November 29, 1940

ROYAL CANADIAN AIR FORCE


CLOSING OF RECRUITING OFFICE AT FORT WILLIAM [DOT]-CHANGE IN RECRUITING POLICY On the orders of the day:


LIB

Daniel (Dan) McIvor

Liberal

Mr. DANIEL McIVOR (Fort William):

I wish to address a question to the Minister of National Defence for Air (Mr. Power). I have before me an editorial which appeared in the Times-Journal, of Fort William, stating that the recruiting office for the air force has been closed at the head of the lakes and the official removed to Winnipeg. As this office serves two large and live cities, many towns and villages and a large district around, I should like to know if it is not possible to have this office kept open. I am not suggesting that the Winnipeg officials be moved to the head of the lakes. But may I ask why this office was closed, and how will the district be now served?

Topic:   SUSPENSION OF STANDING ORDER 57-COMMITTEES OF SUPPLY AND WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   ROYAL CANADIAN AIR FORCE
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LIB

Charles Gavan Power (Associate Minister of National Defence; Minister of National Defence for Air; Minister of National Defence for Air and Associate Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Hon. C. G. POWER (Minister of National Defence for Air):

My hon. friend was good enough to give me notice of this question. What is involved is simply a change in recruiting policy, whereby, instead of asking prospective recruits to come into our offices, we will go out to get them.

Topic:   SUSPENSION OF STANDING ORDER 57-COMMITTEES OF SUPPLY AND WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   ROYAL CANADIAN AIR FORCE
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NAT

Richard Burpee Hanson (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. HANSON (York-Sunbury):

That is a change.

Topic:   SUSPENSION OF STANDING ORDER 57-COMMITTEES OF SUPPLY AND WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   ROYAL CANADIAN AIR FORCE
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LIB

Charles Gavan Power (Associate Minister of National Defence; Minister of National Defence for Air; Minister of National Defence for Air and Associate Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. POWER:

We propose now that in certain districts our officers shall travel through the towns and villages in the area adjacent to the former recruiting offices and see the people anxious to join rather than have us wait for them to make application for the Royal Canadian Air Force. Amongst the centres which are being closed are Fort William, Niagara Falls and Kingston. Later, as the policy develops, possibly more will be closed.

Topic:   SUSPENSION OF STANDING ORDER 57-COMMITTEES OF SUPPLY AND WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   ROYAL CANADIAN AIR FORCE
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LIB

Daniel (Dan) McIvor

Liberal

Mr. McIVOR:

Thank you.

Topic:   SUSPENSION OF STANDING ORDER 57-COMMITTEES OF SUPPLY AND WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   ROYAL CANADIAN AIR FORCE
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COMMANDER CHARLES BEARD


QUESTION OF RETIREMENT OF FORMER OFFICER in charge of the Prince Robert On the orders of the day:


NAT

Herbert Alexander Bruce

National Government

Hon. H. A. BRUCE (Parkdale):

May I ask the Minister of Natifinal Defence for Naval Services (Mr. Macdonald) a question? A good deal of controversy has arisen in the press and elsewhere regarding the " beaching " of Commander Charles Beard, who was in charge of the Canadian ship Prince Robert when it captured a German freighter off the coast of Mexico. If there is some reason for such action and an investigation has been held, is the minister prepared to tell the house and the country the result of that investigation?

Commander Charles Beard

Hon. ANGUS L. MACDONALD (Minister of National Defence for Naval Services): Mr. Speaker, I am glad that my hon. friend has asked the question; he gave me notice of it just a few minutes before the house assembled.

I understand that there has been some discussion in the papers on the Pacific coast and- more recently-in papers in other parts of Canada as to the causes of Commander Beard's retirement on sick leave. I will endeavour to give my hon. friend the story as best I have been able to assemble it in the short time since I received notice of his question.

In the first place, Commander Beard was retired from the Royal Canadian Navy in April, 1939, some months before the outbreak of war. He was retired as being in category E, and the medical examination at that time disclosed that, while his general physical condition was good, he was suffering from slight cardiac hypertrophy and elevation of blood pressure, wThich was 200-104, and some rigidity of the lumbar spine. The rigidity of the spine was due, I believe, to an accident which Commander Beard suffered while serving in the Mediterranean in 1920. While in charge of a bathing party, in diving from the deck of a ship he was injured, and that injury still persists. So, in April, 1939, we have him retired on the report of a medical officer who at that time classified him as category E.

