July 3, 1917


Alfred Ernest Fripp

Conservative (1867-1942)


Why do you think they

will not obey the law as well as' anybody



William Erskine Knowles



I think there is grave danger that it will result in an outbreak throughout the country.

Mr, BEST: The people of Quebec are

not as loyal and as anxious to defend the Empire, as are the Orangemen of Ontario.


William Erskine Knowles



Possibly the hon. gentleman (Mr. Best) is right. I would not care, for the purposes of this argument, if the people of Quebec were the worst traitors in the world; we want to combat Germany and we do not want to have a war with Quebec.


John Best

Conservative (1867-1942)


I do not think it is fair to try and stir up racial strife in that way. I think that remarks like those which the hon. gentleman has uttered will raise more strife than anything that the . Orangemen of Ontario could say or do.


William Erskine Knowles



That may be and I

said at the outset that I was not going to raise any contentious matters or questions that were likely to disturb the harmony. Therefore, I will let the hon. member for Dufferin (Mr. Best) have his way and get along with my address. Then, the question I ask is: How are you going to enforce this law, once it is passed, in the province of Quebec? Let my honourable friend answer that when he speaks. Are you going to send soldiers to do it? Are you going to send them into the' parishes of Quebec? You will want to get as many recruits as are necessary to make up the 500,000. The soldiers that you will send into Quebec to do this will be Englishspeaking soldiers because you could not get French-speaking soldiers to do it. If they are sent into the remote parishes they will not know the language of the people or the geography of the country and there will he no registration of the men who should enlist. What results can you expect from sending English-speaking soldiers into a strange country and amongst a strange and hostile people? You Will find that it will take more than one English-speaking soldier


for every single recruit you will bring out of Quebec. The hon. member for Ottawa (Mr. Fripp) asks me how I know that the people of Quebec are not willing to cooperate in the carrying out of this Act. I do not say that they are going to fight the law but I do say that they will not harmoniously co-operate in enforcing the law. I think the hon. member for Dufferin will agree with the opinions expressed by a newspaper called the Sentinel and I think possibly the hon. member for Ottawa will also. I purpose to quote from the Sentinel to show the feeling and opinion, which, according to the Sentinel, exist in Quebec. I am not in all approving of that feeling, but if all the people in Quebec were traitors to-day that would not alter my view one bit. There never could be a more inopportune time to settle our troubles with Quebec than now because we have not sufficient fighting forces at our command to enable us to coerce Quebec. The Sentinel says: [DOT]

The Sentinel has pointed to the declarations by French leaders of their ambition to erect a French Canadian republic, the pacifist press and party have treated such statements as without foundation, and having their origin in a superheated brain. To-day, we find the outstanding clerical organ in Quebec openly advocating secession. La Croix, which speaks for the clergy of Quebec says : "How sweet it would be, in fact, to live in a Lower Canada separated from Upper Canada, yet subject as at present to the British Crown, administered by a French Canadian majority."

And it goes on to say that the time has come when they should seek to bring about that condition. The same paper, the issue of June 28, goes on as follows with reference to the plan of campaign:

It should show the political social and religious disaster of Confederation on the one part, and on the other part the advantages Great Britain would obtain in according a political constitution which would give us a closer connection with the British Crown.

The Sentinel goes on:

To remain under the authority of the British Crown, as indicated in this outline of the French ambition, is merely a veil drawn over their ultimate purpose of complete separation from Imperial control. The first step is to separate from the Dominion, and having accomplished that, when the disturbance incidental to it had passed, a demand would be made for independence, just as the Sinn Feiners in Ireland are doing to-day.

Then, later on, it says:

Three times in the history of Canada we have had civil war, and on every occasion, 1837, 1870, and in 1885, it was fomented by men of the French race. That they will give effect to these threats made in the face of the Prime Minister upon the floor of Parliament, is possible.


Like the German Kaiser, they have been preparing for generations to accomplish a purpose which involves the destruction of Confederation.

So, it runs throughout the whole argument. When you have declarations made by gentlemen from the province of Quebec,, that the people will not co-operate in the enforcement of this law, when you have had riots in the province of Quebec already, and when we all have information in a general way that there is an announced intention on the part of the people of Quebec to refuse to accept this measure, I fear .that the passing of this Bill will not result in recruitment in that province. You will not force the people of Quebec to come forward in this way. Some hon, gentlemen say that the people will back down if you pass this Bill and call their bluff. I am afraid that is not true. You must remember that backing down in this case means backing down into the trenches, a more dangerous place than where they are now. Notwithstanding all this talk, I believe you could not call their bluff at this juncture. I fear that this Bill will not bring practical results and before I sit down I shall suggest what I believe to be the proper way of appealing to the law-abiding citizens of the province of Quebec who are all right if they are left alone by the agitators in that province. If the Nationalist agitators do not get hold of them they are as fine citizens as we have anywhere in Canada. The point I am making therefore is that at the present time the proper attitude to take with the province of Quebec is one of reasonable and manly conciliation and not one of bullying compulsion or force of any kind.

There is one thing that we need, I think hon. gentlemen will agree, and that is a united nation. You cannot successfully proceed with the war as a divided nation. If you have people in this country quarrelling amongst themselves, to that extent do you take away from your power to deal with the common enemy. Let us suppose that this Bill goes into force and let us look a year ahead; we will find our neighbour to the south of us, the United States, advancing successfully in the carrying on of the war with money, infantry, cavalry, aeroplanes and every thing else; we will find that others of our Allies have developed their fighting strength, as we trust they will, while we instead of developing our fighting strength and calling out our resources to the last man and the last dollar, within twelve months will find ourselves a quar-

relling and divided country, the people of one province seeking to get even with the people of another province. We will when it is too late see the evils of this Bill.

It is only fear that such a condition may come to pass that makes me support the submission of this measure to the people of Canada in order that we may have their expression upon it. And, after all, do we not all get tired of this eternal wrangling and jangling between Ontario and Quebec? I think you will bear me out, Mr. Speaker, that in your province and in the Maritime Provinces generally-and I can speak for the western provinces-we are strangers to this bitter feeling. It is getting to be a tiresome thing in this House, this bitterness and wrangling and chewing the rag between Ontario and Quebec, each suspicious of the other, each trying to put the other in a false light. When I read an article such as I have read from the Sentinel, and realize that this kind of campaign is being carried on by a great wing of the Conservative party that wants to help the British Empire in its unity, I grow discouraged for the unity of the Dominion of Canada. So, I say, I believe that the best way to promote unity on this matter of conscription is by a referendum. Hon. gentlemen on this side of the House, from Quebec without exception, have pledged themselves that if a referendum is submitted to the people their constituents will abide hy the result. I do not think that a referendum is at all an obnoxious thing. Since when were we afraid to consult the people? Is there any reason why we should believe that we on this side of he House or hon. gentlemen on the other side of the House are possessed of more knowledge than their constituents? Will any one of us go back to his constituency and say: I know more than my electors? I am sure my hon. friend from Dufferin (Mr. Best) would not take that tack with his people, and I am sure that if he did they would not believe him; nor would mine believe me if I said that I had more knowledge than they. We are here and are what we are because we are supposed to represent faithfully the views of our constituents, and, I ask, since when have we possessed greater knowledge than our people, and since when is it against British principles that the will of the people should govern and rule on any great question that may come up for decision?

The labour people have also expressed themselves very strongly against the enact-

ment of this Bill without a referendum. I have here a resolution sent to me in March last by the Trades and Labour Council of Moose jaw, a very important organization, because it has many allied labour activities associated with it. The resolution reads:

That conscription be not put into effect until it has been submitted to a referendum vote of the people of Canada, and that the executive is hereby instructed to utilize ail possible means of publicity and education to this end.

I have stated /that personally I am in favour of conscription in its principle and in favour of referring the matter to the people at this juncture, -thinking that this would conduce to uuity and harmony much more than going ahead with the Bill in a drastio and compulsory way. If this is submitted to the people by a referendum I, as a citizen and not as a member, shall do all I can -to see the principle carried, beca/use I am in favour of conscription in principle.

We have heard hon. gentlemen on this *side give reasons why they oppose a referendum. But it is remarkable, on -reading -the speeches of these hon. gentlemen that, without exception, they seem to come back to something different from the Bill and different -from the 'Government's policy. I take, for example, -the hon. m-ember for Saskatoon (Mr. McCraney) who says distinctly that he supports the Bill, -but he supports it with the thought in his mind that there must be -a general election, evidently to ratify the Bill, but certainly a general election; and- I presume that what he has in minid is that at a general election the Bill will be ratified. The Prime Minister said that, had a coalition Government accepted the Bil-l, he would h-ave-them submitted it to the people by means of a general election. The hon. member for West Lambton (Mr. Pardee) says that he would ask ithaJt the Bill be no-t put into effect until one great, last, -big appeal had been *made to the people of Ga/nada by way of voluntary enlistment. And, last of -all, the hon. member for South Wellington (Mr. Guthrie) distinctly says that this Bill will lead you to nowhere under a party Government. Why should he say that he will support ia Bill that will -lead to nowhere? He says this Bill will lead you nowhere -and that it cannot be successfully administered by one party; -and then he goes on to describe a coalition Government, with which I have no quarrel. But if the hon. member for Wellington is right in his logic and right in his belief that this Bill will not attain any results for you, why, in the name of Heaven, divide the

people of Canada over a thing that is going to do no good whatever? If I thought this *Bill would get for us the soldiers we want, I would not care if it drove Quebec out of Confederation, if it drove the right hon. leader of the Opposition (Sir Wilfrid Laurier) out of public life, if it drove the right hon. the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Borden) out of public life-I would call the breaking up of our Confederation a small thing if this Bill was going to be the means of winning this war for us. I would pay the price; I would say that the quid pro quo was such that it ought to be bought at any price; we ought to pay any price to win the war. But I am not going to throw my whole support behind a measure that I believe will not bring any results, that I believe in the main will tie our hands and handicap our efforts, and, instead of being an aid to us in a military sense, will take away from our real fighting force; and it is because I think this that I cannot see my way clear to support the Bill. The hon. member for South Wellington says that it will lead you nowhere. He says that the Bill cannot be successfully administered by a single party. If that is so, then why should we put such a Bill on the statute-book? Perhaps, as has been suggested, it will never be administered. Then I am against it because I am not in favour of placing measures on the statute-book with some suppressed, secret motive. I do not accuse the Government of anything of that kind, but if it iB their intention never to put the Bill in force, I am against it, because I am opposed to voting for Bills which have any other object than that which appears on their face. I cannot support it without a referendum, because it will bring only schism and division and strife in the Dominion of Canada.

It has been declared in this House time and time again, and in the newspapers, that every man who leaves his party on this matter is a sort of hero and is a great follower of conviction, whose name will go down in history, and all that, because he is so sincere as to leave his party. I am not going to say anything direct or indirect about hon. gentlemen who have left the Liberal party. It is a very small matter to me compared with winning the war, and their grief at leaving the party is of smaller concern still. There is so much to grieve about in connection with the war that it is not a matter of national concern that certain men feel like crying because

they are leaving the Liberal party. Nor is it of great importance what they say about their grief at withdrawing their support from my right hon. friend who leads the Opposition (Sir Wilfrid Laurier). They talk of how they love him. We all love him, but there is no use talking about it, and I do not think the House is much concerned about these sentimental things anyway. But there may be two ways of looking at this thing. It does not necessarily follow that because a man leaves his party and goes the way he thinks his constituents will go, when there is a general election in sight, is any more a hero than the one who stays with his party. To leave his party when that party may be right is just as wrong as to stay with it when it is wrong.

