May 3, 1918

GOSPEL WORKERS CHURCH IN CANADA.


House in committee on Bill No. 59, to incorporate the Gospel Workers Church in Canada.-Mr. Middlebro. On section 4-First General Conference.


UNION

John Allister Currie

Unionist

The CHAIRMAN (Mr. Currie):

A subclause has been added providing that the head offices shall be at Thornbury, Ontario.

Topic:   GOSPEL WORKERS CHURCH IN CANADA.
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Section agreed to. On Section 5-Power to acquire property:


L LIB
UNION
L LIB
UNION

John Allister Currie

Unionist

The CHAIRMAN (Mr. iCurrie):

The proviso that "the annual value of real estate 'which the Church may possess in .any one municipality shall not exceed the sum of twenty thousand dollars " has been amended as follows:

Provided that the value of real estate which the Church may possess in any one municipality shall not exceed the sum of two hundred thousand dollars.

Section, as amended, agreed to.

Bill reported, read the third time and passed.

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FRASER LUMBER COMPANY, LIMITED.


On motion of Mr. Elkin, the amendment made by the Senate to Bill No. 9, respecting Fraser Lumber Company, Limited, and Fraser Companies, Limited, was read the first and second times and concurred in.


THE BUDGET.


The debate on the Budget was resumed. Mr. JOHN A. MAHARG (Maple Creek): Mr. Speaker, before commencing to discuss the Budget, I should like to refer to the few remarks that the hon. member for Toronto Centre (Mr. Bristol) directed at the farmers of Western . Canada in particular. I am sorry the hon. gentleman is not in his seat, I would have been better pleased if he had been. I am at a loss to understand why hon. members, particularly those from the cities, have to be continuously referring to the position of the farmers. I have not heard the farmers or their representatives speaking in a similar fashion in regard to them. This reference to the farmers seems to come particularly from those who have a protectionist argument to advance. They seem to use the assumed prosperity of the -western farmers as an argument why they should not be asking for more tariff reductions. If the farmers or their representatives so desired, they could use the very same argument in regard to those gentlemen. We could find it easy to do as they have done, to refer to automobiles, men of means and leisure and so forth, and we could go further; we could speak of limousines. There are many other things that we might use for our argument. But if you, Sir, will permit me to use the expression, that is not our style, we do not resort to that kind of argument to bolster up anything we wish to say; if we cannot tackle a question fairly and squarely from an economic standpoint and make our case good, then we are prepared to leave it absolutely alone. The hon. member said that the farmers should be prepared to pay a fair share of the tax. The farmers are prepared to pay their fair share of the tax. The farmers were the first class of people in Canada to ask that the income tax, which is now being so heavily imposed, should be levied. That request is and has been for a number of years a plank in their platform. What they, however, do object to paying, is a tax where for every dollar that goes into the public treasury, anywhere from two dollars to four dollars go into the pockets of private individuals or private interests. We do object to paying a tax in that way. The hon. gentleman referred to the Saskatchewan farmers as men of leisure. He said: They keep no stock; they buy condensed milk. He made a number of equally absurd statements. I. would advise the hon. gentleman, before he attempts to make another display of his supposed knowledge, to take the statistics of the western provinces, compare them with similar statistics of the eastern provinces, and I think he will not make as big a blunder and exhibit such a lack of knowledge of conditions outside of Ilia own little sphere as he did in this House to-day. It is said that the smallest place in which a man can possibly live is within himself, and I am afraid that the hon. member for Toronto Centre is a very close inhabitant of that particular place. He referred to the western farmers as all having automobiles. There are between 130,000 and 140,000 farmers in the province of Saskatchewan alone. ' The number of automobile licenses taken out last year in that province was a trifle