June 11, 1919

UNION

John Dowsley Reid (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Unionist

Mr. J. D. REID:

I take issue with the hon. gentleman and say that no such statement was made in the House by me.

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L LIB

Rodolphe Lemieux

Laurier Liberal

Mr. LEMIEUX:

Well, Hansard is there to speak for itself. My hon. friend's words, though embalmed in Hansard, are full of meaning; they live and speak from Hansard.

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UNION

John Dowsley Reid (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Unionist

Mr. J. D. REID:

I again take issue with the hon. gentleman and say that the words I used upon the occasion to which he refers do not bear the interpretation that he puts upon them.

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L LIB

Rodolphe Lemieux

Laurier Liberal

Mr. LEMIEUX:

I have the highest respect for my hon. friend, but his speech is set forth in the record. I listened to it, in company with many others, and we were struck with the accent of truth which characterized my hon. friend's remarks on that occasion. It is very embarrassing for a minister of the Crown to have a load of $4,000,000 on his conscience, but there it is.

Furthermore, Mr. Speaker, I say: Cut out the military waste; reduce the number of officials; reduce the public works; stop this foolish expenditure on the Welland 'and Trent Valley canals, and I appeal to my hon. friend the President of the Privy Council, and to his better judgment to drop the Official Record. Who. reads the Record? The expenditure upon it is a useless expenditure. Really, my hon. friend should live up to his better reputation. Nobody in this House or in the country takes any stock in the Record; I hope my hon. friend will stop spending money uselessly and find other channels in which to more usefully exercise his activities.

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L LIB

Rodolphe Lemieux

Laurier Liberal

Mr. LEMIEUX:

In view of the huge national debt, which is staggering, I do not hesitate to say thait the Government's project of railway nationalization is nothing short of a tragedy. In view of the experience of our neighbours in the United States and that of Great Britain, the scheme of railway nationalization in Canada is simply an act of folly. It will involve this country in nothing less

than actual disaster unless the Government revises its policy in that regard. On this question, Mr. Speaker, let me read the candid advice of a writer published in the Monetary Times, of Toronto, in its issue of May 2nd, just to afford an idea of the magnitude of the financial obligations which the Government is assuming in connection with this scheme:

Prom the foregoing reasoning we may group our results in the following way: Bv taking over the Grand Trunk the government would have to assume capital obligations of about $400,000,000 and annual charges of $20,000,000'; and by acquiring the Grand Trunk Pacific its capital obligations will be increased by about $300,000,000 and its annual expenses by at least $8,000,000. This means that by such a proposed course of government ownership the enormous debt of Canada would be augmented by one-third of its present amount. When we take these facts into consideration in connection with the annual deficit of at least $20,0:00,000 in the case of the Canadian Northern which has been acquired by the assumption of $434,312,747 of liabilities, including a funded debt of $327,928,765 and the deficit in operating expenses of the Canadian government railways, amounting in 1916 to $6,l'59/503 without the payment of any interest on capital, it will be seen that the drain upon the Dominion treasury will soon make heavy calls upon the taxpayers of this country. -

On this question of railway nationalization the Government is playing a double game. The Minister of Finance and the President of the Council raise a clamoui in this Chamber in favour of railway nationalization as a feature of the Government policy. Do you believe, M:r. iSpeaker, that slumbering, ap the Senate is, we do not hear the echoes coming from that Chamber?

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An hon. MEMBER:

Snores.

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L LIB

Rodolphe Lemieux

Laurier Liberal

Mr. LEMIEUX:

A few days ago, the leader 'of the Government in that Chamber, used the following language, which is at variance with the language used in this House. You remember the professed indignation of my hon. friends when I took exception-as did the member for Three Rivers (Mr. Bureau) to the assumption by the Government of the obligation involved in the taking over of the Canadian Northern and the Grand Trunk Pacific. When the matter came before the Senate a few days ago, the leader of the Government in the Senate said:

I am not prepared to say that in committing ourselves to this Bill we necessarily commit ourselves to the continuance of public ownership for all time. I am not prepared to say that personally I am in favour of the Government assuming for all time to come the administration of the railway systems that from time to time may come into its hands.

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Georges Henri Boivin (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Laurier Liberal

The DEPUTY SPEAKER:

Order. I must call the hon. gentleman to order again.

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L LIB

Rodolphe Lemieux

Laurier Liberal

Mr. LEMIEUX:

You need not call me to order, Mr. Speaker, because I have just

finished.

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L LIB

Georges Henri Boivin (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Laurier Liberal

The DEPUTY SPEAKER:

Bourinot's Parliamentary Procedure says:

It is also a part of the unwritten law of Parliament that no allusion should be made in one House to the debates in the other Chamber, a rule always enforced by the Speaker with the utmost strictness.

