February 16, 1921

CON

George Green Foster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir GEORGE FOSTER:

Their delegate is a model for my hon. friend in clear, terse, and vigorous1 English, coupled always with the greatest courtesy, especially when he was facing his Japanese friends.

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L LIB

Emmanuel Berchmans Devlin

Laurier Liberal

Mr. B. DEVLIN (Wright) :

Mr. Speaker, I should like to pay a few odd compliments, but I remember the advice of a very old friend of my right hon. friend (Sir George Foster). The late Sir Charles Tupper said that he always examined his conscience when a man from the other side of the House began to compliment him.

However, I do not think, Mr Speaker, I may be permitted to say, as immediately following the right hon. minister, that we are glad to see him back with renewed vigour and renewed strength, having performed his duties at the League of Nations, completing alliances upon the other side and forming a new one to adorn the social circles of our country. I shall not try to follow the hon. minister in the very able address he gave in regard to the work of the League of Nations. I could not help thinking, however, that he was taking a rather unfair advantage of his friend the ex-President of the Privy Council, the member for Durham (Hon. Mr. Rowell), who made a

statement in the newspapers and also to his electors that the only reason why he was remaining in Parliament was the fact that he desired to discuss the question of the League of Nations; and my right hon. friend the Minister of Trade and Commerce (Sir George Foster) has simply proved today, in the masterly way in which he handled that question, that the usefulness of the hon. member for Durham no longer exists.

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CON

George Green Foster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir GEORGE FOSTER:

Wait and see.

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L LIB

Emmanuel Berchmans Devlin

Laurier Liberal

Mr. DEVLIN:

The second point which

I desire immediately to take up is the reference which my right hon. friend made to the use of the English and French languages officially. The point was first introduced in this House in a different way in an excellent speech delivered by the hon. member for Yale (Mr. MacKelvie); and you will allow me, I hope, Mr. Speaker, to interject a remark at this juncture that both the mover and the seconder of the Address did themselves full justice in the speeches which they delivered. The member for Yale said that he was brought up amongst a French population and that he loved the French people. You will readily understand, Mr. Speaker, that we who speak English on this side of the House, and who come from the Province of Quebec, having been associated with French-Canadian friends, not only admire their language, but admire as well their judgment and their qualities. Perhaps if others in this country were equally favoured they might be able to say precisely the same thing. I simply say this in passing, however, as it has already been spoken of.

I want to refer at once to a paragraph in the speech from the Throne in which we are promised important legislation with reference to the League of Nations. I have no doubt that when that important legislation is brought down it will have the full attention of the hon. members on this side.

Now, may I say a word touching the speech delivered yesterday by the new Prime Minister of Canada (Rt. Hon. Mr. Meig-hen)? That right hon. gentleman did not refer to any constitutional authorities respecting the status of his Government. That, Sir, can easily be understood, for if there had been anything in the constitutional history either of England or of Canada offering a precedent for the present situation, my right hon. friend, who is a good reasoner and who is possessed of clear vision and sound judgment in addition to the fact that he is an excellent student of constitutional history, would have advanced it.

But in view of the speech which was delivered by the hon. Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Mackenzie King) yesterday, intimating to the Government that they were in office because they had usurped power, and quoting authority after authority to show that their position was contrary to every conception of responsible Government in this country-aye, and in England as well

my right hon. friend had perforce to remain mute on the subject of the constitution. Instead, that gentleman, who is so suave in manner and so calm in temper, got into a towering rage. I had never before seen him in such a rage in my life at the very suggestion that he should not be where he was, or that my hon. friend the Leader of the Opposition should change places with him.

Sir, to me it is a matter of indifference whether the Government remain where they are or whether the Opposition continue in their present position. One thing, however, I have very present in my mind, and it is this: I always try to keep before me the resolve that in this country autocracy shall not reign but that the rights of the people shall be respected. There is throughout the land a voice calling upon the Government to appeal to the people in order to ascertain whether it has their confidence. But that voice is answered by silence on the part of the Government. My right hon. friend asked the question: What are we going to the country upon? Well, we appeal to the Government to go to the country upon the one question: do they enjoy the confidence of the people? My right hon. friend says: What about the tariff? Why do you not speak upon the tariff? That is very clever, but, of course, one would naturally expect clever things from my right hon. friend. The tariff, according to a ruling delivered, if I mistake not, by yourself, Mr. Speaker, can be brought up only when the budget is under consideration.

