February 25, 1921

?

An hon. MEMBER:

Hear, hear.

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UNION

Howard Hadden Halladay

Unionist

Mr. HALLADAY:

I endorse the hon. gentleman's "hear, hear." There is a demand for an election, Mr. Speaker, but it comes from your left and from the people who supported the Opposition in the last election. I believe that the men who are crying for an election in this country today, if they had had the nerve, would have made the same cry on the 18th day of December, 1917. Why? I had a resolution sent to me two months after the first session of this Parliament by an organization which strenuously opposed me in that election and which asked for my resignation, the reason given being that I had supported a certain Bill in this House, which Bill, Mr. Speaker, did not at that session and has not at any subsequent session, appeared on the Order Paper.

It is simply a cry of the ins and the outs; and so far as the question of mandate is concerned, I can only speak for my own constituency. During my campaign in the fall of 1917 I took particular pains to say on every platform on which I appeared that I would support this Government on every war measure. I have done so. I also told them that after the war was over I reserved the right to use my own judgment, and that judgment in this instance is to vote against the amendment.

The same party from which this amendment comes is the party that was in power in 1910 and 1911, when they brought about a snap verdict from the people as a result of which western Canada was robbed of thirteen representatives in this House, and we went along for six years short of representation to that extent. They come to us again to-day clamouring for an election. If they had their way we would be robbed of from thirteen to twenty seats on this occasion. But I want to warn the leader of the semi-official Opposition that the people of western Canada will not gracefully heed this cry. I want to warn him that there are a number of people in Canada who are quite convinced that this Parliament can give us as honest a redistribution as any other Parliament that may follow. This redistribution will not be made by the Cabinet themselves; it will have to come before this House, at which time every hon. member will have something to say.

I think, Mr. Speaker, that the Government have been very well advised by the hon. member for Macdonald (Mr. Henders) when he suggests a commission to look into the wheat business of western Canada. We had in the corridors of this House last year for two long months a representative

from the Winnipeg Grain Exchange. He flirted with the members of the Opposition, he flirted with the members sitting behind the Government on this side, and he flirted particularly with the members of the semiofficial Opposition. He told us that the United States would practically consume their total crop of last year; he told us that Australia was short from seven to eleven million acres in wheat; he told us that Central Europe would not produce any wheat, and as a consequence if we would allow the wheat to revert hack to the old system of handling we would receive not less than $3 and possibly $5 per bushel. We know what happened; and I think that the Government would be wise, in appointing a commission. But for goodness sake do not appoint a committee from the Winnipeg Grain Exchange.

I believe that one of the finest reports that have been placed on the table of this House was that tabled this week, wherein we are told that the farmers of Canada received a great deal more per bushel for wheat than did the farmers of the United States; and at the same time that the working-men of this country bought flour at a smaller price than the working-men of the United States. That was done through Government handling. I would therefore heartily second the proposal of my hon. friend from Macdonald (Mr. Henders) that the Government appoint a committee to investigate the whole wheat condition of Western Canada and see if it is not possible to go back to Government control in the handling of wheat.

We have another industry in Western Canada which is going down hill, and I am afraid that unless something definite is done by this Government in the near future that industry will cease to exist. I refer to the cattle business. We have in Saskatchewan something like 4,000,000 acres, in the province of Alberta about 4,000,000. and in British Columbia, I believe, some

400,000 acres of land leased to cattle raisers. This land is not farm land; it has been surveyed and re-surveyed and the farming land taken out. It is keeping above water to-day on industry which is our second in importance in Western Canada. Our meat has found its way to the best tables of the world; and is in demand in the best of the world's markets. This is probably due to our climatic conditions, but it is no doubt attributable mostly to the food the cattle get. Our prairie grass grows up until the middle of July as a rule and then starts to ripen and

as it stands on the stubble ripened it is really hay. In each blade is found meat similar to that of the oat, and on this the cattle feed and fatten. Now, all that our ranchers ask is that they be given something definite as to what is to be done with these leases. They are to expire in two, three, four and five years, and if the ranchers do not know within a short time what is to be done, they will start to spay their heifers. That will deplete the cattle business.

