Mr. LANCTOT (Translation):
I am not particular about the price. At all events, this would rest with the members of this House to decide. I wish to see the large majority of shares remain in this country and not pass over to the Americans or other foreigners, so that we may later deal with our own affairs through the medium of the government and the railway commission.
At the outset of my remark^, I enumerated the causes of our ruin. I now wish to broach the subject of our participation in the war, a senseless and excessive participation with the scanty means we had at our disposal, when we were already on the road to ruin with all our railways.
Should Canada have taken part in the war? I answer, yes; but according to our means. What did this consist in? To recruit 100,000 to 150,000 men and even 200,000 men to please the jingoes of this country, and stop at those figures, furthermore produce food of all kinds to help the allies. Unfortunately our government and all the politicians did not see it in that light. It was not so much with the aim of helping the allies as to pass for loyal subjects of His Majesty and so that the records of history might show that the Tory party had saved the empire. If only our politicians had gauged the true situation of this country, its means, and had understood that Canada is a young country, still undeveloped !
I do not think that there are many amongst the members of this House, at present, that do not acknowledge now that the Borden-Meighen government made a great mistake in having conscription passed in 1917, at a time when the United States had just entered
the war, after having accumulated all the gold in this world, and when they did not have one-fourth of the necessary ships to transport their troops. Why impose conscription in this country, when Australia carried on without it. The reason given in 1917, by one of Mr. Borden's ministers was that there existed no province of Quebec in Australia. I am well aware that the movement had Quebec as its aim; however, Mr.Speaker,the people of the province of Quebec will not forget for a long time to come these politicians of 1917. I must draw your attention to the fact that they already gave a decision on this measure in 1917, another in 1921, and they hope to give another in the near future. At present, in the province of Quebec, Mr. Monty, accompanied by Mr. Armand La-vergne, forsooth, and others somewhat in the same class, is organizing meetings on behalf of my hon. friend the leader of the opposition. With a certain dash of reserve, Mr. Monty claims to be the worthy successor of Cartier, and Mr. Meighen the worthy successor of Sir John A. Macdonald. I do not think, Sir, that had Sir John A. Macdonald been Premier of this country during the Great war, he would have made all the blunders that his successors did here in Ottawa. I have somewhat studied the life of Sir John A. Macdonald. I must admit that he is the only Prime Minister of Canada, who remained a Canadias above all things. And I intend in the future if I still mix in politics to support the Prime Minister who will give proof of being a Canadian first and last
The member for West York (Sir Henry Drayton) discussing the budget, on March 30, last, quoted France as an example of a protectionist country, and pointed out what it had accomplished since the armistice. He further stated that France had spent, in reconstruction, for miles and miles of railway and bridges that had been destroyed, for the highways that had to be rebuilt, as well as for canals and dams, up to January 1, 1924, twenty billion francs, so as to repair the physical damage to public properties, over and above those damages to churches, government, public and municipal buildings, and that France had carried out these repairs herself. Moreover, within the same period, France had disbursed an amount equal to about fifty six billion francs for the reconstruction of the devastated! territory. To carry out all this work, it received an immigration of 1,500,000 people and it made a lot of money. That may be, I do not deny what France did. However, all this is due to
The Budget-Mr. Lanctot
the extraordinary situation in which it found itself after the war: more than one-fourth of her territory was devastated, more than 500,000 homes destroyed; they had necessarily to rebuild.
However, Mr. Speaker, so as to have work and a visible prosperity, I state that it is not inviting for other countries to find themselves ini the same situation as France was after the armistice, in 1918.
In our own country those conditions do not exist, we have no war devastated territory, it is fortunate for us, but we have been ruined by the war and over-burdened with taxation.
Does the high protective tariff infallibly bring prosperity to the people in this country? I do not think so, Sir, and I believe I have an instance in my county which proves, above all doubt, that my .contentions are right, that is, that the high protective tariff does not always give to workmen a fair salary for the daily hard labour, in proportion to the salaries paid in the United States for the same kind of work. I am referring to the brickyards of Laprairie and Delson. When this building which we are now occupying was constructed-I refer to the Parliament building-the National Brick Co. of Laprairie, sold to Messrs Peter Lyall & Sons 15,000,000 bricks at $725 per 1,000. To-day the same brick sells at $17 per 1,000. I think that my statement cannot lead the House astray, in giving the sale price of that year; it was during the war and men were scarcer than to-day. I would like my good friend, Mr. Ballantyne, our ex-Minister of Marine and Fisheries in the Borden-Meighen government to be asked to do a little work, in his capacity of general manager of the National Brick Co. of Laprairie and Delson -as the company has its works in two different places, 4 miles from one another- Mr. Ballantyne is a protectionist, I think.
Subtopic: THE BUDGET
Sub-subtopic: CONTINUANCE OF DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE ACTING MINISTER OF FINANCE