February 24, 1921

UNI L

Thomas Alexander Crerar

Unionist (Liberal)

Mr. CRERAR:

My hon. friend cannot

trade with Europe. He cannot trade with Australia, because Australia cannot pay him. Where is he going to trade? Or is he going to surround this country with a high board fence and neither climb out nor

permit anybody else to climb in? If he does so, I venture the opinion that that course will not get him very far.

What are the figures of our growing trade with the United States? In 1910 we exported $110,000,000 worth of goods to that country. In 1912 that figure had grown to $112,000,000; in 1914 to $176,000,000; in 1918 to $440,000,000, and in 1920, the year that has passed, our exports to our southern neighbour had grown to $560,000,000. Is not that a desirable market to cultivate-the one to which your exports are growing, and which promises to take more and more still as time goes on? It is the eminently sensible thing to do.

I should like to say a word also in criticism of some of my hon. friends opposite who rather hold up the bogey of adverse exchange with the United States as a reason why we should cease trading with that country. The argument has been advanced that we should cease buying from the United States because they will not pay the full value of our Canadian dollar. Well, you might as well have the argument from an importer in the United States that he will not buy from Canada because we charge him a premium on his dollar when we sell to him. But as a matter of fact this condition, as was pointed out in this House a year ago, is not due alone to an adverse balance of trade with the United States. If my hon. friend opposite think that it is how do they account for this fact; that while in January a year ago the adverse balance of trade as between Canada and the United States was over $31,000,000, and our dollar was at a discount of a little less than nine per cent, in the month of December last, when the adverse balance of trade as between Canada and the United States was only $4,000,000, the discount on our dollar had grown to 19 per cent. If the discount on our dollar is due to the adverse balance of trade, why does it not tend to correct itself as the balance of trade tends to right itself. As a matter of fact, if we examine the trade figures as between Canada and the United States for past years, we shall find that ten years ago, fifteen years ago, the adverse balance of trade between Canada and the United States was relatively much greater than it is to-day. There can be no doubt that this market is a very valuable one for Canada, Moreover, I am commencing to note, amongst the business interests of Canada, a recognition of the need for extending our markets. A few

weeks ago; Mr. John Galt, President of the Union Bank of Canada, made this statement at the annual meeting of that institution :

It is clearly now the critical hour and the commercial flag of Canada should be carried into every available market abroad.

The policy of my hon. friends opposite is to keep goods out of the country and to prevent goods from going out of the country.

Topic:   THE GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH.
Subtopic:   ADDRESS IN REPLY.
Permalink
?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Oh, no.

Topic:   THE GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH.
Subtopic:   ADDRESS IN REPLY.
Permalink
UNI L

Thomas Alexander Crerar

Unionist (Liberal)

Mr. CRERAR:

My hon. friends have a very dim and misty understanding of the elementary principles of trade. Mr. Galt stated further:

A larger vision and determination of this kind is necessary. We must either go forward or go back, and it cannot be thought that we are to recede into the position of a country that merely produces for home consumption, when we have demonstrated that we have the means and capacity for world competition in almost any avenue of trade.

That is a note I like to hear sounded by our business men throughout Canada-a note of optimism and courage.

A short time afterwards, Sir Herbert Holt, at the annual meeting of the Royal Bank, made a similar statement, as follows:

Only by increasing the sale of Canadian commodities can we avoid increasing our foreign indebtedness. Never, even in war time, was it so essential to increase our exports. A duty falls on manufacturers to produce articles of a quality and a price that will compare favourably with foreign makes and on our agricultural interests to increase production.

I agree with every word of these declarations. They are wise and sound and courageous words. Ten years ago we had an offer of reciprocity with the United States in natural products, and to the great misfortune of Canada that proposition was turned down at that time. I was sincerely glad to know that the Minister of Trade and Commerce (Sir George Foster), in a recent address delivered in New York, spoke of the need of neighbourliness as between these two countries. I cordially agreed with every word he uttered. We should avoid anything that will tend to create animosities. But while the Minister of Trade and Commerce was pleading in New York for neighbourliness, some of his colleagues were denouncing our neighbours to the south because they were giving us only eighty or ninety cents for our Canadian dollar. My hon. friends should endeavour to be consistent in their policy in respect to this matter.

I am satisfied our Canadian manufacturers can hold their own in the American field. One of the strongest arguments used in Canada against the adoption of reciprocity was that if in return for the free entry of our wheat into the United States we permitted the free entry of United States flour and wheat into Canada, our Canadian millers would go by the board and their business would cease to exist. Is that borne out by the facts? We have had this condition in this country for the last several years, and what are the facts to-day? In the last four months our Canadian mills have exported on an average over 175,000 barrels of flour a month to the United States market, and that market is now becoming one of the most important markets for our Canadian millers. The fact is that we produce in this country things that are essential to the United States, and we should cultivate, in the most friendly way, the possibilities of developing that market for our products. Canada is a country of illimitable natural resources, we have one of the finest agricultural countries in the world; we have vast areas of timber and mineral wealth, and vast fisheries. What are we going to do with these? Let us develop these industries that are natural to the country, seek markets abroad, and as you seek markets abroad and your commerce expands., the wealth and prosperity of your country will expand as well. Our manufacturers are too timid; they are like timid children, afraid of the dark. You know, when a child goes into the dark, how timid it is, and after all there are no dangers there. But if our Canadian manufacturers will develop initiative and resourcefulness, and the capacity to stand on their feet without favour from the Government, they can hold their own in any market in the world, because they have in this country the natural conditions that will support them in doing so.

Topic:   THE GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH.
Subtopic:   ADDRESS IN REPLY.
Permalink
LIB

William Cameron Edwards

Liberal

Mr. EDWARDS:

Did the reciprocity

agreement recognize the fact which my hon. friend has stated?

