March 17, 1922 (14th Parliament, 1st Session)


Edward Mortimer Macdonald


Mr. MACDONALD (Pictou) :

My hon. friend the ex-Minister of Finance laughs at that. Perhaps he will tell us the way to solve these problems, because we would be much interested to hear what he has to say on the subject. This is not a laughing matter. I have spoken very strongly on this question of the responsibility for the conditions that confront us, and this problem is not going to be got rid of by my hon. friend laughing. The right hon. gentleman (Mr. Meighen) is responsible for taking over the Canadian Northern Railway, for the loans and advances made to it, and for taking over the Grand Trunk, without any consideration of the problem which faces this Government to-day, as to where they stand in regard to international complications with the United States when they approach the question of co-ordination. The problem is before us now. The situation is such that every man of independent mind in this House, no matter on which side he sits, will join in giving the Government every possible consideration and assistance when they come to deal with this question and attempt to find a solution for the transportation problem which will not only lighten the burden imposed upon trade and industry but relieve the pressure upon the overstrained financial resources of the country. To that end, I hope there will be no dissen-tion or division between those of different positions in this country. There should be no antagonism between agriculture, commerce and industry. All should -work hand in hand in order to bring about a solution of these problems. They should not be adversaries, but rather mates and partners anxious to forget anything on which they might divide, glad only to join with every possible ardor for the interest of our common country in the solution of those questions that confront us to-day.
Hon. Sir HENRY L. DRAYTON (West York) : Mr. Speaker, I had hoped to commence my remarks in rather a different atmosphere from that created by the last speaker. I had hoped to commence with a discussion rather of things as they are to-day, than of the things of yesterday to which he referred. I wonder if my hon. friend realises that there has been an election. From the amount of spleen that he has displayed, from the attack that he has made, I rather think the hon. gentleman believes he is still languishing in the shades of opposition. He talks about large issues in the country. What was the big issue that he made in his opening remarks? Why,
the great task to which he set himself was the discrediting of the leader of the Opposition (Mr. Meighen); If it is true that there is this task and it is the most important task which his party is confronted with, we feel that we have a first rate leader, and the more sticks and stones that are thrown, the more we shall be confirmed in that opinion. I do not know whether my hon. friend desires to assume the role of the fault-finder on the Government benches. He seems to be exceedingly qualified for the post. I do not know exactly where his fault-finding is going to end; but if he will not take my advice-and I am quite sure he will not; I would not expect him to do so-I wonder if he will take the advice of the Toronto Globe in its reference to this very question which, after all, is, really t'he one underlying the hon, gentleman's remarks, the belittlement of Ontario and all that Ontario stands for, on the one hand, not, of course, for purposes of injuring Ontario, but for the purpose of Creating favourable prejudice elsewhere or the other. I shall read an editorial from the Globe of March 11, 1922, and it has to say this on the subject of my hon. friend. The article is headed:
Useless Faultfinding. Addressing women at the Montreal Reform Club, Mr. E. M. Macdonald. M.P. for Pictou, N.S., accused Ontario of narrowness of outlook.
He said: For Ontario, Canada, is hounded by the river Ottawa on one side and by Sault Ste-Marie on the other. Everything outside that territory does not count in the estimation of that province. It is an indication of a narrowness of mind unworthy of anyone living in Canada.
That is a quotation of the hon. gentleman's speech as given by the Globe. The Globe goes on:
Mr. Macdonald does not know Ontario at first hand. He is building a wide accusation on a narrow basis, the sayings of a few narrowminded men and narrow-minded newspapers. We have broad and narrow people here, as they have in Nova Scotia. In any case, nothing is to be gained by Nova Scotia making such accusations against Ontario, or Ontario against Nova Scotia. Mr. Macdonald should go up against the Philistines at home.
Again, I say that if the hon. member for Pictou is not willing to take my advice-and I do not expect him to do so-let him at least regard the voice of the chief organ in Ontario of his party; and if again he will have no conception of what that newspaper says, and thinks nothing of it, let him, at least, think of Canada and ask himself whether it would be worth while to continue, at a time like this, to attempt to set
The Address

up provincial prejudice, the one province against the other, or whether, after all, the problems of the day are not sufficiently great and serious to invite the best efforts of a united Canada.
For a moment, I make no further reference to the lamentations of my hon. friend. I shall have, I am afraid, to deal with them in a little more detail later on; but I should like to commence now just where I would have wished to commence, had it not been for what has taken place. Mr. Speaker, here we are with a brand new Government and a brand new Speaker, and I want, in the first instance, to congratulate my hon. friends very heartily on the first-rate victory they have achieved. I cannot agree with some of the methods employed by them in the winning of that victory, but they are happy and contented and I rejoice personally in their happiness and contentment. If the Prime Minister were here I would address a few remarks of personal thanks to him. It is a great pleasure to me, for example, to be able to congratulate him on the appointment which he has made in filling the office of Speaker. The present incumbent of that office I have known for many years as a friend, and I rejoice to see the Chair of this honourable Chamber so ably filled. I should also like to congratulate the Prime Minister upon his selection of the Minister of Finance (Mr. Fielding). I am quite sure that out of the many followers of whom the Prime Minister boasts none is better fitted to fill that important position than the hon. gentleman whom he has called upon to assume file office. I am sincere in what I say in that regard.
Something, however, has happened this afternoon that compels me to qualify somewhat these remarks. The Minister of Finance deserves our sympathy as well as our congratulations, but I fear he has exhibited in the past two little failings which at this session of the House may become very important in their significance. He has too little faith in Canada and too little faith in the possibilities of the British Empire when dealing with the question of reciprocity; on the other hand, he has a great deal too much faith in railways and in the statements of railway contractors and promoters. And in view of the remarks made this afternoon I am afraid I shall have to give to the House a few brief quotations to show the misplaced greatness of his faith in the representations of railway contractors and pro-

moters. I regret that it should be necessary to refer to ancient history, but it is impossible for me to refrain from doing so on this occasion. Hansard reports my hon. friend the Minister of Finance, in dealing with the Grand Trunk Pacific matter, as follows, on May 26, 1904:
Last year my right hon. friend the Leader of the Government (Sir Wilfrid Laurier) made the statement that we could provide for the obligations entailed by this scheme out of one year's surplus. The statement which my hon. friend made in that off-hand way was absolutely and literally correct. I showed that by setting aside some $13,000,000 or $14,000,000, which was somewhat less than our surplus, we could provide for the payment of the seven years' interest which we are under obligation to give to the company. By our agreement we gave them seven years' free rental on the eastern division and seven years' free interest on the mountain sction of the western. I pointed out, upon the authority of an actuary, that by laying aside $13,000,000 or $14,000,000 we could provide for the complete payment of that obligation and that, therefore, was the measure of what we would have to pay.
Again, in the same debate, referring to the Grand Trunk Pacific project, he said:

When the project was brought down to Parliament, it was found that the scheme was so bold and comprehensive, so carefully thought out and guarded in the public interest, and entailed so small a charge, comparatively speaking, upon the public treasury, that these hon. gentlemen were amazed that the Government should have been able to negotiate such a scheme.
My hon. friend, I say, has too much faith in the figures of railway promoters. He mentions the sum of $13,000,000 or $14,000,000. Why, Sir, that line already has cost the country hundreds of millions of dollars.

Full View