February 1, 1923

TREATIES WITH FRANCE AND ITALY


On the Orders of the Day.


CON

Henry Lumley Drayton

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir HENRY DRAYTON (West York):

Can the hon. Minister of Finance (Mr. Fielding) inform me whether he intends this week or next week laying on the Table of the House the treaty with France and the treaty with Italy?

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LIB

William Stevens Fielding (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Hon. W. S. FIELDING:

(Minister of Finance): I expect on Monday next to bring down the treaty with France. We may have to wait a day or two for authority to place the Italian treaty on the Table, but that matter is under negotiation.

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THE GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH

ADDRESS IN REPLY, MOVED BY MR. HAROLD PUTNAM, SECONDED BY MR. JOSEPH T. RHEAUME


The House proceeded to the consideration of the Speech of His Excellency the Governor General at the opening of the session.


LIB

Harold Putnam

Liberal

Mr. HAROLD PUTNAM (Colchester) moved:

That an address be presented to His Excellency the Governor General, offering the humble thanks of this House to His Excellency for the gracious speech which he has been pleased to make to both Houses of Parliament.

He said: Mr. Speaker, postponing just for a moment whatever else I may choose to say in respect of this motion in reply to the Speech from the Throne, I desire to refer to the very first paragraph of the Speech, wherein His Excellency graciously informs this House of the pleasure derived by Their Excellencies from their recent visit to the

The* Address-Mr. Putnam

, Canadian West and also far to the Canadian North. The proverbial hospitality of our fellow citizens in that part of Canada would doubtless be extended with particular zest to visitors so very distinguished and at the same time so democratic in habit and sympathy. No member of this House who has enjoyed- and I think all have-that personal touch with His Excellency will doubt the sincerity of the wish of His Excellency for the welfare, not only of Canada in general, but of every constituency in our far-flung Dominion. In that spirit, in that light, we interpret his recent trip to the West. This House is pleased that Their Excellencies accomplished that long journey evidently with no undue discomfort, but under conditions which made the visit the very reverse. If and when Their Excellencies visit eastern Canada, I am sure the people there will be only too proud, will find it an unbounded pleasure, to try to emulate the hospitality of the West. We cannot show them there mountains as high, or valleys as deep, or plains as wide, as those which obtain in the West; but we have a type of natural scenery, the varied beauty of which will stand, like the word of Caesar, "against the world".

We members of this House who were present yesterday heard from our three respective leaders very touching and appropriate references to four parliamentary comrades who have departed. Time, the great healer, has had, as yet, the least opportunity to perform his kindly office in the case of the Hon. Mr. Kennedy, late Minister of Railways in the present administration. Even after this House was summoned, he received that other summons which supersedes every human plan, every human mandate with which it may come into conflict. The words concerning the virtues of our departed friends were so well and fittingly spoken yesterday that in saying more I am in danger of adding imperfection to that which was said so perfectly. But I did have the pleasure of knowing, in varying degree of intimacy, those four friends, and I am at least able to say of them all, that each had a heart like the heart of a tender child, but a character as firm as a rock. After all, the shock was tempered somewhat in each case, by the circumstance which was pointed out by the right hon. the leader of the Opposition (Mr. Meighen) yesterday, namely, that though they were with us as recently as last session, hoping to return to the duties of this, there was a premonitory hand visible upon them. Frequently the angel of death beckons away from their activities and from their ambitions those who are in the prime of

years and in the pride of their strength. In the case of all these four friends the visitation was a release from a wavering body, "a worn-out fetter which the soul had broken and thrown away."

Mr. Speaker, it is entirely to my constituency that I ascribe the honour which is involved in the very kindly request of my political superiors that I should move this afternoon this reply to the Speech from the Throne. I would disclaim even any partial application of that honour to myself personally. Indeed, I would invoke my own obscurity in the discussions of this House as proof that the favour was for my constituency, and from what I have heard since the bestowal of this honour, I am amply authorized to say, as representing people of all political affiliations in my constituency, that that constituency appreciates the honour.

I should like,-but I know the sense of proportion will forbid,-to delineate some of the local characteristics of my constituency. The House, however, will allow me to say that, in geographical situation, in point of importance, it is easily one of the pivotal counties of-the Maritime provinces. I should like to tell of the industry of its virile people, of the importance of its shire town, as an educational and railway centre, of its natural scenery, wherein it has the constant blue waters of the Northumberland strait upon its north, and those wonderfully whimsical tides from the Bay of Fundy on the major part of its south shore. Those tides caress and forsake that south shore every morning and every night. I should like to tell of those Cobequid mountains, standing always as a thing of beauty between those two arms of the sea. I should like to tell of rich and Cultivated valleys in my county bejewelled with beautiful farm houses, commingling with stately elm trees for mile upon mile until, were it not that the unfolding panorama were so enchanting, the traveller would protest that he were satiated. But I shall not offend further the sense of proportion by dwelling upon a thing so purely local in regard to the constituency to which I so gladly relate the honour of my place towards this motion today, for a high honour it is, because this recurring motion is always, by common consent of all the parties, and groups in this House, accorded an august and cordial place of priority at the very threshhold of our deliberations. Unfortunately, in the earlier days of colonial and constitutional government, especially in the older provinces of Canada, a Speech or a Message from the British Throne could not be always received

The Address-Mr. Putnam

in the same cordial spirit. At the head waters of that same Bay of Fundy, there is, in my county, a pretty settlement which furnishes a sad and tragic example of this fact. In those days about 165 years ago, I think, when there were such hopeless enmity and distrust between England and France, that spot was peopled by peaceful French-Acadian farmers, and on one luckless day, without the least premonition of evil, those people received a Speech or a Message from the British Throne, delivered by a military messenger, surrounded by his stern soldiery, a message ryhich embraced the appalling tidings that on the very morrow they must leave their happy homes, they must abandon all the worldly possessions which their years of toil had garnered, they must contribute their quota, to the last man and woman and child, in that historic, that tragic expulsion of the French-Acadians from my own fair province of Nova Scotia. My gratefulness rises to the very gates of Heaven that since that day the mercy of England has grown even more rapidly than her material might; that though her arm is strong to smite it is equally strong to save; and that it is unthinkable that she should ever again treat a conquered people so, or resort to any such nightmare of Frightfulness. Between that day and this, in the old provinces of Canada, we had a long and stern fight to achieve the political rights which we to-day enjoy. In our Maritime provinces, fortunately, by circumstances, responsible government itself was attained without the shedding of blood. In the older areas formerly known as Upper and Lower Canada, that unfortunately was not entirely the case. But we shall waste no words in doubtful blame of those who found themselves in the thickest of that fight. Rather, we shall be profoundly thankful that the rugged road to the goal of responsible government was marked by such very few stains of blood.

And right in that connection, may I make bold to offer one word of appeal to our good friends who represent the western provinces in this House. We hear rumours, in fact more than rumours, that sooner or later there must be accountings between the East and the West; that there must be, for example, an authoritative deliverance as to who owns the great revenues of the national resources of the West; while there may be arguments and contentions as to how much of eastern money went to build the western railroads. Mr. Speaker, in one sense these are matters of pure dollars; and let me eliminate every possibility of misunderstanding by telling my friends from the West that I fully

credit them with just as sincere a desire as the best-intentioned patriot of the East to have in this Dominion a real union of the peoples of all the provinces. I can say that much with all the more sincerity by reason of the fact that the majority of my own relatives have long lived on those prairies, which sometimes have smiled and sometimes have been bitterly unresponsive to their labours. But when we approach these accountings and try to balance this unique ledger, I ask our friends from the West to remember that the boon of responsible government as a spiritual heritage for all Canada is something in the battle for which the eastern provinces alone bore the brunt, the tedium, the delay, the expense, and, here and there the bloodshed. Let our friends, as I think they will, give due credit for that asset which was won by the East.

