May 23, 1938 (18th Parliament, 3rd Session)


Robert Emmett Finn



If he was in good health.
Speaking for my own province, and particularly for the city and county of Halifax, I may say that there are many people there who are in good health and who would like

Unemployed, Men in Vancouver
to have employment. I have always taken the stand that no man owes anything to any government, be it Liberal, Conservative or a government made up of some particular groups, as may happen sometimes. When a man is willing to work, then the nation owes him a living. The Minister of Finance (Mr. Dunning) stated a short time ago that it was the intention of the Minister of Labour and the Minister of (Public Works (Mr. Cardin) to put the unemployed of Canada to work by means of the main and supplementary estimates. I was pleased to see that the supplementary estimates contained the means for providing employment throughout all the provinces of Canada, both according to the needs of the individual and according to the requirements that should be lived up to in connection with public works.
The glorious duty of every hon. member who sits here is to serve his country. We who sit here have the confidence of the people. We should address ourselves to the problems of our constituents and endeavour to get at what might be called the foundations of unemployment. I can remember one Sunday evening a week before that grand old man, the leader of Liberalism, Sir Wilfrid Laurier, died. I was sitting with him in Laurier House and he said something to me that I shall never forget. He said, "My dear Finn, hold on to British institutions. They are the finest and the best; they give us constitutional liberty and the finest thoughts that a Canadian could have as a member of the British Empire." That great man was misunderstood at times, and I know that if those words could have been spoken to someone who was not his friend, politically, he would have been even more admired before he died. But he has never been forgotten by those who loved him and many of whom pass daily by his monument which looks out on the city of Ottawa. Monuments are wonderful things, but the joyousness of doing something is within the power of the government, the Minister of Labour and the members of this house.
There are many homes in this country where all are sad when the father who has been looking for work comes home and says he has been unable to find it. There is hunger in these homes, not only of the stomach but of the heart. This is what is happening in the city of Halifax and in the county of Halifax. Yet the Minister of Fisheries (Mr. Michaud) dealt a tremendous blow to the fishermen along our coast when he granted trawler licences to the great interests in the
city. Not only did he do that, but he placed on a pedestal my colleague (Mr. Isnor), who turned from the fishermen to the capitalist with the excuse that there was $1,400,000 invested which he would have to look after. He was not interested in the fisherman. But there is always a day of reckoning; there is always a reply. I thank God that in my public life of nearly twentydive years I have always stood for the underdog without being unfair to the upper dog; and as the leopard cannot change his spots, no more can I. I wish there was a right of recall in this country. There is not, but I say sincerely that if my course in this house is not one that meets with the approval of the people who sent me here, let them make it known to me, and, Mr. Speaker, within the twinkling of an eye I will tender you my resignation, but there will be attached to it one principle conforming with a high standard of public life. I will hand back to my constituents the confidence they gave to me, but I will say when I am resigning that I think it would be proper, real and honourable that he who is elected with me, who was my helpmate by my side during the campaign, should also tender his resignation, and we would both go back to the people who sent us here. If he does not come back then he is wrong; if I do not come back I am wrong.

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