April 5, 1918

UNION

Edgar Nelson Rhodes (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Unionist

Mr. SPEAKER:

If hon. gentlemen wish to interrupt, they must rise in their places.

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Henry Arthur Mackie

Unionist

Mr. MACKIE:

That democracy which we had before the war, that democracy we had during the voluntary system, we would

have right now, if you people of the other provinces had done your duty as well as the people of the province of Alberta. But Sir, I say that the only alternative-

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Joseph Read

Laurier Liberal

Mr. JOSEPH READ:

The hon. gentleman dodges the question I ask him. Is the principle of universal compulsory military service not a democratic principle?

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UNION

Henry Arthur Mackie

Unionist

Mr. MACKIE:

It cannot be a democratic principle, and, Mr. Speaker, because the moment that you impose a military organization upon a country, you must necessarily do away with democratic principles. Every man is ordered to take his place in the defence of his country and there is no alternative for him.

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Henry Arthur Mackie

Unionist

Mr. MACKIE:

Well, you can have it

your own way; I say it is not. If the hon. member will repair to my room.some time to-morrow or on Monday, I will give him a number of volumes on the subject and he *can study it for himself. When a country is at war there is only one object in view and that is victory. Citizens whose individuality is so strong that they will not submit themselves to restraint must either be compelled to accept that restraint or they should lose their citizenship. If the German people have to give up their individuality for the sake of the collective whole, then their opponents must necessarily do the same or else go down to defeat.

(Mr. JOSEPH READ: Sure; that is democracy.

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UNION

Henry Arthur Mackie

Unionist

Mr. MACKIE:

Well, Mr. (Speaker, Shakespeare asks: What's in a name? My hon. friend is entitled to all the distinctions in names that he likes. When the right hon. the leader of the Opposition, in 1899, for instance, spoke on this question of war, he enunciated those great principles which ought to have 'been enunciated in this war. Other gentlemen have read his speeches; so have I. II have had the greatest possible admiration for the right hon. gentleman and I have still to-day except for the fact that in 1917 he miscalculated results. But when he said: Let the people rule he understood the philsophy of crowds, he knew perfectly well that he did not mean to say-what was printed in these pamphlets. He knew that people are moved en masse by ambition and passion and it was an election

appeal that he was making to them for the purpose of returning him to power. I do not believe that the right hon. gentleman has changed the views which he enunciated in 1877, when he spoke on Liberalism in the province of Quebec; or in 1899, or in 1910 when he spoke at the Monument Nationale, Montreal, on the question of Imperialism, or'in 1914 when he spoke in this House, in Toronto and elsewhere; or in 1916 when he again spoke in this House. Understanding the philosophy of nations, and the growth of emotion and passion, he threw those principles over in 1917 for the purpose of being returned to power. But he had forgotten that there are other men to-day who are taking a leading part in the province of Quebec, and taking over the fight for the achievement of another ideal than that he himself had set. He forgot also that these men have a greater grip on that province than he himself has today, and that they are being influenced by different ideals; and those who say that they will not stand for conscription are really standing for independence. I put this question to those men: To what nationality do you belong; to what nationality do you want to belong? They cannot split their nationality. A man is a British subject in Canada or he stands for independence or annexation. If the battle goes badly, as it might perhaps, the only alternative would be annexation; and the men who say in this House to-day, or at any time, that the system of voluntary recruiting was the only system, and that there was no other alternative, must necessarily draw the deduction from that position, that they stood and stand for the independence of 'Canada. Because if you are a British subject, you have a British nationality to protect and as the right hon. leader of the Opposition said: " In the matter of the South African war, and when he was attacked here in this House by men who have been attacking him recently, and within the last few years, because they desire to suppress him and to take his position. Sometime the best method of defence one will have is to attack." And that is the case. If in 1899, it was justifiable to speak that way, why do we not find the right hon. leader of the Opposition going through the province of Quebec at the present time and telling the people that the ideal which is governing them is not the ideal which should govern them, and that the best way to protect the Dominion of Canada to-day is not to wait until our shores are invaded, the best way to defend ourselves at the present time is to attack?

