June 3, 1943


Mr. JEAN-FRANQOIS POULIOT (Temis-couata): Mr. Speaker, I ask for leave to move for the adjournment of the house to discuss a definite matter of urgent public importance, namely, that the government should take immediate steps to provide a solution of the agricultural man-power shortage.


LIB

Thomas Vien (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

I received a copy of this motion before I came to the house. The hon. member for Temiscouata moves, seconded by the hon. member for Chambly-Rouville (Mr. Dupuis):

That, whereas agriculture is an essential industry and whereas seeding operations are an essential part of such an industry;

Whereas, according to the telegraphic crop report published June 1, 1943, 3 p.m., by authority of the Hon. Minister of Trade and Commerce, "spring seeding operations have been delayed in almost all sections of Canada but particularly in the five eastern provinces and British Columbia. In the maritimes the weather has been cool and backward with planting operations considerably delayed. Much seeding is still to be done. ... In Prince Edward Island the season is backward. ... In Nova Scotia not more than 10 to 20 per cent of the land is at present seeded. ... In New Brunswick spring seeding operations are delayed, with probably 75 per cent now completed. ... In Quebec farm work has been delayed by the backward spring and only a small percentage of spring seeding has been completed. The late, wet spring has hampered seeding operations in all sections of Ontario except the northern areas. . . . Spring has been exceptionally late in most areas of Quebec with heavy rains delaying seeding operations. Much of the heavy low lying lands are still unworkable. ... In some districts no seeding has been attempted. . . . The late, wet spring has hampered seeding operations in all sections of Ontario except the northern district. In some sections no seeding has been attempted. . . .

Whereas the delays in seeding operations is partly due to weather conditions, it is mainly due to the shortage of experienced and physically fit agricultural man-power;

Whereas several experienced and physically fit farmers are actually in training camps of the army and of the Royal Canadian Air Force, and a number of others have been called for their military training;

Whereas, numerous applications made by farmers, farmers' sons and farm helps for leave have been turned down in too large a number by their commanding officers, and numerous requests for the postponement of the military training of the farmers, the farmers' sons and farm helps have been turned down in too large a number by the mobilization boards;

Whereas, unless those men are returned at once to the land for the seeding and other agricultural operations, the army and the civilian population as well are exposed to suffer from famine next fall, and it will be impossible for this country to supply our army overseas and our allied nations with necessary food;

Man-Power-Mr. Pouliot

This house shall be adjourned to discuss a definite matter of urgent public importance, the government should take immediate steps to provide for a solution of the agricultural manpower shortage.

The form of the motion is rather unusual; it is not the common practice to present an argument on a request for the adjournment of the house, but I have come to the conclusion that this is a matter the house might wish to discuss. Therefore, unless objection is taken, the hon. member has leave to proceed.

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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

I do not wish to take any exception to the house discussing the important question of mam-power, particularly in relation to agriculture; but the house already has devoted a great deal of time to that very subject, and a day or two ago it was understood that after we completed the statements of the ministers of defence we might take as the next order of business the question of man-power, even before going into matters pertaining to the Department of Munitions and Supply. I do not think it will be very long before we reach the discussion of man-power, and the question of agricultural labour and the measures necessary to meet the needs of agriculture inevitably will come up as soon as that discussion is entered upon.

The hon. member who has just offered1 this motion has devoted a good deal of time to discussing various matters in the house, including the subject now proposed for special discussion. He has not been deprived of the opportunity of speaking whenever he so desired, but I do think, however, that hon. members generally would prefer to go on with the business which is before the house at the moment, having to do with the appropriation necessary for purposes of the war, including the very matter to which my hon. friend refers in his motion, and not to have that discussion interrupted at this time and the time of the house if not wasted at least not turned to the greatest possible advantage as should be the case with all discussions at this stage of the session. I believe if the consensus of hon. members were taken before this motion is put, as to those who favour an immediate cessation of a consideration of the business set out for to-day in order to discuss this particular motion, it would be found that the house is overwhelmingly in favour of proceeding with its regular business.