In May, 1939, a board was held at Esqui-malt to determine whether his injury was due to active service, and that board, after looking at the medical history, offered its opinion that the injury was due to active service. In the same month there was some discussion as to whether Commander Beard would be eligible for pension. That went on for some time. I should like to quote now what Captain Pace, of the Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps, testified as to Beard's condition in May, 1939. He said there was: first, hypertrophic changes in the vertebral column, more particularly in the cervical region of the fourth and fifth lumbar vertebrae, and second, arteriosclerosis.

Then there was some discussion as to whether the injuries were due to war services. Captain Pace said that such injuries to the lumbar vertebrae might have been caused by diving; that the arteriosclerosis was trophic change, due probably to his years, and that the strain of his duties as a naval officer would probably tend to advance the arteriosclerotic condition. That is the evidence of Captain Pace of the Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps in May, 1939.

In November, 1939, Commander Beard, war having broken out, was taken back into1 the naval service and placed on duty with; convoy ships proceeding to England. Later he was placed in charge of the Prince Robert and took that ship to sea on her first voyage after reconditioning into a merchant cruiser. From then on, the story runs somewhat like this. The medical officer on the ship >

expressed the opinion, from his observations-of the commander, that arteriosclerotic changes had taken place, that they were serious, and that the commander was suffering from a moderate degree of hypertension! He recommended that some steps be taken at once to establish Commander Beard's physical fitness for service. This is another medical naval officer.

Then another surgeon, Surgeon Commander Johnstone, senior naval medical officer on: the Pacific coast, looked into the matter,, agreed with the surgeon on the ship, and. said that he thought Commander Beard was unfit for further naval service owing to these ailments. That was early in October. Following that, a board was held, at Esquimalt barracks on October 23. Two officers sat there to determine whether Commander Beard had a disability, whether it was attributable or not attributable to service. That board came to the conclusion that Commander Beard's injury was attributable to service in the Royal Canadian Navy.

Finally I will quote the opinion of independent doctors at St. Joseph's hospital, Victoria, where Commander Beard went shortly after he was allowed to leave the ship on sick leave. Stuart Kenning, M.D., St. Joseph's hospital, says that Commander Beard showed the following symptoms: Bradycardia; left venticular preponderance, and evidence of myocardial changes as due to coronary changes, and possible coronary thrombosis.

I understand that the report is being circulated on the Pacific coast that the doctors at St. Joseph's -hospital have given Commander Beard a clean bill of health. My advice from our doctors here, taking the report of the doctor at St. Joseph's hospital, is that it is quite evident that Commander Beard is not a well man. That is the independent view of a doctor in the hospital at Victoria, who has been cited, on that coast and elsewhere, as having given Commander Beard a clean bill of health. Evidence is on file from several doctors, beginning as far back as April, 1939. The evidence was reviewed by other doctors, and its goes to show that Commander Beard, unfortunately, suffers from high blood pressure and other ailments resulting from that condition.

The Address-Mr. Gladstone

The opinion is all one way. It is regretted that things are as they are. Commander Beard took the ship out and, as has been pointed out, did a smart piece of work; but I am afraid, if I may venture my opinion as a layman, that the strain of commanding a ship in war time, to a man in Commander Beard's condition, is simply too much and that for his own sake he should not be put in that position, not to speak of course of the officers and men who have to serve under him.

Topic:   SUSPENSION OF STANDING ORDER 57-COMMITTEES OF SUPPLY AND WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   COMMANDER CHARLES BEARD
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NAT

Herbert Alexander Bruce

National Government

Mr. BRUCE:

I thank the minister for

his explanation. As a professional man I concur in the view he has expressed.

Topic:   SUSPENSION OF STANDING ORDER 57-COMMITTEES OF SUPPLY AND WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   COMMANDER CHARLES BEARD
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GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH


The house resumed from Thursday, November 28, consideration of the motion of Mr. Brooke Claxton for an address to His Excellency the Governor General in reply to his speech at the opening of the session, and the amendment thereto of Mr. Hanson (York-Sunbury) and the amendment to the amendment of Mr. Blackmore.


