Colin Emerson BENNETT

BENNETT, Colin Emerson, Q.C., B.A.

Personal Data

Grey North (Ontario)
Birth Date
March 5, 1908
Deceased Date
April 30, 1993

Parliamentary Career

June 27, 1949 - June 13, 1953
  Grey North (Ontario)
August 10, 1953 - April 12, 1957
  Grey North (Ontario)
  • Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Veterans Affairs (October 14, 1953 - April 12, 1957)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 39 of 39)

August 31, 1950

Mr. C. E. Bennett (Grey North):

Mr. Speaker, I wish to second the motion of my colleague, the hon. member for Iles-de-la-Madeleine (Mr. Cannon), who has moved that an address be presented to His Excellency the Governor General in reply to the speech so graciously delivered by him to the members of the Senate and of the House of Commons at the opening of parliament.

May I first of all express to the Prime Minister (Mr. St. Laurent) my appreciation of the high honour which he has bestowed upon my riding of Grey North in selecting me as the seconder of this motion. It was a task which from the very outset I had doubted my ability to perform, and after listening to the eloquent address of my colleague that doubt has in no manner been lessened. I heartily congratulate him on his splendid speech. He has ably lived up to the traditions of his family, of his illustrious grandfather, Sir Charles Fitzpatrick, a minister in the Laurier cabinet and a former chief justice of the Supreme Court of Canada, and of his noted father, the late Mr. Justice L. A. Cannon, also of the Supreme Court of Canada.

The Address-Mr. Bennett

Tributes have been paid to the memories of Right Hon. William Lyon Mackenzie King, Hon. Humphrey Mitchell, and Mr. Gleason Belzile.

All Canada mourns the passing of Mr. King. As a member returned for the first time in 1949 I did not have the privilege, which a good number of the present members enjoyed, of serving with and under the leadership of the man who was head of our country for a longer period than any other.

I have often heard members recount stories of his greatness as a leader, of his wisdom, and of his personal charm. I did witness the magnificent tribute which Canadians paid to his memory last month in the cities of Ottawa and Toronto, a tribute in which I know all the people of my riding, in fact every Canadian, wanted to have a share. As our Prime Minister has so aptly stated, Mr. King's passing marks the end of a period which historians will certainly describe as the Mackenzie King era.

I did have the good fortune to sit for the last two sessions with the late Hon. Humphrey Mitchell. Very high praise indeed has been given to him for the outstanding job he did as Canada's Minister of Labour from 1941, and for the heavy burden of responsibility he assumed so capably during the war. I can only add to what has already been said by saying that as a new member I found Mr. Mitchell a kindly, friendly Christian gentleman. We shall always remember his sense of humour, his infectious smile. Novices like myself will remember his sympathetic and understanding counsel. The House of Commons will not be quite the same without him. May I express my heartfelt sympathy to Mrs. Mitchell and the members of her family.

I should also like to express our deep sorrow in the great loss we have sustained in the passing of Gleason Belzile, who was parliamentary assistant to the Minister of Finance. Our sincere sympathy goes out to the members of his family and to the constituents of Rimouski riding. A very promising career was abruptly brought to an end.

As this is a special emergency session of parliament, with special emphasis on getting down to business, I intend to speak only briefly in seconding this motion. I shall forgo the usual pleasure of outlining the beauties and advantages of my riding. Hon. members, however, may be assured that it is my firm intention before the life of this parliament has expired to make them most familiar with the achievements of the citizens of Grey North, with the beautiful Georgian bay countryside, and with places such as Owen Sound, Meaford and Thorn-bury. Indicative of the importance of my


The Address-Mr. Bennett

riding is the fact that the first passenger train to move at the conclusion of the strike last night was the one to the city of Owen Sound.

I should be remiss in my duty however, no matter how great the emphasis is during this session on getting down to business, if I did not say in my maiden speech how proud and honoured the county of Grey was upon the inclusion in the cabinet of its most famous son, the hon. member for Grey-Bruce (Mr. Harris), as Minister of Citizenship and Immigration.

This special session of parliament was called because of two emergencies, the railway strike and the international situation.

Legislation dealing with the railway strike, mentioned in the speech from the throne, has already been debated, and the bill has passed the house. I know all members sincerely regret that the principles of free collective bargaining failed to bring about a settlement of the strike. I do hope it will ever be kept in mind that Bill No. 1, dealing with this emergency, was not aimed at either or both of the negotiating parties, but was a bill that just had to be passed for the good of all Canadians.

On the closing day of the last session of parliament the Prime Minister (Mr. St. Laurent) said that if the situation in Korea or elsewhere should deteriorate and further action by Canada should be considered, parliament would be summoned. The situation in Korea has deteriorated and the government has decided to lay before parliament its plans for the expansion and acceleration of our defence program.

The Russians have made it abundantly clear that those plans are necessary. Not only have they sat on the sidelines and watched the invasion of Korea, but they have attempted in every possible way to block corrective action by the United Nations security council. And to say that is to give them the full benefit of the doubt. They have dispelled our last hope that the Kremlin holds any genuine interest in world peace.

