September 7, 1945


J. G. Léopold Langlois


Mr. J. G. LEOPOLD LANGLOIS (Gaspe) (Translation):

Mr. Speaker, I rise to' second the motion which has been moved with so much eloquence by my honourable friend the member for Kenora^Rainy River (Mr. Benidickson).

I thank the honourable member for his very kind remarks, and wish to assure him of my most sincere friendship.

May I first be permitted, Mr. Speaker, to congratulate you for having been selected to>

preside over the debates of this house. Your high qualities and your past parliamentary experience give us the assurance that you will discharge that important function with dignity and impartiality.

I must also compliment the great Canadian who is our prime minister, the Right Honourable William Lyon Mackenzie King, on the-splendid victory which he and his party have recently won. It must be quite comforting: to a patriot like him to see an entire population put its trust in him at the most tragictime in its history and I hasten to add that never was such a comfort so well deserved.

I have often heard it said,-of course by political opponents of the prime minister,- that his greatest quality was that he knew how to choose able associates. His opponents perhaps find in this fact an excuse whereby to account for his outstanding success at the head of the Canadian nation for nearly twenty years and perhaps they also find in it a reason for trying to minimize the great work he has accomplished for this country.

To my mind, Mr. Speaker, a man must be-great in his own right to be able to secure the cooperation of outstanding associates. That is -the secret weapon of our prime minister; his personal greatness which, with his inborn humility, he is forever trying to conceal.

In a recent article entitled "Canada's Mackenzie King" published in the September issue of The Readers' Digest, Mr. Stanley High confirmed this opinion when he said: Mackenzie King that is to say is one of the-world's important figures.

He is also one of -the least known.

The Address-Mr. Langlois

And in order to illustrate that statement, better, I should add: because Mackenzie King always places the interests of Canada before his personal interests.

As regards the prime minister's associates, there is one of whom I now wish to make a special mention; I refer to the Honourable the Minister of Justice, (Mr. St. Laurent). He is a worthy successor of Laurier and Lapointe and the province of Quebec is proud to number him among her most illustrious sons. The confidence that has recently been shown to him by that province and especially by the constituency of Quebec-East where he had an unprecedented majority, affords an ample proof of that fact.

Mr. Speaker, I also tender my sincere congratulations to our new Minister of Fisheries (Hon. H. F. G. Bridges) who last week had the well-deserved honour of being the first veteran of this war to enter the cabinet.

May I also refer to the presence in this house of another member of the Royal Canadian Navy, the honourable member for Churchill (Leading Stoker Ronald S. Moore). I congratulate him most sincerely on his election.

Mr. Speaker, it is indeed a great honour for me to have been requested to second the address in reply to the speech from the throne. I know that such an honour has been conferred on me on the one hand because I represent one of the finest constituencies in our Canadian confederation, and on the other hand because I am a member of the Royal Canadian Navy. On behalf of each one of the men and women electors of Gaspe, and in the name of our Canadian sailors, I offer the prime minister my heartfelt thanks.

Mr. Speaker, I represent in this house the beautiful constituency of Gaspe. The Gaspe peninsula is the oldest section in the country from an historial standpoint. Indeed, it was in my constituency that the first white man set foot on Canadian soil and took possession of it in the name of the king of France. Let me carry you back in thought to the year 1534 and to the great French explorer, Jacques Cartier. This land where Cartier set foot four hundred years ago is now an immense territory inhabited by honest and generous people. The population is mixed and the soft accents of the French language mingle with those of the language spoken by the majority of the citizens of Canada. Indeed, it is a miniature Canada except, of course, for the proportions represented by both racial groups.

