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


Joseph Henry Harris

Conservative (1867-1942)


I most humbly beg the hon. gentleman's pardon, but I heard the word drift across from some quarter of the House and naturally thought it came from over there. Was it the hon. gentleman who wears the hat (Mr. Leger)? Perhaps he comes from some part of the country where the sea joins the dry land and will therefore be quite close at hand to receive the message of the angel on descending.
When I was interrupted, Mr. Speaker, I was dwelling on a subject which is close to my heart, and that is the canalization of the St. Lawrence river. At the present time we have, as all know, the Welland canal nearing completion, and there is an absolute necessity of reducing the cost of bringing the products of the western farmer to the ocean and to the markets of the world. The cost of getting the grain out of that western country absolutely must be cut down, and if it can be shown to the people of this country that the potential wealth of electrical energy to be developed from the St. Lawrence waterway will be quite sufficient to pay the cost of that whole development and not saddle the people of this country with any extra cost, then I submit that all arguments pro and con should be submitted and public opinion and enthusiasm be roused. It is questions of this sort that should be given consideration by the people of this country. I do not need to dwell further on the subject. All hon. members know the magnitude of that fall and flow of water down the St. Lawrence, and can imagine the millions of horse-power that could be developed and the vast possibilities to follow. I do not want to appear as a dreamer, but I ask the earnest consideration of this House for
projects of this kind rather than academic questions.
Before resuming my seat I would like to say something with regard to two or .three expressions of opinion I heard in this chamber. One of those expressions emanated from the Progressive side of the House. I did not discover who uttered it but hon. gentlemen will remember the remark was something like this: "The breezes are blowing in the mulberry trees". The speaker seemed to have in mind the idea that part of this country should belong to the United States. He said: "The breezes are blowing in the mulberry trees. How long will it be before these breezes shall turn into a hurricane and sweep these western provinces from us"? Mr. Speaker, that is a wrong attitude, in my humble opinion, to take with respect to the issues in this country. The greatest feat of statesmanship to be accomplished, I think, during the next decade, will be to keep Ontario and Quebec united with the western prairies separated as the eastern provinces are from the West by a thousand mile gap. We in Ontario, and I can speak for the hundred thousand people 'hat I represent, are ready to stand to a rntn with the rest of the country in repelling onslaughts upon the Dominion such as were hinted at in the remarks referred to. There was also a sort of doubt cast by an hon. member from Quebec, the other day, in speaking about Great Britain, as to whether or not this country really belongs to the British Empire. I do not want to indu'ge in any flag waving because I did no soldiering myself during the Great War, but let me say to the hon. gentleman in question, one of the gallant men who fought in the period from 1914 to 1918, that the British Empire, in my opinion, has been the greatest agency for good in the whole wide world.

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