November 7, 1919

UNION

James Alexander Calder (Minister of Immigration and Colonization)

Unionist

Mr. CALDER:

I think that is right.

Now, so far as the findings oLthe report are concerned, the Acting Prime Minister this morning stated very clearly and definitely. that the Government accepted those findings and wras prepared to carry them out. On the question of policy involved there has been only one specific and definite statement made, namely, that the Government was not prepared to accept the prin-cple of a further general distribution of cash grants or gratuities. That is all and nothing more. Some hon. gentlemen have suggested time and again that some provision should be made for loans. As the Acting Prime Minister said this morning, the door is not shut; it is not at all jammed. No conclusions have been -reached in that respect by the Government. The committee have reported to the House that so far as they could see it would not be advisable [DOT]to make provision for a general scheme of loans along the lines indicated. But that door is not closed by any means. As many members of the House have said, this problem of re-establishment is going to continue with us for some time. It is bound to. I am sure that this general discussion which we have had, and which has embraced the whole problem of the reestablishment of the soldier, has been exceedingly helpful -not only to the members of the Government but to all the members of t-he House, to the returned soldiers themselves and to the public generally. I am -sure that we all view it in a somewhat different light from what we did a week ago. It is only by the discussion of a problem of this nature that the air can be cleared in order that we can more readily understand the problem in all its aspects. It seems to me that the propeT thing to do is for the Government itself to take into consideration all that has been said during the course of this discussion during which

suggestions have been thrown out as to the desirability of undertaking re-establishment work along certain lines.

Take the last suggestion referred to by the hon. member for Shelburne and Queen's (Mr. Fielding). I am sure there is not a member of this House who is not thoroughly sympathetic with the university student, the young man who jumped out of college, went across there and spent three or four years of his life-the years when he should have been preparing himself for his life's work. That young man is back and he has nothing to start in with. We know where many of these young men come from in this country of ours; they do not come from the aristocracy of the land. I suppose we can say that sixty per cent of these young men were working to put themselves through college as has many a member of this House. They have come back from the war and if they have anything at all it will only be the money that they would have earned during the war itself. We can all realize that in many cases these young men, not having anything assured ahead of them, would not have much of a desire to save. When they came back many, if not most, of them had absolutely nothing. What were they to do? In order to save up enough money to resume their course they must first go and earn it, spend another six or eight months at work and lose another college year. There is not a member of this House who does not sympathize with the idea that some provision should be made by. the State to enable these young men to complete their courses. But, as has been pointed out time and again, our difficulty in the committee was this: We found it a most difficult thing to draw the line between one grade of soldiers and another. Even while we had the matter under discussion, as I said the other day, we received a telegram conveying a protest. A report appeared in the press of the country that we were going to make provision for university students and no sooner had that appeared in the press than we received a telegram from one of the branches of the Great War Veterans' Association protesting vigorously that we could not make any provision of that kind without providing for other classes of soldiers as well. The House will realize the nature and the difficulty of the problem we had before us.

Just before the House met this afternoon, some of the members came to me and said: " Now, Mr. Calder, can you not make provision whereby loans may be provided for men who wish to establish themselves in business provided these men can get backing, or some person will guarantee them?" I said: "It might be done." But if

you are going to provide for a man who wants to establish himself in business, what are you going to do with the young man who came back from the war with a wife that he did not have when he left and two children, and who has no home for himself and his family? There are thousands of that class. Can you provide for the man who wants to establish himself in business and not provide for the man who wants to make a home for himself? He has no home, he wants to get a home and he wants to furnish it. That shows the problem that the committee had to deal with. Again, you have another case in which a man, when he went away, left debts and a mortgage on his house. In the meantime the interest has accumulated. If you provide for the man who wants to start in business and for the man who wants to establish his home, what are you going to do in the case of a man who wishes to lift that debt? Then, I mentioned the case the other day of the fisherman down by the sea, the man who left his boat and tackle on the seashore. If you are going to provide for the other classes, you must provide for him also.

