February 28, 1928

LIB

Hewitt Bostock (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

Before the hon. member proceeds, I should like the chair to be supported in this. There were many interruptions a moment ago, with the result that I* had to give a few minutes more to the hon. Minister of Trade and Commerce in order that he might complete his sentence. Under the forty-minute rule if interruptions are too numerous speeches are so cut up that in many instances the meaning of the hon. member who has the floor may be obscured. On this point let me quote Bourinot:

Whilst a member is addressing the house, no one has a right to interrupt him by putting a question to him, or by making or demanding an explanation.

Of course, the member addressing the house may give way through a sense of courtesy, but unless that express consent has been given no interruption must be attempted.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   DEBATE ON ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF MINISTER OF FINANCE
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CON

John Wesley Edwards

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. EDWARDS (Frontenac):

Mr. Speaker, you have had a long and distinguished political career and you are well known as a very keen observer of men and events. I am sure, therefore, that you will have noted that one of the peculiar characteristics of the present government is the facility with which its members forget, its discreditable acts, and also the ease with which they attribute to others the sins that they themselves have committed. We have had many exemplifications of this in the house, and we had one a few days ago during the course of the speech delivered by the hon. member for Fort William (Mr. Manion) when the hon. Minister of Justice (Mr. Lapointe) and the hon. Minister of Railways (Mr. Dunning) sang a duet in regard to the "shadow" government.

It is quite true, Mr. Speaker, that the government formed by the Right Hon. Arthur Meighen in 1926 was not representative of a majority of the votes in the Dominion. It is quite true that the Conservative party in the house at that time represented only 46.8 per cent of the vote polled in the preceding election. But it is also true that the party represented by the usurping government of Mr. King received the support of only 40.11 per cent of the votes polled in that election. It is quite true that Mr. Meighen had to select his cabinet from 116 members returned at the previous election. It is also true that 56X03-54*

the Liberal party selected their administration from only 101 members returned at that election. It is true likewise that the Conservative party in the election of 1925 polled 201,062 more votes than did the Liberal parfy who usurped the reins of office; that the government of Mr. Meighen in 1926 represented 133,396 more votes in the election of 1925 than the present Liberal government has backing them now; and that the Meighen government of 1926 represented 48,117 more votes than were polled by the Liberal candidates and their Liberal-Progressive allies in the last election. It is likewise true that on June 25, 1926, the King government was defeated three times in one day. It is also true that when a vote of censure was pending the Prime Minister hastened to the Governor General to try to get a dissolution. It is also true that the then leader of the Progressive party, the present Minister of Immigration and Colonization (Mr. Forke), gave his solemn written pledge to the Governor General that he would stay with the session and with the government until the business of the session was finished and supply voted. It is also true that the pledge was violated. It is further true that subsequently the government of Mr. Meighen was defeated in this house by a majority of one, through a member of the Progressive party polling his vote inadvertently. It does seem to me, sir, that it does not come with very good grace from any of the ministers of the government opposite to talk about "shadow" government.

How is their government composed at the present time? The Minister of Trade and Commerce (Mr. Malcolm) and the Minister of National Revenue (Mr. Euler) are well-known protectionists; the minister of Agriculture (Mr. Motherwell) occupies a doubtful position since he has two opinions on everything, one a public opinion and the other a private; while the Minister of the Interior (Mr. Stewart) nails the black flag to the mast and declares himself for the "death of protection." I would call the present government, because of their peculiar career, a zig-zag government, and I would suggest that each member of the cabinet should wear on the lapel of his coat, and hang around his neck by a black ribbon when he puts on his Windsor uniform, a large letter "Z" made of brass. I suggest that letter because it signifies a zig-zag government; I suggest it be made of brass for very obvious reasons. I think something might be added to that, a little emblem in a convenient place worn by the Minister of Trade and Commerce and the Minister of National Revenue with the representation of a strong wall to signify that they are protectionists; on

852 COMMONS

The Budget*-Mr. Edwards (Frontenac)

the * emblem worn by the Minister of the Interior there might be inscribed the skull and crossbones to signify the "death-knell of protection"; a question mark on the one worn by the Minister of Agriculture would indicate his doubtful position; and a representation of a forest on the one worn by the Minister of Immigration would signify that he was still wandering or lost somewhere in the political wilderness.

I recall very distinctly the attitude taken by the present Minister of Immigration when he was leader of the Progressive group in 1924, 1925 and 1926, how he stood forth in the front rank of that party and declared:

If anybody in this house thinks the Progressive movement is done, he is vastly mistaken.

How he declared further:

Whatever changes may take place in the cabinet, the Progressive group will remain intact and carry on as in the past.

