Mr. DONALD SUTHERLAND (South Oxford):
Mr. Speaker, when the House adjourned yesterday I was referring to the supplementary address which had been presented to parliament by the Prime Minister on January 28, through the lips of the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre (Mr. Woodsworth). Perhaps it would be well for 14011-47i
me to read this address which was presented on that occasion. It is as follows:
Ottawa, January 28, 1926.
J. S. Woodsworth, M.P.,
House of Commons, Ottawa.
Dear Mr. Woodsworth,
Replying to the letter received from Mr. Heaps and yourself, dated January 7, in which you ask whether it is the intention of the government to introduce at this session legislation with regard to
(a) provision for the unemployed, and
(b) old age pensions, I would refer you, respecting provision for the unemployed, to the answer given in the House of Commons to-day by the Hon. Ernest Lapointe on behalf of the government in reply to a question by yourself and which indicated the government's intention of carrying out with respect to emergency relief the practice adopted in co-operation with provinces and municipalities in the years immediately following the war. In answer to a question from Mr. Neill, Mr. Lapointe further intimated that it was the intention of the government to introduce at this session legislation with respect to Old Age Pensions. You will observe that the statement made by Mr. Lapointe was in accordance with the intimation which I gave to Mr. Heaps and yourself at the time of our interview, following the receipt of the communication herein referred to.
With respect to amendments to (a) the Immigration Act, (b) the Naturalization Act, and (c) the Criminal Code, which were referred to at the time of our interview, I would say that having since taken up the proposed amendments with the ministers concerned, I feel I am in a position to assure you that legislation on these matters will also be introduced in the course of the present session.
W. L. Mackenzie King.
Prior to bringing this matter up I had been referring to the feeling which prevails in the country that a good deal of bargaining has been going on between the government and some of the groups in this House with a view to the continuation of the government in office. I referred to a Canadian Press report on that occasion, which was denied by the chief whip of the Progressive party and also by the hon. member for Mackenzie (Mr. Campbell), which press report contained this statement:
The Progressive party will sell its support in the best interests of the west.
This statement was denied by those gentlemen, in so far as the word "sell" is concerned, and I accept their denial; I do not question their veracity at all. I have always had a good deal of respect for the hon. gentlemen who sit behind the leader of the Progressive party, and I am sorry that I am not able to say as much for their leader. But there
is something further in that report which the hon. member for Mackenzie did not deny, and it is as follows:
What legislation it can secure in the interests of the west is the fundamental question that will decide its actions.
Apparently they have been satisfied in their demands, because the government have promised in the Speech from the Throne to introduce legislation-mark the words " introduce legislation ", perhaps not expecting it to pass- along the lines desired, although in years gone by the government had used their best endeavours to defeat such legislation. Apparently the leader of the so-called Labour group in the House became jealous of the influence which was being exercised by the Progressive party. Although he and his colleague had approached the Prime Minister and had received verbal assurance that their request would be complied with they were not satisfied, and1 insisted that before the next vote wag taken they should have a definite statement from the Prime Minister, over his own signature, as to what he would do under the circumstances. Is it any wonder that the people of this country have become alarmed, that the press of Canada is filled from day to day with references to the bargaining which it is claimed is going on in the House of Commons. At this point, in order to give still further point to my remarks, I might refer to my last few observations before the House rose at six o'clock last night. Referring to the letter from the Prime Minister to M!r. Woods-worth, I stated that it is:
-the clearest and most emphatic proof of the fact that there has been bargaining in relation to matters of great public importance in this country with a view to securing support in this House to enable a government which was defeated at the polls, to carry on in defiance of public opinion. And the government is now asking for a six weeks' adjournment in order to build up its shattered forces.
