Leon Johnson LADNER

LADNER, Leon Johnson, K.C., B.A., LL.B.

Personal Data

Conservative (1867-1942)
Vancouver South (British Columbia)
Birth Date
November 29, 1885
Deceased Date
April 12, 1978

Parliamentary Career

December 6, 1921 - September 5, 1925
  Vancouver South (British Columbia)
October 29, 1925 - July 2, 1926
  Vancouver South (British Columbia)
September 14, 1926 - May 30, 1930
  Vancouver South (British Columbia)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 336 of 336)

April 3, 1922


Does the federal government draw any revenue from the fisheries as a result of this arrangement with the province of Quebec?

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March 29, 1922


There is a decided increase in these estimates over last year, apart from the statutory increases. Now, considering general world conditions and decrease in wages in all forms of labour, skilled and unskilled, I should like to ask the minister whether, when these Estimates were presented to him, he endeavoured to find out why there had been an increase, and whether some method could not be devised for bringing his estimates more into conformity with general conditions in the labour world outside.

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March 23, 1922

Mr. LADNER (resuming) :

Mr. Speaker, at the adjournment of the House last night I had made some casual observations relative to the tariff question; and now I refer to the railway question. We on this side of the House desire that the Government should fulfil their promise of the 13th instant given by the hon. Prime Minister that before this debate closed an expectant House, and no doubt an anxious country, would be made aware definitely and concretely what the proposal of his Government was with respect to our national railways. In order that there may be no misunderstanding in this connection, I should like to read to hon. members the words of the Prime Minister on that occasion :

The reference may not have been necessary on the ground that it did not involve legislation, but it was necessary that the country and Parliament should be informed at the opening of Parliament exactly as to the purpose of the Ministry with respect to the National railroads which are in our possession at the present time.

Then the Prime Minister continued:

But I would remind my right hon. friend that the proper person to discuss railway policy is the Minister of Railways (Mr. Kennedy), and I would prefer, until he has had an opportunity of addressing members of the House to defer saying anything further with respect to the meaning of the co-ordination as set forth in the" Speech from the Throne. I think the language must be perfectly clear to hon. members. If there is any doubt as to what is in the Government's mind, that doubt will be cleared up by the hon. Minister of Railways and Canals himself.

Now, Mr. Speaker, there is very grave doubt on this side of the House as to the

The Address

policy of the Government in this respect, and I put it again to my hon. friends opposite that it is only fair and right that the people should know now, before this debate closes, the railway policy of the Government. I observe that the hon. Minister of Railways (Mr. Kennedy) is in his seat, and he will no doubt, as we say in court, " take judicial notice " of our request.

There' has been a noticeable absence in this debate of reference to our returned soldier problems. I do not take it, however, to indicate apathy on the part of hon. ministers that we have had very few observations and even fewer concrete suggestions from the Government on this important question. The Government does say in the Speech from the Throne:

The work in connection with the re-establishment, medical treatment and vocational training of former members of the Canadian Forces is being sympathetically and energetically prosecuted.

Now, Mr. Speaker, if there is one thing which should be considered-and which the people will expect hon. members to consider -in a non-partisan spirit, it is this question, and I submit that there are many changes which must and should be brought about in our pension and land settlement regulations. I desire to bring to the notice of the House two instances of the injustice that is wrought by the present pension regulations. I know of a case here in Ottawa where a soldier died some time after he returned from active service overseas. Because his widow could not prove to the satisfaction of the Pension Board that that man acquired the disease to which he succumbed as a result of his war service, she was deprived of the pension to which she should be entitled. Her husband died of cancer, and the onus of proof is so severe and difficult that the Widow cannot establish positively that the disease was a result of his war service, although there were indications that it was. I know another case in British Columbia of a young lawyer who went overseas, served faithfully, never cared to admit that he was in ill health or did not feel very well, and got a one hundred per cent discharge, but to-day tuberculosis has become noticeable in him. However, the regulations governing soldiers' civil re-establishment do not permit him to have the advantage and benefit of the assistance which he ought to receive. The poor fellow is in a very bad state of health and has a widowed mo'-her to support. I give those two instances to show how necessary

it is that something should be done to modify the regulations which at present result in such injustice and neglect of most deserving cases. I hope the House will appoint a special committee to go into these things, because if there is one matter that is dear to the heart of every true Canadian it is that which pertains to the welfare of the dependents of our soldiers who made the supreme sacrifice overseas. In that connection I would commend to the Government the suggestions made by the Great War Veterans' Association a few days ago through its Dominion Command. Many of those suggestions are practical and sound, as I know from observation and experience.

