February 23, 1926

CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS INVERNESS RAILWAY

LIB

James Alexander Robb (Minister of Trade and Commerce; Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Hon. J. A. ROBB (Minister of Finance):

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the hon. member for West York (Sir Henry Drayton) inquired about two orders in council relating to the Inverness railway. In reply, I have received the following memorandum from the Deputy Minister of Railways and Canals:

With reference to Sir Henry Drayton's request that the two orders in council relating to the Inverness railway should be tabled, I may say that there was an order in council passed on the 28th October, 1925-copy herewith-empowering the Minister of Railways and Canals to enter into an agreement with the Inverness Railway and Coal Company to lease, with the option of purchase, the Inverness Railway and Coal Company. In the meantime the railway has been taken over by the Eastern Trust Company. Therefore the authority granted by the said order in council becomes null and void. I know of no further order in council relating to this case.

I table this memorandum, Sir.

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GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH

ADDRESS IN REPLY


The House resumed from Monday, February 22, consideration of the motion of Mr. J. C. Elliott for an Address to His Excellency the Governor General in reply to his Speech at the opening of the session, and the proposed motion of Mr. Bird: " That this question be now put."


CON

Donald Sutherland

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. DONALD SUTHERLAND (South Oxford):

Mr. Speaker, before proceeding

with the orders of the day-

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LIB

Hewitt Bostock (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

'It is too late.

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CON

Ira Delbert Cotnam

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. I. D. COTNAM (North Renfrew):

Mr. Speaker, When I moved the adjournment of the debate last night I was referring to the platform enunciated by the Liberal party in 1919, and attempting to show that neither in the campaign of 1921 nor of 1925 did the 'Liberal party appeal to the people on that platform, but that on the contrary they had made sectional appeals in the various provinces. Yet for the last four years the leader of the Liberal party has preached from end to end of the Dominion what he 14011-79j

calls "national unity". Well, uip until, say, five years ago who ever heard of national disunity? I submit, Sir, that the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) by his sectional appeals has had more to do with creating a feeling of disunity and suspicion in the minds of the people than any other of our public men. And he has been obliged to resort to such sectional appeals simply because of lack of cohesion in his own party, which has made it impossible for him to inaugurate a really national policy that would bind together in still closer ties the whole Dominion. He has one policy for British Columbia; another for Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba; east of the Great Dakes he has still another policy for Ontario and Quebec; but when he reaches the Maritimes he has no policy at all. I claim that a government so weak that it has no national policy is not fit to function, and indeed cannot function.

But fortunately for Canada we have the Conservative party, led by my right hon. friend (Mr. Meighen). It is a party which stands for a national policy, a policy that will bind together the whole country from the Atlantic to the Pacific; a policy that when inaugurated will give us a basis on which to build a real future for this Dominion. In my view the platform of the Liberal party adopted in 1919 is diametrically opposed to the policy of the party under the late Sir Wilfrid Laurier. That platform can only bring about disunity. Therefore I claim that the policy of the Conservative party is so fundamentally sound that it will prevent the provinces from drifting more and more widely apart. In a word, the policy of the Conservative party is a policy for the whole of Canada. And fortunately we have a leader who is unafraid to uphold that policy in every constituency. Undoubtedly that policy has appealed to the people, as is shown by the results of the recent general election, which returned my party in such augmented strength that it is now the largest in this House. That is because the people of this country have confidence in the policies and principles enunciated by the Conservative party. I believe there was never a finer compliment paid to any leader in this parliament or in any other than that paid to the leader of the Conservative party by the hon. member for Southeast Grey (Miss Macphail) when she said that she had no confidence in the Liberal party and was afraid that if she voted confidence in them they would not carry out their policies, but that, on the other hand, if she voted Conservative, she believed the leader of the Conservative party would see to

The Address-Mr. Cotnarn

it that the policies of his party were carried into effect. That a member of another group in this House Shad sufficient confidence in this party to believe it would be true to its pledges was a very fine compliment indeed to pay to our leader and to the Conservative party as a whole. If there is one thing more than any other that is undermining public confidence in government in this country to-day, it is the fact that the people have come to believe that our public men are not sincere in the public pronouncements which they make. Lack of sincerity on the part of our public men is doing more to undermine the morale of the electorate of this country than any other single thing and is probably making for a great deal of disunity in this country.

