February 1, 1926 (15th Parliament, 1st Session)


Louis-Prudent-Alexandre Robichaud


I am referring to the Rand by-election in the constituency of Gloucester, when the campaign was opened by my hon. friend from Kent, N.B., and where a campaign of prejudice was carried on, in spite of which Mr. Rand was elected with a plurality of some 1,600. I need not dwell on this subject. A campaign of this sort is as detrimental to our welfare as it is disagreeable. I will content myself with reminding hon. members that no wardrobe is considered clean and sanitary unless all the linen has received a thorough cleaning. The hon. member for Kent should not take too seriously the utterances made by campaigners in the course of an election. Our party workers are sometimes rather ingenious in inventing some of these statements which are spread around in most of our constituencies.
My hon. friend told this House the other day that had the right hon. leader of the opposition been returned to power in the last election, thirty days later Canada would have been at war with Turkey. That' reminds me of a little controversy I overheard in my own constituency. One of my workers was arguing with one of the workers of the opposite party, and his reasoning was something like this: Had there been an election in August, 1922, and had the right hon. leader of the opposition been returned to power, when a telegram was received from Downing street in England, Canada would have sent troops to Turkey, and we would have been at war with Turkey. That was one way of reasoning it out, and after all it is not the fault of our friends that it is reasoned m this way. The declaration of the right hon. leader of the opposition at Toronto, before a meeting of Conservative ladies of that city, called for this way of thinking on the part of our electors. My hon. friend the member for Kent should pass by such petty political campaign utterances when used by election workers.

The Address-Mr. Robichaud
I have listened with no little astonishment to the efforts of the hon. member for Kent to belittle our compatriots of the province of Quebec. Although I feel like offering to this House, in the name of my French Acadian compatriots, some sort of apology for the attitude taken by the hon. member, yet I have absolutely no apology to offer for the campaign expedients put into practice by the Liberal party machine in the province of Quebec. The hon. member for St. James (Mr. Rinfret) has defended his province and its people in this respect, and it is needless for any ether member on this side of the House to dwell further on the subject.
A great deal has also been said since the opening of parliament about the popular vote registered during the last election. Around this subject has pivoted to a great extent the claim, of the right hon. leader of the opposition of the right to carry on the business of this country. I have not the least doubt that the 116 members on the other side of this House elected in support of the Conservative policy have all pledged loyal support to their leader and his policy. It would not be logical to think otherwise. But the contrast between the pledges of the hon. members before their election and the engagements they appear to be making following their election is perhaps worthy of passing notice. The hon. member for Colchester (Mr. MacNutt), for example, during his campaign issued a manifesto in the form of an election card which I believe should be construed as the platform upon which some eleven members were elected from the province of Nova Scotia. The campaign in that province was based on the question of the so-called "Maritime rights," and it was on that question that they profess to have been elected. I believe that if I should read to this House a part of that election card, I would give a fair idea of the platform upon which the eleven Conservative supporters were elected in that province. The hon. member for Colchester published in the Halifax Herald of September 26, 1925 what I construe to be his election card. Among other declarations he said the following:
In accepting this nomination, I wish to make it plain that if I am elected, I will not be a political partisan.
I will stand four-square for the rights of Nova Scotia and the rights of the Maritime provinces. And if the time should ever arrive when I must choose between the interests of my party and the interests of my native province I pledge my word to the electors of Colchester and the people of Nova Scotia that the interests of my native province will always come first.
This is very plain, Mr. Speaker. It is an appeal for Maritime rights and nothing else, TMr. Robichaud.]
and I will show my hon. friends opposite that they cannot and never will secure the recognition of what they regard as Maritime rights so long as they adhere to that fossil-iferous galaxy of men from Toronto and Montreal who occupy the front row. Further on the hon. member for Colchester said:
The Prime Minister, at Kentville, asked for a definition of Maritime rights. If he does not know the meaning of the term then he is about the only person in Canada who does not know.
That was a fine thing to say of the Prime Minister of Canada 1
I will tell him some of the things we stand for in these provinces, some of the things we demand as our rights in confederation.
I have before me the speech delivered to this House by the hon. member for Cumberland (Mr. Smith), who was elected on the same policy and pledges as all his colleagues from the province of Nova Scotia, because, if I mistake not, he has just applauded those statements of the hon. member for Colchester Let us compare the declarations of the hon. member for Cumberland after the election with those of the hon. member for Colchester before the election, in order that we may see how hon. gentlemen can stand on the same ground and adhere to the policies of the Conservative party in this country, and still claim for the Maritime provinces what they term "Maritime rights." In the course of his remarks the hon. member for Cumberland, alluding to the Solicitor General (Mr. Cannon) and the speech he delivered, said:
It is true, Mr. Speaker, that we are Maritime righters; It is true that we place country before party, as all loyal citizens should, and especially all parliamentarians, but the Solicitor General omitted to say that we were of one mind on two main, outstanding and salient points; namely, first, strict adherence to the policies of the Liberal-Conservative party as enunciated time and time again inside and outside this House by the right hon. leader of the opposition; and second, unswerving loyalty to the leader of the Conservative party.
The electors of this country heretofore have given unswerving adherence to the policies of the Conservative party, but have we in the Maritime provinces benefited from those policies? Speakers in my constituency, as well as speakers in other constituencies in the province of New Brunswick, have proclaimed the right hon. leader of the opposition as a modern Sir John Macdonald, the sponsor of a new national policy. Well, we have had a national policy in Canada from the early seventies up to the year 1896, and what have been the results? Have we benefited by that policy? Have we not lost the market to the south of us for the products of the farm and

