June 28, 1917


William George Weichel

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. W. G. WEICHEL (Waterloo, North):

Mr. Speaker, I do not see how any one can rise on this occasion without feeling that the responsibility of a representative in the Canadian House of Commons to-day is very serious and very grave. Many striking sentiments have been expressed during the course of this debate, and the one thing that stands out very clearly and distinctly is the honesty of purpose which has characterized the debate from the very beginning. I feel that right conclusions regarding great national and vital questions as they concern our country at the present time can be reached only by conscientiously and honestly striving to understand existing conditions as they appeal to us to-day. To me the situation is serious. If any man will look at the map of Europe, he will see that the responsibilities of Great Britain and her Allies in this great struggle are very grave, and that the obstacles to be overcome before this war is won are still great. A business man to-day does not know wheTe he is for twenty-four hours at a stretch, because conditions are upside down. The Russian situation, although it has cleared somewhat during the last week or two, still looks ominous to most of us, while the submarine menace, as we all know, is just as grave to-day and just as dangerous, so far as the integrity of the Empire is concerned, as it was weeks ago. These conditions appeal to me, and therefore I am one of those members of this House of Commons who to-day feel their responsibility in a crisis such as we are passing through. And, therefore, to cut the matter short, I am going to vote in favour of the Bill. There are two proposals before the House, and we are familiar with both of them. We

have heard them discussed by a good many members since the debate began. We have heard from the Prime Minister. He has been across the water. He has met the men in the old land. They, no doubt, have given him information which has caused him to come back to his native land, and to ask the Parliament of Canada to pass the Military Service Bill. The other proposal is an amendment moved by the right hon. leader of the Opposition, that a referendum be taken on this matter. Sir, it is needless and unnecessary for me to quote figures to-night, and I do not wish to occupy more time than necessary. The figures have been quoted by other speakers. All I wish to say is that, in my opinion, the Military Service Bill is a whole-hearted effort to win the war, while the referendum, on the other hand, means delay, and, as one of the speakers pointed out the other day, leads us nowhere. We have had referendums in the past, and they have only been a farce. For a few minutes, allow me to refer to some other matters, before I take up the consideration of the Bill.

I well remember those ominous and fateful days preceding the war. I was then on a trip out West, and never shall I forget the shrill voice of the newsboys on the streets of the city of Winnipeg, when, on that fateful day, they broke the news to the people of that city, in the early hours of the morning, that England had declared war on Germany. Sir, you can readily understand that war between England and Germany had a terrible meaning for me, and, like a flash, my position was revealed to me. Hon. members in this House know my ancestry. I am the only one of the 221 members in this House whose parentage is German, and I wish to take this opportunity to-night, realizing my position-and I know that the members of the House will appreciate my position- to thank every member of the House, irrespective of party, and the Government, for the many acts of kindness that have been extended to me, and to my people, since the war began. I represent a constituency, Sir, where the greater majority of the people are of German ancestry, and the war has certainly produced changes in the sentiments of the people of that riding, but I am happy to state that, although there were some differences of opinion-and these, Sir, I am sorry to say, were greatly exaggerated by the newspapers of this country-to-day there is unity of purpose on the part of the people in the riding of North Waterloo. There is only one thing that lies before

them, Mr. Speaker, and that is their duty, and they are going to do it to the very limit.

We have heard several hon. gentlemen in the House refer to the voluntary enlistment. I shall have something to say about that. The results in my riding were fair. They might have been better, but, take it as a whole, they were quite satisfactory. The rural population of my riding includes many of the class of people called the Men-nonites, who are exempt from military service, as are other classes of conscientious objectors. These people came to, Canada over a hundred years ago from Pennsylvania, and, travelling up the Grand river, sett'ed in the county of Waterloo. They are God-fearing, plain living people, and I pay this tribute to them here to-night, that no finer set of people can be found in the whole Dominion of Canada than the Mennonite farmers of Waterloo. But, Sir, let it be understood by this House toenight that we could not get any volunteers from these people who are exempted from military service; and therefore our enlistments came entirely from the city of Kitchener, the town of Waterloo, the village of Elmira, and two or three smaller hamlets near by. I think I am quite safe in making the statement that we have enlisted over 1,000 men in North Waterloo'. And of that number, nearly 300 were boys of German ancestry. I do not wish to apologize for my people, because I think they have done quite well. They did very well as far as the Patriotic Fund was concerned. They stand very high in the estimation of the chairman of that fund. They worked night and day to make the Belgian and Bed Cross Belief Funds successful and were most ably supported by the ladies of our district. We have heard a very great deal about patriotism and loyalty in the Dominion of Canada during the past two or three years, and I wish to say that loyalty and patriotism, as I have learned to size it up, count for naught if not backed up with something more than flag-waving and loud talk.

Coming down to the Military Service Bill Mr. Speaker, I might say to you-and I am .honest .and conscientious in my conviction-.that I was always opposed to compulsory service. I do not like the word " conscription," I am democratic in my ideas along these lines. But the situation, as it has been presented to me in this House, compels me to sidetrack any opinions I may have had in the past on fchis question, and to oast my vote in favour of 'this Bill because I believe it is in the interests o.f our common country. After

reading this measure, I prefer this Bill to the Militia Act I think it is moire comprehensive and more businesslike in its terms, I think selective |oonsoription is better suited to the best interests of this country than the system of choosing men in a haphazard manner. Besides it will enable every kind of labour to be supplied.

I was surprised to hear a statement made by an hon. gentleman who, it is supposed, expects to be the next Minister of Labour- the member for Maisonneuve (Mr. Ver-ville). He said-and this, no doubt, will go broadcast through the country to-morrow- that if the measure passed, a general strike would be declared by the labour unions in-Canada. I consider that a rash statement to make at this time. Suppose the boys in the trenches should organize a general strike and refuse to fight for us because we declined to send them help; what about our institutions then? What about all that we hold dear? Statements of that kind are absolutely out of place; the people do not want to listen to them. The people want their representatives in this House to discuss these matters in a manly way, not to spread-shall I call it sedition?-among the people, or to speak as my hon. friend spoke a few minutes ago.

The Military Service Bill appeals to me because men are not to he conscripted for a single purpose. It was a wise step on the part of the Government to provide that the general purpose of the Bill should be to fulfil every requirement necessary to the carrying on of the war. Agricultural interests are not to be deprived of farm help. The farmers have been urged to greater production. Would you to-day deprive the farmers of their help, who are doing such magnificent work in producing foodstuffs to win the war? Would you cripple an industry which is so essential to the winning of the war? Some hon. gentlemen have said that the Bill does not provide for this particular purpose, but I believe that it does, and that same is outlined and featured in the Bill.

I believe also that any amendments brought forward by any member of this House, irrespective of party, will be warmly welcomed by the Government.

What is expected of a representative who has been elected by the people to this House of Commons? I have travelled considerably throughout the country since the war began, and the conclusion I have come to is that there is a whole-hearted purpose among the people to-day, that of winning the war. As far as I am concerned, my

duty is clear, whether I win or lose at the next election. Mr. Speaker, I would rather go down to defeat ten thousand times than side-track an issue like this, which means so much to my country.

The old line of political talk is distasteful to the people of to-day. What they want is action, quick action and plenty of it. Sir, the men at the front are waiting to see what we are going to do. The hon. gentleman who has just taken his seat (Mr. Verville) said that there were many labour men in the trenches. I think that these labour men who are in the trenches do not differ in their views respecting this matter from the 200,000 or 300,000 other men who are fighting the battles of Canada in France. I believe that all our soldiers are united on this question, and that they expect the Parliament of Canada to pass this measure without delay. I take my hat off to the soldier. I know many a fine fellow who exchanged a remunerative position for the paltry little sum which he receives to-day in uniform. As a citizen of Canada I cannot help appreciating the great work that is being done to-day by the men at the front, and I am the last man to deny them the reinforcements which they so badly need. We have often seen the soldiers pass by. We bade them God-speed, sent them to the firing line-'and then quietly settled back in our easy chairs and waited for news from the front. These men are tt-day in France; they are working for us; they are dying for us. What are we going to do for them? That is the question that is now before this House and before this country.

I was across the international boundary line a few days ago, and I met several prominent gentlemen in New York City. I never was prouder in my life than I was when I listened to what these men had to say about Canada's part in the war. It would do your heart good, Sir, to hear what they said about what Canada did under the voluntary system. Canada's effort is one of the grandest spectacles ever presented to the world. With a population of barely 8,000,000, she organized, equipped and sent overseas a force of between 300,000 and 400,000 men. And Canada has every reason to feel proud of the achievements of her sons at the front.

We have heard a great deal about patriotism. What is it that makes a man love a country? Because it is the land that gave him birth. " The land that gave us birth " is surely pressed upon us now as something paramount to every other consideration. The man who loves his country, is her faithful standard-bearer, and tries by every means in his power to keep her high above her rivals, must be considered a true and worthy patriot. But if he is inactive and lukewarm in her cause and does not with all his might uphold her institutions and everything that will have a tendency to elevate her in the eyes of the world, he must be looked upon with distrust, if not with contempt. What is it, after all, that makes a country? Lands, forests, rivers, mines? True, there is inspiration in these things. . But, Sir, a country is nothing without its men. Some time ago, in reading the works of a certain author, I came across the following paragraphs :

The very same country whose scenery, tame or bold, charming or awful, has been the inspiration of gallant generations may, as the wheel of time turn*, fall to indolent savages, listless slaves or sordid money-getters.

It is the nation, not the land, w'hich makes the patriot, and if the nation degenerates, the land becomes only a monument, not a dwelling. Let the nation rouse itself, and the country may be a palace and a temple once more.

In this war, democracy as we have it here is forced by autocracy as they have it in Germany to accept temporary conscription in order that the issue of this great struggle may once for all be settled. Why, I know hundreds, yea, thousands of men who left the Old Land to live in democratic countries in North-America. Theve people preferred living under British institutions and they continue to do so to-day because they are guaranteed freedom of speech and liberty of conscience, and they much prefer to live on the broad acres of Canada to passing their future existence in congested Europe. ,

I am voting for this Bill because I feel it is a necessary expedient during a grave crisis that has overtaken our Empire; but while I am doing that, I hope and trust that militarism will never Tear its ugly head in this country. Militarism is a cold code. My ancestors knew something about it, and what I know about militarism makes me abhor it from the bottom of my heart. Its unwritten laws are as unchangeable as the laws of the Medes and Persians. Under this code the end justifies the means-any act is entirely all right because it is done to>

serve the end. It is against the doctrine of " live andi let live," and against the individual himself 'be he English, French, German or any other nationality.

Voltaire, the famous Frenchman, once stated that while France ruled the land and England the sea, Germany ruled the clouds. I am fully convinced, Sir, that there are

Topic:   ON DEMANDE.

William Power


Mr. WILLIAM POWER (Quebec West):

Mr. Speaker, the important question at present before the House is one on which I have no desire to give a silent vote, for it will live not alone in the life of the present generation, but of those to come, and whether our assistance to the present war by compulsory service will be beneficial or not is the question of the hour.

Our boys who have so earnestly volunteered to carry the honour and the flag of Canada in this great conflict have brought lustre and honour on Canada. Their prowess, whether on the fields of Lange-marck, Givenchy, or later on the far-famed ridge of V.imy, have earned the respect not only of the Allied nations, 'but of our opponents in this great struggle. Little did the people of Quebec, or of Canada, dream, when from that old city a flotilla 'bearing Canada's sons heaved their anchors and hied away to England's shores to stand shoulder to shoulder with the sons of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales, that the whole world would, within a few short months, resound with their praises. But, Mr. Speaker, this was an army of men gathered from the Atlantic to the Pacific, acting together with but one impulse. Duty had called them, and there was a voluntary response, not the shackling of compulsion such as to-day is proposed to be inflicted throughout this country. Our pride in the glorious past is to be levelled to the ground, and men in free Canada are to be shackled and manacled in order that they may be forced to fight for freedom and justice.

For me, to-day, standing in this House, the self-elected representative of one of the divisions of this country, on my own shoulders and conscience alone rests the responsibility for my vote. I owe no responsibility to any elector of my division, as my mandate from them expired in October, 1916. Therefore, my responsibility on their behalf ceases, and in voting on this extraordinary measure I shall act solely and entirely for myself, and not for any elector of my division. In giving this vote, I may draw upon myself the rancour of men who

through patriotic motives favour conscription, and perhaps the plaudits of men whc for just as honourable reasons are opposed to the same. I fear not the first, nor do I seek the latter. My duty is plain and apparent: never shall I by my vote force any compulsory measure upon my fellow-men without the. people of this Dominion having had a fair opportunity to pronounce a verdict upon it.

I shall no doubt be reproached in my native city and perhaps by some of my own flesh and blood for not assisting the soldiers at the front by my vote on this Bill. If I considered this Bill an earnest and sincere effort on the part of the Government to assist the men at the front, would I desert those near and dear to me? I am not an egotist, but if there is any hon. gentleman in this House who has good reason to take an interest in this contest it is the humble individual who stands before you. Five of those who are nearest and dearest to me have been in the conflict since its earliest days. One of those boys was gassed on the bloody field of Langemarck, the second is lying wounded in the Crimean Hospital at Woolwich, and the three others are doing duty somewhere in .Flanders. I may be reproached by them, but if I thought it was the purpose to assist the soldiers at the front by this measure, I would toe the last man to oppose it. But, in my own heart and conscience I feel that there is something underlying this measure, an object which I will not dare to bring before this House because the passions and prejudices of men are running very high. The day will come when the people of this country will know the object for which this measure has been brought before the House.

