Mr. J. L. ILSLEY (Hants-Kings) moved:
That an address be presented to His Excellency the Governor General, offering the humble thanks of this house to His Excellency for the gracious speech which he has been pleased to make to both houses of parliament.
He said: In rising to move the address I wish first of all, not only in deference to custom but in all sincerity, to express my gratitude to the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) and his colleagues for the compliment which they have so very kindly paid my constituency in asking me to move the address in reply to the speech from the throne. I have the honour to represent the two counties of Hants and Kings in the province of Nova Scotia, counties which include within their borders the greater part of the orchards of the Annapolis valley, the fertile dyke lands of Cornwallis and Horton reclaimed by the Acadians from the sea nearly three centuries ago, and many spots which are sacred to lovers of history, including the town of Windsor, built at the meeting of the waters, and the beautiful land of Evangeline, with its haunting memories of the past.
My constituents are for the most part farmers, typical Nova Scotians, proud of their counties and of that province which was referred to by the writer of a recent book on the province of Nova Scotia as the "sea beaten, mistmantled, valley cloven, many watered, green garmented province of Canada which fronts the Atlantic and the rising sun."
One of my duties in moving this address is to express the gratification which we in the province of Nova Scotia, in common with those in other parts of Canada, feel at the rapid acceleration which has taken place in the material progress of Canada during the past year. Canada [DOT] is prospering; we no longer talk of being on the eve of prosperity; we are enjoying prosperity. That prosperity has been briefly mentioned in the speech from the throne, and is more fully dealt with in the reports or addresses which have been presented by the presidents and general
managers of the great Canadian banks to their shareholders during the last few weeks. These addresses tell the story of a greater progress than has ever before been experienced in the history of Canada, a greater prosperity than Canada has ever enjoyed.
The year 1927 saw t'he greatest building program since pre-war days, resulting in the erection of houses, factories and industrial and power plants in all parts of the Dominion. Last year also saw greater activity and interest in mining than at any previous time in the history of Canada. Immigration
during the past year has greatly increased, particularly immigration of British settlers and those of the best European stocks, while on the contrary, emigration which has in past years presented a problem of importance has decreased. National taxation has been reduced from time to time during the past few years, but while that reduction has been effected the national debt has been very greatly and spectacularly reduced as well. During the past year there were substantial and in many cases unexpected increases in savings bank deposits, in the amount of money invested in life insurance, in trade with foreign countries, in the value of Canadian securities, in the earnings on Canadian industrial stocks, in the value of Canadian field crops, in car loadings and in the gross revenue of the Canadian National Railways. At the same time, unemployment was considerably lessened and the demand for labour has increased. Indeed, the condition of the country has been so satisfactory, from the standpoint of material progress and prosperity, that an hon. member of this house, an acknowledged authority, writing in the Montreal Gazette's Commercial and Financial Review for the year 1927, on January 7 of this year, had these striking words to say:
Canada has never before enjoyed a year of so general progress and prosperity as that of 1927. Production, distribution, manufacturing, transportation and foreign commerce exceeded all previous records, and while there was a slowing down here and there in the last quarter of the year, the relapse was slight and not such as to excite apprehension. Labour was fully employed at wages higher, relatively to the peak, than the cost of commodities, giving to artisans and mechanics a substantal surplus of earnings to be employed either in bank deposits, investments, or a higher standard of living.
This is very gratifying to all Canadians, and we consider it all the more remarkable when we recall that less than two and a half years ago a large part of the population of every province of Canada, from the Atlantic to the Pacific, was predicting financial ruin
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and industrial disaster unless a radical change took place in the trade policies of Canada, a change which has not been made.
In discussing the question of Canada's prosperity, Mr. Speaker, there is one unfavourable feature which should be mentioned, and that is the fact that this prosperity has not been as evenly distributed as might have been the case, or as we would have liked to see it. I am not now referring particularly to the distribution as between classes in the community, although a good deal could be said as to that; I am referring to the territorial distribution of prosperity in which the people in the maritime provinces, unfortunately, have been slow to share. For that condition of affairs there are many causes, most of which are beyond the control of any government. I wish, however, to mention just one cause, which is not at all original since it has been mentioned in this house many times, but nevertheless a very real reason for the tardiness on the part of the maritime provinces to share in the prosperity of Canada. That, cause is the lack of markets for agricultural products in that part of the Dominion.
