March 9, 1922

OPENING OF THE SESSION


Mr. SPEAKER read a communication from the Governor General's Secretary announcing that His Excellency would proceed to the Senate Chamber at 3 p.m. on this day for the purpose of formally opening the session of the Dominion Parliament. Governor General's Speech



A message was delivered by Lieut.-Col. Ernest J. Chambers, Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod, as follows: Mr. Speaker, His Excellency the Governor General desires the immediate attendance of this honourable House in the Chamber of the honourable the Senate. Accordingly the House went up to the Senate Chamber. Then the Hon. Rodolphe Lemieux, Speaker-elect, said: May it please your Excellency, The House of Commons have elected me as their Speaker, though I am but little able to fulfil the important duties thus assigned to me. If in the performance of those duties I should at any time fall into error, I pray that the fault may be imputed to me, and not to the Commons whose servant I am. The Honourable the Speaker of the Senate addressing the Honourable the Speaker of the Commons then said: Mr. Speaker, I am commanded by His Excellency the Governor General to assure you that your words and actions will constantly receive from him the most favourable construction. !! Then His Excellency the Governor General was pleased to open Parliament by a Speech from the Throne. And the House being returned to the Commons Chamber:


LIB

Hewitt Bostock (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

I have the honour to state that the House having attended on His Excellency the Governor General in the Senate Chamber, I informed His Excellency that the choice of Speaker had fallen upon me, and, in your names and on your behalf, I made the usual claim for your privileges, which His Excellency was pleased to confirm to you.

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BILL INTRODUCED


Bill No. 1, respecting the Administration of Oaths of Office-Hon. W. L. Mackenzie King.


THE GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH

LIB

Hewitt Bostock (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

I have the honour to inform the House that when the House did attend His Excellency the Governor General this day in the Senate Chamber, His Excellency was pleased to make a Speech to both Houses of Parliament. To prevent mistakes I have obtained a copy, which is as follows:

Honourable Members of the Senate:

Members of the House of Commons:

I desire on this occasion to assure you that it is with great satisfaction that I meet the Parliament of the Dominion for the first time since Mr. Speaker.

my arrival in Canada, and avail myself of your assistance and advice in carrying out the important duties that His Majesty the King has entrusted to me as his Representative. It is, indeed, a great privilege to be called upon to administer the affairs of the Dominion and to associate myself with you in the work you are about to begin.

Our Dominion has not escaped the world-wide economic disturbance and industrial depression but has suffered less from it than other countries. Keen observers of the business barometer feel that the worst is about over and that at an early date we may look for a substantial reviva' of activity.

In many parts of the Dominion continued depression of business naturally produced, in a much larger degree than usual, the misfortune of unemployment. Whilst of the opinion that unemployment relief is fundamentally a municipal and provincial responsibility, my Government has felt that as conditions have arisen in a measure out of the late war, they would be justified in continuing for the period of the winter months the expedient of supplementing by grants from the Federal Treasury the relief contributions of Provinces and Municipalities for the purpose of alleviating actual distress.

The decline of prices in farm products in 1921, as compared with the prices of previous years, has seriously affected agriculture in many parts of the Dominion. The ill-effects of this inevitable deflation have been emphasized by restricted markets and the absence of any corresponding reduction in the cost of production. While improved methods of culture, grading and storage of farm crops in some parts, and greater diversification in others, would materially better conditions, it is apparent that adequate markets and marketing facilities and reduced transportation and production costs lie at the root of the problem. Recognizing such to be the case, my advisers have lost no time in seeking to gain more favourable conditions of sale and marketing for the products of the farm. Communications have been opened with the authorities of other countries looking to an extension of trade and a widening of Canadian markets, and conferences have been arranged between the railway authorities with respect to the reduction of rates upon basic commodities.

You will be invited to consider the expediency of making some changes in the Customs Tariff. While there are details of revision, the consideration of which will require time and care that are not at present available, there are features of the tariff which it is felt may properly be dealt with during the present session.

In order that Government ownership and operation of our national railways now extending through every province of the Dominion may be given a fair trial under the most favourable conditions, it is intended at an early date to co-ordinate the Government-owned systems in the manner best calculated to increase efficiency, and to effect economies in administration, maintenance and operation. The whole transportation situation is one which will require your best attention. It weighs heavily upon our national finances. To assist in obtaining the information essential to an exact understanding and an adequate appreciation of the problem in its many bearings, it is proposed to supplement the work of co-ordination by a thorough enquiry.

The stream of immigration to the Dominion was much interrupted and restricted during the war. Now that the blessing of peace is with us, a renewal of efforts to bring in new settlers must be made. My Government are fully alive

Governor GeneraVs Speech

to the importance of this question and will use every reasonable endeavour to attract to our country people of the most desirable class, with particular regard to settlement on our undeveloped lands.

