May 13, 1921

LIB

Louis Édouard Fernand Rinfret

Liberal

Mr. RINFRET:

The Prime Minister

says that the word " reduction " is not in the amendment, but he has read it twice. The word is there twice.

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UNION

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

Unionist

Mr. MEIGHEN:

It is only there once, so far as I have been able to see. They regret that no reductions have been made, but they do not say they will do anything to bring a reduction about. Where is the

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UNION

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

Unionist

Mr. MEIGHEN:

If he would stand up for those who frankly say they are with him in tariff matters, but he and those who think with him go before their constituents and say: Why, we do not propose to reduce a single item of the tariff; we can reduce the cost of living by seeing to it that we make more, things in this country; by seeing to it that we get a scale of production which will enable manufacturers to reduce the cost; by seeing to it that by competition developed through a protective tariff we bring about a reduction of prices to the consumer of Canada. That will be my hon. friend's position in the county of St. James.

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LIB
UNION

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

Unionist

Mr. MEIGHEN:

It is a pretty safe conjecture because that is what the amendment enables him to do. What my hon. friend is going to do I have no means of knowing except by what he did before; I presume he will adopt the same tariff platform the next time that he adopted on the former occasion. I know that his journals all through the province of Quebec-including his own journal, the one to which he sends most astounding reports from this House-are continually assuring the manufacturers and the workingman of that province not to fear anything should the Liberal party get into power. They say: "We are protectionists the same as you are; do not be afraid of us Liberals if we get into power." That is what the Quebec journals are saying, and saying repeatedly. Did the hon. gentleman ever see those sentiments in the press.

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LIB
UNION

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

Unionist

Mr. MEIGHEN:

Well, Le Canada, we will try that one. Did the hon. gentleman ever see in his journal any article denouncing the principle of protection? Has he ever published any such article? I read that paper occasionally, and I have never seen anything of the kind. I do not know myself of a single Liberal journal in the province of Quebec, either French-Cana-dian or English-Canadian, which takes any such attitude. And what about the hon. member for North Waterloo (Mr. Euler)? He is a gentleman of strong views; there are not many cobwebs in his brain; he talks pretty clearly. He made a speech the other day before the Reform club of Montreal, and I have a copy of that speech before me. Will he go back to his county and say that he voted against protection? Will he go back and say that he is against the principle of protection? Is he going to vote that way in this House? Which clause of this amendment is he going to support? Here is what he said in Montreal:

I would say that he is a hold man-

"Bold man," remember.

-who declares that one who believes that Canada should have a moderate tariff for revenue, or protection of industries and employment, was not a good Liberal.

Does it not look as if the hon. member for Waterloo could be a Liberal and at the same time a protectionist? Will the hon. gentleman vote for this amendment

and still be a protectionist? I cannot get a nod from him, either; there is no reply. Of course there is a clause in the amendment to fit his case-there is one to fit every case.

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L LIB
UNION

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

Unionist

Mr. MEIGHEN:

But I want my hon. friend to explain his vote. I want him to explain which clause he will have in mind, which he is voting for and which he is voting against, when he supports the amendment-if he does; I still have some confidence that he will not support it. Listen to this protectionist doctrine as propounded by the hon. member for Waterloo:

One matter which people had to think of today was the labour question. Canadian workmen had become used to a. good standard of living, and he believed-

That is, the hon. member for North Waterloo.

that this standard should be kept up, though, perhaps, in some instances they had gone too far.

Referring, I suppose, to the workingmen.

To keep up these standards for the working people it was essential that there should not be unfair competition with countries where the standard of living was lower. Much better it would be if the standard of living in these Countries were raised to the standard of that of Canada. Mr. Euler instanced the manufacture of buttons, of which article Kitchener made the total Canadian product.

I have not the least doubt that when the hon. member goes back to Kitchener his platform will be much the same as that of the hon. member for West Peterborough (Mr. Gordon); it will be a case of "Kitchener first."

