I would refuse to allow Canada to continue to be placed in such a position as that. It is impossible that we can continue in that relationship very long, and I think that we ought to insist, as I have said, on the adoption of one or the other alternative, either that of independence, recognizing that we are not in honour bound to do just what Great Britain says or, on the other hand, that machinery should at once be set up which would enable us to have an effective voice in the determination of the policy of the British Empire. Personally, I am afraid of Imperialism. I was reading the other day a book written some twenty years ago by Mr. J. A. Hobson, and I should like to quote one or two excerpts, because I am firmly convinced that whilst we all, I take it, in this House, as true Britishers, should have a profound respect for the Old Land, we recognize that many of the policies that have been given to the world in the name of Great Britain are, in reality, policies of only a very small section of the British people. A very few weeks after the attempt was made to involve this country in this imperial question we find the government was turned out of power, and another government put in its place. Mr. Hobson says:
Imperialism is the endeavour of the controllers of industry to broaden the channel for the flow of the surplus wealth by seeking foreign markets and foreign investments, to take off the goods and capital they cannot sell or use at home. ... It is not too much to say that the modern foreign policy of Great Britain is primarily a struggle for profitable markets of investment to a larger extent each year. Great Britain is becoming a nation living on tribute from abroad and the classes who enjoy the tribute have an ever increasing incentive to employ the public policy, the public purse, and the public force to extend the field of their private investments.
Mr. Cecil Rhodes, you remember, said rather cynically that "Her Majesty's flag is the greatest commercial asset in the world." Mr. Brailsford, in "The War of Steel and Gold," published before the war, says:
In 1909, as Sir George Paish stated in a paper which he read to the Royal Statistical Society, our profits prove from foreign and colonial investments amounted to $140,000,000. One no longer inquires why the unaggressive, anti-militarist, anti-imperialist Liberalism of
The Address-Mr. Woodsworth
the free-trading England, which was content to take Cobden as its guide, has given place to the expansionist, militarist, financially-minded Imperialism of today .... Both our navy and our army overseas are an insurance provided and maintained by the nation at large for the capital owned abroad by our business class. The formal rights of control which the House of Commons enjoys are exceedingly limited. ... Its assent is not required for a declaration of war, which means that it cannot interfere effectually before the event to delay a rupture to enforce arbitration, or to overthrow a minister who has failed to exhaust on behalf of peace all the resources of diplomacy. . . . A secret treaty is for us no less binding than a publio instrument.
Mr. A. G. Gardiner, the great publicist, the great Liberal of England, complained bitterly of the development which had taken place in British procedure when he said that the authority of the British House of Commons with regard to foreign affairs was little more than that of a village debating society. Now, if that is the development which has taken place in Great Britain, I say that we in Canada shall be very foolish indeed if we place ourselves in such a position that we must endorse, or feel in honour bound to endorse, the policies that may be carried out over there in the interests of a very small group. I think we are not encouraged to give easy endorsation to what may be said from London when we consider the last war. I say frankly that this country was tricked, as other countries were, with regard to the real causes of the last war. At the Conference held August 4, 1917, Mr. Lloyd George declared:
What are we fighting for? To defeat the most dangerous conspiracy ever plotted against the liberty of nation, carefully, skilfully insidiously, clandestinely plotted in every detail with ruthless, cynical determination.
That was the idea given to the world at large, but Mr. Lloyd George himself, after the war was over, says-on December 23, 1920:
The more one reads memoirs and books written in the various countries of what happened before August 1st, 1914, the more one realizes that no one at the head of affairs quite meant war at that stage. It was something into which they glided, or rather staggered and stumbled, perhaps through folly, and a discussion, I have no doubt, would have averted it.
Mr. Lloyd George tells us afterwards- after thousands and tens of thousands and millions of men had laid down their lives- that a discussion would have averted the war. In a book, "Peaceless Europe," which is really great in that it reveals much of the war, Francesco S. Nitti tells us:
I cannot say that Germany and her Allies were solely responsible for the war which devastated Europe. . . . That statement which we all made during the war was a weapon to be used at the time. Now that the war is over, it cannot be used as a serious argument. . . .
