April 5, 1918

UNION

Samuel Hughes

Unionist

Sir SAM HUGHES:

Not a bit. When

the ultramontaine wing of the Roman Church got control of the Quebec end of the Conservative party on a certain occasion, and when the Manitoba School quee-

tion came up, and certain gentlemen resigned because they were not getting all they thought they were entitled to, did I not organize thirty-five good members of Parliament and suggest to- the right hon. gentleman, who was then leader of the Opposition, that it was his opportunity to make a stand for the rights of a free people and join with us in keeping these people -where they belonged? I still have an admiration for him, tout, like myself, he i-s getting old. But not too oldi, there is vigour enough in us yet. If the right hon. gentleman, and the right hon. leader of the Government bring forward any proposal with the Object of uniting and effecting harmony between the two races* I will support them. Let us come together and fill up the ranks, that is all I aim* desirous of seeing. I do not care twopence for political preferment, tout I do want to* see the Iboys at the front strengthened, our ranks filled, the German tyrant smashed, -and human liberty triumph.

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UNION

Samuel Hughes

Unionist

Sir SAM HUGHES:

Might I interpose? The hon. member, I presume, does not intend to be unfair to state what is not true to the House. His statements .are not borne out 'by the facts in any particular. Gol. Paquette, and other French Canadians, were given command of their battalions. It was subsequently reported that Col. Paquette was totally unfitted to command a battalion at the front, on account of his health among other reasons, and on the recommendation of French Canadian commanding officers the men were drafted and sent overseas with other battalions.

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Georges Parent

Laurier Liberal

Mr. PARENT:

There is an explanation that I am, of course, bound to accept. The hon. gentleman was once Minister of Militia, and makes a statement which I must accept but at the same time-

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Georges Parent

Laurier Liberal

Mr. PARENT:

At the same time, I may recall that the same statement, or something to the same effect, has been made by one of the present ministers of the Crown.

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UNION

Samuel Hughes

Unionist

Sir SAM HUGHES:

May I go further? Col. Paquette was picked out by me long before the war to .act as cadet officer. I had a very high opinion of him, and I raised several lively rows because Col. Paquette was not sent to the front. I made inquiries, and found, when I demanded explanations, that Col. Paquette was not fitted, physically and otherwise, to be sent to the front. I will not go into details. That was the report of the French Canadian officers. *Col. Paquette was a great personal friend of my own, and I was very anxious to see him go-

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Georges Parent

Laurier Liberal

Mr. PARENT:

There * are other cases, Mr. Speaker. There were offers made also, we are told, by Col. Geliy of Levis, to fake his own battalion, and such offers have not been accepted by the Government.

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Georges Parent

Laurier Liberal

Mr. PARENT:

These things are well known in the province of Quebec. The people know that the services of these men were offered to the Crown, and that these people wanted not 'to get the chance for the sake of showing off their medals across the seas, but with the purpose of going to fight. And we are fold that over and over again al'l their offers were turned down by the Government.

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UNION

Samuel Hughes

Unionist

Sir SAM HUGHES:

May I correct my hon. friend about Col. Rioux, another great personal friend of my own. He was given every opportunity, and a number of his men, some forty or fifty, perhaps more,

joined the first contingent. I gave him every opportunity to raise a battalion later on. I forget the details. Gen. Fiset will know' them.

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Georges Parent

Laurier Liberal

Mr. PARENT:

The hon. gentleman has spoken. I pass that officer. I will take the case of one to whom he paid a few compliments a moment ago, Major Asselin. Major Asselin got away through what circumstances and by what efforts? It was only through the press of the country, and through articles that he wrote and wrote over again in newspapers of Montreal, that he was able to go across. What did they do with him? Did they send him at once to England or France to fight? No, Sir, that very man who had offered his services in such a gallant way, was sent to Bermuda, and when he was in Bermuda with his French Canadian compatriots, there again he appealed to the Minister of Militia imploring to be sent across, but it took months and months before his voice could be heard.

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Samuel Hughes

Unionist

Sir SAM HUGHES:

Again let me correct my hon. friend. Col. Asselin and his battalion went to Bermuda of their own choice. A deputation of hds^officers came from Montreal and asked that they be rushed off to Bermuda to get themselves ,in shape rather than stay in Montreal. They wanted to get to Bermuda where they would be free from hidden influences and otherwise, and to oblige them, and at their own request, they were sent to Bermuda.