It has been suggested that these grazing lands be turned over to community grazing. That sounds feasible; but in southern \lberta and Saskatchewan when the grass is eaten off to the first of July it does not grow again, and as in community grazing our cattle do not leave the land, therefore have no crop except in the Spring of the year and no hay at all. Your hay can only be cut once every two years.

What these gentlemen ask is that they should be informed as to what is going to be done and that the information should be definite. It is said that these natural resources may be handed over to the provinces. This may or may not be contemplated. If it is I believe the provinces would prefer to have an industry handed over with those resources, than that they should receive them without that industry.

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UF

Oliver Robert Gould

United Farmers

Mr. O. R. GOULD (Assiniboia) :

Mr. Speaker, I will not detain the House for any great length of time to-night but while the thought is still fresh in my mind I will comment for a moment or two on the speech of the hon. member for South Waterloo (Mr. Scott). He quoted from an address made by the hon. member for Red Deer (Mr. Clark). I could not exactly gather the reason for making the quotation because I am sure all of us will agree that the expressions used by the member for Red Deer constitute the best compliment that could be paid to him; they show his absolute consistency from the date of the delivery of the speech in question up to the present time.

The statement that the Premier of Ontario had not given any preferential legislation to agriculture is a compliment to Hon. Mr. Drury also. Does it not demonstrate beyond all question that the members of our party, put our professions into practice when such evidence as this of adherence to principle comes from those diametrically opposed to us? My hon. friend from South Waterloo expressed the opinion that there was no demand in the country that the Government should dissolve Far-

liament and hold an election. It is a well known adage Sir, that a man will frequently know more about the immediate business of his neighbour than he does about his own. I wonder whether the hon. member for South Waterloo has received information from a point very close to his own constituency? To my mind circumstances point to the fact that he has. I understand the hon. gentleman was elected by a majority of some two thousand, not counting the soldiers' vote. I am also advised that in the provincial elections in Ontario a Liberal and Labour member was returned for that constituency by a majority of some four thousand. Does my hon. friend interpret that turnover as an expression of feeling favourable to the retention in office of the present administration? If he does my hon. friend must have an imagination of an unusual kind. I cannot understand why he should express such sentiments as uttered here to-night in view of the feeling with respect to the Government which seems to prevail in his own riding.

I have heard it said many times that when the first dozen speeches upon any subject have been made in this Chamber * everything has been said that it is possible to say. That, doubtless, is frequently true but we must admit that there are exceptions. The fine address that was given by the hon. member for Marquette (Mr. Cre-rar) yesterday, for example, was evidence to the contrary. It was a compliment to the hon. gentleman himself, it was a compliment to our party, it was a compliment to the House, that while the hon. gentleman occupied the floor there was a larger attendance of members than has been customary during the present session and the public galleries were crowded. Throughout his speech the hon. gentleman held the interest of his entire audience until he resumed his seat. That I regard as a well merited compliment. I interpret it to mean that the people, even our legislators, are very anxious to hear the pronouncements of our policy as they are delivered from time to time, and as they were very specifically delivered yesterday by the hon. member for Marquette.

I wish to associate myself with those who have extended their congratulations to the right hon. Prime Minister (Mr. Meighen) upon his elevation to his present high office.

I cannot but admire the man who through sheer business ability and devotion to work and to a conception of what he believes to be right has exacted recognition from his party to the extent that they have protMr. Gould.]

claimed him to be their leader and have advanced him to his present exalted state. His promotion is undoubtedly a compliment to the right hon. gentleman and I recognize that he is to-day a mighty man, but I believe that he will be a still mightier man when he sits in the cold shades of Opposition and feels the pulse of the people -the people who are asking for things from him although their appeals seem to fall upon deaf ears. In saying that I am not uttering anything derogatory to the Prime Minister. I am only expressing my honest desire that he may become a mightier man in the future than he is at the present time.

