July 23, 1942


Some hon. MEMBERS:

Go on.


Richard Burpee Hanson (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. HANSON (York-Sunbury):

If it is the wish of the house that the hon. gentleman should proceed, Mr. Speaker, I shall be glad to give way to him.


Georges Parent (Speaker of the Senate)



With unanimous consent the hon. gentleman may proceed.


Pierre-Joseph-Arthur Cardin



Mr. Speaker, realizing the difficult position in which I was placed, you and the house have been kind enough, in one instance already, to allow me more time than is permitted under the rules to an ordinary member. I do not want to abuse that privilege.


Richard Burpee Hanson (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Hon. R. B. HANSON (Leader of the Opposition):

Mr. Speaker, I think we have all listened with more than ordinary interest to the address of the hon. member for Richelieu-Vercheres (Mr. Cardin), who has just resumed his seat. He showed, I think, all or nearly all of his old time vigour; he showed his ability to speak extemporaneously, and he marshalled his arguments with much of the power I have seen him exhibit in former days. I should like to say, however, that with respect to certain portions of his remarks he said either too much or too little. I confess that with respect to certain cryptic utterances which he made I did not understand the innuendo, and I hoped that he would enlarge, to a degree at least, upon the position which he says obtains in certain quarters in the province of Quebec. I hope that at least he is absolving me and those whom I represent from any participation in the position to which he referred.


Mobilization Act-Mr. Cardin

they had come to form part of French nationality; they had become French citizens by heart and culture.

There is another good friend of mine, a man to whom I listen attentively when he speaks, because he is refreshing. His speeches remind me of the debates I heard in this house when I first came here thirty years ago. I refer to the hon. member for Parry Sound (Mr. Slaght). I regret not having waited, when I made my speech on the second reading of the bill, until the hon. gentleman had spoken, because he supplied all the material that was necessary to justify the speech I myself made. It is only in the conclusion that we differ. He made the strongest speech that could be made against conscription, but he made it in support of a conscription legislation.

Nothing has been shown, nothing has been indicated to us to prove that it is necessary at the present time to have such legislation on our statute books. We have been told that it will place our position in a better light before our allies. Well, if our allies are in such a state of mind as to be satisfied because we have on our statute books legislation which most of the ministers have said will not be applied, our allies are very easily satisfied. It would have been better to make them a gesture of good understanding, otherwise, for example, to shake hands with them.

Before condemning the province of Quebec for the attitude she is taking, and the members from that province on this very important issue, the members of this house and the press of the country should look around the world a little and inquire what is happening in other countries which to a certain extent are in a position similar to that in which Canada finds herself to-day.

Can you seriously condemn the attitude of the people of the province of Quebec when you absolve by silence what has happened in Northern Ireland? Are they not in a danger zone, exposed to attack? Is not the south of Ireland exposed to attack, with the very important maritime ports which they possess and which they have so far refused to permit England to use? Are they not in danger of being attacked, much more so than we are in Canada? Who is condemning, who has been condemning them in this house? Who has had the courage, during the debate on the second reading and even now, to raise his voice against the attitude of Ireland, north and south? Nobody. But the good old goat of the province of Quebec has to bear the burden, has to be punished; the fight has to be carried against the province of Quebec as it was carried on in 1917 for the benefit of people we know.

What about the position of Australia? Australia does not have compulsory military service for overseas. We have been told that they sent a number of soldiers overseas who have been fighting gallantly in Libya and elsewhere. That is true, and they deserve all praise for it. Nevertheless, in Australia there is no military service act that provides for service overseas. Legislation of that kind was defeated in the last war, and it has been defeated in the present war as well.

Then we are told that the best method of avoiding invasion in Canada-it is a dream- is to fight the enemy on the ten or fifteen or twenty or twenty-five points where the war is raging in Europe and in Asia. Where is the front to-day? Is the front more in the British Isles than it is in Libya? Is the front more in the British isles than it is in Russia to-day? Certainly it is not.

Australia did not have compulsory military service for overseas, and they sent soldiers to fight in other theatres of war. Did that prevent them from being attacked? No. They were attacked just the same, and they were attacked probably with more success, because a large number of their soldiers, their sons, have been scattered all over the world. They are thinking of bringing them back to Australia in order to defend their own land.

I do not see any weight in the argument that we must go and defeat the enemy elsewhere. Where? There are ten points in Asia and Europe where the enemy is having successes at the present time. Where is the front we are going to choose to send our men when we apply the military service law?

The province of Quebec is unable, as she was unable in 1917, to force her opinion on the majority of this country. She has no intention of imposing her views on the majority of the Canadian citizens if they want to have conscription. But I contend that the province of Quebec has the right-and I have exercised it and I do exercise it at the moment without any fear of any kind-to express her own ideals in the councils of the nation. If we cannot do it the way we are accustomed to argue things of that kind according to our temperament, according to our mind, as I said a moment ago, let us say good-bye to confederation and let us say good-bye to democracy.

But I feel that there is in this country a majority capable of understanding the point of view of the province of Quebec and ready to listen to those who represent her in this parliament and to concede to them the liberty of expressing, in the way they like, their point of view on all the problems that are being discussed in this House of Commons. That is all that we ask.

Mobilization Act-Mr. Cardin

I have a thousand times reason to say that this House of Commons is not master of itself; it is obeying, it is working according to the wire-pulling of a small group in our country who is trying to serve their own interest, to better their own personal position and have their own way under the cover of the war. Some also want to have the province of Quebec pay for her attitude. I have heard some insulting speeches in this house, and I have read insulting editorials in certain newspapers. Some have said, "Let us finish the war, and then we will deal with Quebec." Well, let them come. They will not do it. At the bottom of their hearts they are tod much of the slacker kind to risk it. They hide themselves behind their desks, where they write editorial columns slandering citizens of a province which has been doing much more than they have been doing themselves individually or their families, for the prosecution of the war. We are not afraid of them. We are citizens of this country, and there is no majority in Canada that is going to wipe out the minority of the province of Quebec.

The leader of the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation party (Mr. Coldwell) read to us a few editorials which have been published in certain sections of Canada. He could find some in my own province, and I could find some, written, not in the same way, but in a more insidious fashion though none the less effective, in the French language, as a result of paid propaganda. A campaign is going on in the province of Quebec against myself and other representatives of the province who have voted against the bill, this according to our consciences and our convictions. We are misrepresented in our province, but these misrepresentations reach only the surface. There is going to be a day of reckoning in Quebec.

Some who were afraid at the difficult time of the plebiscite to show even their noses outside their doors to help us in trying to have the people of Quebec vote "yes", are now the 'bravest men on earth. They never miss an opportunity to dictate to federal members what they should do. They suggest to them to submit, submit like good little boys and good little angels, because something dreadful might happen if they do not.


Pierre-Joseph-Arthur Cardin



That is the kind of propaganda which we have witnessed, not only in the English provinces, but in the province of Quebec itself.

We have been told that if our people are reluctant to submit to conscription, it is

because we lack leadership; that proper leadership, to borrow the expression of some hon. gentlemen, has not been given to our people. What about leadership in the other provinces? What about leadership in other sections of the country? The leaders of the province of Quebec as a whole compare favourably with the leaders of any other province, and French Canadians have no reason to be ashamed of the standing and the orderly attitude of their leaders.

I suppose I come under the condemnation of those who say that we have had the wrong leadership in Quebec during the last twenty-five years. I suppose that the late Right Hon. Ernest Lapointe also comes under that condemnation, and also the late Sir Wilfrid Laurier. What Sir Wilfrid did and said is in Hansard. It has been cited on many occasions. He did what we are doing now; he opposed compulsory military service for overseas. And mark you, what the late Right Hon. Ernest Lapointe and I did in the province of Quebec was done with the approval of our leader and of all our colleagues in the government of which we were then members, and also without criticism from the leaders of the other political parties in Canada.

In fact for the last twenty-five years the leaders of all political parties have themselves or by their recognized supporters, advocated the same policies which I myself advocated during that period-opposition to compulsory service for overseas.

When I tried to explain the position in which French Canadians find themselves in comparison with English-speaking members of this house, I was taken to task by a very good friend of mine, a man for whom I have the greatest respect, the hon. member for Ontario (Mr. Moore). He tried to establish that my claim that we were the first to open this land to civilization was wrong. He contended that of the number of people speaking French at a certain period of history only 6,000 were not Normans, and he said, if I remember rightly, that he was a descendant of the Normans. Well, following that line of reasoning, I could say in all friendliness to my hon. friend the member for Ontario, a very learned and most respectable gentleman, that he could have by the same process, traced his origin right back to Adam and in that event, he might have placed himself among the Jewish race. When the Normans came to Canada they were then a part of France and they came to Canada not as Normans but as French. They came to the new France as the subjects of the King of France. They came as Frenchmen and not as Normans, because in the course of years

Mobilization Act-Mr. Cardin

Another objectionable aspect of this bill is that it is retroactive. It constitutes a breach of faith with the young men who were enlisted forcibly for service, in Canada only, under the mobilization act which was placed on the statute book in 1940. When that measure was before the house, and when it was before the country afterwards, it was understood that it meant enforced military service only for the defence of Canada in Canada. When we forced the young men to enlist under the mobilization act we promised them it would be for only one month, that after one month's training they could return to their occupations and need not worry until the time would come when Canada would be in danger. Some people then said that one month's training was ridiculous, but not very many said it in 1940, when the mobilization act was passed. After it was on our statute books, after our young men had been enlisted by force, after they had been sent to the training camps, it was argued that one month was not enough; that they should have four months' training. As a result of that agitation the training period was changed from one month to four months.

