February 12, 1925

NEW MEMBER INTRODUCED


Grote Stirling, Esquire, member for the electoral district of Yale, introduced by Right Hon. Arthur Meighen and C. H. Dickie, Esquire.


CRIMINAL CODE AMENDMENT-PRINTER'S LIABILITY


Mr. A. W. NEILL (Comox-Albemi) moved for leave to introduce Bill No. 3, to amend the Criminal Code.


?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Explain.

Topic:   CRIMINAL CODE AMENDMENT-PRINTER'S LIABILITY
Permalink
PRO

Alan Webster Neill

Progressive

Mr. NEILL:

I introduced this bill last

year but it did not go beyond the second reading. Its purpose is. that all documents or circulars printed for public circulation shall contain the name and address of the publisher. It follows the English act, which has been in force for something like one hundred years, and also various Dominion statutes, notably the Dominion Elections Act. On the second reading I will explain more fully the intention of the measure.

Motion agreed to and bill read the first time.

Topic:   CRIMINAL CODE AMENDMENT-PRINTER'S LIABILITY
Permalink

OCEAN SHIPPING RATES

REPORT ON, AND ACTION CONCERNING NORTH ATLANTIC STEAMSHIP COMBINE


On the Orders of the Day:


CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

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

Before the special order

for the resumption of the debate on the Address-

Topic:   OCEAN SHIPPING RATES
Subtopic:   REPORT ON, AND ACTION CONCERNING NORTH ATLANTIC STEAMSHIP COMBINE
Permalink
PRO

John Evans

Progressive

Mr. JOHN EVANS (Saskatoon):

Mr. Speaker, when six o'clock was called yesterday-

Topic:   OCEAN SHIPPING RATES
Subtopic:   REPORT ON, AND ACTION CONCERNING NORTH ATLANTIC STEAMSHIP COMBINE
Permalink
LIB

George Newcombe Gordon (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. DEPUTY SPEAKER:

The right hon. leader of the opposition has the floor.

Topic:   OCEAN SHIPPING RATES
Subtopic:   REPORT ON, AND ACTION CONCERNING NORTH ATLANTIC STEAMSHIP COMBINE
Permalink
CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

I am just interposing, if I may be allowed on the orders of the day, to ask if the government purposes having printed the W. T. R. Preston report. I am told there are no copies printed as yet.

Topic:   OCEAN SHIPPING RATES
Subtopic:   REPORT ON, AND ACTION CONCERNING NORTH ATLANTIC STEAMSHIP COMBINE
Permalink
LIB

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

Liberal

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

By a coincidence I was

just making inquiry at the moment for the draft of the motion to authorize the printing of the report. I will make the motion tonight.

Topic:   OCEAN SHIPPING RATES
Subtopic:   REPORT ON, AND ACTION CONCERNING NORTH ATLANTIC STEAMSHIP COMBINE
Permalink

THE GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH ADDRESS IN REPLY


The House resumed from Wednesday, February 11, consideration of the motion of Sir Eugene Fiset for an Address to His Excellency the Governor General in reply to his Speech at the opening of the session.


PRO

John Evans

Progressive

Mr. JOHN EVANS (Saskatoon):

Mr. Speaker, when six o'clock was called yesterday I had dwelt somewhat on the concentration of wealth and industry and the control of the different policies of this Dominion in certain areas. Still, in that connection I want to say a word on the question of Senate reform. The Speech from the Throne would indicate that very little can be done regarding that matter at this session of parliament. This may come as a disappointment to some of us who heard the speeches of the Prime Minister in western Canada. Of course it could hardly be expected that this House could, or would, pass a bill limiting the power of the Senate and expect the upper chamber to accept the same in toto. Furthermore, there are so many in public life to-day that look upon the Senate as a haven of rest from the uncertainties of party warfare as to make it possible that even here a measure to reform the Senate might have to follow a very tortuous course indeed. After all, an appeal to the provinces is the most constitutional way to proceed about the reforming of the Senate, and, perhaps, it also relieves the government from responsibility in the matter to some extent. Then the odium of changing the British North America Act would rest upon the provincial governments. But since the matter of Senate reform has not been discussed before the provincial electorate I cannot yet see how the existing provincial legislatures can, without at least a mandate from the people, deal competently with this question. The only benefit, therefore, that I can see to be derived from such a pronouncement is that the government will deal with Senate reform at some indefinite time in the future after there has been opportunity of asking the electorate to give them a mandate for carrying out the policy. As far as I am able to gather from a reading of a history of this country prior to confederation the one idea of the purpose of the Senate in the minds of the statesmen of the Maritimes, previous to those provinces entering confederation, was that a second chamber would prevent the exercise of any undue domination by the old provinces of Ontario and Quebec over the smaller provinces. I stated yesterday that the provinces of Ontario and Quebec have