When it will be possible to examine carefully the diplomatic documents of the war and time will allow us to judge them calmly, it will be seen that Russia's attitude was the real and underlying cause of the world conflict.
Thus we perceive very clearly that the fairy stories that were told us concerning the war were told us simply to keep up the morale of the people at that particular time. We were deceived as to the causes of the war; we were deceived during the war as to the real aims of the allies. Secret treaties were made which are only now being brought to light. And then, by that infamous Treaty of Versailles, it was possible to carry on the war after the war. Some of the leaders of a great many of the European nations today are recognizing that we are not going to have permanent peace in Europe until we have a revision of the terms of the Treaty of Versailles. Some of you remember Mr. Maynard Keyne's characterization of that treaty. We remember that it violated the terms on which our enemy laid down their arms. The best statesmen have recognized that it has led to the chaos that exists in Europe to-day.
I wish to place on record a policy which I might almost call a world policy, given, as it was, to the peoples of Europe by the great Trades Union Congress which met recently at the Hague, and concerning which I have seen very little in our Canadian papers. In his opening speech on December 9, J. H. Thomas, from the chair, stated that this Trade Union Congress represented, due allowance having been made for overlapping, no less than forty millions of people. What do the workers in Europe believe? The main points which the congress supported were the following:
(1) Revision of the peace treaties.
(2) Resistance to militarism and armaments, and control of the armament industry.
(3) Admission of Germany and all nations into a revised league of peoples.
(4) The suppression of secret treaties and secret diplomacy.
(5) The use of all means to combat war, including the general strike if the outbreak of war is actually threatened.
(6) Educational efforts in all directions to ingeminate ideas of peace and internationalism.
(7) Opposition to the occupation of the Ruhr and all coercive action to secure reparations.
(8) Acceptance of the German promise to repair the devastated areas of France and Belgium.
(9) Submission to the League of Nations of the proposal for an international loan to supersede debts and indemnities.
Yesterday we heard the right hon. leader of the Opposition (Mr. Meighen) urge that we should give sureties for peace. Mr. Speaker, I submit that guarantees for the peace of Europe and for the world are not military guarantees. It is only as we bring
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about fundamental economic changes in our industrial and financial system; it is only as we recognize more clearly that the world today has become a unit and that instead of my neighbour's welfare being disadvantageous to me, my neighbour's prosperity is my prosperity-it is only as we change this system and as we develop good will among the nations that we can hope for permanent peace. My greatest ambition for this country of mine is that Canada, lying side by side with the great American republic, a friendly country, allied also by ties of blood and sentiment with the great Motherland, and allied, I am glad to think, with other nations of Europe, should not follow weakly the policies of older nations and older periods but take a foremost place in bravely blazing a path to that better day to which I believe we are all looking.
Topic: THE GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH
Subtopic: ADDRESS IN REPLY
it is my desire to make a few remarks, some of them growing out of the Speech itself, and some of them prompted by the discussion that has taken place upon it. Like preceding speakers, I wish to offer my congratulations to the hon. member who moved this Address (Mr. Putnam). I listened with a great deal of pleasure as he expressed himself so felicitously yesterday in regard to the subject matter in hand, and I am sure we all regret that we have not heard from him more on former occasions. I am glad to say this because I intend shortly to offer one criticism upon one of the remarks he made in the course of his address. But first let me congratulate also the hon. member for Jacques Cartier (Mr. Rheaume), who seconded the motion for an Address. Like most members in our corner of the House I am unable to understand the French language. That is our misfortune. But I have no doubt that the address given by the hon. member, from the way in which it was received by those who did understand it, was well worth listening to, and I shall look forward with a great deal of pleasure to his addressing the House in English, when I am sure I shall experience the delight I have so often experienced before, sometimes mixed with envy at the facility with which the French-speaking members of this House speak the English language.
