Mr. ROBERT JAMES MANION (Fort William and Rainy River) :
Mr. Speaker, first of all I should like to join with other speakers in offering congratulations to the mover and seconder of the Address in reply to the speech from the Throne. Secondly, I desire also, in common with other hon. gentlemen, to congratulate the Right Hon. the Prime Minister (Hon. Mr. Meighen) on his elevation to the highest office in the gift of the Canadian people at an age when most men are only entering public life. I do not intend to take up any time in extolling the great abilities or the unrivalled debating powers of the right hon. gentleman. If I desired to do so, if it were my purpose to sing him a p*an of praise, I should need but to take some of the words uttered in the speeches of hon. gentlemen opposite who, in their courtesy, were practically all of them kind enough to say very flattering things to the leader of the Government. I admit that there was one speaker on the other side, the hon. member for Chambly and Vercheres (Mr. Archambault), who publicly declined to congratulate the Prime Minister. I am glad, however, looking at the Prime Minister, to observe that so far he has survived that calamity.
Sir, it had not been originally my intention to participate in this debate when it began, but a number of speakers on the other side,-friends of mine at one time, but at the present moment political opponents,
made remarks about some of the Liberal-Unionists which, I felt, required some reply from us. For example, the hon. member for St. James Division of Montreal (Mr. Rinfret) made the statement that we were a group of weak-kneed reformers trailing behind the leader of the Government; and on other occasions other speakers opposite variously designated us as being servile and subservient. Well, Sir, I think that the aspersion of being weak in the knees or of lacking in courage can easily be proven to be not only discourteous but also unti-ue; for it will be admitted by any fair-minded gentlemen that any man who, for a principle, whether that principle be right or wrong, leaves a political party and its leader and joins forces with another party cannot easily be accused of being weak-kneed or of lacking in courage. We all remember that at the beginning of the late war the right hon. John Morley and Mr. John Burns retired from the British Ministry because they did not agree with the Liberal Ministry then in power on the principle that Britain should assist the French in repelling the aggression of the Germans. I do not think that there is any hon. gentlemen on the other side of the House who would endorse the motive that actuated them; but at the same time I do not think there is any gentleman on the other side who will assert that those men lacked the courage of their conviction in doing what they did. Well, Sir, the Liberal-Unionists in Canada who took the step they took in 1917 acted on exactly the same principle. They left political friends with whom they had been associated throughout then-public careers; they parted company with a leader whom they all respected and admired, and in many cases, my own included, loved; they left that party and that leader a certain principle. Now, whether that principle was right or wrong may be open to dispute, according to one's views; but certainly the remark that the Liberal-Unionists were weak-kneed in their action cannot be truthfully made. As to being-subservient or servile, Mr. Speaker, I may-say that since my advent into this House you have occupied the Chair, and I think you will remember that on many occasions hon. gentlemen on this side attacked the Government, and their attacks were of such frequent occurrence that my hon. friend from Three Rivers (Mr. Bureau) dubbed them family quarrels; and I remember quite well that some sections of the press described them as sniping from behind. On many occasions that occurred, and it can truthfully be said that a very large proportion of hon. members on this side of the House have at one time or another attacked the Government arid voted against their leaders, myself included in the latter
category of conduct. Even that gentleman who is reputed to be the High Priest of Protection in this party, my hon. friend from Brantford (Mr. Cockshutt) on one occasion voted against his leader. Mr. Speaker, if you will look back I do not think you can find any occasion on which my hon. friends on the other side attacked their leader, either the present incumbent of the office or his predecessor. I do not remember an occasion on which the hon. members on the other side voted against their leader, with the exception of that occasion on which the late member for St. James (Mr. L. A. Lapointe) and the member for Sherbrooke (Mr. McCrea) voted against their leader on the Budget. Of course, last year the indemnity question was the occasion of a free-for-all; and the leader iof the opposition took whatever stand he deemed best and his followers voted differently from him. We on this side, Mr. Speaker, have been neither servile nor subservient. On the contrary,- and I say this with no ill intent- if you will look back a little and view fairly the past conduct of hon. gentlemen on both sides of the House, I think you will conclude that subservience and servility have never been characteristic of hon. gentlemen on this side.
