April 19, 1922 (14th Parliament, 1st Session)


David Arthur Lafortune


Mr. D. A. LAFORTUNE (Jacques-Car-tier) (Translation) :

Mr. Speaker, this is the first opportunity that I have had to address this House since you were chosen as Speaker. With the consent of the hon. members, I wish to say, Sir, that I was pleased and happy to witness your election to the speakership of this House. I have been your comrade for twenty-five years and more. I have always taken an interest and pride in your career and you have done credit to us wherever you went. You have been in political life for twenty-five years, and unfortunately, I have spent already forty years in the same way. This will convey to you, Mr. Speaker, that I am not without knowledge as to what has transpired in your career as well as in the country at large. I shall restrict myself to these few remarks, as I fear I might be out of order; however, what I have said will prove to you, Sir, that your humble servant was one of those who rejoiced the most at your elevation to the Speaker's chair.
My learned friend who moved this resolution, the hon. member for Missisquoi (Mr. Kay) accused the hon. leader of the Opposition of having altered his views. Well, let us give him the benefit of the doubt and say that he has not changed his opinion on this question. Nevertheless, I must admit he was dangerously near doing so. Another hon. member was less generous towards him, he expressed himself very
well, only he used rather a harsh word, when referring to the leader of the Opposition, he said it was but hypocrisy on his part. It was perhaps going too far. Let us give these gentlemen the benefit of the doubt; let us call it "camouflage". The Toronto members are not hypocrites, bu' they have very odd ideas which makes i'_ rather difficult for us to agree with them.
As an hon. member so well expressed it, we have in the country where I also live two different designations of the hour: the right hon. Sir Robert Borden's time and God's time. There was a great fuss as to which we should adopt. Finally God's time won. People placed more confidence in the latter than in the former, God's time was older and more respectable, we therefore adopted it.
I do not think that amongst all the members of this House but specially the farmer members, there can be found any in favour of this new system. Those who know and understand the economical side of farming cannot possibly uphold this new system, and, I ask myself who is the gentleman that first conceived the idea of altering the time. Let me tell you that he was by no means a genius, and the sooner we abolish it the better. In my own village we were blessed with a good common sense parish priest who rejected this daylight saving system; the mass is held at the usual hour, God's time. It is my humble opinion that the resolution moved by the hon. member for Missisquoi should necessarily be adopted. Most of the hon. members sitting on your left, Mr. Speaker, say this regulation will die a natural death. So much the better; however, there are extremists all over the country, men who are always at variance with others; they hold so-called new ideas-they term this progress-and if we do not check them in their thirst for progress, each session the same question will pop up. Now and then, Mr. Speaker, you will have this question of daylight saving brought up. Why not curb these gentlemen who are always on the look out for proposals which we cannot entertain, that every reasonable being opposes.
It was stated a short while ago that there were men of good common sense in the province of Quebec. That is so, but there are also men of good common sense in the other provinces, indeed a great number of them and we entreat these gentlemen to join and help us. Those who understand the economical side of farming should come forward and support the resolution of the hon. member for Missisquoi. Try, Mr-
Daylight Saving