The Prime Minister in his election manifesto issued at Richmond Hill, on September the 6th, declared that this country required certain definite policies to be inaugurated in order that the affairs of this country could be carried on in a businesslike manner. He made it abundantly clear that he was not in favour of group government. He said that his government in the past four years had been futile. He admitted they were unable to meet the situation in this country. He admitted that during the last four years practically all his government had been able to do was to mark time. He said that there were at that moment great national problems pressing for solution which required the hand of a strong and popular government, and it seems rather strange, after those declarations, that hon. members opposite should declare today that they are quite willing to have group government in this House. Their forces were shattered on October the 29th as a result of the shock which they then received, and they have not yet recovered from the shock. We have in my profession the term "aphasia." It is a medical term which means inability to speak, or speechlessness, and those- of us who have watched1 hon. members opposite trying to function in this parliament for the last six weeks have realized that they are all suffering from that particular malady.

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LIB

Alfred Edgar MacLean

Liberal

Mr. MacLEAN (Prince):

Would the hon. member give us the term for the opposite disease?

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CON

Ira Delbert Cotnam

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. COTNAM:

The hon. member is not suffering from it.

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LIB

Cameron Ross McIntosh

Liberal

Mr. McINTOSH:

Is the hon. gentleman not aware that speech is silver and silence is golden?

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LIB
CON

Ira Delbert Cotnam

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. COTNAM:

I think hon. gentlemen opposite should be able to give some reason for their speechlessness. I notice that one of the first hon. gentlemen opposite to suffer from that malady was the acting leader of the government (Mr. Lapointe), who, when he was supposed to rise and give us reasons why the government was asking for an adjournment, sat speechless in his seat for a day and a half; in fact, he was never able to rise properly and give us reasons for the adjournment until the hon. member for Brandon (Mr. Forke) had come to his assistance and explained why he thought an adjournment was necessary at this particular time. Is it not further an admission of weakness, incompetency and inability to carry on the affairs of this country, not only that this government should ask for an adjournment when members have come here prepared to carry on public business, but that the government have not been able to submit any business to the House? Yet over and over again the attempt has been made to make it appear that we are obstructing business, obstructing the government from carrying on. Is it not a confession of weakness on their part that they are not able to carry on? Is it not further an admission of weakness that although every seat in this House except the Prime Minister's was filled when this parliament met some six weeks ago, the government now finds it necessary to go outside its own ranks to find men it deems to be of cabinet timber? Is it not an admission of weakness that they to-day are trying to find a seat for the Hon. C. A. Dunning in the city of Regina?

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LIB

Malcolm McLean

Liberal

Mr. McLEAN (Melfort):

Why does the hon. member think it is an admission of weakness for Mr. Dunning to run in the city of Regina?

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CON

Ira Delbert Cotnam

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. OOTNAM:

I did not say that. I said it was an admission of weakness on the part of this government to go outside their own ranks; they evidently considered they had no cabinet timber within their own ranks in this House.

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LIB

Malcolm McLean

Liberal

Mr. McLEAN (Melfort):

Is there anything unusual in a government strengthening its position at any time it sees fit and has the opportunity?

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CON

Ira Delbert Cotnam

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. COTNAM:

I simply repeat that it was an admission of weakness; the government could not find amongst their supporters in the House men of cabinet rank.