And how in 1925 he chided the Liberals- with whom he now sits-for their broken pledges. He saw little difference between Liberals and Conservatives then. He did not think if the Conservatives came into power they would raise the tariff very much, and he was even willing to join them in a coalition. You will find, that sir, in his speech at page 3967 of Hansard for 1925. I quote from a speech he delivered in Winnipeg on September 17, 1925:

Absorption of Progressives by Liberals under whatever guise would postpone for a generation necessary reforms, reshaping of national policies, infusion of that moral courage and idealism which slavish partisanship has well-nigh destroyed.

There he stood forth, the admiration of all those whom he led at that time. He waved his claymore in the air and he shouted:

"Come one, come all! this rock shall fly

From its firm base as soon as I."

And encouraged by the applause of this open defiance of all and sundry at that time, he turned to right and to left and said:

"IV! th such a small majority this government can well be blocked by three.

Now who will stand on either side and keep the bridge with me?"

Up spoke the member for Lisgar, an old time Grit was he:

"Lo, I will stand on thy right hand and keep the bridge with thee."

Then up spoke the member for Southeast Grey, a U.F.O. was she:

"Lo. I will stand on thy left hand and keep the bridge with thee."

And so they went forth to battle. But what happened? Two of them threw their swords down at the entrance to the bridge and struck for the other side as fast they could run. They are sitting over there now, one of them

having realized his ambitions to the full extent of ten thousand and one. One of these ambitions is not an unworthy one, namely, the honours of office, the other ten thousand being represented by a dollar apiece. As to the member for Lisgar (Mr. Brown), he went on the strength of hopes which are vain and, I fancy, will never be realized.

Now I want to make a few remarks regarding the national debt. During the war years and the years immediately following, not one dollar was added to the public debt of Canada for any other than war purposes or purposes arising out of the war. Moreover, not only did the Conservative party in those years administer the affairs of the country out of the revenue but they paid off $698,809,700 of war obligations. I remember the sessions of 1917, 1918, 1919 and 1920. Seventeen appropriation bills were put through this house covering a total of $1,755,000,000, not one dollar of which was ever challenged; nor was the integrity of a cabinet minister ever called in question. I call attention to a few of the burdens which were borne by the Conservatives in those years and from which the present government was relieved: $164,000,000 paid in soldier gratuities; $102,000,000 paid in soldier civil re-establishment; $80,000,000 paid in soldier land settlement; $90,000,000 paid in pensions to soldiers; $10,000,000 paid in soldiers' technical education; and $7,000,000 paid out in soldiers' insurance. These items alone total $453,000,000. In his budget speech the Right Hon. Mr. Fielding, in May, 1922, spoke about surpluses, just as the present Minister of Finance (Mr. Robb) does, but he was a little more candid. He said:

"The result of the operations for the year lust closed is that while we have, according to one calculation, a surplus, we have to acknowledge an addition to the public debt of $86,-

417.000."

The very next year Mr. Fielding, in introducing his budget, again spoke of a surplus, just as the present Minister of Finance has done, only more candidly. He had this to

say:

So far this is a story of surpluses: but there is a further statement to be made which quite destroys that happy picture. There were charges for advances to railways of $07,950,645. If we take the whole expenditure for the year, ordinary, capital, special and railways, there was a deficit: and. allowing for certain deductions, the npt result was that we added to the public debt $81,380,864.

I ask, why was not the present Minister of Finance equally candid? He said that the chartered accountants had certified in their report to a reduction of $105,942,498 in the net debt of Canada for the period from 1924 to 1927. The hon. member for St. Lawrence-

The Budget-Mr. Edimrds (Frontenac)

St. George (Mr. Cahan) referred to that claim and punctured the argument by simply quoting from the report of the chartered accountants, which made it very clear indeed that in the statement they made they did not include the issues of the Canadian National railways guaranteed by this Dominion. The present Minister of Finance claims a reduction in the debt for the last year of $41,896,000, but he ignores railway guarantees of $46,000,000. He claims a reduction of $105,000,000 in the debt in 1924, but he ignores guarantees of $168,000,000 for the same period. That, I contend, is not dealing candidly with the people.

With reference to the reduction in taxation referred to by the Minister of Finance, he seeks applause for reducing taxes which his own party imposed-an increase in the sales tax, an increase in income tax and receipt tax, and so forth-which did not exist under the Conservatives-and an increase on cheques. These are now being gradually reduced and the government is asking credit therefor.

I remember that previous to 1921 the Liberal party were very insistent in declaring that if only they were returned to power they would show that a government that exercised proper economy in their expenditures would not find it necessary to extract all these taxes from the people. Well, we took in the last year of the Conservative administration, in these various taxes, some $73,000,000. How much was collected last year? The amount taken in was $105,613,160, or over $32,000,000 more than was taken in the last year of Conservative rule. Has there been economy in expenditures? I think not.

