February 10, 1942

NAT

Richard Burpee Hanson (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. HANSON (York-Sunbury):

Did I not say I was prepared to accept that as a halfway measure?

Topic:   GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
Permalink
LIB

James Layton Ralston (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. RALSTON:

I am quite satisfied my hon. friend used no such language.

Topic:   GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
Permalink
NAT

Richard Burpee Hanson (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. HANSON (York-Sunbury):

I am quite satisfied I did. And I take credit for forcing the government to bring in the act-absolutely.

Topic:   GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
Permalink
LIB

James Layton Ralston (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. RALSTON:

My hon. friend should not draw a red herring across the trail. He should look at the record, and he will find that his colleague, the hon. member for Royal (Air. Brooks), suggested that the act be extended to Labrador, Iceland and Newfoundland, and that he himself suggested that it be extended to Labrador. I do not think he will find anywhere in his speech any suggestion that that was a half-way measure, or any suggestion that he was in any way opposed to that restriction being inserted as it is in the act to-day-with that exception. He and his party supported that measure without division and without adverse comment, too.

So much for the point that the government has a complete mandate to carry on the war. It has that mandate on every point except one, and that was regarded as so important- and I repeat it-as to be the subject of specific pledges of both major parties.

Then it is said that the government, in holding a plebiscite, is shirking responsibility and is trying to pass on to the people the burden of making a decision which the government should make itself. That objection is, in my humble opinion, absolutely groundless. Whatever objections there may be to the plebiscite, it is clear that shirking of responsibility is not one of them. If the government had asked the people to decide for or against conscription, that might have been claimed to be shirking governmental responsibility and placing the responsibility of decision on the people. If the government had stated its future policy in advance of the plebiscite, then the people might have said that the government was putting on the people the

The Address-Mr. Ralston

burden of deciding on a policy regarding which the government must be in a better position to judge.

But the question in this plebiscite does not ask the people of Canada to decide for or against conscription-nothing of the kind. What it does do is to ask the people to put squarely on its shoulders-the shoulders of the government itself-the responsibility for deciding, subject to parliament, how men shall be raised for military service. That surely is not shirking responsibility or passing the buck or ducking the issue. The government is not asking the people to decide policy ; on the contrary it is asking the people to let it decide policy. That is the very opposite of evading responsibility. What the government does is to state straightforwardly to the people of Canada that in this, the gravest crisis in the history of the world, it must have a free hand, regardless of past commitments. The plebiscite will decide whether the government's forthright statement of the dangers and its request for authority are to be heeded.

The other point-

Topic:   GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
Permalink
LIB

Georges Parent (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

The minister's time has expired. He can proceed only with unanimous consent.

Topic:   GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
Permalink
?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Go on.

Topic:   GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
Permalink
LIB

James Layton Ralston (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. RALSTON:

I thank hon. members for the courtesy extended to me.

The other point is that the plebiscite means delay in carrying out the country's war effort, and this criticism is a prime example of the distortion which emanates from some quarters. It has been made to appear that Canada's *whole war programme depends on the plebiscite ; that in effect all effort will be suspended for two or three months until the plebiscite result is known, and that not until then can Britain and our other allies know whether Canada continues to stand with them. This. Mr. Speaker, in my humble judgment is absolutely fallacious. The plebiscite concerns only one part of our war programme. It does not concern the factories; it does not concern the navy or the air force. It concerns only the army, to the extent of overseas service.

I have stated that the 1942 army programme involves the raising of 90,000 to 100,000 men during the next fourteen months, for general service. That programme is already under way. It has not been hindered in any way. During the last four months over 32,000 men enlisted for the army, and I am advised and believe-

Topic:   GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
Permalink
NAT

Richard Burpee Hanson (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. HANSON (York-Sunbury):

Is that the active army?

Topic:   GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
Permalink
LIB

James Layton Ralston (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. RALSTON:

Yes, the active army. I believe that if the intake of men for general service keeps within reasonable distance of that general level we shall be able to carry out the 1942 army programme for overseas, including the reserves regarded as adequate by both British and Canadian authorities in England.

In January we had the biggest enlistment we have had since the campaign in the summer. Some 11,700 men enlisted in the month. In addition to that, the calling up of men for training goes on, whether there is a plebiscite or not. No time is lost in that respect. Our training centres are full and' will be kept full. The time which the plebiscite would take will have no effect whatever on that training. As a matter of fact we are having to add to our training facilities to take care of the increased enlistment and of the additional men we are calling up under the National Resources Mobilization Act. So that if indications mean anything the programme will go forward, plebiscite or no plebiscite, and there is not the slightest evidence that the time taken for the plebiscite will hinder or hurt our army programme.

So much has been said, sir, about compulsory service that I want to say a word about voluntary enlistments. I want to see voluntary enlistments kept up. I believe it is better for our volunteer army if the men coming to reinforce it are also volunteers. I believe the public of Canada generally wants to see enlistments kept up. In the midst of all this confusion and argument and bitterness, I am bold enough to make an appeal again to the house and to the people of Canada to make it their business as well as mine to keep enlistments up. It is a national effort, just the same as the raising of war loans. There everybody pitches in and tells people of the need, and helps to persuade them to subscribe. Surely it is even more important to help convince the men of Canada of the needs of the army. Canada's army is a force to be reckoned with. It is an efficient fighting machine, well organized, well officered and well manned. Canada's army holds a key position to preserve the security of this dominion. What we are proposing will add very much to its striking power. And we ought, Mr. Speaker, to be very much more proud of it than we seem to be. I want to ask everyone to recognize the gentlemen in battle dress. Along with the men of the navy and the air force, they are our first citizens. We should all be proud indeed of the response which has already been made by the young men of the country. It has been helped, I know, by the citizens' committees all over the dominion. They are

The Address-Mr. Ralston

composed, just as this house is composed, of those who believe in conscription and of those who do not, but they have sunk their differences to help Canada. I am more than grateful to them for what they have done in connection with recruiting and for the support which they have given to the officers of the department, both at headquarters and in the districts.

Here is the record. I have said already that 422,000 young men of Canada have voluntarily enlisted in the armed forces since the war began up to the end of 1941. Enlistments for the year 1941 alone were:

Navy 13,088

Army 99,803

Air force 69,475

That gives a total for 1941 of 182,366 men who enlisted voluntarily in our armed forces.

Topic:   GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
Permalink
?

An hon. MEMBER:

In active service.

