February 13, 1942

LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Hon. J. G. GARDINER (Minister of Agriculture) :

The only peg there was to the prices of cheese and milk products last year, forming a floor for prices, was the agreement made with Great Britain. New agreements are being negotiated with Great Britain and will come into operation on the 1st of April. The terms of the agreements have not yet been determined. So far as butter is concerned, last year we had a minimum price beginning in May and extending until October. I am not in a position to make a definite statement as to how the matter will be handled this year, but it is under consideration at the moment and an announcement will be made later.

Topic:   DAIRY PRODUCTS
Subtopic:   PRICES OF CHEESE AND BUTTER-AGREEMENTS WITH GREAT BRITAIN
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EXCLUSION OF "GAZETTE" AND "GLOBE AND MAIL" FROM SALE IN LOBBY


On the orders of the day:


NAT

Herbert Alexander Bruce

National Government

Hon. H. A. BRUCE (Parkdale):

Mr. Speaker, may I ask your honour if it is a fact that the Montreal Gazette and the Globe and Mail have been excluded from sale in the

The Address-Mr. Lapointe (Lotbiniere)

lobby of the house? If so, on whose authority, and is there any reason why that should be so?

Topic:   EXCLUSION OF "GAZETTE" AND "GLOBE AND MAIL" FROM SALE IN LOBBY
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LIB

Georges Parent (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

The question which the hon. member asks can hardly be discussed while I am in the chair. There are some matters under consideration now, and I should prefer to have the hon. member see me personally, when I will give him an explanation.

Topic:   EXCLUSION OF "GAZETTE" AND "GLOBE AND MAIL" FROM SALE IN LOBBY
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LABOUR CONDITIONS

KIRKLAND LAKE MINERS-QUESTION OF DISCRIMINATION AND PRESERVATION OF SENIORITY RIGHTS


On the orders of the day:


CCF

Angus MacInnis

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. ANGUS MacINNIS (Vancouver East):

I wish to ask a question of the acting Minister of Labour (Mr. McLarty). About a week ago, I understand, a delegation representing the miners of Kirkland Lake interviewed the minister to see if the government could use their good offices with the mine operators so that when the men went back to work there would be no discrimination and that their seniority rights would be respected. Did the government take this matter up with the operators, and was there any assurance on that point?

Topic:   LABOUR CONDITIONS
Subtopic:   KIRKLAND LAKE MINERS-QUESTION OF DISCRIMINATION AND PRESERVATION OF SENIORITY RIGHTS
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LIB

Norman Alexander McLarty (Secretary of State of Canada)

Liberal

Hon. N. A. McLARTY (Acting Minister of Labour):

What the hon. member states about the delegation meeting in Ottawa is correct. At the time the matter, I believe, was taken up with the operators, who were asked to be magnanimous in taking back the men. No formal undertaking was given by the operators as to discrimination or seniority, but the men are returning to work and I have heard no complaint in connection with the matter up to this time.

Topic:   LABOUR CONDITIONS
Subtopic:   KIRKLAND LAKE MINERS-QUESTION OF DISCRIMINATION AND PRESERVATION OF SENIORITY RIGHTS
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?

Thomas Miller Bell

Mr. COLD WELL:

The minister says he believes the matter of victimization and discrimination has been taken up. Does he know whether it was taken up or not?

Topic:   LABOUR CONDITIONS
Subtopic:   KIRKLAND LAKE MINERS-QUESTION OF DISCRIMINATION AND PRESERVATION OF SENIORITY RIGHTS
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LIB

Norman Alexander McLarty (Secretary of State of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. McLARTY:

It might probably be as well if this question were allowed to stand, so that I can confirm what I stated and possibly I may be able to give a little further information. The point is that so far as I am aware, no complaint has been received. I understand that the men are going back to work, but no discrimination has, I believe, so far been shown.

