February 13, 1925

PRO

Thomas William Bird

Progressive

Mr. BIRD:

Did I understand the hon.

member to say that the Progressive party took a share in the responsibility of sending the whips to the Old Country?

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CON

Robert James Manion

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MANION:

They certainly voted for

it, with a few exceptions.

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PRO

Thomas William Bird

Progressive

Mr. BIRD:

The members of the Progressive party stand exactly on the same ground as the party of the hon. gentleman with respect to that expenditure.

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CON

Robert James Manion

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MANION:

How many of the Progressive party voted against that expenditure?

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?

An hon. MEMBER:

A good many.

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CON

Robert James Manion

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MANION:

How many? Six or seven if my recollection serves me correctly.

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?

An hon. MEMBER:

No.

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CON
?

An hon. MEMBER:

Two-thirds.

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CON

Robert James Manion

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MANION:

At least two-thirds voted

against that expenditure? Well, I was in the House when the vote was taken, and I had the pleasure of voting against it. I am open to correction, and I most assuredly would not attempt to put my Progressive friends in a false light, for I am attacking the government, not the Progressive party, but my recollection is that all the members of the Progressive party voted for the expenditure with the exception of seven or eight. Let me test my recollection in this way: One

of those who voted against the trip was the hon. member for Southeast Grey (Miss Mac-phail) if I remember correctly.

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PRO

Thomas George McBride

Progressive

Mr. McBRIDE:

If my memory serves me right, I was about the only one in this party that voted for it.

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CON

Robert James Manion

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MANION:

Well, my hon. friends show

some symptoms of improvement in being ashamed of the expenditure, anyhow, which is more than I can say for anybody on the other side of the House. Then there was the purchase of the Union Club in London. Canada was, I think, quite satisfactorily carrying on-I have been over there a few times- with our quarters down on Victoria street, where Lord Strathcona and our other high commissioners held out for many years, and yet at this time of financial stress, when the country is labouring under these terrible burdens of taxation, the government, through the high commissioner Mr. Larkin, purchases the Union Club in Trafalgar Square at a cost of over a million dollars-an absolutely unnecessary expenditure of the people's money. Then there were these very fine advertisements which my hon. friend the Minister of Trade and Commerce (Mr. Low) has been spreading around from end to end of the Dominion. They are advertisements for the

The Address-Mr. Manion

Liberal party-I have not noticed anything in them for the benefit of the Progressive party-and the people of Canada have been paying for them. I think the Liberal party ought at least to pay the expense of their campaign literature. Then the government have appointed from time to time various commissions, I do not know how many, at a cost of over a million dollars. I admit that a few of these commissions may have been justified, but at least half of the expense could have been saved if the government had taken its courage in both hands and decided for itself. Then there was the expenditure on public works-little piers here, little docks there, a little dredging down around Belle river-various expenditures of that kind. I do not blame the hon. member for North Essex (Mr. Healy) for getting the money spent in his constituency, but I certainly think the government should put its foot down upon such expenditures. I go further, I declare that if our party comes back to power at the next election, as I am thoroughly convinced it will-

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?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Oh, oh.

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?

An hon. MEMBER:

You are an optimist!

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CON

Robert James Manion

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MANION:

They were calling me a pessimist this afternoon! If our party comes back to power at the next election, as I fully believe it will, one of the things it will have to take in hand will be the cutting down of these unnecessary expenditures on public works until Canada begins to get back on her feet again.

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LIB

Thomas Vien

Liberal

Mr. VIEN:

Is not my hon. friend hurting the hon. member for Vancouver Centre?

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CON

Henry Herbert Stevens

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

Not a bit.

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CON

Robert James Manion

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MANION:

I will allow the hon. member for Vancouver Centre to take care of himself-he did so pretty well the other day when he was interrupted. I am speaking for myself. I do not think the government appreciate the fact that the country will absolutely drift on the rocks of despair if they continue their present course.

What do we get from the government in its Speech from the Throne as a cure for these conditions? We get a group of pious political platitudes and useless generalities. Let me give some instances. In addition to the statement which the Prime Minister put into the mouth of His Excellency, and which I quoted this afternoon, that the cost of living is the important problem for Canada, we find also this passage:

It is apparent that even the most rigid economy ii>

public expenditures will not suffice to solve this pressing problem.