I should like to quote a Canadian Press despatch dated February 17, and by the way this was just before the hon. member for

The Address-Mr. Cotnarn

Regina (Mr. Darke) resigned, and I am just wondering whether this announcement means that the government was paving the way, trying to make it a little easier for Mr. Dunning to be elected in Regina. The despatch reads:

The Canadian National Railway contemplates an expenditure of $5,896,000 in 1926 on branch lines. This is the estimate brought down by the government and tabled in the House of Commons yesterday.

Between fifteen and twenty branches throughout the Dominion remain incomplete. On seven of these, track will be laid during 1926. The biggest expenditure will be on the Turtleford, Sask., branch, on which about 44 miles of track will be laid and $1,571,000 expended. A million dollars will be spent on the Dunblane-Central Butte, Sask., branch, and $915,000 will be spent on the Rosedale, Sask., branch, which will be practically completed this year.

It seems rather strange the government should be contemplating all this expenditure on branch lines in Saskatchewan at the present juncture, and I was wondering whether this announcement had any bearing on the local political situation in Saskatchewan and particularly in Regina. A little further on the statement says that only two branch lines will not be completed, one of them at Kings-clear, New Brunswick, and the other at Grande Fresniere, Quebec. Evidently they think there is no use for branch lines at those two points. I have been wondering why, in view of the press reports, the government did not bring Mr. Massey into the cabinet. I wonder if they consider that Mr. Massey would not. be any great acquisition to the cabinet, or if they believe with the electors of Durham that, as a result of the verdict on October 29, " Massey's in the cold, cold1 ground ",

Another thing which struck me very forcibly was that when the Prime Minister made the appeal to the country, and when he issued that now famous manifesto, he cited certain reasons, or causes, why that appeal should be made. He told us, in effect, that the government found itself in the position where it was marking time. He said that it would be unable, as at that time constituted, to bring down any great measures of reform to parliament. He stated that there were grave and important problems awaiting solution by this parliament, and among those problems he mentioned Senate reform. Now, I think every member of this House will agree with me that Senate reform is one of those hardy perennials that is dragged dut in election campaigns in this Dominion. It has been one of the red herrings which the Liberal party has tried to drag across the trail in every election in Canada for the last twenty-five years; and everyone knows that throughout the course of the last election campaign Mr. King himself did not offer one real, tangible solution by means of which he intended to effect the rdform of the Senate, only that Providence, in -time, might possibly take enough Tories out of the upper house to enable him to nominate Liberal appointees and thereby secure a majority.

We were supposed to have a transportation problem in this country, and during the campaign Mr. King spoke at some length upon it. I do not intend to go into the transportation problem, more than merely to make reference to the fact that during the course of the campaign the Hudson Bay railway was not made an issue by the Prime Minister. It was only mentioned in the province of Saskatchewan, where he promised that if he secured sufficient Liberal representation from that province he would be prepared to go ahead and build the line. Now we on this side of the House are willing to consider the Hudson Bay railway on its merits. We are not opposed to it, not by any means. I think every Conservative member is ready and willing to make a study of the whole problem and is prepared to vote on the merits of the question; but I do say that there is a vast difference between the Richmond Hill speech of the Prime Minister with regard to the transportation problem, and the method of dealing with it as expressed in the Speech from the Throne. If the Hudson Bay railway is feasible, if it is practicable, if it can be built without too great_ expenditure of public funds, I believe this House wotild be in favour of the scheme-at any rate would be in favour of ascertaining, beyond all question, whether it is practicable or not. On the other hand, the government has not given any intimation, up to the1 present time, as to how much it proposes to spend on the project, how much on terminals, and so forth. As yet we have had no intimation from this government on these points, and I was wondering whether the government wished to keep in abeyance any discussion of the railway, or the possible cost of the project, until it succeeds in getting some ministers elected in eastern Canada, and obtaining cabinet representation in this part of the Dominion.