Topic:   THE GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH.
Subtopic:   ADDRESS IN REPLY.
Permalink
UNI L

Thomas Alexander Crerar

Unionist (Liberal)

Mr. CRERAR:

The reciprocity agreement went only a short step in the right direction. There is, however, one other criticism that I have to make, in the most friendly way, of the Minister of Trade and Commerce (Sir George Foster), and that is that the Department of Trade and Commerce is not at the present time discharging its duty in respect to the development of trade with our great neighbour to the

v_

South. What are thd conditions? The United States Government has to-day in Canada over one hundred consuls, the great majority of these being in reality trade agents. You find them scattered over this country from the Pacific to the Atlantic. What are they doing? They are, in their way, quite properly, placing with prospective Canadian customers the advantages of trading with and buying from firms in the United States. We have agents abroad, but where do we find them? We have a trade agent in the Argentine Republic; we have one in Australia; we have one in Brazil; we have trade representatives in China; we'have them in New Zealand, in Italy, in France, in Holland and in South Africa; but we have not one in the United States. I would suggest, I hope in a spirit of constructiveness, the need, the advisability of the department over which my right hon. friend presides, getting busy in this direction. We have our greatest customers to the South. More than one-half of the trade of Canada is done with the United States, and in that direction lies the best opportunity we have in the near years approaching for the development and extension of our trade. The United States is changing. We hear at present a good deal of talk in the newspapers of the Fordney Bill, and of what the Republican party may do when it comes into office a few weeks hence. Any business man who is familiar with the present condition of public opinion in the United States is aware of this fact that there is not in the Republican party that strength of support for a protective tariff that there was a number of years ago. I have noticed that very prominent men in the Republican party are doubting the wisdom of the application of the principle of protection to American industries. And they are wise.

What is the position of the United States? The last census revealed the fact that in the United States proper there is a population of 106,000,000 people. Almost two-thirds of those live in incorporated towns and cities; one-third live in hamlets and unincorporated villages and in the rural districts. In the United States there

are to-day two people eating foodfor every one that produces. Whatwill be the condition twenty yearsfrom now- -thirty years from now?

Possibly many present here will live to see that country with a population of 200,000,000 people, and is it not the part of wisdom to develop our resources, to develop our agriculture, so that we will be in a

position to supply them with the foodstuffs they will inevitably need? They are buying foodstuffs from us to-day. Last year they took $150,000,000 of the foodstuffs we produced, and among this $30,000,000 worth of live stock. One of the best markets the western farmer has had for his wheat for the past five months has been the country to the south of us and a good many are looking with doubt and some trepidation as to what may happen the great industry of agriculture in this country should the United States again raise the barriers against Canada that existed prior to 1912. That emphasizes once more the unfortunate consequences that may flow from the rejection of reciprocity in 1911.

And now I come to another important matter, our national railways;-one would have thought there would be some reference in the speech from the Throne to their state of financial health. Last year this House was informed that our railways had a deficit of $48,000,000 and I saw recently a newspaper item stating that the deficit this year would run between $60,000,000 and $70,000,000. Since that statement was not denied, I take it that when the official figures are supplied some time hence they will be somewhere around that mark. Now that is a very serious state of affairs. There is no need here to go into the question of government ownership in Canada, and how we came to acquire these roads. We have to deal with the situation as it exists, but we have no suggestion from the Government in the speech from the Throne as to what shall be done in connection with this difficulty. We have even less from my hon. friend who leads the Opposition, either in the speech he delivered in this House on the Address, or in any of the speeches he has made throughout the country. Now it does seem to me that there are certain facts standing out in respect to this difficulty to which we should give consideration. I am convinced of this, that if our railway problem is made a matter of party controversy, nothing but harm can come to the country from it. I would offer this suggestion: that there should be appointed a special committee of this House to deal alone with this question, and reporting of course to Parliament. I think the Government might very well welcome that assistance. It is a difficult matter to discuss the problem here in this Chamber as a body of shareholders would discuss a similar proposition at a meeting, and it is idle

now to discuss the causes that lead up to the present unsatisfactory state of affairs. We have to face the situation as it exists. But it does seem to me that if we had a special committee constituted from among the members of this House, who would go into this thing as business men, and not as partisans, we might possibly render some service in finding a solution for this difficulty. I am convinced that sooner or later, and I believe the sooner the better, we must have a revaluation of the whole system of Government railways in Canada. There is no doubt of the fact that there has been a duplication of lines owing to the method of building in the past, and much loss has arisen from that cause, not only in capital outlay but in operating as well. You can travel to-day west of Edmonton for several hundred miles and find this duplication. In some cases-I have travelled over the road myself-the rails are as close together as the two sides of this Chamber. The rails have been lifted off one road, but yet there are outstanding against it issues for which the country is responsible, running up to probably $100,000 a mile. If we get this thing down to a definite business basis, we can start afresh.

I would also offer this suggestion. The Board of Directors of the National Railways might well be reorganized. I believe the Government had that in contemplation a year ago. I would go even further and offer the suggestion that was made, I believe, when this matter was first under discussion by my hon. friend from Quebec East (Mr. Lapointe), that it would be a wise step to give the employees of the Government roads one or two representatives on the directorate. To come through this difficulty successfully the roads must have behind them the loyalty and the interest of the employees in the system as regards its operation and management generally.

Then we must go a step further. We must develop business for the road, and in that connection I wish to make reference to the matter of immigration. That is a pressing question for this country, and yet no reference was made to it in the speech delivered by His Excellency the other day. Our national railways have this advantage, that in the greater part of Canada they pass through a territory that is fertile and productive. I know that is true of the Prairie Provinces, and I believe it is true in a large measure of Eastern Canada. Part of the solution of this question, I

' am convinced, will lie in the adoption of a vigorous policy of immigration, to get immigrants who will go on the land. The immigrants when they come here should he settled-and the whole force and power of the Government should be exerted to that end-in the districts adjacent to our national railways. If that is done, they will at any rate create business for the roads in the future. The way is dark in connection with this matter, but I have confidence enough in our country and in the people of Canada to believe that if we set ourselves energetically to the solution of this problem before many years we shall emerge from the present difficulty, and in another decade or two our national railways will be an asset of which the country may justly be proud.