It is devoid of industry, except lumbering, and the majority of our people are engaged in the toilsome occupation of fishermen and [Mr. Langlois. 1

in the more peaceful chores of the farm. This lack of industry in the Gaspe country upon which nature seems to have lavished its richest resources, while endowing it with matchless scenery, is due to the almost total absence of communications. Except for the railway running between Matapedia and Gaspe and the highway which circles the peninsula, both of minor importance for that matter, waterways are the only commercial means of communications available to our people. And here again, our harbours are highly inadequate. Even our fishermen have few harbours where they can shelter their boats when, tired out, they finally return to their homes after having battled the sea in their attempts to wrest from it its savoury harvest.

Mr. Speaker, notwithstanding all those difficulties of an economic nature the people of Gaspe have responded most generously to the country's appeals in recent times. We have witnessed an endless procession of future heroes, brave fishermen and doughty farmers going towards remote recruiting centres of our Canadian navy, our army and our air force. In proportion to its population, our constituency has sent as many men to the armed forces as any other constituency in Canada; and we are proud of our record. Soldiers from Gaspe were at Hong Kong, at Dieppe, in Africa, in Sicily, in Italy, on the beaches of Normandy, in France, in Holland and finally in Germany, on those battlegrounds where the valorous Canadian army has written the finest pages of our history.

The Victory Loans, the appeals of the Red Cross and other auxiliary services afforded another opportunity to the people of Gaspe to show their patriotism, and here again their contribution was no less substantial. They have made those sacrifices in order to contribute to the great allied victory over the enemy of our civilization.

Mr. Speaker, the part played by our country in attaining victory has been as great as, if not greater than, that of any other nation and we may justly be proud of our achievements. Under the capable leadership of the prime minister, Canada has shown to the whole world that we are a nation that must hereafter be reckoned with. Our war effort, voluntarily agreed to in the early days of the conflict, has enabled England, this great democratic nation, to weather the storm at the outbreak of hostilities. At that time, the whole world, a large part of which was already trembling under the enemy's blows, was looking up to Canada, the chief ray of hope at the sides of brave Albion.

The Address-Mr. Langlois

We have remained united and firm in this gigantic struggle. Mr. Speaker, our men of the Royal Canadian Navy and of the Canadian Merchant Marine were the first to take part in the battle. I wish to pay tribute here to the valour of those brave sailors, heroes of the first phase of the battle of the Atlantic, who did not hesitate to man their inadequately equipped ships in order to bring supplies to the last bulwark of democracy and of civilization. Their courage has never faltered and their contribution to final victory was of an inestimable value.

Mr. Speaker, I take the liberty to digress for a moment. I wish to emphasize the praiseworthy work done by our first minister of Naval Services, the Hon. Angus L. Macdonald, which was zealously continued by his worthy successor, the Hon. D. C. Abbott. From a few obsolete units at the outbreak of the war, our navy has developed, in less than six years, into a powerful fighting force. It is easy to visualize the ardruous work which this task must have imposed upon those two ministers.

Our brave soldiers and airmen followed closely our sailors in the struggle and they brought great credit to our country on the battlefields and in the skies of Europe. Nor must we overlook the patriotism of the Canadian women in the various auxiliary services who so ably supported our armed forces.

Mr. Speaker, in these opening days of a new era of peace, we must say a grateful prayer for all those brave sons of Canada who have made the supreme sacrifice in the service of their country.

It is the custom in all the countries of the world to erect monuments to the memory of those who have died on the battlefields. To that end, we attempt to carve in stone a symbol which will remind future generations of the ideals and greatness of those who have gone before.

I congratulate the government for wishing to commemorate in this manner the memory of our dead, for this memorial will express the nation's everlasting gratitude. To my mind, however, we will raise the most beautiful memorial to our gallant men by giving a practical expression to the ideal for which they fell. A more symbolic or lasting monument we can never build.

