Mr. SCOTT (Resuming) :
when the House rose at six o'clock I was giving certain reasons why I believed it was inadvisable for the Government to make an appeal to the country during the past year. There is one other point that I might perhaps make in that connection, and I make it more particularly for the benefit of the leader of the Opposition. I wish to tell him that in my own constituency Liberals, men engaged in business, and prominent in their various walks of life, who in days gone by gave their allegiance to the party which he to-day leads, have been the most outspoken in expressing a desire that there should be no appeal to the country at the present time.
I pass on now to deal with the amendment which was introduced by the leader of the Opposition. His amendment is to the effect that the Government does not possess the confidence of the House, or the confidence of the country. With regard to the first point, the question whether the Government possesses the confidence of the House will be finally decided when the vote is taken, in a few days, no doubt. That will provide a proper answer to that question. As to whether the Government enjoys the confidence of the people of this country that, after all, as the hon. member for Halifax (Mr. MacLean) stated this afternoon, is, and can be at best, only a matter of opinion, and in that connection I must say that there is a very great difference of opinion.
If I were looking for an opinion upon a question of that kind it does not seem to me that I would be likely to go to gentlemen situated as are the Opposition. I submit that you could go into any legislature in Canada, and perhaps into any parliament in the world, and not find it a difficult task to persuade those who were sitting in opposition, partisans, that the government to which they were opposed
did not enjoy the confidence of the people of the country. But I do not take a great deal of stock in opinions on that question from such a source. While there may be a difference of opinion as to whether the Government of this country enjoys the confidence of the people, I think there is small room for doubt whether the leader of the Opposition and the party which he leads enjoy the confidence of the people. It seems to me that the most superficial observer of the present political situation must be impressed with the fact that, aside from the province of Quebec, the Opposition are not in very high favour at the present time.
We have heard a very great deal from the leader of the Opposition about the defections that have taken place from the Government side of the House, and in that no doubt he is in a measure correct. But I do not see how it can afford him much consolation, because, if one looks across the floor of the House and among the members who sit under his leadership, one cannot see that he has made any very substantial gains duing the last few years. While there have been defections for certain reasons, the men who have seen fit to cross the floor of the House have been loath, indeed, to place themselves under his leadership.
In that connection, Mr. Speaker, I have been much impressed by his speeches both in this House and outside. One would think to hear his speeches that recruits, not only in this House, but from one end of the country to the other were flocking to his banner. It is difficult to understand how he can think so. His attitude reminds me of the days when as a boy I used to spend my vacations on the farm. One of the most enjoyable things I remember doing in these days was to go out and gather the eggs. Sometimes, when we were looking for eggs, we would come across a clucking hen. We would take hold of her and toss her out into the barnyard. She would ruffle up her feathers, spread her wings, and make a great fuss. It is a most peculiar thing, but do you know, Mr. Speaker, that if there were a thousand small chickens in that yard, she would imagine that she owned every one of them. And so it is with the leader of the Opposition. He looks over this House and over the whole country and seems obsessed with the idea that ail the political chickens that are passing to and fro are ready to join him.
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