Topic:   LABOUR CONDITIONS
Subtopic:   KIRKLAND LAKE MINERS-QUESTION OF DISCRIMINATION AND PRESERVATION OF SENIORITY RIGHTS
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GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH

CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY


The house resumed from Thursday, February 12, consideration of the motion of Mr. Alphonse Fournier 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. Coldwell.


LIB

Hugues Lapointe

Liberal

Mr. HUGUES LAPOINTE (Lotbiniere):

Mr. Speaker, it is not without emotion that I rise to-day, having in mind the tributes paid to the memory of my father by his friend and leader, the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King), and by other members of this house. Their words of appreciation for the services rendered by him to his race and to his country have become part, of an inheritance most valuable to me, an inheritance composed of examples of his persistent work, of his loyalty to leader and party and of his ' devotion to public duty. I wish, Mr. Speaker, in the name of my family as well as in my own, to take this occasion to thank you, sir, and to thank the Prime Minister and the other hon. members who spoke, as well as all members of this house, for the sympathy extended to us in our sad bereavement.

When I last attended a session of this parliament prior to my departure for overseas, it did not enter my mind that an occasion would be given to me to participate in a debate of this kind. At that time the introduction of conscription of man-power for service overseas appeared to anyone with an unbiased mind as a totally unnecessary issue, in view of the success with which the voluntary system had been attended throughout the country. Of course there were, even then, small isolated groups in different parts of Canada who were clamouring for a measure of this sort, but, generally speaking, the people of Canada had to admit that enlistment in the Canadian forces had been plentiful, and that the appeal made to the young men of this country had received an adequate answer.

Unfortunately, since t-hat time the small isolated group of conseriptionists to whom I have just referred have acquired adherents and have succeeded in making some people believe that representations and requests, if made loudly enough, constituted public opinion. They have succeeded in convincing some well-meaning but ill-informed citizens that the war effort of Canada as prosecuted

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The Address-Mr. Lapointe (Lotbiniere)

by the present government is not satisfactory, and that conscription of man-power alone is the remedy for all the ills from which our effort is suffering.

Since circumstances with which hon. members are acquainted have provided me with an opportunity of being in the house during the present debate, I would feel that I was failing in my duty towards the constituency which I have the honour to represent if I allowed myself to keep silent while this controversy was going on. My contribution at this stage may, I fear, be a mere repetition of some of the views which have already been expressed. As, however, I doubt very much whether an opportunity will again be given to me to be present if ever this question is discussed again, I ask the indulgence of the house, and I will endeavour to be as brief as possible in my remarks.

A few days ago I heard someone state that during the last general election of 1940 he had . campaigned in his riding, repeating no less than sixty-four times the pledge made to the people by the leader of the present government and his ministers, and also by the leaders of other groups in this house, that there should or there would be no conscription of man-power for overseas service. I cannot claim to cope with this hon. gentleman's record; I can state, however, that I also pledged myself in the same way in over forty municipalities of the riding which I represent. I made that pledge not only because the leaders of my party had done so, but because I honestly and sincerely believed that the voluntary system was the only adequate and practical method of recruiting men for the services.

I must say that I still hold these views, and am still against conscription of man-power for overseas service. I am against it because I honestly believe that under present circumstances existing in Canada conscription would not increase, but would rather hinder Canada's war effort. I believe it would defeat its own purpose.

As was so eloquently said by the hon. Minister of Finance (Mr. Ilsley), conscription is not a fundamental; it is not a principle without which the war cannot be prosecuted efficiently; it is merely a method, a means, a device for getting men into the ranks of the different services. Some people may think it is the best method, and they are entitled to such views if they honestly and sincerely entertain them. But they have no right to attack as disloyal, defeatist, complacent or lacking in courage those who, on the other side, believe honestly that it is not the best

method and that it could be, under our present national circumstances, disastrous to what has been up to now a united war effort.