The hon. member for Comox-Alberni (Mr. Neill) in the course of his speech on the 17th instant stated that he would like to see the Royal Northwest Mounted Police removed from British Columbia. I would suggest that he speaks only for himself, not for his colleagues from that province. If there is one body of men which gave us comfort and a feeling of security at a time when our constitutional system was in danger, it was the Royal Northwest Mounted Police, whom everybody respects and only revolutionists fear, and I think it would be a terrible mistake if this fine body of men were to be eliminated. It would seem that the proposal of the Government is to reduce this force.

Now I come to the real point of why I am taking part in this debate.

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March 23, 1922


The hon. member says "Hear, hear." Maybe he made a better point, but I will do the best I can. In the Speech from the Throne reference is made to the handing back of their natural resources to the Prairie provinces. It is stated in very general language, and as the matter is so important I shall read the statement:

The long standing question of granting the control of the natural resources of three Western Provinces to their respective Provincial Governments has engaged the attention of my Ministers. Sympathizing with the desire of the authorities of these Provinces, which have now advanced to maturity, to have the same control and management of their resources as is possessed by the older Provinces, my Government have made a proposal to the Governments of the several Provinces concerned, which it is hoped may lead to a satisfactory settlement of the question at an early date.

That, Mr. Speaker, is not very explicit, and the Prime Minister was asked by the

The Address

leader of the Opposition to give a fuller explanation. On March 13, as will be found at page 45 of unrevised Hansard the Prime Minister explained that portion of the Speech from the Throne in these words:

May I read from the letter which I sent to the Premiers of the different Provinces. The opposite paragraph is as follows:

"If, however, the Governments of the Prairie Provinces would not be satisfied with such an arrangement-"

That is the one similar to the offer that had been previously made.

"-but would prefer an accounting between the Dominion and the Provinces from the beginning, by an independent tribunal, we would not object to such a plan. In any agreement that might be come to along these lines it would be, of course, necessary, that adequate provision be made for crediting the Provinces with all money received by the Dominion and charging to the Provinces all outlay by the Dominion, directly or indirectly in relation to the management of the resources. Any award duly made by the tribunal should be binding on both sides. Any sums found to be due by the Dominion to a Province or by a Province to the Dominion might be capitalized and interest adjusted in connection with the annual Provincial subsidy."

Now, Mr. Speaker, there are very few questions of greater importance to the Prairie provinces, and there are none of more importance to the other provinces, than the relationship of those provinces to the Dominion with respect to their natural resources, with respect to the land which has been alienated, and with respect to the various cash contributions which have been paid from time to time; and if there is an objectionable feature in what is now contemplated it is the proposal under which the Government of Canada, the federal authority, proposes to enter into a direct and separate transaction with the Prairie provinces in complete disregard of the rights and claims of all the other provinces. I submit to hon. members here that that policy is not only unfair and unsound, but is calculated to accentuate the differences which already exist between the several provinces. I propose to show, Mr. Speaker, that the proper course and policy to be pursued on a matter of this kind is the one which, when it settles the rights and claims of the Prairie provinces, will also settle the rights and claims of the other provinces of the Dominion who voluntarily came into Confederation; and surely it would not be right for the federal authorities to deal with the public domain to the disadvantage of those provinces who when they entered Confederation pooled

their resources with the public resources of Canada. Take for example the Maritime provinces. They have on a number of occasions expressed their claims. They say they want compensation and an equivalent for lands reserved for school purposes for Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta. They also claim compensation for the cash subsidies paid to Manitoba and Alberta purporting to be in lieu of lands, and they also want compensation for the lands granted to the provinces of Ontario and Quebec in which the people of the Maritime provinces, in common with the people of the other parts of Canada, have a proprietary interest. In short, they claim that they have contributed large sums of money to make and develop Canada; that there were placed in the hands of the Dominion Government, as trustees of the Canadian people, certain great areas of land, certain resources, in which these original provinces have a proprietary interest, and they declare that the Federal Government acts in a fiduciary capacity in that regard for the people of Canada. Mr. Speaker, it seems to me that these claims advanced by the province of Nova Scotia and other provinces have a great deal of merit. Under the circumstances, is it fair for the Dominion Government, in total disregard of such claims, to enter into a separate and distinct transaction with the Prairie provinces? The same question may be asked, as I think I can show conclusively to the satisfaction of hon. members, with respect to other provinces in the Dominion.

