February 25, 1916

CON

Thomas Wilson Crothers (Minister of Labour)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CROTHERS:

We are not discussing that just'now.

Topic:   THE BUDGET.
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LIB

Rodolphe Lemieux

Liberal

Mr. LEMIEUX:

The rate of expenditure during the short term of office of my hon.

friend has been simply scandalous as compared with the rate of expenditure during my time.

Topic:   THE BUDGET.
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CON

Thomas Wilson Crothers (Minister of Labour)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CROTHERS:

I can only say that that statement is also untrue. I do not charge my hon. friend with intentionally making it.

Topic:   THE BUDGET.
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LIB

Rodolphe Lemieux

Liberal

Mr. LEMIEUX:

In Trade and Commerce, the rate of increase has been 905 per cent. That was explained in a way the other day by the Minister of Trade and Commerce, and I am inclined to accept his statement, but the increase is nevertheless abnormally high. In the inspection of staples, the rate of increase has been 98 per cent; in the inspection of weights and measures, gas and electric in-

10 p.m. spection, 25 per cent. I know whereof I speak. If my hon. friend the Postmaster General were in his seat, I would not charge him, because he is, fortunately, not responsible for the maladministration of the Post Office Department; but I would call his attention to the state of things which exists in his department. When I administered the Post Office Department, no contract above $200 was given without tenders being called for; but, since the Hon. Mr. Pelletier took charge of that department, the policy of public tenders has been cast to the winds, and that explains why, three years after the administration of the department by Mr. Pelletier, the expenditure has been more than doubled.

Let me give my hon. friends another instance. The other day I put a question on the Order Paper, asking the Postmaster General how many new appointments had been made in the Quebec post office since 1911. Let me explain to you, Sir, the Quebec post office yields on an average a revenue of $100,000 a year. When I left the department in 1911 there were from 70 to 75 employees in that post office. I will ask my hon. friend the Minister of Labour how many appointments have been made by Mr. Pelletier since lDill ? Did he make no more than fifty appointments to an office which does not yield a revenue of $100,000 a year? No, Mr. Speaker. 'Did he make 75, 100, 150, 200 appointments to that office? Six, Mr. Pelletier appointed in the Quebec post office 255 camp followers in three years. In the Montreal post office there were about 750 to 800 employes in 1911. I am not positive as to the figures, but I am not far astray when I say that there are over 1,500 employees in the Montreal post office today. Is it, then, surprising that the rate

Topic:   THE BUDGET.
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J150 COMMONS


of expenditure should have gone so high as it did during the administration of Mr. Pelletier? I say that his administration in the Post Office Department was a scandal from the day he went in to the day he went out. He has not been fair to his successor, the present Postmaster General, who is a business man and who has a sense of responsibility.


LIB

Frank Broadstreet Carvell

Liberal

Mr. CARVELL:

What are they going to do with the $17,000,000 they are asking for this year?

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LIB

Rodolphe Lemieux

Liberal

Mr. LEMIETJX:

I will say in a moment what the Government ought to do. I am going to appeal to the better instincts of the Prime Minister and the Minister of Finance. I am appealing in this grave national crisis, not to the spoilsmen, but to the Prime Minister, the Minister of Finance, and the Minister nf Trade and Commerce. I say, let us have a round table conference in the House of Commons. Let us form a committee, and let us apply the pruning knife to the scandalous expenditure of the various departments of the Government. When our sons are bleeding on the plains of Flanders; when our wives and sisters are straining every nerve on behalf of the Patriotic Fund, the Red Cross, the Serbian Fund, the Belgian Fund, the Polish Fund, it is a scandal for the Government to maintain such a high rate.of expenditure. The conditions are as I have stated them, Mr. Speaker, and no answer can be given to the charges that I have made. No justification of the expenditure can be offered, because there has been no corresponding increase in population, in trade, in revenue, in business generally. Sir, we are not the only pebbles on the beach. In the other overseas dominions, there are level-headed men. What have they done in South Africa? I quote from the Times of May 22, 1915, which says:

'Steps were at once taken by the Government of South Africa to curtail as far as possible the expenditure for the fiscal year ending March 31.

