George Stanley WHITE

WHITE, The Hon. George Stanley, P.C., Q.C.

Personal Data

Progressive Conservative
Hastings--Frontenac (Ontario)
Birth Date
November 17, 1897
Deceased Date
January 6, 1977
barrister and solicitor, lawyer

Parliamentary Career

March 26, 1940 - April 16, 1945
  Hastings--Peterborough (Ontario)
June 11, 1945 - April 30, 1949
  Hastings--Peterborough (Ontario)
June 27, 1949 - June 13, 1953
  Hastings--Peterborough (Ontario)
August 10, 1953 - April 12, 1957
  Hastings--Frontenac (Ontario)
June 10, 1957 - February 1, 1958
  Hastings--Frontenac (Ontario)
  • Government Whip in the Senate (January 1, 1958 - January 1, 1963)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 185 of 185)

May 23, 1940

Mr. G. S. WHITE (Hastings-Peterborough):

Mr. Speaker, as a new member in the House of Commons I realize fully my position in rising to take part in the debate. I agree most heartily with the observations just made by the hon. member for Souris (Mr. Ross). It seems strange that as soon as he mentioned the words "political expediency," there was immediate applause from the government benches.

It is not necessary to dwell on the seriousness of the hour, and I say to private members on the government benches that now is the time for them to show their loyalty.

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May 23, 1940


We of the opposition have duties to perform, too. We have the duty to our constituents who sent us here to reflect in the House of Commons their opinions and desires. It is not my intention in any way to rehash or go over the issues involved in the election for, after all, the past is gone. Whatever the mistakes have been, and whatever bad judgment has been shown, are of little importance at this time. The present and the future are our vital concern.

But even to-day can we, the members of the House of Commons, truly satisfy ourselves that, even at this important hour, the present government is making every possible war effort. Speaking for myself-and I say this with deep regret-I have absolutely no confidence that the government is capable of arousing even within its own ranks, let alone throughout the nation, the action and the speed necessary to cope with the daily increasing threat to our very existence. This hour calls for inspiring leadership, for complete harmony and unity, for the thrusting aside of petty and insignificant matters and of forgetting all past differences so that we, the elected members, may in the brief time remaining at our disposal mobilize with lightning speed all our resources for the defence of Canada.

War Appropriation-Mr. White

The press of yesterday and to-day which mentions names such as Arras, Vimy, the Somme and Abbeville, must recall stirring memories to the minds of many hon. members who were the veterans of another war, men who formed part of that glorious Canadian corps which served from 1914 to 1918, men who took part in writing a glorious page in history. These men will recall other dark days in March and April of 1918, and they will remember with pride the message that came from Sir Arthur Currie when he said: "We have our backs to the wall and we must fight it out". Everyone knows how the Canadian corps of that day met that challenge and how they fought it out. Once more we have our backs to the wall, and I am confident that once more we will meet the challenge and fight it out.

I represent the counties of Hastings and Peterborough. To-day we have in England with the first division the Hastings and Prince Edward regiment, one of the finest regiments that ever left these shores. It is simply disgraceful that so little is being done in the way of recruiting in these counties which made such a wonderful contribution from 1914 to 1918 in men, munitions and supplies. I wonder if the members of this house realize that in Ontario east of Toronto there is only one rifle infantry regiment, and that in all that area there is only one place where a man may enlist in such a regiment. That point is at Picton, a most inconvenient place. That is in the riding of my hon. friend (Mr. Tustin), but I said "most inconvenient", not "most insignificant".

At the present time recruiting at this point may be carried on for a week, and then the office is closed down. It may interest hon. members to know that there has been no recruiting at this point, the only recruiting depot east of Toronto, since May 11, and the depot is still closed. Any man who wants to enlist in a rifle regiment must, if he resides east of Toronto, travel or hitch-hike hundreds of miles to Picton, and then when he arrives there he may find there is no recruiting and be told to come back the following week. In many instances the man's name is taken and he is told he will be advised when recruiting will begin again. Is it the policy of this government at the present time to have only one place where a man may enlist in an area covering hundreds of square miles east of the city of Toronto?

In my riding there are hundreds of young Canadians who have been trying for months to join the Royal Air Force, and the best they have been able to accomplish is to have their names taken and be told that they will

[Mr. White.!

be advised at a later date. There is no action which the government has taken which has so discouraged the young men of Canada more than this action in regard to recruiting. In the small village of Madoc in which I reside there is an armoury in which from three to 500 men could be trained. That armoury has been locked up since October 1, 1939. In that armoury there is not a single rifle, a single round of ammunition, a single machine gun or any equipment or war supplies of any kind. All the equipment consists of is two dozen chairs and a few tables. Why? Because the equipment which had been there for years and which had been brought home in 1918 was used to equip the Hastings and Prince Edward regiment. That regiment took this antique equipment back to England.

