June 17, 1919 (13th Parliament, 2nd Session)


Hermas Deslauriers

Laurier Liberal

Mr. HEBMAS DESLAUBIERS (Sainte-Marie, Montreal) (Translation):

Mr. Speaker, it is not my intention to shed any further light upon the present debate, for I believe the situation of the country's affairs is perfectly elucidated and clearly understood by every one, except the Government. I think, however, that it is my duty to strongly protest against this colossal budget

which, in my opinion, is nothing but a partial and official admission of a blindness without precedent in our history.
The more I consider the present Government's policy, the more I find it like that period in the history of New France under the rule of Intendant Bigot, of wretched memory, whose mission was to destroy the colony. Writing one day to his'friend Verger, he said: "Take advantage, my dear Verger, of your position, trim and clip, you have full power, so that you may soon join me in France and acquire an estate close to me." Later, he gave General Wolfe the key to the Plains of Abraham, his country losing thereby her finest colony. Is not the present Government holding the same language to its friends the profiteers, the monopolists, of the brand Mackenzie, Maim, Flavelle and the like? Does it not allow them to trim and clip, saying to them: "Take advantage of your positions, you have full power, keep hoarding up that you may get titles and acquire estates close to us. And all the while waiting for the opportunity to deliver up Canada, plundered and ruined, to the Americans or others, thereby causing England to lose one of her finest colonies. It is most evident to me that such is the whole policy of the Government. Will they have the time 'to accomplish their work? That is the problem. From ocean to ocean, unrest, trouble and strikes are the order of the day. The Government is compelled, in the very centres which were the most sympathetic, to use those hardly cooled cannons, which helped to save civilization overseas, against the people of this country. The people are crying for bread, for work, and, just as in the days of Bigot, that bread is sent abroad, they are even sending it to those who are responsible for the death of
60,000 of our own, to those who have caused so much mourning among us, who have filled our orphanages and our poor-houses and have bred so much misery, and the Government stands pat, so that its friends may clip, trim and hoard their capital, and you think that can last very much longer? You make investigations, you legislate in order to conjure time and revolution is at our very doors! You pretend that things are worse over in Europe and you are, nevertheless, helping to create similar conditions in Canada. ,
With your permission, Mr. Speaker, I wish to state in this House that I do not see things in that light and that, if it does not make a radical change in its economic policy, the present Government may be deceived in its reckoning. The Government
must put an end to the excessive exportation of our foodstuffs. It is high time to say to the profiteers and to the monopolists: "You have thriven enough, let the people have its turn." The Government should forbid cold-storage owners, such as Mat-thews-Blackwell, Swift, Davies, etc., whose plants are already crammed with provisions, from sending their agents throughout the country, here they are allowed to monopolize the foodstuffs. Whatever the Government may say to the contrary, those are the men who are oppressing the people.
The price of provisions must be fixed and severe penalties imposed upon those who break the law.
I understand how proper it is to appeal to the people to be thrifty in order to relieve the situation the Government has put us into, but, on the other hand, the Government should be the first ,to set the example. That is not what they are doing. Only recently, they have increased the effective forces of the North West Mounted Police. The Government, through the demobilization of the cavalry returned from overseas, found itself in possession of the equipment needed by the mounted police, saddles, horsewhips, blankets, etc. These goods, the greatest part of which were brand-new, were sold at ridiculous prices-the saddles at $4 apiece. Some time ago, a Mr. Desrosiers-, who had acquired the same articles, offered them to the deputy minister Brodeur, if I am well informed, at a price of $4 for the saddles, and 50 cents for the whips, for the mounted police's use. He met with a bad reception. The Government has friends who supply them at $22 a piece. "Trim, clip, hoard up, you have full power." Is that wise and honest administration? The people will become weary, some day.
On June 22, 1918, the Government held throughout the Dominion a National registration. The law, which should he complied with, allowed $2.50 a day to its sworn employees for their work done previous to June-22, and for that day the sum of $4. I have the Government sworn statements of accounts from employees who have yet received no pay whatever. The law is the law. It stipulated such amounts were granted to them, and I was greatly astonished to hear that the salaries paid them were altogether different. The salary of those employees have simply been robbed. The Government should have kept its own engagements. In that case also, the Government. seems to have said, as Intendant Bigot said: "Trim, clip, and hoard up, you have full power."

Topic:   THE BUDGET.
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