On another occasion in this debate one hon. member-I will not give his name- a gentleman whom I respect highly, but whose views I do not endorse, made the statement that the Liberal-Unionists here at the present time had none of the attributes of Liberalism. Well, Sir, there was a time fifty or seventy-five or a hundred years ago, when the terms: 'Liberal" and "Conservative" in Great Britain, whence they came, did signify a great deal of difference in their outlook upon the life of the nation. The word "Tory" for example, was supposed to mean-and I believe did mean perhaps a hundred years ago-that that party was fighting for the interest of the king and the aristocracy, or the classes as they were dubbed; and the Liberal was fighting for the masses. But, Sir, to-day the questions that divide political parties in England are such questions as the tariff, the treatment of Ireland, and Imperialism -those are the questions that the two political parties in England divide upon to-day. I do not think those differences ever did exist in Canada for though an aristocracy exists in England we never had one in this country. We are all working, so far as we can, for the good of the country as a whole; and while the Liberals
and the Conservatives in this country take their names from the British political parties they have paid very little attention to the question of fighting for the divine right of kings, or the rights of the aristocracy, so far as my historical reading-permits me to say. The other day I read a speech by the Right Hon. Henry Campbell-Bannerman who was Liberal premier of Great Britain from, I think, 1904 to 1908, and may say I had the pleasure of being in Scotland when he was elected. Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman having-been Prime Minister and the leader of Liberalism in the British Parliament is an authority on Liberalism that can hardly be disputed. The speech to which I have reference was delivered nearly twenty years ago but I presume traditions and principles continue in effect. In making what he called a declaration of Liberal principles he dealt with the Irish question, with Imperialism, with Egypt and the Sudan, and with relations with Russia. These were questions which our political parties in Canada were not arguing very much about. Then Sir Henry spoke about matters of domestic policy, and the three subjects to which he paid special attention were old age pensions, better housing, and extending the suffrage. These are three policies which our party on this side have either dealt with or are supporting in the speech from the Trone, and on practically none of the policies he spoke of are we at variance.
Then, Sir, I was reading the other day Winston Churchill's life of his father. At the time of writing Winston Churchill was a Liberal. He had never even crossed the floor of the House to support any other party, he was a bona fide Liberal. Speaking of the Liberal split on the Irish question in 1887 he says:
The Liberal Unionists denied that they had severed themselves from the principles and traditions of Liberalism,-and there is no doubt that they were perfectly honest. They were not conscious of any abandonment of principle. They remained in political opinion on all great questions exactly where they had been.
. . . But in fact, one change had taken place of more practical importance than all the symbols of party, and counting more in political warfare than any change of principles, however sudden or sweeping,-they had changed sides.
Ah, Sir, that is the political crime pat-excellence. But one is forced to ask if political principles are a matter of House of Commons geography.
Well, Sir, in Canada the same conditions to my mind have prevailed. I am perfectly
honest in this statement and open to the correction of other hon. gentlemen, but I have failed to get that correction on many different occasions. I believe that in regard to most principles it is a matter of tradition, something of the past rather than something of the present. I believe in the past it has been pretty much the case of the "ins" and the "outs". The hon. member for Maisonneuve (Mr. Lemieux) said the other day that the Tories look down on the people and the Liberals look up to them. I presume my hon. friend would himself admit that is pretty much of a platitude. It may have been true fifty years ago but I doubt whether there is very much truth in his statement today.
Hon. gentlemen opposite claim for themselves that they are a low-tariff party. This question has been sifted and debated to a certain extent in this House, but I have a few figures here-I will be very brief in their recital-which may help to settle their claim in that regard. The figures were given to me by the Chief Statistical Officer' of the Customs Department, and I do not think there is any question about them. They are taken from the Trade and Commerce Report showing the average ad valorem rate of duty on total imports from 1878 up to 1919, and he has brought them up to date.