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NAT

Gordon Graydon (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. GRAYDON:

Do I take it from the

remarks of my right hon. friend that he is going to accept the suggestion I made across the floor of the house the other day, that immediately the war appropriation estimates of

the Minister of National Defence for Naval Services are concluded the Minister of Labour should go on with his estimates?

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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

I have not

had a chance to discuss the matter with my colleagues the Minister of Munitions and Supply and the Minister of Labour; unfortunately one or the other of us has been absent from the country during the last day or two, since the subject was mentioned by my hon. friend. However, I think he may take it for granted that in so far as it may give promise of expediting the business of the house, we will seek to meet the wishes of the opposition in the matter.

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?

Thomas Miller Bell

Mr. COLD WELL:

I was unaware that any agreement had been reached with regard to the order in which the departments would be taken up.

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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

It was discussed on the floor of the house; there was no definite agreement.

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?

Thomas Miller Bell

Mr. COLD WELL:

I was surprised when

the Prime Minister said the Department of Labour would be next, because it seems to me the logical order would be the Department of Munitions and Supply and then the Department of Labour. In any case, Mr. Speaker, I think the problem raised by the hon. member for Temiscouata is one which does affect a very large part of the country. Recently I was out west for a day or so, and I was told of the acute shortage of men on the prairies and of the difficulty of obtaining the necesary help even from men recently called for their basic training, who are the men required on the farms at this time in order to complete the seeding. I think there is some merit in the suggestion that this is a matter of urgent public importance.

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SC

John Horne Blackmore

Social Credit

Mr. BLACKMORE:

I believe this matter is of sufficiently urgent public importance to justify our taking at least a short time to discuss it. We may go on for several days with each of the remaining departments, just as we did with the Department of National Defence, and by the time that discussion is concluded it will be too late to take care of the problem with which this motion is designed to deal. Therefore I would favour spending such time on this matter as the house sees fit to devote to it.

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LIB

Thomas Vien (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

Standing order 31 deals with a motion such as this, and subsection (3) reads:

He then hands a written statement of the matter proposed to be discussed to the Speaker, who, if he thinks it in order and of urgent

Man-Power-Mr. Pouliot

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LIB

Thomas Vien (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

A sufficient number having risen, the hon. member has leave to proceed.

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LIB

Jean-François Pouliot

Liberal

Mr. POULIOT:

Mr. Speaker, I shall not take much of the time of the house, but this matter is so important that it deserves immediate consideration, particularly in view of the telegraphic report of June 1 issued by the authority of the Minister of Trade and Commerce (Mr. MacKinnon). Most hon. members have read or heard of this report, which indicates that this is not a matter that can wait. This question must be settled at once, in view of the importance of agriculture in this country.

Let me say, sir, that I am not speaking with any political or partisan bias. I think it is my duty as a member of parliament to bring to the attention of the government the plight of many farmers who are too old to continue to look after their farms and who cannot get any help at all. I have a mass of files here which indicate that throughout the country farmers are suffering from an acute shortage of manpower. In British Columbia as well as in Ontario, Quebec and the maritime provinces, owing to weather conditions seeding operations are a month late; according to the official publication I have mentioned, in Nova Scotia only one-tenth of the seeding had been completed by June 1. I was in my own constituency not long ago and I noticed that the farmers are far behind in their work as compared with other years. What I want, and it is the desire of farmers I have met from all parts of the country, is that their case should be seriously considered now by those in charge of the Department of Labour and the Department of National Defence. It will be a very wise thing for the Minister of National Defence (Mr. Ralston) and the Minister of National Defence for Air (Mr. Power) to give definite instructions to the end that all young men of military age who are at present in training camps, who have had experience in agriculture and whose presence is needed on the farms may be given sufficient leave to

enable them to help their fathers or those for whom they work in operations which are essential not only to the welfare of the country, including both military and civilian populations, but also to our soldiers overseas and the hungry people of the allied nations.

