June 7, 1922

CON

John Arthur Clark

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CLARK:

Is the hon. gentleman referring to the Ross rifle?

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   THE BUDGET
Sub-subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF THE DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
Permalink
LIB

Daniel Duncan McKenzie (Solicitor General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. McKENZIE:

Yes, I am referring to the Ross rifle.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   THE BUDGET
Sub-subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF THE DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
Permalink
CON

John Arthur Clark

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CLARK:

Was it not the Liberal party that adopted the Ross rifle?

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   THE BUDGET
Sub-subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF THE DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
Permalink
LIB

Daniel Duncan McKenzie (Solicitor General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. McKENZIE:

Is that an answer from my mild-mannered friend?

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   THE BUDGET
Sub-subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF THE DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
Permalink
CON

John Arthur Clark

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CLARK:

I am merely asking the question.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   THE BUDGET
Sub-subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF THE DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
Permalink
LIB

Daniel Duncan McKenzie (Solicitor General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. McKENZIE:

There was no war at the time of the adoption of the Ross rifle. General Hughes, a gentleman who was high in the counsels of the Tory party, and supposed to be our greatest authority on military matters, approved of the adoption of the Ro3S rifle, and said that it should be manufactured.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   THE BUDGET
Sub-subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF THE DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
Permalink
CON

John Arthur Clark

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CLARK:

Were you in the House at the time?

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   THE BUDGET
Sub-subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF THE DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
Permalink
LIB

Daniel Duncan McKenzie (Solicitor General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. McKENZIE:

No; consequently I am not responsible. I am not putting myself forward as an authority on military matters, I am giving the facts of the case, and I am not afraid of contradiction, for I am telling the truth. The excuse which my hon. friend has given is that the Ross rifle was good enough for use on parade and during sham manoeuvres, but-

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   THE BUDGET
Sub-subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF THE DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
Permalink
CON

John Arthur Clark

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CLARK:

May I ask-

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   THE BUDGET
Sub-subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF THE DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
Permalink
LIB

Daniel Duncan McKenzie (Solicitor General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. McKENZIE:

Excuse me-but when it came to war and thousands of our soldiers were being hurled into eternity every hour of the day by putting this dangerous explosive weapon in their hands, is it an excuse to say, as suggested by my hon. friend, who is a true disciple of the Tory party; "Oh, we are not to blame; the

Liberals were in power when the Ross rifle was adopted. Now, however, that we are in the midst of war our boys should not be handicapped in any way whatever, the very best weapon is none too good for them. But if we stop equipping them with the Ross rifle there will be nothing doing at the Quebec arsenal, there will be no profitable contracts for the supply of raw materials, and we cannot keep as many men engaged." Consequently, notwithstanding report after report by the highest military authorities in England condemning the Ross rifle, as my hon. friend knows, his leaders said: "We will continue the manufacture of the Ross rifle although it means throwing millions of dollars of the money of the people into the St Lawrence." That is the charge which I make against the outgoing government, that they are responsible for money ill spent without any satisfactory returns to the treasury. If my hon. friend wants to ask me any question now I am ready to answer him.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   THE BUDGET
Sub-subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF THE DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
Permalink
CON

John Arthur Clark

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CLARK:

No.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   THE BUDGET
Sub-subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF THE DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
Permalink
LIB

Daniel Duncan McKenzie (Solicitor General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. McKENZIE:

Very good. I suppose his question has vanished like the Ross rifle.

Now, Mr. Speaker, it is also an undoubted fact that millions of dollars' worth of war waggons and other military equipment was bought in this country at the highest prices and sent over to England, although those responsible for its purchase knew that it was' absolutely unfit for use in the field and was being condemned by the Imperial authorities. These are some of the reasons why our war casualities were so heavy. But, we are told, we are not to open our mouths about it because it was all connected with the war. As I said at the beginning of my remarks, I am as loyal to our war engagements as any man can be, and undoubtedly we must pay our debts; but hon. gentlemen who were in control at that time must not think that they are going to escape the responsibility of just and honest criticism simply because they cry, " The war ".

Our hon. friends opposite do not seem to realize the responsibility of their days of power. Quite shrewdly they want to evade it, and, as they very well know, the sooner they can get the people to forget their connection with scandals I have mentioned the sooner they will be able to switch the odium off to other shoulders. But I think this is the time to remind the public

The Budget-Mr. McKenzie

who really are responsible for the conditions which the late government handed over to us. The few matters I have mentioned are sufficient to indicate what I mean when I say that moneys were spent in such a way as to give neither the best results during the war nor honest value to the people of Canada.