over 30,000, nearly 20,000 of which, or possibly just a little more, were owned an the cities and towns. Consequently 10,000, out of 140,000 or so of western farmers, possessed automobiles. The hon. member anight have looked ujp the statistics a'ong that line. He also referred to the farmers as having to build gymnasiums on theur farms so that they might take exercise. The waistline is a very good indication of the amount of exercise that a man takes, and il think if the hon. gentleman will go to the trouble of sizing up a few of the western farmers represented here to-night, he will find out that he is mistaken. I myself am probably about as corpulent as any of them, but up to the present I have found no difficulty in seeing my toes, neither have the rest of our friends. _ The western farmers do not provide as much merriment for the boys when they come into the cities. The boys do not go up to the -western farmer and ask him to gelt out and not be hiding behind that barrel as they do with some of our city friends. It is a common expression of the boys at least in some of the cities I have visited, when they see some of those gentlemen coming along the street, to ask them: " Why are you always hiding behind that baTrel? I am free to admit that the farmers of western Canada are in a better position now than they were a few years ago and if that were not the case, very few of them would remain on the farm. If they are prosperous, it cannot be said of them- as was said by a Toronto editor of the manufacturers of eastern Canada, that their prosperity is ninety-five per cent due to protection and five per cent due to brains. For the farmers have had no protection whatever; they do not want it; they absolutely refused it when it was offered them. They were offered protection on their products going into the markets of the Old- Country but they said: No, we will have nothing whatever to do with protection, we are prepared to isell our products in the open markets of the world, and if we cannot meet the competition there we will switch to another product on which we can compete in those markets ; we will not ask for protection to enable us to live on the labour of others. There are, in my judgment, only two ways of securing wealth; either produce it yourself, or take it from, the fellow who has produced it, and we believe in producing it ourselves. I must congratulate the Acting Minister of Finance on the fearlessness he displayed in his Budget. I may criticise him a little, but it will be for sins of omission rather than for sins of commission. II also wish to congratulate the hon. member for East lOalgary (Mr. Redman) on his remarks the other evening. I might be tempted to say he stole my thunder, but I will not. I am very pleased indeed to know that the young men of Canada, partieularlyy of western Canada, aTe alive to the situation that confronts us at the present time as it is only by facing it squarely that we shall 'be able so to guide the destinies of this country as to escape the dangerous shoals. The only criticism I have to make of his remarks is that he -might have gone a little further, and so should the Acting Minister of Finance. I do not see why the Income Tax -should not be applied to smaller incomes than $1,000. There are thousands of young men in Canada, at all events in western Canada, who are earning higher wages to-day [DOT] than they ever did before; -thousands of them are working on the farm for from $600 to $800 a year, and found. That leaves a farm labourer with a nice sum at the end- of the year, and I can see no reason why -the tax should not be applied to such an income. I would not suggest that the same rate of taxation be applied, but a moderate tax. The minister has seen fi-t to tax the necessities of life of every one of us, so why should he not apply the Income Tax to all incomes, putting a moderate tax on the moderate income? The Acting Minister of Finance referred to the taxes on household articles as a tax on luxuries, but I cannot -quite agree that tea, coffee, and tobacco, if you will-I never use it myself-can be tdrmed luxuries. But if they are luxuries, what shall we _say about silks and satins and fine furs and other expensive articles of clothing? Surely these must -be luxuries- too. _ I was disappointed at not finding in the Budget any provision for giving assistance or encouragement in any way to agricultural production. We had thought the minister