I am not a lawyer, I am only an ordinary business man, and I will not attempt to go through and dissect this Bill, nor to deal with the many classes of exceptions contained therein. That is the duty of lawyers. But there are exemptions which, if the Government put this Bill through in the interests of the country and the soldiers at the front, they must consider, and I will take these up one after the other.

As we hear on the floor of this House, as we have heard from the Minister of Finance (Sir Thomas White), so we have heard from the food controller of the Mother Country, that it is not men we want; it is food to feed our people and soldiers. The cry goes abroad: Produce, produce, produce. If such is the case, are the farmers and farmers' sons going to be conscripted

by this measure? No, I say they must and will be exempted. Secondly, there are great munition factories scattered throughout the length and breadth of this land. With the promoters of the factories I have no concern. For those men who have, with the cognizance of the Government, profited out of the life-blood and honour of our soldiers at the front, I have nothing to say. But in. these factories are hundreds and thousands of humble toilers who are working night and day in order that we may send munitions to our soldiers at the front. Are these men going to be conscripted? No, they will also be exempted. Thirdly, we have our great railway systems extending from the Atlantic to the Pacific. On these railroads hundreds and thousands of the ablest, brightest and noblest men that any country ever produced are working day and night in order to maintain the trade and commerce of this country, to bring the grain from the great West to the seaboard and to bring munitions to the seaboard. I ask you, Mr. Speaker: Are these men going to be conscripted? No, Sir, they will be exempted. Fourth, we have hundreds and thousands of dock labourers at the seaports and lake ports of this Dominion working night and day owing to the scarcity of tonnage in order to assist our soldier boys at the front. Are they going to be conscripted? No, they too will be exempted. Fifth, from the whole world a cry goes up to the terrible menace of the German submarines which are daily and hourly doing their utmost to torpedo and sink the many vessels bringing food and supplies to our Allies and our soldiers. The cry goes up: We must replace these vessels. In the United States and Canada men are toiling night and day to put in operation the many deserted shipyards in order to build new vessels and thereby help our Allies. Can this great work be done by waving a magic wand and without the assistance of labour? Can we find men to build ships if this Bill passes? No, we must have labour, and I ask if these men are going to be conscripted? No, they are not; they must be exempt. A coal controller has been appointed by the Government of the day. Is he going to go down into the bowels of the earth and bring up these miners? In the interests of shipping, of the railways, of our own firesides, it is necessary that we shall have miners remaining in the coal mines. Are these men to be conscripted? No, they will be exempt.

Then, I ask: Whom is this Compulsory Bill going' to send to the front to assist our

brave volunteers? I have heard hon. gentlemen in this House declaring there are thousands and thousands of young men to be found around the cities, towns and villages in Canada. I have heard it said by the hon. member for Parry Sound the so-called hero of Vimy Ridge who stated he said good bye to hundreds of his men at the front. Why did he leave, what for? Was it to come to this House to raise passion and prejudice against the province of Quebec, and to be acclaimed as a hero by the Minister of Inland Revenue? Are these the men whom we are going to send to the front to protect our brave volunteers? Are the men who go prowling around at night in our towns and villages, night hawks, barroom loafers, horse thieves, gamblers, men whose carcases are loaded down with liquor and who are steeped in debauchery of the most degraded kind-are these the men that this Bill is going to send to protect our noble soldier boys? No, I would sooner let my son meet a soldier's death upon the field of Flanders than that he should be protected by such men and I am not certain but that most of the fathers and mothers of our soldiers would feel the same as I do. I am ashamed of the actions of some of the hon. gentlemen on the other side of the House who have chided and derided members of His Majesty's loyal Opposition and who have charged that our opposition to this measure was merely due to partisanship. There is no partisanship about me where the interests of the boys at the front are concerned. The men who say such things about the members of the Opposition know not the feelings of the good, the patriotic, mother, when the glorious news is flashed across this country from the Atlantic to the Pacific of victories at Langemarck or elsewhere, or the anguish which is mingled with her pride, when at the end of the message she reads the words: "Casualties are heavy." Do some of these gentlemen ever realize the feelings of these patriotic mothers who, when this nerws is flashed across the Atlantic, lie in their beds at night waiting for the dawn when they shall read the daily press, not to see the fashion plates, not to see the social items, where Sir this or Lady that has been attending some tea party, not to read of the plaudits besto wed upon the eloquence of hon. members in this House; no, but to read the long list of casualties to see if there are included the names of those who are near and dear to them. But with even greater dread do they wait in their humble homes throughout the breadth

of Canada for the tinkling of that bell which will bring to their homes that cold, dastardly telegram which emanates from the Militia Department at Ottawa: Regret your son is killed, your son is missing, probably is a prisoner; your son is wounded, lies dangerously ill at clearing station number one or number two. Then, when the poor mother *seeks for further information from Ottawa, what is the response? We know nothing more. And yet these men dare to say that the members of His Majesty's loyal Opposition are disloyal to their country. Those are the men who want to send their sons and our sons to stand shoulder to shoulder-with a ragged, ruffianly mob collected throughout the streets of our cities under this compulsory measure. What is the cause of this Bill being before the House? It is the cause of the fall of many a man, it is pride. It was pride on the part of the Kaiser that brought on this cruel war, and to-day, Sir, I am sorry to say from my seat in this House that it is pride on the part of the hon. Prime Minister of this Dominion (Sir Robert Borden), a man for whom I personally have the greatest respect, although I am sorry to say I have not much respect for some of his colleagues-but it was pride, I say, on the part of the hon. leader of the Government that led him to launch this Bill before the country, to declare that his party were pledged to it, and they must carry it through this House. It was then, Sir, that he offered the gloved hand of conscription to our honoured leader of His Majesty's loyal Opposition (Sir Wilfrid Laurier).

He said to him: come with me into a Cabinet, let us form a coalition government; we will pass a consoriptive Act in the House and then we will go before the people and ask them to ratify it. But this is not asking them to ratify it, this is dictating to them. Had the right hon. leader of the Government given the ungloved hand of peace, friendship and conciliation to him who has devoted his life to upholding the national honour and unity of Canada, had he given the ungloved hand of friendship and conciliation to him, even at this late stage, and said to him: come with me

down to my native province, come with me down to the sea, le.t us stand in the old historic town of Halifax shoulder to shoulder appealing to the people for recruits to assist our boys at the front; then come down with me *through (the towns and villages of Nova Scotia, down through New Brunswick, over to Prince Edward Island, and then on to

Topic:   ON DEMANDE.

Pius Michaud


Mr. P. MICHAUD (Victoria, N.B.):

continue to make sacrifices without being compelled to do so under the Bill now before the House. Let us, with one mind, devote ourselves to the winning of the war. Let us be a united people, having only one purpose in view.

Two-thirds of the population of New Brunswick are English-speaking, and one-third French Acadian and French Canadian, yet in that province the people are one. There are no difficulties between the French and the English-speaking peoples, because we understand and respect one another. The majority of the people are not following the advice received a few weeks ago from somewhere in Ontario. The English-speaking Canadians in New Brunswick know that the French-speaking Canadians and Acadians are doing their full duty. Like our English-speaking friends, we have our history. To the history of Canada we have contributed many pages, which are read at the firesides of our French Canadian people, who shed tears as they read. My ancestors became British subjects about two centuries ago; to-day their descendants willingly form part of the great army of the Allies in the fight for freedom and liberty. The French Acadians and French Canadians in New Brunswick have enlisted in good numbers. What is the trouble with the, highly-paid political campaign writers in Ontario who are sending to New Brunswick literature similar to that which is being used against the province of Quebec? I ask my friends on the other side of the House to stop sending that seditious literature, for we want to continue to respect one another; we want to continue to work together for the one great purpose of winning the war.

My masters in politics are the electors in the section of Canada which I represent, and the result of their decision through the medium of a referendum on this question shall be my guide in respect to such an important measure as that which is now before the House.

Topic:   ON DEMANDE.

Edmund William Tobin


Mr. E. W. TOBIN (Richmond and Wolfe):

Mr. Speaker, as I do not wish to give a silent vote on this important question, I ask the indulgence of the House while I state my views with regard to it.

The life of the present Parliament has now expired, and the present Government and their followers do not represent the will of the people. The introduction of conscription involves a constitutional change such as was never even dreamed of by the people of Canada when electing their

representatives at Ottawa-to say nothing of the fact that the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Borden) and other members of the Government have repeatedly stated that it was not the intention to introduce conscription. The introduction of conscription by the Prime Minister is a step towards autocracy and kaiserism and away from democracy. The Canadian boys at the front are fighting against autocracy and kaiserism and for the principles of democracy.

What objection can there be to an appeal to the people, the true masters in all such cases, but particularly in this one? Are the present Government afraid of the people? And if they are afraid of the people, is it because they believe that the people will vote down conscription? If that is their belief, their sole aim in adopting conscription without a referendum is to impose upon the people something they do not want. If that is not autocracy and kaiser rule, I would like to know what it is.

One of the grounds upon which the Prime Minister proposed coalition to the leader of the Opposition was that conscription should be passed first and that the Government should go to the people afterwards. Why should they go to the people after the passing of conscription? Do you not think it would have been proper for the Prime Minister to approach the leader of the Opposition before announcing to the House and to the country that he intended to introduce conscription? But no; like all autocrats, he proposes his policy, and then says: You must do as I say, or there will be no coalition.

If the Prime Minister had had his heart in the winning of the war, should he not have united the two great parties in this country by calling upon the leader of the Opposition before he went to England, or even at the outbreak of the war? If he had done this, he would have had the co-operation of the leader of the Opposition and of the whole Liberal party since the beginning of the war. I can assure you that if that had been done, many blunders and much muddling would have been avoided. The right hon. leader of the Opposition and the Liberal party have shown, by their co-operation with the Government, by voting large credits and otherwise, that their heart is in the winning of the war. But they cannot be asked to go so far -as to allow the people's money to be squandered and the public treasury to be looted. That is not in the interests of Canada or of the British

Empire; nor is it the proper way to win the war. In order to win the war you have to keep Canada strong financially, agriculturally, industrially and economically, as well as strong in arms at the front.

I believe that the Government have failed in all of these points. I believe that the financing of the Finance Minister (Sir Thomas White)), borrowing money in Canada, when he could have got it as cheap or at a cheaper rate outside of Canada, is bad from every point of view. If the policy of borrowing outeide of Canada had been followed, we to-day should have $300,000,000 more money in Canada than we actually have, and we should be that much stronger economically. The taxation imposed by the Finance Minister is unfair, because it tends to kill industries and to discourage the investment of capital, instead of to tax the incomes of those who receive the profits earned by companies.

No action was taken :by the present Government to assist the farmers, except very recently, when for political purposes they introduced their free wheat resolution and told the farmers that they were going to arrange for agricultural credits. In my opinion, this was done, not for the purpose of assisting in the war, but for the purpose of helping the Conservative party. It was only when, they thought that a general election was imminent that they brought in the free wheat resolution.

The Government have not kept Canada strong industrially. They have taxed industries in such a way as to cripple them and to prevent capital from being invested in this country. In addition to that, they have driven thousands of dollars outside of Canada for investment in foreign countries. Speaking from an economic standpoint, I say that the Government have done nothing to control the foodstuffs. They have done nothing to control the profits that were made ;by munition workers. They have done nothing to save in time of war; they have gone ahead with lavish expenditures not only for war purposes^ but for every purpose that would tend to assist the Conservative party.

The methods followed up to the present in the matter of voluntary enlistment have taken from agriculture and other industries-including mining, the distribution of coal, and forestry exploitation,-the quality and quantity of workmen of which these vital industries have absolute need. In consequence, we have the present high cost of living. If a measure of selective

conscription had been adopted at the beginning of the war and applied with intelligence, it would have been somewhat of a remedy; but at present the adoption of conscription to increase the size of an army raised by voluntary enlistment can only make matters worse.

Some weeks before the entrance of the United States into the war the Government found it so necessary to fill the wide gaps in the agricultural army that it launched an appeal to the American workmen. This appeal was published in more than 700 American papers. The Government estimated at 70,000 the number of Agricultural workers that it was necessary to bring at any price from the United States. At the moment of the declaration of war by the President, 700 Americans, or thereabouts- had responded to Canada's appeal. Unfortunately, the authorities at Washington have put a sharp end to this drain on American mam-hood, and the agricultural army of Canada has not the 60,000 recruits which the Government judges it is absolutely necessary to have to allow us to produce on Canadian soil the food for which England has so pressing a need.