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L LIB

Rodolphe Lemieux

Laurier Liberal

Mr. LEMIEUX:

As I said a moment ago, ministers of the Crown quoted this afternoon from Hansard, but were not called to order. I am reminded of what happened to a young man who had just been appointed to the diplomatic service by the French foreign minister, Talleyrand, the master of the cynics. The budding young statesman next morning went to pay his respects and his obeisances to Talleyrand, the greatest diplomat of Europe in his day and generation, and asked advice from the old cynic as to what he should do as secretary to the French legation somewhere in the Balkans. Talleyrand simply said to the young man: " Surtout, pas de zeld "- " above all, no zeal." I would commend to the Deputy Speaker this bit of advice and not be over-zealous, especially when ministers of the Crown break the rules and are mot called to order.

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L LIB

Georges Henri Boivin (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Laurier Liberal

The DEPUTY SPEAKER:

I would direct the hon. gentleman's attention to the fact. that I was not in the Ohair when the rule was broken. I am trying to enforce the rules of the House as well as I possibly can, according to my humble knowledge, and the hon. member is too old a Parliamentarian not to know that decisions from the Chair may be appealed from, but not criticised.

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Rodolphe Lemieux

Laurier Liberal

Mr. LEMIEUX:

served as a voluntary nurse at the city hall, because we were short of nurses in this city; and, Sir, when she came home in the evening and told me of what she had seen in this city, not many acres from my own property, I then discovered that we had slum conditions so familiar in some of the poverty 'Stricken populations of Europe. Yes, here in Ottawa families of eight and nine were clubbed together in rooms where they had barely the necessaries of life. All this in the capital city of Ottawa not far from the Parliament Buildings. Unfortunately in this country the cult of Mammon is developing; theGoldenCalf has become the God of too many of our fellow citizens. On the one hand you have the devotees of the Golden Calf and on the other we have abject poverty. This is at the root of the evil; this is -what causes unrest, strikes and revolutions. My statement is not exaggerated. I see before me the President of the Privy Council (Mr. Rowell), who belongs to the same church as the Rev. Dr. Bland, a man well known in western and also in eastern Canada. Let me read to my hon. friend the parting words of Dr. Bland on the 30th of December last as we were, in the language of Tennyson, " ringing out the old and ringing in the new year." I wish my hon. friend would pay some attention to the statement of this, one of the most distinguished divines of Canada who, writing to the Ottawa Citizen on reconstruction said:

If we do not want the war without, that is now over, to break out anew within our borders, the immediate and imperative duty is that the whole collective intelligence and patriotism of good Canadians be organized for the annihilation of injustice. First we must get a Government that will take exploitation and profiteering by the throat. At one time,-

And this is a very striking image of speech.

-when leeches were more extensively used for medical purposes than at present, artificial ponds were formed near Bordeaux in France, and stocked with leeches. Into these ponds worn-out or disabled horses were driven as food for the leeches. Canada, whose sons have won unsurpassed glory amongst the nations for their valour, Canada, the mother of the heroes of ISt. Julien and Yimy, stands to-day like an old nag in the pond', the helpless unresisting prey of the profiteering leeches that hang about her in festoons sucking her life-blood away, human leeches that never get gorged. It is these piled-up millions, this tolerated piracy that is maddening the common people of Canada.

The strikes were not on at Winnipeg, but he was prophesying their coming. Mark well, Mr. Speaker, Dr. Bland was a supporter of Union Government at the last gen-

[.Mr. T.emieux. 1

eral election, and possibly he may have been swayed in favour of Union Government by the eloquence of my good friend the President of the Council (Mr. Rowell), but now he says:

The Union Government has utterly failed to protect the people from the profiteers.

Naturally and justly the whole mass of ordinary people who want only a square deal have lost confidence in it. They want a government that will deal as firmly in the common interest with wealth as with life.

Mr. Speaker, I care not what Government is in office. I say in all sincerity to those like my hon. friend the Minister of Immigration (Mr. Calder), who believe, or affect to believe, that we on this side of the House are anxious to cross the floor and occupy the treasury benches, that I would support any honest Government of true Canadians, not men lost in Imperialistic dreamland, but true 'Canadians, who would work for their country, who would do something for the returned soldier, and seek to alleviate the burdens of the consumers and help the farmers, the real producers of this country engaged in the basic industry of agriculture.

A word about the high cost of living. There is no doubt that the high cost of living is partly due to the disturbance which has taken place in the world, but it is also due, and largely due, to tariff impediments. The cost of living was high just prior to the war. We had bread lines in the city of Regina, in the city of Winnipeg, in the city of Toronto., and in the city of Montreal, in 1913 and in 1914. There was no war on then, but there was- a tariff, and there were profiteers and cold storage kings and manipulators of foodstuffs, just as surely as there are to-day, plus the disturbance caused by the war and the decrease 'in the productivity of the world. .