It is time to see to this matter, and we are not disturbing the work of the house by directing its attention to such an important problem. We shall not harvest what has been sown if the seed is not placed in time. The harvest will be nil. We cannot take it for granted that the weather will be just as auspicious this year as it was last. We know nothing about the weatheir we shall have this summer and fall. But we do know that the spring weather has been very bad, and for that reason nothing which can promote farming in this country should be neglected.

It is also important that definite instructions be given by the Minister of Labour to national selective service and the mobilization board that they shall not call at this time men who belong to the farm and the land. A certain number of men in the army are farmers, farmers' sons and farm help. Their .presence is badly needed now on the land.

There are some who hold the view that some farmers have not complied with the regulations, and that therefore they should go to their commanding officers to ask for the granting of leave. What happens? I remember well the fight I have made for the farmers, right from the beginning. I remember, too, discussing the matter thoroughly with the late Mr. Lapointe, with the . present Minister of National War Services (Mr. LaFleche), with certain officials of the Department of Labour and others of the Department of National War Services. I sent to all the ministers, so that they might have them translated, all the representations made on behalf of the farmers, articles which were published in a weekly appearing in my county. That publication informed them of the conditions of farmers in eastern Canada.

I remember well that the regulations of the Department of National War Services first described agriculture as a seasonal occupation. I had a long fight before I succeeded in having that occupation described not only as seasonal but also as essential. The grain growers in the west may put gasoline in their tractors in the spring and take it out in the fall. But the work of the eastern farmer and the farmer in British Columbia is entirely different. They must do a whole year's work, and each day must work from dawn to dusk. Those representations had to be made.

Man-Power-Mr. Pouliot

I remember that after the order in council was approved a publication was issued by the Department of National War Services giving some explanation with regard to the work of the farmer. That publication was not complete; it was an aftermath. It seemed to justify the assertion that the farmer's occupation is seasonal, whereas it is not. It is an essential occupation lasting the whole year.

After that we had to fight with the boards. Some progress has been made; but now we have reached the point where we want put into force or have fulfilled the solemn promise made in March of last year by the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) that the farmers would be exempted from military service. A directive was issued the day after by the Minister of Labour; but in my seat in the house I heard the Prime Minister make that statement, and on the following day I saw in all the newspapers the statement: "Farmers Exempted from Service".

We shall not be afraid to come to the defence of the farmer. In peace time he is praised; in war time he deserves equal praise, because he ranks with the soldiers in the services in the importance of the task he performs for the country. I want a definite policy with regard to farmers. I do not want to have them deceived by fool talk; let them be told the truth. They should be told what the government has decided with respect to them.

Only a few days ago we heard an imperialist as noted as the hon. member for Parkdale (Mr. Bruce) speak about the stress placed on agriculture. He made that statement because he could not get enough man-power to help him on his farm, and had to sell his stock. He is not alone, because there are many farmers who either cannot work at all on account of physical disabilities, or cannot get help for their farming operations. This is a serious problem, and it is one with which the country is now confronted.

What happens now? The young man is called by the registrar to pass his medical examination. These examinations were not always satisfactory, but I shall not speak about them to-day. If the mobilization board decide that the reasons given by a man for staying on the farm are not sufficient, he is compelled to continue his training. These farmers have not received the attention they should from the board. If they stay a little longer on their farms for seeding operations or to do any other urgent work that may be needed to be done, they are told that the mobilization board has nothing to do with them and that they must return to their regiments and submit a request for leave to the commanding

officer. What happens? In some cases it is granted, but in other cases it is turned down. When it is granted, what happens? It is sent to Ottawa to the adjutant-general's branch. According to a statement made by the Minister of National Defence in answer to a question asked by myself, there are no agricultural experts in the Department of National Defence.' Such experts are necessary to decide the cases of farmers, but the view is held there that all young men of military age who are physically fit should be in the army. Apparently they consider that farming should be carried on by young men who are physically unfit or who have been rejected by the army.

