James Joseph Hughes
Well, perhaps he did not give the contract for them, but he ordered padlocks for the mail bags sufficient to last forty or fifty years, I am told.
Subtopic: ADDRESS IN REPLY.
Well, perhaps he did not give the contract for them, but he ordered padlocks for the mail bags sufficient to last forty or fifty years, I am told.
That is not a fact.
More padlocks than have been used in this country since Confederation. .
I have told the hon. gentleman that that is not a fact.
What are the facts in connection with the matter?
My hon. friend should know the facts himself, since he is speaking about the matter.
The Postmaster General will not tell me the facts; I know that statement was made repeatedly in this House.
It was denied repeatedly.
How many were ordered?
There were 10,000 ordered, and not ore delivered.
The Postmaster General evidently intended to order them, but someone interfered, and prevented that item from being added to the other transactions which have tended to increase the high cost of living. Then there is another item: the expenditure in the Militia Department. I dare say the Postmaster General knows something about that; at any rate the Minister of Finance is well informed. Armouries and drill halls are being erected all over the country at enormous expense, and in many instances there is no more use for them than there is for the fifth wheel to a coach. Do these things not add to the high cost of living? Then there is the fact that it cost $40,000 to carry the Minister of Militia and Defence, Sir Ian Hamilton and party, from Vancouver in the west to Sydney in ihe east; is not that a rec^iess and unparalled expenditure, and would that not add something to the high cost of living? I understand also that twenty or twenty-three militia officers, with their wives, families, and invited guests and twelve or fifteen lady secretaries travelled all over Europe at the public expense, which amounted, it is said, to at least $100,000-and this to gratify the curiosity and vanity of the Minister of Militia. Do not these things add to the high cost of living? I think they do. The Minister of Militia and Defence dined with marquises, earls, kings and emperors in full dress, and at the expense of the taxpayers of Canada. If the Minister of Finance was properly guarding the public funds of this country and doing his duty as a trustee of those funds, he would compel the Minister of Militia and Defence to pay these bills out of his own pocket. Then there is the $15,000,000 which Mackenzie & Mann got last year as a gift. I am sure the Finance Minister must agree that this would add something to the high cost of living. Then there are the ten or twelve millions paid on foodstuffs by the consumers of this country in customs duties. These
are the things which, in my humble judgment, add to the high cost of living, and these are the things which, I venture to say, the commission now investigating the matter will not mention. But the people of this country ought to be informed, and, having the information, they will draw their own conclusions.
I listened attentively to some figures given the other day by the Minister of Finance, and his statement that the cost of living had advanced more rapidly in Canada during the past few years than in any other country he mentioned, notwithstanding the fact that the countries of Europe are burdened by enormous expenditures for armaments and military equipment from which we are happily free, and notwithstanding the fact that a large proportion of the able-bodied men of those countries are taken away from the productive walk of life at an age when they are capable of doing their best work. That, I think, should give food for reflection, because something must be wrong with this country, with all its boundless resources and with the population that we have, when the cost of living is relatively so high. Considering these things, and in view of the fact that the present Government apparently are not willing to do anything reasonable to remedy these evils, considering their attitude with regard to the naval question from which they would now like to run away-considering the fact that the emergency has been exploded, that there is no such thing now, considering their record on all these points during the last three years, I do not wonder at their putting off an appeal to the Canadian people to the last possible day, and saying that, in the meantime, they will consider all these things that were quite emergent a few years ago. I am inclined to think that, under these circumstances, when this Government next appeals to the people of Canada they will go down, as has been stated by the hon. member for Red Deer (Mr. Michael Clark), unwept, unhonoured and unsung..
