January 28, 1935

LIB

Charles A. Stewart

Liberal

Mr. STEWART (Edmonton):

I sat on the government side of the house when my hon. friend the present Minister of Railways sat over here. Does he remember 1930?

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CON

Robert James Manion (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MANION:

Sure I do.

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LIB

Charles A. Stewart

Liberal

Mr. STEWART (Edmonton):

Yes, I know he remembers, and then his right-about-face. He was following then the tactics of an opposition that are doing nothing more or less, and no one did that half as strongly as he and his leader did when they were sitting over here. Our business as an opposition is to scrutinize every piece of legislation that is brought down.

We have had broadcast announcements by the Prime Minister, not once but five times, about the legislation that is all ready, that is

going to reform the whole country, and God knows it needs it. In 1930 we had 117,000 unemployed, according to the statement issued by hon. gentlemen opposite, who were then in opposition, and to-day we have well over one million. '

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CON

Robert James Manion (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MANION:

Nothing of the sort.

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?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Oh, no.

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LIB

Charles A. Stewart

Liberal

Mr. STEWART (Edmonton):

To-day wes have one million on relief.

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CON

Robert James Manion (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MANION:

That is different.

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LIB

Charles A. Stewart

Liberal

Mr. STEWART (Edmonton):

Hon. gentlemen opposite talk about there being only 400,000 unemployed to-day. I venture to say to hon. gentlemen opposite, and I am sure I am supported by some of their own friends, that there are twice four hundred thousand unemployed.

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CON

Robert James Manion (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MANION:

That is exaggerating.

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LIB

Charles A. Stewart

Liberal

Mr. STEWART (Edmonton):

They have just discovered that the young men coming out of the universities have to have a job. These young men have been out of jobs for four years, as hon. gentlemen know.

Then look at the speeches which the Prime Minister himself has made in previous sessions in favour of sound money and in defence of tariffs. We were told in those days to tighten our belts. That is all the satisfaction the people of this country got out of the situation up until a short while ago, and not until my good friend the ex-Minister of Trade and Commerce started his crusade was there any change of heart among hon. gentlemen opposite. He was the first one to see the light-and all credit to him for having seen it-and what happened to him? He is no longer in the government giving advice; but suddenly the government discovered that his program was going to be very acceptable to the people of this country and they thought it about time to make a right-about-face.

Now bring on your legislation. Let us have a look at it. You do not need to pass estimates. You do not require money until the thirty-first of March. But no. You have to admit now, after all this ballyhoo about reform measures-I know no better word, Mr. Speaker-that you do not yet know what you are going to do about this reform legislation. That is the plain, honest fact of the case. You do not know what you are going to introduce, except for the one measure that was prepared in March a year ago; and I am not stretching my imagination very much when I say that. We as an opposition are

262 COMMONS

Reform Measures-Mr. McPhee

entitled to know what you propose to introduce. We are entitled to know what you are going to do about it.

We realize the serious situation in this country to-day. I suppose I shall be accused of maligning Canada when I say that I for one believe that Canada is on the verge of bankruptcy. And what have hon. gentlemen opposite done? They have added to the public debt in every direction in the last four years. I say that advisedly, and if they do not change their tactics and stop adding to the public debt of this country we will be bankrupt. I am not saying anything more, Mr. Speaker, than was said by hon. gentlemen opposite in 1930 when they were sitting over here. I have taken the trouble to examine the situation, and I am going to say something more when the opportunity offers, with respect to the attitude of hon. gentlemen opposite in 1930.

Here they are trembling on the brink of an election, fearful of the electorate.

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CON

Robert James Manion (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MANION:

Not trembling.

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?

Mr. STEW ART@Edmonton

And you have a right to be afraid of the people. We were promised an early election but the latest reports are that the water does not look so good since the session started. Let me say to hon. gentlemen opposite: You are the government, and it is your responsibility to bring down the legislation. It is our responsibility to examine it, to criticize it where necessary and to agree to it when we believe it will help out the situation that is so serious in this country at the present time. I support my leader in everything he said to-night and I shall support him later on in connection with this matter.

I say to hon. gentlemen opposite: Bring *on your legislation and let us examine it. The only defence we have, the only weapon we can use, is to refuse you supply until we know what your program is, and1 that we propose to do.

Mr. GEORGE W. McPHEE (Yorkton): Mr. Speaker, with the hon. member for West Edmonton (Mr. Stewart) I agree. I happen to have sat on the other side of the house for nine years, and I well recall my red-blooded Irish Canadian friend on the other side of the house obstructing, when he was sitting over here, every bit of legislation that was 'brought down by tire government headed by the present right hon. leader of the opposition (Mr. Mackenzie King).

