January 18, 1926


Annual report of the Department of Health -Hon. Mr. Lapointe. Annual report of the Department of Soldiers' Civil Re-establishment; annual report of the Board of Pension Commissioners for Canada- Hon. Mr. Stewart.


On the Orders of the Day:


Richard Bedford Bennett

Conservative (1867-1942)

Hon. R. B. BENNETT (West Calgary):

May I direct the attention of the Minister of Agriculture to the fact that I have received certain telegrams from produce dealers in western Canada indicating that they have considerable quantities of eggs which they have been unable to sell up to the present moment. They have reason to fear that there may be a dumping of eggs from the United States on the Canadian market, and they are seeking some assurance from the administration that in such event steps will be taken by His Excellency in Council to prevent that contingency.


William Richard Motherwell (Minister of Agriculture)


Hon. W. R. MOTHERWELL (Minister of Agriculture):

Mr. Speaker, the question raised by the hon. member for West Calgary is one of considerable importance, especially to the produce trade and the poultry men of Canada. My hon. friend was good enough to acquaint me with his intention to bring this question up, and I have prepared a short statement dealing with the situation which, with the permission of the House, I will read:

The present rather unprecedented situation in regard to the egg market in Canada is due entirely to peculiar weather conditions which have maintained throughout this Dominion during the last few weeks. That is to say, on account of the weather having been very mild Canadian hens have been laying very much more generously at this time of year than usual-more generously in fact than ever known in the history of Canada for many decades.

To give an example of the tremendous increase of production in this country alone, it may be stated that the receipts from purely local sources on the Montreal market in the first week in January were 6,000 cases plus, as compared with 1,000 cases plus in the same week of last year.

In consequence of this extra production, which condition it should be stated exists in the United States as well as in Canada, up to the present time comparatively few eggs have been imported into this country from the United States. If the situation, however, develops more acutely in the next few days, as some anticipate, the officers of my department keeping in close touch with the situation, we will then be in a better position to discuss possible remedial measures if thought warranted.


Robert James Manion

Conservative (1867-1942)


In view of the statement

of the Minister of Agriculture is it his intention, as a minister, to claim for the government credit for the improvement in the laying qualities of the Canadian hen?

The Address-Mr. Elliott



On the Orders of the Day:


Richard Bedford Bennett

Conservative (1867-1942)

Hon. R. B. BENNETT (West Calgary):

Will the Minister of Justice lay upon the table the agreement made with the province of Alberta with regard to the return of the natural resources before the proposed legislation is submitted for ratification?


Ernest Lapointe (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)


Hon. ERNEST LAPOINTE (Minister of Justice):

Of course some legislation will

have to be brought down to ratify this agreement. I will submit it to my colleagues, and take into consideration the request of my hon. friend that the agreement should be laid before parliament before legislation is introduced.


Richard Bedford Bennett

Conservative (1867-1942)


I think it is desirable,

so that the western members may have an opportunity of seeing the agreement before the legislation is presented to the House.




The House proceeded to the consideration of the Speech of His Excellency the Governor General at the opening of the session.


John Campbell Elliott


Mr. J. C. ELLIOTT (West Middlesex) moved:

That ail address be presented to His Excellency the Governor General, offering the humble thanks of this House to His Excellency for the gracious Speech which he has been pleased to make to both houses of parliament.

He said: In attempting to express the

thoughts which have been in my mind for some day3, may I ask the indulgence of hon. members? If they will bear in mind their ability and my limitations that indulgence will be generous indeed.

Before alluding to the Address of HisExcellency, may I for a moment refer to his sojourn in this country. I believe I express the feelings of Canadians in general when I say that the sojourn of His Excellency has done much to preserve and if possible to intensify the loyalty and devotion of thepeople of this country to the Mother Land. In the performance of his duties while abstaining strictly from any interference with principles of responsible government, he has upheld the dignity of the crown, and has carried the gospel of goodwill throughout the length and breadth of the country. May Isay to him that, as in the war he held first

place in the hearts of the Canadian soldiers, so in peace he enjoys the confidence and esteem of the Canadian people, and where-

[Mr. Manion.I

ever he goes he will carry with him their admiration and affection. I desire also, on behalf of hon. members of this House, to express to His Majesty the King and other members of the royal family the heartfelt sympathy of all the subjects of this Dominion in the loss of the Queen-Mother. For over sixty years she exerted a profound though silent influence on the empire. Her benevolent interest in the sufferings of others, and her efforts to aid them through the establishment and maintenance of hospitals as well as her own modest, kindly nature, have won for her a first place an the affections of the people of this nation and in the esteem of the world that will live as long as kindly deeds are remembered. The welcome of the people of England to "the blissful bride of a blissful heir" was truly expressed in these words:

Sea-king's daughter from over the sea,


Saxon and Norman and Dane are we,

But all of us Danes in our welcome of thee, Alexandra!

Throughout the length and breadth of the empire her death is equally mourned in the cottages of the humblest of citizens as well as in the mansions of the wealthy and great.

May I also, Mr. Speaker, congratulate you on your re-appointment to the high office which you hold. After the graceful remarks of the leaders of the various parties in this House, it is not necessary for me to assure you that you enjoy the confidence and the respect of hon. members in every quarter of the House. We know that in the discharge of your duties you will display the same ability and impartiality as you have shown in the past, and that under your guidance a high standard of parliamentary dignity will be maintained.

I wish also to express my appreciation of the honour conferred upon the constituency of West Middlesex which I represent in according me the privilege of making this motion.

I am quite aware, Mr. Speaker, that this honour has been conferred, not on account of any qualifications of mine, but because of the excellence of the riding which I am privileged to represent. May I recall to hon. members of this House the fact that in the early part of the last century immigrants, largely from England, Scotland and Ireland, settled among the woods which then covered what is now the county of Middlesex. They brought with them from the Old Land strong arms and stout hearts, and very little else, except the industry and character typical of the stock from which they sprung. They had, however, that faith in the future of the country

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which enabled them to clear the fields, build schools and churches and change an unbroken forest into a county of beautiful homesteads which to-day produce more agricultural wealth than any of the other fine counties in the province of Ontario. I am sure that all the members of this House have read with interest the excellent agreement which has just been made under the Empire Settlement Scheme, to further encourage immigration and colonization from Great Britain. I invite whoever is to be Minister of Immigration and Colonization to visit the county of Middlesex at an early date and study the history, character and progress of its people with a view to settling the vacant lands of Canada with a type of settler as nearly as possible similar to those who transformed the wilderness of less than a century ago into the productive farms of to-day.

May I also, Mr. Speaker, congratulate the Prime Minister of this country and the government upon the fact that parliament has been summoned at the earliest possible moment, and that they have strictly refrained from making any appointments or commitments until satisfied that they have the confidence of the majority of the elected representatives. I doubt if the history of responsible government anywhere reveals a truer observance of the rights of the people and this House, and the country may, I think, well have confidence in a Prime Minister who so rigidly observes the best traditions of the supremacy of parliament in the government of the country. May I say that, while everybody appreciates the strict observance of constitutional practice by the Prime Minister, I believe I express the sentiments of a majority of the people of Canada to-day when I Say that it is most desirable that this House should have the benefit of his valuable assistance at the very earliest possible moment.

