March 26, 1931

CON

Maurice Dupré (Solicitor General of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. DUPRE (Translation):

Hear, hear.

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CON

Arthur Sauvé (Postmaster General)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SAUVE (Translation):

Our hon friends

that has often been stated in this country [DOT]-are fated to be an opposition party. The Liberals, it is said, are at their best when in opposition.

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LIB

Joseph-Fernand Fafard

Liberal

Mr. FAFARD (Translation):

You did your share in Quebec.

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CON

Arthur Sauvé (Postmaster General)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SAUVE (Translation):

That is why

you consent to do yours in the opposition. The country will decide, I hope, that my hon. friend has not weighty arguments enough to say that it is him who will decide of the fate of Canada's future.

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LIB

Joseph-Fernand Fafard

Liberal

Mr. FAFARD (Translation):

You will not even be saved (sauve).

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CON

Arthur Sauvé (Postmaster General)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SAUVE (Translation):

Puns are cheap substitutes for arguments, and I admit my hon. friend's superiority on this score.. Our friends on the left, sir, rebuke tne government for not having brought down, since its recent advent to power, all the measures which could relieve the crisis that they themselves denied a few months ago.

I do them no wrong in saying-

An hon. MEMBER (Translation): Oh,

no! We never denied it.

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CON

Arthur Sauvé (Postmaster General)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SAUVE (Translation):

Hon. gentlemen seemingly look upon me as if I were born yesterday, if I had never read the newspapers, or listened to the speeches of my hon. friends on the other side. In fact, what have we heard from our opponents' side? A kind of debate on the budget which seemed to have been prepared to fan certain prejudices instead of offering useful suggestions, timely recommendations and expressing in conjunction with the address, the guiding principles which should guide the parties in a session where national problems are set up and must be discussed in a special manner, and in the best of spirit. They have prepared speeches on the budget

The Address-Mr. Sauve

-this does not happen in our Quebec legislature-before even hearing the budget speech by the Minister of Finance, and knowing the whole fiscal policy that the government intends to introduce for the welfare of the country. They have impeached in every way, all possible tone and with the oddest manner, this government already mischievous though still in its infancy and which, nevertheless, the very day following its advent, called an emergency session to relieve those who were suffering, to alleviate as much as possible under the circumstances, unemployment and the sufferings of the people, to protect the Canadian farmer against dumping which was ruining him; to negotiate treaties with a view of better protecting farm products, the Canadian producer on the whole, and to safeguard also our manufacturers by stopping a disastrous competition or by prohibting certain ruinous imports which were favoured by the Dunning tariff.

Some hon. MEMBERS (Translation): Oh, oh.

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CON

Arthur Sauvé (Postmaster General)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SAUVE (Translation):

I do not

mind such protests coming from the other side of the house. Immediately following the emergency session, the leader of the government crossed over to England and France with the idea of finding some relief for the western farmer and negotiate exchanges in order to secure a market more advantageous for his wheat. Since then he has afforded protection both to the east and west of Canada by favouring the national industries, especially those of coal and pulp against the dangerous competition of Russia. This is, sir, what the government has done within the last few months. I ask why should the hon. members on your left, sir, be so harsh towards this government and demand from them results only to be expected from an administration long in power.

At the Imperial conference, the Prime Minister made a proposal which was of interest to the empire, although he considered Canada's interests first-that is probably what offended our opponents-a proposal which was supported, strange to say, by all the representatives of the dominions. To hear the opposition, one would think that the Prime Minister sold his country and proved a traitor in making such a proposal. Evidently this proposal could not immediately be accepted by the British government, especially by that of Mr. Ramsay MacDonald. It needed to be deeply studied. And there lies the reason for calling another conference this year. It is our hope, and we must all hope that the delegates of the Imperial government will

represent at this conference the wish and interests of the people of England. Why, in the course of this session, should the parties not seek to come to an understanding in order to protect Canada and prepare the country to reap the greatest benefit possible from this conference? Should not the country's interests, especially in these days of depression, pass before party interests? Each party would have to its credit the proposals which it would have had adopted by the house for the welfare of Canada.