The Address-Mr. Evans

dominated the rest of the Dominion ever since confederation. They have concentrated the wealth and the industry of the whole country within their own boundaries, and this domination they have so far maintained. Now looking over some of the speeches on Senate reform in years gone by, as reported in Hansard, I came across some utterances of that great Canadian statesman Sir Wilfrid Laurier, and the following is taken from a speech which he made in the House in 1906:

For my part I believe this abolition of the Senate-

Which was then under discussion.

-would be a mistake, and I could not be induced to reconcile myself to such an idea. A second chamber seems to me absolutely necessary for two reasons. It is supposed to be a check on hasty legislation. But one consideration, which to my mind, is absolutely conclusive and paramount is that, under our present system of government, composed of federal parts, a second chamber is an absolutely necessary safeguard against a possible invasion of their-

The smaller provinces.

-rights by the larger provinces. But if we are to have reform I would not be averse to adopting the system of our neighbours and having each province represented by an equal number of members whether that province be large or small.

Another reference was made in a speech made in the session of 1907-8. From that speech, as reported at page 1569 of Hansard, I take the following:

In the United States Senate, the state of New York has two members and the state of Rhode-Island has also two members, so that while in the House of Representatives each state speaks according to the numerical strength of its population, 36 against 2; in the Senate each state has an equal voice.

The only reform of the Senate that can ever prove acceptable to the provinces which go to make up the Dominion is to reconstruct that body, so that all the provinces shall be represented on the floor of the Senate by an equal number of representatives. There are nine provinces in this Dominion, and if each province was represented let us say, by five senators, that would give us a senate of 45 members. I think, Sir, that would be sufficiently large, without being too cumbersome. To curtail the power of the Senate, as at present constituted, by an alteration in the act stipulating that in the event of a bill passing this House twice it should become law even against the will of that body, would in my opinion be of very little benefit to this country, except in very isolated cases. Let me give an example. The fight is on in this country at present between public ownership and private ownership of public utilities. The Senate has twice during the life of this parliament thrown out bills for the construction of very much needed branch lines in

western Canada. This has been done in the interests of private ownership. Simply curtailing the power of the Senate as afore-mentioned would still give the privately owned concern an advantage of at least one year to choose their territory and to construct their lines practically on- the grade of the publicly owned company's survey. Two notable cases of this kind are seen in Saskatchewan to-day in the construction of the Lanigan and the Tuffnell branches.

Let me ask, is equality of representation in the Senate desirable? Domination of one province by another inevitably leads to sectionalism, and after fifty-seven years of a union which this country has experienced, a union that has not developed unity, confederation is heard cracking in different parts at the present time. There are ominous sounds even of separation to be heard. Ontario and Quebec, the old federation, have assumed an ownership of this Dominion that has at last become unbearable to the smaller provinces. For instance, to build a transcontinental railway they gave away to the first one of these railway companies 25,000,000 acres of land, belonging to Saskatchewan and Alberta, that never belonged to this Dominion. Every province was to come into confederation on an equal basis. The new Dominion of 1867 held in trust the Northwest Territories until such time as * the population there would warrant the forming of provinces. The older provinces assumed ownership, which they still hold so far as the natural resources are concerned. They even created hardship on the settlers in that part of the country by tax exemption of these lands, and the settlers themselves have had to meet this burden and pay the taxes themselves on that land to establish schools, construct roads and build bridges. Some 40,000,000 acres altogether of our lands have been alienated from their rightful owner to construct transcontinental railways in this Dominion. Now, placing the value of that land at $25 an acre, it would amount to the huge sum of $1,000,000,000 which will have to be taken into account when the question of natural resources comes up for settlement. Possession of power to dominate has made it difficult for these two provinces, Ontario and Quebec, to take an ocean-to-ocean view of Canada. They have habituated themselves into thinking of Canada in terms of two provinces only. Sectionalism can only be met and combated by sectionalism, which accounts for the feeling of disunity prevailing throughout the Dominion to-day.

