Mr. MACKENZIE KING :
But we have.
Mr. MACKENZIE KING:
I do not wonder that hon. gentlemen opposite groan; that is where the shoe pinches. What the people of this country are interested in at the present time is a reduction of taxation, and that has been the great objective of this government. Session after session we have made reductions, and this session we have made possibly the greatest measure of reduction in taxation that has ever been made in any session of parliament. On automobiles of $1,200 value and under we have reduced the customs duties by 15 per cent. In addition to that, with respect to automobiles of that value manufactured in this country, we have removed the war tax of 5 per cent, giving consumers the corresponding benefit. We have removed the taxation which wns put on receipts, a form of taxation which had come to present many difficulties to retailers throughout Canada, and which meant an additional burden to the people themselves. There has been a reduction in the income tax all along the line. Besides that we have removed taxation in other forms; for instance we have undertaken to say that on July 1
Want oj Confidence Motion
this year we will return to penny postage in the Dominion, and we intend to see that that promise is implemented. I might mention other things in the same category, in all of which the people are most vitally interested; but I will not take up the time of the House in going over the record of the administration in that regard.
I should like to draw the attention of the House to one remark made in the course of this debate, namely, that a great deal of time has been spent this session and verjr little accomplished. May I ask, who was responsible for the time that has been consumed? Hon. gentlemen opposite spent nearly a month at the beginning of the session discussing whether or not the present administration was to be permitted to carry on.
Your party did just as
much discussing as ours.
Some hon. MEMBERS; Order.
Mr. MACKENZIE KING:
In the course of the discussion on the tariff, another debate lasting a month, more or less, took place, for which hon. gentlemen opposite, I think, ought to share the main measure of responsibility.
I submit, Mr. Speaker, that to carry on government this session has not been an easy matter for the administration,-
Mr. MACKENZIE KING:
-but I do
say that no other party or group in this parliament could have carried on at all. I think the administration deserves the greater credit in that, under circumstances such as we have been confronted with, we have been able to carry on so successfully, and to give to the country the benefit of so much useful legislation.
May I repeat in conclusion, Mr. Speaker, that this motion prefers no specific charge against the government in any way; it is a general want of confidence motion. It means, of course, that if this motion carries the government will have to consider the next step to be taken.
Mr. MACKENZIE KING:
Let me tell
hon. gentlemen opposite at once the step that will be taken. If this government does not enjoy the confidence of the House it will lose no time in asking for a dissolution of parliament and making its appeal from the House to the country.
FMr. Mackenzie King.]
Mr. W. T. LUCAS (Camrose):
Mr. Speaker, it had been my intention not to let parliament close without making a protest against certain promises contained in the Speech from the Throne not having been carried out, and it was only due to the fact that I was endeavouring with some of my colleagues to draft a resolution to-day that would not be challenged on the ground that it dealt with a resolution now on the order paper that I was not in my seat this afternoon to raise this question myself.
Now, every hon. member is well acquainted with the situation we faced at the beginning of the session. At that time I did not see eye to eye with the majority of my colleagues as to the party that should be called upon to form the government. However, I was overruled. I then stated to them that I was down here to get certain legislation, and so long as the government would implement the pledges contained in the Speech from the Throne I was prepared to stand behind and assist it to carry on. Had the government done so, I would still consider it my duty to stand behind it. However, one of the questions that vitally affects the people of Alberta, a question in which they are all keenly interested, whether they be Liberal, Conservative or Progressive, is the return of the natural resources to their province. We have discussed this matter with the government, and some few days ago, I think it was on June 2, the hon. Minister of Justice (Mr. Lapointe) made a statement to the House. On the day following I asked the government if they would not reconsider their position and bring in a measure to transfer the natural resources to the province of Alberta. The answer is on Hansard.
We have not taken the government by surprise in this matter. We have discussed it with them very freely. We did so yesterday, and we were told that nothing was going to be done this session, and therefore, Mr. Speaker, so far as I am concerned, while I have felt that I was in duty bound to support the government so long as they were willing to do their part, now that they have failed so far as Alberta is concerned in that one question that is vital to us, I feel that I am relieved from that responsibility, and I shall have to take my own course. I would point out, Mr. Speaker, that if it had not been for a signed agreement, an agreement which was signed on January 9, this government wTould never have been in power to start with.
Want oj Confidence Motion
Mr. MACKENZIE KING:
My hon. friend has referred to some signed agreement. I do not know to what he is referring.
I will tell you. I hold in
my hand. Mr. Speaker, an agreement made on the 9th day of January, 1926, between the government of Canada and the government of the province of Alberta. It is signed by the Hon. Ernest Lapointe and the Hon. Charles Stewart, for the Dominion of Canada, and by the Hon. J. E. Brownlee and the Hon. Vernon W. Smith, for the province of Alberta. It is a signed agreement to deliver the natural resources to the province of Alberta.