Those hon. members who were in the House yesterday and listened to the Minister of Justice will appreciate the situation more accurately when I read the words which the minister made use of on that occasion. He said:
Now, we are the government and we are only asking fair play, the same fair play that we should have been pleased to extend to my right hon. friend if he had been successful, and had carried a majority in this House. We desire an adjournment to permit the Prime Minister to undertake and to carry through the task of filling vacancies and to reconstruct the government in order to proceed regularly with the legislative, parliamentary and administrative work of government.
This is an admission on the part of the leader of the government that they are unable under present conditions to carry on. The importance therefore of having the representatives of groups in this House lend their support to the government will be appreciated. The Minister of Justice goes on to say:
-that the government should be complete and that every department should be represented here by a minister.
Now the Speech from the Throne contains the information that a number of departments are to be merged and certain ministers eliminated. What it is proposed to do has not been disclosed to the House but the leader of the government forces in the House, in his evident distress, pleads that it is necessary to have a minister here at the head of all departments of the government. I wonder if those hon. members sitting behind the government feel that some of the ministers defeated at the polls are better qualified than they are to take charge of and' administer departments. The Prime Minister himself was most decisively defeated in a constituency where he sought to test public opinion with respect to himself and his government. The defeat which he sustained on that occasion should be sufficient to convince him and his colleagues that the people have very little use for the man who has been leading the Liberal forces during the past few years. And remember M.r. King ran in a constituency where he is well known and is not a stranger as he is in the riding where he is now endeavouring to secure re-election. Perhaps I may be permitted to say here that the scolding, petulant mood exhibited by Mr. Mackenzie King before the electors of Prince Albert is by no means to his credit. "Why," he demands, "where does this young man who is my opponent come from? Who dares to put this man into the field in opposition to the great William Lyon Mackenzie King? The people of this country Should know who are at the back of this conspiracy Let me say that there is a band of men in Canada prepared to stand by the empire, a band prepared to make any sacrifice necessary to maintain that empire and to see that it is perpetuated. Is it surprising that one of those men who served in the ranks of the Canadian forces during the greatest crisis that this empire has ever faced, should now step forward and oppose even the self-styled great William Lyon Mackenzie King? The hon. member for Fort William (Mr. Manion) dealt with this point most effectively yesterday. I should have lost faith in our country had not someone at this period of national crisis been nominated to oppose this man. And now the government are asking parliament to adjourn until March 15 in order to enable him to build up his shattered forces, in order to secure the election of one William Lyon Mackenzie King. According to them it is their only hope. The shattered Liberal forces are looking for leader-
ship, and the Minister of Justice makes the plaintive plea "Give us fair play. We would do the same to you under similar circumstances." Ah! has he forgotten the statements of this same William Lyon Mackenzie King with regard to the right hon. gentleman who leads the major group in this House after the general election of 1921 when the latter endeavoured to secure re-election in a constituency close by and where he was well known? Why there was on that occasion,
I might almost say, gross misrepresentation by the man who now claims to be Prime Minister, to say nothing of the same petulance which he is manifesting in the Prince Albert by-election. This ought to be a sufficient answer to the Minister of Justice. It indicates what hon. gentlemen opposite would do under similar circumstances.