Mr. FREDERICK L. SCHAFFNER (Souris) : Mr. Speaker, I assure you, I do not intend to delay you or the House for any very great length of time this afternoon, but I feel that every representative who has the honour to have a place in this House should feel that he has a duty to perform to those who have sent him here. So, this afternoon, I have a very pleasant service to perform to not only the Conservatives of my constituency, but to at least
85 per cent of all the people in that constituency, in extending to this Government the congratulations of my people for the splendid manner in which they have fulfilled the promises and the pledges they made previous to the last election in connection with my own constituency and the other great prairie provinces. We have in Canada what might perhaps be classified as three forms of government. We have our municipal government, which deals with the people at home. That is enlarged into what is called our provincial or local governments that deal with a wider sphere. Then we come to the great federal Parliament of this country, whose duty it is to legislate in the best manner possible for all the people. I refer to those three forms of government to show how different are the functions of these three legislative bodies. The municipal government has to do with local affairs all of a similar character. We might say that the provincial governments of this country, whether in British Columbia or in Nova Scotia, are concerned with the affairs of people who are engaged in about the same vocations of life. But how vastly different is the legislation required in this House of Commons! We have a great variety of creeds, a great variety of languages, a great variety of industries; what may be good for one province or locality may not be the best thing for the whole country. So I claim that whether a government be Liberal or Conservative, every member in this House should sympathize with them; they have to. direct the way, to formulate policies and to enact legislation which will make for the good of the people of the whole country.
Then, Sir, we must have in this country what is called party government. It is the form of government of the British Empire. It is the form of government so far as I know, of the whole civilized world. It may have its defects, it may not be perfect; for while I suppose there are still a few people who will tell us they are perfect, most of us, I presume, are willing to admit that we have not reached perfection, whether it be in our local or in our federal administration. Yet I hold that the aim of all governments is to legislate for the good of the people. Hence it is necessary for us to watch very closely the actions of any government. I am prepared to say that I have never been altogether satisfied with what any Conservative Government has done, and I do not suppose there is any one sitting on the other side of the House who has been entirely
satisfied with all their Liberal friends did. We are more or less independent, perhaps I should pay the hon. member for Red Deer the compliment of saying that his independence is perhaps as great as that of any of us. Yet, however much it is to be desired that we should be more independent so long as we have this form of government, we must endeavour to convince those who form a Cabinet and who practically rule, whether, it be on the other side of the House or on this side, of the wisdom of adopting measures of which we approve; conversely it is the duty of a government to seek interviews with the members of the House and to ascertain from them what is in the best interests of the individual provinces. A government which will assimilate the views so ascertained will probably do what is in the best interests of all concerned.
I listened very closely the other afternoon to my hon. friend from Edmonton (Mr. Oliver). My hon. friend is a bold man, he is a brave man, and I thought he was a more accurate man than the last speech he delivered in this House proved him to be. He started his speech with that old story about the ostrich hiding its head in the sand and likened that quality to the humility shown by members of the Cabinet. Well, after all humility is not a thing to be entirely despised whether it be in the Cabinet or among any other set of men. He ended up by saying that these men had circled around like the ostrich and then stuck their heads in the sand. When I heard that I began to look around for the heads of the Cabinet. I have observed, as no doubt you have, Mr. Speaker, that some of them have pretty large heads, which would make quite a hole in the sand and it occurred to me that if ever our friends opposite came into power in this 20th century and tried to put their heads in the holes made in the sand by the members of this Government, I think the holes would be much too large for them and that their heads would be rattling around like peas in a dry pod.
I was bold enough to interrupt my hon. friend from Edmonton the other night when he was speaking of a delegation of farmers that came to Ottawa to interview the Government. A delegation came here a few weeks ago, with what success I do not know, but I know this, that when our friends opposite were in power a delegation of from 1,000 to 1,200 farmers came to Ottawa, I remember distinctly they came in at that door, and filled up this entire
chamber, and put us right out of the door opposite, and I could not help thinking how delighted I would be if I could get a seat in the House of Commons just as easy as those fellows. They were a splendid lot of men, good-looking, intelligent and well-dressed-yes, well-dressed. A man down town said to me the other day in reference to some well-dressed fellows who had just passed us: Those are not farmers from the West, they are bankers, Cabinet Ministers or something of that kind. The point I wish to make, Mr. Speaker, is that, while it took 1,200 farmers to storm the late Government, their grievances have so disappeared under the present Government that it was required to send in 1913 less than a baker's doeen of delegates.
