January 26, 1917 (12th Parliament, 7th Session)


John Gillanders Turriff


Mr. J. G. TURRIFF (Assiniboia):

Autonomy Bills of 1905 it was provided that a census should be taken in those provinces every five years, so that their representation is based upon the census taken in 1906. Notwithstanding the fact that there are 43 vacant seats in this House, hon. gentlemen oppoisite contend that there should be another extension of the term of [DOT]Parliament. While it may be argued that the life of this Parliament should be further extended, any such extension should he made by the people of Canada. We are sitting in this House not as a result of the votes of the people, but through our own votes. A number of men are sitting in this House by their own vote who could not possibly get back to Parliament. Maybe I am one of those members, but if that is so, it is one reason why there should be an election. If I do not represent the views of the people of my constituency, why should I vote myself into Parliament for a second additional year? I am not prepared to say that there should not be any extension of Parliament; I want to hear the question discussed. I want to hear what additional reasons the Government can put forward why there should be an extension of Parliament. Last year we voted for an extension. After that certain investigations were held which did not redound to the credit of the Government or lend it additional strength. Nor do I think that the result of those investigations led any of the people to have increased faith in the men who are running the affairs of Canada to-day. Moreover, before considering the advisability of extending the parliamentary term, I want the Government to bring down information as to what they have done during the past year and as to what they purpose doing during the next year if an extension is granted. When our friends on the opposite side of the House bring down this information and the matter is discussed, they may be able to offer good reasons for an extension; but they will have to be pretty good to satisfy me that such a course is advisable. I do not believe that the outfit sitting on the treasury benches are fit to govern this country in times of peace, let alone in time of war. If the people of Canada by their votes say that they are, well and -good; we on this side will have no objections to make. I trust that there will be an appeal to the people, so that it may be ascertained whether the majority of them are in favour of a continuation of

what we have had during the past three years.
The Prime Minister gave as one of his reasons why there should not be an election the impossibility of taking the vote of the soldiers at the front. The Minister of Public Works (Mr. Rogers), who is now leading the House, practically chloroformed the right hon. leader of the Government two years ago when the Soldiers' Vote Bill was passed. What has caused the change of mind on the part of the Prime Minister? If the vote of the soldiers at the front can not be taken, why was that Bill passed? Why were the ballots printed and sent to England, all ready for the springing of an election at any moment? We on this side of the House felt that you could not fairly get the vote of the soldiers, but I said at the time the Bill was passed that if we could get the ballots properly delivered in the different constituencies, we would have no fear of the result. Judging from all the evidence, and particularly from letters received by parents of the boys who are at the front, if the soldiers' ballots are taken and properly delivered to the various constituencies, there will be a vote of three to one against the Government. That is why hon. gentlemen opposite have changed their minds; that is why they want to back out and avoid getting the votes of the soldiers. My genial friend the Minister of Public Works has told us in the House that if he does not know much else-I am using . his own words-he knows how to win elections. My hon. friend did have that reputation, and for a while he made it good; but that reputation has been shattered since my hon. friend left a small province to assume a federal role. At that time the
price he was paying to get into the Dominion Cabinet was an undertaking to turn over Saskatchewan and Alberta, bound hand and foot, to the Conservative party. Saskatchewan did not respond to his advances; Alberta did not respond to his advances, and even in the province of Manitoba, that he had trained and that he had controlled by the most diabolical political machine that ever had been in existence in the history of this world, even with that machine my hon. friend was not able to hold his own. My hon. friend took a part in the recent local elections in the province of Quebec. He won five seats out of eighty-one. Well, Mr. Speaker, that is five anyway, so we will leave it at that. -1 am not going to put any blame on my hon. friend the Minister of Public Works for what took

place in British Columbia, except to say that our friends in British Columbia, when everything was fine and the flag was flying and waving all the time in Manitoba, looked on him as a big man and a safe man to follow in order to win electrons, and they duplicated his political machine in British Columbia, with the result that to-day in British Columbia the influence of my hon. friend and of his friends there has been practically wiped out. In all these provinces that I have referred to Liberal 'Governments are in power, and there are mighty small Oppositions of our Conservative friends. And that is what awaits my hon. friend and his followers and his colleagues on the treasury benches whenever the people of this country have an opportunity of passing judgment on the manner in which this Government has conducted the affairs of Canada during the past five years. I do [DOT]wi wonder that my hon. friends are anxious to nave a further extension of time instead of an election. It is the most natural thing for them to do; if I was in their place I would be very glad to have an extension of time, instead of facing an outraged public. It is natural, but the question is, should it be allowed them? We hear a good deal today of a national government. Where is all that talk coming from? Is it coming from the Liberals?

Full View