I said that I would offer one criticism in regard to a certain remark made by the hon. member who moved the Address. It is in regard to the question of the natural resources of the western provinces. I shall quote his remarks from yesterday's Hansard:
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.
Mr. Speaker, we glory in the past of our country. We honour and esteem those men who fought for responsible government. It is true the East fought for responsible government, because then there was no West; but that heritage, Sir, is as much our heritage as theirs, and in discussing this question of the natural resources we do not propose to trade off our share of that inheritance for anything else. I belong to a race which has been closely identified with everything that makes for freedom and liberty. I glory in the past, in all that has been done in the way of obtaining human freedom. I glory in the Cromwellian traditions, in the traditions of the Earl of Chatham, and in all that has been done in Canada to secure greater freedom for the people, and I would like to make this remark: that the principle enunciated here is no less, to my mind, a false principle when it is uttered in such a gentlemanly way as it was yesterday than when it is enunciated in the brutal form in which has sometimes been stated in the past. I am well aware, Mr. Speaker, of the danger of transgressing the bounds that have been set by good taste upon introducing personal allusions, but I think perhaps I can best impress upon the members of this House by a personal allusion what I regard as the fallaciousness of this argument. I again make an apology for this personal reference, which I am introducing only to emphasize the point I want to make.
About a hundred years ago there settled in the township of Caledon, west of Toronto, a township that is now part of the constituency represented by the hon. member for Peel (Mr. Charters)-although, if I am well informed, he did not get his majority from Caledon, but it increased in proportion as he drew nearer to Toronto-there settled in that township a band of Scotch people who brought with them from old Caledonia the traditions of freedom and liberty that were inherent in the people of the Scotch hills. When the strenuous times of 1837 arose, where was the natural place for these men to find themselves? Side by side with William Lyon Mackenzie, and that is where they were. Among these people were my own ancestors. Three of my grandmother's brothers shouldered the rifle. Two of them stood their trial, and one of them, a younger
The Address-Mr. Brown
man, just a boy, was sent home. One of his sons told me the other day that he still cherishes as his dearest possession the rifle which his father carried on that occasion. My grandfather helped to take the grandfather of the present Prime Minister out of the country, and on one occasion he had him in that underground railroad, hidden under a bunch of straw on a sleigh.
I refer to this, Mr. Speaker, in order to emphasize the point that I have an inheritance in this tradition of our family that helped to win responsible government, and I do not want the other members of my family who still live in and around old Tory Toronto to say to me: You have forfeited your share in that family heritage because you moved to the western prairies. I want to say this to the eastern gentlemen: Do not introduce an argument of that kind into the discussion of the natural resources question; for to my mind it is an absolutely fallacious one.
I shall not criticize the Speech from the Throne in its general aspect. I took occasion after some of the criticisms that were made yesterday by the right hon. leader of the Opposition to read over the different speeches from the Throne made in the years 1920 and 1921, and I find so far as his general criticisms were concerned, that they might just as well have been offered to those former speeches-and possibly the same kind of criticism was offered to them as was offered yesterday. I have noticed since being in the House that circumstances sometimes alter cases, and it makes a difference whose ox is being gored. There are two or three things, however, I should like to refer to.
I shall not elaborate at any great length on conditions in the West. The hon. leader of this group who has preceded me has, I think, done full justice to that subject. We do not like to appear in the position of being calamity howlers, but perhaps another illustration, and again a personal one, for which I must apologize, will show the condition of things better perhaps than anything else can do. In the year 1912 I bought a wagon for use on the farm and it cost me $78 cash. It was a fully equipped farm wagon with a three decked-box-a type perfectly familiar to gentlemen from the prairies. My crop, if I remember aright, I sold for 70 cents a bushel. Now remember-$78 for a wagon and wheat selling at 70 cents a bushel! Last fall I found that I needed a wagon box to put on this same wagon, the old one having become useless in the meantime. I paid $67 for the box alone, and for my wheat I got 78 cents a bushel net. Now I think these
figures will show you that the thing which is confronting the agriculturist to-day is the fact that the old equilibrium between the price he received for his products and the price of the articles he bought for carrying on his work has not been restored. Illustrations of that kind might be multiplied indefinitely, but I think one is sufficient.