Regarding India, the Times says in the same issue:

To meet the shrinkage in revenue it has been decided to curtail expenditures, and not to resort to additional taxation. The capital outlay for public works, etc., was reduced by $60,000,000. Australia and. New Zealand adopted a similar policy.

Economy in private life is a golden rule, I think; economy in public life is also a golden rule. But more especially is .it a

golden rule when a country is at war, and when that country is being taxed and overtaxed by its administrators. The Government cannot complain that it has not received warnings. Warnings have come to hon. gentlemen opposite, not only from this side of the House, but from their own friends. A year ago, Sir Edmund Byron Walker, who is probably the counsel and adviser of the Minister of Finance, speaking in Toronto, reminded his hearers that it was the duty of every man, woman and child to do their little part in adding, by extraordinary industry, to the natural store of wealth. Nothing, he counselled, should be bought or built that is not absolutely necessary. He added the following words:

For, in the years to come we shall be binding our backs to a taxation such as in this country, which has been singularly free of taxation, we have never known before; and so also will our children for generations to come.

I say that the Government have received warnings not only from this side of the House- though it is our duty and our business to warn the Government-but from their own friends. Was there not something strange in the language of Lord Shaughnessy the otheT day when he received the news of the Finance Minister's new taxation measure. No Government, no private individual, would have received without a blush the warning contained in his words. After having criticised moderately the measure of-taxation brought down by the Minister of Finance, Lord Shaugh-nessy added the following ominous words:

Every good citizen and reasonable man will loyally stand back of the Finance Minister in the adoption of the plan of action that they find may finally be considered best in the circumstances, but in return, the people of the country will demand, probably more emphatically than ever before, that expenditures in connection with war shall be without wastefulness or extravagance, and that the Minister of Finance, with his colleagues, shall see that the country's money is neither pilfered nor squandered.

Do you think that if the Government were blameless in the administration of the affairs of this country since the beginning of the war: do you think that if the Government had behaved themselves even in the ordinary way, Lord Shaughnessy, a friend of the Government, the mighty president of a mighty company, would have used that language? Mr. Speaker, we live in a British Dominion, under British laws. We have a British form of government; we have British ideals of government. Could you imagine the governor of the bank

of England, or the president of a powerful company in London, or even the bitterest opponent of the Asquith Government, speaking as Lord Shaughnessy ' spoke when giving this timely advice to the Government? Could you imagine any one in England saying to the Government: "Do not pilfer, do not squander the money of the people." Why, Sir, the very warning is an accusation that goes to the heart of the people of Canada.

I for one do not object to being taxed. We have an old French saying: " On Tie va pas a guerre sans qu'il en coute "- no war is carried on without taxation. But taxation, in order to be borne by the people, must be first equitable, and before taxing the people it is the duty of the Government to avoid all unnecessary and extravagant expenditures so as to limit the burden of taxation.

I know what will be the cry of our hon. friends when Parliament is dissolved and when" we on both sides of the House have to face our electors. I can anticipate the excuses given by the Government for this taxation. We have heard some of these already. One hon. gentleman, I think the hon. member for East L,ambton (Mr. Armstrong), said: "Oh, we of the Tpry party

will never be accused of favouring the interests : we have taxed the interests this time." What a shallow excuse, as if last year by that horizontal raising of the tariff by 7i per cent, the minister had not- gone to the very vitals of the consumers of this country. We were told last year that it was a war measure, I doubt it very much. In my humble judgment the raise in the tariff was the payment of the debt which the Tory party owed to the privileged interests, which put them in power in 1911.

The Solicitor General the other day, when fighting the resolution for free wheat, said: " There is no caste system in this country." His remark reminded me of what Mr. Bryce has written in his classical book, " The American Commonwealth." Speaking of those Americans who boast of having no aristocracy in the United States, but that on the contrary, the United States of Amer-, ica are the home of modern democracy, Mr. Bryce says that it is true that there are in the United States of America no kings, no dukes, no counts, no knights. But, he says, if the world changes, the change is only on the surface and the same idols reappear under different names He said: " True, there is a President of the Republic, and surely he is the President of a great democracy; but there is in the United States a silver king

in California; there is a steel king at Pittsburg; there is a cotton king at New Orleans. They are not kings by divine right, but by the rights conferred upon them by privileges-by the tariff, by the trusts, and by the combines."

