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


Percy John Rowe

Social Credit

Mr. ROWE (Athabaska):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I am sincerely trying to suggest a
plan to the government; that plan you have just heard, that we have a committee appointed by this house to make a survey of our wealth, and in that connection we undertake to work with the government. I do not think the people of Canada are in the least concerned about what party brings in this plan. The personal ambitions of politicians or the personal fortunes of particular parties are of no consequence to the Canadian people. What they are interested in is this: In their homes, with their children, they desire to have security, and I should like nothing better than to see the Liberal party bring in this plan If they did so they would earn the everlasting gratitude of the people.
Now, Mr. Speaker, I say that sane men are at last resisting the subjection of the world's real powers to the world's most purely instrumental mechanism, the money system. Monetary restriction upon the actualities of the earth's fruitfulness is so nearly complete that the matter becomes one of life or death. In default of converting our leaders from their fantastic veto upon life there is only one common sense retaliation, and that is a temporary return to direct exchange of labour, or primitive barter. Indeed, I could give dozens of illustrations, from my own riding, of people now engaged in primitive barter, because they have no money. I say that a government-I am speaking not of this government particularly, but of any government- which is afraid to face a simple problem requiring only common sense and backbone, which will allow an inanimate mechanical bogey to strangle and smother the legitimate and normal aspirations and the inalienable rights of the Canadian people, is not worth its salt. It has forfeited its right to the respect of the people and its right to govern the country. The only purpose of government is to minister to human needs, to represent the people, to promote and safeguard their welfare. That is what people pay their taxes for. It may be that some of us here-and I would include myself, because I have seen something of the temptations to which apparently people succumb when they get a good salary and a good deal of comfort-forget the people who sent us here, the people who pay the taxes. Perhaps that is natural, but I am suggesting that we should bring to the solution of this problem all of our manhood, all of our sincerity and our energy, and work together to find the answer. I appeal to every member of this house, not as members of any party but as citizens of Canada elected and paid, as I am and as we all are, by the rest of the citizens of Canada to promote and safeguard

Canada-U\S. Trade Agreement
their welfare, to consider earnestly and sincerely how we may together solve these problems for all the people.
As I said a moment ago, Mr. Speaker, the people are not concerned with the fortunes of any party, but they are supremely concerned with whether we take hold of this job and do our duty like men. We may not meet with success immediately, but if we even start in the right direction and lay the foundation upon the principles of truth, justice and reason, those who follow will have not a jungle trail of selfishness, greed and hate but a broad highway of truth and knowledge along which to travel. This is not a political problem; it is an engineering and accounting problem. Let us get our committee appointed, let us get to work at once to assemble all the facts and then proceed together to work out the solution.
Mr. JAMES A. MacKINNON (Edmonton West): Mr. Speaker, it had not been my intention to participate at all in this debate, but it has occurred to me that as the lone Liberal elected from the province of Alberta there is a responsibility devolving upon me at least to state my position in regard to this matter.
The merits of this agreement have been discussed thoroughly and exhaustively, and in my opinion no good purpose can be accomplished by further traversing all the arguments so ably put forward during the debate. There is one point, however, towhich I should like to refer. The right hon. leader of the opposition, the hon. member for Oargary West (Mr. Bennett) has opposed this agreement and has led his party inopposition to it, an agreement in the making of which he certainly had a hand. I do not want any member of this house or any reader of its proceedings to get the idea that the right hon. gentleman speaks in any way for any measure of Alberta public opinion.Mr. Speaker, if this treaty were to be
submitted to a referendum of the people of Alberta apart from any political prejudice, I am very sure that not only would it carry overwhelmingly, but almost unanimously. I wish to report to the house what I believe to be the public opinion of that province that I am interjecting these few sentences.
The right hon. leader of the government (Mr. Mackenzie King) has been criticized for the speed with which he has brought these negotiations to a successful conclusion. To us in Alberta that was a hopeful sign, a promise of action and an indication of a readiness to put quickly into effect the over-

whelming mandate given him from all parts of Canada. So, on behalf of the great volume of progressive Liberal thought in Alberta-and one is wrong who thinks the limited Liberal representation in this house belies that statement-I wish to congratulate the right hon. leader of the government and his colleagues upon their achievement and to thank them for so quickly and so successfully bringing about this very excellent trade agreement.

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