That is one reason why we have so much difficulty; the army wants all the men who are physically fit. No one will deny that agriculture is an essential industry, but this would seem to be denied by the answers given in a large number of particular cases. When the theory is admitted by all, why is it not applied to all deserving and worthy cases? What do these men in the adjutant-general's branch of the Department of National Defence know about the work that the farmers in my constituency have to perform? They know nothing. If at least they were deciding these cases according to common sense, even though they had no particular experience in farming, I would say that they were showing some common sense, but they show none. I could quote innumerable cases where farmers have been fooled or foiled, where they have not been given justice. And yet we are told to produce more.

Many farmers in my community are interested in dairy farming, in hog raising, in stock and sheep raising and in other farming activities. Not all of them have tractors; some have fine horses and they must plough with a horse or two. Another thing I have noticed, a thing with which I think the majority of members will agree, is that most farmers who have reached the age of fifty years suffer from rheumatism. From boyhood they have had to work hard, and when they reach that age they are no longer able to do the work of the farm and must rely on their sons or on younger men who are .physically fit. Those who drafted the regulations were not fair to the farmer.

The first Minister of National War Services was the present Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Gardiner). That was a bad arrangement, because the duty of a minister of agriculture is not to send boys to the training camps; it is to keep them on the farm so that they will be able to produce. But it was with the connivance of the Department of Agriculture that these young men were taken from their homes

Man-Power-Mr. Pouliot

and sent to the camps. Agriculture suffers now. Why? It suffers because of the injustice done to farmers by these mobilization boards. These farmers were told that they would have only one or two postponements at the most, after which they would have to join their regiments. Now it is not possible to get them out of the army to do the needed work on the farm.

We read in the public press and in magazines similar to the one published by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce about the manpower shortage on the farm. Everybody recognizes that there is such a shortage. It is the topic of conversation on trains, on street-cars and on our streets. People are wondering whether we shall have enough to eat next winter, whether our harvest will be good or not. We are then faced with the practical question of whether Joe or Tom is to go to the camp or is to stay on the farm. Some people contend that it is his duty to go to the camp, that if he does not do so he is not a good citizen and should not be regarded as such by the community at large. That is all wrong.

We must be logical about this thing. It is not pleasant to have to move for the adjournment of the house at this time when the session is concluding its work. However, I contend that with few exceptions the officials in charge-I say that in the broadest sense- have not been fair to the farmers. I know of one case where a young man from Temiscouata was in camp in British Columbia and he was given six weeks' leave to come home for the seeding season. Is that reasonable? I know of another case where the mobilization board in Quebec decided to grant leave to a young man who was in a regiment at Valcartier. The colonel of the regiment decided to pay no attention to the order of the board and brought the young man to British Columbia with the other soldiers of the regiment. I brought the matter to the attention of the Department of National Defence, and the result was that the commanding officer was obliged to pay the travelling expenses of that young man from British Columbia back home to his farm in Temiscouata county. That is the way to deal with these cases. We have to inspire in the commanding officer a profound respect for what is done within the regulations, but we have also to inspire in him another feeling, namely the equality of the farmer with every other citizen in this land. The farmer is no less an individual than is the first citizen of this country, the Prime Minister of Canada, or the Leader of the Opposition, or any big man that we have in this house. His usefulness is the same, and he must be ranked

, the same, not only in theory but also in practice, in any decisions that- have to be rendered.

A friend of mine wrote me yesterday. He has a big orchard and in past years he had help. The young man who helped him is now in a training camp in the maritime provinces. The farmer wanted him back to help with the work in the orchard and on his farm, and he was told by the commanding officer the procedure to follow. He acted accordingly and wrote to the commanding officer but received no reply.

