March 23, 1931

CON

James Langstaff Bowman

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. J. L. BOWMAN (Dauphin):

May I

join with those hon. members who have already spoken in extending to the mover and seconder of the address in reply to the speech from the throne my congratulations upon the very able and excellent manner in which their duties have been discharged. May I also commend the Prime Minister (Mr. Bennett) and his cabinet for the very earnest and sincere efforts put forth by them towards the solution of those grave problems with which they have been faced since assuming office, and the great measure of success with which these efforts have met. I would also express the appreciation which is felt by the people of Canada.

It is, of course, to be expected that remarks of this nature would be made on this side of the house. But to my mind a much greater tribute to the government of the day has undoubtedly been paid them unconsciously by hon. members opposite. This debate has been in progress for approximately a week. During that time the right hon. the leader of the opposition (Mr. Mackenzie King) has spoken in a fervent and eloquent address, every word of which denoted the most careful preparation; and he has been followed by many hon. members opposite in addresses in similar vein. But during all those addresses we have not had a single constructive suggestion from the opposite side of the house, saving that which I think was made by the hon. member for Macleod (Mr. Coote) with respect to currency. This, it seems to me, indicates pretty definitely that in the main what should have been done in the way of good government has been done by the government in power to-day.

May I, as representing a constituency in western Canada much interested in agriculture, say a few words in that regard. Sentiments with respect to agriculture have been expressed by so many hon. members that it is pretty difficult to speak on the subject without more or less repeating what has already been said. But very briefly, the situation in agricultural communities is this: that the farmer is not realizing for his agricultural products returns in proportion to what he is paying for the goods which he purchases. There are one or two matters in that connection to which I might definitely refer. There has been in the west for many years a very strong feeling that the price of machinery to the farmer is too high. That opinion has been prevailing in my own constituency not only since 1929 but for some years previously. They have the idea, and I must say it is an idea shared by myself, that the cost of farm machinery is altogether too high. I have not seen last year's financial statement of the Massey-Harris Company, but I understand that that statement purports to show a loss of approximately two million dollars. If that is true-and I have no reason to doubt the truth of the statement-then something 13 wrong somewhere. Judging from the experience of the farmers in my own district, I would say it is because of one thing at least. The company were not selling as much machinery as they should, and the only reason they are not selling that machinery is the fact that it is beyond the means of the farmer in western Canada.

Personally, I do not know, I frankly confess, whether the price of farm machinery is too high or not. But there surely is a way for this house to find out the facts, and I would offer this very humble suggestion. We hav? a standing committee on agriculture empowered, I understand, to bring before it any person or persons to give evidence upon any points respecting which evidence is desired, and I would suggest that the machine companies of Canada be brought before that committee. In that way we should find out what ought to be proper prices, or whether prices are right or not. We shall know definitely just what margin of profit there has been on these articles and whether or not they can be sold at what would appear to be a less prohibitive price.

The hon. member who has just spoken (Mr. Casgrain) referred to the Canadian Pacific Railway scheme announced by the president of that railway, Mr. Beatty. I agree with the hon. gentleman that some good may come of this cooperation. But I say this, that the amount of capital is so small that it is entirely inadequate to meet the call even in western Canada or in a very small portion of western Canada to-day. I do think there is one thing that the farmers throughout Canada desire to-day, and that is credit. I think perhaps the west would have been better off in years past if we had had less credit. But the fact remains that we have become accustomed to receiving credit from the banks, and now when it is needed most we find it pretty well cut off in agricultural communities. I say that in no spirit of animosity to the banks at all; I am merely stating the simple fact that in my own constituency, as well as in others in the west, credit to farmers who are deserving of credit has not been given.

The question of interest rates is important. I think the interest rates in the west are too

The Address-Mr. Bowman

high. They might very well be adjusted. I am not asking credit on behalf of the farmer without any means or without something behind him; all I ask is that the banks extend reasonable credit on a reasonable basis of security.

Much has been said with respect to the price of wheat. Surely no fault can be attributed to this government for the present price of wheat. I note in the reference to wheat by the hon. gentleman who has just spoken, that he simply calls the attention of the house to the fact that the price of wheat has gone down since this government assumed office. I note this, however, that there has been no suggestion at any time since this house opened, from any hon. member opposite, as to what could or might have been done by the government to increase the price of wheat. And so in respect also to the matter of butter. Had we not so many millions upon millions of pounds of butter in cold storage brought in from New Zealand, perhaps the price in Canada to-day would be much better than it is.

There have also come from many quarters of the house tales of hardship from western Canada. I would say, in respect to the province of Manitoba where I have lived practically all of my life, that the people of that province are not broke. They may be badly bent, but they are still in the field and they will see this thing through. All that we in Manitoba ask is that the agricultural interests of western Canada be assisted to the greatest possible extent.

I wish to refer to certain remarks made in the house on Friday last by the hon. member for Montmagny (Mr. LaVergne) when he intimated that the foreign elements of western Canada were undesirable, inclined to bolshevism and the cause of racial division in the west. Surely my hon. friend has been misinformed. Let me say definitely and positively that western Canada is not racially divided. What little talk of secession there has been in the west has been grossly exaggerated; a mountain has been made out of a molehill, and anyone having a knowledge of the situation will agree with the statement of the hon. member for Regina (Mr. Turnbull) that there is no substantial movement for secession in western Canada. Let me further emphasize that the few in number who have been responsible for all the furore are by no means all foreign-born. Speaking for Manitoba, the oldest province in the west, I have yet to hear of a single suggestion of secession from any person in my province. The bare thought of it does not exist and I would remind the

bouse that the population of Manitoba is approximately 675,000. In the next place, if there are in Canada people holding bolshevistic or communistic ideas, they are certainly few in number and are not confined to the west any more than to the east, nor are they people of any particular nationality.

Speaking with particular reference to my constituency, I represent a fairly large riding in the western provinces. I think those on the voters' list number 15,000 to 17,000 people. Approximately .one-half of the population of my constituency is composed of people from continental Europe. These people came to Manitoba after the lands close to the railway lines had been picked up and settled by our own Canadian people. The lands were of poorer quality and harder to bring under cultivation. Nevertheless, these people tackled the proposition, and under these handicaps they have made good. They have brought under cultivation and production and made revenue-bearing lands which but for them would be idle to-day. Operating as they do, perhaps, on a smaller scale, being more interested in mixed farming and being more economical in their methods of operation, they are coming through these trying times better in many cases than some of our own people who have operated on a much larger scale. These people are exceedingly anxious to learn the English language. Their children all go to the public schools. Their children are particularly apt and bright, and in many instances they are at the head of their class in both the public and high schools. Many of the young men and women have attended the university and they are to-day occupying positions of honour in professional and business life ..in all parts of Canada. Owing to their thriftiness and industry they form an integral part of the business life of western Canada. In their homes, as anyone will testify who has visited them, they are most hospitable. They are interested in all things that tend toward the betterment of conditions in the home or in the community. Moreover, practically all these people are naturalized Canadians, and as such, they are entitled to all the rights and privileges of citizens of Canada. To sum the matter up, giving my personal opinion, I would say they were industrious, home-loving and loyal Canadian citizens.