Between 1878 and 1896, before Sir Wilfrid Laurier's party came into power, the average ad valorem rate of duty from IS per cent up to 22 per cent. From 1896 to .1911, the average ad valorem rate of duty ran from 16 per cent to 19 per cent. For the calendar year 1920-that is from January 1, 1920, to January 1 following-they were only from 15 per cent to 19 per cent. What is still more striking, the war ta: was taken off May 19, 1920, and from June 1, 1920, to January 31, of this year, which forms the past eight months, the rate was 13.16 per cent, or nearly three points lower than it was during any year of the Liberal regime from 1896 to 1911. If the low tariff party is the Liberal party these figures would indicate that my friends here are the Liberals and the Conservatives are opposite. But, Sir, I believe that both parties, Liberal and Conservative, ha vs been worshiping merely names. To illustrate how little it takes to make a plank of a political platform I am going to quote from a book entitled Public Men and Public Life in Canada, by Hon. James Young, published in 1912. Mr. Young in his work discusses the reasons why the two political parties of that time came to
take their positions on the tariff in 1876. He says that Hon. R. J. Cartwright on February 25, delivered the Budget speech. It was expected he would advise a moderate increase in the tariff, but he did not. The author of this book says:
Sir John Macdonald and the Honourable Charles Tupper did not disguise their surprise at the Government's action. The latter had to reply to the Finance Minister, but Sir John at a later stage admitted his own surprise. "1 came, I confess it, to hear his (Mr. Cartwright's) speech, impressed with the idea that he was going to bring down an alteration of the tariff.'' According to current report, the Honourable Charles Tupper came to the House loaded up to denounce an increase of the tariff, and to dilate-as he had done before-on the danger of permitting an entrance to the thin end of the protectionist wedge. Such an unexpected change in the situation would have appalled many another man. But in debate, nothing could appal Sir Charles. As usual he rose equal to the occasion. With surprising coolness he turned his guns, took up the opposite line of attack, and probably made a more forcible and effective criticism of the Government's course than if he had been able to use the mental ammunition which he had specially prepared for the occasion.
And he goes on to tell the following incident:-
When Dr. Tupper concluded his speech about half-past ten o'clock, and shortly before the House adjourned, the Hon. Mr. Mackenzie went across the Chamber to the front of the doctor's desk and the two doughty antagonists-the heroes of so many political battles-indulged in what seemed to the onlookers a very friendly and amusing conversation, which ht times seemed to verge a little too near the hilarious for a legislative body with the Speaker still in the Chair.
Mackenzie returned, and stopping in front of hon. Mr. Young's chair, he said:
"What do you think Tupper has just told me?"
"I have no idea," I replied.
"Well," continued Mr. Mackenzie, "I went over to banter him a little on his speech, which I jokingly alleged was a capital one considering he had been loaded up on the other side. He regarded this as a good joke, and frankly admitted to me that he had entered the House under the belief that the Government intended to raise the tariff, and fully prepared to take up the opposite line of attack."
And Mr. Young concludes:
What the Liberal and Conservative parties did that night, however, was pregnant with importance. They were making history. Had Mr. Mackenzie increased the tariff, the Conservatives would probably have become, as already suggested-the Free Traders instead of the Protectionists of Canada, and our political history would have been quite different during the ensuing twenty years.
Sir Richard Cartwright in his reminiscences confirms this incident, and at page 156, says that up to 1876 it was more than doubtful what policy the Conservatives
would adopt with regard to protection, and apparently the same was true of the Liberals. It may be worth while reminding the House again that it was Sir Robert Peel, a Conservative Premier, and the Conservative party, that brought free-trade into England in 1846. In this House there is a low-tariff party, or a no-tariff party, at the other end of the Chamber, the Farmer or Agrarian party. I must admit that on the other side of the House among the Liberals there are two hon. members who have been out-and-out free traders, my hon. friend from Brome (Mr. MgMaster), and my hon. friend from Gloucester (Mr. Turgeon). Both are equally strong free traders but I notice that my hon. friend from Brome has lately been soft-pedalling his utterances. I found myself wondering if the hon. member was changing his viewpoint, or whether it was the same sort of subserviency to party with which he is so fond of twitting us.