Do you remember, sir, when I asked the Minister of National Defence a long time ago to produce a copy of the king's regulations and orders, which are the law governing all those in the army? At first I was denied the privilege of getting a copy. I had to persist for a long time before getting a copy in English and in French with the amendments. There are two kinds of regulations, those governing the mobilization boards under the Department of Labour-that was sent to us-but did we get the regulations of the Department of National Defence passed under the National Resources Mobilization Act? I had a couple of copies, the first one and the second, but I have never had all the amendments, and we need them. We do not want to infringe on the law. We want to abide by the law, but we want the law to be interpreted liberally and according to the speeches that have been made in this house by such a large number of members since the beginning of this session. That is all we need; we need nothing else. What is platonic love for the farmer? The farmer does not care for platonic love from the members of parliament. The farmer does not care for love; the farmer needs help, assistance in fulfilling a national duty. That is how I consider the matter, sir, and that is the way I think all members should consider it. If at times, to my great sorrow, I have to complain of injustices that have been done to the farmers, I do so because I have a duty to perform. I have seen these farmers at work, producing the crops that come from their farms, the products that are so badly needed at this time when such a large number of countries are paralysed. I see the farmers at work and I respect them, and I am always ready to fight for them.

I thank my hon. friend the member for Chambly-Rouville (Mr. Dupuis) for seconding this motion. I also thank from the bottom of my heart all my hon. colleagues who have had the courage to rise in defence of the farmer this afternoon. I will tell them all that their action this afternoon will never be

Man-Power-Mr. Dupuis

forgotten and that when they go back home they will be thanked by that class of noble and humble citizens who are the farmers of Canada.

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LIB

Vincent Dupuis

Liberal

Mr. VINCENT DUPUIS (Chambly-Rou-ville):

Mr. Speaker, I rise to support this motion because I consider this a matter of urgent public importance-very urgent indeed. I do not profess to be one of only a few members of this house to realize the difficulties in which the farmers of this country now find themselves, because I know very well that every member who represents a rural district is conversant with the situation in the rural areas. It is circumstances, the actual situation that compels me to rise and support this motion. We cannot wait another day. Because of weather conditions seeding time is already one month late. Added to that there is a shortage of help on the farms, a shortage which exists in every rural district, and particularly in areas of from fifty to a hundred miles square around large centres like Montreal. The farmers are acutely short of help, so much so that I have heard from many farmer organizations in my own district that if the present situation continues! many farmers will be compelled not merely to reduce their production but to cease production altogether. It is important, I repeat, that we should do our utmost to see that the farmer be not bound by what he at the present time expects to be bound. The reasons are so clear, it seems to me, why we should act, and that immediately, whatever may be the means whereby we shall bring immediate help to the farmer.

So far as I am concerned I speak for myself. I do not want to be held responsible to my own conscience if next winter we are faced with famine. History teaches that when the great causes of war actually result in war, generally war has two nefarious companions, famine and pestilence. Now we have war. It is the greatest scourge that humanity suffers from. But are- we to allow famine to come not only to our doors, not only to the doors of civilians, but to the ranks of the armed forces and those of our allies? I do not think we should allow such a thing to happen if we can at all prevent it, and that is the only reason why I am rising in my place to-day and submitting my humble opinion, asking the government and this House of Commons, which is composed of men of conscience who are, like myself, anxious to win the war, and the sooner the better, to unite, forgetting for the moment our party allegiances and our differences in race and religion, as well as the classes or localities we represent. Let us all forget that for the moment and unite in considering the position

of this very important class in our society, the farming community, and give them the help they so badly need at the moment. And let us give that help immediately.

If it is necessary to get farmers' sons out of the army, let us get them out, because it is quite clear that there are three conditions that are requisite to the winning of the war. First, we must have men under arms in sufficient numbers to defeat the enemy; second, these men must be supplied with arms and ammunition; and third, these men must be fed and fed properly. That is nothing new. Napoleon, ' who was a very great strategist, a great general, declared that an army marches upon its stomach. That is true.

