Mr. JOSEPH JEAN (Mercier):
Mr. Speaker, I have but a few words to say. I do not think it is necessary to make long speeches to give the reasons why some of us are against conscription and others are in favour of it, while a third group is accepting it as an expedient to avoid more trouble in this country, or so they say. Where is the guiding light to which reference was made last evening? I do not know. As far as I am concerned I am and all my life have been opposed to conscription and1 to any form of coercion. I expressed
my views in 1942, when we discussed bill No. SO. and I am of the same opinion to-day. All the reasons that have been given since last Thursday, for the adoption of order in council P.C. 8891 dispatching to the European theatre of war 16,000 draftees, have not convinced me of the necessity for that decision. On the contrary, during this debate it has been shown that there has been lack of good will and lack of competence somewhere in using the voluntary system as it should have been used. No reasonable man in Canada will deny that the more than 750,000 volunteers from a small country like ours could have been organized and sent to different lands in such a way that reinforcements would have been available from within the ranks of that comparatively large and gallant army of volunteers. I am not a military expert, as many other hon. members have admitted they are not, but in playing any game you must bear in mind that you should not play it unless you are prepared to replace some, if not all, of your men as the game goes on; and this should be decided before the game is started.
I realize that this is not the time for recriminations. We must face realities and accomplished facts. We have not been called here to say whether we are in favour of or against conscription. We have been called to decide whether the present administration is to continue in office until the end of the war, with a policy of conscription, whether full or limited; or whether we are to hand over the administration of this country to another group of men who, according to their own affirmation, will continue this policy of conscription to a greater degree in order to attain total conscription. Is this not the situation, Mr. Speaker, since you ruled out of order the amendment moved yesterday by the hon. member for Bellechasse (Mr. Picard) ? In this house there is an increasing number of hon. members who are openly against conscription, but I am inclined to believe that in their hearts many others still favour the voluntary system. May I draw to the attention of those who, like myself, are ready to do their utmost to prevent conscription for overseas service, by any means at hand, that they are not working to that end by simply voting against the motion of confidence presented by the right hon. Prime Minister, or by voting against the amendment moved by the leader of the opposition (Mr. Graydon). Therefore, Mr. Speaker, in order to be fair to all, and to give every hon. member an opportunity to express his views fully, I urge you to accept the following amendment to the amendment moved
War Effort-Government Policy
by the leader of the opposition, moved by myself and seconded by the hon. member for St. Mary (Mr. Fauteux):
That all the words of the amendment after the word "reinforcements" be struck out and the following substituted therefor:
"by using to the best advantage the general service personnel in Canada and the volunteers overseas without resorting to conscription for service overseas."
Subtopic: POLICY OF THE GOVERNMENT IN MAINTAINING VIGOROUS WAR EFFORT-CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON MOTION OF THE PRIME MINISTER