So there is no caste system in Canada, as the Solicitor General said the other day, but we have privileged interests well entrenched. The millers belong to our Canadian pseudo aristocracy; they fight free wheat in the name of interests which they hold dear and sacred. They fight wider markets; they fight the farmer in order to maintain well entrenched their interests, as the dukes, as the counts, as the knights of old fought behind their walls and behind their castles against serfdom. The Minister of Finance is very much perturbed indeed lest free wheat would make us Canadians dependent on the United States. The same candid gentleman who in 1911 said that Canada should not truck nor trade with the Yankees, in the month of November, 1915, went to New York to borrow $45,000,000 from Pierpont Morgan' and the American money trusts. In the same vein, in order to keep the farmers of the West marking time he predicts for them a preference with the Mother Country.

I wish here to settle a controversial point with the Minister of Finance. The other day he was reciting an Order in Council of the 60's about a request of the Canadian traders and merchants for a preferential agreement to he obtained from the Mother Country, and I said to him that it was the withdrawal of a similar preference which had precipitated the movement for annexation in Canada; that, on the contrary, the granting of reciprocal trade to Canada had been the means of stopping the agitation for annexation. He at once said: "Yes, we obtained reciprocity; but reciprocity was withdrawn; that treaty was abrogated in 1866." We may always learn something from history. The House will pardon me if I venture for a few moments to speak of that particular period of our commercial history, because it shows how hollow is that prediction of a future agreement for mutual preferential trade between England and Canada, and at the same time how foolish is the idea that free wheat would endanger our national standing. In 1911 the Minister of Finance said that if we had reciprocity it would endanger our Canadian nationality, and this year, when our friends from the West

are pleading in vain for free wheat, he says your wheat is liable to lose its identity if it is mixed with American wheat. It would be just as wise to say to the people of the county of Rouville, who grow the finest apples in Canada: "You shall not sell

your beautiful Fameuse apples to England for fear that they may be consumed by the people of Whitechapel instead of by the people living in the mansions of west London." There is as much truth and honesty in this argument as there is in the one given in answer to the unanswerable speech delivered the other day by the hon. member for Edmonton (Mr. Oliver).

Sir, what caused the annexation movement in 1849? It was the repeal of the Corn laws. What was the essence of the Corn laws as regards Canada and some of the other colonies? It was that Canada and the other colonies enjoyed a preference in the British market for certain staple goods, corn included; and it was the abandonment by England of that Imperial preferential policy, and her adoption instead of free trade, whjch created that agitation in Canada in favour of annexation. Our merchants could not compete in the British markets with the exports of the older nations, and our raw products were shut out of the American market by duties as high as thirty per cent. The manifesto, signed by men of all shades of opinion, advocated annexation because the efforts to obtain closer commercial relations with the United- States had failed. Lord Elgin was then the Governor General of Canada, and he was by no means a free trader. I wonder if my hon. friend the Minister of Finance has read Walrond's " Letters and Journals of Lord Elgin." I would recommend him to read the following passage:

How long: can such a state of things be expected to endure?. .1 am confident I could carry Canada unscathed through all these evils of transition, and place the connection on a surer foundation than ever, if I could only tell the people of the Province, that, as regards the conditions of material prosperity, they would be raised to a level with their neighbours.

Writing to Lord Grey, he says:

You have a great opportunity before you. Obtain reciprocity for us, and I venture to predict that you will be able shortly to point to this hitherto turbulent colony with satisfaction, in illustration of the tendency of self government and freedom of trade to beget contentment and material progress. -

Lord Elgin was authorized to negotiate the reciprocity treaty with the Washington Government. He concluded that treaty in