I will not delay the house. I know that we have great problems to solve, and the one now under discussion is one of the most important. We have also other matters of importance to consider, and I should like the house to unite at once in asking the government or those in authority to give to the farmers the help they need so that they will be able to produce more than ever to help our soldiers and the soldiers of our allies to win the war.

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NAT

Thomas Langton Church

National Government

Mr. T. L. CHURCH (Broadview):

While I have a great deal of sympathy with the farmers, I must point out that prior to two weeks ago, when coal was added, agriculture was the only national selective industry in Canada. There have been nine or ten debates in the past month or so on this question. On May 21 the Minister of Agriculture gave an elaborate description of the working of this new last-minute scheme of national selective service in Canada.

With all due respect I contend that the government have made a fatal mistake, as is only too apparent now that we are nearing the end of the fourth year of the war. In the first two years of the war and for three years before the war, I moved here for a national selective compulsory register to show the number of people available for every industry. We are told now that there are only 4,357 men needed on the farms, but that -must be an impossible figure, because there are 100,000 farms in Saskatchewan alone.

There are other urgent -matters of great public importance not yet discussed than the question we are now considering, which has been up many times, and one of these is coal. We may be all frozen to death next winter, and nothing is being done about it. Housing is another important matter, and neither have had five minutes' discussion this session. No one can get any information in regard to the supply of fuel or the question

Man-Power-Mr. Church

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LIB

Vincent Dupuis

Liberal

Mr. DUPUIS:

We are not speaking only for the province of Quebec.

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NAT

Thomas Langton Church

National Government

Mr. CHURCH:

The war is primary, and men for it. Do the people of Quebec want to wait until the enemy comes up the St. Lawrence and bombs the citadel? That would be much worse than taking men from the forces because of a scarcity of labour on the farms. Men are needed more for the armed services, and there is no use in trying to deny it. War is war and men are first needed for the armed services. But the government has changed the whole farm policy to ration labour and its past programme in Canada. It started off with a voluntary system for the war and farms which was followed by a plebiscite to change it, and the government did not carry that out. After three years they applied compulsion for home defence and for farms.

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LIB

Thomas Vien (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

Order. The question before the house involved in the motion with respect to agricultural man-power shortage does not afford the hon. member room for the remarks he is making. I do not think he is quite within the subject under discussion in dealing with plebiscites and matters of the kind.

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NAT

Thomas Langton Church

National Government

Mr. CHURCH:

You are right, Mr. Speaker. I was merely introducing that as a comparison, to show that the war is paramount and primaiy, and that farm labour is secondary. If you look over the figures given by the Minister of National Defence (Army) you will find that compulsion was established in all Canada for home defence but that it has been considerably relaxed in the interests of agriculture. The minister reported to the house on May 21, 24 and 25 last on the number of applications which had been made to the various boards for exemptions and postponements to enable applicants to go back on the farms, and while I have not the figures before me, my recollection is that about eighty per cent or over of the applications were granted.

Man-Power-Mr. Lalonde

Everything possible is being done by the city people to provide labour for the farms. There are two matters of urgent importance upon which I should like to move for the adjournment of the house. I have already named them as of urgent public importance -the fuel supply, and housing. But I thought it would be better not to do so, because an opportunity of discussing these matters may come later, when we have finished with the appropriation bill. It seems to me that if there is any class of the community whose case has been largely represented in the discussions, it is that represented by the labour problem on the farms. I have a great deal of sympathy for them and for their representatives; I know something of the difficulties which the war has caused them. But from what I know of the soldiers who have come from the farms of Ontario I am convinced that they do not w-ant to remain at home and serve on the farms. The farmers of Ontario are true descendants of the patriots of 1812, and worthy of them. When Canada was attacked in the days of General Brock, the men of the Ontario farms went with Brock when he called to the York Rangers "Push on, York Volunteers", and served at Queenston Heights. They wanted first to defend their country. The first duty of the citizen is to defend his country and face his country's enemies. I cannot see that anything is to be gained by adopting this motion, because the question will be further discussed on the air and navy estimates, and there will be other opportunities on agriculture and wheat estimates, of dealing with the man-power situation.