Topic:   GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
Permalink
LIB

James Layton Ralston (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. RALSTON:

In active service. In January the total enlistments were:

Navy 800

Army 11,713

Air force 5,772

Total 18,285

You can hardly say, Mr. Speaker, that the voluntary system has failed1. Let us not forget that these enlistments have come not under the patriotic fervour which casualties produces, but at a time when because of comparative inactivity it was naturally harder to convince our people that the army needed men. We at national defence headquarters are going right on, and I ask most sincerely for the active interest of the members of this house and of the citizens generally to back up our efforts.

I have faith in the success of the voluntary method if we all do our part. With the background and traditions which this country possesses, and which it would be folly to ignore, I prefer the voluntary method if it works, and I shall do all I can to make it work. At the same time, we cannot know what is ahead and I feel impelled to say- here I can speak only for myself-that if the voluntary system does not meet the needs of the fateful days before us, then I shall feel it my duty as part of my responsibility to advocate the adoption of the other method.

I want to ask: what is the alternative to the plebiscite which those who complain about it would suggest? What is the alternative to this plebiscite? I think it is suggested plainly that it is to put conscription into effect immediately, regardless of pledges and regardless of the way in which the

voluntary system is functioning. My conviction is that an attempt summarily to put compulsory service for overseas into force, especially when enlistments are good, would obviously, apart from any pledge, have caused a deep and almost irrevocable breach in a country which up to the present has stood almost unbelievably united. And to do it in the face of the fact that the government was expressly pledged not to do it without consultation would only have deepened and widened that breach. I have seen the necessity for freedom of action, and I have seen the difficulties too. I have hoped that by asking the country for a release of the pledge in this time of crisis we would avoid disruption which would be sure to follow the breaking of the pledged word. I agreed to this plebiscite in that spirit. I believed that it was worth the time and effort and money which the plebiscite involved, to hold this nation together, not only for the future, but also for the present when Canada needs the combined strength and will and purpose of all her citizens.

This reference to the people is neither shocking nor sinister; it is a part of democracy. This request by the government to be relieved of restrictions will impress on Canadians everywhere the fact that Canada must be prepared to face effectively whatever comes. It will bring home to them the fact that this war is not just the war of Britain and the United States, of Russia and China and the united nations. It is Canada's war and the war of every man and woman in the dominion. Wherever they may be, our troops will be fighting for the safety of Canadian homes and for the security of our free institutions. By this I mean, freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, which we have enjoyed so long that we seem to have taken them for granted.

I hoped devoutly that this method of approaching the matter would result, in a united acceptance by Canadians of the possibilities which the war may involve; and in spite of the tumult and the shouting, I am not going to give up that hope yet. The winning of the war to avoid slavery must be the supreme consideration to all of us. The farther away from our shores we can keep the war, the less our peril will be. Our common danger requires us to work together for the safety of this dominion. We have too much to lose to pull apart now. Any honourable measure which will help to keep us together is worth trying if there is time, and I believe there is time for this. That is why I have agreed to it. That is why I support it.

The Address-Mr. Ralston

We boast of being a nation. I believe that an affirmative answer to the question which will be put is necessary, not only to give the government the freedom of action which any government of a country at war in times like these must have, but also to meet the test of nationhood which we Canadians will face in these coming weeks.

Nationhood requires unity, and unity in Canada requires tolerance and confidence between the different races of which we are composed. The government, whether all citizens like it or not, is the only medium through which unity at this time can be expressed. It can be expressed in an affirmative answer to this plebiscite.

Topic:   GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
Permalink
NAT

Richard Burpee Hanson (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. HANSON (York-Sunbury):

What if

it is not?

Topic:   GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
Permalink
LIB

James Layton Ralston (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. RALSTON:

Here is where we all can meet on common ground to put on the government the full responsibility for effectively prosecuting the war.

In the uncertain days which lie ahead, in this time of the gravest crisis in the world's history, I earnestly hope that my fellow Canadians, whatever their mother tongue, will curb extreme views on any side; will place on the shoulders of the government the responsibility which it is ready to take; will see the need to unite to meet a common danger, and will meet this test of nationhood and strengthen the common cause of our survival together as a free people.

Topic:   GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
Permalink
NAT

James Arthur Ross

National Government

Mr. J. A. ROSS (Souris):

Mr. Speaker, may I first of all congratulate the Minister of National Defence (Mr. Ralston) upon his discourse this afternoon. He is one of the able ministers for whom I have great respect. I do not agree with all the views expressed by him this afternoon concerning this plebiscite. Speaking in this debate on the address in reply to the speech from the throne, the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) had this to say, as reported on page 32 of Hansard:

Whether the government, all circumstances considered, has applied the principle of national selective service as rapidly and as extensively as it should have been applied, is also a fair subject for debate.

In my humble opinion a statement from a responsible minister on the policy of the government in connection with man-power for agriculture, industry and the armed forces in Canada is long overdue. I have received many letters, resolutions and petitions from my constituency, from people of different political affiliations, asking me to urge this government to take immediate action on the matter of national selective service and an all-out war effort. I have sat in this house and listened to some

seventy-six speeches in this debate on the address in reply to the speech from the throne. Some forty-six members of all groups have expressed themselves against the taking of this plebiscite, while some thirty have spoken for it. I realize that these numbers may not indicate the results of the votes which will be taken on the amendments, because many hon. members who will not speak will vote as the party whip dictates.

I should like to congratulate the hon. member for Lambton West (Mr. Gray) upon the stand that he took in this debate. He certainly had the courage of his convictions. I should also like to compliment the hon. member for Comox-Albemi (Mr. Neill) and the hon. member for Ontario (Mr. Moore). There were many other members who spoke as they did and, in my opinion, placed the welfare of the country ahead of party considerations.

To me the taking of the plebiscite seems a most unwarranted evasion of government responsibility. This is very well borne out by an editorial appearing in the Winnipeg Free Press of November 25, 1941, headed "Election? Referendum?" I need not point out to the members that the Free Press is consistently a supporter of the King government, and I think I might almost say that they worship the Prime Minister ahead of almost anything else in this country. The editorial states:

While few developments could be imagined which would compel an appeal to the Canadian people on issues arising from the war, there is nothing in present circumstances which make this either desirable or proper.

If the government, which must accept full responsibility for military policy, is agreed upon the course that ought to be followed and can command the support of parliament, there is no need either for an election or referendum.

This argument, we contend, holds good irrespective of the nature of the policy which the government may pursue. It rests upon the firm unchallengeable foundation that the parliament of Canada cannot be bound by anything which seeks to limit its power when the exercise of this power in a particular form is necessary for the effective protection of the country's highest interests and perhaps of its very existence.

