March 17, 1922

THE GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH ADDRESS IN REPLY


Consideration of the motion of Mr. Mc-Murray for an Address to His Excellency the Governor General in reply to his speech at the opening of the session, resumed from Thursday, March 16.


PRO

Alan Webster Neill

Progressive

Mr. NEILL (resuming) :

When the

House rose last evening I was about to take some points in the Speech from the Throne. The first point to which I wish to draw attention is that section of the Speech which deals with unemployment. I consider the unemployment question has two phases as dealt

The Address

with in this speech. The first is in reference to the obligation to relieve the distress caused by unemployment, and the other is the necessity to take steps to prevent unemployment. The Government claim that the matter of the relief of those absolutely destitute is fundamentally a municipal and provincial responsibility. I am not in a position to dispute that statement, and, as it has not been dealt withby the leader of the Opposition, I assume the statement is correct; but I hold the Government entirely responsible for taking steps to do away with unemployment, though they do not deal with the question of relief. In that regard I wish to quote just a few words from a debate in the British House of Commons. One of the members of the cabinet said, speaking about unemployment-

He thought the speech of the Prime Minister had denoted the fact that Parliament had concurred in the view and accepted the task of governing the people of this country by providing the masses with two conditions, employment and contentment.

Another member of the government, G. M. Barnes, said, speaking on the same subject-[DOT]

The classes who have the running of this country would be judged in proportion as they could And organized employment for the great mass of the people.

I think that is a very well-founded theory of the unemployment situation to-day, and I consider that if the Government could take such steps as would lead, so to speak, to the abolition of unemployment, it would be not only good statesmanship but good political expediency;-after all, the practical politician always keeps one eye on the ballot box. We all know that a contented voter is a Government voter. If times are good and work plentiful, the average voter will not desire a change of Government, but our experience is that when a voter becomes discontented he is ready at once to take a chance on a change of Government. Unemployment is so universal now that it has gone beyond a national question, and has become an international question. Each nation has endeavoured to solve the question for itself, generally by building up high tariff walls to keep their people employed, within the boundaries of each nation. I believe wider action will have to be taken, before world-wide unemployment will disappear. It may be that I have a fantastic idea as to the remedy, but I hold that the only way to handle the unemployment situation is for all nations, without exception, to cancel their war debts. I read a

treatise the other day by an American professor in one of the economic colleges. It is called "America and the Balance Sheets of Europe". It goes very fully into this question, taking each nation in turn, and shows that these nations are heading, not slowly but rapidly, towards bankruptcy. He shows that in many states the income is as low as 28 per cent of expenditure, and he asks where this is going to end. He states that one of two things have to be done by these nations, either they will have to add to their debt, which will make a worse budget for them, or issue more paper money, which is equally disastrous. He points out, after a very well-studied exposition of the subject, that the only solution is for the nations of the world to cancel their debts universally, and, though an American professor, he suggests that the first step should be taken by America, because she has most to gain. He points to the anomalous and almost absurd position, that every nation in the world is demanding that Germany, and every nation, should pay what they owe in money, and they refuse to accept payment in the only manner in which Germany could possibly pay, and that is in goods. Germany says: "We have not a gold reserve to pay you, and we will pay you in goods"-The other nations say: "We do not want your goods". France has to a very small extent accepted some goods as reparation in connection with the damage to the devastated area, but it is a very small and restricted amount. The other nations absolutely refuse to take the goods. Germany says: "We are willing to work long hours at low wages; our currency has depreciated; we can land our goods in your market at a very low price, if you will allow us to sell you those goods in payment for our debt." But the nations will not accept these goods, and build up tariff walls against them. If the nations were content to cancel the war debts, there would be such a demand for manufactured articles that it would go far to do away with unemployment. That is a theory it perhaps does not become me to enunciate in this House at the present time.

The next item in the Speech from the Throne is the statement that the Government has taken steps to obtain better and wider markets, and this refers particularly to trade with Australia. I am particularly interested in that branch of the subject and I hope the Minister of Trade and Commerce, when he makes the treaty with Australia, will not forget to take into consideration

The Address

the pulp and paper industry. Australia has a preferential tariff with the Mother Country on paper. If that tariff were extended to Canada it would he of the very greatest benefit to the paper and pulp industry, especially on the Pacific coast. I think there are some six large paper mills in British Columbia, four of them are in my district, and they employ a large body of men. There are two towns associated with those mills, and there are also logging camps, in which a large number of men are employed directly and indirectly by the industry. Two of the four mills are shut down, and the other two are running at half capacity. If this arrangement with Australia be carried out, of our getting the same preferential rate on paper as is given to the Old Country, it would give a tremendous stimulus to the paper mills of British Columbia and would to a large extent help the unemployment situation there.

We come now to the question of railway rates. There is a suggestion that some measure of relief may be obtained, or will shortly be obtained, in connection with railway rates. If this is anything more than a mere vague reference to the subject, if there is any established knowledge behind that, or any certain belief that this can be accomplished, if I had been drawing up the Speech, instead of putting this in an obscure corner of a paragraph, I would have displayed it in great, big letters two inches long, right across the Speech. Reduction of freight rates is one of the most important and immediately pressing matters that can be carried out in this House at the present time.

I should like to mention an incident; it is only an incident; but it can be duplicated, no doubt, in a thousand cases. This ocurred in>

my own riding. In the valley of Al-berni, in which I live, there is a saw mill located at Port ATberni. It is not a very big mill as we in British Columbia regard saw mills; but it has a capacity that allowed it to send, not three cars, but three great trains a week of lumber into the prairies. This lumber was all consigned to the prairies, going out regularly three trains a week, with occasionally an extra train. In the fall of 1920, increased freight rates suddenly went into effect. Inside of three weeks that mill was shut down-that was about October-and it was not opened again until the following June. When it did begin to ship again, not one stick of lumber went over that railroad en route to the

prairies; it is all going by water route to the Orient. That condition of affairs can be duplicated in, not one mill, but hundreds of mills in British Columbia. That gives an illustration of what high freight rates do as regards promoting or preventing trade. It contains a moral also for the railway company. That railway company are still running freight trains into that district, two trains a week; but for the most part they bring in empty cars and for the most part they take empty cars out. There is a little local freight, a few carloads of fish and so on; but for the most part those railway trains are running nearly as regularly as before, and they are carrying practically nothing. Would it not be far better to carry the lumber that was available for carrying, even at reduced freight rates? It is a matter of fact that any business or any railway can always secure a certain quantity of what might be called the irreducible minimum of traffic. If the corner grocery sells a loaf of bread at double the price at which it can be obtained at another grocer's store six blocks down town, it will always catch a certain trade, those who are in a hurry or in certain circumstances. That is the irreducible minimum. The railway that holds up its rates to a high extent will always catch that measure of trade that it is absolutely imperative must go over the road, and any railway will get that; but no industry or no railway ever paid its way on the irreducible minimum of trade or traffic; it is only the extra business, after the overhead is paid, that makes it profitable either to a business or a railway. When they cut down their freight rates and get the extra business, they get beyond the irreducible minimum and down to a profitable basis.

Some hon. members may be familiar with the London and Brighton railway which is a fairly large railway in the Old Country. In its report of last year it says that, owing to the high fares, nine million fewer passengers were carried. That is, not that nine million passengers were carried, but that nine million fewer were carried1 owing to the high passenger fares, and that is on a little railway running between London and Brighton. That is a specimen of what business one is likely to lose by increasing freight or passenger rates above what the traffic will stand.

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IND

William Findlay Maclean

Independent Conservative

Mr. MACLEAN (York) :

Is there not an agreement now in existence in conection with the Crow's Nest Pass that expires in

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a short time, and that is responsible for the increase given a short time ago causing those high rates of which my hon. friend complains? When does that agreement expire?