Reference has been made to the control of lake rates. I am certain that we hail with approval the action of the government in appointing a royal commission to investigate these rates. Just how far they have been dilatory in taking cognizance of the situation I am not going to say at the present time. Undoubtedly the loss to the western agriculturist during the past season has been serious; we have lost through the combine, if it be a combine, whatever advantage we hoped to have gained through the diminution of freight rates.
If the cattle embargo should be removed we will herald it as, at least, a measure of relief to the farmers of Canada who are producing cattle for the market. To my own mind the question of the cattle embargo today is not as serious a thing for Canada as it was thirty years ago when the restriction was imposed. Since that time we have had a large demand growing up in the United States for cattle of a particular class, which we could raise at a profit. My personal opinion is, could we secure that market for the class of cattle we have it would be of infinitely more value to us than the British market would be under present conditions. Nevertheless, I deem it desirable that every possible effort should be put forth to secure and to retain for us that market; and when the time comes to award the honour for the removal of the embargo I would like that the Minister of Agriculture in the province of Ontario should not be forgotten. Because he was responsible in a large measure, I believe, for bringing the matter to the attention of the British people-not perhaps to the attention of the British government direct, but to the attention of the British people-and was responsible for the organization of a campaign which finally resulted in the government of Great Britain taking action in the matter.
Were we assured that a full inquiry into all that relates to the grain trade was to take place forthwith we would look forward to it with a great deal of satisfaction. In my own judgment that can best be done by the appointment of a royal commission if we can get a good one. If we cannot get that kind of a tribunal it cannot do us any very effective service; but I believe a good royal com-
The Address-Mr. Brown
mission could serve the interests of the whole country better than any other body could. There is undoubtedly a feeling of dissatisfaction among the people of the West. It may be that some of the dissatisfaction is uncalled for; but the feeling of suspicion is there-that in some way certain interests are absorbing an undue amount of the value of our product in its passing through the various hands; and if it is only to allay this suspicion, and to show that this feeling is unfounded, I think the $40,000 set apart last year for the prosecution of such an inquiry would be well spent. To me it was a disappointment when I read in the newspapers the statement of the Minister of Trade and Commerce (Mr. Robb) that that inquiry would not take place because there seemed to be no demand for such an investigation. I shall not deal at any great length with this matter; undoubtedly we shall have occasion to discuss it at greater length as the session goes on.
But there is one subject on which I would like to make a few remarks. It arose naturally in the matters dealt with by the 5 p.m. Prime Minister when presenting to us a statement as to the correspondence that had taken place between this government and the government of Great Britain *-I refer to the question of the British Empire, or the British Commonwealth of Nations as some are pleased to term it. The
British Empire is something unique. We
have had nothing like it in all the course of human history. I have been reading with great pleasure during the last few months H. G. Wells' "Outline of History," and it is a wonderfully interesting book. He gives us a picture of the rise and fall of republics, kingdoms and empires; but in all the pictures which he presents to us of these various states and communities that have been created since the dawn of civilization there is nothing that in any way resembles the British Empire of to-day. It is something unique in that it is built upon mercy, justice and freedom I appreciate the reference made by the honourable member (Mr. Putnam) who moved the Address yesterday to the expulsion of the Acadians, the hon. gentleman pointing out that such a thing could never be done again by British people. I think sometimes we forget to pay tribute to the great men of the past; and I think it were well to again remind this house of the great'men who constituted the government of Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman-those statesmen who, after the South African war with all its bitterness, determined, in spite of the most strenuous opposition of
their opponents, in spite of the prophecy of dire calamities that would follow, granted self government to the people of South Africa. Here again I want to emphasize that I believe that good politics, good morals, and good religion are built upon the same foundation. We can imagine what would have been the difference in the condition of South Africa when the great world war broke out, if the opponents of the British there had been turned into enemies instead of warm friends which they proved themselves to be. I am fearful sometimes of attempts at exact definition of our Empire relationship. I am convinced that the existing bonds will be strong in proportion to their elasticity and will become weak in proportion to the success of the attempts to secure rigidity.