After these young men had been brought into the camps on the understanding that they would have to stay there only four months, whereupon fhey could return to their occupations, another agitation was started by certain military authorities, and certain other people in an effort to crush the province of Quebec.-Let me here serve notice upon these people that it will take greater strength and more courage than they possess to crush the province of Quebec. As I say, an agitation was started against the four months' training, saying that the advantage would be lost if these men were not transferred to the regular regiments. It was argued that the country would lose the benefit of their four months' training. Can it be said that those who received military training in the European countries years ago, for six months or for a year and who were called to the colours only two or three years after as a result of war, were of no value in France and in the other countries where they had military service?

Nevertheless we were told that the advantages of four months' training would be lost because these young men would return to the farm and to other occupations and would be no good as soldiers in the defence of their country. We acceded to that agitation; we acceded to the wishes of the leader of the opposition and his friends and the agitators in Toronto, the minority of which we hear from so much, and of which we are so much afraid in parliament. The trainees who had

XMr. Cardin.]

been told they would be trained for only four months had to resign themselves to serving until the end of the war and to being transferred to the regular training centres all over Canada. 1

This legislation deletes section 3 of the mobilization act, which limits its effect to service for Canada in Canada. We are now saying to those young men who were told by the registrars that they would have to serve only one month, who were later told they would have to serve four months, who were later told they would have to serve for the duration of the war in the active force of Canada: "Forget that you were called

to defend Canada on the soil of Canada; you are going to be kept where you are, and if one day the governor general in council deems it advisable that you should go overseas, you will have to go overseas whether you have been called up for a month, for four months, or for service in Canada during the war."

This retroactive feature is the worst thing that can be placed upon the statute books of our country. It was always with the greatest hesitation that any government took such a step in the past. Yet we have it to-day in a legislation dealing with life and death.

We are breaking faith with the young men who have enlisted, and with the people of Canada. For what reason? I have listened very patiently, as I thank hon. members for listening to me, to all the speeches which have been delivered in this house; and everybody in the country knows now that three-fourths of the members of the present cabinet have said that conscription is not necessary; that we do not at present need to have recourse to compulsory military service for service overseas. Quite the opposite; we need the men, all the men that we can enlist to work in the shops preparing materials of war.

We have at present nearly one million men in the industrial establishments of Canada producing materials of war, and a quarter of a million more will be required to manufacture war equipment and provide other instruments necessary for the prosecution of the war.

From the opposite side of the house, as soon as hon. members had advocated a policy of conscription for service overseas, practically all of them, one after the other, inquired with anxiety about the situation of the farmers in their respective constituencies, and demanded that the regulations should be applied in such a way that the farmer should not be interfered with. That is the spectacle we have been witnessing in this house.

Mobilization Act-Mr. Cardin

on this bill, and to press my strong opposition to the principle embodied in it. If I needed any justification I should need only to count the pages of Hansard on which appear the speeches of representatives from other provinces on questions relating particularly to those provinces and the interests of the electors they represent in the house. We have listened patiently and with pleasure to the numerous and extended debates on the grain question, because we believed that it was the right and privilege of hon. members from other parts of Canada to explain fully their points of view, in order that they might be understood by the government of the day, and that their proposals might be considered. On many occasions hon. members from all parts of the house and representing all shades of political opinion have enjoyed the liberty of speaking, as long as the rules of the house permitted, on any matter of importance to their constituents or the provinces they represent.

I say it is unjust for any member to stand in his place in the House of Commons and blame those who have spoken at length on such an important question as this-the most important that parliament has had to consider. We have the right to speak our minds. If that right were denied to us, we might as well say good-bye to that pact of confederation in which we are all equal partners. We might as well say good-bye to democracy, and apply to this land the theories we are fighting against in Europe and elsewhere.

I have no apology, to make, nor do I propose to offer any, when I say that the law we are at present enacting is worse than the law enacted in 1917 by the Borden administration, and supported afterwards 'by the Union government. This law gives more power to the present government and to the governor in council than the law of 1917 ever gave to the government then in office.

At that time we had a statute, a law, before us. It gave as many details as could be given in a piece of legislation, and there was provision left for regulations in respect of less important matters. But the main principles were embodied in the statute, and were not left for a proclamation or an order in council to determine, as is the case with the measure we are now discussing. We have been told that this bill is enabling legislation. Yes; it is enabling legislation, giving the government power to do everything which pleases the government, at any time which pleases the government, and to act at any point or under any circumstances which in its opinion may seem favourable or justifiable.

I listened the other day to the speech delivered by the leader of the opposition (Mr. Hanson) when the bill was in committee. I regret to say he did not take advantage of the situation as he should have. True, he used certain strong words, but the general trend of his argument was only a praise and an approval of what the government had done, and an expression of support of the legislation before parliament.

He could have done more than that. He could have claimed for his party a partnership in that legislation, because to-day we are faced with this legislation because of agitation which has been raised-and I am not afraid to say this-by his friends, and by the press supporting his friends and his party in the country. That is why we have the legislation before us to-day.

Almost every step that has been taken up to the present in the prosecution of the war has been taken as the result of the threat of a motion or amendment being moved by the [DOT] opposition, and because of the fear that such a motion or such an amendment, if proposed, would destroy to a certain extent the strength of our party in the House of Commons. That is the position. I do not need to be afraid to speak my mind; it is not at my age that one should be afraid to speak his mind.

This measure goes a long way beyond the proposal made by the leader of the opposition in the speech he delivered in the debate on the address in reply to the speech from the throne. Anyone who reads the proposals put forth at that time by the leader of the opposition must be convinced that the kind of conscription he was proposing was less extensive and less effective than what is embodied in the legislation at present before us. His proposal started out with providing exemptions for farmers, for men working in war industries, and for men working in industries related to the war effort. It was only at the end that he took up the question of military service in any theatre of war. If the amendment proposed by the leader of the opposition had been put into practice, there would have been nobody left to conscript. He wanted a selective service that would provide for agriculture, for war industries, and for those civil industries which are necessary for the welfare of our economy. Then, after all this, he proposed to provide for the conscription of men for service in any theatre of war. I repeat that the bill now before us goes far beyond the limits of the suggested selective service or supposed conscription proposed by the leader of the opposition when he spoke on the address.


Mobilization Act-Mr. Ross (Souris)

soription were prepared to leave to others the task of doing for Canada, their homes and families what they refuse to do for others and even for their own country. That is a groundless statement, to say the least. The Prime Minister should be the last man to use such language. He was not talking that way when he solemnly asserted that not a penny of the increase in the estimates was intended for anything but the defence of Canada, and solely of Canada. He was not talking that way when he promised, in the following terms, that Canada would not participate in outside wars. Let me quote his words:

We shall probably never again see the day when large bodies of infantry have to be dispatched overseas.

The Prime Minister also said:

We must choose between minding the affairs of our own country and trying to save Europe and Asia.

The Prime Minister was not talking that way when he gave the unconditional pledge that he would never enforce conscription, as evidenced by this solemn statement:

Let me say that so long as this government may be in power, no such measure will be enacted.

The conscription measure.

Is there anything more blameworthy than to fail to keep so many promises, than to break so many pledges? Is there anything more apt to foster doubt, distrust and hatred as regards constituted authority? What more despicable doctrine than one founded on contradiction and falsehood? What greater threat to the very existence of our laws and constitution than the implicit acceptance of error and deceit triumphant over truth? I maintain that such an evasive attitude is more harmful to our war effort and to the morale of the Canadian people than the most nefarious doctrine and the most pernicious policy.

In conclusion, I have the honour of seconding the amendment moved by the hon. member for Gaspe (Mr. Roy).


James Arthur Ross

National Government

Mr. J. A. ROSS (Souris):

I shall take only a few moments, Mr. Speaker, but I wish to repeat that at the present time we have a very unfortunate man-power situation on our hands with respect to agriculture, industry and the armed forces. I should like to endorse the remarks of the hon.) member for Trinity (Mr. Roebuck) who argued this morning for immediate action in respect to this conscription bill now before the house.

I should like to ask the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) a question, which I may not have the opportunity of asking at

fMr. Lacorabe.]

another time. In the course of his remarks on this bill the Prime Minister stated that when the cabinet considered conscription necessary an order in council would be passed, parliament would be consulted and would be asked to vote confidence in him, and I think he added without debate. That does not seem feasible to me, though I suppose it might occur if he could muster enough votes in his support through the party whip. However, I think he might explain to us, when he speaks on the third reading of this bill, what would be the implications of a vote of no confidence in a party administration, at a time like this, under war conditions. That is to say, suppose there were a non-confidence vote, would it mean a general election in the country at this time? Or, on the other hand, would he do what Mr. Chamberlain did in Great Britain, and call upon one of his colleagues, as Mr. Churchill was called upon, to form a government and carry on under the present conditions and difficulties?

As he is the sponsor of the bill I trust he will make this implication quite clear to us in his discourse on the third reading of the bill, and more particularly since he has already intimated that at some future day we may be called upon to vote confidence or nonconfidence in him without debate.