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UNION

Edgar Nelson Rhodes (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Unionist

Mr. SPEAKER:

I think the hon. member is in error. I know the ruling to which he has reference; It was merely an intimation to the House that it might be more desirable to have a budget debate upon the budget, but it by no means purported to preclude any reference to the question of the tariff.

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L LIB

Henri Sévérin Béland

Laurier Liberal

Mr. BELAND:

We shall observe your decision, Mr. Speaker.

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L LIB

Emmanuel Berchmans Devlin

Laurier Liberal

Mr. DEVLIN:

If you did not give the ruling as I have stated it, Mr. Speaker, perhaps you will allow me to recall to your memory the fact that it has been the in-

variable practice for a great number of years in this House not to discuss tariff issues until tlie introduction of the budget; and that is a practice that has been observed in parliamentary procedure in Great Britain for a great number of years. The Prime Minister asks: Are the members on this side ready to stand by their tariff proposals of 1919? He knows full well that the Liberal party is ready to stand by everything that is_ liberal. He knows perfectly well that in intent and purpose the guiding spirit of liberalism in Canada in recent years was the late Sir Wilfrid Laurier, who is to-day ably followed by the present leader of the Opposition. Inspired by Sir Wilfrid Laurier, and by what is best in liberalism, we upon this side intend to follow the letter and the spirit of liberal principles. The Prime Minister said nothing more that I could take note of, absolutely nothing. He wants to discuss a hundred and one questions and pleads: Do not discuss the right of the people of Canada to have a voice in the affairs of the country at the present time: we are still working on war measures and dealing with conditions in this country that have arisen from the war.

Financial, industrial, and agricultural conditions in Canada will be consequences of the war long after the Prime Minister and I have disappeared from the scene of this world's activities. There was a world revolution during the war but there was not such a revolution in parliamentary institutions in Canada as to deter the people from demanding that their sanction be obtained in order to carry on public affairs. I do not mean to speak at any great length but I wish to lay stress upon the fact that for some years back the people of Canada have been demanding a voice in the affairs of the dominion. The Government refused to give them that voice. The preceding administration deprived the people of their voice and governed Canada by Order in Council. They resorted to every possible means to stifle the popular voice; and now the present Prime Minister declares that he and his Government are going to follow in spirit and in letter the policy of their predecessors. If that he so, why did it become necessary for so many members of the Cabinet to resign, or did my right hon. friend put them out of the Cabinet? I think it is due to the people and to the members of this House that the Prime Minister should make a statement as to the position of those gentlemen who have resigned from the Cabinet.

The Prime Minister says: We are going to stand by protection in this country. Let me draw his attention to the fact that in 1918 the Government, taking advantage of the reciprocity statute had potatoes placed upon the free list. There was no protection about that measure neither in letter, word nor principle; it was absolute free trade in potatoes; and I warn my hon. friend from British Columbia that other measures of a similar character may be adopter even by the present Government, when it suits their purpose.

Following the kind references that have been made to my native province will you, Mr. Speaker, permit me to quote a few statements from an article in the supplement of the Montreal Gazette for the year 1920 with reference to the Province of Quebec. The article in question states that Mr. Marquis, the head of the Provincial Bureau of Statistics, makes the statement that the value of the crops for Quebec in 1914 was $99,279,000. In 1919 it had grown to $307,044,000, an increase of 310 per cent, whilst in the Province of Ontario the increase was simply 190 per cent. The article goes on to say:

Still another illustration of agricultural growth in Quebec is shown in Mr. Marquis' figures. The value of land is in keeping with what is raised thereon in crops and cattle. With the exception of British Columbia, where the specially rich fruit farms, and veritable gardens, have a very high value, Quebec leads the provinces in value of farm lands. The value in British Columbia is $174 per acre; Quebec, $72; Ontario, $66 ; Prince Edward Island $51; Nova Scotia. $41; Manitoba, $35; Saskatchewan, $32; New Brunswick, $32 ; and Alberta is last with a valuation of $29 per acre.