The government can make a record for itself now by championing Senate reform on a constitutional basis so that real union will be established. In the absence of any con-

The Address-Mr. Evans

stitutional machinery to compel compromise, the inevitable result is the domination of the smaller by the larger provinces. A Senate of the type which Sir Wilfrid Laurier would have offered would be able to compel compromise and prevent domination. Can anyone conceive of what use excessive Senate representation is to Ontario and Quebec if not for the purpose of controlling, or having control of both the House of Commons and the Senate and the domination of other provinces? I say that no one need strain his imagination envisioning a truculent Prince Edward Island dominating Ontario and Quebec by means of its equal representation in the Senate; Rhode Island does not dominate New York, and New York cannot dominate Rhode Island.

I would also advocate that the new Senate be an elected body. Then the smaller provinces will be represented in that chamber, not by men chosen by Ontario and Quebec as at present, but by men of their own choice. The constitution of the country is the expression of the will of its own people. Elected representatives of the people have an inherent right and authority to speak for themselves; appointed members of legislative bodies have not. Even that historic body the House of Lords, whose forbears, the barons in arms, forced their king to sign the great charter, has been on occasions forced to bow to the will of the people. It is high time in this Dominion, in this democratic age, that we take steps to ensure a return of this power to the people of Canada and so amend the constitution that it will not be alienated.

TJntil such a reform is brought about, sectionalism will become more and more acute. While the domination of Ontario and Quebec in the past has been made perfectly secure by party domination in the provinces, this question bids fair now to cut even across party lines, and I dhall not be at all surprised to see solid provincial blocs occupying seats in this House until such a reform is brought about. I believe the reasonable thing to do is to call a conference at which each province will be represented by an equal number. Let us hope that such a conference will evolve an agreement that our constitution may be amended in such a way, and to the end, tlhat the people of Canada may be united for all time in a real federal union.

Topic:   THE GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH ADDRESS IN REPLY
Permalink
LIB

Herbert Meredith Marler

Liberal

Mr. HERBERT MARLER (St. Lawrence-St. George):

Mr. Speaker, like other members who have preceded me, I offer my very sincere congratulations to the mover and the seconder of this Address. The hon. member for West Hastings (Mr. Hanna), fresh from his laurels in a hard-won battle, has added

further to his laurels by reason of his speech in this House. To the hon. member for Rim-ouski (Sir Eugene Fiset) perhaps I may be permitted to address a more personal note. He comes from that province Which has been my home and the home of my family for many generations, a province to which I and my family are attached root and branch in the same way as the French Canadians are there to this day, a province in which we Englishspeaking Canadians have learned to respect and to admire our French Canadian brothers. More than that, we have come to realize that this country is all the richer and greater by reason of having that great nation as one of our parts.

It may be properly said of talmost any country, and particularly of a new country like Canada, that a country's wealth and progress are measured by the extent of and increase in its population. As a matter of fact, that saying is not very difficult to analyze, when one realizes that production can take place only by means of population, and it follows from that, that the greater the population, the greater will be the production and, consequently, the greater the production, the greater the wealth of the country.

Topic:   THE GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH ADDRESS IN REPLY
Permalink
LAB
LIB

Herbert Meredith Marler

Liberal

Mr. MARLER:

Yes, that applies to Chinamen too, if my hon. friend wants an answer immediately. Production, however, to take place at all, certainly to be continuous, must be profitable. It must be profitable, at least to the extent that the producer is able to gain a livelihood by means of his production. From that it follows that if production is profitable, more will seek an occupation in which such profit exists. On the other hand, where that profit is not apparent or where that profit does not exist, there will be a diminution and finally an entire cessation in production and population as a consequence will decline. It may be very properly assumed from that that profitable production will increase population, and increased population will increase production, and increased production will produce greater wealth. But we must bear in mind that profitable production is very distinctly limited by certain factors, one of them being the effect of taxation. If taxation, no matter how applied, is taken off the profit on an article, then the profit is less. If it is added to the cost of an article, that cost may amount to so much as to make the article itself unprofitable. Another factor which limits production is the possibility of marketing the thing produced, that is to say,

The Address-Mr. Marler

turning it into money or exchanging it for another suitable article which the producer might require. I freely admit that these principles are extremely elementary, in fact so elementary that I hesitate to assert them in this House; but notwithstanding that, I think hon. members will agree with me that on the successful and proper application of these principles really depends the success of any nation.

You have only to apply these principles, for example, to our natural resources, which are the real basic wealth of this country. Without those natural resources neither this nor any other country can prosper. But of what use are our natural resources unless they are developed, unless they are applied to useful purposes? While they remain in the ground they are of no value whatever. Even when those natural resources are made into products, those products still cannot be established as regards their value unless there is the ability to market them to people who desire to acquire them. The same thing applies to any industry, no matter whether that industry be foodstuffs, labour, manufactured goods, or anything else.