Speaker, to have your domestics rise earlier than usual. You will find that it is not an easy task. No, Sir, it is impossible to get them to rise earlier than what is a reasonable hour. Who is the loser in all this? The master. We are forced to submit to the whims of these gentlemen, our employees. If you are not satisfied, Sir, they leave. If they find fault with the old system, they go, and leave you in the lurch. The employers now, are no more masters of the situation, we are governed by the employees. We must submit. If you seek to enforce this new time system on the farm hands, you will not succeed, the thing is impossible. In the morning we cannot start them to work before the usual hour, but in the evening the case is different when six o'clock comes-that is five o'clock-they grab their hat, the pick and shovel drop, everybody stops working, goodbye, it is six o'clock, let us go. In this last instance they do not require to be coaxed. What happens then? Those who understand farming know that the farmer's day does not end with the field work. He goes to supper, takes a little rest while smoking his pipe, but he has to visit the outer buildings, take a look in the stables, in the cattle house, in the pig-sty and in the henhouse; he has to see to everything, look to the doors being closed, the beds made, the cattle properly watered, find out if an animal has not strayed away, finally he has to oversee everything that has to be done. Then if you allow your men to go out too early after supper they dress up, stroll away to the village, and as you are aware in most of the villages there are now moving pictures. The men depart saying: Do not worry, boss, we shall not be long away. That is what they say, but they act differently; they come in late. Do you suppose the work is carried out? No. If the farmer does not go to the trouble to see for himself what is being done, the work 'is neglected and the men have played you the nice trick of leaving undone what formerly they were in the habit of doing. It is therefore impossible to uphold tsuch a system. Otherwise, close your doors, sell your farms and give up farming, if you do not wish to bring ruin upon yourself. It was clearly established that in the early morning you cannot work in the fields, you must allow the dew to evaporate. No one will contest this fact, the ground is not in a fit condition. You must wait until about nine or nine-thirty and sometimes ten o'clock before starting work in the fields. Well, [Mr. Lafortune.l
what are your men doing all this time? Nothing, absolutely nothing. Amongst all the western members, who are practical and business men, there is not one, I am sure, who wants this change in time, for if it were otherwise they would only show proof that they do not understand farming. I have now been farming for the last forty years and have always had farm-hands on my land which comprises an area of about 200 acres. I therefore know what is going on. I have a very good knowledge of the economical wtay of rearing all kinds of cattle which are to be found on a farm, and I say that to make some success, it is neces* sary to rise early and retire late.
Mr. Speaker, I do not wish to say unpleasant things to any one, it is not my practice. I am getting too old to pick up new habits, specially when they are not good ones. I asked myself who is the gentleman that invented this new daylight saving system. I do not contend that the idea originated amongst lazy people, but it must have originated amongst those who shun work and wish to be free to seek pleasure after five o'clock-old time. These pleasures conflict with the interests of the farmer as well as those of the employee himself. Why do we meet with so much evil? Why do we witness so many crimes? Why do we see immorality invade specially the large centres? It is because youth is allowed too much time to joy ride. Youth takes advantage of these conditions and craves for pleasure. It does so against its best interests, to the detriment of its health, transgressing the laws of sobriety and heaping upon itself all kinds of misfortunes. Formerly, we watched over the employees. We were able to follow a little their movements and gave them goc.d advice. To-day artisans in cities drop work at six o'clock in the evening. Then after having taken supper they leave, between seven and -seven-thirty, to enjoy themselves at the movies, at the theatres, or in doubtful company. At present you are unable to guide or control any one, yet we know what is taking place. Crime in large centres is on the increase from year to year, and where lies the blame? It is mostly due to too much liberty we allow the workmen, and', it seems to me that instead of seeking all kinds of methods to protect these gentlemen, we should as much as possible hold them in check. We are -asked why trouble abou-t this legislation-? We should not enforce it, it will be a dead letter. True, but it would not be so if everybody wesre reasonable, if every one would help; unfor-

Daylight Saving
tunately there _are extremists not only in this House hut everywhere, even in municipal councils. In the latter men are to be found who specialize' and seek by all means possible to create obstacles. It is therefore to prevent these evils that it is necessary that the resolution of the hon. member for Missisquoi (Mr. Kay) should be adopted.
Mr. Speaker, in the country we cannot have any fixed hour which would be convenient to the farmers. When the weather is threatening, do we cease work at six or seven o'clock? We work up to eight or nine o'clock if it is necessary. Rain is threatening, the haycocks are ready to be drawn. If the farm hand refused to carry out his work before the danger had disappeared or the hay had been drawn to the barns, he would simply be dismissed. Let him rest during the morning or through the day, if necessary; but when the danger is near, the rain 'is coming, at any cost, the crop which is ready must be brought to the barn.
The same thing applies to the cold weather. When we are threatened with frost and the tobacco is in the field in right condition for curing, do we stop work at six, seven or eight o'clock? No, we would work up to midnight if need be; we draw as long as it is necessary to protect tbs crop that lies in the field. You therefore, see, Mr. Speaker, under what conditions the farmer labours. The idea of fixing a set hour for farm work should not be entertained.
Those who work in large cities, in trades for instance, are perhaps exceptions. There is no rule without exceptions. Those who are employed and are at liberty to leave work early may be considered lucky; but they are in the minority, and all laws in a community should aim to protect the majority. The latter consists of the farming class in this country. It seems to me, Mr. Speaker, that it is not necessary to add anything further so as to persuade the hon. western members, and those of all the, different provinces who are connected in some way with the farming class, but I specially appeal to the members of the province of Quebec, to put an end to this discussion, an unfortunate one, and to adopt this resolution. I agree with the hon. member of Missisquoi and shall support with pleasure this resolution.

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