In other words, after making allowance for land values in British Columbia the Province of Quebec heads the list. The finances of that Province are in an admirable condition-in a better condition than that of any other Province. The laws of Quebec are sane, her people are contented and the best of feeling exists between the two races that people the Province.

Mr. Speaker, I shall not follow any herring that is sought to be drawn across the trail, and permit myself to be diverted from the one question that now confronts this House-will the Government grant a general election or will they not?

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?

Some Hon. MEMBERS:

Question.

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UNION

Edgar Nelson Rhodes (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Unionist

The SPEAKER:

Is the House ready for the question?

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UNION

Arthur Meighen (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Unionist

Rt. Hon. ARTHUR MEIGHEN (Prime Minister) :

Mr. Speaker, I know many hon. members intend continuing the debate. I

believe the hon. member for Brant (Mr. Harold) follows.

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L LIB

Andrew Ross McMaster

Laurier Liberal

Mr. McMASTER:

I will move the adjournment of the debate.

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UNION

Edward Walter Nesbitt

Unionist

Mr. NESBITT (North Oxford) :

Mr. Speaker, I had no idea the hon. member (Mr. Devlin) who has just sat down had concluded his speech. I am not in a position to answer his question as I do not own the Government. But I was going to make some remarks on that very question. A great deal has been said throughout the country, and a great deal has been said in this House since the session opened, as to whether this Government should continue to function or not. I do not know what took place in other ridings at the time of the 1917 election, but I certainly know what took place in the riding that I have the honour to represent. There was never a word spoken that could convey the idea that this Government was not to be elected for a full term. So far as I was personally concerned, the only promise I make was that I would support the Union Coalition Government in all measures that it might consider were in the interests of the country. I have done so and purpose continuing to do so. Even if I should disagree with the Cabinet on any particular question, I see no reason why I should go over to the other side of the House., In my judgment-I may be wrong-it is our privilege when we are elected to vote on any question as we think wise. If that were not so, I would not care to be a representative in this Parliament;

I would not care to be bound to follow any party or any government that introduced a measure that I thought to be not in the interests of the country, and I do not purpose doing so.

It is quite true that since the Union or Coalition Government was elected some members who were then sitting on this side of the House have gone over to the other side; that is their privilege. It is quite true that there has been a different grouping even among the Opposition. It is also quite true that the leader at that time of the then Union or Coalition Government has retired from the leadership. It is also just as true that the members and supporters of the Union Government have nominated a successor to that leader in a regular and constitutional way, as I understand-by the majority of votes of the supporters of that party or Government.

I think that is the proper way. I may say quite frankly that I have never been in

favour of choosing a leader at large conventions, because I think it is really the members of the House who have the best knowledge to choose their leader. I say again that the present leader of the Union Government was properly chosen, and I see no reason under our constitution the members of that Government should seek re-election until they are defeated in the House. I do not believe that because there happens to be a wave of feeling in favour of the Opposition or of the Government advantage should be taken of it to put the country to the expense of an election. There may be a popular wave on any question-and I have seen many popular waves that afterwards, with experience, became very unpopular-and therefore I do not see why the present Government should not continue to function until they bring in such legislation as the majority of the members do not agree with and they are defeated, or until their [DOT] proper term expires.

A great deal has been said about the recent election in West Peterborough, particularly in reference to group government. Personally, I am opposed to group government, because I think, no matter who the leader may be, if he has to cater to groups to get support he is liable to pass legislation which is not in the interests of the country as a whole. We are all human; the leader of a party, from my experience, is just as human as any of his followers; and it is natural for him to continue in office if he reasonably can. Therefore, as far as I have been able to study them, the European countries that have group governments suffer under the disadvantage that the legislation passed is more in the particular interests of the groups than in the general interests of those countries, simply because their governments must cater to their group supporters if they are to retain power.

