I did not intend to take any part in this debate, I had thought that the untutored children of the House should be seen and for the most part not heard; but it seems, from what has fallen from other speakers, that there is a necessity which impels me to make a few remarks and I promise hon. members that I shall not detain them long.
In the subjects which have been adumbrated in the Speech from the Throne there are a number of matters which are to come up for deliberation and decision later on. The only criticism that I have to make in that connection is that in the Speech there was very little that was explicit, and in the speeches that we have heard from members of the Government or their followers there has not been any attempt to give us any more information, if I except one speech which was made by a certain hon. and learned member. I do not know, Sir, that any votes are changed by what may take place in the debate on the Address; I do not know that any opinions
are altered. I do know, however, that the meeting of Parliament is a costly business, and I do know that when the clocks of this Chamber, and there are three of them, are ticking out the seconds of time they are also ticking in measures of dollars and cents. And if I may be permitted to offer an observation I would say that I think the factor of expense in connection with this House may be taken as three; when we consider that there are three clocks in the Chamber and all through ink bottles, mucilage pots and other requisites supplied to members, I observe the factor of three. I do not know that anyone can say that I am especially niggardly; I do not know that anyone will suggest that I want to practise an economy that I would not ask any one else to practise; but it does seem to me, as an observation that perhaps may not be lost sight of, that it would be well now when we have this new, clean, economical Government in power that there shall be an effort made to practise that economy which must be generally observed throughout the country. I intend, therefore, to trespass as little as I can upon the time and add as little as I can to the expense of this House.
I have been greatly interested in the illuminating and interesting addresses that we have heard from all quarters of the Chamber. One hon. member made a remark which seemed to strike me as appropriate- that seeing so many of us were here as strangers we should declare our environment, because a man, whether he will or not, is largely controlled by the environment in which he finds himself. Well, Mr. Speaker, I come from the little heard cf and much admired city of Toronto. Let me say that I am proud to be a representative of that city. I am proud that we have one united band from Toronto. In that respect we are on all fours with the province of Quebec; and as the representation of the province of Quebec in this Parliament, under the British North America Act, is limited to sixty-five members and as we from the growing city of Toronto are nine and soon to become, I hope, ninety-nine, it will not be long before the province of Quebec and the city of Toronto in their respective units will go hand in hand. I represent in particular the constituency of East Toronto. It is a constituency of about 50,000 voters and contains 200 manufacturing establishments more or less and of more or less importance. As I say we are a happy band of nine. I might say-since his name has been mentioned since I have risen
to my feet-that the Dean of our Brotherhood is the member for North Toronto, ex-Mayor Thomas Church, or as he is more familiarly known, Tommy Church. Some members of the House have been pleased to cast some aspersions upon him but just let me say this, and say it as quickly as I can: I have not been particularly associated with him but I know of him and I know what he has done for the city of Toronto. I know that he has been elected mayor seven times; I know that his majority on the last occasion was practically as great as he ever had before and would have been greater if it had not been for the fact that everybody knew he would be elected. I know that the reason he was held in such high esteem by his fellow citizens of Toronto was two-fold: first, that the man was absolutely honest, and second that he had nQ other idea than service. In the next place, let me tell hon. gentlemen that he retired, I suppose, because he got tired of the position, and for no other reason. He could have Ibeen elected seven times more, for the reasons I have stated1. That is one instance. Then there is another incident- and I know this for a fact; I put it to my hon. friends from the city of Montreal, who know something about the cost of elections, and I can say something myself upon that point. Before one of these elections a man approached the member for North Toronto and offered him $500 towards his election expenses, a perfectly proper transaction under the circumstances. I had nothing to do with it, and I am not seeking to justify anything in which this gentleman was concerned. He said to this man, "Never mind, old man, keep your money, I do not want it."' We have the further fact, Toronto did its duty in sending soldiers to the front. Never did a body of soldiers leave Toronto without the "Godspeed" of the member for North Toronto. There never was a train load of soldiers in health, maimed or wounded who returned to Toronto, no matter what hour of the day cr night, who were not greeted by the Mayor of Toronto. Now, when I find an hon. gentleman who says there is no infamy in offering himself as the candidate of a party which has professed before all the world, and pledged itself to carry out, a certain line of policy, the exact opposite of the policy to which the hon. gentleman is pledged, and to which he pledged himself anew last night, throwing stones at the hon. member for North Toronto, I say, Mr. Speaker, let him gather
his sticks and stones and continue to throw them.
I believe in a protective tariff. I am a man of good faith. I desire nothing but what is in the interests of this country, and I am satisfied that the people whom I represent desire nothing but what may be for the good of all. Strongly as I desire a customs tariff, I am just as strongly opposed to any privileged class. I believe that the tariff which this country has had benefits the farmer, the merchant and the manufacturer, and I can only say, Mr. Speaker, in reference to that immense sum of seventeen hundred million dbllars, or more than one-half the total indebtedness of this Canada, of excess purchases abroad in the last five years, if the manufacturers, the merchants and the farmers had saved of that sum what they could for the benefit of Canada, we would not have found so great a state of depression as we have now, nor such untoward circumstances among the farmers, and the manufacturers of this country. I do not intend to argue this case now.
The matter of exchange troubles me very, very much. To be sure, it is not now at about 20 per cent, as it once stood. I believe, however, it is on the upward swing again and that it is in the interests of all parties in this House, especially of my hon. friends the Progressives, that this should not be so. What in the world would happen to the value of the Canadian dollar, in which we naturally feel immense pride, if the purchases that are made now outside of this country were increased to a very substantial amount?
I have an easy way, although I will admit that it is not an absolute and conclusive way, of testing this question of tariff for myself. All the nations of the world that have any pretence whatever to commercial status have a protective tariff. Not one single commercial nation of importance on earth has anything else but a customs tariff. Many of those nations have a tariff that is higher than ours. Many of those nations since the war, in order to benefit themselves, and build up, as they in their wisdom think, their national prosperity, have increased their tariffs, and the only place that I know of where there is any body of opinion that is against the maintenance of a customs tariff is in a section of the United States and of Canada. I cannot believe, for one moment, that all the world is wrong, and that this body of opinion is right. It is
the safest course when you are in doubt
and I believe many of my hon. friends are in doubt-to do as others do. I admit it is not absolutely conclusive, but I cannot help thinking of something that occurred here a few years ago. There was a case before the Supreme Court of Canada. Sir Henry Strong, a man of marked peculiarities, but yet a most eminent jurist, was the presiding judge. Opposing counsel was arguing a branch of his case, when he was interrupted by the Chief Justice who said " Stop a moment, stop a moment, Mr. T" - who is living to-day - "Don't pursue that branch of your argument further. Your argument must be unsound, Mr. T. If I had a mind that wanted to think that way, I would not let it do so, because the Law Lords in England have unanimously decided the other way." Before my hon. friends the Progressives impose upon this House their will as to free trade or as to a low tariff, I want to ask this House, what nation upon this globe has a tariff such as they propose?
Topic: THE GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH
Subtopic: ADDRESS IN REPDY