I listened, as I always do, with much interest to the argument of the right hon. leader of the Opposition when he spoke yesterday. He told us that he was absolutely dissatisfied with the budget and that there was nothing that he could do except criticize it. Well, that is not all that the Canadian people expect of the leader of a great party. They expect when national questions are to be dealt with that all parties, and particularly their leaders, shall not only criticize but bring to bear their best judgment and advice towards the solution of those questions. At a critical stage when every nerve and muscle and thought must be strained to arrive at the best policy to be pursued in order to successfully carry on the affairs of the country, would you not expect the right hon. gentleman to make some suggestion as to the readjustment of the tariff and the improvement of the budget if either were unsatisfactory to him? The right hon. gentleman is in duty hound to give the country the benefit of his best judgment and experience. His party has responsibilities to the people that sent them here, and because they happen to be in opposition they are not free from obligation, for they are " His Majesty's Loyal Opposition," and as such are bound to give the country the benefit of any constructive statesmanship which they possess.

Now, what was the constructive statesmanship presented to us yesterday, when the right hon. gentleman pointed out very eloquently and very learnedly that the country was in a bad way and that money was very much needed to carry us along? The only thing that we got from the right hon. gentleman was the amendment offered by the former Minister of Finance (Sir Henry Drayton). I shall not take up the time of the House in reading it all, but this is the substance of it:

That the Liberal party having been returned to power the budget proposals of the Finance Minister now brought down, constitute, on the part of the Government, an utter failure to implement such pledges by legislation.

That the making of such solemn pledges, the utilization of them to secure support, and their flagrant violation after the attainment of office

reveal a disregard of political honour and tend to lower the standard of public life.

Now, men are out of employment; industrial and financial conditions require adjustment and improvement; yet the leader of a great party, recently Prime Minister of this country, stands up in the House of Commons, the great forum of the Canadian people, and says: "I have nothing to offer; I have no suggestion to make, .nor has my party any. But one thing I know, and one thing only, and to it I will pledge my word and the strength of my party-that the Grits did not do all that they might have done; the Grits did not follow out, word for word, the pledges of their platform in 1919." That is not what the Canadian people are looking for. Anybody could have done that; it is not necessary to keep a party together with a leader at its head in order that we maj have some little milk and water of that kind. The people are not so particular about the caviling of leaders of parties, about how words and phrases may be placed in resolutions and otherwise; they are concerned with the difficulties with which we are confronted. The man who is unemployed; the man who is trying to support his family on the pittance that he receives as a remuneration for what little work he can get, will not take off his hat to the leader of the Opposition, nor will he cheer for him, because he moved that little resolution. It does not in the slightest way relieve the situation in this country, nor does it bring any credit to the party whose leader is responsible for it. I submit that something more tangible, something more statesmanlike, something more in the interests of the people was to be expected from the leader of the Opposition.

My right hon. friend made reference yesterday to trade with foreign countries, particularly with the United States. He would not encourage reciprocity; he did not think it would be a safe thing for the maintenance of British institutions. Now, my right hon. friend is entitled to his opinion, and I do not criticise him for holding it. I can only say that it is sane, business reasoning on the pari, of the Canadian people to be anxious to trade with 110,000,000 or 120,000,000 of the best purchasers in the world. I should imagine that the farmers of the West, the farmers of the East -in fact, all who have anything to sell, would be glad to take advantage of the nearest market in which they can get a fair price for their products. I do not wish to

The Budget-Mr. McKenzie

throw cold water on the desirability of our trading with the British market and other markets across the Atlantic. We should thank the Lord for those markets and be glad for any developments that may occur in that direction. But surely it cannot reasonably be argued that we should disregard a market which is practically within a stone's throw of our own homes, a market which is right across the line, available to us under all circumstances, and avail ourselves entirely of the only other avenues of trade that are left open to us. I submit that while we should not neglect the one, we surely as sane business men should take advantage of the other.

But let us examine for a moment how the attitude of the right hon. gentleman who leads the Opposition in respect to reciprocity squares with his dealings with the United States in other respects. All governments in this country have spent millions in the opening up of transport routes in order that proper transportation facilities might be afforded from coast to coast. As to the trend of traffic from the great West to the Pacific, we have done our best to provide facilities there; as to the trend of traffic from the West toward the Atlantic, we have done all we could to develop canals, river navigation, railways, everything that goes to make our transportation facilities better; everything that enables us to transport our products within our own borders and upon our own lines, independent of assistance from any other country. That we have done, and we have brought our transportation system into a fair state of development.