And what about the hon. member for West Peterborough himself, who was elected upon a declaration that he stood "for the protection of industries and for the protection of labour?" What about the hon. gentleman's denunciation of me as an interloper and shameless intruder because I dared to say that the tariff had anything at all to do with that election. By the way, what did the hon. member for Red Deer mean when he stated that we ought to draw a lesson from the election in Peterborough? Why, the only candidate there who came anywhere near to standing on his platform-the only one Who supported a policy resembling his in the remotest degree was a man who got approximately one-quarter of the votes. The successful candidate was elected on a protectionist platform; the leader of the Op-

position went there in order to see that his candidate might be returned on a platform of protection. Why, he said, this Parliament has no right to touch the tariff, and even if I were Prime Minister I would not alter one word, one schedule or one item of the tariff until we had another appeal to the people. But he since submitted an amendment in this House-and in support of it he got the vote of the hon. member for West Peterborough-the object of which was to change the tariff duties on from one hundred to two hundred articles at this session of the House. What will be the position of the hon. member for West Peterborough if he votes for this amendment? Is he, who was elected because he declared he was a protectionist; is he who was elected because he pinned his faith to protection-is he going to go back to his constituents and say: I have voted against the principle of protection? I will tell you what he is going to say: "I voted for the protection of industry based upon the natural resources of the country; I voted for paragraph 3 of the amendment.

The House will remember that the third last paragraph refers to such changes "as may be expected to reduce the cost of living." Then the second last paragraph says:

That, while keeping: this aim clearly in mind-

Just keeping it "in mind."

-the House recognizes that in any readjustment of the tariff that may take place, regard must he had to existing conditions of trade.

Does the hon. member for Red Deer (Mr. Clark) say that in readjusting a tariff, you should have regard to 'existing conditions of trade? Does the hon. member for Marquette (Mr. Crerar) say that? He says that he is going to vote for that; the hon. member for Red Deer is going to vote for it; but they voted already this session for something that they said they did not believe in-at all, and I suppose they can do so again-anything to get in the same boat with hon. gentlemen opposite.

Regard must he had to existing conditions of trade, and changes made in such manner as will cause the least possible disturbance of business.

That is a new translation of the phrase that was used with admirable regularity by the leader of the Opposition (Mr. Mackenzie King) in many speeches that he has been delivering. He said: "Do not worry; when I amend the tariff, I will have regard to the needs of industry." Having

|Mr Meighen.j

overworked that phase, which was a clear declaration for protection, they change it, and they say that they will "have regard to existing conditions of trade" and see that there is no "disturbance of business." All that they will do in connection with these "changes" that may be made, "expecting to reduce the cost of living," will be to keep them "in mind." That is what the resolution says.

There is no doubt where the Government stand. There is no measure of doubt through this country. The hon. member for Red Deer, the hon. member for Marquette, everyone, so far as I know, who has spoken, clearly stated that the country could not fail to understand where the Government stood on tariff matters. It is not where the hon. member for Maisonneuve (Mr. Le-mieux) says it stands, in the speech which he delivered and which contained many a sentence for which he had no warrant in the world. He said: "This Government stands for high protection." I wish he were in the chamber, so that I might ask him upon what authority he made that statement. Can he find any sentence or utterance of mine to justify him? Can he find any act of this Government or any schedule of the tariff to justify him in it, unless he admits that he himself is a high protectionist too? Upon what authority then does he make that assertion? He makes it upon no authority at all. This Government stands for the tariff that is in existence to-day, and in any adjustment that will be made we will admit the principle of protection and we will apply it, but only to the extent that we have applied it during our term of office here, namely, to the extent essential to ensure production in this country and to enable producers to compete with similar businesses in other countries. Have we ever done more than that? I ask again: What warrant have hon. gentlemen opposite, time after time, without a reference, without a single quotation from anything, without even pointing the finger at an item of the tariff, to keepv continually asserting, through the press and upon platforms in this country, that this Government is a high protectionist Government? That is a misrepresentation. This indeed is their own tariff reduced.