It may be difficult for people who live in the central part of Canada, in close proximity to the great cities which furnish such an admirable market for their products, to understand the difficulties which confront the farmers of the maritime provinces. They are not near large cities and have to depend to a very large extent on foreign markets for their products. It is true that since the passage of legislation last session in connection with freight rates we have been able to ship our products a little further west, and in a few instances a good deal further west into our Canadian markets, but still we have to depend to a very large extent upon foreign markets.
I venture to say that in the western part of Nova Scotia, and in other parts of the maritime provinces similarly situated, one sentence in the speech from the throne will offer as much hope as anything else. The sentence to which I refer is:
Among other important matters to which your attention will be invited will be measures providing for more favourable trade relations between Canada and certain foreign countries.
If I may be permitted to do so I would like to make a concrete suggestion to the government and in particular to the Minister of Finance with regard to the extension of foreign markets and the improvement of Canada's trade relations with foreign countries. I would say: Do not forget the agricultural
producers of the maritime provinces, and in particular do not forget the apple growers of Nova Scotia, who are now shut out of the . German market, which is an exceedingly valuable market, by prohibitive duties while apples grown by their American competitors are permitted entry under favoured nation treatment.
I would also remind you of the potato growers of the maritime provinces; within the last two months Cuba has placed an almost prohibitive tariff on Canadian potatoes, with disastrous results as far as the price is concerned, while as in the other instance American potatoes are admitted at lower rates. In other words, nothing would be more appreciated in the maritime provinces than trade treaties with Germany and Cuba which would remedy these evils. I know that in negotiating these trade treaties the country with which you are negotiating requires a quid pro quo, and other interests in the Dominion might be adversely affected, but I am pleading for the producers of agricultural products in the maritime provinces, and I feel that if my suggestions could be carried into effect the benefit which they would derive would be very great.
I would not like this house to infer that conditions in the maritime provinces are by any means hopeless; that is far from the case. In the province of Nova Scotia very great progress has been made in many directions during the past year. The production of coal has increased very materially, and the action of the Dominion government in appointing a royal commission to investigate conditions in the fishing industry and bring in recommendations for the improvement of conditions has been a great encouragement to the fishermen of the maritime provinces. In addition to that the production in many lines of agricultural endeavour has increased quite considerably. There is also a revival of interest in mining in Nova Scotia and the other maritime provinces as well, which in itself is very promising.
No reference to conditions in the maritime provinces would be complete without a word of appreciation for the loyal, honourable, and generous way in which the government of Canada has carried out and is carrying out the recommendations made by the Duncan commission. In November of last year we had a Dominion-provincial conference in this city, and that conference was of inestimable value in making clear the viewpoints of the various parts of Canada both to the Dominion government and to each other. In particular, perhaps as a result of that con-
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ference, the Dominion government have determined to continue the increase in subsidies which they granted as a temporary measure in the year 1927. Thus we are encouraged to [DOT] believe that this increase in subsidies to the maritime provinces will be a permanent feature of our fiscal system. This assistance is in accord with the recommendations of the Duncan commission, and is greatly appreciated in the maritime provinces.
Another recommendation of the Duncan commission has been put into effect: I refer to the legislation with respect to coking plants. Private companies are already beginning to take advantage in a small way of this legislation, which will have the effect of stabilizing and to some extent enlarging the market for Nova Scotia coal.
Another important fact is the appointment of a harbour commission for the city of St. John, which is already functioning energetically and successfully. Harbour commissioners have also been appointed for the city of Halifax, and it is hoped that this body will give some degree of direction and unity to the efforts of the people of that city to improve existing conditions. At the present time there are so many disputes and differences of opinion between persons occupying important positions in Halifax as to what should be done along certain lines-for example in the matter of encouraging the grain export trade-that we in other parts of Nova Scotia are inclined, perhaps, to have less respect than we otherwise should for the legitimate aspirations of the people of that great port.