Mr. Speaker, when our sons fought with such courage and sacrificed so much, it was to give the world a lasting peace, peace among the various nations which people the universe and peace within each of these nations. How can our country participate in winning this peace? In the international sphere, it is our duty to promote understanding and co-operation among freedom-loving nations, since

liberty is the basis of our democratic civilization. Our sons fought to restore to the world its lost freedom, and plain logic demands that we share in the protection of this privilege. Our country has already made great strides in that direction at the San Francisco peace conference, whose decisions will be submitted to the approval, of the house. At this point,

I wish to express the admiration Canada feels for her representatives at this memorable Conference and particularly for the head of our delegation who represented us with such distinction. From the aforementioned article,

I quote Mr. Stanley High's opinion on the matter:

Canada has heretofore been classed as one of the small nations. Under King's leadership, it has emerged from that category. Representing a people conscious of their increased unity and strength, Mackenzie King, at the San Francisco Conference, made Canada leader and spokesman for "The Middle Powers".

I express the wish that our country will pursue this path and make itself heard just as eloquently in future international meetings.

We must insist on being kept informed of all decisions of international import taken by major or minor powers. We must press for front rank recognition and specify this as a sine qua non condition of our fellowship with other nations. This right we have acquired by the loss of thousands of young Canadian lives and by our country's magnificent war effort.

Mr. Speaker, the principles of liberty which form the basis of a lasting world peace apply just as well in our own country. We must keep in mind that Providence has entrusted two great races with the mission of moulding the Canadian nation in this land of America, and every Canadian should deem it his duty to help bring about the success of this mission. Our present Prime Minister has, on various occasions, shown more skill and firmness than any other Canadian in effecting the unity of the two races. Among his numerous achievements, I feel convinced that history will consider this accomplishment the most outstanding and most characteristic of his long political career. Our national unity has just survived its most severe assault during the war years, and we must preserve it, for twice in a quarter of a century our sons have sealed it with their blood.

Mr. Speaker, I hope that this solemn unity will soon be symbolized by a Canadian flag and an official national anthem. The speech from the throne informs us that this house will be called upon to consider the first of those two projects. Let us hope that the second will follow very soon.

The Address-Mr. Langlois

Mr. Speaker, in my humble opinion, in order to develop within the mind of every subject of this country, to whatever racial group he may belong, the legitimate and commendable pride of being an outright Canadian citizen, it is necessary that concrete symbols of his Canadian citizenship be given to him. A distinctive flag and a national anthem constitute the greatest of these symbols and they will serve as a stimulant to the external manifestations of the love we have for our country. Once those two great projects have been carried out, the people who are entrusted with education in the nine provinces of this country will perhaps agree, at least I hope so, to consider another no less important project, which would consist in making available for our students a uniform textbook of Canadian history. It should not be a history doctored so as not to offend certain touchy people, but an impartial and complete history. It would be ,to the 'benefit of every citizen of this country to study such a history dealing jointly with the two great races that form our nation. Our greatest educators have always attached considerable importance to training through the study of history. If this science is shorn of certain prominent facts, it loses its formative value. The truly Canadian soul is shaped through the knowledge of valourous deeds as well as of past errors.

Mr. Speaker, we must win the peace in the economic field as well. To this end, we must without delay reconvert our war economy to a peace footing. Let us thank God that the government have initiated their efforts in this field before the close of hostilities. That our country was not taken by surprise on the seemingly unexpected surrender of Japan at this early date and the complete suspension if hostilities which had kept our pprple on a war footing for the last six years, is due to this commendable forethought of the administration. Among the measures already enacted and in force, I shall mention the Unemployment Insurance Act. A crisis in the employment situation may easily be provoked in the transition period; in fact, I understand that it already exsits in certain districts. The conversion of our war plants to peace industries, following the cancellation of large war contracts, the accelerated demobilization of our armed forces, and other transition activities, cannot take place without a certain decrease in the demand for man-power.

The Family Allowance Act is another social measure which the last Parliament passed at the appropriate time. The advantages of this measure are many. It constitutes a new application of the principle of reducing war taxes in proportion to family responsibilities

and it also has the merit of assisting the poorer classes, taking family obligations into account. It will offset a possible decrease in wages and raise educational Standards, making it possible for a larger number to benefit from .onger periods of schooling.