You would expect, Sir, that the former Prime Minister would not do anything to interfere with a system of that kind, built up at such enormous expense. But what did he do? In the face of the conditions to which I have referred, my right hon. friend went over to the United States and bought 2,000 miles of railway in that country-under a foreign flag, in a foreign country; bound this country to maintain those 2,000 miles of road to suck the lifeblood out of the system which we had created within our own borders. He ignores the system of ocean ports which we have established at Vancouver, Victoria and other places on the Pacific and Atlantic coasts; he creates a connection with a foreign country across the line and opens a seaport at New London and at Portland, Maine. The result is that the goods which would otherwise be handled by our Canadian railways are switched out of this

country into a foreign land, and encouragement is given to the importing into Canada through a foreign country-not through our own ports-of goods coming from across the seas. How does that square with the story my right hon. friend told that he would have nothing to do with the Americans which would have the effect of interfering with our traffic?

Nevertheless, the facts are as I have stated them, and this millstone has been placed around our necks for all time. We have this 2,000 miles of railway in the United States under American jurisdiction, subject to American laws, and so far as our legislation is concerned, we cannot say how one spike shall be driven on that mileage, and the hon. member who is so extremely loyal that he would not admit it was a fine day for the Yankees, for fear it might break up our loyalty, is the author of this thing.

But is that all? No, Sir, not at all. The province from which I come, British Columbia, the 'western provinces, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick, are all very much interested in the coal trade. It may be necessary to sell the coal produced in Nova Scotia a little dearer in the central parts of Canada than it could be purchased across the line, but this is one nation, one land, and one people, and it is necessary for security and for contentment in this country that we should know that at all times and under all conditions we have fuel within our borders that will enable us to get along in winter and in summer independently of any foreign country. For that reason, to bring about those conditions within our own borders, it is necessary sometimes to expend money and to do things which might perhaps be avoided if we had no regard at all for the national interests. What do we find? We find that the purchasing of this 2,000 miles of railway was not all. The right hon. gentleman also bought 32,000- acres of coal lands. Where is his market? Not in the United States. The market for that coal is Ontario and other parts of Canada wherever coal is wanted. What are the facts? Every ton of that coal that is brought across the line comes across free of duty. We have heard a tremendous outcry from hon. gentlemen opposite because there was some evidence of slight discrepancies in duties and some slight favours shown to people who were not entitled to them, but here we have the people all over Canada who buy this coal from the Government getting it free of duty. The Govern-

The Budget-Mr. McKenzie

ment may go through the farce of putting on a duty of 53 cents per ton, but it is simply taking money out of one pocket and putting it in the other, because the duty is paid to the customs officer and comes back to the Government. It simply means that this coal is coming in here in competition with the coal produced in this country, and there is no protection for British Columbia, no protection for the Maritime provinces, not a particle of protection against the coal produced on these mines across the line which the former government was so lacking in judgment and so ill-advised as to buy. It comes into competition with legitimate industry in this country, to their disadvantage. The industries of this1 country are brought into competition with this Government, whose coal does not pay any duty. It is simply fighting the people with their own money, and driving hundreds and perhaps thousands of our Canadians out of work, to walk the streets. The coal that we are burning in our locomotives and everywhere on our railways is coal mined, produced, and brought to the railways by Americans, who owe no allegiance or anything else to us, and who care not what becomes of our country. That is the charge which I bring home to the door of hon. gentlemen who but yesterday went out of office, and who have offered no explanation for taking over these railways or for buying these coal mines.

Evidence as to the ownership and operation and capacity of these mines was given before the Fuel Committee of this House a year or so ago. The committee was warned by an hon. gentleman who had something to do with these mines that they were capable of developing to the extent of an output of at least 2,000,000 tons a year. If we are going to bring into this country 2,000,000 tons of coal a year, you will see the enormous quantity of our own product that will be displaced, and the effect it will have upon our own industry and upon our own men. There is nothing at present that I can see that we can do. This is the heritage that has been handed to us by hon. gentlemen opposite. There may be some way of getting clear of this situation, and so far as I am concerned, if there is anything I can do, or if any suggestion is made that would better the condition of our own miners and avoid illegitimate competition of that kind, I shall be only too pleased to carry it out. So far as coal and the railways, and the situation at Portland

are concerned, these things are the result of the lack of business judgment on the part of the outgoing administration. They have been handed over to us, and we have to deal with them. It is only fair to the workingmen of this country, to the coal miners from coast to coast, that they should know the position in which they were placed by the old government, and by those who supported that government when this transaction was put through.

