June 15, 1926

?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

No; promising.

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LIB

Lucien Cannon (Solicitor General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. CANNON:

That is what they said. 1 remember in those days the board of strategy was wavering. It had not been established on as solid a basis as it is established now. Some of our friends, the ex-Minister of Finance (Sir Henry Drayton) for instance, would get up and say: We have nothing to do with the western element, the Progressives in this House. But the ex-Solicitor General (Mr. Guthrie) was not so hard to please. Fe said: If the Speech from the Throne does noc please the Progressive members, we will bring in one that may please them better.

We have worked for six months. We have brought in legislation, and mark my words Mr. Speaker, every piece of legislation brought in by this government has been adopted by the House of Commons. Not one of the government bills has been defeated; very few have been challenged, and to-day shall we, those who formed the majority while that legislation was being studied, turn round and say we have been wrong? Shall we, the Liberals on this side and the Progressives at the other end of the chamber, say that our labours for the last six months have been useless and should not be considered?

The right hon. gentleman, through the member who moved this amendment, says that we did not implement the Speech from the Throne. We have passed more progressive,

Want of Confidence Motion

more liberal, more radical measures during this session than have been passed for many a year. The evidence of that is to be gathered from the Tory press of this country. If we wish to judge whether the legislation which was introduced was Liberal legislation, let us peruse for a minute the reports of the Canadian press directed, influenced and controlled in a large measure by hon. gentlemen who sit opposite to me. Let us think for one moment of what the press said when the budget was being discussed. We stood for radical changes in many ways. We carried them through.

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CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

And then changed them back again.

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LIB

Lucien Cannon (Solicitor General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. CANNON:

My right hon. friend interrupts. I have great respect for a leader of a party provided that he respects himself. I have always shown great respect for the right hon. gentleman; but if he wishes to interrupt me like a back-bencher does, I will answer him in the same way. I say that this amendment should not be carried because not only is it not straightforward, not only is it not fair, but, thirdly, it would not carry out its object.

What is the object of this amendment? It is censure of the government because the government did not implement the Speech from the Throne. Does anybody in this House outside of the dyed-in-the-wool Tories who surround the leader of the opposition believe for one moment that, were there a change in the government, the Speech from the Throne would be implemented? What measure wou'd the right hon. gentleman if he was Prime Minister to-morrow introduce into parliament to implement the Speech from the Throne? The amendment asks that this House should vote non-confidence in the government because it did not do enough to implement the Speech from the Throne. Can we expect the right hon. gentleman, or his neighbour the exMinister of Finance, or his other neighbour the ex-Minister of Public Works (Mr. Rogers) to do anything further?

Suppose when the vote is taken the amende meat carries. What will happen? Two alternatives are possible. The first is that this government would resign and that the leader of the oppositon would be called upon to form a government. Let us consider this alternative as regards legislation implementing the Speech from the Throne. If to-morrow the right hon. gentleman became Prime Minster, this House would prorogue. Not another piece of legislation would pass. Any legislation which had been initiated and not completely adopted 14011-290

would be dropped. This parliament would cease to exist. Why so? The moment the right hon. gentleman accepted the position of Prime Minster he would cease to become a member of this House and would not be able to sit in this House. The moment he would choose his colleagues-land I hope he would choose our good friend the hon. member for West York-I am sorry to say he would disappear also. There would be in this House fifteen or sixteen empty seats. Does anybody think for one moment that we could carry on?

I hear that many appeals have been made to the Progressives by supposedly constitutional advocates carrying on one arm precedents dating back to Queen Anne and on the other memoirs telling us what Lord Beacons-field might have said on certain occasions. Our friends who are not learned in the law were told, I understand, that should the right hon. gentleman become Prime Minister we would have no election for two years. Has anybody with a sense of humour the gall to repeat that in this House. If the right hon. gentleman became Prime Minister to-morrow he would be forced, on account of himself and his colleagues not being able to sit in this House, to bring on an election. That is common sense. I do not know what Queen Anne said about the matter. Let us flake the other alternative, which is that the Prime Minister-

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CON
LIB

Lucien Cannon (Solicitor General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. CANNON:

Our Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King), and I am proud of him The Prime Minister would ask for a dissolution. Now I heard a whole lot of constitutional law this afternoon; I have heard a lot more this evening, and I am not going to go into any details. As I said many months ago, common law is ordinary common sense, and constitutional law is common sense applied to public business. This government in January was told by a majority of the House to carry on the business of Canada, and we have done so. We have brought down legislation which has met with the approval of the majority of the House of Commons, and frequently these gallant knights who have spoken to-day did not have the courage to challenge a vote. If we were defeated on this amendment we should have the right to ask for a dissolution-and we shall have it. I heard the hon. member for West Calgary (Mr. Bennett) put the question, " Who ever heard of a prime minister asking twice in succession for a dissolution?"

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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

Not asking but getting it.

Want of Confidence Motion

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LIB

Lucien Cannon (Solicitor General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. CANNON:

What about Sir Wilfrid

Laurier, who was in power fifteen years and carried a number of elections? Was he not granted dissolution? Let us go further. Ramsay MacDonald formed a minority government, and when he was defeated in the House after having introduced his programme he asked His Majesty for a dissolution and he got it. And the crown in England is no different from the crown in Canada, notwithstanding what the hon. member for West Calgary may say to the contrary. I am not going to quote Gladstone; I am not going to quote Disraeli; I am not going to read any books-

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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

It would be better for you if you did.

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LIB

Lucien Cannon (Solicitor General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. CANNON:

The hon, gentleman would like me to read books.

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?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Hear, hear.

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LIB

Lucien Cannon (Solicitor General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. CANNON:

Well, I will not follow the hon. gentleman's example and drown my thoughts in a flood of words. This government has submitted to parliament a budget which has produced in the soul of the poor, of the weak and of the downtrodden a ray of hope, and we will not allow hon. gentlemen opposite who represent nothing but the great interests, nothing but selfish ends, to form a government before the electorate of Canada is called upon bo decide who shall govern the country. Let us have a vote, and if this government is sustained so much the better.

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?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Oh, oh.

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LIB

Lucien Cannon (Solicitor General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. CANNON:

If the government is defeated, then we will go to the country. I fancy I hear someone opposite saying, so much the better if we are defeated.

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?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Hear, hear.

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LIB

Lucien Cannon (Solicitor General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. CANNON:

I have no doubt a good many hon. gentlemen would be pleased to take our places, but that is a minor consideration. We are here to represent Canadian interests as a whole, and this is no time for a change of government.

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?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Oh, oh.

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LIB

Lucien Cannon (Solicitor General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. CANNON:

Why do I say so? In a few months there is going to be an imperial conference and the League of Nations will meet; in a few months Canada will be called upon to express her views on international problems and on imperial relations.

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?

An hon. MEMBER:

War with Turkey?

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LIB

Lucien Cannon (Solicitor General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. CANNON:

Hon. gentlemen opposite have shown to-day an extraordinary sympathy for their leader (Mr. Meighen), and if they desire to have that sympathy maintained I would advise them not to talk Turkey. It will hurt the right hon. gentleman. He has taken such a stand, he has spoken on the same question in so many ways, that the less we speak about that subject the better for him. We are the representatives of the Canadian people, and we want as our spokesman, as our mouthpiece, a man whose ideals are Canadian and whose aspirations are the aspirations of the majority of the House.

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June 15, 1926