May I pause to state immediately that to my mind conscriptionists in this country may be divided into two classes: first, those who honestly and sincerely believe that conscription is the only patriotic procedure in war time; and, second, those who exploit the patriotism of the first group and who use the word "conscription" merely to give voice to their political frustration. I wish to say that the remarks I intend to make, for the next few minutes anyway, are directed towards the second group. It has been said and repeated in many instances that this war should be run in the light of the experience of the last war, and that the many errors and blunders which took place between 1914 and 1919 should not be repeated. Up to now the government has been most careful in its handling of our war effort. In fact, had this government not been so -careful; had it permitted the speculation which took place during the last war; had it let the many hoarders and financial sharks who existed during the last war, run amok in this country, I doubt whether the Tory outcry against the government would be as loud as it is, and this well-financed, underhand campaign against the Prime Minister, which has grown in intensity every time big business has been brought to order, might have lost much of its vitality and died a natural death. The clamour for conscription of man-power which has originated from certain quarters might well have been quenched, had more leniency been shown by the different controlling organizations set up by the government.

As I have already said, there are some well-intentioned citizens -who sincerely believe conscription to be the only patriotic procedure in war time. But I honestly believe that the conscription issue has been and will again be used by the self-appointed powers of the Tory party to stir up agitation against the government in the hope of precipitating a crisis which might permit them to overthrow it. To put it in another way, it is hoped that the word "conscription" may be a pass-word which will let a certain group through the back door of power after the Canadian people have barred them from the front door. For these people I feel no sympathy whatever. In their view, the end justifies the means, and they will not hesitate to destroy the unity of this country; they will not hesitate to destroy forever the faith which the Canadian people may have in their public men; they will not hesitate to halt the advance of Canada at war, to obtain the

The Address-Mr. Lapointe (Lotbiniere)

control of this government against the will of the people. They demonstrate their patriotism by clamouring for a step which would tear this country to pieces. Ever since the outbreak of this conflict, they have been asking for compulsory service, at a time when there were more volunteers for the army, the navy and the air force than it was possible to train and equip.

In a certain element of the press over which they seem to have an almighty power, they have been damning the voluntary system, which had been endorsed by the Canadian people and to which this parliament is pledged. Instead of cooperating in the voluntary recruiting which was the war policy of the country, these self-styled leaders of the nation have been publishing cock-and-bull stories about the methods of recruiting officers. They want compulsion; they advocate coercion, but they are scandalized at the idea that young men should be asked to enlist voluntarily.

All this has been done, sir, on the pretext of an all-out war effort. An all-out war effort? Yes, but it was an "all-in" war effort during the recruiting campaign last summer, when they were denouncing the voluntary method and throwing ridicule on the men who were doing their duty. One newspaper published that after the demonstration on parliament hill after the last recruiting campaign, only one man came forward and offered to enlist. What an absurdity! What lack of good faith! Who comes forward and subscribes immediately after a speech on the victory loan? It would have been better for the editor of that paper to inquire from the recruiting office of this district whether many young men did not enlist as a result of that meeting and whether this district, which had been lagging in its quota, did not exceed it as a result of the meeting. But no, Mr. Speaker; this type of person and these newspapers refuse to give encouragement to the voluntary system, which nevertheless has succeeded in spite of them. They have preferred to accuse the government of being weak, cowardly, and complacent. Cowardice, weakness and complacency; these are the choice words of the critics; they are also the choice words of all our war demagogues.

Who is complacent in Canada to-day? Who does not feel the pinch of the war? Who has not been submitted to the increased taxation? Who has not felt the many restrictions imposed by the government? I have no complacency for these abusers of the Canadian war effort. I have no complacency for the calumniators of the men who have been

entrusted by the nation with the task of directing our war effort. I especially have no complacency for these highly financed agitators who, from the warmth of their aristocratic clubs and from the comfort of their editorial rooms, advocate conscription on the principle of equality of sacrifice.

An all-out war effort? Yes; everybody in Canada is for an all-out war effort. Everybody wants to finish the war; but an all-out war effort means a whole nation united in heart, soul and spirit, all friends and brothers in sacrifice in a great national union, having the same goal and willing to do their utmost to attain it, but not one group of the nation trying to coerce another group and sowing seeds of discord.