During our recess, Mr. Speaker, an event of national importance-because of his recognized place, and that of his party, in this House-has been the resignation from the Progressive leadership of the hon. member for Marquette (Mr. Crerar), whose absence to-day I regret. We are glad, every member in this House, that that resignation has not carried down with it the resignation by the hon. member of his seat in this chamber. Allow me to say that a leader more devoted to an honest cause, or abler in debate, or more courteous toward every member of the House, or better equipped with the saving grace of common sense to handle routine or to grapple with emergency, it would be difficult indeed to discover. May I congratulate-and I think I do so safely on behalf of the whole House-the hon. member for Brandon (Mr. Forke) on his promotion. I am sincere in wishing him, as the new leader of the Progressives, the same measure of success as was achieved by his predecessor. I think that the canny quality of the Scotsman is one of his outstanding characteristics, and therefore, he will not expect me to wish him further success than that generous measure. Besides, I doubt whether there is among his followers a single man who is a disciple of the error of pushing a good thing too far.

Glancing at the clock, it seems to me that I have spent more time than I had intended upon what may be called pure preliminaries. But I will set the House at quasiease by promising to atone for that by curtailing some at least of the details which I had contemplated in discussing the remaining topics proper in the Speech from the Throne. And in doing so, I may deem it consistent with my duty to omit some of those

The Address-Mr. Putnam

topics altogether, because I can neither flatter nor upbraid myself that if I now omit anything legitimate for discussion some other hon. gentleman will not observe the omission and supply the discussion much more acceptably, I am sure, than I might hope to do.

There is in the Speech from the Throne a reference to the intention of this government in regard to the battlefields of Europe. I know there will be profound and consecrated approval that something definite is to be done in connection with those historic fields to perpetuate the memory of our unretuming brave. The government of Prance graciously donates, and the government of Canada gratefully accepts, the gift and the trust of a site for a suitable memorial at Vimy Ridge. Mr. Speaker, your grateful countrymen have followed your personal visit to those spots, and the personal part which you have been good enough to take in that splendid project. We know that your part in this matter involves a drain upon your time and energy; but, Sir, we cannot forbear to hope that you will see that great-duty through. None, by sympathy or by artistic temperament, are better qualified, and we know, Sir, that your patriotism is so deep that "giving doth not impoverish." We shall in our hearts be the better able to honour those who on our behalf have surrendered the dear prize of life, when we know that we have done what we could to observe all the outward symbols of honour and to have their last resting places set in proper order.

I am sure the House will join with me in congratulating upon their return in such good health the two distinguished ministers of this government, the Minister of Finance (Mr. Fielding) and the Minister of Marine (Mr. Lapointe). They have visited Europe upon a mission that was many-sided, and Canada is to be congratulated that she was represented by gentlemen of such outstanding ability and prestige.

There is mention in the speech of better trade relations not only with France but with that friendly nation, Italy. We shall await their own report on this matter, Mr. Speaker; but we are in hopes that we shall have a real extension of our commerce. International trade is very apt to be like Shakespeare's definition of the quality of mercy, in that it is twice blessed; it blesses him that gives and him that takes. In that light, and so far as Canada sets herself to trade with the countries of Europe, she will do her part to relieve that distress which unfortunately now obtains there, because the sane statesmen of the world all agree that to get Europe back into the orbit of normal

trade is one of the main hopes for an issue out of her present troubles.

Nothing, Mr. Speaker, can exceed the patriotic patience of the hon. Minister of Finance (Mr. Fielding) in going thousands of leagues to try to discover avenues of trade when none know more accurately than himself that it violates every standard of logic that we are not trading in an unhampered way with our great neighbour immediately upon the south. The foolish virgins of the parable had themselves to blame when they found that the door was shut against them. But those people *-and there are very many in this country, though I will not at present be partisan in this particular to say whether they are in the majority, but I certainly have my own opinion about that,-who desire still that we should have reciprocity with the United States are ready to do full justice to the Finance Minister, as current history is doing him ample justice in that respect while still his vigour is virtually unabated.

It may perhaps be asked sometimes by some: What has this government done during its twelve months of office?

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?

Some Hon. MEMBERS:

Hear, hear.

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LIB

Harold Putnam

Liberal

Mr. PUTNAM:

"Hear, hear," say my hon. friends. I am glad to be able to report that, as far as my observation goes, the people are evidently much more judicial than my hon. friends themselves, for they realize to the full the manifold and unique difficulties- particularly the financial problem-which have faced this administration when it came into power. Another way to put the question, and I hesitate not to ask it of the hon. members who said "hear, hear," is: what has this government neglected to do that it might feasibly have done for the national welfare during the past twelve months? The people are disposed-and it is a good thing for democracy, which we on this side so uniformly trust, -to give the government an absolutely fair trial. For my own part I see ample evidence of the old adage that the new broom sweeps clean; and if we take the results of the recent by-elections we do not find any indication that the people regret the verdict they gave about twelve months ago.

One criticism has been levelled against the government from certain quarters-most unfairly I think-in connection with the attitude of the Prime Minister in regard to a message received last fall from Mr. Winston Churchill, then a member of Mr. Lloyd George's cabinet, asking the academic question, whether, in the event of England despatching soldiers to the Near East, Canada would immediately do

The Address-Mr. Putnam

likewise. I heartily commend, and I feel certain that the country also heartily commends, the answer of the Prime Minister that parliament must first be consulted. Had he done otherwise he would have offended not only what we think is the well-established principle of responsible government, but also the very spirit of the League of Nations. Because the League of Nations, to which Canada is a party, did not make the extravagant promise that of its own volition it could bring about the end of war. One of its cardinal policies is that when war threatens the League shall ask the contending powers to pause, to wait, to ponder, to weigh and discuss the merits and demerits of the question at issue to see if there is not an honourable way out. It would have been the very reverse of that salutary treatment of dangerous international disputes if, without summoning parliament at all, the Prime Minister had committed Canada to war with the haste and through the agency of a mere telegram.

There is naturally mention of the fact that we have a new board of directors of our National Railway System, and that as soon as possible there is to be a complete amalgamation of the Grand Trunk with the other units of the system. Down in Nova Scotia-and it will occasion no bitterness now if I give it as an historic fact-the arms of Confederation were suddenly thrown around us although we had never consented to any such approach, and naturally we felt an intense shock because we are a modest people. Now, this immense increase of government railway ownership from approximately 2,000 miles to 22,000 miles was also wished upon the Maritimes without their consent in any shape or form, and Nova Scotia in particular unanimously pronounced against that action at the very first opportunity. But, Mr. Speaker though the people of my province believe that both those bargains were very bad for them economically, as good and loyal Canadians they are disposed now to make the best of those bad bargains, and consequently they expect to see government railway ownership have a fair trial. Under this new Board, working in conjunction as far as the law and the circumstances will permit with the government, I have faith that our National Railways will get a fair trial under government ownership.

