February 17, 1921

REPORTS AND PAPERS


Statement of superannuation and retiring allowances in the Civil Service from January 1, 1920, to December 31, 1920.-Sir Henry Drayton. Fifty-third Annual Report of the Department of Marine and Fisheries.-Hon. C. C. Ballantyne.


THE GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH

ADDRESS IN REPLY


Consideration of the motion of Mr. James Mclsaac for an address to His Excellency the Governor General, in reply to his speech at the opening of the session, and the proposed amendment thereto of Mr. Mackenzie King, resumed from Wednesday, February 16.


L LIB

Andrew Ross McMaster

Laurier Liberal

Mr. ANDREW ROSS McMASTER (Brome) (Resuming) :

Mr. Speaker, I

must first thank the Minister of Justice (Mr. Doherty), who, in the temporary absence from the Chamber yesterday of the Prime Minister (Mr. Meighen), was leading the House between half past five and six o'clock, for his kindness in calling it six o'clock when it was only 5.45, in order that I might have a better opportunity of connected discourse.

I think it must have struck the members of this House and the people of this country that no serious attempt has so far been made by speakers on your right, Sir, to advance any argument against the amendment to the Address proposed by the leader of the Opposition (Mr. King). We had yesterday, as I have already said, a most interesting and inspiring address upon the League of Nations, but really no attempt was made to answer the resolution which preceded from this side of the House. So I am therefore driven back to discuss the remarks made by the Prime Minister, and this to the best of my poor ability I shall endeavour to do.

The Prime Minister takes this position. He says: This House was elected by a

majority of the electors some few years ago; we have a majority in the House, and as long as we have a majority in the House, elected by a majority of the constituencies in this country, I propose to carry on. That, as I understand it, is the constitutional position which he takes. Now, first of all, this vote will show, and not until the votes are counted will it be demonstrated whether the Prime Minister has a majority of the votes in this House. That is something yet to be ascertained.

Secondly, has the Prime Minister a majority of the votes in this country? Why, just before the last election there was an Election Act passed for the purpose of disfranchising all those who might be suspected of political tendencies against the Prime Minister and his party, and of doubling up all those votes that would likely be in their favour. Soldiers' wives, soldiers' mothers and soldiers' sisters were all given the vote to the exclusion of other people just as deserving, and I remember in my riding noting with some amusement that soldiers' sweethearts were not given the vote, because although a soldier under our law can have only one wife he might have, and often had, many sweethearts. But that, after all, although important, is not as important an another point which I propose to prove before the House, and which I believe will be accepted by all .unbiassed minds, whether in the Chamber or outside of it.

The proposition which I submit to you, Mr. Speaker, is this: That there was

at the time of the last general election an undertaking made by and on behalf of the Government that it would, if returned to power, only hold office for the time of the war and during demobilization. There was ' the agreement made, and I propose to prove it out of the mouths of ministers of the Crown at that time. Hon. Mr. Carvell, who now occupies the position of chairman of the Railway Board, was a Unionist minister from the province of New Brunswick. During the course of one of the sessions of 1919 the question of the formation of the Union Government came up, and this is what Mr. Carvell said:

I can only say that when I entered this Government-I am not going- over the very, very long and somewhat unpleasant conditions which existed between the month of April and October 1917, possibly another occasion may arise when they can be discussed-I did so after the most mature deliberation, which many of my good old friends know all about, and nobody

5i

knows so well as does my hon. friend for Shelburne and Queen's-I did so for one specific purpose and for a specified time. The purpose I am happy to say, has been achieved! The time has not yet expired. During the election in the Province of New Brunswick 1 issued a letter to my constituents and to the people of our Province setting forth the fact that the Government was to be of an equal number of former Conservatives and former Liberals, for the purpose of carrying on the war and finding recruits for our army, and that it would continue for the duration of the war and a reasonable time thereafter for demobilization. Demobilization has not yet been completed, and so far as I am concerned my contract has not expired.

Just as soon as demobilization was completed Mr. Carvell resigned from the Government because he regarded his contract as having expired.

Topic:   THE GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH
Subtopic:   ADDRESS IN REPLY
Permalink
UNION

Peter Francis Martin

Unionist

Mr. P. F. MARTIN (Halifax):

What followed when his contract was terminated?