I do not ask the house to accept my opinion alone. I should like to refer to a competition which was held in western Canada last year and which I understand will be held again this year amongst continental Europeans in the west, a community progress competition which originated with Doctor Black, Director of Colonization and Immigration on the Canadian

The Address-Mr. Bowman

National. Let us see what the objects are of this contest. I have in my hand an off-print from Queen's Quarterly, setting forth an article on "continental Europeans in western Canada" by Doctor Walter Murray, President of the University of Saskatchewan. In this pamphlet Doctor Murray states that the basis of judgment of the committees which had the matter in hand was as follows:

The committees were to be judged by their progress in education, in agriculture, in citizenship and in the arts, handicrafts and activities that minister to the home and social life.

Doctor Murray goes on to give a little more definite information as to education, agrioulture, citizenship and so forth.

For evidence of citizenship, a considerable variety of activities were considered, such as participation in cooperative enterprises, community organizations, such as agricultural societies, homemakers' clubs, clubs for boys and girls, school fairs, and, above all, activities for the promotion of health in the school, the home and the community.

May I call the attention of hon. members to the personnel of the judging staff. In Manitoba there were Doctor Mackay, principal of Manitoba college, Mrs. David Watt, at one time president of the Federated Women's Institutes of Canada and Brother Joseph, principal of Provencher school at St. Boniface. For the province of Saskatchewan, Doctor Murray, president of the university, headed the committee, with Mrs. McNaughton, for years a worker and leader among the farm women, and Doctor Hugh Rose of Dartmouth college, a Manitoba Rhodes scholar who spent fifteen years studying the background of the European races and in Alberta Dr. Wallace, president of Alberta university, Miss Gunn, for years president of the United Farm Women and Dr. Fairfield, superintendent of the Dominion experimental farm at Lethbridge.

I think that hon. members of the house will agree that these judges were leaders in education and in social welfare and community work in western Canada.

What did the judges say with respect to the conditions which they found among these continental Europeans who had settled in Canada? Dr. Black went to Saskatoon during the time the competition was on and there delivered an address to the Canadian club. Subsequently he made a summary of that address, which summary I have in my hand. Dr. Black opens this summary in the following manner:

The community progress competitions among European settlements in the west, which we inaugurated last year, have already demonstrated that among the many thousands of

settlers who have come to us from other countries in the past half century, there is found material of the finest type for the building of a splendid Canadian citizenship, with great gifts of industry and integrity.

I omitted to mention in the proper chronological order that in this contest in the three provinces forty communities entered representing about 125,000 persons, 600 schools and nearly 25,000 school children. Thirteen different nationalities of European extraction were represented. What did the judges find as they went about during their judging of the contest?

Everywhere the judges were received with kindness and a courtesy characteristic of Europe at its best. It is difficult to give an accurate picture of one's impressions. Perhaps the most general impression was great surprise and pleasure at the progress made, and the prospect of further advancement. These people have come to Canada to make homes for themselves and their children, not to make fortunes to take back to Europe or to the coast where they may live in idleness. They were industrious and thrifty and have a love for the soil. While they retain an affection for the land of their birth, its customs, language and history, they are anxious to be regarded as Canadians. Some groups resent the use of any other name than Canadian, and all sing "O Canada" and the National Anthem with a fervour and a vigour that put the native-born to shame.

That quotation is from the pamphlet by Dr. Murray, to which I have already referred. Dr. Murray goes on to say:

It may be said that the school buildings, their equipment, sanitary arrangements and grounds are as good as those found in eastern Canada, in some cases better. The efforts put forth for their school by these settlers from continental Europe, and their appreciation of the value of education surpass those of the Canadian or British. In some districts the rate for schools exceeds thirty mills. In one district three families [DOT] practically assumed responsibility for a new school building and the support of a teacher. The ambitions of the children and of the parents for their children to go to high school, normal school or university, was surprising.

Let me read what Dr. Black has to say in summarizing the results of the competition in each of the three western provinces:

In Alberta our first prize community is a twenty-year old settlement of Ukrainians, with a highly satisfactory record of progress. Most of the farm homes in the district are of a modern type, and the schools are astonishingly well equipped and conducted.

Dr. Black summarizes the situation in Saskatchewan in the following words:

In Saskatchewan the story was one of continual surprises. Our first prize community is a German settlement of more than thirty years' standing peopled by hard working, thrifty settlers, who radiate an air of plenty and prosperity, but who have their own stories of hardships endured.

The Address-Mr. Bowman

The findings of the judges in Manitoba were summarized as follows:

In Manitoba we found communities of Ukrainians, Poles, Dutch and German Menno-nites, and other nationalities, which not only revealed to us amazing tales of pioneer struggles and hardships, but gave evidence of success won from agricultural conditions which I doubt very much if many Anglo-Saxons would have had the patience and fortitude to stick it out. In the far northern Ukrainian community of Ethelbert-

I might mention that Ethelbert is in my own constituency. Ethelbert won a prize in this contest. I must admit, however, that they took second place to the prize won by Rossburn in the constituency of my hon. friend from Marquette (Mr. Mullins). To continue:

In the far northern Ukrainian community of Ethelbert the judges saw again examples of success won over thirty years of struggle with difficult agricultural conditions, and heard educational records of the large public and high school in that community which were on a level with the best in the province. . . .

Wherever the judges went they heard continually of the sacrifices made by these people from other lands that their children might have full advantage of the educational facilities we provide here for them. No sacrifice seems to have been too great for this purpose.

In all the communities visited our party had evidence in abundance of the industry and genius of the people in these communities, and of their wonderful attainments in handicrafts and music, for everywhere they went they were entertained in the most charming fashion with music of choirs and of gifted soloists; with native dancing, and in all places we saw exhibits of exquisite handicraft.

With respect to the English language and the learning of it, may I quote again from Dr. Black's speech to the Canadian club? He says:

It has also established beyond question, I think, that there is no English language problem in these communities. In every school visited, and the judges made it a point to visit at least four schools in each community, the language was well taught and well spoken in all grades above grade one.

While my own opinion in matters such as this would only be my own opinion, I do submit to this house that the opinion of men and women of the character of the judges who were in charge of this contest is entitled to the respect of hon. members of this house. In this connection may I say finally that as a new member of this house I have endeavoured to render a small measure of justice to those new Canadians in western Canada of whom I think we have no reason to feel ashamed.

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UFA

Alfred Speakman

United Farmers of Alberta

Mr. ALFRED SPEAKMAN (Red Deer):

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come out to the prairies to push the boundaries of civilization further westward, to open up for Canada and the empire a great new country. They faced the future with unparalleled courage and boundless optimism. They faced with a smile all the troubles of drought, hail, frost, wind and inseot pests, all the privations and the loneliness which must be the lot of a pioneer community. As I say, they went through it with a smile because they always saw before them as a sure objective that comparative comfort, that modest competence which was their aim. I will give the house one illustration of the type of people they are, because, as I have said, you must understand the type before you can appreciate what a lack of morale means there and how serious must be the situation to-day.