Let us be business-like. Before saddling the country with the enormous burden that public ownership of railways will entail, let us begin at the beginning and give food to the people at a reasonable price. If it is necessary for that purpose to nationalize the cold storage plants in Canada, let us nationalize them. They have done so in New Zealand. If we have reached a point where in the city of Ottawa and the other large centres of Canada the housewife cannot give to her children three meals a day, I say by all means let us nationalize cold storage plants and let us do for the people in the matter of their food what the Government has done to please the press of Canada. The Government has found it easy to give the press of Canada cheap paper. A question was put in the House on the

24th of March last by my hon. friend from Ctoarlevoix-Montmorency (Mr. C'asgrain). I know that I cannot quote, but the question need not be read before the House. The facts are that the Government, in order, so they say, to get a supply of paper for the press of Canada fixed a cheap rate, in order really to get the support of that press during the election. The Government appointed a commission which regulated the price of paper. It has also been proven that the press got from the treasury inside of two years the enormous sum of two million and a few thousand dollars in advertisements. Let us now think of the ordinary consumers of this country. If need be, let us put an export duty on the food of the people. My hon. friends are afraid of the trouble at Winnipeg and in other cities throughout Canada. What is the cause of that unrest? It is that the people do not get the food which they require for their sustenance. There are other things which they are clamouring for, such as shorter hours and collective bargaining, but at the very base of their grievances lies the fact that many of them do not get three meals a day. Once again I would ask the Prime Minister who went to Versailles to remember that the French Kevo-lution was primarily caused by the fact that the wheat was not properly distributed. The masses did not get food enough,'and a day came when the women of Paris started for Versailles and brought back, not the king, but as they said in their song, "the baker and his wife." The people of the cities of Winnipeg, Regina, Edmonton, Vancouver, and Toronto will some day clamour to get the bakers in their midst. I hope they will not lose their heads as did the unfortunate Louis the Sixteenth; they have lost theirs in a different sense.

We have had hard times in this country before, but we found it possible to face the situation. We are told that the Liberal party is not a low tariff or a Free Trade Party. I care not by what name the Liberal party is labelled, I am a low tariff man, and I take pride in the fact that I belong to a party which for fifteen years was led by men like Laurier and Fielding, who were low tariff men. In 1897, 48 articles were added to the free list and duties were reduced on 147 other articles, including farm implements. In 1904, 14 more articles were added to the free list, and duties were reduced on 14 others. In 1907, the duty on harvesters, mowers, reapers,' self-binfiers and binding attachments, was reduced from 20 to 17J per

214i

cent and Great Britain was given a preference amounting to 33J per cent.

Mr. Speaker, in 1911 the Liberal party, a low-tariff party, went down to defeat before the expiry of its parliamentary term in order to secure for the farmers of Canada, and especially for those of the West, the benefits to 'be derived from the reciprocity pact. Since then the Liberal party has remained true to its policy. First of all, it has acclaimed the victory won whilst its members were sitting on your left. Because, although it was disloyal in 1911 to advocate free wheat, and although the country was threatened with separation from the motherland, dissention and all that sort of thing, the men who said, " No truck nor trade with the United States " have been forced toy common sense and by public opinion to give Western Canada free wheat. We have free potatoes, too. Mr. Speaker, I pity the honest faithful of Toronto. Oh, faithful of Toronto! who listened so attentively in 1911 to the pious utterances of the Flavelles, of the Byron Walkers, and of the Whites and of the Bordens, clamouring, " No truck nor trade with the United States" ! You were then eloquently told that Canadian trade should be directed from East to West, and that the farmers should develop an interprovincial trade- Oh, what a fall from Heaven! Only the other day the Minister of Finance had to confess that, under the loyal Tory regime, the biggest customer of Canada was not John Bull, tout Uncle Sam, in both exports and imports, and that he had to yield free wheat, not by a temporary Order in Council, tout by a permanent statutory enactment. Poor Toronto! How deceived art thou toy those flag-flappers! The Liberal party has lived up to its programme and its policy, and not later than last winter Sir Wilfrid Laurier, presiding at a Liberal convention in Ottawa, stated most distinctly what was its fiscal policy; and the following resolution which was adopted received his blessing:

Now, therefore, he it resolved that in the opinion of this association, not only should the said tariff increases of 7 \ per cent and 5\ per cent he immediately repealed, hut that there should also be an immediate downward revisions of the tariff in accordance with the above* mentioned omnibus resolution moved by the Liberal Opposition in the House of Commons on May 23, 1917, in these terms:

" 1. That wheat, wheat flour and all other products of wheat he placed upon the free list.