Topic:   THE GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH
Subtopic:   ADDRESS IN REPLY
Permalink
L LIB

Andrew Ross McMaster

Laurier Liberal

Mr. McMASTER:

He was given the high quasi-judicial office of chairman of the Railway Commission, and his appointment to that office emphasizes the value of the citation which I have just made. Now, we have such a thing in this country as ministerial responsibility, and that responsibility is a joint one. When a minister of the Crown makes a declaration on a question of high importance such as was the question mentioned in this letter, he binds not only himself but his colleagues as well. The present Prime Minister (Mr. Meighen) was one of the colleagues of Mr. Carvell when he made that statement, and he was bound thereby. That is the statement of the present Prime Minister as well as of Mr. Carvell, and it was a direct undertaking of the present Prime Minister that this Government-he says that the present Government is a continuation of the last; that is his contention-would, as soon as demobilization was over, cease to exist, and an appeal would, of course as a matter of consequence, be made to the people. There were others who spoke in the same language. I quote from a speech of the hon. Minister of Immigration and Colonization (Mr. Calder) delivered at Winnipeg on October 27, 1917. Said he:

I have not sacrificed' my liberalism. My liberal principles are part of myself and will stay with me until I die. But this is not the time to quarrel over political view-points on domestic issues. The whole issue, the sole reason for the union of parties is to win the war.

Before I go further I wish to protest, as I have protested before in this House and elsewhere, against the assumption that there was any difference in the desire to win the war between people who were

Liberals and those who were Conservatives at the time of the last election. We differed as to methods but not as to aim and object. And the oft-repeated assertion, repeated at that time and, I am sorry to say, even since, that it was a question between the Union Government, to win the war, and the Liberals, to abandon the boys in the trenches, was one of the most ungenerous and wicked perversions of the truth ever perpetrated by a political party for their own political ends. Its ungenerousness was shown by the fact that among the Liberal leaders of the day was the hon. member for Beauce (Mr. Beland), who was languishing in a German prison. Besides that, the hon. member for Maison-neuve (Mr. Lemieux), Mr. Graham, Mr. Oliver, all had boys at the front who then or shortly after were to fill the graves of heroes who had died for their country. The sons of our friend the hon. member for Cape Breton North and Victoria (Mr. McKenzie) and of Mr. E. M. McDonald, as well as those of many other Liberals, were fighting in the trenches then. The member for Maisonneuve suffered the loss of his only boy. But still we were taunted at that time that we were not in favour of winning the war. How. wicked was that statement is shown also in the fact that it divided race from race, province from province, religion from religion. I remember some sessions ago that the hon. gentleman who now occupies the high position of Prime Minister, stated on the floor of the , House, when the Liberals were laughing at some unconsciously amusing thing he had said, that our interest in the war was measured by our laughter. I protested then, and I protest to-day when he says that the great issue was one of winning the war. We differed in regard to methods, it is true, but I would not have this House forget that the method proposed was one of selective conscription, and that after this method had been put into force, only a few months had elapsed before the same Mr. Carvell, one of the leading members of the Government at that time, said that by a round-about, clumsy method they had been able to secure only 30,000 men.

Now, after this digression, made necessary by the repetition of what I regard as an unvenerable falsehood, I return to my argument as to the understanding between the parties. I quote again from that former champion of Western Liberalism, the hon. Minister of Immigration and Colonization. He spoke at Vancouver on

the 31st of October, and in the Vancouver Sun he is reported as having said:

I'm for plain speaking, and I intend so to speak. I am a Liberal, and when all is over I intend to remain a Liberal, because I believe in Liberal principles. I have been fighting- Toryism all my life, and I propose after the war to take up that fight just where I left off.

We have heard of the warrior taking his rest with his martial cloak around him. It is about time that this warrior of Western Liberalism took off his cloak, and began to fight. But so far we have not seen any symptoms of his entering upon the engagement. But not only were these statements made by those men high in the councils of the Unionist party, but the people so understood. Let me read to you, Mr. Speaker, the undertaking which was signed by those members of the primaries in Vancouver, who were voting for delegates to the Unionist Convention and who nominated one of my friends at whom I am now looking, the member for one of the seats of Vancouver City:

I, tile undersigned, do hereby pled'ge my support and influence to the present Unionist Government and the policy enunciated by them, i. e., the immediate and continuous enforcement of the Military Service Act, 1917, the mobilization of all our resources, the taxation of wealth, and the prevention of profiteering, and I agree to support the candidate selected at the Convention.

That was the view expressed by people connected with the formation of the Union* Government; they were the views held by supporters of the Union Government in British Columbia. Now, let us proceed to another province, and again let us quote from the words of the Minister of Immigration and Colonization. He is reported in the Regina Leader of Dec. 17 as saying:

Keferring to his own position, Mr. dalder said that it had been suggested that he had been duped by the Tories and that he would stand as a cipher when he got down to Ottawa.

