I shall leave my hon. friend in the judgment of Hansard to-morrow morning.
I agree with your ruling, Mr. Speaker, and I submit to it. I feel that at the next election the people of the maritime provinces will vindicate the position I have taken.
In reference to the resolution introduced by the hon. member for South Cape Breton (Mr. Macdonald), I rise to give it my support. I believe it has behind it one hundred per cent of the public sentiment of the maritime prov-
Steel Industry-Mr. Macdougall
inces. It deals with the fact that this government appointed a commission to investigate maritime claims; that they promised one hundred per cent implementation of the recommendations of that commission, and that they have failed to implement to the extent of one hundred per cent the recommendations of the commission. It deals specifically with the question of the Nova Scotia iron and steel industry. That question is one of vital importance, and one which must be considered not only on provincial grounds but also on national grounds, and on the ground of empire considerations as well. On provincial grounds it is of very great importance to Nova Scotia, because around and about that industry there have grown up many of the most populous centres in that province. The city of Sydney, and the towns of North Sydney, Sydney Mines, New Glasgow, Trenton and Stellarton, with very substantial populations, are all entirely dependent for their very existence on the success or failure of the Nova Scotia steel industry. They furnish the principal home market for the agricultural products of the farmers for many miles surrounding these towns.
May I point out also that there is an interdependence between the Nova Scotia steel industry and the Nova Scotia coal industry. When working at full capacity the Nova Scotia steel industry is capable of consuming, and does consume, over a million tons of Nova Scotia coal per year. You can see, Mr. Speaker, how very important to the province of Nova Scotia is the welfare of this industry in respect of which we are asking the government for assistance. We are asking not for any special assistance but for that assistance which was recommended by a tribunal of their own creation.
This is a question which should appeal to every hon. member of this house on national grounds. If you will look into the industrial history of those nations which are to-day pre-eminent in wealth, in power and in population, you will find that every one of them owes that pre-eminent position to a careful fostering of its coal and steel industries. We in this country in the years that are to come, no matter what government may be in power -although the continuation in power of my hon. friends opposite may somewhat retard industrial progress-are bound to achieve a great industrial expansion. In not so many years we will have a highly industrialized country. Wei will have opportunities for employment, not for ten million but probably for one hundred million people. We will have myriads of opportunities for employment for our own sons and daughters, and for many others who come from foreign lands. We must be careful, therefore, to foster and protect those industries which are of national and basic importance, which are wrapped up with the industrial future of this country.
We who sit in these seats to-night are not legislating merely for our own generation, nor for this year; we must not look through the eyes of years or of decades. In dealing with national problems we must look through the eyes of centuries; we must follow those policies which, while at present involving perhaps some sacrifice, in the course of years will redound to the industrial and political advantage of our country. No nation which has attained a pre-eminent position in respect of population or wealth or power has done so by ignoring its coal and steel industries. This question is one not only of national but of empire importance. I do not know whether some hon. gentlemen opposite take much stock in that statement or not. Amid all this din and clatter and idle chatter about a new status being achieved, about Canada being at last a sovereign state, about our having wrested, as it were, a Magna Charta of Canadian liberties as if from some foreign and tyrannical power; amid all the signs and portents which indicate that this country is slowly and surely but blindly drifting towards independence from the motherland, there be those of us in this country who, yclept old-fashioned if you will, still think that there is something of value and virtue not only in strengthening the bonds that bind this great young nation to this great old empire, but in attempting also to foster and develop industries which are of empire importance. The Nova Scotia steel industry is an industry of that character. It is the only steel industry which has its roots in British soil, whose roots are indigenous to the British Empire. We have no other of the same nature in the empire. Should we not from empire considerations do what is fair, reasonable and just to see to it that this industry, so vitally important to Nova Scotia, to our nation, and to that great empire to which it is our priceless'privilege to belong, should not be allowed to deteriorate and to die?
There is more than that concerned in this matter. We have had a commission investigating maritime claims, a commission which was appointed by the sheer force of public opinion, a public opinion created by members on this side of the house and by the Conservative party in the maritime provinces. We had that commission go down to the mari-
Steel Industry-Mr. Macdougall
time provinces where it held many hearings and I greatly regret the fact that the eloquent voice and the great intellectual gifts of the Minister of National Defence (Mr. Ralston), who represents Nova Scotia in the cabinet, were not used before that commission. I greatly regret the fact that the hon. member for, Hants-Kings (Mr. Ilsley) did not appear before the commission and I still more deeply regret the fact that no outstanding Liberal in the maritime provinces appeared before the commission to give evidence. But leaving that aside for the moment, may I point out that as a result of the evidence submitted to that commission, as a result of the masterly case presented to them by the Hon. Gordon S. Harrington, the best and, indeed, the only real minister of mines we have ever had in Nova Scotia, the commission on page 38 of the report made a specific recommendation in regard to the Nova Scotia steel indusirj There is no equivocation, qualification or camouflage about that recommendation There is no way of getting out of it at all except to ignore it altogether and unfortunately that is what the government has so far done. That recommendation is definite. It does not say that this thing should not be done until a year hence. It does not say that this thing should not be done because of the supposed abuses in the capitalization of the company. It does hot say that this thing should not be done because there was litigation pending. It says simply that this should be done, and so far. the Prime Minister and his government have refused to do it.