This country has been greatly honoured by the selection of one of its senators as president of the Sixth Assembly of the League of Nations. The Hon. Senator Dandurand will, we know, maintain the high traditions of the province from which he comes, a province which has given to the public life of this country so many men who are a distinct service to the Dominion, and an ornament to the highest offices in the land. We know that as .president of the present assembly he will add further lustre to the record of the brilliant Canadians who have represented this Dominion beyond the seas. During a recent visit to England. I had an opportunity of meeting a number of England's leading men, and what impressed and pleased me more than anything 14011-13

else was their high opinion of Canada and Canadians. That opinion has been acquired largely from their contact with Canadian soldiers, their knowledge of the valour and high character of Canada's sons during the Great war, and also from the record and addresses of Canadian representatives who have represented this country at the various Imperial conferences and the League of Nations. There is no doubt that the British people consider that if a Canadian is anything like a fair representative of the type of young men whom they knew in the war, he is a good type of man and they accord him that position. It is also a matter of great pride to the people of this country that the men of all political parties who have represented this Dominion in the past, both at the overseas conferences and on the League of Nations, have been men who are a credit to Canada and who have inspired the confidence and admiration of the statesmen of Great Britain.

May I now, Mr. Speaker, refer briefly to some of the things mentioned in the Speech from the Throne? I am sure it is a source of satisfaction to all hon. members to see by the Speech that this country is enjoying a period of advancement and prosperity such as it has not enjoyed for some years past and that that prosperity has been aided by the policies of the government. In the early part of 1922, when the present administration assumed control, they realised that if a country, with a population of about nine million and a debt amounting to over $2,400,000,000, was to make progress, was to raise the money necessary for paying interest on its debt and for paying the expenses of government, the various outgoings which it had to meet, and was also to make some reduction in the public debt, that could be done only by a policy of rigid economy, and by obtaining, if possible, better markets for what the Canadian people had to sell, better and cheaper facilities for getting to those markets, and more people on the land producing actual wealth. May I call attention to the fact that the total disbursements for the year prior to the present government coming into power amounted to $418,620,000, and for the year just past the total disbursements amounted to $339,902,775. I am sure the reduction in the actual cost of carrying on the affairs of this country is a matter of great satisfaction to hon. gentlemen in every quarter of this House. That means a reduction practically of from $51 to to $37 per head of the population of Canada.

One of the first acts of the present administration upon coming into power was to see whether or not wider markets for the cattle

The Address-Mr. Elliott

raisers of Canada could be obtained. Hon. members will bear in mind that on the accession to power of the present administration the cattle raisers of this country were faced on the American boundary by the emergency tariff and on the other side of the water in Great Britain by an embargo against Canadian cattle, making it absolutely necessary that these cattle should be slaughtered at the port of entry within ten days of landing. It is not necessary for me to detail the voluminous correspondence and the interviews that took place between representatives of this government and representatives of the British government. It is, perhaps, sufficient for our purposes to mention that, after various conferences, an interview was arranged at which the Prime Minister and the Minister of Railways and Canals,, representing Canada, met representatives of the British ministry and discussed the question. As a result of those discussions and of assistance given from different parts of this country by various persons, an act was passed by the British House of Commons and House of Lords in 1922. May I direct attention to what that has meant to people engaged in the cattle industry in this country? In 1922, before the effect of the removal of the embargo was felt, the total shipments of Canadian cattle to Great Britain amounted to some 18,000 head. In 1925, after that trade had been going on for nearly three years, the total shipments of Canadian cattle to Great Britain were a little over 110,000. It has been estimated by experts that that means an addition to the wealth of the cattle raisers of Canada of from li to 2 cents a pound on all cattle passing through the Toronto market. This is a matter of particular interest to my home county of Middlesex, which is the largest producer of beef cattle of any of the counties of Ontario.

Hon. members will recall that in 1921 there was a great drop in food prices in this country without a corresponding drop in the prices of the articles which the farmer had to buy. The result was that, although the 1901 crop in this country was fairly good, owing to the cost of production and transportation in getting to market practically nothing was left for the man who raised that crop. We are, I am sure, all devoutly thankful to a kind Providence for the excellent crop of 1925. We are also thankful for the great reduction in the cost of implements used in production and in the cost of transportation, both of which have enabled the farmer to produce the 1925 crop at a much lower cost than formerly would have been possible.

May I call attention to some of the reductions which will, perhaps, be more familiar to those engaged in farming operations than to hon. gentlemen not so engaged? The wagon which in 1921 cost $54, in 1925 cost $50, or a reduction of about 22 per cent. The eight-foot binder which in 1921 cost $335, in 1925 cost $208.50, a reduction of about 20 per cent; and wheat prices to-day have so increased that instead of receiving as he did for the crop of 1921 eighty cents or a little less for No. 2 northern wheat in Saskatchewan, the farmer gets for the crop of 1925 about $1.34 net at the elevator in that province. This has had an effect on all business in the country and I mention it by way of illustration to show how the prosperity of every industry in the country depends upon the basic industries of agriculture, mining, lumbering and fishing. These industries must be healthy if the other businesses depending upon them are to be satisfactory. There is no question about it that during the last couple of years farming operations in this country have been much more satisfactory than they have been in previous years, and that prosperity is very quickly reflected in all the other industries throughout Canada. The explanation is of course quite apparent. In spite of everything that is said to the contrary, there is no one who spends money when he has it more freely than the farmer does; there is no one more anxious to buy necessaries for his home and family than the farmer is; and there is no one more willing to pay for what he does buy, if the proceeds of what he produces will enable him to pay it, than is the farmer. So that when the farmer is successful every other industry in the country is bound to be successful as well. I might also put the converse, that in a country situated as Canada is unless the farmer is prosperous the man in the industry that expects to sell goods to the farmer cannot possibly prosper. And that is why in the last campaign a great many men engaged in the manufacturing business, such as the hon. member for West Lambton (Mr. Goodison), Mr. Massey, Mr. Little of London, and many others similarly engaged, realized that if the particular industry in which they were interested was going to thrive and prosper it could do so only if the basic industries of the country were also prosperous and the people whom they expected to buy their output had" money to pay for it.

I have no doubt that hon. gentlemen in almost every section of the House will remember that during the last election campaign certain statements were made by some manu-

The Address-Mr, Elliott

facturers, certain intimations given to their employees, certain hints thrown out that unless this government were defeated those industries would have to stop, with the result that their employees would be put out of work. I think it is fortunate that the government was not defeated, for the industries did not stop and there are to-day fewer people out of work in Canada than has been the case for some considerable time. I have particular knowledge of the industries in my own riding especially those in the town of Strathroy. I had occasion to visit all of these industries during the last campaign when I saw practically all their employees, and I found that without an exception every industry in that town was active. The employees were all working, some of them overtime. Although election day was a holiday those manufacturers urged their employees, having made arrangements for them to go and vote, to come back as soon as they possibly could in order to go ahead with the work which they were so anxious to have done in order to complete the orders they had on hand and on which it was necessary for them to put in overtime. It may be that the manufacturers of Strathroy are more resourceful and more fortunate than those in some other places, but I find on examining what I think are fair tests that the prosperity of the country and the conditions I observed at that time in the town of Strathroy are pretty general to-day throughout Canada.

Let us consider for a moment what are the tests of prosperity in any country. Perhaps the best criterion is the ability of the government, after paying all expenses incidental to the management of public affairs, to wipe off a little of the debt. In the fifty-seven budgets since confederation there have been reductions in the public debt of Canada in ten, and of that ten two, or one-fifth, have taken place in the four budgets delivered by the present government. Let me put it another way: in less than one-fourteenth of the total number of budgets delivered, one-fifth of the reductions in the public debt have taken place. Or to put it another way still: If I read correctly the figures in the public accounts, I find that since confederation there have been reductions in the public debt totalling less than eighty million dollars. And in the four years since the present government has come into power the reductions in the public debt have totalled over thirty-six million dollars. So that nearly half of the total reductions since confederation have taken place in the four budgets that have been delivered by the present administration. Now 14011-131

irrespective of our individual views it is a matter of great satisfaction to the people of the country, that Canada is at the present time in the condition I have described.

