Certainly. As I said at the beginning of my remarks, I wish to discuss this question in an impartial, sensible and logical manner. I say it is absurd to detach this portion and to place the parish of St. Etienne in Beauharnois county. I think it absurd to take St. Barbe and attach it to the end of Beauharnois.
having given a Conservative majority, it is sought to place it in Laprairie county.
Mr. Chairman, I think I have convinced the hon. member for Montmagny, at least, that the project of his political friends respecting Beauharnois-Laprairie is one of those that might well be called-I shall not say a geographical monstrosity-but, to say the least, rhinoceros-like. I am not ready to accept it.
In 1920, not very far back in the life of the hon. member- allow me, Mr. Chairman, to digress for a moment. In the days of my youth nothing could stop me from running away or from borrowing a horse from my father in order to go and hear the hon. member for Montmagny, who was then on the threshold of his political life. I had fallen under the spell of his eloquence, without sharing his political opinions. Like many of us, I admired a good debater, an eloquent speaker, and, as I said, I followed with great interest the hon. gentleman's career, particularly after his election to parliament. I liked the independent judgment he brought to bear on public questions, and I was glad to see him mingle with the Liberals of the Quebec Reform Club. I used to be happy to read the following day's newspaper reports of his speeches, so much so that I clipped the following article from La Patrie, of Tuesday, December 28, 1920, which summarizes the remarks of the hon. gentleman from Montmagny:
The province of Quebec represents the Liberal party: that is what makes its strength. Liberalism has been able to draw from Quebec a solid bloc that we must refrain from undermining, for through it Quebec enjoys an enviable position of which it should make profitable use. The Liberal party has been the Canadian party, the party of Papineau, of Lafontaine and of Morin. It is still the supporter of the aspirations of our race. The party question is now simplified: the Conservatives of Quebec have been reduced to the form of museum fossils.
Mr. LaVERGNE (Translation): Very good. Did the hon. member notice one sentence in that quotation? "The Liberal party now forms a solid bloc of which it should make profitable use." Inasmuch as it has used it, as always, against the interests of our race, I abandoned it.
It is not proper to question a man's convictions. I respect the political views of the hon. member for Montmagny, just as I respect those of my constituents who do not share mine and who voted against me. Whenever I have an opportunity to see that they obtain justice, I do so regardless of whether they are Conservatives or Liberals. I gather from the remarks he has just made that the hon. member for Montmagny came to the conclusion that the Liberal party did not stand for the views he held and consequently that he crossed over, once again, to the Conservative side.
Mr. LaVERGNE (Translation): If it can be put that way.
I think I express his mind to a certain extent when I say that he is not permanently attached to his present party.
Mr. LaVERGNE (Translation): No, no.
When the solid bloc controlled the majority in. this house and in the party, and the hon. leader of the opposition was prime minister, I judged that the time had arrived to do justice to our compatriots and to claim the things we requested this year but did not get.