January 27, 1914 (12th Parliament, 3rd Session)


Louis-Philippe Pelletier (Postmaster General)

Conservative (1867-1942)


I do not know how
well-founded may be the complaint of the hon. member, but at all events, if there is a bad case in Ontario that does not help to cure our bad case in Quebec. In view of these facts, I ask: Is it fair that one of the political parties in the province of Quebec should only 'have one-third of the representation it is legitimately entitled to? I may say, and I think I can speak for the whole Government, that we do not want to and do not intend to place such a Redistribution Bill before this House as will deserve to be called a gerrymander, but, on the other hand, our desire is to have a fair redistribution measure which will do justice to all parties. The facts I have given have been known for years in the province of Quebec and I am sure that both political parties will agree that the existing state of things should not continue. There may be complaints in regard to Ontario, as the

hon. member for South Renfrew (Mr. Graham) says, but when you remember that out of 73 members from that province, 60 were elected to support the Government, there cannot be much necessity for a gerrymander in face of such clear proof of the political sentiment of the whole province.
I join issue with my hon. friend from Rouville in his remarks with reference to transportation. He stated that under the Liberal Administration the crops of the western farmers were removed promptly to market, but I can tell him that one of the very first things the Conservative Government had to do when it assumed power in 1911 was to attempt to remove the congestion in freight traffic for which the Liberal Government was responsible. There were millions of bushels of wheat on the prairies which could not be moved to the head of navigation, and the Minister of Trade and Commerce (Mr. Foster) devoted much time and care and attention to remedy the evil conditions which we inherited from the preceding Government. Then in 1912, the hon. gentleman, with his well known ability to take care of such problems, succeeded in having the transportation of produce from the West handled with such promptness as to elicit the commendation of every member of the community. With reference to the question of unemployment in the country, I regret that hon. gentlemen opposite seem to desire to make as much political capital out of the existing situation as they can. It is unfortunate for the country that this should lie made a political question, and that instead of all joining hands to provide a proper remedy, men of standing in the House of Commons, should on the public platform, seem to take delight in telling the people of the world that we have 100,000 unemployed in Canada. With all due respect, I say that such a statement has not a- particle of truth to support it. When this assertion was first made, a newspaper in Montreal took the trouble to get into telegraphic communication with all the important centres in Canada, with the result that the total unemployed in the whole Dominion was found to be 17,000 or
18,000 instead of 100,000, We all know that the unemployment is not due to any question of tariff or of free food or anything like that; we know that 5,000 men were laid off by the Canadian Northern Railway Company when its line was completed between Sudbury and Port Arthur. We know that when the work on the Canadian Pacific railway between Toronto and Ottawa was completed a large number of men were laid

off; and we know that when certain construction was finished on the Canadian Northern between Toronto and Ontario and on the Transcontinental as well, men were thrown out of employment. But that is an ordinary and natural condition, and it is not a thing out of which any party should seek to make political capital. [DOT]

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