I also wish to compliment those members of the Government who have been raised to Cabinet rank since last session. I do not suppose there is any member in the House but is pleased when some of our fellows are advanced to higher rank. If newspaper reports are to be believed one of these gentlemen, the hon. Minister of Customs and Inland Revenue (Mr. Wigmore) speaking in the city of St. John during the contest which followed his entrance to the Cabinet, said that the city of St. John came first in his estimation, the province of New Brunswick next, and Canada third. I do not agree with such a sentiment as that, and when we bear in mind the laudatory flag-waving speeches which are indulged in by hon. gentlemen opposite one would imagine that they ought to have a stronger sense of national pride and a broader outlook on public affairs. That is my idea at any rate.. We all profess to be speaking for Canada, and when a man's interests become narrowed down as they seem to have become with my hon. friend, that is not big Canadianism. If we are ever going to become Canadians in the best and broadest sense of the term we have to get rid of sectionalism and not strive to advance merely local interests. The welfare of the country as a whole should be kept in mind and advanced, even if it sometimes involves the sacrifice of local and petty interests.

When the name of the mover of the Address in reply to the speech from the Throne was announced we all realized that the House would be favoured with a great literary treat, and the anticipation was realized. I must also say that the seconder performed his duty well. He really merited the compliments which were paid to him, and yet perhaps he may pardon me for addressing to him a word of caution. I advise the hon. gentleman not to pay too much attention to the compliments he has received. It does not necessarily follow

that because he was given the honour of seconding the Address, a portfolio is lying around loose awaiting his acceptance.

Then I wish to refer to the hon. member for Fraser Valley (Mr. Stacey), who spoke of extending the hand of good fellowship across the Rocky Mountains and grasping the hands of the Prairie farmers at the same time asserting that the farmers of the province by the western sea would not have anything to do with the policies o'f the people of the western plains, as enunicated in the platform of the Canadian Council of Agriculture, but that they wished to retain their thirty cents a box or ninety cents a barrel duty on their apples. Is that big Canadianism? I would say that while the British Columbia farmer has the one hand engaged he might extend the other across to the Atlantic seaboard to grasp the hand of the hon. Minister of Customs and Inland Revenue (Mr. Wig-more). If his interpretation of things political is what we are to understand as being things national, I am here to-night to say that the conception of the people who advocate and stand upon the platform of the Canadian Council of Agriculture is bigger and broader and greater than the sentiments expressed by this hon. gentleman.

In the speech from the Throne, likewise in the many addresses that were delivered throughout the length and breadth of our land by the right hon. the Prime Minister, the gauntlet was thrown down in regard to the tariff policy as proposed to be carried out by his party. In that respect, Sir, we know exactly where they are. Likewise by the admission of hon. gentlemen on the Government side who have spoken repeatedly and have directed their remarks to our Progressive group here, they confess that they know also where we stand. Therefore, the issue is clearly defined as between the Government and our party. We accept battle upon that issue as laid down by our Prime Minister in his addresses and also in the speech from the Throne. We will and do accept battle upon these terms, let it come sooner or later, and I honestly believe that the sentiment of the people who are governed by our laws will respond to the appeal, the newer and stronger appeal, that is being made at this time on the great national issue on the tariff.

We believe, Sir, that our cause is just, and we believe that to-day the people arc-studying economic questions more and more. The question of economics has been very pertinent to our people during the war 22

period. The people are becoming enlightened, and they really believe that more enlightenment should be given to them by those who, they believe, are the beneficiaries of the system. Uijtil evidence has been produced and the people are satisfied that they have not been mulcted in the deal, they will not be content, and upon every occasion they will vote to have the tariff further reduced.

The Commission that' was appointed by the Government travelled throughout the length and breadth of the Dominion taking evidence regarding the tariff. I did not have an opportunity of appearing before that Commission, but I watched very closely the newspaper reports of the evidence that was adduced, and I came to the conclusion long ago that if the desire was to procure real evidence and pass final judgment on that evidence, instead of being a Government Commission, it should have been a Commission appointed from Parliament. We have three groups in this House, and it was easy and would have struck a reassuring note in the minds of the people had a parliamentary committee been appointed to take that evidence rather than a committee composed entirely of Government members.