1854, and it was much wider than the Fielding-Knox pact of 1911. It was, it is true, abrogated by Congress in 1866, but that was in consequence of the difference between England and the United States during the Civil War. So that reciprocity was a cure for the evil of annexation in Canada, and reciprocity helped tire people of Canada to get substantial and remunerative markets for their products in the United States. The result is worth mentioning. In 1854, the exports of the farmers of Canada to the United States amounted to only $10,473,000. In 1855, they amounted to $19,368,000, and in 1866 to $39,950,000. Sir John A. Macdonald, who was jusit as good an Imperialist as the Minister of Finance, was most anxious in 1865 that the treaty should he renewed. In 1878, when he was leader of the Opposition, he moved an amendment to the Budget of that year. He declared that his policy,

moving, as it ought to do, in the direction of a reciprocity of tariffs with our neighbours so far as the varied interests of Canada may demand, will greatly tend to procure for this country, eventually, a reciprocity of trade.

In the tariff of 1879, which was the foundation of the so-called National Policy, there was that famous standing offer in which wheat, barley, rye, Indian corn, buckwheat, and all other grains; flour of wheat, and flour of rye, Indian meal, oatmeal and flour meal, were enumerated. We have there the standing offer of reciprocity to the United States, made by the Chieftain of the Conservative party.

But my hon. friend who is siding with the millers and the interests now implores the farmers of Western Canada to wait patiently until this war is over, when new arrangements will be made with the home Government to obtain a mutual preference. The answer to this is easy to make. First of all, this mutual preference policy lias been to our knowledge defeated twice in England within the last 15 years. We are told that after this war new fiscal relations will exist after the war as between the the Dominion. As to that, Mr. Speaker, l believe that, in the loftier sense, new relations will exist after the war between the dominions and the Mother Country, but 1 say that those relations will not involve the putting of shackles on British trade. The answer to that contention has been given by Mr. Runeiman, the President of the British Board of Trade. Speaking on the 10th of January of this year, in reply to a speech delivered by Mr. Hewins in the British

House of Commons, he used the following language:

The idea of free trade as between the Allies is even more difficult than complete free trade between different parts of the Empire. As he truly pointed out, the action of our Empire has been more individualistic than that of any other Empire in the world. The individual policy of the dominions is not likely to be modified as far as we can see in any measureable time. They are determined to raise revenue in their own way and to foster their industry in their own way, and I think we must dismiss the idea of free trade within the Empire. So far as the zollverein, if you include the Allies as well, is concerned, I would point out that the difficulties are very great. I am certain if a zollverein between this Empire ana the Allies were necessary to end the war successfully a zollverein we should have, for there is no arrangement which we are not prepared to make in order to bring the war to a successful conclusion.

So that Mr. Runciman, the President of the British Board of Trade, dismisses the idea of any zollverein between the various sections of the Empire. He says that if it is necessary and possible to have a zollverein between the Allies-not with the overseas dominions-during the war, in - order to end the war, he is ready to advocate it as a war measure. Therefore the sentimental promise of my hon. friend the Minister of Finance to the unfortunate farmers of the West is a sorry substitute for a plain, honest and businesslike answer.

I do not purpose to go very deeply into the taxation measure which has been propounded by my hon. friend, because it is easy to see that he has already been bombarded by the business men in the country with petitions and protests, and that his Bill will be quite different from the resolution he has introduced. I shall therefore await the Bill before criticising its proposals. But, with your permission, Sir, I may he allowed to read the mild criticism of his predecessor, Mr. Fielding, the man who administered successfully the affairs of this country during 15 years, who gave Canada the British preference, and who piled up in successive years surpluses which unfortunately have been spent so lavishly since our friends opposite took office. In the Journal of -Commerce of Tuesday, February 23, Mr. Fielding -says:

The retroactive character of the proposal is a good ground for objection, except perhaps in the case of the munition makers. These had very large profits during the past years-larger, probably, than they will have in the current year-and the retroactive provision doubtless was designed to reach them. But the general application of the tax to business from the beginning of the war, on August 4, 1914, is likely to be the cause of considerable trouble

73 <

affecting, as it does, parties interested in transactions which were long ago settled and closed.