Pierre-Joseph-Arthur Cardin


Hon. P. J. A. CARDIN (Richelieu-Vercheres):

Mr. Speaker, I desire to avail myself of this last opportunity to express my opposition to the bill which stands now for third reading. I shall express my views in the course of only a few minutes, but I wish to say that I do not feel the necessity of offering any apology for taking part in the debate, despite the fact that some hon. members during the debate on second reading said it was rather prolonged. I claim that all representatives of the people in the House of Commons are entitled to express their views, whether or not it prolongs or delays the proceedings. If we have not the privilege and the advantage, within the rules of the house, of stating our own views and giving our own opinions on questions which arise in the house, then I ask myself: What are we fighting for in this war? No hon. member of the House of Commons has any right to protest against the discussion having been prolonged, because all hon. members who had views to express had the right to voice them on the second reading, and to make their sentiments known. They expressed at the same time the opinions of the electors who sent them here as their representatives in parliament.

I have no apology, I repeat, for standing in my place a second time to stress my views

Mobilization Act-Mr. Lacombe

promises, broken with its past? I trust they will not remain deaf to this appeal in favour of cooperation, of a sacred unity in unmasking those who prefer colonialism to autonomy, slavery to freedom.

Will they remain faithful to the Prime Minister and this conscriptionist government or, following Laurier's example, will they prefer honesty, truth, courage and honour to power? Let them remember that the stand of the present government is a cynical denial of Laurier's career, the man who, almost an octogenarian, travelled through the whole of Canada, from one ocean to the other, in order to fight the Borden conscription measure in 1917.

Mr. Speaker, if there were a sixth reading of the bill provided for in the Canadian or British constitutions, I would still oppose this unfair and arbitrary conscription measure.

Will the year 1942 see a majority of the members of parliament sign their names to this heinous conscription law, without a mandate to do so from the Canadian people? Will the present generation remain indifferent, unconcerned or powerless witnesses of the repetition of the frightful deed perpetrated twenty-five years ago by a government censured by the Canadian people, dogged and removed from office as public enemy number one for over a decade?

Woe unto those men who, without due consideration, are on the point of repeating the criminal error of 1917. Woe unto those flatterers and imposters who, during the plebiscite campaign, sheltered in the radio studios, broadcast falsehood to mask their treason. Woe unto all the crooked and false politicians who foment misunderstanding and doubt in our so-called sacred democracy, while our soldiers are laying down their lives to safeguard it. Mr. Speaker, woe unto all those disciples of Voltaire whose motto is: "Lie and keep on lying, it's bound to bear some fruit."

But I say that nothing, absolutely nothing, will come of this conscription measure or of its sorry and hypocritical authors save strife, hatred, doubt, distrust and defeat. Before another year has passed, Providence will rescue our country from the deceit, lies and treason to which it has fallen a victim. In this energetic and pathetic fight for Canadian liberties, we shall show the same tenacity, eagerness, courage and patriotism that have ever guided us in all the various disasters that have assailed our beloved country.

One last word. It was easy to foresee that the mobilization act contained all the elements of conscription for overseas service. The previous stand of the government was reason

enough for anyone to understand the menace that this mobilization act, which I energetically opposed on June 18 and 19, 1940, constituted for the Canadian people. A positive proof of this lies in the Prime Minister's statement to the effect that conscription has been on our statute books ever since June 21, 1940. I thank heaven for having foreseen the dangerous stand taken by the government in June, 1940, as I had previously forecast, in September of 1939, the misfortunes which would befall our country. Participation and mobilization were the fatal stepping stones to conscription.

Are those who refused to support the successive amendments I moved in connection with participation and mobilization now satisfied with their stand, their abstention and their work? The events of the near future will give a forcible answer to that question fraught with so many direful consequences.

Mr. Speaker, who mentioned in this house or on the hustings the matter of a sacred contract? Who was simple enough to believe in the government's sincerity after what happened in parliament in 1937, 1938 and 1939, when the defence estimates were increased? I flatly refused to concur in those estimates. I knew that they were not for the defence of Canada but for participation in war. Who could reasonably draw another conclusion when the government rejected my repeated requests that the Militia and Defence Act be amended so that Canada might not have to participate in outside wars? The people of this country will judge, and history will confirm, that those who joined the advocates of imperialism and conscription in accepting participation and mobilization, are responsible for the enactment of conscription. They will vainly try to conceal their anti-Canadian stand. The people shall be made aware of all facts. We are going to enlighten them by every possible means. We have too long delayed doing so, although for a very lofty motive; the desire for concord and harmony. There is something loftier and greater than that motive; it is the triumph of truth over error and the welfare of this country. That is the principle for which we will fight alongside all true Canadians who may join our banner. We do not care for the shameful desertion of some or the cynicism of others. A surging torrent will sweep all that away. The wave of Canadianism which is now rolling over the country will sweep the remnants of a government dominated by a military and financial imperialism which is planning the downfall and ruin of Canada.

The Prime Minister stated in this house on July 7 last, that the opponents of con-


Mobilization Act-Mr. Bence

united nations, I subscribe to it, and I believe that all hon. members would subscribe to it. But I do say in all sincerity that any member or group of members is taking a very grave responsibility in voting against this bill on the basis that their particular brand of conscription must come first, otherwise, they are not prepared to give the administration the power that might mean the difference between victory and defeat. Such a stand will not help the soldiers, the sailors and the airmen of this country when the testing time comes; and when that time comes, in its strongest point it will be support on the field of battle that is needed and not quotations from political speeches either in this house or outside.

I am opposed to the stand taken by the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) in his last speech on this question when he said in effect that if conscription for overseas service is enacted it will not be put into effect until a vote of confidence has first been obtained from this house. The people have voted in favour of giving power to the administration. Members of parliament have voted in favour of giving the power to the administration, and nothing further is placed in the way of giving effect thereto. If the Prime Minister wants to return to the house for a vote of confidence at any time, that is his privilege; but I say to him that it should not be a condition precedent to his acting expeditiously in the matter of sending troops for overseas service if the circumstances warrant it.


Liguori Lacombe

Independent Liberal

Mr. LIGUORI LACOMBE (Laval-Two Mountains):

I want to say a few words in support of the amendment moved by the hon. member for Gaspe (Mr. Roy).

(Translation): Mr. Speaker, (this measure is odious, anti-national and anti-Canadian. It is destructive, unjust, arbitrary and calamitous. This I intend to demonstrate in a moment. It is a challenge to public opinion clearly expressed on March 26, 194(1, in favor of a free and voluntary policy. Parliament holds no other mandate than that it received from the Canadian people at the last general election. This mandate was never revoked. The plebiscite campaign was nothing but a fraud perpetrated by the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) who squandered public funds for this purpose and conjured up an alleged majority which never existed. Never has an administration shown itself more wasteful and extravagant. Never in the history of Canada has there been a government more prodigal and less concerned with the public interest.

What is happening to our finances, our agriculture, our trade and our national resources? Our entire national heritage is being ruthlessly sacrificed by the present government, now more detested than the Borden administration ever was. Why is this? Because the Borden government, although just as colonial, just as imperialistic and conscrip-tionist, was more open, more loyal, more honest in its dealings than the King administration. Because the Borden government never reached the degree of duplicity, hypocrisy and cynicism attained by our present ineffable administration. Past masters in the art of trickery, they are proceeding step by step. They stated at first that we would not participate in the war. Then came participation. They declared that such participation would be free and voluntary. Then our youth and resources were mobilized. That mobilization was allegedly proceeded with for the defence of Canada and of Canada alone. And now, by changing our Mobilization Act into a conscription measure, they are preparing to send overseas our sons already mobilized under the law. In this supreme hour, I shall make a last stand against conscription, in order to save what may yet be saved in this orgy of expense and carnage and blood. I earnestly urge the hon. members of this house to think of Canada's future, to think first of all of organizing her defence.

I implore my hon. colleagues to bar the disastrous path down which the government is treading and to cry out with us: "You shall not pass!" On behalf of our Canadian youth, of the survival of our agriculture, our trade, our industry, our fisheries, our national resources and our living strength, I pray for *the earnest support of my hon. colleagues to give the death blow to this conscription measure which threatens to demolish the defence of Canada and the very existence of the nation. Yes, let us give the death blow to conscription which the people have damned for over twenty-five years. We have no right to rush headlong into the abyss. We have no right to sacrifice our sacred heritage, in defence of which we would gladly give our lives, for the sole benefit of other countries who will become the graveyard of our national defence. It would be an infamous crime to sacrifice the physical, moral and spiritual wealth of our land to a military and financial imperialism which is planning our ruin and our downfall.

In closing these remarks, I launch a third and last appeal to my fellow members of the Liberal party. What ties could be powerful enough to bind them still to a government that has broken its solemn pledges and

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think of the situation of the French Canadians in such an event? It seems to me that that should be considered too.

The outlook, as it appears to me, is so full of dangers of all kinds, of uncertainties, and of threats of all sorts, that in the midst of so much confusion and such a great division we members of parliament should not take the terrible responsibility of adopting this legislation at the present time. The situation is developing every day, and I think the government would be justified in looking over the situation again and postponing the adoption of this measure. If the bill is passed at this time, now that we are threatened with a division which is not likely to heal, with this religious war going on, and the bogey that has been set up against the Catholic church, unless it is stopped right away, trouble may start at any time. I am afraid of that. I think the government should look over this matter once more before plunging along a course of which the end cannot be seen. The curtain between to-day and to-morrow is too thick.


