March 10, 1936 (18th Parliament, 1st Session)


Norman James Macdonald Lockhart

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. N. J. M. LOCKHART (Lincoln):

Mr. Speaker, it is not my intention this afternoon to enlarge to any extent upon the many presentations that have been made in connection with this trade agreement. I have listened with a great deal of interest to the arguments that have been presented by both sides of the house. I listened to the presentation of the right hon. the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) and also that of the Minister of Finance (Mr. Dunning). We have been told by those on the government side that the negotiating of this agreement has been a marvellous achievement, and we have been told also that the agreement had its origin in the leader of the opposition (Mr. Bennett). The leader of the opposition is given a certain qualified credit for having brought about this agreement. It has been said that the discussions he had with officials of the United States had considerable to do with the perfecting of the treaty, and he is given that much credit. However, in the next breath he is twitted with the fact that he was not able to bring the agreement to its final stages, that it required the ability of the present government to make this agreement an actual reality. As I say, all this has been very interesting to listen to.
It has been intimated by the Prime Minister that the agreement might not be all that was desired, that there are certain doubtful phases. I am entirely in accord with the statement with reference to the doubtful character of this agreement. The Prime Minister says that the agreement will assist our railroads and increase our purchasing power. He says it will bring us out of the depression in which we have been for a number of years. I believe this is the gist of what has been said by the right hon. gentleman and what is recorded in Hansard. I noted that the right hon. gentleman did not go back very
far in tracing the causes of the depression; he did not go back to 1929 when he had so much to do with it. Hardly any reference at all has been made to all the warnings that were given by the right hon. leader of the opposition before 1929. They are all recorded in Hansard and have been rehashed over and over again in the daily press, so there is no necessity for my repeating them here; nevertheless they are facts which we should all do well to bear in mind.
The Minister of Finance, in approving the agreement, pointed out that if it requires correction in any particular the government can apply the remedial measures which are necessary. I am very glad, Mr. Speaker, that he admits there is a possibility of that, because I say to hon. gentlemen in this house who represent constituencies similar to mine that if I do not miss my guess there will be many remedial measures required to make this agreement effective. But I wonder if hon. gentlemen opposite have been assured by the government that these remedial measures actually will be applied. Personally I have heard no such assurance up to the present time. The only thing I have heard in that respect was the rather evasive comment of the Minister of Finance that remedial measures were a possibility.
We have listened to some very able presentations of arguments against this agreement by hon. gentlemen on this side of the house. I might mention the hon. member for Da'n-forth (Mr. Harris), the hon. member for Dufferin-Simcoe (Mr. Rowe), the hon. member for Davenport (Mr. MacNicol), the hon. member for Yale (Mr. Stirling), the hon. member for Peel (Mr. Graydon), the hon. member for Lanark (Mr. Thompson), the hon. member for Qu'Appelle (Mr. Perley), and many others. They have dealt with the interests of the basic and secondary industries of this country and have pointed to many considerations which I think the government would do well to ponder seriously. I know that the case which they have presented has made a very definite impression on my own mind. Are hon. gentlemen opposite turning a deaf ear to all the presentations from this side of the house, or are they seriously considering them? I wonder if they think that all the brains of the house are confined to one little group sitting on the other side.

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