February 28, 1928



Mr. G. R. GEARY (SQuth Toronto) moved the first reading of Bill No. 37 (from the Senate), to amend certain provisions in the criminal code respecting the possession of weapons. Motion agreed to and 'bill read the first time.


Hon. ERNEST LAPOINTE (Minister of Justice) moved that the -name of Hon. Mr. Ralston be substituted for that of Mr. Sylvester on the committee on agriculture and colonization. Motion agreed to.



On the orders of the day: ' Hon. R. B. BENNETT: I direct the attention of the Minister of Finance to the fact that so far as I have been able to ascertain the evidence in the fruit and vegetable tariff inquiry has not been filed with the evidence in the other cases. Perhaps the minister will be good enough to look into the matter and see if it can be procured.


James Alexander Robb (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)


Hon. J. A. ROBB (Minister of Finance):

I shall be very glad to do so.



On the orders of the day:


John Campbell Elliott (Minister of Public Works)


Hon. J. C. ELLIOTT (Minister of Public Works):

I desire to state, in answer to a

question asked by the hon. member for Cape Breton-North Victoria (Mr. Johnstone) yesterday, that it is not the intention of the Department of Public Works to discontinue the telephone service between Bay St. Lawrence and the lighthouse and fog alarm at Money Point at the present time.



On the orders of the day:


Eccles James Gott

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. E. J. GOTT (South Essex):

I should like to put a question to the Minister of Agriculture. Seeing that he is not in his seat I will put the question on record, and if the minister cares to release the information it will be possible to get it from him to-morrow. The question is as follows:

1. Upon whose recommendation was the commission appointed to investigate the tobacco growing industry in western Ontario?

2. What qualifications were required?

3. What will be the duties of the commissioners?

4. What is the general attitude of the department towards the industry, and can a slight outline of the proposals contemplated be given?


Hewitt Bostock (Speaker of the Senate)



The hon. gentleman has

stated that he wishes to put his question in the form of a notice. This will be taken as a notice.




The house resumed, from Monday, February 27, consideration of the motion of Hon. J. A. Robb (Minister of Finance), that Mr. Speaker do now leave the' chair for the house to go into committee of ways and means, the proposed amendment thereto of Mr. Cahan and the amendment to the amendment of Mr. Fansher (East Lambton).


Agnes Campbell Macphail


Miss AGNES MACPHAIL (Southeast Grey):

We come again to a consideration of the budget brought down by the Minister of Finance (Mr. Robb). In the opinion of the members of the Liberal party that budget is a good one, and I am sure they will support it. The Liberal-Progressive members, I am sure, do not think it is a good budget but they will support it. The Liberals from Saskatchewan, coming as they do from that part of this enlightened Dominion, cannot like the budget, and yet I am expecting to hear them say it is a good budget. The Conservatives think this is a good budget, but the**

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must declare it not to be so and having said that they will not be able to vote for it. I think it a rich man's budget and I am in the splendid position of saying that I do not like it and of voting in accordance with my views. So also are those hon. members who sit around me.

The hon. member for South Huron (Mr. McMillan) extended an invitation to me to join up with hon. members opposite and so find entrance to the promised land. I should like him to amplify his invitation. I should like to know if the promised land is entered through proper approach to one of the three bachelor leaders, or through the Liberal party, or both. I agree with what he stated as to the conditions which confront the farmers of Ontario to-day. I think he described the actual conditions as they will be found by anybody who takes the trouble to go out and investigate them. With the rest of the hon. gentleman's remarks I do not agree.

Agriculture is still the main business of the Canadian people. The nation's prosperity depends on a bumper crop. It has been well said that the agricultural returns are the barometer of national prosperity. The following words were used by Aristotle:

The first attention should be paid to that which is in accordance with nature; for by nature agriculture is first; next come all those things which are derived from the earth, such as mining and other arts of like kind.

Or as has been often said, "The well-being of the people is like a tree." Agriculture and other primary industries are its roots, manufacturing and commerce its branches and its life; if the root is injured, the leaves fall, the branches break away and the tree dies.

The roots of the tree of Canada's national life have been injured. We have, for a young and rich country, a depleted and impoverished agricultural industry. In this young country agriculture has not held its own people, nor its power of place and influence. I regret it, but it is true. I do not think anyone in this house will care to deny that our educational, religious, business and political policies have been framed, not with rural needs in mind, but rather, whether consciously or unconsciously, directly antagonistic to those needs. The result is clear to anybody who cares to look around, namely, that our people are leaving the land in numbers that would worry any government, even this one. It does not seem to go further than worry with them, but still it worries them. This great mass of people is disappearing from the open spaces into crowded places which we call cities in either Canada or the United States. To my mind one

of the saddest things is that the individual is lost in the great mass of human beings, and so this constant robbing of the open places does not enrich the cities to the extent that it robs the country. The individual i3 lost; people who have been a power in a local community will after they have spent five years in a city, show by their personality the great loss they have suffered. It is quite true that many people who leave the land and come to the cities give leadership to city enterprises and gain for themselves a place of power and possibly of wealth; but again the country is robbed of very much needed leadership and the places in the country that have been vacated are being taken by citizens of other lands. As a matter of fact we are striving to bring people in from other places to fill up the places vacated by our own people.