Mr. Fielding goes on to say:

The minister has endeavoured to define what is " capital " for the purpose of his scheme, but the definition, as it stands, will not work out equitably. The holder of a watered stock, which has now become profitable, will escape the tax, because his dividend is less than 7 per cent on the par value of the shares, but on the price he paid-if there was originally any price -his dividend is 15 or 20 per cent on the real capital invested. While this lucky fellow escapes. the holder of shares of a more substantial character, purchased at a high premium, is taxed, because his dividend on the par value is 8 or 10 per cent, though in reality it is only 4 or 5 per cent on his investment. This is one of the most vulnerable parts of the minister's plan.

Bat I understand from the remarks inter-[DOT] jected into this debate by the Minister of Finance that on this question of the definition of the capital of companies he intends, when his Bill is introduced, to give more satisfactory explanations than are found in the resolution as it appears here.

Speaking for myself only, I say that the tax on the war profits of the munition makers is not high enough. We all know fhat their profits have been abnormally high and I say that a tax of 50 per cent would possibly satisfy me with the retroactive clause. But a tax on industry, on business, is objectionable and a retroactive clause applied as against legitimate business and trade is nothing short of confiscation. This tax on business and trade will discourage investment of capital in industrial enterprises. It will prevent the flow of American capital into Canada. I know, as a matter of fact, and I will read the letter when we reach the committee stage, that an American capitalist who had decided to open at least four or five different establishments in Montreal, on reading the resolution introduced the other day by the Minister of Finance, decided to return to the United States and concentrate his business there.

We all know that there can be no war without heavy interest charges to pay. Some day, after this war is over, our customs and excise will not -suffice to pay our interest charges. Then we will have, -as a Government, to face a new measure of taxation. W'hat is the fair and equitable system to be adopted in such a contingency? I say-and I speak for myself only -I commit no one to my views-that there is only one principle of equity and fairness, and it is the introduction of the income tax. Will the Minister of Finance

allow me to refer him to the classics? Will he allow me to read some lines written on the subject by masters in political economy? Let me refer him to Adam Smith in "The Wealth of Nations," book 5, chapter 2. He says:

The subjects of every stati? ought to contribute to the support of the Government as nearly as possible In proportion to their respective abilities; that is, in proportion to the revenue which they respectively enjoy under the protection of the state. The expense of government to individuals of a great nation is like the expense of management to the joint tenants of a great estate, who are all obliged to contribute in proportion to their respective interests in the estate.

Let me read now what is said by Adolphe Thiers, the first President of the Third Republic, who served the French monarchy under the Restoration, and who opposed the second Empire in the time of Napoleon III. M. Thiers said-

Every kind of revenue, without exception, ought to contribute to the needs of the state, for ail depend upon it for their existence. Every exemption from taxation is an injustice.

.. . Society is a company of mutual insurance, in which each man should pay the risk in proportion to the amount of property insured... . Society is a company, in which each man has more or less shares, and it is just that each should pay in proportion to their number, whether they be ten, or a hundred, or a thousand, but always according to the same rate imposed on all. There should be one rule for all, nothing more or less.

Let it he well understood that I speak for myself only. I do not propose to the Government the introduction of an income tax at the present moment; but I say that the day will come, after this war is over, when, this country being saddled with a huge war debt, the Government will have to adopt the system which has been propounded by Adam Smith in his "Wealth of Nations" and by Adolphe Thiers. I invite the Minister of Finance to read again these classics on political economy, in order to find a better system .than has been devised by him to meet the exigencies of the present situation.

One word more and I am through. I wish, as a French-Canadian, or, if you please, as a Canadian of French descent, to offer my most hearty thanks to the hon. member for West Middlesex (Mr. Ross), and to the hon. member for North Simcoe (Mr. Currie) for the words which' they . spoke in praise of my old Motherland, France. It is well that we should speak of the existing relations between France and England at this tragic moment, when France is fighting so valiantly to stem the