When Confederation was formed the six original provinces contained an area of approximately five hundred million acres. In addition to these five hundred million acres, there was a vast area of two billion acres which constituted the common domain of the federated provinces of the Dominion. But in 1898 and 1912 the Dominion Government increased the grants of natural resources and of lands to the province of Ontario to the extent of 115 million acres thus making Ontario's total 261 million acres, or in other words practically doubling the original area of the province of Ontario. When we come to the province of Quebec we find that its original area was 124 million acres, but subsequent grants in 1898 and 1912 increased the total acreage of Quebec and her territory now consists of 452 million acres, so that that province to-day is four times the size it was at the time of Confederation. Today when the provinces of Ontario and

The Address

Quebec, which exercise a great political influence in Canada say: " No, the Prairie provinces cannot have back their natural resources; we have a proprietary interest in them and we want an accounting tor the money they have received"-surely when that takes place the Prairie provinces can say to Ontario and Quebec: "We have a proprietary interest in 440 million acres of the common domain given to you since Confederation, and we are also entitled to an accounting." The point I wish to make is simply this: Any province which desires to make a separate transaction between the Dominion Government and that province without at the same time taking recognition of the proper claims of the other provinces-any policy of that kind is unsound and narrow and is calculated, as I said before, to increase rather than diminish the differences that exist between those provinces.

Now, what do the Prairie provinces say: They say: "We want back our natural resources, we want an accounting for the land that has been alienated, and we want the original annual subsidy of $562,000 that we received for several years past." And they repudiate the right of other provinces in connection with their claims for proprietary interest in their domain. In other words, the Prairie provinces ask for the original grant of lands within their boundaries which the original provinces of the Confederation got at the time Confederation was entered into.

Now, Sir, it would be an oversight on my part if I did not speak upon the very just and very moderate claims of the province of British Columbia, a matter which has been one of great concern in our province for many years. Many hon. members will remember that Sir Richard McBride fought for a long time to bring about an adjustment of this question, and I deem it well to quote a few lines from one of his speeches, towards the end of his career. Speaking on the subject of better terms on 19th July, 1907, he said:

I say again, ladies and gentlemen, this is not a party question. I am not talking as a Con

servaf ivi: to .Conservatives. but as _a Canadian to Canadians, I say to the people of British Columbia that they should legitimately follow up their grievances and carry them to Ottawa.

Mr. Speaker, hon. members from British Columbia are to-day, once more, presenting the grievances of their province on that question. But we do not want those grievances settled apart from the rights and claims of other provinces; we want

to eo-operate with the other provinces and decide upon a policy which will bring about a fair and proper adjustment of all these claims at the same time. When our province joined Confederation, one of the terms of union was-

And the Government of British Columbia agree to convey to the Dominion Government, in trust, to be appropriated in such manner as the Dominion Government may deem advisable in the furtherance of the construction of the said railway, a similar extent of public lands along the line of railway, throughout its entire length in British Columbia, not to exceed, however, 20 miles on each side of said line.

At the time of Confederation the province of British Columbia had a proprietory interest in those lands, and conveyed a belt 40 miles wide and 500 miles long to the Dominion Government in trust, Mr. Speaker, to be appropriated for the purposes of railway construction. The point I wish to make is that the trusteeship has failed. Those lands were never used for railway construction, and, the trust having failed, we are entitled to a return of the lands because we had the reversionary interest in them. In that area there is something in the neighbourhood of $35,000,000 worth of timber alone, taking the price of $1 a thousand. A few days age the hon. gentleman from Cumberland (Mr. Logan), told us that the province of Nova Scotia came into Confederation also under the terms and understanding that they should have a railway. The province oi Nova Scotia got the railway, and paid nothing, but the people of Canada paid $100,000,000 for it. In British Columbia we had a distinct pact, but the Government of Canada, on account of other influences, failed to carry out that pact. Before we got our railway we had to give the Dominion Government what is known as the Peace River block, three and a half million acres of land, conservatively valued at $35,000,000. We had to give a vast quantity of land on Vancouver island, which we should not have been obliged to do under the terms of Confederation. That land was conservatively estimated at a value of $25,000,000. Then, unlike some of the other provinces, British Columbia, since ' Confederation has contributed to the Dominion Treasury the large sum of $40,000,000 in excess of what it has cost the government. So that when you add together the value of those lands, the cash contribution, and the timber in the railway belt you find that British Columbia, in order to have the Canadian Pacific railway-a national and imperial railway-constructed

The Address

across the continent to Vancouver, has paid in lands and money the enormous sum of $130,000,000.

