In rising to offer my contribution to the debate on the budget I do so at least after some study and reflection, and any criticism I now offer has not for its object personal aggrandizement nor party politics. My remarks will be in strict accordance with the rules of debate, the purpose of which is
[Mr. Spotton. J
a contest between two opposing sides on a definite question, in this instance a question of such vital import to the people of Canada that every representative in parliament has a moral obligation to discuss it.
The immediate purpose of the debate which has now continued for a few weeks is to find out as far as is humanly possible whether the budget on which the present government has staked its reputation is one that satisfies the needs and aspirations of the Canadian people at the present time. The question, therefore, is clear and well defined: Is this budget, which was praised so loudly last evening by the Minister of Railways (Mr. Dunning) as well as by other government supporters, a budget which by its excellence, and its promise of economic expansion, in keeping with Canada's possibilities Is it a budget that will receive the support not merely of this house but also of the people of Canada? After studying it, I contend that the budget defines nothing, convinces no one, and confuses many. Even the most ardent devotees of the government, who in this house and in the press support it, do not, if we are to judge by their comments, endorse the budget as if it were intrinsically sound. The great mass of the Canadian people, when they come thoroughly to understand it, will not be satisfied with it. Nor do I think that the hon. the Minister of Finance (Mr. Robb) who sponsored [DOT]the budget considers it sound himself. As the minister read the budget speech the other day I felt that he was merely the instrument of master minds who had! for their object not the good of the people of Canada but the desire to remain in office and hold the reins of government. That was the thought that struck me, and there came to my mind at the time a verse in Spencer's Faerie Queene wherein Archimago, the enchantor, could confuse all who came within his environment. The words that I recall appear in canto 2, and I think they will be understood by everyone in this house:
He then devised himself how to disguise;
For by his mighty science he could take As many forms and shapes in seeming wise,
As ever Proteus to himself did make. Sometimes a fowl, sometimes a fish in lake, Now like a fox, now like a dragon fell,
That of himself he oft for fear would quake, And oft would flie away.
The conviction that this budget is not in keeping with the spirit of the Canadian people in this great moment of need deepened as I heard more of the debate. When I heard the hon. member for St. Lawrence^St. George (Mr. Cahan), the hon.- member for South Waterloo (Mr. Edwards), the hon. member for Parry Sound (Mr. Arthurs), and, later on,
The Budget-Mr. Brady
members to my left, particularly the hon. member for Southeast Grey (Miss Macphail), I was more convinced that the budget would never attain the limit of the possibilities which the government expects of it. There are members of this government and sections of the Liberal press who are accusing the Conservative party of injuring the Dominion in the eyes of the world by daring to assert that Canada is not enjoying to the full the prosperity which is suggested in the budget. That there is prosperity in Canada we all admit; that it is as general as the budget, implies we deny. I contend, and I hope to prove my contention in the few minutes at my disposal, that under the present Liberal government Canada's prosperity is neither as general as it is painted nor as widespread as it should be. Canada should be a land of opportunity for all and not a land of opportunity for some, as the present government- and hon. gentlemen opposite know it-is making her. We on this side of the house as well as members of the government take pride in our country; we as well as they want our children to live in Canada and enjoy to the full the blessings of life. We deplore the fact that the future of this country is being endangered by the lack of policy of the present government, or rather the destructive tendency of that so-called policy which, is certainly not constructive. The onus of proving this prosperity lies with the government, but so far they have failed to prove their assertion, and the consensus of public opinion is against their contention. Anyone who has a knowledge of the conditions prevailing today throughout a great part of Canada-I might even say over the length and breadth of Canada-must admit that our young industries are being strangled, our settlement checked and our sons and daughters driven to take up foreign citizenship by force cf circumstance. I therefore believe, sir, that the hour has come when the people of Canada should know once and for all whether the Liberal government is the working man's government, as they desire to be known. I am going to make a statement now which no member of this house can contradict, and I think once it is established it will decide exactly the difference of policy between the opposition and the government. That statement, sir, is that any policy which by its operation is sending our people out to assume foreign citizenship, by which our country is made the poorer, and the other country "irridentist" stands condemned; while any policy which keeps our man power within Canada and adds to our population the best type of immigrants from other countries, must receive universal approbation.
I ask this house and the people of Canada which of these policies is now in force. Prosperity has been spoken of not only to-day but in the years past. In the palmiest days of the Roman Empire prosperity was often mentioned; Rome was the centre of wealth while the common people were kept in poverty, little more than slaves. The same was true in France before the days of the French revolution.
I wish to say here that the policy of the Liberal government with regard to immigration and the development of our natural resources is a setback to the future of this country. I ask any right thinking man or woman to ponder this question for a moment; upon what do our provinces depend? They depend upon their natural resources and their development. From Nova Scotia with its coal, its iron and its steel to British Columbia with its forest products, its mines and its fisheries, this is true. What is the government doing to help Canada develop these resources to the utmost and produce the finished article in our own country? My answer is that the government is doing very little. Under our present immigration scheme we are taking in raw material in shape of unskilled labour from other countries, but we are sending out to foreign countries our highly trained, technical young men and women. They naturally go to the United States where greater opportunities exist, and there they assist in the finishing of our raw materials. After this is done the finished products are sent back to us, and our country is thus prevented from developing as it should and we do not reap the benefit of the initiative, vigor and scholarship of the products of our schools and universities.
We must remember that we are spending millions of dollars to-day in the education of our young people. We only need to consider the nine provinces to see how much money is being spent in training our boyhood and girlhood in our universities to take up technical work, particularly in science and industrial chemistry. After they have received this training, what happens? They go to these places where their knowledge will be of service, and I say that any policy which does not have as one of its main attributes the retention of these highly trained young men and women deserves the censure of all right thinking people.
Referring to the question of immigration, which was lightly touched upon a few moments ago, as an echo of the McConachie case which occupied the attention of the people of this country a week ago I have another example which is very interesting. I
The Budget-Mr. Brady