In this instance, there may be many of us who just as conscientiously believe that the decision arrived at by our right hun. leader on the question of referendum is a correct decision, as others believe it is not the correct decision. Do not let us have any false heroes floating around the country. If they are bona fide heroes, let them be made colonels or knights, and be done with it. If they are all spurious heroes, the sooner we recognize that, the better for us all.

I wish to refer to the question of coalition. The right hon. Sir Wilfrid Laurier has been much criticised because he did not accept what one speaker called the magnanimous offer of the Government. People make statements sometimes without thinking them out to their conclusion. The offer was made to the leader of the Opposition that he should go into a Cabinet which already had its policy outlined and its pathway defined. My right hon. friend the Prime Minister is a young and comparatively inexperienced statesman, compared with Sir Wilfrid Laurier, but in saying that I am not reflecting on the Prime Minister. The leader of the Opposition has the advantage in the matter of experience and seniority. As I understand the coalition proposition, it was like a consultation between lawyers or doctors. One doctor says "This case is grave and serious, I am afraid of my patient. I will have a consultation." Did you ever hear of a doctor calling in another physician-unless the other doctor was just a joke-and saying, "This man has a bad sickness, and probably going to die. I haVe diagnosed the case and prescribed for the patient. I have the medicine right here, and I have settled

on what is going to be done, but you can come in and we will consult about it." Would a doctor listen to such a proposition? I suppose the only reason a doctor could be wanted in those circumstances, would be because he had a strong arm and could hold the patient while the medicine was being administered to him. No self-respecting doctor would be a party to such a consultation. Without being disrespectful to the Prime Minister, I may say it would seem to me like a mock proposition to ask Sir Wilfrid Laurier to go into the Cabinet, to hold a consultation on this problem when the Prime Minister had already decided what should be done. If I were to ask a man to come in and consult about some personal or political affair, which I considered a crisis and a grave problem, and said: " I want to talk it over, but I have decided it will be solved this way, and I do not want your opinion on it," who could say there could be any consultation between us in that case? I do not think the leader of the Opposition could give any other answer than the answer he did give to such a request. But there is another reason for his answer. We know the province of Quebec enters into this question. If the right hon. leader of the Opposition had gone into that Cabinet and endorsed conscription he would have done the greatest damage to the British Empire he could have done. I make that statement advisedly. We all know that the result of his acceptance of conscription would be that he would cease to be the leader in the province of Quebec, and to-morrow morning Henri Bourassa would hold the province of Quebec in the hollow of his hand, and suc'h a state of affairs would be a menace to the British Empire. I make that statement without fear of contradiction. No person can seriously say that Sir Wilfrid could have led the people of Quebec to conscription. Anybody who knows public opinion in Quebec knows that no man living could lead them to it, and I say the result would be-and I only ask for fair consideration of this thought-that on the morning of the morrow Mr. Bourassa, the firebrand, the man that has taught these people, nursed them, and educated them in his anti-British school, would be the hero of the province of Quebec, and that would be a bad day for the British Empire. The men who talk so much about the British Empire, little as they may regard Sir Wilfrid Laurier, will have to agree with me that Quebec is safer under his leadership than in the hands of

Henri Bourassa. I say that those who question the service of the right hon. leader of the Opposition to the Empire, and question his loyalty, as many are doing, have not given the matter much thought. I read in the newspapers that a gentleman stated in Knox Presbyterian church that Sir Wilfrid Laurier lacked patriotism in refusing the offer of coalition. I do not know who the gentleman is, but I say this statement and thousands of other utterances along similar lines are unjust, unfair and unworthy of Canadians, and render difficult the solution of the race problem in Canada. Our object in Canada is to have unity among the different races, and such statements render the accomplishment of that object more difficult. ' In the conduct of the war we require greater unity.

In closing, I want to say that, in my opinion, the Prime Minister's offer of coalition was right, but it should have been made before he announced that he was going to force conscription on the country. And, I would say that, better than referendum, better than compulsory service, the proper way to handle.the subject is to revert to the condition of affairs before conscription was announced as the immediate policy of the Government. When the right hon. the Prime Minister came back from England he had full knowledge of the gravity of affairs. I say then and there he should have called the right hon. leader of the Opposition to assist him with his counsel, his wisdom, experience and undoubted loyalty to the Empire. Even now, there is nothing I wish for so much as this -although I do not suppose it will be done -that the Prime Minister should revert to the condition of affairs when he came from the Old Co untry-let conscription stand in abeyance, not abandon it, not renege upon it, but just say that conscription for the moment stands, and call Sir Wilfrid Laurier into a coalition Government, and if, under these conditions Sir Wilfrid Laurier will not coalesce with him, I for one, as a Liberal, say that I think the Liberal party will soon find a leader who will coalesce. But I believe that Sir Wilfrid Laurier acted rightly in refusing coalition under existing conditions, for the reasons which I have given. Let the Government begin de novo, Mr. Speaker, to discuss this matter, let both parties get together and see if, in real unity, they cannot get recruits. Let the French Canadian members go out among their people and see what they can do. They are not cowards. Nobody thinks that. They have been appealed to in the wrong

way. I am not going into that matter, because I said I would not be critical. Oar object is to avoid schism and disunion in this country, and I believe the Prime Minister has the .power in his hands, even if he passed the Bill, to say: "It will stand

in abeyance till we have an opportunity to discuss it," and apart from conscription let the two leaders and all the members of the House go out to the different places where they would have influence. I believe if that be done the unity of Canada will be preserved, and that the fighting force of this country will be inestimably greater than it will be if we waste our strength quarrelling among ourselves.

At six o'clock the House took recess.

After Recess.

The House resumed at eight o'clock.




Bill No. 62, for the relief of Florence Amelia Kennedy.-Mr. Edwards. Bill No. 94, to authorize the issue of a patent to James Wallace Tygard.-Mr. Fripp. Bill No. 80, respecting a certain patent of the Sharp Rotary Ash Receiver Company, Incorporated.-Mr. Currie. Bill-No. 85, to incorporate the Canadian Couneil' of the Girl Guides Association. (Without amendment.)-Mr. Northrup.




John Allister Currie

Conservative (1867-1942)

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

Mr. Speaker, the debate on the second reading of this Bill has been proceeding for a considerable time, and consequently it is with much diffidence that I rise to address the House on this important measure. Several matters, however, impel me to make some remarks on the measure before the Hduse.

In the first place, I am one of the members of this House who have had the honour of serving at the front and who know something about the conditions there, and one of the reasons why I desire to speak in favour of the Bill is that it was intimated to me that I was opposed to some of its principles. To remain silent would perhaps lead to a wrong construction being placed on my attitude. In the second place, there have been introduced, in connection with this measure some objections which, to my mind, have not yet been satisfactorily answered. Having a little time on my hands I took the trouble to look up the authorities, if possible, to controvert statements made by hon. gentlemen opposite.

This is one of the greatest questions that have occupied the attention of this House since Confederation. We have had many momentous questions under discussion, but we have never before had such a war as this one, and we have never before had to discuss the question of conscripting the manhood of the country for the purposes of the war.

The House must be complimented upon the moderate tone of the principal speeches that have been delivered oji this question, and it is my intention to discuss this subject with similar moderation. After all, nothing is, to be gained by abuse, strong language or threats, because there is a little too much cold spring water running in the veins of the average Canadian for him to allow anybody to bluff or scare him with loud talk. Whatever we are going to do here, we are going to do it, and the laws we shall pass here must be observed.

I wish to point out to the House first some matters in connection with the war. There is no use in feeling any bitterness nor in stirring up any dissension over things that have occurred. Human nature is not infallible; none of us is infallible; the Government is not infallible. Some very grave mistakes have been made by every Government concerned in this war. The British Government has made a number of almost vital mistakes. For instance, the mistake was made of ordering that only 150,000 men should be sent to Europe in this war. Other mistakes of a similar character have been made by almost all the Allies with the exception of the French who seem to have been prepared for every eventuality. The last great mistake was made by Russia, and the one previous to that by Rumania. Therefore, there is no use harping upon what this Government has done in the past, because the Government, according to its own light, has been intent upon bringing this war to a success-full conclusion. We have it on the authority of the greatest orator the world has yet produced that a man is not to be blamed if he should make a mistake in trying to do good, because it is better to make a mistake in trying to do good than to do nothing at all.

We all remember very well when the House met immediately after the opening of the war, how enthusiastically we pledged

our manhood to the service of the cause. The war at the front has continued, and our men have gone over there and have distinguished themselves above, I may say, all other armies to-day in the field. That is something we never expected they would do when they left this country. Our forces have been augmented from time to time as the occasion arose, various methods being adopted by different nations to raise their armies. We have raised our quota of 400,000 odd men so far by the voluntary system. When I returned to Canada, the voluntary system adopted was being used with great enthusiasm to raise a large force to take part in this war, and we were exceedingly successful. The methods of recruiting adopted then were common sense methods, and I am very sorry that they were departed from in any way, but circumstances always bring about changes. Members of Parliament and the business men of the country then joined together and formed recruiting committees and raised this great army which we have to-day at the front. Unfortunately, some people are anxious to get into the public eye, and there came then into the recruiting game certain elements that might very well have been left out. The matter was left in their weak hands, and the business men virtually departed from the scene to take up other lines of effort, and to-day we find that recruiting is not being carried on very successfully. There, is no question, however, that Canada has no reason to be ashamed of the results achieved under the voluntary system. The greatest authorities on war, Clausewitz, Van der Goltz and other writers like Hambly, lay down the principle that if a country raises one in seventeen of its population for the purpose of a war, it is doing very well, and before this war in Europe, they did not expect any

nation would raise any more than

that proportion. Canada has if any- [DOT] thing, exceeded that ratio. We have every reason to be proud of the efforts that have been put forth. Unfortunately the wastage of mein is very great. Our troops axe so gallant that they are used as shook troops, attacking troops, and they occasionally lose large numbers of men. They axe, however, always successful, and this country has good reason to be proud that our troops have conquered the best troops that Europe has ever produce.

The fact remains that this war is lasting much longer than any of us expected. When I stated in this House about a year ago that this war would last another two years, an incredulous smile, as much as to say: " He

does not know what he is talking about," appeared on the faces of most of the members, and some of them told me that the war would not last so long. We have only reached, in this war, a stage now where our troops are beginning to win. Every one who has been in the field knows exactly what the circumstances were when we went there first. We were too good, too true and too loyal to tell the people the great difficulties they laboured under. The British Government was hesitating wihat to do in the case,'and no action could be got in any manner, shape or form by the late Administration under Mr. Asquith, who has been quoted so glibly by this House and who left his troops in France very much to their own resources. The great leader of the popular cause in. England, Kitchener, whose works have lived after him, and whom history will place in the foremost rank of great Englishmen, stated that the wax would last three yeaxs and the people did not believe him. He also stated that this wax was one of attrition, that means a wax of wearing down. We knew that when we went into the trenches, it did not take long to realize that the British were suffering most of the attrition. That time is now past, and we can now review the early course of the war without being under the ban of the censor. So far as attrition was concerned, we were losing from shell fire every day in the week during all the time we were there, three men to every one lost by the Germans. We felt the lack of guns, machine guns and ammunition. The first time a man went into the trenches and saw the German flares that were being thrown up by the thousands while the British had none, he realized what he was up against. Those days have gone by; we have secured the ascendancy now, but the more men we put into the field, the more men we shall have to fill up the gaps, and the sooner we will win. Even when our troops are not in action, two or three men on an average each day go down under shell fire, so that when a man has been in the trenches for seven months, it is understood that he is living on borrowed time.