Our opponents go so far as to criticize the government's policy with reference to Russia, and the right hon. leader of the opposition will allow me to express, with all due respect, the astonishment I felt, when, the other day,

I saw him give vent to his feelings and allow his friends to do so, with reference to the decision taken by the Prime Minister and the government in connection with Russia. The government does not intend to deprive Canada of markets necessary for^ the sale of her products. If we want to utilize the resources of the country, we must-and we have often stated it-we must have markets abroad. One must be blind not to see that the world no longer turns towards militarism for purposes of conquest, but is intent on increasing production and economic expansion. With the mass producing machinery that science furnishes the world, each country endeavours to secure the world's markets, but first to protect its own. One must not lose sight that we are going through an era of reconstruction and that the government's policy must help in bringing about the equilibrium needed after the great war which upset the world. At the same time this country adopted a high standard of living based on scientific principles, and rendered more exacting by the example of our wealthy neighbours. Thus it was that, while economic conditions were becoming harder, our producers had to put up with the competition on the home markets, of countries having hundreds of millions of men, of simple habits, and able owing to favourable climatic conditions, of producing on terms which defied all competition on our part. One must bear in mind, sir, that our local truck farming industry has been disorganized through the extension of motor car transportation.

As to Russia, hon. members of both sides of the house know that it is passing through a revolution, and it is carrying on in our country a dangerous propaganda, we were so warned by the most respected authorities in this country, not only as regards the economic viewpoint but especially the false theories

The Address-Mr. Lapointe

which it seeks to spread among the humble workers and the younger generation. That is an important point to consider when we discuss the new policy of the government with reference to Russia.

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LIB

Ernest Lapointe

Liberal

Hon. ERNEST LAPOINTE (Quebec East):

Mr. Speaker, may I first congratulate my hon. friend the Postmaster General (Mr. Sauve) on his membership in the House of Commons of Canada and on his speech this afternoon. I thank him most sincerely for his kind references to myself, and I can assure him that so far as personal considerations are concerned I reciprocate his sentiments to the fullest extent.

As to the remarks which my hon. friend has made in the English language, I am bound to say that I think I would agree with practically everything he said, with the possible exception of his reference to the question of woman sufferage in my province. Unlike him, I am in favour of the women having the full right to vote. As to his remarks in the other official language in this country, my answer will come in the course of my own address.

I am sorry, Mr. Speaker, that I have not been able to attend all the sittings of the house since the opening of the session, but I assure you, sir, that I have read very carefully the debates which have taken place. I was somewhat surprised to find in the speech of my right hon. friend the Prime Minister (Mr. Bennett) that he spoke again of the conditions throughout the country being due to the stagnation in industry which took place during the Liberal administration. This sounds pretty much like the pre-election speeches of my right hon. friend. I have noticed that since the election last July, hon. gentlemen opposite have been rather eager to invoke the world-wide depression as a most welcome alibi; and I could fill the pages of Hansard with quotations in support of that statement. But to-day, in the heat of debate, the Prime Minister comes back to the stagnation of industry during the Liberal administration. I must say that my good friend the Postmaster General, who has been very mild this afternoon, has also referred to that famous stagnation in speeches at political dinners. To the government speaking in the heat of debates I will oppose the government speaking in its sober mood through the Minister of Trade and Commerce (Mr. Stevens). I will oppose to Philip drunk Philip sober-of course speaking in a strictly figurative sense. In a book which has just been published by the Department of Trade and Commerce under the title of Canada 1931, bearing the imprimatur of the Minister of Trade and Commerce,

there is a foreword signed by him and then I find the following; I do not want to waste my time in quotations, and therefore I shall read only one sentence:

The volume of production at the peak of prosperity, reached in the early part of 1929, was greater in most lines than in any similar period in the history of tile Dominion. From the low levels reached during the post-war deflation culminating in 1921, productive enterprise steadily acquired momentum, the impressive results effected during the nine-year period being especially evident in the first six months of 1929.

On the next page is the following:

The rapid, long-term growth of the last decade is more significant than the current reversal, generally regarded as of a temporary nature.

