Mr. W. W. KENNEDY (Winnipeg South Centre):
Mr. Speaker, I cannot claim the
privilege of entering the lists in this discussion bearing the colours of a Maritime righter. I was going to say that because of the special question in issue this was to me a matter of some regret; but when I remember the traditional ability with which men from the Maritime provinces have represented the needs of their constituencies it would be presumption on my part to suggest that they need any additional help.
The matter now before the House is not one which should be tinged in any way by politics or discussions that savour of politics. Surely the need of men and women, honest Canadian citizens in distress, has an appeal higher than politics, and I believe it is on a higher plane than party politics or party discussion that it will be received in general by members from every comer of this House. Although not coming from the Maritimes, so that this matter has for me no special local significance, may I say that I shall always cherish the ambition that so long as it shall be my privilege to occupy a seat in this House, an appeal such as this coming from whatever corner of the country it may, will find in me a ready champion and a sincere friend.
What is the matter before the House? What is the subject at issue? The picture has been ably drawn by the mover and the seconder of this resolution. It is a picture of men, women and children, honest hardworking people in Nova Scotia, in acute distress who appeal to the representatives of Canada sitting in this House for relief, and for relief in what way? Is it relief in kind? Is it relief in money? Is it relief by doles? No; it is a happy change from that form of relief? It is the call of workingmen asking not for doles, but for work, that thereby they may earn the necessary money with which to buy food for their wives and families. That is an appeal which, I believe, will find a ready response from all corners of this House.
I have had no more opportunity to consider this matter than other hon. members. The hon. member for North Winnipeg (Mr. Heaps) camplained that he was taken by surprise. I cannot help wondering what he would have told us had he been prepared.
The question after all, is not involved. It is simply this, that many thousands of men, women and children in the coal areas of Nova Scotia are in dire want and distress. There are some twenty thousand, I am told. The fact that they are in such need is vouched for and stressed by representatives from that province, and we can take their statements as being correct. They say these people want work; that they seek relief through work. To my mind the only thing for this House to consider is: First,, should they be given relief; second, is this House in a position to give them relief, and if so, shall we do it?
Do they need relief? This question need not be prolonged. Can they be given relief? It has been suggested by the mover and seconder of this resolution that certain concerns have been interviewed and they have stated that they will, at considerable inconvenience to themselves, order extra stores of coal which they do not presently need, upon the condition that the Canadian National Railways will reduce its rates from the coal fields to Montreal to an extent in parity with the rates obtaining from Alberta to the central provinces; that the result of this will be to furnish work to those miners and tide them over this difficulty. If that is all that stands in the way, will any hon. gentleman sitting either to the right or ,to the left of Mr. Speaker deny such relief? I sincerely hope not.
During this discussion there has been talk of the principles of the Liberal party, of the principles of the Conservative party, of the principles of the Progressive party; but as to what those principles are I do not intend to enter into any discussion except to say this:
Nova Scotia Miners
The present question is not one of principles or policies of any of the parties; it is the practical question of people in distress asking for relief and desirous of knowing whether we are able to give it?
Although I am a new member here, I suggest to hon. members that the rank and file of the common people of this country from east to west are more concerned with the immediate solution of problems such as this than with the policies ox platforms of any particular party, whatever party it may be. If *hon. members will approach this matter on that broad plane, forgetting all party differences, forgetting whatever of political kudos they may lose in this discussion in a party way, they will gain, many-fold in the hearts and minds of the common people of this Dominion. Let us give these people relief.