It is said that the people gave the members a mandate not to apply conscription. The accuracy of this statement can be questioned. The question was not in issue at the election of 1940 and consequently there was no registering of opinion for or against. But if it had been an issue and if a definite majority had rendered a decision one way or another on the basis of conditions as they existed at the moment of the election, the soundness of our contention would not be affected a whit.

For this reason: Parliament is a sovereign body charged with the gravest responsibilities and vested with unlimited power to meet these

The Address-Mr. Ross (Souris)

responsibilities. If parliament, to meet emergent responsibilities as the result of new conditions, changes its policies, its action falls within the ambit of its duties and is therefore justified.

The contrary view derives from the theory that parliament operates with delegated powers and must keep within the limits of instructions given its members or engagements voluntarily offered by these members. Under this theory a member may be nothing higher than a jumping-jack operated by springs in the control of a local committee. This conception, pushed to its logical conclusion, destroys both the dignity and the power of parliament. The classic statement of the doctrine of the unrestricted sovereignty of parliament is that made by Burke to the electors of Bristol upon his election to parliament, November 3, 1774. His colleague, elected at the same time, having avowed himself subordinate to "instructions" from the electors-a question which had been discussed during the election contest-Burke took occasion to express his dissent and to assert the contrary view. His position was that a member of parliament was bound neither by the mandate of an election contest or by instructions transmitted to him by his constituents if in his judgment different counsels should determine policy.

Further on the editorial states:

If, therefore, the government and parliament are in agreement that a particular policy is necessary to the safety of the state, not only is an election not necessary but a resort to it could not but be injurious to the public interest.

An election could only be justified if a deadlock should develop in parliament making definite action of any kind impossible. An election would then become a desperate but inescapable expedient. The probability that any such state of affairs will develop at Ottawa is so remote that it is hardly worth considering.

The editorial goes on to assert the authority of parliament.

The Prime Minister, with his long list of broken pledges, probably more than those of any other prime minister of Canada, was going to reform the senate; he was going to close up the Bennett camps and provide employment for all the young men of this countiy. We all know what the young men in those camps did when they were closed. They had to ride the rods all across the dominion looking for employment.

During the last election campaign I personally listened to several radio broadcasts by the Prime Minister, and at no time did I hear him distinguish between conscription for overseas service and conscription. Throughout the whole campaign he said that, if he were returned to power, men would not be conscripted during this war. But since then we have had conscription for service in Canada. When young men were drafted for the thirty-day training period it was stated that they must be taught a sense of national obligation. I submit that where there is a lack of recognition in this respect it is solely the result of 44561-30

the policies of the Prime Minister over the past twenty-five years. In this connection may I quote a speech which he delivered in this house on foreign policy on March 30, 1939, as reported at page 2426 of Hansard:

One strategic fact is clear: the days of great expeditionary forces of infantry crossing the oceans are not likely to recur. Two years ago, I expressed in this house the view that it was extremely doubtful if any of the British dominions would ever send another expeditionary force to Europe.

One political fact is equally clear: in a war to save the liberty of others, and thus our own, we should not sacrifice our own liberty or our own unity. Planning and coordination would be essential, but the necessary coordination could he made, and if this government were in power it would be made, without sacrificing those vital ends and conditions of our existence. Profits could and would be rigidly controlled, and profiteering suppressed. But men's lives and men's wills cannot be put on the same basis as goods and profits. The present government believes that conscription of men for overseas service would not be a necessary or an effective step. Let me say that so long as this government may be in power, no such measure will be enacted.

The Prime Minister and certain of his lieutenants have preached this doctrine especially to the province of Quebec. [DOT] Within the past few days we have had enunciations by Premier Godbout of Quebec, by the federal Minister of Justice, Mr. St. Laurent, who was elected yesterday, and by others, to the effect that the Prime Minister will never have conscription in this country. Again the hon. member for Kamouraska (Mr. Lizotte) stated in this house on February 5 last, as reported at page 367 of Hansard:

Personally, since the last war and consequently for the past twenty-five years, I have been opposed to any form of compulsory service for overseas. This way of thinking has been inculcated in me by the leaders of my party, who have persuaded me that Canada should be my first and foremost consideration. Laurier, King and Lapointe have always refused to entertain the idea of conscription for overseas service.

The Minister of Mines and Resources (Mr. Crerar) is reported in the Winnipeg Free Press of December 20, 1941, as having spoken the night before in Winnipeg and opposed conscription. The report is headed "Crerar Opposes Conscription," and a subhead says "Does not believe it is" the best contribution Canada could make to win the war. The report goes on to say:

He expressed his disagreement with the request of the Canadian Legion for forty divisions in the army.

The Canadian Legion did not ask for this. The minister is reported to have been present with other members of the cabinet when the Canadian Legion presented their brief to the

The Address-Mr. Ross (Souris)

government last October. Therefore, why should he make that statement and misrepresent the Canadian Legion?

The Winnipeg Tribune, reporting the same speech, says:

Attempts have been made to show that proponents of an all-out war programme for Canada want to conscript vast numbers of soldiers at the expense of Canada's industrial effort. This is nonsense. Hon. T. A. Crerar was raising a straw man of his own making when he directed his arguments concerning conscription against this.

In particular, the Canadian Legion does not propose mobilization of Canadian man-power simply to increase the armed forces. It demands, rather, that mobilization of man-power should be undertaken immediately in order that our resources of man-power may be used for our needs, whether in the field of agriculture or industry or in the fighting services.

An editorial appeared in the Swan River Star, a paper which has supported on several occasions the election of Hon. T. A. Crerar in his riding of Churchill. It is rather lengthy, but it points out that if this government have not the conviction and resolution which are necessary, it is their plain duty to make way for men who have; that the responsibility is upon the government, and that a plebiscite at this time is ridiculous. In view of this statement, is the minister now going to campaign in Manitoba for conscription, or where does he stand on this issue?

The Hon. J. T. Thorson, who is Minister . of National War Services and, I think, might at times be termed minister of political propaganda for this government, is reported in the Montreal Gazette of December 2, 1941, as having spoken against conscription and stated that it might decrease our war effort. On February 3 last, as reported in Hansard, page 264, Mr. Thorson said that our enlistments were "quite satisfactory." But according to the Winnipeg Free Press of February 4, military district No. 10 reports a sharp decline in recruiting in the past week, and that the previous Monday registered the lowest figures of any Monday since August, 1941.