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PRO

Alan Webster Neill

Progressive

Mr. NEILL:

So far as my memory goes, I think it expires some time this year-in June or July; and I earnestly hope the Government will take such steps as not to perpetuate it.

We now come to that much vexed and-wearisome subject of the tariff. I will, however, promise hon. members that I will try to attack it from a somewhat different angle. I have in my hand, I think, a whole compendium of a great deal of wisdom on the tariff, comprised in two short sentences, which, I think, ought to be printed and hung up in every hall, committee room and office in this building. This is not my own composition:

1. That free trade and protection offer an interminable case for counsel on both sides.

That is one postulate.

2. That it is perfectly easy for anyone who takes the trouble to study both sides to make out a good case for either.

If hon. members appreciated those two axiomatic propositions, what a lot of trouble and discussion would be saved! I heartily agree with the first proposition, and for that reason I do not, for one moment, propose to endeavour to convert any hon. member to my way of thinking on the tariff question. When hon. members from the prairies say that they are in favour of free trade, I am perfectly willing to accept their word;

I do not need to be convinced about the matter. I am willing to believe they know their business best and what would be best for that section. The tariff question is not a political one, but a geographical one, and you cannot change a man's belief, supposing you talked to him from now to Doomsday. The only way to change his belief would be to change his environment. If you take an Ontario manufacturer and transplant him into the district which these hon. gentlemen represent, you will see how soon he too will become a free trader. The converse holds good; put a man from the prairies into British Columbia or Quebec, and he will very soon have a change of tariff belief. But until that is done it is useless to try to convert hon. members, because they are most familiar with conditions in their part of the country, and surely they know best. Even if we could find some weakling who

allowed his opinion to be changed by any poor argument that might be advanced, that would not amount to much, because every hon. member is, I am sure, pledged to his constituents in some measure on the tariff, and he would be bound to vote in accordance with the wishes of those who elected him. I will not, therefore, give my own opinion on this question: I will only state what we in British Columbia, or at least, the section which I represent, want and as to that I will quote, if you will permit me, a very few words from a manifesto which I issued at the time of my election. It comprises my sentiments in a very few words:

The Tariff will not be settled on political but on geographical lines as each section of the country wants a different tariff. The result will be a compromise.

Will it not be that? It always has been; indeed, it always will be. The result will be a compromise and therefore:

I will join heartily with the other British Columbia members in endeavouring to get as good terms as possible for British Columbia, that is a somewhat lower tariff on the manufactured goods we buy and such a duty on live materials we sell as will enable us to live and maintain B.C. as a White Man's country.

I was speaking then to the electors of the Comox-Alberni district, and of course I had their interests at heart. We want a tariff, as the hon. member for Yale (Mr. MacKelvie) said yesterday, on fruit. I will leave him to deal with that. We want not so much a tariff as protection-I would almost call it common honesty

on eggs. I would like to explain that. There is a small tariff on eggs, and the farmers do not ask that that tariff be increased. They are making a simple, modest request that imported eggs be subject to the same laws as our eggs are subjected to. Is that an extravagant demand-free trade or protection? Surely it is protection of the right kind. Hon. gentlemen who do not understand the situation will hardly believe that the situation is this. In Canada, there is a strict Egg Inspection Act. If I ship a carload of eggs from British Columbia to Montreal, they are not allowed to leave my station until they are inspected by an inspector of the Dominion Government and passed according to a strict standard. I know a case where a carload of eggs was being shipped to Montreal. It did not come up to the Government grade and was therefore rejected. The sale fell through and the man at the other end, in Montreal, bought American eggs, ungraded and un-

The Address

standardized, and at a lower price, with which he filled the order. All that the egg producers, those of the West at least, are asking, is that imported eggs shall be standardized the same as our eggs are. Surely that is not unreasonable. There was a meeting of egg producers and wholesale men the other day, at which, I thought, the wholesale men took a most selfish attitude. It was going to cause them some little trouble to change their system of handling eggs, and one of the arguments brought forward was the old time-honoured one that the Americans would not ship any eggs to this country if we put such horrible restrictions upon them,-horrible restrictions to which we ourselves have been subject for years. Well, we need not worry about that. Inside of four days after notice goes to the American importer here that he is to have his eggs standardized in accordance with the Canadian grade system, the regulations will be put into effect, and the eggs that enter this country will be standardized according to Canadian regulation. I do not think that this is at all unreasonable; we have a right to ask that the imported eggs should be subject to the same conditions as are imposed upon the local product.

Then we come to another brand of imported eggs, namely, Chinese eggs, from fowls fed on garbage under conditions such as I could not even mention in this House, although the records are there to be ascertained. The eggs are shipped here and consumed in this country. Some five thousand cases were imported into Montreal the other day, and it is satisfactory to me to know-seeing that we in British Columbia are suffering from the inroads of the Asiatics-that some of these eggs were consumed in Ottawa and were bought at prices paid for the best local eggs. That is a proven fact. In connection with Chinese eggs, we are not asking, as we might very well, with justification, demand, that these be prohibited as a menace to the health of the people of Canada. We simply ask that when Mrs. Housewife chooses to buy eggs,- if she wants to get Chinese eggs she shall have an opportunity of seeing just what she is getting. We can then leave it to the good sense, and, perhaps, the patriotism, of the Canadian woman to make her choice between the best fresh eggs and Chinese eggs. To come back to the question of standardization of American eggs, is it not, as one man expressed it, a matter of protection in reverse gear?

We are protecting the importer at the expense of the local man.

Now I come to the question of butter. I do not know whether there is a tariff on butter; perhaps the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Motherwell) can tell me whether there is or not. If there is, it is a comparatively small one, and the farmer is not asking for any increase on that. What he is asking for is protection against oleomargarine. Oleomargarine was for many years prohibited in Canada because it was felt to be unfit for invalids and children. During the stressful times of the war, however, when butter was scarce and it was necessary to export as much as possible to Prance, the importation of oleomargarine was allowed. But it was never suggested that it was to be permitted to be used as a substitute for butter, for it is not such, it is only an imitation, and as that it was allowed to come in for consumption during that time. It is made from vegetable oils grown under tropical or semitropical conditions by cheap negro labour. When the war was over, the farmer in Canada naturally expected to be relieved of that competition. I saw a notice in the paper the other day that some one had said that oleomargarine ought to be allowed to be sold for the benefit of the poor; and by way of proof-a most inadequate proof I thought-it was contended that it was not hurting the butter industry in view of the fact that since 1919 more butter was being shipped to Europe than before. That only goes to. prove, if it proves anything at all, that the producers of butter in Canada are being forced to seek outside markets by reason of the unfair competition from oleomargarine in the home market. But apart altogether from the question of protecting home industries, I say that, on purely humanitarian grounds, for the safeguarding of the health of the people, the use of oleomargarine should be prohibited. And I may say, Sir, that it is a well known fact that it is not the poor people at large who use oleomargarine; they have too little money to spend on such stuff as that, they have to buy butter simply because it is the most economical. No; it is the profiteers who use it,-they feed it to their servants and dependents. In the city of Rochester-a city which, I understand, is rather prominent in the promotion of sanitary and allied questions-there is an orphan home where, during the war, they were driven, like ourselves, to use oleomargarine. It

The Address

is the custom there to weigh the children regularly, and I have the record of one experiment. This is not an experiment that was made by the cow keepers in British Columbia or anywhere else in Canada; it was made by the city of Rochester, in the state of New York, where the people do not care two pins about our problems. They took seven children as a trial batch for experimental purposes. In the first six months these children were fed butter and1 they gained twenty-three pounds-I leave out the decimal points. During the next six months they were still fed on butter and the gain had increased to forty-four pounds. For the next six months they were fed on oleomargarine, the diet being otherwise the same. The result was a loss of nine pounds. In the next period butter was again used and the children made a gain of fifty-eight pounds. Now, that is an official report from the city of Rochester, and in view of it I say it would be only fair if we prohibited the use of oleomargarine. We believe it is detrimental to the health of young children. But apart from that important ground, I contend that, from the standpoint of the unfair competition it involves, the Minister of Agriculture should put his foot down on this manufacture and stop it. It may be said that Canadian dairymen ought to be able to compete in the markets of the world. Well, we are willing to compete in those markets, and we are prepared to pit our Canadian cow against her cousin in the United States or in New Zealand; but we do not think it is fair to compel the Canadian cow-I had almost said the Christian Canadian cow- to compete against a heathen nigger in the Central American republics or Southern states.