I ask you for a moment, Mr. Speaker, to contrast British Columbia with the other provinces. A moment ago I mentioned Nova Scotia. They got their railway and the Dominion Government paid $100,000,000. Ontario secured an area of land out of our common domain double her original size. Ontario has received an appropriation of money grants for canals and things of that kind from the Dominion Treasury, far in excess of $125,000,000. Quebec is to-day four times the size she was in 1867, and has acquired natural resources of great value-timber, mines and lands. Quebec has also received large appropriations from the Dominion Government. The claims of British Columbia are these: we say that the railway belt, given in trust for railway purposes, and not used for such purposes, should be given back to the province. We have paid enough without that. We say that the 2,000,000 acres on Vancouver island should be handed back or that we should have an accounting. We claim that the Peace River block, still intact and of great value, should be returned to us. A large quantity of Indian lands were also conveyed by the province of British Columbia, when she was a Crown colony, to the Dominion Government in trust for the Indians, to be taken care of by the Dominion as guardian for the Indians. We claim that large portions of those lands, which have been practically abandoned by the Indians, should be handed back to British Columbia. On that point I would like to quote a few words from the terms of Union, section 13:

To carry out such policy, tracts of land of such extent as it has hitherto been the practice of the British Columbia Government to appropriate for that purpose shall from time to time be conveyed by the local government to the Dominion Government in trust for the use and benefits of the Indians.

Therefore, we claim that, the trust being at an end we are entitled to a reversionary interest in those lands.

Now I ask the hon. gentlemen to turn their attention for a moment to the question of subsidies. We find that Ontario, as of the 31st March, 1921, received annually $2,400,000; Manitoba $1,470,000; Saskatchewan $1,753,000; and Alberta, with a population of

582,000, has received a subsidy of $1,162,000. British Columbia, with almost the same population as Alberta, received the sum of $623,000, about one-third of what

each of the Prairie provinces received. Hon. gentlemen will surely see that the policy of a government which makes a separate and distinct transaction with the Prairie provinces, and neglects and ignores the claims of other provinces, is not one which is calculated to meet with the approval of the public of this country. We are told that the Prairie provinces, unlike the province of British Columbia, have cost the Dominion of Canada since Confederation something like $40,000,000 in excess of what they have received. British Columbia, on the other hand, has contributed the sum of $40,000,000 in excess of what the province has received. I desire to draw to the attention of those who, perhaps, have not travelled in British Columbia the fact that we have also important physical disabilities. We have great expense for our administration, for the police, for government agencies, for schools, for roads, trails, bridges and for other things-an expense which other provinces do not have to face. The province of British Columbia perhaps may not interest all hon. gentlemen present, but, so far as the policy of the government is concerned, I wish to repeat, and I hope the hon. ministers will remember this -and I am sure that my views are shared by every member from the Prairie provinces-that any settlement of this very important question of provincial rights and of better terms must be made in a broad national way, all at one time, and not piecemeal as has been proposed by the Government.

I trust and hope that when the policy of the Government in this matter is announced in detail, we shall find manifested that spirit of co-operation by my hon. friends to my left, the Progressives, which they profess in their speeches, and which I am sure they will practise in this parliament; and even though they may have the advantage of securing a separate deal with the government, because of their strategic position politically, that in the spirit and understanding of the ideals which they have professed in their eloquent speeches during the last few days, they will be consistent and will refuse to accept from the government the temptation of their natural resources, to the prejudice and the injury of the other provinces of this Dominion.

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March 22, 1922


(Vancouver South): Mr. Speaker, I rise with a natural diffidence to address for the first time the Parliament of Canada. I wish at the outset to tender to you, Sir, my congratulations quite sincerely, from a personal knowledge of your long career in Parliament and from having read, as many young men do, diligently and conscientiously the fine debates in Hansard. I must say, however, that in your elevation to the first place in the Commons we are losing one of the greatest and most powerful debaters in Parliament. .

It is not for any personal satisfaction or honour that I take part in this debate. I do so because I believe it is a duty I owe to my constituents, as it is the duty of all members of this House who come here with a definite proposal or some concrete matter to lay it before their fellow-members, who may, perhaps, not be so well informed as to the views of his constituents.

We have here, Mr. Speaker, four parties, and I have no doubt but that the addition of two of these parties will have a salutary effect upon the business and legislation of this Parliament. One calls itself the Progressive party. Notwithstanding the scathing denunciations and somewhat exaggerated terms which have been applied to our party by hon. gentlemen opposite, I submit, Mr. Speaker, that while we do not have the word progressive in our name, in all the deeds and acts of the Liberal-Conservative party as found in the pages of our country's history, progressive is expressed. Right down through our history until the 6th day of December, 1921, we find this to be so. I exclude the 6th day of December, 1921, Mr. Speaker, because I do not consider that a day to which the word "progressive" can be either conservatively or liberally applied. The 6th day of December appears to be free of political phenomena-just progressive.