Let us take another test. I suppose that when the man on the farm finds that he has paid1 out less than he has received he thinks he has had a good year. Well, in 1921 the total balance of exports over imports in this country amounted to $17,000,000, and I find that for the year ending December 31, 1925, the total exports from Canada, over imports into Canada was a little over $392,000,000. There we have an increase of $375,000,000 in the balance of trade in those four years. What does that mean? I am not a scientific economist, as everyone will readily understand, but this seems to me to account for the fact that whereas in the year 1921 the Canadian dollar averaged about 13 cents less than the American dollar, in the year 1925 the Canadian dollar was practically at par. That is another indication of the sound financial condition of the country at the present time. May I also call attention to the fact that, comparing Canada with our neighbour to the south of us,-because after all a great many comparisons are inevitable between the two countries -Canada's exports last year, with a population of a little over nine million, were greater than the total exports of the United States in 1889 with a population of 76,000,000. For the year ending in August last-that is the end of their year-I find that the per capita export trade of Canada amounted to $125 while the per capita export trade in the United States was $37.

Now, Mr. Speaker, certain reductions were made in the tariff by the present government. As hon. members will recollect, those reductions were largely confined to the duty on implements of production. It struck me that if there was anything in the argument that reduction in the protection enjoyed by any industry was likely to work prejudicially to that industry, we would find that the value of its stock would have declined. If hon. members will take the trouble to look at the quotations of stock in the Massey-Harris Company, the Sherwin Williams Company, and in practically any of the other companies presumably affected by that reduction in tariff, they will find that the value of those stocks in practically all instances has increased rather than diminished. This bears out the theory which I think they have on the other side of the line, where implement industries have flourished, although they have had no protection for over thirty years. It will also be found that the comparative value of other

The Address-Mr. Elliott

standard stocks in 1925 shows a marked increase over that of 1921. In confirmation of this may I refer to two or three standard stocks? In 1921 stock of the Bank of Montreal sold for $215; on the 5th instant it was quoted at $261. Royal Bank stock rose in value from $205 to $249; Bank of Commerce stock from $198 to $224; Canadian Pacific Railway stock from $141 to $149; Canada Cement Stock from $67 to $103. Various other stocks show corresponding increases in value.

Some hon. gentlemen may not think that that is a conclusive indication of prosperity. Well, I would refer them to the issue of the Financial Times for October 9 last containing a statement that the general average of the prices of stocks is one of the best indicators of the country's prosperity. It will also be found that there has been a steady improvement in the price of bonds. In 1921 5i per cent bonds were selling at $900 per $1,000; in 1924 the same bonds brought $1,040. In October 1920 there was floated a loan of $25,000,000 at 7 per cent, and it sold at $962 per $1,000; in 1924 a loan of $50,000,000 at 5 per cent sold at over $978 per $1,000. In other words, the 5 per cent loan in 1924 brought $16 per $1,000 more than the 7 per cent loan floated in 1921.

May I also quote the opinion of an outstanding transportation authority as to the progress this country is making? The Montreal Star of September 10 last reported Mr. E. W. Beatty, president of the Canadian Pacific Railway, as follows:

I am only restating what you already know when I tell you that, judging from traffic returns, business is on the upgrade. It is generally admitted that prospects are better than they were this time last year, and the financial skies are considerably brighter. There are some, indeed, who predict a boom; but in view of the amount of leeway still to be made on our heavy indebtedness, such a thing as a boom is neither to be expected nor desired.

I am sure it is a source of satisfaction to every hon. member to know that our own National Railways have similiarly prospered, and that instead of the deficits of former years they show a net operating surplus of over $30,000,000 for the past year. I would also ask hon. members to consider ithe statements of the presidents of our leading chartered banks with a view to ascertaining just what progress we have made, because we have undoubtedly got past the fame when there is any question on this point. At the annual general meeting of the Bank of Montreal held on December 5, 1921, the president said:

Our banking year just closed has witnessed a further readjustment of prices and slackening trade. This has

been a year of unremitting anxiety entailing constant vigilance in order to avoid serious losses.

Referring to the harvest, he said:

The stimulating effect of a good harvest would have been experienced but for the serious decline in prices which has cut into the farmers' profits, and in a number of instances has actually involved losses on the season's operations. m

Under the heading of "Conditions in Canada," he said:

In most propitious circumstances of trade prophecy is rash, and in the complicated conditions that now beset us I will refrain from the risk of forecast.

Now let us look at the report at a similar meeting of the same bank held on December 7, 1925, when the same gentleman is reported

as saying:

There is no question but that the trend of business is slowly but surely upward. As an evidence of this, car loadings are the largest on record, while wholesale and retail business shows a fair degree of increased activity.

The president of the Bank of Commerce, Sir John Aird, issued a similarly encouraging statement, in the course of which he said:

Manufacturers in practically all lines, merchants and commercial houses in general, have this fall reduced their indebtedness to an extent impossible for several years past. All bank statements show the same thing: a great reduction in commercial loans and a big increase in bank investments in stocks and bonds.

The large implement concerns, for example, have this fall made huge reductions in their indebtedness to the banks. The same thing applies to other branches of the manufacturing industry and business in general.

All this country needs now to go ahead in splendid fashion is people. Enough people of the right type would solve the railway problem. We need from two and a half million to five million people in Canada. We want only population to make great progress.

That brings me to the question of what, in the opinion of practically all the financial authorities of this country at the present time, is most to be desired in order to ensure increased progress and prosperity for Canada in the future; that is, population. Hon. members will bear in mind that in 1919 and 1920 and for some years prior and subsequent thereto, our friends on the other side of the line made huge sums of money. Those moneys were looking for investment. A large building programme was started which developed into a boom. On this side of the line everybody will remember that as a result of the war and expenditures in connection with it, the finances of this country were pretty well drained. We were not able to embark on any expenditures of a capital nature except such as were absolutely necessary. The quota law which restricted immigration into the United States applied to Europe and other countries but did not apply to Canada, and the result was that, attracted by the high

wages for skilled and unskilled workmen offered on the other side of the line, a great man}7 of our Canadian workmen went over to the United States. But I am glad to say, Mr. Speaker, that they are coming back, and with agricultural prosperity returning to this country, industrial prosperity is following, and I believe that we may fairly expect that the return of those who left this country and went to the United States will continue to increase as time goes on. There are a number of immigration enterprises being looked after by the government at the present time. One of these is the 3,000-British family enterprise. There has been certain criticism of the present government because it has not brought into this country more immigrants in the past few years. May I call attention to the fact that, as a result of the conditions to which I have just referred, it was not desirable in recent years to attempt to attract population to Canadian cities and towns. It would not have been fair to the labourers already here, because the industries were fully manned. The idea of the government is that where the population is needed at present-and in that I may say they agree absolutely with the heads of all financial institutions whose annual reports I have been able to peruse- is on the farms; we want people who will come in here and help to produce wealth, thus enabling us to pay off our debt. The idea was prevalent in this country, and I believe, still exists in certain sections, that it is dangerous to increase the wheat production of Canada because it is feared that if too greatly increased, it will bring down the price. I do not believe that for years to come the wheat production of Canada will have such an effect upon the world production as to bring about any such result. We are raising in Canada to-day nearly six times as much wheat as we raised only twenty-five years ago; and this year the farmer will get a better price for his wheat than he has received for many years, excluding the period of the war when prices were exceptional. The efforts which have been put forward to bring immigration to this country have been most successful, I believe; and after all, it is a business proposition. An intending immigrant wants to know before leaving his own home and emigrating to a foreign shore, whether he is going to better himself. The best way in which the government of any country can induce agricultural 4 p.m. immigration is to satisfy intending emigrants that they can do better in the country to which they are asked to come than they can do anywhere else.