The Prime Minister further stated that we had an immigration problem in this country, and that it would take a strong government to deal with that problem. To my mind it is not nearly as important to deal with the immigration problem of Canada to-day, as it is to find same solution for the emigration problem from which we are suffering. During the four years of the Liberal regime there was an exodus of Canadian citizens from the Dominion totalling probably 5001,000 souls. I

The Address-Mr. Cotnam

do not believe that our people are thoroughly alive to what that exodus means. While this government has been juggling with the immigration problem-trying to bring into Canada people who, in many cases, know nothing of our race, our language, our religion or our customs; people whom it will probably take one generation or perhaps two to assimilate into our population1-we are allowing our best Blood, our very best brawn and brain, to leave Canada, and nothing has been done to check that exodus.

I believe that the fathers and mothers of families in this country have a right to expect that we, through our government shall, as far as possible, develop our own country; that we shall, through the policies inaugurated by the government, endeavour to develop our own natural resources and our own industries, and assist in every possible way, the growth of the agricultural industry. I believe that we should have a policy that will meet the needs of all classes of our people. In a family, say, of five or six children, you will have one boy or probably two who will wish to engage in farming, another who will wish to take up the legal profession, another who may desire to become a physician, and possibly two with a desire to engage in business. We cannot all be agriculturists, and unless there is diversity of employment in Canada, through the medium of a policy such as will develop our agricultural resources and our industries to the utmost and afford employment for our labouring people, we are bound to have an exodus of Canadian boys and girls from our shores.

Some people are inclined, perhaps, not to take that exodus very seriously. As regards my own constituency, however, I take it very seriously indeed. Five years ago we had a very prosperous, industrial town, surrounded by a prosperous, agricultural community. Today that town-and every village, and practically every crossroads-is mute evidence to the fact that Canadian boys and girls are leaving our communities by the score and by the hundred, and crossing into the United States. I noticed a short time ago that there have gone from the Dominion into the United States during the last four years no less than 3,600 graduates from the university of Toronto alone, and that they are now engaged in employment in the United States. That is an appalling figure. It means that the very best brains of Canada are being attracted to the republic to the south. It is estimated that it requires at least $10,000 to educate every one of these students 'before they graduate from the university, and when they graduate

they cannot find employment and are not finding employment in this country but are going across to the other side of the line. That means that we spend during the four years in the University of Toronto alone at the rate of $10,000 per student to educate the young men and young women who are now leaving us and giving their brains and ability to the republic to the south of us. If that is taking place in the case of the University of Toronto, I think it only' fair to assume that there is a similar exodus from other universities to the American side.

With regard to our fiscal trade or policy, Mr. Mackenzie King says that he believes in a tariff for revenue. Mr. Marler says he is an out-and-out protectionist, and he was a member of this government. Some members on the other side profess to be out-and-out protectionists. Therefore, it is only fair to assume that the Liberal party as a whole has no settled or fixed policy so far as the Dominion of Canada is concerned. In my constituency we have all classes of people. We have English, Irish, Scotch, French, German and Scandinavian, and they are all very fine types of people. We are endeavouring, and they are endeavouring, to build up in that section of Canada a strong, self-reliant Cana-dianism. These people are engaged in the different walks of life. We have many large industries employing a great many labouring men, and we have also a large agricultural section in the constituency. The policy of the government during their tenure of office has not been such as to operate in the best interests of the people in my constituency. The constituency sent a Liberal candidate to this parliament for the last four years, and elected him by a handsome majority. But they reversed their decision on the 29th of October because they were utterly opposed to the policy of the Mackenzie King government. The farmers in my district consider that they have been unfairly dealt with by this government, owing to the fact that when the United States government inaugurated the Fordney-McCumber tariff, under which Canadian agricultural products going to the United States were taxed such a high rate of duty that it was practically prohibitive, this government, instead of taking action to relieve the Canadian farmer from the unfair competition of the American farmer, took practically no action at all, and allowed free access to the Canadian market of the same kind of produce that was being grown by the United States farmers. The farmers of Canada considered it was absolutely unfair that while not a bushel of Canadian wheat could get over that