We have before us days of hardship and sorrow, when sacrifices of all sorts will have to be endured. We shall have to face the complex problems of after-war. This country needs, and will need even more, the spiritual unity of all its citizens. We must adopt policies which will keep us bound together, because any division now would be national suicide.

I believe that the national circumstances of each country should determine its method of dealing with war, as they should determine the limits of its effort. Our policies must be realistic, adjusted to the facts of our national life. So must the policies of Australia and south Africa; so they are, and so they should continue to be. Many hon. members have given us the example of our sister dominion, Australia. There is no one in this house who will not praise Australia's loyalty to the crown and the important part which her forces have been taking in the defence of the empire. But this splendid effort has not been accomplished through conscription; it has been accomplished through the voluntary system. In fact, hon. members know that during the last war an attempt was made to introduce conscription in Australia, and this measure was defeated by the people in a referendum. This did not slop the Australian people from earning more than their share of honours during the last war. In south Africa it has always been deemed that conscription, due to national circumstances, would defeat' its own purpose. Yet south Africans are defending the empire at this very moment, as they did nobly during the last war. It is strange, Mr. Speaker, how some of our public men, in their well-intended attempts to defend British institutions, British liberties and British ideals, fail completely when they try to imitate the good judgment, common sense and political wisdom of some British statesmen. When the advisability of

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The Address-Mr. Lapointe (Lotbiniere)

conscription for northern Ireland was discussed in the British House of Commons it was immediately dropped and Mr. Churchill, commenting on this measure, said:

We have made a number of inquiries in various directions with the result that we have come to the conclusion that at the present time, although there would he no dispute about our rights and merits, it would be more trouble than it is worth to enforce such a policy.

That statement was very highly praised in the British House of Commons, and the Manchester Guardian published the following editorial:

If we force conscription on the people of Northern Ireland we do so in defiance of the strongly expressed wishes of a third of the population and against the entreaties of Ulster Labour and of those Ulster Unionists who are not tied to the Unionist machine. We have to consider whether it is in accordance with our professed war aims to coerce a large minority and rouse bitter resistance in a neighbouring state. And for what? Sixty thousand men, many of whom will be disaffected, and an estranged Ireland more ripe for Hitler to attack.

If we destroy the hope of Irish unity, do we not, which is equally serious, bring disharmony into our own ranks? It is necessary to warn the Conservatives in the government that this step will be strongly resented by the Liberal and Labour parties that are now serving under and supporting a Conservative Prime Minister. They will make many sacrifices for the sake of national unity, but they should not be asked to make and they ought not to endure a sacrifice to unreasoning prejudices which stand condemned on every ground of political and strategic common sense.

Mr. Speaker, I had intended at this stage through figures to show how the Military Service Act of 1917 had been a complete failure. Be it sufficient to say that everybody admits the result should have been foreseen even before its enforcement, because no such legislation can meet with success without a thoroughly prepared public opinion.

It has been suggested that conditions have changed, and that public opinion would now be more prepared than in 1917 to accept similar legislation. I beg to differ. Conscription would again cause serious disunity. It would meet serious opposition not only in Quebec but in many other sections of the country.

Again I urge hon. members: let us be realistic and practical. The whole problem, it seems to me, can be summed up in three short questions:

(a) Can conscription for service overseas be enforced without causing disunity in the country, thereby endangering our war effort?

(b) How many men can it produce for the forces, after exemptions and discharges on medical grounds have been granted?

(c) Can the same number or a sufficient number of men be obtained by the voluntary method which, it is admitted, would not destroy Canadian unity?

That is what the whole question amounts to, once it has been shorn of all emotionalism and sentimentalism. As to the answers to these questions enough has already been said in the house to make the answers obvious. I shall not repeat the figures already quoted, but they make clear the case for voluntary enlistment. Conscription was disastrous in 1917. From the point of view of national unity it was a complete failure and proved to be totally inefficient in bringing men into the army. Everything leads us to believe that similar legislation now would bring about a similar situation.