Mr. MACKENZIE KING:
I do not know whether my hon. friend is in order in alluding to the natural resources, but if he is permitted to do so, and is going to read one agreement, I would ask him to read also the supplementary agreement which sets forth the exact terms of the bills which were to be brought into both Houses.
In view of the authorities cited and having regard to parliamentary jurisprudence, I cannot allow the agreement to be read. I assume it refers to the natural resources.
It was not my intention to
read this agreement. Mr. Speaker, but the Prime Minister asked me to what agreement 1 referred and naturally I had to state what it was.
I do not know that there is any need of going into a long discussion of this matter, but the hon. members from Alberta feel that they cannot go home to their people without having found a satisfactory solution for it. While I would prefer to have brought in a resolution which would have dealt specifically with this question, seeing that it is already on the order paper and cannot be discussed, a vote of want of confidence is the only way in which the matter can be dealt with, and I am therefore prepared to support the resolution.
Hon. J. A. ROBB (Minister of Finance):
Mr. Speaker, no matter what colour my hon. friends opposite may place on their resolution introduced to-day to show that they at least have no confidence in the government, the government realize full well what is behind the resolution. From the day parliament met until this very hour, even up until yesterday, the question discussed most in this House was not a question of any particular item mentioned in the Speech from the
Throne, but a question as between high tariff and low tariff. That was the question that was brought forcibly before the 3 p.m. country by hon. gentlemen who lead the opposition, and it was upon the question of high tariff or low tariff that they challenged our right as a government to carry on. We gave them our answer on the 15th of April when we brought down the budget, when we reduced the duty on automobiles, when we made reductions all along the line in the income tax, when we removed altogether the receipt tax, when we removed the ^sales tax from certain items in which the people of this country were most interested, and when we announced that on the 1st of July we would restore penny postage. Hon. gentlemen opposite may challenge the government's right to carry on, but I submit that the country is not going to be fooled by this resolution presented to-day. We are prepared as a government to have this question settled once and for all, and the sooner we have the vote and the sooner we know whether the policy of high and higher and still higher tariffs is going to prevail in this country, or the policy of the government, which is a policy that has led to the encouragement of our trade all over the world, the better it will be for Canada.
Hon. E. M. MACDONALD (Minister of National Defence):
Mr. Speaker, a very
peculiar situation is before the House. My hon. friend from East Calgary (Mr. Davis) w has moved a resolution of a very general character and in the course of his address he stated that the ground of his moving it was one subject, and one subject only. Your Honour has ruled that that subject cannot be a matter of discussion in this debate, so that so far as this resolution is concerned, according to your ruling, Mr. Speaker, the matter referred to by the hon. member for East Calgary is eliminated from consideration by this House in this debate.
Mr. MACDONALD (Antigonish):
hon. friends intimate that I am not correct. Let me say this: If the Speaker's ruling is right, then the one, and only one, question that my hon. friend from East Calgary siid he wanted to submit is not before the House at this time.
The only other matter that has been suggested as a reason why this government has lost the confidence of the country was supplied by the junior member for Halifax (Mr Quinn), who, while admitting that the government had carried out the promise contained
Want of Confidence Motion
in the Speech from the Throne, to appoint a commission to investigate the situation in the Maritime provinces, said that two very worthy gentlemen, Professor Rogers and Mr. A. F. McDonald, should not have been appointed secretaries of the commission. Is that a very serious question? Is that a reason, supposing that there were any basis for consideration at all, why the House should declare that the government had lost the confidence of the House? Let me say m that connection that my hon. friend from Halifax based his claim on that one point, and on no other. So, as far as the opposition is concerned, they are in a most ridiculous position in regard to their claims for moving this resolution.
What is the situation in regard to these two gentlemen who have been appointed secretaries to the commission? Both of them are very able men. Their position in regard to the commission will simply be that of carrying out the duties and instructions given to them by the commission, presided over by Sir Andrew Duncan; that is their position, and those are their duties, and those alone. Let me remind the House that this government carried into effect and implemented the promise contained in the Speech from the Throne that such a commission would be appointed. The appointment of that commission has been hailed with satisfaction all over the Maritime provinces. Everybody has recognized that that is the proper way to deal with the question, but because these two gentlemen, according to my hon. friend from Halifax, have spoken against what he conceives to be Maritime rights, then forsooth this government should be turned out! Those gentlemen who came here as Maritime righters were nothing less than Tories pure and simple-high tariff men, that is what they were. And at this late hour notwithstanding the splendid character of the budget, notwithstanding the overwhelming approval with which that budget has been received all over this country, the government is to be censured. Hon. gentlemen opposite, no matter what their views may be, must agree with me that the budget pronouncement of the Minister of Finance was received with greater acclaim throughout the country than any budget which has been presented for many years. And yet notwithstanding our record, we are to be turned out of office because two men that do not agree with the extreme views of our Maritime rights friends have been appointed as secretaries to the commission. That is where the issue stands at this moment.