February 21, 1928

LIB

Ernest Lapointe (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. LAPOINTE:

It was another "shadow" government.

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LIB

Charles Avery Dunning (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Liberal

Mr. DUNNING:

What about the "shadow" government?

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CON

Robert James Manion

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MANION:

I presume the shadow

government as my hon. friends term it had many faults. Apparently the people thought so, but the faults of the shadow government were nothing to the faults of this government.

I was going to say-in view of the questions

I asked as to what this government had done to solve the various problems of the country, and to which the only answer I got was the echo "what?" throughout the halls of parliament-this government might be called, not the "who who government," but the "what what government"-perhaps I should say the "whatnot government."

Now, I am certain that I shall be taxed with having made a "destructive" speech, but what is the use of delivering any other kind of a speech in this house? What is the use of delivering constructive speeches to this government when they either do not comprehend them or do not accept them at their proper value? My hon. friend the leader of the opposition last year advanced a constructive suggestion in regard to a method of conducting the finances of the country. Was any attention paid to it?

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UFA

Edward Joseph Garland

United Farmers of Alberta

Mr. GARLAND (Bow River):

What is the policy of the Conservative party now?

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CON

Robert James Manion

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MANION:

Ask my leader when he

speaks later on in the debate. Last year I offered suggestions to this government in regard to the development of our iron ore resources. I was backed up by the hon. member for West Algoma (Mr. Simpson) and the hon. member for Port Arthur-Thunder Bay (Mr.' Cowan), and various other hon. members in this house. But no attempt has been made to develop the hundreds of millions of tons of iron ore which extend throughout this country from the Atlantic to the Pacific. The hon. member for Toronto Northwest (Mr. Church) moved a resolution urging the adoption of a national fuel policy, but nothing has arisen therefrom. The hon. member for Victoria (Mr. Tolmie) delivered a constructive speech in favour of a more progressive immigration policy, because we are not getting many immigrants of the right class into this country, but it failed to provoke any response from the government. What is the use then of offering constructive suggestions to this government? The only alternative, Mr. Speaker, is to convince the people of the country that if this magnificent nation is to be developed, if it is to get into its proper stride in the direction of national prosperity it will have to elect a government with initiative, with imagination, and with real leadership, with a strong, virile Canadian policy which will be employed on behalf of our native sons and not on behalf of foreigners in whose favour this government, consciously or unconsciously, seems to be acting all the time. The thinking people of the country realize that whatever improved conditions prevail in Canada are due to a bountiful

The Budget-Mr. Lavigueur

harvest, to the digging of minerals from the earth and to the pulp, paper, lumber and fishing industries.

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?

An hon. MEMBER:

And Providence.

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CON

Robert James Manion

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MANION:

And Providence over whose policy this government has no control, because if it had any control it would probably ruin Providence as well as the country. Unless this government awakes from its complacent and self laudatory lethargy I venture the prophecy that at the next election the people will be so aroused and will bring about such an upheaval that a speech such as this will not be needed in Canada in many a moon.

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LIB

Henri-Edgar Lavigueur

Liberal

Mr. H. E. LAVIGUEUR (Quebec-Mont-morency):

We have listened to a lot of criticism from hon. gentlemen opposite, particularly the hon. member for St. Lawrence-St. George (Mr. Cahan) and the hon. member for Fort William (Mr. Manion) based upon the supposed imperfections of the budget brought down on Thursday last by the Minister of Finance (Mr. Robb). But I should like to point out that in the press of Canada, both Liberal and Conservative, very high appreciation of the budget has been expressed,

' and tihe greatest eulogies have been bestowed upon the government because of the features which the budget contains. There was, at the close of the fiscal year, a surplus of $54,815,000, which, added to the four previous surpluses of this government, represents a total of $150,000,000. Consider the reduction in taxation of $19,000,000 which will be of the utmost advantage to the country in general. The hon. member for Fort William said a moment ago that this reduction in taxation will not benefit the common people, but will be of benefit only to trade and industry. Well, sir, this is the kind of policy we want, because if industry and trade are prosperous the country will be prosperous. The enormous debt of this country has been reduced by a large amount, so we are going in the right direction. _ I heard one of the fluent speakers opposite state a few days ago that we were taking advantage of the prosperity of our country. That may be so, 'but I contend that the prosperity of the country is due to our administration. Take as an example the province of Quebec, which has had a good administration under the Liberal regime for fifteen or twenty years; the prosperity which exists in that province under that administration is recognized all over the country. So it would seem to me, Mr. Speaker, that this is one of the best budgets presented in this house since confederation.