Why, Sir, it seems to me that the case is prejudiced before it starts by the Government, which, while the Tariff Commission is taking evidence, nails its protection flag to the masthead. The people of Canada cannot have faith that the findings of that Commission are going to be wholly in their favour. I do not quote this as a positive fact, but I was told that even while the Commission was taking evidence the sittings were suspended to enable one of the commissioners to proceed to East Elgin, and there proclaim the beauties of protection. To me, Mr. Speaker, such action does prejudice the case, and I am not prepared to admit that new evidence was necessary along the lines that the Commission sought. It does appear to me that the evidence should have been started lower down than that. I believe that our Canadian interests that claim a continuance of protection should show just how much it is costing the people for that protection. It seems to me that if there are a million dollars of watered stock in our companies we should not be mulcted in tariff duties to pay dividends on it. It would be easy for the Commission to ascertain how matters stand and to find out which of our companies, if any, are worthy of protec-

tion. Until that evidence is produced I do not think the people need expect or can believe that such evidence as was taken by the Commission last fall will be satisfactory, nov will it end in remedying the evils which we believe to exist now.

In the amendment tendered by the hon. the leader of the Opposition, and in all the addresses that have been made thereon, the constitutional aspect of the case has been presented by the various speakers. It is not my wish or intention to delay the House to-night with any feeble endeavour to enter into the constitutional question, but I have in my own mind some reasons which I will adduce in a few minutes as to why this Government should appeal to the electorate. There is, Sir, not much to be said in my estimation about the want of confidence sentiment. There is the human element, and it seems to me that that element has entered into the appeal which has emanated from the official Liberal party. There is a question as to whether if they were in power, for instance, they would do any better. Human nature is very much the same wherever you find it, and I do not think our people are much concerned as ' to whether the Government as constituted to-day is less capable perhaps than would be the hon. members who sit on this side of the House if they were in power. I can quite belive, Sir, that precedents could be cited to prove that likewise those who call themselves Liberals have sometimes in the past been in a similar position and acted very much the same as the hon. members who occupy the treasury benches to-day. So I say that any vote of want of confidence in the Government does not enter very largely into the decision which I have arrived at as to why the Government should go to the country.

There is, however, particularly in our western country, Sir, a feeling that faith has been broken with the people. I know for a fact, speaking as an individual who has taken more or less interest in political affairs for a number of years in our western country and who attended the Liberal conventions and took a more or less active part in the nominations, that when the appeals were being made all over the country to "back Unionists, I, as an Englishman born in the Mother Country, feeling that English blood animating my veins, and knowing that my Mother Country was in danger, threw up my political party allegiance and gave all the support I was capable of to the cause of Unionism to win the war,

as we all thought. But I believed, along with millions of other electors, that after the war was won there would be an immediate appeal to the country upon the war record of the Government. We feei, Sir, that that sentiment is abroad in the land, and that the people are waiting for the opportunity, whether it comes sooner or later, to charge this Government with what they believe at least to be broken faith. The people really believe that faith was broken with them.

If I may use a Scriptural phrase, I would say that false prophets have arisen who prophesy that there will be a fusion of this party and the Liberal party, and the assertion has been made that the probability is not denied. Standing here in my place to-night, Sir, I will make at least a feeble effort to explain to the House why such fusion has not been and is not being-considered, and why I do not anticipate that it will be considered. Incidentally I hope that hon. gentlemen will appreciate the effort I am putting forth to offer a little enlightenment upon this question, and that they will in the future treat the question as if they had received an answer.

In 1916 the platform of the Canadian Council of Agriculture was drafted, not with the object of forming a new political party, but for presentation to the Government of the day as a platform the working-out of which would be in the best interests of the people of Canada as a whole. That is why my platform was framed. In August, 1919, when our Liberal friends met in Ottawa and commenced to build the Liberal platform, our Canadian Council of Agriculture forwarded to the men in Ottawa at that time a memorandum along the lines of the platform of the Canadian Council of Agriculture. It is quite evident when you compare the two platforms, that the platform of the Canadian Council of Agriculture was the guiding principle that actuated the minds of those men who met in convention in August, 1919, with the object of building a platform for the Liberal party. I do not need to reiterate the statement that it has been frequently alleged in the House, and that speakers of the Liberal party have proclaimed throughout many parts of this country that the two platforms are identical. I know the statement has been made, though I am not going to say it has been made with any real authority from the Liberal party. So far as our group is concerned, and so far as the Canadian Council of Agriculture is concerned, it has never been recognized as having been made with authority. However,

it is my purpose to cite a few special instances to-night in order to show that a difference does exist between the two platforms.

