating that condition in the country could the Prime Minister think he would stimulate the Canadian effort in the prosecution of the war? On the contrary, he should have reflected that he would paralyze it, as he does paralyze it, he will cause us to lose abroad the benefit of -all -the sacrifices we have imposed ourselves until now.

Indeed, Mr. Speaker, we had drawn, we had provoked rather, the wonder and the admiration of the allied nations by the generosity and the spontaneity of our participation, and now the arbitrary and despotic action of the Government shall give rise to protests and to more than protests, which will certainly have the effect to create in the Allies' minds a confusion as to the appreciation of the sentiments and of the motives which have inspired our former participation.

To desire to establish conscription in our country; to wish to establish conscription here, when we have sff nobly and so generously answered every call, is not only a poor appreciation of the sacrifices made, it is a crime, and the future will say whether I am using too strong an expression to qualify the Government's action.

All these considerations, Mr. Speaker, awaken within me some suspicions as to the motives which have inspired the Government, and I am asking myself whether the " win the war " has had as much a decisive influence as did party considerations, and I would be greatly surprised if the Gov-, emment, after the adoption of their measure, if it be -adopted, ever attempt to apply it. -

The Prime Minister knows under what conditions the Parliament is called' upon to

legislate upon a question of this importance. We are no longer the representatives of the people, and we would have the impudence of doing away with the liberty of the people. But is not the absurdity of such a pretension. most evident, and, more especially, the danger of seeing it materialize?

But, it is said, our parliamentary existence has been continued by the Imperial Parliament. That does not make of us representatives of the people, but Imperial deputies, and since when has the Imperial Parliament the right to decide of the life of the citizens of Canada? They will laugh at us, unless the Government's action be considered as a provocation; then, they will revolt. We have no authority in the matter, -and it would be daring the people, should we have the audacity and the insolence to try and dispose of its liberties. The people will have nothing but contempt for an arbitrary measure adopted by an irresponsible body and I say: Woe be to those who would provoke them. We are living in a democratic country and our people will not readily accept the return to autocracy and despotism.

While it is not yet too late, I ask the Prime Minister to reconsider his decision, to withdraw his Bill. I ask it of him on behalf of Canada's future; I ask it on behalf of the necessary union of the races in this country; for the success of the war inasmuch as Canada's participation is concerned.

The Prime Minister stated that we should fear the wrath and indignation of our soldiers on their return, if we did not provide to fill the gaps and to send reinforcements. I think the Prime Minister was very ill-inspired in making such a statement. No one will believe that the heroes wh6 have fought freely and voluntarily for the triumph of civilization, of liberty and of equality, would demand the application to their fellow-citizens of methods different from those that were -applied to them. I have a higher conception of the mentality of the -heroes of Vimy, of Courcelette, of Saint Julien, of Festubert and of Ypres, and I entertain the hope that, fighting over there for universal peace against barbarity and the despotism of the military castes, they would not return here to establish the German methods and the reign of terror. Otherwise, there would be reason to bitterly regret our intervention in this war. And then, have we deserved this threat from the Prime Minister? No, assuredly not.

Let us see. Do they absolutely mean that we have done nothing in- this war or

do they not realize the gigantic effort we have accomplished? According to the Prime Minister, we ought to hide ourselves in shame, for our apathy and our indifference.

Well! this language shocks me and offends me, and faT from being ashamed at our share in this war, as a Canadian I am proud of it, and I concede to no one the right to diminish the glory, the honour and the ci edit which must therefrom reflect upon our country.

We are told: what will they think of us if we do not fill up the gaps? What will be thought is this, that we have done our share and that our resources do not permit us to do any more, inasmuch as our contribution in men is concerned. What did people think of France when she abandoned a part of her front line of defence to entrust it to British soldiers? It is not absolutely necessary that the front, now occupied by the Canadians, be always held by Canadians. The important point is that it be maintained, by allied troops, whether they be English. French, Australian, American or Canadian soldiers. When the French soldier could not hold his entire line, he was replaced by the British soldier and there was no cause for humiliation in that, just as there would be no rfeasou for uneasiness and for shame if a portion of our line were maintained by the Americans who have "just entered the war and who should now contribute a share at least equal to ours.

Let us suppose that we do go to the extreme limit, that we send all our men fit to carry arms, and that the war should last two or three years longer, should we then be obliged to send over our women, our children and our old men, so that we still might pride ourselves in saying that the Canadian lines are entirely held by Canadians? We have at present 420,000 men enlisted, perhaps more, out of a population of 7,000,000 souls, ar.d although. I do not desire to recriminate for, after all, such a levy has been voluntary, and although I have no objection against voluntary enlistment, I may truly say nevertheless that we have exceeded our capacity, and I find myself in excellent company when I make such a claim. The sending over of 200,000 men.would have been more in conformity with our needs, with the needs of the Allies, with our resources and our interest, 200,000 men at the front would have been considered as evidence of a boundless generosity, and devotion. Never had the Allies expected or imagined such a contribution from Canada, because they knew the extent of our territory, our relative population, and because they realized that our degree of interest was not the same as that of the sovereign nations; and they would not entertain any feeling of contempt, did they know that, before imposing upon ourselves the supreme effort, we desire at least to be convinced that we are not doing it in the place of those who are primarily obliged to do so. My intimate conviction is that 100,000 more men, in this mass of 25 or 30 millions of combatants, could have no more influence upon the result of the war than a grain of sand cast in the sea would affect its level, and, therefore, I am the more convinced that it is merely a matter of saving 100,000 men from elsewhere by sacrificing our own. These 100,000 lives, we need them at home; they mean little or nothing as far as the war is concerned, but what a capital for a young and vast country as ours, which, to lay its foundations, has been obliged until quite recently to pay people to cross over and to spend fabulous amounts towards encouraging immigration.