Now we come to another subject in connection with the tariff, and that is our coal mines. There are on Vancouver Island some five thousand men engaged in the coal mining industry, and with their dependents we must multiply this number by at least five to ascertain the total number dependent on this industry. Two of the mines are in the district represented by the hon. member for Nanaimo (Mr. Dickie) and he will no doubt deal with those. The mines in which I am interested are situated in Cumberland, where there is a population of 3,000 to 4,000. All last winter and most of last summer they were working only three days a week, and with the reduced pay now given to coal miners, and in view of the high cost of living, these men need not

worry about the price of gilt-edged securities for the investment of any surplus funds. Their situation indeed closely approximates want. If there is any extra call upon their purse for sickness or anything of that kind it means that they must go into debt. It is important therefore to know why they are working only three days a week. The reason is very obvious and cannot be denied; it is because of the competition from fuel oil. That oil is imported al most entirely from the United States Some people think that fuel oil and crude oil are synonymous terms, but they are not. Crude oil is the natural product as it comes out of the well; fuel oil is the crude oil after certain valuable elements, such as gasoline, benzine and distillate, have been extracted. There is some fuel oil made at the loco refinery, but it is a comparatively small amount and is readily absorbed in the neighbourhood. The great bulk of commercial fuel oil used in British Columbia is directly imported as such from the States, and if a sufficient duty were imposed to make it more costly to use that oil, it would give a tremendous stimulus to the coal mines of British Columbia and Vancouver Island generally. We ask that a duty of two cents a gallon be imposed on fuel oil. It is not a very heavy duty, surely, and would be amply sufficient to meet the situation. It would mean six days' work a week to these thousands of coal miners, it would mean prosperity for those depending on the mines and for the industries associated with them, and it would constitute a great measure of relief from the unemployment under which the province of British Columbia is now suffering.

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LIB

William F. Carroll

Liberal

Mr. CARROLL:

Is this fuel oil used in British Columbia for domestic or for manufacturing purposes?

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PRO

Alan Webster Neill

Progressive

Mr. NEILL:

It is used, as far as I know, almost entirely for heating apartment houses and running locomotives. A great deal is also consumed, I regret to say, on our steamboats. Very little of this oil is used for domestic purposes. The imposition of this duty would not hurt any other industry, and it would not raise the price of gasoline or distillate, the volume of fuel oil manufactured in British Columbia being comparatively trivial.

In that connection I should like to remind the House that the hon. member for Vancouver Centre (Mr. Stevens), the late Minister of Trade and Commerce, toured my riding during the recent campaign in

The Address

the interests of Mr. Clements, the then Government candidate, and naturally in the course of his tour he showered jewels of promise wherever he went. He was the most promising man I ever saw in that connection, promises fell from him like water from a watering cart in our streets on a dusty day-and, I might add, the effects were about as ephemeral. Perhaps it is more appropriate that I should say promises fell around like manna from Heaven, and in the course of his tour through the district this bountiful Santa Claus I have been told-I would not guarantee the accuracy of my information -promised at one place an aeroplane postal service. Does the hon. member recollect making that promise?

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CON

Henry Herbert Stevens

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

No, indeed, I do not.

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PRO

Alan Webster Neill

Progressive

Mr. NEILL:

I thought that was what

the hon. gentleman would say. I am reminded by this incident how often we find in our course through life that the problems of human life can best be solved by resorting to the wisdom of the prophets of old. I think it was Solomon who said that in the multitude of counsellors there is wisdom. And in the multiplicity of promises is there forgetfulness! I leave it to you, Sir, and to the House to judge what a profligacy of promises he must have pledged himself to when he has forgotten such an extravagant promise as this. But, Sir, I must be frank-and I am always frank, especially when I cannot be otherwise-I will admit that the hon. member for Vancouver Centre did make a hit in one part of my constituency. In the city of Cumberland Mr. Clements, the government candidate, secured a majority of 181 out of a total vote of some 700 or 800, and for that result he was largely indebted to the actions of my hon. friend from Vancouver Centre. I may mention incidentally that outside of places with votes of not more than 50 that was the only place in the whole vast riding in which Mr. Clements did secure a majority. In places where there were only a few votes, composed mostly of government henchmen, he did get a majority, more particularly in some of the northern parts of the riding where I was not able to go because my campaign was very short; in those places where his cannery friends were located he invariably secured a majority. In this connection I should like to tell the hon. Minister of Marine and Fisheries (Mr. Lapointe) that those same cannery men who worked so hard and gave their time,

influence and money in support of the then government candidates throughout British Columbia, are the self-same gentlemen who are besieging his office to-day asking for favours that they are not entitled to, favours which their then government friends on this side, to their credit be it stated, continually refused them. The voice may be a little different, it may be the voice of Esau, but the soul is the soul of Jacob. If you wish any concrete evidence of the way in which the hon. Minister of Marine and Fisheries is being persecuted by this vicious lobby, you have only to look at his shrunken, wasted appearance to realize that the importunity he is subjected to hardly permits him to get his meals.

Coming back to the Cumberland vote, I should like to offer an analysis of the nature of that vote, because the hon. leader of the Government (Mr. Mackenzie King) might call Cumberland a Tory stronghold-a term which I would not use- and account for the result in that way; but the facts are very different. As a matter of fact, Cumberland is the last place, to my mind, for a Tory to expect favors from because it is composed of very intelligent electors. The class of men there, are miners and, as I said before, mostly Scotch miners. A great many of them are Socialists, and I may say that a large number of those that formed my committee in Cumberland were Socialists. I have the very greatest respect for the Socialism those men talk. Their brand of Socialism is nothing to be laughed at; on the contrary, it is a well thought out theory of economic laws which we perhaps sooner or later will have to consider. At any rate, I want to emphasize that they are a fine type of intelligent men. Why did such intelligent men vote for my opponent? There must have been a reason. Was it because the hon. member for Vancouver Centre assured them on his knightly honour that the hon. leader of the Opposition (Mr. Meighen) was going to be returned to power? I do not think so, because they did not believe it. Well then, was it because he assured them in the most positive terms that he bad been here and found that the main support of the Conservative government would be withdrawn if Mr. Clements were not returned from the district of Comox-Alberni? I do not know whether that was the reason, or whether it was because he pledged his assurance that he had positive information that Mr. Clements would be elected on the 6th day of December-he was very nearly elected, had he got only 1,300

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*votes more he would have been returned. I do not think it was any of those reasons. I think it was primarily and directly because the hon. member for Vancouver Centre, speaking as a Cabinet Minister, pledged himself and the government that if they were returned to power they would put an increased duty on fuel oil. That was the inducement that caused those intelligent men to vote the way they did, and I for one am not inclined to blame them. Hon. gentlemen, after what I have said of these intelligent voters of Cumberland, will recognize the kind of economic pressure that must have been put on them before they would have voted contrary to their inclinations, and I believe that it was in order to get this necessary boon of an increased duty on fuel oil. I might say that Mr. Clements was persona non grata with them; it certainly was not a question of voting for the man but of voting for the promise made by a prominent member of the Government. I earnestly hope that he will from his place in the House uphold the stand he took in that riding and see that the increase is granted. So well do I know him to be a man of his word that I feel-indeed, I almost fear- that if the Finance Minister does not grant that increase, of duty the hon. member will deem it his duty to resign his seat as a protest against the policy of the Government-the only protest he can make because of the failure of the Government to carry out the pledges which he made on behalf of the government to be.