would have seen his way clear to give us at least a little encouragement along that line, hut the Budget proposals will have the very opposite effect. That may seem a little strange, hut it is nevertheless true. Automobiles, for instance, are considered luxuries by the Acting Minister of Finance and- are taxed. Now there are certain types of automobile that can be called luxuries, but there is another type the lower-priced car, which, so far as Western Canada is concerned, when we take into consideration the shortage of labour, the great distance some of the farmers live from town and a number of other considerations, are almost a necessity on the farm. Very many of our farmers in order to reach town have to travel from thirty to sixty miles, yet- labour being very scarce they have to put in every possible hour they can on the farm. I have in mind one particular district where there is a settlement of six or seven, thousand farmers who are an average of thirty-seven and a half miles from market. Now if any class of our population requires assistance surely it is those people. But the minister in his wisdom, or otherwise, has seen fit to* tax every class of automobile. I have no objection whatever to the tax on the higher-priced cars which can properly be considered luxuries, but I repeat, the lower-priced car running from $600 to $800 is almost a necessity on the farm; and when we take into consideration the price of harness, vehicles, horses and of hay and grain for feed, it is almost an economy to purchase an automobile, altogether apart from the great saving in time. 'These farmers who have to drive anywhere from twenty-five to sixty miles, take two to three days to make the journey with a horse without any load at all, and from two fo four days with a load. The district I have in mind was settled six to ten years ago. A number of the settlers have been in there ten -years, they went in expecting a railroad would be built. A line was projected, and the assurance given that it would be built, but up to the present time they have no railway and they are almost isolated. These people have done everything in their power to have a railway built. They have gone to the extent of getting a competent engineer and surveying the road at great expense. They put their case before the powers that be. But there was nothing doing. They went back again to their people, organized themselves from one end of the country to the other and then came hack with another proposition that they were prepared to build the entire grade of tihe line absolutely free of cost. Up to the present time that offer has not been accepted. They came back still again and said that they would furnish the labour to lay the steel if the railway company would build the line. But they have not received much encouragement yet. Where people have been so liberal in their offers of free labour, it seems a pity that the Government cannot devise some means of assisting them in the matter of transportation. They are living in as fine a strip of country as you can find anywhere. They are producing very little, simply for the reason that they cannot do it. The distances are too great for them to haul their grain in the winter time; consequently, when they are drawing their grain in the summer, the land is left and the result is that production in that part of the country does not amount to very much. I'f the Government in their greater production campaign could see their way clear to give these people that necessary assistance, it would increase production there to a degree that cannot be duplicated in any other part of Canada. Then, speaking of the automobile in another direction, I would like to ask the minister why he is going to penalize the man who has yet to purchase a car and apply no tax whatever to those who have already secured their cars? Why would it not be far more equitable, if you are going to charge a man who has yet to purchase his car, anywhere from $75 to $300, to require those who already have their cars to pay an annual tax into the Dominion treasury? They are paying now into the provincial treasury. I cannot say whether this is feasible or not, hut if at is I would have no hesitation in recommending that steps be taken along that line. Personally, it would affect me just about as much as any other citizen, as being la farmer, I have two cars, one for trucking produce and the other a family car. Therefore, I would at least be taxed as much as the average person. But there is yet another use for the lower-priced car to which I would ask the minister's attention. They are being largely used in Western Canada as tractors for doing farm labour. We have an attachment now in the West for use on the lighter-powered cars, and they are working out a process of putting them on the higher-powered cars as well. For about $240 you can secure an attachment by which, in about twenty minutes, you can transfer your touring car into a tractor. It has been demonstrated time and again-I have seen it myselfthat it will do as much work and pull as great a load as is claimed for the much-talked of Ford tractor that they are introducing into this country now. The minister said the other day that this tax did not apply to truck or delivery cars. There are thousands of those lighter cars in western Canada that are changed into trucks of one kind or another; they are bought as cars but are changed later. Most of the trucks that are turned out from the factories are more useful for town delivery and such work, hut the car that is largely used for working in the country is the runabout that has been purchased and afterwards changed by the person who has purchased it. We have hundreds of those cars working in Saskatchewan now, and I expect there will be several hundred more of them in operation before this season is over. I think the minister might make an allowance in the tax that would be paid on these cars, depending upon the classification which might be put upon them, distinguishing between utility oars and cars of a more luxurious class. The utility or working car is an absolute necessity as far as Western Canada is concerned, but I would not say that the other was. We could get along without the higher-priced car, and those who are able to purchase it, I think, might well make up the difference in the amount that would be lost in the levy by permitting the lower-priced car to go free of any duty or excise tax. The hon. member for North Winnipeg (Mr. Blake) made a reference or two to the farmers. He seemed to have an idea that the income tax was not going to affect the farmer the same as other people, and he was of the opinion that the farmer could get along with much less income (than could other people. There may be something in his argument. I agree entirely with his suggestion that the minister levy a straight tax on land values. We have been advocating that in western Canada for years and we have practiced what we have been preaching. We have had a straight land tax in the rural districts for the last twenty-three or twenty-four years and we have seen no reason for changing it yet. But the hon. member for North Winnipeg makes no suggestion whatever that would affect those who have an income of less than $2,001 and who have no land to apply this land tax to. His constituents largely, or probably almost entirely, are city dwellers. We are quite used, of course, to that. All kinds of suggestions are being made by the city residents and representatives as to ways and means of taxing the1 agriculturists. Just the moment that he begins to get his head a little above water there is some one in close proximity with a club ready to drive him under again. That is the reason, iMr. Speaker, why the farmers have decided that they will have at least a few representatives of their own in Parliament to state their case on the floor of tire House. We have a few of them from western Canada. From the province that I represent, out of .sixteen members, there are thirteen or fourteen that are actual farmers-not bucklboard farmers at all, but actual farmers living on the soil and carrying blisters on their hands. If you do not believe me come to rooms 116 and 117 some day .and I will demonstrate to you that they are the homy-handed, sunburned sons 'of toil.


