April 4, 1938 (18th Parliament, 3rd Session)


William Allen Walsh

Conservative (1867-1942)


I must tell my hon. friend
that I was not in the privileged class of a Rhodes scholar, and that I deliberately endeavoured to assimilate this report over the weekend, but, I assume on account of age and other infirmities, I found it almost impossible to comprehend it, let alone thoroughly digest it and come here prepared to discuss it properly. In my opinion this report could have been and should have been brought down at least one week earlier and hon. members given the opportunity, to which they are justly entitled, properly and effectively to consider a matter of far-reaching importance to the country as well as to parliament. The report is one of the most important documents which could be tabled in this house, and I am sure that the time which has elapsed between the tabling and the discussion of it has been far too short to permit a logical and comprehensive study such as is necessary to discuss it in detail and with a view of doing something for the people who most need our help at the present time.
I noticed-and I compliment the minister upon the fact-that during the course of the first three hours of the discussion, for the most part of an academic nature, he was quite willing to answer questions and receive information. Unfortunately, when he got away from an academic discussion of this report and proceeded into the realm of politics, he at once dissociated himself from that more favourable atmosphere and refused to answer questions. He himself refused, and his satellites who sit in the immediate vicinity, the yes men who echo the sound of his voice from time to time, answered for him "no, no"; the questions were not answered, and the minister continued his tirade in the field of politics. That was not a commendable effort on his part. Possibly if he had taken his seat at the end of the three hour discussion and had
refrained from continuing another hour and delving into politics, his remarks on the report under discussion would have been received with a great deal more approval, not only in parliament but by the press and the people of Canada. I know that in what I am about to say I shall be out of order; but the minister, according to his own suggestion, was not out of order when he brought political and economic details of trade and commerce and considerations of fiscal policy into this discussion, so I assume that on the same principle I should be held to be in order if I asked him a question regarding his suggestion that the past government withdrew into economic nationalism and founded their fiscal policy on the wrong principles. I endeavoured to ask him this question when his satellites interrupted.

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