I have in my hand some figures taken from a return which I asked for last session. It may be news to some in this house perhaps, and I am sure it will be to the people in the country, that we have under this government 623 motor cars for the use of various departments; that there has been spent on these cars, in first cost and repairs and maintenance and chaffeurs' livery, as well as for other things in connection with their use, $1,311,198; and that the ministers themselves have run up a bill for their cars and chaffeurs of $164,640. Adding to that the fact that they had their private railway cars-some ten -one of them the Acadia for the railway commission, to which no one will object; three for the governor general in 1922 and two since that time; for the ministers themselves, five in 1922 and six in 1923; seven in 1924; four in 1925, and six in 1926. I find that we have paid out for these private cars $376,877. For the ministers' private railway cars and their motor cars, it has cost the

country so far some $541,000. That does not seem to me to indicate any reduction in expenditures along proper lines. This is for the last two years.

I wish now to refer for a few moments to the question of immigration. In discussing this subject the hon. member for St. Law-rence-St. George struck the keynote of the whole situation when he said that the question of keeping our own population here and inducing others to come to Canada depended upon the rate of wages paid in this country and the ability to provide our men in this Dominion with employment. So far as wages are concerned, I have this to say: A country paying low wages may successfully cultivate free trade; a country paying high wages must cultivate protection. Wages in Canada are governed largely by wages in the United States; Canada cannot pay high wages and compete with the low scale of wages paid in Europe and Japan, for instance. So long as the products of the United States are protected and wages are high, Canadians will go to the United States and Canada will be simply a nursery for that country. We will continue to raise boys and girls, educating them at enormous expense, only to lose them to the country to our south.

Now, Mr. Speaker, much has been said on this subject of immigration, and there are one or two things I would like to bring to the attention of the house. First I must say that when the United States adopted the quota system, and by that means closed their doors to over a million immigrants, this country had the greatest opportunity ever given any country to increase immigration. That quota system reduced the number of immigrants coming to the United States from 1,218,000 to 168,184 a year; it applied to all countries with the exception of Canada and Mexico. I find that in the four years from 1911 to 1914, under Conservative rule, 554,298 British immigrants, 501,700 immigrants from the United States and 396,633 immigrants from other countries entered Canada, a total of 1,452,631 or an average for the entire four years of over 1,000 immigrants each day. Then let us consider the past seven years; under this government; 361,834 immigrants entered Canada from Great Britain, 175,553 came from the United States and 273,953 came from Ithe continent of Europe, a total of 811,340, or an average of 317 each day as compared with the Conservative average of 1,000 a day, yet this government had a distinct advantage because of the adoption of the quota system in the United States.

854 COMMONS

The Budget-Mr. Edwards (Frontenac)

Let me proceed a little further. For the last five years the total British immigration to Canada has amounted to 248,552; the total number returning from the United States, including Canadians, British and naturalized Canadians amounted to 227,953, or a , total addition to our population in that five year period of 476,505 British and Canadians. At the same time, however, and during the same period, the number of Canadians leaving this country for the United States amounted to 598,402, so from the officials returns of both the United States and Canada we find that we sustained a net loss during that five year period, under this government, of 121,897 British and Canadians, while we brought in to take their places 226,163 foreigners from continental Europe.

I have not a word to say in regard to foreigners coming to this country; many of them make first class citizens, and we welcome those who come to Canada with the intention of becoming British subjects in every sense of the word. I do say, however, that our immigration policy should be so framed as to permit the British element to predominate. I would also like to point out what this loss of 200,000 Canadians means to this countiy. It means a loss of a billion dollars of capital invested in raising and educating these boys and girls; it means the loss of a home market for $17,500,000 worth of farm products and $48,660,000 of manufactured goods; it means homes established in the United States which should be established here. The average value of each citizen to the state is $2,000, which means an annual loss to Canada of $400,000,000, and it means the loss of our best, to be replaced by those who are to say the least not so efficient. I say, Sir, that so long as a policy is followed in this country which makes it difficult for Canadians to get work here at remunerative wages, our Canadians will cross the line to get the work which they must have. Moreover, I say that so long as we follow a policy which deprives the dairymen and farmers of our country of their rights and makes it difficult for those industries to carry on, we can offer no inducement to immigrants to come to this country and go on the farms. Take the figures in dairying, fruit and vegetable growing and sheep raising in Canada; these show no inducement to any person understanding the situation to come from the old country and go into any of those lines of industry here. Everything possible has been done to discourage people from following those pursuits.

Just here I should like to again refer to the McConachie case, and again to direct the attention of the minister to that case.