We in the Maritime provinces have waited long for what we believe are our just rights, and in stating this I will not thank any hon. gentleman to tell me that I am trenching upon ground that is sectional. I suppose that in Russia, to proclaim a wrong and seek redress would be considered sectional, and the reformer might be given short shrift before a firing squad; but in Canada to seek redress of a wrong suffered in any quarter must never be considered sectional.

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CON

Richard Burpee Hanson

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HANSON:

Will the hon. gentleman permit me a question? I should like to ask him where he stands with reference to the inclusion of the Intercolonial railway in the National Railway system, having regard to his own specific declarations in the Halifax Herald during the autumn of 1921.

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LIB

Harold Putnam

Liberal

Mr. PUTNAM:

I beg to inform my hon. friend that I stood precisely where the Minister of Public Works in the last administration, Mr. McCurdy, stood during the election in my county. His election manifesto said: Give us back the Intercolonial Headquarters at Moncton. I have told my hon. friend that on the question of railway amalgamation, just as on the question of Confederation, I do not propose to walk with aimless feet, whatever his own attitude may be. I have told him, and I do not see why now he asks the question, that we propose to make the very best of a bad bargain, just as Joseph Howe did with Confederation.

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CON

Richard Burpee Hanson

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HANSON:

Thank you.

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LIB

Harold Putnam

Liberal

Mr. PUTNAM:

Two statements, Mr. Speaker, made recently by the president of the new Canadian National Railway board, Sir Henry Thornton, have my utmost approval. Speaking at Halifax, he said he had heard during the course of his visit to that part of the country that there was an honourable understanding under which, as a condition of the Maritime provinces entering the confederation, such railway rates would prevail and such railway treatment would be accorded to us as would not interfere with the legitimate flow of trade between those provinces and the more westerly parts of Canada. Sir Henry said-and it is a long time since we have had such a specific promise from so authoritative a source-that in the formulating of his railway policy that contention would be examined upon its merits. For the present, Mr. Speaker, that is all I want; I believe that if the contention is examined into and decided upon its merits, there are better days in store for the people of the Maritime provinces.

Sir Henry Thornton also stated publicly in the city of Moncton that the railway employee need not fear that the wages paid to him in the future would not be sufficient to enable him, without undue worry and anxiety, to support his family and to attain

The Address-Mr. Putnam

that degree of independence which would be commensurate with his station in life, based upon the ordinary standards of Canadian citizenship. That, Mr. Speaker, gives me comfort, and it gives comfort to thousands of deserving railway men throughout this country. The life of the railway employee is a laborious and a hazardous one, and when he is performing an honest day's work; when by the sweat of his brow he does his part in the building up of our transportation facilities, he should not have to worry about the question whether his wages will be sufficient to maintain in decency and in comfort the little family -which God has committed to his care. I say it is a consoling utterance, an utterance which, though made by Sir Henry Thornton soon after his arrival in this country, was overdue to the railway employees of Canada. It should have come sooner, from some one in authority to speak, because the smaller paid railway men have been more than once placed under the threat and the execution of slashes and cuts in their pay, producing a state of doubt whether a bare living would remain for them and their dependents. Deficit or surplus, that must stop. I give this government praise for having restored to their proper status and their proper seniority those employees of the Grand Trunk Railway Company who, for a grievance which they undoubtedly considered just, went on strike away back in 1910. During the course of the last election campaign the Prime Minister promised that, the Grand Trunk railway being under government sponsorship, he would use his influence to have that grievance remedied. I congratulate the Prime Minister and his cabinet upon the vindication of the promise made in that respect. It is an earnest of the fair play which the railway employees may expect in all parts of this country.

There is another order promulgated by Sir Henry Thornton with which I agree; he has rescinded the order of the old board providing that any railway employee who responded to his legitimate ambition or to the desire of his fellow men that he should become a member of a provincial or the federal parliament, would thereby become subject to dismissal. The rescinding of that order was a proper measure of reform. I know there will be academic and technical critics who will say, "Oh, if you are going to extend that principle you will have difficulty; there will be an incongruous condition if other federal officials are not allowed to run for parliament." In all these matters, Mr. Speaker, we must not forget to be practical. The rail-

way men are in constant and close touch with the commercial conditions of the country. If I want to inquire how business is, how trade is, I ask a railway man of my own town and he can tell me. If the railway employees, segregated as they are for the most part in large centres, choose to take advantage of this new order promulgated by Sir Henry Thornton, I am very certain that even this House-looking at the matter from the point of view of ability and public service, will be the gainer.

Mention is made in the Speech of a proposal to examine into an alleged combine in shipping on the Great Lakes. In view of the fact that the Speech suggests that there may be a combine, without dogmatically saying so, it will perhaps be as well to reserve judgment on that point. It is significant, however, that at a time when competition in tonnage was very keen and difficulty was found in getting business of any profitable sort, the fresh water freight rates did multiply themselves two and three times. It is exasperating to our western friends that they should have to put up with that sort of parasite upon the economic body. I can only hope that the probe will be thorough-as I believe it will-and if there are combines and if there can legitimately be brought into force means to punish the grafters, I hope that a mere finding will not be the end of it, but that a salutary punishment will follow. Let us prevent that sort of thing, I care not from what quarter it may come.

It is a matter of such universal approval, Mr. Speaker, that the embargo upon live beef cattle going to England from this country has been removed that I would not be justified in dealing with the matter at any considerable length. I know that strong friends of the farming industry in this country have lived and died despairing that this reform would ever come about. I myself was brought up on a farm an

The Address-Mr. Putnam

as they anticipate. Of course, it will not mean everything, but at a time when our American friends are seeing fit-temporarily,

I do hope-to tighten their tariff restrictions against Canadian agricultural products, the entry of live Canadian cattle into the British market is certainly a step in the right direction.

The Speech from the Throne portends the dawn of a better time. The clouds of economic discouragement have overhung the firmament for a long while, and through long and strenuous years we have watched to try and determine whether the situation was growing darker or more hopeful; but at last we see the dark clouds interlaced with streaks of light that, we believe, herald the morning which will slowly roll them away. Thus far the Canadian people deserve unlimited credit for their patience and their morale in holding the economic line. If we should falter now, if we should fail in the qualities of courage and tenacity and hope which we have hitherto displayed, we should be utterly unworthy of those brave boys, living and dead, who held the trenches when the odds seemed so overwhelmingly against them as might well have caused dismay.

I am gratified to learn, in fact, I have seen evidence of it personally, that there is a diminution in unemployment. That should bring joy not only to the heart of the honest labourer worthy of his hire, but to every humane heart in this country; for what spectacle is more pitiful, what more calculated to tempt us to ask whether our civilization has not failed after all, than that of the honest and needy labourer begging simply for the modest prize of work and finding it not, but going back home each evening to his wife and bairns and reporting that this simple privilege of work is not for him. In the times of stress through which we have passed, years in which the world was reeking and rocking from the earthquake of the great war, labour and capital have been taught a lesson in common, and that lesson is that sometimes both are equally helpless in the face of a combination of difficult circumstances. Out of these stressful times, and because of the severe lesson which they have learned, may there not grow henceforth-God grant that there may a spirit of mutual forebearance and of sweet reasonableness when labour and capital come together to try and adjust their differences? And may each strive as never before to see and to appreciate the other's viewpoint. In my humble view, legislation will probably never be devised that will permanently establish a satisfactory standard of affairs as between capital and labour. Labour must never think that it may not run into the time when it shall have to walk the streets looking jn vain for work; and capital need never presume that it may always be profitably active. May they both profit by the lesson of their helplessness. I hope that for a long time to come labour and capital are going to be more genuinely reasonable in meeting to settle their differences, whatever those differences may be. After all, as the poet of a former century said *-and we have in this year of grace to sigh in common with him:

How small, of all that human hearts endure,

The part that laws or kings can make or cure!