We had one benefit under the old two-party system, and that was that the successful candidate had at least the satisfaction of knowing that he was elected by a majority of those who voted. All the people may not have voted, but that was their own fault; they had the opportunity. He at least, let me repeat, had the satisfaction of knowing that he was elected by a majority in that constituency. The West Peterborough election shows that no matter how capable the candidate is who was elected there the other day- and I understand he is a most capable gentleman-after all he has not the satis-

faction of knowing that he secured a majority of the votes that were polled. That might not make any difference to some gentlemen, because I believe the vast majority of those who have sat in this House since I have been a member feel that when elected, although as the nominees of a certain party, they become the representatives of all their constituents. And further, so far as my experience has gone since I became a member, I think the majority of hon. members who have been in the House for some time realize that it is their duty not only to represent the views of all their own constituents, but, so far as they can judge, the views of all the people.

I think that is a feeling that ought to pervade the mind of every man who is elected to this Parliament. After all, this is a Dominion, not a provincial Parliament; we have to take into consideration the interests of the whole country, not of any particular section of the people exclusively. I do not agree that this Government should go to the country on the ground, as is urged by some, that they were elected only for the war and demobilization period. The only thing I heard before or during the campaign of 1917 that would bear on that contention was that when the War-time Elections Act was passed it was distinctly stated that that Act would remain in force only during the war and during demobilization. I sat on the opposite side of the House at that time. I was opposed to the War-time Elections Act and I would still be opposed to it if it were in force. But it is not in force; it has been repealed; therefore the promise made in that respect has been carried out. But I do not think that has anything to do with the question of the term of Palia-ment.

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L LIB

James Alexander Robb

Laurier Liberal

Mr. ROBB:

Is not the Government that was elected under the War-time Elections Act still in power or claiming to be in power by virtue of a majority elected under that Act?

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UNION

Edward Walter Nesbitt

Unionist

Mr. NESBITT:

That is quite true;

there is no denying it. But that does not make any difference so far as I can see. The War-time Elections Act was passed by the House, and the members of Parliament were elected under that Act and by very large majorities. Personally, I was elected notwithstanding the War-time Elections Act, so that I have not, and never did have, anything to say in favour of it.

My hon. friend (Mr. Devlin) has referred to Quebec as being the most stable province in the Dominion. I agree with that view, because the province of Quebec has stability. Too many of our other provinces are taking up fads. There is too much "progressive" legislation in a good many of them-that is, so far as the finances of the provinces and the interests of the people are concerned. Therefore I pay all due respect and honour to the province of Quebec and compliment them upon the manner in which their political and financial affairs have been conducted in the last ten years, and upon the position they have now attained.

I am speaking this afternoon under some difficulty, because' I was not here yesterday and, did, not hear what was said; nor did I have an opportunity to read Hansard. But in the Speech from the Throne there is a proposition-it is only a proposition; I do not know whether there is any intention to do anything in regard to it-in respect to unemployment insurance. I notice on actual reference to the Speech from the Throne that it is an investigation, not a proposition-that an investigation is being conducted by the Department of Labour into a system of unemployment insurance. I hope that the Government will not launch out into any system of unemployment insurance. I believe in giving every man an opportunity to work; I do think that the only way this country will succeed in the next few years, the only way in which it can overcome the enormous debt with which we are now burdened, is for every man to work; and I believe that if he is willing to work there is work in this country for every man to do. It may be necessary at times, as was recently the case in some of the larger cities, to assist persons who are , out of work, but I cannot help thinking that a great many of these people could find work if they were really anxious to do so. I know that in our section of the country a great many of them could find work on the farms-not, perhaps, at five or six dolars a day, but at reasonable pay. Nothing is so harmful to a people as indiscriminate charity, because it helps to foster the idea that people can get along without working.

