March 26, 1918 (13th Parliament, 1st Session)


George Green Foster

Conservative (1867-1942)


What about 1911?
It is a characteristic of political warfare that wherever one can get the blade of the

sabre in the flesh of an opponent, there is a great temptation to give it a little turn. But what under heaven has a thing that took place in. 1911, or did not take place in 1911, to do with the matter of our making a decision upon a Daylight Saving Bill? Surely, -whilst we may take the fun of a joke and of a jab in good fashion, we must as sensible people and I appeal to my hon. friend directly opposite me cut that out from our consideration when we come to the analysis of the Bill which is in hand.
My hon. friend from Montreal, St. Denis (Mr. Verville), stated the position of labour.
I think he stated it fairly well, but I want to add one thing. I am not -at all of the opinion that -under these circumstances, and in -these days, if you give to the great labouring classes of this country, to the clerical classes and to the people who are engaged in sedentary employment-, an extra hour, they will all throw u.p their hats, shout at -the top of their voices and go on spending that hour in a scene of jollification or in a lazy pleasure-seeking way. I think there is a spirit abroad in this country which leads every thinking man and every thinking woman to feel that this is the day and this is the year during which they should employ every -hour that they have in the production of the food that is so necessary to this country and to the world. You talk about putting people back on the land. Here is one of the most excellent opportunities of giving .people a taste for going back on the land. High prices are prevalent and the pressure of living is- strong. Every labouring man who has a bit of a plot of land has the incentive in him to get to work on that land and do something to ease the- iburden which is upon him and to aid in acquiring what is necessary for his existence at least. To my mind; if you give an hour a day six days in the week to the labouring .men of this country from ocean to ocean, you will put an exceedingly large number of hours into -productive work which in the end will total an immense addition to the foo-d products raised in Canada.
You will instil into the hearts and implant in the tastes of these people a desire for repeating next year what they do this year. That is, you will instil a taste for the soil, and that will instil itself into their children, and there is no better school, to my mind, in which to bring back the people to some participation in the cultivation of the land than lies in the facilities which a Bill of this kind will give in Canada, which

it has given in Great Britain, and which it will give this year in the United States.
Now, I have kept the House too long, but I want to state this one thing further. An hon. member asked me when I came into the House to-night if this Bill could not be made just for one year, and not permanently. He had the impression that it was a permanency. In no country has daylight saving been made a permanency although in every country in which it has been tried temporarily for a year, it has gone on into the next year, and into the following year again; and the general impression to-day is that it has come to stay in those countries where it first came as a temporary expedient. This Bill is for this season only. My hon. friend from Queens and Shelburne (Mr. Fielding) will not need to come back next year, if the Bill does not work well, to have it repealed. Its effect ceases at the end of the season, and the duration that is given to it is in the choice of the Governor in Council; it will be proclaimed in and for the length of time that is necessary.
One word more, -and it is with reference to the railroad traffic. Some hon. gentleman enquired as to whether or not railroad traffic would .be helped by it. The universal testimony in Great Britain, and the sentiment in the United States, is that railroad accidents and casualties will he lessened, and that the transport of freight will be greatly extended.
I do not want to conclude my remarks without saying one word as to the saving, economical qualities in the Bill. In the United States the careful estimate is that the lighting bill alone of American families will be eased by the -sum of $40,000,000. ^ In war time that is a wonderfully economical saving to make. In Canada it will effect a somewhat equal saving in proportion to our population.

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