Comparing the military effort of Canada with those of England and France, we have actually in Europe or in training camps in Canada, 420,000 soldiers besides those in auxiliary service. If we estimate the population of Canada at the beginning of the war at 7,000,000 people, we have enrolled six per cent of our population for the European conflict. This is equivalent to an army of 2,400,000 for France, and 2,700,000 for the United Kingdom. Now, in spite of these figures on paper, England has not yet sent to France, in the two years and ten months of the war, this number of men. If we measure our military effort by the number of population, the figures of the effectives and the cost of the armies, the comparison is most striking. Canada has spent for its army three times more per soldier than England, and .four times more than France. If we take into account the difference in the wages, pensions, transports, etc., these figures are modest. We must, therefore, multiply by four the corresponding figures attributed to France, and by three those attributed to England. Therefore, the cost of the actual army to Canada is equal to what it would have cost England for an army of 8,100,000, and France for an army of 9,600,000. This is more than our two Mother Countries would put into the field if the war should last five years. Now France and England are, apart from the

United States, two of the richest nations in the world to-day, and Canada is one of the poorest.

In my opinion the government have not done what they should have done for the encouragement of voluntary enlistment, and I would refer you to 'General Sir Sam Hughes' statement to this effect when he said that some months previous to his getting out of the Borden Cabinet, Tecruiting was not being encouraged, and if you will refer to a return laid on the table of the House, you will see that only $3,996 was spent for recruiting in Quebec, whereas in Ontario $18,544 was spent. As a matter of fact, no appeal for recruits was made throughout Quebec by the Conservative-Nationalist party. The first recruiting meeting held at St. Hyacinthe, a city of from 12,000 to

15,000 inhabitants, was held by General Lessard and the Postmaster General (Mr. Blondin) only a few weeks ago. The same can be said of many parts of Quebec where on many occasions the only recruiting officers that visited the French districts were Engish-speaking officers, who did not possess a word of French; in fact, the matter is so notorious that one can come to no other conclusion than that a deliberate attempt has been made to ostracize Quebec in order to allow the Conservative party to raise the race cry once more, and appeal to the English-speaking people against the French-speaking people.

I have the honour of representing a constituency composed, in a large part, of French Canadians, and no truer or more loyal people to the British Empire live in this Dominion. They have been educated to believe that Canada is their country; they are proud of the liberties they enjoy under British rule and under the Union Jack, and they are not deserving of the attacks that have been made upon them by the Conservative party and the Conservative press.

I said a moment ago that I thought that this policy was for the purpose of creating a feeling between the English speaking and the French-speaking people of this country. Allow me to say that I believe that the Conscription Bill was introduced for another purpose, namely; that of creating an election cry that would allow the Conservative party to appeal to the passions and prejudices of the English-speaking people of this country; and, Sir, if you want proof of this, read the Military Service Bill as introduced, and you will see that it is an appeal for party purposes, and not for conscription. Because the law as it stands is not enforceable, and I do not be-

lieve it was ever intended to be enforced, but was drafted simply for the purpose of creating a division among the people of this country. In an issue of this kind the question is: Are the people to rule, or are they to be ruled by Sir Robert Borden? There should toe no question of race or language, and there is no need of raising what is popularly known as the race cry. The simple issue is: Should not this question be referred, by a Parliament that has been dead and buried for a year past, to the people of Canada for their verdict? Present the facts to the people and allow them to vote " yes " or " no " to conscription. The only way the question can be made one of race or creed is by the politicians making it one, because it is a pure question of the will of the people of this country, and one that is to be decided by the people and no one else. Why cannot the people of this country, although they are not all of English origin, decide this issue in the same way as the people of Australia, who are all English-speaking, and of British descent, have done? When they were called upon to decide this issue it was not a question of race or creed, but a question simply of whether the people of Australia were to change from voluntary enlistment, which they had adopted from Great Britain itself, to conscription. That is the issue here, and not one of race or creed.

Many people who are attacking the province of Quebec forget that the French Canadians were abandoned on the shores of the St. Lawrence river over three hundred years ago, and, although subsequently their colony was ceded to England, from the days of their abandonment to the present time they have looked to this country as theirv only country and their only home, not only professing loyalty, but showing their loyalty on many occasions toy taking up arms on behalf of itheir new King. They remained always loyal, always good Canadians, always good British subjects, until the Nationalists and Conservatives started preaching the doctrine that French Canadians owed nothing to Great Britain. Nationalist eloquence and Conservative gold h'ad its effect in the teaching of this doctrine, and in 1911 twenty odd candidates were returned from Quebec, elected on the doctrine that they owed nothing to England, or to the British Empire, and when you take into consideration the fact that in the recruiting that has been carried on Quebec has been purposely neglected and isolated, and nothing has been done to undo the

harm that was done by the Nationalist-Conservative party, it is little wonder that volunteering has not been so enthusiastic in that province as in some of the others.

Before the Government propose conscription to the House it should place before the House and the country the full facts of the situation. They should let us know what is required for the production of food, for munition factories, for transportation, for the carrying on of coal operations and to keep all the great industries of this country going. They should let us know what the effect will be upon Canada itself if more men are taken out of this country, and give all the facts with regard to the requirements of men, not only at the front, but in keeping .this country a strong live part of the British Empire in order that it may continue to do its proper part in this great war for democracy. Then when we have all these facts and figures we can, as sensible business men, decide as to what should be done. Let us see that there is no leaping in the dark-no more doing things first and thinking afterwards. Let us think, this time, before taking such a step as the introduction of conscription in this country. Let us think first and act afterwards, and I am convinced that no matter where these facts lead us, the people of this country will do what is best for the winning of the war. For these reasons I will vote against the Bill and support and vote for the amendment of my leader, and I will vote against the sub-amendment of the hon. member for Berthier (Mr. Barrette).

Topic:   ON DEMANDE.

Médéric Martin


Mr. MED ERIC MARTIN (Saint Mary's, Montreal):

Mr. Speaker, I must prelude my remarks with thanking the hon. member for Maskinonge (Mr. Bellemare) for giving me his turn so as to permit me to leave tomorrow to attend to my duties in the great metropolis.

For nearly nine days both sides, of the House have been discussing the most important question which has risen since Confederation.

I have the'honour, Mr. Speaker, of speaking on behalf of a population of 700,000 souls, which is more than several other members of this House can say.

Religious and racial questions have been mooted and insulte hurled about. I may say that if there is one who has been insulted, besides the leader of the Opposition (Sir Wilfrid Laurier), it is your humble servant, the mayor of Montreal, since he is a public man.

Allow me, Mr. Speaker, to explain and place the responsability where it belongs 1794

for what is now occurring in our province, *and especially in the city of Montreal.

In 1911, when came the federal elections, there was a compact between three persons. One is now deceased, and. I regret to mention here the name of Hon. Mr. Monk; the others are Mr. Bourassa and Mr.

A great meeting was held in the village of Saint Eustache. I was not on the platform, but with the crowd in attendance, and if anybody then insulted the British flag, the Prime Minister of to-day and the prime minister of that time ('Sir Wilfrid Laurier), they were those three gentlemen. They had undertaken to preach one policy in the province of Quebec and another in the West.

Their plan has succeeded. They went all over the different counties of the province of Quebec and deceived the electorate to such an extent that the former Prime Minister, who is now leader of the Opposition was defeated and twenty-two candidates supported by these .three gentlemen were elected to this House with a mandate which they had never expected. 'Such was the compact.

After being insulted, as was the present Prime Minister, by these three gentlemen, including Mr. 'Monk and Mr. Bourassa, what happened the very next day? The portfolio of Public Works, the most important of the Borden Cabinet, was given to Mr. Monk, which well proves what I have just said.

Hon. Mr. Pelletier, to-day Judge Pelletier, for whom I have the highest consideration, and other honourable members on the other side of the House have mentioned the name of Mr. Armand Lavergne. Mr. Pelletier at the time was bowing low to Mr. Lavergne who was then but a young man, and was calling him his leader; yet here was he the very next day" accepting the portfolio of Postmaster General. All the others went to the Government side. My hon. friend knows something of it; he well knows what happened in the province of Quebec.

Now, Sir, when you see such things, and others still worse, for I will show the means taken to deceive the people-I am not at all surprised at what is happening to-day in the province of Quebec.

Since Confederation, the Conservative party has always resorted to insult and has always had recourse to a double-faced policy; one for the province of Quebec and the other for the province of Ontario.

It was said in the province of Quebec when I was a boy, for I am concerned in elections since I am ten years old, that Sir

Wilfrid Laurier was ;a traitor to his race, that he had sold Canada to England; they eaid in the West that Sir Wilfrid 'Laurier was not enough of an Imperialist, but a papist and the champion of Quebec only.

I have no hesitation in stating that those responsible for what is happening to-day are the Conservative Government and the twenty-two members who had the honour to be sent here, but who never heeded their mandate.

It was said in this House, Sir, that the province of Quebec was not loyal to the British flag, and that we have not done our duty.

There are two ways' to solve the problem which is now submitted to us: We have to decide if our contribution must be in money, if we have to pay the toll of blood in sending men overseas or if our contribution will be by sending supplies to the Allies.

The city of Montreal alone, and if I speak here, it is in consequence of a resolution adopted by the city council of Montreal, dated June 5, 1917, and worded as folio .vs:

Copy of the minute of proceedings of the special meeting of the Montreal Municipal Council, held on Tuesday, June 5, 1917.

The order of the day having been read for the consideration of a notice of motion by Alderman Mayrand on the question of conscription, are submitted and read: (a) A communication from His Honour the mayor, transmitting a letter from Mr. D. C. Hould, secretary of a citizens' league re conscription; (b) petitions from Montreal citizens objecting to conscription for the oversea service.

Alderman Mayrand moves, seconded by Alderman Vandelac:

That the members of this council have always been of the opinion that Canada should do its full duty towards the triumph of the Empire and of the Allied powers; but they believe likewise that it is their duty to oppose any conscription scheme under whatever form it may be introduced, as long as it shall not have been approved by the people of Canada by means of a plebiscite, and to declare that the enforcing of the Militia Act or of all other conscription laws, far from reaching the object in view, would create throughout the country a useless perturbation and would prevent us from supplying the Empire and the Allies with all essentials needed for the prosecution of the war;

That copy of the present resolution be sent to Sir Robert Borden, Prime Minister of Canada, and to Sir Wilfrid Laurier, leader of the Opposition ;

That His Honour the Mayor, Mr. Mgddric Martin, M.P., be respectfully requested to submit the present resolution to the Federal authorities, together with the various petitions which have been sent to the Council, on this subject.

And, a discussion having ensued,

Alderman O'Connell moves, seconded by Alderman Blumenthal:

That the council now adjourns.

The council divided upon the said motion, as follows:

For: O'Connell, Ward, Blumenthal, Macdonald, Weldon-5. [DOT]

Against: LariviSre, Turcot, Mayrand, Menard, Vandelac, HoulS, Elie, Dubeau, Lamarre, Brodeur, Lafortune, Bedard-12.

And it is rejected.

And a discussion ensuing,

Alderman Ward moves, seconded by Aider-man O'Connell:

Whereas the question now before the council is now the subject of the most serious attention of both political parties in Ottawa and that any intervention on the part of this council might be interpreted as a lack of confidence in the House of Commons and the Senate;

That the discussion of the motion now before the council be suspended until the Federal authorities shall have passed upon the question.

The said amendment being put, it was lost on division:

For: O'Connell, Ward, Blumenthal, Macdonald, Weldon-5.

Against: LariviSre, Turcot, Mayrand, M4-nard, Vandelac, Hould, Elie, Dubeau, Lamarre, Brodeur, Lafortune, Bedard-12.

The main motion being put, it was carried, on division.

For: LariviSre, Turcot, Mayrand, Mdnard, Vandelac, Houle, Elie, Dubeau, Lamarre, Brodeur, Lafortune, Bedard-12.

Against: O'Connell, Ward, Blumenthal, Macdonald, Weldon-5

Resolved : In consequence. .


(Signed) J. CrSpeau,

Deputy Clerk of the City.

This resolution, Mr. Speaker, was adopted by a vote of 12 to 5; there was an amendment to adjourn moved by alderman O'Connell who, though not opposing conscription, wanted to delay the question in order to allow the two political parties of this country to decide the question, and ha further stated that the adoption of such a resolution would be likely to hurt them to a great extent. It is said that Montreal, as well as the whole province of Quebec, generally, have not done their duty in the present war. I will take the liberty to mention to you the fact that we have adopted, since the beginning of the war, more than thirty resolutions, and the first, adopted by the Board of 'Commissioners and sanctioned by the *Council, is good evidence we have done our duty. We have done, twenty-four hours after the war resolution, what the Government had not done and also what the Council of the Queen city of Toronto had not done. On August 4, 1914, when I saw that England was at war, as well as France, I submitted to the Board of Commissioners the following suggestion:

Resolution of August 5, 1914, with a view to pay half-salary to the families of the permanent employees who have left to defend their country.

I considered that the half-pay alone was not sufficient, and I did not weary. On the 17th of the same month, I went back before

my colleagues and I had them adopt the following resolution:

Resolution of August 17, 1914, with a view to amend the resolution of August 5, 1914, so as to allow the payment of the salary in full.

That is what has been the attitude of the Montreal City Council, of those who represent the ideals of the people of Montreal, and would any one be right in coming to tell us that we have done nothing.

By means of thirty resolutions we have spent since the beginning of the war $7,580,791.51, distributed as follows.

Resolution dated October 5, 1914, granting $1,500 for ten beds in an hospital organized in Paris for the care of wounded soldiers.

