June 23, 1942 (19th Parliament, 3rd Session)


Charles Eugène Parent


Mr. CHARLES PARENT (Quebec West and South):

Mr. Speaker, it is not my intention to speak at any great length in this debate. At the time of the plebiscite I took a definite stand in this house. I thought out the matter to the best of my ability, and I supported the motion for a six months' hoist. At the time I said that that measure constituted a breach of trust, since it was giving the majority the means of withdrawing a solemn pledge made to the minority. I campaigned in my province for a negative vote. I condemned the plebiscite as being a measure something in the nature of Doctor Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. It was stated in the English provinces that an affirmative vote would bring conscription, but in Quebec it was said that there would be no conscription. In other words, it meant nothing but chaos. It is needless to say that the man in the street immediately saw the nigger in the woodpile, and irrespective of the efforts made by a majority of the members from Quebec the people of Quebec refused to give an affirmative vote.
This vote meant not only that the people of Quebec did not want conscription; it meant that Baptiste was fed up with broken pledges. He recalled the pledge made that the amounts voted for armaments for the defence of Canada were to be used exclusively in the defence of Canada, yet when he looks around to-day he asks himself where are those armaments. He recalled also the references made to the declaration of the Prime Minister of Australia that the day when we would be called upon to send an expeditionary force overseas was past history. He recalled also that he accepted the mobilization act with a smile because he was told that it was for the defence of Canada. He recalled that he was brought into the military camp for a one-month training period in order to give him an idea of what military life was like. Then he was notified that he would be a better soldier for the defence of his country if he stayed there for four months, and he accepted that change with a smile because it was for his country. He recalled also that after four months he was told that he must stay for the

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