During the last two or three years the country has passed through very serious times so far as the labour question is concerned. Many industries were forced either to close down or to work on part time, and some of them made every effort to keep the work going in their factories for their employes, on the principal that

half a loaf is better than no tread. After all, business is but a cycle; the consumer buys from the retailer, the retailer from the wholesaler, the wholesaler from the manufacturer. The farmer grows various commodities that sustain life, and the rest of the people who do not farm buy his products. If those people are out of work and have no money, they cannot buy those products, nor can they buy the products of the manufacturer. Last summer it was stated in the newspapers-both in Canada and in the United States, so far as I could see-that everything was going to be cheaper; that prices were coming down enormously. As a matter of fact there were a great many reductions in the prices of goods retailed; certain goods that were really luxuries were allowed to drop very materially in price. Even then I suppose a pretty fair profit was made on them, because during the war time and

the period of very high wages the people lost their balance, so to speak, people bought things that their financial circumstances did not justify their buying, and indulged in extravagant expenditure which was of no particular benefit to themselves. For instance, I knew of a man who had been employed for several years, drawing fifteen dollars a day, and who, before he was not without work for three months, had nothing. That man was living beyond his means and without any care for the future, and while I do not say that everyone did that, I know hundreds of people did the same thing. In the committee that we_ commissioned to investigate the cost of living, we were told that people who were offered boots, say at eight dollars a pair, would not look at them, but when the same boots were produced to them for eighteen dollars 'a pair, then they thought the boots were all right. I am giving that only as an illustration of the craze that came over the country for living above one's means by people who should have been saving at that that time.

Then we come to this summer when the idea crept into the minds of the people that everything was going to be very much cheaper, and they ceased buying. When the consumer ceased buying, the retailer's shelves were full of goods and he had to cease buying; the wholesaler also had to cease buying, and the manufacturer went on as long as he could, as long as the banks would allow him to manufacture goods and pile them up and store them. The manufacturer had faith in the future and kept on for the purpose of keeping his men em-

ployed. But there is a limit to that; the banks would not advance any further on that sort of prospect. The consequence was that everything stopped to a certain extent. Some people may blame the Government for that, but the Government had nothing more to do with it than they have with the rain and the snow, the frost and the heat. It is true that the luxury tax was put on last year very largely for the purpose of drawing people's attention to the fact that they were buying goods at extravagant prices, and that was why the tax had to be added to the bill and not concealed in the price of the goods.

That had in a great measure the effect of drawing people's attention to their extravagance, and the consequence was that many people began to realize that the goods they were buying were altogether too high in price for their means and they commenced to curtail their expenditures to a certain degree. That tax has been done away with.

As regards unemployment insurance, I feel that our Ontario Government passed a very wise Act in their endeavour to take care of the widow by giving her a granf based upon so much for a widow alone and so much for each child so as to help her in extreme cases where she had no means. The difficulty about unemployment insurance, like the difficulty at the present time of maintaining in cities and towns many people who are out of employment, is that there is a tendency to take advantage of that aid and not seek employment. In other words, the workers keep the drones. Even the bees set us an example ip that situation. In a hive of bees the workers kill the drones; and while I do not want us to do that, let me repeat that there is only one salvation for this country and that is that everybody must work and give the best there is in him. At the present time there is a tendency on the part of some people to reduce the price of labour. I understand that last year in the West, in some instances, farmers had to pay as high as eight dollars a day for farm labourers. Farmers are not likely to get a sufficient price to produce grain on the farm at that rate of wages. But that condition of things did not predominate throughout the country, neither did the very high wages that were paid for munition workers during the war prevail amongst workers in ordinary industries, at east in Ontario. Ordinary industries certainly had to double their wages, but the difficulty was that while they doubled their wages, they did not get the same production. I know of an instance where wages

were trebled and the production per man was reduced by over one-half. As far as my knowledge goes, most employers of labour in ordinary business where wages were not extreme and exceptional, were not grumbling about the wages they were paying, but they were grumbling about the production. I am glad to say that during the last two months production has very materially increased in accordance with the trade, and if that be the case-that is, if the men do their duty and earn their pay- I know of no employers who are anxious to reduce wages. What the employer is after is results. I do not think there is any necessity for the large number of people that the newspapers report as being unemployed in our cities at the present time. I think that many of those men could find work at reasonable wages if they tried to. In small towns like ours, while there has been a certain amount of trouble because of slackening of work in manufacturing industries and, in one or two instances, the shutting down of factories for short periods, the bulk of the men were quite capable of carrying on until such times as their work started again. Those who were not, immediately sought other work and most of them were able to find it. That is the spirit I should like to see prevail throughout this country. Let every man,-whether he works with his head or his hands, and no matter what his occupation-not sit down and curse the Government, local or Dominion, or curse somebody else, but get busy and try and find some work to do that will provide him with a living whether he works with his head or his hands. Let every man try and assist the country to carry on, and if we all do that, there will be no necessity for unemployment insurance.

