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


Louis-Philippe Pelletier (Postmaster General)

Conservative (1867-1942)


If my hon. friend will give the usual notice of his question, it will be answered.
The hon. member for Rouville referred to the dispute in connection with the United Shoe Company. He went so far as to say that the United Shoe Company was a combine; that it had heen declared a combine by a board of arbitration, and that because these people had friends in the Government, had friends at court, nothing had been done in the matter. This is a most unfair statement of the case. I do not intend to enter into the particulars. At a later period my hon. friend and colleague, the Minister of Labour (Mr. Crothers) will do so. Suffice it for the moment to say that there is not one tittle of foundation or evidence for the statements made by the hon. member for Rouville in that respect. A board was appointed and found that the United Shoe Company was a combine, and that company was given six months in order to change the conditions of the leases which they had with the shoe manufacturers. The law says that, when a sentence has been passed by the board, if the manufacturers continue so to operate, they are liable to have an indictment brought against them before the court. The hon. member for Rouville said to us yesterday: How is it that these men' are
not paying a penalty of $1,000 a day? I desire to call the hon. member's attention to the fact that the United Shoe Company, after the board's decision, as a matter of fact changed the conditions of their leases; and that when the leases were changed they either obeyed the order of the board or disobeyed it. If they have disobeyed the order of the board, that is a matter for further adjustment and adjudication; but, as a matter of fact, the leases were changed within the time allowed by the board. Consequently, I think the hon. member for Rouville will have to withdraw his statement that the United Shoe Company were not condemned to pay $1,000 damage a day because they had friends in the Government and friends at court.
The hon. member for Rouville said: True enough, we had bad times and unemployment in 1907-8, but we then did a great thing; the Minister of Finance of that time, seeing the bad times, came before Parliament and made a big cut in the Estimates of the current year. My hon.

friend believes that to be the act of a big man. I do not. If, without impairing the credit of the country, in view of the good administration of the affairs of the country at a time when there is tight money, at a time when there is uneasiness in business, you can see your way, not to cut down public expenditure, but to leave it as it is, so as to give money to the people and to give employment to the people, I think you are a bigger man than if you cut down public expenditure.
We have been told by the hon. member for Rouville that he had heard the hon. Minister of Finance, one of the noble eighteen, say that he was not going to do the same thing as his predecessor had done in that respect. Whether the hon. Minister of Finance is one of the noble eighteen or not, I am prepared to say that we feel pretty safe under his direction and management of the finances of this country. I think the hon. Minister of Finance has been a safe pilot. He has been able, with his big mind and farsightedness; to tell us . all that is happening now; and when he tells us that at the present moment we are practically out of our difficulties, I for one trust him and think he will be right forthe next few months as he was when he
foretold us what is happening to-day.
We have been told by the hon. member for Rouville that we are not taking care of the port of Montreal as we should do. If my hon. friend will look at the statutes of last session and the statutes of the year before, he will find there that we have given the Harbour Board of Montreal everything they asked for, and that the money has been spent under the direction and control of the Department of Marine and Fisheries in a
most proper and efficient manner. Now, I am from Quebec, but I make the humble claim that I am not a small Quebecer. Montreal is the metropolis of Canada. As such, her port and her facilities should be improved; and, moreover, they are being improved, with public money if you like, but money that is advanced by the Government and on which they pay interest, and pay that interest faithfully and well. We heard the right hon. leader of the Opposition say at a meeting-I think it was in Joliette-that the city of Montreal had not been properly treated so far as its connection with the Transcontinental railway was concerned. This argument has not been repeated in this House, and I have not heard from any representative of Montreal any comt*lr. Pelletier.]
plaint in that respect. Every one knows that the Transcontinental railway was begun in 1903 or 1904, and in the ten years since that time there has been no connection to link the commercial metropolis of Canada with the Transcontinental railway. Apparently the city of Montreal, at least a great part of the city of Montreal, thought that no reproaches should be made to the late Government on that subject, for if you will look at the election returns you will find that the majority of seats in the city of Montreal were carried by our friends of the Liberal party. Now, I wish to say here-because I have read something in the newspapers which calls for the remark from me-that if this Government and the commercial metropolis of Canada think that metropolis ought to have some connection with the Transcontinental, I for one will not stand in the way, but will cordially approve of anything that can be done in that respect, not as. a Quebecer, but as a Canadian who desires to further the interests of Canada at large.
Now, Sir, about what my hon. friend said for the port of Quebec. Whilst I say let us do what is right for the port of Montreal, I say, at the same time, Providence has given us in Quebec one of the finest ports to be found in the world. But this port has not been equipped so far. Though the city of Quebec has been represented for years by members of the Liberal party in this House, there is not to-day- there was not before we came into power- accommodation of berths for more than three ships in the great port of Quebec. I have asked my colleagues, the members of this progressive Government, to have both ports equipped. There is no reason for rivalry or jealousy on the part of either Montreal or Quebec; for, if we are not disappointed in the clause which the late Government put in the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway contract, and which may be interpreted to mean that the Grand Trunk Pacific may carry our trade to the United States-I say if that clause does not have that bad effect, there will be enough to make trade for the two great ports of the St. Lawrence during the summer navigation. And I hope that when these ports are equipped as they ought to be, we shall be able to attain the result we have in view and have it as the policy of all Canadians, Conservatives and Liberals alike, to have our trade carried to Canadian ports in Canadian bottoms and handled by Canadian labour.

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