June 26, 1925

LIB

Thomas Vien

Liberal

Mr. VIEN:

The Senate has now dropped

the preamble in which they contended it was a measure of relief only.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   HOME BANK DEPOSITORS
Sub-subtopic:   CONCURRENCE IN SENATE AMENDMENTS
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CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

I know that, but the

bill itself, no matter whether there is the preamble or not, makes it absolutely manifest to everybody that it is on the principle of compassion, whether it is recited or not.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   HOME BANK DEPOSITORS
Sub-subtopic:   CONCURRENCE IN SENATE AMENDMENTS
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LIB

Thomas Vien

Liberal

Mr. VIEN:

No.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   HOME BANK DEPOSITORS
Sub-subtopic:   CONCURRENCE IN SENATE AMENDMENTS
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CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

What is the use of the

member saying that to the House? Everybody knows it is exactly on the principle of compassion. It does not need to be recited. We all know it. So what was the value of dropping the preamble? It is purely academic; it does not amount to a hill of beans.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   HOME BANK DEPOSITORS
Sub-subtopic:   CONCURRENCE IN SENATE AMENDMENTS
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IND

William Findlay Maclean

Independent Conservative

Mr. W. F. MACLEAN (South York):

I

hope the House will pardon me if I refer for , a few minutes to the incident now before us. I have sat in this House a good many years, and have seen a number of disputes between the Senate and this House in regard to money bills and other questions. I ask the House if this is not something in the way of a solution of these difficulties, especially in view of the fact that a conference has to be called in regard to our constitution.

In regard to our Senate, I would have the constitution as written in the British North America Act amended in the direction of making seats in our upper house elective or appointive, for fixed terms, with the right of re-election or re-appointment at the end of the term.

And I would have their election or appointment rest in the legislatures of the provinces, not in the gift of the Govemor-in-Council, or as a matter of fact in the gift of the Prime Minister, who may disappear any day as a responsible factor in the political life of the country. By this change the senators would always be responsible to their legislature, not as most of them are to-day to Prime Ministers or governments no longer in office.

In no parliamentary constitution outside of Great Britain does anything like so irresponsible a Senate exist as we have in Canada; and while the House of Lords in Great Britain

is hereditary the party in office there can in a political emergency create new peers to overcome any holdup of their legislation, more important still of their money bills.

In the great democracy alongside of us the Senate of the United States is chosen by the voters of their respective states for fixed terms.

But it may be said that our Mother Country is a monarchy, not a federation. True we are a federation, and like the federation of the United States, our provinces, like their states, ought to choose senators for a limited period. Until we have this reform Canada has neither responsible nor autonomus government in the broad progressive parliamentary sense of that term.

May I add that our Governor-General is appointed for a fixed term, this House of Commons is elected for a fixed term, the legislatures and the lieutenant-governors of the provinces for fixed terms just as is the case in the United States. Our senators are appointed for life.

Otherwise, I respect the rights of the Senate. We need a second chamber, but one responsible to someone. To whom is our upper chamber responsible? Only to men out of office or long dead. And we must have the rights and duties of our Senate in regard to money bills limited to the full limit of modern parliamentary practice. In respect of responsibility and in regard to the rights of the lower house in money bills, we have neither of these things.

That is my proposal to cure the difficulties that have been occurring in this country, and the main difficulty is that we have a Senate that is not responsible. It ought to be responsible, as is the case in all other parliamentary institutions in the world that are recognized, and the only way to make them responsible is to have them elected for fixed terms, and the ones to elect them are the legislatures of the country, rather than electing them in the irresponsible way in which they are chosen now. The Prime Minister now appoints them. Well, Prime Ministers disappear, and then there is no one to hold responsible. A crisis has arrived. I have seen it coming for many years, but it is now more pressing than ever, and it must be cured. If this parliament, this House of Commons and the Senate, fails to tackle that question, we shall end up in annexation or drift to some other country where there is responsible government. I have every respect for the Senate. They are in office by law, but surely this country living alongside the great democracy to the south of us, should have a more democratic Upper