Then, in his recently delivered speech, the hon. member for Brome repeated Edmund Burke's definition of what he considered was a political party, namely, a group of men banded together to forward the same principles or policies which they hold in common. The hon. member continued commenting on that and said that any man who did not agree with the party with which he was allied had no right to belong to that party. I absolutely agree with him. But I thought, Sir, of asking him, what about himself? The other day he was rather prone to gibe the hon. member for Yarmouth (Mr. Spinney) upon exactly this lack of agreement with his party which applies so well to the hon. member for Brome, and I could not help thinking that no humour is so funny as unconscious humour. Listening to the hon. member one might easily conclude that the stream of Liberalism had its source in the county of Brome, but, if so, his party has not followed him along the banks of that stream. And, as far as the other traditions of both the old parties go, to my mind they could be spoken of in very much the same manner as I have spoken of those which I have discussed. Therefore it seems to me-and I say it with all sincerity-[DOT] that the logical and proper course for my hon. friends on the other side would be to follow the same leader as I am following in carrying out the policy which is for the benefit of the industrial and agricultural interests of Canada as a whole, but more particularly for the industrial and agri-
cultural interests of the provinces of Ontario and Quebec.
Sir, no one will disagree with me when I say that the agricultural.and industrial interests of these two provinces are absolutely similar. I admit that in the past there have been some cries of race and creed, perhaps from both sides of the House, but I do not think that any hon. gentleman on the other side will ever accuse me of having fostered by action or word any cry of race or creed. On that point I believe sincerely that the proper course for the province of Quebec to take would be to support the right hon. the leader of this Government and to co-operate in carrying out those policies and principles which are to the advantage of the agricultural and industrial interests of the Dominion.
I see my hon. friend from East Quebec (Mr. Lapointe) smiling. Well, I do not suppose that any words of mine will have the effect of making my hon. friends on the other side rush across to this side of the House; but at the same time I am saying what I sincerely believe to be correct, and what I think in their hearts a great many of my hon. friends on the other side also believe to be correct.
The usual reason given for an hon. member crossing the floor of the House is that he differs from his party in regard to some great principle or policy. That being so, will my hon. friend from Brome tell me, on what great principle or policy do I differ from my associates on this side of the blouse? I do not know, and, if I may judge by a great deal of criticisms levelled at the right hon. the Prime Minister, I do not think that most of my hon. friends on the other side of the House really differ with him on any great principle or policy. As a matter of fact, Sir, the majority of the Liberal Unionists still support the party they were elected to support in 1917, because, after all, while the leaders have changed, I admit frankly that there is a continuation of the same party.
My hon. friends on the other side of the House have a habit of saying that the Government and the members behind the Government have no mandate to remain in this House. I will admit that possibly there may be some truth in that; but when they argue that we should cross the floor of the House, I would like to ask, who gave me a mandate to get behind the hon. the leader of the Opposition? He was defeated-I say this with the utmost respect, for I do not wish to offend him-he was defeated in
1917, this Government was elected in the general election of that year, and I was elected behind it. What excuse could I offer to the Liberals and the Conservatives who stood behind me in my constituency if I went before them after crossing the floor of the House? I can understand an hon. member doing' as my hon. friend from Halifax (Mr. A. K. Maclean) did, because he,
I believe sincerely, stated that he obligated himself to withdraw. Well, Sir, I do not admit that I obligated myself to withdraw, and I wish to state that never in the election in my constituency was the question of how long I wras being elected for discussed; and I venture to say further that I believe that in ninety per cent of the constituencies that question was not brought up. Another point that is worth considering is that this Government or its predecessor was elected by the most overwhelming majority ever- given a Government in this country. Supposing that all the allegations regarding the overseas vote are true, the Government was elected in this country. I was elected by something like 2,500 majority, and I got another thousand votes from overseas which I did not need. My old friend the late James Conmee, who sat on the Liberal side for many years, was satisfied with a majority of 300 or 400. It is charged that we were elected only for the duration of the war, but, I repeat, Sir, that on no occasion in my constituency was that question brought up. I believe that the vast majority of the Liberals, Conservatives, Farmers and Laborites and soldiers who were behind me in 1917 are behind me still.
In discussing last year the amendment proposed by my hon. friend the leader of the Opposition, that the Government should go to the country, I said that if after the session the Government should look into the question and find that a majority of the people wanted an election, they should go to the country. I think that still, Sir. But, apparently the Government have looked into the question and have come to the conclusion that while the demand for an election may be widely spread it is rather thinly spread, and personally I agree with them in that conclusion. In pointing that out I would like to direct the attention of my hon. friends of the Opposition that the prejudices of the right hon. the leader of the Government are no greater against an election than are the prejudices of my hon. friend the leader of the Opposition for an election. So far as I am personally concerned, I do 23J
not fear an election now or at any other time, but I do not see why any noisy declarations from any group should have any undue weight with those who do not agree with them. It is only the man -who has no strength of character of his own who permits all the changing breezes of public sentiment to sway him to and fro like a weather-cock.