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LIB

Maurice Lalonde

Liberal

Mr. MAURICE LALONDE (Labelle):

In rising to speak on this motion I do not intend to offer destructive criticism of the government, but rather to give constructive criticism, concerning the requests made by recruits for postponement of their militia training or for leave. I heartily support the hon. member for Temiscouata (Mr. Pouliot) because I have had many complaints with regard to requests made by men who have been brought into the army under the mobilization act, and particularly by farmers' sons. Once in the army they have found that they had to follow difficult proceedings and build up a complicated record to obtain the leave which was so much needed, to help either their fathers or the men who were employing them.

I shall not take the time of the house longer than is necessary, but I have in my hand a letter which I received from the commanding officer of the camp at Joliette, in the province of Quebec, regarding the request made by Private Roland Clavel. This young man 72537-209}

voluntarily reported six or seven months ago, in spite of the fact that he was a bona fide farmer's helper, because he believed at that time that leave would be given him later if it should be necessary for him to go back on his father's farm. At the beginning of November last, Private Roland Clavel came to my office, and together we filled up the necessary forms. We filed the three sworn letters required to show that his presence on the farm was absolutely necessary; otherwise it would be left uncultivated, because he was the only son capable of doing useful work on the farm. The demand was put before his commanding officer, who knows absolutely nothing of agricultural problems. It was submitted also to another board, the name of which I do not know; and from week to week, from month to month, Private Roland Clavel stayed in the army, in spite of the fact that all the work of the farm now falls upon his sick father, his mother, and bis small sister, thirteen years old. There are twenty^ four head of cattle to feed' and more than a hundred and fifty acres of land to cultivate.

I cannot let this motion pass without saying a word, because I personally know that the case I have cited is similar to very many others in which I have been interested. Perhaps I am speaking on my own behalf only, but I know that many hon. members have had numbers of cases of this kind. I have before me about forty of them. Nothing is done, and these farmers' sons remain in the army while their parents are working hard to keep the farms under cultivation.

Should the proceedings not be modified in some way so as to give the commanding officer more details about the cases which are brought before him? I will say that the commanding officers in the camps are doing their best to accommodate everybody and to scrutinize every request which is put before them. I do not question their ability or their good faith. But one cannot stand on his feet and proclaim that every commanding officer knows something about agriculture. I urge the government, and more particularly the Minister of National Defence (Army) to set up some kind of easier proceedings so that the private who is in the army will not be obliged to know the law of the land better than the lawyers themselves. These fellows who come from the northern part of the province which I represent in this house do not know anything about these sworn affidavits, letters, forms to be filled out, and so on. They just write to their commanding officers, and sometimes to their members, asking for details. I am ready to work for these

Man-Power-Mr. Lalonde

boys, as I have worked for more than twelve hundred others who put their cases before me so far as mobilization was concerned; but for God's sake give them a chance, and when a clear case comes before the commanding officer let the farmer go back to his farm for a few months at least.

While I am on my feet, Mr. Speaker, I should like to say a few words on another subject. If I am out of order I shall be glad to sit down, but it will not take much time.

I refer to the postponement of service for those indirectly connected with agricultural problems, particularly those employed in farmers' cooperatives. It is too bad that some registrars do not know the difference between-

Topic:   MAN-POWER MOTION FOR ADJOURNMENT UNDER STANDING ORDER 31
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NAT

Richard Burpee Hanson

National Government

Mr. HANSON (York-Sunbury):

Did I understand the hon. member to say that he had twelve hundred cases of men whom he tried to keep out of the army?

Topic:   MAN-POWER MOTION FOR ADJOURNMENT UNDER STANDING ORDER 31
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June 3, 1943