The hon. member for Shelburne and Queen's (Mr. Fielding) accused me of misrepresentation when I told the people of Sherbrooke that there was an issue to-day between free trade and protection. I did not use those exact words, but I will not quar-

rel with them. Let me discuss that question now that my hon. friend has arrived in the chamber, and we will see whether there is an issue between free trade and protection. He says that nobody is talking about free trade now. What kind of individual is the hon. member for Red Deer (Mr. Clark) ? What kind of individuals are the whole rank and file of the Farmers' party through Western Canada? Does my hon. friend believe that they are not talking about free trade? Does he believe that they do not mean to have it? I should like him to take a trip through that western country. If he does, he will see the authority upon which these hon. gentlemen of the Farmers' party are in this House. He will see the determination that is there. That party was bred out of resentment, because they felt that they were deceived in 1896 and 1897 by the hon. gentleman (Mr. Fielding) himself. Resentment is what gave rise to that party, and they have since been nourished upon those doctrines of free trade through their press by hon. gentlemen over there, by the hon. member for Marquette in speech after speech, in which he preached the gospel of free trade. Is he nobody? I know that, in latter months, now that the marriage is being celebrated little by little with the official Opposition, he has got upon the "easy stages' " course; but, as he says, it is free trade that he is heading for. He believes in free trade, and for the life of him, he cannot give a sound reason why, if free trade is as good as he says it is, he would not have it at once. The only real reason is that he wants to help his friends of the Opposition. This is what I said at Sherbrooke; I am going to read it and I commend it to the attention of hon. members of this House, to the attention of the province of Quebec and to the attention of the people of every province in Canada:

There .may be some who say that even this Farmers' party is hedging on the question of free trade yet, I know when they are seeking votes in Eastern Canada, they take pretty long chances on that subject and they hedge rather clumsily, it is true, but they try to convince those whose votes they want that they are not quite as bad as they have been painted.

This is the shorthand report of my speech.

The policy and intent of a party can be read from several things. I would think, first, it could be read from the declarations of its acknowledged leader; I would think next, it could be read from the definite stipulations of its platform; and next, that it could be read in the minds and utterances of the great body of its rank and

file. Now, let me appeal to these sources. Here is what Mr. Crerar, who leads this party, to which I am directing attention, said only about four or five months ago:

"The policy of Canada for the last forty years has not been an enlightened policy."

Did that apply to the fifteen years during which the Liberal party were in power? Were not those fifteen years a part of the forty? He does not say that there are two policies; he says that there is one, but that it has not been an enlightened policy. I continue my quotation of Mr. Crerar's remarks:

"Its purpose has been to favour certain people to the damage of the rest of the nation. This has been done through protection, or what was known as the tariff. The tariff increased the price of commodities of every kind for the Canadians. The proper way to tax the people is by direct and not indirect taxation."

And again:

"The burden of Mr. Crerar's speech was a eulogy of the doctrine of free trade and an attack of the present fiscal policy of protection. Protection, he said, is a special privilege whereby certain men enjoy advantages that others in the community do not have."

A definite free trade commitment, and that is Mr_ Grerar's belief, and I know it. Speaking at Woodstock, N.B., on the 10th December last, he said-and let very man, woman and child, who depends on the industries of Sherbrooke listen to this:

"If we cannot make shoes as cheaply here as they can make them in the United States, then we have not reached the time when we should be making shoes." i

Where is the hon. member for Quebec East (Mr. Lapointe), who is in the "same boat" with the hon. member for Marquette? The hon. member says that we should not be making shoes unless we can make them as cheaply as they can be made in the United States. If we carried out that principle, we would have scarcely an industry in this country:

"We should be making the things which we can produce the cheapest and trade on that basis."

The man who believes that, believes in the whole abolition of the protective tariff. Again, at Brandon, on the ISth November last, here were his words ringing clear:

"The policy of protection is the greatest curse and drawback we could have in Canada."

Does the hon. member see much resemblance between that and the amendment which he is voting for to-day:

Now, you do not wonder that a sort of sublieutenant' of Mr. Crerar's was not listened to very much in the county of Colchester, when he told the good people there that, after all, they did not want free trade. Why free trade is the very heart and soul of the whole Farmer movement and platform.