I am glad to believe, Mr. Speaker, that the rebound is coming for this Canada of ours, and I believe that the rebound which we already feel, despite the depression in Europe, is a measure of the rebound we would have felt had conditions been anything like normal over there.

We have to welcome several new members to the House this session, and amongst them is the hon. member for Jacques Cartier (Mr. Rheaume). He shares with myself the honour of speaking to this motion, and I understand that he will second it in his own language. The fact that he has the right to speak in this House in his own mother tongue, and I in mine, however poor my effort may have been, is certainly not a thing to be deplored. I regard it rather as an evidence of that accord which is rooted in liberty. My only regret is, that though my ear may be able to catch some of the music of that language of charm the meaning of whose words and phrases would seem to be graded like the hues of the sunset, my understanding will not be able to follow except, like Peter, afar off, until I shall have seen the English translation. I remember when a very young man reading a speech by Sir John Macdonald, the then great leader of the Conservative party, whose very worthy successor, the present honourable leader of the Opposition, sits opposite me to-day. In beautiful language he pictured this dual liberty of the representatives of the two main partners in Confederation, and I remember those moving words of his: "The solace of the mother tongue, the language learned in lisping tones at a mother's knee."

Mr. Speaker, I thank you and the House for your considerate attention, and regret that I have occupied so much of its time. I do now move that an humble address be presented to His Excellency in reply to the Speech from the Throne.

The Address-Mr. Rheaume

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LIB

Joseph-Théodule Rhéaume

Liberal

Mr. THEODULE RHEAUME (Jacques Cartier) (Translation):

In rising, Mr. Speaker, my thoughts very naturally dwell upon my predecessor in this House, the late lamented David Lafortune, who, as the saying goes, died at his post, in full harness, in that court of justice which was particularly dear to him. His whole life was that of the toiler. In all the accepted sense of the word he was " a self-made man." Through hard work, unbending energy and perseverance he climbed to the highest station of life. A veteran of many a contest, he was able to command, together with the admiration of his friends, the respect and esteem of his opponents. A conscientious member, he faithfully served his fellow-citizens, his party and his country, and I believe myself to be the interpreter of the people of Jacques Cartier and of those who knew him when offering to his memory the homage of heartfelt sorrow and everlasting remembrance.

May I now thank the Prime Minister for the honour which he has bestowed on the county of Jacques Cartier by graciously inviting its representative, elected but yesterday and a new comer in this House, to second in French, according to custom, the motion for an address in reply to the Speech from the Throne.

No doubt, all will agree that I should see the justification of this choice in the importance of the riding which has designated me as its representative, a county both industrial and agricultural, synthetizing the economic aspect of the country, where one descries, not far distant from large factories, the finest farms of America.

It is the custom at the opening of parliament, to review briefly the conditions of the country. There was a time when such a survey was easy, when those who were called upon to speak on the Address had but to make a glowing picture of Canada's prosperity, shining proudly amongst nations that knew but abundance; to-day conditions have changed. Nevertheless, even in these years of depression, it seems to me that there is ample reason to cheer up and to have faith when it is seen by unmistakable omens, that Canada, burdened like others by the consequences of the world-wide war, nevertheless maintains its vigour and reveals a more promising future.

Being a young country, it had grounds to fear that its credit might not emerge safely out of this conflict. However, notwithstanding the fabulous amounts spent, the difficulties encountered, the financial steps which it was forced to take re-

quiring heavy sacrifices from all, it did not founder like so many others. On the contrary: it is pleasing to acknowledge that it quickly recovered and, at present, offers to the world the spectacle of stability auguring well for the future. It seems indeed, from an economic point of view, that our position is, day by day, improving. If agriculture and commerce have reasons to complain, sure signs of recovery are given to us by the statistics which give the measure of our various activities. Our foreign trade maintains itself, notwithstanding the obstacles which have arisen through the custom regulations adopted by our neighbours to the south. For the eight months of the year 1922, from April to November, our trade amounted to $1,138,175,366. If we compare these figures with those of other years we shall find that, for the same period, we have a surplus of $124,000,000 over 1921. By taking into account the depreciation in values, we can verify that our external trade is very gratifying since the quantities are at least being maintained, when they are not on the increase.

Those who attach some importance to the net balance of trade have learned, no doubt with pleasure, that our exports of Canadian products have increased from $502,152,675 for the eight months of the year 1921, to $621,705,316 for the eight months of the year 1922, while our imports have but slightly increased, in fact just by a little over $4,000,000, leaving a balance in favour of exports in national products of more than $114,000,000.

This balance in our favour added to the one of our foreign credits, has contributed to restore our exchange which in the end went up to par, after dropping as low as an adverse -19 per cent. We do not positively state that it will maintain that level, nevertheless we are led to believe that this established parity between the American money and ours is to us the indication of a fortunate state of affairs and is reassuring to trade.

If agriculture, particularly, is still suffering from the depreciation in values, at least it rejoices in a crop which no past figure has ever reached and which was transported to outside markets with extraordinary rapidity. These favourable conditions combined with the able administration of the late lamented Minister of Railways were responsible, no doubt, for the progress noticed in our National Railways.

Thanks to the recent initiative taken by the government, we are in hopes that our National Railways will succeed in extricating themselves from the difficulties which they have encountered within the last years.

There is a French proverb which says:

" Quand le batement va, tout va It

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is specially in the building trade that the crisis was felt more acutely. However, of late, we have noticed in this essential industry a marked progress, for instance in Montreal, Toronto, Winnipeg, Vancouver and in other localities. The same progress is noticeable in most of our industries, so that the future may be viewed more serenely.

In order to further [DOT] secure our prosperity, we must have a larger population which will increase our output and take its share of the burden which we carry. It is not that empty cradles are to be feared in Canada, especially in our good old province of Quebec where it is customary for our spouses to generously respond to our patriotism; however, the immigration contribution is not what we might expect. A remedy must be found. The government has given proof of its solicitude for this all important subject. It will promote a sound agricultural immigration and in the same way endeavour to repatriate our people.

It is not sufficient, Mr. Speaker, to greet a person on his landing in this country, to offer him all the material advantages possible; we must moreover, and I lay stress on this point, create in the new comer a state of mind in harmony with the ideals of the new country which he has adopted and, Sir, such a mission belongs to us all.

In order that a people may exist and attain nationhood, an ideal which can create a national spirit is indispensable. Let us teach our new settlers the noble deeds of our history, whether in past or present times. Let them draw from those pages filled with great accomplishments the determination and will to ever be, before and above all things, a member of the great Canadian family.