I had thought also that we might have in the speech from the Throne a reference to the proposed visit that my right hon. friend the Prime Minister will make to attend the Premiers' conference in London, which I understand takes place in June. So far, we have had no declaration from the Government as to what will happen at that conference. I did notice, however, the other day a cable despatch from London, containing a statement made by Mr. Lloyd George in the British House of Commons, which assembled, I believe, the day after this House met. I want to read that statement to this House because I think it has some real significance for us:

Mr. Lloyd George stated that the conference of Empire Premiers to be held in London in June will be the most momentous event in the history of the Empire.

He declared that it was too much to ask of these small islands that they undertake the whole burden of the defence of a gigantic empire in every sea, and that at the forthcoming conference of Prime Ministers of the Dominions in London the whole problem of Imperial defence must be considered.

There must be, the Prime Minister went on, co-ordination not only between the various services, but between the several parts of the Empire.

Now this is a very definite and very significant declaration that has come from the British Prime Minister within the last week or ten days. I wonder what the right hon. gentleman who leads the Government has in mind in respect to this matter. Is it too much to ask that we should have a declaration from the Government in respect to all these matters that may come up?

I hold this view, which I have expressed before in this House, that before this country is committed to any scheme of joint Imperial defence, or to anything else in the way of Imperial arrangements the

sanction of this Parliament should be obtained, and I offer this word of admonition or, shall I say, of advice to my right hon. friend, should he have the responsibility in the matter-that when he meets the British Prime Minister and the other members of the conference he will jealously guard Canada's rights and interests in these matters. I am sure it is his intention to do so, but I was a little bit diconcerted when I heard a month or so ago that my right hon. friend contemplated taking with him, as his colleagues on this mission, the hon. gentleman (Mr. Ballantyne) who heads the navy of Canada and my hon. friend (Mr. Guthrie) who is the Minister of War for Canada. If this should happen to he the case I would all the more strongly urge upon my right hon. friend to step warily in his negotiations in this matter.

I come now to another matter, and that is the amendment moved by my hon. friend who leads the official Opposition in the House (Mr. Mackenzie King). My hon. friend has based his amendment, as I read it, upon this principle, if you wish-that my right hon. friend who leads the Government is a usurper and that consequently the Government has usurped authority in this country. Now, if that is the position taken by the leader of the Opposition I am bound to say that I cannot agree with him. The right hon. the leader of the Government comes to his office in a perfectly proper way. There are plenty of precedents, not only in this country but in Great Britain as well, to support his position; and if he had evidences that the country was behind him to-day, if he had a growing majority, or at least a standing majority that supported him, then he could on good grounds claim that he was entitled to continue as head of the Government in this country. But while I do not agree with my hon. friend who leads the Opposition as to the ground of his attack upon the Government,

I agree entirely with his declaration that the Government has lost the confidence of the country; and conclusive evidence of that fact is found in the reverses the Government has suffered in the elections that have taken place within the last two years. It is true that the Government won two seats in the Maritime Provinces,-seats which they had carefully selected and very carefully handled when the election was on. They won one seat in British Columbia which my hon. friend (Mr. MacKelvie) who has recently taken his place in this House represents. But that was with a

greatly reduced majority. I would, however, point out the significant fact that the Government has lost every by-election held in the old province of Ontario; and I venture to say to-day that if my right hon. friend were to open up any seat in Western Canada and the great majority of seats in Ontario he would have the verdict that has been rendered by these other constituencies substantiated by the results. There is further evidence in the character of the appeal made, in the character of the tests that have taken place in these by-elections. Take any one of them: Were the real

policies of the Government, the real questions before the country, discussed? I will give my right hon. friend the leader of the Government credit for this, that in most of his speeches he did come out frankly on the question of the tariff. But what of his supporters. My hon. friend from Fron-tenac (Mr. Edwards), who I am sorry to say is not in his seat, took an active part in the East Elgin election; and what was the great national question that absorbed his attention? It was the salaries that were paid the officials in the Grain Growers' organization in Western Canada! That was the thing of paramount importance to my hon. friend from Frontenac. And then my hon. friend from South Oxford (Mr. Sutherland) was also there, and the great national question that absorbed that gentleman's attention was the amount of weed seed in screenings at Fort William.

Topic:   THE GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH.
Subtopic:   ADDRESS IN REPLY.
Permalink
UNION

Donald Sutherland

Unionist

Mr. SUTHERLAND:

I beg to take exception to the remarks of my hon. friend. He made that reference in an address in Aylmer. I reached that constituency the very day that he arrived there and consequently did not have an opportunity to make any such statement when he spoke there on that occasion.

Topic:   THE GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH.
Subtopic:   ADDRESS IN REPLY.
Permalink
UNI L

Thomas Alexander Crerar

Unionist (Liberal)

Mr. CRERAR:

I should be very sorry

to do my hon. friend any injustice, but I read the newspaper reports, and I must give that as my evidence.

Topic:   THE GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH.
Subtopic:   ADDRESS IN REPLY.
Permalink
UNION

Donald Sutherland

Unionist

Mr. SUTHERLAND:

You did not read

that in the reports.