Home Bank

Chamber, especially in view of the fact that the very things of which we complain to-day are about to be cured in the Mother Country by legislation that I think will soon be introduced by the Baldwin government. The way they are going to cure it there is to substitute elective representatives in the House of Lords. They are going to have them elected for fixed terms, and the legislation will be proposed within a year. If I may quote authority, I will quote the authority of Lord Birkenhead, who had to lead with this question. The way to make the Senate more responsible is to elect the senators for fixed terms, and to have them selected by some responsible body, by the legislatures of this country.

I have had the courage to deal with this question, like I had the courage a little while ago to deal with the railway question, and only yesterday I got the endorsement of my position in regard to the railway question from this very Senate we are criticizing here to-night.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   HOME BANK DEPOSITORS
Sub-subtopic:   CONCURRENCE IN SENATE AMENDMENTS
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CON

Henry Lumley Drayton

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir HENRY DRAYTON:

(West York):

I am somewhat disappointed at the way matters have gone in connection *with this Home Bank legislation. I pointed out to the government at the time what the effect would be of these claims touching constitutional questions. My view of this whole matter has remained unchanged; it is precisely the same now as it was when first the subject was broached. It has been my view all along that the matter should be treated from the standpoint of necessity and compassion and with the object in view of extending aid in such a way that there would be as little suffering as -possible as a result of the failure of the Home Bank. But that principle has not by any means been entirely carried into effect; instead of that we find the matter dealt with apart from any consideration of necessity among those who have suffered most. I would have had the payments so made as to apply in ease of the cases where the greatest need exists. I would have had them apply to eleemosynary institutions such as churches, unions anid the like. I pointed out to the government when the question was first brought up just what was likely to happen, and what I said on that occasion has proved absolutely true. Instead of going to the Senate on the question on the merits of the legislation, that of giving a larger share of the grant to those who most need it, hon. gentlemen opposite elected to go rather on the question of cold constitutional procedure. Tor some reason or other the human element,

the real consideration that should move any of us in connection with this legislation, was entirely overlooked. I did not vote against the measure, because I did not want to do anything that would in any way interfere with the position of the depositors. But the government has chosen to act solely on constitutional grounds instead of being moved by considerations of relief. What chance had they of getting any recognition of the merits of the question when they went to the Senate with a chip on their shoulder? They have had no relief; nothing whatever has 'been done. The result is just what they had a right to expect. The government's interest in this matter from start to finish has been political, from the very first order in council; and everyone knows it. They laugh now, and that shows the extent of their sympathy in the pain and suffering that have come to those who have suffered by the failure of this bank. Hon. gentlemen when they treat this matter lightly are not doing either themselves or their party justice. What I said on the previous occasion has proved to be absolutely correct. We have had a sham battle between this House and the Senate.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   HOME BANK DEPOSITORS
Sub-subtopic:   CONCURRENCE IN SENATE AMENDMENTS
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?

An hon. MEMBER:

Let us have a live

one.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   HOME BANK DEPOSITORS
Sub-subtopic:   CONCURRENCE IN SENATE AMENDMENTS
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CON

Henry Lumley Drayton

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir HENRY DRAYTON:

What hon. gentleman expresses that wish? It is the ever ready aid that comes to the government from British Columbia, and the hon. member is running true to form. He is looking for a Liberal nomination at the next election.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   HOME BANK DEPOSITORS
Sub-subtopic:   CONCURRENCE IN SENATE AMENDMENTS
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PRO

Alan Webster Neill

Progressive

Mr. NEILL:

I rise to a point of order.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   HOME BANK DEPOSITORS
Sub-subtopic:   CONCURRENCE IN SENATE AMENDMENTS
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CON

Henry Lumley Drayton

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir HENRY DRAYTON:

