June 9, 1922 (14th Parliament, 1st Session)


An hon. MEMBER:

Are you sure you do not mean Toronto7
Mr. (BIRD: No, I do not mean Toronto although I believe some one has said that the hub of the universe visibly protrudes from that part of Canada; but nature has so destined our conditions that the influences that play from east to west, and
west to east, should be permanently obstructed; and from the time of the Greeks down to the present conditions of that kind have militated against the building up of united countries. It seems strange that nature should have so effectually obstructed the interplay of influences east and west; and having done that should have so effectually exposed us to the influences that play from the south-should have laid us wide open to the influences that come from the great political unit to the south of us.
I want to say that these three conditions are going to demand much of the statesmen of Canada in the future. To keep this country united is going to require a lot of wise planning. It is not a case of loyalty at all, it is just a case of economic necessity; and economic necessity, which is the first law of our existence, on occasion will come before that perhaps finer sentiment, patriotism itself. But let me say that protection seems to aggravate every one of these conditions-every one of them. It comes in and seems to deliberately drive a wedge in each one of these conditions. We have long believed that protection was a mischief maker internationally; but we are also beginning to see that it is a mischief maker internally, and when hon. members to my right talk about sectionalism in a strain of irony, working us up, so to speak, they ate doing something the final influence of which they cannot very well be aware of, and I would advise them to go lightly on that strain. If conditions were different in this country they might do it to their utmost; but seeing that we are so far flung, and so loosely knit together, they would far better get on to some other and more safe line of argument than that.

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