We must raise more troops and we cannot wait until next year to raise them. It will take from six to nine months to train them, and they will be urgently needed about the beginning of next year. Are we to withdraw our troops? That would be universally regarded as a disgrace to our people. Consequently, the Government is compelled to adopt other methods than

the voluntary system in order to raise these troops. While the voluntary system had its advantages, any one who has served with men in the front line trenches must Tealize after a very few days' experience the unfairness of volunteering. Young men are with you there, the

flower of our country. There are married men there, who have left in this country families of small children, men who should never have gone to the war at all. As commanding officer I have received letters- and I am only one of many-letters from children whose fathers were serving with me, asking and praying me to look after their " daddy " that he might be spared to come back home to them. One cannot but be touched by that, and cannot but Tealize the injustice of a system that takes the father of small children out to serve in the trenches for three or four years while leaving young men at home in the billiard and pool rooms of the country, who give no consideration to the war except that war times enables them to earn wages of four or five dollars a day. Take the case of the only son of a widowed mother. The boy feels called upon as a patriot to go and serve in the war. I have known of such young men being killed. To this day there is one mother who calls me up about once a week ,on the telephone to tell me that she thinks her son is still living, that she has seen a picture of prisoners in Germany and thinks her boy is one of them, and will come back home to her-when I know very well that he will never come back. These are things that appeal to our sense of justice, and make us feel that it is unfair that the willing ones should carry all the burden instead of having that burden distributed fairly among all concerned. Any one who has considered the French method of conscription must come to the conclusion that it is the right method.

So, the Government was face to face with the question of raising more men. No more can be got by the voluntary system. Some hon. members have asked that another campaign under the voluntary system should be carried on. The members from the province of Quebec have made that appeal. Will they assure us that inside of sixty days they can raise 25,000 troops by the voluntary system? If they will rise in their places and say that, I will be one to favour suspending the Bill until that. course has been tried. But we have no absolute assurance that they will raise a single man mere by the voluntary system in any part of the country. So the Government has come to

the conclusion that some law must be put into force to bring forward another quota of men.

Face to face with the issue, there were four courses open to the choice of the Government. The first was a cowardly one- to fold theiT hands and do nothing. Thank goodness, the Government saw its duty in this matter. As well as I can see, the Government has been true to its duty from the beginning of the war, and under very difficult circumstances. Nothing has been done, good or bad, that has not been criticised in the most violent manner. Members supporting the Government have been compelled to sit back and take no part in politics. The most trying thing that troops have to undergo is to lie in the open and be subject to shell and rifle fire, and not return the fire. That is the position in which the supporters of the Government have been since the war 'began. We all know the difficulties we have had to contend with, the violence of the attacks made upon us, not only the members of the Government but those on this side of the House especially who have seen it their duty to take part in the war. But that is a matter that we can pass over. The Government has decided not to fold its hands and send no more men to the front. It has come forward determined to pass a measure of conscription. True, this measure has been before the House for some time. And it is a fortunate thing in my opinion that this measure has been before the House for a few weeks. The people have been reading about this Bill and trying to find out what objections there are to the principle of it, and no objections have been raised except imaginary ones. Not one single objection has been raised that could be backed up by authority or precedent, which are the great guides for the work of this House.

The second course open to the Government would be to assume the responsibility of conscription itself-that is, to enforce the Militia Act. There can be no doubt that a construction can be placed upon the Militia Act under which the Government would be authorized to raise the necessary quota without coming to Parliament. There is room under the clauses of that Act for the Government to make regulations and adopt methods of conscription. However, thei Government has seen fit not to take that course, but to adopt the third method, which is to bring the question here and leave to Parliament the responsibility of conscripting the manhood of the country.

The fourth course is that proposed by

hon. gentlemen opposite, to refer the matter to the people in a referendum-some say an election.

The chief objection raised to the present course is one which has been mentioned again and again by speakers ,on the other side of the House, especially by those who speak in French. It is that we are breaking pledges or guarantees made with our compatriots in Quebec at the time of Confederation, to the effect that in case of war we would not have conscription and that they should not be compelled to send their quota to the war. We have been told again and again that we are worse than the Prussians, that we deal with treaties and solemn covenants as " scraps of paper." That point was raised by the hon. member for Kamouraska (Mr. Ernest Lapointe) and also by the leader of the Opposition (Sir Wilfrid Laurier). But not one of these hon. gentlemen has brought forward a single treaty, obligation, or scrap of paper, in the way of any compact before or after Confederation, that we are violating. I challenge them to bring fpr-w,ard a single line, On the other hand, I desire to point out that this very question was up at the time of Confederation. In 1862 a Militia Act was thrown out of the old Parliament of Upper and Lower Canada. The military force of the Crown was as urgent a matter to be dealt with at the time of Confederation as the union of the provinces. For the shadow of a great war was then over the country. We were threatened with invasion by the Fenians. We did not know at what moment fire and sword would be carried all over the provinces.

At that time, when Confederation was under discussion, four of the great men of this country, representing all parties and all races, were appointed by Parliament a delegation to go to England and discuss the terms of the Confederation compact. These men were George Brown, representing the Liberal party, the predecessor of the Tight hon. the Jeader of the Opposition (Sir Wilfrid Laurier), Sir John Macdonald, the leader of the Conservative party; Sir George Etienne Cartier, the great French Canadian and Mr. Galt, who was the best financial authority of his time. These four gentlemen went to England and arrived at an agreement with the British Government upon the terms of Confederation. They embodied the agreement they made with the British Government in a report presented to the Parliament, which report may be found in the Confederation Papers. It is extremely

important for us to know if at the time of that conference it was agreed that the people of Quebec were not liable to serve in case of war. Any pledge that was made to the Mother Country at that time we are entitled to carry out to its fullest extent, because this is the time when our obligations to the Mother Country must be carried out to the letter. I have before me a copy of that report. It will be found in the Sessional Papers of 1868, and it is No. 63. It is addressed to His Excellency the Honourable Viscount Monck, Governor General of British North America; it is signed by these four great fathers of Confederation, and it was presented to the Parliament that formed the union. It is signed by John A. Macdonald, George E. Cartier, George Brown and A. T. Galt, and the date of it is July 12, 1865. What have they to say on this particular question that we are discussing now? They say:

The important question of the future military relations between the Mother Country and Canada received earnest and grave consideration. Before entering on the discussion of details, we referred to the recent debates in the Imperial Parliament on the subject of Canadian defences, and especially to the assertions confidently made by certain members of the House of Commons that Canada was incapable of efficient protection against invasion from her inland border.

Those statements were made in the British House of Commons at that time.

We asked that a report on the whole subject of the defence of Canada, with plans and estimates, might be obtained from the highest military and naval authorities of Great Britain. Such a report was obtained and communicated to us confidentially-and we rejoice to say that it was calculated to remove all doubt as to the security of our country, so long as the hearts of our people remain firmly attached to the British flag, and the power of England is wielded in our defence.

On the part of Canada-

Now, this is the pledge they gave on the part of Canada, and I would like hon. gentlemen to pay particular attention to that pledge:

On the part of Canada we expressed the desire that this plan for the defence of all parts of the province should be taken as the basis of arrangement; and that a full and candid discussion should be had as to the share of the cost that ought to be borne respectively by the Imperial and Provincial Exchequers. We expressed the earnest wish of the people of Canada to perpetuate the happy existing connection with Great Britain, and their entire willingness to contribute to the defence of the Empire their full quota, according to their ability, of men and money.

That, Mr. Speaker, is the pledge that was made to the British Government and to

the British Crown. They did not say that we were going to use our quota and our money for the defence of Canada. They said for the defence of the Empire. Canada was to be prepared at all times to send its quota of men and money for the defence of the Empire. They did not say after a referendum was held they were going to decide whether they would send men and provide money for the defence of the Empire or anything of that kind. Therefore, I say that no other pledge was at or before that time made between the British Government and Canada. Everything we have done since Confederation agrees with that pledge. Sir George E. Cartier, representing the people of Quebec, did not say that they would not agree to that. In fact, no sooner had Confederation been accomplished than the Militia Act was passed. Sir George E. Cartier, in bringing in that Act, put in the very clause that provided that the quota should be permitted to serve in any part of the Empire. That is the reason for the clause that is now in the Militia Act. Therefore, I ask: Who is tearing treaties apart; who is tearing up a "scrap of paper"? Great Britain has gone into this war. What for?-for the maintenance of treaties and of scraps of paper. The French nation has gone into this war for the same reason. Belgium, on oeeount of a "scrap of paper," a treaty, denied the Germans the right to march over her soil, which, if she had permitted, she might have escaped war. Thousands of men's lives have been sacrificed for a "scrap of paper." Yet, such treaties are no more sacred nor binding on these nations and peoples than they are on us, who, through our representatives, agreed to give our quota of men or money for the defence of the Empire. It is very late in the day for hon. gentlemen opposite to come into this House and say that this measure involves a breach of a treaty. It does nothing of the kind. It fulfils a treaty. In passing this law we are implementing our solemn obligations. When they can show any authority, treaty, letter, memorandum or statement by any prominent leader of their race that they were not to support the principle that they were not to take part in the defence of the country or the Empire, it will be time for us to give consideration to their remarks.

The next important question that arises in connection with this measure is that of the method by which the men are to be impressed and embodied. It is said by

the leader of the Opposition that conscription is a new word in Britain. At page 2499 of Hansard we find that the right hon. gentleman said:

"Conscription is a new word in Britain."


But Sir, it is a principle now admitted that if any new question comes up during the regime of a parliament, a question that would vastly change the whole condition of things in the country,-then under such circumstances it is preferable to have a dissolution and to have the people pass upon it.

I must compliment the hon. member for Kamouraska (Mr. Lapointe) on the excellent moderation and tone of his speech, which, I think, had he not argued from false premises, would have been a very sound pronouncement indeed. But he did not know about this convention which was entered into between the representatives of Canada and the British Government, and therefore his reasoning was defective. This is what he said:

I also oppose this Bill because it involves a radical and most serious change in our constitutional relations-

That does not sound very much like the quotation I gave to this House a few minutes ago.

-and constitutes a departure from well-known principles agreed to by all parties aa to the constitution of this Confederation. '

I think I have obliterated that argument. I do not think tha/t the hon. member for Kamouraska can deny the facts contained in the report presented to the Government and Parliament of Canada by Macdonald, Brown, Galt and Cartier as to our pledges to the Mother Country.

Now, Sir, let me enumerate the other points urged against the Bill by the speakers opposed to it.

(1) That conscription or the impressment of men to serve in the army is a new thing in British law.

(2) That to compel men so conscripted to serve outside their country is a new principle.

(3) That selective draft is a new method of taking a quota of men to serve in the army, and that this method might prove unreliable and unjust.

Of course there are a number of other petty arguments which are not aimed at the fundamental principles of this Bill.