Then there is the closely allied question of national obligations. There are some phases of this problem that are undoubtedly difficult of solution. There are some phases of the problem for which I have not been able to secure a solution in my own mind. Nevertheless there are two principles that seem to me to be fundamental, and to my own mind seem to be as clear as crystal. The first of these is the solidarity of humanity. We cannot, even if we would, separate ourselves from the rest of the world; no nation can live to itself alone. And here again let me refer to H. G. Wells. He says something like this: That we know more of the world of six thousand years ago than any living man at that time knew. And why? Because the people living in one part of the world, no matter how high the state of civilization, had no possibility of coming into contact with the people of other parts of the world. So, I believe his statement is correct that we know more of the world of six thousand years ago than any man living at that time knew of the world. He gives another illustration: He says that when the Spaniards came to America, they found two highly civilized communities, one in Mexico and the other in Peru, and yet neither one of these knew that the other existed. Such a condition of things is impossible to-day. There is no such thing as a self-contained nation. There is no possibility of any nation remaining aloof from interest in the general welfare of nations. We cannot remain aloof, even if we should decide in our own minds that it was desirable for us to do so. No nation can live to itself alone. We, therefore, must take some part. What that part may be may concern us at times and cause us great differences of opinion; it may not always be clear to our
The Address-Mr. Millar
own minds what that part should be; we may make blunders and we may make mistakes; but the possibility of blundering and of making mistakes does not relieve us of the obligation, and I heartily agree with what the leader of the Opposition (Mr. Meighen) said yesterday, that we cannot consistently criticise, as we have done, and I think rightly done, the people of the United States for their vain attempt to remain aloof from worldwide problems, if we ourselves should take the same position. On the principle involved in that matter my mind is clear, in spite of the fact that as regards some phases of the problem we have not yet found the correct solution.
Another principle is equally clear to me, namely, that what we do must be determined by ourselves alone. Therefore, I must heartily endorse the position taken by the government when the situation arose last autumn, namely, that the representatives of Canada must be the responsible body to determine what we shall do under any set of circumstances that may arise. I know there is no such thing as a perfect analogy; but perhaps Kipling's words express the idea as well as anything else can: " Daughter am I in my mother's house, but mistress in my own." As I say, there may be difficulty in solving some of our problems and deciding on a course at any given time; but to my mind our course under any set of circumstances must be decided in harmony with those two great principles, namely, that we cannot escape from obligations, and that the part we shall take in fulfilling those obligations must be determined by the Canadian people.
Topic: THE GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH
Subtopic: ADDRESS IN REPLY
Mr. Speaker, in rising to make a small contri-tution to this debate, I should like to congratulate the mover and the seconder of the Address in reply to the Speech from the Throne. I was pleased indeed to note the remarkable ability shown by those members in that regard.
I have noticed that in the addresses that have been given several suggestions have been made of a constructive nature; but I believe in some cases there was more of criticism without anything of a constructive nature. I have listened to addresses in various places, sometimes from pulpits, sometimes from professors of colleges and from the man on the street, and while all agree that something is wrong with our economic system, I note a great dearth of suggestions that will give any assistance or direction in the solution of those problems. I believe anyone who is able to tell what is wrong has rendered a service;
but the one who can tell how to remedy those evils and how to solve those problems has rendered a greater service. I do not hope to be able to perform that task, but I may make some suggestions as I go along.