The most important and far-reaching measure enacted last session as a result of the findings of the Duncan commission was, of course, that relating to maritime freight rates. This has been of very great benefit to shippers not only along the line of the Canadian National railways, but also along the line of the Canadian Pacific railway in the province of New Brunswick, and its subsidiary, the Dominion Atlantic railway, in the province of Nova Scotia. The Canadian National Railways have been very severely criticized recently by the Premier of New Brunswick in speeches which he made in the cities of Montreal and New York. In that regard I would say that there are many people in the maritime provinces who do not associate themselves with immoderate and hysterical denunciations of the Canadian National Railways. We in the maritime provinces feel that if we were to be judged 'by the speeches which have been made by the Premier of New Brunswick our legitimate requests would meet with scant recognition or notice. Moreover, we know, just as people in other parts of Canada know,
that we owe a duty to the management of the national system. Our duty in the first place is to refrain from petulant abuse when we do not get everything we want. A further and a positive duty devolves upon us, and that is to lend our support in every way possible to the management of the national system in their efforts to make the system what it ought to be, namely, a self-sustaining asset of this dominion.
I have been discussing the relations of the maritime provinces to the rest of the Dominion at much greater length, perhaps, than I should. Now let me say just a few words regarding the relations of Canada to the empire. During the past year we celebrated the sixtieth anniversary af confederation. These celebrations have revealed Canada to the world as a nation-young, self-reliant, forward looking, and animated in all its parts by very genuine love of the British connection and of British institutions. This was shown by the warmth and spontaneity of our welcome to their Royal Highnesses the Prince of Wales and Prince George, and to the Right Hon. Stanley Baldwin, Prime Minister of Great Britain, who were the guests of Canada a few months ago. At the_ present time we have the pleasure of welcoming here the Right Hon. Mr. Amery, Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs in the British government, who is now in Canada after having visited the dominions of Australia and New Zealand. In a day or two we shall also have the great pleasure and honour of welcoming here Mr. Cosgrave, president of the Executive Council of the Irish Free State. His visit here, it seems to me, is very fitting when we recall the fact that the constitution of the Dominion of Canada was taken as the model of the constitution of the Irish Free State. These are significant and happy events, and they remind us of the great experiment in statecraft which was initiated at the Imperial conference of 1926, and the working out of which began last year. The achievements of the Imperial conference of 1926, and of those who attended that conference, constitute one of the greatest triumphs of the genius of the British peoples for statesmanship that has ever been witnessed. The world has never seen anything like the British commonwealth of nations. In Canada it is true we have had, for sixty years and longer, two nationalities, racially separate, dwelling together in peace and unity, but the experience of other parts of the British Empire has not been nearly as favourable. We are all familiar with the history, the sad history, of Ireland. We are also familiar with the history of South Africa, where during the last
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two decades conflicts have occurred between those who believe in separation from the British Empire and those who uphold the British connection. These conflicts at times have waxed so fierce as almost to make it appear that there could be only one outcome, namely, secession from the British Empire. The fact that representatives from these troubled dominions of Ireland and South Africa could sit at the same table with representatives from the Dominion of Canada, from the more purely Anglo-Saxon commonwealth of Australia, from Newfoundland, from the dominion of New Zealand, and from the mother country, and work out a declaration of principles satisfactory not only to one or two but to all these dominions and to the mother country as well, after which the President of the Irish Free State could go back to Ireland and there fight successfully for the British connection and the Premier of South Africa could go back to his country and tell his people that henceforward there was no further need to consider the question of secession-this fact goes to show how great was the achievement of the Imperial conference of 1926, and demonstrates that what was accomplished there was wrought in the spirit of true and lofty statesmanship.
The intimation in the speech from the throne that in the near future the British government is likely to have a representative here, that Japan and France propose to have representatives at Ottawa as well as Canadian representatives at their capitals, and the fact that Canada has been accorded by the assembly of the League of Nations a nonpermanent seat on the council of that body, are of importance as indicating the development of the ideas and ideals promoted by the Imperial conference of 1926.