The Address-Mr. Robichaud
of the sea? Have we not laboured and laboured, yes, have we not crawled along, under the burden of that national policy in the Maritime provinces for half a century? Yet to-day speakers opposite proclaim the right hon. leader of the opposition as a modern Sir John Macdonald, the sponsor of a new national policy. If the leader of the opposition is to be regarded as a second Sir John Macdonald, we might well say that while his father chastised the Maritime provinces with a whip, he would chastise them with a scorpion.
What we in the Maritime provinces need is a world-wide market; we need the markets of the world. This has been proven time and time again, but unless we have the required facilities to ship the products of the farm and of the sea across the ocean, to the West Indies, and to the country to the south of us, we cannot hope to progress in the Maritime provinces. Are the policies of the right hon. leader of the opposition in accord with the needs of the Maritime provinces in this respect? I cannot see how they can be. If we are to legislate for the big interests of Toronto and Montreal, as represented by that galaxy we see on the front benches opposite, how can we expect to legislate in the interests of the Maritime provinces? The Maritime provinces must have the markets they had under Liberal rule, under the Laurier regime, under Liberal policies. We must open up trade with the West Indies, with Australia and the Mother Country, with Italy, France, Germany and the central powers of Europe. There is in those countries an almost unlimited market for our fish in a preserved condition, and unless we adhere to the policies of the Liberal party, policies enunciated time and again, whereby we can open up new avenues of trade for the products of our farms and of the sea, we cannot hope to prosper.
In order still further to show that those 'who profess to stand for Maritime rights cannot really stand for them by adhering also to the policy of the leader of the Conservative party, I might quote the view of the Halifax Chronicle, in an editorial published on the 21st of January last. I shall not read the whole editorial, as it is rather long and would only cumber up Hansard, but in part it says, speaking of the " Maritime-righterS," so-called, who have been elected in the province of Nova Scotia:
They should be ashamed to squeal at the consequences. Had they even taken the precaution to safeguard themselves and their local interests, as the Progressives of the west did, by organizing an independent and distinct partisan group, they might have 14011-39i
accomplished something useful. But while shouting "Maritime rights" they bound themselves hard and fast to the Meighenite chariot wheels. Those w'heela are now sunk deep in political mud, and the "Maritime righters" with them.
Our elected Tory representatives have the additional, but apparently gladly accepted, humiliation of seeing a much smaller group from the west holding the balance of power and virtually being conceded all that they ask, while there are less than half a dozen representatives from the three Maritime provinces to speak a word for this section of the Dominion.
I believe this truly represents the position of those members who have been elected from the Maritime provinces in opposition to the present government. We have had experience in the past of the effect of Conservative policies in Canada. As I stated before, a Conservative government administered public affairs in the Dominion from the early seventies until the month of June, 1896. Were conditions in the country favourable during that time? Did not the Canadian people labour under extreme hardships, and was there not considerable depression under what is called the National Policy? Again, from 1911 to 1921 the Conservatives were in power. Were conditions any better in the Maritime provinces? Were the good people of that part of Canada better satisfied? Did it indicate satisfaction with the Conservative administration that a solid representation of sixteen members was elected in Nova Scotia in 1921? In regard to the railway employees, to whom so much reference has been made by hon. members from New Brunswick, were those men satisfied when the hon member for Westmorland, who was the candidate in 1921, was defeated by an adverse majority of some 7,500 votes? No, the people were not satisfied. Times were hard, unemployment was rife throughout the Maritime provinces, and yet there was a Conservative government in power from 1911 to 1921.
During the last election campaign it was stated in the Maritime provinces that the right hott: leader of the opposition had a new policy to offer. Well, if that policy is going to benefit the Maritimes, I should like to know how. If an increase in the tariff is going to benefit the Maritime provinces I should like to know it. If an extra tax upon fishermen of the counties of Gloucester, Resti-gouche and Kent is going to help those good people, I should like to know it. How can those hardworking fishermen support the burden of an extra tax, of a high duty on all those articles of production which under a Liberal government are admitted into Canada free of duty? I ask, how can our fishermen subsist under a policy such as hon. gentlemen opposite enunciate?

The Address-Mr. Robichaud
During the past two or three years hon-gentlemen opposite have presented a solid front in opposition to any expenditures intended to relieve our fishermen in their trying situation. Only recently-I think it was during the last session of parliament-money was voted for that purpose. Hon. gentlemen opposite from New Brunswick know that our fishermen cannot get along without some aid of this kind, but what has their conduct been? Those hon. members pledged themselves at a meeting of the maritime representatives held during the session of 1923 to support any measure that would be beneficial to the Maritime provinces, and yet only eight days afterwards the hon. member for Royal (Mr. Jones), the then hon. member for what was the constituency of St. John city and counties of St. John and Albert, Mr. Baxter, who now occupies the high position of Premier of New Brunswick, rose in their places and said that this government should not spend another dollar to help the Maritime province fishermen.
A great deal has been said about the question of freight rates.

Topic:   S90 COMMONS
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