Let me touch briefly on the unemployment question. A short time ago I heard an address in which the speaker remarked: "There is something wrong when we have so much unemployment, and I think our government should find out what is wrong, should try to find a solution." I wondered if it struck that gentleman or any of his hearers that possibly our unemployment problem may be so complex that no simple formula will furnish a solution. It is possible that as regards unemployment Canada, at the present time, is in need more of a great moral leader than of a great political leader. Let me go back a few years, in fact, two decades. I can remember the time when the law of supply and demand seemed to operate well, almost unrestrainedly. Then there came a time when some wise person said to his fellows of the same craft: "In so far as the law of supply and demand affects us adversely, we will evade it; we will profit by it so far as it assists us." They put their heads together, and they prevented the law of supply and demand from affecting them. This has been carried during the last two decades to its logical conclusion. Almost everything we buy has its price fixed by arbitrary means. Combines have been formed in almost every industry. The time came when labour learned a trick from its masters. They learned to combine in order to set aside the law of supply and demand, to set aside competition, and they have been able arbitrarily to fix the remuneration which they shall receive for their work. They are so numerous and powerful that they have been able largely to block our economic machine. As soon as we remove an important part of a machine, we need not be surprised to see that it does not run smoothly; and when we begin to wonder why it turns out that things are not right, the fact is simply that the governor of the machine has been removed. You know what happens if you remove the governor of an engine- it goes crazy and runs away, and that is about what happens when the law of supply and demand ceases to operate. I have wondered if labour has been able to recognize the fact that it is in part responsible for unemployment. While organization of labour has been wise; while they have been able to remedy many abuses; while they are quite justified in organizing, yet I believe they have abused their powers, and the fact remains now that some in the ranks of labour are unemployed
The Address-Mr. Millar
and on the verge of starvation because others in the ranks of labour have been so exacting about demanding wages, remuneration that is exorbitant, and conditions that no industrial system can bear. It seems to me that a little educational work might be of very great benefit, and I was glad to hear the suggestion made by the Premier of Ontario the other night in his address to the Social Service organization that they should spend a great deal of their time in educating democracy. He made this terse remark: "If democracy fails, it will be through ignorance."
Let me say a word in regard to immigration, a subject which has been mentioned in the Speech from the Throne. Recently, there came to me some figures that were startling. I would not say that they are correct; but this statement has been made as-from a very high authority-that for every settler that comes to Canada at the present time, fifteen have been leaving. What is wrong that we are not able to keep our population? The reason is simply that the people are dissatisfied; the conditions are so hard that they find they cannot continue. As regards the West, I do not think that our farmers can be justly blamed for being quitters. They have continued patiently during the past two or three years at a very heavy loss, but they have been hoping that something could be done to improve economic conditions so that they might be enabled at least to make a living. In this connection I might say a word with regard to the returned soldier-this is a matter that is closely related to the immigration question. The scheme launched by the late government to settle the returned soldiers on the land was, I believe, well-intentioned; but I am afraid that some very serious mistakes have been made. Not very long ago I had the privilege of examining some farms purchased by returned soldiers at about $30 per acre. I found these farms to be worth, in reality, probably, between $5 and $10 per acre. They were simply immense sand banks. I am quite convinced, and I have no hesitation in stating the conviction, that the inspectors that passed these farms at $30 per acre were either inefficient and incompetent or they were crooks. I can reach no other conclusion. These men have in almost every case been driven from the land. The last of them are leaving these farms at the present time, and in conversation some of them have given certain information. One of them says, in effect: " What worries me most is not the fact that I have lost about $2,000 of my own money, nor that I have wasted four years of the best of my life, but that after I have left this land 4i
I shall be hounded by the Soldier Settlement Board and be compelled by judgment to pa>