Resolution dated October 5, 1914, granting $10,000 to the Belgian Fund.

Resolution dated November 24, 1914, granting $10,000 to the French National Fund.

Resolution dated August 28, 1914, advising the city council to vote $150,000 for the Patriotic Fund.

That amount was in answer to the first request we received for a contribution.

Resolution dated September 3, 1914, calling upon the municipal servants to subscribe to the Patriotic Fund-An amount of $12,509.39 was subscribed on that occasion.

Resolution dated March 8, 1915, advising the city council to grant an additional sum of $50,000 to give help to the unemployed labourers.

Resolution dated May 3, 1915, recommending a grant of $1,000 to the Montenegro Benevolent Fund.

Resolution dated May 18, 1915, recommending a grant of $5,000 in favour of the Red Cross Fund . . .

Resolution dated October 19, 1915, inviting the municipal servants to help the Red Cross Fund. The amount subscribed on that occasion was $8,323.13.

Resolution dated November 12, 1915, to raise to $10,000 our contribution to the Red Cross Fund. .

Resolution dated November 23, 1915, granting $5,000 to the Khaki League.

Resolution dated January 26, 1916, inviting the municipal servants to subscribe to the Patriotic Fund. This subscription amounted to $16,462.29.

Resolution dated February 12, 1916, granting $300,000 for the Patriotic Fund, and towards helping several public benevolent associations.

From this grant $250,000 went to the Patriotic Fund and $50,000 to the Benevolent Associations.

Everybody knew at the time that there was no employment to be found in Montreal. The wives of the soldiers that had enlisted were starving and we had to vote the money to help them. How many people have I seen lining up in front of my office, every morning! Hundreds of mothers told me that they could do nothing to save their children from starvation. Is there any justification, Sir, for the charge that the province of Quebec has been lacking in patriotism?

Resolution dated March 18, 191G, recommending a grant of $25,000 to the St. Vincent de Paul Society.

I must state that that Society had never before applied for help from the city.

Resolution dated March 25, 1916, granting $10,000 to the Charity Organization Society of Montreal.

We have here, Mr. Speaker, the undeniable proof that we, the French Canadians of the Metropolis make no racial nor religious distinctions. We make a fair distribution of the grants and we see to it that equal justice is dealt to all deserving parties.

Resolution dated May 9, 1916, granting $4,000 to the Baron de Hirsch Institute and the Hebrew Benevolent Society.

Another proof, Mr. Speaker, that we are giving fair treatment to all people. A large number of Hebrew citizens were in such a plight that they could not provide their families with the necessaries of life. You know as well as I do, Mr. Speaker, that those people, as a rule, are not poor; they generally have fairly large amounts to their credit. But this time they had been caught napping.

I feel it my duty, on this occasion to offer my hearty congratulations to Mr. Beaubien, mayor of Outremont, and a brother of the hon. Senator Beaubien. He foresaw that a good many of our soldiers who are fighting for liberty, will come back blind and with the co-operation of the Grey Nuns, he laid the foundations of an institution in which those maimed heroes will find work and the means of making a living for themselves and their families. The Government had nothing to do with that organization; they could not think of everything.

It is often said that enlistments, in the province of Quebec, have not been satis-fastory. What was the duty of the Government before proceeding to enlist our young men? I am speaking of the Canadians from the whole Dominion. For my part, I maintain that before enlisting our married men the Government should have provided for their wives and children; they should have provided for the wives of the soldiers a sufficient allowance for their maintenance and the maintenance and education of their children; they should have seen to it that the families of those soldiers who suffer a glorious death on the battle field, will not live in dire poverty till the end. The Government have done nothing to that end.

Hon. gentlemen have no idea of the number of complaints that come to me every day,

as mayor of Montreal. Poor women come to my office and tell me that the head of the family has been killed and that they do not get a single dollar for the blood that has been generously poured in defence of the common cause.

Let me take up once more the list of the grants voted to help the various organizations in Montreal:

Resolution dated March 27, 1917, granting $1,500 to the association "Help to the Blind." Resolution dated March 27, 1917, granting $2,500 to the " Comity de Culture."

Resolution dated June 8, 1917, granting $5,000 (budget of 1918) to the Overseas Campaign Fund of Y.M.C.A.

Budget of 1917. British Sailors' Club, $20,000.

Budget of 1917. Red Cross Society, $12,000, payable at the rate of $1,000 a month.

Contributions of the municipal servants, for 1917 (approximatively), $7,000.

To the deputation "Bonne Entente." $86.50. War Relief Fund, $10, $74, $140, $66.

For works on draining canals that were not urgent, but were executed to help the large army of unemployed, approximatively, $5,000.000.

Our contribution, to date, amounts to *ever $7,000,000. We have also voted one million dollars for the Patriotic Fund. I regret that my hon. friend for St. Antoine (Sir Herbert Ames) is not at his seat. He would bear testimony to the generosity and geniality with which the city of Montreal has answered every call for the Patriotic Fund. In justice for all interested parties I must say that this fund is well administered, notwithstanding the efforts of certain newspapers to cast discredit on tho^e who have charge of its administration. In my capacity of Mayor of Montreal, I state positively that all the monies, to the last cent, have been judiciously and honestly distributed. It is hard work to stop the people from talking. There will always be found some one inclined to hurt his neighbour. As far as money is concerned, I have no hesitation to say that we have done more than any other province of the Dominion, in proportion to our wealth and our Dopul-ation.

On a certain date, in compliance with the wishes of the Imperial authorities, the Lieutenant Governor, Sir Evariste Leblanc, invited the province to organize a Tag Day for the benefit of the Red Cross. He asked me to take charge of the organization in the city of Montreal and do you know, Mr. Speaker, what was the result of a single day-eight hours-in the city of Montreal? We collected, in round numbers, no less than $93,000. Does not that compare favorably with what has been done by certain large contributors? The hon. me.n-

ber for St. Antoine (Sir Herbert Ames) told us last night, that certain big corporations had. given $200,000; but remember that in eight hours time the workingman took nearly $100,000 out of his pocket. Is there not more generosity in this contribution of the workingman, than in the suberiptions of big corporations who-as it was explained last night by the hon. member for Maisonneuve (Mr. Verville) by several newspapers before that-made up for their losses by a cut of 20 per cent in the salaries of their staff? They have been generous at the expense of the workingman. There is no sense in reproaching Quebec with having failed to do her duty, and having exhibited a lack of loyalty to the British flag. We have constantly submitted to insults. You can have the proof of what I am saying, Mr. Speaker, by referring to Hansard, page 288, .229 and 707, Vt>l. I 1910-11, and pages 3219 and 3329, Vol. II of the same session. There you will find what the ex-Minister of Militia (Sir Sam Hughes) said concerning the French Canadian clergy. We all remember what happened in this House, concerning the Eucharistic Congress, one night that a Catholic bishop was in the gallery.

We are bound to respect all creeds, and when insult is offered to wbait the French Canadian holds nearest to his heart, his religion, that is not calculated to promote harmony between the various elements of our population.

In spite of all that, Mr. Speaker, in spite of all which has been said against us, we are just and fair.

In the administration of the city of Montreal, we have Englishmen, we have Irishmen, we have Jews, we have all kinds of nationalities.

When I came into power, as mayor, two hundred poliqgmen had to be engaged. One of the conditions I imposed was that the policemen should have a knowledge of both languages, not perfectly, but enough, so that when a tourist would ask for some information, these policemen would be able to furnish it, for every one knows that when a stranger visits a city and needs some information, he generally applies to the policemen. They must therefore speak both languages.

Do you know what happened to me?

The first one which I had to swear in, when I asked him if he had paid any money to get his position and put him a few other questions in French, started to cry, saying he could not understand a single word.

You can see in what a plight I was. I thought that if I refused him, I would be charged with discriminating between the English and the French Canadians, so I turned around and said to him: " Here, my boy, go back to the chief, take your uniform, I allow you three months' delay, and you come back to me three months hence to satisfy me that you are able to say a few words in French."

That was three years ago. He never came back to me, but later when I inquired about him from the chief, the latter declared: " He is the best man we have on the force."

A month and a half later, being obliged to swear in a new man, a French Canadian, who could not speak a word of English, I dismissed him, I refused to accept him.

Take our department, for instance; we have many which are split in two, in order to do justice to the English population- In. the Parks department, there are two superintendents. Why? We could get along with only one. It was to be fair to the English speaking population. The Mountain Park superintendent is Mr. Henderson, and the various other parks are under the direction oc Mr. Bernadet. In the various departments, even justice is dealt out.

In every department, we strive to be fair to all. Why do they not act the same way in Ontario? My own opinion is that they deliberately will not do it. Should we not live in harmony and help one another as brothers? Everybody remembers that, some three or four years ago, in a certain city of Ontario, there was only one French Canadian policeman, a Mr. Lambert, and he was discharged.

Mr. Speaker, when the hon. member for Three Rivers (Mr. Bureau) was speaking in this House, two or three days ago, referring to the Prime Minister who wras asking the hon. leader of the Opposition (Sir Wilfrid Laurier) to form a Coalition Cabinet, with . the object of having the French Canadians of the province of Quebec submit to the conscription law, did he not ask the Government to employ five or six of the most influential Ontario men, in travelling over this province and in urging the population to discontinue the campaign of slander and abuse against the province of Quebec? No, I repeat it, as to the animosity which exists between these two provinces, we are i!n no wise responsible, we of the province of Quebec, and we do all that we possibly can to maintain the Bonne Entente.

Bo you want another example? Every one knows that, very recently, a Bonne Entente

delegation came to Montreal and afterwards visited the different other most important towns of the province of Quebec. In Montreal, this delegation was the object of an official reception, and we spared nothing to receive it well. What happened? In a small municipality, it had been thought fit to pass a vote of thanks to the mayor, but the same courtesy was not extended to the mayor of the Canadian metropolis. We have also had. the visit of the Win-tlie-War delegation, the city council voted a sum of $2,500 for the good work undertaken by these gentlemen. Have we not done in Quebec all that we should do?

Now, some aTe surprised that Quebec does not enlist. To show that the hon. Prime Minister has not kept his word, although I must repeat what was said by the hon. leader of the Opposition, I will quote the words he said on January 17, 1917:

" I therefore asked the Prime Minister to positively state whether, yes or no, we would have conscription. Put into such a fix, my right hon. friend replied-here is his answer, when I asked him if his offef of 500,000 soldiers meant conscription, or not:

" My right hon. friend has spoken of conscription, of the idea entertained in this country or elsewhere that conscription might exist in Canada, Speaking during the first two or three months of the war, I have clearly had the Canadian people to understand that we did not intend to establish conscription. I again declare it explicitly."

This is not all, Mr. Speaker. Referring to the law which is now before this House, if we consult " La Presse " of December 7. 1916, we will find the words which were uttered, before an audience of 2,500 to 3,000 people, by the Prime Minister when a reception was given him in the Monument National in Montreal; we will be in a better position to see what kind of a man is the Prime Minister who to-day wants to impose such a brutal law. I understand that in the course of a year, circumstances may be altered; but I will point out that this reception was given on December 7, 1916, not more than six months ago. We shall see what say these so-called democrats who pretend to safeguard the people's interests, but who, in reality, safeguard the interests of the Empire. I will even say that it is we who take the true interests of this country, by supplying the Allies with both ammunitions and food. Here is then what the Prime Minister said:

" Canada is a State in a larger State, which is the Empire. Our country enjoys the benefits of a constitution which was granted

to us fifty years ago, and which was written through the wisdom of the Fathers of the Confederation, men whose names are dear to every Canadian heart, the Macdonalds, the Cartiers, the Browns and the Tuppers.

It is true that there are no more such men on the Government side.

" By keeping within the limits of that Constitution, the people of Canada govern themselves, and every citizen exerts his personal and individual influence, when he is called upon to declare in which way he. intends to be governed."

Is that what the Government is proclaiming to-day? That principle, Mr. Speaker, which was advocated in the Monument National, on December 7, 1916, by the Prime Minister, is the very one which the right hon. leader of the Opposition is putting into practice to-day.

" It is a right established conformably to the principles of every democratic government."

I repeat it, Mr. Speaker, is that what the Government wants to-day? The referendum which we are asking in the name of the whole people of Canada, they want to deny it and to impose an arbitrary law. Is not that exactly the condition as in Germany?

I .say (that it would be ia good thing if the taxpayers of the country had the courage to come up here, in 'Ottawa, and make a clean sweep of the present Government, without injuring them, 'for no one has the night to do that. That is whait should be done with these people who do not respect the Constitution, who do not respect the given word, who indeed; db not respect anything, and here I refer most particularly to those members of the province of Quebec who .are preaching to-day the very contrary of what they preached in 1911. Is this democracy? No., I claim they iare autocrats and nothing else. Can anyone he surprised after all if, today, the province of Quebec turns a deaf ear to the Prime Minister's words?

I continue:

"But every tight necessarily imposes a corresponding duty. The State .protects the citizens, their person .and their property; it sees to the enforcement of the laws .and to good administration. Every citizen must, therefore, give a certain sum of service to the State, there never has been and perhaps there never will be an occasion to make that duty more imperative, more necessary, than the one now offered.