Will the Minister of National War Services now campaign for conscription in Manitoba, or where does he stand in this matter?

Hon. J. G. Gardiner, Minister of Agriculture, and one time Minister of National War Services, in a reconsecration week broadcast, on September 12, 1941, said:

We can muster a million men for our armed forces, and still have seven million people over sixteen years of age left in Canada. These seven million, properly organized and determined to stand behind the armed forces, can operate all our farms, our factories and places of business in a manner which will give us the production required.

May I add that on the basis of Canada's armed forces in the last great war we should have, according to population to-day, in the present war approximately one million men in the armed forces.

Hon. J. L. Ralston, Minister of National Defence, speaking in this chamber on November 5, 1941, as reported1 in Hansard on page 4415, stated that there was a definite falling off of enlistments:

... in the last four months ... we have asked for 37,000 odd, and something over 24,000 have actually enlisted.

On January 30, during this session, as reported at page 183 of Hansard, the minister again implies that there is now a great need of man-power in the country. His remarks occurred during a speech by the hon, member for Lake Centre (Mr. Diefenbaker).

Why, Mr. Speaker, are all these diverse views expressed by four different ministers of Canada's war cabinet at this particular time?

When Mr. Churchill recently introduced his man-power bill in the British House of Commons extending compulsion to men up to fifty-one years of age, and to women, for the auxiliary forces, he said:

The crisis of equipment is largely over and an ever-broadening flow is now assured. The crisis of man-power and woman-power is at hand and will dominate the year 1942. This crisis comes upon us for the following reasons:

The great supply plants have largely been constructed; they are finished: they must be staffed.

AVe must maintain the powerful mobile armies we have created with so much pains, both for home defence and foreign expeditions.

Mr. Roosevelt says that the United States needs men. This, in contrast to the argument to which we listened from the previous speaker. Speaking in Boston in October, 1940, he said:

And while I am talking to you, fathers and mothers, I give you one more assurance-I have said this before but I shall say it again and again. Your boys are not going to be sent into any foreign war.

Let me now quote from the Winnipeg Free Press a statement by President Roosevelt in the course of his speech to congress of January 6:

"We shall carry the attack."

We cannot wage this war in a defensive spirit. As our power and our resources are fully mobilized, we shall carry the attack against the enemy-we shall hit him and hit him again wherever and whenever we can reach him.

We must keep him far from our shores, for we intend to bring this battle to him on his own home grounds.

American armed forces must be used at any place in the world where it seems advisable to engage the forces of the enemy. In some cases

The Address-Mr. Ross (Souris)

these operations will be defensive, in order to protect key positions. In other eases, these operations will be offensive, in order to strike at the common enemy, with a view to his complete encirclement and eventual total defeat.

American armed forces will be on all the oceans-helping to guard the essential communications which are vital to the united nations.

American land and air and sea forces will take stations in the British isles-which constitute an essential fortress in this world struggle.

Those forces, Mr. Speaker, have now taken their place in the British isles. In this connection, imagine the enemy invading New York or Seattle with an eye to coming to Canada: in our present position we could not send our forces across the line to assist the United States. To me this, at the present period in the war, is a most ridiculous state of affairs.

On November 10 last I spoke in this chamber, as reported in Hansard, page 4210 requesting the government immediately to put into effect national selective service for agriculture, industry and the fighting forces. I asked for that, in view of the progress of the war up to that particular time. I also asked that such service should be applicable to any theatre of war. Yet members of parliament are still asked to shirk their duty on this great issue, and at the same time the uninformed public of this country are to be requested to vote on a meaningless plebiscite. In this connection I ran across a letter in the Ottawa Journal of January 30, which is a striking indication of what the government may expect from the people of this country if the plebiscite is taken. It reads as follows:

I saw a picture in your paper the other day of Hon. Mr. Dunning congratulating his son on getting his wings. His pride in his boy struck me, because I have sons too. I can share his pride-and his anxiety.

But I don't know whether, when the decisive moment comes, I shall have the heart to vote thousands of fine young Canadian boys into this war when I think of the slaughter in Russia-the end of everything in this life for millions.

Or whether I shall remember Dunning and Churchill and vote so that I shall not be afraid to look them in the eye.

The Journal comments:

The damnable thing about this plebiscite on compulsory service is that thousands of mothers and fathers will be asked to make a similarly pathetic choice, to make it without guidance from the men who have been elected as leaders of the people in a terrific world mess, to make it without clear knowledge of the appalling facts.

Evading the decision, many will doubtless refrain from voting at all-and by that very lack of action indirectly instruct Mr. Mackenzie King under no circumstances to put compulsory service into effect.

I admit, sir, that I am greatly concerned at what may happen at that time. It may be difficult to get out a large percentage of the voters. It must be remembered that at election time, in spite of the tremendous amount of money which is expended and the great efforts which are put forth by the various parties, little over fifty per cent of the voters can be got out. How in the world are we going to obtain an all-out intelligent expression of opinion, by people who are uninformed, at a time like that? I feel very keenly that we as members of parliament are shirking our duty in this respect. We have yet in this country a party government prosecuting the war, a government returned under what is, in my opinion, an antiquated electoral system whereby fifty-three per cent of the electors who voted returned over 180 members out of 245.

The Prime Minister himself was elected in his riding by a minority of the votes cast. Patronage is still rampant at this stage of the war, no matter what some members may say in that regard. Only yesterday, February 9, an appointment was made in my constituency by the Postmaster General (Mr. Mulock) on the recommendation of the defeated government candidate in that constituency. I am of the opinion that we should have a parliamentary investigation into the Department of Munitions and Supply. Very serious charges were made by the toon, member for Winnipeg South Centre (Mr. Maybank) almost a year ago concerning the Winnipeg cordite plant, but an investigation has been refused. Just the other day it was announced by the Minister of Munitions and Supply that the policy in future would be that further contracts would not be announced to the public, and the manner in which huge sums of money will be spent will be unknown to the people'-a most unsatisfactory state of affairs.

The Truman report submitted to the congress of the United States on January 15 is a most interesting parallel to what might be brought to light in this country. Hundreds of millions of dollars of government money is given in the way of capital assistance to industry, ninety per cent of it in Ontario and Quebec, and this has greatly intensified economic difficulties throughout the rest of Canada. In my opinion, industry should be spread throughout Canada, especially when the taxpayers of the country are putting up the money to assist these industries.

