August 31, 1917

LAB
LIB

Médéric Martin

Liberal

Mr. MARTIN:

I declare to this House and the country that the man who started the meeting against conscription and asked the people to revolt was a man from Ontario. His name was Villeneuve, and he came from St.- Eugene in the county of Prescott.

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CON
LIB

Médéric Martin

Liberal

Mr. MARTIN:

On the occasion of the first parade in the city of Montreal against the high cost of living, I permitted the citizens to make a demonstration on the condition that they would be quiet, but trouble was started by an assault made by a soldier. There were 25,000 people in the parade, and as it was going east on St. Catherine street a regiment of soldiers going north came along and the parade was stopped to allow the regiment to pass through. Just as the regiment had passed the last soldier snatched a French flag from 10 p.m. some one in the parade and threw it under his feet. The people in the parade had not said anything to the soldiers, and the trouble was all the fault of this soldier who tried to insult the French-Canadian people. There was a fight, and I do not know whether the soldier was killed, as I have not seen anything about it in the newspapers. I remember that a meeting at the park five weeks ago, which was called by me, was attended by 150,000 people. A soldier started to insult my hon. friend from Maisonneuve (Mr. Verville), who was giving an address. I did not want the people to attack the soldier, but I had a hard time saving him from injury. Eventually I got him to the car with some constables. I admit that the soldiers have the right to attend meetings, but they have no right to provoke the people. They are the ones who are making the noise. I do not allow anybody to make speeches such as have been made this week in Montreal. I do not allow anybody to preach revolt, because we have enough on our backs already with conscription. The minister must tell his soldiers to respect civilian citizens, not only in the city of Montreal, but everywhere else in the Dominion, and then there will be no trouble. The soldiers sometimes go in groups of twenty or fifty. I have often gone to them and said: "Boys, don't do that. Go back to your regiment. What is the use of trying to provoke the French-Canadians?"

In this House, when the hon. member for Rouville (Mr. Lemieux) was speaking against conscription, one man in uniform in the gallery used insulting language against the French-Canadian race and against the hon. member for Rouville, which I will' not repeat in this House. He was drunk, and perhaps was not responsible for what he said. But think of it! A soldier right here in the House of Commons insulting the French Canadian

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race in language which I would not repeat. If any trouble happens it will be the fault of these people. I do not say that all the English-speaking people are like that. He was only one, but he insulted the hon. gentleman (Mr. Lemieux). I had for witness Mr. Ashby, a member of the Quebec Legislature. He was sitting next to this soldier, and said it was terrible to listen to him. I know the Minister of Militia is a gentleman and does not like trouble, and I ask him to give instructions to his officers in the different cities that the soldiers must not provoke the French Canadians and incite them to fight. I will try to stop these meetings that are advertised in tonight's papers. If I am obliged to go on the platform I will go. But I will allow no more meetings. If anything happens it will be the fault of the Prime Minister, through passing this conscription law without giving the people a chance to pronounce upon it by means of a referendum. It is not only the people of Quebec who are opposed to this law, but the people of every province in Canada from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and the people are going to do all that it is possible to do when you try to get them to enlist. You cannot put that law into force. The people will not enlist, and you have no way of locating them as the different classes are called. If anything happens in Montreal, I shall be very sorry, because I do not like trouble; but if any trouble happens the soldiers will be responsible for it. The minister must stop the soldiers from drinking, because when they are drunk they do not know what they are doing, and they are trying to force the French Canadians to fight. I have often said to the soldiers, "Do not do that. What is the use of it"? I respect the soldier, especially those who have fought for the flag. I repeat, it is not only the French Canadians of Quebec who are against the conscription law, but the people of every province from the Atlantic to the Pacific. If anything happens, if blood flows in the streets of Montreal or any other city, the fault will be with the Prime Minister and with those who helped him pass that law.