By the way, they gave me a banquet in Cumberland after the election, which was attended by many of my friends as well as by some of those who were against me. Among other things I asked a man who was there why they did not take my word for it rather than the word of the hon. gentleman, because I, too, promised that if elected I would press for an increased duty, and they might just as well have put their money on me as on my hon. friend. The explanation I got was something like this-I do not guarantee it, because it was only one man's opinion: "Well, we were in a hole economically; we were up against it; we had to help ourselves, and I am afraid the boys thought they would play a sort of safe game. We felt that if the Conservatives got into power, and we had supported them in Cumberland, for shame's sake they would give us what they had promised; but we feared that if they got into power and we had thrown them down, they have such a crude conception of statesman-

ship they would not deliver the goods; on the other hand, we felt that if you were elected personally and the Liberals got into power you would be decent enough to assist us and that the Liberal Government, having a wider conception of true statesmanship, would give us justice." So that after that striking tribute to the belief of these men in the traditions of the Liberal party I feel that I cannot do better than leave the case in the hands of the Prime Minister and the Minister of Finance, with the assumption that they will give us justice- that is, if justice means an increase of two cents a gallon in the duty.

Now, Sir, we come to the question of railways. I note that the Government are going to make an honest trial of government ownership. Well, I do not deny them that right; I suppose under the circumstances it is the best thing they can do, the only line of policy they can follow. But for myself, Sir, I must confess to having no very hopeful anticipation as to what the result will be. The government is a body designed primarily for the administration of the country's affairs, not for the conducting of a business. The governmental body is unwieldy in itself and is poorly equipped for carrying on these business enterprises. Moreover, there is a constant change of personnel which makes a continuous policy very difficult to carry out. Members of government are too prone to respond to waves of popular feeling, and there is the ever present danger involved in political interest. Does any hon. member within the sound of my voice think that if there was an election to-morrow and the fate or even the prestige of the Government hung in the balance, and it was thought necessary in order to carry the election to promise a railway into some particular district, or a few additional stations, or a lower rate on wheat or potatoes [DOT]-does any hon. gentleman think that these promises would not be made? If there is anybody in this House who thinks that such promises would not be promptly made under those conditions, he has my sympathy, and I think his friends should consult an alienist.

Just as a little instance of how these things work out, I may say that those hon. members who have come here for the first time must all be struck by the manner in which the government offices are scattered around this town. You go down to see a Cabinet minister, and after much prayer and fasting you are admitted; then you find

The Address

that the matter in which you are interested necessitates a visit to one of his deputies. You go to see the deputy, who is anywhere from half a mile to a mile and a half away, and the chances are that the other one is just as far off in another direction. One cannot help reflecting upon the impossibility of a corporation like the Canadian Pacific or a large steel trust conducting their business with their offices so distributed. It is not the fault of the present government, I know, or probably of the last. We heard a great deal from the right hon. leader of the Opposition the other day about the word " co-ordination." He wanted to know what it meant and how it could be carried out. There seems to be a good deal of doubt in the minds of hon. members as to just what co-ordination means. It is true that the Government themselves have not been in the co-ordinating business very long, but before they try their prentice hand at the co-ordination of the railways I suggest that it would be a good experiment to co-ordinate the government buildings in this city.

The word "co-ordination" has a fine sound; it reminds me of the experiences of my boyhood days in connection with the Shorter Catechism. Some of the phrases I still have in mind; "justification by faith; sanctification by grace; justification by works," and so on. All these sonorous phrases come back to us in times like these. As regards government ownership of railways, it may be that their state operation is justified by faith, but I very much doubt whether they will ever be justified by works.

There is another circumstance which makes me prone to doubt the advisability of plunging into a scheme of government ownership. As a young man I spent a number of years in New Zealand. There they had an even bigger white elephant than we have here, because their railways were not only government-owned-but,- Lord help them-politically constructed. A more disastrous condition it would be hard for the human mind to conceive. Well, they borrowed millions of pounds from the Old Country, 'and then, human nature being the same south of the equator as north of it, every member had to grab for his district as much of that loan as he could get. It did not matter whether his district already had a railway and did not need any more funds; he had to "make good with the boys." The consequence was that railways were scattered all over the country to a far greater extent than

they are here. Not only were they put where they were not wanted, but they were laid out in a most peculiar manner. Suppose, for instance, that a railway was to be constructed from my seat to that of the hon. leader of the Government, and it had suddenly been discovered that the hon. member for Marquette (Mr. Crerar) had some political pull with the Government- indeed, perhaps that is true to-day. Well,, the railway would start off with the honest intention of going direct from my seat toward that of the hon. leader of the House, but when it got a certain distance within influence of the magnetic attraction of the hon. member for Marquette it would proceed to his residence' or estate, and then come back. It was no uncommon occurrence in that country for a man to lose the train at one station and drive on a few miles further and pick it up somewhere else. These are actual conditions, Sir; I myself have seen them. As was the case in Canada, rates were jumped when the squeal of the politicians was heard, and the farmers were actually hauling their wool in wagons-ox wagons in many cases-distances of thirty, forty or fifty miles, at the same cost as that of transporting it over the railway, as a protest against the methods employed. In fact, conditions got so bad that the people of New Zealand actually contemplated- it was advocated in the press and on the platform-the repudiation of the whole railway indebtedness. As a matter of making a fresh start they sent to the Old Country for an expert railway man and gave him full control-a ten or twenty-years' job. They said: "Go to it"-and he did go to it. He closed off the inefficient and unnecessary lines, dismissed one-third of the government officials, cut down the expense of operating, and ran it like a business man's railway; and eventually it did pay a small interest on the money invested. To my mind, only by doing something of that kind with our railways in Canada can we really accomplish anything. Go to the States and get an expert railway man. I am not decrying our railway men when I suggest that we should go to the States for an expert; I only say that because I believe it would eliminate the suspicion that would otherwise attach to any Canadian railway man, of representing a political party or association or group, who should endeavour to carry out this work. Get an expert railway man from the United States, put him in such a position that he would only be removable

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by the joint vote of Parliament, and give him a free hand to see if he can possibly make it pay. I shall be only too pleased if the Government can make this thing pay. Miracles happened eighteen hundred years ago and there is nothing in theological dogmas to forbid them happening again, but I rather fear it will be like the answer given by the Scotchman who, when asked if prohibition was likely to carry in Scotland, said, "Well it might, but it's no likely."

One honi. gentleman drew a comparison between the profits to be derived' from the railways and the profits made by selling liquor. I am afraid the two do not coordinate very well together. It is true that if you take enough of the one you will feel competent to run the other, but I do not think the comparison is otherwise a good one. As you know, the railway is a necessity, and the other thing is more or less of a luxury to mo-st people, and a very expensive one. We all know that it is a peculiar trait of human nature that we kick to the last cent about the cost of our necessaries, but never kick about the cost of our luxuries. It is for that reason we make a fuss about the price of coal, and the amount our wives burn, but very little about the consumption or the cost of the cigars we burn. It is a peculiar psychological fact in human nature that we do not mind any price for our luxuries, but are very stringent in the matter of necessaries. Now the railway is a necessity, and the other thing is a luxury.