Let me say a word about agriculture. As we are all aware, last week about 440 Saskatchewan farmers spent a couple of days in this capital city. They came here armed with great petitions asking for a parity price for wheat. I need not remind hon. members that,

44561-30*

The Address-Mr. Ross (Souris)

along with all other members on this side of the house, I have consistently, ever since the outbreak of the war, advocated a parity price for all agricultural products. Certainly with a profit guaranteed industry and with the present status of wages guaranteed organized .labour, on the basis of equity, agriculturists are entitled to a parity price. I am also satisfied that something must be done about agricultural help for farms in many sections of the country. There are many deplorable cases at the present time. The present haphazard Way of calling men for the draft is unsound and uneconomical from the nation's point of view, and in many instances it causes a real hardship for many older people on the farms at this time. There must also be developed a plan for agriculture in this country -something which to-day is lacking.

I trust that the Minister of Trade and Commerce (Mr. MacKinnon) and the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Gardiner) will in the very near future announce a policy and a price for the 1942 wheat crop so that the fawners can begin planning their 1942 operations. The Minister of Agriculture stated this afternoon that there were certain difficulties in the way while the debate was going on on the speech from the throne. I would point out that a vast amount of business has been done in the last two or three years by order in council, and I am not so sure that, under this policy enunciated, a good deal of business will not be done by order in council while the house is sitting, as was done a year ago this spring. There is therefore nothing to prevent an announcement of the proposed policy for these people in order that they may begin planning for the coming year, and when we could debate it at a later stage.

Topic:   GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
Permalink
LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

I have already announced, in view of the criticisms of last year, it is the intention this year to bring the whole policy down by way of legislation.

Topic:   GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
Permalink
NAT

James Arthur Ross

National Government

Mr. ROSS (Souris):

I am pleased to have that answer from the minister. We have certainly made some headway.

Topic:   GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
Permalink
NAT

Ernest Edward Perley

National Government

Mr. PERLEY:

When?

Topic:   GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
Permalink
LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

It was announced' a month ago.

Topic:   GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
Permalink
NAT

James Arthur Ross

National Government

Mr. ROSS (Souris):

There is one other item I wish to refer to. I was impressed by the speech delivered last evening by the hon. member for Edmonton East (Mrs. Cassel-man). I was interested' in her argument with regard to the plight of old age pensioners in Canada. I was greatly disappointed when last fall the Minister of Finance (Mr. Ilsley) laid out his plans for the cost of living bonus for

certain other people in the country, that something was not done for these pensioners. It is unfair to expect these old people to live decently on $20 a month at this time. They are entitled to a dollar a day. I think they should be given better consideration. Many of these people were pioneers and have done a great deal to help to develop the country. In old age they find themselves bereft of the savings which they may have laid by for the evening of life, and in my opinion the state should give them some consideration. I hope the government will see their way to do more for these people during this session.

Mrs. DORISE W. NIELSEN (North Battle-ford) : Every member who has risen in his place to take part in this debate has done so, I am sure, with a great sense of responsibility; for the course of events which will shape the destiny of the whole world may come within the next few months. The future of the people of Canada depends to so large a degree upon the realization which Canadians have of the danger to Canada itself, and it depends upon the way we go as Canadians to meet the danger.

War at the present time is world war. It started with the flickering lights of a small beer parlour putsch, but the conflagration which is now spreading the whole world over has assumed gigantic proportions, greater than those of any war at any other time in the world's history. To-day it is not a war of nation against nation; it is a war of the peoples of the world against a new imperialism, an imperialism whose heart, or core, or nucleus, so to speak, is centred in Germany. In German imperialism, then, within this heart, this nucleus, lies the plan for world domination over all peoples and all races.

Democracy, that overworked word, which apparently means many things to many people, is threatened from every point of view. However you look at it, whatever it means to you, it is threatened by this new imperialism. In times of great danger the thoughts of people instinctively turn to methods of escape. In a forest fire the animals do not stop to fight among themselves; you will find the panther and the deer running side by side, the coyote and the rabbit doing the same. To-day, in this world fire which threatens the nations, there is no time for any groups, or people with different ideas, to stop and quarrel among themselves about what should be done. We are different from animals; we do not flee from this world conflagration; we turn to fight it. But to-day it means that people holding different ideals must, for the time being, forget their own particular aims and interests, and turn and unitedly fight the fire

The Address-Mrs. Nielsen

which threatens them. There is a realization by all groups and classes, all religions and all creeds in Canada to-day, that our existence as a nation is threatened. I believe also that there is a growing unity in this nation, becoming stronger as the weeks and months pass, and a determination to make this a national effort in a measure that it has never yet been.

There is no time now for recriminations over the past. There is no time for us to quarrel or discuss among ourselves who is responsible for the present, state of affairs. There is no time for us to argue as to whose fault it is that German imperialism to-day has the strength and power which it has. The job of every man or woman is to get into his or her place to fight it. Mr. Churchill himself has expressed that idea very neatly-he is perhaps the world's greatest phrase-maker. He said not very long ago:

There is no time for the present to quarrel with the past, lest there may be no future.

I have said that I believe unity to-day is growing in Canada, and the results we heard last night of the by-elections tend to prove that to-day there is realization by the Canadian people of need for greater unity in this country. Our differences of racial origin or creed or politics are small compared with the national danger. To-day we must think as a nation and not as members of any one small group to which in the past we may particularly have adhered.

It is true that on the issue of conscription there are differences of long standing; deep-seated differences. But there is such need for understanding now that Canada's position is different from what it has ever been in past wars. If I had my way I should like to banish that word "conscription" from our vocabulary, because of its past associations. It is a word which has been used for petty political purposes, and thereby a stigma is attached to it in the eyes of some of our people. Instead of using that word, why not speak of democratic mobilization? Conscription, after all, is a democratic means whereby men can be rallied and put together in a fighting cause.

Might I use a very homely illustration? Some years ago a farmer asked me if I knew anything about hogs. I did not know a great deal, but I said, "Well, maybe a little." He said, "Could you tell me why it is that in winter time when the little hogs are let loose to run around the fields they go and burrow into the sides of the straw stack?" as they do sometimes in western Canada. I thought that was quite simple, and I answered glibly enough, "To keep themselves warm." The old farmer smiled a little and said, "I am afraid

you do not know much about little hogs. Each little hog burrows into the side of the straw stack to keep himself warm. One little hog going in alone would not keep himself warm, but if fifteen little hogs get into the straw stack each burrowing into it for the purpose of keeping himself warm, the heat which is generated from them all keeps them warm."