We must think first of rehabilitating and reestablishing our soldiers and, here again, the government have fulfilled their duty. On the return of our veterans, the Department of Veterans Affairs was already in full operation. I realize that temporarily uncontrollable circumstances, the lack of trained personnel among others, have delayed the normal operation of this important service. The task was far from easy, especially while the war was still being waged; however, 1 hope that peace will permit this department to operate with the greatest efficiency at a very early date.

Mr. Speaker, if one class of our citizens is more deserving than others of the greatest interest on the part of the government, it is that of the war veterans. We have the obligation, not only of reestablishing them after a fashion in civilian life but also of guiding them in their new callings. I hope it will be possible to increase the scope of our vocational training services, which I consider essential. Our young men leave the army without experience of normal life and are therefore easy targets for speculators; they are readily attracted to new experience which may be disastrous for 'them and society in general. On their leaving the forces not only should they be thoroughly informed of the advantages offered them, but they also should be advised by specialists in the choice of a career according to their respective skills. I shall make another digression here to praise the government and especially the Hon. Minister of Transport (Mr. Chevrier) for their practical recognition of the valorous services rendered, by the members of our Merchant Marine in granting them a service allowance based on the length of service. They have well deserved of Canada,

Mr. Speaker, we have also witnessed the inauguration of the Department of Reconstruction. This service has done a considerable amount of work both in the field of planning for the future and in implementing certain measures for maintaining industrial employment at a high level. The creation of the War Assets Corporation, the rapid reconversion of our industry, the inauguration of -the Industrial Development Bank and the National Housing Administration, the promoting of greater credit facilities and more extensive banking services are reconstruction

The Address-Mr. Langlois

steps full of promise. A third department, jugt as important as the others, has been created, that of National Health and Welfare. Its programme is essential to the social welfare of Canada and, in common with the other two, its efficient operation will require the close cooperation of the provinces. Let us hope that the Federal-Provincial Conference, which met, on the invitation of the government, on August 6 last, will have a happy ending for the future of the country. The progress and development of Canada demand that the various governments come to an agreement.

(Text): A great task has been achieved, Mr. Speaker, in connection with the winning of the peace and the smooth transition of the whole economy of our nation from war-time to peace-time needs.

The speech from the throne outlines what the government proposes to do to implement what has been done in previous sessions. The new sessional programme mentions, among other things, the intention of the government to speed the orderly release of men and women from the armed forces ,to maintain long-term markets, to restore external trade, and to promote a high level of employment.

We are endeavouring to ensure world security by promoting lasting prosperity. As this objective cannot be accomplished by any nation in isolation and requires international cooperation, we must therefore restore and expand world trade. Canada has the obligation to share in this cooperation by obtaining export markets and also by stimulating larger imports, which will respectively, and as direct advantages to this country, increase employment and raise our standard of living.

Apart from the aforesaid advantages, this increase in the volume of our exports and imports will soon necessitate the establishment of a Canadian fleet of modern oceangoing cargo ships. Such a fleet, in my opinion, would add to Canada's prosperity, because it will give employment to a greater number of Canadians both as crew members to man the ships and as workers in our shipyards which will build and repair them. It is to be noted that our country ranks second only to our neighbours to the south in the production of cargo ships. Furthermore, the creation and maintenance of a merchant fleet will require proper nautical schools to prepare deck and engine room qualified .personnel. Naval architecture and marine engineering are among other fields of activities which will thus be opened to our Canadian youth.

Canada, Mr. Speaker, is a maritime country. It is bordered on the east and west by two oceans, and our inland waters form a waterway which goes to its very heart. We must therefore take advantage of this gift of nature and make more use of the cheap means of communication it affords.