Now isn't it? Is not the cry, "On to Ottawa for free trade?" Is not that the

great prompting motive and battle cry of the farmers' movement in the West? There is no question about it:

Practically every recital in their written platform brought out on the 18th November, 1918, denounces protection as a curs" in this Dominion, as an unmitigated curse in this country, and implies that the Farmers' party will not rest until protection is gone; then they declare that immediately they must have free trade in all foods, and food stuffs in this Dominion, free trade with England in five years, free trade in vehicles, including aucomobiles, and in cement, fertilizers, everything all down the list, leaving only a few nondescript articles that could temporarily be taxed.

Because they have a plank also which virtually calls for free trade in the necessaries of life, which, if you enact, you might just as well have free trade:

A platform that declares for that is a free trade platform.

Does the hon. gentleman deny it? I say that free trade in those things means free trade all round in so far as goods produced in this country are concerned ,and that is what free trade means. You can have a tariff and have free trade; that is to say, you can have a tariff and lave no protection. Great Britain had it for 60 years. She has not it now, and when her Safeguarding the Industries Bill goes into effect they will have a protection that along with other devices employed will compare with that now existing in the United States. I think my hon. friend from Red Deer had better go back home if he wants to propagate his doctrine where it is most needed if it is of any value.

It is no information to tha people of Sherbrooke to be told that this whole movement was born of the Western Prairies.

I repeat that, and I emphasize it, and I ask hon. gentlemen to repeat it anywhere they like.

This whole movement was born of the Western Prairies, the prairies from which I come, and in which I have fought the movement from my earliest days in polities, and in which I will fight it to my last day in political life. There it took its birth, there where you have the largest proportion anywhere in this Dominion-

This is important.

-composed of recent immigrants from many countries, chiefly from the United States of America. There this movement took its birth. Out of that soil it grew, and living there, as I have, for twenty-two years I tell you what I know when I say that the spirit of the movement and the intent of its leaders and founders, the determined intent of the rank and file right through the Prairies is free trade, nothing more and nothing less. Now men who want that, we know where they are. We know exactly what principle they stand for, and we are able to

argue with them. We respect them, whether we differ or not, so long as they are manly and frank and tell us the principle to which they adhere.

I think I should have added "and vote for the principle to which they adhere." Such was my authority for saying that we had a free trade issue in Canada.

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UNI L

William Stevens Fielding

Unionist (Liberal)

Mr. FIELDING:

Do I understand my

hon. friend is alleging that I misquoted him?

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UNION

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

Unionist

Mr. MEIGHEN:

I cannot find in the speech the exact words, but I do not quarrel; the intent was the same. I did give expression to that meaning, but I cannot find the exact words. I do not accuse the hon. member of misrepresenting me, but I do accuse him of stating that I misrepresented the issue in this country, when I did not misrepresent the issue at all. I know the hon. gentleman is not declaring for free trade. I know what he is doing. I know that he is circling all round the subject, pursued by the protectionist battalions around him, and held in leash on the end of a string by the indignant free traders of the West. That is what the hon. gentleman is doing; that is the exercise he is engaged in now. It is as a consequence of that, that we are met in this House now not by the platform of the Liberal party, not by the platform of the Agrarian party, but by a sort of tautological compound that you can read anything into you like, and read anything out of you like. Such is the device to which hon. gentlemen have been compelled to resort in order to get into the same boat for the purpose of a vote in Parliament. I say again, that may work all right in this House, but I do say this: it is not making any impression on the people of this country. Its object is fully understood. Go where you will in this Dominion, and hon. gentlemen opposite will find that they have earned the reputation of refusing to be frank on the great tariff issue. I say to the leader of the Opposition that, unfortunately, such reputation particularly attaches to him. I do not know that I blame him any more than the rest.