There is no question but that Germany's aim in conducting this war is world conquest, and anybody who tries to deny that has not followed the papers. But, Sir, I am getting away from my subject, which is the ideal of the province of Quebec. I want the right hon. leader of the Opposition to go through the province of Quebec and to read to the people statements that he made in 1899 at the time of the South African war. I will not take up the time of the House in doing so, but will just quote a few lines here and here. Let me quote the following utterance of his:

It is inspiring to reflect that the cause for which you men of Canada are going to fight is the cause of justice, the cause of humanity, of civil rights and religious liberty.

What are we fighting for to-day? Again the right hon. gentleman said:

Should any one of you unfortunately lose life or limb your country will feel that you have fully discharged the duty under which you place her this day by this sacrifice to Canada's glory, the glory of the empire, and, above all, to the cause of justice, humanity and liberty.

I thought those were beautiful sentiments, but to-day the expression is, "Let the people rule, and down with conscription." The right hon. gentleman is a man who understood the philosophy of nations. He played a political trick, which now he must repent. But he did not mean it. To show you that the right hon. gentleman did understand the philosophy of nations, let me read the language which he used in a speech at Quebec in 1899, when he said:

I told you a moment ago that I would not swim with the current, I would endeavor to guide the current, and on that occasion I tried to do so. But a moment came in this question when President Kruger sent his insolent ultimatum, and there was a wave of indignation passing over all the British Empire, and I said there is no longer any hesitation, we must act, and we did act on October 14th.

He recognized that Canada in 1899 was moved by passion and emotion, just as it was in this present war. But there were some in Quebec who took exception to the policy determined on at that time. The province of Quebec manifested its ideal on that occasion just as it has done in the present war. And then the right hon. gentleman, speaking in Chicago, said:

Can we not hope that if ever the banners of England and the banners of the United States are again to meet on the battlefield, they shall meet entwined together in the defence of some holy cause, in defence of holy justice, for the defence of the oppressed, for the enfranchisement of the down-trodden, and for the advancement of liberty, progress-

These were the sentiments that he then expressed, and he went on and said:

Shall the sacrifice !be all on the one side and none on the other?

These were beautiful expressions, but they are not being used to-day. The right hon. gentleman's famous speech on Liberalism, delivered at Quebec, I have read a dozen times. I have not yet learnt it by heart, but I am going to before the session is over. He was telling the French people about the liberties they were enjoying under the British flag, and for the purpose of expressing the idea better than he thought he could himself, he quoted Tennyson:

It is the land that Freedom till,

That sober-suited Freedom chose,

The land where, girt with friends or foes,

A man may speak the thing he will;

A land of settled government,

A land of just and old renown,

Where Freedom slowly broadens down, From precedent to precedent;

Where faction seldom gathers head,

But >by degrees to fullness wrought,

The strength of some diffusive thought Hath time and space to work and spread.

This is really the country that we are asked to defend to-day, the country that the leader of the Opposition was telling his people was the land of liberty and freedom. Now, if the mass of the people of Quebec are wrong, it is due purely and simply to another ideal which has developed in the Dominion of Canada, because a national ideal may he divided. A nation need not be unanimous in its ideal. A nation, an empire, or a race is just like a group of individuals; you may have a sub-group. To-day if the labour group of the Dominion of Canada were unanimous in their ideals and agreed together they would become a menace to the nation itself, and there would necessarily be a clash. There is a sub-group in the Canadian nation to-day. That sub-group is the province of Quebec, which is governed by an ideal, an ideal which has spread from the leaders to the masses, whose thought has been trained in one particular direction, although the leader of the Opposition had taught them a better lesson from his entry into politics up to quite recently. But there are those who have followed him, or are going to follow him, who have 'been educating the province of Quebec in another way. There are leaders in that province who cannot sit in Parliament, and never will sit here, and they are the men who are particularly obnoxious to the rest of Canada.

In conclusion, those who state that the Government has furnished material whereby riots can be created in the province of Que-

bee are arguing against themselves, 'because it has reference to a nation with a temper and a disposition to be excited by the least possible thing. In war there is no choice, there is no individual liberty and freedom, and every man should take his place. One of the hon. members who spoke in this debate referred to two young men who were taken off the train at North Bay. I was on the same train and was accosted myself. Fortunately, I had a pass, which I showed to the Government officers, but even if I had no papers I could not be mistaken for a man of twenty-five years of age by any means. This illustrates that in war time men must be subjected to annoyance, and if they do not expect annoyance then they are not properly disposed towards war. I extend any sympathies to the mass of people in the province of Quebec,, because it is not generally understood that these people are not acting from individual judgment or desire but from emotion and a passion which has been instilled into them by their leaders, leaders who differ with us in principle and are responsible for creating the riots which have taken place in that province recently.

