both reasons indicated in the motion are absolutely false and without foundation, and the motion could have been brought before the House only for the purpose-well, I had better not finish the sentence.
cross-examined witnesses too many times not to be able to frame a question to which no answer could be given that might not tend to convict the accused. I see my hon. friend, the ex-Solicitor General (Mr. Cannon) sitting beside the leader of the opposition (Mr. Mackenzie King) and as I know he is an adept at framing such questions, I rather suspect that he may have drafted this resolution,
to the inordinately long speech which the leader of the opposition made last night and! which he has continued to-day. I have so much respect for the right hon. gentleman that really I could not with propriety reply, in less than an hour.
bright mind-it may have been the hon. member for Bow River (Mr. Garland)-that possibly we may have a repetition of the double shuffle such as we had in 1858, when a government went out and came in again, and its members resumed their former offices. May I point out to the leader of the opposition. however, that, even if the double shuffle should now occur again, there is one member of the opposition who would not come in to office, and that is himself, for the simple reason that for a considerable number of years now in this country the office of Prime Minister has carried an emolument and the moment the hon. gentleman, no matter what
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might happen to his ministers, took the oath of office, he at least would have to vacate his seat in the House. A good deal would also depend upon whether the Prime Minister recently resigned for himself and his ministers as well, or whether his ministers put in their individual resignations. Undoubtedly under the statute as it exists to-day, a minister who tenders his individual resignation may within thirty days be appointed to and fill another ministerial office without a by-election. But the leader of the opposition, even if this resolution passes and the present government resigns, will not be in a position to attend sessions of the House and conduct the administration. -
This resolution does not ask that writs be issued to fill vacancies; it does not ask that an address be passed in this House reflecting on .the conduct of His Excellency the Governor General, which has formed the whole body of hon. gentlemen's criticism. It is a resolution which I have described in apt terms as so ridiculous that it would not do credit to the skill of an ordinary schoolboy, and it does not contain a single statement of fact which can be relied upon. In other words it is an imposition on the intelligence of the House.
I would not take part in this debate but for the fact that the hon. member for Bow River (Mr. Garland) referred to my views regarding the future of Canada and the status which she should hold in the British Empire. I believe that a great federation of British parliamentary commonwealths, a federation greater than the United States of America, is in process of formation now and within that federation every unit will have absolute independence in the conduct of its own affairs. That has always been my belief. The chief feature of such a federation will be in my opinion an absolute equality as between one commonwealth and another in self-government.
I was impressed with what the hon. member for Bow River said, as well as with the remarks of the ex-Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King), to the effect that any parliamentary principle that obtains in the Mother Country should be respected in any of the dominions. If the Prime Minister has the right in the Mother Country to advise the sovereign, with the assurance that his advice will be accepted, the same right should obtain in this country. And I believe that will be the view of the Prime Minister now in office (Mr. Meighen). What is good enough for the Old Country should be good enough for Canada and Australia and all the other commonair. Caban.]
wealths of the empire. Unless we have absolute self-government here at home we shall not be able to compete with the great republic to the south of us.
Hon. gentlemen applaud that statement. Well, the Conservative party has always held that position. It was the view held by Sir Robert Borden and I am sure the present Prime Minister will hold it. Now we must take a step forward and, as I say, if we have not complete home government wTe shall be unable to compete with our neighbour. Canada must be put on an equality with every other country on this continent in the matter of government, and nothing will help to bring this about so much as the co-operation of the Mother Country.
I cannot support the motion before the House; it is more or less a subterfuge. It is a subterfuge in view of the recent finding of a committee of this House in regard to the Customs scandals; that is a finding of the House and a finding of the country, and the people want an opportunity of expressing themselves in regard to it. I Lave been in this House perhaps longer than any other member; I hope the new Prime Minister will back me up when I say we should have dissolution right away and that this question 'should be submitted to the people. While I am saying that on my own account I believe it is what the people ask for. The Globe, the leading Liberal paper of Ontario came out three or four weeks ago demanding dissolution; the Montreal Gazette, expressing Conservative opinion, came out this very week with a similar demand, while the Winnipeg Free Press, which represents 11.western Progressive element, calls for the same thing. I hope the Prime Minister will find a way to go to the country on this question in order to clean up affairs in Canada. The present situation is most unsatisfactory; we can no longer bear the bad name which we have acquired. We must try to clean up the situation and to my mind the only way it can be done, and the way which will be insisted upon, is an appeal to the highest court of Canada, the men and women who constitute our electorate. They are the people to clean it up; they are ready to do so, and I am sure the public opinion now forming will be effective, possibly under the leadership of the new Prime Minister, in having 'this matter cleaned right up. I am sure that opinion will be supported by members on both sides of the House, because there are men patriotic enough, men who have studied the constitu-
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tion enough to believe that they should take their part in cleaning up our public affairs. We want better administration; we want cleaner administration; we want to get away from distillery rule in this country, and we want to get away from the ru'e of great interests or anything of that kind. We must have a number of reforms, and the reform which I have advocated from my first day in this House is that great principle of public ownership. To-day the people of Canada have the greatest railway in the world.
