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.