The memorandum, then, forwarded by the Canadian Council of Agriculture to those who gathered in the City of Ottawa at that time pointed out why this platform upon which we stood should he a national platform and should be adopted by them, as it had been refused by the party then in power. I might say here that the "Farmers' platform" about which some people talk so glibly is a misnomer; it is the platform of the Canadian Council of Agriculture, a platform that has been recognized by great statesmen of this country as the best ever offered the people. That, of course, is a tribute to those who framed the platform-and the platform itself is the result of thousands of meetings that had been held all over the country, during the course of which the facts and conditions had been boiled down in an effort to find the kernels, the real essence of things as essential to the welfare and prosperity of the people of Canada.

We find, then, that the platform which I advocate and stand upon asked for free wheat, wheat flour, agricultural implements, fertilizers, cement, illuminating, fuel and lubricating oils. In that respect the Liberals followed absolutely and entirely the suggestion of our memorandum and our platform. They added, fishermen's equipment, such as nets, etc. So far the platforms are quite identical. The sentiment seemed to pervade that convention that they had satisfied the full demands of agriculture and that from that time on they could proceed to satisfy all the other interests of the Dominion of Canada. Let us see, for a moment, how they proceeded to do it. The platform of the Canadian Council of Agriculture asked for free soft, coal for the industries of Canada, for the home of the artisan and the hearth of the workingman and the home of the man upon the prairie. The Liberals did not ask for that. I have myself, Sir, not once but winter after winter, driven thirty-seven miles in one direction to get a load of wood and to bring it back-two long days in the cold, biting frost, trying to get wood with which to keep my house warm. We in the West know the value of coal, and know how to appreciate wood when we have it. But I maintain that the Liberal party could not have done a better service, politically or economically, than to have included in their platform free soft coal, in the interests, as I say, of the industries of Canada, of the

artisan, of the workingman, of the man on the prairie who is miles and miles from anything in the shape of fuel.

We asked for free lumber so that the workingman could build his home, and for the benefit of the artisan, again, and the man on the prairie. The Liberals in their platform, asked only for free rough and partly dressed lumber.. There is a discrepancy there.

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UNION
UF

Oliver Robert Gould

United Farmers

Mr. GOULD:

I am dealing with the

principles of the platform laid down in the Liberal Convention in August, 1919. Our platform called for free food; the Liberal platform asked that the principal articles of food be made duty free. We asked for an immediate all-round reduction in the tariff; the Liberals asked that the duties on clothing and footwear be cut in two. There is another vast and very vital difference, because these things deal directly with the necessa ries of life in the cold western winter climate of the West. That is one of the principles that guided those who built the platform of the Canadian Council of Agriculture-the desirability of making the necessities of life, the needs of the people-in this country, as inexpensive and as free from duty as possible.

I am sure that all men will recognize that that was a good, guiding national principle that actuated those people when they framed that platform. As I studied and compared these platforms, it seemed to me that after the needs of agriculture had apparently been satisfied by those who com-prised the convention, possibly some of-our Liberal friends who live in the peninsula down by the Atlantic ocean, where large coal deposits are to be found, intervened and perhaps persuaded the convention that free coal was not necessary nor needful. I heard an hon. gentleman once make this remark, which illustrates the point very well: " They were quite satisfied to sacrifice their wives' relations, but not any of their own." The people of Western Canada in particular, after studying and comparing these platforms, do not believe the claim that the plat-10 p.m. forms are the same. I tell the House to-night that there is in the West no sentiment looking towards fusion.- To the Government I would say: the statements I am giving you here tonight I want you to accept, because the country has already accepted them. Do not be alarmed any longer concerning that idea. I do not wish to labour the point, any further.

At the outset of my remarks I mentioned other things in regard to which the people were going to be concerned whether the Government should go to the country or not. When this House prorogued last July enabling legislation had been passed whereby the Wheat Board would again function. Shortly after I reached my home, I was dumfounded to read in the newspapers that the Government had taken away those powers, and that the Wheat Board had been disbanded. One of the reasons why we in our group voted unanimously for the re-establishment of the Wheat Board was that we recognized that purchasing agencies were going to continue in the markets of the old country and on the continent of Europe and we believed that if organized purchasing agencies existed we should have organized selling agencies to meet that condition. That :is, however, not so much the point.