"For the Belgian land the French, the oo-cupation of the national territory by the foe, the implacable manifestations of his iron hand, the .terror inspired 'by his devastations constitute the most eloquent plea in1 favour

[Mr. M. Martin 1

of .the organizing of the national service for every citizen. To ns, the need seems more distant, but it is not the less real for all that.

That is what the Prime Minister had said *if even, 'at that time, he had said: gentlemen, the circumstances are such 'that they compel ns to .change our minds, Canada is in danger, perhaps oiur own territory miay be 'invaded by the Germans.

No, Mr. Speaker, never will -Canada be invaded by the Germans. We have to protect us the United States, and on the other hand, we have England who will do everything possible to keep us among her colonies because it is 'her own interest to do so.

Here is what was .said by the hon. member for Jaeques-Cartier (Mr. Descarries), in reply to. the speech from His 'Excellency the Governor General (See page 15 House of Commons Debates):

I believe, in any case, Mr. Speaker, and I think I am voicing the opinion of the majority of the hon. members in stating that the constitution of the country forbids sending our soldiers to fight outside of Canada, without special legislation being enacted in this House and that no such legislation altering the very basis of our constitution would be enacted without its being first submitted to the people of Canada. No, Mr. Speaker, there can be no question of conscription. Obligatory enlistment is not needed. The people of Canada have given noble proof of their loyalty. Freely and voluntarily, four hundred thousand men have already answered the call. If they are required, one hundred thousand more will follow of their own free will. And thus the Prime Minister will have given to the Empire and the allied nations a royal and magnificent contribution to restore the peace of the world, which, let us hope, Providence will soon grant to Europe. .

That was on January 18, I believe, ox the 21sit or 22nd. Mr. Speaker, with men who have mo longer any mandate, men who are here only by their own will and by that of the Imperial Government, I say that they hiave not the right, as it .suits their fancy, to fry .and take away the people's liberty, and especially .so, after the .speech .made by the Prime Minister .in the Monument National.

It is said and -repeated that enlisting has not been a success. In Montreal, they put .at the -head of -recruiting, as -stated -by my hon. friend the member for Rouville (Mr. Lemieux) a Protestant -minister, .a perfectly honest man, I .attended the first meeting he held in a theater. The clergy have done all they could. When one considers how the Prime Minister bias -deceived his Grace the Archbishop of Montreal, about the National Service -cards, can one he surprised that no one gives any more credit to the Prime Minister's words? Obviously, th-e people are in-

censed, -tbait their own ATch bishop has mot been respected. I regret to be obliged to say this. I concede ibait -a common individual may make a mistake, but when it as the Prime Minister of Canada who, in the space of five or six months, changes his speech several times on itihe floor of the House. . .

I say that the defeat of that man is not distant. He will perhaps pass the Bill now being considered by this House, there is no doubt it will be adopted by the majority at his back and who do not respect the mandate entrusted to them. I regret to be forced to say this. As stated by the member for Maisonneuve, the workingman is intelligent, buit we have our full measure of ills in Montreal, we don't want any thing of this.

Here is where we are at: we have reached the point of having a Government in no wise responsible, having no longer the right to legislate.

On the second of next month, the fiftieth anniversary of Confederation will he celebrated. It is the end of Confederation that is coming, nothing else, if we continue to insult one another. Most frequently, it is the fault of certain newspapers, in order to make .a few dollars- I say that if such abuse is continued, if this law is passed, you will have, unfortunately, civil war in this country. We have enough war, enough hardships, without having the Government bring about what they are bringing about [DOT]to-day.

The Prime Minister has promised 500,000 men to England. He had no right to do so. He should have, at least, consulted his ministers, he should have, at least, consulted the leader of the Opposition; but no, he leaves, he goes to England, he returns; at a given moment, completely changed, the pledged word is broken, there is no more constitution, the people doesn't count. The people can be deceived once, twice, but the third time, they strike hard.

Mr. Speaker, I rely upon the opinion of ia clear-sighted man, I refer to the greatest Canadian living, after Sir Wilfrid Laurier (Lord Shaughnisssy) a good Irishman, who has received the highest honours which England can -bestow upon one of our own. What did he say, when he returned from England: "That i.f the Government gave

500,000 men, it was calculated to disorganize the country." This interview has been published in the press, therefore I pass over many things. I had promised my hon. friend, the member for Maskinonge (Mr. Bellemare) to speak only ten minutes ; I beg his pardon if I am taking advantage of his

goo-d nature, but I do not want to resume my seat before having added a few more remarks.

We, of the province of Quebec, we believe we can better serve the interests of the Empire and of the Allies by supplying them with ammunitions and foodstuffs. That is what was stated by Lord Shaughnessey, and if there is a man well informed as to our situation from the economical point of view, he is really the one; for me, he is in Canada the man who knows best. He is at the head of a large institution, the Canadian Pacific, which alone is worth more than the city of Montreal, more than the city of Toronto. Here is a peer of England, who comes to us and declares that, in the interest of the Empire, as well as in the future interest of Canada, our duty is neither more nor less, to supply munitions and to feed the soldiers.

The member for Red Deer (Dr. M. Clark) -said the other day that while we were discussing, some one hundred and thirty people bad been killed by German bombs and that victuals and munitions intended for the Allies had been sunk, had been sent to the bottom of the sea.

Now, a conference was held most recently in New York city, between Mr. Emile Level, the representative of France, and Mr. Hoover, -the United States' representative. England's representative, whose name has been mentioned a few minutes ago, did not attend that conference.

Here follows a report of it:

France's envoy demands a billion bushels of grain.

Emile Level exposes to Mr. Hoover the allied nations' as well as the neutrals' needs.

The task of the United States and of Canada. Our own farmers will have to supply a considerable amount of provisions over and above the ordinary production.

Washington, June 2, 1917.-The Allies, as well as the neutral countries, will need a billion bushels of grain during the next twelve months, besides what their respective countries can produce, according to a detailed statement -prepared by Mr. H. C. Hoover, who has been appointed by President Wilson food controller for the United States.

According to Mr. Hoover, the United States and Canada will he called upon to furnish the greater part of this grain which the belligerent and the neutral nations will divide among themselves as follows, always after his own calculations :


Great Britain . . .. 225,000,000

France 175,000,000

Italy 90,000,000

Belgium and Portugal 50,000,000

Neutrals In Europe. 10,000,000 Other neutrals.. .. 5,000,000



70.000. 000

60.000. 000




Topic:   ON DEMANDE.

Médéric Martin



From good authority. As for yourself, it is true you have fourteen children, hut not one of them has yet enlisted. Yon may have some nephews in the army, but no son of yours.

Who is in favour of the referendum? I aiswer: the people. Now, who are those in favour of conscription? The Montreal Board of Trade, the Government contract-holdei s and those beyond the age limit.

They want to give women the right to vote. Does anyone believe the women will vote for conscription? I am sure of the contrary.

As I said a few minutes ag), the people of Canada are against conscription and the reason I gave is that, during the thirty-six months which have elapsed since the war broke out, and all those who believed it was their duty to enlist have had all the required time to do it. And the real reason why a referendum is refused, is that the people would declare against compulsory enlistment. Some Ontario and Western newspapers would be in favour of an open vote upon this question, but that would be in order to prevent the people from giving their free opinion. Do you really believe that the farmer, who has not seen fit to induce his son to enlist, would now be disposed to have him sent away forcibly?

As for these gentlemen who have boys, Papa's own boys, who axe sent to college until they are 25 or 30 years old, do you believe they will be in favour of conscription, when, for the past thirty-six months, they have not seen fit to advise them to enlist and to go and defend the cause of Liberty? Do you believe that the married women who have, until now, had plenty time to advise their husbands to enlist, do

you think they will vote for conscription? I say no, for all those who wanted to get rid of their husbands, have already done so. Do you believe, Mr. Speaker, that the young girls would vote for conscription? The evidence is to the contrary, there have been more weddings than ever during the past four or five months; the young ladies feared conscription and would not let their friends depart. The proof of my statement is in the very Bill itself, which contains a special clause stipulating that young men married, on and after June 11, shall be considered as unmarried.

I declare, Mr. Speaker, that the present Government have not the right to pass such a la w because they have no longer any mandate, and I say that you are doing just what Germany is doing. You are a murderous Government, nothing else, and you imitate the Kaiser.

A reproach was made to us, a few moments ago, that the enlisting had not been a success. I say that the Government should not have permitted those moving pictures, representing the horrors of the war. These scenes are reproduced here in a Sparks street theatre, as well as in our own theatres in Montreal. The only practical result has been to scare the people. The opinion prevailing among the people of Quebec is that the Government have tried by every possible means to stop enlistment. You have the case of General Wilson who is a perfect gentleman, but who does not know a word of French; if he does not know it, it is not our fault. If the Government had taken the necessary steps in order to stimulate enlisting, they would have had as much success as anywhere else. You have evidence of this in Major Asselin's regiment which was completed within two months, also in the case of a second regiment which was organized just as quickly.

Now, do you know what happened during Marshal Joffre's visit to Montreal.

When the time came for the inspection of the troops at the base of Mount Royal, where some 400,000 people were present, the general commanding the division could not say a word in French and as Marshal Joffre does not know any English, they could not understand one another. Marshal Joffre must have made this reflection: These

soldiers must then all be English? Where are the French Canadians?

Mr. Speaker, the French Canadians of the province of Quebec cleaves to the soil. Our province is not like the other ones. We have only two big centres: Montreal and Quebec. There may well be Three Rivers, Hull and St. Johns, but when we speak of large

centres, we have only two. We need all our manual labour for the manufacture of shells, which we are asked to make, and for all other articles required by the people of the province and of the other parts of the Dominion. What we need' is farmers. The farmers clamour for help.

My hon. friend, the member for Parry Sound, in his speech yesterday, stated that Toronto, the province of Ontario, could not afford to give another man, that it was impossible, that they absolutely needed aid for farmers. It is the same thing in the province of Quebec. We stick to the native soil, but we also stick to our language and to our religion. We are, as said the member for Three Rivers (Mr. Bureau) in his speech, the pioneers of this country. When the French landed here to colonize 'Canada, the first thing they did, in disembarking, was to plant the cross and to celebrate mass.

Now, Mr. Speaker, our Ontario friends are trying, by all ways and means, to insult our faith. We are strongly attached to it, [DOT]and we have the Tight to believe as we please, just as much as they have the right to believe what they please- When it has come to the point of attacking that which is most sensible in the human being; his faith, his tongue and his nationality, I say that those who are doing it are doing a nefarious work and only disorganizing the " entente " which has been advocated for so many years by the hon. leader of the Opposition and by the Fathers of Confederation.

For what is happening to-day, Mr. Speaker, they are responsible. Now, let us discontinue these ill-boding struggles, let us shake hands, let us blot out these religious and racial differences; we are all Canadians; French or English, we are all Canadians. Will our Ontario brethren at last understand? I hope so. As for us, we are familiar with such maxims, our religion ^teaches it, we know that we should live as brothers in this world.

As was stated the other day by the hon. member for Three Rivers, it would be desirable to send into our sister-province five or six good men to say to these people: Put an end to these struggles. Life is too short. When war will be over, the question, of sharing will arise between the nations. Do not get away with the idea that the United States are fighting for nothing. I know that the United States owe a great deal to France and specially to Lafayette, but it might very well happen that the province of Quebec, which is divided. . . exempted by an imaginary line, the 45th, it is possible that

they might say: you will give us Quebec. It is not what I *wish, tout if this is kept going, you will see what will happen.

May I be allowed to recall a word uttered by the late hon. Mr. Mercier, stating that Confederation had been instituted, nevertheless, to serve the interests of a party, which was the Conservative party, and that it might mean the removal of the French Canadian influence.

Mr. Speaker, at the end of fifty years, the discussion upon this 'question of race, of religion and of language is still alive. His words come true.

Well now, Mr. Speaker, when we shall celebrate, next week, the fiftieth anniversary of Confederation, on the site where the Parliament buildings are being erected, I do hope that, then and there, an understanding will be for ever concluded, that it shall be stated that never hereafter we will attack one another. We, the French Canadians, we are always ready and we must do it, it is not a sacrifice, it is a duty; but the yellows, with their Orange press, are provoking trouble wherever they are. Why? Have we not the right to exist as much as they have? We are the pioneers here. Well, Mr. Speaker, to conclude, I say that the best way to serve the interests of the Empire and our own country's interests for the future, is not in sending men; we have sent 420,000. I do not say that we have done too much. No, we owed it to England, to do what we have done, and we should even" do more, if possible, but that, we should do it voluntarily and not forcibly.

When two persons are forcibly united, divorce soon follows suit. That is what is going to happen, you will create civil war in the country; you are not able and you have no right to say to the 700,000 tax payers whom I represent, you have not the right, do I say, to take their own opinion away from them. A man's opinion for the community, that may be nothing, but a man's opinion for himself, that is everything, and it is what you are trying to take away from him.

The Prime Minister, not very long ago, before a large audience in the Monument National, in Montreal, often referred to Democracy. Democracy like those, we find them in Germany and here.

I shall support the amendment of my right hon. friend, the leader of the Opposition, because I believe that the people should be consulted, I am convinced of it, they are loudly crying for it, and it is the only way to obtain a fair and honest opinion. It is the only way that will give you the

right and power to do what you may wish to do.