If, after the gigantic effort made by us, the Allies are still in need of soldiers, let us not forget that the United States are at war, that they have a population of 112,000,000 inhabitants, that they have entered this war for questions purely of national interest and that, comparatively, to equal our effort, they must raise an army of six or seven million men. .Let them first draw from this abundant and inexhaustible source before thinking of draining this country of its men before thinking of rooting out the very elements required for the carrying on of its activities. -

After the splendid but lavish effort we have made, I am shocked at finding that it is proposed to take steps towards forcibly enlisting even the last men, by means of a conscription Bill. And under what circumstances? After the Premier and his colleagues have absolutely pledged themselves not t-o do so; after a minister of the Crown, just a few months ago, had himself elected upon a policy absolutely contrary to that which is born to us to-day; with an incomplete representation hnd when, as a matter of fact, some way or other, some thirty counties are deprived of all representation; when there is no longer in this House any representative of the people and that neither the Government nor this Parliament have the constitutional right of enacting conscription.

Besolutions have been known to spring from measures less arbitrary. What are we in our relations to the people? Plain individuals, without mandate or authority, existing as a body in consequence of an Imperial

Act, but we are no longer the representatives of the people. 1 have no right to speak here in the name of the people, neither upon this question nor upon any other, and I am too proud of my country's autonomy to speak in the name ol the Imperial Government. I am too fond of the democratic liberal ideas to play the dictator; the people of Canada are alone master of their destinies, alone have they the right to decide. They have delegated their powers to no one and, indeed, I cannot believe that, in this land of liberty, we could have the spectacle of a majority in an assembly of two hundred individuals, that would thus enforce its own views upon 7,000,000 free citizens. Let us beware!

The Allies' cause is noble and holy, we have realized that from the start, we made all manner of sacrifice; |we made 'them generously and willingly; we are ready to make more, but to come and attempt to coerce us after the remarkable voluntary effort we have just made, that is an insult which has been spared the people in certain portions of the Empire, such as Australia where though determined to contribute their all thej. nevertheless resolved m affirm their freedom. Let us consult the people. A large section of the country is opposed to conscription, it may or may not form the majority; a plebiscite alone can show. Will the majority declare in favour of it? If so, the minority will submit, for we have a population deeply imbued with sound democratic ideas.

Without a plebiscite, who can tell us that the people shall respect a measure arbitrarily passed by a power without responsibility or authority? Have we the right to create in the^ country such a situation? Have we the right to risk the consequences of an arbitrary and despotic act when, by a referendum, the question would be settled, without friction and without danger, within a few weeks?

Would a negative verdict be feared? Who are those who fear public opinion? Shall public opinion be respected, yes or no? Are we living in a constitutional country? Well, then, what is this public opinion? There is nothing but a popular consultation that can let us know, at this hour, for there are no longer any representatives of the people.

Of course, I am -aware that in certain centres the opinion is current that anti-conseriptionists are to be found in Quebec only; let us have a plebiscite and we will thus obtain two equally important results: first, we shall know the popular will as regards enlistment, and, in the second

place, we may perhaps put an end to the prejudices that are fostered against Quebec in certain outlying and beclouded communities.

The hon. Solicitor General thought fit, the day before yesterday, to put a question, not to me, but to the hon. member for Bonaventure (Mr. Marcil). I would have been glad if someone had put me the same question, and I shall do as if that had actually happened. He asked what was our opinion upon conscription.

Should the Government withdraw its Bill and grant us a plebiscite, I would go before the electors of my county and engage them with all the energy in my power to vote against conscription. As a citizen, I would vote against conscription most decidedly; but if the majority declared in favour of conscription, then I would submit, and I would ask all my electors and all my fellow-citizens to likewise submit. I would go before my electors and I would tell them this in order to induce them to vote against conscription. I would say to them: According to me, -the only way in which we can at present really assist in bringing about the final victory of the Allies is by developing agriculture, it is by doing intensive culture, it is by setting ourselves to the building of ships, it is by turning out more munitions.

I have a long time since been deeply impressed with that idea, and never was I more convinced of it than when I heard, in this House, the hon. Minister of Trade and Commerce (Sir George Foster), who spoke as follows- '

Topic:   '2558 COMMONS

Herbert Brown Ames

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir HERBERT AMES (translation) :

#Will the hon. member allow me to put him one question?

Topic:   '2558 COMMONS

Herbert Brown Ames

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir HERBERT AMES (translation):

The hon. member stated, if I rightly caught his meaning, that he would do all in his power to induce his electors to vote against conscription?

Topic:   '2558 COMMONS

Herbert Brown Ames

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir HERBERT AMES (translation):

But if the vote of the Dominion of Canada be in favour of conscription, that he would do his possible to induce his electors to accept that.measure. If there is a general election, would he be disposed to do anything after?

Topic:   '2558 COMMONS

Marie Joseph Demers


Mr. DEMERS (translation):

If there is a general election before the passing of this law or-after the passing of this law? If we had a general election immediately?

Topic:   '2558 COMMONS

June 21, 1917