April 14, 1925 (14th Parliament, 4th Session)


James Murdock (Minister of Labour)



There is nothing in the record that I can see that this young man of twenty-four years of age and his wife who

The Budget-Mr. Murdock
was twenty-three years of age were not perfectly fit and proper subjects for citizenship in this great Dominion. The only trouble appears to have been that, for what reason we do not know, the young man was offered seven jobs, and evidently, at the time my hon. friend was speaking in this House, was holding a job at $75 a month, and was still contending that Canada was no good to him and praying for deportation. I do not know but that deportation possibly is the best thing under the circumstances, and I think that that is what the department has now under consideration.
For a few moments now I will turn to eer-tain references made by my hon. friend from East Calgary in his speech of April 7 on the budget. He proceeded, by various figures, which I assume are quite accurate, to show that the per capita debt of Canada is $548 per head, or an average per capita debt of $2,740 for a family of five. I regard it- as rather unfortunate that the hon. gentleman did not in any way indicate how it came about that this country of ours has at this time such an enormous burden of debt. There was no criticism by the hon. member on account of the fact that during the war, when the government and Canadians as a whole were doing everything possible to win the war and were regarding the winning of the war as the most important thing to be accomplished, the government in power then and for several years after the war did not undertake to reasonably lighten that enormous burden of taxation of which the hon. gentleman makes so much, and places solely at the door of this government. It seems to me that if the hon. gentleman, speaking for labour, had desired to be reasonably fair and consistent, as my experience indicates representatives of labour do desire to be, he would in some slight measure have dealt with the question of whether the previous government should not have undertaken to pay their way as they went along during the period of the war, when millionaires in certain cases were being made over night, in very brief periods at least, on account of the exorbitant profits that they were enabled to make as a result of war conditions. That it seems to me would have been a fair position to take if the hon. gentleman had felt so inclined.
A little further on in the course of my hon. friend's speech he made reference to the Liberal platform, and hon. gentlemen will have observed with what sweeping haste he passed over each item of that platform one after the other, only in casual reference and away to one side, and not with the thought of dealing accurately and consistently with each item. He referred early in the course of his remarks to the obligations placed upon
Canada as a member of the League of Nations, to the obligations placed upon Canada holding membership in the International Labour Office of the League of Nations, and he endeavoured, it seemed to me, to convince this House that no step and no action had been taken by Canada in order to ensure social justice for the workers of Canada, which was exactly what was contemplated when part XIII of tthe treaty of Peace was framed, to ensure social justice for the workers of the world. The hon. member for East Calgary (Mr. Irvine) never bothered to indicate that Canada, as he well knows if he cares to analyze, stands pretty high amongst the nations of the world in its considerate and decent treatment of labour, and that, even before it was found necessary to incorporate part XIII into the treaty of Peace for the purpose of ensuring social justice to the workers of the world, Canada had gone a long way in the direction of securing for the workers of the world many of the things which are only now being developed in certain other countries. So we find the hon. gentleman going to great lengths in order to show that this government had done nothing whatever. It seems to me that he made one mistake. While referring to the Liberal platform, he had occasion to read a part of its preamble and a number of its paragraph terms. He read this:
Resolved, that the committee recommends that the National Liberal convention accept in their entirety as a part of the Liberal platform, in the spirit they have been framed and so far as the special circumstances of the country will permit.
Then he proceeded to enumerate; but the proposal which my hon. friend overlooked was that the agreement was that these were to be accepted-
As a part of the Liberal platform, in the spirit they have been framed and so far as the special circumstances of the country will permit.
Does my hon. friend, claiming to represent labour in this House, come here and, just after arguing that the tax burden on a family of five in Canada was $2,740 per annum, contend that, even so, every one of the proposals in the platform of the Liberal party, regardless of how many millions of dollars were involved, was to be here and now inaugurated and made effective, and that this government was entitled to the condemnation of this House and of the people of Canada because that had not been done? I do not think my hon. friend even talked about the question sensibly and I can hardly believe he was serious. Let me assure my hon. friend that a number of the questions that he so casually refers to have been dealt with to a much greater extent than the hon.
The Budget-Mr. Murdock

member appeared to know when he was discussing the matter.
But there is one other matter upon which I wish to speak as referring t-o the hon. member for East Calgary. I accepted money for considerably over twenty years to represent labour. I was not fired in the final analysis. I understood and I have documentary evidence to the effect that my services were fairly satisfactory; but I know nothing of the aims, ambitions and contentions of labour, and all my experience in those twenty years has been for naught if the declarations and claims of my hon. friend are the real aims, claims and ambitions of labour. Let me, if I may, because time is passing, refer to one. We found the hon. gentleman preaching what, with my knowledge of the aims and claims of labour, is the rankest kind of heresy in this House, as we heard him on the floor of this House make this statement:
All that I am contending for at the present time is that combines are necessary; combines are not necessarily evil, but combines cannot be broken, and even, if they could be broken, it would be very bad business.
If labour generally throughout the length and breadth of Canada does not repudiate that dbetrine as the rankest kind of heresy, then I know nothing about the views of labour. We found the hon. gentleman, as he always is, extremely eloquent in asserting that the government had decided to attempt this reactionary move. What reactionary move? To undertake to interfere, I suppose he would say, with the natural and orderly processes of business in the form of a combination, no matter how much that combination might be sapping the life or industrial blood of this country.

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