LIB

Robert William Gladstone

Liberal

Mr. R. W. GLADSTONE (Wellington South):

Mr. Speaker, I have chosen the

supremacy of parliament as the theme of my remarks this afternoon. That is the issue that is fundamental in the great struggle in which we are engaged as a nation.

Regimentation is the antithesis of freedom. Situations are rampant in enemy countries, beside which the great disaster portrayed in Tennyson's "Charge of the Light Brigade" pales into insignificance.

'Forward, the Light Brigade!'

Was there a man dismay'd?

Not tho' the soldier knew Some one had blunder'd:

Their's not to make reply,

Their's not to reason why,

Their's but to do and die:

Into the valley of Death Rode the six hundred.

Regimentation in the armies of democracies has been reduced to the necessary discipline. More and more in modern warfare is individual initiative coming to be of paramount importance. True it is that formations must be maintained in air attacks, in tank offensives and in mechanical transport advances, but in the crucial moments pilots and operators must think and act on their own. So it is in democratic government. Party alignments represent certain definite views on such subjects as production and consumption, trade, finance, internal and external relations, and so on. Solidarity is maintained through harmonizing views and interests, by methods of

give and take. At all times there is freedom to the individual member to vote according to his best judgment. That is the situation in this parliament of Canada. Canadians have not been and will not be regimented. That is why I have made bold to place on the order paper a resolution for discussion by parliament which reads as follows:

That, in the opinion of this house, the government should give consideration to the matter of continuous participation by additional members of parliament in the responsibility of directing our war effort and of planning an after the war program for Canada.

My purpose to-day will be to lay the foundation for a discussion on the resolution which I am proposing.

I have secured from the Department of External Affairs a table of the personnel of his majesty's government formed by the Right Hon. Winston Churchill in May, 1940, with the changes of October 31, 1940. I believe this contains valuable information for hon. members, and with the permission of the house I desire to have it placed on Hansard.

Topic:   SUSPENSION OF STANDING ORDER 57-COMMITTEES OF SUPPLY AND WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH
Sub-subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

I would not wish in any way to restrict the latitude tr be given my hon. friend; I am only too desirous of his being afforded the widest latitude. I think however it is important for me to point out that my hon. friend is now debating a resolution which is on the order paper; according to his own words he is laying the foundation for continued debate with respect to that resolution. Speaking on the supremacy of parliament he probably knows that to preserve that supremacy no hon. member in a debate may discuss a resolution that is on the order paper except at the time the resolution itself is being discussed. My hon. friend's statement, if I understood him aright, was that his speech would be in relation to his resolution. If that be the case I am afraid it would be out of order. I mention this only in case subsequently some other hon. member may feel he has a right to take the same method of debating resolutions in the course of the debate on the address.

I should not like it to be thought or said that I had permitted to one of my own loyal supporters a course or proceeding which I was denying to others.

Topic:   SUSPENSION OF STANDING ORDER 57-COMMITTEES OF SUPPLY AND WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH
Sub-subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
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NAT

Richard Burpee Hanson (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. HANSON (York-Sunbury):

Of course the Prime Minister's point is well taken. I am sorry, as he is, to seem to restrict discussion in any way, but rules are rules, and I am afraid we are observing them too often in the breach. We ought to agree to observe the rules. It is the only orderly way to conduct the proceedings of parliament.

The Address-Mr. Gladstone

Topic:   SUSPENSION OF STANDING ORDER 57-COMMITTEES OF SUPPLY AND WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH
Sub-subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
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LIB

Robert William Gladstone

Liberal

Mr. GLADSTONE:

I desire to keep myself within the rules, and I think it will be found as my speech develops that I shall make some constructive suggestions, offer some criticism in places, and that as a whole my remarks will be of assistance in promoting the efficiency of. the administration of parliament.

In view of the objection taken I will pass over one item, which however I think would scarcely have been objectionable. May I be permitted to indicate the extent to which members of parliament participate in the administration in the British houses of parliament? They have a war cabinet of eight members. The ministers number twenty-eight, the parliamentary secretaries twenty-nine; that is, there is a total of sixty-five members of the British ministry. Canada has eighteen cabinet ministers. Ontario has fourteen cabinet ministers, of which two are without portfolio but with salaries. Quebec has fourteen cabinet ministers, of whom eight are ministers without portfolio but with salaries in addition to indemnity.

Let me discuss now the organization that is directing our war effort in Canada. I shall do so under two headings: (1) the cabinet, and (2) the non-cabinet.