The Address-Mr. Elliott

They must show a sympathetic interest in agricultural immigration and undertake to do everything in their power to encourage and assist the agricultural immigrant.

One of the best ways to do that is to reduce the cost of the passage in the first place. The immigrant who leaves another country to come to Canada does so largely because he has not in his native land succeeded in accumulating any very large amount of money.

I am sure it was a matter of satisfaction to all to see the great decrease in the cost of transportation under the present arrangement as compared with what the immigrant had to pay in the old days. May I give a few of the figures which will show what the reductions have been. Under the recent agreement which has been made between the government and the transportation companies, rates have been so reduced that where it formerly cost a man coming from the Old Country to Halifax, St. John or Quebec about $93.50, or for a family of five, $467.50. it will now cost him only $15 per head, or $75 for the family; where it formerly cost $107.50 to Toronto it will now cost $22.50; where it formerly cost to Winnipeg close to $120 the new rate will be about $27.50; where it formerly cost $125 to Regina, it will now cost only $30; where it formerly cost to Calgary and Edmonton a little over $126, it will now cost $32.50. To Vancouver the old rate was $142; it will now be $15.

Mr. Speaker, I must apologize for having occupied the time of the House for so long, but there is just one word which I wish to say in regard to a subject about which we hear a great deal at election time but not nearly so much at other times-that is, the tariff. The tariff in this country is a very complex problem at best. It is the result of over forty years of very careful study and hard work on the part of different ministers of finance and staffs of very able assistants. There have been a number of commissions of inquiry into the whole subject which has been gone into in a thorough and scientific way. I may say that as successive ministries have taken office they have found on making a scientific study of the question, that the reforms which they had previously thought absolutely essential to the welfare of the country were not by any means advisable. If anyone will take the trouble to look at the map of Canada and consider the great distances which separate the provinces, and the diversity of their natural and economic conditions, bearing in mind that we have the industrial provinces of Ontario and Quebec, the Maritime and prairie agricultural provinces and beyond those again, the province of

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The Address-Mr. Lacomhe

powers and all our natural resources are a very powerful factor leading to prosperity.

A wise and economic government proclaims as an integral part of its programme a reduction in expenditures and a fusion of departments. It also specially gives consideration to immigration. A serious problem is the fetter! No doubt, it is our duty to attract to our country the foreigner to supply to our untitled sections of Canada strong hands that will grow wheat on the land and perform useful, beneficial and profitable work to Canada. Nevertheless, I have no hesitation in stating now, in this House, that the government is bound, in this delicate task, to separate the tares from the wheat and to allow but respectable people, observant of our laws, to enter this country.

. Mr- Speaker, the sacred duty of maintaining in this country the confederation pact devolves upon us, we must act fairly towards the whole population and yield to the reasonable and just requirements of all parts of our immense Dominion. We shall attain this aim providing we know how to penetrate ourselves with a truly Canadian national sentiment; providing we consent to give to the various provinces the full share of justice, advantages and assistance to which they may legitimately lay claim. Then our beautiful, young and great country, in the midst of a world Shaken by the awful war which burst upon the nations, a few years ago, can proudly continue to move forward on the path leading to prosperity and towards its immortal destinies.

I have the honour, Sir, to second the motion of the hon. member for West Middlesex (Mr. Elliott).


Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)


(Leader of the Opposition): We are now, Mr. Speaker, fairly launched upon the work of the fifteenth parliament of Canada. Among us are more new members than perhaps ever have graced the stage of the opening of any previous parliament of this country. To all of them, as one of the older members of the House, I extend, so far as I may be allowed, a cordial welcome, and assure them that in the work of this House they will find from those of us of longer experience nothing but a spirit of cordial co-operation. I follow the time-honoured custom-and because time-honoured my words are none the less sincere-of congratulating the mover (Mr. Elliott) and the seconder (Mr. Laeombe) of the Address on the success of their first performances in parliament. The mover of the Address has come to us fresh from the enjoyment of an excellent reputation at the bar, and as well

comes to us with nothing but good report from the community where he lives. His experience in the Ontario legislature has made him feel more comfortable, perhaps, in this federal parliament; consequently he has delivered a speech free from those restraints and embarrassments that all of us experience in our opening address. He has acquitted himself creditably. If I were his leader I would congratulate him especially upon the assiduous care he exercised to keep within the straight and narrow limits of Liberal campaign utterances.

The seconder of the Address is, I think, deserving of special commendation. He speaks his mother tongue certainly with eloquence, I hope he has the advantage of speaking the English language as well. I thank him personally not only for the excellent diction but for the careful articulation which makes his speech one to be listened to with pleasure by those of us less fortunate than he. His reference to enjoying the honour that long years ago fell to his late distinguished leader was most appropriate, and I could wish for him nothing better than that he might look forward in this parliament to a career approaching in usefulness, dignity and success, that of the great whom he honours.

I am not compelled on this occasion to terminate my remarks of a pleasant character with eulogies of preceding speakers. I find in the Address itself something to which I can refer with commendation. Its first reference is to the lamented death of the Queen Mother of the royal family. To this no extended remarks would now be fitting, because upon the order paper of this House there appears at the instance of the government a resolution making mention of the same lamentable fact- a resolution, if the government will accept from me the compliment, graciously worded with meaningful phrases, and one, I hope, soon to be passed by this august House.

I join with the mover of the Address in an expression of pride that a Canadian public man, the leader of the government in the upper chamber, was selected to preside over the last meeting of the League of Nations at Geneva. This brought indeed a thrill of pleasure to his fel 1 ow-Canadians, a pleasure not in the least embarrassed by any doubt whether he could perform those great duties with success. Senator Dandurand has the special advantage of a full and ample command of the two great languages which, I believe, almost exclusively prevail in that assembly. This qualification, added to his long experience in great public affairs, fully qualified him for the honour which was done him.

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The usual allusions are made in the Speech to the abounding prosperity of our country, and these have been acclaimed by the mover of the Address with words of appreciation. He finds in them the last seal and proof that all is going well with Canada, and in that naturally he rejoices. He states that things are far better than they have been of recent years and he attributes this fact to his colleagues the members of the administration. Some excuse, of course, may generously be given to the hon. member for West Middlesex (Mr. Elliott). He has not been in this

House very long. If he will turn up the

Speeches from the Throne of the last three years he will find them quite as enthusiastic about the great prosperity of Canada as that which is before us now. Even in those days, which he admitted were rather trying, the government were so anxious to take credit to themselves that they boasted of an abounding prosperity in every Speech from the Throne. Moreover, in that which followed the contest of 1921. when according to their pre-campaign utterances we were on the verge of ruin and national collapse, the Speech from the Throne declared that we were in the best position of any country that had been through the war. With consistent enthusiasm they boasted of like conditions ever since. Therefore the rest of us do not feel at all either enlightened or confirmed in our opinions by any assertion in the Speech from the Throne about the prosperity of our country.

There is also a phrase which does not come as a surprise from the present administration, but which from any other government would be deemed rather inappropriate. I refer to that which declares that-

-the increased prosperity and advancement have been aided by the policies of the government and the reductions in expenditures and taxation made from time to time.

I do not want to be too severe. I can quite understand the spirit of an administration which, not being able to find very much support or laudation anywhere else in this Dominion, makes an honest though clumsy effort to compel the Governor General to pass that laudation upon itself.