tide of barbarian hordes around Verdun. For many a century England and France were enemies, but they were not enemies in the sense that Germany is an enemy to the civilized countries of the world. Even Sir Philip Sydney himself always spoke of France as "la douce ennemie de l'Angle-terre "-the sweet enemy of England. You. Sir, will remember that when the English and the French were facing each other at Fontenoy the commander of the French very gallantly said, "Tirez les premiers messieurs les Anglais." To one of French descent who has travelled in Europe and lived here in Canada under British institutions, it is always difficult to realize that England and France should for centuries have lived in a state of hostility. 1 read not many years ago a book which well reflects the sentiments which France entertained. for England during the latter part of the last century. The book was written by a French lady residing just across the channel on the French coast, and was published under the very suggestive title of "Pile Inconnue"-the unknown isle. In a lesser degree we might say that the average Englishman of that day spoke of France as a " terra incognita." The two races did not understand each other, because of secular conflicting interests, until our good and gracious King Edward VII established the entente cordiale, which I know will endure as long as the French-and British live. The admiration of my English-speaking friends for the courage and bright qualities displayed by the French in this war seems to be a little mingled with astonishment. Mr. Speaker, I find nothing astonishing in the brilliant part played by France in this war. It is not a new France which is fighting to-day so nobly and so valiantly against the Hun. France is what she has ever been, the knight errant of civilization, of justice and of freedom. I have heard many people in days gone by speak of the French frivolity. My answer to that is the same as was given by the American war correspondent who accompanied the French troops the days following the glorious retreat from the Marne. "A frivolous people? Why," he said, "they are the most thoughtful people in the world; their frivolity is nothing but a disguise. There is no miraculous regeneration in France. You cannot remould a nation's soul in a day, ire a week or in a year." Mr. Speaker, the France of Poincare, of Joffre, of Castelnau, of Pau, of Foch is the France of Joan of Arc, of

Desaix, of Hoche and of Marceau. Her internal dissensions of the past are but evidence of the intense intellectuality of the French people, and of their keen pursuit of ideals. No, Mr. Speaker, it is the same old France. Even one of our enemies, Count von Bulow, says in his book, " Imperial Germany": "It is a peculiarity of the French nation that they place <- spiritual needs above material ones." I can quite understand that a prapounder of German kultur thought this peculiar.

Before concluding, I should just like to give the House a description of the French by a Frenchman, and a Frenchman of no mean ability, Alexis de Tocqueville, who wrote on the American democracy more than half a .century ago/ I think, after listening to this, the House will better understand how France is France and how the French are the French:

When I contemplate this nation itself, it strikes me as more extraordinary than' any of the events in its history. Was there ever in this world a people so full of contrasts, so extreme in each one of its actions, more guided by emotions and less by principles? Thus always doing better or worse than was expected, at one time below the common level of humanity, at another far above it; a people so stable in their principal instincts that they are still recognizable in portraits that were drawn two or three thousand years ago, and at the same time so changeable in their daily thoughts and in their tastes, that they themselves are finally astonished at the spectacle they present, and are often as surprised as foreigners at the sight of what they have just done ; the most stay-at-home creatures of habit when left to themselves, but once they have been forced, against * their will, to abandon their accustomed dwellings and uses, ready to carry all before them to the ends of the earth, and to dare anything; intractable by nature, and nevertheless submitting with a better grace to the arbitrary and even brutal rule of a prince, than to the orderly and free government of the principal citizens; one day the avowed enemy of all allegiance, the next day serving with such a passionate devotion as even the nations most prone to servitude cannot attain; people who can be guided by a thread as long as no one resists, but who become ungovernable as soon as the example to resist is given anywhere; thus always deceiving their masters who fear them either too little or too much; never so free that it is hopeless to try and subjugate them, nor so utterly enslaved that they cannot throw off the yoke; qualified for anything, but excelling only in war; worshipping chance, force, success, show and glamour, rather than true glory; more capable of' heroism than of virtue, of genius than of common sense, -better able to conceive immense schemes than to consummate great undertakings; the most brilliant and the most dangerous of the nations of Europe.

And he concludes with the following sentence, which is often quoted:

And the most apt to become in turn an object of admiration, haired, pity, and terror, but never one of indifference.

This is France as depicted by one of the foremost French writers and thinkers. I said a moment ago that for many centuries the French and the English of the old world did not know nor appreciate each other well. So it is ,so it has been between the English-speaking and the French-speaking Canadians. May I say to my Englishspeaking fellow-members, after having sat in this Parliament for twenty years, counting as many friends amongst the English as amongst the French, knowing my compatriots as I know them, understanding their traditions and their aspirations, that they are one of the best assets of the British Empire. Bear always in mind that their language and their traditions are a barrier, not to British influence, not to, British civilization, not to British ideals, but to Americanization, which is- admittedly the greatest danger of Canada.