I know that he is surrounded by different opinions. I know the difficulties he is in, but I think it would be better for him to get on one side of the principle and stay on it, and take the consequences, whatever they may be. Does he now tell this House he will vote to say the tariff should not be based on the principle of protection? The hon. gentleman who moves the amendment says all that means they are not going to put a tariff on everything on earth, to pro-

tect tea in British Columbia, and icycles in Greenland, or the growing of bananas, I suppose, on the shores of Baffin's hay. Is that to be all that the leader of the Opposition means when he votes that tariff should not be based on the principle of protection? Let him tell this House plainly that if he gets into power he will not have protection in Canada, that he will not practice protection in this Dominion. I ask him when he speaks in this debate to tell us whether he will or will not afford protection to the industries of Canada. Let him say that he will afford protection to the industries of Canada based on the natural resources, if he likes, and he can change the definition of the hon. member for Shelburne and Queen's if he wants to. Let him say definitely what he will do. Will he abandon protection or will he adhere to it? I do not care a bit about the adjective he uses-not a particle. Let him tell this country whether he intends to practice protection or whether he does not. I asked, when the hon. member for Shelburne and Queen's was out of the chamber, and I appealed only for a nod, but I could not get even that from those who were in front of me, whether the present tariff of this country was based on the principle of protection. I ask my hon. friend now. There is not even a nod from him. May I ask the hon. member for Cape Breton North and Victoria (Mr. McKenzie). I want to tell him that if I read his speech aright he is as sound a protectionist as ever stood in this or any other Parliament. In the speech he made last night he told us that it was the duty of this country to take care of the workmen's families down in the province of Nova Scotia, and to see to it that the price we paid for coal was high enough, even if it was higher than we could buy coal from anywhere else, that these men might be employed and that their children who to-day are without food can get bread. That is pretty good protectionist doctrine. The hon. member says he will stand for that; he supports it, and he is going to fight for that in this House. I do not blame him, nor do I find fault with him for frankly saying in that speech that he does favour the protective principle. He has said so over and over again. How is he going to vote when the amendment comes up for decision?

Now, I have delayed the House, I had almost said unconscionably longer than I intended, probably much longer than is my due share. I have stated where the Government stands on the issue.

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?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Go on.

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UNION

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

Unionist

Mr. MEIGHEN:

I have tried also to

state where hon. gentlemen of both factions of the Opposition have said they stand on the issue. I repeat, I do not care whether they get together or whether they maintain this ostensible separation. All that I appeal to them for is this: that they tell us where they stand upon this question, and that they adhere definitely, and consistently to their position in the House and out of it, both by vote and by speech. If they can get together and stand on a common footing, submitting something which they can say is what they all agree to and will perform; if they will say: "This is our platform, and we will carry this out", very well; that would be frank and honest. But let this game cease that has been played for the last two years. It is not doing any good; it is not deceiving any one; it is not doing any credit to the politics of Canada.

The manifest course for this country to pursue-and I venture to say that 75 per cent of the people of this Dominion in their hearts approve

is a policy of moderate protection in Canada. Anything also under existing world conditions would be madness itself. I have uttered these words in terms no stronger than would be used in conversation by many hon. gentlemen opposite, and I believe that it is the opinion of 75 per cent of the people of this country at the present time. Such is the policy this Government intends to pursue.

On the very eve and under the shades of the impending revision, which I fear is to be drastic, of the tariff of the United States, who is there that suggests that we at this time, should undertake to make a revision in this country? The United States, by reason of its tremendous size and industrial potency, exercises inevitably a very great influence over our commercial conditions and destiny, and we must have regard to what it does, regard ten times greater than any concern they need have for us. We are merely one factor, and a relatively small factor compared with the whole, in the considerations that determine their policy. But they are a mighty factor in the computation of conditions that determine ours. Sixty-nine per cent of our imports we buy from them. Oh, it is suggested-and really I hardly know what language I could use to describe the suggestion-that the present tariff which the United States is about to institute has been brought about, because foresooth, we did not accept the Reciprocity proposal of 1911. A more childish sugges-

