February 11, 1936

LIB

Walter Edward Foster (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

I would ask the hon.

leader of the opposition to state what the misrepresentations are.

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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

That is exactly what I

was doing. The right hon. gentleman made statements that were not in accordance with the facts as to what I had said, and I corrected him. I should have addressed the Chair in so doing.

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LIB

Ernest Lapointe (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. LAPOINTE (Quebec East):

A fine point of order!

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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

Fortunately

my right hon. friend's remarks are recorded on Hansard. Perhaps I may read to him just what he said. My right hon. friend intimated that one of my colleagues, who had been a colleague for many years, had gained the position that he now holds in the cabinet by "training his guns" on his leader. Does my right hon. friend deny that?

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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

My right hon. friend has said that he would read from Hansard what I said. Let him do that.

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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

Well, I shall. My right hon. friend, referring to the hon. member for Richelieu, is reported in Hansard as follows:

But the little corporal from Sorel was not thus to be denied'. The support the party had

received from the province enabled the little corporal to train his guns upon the Prime Minister-

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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

Quite so.

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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

[DOT]

-and in the words of Abraham Lincoln, "the coon came down." For we find that the little corporal had1 been able successfully to maintain his position. The little corporal from Sorel had become the emperor of the day.

And then, bringing out the real point of the remark, which as I have said was intended to create racial differences if possible, my right hon. friend ended by saying:

In that position I am sure he will-

Referring to the present Minister of Public Works.

-in the words of the Minister of Justice, cast no reflection upon the people he represents and will discharge his great_ duties with fairness and with a sense of obligation that comes to one who is from a province that took the lead from 1930 and is now able to enforce its will upon the Prime Minister.

I ask if the remark, that one province in this country is able to force its will upon the Prime Minister, is not, in the relation mentioned, a deliberate effort on the part of the leader of the opposition to create prejudice against the province of Quebec.

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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

Do you want the answer now?

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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

I will have to rise again to assure the right hon. gentleman that the statement he made is incorrect. I never heard the contents of that advertisement until this moment.

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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

I thought that would bring my right hon. friend to his feet.

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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

Then is the right hon. gentleman making a misstatement for the purpose of having that done?

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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

My right hon. friend has eyes as well as ears, and he must have 'been looking at the ground all the time he was going through the west or he would have seen this glaring poster in front of him in every corner of every village or town to which he went. When he says he does not know anything about this poster-

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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

No, it was not up when I was in the west.

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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

I guess my right hon. friend thought he would get out first. I have just been reminded that after my right hon. friend was out of sight other members of the party struck out the words "Vote Bennett " and had it read " Vote Conservative." Here is something that perhaps my right hon. friend does know a little about. Perhaps he will tell us he is incorrectly reported, but I find the following quotation which was sent pretty generally throughout Canada in the last week of the campaign, or at any rate very near the end of the campaign. Speaking at Sherbrooke-and I am sure my right hon. friend remembers that occasion-he said:

In the last session $1,000,000 had been voted as a stabilization fund to maintain the price to producers of dairy products. " I regret to say that the first cheques will not be paid until October 15 "-

The election was on October 14.

-Mr. Bennett continued, "and I hope that you farmers within the sound of my voice, when you get your cheques the day after the election, will not have qualms of conscience because you voted against the government that gave it to you."

That is, the government that gave these cheques out of a million dollar fund; the implication being that if the government changed their might be no cheques. Does my right hon. friend mean to imply that members on all sides of the house who had to do with voting

The Address-Mr. Mackenzie King

the appropriation that was made at that time were not entitled to any credit that might come from that appropriation?

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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

It was opposed by members of the opposition.

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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

Yes, it was opposed and very rightly, for the reason that they were perfectly sure that my right hon. friend was putting through that million dollars for the purposes of an election, and no better evidence as to that could be adduced than I have pointed out. I might direct attention to other reports that were sent out, inspired or otherwise, to the effect that the bonus on wheat was expected to be paid on "Monday," the day of the elections, and so on. "Bribe" I think is not too strong a word-one bribe after another made to the electorate out of public funds by my right hon. friend himself. Yet he undertakes to find fault with some anonymous circular that he brings into the house for the purpose of creating racial prej udice.

That, Mr. Speaker, is not all. I think my right hon. friend knows something of the use to which the national radio was put by his party during the general election. I think he knows something about "Mister Sage" and his scurrilous and libelous, misrepresentations over the government-owned radio. Isay to my right hon. friend that as Prime Minister at that time he should not have permitted for one minute the use of the national radio in siudh a manner. He will have during the session plenty of chance to excuse himself on the score of what was permitted in that respect. It is true that there again his party sought to shield itself under anonymity. They had not the courage to come out and say who was supplying the money for these broadcasts. They had not the courage to say by whom they were written. They had not the courage or the honesty to say the broadcasts were political propaganda-propaganda of the worst type any party has ever put out, because it was most insidious in its nature and constituted an abuse in the use of national radio facilities during a political campaign. But he, as Prime Minister at the time, permitted all that to go on. I tell him now that that sort of thing will not continue under either the present or any other radio commission in Canada.

Let me come to the next matter to which my right hon. friend referred. He seemed to think it was an extraordinary thing that the speech from the throne should contain the following clause:

It is proposed to restore to parliament its control over taxation and expenditure by end-

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T 2739-6


ing all measures which have deprived members of the House of Commons of this control, and which have served to invest the executive with unwarranted arbitrary powers. My right hon. friend asked if there was ever anything so silly. Well, it shows how far, long continued practice may come to influence one's attitude of mind. I am perfectly sure that five years ago my. right hon. friend would not have sought to take away from parliament its control over taxation and expenditure and then tenm as silly an effort made to restore it. My right hon. friend asks what control was taken away. Well, I think that during the last parliament there was sufficient protest from the opposition side of the house against the use of the blank cheque and of the peace, order and good government clause of the relief legislation to enable him to know what is being restored at the present time. My right hon. friend knows very well that, as far as the control of taxation and expenditure is concerned, the only way in which this House of Commons can exercise that control is by having estimates brought down in connection with all public expenditures, and by having supply voted in the form of appropriations which give in detail the amounts required and the precise purpose for which moneys are to be used. I wonder if this country realizes how much money has been spent under the authority of the blank cheque, which was obtained every year from parliament under the allegation that it was needed to meet an emergent condition, and whioh was obtained in one instance under closure, and which would have had to be obtained in subsequent sessions in bhe same manner but for the desire of the opposition, not to prolong discussion in this house unduly. Let me give the figures. The total expenditures made by order in council under the relief acts, which gave the government this blank cheque and other arbitrary powers, up to November I, 1935, just a few days after the present administration came into office, amounted to $192,000,000; in other words, more than the total expenditure of Canada in any fiscal year up to the fiscal year 1914-15, the year of the beginning of the Great war. That is to say, up to the time of the Great war this country's total expenditure had never equalled in any one year the amount of money that my right hon. friend paid out of the public treasury without appropriations during the time he was in office. Not a dollar of that amount was scrutinized in advance by hon. members of this house, or presented in a form in which it could be examined and voted upon.


February 11, 1936