In conclusion, may we not hope that this war,_ in which French-Canadians and Eng-lish-Canadians fight and die for the same ideals, may be the promise of a brotherhood exhibiting harmony and strength at home, may substitute for disunion, misery and contention, the actual arrival and the yet richer promise of a reign of peace for our common country.

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CON

George Henry Bradbury

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. G. H. BRADBURY (Selkirk):

Mr. Speaker, at this late hour I do not intend to enter into a discussion following my hon. friend (Mr. Lemieux), who has delivered such an eloquent speech. I have risen for the purpose of criticising just for a few moments some of the remarks which have fallen from the lips of the member for Assi-niboia (Mr. Turriff). We have read a good deal during the last few months of the sniping that is going on at the front, that most cowardly kind of fighting in which men hide themselves in a bush and shoot those-who have no chance to defend themselves t but there is political sniping going on in this House of such a nature that is utterly unworthy of any man either in or out of the House. I am very sorry that the hon. member is not in his seat, because I would like him to hear what I have to say regarding a statement which he made in reference to a loyal citizen of Canada. I had just left the Chamber or I would have called him to order when he made the statement, but after I came back I was informed of what he said. Speaking of

some of the employees of the Public Works Department, he said:

Some years ago, when my hon. friend the Minister of Public Works canje into power, he was very ready at firing men and putting Germans into their places.

That statement is absolutely without foundation, and the hon. gentleman ought to have known that. He went on to say:

In charge of the dredging works at the mouth of the Red river he has a man named Sw.eney, a pro-German.

That statement is also absolutely incorrect and without the slightest foundation. Tt is unfair, and, if I dared use the language that I feel like using, I would use much stronger language in regard to it. The hon. gentleman who made this statement in this House regarding Mr. Sweeney, would not dare repeat it outside the 'precincts of th-s House, because the laws of the country would call him to account for it. He said further:

If you went into his office at any time, you would find him, with his feet up on the desk and a cigar in his mouth, reading p:o-German oaners, and every time the British lost anything in the way of a battle, he was exulting over every one that came within sound of his voice' when the Germans won a battle, he was 111 happiness. That is the class of man who lias been brought down east and put m charge of the Toronto harbour improvements.

The hon. gentleman has been stuffed by some one who has told him what is absolutely untrue and who has made* him convey to the House and to the country statements that are absolutely unfounded and - untrue. There should be some fairness on both sides regarding public officials. I have known Mr. Sweeney ever since he came to Winnipeg to take up a position m the Public Works Department. He is, without any exception, one of the brightest young engineers in Canada.

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LIB
CON

George Henry Bradbury

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BRADBURY:

He is not a German.

He is a loyal Canadian; lie is a British citizen, and lie has done what the hon. member for Assiniboia (Mr. Turriff) lias not done; he has volunteered and joined Colonel Sharpe's regiment, the 184th. Yesterday he told me in the corridors of this House that he had asked the Minister of Public Works two weeks ago to relieve him in order that he might join Colonel Sharpe's regiment. He has given up a position worth $4,000 a year in order to don His Majesty's uniform and fight for the Empire. The conduct of the hon. member is unmanly, unfair, and unjust, and should not be permitted frpm [Mr. Bradbury.!

any member of this House. I cannot help thinking that the hon. gentleman who has been guilty of this gross unfairness owes to Mr. Sweeney a public apology, and I believe that, when this matter is drawn to his attention to-morrow, he will be man enough to get up in this House and take back what he has said.

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LIB

Frank Broadstreet Carvell

Liberal

Mr. CARVELL:

Can -the hon. member

tell me if the gentleman who is under discussion was engaged in work in St. John some two or three years ago?

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CON

George Henry Bradbury

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BRADBURY:

I believe he was.

On motion of Mr. Oliver, the debate was adjourned.

On motion of Mr. Hazen, the House adjourned at 11.05 p.m.

Monday, February 28, 1916.

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February 25, 1916