Topic:   THE GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH.
Subtopic:   ADDRESS IN REPLY.
Permalink
UNI L

Thomas Alexander Crerar

Unionist (Liberal)

Mr. CRERAR:

I think I can produce

evidence to that fact, but we will not bother with that just now. Now, let us come to the Maritime Provinces. What was the great question there? The great issue in the Colchester election, which returned the Minister of Public Works (Mr. McCurdy), was the combine of the Grain Growers in Western Canada. Protection? Why, the

thing was scarcely ever discussed. But there was a promise of a post office, I believe, in the town of Truro, and there was a dim hope held out that a railway might be built through a certain section of that constituency. And then we come to the constituency of St. John, represented by my hon. friend (Mr. Wigmore), who now presides over the Department of Customs. That hon. gentleman assured the good people of St. John that if he were only returned he would see that the Government did its duty by St. John. These were the issues discussed there. But were they the great issues that are before the people of this country? Why do not my hon. friends, when they are engaged in an election, discuss the real issues before the country, their administration, their economical management of the affairs of the country, what they will do with the railways, and what my hon. friend will do when he goes to London? But we do not hear anything of these questions; we have all these other issues discussed.

But, Sir, the strongest reason there is why the amendment of the leader of the Opposition should be supported lies in this fact, that my right hon. friend who leads the Government, desires to reorganize his Government and cannot do so. Now, I do not think I am betraying any secret when I say that supporters of the Government in the country have stated that fact, that my right hon. friend desires to reorganize his Government and is waiting for an opportune moment to do so; and the opportune moment is the time when by-elections can be carried. I do not know to what extent my right hon. friend is going to reorganize his Government but I should like to know, for I have more than a passing interest in the matter. I should like to know who of the colleagues of my right hon. friend will be compelled to drink the hemlock! Who will walk the plank? I do not wish to make comparisons, but it is undoubtedly the desire of my right hon. friend to reorganize his Government. Now, Sir, a Government that is constituted in such a manner, where some are hoping to stay in and others are expecting to go out, cannot be a Government that will bring strength and courage to the management of the affairs of Canada at the present time. That constitutes the strongest possible reason why this unsettled and unsettling condition of affairs should terminate at the earliest possible moment; and for this and the various other reasons I have enumerated, I am going to support

Topic:   THE GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH.
Subtopic:   ADDRESS IN REPLY.
Permalink
UNION

Richard Coe Henders

Unionist

Mr. R. C. HENDERS (Macdonald) :

Mr. Speaker, in addressing the House this afternoon on the questions that are before us, it is not my intention-

Some hon. GENTLEMEN: Louder.

Topic:   THE GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH.
Subtopic:   ADDRESS IN REPLY.
Permalink
L LIB

Georges Henri Boivin (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Laurier Liberal

Mr. DEPUTY SPEAKER:

If hon. gentlemen will refrain from conversation there

will be no difficulty in hearing the hon. member who at present has the floor.

Topic:   THE GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH.
Subtopic:   ADDRESS IN REPLY.
Permalink
UNION

Richard Coe Henders

Unionist

Mr. HENDERS:

It is not my intention to offer more than a few passing remarks on the speech which has just been delivered by the hon. leader of the Agrarian party (Mr. Crerar), but there are a few points in connection with his address to which I would invite the attention of the House. Those matters of importance to which he has referred and which should receive attention at the present time may be grouped under two or three headings. The hon. gentleman referred to the address delivered by the Minister of Trade and Commerce (Sir George Foster) in the city of New York a short time ago, when he pleaded for neighbourliness. It appears to me that some reason exists why at the present moment the thought and attention of the American people might be turned toward the attitude of those who are shortly to be entrusted with the government of that country, and that doubtless was the reason why the Minister of Trade and Commerce offered the suggestion which he did. Certain tariff proposals are being put forward on the other side of the line which it is hoped to put into operation in the not distant future, and in these proposals, some of us think, Canadian agriculture, our great basic industry, is receiving scant attention.

The hon. gentleman who preceded me expressed the opinion that we have little to expect, as agriculturists, in the shape of protection that would be of material advantage to us. But as I survey the proposed tariff changes of our American friends, I am fully convinced that our agricultural industry will suffer very seriously if these tariff changes are put into effect. The great wheat industry, for example, one of the main props of agriculture, will be hit very hard. The beef and live stock industry will also be subjected to a very serious handicap. Other Canadian industries will suffer; in fact, five or six at least of the contemplated duties will seriously affect agriculture in Canada. I can therefore readily understand why the right hon. Minister of Trade and Commerce should feel some anxiety, and why it would be advisable to urge that favourable consideration be given to Canadian representations on this most important matter.

I can also understand that should our American friends deem it to be in the interest of their country to put into effect the proposed tariff changes, it would be

very necessary for us to consider what our tariff arrangements should be in that regard. It would be necessary that we should consider whether we will allow all the citrous fruits and vegetables which our American friends grow to enter our country free of duty, while they propose to tax to the very limit very important agricultural products, the market for which we depend so largely upon the country to the south to furnish.

The next point in the speech of my hon. friend to which I wish to refer is his statement with regard to the tariff. There was one important sentence in his statement on the tariff that I was pleased to hear him give utterance to; he congratulated the leader of this House on having made a clear-cut statement as to where the Government stood on the tariff question. I am sorry that I cannot return the compliment, for the leader of the Farmer's party (Mr. Crerar) in all his addresses delivered throughout the country, and in his remarkable speech this afternoon, failed to. give to this House and to the people a clear-cut statement as to where he stands on the tariff question. But I am confident that both the leader of the Opposition (Mr. Mackenzie King) and the leader of the Farmers' party will need to amend their statements along this line and tell the people definitely where they stand.

The leader of the Farmers' party states that of course there is a marked difference between a tariff for revenue and a tariff for protection, and that he stands for a tariff for revenue, while the Government stands for a tariff for protection. Well, if we are to judge these statements on their merits, that is in the light of experience, we can only reach the conclusion that a tariff for revenue must be a higher tariff than a tariff for protection. The Laurier Government went into power on a tariff for revenue, they proclaimed that that was their policy, and that they did not want any protection. And the statement is made that this Government is a protective tariff Government. Now, let us look at the results. The tariff for revenue purposes only, which the Laurier Government during the lengthy period of years that they were in office, exhausted their skill in framing required 20.18 per cent of revenue to be taken from the people on farm implements and other machinery. Turning now to the Government that is slated by the Opposition and by the Farmers' party as a high protectionist Government, I find that it has reduced the tariff on these articles to 14.61 per cent.