?

An hon. MEMBER:

Room 216.

Mr. MAlHAEiG: Did I say 116? ^ am

sorry; it should he rooms 216 and 21/. I do not want to get into room 117. I would not want to make any predictions as to what would be found there, but as to the occupants of the other two rooms I am well posted-.

For the benefit of those who are championing the cause of the eastern manufacturers, I may say that we are not quarreling with them at the present time. We have not asked for tariff reductions, as such, since we came here. Any of us who have spoken on that subject have spoken of it as a war measure, a temporary means for the increase of production. If, after the war is over, the Government considers that a reduction of ,the tariff is not warranted, well and good; hut our argument is that nothing 'Should be left undone that can be done at the present time to encourage production in all lines. There are many things' that can he done, hut for the benefit of the member for North Winnipeg I made a suggestion a little while ago. I referred in particular to. the farm labourer, but I think it would apply equally to the labourer in the city. In case the hon. gentleman was not in the Chamber at the time, I would say for his information that I would propose a lowering of the minimum amount of the income to which the tax should apply. Probably it might he made $300 lower, I do not think any serious' hardship would result. The hon. gentleman referred to farmers as not being bookkeepers. How

many of them, he asked, keep books? For his information I would say that there is not the incentive to the farmer to keep books that there is for those engaged in other occupations, because he is not one who furnishes credit. If there is any credit insofar as the farmer is concerned it works the other way; he is generally the debtor and not the creditor, consequently he has not the necessity for keeping books, and he has not the other incentive that some other business concerns have for keeping books either; he has nothing to gain by cooking accounts, by watering stock, or doing any of those things that are so skilfully manipulated by bookkeeping. He has nothing to gain by that even if he wanted to; so his books are 'honestly kept. But for the hon. gentleman's information I would say that there are thousands of our farmers who do keep books, and I venture to state they keep them as systematically probably as the men in his own profession. We have farmers who are quite capable of doing that. I keep a slight record myself, and I know just about where I stand. I never had any university education or academic training, but I know that two and'two make four, and it is a matter of addition, multiplication, subtraction and division; that is all there is to it. If you do your book-keeping honestly, there is no scheming or hidden secrets whatever in connection with it.

The hon. gentleman also referred to the prices that the farmers are getting for their grain; $2.21 for wheat, $20 to $21 or something like that for pork, eggs, butter and other products in the same proportion. The hon. gentleman has quoted those prices correctly, but they are for a No. 1 article. You have gpt to produce the goods, Mr. Speaker, before you get those prices. I venture to say that if there were fixed prices for the services performed by the members of some of the other professions, and they had to produce a !No. 1 .article, or give a No. 1 result, possibly they might see where the farmer comes off sometimes when a hail storm strikes him, or frost or rust blights his crop. Then probably they would have a better idea of what it means to produce No. 1 articles. Possibly, also, it might have some effect on their income, just as it has on the income of the farmers, and that in a great many cases their incomes might probably come within the category of those that escape taxation.