As I have already said, the Speech from the Throne intimates that certain departments are to be merged. We do not know how many ministers will be seeking re-election, possibly not any outside of the Prime Minister. Then why this adjournment? Last night I quoted a statement from the Winnipeg Free Press published on the day following the general election. That journal anticipated that the only thing the Prime Minister could do under the circumstances was to send in his resignation, and recommend His Excellency to call upon the right hon. leader of the opposition to form a government. But the Prime Minister and his ministers decided not to do that, they determined to hang on to office let the consequences be what they would. But they did announce that parliament would be called at the earliest possible moment, and that it would assemble on December 10 in order to transact the business of the country. The date of the opening of parliament was afterwards changed to January 7. The House has now been in session for nearly a month, and it is quite evident that the administration admit their inability to carry on and despatch public business. The Speech from the Throne is absolutely at variance with the professions while in office of the leader of the party opposite and his government. I referred to those yesterday, and in particular to the question of the building of the Hudson Bay railway. On that occasion the Minister of Railways, the Right Hon. George P. Graham, made the statement that parliament as then constituted would not vote money for the construction of the Hudson Bay railway. At that time the Liberals had a following of 117 members in this House, and 63 or 64 members of the Progressive party were in the House
advocating the building of the road. But now, with their forces decimated, with their ranks depleted, there has apparently been an effort to get Progressive support. My hon. friends opposite say to them, "We will promise you members of the Progressive party anything, if you will only support us and enable us to carry on." Is it any wonder that the Progressives in this House have absolutely no confidence in the King government? They have good reason not to have any confidence in it. They realize to-day that the government is dependent upon them in order to enable it to carry on. The government must now concede everything that the Progressives ask in order to secure their support. I have altogether too high a regard for my hon. friends of the Progressive party to think that they have any faith in a government which is forced under such circumstances to grant such concessions in order to secure their support so that the government may be enabled to hang on to office. 'Surely there is something higher and nobler in public life than merely to hold on to office.
But the most significant, yes, the most amusing thing that has happened in this House in many years was the introduction of the .motion to adjourn parliament for six weeks, or until the 15th day of March, without any explanation from the leader of the government as to why this should be done-not a word. The motion came before the House and the debate began without any attempt to justify it. We had no explanation to warrant such action, although a number of the members were here in the House, until yesterday when the acting leader of the government (Mr. Lapointe) rose and made his plea. He found fault with hon. members on this side of the House for depriving him of an opportunity to speak when the motion was introduced. I do not think a more-I will not say ridiculous, but unusual claim, was ever before advanced; because it is well known that the hon. leader of the House had a perfect right to speak on the motion, and should have done so. The hon. member for West York (Sir Henry Drayton) would gladly have given way to him had he shown any evidence of a desire to speak on that occasion. After the debate had continued for some time he took the floor and made the plea, "Oh, give us fair play; do not embarrass us in our distress. We are anxious to serve our country and1 are particularly anxious to carry on the government. We do not like to go out into the cold shades of opposition."
It was rather significant that this motion was sprung in the House on the 2nd day of
Adjournment - -Casio,ns Inquiry
February. Hon. members know that there is an old adage that the bear, who has a habit of going into a warm place and hibernating during the winter, on the 2nd day of February comes out and surveys his surroundings, and if the sun is shining brightly he concludes there are to be six weeks more of winter and he immediately goes back to stay in his nest for another six weeks. That is what the government are doing. When they found that on the 2nd of February the sun was shining brightly all day long, and there was every prospect of storm and stormy weather for the next six weeks, they said1 to us, '"Now if you fellows will only go home for six weeks and wait until the spring arrives, we .will then take up again the business of the country."
This appeal was followed! by an address by my good friend the Minister of Finance. What was his plea? We would expect from him some good1 sound argument which would appeal to the judgment of members of this House as to why an adjournment should be granted. Did he favour us with such an argument? I listened to his remarks and I looked over Hansard this morning, and I cannot see that he has done so; but he attempted to belittle the charges which were made by the hon. member for Vancouver Centre (Mr. Stevens), the most serious charges that were ever preferred against a government in Canada. Did he deal with those? Well, in his own way he did. He says, "It is quite true that the bootleggers are a very strong force in this country at the present time. Parliament voted $350,000 a year ago to suppress smuggling and bootlegging and things of that kind, but the government are absolutely helpless. The automobile enables these men to frustrate the efforts of the government." I could not help thinking what a force the government could have let loose on the country if they had only manned the automobiles which they have at their command. But only some $23,100 of that $350,000 vote was used *for this purpose.