the loss upon the land". This man said to me that he was not a good judge of land, but that he had been advised that the farm would be satisfactory. He said: " I trusted the inspector whom the government sent out to safeguard my interests in this regard. But if anyone doubts, I can show him the land and he can see for himself that it is nothing but a vast sandbank on which the best farmer in Canada could not possibly hope to succeed ". Now, I mention this largely for this reason: I understand that some suggestions have been made, originating, I believe, at Regina, to the effect that the same inspectors that served on the Soldier Settlement Board should be re-engaged in connection with the Canadian Colonization Association. It seems to me it would be wise for the government, if they contemplate anything of that kind, to be very careful and go over the work of these appraisers, because although in some cases their work has been eminently satisfactory, in other cases it has proved just as I have stated. I can give you a bright picture of this work. In a district some thirty or forty miles from Regina, known as Piapot, a locality well known, I think, to the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Motherwell), fifty-four returned soldiers were settled, and I was pleased to find that of this number only one had failed. As a matter of fact there were two failures, but as one of these two never really tried to succeed there is really only one failure to be considered. The difference seems to lie in this fact: the land was virgin soil, it was not improved in any way; and if the gentleman whose name I heard mentioned really was the appraiser, I can say he is a man who has a very great knowledge, and is an excellent judge of land, and, whose high integrity cannot be questioned. And there were no personal owners who might try to bring any influence to bear upon him. I think that has a good deal to do with the success in these cases. No doubt some of the appraisers sent out by the government were honest, but others were either incompetent or were not honest, and their work should be carefully scanned by the government or by the Colonization Association. Numbers of returned soldiers have been placed in a position in which their hearts have-been almost broken, having settled on farms which they are now compelled to leave almost penniless, in some cases with no hope of being able to escape from debt and being faced with the only alternative of leaving this country. And those who have been guilty of placing these men
The Address-Mr. Millar
in this position should not be re-engaged either by the government or by the Colonization Association. In fact, I think it would be well for them to be sent to the hangman or to the penitentiary.
Reference has been made to a commission appointed to investigate grain rates charged oi' the lakes. I was pleased indeed to see a commission appointed for that purpose. One of the gentlemen appointed I know very well, and I cannot speak too highly of his integrity. I believe the work will be thoroughly done. I am afraid that we have fallen m.any times in the past into the habit of throwing suspicion on commissions the moment they have been appointed. We have had several commissions appointed in Saskatchewan, and I have some knowledge of commissions appointed by the federal government, and only in one case have I had reason to believe that there was good ground for suspicion or doubt. I believe that work such as this can be thoroughly done by a commission, and we might do a great deal to hinder and to destroy the effect of such work by casting suspicion on the commission as soon as it is appointed. An explanation was given me of the high cost of carrying grain across the lakes, and it seems to me that it may have had some bearing on the matter. At the port of Montreal, it seems, there was such a congestion of traffic that in a short time the grain was backed up to Port Colborne. The boats carrying the grain down the lakes had to remain for periods ranging up to a week, and sometimes longer, before they could unload, and instead of charging demurrage, the owners informed those who were chartering the boats that if they could make only half as many trips in the season as formerly they must make a greater charge. This has been stated on very good authority and has been given as ar. explanation of the high rates. Now, the loss to the shipper has been enormous. The statement has been made again and again, at meetings I have addressed, that all that has been gained by lower freight rates has been lost by the higher rates on the lakes And to a certain extent that is true. I think something should be done to prevent a recurrence of this. In my opinion some change should be made at this session in regard to the coastal regulations. I understand that it is only by act of parliament that the coastal regulations can be amended. I think it should be so arranged that the minister in charge of the department, when he finds that there is a combine taking too great a toll from the grain on the lakes, should have the power to set aside the coastal
regulations and allow American boats to compete.
No mention has been made in the Speech from the Throne in regard to deep waterways. This is a matter of very great importance. I fear very much that pressure might be brought to bear upon the government to persuade them to engage in this enterprise, which would cost a vast amount of money and the benefits from which, for a great many years at least, would not be sufficient to warrant the expenditure. I remember that in the discussion that took place in this House last year it was claimed by some gentlemen that a saving as high as five cents a bushel might be effected. I took the pains, during the last few months, to look into the cost of carrying grain from Fort William to Montreal over a period of years preceding, and I was surprised to find out that the total cost was about four cents a bushel. I cannot give the exact fraction, but I hope to have it in a few days. How in the name of common sense could six cents a bushel, or five cents a bushel, or four cents a bushel be saved, if the total cost was only about four cents?