I do not wish to speak at great length on these questions, which will be debated by more able members, but will pass on to a matter to which I have directed the attention of the house during the last two or three years. I refer to the Civil Service Commission. I have stated already in this house that I am entirely against this commission; I fail to see the good of it. I am not in favour of patronage, but on the other hand I believe that members should be prepared to accept the responsibility for any recommendations they may make. The Civil Service Commission costs this country over $300,000 each year, and it has been admitted that they do not render the service which was intended. In many cases I think they have made great mistakes, and I think it would be really better if the patronage were handed over to those who are responsible to their electors. I do not see why the head of a department, who is experienced in his work and who knows the kind of employees he wants, should not be more competent to select such employees from the applicants for any position, with the ratification of the minister heading that department. When I nominate a lighthouse keeper or a postmaster in the county of Montmorency, I think I am in a better position to judge the merits of these men than the members of the Civil Service Commission who sit here in Ottawa and pass upon these applications. It is within my knowledge, Mr. Speaker, that in some of the examinations conducted by the Civil Service Commission candidates passing the examination have not received the appointment, while others who have tried no examinations at all have succeeded in securing appointments. I also know of the case of a man who presented himself for an examination; he had taken a classical course in a Quebec seminary, but another man who could hardly read or write his own name- was given the preference by the Civil Service Commission. There are many cases where we see that the Civil Service Commission does not serve the object for which it was created, and a change should be made immediately. I have nothing to say about the commissioners themselves; I think they are perfectly honest and are doing their utmost to fulfil their duties, but there is certainly some defect in this commission and radical changes should be made.

I made this same appeal last year; I stated my case then, and I again appeal to the government and to this house. To-day I again ask the government and the House of Commons to study this question of the Civil Service

The Budget-Mr. Lavigueur

Commission and see if any alterations can be made that will improve the situation. I stated that I was not in favour of patronage, but on the other hand I think it belongs to the member who has the confidence of his people to assume, as he should assume, the responsibility of the nominations he has to make in his constituency. This is patronage that belongs to us; it is patronage that should be left to the members and to the minister. When a member recommends someone either to the deputy minister or to the minister, there is the safeguard that he is interested in making the best nomination possible, and as there are always many candidates for the position, the recommendation of the man who is best able to recommend a candidate should be accepted in all cases. As I say, during the last three years I have spoken three times against the Civil Service Commission, in which I have no faith, and unless something is done I will not let the question rest. I know that many other members, I do not care who they are, Liberals or Conservatives or Independents, have had cases similar to the ones that I have mentioned. As I have stated I hope that something will be done to improve the situation, and unless something is done I will come back again next session, if not before.

I wish to say a few words regarding the railway situation in Quebec city. For many years we have been promised improvements and we have adked the railway authorities to give attention to the question as it affects our city. The Canadian National Railways have not furnished us with the proper accommodation that we should have in Quebec city. We have been told on many occasions that the railway authorities were contemplating the construction of a new station in our city and we hope they will do something to improve the situation. We should receive a much better service and on many occasions the Quebec board of trade, the city council and the citizens in general have asked the railway authorities for better service, but we find that things do not move very rapidly. I regret the Minister of Railways and Canals (Mr. Dunning) is not in his seat at the present time as I should like to draw his attention to this situation; but we hope that Sir Henry Thornton, who has made such a great success of the administration of the national railways, will spare a little of his time to come down and study the situation in our city.

Since I have had the honour of being a member of this house-and this is my twelfth session-I have every year drawn the attention of the house to some of the needs of my district and more particularly of my constituency. This year I wish to mention the question of

a bridge between the island of Orleans and Quebec city. This bridge was promised some years ago, namely, in 1911, by the hon. gentleman who preceded me in this constituency, the Hon. T. Chase Casgrain, who then promised the people of the island of Orleans that a bridge would be constructed from the island to Quebec city. There are on the island of Orleans six beautiful agricultural parishes which in the winter time, are without any communication. The people there are most deserving and I may say, en passant, that it is very seldom one meets on the island of Orleans a family of less than ten, twelve, fifteen or eighteen children. Those people are asking for better accommodation; they are asking the federal government to help the province of Quebec to construct this bridge. A couple of weeks ago a delegation of more than three hundred of those good people came to meet their member, the Hon. Mr. Taschereau, Premier of Quebec, whose colleague I have the great honour to be, and they asked him to come to their assistance by constructing a bridge from the island to Quebec city. Mr. Taschereau's answer was that he was quite willing to do his share provided the federal government also did its share. I know that our worthy ministers from the province of Quebec who are here are most sympathetic to this project. While I realize it is a

difficult one and the federal government will not build bridges, yet the federal government has on occasion subscribed generously towards bridge construction. I would once more ask our ministers from the province of Quebec to try to induce their colleagues in the cabinet to take action to assure the construction of the bridge on the island of Orleans.