Finally, Mr. Speaker, if our economic conditions require that we should increase our population, the conditions which prevail in our industries and regulate our agricultural interests demand equally that our trade policy should find new outlets on foreign markets. In this connection, Sir, the country rejoices in the initiative taken by the government which, returning to its policy of the past, has renewed commercial conventions with France and Italy. Our gratitude is secured to those ministers, to whom the government so confided these missions, the hon. Minister of Finance, the hon. Minister of Marine and Fisheries and the hon. Minister of Trade and Commerce. The government, Mr. Speaker, has endeavoured to establish the wealth of this country upon the basis of a prudent and rational use of our resources. To promote the agricultural interests, protect the consumer, maintain and encourage the industries that we have so patiently established; such is its aim. The people of Canada rely again with confidence on the distinguished leader of the government, a noted statesman and a wise economist and, also on the eminent men with whom he has associated himself, so as to fulfil their hopes, perpetuate these traditions of progress and lead our dear Canada towards the high destinies which await her. I have the honour to second the motion of the hon. member from Colchester (Mr. Putnam).

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CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

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

Mr. Speaker, the motion recurring each session, moved to-day by the hon. member for Colchester (Mr. Putnam), and seconded by the hon. member for Jacques Cartier (Mr. Rheaume) has received at the hands of both these gentlemen that courteous, brief and moderately non-partisan treatment that does honour, not only to the motion, but to themselves. I heartily congratulate the hon. member for Colchester on having, in a brief space of time, covered in language of precision and of dignity all that could be expected to be referred to on the motion, some things, indeed, on which the Speech from the Throne is silent. I am afraid I did not detect in his utterances any sign of the loosening of those hard Maritime partisan bonds, nor of the intrusion of light into the prejudices of the past; but nevertheless he spoke well and with credit to himself. The hon. member for Jacques Cartier is to be welcomed into this House to-day for the first time. He comes from a historic constituency, one that stands now far to the front of the progressive, prosperous districts of this country. His speech this afternoon indicates that, in point of standing as an orator, he worthily represents the great constituency from which he comes. May my words of welcome extend as well to the other new members of Parliament? In the most of cases, we regret that new members are necessary from those districts; but they will receive at the hands of those of us longer here a courteous and cordial greeting in this House.

We meet now under circumstances new in another regard. One of the great parties of this House has lost its erstwhile leader, he having severed that association with his party that he may devote himself more to other occupations. I shall not comment on anv circumstances connected with that severance now. I refer to it only for the purpose of welcoming to the ranks of leadership the hon. member for Brandon (Mr. Forke). who has been signallv honoured bv his fellows in an early elevation to that office. Rarely does the prize of leadership come after so brief an

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experience in parliament. One session alone has the hon. member for Brandon served; but that session was long enough to enable him to impress most favourably hon. members of this House of all parties. I believe it can be said that his sincerity of belief, as well as his fairness of discussion, made a marked impression upon hon. members generally. I do not know that I look, myself, for ' any less evidence of Liberal affiliation than I looked for in his predecessor; but I do believe that the hon. member from Brandon approaches all problems from the entire, wide Canadian standpoint. I believe further that his heart is not only truly Canadian, but just as truly British.

Very few words of mine are necessary at this stage of the work of parliament. This is our second session. The Speech from the Throne is down, and it covers a range of subjects. I cannot say there is to be found within its paragraphs very much difficult of digestion, very much of weight or importance to command the attention of hon. members this session. Some things are there that appeared a year ago. There are promises repeated, promises made in the fervour of new-found power twelve months ago, promises never yet fulfilled, but which they do not hesitate to come back and reiterate, undertaking to do better in 1923.

Last year we found in the Speech from the Throne a commitment on a railway policy, a policy which, it is true, they had one and all declared themselves opposed to in order, in eastern Canada, to attain the reins of power, but to which, in the Speech from the Throne, they pledged themselves to give effect, namely, to continue the public operation, through a board of directors, of the National Railway systems of this country, specifically promising, as well, what was the declared and admitted policy of the previous administration, to bring what were then two great systems into one by what they described as co-ordination. Later in the session, when the railways were under discussion at the hands of the late lamented minister, that hon. gentleman further proclaimed that that co-ordination was about to take place, that there was to be such a unification-a word also used in the former Speech from the Throne-as would enable economies to be effected and the greatest efficiency to be brought about. This time those words are somewhat modified in their reaffirmation in the present Speech from the Throne. Instead of assuring parliament, as was done a year ago when this long-delayed amalgamation or co-ordination of the Grand Trunk with the National system was to take place, the Speech

from the Thronf. to-day,-its author evidently feeling somewhat ashamed that that undertaking has never yet been carried out- makes no reference to the Grand Trunk system at all, but solemnly assures the people of Canada that the National system is to be co-ordinated, to be unified. Why, that coordination, that unification was all complete when hon. gentlemen opposite came into power. It had been done. The roads, apart from the Grand Trunk, were all being operated under one board.

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LIB

George Perry Graham (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM:

The Grand Trunk had a

separate board.

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CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

Certainly; I did not say the Grand Trunk. I said that the other roads were all being operated under one board, with all the advantages of unification. And all that the Speech from the Throne to-day pretends to say is that what was already done a year ago is still going to be done. No reference at all is made to the Grand Trunk. Now, the practical consideration for this House on railway subjects is this: Why is it that the amalgamation of the Grand Trunk with the National Railways is not yet a fact? Why is it that no progress whatever has been made in twelve months, and that we have had nothing but promise after promise, non-fulfilment after non-fulfilment, and now not even a promise? Why is it that to-day we have two railway systems owned by the country, operated, I know, nominally under a single board, but which are each run as a separate system, just the same as they were run under private management? We have a separate traffic manager for the Grand Trunk as well as a separate passenger manager. There is

a whole separate organization for the Grand Trunk, including a separate freight department and all the rest, involving all the burden of duplication. And the Speech from the Throne to-day even suppresses the hope that the government purpose to do away with that unnecessary expense to this country. Now7, I am quite aware that certain preliminary steps had to be taken, that probably some arrangement would be required to be made as regards the holders of bonds of certain of the individual systems. But I have not learned that any steps have been taken to make these arrangements, or that any progress has been made. All that has been done in connection with this entire policy has been to oust from office a board of directors and a manager who, on the admission of the Minister of Railways who sat in this House last session, had succeeded in a singular way in achieving great progress in connection with the