This Bill is now at its second reading and there are undoubtedly some clauses in it that may be open for discussion; and I feel satisfied that the Government will be very glad to have it fairly criticised by

members opposite and by all the members of this House, so that the result may be a really good Bill which will be a great credit to Canada. Sir, this country should act in all things in a way worthy of the men who are fighting for it at the front. Let us hope that eventually we shall pass such a Bill that will be regarded by future generations as a credit to the members of this Parliament.

But, Sir, we must meet the arguments which are advanced. The only question we can discuss at this stage is the fundamental principle of the Bill which is the question now before the House. Possibly we may not agree on some of its minor provisions. Whilst some opposition may be raised to some of the clauses of the Bill, what we are now about to vote upon is the principle contained in it, which is that this House should pass a conscription law.

The first objection I have mentioned is that this is a new law in Great Britain. I have taken considerable trouble to look up the law of Britain on the subject. I am not a lawyer, and there are several branches of law about which I do not know much. Legal members of this House have to deal with the civil law, the criminal law, the Code and various other laws; but the majority of the legal members of this House have had no occasion to read up military law or to trouble themselves with it unless they are soldiers, because the military code is very simple and is enforced by officers who in most cases are not lawyers. I have had to read up the military law and to study it because I had to administer it not only in camp and in civilian communities but also in the field. So I have had to study the military code and to know something of its history. The hon. members who have advanced the argument that a conscription law is a new thing in Great Britain, have not quoted one statute, law, treaty or precedent to support their arguments. It has been assumed by the great majority of them that the voluntary system was the primary law of England and had always been the law, from time immemorial. In taking up the question I wish to quote the authorities, even although some of them may be rather dull. The authorities I have selected can be found in almost any public library. They are the following: Stubbs' Constitutional History, a very popular work; Hallam's Constitutional History, also a very well known work. Taswell Langmead's Constitutional History; Clode's Military Forces of the Crown;

Grose's Military Antiquities; Scott's History of the British Army; Lingard's History of England; Prof. Oman's History of the Art of War; Howell's State Trials (Ship Money case); also the ancient and modern statutes and journals of the British House of Commons and documents relating to the early history of the British colonies in North America dealt with by Hertz, ''The Old Colonial System," a Manchester university publication. References to the ancient military laws will also be found in Coke on Littleton, and also in Blackstone. When the hon. member who preceded me argued that the British subject, on account of receiving protection from the State, must also defend the State, he was only quoting principles laid down in Blackstone and all the ancient legal books that he no doubt studied. He did not know that that is today the law of England.

Turning to the history of English military forces, there is one military force that has always existed, and that is the general levy. Before the conquest, every man capable of bearing arms and of military age, when the King summoned him, should go to what was known as the fyrd or the gathering of his county, with his arms, and go out in defence of his country. That is a law dating back beyond any written record. At the time of the Norman kings that law was enforced, and a general levy existed alongside the feudal levy given by men in England that is military service for rent. The general levy was called out in Norman times on several occasions. The first time it was called out by William II at Hastings in 1094. He intended to cross over to France to carry on war, and summoned a general levy of the people to go and serve. They were dismissed, however, without going across. There is no question that the statutes I shall quote, covering the period down to the restoration, all deal with this general levy, and show that the general levy was called out again and again, and that the men served in the general levy to fight for the defence of their country. These are the statutes: 13 Edward I, chapter 6; 34 Edward I, chapter 2; 2 Edward II, chapter 3 and chapter 4; Edward IV, chapter 5, section 13; Edward III, chapter 6; 5 Henry IV, chapter

3; 3 Henry VIII, chapter 3; 4

and 5 Phillip and Mary, chapter 2; and 1 Elizabeth, chapter 16. All of those statutes laid down the rule that male inhabitants of England who are called out by general levy must assemble at a certain point to be mentioned in each county and must bring their arms there and be prepared

to serve thek country under their sheriffs and officers. Not only were they brought together in a general levy again >and again, but a quota was taken from this general levy and sent to serve in a foreign country. That was the law down to the Restoration of Charles II. I might say that the long Parliament dealt with this question, and since the Restoration there have been Acts dealing with this levy. For instance, in 1690, on the occasion of the French invasion, a general levy was called. During the rebellion of 1690 and the rebellion of 1745, in which my unfortunate Highland fellow countrymen took part, there were general levies. In 1757 a reorganization of the general levy was mad|e on the basis of the ballot. That is, the ballot was instituted to make the (selection of the quota from the general levy. In 1773 a motion was made in Parliament to suspend the ballot for the Militia. This was defeated. From 1815 on, the militia was allowed to fall into abeyance. Although the standing army was maintained the annual training of the levy was suspended. However, that old law is still continued in Great Britain annually by what is known as the Expiring Laws Continuance Act. I have here the latest copy of the Manual of the Military law of Britain, dated 1914, which I carried with me in the trenches. On page 164 of that manual there is a clause dealing with the general levy in which it says that:

Although the feudal levy was abolished in 1660, the liability to serve in the general levy has never been extinguished, and remains not only in constitutional theory but also on the statutory, and practical form, of liability to serve both in the general and the local militia."

That is the law in England to-day, that is conscription so that conscription is not " a new word in Britain". The reason that, in England, they had to pass a conscription (measure was that, about 1907, Lord Haldane, then Secretary for War, introduced and had passed through Parliament a law which provided for the reorganization of the army undeT what was known as the Territorial System. The militia battalions were embodied in this/ territorial system, and the Territorial Act, which is the Act now in force in England, contained a clause that the militia battalions of the territorial army should not have to serve abroad. When this war broke out a number of those battalions were called out. Some of the militia, and the yeomanry refused to volunteer to go abroad. The British Government laid down the law to these territorial battalions, and they said, " You will do either .one of two things: you will volunteer for service in France, or you will disband " Those who volunteered to serve in France were accepted and embodied as Imperial battalions, and those who refused to serve abroad were disbanded. I may say, Sir, that, as far as this country is concerned, under the present Militia Act, certain regiments and certain men are sworn in, and if we accept the dictum laid down by hon. gentlemen opposite that men who are serving under the Militia Act are not entitled or cannot be compelled to serve abroad, , then these militiamen will all escape service in France. I understand a number of men joined the Canadian defence force on the understanding that they would not serve abroad, and they can hold the Government to its contract.

The standing army of England was. nearly always secruited by the voluntary system. That army was composed of paid men, and dates back to the time of the-French wars when the Free Companies were recruited in Europe by certain individuals, and .these men signed a contract to fight for certain, individuals or countries. Every soldier that is enlisted to-day in the Canadian Expeditionary Force is a hired soldier. I might say that European conscripts affect to despise hired soldiers. The Germans call them mercenary. They say we are hired to kill. There is no doubt in. the world that every soldier who has been enlisted in this country under the so-called voluntary system is a descendant of the mercenary or free companies. The contract is placed in his hand and it is called an " attestation paper." He swears to that contract, and he signs his name on it, and if he is brought before the court martial at the front, or in this country, if he wishes to deny the right of the commanding officer to try him he can say: " Produce the attestation paper," and they cannot try him by court martial or military law unless a copy of that contract is produced. The men who have enlisted in the standing army were always volunteers. That law only dates back a little over two hundred years. The voluntary system is thus a recent enactment as far as the army is concerned. It is a new system and it is not the fundamental basis of the English army. It was first adopted by the militia in 1758, and in that year a law was passed allowing a certain number of men to volunteer to serve in the militia or general levy. In 1810 volunteering was again allowed in the militia, and the volun-

teer system of 1852 was made the only system permissible under that Act as far as the militia of Great Britain is concerned. But the voluntary system is a new system, and for that reason, as far as we are concerned, we have nothing to do with the voluntary system, because we have never had any standing army based on the voluntary system as they have it in Great Britain. We have only had militia raised by volunteering or the ballot.

Another argument is raised against serving outside of the country. Whether troops are entitled to be impressed and taken out of the country is a question which has arisen, in connection with this bill and it is well for us to deal with that historically. The general levy of all the male population were compelled by law to serve out of the country. A quota fought at Cressy and at Agineourt. Objection was sometimes taken against the feudal levy serving outside the Kingdom, but there is no question that according to English law troops to serve abroad could be taken from the general levy. A quota from the general levy was taken abroad as early as the reign of Edward I. They called a general levy together, and they selected a number of men from the general levy, and sent them over to fight their battles in France. Again and again they were called together. In the reign of Elizabeth and the reign of Henry VIII the general levy had to furnish a quota for foreign wars. In the time of Queen Elizabeth it became an established prerogative of the British Crown that it was entitled to call a general levy and select or press a number of men to serve in the army and navy abroad. In fact, at the time of Charles I. the same question arose, and that was one of the difficulties mentioned in the Petition of Eights.

I come now to the question of the selective draft, and after I have dealt with that and shown you that that is a very old law indeed, you will see how it came about. The selective draft, dates very far back. In Great Britain it was the original system of getting a quota of men for the army from the militia or general levy. The method was this: a certain number of gentlemen were commissioned in each county and each municipality by the Crown, and it was their duty to summon before them all those that should take up arms for the general levy, and they selected a certain number of these men who were supposed to serve in the army, and go and

fM". Currie.]

fight in the defence of their country, or go and fight abroad. This system of taking men became an abuse. These tribunals were called Commissions of a Array, they were subsequently called Commissions of Muster, and succeeding that, instead of having a number of men commissioned in each county, the king appointed one man called the Lord Lieutenant of the county. The Lord's Lieutenant of the county was after the Eestoration appointed by Parliament. Any one who knows England knows who the Lord Lieutenant of the county is.

These Commissioners of Array formed ^ a fruitful source of trouble for the Crown in those days. Shakespeare makes a reference to them, and Falstaff was apparently one of those commissioners. They would pick out a man and say to him: "You have to serve in the general levy." He would say, "I cannot leave my position," and they would say to him, "How much will you pay?" He would pay ten or twenty pounds to escape the levy, and during the reign of Charles I, not only were the men allowed to compound for service, but the counties and boroughs that were supposed to contribute so many men were allowed to compound to the Crown for so much money instead of furnishing the men. That was one of the methods of raising money without the consent of Parliament, and that procedure was petitioned against in the Petition of Right. Falstaff mentions this matter in one of Shakespeare's works, and whilst I am not saying it is the wrong method of raising men, still this House must realize that the selective system must be surrounded by a great many safeguards if we are going to see it carried out successfully, because there is no doubt that if a couple of men on a tribunal wish to be crooked in any part of the country they can release any number of men they wish in the neighbourhood from service in' our army.

Before I proceed further with that, I might say that in choosing the method to select a quota the Government no doubt was influenced by two things. In the first place, they could, as provided in the Militia Act, select these men by a military tribunal. There is no doubt that a military tribunal as described by the hon. gentleman from Moosejaw in his speech today, going into a strange section of the country to pick out men would be a very disagreeable way of making the selection. That would have been the method under the old Militia Act. But the method chosen

here is also the method adopted by the United States, and no doubt adopted for the purpose of leaving the method of selecting the men in the hands of a civilian body, so that it would not be subject to the same objection as if they were selected by military tribunals. My own idea is that the military tribunal and any tribunal appointed for the purpose of selecting the men should only be allowed to recommend the exemption of conscripts. All the exemptions should be passed upon and confirmed by higher authority. This is what Falstaff says; evidently he himself was one of the Commissioners of Array. In those days the tribunals engaged in selecting men for the army were made up of pretty crooked men. In Henry IV, Act II, Falstaff says:

I have misused the King's press damnably.