I do not know why a farmer should not have the right to dress as well as anybody else. I had the temerity
the other night to ask the member for Edmonton if any delegation that visited the late Government had had their requests granted, and he said-they came and asked for reciprocity and Sir Wilfrid Laurier tried to give it to them. I propose to show this afternoon that not one request that any delegation of western farmers ever made of the late Government was ever granted. My hon. friend from Edmonton is very often inaccurate. He is not very well fortified with facts and he fell down badly there. Let us see what the hon. the leader of the Opposition said in reply to that delegation. Referring to the tariff he said:
You have suggested to us that the first thing we should try to get is a treaty of reciprocity with our neighbours.
Mr. Drury: I think you are misinformed as to the contents of our recommendation.
Sir Wilfrid Laurier: I understand that what is proposed is closer commercial relations with our neighbours-whether by treaty or concurrent legislation is another matter-I suppose you would rather have it in the form of a treaty than not have' it at all. If what you have in view is better commercial relations with the United States we are at one with you. I am happy to say that at this moment we are negotiating with the American authorities to do this very thing which you ask-to improve our commerical relations with our neighbours.
The point I wish to make is that Canada's representatives had already gone to Washington before this delegation had approached the Government and therefore my hon. friend from Edmonton was wrong when he said the late Government had tried to grant the request of that delegation of farmers. Now, Mr. Speaker, I hold in my hand a play, real vaude-
ville. I do not intend to give it this afternoon, but it may be presented in this House before the session closes. It was acted in Winnipeg some time about the first of December last, when an election was held in the constitu-5 p.m. ency of Macdonald. I fully expected my hon. friend from Edmonton to refer to the Macdonald election. Anybody that sat in this House last year will remember that whenever my hon. friend spoke and he spoke often and long, he always dragged in the Macdonald election, but in his speech the other night I cannot find a word about it. But to continue. There was to be an election in Macdonald. My good friend, Mr. Norris, leader of the Opposition, a well-respected man in the province of Manitoba, did not want an election, neither did Mr. McPherson, a valuable Liberal member of the local House and this play was staged by the hon. member for Edmonton and had as its particular stars the hon. member for As-siniboia (Mr. Turriff) and Senator Watson. These gentlemen forced upon the citizens of Macdonald an election, and have they not been sick since? Talk about the ostrich! If these men could have buried their heads any deeper than an ostrich they would have been mighty glad to do it. The Minister of Finance the other night accused the right hon. the leader of the Opposition of being troubled with amnesia, which means loss of memory. That was not the trouble with my hon. friend. He had no amnesia; he had a good memory. That Macdonald election is written right on his heart and he remembers it well.
Mr. MICHAEL CLAKK:
Mr. Speaker, I rise to a point of order. Is it true that any one on this side of the House accused my hon. friend of suffering from amnesia?
I did not say that; my hon. friend has misunderstood me. I say that the Minister of Finance referred to amnesia, which means loss of memory. If I said that anybody on that side of the House accused him I take it back, because that was not my intention at all. What I want to assure you of, Mr. Speaker, is that the hon. member for Edmonton was not suffering from amnesia, but that he was suffering from aphasia or aphemia; that is, impossible articulation-he could not say the word ' Macdonald.' He made some strange statements. I did not know that such a good-natured man could be so pessimistic
as that hon. gentleman was that afternoon. He said that Canada stands by herself today as a country of depression in the face of the most magnificent crop ever harvested.
I think that the hon. gentleman knows better than that. I think he knows very well that the depression to-day is
world-wide. Were it not so the depression which we may have in Canada to-day would not be so severe and would not be felt to the extent that it is. But my hon. friend does not agree with other great men in his province. My right hon. friend the Prime Minister the other day referred to the remarks made by the premiers of the different provinces upon this subject. I am not going to refer to all that has been said by the different lieutenant governors of the provinces, but I would like to show what the Hon. Mr. Bulyea, Lieutenant Governor of the Province of Alberta, from which province my hon. friend comes, has to say on this matter. He said on December 16, 1913:-
Since the prorogation of the fourth session of the second legislature of your assembly, the people of the province of Alberta, in common with the whole civilized world-
The hon. member for Edmonton thinks it is confined to Canada, but Mr. Bulyea, with the responsibility of his high position, stated that the people of the Province of Alberta, in common with the whole civilized world-
-have felt the strain of a severe financial depression, which, I am pleased to say, is now lessening. .