Alfred Henry Bence

Progressive Conservative

Mr. A. H. BENCE (Saskatoon City):

Mr. Speaker, I did not speak on the second reading of this measure because I supported it, and because I subscribed to the sentiments expressed by the leader of the opposition (Mr. Hanson) when he made his speech on the second reading, and I believed that all that was necessary was the casting of my vote when the motion was put to the house. I did not feel that it would add anything to the seemingly endless repetition which went on in this house for some weeks. But in view of the circumstances, and of the situation which has arisen as a result of some of the speeches that were made, and of the last speech made by the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King), I wish to make my position clear, and to do so as briefly as possible.

I supported this bill because I could do nothing less. The administration, whether rightly or wrongly, believed that its hands were tied, with respect to having a full-out war effort, in one particular, and that particular was in respect of the sending of men for service overseas. It decided by way of a plebiscite to obtain the opinion of the people on the question whether that restriction should be removed, and the people of Canada voted in favour of its removal. My constituency voted in favour of the removal of that restriction by 16,710 to 2,074, and in my opinion it voted in effect for the passage of the very legislation that is before the house to-day. I am bound to assume therefore that when they cast their vote they believed that I as their representative would take that stand in this house and would vote in favour of any legislation that

might be brought forward to remove that restriction, for which purpose the plebiscite was taken.

I have no apologies to make for voting in favour of the bill. I am consistent in the stand I have taken, and I do say that neither I nor the members of His Majesty's loyal opposition have, in the words of the hon. member for Rosetown-Biggar (Mr. Coldwell) this afternoon, in any manner, shape or form looped the loop. How anyone whose constituency voted in favour of the removal of this restriction can get up in this house and vote against it surpasses my understanding. Out of twenty-one constituencies in Saskatchewan, twenty voted in favour of removing the restriction, and I say at least to those twenty members that they are in duty bound to their constituents to support this measure in the house. I believe that those were the wishes of my constituents, and I propose to adhere to their wishes and to free the hands of the administration in this particular.

With respect to the conscription of wealth, my position was made clear some time ago.

I have repeatedly stated that we should do everything without reserve, and when I say without reserve I mean the complete and total mobilization of material things as well as of man-power. As I said before, one of the worst things that could happen to the morale of the Canadian people would be to leave, in the minds of those who are giving their husbands, sons, brothers and sweethearts to the service of the country, the idea that those who have material wealth are not prepared to put all in the balance in order that we may emerge victorious from this struggle. I adhere to that enunciation of principle as being a sound and proper one.

One can put almost any interpretation one chooses on the principle of the conscription of wealth. One can insist that no matter how far we go, it is still not conscription of wealth -many people in this country to-day believe that we have conscription of wealth-but I do say that this is no time to be indulging in risky experiments. This is no time to indulge in anything that might react unfavourably to our war effort, and this is no time to be adamant about getting one's own way with respect to one's own political philosophy. We have too much at stake for that state of mind to govern our actions in this house. I will say this, however. If it is shown that the extension of the principle of conscription of wealth in any one particular can save the life of any one man in the service of the country; if the extension of the principle of the conscription of wealth in any one particular would expedite the victorious conclusion of this struggle, on behalf of the

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policy which will unnecessarily upset that balance, and hinder one or other of the allimportant phases of our war effort.

As I have said, I think those statements are a true expression of the ideas shared by the first school of thought among the members of the cabinet. I wonder how the second group, which is not half as large as the first, can impose its views upon the larger group? No proof has been given of the necessity of sending more troops overseas, especially when one keeps in mind the threats we are facing just now, the needs of our war industries, the needs of agriculture. I cannot understand why that group should stick so firmly and so stubbornly to the idea of conscription for overseas, because it will change the whole situation in this country and waste the service which can be rendered by individuals under the present circumstances.

This second school of thought, which is quite radical, is followed by the ministers of national defence. It looks to me as though they are rather for European defence before they are for our national defence. That is quite paradoxical. They represent the military opinion, and their ideas are backed up by another school, which is far worse-what I would call the imperialistic school. I do not want to say anything which will destroy the confidence and respect we should have for our military authorities. Everyone recognizes their gallantry and the importance of the task they have undertaken in the defence of this country. But as military men they have ambitions, and their ambitions should be controlled so that Canada will not go to another Hong Kong or make more mistakes such as those which have been made in the past, not only by Canada but by other nations.

I wish to read a letter from a man for whose memory there is much respect. On March 12, 1885, Sir John A. Macdonald wrote to Sir Charles Tupper from Earnscliffe, Ottawa, as follows:

My dear Tupper,

I have your notes of the 18th and 27th on the subject of sending Canadian troops to the Soudan. I wrote you a hurried note the other day on this question, and have both before and since talked it over with my colleagues, and we think the time has not arrived, nor the occasion, for our volunteering military aid to the mother country.

We do not stand at all in the same position as Australasia. The Suez canal is nothing to us, and we do not ask England to quarrel with France or Germany for our sakes. The offer of those colonies is a good move on their part, and somewhat like Cavour's sending Sardinian troops to the Crimea. Why should we waste money and men in this wretched business? England is not at war, but merely helping the Khedive to put down an insurrection, and now that Gordon is gone, the motive of aiding in the

rescue of our countrymen is gone with him. Our men and money would therefore be sacrificed to get Gladstone and Co. out of the hole they have plunged themselves into by their own imbecility.

Again, the reciprocal aid to be given by the colonies and England should be a matter of treaty, deliberately entered into and settled on a permanent basis. The spasmodic offers of our militia colonels, anxious for excitement or notoriety, have roused unreasonable expectations in England, and are so far unfortunate. I dare say that a battalion or two of venturous spirits might be enlisted, but 7d. a day will cool most men's warlike ardour.

Our artillery batteries are not enlisted for foreign service, and could not be ordered to the Soudan. The Fenians are beginning to show signs of life again in the United States and there are so many unemployed there that they may become dangerous again. They threaten to invade Canada if she sends troops against the Mahdi. Most of this is nonsense, but we can never calculate on what these people may do. If there should be a row with Russia, we shall have to send our men via the C.P.R. to Vancouver, but I fancy that threatened storm will blow over.

We are dragging on slowly this session. The government is too old.

Your sincerely,

John A. Macdonald

If Sir John A. Macdonald was right in what he said at that time, we are well-justified in saying the same to-day. The threat of war puts Canada to-day in a far greater danger than it was at that time. Canada needs all its man-power and all its resources to organize its own defence just now. The country is facing a division which may lead us-where? I do not know; just the thought of it affrights me.

I will quote another opinion which is more recent. It does not come from a traitor; it is not the letter of a traitor, as the leader of the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation, quoting from an Edmonton newspaper, says he is accused of being, with the fifty-four who voted against the second reading of this bill. This sentence is from a speech of the late Lord Tweedsmuir in 1937:

Canada is a sovereign nation and cannot take her attitude to the world docilely from Britain, or from the United States, or from anybody else. A Canadian's first loyalty is not to the British commonwealth of nations, but to Canada and Canada's king, and those who deny this are doing, to my mind, a great disservice to the commonwealth.

There is another point, Mr. Speaker, which I do not think has yet been brought up by anyone. Has anyone thought of the falseness of the situation in which we would be placed if French Canadians were forced to go to fight overseas, if the Canadian army were called to invade France, and if France should resist such invasion? What do you

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the Canadian public fully realized how difficult the situation is, how necessary it is to do everything possible to defend our country, it would be suicidal instead of being helpful; it would impair our effort rather than help it.

On June 17 the Minister of National War Services (Mr. Thorson) is reported as follows, at page 3411 of Hansard:

In my opinion the imposition of conscription for service overseas at the present time would definitely be hurtful to the war effort. The people of Canada are much more concerned with the achievement of results than with the application of theories, and the action of the government will be governed accordingly.

He added at page 3412:

Furthermore, our war industry programme contemplates and involves heavy man-power requirements. So does the programme for essential agricultural production. I shall not deal in detail with either of these programmes, except to say that the man-power necessary for their performance cannot be withdrawn from the essential purposes of war without hurting those purposes.

It is the duty of the government to allocate man-power in accordance with the needs of the war purposes of Canada and the war objectives that I have mentioned.

This is a serious opinion, and I suggest it should not be disregarded.

On June 22, as reported at page 3507 of Hansard, the Prime Minister has this to say about threats upon Canada by the Japanese:

It is as critical a situation in the middle east as has arisen since the war commenced. There have been as well evidences in the past forty-eight hours that in this world-encircling conflict Canada is coming more and more into the zone of immediate danger.

The Prime Minister is reported on the same page as having said:

It only goes to bear out what has been said so often that no one can take too seriously both the immediacy and the extent of the danger with which all parts of the world are confronted, and at this time our own part in particular.

That is another opinion which should not be ignored. On June 25 the Minister of Labour (Mr. Mitchell) is reported on page 3682 of Hansard as having said:

I believe that steps will have to be taken in the very near future to see that the heavy industries of this country are provided with sufficient men so that we can produce the necessary supplies according to plan. I sometimes wonder whether we have not tried to do too much for a nation the size of ours.