I have got in exchange of one hundred and fifty soldiers, three hundred and odd pounds.

I press me none hut good householders, yeomans' sons, inquire me out contracted bachelors, such as had been twice asked in banns, such a commodity of warm slaves as had as leave hear the devil as a drum; such as fear the report of a Culverin worse than a struck deer or a hurt wood-fowl . . . and theyhave bought out their services, and now my whole charge consists of . . . such as indeed were never soldiers, but discarded unjust serving men, younger sons of younger brothers, revolted tapsters, and ostlers trade fallen; cankers of a calm world and a long peace. Ten times more dishonourably ragged than an old faced ancient. And such have I to fill up the room of them that have bought out their services, that you would think I had one hundred and fifty tattered prodigals lately come from swine keeping. Nay, and the villians march wide betwixt the legs as if they had gyves on, for indeed I had most of them out of prison. ,

So you see that there is very little new in the world. The Government will have its hands full when it endeavours to carry out any law in such a way as to meet all the circumstances of the case and at the same time please everybody.

In 1898 the English Militia Act was amended so as to allow the militia to serve outside of Great Britain. For about eighty years previous to that time, it was not allowed to do that. When we raise the point that the militia should not serve outside of this country, we are raising a question which never arose under conditions similar to those which prevail to-day. When England was at war she did not hesitate to levy on the whole male population, to fight in France or in any part of Europe. She has done that now; it is the fundamental law.

The question may now be asked: have we any precedent for sending militia out

of the country? Have we, it may be asked, precedent for sending the Canadian militia out of the country for the defence of the Empire, leaving out altogether the promise made by Sir George E. Cartier, Sir John A. Macdonald and all the great Can adian leaders of that day, that Canada would give her quota of men and money for the defence not of Canada, but of the Empire? " Quota " means the selection of men who are able to serve: it wmuld be applied to the men called out to serve under this Act. Is there anything to show that the Colonial militia was ever employed outside of the colony concerned? Any one who reads the history of the Colonial provinces to the south before the great rebellion against English rule knows that those provinces sent their militia away to fight in Canada and elsewhere. When the British were besieging Carthagena in Central America, the colonial provinces- they were not then known as States-sent

4,000 men to fight under General Vernon to assist in siege and capture of that stronghold. Those who read history know that the Colonial militia was sent to take part in the siege of Louisburg. No one could argue that the militia sent out by the colonies in what is now the United States were only sent to fight in territory which was " contiguous " to the borders of their own country. The Virginia militia fought in Canada; Virginia was a sovereign province in those days, so was Pennsylvania, yet they sent men and spent money to fight not only in Canada but in Cape Breton as well. These are well known facts, so that we are not propounding a new principle or establishing a new law to say that the men of Canada should or could be conscripted to serve outside of Canada. But, Sir, that law was established at the time of Confederation. When the project of Confederation was being brought about, a pledge was given to the British Government by Brown, Macdonald, Cartier and Galt. Let me quote it again:

We express the earnest wish of the people of Canada to perpetuate the happy existing connection with Great Britain and their entire willingness to contribute to the defence of the Empire their full quota, according to their ability of men and money.

Who can deny the right of this Parliament to conscript a quota to "contribute to the defence of the Empire," in view of this most solemn treaty and pledge ever given by any public men in this country? This was the pledge given by a committee representing the Parliament of Canada, a com-

mittee that said to the British Government: we are at all times prepared to give our quota of men and money for the defence of the Empire. Not for the defence of Canada, mark you: for the defence of the Empire. No public man, no state, and no Parliament has since endeavoured to change that pledge. It has never been repudiated. If I represented or spoke for any section of the community that did not desire to be bound by that pledge I would feel heartily ashamed of myself. But every section of the country was bound; Quebec was solemnly bound on that occasion by Sir George E. Cartier. This pledge was implemented by the Militia Act passed by Sir George E. Cartier after Confederation, which provided that Canada's quota should be

50,000 men. Canada was only a small country at that time. Great Britain promised Canada that if Canada were invaded she would come to her assistance. Even at that time Canada was threatened with invasion; a hostile force invaded her territory in the following year. There were some little Englanders in the British House of Commons at that time, who said: what is the use of defending a few acres of snow? What is the use of spending time and wasting money in the defence of Canada? Let it go ! But the British Government gave their pledge that they would defend Canada, just as they had previously pledged themselves to defend Belgium. To-day they are fighting for Belgium in fulfilment of that pledge, and tomorrow they would fight for Canada in fulfilment of the pledge given to us. Should we, therefore, not carry out our pledge?

I have given all the authorities bearing on this phase of the matter. I have quoted the law, although I am not a lawyer, and I do not think any hon. gentleman opposite who oppose the Bill can show that the position they have taken is correct, according to law or precedent.

An hon. gentleman who sits on one of the front benches opposite

he is not here at present-wants to conscript the wealth of the country. Our Minister of Finance has given an example to all countries in the matter of enabling a country to carry lightly the burden of a great war. He has shown that with proper financial management and with proper guidance of the people we can finance our part in the war ourselves, and that our people are ready at all times to produce millions of money for the carrying on of the war.

Every one knows that the reason we succeeded in the war which we waged a hundred years ago against Napoleon was because

Pitt made war pay, and when all other countries of Europe were starving fox want of money and for lack of supplies, the English treasury was full of gold, and her supplies were ample. Her factories were never as busy as they were then, and never in the history of England was her business in such ia fine state as it was at that time. Lloyd George has followed the example of the great Pitt in endeavouring to make this war pay, and since he took charge of the Government of Britain, a great change has taken place there. For about a week after the war started, the only bank in England that paid out gold for its obligations was the Bank of Montreal of Canada. The Bank of England and the other great English bank's suspended gold payments, but neither before nor since the commencement of the war has the Bank of Montreal suspended gold payments, and that is .a great compliment to .the financial strength of this country. The Minister of Finance has carried on. the business affairs of this country with a great deal of wisdom. But there are those who say: Oh, tax

tax, more tax, let us have some more taxes. The more taxes you raise, the more money you will squander. All that is needed is enough money to pay for the obligations of the Government, and if we have other obligations later on, we shall bring more taxes forward.


John Hampden Burnham

Conservative (1867-1942)


Why do that?


John Allister Currie

Conservative (1867-1942)


Do you want to starve

people by taxing them to the limit?


John Hampden Burnham

Conservative (1867-1942)


Why do you do it?


John Allister Currie

Conservative (1867-1942)


I am going to tell you,

if you will wait a minute. One set of people cry out against the Government because they do not tax land. In the last resort we might have to tax land. At one time England had to tax land two shillings an acre, but how would the farmers throughout this country feel if this Government were to tax their land fifty cents an acre? You would have a rebellion, and not an hon. member here who would advocate that policy at the present time if the money was not wanted, would be re-elected. I am satisfied, however, that if the money was required fox the war, that every farmer in this country would be willing to pay as much as a dollar an acre for the protection of the Empire. What is the need for such a tax? The Minister of Finance has not yet shown that his balance is on the wrong side. His surplus is ample. He has no deficit, nor is the country bankrupt.

On the contrary, he shows a large surplus that is capable of paying both the needed principal and the interest on all the obligations of the country every year, even during the war. Then why do hon. gentlemen want more taxes?

Another set of hon. members want an income tax. Some of us have read Sterne's Sentimental Journey, in which he says every little while: "Oh, they do things better or differently in France." Many hon. members in this country say: Oh, they do it better in England; they do it differently in England. We all acknowledge that an income tax is one method of raising a revenue; the question is whether such a method is expedient at the present time. At this time those who are entirely dependent upon their incomes need all their money because things were never so high in value as they are just now. Then why do hon. members want to impose a tax on those people now? Why not wait and see if this -war lasts another year or another two years? We may have to come to an income tax, but there is time enough for that. Keep cool.

Other hon. members want to conscript wealth. Conscription of wealth is a fine expression. Do they want conscription of wealth to be by a general levy, or do they want a selective process? If they want a general levy, we have that already, because every one, if he wears clothes or buys anything that is brought into the country, is paying his particular tax at the present time; we are all equal before the law. Do they want selective conscription? Yes, they want selective conscription of wealth; they want the monied people to pay. I have been dabbling in history, and I have been looking up to see if conscription of wealth is a new thing. I find it is a very old thing; it dates back to the time of Henry VIII. At that time, they wanted to be select in their conscription of wealth, and. they conscripted the wealth of the churches, and that gave them enough money to go on with; the Crown was satisfied. In France, they were face to face with bankruptcy when they called the Assembly of Louis XIV together. In that assembly there was a party headed by Robespierre, Marat and Danton, who were crying continually for the conscription of wealth. The great Mirabeau stood against that idea. In one of his greatest speeches he said that they had no right to select a rich man and to take everything he had and to cast him out in order that

the State should have money with which to carry on its business to avoid bankruptcy. But he died, and what was the result? The others had their way; they erected a knife, the guillotine, and they took the rich and wealthy and beheaded them and seized their money. They conscripted the money and estates of the church first and in that way the State was able, under those beautiful - Republican gentlemen, to carry on its business for a year or two longer. Is that the kind of conscription of wealth that is necessary here? There are, in this country, many very wealthy, religious institutions which are controlled by lovable religious gentlemen who have never contributed a cent of their own wealth. They have dreamed their lives away, doing good deeds and the very increment of time has made them controllers of the richest corporations in the country.


An hon. MEMBER:

They do not pay taxes.


John Allister Currie

Conservative (1867-1942)


I do not know anything about that, but if hon. members are going to conscript wealth, they would he con. scripted first. That is the cry of the Red Republicans. The Reds in Russia to-day want to conscript wealth, also in Mexico, the authorities aTe conscripting wealth, the wealth of the church, toy the same method. The moment you acknowledge that principle and you do away with the constitutional .safe-guards which Parliament throws around money and wealth and the property of every one in this country, in that moment you are going to have a breakdown of society and a reproduction of what I have described. I3 that the condition of things hon. gentlemen want in the neighbouring province? That is the actual state of affairs that they may have to face when they conscript wealth.

A good deal has been said about conscripts, and one would think that under this measure we are not going to secure any conscripts from Quebec. I have had the pleasure of having a number of French Canadians serve under me in this war. I have seen them in action and in peace, and every one that I have yet had acquaintance with in this war has belied the slurs that have been cast upon French Canadians by hon. gentlemen opposite. Never on any occasion have I seen one of those men falter in the face of the most deadly peril. Never have I seen them anything but happy under the most terrible conditions of mud and climate. They never fail; they are brave 5ghters. Can you tell me that men of that

calibre are cowards and are going to refuse to serve their country if they are conscripted? That is unbelievable to me, and it is an insult to those people. According to Julius Caesar, when the call went forth for the Gaelic race, from which those men have sprung, to gather to the war, the last man who arrived on the scene was killed by his comrades for being late. Do you mean to tell me that people derived from that race are not capable of doing their duty and going to the war just the same as we are? It is an insult to them to say otherwise. I know that a few agitators in Quebec have been constantly grumbling and growling, saying that they should sever the British connection and making other statements of that nature, but they are men . who have no standing in the country. There is a good deal of rich red blood in the veins of the people of Lower Canada. There is in that province a large element of cool-tempered, level-headed men just as there is in the neighbouring province of Ontario. The men from both those provinces have gone over the ridge at Vimy; they have never hesitated to go over the top, and when men of that breed are called upon to be conscripted, well, there may be small riots here and there, but they will serve. Why there was a riot at Camp Borden last year amongst the volunteers from Ontario who wanted to sit around the hotels in the cities instead of drilling and serving at the front. Those things occur, but the great body of the people of the two provinces are determined to carry out the pact which is the keystone of the edifice of Confederation. They occasionally have their quarrels just as a young wife and her husband sometimes have a little spat; sometimes an outcry arises in the house, but they do not want Bourassa as a divorce court lawyer; they are not having a divorce just yet, and this war will be finished and hon. gentlemen who have told us in this House that we are going to have internal strife, will feel heartily ashamed of themselves and of their speeches when they see them in future years in Hansard.