I should like in the few minutes that I shall take part in this debate to avoid as much as possible covering many of the subjects, which have already been discussed at great length and in very general terms, but I cannot in duty to my own province permit this occasion to pass without a reference or two to the question of the tariff.

We are four parties in British Columbia, but we are a solid thirteen, irrespective of

The Address

party, for a protective tariff. The members from British Columbia have always supported the Macdonald Liberal-Conservative national policy, modified to that of the Laurier-Fielding policy as it has been called in this House by certain hon. members. I submit, however, that at this stage, on this 22nd of March, after listening to the various debates upon that question we can now apply the real and correct name to the tariff policy of this Government. I think the proper name would be the Gouin-Fielding tariff policy, which we heard explained a short time ago. If, however, the opinions and the sentiments of the hon. members from British Columbia, thirteen in number, are not sufficiently convincing to this Government, may I be permitted to read the words of one who leads the Liberal party in the province of British Columbia? I refer to the Liberal premier of British Columbia, "Honest" John Oliver, who has been there for a number of years. On a certain occasion he came to Ottawa, and some hon. gentlemen now present will remember that he made a keen analysis of, and somewhat denunciatory remarks upon, the proposed Liberal tariff as drawn up at the convention held here in August, 1919. It may perhaps be wearisome to hon. members to be continually listening to the reading of newspaper clippings, but this one is so pertinent, the remarks so true as they affect British Columbia, and the ideas so soundly expressed, that I believe it would be informative to the House if I read a few paragraphs. I quote from the Vancouver Province of the 7th of August, 1919; the same quotations are found in the Globe of that day. Addressing the great Liberal convention here in August, 1919, Mr. Oliver says, with respect to the tariff policy enunciated there:

If you pass this resolution as it is reported from the Committee, you are furnishing, not a weapon of defence for the Liberal party, hut a weapon of attack by which the Borden Government will successfully attack the Liberal party. In 1911 I went down to defeat in defence of the reciprocity pact. I went into that fight with my hands tied, and this resolution will have the effect of tying my hands behind my back and the backs of a great many other Liberal candidates in the next election.

And surely enough when the next election took place we found a Liberal Government in control of the legislature of the province and not participating in the election to any extent whatsoever. I am not saying that under the influence of any party bias, or prejudice; I say that to indicate to hon. members that so far as

British Columbia is concerned this is a matter of real importance. I trust, therefore, that the Government will take cognizance of the attitude of the thirteen members as well as of the Premier of the province. In the same speech Mr. Oliver continues with respect to the tariff policy which more strongly appeals to hon. members to my left:

The reasons I call this class legislation and why it is sectional and why it will put a club into the hands of our opponents, are these: Let us take one item-farm tractors. They should be on the free list, but is a tractor any more an implement of production than the power that goes into your factory or the gasoline engine that goes into the fishermen's boat or any other object? Is a plow more an implement of production to the farmer than the machinist's tools to the mechanic or the plumber's tools to the plumber? Is any one an article of production more than another?

And then Mr. Oliver continues:

You have no answer. It is not a square deal and is not Liberal.

Referring to the tariff also he says:

It is a get-by proposition and the Liberal party in this crisis should not put any get-by proposition before the people.

I think all hon. members who look at this matter frankly will realize now that the tariff platform of that time was a get-by proposition, and hon. gentlemen opposite hold their seats by virtue of the pledge of their leader at that convention. Now I find it necessary to quote one or two more lines from Mr. Oliver's speech:

You want free cement. We have three immense plants in British Columbia, all of them idle. Why put cement on the free list and not the reinforcing iron that goes into it? Is it consistently logical? What answer can you give? You have no answer.

Then he concludes with these words:

If this Liberal party has a policy at all it is a policy of justice to the masses of the people, and if you have to resort to taxation it must be put on the men who can bear the burden. I can not go before these returned soldiers who came to my office and demanded that I give up the reins of Government (and I told them I wouldn't and that I was going to give them a square deal) and say to them that I voted for a resolution that would give free gasoline for millionaires and leave the tax on the little boots and clothing that the veterans kiddies have to wear.

Now, Mr. Speaker, I realize that it is perhaps wearisome to some hon. members to listen to these quotations, but I desire to make the point that the hon. members from British Columbia and the official leader of the Liberal party in that province are against the policy enunciated by the

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Liberal party in that convention and which seems to have some considerable support in this House, and are in favour of the policy which they have supported consistently from the beginning to the end.

On the motion of Mr. Ladner the debate was adjourned.

At six o'clock the House adjourned without question being put, pursuant to rule.

Thursday, March 23, 1922.

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