In other words, I object most strongly to any plan whereby the workers will keep the drones. There is too much of that now. It is the workers that pay the taxation of this country, no matter what form the taxation may take. That is why I am surprised to see sometimes in this House some honourable members attack very strongly what they call "the interests." Some man was talking to me very recently and blaming "the interests," as he called them. I asked him: "What interests? There is the farming interest," I said, "the manufacturing interest, the banking interest, the commercial interest; what interest are you talking about?" Well, he had only heard that "the interests" were to blame; he did

not know much about it, and had nothing further to say. As a matter of fact we must all work together. We need all sorts of people in this country working together in sympathy, and doing the very best they can individually to make a success of the country, and that is why I hate to hear people who have made a success of their lives from a financial standpoint condemned because they have made a success. Personally, I have no jealousy at all of the man who makes a success of his life. Whether he comes from my section of the country or anywhere else in Canada I am proud of him. So far as the monied interests of the country are concerned, we have to have money to carry on. The successful man cannot take his money to bed with him. He has to invest it in some business in this country to make it produce. Therefore, while he may not be working with his hands, he may be working just as hard with his head to provide work for the people who work with their hands. You cannot separate the interests of the so-called labouring classes in this country,- that is, those who work with their hands,- from the interests of the capitalists, who provide the capital which furnishes the material on which the workers labour. So far as I personally am concerned, I think we members of Parliament have undertaken a serious responsibility when we come to this House, and it is our duty, at least, I think it is my duty, to investigate carefully any legislation that is proposed, no matter from what source, and if we think it is wise legislation, it is our duty to support it.

Thank Heaven, I am not so partisan that I cannot see good in the other fellow, and I see no reason at all, so far as benefit to the country is concerned, why this Government should dissolve and go to the country. On the other hand, I can see a great many reasons at the present time why they should not. In the first place, the country is still more or less in a chaotic state so far as business is concerned. Take unemployment, for instance. You could not make any of these men believe that it was not the fault of the Government that they are unemployed. So far as I am concerned I do not believe it is the fault of the Government in any shape or form.

Now as to the tariff. I believe, and always have believed before I came to this House, when I was a private citizen struggling for my existence, that a reasonable tariff that will protect the industries of

this country to a reasonable extent is the only proper thing for Canada. I am interested in farming to a certain extent myself, and I want to say right here that for me the local market is much better -than any foreign market, for the instant my goods get out of my sight they are out of my control, and I do not know what may be the final result. There are some items in the tariff schedules at the present time that, in my judgment, are too high; they are urn-necessary for the manufacturer. I know something about manufacturing, and when I say that there are some items that are too high and unnecessary for the protection of the manufacturer, I am saying what I know to be absolutely correct. In the first place, if the manufacturer has too high a protection it gets him into a slovenly way of doing business. He does not, to use the common expression, "get down to brass tacks." That is, he does not organize and systematize his business so as to be in a position to compete successfully. Therefore, I am opposed to too high a protection on any line of goods. In days gone by, along in the 80's, it may have been necessary to maintain a rather high tariff for our then infant industries, because it is a difficult thing to start a manufacturing industry. I know of nothing more difficult, because for the first four or five years it is all costs. You can get your company organized, you can get your manager, but it is a guess whether he will make a success or not. You can get your office staff and your help together, but you have got to introduce your goods from one end of Canada to the other. Now, we have a population of only about eight millions, spread over a territory extending three thousand miles, and it is absolutely impossible to introduce your goods from one end of the country to the other under two years. You must engage at least two very capable men to cover that territory in a year, and you have to pay their salaries and expenses, which are not very light I assure you. And after you have covered the country and got your agents appointed, you will find that half of them are not satisfactory and you have to cover the same ground over again.

