May 4, 1944

IND

Frédéric Dorion

Independent

Mr. DORION:

I wish to ask another question. I have here sessional paper 142G tabled on Thursday, April 27, 1944. It came after a question I asked, which read:

Has the Minister of National Defence, since the 4th March, 1944, reported to the Minister of Labour that a definite number of men were required for military training? If so, (a) at what date was this information supplied; and (b) what did such information contain?

The return shows that in April and May, 1944, 292 men were called daily in April and 236 men were called daily in May.

My second question is: If the answer given on April 20 is right, in virtue of what regulation were these men called, as shown in this return tabled on April 27, 1944? This return, 142G, shows that in April men were called as follows, daily: for the district of London, 17; Toronto, 48; Kingston, 22. That makes a total of 87 in Ontario. In Quebec: Montreal, 55; Quebec, 31. That gives a total of 86.

In May, men were called as follows, daily: London, 14; Toronto, 39; Kingston, 18. That is a total of 71. Montreal 44; Quebec, 25. That is a total of 69 for the province of Quebec. In another answer that was given me, as will be seen at page 2375 of Hansard, it will be noted that the military district of Kingston, district No. 3, comprises counties in the province of Ontario and in the province of Quebec, and the figures given show that the population of the district of Kingston in the province of Ontario is 753,863, the total population according to the 1941 census, and the counties of the province of Quebec in the district of Kingston give a population of 183,125. That is, about twenty per cent of the total population of the military district of Kingston, come from the province of Quebec.

If we take the figures I have just mentioned and deduct this twenty per cent from the military district of Kingston, coming from the province of Quebec, we get a figure of eighty-three men called daily in the province of Ontario during the month of April and sixty-seven in the province of Ontario called daily during the month of May; and in Quebec we get a figure of ninety men called daily in the month of April and seventy-two called daily in the month of May. That is, a proportion of thirty-one per cent in the province of Quebec and twenty-eight per cent in the province of Ontario. I mean that these are the percentages of the men called to the army. I have here a booklet called "Canada 1944" and certain figures are given at page 53. We see the total population of the dominion in each province, and it shows that between the ages of nineteen and forty-five there are in the province of Quebec 612,396 men, while in the province of Ontario there are 736,486; that is to say, a proportion in Ontario, in relation to the total population of the dominion of the same age, of thirty-five per cent, and twenty-eight per cent in the province of Quebec; I mean the proportion of men of the same age in the dominion. We come to the conclusion that in the province of Quebec we' have twenty-eight per cent of the men between the ages of nineteen and forty-five, and the return I have mentioned shows that in April and May there were called thirty-one per cent of these men, while in Ontario there were called only twenty-eight per cent.

My third question is this: Why is the number of men called in the province of Quebec greater than the number called in the province of Ontario?

My fourth and last question is this: Is it not true that during the last war not a single

War Appropriation-Labour

man called to the services under the conscription law reached the battlefields of Europe, and that to-day we have many men overseas who, before going there, were called to the army under the mobilization act of 1940?

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LIB

Humphrey Mitchell (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. MITCHELL:

I will answer the last question first. As my hon. friend knows, many men who are called up eventually volunteer. That is the natural thing for young people to do who have some regard for their country. I think that is the answer to that question. What my hon. friend has been trying to point out to the committee is that you can break down patriotism, of this country on a percentage basis. It cannot be done. I know it is probably convenient at times. My hon. friend spoke of the province of Ontario. If he will look more closely into the question he will find that our call-ups do not always coincide with military districts. Take as an instance that great patriotic district-if I may use that term-of Port Arthur and Fort William. They come within the purview of the military district centred on Winnipeg, which my hon. friend overlooked. He spoke of military district No. 3, based on Kingston. It does not go across the Quebec border. While the military district goes up the Gatineau and north of this community, it does not come within the jurisdiction of Kingston; it comes within the jurisdiction of Montreal. My hon. friend is making the same mistake-

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?

Charles Napoléon Dorion

Mr. DOEION:

May I ask a question?

