June 2, 1942

LIB

Ian Alistair Mackenzie (Minister of Pensions and National Health)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE (Vancouver Centre):

And you may be yet.

Topic:   WAR APPROPRIATION BILL
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR GRANTING TO HIS MAJESTY AID FOR NATIONAL DEFENCE AND SECURITY
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LIB

John Knox Blair

Liberal

Mr. BLAIR:

My attitude has been suppressed for a long time, but the foolish speaking in the house is a disgrace to the house.

Topic:   WAR APPROPRIATION BILL
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR GRANTING TO HIS MAJESTY AID FOR NATIONAL DEFENCE AND SECURITY
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NAT

John Ritchie MacNicol

National Government

Mr. MacNICOL:

Hear, hear.

Topic:   WAR APPROPRIATION BILL
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR GRANTING TO HIS MAJESTY AID FOR NATIONAL DEFENCE AND SECURITY
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?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Order.

Topic:   WAR APPROPRIATION BILL
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR GRANTING TO HIS MAJESTY AID FOR NATIONAL DEFENCE AND SECURITY
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LIB

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

Liberal

The CHAIRMAN:

In the first place, the hon. member's expression is not in order and, in the second place, we cannot discuss in committee the procedure that is followed in the house. The hon. gentleman is now suggesting that a procedure which is followed when the house is sitting should be followed now. The proper time to discuss that is when the house is sitting. The matter before the committee is a resolution for $1,500,000,000 to be granted to his majesty with respect to war expenditures.

Topic:   WAR APPROPRIATION BILL
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR GRANTING TO HIS MAJESTY AID FOR NATIONAL DEFENCE AND SECURITY
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LIB

John Knox Blair

Liberal

Mr. BLAIR:

We are wasting a great deal of money here day after day which could be put in the proper channels to aid the war expenditures. When we look at the galleries we see that the people there are disgusted with the house.

Topic:   WAR APPROPRIATION BILL
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR GRANTING TO HIS MAJESTY AID FOR NATIONAL DEFENCE AND SECURITY
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LIB

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

Liberal

The CHAIRMAN:

Order. It is not permissible in a speech to make reference to the people in the gallery. I am sorry to have to call my hon. friend to order, but he is making a reflection upon the house which is not permissible under the rules.

Topic:   WAR APPROPRIATION BILL
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR GRANTING TO HIS MAJESTY AID FOR NATIONAL DEFENCE AND SECURITY
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LIB

John Knox Blair

Liberal

Mr. BLAIR:

If this is to keep up I suggest to the government that they impose closure. That was done before by Right Hon. R. B. Bennett when the circumstances were not quite the same. I urge upon the government that it adopt some means of removing this bane of democracy. Talking incessantly is one of the things that destroys democracy. Some toleration should be extended; we all believe in freedom of speech, but this excessive speech-making takes up the time of the house and wastes the money of the country. I am sure it is the opinion of 90 per cent of the members of this house that this action should be taken.

War Appropriation-War Services

While I am on my feet I should like to suggest to the committee one way by which some of this money might be obtained. The federal government should suggest to the provincial governments that they do away with the traffic in liquor. Two hundred million dollars in the form of planes and guns for the front would do more good than it does the way it is spent now, especially in the beer parlours for the ladies. I know this is not under your jurisdiction, but if the provinces are not ready to abolish this traffic, the federal government has it in its power to abolish liquor completely.

Topic:   WAR APPROPRIATION BILL
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR GRANTING TO HIS MAJESTY AID FOR NATIONAL DEFENCE AND SECURITY
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NATIONAL WAR SERVICES

CON

John George Diefenbaker

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. DIEFENBAKER:

Yesterday I asked the Minister of National War Services (Mr. Thorson) for some information which should now be available. This has to do with a matter that concerns not only this house but the country as a whole-the results of the survey made by the government of the number of men available in the various age groups. As was mentioned last evening by the hon. member for Carleton (Mr. Boucher), the position to-day is that in certain districts men between the ages of twenty and twenty-four years are being called up, whereas in other districts the call has been extended up to the thirty-year-old group. The minister stated that so far as certain age groups are concerned, the point of exhaustion is being approached.

What I asked for yesterday-it was no fault of the minister that he did not then give an answer-was the number of men in the different districts between twenty-one and twenty-four years of age and between twenty-four and thirty years of age who are still available for war service. This information is in the possession of the government; for the minister was able to say that the number of men within certain groups is about exhausted, and also he admitted yesterday that the information is available on the basis of the national registration. I said as reported on page 2933 of Hansard:

The information must be available, on the basis of national registration, which will show exactly the number of young men in the various age classes and the records of the numbers who have been called up.