It is the hardest thing in the world to start a progressive manufacturing industry. You cannot possibly make any money at the outset; if you make your expenses for the first four or five years you are doing remarkably well. It then depends entirely upon the ability of your manage-

ment and the economic way in which you produce your goods. The tariff may assist you to a certain extent. In my experience I have found a great fallacy to exist in the country in the claim that all manufacturers add the tariff to the cost of their goods. I know intimately several manufacturing industries, and I know of none, so far as I am personally concerned, who consider the tariff in arriving at the cost of their goods or the prices they will put on them when they are offering them to the public. There are others with whom I am not so intimately acquainted-I know them only in a general way-who do take advantage of whatever protection the customs tax may afford them; hut so far as my knowledge goes, they are very much in the minority.

I do not know that there are any other clauses in the Speech from the Throne to which I am opposed, except the one I have mentioned. Let me repeat that the more you force the workers of the country to keep those who are not willing to work, the more people you will find that are not willing to work. And after all it is the workers that pay the taxes, no matter in what form they are imposed. If it is an income tax you have to have over a certain income before you are obliged to pay taxes. If it is customs, unles you are earning you certainly are not buying very many imported goods, except on credit, and there is a limit to that, because a merchant is not going to carry on very long unless you pay him. I have only this to emphasize, that we members of Parliament, elected to represent the people, have a serious duty to perform. Personally, so far as party politics are concerned, I am not prejudiced in any way, and I do not think that the people expect us to vote on any question purely and simply from a partisan standpoint. I do think, however, that they expect us to vote from a business point of view. We may have differences of opinion in our ideas of business, and it would be hard to get any dozen men gathered together who would absolutely agree on all lines of business; but we can generally come to a reasonable conclusion as to what is in the interests of the country at large and what is merely selfish interest. We members of Parliament are not here to promote selfish interests; we are elected to safeguard and further the interests of the country at large and of the people as a whole. I have seen no reason advanced in the newspapers and

heard none uttered so far in this House why this Government has not a perfect right to continue functioning and why it cannot legislate for the interests of the people just as well as any other government which you could possibly elect at the present time.

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L LIB

Andrew Ross McMaster

Laurier Liberal

Mr. ANDREW ROSS McMASTER (Brome) :

I wish, first, to congratulate the mover and seconder of the Address, both of whom well acquitted themselves of the task imposed upon them. I should be glad to congratulate, in his personal capacity, the Prime Minister, but I hesitate to do so for two reasons: first, he has left the Chamber, and secondly, my own leader's experience in congratulating met with a shabby reception. Perhaps it might be just as well to go to the heart of the question. I am aware that hon. members have listened through all the long hours of this afternoon to addresses, and it must therefore be difficult to inject interest into the debate. But before we go further let me make a few observations concerning the remarks made by the last speaker (Mr. Nesbitt). It is true that that gentleman has been taken at a disadvantage. This Government, on this second day of the debate, had almost stopped functioning when he stepped into the breach. Is this indicative of the fact that this Government is to be maintained in power by Unionists who previously called themselves Liberals? I trust not. There were eighteen men on the other side of the House when the Prime Minister was about to move the adjournment of the debate, in order perhaps to give members a greater and larger opportunity for preparing themselves for the festivities of the evening, when my hon. friend jumped into the breach. What was his contribution to the debate? He took a text against the investigation of unemployment insurance, and then he went everywhere in a , truly apostolic manner preaching the gospel of reaction. He first of all stated that he was against the War-time Elections Act, and then, by a use of a logic which I cannot understand, said: Well, the Election Act has been repealed and I do not propose to cast out the Government or help to have them cast out: that Government was elected by an Act which I denounced when it was proposed and when it was passed, and which I denounce now. That was a dishonest Act, in my opinion;

and if this Government came into power through it, why should they not be turned out? Is it not the business of hon. members to turn them out? I think it is.