He goes on to say:-
Notwithstanding the stringency, however, general business throughout the province has been good. The population has largely increased with the natural consequences, increase in buildings and improvements, and with the unmatched harvest with which it has pleased an all-wise Providence to reward the labour of our farmers. The prospects of all classes of people in the province are better than ever before.
That is not very pessimistic, yet that is what the Lieutenant Governor of Alberta thinks. I said that my constituents sent me down here to congratulate the Government upon the splendid manner in which they have fulfilled their promises. There are some things that the farmers who have been coming down from Western Canada in recent years have been asking for. To be provincial for a moment, we have been asking for years for the extension of our boundaries; that is No. 1. We have been asking for a reduction of freight and express rates, we have been asking for a government system of terminal elevators
and we have been asking for aid to agriculture, aid to roads and the Hudson's Bay railway. I think that hon. gentlemen on both sides will agree with me that these were the chief requisitions of the people who came down from Western Canada, and I say without fear of contradiction that not one of these requests was granted by our friends opposite. What about the extension of our boundaries ? We were the little province of Manitoba for years, termed the postage stamp province. I said in this House before, and I want to repeat it, that I am pot provincial. If we are to have a great country here we must get away from provincialism and must try to advocate what is in the best interests of the whole country no matter from whatever province we may come. But we did feel in Manitoba that we were not being treated with that fairness which we had a right to expect. We were the pioneer province out west and no one has a higher estimation of that western country than I have. I have lived in that country since 1882 and I have practically grown up with the people there, but yet I say that we are interdependent one upon the other in every part of this country. Manitoba, as I say, is the pioneer province. It is the province that taught the people that the western country was worth living in. It is the province that taught the people from Ontario and other parts of Canada who went into Saskatchewan and Alberta that what Manitoba had done could be done in these western provinces and it is being done to-day. We were kept down for many years to a province of 72,000 square miles, while Ontario on the east had 250,000 square miles, and Saskatchewan on the west had 250,000 square miles, the responsibility for which fact I lay at the door of hon. gentlemen opposite. The right hon. gentleman who leads the Opposition, for some reason or other-I am not going to say what-refused time and again to-give us our rights and to extend our boundaries. But the people of this country said that they would formulate a new government, the Borden Government came into power in 1911, in 1912 our boundaries were extended and instead of having
72,000 square miles we have now 250,000 square miles, or a territory about equal to that of the province of Saskatchewan, and equal to what the province of Ontario had. That is one of the things that the farmers of Manitoba were asking for, and it is one of the things that they got from the present Government.
What about transportation ? If you
could have heard the hon. member for Assiniboia (Mr. Turriff) going through Souris, and no doubt other parts of the province, and talking about how terribly high freight rates are you might have thought that he really was in earnest in regard to the matter. The freight rates are too high yet. But let me ask him what his Government did to reduce the freight rates. They talked, and talked and talked, but so far as anything to the advantage of Western Canada is concerned they did nothing but talk. The Conservative Government attained power and in 1912 a delegation came from the West which presented a petition to the present Minister of Railways, who, in proper course, sent it to the late Chairman of the Rail-way Commission, Mr. Mabee, in the death of whom the country has sustained a great loss. There is on file a letter from Mr. Mabee stating that this petition was the first intimation he ever had received that the farmers of the West were asking for reduced freight rates. But the present Minister of Railways took further action. He referred the whole matter to the Railway Commission and the lawyers were appointed to represent the people before that commission and a remedy was demanded, and ever since the Railway Commission has been wrestling with the question. We have heard our friends opposite speaking a great deal about Mr. Cowan, who appeared before the commission on behalf of the provinces, and Mr. Cowan has proved himself a most efficient advocate of the rights of the people, and he has done good work for the Western provinces, but Mr. Cowan or no other man would ever have had opportunity to advocate reduced freight rates if the late Government had stayed in power. It was not until the Conservative Government took the helm of state that the Railway Commission was asked to take up seriously the disposal of this very important question. Then, with regard to express rates, Mr. Mabee stated in the communication to which I have referred that he had previously heard of the demand for the reduction of express rates, and although that matter came before the Railway Commission in 1904, it was not until 1910 that a decision was arrived at and then a report was made against the reduction of express rates in Canada. That was under the late Government; but, what did the present Government do? It has not been in power long, but it has had time to have the express rates dealt with and a reduction of twenty per cent made in these rates west of Sud-[Mr. SchaffnerJ.