I do not know how they can pass that very dogmatic opinion upon the question, for they have never yet tried to economize. That is the first misstatement. We are told in the Speech that the only solution lies largely in increased production and the development of wider markets. Then His Excellency talks of uncontrollable expenditure which is pressing upon the people of Canada, but the government does not get within a hundred yards of the controllable expenditure,-does not make any promise to cut down controllable expenditure in the matters I have suggested. Next, immigration is dealt with, and we are left to infer that this has reference to the Peace river territory. But what is the use of bringing in immigrants when you are driving out Canadians faster than you can fill their places with newcomers? The equalization of freight rates is then discussed and ocean transportation, and we are informed that money is to be spent upon the St. Lawrence river and the Pacific and Atlantic coast ports. We are also told that a treaty will be introduced into the House to prevent the continuance of the opium and narcotic drug traffic in this country. And that made me reflect that if the Prime Minister expects to remain as leader of this country much longer he will have to relax, not tighten up, the legislation against the importation of opium and narcotic drugs, because we will need some tons of these materials if we are to put the people of this country in the proper somnolent condition to go on believing the pipe dreams that he has been handing out to them for a long time. Finally, the piece de resistance, if I may be pardoned for speaking in the language of my hon. friends from the province of Quebec-

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LIB
CON

Robert James Manion

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MANION:

I am always pleased to

speak in the language of my very good friend from Bellechasse (Mr. Fournier). Now, the Prime Minister says-and this is the piece de resistance:

You will be asked to sanction the calling of a conference between the federal and provincial governments to consider the advisability of amending the British North America Act with respect to the constitution and powers of the Senate and in other important particulars.

Well, when I remember the fire and brimstone and the sulphuric speeches of the Prime Minister in the prairie provinces, in which he gave the impression that he was going to come down here and tear the Senate from

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limb to limb, I cannot help thinking he must have been impressed when he was going through that part of the country with some of the tales he had read in his youth of the wild and woolly western people, and he must have come to the conclusion that their diet out there was raw meat and moonshine whiskey. But when he comes back to the east he is probably posted by some of his friends in the matter and told that there are sections of the eastern country where at least the abolition of the Senate is not quite so popular as it is in some other sections; so he comes forward with this milk and water proposal with regard to a conference to deal with the question.

May I just interject here that since we of the House of Commons have taken the holier-than-thou attitude and propose that a conference be called to deal with Senate reform, perhaps at the same time the Senate might suggest that a conference be called to deal with House of Commons reform. While I do not by any means suggest that we cannot usefully reform the Senate, I think by that method at least both the Senate and the House would be mutually improved, to the ultimate benefit of the whole country.

But, where is there in the Speech from the Throne any practical solution offered for the conditions which exist in Canada to-day? Where is there a suggestion made for the relief of business depression, for the supplying of work to the unemployed? Where is there a suggestion to arrest the exodus of the tens of thousands of people who are going from Canada to the United States, or to lessen the taxation which presses so heavily upon the people of this country? Where is there any suggestion even of an idea that retrenchment is required in the expenditure of Canada? Where is there a suggestion of any doctrine to bring back stability to the industry of this country? To every one of these queries, Mr. Speaker, echo answers, where? The government, so far as I can see, has no policy which will bring about any of these things. The only purpose of this government is to keep in power, and they have raised that purpose to the level of a principle.

I am going to close by suggesting three methods of assisting to relieve the conditions which exist in Canada at this time. The first is-and I am not offering it in any spirit of criticism of the government-that we should have in this country to-day a greater spirit of national unity, a greater desire to build up a real national feeling as a result of which the people will be satisfied not only to live in Canada during the sunshine of prosperity,

but to remain in Canada during the storm and stress of adversity. It should be a spirit whereby each section of the country, west as much as east and east as much as west, will be more willing than they have been in the past to make some sacrifices for the good of the whole. It should mean the inspiring of the youth of Canada with a real patriotism, not that false patriotism which the Prime Minister spoke of the other day in which he proposed to hide the facts instead of facing them. I do not think there ever was a time when a spirit of unity was more needed in this country, when it was more desirable that we should wipe out all antagonisms of race and creed, all antagonisms as between east and west, and cultivate a spirit which will inspire that patriotism I speak of in the hearts of the sons of us of the House of Commons and of the people of this country generally, making them desire to remain in Canada, even at the cost of some material sacrifice, rather than expatriate themselves and become Americans, probably never to return to the land of their birth. That is the first-national unity. The need for that, I say, I do not lay against the government; I do not wish to charge them with any objection to that policy.

The second thing that we require to relieve the burden of our country is national economy and retrenchment, a real desire on the part of whatever government is in power to reduce its expenditure, to wipe out some of our terrible taxation and to try to copy the systems of the United States, Great Britain and other countries which are cutting down their national debt. And as I say, one of the most necessary things is to wipe out, if they can, some of the appalling taxes which are depressing the people as a whole, and doing an injury to our country the immensity of which the present government shows no signs of appreciating.

And, third, we require a stable national policy of protection for all classes of the people, a policy which will bring about stability of business, will provide Canadian markets for the Canadian people, will give work to those who are unemployed and not force them to go to the United States. In closing may I say, Sir, that these three suggestions may well constitute an appropriate slogan for any party in this country if it desires to bring about Canada's success and prosperity

national unity, national economy, and the national policy.

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February 13, 1925