The Prime Minister, in his speech the other day, mentioned the changes to be made in the Canadian corps overseas. I imagine these changes are being made at the suggestion of our military authorities, who realize the need of efficiency in the army.

I believe it is generally admitted that the men drafted for overseas service would be for the army alone. Conscription would not apply to the navy or to the air force. Recruits for these two services are plentiful and furthermore, as 1 understand it, the very nature of the duties which the men in these services are called upon to perform makes it necessary that they should be volunteers. You cannot make a pilot through compulsion, and you cannot force a man into a submarine and obtain good results.

I submit that what is true of both the air force and the navy is also true of the army. I heard the hon. member for Fraser Valley (Mr. Cruickshank) state that, with his experience as a man who went through the ranks and was promoted to the rank of company commander during the last war, he would still prefer to have one volunteer rather than ten conscripts. Other members who have had the experience of the last war have made similar statements. In fact, I doubt whether there is one of the many members of this house who served during the last war, and had occasion to deal with conscripts, who would claim that these men were up to the standard of the volunteers. If this was true of the last war, it is even truer now. With modern methods of warfare, the soldier of the modern army must be a highly trained man, possessed of great initiative and a keen sense of duty. He must be a master at handling the different weapons which are put at his disposal and should be a specialist able to act alone. He is not just a cog in the wheel, but a perfect warrior by himself. For this, a man must have qualities of courage, skill and discipline. In

The Address-Mr. Lapointe (Lotbiniere)

this war quality coupled with high training and proper equipment is far more important than quantity. France had millions of men 'but fell before the well-trained, high-powered panzer divisions of Hitler. For these reasons I do not believe that through compulsion you will obtain the type of men needed for the modern army.

It has been to the glory of our Canadian forces overseas that they are serving there voluntarily. Every Canadian on British soil or elsewhere, whether he belongs to the air force, the army or the navy, is there because he chose to be there, not because he has been drafted or conscripted, not because an act of parliament has forced him into service, not because he has been sent there against his will or desire, but because he has elected of his own free will to fight Canada's war at the foremost outpost, on the foremost front line. He has acted as a free citizen in a free country, and he is justly proud of his status as a volunteer before the whole world. He is proud of belonging to a unit totally formed of free volunteers, like himself, and this pride in himself, in the formation to which he belongs, contributes to develop his keenness and to make him a better fighting man. It would be a gross mistake to deprive the men in the army of this justified pride. Surely hon. members will not lower the pride of the Canadian army; surely they will not give the army the occasion of having a feeling of inferiority before the other services by forcing them to take into their ranks men who have refused to come forward of their own free will. Surely the hon. members will not give Hitler's hordes occasion to rejoice in saying that Canada which had entered this war under the voluntary system has had to use compulsion to get men into the army.

It has been argued that it is our duty toward the men already serving overseas to impose conscription in order to supply them with necessary reinforcements. Everybody in this country agrees that the men overseas must receive the backing of the nation. But, Mr. Speaker, let us not be swayed by our emotions. If this support can be given voluntarily, as it has been given voluntarily-and there is no reason to believe that it should stop-why should we cease to continue with the present methods?

Since the opinion of the men already overseas is to be considered, it is only reasonable that we should ask ourselves what that opinion is. Canadian troops overseas have two different attitudes of mind as regards the sending of conscripts to join them. A great number of men, and I should say probably the majority, feel that, if they have volunteered for service overseas, the other fellow who has not followed

their example should be forced to serve whenever it may be deemed necessary. They resent very strongly his absence from the service. Another group, which is by no means small, has a totally different attitude of mind. These men have no use for conscripts. They feel, and rightly too, that their status as Canadian citizens, who have come freely to fight Canada's war in Britain, is highly enhanced by the fact that they are volunteers. I have no comment to make about either of these views, but I think the house will admit that neither of them is conducive to the right spirit of cooperation which must exist among men in the army. Our army, like our country, must have unity to be an efficient fighting machine, and I am convinced that this unity, this efficiency, cannot exist if you have on your right flank volunteers and on your left flank conscripts who have been sent there against their wishes. I do not believe that the results will be any better if you have them mixed up together.

