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


Henry Lumley Drayton

Conservative (1867-1942)


Well, I do not know what may happen in the future, but it is costing a great deal now. I think it costs now more per annum than the whole of that estimate; at any rate it is costing a very epormous sum of money. There is another question to which I wish to refer, and it gives me much pleasure to do so. I had expected that the task would fall to me of saying something about Canada's position, and establishing the fact, as it can easily be established, that of all countries that have taken part in this war, from its commencement, as Canada did, of all countries whose effort at all compares with Canada's in any one of her activities, having regard to her income and population, not one is in a better position than Canada. This is a claim I have made before, a claim that has also been very generously and free-

The Address
ly made by the financial papers and financial authorities of foreign countries in the best position to speak on this subject. I have said before that we were in at least as good a position as any other country outside of the great United States, which, of course, entered the war a good deal later than we did; but the duty of re-asserting this fact has been removed from my shoulders by the frank admission that appears in the Speech from the Throne. My hon. friends, who a short time ago saw nothing but darkness and ruin ahead of us, and talked of annexation with the United States as a result of the country's position, just in a few brief hours discovered that not only was my claim correct, but that they could go further and say that the position of Canada is better than that of any other country. Now that they are in office they make a wider and stronger claim than I have ever done. May I congratulate my friends upon their newly found faith in their country. These conversions are splendid. It does one good to see doubting Thomases who are quivering and quaking, afraid of annexation and all kinds of bogies of this kind, turn round, when they attain the ministerial benches, and from gloomy doubters become valiant upholders of their country's position. Again I congratulate them. I admit that I was amazed, although I ought not to have been, because there were apostles and emissaries going out telling them how awfully mistaken they were in what they had been saying, and that after all the financial newspapers knew more about the question than they did and were perhaps worth heeding. And so the gospel of optimism was commenced. I should not be surprised, because I notice that on December 22, my hon. friend the then member-elect for St. Antoine (Mr. Mitchell)-and he is a financial authority, Mr. Speaker-was talking on this very question, and I find that he is reported in the Gazette of December 23, as having said:-
The time had come for turning away from the dark side of things, that it was well to look away from the sombre tints shown during the campaign and with the aid of a strong immigration policy, work together for the development of Canada as a unity, and not as a country made up of easternism and Westernism, was the message which Mr. Walter Mitchell, M.F.-elect for St. Antoine, and late provincial treasurer, gave to the Commercial Travellers at the annual meeting of the Dominion Commercial Travellers' Association, held at the Windsor Hotel last night.
"Do not believe in the dark pictures we painted for you during the election," he said amidst laughter. "I would have painted them
still darker had I not been afraid that my majority would be too big."
So it is, Mr. Speaker, and I ought not to have been surprised that my hon. friend, financial critic and authority as he is, had started this great work of conversion of the Liberal party from pessimism as far back as December 22. I congratulate him upon his success.
In the course of his speech my hon. friend the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) ventured into a calculation as to the popular support given this party, whose defeat he was so cheerfully gloating over, and upon whose defeat-now that he is in his seat-I freely and sincerely congratulate him. Why, he said, if the majority of the votes only were considered we-the official Opposition-would be given merely 22 seats. Well, I would have thought that in the case of what I believe to be the first Canadian Premier holding office with a substantial minority vote, the hon. gentleman would have found it just as convenient to say nothing about that matter. But perhaps he is rather proud of that position. It is quite true we were not dealt with very kindly. Personally, I think we got not only the worst of the fight, but I believe we got worse- treatment than we merited. But let us see how this works out.
Of a total of 3,121,844 votes cast in the general election-I cannot vouch for these figures, but I believe they are correct- 1,296,723 were cast in favour of the Liberals, representing 41-53 per cent of the votes polled. My hon. friend talks about the minority candidates returned. Why, this is entirely a minority Government, and if his principles are correct, he should resign from office. It would be a dreadful thing, of course, to borrow some of the language used by him on a previous occasion when he talked about usurpation by a minority of the rights of the majority, but his language seems to be applicable to the present situation. The Conservative vote was 971,502, or 31-52 per cent of the total, while the Progressives with 769,387 votes polled 24.64 per cent of the whole. I should like to give my hon. friend the member from Marquette (Mr. Crerar) credit for drawing my attention to this question. I was chaffing him for not undertaking what seemed to me to be his absolute duty in this House as official leader of the Onnosition bv reason of the fact that his party had a considerably larger representation than we had. He said to me: I cannot follow you in that
The Address

reasoning, because after all you got over 200,000 more votes than we did. Well, analysing these figures I find he was right.
The unit of representation per member for the Government supporters averages therefore 10,989; the Conservatives, 19,430 per member, and the Progressives 11,836. We have 118 members supporting the Government, 50 Liberal-Conservative members, 65 Progressives, and 2 Independents. If we were to take the basis of the vote of the Liberal-Conservatives as the basis of representation, the Government would have only 66 seats as against our 50, and the Progressives would have 39. If we take the Government unit, the Conservatives would have 88 seats as against their present 50, and the Progressives 70 seats. I think the fortunes of war have dealt pretty kindly with my hon. friend the leader of the Government, and that on reflection he will think that after all he should not perhaps gibe us too much on forming a party which can only properly count 22 members.
If there is one thing that this House ought to do during the present session it is to pass a redistribution bill. The Speech from the Throne does not indicate any very extensive legislative programme. My. hon. friend is the head of a minority government. I do not know what the future holds in store for him or for his party; nobody knows; he himself does not know,. In order, therefore, to ensure something like fair and proper representation of the people in the next Parliament, the necessary steps to effect redistribution should be taken at once.
We have heard a good deal about campaign literature. Definite pledges, platforms and statements have been referred to by my leader and brought to the attention of the Prime Minister. Am I unfair in saying that the Prime Minister's reception of this recapitulation of campaign promises was, to say the least, cynical? The Prime Minister tells us not to take seriously this campaign literature; not to take seriously the pledges given to the people during the election campaign by the different parties. The hon. gentleman reminded my leader of a certain poster which contained the statement that Canada needed a certain very eminent gentleman, and went on to remark that the country did not think so. But if the cartoonist was wrong; if that idea was for the moment mistaken, is that any reason why the plighted word and solemn pledges of gentlemen returned to office should not be observed?

What is the use of an election if those who have voted for the victorious party find that the pledges on the strength of which they voted never existed? Does my hon. friend intend during the present session to bring down a bill to amend the Criminal Code? In that code there are laws dealing with misrepresentation,- and I may point out to my hon. friend that the crime of misrepresentation is only complete when the offender charged gets the goods. My hon. friend has the goods here; he is in office. Anyone who by false pretences, or misrepresentation, obtains property, even of infinitesimal value, is guilty of a crime and liable to a long term of imprisonment. Does my hon. friend think it is a small thing to say that faith with the people may be broken, that representations made for the purpose of obtaining office may cynically be disallowed? I am disappointed, more than disappointed, in the attitude of my hon. friend. I have had a high opinion of his character, and I am sure that upon reflection he will admit that such a serious matter cannot be disposed of by an easy gibe.
I am disappointed in my hon. friend for another reason. You know, Mr. Speaker, something happened during the last election-the Liberals discovered something during the campaign. Why, they discovered Toronto, and they proclaimed their discovery in their pre-election literature. Here is another of those things to which the Prime Minister thinks we should not pay attention. I was in hopes that what I am about to read was a distinct conversion of the great Liberal party to the just claims of Toronto. What do they say? Here is a campaign advertisement graced by my hon, friend's picture. I use the word "graced" advisedly; it is a very good portrait.

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