It is a long way from little hogs to nations, but I would say to-day, Why is America fichting? She is fighting to defend herself. Why is China fighting? To defend herself. Australia? To defend herself. The people of the U.S.S.R.? To defend themselves. The people of the British isles? To defend themselves. The people of Canada? To defend themselves. And the twenty-six United Nations, who to-day have joined in this pact, are all motivated by the same desire, to protect themselves as nations from the menace which threatens the world. Alone any one nation to-day would be powerless before the onslaught of German imperialism. We have seen the small nations of the world tiy to stand alone. But if we, along with the other twenty-five nations of the world, put everything we have into the fight, the power which is generated by all of us will be sufficient to rid the world forever from the menace of imperialism.

Optimism is a good thing, but false optimism does not help a nation to get on its feet and make its best effort. Not long ago Mr. Churchill, when he spoke in the chamber of the house of representatives in the United States, .warned them. He said that the power of the enemy is immense, that Hitler still has control of the greatest accumulation of weapons, equipment and supplies that has ever been gathered under one command. The German production of aluminum and magnesium, two metals essential for both aircraft construction and incendiary bombs, was greater than the combined production of Britain, the United States and Canada right up to the end of 1941. It might be interesting to quote the figures which have recently been presented by the United States bureau of mines, giving an estimate of the amounts of various minerals which are controlled by Germany through her control of Europe at the end of 1941. Germany controls 47 per cent of the world's total coal output, 44 per cent of pig-iron, 46 per cent of iron ore, 27-5 per cent of manganese ore, 10 per cent of chromite, 11 per cent of tungsten, 2-5 per cent of nickel, 7 per cent of copper, 33 per cent of zinc, 25 per cent of lead, 19 per cent of antimony, 50 per cent of bauxite, 47-5 per cent of aluminum, 66 per cent of magnesium, 42 per cent of mercury and 7 per cent of

The Address-Mrs. Nielsen

molybdenite. These are the figures for Europe only, besides which Japan has big ore industries and huge stocks of strategic materials. She has recently seized territory rich in oil, tin, tungsten and other materials.

When I think of this question which at the present time is so paramount in the minds of Canadians as to whether or not we shall have democratic mobilization or, in other words, conscription, I feel that the French-speaking people of our nation, because of past associations, would have a right to question it, if they have not realized the difference in the world situation to-day. I would have agreed with them during the last war and other wars that it would be better not to have conscription, But to-day the French-speaking people of Canada must realize that they are not being asked to go and defend Australia, they are not being asked to give their sons to die for China, they are not being asked to have their sons conscripted to go to foreign soil to die for the sake of communism; or-something which perhaps to them is just as abhorrent-British imperialism. The French-speaking people of Canada are to-day asked to realize the grave necessity which may arise. Although to-day the Minister of National Defence (Mr. Ralston) filled us with hope that perhaps the present voluntary system will carry us some time further, yet the French-Canadian people must realize that there may come a. time when their sons may have to agree to a form of conscription, democratic enlistment, for the defence of Canada, even if they have to go outside the shores of this country to defend Canada. The loyalty of the French-Canadian people is second to none in Canada. They have a history of which we are all proud, whether we speak their tongue or not. In the years which have passed, their contribution to Canada has been marvellous and magnificent. They would be betraying their splendid past if they did not realize to-day that the necessity may come for their sons to go beyond our shores to defend the soil of the Canada they love so much.

I believe some French-speaking members in the house, including the hon. members who sit to my left, have agreed that they, and others of their nationality, would be pleased to have their sons defend the shores of Canada. But are we going to wait until the shipyards, factories and railways of British Columbia are smashed and completely gone? Are we going to wait until the ancient and beautiful city of Quebec is a smouldering mass of ruins? What then could a little nation of eleven million people hope to do to defend the soil of Canada? It may be necessary for these French-Canadian sons, the same as Anglo-Saxon,

Ukrainian and all other sons of Canada to go outside our shores. We may have to conscript them. But let them realize that, if this becomes necessary, it is done to protect the soil of Canada which contains their past and which alone holds the key to their future.

I believe that if the Minister of Justice (Mr. St. Laurent), recently elected, during his election campaign had spoken a little more definitely to the people of French Canada, and had told them that in future it may be necessary to go outside our shores, he would have done a greater service to Canada. Following his election campaign, I noted that he made very little mention of the fact that we may have to adopt that kind of conscription. Had he been just a little more truthful with the French-speaking people I believe they would have appreciated the changed situation, and would have gained a greater knowledge of the necessity for their uniting with other Canadians.

Hon. members know perfectly well that I am no defender of government policy. I never have been-not since I have been a member of the house. As I have seen it, government policy has been disastrous for many of those whom I represent. Yet I realize that the plebiscite represents an attempt on the part of the government to preserve the unity of Canada and to give the French-speaking people an opportunity to realize the difference between conditions to-day and those of the past. It has tried through the plebiscite to bring about a recognition of this changed situation. Because of that, I support the idea of the plebiscite. 1 support it because I feel it is in the greatest interest of all Canadians that we should have the government free, should necessity arise, democratically to take the young men of Canada and, if necessary, place them outside the shores of our country for the defence of our homeland.

The sooner the plebiscite can be taken, the greater safety we shall be able to attain. I would certainly hope that during the Easter recess members of the house would go out among French-Canadian people and try to make the issue clear to them. I would urge them to do that, so that we may have a one hundred per cent affirmative reply to the question of the plebiscite, a reply united from one side of Canada to the other.

Reference was made to-day by the Minister of National Defence to General McNaughton's visit to Canada. I cannot imagine anything which could be of greater value to General McNaughton than to be able to return to England and say to the Canadian boys over there, "Canada is solidly, one hundred per cent behind you and has expressed by its reply to the plebiscite its readiness to relieve

The Address-Mrs. Nielsen

the government of past commitments and to go along with the government, if needs be, in what must be done in the future. Canada is ready to stand beside you." If General McNaughton were able to take back that message, he would certainly have something that Canadian boys in England would be glad to hear.

Perhaps because I am a woman I look at things from a practical viewpoint, but I have some thoughts I should like to place before hon. members. These days we hear a great deal about unity. Hon. members rise in their places and talk about unity. Many appeals are being made to our people for unity. Any father or mother must know that example is better than precept. There is no use in telling your son not to smoke cigarettes if you are smoking a pipe; it is no use for a mother to tell her daughter that she must not drink and smoke if the mother drinks and smokes herself. I say that we, as representatives, should set an example for the people of Canada. Here we have an opportunity greater than we have ever had to show our people that their representatives in the House of Commons are united.

