January 14, 1926

REPORTS AND PAPERS


Report of the Superintendent of Penitentiaries for the year ended March 31, 1925: ordinances of Yukon Territory for 1925; annual report of the Secretary of State for the fiscal year ended March 31, 1925; detailed statements of bonds and securities registered in the Department of the Secretary of State since the last return submitted to the parliament of Canada; report of the Department of Railways and Canals for the last fiscal year, and the report of the Commissioner of Highways-Hon. Mr. Lapointe. Notice to the House of Commons that no orders in council relative to water in the railway belt have been passed in pursuance of the statute of 1913; copies of ordinances of the Northwest Territory for the year ended January 7, 1926-Hon. Mr. Stewart. Fifty-eighth report of the Department of Marine and Fisheries (Marine branch); also of the Department of Marine and Fisheries for the same year (Fisheries branch); statement of leases of wharves for 1925; statement of wharfage revenue for the year 1924-25; fish bounty regulations; statement of international fishery regulations; order in council for the issue of licenses to United States fishing vessels; radiotelegraph regulations- Hon. Mr. Cardin.


GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH

MOTION FOR PRECEDENCE-GOVERNMENTS RIGHT TO RETAIN OFFICE


The House resumed, from Wednesday, January 13, consideration of the motion of Hon. Ernest Lapointe for consideration of the Speech of His Excellency the Governor General at the opening of the session, and its precedence over other business, and the proposed amendment thereto of the Right Hon. Arthur Meighen. Mr. JEAN J. DENIS (Joliette): Mr. Speaker, when I had the honour of addressing the House yesterday afternoon I noticed that several members of the Progressive party were absent. I am glad to see them in their seats again because I purpose to address my remarks more particularly to them. They have not failed to comprehend the exceptional position in which they are now placed; for by reason of the results of the late general election the fate of this parliament, of the government, and of every hon. member in this House, is in the hands of less than thirty members of the Progressive party. Therefore these hon. gentlemen are now placed in a position of grave responsibility. May I add that I am not at all afraid that they will not rightfully discharge that responsibility? In what I said last night, Mr. Speaker, and in what I may say this afternoon, I wish to emphasize that I am speaking for myself alone. I hold no brief for the government. I am prone at times to be outspoken, that is one of my numerous defects, and if I should go too far in what I am about to say I wish it to be clearly understood that I am personally responsible and am not voicing the views of the government. It seems to me that the situation that has been disclosed by hon. members, particularly by those of the Progressive party, if I am to take into consideration the declarations made by some of them, has been based on error and misunderstanding from the very beginning. I have heard hon. members say that if they vote against this amendment, necessarily they vote confidence in the government. On my own responsibility I say that, in so far as I understand the situation, hon. members do not vote confidence in the government should they vote against this amendment.


?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Oh, oh.

Topic:   GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH
Subtopic:   MOTION FOR PRECEDENCE-GOVERNMENTS RIGHT TO RETAIN OFFICE
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LIB

Jean-Joseph Denis

Liberal

Mr. DENIS (Joliette):

My hon. friends

may laugh as they like, but they are here to answer my argument, and I shall be glad to hear them refute it. Certainly they do not possess unto themselves the quality of infallibility.

13$

Government's Wight to Office

What is the proposition before the House? Let us be practical; let us be logical. The proposition before the House is presented by the Minister of Justice (Mr. Lapointe), as representing the government, who says in plain language: I move that the Speech from the Throne be considered by this House. What does that mean? It means that hon. gentlemen are asked purely and simply to pass judgment on the Speech from the Throne, and nothing else. The motion does not ask hon. members to vote for the Speech from the Throne. It asks the 245 members of this House simply to discuss and pass judgment upon the Speech from the Throne. It simply asks that the Speech from the Throne come before this House for discussion, and when it does come up for discussion, then any hon. member may vote for or against it just as he pleases. That is the meaning of the proposition, that and nothing else.