The ex-Minister of Finance (Sir Henry Drayton) stood up in this House a few days ago and told us that we were being scandalized in Great Britain because of our action in connection with the purchase of this very railway of which I have spoken, and that it was said we were robbing English investors, and grabbing at this wonderful prize, the Grand Trunk. If that is the reputation we have to-day in England because of this transaction, what answer have we got? Was there any answer made by the hon. member except to read articles appearing in newspapers in the Old Land about this transaction? If there was anything wrong about the taking over of that road-and I am not saying that there was, though I think it was the most miserable transaction which any Canadian government ever made-if we are being branded as robbers because we took over the property; if any such blame can legitimately be placed, let it go where it belongs. It certainly does not belong to the Liberal party; it does not belong to the Progressive party; it belongs to the Conservative party; and, Sir, at the risk of taking a little of the '*.ime of the House, I must place this matter right. It is not a light matter for the Canadian government and the Canadian people to be accused of robbery, to be represented, practically, as highwaymen in taking millions of money out of the pockets of rich and poor on the other side of the Atlantic. That is not a very savoury reputation to be applied to us at this time of our lives; and if such a charge is to be brought and believed the responsibility should be placed where it belongs. The Liberal party has no business to share in any such reputation, if such reputation is to exist, because when this transaction was being put through Parliament the Liberal party fought it at every turn of the road. On October 21, 1919, when this bill was up for its second reading, I moved this resolution:

That the bill be not read a second time but that the House do come to the following resolution :

The Budget-Mr. McKenzie

That the bill proposes an uncertain but very-large addition to the debt of the Dominion at a time when existing obligations, arising out of the war and from other causes, are so vastly in excess of all previous obligations as to give much cause for anxiety on the part of all who are concerned in the financial position of Canada and the maintenance of the public credit.

That a measure of such wide-reaching character and large importance requires a study by the House and the people that cannot possibly be given in the closing days of the session.

That the present session of Parliament was caMed for a special purpose which has already been accomplished.

That on Wednesday October 8th the Honourable the Minister of Trade and Commerce, acting as leader of the House in the absence of the Prime Minister, stated that the Government's expectation was that the session would close within the then current week.

That under such circumstances the introduction by the Government of a measure of such great importance as the acquisition of the railway and property of the Grand Trunk Company of Canada is improvident and inexpedient.

That for these reasons the further consideration of the bill be deferred until a future session of this Parliament.

That, I think, Sir, is a reasonable proposition. That is the position that was taken by the Liberal party at that time. We did not want this road; we did not think the Canadian people wanted it; we did not think that the necessary consideration was given to the question of its acquirement. A vote was taken, There were only sixty-one of us in the House at that time -and we all voted against it. There were ninety-one Conservatives in the House, and the whole ninety-one, without a break, voted for the taking over of this great railway. The vote was taken on October 23, 1919, and the division is to be found in Hansard, Vol. 2, page 1330. Now, if on a Sunday at home, or at any other time, my hon. friends opposite feel particularly pious, and wish to look back on some of the wonderful things they have done for their God and country, they might turn up Hansard at the page indicated and they will see that this railway was bought as a result of that vote, and we have it on our hands now. I venture to say, however, there is not a Conservative in the House who will go to his constituents and say what a splendid thing they have done for the Canadian people.

On October 31, of the same year, a motion was moved by Hon. Mr. Fielding to the effect that the bill should not then be read, but that a commission should be appointed and a proper investigation made as to the condition of the road and the advisability of taking it over. But that resolution was voted down exactly in the same way as the other; there were sixty-one votes recorded for the motion and

ninety-one against it. Accordingly the late government declared that they wanted this great bonanza for the Canadian people. If there was any robbery of the English people who owned this road, or anything done against them-I am not saying there was-and there are any indictments against hon. gentlemen opposite in that respect, they must plead to the indictment- " not guilty ", I suppose-and nimbly step into the criminal box. The Liberal party should not take the responsibility, it must be placed where it belongs; and when those distinguished parliamentarians that I see opposite me go to attend the next conference in London, and are there wined and dined, they can point to this record and say "We are some of the men who have robbed you and taken this wonderful Grand Trunk Railway from you." That is one of the records which my hon. friends opposite can present to their distinguished compatriots and colleagues across the water. I deemed it only fair, as it will perhaps be a matter of ancient history next year to say something about this matter. I think it is only fair to point out that if there was anything wrong about the transaction the great Liberal party of Canada has no responsibility in the matter as it had no part or lot in it at all, and did everything that could be legitimately done to prevent the acquisition of this road by the Canadian people.

There are two things I want to point out. First, we had no business to have this road either on our own account or on account of the commerce of the country. It was contended that we already had too many railways, that we already had too great a mileage, before we assumed the responsibility of taking over the Grand Trunk. If that was true, why was the road taken over? I am not a railway man, and do not care to advance my own views in opposition to those of others as far as the operation of railways is concerned; but I never could understand why, in view of the existing mileage, and with a population of only eight or nine millions, we should acquire four thousand more miles of railway, one-half of such mileage being in a foreign country and designed to switch trade and traffic from Canada when we had spent hundreds of millions of money to keep that trade and traffic within our own borders. I would like someone with keener light on these things than I have, either in this House or out of it, to give a satisfactory business explana-

The Budget-Mr. McKenzie

tion of why these things were done. I charge these follies against the outgoing government and the Tory party. For some sinister motive, which nobody seems to have understood, they lost their heads and their judgment and plunged the country into a condition financially and industrially, which no man within the walls of this House to-day will live long enough to see rectified. These reckless expenditures and extravagances I lay at the door of hon. members who were responsible at the time they happened, and who could have prevented them. But, for some reason or other these things have been done. The Canadian people are the heirs. They have the legacy and must do the best they can to administer the estate.