My hon. friend from South York (Mr. Maclean), speaking the other day, said-and this fact comes home to some of us in the West-that they had had trouble in Ontario where boat and rail service met. He said that as the Railway Commission reduced the rates on the railway, the boat service put up its rates. We have somewhat similar conditions in the West. Not long ago when the people of Alberni kicked about their railway and boat service to Vancouver-it is partly by boat and partly by rail, both services being under the one company-they were told unblushingly, first of all by the railway, that they could not control the boat rates, and then they were told by the Railway Commissioners that the Commission had1 no control over the boat service. The way to remedy that is that advocated by the hon. member for South York-bring our coastal boat service under the control of the Railway Commission, and it would then be able to handle a situa-

tion of that kind where a joint service is being run in an inadequate way. In order that I may be able to obtain some support from the British Columbia members in advocating such a step, I might say that if this step were taken the railway pass given us by the Government would be good on the Canadian Pacific boats, which they are not at present-but that, of course, is only incidental.

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William Findlay Maclean

Independent Conservative

Mr. MACLEAN (York) :

Is it not a fact now that the traffic charges of all these boat services run in connection with railways are subject to revision and control by the Railway Board?

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PRO

Alan Webster Neill

Progressive

Mr. NEILL:

I think they are so subjecl on the Great Lakes, but not in British Co lumbia, where they run a coastal service; I am sure as to British Columbia, where we have this coastal service.

I now come to the question of immigration. I must confess at once I am not much in favor of increased immigration at this time. It seems to me it is a good deal like the man who thought he 4 p.m. would benefit by following the advice that is given by some newspapers as to what shares to buy-there are people like that. He was advised to buy a thousand shares of a certain oil company at one dollar per share. He bought in the expectation of a rise, but in a few weeks he wrote to the editor that the shares had gone down until they were worth only a cent apiece and he wanted advice. The editor wrote back and said, "Buy one hundred thousand shares at a cent, and then the average price of your shares will be reduced accordingly." The case is somewhat the same with immigration. We have two hundred thousand men idle in Canada now, and are seeking to relieve the situation by bringing in a whole lot mote. There is one thing I would ask the Government to do, and that is to keep away from the idea of having settlers from different countries establish a colony by themselves in Canada. That has always proved a mistake in the past. If you bring in a body of men from England1 or Scotland1 or elsewhere in Europe, and dump them on the prairies by themselves, they will become not a piece of Canada, but a piece of England or Bohemia or Austria. That is not a desirable way to build up Canada. Mix them up amongst our own people, and then they will become assimilated. I take this position : that the Government will spend a lot of money in bring-

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ing these men out, possibly money will be paid by the Old Country, and another large sum, no doubt, for putting these settlers on the land'; a further sum will have to be forthcoming to provide them with implements and stock until they are on their feet. All I ask is that the Government take this land scheme and offer it to our unemployed. I am sure they would be surprised to find how many would take advantage of it. I know it is popular to say that the unemployed are all idle bums, and so on. I know that a great many of them would not care to go on the land, but a great many people in work to-day would' be glad to go on the land, and if they had the opportunity, they would make way for some of the unemployed to take their positions in the city. Times are changing, and have changed, in that regard. I know the case of a man who has been on the land for three years. He was a carpenter working at $7 a day, but he foresaw the depression that was coming, and that he would be out of work, so he took up a piece of land, and to-day he is doing well; he is not making a fortune, but he is keeping his family and himself, and he makes one less in the ranks of the unemployed. If the Government will not postpone their immigration policy for a year, at least let them make the same offer of assistance to our own unemployed. Surely the men who have come here at their own expense are entitled to the same advantages as the men living in Galicia or somewhere in that neighbourhood. Let me remind the Government that a contented settler is the finest advertising agency you can have. Though his contentment may only be expressed in a badly written letter with a dirty thumb mark, it will have more drawing power in his little home village than all the flamboyant advertisements got up by the agents of the Government. That has proved to be true time and again. By the way, if any of them are coming to British Columbia, I hope that they at least will be told the truth. Tell them that they will have to compete with Asiatics; that if they are going in for fruit farming, Asiatics have a hold on that; if they are going in for strawberries, whole sections are absolutely in the hands of the Japs, who will take steps to see that no White Man intrudes upon them; if they are going in for small fruits, they will find the same situation there; if they go in for market gardening around any of our big cities, they will find the same situation there. There is what is known as a ring in connection with market gardening, at least around the city of Vancouver. A friend of Aline was out at a farm and admired the potatoes on the table, and his farmer friend gave him a few pounds to take home with him. As you know, the great majority of domestic servants in Vancouver are Asiatics, and next day when this gentleman tried these potatoes his Chinese servant had cooked, he found them very poor, wet, watery, very unsatisfactory things. He thought there had been some accident with them until the same thing happened again the next day, so he asked his Chinese servant about it, and the Chinaman said, "Those potatoes are bad; they are no good. Let me get you potatoes that will be all right." There is a ring among these Chinese servants, and they will never buy produce from white market gardens. If their employer insists upon it, they will find the stuff unsuitable or it will be made to appear so, and eventually he will have to buy from the Chinese. That is an absolute fact that anybody in Vancouver can verify for himself. Let these people who are to come in be told that this is the competition they will be up against in British Columbia. Tell them also-and I wonder what British people will think of this-that their children will have to go to the same school as Asiatics. One of these the other day lost his temper at school, and instead of hitting his playmate on the nose he drew a knife and stabbed him in the back. Tell them that if conditions get had their daughters will have to work in Chinese restaurants under conditions which I will leave to your imagination rather than describe. Tell them these things, and say that they must live according to the same standard as the others, which means that everyone down to a six-year-old child must be ready in fruit picking time to work sixteen hours a day. That is the only way to compete successfully with the Chinese and Japanese in British Columbia. But I hope we see the dawn of better days with this Government, and that we will be able to tell these people that the Government have taken steps to permit the white people to grow up under a white standard.

With regard to the provision as to the soldiers' stock and land, I will only endorse the way it was put by one of the members who spoke the other day. He advocated the revaluing of the land and stock and an extension of time to pay for it. I am heartily in sympathy with that idea, because it is good business. We

The Address

are going to lose the money and the settlers as well if we do not do that. Better keep the soldier settlers, and give them an extension. It is coming to them, and it is not their fault that they have not succeeded. We induced them to go on the land under big prices created by the war. They did enough for us during the war and let us shoulder the responsibility. I read an item in my platform last night asking for more considered treatment for the wounded soldier. That question crops up in the West. There are a lot of wounded men in the West, and we think they were not well treated. Their pensions were cut down to a minimum, and they have been at considerable expense. It has been suggested that these men are malingerers. These men who have served at the front and been wounded cannot be accused of malingering, and they ought to receive consideration.

The answer of the Government is that it means increased expenditure. Well there are ways of effecting economy without making the destitute soldiers suffer. I suggest that we cut off some of the ceremonial connected with this House. This is a democratic nation, and we might well forego, for a time at least, all these ceremonies. We have a beautiful restaurant upstairs, and it is a pleasure to take our friends up there, but it is run at a tremendous loss.

I am willing, and I think other members are, to pay for our meals in future and save that expense. There are many ways in which economy could be effected without loss of efficiency.

Referring to the inheritance tax. Is the hon. Minister of Finance (Mr. Fielding) aware that in New Zealand and in Great Britain they have an inheritance tax, or death duties which we do not have in Canada at all? We have a provincial inheritance tax, but no Dominion tax, and if we had such a duty in Canada as they have in New Zealand and Britain, the revenue would receive something like $30,000,000 a year, and it would come out of the pockets of the people best able to afford it, people who have built up large fortunes during the war and could well afford to contribute to the state after they have gone;-it might be better for them in the place where they have gone if they gave the country back some of their wealth.

I would also suggest that they might remove the Northwest Mounted Police from British Columbia. They were put there in a crisis in special emergency. They are no longer needed. We have an efficient

provincial police force, and by removing this force we would save expense.