The Minister of Finance says, "Why, these bootleggers from Montreal endeavoured to defeat me in my election," and he attempted to connect them with the Tory organization in the city of Montreal. I am glad to hear that there is a Tory organization in the city of Montreal; I was not aware of it before. The effect of the bootleggers' assistance so far as the Tory party was concerned in the province of Quebec was not anything to boast about, but I recall the fact that while the Minister of Finance was a candidate in his own constituency there were other candidates
who had other difficulties to contend with. I remember the election very well, and I think I will remember it for some time. I am sorry that the Minister of the Interior (Mr. Stewart) is not in his seat. In view of the fact that the Minister of Finance introduced this matter, I think I am justified in relating some of the things which took place in other constituencies. We remember that in the last session of this parliament-indeed it has been brought up every session-a proposal urged and agitated by hon. members to my left, with the supposed endorsation of the government, namely, what is known as the transferable vote in single member constituencies. But no measure to that end was put into effect. In fact the bill was not introduced by the government, although it remained on the order paper until the last day of the session. But in the recent election they adopted an entirely new system. Notwithstanding the fact that they had 83,000 election agents paid out of the public treasury of the country during the last election, they put into effect a brand new system-not the transferable vote in single member constituencies, but t'he transferring of the voters themselves bodily into other constituencies with a view of assisting the government in their distress. I am fully conscious of the responsibility of a member of parliament in making statements on the floor of this House. It is true that very often recldess statements are indulged in by some speakers at the time of an election, but when we are in the parliament hon. members should be careful what they say. I have made the statement that the government adopted a different system; in view of the fact that the transferable vote in single member constituencies did not go into effect they transferred the voters bodily from one constituency to another, in fact from one province to another.
I see some of my hon. friends from Quebec looking very intently at me, as though I was making a rather reckless statement. They may be surprised to know that a carload of the residents of Quebec were brought into the constituency of South Oxford and that deliberate attempts were made to put those men on the voters' list in that constituency. After failing in several attempts they succeeded in getting at least seven of them on the list in one polling division of that constituency. It was only on the day of nomination. when the registrar for that constituency handed in his list of names which had been added by him, that I ascertained that these men's names had been placed on the voters' list. Perhaps I had better make clear the extent to which I realized the need for caution,
the need for watching closely what was going on. On the 19th of October I had published in the press of the constituency a notice to this effect:
To the returning officer and registrars appointed to make up the voters' lists in South Oxford.
I have personal knowledge of the fact that names are being placed on the voters' lists for this election in South Oxford by registrars in the rural districts, of persons who are not only not entitled to have their names on the list, but who have already had then-names registered as voters in other parts of this constituency-
I have affidavits to that effect and I can prove it before the Committee on Privileges and Elections when it is appointed.
-and are therefore guilty of the offence of personation, the penalty for which offence as a fine of $2,000 or a term of imprisonment of two years.
I have been informed by one of the registrarsappointed that these names were added with theknowledge and consent oif the returning officer. I
have since confirmed this by telephone conversation with the returning office.
As the time [DOT]for revising these lists will expire
to-morrow, October 20, at six o'clock p.m.
I herewith issue this warning to the returning officer and to all registrars for this constituency fto take immediate action to have the voters' lists made up according to the regulations contained in the Dominion Elections Act.
Unless this is done, action will be taken against all who have violated their oath of office and also against those guilty of the offence lot personation.
What happened then? An editor from western Canada, a man who had resided there for many years, was sent into the constituency, and he edited a full page in one of the local papers day after day. "Oh," he taunted, "this is an election bluff; the candidate has nothing to substantiate anything of that kind." What happened? I immediately took steps to see that these people who had been transported from another province into the constituency of South Oxford would not vote there in that election. As a result, a warrant was issued by the crown to arrest the leader of the party who was responsible for adding these names. Who do you suppose it turned out to be? One of this army of 83,000 agents appointed by the government, one of their deputy returning officers. Is it any wonder that they are asking parliament to adjourn for six weeks in order to bolster up their shattered forces? This man was arrested by the crown when I informed the authorities what had happened and gave them the evidence to substantiate it. He was let out on bail, brought before a magistrate and convicted of perjury. This was one of the election officers to whom I had referred in the warning which I had caused to be published a few days previously.