We were told several times that it would have been ruinous to put the Canadian Northern into liquidation. I am told there is hardly a large railway system in United [DOT]States which has not, at some time or another, gone through the hands of a receiver. They had to be clipped down. Some baggage had to be thrown overboard, the load had to be lightened and the railways had to be adjusted to the traffic of the country. That has been done several times, and is being done to-day. Wb were told the credit of the country would be ruined if the road went into liquidation. But were they consistent later on, when they found it would be advantageous to put the Grand Trunk Pacific into liquidation? Did they think it would be dangerous to put the Grand Trunk Pacific into liquidation overnight, without consulting Parliament or anyone except the minister ? The minister was made the receiver under the War Measures' Act, which gave power to the government to do almost anything. Surely, it was never the intention of the government, when they passed the War Measures' Act, that it should be used as an instrument by which the Minister of Railways would become the receiver of wrecks or defunct railways, but that was done. The members who were supporting the government jumped to their feet and confirmed the act of the government putting that road into liquidation, instead of dealing with it along the same lines as they dealt with the Mackenzie and Mann road. There is not a particle of difference between the one and the other. Was it not just as damaging to the Canadian people and the government to have the Grand Trunk Pacific put into liquidation as to put into liquidation any part of the LMr. McKenzie.]

Mackenzie and Mann road? But it suited them in one case and not in the other. They had friends in the one and did not care very much for the people who were interested in the other. The argument used was that to put the road into liquidation would spoil the good name of the country. That certainly is not the reason, and it is not an answer to the question why Mackenzie and Mann were not forced into liquidation when it was found they could not run their own business, and did not have money enough to carry on the vast undertaking on their hands. That is no reason why the good people of the country should be compelled, by act of Parliament, to take this burden on their shoulders and hand it down to their children's children, to the third and fourth generation, and perhaps longer.

I bring these things home to the doors of hon. members opposite, and ask them to prayerfully and carefully think about them, and see what justification they have for their great boast of what their government did and would have done. I am not a man to boast or crow over a fallen foe. It is not characteristic of the Scotchman to crow Over a fallen foe, particularly if the foe is a worthy one, but I do not know whether that quality is present in this case or not. The Canadian people have discussed these things and weighed them. Hon. members have said that we are not much of a party, but the more they abuse us, and the less standing they think we have, the greater will be their fall. If they were defeated by what might be regarded as an excellent foe, a splendidly equipped army that came against them, there would be some credit and honour in the victory. They have said all those things about us, yet, nevertheless, with all our sins and shortcomings, the Canadian people say: "Whatever the

Grits are, whatever their shortcomings, for Heaven's sake, anything at all rather than this outfit at present in office". And how did they vote? If I had any advice to give to the splendid body of intelligence I see opposite me, I would say, "Don't be running down the Grits, the party the Canadian people put into power over your heads, because the more you do of that the more disaster you bring to yourselves. The Canadian jury heard the evidence against you and dealt with you honestly and squarely, according to the evidence". I think hon. members should accept the verdict humbly and penitently, and try

The Budget-Mr. McKenzie

to go back to the former days of the Tory party. They had their day, they had their men and they had their leaders. They have done some thing in this country. They were a party worth reckoning with at one time, but I heard a good Tory saying yesterday in his speech that all these magnificent things of the past, can be wiped off the calendar, as he described it, and that the word, Ichabod can be written above the door-their glory has departed. It seems to me the hon. member who made that speech last night, when he was applying that tradition to us on this side, had some inward thoughts, and, perhaps, made up his mind he would risk the statement, thinking nobody on this side of the House would take notice of it.

I can assure hon. gentlemen opposite, speaking for myself-and I know the same thing applies to the whole Liberal party- that I never heard during the campaign any promises which this Government has failed to make good. Now, there was a long resolution passed by the Liberal party in 1919; and last year when the budget was before Parliament we presented a shorter resolution comprising a concise and comprehensive digest of the 1919 platform. That shorter resolution has been drawn upon by the Minister of Finance (Mr. Fielding) in the preparation of the budget, and in its terseness it might be compared to the stereotyped prayer of the coloured gentleman who, being a late sleeper and finding it rather difficult to say his morning prayers-for he was devotional-printed a certain formulary, nailed it at the head of his bed, and of a morning before getting into his working clothes, said: "Lord, them's my sentiments". That form of prayer had one advantage at least: it saved a great deal of time. The only difference between our 1919 resolution and the shorter one is that the latter is more concise; and we say to the Tory party, to the Lord, and to everyone else that those are our sentiments. That shorter resolution is a snug synopsis of the longer one, but it is quite comprehensive.

The Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Motherwell) last night in a splendid speech reviewed the record of the Liberal party under the leadership of that grand and distinguished statesman, Sir Wilfrid Laurier, under whom we learnt the ethics of politics; and I do not think that a party that has studied the business of government at the feet of that great Gamaliel, could deserve the condemnation which hon. gentlemen opposite are seeking to pass

upon us. We undertook in 1896 to do what was best in the interests of this Dominion, and we shall carry out now the Laurier-Fielding policy under the leadership of the admirable gentleman who now heads the Government (Mr. Mackenzie King). Let hon. gentlemen opposite reflect seriously before making any charges as to responsibility for the burden which now rests upon this country. We are willing to take our fair share of that burden, but we will not be taxed by hon. gentlemen opposite with responsibilities which are not ours. We are now trying to houseclean, to reconstruct things, and to pull the government of the country out of the Slough of Despond in which the immediately preceding administrations left it; and given an opportunity we shall be able to restore things to the condition in which we left them in 1911.

In 1896, the affairs of the country were in a deplorable state. We found deficit upon deficit, the credit of the country was bad, and financial conditions generally were frightful. We shouldered that responsibility and in fifteen years we had entirely changed this condition. The Right Hon. Sir Robert Borden said at the time that it was best to leave well enough alone, that things were all right, that we were making splendid progress, and that there was no need to touch the structure because it was magnificent and could not be better. Indeed, the present Minister of Finance was able to hand over to Sir Thomas White, when the books were all squared, $14,000,000 in cold cash. How does that condition compare with the legacy which hon. gentlemen opposite handed over to us recently? The two positions are in no way comparable, for whereas we left the finances of the country in a healthy condition, to-day they are in a deplorable state. Of course, I want to be fair to hon. gentlemen, and I must say therefore that this is partly due to the war. But the present condition is not entirely to be attributed to the war. Hon. gentlemen, if they care to do so, can get hold of the famous speech, delivered on April 28, 1915, or thereabouts, by the late lamented Sir Sam Hughes at his home town in Ontario in which he said that it was the war that had saved the Tory party. He said that when the war broke out in 1914 every available asset of the country, every cent they had, had been spent, and their credit was practically exhausted. And that was the condition in which they left the affairs of the country.

The Budget-Mr. Chaplin

Now, if we are given the time and the opportunity we shall be able, as we did when the Liberal party was in power before, to restore the condition of happiness, contentment and prosperity that existed then amongst the farmers and the labourers. We are making a fresh start, Mr. Speaker, under severe difficulties and handicaps such as no government ever faced before, and it can hardly be expected that within a very few months after the assumption of office we can bring about the improvements that we shall introduce in time. It will take us time to pull the country out of the difficult position in which we have found it, but we shall emerge with flying colours; and a country that is now 'blighted with blossom into full fruition under the care of the present administration. Under the leadership of the present distinguished Prime Minister, Canada will once more enjoy the prosperity which obtained of yore.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   THE BUDGET
Sub-subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF THE DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
Permalink
CON

James Dew Chaplin

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. J. D. CHAPLIN (Lincoln) :

In view of the oppressive atmosphere, Mr. Speaker, I hope hon. members will not expect me to follow too closely the speech made by the Solicitor General (Mr. McKenzie). He has entertained the House with a very interesting address, directed principally to hon. gentlemen from the West, on the subject of citizenship. Then he became reminiscent, took us down to the old province of Nova Scotia and told us about the great Liberal party in the old home province. He extolled, particularly for the benefit of my hon. friends on the left, the virtues of this great Liberal party, "all wool and a yard wide", and he offered them the wares which he said he had for sale. Strange to say I did not notice any eager response to buy. I might tell new members from the West that it is not the first time the hon. gentleman has put the lamp in the window-

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   THE BUDGET
Sub-subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF THE DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
Permalink
?

An hon. MEMBER:

And the latchstring on the door.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   THE BUDGET
Sub-subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF THE DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
Permalink
CON

James Dew Chaplin

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CHAPLIN:

Yes. While he was

trimming the lamp a voice came to me in an undertone, and I will tell you what it said.

