I think the minister should have known when he made his announcement that the maritimes, the prairies and British Columbia could not take an increase like this one lying down.
Where were the cabinet ministers? Where was the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King)? I may be wrong, but it did not seem to me that the announcement made by the Minister of Transport had the Mackenzie King touch, the usual finesse. It seems to me that possibly the Prime Minister was in seclusion somewhere trying to get caught up with his work, during which time the cabinet made its decision without him. I do not know, but it seems to me that that is what happened.
British Columbia is one of the provinces most vitally affected by this decision. Where was the cabinet minister from British Columbia? British Columbia has not had a cabinet minister for about four months. I will wager that, had Senator Mackenzie been still in the cabinet, a lot more would have been said against the proposed increase. I think this decision has demonstrated more than any other single thing that the Liberal government should appoint a cabinet minister to represent British Columbia without further delay. If they are waiting for the Vancouver by-election they may have a long time to wait, because I do not think they will get one in that riding.
Where was the cabinet minister from Prince Edward Island, another province vitally affected. It is some years since that province has had a minister. Prince Edward Island had nothing to say about this decision which affects them to such an extent. I understand that the cabinet minister for Manitoba was unfortunately too ill to be present and Manitoba did not have cabinet representation when the decision was made.
What about the province of Saskatchewan? Where was the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Gardiner)? If he was out in Saskatchewan I suppose we cannot blame him too much because, after all, there is an election coming up. However I think that when such a vital issue was being debated it would have been better for the people of Saskatchewan if the minister had been present. Where was our other representative from Saskatchewan, the parliamentary assistant to the Minister of Veterans Affairs (Mr. Tucker)? Well, he was out electioneering too, trying to ride a dead horse.