That is the very crux of the whole problem. 'Can we in a country such as ours distinguish between all these different classes? Some hon. gentlemen may think so. Our committee, after considering that problem for hours and days, came to the conclusions that it could not be done. The amount of money required to carry on reestablishment along these lines would approximate anywhere from $250,000,000 to $500,000,000. Then, where are we? We are right back at the point at which we started. You ask that we send this report back to the committee. For what purpose? How are we going to settle that problem? This House can settle that problem as well as the committee can. You have the matter before you now. You know exactly what the problem is. Instead of giving a cash grant is the State going to provide means whereby we can loan money for the purpose 6f reestablishing all these various classes, a sum of money aggregating anywhere from $300,000,000 to $500,000,000?

This need is urgent. All the representations made to us were to the effect that this must be done at once-immediately-[DOT] that it would not admit of delay. The money ought to be got at once, and the machinery put in motion now. This is not

a question to be taken hold of six months or a year from now; it is urgent, it is pressing, it is upon us now. If things are to be done they must be done at once. These were the views expressed before the committee by the soldiers themselves. The problem of reconstruction is up to us right at the present moment. I have endeavoured to put the problem we had to deal with before this House. The members of this House are just as capable of dealing with it as are the committee.

Topic:   VISIT OF HIS ROYAL HIGHNESS THE PRINCE OF WALES TO THE COMMONS.
Permalink
UNION

John Archibald Campbell

Unionist

Mr. CAMPBELL:

This House is tied

down by procedure. The committee could get much farther in an hour than this House could in half a day.

Topic:   VISIT OF HIS ROYAL HIGHNESS THE PRINCE OF WALES TO THE COMMONS.
Permalink
UNION

James Alexander Calder (Minister of Immigration and Colonization)

Unionist

Mr. CALDER:

I think we could very quickly brush away the procedure in a matter of this kind if the House has any serious wish to tackle the problem. [DOT] We can very readily get rid of all the red tape that surrounds Parliament and get at the question.

I have been very close to this whole problem from the time that the armistice was signed and I want to say as a member of the Administration that I am exceedingly glad this discussion has taken place on the floor of the House. It has been helpful to every member of the Government and of Parliament. I say again that the door is not closed. It will be our duty as a government to sit down and consider everything that has grown out of this discussion. If we find that there are claims-proper claims-and if there are suggestions thrown out whereby we can assist in this work of re-establishment, then we will consider it the duty of the Government to advise those policies and carry them out and I am sure that the House will support the Government in any reasonable steps it takes in that direction.

Personally, I do not consider it is necessary to send this report back to the Committee. I think, in view of the discussion that has taken place here and the sentiments that have been expressed during that discussion,that the matter can very well be left to the Administration itself. I do not think there is any doubt as to what the real sentiment of this House is. The real sense of the House, after .all the discussion we have had, is that if any means can be found to assist the returned men in this question of re-establishment, the Government should find it and put it into operation.

Topic:   VISIT OF HIS ROYAL HIGHNESS THE PRINCE OF WALES TO THE COMMONS.
Permalink
UNION

Henry Arthur Mackie

Unionist

Mr. H. A. MACKIE:

Do I understand the minister to say that at any time in

the future further representations may be made by the Great War Veterans, or anybody who may be interested in a particular case, and. that the Government will take those representations into consideration?

Topic:   VISIT OF HIS ROYAL HIGHNESS THE PRINCE OF WALES TO THE COMMONS.
Permalink
UNION

James Alexander Calder (Minister of Immigration and Colonization)

Unionist

Mr. CALDER:

Yes. And I go further than that. I think it w.as the member for West 'oronto (Mr. Hocken) who suggested that we should have a further conference with the Great War Veteran's Association. I may .say that we have had Mr. MacNeil, General Secretary of Great War Veteran's Association, who is a very able, very sincere, .and very energetic young man at our meetings right along. Mr. MacNeil is one of my own constituents, whom I know well and he is a very capable officer. He has been in touch with this matter con-tinously and'he has done valuable work here in connection with the returned soldiers' organization. I simply wish to throw out the idea-so far as the Government is concerned I have no opportunity of discussing the matter with them -that after all the discussion we have had every member will agree that further conference should be held with the members of the organization referred to. These questions cannot be settled in a day; they are most diffcult, most complex problems. Send them back to the Committee with the idea of trying to work out some satisfactory scheme and where will you get to? Parliament will be in session another week, or ten days, or two weeks-we cannot tell how long. I would simply throw out the suggestion that the House leave this problem with the Government, outside of the question of cash grant or gratuity. After all, the responsibility .after what has taken place in the House rests largely with the Government. If I understand the situation at all, it is that the House would support any reasonable measure taken by the Government in connection with this problem of re-establishment. I have said nothing that is binding. I am not making any definite promises at all as to what .can be done, because I am not in a position to make those promises. At the same time, I do assert that the question does not end here in so far as other features of re-estab-. lishment work are concerned, and that it will be the duty of the Government to take into consideration all that has been said and all the suggestions that have been thrown out-to take the real sentiment of the House into its consideration, with a view to seeing what else can be done in

order to assist in the re-establishment of the returned men in the civil life of this country.