bury. That is a very good beginning and no doubt other reductions will come in due course. But what will do more than anything else to reduce freight rates in Canada is the inauguration of the parcels post system by the present Government. So far as I know, we heard nothing of the parcels post system under the late Government, but we have heard considerable about it since the present Government came into power. I have no doubt that in inaugurating the parcels post system the Government is facing difficulties which the ordinary member of parliament and the people outside are unable to appreciate, but they have to encourage them the splendid success of the parcels post system in the United States. No doubt the Government of the United States instituted its parcels post system with many misgivings, but the results have been most satisfactory and no doubt far and away beyond the anticipation of the United States Government. I trust the parcels post system will be as successful in Canada as in the United States, and I believe more than anything else will its success enable us to get reduced express rates in Western Canada.
May I refer to the energetic action of this Government in prosecuting the Hudson Bay railway project? In every election from 1896 to 1911, while the Liberals were in power, they used it as a political football, and they were always promising to build the Hudson Bay railway, but that promise they never fulfilled. The position of the Hudson Bay railway, when the Liberals left power, was, that there were a few piers erected in the Saskatchewan river at The Pas, and that was all. But what is the position to-day? The Government now in power is rushing that railroad to completion with great energy; I believe the contracts have all been let, and that some 160 miles are graded. And not only that, but the Government is proceeding energetically with the construction of terminals at Hudson bay, so that everything may be ready when the railway comes to be operated. And, what are some of the Liberal papers (I hope not all of them) doing to-day? They are trying to prejudice what has been done by the Government to make possible the safe navigation of the Hudson bay, that body of water which I believe the good Lord put there for the benefit of the people of the prairie provinces, and especially the people of Saskatchewan and Alberta. The Liberal papers are complaining because out of ten or twelve ships sent to navigate these uncharted waters one or two have
met with misfortune and have not been able to entirely unload their cargoes. When we take into consideration the marvellous success the Government has had in .the difficult work they have undertaken in connection with the Hudson Bay Railway project, it is a matter in respect to which every Canadian should feel proud.
Amongst some of the things to the credit of this Government, I might mention the enlargement of the boundaries of Manitoba, the reduction of freight rates and express rates, and the aid given to agriculture. My hon. friend (Mr. Oliver) spoke of the freight congestion in 1911, and the consequent loss sustained by the farmers of Manitoba through not being able to get their grain to the market. Of course, no fair-minded man should blame the present Government for the conditions which existed with respect to the crop of 1911, because the Government had only a short time before come to power and had not had the opportunity to provide facilities for the transportation of the crop of that year. But what about the con-ditioas in 1912? The hon. member (Mr. Oliver) says that while there was great congestion in 1911 there was partial congestion in 1912, and for that small concession on his part I suppose we must be thankful. But the fact is that never before were there such facilities for the transportation of the grain crop as in 1913. There may have been a few points in the West which did not get all the cars they needed, but I do not believe there is a single man on either side of the House who will say there has been any real shortage of cars in the three prairie provinces in 1913, or that the grain crop was not expeditiously taken to market. Under the progressive and businesslike Government now in power, transportation facilities were improved and the farmers of the West reaped enormous advantages thereby. The western farmers asked for Government owned terminal elevators and under the efficient supervision of our Grain Commission one is in operation at Fort William, and internal terminal elevators are being erected at various points in the West. My hon. friend spent some time discussing free wheat, and told us what we had lost by not being able to ship our wheat to the United States. When he went through Macdonald, he said that we had lost from $1,000,000 to $5,000,000 because of that. That figure has grown since, until the other night he said we had lost from $5,000,000 to $8,000,000. He argues on the basis that every bushel of wheat shipped from western Canada would go across the border, which is certainly ridiculous. The