I have tried to give a few of the reasons why I am against conscription for overseas service. As I said previously, there are to my mind two different groups of conscriptionists in this country. There are those who are patriotic and there are those who exploit the other fellow's patriotism. As regards this last group, no argument can be of any use against them. I think the results of the four byelections at the beginning of this week constitute the best answer that we could give. As regards the first group, I submit humbly to them the few arguments which I have just expoimded to this house. To that I can only add the words that Cromwell used in a letter to the members of the Church of Scotland, "I beseech you; think it possible that you may be wrong."

Translation): Mr. Speaker, having given some of the reasons for my opposition to compulsory recruiting for overseas service, I wish to explain my position as regards the plebiscite announced in the speech from the throne.

Canada entered into this war voluntarily and freely, because it believed that its most vital interests were seriously threatened. The conflict in which our country finds itself engaged has taken such a scope and assumed such proportions that victory cannot be expected save at the cost of the greatest sacrifices. The prosecution of the war requires an unremitting and ever-increasing effort on the part of everyone. For us in Canada such an effort should aim at building up and maintaining an army, an air force and a navy sufficient for the defence of our own territory. It should also aim in no less a degree at the production

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The Address-Mr. Lapointe (Lotbiniere)

of foodstuffs, munitions and war material of all kinds which our allies so urgently need, which they cannot produce themselves or which they are unable to buy.

If it be true that the defence of our own territory entails the necessity of sending troops overseas as advance guards, it seems to me that the number of such troops is of somewhat secondary importance, considering the many other fields where our efforts are required. To maintain that Canada cannot make an all-out war effort without resorting to coercive measures for overseas service is to show a lack of sense of proportion. Certainly it is important and necessary to maintain our front-line troops and to make sure that they will get the reinforcements they may eventually need; but if it is permitted to look at the past and the present in order to judge of the future, I am firmly convinced that voluntary enlistment, intelligently encouraged and pursued, will suffice to provide such reinforcements.

We all know the gigantic effort put forth by the people of Canada since the outbreak of the war. The Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) and some of his colleagues have already set forth the magnificent results which this effort has produced and is expected to produce in the future. Well, Mr. Speaker, this achievement was made possible by the unity which has existed among Canadians and by a concentrated effort directed to a common end. This unity, this concentrated effort, have been made possible by the assurance, given to the people of Canada from the Atlantic to the Pacific, that there would be no conscription for overseas service, thereby removing all danger of national disunity. The disquiet stirred up by the noisy agitation of shortsighted politicians who would like to have the government break its plighted word gives reason to believe that recourse to conscription for overseas service would injure Canada's war effort.

Such a measure would destroy the confidence of the Canadian people in their government; it would sow the seeds of distrust and reopen recent wounds. No, Mr. Speaker, in this extremely grave crisis, there should be no disunion among Canadians. We must close our ranks and work together. Our efforts must not be spared and we must take care lest they should prove fruitless. Obviously, the Canadian people are masters of their fate. They alone can relieve the government from its pledges. To-day, in view of the attempts

that are made to persuade the government that public opinion has changed to the point of being ready to accept a measure it has hitherto so forcibly rejected, the administration is justified in consulting the people themselves in order to find out whether such is the case. To my mind, that is the best way for the government to ascertain not whether conscription for overseas service must be applied, but solely whether the Canadian people would consent to relieve the government from its pledge not to resort to conscription, in case it should feel that such a measure has become necessary. So far as I am concerned, I praise the government for honouring their pledge and I commend their decision to consult the people rather than listen to those public agitators who would have them disregard the promises that were made to the electorate and in which they themselves were a party. For those reasons, Mr. Speaker, I shall vote for concurrence in the address in reply to the speech from the throne, so that the electors of the constituency which I represent may have an opportunity to express their views freely, according to the dictates of their conscience and in the light of facts which I am sure they will be able to appreciate properly.