In connection with the railway situation, reference was made to the appointment of Sir Henry Thornton as head of the government railways, and I must commend the government for their action in this regard. I think every member of this House should be very pleased indeed that the government has secured the services of a man of such great ability as Sir Henry Thornton possesses. I had the opportunity of listening to Sir Henry Thornton in the city of Regina, and at the close of his address the impression I carried away was that the great tact that he showed, and the great grasp of railway problems, and particularly the problems of the Canadian National Railways, were such that he was very likely to succeed in an almost impossible task. I was struck by a terse remark which he made in his address. In substance, he stated that, his friends in the Old Land had said that the task was impossible, that it could not be done, but, he said, that was one of the most attractive features in his view. I felt that the address on that occasion did a great deal to reassure the people in regard to our national railway problem. It did a great deal, I think, to inspire them and to secure their co-operation and support. I hope that the government will give Sir Henry Thornton and his colleagues every chance possible, in order that our national railways under government ownership will have a good chance for success.
. With regard to the commission of inquiry that was referred to in the Speech from the
The Address-Mr. Millar
Throne with regard to agricultural conditions,
I suppose its inquiry will include the marketing of the grain. I am speaking for western Canada now, but I do not forget eastern Canada and other parts of Canada have their problems to solve; but what we in western Canada need is more outlets for our grain. I have referred to the enormous loss on account of the congestion of traffic. It seems to me that if we had three outlets for grain instead of one, or instead of two, it would help us greatly. I suppose it might be said that we already have two, because some of our grain goes by the Pacific route. I hope in the near future to see a great deal more of it go by that route. The question arises whether the elevator facilities at Vancouver should be increased. I have been led to believe, from information I have received, that the trouble during this last crop season was not that there were not elevator facilities at Vancouver, but simply that those who control the space do not control the grain. Grain men had grain that they could not ship because they had not chartered any boats. Others had chartered boats but had no grain to put in them. In some cases they had chartered space hoping to sell it at a higher price than they paid for it. An adjustment had to be made, and I believe the Grain Commission served a very useful purpose in loosening up the deadlock there. The arrangements had been made, the grain had to be loaned and replaced. As soon as it was arranged so that this transfer elevator performed the service and the function for which it was intended, the grain was loaded out in the boats that arrived, and there was space for everey man. I believe I am correct in saying that later on the railway took this position-and I am not sure that they were not suported by the Grain Commission-a grain man had a quantity of grain at the elevator at Calgary and wished to have it shipped to the Vancouver elevator, and they said, " Where is your space? Show us your space and you will get the cars "; he said, "All right, there is the space"; he gave them the proof that he had the space, the cars were supplied and the grain went forward. In other cases the grain man said, " I want cars to ship out a quantity of grain ", but he failed to show that he had space, and they said, " You cannot have the cars ". An important question arises as to what elevators should be demanded for that western route. Elevator facilities should be provided at Calgary or Edmonton for the Canadian National Railways, or at Vancouver. I am not prepared to commit myself just yet to say where,
but it is a matter to which the government should give serious consideration.
I shall not detain the House longer, but I shall have an opportunity to discuss many of these questions again in regard to the grain marketing problem. I have a resolution on the order paper that will enable me to discuss this question fully later on.
Topic: THE GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH
Subtopic: ADDRESS IN REPLY
There is an understanding between the Whips that the debate should adjourn at six o'clock, and that the House should adjourn thereafter. As it is now nearly six o'clock, I move that the debate be adjourned.
Topic: THE GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH
Subtopic: ADDRESS IN REPLY
The right hon. leader of the Opposition asked me to lay on the Table of the House such orders in council as had been passed with relation to the amalgamation of the Grand Trunk Railway system and the Canadian National Railway system. I beg to lay on the Table of the House five orders in council relating to this matter.
On motion of Mr. Mackenzie King the House adjourned at 5.25 p.m.
Monday, February 5, 1923
Topic: CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS
Subtopic: ORDERS IN COUNCIL RESPECTING AMALGAMATION TABLED