Mr. HAUGHTON LENNOX (South Simcoe).
I have noticed that several hon. members much more competent to deal with this question than I am, and much more accustomed to speaking, have made apologies for the length of their remarks. Let me say, while possessed of all reasonable modesty, that I esteem it to be my duty to be guided rather by what I think is proper and necessary to be presented to the House than by the question .of the time which my remarks may occupy. The question that is presented for our consideration is one so broad, so far-reaching that, if we had months to consider it, aye, if we had months to debate it, there would yet remain aspects of the question which would be useful to be presented and valuable to be considered. But I will endeavour, having regard to the importance of the case, to confine my remarks and my criticism to as reasonable a space as I can. I believe in the future of Canada. I have as great confidence in the future of Canada, perhaps, as any hon.
gentleman in this House. I belong to a party that has always had faith in the prosperity and achievements of Canada. As firmly as I believe in the rapid advancement of any part of It, I believe and look for the rapid advancement of the great west. I believe that, as representing a constituency, and as representing also the interests of Canada as a whole, it is my duty and the duty of every hon. member of this House, irrespective of politics, to see to it that the west has reasonable facilities for transporting to market its enormous product. And I will not be behind any hon. gentleman in conceding reasonable facilities to the west, or any other part of Canada, consistently with our duty in administering honestly and fairly the resources of the Dominion and in controlling the federal exchequer.
The Speaker, who closed the debate, was the hon. member for Alberta (Mr. Oliver).
I have greatly admired the manner in which the hon. gentleman presents his arguments, although I have not often been able to see the cogency of his argument. X admire very much the 'forcible, earnest and sometimes, if X may say so without offence, the almost dictatorial manner in which he presents, as the ultimate conclusion of the matter, the view he happens to take of it. However, I do not propose, on this occasion, to deal with the manuscript which the hon. gentleman presented the other night. It contains five introductory sentences, and twenty ' becauses ' ; or four introductory sentences with one ' because,' and one other sentence containing twenty ' becauses,' as you prefer the punctuation. If his reasons are good, his statement is unanswerable. But the strength of his ' because ' depends upon the cogency of his proposition. If one of them is good and broad enough to cover the whole proposition, the proposition is sustained. It is like presenting a number of reasons to the Court of Appeal-if you have one strong one, you may abandon the rest. I do not consider that the time of the House would be well occupied in discussing these ' becauses.' And the reason is 'because' all the hon. gentleman merely gives is twenty texts. He advances not one proposition, not one argument, not one fact in support of these twenty texts. It would be as easy to formulate forty texts, and I believe you can subdivide these forty into forty others in dealing with a great proposition such as that before us. It reminds one of the case of puss and the fox. I do not remember the story very well ; the younger members of the House who have been more lately under instruction than I, will recollect it more clearly. But as I remember it, it was something like this : Puss, with her usual modesty said she had one method of getting clear of dogs. But the fox said he had ten in hand and ten times ten in a bag. Just then the baying of a hound was heard. Puss ran up a tree ; and from the top of the tree she had the
satisfaction-I presume it was a satisfaction, because we all condemn boasters-of seeing a dog's nose very close indeed to the fox's brush. Now, these reasons or texts of my hon. friend from Alberta, I am afraid, are somewhat the same as the fox's methods. I am afraid that, if put to the test, they would hardly answer. For instance, take the hon. gentleman's because ' of two miles of shortened distance. I am afraid that, upon investigation, that would hardly bear criticism.
Now, I come to the speech of the hon. member for (JaspG (Mr. Lemieux). If there is an hon. member of this House whom I enjoy listening to, an hon. gentleman who, I think, delivers his addresses in a graceful and pleasing manner, one who makes the most out of a bad case, if he happens to have a bad case-and sitting to your right, Mr. Speaker, he very often has a bad case- it is the hon. member for Gaspe. But while, like the hon. member for Alberta, the presentation of his case is admirable, I fear that also like the hon. member for Alberta, his logic is not always conclusive. An hon. friend near me suggests that it is very limpy, and so it is. Let me refer to some of the hon. gentleman's statements in support of that proposition. The hon. gentleman says that under our parliamentary system, the opposition exists for the very purpose of opposing any measures which are not desired by the people. Now, I forgot to say that it will be my pleasing duty to concur in a great deal'of what has been said by hon. gentlemen opposite, and I give my full concurrence to this proposition of the hon. member for Gaspe. He says that the function of the apposition-and he stated that he did not blame us for discharging our function-is to oppose any measure which might not be desired by the people. That is exactly what this measure is. Canvass this country from one end to the other, go where you will and the preponderating voice is, and the overwhelming voice will be when the scheme is fully understood, absolute condemnation of this measure. The hon. member for GaspG says it is also the duty of the opposition to criticise any measure which may be considered as unduly pressed. It was evident that the right hon. leader of the House (Rt. Hon. Sir Wilfrid Laurier) realized the weakness of his case in this respect and sought to defend himself by urging the immediate necessity for relief and the demand of the public. My hon. friend from GaspG also realizes that this measure, which he himself describes as the most momentous that has been introduced into parliament since confederation, and which is introduced at the eleventh hour, at the very end of a long session, should not be brought before us now. It is unduly pressing the measure ; it is unduly exercising, not the right, but the power of the administration, when a measure of this kind is brought in at this stage and pressed through parliament.
Now, the hon. member for Gaspfi says that the policy of my hon. friend from East Grey (Mr. Sproule) is to run down the great lone land of the great North-west and the policy of his friends is to represent the country through which this railway shall run as a country of muskegs and rocks. Let me just interject, in passing, the question : What does the hon. gentleman mean by ' the great lone land ' through which this railway is to run. 1 thought that the proposition of the leader was to build a road to carry out the millions of bushels of grain awaiting transportation and to alleviate the congestion that exists. A great lone land, forsooth. And yet the hon. gentleman talks in this way as regards a great proportion of this enterprise. A great lone land for the present it certainly is, in northern Quebec and northern Ontario, along the borders of Lake Huron and Lake Superior; a great lone land it is as concerns the mountains west of Winnipeg, a great lone land it is from the mountains to the Pacific ocean, and it must necessarily be so for many years to come. But I refer to this because the hon. gentleman, and other hon. gentlemen upon the government side of the House, have been, to borrow his own language in reference to the member for East Grey (Mr. Sproule), indulging in imagination. They have been imagining that which they wish to exist, they have been trying to show that members on this side of the House have been belittling the west. AVhy, Sir, I challenge the hon. gentleman, I challenge any hon. gentleman supporting the government, to show one instance where one hon. member on this side of the House, either in this debate or in any previous debate in the House of Commons or out of it has decried or made little of the land which the Conservative party opened up and developed. But what are facts. Is it a fact that the member for East Grey did decry the great lone land ? It will be in the judgment of the House whether it was the bon. member for Ga spe or the hon. member for East Grey who did so. The hon. member for East Grey, in the course of his magnificent presentation of the case, made this statement:
I understand very well that our North-west is a great country. I do not underestimate its value and importance. I know that the great future of Canada is bound up in the west, and I believe it will be necessary in the future to provide for a development that has been unparalleled in the history of this country.
Is that decrying the west? Is that withholding from the west those legitimate means of transportation which it has been the policy of the Conservative party in the past to give, and which it will be the policy of the Conservative party in the future to give. If'the Conservative party should, ever renounce that policy, I would cease to remain a member of it. He says too that is the policy of ' his friends.' Well.