The hon. gentleman also said that the farmers are making money faster than they ever did before, and in the very next breath

he said there are very few of them that are making $2,000 right now, that is, who have got incomes of $2,000 a year. Now if they are keeping their families on $2,000 a year, and if they are making money faster than they ever did before, I would ask the hon. gentleman what must the position have been of those people a few years ago. As I stated a minute ago, the farmers have a good representation in this House now, a quite sufficient representation to be very effective along any particular lines that they wish to pursue. But, Mr. Speaker, this Government was elected to win the " ar- That was the chief purpose for which they were returned to power, and in so far as the farmers of western Canada are concerned they are prepared to assist the Government in every way to win the war. It has been said that there was an agreement between the two parties, before the Union Government was formed, that the tariff would be left in abeyance during the duration of the war. It is hard for me to believe that any group of men would enter into an arrangement whereby the fiscal policy of the country would be left in abeyance for an indefinite period of time. Personally,

I cannot conceive of such a thing. Such an arrangement may have been entered into, but I am very doubtful of it. To go further: Some of the eastern papers, I think certainly some of the Toronto papers, have said that the western members were pledged to support the Government through thick and thin. Well, I cannot speak for all the western members but I think I can speak for some of them and I can speak for myself, and, so far as I am concerned personally, there is no arrangement, no agreement, no understanding, either written, spoken, or implied, of that nature. And I know of a number of other western members who are in exactly the same position. They may speak for themselves a little later on. Nevertheless we are prepared to give this Government every assistance, and just as loyal assistance as though we were pledged.

But there are differences of opinion as tq what should be done. I may think that it would be essential to deal with the tariff to assist in winning this war. A number of us are of that opinion. But we have been told recently that it is not 'a question of food production, but a question of men. Well, time will tell. We had the figures given us, and it looked as though thar was the situation. Every person seems to be of that opinion. But it is difficult to under-

stand why conditions should change so rapidly. We suppose that those in charge of our affairs nationally and internationally have a fair perspective of what may be expected at least a few months ahead, and it is only a few short months since we were told that production was paramount. Now, production apparently is being left in the background, and the cry is for men. As I said, time will tell. We from western Canada will give this Union Government every opportunity to make good, if you will pardon the use of Jthat term. We will give them every opportunity .and assistance, but we are not prepared to take their say-so for everything for an indefinite length of time. We will use our own common, horse sense acquired during the years we have followed rural occupations, and there may come a time when we will ask the members of the Government at least for a little more information than we have so far asked for. It will not be more than a year, probably six or eight months, until there will be another session of Parliament. In the meantime we will keep our ears close to the ground, and will use what little intelligence we have, and when we come back here we may have something to say. That is the western viewpoint and it may be stated a little plainer, than it has yet been stated this session.

.As I .said, the western people were prepared to give this Government every assistance. We buried our economic views entirely last December. We have not changed our views at all-not at all. Our economic views have not been changed, at least in one direction, in fact, war conditions have intensified them, and We are more convinced now that the views held by western Canada for the last few years have been economically sound. They are being gradually adopted toy this Parliament, one after another; and if this keeps on it will only be a matter of a few years until Parliament will have swallowed holus-bolus that platform propounded in 1910.

The people of our country are probably just a little different from those of eastern Canada; .they may see things from a different viewpoint. This was fairly well demonstrated during the visit of the right hon. leader of the Opposition (Sir Wilfrid Laurier) to western 'Canada last December. A demonstration was .given then as to the spirit and feeling of the western people. I do not think any politician or statesman or any other man ever had a .greater reception in western Canada than did the right hon. Sir Wilfrid Laurier. In all the cities

the people who went to hear him could not be accommodated. 'The churches and halls in which the meetings were held were crowded, and overflow meetings had to be arranged. To the eastern mind, and possibly to the leader himself, things looked very hopeful for a Liberal victory in western Canada. But we who were on the ground knew differently.

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L LIB

Rodolphe Lemieux

Laurier Liberal

Mr. LEMIEUX:

If I may be permitted,

I may tell the hon. gentleman 10 p.m. that the leader of the Opposition acknowledged -that thg receptions were most cordial and enthusiastic, but he never entertained the illusion, in view of the War-time Elections Act, that he could rally the West for his party.

