May 16, 1923 (14th Parliament, 2nd Session)


Joseph Henry Harris

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. J. H. HARRIS (East York):

In rising to contribute a few remarks to the debate on this budget, to which we have been giving so much consideration, I want to request the Minister of Finance to listen, if he will, to two or three words. First of all, let me congratulate the hon. gentleman on the vigour and energy he has shown in presenting to parliament his seventeenth budget. At this session, particularly when he has to consider a review of the Bank Act, I am sure that the Minister of Finance will receive the greatest sympathy of hon. members in all corners of the House. But I do not think that his colleagues on this account can be relieved of responsibility for the consequences of the budget which the minister has brought down. It is my earnest wish that the minister may be spared a good many years to serve this fair Dominion, not in his present capacity, but on this side of the House. I say that advisedly, because in looking through the budget debates of previous years I find that that hon. gentleman on former occasions has been a very able critic. In fact, Mr. Speaker, I believe that if we were to take some of the criticisms of the present Minister of Finance, of budgets brought down in years that have passed, and if we were to submit those criticisms in toto from this corner of the House, we might feel that wp had done justice to the present debate. In confirmation of this assertion I am going to ask hon. members to listen while I read a few words that fell from the lips of the minister as member for Shelburne and Queens. In 1920, the minister is reported at page 2,509 of Hansard as follows:
The Minister of Finance to-day gave us some tariff changes which we shall be better able to understand when we read them in detail in Hansard. Let me say, however, that I am sure there must be deer* disappointment on the part of a great many members of the House who were, or are, supporters of the government, to find that the tariff reform which they are
[Mr. C. A. Stewart.
getting-if you call it tariff reform-is of such a moderate character. We must not forget that the government have for the last two years been, shall I say, coquetting with this tariff question, jollying their friends along and promising that something was going to be done. If I might use a quotation:
"They promise, prepare, propose, postpone
And end by letting things alone."

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