CLAXTON, The Hon. Brooke, P.C., Q.C., B.C.L., LL.D., D.C.M.

Personal Data

St. Lawrence--St. George (Quebec)
Birth Date
August 23, 1898
Deceased Date
June 13, 1960
lawyer, professor (associate) - commercial law

Parliamentary Career

March 26, 1940 - April 16, 1945
  St. Lawrence--St. George (Quebec)
  • Parliamentary Assistant to the President of the Privy Council (May 6, 1943 - October 12, 1944)
  • Minister of National Health and Welfare (October 18, 1944 - December 11, 1946)
June 11, 1945 - April 30, 1949
  St. Lawrence--St. George (Quebec)
  • Minister of National Health and Welfare (October 18, 1944 - December 11, 1946)
  • Minister of National Defence (December 12, 1946 - November 14, 1948)
  • Minister of National Defence (November 15, 1948 - June 30, 1954)
June 27, 1949 - June 13, 1953
  St. Lawrence--St. George (Quebec)
  • Minister of National Defence (November 15, 1948 - June 30, 1954)
August 10, 1953 - April 12, 1957
  St. Lawrence--St. George (Quebec)
  • Minister of National Defence (November 15, 1948 - June 30, 1954)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 1051 of 1052)

May 15, 1941


I should like to have an estimate as to how much it is expected will be raised in consequence of the increase to 22J per cent?

Full View Permalink

March 25, 1941


Before this section carries I should like to say a word or two on the subject of information. I had hoped to be able to make these remarks yesterday but the minister of information was away on business, so I should like to avail myself of his presence here to-day to say just a word or two on this subject.

There is no need to emphasize to this house or any other body the importance of information during this war; it cannot be exaggerated. All I wish to do is urge upon the government that the very excellent work described in the minister's statement of March 7 should be carried on and extended with all the pressure and urgency that the minister, with his very great ability, can bring to bear. Obviously, early in the war this government decided that it would not be proper for it to issue propaganda in the United States. With that decision I think every hon. member of this house was thoroughly in accord; and when friends in the United States asked me why we Canadians were not telling about the things we were doing in the war I always answered by saying, "Is it not much better that we should

say too little than that we should say too much?" I think everyone who has thought about the matter was in thorough agreement with that policy, but we see where it brought us on several occasions. Representative Maas and Senator Nye, two of the leading isolationists in the United States, urged upon the United States congress and senate that Canada was not playing its part in the war, that we were not matching the United States lease-lend effort. In the United States our war effort was not thoroughly appreciated, and we did not have the flow of tourists backward and forward through which we might carry on those normal, friendly contacts we have always had with our neighbours to the south. In the New York Times of yesterday Mr. P. J. Phillips says that Canada's ban on publicity in the United States is to be lifted. I certainly hope that we are going to give more information in the United States, for a good many reasons which must be obvious to all. If we are to continue to have the close, friendly relations with the United States that we always have had and should always have, the United States must understand what we are doing, and we must express ourselves, our aims and our actions, to the people of that country.

This week, Mr. Chairman, there is an added reason for taking this matter more seriously. The London Economist in its current issue is reported to state that we in Canada should have a lease-lend bill like that of the United States. There again what we are doing is not properly understood, and with all respect I suggest to the minister that here is another opportunity for his department and the other branches of the government to increase the work they are doing abroad.

I suggest also that there is room for an intensification of information service at home. The fact that this debate has gone on for twenty-one days indicates that there is a lack of appreciation of what is being done. Had even more information been given, it is possible that the debate would not have lasted as long as it has. But I suggest that the way to give information, in addition to giving it here in the house, is through the press releases issued by the government in the ordinary course.