Now let me say a word about one other event which took place last year and which is of importance not merely to one political party but to Canada as a whole. I refer to the first national convention of the Conservative party which was held in the city. of Winnipeg in the month of October last, and which was one of the most important events in the history of this country. My own observation has led me to the conclusion that many delegates who went to that convention with somewhat narrow views on national matters returned to their homes with their minds broadened and enlightened. In the province of Nova Scotia we have too often seen exhibitions of the most extreme sectionalism. During the last few years this government has been not only criticized but denounced and condemned in that province
for its tariff policy, which was alleged to be in the interest only of the farmers of the west; for its construction of the Hudson Bay railway, and for the lowering of the transportation rates on western ,wheat. For
example, one candidate, now a member of this parliament, put into his manifesto, issued on the eve of the election of 1926, these words:
Western freight rates were lowered, taxes so changed and altered as to fall less heavily on western farmers, and millions of your money promised for a useless railway to Hudson Bay. We in this eastern province were crying for bread; we not only received a stone, but we helped, and are helping, to pay the bills for those princely gifts to others.
Fortunately for the unity of Canada the Liberal-Conservative party, in national convention assembled at Winnipeg, assumed a new and entirely different position and attitude in respect to these matters. By their resolutions they sanctioned the principle that necessaries of life and implements of production should be lightly taxed by the customs tariff; that the construction of the Hudson Bay railway should go forward; that the existing freight rates on grain and grain products should be maintained as a maximum. This I cannot help thinking is an indication that even the opposition is coming around, getting into line, and that henceforward it will be more constructive, more truly national in its efforts and activities.
Mr. Speaker, my speech would be incomplete did I not, as I do very heartily, extend my congratulations and the congratulations of this side of the chamber to the newly selected leader of the opposition in this house. As we all know he is thoroughly imbued with the high traditions of British parliamentary life and is prepared to devote himself to the public service. In this we hope that his efforts may result in the building of a progressively greater Canada.
Consequently, Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to move that an address be forwarded to His Excellency the Governor General to thank him for the speech which he so graciously delivered to both houses of parliament.
Mr. ARTHUR L. BEAUBIEN (Provencher) (Translation): Mr. Speaker, ever since the setting up of confederation a custom based on the terms agreed upon in the great federal pact requires that the address in reply to the speech from the throne be moved and seconded in both the official languages of this country. Every government has desired to acknowledge thereby the equality of the
The Address-Mr. Beaubien
two great races whose toils have cleared the land, civilized and made a greater Canada. They wished to convey the idea that they
especially expected from the virtues and eminent qualities of these two races, the peaceful and united effort which will give to our country the marvellous expansion that the future has in store for it, and which will make it-as already foretold-the country of the twentieth century. The government went
further. To second the motion for an address in reply to the speech from the throne, they might have chosen among the brilliant array of representatives from the province of Quebec. They however wished to extend this honour to the only member belonging to the French language elected west of the great lakes. They certainly desired to emphasize the fact that the Canadian of French origin is placed on an equal footing in this country and that the sons of the pioneers are everywhere at home in this vast Dominion. By inviting the comments of a French Canadian from the west, the government wished to show then-trust in the various French settlements of the prairie provinces and convey the hope that the citizens of the French language would lend, in the development of this vast region, their powerful and peaceful co-operation. It is not therefore solely on my behalf that I wish to thank the government and congratulate them on their broad mindedness, but it is also on behalf of the French Canadian people who are, through my humble person, the recipients of this honour and token of appreciation that I wish to extend to the right hon. Prime Minister and his hon. colleagues the feelings of a sincere and deep gratitude.
Before commenting upon the speech from the throne, allow me, Mr. Speaker, to express our joy in seeing you looking always young and in such good health. Time rolls on without ever leaving any trace upon your features and each session we see you return ever ready to give with an untiring zeal, to our country and its representatives, the benefit of your great parliamentary experience, of your deep knowledge of our customs, laws and of your science in other spheres, as well as of your sense of fairness, of your personal prestige, vigour and great activity. Together with your friends and admirers to your right, sir, let me express the wish that you may retain for a long time to come the high office that you so honourably till. I even believe that I express also the secret wish of those to your left, sir, for although all the members of the loyal opposition may desire a change of government, I feel certain that there are many among them who would regret a change in the speakership of the house.
