During the last few days I have been in receipt of a large number of resolutions from various bodies in Saskatchewan demanding that the government do something towards controlling the nazi influence within their province. The people of Saskatchewan are not given to hysteria; but having regard to the releases of interned aliens that have taken place in the last few weeks, they feel that all is not well with the administration of the alien enemy problem in that province.
I point out that to-day there are areas in Saskatchewan where nazi activities are continuing in a manner which would not be credited elsewhere in the dominion. People in the province are asking for action. The legion and other public bodies of all kinds are asking that something be done, and they make the request because several men who were interned have been subsequently released. The government has not taken the public into its confidence or given any indication of the reasons why the releases were permitted.
May I bring one instance to the attention of hon. members: A man at St. Walburg was interned shortly after the outbreak of war. He was known in that locality to have been engaged for a considerable time in nazi activities. After a period of internment he was released, and until ten days ago occupied the position of a justice of the peace, charged with administering British justice in Saskatchewan. The question that we, representing constituencies in that province, ask is this, what will the government do with regard to the alien enemy problem? Upon whose recommendation does the government act in permitting the release of aliens who have been interned?
The people of Saskatchewan, I repeat, are not hysterical, but they want measures to be taken at once to offset and control this menace in their midst. One of the suggestions offered is that there should be recruited to full strength immediately the various military units in that province. I take as one case in point the condition existing in the city of Prince Albert. There we have two militia units; one, the Prince Albert and Battleford volunteers, which owes its inception to. the Riel rebellion; the other, a battery of artillery, the 44th. Both units have had excellent records in competition with others throughout the dominion. Yet they have not been mobilized. There is a large armoury there, within the constituency of the Prime Minister, which is not being used except for minor training purposes. The men who enlisted in that city during the past winter had to go to Saskatoon, where proper housing facilities were not available. They were housed at the fair grounds in that city under conditions that did no credit to the government. Yet in Prince Albert facilities were available. The only way we can successfully recruit for the army is by establishing esprit de corps, which will arise only when local units are mobilized and trained where enlistment takes place.
I ask the Minister of National Defence whether, in view of the critical situation- I call it critical advisedly-arising from subversive activities in Saskatchewan, he will consider the immediate recruitment to full strength of the Prince Albert infantry and artillery units. Otherwise there will be no protection in northern Saskatchewan against enemy activities.
The veterans' defence scheme is a good one, but 3,000 men are inadequate, representing one man per mile from the Atlantic to the Pacific. We need the militia units. If orders are given to recruit them in Prince Albert, the difficulty which has arisen in the past to retard recruitment, namely the fear on the part of people in that city that their own units are to be taken elsewhere, will disappear, and within a few days there will be available, not only for home defence, but in preparation for overseas service, at least 1,000 men. I ask the minister to give consideration to the suggestions I have offered.
Topic: WAR APPROPRIATION BILL
Subtopic: PROVISION FOR GRANTING TO HIS MAJESTY AID FOR NATIONAL DEFENCE AND SECURITY