February 14, 1939 (18th Parliament, 4th Session)


William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)



What was there in addition? As I say, they began to see what the public were thinking of their trade policies. Vacancies then occurred in the following constituencies-and what is doubly interesting about this is that in only one of these constituencies was the previous member a Liberal: Halifax; Long Lake; St. Denis; Algoma East; St John-Albert; Montmagny, and Simcoe East; seven vacancies, and not one of them
brought to a test of public opinion by the party then in power. In other words, out ol seventeen vacancies occurring in this House of Commons between the conference of 193S and the general elections the Conservative party did not carry a single one except one by minority vote. That is how their trade policies and and their effects were viewed in the eyes of the people of this country.
Let us come to the present position. Since this present government came into office there have been, over a corresponding period of three years not seventeen, but twenty-five by-elections. By-elections have occurred in the following constituencies: Assiniboia;
Queen's, Prince Edward Island; Portneuf, Antigonish-Guysborough; Victoria, British Columbia; Wright, Quebec; Gloucester: Ottawa East; Bonaventure; Hamilton West, Renfrew North; Cape Breton North-Victoria; Dufferin-Simcoe; Frontenae-Addington; Victoria, British Columbia; Lotbiniere; St. Henry; St. John-Albert; Argenteuil; East Edmonton; Queen's, Prince Edward Island; Brandon; Cartier; London; Waterloo South. What was the result of those by-elections?
In six out of the twenty-five the Conservative party retained the constituency they had previously held. In one our social credit friends held their own. In eighteen the Liberals carried the constituency. In sixteen constituencies we held our own, and in two we made gains from the party opposite. With what result? With the result that while_ we had 178 of a following when we came into office-the largest following any government in Canada had ever had-we have to-day a following of 180 in this parliament, out of a total number of 245 and there was not a single vacancy when parliament reassembled at the beginning of this, its fourth session. The vacancy which has since taken place is the one which has been created by the recent resignation of the former leader of the Conservative party. Every seat in this house was filled when parliament met at the beginning of the fourth session, and we began this fourth session of parliament, with an increase in the government following of two seats above the number we had when parliament first met.
What has taken place in the period during which these by-elections were held? The people of this country had before them as an outstanding achievement of the present administration the trade agreement with the United States which was effected by this government immediately after coming into office in 1935. That agreement has been the subject of debate everywhere. And may I point out-as hon. members opposite know only too well-that in the city of Victoria,
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Canada-UJ5. Trade Agreement
where this government carried the seat from the Conservative party, the then leader of the Conservative party went all the way from Halifax to Victoria to fight the issue of the trade agreement with the United States.

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