Amongst my neighbours, a few miles from my own farm, were a young married couple, a soldier settler and his wife, with a family of three young children. That year by dint of tremendous sacrifice and unstinting labour, they had brought under cultivation and seeded in wheat a fairly large area for a small farm. The prospects of a good crop were very promising, and day after day, night after night, the husband and wife would talk about what that crop meant for them. It meant to them all those things that they had been obliged to do without, all those little conveniences for the home and farm which they needed, new elothes for the wife and children, a new suit for the husband, boots and shoes and toys for Christmas. Then like a bolt from the blue came a western hailstorm and in five minutes not a vestige of their crop remained. Gone were all their hopes. But they did not sit down and whine about it. The wife said to the children, "Let us gather up the hail and have ioe cream for dinner." The man said, "With all that moisture what a splendid crop we shall have next year." That is the type-the greatest "next year" people in the world; the world's greatest optimists. And, Mr. Speaker, when I hear those men whom I have known for forty years characterized as whiners and growlers, my gorge rises.

Now, what is the situation at the present time? Bad, as I have stated it; for the first time hundreds of men I know are wondering whether it is worth while to put in a crop. They are prepared to gamble with nature, but to-day they say the dice are loaded against them. If they do get a good crop what is the use of selling it at present day prices? Many more are without a dollar with which to carry on. They go to the bank-that institution

created by the law of this country to meet such an emergency-and find that their credit is gone and not one dollar is available for them. What are they to do? Sometimes when I have nothing better to do I read the addresses given by some of our bank presidents and leading financiers in which they state in glowing terms the future of this country of illimitable natural resources, and in particular they express their confidence in the inherent soundness of our western agriculture and their belief that it will enjoy a state of prosperity greater than was ever known before. But, sir, actions speak louder than words, and which conveys the true opinion held by those at the head of our banks and financial institutions, the words they address to their shareholders at the annual meetings, or their attitude when a western farmer goes to his local bank for a loan? Our western farmer finds it impossible to obtain a loan. There is a growing feeling to-day throughout western Canada that a financial system which can only function when times are good, when there is business expansion and rising prices, but which fails miserably and abjectly during times of distress, is not an adequate financial system for this country. The people of western Canada appreciate the statements of the bankers that their duty is to protect their depositors-those overworked widows and orphans whom we always hear about at such a time-whose meagre savings are placed in the care of the banker. Anyone who gives the most superficial study to banking knows that only a very small percentage of loans are made from deposits. But, taking the statement of the bankers at its face value, we have come to the conclusion that if their main function is the safety of their depositors, and if to perform that function they must sacrifice the credit, the needs of the nation,-I say we have come to the conclusion that if that is the case we must find some other financial system with which to seoure that credit. We may have to have a national system of banking-and that is my own thought-but if the present system will not function we must establish another that will where we have the necessary security, I am more optimistic than most of the bankers themselves as disclosed by their actions. I believe that eventually when things have gotten so bad that every government will be obliged to face the situation, proper policies will be adopted and we shall have a great future for agriculture.

As I have said the present outlook is discouraging. The future is somewhat black. I have been asked many a time, is it the fault of the present government. Well, Mr. MARCH 23, 1931

The Address-Mr. Speakman

Speaker, to be perfectly frank, I will say, no, in the main it is not. The present government, in my opinion, is not largely responsible for the situation; nor was it fair, months ago, to attribute entire responsibility to the former government. In the main these conditions are due to world conditions, conditions which might have been corrected in days gone by, which might be corrected now, if governments were not so wedded to old concepts of what was good and what is good. But I am not blaming the present government. I do suggest, however, this- and I shall at this moment saddle the government with no greater responsibility than they themselves have assumed, no more, no less. The members of the present government when in opposition stated that they had diagnosed the complaint and had a remedy. All over the country, men-those who supported them and those who opposed them at the last election-are asking that some of those pledges be redeemed. I am not blaming the government at the moment. They have been in power only a few months, and they have had neither the time nor the opportunity to go into the present situation in any large way. But it is fair to say to them: This is the session when we expect that to be done. This is the time of opportunity, and upon the attempt at least made this session they shall be judged. Not only do I wish them well, in that effort, Mr. Speaker, but as it is their bounden duty as a government to provide these remedies it is also my bounden duty as a Canadian, representing agriculture, to do all I can to help them if they are willing to try.

We can go a little further than that, however. As I said, I am not seeking a scapegoat; I am seeking a remedy, and perhaps nothing can be more ironic or can more completely illustrate the futility of many partisan speeches than what is actually happening to-day. For nine years-and I am taking the words of my hon. friends opposite-we had a government in power which sacrificed agriculture, which gave away their markets and which did nothing for that industry. Now we have a government in power pledged to restore those markets and to see that agriculture has a fair deal. Yet during the last two or three months, for the first time in the history of my province Danish bacon is displacing local bacon on the markets of Alberta. That is not altogether the fault of the government; it simply shows how little governments have done or can do, in a general way. But there are some reasons for that. Coming down to the facts, how is it possible 22110-M

for the Danish farmer to buy grain in Alberta, to pay the transportation costs to Denmark, to feed and process his hogs there and to ship the bacon back here and undersell us? Here is one reason. Some little time ago, when hogs were selling at 51 cents per pound, the average price of bacon was 40 cents per pound, a spread of 7 to 1 as between the hog and the finished article. I am not taking breakfast bacon and the higher grades, but merely the average price. In Denmark at the same time the Danish farmer was receiving 71 cents and bacon was selling at 22 cents, a spread of only 3 to 1. It is impossible for any class of producer in this country to compete on terms like those, with the processing spread of 7 to 1 on his part between the raw material and the finished article, as against a 3 to 1 spread of his competitors. It cannot be done. I urge upon this government one thing at least that they may do to help; they should establish one or more experimental processing plants to see if it is not possible to diminish that tremendous spread and allow us to compete.

Then I will go a step further. Our only hope as far as bacon is concerned-and that is important because of the prospect of continued low grain prices and because even now a tremendous increase has taken place throughout the prairies in the number of feeder hogs in the pens, and in a few months there will be a tremendous surplus of hogs-our only hope is to get on the foreign and particularly the British markets. What keeps us from doing that? It is not because of the quality; our bacon is as good as can be found anywhere, and is welcomed by the British consumer. The fact is that the British dealer will not take the trouble to build up a demand for Canadian bacon unless he is sure he can fill that demand from week to week and month to month. In former times we only sent a little shipment to England when prices were low locally or in the United States, and that movement was cut off when prices went up again in our local markets. I ask the government-and I am only expressing what was asked by the convention of the United Farmers of Alberta last January-that a conference be called as soon as possible, because the need is urgent and there is no time to delay, between the packers of this country and representative producers, to see if we cannot guarantee a weekly or monthly delivery of some percentage of our hogs to the British market, in order to build up and hold some kind of market there.

We have been asked to give some practical suggestions. These are not very large, but I believe they are practical suggestions which, if applied, might at least assist us during

The Address-Mr. Speakman

these hard times which are ahead of us. These are small matters, but they are none the less important.

There is something, however, much greater and much more necessary than these. Assume for a moment, Mr. Speaker, that some intelligent inhabitant of Mars or of some other world could be dropped into our midst today, someone capable of surveying the situation as it is and of comprehending the condition of affairs, without any previous knowledge of our history or of the systems we apply. What would he find? I think he might be pardoned if he said we were a strange race, a mixture of wisdom and imbecility, of knowledge and utter lack of wisdom, because he would find here a people above the average in intelligence and in the application of mechanical science and ingenuity. He would find a country second to none in native fertility and natural resources. He would find everywhere an accumulation of wealth in usable form side by side with the most abject poverty. We speak of markets, and I understand the need for outside markets as well as any man. I know that upon our foreign trade, our export trade, the western farmer must live, and that without it he must die as far as production is concerned, but there is another market than that. Our friends opposite like to speak of a home market. So do I. Do my hon. friends opposite realize for one moment the potential extent, the potential value of that market? I will give another illustration, because sometimes illustrations will convey a fact which it is difficult to drive home in any other way. A few months ago I was in Calgary, and I saw two things which impressed me tremendously, taken in juxtaposition. The first was that the terminal elevator was full of wheat of excellent quality which could not be sold. The second was that during the same week the Calgary council put the unemployed on one meal, a day because they could not purchase food for them.