In the speeches of my hon. friends opposite there have been practically no criticisms of the right hon. the Prime Minister and his Government or his policies, principles or legislation. That appears to me to be quite a compliment to him and to his Government. I admit that my hon. friend the leader of the Opposition has claimed that the Government are usurpers. Well,
I will admit they are usurpers in the mind of the Opposition, because any Government that ever occupied the treasury benches of this House were usurpers in the minds of the Opposition. Every Opposition knows that, and every Opposition knows that if fair play had been used in the election only the Opposition would have been returned to power. So there is nothing particularly strange in that point of view.
There were some personal criticisms of my right hon. friend the leader of the Government, and the reason I take them up is not because he needs my help, because I have noticed that he is always quite capable of defending himself, but a spirit of fair play prompts me to refer to them. My hon. friend from Beauce (Mr. Beland) is a man whom I admire very much and for whose breadth of view I have a great deal of respect. Like myself my hon. friend usually boasts that he does not raise the cry of race or creed, and I think he is sincere in that boast. I do not wish to be unfair in my criticism, but I think my hon. friend was not quite fair as he went on. He said that the right hon. the leader of the Government had denied that he had spoken against the people or the province of Quebec, and had defied any member of the Opposition to quote any speeches of his which will warrant that description. My hon. friend from Beauce said that actions speak louder than words, and he proceeded to name a number of commissions upon which he said there were no French members: The Canadian National Railway Board, the International Joint Waterways Commission, the Pensions Board, Board of Commerce, and the three gentlemen who represented Canada at the Peace Conference, and those later who attended the first meeting of the Assembly of the League of
Nations. He failed to mention the Dominion Railway Commission and Civil Service Commission, upon which there are French members, but, of course, to make a reference to those would not agree with his argument. However, of the six commissions or bodies which my hon. friend from Beauce mentioned, only one was appointed by my right hon. friend the leader of the Government, so that my hon. friend, in proving that actions speak louder than words, uses somebody else's actions as the basis for the laying of a charge against the Prime Minister. The representatives that were appointed by my right hon. friend, were the representatives to the Assembly of the League of Nations, held lately, and while I admit-and I am sorry for it-that there were no French Canadians on that representation, the Minister of Justice (Hon. Mr. Doherty), who was a member of the delegation, is a gentleman from Montreal who speaks French and can claim, I think, to be a good friend of the French Canadian people.
Another point I would like to mention is this: my right hon. friend (Mr. Meigben) recently appointed a new judge to the Supreme Court of Canada. For some years, I believe, there had been only one French-Canadian judge on that body, but my right hon. friend very recently appointed Mr. Mignault to a vacant judge -ship there. I understand that it is some years since two French Canadian judges sat on the bench of the Supreme Court of Canada. I simply point this out as a small matter, but one which, after all, shows no such hatred of the French Canadian people as has been charged against the Prime Minister by some hon. gentlemen opposite.
Then, the member for Chambly-Vercheres (Mr. Archambault), made the charge against the right hon. leader of the Government that he was making love to the province of Quebec without a mandate. Well, Sir, making love is an old and much respected custom. I have known our French Canadian friends for many years, and if I may judge by that knowledge and by the natural increase in the population down there I should think that love-making is not such an unpopular pastime as might be inferred from the remarks of my hon. friend. However, Sir, what is the crime? Even supposing my right hon. friend is making love to the province of Quebec, in what respect is it a crime to attempt to bring about a better feeling of friendship between the province of Quebec and the province of Ontario and the rest of Canada?
C3Hr. Man ion. 1
The old charge was that my right hon. friend and his associates were trying to isolate the province of Quebec; now it is the reverse, so that one is forced to the conclusion that politics plays ducks and drakes with consistency and logic.