The Address-Mr. Cotnam

American tariff wall without paying 42 cents a bushel, wheat from the United States or anywhere else can come into Canada on payment of a duty of 12 cents, and that while the Canadian farmer cannot sell his corn in the United States without first paying 15 cents a bushel duty, United States corn comes into Canada free. Canadian wheat flour is shut out of the United States by the imposition of a duty of $2.04 a barrel, whereas American flour can be shipped into Canada on payment of a duty of 50 cents a barrel. The Canadian farmer can sell his hay to the United States on payment of $4 a ton duty, while the United States farmer can export his hay to Canada on payment of $2 a ton. The United States impose a duty on Canadian potatoes of 50 cents a hundred pounds, while potatoes .coming from the United States into the Canadian market pay a duty of 35 cents a hundred pounds. If we wish to ship our butter into the United1 States we have to pay 8 cents a pound, but when the American farmer sends his butter to Canada he can ship it to us on payment of 4 cents a pound duty. American cheese is taxed 3 cents a pound coming into Canada, while Canadian cheese pays a duty of 5 cents a pound when shipped to the United States. The American farmer is protected to the extent of 8 cents a dozen on eggs, While the Canadian farmer has a protection of only 3 cents a dozen against American eggs; and so on all the way down the line. The farmers in my constituency feel that the government of Mackenzie King has been remiss in its duty to the farmers of the Dominion of Canada by not protecting them against the unfair outside competition of the American farmers.

Then, not satisfied with that, this government, without any regard for the farmers of the country at all, decided to negotiate a treaty with the Commonwealth of Australia, with the result that again the Canadian farmer has to compete on an unfair basis with outside products. I do not wish to .put on Hansard the terms of that Australian treaty. All I have to say is that the farmers of any constituency and the farmers of the Dominion of Canada consider that it is absolutely unfair and unjust to them. We want to trade with other countries, and are prepared to trade with them, but we wish to trade on a fifty-fifty basis. We want it to be a straight business arrangement. We do not want to make one section or one class of people in Canada pay for certain advantages which we may derive in other markets. We propose that every treaty should stand on its own feet, and that the

people of Canada should get a square deal as a whole. In my constituency we had a textile industry, and everyone knows what has happened to the textile industry of the Dominion of Canada in the last four years. Everyone knows that the present government raised the British preference to the extent of 124 per cent, with the result that British goods produced by the cheaper labour of Great Britain, and also goods that are brought in from France and Germany as well, are coming into, our market to competq with our Canadian goods. Why is it that when you walk down the streets of Ottawa and look into the windows and other places you see goads marked, "Made in England"? Why should those same goods not be manufactured in Canada to-day? Why should they not provide work and adequate wages for the labouring men of Canada? Why should not our industries be running full time in Canada to-day, producing textiles and woollen goods for the people of 'Canada? According to the recognized authorities there are really no physical or climatic reasons why textiles and woollen goods should not be manufactured or cannot be manufactured in this country. Furthermore, if the woollen goods and .textiles were manufactured in this country it would mean that our farmers would benefit to a great extent indeed. Alt the present time the Commonwealth of Australia has about 80,000.000 sheep and we in the Dominion of Canada have probably only in the neighbourhood of 2,500,000 sheep. If the textile and woollen industries were properly protected, it would be possible to carry out a great sheep raising project that would ultimately react to the benefit of our farmers and agriculturists.

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LIB

Alexander MacGillivray Young

Liberal

Mr. YOUNG (Saskatoon):

Does the hon.

member object to Canadians buying goods in England?

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CON

Ira Delbert Cotnam

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. COTNAM:

I did not say that.

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LIB

Alexander MacGillivray Young

Liberal

Mr. YOUNG (Saskatoon):

Do you object to it?

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February 23, 1926