Others from western Canada were also very active in the campaign in that constituency, but I need not refer to more than two or three of them. They were men who had been associated with the Minister of the Interior (Mr. Stewart) for many years, men who had first been elected to the legislature of Alberta in the same year that the Minister of the Interior was elected, one of whom had drawn $19,900 odd out of the treasury of this country while he was an organizer for the Liberal party and who was eventually forced off the payroll. I warned the government time and again with regard to what was going on, and one of the most disgraceful scenes that I ever witnessed in parliament took place when I was prevented from discussing the matter on the floor of this House. One of the ministers who was responsible for blocking that discussion is no longer in parliament. This man, so far as I know, is now off the payroll. He was appointed organizer for Ontario on behalf of the Liberal government. Time and again he came into the constituency to secure a candidate so as to link up in some way the Progressives or the United Farmers of Ontario, as we call them, and the Liberal party in South Oxford. Finally he succeeded in doing that to his satisfaction by getting the executives of the two parties to meet together in a little hall after dark in a most obscure place in the constituency. They decided that they would coordinate. That is the word they are frequently using; they speak of the need of coordination or co-operation. Having succeeded in this, they secured a man who for years had been very active as a member of the United Farmers of Ontario, or as a Progressive and had opposed the Liberal party. But they decided that the Liberal party would nominate this man as their candidate and that the Progressive party would work behind him, and in that way they hoped to defeat the candidate on behalf of the opposition. This worked out all right for a little while. The elections came on and everything was going fine. The editor from western Canada who was editing this page in a local paper loaded' it up from day to day with the most ridiculous statements that were ever advanced in any election, until finally another ex-member of the government of Alberta arrived to bolster up the forces. I do not like to refer to this gentleman today, because I believe he is now being tried at Edmonton for the alleged offence of looting the treasury of that province. But this is what happened, and these are some of the things which I had to contend with in the
last election. I am not surprised that the Minister of Finance has gone out of the chamber. He has heard enough; he is already convinced that his complaint about bootleggers operating in his constituency on behalf of the Conservative party has paled into insignificance as compared with what has been going on in some other parts of the country. Yes, Mr. Duncan Marshall, organizer for the Liberal party, and Mr. George Peter Sinith, were colleagues of the Minister of the Interior until 1921 when they were turned out of office by the people of the province of Alberta. The people of Alberta evidently were heartily sick and tired of that government, but they were not content to retire to private life. From day to day the gallery of this House has been, I will not say adorned, but at any rate occupied by a man who has been active, if not in the public life of this country, at least behind the scenes with the Liberal party in Canada for many years. I referred to this matter last session on several occasions, as the Minister of Justice will recall, at the time the Petersen contract was before parliament. I referred to the author, the man who was responsible for making the contract and who was directing and advising the government in the matter of that contract. He was going to save Canada, so he claimed, from the great octopus which was draining the life blood of the farmers of the west, and in fact of Canada as a whole. The government, we were given to understand, were by this scheme to break up the North Atlantic shipping combine, although the government had the Canadian Government Merchant Marine in it.
Now it is rather significant that for many years, as far back at least as I can recall, this man has been an active agent of the Liberal party in Ontario and in the Dominion of Canada. In 1,903 or 1904 the Patrons of Industry were organized in Ontario, and it is just as well for us to understand that these farmers' organizations do not spring into existence altogether from any desire on the part of the farmers to participate in politics; there is a much felt need among those engaged in agriculture to organize with a view to legitimately furthering their interests. At that time the author of the Petersen contract was the organizer for the Liberal party in the province of Ontario.
Subtopic: MOTION, MR. LAPOINTE-AMENDMENT MR. STEVENS