Mr. T. C. DOUGLAS (Weyburn):
Mr. Speaker, like those who have preceded me I should like to extend my congratulations to the mover and the seconder of the motion for an address in reply to the speech from the throne.
It has already been said that we are not winning this war, but that in fact we have just barely missed losing it. However, there is something which disturbs me even more than our failure to win battles abroad and to get more efficient production at home, and that is the confusion and disillusionment which exists in the minds of the Canadian public to-day. It is doubtful if there ever was such factional and sectional strife in Canada as there is right now. Much of the discussion in the press and in this house regarding our war effort has been shaped by our emotions rather than by our reason. We are throwing catchwords and slogans at each other rather than sober facts. It is in a welter of mental confusion like this that nazism triumphs. Whenever a nation has lost its sense of national purpose it is ripe for defeat.
I am more concerned for the future of this country to-day than I was even in the dark days of midsummer of 1940. Only wise and courageous statesmanship can save this country from that psychological disintegration which was the prelude to defeat in France. We must all accept some share of responsibility for this state of affairs. None of us is without guilt in this regard. I think it is possibly true, as the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) claimed, that several powerful groups have fostered the cry for the conscription of man-power with a view to gaining political advantage and embarrassing the government. Others were motivated by a desire to regiment
Mr. Douglas (Weyburn)
labour and exploit the farmer under the guise of winning the war. Still others were thinking in terms of the first great war and failed to recognize that this was a mechanized war in which large armies were useless unless adequately equipped with modern weapons.
I say that there may have been small groups in Canada acting from such motives. But that, Mr. Speaker, is not the whole story. That does not explain the widespread dissatisfaction with the government's war effort. The real fact is that the government itself must accept a large share of the blame. This country has been looking for courageous and aggressive leadership. It has not been getting it. We have been having a Chamberlain government in Canada, with neither a Churchill nor a Bevin in sight. The least that the people have a right to expect is that their leaders will lead them. This country's leaders have had to be pushed. It is true that no leader can afford to get too far ahead of public opinion, but public opinion in this country is far ahead of the government and is now waiting impatiently for the government to catch up, and I submit that it will not wait much longer.
Nor should the government make the mistake of being lulled into a sense of security because of the by-elections which it won last Monday. The three by-elections which were won by the government-