There is one of our markets at least, a market at our doors separated from us by no adverse tariff walls and by no great distances involving huge transportation costs. We must remember that every hungry adult and every under-nourished child is a potential customer for the goods produced by our farmers. That market is separated from us only by the folly of man, by the inadequacy of a bookkeeping system and a system of distribution and finance which no longer functions as it should. Can anybody say that system does function as it should? Why do we have recurrent cycles of depression? I cannot tell you, but I say I am no pessimist in that matter. Your

true pessimist is the man who says that depressions, such as we have had at different times and in varying degrees, are inevitable, like the law of gravity and the rising and setting of the sun. There is your true pessimist. I am an optimist, because I say that those depressions arise from man-made causes, and they are susceptible to human control. I am an optimist because, from the beginning of the world's history, every major problem which threatened the dissolution of civilization as it then existed, has been met and solved. This is a problem which must be met and solved also, but it will not be done if we are content to sit still and wait for times to be better. It will not be solved unless we are prepared, as courageous men-

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PRO

Agnes Campbell Macphail

Progressive

Miss MACPHAIL:

And women.

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UFA

Alfred Speakman

United Farmers of Alberta

Mr. SPEAKMAN:

I thought it was unnecessary to speak of the courage of the women. It will not be done unless we have the courage to go forward with new ideas and bring about new conditions. I have heard people speak of the menace of communism to this country, the menace of the ultra-radical who walks up and down this land scattering his false doctrines throughout the country. No man has ever accused me of having sympathy with those doctrines, Mr. Speaker. I have been accused sometimes of not being sufficiently radical, but I have never been accused of being too radical. I have no sympathy with those doctrines, believing them to be destructive rather than constructive, although I have a great deal of sympathy with the conditions out of which they have arisen. However, they are not the menace to-day; their own violence defeats their ends. The menace to-day is the self-complacent inertia of men who, themselves in comfortable circumstances, fail to realize what is going on in the world around them. If we do reach a state of chaos; if we do find ourselves in the midst of revolution, which God forbid, it would be those self-complacent gentlemen who would be responsible, those who having ears hear not what, is going on and what is said around them; those who having minds, supposedly, understand not, and who having eyes close them to the human suffering around them.

I have made two or three small suggestions in my own way; beyond .that I have no power to go. But I do suggest, as I suggested before-and it will stand reiteration for the sake of emphasis: We must first understand the situation, and to that end I have spoken in what sounds like a pessimistic strain. I have outlined the truth, as I know it, during these forty years and during late months. We must first recognize the problems and con-

The Address-Mr. Chevrier

ditions. There is no use being blind to them; there is no use saying all is well when all is not well. And then we must set ourselves to solve those problems. The responsibility must in the nature of things lie on the government in power; it cannot be otherwise. They have accepted the responsibility, and that responsibility they cannot evade, of going forward and doing what they said they would do- study, understand and apply the remedy. And this session is their opportunity. By it they will rise or they will fall. Never, in my opinion, was such a responsibility laid upon a government in late years; never was such an opportunity as that which belongs to this government to-day. I for one will reserve my judgment as to the agricultural policy of the government because the speech from the throne may mean anything or nothing. It may contain, within its vague references, the most beneficial legislation, or it may mean nothing. But for myself and for the constituents whom I represent, I say that we are prepared to give every opportunity, to make every allowance for the difficulties. But we are not prepared to accept any alibis. We are simply asking that the government in power, realizing the situation, and realizing the weight of the obligation which is theirs, shall perform what they undertook to do. If they do so, or if they make an honest attempt to do so, I can only assure them of all the assistance and sympathy which I can give.

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LIB

Edgar-Rodolphe-Eugène Chevrier

Liberal

Mr. E. R. E. CHEVRIER (Ottawa) (Translation) :

Mr. Speaker, to the hon. members who have moved and seconded the address in reply to the speech from the Throne, I extend my congratulations for their deserving efforts. Indeed, it needed great courage to say the things they uttered with reference to the present administration, and I trust that their constituents, in the next election, will not be too severe in this regard.

Before I discuss the speech from the throne I desire to say a few words in reference to the situation in which we find ourselves today. It is with considerable reluctance and with considerable diffidence that I do so, and my task is rendered easier by the fact that the hon. member for Montmagny (Mr. LaVergne), who is Deputy Speaker of this house, is at the moment occupying the Speaker's chair. For that circumstance at least I am not responsible. True, the high office of deputy speaker allows that the deputy speaker may take the chair on occasions such as this. The hon. member for Montmagny on Friday last took it upon himself to deliver to this house a speech which, Mr. Speaker, in my humble opinion, it would have been better had it not been delivered at all. The 22110-14 J

hon. gentleman invoked as a reason for the delivery of that speech the fact that he was speaking in the interests of his constituents.

I have read the contents of that speech and have not found anything in it that related directly to the interests of the constituents of Montmagny. The hon. gentleman also said that he wanted to put an end to old sores and wounds, but he spent four-fifths of his time in scratching the old wounds and laying bare the old sores, leaving the scrapings at the door of the Liberal administration. I shall not follow him in that way; I shall not endeavour to show that the hon. member was right or that he was wrong. But there has arisen out of that situation on Friday last a very peculiar one. The hon. gentleman has said that the position of deputy speaker does not exist in this house. I take his words from Hansard of March 20, at page 177:

It does not appear in the rules of the house; it does not appear in any of the comments of either Beauchesne, Bsurinot or May. I am only the chairman of the committee of the whole house.

I think it is most important that we should know whether there is such a position as deputy speaker in this house. I want no better authority than Beauchesne's Parliamentary Procedure. I am not so much concerned with May or Bourinot. I take Beauchesne, and at page 372 of the 1927 edition, under Standing Order 56, I find the following:

A chairman of committees who shall also be deputy speaker of the house shall be elected at the commencement of every parliament,-

Then section 2:

The member elected to serve as deputy speaker and chairman of committees shall be required to possess the full and practical knowledge of the language which is not that of Mr. Speaker for the time being.

Then section 3:

The member so elected as deputy speaker

And so forth. Then section 4:

In the absence of the deputy speaker-

And so on. That might be conclusive in itself, but I want to refer to the Rules and Forms of Beauchesne, the 1927 edition. Surely the hon. member for Montmagny, who is deputy speaker, is not without knowledge of the provision of rule 480, which I am about to quote. It reads:

The deputy speaker-

Not chairman of committees.

-receives an annual salary of $4,000, in addition to his sessional indemnity.

Surely the hon. member for Montmagny, who occupies the position of deputy speaker,

The Address-Mr. Chevrier

if he should desire to draw this salary over and above his indemnity, must do so as deputy speaker and not as chairman of committees.

The hon. member for Montmagny, at page 201 of unrevised Hansard of March 20, proceeds:

T trust that any mistakes I may make they will attribute to my poor education.