Since last session, the features of the loyal opposition have somewhat altered. In a great national convention held in Winnipeg, the Conservative party chose as leader, the hon. representative of West Calgary (Mr. Bennett). There is no need for me to speak in praise of the new leader. He is esteemed by all, and I have no doubt that, under his able leadership, the members who support him will co-operate with him in order that the present government may wisely direct the affairs of the country. The hon. member for West Calgary stands out very prominently at the head of the opposition forces and, I trust that, together with all his friends to your right, sir, he may fill this post for a long time to come.
The speech from the throne contains no high sounding statement. In a moderate language it testifies to the prosperous conditions of the country and states the intention of the government to continue in the path of material progress by ensuring national [DOT] unity. First recalling the great celebrations which commemorated the sixtieth anniversary of confederation, they remind us also of the harmony and union which presided over the celebration and draw our attention to the growing feeling of national pride and patriotism existing among all sections of our people. This love of country in no way weakens the ties which bind us to the other parts of the empire, as evidenced by the warmth of our people's welcome to the Prime Minister of Great Britain- The merry-making of our people have once more revealed our unshaken and loyal attachment to the royal family and British crown. The cheering which welcomed the visit of their Royal Highnesses, the Prince of Wales and Prince George have fully set forth this attachment.
Canada's status was clearly enunciated at the Imperial conference of 1926. The report of the conference regarding the autonomous units of the British Empire contains the following passage:
They are autonomous communities within the British Empire, equal in status, in no way subordinate one to another in any aspect of their domestic or external affairs, though united by a common allegiance to the crown, and freely associated as members of the British commonwealth of nations.
This new status giving us fully the rank of a nation in the world was acknowledged in a striking manneT when . our country was elected to a non-permanent seat at the council of the League of Nations. Canada may well be elated over it, we have also cause to be proud in having as our representative, at the council of the league, a man whose emi-
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nent qualifications have been acknowledged by the diplomats the world over, and whose sound counsels have been sought after and appreciated by the leaders of the great powers. Indeed, Canada may rightly glory in the service and work of the hon. Senator Dandu-rand. Canada may now have direct diplomatic intercourse with other nations, and no doubt the government will avail itself of such a right wherever we have important interests to safeguard. Already Great Britain, France, Japan and other nations desire, following in the footsteos of the United States, to establish a permanent diplomatic service with Canada. These relations will contribute to emphasize our full national expansion and thereby draw to our free and autonomous country new citizens who will be prepared to benefit by our immense wealth and' enjoy our peaceful national life. They will also attract capital of which we are so much in need.
The conference of the provincial prime ministers has laid down a firm foundation for that prosperity and peace which the labours of our citizens and of a sound administration ensures to a country disposing of such large resources as Canada. After having, for the sake of justice, requested the continuation of the subsidies voted to the maritime provinces at the last session, the provincial prime ministers, with the greatest freedom and frankness, scrutinized all the interprovincial questions, and the government, inspired by deliberations where were naturally exposed the various viewpoints, acquaint us with the necessary legislation destined to ensure the general welfare of the country, nevertheless taking into account the needs and legitimate aspirations of each province.
The return to the prairie provinces of their natural resources will be acclaimed by the population of the west as an act of justice, which will give them a new scope towards progress. In certain parts of the country, the prairie provinces are too much looked upon as a plain where the citizens have no other resources than that of the fertility of the soil. Moreover, in their opinion this fertility is subjected to many conditions which make the returns more or less uncertain. This is an entirely erroneous opinion, and should they be given possession of their natural resources, these provinces will prove to the remainder of Canada that they possess wealth which, by a more direct administration, will be able to supply some industries and give remunerating work to thousands of people.