Canada is fortunate to-day in having a strong cabinet. Each department of the government is presided over by an able administrator. I shall not have time to speak of the qualifications and work of each minister, but I should like to pay tribute to a few of our ministers who are occupying key positions.

First, the Prime Minister. It is a matter of the utmost satisfaction that we have as our national leader one who has in a large way the confidence of the people of Canada, the Right Hon. W. L. Mackenzie King. He brings to the situation long experience, reliable judgment, and a discernment of trends-shall I say a psychic sense?-that enables him to do the right thing at the right time. Things do not happen by chance with the present Prime Minister; they are well planned, perhaps long planned, and invariably sound.

The Minister of Justice. Here again Canada has reason for great thanks for our fine Canadian Minister of Justice (Mr. Lapointe) -justice administered by a just man. Difficult situations are dealt with in a broadminded spirit, leniently if possible but with the firmness that is imperative in time of war. The Minister of Justice is one of the coordinators of the two races, held in high esteem by Canadians of English ancestry. I am sure the Prime Minister will not mind, having regard to the limitations of his unmarried status, if I say that the Minister of Justice is the most loved man in Canadian public life.

What a triumvirate we have here in Ralston, Power and Macdonald-names that spell ability and reliability; Ralston, the soldier, the lawyer, the business man, the organizer, keen minded and kind hearted; Power, the man who will brush aside red tape and get things done. Here we have men who will face up to Hitler and Goering, with fista clenched, and smite them between the eyes. Then how can I do justice to the Minister of Munitions and Supply (Mr. Howe)? To me he seems to have been trained for years for the great emergency of to-day-a skilled engineer, an experienced executive, quiet working and genial. In the last war there was not a man his equal connected with munitions. I might go on and tell of the high qualities of other ministers, but time will not permit. If there be weakness to-day who will say it is to be found in lack of patriotism? If there be weakness to-day who will say that there exist selfish or dishonest purposes? If there be weakness it must be due to an organization which is inadequate to meet the colossal demands.

This brings me to a consideration of the non-cabinet organization. During recent months I have gone about the city from department to department, and I am sure any person who does this must be impressed with the tremendous organization that has been created in many governmental departments. According to reports that have been tabled there has been an increase of some five thousand in the number of persons employed by the government in Ottawa since the beginning of the war, so that now we have some 16,500 persons in the service of the government in this city. It does seem to me that the task of supervising an organization consisting of 16.500 people is a very great undertaking for a cabinet consisting of eighteen ministers. In some ways, and I believe many hon. members feel as I do, it seems like the tail wagging the dog. As I go along the streets I see hundreds of people going to and from work. Just how appointments to these positions have been made, private members do not know, but the feeling is that these are not political appointments, that if there has been anything in the way of pull in connection with the appointments it has been personal rather than political.

A question was placed on the order paper concerning the appointment of a gentleman who happened to be a defeated Liberal candidate. The hon. member who asked that question in all fairness might have asked at the same time with regard to the appointment of other defeated candidates. I believe there

The Address-Mr. Gladstone

are four defeated candidates in the service of the government to-day, two being former Liberals, one a Conservative and one a member of the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation party. This seems to be a fair distribution.

We have listened to exhaustive reports by various ministers concerning our achievements in this war. Many speeches have been made, some of praise and some of moderate criticism. Taking the debate as a whole it seems to have been exceedingly difficult to find any vulnerable point to attack on the government's record. One of the great achievements that will be mentioned when the history of this administration is written is the establishment of price control, the benefit of which is being realized more and more as the war progresses and which will be of great value in adjusting the situation at the conclusion of the war. The basis of letting contracts is such that it would seem impossible for large profits to be made. Tenders are awarded on a price basis, and, so far as one can ascertain, high prices are not being paid for war materials. The total results so far in connection with our war effort represent a distinct achievement, and indicate very efficient handling of such a colossal enterprise.

Suggestions have been made for strengthening the administration. I should like to advance three suggestions, and in doing so I hope I will not intrude too much upon the resolution to which reference has been made already.

First I would suggest the creation of a department under a head to be known by some such name as Promoter of Economies;

* second, the establishment of an inner council both in war and in peace; and, third, the creation of parliamentary secretaries.