To which the minister replied, "Oh, yes." The country must have the information I am asking for in order to know the present position of our voluntary system of recruiting and the possibility of being able to secure the necessary men by the continuance of the

voluntary system. We would then be able to come to a conclusion as to whether or not the time has come to extend the age class beyond thirty years, possibly to thirty-five or thirty-eight for single men, as well as including married men. What was the nature of the survey made by the government? What has that survey shown? What pool of man-power is available for labour, as shown by the recent census? How many men are still available for service within the age groups twenty to twenty-four years and twenty-four to thirty years, according rto' divisions?

The calls being made to-day are made in a spasmodic, slipshod and unscientific manner. We are going into one part of the country and calling up men to the age of thirty years, while in another part of the country we are calling up men only to the age of twenty-four years. Surely the time has come when there should be equality in the calls. Unless we have this information, the debate on the necessity for changing our voluntary system to compulsory selective service will be based merely on individual impression. All we will have will be one man's against another man's opinion, neither of them based on statistical information.

Only yesterday we saw an example of the difference of opinion that can exist. The adjutant general gave certain figures which appeared in the press, in regard to the proportion of men called up as R recruits who ultimately find their way into the active army. At the same time and in the same paper there appeared a statement by the deputy minister of national war services which indicated different percentages. Surely the minister is in position to furnish the house and the country with the information I have asked for. Without this information each member will have to substitute his own opinion for facts based on statistics.

Topic:   NATIONAL WAR SERVICES
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LIB

Joseph Thorarinn Thorson (Minister of National War Services)

Liberal

Mr. THORSON:

Mr. Chairman, I have already covered the ground in respect to which the hon. member for Lake Centre is asking for information in so far as it is possible to cover [DOT] it. I indicated that in one of the administrative divisions, Kingston, the point of exhaustion of the present age groups up to thirty was very close at hand in so far as the calling of men for military training and subsequent service in the army for the duration of the war is concerned. It is fairly easy to determine that that state of affairs exists because there will be no more men forthcoming in that area.

With regard to the other administrative divisions I indicated likewise that there were

War Appropriation-War Services

at least two divisions where we would soon be in that situation. With regard to other divisions I indicated that we would not know the real extent of the man-power reserve that still exists until we had felt the full impact of the agricultural and other regulations.

In each division we know the number of single men there are by age groups. We likewise know the number of men we have called. We know the number of men to whom we have sent notices to report for medical examination. But I could not give the figures at the moment by age groups of the number of men who have enlisted. That would involve a review of attestation papers, because, so far as I am aware, enlistments are not recorded by age groups. That information could be obtained but it would require a great deal of work.

Topic:   NATIONAL WAR SERVICES
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CON

John George Diefenbaker

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. DIEFENBAKER:

Does the minister say there is no record kept showing by age groups the number of men who have voluntarily enlisted?

Topic:   NATIONAL WAR SERVICES
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LIB

Joseph Thorarinn Thorson (Minister of National War Services)

Liberal

Mr. THORSON:

The number of men who have enlisted is certainly available.

Topic:   NATIONAL WAR SERVICES
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NAT

Richard Burpee Hanson (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. HANSON (York-Sunbury):

Yes, and their ages.

Topic:   NATIONAL WAR SERVICES
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LIB

Joseph Thorarinn Thorson (Minister of National War Services)

Liberal

Mr. THORSON:

I do not know that there is a record kept by the Department of National Defence of enlistments by individual ages. I do not see what advantage there would be in having such a record.

Topic:   NATIONAL WAR SERVICES
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NAT

Richard Burpee Hanson (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. HANSON (York-Sunbury):

They do not take them under eighteen or over a certain age, so that they must have knowledge of their ages.

Topic:   NATIONAL WAR SERVICES
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LIB

Joseph Thorarinn Thorson (Minister of National War Services)

Liberal

Mr. THORSON:

They have the ages on the attestation papers.

Topic:   NATIONAL WAR SERVICES
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NAT

Richard Burpee Hanson (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. HANSON (York-Sunbury):

And that is available to the minister.

Topic:   NATIONAL WAR SERVICES
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LIB

Joseph Thorarinn Thorson (Minister of National War Services)

Liberal

Mr. THORSON:

I have no doubt that that information could be obtained, but I imagine it would take a good deal of work and time to get it. I doubt very much whether the enlistments are recorded by individual ages.

Topic:   NATIONAL WAR SERVICES
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PC

George Russell Boucher

Progressive Conservative

Mr. BOUCHER:

Then how can the minister know that the numbers in a certain age group are almost exhausted? The minister knows the number of available men in the different age groups through the national registration; how can he say that the numbers in any age group are nearing exhaustion if he does not know the number in that age group who have enlisted?

Topic:   NATIONAL WAR SERVICES
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June 2, 1942