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CON

Donald Sutherland

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SUTHERLAND :

I think we have just had, possibly without exception, the most remarkable exhibition that has ever taken place during the whole history of Canada. The mayor of the greatest city in Canada, present in this Parliament, knows that for the past two weeks statements have been made at public meetings and statements

fMr. M. Martin.]

have been published in the press which demand his presence in that city in order that he may see that the law is observed by all its citizens. Instead of that we have him here to-night making statements that are not a credit to the representative of any *constituency in this Dominion. He has tried to put the blame for the condition that exists in Montreal and in the province of Quebec on a returned solditr, on the Prime Minister, on the Minister of Militia and particularly on some resident of the province of Ontario. A more inflammatory speech was never made by the representative of a constituency in the whole history of Canada. A greater responsibility rests upon the mayor of that city than upon any other person to see that the people are given to understand that they cannot violate the law. We have heard from another hon. gentleman from the same city to-night (Mr. Verville). He points to the flag and says: "This is a free country, we should enjoy free speech, and if we cannot enjoy free speech then tear the flag down." The free speech that we are complaining about is not the free speech that ought to he tolerated by the Mayor of Montreal or by any representative that we have present in this House to-night. He tries to inflame the passions of the people of that city by saying that somebody from the province of Ontario is responsible. During this session we have had speaker after speaker from the province of Quebec trying to make excuses for their province and putting the blame upon Ontario for the fact that Quebec has not done its duty, a fact which has made it neeesaxy to enforce the Military Service Act.. If that province had done its duty, as other provinces have, it would not have been necessary to put that law on the statute book. But it is the law of the country today, and yet you find the representative of the great city of Montreal trying to make it appear that the Prime Minister is the guilty party and that to him is attributable . the condition of affairs in the province of Qubec >and in the city of Montreal. He also -blames a returned soldier. He says that the remark of a returned soldier could set the whole city on fire. He speaks about a returned soldier in the gallery.

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LIB
CON

Donald Sutherland

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SUTHERLAND:

You said that he

was a man in uniform.

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LIB
CON

Donald Sutherland

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SUTHERLAND:

The chances are

that he was a returned soldier, a man who has arrived back from the front who realized what the conditions are, as you do not realize and as your province does not realize. He realizes that this country is at war and that the Military Service Act is necessary at this particular time if we are going to carry the war to a successful conclusion. It is a shame and a disgrace to make the statements that you have made here tonight. If you were doing your duty you would be in your city-the city you are supposed to represent but do not represent. I believe that there never has been, during the whole history of this country, a more inflammatory speech made than that made by you to-nigiht. In so far as. the province of Ontario is concerned, you do not need to trouble yourself about that-

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?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Order.

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CON

Dugald Stewart

Conservative (1867-1942)

The CHAIRMAN (Mr. D. Stewart):

If

the hon. gentleman (Mr. Sutherland) would address himself to the Chair he would be more in order.

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CON

Donald Sutherland

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SUTHERLAND:

I tow to your ruling. I want to say to the hon. member (Mr. Martin) who represents the city of Montreal that he would be attending to his duties much better if he would pay a little more attention to the province from which he comes rather than trying to put upon some solitary individual, who he says comes from Ontario, but who may be a resident of Montreal, who has a French name, and who comes from the county of Prescott, the responsibility for these disturbances. I do not think it strengthens the hon. gentleman's case very much when he refers to that, but it certainly does emphasise the fact that he knows what is going on there at the present time. In the face of these inflammatory speeches that are being made there night after night, he knows what the law of the land is to-day and he knows that these speeches are in defiance of it. If he were careful in regard to what his duty is, and if he were anxious to see that the people of that city did their duty, he would be looking after the interests of the city, and he would not be in this House to-night.

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LIB

Médéric Martin

Liberal

Mr. MARTIN:

I am sorry to see that my ihon. friend (Mr. Sutherland) never reads the papers. I gave orders before I left Montreal to the chief of police, Mr. Campeau, that if any one opened his mouth to encourage the people to revolt, he should be arrested. If I am not in Montreal to-day, or if I was not there last night, it is because 331

I thought it was my duty to vote against the Bill to buy the Canadian Northern railway. I had to be here. If you look at La Patrie you will see what we say about Villeneuve:

(Translation) : Villeneuve is the man whom Mayor Martin threatened to have arrested the moment he opened his mouth in public, to preach revolt.