I mentioned last night that the eight-hour law was a part of the platform on which I was elected. I see no mention of it in the Speech from the Throne. The Trades and Labour council took it up with the Government, and I hope to see the Government, in the course of the session at least, make some pronouncement as to their attitude in the matter. If they are not prepared to assume the responsibility for enacting it, then they ought to call the provinces together, if it is decided that it is a provincial matter. It is a duty we owe, under the Treaty of Versailles, to carry this out as speedily as we can, in accordance with our pledges in that treaty. The same might be said of the old-age pension. In November, 1921, the British Columbia House passed a resolution unanimously calling attention to the fact that this government had assumed responsibility for the old-age pension and suggesting that it was time for them to take action. I do not expect the Government to take action on that matter this session, but I commend it for their consideration in a future session.

I wish to call attention to a further point and I am surprised that no other hon. member has taken it up. I am heartily in accord with the member for North Winnipeg (Mr. McMurray) when he expressed the opinion that the Dominion Elections' Act should be removed from the statutes. I go further and state it should be removed as speedily as possible, that we may remove the stigma from our public life, that we have had an act on the statute which lends itself to almost every form of corruption. If we must retain the act let us change the name of it. It is now known as the Dominion Elections' Act, let it be known as the Dominion Elections' Corruption Possibilities Act. It may be said that I am using too strong words when I say that it encourages every form of political corruption. I think the statement is well-advised, because those of us who are lawyers know that if a man carelessly leaves his money lying around his premises he is as much to blame as the poor boy or girl who picks it up. You have often heard the judge in court say " You are encouraging theft by leaving your money around," and an act which is passed for the avowed purpose of preserving purity of elections should not permit or allow the gross abuses which are possible under that act. I speak from somewhat bitter experience in my own case. I have the data all here, but

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have not time to go into it. I will only mention a few of the instances where this act, to put it mildly, lends itself to abuses. I am talking about the rural ridings where, I believe, a different system prevails from that in the cities. It lends itself to a great deal of illegal voting on election day. A man who is bad enough to vote illegally is not going to worry about signing his name to an oath, and he will come to the poll on election day from nowhere, take the oath and vote illegally. Further than that the act allows if it does not encourage, the disfranchisement of large numbers of people. I do not refer to two or three votes in some remote place, but I am talking about absolutely blotting out the votes of fifty or sixty electors. And why? Because it was known they were going to vote what is known as " wrong." I could point to half a dozen instances in the riding I represent where that was deliberately arranged, places that had voting booths for years and years, with perhaps a hundred votes. They voted " wrong " last time, and this year were not allowed a polling place. In other cases, they had to undergo considerable hardship to get to the booth, by travelling in an open boat. Do hon. members expect that women are going to do that for the sake of a vote? One old lady told me frankly that she would have to travel in an open boat, exposed to the weather for ten miles, and she did not think any one of the three candidates was worth the trouble, and I agreed with her. However she said her prayers were with us, and I think that helped. I was speaking to a man at eleven o'clock at night a few days before polling, and he told me, " You need not worry about the election, you are going to be elected." I said, " I am glad to hear that, now how do you know?" He replied, " I got it on the ouija board." There is another feature which perhaps is one of the worst features, and that is the fact that the legally nominated candidate cannot find out within four or five days of the election where the polls are to be. The thing was deliberately suppressed. I did not know, until five days before the election, where the various polls in the vast, scattered region up in the north end of my riding were to be. How could I, with the means of travel that prevailed there secure scrutineers for those various polling stations unless I employed an aeroplane? I wonder what the people of Ottawa would think if, four days before an election, they did not know where the polling

booths were to be, and if they then found they would have to vote in a hamlet ten miles away. Yet that is what happened in Comox-Alberni, where we cannot get around easily to secure scrutineers. Perhaps the Government candidate's vote would not have been as large as it was had I been able to get scrutineers at those polling stations.

Another feature of that beautiful act was that it lent itself to registrars, some of whom were not too scrupulous, padding the lists. I know of one case where one of these gentlemen put 215 names on the list, almost the entire number of whom did not live in the riding at all, and some of whom had been dead for at least three years. Something should be done about that. I think three years is too long; when a man has been dead for two years, I think he should not be compelled to come back to this wretched sphere to vote. I firmly believe, if a man has been dead for two years, he would have too much sense to come back and vote Conservative, anyway. In that particular instance where 215 names were put on the list,-after the registrar had been arrested,-out of those 215 names, only 8 voted. This is an indication of what was going on. Another feature of the act allows the Government, on the advice of the candidate, to appoint his-the candidate's-own business partner as returning officer. Moreover, this returning officer did not have the decency to go out and take up an office elsewhere. This allowed the election to be held, to all intents and purposes, in the private office of the Government candidate, because the returning officer was not even a resident of the riding, he lived a hundred miles away practically, and he paid only one brief visit to the riding and that on nomination day. The rest of the election was conducted in the private inside office of the Government candidate. Do you wonder, Sir, when I say that 1,300 ballots were either taken out or given out of the returning officer's office illegally? These are some only of the practices which this act allows, if it does not encourage them. But like most of these things, it will come back like a boomerang upon itself. Some of these things I found out too late, only after the election; others I was aware of beforehand. I told the electors that we had got beyond any personal ambition of mine; that the world would still turn around; that Canada would still be in the North American continent, if I were defeated at

186 COMMONS j[]

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the polls; that it was a question of their rights and priviliges, more important far than my personal election or non-election. You remember the Apostle Paul, when he was brought before the Jewish Judge and he claimed that he was a Roman citizen and demanded to be taken to Rome. The Jewish Judge said "With a great sum obtained I this freedom." But Paul answered, "But I was free born." We were free born; but our forebears were not, and many of them for generations fought and struggled and shed their blood, and died, to get this simple common everyday right of the ballot. I told the people that in the election, and I think they appreciated the situation and responded on election day.

I surely can be absolved of any charge of endeavouring to make a stump speech or of theatrical action when I state, simply and quietly, that surely, if it is not the fundamental right, it is a fundamental right of the Constitution under which we live to-day that a qualified voter shall have a free and untrammelled opportunity to exercise his franchise on election day, without such an unreasonable objection as having to lose his job or to lose the day's work being involved, and that the election should be held in such a way that every body of men, no matter whom they intended to vote for, should be allowed fully and freely to exercise that right. I do not think I am going beyond reason and-modesty, I was going to say-when I say that is a fundamental right. If that fact is conceded, then the Liberal party who are in power here, if they are conscious or even pretend to be conscious of their responsibility to maintain those rights for us, must surely realize that it is their bounden duty to strike this act off the statute books as soon as possible.

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LIB
CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

I made no such statement, but I am not surprised that the hon. gentleman attributes it to me.

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LIB

Edward Mortimer Macdonald

Liberal

Mr. MACDONALD (Pictou) :

I am quoting from the report of an address delivered by the right hon. gentleman before the Conservative ladies of Toronto, in which he said, speaking of Quebec:

In it had taken the form of Nationalism, a blight which masquerading under the banner of Liberalism had cried wildly for revenge because that part of the Dominion had been asked to submit to the same laws that bound the rest of Canada. That particular form of the expression of the spirit of revolt, the speaker felt, should be characterized as "the acme of infamy."

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CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

I did not make the statement as quoted by the hon. gentleman. What I said was that the conduct of the campaign in that province had reached, in its depths, the acme of infamy.