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Charles Gavan Power

Laurier Liberal

Mr. C. G. POWER (Quebec S.):

Mr. Speaker, in the course of this evening's debate the ex-Mimister of Militia and Defence referred to hon. gentlemen on this side of the House on whom he had conferred certain favours', and, in wishing to prove his case, he said that he had always been in favour of the people of the province of Quebec. I think the ex-minister wished to refer to my humble self, and I think it is only fair to explain to the House' the nature of the benefactions he has referred to. At the time that the hon. gentleman discovered me, I held the soft and somewhat lucrative', if not honorable, position of batman to a colonel on the staff, and from that he transferred me to be scout officer on the . firing line, and then had me shot. Mr. Speaker, I think that the then (Minister of Militia and Defence (Sir Sam Hughes) was probably carrying out, in my case, what he has been endeavouring to carry out ever since he began his public life, that is to get rid of the people in the province of Quebec as fast as be can, and to diminish the population of that province. '

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Some hon. MEMBERS:

Oh.

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Charles Gavan Power

Laurier Liberal

Mr. POWER:

Young as I am in years and in parliamentary experience, I cannot but feel that no condemnation is too strong and no censure too severe for those who, whilst the bodies of the unfortunate victims

[Mr. Mackie.l

of the late riots are still unburied, have endeavoured to revive the questions which disturbed the electorate at the last election. And, Mr. Speaker, I would remind hon. gentlemen opposite that in their indignation at the outbreak of a few irresponsibles, they must not forget that at this very moment, this very evening probably, from

25.000 to 50,000 Quebeckers are fighting, bleeding and dying on the plains of Picardy and the, hills of Flanders.

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Charles Gavan Power

Laurier Liberal

Mr. POWER:

I did not quite catch the remark of the hon. gentleman, but if he has anything to say I will take my seat.

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Charles Gavan Power

Laurier Liberal

Mr. POWER:

Mr. Speaker, I was speaking of people from the province of Quebec.

*Some hon. MEMBERS: Oh.

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Charles Gavan Power

Laurier Liberal

Mr. POWER:

I said that there were from

25.000 to 50,000 Quebeckers now fighting in France. I am sure that there are at least five or six battalions-and I know that the Minister of Militia will bear me out in this -and perhaps seven battalions, excluding the Forestry, Railway Construction, Medical units, and the reserve battalions in England. Surely some hon. gentlemen opposite have forgotten to read their newspapers, or have forgotten that not long ago they read in the English papers of the deeds of the 22nd Battalion which stormed the Sugar Refinery and won the streets of Couroellete. Surely they have heard of what our men accomplished at Vimy. Surely they will remember the account cabled a few days ago by Phillip Gibbs of the work of a machine gun unit from Quebec, which for ten days helped to stay the advance of the victorious Hun. Some of their remarks make me think of something which happened in France during the disastrous days of June, 1916, when, unfortunately for the Canadian corps, a certain portion of it lost some lines of trenches, and was ordered to retake them. The attack was made, and the troops had to advance across 600 to 800 yards of open ground in broad daylight. A charge was made, and some 580 men were lost inside of an hour, and I do not know how many officers. Shortly afterwards, a British staff officer-staff officers do not as a rule visit the front line, came along and, after congratulating the colonel on the discipline and bravery of his men, said: "I wish particularly to make a remark about

the company on the left; the company on the left behaved themselves under fire like the very best of the regular troops." The colonel answered: "Those are the French Canadians." Very much surprised, the staff officer said: "The next man who says a word about the French Canadians, I would like to break his block off." That is the translation in the vernacular of what he said. In saying that, I have no warlike intentions towards hon. gentlemen opposite, because of reasons not unconnected with the war I am unable to indulge in fisticuffs. I only wish that English staff officer had been here to listen to the speech on the national ideals of the French Canadians delivered by the hon. gentleman from Edmonton (Mr. Mackie), wtho has just spoken.