But, Mr. Speaker, we have had the example of men wanting to get the provinces into war before now. In Ontario they raised a row, about 1837. Great leaders went all over the country on horseback to call the people to arms against the 'Family Compact, and all that sort of thing. Very brave men, these politicians. At the same time a 6imilar agitation was going on in Lower Canada. But I want to assure you, fM". Currie.l

Mr. Speaker, that when the first gun wmt, off, you could not see the heels of these politicians for dust. They all fled to the States, and it took about ten or fifteen years to rehabilitate them and attach any semblance of heroism to their deeds. Bus there is no United States to fly to now, gentlemen. There is only Iceland that these people can go to if they start a small war, and that is a great distance off. The common sense of Quebec, the influence of the men of Quebec who are doing their duty in the trenches is against this agitation; the men who represent the solid Quebec, pay nc attention to it all. They have this agitation constantly with them. It is a phase of our era, just as we have it in the province of Ontario. Why, Sir, you would think to hear them, that the Liberal party was going to eat the whole Tory party of Ontario at one gulp-until there is an election, and then they go back and sit down for another six months. And it will :be the same in Quebec.

A referendum is proposed. Once I vo!ed in this House for a referendum. It was on the navy question. After studying the Con federation papers, after considering the terms of the contract between English and French Canada, I made up my mind that this Canadian navy question was a new question introduced into Parliament. Under the bargain made with the British Government the maritime defence of Canada was taken charge of by Great Britain, and we took charge of our own land defence. But if there was to be an independent navy in thi6 country, and not a quota added to the British navy, the proper procedure, to my mind, was a referendum or an election. This question stirred up trouble because we were told even then that if the German navy came up the St. Lawrence it was a question whether the Canadian navy would fire on them or not. However, we let these little jokes pass. The proposal then before us, I thought, should go to a vote. But as to the Bill before this House, I have hunted up the authorities, and I do not find one instance, from the beginning of the British Parliament, in which a question of this kind was submitted to a referendum. Where are you going to find a precedent? In these matters Parliament has always governed, and we are only re-enacting here to-day laws that have been re-enacted again and again on the statute-books of England for over a thousand years. It has been an established principle that every man in England, or in the colonies, capable

of bearing -arms should come to the gathering and be counted one of the men for the defence of his country. That is what we are re-enacting.

I wish t.o again emphasize the pledge that I have already read on the part of Canada's representatives to perpetuate the happy existing connection with Great Britain and our declaring our willingness to contribute to the defence of the Empire-not of Canada only-our full quota of men and money. The men of this country have had a referendum before them, under the voluntary system, for over two years. Every young man of military age who wished to vote and was in favour .of the voluntary system as against conscription was free to volunteer. There is nothing to keep these young fellows from volunteering to-day. Another hon. member has asked: How can you go to the trenches with a referendum? He was quite correct. There are many good Canadians in France to-day with little white crosses over their heads. How are you going to get them to vote on this question. Do you not think they were entitled to have a say? I prefer to speak on behalf of these men from Canada who have died for the Empire, to give my vote on their hehal-f in favour of this Bill now-I will assume that responsibility.

Another says: Appeal for more volunteers But we have appealed for volunteers, and no person who has had experience with the voluntary system in the front line of trenches would say that it is a just system. I wish to repeat and emphasize that. There are men here at home who should be serving, and there are men in the trenches who get no respite -from their labours. It has been denied that there is any necessity for men. The hon. member who proceded me quoted figures and said: You have to show me that there is this necessity for men. Another hon. gentleman said this afternoon that there is no necessity for more men in the trenches. I have seen Canadian troops holding lines for three days, and every hour they were told -assistance was coming. And, while holding these positions they lost not only ten per cent, of their numbers, but twenty per cent, thirty, forty per cent, and the last men put in were the cooks and the orderlies, and still there were sixty per cent of casualties for our First Division in those first great days of the fight at St. Julien- over 9,000 casualties out of fourteen thousand -bayonets. These casualties rolled up while these men were holding the lines and waiting for succour. At last a British division came up, composed of men who had

never fired a shot in their lives. Tell me that we did not need more men! We need more men at the front to-day, because day after day men are going into the trenches who have gone there day after day since the First Division went over. In my old battalion there is a quartermaster-sergeant, now regimental quartermaster-sergeant, who has never failed since we went to the trenches to go up with food for his men. Men are fighting there who are not allowed to sleep. At night they are not permitted, and there are many men-even strong men -who are so constituted that they cannot sleep in the daytime. Their reason ultimately gives way. Do they need a rest, or reliefs? The other troops get their regular leave. Of the English troops, rvery man is given ' leave once in every so many months, that he may go back home and see his own people. The same is true of the French; the poilu goes home to kiss his mother and meet his loved ones at stated times. But the Canadian does not come back home; there is only one thing that sends him -home and that -is a wound that incapacitates him for further service, or a wooden cross. If the wound is severe enough it means that he stays in France forever. Is it right that this country should leave its men in that position? It is terrible ! You want delay; that is what Germany wants you to do. I do not want conscription. If it comes to a matter of personal desire, there is no man in this House who knows better the horrible conditions to which we are committing men under conscription than I do. I have seen men torn to pieces; I have seen them writhing in their death agony, men with whom I was speaking but a moment before.

I myself would be against conscription but the necessity of the case demands that we must send men. Our first duty is to those who serve. Whatever my personal objections may be, I must oast these aside. I have every pity, every regard for the conscript. -In France a conscript is regarded as a holy person. I consider a conscript a man- who is consecrated for service to his country. He is worthy of all our sympathies. We should be kind to them. No one would think of subjecting men to conscription in this country were it not for the duity that we owe to our troops at the front. Day by day a man has to go into the trenohes with -nobody to relieve him. You heard the figures read here this afternoon by the Parliamentary Secretary of the Department of Militia showing the need of troops at the front.

Somebody .must go over and relieve these poor men who have been there since the beginning of the war. What are you going to do? Can you get men immediately by the voluntary system? No., the necessities of the case demand that we should apply the consoriptive principle. Canadians 'are sent into 'the trenches again and again until their reason often gives way, while the troops of other countries are relieved, Canadian soldiers are too proud to say that they want to come out to be relieved. I have seen a Canadian with his wounds bleeding run away from the hospital at London, go to Folkestone and cross to the assistance of his comrades.

That is .the spirit that Should animate the members of this House at this very minute. Wie should .show that we are capable of some of the sacrifices of these men at the front who are consecrating their lives not only to the service of the Crown but of this country and to the carrying out of these very pledges which were made by the Fathers of Confederation. Let me conjure my friends from Quebec to forget their petty quarrels. There is no one in this country who should have any more personal feeling over the war than I should have about attacks and vile things said about me. Some people have been unkind enough to say something of thia sort about the French Canadians. Let us settle all these petty, little things when the war is over. Let us unite now. Those who have served with the French Canadians know what they are worth and they want more of them. For this reason I say to those men in the province of Quebec: cease this agitation that is going to bring about so much unhappiness in this country. Let us not tear up this " scrap of paper," let us not be Prussians, and violate the pledge that was made at Confederation to the British people. Let me read once more this pledge:

We expressed the earnest wish of the people of Canada to perpetuate the happy existing connection with Great Britain, and their entire willingness to contribute to the defence of the Empire their full quota, according to their ability, of men and money.

That pledge was given on behalf of Canada by Sir John Macdonald, Sir George E. Cartier, George Brown and A. T. Galt and the pledge has never been violated nor has it been rescinded from that day to this. Let this House and the people of this country now cease their quarrelling and fighting for the present and unite in a manly determination to carry out this pledge.

Mr. LUCIEN T. PACAUD (Megantic): Mr. Speaker, I would surely consider myself lacking in a most solemn duty if I did not avail myself of this opportunity of expressing most frankly the views I entertain on what I consider the greatest measure ever presented to this Parliament. I appreciate, Sir, to the fullest the keen sense of responsibility which rests upon every hon. member of this House in dealing with a question which far surpasses in its consequences the course of our ordinary legislation. May this acknowledgment on my part be sufficient to assure the House that however strong may be my objections to this Bill no word of mine will intentionally at least carry with it the sting of bitterness or of passion. The words that the right hon. the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Borden) uttered a few months ago in this Hoiuse, in .announcing to an unsuspecting people the intention of the Government to enact and enforce the conscription of man power in this country had barely fallen from Ihis lips, when we were all of us witnesses of the intense excitement and deep feelings which these words and this new policy had aroused from one extremity of this country to the other. We heard the rising clamour of those who on the one hand gave expression of their views in favour of this measure. We heard the still more vigorous protests of those who on the other hand were strongly opposed to it. Through this issue, thrown so suddenly into our national arena, we clearly saw emerging from what was up to that time a united nation, the very keynote of our splendid efforts for three years, a national crisis not only acute in its present form but still more dangerous in its possibilities. This is the actual and unfortunate situation in which we find ourselves to-day. I do not wish to exaggerate its seriousness, nor do I wish to minimize its true meaning, but I feel that the hour is sufficiently grave to justify us in scrutinizing these events with an open eye and unprejudiced mind.

Were I to put in simple form what I conscientiously believe is at the very root of the present agitation throughout Canada, I would do so in these words: We are fighting for liberty abroad; we do not wish to surrender it at home. It is from this standpoint that I have endeavoured to form my judgment as to the merits of the Bill now before the House. Let us test it from that point of view. Canada has been at war for nearly three years. 'She entered into the struggle freely and willingly. From the very beginning she had a clear conception of what she was fighting for. A great power

had challenged the democracies of the world. There is considerable difference between the two ideals. The allied nations' believed in the liberty of each individual state to live its own life in its own way without any encroachment or interference from its neighbours. On the other hand, the central powers believed and still believe, in the domination by force of one power over the greater portion of the world. In other words, it was the battle of democracy versus autocracy, liberty versus servitude. That being the issue, the Government of the day found the nation at its back. There was no hesitancy, there was no recrimination. As soon as the word was given Canada was united and determined to share in this war and to win it. We all know what this national unity in so far as our participation in the struggle is concerned has achieved for Canada.

Four hundred thousand men have left our shores. What they have done on the battlefield will remain for ever the brightest page of our history. But in this page also, if I may be permitted to say so, can our lesson of to-day be learned and our real mission be unfolded. Let us not forget-I think it is well to remember it especially at this time-that we have achieved our great task because we adopted, from the very beginning, the system of voluntary service. By this system we got the men; by this system we evaded a dangerous controversy as to which course we were to follow in the long and rugged years that were to come. By this system we succeeded in concentrating the minds of the whole people of Canada on the one great issue. Sir, I ask you, prompted in doing so by the one thought which supersedes all others in my mind, had we at that time adopted conscription, if the events of to-day have any meaning, would we have achieved such a splendid success as we have? Would we not have raised a grave domestic question which would have introduced into this -Parliament the deadly poison of class agitation and national unrest? To put the question is to answer it. We would have defeated the very end we had in view. The policy of this country has been at all times the voluntary system.

