March 15, 1909

CON

Glenlyon Campbell

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GLEN CAMPBELL (Dauphin).

It is with great pleasure that I rise to say a few words in favour of the resolution introduced by my hon. friend from Macdonald (Mr. Staples). I do so, not only from a sense of loyalty to him, but from a sense of the duty I owe to the farmers whom I am here to represent. I do it moreover because I am also a farmer, and I have the honour to represent in this House over 9,000 farmers in the Northwest. I say, therefore, it is a pleasure for me to speak on this question, because it affords me an opportunity of advocating their interests. But while I rise with pleasure to support this motion, my pleasure is tinged with a very sincere regret when I remember that the cause of this debate is the demise of a gentleman who stood high in the records of Mr. M. CLARK.

Canadian history. It is the demise of the Hon. Thomas Greenway which has furnished the occasion for this discussion. For twenty-five years Mr. Greenway took an active part in the politics of Manitoba. Although he made some political mistakes, from my point of view, still he was a man who did much to build up the great Northwest. He was a man of many parts, a lovable man in many ways, a man who was a strong personal friend of mine, though a political adversary. Many of the laws which he was instrumental in placing upon the statute book of Manitoba were, I believe, in the best interests of the people of that province. He was the leader of the great Liberal party in Manitoba, and might yet have been the leader, had he not been misled by the same influences that I told the First Minister had misled him with regard to the late elections in Manitoba.

I regret that this discussion has drifted into party politics, whereas we are, or should be, discussing the advisability of placing a representative of the farmers on the Railway Board in succession to the late Mr. Greenway, who was himself one of the most trusted and representative farmers in all Canada. Sir, we who advocate this resolution are not here representing only a fraction of the people of Manitoba, we are here representing over 140,000 farmers. It is their dictum we are asking this House to follow and it is their interest we are asking this government to consider. This House, through the Minister of Railways, has been asked by the farmers of the west to appoint a man whom they can trust, a man who sympathizes with their interests, to a position on the Board of Railway Commissioners. This is not a matter to be laughed at, as was done by my hon. friend who has just spoken, and by the Minister of Agriculture, it is a matter for the serious consideration of the members of this House, a matter to be discussed on common sense lines. Now let me point out the importance of these 140,000 farmers to Canada as wealth producers. Take my own province of Manitoba. The farmers of Manitoba last year raised farm produce to the value of sixty-six and a half million dollars, the result of the toil of their hands and the sweat of their brows. In Saskatchewan they produced thirty-seven and a half million dollars worth. They did not find this wealth by chance, they had to toil for it, and have they not a right to be listened to? In Alberta they produced fourteen and a half million dollars worth, a total for the three provinces of $118,500,000. Surely these people ought to be recognized as a factor in governing the appointment of members of the Board of Railway Commissioners. Looking east, we find that from the eastern boundary of Manitoba to the Atlantic ocean, agricultural products last year amounted to no less a sum than $236,000,000. And yet the Minister of Agricul-

ture dares to get up here and say that he is not here to listen to them. I say he is here to listen to them, he must listen to them, and this House must listen to them.

In speaking of the value of the farm products of the west, I have not said anything about the stock holdings there which roughly are as follows :

Sheep and

Horses. Cattle. hogs.Manitoba .. $24,000,000 $10,000,000 $11,500,000Saska tchewan

35,000,000 10,000,000 1,500,000

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Alberta ..