There is another question in connection with the island of Orleans which I wish to mention here again to-day. For a considerable time past I have been urging the department to take control of the telephone system on the island of Orleans. The' telephone system at present is under the control of a private company, which is exploiting the people. The service is very unsatisfactory, and the people maintain that they are being overcharged. What we are asking is that the government take over and administer this-telephone system for the benefit of the people on the island, so that they may receive the service to which they are entitled. I regret that the Minister of Public Works (Mr.. Elliott) is not in his seat at the moment, but I hope he will take note of this demand, for it is a question that must be settled, and settled soon. I would add that I am not simply asking for a settlement of this tele-

The Budget-Mr. Lavigueur

phone question on the island of Orleans; I say to the government that we want this telephone line and we must have it.

I have another demand to make of the government. I was very much surprised and disappointed to see that the necessary amount for the construction of a post office at Beauportville had not been inserted in the estimates. I hope the government will reconsider this question and that the amount required for the erection of a public building, to be utilized as a post office, on the ground purchased by the government in 1913 will be provided in the supplementary estimates, and work be started on the building very shortly.

Before taking my seat I wish to say a word with reference to the resolution put forward by the hon. member for Bonaventure (Mr. Marcil). The hon. member has decided to withdraw his motion protesting against the language of the Mexican consul at Toronto, who has insulted, I may say, half of the people of this country, French-speaking as well as English-speaking-

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LIB

Hewitt Bostock (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

Order. I may say to the hon. member that what I suspect he is about to say is out of order for that question is not before the house. We are now discussing the budget, with which it has nothing to do.

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LIB

Henri-Edgar Lavigueur

Liberal

Mr. LAVIGUEUR:

I bow to your ruling,

Mr. Speaker. I only wanted to say that 1 would have been quite willing to second the motion of the hon. member for Bonaventure.

The name of the Premier of the province of Quebec, Mr. Tascliereau, has been mentioned in this house, but I noticed with pleasure that the hon. member for Charlevoix-Saguenay (Mr. Casgrain) has answered certain criticisms which were made by the hon. member for Temiscouata (Mr. Pouliot.)

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LIB

Jean-François Pouliot

Liberal

Mr. POULIOT:

Mr. Speaker, I rise to a

point of order. My point of order is that the matters to which the hon. member is referring were discussed in the debate on the address, when my hon. friend from Quebec-Montmorency (Mr. Lavigueur) had every opportunity to reply to those statements. This is a different debate entirely, and I do not know what relation exists between the Hon. L. A. Taschereau, of Quebec, and the federal budget at Ottawa.

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LIB

Henri-Edgar Lavigueur

Liberal

Mr. LAVIGUEUR:

I was going on to say, Mr. Speaker, that the hon. member for Charlevoix-Saguenay had answered very properly the criticisms which were made by the hon. member for Temiscouata as to the

help given to the Hon. Mr. Taschereau in the last election. I say that there is not a man-[DOT]

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LIB

Jean-François Pouliot

Liberal

Mr. POULIOT:

I ask for your ruling, Mr. Speaker.

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LIB

Hewitt Bostock (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

No reference can be made to a debate which has taken place during the present session.

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LIB

Henri-Edgar Lavigueur

Liberal

Mr. LAVIGUEUR:

I am not referring to

another debate, Mr. Speaker, but to the speech of the hon. member for Charlevoix-Saguenay.

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LIB

Hewitt Bostock (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

That was in another debate.