In recent weeks I have received many visits from industrialists who are anxious about the shortage of labour and its effect on war production.

I draw the attention of the house to this statement because I think it is one that should be considered most seriously throughout Canada. I should like to quote another

minister. The Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Gardiner) had this to say on Monday, June 15, as repoorted on page 3324 of Hansard:

Under any such provision, if the Japanese were able to force their way to the Alaskan boundary we would have to stop at the Alaskan boundary if our men raised under the act were able to drive them back to that point, and we would not be able to cross the boundary. It will be recognized therefore that some change has to be made in that particular at the present time.

As the Prime Minister stated in this house it does not necessarily mean that we shall be sending troops overseas immediately. I believe he even went so far as to suggest that it may never become necessary to do so. We shall have powers under the legislation as it will be enlarged to do certain things that must be done immediately, and, on the other hand, to give consideration as time passes to the question whether other things should be done. In this regard it was emphasized to the house the other day that it would be inadvisable for this house to have to take action on two different occasions in order to get authority to do these two things, one of which ought to be done immediately, and the other of which may never be required to be done.

I quote the language of the Minister of Agriculture in order to recall to the house that that is the opinion of thfe first school of thought I have spoken about. They do not believe in conscription for overseas; they admit it might be of no use. The Minister of National Revenue (Mr. Gibson) had this to say on Friday, June 19, as reported on page 3492 of Hansard:

What some people seem to forget is that warfare to-day does not consist of hurling huge masses of men against each other, with the balance in favour of the greatest number. Today war is mechanized, highly technical, and demanding individual initiative in the use of the weapons that are provided. The best weapons in the world will be useless unless the men using them are prepared to use them bravely and intelligently. Under these circumstances it would seem to be obvious that so long as a volunteer force can be maintained in the field it will be a more effective fighting force than one partly or wholly composed of conscripts.

I come now to the opinion expressed by the Minister of Munitions and Supply (Mr. Howe), and I think this also should be considered seriously throughout Canada. He said on Tuesday, June 16, as reported on page 3373 of Hansard:

But, as I have already pointed out our manpower pool is not unlimited. We have encountered many shortages as the gap between supply and demand has become narrower. With the additional demands, which are continuous, the gap is constantly narrowing further. It follows therefore that if we are to continue our vast programme of war production and at the same time meet the requirements of the armed services, it is essential that we maintain a sane balance, and that we do not adopt, on emotional rather than on logical grounds, any

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I need not remind you of what has been said throughout the country, or what has appeared in many newspapers and magazines, but I hold in my hand the July issue of Protestant Action. I need not quote from it, because if I did so I think it would be harmful to our national unity and our war effort, but I should like to send it to the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) and ask him to be good enough to look at it, because it will give him some idea of what is going on in the religious field.

The leader of the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation group (Mr. Coldwell) has well pointed out the weakness of that religious discussion throughout the country. I should like to congratulate the hon. member on the admirable speech he made in the house this morning and on his truly Canadian spirit. I think he spoke as a real democrat, a real Christian and a real Canadian. I should like also to refer to the speech concluded just a few moments ago by the hon. member for Trinity (Mr. Roebuck), which was made in such a sober manner that I think it should be underlined. If all hon. members and others speaking on the question of conscription, or any other matters we have to discuss in this country; if all those who are writing about different matters and public questions, were using calm and sober language, I believe that we could proceed with the discussion of any of our problems, and that our national unity would not suffer at all from such discussions. Unhappily it has not always been that way.

I believe I should say a few more words about the religious fight that is going on just now, because I am wondering where it is going to lead. Another question is to be discussed in a few days, namely, the lifting of the ban against the Communist party, and the establishment of consulates in Canada. Under present circumstances it is most unfortunate that these questions should be brought up. To come down from helping Russia in its struggle against our common enemy, an enemy which is also threatening us, to permitting infiltration into this country of Russia's philosophies and doctrines, is a long step, and we should be very careful in taking it.

The division as to policy in Canada which has existed for a long time has grown worse and worse because of the religious and racial fight which has been carried on for some time in the press and throughout the country. There are many indications that that division exists right in the House of Commons, right in the midst of the cabinet, and on the very question of conscription for overseas service. There seem to be two different schools of thought in the ministry, one of which would

appear to be more Canadian, and would seem to share the opinion that Canada needs all its man-power to take care of her war production and her national defence, which, if I may say so without giving information to the enemy, is very weak or non-existent at the present time.

I should like to quote a few opinions from ministers -who hold the first view to which I refer. I quote this from the observations of the Postmaster General (Mr. Mulock) as they

are reported at page 3658 of Hansard:

I do not think it is. Japan realizes that the final reckoning, no matter what temporary conquests he may make in Asia, will be with the nations of the North American continent and the British empire. It is quite probable that she may try to invade this continent by way of the Aleutian islands and Alaska before we have mobilized our utmost strength. If the Japanese meet with success in the Aleutian islands, and if for the time being the balance of sea-power in the Pacific should shift in their favour, I believe it quite possible that they may make an actual landing in force on the upper western coast, fortify their positions and try to hold that part of this continent until such time as they can bring up additional troops, munitions and supplies of all kinds, in the meantime fortifying their harbours and constructing airports to use in their drive southward along the Pacific coast, west of the Rocky mountains, and protected by them.

Those attacks must be stopped before they reach Canadian territory.

That is the opinion of one of the ministers. On the same page he adds this;

May I make it quite clear that I am not advocating the sending all of our troops overseas; that we would leave our coast lines undefended, or that we should not build up our coastal defences in every possible manner. But the fact remains that we in Canada are going to be in a desperate position if the time ever comes when we must defend this country with the forces that can be raised from eleven and a half millions of people, without help from other members of the United Nations.

On July 6 the Minister of Fisheries (Mr. Michaud), as reported at page 3945 of Hansard, quoted the following from Toronto Saturday Night:

From its inception the war has been hammered home to Canadians as an empire war. We are far less Canadian than we were in 1939. The words "British" and "empire" occur in almost every sentence of the war news and the newscasts. Practically nobody has stressed the fact that this is a Canadian war, which Canadians are fighting in order to save the Canadian way of life for the people of Canada.

At a later point in his speech the minister


We have raised an army which is a credit to our country without having recourse to compulsion, and it is my hope and wish that we shall never have to resort to compulsory measures to fill the ranks of our army. Were such a method instituted at the present time, before

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world; and when we consider what Canada is doing and what has been done for us over there, to keep the enemy from our shores, we should thank the Almighty that we have had such a country to protect us and permit us to go about our business in the way we have done so far. Let me tell you what the mother country is doing for Canada and the world at the present time. Mr. Lyttelton, the minister of production, in some places met a rather hostile lot of criticism in the press when he came on a recent visit to Washington, where he went on business with Mr. Roosevelt. But he made a radio speech and told the people the truth, and here is what he said about the mother country and what Britain is doing now to save the world and keep the empire together:

We are producing tanks, "jeeps" and other mechanical vehicles at the rate of 257,000 a year. This is an increase of 350 per cent over the rate in the last quarter of 1940.

We are producing 40,000 big guns a year and supplying them with 25,000,000 rounds of ammunition. We are producing millions of small arms each year and supplying them with 2,000,000,000 rounds of ammunition.

We have increased our production of aircraft 100 per cent above the rate achieved during the last quarter of 1940.

We have increased our production of merchant ships by 57 per cent over the last quarter of 1940, even though we thought then that we had reached the limit of our capacity.

He went on to tell listeners that of a population of 33,000,000 between the ages of 14 and 55, some 22,000,000 were either in the armed forces, in industry or in civil defence. Over 50 per cent of the ships which used to bring in food are now directed to supplying allied armies, and every available acre of land has been turned into farm land. Rations are alike for all. In short, he said:

When John Bull wakes up in the morning he finds that the minister of labour has called him up for work in factories, if he isn't fit for military duty. The food minister has taken all variety and spice and most of the volume of his breakfast, lunch and dinner, and the President of the Board of Trade has given him so much and no more clothing. His wife is working in a factory, and the treasury takes his money. War savings absorb his surplus income, which cannot be spent because there is nothing to buy.

We are pouring approximately 60 per cent of our national income into war. There is no "business as usual" in Britain. There is no production as usual in Britain. There is no profit as usual in Britain. We have thrown everything we have into this war, and we will never quit.

That ought to be an example to the people of this country. Why do our nine provinces not pay her tribute?

I believe this mobilization act will be a flat failure, because it does not commend itself to the wisdom or judgment of the country or of the "yes" voters. During the course of his remarks to-day, the hon. member for Trinity (Mr. Roebuck) said that a few years ago most Canadians took the stand now taken by Quebec. I say that has not been the policy of the Conservative party. Since the days of Sir John A. Macdonald this party has been for the mother country first, last and all the time, in peace and war alike, because when Britain is at war Canada is at war also. That is our policy. This Conservative party has never failed in its duty to the empire and the motherland. We shall never fail as long as we are a party of Canadian citizens owing so much to the mother country. In that one connection alone the hon. member for Trinity is incorrect.