The work in connection with the re-establishment, medical treatment and vocational training of former members of the Canadian Forces is being sympathetically and energetically prosecuted. The care of the disabled still demands the best thought of those who are charged with the duty of administering the benefits provided. It is intended, during the coming session, again to consult Parliament concerning some of the problems still remaining.

The long standing question of granting the control of the natural resources of three Western Provinces to their respective Provincial Governments has engaged the attention of my Ministers. Sympathizing with the desire of the authorities of these Provinces, which have now advanced to maturity, to have the same control and management of their resources as is possessed by the older Provinces, my Government have made a proposal to the Governments of the several Provinces concerned, which it is hoped may lead to a satisfactory settlement of the question at an early date.

With the object of promoting economy and increasing efficiency, a Bill will be submitted to you, providing for a Department of Defence, in which the various branches of the defence forces of Canada will be co-ordinated under one ministerial head.

During the interval since the last Parliament, there has been held in Washington on the invitation of the President of the United States an International Conference to consider an agreed limitation of armaments and in connection therewith to reach an understanding concerning the political relations of the Powers interested in the regions of the Pacific and the Far East. From this Conference treaties of far reaching consequence have resulted. It is the opinion of my advisers that approval of Parliament ought to precede their ratification on behalf of Canada. The treaties with appropriate explanations will accordingly be placed before you during the session.

As the result of recent discussions among the Powers, it has been decided to hold at Genoa a conference with the object of securing, through frank and amicable consultation among the nations who have been at war, a concerted effort to repair the grave dislocations in the economic and financial field that have everywhere followed the war. The Government of Canada has been invited to participate and delegates have been appointed for the purpose.

An invitation has been extended to the Government of Canada by the Government of the United States to take part in a Postal Conference, at which all phases of mail communication from one country to the other may be fully discussed. Reciprocating the spirit that has prompted the invitation, the Canadian Government will, in due course, appoint representatives to meet the representatives of the United States for the purpose mentioned.

Members of the House of Commons:

The Public Accounts for the last fiscal year will be laid before you. At an early date the Estimates for the coming year will be submitted. In their preparation imperative need for economy has rendered necessary the non-inclusion of many undertakings, appropriations for which must await a more favourable financial situation.

Honourable Members of the Senate:

Members of the House of Commons:

In inviting your careful consideration of the important matters which will engage your attention, I pray that Divine Providence may guide and bless your deliberations.

On motion of Hon. W. L. Mackenzie King (Prime Minister) :

That the speech of His Excellency the Governor General to both Houses of Parliament be taken into consideration on Monday next, and that this order have precedence over all other business except the introduction of bills until disposed of.

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CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Right Hon. ARTHUR MEIGHEN (Leader of the Opposition) :

Before the motion

carries, I would say that I had no intimation from the Government,-which I know will surprise hon. gentlemen across the way -as to what the intentions of the Government were in regard to the conduct of proceedings this week. It seems to me too bad if the entire week is to be devoted merely to formalities. Would it not be possible to take the Speech from the Throne into consideration to-morrow?

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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Liberal

Hon. W. L. MACKENZIE KING:

(Prime Minister) Mr. Speaker, I regret that there has been any oversight in informing my right hon. friend of the customary procedure at the opening of parliament, but I had assumed that his experience in this House would have sufficiently acquainted him with what was customary on the opening day. I think, when we consider that hon. members are gathered together for the first time in this new Parliament, it will probably be consulting the convenience of all parties if we follow the custom of the past and adjourn after to-day's proceedings until Monday.

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CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

It is by no means the invariable custom to do so. The late Government managed to get down to business sooner.

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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

My right hon. friend will have ample time to discuss all matters. I might observe to him that in his impatience to make his announcement to the House yesterday he did not so much as permit His Excellency the right to read the Speech from the Throne before informing the House as to what business he would like to have taken up. We on this side will do everything necessary to facilitate the business of Parliament, and I think we can get on without the suggestion of my right hon. friend.

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Motion agreed to.



Prime Ministers' Conference


SELECT STANDING COMMITTEES

LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Liberal

Hon. W. L. MACKENZIE KING (Prime Minister) moved:

That a special committee be appointed to prepare and report with all convenient speed lists of members to compose the Select Standing Committees of this House under Rule 10; said Committee to be composed of: Messrs. Beland, Robb, Low, Kyte, Papineau, Tolmie, Boys, Johnston (Last Mountain), and Forke; and that that portion of Rule 10 limiting the number of members of the said Committee be suspended in relation thereto.

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Motion agreed to.


WEEK-END ADJOURNMENT

LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Liberal

Hon. W. L. MACKENZIE KING:

I beg to move, seconded by Mr. Fielding:

That when the House adjourns this day it do stand adjourned until Monday next, the 13th instant, at three o'clock.

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Motion agreed to.


March 9, 1922