January 19, 1926 (15th Parliament, 1st Session)

LAB

Abraham Albert Heaps

Labour

Mr. A. A. HEAPS (North Winnipeg):

I
am very sorry indeed that the previous speaker (Mr. Flemming) did not have the strength to continue. I hope that after he has been in the House a little longer his strength will be fully restored, and that he will be able to continue his speeches to the end.
It has become customary, Mr. Speaker, for the various speakers in this debate to congratulate you upon your re-election to office. With other hon. members, I also, on behalf of the group I represent, wish to extend my congratulations to you, Mr. Speaker, and I do it not only on account of the qualities which you possess but also on account of the fact that in your re-election a precedent has been broken. During the past week or so we seem to have done nothing else but be asked by the various speakers on different sides of the House to follow precedents. I am noit such a great lover of precedent myself; what I like to do is to congratulate a person wlho

The Address-Mr. Heaps

has been responsible for breaking a precedent. At the same time, while I congratulate tlhe Speaker of the House, I have to extend to him a little sympathy, because, after all, any hon. gentleman who occupies the position of Speaker and has to sit in the chair all afternoon and evening, listening to what one (hon. member after another has to say, is certainly deserving of a little sympathy as well as congratulation. I thought we had had enough lasit week in regard to precedents and that nothing further would be said by members of this House regarding them. But the hon. Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Motherwell), not being satisfied after some of the members had gone back to the time of Cromwell and King John, actually went back to the time of Moses to find a precedent. I have no desire to igo back any further than that. Indeed I have no desire to discuss precedents in this House, but those which have been spoken of are such as might be well worth following in some respects. We little realize that when a precedent is made another has been broken. No precedent is made without another being broken. When it is stated in this House that King John was compelled to sign Magna Charta, there was then no precedent for a king being compelled to sign such a document. When Oliver Cromwell took certain actions, there was no precedent for the things he did, and when we speak of the mother of parliaments, those members who have been over there will have noticed that in one of the main halls of the mother of parliaments there is a little brass tablet on the floor which denotes the p'ace where Charles I was tried. In the yard of the mother of parliaments there is a bronze monument erected to Oliver Cromwell, and why was it erected? Because he was one who followed the customs and precedents? No, it was erected in his memory because he broke nearly every precedent he could think of.
We are now considering the Speech from the Throne, and from a purely Labour viewpoint there is nothing in it to be enthusiastic about. There is reference in that Speech to the completion of the Hudson Bay railway.
I am not enthusiastic about the completion of that particular railway. There is reference in the Speech to the return of the natural resources to the province of Alberta. I think the natural resources should be returned to all the provinces, but from a purely Labour viewpoint it is not of much importance or significance. There is also reference to one or two other matters, particularly rural credits, which I am quite prepared to support, but even that does not touch the industrial ques-
tion with which I am so closely associated and which I am anxious to see this parliament deal with. From the Labour viewpoint the Speech from the Throne is notable for the omissions, (there is no reference in it to some of the pressing problems which concern Labour. Yet when I look away from the Speech from the Throne, which I suppose is the settled policy of the government, and look over to the opposition and I analyse and scrutinize closely what the hon. leader of 4he opposition (Mr. Meighen) has to say in reference to matters pertaining to Labour, I find that the right hon. member's speech contains just as little with reference to Labour as does the Speech from the Throne. The only references made in that Speech and in the amendment have to do with enlarging the volume of employment in Canada-a very nice and catchy phrase, but what does it mean? I presume what the hon. leader of the opposition means by broadening the volume of employment in Canada is the imposing of a higher tariff so that more men may be employed' in Canada. I do not believe in the idea that an increased tariff necessarily means more employment. If I thought for a moment that an increase in the tariff would have the effect of making the conditions of the worker in this country better and of bringing about more prosperous conditions in Canada, I would be the first to vote for a higher tariff. But I am convinced1 that such is not the case; I cannot bring myself to believe that a higher tariff would bring about that condition.
Then the question arises, what are we to choose? What have those who are here ostensibly to further the interests of the worker to choose from so far as the Liberal party and the Conservative party are concerned? I have been in this House now for eight days. I confess that I have learned a great deal and have received a splendid .education-or reeducation-in history and constitutional practice. I have listened to the members on the Conservative side condemning the Liberal government for all they are worth, and with a good deal of what they said I am in hearty agreement. I have listened to hon. members on the Liberal side condemning the Conservative party, and with a good deal of what they said I am in hearty agreement. The fact that I am here, and that the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre (Mr. Woodsworth) is here, and the fact that we have a fairly large Progressive group in this House, indicates that there is a very large section in the Dominion of Canada which has faith in neither one party nor the other.

The Address-Mr. Heaps

Topic:   GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH
Subtopic:   ADDRESS IN REPLY
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