farmers of Macdonald knew that it was ridiculous. My hon. friend went there in 1912. My friend from Assiniboia (Mr. Turriff) did not go then. There were reasons why he did not go-I mean no disparagement of him at all, but he did not go. This year he went, and my hon. friend from Edmonton went through that constituency talking about free food. In his speech on the 1st of December he sayr 'You must fight; when you see a head hit it.' Well, a head got hit, and it has not yet recovered. He went through the splendid constituency of Macdonald, and he said: We have got a new p'olicy-it was so well put the other day-momentarily, a new policy for the moment. But he explained that policy of free food, told all about it, told about the terrible things that the present Government had done, and what the Liberal party would do for the people. Now the constituents of Macdonald are nearly all farmers. What was the result? What could be the result of a speech like that, a speech similar to that which he delivered before the House the other night, and which I trust you will all read carefully? What did the constituents of Macdonald do? They raised the previous majority of 784 to about 1,000. That was the result of this splendid speech, and the splendid arguments that you listened to the other night.
Was there any talk about free wheat in Macdonald?
Yes, there was talk about free wheat in Macdonald, and there was talk about protection in Pictou, and my hon. friend talks protection when he is down in Pictou.
What did the Minister of Public Works (Mr. Rogers) say about free wheat?
Well, I have nothing to do with the Minister of Public Works. If you ask him, he will tell you. He can take care of himself. He has been able to do so so far.
I want to say something with respect to agricultural education. Education is a good thing, no matter in what department it is, whether in regard to agriculture or engineering. This Government promises to give $10,000,000, at the rate of $1,000,000 a year, in aid of agricultural education. This Government will be derelict to their duty if they do not increase that sum before the end
of ten years to $50,000,000, and I believe that will be done.
I used to have conversations, in the House and out of it, with the late Minister of Agriculture. I said to him: 'Mr. Fisher, your experimental farms are good things, but I know from experience, living not very far from the experimental farm at Brandon, that they are not doing the work.' He said:
' Why? ' * Well,' I said, ' Mr. Fisher, it is because they are not reaching the people.' That is my opinion, but the people are somewhat to blame. The people should take advantage of these experimental farms; they should visit them, but, as a matter of fact, very few do so. Now what is this aid to agricultural education doing towards taking the work of the experimental farms to the people? We got this year, I think, about $50,000, and that, with the additional sum granted by the Provincial Government, has enabled the Minister of Agriculture of the province of Manitoba, Hon. George Lawrence, to establish in every local constituency that asks for it, a forty acre plot right in the neighbourhood of the people, where all classes of people, coming to town or going out of town, would pass by and thus see the results. To me that is a splendid example of affording agricultural education. If we wanted an example, we could refer to Belgium and France. Belgium farms produce $50,000,000 more annually than they did twenty-five years ago, at a cost, for every kind of agricultural education, of not more than $200,000 a year.
These are the things that the farmers came down here asking for, enlargement of boundaries, reduction of freight rates, reduction of express rates, Government owned terminal elevators, parcel post, aid to agricultural education and aid to roads. If I have heard the late Government condemned for any one thing more than another, except the navy, it has been for throwing out the Bill for good roads. One way of helping to reduce the high cost of living is to keep the men on the farms, the boys and girls on the farms. Nothing will keep the girls and boys on the farms more than to give them good roads. In the constituency of Souris the people have felt very keenly the fact that the Senate saw fit, under the direction of the right hon. the leader of the Opposition, (Sir Wilfrid Lau-rier) to throw out the Highways Bill.
Would the hon. member have confidence in the Manitoba Government to spend the money properly?
Why, certainly. Is there anybody on earth who has not confidence in the Manitoba Government?
Why did not the hon. gentleman induce the (Government to accept the Senate amendment?