There are some other features which mi^ht be disposed of without any lengthy comment. The Speech is unusually long. It partakes of characteristics that have not been lacking in previous performances of the same character, namely, the filling in of paragraphs with material which is nothing but a sort of skilful publicity, pre-campaign literature-material which does not consist of contemplated legislation or of substance to be laid before parliament at all. I might make mention here

of what appears in the closing paragraph at the bottom of the third page, reading as follows:

In pursuance of the fixed policy of the government to encourage the movement of grain and other Canadian products through Canadian ports, the Board of Railway Commissioners has been instructed to include in the general rate investigation now in progress, a special inquiry into the causes of diversion of Canadian grain and other products through other than Canadian ports, and to take such action under the Railway Act as it may deem efficient to ensure as far as possible the utilization of Canadian ports for Canadian traffic.

The ordinary reader, and possibly new members of the House, might conceive this to be an announcement of policy, an announcement of something to be taken into consideration by parliament, a great new endeavour on the part of the administration to alleviate the disabilities of which the Maritime provinces complain. I was curious to know really what foundation there was for the assertion, so I looked up the order in council referred to in the paragraph. I have it in my hand. This order in council states, as the Speech from the Throne itself says in effect:

That the Board of Railway Commissioners have been directed, as part of the general investigation above referred to, especially to inquire into the causes of Canadian grain and other products being routed or diverted to other Canadian ports, and to take such effective action under the Railway Act of 1919 as the Board of Railway Commissioners for Canada may deem necessary to ensure as far as possible the routing of Canadian grain and other products through Canadian ports.

Well, the comment one would -make in the first place is this, that this has been the duty of the railway commission, for years unnumbered, under the Statutes of Canada, indeed ever since it has existed. But the repetition of the direction now is ail the more ludicrous when one goes back just a few short months to June 5, 1925. That is the time this government issued the order in council declaring "equalization as far as possible" to be a proper principle to underlie the rate structure of our country. The declaration, I need scarcely pause to say, had been made in the most explicit and final terms, in a modified form, back in September, 1920. But in the same order in council of June 5, 1925, after a multitude of recitals, I find the following direction to the railway commission:

The committee therefore advise that the board be directed to make a thorough investigation of the rate structures of railways and railway -companies, subject to the jurisdiction of parliament, with a view to the establishment of a fair and reasonable rate structure which will, under substantially similar circumstances and conditions, be equal in its application to all persons and localities so as to -permit of the freest possible interchange of commodities between the various provinces and territories of the Dominion, and the ex-

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pansion of its trade, both foreign and domestic, having due regard to the needs of its agricultural and other basic industries and in particular to (a) the claim asserted on behalf of the Maritime provinces that they are entitled to the restoration of the rate basis which they enjoyed prior to 1919 and (b) the encouragement of the movement of traffic through Canadian ports.

Now this order in council of June 5, 1925, was no more than an assertion of duty applicable to the railway commission and already embodied expressly in the law of Canada. It was described by me at the time as eye-wash and it was nothing more. Now another order has been passed directing the commission again to do the same thing and in virtually the same words and precisely to the same effect; and the third or fourth expression of this direction to a commission to do its duty is solemnly heralded in the Speech from the Throne as an announcement of government policy. But the Maritime provinces should not despair; a little patience will carry the reader to the next paragraph wherein he is promised by the government of Mr. Mackenzie King a royal commission to inquire into the grievances of that part of Canada. It says:

With a view to affording such remedies as may appear to be practical and appropriate, the government also propose to appoint a royal commission to inquire fully into the claims that the rights of the Maritime provinces in regard to the operation of the Intercolonial railway, etc.

Well, I do not doubt that the government need information on the subject. Their leader announced in the Maritimes on his late visit that he did not know what Maritime rights were. But I would caution hon. members from the Maritime provinces not to get too enthusiastic about the results of a royal commission appointed under the present administration. Had this notification come to us four years ago we might have accepted it with some measure of hope. But what has been the record of royal commissions under this government? I would put the question to hon. members, especially to members of the administration as they sit in this House-the sorry remnant that I see in front of me now. Is there any one of them with ingenuity enough, with imagination enough even, to suggest the name of one single royal commission they ever appointed which did a particle of good? Royal commissions! We have had them in floods: we have had puipwood commissions, gram inquiry commissions, Great Lakes commissions, and the like. We have had I think twenty, yes, and more which have cost us over a million dollars. Why, the grain inquiry commission, inclusive of the money that had to be spent by the municipalities and others who appeared before it, cost this

Dominion over half a million dollars itself, and its achievement was absolutely nothing. Hon. members know that the scfle result was the giving of authority to the grain commission to do what the grain commission never intended to do and were not instructed to do, and what the grain commission has not done. The only other result was an increase of Salary to the commissioners. And as for the puipwood commission, it travelled throughout the country, roaming the Maritime provinces. Will some hon. gentleman suggest what good result that commission brought to Canada? The whole residuum from this tremendous outlay of the Canadian people's money has been nothing, nothing, nothing. The only result has been to shift temporarily from the shoulders of the government the responsibility which alone was theirs. And now this is offered to the Maritime provinces in the concluding paragraph, with which they are asked to agree,-that these proposals of the administration represent:

"a sincere effort to take into account the diversified conditions and interests of our Dominion in a manner which will promote mutual understanding and closer co-operation between all parts. It is believed that these measures which, taken together, form a coordinated plan of national progress, will ensure our common aim of a prosperous and united Canada."

I think I see through the thin veneer of this paragraph the photograph of the late member for St. Lawrence-St. George. But if by any chance I am mistaken I would turn to this meaningful utterance on the second page:

Otir revenue is derived partly from taxes made necessary by the war and partly from other sources.

It is helpful to be reminded of that.

In order that the people of the Dominion may have an exact knowledge of the sources of their revenue and the objects of its expenditure simplified forms of account will be issued periodically.

This is indeed the sign-manual of the late member for St. Lawrence-St. George, Mr. Marler.

It is true, as the mover of the Address has stated, that the Speech from the Throne is especially emphatic on the subject of immigration. No less than three paragraphs, one of them quite lengthy, are devoted to an elucidation of the last programme of the government on immigration. Again, we do not rise to the appeal of the hon. member to become enthusiastic. In every Speech from the Throne that this government has brought down they have declared an immigration policy. Every Speech from the Throne has been laden not only with a certain salt of boasting, but with a proclamation that there is going to be very much coming in the way of immigration. A year ago we were assured

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that the efforts of the government were exhausted-that every effort had been made to bring a flood of desirable immigrants to our country. The language of the previous year was scarcely less emphatic; the year before it was just about the same, -and interlarded between the speeches from the throne we have had a various succession of immigration ministers proclaiming a new policy to the public at different functions held in this country. I do not know just what the grand total now amounts to, but we have had anywhere between a dozen and twenty immigration policies announced since this government came into power. Whatever suffering we may be enduring because of the starvation of the country from an immigration standpoint, we have not suffered from any lack of multiplicity of policies. The ministers too have followed one another in somewhat rapid succession. We first had the Minister of the Interior (Mr. Stewart) who had the department on his shoulders; then I think it was thrown upon the already over-burdened back of the present Minister of Finance (Mr. Rolbb) and he laboured with it for, a time; becoming discouraged, he passed it on, I think it was, to the late member for South Renfrew, Mr. Low, who was Minister of Trade and Commerce too. Just before the election the portfolio was thought to be necessary to save the political destiny of the then member for West Peterborough, Mr. Gordon, and he was installed; but no sooner had he been installed and had the Prime Minister informed the country in bis opening speech at the general election that under the new minister's vigorous management great things might be expected in the way of immigration-no sooner was that done than the Prime Minister, entering upon western Canada, found it would be necessary to get another minister of immigration from there; so the member for West Peterborough was notified that his tenure would be short and that very soon there would be a brand new minister of immigration from the west. But the minister-designate was not elected; he lost the seat of South Winnipeg, and no doubt now reflects that if he had not been handicapped by the promise of a portfolio in this government he might possibly have been elected on his personal popularity. However, the circle has been traversed, -and we are back again to the old Minister of the Interior, who is trying his hand at it once more.