As member for one of the constituencies Of the city of Quebec, I intend to do something which, perhaps, has not been done to the extent it might have been during the course of this debate, that is to talk about the Quebec riots. I represent a constituency somewhat mixed both ias to race and as to the various classes which are contained therein. Something more than three-fifths are French Canadians and the remaining two-fifths are Irish and English Canadians. It is about equally divided between the professional and clerical classes and the labouring classes. Some disorders did occur in my constituency, but they were not brought about by any of my constituents. Unfortunately, the constituency contained the offices of two newspapers, L'Evenemen't and the Chronicle, which had aroused the ire of a certain portion of the population, and they were made victims of the attack. However, on Thursday, 28th March, a certain young man named Mer-cier, of whom you have all heard, was asked for his papers by one Evanturel or one Belanger, it matters not which, and on not being able to produce them, he offered to telephone for them or send for them to his home. A man named Moisan offered to go for them.

This offer was refused; the young man was taken to the police station, -and afterwards released when his papers were produced. In the meantime the crowd got unruly; -certain passages occurred between the crowd and the policemen, lit has mot been brought out in the debate that the man Belanger, whose pedigree yon have heard, having safely escaped from the police station, returned because he had seen one of his old pals in- the crowd who had said something to- him. He came back and s-poke to hi-s pal -about it, and that really started

the whole fight. 'The vtfhole thing would have been over with a few broken heads -rows such as that have occurred in other places. There weTe riots in Val-cartier camp when some of the soldiers thought that -the persons who sold tobacco and -cigarettes to them were charging too ' much for the g-oods. I remember in the early days of the war that some of the soldiers tore down two or three of the stalls where cigarettes were sold, and there were a few broken- heads. There have been riots, I understand, even in -Camp Borden -tl do -no-t know why. I remember -that there was -a riot in Folkestone, England- perhaps some hon. gentlemen opposite were in Folkestone at that time-when some of the -Canadian troops were displeased with the manner in which they had been treated by the British redcaps, the military police. A riot of considerable proportions occurred, and when the firemen came to turn on the hose they were served in- the same way as it w-as attempted to s-erve the firemen in Quebec

the hose was cut, and they had to turn out British troops who were garrisoned in Folkestone to put down the riot. Nobody, however, thought of -proclaiming martial law for the soldiers. If soldiers will get out of hand-anybody who has eeived as -a soldier know-s what discipline, particularly in the 'Canadian forces, m-eans-if soldiers will get out of hand, I say, how much more must we expect the ordinary every-day mob to get out of hand.

On the evening of Thursday, or the -following evening, the people were saying -to each other -throughout the to-wn that they were going to the auditorium. On arriving there they did nothing for about twenty-five of thirty minutes. Some songs were sung and a few pieces of snow -thrown, but no one was harmed. Finally, the crowd broke in. In order to reach that part of the auditorium building in which the registrar's office is situated one has to climb very narrow stairs, which can scarcely be mounted by two persons abreast. There were, I understand, in the district of Quell p.m. Ibec-I have an answer on the subject to -a -question which I put to. the Minister of Militia last week- some forty or forty-two Dominion detectives. Surely these detectives, on a stairway where not two men could climb abreast, if they were worth their salt; if -they were worth anything to the Government which hired them and paid them to annoy the people of Quebec, should have defended the auditorium building and not have had to rely on the military power. However, the burning occurred, and on the following evening a

kind of attack, or, rather, a sing-song, occurred at the drill hall in Quebec. Two or three hundred young men came up from St. Roch's to the drill hall and there were met by the troops. I do not think it has been brought out so far in the reports of hon. gentlemen opposite that the Riot Act was read on this occasion. I happened to be present, and I heard it read by the troops. The crowd then were caused to disperse very easily, and little of any account was done. Early in the evening, before the Riot Act had been read, snow was thrown-and in that connection I wish to congratulate the troops for their forbearance in not acting any worse than they did.

Next day, Sunday, March 31, the troops were ordered to empty the stores in St. Roch's, lower town. While they were thus employed at the store of Herman Young and Company a certain amount of snow was thrown at them and there the first shot of what we might consider the riot part of the occurrences was fired. Though it has not yet been brought out 'by hon. gentlemen opposite, this first shot was fired by the troops, and three innocent citizens who were something like a quarter of a mile away, were wounded.

Sir ROBERT BORDEN; Of course, the hon. gentleman realizes that that is not General Lessard's account.

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April 5, 1918