The previous speaker has stated that a tariff for protection cannot be a tariff for revenue, that revenue and protection are clear-cut and separate policies. If that be so, then, according to their practice, a tariff for revenue must always of necessity be a higher tariff than a tariff for protection. We do not believe in that sort of argument. We believe that it is possible to have a tariff for revenue, and at the same time to have the elements oi protection in connection with that tariff, and to have that tariff brought to such a level that it will serve the best interests of our industries while giving to us a reasonable revenue for carrying on the government of the country. This does not necessarily mean a high tariff.

I will not attempt to follow the arguments of the previous speaker at any greater length at the present time, because I believe the proper occasion for the discussion of the tariff-will be when the Budget is brought down and we have before us the fiscal policy of the Government. But, Sir, I cannot refrain from giving expression to this one thought in passing. I cannot understand by what process of reasoning the previous speaker reached the conclusion he did reach from the line of argument he advanced, that he would vote for the amendment, when the leader of the Opposition, by an entirely opposite line of argument, reached the same conclusion.

I wish now, Mr. Speaker, to draw the attention of the House for a short time to a statement made by the leader of the Opposition with regard to practically refusing to allow the business of the country to be transacted because of what he asserts to be a fact, viz.: that the Government have no mandate from the people to carry on. In connection with that I have only this to say, that as far as I am able to follow him, there is very little in his argument to commend it to the judgment and intelligence of this IJouse. This amendment is a challenge to the Government that they have no legal right to continue administering the affairs of state, that they have no mandate from the people, but that when elected their mandate was for a specific purpose and for a certain time, which purpose has been served and which time has elapsed. This is a somewhat new interpretation of the mandate given to the Government in 1917, and many of us on this side of the House believe that that mandate is capable of an entirely different interpretation.

There is no diversity of opinion as to the place the winning of the war occupied in connection with the affairs of Canada at the time this Government was elected. Viewed in the light of then important events the war was looked upon as the overmastering question that demanded our consideration; hence, due emphasis was given to it. A great issue was being fought out among the nations of the earth. A new doctrine had been proclaimed, a doctrine at entire variance with all our pre-conceived ideas of national life. That proud autocrat the German Emperor had asserted that he was a superman and that the German race was a super-race. Instead of the old belief that right is might, there was a revision of that order and the new adage was coined, "might is right." With that as their motto Germany had gone forth to assert herself and to propagate this new doctrine. The great issue was whether the influence of this new doctrine was to be the dominating influence in the world. The nations of the world grappled with this new issue. Many of them felt very keen the stress and strain to which they were subjected. The inroads which were being made upon our peace and harmony and good will by this new doctrine became such a menance to the world that life itself at the expense of the advancement of this doctrine became a matter of secondary consideration. Little wonder then that emphasis was placed on the question of the winning of the war, and that the government felt constrained to give it the highest and most prominent place in connection with governmental affairs.

But, Mr. Speaker, while that was the over-shadowing thought in connection with our national life at that time, that does not mean that it was the only thought; while that was the important work, the all important work, that does not mean that there was no other important work to be done. While many of us viewed that question as one, the satisfactory solution of which made the solution of all other luestions possible, it did not by any means follow that we did not place value on the solution of these other questions.

I think, Mr. Speaker, that I rightly interpret the spirit and intention of the Union Government when they made their appeal to the country when I say that they received their mandate to carry on all the legitimate functions of Government, making them, of course, in every respect subservient to the great work of winning the war, but at the same time none the less importer. Henders.}

ant, none the less to be attended to, with perhaps one single exception. There was one question that was to be held in abeyance, one question that was not to be made an issue with the Government at this time, and the very fact that that question was particularized, was singled out and referred to as in a special class by itself, leaves us to the inference-and there is no other inference-that all other questions within the realm of governmental work were to receive fair and proper consideration.

My statement is borne out by the fact that while that one question, the tariff, was not referred to in the manifesto issued by the then leader of the Government, the supporters of the Union Government, upon appearing before the people, stated clearly and distinctly on the public platform that this question must be made an exception. I remember very well a meeting which was held in the city of Winnipeg, addressed by the present Prime Minister, by the Minister of Immigration and Colonization (Mr. Calder) and by the leader of the Agrarian party (Mr. Crerar). According to the report published in the press of the addresses delivered on that occasion, these gentlemen spoke of the work of the Government, of the magnitude of the war effort, of the necessity of getting people to unite their forces in this great work. And they referred to one exception, and only one. Now, if there were other exceptions; if other matters of government were not to be dealt with, would not occasions of this kind, and the manifesto which was issued, be the times and the places where such statements should be made? But in the manifesto there is not a word

5 p.m. about it; there is just the one statement that the tariff should not be an issue during that administration, and as I say that statement was made, not in the manifesto, but in the press and on the public platforms where important addresses were delivered.

Topic:   THE GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH.
Subtopic:   ADDRESS IN REPLY.
Permalink
?

An hon. MEMBER:

Hear, hear.

Topic:   THE GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH.
Subtopic:   ADDRESS IN REPLY.
Permalink
UNION

Richard Coe Henders

Unionist

Mr. HENDERS:

I hear the hon. member for Red Deer say "Hear, hear."

Topic:   THE GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH.
Subtopic:   ADDRESS IN REPLY.
Permalink
PRO

Michael Clark

Progressive

Mr. MICHAEL CLARK:

Mr. Speaker, I did not even whisper.

Topic:   THE GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH.
Subtopic:   ADDRESS IN REPLY.
Permalink
UNION

Richard Coe Henders

Unionist

Mr. HENDERS:

I beg the hon. gentleman's pardon.

Topic:   THE GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH.
Subtopic:   ADDRESS IN REPLY.
Permalink
PRO

Michael Clark

Progressive

Mr. MICHAEL CLARK:

I forgive the hon. gentleman.

