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


Donald Ferdinand Kellner



I do net think "luck" is the right word there. One had an organization behind him to see that legal fees did not go too low; the other had no such organization to see that his grain prices did not go too low. I think that is probably the crux of the situation.
In discussing this budget a good many hon. members try to ridicule representatives of the West because we come here and ask for lower tariffs. They try to make out that we do not 'altogether know what we are talking about and that it would not be a good thing for us to have lower tariffs. I may tell this House that these hon. gentlemen can never make protectionists of the people of western Canada. Neither can they convince western Canada that the people in that part of the country should submit to the excessive interest rates that they are paying to-day. They cannot convince them, either, that it is their duty to pay the high freight rates they are paying to-day. When we ask for lower interest rates it is not going to do us any good to tell us we have the best Bank Act in the world, and say, "You farmers keep your horny hands off it." And when we tell you that we want lower tariffs, it is not going to do any good to get into a discussion of tariff stability or anything of that kind. When we ask for lower freight rates, it will not get you anywhere to tell us that the present rates are just
The Budget-Mr. Kellner

as low as they can be and permit the payment of dividends. I think there is a spirit abroad in the West to-day that will not be much longer denied. When we see the transportation companies and the elevator companies exploiting us from coast to coast in weights, in grades, in transportation rates, it is only natural that we should feel just a little bit strong on some of these questions. We cannot be intimidated, either, by being told that we do not know what we are talking about; the dissatisfaction which prevails in the West will, I am sure, never die out until times are made better. If this House cannot conceive of anything that will enable us to get on our feet, then I say to you in all sincerity, do not do anything to increase that flame. If conditions are such in this country that we cannot live together as one family, by ail means do not interject anything into this House that will keep us from being good neighbours.
I have often thought while sitting here in this House that those who have control of the government frequently lose sympathy with the people. It has often been given as the reason why Rome fell that she had disregarded the soul of her people, and I am just a little bit afraid there is a tendency in this House and in this country at the present time to disregard the soul of the Canadian people. There is nothing that will inspire men to the same degree of feeling as a fight for their existence, and that is what the West is fighting for to-day. We are rapidly losing our homes in that district, and it has been well demonstrated that if there is anything that will inspire a man to action it is to see his home going.
Before I close I would like to call the attention of the House to the very awkward and unsatisfactory position which the Progressives are in at the present moment in this House. We realize that we have little to expect unless we are well enough organized to go out and win enough support to carry the government of this country. At the present that is hopeless, for we have no organization in the East at all. Probably it could be accomplished in the very near future, but at present it is out of the question. Norw, we are forced to this position of affairs: Should we defeat this government by some manoeuvre or another -and no doubt, we could do it-what in the name of common sense have we to expect, from the Tories? So we are forced to sic here; we take the ridicule of the press quite frequently, but we are helpless to better our position, for if we did switch parties the

chances are we might get the worst of the switch.

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