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

LIB

Jean George Robichaud

Liberal

Mr. ROBICHAUD:

I have not read the last financial statement but I still profess to know a little about the finances of New Brunswick. If I may be pardoned for so doing, I may remind the hon. gentleman that I was a member of that government for seven years, and I can assure him that during the Foster-Veniot administration the province of New Brunswick had a sound, a progressive and an honest government, and that every ddllar that was responsible for the increase of the provincial debt during that time was devoted to the improvement of conditions in order to place the province on an equal footing with any other province or state in North America. Neither my hon. friend (Mr. Hanson) nor the leader of the opposition can refute that statement. But what happened? A galaxy of gentlemen came down from Ontario right into my own constituency and held a conference with the industrialists of the province. My hon. friends opposite will not deny that. That conference took place and the Hon. Mr. Baxter, the present Premier of New Brunswick, assured1 the lumber lords that he would do certain things if they would support him. They promised to do so and he told them he would endeavour to carry out his undertakings. But he went further. The province was ready to embark upon one of the greatest enterprises which it could possibly have undertaken, an enterprise of greater importance than any that it has gone into since confederation. We in New Brunswick wanted to keep pace with the rest of the worid, we wanted to develop our water power; and Mr. Baxter promised the lumber lords that if returned to power he would put a stop to such development. Strangely enough, however, he turned round and promised the electors of New Brunswick that in the event of his attaining office he would see that this development should continue. It appears, therefore, that my hon. friends from New Brunswick are between the deep sea and that gentleman whose name I should not care to mention in this House. Mr. Baxter, as I say, promised the lumber lords that he would put : stop to hydro enterprise in New Brunswick while at the same time assuring the electors that in the event of his being returned to power he would continue along the lines advocated by the Foster-Veniot government. And this is one of the facts that accounts for the little hardship which is now being experienced in New Brunswick among the lumbermen. Another promise was made: the Conservatives declared that if
the Liberal government in the province were defeated the lumbermen would receive an

enhanced remuneration for their labours. Well, that government was defeated and today our poor lumbermen in New Brunswick are receiving scarcely a dollar per day while the bushmen in the province of Quebec are getting anywhere from $75 to $90 and $100 a month. Is this depression in the lumber industry in New Brunswick due to the mismanagement of a Liberal administration, or is it due to the fact that the lumber lords have put a stop to hydro development in the province in order to prevent competition from outside? Clearly the explanation for the present condition is to be found in the latter fact. The lumber lords want to monopolize the industry there, and where there is monopoly there is hardship to the common people. This is the situation in New Brunswick to-day and hon. gentlemen from that province cannot deny it. Nor can they deny that the lumber industry is the only one in the province that has been badly hit, for the fishermen during the past year have witnessed the best times since confederation. My hon. friends know that the farmers too are doing well. In spite of all this however they come here and paint a very gloomy picture of conditions in New Brunswick.
I desire once more to appeal to the House on behalf of my fishermen friends of New Brunswick and more especially in the interests of my fishermen supporters and the fishermen electors generally of the constituency of Gloucester. It is true that the finances of the country will not permit the expenditure of large sums of money, but that industry, which flourishes to-day in the Maritime provinces, must be maintained. Hon. gentlemen opposite would have us believe that they are anxious to see the Maritime provinces attain to the level of other parts of Canada. Well, I tell them that unless we can make for improved conditions among the fishermen of the Maritime provinces we need not hope to make any great headway in that direction. During the past year particularly the Maritime provinces have been visited repeatedly with storms which have devastated such relief and accommodation as were temporarily afforded not by my hon. friends opposite, but by the parliament of Canada when the Liberal party was in power; for I cannot point to anything that the Conservative party ever did for the fishermen of my constituency. This may sound rather harsh, but it is true. Our fishermen need a share of the public funds in order that they may be provided with the necessary harbour facilities and transportation service to enable them to carry on their industry successfully as in the

The Address-Mr. Bothwell
past. I therefore hope .that this government will do all in its power to meet the requirements of the Maritime provinces in this respect, and I sincerely hope than in place of the lack of unity which was so sadly apparent in the last parliament among members on either side of the House representing Maritime constituencies, we shall see hon. members from New Brunswick, from Prince Edward Island and from Nova Scotia, whether they sit to your left, Sir, or to your right, joining hand in hand to obtain for the Maritime provinces a just share of the public expenditure necessary to alleviate the burdens that always press so heavily on the shoulders of our fishermen.
Appeals have repeatedly been made for national unity, but judging by the good spirit that prevails throughout the Dominion we must admit that there is no occasion for such appeals. National unity does exist to-day; it is implanted in the very heart of the nation. But unfortunately attempts have too frequently been made to undermine that unity which is so essential to our existence as a nation. How can we expect real national unity; how can we expect all classes and all sections of the country, to work together harmoniously for the promotion of our diversified interests, if our legislation is dominated by Montreal and Toronto to the great detriment of the country generally? The more I study the situation, Mr. Speaker, the more I am convinced of the vital importance of our adhering to the Liberal policy until such time at least as Canada shall have completely emerged from the chaos into which it was precipitated by the deflation and consequent depression following the war. By so doing the nation will accomplish a duty towards itself and towards the coming generations for whom we are paving the way. It is my confident hope, Sir, that by following Liberal traditions we shall go down to posterity as having accomplished something for Canada- something far greater than I can describe.

Topic:   S90 COMMONS
Full View