As I started out to say a moment ago production is limited by certain factors, one of them being taxation. We have heard it stated throughout the country that our taxation has been limiting production; that it has been driving capital from the country; more than that, that it has been preventing people from coming here, and that it has had various other results too numerous to mention. As a matter of fact, some of those results deserve a great deal of consideration; but while to reduce taxation is an extremely easy thing to say, it is a very difficult thing to accomplish. Those who say that and who say reduce taxation at all costs, cannot be as well acquainted with the finances of this country, the needs of its finances and the needs of the distribution of its revenue as they should be. It is not to be wondered at that the people of this country do not know more about the necessity of our taxes and of the distribution of the revenues. When we realize that before the war we had only two sources of taxation, namely, customs and excise, we can come to the conclusion that the ordinary man in the street knew little or nothing about taxes. He had, perhaps, a hazy idea that certain taxes were imposed and that some taxes were necessary to run the country, but where they came from he had no idea. As we proceeded and even as we went on with the war the general public did not realize that new taxes were being imposed. They were at that time interested in many other affairs- great expenditures of money were going abroad, and even at that time they did not realize that taxation existed in the form in which it does to-day. But after the war, when we had arrived at more normal times, the public realized to the full and in the most potent way imaginable that there were taxes and heavy taxes at that.

They realized that nothing could be done and that no business could be prosecuted without first of all solving the problem of taxation. And at last it came to be borne in upon the public, a thing which should have been realized and appreciated long before by poor and rich alike, that a tax, no matter how imposed or how collected, is finally borne by the consumer in some form or another. In other words, the man buying from the corner grocery store or from the nearby butcher pays the tax directly or indirectly on what he purchases in exactly the same way as he pays it who buys from the rich city merchant or from the high class jeweller: everyone bears the tax or taxes in proportion to the amount consumed by him in his supplies for his daily needs. There is no getting away from this; in the last analysis, that is where the tax must be borne, no matter-how it may be imposed. That being the case, the public became vitally interested in our questions of taxation as well as in our problems of revenue, and they became interested also in the question as to how our expenditures were made. Concerning these matters of interest the public were in a state of confusion. Indeed, the public at the present moment do not sufficiently realize and certainly do not sufficiently appreciate our necessity for revenue nor the need of our expenditures, and I do not think that this confusion and this lack of knowledge can be particularly wondered at; because, after all, although our public accounts are published in a perfectly fair and intelligible manner, easily accessible to members of parliament, and quite open and correct to the expert accountant who cares to look into them, and although they are kept most carefully and faithfully by efficient officials of the department, they are nevertheless published nowadays in such a way that the ordinary man in the street is unable at a glance to understand them. The average taxpayer has neither the time nor the ability, nor has he the opportunity to delve into these accounts as fully as he should in order to get some grasp of public affairs and to realize what revenue is necessary and what expenditure indispensable. It seems to me that we should publish at the end of every fiscal year a simple statement of our accounts so that

The Address-Mr. Marler

the public may obtain the facts and fully realize and appreciate exactly what our taxes are needed for, and how our revenue has been spent. This is done in connection with the British exchequer, which publishes a small leaflet explaining the various revenues from taxes, excise, sendees, and so forth, showing, not in too great detail but sufficiently to enable the average taxpayer to understand a month or so after the end of the fiscal year, precisely how the taxes are paid and exactly how the expenditures have been made. Unless we take the public into our confidence to that extent and advise them fully as regards our receipts and disbursements, I fail to understand how we can expect them to have an intelligent grasp of the affaire of the country.

I want to pass now to the Speech from the Throne, and before I do so I shall introduce a personal note into the remarks I am about to make. I do not think that any hon. member on the other side of the House can charge me with any lack of candour, nor do I think that any hon. gentleman on this side can accuse me of speaking at any time except in tones of sincerity, although, perhaps in tones of too great independence. But if that independence has been invoked, let me say that it has been asserted simply because of my belief in Liberalism. Liberals all the world over have been free; they have not been bound by any hard and fast or immutable rules, but rather have always been allowed to exercise their judgment as their consciences might dictate. And I can say that I speak with such candour when I declare that having examined the Speech from the Throne I am able to express the opinion that it shows very great vision, far greater vision indeed than has characterized many speeches which I have seen published in many a long day.

Topic:   THE GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH ADDRESS IN REPLY
Permalink

February 12, 1925