Joseph Sasseville Roy



Mr. Speaker, before proceeding with my comments on the situation which has been brought about in this country by this legislation, and its significance to the welfare of Canadians and the prosecution of the war, I should like to inform you of the amendment I intend to propose. I have the honour to move, seconded by the hon. member for Laval-Two Mountains (Mr. Lacombe):

That the word "now" be left out and the words "this day six months" added at the end of the question.

I have several reasons for moving this amendment. I am wondering with great anxiety whether Canada is going to be wrapped up in this whirling world where there is nothing but downfall, destruction, confusion and darkness, or if we are going to escape this dreadful fate. I should like to make a short analysis of the situation with which we are confronted just now. [DOT]

Canada seems to be very badly divided, and I am wondering what is going to happen if the situation remains as it is or grows worse. The first cause of the division now existing in Canada is fundamental, finding its basis in the ideals held by two definite groups in Canada. One ideal is "Canada first"; the other seems to be best summed up, from what I have heard in this house during the course of this debate, in the words, "I am for the British empire." I believe these two formulas give a perfect picture of the two definite ideals which are held in this country. If the discussion had been kept within the limits of these two ideals, the situation would not be half as bad as it is to-day, but it has gone far beyond these limitations. The issue has become a racial fight; in the last little while it has become an open religious fight.

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both before and since, as to duties-considering all these omissions one can only marvel that the popular response has been what it is, and that the confusion was not many times worse.

Many people forget that. As I said before, it is of the greatest importance that there should be no censorship. The people should be told the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth of this war, and of the grave peril now facing us. They should be told the facts, and we should build up on the worst of the facts. We have no divine right to win this war. Some think it is going to be an easy task. It is not; it is the most difficult the world ever saw, and the result is yet in the balance.

People forget that great empires do not usually crumble in a stand-up fight. If this empire goes down it will be the end of religion, civilization, and freedom, not only for Canada but for the rest of the world. That was something that our forefathers did not forget, because they read the scriptures. After all, history repeats itself. They knew the bible; they read the classics, and they learned from them how empires come and go. This British empire has gone on for many years. The Roman empire was the greatest the world had ever seen, and ours has been almost a pattern of it. We resemble it in peace and war alike. In that connection that great textbook writer, H. A. L. Fisher, said what is as true to-day in relation to Canada as it was to the fall of Rome:

That great structure was not brought down to the ground by frontal attack, but by a process of infiltration extending over a hundred years.

Infiltration of men and loose thinking at a time when the Romans themselves had given up the will to power. Bryce, in his great work, "The Holy Roman Empire," had described the same decay:

And thus when the final movement came, and the German tribes slowly established themselves thiough the provinces, they entered not a's savage strangers, but as settlers knowing something of the system into which they came.

Bryce also described for us how the latter-day Romans paid lip service to the concep- -tion of empire, even when the power had dissolved; how the great dominions acknowledged the name of Rome even though Rome had neglected them and even though they had become independent or under the influence of other great powers. In the years before the war we had forgotten the great historian Gibbon, in his chronicle of Rome's ills brought about by disarmament, reliance on the good will of others, weakening of purpose at home, and demoralization of the people by the dole of bread and circuses.

[Mr. Church.l

That chronicle makes sombre reading at a time like this. Here you have the finest people in the world giving up its armament, reducing its navy, and all that kind of thing. As a result of that disease we have to face a world where you do not know where you are going. We may as well be frank with ourselves regarding the British empire. Remember that we have already made alliances with two other great imperial empires, Russia and the United States. If we fail as an empire-and we are not getting very much support at the present time-do not forget that Britain then and her dominions and also the people of Quebec and the other eight provinces will have nothing to say in connection with the peace terms. Russia and the United States, which like Britain may not be imperialistic in the sense that they want to grab territory, but they are imperial in the true sense of the word, namely, that they want to become world powers, to have a just say in the peace terms and to be a big power in the new world to come. Unless we are attached to this great empire, are we going to have anything to say about the peace terms?

If this empire falls-and we are not a great distance from it at the present time-it will be a very sad day for religion and freedom of speech and thought in every province of the dominion. A great Scot and a great soldier said something about the detractors of the mother country. For the first two years of the war she bore the brunt of the fight alone for civilization and the world. If it had not been for Britain, after Dunkirk we should have the axis forces in this country; not only Canada but the United States would have had to seek peace long ago. Let us remember the lesson of history as pointed out to us by Professor Macneile Dixon, a great Scot like yourself, Mr. Speaker. He said:

Civilizations arise, and continue to exist- and all history is witness to the truth-when conditions are hard, only when they are continually threatened, only when they are determined to maintain and defend their rule. They decline and fall when the external pressure is removed, or the inner spirit decays. ... If an individual or a people ceases to believe in itself, its aims and ideals, others with firm aims and beliefs will climb into the saddle. The decline and fall of England, which will rejoice our enemies, will not be England's decline and fall only, but of all for which she stood, and not till then shall we know the extent of our miseries. I, at least, am not of the opinion that humanity, justice, freedom, no, nor Christianity, will be the gainers in that fall.

Those words are true to-day.

In conclusion I want to point out just one or two things. Britain has been attacked and slandered as never before, all over the civilized

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is an attack on the government. There has been more or less criticism of this bill throughout the country. In Ontario the mobilization act is not equitably enforced. A gentleman named Elliott Little, a controller, acting over the head of parliament, said at a Rotary club luncheon in Ottawa, that he will call up 250,000 men in order to get 25,000 required by the department. What has he to do with the mobilizing of men? Is he a parliament in himself? A black-out is wanted on some of these controls. I submit that there should be a black-out on all these speeches which we are hearing daily all over Canada because they are doing real harm; they are injuring recruiting. They are preventing the Minister of National Defence from doing his duty. There is no equality of treatment. How long will it be before the facts come home to the people? We do not know how close we are to dictatorship here.

So far we have lost the war; we have not gained any victories. The situation is desperate. We have had a string of reverses-Norway, Dunkirk, Greece, Crete, Libya, France, Holland, Belgium, Denmark, Luxemburg, North Africa, Hong Kong, Singapore, the Malay peninsula, Burma, the Dutch East Indies and Pearl Harbour. If that is not enough to make this country war-minded, I am afraid we shall have to wait until the enemy comes up the St. Lawrence river and begins to destroy us. We have no royal or divine right to victory. Ever since this war began Canada has been living in an atmosphere of romance which the government itself has created, because this government has been slow to do anything at all until it has been forced into action by public opinion. We are not war-minded yet, or aware of how close we are to defeat. We are told that plans are now being made in connection with Bill 80; but can anyone tell us, before we are called back to parliament, what the objectives are, and how many men will be obtained? No one can tell us that, because, in my opinion, the government does not govern. It has never governed from the very start of the war. Hon. gentlemen opposite are merely conducting a Liberal war and they will never succeed as long as they do that. They have no policy, no objectives, no strategy. This bill shows that there has been no policy in regard to the raising of men.

As I say, the government waits until it is driven by public opinion to move one step, and this mobilization act is merely a tactical manoeuvre that does nothing but embarrass the war effort. There is no such thing as home defence. The countries I have named

were looking for home defence, and what happened? They were invaded. What then? The loud-speaker, the gestapo, the whip, the trampling of feet, the concentration camp. If the enemy came up the St, Lawrence they would carry away hundreds of thousands of farmers and citizens of the province of Quebec into Germany as serfs and slaves. If this country is invaded, the people will face a slavery worse than death; yet we sit here day after day doing nothing about it, and seven months is wasted with no results. History will condemn us as facing the worst war of all history, with such a brutal, savage foe, and doing nothing about it.

It is clear from the speeches of the Prime Minister to which I have referred that the bill has been changed so that even the authors do not know it with the new features in speeches read into it. We have spent three months on it and got no result. Why has the army failed?

and in my opinion the army is the most important arm. I do not blame the present minister; he took charge of this department only comparatively recently. In the British House of Commons, soldiers and the finest airmen in the world, members of parliament, admirals of the navy, rise up and discuss in public what is to be done in the war. Everyone in warfare makes mistakes. Pitt made mistakes; Napoleon made mistakes. Is there any government that has not made mistakes in this war? They are making plenty in Washington. But in these countries you can criticize the government; you can disagree with the minister without indulging in any personalities, because he is only an individual. He did not cause the war any more than the leader of the opposition did. In our present leader of the opposition we have a gentleman who in the country at large will in my opinion occupy a very high place, because he has done his duty as he sees it, fearlessly, and is a believer in Britain and her empire.

We are the worst informed people in the world regarding this war, because the people have not been told the facts. That happened away back in 1915 also. I looked up a number of addresses made by a very great soldier, F. S. Oliver, who in 1915 wrote about the duty of any government to let the people know the truth and the facts before it was too late because it would be an aid to recruiting. Here is what he said:

Considering how little, before the war began, our people had been taken into the confidence of successive governments as to the relations of the British empire with the outside world; how little education of opinion there had been as to risks and dangers and means of defence; how little leading and clear guidance

Mobilization Act-Mr. Church

The rules and regulations that will be passed under Bill 80 will be far worse than the bill itself, if we are to judge by such rules and regulations as we have had in the past. Here the government proposes a lottery system, although the criminal code definitely declares that there shall be no lotteries in the country. They are illegal by the code, but the government is going to institute a haphazard method of calling up men. They are going to leave it to chance, like a poker game or horse racing. They are going to allow someone to draw from a hat the men who are to be called up, those who are to render service and to make the sacrifice, while right next door there may be someone else who is not called up and who may not serve at all in a lottery plan-such a farce!