Admittedly, prior to the invasion of the South Korean republic a good deal of evidence had piled up to show plainly that the Soviet was doing its utmost to foment conditions of disorder and chaos, conditions necessary for the furtherance of the communistic creed. But the peoples of the free world were hoping against hope that in some way an agreement for world peace and understanding would be reached before an armed conflict broke out. Of course we have not given up hope for that agreement for world peace. There still remains a fair chance that the final defeat of the communists in Korea will discourage aggression in other places and thus avert a

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third world war. Mr. Churchill said in London last Saturday night:

The only way to deal with Russia is by having superior strength in one form or another, and then acting with reason and fairness. This is the plan of the battle for peace, and the only plan which has a chance of success.

The Korean conflict has been important in at least two respects. First, the principles of collective security have been invoked for the first time in the history of the United Nations, and, second, a final, warning signal has now been flashed in all countries of the free world-prepare before it is too late.

It is for those two reasons we are here today-to consider our state cf preparedness, our defences, and our obligations as a member of the United Nations and as a signatory to the North Atlantic treaty.

There may be debate in the house as to how Canada's obligations should best be fulfilled, but there should not be any disagreement with regard to those obligations. This country has already endorsed the principle of collective security. Pursuant to that endorsement, we have dispatched destroyers and an air transport squadron to the east. Recruiting in all three services has been upped. A special brigade has been raised for service in Korea or elsewhere. One of the tasks now before us is to decide in what further manner we can help the cause of freedom, taking cognizance of all the factors, including our defences, other trouble spots in the world and our obligations to all our allies.

Prior to the recruiting of the special brigade, Canada's peacetime forces were organized first for the defence of the North American continent, and second to provide the organizational and administrative nucleus of the larger forces which an emergency would eventually require-this based upon the assumption that if and when there was a war of aggression, we would be fighting in a world war. That concept of our national defence was a necessity in peacetime. It was all we could afford.

We now find ourselves involved in what as' yet is an isolated action on a small front, and the government will ask our approval during this session of the use of the special brigade in Korea or elsewhere as the circumstances may require. I take it for granted that parliament's approval will be given. Thus Korea has added a new element to our military forces, probably a permanent one as long as sore spots remain anywhere in the world. It is true Canada has a fully-equipped and well-trained airborne brigade, but this brigade trained in the north, for the defence of this continent, has too specialized a military role

to make it sensible to commit it to the Korean peninsula.

The special brigade, while formed 'because of the invasion of Korea, may be used in the future to help meet our commitments under the North Atlantic treaty, which has assumed new importance since the invasion of the South Korean republic. Strangely enough the invasion of a republic in Asia has again focused our eyes on the continent of Europe. While a few short months ago it seemed prudent to do so, it now appears imperative that we make certain that our allies in Europe are properly armed-and making certain of course implies assisting those allies to arm. Europe has sufficient manpower, but has not yet recovered its full industrial potential since the war. It is economical in a military sense to help our allies there in their rearmament programs.

My message today to the government from the people of Grey North-and I am sure the vast majority of hon. members carry similar messages-is that the people are solidly behind the government in whatever measures are necessary to stop aggression in its tracks wherever it may occur. We all realize that Canadians are tired of war. It is appalling to think that after a few short years of peace we are talking again in terms of planes and guns. At the same time there is a determination throughout the country to see this thing through. If our thinking needed stiffening, Korea has done it. I have never heard a person in my riding say that Korea is a long way off, or ask how that country concerns us. The mood of the Canadian people was reflected in the recent recruiting of the special brigade, which was effected with one hundred per cent replacements within a matter of two short weeks.

In this hour of crisis may I express complete confidence in the leadership of the Prime Minister and in the personnel of his cabinet. Never in the history of our country has a leader gained the full confidence of the people in such a short period of time. Difficult and troublesome decisions have had to be made by the Prime Minister and his cabinet-far-reaching decisions; and they have been made with the full support of the Canadian people.

May I particularly express confidence in the minister whose department is most directly affected by the Korean crisis, the Minister of National Defence, and also in his department. Since the end of world war II, as my colleague, the hon. member for Iles-de-la-Madeleine has said, under the minister's direction, reorganization, modernization and unification have been going on continuously in the Department of National Defence. Only

The Address-Mr. Bennett hours after the cabinet decided to raise the special brigade, recruiting was in full swing. I am entirely confident that the special brigade will receive the best and most modern training available anywhere, and the best in equipment. The recruits in the special brigade must have shared my confidence. It was gratifying to learn when the announcement was made of the recruiting of the special brigade that the composition of the unit would perpetuate three old Canadian regiments, the renowned Royal Canadian regiment, the historic Princess Pats and the famous Royal 22nd from the province of Quebec.