Where are the immigrants? It is about a year now since we were told that the new tide which was just coming was to be directed along the lines of our railways where there

was land available, and a special new policy was to be developed under which the immigrants were to be settled away up in the Peace river. That was in the Speech from the Throne a year ago. And speaking at Edmonton in the course of the campaign, we had a new adjective, if not a new policy, announced by the Prime Minister: we were going to have a "spearhead" policy of immigration. This great mass of humanity, swarming upon our shores from foreign lands, was to be "spearheaded" into the Peace river- this of course in the hope of electing the Liberal candidate there. Well,T took pains to inquire at the time where those masses of humanity were. Again, before coming to this debate I secured from the Department of Immigration the grand total of the success of this long series of policies and this majestic circle of ministers. Here are the results. In the first eight months of 1923-24 we secured 118,091; in the first eight months of 1924-25, 97,805. That was the year of the Peace river policy. In the first eight months of 1925-26-and that is as late as there are any returns, up to the end of November- we secured 70,112, or 47,979 less than we secured in the same period of time two years ago, and 27,693 less than we secured in the same period of time last year-the year of the "spearhead" policy. Are these results gratifying to the hon. member for West Middlesex? He says, and well says, that the best immigration policy is that which shows an immigrant he will be more successful here than elsewhere. I wonder if the immigrant is so measuring the subject up himself. And if he is, how is it that he has not taken at par the assertions of this government in its Speech from the Throne that a glorious prosperity pervades this land? How is it that he has not accepted that and come to our shores in the numbers which would have arrived if he did accept such a glowing statement? Why, the stream is drying up. It has been drying steadily-indeed, it has been drying rapidly ever since this government came into power. We had a torrent of immigration previous to the war. Naturally there was a subsiding during the war. In our last year of office we had over 148,000 immigrants. This government's policy last year, after all these herculean efforts, attracted only 111,000, and this year the figure will not be within a score of thousands of where it was last year, notwithstanding the four or five ministers successively in charge of that department and the fourteen pronouncements of policy.

I want to make mention very briefly of some other subjects referred to in this Speech from the Throne. In connection with immi-

The Address-Mr. Meighen

gration, we are advised at the end of the third paragraph on that topic that to make it easier-

-to assist those who are already established on the land by reducing the cost of agricultural production... a measure will be introduced offering wide facilities for rural credits.

Personally I welcome that announcement, but I cannot help wondering whether the government intends to adhere to its rural credits policy of other times, or whether it does not. Has the government changed its rural credits policy, or is it consistent, is it persevering? Last session a bill was brought down-one of the many farces with which this government afflicted parliament. It was based on a false principle; it was ill-considered, ill-digested, and it had not in it one redeeming factor or feature. It was based on the principle of direct loans by the government-not by this government; that might have been worse-direct loans by provincial governments to farmers, the provincial government being responsible. Within the body of the legislation there were restrictions which made nugatory any attempt these governments might make to operate under the law-restrictions as to priorities and all sorts of things which demonstrated clearly that the government had not the slightest intention of the bill ever going into effect, or, if going into effect, of a dollar ever being loaned under it. It is true they brought it to parliament in the dying hours of the session and took care that it got to the Senate just as the Senate was about to adjourn. Now I wonder if the government intend to improve on their proposals. Do they mean to introduce a real measure or do they not? I have often been asked to be constructive, and I think if hon. members will look at my speeches made in the House they will find something in the nature of constructive suggestions along this line.

We will never succeed with any scheme of government loans. That system cannot be administered successfully, especially in a coun-tiy such as this, so widely spread in area and so difficult of direct supervision. We have had experience with government loans in more than one sphere already. We never ventured upon that course save under pressure of exigency. We made government loans in the west in order to relieve dire distress, in order to provide seed. The history of them, while not discreditable, certainly has given no encouragement to any government to launch upon this as a general principle. We made loans also under the Soldier Settlement Board, and I believe under both governments every

effort has been made to make that system successful. I am afraid its success has not been what we all anticipated. Special circumstances, of course, surrounded it. We had returned to our shores great numbers of men, a large proportion of them better qualified for farming operations, perhaps, than for any other special occupation of life. We provided for them by this special legislation, but we are certainly going to lose money in the venture and I do not think our experience even there is such as would warrant our applying the principle in any general way to agriculture in Canada.

Nor does the history of this subject and of the application of the principle in other countries afford us any more encouragement. The United States has ventured upon quite a different course. They have endeavoured to proceed upon the principle of co-operation, leaving the responsibility of the loans and their collection to those directly affected and concerned, not providing out of the treasury of the country moneys afterwards to be collected by the hand of government. Along these lines briefly stated, the United States has proceeded and the government has provided a fund which enabled provision of a sinking fund. Beyond such limits as I have indicated they have not gone. I do not say that their system is wholly applicable to this country. Much light has been thrown upon the subject by investigations which have been conducted, but nothing has followed. I do believe, however, that much can be learned from the example of the United States, and that with such modifications as would be appropriate to a country much newer than theirs, their idea would likely be valuable here. I promise the government my most earnest support in the progress of any measure along those lines or other lines that may seem more sound for the establishment of a rural credit system in Canada. We certainly ought to have an underlying system of first mortgages on farm lands at a lower rate of interest than prevails to-day.

5 p.m. There cannot be permanently successful agriculture, as there should be in this grand agricultural country, until something is done to make moneys available on absolutely sure security at better rates than now prevail.

Then reference is made to other topics. I find that the government intends to restore to the province of Alberta its natural resources. It would be premature for me to comment upon any proposals the government may have made in this regard, because the proposals

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are not before us. We have some rumours of what they contain, but they are rumours so far, and nothing more. Let me say that I hope the government has succeeded in obtaining from the province of Alberta proposals, now accepted by them, which can be received by the other provinces as fair to all concerned. I am anxious that this should be settled. I do not want any more hoaxing about the question at all. It was a great mistake in the first place ever to have established provinces in this Dominion which, supposedly set on their feet, were in reality hobbled, restrained and shackled by restrictions which do not become the majesty of a province. That foundation error has been the parent of an extensive progeny of trouble since. The passing of every year has made settlement more difficult.

I welcome the promise in the Speech from the Throne that a step is to be made shortly towards its solution, and my hope is sincere that the step will prove acceptable to us all. Until its terms are known we cannot say. I for one will approach the legislation in no captious spirit but in a spirit of sympathy, and I believe the same will be the general attitude of the House.

I come now to what have been described, especially by hon. members to my left, as the alluring, attractive clauses of the Speech. Let me refer to perhaps the least significant first. Our attention is going to be directed to "a bill amending the Dominion Elections Act." This is delightfully general.