I am doing my duty in Montreal more than the hon. gentleman is doing his duty here. I gave orders and I tried to stop all these meetings. I am willing to go myself on the platform and try to stop these young people. Their proceedings are not in the interest, not only of Montreal, but of all Canada. I do not know why I should be reproached by the hon. gentleman because he does not read the papers. Since the conscription law has been passed I have been doing all I possibly could to counsel our citizens to remain quiet and to obey the law, since the law has been passed. If they do not want to enlist, well and good. These young men are responsible, especially those who come from Ontario. I do not know why they have been sent from Ontario to try and throw the blame on the city of Montreal and province of Quebec.

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LIB

Edmond Proulx

Liberal

Mr. PROULX:

I do not see why my hon. friend from Montreal, St. Mary's (M-. Martin) should single out an individual who happens to come from my county. I know young Villeneuve. He has a brother who went to the front and came back wounded He is not living in Montreal. He came up to Prescott with a young man. He must have been impressed by the company he kept in Montreal. Villeneuve did not begin the agitation in Montreal, there were many who carried on that agitation before he took part in it. He has been most moderate. I hope the hon. member ior Montreal, St. Mary's, will not be too hard on this young man who comes from my county and who has been speaking against conscription in Montreal.

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CON

Dugald Stewart

Conservative (1867-1942)

The CHAIRMAN (Mr. D. Stewart):

I

think we have spent enough time on matters that are not at all relevant to the item under consideration which has to do with gratuities and compensation to retired staff officers and others. The hon. member for Maisonneuve has asked certain questions, and if the minister will make the explanation, then perhaps we can get back to the subject matter properly under consideration

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CON

Albert Edward Kemp (Minister of Militia and Defence)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir EDWARD KEMP:

My hon. friend from Maisonneuve (Mr. Verville) asks what

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I am going to do. I do not have to do anything in regard to the matter. Every meo -oer of this House knows what is right an(l what is wrong with respect to the conduct of private individuals and of soldiers. 1 would not want to admit-in fact I would take exactly the opposite position-that the soldiers who have enlisted have conduced themselves in any but a soldierly and gentlemanly way, with very fsw exceptions. There are exceptions in the conduct of civilians and time may have been exceptions among the soldiers; but, so far as I am able to judge, they have been very few indeed. There have been no serious complaints to the department in regard to the conduct of soldiers. Perhaps on some, occasions they have been blamed when they were not blameworthy, but, as I say, the commanding officers know what their duties are, and I feel that the soldiers will conduct themselves as they should. The blame must not be placed on the soldiers on all occasions because we know of many occasions when the civilians were at least as blameworthy as the soldiers. I do not think that the incident to which the hon. member refers, or the circumstances arising out of it, are sufficiently grave, to base an argument upon, and I do not anticipate anv difficulty in the future.

The hon. members for Carleton (Mr. Car-vell) and Halifax (Mr. A. K. Maclean) raised a very important question and I do not at all complain of their- doing so. We have done a big thing in this country with regard to voluntary enlistment. We went at it in a certain way, adopting the system of recruiting by battalions, appointing recruiting officers and making as many appointments as were necessary. As the war went on, there accumulated overseas and in Canada a large number of officers. Many of these have been retired to private life in the last three or four months. It is sometimes a good deal easier to get the uniform on a soldier than to get it off, but most of the soldiers are willing, when there is nothing further for them to do and they have performed their full duty, to revert to civil life.

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LIB

Frank Broadstreet Carvell

Liberal

Mr. CARVELL:

I did not find fault with the employment of returned soldiers. I think that the man who has gone overseas and returned is entitled to anything the country can give him. I found fault with the men who never went overseas. I was told in St. John, I think it was two weeks ago to-day, by a returned soldier, that, of 176 officers of the staff of the Maritime Provinces, only 14 or 15 had ever been over-

seas. I have no personal knowledge of the matter.