While the lamp holds out to burn,

The vilest sinner may return.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   THE BUDGET
Sub-subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF THE DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
Permalink
PRO

Oliver Robert Gould

Progressive

Mr. GOULD:

That was intended for us.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   THE BUDGET
Sub-subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF THE DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
Permalink
CON

James Dew Chaplin

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CHAPLIN:

He put me in mind

of the story of Little Red Riding Hood that we used to he told when hoys at school. He lit the lamp, put the latchstring outside the door, and then-"The voice from the

inside said: ' Pull the string and the latch will come up.' " But there was no response. I wonder whether hon. gentlemen recognized the voice.

Now, Mr. Speaker, I do not want to take up the time of the House discussing the question of the Ross rifle. It has already been before this House, and if there is any graft involved I can hand it back to the hon. gentleman (Mr. McKenzie), because it was during the incumbency of the Liberal government that the contract was made. He also spoke about the war wagons. Well, no better wagons were ever sent to the front than those made in Canada. Our men had to have wagons as part of their equipment, and the government would have been delinquent in its duty if it had not provided the equipment, and my hon. friend would have been the first to condemn that delinquency. He also spoke about the coal used on the Grand Trunk. But really I must ask hon. members to allow me to proceed with some of my own remarks, because, to me at least, they are more interesting than re-hashing matters that have been before this House so often and so long.

My hon. friend did pass a compliment to the Minister of Finance (Mr. Fielding) in which I am very pleased indeed to join. I wish to offer also a word of congratulation to him on the fact that during many years of service to his country he has survived all political strife and worry and has come through the strain with health unimpaired. I sincerely hope that he may be spared for many years to come to perform the work he is now doing. I regret, however, that I cannot unqualifiedly congratulate him on his budget proposals; but on the whole, speaking for myself, as far as I can judge they are not entirely unsatisfactory. That is as far as I can go. The measure of my satisfaction or dissatisfaction will very likely be in inverse ratio to the satisfaction or dissatisfaction of my hon. friends on the left.

I noticed in the speech of the Minister of Finance a very strong note of regret because the people did not accept his reciprocity treaty in 1911. The same complaint has come from others, notably from the Minister of the Interior (Mr. Stewart). These gentlemen have told us since we came to this new Parliament that we should accept defeat uncomplainingly-that we should be good sports and not complain. I should like to ask them: Why do they not take their own medicine? Why do they

The Budget-Mr. Chaplin

always complain about the action of the people in rejecting their 1911 treaty? The Minister of the Interior the other day told us: "Oh, the people of Alberta are very much in favour of reciprocity." Well, are they?

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   THE BUDGET
Sub-subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF THE DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
Permalink
?

An hon. MEMBER:

Sure.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   THE BUDGET
Sub-subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF THE DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
Permalink
CON

James Dew Chaplin

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CHAPLIN:

Possibly they are; but I would ask that hon. gentleman if the constituency that is now represented by the Minister of the Interior is in favour of reciprocity. I think the minister had better speak for the people whom he represents. He does not represent any constituency in Alberta; he sits for another constituency, and that constituency in 1911 voted against reciprocity.

I represent a border county. The people in my county ought to know something of the benefits of reciprocity. What happened in 1911? When the reciprocity pact was put forward, twelve hundred farmers from the counties of Lincoln and Welland visited Ottawa and protested against that pact; they were told it was too late. Well, they went back home and those in the county of Lincoln elected a Conservative candidate by the largest majority that had ever been given in that county. What happened in the adjoining county of Welland? I regret that the member for Welland (Mr. German) is not in his seat, but in 1911, although he was a supporter of the then government, he voted against reciprocity, and when he went home his people were so well satisfied that they re-elected him by acclamation. Is that evidence that reciprocity is all right to-day?

While I am talking on this subject, it will be convenient for me to give the House an extract from a New York paper. This "talk about reciprocity is having its effect somewhere else, and I think that that per-liaps is the reason for the talk. I quote from the New York Times of Sunday last, as follows:

Mr. Underwood declared that Canadian sentiment had changed since the popular vote rejected the Taft reciprocity treaty, and now, he said, Canadians would be glad to enter into a new pact.

I do not deny that there may be sections of this country that favour reciprocity, but I would like to see an election held on that question alone; we would then see what the result would be. It would be interesting for the Minister of Finance to confer with the member for Welland (Mr. German) and find out what his opinion is on the question of reciprocity. In 1911 the hon. member for Welland voted against the government; it would be a good idea to find out what he thinks of it now.

I wish to say a few words in respect to some of the tariff proposals. I do not intend to take up very much time in the matter, because I understand that these various questions will be discussed in committee. The first item that I wish to mention is the automobile tax. The late government tried out a number of luxury taxes. They were anxious, as everybody knows, to find means of raising money and that was one of the things they tried. Before very long they were forced to abandon those taxes, and surely wo do not want to go through that experience again. The automobile people, in my opinion, were very badly used by the late government, as it happened. When the tax was taken off there were hundreds of dealers throughout the country who had paid the excise duty on cars and had no way of getting it back from the consumer, on whom the tax properly rested. They appealed to the late government, and I understand they have made an appeal to this Government.