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LIB

Humphrey Mitchell (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. MITCHELL:

The hon. member told his own story and made his own deductions to suit his own convenience. As I pointed out before, my hon. friend is trying to work out the patriotism of this country on a percentage basis and apparently by what he thought previously he has not his facts right. He talked about Ontario, but he forgot about that great northern part of the province which comes within the jurisdiction-and quite naturally- of the mobilization board of the city of Winnipeg, because it is more convenient.

As I pointed out before, we call up people at the present time as fast as the various military districts can handle them. There is no quota. We are all Canadians, whether we come from British Columbia or Nova Scotia, or wherever the case may be. What my hon. friend tried to do was to break them up into compartments. He is trying to label us all as different Canadians. In our approach to the problem we say there are so many men that we require, and as fast as the medical officers and other officers that are necessary can handle the men in the military districts they are called up. That is the simple answer to my hon. friend's question.

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NAT

Howard Charles Green

National Government

Mr. GREEN:

There are three or four questions in connection with national selective service that I should like to place before the minister. My first question has to do with the sources from- which he proposes to draw man-power from now on. I thought he did not make that quite clear in his original statement. He used these words, which are to be found at page 2444 of Hansard:

Even with the utmost effort, it has been increasingly difficult for some time to obtain the number of men required by the Department of National Defence each month.

This afternoon he stated that we are scraping the bottom of the man-power pool. I think these statements disclose a very serious situation. I suggest that we are entitled to know just how the government proposes to meet that situation. The minister said in the course of his summary on April 28:

. . . that we will soon have to rely largely upon those at present deferred and the young men coming of age.

He has said here to-day that there are about 100,000 young men who reach the age of eighteen and a half each year in Canada; and then he said, and I think quite properly, that a large proportion of that number either will be going active, joining the navy or the air force, or will be found unfit for military service or will be deferred because they are farmers or for various other reasons. I ask him to tell us how many he plans to get during the present fiscal year from the eighteen and a half year old group, and then give us information regarding the other source which was given as those men who are now on postponement. He should tell us what particular type of man will be called up. That is only fair to the young men who will be affected.

At page 2453 of Hansard hon. members will find table No. 10, which gives the details with regard to the men on postponement. The total number is 252,625. They are divided into ten different groups. I wish the minister would tell us which group or groups will be called upon to make up the necessary number for the call-up. The first group listed is farming, and the number 145,529; the next is fishing, numbering 2,317; the third is lumbering, 5,382; the fourth is mining, 2,562; the fifth group, essential industries and services, 52,341; the sixth group, students, 14,497; the seventh group, conscientious objectors, 8,285; the eighth group, merchant marine, 2,729; the ninth group, compassionate, 2,443, and the tenth group, all others, 16,540. I should like to know from which of these classifications the men will be drawn. The minister will realize that many of these men who are on postponement are older men; they are not

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in the younger groups, and probably the number that can be drawn from the whole 250,000 is comparatively small. I would also ask the minister to state whether the government has in mind calling up the lads as they become eighteen rather than at eighteen and a half.

I would not want to be taken as advocating that that should be done. I think actually it would be a crime to call up those young lads while we still have in our home defence forces in Canada 50,000 fully trained men not fighting, who could, if the government saw fit, be sent to fight overseas.^ I ask the minister to tell us what the policy is with regard to the eighteen year olds. As I understand it now, they are liable to call, but they do not actually get a notice to report for medical examination until they reach the age of eighteen and a half years. Then I ask the minister to tell us the next source from which he plans to get the men; that is, after the supply of young men who become eighteen and a half years old has become exhausted, and all men on postponement have been used up; what sources does the government plan to draw from at that time?

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LIB

Humphrey Mitchell (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. MITCHELL:

I wish the hon. member would ask me these questions individually. If I miss any I shall be glad to answer them later. I shall take the last one first, the question of calling boys eighteen years of age. I cannot tell what the future may hold in store for the free peoples of the world. At this moment there is no intention of calling boys eighteen years of age. I do not know what may happen during the course of the next twelve months, but I would point but to my hon. friend that in the United States young men of eighteen are called and that in Great Britain the callable age is seventeen years and six months.

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NAT

Howard Charles Green

National Government

Mr. GREEN:

But neither of those countries has a home defence army.