What is the meaning of the proposition of the leader of the opposition? What is its purport? I do not intend to analyse his amendment now, because that has been done several times already, but what is its object? Its object is to stop the government right here and now, to say to the government: You shall not go any further; the Speech from the Throne shall not be discussed in this House, and shall not be submitted to a vote of this House. That is the purport and the effect of his amendment, and if his amendment carries the Speech from the Throne will never be submitted to this House. Some Speech from the Throne will no doubt be submitted, but the Speech from the Throne that was read at the beginning of this session will never be submitted to this House. Therefore, I say that if the amendment is rejected, that will not mean that parliament has voted non-confidence in the government because hon. member's, may, if they choose, vote against the amendment, thereby ensuring that the Speech from the Throne will be submitted to a vote of this House, and then, when it is so submitted, hon. members who have voted against the amendment may turn and vote against the Speech from the Throne if it does not suit them, and there will be no contradiction in that at all. That is the reason why I say that the amendment of the leader of the opposition at this juncture is premature. It is premature in so far as it seems inequitable that the Speech from the Throne should not be submitted to this House, and more particularly does it seem inequitable to the Progressive party, because if the .amendment carried it would prevent the Speech from being even discussed by the House. The amendment is not premature so far as the

IMr. J. J. Denis.]

Conservative party is concerned, because it is their avowed purpose to defeat the government on the first opportunity. Irrespective of their programme, irrespective of the Speech from the Throne, irrespective of any other consideration, they are here to defeat the government. I do not blame them for trying to do so, but so far as the Progressive party is concerned, a party which is supposed to occupy an independent position between the two great parties, and which I am sure is independent, and which is not committed to the defeat of the government but is committed to the interests of the country at large, and the interests of their own constituencies in particular, I say that for that party the amendment is premature, because, if carried, it precludes consideration of the Speech from the Throne, which is a very worthy document from the Progressive point of view.

Topic:   GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH
Subtopic:   MOTION FOR PRECEDENCE-GOVERNMENTS RIGHT TO RETAIN OFFICE
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CON

Leslie Gordon Bell

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BELL (West Hamilton):

If it was the purpose and desire of the government that the Speech from the Throne should first be considered, why did the government introduce a motion of confidence in this House?

Topic:   GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH
Subtopic:   MOTION FOR PRECEDENCE-GOVERNMENTS RIGHT TO RETAIN OFFICE
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LIB

Joseph-Arthur Denis

Liberal

Mr. DENIS (Joliettc):

The situation we have at the present time is not the government's making; it was made by the leader of the opposition.

Topic:   GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH
Subtopic:   MOTION FOR PRECEDENCE-GOVERNMENTS RIGHT TO RETAIN OFFICE
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?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Oh, oh.

Topic:   GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH
Subtopic:   MOTION FOR PRECEDENCE-GOVERNMENTS RIGHT TO RETAIN OFFICE
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CON

James Dew Chaplin

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. OHAPLIN (Lincoln):

The electors of Canada made it.

Topic:   GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH
Subtopic:   MOTION FOR PRECEDENCE-GOVERNMENTS RIGHT TO RETAIN OFFICE
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LIB

Jean-Joseph Denis

Liberal

Mr. DENIS (Joliette):

Had the leader oi the government been permitted to discuss his own motion, he would have given the House

his reasons and his motives. I can understand his motives.

Topic:   GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH
Subtopic:   MOTION FOR PRECEDENCE-GOVERNMENTS RIGHT TO RETAIN OFFICE
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CON

Leslie Gordon Bell

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BELL (West Hamilton):

May I ask further, how would that have been a discussion of the Address?

Topic:   GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH
Subtopic:   MOTION FOR PRECEDENCE-GOVERNMENTS RIGHT TO RETAIN OFFICE
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LIB

Jean-Joseph Denis

Liberal

Mr. DENIS (Joliette):

I will answer that, but I would ask my hon. friend not to interrupt me when I am answering, because otherwise no understanding will be possible. I was saying that if the Minister of Justice had been permitted to discuss his motion, he would have given his reasons for presenting it. I believe his reasons fundamentally were that he wanted the House to decide whether or not this government should remain in power, but this I have no authority to declare, because I do not know. Further, I believe that this motion of confidence was introduced by the Minister of Justice to stem the flow of imprecations and declarations by the opposition against the government which has been going on throughout the country for two months, to the effect that the government were usurping power.