I want to tell you, he said, that Calder has not been duped by the Tories. I have never stood in the position of a cipher, and I do not propose to do so now. I have a very clear conception of what I am going into the Union Government for, and what I am going to do. With reference to the suggestion that it was still the same old Borden Governement and the Government of the big interests, Mr. Calder asked his audience whether they thought it could be the same Government with F. B. Carvell in it and with Mr. Maclean as a member, and whether it could be the same Government which included Alexander Crerar and General Mewburn; and I want to tell you that you don't know Mewburn yet. He is a fine fellow.

Topic:   THE GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH
Subtopic:   ADDRESS IN REPLY
Permalink
?

Some Hon. GENTLEMEN@

Hear, hear.

Topic:   THE GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH
Subtopic:   ADDRESS IN REPLY
Permalink
L LIB

Andrew Ross McMaster

Laurier Liberal

Mr. McMASTER:

It is a matter of interest, Mr. Speaker, to know that the member for East Hamilton, so happily characterized in that paragraph, has left the Union Government; that the member for Marquette has left the Union Government; that Mr. Carvell has left the Union Government; I am not sure whether Mr. A. K. Maclean has yet resumed his seat on our side, I know his seat is here and waiting for him. An hon. gentleman beside me states he is going to be here.

Now I know it is somewhat tiresome when a lawyer cites evidence-

Topic:   THE GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH
Subtopic:   ADDRESS IN REPLY
Permalink
?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Hear, hear.

Topic:   THE GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH
Subtopic:   ADDRESS IN REPLY
Permalink
L LIB

Andrew Ross McMaster

Laurier Liberal

Mr. McMASTER:

I do not, Mr. Speaker, expect the gentlemen sitting to your right to enjoy the reading of that evidence. As a matter of fact I am not speaking for their pleasure, but I trust for the country's profit.

Topic:   THE GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH
Subtopic:   ADDRESS IN REPLY
Permalink
?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Hear, hear.

Topic:   THE GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH
Subtopic:   ADDRESS IN REPLY
Permalink
L LIB

Andrew Ross McMaster

Laurier Liberal

Mr. McMASTER:

Sir Thomas White, speaking at Brockville, said-

Topic:   THE GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH
Subtopic:   ADDRESS IN REPLY
Permalink
?

An hon. MEMBER:

Order.

Topic:   THE GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH
Subtopic:   ADDRESS IN REPLY
Permalink
?

An hon. MEMBER:

He is the member for Leeds.

Topic:   THE GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH
Subtopic:   ADDRESS IN REPLY
Permalink
L LIB

Andrew Ross McMaster

Laurier Liberal

Mr. McMASTER:

No, I understand he is not the member for Leeds. I understand he has accepted an oifice of emolument, and I am perfectly in order when I refer to him, with all the dignity that should be attached to a knight, as Sir Thomas White.

Topic:   THE GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH
Subtopic:   ADDRESS IN REPLY
Permalink
UNION

Edgar Nelson Rhodes (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Unionist

Mr. SPEAKER:

The hon. gentleman must refer to him as the member for Leeds, and I hope he will adhere to the well-established rule in that regard with respect to every hon. gentleman.

Topic:   THE GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH
Subtopic:   ADDRESS IN REPLY
Permalink
L LIB

Andrew Ross McMaster

Laurier Liberal

Mr. McMASTER:

I understand that I am not allowed to discuss the Speaker's ruling. His Honour will admit that I am one of the most obedient of the flock over which he presides, but he will allow me to state that the constitutional authorities differ somewhat from the view which he takes. However, the gentleman who occupied some time ago the position of member for Leeds, and whose occupancy of that position is now a matter of dispute and discussion, said on the 17th November, 1917:

Union Government is an accomplished fact today. It was born of the will of the Canadian people, the majority of whom have long and earnestly desired that party strife should cease, that National Government should be formed for the period of the war.

The Minister of Militia (Mr. Guthrie), speaking at Guelph on the 2nd October, 1917, said:

I believe in an union at the present time of all political forces for the prosecution of the war, irrespective of all political parties. In the past I have been looked upon as a strong party man but since May last I have publicly and' privately advocated a cessation of party strife, and I intend to continue in this course until the end of the war. It must not, however, be supposed that by pursuing this course that I have changed my Liberal principles, I have not done so.

Topic:   THE GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH
Subtopic:   ADDRESS IN REPLY
Permalink
L LIB

February 17, 1921