I have never heard such expressions of modesty from the hon. member for Montmagny in the past. His poor education? A little further down he says:

I speak to-day as a Conservative by conviction, not by education or birth.

Let me discuss these various words together. At page 202 the hon. member says:

I must say, as a Canadian of French descent, and a Conservative by education ....

Well, Mr. Speaker, I find myself in a very difficult situation, in that the hon. member for Montmagny is not in his place; the deputy speaker is not in his seat. I have to solve the difficulty as best I can. The hon. gentleman cannot get away with statements of that kind. His poor education; a Conservative by conviction, not by education or birth. The hon. member, I remember well, was at Ottawa university with me, we studied at Ottawa university together. In the biography of the hon, member for Montmagny, in the Parliamentary Guide, I find that he was born in 1880, and was educated at College du Sacre Coeur, Arthabaska, Quebec Seminary, Ottawa university and Laval university; and around 1896 or 1898 he attended Ottawa university. I remember those days, Mr. Speaker, when the distinguished father of the present Deputy Speaker was Mr. Justice LaVergne. The Parliamentary Guide brings us back to the days of 1887 when the Hon. Joseph LaVergne was member for Drummond-Artha-baska in the federal house as a supporter of the Liberal party. He was elected in 1887, again in 1891 and again in 1896. Then my hon. friend's uncle replaced the Hon. Joseph LaVergne in 1900 and was elected in 1904 and re-elected in 1908. I remember those days when the hon. gentleman was a close attendant at the house of the Right Hon. Sir Wilfrid Laurier, when his distinguished father lived in this city; he had practised law with Sir Wilfrid. No man in the city of Ottawa has been in closer intimacy with Liberal principles than the hon. member for Montmagny. In 1904 the hon. member for Montmagny was elected to that constituency by the efforts of Sir Wilfrid Laurier himself.

Mr. LaVERGNE: If my hon. friend will allow me, if he looks in Hansard of 1906

he will find a copy of a document which I handed to Sir Wilfrid Laurier, and which I was asked to sign. He will see I refused to run as anything but as an Independent Liberal.

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LIB

Edgar-Rodolphe-Eugène Chevrier

Liberal

Mr. CHEVRIER:

It is a good thing the hon. gentleman is now in his seat.

Mr. LaVERGNE: Not for my hon. friend.

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LIB

Edgar-Rodolphe-Eugène Chevrier

Liberal

Mr. CHEVRIER:

The hon. gentleman was elected in 1904. He may later have become an independent. Then he resigned in 1908. He became a nationalist. That was the privilege of the hon. member. In 1917 he ran as an independent Liberal in Montmagny, and was defeated. In 1921 he ran as a straight Conservative in Quebec county.

Mr. LaVERGNE: I beg your pardon; I ran as a Liberal.

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LIB

Edgar-Rodolphe-Eugène Chevrier

Liberal

Mr. CHEVRIER:

So much the better. The hon. gentleman is showing good taste. In 1925 he ran as a Conservative in Montmagny and was defeated. In 1926 he ran as a Conservative in Montmagny and was defeated. I understand that in 1930 the hon. gentleman ran, not as a Liberal but as an Independent Conservative, and was elected.

The hon. member, as reported just a few words lower down on page 201 of unrevised Hansard, has this to say:

I claim that, being perfectly independent of partisan politics, I have become a good Tory.

If the hon. gentleman has become a Conservative it is either as a result of education or of evolution. It is pretty hard for him to say that to-day he is a Conservative because of the Liberal education he received. If he travelled on the road to Damascus in that way, the road was rather rough. I can only apply to the hon. gentleman, after that wonderful experience of conversion, the words of Sir Wilfrid: "What a salad!" If the hon. gentleman has reached the stage of perfection now that he is a good Tory, nonpartisan, and if that be the result of evolution or education, in whatever way the hon. gentleman means it, I want to leave him with the words uttered by the Prime Minister at Guelph on May 11, 1930. If the hon. member for Montmagny is a convert, those words of the Prime Minister may fittingly apply:

Whenever you have any convert doing something he has not been brought up to do, he will always make a mess of it.

I find in Hansard words that never should have been spoken, words that never should have found their way into Hansard, and more particularly, as coming from a son of the old province of Quebec, words, which, being unparliamentary, should be ruled out. I turn

The Address-Mr. Chevrier

to Beauchesne's Parliamentary Procedure, and it is with the greatest reluctance that I repeat the words as I find them on page 183 of Hansard:

Mr. LaVergne. . . . Who betrayed the province of Quebec if it was not the great Sir Wilfrid Laurier?

Why associate the name of the great Sir Wilfrid Laurier with an expression of betrayal? I cannot read the hon. gentleman's mind, and for many reasons, but why associate those words in that way? The definition of "betrayer" is "traitor." I could ask that those words be removed from Hansard, because according to May and Beauchesne expressions of that character have previously been ruled out of order. But far be it from me to demand that the words be expunged from the record; I want them to remain in Hansard as a sword in its scabbard. I want them to remain there so that they may forever ring in the ears of the hon. member for Montmagny. I want them to remain there so that they maj' be read by his constituents and by the people of the province of Quebec, English and French, and of every denomination. I want them to remain there so that the people of Canada may be able properly to appreciate the hon. gentleman's worth. I desire to conclude by saying to the hon. gentleman, in the words of Victor Hugo, "L'oeil etait dans le tombe et regardait Cain." -The eye was forever there looking at Cain.

Mr. LaVERGNE: If the hon. member wants to discuss the question with me in the province of Quebec, he will be welcome, but I do not think he will do so.

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LIB

Edgar-Rodolphe-Eugène Chevrier

Liberal

Mr. CHEVRIER:

Yes. I will be glad to consider that in due course. I want to conclude by quoting the words of the Prime Minister which will be found at page 179 of Hansard. They are words that exactly fit the occasion and apply aptly to it. This is what the Prime Minister said:

As to participating in any debate in which highly controversial or-shall I say?-highly political differences manifest themselves, his own judgment, his own good sense, must be the determining factors with respect to the extent to which he does so participate. Because the punishment is clear; he forfeits the esteem and regard of the house, and if he becomes a violent partisan his usefulness as deputy speaker will be regarded as ended. If, on the other hand, he discharges the onerous duties which we have asked him to accept according to the traditions of this house- because there is no deputy speaker at Westminster at the moment-then he will merit the commendation and approval of this chamber. That seems to me to be the rule which should govern in a matter of this kind.

I leave the hon. gentleman; I leave his speech and I leave his fate to hon. members of the house.

I daresay if the Prime Minister were to summon sufficient courage to return to the city of Calgary, he would be unable to use more aptly the words he uttered there last summer. Undoubtedly he would see that there is now a much larger body of white-buttoned men parading the streets. The words he used on that occasion are certainly fitting to-day. He said:

Surely he could not stop his ears with smug complacence and self-esteem to the cry that carries across the nation, the cry of the destitute and hungry, the cry of the fathers and mothers of little children who call to us as Canadians and as Christians to heal their pain.

Those words fit the occasion to-day better than at any time in the past. Now more than ever is the opportune time for the right hon. gentleman, after his sterile trip to the Imperial conference, after his failure to "blast" new roads into the markets of the world, to repeat the words he used at Calgary on the 13th of June last. May he find some consolation in them, and may they give the Canadian people some relief. These are the words he then used, and this is the situation he is now facing:

We will look over the top of the wall and beyond the horizon to make provision for the Canadian agriculturist and secure markets for him.