Later the causes of the world-wide financial depression are given. I assure you, Mr. Speaker, that the policies of Ithe King government are not mentioned. But of course, this is far different from what we heard during the election campaign. Then my hon. friends opposite were busy turning a national misfortune into a sideshow of enraged partisans.

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?

An hon. MEMBER:

War with India.

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LIB

Ernest Lapointe

Liberal

Mr. LAPOINTE:

My hon. friend may keep his peace. I did nott refer to any war with India; I am warring with him just now. All the difficulties mentioned in the official publication that I have just quoted were capitalized to secure votes for my hon. friends opposite. The Tory flag was carried through all the country and hoisted (to catch every passing breeze. The government is the byproduct of financial depression. My hon. friends opposite are its offspring. Of course, they all made pledges; they were all going to end unemployment or perish in the attempt. They all prophesied that prosperity would come back. There they are, a row of phophets-indeed rows of prophets, major and minor. To-day they are only too anxious to forget all about it; instead of perishing in the attempt, they are asking for an extension of their promissory notes to the electors. Over in England a young aristocrat lost in the labour ranks, Sir Oswald Mosley, has become impatient with conditions there, and he is attempting to form a new part}'. He has issued a manifesto to the people in which he proposes the creation of an emergency cabinet of not more than five members, invested with plenary power to carry [DOT]through any emergency measure. Let me say to our cousins on the other side of the ocean that here in Canada we have done far better than what Sir Oswald Mosley proposes; we have virtually what is a one-man super-

The Address-Mr. Lapointe

cabinet vested with all (the power thaft a docile majority can give him. But this super-cabinet has not been able to solve our problems; instead those problems have been intensified. The only remedy which the specialist has applied to the body politic is a dose of high protection, and the remedy has had the effect of spreading the disease. Now we are threatened with an additional dose of that medicine. The apostles of high protection are availing themselves of their opportunity. Those additional fetters on trade would not have a ghost of a chance were it not for the argument that high protection will give to the working classes more work and increased wages. Patriotism and charity have been made the excuse for ficsal loot. The assertion that the cost of living would not be increased as the result of additional tariff duties is, to use a word dear to my right hon. friend, a deception. The people are not such fools as to believe that the cost of living will not be affected adversely by taxes on their trade. A British statesman who was an advocate of protection, but an honest advocate, the late Lord Balfour, once said that protection would not mean anything if it did not increase prices; and the late Lord Melcheitt, a high priest of protection, said it would be of no use if it did not have that effect.

As examples of what we may expect from high protection let me mention two countries with which Canadians are familiar, the United States and Australia. The tariff duties in those two countries have been raised so high that even this government would hesitate to go to such an extreme, and unemployment is rampant in each, even more so than it is in Canada. Some time ago the governing body of the international labour office appointed experts to study the question of unemployment. In the monthly summary of the League of Nations Journal for January I read that one of the causes given by those experts is this:

(g) The disturbances in international commerce caused not only by the development of new industrial areas but also by artificial barriers put in the way of international trade and by the difficulties said to be associated with the problem of political debts. .

The leading economists of the world share the same view, but our school of protectionists, our crusaders or musketeers, are scoffing at these principles of economic law. Our new diplomat, Mr. Ferguson, said in one of his numerous lectures to the British public that these are shibboleths and old theories, as if economic laws could be subject to a sort of old age limit. How can a policy of blind and selfish economic isolation be beneficial to 22110-21

a country like Canada? We have a territory as large as Europe, or larger, with a small population of 10,000,000 people. We have unlimited resources and opportunities; our people are ambitious to succeed. They are believers in the gospel of work, and are filled with courage, initiative and enterprise. How can a country like this enrich itself by erecting a wall around itself and refusing to trade with the rest of the world? The best way for Canada to end unemployment, and I think in this even my hon. friends opposite will agree, is to sell its surplus, and surely this cannot be done by a policy of economic isolation. One of the members of the government the other day took credit to the government because our imports from some other countries have been reduced, but he did not speak about the reduction of our exports. If to reduce imports we also reduce exports we are not increasing employment; we are decreasing it. The only possible result, occasionally, may be to transfer capital from one industry, which makes a commercial profit, to another industry where the profit comes from the taxpayer. The unemployment index of the government is the best evidence of the error of my right hon. friend's policy.