Mr. BURNHAM; Does the hon. member .mean to assert that the voluntary system allowed people in this country to dispute any law? Is it not the force of overwhelming public opinion, as promulgated by the majority, that rules in this country in everything? _ -


Lucien Turcotte Pacaud



That is why we are for a referendum.


John Hampden Burnham

Conservative (1867-1942)


Then the hon. gentleman would not object to conscription under those circumstances?

Mr. PACAUD; I bow to the will of the majority of the people of Canada. The voluntary system remained the policy of this country from 1914 to 1917. The two leaders of our political parties are on record as having declared in this very House, not longer than a year ago, that there would be no conscription in Canada for overseas service. The feeble rumours which were circulated . at that time throughout the country that conscription was coming had, no doubt, reached their ears. They alike saw the danger. They alike desired to assure the country. They both pledged themselves to a policy of no conscription.

To-day the right hon. leader of the Opposition (Sir Wilfrid Laurier) says: I stand

by my pledge, no conscription until the people have decided upon its principle. The right hon. leader of the Government (Sir Robert Borden) says: Conscription at all costs, conscription right away, conscription behind the people's backs. That is the issue. For myself I, without hesitation, endorse the position taken by my leader, who stands by his pledge, who stands by the people of Canada and who stands by the voluntary system. I stand for the voluntary system. I do not believe it has failed. After listening to the speech of the ex-Minister of Militia (Sir Sam Hughes) I am inclined more than ever to the suggestion that the fault lay with the Government, who lacked the spirit and the power to make it a success. I may be right or I may be wrong in this conclusion, but, whether right or wrong, 1 maintain that the tribunal of last resort to weigh the facts and pass judgment is the people of Canada themselves. Is not our position alike logical and constitutional? I use these words not without a purpose. I heard the Minister of Trade and Commerce (Sir George Foster) reproaching the leader of the Opposition for talking about -the constitution and urging his point in a logical way. He tells us this does not satisfy him. Sir, I am afraid that this war has not taught us all the same lesson. For myself, I believe that if before 1914 we had reason to pin our faith to constitutional methods of Government, we have far more reason to-day to steer still more closely within these lines when we have

had before us for three years the example of an autocratic power such as Germany, when we have been able to measure to what depths it could stoop to achieve its ends. But, says the minister, if the necessity is upon us we must act. That is true. The failure of the Government to apply and practise this sound principle during the course of this war has been the cause of our principal complaint on this side of the House, and the reason of the general discontent throughout this country. But, Sir, there is no necessity which justifies this Government to usurp the rights of the people. Their right is to be heard on this momentous question. Our duty is to obey and respect their verdict. We have, Sir, before us a measure which embodies a new principle. True, the Prime Minister tried to impress this House and country with the belief that this Bill was founded on an old principle, which could be found in section 69 of the Canadian Militia Act. Why does he do so? He did so, Sir, because he recognized and appreciated how feeble would be his position if he failed to establish this contention, essential to his case. He felt that, without it, he could not meet the argument of those who based their plea for an appeal to the people on the very fact that a new principle, contrary to all the traditions of the Canadian people, was being enacted by this measure. Did he succeed? Sir, the answer of the leader of the Opposition (Sir Wilfrid Laurier), an answer based on the very despatches sent by the Prime Minister himself, and on an Order in Council passed by the British Government who had been consulted on this very point at the very beginning of the war making our Canadian soldiers Imperial troops, is so complete, so thorough, that there can be no further doubt as to this: It is a new principle. What does this new principle involve? The compulsory military service abroad of the man power of Canada, the very thing the Prime Minister raid us a year ago in this House he would not apply. We placed our faith in this pledge of the Prime Minister. We voted for the extension of this Parliament. We did so at the request of the Government to avoid any domestic controversy during war time, although we on this side of the House had long lost confidence in this Government. To-day, forgetting this pledge, casting aside the very reasons which they gave in asking for an extension, the Government comes forward with the most contentious measure [Mr. Pacaud.l

which has ever been presented to this House, and asks this Parliament, which holds no longer any authority from the people, the power to enact a law. which, for myself at least, I am convinced will do more harm than good to the great cause we have in view. Why should not the people be consulted? Why not a plebiscite? It cannot be a question of delay. It cannot be, as is so often stated, the immediate necessity of filling the gaps at the front. The Prime Minister himself, in his correspondence with the leader of the Opposition, makes it perfectly clear that if there had been a coalition he would not have enforced this Bill before appealing to the country for its endorsation. Surely, Sir, the Prime Minister would not have made this offer had he believed that the delay which might have resulted from such an appeal would have been in any way detrimental to our soldiers at the front. So, Sir, let us be frank. The reason for refusing a plebiscite is the fear of its defeat at the polls. Is that a democratic doctrine? Are we going to be the tools of those who wish to implant in this country the very system to defeat which we have given our very best blood in Europe? For myself, and for those whom I represent in this House, I will not cast my vote for and share in the responsibility for such a course.

Yet, Sir, in the face of this, when consultation with the people is suggested, it is called a miserable dilatory motion. It is brushed aside and scorned, as a trifle which deserves no consideration. No doubt we have in power a true Tory party, and Toryism was once defined by Gladstone as " Distrust of the people, qualified by fear." Never was there a truer application of a sound definition.

Mr. Speaker, special attention has been given in this debate to the province from which I come, and to the race to which I belong. Harsh words have been used, severe attacks have been delivered, unjust statements have been made. Our French Canadian soldiers who had enlisted were not spared the insult of slanderous insinuations. Were 'these words but the passing utterances of men, victims who were carried away by an outburst of passion, suddenly revealing to us the inner soul of the fanatic, I would be inclined, for my part, to brush them aside, knowing full well that they would not carry more weight in the country than the men who uttered them could command the respect of their fellow-countrymen. These words are far more significant.

They remind us that we are face to face with a condition far more serious. For a long time now, but specially since this war began, a systematic campaign has been waged against the French Canadian race. Let us be truthful in this matter. It has become the political weapon for the Tory press of Canada. The motive is clearly revealed to us. The object can 'be clearly traced. Anxious to save the Government from disaster, knowing full well that they could not succeed, basing their sole plea on the administrative record of this Government, they are trying to divert the minds of the people of Canada from the issue which spells sure defeat to this Government, by appealing once more to the prejudices of men, hoping and expecting, in this way, to save the Government. What is, Sir, the pretext of this campaign? It is said to be lack of recruiting in the province from which I come. The hon. leader of the Opposition, and those from my province who spoke after him, have given a clear and frank statement on this subject. They explained the conditions in Quebec. They showed what should have been done, and was not done. They pointed out the lack of system, the lack of good will, of proper education which undermined the feeble efforts that were made in my province to encourage enlistment. We heard a few days ago the remarkable speech of the hon. gentleman from Three Rivers. He placed before the bar of this House, in modest terms, but with a vigour and straightforwardness which, I am sure, will reach the hearts and minds of many people in this country, the case of Quebec, with its just complaints, its true aspirations and hopes. It is needless for me to repeat what was so eloquently and forcibly presented by those who have preceded me. To the fair-minded men in this country, from whatever province they come or to whatever nationality they belong, they are the vast majority, I ask them, read these speeches, ponder over them, and have in view the lesson which it was intended to convey. To those men, my countrymen, of whatever nationality they may be, who understand the paramount necessity of an earnest undertaking, whose vision is clear enough to see the danger arising from further misunderstanding and estrangement, I say: "Hear the case before judging of its merits." I appeal to their sense of justice. I ask them in what other province, outside of Quebec, was the cry of "No participation in the wars of the Empire" raised and spread as the gospel of truth? In no part of the Dominion, except in the province of

Quebec. In what other province in this Dominion outside of Quebec was the issue which we are now discussing ever debated? In none. Will any fair-minded man tell me that, when this war broke out, the conditions in Quebec were similar to those existing in the other English provinces of the Dominion? And who is responsible for this condition of affairs? Who created this-difference of mentality between the provinces of Quebec and the other provinces?

It was the Nationalist party, represented by two members of this Government, the Nationalist party who had the financial backing of the present Government and of the Tory party of Canada, and who, to-day, victims of their own. work, are the first and only ones .to throw us the stone. Is this British fair play?

Mr. Speaker, we are passing through a most critical phase in our national existence. Our destiny is in our own hands. Let us not lose at home the benefits of our great sacrifices abroad. Let us trust the people. Without their verdict we are disunited. With their verdict, we are again one people, united in a common effort, clasping, in lasting comradeship, the hands now withheld in doubt.


Arthur Lachance


Mr. ARTHUR LACHANCE (Quebec *Centre) (translation):

Mr. Speaker, at this stage of a debate which has been going on for more than two weeks, it would be rash on my part to lay claim to new arguments either for or against the Conscription Bill introduced by the Government. On either side, the subject has been threshed out so far as the House of Commons is concerned. All that remains to me, therefore, in order to avoid repetitions, is to briefly state what are my reasons for voting as I intend to do-

What has been the dominant reason for Canada's participation in the war of nations which is laying waste the old continent?

In the month of August 1914, the almost unanimous vote of the House of Commons, expressive of general public opinion, as voiced by the press and public speakers throughout the country, authorized Canada's intervention in the bloody conflict, even then almost world-wide, which had been precipitated during the last days of July.

Was it solely the fact that England was fighting that brought about this decision? No, Mr, Speaker. For the greater part of us, if not for all of us, this was inspired by an even more -generous sentiment.

Germany, in -defiance of her own signature, had brutally pounced upon Belgium, a small, defenceless, neutral nation, with a

that as enough men do not volunteer to complete the quota required, it becomes necessary to resort to conscription, in order to maintain at full strength our expeditionary forces on the firing line. I grant it, as a general proposition; but it should first be shown that those 100,000 men will be of greater use to the Allies overseas than they would be here.' Where is the proof of that fact to be found? When, on the 1st January 1916, the Prime Minister increased the expeditionary forces to 500,000 men, had he first of all ascertained whether such a policy was warranted by the economical conditions of the country? There is absolutely nothing to show that he had done so. Even to-day, what is there before the House to show us that those 100,000 men would better serve the interests of the Allies overseas than they would do here in the industries producing for war purposes and in the establishments dedicated to our national existence?

And should those 100,000 men remaining in the country be of greater practical use to the common cause, who would object to other men in the ranks of the Allied armies filling up the gaps in the Canadian army?

Many authorized voices have declared in the press and before public meetings that under present circumstances, the levy of 100,000 men would' result in creating disturbances in the farming industry, in crippling our finances and throwing out of gear our industrial machinery, which would affect prejudicially Canada and indirectly the cause of the Allies.

What are the Allies clamoring for? Is it not for munitions, for food and ships for transportation? Why do you not open shipyards and encourage as much as possible shipbuilding? Under the circumstances, assisting the Allies in that particular branch is an imperious necessity, while by so doing, you should be encouraging an infant industry of the greatest importance to the country. But will the Government rest satisfied with this appeal to coercion? By no' means, because next year there will be another levy of 100,000 men and as many more within two years. Did not the Minister of Finance state before the House a few days ago, that the war would be of long duration?