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LIB

Henri-Edgar Lavigueur

Liberal

Mr. LAVIGUEUR:

I want to say, Mr. Speaker, that the Liberal candidates in the Last election were all returned by big majorities, and that was due to the good policies of the Liberal party. In the Liberal party we have a very able man, the Hon. Mr. Taschereau, who has been unsparing in time, energy and influence, which he has used to help the Liberal party. The Hon. Mr. Taschereau, with the cooperation of the Minister of Justice (Mr. Lapointe) in this house and others have made the Liberal party in the province of Quebec a great success. I say that the Hon. Mr. Taschereau is one of the most influential men in his province, and no matter what may be said against him, his influence has always counted enormously in the great victories of the Liberal party. It is not necessary for me to say more about the sympathetic help which has always been given to the Liberal party by the Hon. Mr. Taschereau, nor need I refer to the influence which he has exerted in our behalf. That influence is the result of the excellent administration that he has given to the province of Quebec since he succeeded Sir Lomer Gouin as premier.

Before taking my seat, Mr. Speaker, I have just one more word to say. I for one regret the insinuations made against the Hon. Mr. Taschereau by an hon. member in the course of a speech which he recently delivered in this house.

Mr. JEAN-FRANQOIS POULIOT (Temiscouata) : Mr. Speaker, it was not my intention to take part in this debate at the present moment, but through the courtesy of my hon. friend from Last Mountain (Mr. Fansher), who was to speak immediately after the hon. member for Quebec-Montmorency (Mr Lavigueur), I have been given this opportunity.

Last year the editorials in two of the most important Conservative papers published in the province of Quebec, the Montreal Star

The Budget-Mr. Pouliot

and the Montreal Gazette, were not very favourable to this government, but since then there has been a great change in their attitude, and I think it is for the better. For example, since the budget was presented an editorial has appeared in the Montreal Gazette describing it as a bountiful budget. That was well-merited praise; but, better than that, it was true. I am very sorry that my hon. friend from St. Lawrence-St. George (Mr. Cahan) is not in the house at the moment, for I should like to have brought this change of attitude to his attention and to quote for his benefit what Queen Guinevere once said: They-of course I am referring to the Montreal Star and the Montreal Gazette-have been shamed into wisdom.

Yesterday I listened attentively to the speech of my hon. friend from St. Lawrence-St. George, and I noticed he made some rather remarkable statements about the capitalization of the Canadian National Railways. It seems to me that in drawing attention to the fact that the government has guaranteed the issue of Canadian National Railway bonds, he should not have lost sight of the further fact that the liability thus incurred is balanced by ample assets. I am not ready to accept everything that is done on behalf of the national railway system. I think it is a mistake, for example, to purchase new engines and leave the old rolling stock to rust in the engine graveyard. In my view the Canadian National railway management should repair the old engines, and thus give employment to our working people and at the same time effect economy of expenditure. But to return to the point raised by the hon. member for St. Lawrence-St. George. I would remind him that the government is not responsible for the bonds that it has guaranteed unless and until the revenues of the railway system are insufficient to meet the payments on those bonds. It is a very clear case, and I am sure every hon. member understands the position.

It should be remembered that the amalgamation of the various railways that we now know as the Canadian National Railways was brought about, not by a Liberal administration but by the Conservative or Union administration in 1919. Against the government of that day I have this very serious reproach: If at the time of the amalgamation the property was overvalued, it was the fault of those who prepared the legislation for submission to parliament and carried it through by the help of their supporters. I think the present management of the Canadian National Railways deserve credit for having been able to meet the interest charges

on such a huge capital. But in this respect, although Sir Henry Thornton may be a very able man, I do not think the sole credit for this very fine achievement should be given to him; we should remember that the executive officers under him and the board of directors also contributed their share to the final result, and therefore deserve our thanks. Nor should we forget the Minister of Railways and Canals (Mr. Dunning), whose sound advice I have no doubt was very often of great use to the head of the railway system. Again, I say, if the Canadian National railway system is a liability to the country financially, the responsibility must be shouldered by the Conservative or Unionist administration of 1919, for the reasons that I have already set forth. I am glad to say that under the present administration the national railway system is in better shape than it ever was under the Conservative regime.

