June 14, 1926

LIB

Hewitt Bostock (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

The hon. gentleman who

is now addressing the House knows the rule I have laid down and I am following him pretty closely to see that he does not go beyond that rule.

Topic:   OLD AGE PENSIONS
Subtopic:   MOTION BY MR. NEILL TO ASCERTAIN ACTION TAKEN BY THE SENATE
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IND

Alan Webster Neill

Independent

Mr. NEILL:

The hon. member (Mr. Cahan) is certainly beside the point when he says that I reflected on the government. I was not reflecting on the government at all. I will leave that phase of the matter seeing that it seems to be a source of irritation to my hon. friend although I do not know why it should be. I will summarize the situation in this way. This bill was passed1 unanimously by this House; therefore there can be no suggestion of coercion of the government, and this same House passed unanimously a resolution three years ago in favour of the same principle. One hon. member who recorded his vote against this measure sat in this House last session and' voted for the very principle and methods which he now condemns. How true it is that in a different environment we forget the convictions and principles with which we start out. There must be something enervating, in the atmosphere of the place, which to amplify the name of a popular or unpopular novel, I might call "The Land of Twilight."

The situation as summarized from the official record is this: The Conservative party could have passed the measure and did not; the Liberals might have tried to pass it and they did not. So this was not a partisan decision in any way, and we can only suppose it was in some way connected with the environment, with some kind of a sobering, might I say stupefying, influence that seems to dominate in

certain places, that seems to paralyze any desire for enterprise or progress. Possibly it is also due to the fact that possession of great wealth or connection with the big interests necessarily gives one a different point of view, and ahove all to that freedom from responsibility to anyone or everyone.

Topic:   OLD AGE PENSIONS
Subtopic:   MOTION BY MR. NEILL TO ASCERTAIN ACTION TAKEN BY THE SENATE
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?

An hon. MEMBER:

Does the hon. member want to go there?

Topic:   OLD AGE PENSIONS
Subtopic:   MOTION BY MR. NEILL TO ASCERTAIN ACTION TAKEN BY THE SENATE
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IND

Alan Webster Neill

Independent

Mr. NEILL:

Some hon. gentleman suggests I may be there. Perhaps if I were there I too would have a selfish point of view. Perhaps I would remember that as long as I lived I had a remuneration just forty times as great as that suggested that this government should be called upon to bear in the case of a poor old industrial worker, that for each day of the average session I would be drawing nearly double the amount proposed to be contributed by this government for a whole year to that industrial worker. Above all there is the lack of accountability. That I think has a great deal to do with the matter.

There is an old saying-I do not know the author of it and it does not greatly matter- "Whom the gods seek to destroy they first make mad." I was at church yesterday or at least recently and I heard a portion read from the Old Testament. The biblical historian recorded the doings of one of the Kings of Israel in this language:

And Ahab the son of Omri did evil in the sight of the Lord above ail that were before him.

I could not help thinking what a terrible epitaph that was to put on a man's life career, what a poor letter of credit for a man to carry into another life. Glancing over the pages of history since confederation and looking forward as far as one's limited vision can go, I have not read and I cannot conceive of any step more calculated absolutely to alienate the sympathy of the ordinary people of Canada, sometimes called sneeringly "the common people"-I will adopt the term as it is a good phrase-than the rejection of a measure of such popular importance as this is. The average point of view of the man in the street towards the Senate is one of mild derision, rising in some cases to rather hostile dimensions, and I am afraid that when the people in general find that a body which costs them three-quarters of a million a year has rejected not the details of this measure, but -and this is the vital point in respect of which the common man will be most embittered-the very principle of the measure itself, the feeling against that body will be greatly aggravated. The details of the bill could have been adjusted, bus the vital prin-

Old Age Pensions

ciple of the whole thing has been rejected, and rejected by such a large majority. It means that for a long time to come, until time has got its work in, there will foe no hope of this or any other government bringing forward a measure of old age pensions in the face of such a complete and final rejection of the principal at stake by such a considerable majority. If I were, what the hon. gentleman hopes I shall be some day, a member of that body; if I had no conscience whatever, no regard for the welfare of anyone but myself; and if I were animated only by a selfish desire to remain in the promised land as long as I could until death might us part, my one last and only advice to my fellow members would be, "Pass this measure, and pass it quickly, for if you don't the people will turn on us and rend us and we shall be torn apart from the emoluments we receive." That would be my advice, purely from a mercenary point of view.