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SC

Victor Quelch

Social Credit

Mr. VICTOR QUELCH (Acadia):

Mr. Speaker, during the course of this debate we have listened to a number of speakers emphasizing the seriousness of the foreign situation, and we have listened also to a number of Liberal members who have endeavoured to make us believe that the war effort is everything that it should be. I am sure that we will all agree that the statement made by Mr. Herbert Lash, director of the bureau of public information, last November that we are not winning the war, that our not having lost it is due to luck, that unless we mend our ways and mend them soon we are in dreadful danger of losing this war, should be driven home to every individual in this country, and more especially to the members of this government.

As I said, we have listened to a number of speeches by Liberal members praising the government's war effort, but the thing to remember is that we have been suffering reverse after reverse at the hands of the Germans and the Japanese. No matter how good our war effort has been in the past, it must be considerably better in the future. Otherwise time will not be on our side; time will be on the side that makes the best use of it. I think we can all agree that from September, 1939, to the middle of 1940 the

The Address-Mr. Quelch

enemy were making considerably better use of time than we were, and therefore time was not on our side. Speaking in the house

the other day in reference to our war effort, the Minister of National Defence (Mr. Ralston) stated that our direct expenditures for war this year will be three billion dollars. Then he asked these three questions: "Will anyone in this house say that that programme is not worthy? Will anyone say that it will not tax our resources this very year? Will anyone say that the commitment is not enough?"

Now, Mr. Speaker, I say the only basis on which we can analyse these three questions is this. Are all the people of Canada to-day working? Are our industries to-day working to their full capacity? Are they working twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, three hundred and sixty-five days a year? Have we reduced non-essential services down to the very minimum? The minister knows very well that the answer to all these three questions must be in the negative. As to the question whether or not our effort to-day is a worthy one, the answer must also be in the negative. It is not a question whether we are spending three billion dollars a year. The question is whether or not that represents the maximum effort which we are capable of making.

I am satisfied that we will never make that maximum effort until we mobilize the total resources of the country-financial, industrial and man-power. It is not necessary for me to deal with it any further, except to say that it must be the total of all resources. We advocated that back in 1939, in September, upon the declaration of war, but unfortunately at that time the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) was too busily engaged in playing politics, too busy trying to make political capital out of the war. We knew very well that, with an election pending, our stand was politically speaking a dangerous one, but we also knew, and1 everyone familiar with foreign affairs knew or should have known, that that was the only sound stand to take at that period. Nevertheless, unfortunately for this country, all parties in the house were more interested in the political situation than they were in the foreign one, and during the election campaign attacked our stand for an all-out war effort and in its place advocated a modified one. The Prime Minister, having lulled the people into a false sense of security, won the election on that basis, and to-day we are still reaping the tragic consequences of that policy. It took Dunkirk, in 1940, to awaken the government from its state of lethargy; and to-day it is taking the tragic

reverses that we are suffering in the east to make the government realize the folly of its preelection promises.

And so now we are to have a plebiscite, in order that the government may be released from the promise which it made during the last election. It is strange that in spite of that fact one minister after another rises in his place in this house and says that we do not need conscription. I am receiving letters from many people across the country who are very much puzzled that we are to have a plebiscite in order to release the government from its promises regarding conscription, while at the same time it is telling people that we do not need conscription. Naturally the people are bewildered. The other day the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Gardiner) stated in this chamber that he believed in the voluntary system; he was very much opposed to the idea of conscription. He said, "You cannot conscript men and put them on ships." Well, the minister must have a very short memory, because in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries the British used to employ the press-gang in order to get men.

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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

I did not say that. I said, "corvettes".

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SC

Victor Quelch

Social Credit

Mr. QUELCH:

Well, corvettes are ships. I will accept the minister's explanation. He may think they are prairie schooners, but they are ships, and I am referring to ships.

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

Arthur Graeme Slaght

Liberal

Mr. SLAGHT:

Would you go back to the press-gang?

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

February 13, 1942