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CON

Albert Edward Kemp (Minister of Militia and Defence)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir EDWARD KEMP:

The question

whether or not a man has been overseas is sometimes important, and sometimes not, in deciding questions of employment. I have had an investigation made with respect to the headquarters staff and the staffs of different divisions to ascertain if any men could be let out and allowed to revert to civil life. This is a big and difficult task, hut the investigation has been completed and we have made great progress. In the division from which my hon. friend comes, No. 6, it is necessary to have a great many officers. That has just been investigated, and I have not yet received the report in respect to it. I wish to assure hon. members that it is not the policy or intention of the department to allow abuses, if there are any. On the other hand, I think my hon. friend will admit that, perhaps, sometimes when they see men in uniform there is a tendency to think they are doing nothing. Hon. members may be entirely mistaken. A man who wears a uniform is a marked man. I have heard this question raised very often and I have heard decent hardworking officers criticised, when the parties criticising did not know the real occupation of the officers. There are hundreds of officers in this country who would have made just as good officers, if they had been able to go to the front, as those who were fortunate enough to get to the front. As a general rule, an officer is considered fortunate if he is able to get to the front. An officer said to me the other day: We have been held in Canada and we have been asked to do the dirty work-using that term in the same sense that there is not as much kudos in doing work at home as in going to the front. There are a lot of men in Canada, who have performed splendid service, and it is not their fault that they have not been able to get to the front. Because of our system of organizing by battalions and appointing a full quota of officers, we have had more officers than were needed. The situation is not an easy one. It- has caused me concern; but I am prepared to handle it in as fair and decent a way as possible. I am glad that the question has been raised by my hon. friends from Halifax and Carleton counties, and I am prepared to discuss it frankly. I have no fault to find with the remarks made by the hon. gentlemen.

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LIB

John Howard Sinclair

Liberal

Mr. SINCLAIR:

I do not think we

should leave this subject without the min-

ister telling us he will do something to improve the situation at Halifax. This matter is not new, it has been before the House from time to time. It commenced as soon as the war broke out. At the short session of Parliament, in August, 1914, we learned that the politicians in Halifax were becoming active and endeavouring to get all the money they could out of the department by interfering with military affairs. The matter was drawn to the attention of the Prime Minister at that date, and we got an assurance from him that it would be stopped, It has never been stopped, it is going on today, and we have the junior member from Halifax stating to-night that the military hospitals cannot be run without the interference of local committees, who order everything that is bought for the hospitals, doing all the business over the heads of the men who ought to do it and who should be entrusted to do it by the minister. That is very easily stopped; the minister could stop it with a stroke of the pen. Let him instruct his chief officer at Halifax, whoever he is, that he must not accept any recommendation from any local politicians, or. any man who interferes with him in conducting the loeal business. Let him do that in good faith. Let him tell his officer that if he wants to purchase goods for the military hospitals, or wants to do anything at all in the way of repairs or spending money -and there is a good deal of money being spent-he will have a free hand to do it, in a business way, and that if he refuses to accept the orders of local politicians the minister will stand by him, that he will see to it that he does not suffer by that refusal. If the minister will tell us that he will do that, I think it will cure the whole business. I think he should give us an assurance to-night, because this is a complaint of long standing, and should not be allowed to go on from year to year without something being done about it.

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LIB

James Joseph Hughes

Liberal

Mr. J. J. HUGHES:

Coming from one of the Maritime Provinces, I am somewhat interested in this matter, and know a little about it. I was somewhat disappointed at the minister's attitude, because he seemed to take the ground that the military establishment at Halifax was not overmanned. The headquarters are at Halifax for the three Maritime Provinces.. When that list was published a few days ago, it was really startling to see the number of names, and the enormous aggregate of salaries. And the list is not complete. How many were left off the list I do not know, but I know that some are left off, because

I see only one medical man from Prince Edward Island. Every business man knows, no matter what his business is-and I presume this applies to military as well as civil affairs-that if you have too many men in your employ you get less work and inferior work from them. They are falling over each other, and I think this is the case at Halifax to-day. I will give some concrete cases which will illustrate the point.

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August 31, 1917