Why, Sir, are these vicious attacks being made on the Prime Minister on the ground of his alleged hatred for Quebec? What has the Prime Minister done? Is it because he, on behalf of the Government of which he was a member, piloted through this House a certain amount of unpopular legislation? In this connection it is worth remembering that, after all, he was only a member of that Government; he was not the Government itself. I am sincere in this; I would like to know what it is that my right hon. friend has done. In what respect has he showed that hatred for the province of Quebec which is attributed to him? Was it the Military Service Act? I do not know, but I sometimes have a suspicion that perhaps it was the Military Service Act. Well, if that is the case, I have only this to say: the Military Service Act did not particularly specify French Canadians as against English-speaking Canadians; it was an Act for the whole of Canada. That being the case, and if the suspicion is correct that it is the Military Service Act which the Opposition hold against my hon. friend, then why do hon. gentlemen opposite not hold it also against the member for Shelburne and Queen's (Mr. Fielding); against the member for Marquette (Mr. Crerar); against the member for Red Deer (Mr. Michael Clark), and against all the other gentlemen who have joined my hon. friends on the other side of the House-against, indeed, all those Liberals who came in in 1917 and supported that Act? Sir, I find it difficult to understand the attitude that repels friendly advances and is angered by them; that fosters antagonism and strife; that prefers the gauntlet of battle to the hand of friendship and co-operation in a common cause.
I believe that the sane element in this country to-day do not desire an election, having regard to the unsettled conditions which it would cause, and to the turmoil, uncertainty, and business disturbances which would prevail. And why should they desire an election? This Government and its predecessor brought in a great deal of legislation, which, to my mind, was of a wise and sane character^ Let us look at it for a moment-and these are only a few instances which have occurred to me in jotting down these notes. The Government
carried on Canada's part in the war. There may be some criticism of details in that regard, but on the whole I think the people of Canada feel that our part in the war was carried on creditably and courageously. Then, Sir, after that they brought about demobilization in a very able manner. They adopted measures of soldiers' civil re-establishment, and a soldier land settlement scheme that was looked upon by many people as a standard for adoption by many other countries. They have brought in a life insurance scheme for soldiers and a pension system which involves a higher pension scale than that of any other country. They established a Department of Health, and in the speech from the Throne this year they mention the establishment of a Department of Scientific Research. They gave the franchise to women and brought in a Franchise Act which fair-minded people look upon as a very high type of law. They brought Canada through the war from a financial standpoint in such a capable manner that Canada, with the possible exception of the United States, is to-day in a better financial position than any other country that took part in the war. They put on an income tax something which had been talked of on both sides of politics for a -long' time, but upon which action was never taken until an income tax system was established by the preceding Government. Finally, Sir, they insist and have insisted on Canada taking its place as a nation in the galaxy of the nations of the empire. That, Sir, is laughed at by some of my friends opposite. Well, as a man who is the same type of Canadian as they are, I am proud of the things which have been done to show that Canada is really taking the part of a nation within the Empire. I confess that even as a young boy I used to experience a feeling of disgust wheri I read of international conferences where Canada did not even have the status of the little negro republics of Central America. I am proud of the fact that at the Peace Conference there were representatives to speak for Canada. The member for Shelburne and Queen's-I say it with the utmost respect, for I have a very great respect for the hon. gentleman- rather made fun of that, and was cheered by his friends on the other side when he did so. Personally I do not understand that attitude.
Then, the appointment of an ambassador from Canada to the United States is certainly a lead towards a high class of Can-adianism. Then, there is the matter of the
appointment of Canada's representatives at the League of Nations. Should we have been represented by gentlemen from across the water, even if they did come from England?
I do not believe so; I like to have the Canadian people speak for themselves. I was proud to read in the press the statement,-[DOT]
I think it was made by Mr. Rowell, one of the representatives at the recent Conference-that the Canadian people handled their own affairs and did not permit any country, even England, to interfere with their domestic policies. I think everybody should be proud of that. All these things -which have been laughed at by hon. gentlemen opposite, largely, I suppose, from the political standpoint-tend to the building up of the right type of Canadianism,-a type of Canadianism w'hich looks after itself.