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PRO

John Archibald Maharg

Progressive

Mr. MAHARG:

Since the hon. gentleman has mentioned the War-time Elections Act,

I might say that, so far as the results in western Canada are concerned, that Act cut a very, very small figure. Hon. members from western Canada know that, and I will make bold to say that had the Wartime Elections Act never been placed on the statute books the result in western Canada would have been very similar to what it is at the present time. I venture to say that that Act drove probably as many votes away from the Unionist candidates as the Act itself drove away by disfranchisement. I know whereof I speak. The Wartime Elections Act gained no sympathy in western Canada, not a bit. I have no sympathy with it, and never had. It never was necessary in so far as western -Canada is concerned. She has shown her patriotism; she has -been loyal. The protectionists of the East charged us a few years ago with being annexationists and traitors. If that was so, the West has redeemed herself- she never needed to redeem herself, for she has shown continuously that there is no more loyal part of Canada than the western plains. And in so far as the West is concerned, you can take your Wartime Elections Act off the books any time you like. If it is necessary to rally in order to win this war, western Canada will be'found there every time "with the goods," as the saying is, and as she always has been. Take her patriotic efforts, if you like: We have a very large foreign population, particularly in the province of Saskatchewan, hut take that foreign population out of Saskatchewan, and there is not a province in Canada which has contributed as much per capita as Saskatchewan has, and I think the other prairie provinces have done about as well. It used to rile us somewhat some years ago when they commenced talking about our un-

patriotic attitude; tout practically all the things we have advocated have been done. We have our free wheat, and a lot of other things, and there is not a word about it.

But, Mr. Speaker, I must not depart from the Budget too far, although it seems to be quite the order of the day to go anywhere you like, and not even to mention the Budget at all. I do not want to get too far away. Coming back to what I was saying when the hon. member for Maison-neuve (Mr. Lemieux) interposed, I was referring to the reception given to Sir Wilfrid Laurier as illustrating the spirit of our people. They talked about us a few years ago as toeing a bunch of Grits; everybody was a Grit out there. For the information of this House, I want to say that we have no Grits now, or very few of them, and no Conservatives, or, if any, very few. We do not recognize the old terms " Grit " and " Tory." We regard, the issue before the people, and act accordingly; we do not care what it is. That is why I say that western Canada in the meantime will be keeping her ear close, to the ground to hear what is going on. If anything requires mentioning, she will not toe backward in making herself heard when the proper time comes.

This Budget is designed to take care of our. delbt. During this war we have been piling up a national debt the extent of which is indeed becoming alarming. Several changes will have to .be made in our policies if we are to meet, the commitments that rwe have undertaken during the last few years. It is simply a question, of development. In every province we have the natural resources), tout the difficulty is that they have been largely dissipated.; they have fallen into the hands, of private ownership, and we are, not receiving the benefit from them that we should. I am glad that the minister has taken steps to take into the Treasury at least a portion, of the profits made toy some of these industries; I wish him Godspeed, and suggest that he go a little further. In western Canada you can apply -income tax -as severely as you like, so long as it is fairly and equitably administered. We stand, for that, and have always stood for it. We stand for the direct land tax, have always stood, for it, and are prepared to bear our share of it at any time.

As I say, in order to meet our commitments we should see to -the development of onr natural resources. The western plains are possibly a field easier of development than any which may he found in the other provinces. We have there very large areas

['Mr. Ma;harg.]

of uncultivated land which is owned or held in trust toy the Government. The prosperity of our country for some time to come will depend largely on the production of the western plains. True, we have other resources, tout it takes time to- develop mineral or timber resources. On the plains it is different; the resources of that part of the country can in twelve months, Jbe converted into productive activities, and the Government should look around and see whether something cannot toe done in that respect. Millions of acres of land out there, held by private corporations.-railway companies and land companies-have been lying idle for years, do not produce anything, and are a detriment to the country because they retard development and education. The Government could do nothing better than devise some rnean-s whereby this land could be brought under cultivation; that is the quickest way of producing revenue. The people of the western country have initiative; they are prepared to go ahead. If you take our labourers from us, we will simply increase our man-power, as we have been doing for the last ten or twelve years. Most of the people who went to western Canada were accustomed to driving one, two or three horses* we see it done often down here yet. But they have gradually developed until in the West to-day it is not uncommon to see a man driving eight horses on an ordinary farm implement-and they will continue increasing their man-pbwer indefinitely by the addition of more up-to-date machinery, and the like. The western plains, .therefore, offer a field which, for immediate results, cannot be duplicated in any other place.