Topic:   THE GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH.
Subtopic:   ADDRESS IN REPLY.
Permalink
UNION

Richard Coe Henders

Unionist

Mr. HENDERS:

I "thought it was my hon. friend's voice that I heard. Not only

did gentlemen who represented the Government on public platforms refer to the matter in that light; other members who were selected and gentlemen who expected or hoped to be the supporters of the Government felt it necessary to refer to the question in that light. We have the statement published over the signature of members from the West in which they concurred in that view. Dealing with the matter of the tariff, they said:

We have now in Canada a Union Govern-^ ment, formed under the leadership of Sir Robert Borden and embracing Liberal and Independent and Labour representatives as well as Conservatives.

Then it proceeds to state that the Government's policy goes farther than the raising of money for the carrying on of the war. It says further, referring to the Government's policy:

It stands for carrying out the Military Service Act, to secure the necessary reinforcements for our soldiers, for adequate taxation of war profits and for increased taxation of incomes as necessitated by the continuance of the war. In addition to this it is pledged by the enactment of effective measures to prevent excessive profits, to the encouragement of cooperation with a view to the reduction of the cost of producing and marketing, and to the abolition of patronage by the extension of the principle of the Civil Service Act to the Out-s'de Service. This goes far in the direction set forth in the Farmers' Platform and as a war measure, I believe, sufficiently covers the ground.

Then follows this further statement:

In regard to the tariff permit me to quote from the statement recently issued in common with other Independent candidates in Western Canada. I am "prepared to forego the immediate discussion of the tariff as being, in the opinion of some, a contentious matter, if given full assurance that an adequate measure of excess profits and income taxation would be put in operation at the earliest moment and that thus a genuine mobilization of wealth would accompany conscription of men." The Government's policy meets this condition and on the basis stated I am prepared to give it my support.

The point I want to make is this, that there was only one exception made to the whole administration and operation of Government in connection with the policy and platform laid down by the Union Government at that time, and that exception was made by those men who declared that the tariff was not to be an issue during the administration of the Government in carrying on the war. Yet, within fifteen

months, immediately after the first session of this House took place, lines of action were laid down and put into effect, and the result of that has been and is that

the men who pledged themselves at that time that the tariff was not to be an issue, took exception to the policy of the Government on the tariff, and finally separated themselves from the Government and took positions on the other side. Why? Because they broke their pledge to the Government that they would not make the tariff an issue while the Government was carrying on the war.

Furthermore let us look at the record of the Government, and judge it from its record along the lines of legislation and splendid achievement. During the early days of its history, and even down to the very last session of the House, even the Opposition never seriously entertained the idea that the Government had not a mandate to function along ordinary lines. If it be true, as the leader of the Opposition recently has asserted, that the Government has no mandate now to carry on, since when did the leader of the Opposition arrive at this conclusion? If, as the leader of the Opposition says, this Government is functioning under usurped authority, when did that usurpation take place? If he concurs that the mandate was for the winning of the war and until demobilization ceased, then what about the legislation of the last session of this House? The leader of the Opposition, supported by all his followers, made no objection to the legislation of last session; that is, no more than the ordinary opposition that would be made by members in opposition. They put forward no contention that the legislation was not proper legislation because the Government had no right to function.

The many important measures that came before this House and were crystallized into legislation, received careful consideration by all the members of this House, the Opposition amongst them. That most important Bill, the Franchise Bill, which occupied the attention of the House for weeks, which was discussed, clause by clause, and the greatest care possible given to it, in order that the Franchise Bill might be one that would be a credit to us as Canadians-that Bill, with all the labour consequent thereto, was the work, according to the theory set forth by the leader of the Opposition, of a Government which had usurped authority and had no right to function at that time. I would like to understand by what process of reasoning the leader of the Opposition reached the exact point where, he said, the mandate ceased and this Government usurped power.

Let us turn to another phase of this question. We have listened to speaker after speaker who has attempted to cite precedent after precedent in support of the position he has taken that this Government has no right to function, should resign and should receive a fresh mandate from the people. In all the cases cited there has been, to my mind, one important factor which has been kept distinctly in the back ground, and that important factor is; Who, is the responsible party, who has the right to decide, when the right time has arrived for the Government to make an appeal to the people for endorsation or otherwise?

I may not have studied history and parliamentary procedure as carefully as many other members of this House; but as far as I have been able to make investigation along these lines, I have been led to the opinion that there were certain specific causes or reasons, and that these specific causes or reasons narrowed themselves down to a very small point when that decision was required to be made. The Prime Minister, who had been called to form a Government, was elected to these responsible duties for not longer than a certain period of time; but, at any time that he felt either that he lacked the confidence or the support of the people behind him, or that there was a great issue which, he felt, was of such magnitude that the people had a right to make a pronouncement on it, he had a right to call for an election and to make an appeal to the people.

There is another reason why an election must be held. If the Opposition in the House are able, not merely to assert that there is lack of confidence in the Government but are able to show cause by educating the representatives of the people in the House on that point; if they are able to introduce a want of confidence motion that will command a majority vote of the sitting members in the House, then they have established a reason why an election should be held. It is not sufficient for the leader of the Opposition and his supporters to keep crying continually " The Government has not the confidence of the people." Such petty whining may be carried to the point where those who are carrying on the propaganda may imagine they themselves believe it, but it will have no influence when considered by an intelligent electorate.

A few representative members of the Opposition in this House have gone up and down the country crying want of confidence in the Government. They have earnestly and seriously tried to raise that cry

amongst the people, and in their vain imaginings they may have come to the conclusion that they have succeeded in doing so, as they have convinced themselves by the frequent repetition of the statement that there is lack of confidence in the Gov-ment amongst the people of the country. But that does not prove anything.