I sincerely hope that in our post-war planning, our coastal and inland shipping will receive the attention of our government. This brings me to matters of particular interest to my county. There is a large number of these smaller ships in the gulf and river St. Lawrence. These ships provide an essential link by water between Montreal and Quebec and outports along both the south and the north shore. Better port facilities and an increase in the number of existing harbours along the coasts will be of benefit to those engaged in this trade and consequently to those .parts of the country which depend entirely on these ships as their only means of communication with the industrial centres I have mentioned.

The government has shown its interest in our fisheries by the very appropriate floor placed under fish products. This measure is much appreciated by our fishermen and will be followed, I hope, by the consideration the government will give to markets for these products when new export markets are sought for our Canadian trade. The fishermen of my county, in addition to the building of other fishing harbours, would also welcome the establishment of a meteorological service. In my opinion, such a service could be provided at very little cost by using local radio stations to broadcast weather forecasts at regular and frequent intervals. This improvement should also prove of great assistance to our coastal shipping.

Furthermore, a plan of insurance to cover at low cost to their owners the fishing boats and their gear against marine perils could also prove feasible, with the cooperation of provincial governments, and would surely be beneficial to our fishing industry. I must add that for various reasons it is almost impossible to cover the smaller sized fishing boats through private marine insurance companies.

We are assembled here, Mr. Speaker, for the opening session of the twentieth parliament of Canada to fulfil the definite mandate we have individually received from the people of this country at the polls, which consists in the laying of sound foundations for a better and greater post-war Canada, whilst contributing our share toward international security. This task is great and far from being easy. I also wish to draw the special attention of this house to the many difficulties which will present themselves along the road which our country must travel to revert to its peace-time

The Address-Mr. Bracken

activities. We have united in our efforts to make Canada great in war, and we shall also unite to make it great in peace. This common objective cannot be attained without the full cooperation of every citizen of this country. I pray God, who has granted us victory and peace, to guide us in our endeavours to preserve that peace in both international and national fields.


John Bracken (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. JOHN BRACKEN (Leader of the Opposition):

Mr. Speaker, it is not expected of me that I should continue the debate at this time, but before moving its adjournment I should like the privilege of making two or three brief observations.

It is a veTy great pleasure in my first words to have the opportunity of complimenting the mover (Mr. Benidkkson) and the seconder (Mr. Langlois) of the address to be presented to His Excellency. Each of these hon. gentlemen is to be commended upon the manner in which he has discharged his responsibility, and I am happy to be the first to offer my congratulations. It has been my privilege to know the mover of the motion since his early days at the university of my adopted province, and from his experience and training I feel sure he will prove to be a useful and valuable member of this house. It has not been my privilege to know the seconder of the motion, but judging from his performance to-day and from his experience while in uniform I feel that he too will be able to make a valuable and constructive contribution to our work.

With much of what these hon. gentlemen have had to say there will be general agreement. With some portions of their remarks it is perhaps scarcely to be expected that those who see the government from a different angle will be in entire agreement. If each of the speakers has shown unsual zeal in the task of discovering virtues in the government and in the art of keeping a blind eye turned towards its errors, I am sure I shall not wish to be the first to censure them for what they have done. It will be for those who follow to fill in the omissions and to shed any necessary light on the places they have not seen fit to enter.

Yesterday, Mr. Speaker, it was my privilege to extend to you my compliments, before you were elected to your present post. To-day on behalf of those sitting in this section of the house I wish to welcome you to your new work and to wish for you the same high measure of success which characterized the work of your predecessors.

With respect to the plans of the government as announced in the speech from the throne

and its administrative record over recent years, and with respect to the state of the public welfare generally, I propose to reserve such comments as I wish to make until the next sitting of the house. Therefore I move the adjournment of the debate.

Motion agreed to and debate adjourned.

On motion of Mr. Mackenzie King the house adjourned at 5.00 p.m.

Monday, September 10, 1945.


September 7, 1945