.. 24,000,000 20,000,000 1,000,000Showing a total of $116,000,000 worth of stock, and yet the Minister of Agriculture, who is here representing the farmers, says that we are not here to listen to those people, but that we will make the appointment as we choose. I hold that these farmers have to be listened to. They have the right to be listened to. They are the wealth producers of the great western country, and were it not for them there would not need to be a railway commission at all. I have not taken into consideration the fact that millions of dollars worth of property are owned by the farmers of Canada. The farm buildings and real estate owned by the farmers of Canada, as quoted by my hion. friend from Souris (Mr. Schaff-ner), amount in value to-buildings-$395,-000,000 and-real estate-$1,007,000,000.Surely that is a sufficient reason for asking this government to consider the claims of the farmers in this regard. When the late Hon. Thos. Greenway received the appointment this government congratulated themselves and pointed out to the people of Canada that they had appointed to that position a man who was a practical farmer. They said, prior to the election: We have put an actual farmer into that position to look after your interests. What do they say now? The Minister of Agriculture derides hon. gentlemen on this side of the House, who get up and make the suggestion that what the farmers ask for should be granted. To be accurate I wrote down the words of the Minister of Agriculture with reference to a computation, amounting to half a million dollars, made by my hon. friend from Macdonald and the words of the minister were these: 'However, that is as near as he can get to the actual facts.' I leave it to any member of this House to say if, in our experience, since we have been going through the estimates this year, it is possible to get any minister nearer to the actual facts than that. I think that if he came within a quarter of a millii.n at a guess he would be very lucky. The Minister of Agriculture went on to apply the tu quoque argument and to say that the census, the archives, and the patents were introduced into the Department of Agriculture by the Tories. Hon. gentlemen on the other side of the House have been twelve years in power. They condemned everything we did when we were in power and they have had twelve years to correct these things, but they have not done it, and they use them as excuses for their own misdoings. When you plant twigs in a nursery and they grow up there comes a certain time when they must be transplanted, and we are trying to tell the Minister of Agriculture that it is now time to transplant and to allow of a maturer and larger growth of those matters which concern the farming interests. That is what the farmers are asking. The hon. gentleman, instead of agreeing, as he should have agreed, being the Minister of Agriculture, with many of the things said by the gentleman who preceded him in the debate, sneered at him for lauding the farmers. It is the laughing stock of Canada that the Minister of Agriculture poses as a farmer. It is time he knew it and I am glad to tell him _ if he did not know it before. The only kind of farmer that he is is the kind that farms the farmers and that is the wrong kind for a Minister of Agriculture. He establishes chicken fattening stations and says to the farmers wives that if they spend about ten cents more per lb. on a chicken than they can possibly get for it on the market, they will be successful. That is the kind of a Minister of Agriculture he is. He is the kind that sits there in his seat and allows the Department of Militia to grasp the public money that ought to be spent for the benefit of the farmers instead of being spent in making-shall I say-carpet knights. There is no money available for the advancement of the interests of the farmers, who are the greatest wealth producers of the country. The hon. member for Red Deer (Mr. M. Clark) reprimanded hon. gentlemen on this side of the House for having introduced politics into the debate. I want to tell that hon. gentleman that I never in my life saw any one follow a bad example to a greater extent than he has done. He handed out a very nice certificate of character in the first place to himself, and later on to the Minister of Agriculture, and he said that he regretted the attack, the onslaught, that was made on the Minister of Agriculture, whom he described as a very mild mannered man. I would bring to his attention a quotation from Ralph Balderwood which, to my mind, possibly applies to his description of the Minister of Agriculture. Sir Ralph Balderwood, in speaking of a very bad character, said:

A milder mannered man never cut a throat or scuttled a ship.

Having reference to the present occasion, I think the hon. gentleman will admit that

2G47

Ralph Balderwood's words were absolutely prophetic. The hon. member for Ked Deer made what I regard as a little slip of the tongue when, in speaking of himself, having previously been referring to the minister, he said: , I, at least am not speaking with any selfish or grafting mptive,' 1 characterize that as a slip of the tongue because it would be a very harsh criticism and a very severe reflection upon his own minister from the hon. member for Red Deer. It might be all right coming from me. The hon. member for Red Deer prided himself lastly on the fact that he had taken a certain stand in politics. Among the tenets of his peculiar political creed, and I might say that in this he does not agree with the rest of his party, is that he does not believe in class distinction, but in the next breath he said: 'I am a farmer.' Is that not taking credit to himself for belonging to the great party of Canada?

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LIB
CON

Glenlyon Campbell

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CAMPBELL.

The manner in which suggestions from this side of the House are treated is most regrettable. If a Conservative introduces a resolution which is in the interests of Canada, the other side, for political reasons, I cannot attribute it to anything else, absolutely reject it. I would remind my hon. friend of the words of Holy Writ, 'Can any good thing come out of Nazareth ?' I am strongly in favour of the resolution proposed. The farmers of the west, the farmers of all Canada, are desirous of having representation on that board. They represent the wealth-producing people of Canada. They have a right to be heard, they have a right to be listened to, and their wishes should be granted.