The member for Chambly-Vercheres (Mr. Archambault) got a great round of applause because he said he stood out for Canada and was always thinking of Canada first. Why, Sir, that is what this Government and its predecessor have been doing all the time. I venture to say that every hon. gentleman on this side agrees with the hon. member for Chambly-Vercheres that Canada should come first in Canada's policy. Well, looking- over that line of legislation, I ask hon. gentlemen whether it is a type of legislation in respect of which the Government need blush? Is that the type of legislation that this Government should be punished for having put into force in this country? I do not think so.
I was asking why the people should ask for an election. Why should the people of this country demand an election? I gave the first answer-because of wise and sane legislation. The second is that there have been no charges of graft against the ministers of this Government. And the third is that the country generally is prosperous. It is true that there is a certain amount of unemployment, but I made it my business the other day to make inquiries of officials of the Labour Department and I was informed by them that Canada is in no worse position from the unemployment standpoint than it has been in at other times when there have been depressions throughout the country. Indeed, it was pointed out-and I would like to give the Minister of Labour credit for this on the floor of the House-that it had not been the practice to keep any statistics relating to unemployment, but as soon as the Minister of Labour came in he started to keep such statistics; and it is the opinion of the depart-
to us on this side, when the Government does anything of which we can cordially approve. That does not, however, mean that the Opposition is to abandon criticism, because an Opposition that abandons criticism abandons its duty. Parliament is a place for plain speaking. A vigilant and efficient parliamentary critic is, a man who will not knowingly say anything that is false and who will not fear to say anything that is true. If an opening appears in the armour of the Government, a good soldier on this side would be expected to strike, provided always that the opening is above the belt. The selection of my right hon. friend as leader has rallied the old Liberal-Conservative party under a new name, and has revived the old battle cry of "Protection". Unionism is dead, and there are very few mourners going about the streets. The old Liberal-Conservative party is on deck again under a new name. During my life-time this party has changed its name about as often as Henry VIII changed his wives-first Tory, then Conservative, next Confederation, then Liberal-Conservative, then Unionist, and now National Liberal and Conservative. But it is the same old party and the policy is substantially the same old policy. The Ethiopian has not changed his skin and the spots of the leopard are easily detected. The old Liberal-Conservative party stood for a high protective tariff; this party does the same. The old party stood for a partisan franchise; this party does likewise. The old party spent in excess of its income; there is, no evidence of a change of heart in that respect. The old party promised ports and drydocks and dredging in order to elect Cabinet ministers; it took the promise of port improvements to pave the way for the election of the Minister of Finance (Sir Henry Drayton) ; it required the construction of a drydock costing millions to elect the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Tolmie), and the largest and most powerful suction dredge in the world had to be imported from the United States and actually put to work, pumping mud in Courtenay bay under full steam, to elect the Minister of Customs and Inland Revenue (Mr. Wigmore). There is now no pretense that any man of Liberal views can any longer support this administration. Shakespeare says that "Misery makes strange bedfellows." So does politics. One would have thought, a few years ago, that a proposal to fuse together permanently the Minister of Immigration and Colonization (Mr. Calder) and the hon. member for Yarmouth and Clare (Mr. Spinney) in the same political party with the Prime Minister (Mr. Meighen) and the Minister of Trade and Commerce (Sir George Foster) would be nothing short of flying in the face of the Scriptures by putting new wine into old bottles. But this has actually taken place and nothing serious has happened. The wine may be weak, I do not profess to know, but all I can say is that so far the bottles have not burst. There have been numerous changes in the Cabinet, to which reference has already been made, but that has become the custom. Ever since 1917 the Cabinet has continued to change like a kaleidoscope. It has evidently ceased to have any elements of stability and has become a place where men go in and out to find pasture. Some years ago there was a celebrated cabinet change in these provinces, known as the "double shuffle," but since 1917 we have had what will be known in the future political history of this country as the perpetual Cabinet shuffle.
The financial condition of the country will be discussed when the Budget is brought down, and I trust that the Budget may not be too long delayed. May I also express the hope that detailed information will be given regarding the expenditure of $121,000,000 for which no vouchers were available last year, and further, that the Government will this year respect the provisions of the Audit Act which they violated last year and the year before, and see that the Auditor General's report in complete form is laid on the table of the House within fifteen days of the opening of the session. The sooner Parliament is made acquainted with the facts, the better.