Henry Herbert Stevens

Conservative (1867-1942)




Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)


It is pretty safe. Are we to be treated to a bill changing the hour at which the scrutineer is to receive his credentials, or something of that trifling sort? What is to be the nature of this amendment? Is it our old friend the alternative vote? I cannot tell from the look on the face of any minister whether it is or not, and do you know why I cannot tell? Because they do not know themselves, and I venture to say- I make it only by way of prediction-that this debate will close without the House being enlightened. It is one of these old cripples which have appeared on the government programme times almost without number, only to die afterwards a somewhat ignominious death. By the way, it is not the only one we miss in this announcement at the opening of the fifteenth parliament. There are a lot of others which have fallen by the way. They are lost, gone from view, apparently passed into the limbo of history; the government will not even like to be reminded of their

names. But I turn to this alternative vote first. We have here something which, if they ever get the courage to bring down a bill, will be declared to have been the manifesto, the sort of John the Baptist announcement which came in advance. Why is it they are so hesitating, why so doubting, why so mysterious and obscure? Things were not always thus. Two years ago they came down and announced there would be an amendment to the election act providing for the alternative vote. This was in the Speech from the Throne. Well, one would wonder why it was necessary to mention it again except just for the old reason-the House had to be satisfied with promises and had to witness their abject negation. Nothing was ever done. The bill came down. The government jockeyed with it until the end of the session. This government, which was voted confidence by the majority of hon. gentlemen to my left, simply felt it could dally with the question. The government never had the slightest intention of passing a bill for the alternative vote. The government knew that the great bulk of its members were against it and it knows so now. But by those means the government held to its side hon. gentlemen to my left, by their support held and sustained itself in power, and these hon. gentlemen found themselves rewarded at the close of four painful years by the declaration of the leader of the government, to the effect that they had never been any use to him at all. What will follow the repetition of this performance none can conjecture. Suffice it to say that it is nothing more now than a sort of shadowy, duplex indication that the government may do something new which it definitely promised twice before and as to which just as often it broke its pledge.

But on the forefront of page 4 of the Speech I read these momentous words:

My government propose to submit provisions for the completion forthwith of the Hudson Bay railway.

Keeping in mind, Mr. Speaker, the announcement of yesterday, confirmed 'by the resignation which you read to-day, it occurs to me that not only have the government and the Prime Minister made up their minds for reasons very obvious, to complete the Hudson Bay railway, but the Prime Minister has resolved to get the first ride on it himself. The history of this subject in recent months is one of the blackest episodes in the record of hon. gentlemen opposite and in the record of their leader. It was not a subject upon which there should have been the character of performance which was indulged in in the late election by himself and by others of his

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followers. Hon. gentlemen will remember that in the past four years while members to my left have pressed and pressed earnestly, vigorously and consistently for the immediate completion of that enterprise, and while certainly we could have embarrassed the government very seriously by joining with them, we declined to do so. We felt that the finances of Canada would warrant us in being cautious, even though the enterprise already had proceeded over a large extent toward completion. Session after session I confirmed the government's course of holding its hand, and waiting for the completion of the enterprise until wre were in a better condition, but I stated-and stated in the campaign as well-that the enterprise had to be completed, that we could not justify, a young and a vigorous country leaving something upon the faith of which thousands had gone into new territory seventy or eighty per cent complete, a proclamation to the whole world that we were not able to do what we set out to do. That the enterprise should be finished few if any doubted. Indeed its continuous prosecution was only halted because owing to the unprecedented and immense obligations entailed by the war we felt that we had to suspend our outlay. Certainly the government had no reason to complain of its treatment from this side of the House. I felt, and I so expressed myself, that the question of how soon we could complete the project would depend upon just the amount of money involved. Difference of opinion existed. Difference of opinion was expressed in this House. I think a government return wras brought down indicating that there would be involved something in the nature of-I may be wrong, but if so I should like to be corrected-fifty million dollars anyway, a very vast sum indeed. Certainly this country is in no position to launch upon an outlay of even half the amount, or anything approaching it. If such expenditure is essential we had better wait. We have railway responsibilities enough without adding in any such serious degree as that to the railway burdens of our country. There waited upon me, though, toward the end of last session-I have no doubt the same delegation waited upon the government-a delegation which represented, on the authority of what appeared to be very competent engineers, that sufficient could be done to test the feasibility, the practicability, of the route within a sum of money which they fixed at $3,000,000. Of course no pretence was made that this sum would place the enterprise in that position of completion it ought to be placed in wThen it is demonstrated that

it will be a success; but they did allege that that sum would put it in the position where the practicability of the route could be fairly tested. I said to them-and I stated in the campaign; my words never varied no matter what part of Canada I was in-that if the amount to put the route in such position was this sum, or a sum within the range, I would not stop at a million or so; that there was no reason for protracted delay or any delay at all; that it would not be in the interest of Canada merely for such an expenditure as that to allow the system to remain longer in the state it is in and leave thousands of settlers who have gone into that country on the faith of all political parties in a state of discontent and resentment. The position I took in the campaign I restate to-day, and I take the pains to do so first so that no one in this House will feel there is anything in the way of evasion on my part. I proceed to make a few comments on the conduct of the government on this subject.

What was the course of the administration? Did the leader of the government go to western Canada and say the completion of the road depended upon the amount of outlay necessary? Did he say he would ascertain, as I certainly would do, what that outlay would be, the minimum necessary to get the road going, and that his policy would be decided in the light of these facts? No, that was not his course. The Prime Minister of Canada went into the district to be affected by the building of this road and told the people there that they would get the road on one condition and one only, and that was that they voted for him. And on platform after platform in western Canada he declared that if enough Liberals were elected from the part of the country affected, then he would build the road, and intimated if they were not elected he would not. This Hudson Bay railway was dangled as a bribe before the whole of western Canada during the campaign and in a manner which made it nothing in the world but a bribe. A government must of course announce its policy; a party must announce its policy, and the announcement of a policy may mean benefit to one section of the country and perhaps little or none to any other section. As long as that policy is to be put into effect if such party is returned, that is an honest presentation. But if it is made a condition of the policy that the people specially to be benefited vote for the government, then it is a bribe, and a naked, shameless bribe. This government now declares that having thirteen members elected in Saskatchewan, the province chiefly affected, the

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[DOT] _ . bribe promised is about to be paid. Such is

the way it ought to be put, if it were put honestly in the Speech from the Throne. I ask hon. members to my left, is that the conduct of a government in whom they are proud of having expressed confidence? I know hon. members to my left were told it was not a confidence vote; that they were not voting confidence in the government. But the first member on the government side who rises when the debate is over declares to-day that the House has expressed confidence in the government, and he spoke the truth. The Prime Minister went to Saskatchewan and said, " Defeat the Progressive candidates in Saskatchewan and I will give you the Progressive policy ". By those means he elected his candidates over them, and in that constituency of Prince Albert to which he now hies for election, his words, spoken from a platform at Saskatoon were, " If you want the Hudson Bay railway do not vote for the man who championed the Hudson Bay railway there in four sessions of parliament, vote against him ". That was the late member for Prince Albert, Mr. Andrew Knox. Having defeated Mr. Knox and every other champion of the Hudson Bay railway in thirteen constituencies of that province, he now comes to the survivors, elected in spite of every effort which he made, and he says, "'By the same bribe which secured me thirteen seats in Saskatchewan, I now invite you to support me ". Such is the late record of this administration on the Hudson Bay railway. What their future performances will be I will not venture to conjecture.

Those of us who have been in the House during the past four years are not reposing any very great faith upon declarations in the Speech from the Throne. Will the House bear with me for a moment while I take the minds of hon. members back over a few short years and trace the history of this government's proclamations and announcements of policy in the Speech from the Throne? In 1923 the great announcement was of a new immigration policy. This has been common in all years before and since. The policy was described, and the results of the policy, if it ever was applied, I have already detailed to the House. But in addition that year we were told that the country was struggling under the grip of a combine on the Great Lakes-a combine of shipping interests which were injuring agriculture and were discriminating against the use of Canadian ports. The government declared that it was setting out upon a crusade to defeat that combine, to restore to agriculture the moneys which were mulcted from them and to remove from

Canadian ports the effects of the damage that was being done. Well, what have been the consequences? WTe did get a bill, and every member of the government knows- and no one knows it quite so well as the hon. Minister of Finance-that if ever there was legislation utterly worthless and utterly discreditable from every standpoint of intelligence; if ever there was legislation which brought nothing but loss and humiliation to this country, it was the legislation they introduced. They know to-day that this policy announced in 1923 of control of the operations of the Great Lakes is not in effect in the faintest imaginable degree. They have not a whit more control of rates to-day on the Great Lakes than they have of the religious persuasions of the people of India. The whole thing ended in a farce. Those were the principal pronouncements for the year 1923.