Topic:   VISIT OF HIS ROYAL HIGHNESS THE PRINCE OF WALES TO THE COMMONS.
Permalink
LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Hon. W. L. MACKENZIE KING:

Mr. Speaker, while not desirous of taking up any more time than is necessary, I am anxious that my position shall not go unrecorded in this matter. The hon. gentleman (Mr. Fielding) has, I think, stated the view which is held, not only on this side, but, I believe, by the House generally; he has certainly expressed very clearly .the feeling which I have in this matter. I am somewhat surprised at the way in which my hon. friend's remarks have been received by the minister. The minister has urged two reasons why the report cannot be referred back to the committee, and they are the only two which I heard him advance. One was that we might as well fight the matter out here. I confess, Sir, that when the House is sitting in formal session I see great difficulties in the way of considering any suggestions in the careful and full manner in which they should be considered. A good many interesting and valuable suggestions have been presented in the course of this debate, and no inconsiderable number have come from hon. gentlemen supporting the Government. The minister said he wished that all the members of the House could have been present at the sittings of the committee and heard the proceedings. No doubt most of us would have liked to have been present but we were obliged' to be here in this chamber attending to other matters which were under discussion. If there is one thing that has been stated over and over again in the House it is the great injustice that is done members by the rushing through of legislation at the pace at which the Government has rushed it during this particular session. We have had no time to consider these great problems with the care with which they should be considered. The Grand Trunk railway measure, the most important financial transaction which this country has ever had to consider, was jammed along here day after day. From one stage to another, the Government pressed that measure without the opportunity for any mature deliberation; and *those of us who were trying to protect the interests of the country and following that measure closely, were unable to snatch time even to read the proceedings of the committee, let alone attends its meetings. The report of the committee was laid on the table of the House, I think on Friday night last,

119}

when we were discussing the legislation referred to. At the time I drew attention to the undue haste with which we were proceeding and urged that the Government give us a little more time for the discussion of these important matters. Well, Sir, I think in the face of that, hon. members have a right to s'ay to the Government that not having been ,in a position to attend the sittings of the committee, but having given thought to this subject, and having openly and frankly expressed their views here, they ought to be permitted to have those views go . before the committee for further consideration. Now it seems to me the minister answered that very fair and reasonable request simply by saying: The House is a better place than the committee in which to give this report further consideration. He had also another reason-

Topic:   VISIT OF HIS ROYAL HIGHNESS THE PRINCE OF WALES TO THE COMMONS.
Permalink
UNION

James Alexander Calder (Minister of Immigration and Colonization)

Unionist

Mr. CALDER:

I said to discuss the principle, not the details.

Topic:   VISIT OF HIS ROYAL HIGHNESS THE PRINCE OF WALES TO THE COMMONS.
Permalink
LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

The other

reason which the minister mentioned was that we might be here for another week or ten days. Let me say in regard to that observation of the minister, that if it is going to help the returned soldier to get justice, gentlemen on this side are prepared to stay here until after Christmas. We are prepared to stay here just as long as hon. gentlemen opposite are ready to stay with us and help debate this question.

Topic:   VISIT OF HIS ROYAL HIGHNESS THE PRINCE OF WALES TO THE COMMONS.
Permalink
UNION

James Alexander Calder (Minister of Immigration and Colonization)

Unionist

Mr. CALDER:

If the hon. gentleman will allow me. I did not wish to intimate that in so far as the committee was concerned, or in -so far as I was concerned, that I was not prepared to stay here just as long as he is-that was not my intention at 'all. I simply wished to throw out the idea that although we might get the committee to deal with the question of principle and spend two weeks and more in doing so that when their report came back we would be in practically the same position that we are in now. Let us decide the principle right in this House.

