February 16, 1937 (18th Parliament, 2nd Session)


Charles Avery Dunning (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)



The charge of discrimination just uttered by the leader of the opposition is a complete surprise to me. The condition to which he refers and which is the occasion of his protest was the condition of one year ago. I shall not now discuss the merits of the situation which then existed; they were discussed in this house under the conditions which then prevailed. May I point out, Mr. Speaker, that another year has passed and that year has seen more widespread drought than western Canada has ever experienced, more especially in the two provinces to which reference was made by the Prime Minister to-day. Further, may I say that the provinces concerned have made and are making every effort to discharge all their responsibilities. On no occasion has there been any effort to coerce the dominion government. There has been at all times a frank and straightforward presentation of their problems. Secondly, the provinces requested the Bank of Canada to look into and verify their statements of their financial position. That report is in the hands of the government at the present time and was tabled to-day. It is not a report containing recommendations but a report dealing with the facts of the situation. It is with that situation that we are attempting to deal to-day. No mention was made in the statement of the Prime Minister regarding Alberta; no approach has been made by the province of Alberta along similar lines. I can say, however, that the province of Alberta has been treated by this government absolutely without discrimination in so far as financial assistance is concerned since this government came into power; and I can go further and say that the government has no intention whatsoever of discriminating against any province in this dominion and is prepared to sit down with any province and discuss its problems and bring forward such solutions as the circumstances may appear to warrant.

National Defence-Mr. Thorson
I am having to speak thus extemporaneously because it was a great surprise to me that the leader of the opposition should make such an accusation of discrimination under circumstances which are well known to all members of the house and throughout the country.

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