It is true that parliament has endorsed the liabilities of the Canadian National Railways, and as endorsers we are entitled to know everything about the business they carry on. If, as a representative of the people, I wish to get information from any Canadian National official on any question affecting the railways, I am entitled, I submit, to a decent and a true answer. I am in the same position as a man who endorses a note for another; he is entitled to a statement of that man's business. It is exactly the same with us, not as private individuals but as members of parliament and representatives of the Canadian people. When we go to Sir Henry Thornton or to any manager or superintendent of the Canadian National Railways, we have, I repeat, a right to expect a decent and a true answer. These people should not entertain the idea at any time that they are the kings and the rulers of the world. On many occasions I have remarked to the people in my constituency that I consider myself their servant. If, therefore, I am a servant of the people, the officials of the Canadian National Railways are servants to the servants of the people. This is my understanding of their relationship to the members of this house. Whatever may be the salary of any of these gentlemen-if his salary is higher than that of any other public servant it is because probably his responsibility is greater-an official of the Canadian National Railways must ever bear in mind that he is responsible to the representatives of the people and that it is due to them that he shall give correct information when it is asked for.

The Budget-Mr. Pouliot

We have to consider several things in relation to the Canadian National Railways. We must oonsider, first, the passenger traffic, secondly, freight traffic, which is more remunerative, and thirdly, the officials and employees of the system, who are all servants of the public and who have their share of credit when the right side of the wheel turns up. In my constituency there are several hundred railway employees, as is well known to my hon. friend the Minister of Justice (Mr. Lapointe) who practised law for twenty years in my home town. And need I say, incidentally, that the minister was a most brilliant lawyer, whose memory is far from being forgotten. The young men begin to work as apprentices; they start out to learn certain trades as machinists, carmen, and so forth. They want to earn enough money in their lifetime to_ be able to bring up their children decently and to take care of themselves and their dependents in a suitable nanner. This is a very natural and praiseworthy object, because every man who is a hard worker deserves credit, in whatever walk of life he may be. It is very sad sometimes, Mr. Speaker, to see men who are willing and able to work go to their shop in the morning and find that there is no longer anything for them to do. They are met with the abrupt intimation, "There is no more work for you; you are laid aside". Sometimes wTe see some of the old employees being superannuated, or being turned out when ill, and when they die, they are not replaced; too often no employment is given to those who are ready to take it. What is the explanation of this? The answer is that instead of repairing old cars and old engines which could be easily repaired, the authorities discard them; they consign them to the engine and car graveyard and buy new ones. Thus they add to the capital stock of the company while, for the sake' of repairs, they allow the old engines and cars to be sold, very often for scrap iron. It seems to me that we should take every means possible to give employment to those people who are anxious to work, and this suggestion will, I hope, give some food for thought to every serious minded citizen of this country.

I can tell this house that quite often I write to the officials of the railways, not personally but as a representative of the people, and when I do so I receive an answer, polite enough, but very seldom affirmative. It is rather dilatory. I am told, "We will see about it; be sure, we will look into the matter. Don't be mistaken, we will look after your people". But in the meantime our people are

out of work. I do not ask for any of my constituents that they be given salaries of one hundred thousand dollars a year; I plead for them only enough to live on. All I ask is that they be given work for which they will be reasonably compensated. Nor am I asking that new appointments be made at the present time; I simply request that every old employee be reinstated and be given the work which he formerly did. The railway should do this, not because I ask it. but because in my opinion it would benefit the country to have our rolling stock repaired at the proper time. This would result in a saving of money to the country and it would obviate the necessity for purchasing new engines and cars, which, needless to say, are very expensive. When I go to officials I find that they cannot give us what we ask for; sometimes, perhaps, we may ask too much. Suppose I go to Mr. Appleton or to any other manager and say, "Sir, we want information on three different points". Well, we receive a letter in reply-a letter which amounts to nothing at all. I do not think this is at all satisfactory or fair; I think I have a right to complain. I sit on the Liberal side of the house and I consider myself a good Liberal; but if I were on the opposite side I would complain just the same. I believe that when a member of this house goes to a Canadian National official for information he should be given it. There should be no secret about the business of the Canadian National Railways so far as members of parliament are concerned. Of course, if there is information of a confidential character which cannot be giver officially, it might be given privately, and 1 am sure that members of parliament on either side of the house, if given information on the understanding that it was confidential, would respect that confidence. But, I repeat, members of parliament have a right to be informed of what is going on in connection with our railways. That information should not be refused us, and I defy anyone successfully to contend otherwise. To sum up, Mr. Speaker, I want first to get true and reliable information from any officer of the Canadian National Railways. Then I believe that while the administration at present is very satisfactory, there should be no shadow in the picture and they should do their best to give empioyment not only to imported gentlemen but also to common people who want to work and who are ready to earn their wages by their toil.