Topic:   VISIT OF HIS ROYAL HIGHNESS THE PRINCE OF WALES TO THE COMMONS.
Permalink
LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

I think the remarks of the minister were perfectly plain at the time they were made. I do not think I have misunderstood or misinterpreted them, and I would like to be allowed to continue without interruption.

Topic:   VISIT OF HIS ROYAL HIGHNESS THE PRINCE OF WALES TO THE COMMONS.
Permalink
UNION

James Alexander Calder (Minister of Immigration and Colonization)

Unionist

Mr. CALDER:

I do not think it is fair that the hon. gentleman should impute to me a motive and in order to do so credit me with remarks that I did not utter.

Topic:   VISIT OF HIS ROYAL HIGHNESS THE PRINCE OF WALES TO THE COMMONS.
Permalink
LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

I have no desire to impute any motive to the hon. gen-

'tleman, and if my remarks are capable of such construction I will withdraw entirely * any that are in the nature of an imputation. All I wish to say is that one of two arguments which the minister presented as to why the suggestion made by the hon. member for Shelburne and Queen's should not be accepted, was that it might keep*us here for a week or ten days. My answer to that is that we are ready to stay here until the New Year is ushered in if it is going to help the settlement of this question in a manner that will he satisfactory to the returned soldiers in this country.

That being the position, and inasmuch as the hon. member for Centre Winnipeg (Mr. Andrews) has indicated his willingness to withdraw his amendment, should that suggestion be carried out I should like to move, Mr. Speaker, as a sub-amendment to the motion and the amendment already before the House:

That the said motion or amendment be not concurred in, but that the said report now under consideration toe sent back to the said committee lor further consideration.

Topic:   VISIT OF HIS ROYAL HIGHNESS THE PRINCE OF WALES TO THE COMMONS.
Permalink
UNION

Alexander Kenneth Maclean (Minister Without Portfolio)

Unionist

Hon. A. K. MACLEAN:

Mr. Speaker, I should like to direct your attention as to whether the last amendment is not included in the first.

Topic:   VISIT OF HIS ROYAL HIGHNESS THE PRINCE OF WALES TO THE COMMONS.
Permalink
UNION

Edgar Nelson Rhodes (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Unionist

Mr. SPEAKER:

The hon. leader of the Opposition I think would have his purpose met by so revising his sub-amendment as to strike out from the amendment the specific instructions. Otherwise it appears to me that his sub-amendment is comprised in the amendment of the hon. member for Winnipeg Centre (Mr. Andrews). That amendment is broader, it is true, but it nevertheless comprises what is proposed to be done by the hon. member of Shelburne and Queen's (Mr. Fielding). I would suggest therefore that the hon. member revise his amendment in the manner I have indicated.

Topic:   VISIT OF HIS ROYAL HIGHNESS THE PRINCE OF WALES TO THE COMMONS.
Permalink
IND

George William Andrews

Independent

Mr. ANDREWS:

Mr. Speaker, may I be permitted to state that I accept the statement of the hon. minister, the chairman of the committee, and withdraw my amendment?

Topic:   VISIT OF HIS ROYAL HIGHNESS THE PRINCE OF WALES TO THE COMMONS.
Permalink
UNION

Edgar Nelson Rhodes (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Unionist

Mr. SPEAKER:

Is it the pleasure of the House that the hon. gentleman should have leave to withdraw his amendment-?

Topic:   VISIT OF HIS ROYAL HIGHNESS THE PRINCE OF WALES TO THE COMMONS.
Permalink
?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Carried.

Topic:   VISIT OF HIS ROYAL HIGHNESS THE PRINCE OF WALES TO THE COMMONS.
Permalink
?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

No.

Amendment withdrawn.

Topic:   VISIT OF HIS ROYAL HIGHNESS THE PRINCE OF WALES TO THE COMMONS.
Permalink
LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

Mr. Speaker,

I would move as an amendment:

That the said report now under consideration be sent back to the said committee for further consideration.

Topic:   VISIT OF HIS ROYAL HIGHNESS THE PRINCE OF WALES TO THE COMMONS.
Permalink
UNION

Edgar Nelson Rhodes (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Unionist

Mr. SPEAKER:

The question is on the amendment. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the amendment?

Topic:   VISIT OF HIS ROYAL HIGHNESS THE PRINCE OF WALES TO THE COMMONS.
Permalink

November 7, 1919