Being particularly interested in the Royal Canadian Air Force, I should also like to compliment the minister for the part he and his department have played in taking steps to keep our air force in the enviable position it attained during the last war. Remarkable success has been achieved in the development of the CF-100, now known as the Canuck, which unquestionably is several years ahead of any aircraft in its field of all-weather, long-range fighters. The F-86 program to produce one hundred planes at Canadair Limited, Montreal, has been greatly increased by the announcement this week of one of the largest orders ever given in peace or war. One hundred Mustangs have been purchased from the United States navy for use by fighter squadrons until the CF-100 and F-86 are available to equip them. All this is comforting indeed to Canadians, who have great confidence and faith in the R.C.A.F.

Our one objective, Mr. Speaker, is peace. It is our belief nations can live side by side in peace. We will continue to press in every conceivable manner to arrive at an understanding with the soviet world. Our delegates to the United Nations will continue to exercise the almost unbelievable patience that has characterized their attendances during the last few years. The door to negotiations will not be shut if there is any way of keeping it open. No honest person can say there is a single democratic country that desires war.

But if the Soviet union comprehends only in terms of a show of strength, then the Soviet union will have that show of strength. The western allies have the resources, the oil, the steel, the industrial capacity, the know-how, and the scientific research far in excess of the communistic countries. And if the situation worsens to the extent that we become involved in a third world war-may God forbid-our peoples have the courage and the will to survive.

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May 5, 1950

Mr. Bennett:

To provide a working capital of

$1 million.

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April 28, 1950

Mr. Bennett:

There was no question about that, but not his salary.

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April 28, 1950

Mr. Bennett:

Quite so, when he was here.

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September 22, 1949

Mr. Bennett:

The question does not quite correctly state the terms of the treaty of 1846 for the settlement of the Oregon boundary. The second clause of the treaty reads as follows:

"From the point at which the 49th parallel of north latitude shall be found to intersect the great northern branch of the Columbia river, the navigation of the said branch shall be free and open to the Hudson's Bay Company, and to all British subjects trading with the same, to the point where the said branch meets the main stream of the Columbia, and thence down the said main stream to the ocean, with free access into and through the said river or rivers; it being understood, that all the usual portages along the line thus described, shall in like manner be free and open."

The government is fully aware of the development which is taking place in the lower Columbia river, in the United States of America, and of the possible relation of that development to article II of the treaty. It would not be in accordance with public policy for the government to state at this stage whether or not they are of the opinion that the treaty has been violated or may be violated by the completion of the construction plans which are under way. The question will continue to receive the attention of the government.

Although Mr. Bennett replied in that manner at that time I do not think any one can find evidence that the Conservative govern-

ment headed by Mr. Bennett of that day or the Liberal government since, has made any representations to the United States in respect to the violation of article II of the Oregon treaty and with respect to Canadian interests and rights.

The objections to the effects of the dam are two. There is interference with the salmon coming up to the upper reaches of the Columbia for spawning purposes, and there is interference with navigation to the sea. I realize that the direction of development has changed since early days, even since 1914, when there was considerable discussion concerning navigation on the Columbia; but I do not think that, in view of the fact that we surrendered a right which had been extended to us forever in article II of the Oregon treaty, the government of Canada should have attempted to protect our rights and to obtain some reasonable compensation.

I submit that all governments of Canada have failed to realize the immense developments that are possible in the Columbia river basin on the Canadian side of the boundary. In the past they have failed to give attention to the potential value of that rich and productive area. A satisfactory development of the Columbia river basin depends upon joint action by the governments of the United States and Canada. I am quite certain that if the government of this country approached the government of the United States our claims would receive reasonable consideration. I know personally that officials of certain departments of the United States government were quite surprised when no protest was made by the Canadian government about the violation of the Oregon treaty and the interference with fish coming up to the upper reaches of the Columbia.

This matter is important to the constituency which I represent, and to the surrounding constituencies, as well as to the people of British Columbia and the Canadian people generally. I submit that under the circumstances we are fully justified in making a claim for adequate compensation for the surrender of those rights.

The residents of my constituency are much concerned about the continuance and improvement of steamship service on the Arrow and Kootenay lakes. We realize that for many years the Canadian Pacific Railway operated a splendid service on these and other interior lakes, but since the building of the new lines traffic has lessened and the service has gone downhill because it is being operated at a considerable loss. In view of this situation with regard to the Oregon treaty, the loss of our right of navigation and other rights, I should like to make two or three suggestions.

I urge the government to bring this matter to the attention of the United States government where I am sure it will receive favourable consideration. If adequate compensation is obtained for the loss of the right granted to us forever in article II of the Oregon treaty, I suggest that it would be fitting indeed if that compensation were used to subsidize a further development of the steamship service on the Arrow and Kootenay lakes.

While it may be argued that I am somewhat local in my point of view, I think it must be admitted that this steamship service on the Arrow and Kootenay lakes and on other lakes in the interior of British Columbia constitutes a great tourist asset. As Canadians we would be making a great mistake if we permitted this service to lapse. Not only is it of value to the people there in making their living; it is of great value to the people of British Columbia and Canada generally as an unusual tourist attraction.

Finally, in order that the British Columbia point of view may be considered with complete knowledge and understanding as a result of direct contact with the people of British Columbia and a knowledge of British Columbia conditions, I urge again that the government consider appointing a qualified British Columbia resident to the joint international commission.

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