Government's Right to Office

Topic:   GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH
Subtopic:   MOTION FOR PRECEDENCE-GOVERNMENTS RIGHT TO RETAIN OFFICE
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?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Hear, hear.

Topic:   GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH
Subtopic:   MOTION FOR PRECEDENCE-GOVERNMENTS RIGHT TO RETAIN OFFICE
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CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

Did not the acting leader of the government say that my amendment was the exact opposite of his motion? If so, why could he not discuss anything on my amendment that he could discuss on his motion?

Topic:   GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH
Subtopic:   MOTION FOR PRECEDENCE-GOVERNMENTS RIGHT TO RETAIN OFFICE
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LIB

Jean-Joseph Denis

Liberal

Mr. DENIS (Joliette):

I think it was ruled out of order by the Speaker.

Topic:   GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH
Subtopic:   MOTION FOR PRECEDENCE-GOVERNMENTS RIGHT TO RETAIN OFFICE
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CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

That does not affect it.

Topic:   GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH
Subtopic:   MOTION FOR PRECEDENCE-GOVERNMENTS RIGHT TO RETAIN OFFICE
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LIB

Jean-Joseph Denis

Liberal

Mr. DENIS (Joliette):

I am not disposed at this juncture to let myself be distracted by these objections, worthy as they might be. This subject is a very large one, so wide in its scope that if I began answering the questions of all hon. gentlemen opposite I should never get through with my short speech.

I was saying that so far as the Progressive party was concerned this amendment, was premature because their interest is different from the interest of the Conservative party. They are here to serve their constituencies, this province and their country at (large. Were their group numerous enough, they would be here ready to take the reins of office if the opportunity should come, but at the present time everyone agrees that only one of the two larger parties in this House can hold the reins of office, and therefore the Progressive party, being prechided from the possibility of office, arc here to decide between the two old parties, and to adopt or reject the policy of one or the other. Now how can they adopt or reject the Speech from the Throne if it is never submitted! to the House? How can hon. members belonging to the Progressive party go back to their constituencies and say to their people: "We did not get from the government the justice we demanded," when they themselves might be the obstacle to preventing the government from passing these very measures mentioned in the Speech from the Throne, and which are designed to a large extent, at least, to meet the wishes of the Progressive party? I am not here to give lessons to my hon. friends. It is enough for me to try and follow my own little way, but I would feel I was in an extremely embarrassing position were I a member of the Progressive party elected to try and secure rural credits, the Hudson Bay railway, and the several other matters which are mentioned in the Speech from the Throne, if I put myself in the position at the very outset before the Speech from the Throne is submitted to the House of saying: I have not enough sympathy with this government and their actions in the past to allow them to continue in power, and therefore I shall

vote for the amendment, and thereby preclude absolutely the government from submitting the Speech from the Throne outlining all these measures in which I am interested to the House, thereby making the Speech from the Throne a dead letter entirely. Such is the position of the Progressive party, a position entirely different from that of the Conservative party. These are facts which cannot be denied, facts which the members of the Progressive party know just as well as I do and if they do not they should learn them. The facts to which I allude are these: Whenever the present government gave the Progressive party a scrap of their demand* they were opposed each time by the Conservative party. Is that true or is it not? The Progressive party for the last four years have been clamouring and clamouring for legislation. The hon. member for Kindersley (Mr. Carmichael)-whom I am glad to See in his seat at the present time-said that what they got from the Liberal party in four years' time could be contained in a small suit case. Admitting that to be true the suit case would have been empty but for the fight which we on this side waged against the Conservative party.

An lion. MEMBER: Fifty members.

Topic:   GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH
Subtopic:   MOTION FOR PRECEDENCE-GOVERNMENTS RIGHT TO RETAIN OFFICE
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CON

Henry Lumley Drayton

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir HENRY DRAYTON:

Brave fighters 1 Three to one.

Topic:   GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH
Subtopic:   MOTION FOR PRECEDENCE-GOVERNMENTS RIGHT TO RETAIN OFFICE
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January 14, 1926