June 3, 1921 (13th Parliament, 5th Session)


Michael Clark


Mr. MICHAEL CLARK (Red Deer) :

I rise with some reluctance to present a view which is presented on my own account only and which differs from that of my hon. friend from Shelburne and Queen's (Mr. Fielding). I do this with the more reluctance because on many subjects I have admired the position taken and the ability displayed by my hon. friend and have been more than pleased to support him. Indeed, some of us in this part of the House have suffered, I think, misunderstanding along that line because we have been put under his wing by a very august personage in this Chamber for good and all. However, that personage, I am sure, will forgive me for breaking out from under the wing on this particular occasion.
It is true, Mr. Speaker, that we have been only three months and two-thirds in session and that there has been a good deal of business done in the last two weeks. But I imagine, as the Prime Minister has said, that that has been quite usual in all the sessions of Parliament, at least that I have participated in. I personally have not been able to impress my views upon the majority of the Chamber, but it has not been because I have not had the opportunity of presenting those views on almost every topic, and especially upon the trade question, in which I take a vital interest. I think the whole House will admit that I have at least been able to keep up my end and to keep my views before the public and before the House of Commons. That my views have not impressed more members is a matter of very deep regret to me, but it is because of the perversity of the human understanding and of the human heart. As I look back over this session, having missed but two days of its sittings, on each of which two days I was delivering a speech outside the House, I am bound to say, Mr. Speaker, that it ir my deliberate opinion-speaking, as I say, purely for myself-that no public interest of any moment has suffered during this session from want of reasonable discussion. That being my impression, I feel bound to state it. I am exceptionally placed in regard to leisure-my little business interests do not call me away; I am in yery good health, and I could stand another month in Ottawa. But I very much question if the public interest would gain anything compared with what it might conceivably lose by the Prime Minister of this Dominion having to fail to keep arrange-

ments which he has entered into with the concensus of the majority of hon. members of this Chamber. I hold this view strongly, and I am almost certain that it will impress the majority of the members of the House. We hear a great deal about members of Parliament not earning their indemnity, and about "generous indemnities,!' and that sort of thing. Well, I can only say that when my hon. friend from East Peterborough (Mr. Sexsmith) was talking this morning of milking being work of very great drudgery, I had the honest feeling in my breast that to milk six or eight cows before breakfast and again in the evening and to do a good deal of farm work between times was, on the whole, play for the body and the mind compared to the drudgery of public service in this House, and more especially in the administration of the country at this time. I have not been, I think, in the course of my career in Canada too prone to pay attention to passing waves of opinion anywhere in the country, and I want to say on behalf of hon. members of this House of all varieties of opinion that they are just as good as the rest of the people of Canada; they are fair representatives of Canadian manhood and Canadian opinion; they do their work honestly and well, and I resent any opinions that are presented to the contrary, whether in this Chamber or out of it. I repeat, Mr. Speaker, that in my judgment my hon. friend from Shelburne and Queen's has not been well advised to make this protest and that in my opinion no public interest has suffered from want of discussion during this session.

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