McConachie is a Scotchman who fought in the war, afterwards coming to Canada to work and make a home. Then he sent for his wife and five children to join him in this country. Before leaving they were inspected by two government doctors, and they underwent a further inspection on the boat, being passed by all three examiners. When they came to Halifax, however, the little fourteen-months old child was turned down and ordered from the country. I speak of this again because I want to appeal to the Minister of Immigration on behalf of that family. The records show that the minister issued permits to persons almost blind, and to others reported by his own officers as feeble minded; he placed his signature on a permit which allowed a thief to remain in this country, but apparently up to the present he has no consideration at all for this Scotch woman and her little baby. What earthly harm could happen to this country even supposing that child were feeble minded? There would be no harm done at all for at least eight or ten years.

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?

John Warwick King

Mr. KING (Kootenay):

The child is

prohibited under the law.

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CON

John Wesley Edwards

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. EDWARDS (Frontenac):

Does the

minister state that?

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?

John Warwick King

Mr. KING (Kootenay):

Yes.

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CON

John Wesley Edwards

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. EDWARDS (Frontenac):

What about the 140 others who received special permits? They were also prohibited under the law. What about the feeble minded boy, of whom the government examiners said he did not know enough to even move out of the way of possible harm? He was prohibited under the law; the officers reported he could not be expected to make enough money to provide for himself in Canada. He was prohibited under the law, but the permit of the minister allowed him to remain in Canada. What about the young man who came here and became a thief as a means of livelihood? He was prohibited under the law, but the permit of the minister allowed him to remain. Is the minister going to show less consideration for this Scotch woman and her little baby than he has shown for the man who spent six months behind the bars of one of our prisons? I say, Mr. Speaker, that it is high time the Minister of Immigration asserted himself as a man of his race should. Belonging as he does to a race which has written its name all over the world with high honours, I appeal to him to throw off the shackles which prevent him from asserting himself over the heads of his department, who are ruining it and making it a joke throughout the country.

The Budget.

Mr. Edwards (Frontenac)

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LIB-PRO

Robert Forke (Minister of Immigration and Colonization)

Liberal Progressive

Mr. FORKE:

I will not admit a feeble

minded girl.

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CON

John Wesley Edwards

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. EDWARDS (Frontenac):

The minister will not admit a feeble minded girl but he will admit a feeble minded boy; he has done so. He will allow a thief to remain in the country; he will admit those who have occupied asylums on the other side of the ocean, as the permits show, but he will not admit a feeble minded child only fourteen months old because he is afraid this country will suffer damage. He will deprive the other children of that family of the love and care of their mother for a few years, rather than grant a permit to allow this little girl to remain in Canada. If that is the minister's final answer in the matter I am sorry for him. I am also sorry for this country that we have in the office of Minister of Immigration and Colonization a man who has been acting apparently merely as the tool or the subservient slave of those who are running his department.

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LIB-PRO

Robert Forke (Minister of Immigration and Colonization)

Liberal Progressive

Mr. FORKE:

You must change the act.

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CON

John Wesley Edwards

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. EDWARDS (Frontenac):

The act does not debar the minister from putting his name to permits and allowing people to come in and stay in this country who were turned down by his officials.

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LIB-PRO

Robert Forke (Minister of Immigration and Colonization)

Liberal Progressive

Mr. FORKE:

The act forbids me to admit that girl.

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CON

John Wesley Edwards

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. EDWARDS (Frontenac):

If the act

forbids the minister to admit the girl then the act forbids the minister to admit the one who served time in an asylum on the other side. But that is not the point.

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LIB-PRO

Robert Forke (Minister of Immigration and Colonization)

Liberal Progressive

Mr. FORKE:

The act forbids me to admit them.

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CON

Charles Hazlitt Cahan

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CAHAN:

But it gives the power to

issue a special permit.

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LIB-PRO

Robert Forke (Minister of Immigration and Colonization)

Liberal Progressive

Mr. FORKE:

No, it does not, and the

lawyers know it.

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CON

John Wesley Edwards

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. EDWARDS (Frontenac):

I do not

think the minister was influenced much by lawyers. I remember the time when he had not much use for them, but times have changed.

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LIB

John Campbell Elliott (Minister of Public Works)

Liberal

Mr. ELLIOTT:

He knows them better

now.

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CON

John Wesley Edwards

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. EDWARDS (Frontenac):

I should like to ask the minister, since he has interjected a reference or two, one straight question: Is

there or is there not anything in the act which would prevent him from issuing a permit for that mother and child to stay here for six months?

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LIB-PRO

Robert Forke (Minister of Immigration and Colonization)

Liberal Progressive

Mr. FORKE:

Yes there is. I have no

authority to let that girl in under the act. Any lawyer would know that if he turned to the act.

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CON

John Wesley Edwards

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. EDWARDS (Frontenac):

Then all I have to say is that the minister has not made a very careful investigation, because he has admitted others in violation of the act-

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February 28, 1928