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LIB

Edward Mortimer Macdonald

Liberal

Mr. MACDONALD (Pictou):

Well, perhaps my right hon. friend has not recalled that one of those ministers whom he brought into being for a few short weeks was perfectly willing to deal with the situation down there which he condemned by the use of this phrase, and was perfectly willing to adopt as a candidate a gentleman who declared that the chief plank of his platform would be never to support England in any war in which she might be engaged. Let me remind him that when first he came into this House, in 1911, the government he supported owed its existence to the fact that there had been elected in the province of Quebec twenty-six or twenty-seven men called Nationalists, men who were returned on the principle that Canada should not embark in any of England's wars or participate in her affairs. He enjoyed his position as a member of that government, from 1911 to 1917, as a result of support from that quarter. Let me tell him. if he chooses to characterize in the same way the men and women of any province, in regard to the expression of their opinion upon him or his government in the last contest, that speaking for the province of Nova Scotia, I declare that we shall share the epithet he has applied to Quebec in this case. We will take these words as describing our own unanimity. My right hon. friend paid a visit to our province, and, in association with his Minister of Public Works, he made a tour, the progress of which might be compared to the famous march of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza. Our province has had a distinctive position in regard to the Conservative party. It has given to Canada three Prime Ministers who led that party: I refer to Sir Charles Tupper, Sir Robert Borden and Sir John Thompson. Now, the people of Nova Scotia heard my right hon.

The Address

friend; they listened to his weary wail on the tariff and his persistent declaration that there was no other issue before the Canadian electorate. He did not want to discuss railway problems, or unemployment, or anything except this theory that a tariff should be maintained-he ran away from everything else. The good people of Nova Scotia, including those who had supported these three Conservative Prime Ministers, having heard the right hon. gentlemen and his colleagues, decided that they did not wish him to be entrusted further with the control of affairs in Canada, and the majorities of the hon. gentlemen who sit in this House to-day representing Nova Scotia were materially increased as a result of the visit of the leader of the Opposition. I say, therefore, that if my right hon. friend regards the position of the province of Quebec as being the acme of infamy, we in Nova Scotia are not at all concerned about that term; we share with Quebec the blame it implies.

My right hon. friend does not seem to appreciate his position as fully as he should. Beneath the surface there is an indication of a desire on his part to resuscitate the old sectional feeling, as evidenced by his attack on the Minister of Justice (Sir Lomer Gouin) and the member for St. Antoine (Mr. Mitchell) because they pointed out that the condition of affairs in this country was so serious. They said nothing more than what has been said all over the country in "hundreds of constituencies. My right hon. friend, however, singled these gentlemen out as special objects of attack, suggesting that they were allied with some special interest. The leader of the Opposition received his answer very well from the Minister of Justice yesterday, but it does seem to me that in the opening of a new Parliament, with the great problems that face us, he might well have applied himself in his address to a consideration of the difficult task that lies before us and have dealt with some of the questions which have been raised in so many quarters of the House by hon. gentlemen.

Now, as I said before, the task before the Government is a very heavy one, but already there has come from all parts of Canada evidence of an optimism and a belief that responsible government has once more been restored, and that the days of War-time Elections Acts and the putting through of Canadian Northern Railway deals under closure have passed. The

people look with optimism and confidence to the administration which has been formed by the hon. gentleman who leads the Government (Mr. Mackenzie King) and the galaxy of able men surrounding him who represent all parts of the Dominion. The choice of the Liberal party in 1919, when the present leader of the House was selected to lead that party, has been more than justified by the people of the country. The splendid political tour which he made during the course of the election contest, the high standard on which he appealed to the people on all the questions that were before them, won the confidence not only of the members of the Liberal party but of a very large number of electors throughout the country who in the past had not given allegiance to that party.

Associated with him is the man who guided Canada from 1896 to 1911 through many financial difficulties, and to hon. Mr. Fielding-if I may use his name, Mr. Speaker-I think that this House and the country look with confidence to deal with the pressing financial questions which now confront us in the same successful manner in which he handled our national finances during his former term of office.

We also feel very proud, on this side of the House, of the hon. gentleman who for fifteen years so wisely guided the destinies of the province of Quebec with the result that her position to-day is admired and envied by all her sister provinces. We are very glad indeed that the hon. member representing the historic constituency of Laurier-Outremont (Sir Lomer Gouin) has become a member of the Government.

I do not propose, Mr. Speaker, to deal with all the subject matters of the Speech from the Throne. Rather I desire to confine myself to what I conceive to be for the moment the most important question therein referred to-our national railways. We have heard a good many speeches from hon. gentlemen upon this subject and many arguments in favour of public ownership. To my mind public ownership need not be argued at all. The country owns these railways, and I propose to show that, having regard to their financial position to-day, there could not be found anywhere in the world a corporation or body of men who would undertake to buy and operate the railways. The country owns the Canadian Northern railway, as it was formerly called; it owns the Grand Trunk railway; owns the Transcontinental railway; and it owns the Grand Trunk Pacific and the In-

The Address

tercolonial railways. Those railways could not be sold to-morrow for the debts that are against them. Therefore, public ownership is here for the time being and must be given a fair trial, as the Government has decided. For the moment public ownership is not in issue.

In this connection I would submit that the Government should let the country know exactly t"he present financial position of all the roads composing the National system, because it is not at present very well known either to the country or to this House. We should understand exactly what their present financial position is, because if the Government's policy of giving these railways a fair trial under public ownership is to be carried into effect, as I am sure it will be, in order to determine whether or not Government direction and control is to bring to these railways the advantages and benefits which we would like to see accrue to them, we must know beforehand the exact position in which these railways stand financially. Operating accounts for the last three years in the fullest detail should be laid before Parliament. I am aware the position was taken last year that these operating accounts should not be made public, and I gather that the House was told at that time that such accounts should not be laid on the table for fear the Canadian Pacific Railway Company should find something in connection with those accounts which would enable its management to take advantage of our National system. That seemed to me to be a very flimsy reason. The time has not arrived in this or any other country enjoying British parliamentary institutions when you can lay down the doctrine that hundreds of millions of dollars of public funds are to be spent without the people or their representatives having the right to know the disposition of every single dollar. If we are going to give a fair trial to public ownership, then a most essential element is to have these financial statements laid down upon the table of the House. Only in this way can you know where you are going to begin under public ownership.

Let me say, I do not regard the operation of the Canadian Northern Railway, or the so-called Canadian National Railway, since 1918 as being operation under public ownership. What is the use of talking about public ownership of these railways when you have Mackenzie and Mann's officials operating them? What is the good of talking about the failure of private ownership rendering public ownership necessary if you take the gentlemen who could not operate these railways successfully under private ownership and put them in charge under government ownership? You have got to start square with this thing. We upon this side of the House do not want to be responsible for the peculiar policies that characterized our railway administration under the direction of the right hon. leader of the Opposition and his friends. We want to start fair.