In the village of Norwood in my riding, there is another armouiy in which 500 men could be trained. That armoury has also been locked up since the beginning of the war and contains no rifles or equipment of any kind. In Peterborough and Belleville are located two of the finest armouries in Ontario, but they have not been used in any way. I ask -the government, why are they not taking advantage of these buildings? Why does this condition exist? It certainly is not because of a lack of recruits, because recruits can be had at any time.

It is not because of a lack of capable officers. In the small village of only 1,000 people in which I reside there are ten qualified officers, five of whom have had overseas training. All these officers have been connected for years with the non-permanent militia and are well qualified to drill troops, instruct and lecture in signalling practice, bayonet fighting and gas warfare, as well as machine-gun practice, military tactics and military organization. In addition we have many non-commissioned officers who are fully trained and capable of performing all military duties. These officers and non-commissioned officers are most willing and anxious to give their services.

The manner in which this government has conducted recruiting has convinced me more than anything else that the public have no confidence whatever in the present war effort. From the press we learn that various veterans' organizations have offered their services to the government, but- these services have not been accepted. Much has been said already in this house about "fifth column" activities. I was interested in the statement made a few days ago by the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) to the effect that all "fifth column" activities were being checked carefully and handled by the mounted police.

War Appropriation-Mr. Graydon

I should like to bring to the attention of this house a most serious condition which exists in the county of Hastings. In that county there are about fifty-five miles of a power line which runs from the Gatineau to Leaside, about thirty-five miles of which run through a most sparsely settled section of the county. Yet there is not one guard of any kind to protect this line. There are no soldiers within a radius of 100 miles. The provincial hydro commission has a maintenance man who patrols a beat of thirty-nine miles. Can hon. members grasp that? One man patrolling a beat of thirty-nine miles! That is all the protection there is for this vital power line.

It would be the simplest matter in the world for one man to wreck the whole system. I am told that if this line were wrecked, at least two-thirds of Toronto and a large portion of eastern and western Ontario would be without power or light. Within the last month a foreigner was charged in the police court at Marmora with removing brace arms from these hydro towers. When addressing the court at the conclusion of the evidence, the crown attorney said to the magistrate that this was a direct case of sabotage. And yet no action has been taken by anyone to protect or guard this highly vulnerable power line. I might explain to members of the house that the method of sabotaging these towers is to remove certain braces and cross-arms, or to saw partly through certain girders and then leave the rest to nature, so that at the first storm or strong wind the towers will be completely wrecked. Throughout these two counties there are many mines of great importance in war time and many important industrial works, and yet there is not a single guard of any kind.

The huge sum of money which is being asked for by this resolution should be spent within the Dominion of Canada. So far as the amount itself is concerned it is of little importance because what does it matter what amount we spend to-day if we are in danger of losing our freedom and all the privileges we have enjoyed under the British crown, if we are in danger of being reduced to actual slavery? In these circumstances the amount matters little.

Like my hon. friend the member for Vancouver South (Mr. Green), I am going to make a few suggestions to the government:

1. That all militia units throughout Canada be recruited to full strength at once, and if clothing is not available, that arm bands be used.

2. That with all speed all war equipment be manufactured and used to equip fully all overseas troops; then huge stores of same be set up in Canada.

3. That a home defence corps be organized and trained.

4. That the cadet units of high schools and collegiates be used in any possible manner, such as for instruction and organization purposes.

5. That provision be made by counties or districts for the protection and guarding against sabotage of all vital industries, public utilities and military objectives within such county or district.

6. That all armouries now locked up or partly used be utilized to the full degree.

7. That the services of all war veterans be used for training and guard duties.

8. Registration of all man-power and other resources.

9. Immediate internment of all aliens and enemy sympathizers. That a local tribunal be set up in each county or district under the local county judge to deal with internment, so that this can be carried out with speed and efficiency.

10. That the government consider what steps can be taken to control the broadcasting of enemy propaganda from American stations.

11. That the government consider the passing of measures to provide the death penalty for espionage, sabotage or "fifth column" activities.

And lastly, that in the grave situation to-day the government consider invoking the provisions of the Militia Act, which provides for the calling-up of all able-bodied men for home defence.

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April 4, 1924


Are the figures for 1922


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