After looking over the top of the wall and .ooking for markets for the agriculturist! A new Moses in quest of a promised land.

In order perhaps better to describe the present situation I might quote the words of the Prime Minister, speaking at Regina, as reported in the Regina Leader-Post of the 11th of June last. Perhaps we may find some consolation there. He is quoted as saying:

There is a good time coming.

But he adds:

We may not live to see it.

I want no better authority to describe the present situation than that of the editor of the Liberal-Conservative organ in Ottawa, Mr. O'Leary. He contributed, under his name, an article to the Commonweal Review, entitled Canada Faces Her Problems. It appears in the issue of January 21, 1931, and reads:

Canada, like the United States, is beset by political unrest and economic depression. Mr. Hoover may be bowed down by the problem of prohibition, the plight of the northwestern farmers and the insurgency of congress, but it. is doubtful whether his position is more onerous: than that of Premier Bennett back from the London Imperial economic conference empty-

The Address-Mr. Chevrier

handed, confronted by farmers who want a fixed price for their wheat; by nation-wide unemployment; by the threat of an enormous budget deficit.

Never since the post-war depression, which produced an agrarian uprising in the west and brought a new orientation in party politics, has the Dominion experienced such vicissitudes.

Mr. O'Leary, writing of the Pi'ime Minister's attempt to secure better trade facilities with Great Britain, does not call that humbug, but he says:

Mr. Bennett's course lacked the approval of his warmest supporters.

He adds:

It was therefore a hard blow to Canadian homes when the London conference failed to offer even a ray of promise to the western farmer.

He says further:

The chief effect of the conference, indeed, so far as Canada is concerned, was that Mr. Bennett, who went to England with a high ambition for imperial economic unity based upon tariff, left London with a veiled threat of economic separatism.

Mr. O'Leary continues:

Nor was this the end. Mr. G. Howard Ferguson, premier of Ontario, who was recently appointed Canadian High Commissioner to London, committed the extraordinary indiscretion of making a vigorous attack upon the socialist policies of the Labour government to which he has been accredited. This, not unnaturally, has added to the strained relations between Ottawa and Downing street, and has made cooperation between the two governments difficult, if not impossible. Mr. Philip Snowden, the acid-tongued socialist Chancellor of the Exchequer, has a good memory.

But what is most interesting is the summing up of the present situation by Mr. O'Leary In these- words:

So Mr. Bennett has returned to Canada, which lias still some 250 million bushels of msold wheat, and which has an acute unemployment problem, and whose declining revenues threaten an enormous deficit at the close of the fiscal year. The weakness of his position is like that of Mr. Hoover in the United States, who took office on a platform of prosperity.

He goes on:

After four months-

It is now six.

-and millions voted for unemployment relief, the western Wheat problem remains unsolved.

That is an appreciation from one of the Conservative party's staunchest supporters.

I should like to quote from another article, written in about the same tone, which appeared in MacLean's Magazine. I am not .*saying that Mr. O'Leary is the author of this .*article, but he is a very frequent contributor to MacLean's. We in 'Ottawa have good reason to remember that, because Mr. O'Leary

I Mr. Chevrier.]

wrote an article about the civil service some years ago entitled The Pork Barrel. The civil service has always received the considerate attention of the Conservative party. Mr. O'Leary wrote the article to which I have just referred. It was the hon. member for East Algoma (Mr. Nicholson) who some years ago made some nasty remarks about the civil service. It was the hon. member for Mount Royal (Mr. White) who some weeks ago recommended a general slash in the civil service, and it was a Conservative member of the Ontario provincial house who called civil servants "parasites."

The article to which I am about to refer is entitled Back Stage at Ottawa, by a Politician with a Notebook It reads:

Governments begin to die when they are born,-

Never was truer word said about the present government:

-and some old politicians, looking under the surface, and knowing something of what transpires behind the scenes, agree that Mr. Bennett's ministry, launched with such seeming virility, has ingredients of decay. They admit its good record in some fields. They concede the Prime Minister's resolute will to get things done; they praise his vigour and courage in the special session of parliament; they applaud his provision of work. Yet a lot of them stop there. They stop at the point where they hold that Mr. Bennett's strength is his weakness; that his attitude of domination toward nearly everything and everybody, coupled with his aloofness from his ministers and the rank and file of his party, bodes no good for the future. He is, said one hardbitten veteran, Woodrow Wilson over again. Yet though reefs and shoals be ahead, no impenetrable gloom encircles Mr. Bennett. Some in his party may furtively complain or express whispered doubt, but the majority are loyal or well-disciplined and are prepared to give him a blank cheque.

An authoritarian, a terrific, dynamic force, brooking no opposition, and with a certain intellectual superiority, he is master of his administration, and it would take a pretty formidable palace revolution to put another in his place. His ministers often disagree with him. Some disagreed with his reply to Britain's Thomas; disagreed with his standing behind the banks to steady the wheat in the west. But Mr. Bennett had his way. And as long as his policies succeed, or promise to succeed, he will go on having his way. As much as a government can be, this is a one-man government.

I take this from the Ottawa Journal of the 11th of March last. Speaking of the anticipated stand of His Majesty's loyal opposition, the editor says:

_ They will seek to show-and at this Mr. King is a master-that Mr. Bennett is a tyrant, an autocrat, a sort of Mussolini and Marshal Pilsudski rolled into one; a dictator who is running the nation in blinkers, governing it by order in council.

The Address-Mr. Chevrier

After saying that, the same editorial goes on to say:

When the proper time comes and orators are weary, Mr. Bennett will bring down his policies, put on his whips, bring on his divisions, produce his necessary majorities.

I should like to refer to what the Prime Minister said when he was speaking at Vancouver. He is reported in the Montreal Gazette of June 19, 1930, as follows:

So would I, when the government is mine, continue to blast a way through all our troubles and difficulties.

Much more recently, in Hansard of the 17th of March, at page 60, he said:

I came into power-our government came into being.

When the Liberal administration came into power in 1921, they found that the coffers of state were depleted and the revenues gone, just as they shall find them when they get back at the next opportunity. During the session of 1930 we brought down our budget. We showed reductions in taxation; we showed reductions in the national debt; we showed payments made out of the revenues; in fact, the nation was in a state of uncontradicted prosperity. A few months later the election took place and the present administration took over the reins of office. At once they proceeded to disturb, change and destroy the fundamental policies of the previous administration and to replace them by new principles. The reaction was great and spelled disaster. Now verily the country is in the state of distress which was described by the present members of the government during the last election. Canada under the policies of the previous administration, although facing aggravated special conditions fared better than any other nation. But the sudden changes brought about by the present government absolutely interrupted the avenues of commerce and trade and placed fear, dissatisfaction and lack of confidence into the hearts and souls of the Canadian people. The great fears they entertained before the election were at once realized when the present administration assumed office. Immediately our revenues began to decrease. Unemployment instead of being checked increased; financial distress increased. In connection with unemployment I wish to quote from the Labour Gazette of February, 1931. This article is published by the authority of the Minister of Labour (Senator Robertson), who yet has no seat in this house. At page 208 I find the following: During August and September, very little variation from July conditions was shown,-

Bearing out exactly what I have said above.