Hon. members opposite are applauding me now. This great railway is in jeopardy to-day, yet it is succeeding as no other railway ever succeeded before. The west is asking for lower freight rates; the industries of this country are asking for lower freight rates, and the way to make our country great is to consolidate our railways into one, re-route them to get a greatly improved service, and have lower freight rates by land, rail, sea and air. It is not a question of railways alone; it is a question of transportation, and the people in power in this country must deal with this question in all its phases.
That is the main thing I have to say to-night; I am quite willing to do anything I can to assist the new Prime Minister in appealing to the country, and I am sure some hon. gentlemen opposite will help also. I would not be surprised if the ex-Minister of Finance (Mr. Robb) would help, and perhaps the ex-Minister of Justice (Mr. Lapointe) would do something also.
I am not going into the merits of the whole question, but a way must be found to clean up this situation. We have- been saying that parliament is supreme; I say the men and women voters of Canada are supreme in this country, and they want an opportunity of deciding the issue now before us. I have not taken much time in saying this, but I hope it will produce some response, because the country is looking for some gesture towards the clean-up of affairs which have existed in this country. Much as I admire the speech the leader of the opposition made last night, he is out of the running for the present; he has to take care of the scandals and revelations which have come out. We must have integrity in our public men; if we have it there we will have it in our whole public service, and that is the great requirement of our country to-day. I appeal to you, Mr. Speaker, and to this House to join hands in cleaning up conditions, in getting better and cleaner government and
in making Canada what it is on the eve of becoming, namely, the greatest example of free parliamentary government in the world. This country has the richest resources of any country in the world; consider our agriculture, our mines and our industries, and most of all consider the desire of our people to work out their own destiny.
I do not profess to be a lawyer, to understand constitutional questions or to be able to debate them in the able way they have been debated by hon. members on both sides of the House. I have, however, a firm belief in the common sense of the people of Canada, and I believe that applies as well to members of this House. Most of us know very , well why this particular debate has been precipitated just now; we have seen speakers on the other side of the House work themselves almost into a frenzy over the danger to our constitution. But let me say just here, Mr. Speaker, that if the same zeal and energy now displayed by the leader of the opposition for the welfare and wellbeing of the people had been displayed when he was in power, the sordid conditions revealed in the Customs report would not have existed, and this matter would not have been a live question to-day. If the right hon. leader of the opposition had had the same zeal for constitutional protection when this House was summoned last January as he displays to-day when in opposition, we might have had a different story to tell.
I can recall no member of this House who has been louder in his declaration of the supremacy of parliament than has the right hon. leader of the opposition (Mr. Mackenzie King). I know of no members who have been louder in their protestations that the day has long since passed when our procedure should be determined by musty precedents and rulings centuries old than have the hon. members who sometimes occupy the seats diagonally opposite, just now conspicuous by their absence. They say. We want something more up to date, something more along the lines of common sense, something that will enable parliament to function more intelligently than it has done in the past, and not this system of party warfare. I am somewhat concerned to know what these champions of change in par-liamenltary procedure will do on a question like this. They know just as well as any hon. member in this House that this discussion has been brought on, in the judgment of many of us, to distract attention from the real question before the House and the country, and to attempt to gain once more by some desperate means the seats of power. In that I have full confidence, Mr. Speaker, that they will be disappointed.
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With many of the arguments that have been presented by able members on both sides of the House I might be in accord if they were applied to a government assuming office under ordinary circumstances, if it was a government that was attempting to bring down a speech from the throne and submitting a programme or initiating legislation. But that is not the situation at the present time. All that has been attempted by this provisional government is simply to bring order out of the chaos into which the country has been thrown by the action of the former Prime Minister. The action that has been taken in this case has been an honest, patriotic effort to make sure that the legislation that we have worked on for months in the interests of many portions of this Dominion should not be lost, and that supply should be voted. In connection with the voting of supply, if any of the estimates are extravagant in character or improper in any way, hon. gentlemen on the other side must know of it, but we are willing to assume that the estimates were properly and carefully prepared.
The spectacle we have in this House is that certain estimates have been passed, but not all of them. Hon. gentlemen opposite have refused to pass further estimates and to make provision for the carrying out of their own legislation, which had 'been nearly carried to completion, and would have been carried to completion but for certain investigations and disclosures reflecting on the late administration. All that this provisional government is doing is not to initiate legislation at all, but simply to endeavour to carry to completion the legislation and the estimates that are before the House and which have been approved by hon. gentlemen opposite, who are now unwilling to carry it to a completion.