Within the last few days I had the very great privilege of visiting Halifax harbour and Sussex camp, and of seeing aeroplane factories and munitions works. I was immensely impressed with what I saw and with the appearance of the alert, fit men who are doing our jobs for us in those places. I suggest that if all the members of this committee had seen what there is to be seen of our war work in the various camps, ports and munitions works, a great deal of the

War Appropriation Bill

criticism that has been expressed here during the last few weeks never would have been uttered at all. There I saw men from all parts of Canada, men of whom any part of Canada might be proud. We cannot bring all the people to the Halifax and Sussex camps, but we can bring Halifax harbour and the Sussex camp to the people by means of the movies and broadcasting and the publications of the department of information. This department has been doing most useful work. The films that have been prepared are magnificent, but I think more can be done to bring home to the people of Canada a realization of the wonderful work that is being done and that is too often deprecated here and elsewhere.

It is exceedingly difficult in Canada to translate this figure of $1,300,000,000 into munitions, planes, tanks and trained men and women working eight-hour shifts, day and night, turning out things necessary for our security. Unless this can be visualized by the people and by this house, then it is apt to be felt that this sum represents just so much money or so much talk. What a story there is to tell! It is a story of which every Canadian should be proud. During the last eighteen months we have multiplied our air force tenfold, our army fortyfold and our navy tenfold. Each day we are raising and spending $2,700,000, while in the last war the figure was only $117,000. The expenditures for which we are providing in this appropriation, together with the amounts required for the repatriation of securities, are five times the expenditures during the corresponding period of the last war, and more than the entire cost of the last war. That is the picture the people need to see. That is why I say this figure must be translated into things they can see and words they can understand. That is the job the department of information has been doing, the job that I hope it will do more thoroughly as time goes on.

These are difficult times, Mr. Chairman. We are at perhaps the most serious stage of the war. These are times that try men's souls. We need, and the government need, all the support and help they can get from every source, and I suggest that the department of information has a task to perform in telling the story so that the government may get that support. The exploits of our men in the air, the indomitable courage of our merchant marine, the endurance of the people of England have won the admiration of the world and have called forth our gratitude day by day. In the air, on land and at sea the heroic age has returned to our race, and that is the story that should be told.

Full View Permalink

March 5, 1941

Mr. BROOKE CLAXTON (St. Lawrenee-St. George):

Mr. Speaker, I shall delay the

house for only a moment to make one or two observations which may be of some interest. Yesterday we adopted a resolution to appoint a committee to study the defence of Canada regulations. That committee follows the one which was set up last year, and in view of the discussion which has taken place to-day, the experience of the members of the committee which sat last year on the defence of Canada regulations may be of interest to the house. We met twenty-five times under the chairmanship of the Minister of Finance (Mr. Ilsley). Many members have testified to the interest and pleasure of the work of that committee, and I subscribe to all that has been said in that regard, but no one so far has pointed out that during the whole sittings of that committee we did not have a single vote taken on a party basis. I would suggest that this example might well be followed in the committee that we are considering setting up to-day.

These two committees on war expenditure and the defence of Canada regulations, all members will agree, are designed to do some of the most important work of the house this session. The committee on the defence of Canada regulations, I suggest, may well follow along the lines of the concluding paragraph of the main part of the report of the committee last year, and may I observe to the hon. member for Weybum (Mr. Douglas) that that paragraph was unanimously agreed to. It read:

In making the recommendations for amendments to the regulations as above set forth and in considering amendments suggested but not included above, it was the unanimous view of the committee that all measures should be taken which were considered necessary for the safety of Canada but that the maximum amount of liberty under the law should be maintained consistent therewith.

War Expenditures-Special Committee

That was the principle on which our committee worked, and I think its report bears out my statement. I might add that the government, as the Minister of Justice (Mr. Lapointe) said, adopted without a single change eveiy conclusion and recommendation of that committee.

These committees will be valuable, only in so far as we approach their work in the spirit which has been so well described by the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) and all speakers, practically without exception, who have followed him. Our object in these committees is to strike at the enemy and not at each other.