Mr. Speaker, if I have gone a little too far, I regret it; I should probably have restrained myself a little more, but in the heat of the debate, the fact that I was speaking on a question as important as the one now before us, and after having heard in this House all the speeches made by persons better informed than myself, I may perhaps have made some mistakes.

Now, take notice of what is going to happen.

The present Government's act means that you will have a third party here at the coming elections. That party will be called, just so, the Unionist Labor party, who certainly will not act as did the Nationalist party in 1911, but will stand between the two parties, and when a question of public interest will be brought before the House, the workman who has always taken a deep interest in all public matters, will as ever before keep his word and will thereby hold the balance of the two parties and have the people's rights duly respected.

Mr. Speaker, I understand that it is not the right time to do what I will now suggest, because we are at war, but I am one of those who are against war; I would like that, at a given moment, in the understanding which will take place, when this war will be settled after the war is over, 1 would like to see, as I say, every gun to the last one melted, every piece of ammunition cast into the deep seas, and a general disarmament ordered. There is no reason whatever for the nations to cut each other's throats as they are presently doing it. It is only family quarrels among the governments. 'Sometimes, these quarrels, these wars are only roused in the sole interest of the big manufacturers.

Indeed, what do you see after these wars? You see colossal fortunes spring up and all this wealth is always made, during the war, out of the people who, for centuries, can never get out of it; the families run into debt, they are left in misery for centuries. Therefore, I do not hesitate to declare that I am one of those who are opposed to war, and I believe that after this war, as I have just said it, there should be a general disarmament.

Among the questions which should be dealt with, after the war, one of the first should be that of creating a tribunal of universal peace, which, to my mind, should be composed of representatives of all the powers in the "whole world, from the crowned heads to the lowest of the Indian tribes. That is what should be done in or-

der that no nation in the future can attempt to do what is now going on. When we witness the painful spectacle which brings misfortune to the whole world, for the sake of a family quarrel between crowned heads, well,

I say that this should stop, and the idea put forth by President Wilson will become a full reality. _

Mr. Speaker, much more could be said upon this subjest, but I am through. I might, however, be allowed to say this more: Why send our men to the front if actually, as reported the other day by a newspaper, there are,'according to the Minister af Labour, 3,500,000 men fit for military service, and that, of this number, 1,200,000 are to be found in the taverns, in the theatres and in the gambling places. Then, why not take these men and leave the population of Canada in a large country like ours, where we need labour for agriculture, in order that we be able to exist in the future.

Do they really mean to put us out of the way entirely, to replace us by others? It looks very much that way to us, it seems to be the present Prime Minister's policy.

No, the Government's act is a brutal act, which is not constitutional. This Parliament has not the right to legislate, because it has no mandate. You must appeal to the people and the people shall pronounce and' decide.

I conclude by thanking this House for the kind attention given to me.

I will vote for the referendum proposed by the right hon. the leader of the Opposition, because the people want it and because I am here to do the people's will and not to do as I please. That is the way I understood my mandate and it is the way all the members should understand it.

Topic:   ON DEMANDE.

Adélard Bellemare

Independent Conservative

Mr. A. BELLEMARE (Maskinonge):

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member for St. Marie (Mr. Martin) who has just spoken although it was my turn, promising to speak no longer than a quarter of an hour, or thereabouts, has broken his promise; how can he blame the Prime Minister for having broken his? May I be allowed to register a second protest against conscription? I say a second protest, because on the 30th January last, before the hon. Prime Minister's departure for England, I took the liberty to warn the House against this project which was even then threatening us as likely to be imposed upon the country. Indeed, at that time, I did believe that on his return from England, the Prime Minister would comeback to us thoroughly imperialized and would force upon the country compulsory military

service. I am entirely opposed to this Bill, and will be as long as the people will not have been consulted and declared their will. I say that we are opposed to the passage of the present Bill, because it is against the 'Constitution. Actually, if we ransack the pages of our political history since the establishment of the Parliament of Canada, we will not find a single instance where our great men, English and French Canadian, have at any time admitted the principle either of the colonies intervention in the Imperial wars or even of going beyond our own territory, except for the exclusive defence of Canada. In that regard, Lord Elgin, who was one of our best Governors, wrote to Lord Grey, on December 18, 1854:

Although I hold that so long as the colonists have no voice in the imperial councils they are entitled to look to the imperial authorities for protection against hostilities which they have no share in provoking, and that it is therefore fitting that imperial garrisons should be maintained at certain important military stations, such as Quebec, as a pledge that this protection, when the contingency occurs, will not be invoked in vain, 1 am confident that nothing will more effectually tend to the security of the empire or to the establishment of a high standard of national and manly morals among the colonists, than the assumption by themselves of some portion of the responsibility in respect of self-defence and the preservation of internal tranquillity, which has heretofore been cast upon the mother country. "Nevertheless,

I am confident that if the inhabitants of the colony did assume a share of responsibility in the defence of their country and the preservation of internal order, a responsibility which until now has been entirely left to the mother country-nothing would more effectually tend to assure the empire's security and to establish in the colony a lofty national ideal and virile morals.

Holton, a minister in, the Tache-McDonald cabinet, who was not a French Canadian, speaking of the Militia Act of 1856, said:

This measure imposes to the province all the charges of an independent sovereignty without conference upon her sovereign . rights and privileges. The ministry propose to tax the people in order to maintain a military force upon which they will exercise no control, and to pursue war operations decided upon without their having a voice in the decision.

And Galt said at the same date:

In a case of war with the United States, a conflict which might arise from a quarrel in which we would have no interest but that would just the same cover our country with bloodshed, this measure would oblige us to maintain the militia under arms at our own expense.

Mr. Christie, a member, also adds:

This Act confirms the principle of imposing without representation the tax required to pursue wars in the declaration of which we

have no voice. It puts upon the people of Canada the obligation of supporting Great Britain in all her disputes with the United States, without having a voice in their settlement nor the right to be consulted.

Aind, a little later on, when a new Militia Bill was introdueed 'by J. A. Macdonald,

he says:

In case of war with the United States, England would undoubtedly be willing to spend her last penny and give her last man for our defence. It is her duty to do so; we shall receive the support of all her forces; we have, however, the, evident duty of organizing a large and efficient army, whose object will be to fight on our own territory, for our own possessions, our own privileges and our own liberties.

Upon the overthrow of the Cartier-Mac-donald administration, during the same period, Hon. Thomas Loranger, an exminister also said:

It is perfectly understood that Canada left to herself would not make war nor be drawn into war. Should the country enter into a conflict with a foreign power, it will be the consequence of England's quarrels with that power.

What did Lord Lansdowne do in the case of the expedition to Egypt? He did not ask Canada any compulsory assistance; he replied to the British Government:

That the Government is ready to approve of recruiting in Canada to serve in Egypt or elsewhere. These forces should be specially enlisted under the authority of the Imperial Army Discipline Act and taken from various local battalions, the entire expense to be borne by the Imperial Exchequer.

From what I have just quoted, it can be seen that the sentiment of the Canadian people was in favour of establishing a militia, but only for the defence of Canada, and that everywhere, at all times, the principle, that no Canadian troops could be sent outside of Canada to take part in England's wars, was recognized. It was openly declared that we were ready to defend ourselves for the preservation of our homes, but, at the same time, they refused to accept any principle that might involve us in the participation to external wars. That was the idea of the English of Canada, as well as of the French Canadians and no one can suspect lack of patriotism in a man like Colonel Rankin, who had been employed by the English Government to suppress the insurrection of 1837-1838 in the province of Quebec. That Bill, therefore, looks to me to run amuck with the constitution. That we should voluntarily assist the Empire in a universal war like this one, wherein the world civilization is at stake, that may be tolerated, but that we should be forcibly sent over there, seems to me illegal, unconstitutional, and it threatens to

disturb the peace of Canada. We have no special mandate to impose such a measure. Last year, we granted ourselves a year's extension of our parliamentary term, so that the measure you would force upon the people is drastic and anti-national. I say anti-national, because, under the circumstances, we could render greater services to the Empire by employing our full manpower in agriculture, in munition factories, etc.

The wheat supply being almost exhausted in Europe, the world being under the menace of a general famine, I believe that we could; as I say, render greater services to the Allies, by providing them with foodstuffs in larger quantities.

A few days ago, I met a commercial traveller who used the following comparison. I will suppose that, crossiing the Atlantic, you had three trunks to save; one contains the life of Canada, another the life of England and the third one, the life of France. The boat is sinking and they tell you that your trunks being fated, you can save one only. As a Canadian subject, which one are you going to save? .

Obviously, it will be Canada's trunk which contains your own life. I was struck with that comparison, and considering the dangerous economic situation of Canada, I conclude that, "as true charity begins at home", we should moderate our participation in the present war and begin to safeguard ourselves before sinking into the depths of imperialism.

Some will say: the hon. Prime Minister has authorized 500,000 men, he must keep his promise. I will answer that never has the Canadian Parliament been consulted on this subject, neither has it given him any authority in the matter. We are told that we are in imminent danger; I say that nobody can prove such a statement and that, consequently, we should stick to volunteering. When I courted election for the first time in the county of Maskinonge, the mandate given me was to work against excessive imperialism, and the parishes of Maskinonge, Saint Leon, Louiseville, Saint Unsule, Saint Ignace du Lac, Saint Charles de Mandevil'te, Saint Paulin, Saint Didace, Saint Justin, Saint Alexis des Monts, etc., have sent me numerous petitions, strongly protesting against the passing of the conscription bill. Consequently, representing the opinion of my electors and out of respect for democracy, I declare in this House that I bow to the wish of my constituents. It will be thanks to the independents elected in 1911, if this measure be not adopted before the general elections.

It is we, the independent members, who will save the people from the spectre of compulsory service. It is thanks also to the doctrine of the referendum now adopted by the hon. leader of the Opposition, with the help of a certain number of his friends-who do not appear to me very numerous-if we obtain that the people be consulted before this Bill is enacted. I congratulate the members on the left of the Speaker who are in favour of the measure. In 1911, I myself, in my county, advocated the referendum on the Naval Service question. I wanted the people to be consulted, and the same to-day. I say that we advocated that policy in 1911. Indeed, how read the Saint Eustache resolutions, in that year? They were to the effect that no contribution of men and of money should be granted, unless authorized by a referendum. That is exactly, says Le Canada of June 21 what Sir Wilfrid Laurier proposes to-day.

I will therefore support as strongly as I can this amendment or any other measure of a nature to prevent the adoption of this Bill.

I am much afraid that it may be said, in after years, of several among us, as Sir Hippolyte Lafontaine did say, one day, while speaking upon an important measure in the old parliament of United Canada: "You have saved the ministry, but you have sacrificed the people."

Topic:   ON DEMANDE.

Joseph Girard

Independent Conservative

Mr. JOSEPH GIRARD (Chfcoutimi-Sag-uenay (translation):

Mr. Speaker, I deem it my duty on so momentous an occasion in Canada's parliamentary history to give a few explanations for the stand I have decided to take in regard to a Bill which the Prime Minister has seen fit to submit to this House for its approval.

As I am not a lawyer or in any sense versed in the law, I must refrain from discussing the legality or constitutionality of this measure. But, after closely following the discussions carried on by the principal legal lights of this House, after listening with surprise to statements made here by the best lawyers of the Liberal party in the various provinces, who regretfully part from, their leader because they are in favour of the Bill, I am wondering whether in their inner conscience those men are not satisfied that this Bill is constitutional. I * learned, to know them, during the seventeen years I have met them in this House. I have had many evidences of their high sen.se of honour, of their disinterestedness and their enlightened patriotism, and I know that, in so serious a circumstance, they are acting only 'after most serious consideration and for reasons entirely free of

sectarianism. Duty is their only guide. Hence it is evident to me that the Prime Minister and his colleagues have also, necessarily, been guided by the same sentiments of honour and of duty.

The same considerations prove to my mind the urgency of the measure. Moreover, if we consider the unpopularity of this law, a fact which the Government as the lowest of the electors could readilly foresee, it is plain, that only the greatest emergency, vividly impressing itself on the minds of those in office, could impel them to take such action.

I may say to the Prime Minister that I accept with pleasure his momentous declaration, when presenting the Conscription Bill before the country, that he acted only as Prime Minister of Canada, performing his duty, and never under the pressure direct or indirect of any external influence. I respect him enough and I know too well his sense of honour to allow myself the liberty of questioning his word in any way whatever, above all when he gives it so solemnly as upon this occasion.

I am not of those who believe our Prime Ministers should be locked up in the country as traitors* and avoid the contact of the men who govern the Empire and the European nations. I rather believe that we have all to gain, by letting our rulers travel abroad, in order that they may study and open all kinds of connections, to increase our trade facilities. Without being an Imperialist more than it is necessary, I do not believe Imperialism be such a dangerous scare-crow that we must avoid even the thought of it.

Neither am I in accord with those who contend that the Act of Confederation has been a mistake. On the contrary, Confederation has been the work of great men and an act of which the Canadians are proud. On the other hand, here comes the leader of the Opposition, a lawyer of long standing and a most experienced parliamentarian, supported by other important lawyers, contending that the law is unconstitutional and that this is not such an emergency as would justify such an action. His supporters come from all the provinces, especially from the province of Quebec, which is almost unanimous upon this question.