There was an English king many years ago who opposed, as so many kings do, certain measures of reform sought by his subjects. Ultimately the aggrieved subjects took up arms, with the result that there was a long and bloody war that lasted six years. Finally they cornered the king, driving him into a position where defeat and humiliation with the possibility of death stared him in the face. In the space of one short hour he conceded the reforms for which his subjects had been contending for six years, and was astounded to receive the advice of his subordinates that the people would not accept these belated concessions. His advisers told him, "A month ago the people would have been satisfied with half the reforms you now grant them, but to-day they demand more". What they demanded was in addition, the unconditional abdication of his majesty. There may be a moral there for our political Ahabs, the privileged sons of Omri.

Now I have almost done. I do not apologize, even at this late date of the session, although I have spoken at considerably greater length than I should otherwise have done. But the matter is of far greater importance than many others that have engaged, or will likely engage, the attention of parliament this year, and the time I have spent discussing it this afternoon is fully justified. I want to quote from the pen of an abler man than myself, a few observations on the defeat of this measure. But I cannot quote his own words precisely; I must venture to paraphrase them.

The Old Age Pension Act, he says, has been blocked by reactionaries. It is nearly twenty 14011-2814

years since Great Britain enacted an old age pension measure, and fear and want is no longer seen in the eyes of old British workers as it is in too many instances witnessed among the old people of Canada. Australia has old age pensions, and so have most of the progressive nations of Europe. No body must be allowed to deny Canadian workers this moderate measure of social reform, which after all is only a palliative. There would be no need for old age pensions under a complete system of social justice. No body must stand as an obstruction against social justice or against any of the temporary expedients which other civilized nations have adopted as insurance against revolution. The reactionary sits securely on the backs of the Canadian toilers.

I may digress here for a moment to observe that we are spending large sums of money on immigration to secure from the Old Country men who when they are out of work are in the receipt of doles, and who are insured against subsequent privation and suffering by a system of old age pensions. Is it any wonder that such people do not come in the numbers we anticipate?

The writer then goes on to remark that in the British Isles a condition prevailed somewhat similar to the one we have in this country, but that the House of Lords of their own volition curtailed their powers to a reasonable extent. The suggestion about safeguarding provincial rights is so much humbug. Such rights have been outraged session after session for the benefit of bootleg liquor vendors in the province of British Columbia^ So says the writer, and I know this to be the case inasmuch as I come from that province. I should like to have the words of this writer written in letters of gold, as the saying is, but the paraphrase I have given must suffice. Here is the gem of the whole article: The withered hand of reaction will emerge at the end of every session and throw back legislation which the elected members of parliament have approved, so long as the majority of the Canadian people are satisfied to have it so. One Nova Scotia fisherman at the age of seventy, one Quebec lumberman, one city street sweeper, if you will, one farmer has contributed more to the upbuilding of Canada and has done more to earn a pension than any one of these political reactionaries.

Long years ago when I was a boy my father, I remember, warned me against any attempt to bolster up a good case by means of exaggeration. I notice how true this is all

Old Age Pensions

through life. When you have a good case you should not seek to spoil it by overdrawing or exaggerating it. It is always better to be moderate, temperate, indeed almost kindly, in the language you use, for such language will appeal to reasonable people where stronger and more passionate words will fail. Therefore I will not indulge in the language with which I should like to characterize the rejection of this very moderate measure of social reform. We know that it is only a bad case whose arguments must be reinforced with declamation and abuse, and I have carefully refrained from anything of the sort. I endorse, however, every word of the editorial from which I have paraphrased some sentences, and I trust that it will be read throughout the country and will result in the formation of a determined public opinion. A strong and determined opinion among the masses of the people is the greatest force for good in a democratic country or one governed under democratic conditions. I hope therefore that public sentiment will develop and crystallize into such an insistent and vigorous demand as will render it impossible ever again for a measure like this, passed unanimously by 245 newly elected members representative of the common people of Canada, to be blocked or rejected as this one has been.

Topic:   OLD AGE PENSIONS
Subtopic:   MOTION BY MR. NEILL TO ASCERTAIN ACTION TAKEN BY THE SENATE
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CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Right Hon. ARTHUR MEIGHEN (Leader <of the Opposition):

Topic:   OLD AGE PENSIONS
Subtopic:   MOTION BY MR. NEILL TO ASCERTAIN ACTION TAKEN BY THE SENATE
Permalink

Motion agreed to.