During the years I have been in parliament my speeches have been few, and those speeches have been directed toward improve-ing the efficiency of government and lowering its cost. The first time I spoke I made reference to the form in which the estimates for the expenditure of money were presented to parliament. On that occasion I received a great deal of help in the surveys I made of the different departments, particularly from Mr. Watson Sellar, at that time comptroller of the treasury and now auditor general. I am glad to note that following the improvement of methods a few years ago of presenting the estimates to parliament, there comes this year a corresponding improvement in the presentation of the auditor general's report.

I suggest that a small expenditure of money,

possibly of only $30,000 in a department in connection with the services of a man who could be known as Promoter of Economies, would save to this country at least a million dollars a year. Of course such a man would not be popular-perhaps no more popular than a certain small animal which on occasions intrudes at garden parties. Later however he would be recognized as the friend of efficient employees, and would help lift them out of ruts into better positions. What a useful buffer a person of this type in a position of the kind suggested would be for the government when it was endeavouring to turn down needless expenditures of money.

I should like to make some observations in connection with the formation of an inner council both in war time and in peace time. I am sure it is recognized that a large cabinet is unwieldy, and that it is a distinct advantage, in connection with many matters which may arise, to have consideration and action carried out, so far as possible, by a small group of men. It does seem to me that a prime minister in such an inner council could gather about him some of the best men of the administration. These men should be given the time to have their desks cleared so that they would be in a position to meet members and deputations, and even to go about the country making close contact with the people and learning about living conditions. With their freedom of action these men could function as acting ministers on occasions when ministers found it necessary to be absent.

I should like to make one or two observations respecting parliamentary secretaries. May I be permitted to say there is one weakness in connection with the present system, and that weakness I shall now discuss. When a minister shifts from one department to another it is the practice that his private secretary accompanies him. During his service in the department in which he first served, the private secretary would undoubtedly build up a knowledge of the department and of the people connected with it. In making a transfer to another department this entire experience and knowledge is lost. It would be a distinct advantage if the private secretary, or, in substitution therefor, a parliamentary secretary, could remain in the department in order that there might be an opportunity of his gaining a full knowledge of the affairs of that department, to the great benefit of any minister who might come from another department. In his duties both in and outside the house the assistance of a parliamentary secretary would on many occasions be of great value to a minister.

The Address-Mr. Hansell

It is inevitable that in huge organizations, such as that which has been built up in the Department of Munitions and Supply, persons not associated with parliament will at times endeavour to extend favours to friends. This is something it is difficult to guard against, but for which the government must take responsibility.

The hazard of overwork on the part of the ministers is another very important consideration. We can be grateful that that has not happened too frequently in Canada, but I am sure all will agree that every precaution should be taken to preserve the health of the splendid men we have in the administration, so that particularly during these strenuous days there may be no interruptions.

Some times we have heard complaints from hon. members respecting the difficulty about seeing ministers. This complaint, however, I do not regard as serious. I am sure that the ministers are desirous so far as possible of seeing hon. members, and that, despite the heavy load the ministers are carrying, they extend to hon. members every courtesy. Apropos of the difficulty of obtaining an interview, one person has said-and I give this knowdng it to be an exaggeration-"One has to ask the clerk to ask the minister's assistant private secretary to ask the private secretary to ask the minister for an interview."

I wish again to emphasize how very fortunate it is at this time that the direction of the country's affairs is in the hands of one so sound and so skilful in planning as is the Prime Minister of Canada. It seems to me the one great achievement which stands out above all others is the relationship brought about between Canada and the United States under the agreement consummated at Ogdens-burg. These better relations and this feeling of good neighbourliness have not arisen by chance. They have come about through deliberate policies looking to the cultivation of extended trade, and, in various ways, to promoting good feeling between the two countries. What a wonderful achievement it has been becomes more apparent from day to day as we witness the contribution which in one way or another is being made by the United States to the nations within the British commonwealth in order to help them in their great struggle against the totalitarian powers in Europe.

I have in my hand a booklet-the annual publication of the Colonel John McCrae Memorial Branch of the Canadian Legion. My home city of Guelph, in the county of Wellington, was the birthplace of Doctor John McCrae. On one page of this booklet I find

a picture of two soldiers of the present war who are looking at a plaque which bears the words:

Birthplace of Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae, doctor, soldier, poet: 1872-1918.