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amalgamation and the betterment of that system, and in the reduction of its deficits. All that has been done has been ruthlessly to oust them from power and place in office some of the favourites of hon. gentlemen opposite. This question is of real and practical consequence because of its bearing on a larger subject to which I will refer later in my address. This country is not to-day getting the advantages that it ought to get from the unification of the railways it owns. On the contrary, it is suffering under a burden which it has no right to bear, because of the wholly unjustified delay, a delay now extending over thirteen months. There has been no cause for one of two months' duration, on the part of the present government. What may be the loss it is very difficult, of course, to say. But I do not think that any railway expert would place it under $10,000,000 per year. What is more, I observe that the government has made commitments in relation to the purchase of equipment and supplies aggregating, so the report would indicate, from $12,000,000 to $20,000,000, at least not less than the lower figure; and this for equipment and supplies, the necessity for which would seem to me to be very doubtful indeed, were the advantages of amalgamation first brought about. I am unable to understand why these large engagements should be made on behalf of this country before we know what the requirements are as the result of a survey, a survey that can be made only when amalgamation is effected. But I have another objection to these commitments. What authority did the government have from this parliament sanctioning commitments of between $12,000,000 and $20,000,000 for equipment? I am not aware that authority was asked for, much less granted, at the last session of parliament. All these matters had been reviewed and should have been included in the estimates of a year ago. There is no excuse whatever for commitments in between, commitments that could not have arisen because of circumstances unforeseen. If the need was there, then the need was known to the directors in the spring of 1922, and I doubt not if the directors and the general manager felt that those commitments were necessary they would have laid before the administration estimates covering the same, and parliament would have had the right to decide whether they were necessary. That was not done. We have since gone through a transport season, perhaps the largest in the history of the country, involving the carriage of grain to the extent of three-quarters of one hundred million bushels more, I think, 2i

than was ever transported before. That was done, it is true, mainly under the late management, but wholly without complaint as to car shortage or equipment shortage, so far as I heard. Besides this, earlier in the season large bodies of equipment were altogether unused. Consequently it seems to me that the government has some explanations to make to the House as to why they have joined with the new directors in binding the country to millions of expenditure without the authority of parliament.

May I also mention an ingredient of the pledge of a year ago, as to the fulfilment of which w'e have no word and no assurance? It will be recalled that in the Speech from the Throne of a year ago when the promise of co-ordination was given, His Excellency was made to say that that co-ordination was to be accompanied by a thorough inquiry in order that the people of Canada would at last know the real inside financial facts of the National Railway system. Has that thorough inquiry taken place? If so, by whom was it conducted? In the speech of the former minister, made later in the session, it was intimated that inquiry would be made by a body of men specially appointed for the purpose by the board of directors. Has that inquiry taken place at all? If it has, what is the result? Has it been found that the facts disclosed previously were in any way coloured, in any way misleading, in any way incomplete? If it has been made, the House should have known ere this what the result of the inquiry was. I venture to say it was one of those alluring manifestoes that are made only to be forgotten.

The other subject that is repeated this year from the sessional programme of the year before is the subject of immigration. In the Speech from the Throne of 1922 the House was informed that immigration had been necessarily neglected during the war, that there had been naturally a falling off of immigrants, but that now the blessing of peace had come the government was alive to the need of an aggressive immigration policy and was immediately addressing itself to the formulation of same. This time the Speech from the Throne says that they are still impressed with the need of an active and effective immigration policy, and that their belief is that the efforts of the government should be specially directed to acquiring United States and British immigrants. I can quite understand that the government would feel the country in need of some renewed assurance on this subject. We have had a number of speeches in the interim in various parts of

The Address-Mr. Meighen

the country, chiefly from the mouth of the Minister of Immigration (Mr. Stewart), many of them emphasizing the labours of the administration to formulate a policy, one of them announcing that at last the task was complete and they had decided to increase the advertising, to increase the agencies, and to seek immigrants from other lands, and as well to stop the exodus of those already within our borders.

I was not able to detect anything in the way of a new idea in that formulation of alleged policy. But a review of the success of this administration on the subject of immigration is illuminating as illustrating its success with every other subject that it has turned its hand to since coming into power. I could detect a sense of humour coming back into the mind of the hon. member for Colchester (Mr. Putnam) when he asked himself the hypothetical question: What after all has this government done? If his mind should turn to the subject of immigration, he would see the real irony of the question. He spoke of the very great difficulties the government encountered when it came into power a year ago. Oh, what a pathetic situation this country was in! Our financial condition, he said, was so bad that it really constituted-and I waited, for the word: finally it came-it really constituted a "problem." He forgot the Speech from the Throne of last year. In that speech the government which had ' in their election speeches described our national condition as perilous, as bringing forebodings into the minds of "masters of finance," in the words of the present Minister of Justice (Sir Lomer Gouin), as making even rich men quail with fear, as indeed making patriotic men dread the day when, because of our obligations to the Republic to the south, we would drift into annexation,-in the Speech from the Throne these same men had His Excellency say, that the condition of this country was the best of that of any country that had been engaged in the world war. And as the hon. member reviews the year, dwelling all the time on the vastness of the task of the government, the conclusion his philosophic mind finally arrives at is this:

How small, of all that human hearts endure,

The part that kings or laws can cause or cure.

How little more especially can those of that name and quality in the present administration do in the matter of immigration!

Immigration during the war of course fell off. Our efforts during that time were not

centred on that subject; they had other and bigger tasks to engage them. But nevertheless our immigration during the war was better than our immigration after the vast display of effort of the present administration. The average during the whole period of the war was about 90,000 immigrants per year. This year up to the end of December some

60,000 entered Canada, or a 25 per cent falling off from the year before. I have the correct figures before me. In the year 1920 we received 117,396 immigrants; in 1921, 148,477; in 1922, 89,999. That is the way immigration went on after the war closed. Our immigration from the beginning of last April to the end of the year is given me by the department at 60,247. The government affirm in the Speech from the Throne that the most desirable immigration is British and American. Well, British immigration has almost disappeared altogether. British immigration that a year ago was five to one is now less than two to one. As against European, British immigration absolutely is going down to the zero mark. That is the result of one year of operation.

But while immigration is stagnant, emigration appears to be active. The government somewhat boasts in the Speech from the Throne of the expansion of our exports. Our exports have gone up in part- there is no very great stimulus apparent, but there is a somewhat small increase. But there are exports and exports. With a crop transcending anything we have ever had before in the history of the Dominion, it is scarcely of much credit to the government that that crop has had to find an export market-it must go. We have, I should think, a 400,000,000 bushel wheat crop this year; our barley and our oat crop much exceeds that of any previous year in our history, and that accounts for the expansion of our exports. But there is something else that accounts for it as well. We are exporting settlers' effects at a very considerable rate. In 1920 the export of settlers' effects was valued at some $7,762,000, but in the same year there were imported settlers' effects to the value of $9,127,000. In a word, the balance was in our favour to the extent of $1,364,631. The year before-1921 -we had a balance in our favour in the matter of export and import of settlers' effects of $1,161,000-$6,808,000 worth came in and $5,647,000 worth went out. But this year, after the exertion of the government, as promised in the Speech from the Throne of a year ago, we managed to have come in $5,068,000 worth while there went out $6,155,000

The Address-Mr. Meighen

worth, or a balance against us of $1,086,767. Nothing will more clearly, more rigidly and more unanswerably illustrate the success of the government's immigration policy. The United States immigration figures show that the population of this country is going over to the United States at a rate which is increasing every month. That was the case throughout 1922; in later months the figures run up to almost eight thousand per month. That, by the way, is the cause-I regret to have to say that it is the main cause-of the diminution of unemployment in the larger cities of this country to-day. Well, the government takes to itself credit in the Speech from the Throne for the reduction of the unemployment figures as compared with those of a year ago. They would be more frank and more fair with this country if they explained that unemployment has gone down because the artisans of Canada have gone across to American cities where they are getting work that they cannot obtain in this Dominion.

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?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Hear, hear.