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tion could not be addressed to the intelligence of the Canadian people than to imply that this is penalizing legislation on the part of the United States the result of our rejection of reciprocity. May I enquire first of all how is it that they are penalizing every other country as well? The tariff which is now about to go into effect in the United States applies everywhere else, the same as here. What was the offence of these other countries? Later, they offered us wheat and products of wheat free if we would do the same for them. We accepted that proposal, and now shortly after our acceptance goes into effect the present Bill provides 35 or 40 cents duty on wheat, and 25 per cent duty on flour. Are we being punished because we accepted their offer in that respect? Why are not those duties left out of their impending tariff? They also offered us free potatoes if we reciprocated, and we accepted that offer. But the present tariff has 25 cents a bushel on potatoes. In both these instances the tariff is almost prohibitive; again I ask are we being punished for accepting the reciprocal offers as to these commodities. I pass on. We are selling the United States $542,000,000 worth of goods and buying from them $856,000,000 per year. Are we penalized because the advantage to them is not greater? Is that the case? Have we not treated them fairly? The hon. member for Shelburne and Queen's (Mr. Fielding) says this tariff is all our fault. Let me ask, in the name of Canada, what would be right treatment on our part to the United States? If conditions that enable them to sell us $856,000,000 worth a year, and buy from us only $542,000,000, are too onerous for them and too good for us, what does my hon. friend suggest? If their mind is to penalize us, if this tariff is the consequence of any resentment on their part, one would have thought that they would have acted sooner. But, on the contrary, they acted the other way. In 1913, under the Underwood Tariff, two years after reciprocity was defeated, the United States threw down the bars very largely on most of the goods included in the Reciprocity Agreement. That is the way they acted then. Why? Because they wanted to favour us? Not at all; it was because they thought it was good policy for the United States. They thought they could handle the products of Canada and become, in respect of those goods, the great distributing agents and could make a profit on the distribution. And so they did. The time has come now, however, when, by reason of conditions clearly stated in their own speeches in their House, they cannot do this any longer. They have a plethora of these goods and the farmers of the United States have demanded that as against these foreign products they be given due protection. That demand is being conceded. Hon. gentlemen suggest that if reciprocity had been accepted, and the plethora from this country had been still greater, then the United States would not take the step they seem about to take. Could anything be more utterly absurd? The conditions that brought about this change of policy in the United States would undoubtedly have been worse under reciprocity, if the reciprocity had any effect at all. And hon. gentlemen say that if the conditions had teen worse the remedy would have been postponed! Well, Mr. Speaker, if this is to be the policy of the United States, they have a right to choose their path. If they so direct their steps, then it will be for Canada, under the conditions that will be forced upon us, to determine what is our course, having regard to the interests of Canada and to the interests of Canada alone. At Six o'clock the House took recess. After Recess The House resumed at Eight o'clock.


PRIVATE BILLS

CONSIDERED IN COMMITTEE-THIRD READINGS


Bill No. 109, for the relief of John Edward Kelly.-Mr. Mowat. Bill' No. 110, for the relief of Annie Belle Westbeare.-Mr. Boys. Bill No. Ill, for the relief of Christina Wilson Stephens.-Mr. Mowat. Bill No. 112, for the relief of Alice Andrews.-Mr. Hocken. Bill No. 113, for the relief of Esther Annie Vanzant.-Mr. Mowat. Bill No. 114, for the relief of Werden Grant Parker.-Mr. Mowat. Bill No. 115, for the relief of James Edward Nixon.-Mr. Fripp. Bill No. 123, for the relief of Joseph Sorton.-Mr. Mowat. Bill No. 124, for the relief of Gladys Frances Annie Wheeler Bernard.-Mr. McQuarrie. Bill No. 125, for the relief of William Carr.-Mr. Boys. Bill No. 126, for the relief of Ida Florence Keenan.-Mr. Boys. Bill No. 127, for the relief of Gertrude May Turner.-Mr. Ross. Bill No. 128, for the relief of James Henry Bigrow.-Mr. Harrison. Bill No. 129, for the relief of Emelina Dunsmore.-Mr. Morphy. Bill No. 131, for the relief of Alfred William Wells.-Mr. Boys. Bill No. 133, for the relief of Elizabeth Gertrude Conner.-Mr. Copp. Bill No. 134, for the relief of Louise Sullivan.-Mr. McMaster. Bill No. 142, for the relief of Lily Appleton.-Mr. Douglas (Strathcona). Bill No. 143, for the relief of Harry Hirshenbain.-Mr. Jacobs. Bill No. 144, for the relief of Percy Christopher Paul.-Mr. Harrison. Bill No. 145, for the relief of John Graham.-Mr. Smith. Bill No. 132, respecting the Maritime Coal, Railway and Power Company.-Mr. Maclean (Halifax).


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May 13, 1921