They maintain that volunteering is sufficient to provide the promised number of men, that Canada's effort is already too great for her population, and that to go any farther would be to drive the country to actual ruin. I notice that, on account of such claims, a minister representing the

province of Quebec has resigned, fearing a danger for national unity, which Canada needs so much. In certain quarters it has been charged that the province of Quebec has not furnished her full quota of men, and they even go as far as to charge my province with 'being disloyal. If the Government should be credited with good faith, honour, uprightness and a strict sense of duty, one must also necessarily recognize in those of different opinions the same qualities' and the same motives.

In my province there are well-read men with good judgment and moderate views, and who have long pondered and reflected before taking a .stand. Therefore, 'to me-[DOT] as I am no advocate nor lawyer-their judgment, once rendered, especially when these men are friends of the present 'Government, must be an almost infallible .guide. It is true that the Conservatives of Quebec are not absolutely unanimous, but the large majority are opposed to the Bill. It is well understood that I only refer to the laymen. Then, is the .law constitutional and is there an emergency? The majority of Parliament shall say and decide that question.

Indeed, we are facing a terrible problem, the consequences of which cannot be foreseen, especially if the element shouting rebellion predominates. But I cannot be led to believe that, in this abominable worldwide storm where the best pilots know no longer how to trim their siaals, what is going on in Europe cannot he repeated here. Over there also, terrible resistances aTe encountered; there also they speak of revolts, but just when everything seems .lost, the good common sense gains the upper hand and the rulers .succeed in guiding their people towards the sole object of all the Allies and of the Canadians; the utter reduction of German barbarism.

Honest people, good citizens and responsible men are everywhere numerous enough to prevent a greater evil and let common sense have its way. But it is painful to me to hear in this House some authorized voices say they are not ready to admit that the people would he wrong in revolting.

Has Canada done her share generously? Yes, she astonishes the world. Can she go any further? Those who oppose the Bill say no, unless it be with great care and moderation. It is the almost unanimous contention of the province of Quebec.

In the district which I have the honour to represent, the friends of the Government, unanimously, were the first to address me long before the Bill was introduced; resolutions adopted in every parish, on the request

fMr. Girard.]

of the central Conservative organization of the county, asking me to lay before the House their unanimous opposition to any conscription scheme, for the following reasons: Conscription endangers national

unity, voluntary enlisting suffices, if well organized1; Canada's financial situation is in jeopardy, seeing the immense debt already existing .and daily increasing; in the country-places where is barely the number of farm-hands required for the agricultural production which must be daily increased; the cost of living is already too disproportionate; the Canadian industries cannot be maintained if the labour is reduced, and moreover the United States will send to the front millions of men who will be ready before the proposed Canadian levy.

My friends are those of the Government; they are unanimous with the Conservatives of my province. Among them, there are very wise men and men of great experience, and I must add that my adversaries think as they do. I have promised my electors that I would be the echo of their opinions; my duty, therefore, is to represent them here as they want me to upon this so important and so momentous question, and to vote against the Bill.

Now, why such an immovable opposition, by my friends, to the proposed law? First the assurance, often repeated, that there would be no conscription. At my request, the late lamented Hon. Mr. Oasgrain held three meetings in my district-at one of these, he was accompanied by the Hon. Mr. Patenaude,-to explain Canada's situation in its true light, and give confidence to the population in the war organization. The word of these men was well received and respected by large audiences who had faith in their statements.

On this point, I believe I should add a few remarks. The Prime Minister, the leader of the Opposition, and all of us, we have spoken too much, although in good faith. All of us, we were in the first place satisfied that the war would not last so long, and no one could foresee all the complications which, since August 4, 1914, have arisen almost every day. Who could have foreseen Russia's defection? Who could have foreseen this abominable submarine war? Who are those who foresaw Rumania's disaster? Who are they who have not made mistakes, in Europe and in America, since the beginning of the war?

During the last fifty years, outside of Germany, who are those who had a clear foresight? England alone who, noiselessly, had so prepared the future that, when war was

declared, she was able to bottle up, around Heligoland, the immense fleet of Germany which has not been able to stir since. And England has been able to keep the word she had given her colonies, to wit that she would protect them at all times.

I remember ia day, in the good times Oif peace, when all was calm and iserene, the Parliament of Canada saw fit to ask England to denounce her treaties with Germany; if England had not been able to bottle up the German fleet, I wonder if the Kaiser would not have remembered the action of Canada and crossed the Atlantic to avenge that denouncement of the treaty. And, therefore, if the provinces of eastern Canada, especially Quebec, are not like Belgium since October, 1914, that is due only to England's mighty fleet, to her foresight, to her respect for pledges and to her firm stand at the right moment. If the trade of Canada and of America has been practically continued since the declaration of war, because the high seas have been cleared of the pirates by the British fleet, that also we owe it to England. How much does it cost daily to the English people, that gigantic effort of which the British colonies reap the first benefit and the whole world besides? It is good to recall these facts.

How dearly the whole world i-s paying, at the present day, for having refused ito believe in the constant growth, under its very eyes, of an infernal power whose intentions were plain, and whose sudden action was ias much of ia surprise that we are now forced to admit that it wiill probably take the entire strength of the nations of the world to reduce it.

Considering this universal lack of foresight, it is not surprising, I think, that the Prime Minister, the leader of the Opposition and all ithe members of this House should have made statements which it would have been preferable to dispense with, and the effect of which Was been to mislead public opinion. But we must admit that, even in December Last, in the 'face of the war's ever changing fortunes, the Prime Minister refused to guarantee that there would not be any conscription. lit was a notice given to the whole country, land what was the result? All that work which 'has- been done through winter, in Montreal and elsewhere, in order to create iam opposition to the principle of conscription. If the efforts of Hon. Mr. Blondin have been so little productive, what is the cause of it; if not that a certain press was eager to ridicule him and that certain men, even in this House, tried to deprecate him? That is how public opinion was guided, land iso the doctrines 'advocated have borne fruit. That prepOiSterous organization of recruiting appeared so objectionable to the people in my district that, six months ago, I felt obliged to notify Ithe Militia Department that I would no longer be responsible for its working and left it ,to them entirely henceforth; land, as a matter of fact, after I had xepealtedly complained about the way .things were being managed in my county, matters seemed to be going from bad to worse. And 'I informed them that the result of it was a public opinion wholly averse and opposed to everything in connection with the war.

And now we 'are reaping the fruits to-day and the harvest is a rich one: absolute and unanimous hostility to anything pertaining to the war, because what has been tasted of it only breathes of deceit, wastage 'and dishonesty.

Many times, among friends, we would say that all that immense scandal could be nothing but deliberate conspiracy against the Government, for all the strangers sent to do recruiting were undisguised Liberals, among whom two brothers of Dr. Michaud, the Liberal candidate chosen for the coming Federal elections of Chicoutimi, who had nothing else to do but to carry to his friend Elie certain cheques payable to soldiers' wives which he thus had the 'advantage of distributing. That is why I cannot help laughing when I hear people say that the Government was using recruiting to serve its political ends.

Necessarily, the odium of all this is laid at the door of the Government. But, for those who know, it should be attributed' to the power behind the Throne who, I do not know how or why, can laugh at the minister and even resist him when he commands. The military laws, so I am told, are so made and, to overrule an officer, it would almost take the King himself. Indeed, the one, who, from the start, was responsible for that deplorable organization is very guilty, if results are to be taken into account.

I hold as responsible for this condition of affairs the headquarters whose formation I know nothing about, but who, through inexperience I hope, have created the. sad situation we are in. In Quebec, they have established rather a breeding station where the best trimmers have succeeded in getting positions in large numbers, at high salaries, as recruiting officers, instead of leaving for the front- That is the mammons opinion in my district, where every one is asking for months past, why these good-for-nothings

are not yet at the front. There, at least, they might earn the money we pay them. If recruiting has been done every where in Quebec as it was in my district, there is no reason to be surprised if they talk of revolt in some localities.

However, from my district, a good number of men are at the front since 1914. German bullets have reached several of them, and the Demeules, Dube -and; Topping families mourn the loss of their sons, heroes who have fallen for the defence of the law of nations. The famous Capt. Tremblay, whose reputation as a fighter is widely known, is a son of the county I have the honour to represent; we have then done our share and we are proud of those who represent us at the front, but -all the same, we believe we are perfectly right in making the objections we have to increased efforts.

It must also be admitted that as soon as it became known that the French Canadian forces, organized under the understanding that they would -form units over there, under officers who spoke their own language, were being disbanded and sent here and there in foreign regiments, the enthusiasm cooled down enormously and it is only common sense. How many English Canadians would enlist if they were assured of being commanded by French -Canadians from Quebec who would not speak English?

Here are the three great causes which, necessarily, have paralyzed recruiting in my district and throughout the province, and, indeed, they are most serious. First, the bad organization of the recruiting work; secondly, the disbanding, on the other side, of the French Canadian units, no longer commanded by officers of their language; thirdly, the education given since 1896, and even previously.

I am glad to -acknowledge, as I think I should, that the present minister of Militia (Sir A. E. Kem-p), since his coming into office, has shown himself much more sympathetic and much more energetic than his predecessor, in his relations with the public as regards the work of recruiting- It is my duty to make this statement which he greatly -deserves, from all reports I have received regarding him. But he must allow -me, in th-e name of public decency and of the respect due to him, to -ask him to put out, as soon as possible, from my district, the remainder of the idle so-called recruiting agents, who have shocked public opinion by their presence for too leng a time, and to accept the patriotic offer made by the united officers of the 18th -regiment of -Chicoutimi, [Mr. Girard. 1

who are desirous to handle recruiting in Chicoutimi-Saguenay, under Mr. J. E. A. Dubuc as honorary colonel. All of them, Conservative or Liberal, -are citizens of good reputation; they enjoy the people's confidence. Major Lachance has the honour of having a youthful son at the front, who fought like a lion at Vimy. Let us try to please the people, specially in war times.

Had recruiting been well organized, the necessity -for the proposed act would never have arisen and Canada would be proud to be at her post without having to go through the present crisis.

But it is easy to remedy the situation by resorting to proper means, creating a spirit of confidence which -must soon develop, having merely been set back by the causes which I have just mentioned. The French Canadian is peaceful at home and his heart is in the right place. He loves hisi King, he is proud of his flag, and for it he will give his last drop of blood and his last cent. But he wants to be respected as a man, he wants to deal with honest people, and he wants to see his sacrifices appreciated at -their real value, and lightened as much as possible by a friendly, sympathetic and even-handed leadership. iLet me give you an instance to prove that voluntary recruitment, well organized and by popular men, gives good results. Captain Piuze, of Fraserville, a young man of good repute, has organized the 189th regiment in his district in a very short time. -Major As-selin who, however, had fought the Nationalist battles in Quebec, has also formed a battalion in no time. Here are two striking instances that go to demonstrate most evidently that, when the organization is good, when the organizers are known and deserve confidence, the people do answer by confidence. But the treatment inflicted, later on, upon both these regiments, has had a dampening upon the people's enthusiasm. Let us then try again voluntary recruiting by men of good sense, like Piuze and Asselin -there is quite a number of them in Quebec -and we are sure

Not one discordant note was heard when Canada entered upon this war; it was a question of heart and of duty. Let us regret the deplorable errors of the past, but let us repair them by means which appeal to the heart that is not dead, but only sick on account of mistakes committed by subordinates who had the power to make them, and who have had the hateful courage to commit them.

Mr. Speaker, there is a great deal of talk about Quebec nowadays; in certain quarters,

she is abused and insulted, and her sons are falling over there every day. Her clergy, so noble, is being made an object of public scorn and obloquy. For instance: that infernal card which was distributed in this very House. They have forgotten our bishops' collective letter of 1914, enjoining their flocks to do their duty in the war.

Let me tell you, Mr. Speaker, that the two first names my mother taught me were those of God and of the illustrious Queen Victoria, and all the French Canadian mothers were doing the same in those days and all of them have since upheld the same principles of education for their children, only substituting, when circumstances made it necessary, the name of the King. Every Sunday, at the foot of the altar, the French Canadian people pray God for their King and throughout Quebec, every one is proud of belonging to the British Empire. Therefore, how regrettable it is to find in the Dominion, westward from Quebec, some Englishmen, more English than the King, brutally attacking my province and her language and her children.

A few days ago, one of our good friends in this House was asking himself if it would not be possible to find twelve good men, independent men, who would go to Quebec and speak the language of the present times and appease the minds that, according to him, see things under a false light. This is a good idea which I accept, if my friend could on the same day find also in Ontario twelve good men independent citizens who would go through his own province to calm the people who scorn Quebec, who persecute her children while allowing them very little French and religious education in their schools; these same gentlemen should also go to Manitoba where they have completely turned out of the schools both Christ and the French tongue, and also into the two western provinces, where every year some new attempt is being made to also put out both French and religious instruction from the schools. What a splendid work these men would accomplish nowadays, if they could succeed in having the province of Quebec known as she actually is: the paradise of Liberty, where Protestants are masters of their schools as at home, and where the Irish Catholics are treated just as brothers; and if they also succeed in obtaining that in Ontario and particularly among our Irish Catholic co-religionists who do not speak our language. Quebec would be respected. During these dark stormy days, how good it would be to see all our family troubles forever gone!