I can tell the government that the people -the "yes" voters-are very much disappointed throughout the country. I voted "yes" on the plebiscite, but if I had known as much as I know now about this bill I would have voted "no", because I voted on principle. The people are greatly dissatisfied with the way in which the act has been enforced all along and they are dissatisfied with what is proposed in this bill and the if, as and when, and lack of finality. The bill before us was based on the plebiscite. In my opinion that plebiscite should never have been taken. It was simply an afterthought, something forced upon the country. We know what statements were made as far back as 1939.

On March 30, 1939, the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) set out, in a debate in which I took part, what he declared was the position of the government in this matter. At that time I was called a Jeremiah because I predicted what would really happen and what in fact has happened. Well, I would much rather be called a Jeremiah than be called Ethelred the Unready. At that time the Prime Minister said that never again would Canada send an expeditionary force across the seas. He said that it was unthinkable that we should be sending a force overseas every twenty years if war broke out in Europe and that the danger to Canada was minor in degree and secondary in origin. In 1940, in the course of a debate in which I participated, the right hon. gentleman said that no conscription for overseas service was the policy of the government. On November 12, 1941, the cry was, "No conscription without consulting the people." On February 23, 1942, it was "No conscription for overseas until voluntary recruiting has failed." Well, voluntary recruiting did fail; it was at its lowest ebb at that time. The Prime Minister said that parliament would decide. Then on June 10 we were given

TMr. Church.]

to understand that conscription might not be necessary-after the plebiscite vote had been taken. Then we have the situation as stated to us on July 7, that it is not conscription but conscription if necessary; and "if, as and when" is read into the statute, although it is not in the statute. Now it is said that there may not be any conscription at all, that parliament will be called again before anything is done.

We have been here since last November and the government has made no real effort to raise men. You cannot fight a war in. that way. I said in 1937, 1938 and 1939 that the government was simply waiting until the enemy decided to attack us. I asked then, "Are we to wait until war begins and until the enemy sails up the St. Lawrence, or comes on land, sea and in the air, and seizes the citadel and proceeds to destroy us?" I can say to the people of Quebec, and I have been friendly to them for many years, that they have been the victims of politicians ever since the South African war, and indeed before that time. They have not been given the facts, I see many able members on the government benches and I think they will agree with me that it would have been far better if they, had disclosed all the facts to the people and simply told the truth. Truth seems to be the first casualty in this war, and self-respect is the first victim of neutrality. I am very much disappointed with Bill No. 80, and I doubt that much will be done by this government to get men under it. We have heard it said in this house in the past few days that we are not to criticize the government. We must not have any inquests, postmortems, or recriminations, and even constructive criticism is not wanted, because it is regarded as an attack on the government. But that is not so. Suppose the people in the old country took the same view of the constructive criticisms that have been given by nearly 137 members of the British House of Commons from the first of July on. Why, there would be no improvement whatever in the war effort. But it is not so, and constructive criticism is not intended to be an attack on the government. If we are to accept that principle, then this house, and the opposition especially, will cease to perform its parliamentary functions and parliamentary government will be at an end.

I do not want to see parliament lose the technique of an effective opposition, or of constructive criticism, but something is certainly wrong with the way in which the government is carrying on the war effort. There is something wrong when experienced ministers and members express alarm at the state of affairs and are told that criticism of this kind

Mobilization Act-Mr. Church

the hands of our government as rapidly as possible, but I wish it to be understood that I am not taking the power away from parliament and putting it in. the hands of the executive with any idea of delay. This action is being taken by those who agree with me, not for inaction but for action. I hope to see the government of Canada adopt a complete, genuine measure of compulsory selective service at a very early day, as soon as is reasonably possible.


Moses Elijah McGarry



May I ask the hon.

gentleman whether conscription of wealth is included in the United States draft law?


Arthur Wentworth Roebuck



The hon. member asks

me whether conscription of wealth has been included in the law of the United States in association with the draft system, and the answer is no.


Thomas Langton Church

National Government

Mr. T. L. CHURCH (Broadview):

Mr. Speaker, I wish for a few moments only this afternoon to discuss certain features of Bill 80 as they apply to the conduct of the war and the objectives of the government during this, the most fateful year in the history of civilization.

Every day, every minute, every hour brings us in Canada closer to the war, not only on our back and side doors but on the Pacific and the Atlantic, and especially in the good province of Quebec, which is in a most dangerous position. Our session here has lasted nearly seven months, including last November, and the main part of the time has been taken up with only secondary matters, because the war is primary, nothing else matters unless we win. We of the house are supposed to be together for war. Everybody should forget the party system. We are not here to advance, during the war, any of those doctrines in domestic matters which might at another time be important.

Now what have we regarding this so-called mobilization act? The government is back to where it started. It has no system; it never had any system since the war started so far as the army is concerned. I do not like to hear some hon. gentlemen blaming those who are in control, because that is not the way they proceed in England. In England they can criticize policies without indulging in attacks upon individuals. I received this morning from a friend in the House of Commons, London, a copy of the British Hansard for the three days' public debate on the war, which contains as much in a day as all our Hansard in a week. You find there, rising in their places on the government benches, men who are home for a week's leave, members who have been on the ocean, commanders,

admirals, major-generals, all men serving in the war. What do they do? They tell the government in what respects they think the government is wrong, and ask it for a total war effort, and attack in public the conduct of the war without offence to anyone, or any objection.

This bill, before it can function, must overcome an antiquated circuitous mobilization system which we should never have had. We made our mistakes right at the beginning of the war, by starting to mobilize men in a circuitous fashion. In this bill there is no such thing as equality of service or equality of sacrifice. The people back home in the constituencies are very much disappointed with the stand which the government has taken on this question. It is all topsy-turvy, with changes every week-end; it is a case of here to-day and away to-morrow. We started off in connection with this bill by proposing a certain policy. If from the start the voluntary system had had a chance, with some of the money which is now being spent, $4,000,000 a day, and is expected to rise to $10,000,000 a day-I say that if one iota of this money had been spent properly the government would have had all the men it wanted. But they allowed volunteer recruiting to dry up as the first and second year's men were not wanted with the result that the people have got tired of the system.

The province from which I come is important to the dominion from a recruitment point of view. The old province of Ontario seems to have been singled out unfavourably by those who have administered this act, although I do not say it was done designedly, and our youth have been sent right across Canada from Vancouver to Halifax, when they could have taken all their training and received all their education at home. Take the case of my own constituency, which, by the way, has done better, proportionate to its population of 60,000, than any other riding I know of. When one goes up the street one finds that all its young people have gone to war under the voluntary system. Elsewhere we find others who can go before the boards which are operating all over the country and get off, and some get a commission in a day. I would never put a judge on one of these exemption boards; that is where a mistake was made to begin with. They should leave the judges to perform their proper functions. Some men are getting exemptions while others cannot get it so that the whole system is unfair, unjust and inequitable. There is no such thing as equality of service or of sacrifice. If there were no one would complain.

Mobilization Act-Mr. Roebuck

of selective service is better than the voluntary system. It is a fairer and more effective system, and I have come to think that perhaps in the end it is kinder than the voluntary system with which we have had so much experience.

There are special circumstances which have intervened to delay the recognition of these facts in some portions of the province of Quebec. I pause to say that this is not to be interpreted as meaning that the province of Quebec or any portion of it is inferior to the rest of Canada in its love for Canada, in its hatred of conquest and oppression and in its determination and courage to fight for the defence of Canada whenever Canada is attacked. I pay that tribute to the province of Quebec.

But this is a democratic country. We in this chamber may differ on many subjects, but I hope we do not differ on the fundamental principle of the sovereignty of the majority in a democracy. When the people speak and their speech is carried into effect in accordance with our constitutional methods-for instance, a bill passed in this house-then the rights of the minority merge with the rights of the majority. It is true that the rights of the minority should be respected-but once a measure has passed into law in this country, the minority submits. We all obey the law. I suggest that this will be the attitude of the province of Quebec, of all sections of that province, on this as it has been on all other occasions. If the government, so soon as this power is placed in its hands, will proceed courageously to do the things which will benefit the war effort, the people of the province of Quebec will show what good Canadians they are. Many of us may be surprised at the way in which they will join with the rest of Canada, at how they will show themselves to be Canadians, ready to observe the law as it is, although they have opposed and criticized and denounced it in advance.

There has been comparatively little said during this debate from the English standpoint as compared with the oratory of the French Canadians. But I honour you gentlemen for that. You have been doing your duty in opposing this measure; you have done it vigorously; you have done it eloquently and you have done it well; but once the measure has been passed by this parliament of Canada then remember you are Canadians. The principle changes, and I take it that you will observe the law as it stands.

My submission is that if the government will take the nettle firmly in the hand there will be little trouble. It should take the action

that is demanded by the circumstances. If it will adopt a system which meets with the approval of the vast majority of the people, it will do a great service to the people of this country.

At one o'clock the house took recess.

The house resumed at three o'clock.


Arthur Wentworth Roebuck



There is very little that

I wish to add to what I have already said on this question, because it is not my intention to attempt to review the arguments pro and con with regard to conscription-they are age-old arguments now. But there is one point in connection with one of the newer aspects of the problem to which I would like to call attention.