2. That farm implements and machinery, farm tractors, mining, flour and saw-mill machinery and repairs for same, rough and partly dressed lumber, illuminating-, lubricating and fuel oils, cement and fertilizers be added to the free list.

3. That staple foods and food products (other than wheat flour), domestic animals and foods therefore be admitted into Canada free of duty when coming- from and being the product of any country admitting like Canadian articles into such country free of duty.

4. That substantial reductions be made in the general tariff on all articles imported into Canada, excepting luxuries.

5. That the British Preference be increased to fifty per cent of the general tariff."

This -was the policy solemnly adopted by the Liberal party in convention assembled and sanctioned by the trusted and venerable Liberal leader, and that is the policy of His Majesty's loyal Opposition under the leadership of my hon. friend (Mr. McKenzie). We .believe that if

11 p.m. adopted it will relieve the returned soldier, the farmer, and consumer generally. But, we are asked, where will you get the revenue from? Mr. Speaker, I suppose you will allow me to quote just two lines of a debate which took place in 1917.

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Georges Henri Boivin (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Laurier Liberal

Mr. DEPUTY SPEAKER:

The hon.

gentleman may quote the entire debate if he chooses.

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L LIB

Rodolphe Lemieux

Laurier Liberal

Mr. LEMIEUX:

I will not. I will quote just what I want to quote. II am not so fresh as to accept your advice there. The question was put by one of the' ministers of the Crown-the Minister of Finance (Sir Thomas White) had asked the question as to where the revenue would come from, and the present Minister of Public Works (Mr. Carvell), then a member of the Opposition, thus answered the question. He said: \ i ] j j | j| $: j

I do not want to leave the subject before trying to answer in a very hurried way the question which my hon. friend put this afternoon, and I knew it was coming the very moment you talk about reducing the tariff hon. gentlemen opposite ask: Where are you going to get the revenue? I tried to take down the Minister's exact words this afternoon. He said: "We could not raise the money without the tariff; it is and must be the main source of revenue."

And here is the concrete answer made by the hon. gentleman (iMr- 'Carvell), one of the Ministers of the Crown, to that question :

I have not asked him to do without the tariff. I have never asked and never will ask a government to remove the tariff on any article if by so doing they would prevent the article being manufactured in Canada under ordinary conditions. But I say and shall continue to say until common sense methods prevail with the Government of this country that when an article is manufactured so cheaply in Canada as to prevent the importation of the foreign article, that article requires no protection ; it is paying no duty, and it requires no protection.

[Mr. Lemieux.j

Further on, the hon. gentleman said:

The question is in everybody's mouth; the problem is with every man who has to earn a living for himself and family. No matter how my hon. friend may draw his cloak around this question, no matter what sophistries his monopolistic friends may preach to him, I can tell him that the common people are thinking of this question as they never thought of anything before since Canada was Canada, and the people will' And a way if my hon. friend cannot; they will find a way, and they will find the man to get rid of this burden on the necessities of life. They will show my hon. friend how to raise the revenue, and how to make the man who has grown rich out of tariffs and out of the present war pay his fair share into the treasury of this country, not only while the war is on, but after the war, when 1 believe terrible conditions Will exist and additional taxation will have to be raised.

Prophetic language, 'Mr. Speaker! Logical answer! Where will the revenue be derived from? The Government can get the answer from within its own councils. The hon. Minister of Public Works, when he was unshackled, when he was the " Fighting Frank " we all knew of, gave the Government the only answer that could be given by any sensible patriotic Canadian.

Mr. Speaker, I fear I have trespassed too long on the time of the House.

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Some hon. MEMBERS:

Go on.

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L LIB
L LIB

Rodolphe Lemieux

Laurier Liberal

Mr. LEMIEUX:

Sir, Bolshevism is another form of autocracy, and we must defeat it. I think every Canadian, be he Liberal or Tory, will help the Government in

defeating Bolshevism, rampant as it is today in Western Canada. We will defeat it, Mr. Speaker, by restoring constitutional government, by re-establishing the sanctity of our courts, and by dealing with the profiteers. A country which permits its government to usurp the authority of Parliament and to set aside the judgment of the courts, even in a Habeas Corpus case, where soldiers were ordered by the Minister of Justice to ignore the decision of the highest, court dn Alberta; a country which permits its government to protect the food speculators and to shower titles on the Flavelles and tutti quanti, that country becomes a seed plot for Bolshevism. By the way, I notice that the gentleman who leads the strikers in Winnipeg is a parson, Rev. Mr. Ivens. I do not know to what church he belongs.

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June 11, 1919