I would be the last one in this House to support the Government in hanging on to office if I felt there was any truth in these statements. I have gone carefully through a large portion of my constituency; I have conversed with electors, those who were formerly Liberal, and those who now support the Union Government, and I make this statement to-day, that I have not found two per cent of the electors in my constituency who have expressed any desire for an election. The great preponderance of opinion expressed among my people is that this Government should carry on; thac we should get further away from the unrest which is a natural outcome of the times through which we have passed in connection with the war and war conditions; that the country should have time to get back to normal conditions, and when we have done that then it will be the proper time for this Government to make an appeal to the people.

There is another point to which I wish to call attention Mr. Speaker, and that is that in all the discussion that has taken place in this House during the past few days there has not been one charge made against this Government of maladministration or of corrupt practices in any form.

If there is want of confidence there must be some cause for it. That cause would show itself in the work that is done by the Government. There would be either lack of efficiency in administration, lack of progressive legislation, or corruption in administration. Have we heard anything of this? Not one word, not one sentence, not one accusation that would place a stigma upon the Government in connection with its administration.

There is the further point of progressive legislation that is worthy of consideration by the members of this House. Has there ever been a Government in Canada that in the same period of time has put on the statute books of the country as much sane, progressive, and uniformly good legislation as the present Government. It might be well to call the attention to a few of the important measures that have received favourable consideration, but as my time is passing, and I have spoken much longer

than I had intended, I will leave that for some other time.

The Government, I take it, is challenged, and that challenge will have to be settled one way or the other. My reasoning leads me to only one conclusion, viz; that I must vote against the amendment. May I call attention to a particular matter that I think should have the thought and attention of the Government at the present time. If there is one question that is agitating the minds of Western farmers at the present time more than any other, it is that of the handling of their wheat products. Scarcely a day passes that we do not see in some paper an item regarding the handling of the wheat crop, the Canada Wheat Board, Wheat pools, or a reference to some similar phase of the grain question. I believe it can be said without exaggeration that this is the question of paramount importance in Western Canada to-day. Rumours are rife, charges and counter-charges of wrongdoing are in the air, and the result is that the minds of the Western producers are agitated abnormally on this question.

The dismissal of the Canada Wheat Board meant that the business of handling our wheat reverted back to the Grain Exchange, to the old system of grain handling. Some of us were seriously disappointed when that reversion took place. In the appointment of the Wheat Board we felt that the Government had gone a long way towards solving this, one of the most important and intricate problems affecting the greatest industry of Canada. Of course, there were those who favoured the old system, and they were not slow in making their influence felt. Representatives of the Exchange found their way to this House purporting to give out information as to the difficulty that must accrue from this new system of handling our grain. They spoke of the general shortage of world supply and assured us that there was nothing to fear, that in any case the producers of grain were bound to receive a remunerative price for their product. It was stated that an abnormal price might be expected, and the people were led to believe that they might look for even $4 of $5 per bushel wheat.

What took place? The Grain Exchange began to function. In a very short time the price of wheat began to drop. I do not know whether it is necessary for me to point out why these prices dropped. I know that large bodies of responsible farmers considered that the grain exchanges were to blame. I do know that numbers of

producers think that the short selling on the grain exchanges resulted in the lowering of prices. This lowering of price was instrumental in inducing a great many farmers to hold their wheat. They believed if they kept that wheat in the elevators they would eventually secure a higher price.

Under the rules and regulations of the Grain Act, when grain is stored in the elevators, it is well known to producers that the elevator companies are nothing more or less than storage companies. They have no right to dispose of that grain without the consent of the producer. It was therefore reasonable for them to expect that by their holding this grain out of the market they would create a demand for wheat which would at least have the effect of raising the price or of increasing its market value. But what did we find? We found that the producers by holding this grain did not secure the object they had in view, did not succeed in keeping it off the market and therefore that the purpose they had in view, by which they hoped to stabilize the price was entirely thwarted by the manipulation of the grain exchanges.

I am led to this belief by the statements made by a responsible minister of the Crown in Saskatchewan. This minister ought to know what he is talking about. He is closely indentified with both country and terminal elevators. His statement is that a lot of this grain to which I have referred was shipped from the company elevators and also from the public terminal elevators without the permission of the producers. This grain was thrown on the market and sold, and this act was the means of depressing the market and bringing about the conditions to which I have just now referred.

A statement of this kind made by such a responsible party ought to be sufficient in itself to call forth from this Government a very careful investigation as to its truth or falsity. If it is true that we have country elevators taking the wheat of the farmer, selling it without permission, utilizing the money, and then when the farmer does sell, possibly charging him storage and interest right up to date, it is a serious state of affairs and I can only repeat that this statement was made by a responsible minister of the Crown in Saskatchewan. It should be investigated very thoroughly by the Government.

Another point I should like to bring to your attention is this. I am credibly informed that the North West Grain Dealers' Association sends out daily state-

proper finding on the problem they themselves are attempting to solve. They will have my co-operation and support if they can propose a method which will bring about the desired result. I am sorry to have occupied so much of the time of the House, Mr. Speaker, but I really could riot deal with the subject within any shorter space.

Mr. HENRI E. LAVIGUEUR (Quebec County) : Mr. Speaker, I think it is imperative on every member of this House to clearly express his views on the important amendment which has been presented by the hon. leader of the Oppo-tion (Mr. Mackenzie King). But before doing so I wish to extend my congratulations to the right hon. Prime Minister (Mr. Meighen) upon his elevation to his present high position, surely an evidence of the confidence which the supporters of the Government must have had in him. This promotion is undoubtedly due to his great ability, his great talents, and his great energy. I also wish to tender my sincere congratulations to the mover and seconder of the Address in reply to the speech from the Throne. Both these gentlemen certainly fulfilled the important duty entrusted to them with great ability and acquitted themselves in a manner that is a credit to themselves and their constituents. '

It was a matter of great regret that the Government saw fit to depart from the old and well-established custom of having the Address moved and seconded in both the official languages of the country. It is certainly to be deplored, Mr. Speaker, that among the supporters of the Government there could not be found at least one hon. gentleman capable of moving or seconding the Address in the French language.