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CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

Hon. gentlemen opposite say, "hear hear"; they are apparently quite glad to increase the figures of our export, even though it is the export of manhood and of settlers' effects. No, the situation in Canada to-day has not improved over that of a year ago. I do not think all these things are attributable to government; I have never argued that. There are some things government can do; this government has not turned a hand to make work for a single individual in this Dominion. No policy can they point to that has brought meals to the mouths of the labourers of this country, no policy can they point to that has brought a taxpayer into this country to share the load we carry now. They sit in office,-well, I do not know that it is quite fair to say that they always sit; they did travel considerably. At all events, they enjoy the honours of office; but a Speech from the Throne that contained something of a specific policy designed to check the flow of emigration, . designed to enhance the flow of immigration, designed to reduce the taxation of those who are here, designed to bring work and food to the people of this country-that would be a Speech from the Throne more welcome to the people than anything we find in the document now before us.

There was, however, mention of certain Subjects in the Speech from the Throne twelve months ago upon which the government is conspicuously silent now. Hon. members-especially hon. members to my left and

others interested in western Canada-will recall the note of triumph with which it was announced in the government press-yes, by the government itself-that the long-standing question of the return of the natural resources to the western provinces had at last been solved at the hands of this administration. Here was a question that had baffled ministers of mediocre talent in the days that had gone. Year after year incompetent men had struggled with it, but now a new government had come to power and in the space of a few short weeks had solved this intricate question by the application of the spirit of justice and of equality; and the Speech from the Throne pronounced that already a solution, or what was hoped would be a solution, had been sent forward to the premiers of the western country. In the interim the suggestion had been made-and it had already been accepted by the then premier of Manitoba-that if in the application of the principle of equality, when they all got together later on to solve the natural resources problem, any difficulty should arise, a tribunal should be erected to determine, upon a principle of accounting, just how these difficulties should be resolved. And so the announcement went forth that at length that could be decided; the question would be off the skyline of Canadian politics solved by the superior talent of the present administration. There is no mention of it, Mr. Speaker, in the Speech from the Throne this year. Does it mean that the prophec' or the promise of a year ago is fulfilled and the sky-line clear of the question? No; the question stands exactly where it stood when they came into office, save and except that they have messed it and retarded it. Not one foot of progress has been made: nothing was done whatever save the holding of a futile conference from which each participant went forth to say that he came down, discussed, and went home in vain. All indeed, that happened was this: a provincial election was approaching in Manitoba. It was important for the political associate of my right hon. friend the Prime Minister that he go back with the solution of the natural resources question in his pocket, and so between them they contrived that this concoction of verbiage should be tried upon a credulous public. The people should he told that the two prime ministers had met and had decided to settle the whole matter merely by the introduction of the great principle of equality as between the citizen of Manitoba and the citizen of the rest of Canada Precisely, Mr. Speaker, as if two litigants had long struggled before a judge on the bench for the ascertainment of their

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reorganization of departments. It undertook the reorganization of the Printing Bureau in Ottawa, of the Post Office department, and what savings we have to-day in that department in the matter of expenditure are the direct result of that reorganization, and if any hon. gentleman opposite wants any proof I refer him to the words of the Postmaster General (Mr. Murphy), extracted from him last session, frankly indeed, given by him in this House. That department was reorganized. The Customs department and Inland Revenue were reorganized and millions were saved to this country in the process. Let this government pursue such work department by department, and they will save the people of Canada millions that are to-day going in waste services all over the country. Now, there is no question of this at all. The government takes great credit for reducing the hours the civil servants had to work last year, for increasing the holidays, as they say they have done. By this means I suppose they hope that votes will be attracted to their standard. The country looks in vain for substantial contraction in the expenditures of the Dominion. That contraction has taken place this year in very marked degree in other countries of the world. They talk in the Dominion about not being able to do anything in the way of meeting our honest share of Empire obligations, in the way of paying for what we enjoy in this countrj'. We can do nothing, they say, because of the great debt of the Dominion. The government of Great Britain in the year that has gone was under the necessity of paying two-thirds of its entire revenue in the interest on obligations which that country incurred, that the liberty of the world might be saved. The interest on the obligations of this country, obligations that I know were great, obligations that I know were honourable and creditable-the interest on the obligations that were incurred in the war-is not more than about one-third of the revenue of this country to-day. The government have the other two-thirds. The government of Great Britain, with one-third of their revenue, are able to pay off a portion of their national debt; this government with two-thirds of our revenue available, none of which is applicable in interest upon the war debt, is not able to reduce any of its national debt, but rather adds to the national debt by forty-five millions in one year. Such is the comparison between this administration and other administrations that have been in power. So I say that the effort of this House should be directed this session to one end more than all others, namely, to the end of bringing to the government a

realization of its duties in this matter of expenditure and taxation.

Considerable is stated in the Speech from the Throne about improved conditions in the Dominion. I have not observed those improved conditions myself. I do not come to parliament animated by a desire to paint in colours that are darker than the truth the actual condition of our country. So far from despairing, there is none of higher hope for this Dominion among its citizens than myself. We are in a good position yet, relatively to other countries, in the matter of national obligations. By the conduct of our finances through those years of war by procuring for this country a large share of the work of producing all kinds of goods necessary in the conflict, we were able to hold the debt of. this Dominion pretty largely within the four corners of the Dominion itself. We were able in that time to add to our savings deposits in this country a sum no less than $550,000,000. We were able at the same time to provide, from the pockets of our people, a sum no less than $1,700,000,000 of the national debt of this country, so that of the interest on that sum, four dollars out of every five come into the pockets of the people of our country themselves. While that was going on our people purchased and paid for at least $600,000,000 worth of automobiles. That was the condition, the prosperity that prevailed prior to the end of the year 1921, and that was a fundamentally healthful and sound position. That process has not continued. The government, starting with the country in that position, with the necessities of the war and all that the war entailed contracting day by day, should have been able to show a splendid reduction of our national debt today; it should have been able also to show a reduction of our obligations owing to the citizens of countries abroad. The contrary is the case. We owe more abroad; we have a national debt bigger than ever; all the obligations and duties of government in this regard have been passed over and ignored.

In western Canada, it is true, our farmers reaped the largest harvest that that country has ever known. I would not say that this was time of every portion of the Dominion. Of the three western provinces, it is unquestionably true; of the Dominion, in the aggregate, it also is unquestionably true; but I believe it must be said-and it is only right that this should be brought home to the administration-that the condition of the individual farmer in western Canada, after the enjoyment of a year of government under the

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present administration, is more difficult, more overshadowed with debt and trouble than it has been in the history of the last fifteen years. Of that, I do not think there is any question at all. The government says, in the Speech from the Throne: We are getting on fine; everything is going well; but, of course, we cannot be restored to complete prosperity so long as there is disturbance, disruption and chaos in Europe. There is a measure of truth in the latter part of that sentence. I am one of those who believe there is a very direct relationship between sixty-, seventy-, or seventy-five-cent wheat on the western prairies and a chaotic, moneyless Europe. I think one of the primary essentials for the restoration of sounder agricultural conditions in this country is the preservation over there, first of all, of securities for peace, for without peace there can be no order, no production, no prosperity. First of all, we must have the preservation of the securities for peace that the world paid so much for in the war, and next of all the restoration of those monetary and financial conditions and conditions of mutual trust that form the corner stone of anything that men enjoy in the way of commercial and economic prosperity.