Many of those who believed in the changes effected at the short session of parliament are now doubtful and suspicious about the results. I hold in my hand the Financial Times, which is the mouthpiece of the high financial interests of Montreal, for Friday, November 14. I do not want to read it, because I have no time for that, but it states that the policy of the government has brought about a great deal of suspicion and doubt in the business interests of Canada, especially in regard to the stability of tariff which is threatened by the arbitrary powers which the government have taken upon themselves to change the tariff at will. All this is perfectly true, and those who were applauding in September last will be among those who will come and ask for the repeal of that arbitrary legislation. So far as we are concerned on this side of the house, we will do anything to get the power of taxation restored to parliament, where it should be.

Now I want to come to the subject which is really my reason for having addressed the house this afternoon. I refer to the Imperial economic conference.

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LIB

Olof Hanson

Liberal

Mr. HANSON:

That seems to be a sore spot.

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LIB

Ernest Lapointe

Liberal

Mr. LAPOINTE:

My hon. friend thought it was, and he is not altogether wrong all the

The Address-Mr. Lapointe

time. Before speaking on the economic conference, however, I should like to say a word with regard to the Imperial conference proper, though of course I will reserve most of my comments for another occasion, when the report is submitted to the house for discussion. I have a word for my right hon. friend the Prime Minister, whose absence I regret this afternoon. I came here with the intention of talking to him, and I am sorry he is not in his seat. May I say to my right hon. friend, who I hope at least will pay me the compliment of reading my remarks in Hansard, that I am pleased at his conversion. During the election campaign my good friend the Postmaster General-and this may surprise hon. members-was rather a supporter of mine on this question of the Imperial conference. Ait every meeting he said that as far as constitutional issues were concerned, and as far as the work of the Imperial conference was concerned, he was in agreement with Mr. Lapointe, and I am proud of his support. Apparently, however, our ranks are getting larger, because even the right hon. gentleman now is approving of the report on dominion legislation which was the work of the conference at which I had the honour of representing Canada. Last year my right hon. friend was rather of a different opinion, but apparently he does not think any longer that those departures will lead to the cutting of the painter, the letting go of the mooring and the drifting away from the little islands of the North sea, as he said so eloquently last year. My right hon. friend has realized that the best way of maintaining the association of the British nations is for every nation to be free, to be autonomous, and equal in status.

What about the Secretary of State (Mr. Cahan), whose vacant seat I am also looking at now? Last year my hon. friend, speaking on the changes which were recommended with regard to the Shipping Act and maritime laws, said with that moderation which he sometimes uses when qualifying the views of those who do not agree with him, that they were puerile, childish and infantile. Yet this report has been approved by the conference and by the government. Has the Secretary of State changed; have his views become childish, puerile and infantile?

Then there is my hon. friend the Minister of Justice (Mr. Guthrie) for whom I also have a word. I am sorry he is also absent.

I read in the report of the conference everywhere the words "British Commonwealth of Nations" as the apellation of our association. My hon. friend has subscribed to that, yet at the annual dinner of the Canadian Bar Asso-

elation last fall he went out of his way to protest against this name of the British Commonwealth of Nations. He said the old name of the British Empire was good enough for him. That view of the Minister of Justice was also expressed the other day in London by our diplomat, Mr. Ferguson, who always has been a colonial of the inferiority complex school, but I sincerely hope that over there he also will see the error of his ways and will see the light as the Minister of Justice has seen it.

As to the Imperial economic conference, I wish to associate myself with everything that has been said by my right hon. leader (Mr. Mackenzie King). Indeed, I am going further than he went; I sincerely believe and am convinced that the proposals of the Prime Minister and the manner in which he submitted them have created a situation which is fraught with serious dangers. The British commonwealth of nations is an association of nations freely united under the crown. The empire is maintained because it is united and is based on allowing the freest and fullest opportunity of self-development to every part in the best way suited to its needs. Liberty in unity is the principle which has been received. Liberty in the fullest sense is the guarantee of unity, liberty for each dominion, for each part to shape its fiscal, military, defensive, economic or any other policy according to its ideas and its needs, and according to its wishes.