My hon. friend the Minister of Justice (Mr. Guthrie) to-night boasts that the legislation foreshadowed in the Prime Minister's (Mr. C. A. Stewart.]

fireside chats will be brought down immediately. He said the same thing in 1930, because I recall that in that year the Minister of Justice (Mr. Guthrie) made the statement in Winnipeg that in three days his leader would end unemployment if he were returned to power.

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CON

Hugh Guthrie (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GUTHRIE:

No; you never heard

that, and it never was said.

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LIB

George Washington McPhee

Liberal

Mr. McPHEE:

His right hon. leader was

a little more definite than that. He said, speaking at the same place in June, 1930: " I propose, if elected to power, to call a session of parliament"-one of the two promises he kept-" immediately after July 28, and to introduce national undertakings which will give work to our workmen. I propose to have immediately enacted such measures as will do away with the bogy of unemployment." That was in 1930. I was in Sherbrooke a year ago addressing a meeting there, and I was told by the labouring people of that city that the present leader of the government went there in 1930, a few days before the election, and made an address. In that beautiful city of 25,000 people he spoke as dramatically as he did when he delivered his fireside chats a week ago. They described to me the manner in which he walked out to the edge of the platform at three o'clock in the afternoon and said: "I know what is wrong with the good city of Sherbrooke. These factories, fifty of them built by the industry of its people, are not going full time. Men are being laid off. Put me in office and there will be work and work aplenty for every able-bodied man in Sherbrooke." What was the situation there when I addressed that meeting? There were 2,500 men in that city attending the soup kitchen.

The Minister of Railways boasts about the contrast between Liberal and Conservative governments in their attitude toward labour. Let me give him this illustration. In 1928 when the Liberal government reduced the duty on automobiles from 35 to 20 per cent, a reduction which was fought tooth and nail by the Minister of Railways and everyone on that side, 4,000 workmen from Oshawa came to this city. Those hon. members who were here at the time will remember what happened. They filled two blocks in front of these parliament buildings, and they carried banners. These banners indicated that they were returned men: "We fought for Canada and we want to make Canada our home." They thought that after this reduction went into effect they would lose their employment and would have to go elsewhere

Health Policy-Mr. Spencer

for work. What did my right hon. leader do? I want this house and the country to contrast the record of these two men, the present leader of the government and the present leader of the opposition. My leader on that occasion, in conjunction with the late Mr. Robb, then Minister of Finance, hired the largest theatre in the city, the Capitol theatre to which they requested that labour group to retire in orderly fashion. The men did so and they were addressed both by Mr. Robb and by the then leader of the government, the present leader of the opposition. I can hear Mr. Robb telling them, "Go back home, men. They will not close your factories. As a result of the reduction the factories will be working overtime and you will have more work." The men went back and the factories tvent on That is liberalism.

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CON

Raymond Ducharme Morand

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MORAND:

It was never put into effect.

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LIB

George Washington McPhee

Liberal

Mr. McPHEE:

Contrast that with what has taken place in the last four years. What happened when farmers from the good old province of Ontario came here and assembled in the exhibition building? Neither the leader of the government nor any member of his government, nor anyone on his behalf, went to address those men. That is the way they treat the labouring people of this country-and after all farmers are labouring people. It reminds me of the late Sir Sam Hughes, a Conservative, and his attitude to a delegation of a thousand farmers from western Canada. He had the effrontery to describe these men as "this gang of leaders"- men whose wives were at home wearing long boots cleaning out stables and doing other laborious work while the men were down here pleading for lower tariffs on their necessities. Take the labour delegation that came to the House of Commons three years ago. The Prime Minister had promised "Come unto me all ye that labour and I will give you work" and they came to this city and assembled on Wellington street, a thousand strong. What happened? They were not even allowed to pass the gates. Far from being invited to go to a theatre where they could be seated comfortably they were not allowed to enter these grounds. Instead they were met by armed men. That is the contrast between liberalism and conservativ-ism so far as their respective relations with labour are concerned.

And now we have this spectacle of the Prime Minister of this country having promised eveiything under heaven four years ago, having all his life "insistently fought

for the capitalistic system, having profited as no other professional man in this country has profited as a result of that system-we find him now, not as Saul on the road to Damascus but as Richard Bedford on the road to his defeat, denouncing the very thing from which he has profited the most of any person in the country.

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?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Eleven o'clock.

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ADJOURNMENT-BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

What is the business to-morrow?

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CON

Hugh Guthrie (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GUTHRIE:

I assume that this dilatory motion will proceed until it is disposed of.

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January 28, 1935