I do not mean a special committee appointed by this House, but a committee composed of members on the government side of the House, with the minister occupying the chair. Perhaps the minister will explain why gentlemen on this side of the House were not invited ?
I do not know that there is any explanation to be offered. If any members of the House see fit to associate together for the purpose of considering a measure which is to come before the House, I do not see that their course requires any explanation.
I am not very familiar with the grain growing business myself, but if I had had an opportunity of consulting with the delegates that have been here for the last week or ten days, I would have considerable more information than I have to-day. I have heard that there have been meetings from time to time of the western members on the government side of the House, but I only heard of them after they were all over each day. I regret that we have not been admitted to their councils, and have not consequently been able to get the views of the representatives of the western grain growers. I am as much interested in grain growing as any other member of this House, and I would like to see the interest of the grain growers well protected.
This is not a party question, so far as I am concerned. I want the very best conditions possible to prevail as regards the grain growers of the west. Personally, I represent a district that grows more wheat than the district represented by any other member of this House. I think that the courtesy might have been extended to us of inviting us to take part in these meetings. It is another evidence of the hole and corner work done by certain members on the other side of the House. There was absolutely nothing in this question of a party nature. As we have not been able to confer with these representatives from Manitoba and the other western provinces that have been down here, we come to this discussion under great disadvantages. We should have had an opportunity of attending those meetings of which the Minister of the Interior was chairman. We knew that these meetings were going on, but we could only get in there, as it were, by pushing ourselves in. We are here, western members, trying to do our utmost in the interests of the farmers. We find 309J
that in the past we have not received justice, but that will come up a little later. However. I want to enter my protest. The Minister of the Interior may say that hon. members on this side of the House, if they had liked, could have met together and talked matters over. But, this is a little different. This is a matter which affects both sides of the House equally and I say that very small courtesy was extended to the members of the House. These meetings have been going on from day to day and we were not given the benefit of attending them. Because we did not have the opportunity of hearing what the wesern representatives had to say we are hampered in this discussion.
If my hon. friend has had consultations with his friends on the other side of the House with regard to matters which are not necessarily party questions. I do not see why he should deny to other people the same privilege.
With regard to this particular case, this Bill is before the House to-day exactly as it left the Senate. Nobody has suggested any interference with it- My hon. friend has had just as much opportunity to follow the discussion in the Senate as anybody else has had. He has had just as much opportunity to consider the provisions of the Bill as anybody else has had. If he is not able to give a reasoned judgment writh regard to the question it is his fault and not the fault of any one else. As far as the suggestions which have been placed before the House in printed form are concerned. I will have to take the responsibility, together with those with whom I have consulted, but in so far as the Bill is concerned it is as it left the Senate, and so far as we have not attempted to make any change in it, my hon. friend is just as much responsible for it as any other member of the House. There is no change in the conditions whatever, and I think he is certainly undertaking to make a grievance when none exists.
My hon. friend from Souris (Mr. Schaffner), as I understand it, complains that Some hon. gentlemen in this House have been enabled to receive some information winch would throw light on the matter, which is not a party question, which has been denied to himself.
That is the complaint that has been made by my hon. friend
from Souris. The people of the west have thought that this was a matter of sufficient Importance to justify them in sending down special envoys to inform-the government and the members of the House supporting the government?-no, but to inform the whole House as to the scope of the measure and the provisions which they thought it should contain. My hon. friend from Souris is as much a member of the House as the hon. gentlemen opposite who were permitted to receive the information imparted by these representatives from the west. If the minister means to say that gentlemen on this side of the House can bring no intelligence to the discussion of the subject, we have nothing to say about that. He is entitled to his opinion.
But if he acknowledges that hon. gentlemen on this side of the House, coming from the wTest, possess as great an amount of intelligence as hon. gentlemen on the other side, I cannot see how he will say that the grievance of my hon. friend from Souris is not well founded. It is in the interest of the people that all possible information shall be obtained by the members of this House, whether from the government or anywhere else, because we are binding the people by the legislation that we make. I do not see how the hon. gentleman can justify the exclusion of some hon. members of the House from information which fs possessed by others, because when a matter of this kind comes before the House to be discussed, and when hon. gentlemen on this side are called upon to discuss'it, they are entitled to the same information as that which has been received by hon. gentlemen opposite, and I do not think that hon. members on this side have been properly treated in this respect.
My hon. friend speaks of the exclusion of hon. gentlemen on the other side of the House from sources of information. There has been no exclusion of any one on the part of any one from any source of information. As far as the intelligence of hon. gentlemen from the west is concerned, my hon. friend, in undertaking to speak for them, is casting a reflection upon them that I do not think he is justified in doing.
I would like to ask the minister if this is the Bill which created so much interest in the Senate, in regard to which the Rt. Hon. Sir Richard Cartwright, representing the government, and Senator Davis, representing some one else