Canada's relations with our great neighbour to the south are of vast importance, not only to Canada herself but to the world. Now the United States is democratically regimenting its people for war and it has adopted a complete system of compulsory selective service. It is most important, I submit, that Canada should line up with these people in appearance as well as in fact, and I submit that this can never be quite so while they have a compulsory draft system and we have not. It is true that the size of our army is greater than theirs on a percentage basis, and it is equally true that our production of armaments and of supplies to Great Britain and our other allies bears at least favourable comparison with that of any other nation on the allied side. We have been engaged in this war for very nearly three years, and the United States has been formally engaged for a period of only about seven months. There are arguments aplenty to justify our position, but, Mr. Speaker, arguments fall on deaf ears when there is some division of the common effort in which we appear to hold back. If we are to march in unison with our great neighbours to the south it is essential that we should- adopt the same measure of step. These good reasons-our relations with our neighbours to the south, our position in the allied camp, the credit which we may receive from other nations, our allies and others- justify the people of Canada and the government of Canada adopting without further delay a complete system somewhat similar to that in effect in these other countries- a complete, compulsory, systematic selective service as a method of recruitment.

I am going to vote on the third reading of this bill as I did on the second reading. I approve the bill. I hope to see power go into

l Mr. Roebuck.]

Mobilization Act-Mr. Roebuck

probably bring about unity rather than disunity. Therefore I urge upon the government, as soon as this bill has been passed, that it adopt, by such methods as are in its hands, a complete and full system of compulsory selective service. I think that it is approved by the people generally in Canada- not all of Canada, it is true, but by the great majority in Canada. I should like to see the government abolish the limitations upon the service to be obtained from those at present enrolled, by the means of conscription. Let us have one army, one cause, and let us proceed to one victory.

Recently in the house the hon. member for St. James (Mr. Durocher) quoted a statement I had made some time previously in which I had said that I conceived it the duty of a member of parliament to represent in the house the wishes of his constituency. And therefore, and for other reasons, I advocated at that time what I am expressing more fully now. The hon. member said I had inadvertently expressed a principle as useful to those who came from constituencies which voted "no" in the plebiscite as to those from constituencies which voted "yes". There was nothing at all inadvertent about my statement. The principle I then tried to make clear applies with equal force to you, my fellow members, who came from constituencies which voted "no" as to me, from a constituency which voted so overwhelmingly "yes".

I conceive it to be the duty of a member of parliament to obey the will of his electors. If we do that, we then hold parliament up as a mirror to the country. The will of the majority just naturally prevails. We shall all have done our duty, and, in this instance at least, progress will result.

Burke has been quoted as the authority that a member should do as he pleases, irrespective of the wishes of his constituency. Some hon. member says "hear, hear," but I for one am not prepared to follow Edmund Burke as an authority on democracy. Edmund Burke entered the British House of Commons in 1765 by grace of Lord Rockingham, who was at that time head of the whig landlord party in England. He entered parliament for the pocket constituency of Wendover, controlled- absolutely controlled-by Lord Verney. That is, he represented a rotten borough. While in the house-and I say this to his honour-he championed the rights of the American colonies, and in so doing won the approval of the commercial interests of the city of Bristol. At the following general election the people of that city did Edmund Burke the honour of electing him to the house from a real constituency. It was after his election, not

before, that Burke laid dawn the principle which has been quoted so frequently in succeeding years, the principle that the member is not a representative or a delegate from his constituency, but is there by some right to exercise his own good judgment. Then Burke proceeded to put his ideas into effect in practice as well as in precept.

Perhaps hon. members may be interested in knowing what happened to Burke. Well, he escaped defeat in the city of Bristol at the next general election by withdrawing from the contest. He proceeded to secure representation in another rotten borough. I am not likely to follow Burke as an authority on democracy. I look upon myself as a servant of my constituency; I am not its master.

While I am on this point let me say a word to my fellow-members who are French Canadians. I think I understand the attitude of the province of Quebec in connection with the question now before the house. I sympathize with hon. members in their difficulties, but they are not the only ones with difficulties. I think I can understand the attitude of a large section of the province of Quebec. In my judgment, that attitude is not vastly different from what was the attitude of all Canada only a few short years ago, say before the sending of a contingent to South Africa. There was a time when practically all, not all, but practically all Canadians were opposed to Canada becoming involved in non-Canadian wars. We disapproved in those days, and perhaps some of us do to-day, of the petty nationalism of Europe. We held in contempt the conscript armies of Europe. We admired the free armies of Great Britain.

At that time Canada was engaged in carrying on her own business. We were clearing the farms, we were building highways and railroads, we were building great cities, we were constructing a Canada. That was our destiny at that time. As a boy I remember the indignation with which a farmer neighbour of ours referred to the movement which he said was intended to "make soldiers of our boys." Much has happened since those days. There has been a development of public opinion in this country. We have all changed; We Canadians have been driven from that position by the irresistible logic of world events.

I think I have been a consistent Liberal; at all events I have been an enthusiastic and determined Liberal. But even I, in company with many another, the British of Great Britain and the Americans of the United States, have come to the conclusion that a well devised and reasonably enforced system

Mobilization Act-Mr. Roebuck


Arthur Wentworth Roebuck


Mr. A. W. ROEBUCK (Trinity):

Mr. Speaker, I would hesitate to enter again upon a discussion of the problem that is before us on the third reading of this bill if I thought it would lead to a general debate and a repetition of the arguments we have heard already, pro and con. But I call Your Honour's attention to the fact that I did not complete my address on the second reading of the bill, not because of any discourtesy but perhaps, shall I say, a want of courtesy or lack of courtesy extended to me on that occasion. Therefore I feel there are things I wish to say, which it is my duty to say, and which I beg the indulgence of the house to permit me to say now.

The hon. member for Rosetown-Biggar (Mr. Coldwell) has just said that the world situation demands action on our part. With that statement I agree. Then he added that in this bill we should not hand over to the government power to take the steps proposed, but rather that these matters should be brought to the floor of the house in detail so that every phase may be examined and passed upon by this house, and that, in addition, there should be joined to the conscription measure a further measure providing for the conscription of wealth. He seemed to object to the passing of conscription until he is satisfied upon all points of the financial programme of the present government. Well, it does seem to me that a procedure such as that suggested by the leader of the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation would hardly be in keeping with his statement that world affairs demand action; because were we to follow out that programme I do not know when we would be through with this measure.

I sympathize with the leader of the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation in his protest against extravagant attacks made as a result of the actions of himself and others in this house. The use of violence in language will not get us far in Canada; and the imputing of false motives to members of this house leads to confusion rather than to clear thinking. I join in his protest against the calling of names against those with whom we disagree. But perhaps I may comfort the leader of that party with just a word from Mother Goose. The old lady said that "sticks and stones will break your bones, but names will never hurt you." We can therefore pass statements of that kind, and perhaps the least said the better.

The very purpose of this bill is to give into the hands of the government the power to bring in a conscriptive measure in this country. The principle has been laid down by the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King): "not necessarily conscription, but conscription

fMr. Speaker.]

when necessary". With that principle I agree. I have always agreed to it. That is the stand I took in 1917, in the general election of that time, when I was a candidate supporting Sir Wilfrid Laurier. But the statement of principle still leaves open for consideration and decision the further question as to those conditions which will make necessary the passing of conscription. And I do not agree with the test that has been laid down. It is intimated that the one and only test of the necessity for the introduction of a selective service compulsory system is that the voluntary system has failed to produce either an arbitrary quota or sufficient men to provide reinforcements upon some formula that may be devised.

That is not the only test, and I submit to my fellow members in the house and to you, Mr. Speaker, that it is not the best test. Were we to wait until voluntary enlistment has failed we should be waiting on failure; we should be adopting a policy of defeat, a most inadvisable thing to do. Were we to wait until we could no longer secure men by voluntary enlistment for our forces, and then introduce a measure of conscription, we should make it assured that we would have from that time forward a full complement of unwilling men. And by doing so we should probably lay the foundation of failure, and we should certainly encourage the failure of the system which we might then adopt.

I submit it would be a terrible blow to Canadian morale and to the prestige of Canada were we publicly to admit that our young men will no longer voluntarily join our armed forces, and that it has been necessary for us to adopt some form of compulsion in order to induce our young men of soldier age and qualifications to maintain our army abroad. That would be a jar to the credit, morale and reputation of Canada.

In my opinion there is more in a compulsory selective draft system than the compulsion. There is the machinery provided for the selection of men who should go, and, almost as important as that, there is machinery for the selection of the men who should not go. I fancy that one is almost as important as the other. At the present time there are young men who are struggling with their consciences, wondering whether it is their duty to enlist, arguing about it and so on, young men who are perhaps being insulted by their neighbours for not enlisting, who, in the very nature of things, should not enlist. A general, complete system of selection would relieve those who should not go, as well as give a definite invitation to those who should go, and I think in that way would

Mobilization Act-Speaker's Ruling

prejudices-that I would rather go down to defeat than achieve victory in this province or elsewhere on the basis of race and religious prejudice. I say that again now.


James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)



May I ask a question?


Major James William Coldwell

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




James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)



Will not the hon. gentleman admit that on one occasion I did go down to defeat in opposition to that kind of campaign?


July 23, 1942