I think it scarcely proper to discuss the ruling of the Chair. The hon. member (Mr. Meighen) was going on a different line. I listened to several hon. members who gave as a reason why they proposed to vote for the six months hoist that the government would not control the elevators. But the hon. member for Portage la Prairie (Mr. Meighen) was endeavouring to prove that they would control the elevators, or attempt to.
Might I suggest that the hon. member has not undertaken to prove that out of the Bill; he was not touching the Bill, when he undertook to say that, but was dealing with what he thought was going to be the policy of the government.
Surely, the hon. member (Mr. Oliver) as an old parliamentarian would not controvert the proposition that in order to decide whether or not we will vote for a measure that covers a policy, we must get light from that policy. Surely,
the principles of the policy are to be taken into consideration when we are asked to vote for or against the instrumentality by which that policy is to be carried into effect.
I do not think the hon. gentleman is correct in that statement. There are at Fort William and Port Arthur, five private elevators. One of these is owned by the Ogilvie Milling company, and operated in connection with their flour mill; and to operate it without the flour mill would not be, to my mind, a business proposition; and I do not understand that hon. gentlemen opposite argue, or that it is argued, that elevators operated in connection with flour mills should be operated by the government. That would leave only four of the elevators at Fort William under private ownership. And this government is committed to purchase and operate in the first year one, two or three of these elevators. Surely, that is a fair and reasonable advance towards the application of this principle which the Conservative party adopted long previous to the election and which they are now proceeding to put into force and effect. It is argued by my hon. friend, who moved the amendment, and who asks us to wait for six months before passing the Bill, that it contains clauses which are hard to understand. I would like to know what those clauses are. They read to me quite clear, and I am sure that to the perspicuous mind of the hon. member, if he will read them, they will seem equally clear. Why does not he particularise and say what is obscure and ambiguous. He says that one clause conflicts with another. But he does not give instances, he does not give the House the benefit of the information in his mind as to what clause conflicts with some other clause. If he would do that, it is not too late even yet, for amendments. And he told the House, as a last resort, that there are too many clauses. But he did not take us into his confidence and say how many clauses he would permit in the Bill. If he would do that, we might undertake to boil it down to dimensions that, to his mind, would be ample. These are all the reasons advanced. We have sat here two hours and have been asked to defeat this great measure of reform for western Canada, to which these very gentlemen opposite committed themselves last parliament.
which hon. gentlemen opposite brought in themselves last year, we are now asked to defeat, in defiance of a pledge of the government that they are going to put into operation the principle of government owned elevators. We are told that the Bill is not mandatory
enough in the matter of government elevators, that it is too long, that the clauses are ambiguous and conflict with each other; but no instances are given. Now let us put this Bill into effect. As hon. gentlemen, the hon. gentlemen wbn moved the amendment said, while it may not be as welcome as many of the farmers would like, it might have some good points in it. I apprehend that after this Bill has been in operation two years it will be regarded by the western farmers as one of the most popular measures on the statute-book. It may be true that hon. gentlemen opposite are opposing it because it is a Conservative measure. I believe that is the secret of the whole thing, it is because it is not in the hands of their own friends that they are objecting to it. But the farmer of the west as he reads this Bill, and as he receives benefit from it, will give credit to this government who, true to its pledges, has put it into operation. I ask hon. gentlemen opposite to give the Bill a fair trial, knowing as they do that the government is responsible for the measure and for its effects.
The hon. gentleman has dealt with certain alleged objections to the acceptance of the amendment of my hon. friend from Mackenzie (Mr. Cash), but he has not said a word about the forcible objections against it, which have been raised on this side of the House. The hon. member for Portage la Prairie (Mr. Meighen) showed great agility in avoiding the points brought before the House by my hon. friend from Mackenzie. Why did he not tell us that one of the main points was because it would interfere with that very precious thing in the hands of the farmer, namely, a square deal in the distribution of cars? I read this afternoon a telegram saying that the grain growers of Saskatchewan are afraid that the elevator interests and the transportation interests have got the ear of the Minister of Trade and Commerce, and that he is turning a deaf ear to the interest of the_ farmers. We affirm that any grain legislation along the line of clause (E) of section 207 is made at the bidding of the interests, and is contrary to the desires and interests of hundreds of thousands of farmers. But the member for Portage la Prairie did not touch that point at all. Last session he brought forward a resolution to remove the duty on agricultural implements, but since this government came into power he has maintained an absolute silence on that subject. Why does he not have the fairness to his constituents that the member for Souris (Mr. Schaffner) and Lisgar (Mr. Sharpe) have shown? They are not afraid to get up and vote against the government, because
they know that their constituents desire that clause (E) should not be in this Bill. All credit to them, and I hope the day will come when we will find them voting with us on every question when we are voicing the views of the farmers. The member for Portage la Prairie says that we voted against government elevators at a certain time, and we are complaining to-day because government elevators are not provided for in this Bill, as if we were inconsistent. Our protest is made against the men who govern this country making promises before election day and then turning their backs on them after election day. I take the stand that when a Prime Minister goes through the country and makes the promise he did, he :s in duty bound to fulfil it. In making that promise he no doubt saved a few seats in the prairie provinces; if he had not made it there would be much fewer bon. gentlemen here from Manitoba sitting-on the government side. If the Prime Minister had not promised control and operation of elevators at Fort William and Port Arthur in the event of his party attaining power-
Well, I will say unwise. Let us speak of these elevators, one, two, or at most, three. Let me read what the Prime Minister said while speaking in the district represented by the hon. member who has just taken his seat:
I have arrived at the conclusion that the result can only he attained by state control and operation of the terminal elevators. We propose to carry out that policy without delay if returned to power.
Will my hon. friend say that that promise is carried out by a statement from the Minister of Trade and Commerce that there will be a vote in the supplementary estimates, after the government has been in power since the 10th of October? Is that carrying out the promise?
We propose to carry out that policy without delay if returned to power.
What does ' without delay ' mean? It means no delay. But there lias been delay already in carrying out that promise. We have the estimates down here, two sets of them, and a great many things have been done. They brought down their Tariff Commission without delay.
I am illustrating what ' without delay ' means. It means in the most speedy manner possible, the speedy attainment of that which has been promised by the Prime Minister. We had some resolution in favour of the speedy establishment of a navy.