I do not think they are going to get anything out of it; I do not see how they can, but for goodness' sake do not let us perpetrate this evil again. It may be possible to levy a special tax on the higher priced cars; I would not say I would not be in favour of that. But to tax the ordinary car is to my mind out of the question. I am opposed to any special tax on special businesses, and for that reason I also oppose the tax on ginger beer, soda water, and grape juice. These things are not luxuries. Why do you pick out one thing like grape juice and forget about ice cream, for instance? This grape juice business is something that affects my own county. I have a telegram from the farmers of my county, signed by the president of the Niagara Grape Growers. It says:

We have asked that the ten cents a gallon tax on pure grape juice be struck oft the budget proposals. It means a loss to growers of approximately $17 per tion of grapes. Tax would affect 5,000 acres of grapes in this particular district. Would suggest that it he put on imitations which are competitors of agricultural industry.

To put a tax of $17 a ton on grapes, the product in respect to which the farmers in this district have been most successful, is something I cannot understand. I would ask the minister to reconsider the matter, or, at any rate, to give us a chance

The Budget-Mr. Chaplin

to discuss it when it comes before the committee.

I have a few words to say in respect to some things that have been said by members of the House. The first that is under my hand is a statement made by the hon. member for South Huron (Mr. Black). He is reported in Hansard as having said:

When the hon. member who spoke a few moments ago-

Referring to the hon. member for South Renfrew (Mr. Low).

-said that 73 per cent of the produce of this country was consumed in Canada, I was almost staggered. That may be true, and I am not going to doubt the hon. gentleman's word, but I can hardly credit the fact

I want to reaffirm that statement and to say that in 1921 the total farm production of Canada was valued at $1,396,233,000, as given in the official returns. According to the figures given by the hon. member for South Renfrew, the exports were valued at $388,000,000 odd. But I find on referring to the speech of the hon. member for Marquette (Mr. Crerar) who was formerly a member of the ministry, that, according to his statement, the amount of farm produce exported was valued at $453,000,000. So there is quite a discrepancy between the amount given by the hon. member for South Renfrew and that given by the hon. member for Marquette. Where does the discrepancy come in, Mr. Speaker? What is the object of padding the returns? What object can be served by trying to make it appear that the exports of farm products are greater than they are? I am very sorry that the hon. member for Marquette is not here, but I have no doubt that some of the other hon. members of the Progressive party will have the material from which these figures were given. Let me repeat the facts: The minister from South Renfrew stated that the total export of farm products amounted to $388,000,000; the former Minister of Agriculture, the member for Marquette, gave it as $453,000,000.

Now, I have taken some trouble to find out where the discrepancy is, and I think the House would like to know something about it. I think hon. members would like to know what the object is of deceiving the House-and, Mr. Speaker, if my words get a little too strong I know that you will in all kindness tell me before I go too far.

I will tell the House how it comes that the figures of agricultural exports are padded and extended so that it would appear that we are exporting more farm

produce than we really are. It will surprise the House to know that in the amount of farm products exported there is included $29,000,000 for fish as a product of the farm. I wonder where the hon. member for Lunenburg (Mr. Duff) and the members from the maritime provinces are when they allow our accounts to be made up in this way. I want to read an extract from the address of the hon. member for Marquette (Mr. Crerar) so that we will get on the right basis-Hansard, p. 2558:

As I say, we exported goods to the value of $740,000,000 last year.

That is the total exports, as I understand it. He goes on:

But where did those exports come from? Last year was a year of trade depression, a very trying year throughout the world. Of this total, vegetable products accounted for $318,000,000, and animal products $135,000,000 ; in other words $453,000,000 of the $740,000,000 of exports last year had. their origin in the farms of Canada.

Yet I find in the total as given by the hon. member for Marquette, the not insignificant item of $29,000,000 for fish. This is the first time that I ever heard that fish came from the farms of Canada. But that is not all. Another item that comes within the figures as given by the hon. member for Marquette, for padding purposes only, is the very insignificant sum of $14,978,000 for furs, that came from as far north as the Arctic Circle and never saw a farm. They came to Montreal, Quebec, Edmonton and Winnipeg, and that is the nearest they ever got to the farms of Canada. That is another very insignificant item.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   THE BUDGET
Sub-subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF THE DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
Permalink
LIB

Lewis Johnstone Lovett

Liberal

Mr. LOVETT:

What is the hon. member reading from, and what is the date please?

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   THE BUDGET
Sub-subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF THE DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
Permalink

June 7, 1922