To be fair, the position taken by Quebec does not speak disloyalty, no more than that taken by the English element which thinks like she does and which is larger than is generally admitted.

To stop a little, reflect and look into the future which is gloomy, that is prudence, that is wisdom, that is reasoning. The Germans must be beaten, that -is agreed on by all; but in order to beat them the soldiers must be fed and clothed.

Now, in my district, we just have the farm labour we need; the large industries we have are often short of hands and the fisheries along our northern coast occupy the whole population, so much so that the mills of Clark City have to import men. And they would want to take away a portion of our manual labour. Those who live in the district know what the circumstances are; and so, the people do resist. An agricultural producer departing for the front would cause a deficit in the food production equal to that of thirty soldiers. Let us keep our farmers at home.

Then, there is the high cost of living; here is a problem which is appealing to all. It is almost beyond control, for neutral countries have to contend with it as much as ourselves. But it was particularly difficult of settlement in Canada, as long as the United States did not join the Allies. Now, it can be more eff ctually remedied by the joint work of both governments.

Upon this point, I wish to make a few remarks. In 1880, I landed at Lake St. John as a settler, to live on the land. Then and for the three or four years following, the settlers of the district I have the honour to represent, were facing the same problem. There was no war then, the country was prosperous and things were in a fair way. In those days, we paid flour $11 a barrel- and such flour

pork, 5 cents a pound, syrup $1.50 a gallon, salt $10 a bag, and it took three days to procure these indispensable articles. The wages were 50 cents a day, and in winter, the lumber dealers paid $10 and $12 per month, and young men would come to the Ottawa lumber camps where they got $15 to $20 a month, with their board included of course. And it was at that time, that people worked like Trojans in my district, to make of it the fine agricultural county, which the province of Quebec is so rightly proud of to-day. How is it that, nowadays, with salaries of $4, $5, $6 and $7 a day, people can hardly live?

At that time, Mr. Speaker, the unbridled extravagance which predominates to-day was absolutely unknown. The requirements

of ease and of comfort, extended, as they are to-day and have been for several years, to their utmost limits, are the greatest cause of the present moral and financial disarray. It takes some money to support a family, but how much more will it not take for clothes, if the thought of the future .and the idea of what is proper do not predominate? My explanation of the high cost of living is to be seen in the scandalous displays in every shop window. Should we not reproach ourselves, every one of us, in every rank of society, for having allowed to be created in our country that false education which has made the fortune of the shop keepers and maintained in poverty the workman and the farmer? If the prohibition campaign had been started 20 years ago, if intelligent economy, had been advocated, we should not hear so much of drunkenness, and there would be to-day less jewels, trinkets and silks, the sight of 'which are so painfully offensive to our common sense. Luxury is ever the parent of all vices and the cause of all ruin; let us throw it down, now is the time.

Since the present horrible war calls daily for money and still more money, why not tax heavily all the useless fancy goods which ruin our population? Have they not seen to this in England and are not the responsible men generally preaching economy? Have not the higher social classes set the example?

Let the Canadian Parliament seriously attend to this question and the cost of living will no longer be a bugbear. But, nevertheless, there must be no delay in laying the hands upon the vampires who are sucking the people's blood and getting rich in a dishonest -way through iniquitous speculations.

Should we still take part in the war? I believe everyone is agieed on this point, in Quebec as elsewhere; but we ought to proceed with prudence, with calculation and with due care. The effort we have made is the wonder of the world; perhaps, have we. in our enthusiasm, proceeded too quickly? Then, let us now be cautious.

I have heard it repeated many a time thait there .are presently in the country one hundred thousand men who have no visible means olf support, produce nothing, help nobody and are, for the greater part of them rather a public nuisance. If that be true- .art *all events, it is certain there is a large number of them lin the cities

1st us find them and send 'them, 'across to fill the gaps; over there they will be useful, they will be *a credit to the flag and their temporary -absence from the country will do no harm.

Under, the present Military 'Service Act, it would be an easy matter to reach them, by inserting ia special section providing that the generally unemployed having no regular trade be the first called.

Mr. tSpeaikar, we are now facing, I fear, not ra (political, but -a national crisis. The parties lare divided 'and the 'leader of the Opposition seas his dearest generals leave him in siuch numbers that, before long, his family will be greatly disunited. And the Government's forces will be very strong upon this conscription issue. Before long, Quebec shall stand alone solidly against this measure and .facing the other provinces badly divided. And what next? What terrible responsibilities are being shouldered in these dreadful times; one cannot but tremble cat the thought!

Quebec is 'intelligent, patriotic, sincere and loyal to the extreme; buit Quebec believes it is time to look to the future 'and not rush blindly into bankruptcy. Quebec believes that conscription is useless, oppressive and contrary to Canada's interests. A certain port of the population thought that the leader of the Opposition would save the situation by his prestige over 'his party; but that was on illusion .and it is evident that, were he in power with his friends, he would *impose conscription, not selective, but by ballot which is still worse, and without referendum, as in 1910. Then, whither are we drifting?

The Conservative party of my province and of my county is unanimously opposed to the Bill. Among them are to be found *men most friendly to the Premier, great thinkers and great -philosophers. My duty in this House is to- voice the opinion of my electors who are to ;a man, opposed to the measure; that duty I shall fulfil by speaking -and voting 'against the bill. I so notified *the Prime Minister -a long time -ago.

I must add that I sincerely regret to be forced to part with the Prime Minister upon *a .measure of such importance; I kno w that he is sincere, I know he is upright landtbat he is 'actuated solely by the idea of performing an urgent duty. 1 know the uprightness and the disinterestedness of his colleagues; I know that every one of them realizes the terrible responsibility he assumes; could they possibly be right?

Considering the situation in this House as I see it, I must admit that the future is far from being bright.

The leader of the Opposition, whom I respect, proposes that the present law be submitted to the people, before it be applied, for most serious reasons which he men-

tions; I know that his Quebec friends rely upon his great prestige to maintain his party and defeat the Government. He seems in favour of the principle of conscription, but he will not so state until the people has rendered his verdict, he has to second his motion, his former colleague who, for his part, is against the Bill because it does not go far enough; he would like to have it settled by drawing lots. What a difference between the arguments of the mover and those of the seconder !

But now his leading partisans who, every day, declare themselves in favour of the Bill, are compelled to state that they part with their leader with his permission, but that they remain in the Liberal party. Let us suppose a general election and the Borden Government defeated, what policy will the country face? Selective conscription will be defeated and then we wifi have conscription by drawing lots, as provided in the Militia Act. An interesting question to put to. the electors. Why did not the leader of the Opposition, as he diid in 1896, move the six months' hoist? Never has a similar political situation been witnessed to my mind, in this country. Would all this agitation resolve itself into a mere party move? What is now going on in Quebec is pregnant with suggestions. I received this letter signed by a man of the 'highest character and it reads as follows:

June 18, 1917.

Sir,-Will conscription pass (according to the newspapers, the Liberal members are going to vote for that Bill), or will there be general elections? Jos. Guay is giving lectures on agriculture ; he gets the parish priest's endorsation and says nothing worth while. On the 18th, he gave four, at Hgbertville, at St. Bruno, at St. Joseph d'Alma and at Delisle. He speaks for an hour; he says: When the agriculturist will come here later, listen to him carefully and follow his advice. If you listen to him, you will produce ten times more, but he ends by stating: I have a son at the front and I might say a few words about the war ; and that is a pretext for speaking against the Government. Enough has been done or too much has been done. Borden had promised there would not be any conscription. By imposing it, he deceives the people. He has deceived Mgr. Bru-cht'si. Then he gives the names of important people who have told him that Canada had done too much for the past two years. He says: Borden has tried to catch Laurier in his trap, but Laurier told him: " Go back, Satan, with thy coalition," and, immediately like the good old hen, he has called all his little ones under his wings, and at the roll-call, the Liberal party solid as a rock will vote against the Borden Bill which will jump into the lower regions under the eyes of Laurier, who is the saviour of the people. Then, in his thundering voice, he cries hurrah for the old rooster. That's Jos. Guay, all right.

I tell you these things, not to blame any one, but to keep you advised of what is going on here.

Yours truly...

Have tbe Quebec Government come to the point of sending their political heelers through our parishes, and announcing them as agricultural lecturers paid by the province?

This is a serious case which I believe it my duty to denounce immediately. Jos. Guay is an hotel-keeper of Chicoutimi, proprietor of the big six-room hotel called "La bonne menagere", whose milk has stopped. He has Spanish blood and delights in Toreador tournaments. He is greatly interested in poultry andi his young daughter is the President of the Chicoutimi FarmTng Ladies Circle, under her father's guidance. Two years ago, at his request,

I obtained from the Government, for his circle, the shipment of twenty-five hens and one rooster for their henhouse; the whole 'lot was duly received in good order, according to the official correspondence, but considering that the cost of liying was already increasing, a way was devised to declare the hens sick-they had been put in the cellar of "La bonne menagere", instead of placing them in the poultry-houses built with Federal money-and the boarders of "La bonne mdnagere" ate the twenty-five hens, bragging, in the cars, that the Borden chickens were delicious. The rooster was left for the circle. I do not know whether Jos. Guay refers to this poultry-breeding experience of his in his lectures. I am giving it out to the public so that 'it may be recalled, should he forget.

The appeal to the people is a fine business. It is the people who govern. But, in the United States, are the people the rulers, when in November last they elected a peace Congress who set them at war a few days after their mandate was in force?

And does not our historical records show that the people's decision is null and void when, in most cases, election programs axe ' burned on the night of votation and buried in the victory; 1896 and 1897 are there to demonstrate that fact.

We have here friends of the leader of the Opposition pretending that often the people prefer being guided to directing themselves; but the Liberal leader wants an appeal to the people; some of his lieutenants say no, because the people prefer to be led. The leader of the Opposition declares the Bill unconstitutional; his lieutenants reply that it is perfectly constitutional and they support it; but, at the same time, they declare they are all of them under the crook of the same leader.

In what state of chaos are we! What future is there in store for us? Many serious people are asking themselves that question

and praying God that the national unity be not broken and that the people's good faith he not deceived. After having studied the facts, here is the situation as I understand it: If the Government were left alone with their friends, the Bill would perhaps not be adopted; then, it is the adhesion of almost all the leading English Liberals which makes the Government's position tenable and which will cause the Bill to be carried by a respectable majority, I believe. At this moment, the Liberal party must assume its equal share of responsibility, before the country and before the electorate, and the confidence of the anti-conscriptionists in the prestige of the leader of the Opposition is a terrible illusion. And these important members of the Liberal party, who assume that responsibility, I know them, they are all of them men of high education and perfectly upright in every respect. For them, the Bill is not directed against Quebec, as it is sometimes unfortunately stated. On this point, may I be allowed to publicly thank the hon. member for Halifax (!Mr. Maclean) and the hon. member for Bed Deer (Dr. Clark) for the sincere sympathy towards my province I have heard them express, not long ago, in the course of a private conversation where I was not alone, as well as the embarrassment they felt in the face of the position taken by Quebec. And their other colleagues think the same way, I know it.

So then, here we have such important men who refrain from overthrowing a government which they have most severely criticised upon war questions and who extend their full support to pass a law of which they know the absolute unpopularity, as well as the terrible possibilities implied. Necessarily, conscience alone speaks and dictates to these men and I have no right to attribute to them any unworthy motive. It is not therefore a duty for every public man in the face of such a situation to urge the whole population of the country to be calm and every class of the society to remain within bounds?

Before resuming my seat, Mr. Speaker, 1 wish to make to the Prime Minister and to his colleagues, as well as to all those who support him, an appeal which springs from my very heart:

Considering that the population has not-been prepared for the enforcement of the proposed Act;

'Considering that it is evident that voluntary recruiting has not given the expected results on account of its thoroughly objectionable organization;

'Considering that its reorganization on a business and common sense basis might quickly give good results;

'That, if the law passes, its application be suspended until there is absolute evidence of the failure of well organized volunteering and until the people have been'con-sulted.

I may state that, in my district, there is no reason to fear a revolution, whatever be the Parliament's decision; but it is painful to hear vituperation against friends whom we respect.

Let me assure you also, Mr. Speaker, in concluding, that whatever may happen, the province of Quebec and my district, especially, in the future as in the past, on awakening every morning, shall hail, though perhaps with tears in their eyes, their God and their King. In both of them, I hope, and through them our rulers may finally find the right way to fulfil their present duty and preserve at the same time the national unity upon which depends the future of our fair Canada.

Should the Bill pass, the leaders of both parties in this House shall have a serious task to perform, if we are to preserve that national unity which must be saved, at the cost of any sacrifice. Such is the wish I express from the bottom of my heart: Be they equal to the task, for thereafter responsibilities there will be for them greater than ever. The whole country is watching them.

On motion of Mr. Boivin the debate was adojurned.

On motion of Hon. Mr. Hazen the House adjourned at 12.10 a.m.

Friday, June 29, 1917.

Topic:   ON DEMANDE.

June 28, 1917