PRIVATE BILLS FIRST READINGS


Bill No. 190, from the Senate, respecting certain patents of James McCutcheon Coleman-Mr. Jacobs. Bill No. 191, "from the Senate, to incorporate Gatineau Transmission Company-Mr. Fontaine. Questions


QUESTIONS


(Questions answered orally are indicated by an asterisk.)


SOLDIER SETTLEMENT BOARD-WINNIPEG OFFICE

PRO

John Livingstone Brown

Progressive

Mr. BROWN:

j, "Was there a legal department functioning in the Winnipeg office of the Soldier Settlement Board at the time Colonel F. J. Murray sold the W-J of 2-10-X East of the 1st in Manitoba to the board and was the purchase approved by the head of the department or any member of his staff?

2. Who signed the requisition for the purchase price and who forwarded the cheque for the purchase prire to the vendor?

3. Was any member of the legal department negligent in the performance of his duties in approving of the purchase of the said land and in paying the purchase price to the vendor? If so, who was the party?

4. Did any official of the board investigate the aforesaid purchase and report at any time to the head office of the board or any other government official whether any member of the staff of the legal department had failed to perform his duties properly in connection with the purchase of said land and recommend that the services of the negligent party be terminated? If so, who made the investigation and report and who was named in the said report as the negligent party 7

5. Was any member of the staff of the legal department in Winnipeg dismissed or otherwise punished for negligence in connection with the said purchase? Il so. who was so punished?

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   SOLDIER SETTLEMENT BOARD-WINNIPEG OFFICE
Permalink
LIB

Hon. Mr. STEWART (Edmonton): (Minister of Immigration and Colonization; Minister of Mines; Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Liberal

1. Yes, the purchase was not approved by any member of the 1'egal staff.

2. W. K. Chandler signed the requisition. No cheque was forwarded to the vendor. Two warrants were forwarded to the vendor's solicitors-one by C. M. Boswell and the final warrant by A. M. Graham.

3. No member of the legal staff was found negligent by the beard.

4. While a general investigation of purchases of land made in Manitoba was being held in 1920, this purchase came to attention and was investigated by the commissioner holding the inquiry, John Barnett. No recommendation was made that the services of any member of the legal staff should be terminated because he had failed to perform his services properly in connection with the purchase of said land.

5. No.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   SOLDIER SETTLEMENT BOARD-WINNIPEG OFFICE
Permalink

SOLDIER SETTLEMENT BOARD-LAND PURCHASES

CON

James J. Donnelly

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. DONNELLY:

1 What prices were paid by the Soldier Settlement Board for each of the following parcels of land,-South 1 25-2-21 W. 1st, East i 30-2-20 W. 1st, West 4 2-4-20 W. 1st, all of section 9-4-20 W. 1st, and North J 3-4-20 W. 1st?

2. Who in each ease was the vendor, and when and at what price did the vendor acquire the land?

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   SOLDIER SETTLEMENT BOARD-LAND PURCHASES
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LIB

Hon. Mr. STEWART (Edmonton): (Minister of Immigration and Colonization; Minister of Mines; Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Liberal

1. Of the twelve quarter-sections described the board purchased only two quarter sections, namely,-the S. E. 25-2-21-W. 1 for $6,200; and the N. E. 30-2-20-W. 1 for $6,000.

2. The vendor of both quarters so purchased was R. G Willis. According to the vendor's affidavit on Form E, he purchased the S. E. 25-2-21-W. 1 in November, 1914, for $4,000, and subsequently erected a frame barn (36 x 42) on a cement foundation with cement floors, completed a well with windmill, fenced the whole quarter and improved the house; and he purchased the N. E. 30-2-20-W.

1 in 1915 for $4,800.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   SOLDIER SETTLEMENT BOARD-LAND PURCHASES
Permalink

PRINCE RUPERT ELEVATOR

CON

Robert James Manion

Conservative (1867-1942)

Hon. Mr. MANION:

Has any guarantee or pledge been given to the lessees of the Prince Rupert elevator, either by the government or the officials of the Canadian National Railways that sufficient ocean tonnage will be brought to Prince Rupert to take care of all the grain cargoc3 offering?

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   PRINCE RUPERT ELEVATOR
Permalink
LIB

Ernest Lapointe (Secretary of State of Canada; Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Hon. Mr. LAPOINTE:

No guarantee or pledge by Canadian National Railways.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   PRINCE RUPERT ELEVATOR
Permalink

F. J. SOLOMON

June 14, 1926