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LIB

John Patrick Molloy

Liberal

Mr. J. P. MOLLOY (Provencher).

I am surprised at the remarks of the hon. member for Macdonald in criticising the qualifications of the present Minister of Agriculture. I believe and the people believe that he is the best and most competent Minister of Agriculture Canada has ever had. He is just as much a farmer as the hon. member who has just spoken, and a great deal more; I believe he pays more attention to the farming interest of this coun-tiy. I have heard it stated during the last campaign that the three previous Ministers of Agriculture were not aware that milk came from a cow.

Is it necessary that this appointment should be made at once? Did the member for Macdonald (Mr. Staples) introduce this resolution because a constituent of his is looking for the appointment? Because he has canvassed members from the west for assistance to get that position. Perhaps it is. The hon. member says he is a political opponent, but in that case my information is not correct as I was informed before Mr. CAMPBELL.

this resolution was written that this gentleman is a supporter of the hon. member.

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CON

William D. Staples

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STAPLES.

The hon. member has asked a question and I have a right to answer.

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LIB
CON
LIB
LIB

John Patrick Molloy

Liberal

Mr. MOLLOY.

Whether he is a supporter or an opponent of the hon. member for Macdonald (Mr. Staples) makes no difference to this House or to the people of this country. I am surprised-and pleased to hear

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CON

William D. Staples

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STAPLES.

I rise to a point of order. The hon. member for Provencher has stated that I mentioned a particular individual to be appointed to that board.

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LIB
CON
LIB

William Stevens Fielding (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. FIELDING.

That is not a point of order.

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LIB

John Patrick Molloy

Liberal

Mr. MOLLOY.

I am glad that the late hon. gentlemen who had a seat in this House and who was appointed to the Railway Commission, now that he is dead, received some credit from his political opponents. They say in the west that the dead Indian is the good Indian, and I suppose hon. gentlemen opposite think that the good Grit is the dead Grit.

I hope that this appointment will be made shortly, although there is nothing on record to show that the country is suffering. I believe that the present members of the commission are quite capable of handling the business that comes before them to the satisfaction of the country, and it is admitted by hon. gentlemen opposite that the work is being well done and in the interests of the country as a whole. I cannot accept or follow the advice given by the hon. member for Souris (Mr. Schaffner) that we should follow the example of the United States and entirely eliminate politics in such appointments. I hope, if it is necessary, as I believe it is, that the vacancy on the board will be filled as soon as possible and this government is quite well qualified to make that appointment at the proper time. I said I hoped it would go to the west because I am a western man. So far as I am concerned, I would have pretty nearly every appointment paid for by the people of Canada go to the west. Let them all go to the west, and I hope this one in particular will go to the west, and if a farmer is the best available man, let us have a farmer by all means. If the best available man is not a farmer, then we do not need a farmer and I hope one will not be appointed. The very fact of

appointing a farmer might be detrimental to the interests of farmers. A farmer might be appointed who would not be as well qualified to fill the position as the next man in line. Is that not true? Is there any guarantee that if this government does appoint a farmer he will be the best available man and will fill the position better than any one else? I do not think so. It does not necessarily follow. We hear particularly at election time, from some speakers and candidates in rural districts, the cry 'the farmer, the farmer, the farmer, I will do anything on earth for the farmer. It is just stage play, the greater part of it. Sometimes the Grits are guilty as well as the Tories. The greater part of it is in vote-catching, and I believe this resolution is intended as a vote-catcher, but I believe it will fail.

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CON

William D. Staples

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STAPLES.

I rise to a point of order. I ask the hon. gentleman to retract the statement.

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LIB

James Kirkpatrick Kerr (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER.

I do not think that is a point of order.

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CON
LIB
LIB

John Patrick Molloy

Liberal

Mr. MOLLOY.

I have to repeat that if there was a strong move made by that strong organization known as the Grain Growers' Association, it is being used by the hon. member for Macdonald as a vote catcher. It was a vote catcher for the next election, which is at present a considerable way off. I hope that the appointment will be given to a western man, that he will be the best available man for the position, and that he will be a farmer. That is all I have to say.

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March 15, 1909