I was not referring to the hon. gentleman but to the member sitting next to him.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   HOME BANK DEPOSITORS
Sub-subtopic:   CONCURRENCE IN SENATE AMENDMENTS
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PRO

Alan Webster Neill

Progressive

Mr. NEILL:

You looked at me.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   HOME BANK DEPOSITORS
Sub-subtopic:   CONCURRENCE IN SENATE AMENDMENTS
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CON

Henry Lumley Drayton

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir HENRY DRAYTON:

My hon. friend's

eyesight is at fault to-night. If the House is in the proper condition, Mr. Speaker, I will proceed.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   HOME BANK DEPOSITORS
Sub-subtopic:   CONCURRENCE IN SENATE AMENDMENTS
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LIB

James Murdock (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. MURDOCK:

"Condition" is right.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   HOME BANK DEPOSITORS
Sub-subtopic:   CONCURRENCE IN SENATE AMENDMENTS
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CON

Henry Lumley Drayton

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir HENRY DRAYTON:

Hon. gentlemen's conduct shows plainly what hope we may have that the real merits of the question will be considered. The Prime Minister says that the matter has been pressed as far as it could be and that the bill must be accepted. What has been pressed upon the Senate? Look through the reasons passed by this House. What has been pressed upon them? The merits of the depositors' claims? Their necessities? Not a word of it. Forgotten entirely. It was

Home Bank

solely the question of constitutional rights, and my right hon. friend gets off just where he commenced. What has he done, Mr Speaker? He has commenced a constitutional contest. That contest had for its object the determination of the question as to whether the Senate had any right to interfere with a financial bill or not. How did it end? It ended by my right hon. friend accepting the position taken by the Senate? Why, we might as well have had no conference and saved this time and this fawce.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   HOME BANK DEPOSITORS
Sub-subtopic:   CONCURRENCE IN SENATE AMENDMENTS
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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

I do not think my hon. friend could have been in the House when I spoke.

Sir HENRY DRAYTOiN: Yes, and I

heard what the right hon. member said.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   HOME BANK DEPOSITORS
Sub-subtopic:   CONCURRENCE IN SENATE AMENDMENTS
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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

The hon.

member has forgotten it.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   HOME BANK DEPOSITORS
Sub-subtopic:   CONCURRENCE IN SENATE AMENDMENTS
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CON

Henry Lumley Drayton

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir HENRY DRAYTON:

I do not think I have forgotten very much. We have here the difference between Tweedledum and Tweedledee. It is something which my right hon. friend may be able to distinguish, but I do not think the people of this country axe going to worry very much about it. The fact remains that the real issue was as to whether or not the Senate had the right to amend a financial bill. And the real result is that today the Prime Minister says they have the right, and let us accept it. And there it stands. It is done. There is really nothing else. What was the object olf all those reasons for adoption by this House unless that was the object? What was the reason of forgetting all about the merits of the case, unless that was the object? We have this difference now, so far as the real issue is concerned; we have the preamble dropped, and every lawyer in this House knows that the preamble is a matter of absolutely no importance.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   HOME BANK DEPOSITORS
Sub-subtopic:   CONCURRENCE IN SENATE AMENDMENTS
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LAB

Joseph Tweed Shaw

Labour

Mr. SHAW:

May it not be of some value in interpreting the bill?

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   HOME BANK DEPOSITORS
Sub-subtopic:   CONCURRENCE IN SENATE AMENDMENTS
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CON

Henry Lumley Drayton

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir HENRY DRAYTON:

My hon. friend, with his customary gallantry, is coming to the assistance of the government who sorely need it now.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   HOME BANK DEPOSITORS
Sub-subtopic:   CONCURRENCE IN SENATE AMENDMENTS
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LIB

Thomas Vien

Liberal

Mr. VIEN:

My hon. friend will allow me-

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   HOME BANK DEPOSITORS
Sub-subtopic:   CONCURRENCE IN SENATE AMENDMENTS
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June 26, 1925