But the situation is worse than that. The Prime ; Minister and many of his supporters promised the people of the maritime provinces one hundred per cent fulfilment of the Duncan report. One of the most novel experiences I ever had in my life was during the last federal election. I came to address a meeting in the town of Port Hawkesbury the very next night after the Prime Minister was there, and in going up to the hall I was compelled to walk under a banner bearing this strange device: " The Liberal party under Mackenzie King stands for protection for steel and coal I am not accusing my right hon. friend of putting the banner there, but it was there just the same. That was certainly a banner with a strange device, if we are to take into consideration the way in which my hon. friends opposite have used these industries in the past few years. Some hon. gentlemen may think it is unimportant, trifling, for a government to pledge its plighted word and then to go back on it. I do not see eye to eye with that view. There are in this country, as there are in other countries, men
who are ever willing to ridicule and to bring into disfavour constituted authority, and one: of the best ways in which to have constituted authority degraded, detested and despised is to have those who are responsible for enforcing that authority violate their plighted word to the people to whom they have given it. That is the situation in regard to the bfova Scotia steel industry. No quibbling, no delving into the mists of political antiquity will obscure that fact. It is there in the commission's report. No one can obscure it and no one can deny it. We stand for one hundred per cent implementation of the Duncan report.
I was interested in the speech delivered on the budget by my very excellent friend, the Minister of National Defence. At this point let me say that I admire the hon. gentleman very much. I say in all sincerity that my hon. friend has had a distinguished record both in peace and in war. For a number of years he has been a luminary of the Nova Scotia bar. He is a credit to himself and a Credit to the province whence he came. But the speech which he made on the budget, in which he dealt with the steel industry of Nova Scotia, was no credit to him. I was sorry to see such a worthy man attempting to uphold such an unworthy cause. Instead of coming out man-fashion as has been his wont, and saying to us, "I tried to get this thing through, or I did not; I am in favour of this thing, or I am not," he delved into the mists of political antiquity and went back to tell us of the Hon. W. S. Fielding and what he had done over thirty years ago for the Nova Scotia steel industry. We in Nova Scotia appreciate what that great old statesman from the province of Nova Scotia did for us. We honour and revere his memory, but every schoolboy in Nova Scotia, if it is a question of who first did something for the Nova Scotia steel industry, will answer that the first assistance ever given to the Nova Scotia steel industry was given by a Conservative government under Sir Charles Tupper. But I wish to tell my hon. and excellent friend, the Minister of National Defence (Mr. Ralston) that the men who are without work in Trenton, the men who are without work in New Glasgow, the men who are without work in Sydney Mines and the city of Sydney, are not very much interested in what Mr. Fielding and Sir Charles Tupper did thirty-fiye years ago. We are no longer living in the past in the province of Nova Scotia. Not the spell of the setting of yester's sun, but the vision of the dawn of a new day-that is the inspiration of our little province by the sea. I do not wish to criticize my hon. friend at all, but it is well known
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that evil communications corrupt good manners, and my hon. friend was for some time in local politics, fortunately not for very long, but for some little time he was in the school of Murray and of Armstrong, a school of evasion, where you could not get a direct , answer to a direct question if circumlocution could be used. He was trained in that school for years until the people of his native county, Cumberland, realizing his sterling worth and his great ability, charitably turned him down at the polls that he might not follow those people any longer. But, sir, I fear that that school of evasion has had some little effect on my hon. friend, because instead of coming right out here and saying, "The government is going to do this thing for Nova Scotia, or it is not," he made a laboured speech in which he attempted to show that thirty-five or forty years ago the Liberal party had done so-and-so for Nova Scotia.
Let me repeat, we in Nova Scotia are not any longer interested in what happened thirty-five or forty years ago. A commission has been appointed to deal with the rights of the province of Nova Scotia and the other maritime provinces within confederation. It took three years of agitation, three years in which to crystallize public opinion before that commission was appointed. Their recommendations have been favourable to the maritime provinces. We in the maritime provinces have played an honourable part ever since we entered confederation. We played a worthy part in the consummation of confederation itself. and now we come to this parliament, not as suppliants, not as mendicants, not as beggars, but as the representatives of a free people asking that justice be done; asking that the recommendations made by an impartial tribunal. the creation of this government itself, shall be fulfilled to the letter. For that the representatives of the maritime provinces on this side of the house stand. For that no reasonable man can criticize us, and for that we shall stand until these recommendations are implemented one hundred per cent by the parliament of Canada.