The British commonwealth is an idea; it is a soul. To base it on a mercenary foundation is to court disaster. The tie of sentiment is thin but^ it is strong. It may seem weak, it may be invisible to those who cannot see anything outside a ledger. But this tie has proved equal to the test to which it has always been put in periods of trouble and difficulty. I would not have it replaced by peddling agreements in which the interests of one dominion or another of the British Empire might be sacrificed for the purpose of making profits for other sections of the commonwealth. To force protection upon Britain, as the Prime Minister of Canada tried t'o do, was not only basing the empire on an economic fallacy, but it was interfering in the most direct way with the domestic policy of the United Kingdom.

None of the British nations has the right to instruct another on the policies which it should adopt or follow. This is a rule which no other Canadian statesman has ever broken. Well we all know that for the last twenty-five years some people in the old country have been trying to prevail on the repre-

The Address-Mr. Lapointe

sentatives of the dominions to interfere in order to have a certain trade policy endorsed by the people of England. But up to now there have been Dominion representatives who have refused to play that part. For the first time, owing to the conduct of the Prime Minister of Canada, the dominions have become pawns in the political game of the old country. And speaking in this Canadian parliament as a Canadian public man I say that Canadian liberalism and, I believe, the sentiment of the majority of the people of Canada are opposed to the policy which has been suggested'by the Prime Minister of this country. I will say further to the public men of Britain, and more particularly to those whom it has been my privilege to meet on different occasions, that if they come to Canada, whether at the coming conference or otherwise, and try to interfere and to dictate to this country some policy which has been a bone of contention, a point at issue between political parties in Canada, as the Prime Minister has done in England, not only shall we resent it, but their very interference will be the best means of defeating the purpose which they have in view.

If the present fiscal system of England is the one best calculated to make her greater, to make her prosperous, to make her a leader in world trade, it is in the interests of all other parts of the empire that that system should be kept and maintained; and with all due deference to my right hon. friend, I say that the people of Britain, the public men of Britain, are the best judges of that. They are, I should think, better judges on that point than my right hon. friend.

To make the dominions suffer disadvantages for the sake of Britain, or to make Britain suffer disadvantages for the sake of the dominions, is not the way to cement the empire. The introduction of that spirit would be certainly destructive of the ties which bind us. I have here the words of Mr. Asquith uttered in the British parliament on a policy similar to this:

To my mind, it is impossible to imagine a proposal seriously meant which would more certainly tend to engender friction, to foment quarrel, and in the long run to kindle disloyalty.

And he added:

It is introducing, as between the component members of this great partnership, the British Empire, a new and perpetual source of heart-* burning, rivalry, jealousy and discord.

Was not Mr. Asquith right? Can the empire be built on dollars and cents? Mr. Speaker, dollars and cents very frequently are the cause of family quarrels; brothers divide 22110-211

among themselves on questions of dollars and cents. Is it desirable that this should be the tie that binds us? In an imperial economic group, as suggested by the Prime Minister, momentous problems would arise. If food is taxed in Britain, as requested by our Canadian representative, is there not a danger that in times of depression and crisis the labouring classes would, with Mr. Lloyd George, think that their first duty was to get the protectionist mice away from the bread of the people? What would result? I know the Prime Minister is sincere. But I am telling him in all sincerity, as my firm conviction, that had anyone wished to introduce an element of discord and friction no better method could be devised than an imperial customs tariff. Indeed, bad temper has already been exhibited; heated words have been exchanged. And my right hon. friend has almost raised! a diplomatic incident on the use of an adjective by a good common sense minister over there, Mr. Thomas.

Mr. Speaker, there is danger ahead, and I think my right hon. friend will see it. We have granted a preference here in Canada. I am afraid I shall not be able to dwell upon it because the time at my disposal will not permit it. But may I say that conditions are altogether different. To grant a preference we did not make any change in the tariff structure of Canada; while what my right hon. friend is asking England to do is to abandon one principle and substitute another for it.