Full View Permalink

February 26, 1941


How many candidates in each military district tried, and how many passed, the examinations set by the national defence headquarters for qualification as lieutenant, in December, 1938, in March, 1939, in December, 1939, in March, 1940, and in December, 1940?

Full View Permalink

November 8, 1940

Mr. BROOKE CLAXTON (St. Lawrence-St. George) moved:

That the following address be presented to His Excellency the Governor General of


To His Excellency the Right Honourable Earl of Athlone, Knight of Our Most Noble Order of the Garter, a member of Our Most Honourable Privy Council, Knight Grand Cross of Our Most Honourable Order of the Bath, Grand Master of Our Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George, Governor General and Commander in Chief of Our Dominion of Canada.

May it Please Your Excellency:

We, His Majesty's most dutiful and loyal subjects, the House of Commons of Canada, in parliament assembled, beg leave to offer our humble thanks to Your Excellency for the gracious Speech which Your Excellency has addressed to both houses of parliament.

He said: Mr. Speaker, in rising to present this motion I realize that a heavy responsibility rests on me at this momentous time.

I must first acknowledge the honour paid to the constituency of St. Lawrence-St. George. The honour recognizes the importance of the division in the life of Canada. Everyone in this house is already familiar with its many interests and advantages. The division is a true reflection of the complex character of Canadian life. Although its citizens are predominantly of English or French descent, it is interesting to note that during the national registration one office registered people speaking no less than twenty-two languages.

The Address-Mr. Claxton

The division also reflects our troubled times. McGill university has given hospitality to the international labour organization. I feel that hon. members, and indeed all Canadians, will share our satisfaction that we have been privileged to welcome this great institution. All of us hope that the time may not be far distant when in a wider field it can resume its work for the good of humanity. That will come when the world has been freed from the cancerous growth of Hitlerism, sprawling over Europe, causing more suffering than has ever been caused before.

I feel I correctly interpret the interests and views of St. Lawrence-St. George when I say that we seek no local interest, we want no personal advantage, we are not interested in partisan politics. Every true Canadian feels the same to-day. We seek the welfare of Canada and of every part of it. We are as much concerned in the prosperity of the wheat farmer on the plains and of the fisherman on our coasts as in that of our own workers. We join with all others in seeking the defence and security of our own country. This means that to-day we should do everything in our power to aid Britain in her fight on our front line. The courage and fortitude displayed by her men and women have won the admiration of the world.

The greatest things are of the spirit. You cannot see or touch or hear them. In fact you can hardly describe or express them. They are things which take place in the minds and souls of people. In all recorded history there are few greater examples of this than the spirit which has arisen among the people of Great Britain in recent months. It is the spirit of Britain, revealed anew in the miracle of Dunkirk, and reaffirmed each day by the ordinary citizen's attitude to the worst the enemy can do. Men will talk of this as long as there is history, long after everyone has forgotten gains or losses of territory and power.

In Canada we admire the spirit that has gripped the people of Britain. We give

thanks that it has stopped the onward rush toward us of the evil forces loosed in Europe.

Next to Britain, Canada is the strongest power facing the enemy to-day. The speech from the throne is a reminder to parliament and the country of just how huge our national assignment is. The government is leading the country in a stupendous effort. We know much of what has been done and what is under way. We are waiting to hear more from the government as the session proceeds. We know of the immense expansion of our forces. To the three services, over 200,000 Canadians have streamed from the farms

and mines, the factories and offices, the universities and the professions to answer the call that they heard in their own hearts. They are as fine men as the world has ever seen. Their number has doubled since this parliament met six months ago. More than two divisions are in England in the front line. From all sides we hear that they are fit and trained, ready to maintain the high traditions of the Canadian corps.

At sea we now have twelve destroyers and more than 100 other vessels taking a major part in convoying the stream of supplies and food we are steadily sending across the seas. Every one of us is proud of what the Canadian navy has done in its far-flung operations. Not long ago the Prince Robert captured a German vessel in the Pacific and took it as a prize to Esquimalt.

Full View Permalink