[DOT]-the tendency, however, being in a less favourable direction. Unemployment continued to rise steadily-

After the special session called to end unemployment.

-until the close of the year; the contractions being more extensive each month until the last day of December, when the percentage of idleness stood at 17-0, being the peak of unemployment for the year.

In other words, Mr. Speaker, as soon as the doctor took charge of the patient and administered the medicine the condition of the patient became worse. I do not wish to enter into any controversy as to whether or not the historical words of Mr. Thomas, the Secretary of State for the colonies, fitted the occasion about which he spoke, but I am sure they most fittingly suit the present circumstances in Canada in reference to the policies recently enunciated by the present administration.

I must hurry on, but in passing may I saj" a few words about the legislation contemplated by the hdn. the Secretary of State (Mr. Cahan). I extend to him my congratulations for advocating these necessary changes in respect to copyright. I sinserely trust that after the bill has been fully considered the aims and purposes surrounding the introduction of the bill will be achieved. It is time that the voice of those for whose protection the law is drafted should be given some attention and that the Copyright Act should be an act to protect copyright owners and not one to make easier plagiarism and the unlawful and detrimental exploitation of authors' rights by unscrupulous captains of industry.

I wish to deal with one further point. I have learned that suggestions have been made, to the effect that large reductions are to take place in civil service salaries. Some of the changes are to come about by superannuation, some by retirement and some by reorganization. I want to warn the administration that it should not attempt to lower salaries in the civil service; such action would be disastrous. The state has not the right to set such an example for manufacturers or people in industry over whom they have no immediate jurisdiction. If the state begins to reduce salaries of its employees it will be setting a tremendously bad example for the rest of Canada. Not only should the government refuse to reduce salaries but it should stand by every word of the contracts entered into with these people who are employed in

The Address-Mr. Chevrier

the civil service. I understand some employees are to be superannuated. There are two systems of superannuation: Under the new' law the government may superannuate an employee at the age of sixty-five; under the old law there is no age limit at which the employee may be retired. Removal from office must be in the public interest, or because the employee concerned is physically or mentally unfit to continue in the position he has occupied. I warn the government that they will not escape liability simply by asking the Civil Service Commission to make a reorganization and by placing upon its shoulders the responsibility of saying who ought to go who ought not to go. We have had just recently a most glaring example of the power of the government to do as it pleases in the matter of dismissal; in that connection I shall say more at a later time. If those who have reached the age of sixty-five are to be retired it is unfortunate that through the indiscretion of the publishers of the Parliamentary Guide we learn that the right hon. the Prime Minister is approaching the age of sixty-five. Who would believe that the hon. Minister of Pensions and National Health (Mr. MacLaren) will be seventy years of age on April 1 of this year? The Secretary of State (Mr. Caban) will be seventy years old on October 31. The hon. gentleman who so ably represents the Prime Minister in his absence, the hon. member for Argenteuil (Sir George Perley) will be seventy-five on September 12. He is hale and hearty enough and is at present in Buenos Aires. No one would believe that the hon. the Minister of Justice (Mr. Guthrie) will be sixty-six on August 15. The Minister7 of National Revenue (Mr. Ryckman) will be sixty-six on April 13. So the government would do well to take care when it tampers with the payrolls of its employees. If such action is in the public interest great care should be exercised. The changes may be made through a desire to inaugurate the patronage system after an election. It may be that the changes are to be made to allow promotions to under employees. It would be most unfair if those who are to fill new positions discharged their duties at a remuneration smaller than that of the previous incumbent. If the one who is promoted receives the minimum salary of the person who has been superannuated there would be very little difference financially because someone would have to be appointed to fill the vacancy created by the promotion of other clerks. It would be most unfair to ask the new incumbent to carry on at the minimum salary. I IMr. Chevrier.]

say therefore that in the public interest the matter has to be very carefully considered. When the proper time arrives I will check up the various appointments and changes. The same applies to statutory increases. I think hon. members take it for granted that it is the intention of the government to do away with statutory increases of salaries exceeding $2,500. I say the government has no right to take that action because when these employees took office it was understood, and it is the law, that so long as they filled their positions to the satisfaction of their chiefs or deputies they were entitled to statutory yearly increases. I say the government has not the right to break those contracts. The government has no right to supervise or direct the salaries of people working outside the civil service-we sympathize with them, but they are not employees of the state and parliament has no control over their pay; but the government has no right to deal in this way with salaries within the service. The government should at once give instructions to the Beatty commission to continue and perform the work for which it was appointed. I do not think the right hon. gentleman intends to balance his budget at the expense of the servants of the state. I do not think he intends to set a bad example to the rest of the nation in that regard.

At all times there rests upon the shoulders of the members of this house a great responsibility, charged as they are w'ith the passing of measures most conducive to the material comfort, happiness and prosperity' of the Canadian people. But at no time is that responsibility greater than it is at present. We have to-day to do with conditions that are worse than those that obtained before the war. But to face this world-wide depression the nations are not resorting to armed, defensive tactics and operations. In this financial and economic crisis they are seeking means to dispel and forever extinguish those disturbing factors and principles. There are now two great factors or systems being tried and opposed to each other, high and low tariffs. The question is, which of the two, a high or a low wall, will produce greater financial and economic safety to the nation, protect its interior trade and at the same time allow the expansion of its exterior trade. The right hon. Prime Minister and his followers believe that the financial security of Canada resides in building around its borders tariff walls of such height as wTere never before built. Those ideas and doctrines I respect. I believe our friends on the other side are sincere, but in my view Canada's destiny can-

The Address-Mr. Thompson (Lanark)

not be marked out in that way. I do not believe that its financial and economic salvation can be assured by the erection of high and inflexible trade barriers, but rather by the putting into effect of such tariffs as will meet circumstances and conditions as they arise, having as their foundation such basic principles as will permit elasticity and flexibility.

Sir, I feel sure that when the time comes again for the Canadian nation to select between the two doctrines, it will unhesitatingly and resolutely turn its eyes to, and again embrace, those principles and doctrines under which it lived in peace, progress, happiness and contentment from 1921 until July last, under the Liberal standard.

At six o'clock the house took recess.

After Recess

The house resumed at eight o'clock.

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CON

Thomas Alfred Thompson

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. T. A. THOMPSON (Lanark):

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LIB

Jean-François Pouliot

Liberal

Mr. POULIOT:

When the French settlers

came to Canada, France was not an empire; it was a kingdom.

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CON

Thomas Alfred Thompson

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. THOMPSON (Lanark):

I thank the

hon. member for the information. It is quite true that conditions in Canada are not just as we should like to have them. But I have no fear for the future of this great country. Canada in her distress has thrown aside the fallacies of the Liberal party and pinned her faith to the principles and policies of the Conservative party. And the Conservative party, under the leadership of the right hon. Prime Minister, will not betray the confidence which the people of Canada have placed in them.

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LIB

Albert Frederick Totzke

Liberal

Mr. A. F. TOTZKE (Humboldt):

Before making a few remarks on the questions raised by the speech from the throne and the amendment to the address in reply moved by my right hon. leader (Mr. Mackenzie King), I wish to say a few words regarding the speech made the other day by the hon. the deputy speaker (Mr. LaVergne).