England is trading with the world. She has to buy from her customers. International trade is her life blood. Why, at this very moment eminent figures are touring South America for the purpose of developing trade relations with countries which in the natural order of things are competitors of Canada. And can we complain? When the figures are compared it will be seen that England is buying from us considerably more than she is selling to us.

I am opposed to this policy because I do not believe in economic imperialism any more than I believe in any other kind of imperialism. I am opposed to an imperial economic unit as I am opposed to an imperial diplomatic unit, naval unit, or military unit as is the dream of so many imperialists and whieh I believe would be the natural consequence of an economic unit. If our trade is an imperial trade its protection on the high seas will be the concern of every nation of the empire, as well as of the mother country. If the people of England are taxed on their food because the wheat from other countries is excluded from the British market; if they

The Address-Mr. Lapointe

have to rely only on Canada and Australia for their food supply, they will have the right to ask us to protect that trade on the high seas. I believe in freedom, I believe in eoonomy; let our associations be absolutely free in trade matters as well as in other matters and not such a compact as suggested by my right hon. friend. In speaking at the dinner of the Empire Parliamentary Association the Prime Minister borrowed a phrase from the Three Musketeers. He suggested that there should be adopted by the empire the motto: All for one and one for all.

How can he reconcile that with his pretended policy of: Canada first? As a very shrewd Englishman replied at that dinner, each for all and all for each is very fine as an imperial device, but how can the Prime Minister of Canada reconcile it with the phrase: Ourselves first and the others afterwards? Free will and cooperation is the only way to keep the empire together; coercion will not do it.

My right hon. friend has endeavoured to shield himself behind the noble figure of Sir Wilfrid Laurier. The memorandum by Canadian ministers, presented at the Colonial conference of 1902, and which appears on page 37 of the proceedings, in part reads as follows:

From the beginning of the proceedings the Canadian ministers have claimed that in consideration of the substantial preference given by Canada for some years to the products of the mother country, Canadian food products should be exempted in the United Kingdom from the duties recently imposed.

At the conference of 1907, after a new government in Great Britain had repealed those duties, Sir Wilfrid Laurier said that it was for England to decide as to that policy, he had no suggestions to make. I am sorry I have not the time in which to read full extracts from his speech, but I would refer hon. members to page 441 of the proceedings of the conference held in 1907 and they will see that the stand taken by Sir Wilfrid Laurier was the very reverse of that of my right hon. friend.

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An hon. MEMBER:

Time.

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LIB

Ernest Lapointe

Liberal

Mr. LAPOINTE:

My hon. friend is ahead

of his time.

Why should my hon. friends endeavour to bring Sir Wilfrid Laurier to their defence? It is not the first time that they have tried to cast upon the shoulders of Sir Wilfrid Laurier the burden of their protectionist policy.

I came to this house in 1904, twenty-seven years ago, as a young man with all the en-

thusiasm of my age. I was then a Liberal as I am to-day; I could not be anything else by temperament, by aptitude or by conviction. My greatest incentive was an unbounded admiration for that illustrious leader, Sir Wilfrid Laurier. I followed him to the last hours of his life and his memory is still the light which guides me in the solution of the difficult problems with which I have to deal.

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An hon. MEMBER:

Time.

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CON

Armand Renaud La Vergne (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. DEPUTY SPEAKER:

The hon.

gentleman's time has expired.

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LIB

Ernest Lapointe

Liberal

Mr. LAPOINTE:

I will finish that speech

somewhere, some time.

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PRO

Agnes Campbell Macphail

Progressive

Miss AGNES MACPHAIL (Southeast Grey):

Mr. Speaker, I think you will appreciate the difficulty faced by one so inexperienced in speaking in having to follow an oration such as that to which we have just listened. It happens that the ex-Minister of Justice (Mr. Lapointe) is one of the hon. members in this house who has almost always held my admiration. I wish he were always the splendid liberal he is to-day.

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An hon. MEMBER:

What about yourself?

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March 26, 1931