March 2, 1926

CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

Does the hon. gentleman remember-

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Some hon. MEMBERS:

Sit down.

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CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

Does the hon. gentleman remember-

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?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Order.

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LIB

Hewitt Bostock (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

Order. I understand the hon. member for Brandon (Mr. Forke) allows the question that the right hon. gentleman is trying to put?

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PRO
CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

I am asking the hon.

member if he recalls his prophecies in the last parliament?

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PRO

Robert Forke

Progressive

Mr. FORKE:

I admit, Mr. Speaker, that

it is very foolish to prophesy. But I am not discouraged. I would turn to hon. gentlemen opposite and prophesy, too, that there are not going to be very many Liberals from Manitoba after the next election. But there are going to be a great many more Progressives. While I am in the prophesying mood I will go a little further: After another election we are going to see this corner of the

House filled up with just as many Progressives as were returned to the last parliament.

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Some hon. MEMBERS:

Oh, oh.

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PRO

Robert Forke

Progressive

Mr. FORKE:

My friends may laugh, but

I ask them to remember when that time comes what I am now saying. When we came to this parliament we found no party had a majority in the House of Commons over all other parties. Consequently the first thing we had to do was to find out which party was likely to be able to secure a majority of the members. We voted first of all upon the question: Had the government a right to

call parliament together? The government was sustained in that division. The position taken by the Progressives was largely influenced by the legislation we are interested in. We have heard "bribery" mentioned by the right hon. leader of the opposition. He has used that word again and again. It is an ugly word, and I do not like it at all. Bribery has never been practised in this House so far as we are concerned. Can any member on either side of the House assert that I know anything about bribes? I defy any member to make such a statement. A legislative programme has been set forth by the government. Surely we have common sense and good judgment enough, notwithstanding our "rusticity", to understand just exactly what that means. We believe it is a programme in the interests not only of our own constituencies but of the whole Dominion. So why call it "bribery" because we accept that programme? The right hon. leader of the opposition talks about co-operation. I wonder if he would not have been willing at the commencement of the session to co-operate with the Progressives if he could have done so. I would not blame him. It would have been all right on his part and quite honourable. Then why throw innuendoes across the floor at those who have co-operated? Why blame them? I think what was done was perfectly honourable on all sides. We have decided to support the government in their legislative programme, and shall do so until that programme is put through.

Now, we have heard a good deal about the government defying the will of parliament. I say the government has not defied the will of parliament. Parliament can defeat this or any other government any day it likes, and once parliament has made up its mind against the government it can no longer remain in office. Then why all this talk during the past six weeks about the government defying the will of the people? We have heard somewhat similar criticism of the Progressives for the course they have taken this session. I

The Address-Mr. Rogers

want to tell hon. gentlemen, no matter on which side of the House they sit, that when they talk in that strain, they are not insulting members of the Progressive group, they are insulting the constituencies that sent those members down here. Those constituencies have confidence in the members they elected to this House. I believe that every action we have taken this session is perfectly legitimate and perfectly honourable, and I hope that what we have done will enure to the benefit of the whole Dominion.

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CON

Robert Rogers

Conservative (1867-1942)

Hon. ROBERT ROGERS (South Winnipeg) :

Mr. Speaker, seldom if ever in the history of parliamentary government in Canada has any parliament been called upon to meet conditions similar to those which have confronted this parliament from the first day of the session diown to the present time. These conditions make it abundantly clear that this so-called government has so far not been able to function as a responsible government. Let me say further that this government cannot function as a responsible government in the future, and never can function as a government capable of administering the public affairs of the Dominion of Canada.

Hon. gentlemen opposite two weeks ago realized, probably as no government has ever realized before, the imperative necessity of finding in some form or other a plan which would save them from complete ruin. Of one thing they were certain; of one thing they were sure, that a vote of want of confidence they could not and dare not attempt to face. Something had to be done and that something had to be done quickly. At a given moment all eyes on the other side of the chamber were focussed on the hon. member for Nelson (Mr. Bird), who quickly rose in his place and fulfilled the fondest hope of hon. gentlemen opposite by moving the previous question, thereby extending the stricken, helpless and hopeless condition of hon. gentlemen opposite for two or three weeks longer. I say further that the government, as indicated by their course yesterday and today, still feel the strain of their position, and how could it be otherwise? This much comfort they apparently take to-day, that when the motion came before this House last night it synchronized entirely with what is commonly discussed in this parliament as the fifty-day clause, through which indemnities of $4,000 a year have been made safe for hon. gentlemen on the other side of the House.

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Some hon. MEMBERS:

Order.

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CON

Robert Rogers

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ROGERS:

There is nothing out of order. Now, Mr. Speaker, the fifty days

were uip and we had the motion as presented to-day by my hon. friend who leads the House (Mr. Lapointe). My hon. friend has been talking about obstruction, and I want to say here and now that my right hon. leader (Mr. Meighen) and those around him on this side of the House have never undertaken to obstruct hon. gentlemen opposite. Let me say further that if we had wanted to obstruct it would have been impossible to do so, by reason of the fact that there was nothing before the House to obstruct. Hon. gentlemen opposite could not and dared not bring any measure before this parliament for consideration.

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LIB

Edward Mortimer Macdonald (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. MACDONALD (Antigonish-Guysbor-ough):

How could we do it until the Address was passed?

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CON

Robert Rogers

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ROGERS:

Is that all my hon. friend knows of the rules of parliament? Let me point out to my hon. friend what he could do. He certainly is very lacking in knowledge of parliamentary procedure. The day the Address in reply to the Speech from the Throne came to this House, my hon. friend's leader rose in his place and made a motion, as follows: [DOT]

Hon. Ernest Lapointe (Leader of the House): I move, seconded by Mr. Macdonald (Antigonish-Guysborough)

Seconded by my hon. friend.

-that the Speech of His Excellency the Governor General to both Houses of parliament be taken into consideration on Monday next, and that this order have precedence over all other business of the House except government notices of motion and introduction of bills, until disposd of.

Now Mr. Speaker, hon. gentlemen on this side took no objection to that; we wanted to proceed with the business. There are many motions promised in the Speech from the Throne-government notices of motion-

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LIB

Edward Mortimer Macdonald (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. MACDONALD (Antigonish-Guysborough) :

You agreed to that resolution.

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CON
LIB

Edward Mortimer Macdonald (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. MACDONALD (Antigonish-Guysborough) :

No other business could come before the House until the Address was disposed of.

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CON

Robert Rogers

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ROGERS:

With the exception of government notices of motion. Where was the notice of motion in respect to the Hudson Bay railway? Why was that not brought down for consideration? This House was here for business.

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LIB

Edward Mortimer Macdonald (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. MACDONALD (Antigonish-Guysborough) :

We will bring it down.

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March 2, 1926