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UNION

Henry Arthur Mackie

Unionist

Mr. H. A. MACKIE (Edmonton):

Tihe

question before the House this evening is the justification or non-justification of the riots in Quebec, and after having listened to a number of speeches I say the defence which has been put up on behalf of the rioters is to me the evidence of their condemnation, unless you take into account the ideal which governs the province of Quebec. To say that a man named Desjardins, or a man called Petit Blanc were scoundrels, or to say that the people of Quebec were sensitive when the law is enforced, is merely to say that the temper and disposition o.f the people is receptive to rioting, unless indeed you take into account tihe ideal which governs that province. Every nation is governed by an ideal, and national character is expressed by what is called patriotism, which is nothing more nor less than a passion, or an emotion, which is in the heaxt of every man. The emotion and the passion in the heart of every individual in the province of Quebec, collectively speaking, is that of a colony participating in the benefits of British connection, without doing anything towards the defence of the Empire, and, if need be, the independence of Canada in the end. That is the ideal which has been, spread in the province of Quebec of recent years by certain leaders. The .people are not .apt to 'be in a receptive mood for patriotic effort in that province, and that accounts for the rioting which took place recently. I am in sympathy with- the French Can-

adian people as a people, but their leaders are not entitled to much sympathy from me. I differ in toto from the views of the leaders of the people of Quebec, but the people themselves I do not blame, because they are governed by an emotion or a passion falsely impressed on them. I will prove my case out of the mouth of the leader of the Opposition, and others who 'have spoken this afternoon. There is no question that both political parties, prior to the last Federal election, expressed the opinion that there was a duty on Canadians to participate in this war. Sir, a duty is engendered from a principle, which, like eternal truth, never changes, and, therefore, duty cannot change or deviate any more than can the principle itself. If it was a duty before the war, then, unless circumstances changed, it was a duty at the beginning of the war for Canada to serve the Empire. But the circumstances had not changed, or, if they did, they changed in the respect that our duty became the more imperative. Sir, to show that a nation acts by emotion and passion, and that a nation is a collective body, with neither judgment nor intellectuality, but that absorption into the collective whole is made by emotion, I have only to recite you a few instances that took place at the beginning of the war. When war was declared men were staggered at the enormity of the impending disaster, and those who came from the old land and had relatives there were the first to think of enlisting and going to the succour of those they had left behind. There was passion and emotion in the hearts of those individuals. Them, shortly after that, you had the reports which came from time to time from the front of Senlis, of Dinant, of the outrage at Scarborough, of the execution of Edith Cavell, of the crucifixion of Canadian soldiers', of poisoning wells, and many other atrocities perpetuated by the Hun. Then Canadians flocked to the recruiting offices and enlisted. Some from the province of Quebec were moved in the same way, because it was the emotion within them that inspired them and not their individual judgment. That was the system of voluntary recruiting, not that there was an exercise of judgment, but because the passion within each impelled him to resent the atrocity that was perpetuated against Canada and the Empire.

But the time came, when that passion and emotion virtually died out. I cannot give you the reasons why, but I may hazard a guess at a few of them, and perhaps it was through the fact that we learned a very short time after the declaration of war that

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the British navy was impregnable, and that we were secure behind it, and it was also perhaps due to the fact that we had repeated reports of the atrocities of the Hun, served to us every morning and two or three times a day as a menu and we became callous by the repetition of atrocities which created the passion and emotion in the heart of every individual in Canada. Gradually we passed from the voluntary system into another system. I say if it was a duty at first to fight, it is still a duty to-day, and I will refer now to the statement which has been made in this House to-day that the farmer is just as much a soldier as the man who fights in the trenches. I say, yes he is, and he is required. But the war is a sacrifice of blood and not the service of digging spuds, and I will say, Sir, that when war is declared you are called upon, not only to produce food, but also to give the best of the blood of your country in defense of the principles for which you fight. If it were right to fight in the beginning it is right to fight now, and if the voluntary system has failed, then I say to you there are only two ways in which you may fight in this war, as to this, and I defy contradiction from any man in the House. Either you fight voluntarily or you fight by the interpositon of military organization. I agree with the leader of the Opposition that is is not democratic to impose military organization, but it is necessary, as the only alternative of continuing the fight, I say. it follows that, if a military organization is necessary to continue this fight, every democratic principle in government must be suspended if it stands in the way of success. Each man's life belongs to the State and each man must take his place in the organic whole.

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Some hon. MEMBERS:

Do not interrupt.

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UNION

April 5, 1918