Allow me to digress for a moment, Mr. Speaker. My right hon. friend and his associates have been very fond of asserting that they were not responsible for this railway problem at all. That has been reiterated time and again in that form of propaganda which my right hon. friend and his colleagues so well know how to use, and which he is so afraid somebody else might use, though nobody has any intention of following his lead in that direction. By his propaganda he has declared continually during the last two years that the Liberal party was responsible for the railway situation. Let us examine the facts. As I have already said, I had the pleasure of sitting in this House in three Parliaments, and I was here in 1911 when the right hon. gentleman and his friends took charge. What was the railway situation then? The government owned the Intercolonial, as it had owned it for forty-five years. It owned the Transcontinental, stretching from Moncton to Winnipeg. The Grand Trunk Pacific Railway Company had title to the Grand Trunk Pacific railway from Winnipeg westward. That was the position. Those were all the railways that the government of Canada had anything to do with when my right hon. friend and his associates took charge in 1911. The Transcontinental was under lease to the Grand Trunk Railway Company with respect to operation on terms which would have freed this country from any responsibility financially. But what did my right hon. friend and his associates do immediately after 1911? They appointed a commission with a view to discrediting the construction of that railway and of playing into the hands of the Grand Trunk Railway Company, who wanted to get rid of the contract. Eventually, after a couple of years, having laid the ground-work, they proceeded to let the Grand Trunk Railway Company escape responsibility, and the government took the Transcontinental over. Were we responsible for their action? Then, in 1913,

The Address

Mackenzie and Mann came to this House and asked the government of the day to loan them $15,000,000. My right hon. friend supported that request and the money was handed over. At that time Mackenzie and Mann, or the Canadian Northern Railway Company, assured the House that with this money all their obligations would be attended to and they would not come back for any further loans. But they came back next year for $45,000,000, and my right hon. friend was the gentleman who piloted the Bill for that loan through Parliament. On our side of the House at that time we moved the six months' hoist to that proposal and took direct issue with him and his associates. We have no responsibility whatever for the giving of that money. Let me remind the House, Mr. Speaker, that it was upon that occasion that the gentleman whom my right hon. friend took into his Cabinet as Minister of Justice just before the election-I refer to Hon. R. B. Bennett-told the House of Commons that the right hon. gentleman was nothing but the "megaphone of Mackenzie and Man." That was in 1914. Mark you, assurance was given to the House at that time that security for the loan had been given; that a mortgage would be taken; and that upon default, foreclosure would not be necessary, as it would in any other case-the whole property would revert to the people of Canada.

But that is not the whole of the story. My right hon. friend came to the House of Commons in 1917 and introduced legislation to take over the Canadian Northern Railway, which he put through under closure. A certain hon. gentleman who went to the Senate this session and who came here from the West to join the Union Government, save the country and win the war, might give us some of the reasons which contributed to that legislation. I know this: certain provinces of this Dominion were relieved of $110,000,000 of obligations which they had incurred for local railways, including the province of British Columbia, and that amount was made part of the debt of the country and charged against the Canadian Northern Railway. My right hon. friend went further and provided that there should be a reference to arbitration for the purpose of ascertaining how much Mackenzie and Mann were entitled to for the equity of redemption. The award was $10,000,000, and I will show you, as having a bearing on the present financial position of the

country, that that was simply $10,000,000 thrown away.

Now, what is the situation to-day? A reference to the railway blue book which has been laid on the Table of the House shows that the mortgage and bonded indebtedness of the Canadian Northern Railway is $626,000,000, in round figures, and that the estimated value of the. road-bed, tracks and terminals is only $632,000,000, a margin simply of $6,000,000. That is a pure question of bookkeeping. In order to get at the real position in regard to the matter, an actual valuation would be necessary, made by proper valuators, and that valuation would disclose whether or not the Canadian Northern is mortgaged for moi'e than it is actually worth.

This, then, is what my right hon. friend did. And he has the audacity to come to this House and say that these conditions were created by hie opponents, although all along he was the chief actor in the drama. Now, what did he do further? He was not content with taking over the railways mentioned, but in 1919 he asked the House to authorize bis Government to make an agreement for the acquisition of the Grand Trunk. That agreement was made and the road was taken over. Then there were arbitrations as to values, all the dealings with complicated stock, and so on. He it was who took over the Grand Trunk. These are the railways which belong to the Canadian people and which this Government has to deal with. Would it, then, not be a most desirable thing, before we embark upon any enterprise of Government operation involving the expenditure of large sums of money, to inquire fully into the matter as suggested in the Speech from the Throne? The member for South York (Mr. Maclean) has been talking public ownership in this House for a great many years, but able as he is I would not say that he is an expert on railway transportation. Nor would I say that the former mayor of Toronto, who represents North Toronto (Mr. Church) and who spoke yesterday very lengtaily and very glibly about "co-operation" and "co-ordination," is an expert on transportation, even though he did say that he could effect this co-ordination in twenty-four hours. The transportation question involves the most important considerations in the life of a country; men are trained from boyhood in its technicalities, in its details, in matters connected with administration. Would it not therefore, be prudent to seek the advice of those

The Address

who give their lives to the perfecting of their knowledge in regard to railway matters? Surely, ordinary common prudence should prompt us to say that the Government would have been right in suggesting that there should be an inquiry. Do you not think that instead of dealing in generalities we ought to have a statement before the House-and the Government, no doubt, will have it before them-as to just what the financial position of the Grand Trunk is? I am told that the deficit on the Grand Trunk last year was $15,000,000, Last year the deficit on the Canadian Northern was $70,000,000, of which amount $33,000,000 went to pay interest upon mortgage and bonds. It has been said that this deficit is due to the increased wages of employes, but the blue book shows that the increase in wages amounted to only $12,000,000, so that the deficit cannot be due to that alone; there must be other important reasons for it. I submit, therefore, that this House should know the exact financial position of all these railways before we embark upon any new policy or lay down any new lines.

We have to deal with most serious prob-elms in regard to this matter. As I have mentioned, the hon. member for North Toronto would co-ordinate this system in twenty-four hours, but I would direct the hon. gentleman's attention to the fact that the Grand Trunk railway, which is proposed to be the subject of co-ordination, does not operate only in Canada; sixteen hundred miles of it are in United States territory. Forty-one per cent of the total tonnage carried by the Grand Trunk comes from the United States; seventy per cent of its freight traffic receipts is obtained in that country. The proposal is that this Government become a competitor in the United States, a foreign country, with American railways operating there. Grave international difficulties surround, this question. There is no precedent in the world's history for one government operating a public utility within the territory of another without first making with that country a proper agreement or arriving at an understanding in regard to the matter. Take the case of the Suez canal; when the contract for that work was arranged, France and England had to obtain from the Khedive of Egypt his permission to proceed, although at the time the Khedive had very little authority. Take the case of the Panama Canal; when the United States undertook to construct that work they obtained from the newly-created Republic of Panama the

concession which was necessary before actual operations were commenced. We are in this position with regard to the United States, that this Government, owning the Grand Trunk railway in that territory, would be dependent on the federal United States Government for all the laws they might pass with regard to the road, including liability for any taxation they might impose, and liable also to taxation and legislative interference by the six or seven states through which the railway runs. What would we think in this country of such a proposition as the American Government purchasing the stock of the Canadian Pacific railway? It is not inconceivable that that might not occur. All that they would need to do would be to purchase the stock as it was offered on the exchanges. What would we in Canada say if the American Government owned all the stock of the Canadian Pacific Railway and wanted to operate that road in this country?

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IND

William Findlay Maclean

Independent Conservative

Mr. MACLEAN (York):

Did not Sir Wilfrid Laurier know when he made this deal that the Grand Trunk owned this railway in the United States?

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LIB

Edward Mortimer Macdonald

Liberal

Mr. MACDONALD (Pictou):

My hon. friend has not caught my point. Sir Wilfrid Laurier made no agreement with the Grand Trunk to operate any railway in the United States.

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IND

William Findlay Maclean

Independent Conservative

Mr. MACLEAN (York):

The Grand Trunk was operating both sections.

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LIB

Edward Mortimer Macdonald

Liberal

Mr. MACDONALD (Pictou):

Not as

the property of this Government. I am calling the attention of the House to the fact that a decision on this proposal that the Canadian Government should own and operate this 1,600 miles of railway in the United States is no twenty-four hour affair, it demands inquiry and careful consideration; and as an illustration of the necessity for that deliberation I am suggesting the situation that might arise at any time if the American Government purchased all the stock of the Canadian Pacific railway and wanted to operate that railway in Canada. We would certainly think carefully over such a proposition as that. And I submit from my short study of this question that our problem is a very serious one. It is not brought into Canadian public life as a result of anything done by the Liberal party, but is another of the many problems that my right hon. friend the leader of the Opposition has laid at

The Address

the door of this Government. Let me give another illustration.

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March 17, 1922