I would like to say just a word about the amendment introduced yesterday by my hon. friend from St. Lawrence-St. George (Mr. The Budget-Mr. Pouliot

Cahan). He complains that many Canadians are migrating to the United States instead of remaining in this country. One reason for that migration, especially in the province of Quebec, goes a good many years back; the division between forestry and agricultural lands was wrongly made. In some parishes the lands chosen for agriculture had very good soil, but in other parishes instead of setting apart forest reserves they opened the land for agriculture and the soil was hard to cultivate because there were too many stones in it. Succeeding generations have lived in these parishes and I admire those who to-day cultivate the land as their forefathers did; they deserve a great deal of credit for staying on the land. But all have not remained and the mistaken policy in regard to the selection of agricultural and forest land is one of the reasons why people have migrated to the United States. I cannot blame Mr. Taschereau for this wrong division because it took place sixty or seventy years ago, before Mr. Taschereau was born, but that division was wrong and sometimes these people have a very hard time of it on this poor land in some places.

I have very good news for the house, however. During the Conservative and Unionist regimes I passed through the constituency which I now represent and saw many houses with the windows boarded up. When I asked the reason, the usual answer was that the people had gone to Salem or New Bedford or somewhere else in the United States. Now, however, when we pass these houses we find them no longer closed; people are living in them, people who have come back from the United States to the old homesteads. I would like to tell you of one of the finest examples of family devotion it has ever been my pleasure to see. In my constituency there was an old gentleman, a farmer, who was not very rich; he had several sons to bring up and there was a heavy mortgage on his property. One day when he was quite discouraged his two oldest sons said to him, "Do not be discouraged, father; things are going well in the United States, so we will go there and earn money, and you will see what we do with the money." They went to the United States and worked in a cotton factory for two or three years, returning home with enough money to pay off the mortgage. Now their old father is not working any more; they are living with him and working the old homestead, on which there is no longer a heavy mortgage. This has happened in several cases to my knowledge, and I can give many names.

Then there is another reason why people have gone to the United States. Their friends have come home from the other side, dressed in quite a flashy manner, and have called attention to their nice clothing. They say to those who have stayed home, "You work very hard; you have to get up early in the morning; you work all week and even on Sundays, but we have no such trouble in the United States. Our Sundays are free; we have nothing to do on Saturday afternoons and evenings; we can go to the moving pictures or to the theatres, and we have very pleasant times, which you do not have here." Sometimes these people become curious enough to go to the United States for this reason. Now, however, the news coming back from the United States is not so good; it is even very bad, and in the rural districts of Quebec the people know that the cotton factories where they used to work a few years ago are closed for a great part of the year, and the people who have gone to the United States to make a fortune in that high tariff country are very much disappointed. Sometimes they even have to send home for money with which to return, like the prodigal son. I do not say that everyone who has gone to the United States has returned like the prodigal son, but they regret their absence from this country as much as the prodigal son regretted his sins.

Sir, I enjoyed listening to the speech of my hon. friend from Quebec-Montmorency (Mr. Lavigueur); he is one of the older members of this house and he knows that everyone likes him. May I say that I absolutely share his views with regard to the Civil Service Commission. There are some dignified people connected with the Civil Service Commission, but I find it astonishing that there should be a whole battalion of people there who do nothing but nominate other people for positions. But When we ask, " Who made the nomination for this appointment?", we find that there is something of the Canadian National Railways in tihe answer, they are protected by the secrecy of office. I do not see any reason for applying this secrecy of office to questions asked by hon. members in that connection. I say we should come back to the old regime instituted by Sir Wilfrid Laurier, under which the Civil Service Commission was simply an examination body. I represent my constituency to the best of my ability; I can make mistakes, but when I make any recommendation to any minister or to the chief of a branch, I make it knowing my responsibility as a member, and make it to the best of my knowledge and ability. I would not

The Budget-Mr. Pouliot

recommend any man of whom I would later be ashamed. As a member of this house it would not be to my interest to set aside public opinion in my constituency by recommending to a minister anyone who is not fit for a particular position. I believe, Mr. Speaker, that the spoils should go to the conquerors. When a party is elected to power I believe it should be able to appoint its own friends to office provided they are competent to fill such positions. In the same manner when the other party wins they should have the right to appoint friends of their own to any vacancy, and we should take our medicine. I have never asked any minister to dismiss any man simiply because he had voted against me. I think every person should be free to exercise his franchise but when he works openly in the political field he should be relieved from duty in the public service, because he knows what he is doing and is well aware of wihat his fate will be if his friends are not elected. As to the Civil Service Commission I think it should be retained as an examining body. That is to say, every one who applies for a position in the government service should come up before that body for examination, and if found to be incompetent should not be appointed. I do not think the commission should remain as a nominating body.