His next contribution, Mr. Speaker, was to denounce progressive legislation. When he did so he looked across at the Proges-sive party or Farmers' party-that party which the Prime Minister calls "the opposition situated angularly opposite"-but that portion of His Majesty's loyal opposition did not applaud his remarks to any great extent. The hon. gentleman (Mr. Nesbitt) is against unemployed insurance. I wonder if he ever realizes the feeling of a workman-an honest workman, perhaps an unskilled workman-who is working day by day, and week by week, and does not know whether his job is going to last over the next week. If the hon. gentleman could realize the feeling of that honest workman he would not denounce in such unsparing terms unemployment insurance. The hon. gentleman properly says that workmen should not reduce output. Neither they should, Mr. Speaker. But isn't it a temptation for a man to make the job spin out as long as he can if he feels that perhaps the next Saturday he will be paid off, and will not have the wherewithal to buy food for his- wife and children? For, although, in our civilization we have enormously increased the powers of production it is a matter of fact that vast majority of mankind, in the industrial centres at least, live week by week on their weekly wages. Therefore when the Government propose the innocuous measure of examining the question, surely my hon. friend might let them do so without raising his voice in advance against the proposition. Everybody must work hard. Ah, yes! and how well that came from a member who confessed he was one, if not two, days late in coming to his job here in Ottawa.

We have the infant industry proposal or policy. Ah, these infant industries! How certain types of men cherish them to their breast. They have to cherish the infant industries to their breast because those industries have never been able to be weaned and they are always asking for some special favour, some special privilege. I presume my hon. friend is quite in accord with that part of the Speech from the Throne which said the protective principle is to be maintained. My hon. friend is not prejudiced as far as party politics are concerned. He should know because he has sat on both sides of the House. Apparently

he has been* just as comfortable on one side as on the other but he has no intention of moving from where he now sits. Let me, Mr. Speaker, without the slightest heat or the slightest unkindness, say that I believe he is well situated where he is, and that he would be no addition, no help, to the forces of progress and democracy in this country. A speech of a very different sort was delivered by the Minister of Trade and Commerce (Sir George Foster). The Minister spoke at great length but he is always interesting; and the fact that the debate was almost breaking down before the hon. gentleman from North Oxford (Mr. Nesbitt) arose, shows plainly why the Minister of Trade and Commerce spoke at such great length. The Minister dealt with the League of Nations. It was a rather interesting thing to see that his remarks concerning that great attempt-and let us pray heaven that successful and hopeful attempt-was applauded as vigourously, if not more vigourously, on this side than it was on the other. Of course one reason was that-indicative of the feeling of the country-there were more members sitting on this side than there were on the other. I have nothing to say in criticism of the Minister's remarks about the League of Nations, I heartily approve of what he said in that connection. We all trust and pray that some way of settling international disputes may be brought forward, and may go into effect, different from a settlement by force of arms and by the slaying ^of men the majority of whom had nothing to do with the making of the quarrel-for it is men of over forty-five who make wars, and it is youths of under twenty-five who fight them.

Now, Mr. Speaker, I wonder whether the Government-for really I have said nothing very unkind about them so far-would, at this stage, consent to adjourn the debate until to-morrow. We have now reached the hour of almost a quarter to six.

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An Hon. MEMBER:

Is the hon. gentleman tired out?

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L LIB

Andrew Ross McMaster

Laurier Liberal

Mr. McMASTER:

As a matter of fact he is not a bit tired out. That reminds me of something I forgot to mention in connection with the remarks of the hon. member for North Oxford (Mr. Nesbitt). If the member for Brantford (Mr. Cockshutt) will remember, his opposition to the way in which the votes were cast under the Soldiers' Voting Bill was almost as strong as his remarks in connection with the War Times Election Act. We all remember the vivifying moments in the Chamber when a

controversy arose between the' member for Brantford and the member for North Oxford as to the manner in which the soldiers' votes were counted in the last election.

On motion of Mr. McMaster, the debate was adjourned.

At six o'clock the House adjourned without question being put, pursuant to rule.

Thursday, February 17, 1921

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February 16, 1921