In western, Canada large acreages of wihat are known as school lands are, held by the Dominion Government in trust, as it were, for the assistance of education in the provinces. A great demand for that land exists all over the country; people are anxious to cultivate it; they are prepared, to take the chance, expensive as it is, of bringing that land under cultivation if the Government would only .make it available to them. I have done all I can to persuade the Government to thitow that land open for cultivation. Large acreages are being put up for sale, but hundreds of thousands of acres are not being sold, notwithstanding the demand that is being made for them. I have had numerous inquiries in this respect from people in my constituency. I have had inquiries from men who are prepared to break

son). With your permission, Sir, I should like, before sitting down, to offer a further contribution in the hope that when Hansard is completed we may be able to select from it a volume which even the most fastidious collector would desire to have on his bookshelves. In order to make the matter intelligent, so that hon. members will understand it, I think I had better quote the poetry from the beginning. By the way, I was just going to say that apparently some of the legislation that the Union Government has been passing is at least very productive of some things, possibly the season of the year may have something to do with the case-we usually have in the spring a number of budding poets. The hon. member for Brome started out something like this:

The clock we have pushed forward For gardening after tea;

But as for farming implements-[DOT]

We can't admit THEM free.

Then the hon. member for Springfield added this contribution:

In his celebrated platform Of eighteen ninety-three,

Upon which he was returned to power, Farm implements were free.

But when, later on, the tariff Was brought down by Lauri-ee,

The combine was on top again And the farmer up a tree!

I have a little further contribution that was handed to me by another spring poet.

I wish the hon. member for Brantford (Mr. Cockshutt) were here so that he would have the benefit of listening to the poetry being spoken instead of having to read it in Hansard. My contribution runs in this fashion:

We are told that the farmer is now up a tree In regard to ihis implements coming in free; But that tree is now pulpwood, and1 between you and me,

The High Priests of Protection will soon be at sea.

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L LIB

Hyacinthe-Adélard Fortier

Laurier Liberal

Mr. H. A. FORTIER (Labelle):

to which the Government is giving its attention. Second, if you want to make a success of those industries you must not count upon immigration hut you must retain in this1 country our farm helpers and labourers. Let us stop at once the emigration of our workers by the suspension of the Military Service Act of 1917 and employ immediately on the farms, and in the industries the thirty thousand soldiers who have been raised but have not yet left the country.

Why should we not discuss tills matter ' now before it is too late? The Government of Great Britain discussed the other day the question of getting back from the front twenty thousand soldiers in order to meet the requirements of labour, and nobody as a result has been taxed with disloyalty. During a discussion in the House of Commons of submarine losses and shipbuilding enterprises in Great Britain Mr. Asquith said:

In the next place you must exert every possible effort to draw more skilled labour into the shipyards. I know the difficulties perfectly well. We were at this task of trying to get men from the army, and I know the difficulties *and the objections the military authorities raise, in perfectly good faith, and it is nothing but the strong iand direct exercise of cabinet authority that oan really bring from the front the men who are needed for this purpose; but that they can be brought is proved by the fact that they are being brought though not in the numbers or at the rate we should desire.

During the same sitting of the House, the Prime Minister, Mr. Lloyd George, said:

That has got to be done with very great care. Twenty thousand is the figure wanted; it is the figure we shall work up to.

In Great Britain they have discussed this question of getting the necessary skilled labour for the shipyards, and if they do not find it in Great Britain they go as far as the army, even to the front, and they contemplate bringing twenty thousand back in order to work in the industries of England. As a citizen of the Empire, with equal rights before the King, I ask the same privileges as those enjoyed by the c.tizens of the United Kingdom. I stand m this Bouse as a free man and I say: Stop at once the emigration of our boys; they are needed at home for the sake of the Empire.