Those things must be brought about, and I also lay this suggestion before the government -although this is not the time to discuss it in detail nor to make controversy over it- that for the restoration of those securities for peace that the best of the world fought and died for, Canada herself is not without some responsibility. Canada yearns for peace; Canada yearns for prosperity. Canada is bound to do Canada's share in bringing about those essential things without which there cannot be prosperity or peace on earth. We want peace, we want prosperity; but do not let us just keep on yearningfor peace and the consequent prosperity, always at the expense of someone else. There is, I know, on this continent, a feeling in which, unfortunately, I think myself, one great nation places too much reliance, a feeling that here in America our safe and best course in the general interest of the world is to hold ourselves intact, to refrain from all participation in the economic rehabilitation of the Old World. From thatposition, I believe, there is a tendency to-day to recede, and Canada is in no position to point a finger at another country so long as we ourselves, as part of the British Empire, maintain that selfish part ourselves. I do not say there is any major part that we canplay; but we can play a part commensurate

with the part we played before, and it is the duty of this country to do its full share, joining with other countries of the world, to bring about those sure securities for peace and consequently those sure securities for economic recovery in those portions of the world that have suffered.

The Speech from the Throne makes no reference to an effort of the British government to join the whole forces of the Empire, to make still more secure the peace of eastern and southern Europe, and on that account I make no reference to it now. I noticed in the speech of the hon. member for Colchester (Mr. Putnam), that he applauded what he said was the action of the government-if there was action, I could not really define it myself-in refusing to submit a policy until parliament met. I only make this reference now that the programme of the session is before us in the Speech from the Throne, and I find that speech as barren of any suggestion or submission of policy to parliament as the government was barren when other parts of the Empire answered in September last.

It will, of course, be the duty of the administration-this should have been done already-to bring down to parliament, now that parliament has met, all the correspondence that has passed on those subjects between ourselves and the government of the Motherland, all the correspondence, all the information that this government has, to place this parliament in possession of the facts in order that the representatives of the people assembled here may know just the position this country has taken, may know just exactly the circumstances that surround us within the Empire and before the world, and, therefore, be the better able to judge what, in all the circumstances, is the duty of this country.

I stated, in opening, that there was no necessity of prolonged discussion now. We make better progress by concentrated, concrete devotion to individual questions, one by one. The Speech from the Throne, however, does refer to what is alleged to have been an achievement of the administration with regard to the removal of the embargo on Canadian cattle. Well, the function of the Speech from the Throne is to lay before parliament in brief form the programme of its intended duties for that session. I have no particular objection to the singing of a song of praise if something really important has been accomplished to the credit of the administration; but it must be known to every citizen of this country, known very clearly to everyone who reads the reports of

The Address-Mr. Meighen

the parliament of Great Britain, that whatever has been accomplished in relation to that embargo, whatever has been acceded to by the British parliament and the British government, is the direct and sole result of the obligation of honour felt by that parliament and that government in relation to the promise made by Great Britain in 1917 to the government of Canada then in power. No one can read the

debates of the House of Commons of Britain; no one can read the debates of the House of Lords of Britain in particular; yes, no one can read the speeches of members of the government, in those debates, and not agree that had it not been for the word of Britain passed at the Imperial Conference of 1921, that after the war that embargo would be removed, had it not been for the feeling there that the word of Britain having been given, whatever the consequences, must be redeemed, there would have been not even a promise of a removal of the embargo in 1923. Moreover, is the embargo even yet removed? The Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Motherwell) is here; he shakes his head in the negative. That does not seem to me precisely in harmony with the words of the Speech from the Throne. But what the Minister of Agriculture tacitly admits is true; the embargo has not yet been removed. There is not an animal in this country to-day that could horn itself into the British Isles. All that this government has obtained-or rather all that has come to it, because it has not obtained it in any way whatever-is the promise of the British parliament that it will implement the pledge given in 1917 to Sir Robert Borden at the Imperial Conference of that year. The execution of that promise is still to take effect, and I believe the time at which it is to take effect is still very much in doubt. More than that, I express some apprehension-of course, it is difficult for anyone to know until the test of experience is applied-that the conditions agreed to by the representatives of this government will, in the actual working out of the trade following the removal of the embargo, prove onerous if not serious. I hope not. I earnestly hope that the flow of trade, particularly in the product of the farms of this country, over to Great Britain will receive a stimulus as a consequence of the removal of the embargo. I hope that all the blessings of trade will follow and that by this means something in theway of relief may come for what is at present a rather unfortunate condition of agriculture in many parts of this country.Let the government not lull itself

into any illusory belief that this Do-

minion enjoys to-day the measure of prosperity which, on this continent and relative to the United States, it ought to enjoy at this time. I do not believe it does. There is too much emigration; there is too much idleness, even if unemployment may have diminished somewhat. There is too much hardship, too much increase of debt, particularly on the part of those engaged in agriculture in this country. The condition of the farmer in the West demands attention, and I venture to suggest that the gi'ievances against which the western farmer complains can receive no adequate investigation at the hands of such a committee as is foreshadowed to-day in the Speech from the Throne. The government says that the western farmer has been complaining of the mixing of grain and, as well, of the way in which his products are shipped; and it therefore proposes a special committee of the House of Commons to inquire into and report upon these complaints. Why, for fifty years we have had a committee of this House which has been empowered to inquire into every one of these subjects year by year, with all the powers that any committee wants. And still we have these complaints abroad to-day. Now, Sir, these complaints call for investigation at the hands of a body who will have no other duties to perform until it completes its task. Let this government launch such an investigation and it will be welcomed by the farmer of western Canada. These complaints to-day have reached an acuteness far past any stage that has been reached in the years that are gone, and naturally the cry for remedy is louder, because of the distressed condition of the country generally. The government, therefore, would do well to launch an investigation by competent men, whom, of course, they have power to choose, who should have full authority, and whose sole duty it should be to go into these complicated, difficult questions that harass the mind of the western farmer to-day. That is the suggestion I make to the administration. I see no value at all in merely appointing a committee of this House to do what has been the duty year by year for fifty years of the Committee on Agriculture of the House of Commons.

I pass no further comment on the Speech from the Throne at this moment, save the following: A revision of the Bank Act is promised. Of that I am glad. I think it is the duty of this parliament at this session to complete the task of the Bank Act revision. I trust that that task will be approached in a spirit of liberality, in a spirit of determination that whatever can be done in the way of making more secure the savings of the

The Address-Mr. Mackenzie King

people, and of providing a more elastic and equitable distribution of the banking service, shall be rendered possible by that revision.

The Speech refers to a redistribution bill. That should have been brought down last session. It is overdue now. I welcome the appearance of that promise in the Speech, and venture the hope, in closing, that in carrying out their plans as to the redistribution bill the government will imitate the practice established in 1912 in submitting the question to a joint committee of parliament fairly constituted, doing so freely and without restrictions; and I trust that that committee will be commissioned to come to terms on the whole details of redistribution, fair and acceptable to all sections of this House. That is the right spirit in which to approach the redistribution problem. The government have an example in the procedure of 1912, and I ask that they follow it. If these suggestions are accepted by the administration, I venture to think that the labours of this parliament this session need be neither very onerous nor very long.

Topic:   THE GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH
Subtopic:   ADDRESS IN REPLY, MOVED BY MR. HAROLD PUTNAM, SECONDED BY MR. JOSEPH T. RHEAUME
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February 1, 1923