I have just a word to say about the tariff on spirits and I will say it in "black and white." There has been no Change in the tariff this year on spirits, but we do not know what may happen next year, and I take this opportunity of bringing certain facts to the attention of the cabinet. We have heard in Quebec very often from the lips of Mr. Tasohereau that if liquor is dear in the province it is due to the action of the federal government in imposing a tax of $10 a gallon on spirits. I have not at hand at the moment the newspaper which would establish the correctness of the statement, but everyone in Quebec knows that the statement has been made several times by the premier of the province. I do not understand Mr. Taschereau for holding that view, and I certainly' do not concur in it. This tax was imposed several years ago to meet the war time exigencies. Personally I think that liquor should be one of the first things to be taxed, and I think also that Mr. Tasohereau who is so friendly with Mr. Ferguson-this is not an insinuation, it is a fact-should1 copy his example in some respects. If it be true that liquor is expensive because of a tax of $10 per gallon, why is it sold at a cheaper rate in the province of Ontario than in the province of Quebec? The

province of Ontario pays the same duty of $10 per gallon and yet is able to sell its liquor more cheaply than Quebec. Let any hon. member compare the price lists of the two provinces and he will satisfy himself on that point.

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Subtopic:   DEBATE ON ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF MINISTER OF FINANCE
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LIB

Henri-Edgar Lavigueur

Liberal

Mr. LAVIGUEUR:

Do you refer to quality or to price?

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Subtopic:   DEBATE ON ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF MINISTER OF FINANCE
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LIB

Jean-François Pouliot

Liberal

Mr. POULIOT:

I refer to the different

prices for the same quality and the same quantity of liquor. Take Two Dagger rum, for example, a twenty-six ounce bottle costs $3.75 in Quebec, whereas the same kind of bottle in Ottawa costs but $2.60, which is a saving of $1.15 to the people who purchase that kind of bottle in this city. Mr. Ferguson must have great skill as a manager to be able to sell spirits at a much cheaper rate than prevails in Quebec although he has to pay the same federal tax. The same difference is to be noted in the case of Baccardi rum, and various brands of Scotch. I do not recommend my hon. friends to buy liquor either in Hull or in Ottawa-I have no desire to make such a recommendation to anyone-but if they wish to establish the accuracy of what I say they are at liberty to procure price lists from both cities and make their own comparison. I am sorry the hon. member for Fort William (Mr. Manion) is not in his seat at present otherwise I would ask him to send a complimentary copy of the Ontario price list for liquors to Mr. Taschereau, and ask him to revise the prices in Quebec accordingly. That might prove to be the first step in- the direction of providing cheaper liquor.

I have but a few minutes more to speak and I will take the opportunity of telling hon. members what I think about the question of spirits. In my opinion, it is very wise on the part of this government not to comply with the suggestion of the customs commission to reduce the tax on imported liquors. We have distillers in this country who manufacture liquors openly and in accordance with the law and those distillers should have the advantage over distillers living in other countries. The existing duty will give them some advantage and there is this further necessity: There should not be any reduction in

the customs duty for a few years until we have effected a substantial reduction in the national debt. I think, however, that the Minister of Finance should reduce the excise tax somewhat next year. People would not drink any more if this were done, and if, as a result of the reduction in the excise duty, the Canadian distillers were to turn out a better and cheaper product, I believe that would be to the advantage of the community.

The Budget-Mr. Pouliot

Before taking my seat Mr. Speaker, I wish to congratulate very sincerely the Minister of Finance on the wonderful budget he has presented this year. It cannot suit everyone completely, but it suits the great mass of the people and there is no one who has not received certain advantages from it. The income tax reduction is a great thing, not only for private individuals but for big companies. The present prosperity shows that the Liberal administration has been a good servant of the people and that this country has been blessed by having a good government. 1 hope that in the future we shall have other Robb budgets as good as this last one.

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Subtopic:   DEBATE ON ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF MINISTER OF FINANCE
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PRO

William Russell Fansher

Progressive

Mr. W. R. FANSHER (Last Mountain):

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   DEBATE ON ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF MINISTER OF FINANCE
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February 21, 1928