There are rumours of another enormous railway deficit, there are also rumours of new methods of taxation to be proposed; but from no Government source have we any concrete proposal looking towards retrenchment or economy. I would like to hear that the Minister of Finance is doing some concentrated thinking on this question of economy, but economy seems to be a lost art with this Government. I want to say to my hon. friend the Minister of Finance (Sir Henry Drayton), who I am sorry is not now in his seat, that the people of this country are wide awake. They are not ignorant of the waste that is going on. They are not ignorant of the lack of efficiency and business ability on the part
of this Government. They have known what it has cost in good money and bad service for this Government to assume control of 20,000 miles of railway. The high freights and the big deficits tell their own story. The people have been taking notice. They have seen the civil servants increase like the army worm, and the public debt grow like rolling up a snowball.
If you would like me to make some practical suggestions in the direction of economy I am willing to do so. Here are a few modest proposals. Reduce the force of the Northwest Mounted Police and confine their operations to the unorganized territories and the Yukon, and thereby save a very large sum of money every year. Cut down the army and navy expenditure. Reduce the cost of administration. Reduce the number of portfolios. Practice economy in every department of Government. Stop squandering money on ships that are not required. Make economy the watch ward. Establish a blacklist in which the names of all the wasters in the public service will be recorded. Reduce the present army of civil servants and stop making further appointments except where absolutely necessary. No more dredging in Courtenay bay. No more play grounds in Toronto harbour. No more elevators at Halifax until the grain trade of the port will -warrant the expenditure, No more drill halls anywhere. No more political dry docks in British Columbia. No more News Bureau in New York or anywhere else, costing $30,000 a year to puff the Government and write headlines about eminent mediocrities. No more Griffinhagens at $10,000 a month to struggle with the hopeless task of reforming the Civil Service for a Government that does not seem to want reformation. Give the farmers, fishermen and other producers a chance. Do not spend too much time listening to the clamour of the Manufacturers' Association. Be vigilant in the collection of the income tax and see that no wealthy shirker escapes. Let the Prime Minister and the Minister of Finance adopt these suggestions and they will earn the gratitude of the people of this country, and it will not be necessary for them to come before Parliament with deficits or with new methods of taxation to harass the people.
Mr. Speaker, if we could bargain with the Government to pay them by results, we would save an enormous sum of money.
One proposal, and to my mind A practical one, is that we should ration this Government. Their late leader when in Opposition stated that an expenditure of $85,000,000 on all ordinary services was so enormous a sum as to be in itself evidence of corruption. When he made that statement he was loudly cheered by his supporters, many of whom are still in the house supporting the present Administration. The expenditure arising out of the war must, of course, be provided for; I am not now' referring to war expenditure; but instead of voting $230,000,000 for ordinary expenditure on Consolidated Revenue account apart from the war, suppose we take hon. gentlemen opposite at their word and confine them strictly to the $85,000,000 that their late leader said was altogether too much, and then let them cut their coat according to their cloth.
My right hon. friend the Prime Minister during the recess had been making-speeches in Ontario and the West. One speech in particular has been brought to my attention. It was delivered in the county of Hastings, and in that speech he undertook to divide the people of this country into two classes. He is reported as follows:
I see only two classes, only two divisions, in the country. On the one side are those who hold their heads steady and walk firmly and erectly in the rnidle of the road, who learn from experience, who believe in industry, order and liberty, who still have faith in British institutions and principles, that have made us what we are to-day. And on the other side I see those who have surrendered to prejudice and class consciousness, to passion for change and experiment, whose minds are occupied in nurturing suspicion and hostility against other classes of the State. On the one side I see the builders of this country's foundations tried and true. On the other side those engaged in the cheerful occupation of tearing down. I put the question to you. Are you going to he a nation-builder, or a nation-wrecker?
Now, Mr. Speaker, that was certainly complimentary to hon. gentlemen on this side of the House. Our minds "occupied in nurturing suspicion and hostility against other classes in the States." Surely we are not so bad as that. I fear my right hon. friend has been looking at us through such distorted party spectacles that he has failed to see our good points. He divides the people into two classes: the nation-builders and the nation-wreckers. The nation-builders, I suppose, are the men who follow him and do his bidding.
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