Last night hon. members sitting on the benches of the official opposition received a definite understanding as to whether or not the people were agreeable to the acceptance of their proposals. Would it not be a worthy gesture on the part of the official opposition to take a leaf out of Wendell Willkie's book, a man who was an American first and a Republican second. Could you not be Canadians first and Conservatives second? In deference to the ideal of unity and for the sake of setting an example to the people of Canada, could you not at this time withdraw your amendment? Could you not do that? It would be a great thing not only for you but for the whole of Canada, were you able to do it.

There is also a subamendment, with which I consider that ninety per cent of the people in the country are in agreement. I agree with it, and I believe many hon. members on the government benches, at least to some extent, agree with the proposals contained therein. We know that to carry on this vast war effort we must enlist the material wealth of the nation. We have to take it, if it is necessary to do so. I am going to make another proposal, and I trust it may not be misunderstood by those of my friends in the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation group. The people of Canada know that the subamendment has been moved; they know its contents. If hon. members in the C.C.F. group would make a similar gesture and

drop their sub-amendment, not with the idea of giving up for one second the principles embodied therein but for the sake of unity, they would be acting for the benefit of the whole nation. I would say to my hon. friends in that group and to those in the Social Credit group, that we who sit in this block will continue to fight to see that wealth is used as it should be used, for the benefit of all. We can do that specifically every time a bill involving the wealth of the nation is brought before the house. Would it not be a worthwhile gesture, so that this first motion of the session might be passed unanimously on all sides, if both the amendment and the subamendment for the time being might be withdrawn? It would be an example.

The most important point in the speech from the throne was the need for increased production, so that the people of Britain and the Soviet Union may have all the material required when the spring offensive is made, as we all expect it will be made, as soon as the weather is sufficiently mild.

To-day there is a realization that in connection with production it is the brains of the ordinary men and women who work in our factories, our mines and our mills; it is their initiative and their cooperation which alone can speed up production and bring it to the peak of one hundred per cent perfection. No one knows better than the men who are on the job what should be done. I have been receiving communications and resolutions from various trade union bodies. It is apparent that in their own particular factories they are undertaking to devise ways and means whereby a greater output can be accomplished. If only the labour forces of this country could be granted a little more of the partnership idea with industry in production, I feel convinced that production would go up by leaps and bounds.

To-day labour is asking for partnership with industry in production, not because labour is demanding merely on its own behalf a share of what the pickings might be, far from it, but because the men and women who form our labour forces realized long ago the danger of fascism. They started to fight it long before this government ever took up the case of democracy against fascism. These men and women who work are anxious to have partnership with industry in production. They are asking that they be given this because it is by that means alone that production can really be brought to its maximum.

I know that in many instances industry is afraid to give certain rights and privileges to labour because it might interfere with its profits, with its way of looking after industry.

The Address-Mrs. Nielsen

But surely the time has come when the leaders of industry in Canada must realize that in war time nothing is run as usual. Life does not go on as usual; business does not go on as usual. They must make adjustments the same as the working people.

In Kirkland Lake a decision was recently arrived at by the miners that they would go back to the mines. For weeks these miners have been obeying to the very letter the laws of this country, but they have been demanding that they have union recognition. The government has taken the stand of being neither for one side nor for the other; in reality that is nothing but a policy of appeasement to the gold-mine owners. Other workers in steel and other industries realized the importance of the fight going on in Kirkland Lake, and they threatened further strikes in sympathy with the miners there. Rather than see industry throughout Canada dislocated, the miners of Kirkland Lake decided to go back to the mines. They have set an example; they have created a precedent; they have negated their own particular wishes and desires and rights because they valued first our national war effort. That is an example, not only to labour itself but to industry. It should be realized that our national needs come before the needs of any one particular group.

If labour could be given a greater share in planning production and in helping to make it efficient, things would go better. Instead, we have these dollar-a-year men who are able to direct the production of this country. The senate defence committee at Washington, after an investigation lasting one year, reported that the dollar-a-year men in that country were still working in the interests of their employers. Evidence from the trade unions in Canada would indicate that the same thing is happening here. Instead of having these dollar-a-year men in key positions with the interests of their employers constantly before their minds rather than the interests of the nation at large, if we could set up a new ministry of production to coordinate production in all the various branches of industry we might have production which was really in the best interests of Canada's war effort instead of a production controlled by any one group. So much for the labour forces.

What of the farmer? It does not seem that the delegation which came to Ottawa has received a great deal of attention. I know, however, that all lion, members were aware that it came here. I noticed in the Ottawa Citizen of January 31 a small item in Mr. Bishop's column. I know Mr. Bishop usually writes a good resume of what goes on in the house, but I could not help taking exception

[Mrs. Nielsen.)

to one sentence which he had at the end of a small paragraph dealing with this delegation. He said:

The wheat farmer has the idea that other farmers, not to mention war industry, are' doing well and they want to get in on it.

There never was a greater lie spoken about the western wheat farmer than that. As a group they have canned on magnificently in the face of the greatest hardships. They have never counted the cost or the loss to themselves but have gone on contributing in such ways as they could because they believed it was their duty to do so. In coming here to ask for parity prices, they did so, not because of any desire to get in on the pickings but because they realized that unless they could get parity prices for their products, they would not be in position to give as much to this war effort as they wanted to.

The production of food is coming more to the fore. Quite often I receive a little leaflet from the United States entitled, "Facts for Farmers", and published monthly by the Farm Research in New York. In this particular copy there is an article which outlines the tremendous increase in food production which is planned by the United States. I quote:

The administrator of the surplus marketing administration, Roy F. Hendrickson, recently declared in Georgia:

"The reasons for this increased production- of nearly everything outside cotton, wheat and tobacco-are growing. British needs are increasing; Russian needs are coming significantly into the picture. Domestic requirements are expanding. On top of all this, the place of reserves, of stockpiles ready for areas now conquered, when they can cast off Hitler's stranglehold, are being seen more clearly-a staggering total."

The SMA administrator cautioned against complacency and added:

"Many persons have come to assume that, these goals will be attained. Instead, a very real possibility exists that we will fall short of many of them-even though food production and marketings next crop year will be the largest in our history.

