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


William Samuel Reed


Mr. W. S. PEED (Frontenac):

I need hardly say, Mr. Speaker, that this is the first occasion on which I shah, have spoken in this House, and before I say anything else I want to contribute a word of commendation to what has been raid regarding the hon. Minister of finance (Mr. Fielding), with whom I would couple the name of the hon. Minister of Railways (Mr. Graham). These two hon. gentlemen, practically throughout their business careers, have been more or less all the time before the public of Canada, and in my opin on they have certainly rendered this country a great service.
I would refer first of all to the rural mail system, not particularly by way of complaint, because I think it is generally recognized that existing conditions in Canada to-day will not permit of that complete service which the people would no doubt desire. There are a few connecting links in the county that sent me here which we should like to see completed as soon as financial conditions will permit. I want it to be understood, however, that I am not pleading for the county of Frontenac alone: the same privilege which I ask for that county I should be pleased to see extended from the Atlantic to the Pacific wherever it is needed.
I do not think I need dwell further on this subject, but I might say a word or two on the question of immigration, principally for the purpose of bringing to the attention of the House the state of things as they prevail near my home. I do not know the conditions as they are in the cities, but I can say that in the rural part of my riding there is not one man to every hundred acres, and with such a condition we cannot very well carry on the business of the country. I am glad therefore to hear the Acting Minister of Immigration (Mr. Stewart) inform the House

of his intention to do something to improve this condition.
So far as public works are concerned, we know, of course that a gre?:t deal of money has to be spent in this department, and I think I speak for all hon. members when I say that we have called upon that department from every co mer for assistance in regard to the works that have to be carried on in connection with harbours, wharves and so forth. But I think we have a minister who is capable of di-,charging the duties that are before him.
I want now to refer for a moment or two to the railway situation, but I shall not deal with that subject at any gieat length; it is needless for me tc go over the ground that has been covered by the last speaker (Mr. Church). I believe that, with the present minister, and with the board as it is constituted to-day, this department of the public service will make good, and I think it is the duty of every Canadian to do what he can towards this end.
During the course of this debate we have heard a great deal about tie national debt, and I think that those of us who have been following the trend of events know what is responsible for our obligations. I may be wrong, and if I am I ara ready to be corrected; but I thought I heard it stated across the floor of the House that the interest alone was $140,000,000
Now, from east to west there are many problems with which the Canadian people must grapple. We have heard a great deal about the wonderful natural resources of British Columbia, its great timber, its fish, and so forth; but I must confess that never having been either in the East or in the West, I am really ignorant of western conditions In the course of the debates of this sessior we have noticed that the members from British Columbia, irrespective of their partv affiliations, are all agreed on the gravity of the oriental question and the proper way to deal with it.
Now I come to Alberta. I am sorry that, we do not hear any very good reports from the members representing that province regarding conditions in the rural sections. Some day I intend to take a trip to the West, but I do not care to go where conditions are so difficult. I hope they will improve. Nor are the conditions what we would expect them to be in Saskatchewan and Manitoba. When we recall the illimitable coal measures, the vast wheat fields, the great cattle ranches and the rich, natural resources of these western provinces, it is apparent that something must

The Budget-Mr. Fortier
be wrong when their economic condition is so unsatisfactory. We hope to hear better things of the West as a whole in the near future.
In the great provinces of Ontario and Quebec we find some of our most important urban centres and our principal industrial development. Consequently there is not the same dependence on agriculture as we find in the western provinces, and therefore the depressed condition of our basic industry has not reacted so severely on the people generally. Lastly, we have the Maritime provinces. Their distance from the central and western portions of the Dominion places them at a decided disadvantage commercially, and naturally we want to assist them in every possible way
In all we are a family of nine provinces, each with its advantages and also corresponding disadvantages, and it should be the purpose of our administrative authorities to so legislate as to give an equal chance to all of us. Wise legislation will accomplish this purpose. But whatever may be done for our social and economic advancement, our paramount duty is to see that our rising generation are afforded such educational opportunities in our schools and colleges that they may take their place and in due time assist in the development of this great Dominion.

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