As I have already said, the amendment before us is of great importance and should receive the approbation of the majority of the members in this House, as it certainly has the approbation of the great majority of the Canadian electors. With the exception of the members of the Cabinet and their supporters, the amendment without doubt has the support of the country at large. Throughout the country the demand is everywhere heard for1 a general election. All classes and communities are calling for it. The consumers, the labouring classes, the returned soldiers, the farmers-and I can speak for the farmers because I represent one of the largest agricultural counties in the province of Quebec-are all urging a general

election. The members of the Opposition are ready for a general election. We are not afraid to face our electors, we are not afraid to discuss the Government's policies; we are ready to meet the members of the Government, or their supporters in the province of Quebec or anywhere else. That is the reason, Mr. Speaker, why I shall with great pleasure support the amendment which is now before the House.

Lately a great many compliments have been bestowed on the province of Quebec. The feeling which has existed largely since the general election of 1917 seems to have changed, if we are to judge by the kind words and bouquets which are being lavished on my province. We are delighted to see this change of heart, but we would appreciate it much more if it were supplemented by sincerity of purpose on the part of the Government. I refer more particularly to the capital of my province, the city of Quebec, which has been so unjustly treated. I was delighted to read in the newspapers a few months ago the speeches made by the Prime Minister in the province of Quebec in which he expressed his desire to see her united with the other provinces. I was also very much pleased to hear the hon. member for Frontenac (Mr. Edwards), one of the most aggressive members on the Government side against the province of Quebec, throw us some bouquets a few days ago. But, as I have already stated, Mr. Speaker, the province of Quebec and the city of Quebec are not looking for bouquets or kind words; they are looking for the fulfilment of the solemn written obligations of the Government towards the city of Quebec.

I do not doubt the sincerity of the Prime Minister's frequently expressed desire to treat the province of Quebec on an eaual footing with the other provinces, but it would be more to the purpose if he would at once give instructions to the proper departments of his Government to render justice to the city of Quebec, for then we would have an earnest of his solicitude for our so-called isolation. We are not asking for special favours. The eve of a general election is not the time for the citizens of Quebec to get down on their knees. We are only asking for the performance of what has been promised to the city of Quebec under solemn written contracts. We are asking the Government to fulfil their pledge to give us proper equipment for the Transcontinental railway; we are asking the Government to construct the long-pro-

mised and long-deferred docks and grain elevators; we are asking the Government to resume the works on the St. Charles river, on which nearly $2,000,000 have already been expended, and which works are now lying idle and useless. The late Minister of Public Works, Mr. Carvell, stated in 1919 that the work would be proceeded with, and he admitted that unless it were carried to completion the $1,750,000 already expended would be simply wasted. That work was suspended without any reason whatever, as I can prove to this House at any time by official documents. If it is really the intention of the Prime Minister to treat my province on an equal footing with any other part of the Dominion, I will ask him to order those works to be procedeed with immediately, for the money has been already voted for them, and they have been interrupted unjustly and without any reason whatever.

I would also ask the Government to fulfil their contract to complete workshops and put up the main building which has been agreed upon for the Transcontinental railway. The city sacrificed the Champlain market property, valued at over $3,000,000, on the strength of a written contract signed by the Federal Government and the city, under which the Government agreed to build workshops of the same size and type as those erected in Winnipeg-shops equipped for building cars and locomotives and giving employment to four or five thousand workmen, whereas the present shops are only employing about seven hundred. I would ask the right hon. the Prime Minister to see that this part of the contract is fulfilled without further delay.

I would also ask the Prime Minister, now that he has so much love for the citizens of Quebec, to see that justice is done to those people of that province who subscribed to stocks in the Great Northern and Lake St. John Railways and who have not been able to settle their claims with the Government, although numbers of petitions and demands have been made during the last few years upon the Government with a view to reimbursing those citizens who subscribed over $,650,000 in connection with those two railways. When the majority shareholders are paid the full amount of their shares, the minority shareholders also should be reimbursed.

Let me mention one or two of the chief reasons why the citizens of Quebec subscribed to stocks in these companies. In

respect of $200,000 worth of stock subscribed to the Great Northern Company, that company agreed to erect their repair shops in Limoilou. But what has happened, Mr. Speaker? The men employed at Limoilou have been transferred to the St. Malo shops. If it is the intention of the Government to dispense with the shops at Limoilou, why do they not-and I am pleased to see the Minister of Finance (Sir Henry Drayton) in his seat-reimburse the city of Quebec for the $200,000 subscribed by its citizens in order that they might have the shops at Limoilou? Certainly this should be done if the contract in respect to these shops is to be cancelled by the Government.

At six o'clock the House took recess.

After Recess.

The House resumed at eight o'clock.

Topic:   THE GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH.
Subtopic:   ADDRESS IN REPLY.
Permalink
L LIB

Henri-Edgar Lavigueur

Laurier Liberal

Mr. LAVIGUEUR:

Mr. Speaker, in the course of my remarks this afternoon, I stated that the work on the St. Charles river was interrupted without any valid reasons being offered. I wish, with your permission, Sir, to give to the House a certain declaration made in the House of Commons by Mr. Carvell, then Minister of Public Works, as reported in Hansard of May 13, 1919. Mr. Carvell's declaration was made in reply to this interpellation of the hon. member for Lotbiniere:

Topic:   THE GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH.
Subtopic:   ADDRESS IN REPLY.
Permalink
L LIB

Thomas Vien

Laurier Liberal

Mr. VTBN:

Will the minister tell us if it is his intention to finish up the damming of the St. Charles river at Quebec?

Topic:   THE GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH.
Subtopic:   ADDRESS IN REPLY.
Permalink

February 24, 1921