The House resumed from Wednesday, January 20, consideration of the motion of Mr. J. C. Elliott for an Address to His Excellency the Governor General in reply to his Speech at the opening of the session, and the proposed amendment thereto of Right Hon. Arthur Meighen.
Mr. ALEXANDER J. DOUOET (Kent, N.B.): Mr. Speaker, when the House rose last evening I was discussing the platforms upon which the last election was contested throughout the Dominion. I had reached that stage where I had demonstrated-conclusively, I believe-that in the Maritime provinces, instead of being elected as a Maritime group ready to oppose our right hon. leader (Mr. Meighen) we were returned on the policies of
a protective tariff and consideration of our transportation problem as dealt with by my right hon. leader in his speech of June 2 last.
Now I come to the province of Ontario. Yesterday afternoon the hon. member for South Perth (Mr. Sanderson) said that the tariff was the real issue in that province. But I ask this House, what was the issue in the seventeen Ontario ridings where the government had no candidates? Certainly it was a most extraordinary thing that in the last election 31 out of the 245 seats were not contested by the government; in other words, in 12i per cent of the federal seats, or one-eight of the whole representation, the government could not find candidates willing to sacrifice themselves to their political convictions. If the tariff was the real issue in the province of Ontario, unquestionably the great majority of the electors in that province decided emphatically in favour of the programme offered by my right hon. leader.
Next let me deal with the provinces of Manitoba and Saskatchewan. The hon. member for St. Boniface (Mr. Howden) said that the issue in the west was transportation. But in Manitoba I find the government failed to contest six constituencies. In Saskatchewan they allowed two to go by default-Long Lake and Qu'Appelle. I think we see before us this afternoon the reason why Long Lake was not contested by the government. In Alberta the government also allowed two seats to go by default. If transportation was the primary question in the prairie provinces, then most assuredly the Conservative vote in the last election compared with that polled in 1921 shows that the people out there have faith in the proposition put forward by our party to make it possible to transport the products of the east and the west to the central provinces, and if need be, let the whole country shoulder the burden.
Now I come to a discussion of the campaign in the old province of Quebec. This is the more important, Sir, because 60 per cent of the hon. members sitting on your right were returned by that province; that is, out of an available 99 votes, 60 are from Quebec. In that I am not including the hon. member for Labelle (Mr. Bourassa). I purpose to show that some of the propaganda used and some of the speeches delivered in that province on behalf of the government were entirely aside from the real issue-the tariff. Throughout the campaign in that province our friends discussed in the majority of the constituencies every other issue but the tariff, and to confirm my statement I need quote only from Le Soleil, the chief Liberal organ in the province
The Address-Mr. Doucet