On another page there is a picture of John McCrae and Bonneau, his dog, in Flanders. Let me try to give a picture of what I saw at the Remembrance day service on Sunday, November 10, at the Capitol theatre in Guelph.

As the curtain rises a lighted cross appears in the centre of the dark background bearing the words " Lest We Forget." To the left of the cross are the grass-covered mounds of two graves. By the side of one of them is one of our charming young girls, Miss Gray, a daughter of the immediate past president, Mr. Leslie W. Gray. Miss Gray is kneeling beside the grave, placing poppies on it. Two soldiers of the present war come in, representing the army and the air force. One of them speaks to the young lady in French, and she answers, " I am British. This is British soil. This soil is dedicated to Canada as a memorial to the Canadian soldiers who fought in the last great war. This is the grave of Colonel John McCrae."

Then two soldiers of the last great war- the fathers of the two soldiers of the present war-come in at the left, one bearing a lighted torch, which in the course of the ceremony he hands to his son, one of the soldiers of the present war. Then the young lady stands up and recites the famous poem written by Colonel John McCrae, "In Flanders' Fields":

In Flanders' fields the poppies blow Between the crosses, row on row,

That mark our place, and in the sky The larks still singing bravely fly,

Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the dead. Short days ago We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow, Loved and were loved, and now we lie In Flanders' fields.

Fellow members of parliament, the torch is handed to us now to carry on as best we may in the great struggle in which the nation is engaged. May God in heaven give us strength to be equal to our great trust and responsibility.

Topic:   SUSPENSION OF STANDING ORDER 57-COMMITTEES OF SUPPLY AND WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH
Sub-subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
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SC

Ernest George Hansell

Social Credit

Mr. E. G. HANSELL (Macleod):

Mr. Speaker, in rising to participate in this debate I cannot help expressing my disappointment at the apparent lack of enthusiasm which has characterized this debate since it began. Several members have commented to me in the corridors that interest in the debate seems to be lacking, that the debate is listless, a bit dull, devoid of enthusiasm. Perhaps I shall not add very much enthusiasm to it. I do

The Address

Mr. Hansell

not altogether blame hon. members. I rather think it is the result of a sort of hush-hush policy which seems to characterize the present administration, and which I think indicates the wisdom of the amendment moved by the opposition with regard to the government's efforts to soothe the Canadian people and create a false sense of security.

Members of parliament are not immune to being soothed. There was an occasion during the present debate when I counted the number of members present. I found that there were only sixteen Liberal members in the chamber, with one cabinet minister. I recognize of course that the cabinet ministers are exceptionally busy men and that because of that we have excused them from constant attendance in the chamber. Nevertheless there were only sixteen Liberals present, and twenty-one opposition members, and at the particular time when I counted them the leader of every opposition group was present.

Topic:   SUSPENSION OF STANDING ORDER 57-COMMITTEES OF SUPPLY AND WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH
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LIB

Ernest Lapointe (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. LAPOINTE (Quebec East):

Who was speaking at the time?

Topic:   SUSPENSION OF STANDING ORDER 57-COMMITTEES OF SUPPLY AND WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH
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SC

Ernest George Hansell

Social Credit

Mr. HANSELL:

I will tell the hon.

Minister of Justice who was speaking at the time, but before mentioning him I suggest that he is one of the ablest speakers we have in the house to-day. It was the hon. member for Weyburn (Mr. Douglas). I am not saying that there have not been powerful speeches made in this debate; I know there have been. But I am saying that there is a danger of this house drifting into what the Hon. Leslie Hore-Belisha described recently in speaking of the British house as a " decline in parliamentary vitality."

Moving from the House of Commons to the realm of the Canadian people, I think I can say that the hush-hush policy is having its effect upon the public too. We live in what is supposed to be a democratic country, where we boast of our democratic rights, our liberties and our freedom. I am not belittling these things. I am glad indeed to be a freeborn citizen of a democratic empire. But speaking of political democracy may I say that it appears to me at least that the rights of a democratic people end with the ballot box. Oh yes, we urge our people to go to the polls and vote. We even spend a lot of money in getting cars to transport the voters from their homes to the polls, and sometimes on the way there we tell them how to vote.

Topic:   SUSPENSION OF STANDING ORDER 57-COMMITTEES OF SUPPLY AND WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH
Sub-subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
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November 29, 1940