As will be seen, this new departure, this breaking away from our traditions, along the line followed by the Administration, may result most disastrously for Canada and for the cause of the Allies. You would be labouring under a delusion, in attempting to maintain in their integrity our Canadian forces, without providing for a cor-

responding efficient maintenance of our economical situation.

Now what was the position a year ago? What is our position to-day? The cost of living is going sky-high, prices are soaring and have reached fantastic figures altogether out of proportion to the revenue of the people. There does not seem to ,be any other remedy but a greater production, but so far (the Government have not suggested any. .But how are we to have more production without securing more labour? Where is labour to be found? Last year in the West of Canada there was an urgent demand sent out for farm help by the farmers, but to no purpose. Last winter agents were sent out by the Government for recruiting

50,000 farm hands in the United States, but they did not get any. And yet, despite this-shortage of labour, the people were amazed on hearing that 50,000 men have been called under the colours for the defence of the country. Against whom was the country to be defended? The question has so far remained unanswered. A most bewildering thing, indeed all the same, that mobilization which resulted in uselessly stationing in various camps, forts and citadels of Canada 50,000 men, at a time when the neighbouring Republic was being explored by Government agents for recruiting .the farm hands, and labourers needed in our cities and on the farms.

But what we are justified in inferring from that policy is this: ithe Government cannot prove that the 100,000 men whom they contemplate despatching to Europe will be of greater use to the Allies, than they would be here. Do not all those facts show that this conscription Bill originates in the temerity of the (Prime Minister apparently enacting on his own responsibility, on the 1st January 1916, that the expeditionary forces should be increased to 500,000 men.

This message seems to have been at first the ipse dixit of a Government leader who, on a New-Year's day woke up in the attitude of .a Oaesiar. But had he well pondered over the still latent possibilities of voluntary enlistment on the abundance or shortage of labour for the production of food and all the essentials and necessities for the effective prosecution o.f the war? That does not seem to have been the case. That there was temerity has been shown by the events, the message did not meet with the anticipated success.

But, because the Prime Minister did not rightly size up the probable results of voluntary enlistment, was he warranted on that ground in resorting to coercion, in

defiance of the most formal pledges given, from the very inception of 'the war?

In addition to the question as to the desirability of conscripting Canadian manhood, there is the legal and constitutional issue. In this connection, I have in mind the axiom so often quoted in debate: "When Great Britain is at war, -Canada is at war." Granted, but this axiom should be thus qualified: a belligerent with Great Britain has the right of attacking our country, even though Canada were standing aloof in the conflict; in case of such an attack, Canada could not invoke the status of neutrality.

But this axiom does not convey the meaning that Canada ought to participate in all the wars of Great Britain or that, even if she took -part in -any w-ar she could not withdraw from it.

Under the Constitution, Canada could recall to the last man all her expeditionary forces, being in no way bound to send overseas men to fighit in this world-shaking wiar.

To the accuracy of that statement an eminent statesman, the right hon. Arthur James Balfour bore witness in this House. From his oration of May 28, delivered before the House of Commons and the members of the Senate in joint session, let me quote what follows:

Moreover, remember that the foreign speculators about the British Empire must have thought before the war began. They said to themselves: This loosely constructed State

resembles nothing that has ever existed in history before ; it is held together by no coercive power ; the Government of the Mother Country cannot raise a corporal's guard in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, or wherever you will ; she can not raise a shilling of taxation ; she has no power. When, unexpectedly, without giving an opportunity for preparation or discussion, oi propaganda, war burst upon the world, even those animated by such a feeling might well have doubted whether this great Empire-each unit of which had it in its power to hold aloof had it so desired-might act as one organization animated by one soul, moved by one purpose and driving towards one end.

As will be seen from the above quotation, the Government of the Mother Country could not raise a corporal's guard in Canada nor in any other colony, and every colony could have stood aloof, had it so desired. Therefore, granted that if Great Britain has no power to coerce us into participating in her wars, liow can the Government take authority to enact legislation for coercing us? No, the Government have no such power, neither in justice nor in equity.

Among the obligations involved in the status of citizenship is that of military service for the defence of one's country: but you could not quote a single case of legislation imposing military service for the defence of another country.

Now, to put it in a nutshell, what the Government said amounts to this: conscription is a case of emergency or at least it is the unavoidable result of Canada's participation in the conflict, as it is necessary to fill up the gaps and to maintain at full strength our expeditionary forces.

Now, to 'this I reply: You have secured our participation under false representations, because you kept repeating " ad nauseam" that there would be no such emergency and no such conscription as a consequence; and you cannot frame a law for conscripting Canadian manhood grounded on a consent which was not given freely, but erroneously, and that isthe reason why I say that you should appeal to the people, in order to get the power that is lacking and which you cannot bestow on yourselves. Up to a few weeks iagio, did -any one pretend that our Canadian mianihood could be conscripted and sent abroad in order to fight the battles of England and the Allies?

Besides, how could such a departure have been contemplated, in view of the fact that under the Militia Act of Canada no troops could be sent abroad on voluntary service? The leader of the Opposition (Sir Wilfrid Laurier) has made that point very clear; he has grounded his opinion on the views held by the Prime Minister and the Government in the despatches of August 1 and 5, 1914, to the Secretary of State for the Colonies and in the order in council of August 6 authorizing the mobilization -of the first contingent.

This interpretation squares with the policy and the principles embodied in all the legislation relating to the Militia Acts enacted in Canada. This was fully shown by my hon. friend from Kamouraska (Mr. Lapointe) in the exhaustive review which he made of that legislation, going back as far as 1808 and resting his case on the best authorities and the most competent exponents of the policy of that legislation.

It follows, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that the Militia Act of Canada has nothing to do with the proposed conscription Bill; that the Government who pretend to graft it on the Militia Act are not acting in good faith; that Great Britain has no right to compel the people of Canada to go and fight her battles, and " a fortiori ", that the Government have no right to enact a law in order to force upon the people compulsory service.

I approved of Canada participating in this world-war, and I do not feel regret for it, as the cause of the Allies deserves the! co-


operation of all those who are far or near connected with it. In the province of Quebec, a certain school of thought has been manifesting, more ostensibly than they have been doing in some of the other provinces, its opposition to the country participating in the war. In the opinion of this group of anti-participationists there is no blinking the fact that our entry in the war results from what they think was the blameworthy stand taken, at the time of the South African war in 1898, and from the legislation enacted in 1909 and 1910 in connection with the Naval service and also from the contribution of $35,000,000 for the construction of these dreadnoughts to be incorporated in the British navy. But there is no similarity. In those three instances the question was as to the desirability of the Government proffering the assistance of Canada to the mother country. Now it is no longer a question of Great Britain prosecuting a redress or a conquest, but it is a case of the most peace-loving nations which, after repeatedly ignoring the most humiliating provocations, are now rising in their might and taking up arms on behalf of international law or the law of nations, and in vindication of the treaties guaranteeing the neutrality of Belgium, which Germany might and autocracy pretend to trample upon with impunity; in short it is the case of a nation, threatening all liberty, despising all the rights bequeathed to the world by the English Revolution and the French Revolution. Thus is spite of the anguish of spirit and the: heart-rending anxiety we *were a prey to, from the inception of this orgy of destruction, I am still of opinion that Canada has done right in helping those of her sons who volunteered to go overseas and whose valour in this world-shaking war has stood equal to the noble cause espoused by them.

Undoubtedly being given that we are at w,ar, we should grieve at having erased from our national records such glorious deeds as those performed by our soldiers who held high the honour of Canada on so many bat-tie fields; those soldiers, I say, who at Ypres and Saint Julian saved Calais, those who died at Festubert and Givenchy and Saint Eloi, those who fell at Neuve Chapelle, those who gave their lives at Courcelette and who offered the supreme sacrifice at Vimy.

In the same order of things, Canada has risen to the height of the cause for which she is fighting, .and the magnitude of the effort exerted by her has been recognized by military leaders and statesmen alike. In proportion, our contribution as .a whole is ahead

of that of any other colony and it has been estimated that even the United States would stand our equal only when they have put in the field an army of five or six million soldiers.

Now, Mr. Speaker, should we not be disregarding, to a certain extent, that great generosity on the part of the people, were we to introduce coercion for the purpose of increasing .a contribution which, as admitted by competent parties, has already reached the extreme limit of this country's economic power?

Considering the .results already obtained, voluntary enlisment, reinvigonated, skilfully directed, kept .alive, would indeed have brought ito a worthy completion Canada's participation in the war.

In order to justify conscription, Great Britain's example is invoked, but there is no analogy between the two oases. England had signed the treaty Which Germany has tom to pieces ; on pain of everlasting disgrace, she owed it to her honour to see that her signature respected, putting, if necessary, into the effort her last man and her last shilling. Canada on the other hand had signed/ no treaty; legally and constitutionally she was in no wise obliged to intervene in this war; her sacrifices have been inspired by her magnanimity and were made to the full extent of her resources.

Because Canada, heeding her generosity and self sacrifice, has sent over and maintained to this day an army at the front, is it logical to take for granted that she is bound to continue maintaining it in full numbers, notwithstanding any other considerations, when volunteering proves inadequate and when, on the other .hand, volunteering has been the determining, essential, sine qua non reason for our original participation?

Arguing from our colonial status, some people in this country speak and protest as if Canada should be sacrificed to the insatiable Moloch that is, for the past three years, swallowing up the vital forces of the old world; as if Canada should trail along until spiritless, bloodless and emaciated, she drops gasping at the Allies' feet.

No! no!

A colony, be it so; but a free and selfgoverning country whose citizen has the right and alike the duty of speaking his mind. Canada is your country as well as it is ours, but in a different manner. Our ancestors were its discoverers and settlers; they have brought to it civilization; wherefore is it our country not in the sense that it is yours, you, Englishmen, Irishmen, Scotchmen, who may claim also another

country as your own. Our fathers have spread over it the atmosphere of liberty; it needed, it is true, a revolution and bloodshed, but liberty, indeed, never had any other cradle nor any other nursing; besides, there is not a single Canadian, who stops to reflect, that does not applaud to-day that revolution of yesterday. How is it, therefore, that you cannot understand our fear lest a misplaced generosity should throw this country into a deadly state of languor, should paralyze our growth, and that, without improving to a perceptible degree the Allies' general situation.

That is the point upon which we ask the judgment of all Canadians. This country has already given too liberally of its blood and its gold, that the Government should to-day mercilessly treat it as liable to unlimited taxation and hard labour, whether in its individual or in its national life, and pay no heed to the views or the will of the people.

Canada must remain in the struggle, that is the feeling of all of us; but the Government wants to introduce coercion; we answer : You have no right to do it without the consent of the citizens. Let, therefore, the question be submitted to them. What do you fear? If you are convinced that conscription is necessary, you. will have no trouble in satisfying the people of its necessity. Do you mistrust them? And why should you, if you are in good faith, if you have, as you contend, performed your duty. Would it be that you foresee a hostile verdict upon conscription? In my opinion, yes, that is the reason for your refusal. But then, it is the ipse dixit of a government group in defiance of the popular will.

As a parting word, let me say: Trust the people; they will be your supreme support, your only strength in the crisis which Canada, as the rest of the world, is going through; they are broad-minded, generous; sacrifices are easy to them; they will lighten your path. But if you have no confidence in them, in the people who have entrusted you with their destinies, they, your masters and your judges as they are ours, how can you expect us to have faith in you?


July 3, 1917