The hon. members for Saskatchewan and Alberta will no doubt address you on the natural resources of their provinces. I shall
therefore confine my remarks to a few sources of wealth in Manitoba. There is no need to discuss the fertility of its soil, which never fails to reward those who cultivate it, or of its dairy industry, its remarkable progress in poultry and bee raising or of its live stock trade. Manitoba has become highly reputed in these various spheres of agricultural industries, and what I might say would add nothing to what you already know. However, I wish to especially mention its mines and mineral beds still unworked. Who has not heard of its prosperous gold mines to the east of lake Winnipeg and to the north of the Pas? Their output is always on the increase and will continue so with better communications. There exist in those two districts mineral resources of all kinds. In the first rank is copper of which we possess the largest beds in the whole world; there is also to be found silver, nickel, iron, lead, zinc in sufficient quantities to attract capitai and give very profitable returns. The famous mineral belt known as the F'lin-Flon will soon be worked, thanks to the generous and willing co-operation of our Minister of Railways who had no hesitation in meeting the wishes of the Hon. Mr. Bracken, prime minister of that province, and with whom he came to an understanding which ensures the building of a railway which will serve that whole mining district. By the way, allow me, sir, to express my esteem for the Prime Minister of Manitoba who so energetically devoted himself to ensure the development of this new region. Mr. Bracken is aware of the untouched wealth of that district which he represents in the legislature, and he has faith in the spirit of enterprise and honesty of capitalists which this wealth will not fail to attract. Allow me also to extend to the hon. and sympathetic Minister of Railways for the Dominion the deep gratitude of the people of Manitoba for the strong co-operation which he gave to our provincial government in their endeavours to develop our province.
This railway will also facilitate the establishment of fisheries in this region still untouched and will at the same time open up new fields to settlers. I may add that Manitoba's sub-soil moreover contains deposits of gypsum, marble and of the beautiful stone which one admires in the interior of this building.
Allow me, Mr. Speaker, to congratulate the government and once more our energetic Minister of Railways, for the activity displayed in the completion of the Hudson Bay railway. The ocean port of Churchill will soon become, we hope, a great centre of
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exportation which will economize millions to the western farmers, because the freight rates will necessarily be in proportion to the shorter haul.
Among the questions which the speech from the throne mentions, there is one of the utmost importance to which I want to draw your attention. It is the question of immigration. The co-operation mentioned in the speech from the throne between the Dominion government and the provincial governments cannot but produce good results. The immigrant that we especially need is the one who can settle on the land. Too often, alas! the person who has indulged in the dream of becoming the owner of a large domain from which he will gather in the crops, is sadly deceived, not that the soil has ceased to be generous and fertile, but owing to the preconceived idea that one may become a farmer overnight and that it is but necessary to till the land to reap.
A mechanic cannot possibly become a good farmer in a day. Sometimes an immigrant is advised to go on the farm so as to acquire experience. It is a sound advice, but one must bear in mind that, as a rule, the farmer is not continuously in need of farm hands, it is then that the new arrival finds himself without work after having toiled very hard for some months only; he then takes the road which leads to the city whence he never returns. We may consider ourselves lucky if the large United States manufacturing centres do not entice him across the border. On other occasions, the immigrant who wants to become efficient on the land by hiring himself as a farm help, disagrees with his employer, and judging all other farmers by the latter who perhaps has wronged him, gives up all idea of farming. The combined action of the Dominion government and the provincial governments will, we hope, relieve the situation, and make of the immigrant to Canada, a contented settler. A settler who writes to his friends that he is satisfied with his lot, is the best colonization agent that we can wish for. It seems to me that our colonization agents have now an easy task: Canada is prosperous, great activity prevails in all spheres, the future is full of alluring promises.
On the whole, the speech from the throne leads us to believe that the government is going to pursue its progressive policy which it has inaugurated and that the Progressive members who have given it their sincere and loyal support will not have to withdraw their trust.
Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to second the motion.
[Mr. Beaubien. 1
On motion of Mr. Bennett the debate was adjourned.
On motion of Mr. Mackenzie King the house adjourned at 4 p.m.
Monday, January 30, 1928
Topic: GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH
Subtopic: ADDRESS IN REPLY, MOVED BY MR. ILSLEY AND SECONDED BY MR. BEAUBIEN