Country life develops thoughtful, wholesome and genuine people, to a greater extent than any other life, and I think it is true that in the last analysis the conscience of the nation lies in the country. I think we can all bear testimony, if we care to, to the fact that in cities and towns the conventions of life veneer even the ways of our friends and it is in the country that we find the beauty of simplicity and sometimes the bluntness of unaffected candour. Country living makes for character and because of the need of character in all national undertakings, and because of the importance of agriculture in our national life, we see how disastrous the results must be if people continue to leave the land. Aside from the economic consequences, it heralds the approach of the time when the country will no longer furnish that leadership in business and public life which has been so influential in shaping the course of events.

The rural problem is a many-sided problem and I am not one of those who think that governments are so important that they altogether make the problem or, to any great extent, solve it. I know there are many other forces which operate. It would take too long -and I never wanted to speak for forty minutes until I could not speak any longer- to go into all the phases of this question, but I should like to mention one thing that I think has done much to aggravate our rural problem and that is our educational system. It is true that the whole educational trend is towards the city. Our educational system in Canada has acted simply as a "gangway" to life in urban centres. If I had time I should like to quote some leading educational authorities, corroborative of this view, but I think I can ask hon. members to look around their own counties; if

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they do they will find it is true that more and more people are going to high school and that life in school and high school is utterly divorced from the life of people who live in the neighbourhood of the school and support them. The result is that too many people are rushed into city enterprises; we have an abundance of people hunting for white collar jobs and too few people who are willing to do the very much nobler and better work of nation-building in the open spaces. I am glad that I have not had too much of that kind of education to prevent me thinking for myself, but we have an educational system that actually stuffs children with facts and creates in them a reverence for things as they are, and this is a great disaster to our children, because it hinders them in creating institutions to meet changed conditions. It is true that the best teachers go to the cities to teach, because they are better paid there. This is also true of preachers, I am sorry to say. The better preachers go to the cities because the salaries are greater. Anything, it seems, does for the country.

One other thing that has a great deal to do with the rural problem is this. Individuals and groups of individuals donate large sums of money to educational and religious insti-titions which grants have a moderating influence on the attitude of these and similar institutions towards economic reform that would bring about a better condition for the masses of the people. Until lately the fact that the farmer produced goods but did not market them added greatly to the rural problem. He was not a business man. Now the farmer is becoming a business man, and as a keen business man he is not going to put up with the slipshod methods that obtain particularly in this house and in some other places in Canada. I thought it would be worth while putting on Hansard this sentence of Professor Macklin, of Wisconsin university:

The industry that neglects to assume the responsibility of marketing its own products arrives last in the race for the containers' dollar-like the runt pig.

The farmer is ceasing to be the runt pig and he is learning to market his own products. He is not going to be last in the race for the consumer's dollar, and he is going to demand educational systems that will meet his needs. I should like to know why some fellow, with a fossilized brain sitting in some office in some government service, should direct the kind of education which the children of farmers are to have, and I hope the day may speedily come when that will not be the case.

It would take much longer time than I have at my disposal to review the sufferings

of the farmer in the political field. The farmers, because there are more of them and because they carry on the primary industry of the country, have suffered more than any other class from political policies framed by governments antagonistic to the farmer's economic needs. The full discussion of this question would take me into the realm of finance, transportation, and many other places into which I have not time to go, but I want to review, for the edification of this house and particularly of the Liberal party, a history of the political life of Canada as it is related to the farmers just before and since 1896.

Prior to 1896 the farmers in Canada, to a very great extent, felt that the Liberal party, did voice their aspirations and needs. That is, the Liberal party was the vehicle used by the farmers for the expression of their political needs. For the seventeen years prior to 1896 many able men, particularly Sir Richard Cartwright and Sir Wilfrid Laurier, impressed upon the people of Canada this fact. The farmers believed that the Liberal party was opposed to special privileges, and particularly special privilege as it is embodied in the national policy. Sir Richard Cartwright made some very able speeches, opposing the protective tariff. On one occasion he said:

The moment you introduce the protective system you create a class whose interests are essentially different from those of the people at large, and who become ready contributors to corruption funds sharing with their masters the plunder they have been enabled to take from the people.


February 28, 1928