May I say at the outset that for a good many years I have lived among French Canadians and I know them well. I have fought for them and with them. Some of my closest friends are of that race. I have a great admiration for them. I have heard many of them express admiration for my hon. friend the deputy speaker, but after the speech of my hon. friend I am afraid that admiration will change to something else. It may be that it will change only to pity- pity such as one feels when he finds that a great mind has broken under the strain. My hon. friend would have this house and country believe that he is working for a united and harmonious Canada, but I wish to say this, Mr. Speaker: Although I am not of French,

English, Scottish or Irish descent, when it comes to loyalty to the land of my birth, when it comes to a desire to do whatever lies in my power to help Canada, I will take off my hat to no one, and more especially not to the hon. member for Montmagny (Mr. LaVergne). He says he is a Canadian. Mr. Speaker, if Canada is to depend for her future on Canadianism of this kind, then I say, may the Lord help Canada. I have in my constituency a good many people who are not of the races mentioned by my hon. friend, but they are loyal, law-abiding Canadians. The younger generation, bom in this country, are as loyal Canadians as we have. They are studying the history of their country; they are anxiously looking for anything that will increase their loyalty and love for the land of their birth, the land chosen by their fathers.

I pray that those young people may not see the speech of the hon. member for Montmagny. The hon. member says in his speech as reported at page 182 of Hansard:

If you had had in your western country Canadians of French descent, of French tradition, or, speaking plainly, habitants of Quebec, instead of the foreign element which you brought in, do you think bolshevist speeches along the lines of those of Lenin in Russia would be possible in Canada?

In spite of what the hon. member for Regina (Mr. Turnbull) has said, there has been in western Canada some discussion on the question of secession. I do not want to discuss that at this moment, except to say that the originators of this idea were not of the foreign element my hon. friend describes, but belong to the favoured races, the races that he says are the only ones who can possibly make a united and harmonious Canada.

Mr. LaVERGNE: I think my hon. friend is misquoting me.

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LIB

Albert Frederick Totzke

Liberal

Mr. TOTZKE:

I am not misquoting; I am not quoting at all just now.

Mr. LaVERGNE: If my hon. friend is not quoting me, I rise to a point of order. He has no right to put into my mouth words that I have never used.

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LIB

Albert Frederick Totzke

Liberal

Mr. TOTZKE:

I read the quotation from my hon. friend's speech. He said:

If you had had in your western country Canadians of French descent, of French tradition, or, speaking plainly, habitants of Quebec, instead of the foregn element which you brought in, do you think bolshevist speeches along the lines of Lenin in Russia would be possible in Canada ?

If that is not working against the harmony of Canada, I would like to know what is. I do not say there are not people of those races

The Address-Mr. Totzke

who have joined the movement, but they did not originate it, and they do not dominate it. I deplore as much as anyone can appeals to religious and racial prejudices to gain party advantage. I have at times had to suffer from that myself. I deplore as much as the hon. member the attitude of the Premier of Saskatchewan toward the French language, but this is what my hon. friend says as reported on page 182 of Hansard:

If Mr. Anderson is allowed to do to-day what he intends to do out west in Saskatchewan, where does the fault lie? It lies on the other side of the house.

Mr. LaVERGNE: Hear, hear.

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LIB

Albert Frederick Totzke

Liberal

Mr. TOTZKE:

My non friend says

"Hear, hear." I am not misquoting him now.

Mr. LaVERGNE: No.

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LIB

Albert Frederick Totzke

Liberal

Mr. TOTZKE:

Again he says as reported

on page 183 of Hansard:

And if Mr. Anderson is allowed to do what he is doing to-day, where did he get the right and the power?

I hope my hon. friend agrees that he is being quoted properly.

Mr. LaVERGNE : Quite correct.

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LIB

Albert Frederick Totzke

Liberal

Mr. TOTZKE:

Surely the conversion of

the hon. member to the Conservative party has been thorough. He denounces the action of the Premier of Saskatchewan and then he proceeds to excuse it. He says that if Mr. Anderson gets the right and power to do these things, it is because years ago the Liberal party did not protect the rights of minorities in Canada. Is that not wonderful logic? The action of the Premier of Saskatchewan is wrong, but he has the right and power to do this thing that he has done because at some time in the past someone else did the same thing.

Mr. LaVERGNE: Will my hon. friend

allow me to correct him? I said that in 1905, when the autonomy bills were passed, the hon. member for Labelle (Mr. Bourassa) and I asked Sir Wilfrid Laurier not to grant that power to the new provinces, but to protect the rights of the minorities, and on the 21st of February he was in favour of that but on the 21st of March he changed.

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LIB

Albert Frederick Totzke

Liberal

Mr. TOTZKE:

I think I have been very

fair to the hon. gentleman. I have quoted his remarks and I am drawing conclusions from them. I leave it to the house and to the people of Canada to say whether my conclusions are right or not. I say again the action of the premier of Saskatchewan is wrong; I say that just as strongly as my

hon. friend does, but my hon. friend says that the premier of Saskatchewan has the right and the power to do the thing he has done because sometime, years ago, someone else did the same thing. We cannot have peace, harmony and prosperity in this great country until the hon. member for Mont-magny and other men who think as he does come to realize that there are in Canada staunch, loyal and true Canadians who are descended from races other than French, English, Scotch or Irish.

May I for a few minutes discuss some of the questions that are before us at this time? We have heard a good deal in the house lately about conditions in western Canada. The hon. member for Regina has told us that conditions in western Canada are not too good but at the same time they are not too bad. Before I quote from a letter that I received from a constituent of mine, and from another letter that I have on my desk, I should like to point out that the hon. member for Regina is a city member. He represents largely the city of Regina. Whether he is in a position to judge as to conditions in the rural parts of Saskatchewan I doubt very much. I am glad to hear from the hon. gentleman that conditions in Regina have not been too bad this winter. I should like to ask the hon. member for Saskatoon (Mr. MacMillan) whether conditions have been as good in the city of Saskatoon as they have been in Regina. The hon. member for Saskatoon must tell the house, if he says anything about conditions there, of the hundreds of unemployed men they have had out in the exhibition grounds and have been feeding all winter. He will, I am sure, say that conditions in Saskatoon have been far from good. He will admit, in fact, that conditions there have been very bad. I want to quote from a letter that I received from a constituent of mine since I arrived in Ottawa. I am not going to give this gentleman's name, but he is not one of the races referred to by the hon. member for Montmagny. He is descended from a foreign race, from the same race as my own. Let there be no doubt as to the fact that his English is very good. This is what he says: You can tell your friend the Prime Minister that if he thinks our hard times are mostly in our own imaginations that I will swap jobs with him in a minute and then he could see what a person has to contend with.

You know the ideal location of my farm and there never was as good a crop threshed on it before as last fall. I worked day and night till I nearly dropped in my tracks and so just by brute force was fortunate enough to get the last bushel threshed before bad weather set in and every bushel I hauled into the elevator just put me that much deeper in debt. By doing all the work myself this spring and

The Address-Mr. Totzke

straining my credit to the breaking point I should be able to get my crop in this spring but unless conditions change and my crop shows a substantial profit I might as well declare myself bankrupt. That will be a pretty hard pill to swallow after twenty-eight years of hard work and doing my full share in building up this community.

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LIB

Jean-François Pouliot

Liberal

Mr. POULIOT:

What is the date of that

letter?

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March 23, 1931