In our organizations in the West we passed thousands and thousands of resolutions, of which I believe hundreds were forwarded to Ottawa. The press was filled with reasons why we wanted the re-establishment of our Wheat Board, and to each and every request the Government turned a deaf ear. 'Nothing apparently could be done for the plain people and we went forth selling our grain on street or on track and a difference of twenty to twenty-six cents a bushel existed all through the early part of the fall in our country between street and track prices, on account of the difference between the unit under which we are selling now and the one under which we have been accustomed to sell, under the Wheat Board. The country holds this Government responsible for the fact that they did not hearken to the pleadings of the people whose whole and sole support was wheat, who watched the markets, decline, decline, decline, with all the human vultures that could possibly gather, picking upon the product of the Western farmer, while not one finger was raised by the Government in support of the farmer in his pleadings and requests.

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UNION

Edward Thomas Wordon Myers

Unionist

Mr. MYERS:

Will the hon. member

kindly inform the House if the leader of the Progressive party was in favour of [DOT]the Wheat Board?

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UF

Oliver Robert Gould

United Farmers

Mr. GOULD:

If the hon. gentleman will look up the vote of last year, he will find that we all voted in favour of it.

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UNION
UNION

Walter Davy Cowan

Unionist

Mr. COWAN:

Is it not true that at the election in which the hon. member was *

elected, he and every part of his constituency were opposed to the existence of a Wheat Board: that he fought it from beginning to end and that he was elected as an opponent of the Wheat Board?

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UF

Oliver Robert Gould

United Farmers

Mr. GOULD:

That is another bugaboo.

I do not think the hon. gentleman can find in Assiniboia any sentiment whatever in that direction. I will give to the House this evidence-

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UNION

Walter Davy Cowan

Unionist

Mr. COWAN:

That is not the point

at all. The point is that my hon. friend was elected straight on that platform and nothing else.

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PRO

John Archibald Maharg

Progressive

Mr. MAHARG:

Thei'e was no Whear

Board in existence then.

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UNION
PRO
UF

Oliver Robert Gould

United Farmers

Mr. GOULD:

The hon. gentleman is

mixed as to his facts. I might tell the House that not on any of the many platforms on which I stood during my whole election was the Wheat Board mentioned. I say that to-night as an hon. member of this House.

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UNION

Hugh Murray Shaw

Unionist

Mr. SHAW:

Did my hon. friend not

censure the Wheat Board in the first speech which he made in this House?

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UF

Oliver Robert Gould

United Farmers

Mr. GOULD:

I will say to the hon. gentleman that he can call that a censure of the Wheat Board, but an hon. gentleman who immediately followed me said that I was very impartial in my remarks regarding the Wheat Board. I think if my hon. friend will look up the address that immediately followed mine, he will find that to be the case. His own side has made that statement.

Referring further to the Wheat Board, we wanted the Wheat Board in the West and to show that we did want it and that I supported the Wheat Board in every place where I had an opportunity to do so, not because I knew any more than hon. gentlemen opposite, but because I believed it would work out all right, I have this evidence to offer and I could give the names of many men in the West who did not have the same faith in the Wheat Board and who applied to me time and time again, offering me their participation certificates at three, five, seven cents and more per bushel. In my office upstairs I could show hon. gentlemen carbon copies of letters that I sent back to men who wrote me asking me what participation certificates were worth. I gave them my belief that they, should be worth at least twenty-five cents a bushel.

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UNION

Avard Longley Davidson

Unionist

Mr. DAVIDSON:

Did the hon. gentleman in the speech which he made last session not tell the House that he threw his participation certificates in the waste paper basket? I certainly understood so.

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UF

Oliver Robert Gould

United Farmers

Mr. GOULD:

I did not. . I suppose copies of Hansard of that session are available, and the evidence can be produced.

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UNION

Walter Davy Cowan

Unionist

Mr. COWAN:

We will get the evidence. We are not through with the hon. gentleman yet.

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February 25, 1921