As the need for farmstuffs increases, the shift from the former policy of reduction to the policy of all-out production will become more marked. In England bonus plans have been adopted to encourage greater farm production. Though the President recommended such a policy six months ago and congress appropriated one and a quarter billion dollars for this purpose, only a few programmes of this sort have yet been formulated."

When this government begins to realize the contribution which the farmers of our country can make toward victory, then we shall be taking another step forward in this great effort of ours.

It is said, and I suppose it is true, that the allies are making broadcasts to the people of

The

Address-Mrs. Nielsen

the conquered nations of Europe. Suppose you were one of these people, maybe a person living in France, Belgium or one of the Scandinavian countries, or in the city of Vienna, and that you loathed the hated axis forces and their domination over your country. Maybe you were a factory worker and had work within your hands day by day which you knew was important. Suppose over the short-wave you heard the voice of the allies speaking to you, and that voice said, "People of the conquered countries, do what you can to sabotage the war effort of Germany. If you are a factory worker, see what you can do to impede and restrict the factory production. If you will do this, if you will help to overthrow the axis powers, the allies will help you afterwards to establish freedom and democracy." Oh, I know that would be a fine thing. I remember the days when I was pretty hungry, yet all the time I never lost my idealism for freedom and democracy. No. But suppose you were hungry and one of the conquered peoples of Europe, and that over the short-wave you heard the voice of the allies calling to you and saying, "People of the conquered countries, do what you can to impede and restrict and hal^ the war effort of the nazis. Do what you can to sabotage their plans. Help the allies to win, and as soon as the allies have won, before we even take our armies away from your country, we will load our boats down to the water line with food for you. We will send you good wheat to make white bread, and we will send' you red meat and eggs and bacon and sugar and all the other foods that you need," You know, Mr. Speaker, the instinct of selfpreservation is the strongest instinct that lives in man or woman, and they will do much to eat and to give food to their starving children. If we can build up surpluses of food within this nation and have them ready to give to these people when they are ready to help overthrow the regime which now occupies their country, we would have a weapon in our hands and, think of it, the most marvellous weapon any country could have or any people could have, a weapon which would bring life instead of death.

We need the planned production of food. I know that the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Gardiner) has a good head on him. I would not deny it; he must have, to be able to fool the farmers all these years and get away with it. But, on the basis that two heads are better than one, I would say to him that the time has come when we should have a gathering of all the farm bodies in Canada. Let them plan. Let them know what the requirements of Britain are going to be. Let us correlate our

plans for food production with the plans of the United States. Let us see that in this western hemisphere we build up huge stocks of food which will be a weapon for victory in our hands and help us to bring the peace we so much desire.

But, we are told, there is no money for that.

I say, Mr. Speaker, that there must be money for these things. They are essential, just as essential as are the munitions which the armed forces need. Not only are they necessary for the people of the conquered countries, but we need increased food production for our own people. If we are to keep healthy and strong our industrial army, we must see that we have no rationing but plenty of everything that is needed for them.

Not only in the production of food should something be done. Plans should also be made to see if the farmers of this country could perhaps go into some Other branches of farming which might be necessary at this time. ( I do not know to what degree the United States has gone ahead with the production of synthetic rubber, but I believe that already some of the states are going ahead with it. To what degree could our Canadian farmers grow dandelions or sow-thistles? Many of them have plenty of these weeds already, and, if synthetic rubber can be made from these weeds, would it not be well to give our farmers a chance to develop that production?

Then there are the soya bean and various other crops to which our farmers could turn in a time of crisis like this, besides going ahead with their ordinary routine. Every day it becomes more evident that Australia may be cut off from us. I know that silk stockings are very nice to wear and to look at, but we can do without them. In this country, however, we cannot do without woollen clothes. There, again, is something our farmers could turn to-increase their flocks of sheep. These are only a few things because, in a speech of a general nature such as this, I have not the time to go into details. But were we to have a conference of all the farm , bodies in Canada, I believe that a comprehensive plan could be worked out which would give our farmers the feeling of really belonging to the war effort, and which would place in our hands a weapon for victory.

There is the question of labour. That question comes up whenever one thinks of agriculture. Perhaps there is a solution of that problem. I know already that high school and university students are again going to help in the fruit-picking areas. I would suggest that in certain areas the boys in the army might also go out and help. After all is said and done, I have heard that in many areas

The Address-Mrs. Nielsen

the boys are fed up with being restricted to their routine bit of drill and so on, and at certain times of the year they certainly could and would enjoy helping in some farm operations.

There is the question of women. I have been reading recently quite a little about the women's land army in Britain during the last war and in this war. I am convinced that women could help to fill the demand for farm labour. I have been veiy much disappointed myself to find that my services cannot be accepted with the armed forces. It is too bad, but I happen to have three children, and because I have three children I cannot go into one of the women's services. Personally, I think that is one of the most idiotic regulations ever made by men. There are numbers of women whose children could be cared for very well and whose services could be used in our war effort. But I would suggest that, since that avenue is closed to me, it might be possible for me to devote some of my time and energy to organizing and mobilizing a women's general service corps. There are a thousand and one things that women could be doing right here and now to release young men for the armed forces and for other work. Take the staffs of the various large hotels in the cities, for instance; streetcar conductors, drivers of delivery vans, milk trucks, grocery and vegetable vans. The women are doing this work in Britain, and they could do it here just as well. Women could also be sent to various farm areas to help milk the cows, make cheese, drive tractors and combines, and help with other farm work. Mobilize these women. Give them a strong, sensible, useful sort of uniform and let them do the job that they are anxious and willing to do.

I called up a little while ago and found out that applications to enter the Canadian Women's Army Corps number around 19,000, and yet we have only about 3,200 in uniform. There are hundreds and hundreds of other women who could be mobilized into a general service corps and who would be ready to work so that men could be released for other services. Many a young married woman could, shall we say, drive a delivery van in the morning in the city and go out for a certain number of hours. Maybe she has children, but they could be taken care of. Some of the older women, perhaps some of the wives of the pensionless ex-service men, could be given a job and the children could be kept in a pleasant place for a few hours and minded while their mothers went out to work. If we are going to have total war, let us have it.

Do not dally with it any longer. The women of the nation are ready. Let us give them something to work at, and if my services can be used in the mobilization of such a women's service corps I shall be only too pleased.

Topic:   GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
Permalink
LIB

Thomas Vien (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. DEPUTY SPEAKER:

I am sorry to interrupt, but the hon. member's time is up. She can proceed only with the unanimous consent of the house. I take it that unanimous consent is given.

Topic:   GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
Permalink

February 10, 1942