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LIB

Humphrey Mitchell (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. MITCHELL:

I am talking about calling up people, no matter what kind of army it is. My hon. friend asks who compose the manpower pool. First, there are the men coming of age, the 100,000 a year whom I mentioned this afternoon; then there are the men on postponement, and in addition we are continually reexamining' those men who have been turned down, particularly by individual physicians. At this moment, and for some considerable time past, we have what I might call a staff of industrial engineers combing the industrial structure of this country for ablebodied men for the armed forces. That is going on continuously. As I pointed out a couple of days ago, in order to get one man we have to call up six.

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NAT

Howard Charles Green

National Government

Mr. GREEN:

According to the return you are trying to get five thousand a month now.

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LIB

Humphrey Mitchell (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. MITCHELL:

I am not talking about figures; any fool can figure.

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NAT
LIB

Humphrey Mitchell (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. MITCHELL:

What I am concerned about is getting men for the armed forces. You give me a man with a stack of figures, and look out. Figuring is the easiest thing to do.

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NAT

Howard Charles Green

National Government

Mr. GREEN:

I do not want the minister to be in error on this. I referred to the return requested by the hon. member for Charlevoix-Saguenay, which stated that the army had called upon the Department of Labour for

5,000 men during each of the months of April and May.

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LIB

Humphrey Mitchell (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. MITCHELL:

I was talking about figures; so many people can play around with them. As I indicated to my hon. friend, we have to call six to get one, which is an indication that we are just about at the bottom of the barrel. As I stated the other evening, I could put 160,000 men at work to-morrow if I had them; that is, for the essential industries of this country. Does that not indicate that we have just about reached the saturation point, if I may call it that, in connection with production and men for the armed forces? After all is said and done, we are dealing with a continent, not a nation. If we had 160,000 men out of work it would be a reflection upon the Canadian people. But here we have the largest fighting force in our history; we have built an industrial structure which, on a per capita basis, equals or surpasses that of any other nation in the world; with much less labour available, our farmers have produced the greatest crops in their history. All these things are to the credit of the Canadian people. This is a democracy, where we have to be more or less cautious about pushing people around. The fact that we have reached that point is an indication that this nation-not this government, but this nation-is not only pulling its fair weight in this war, but pulling a load equal to that of anyone else engaged in the war, and in my judgment that is a condition of which the opposition, the government and the country might feel rightfully proud. I do not know whether I can say anything more.

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NAT

Howard Charles Green

National Government

Mr. GREEN:

The minister has made quite a speech, but as yet he has not answered either question. I asked how many men the minister expects to get from the lads who will become eighteen and a half years of age during the present fiscal year. The other question which he has not answered was, from which class of

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deferred men will he call the remainder who are required? Will it be from the farmers, from the miners, from the loggers or from the men who are working in industry? I am not asking that information for myself, but I think the men who will be called should know what they may expect, and -surely the government knows which of these groups of deferred men will be called.

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LIB

Vincent Dupuis

Liberal

Mr. DUPUIS:

The first group to be called should be the imperialists, if they are willing to go.

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NAT
LIB

Humphrey Mitchell (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. MITCHELL:

Of course I do not know the physical condition of these young men or of the other people who will be called, so that any figure I give will have to be a guess; but we estimate that about 50,000 of those 100,000 will be in the armed forces, while the rest will come from the other classifications.

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NAT

Howard Charles Green

National Government

Mr. GREEN:

Is there any policy as to

which of these deferred groups will be called? In other words, is it the intention to call upon the farmers who have been deferred, or upon the miners, or upon the men in industry?

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LIB

Humphrey Mitchell (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. MITCHELL:

I do not know. I am very close to this problem; I live with it every day in the week, and my personal opinion is that we cannot deplete the manpower on the farms of this country. Notwithstanding the opinions of armchair critics, three things are basically necessary in a war. The first is sleep-I am not talking about the House of Commons now, but about the men who are fighting-the next is food and the next is equipment. These are the three fundamental needs. I know that many times during the last war I was so tired I wished a bullet would come the right way, and I am sure my hon. friend has felt the same way; that was why I put sleep first. I do not think we can take any more people from the farms of this country and hope to meet our obligations to those people in Europe who are in dire need of foodstuffs in order to carry on the fight against the enemy.

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May 4, 1944