Have not the Government abused their power? They have been, elected on their programme of selective conscription with the understanding that farmers would be left to pursue their occupation. It is true that this election which took place in vir-

tue of the War-time Elections Act was nothing else than a camouflage, because the will of citizens of this country as expressed at the polls, lias not prevailed. At the first opportunity, the Government, contrary to the wishes of the people and in defiance of the constitutional rights of Parliament, hurriedly adopted an Order in Council abolishing selective conscription and enacting the most rigid form of conscription under which it is proposed to send farmers to the front. The Government have introduced regulations, under the Military Service Act contrary to the rules of civilized countries, by virtue of which they are conscripting for overseas service the only living son of a widowed mother supporting a fam'ly.

We must realize unfortunately that the party in power and their majentv ha we denied the privileges, responsibilities and sanctity of fatherhood. Only one man can know, and he will never disregard, the sacred words which fell from the lips of his dying father addressed to him as the eldest son: "You will now take my place and take care o'f your mother and your little brothers and sisters," There is no sane man who will dare to deny that that son is the head of the family and that he fills the place of the departed father. In conscripting that son the Government have deliberately violated the last will and testament of the father. I accuse the Government of deliberately depriving widows and orphans of their only support, of throwing them into the street and making them beggars.

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UNION

Edgar Nelson Rhodes (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Unionist

Mr. SPEAKER:

I regret very much to have to call the hon. gentleman to order, but he is calling in question an Order in Council which has been passed by this House. It is the law and it is not open for him to call it in question.

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L LIB

Hyacinthe-Adélard Fortier

Laurier Liberal

Mr. FORTIER:

I was only referring to the Military Service Act, 1917, which does not provide fox the exemption of the son of a widowed mother or the only son of a family. I say that in every civilized country of the world there is no one who would take the only son of a widow, when that widow has a small family to support and when that young son is -working to provide the livelihood of mother and orphans. There is no power on earth that should take that son _ and send him away, and allow that widow and her orphans to become a charge on the public.

In the presence of this great conflict, in which for the last four years the British

and the French have been fighting under their respective flags for the eternal principles of civilization, Canadians are confronted with the two-fold duty of facing the enemy and if necessary dying at the front, and of saving their own country and their, homes. But the province of Quebec is opposed to conscription. Not only is that the attitude of the people in general, but the educated men of that province have favoured voluntary enlistment rather than conscription in this young Dominion. Is it not a regrettable fact that nearsighted politicians by the policy which they have adopted have thrown this country into its present unhappy state? The attitude which the French Canadians have taken on the question of conscription is, in my opinion, honourable and patriotic. That French Canadians are lacking neither in patriotism' nor bravery is attested by the record of their compatriots who have been honoured at the front as well as by the conduct of those French Canadians who in earlier days defended Canada against the incursion of military [DOT]forces from the country to the south. The French Canadian is opposed to conscription because he loves his country and his family above everything else in the world. How is it possible that the supreme authority of the Dominion can condemn such sentiments as these in any man? Is it not the supreme duty of the Government, not only to save our country and preserve our homes, but to procure for the Allies what they apparently are most in need of, supplies of food on which to subsist and to enable them to conquer and throw back the invader? Under the circumstances it seems to me that, confronted as we are by such a situation, the Government should not persist in the policy of conscription which seems likely to prove so ruinous to our fair country.

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UNION

Thomas Edward Simpson

Unionist

Mr. THOMAS EDWARD SIMPSON (Al-goma, W.):

Mr. Speaker, it is not my intention to detain the House very long at this hour of the night. I did not intend to take part in the debate until I heard my hon. friend from Fort William (Mr. Manion) address the -House a day or two ago, when he introduced the very important subject of the development of our natural resources, particularly the iron ore industry. I then felt that it was my duty to make a few observations in connection with this particular subject.

The development of our iron and steel industry, to my mind, is of paramount importance to Canada and should receive the

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May 3, 1918