In 1924 the programme was still more pretentious. We were to have a Dominion fuel board to evolve a coal policy. Well, the fuel board may exist, but I know the coal policy does not exist. Very few boards ever disappear under this government, and very few policies are ever evolved. We did have some legislation last session which received the most sympathetic treatment on the part of hon. members on this sidte of the House, but for some reason that nobody can understand on any creditable principle, at was suddenly abandoned by hon. gentlemen opposite. Do hon. members suggest there may have been a reason for its abandonment? Well, if there was any it was this: that when they introduced this coal policy for the manufacture of coke a provincial election was pending in Nova Scotia, and when they abandoned that policy the provincial election was over.

We were told in 1924 that the government had under their serious consideration the question of the St. Lawrence waterway, and they gave as their reason for not making any definite pronouncement on the subject, that they wanted to make further inquiry. This was two years ago. This problem, pressing enough to be placed in the Speech from the Throne two years ago, upon which we have since had twenty-four months of "inquiry", is now dead and gone from sight. It is not even worthy to be mentioned, and if anything has been done, then the government has succeeded in doing it without the knowledge of the people of Canada.

They did not stop there. There was announcement of an effort on the part of the government to secure lower rates on cattle. Just how far that effort has proceeded, just

The Address-Mr. Meighen

who it perspiration has been emitted, I do not know, I am in no position to say; but I know there are no lower rates on cattle. We did have something that was supposed to be an attempt to that end, and in this connection I refer to the promise in the Speech from the Throne for the stabilization and control of freight rates by land and sea from the head of the lakes to Liverpool. This was the star pronouncement of 1924. The echoes of that proclamation did not die until the election was through, for on almost every stump hon. members of the government proclaimed, as the great central article of government policy, that they were going to have "no monopoly by land or sea". It would be merciful to the government-if it would not be quite fair, it would at least be merciful-if I were to say that no attempt was made to carry out that pronouncement of policy. Unfortunately there was an attempt: the ill-fated Petersen contract, of malodorous memory; the Petersen contract which has now gone into the past eternity; the most indescribable, unspeakable attempt at contracting which any government has ever made in the old world or the new, in ancient or modern times. I do not need to harrow the memories of hon. gentlemen opposite by referring to it much farther. Suffice it to say that it was laughed out of this House. After many twistings and turnings the government consigned it to a secluded cemetery in the form of a committee, and there, at a cost of about $100,000. it was buried for evermore. All we hear of it now is the dismal dirge of the company in its lament over the profits which it lost, and all we witness to bring back its memory is the presence of the I ago of the play, looking down from his favourite place in the gallery in despair upon a government which was so long his patron and his friend.

Will hon. members now follow me into the manifestoes of the Speech from the Throne of 1925? This Speech opened with the declaration that what was engaging the attention of the government most of all was the problem of the "Cost of Living." It was harrowing their souls. They were troubled by day and sleepless by night in their effort to get the cost of living down to a point more sufferable for the masses of our country. I do not see in the Speech from the Throne to-day any particular concern for the cost of living. Why is it omitted? If I could only show hon. members the chart of living costs in Canada since the delivery of that Speech they would realize at a moment's glance why it was omitted. It was omitted because as shown by the chart which I obtained to-day from the Department of Labour, the cost of living, so

high that it worried the government and formed the major feature of the Speech from the Throne a year ago, is now just about five per cent higher than it was then. It has gone up in a line almost as perpendicular as the line which represented its course during the progress of the war. So a higher cost of living does not worry them at all. It has passed from their sight, and they decide to forget it and to build the Hudson Bay railway instead.

These are the principal features of Speeches from the Throne which have come to us in the past, delivered iby hon. members of this government. I am sure I have said enough to indicate to this House that we need to be not too sanguine, and that it is better not to be too enthusiastic. It is better not to consider as though there were realized to-day all the promises of hon. gentlemen in their Speeches from the Throne.

I spoke some time ago of dear old friends who are missing and apparently gone forever, and amongst them none was more familiar, none more lamented than the figure of that great apparition known as Senate reform. Its death has been very recent, so perhaps we should speak of it with bated breath. It was in the Speech from the Throne a year ago. We were then told that parliament would be asked to authorize the calling of a conference. All of us knew that the government had called many conferences without asking the authority of parliament at all, so we suspected that the reference in the Speech from the Throne was merely intended to postpone an evil day. We all remembered too that the session before had closed with a declaration from the Prime Minister that the Senate was going to be reformed and of what was to be the specific character of the reform. He had told us just where its wings were to be clipped, and he declared that when the government was through, the Senate would not be able any more to balk legislation passed by the Commons more frequently than twice. As time went by, this particular programme was little by little abandoned. At the time I ventured to ask him if he had taken the trouble to consult the provinces who had been parties to the pact of confederation and who naturally would like to have something to say about its alteration. The question was not answered, but the significance of the question evidently sank into the government's mind, because as month after month went by this particular programme of Senate reform became vague and still more vague, and the proposal and method of the reform became in time utterly beyond all understanding. As the election proceeded the in-

The Address-Mr. Meighen

tention to reform some way, any old way at all, was pronounced over and over again by the leader of the government. How far he was followed by the Minister of Justice (Mr. Lapointe) I am in no position to say, 'but I will venture the suggestion-and I ask hon. members to watch the minister-that he never suggested Senate reform to an audience during the whole election. On the doctrine of the solidarity of the government he must have acquiesced in the pledges of his leader, and there was scarcely a platform upon which that leader spoke in the whole campaign which did not resound with his declaration that he was bent upon Senate reform and on one occasion he announced that steps would 'be taken to that end before the next session of parliament. Not only did he so declare, but he said: "Already I have so pledged members who have been appointed to the 'Senate that when they get there they have to vote for Senate reform whether they want to or not. 'Not only have they to vote for Senate reform, but they have pledged themselves to vote for any kind of Senate reform which the government sends up." Thus he described the character of senators who, according to his own admission, he had lately appointed to the upper house. Thus the matter stands until we are greeted in this parliament with the Speech from the Throne, and I look through all its lines in vain; I look through all the perfervid literature that graces its pages, and I cannot see mention of the Senate or of Senate reform. The Minister of the Interior himself looks puzzled. Is it all forgotten?. May I ask, is it forgotten, is it ,afoandoned, or was it in the beginning nothing more or less than a hoax? Was it simply a stage-play by which it was hoped to secure the support Of Labour in this country? In any case the record of the government as regards Senate reform is a very useful object lesson to new and aspiring members of this House as they read, possibly with some enthusiasm, the Speech from the Throne of to-day.

I want to make mention of another topic, and with this I close. In the Speech from the Throne there is a reference to the subject of the tariff. A reading of this paragraph is well worth the time of any hon. member of this House. It is one of the most curiously constructed things I have ever seen. In symmetry it almost resembles the late government

and I use the word "late" intentionally, for hon. members will recall that it was one of the chief boasts of the Prime Minister that his government represented with exactitude the various provinces of our Dominion. We were told with what precise and 14011-14

perfect symmetry the various peoples who compose our population were represented in this government. Now of course the whole picture presents a different spectacle, a spectacle which we find reflected in the promise in the Speech from the Throne to reduce the number of ministers. Well, necessity is the mother of invention and very often it is worth while to make a virtue of necessity. The government apparently intends to carry on with four provinces not represented by a minister and one of them the most populous province in Canada.


Joseph Henri Napoléon Bourassa



They are happy provinces.


January 18, 1926