April 21, 1926 (15th Parliament, 1st Session)


George Spence


Mr. SPENCE (Maple Creek):

Not a bit. *Now, let me proceed. In Saskatchewan we have been doing things in a big way economically and politically. We have been accused of dominating the government, and it is said that we have a concentrated press. I do not know what is meant by this, but we certainly have a press that fairly well reflects the political philosophy of our people. If, however, my hon. friends opposite have any particular grudge against the existing press of Saskatchewan, that grudge will soon be removed, for their party is to have a paper of its own. I have here an advertisement with this announcement: "Conservatives, attention!" Then there appears the intimation, "New Conservative Daily Newspaper for Saskatchewan." I will subscribe for this prospective paper, and keep informed on the new "brick for brick" policy. It is always dangerous to be a prophet, and I am a little surprised that the right hon. leader of the opposition has fallen into that error. In one of his speeches he said that this government "dare iiotY' reduce the tariff, that they would not have the courage to do so. Well, we see what has happened. I repeat, this is a budget for the common people, and perhaps never since confederation have so many concessions been made at one time to the man in the street and to the man in the field-in a word, to the -working classes.
I have nothing to do with ancient traditions. I do not browse among the musty volumes of constitutional and political history. Nor do I wish to go to Rome to see what the Romans did. We are living in the palpitating present, we are interested in Canada and her problems, and we cannot solve those problems by theorizing on something that happened in the dark ages. We have on the front benches of this House a group of practical men, men who have been on the land and who understand the problems of the common people. To those men I look for a solution of many of our national problems because they are practical men. I have every confidence that we will be able to carry on in a spirit of co-operation and so help to build up and develop this great country.
From the other side of the House, Mr. Speaker, we and our friends of the Progressive party have been taunted with "bargain-making," and our Progressive friends have been accused of "selling" themselves to the government. Apparently our good Tory friends can-
The Budget-Mr. Spence (Maple Creek)
not understand the Liberals and Progressives cooperating to carry on the affairs of the country because we fought each other in the last election. Well, I confess I was not on kissing terms with my opponent in Maple Creek, and I was perhaps instrumental in his not being returned to represent this constituency, for I think he would have defeated the Tory candidate in a straight fight. But I do know that the Progressive party are supporting the government to-day because they believe in the same policies that we believe in, and while they may not love us for opposing them in many constituencies last October, yet they think more of their principles than of any petty differences occasioned during an election. In western Canada we had a kind of political civil war, and I do not think our friends of the Conservative party should be so critical, because undoubtedly many of their candidates were elected in the three-corner fights as a result of this war.
I am not particularly interested in making Canada black. I am chiefly interested in keeping it green, in seeing the great open spaces of the west dotted with the homes of happy, contented people living on the land, rather than in large industrial centres where influence and wealth are centralized. It is said that Canada is a difficult country to govern. It is not. We have no race problem, we have not a religious problem, we have no enemy camped on our doorstep. In my opinion Canada is an easy country to govern, but it will not be if you attempt to govern it from Montreal, Toronto and Hamilton. But Canada is a difficult country to develop because of its far-flung dimensions, because of its sparse population and, to a lesser extent, because of its rigorous climate. The problems of government cannot be made any more easy by prejudice or by abuse. We were sent down here to discuss in a statesmanlike way our great national problems, and I for one am willing to sit down to that discussion without prejudice and without malice and in a spirit of tolerance and co-operation, for I am convinced that it is only in such a frame of mind that we can reach a solution of those problems that will enure to the greatness of this Dominion.
Mr. BRISTOL moved the adjournment of the debate.

Full View