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


Charles Edward Bothwell



No. I think it would
be a mistake to suggest any percentage of
reduction. I believe each individual case will have to be dealt with on its merits. The facts, so far as soldier settlers are concerned, are these: A total of 30,804 returned soldiers
were established under the Soldier Settlement Act. Of that number 24,148 were granted loans aggregating $103,150,098. Of these 727 have repaid their loans; 5,203, or 21.5 per cent, have abandoned their land altogether; 1,863 farms have been turned over to other settlers. The position is this: In addition to that 21 per cent who have abandoned their farms, unless we make some adjustment for numbers of these returned soldiers, we are going to have possibly another 21 per cent of abandonment, When that land is abandoned, it means that the board will resell i.t to other settlers at the price obtainable to-day. Now those soldiers who have done everything they could, not only during the war but since, to try to re-establish themselves should not be penalized to any greater extent than a new settler coming into the country now would be. If they abandon the land they drift into the city, and in some cases possibly become a charge there. If the Soldier Settlement Board, then are going to resell the llands which are taken over from the settlers at to-day's prices, surely it should be possible for us to devise
means whereby an adjustment can be made and the soldier allowed to retain his land. I am suggesting that enabling legislation be passed vesting discretion in the Soldier Settlement Board in revaluing individual parcels of land, and that they use their discretion the same as any other owner of land in western Canada has to do and compromise on the price at which the land shall be sold. We know of many cases in western Canada where men during a time of -high prices have sold land at a high price, and who in recent years have had to compromise at possibly half that sale price in order to retain the man on the land. Surely we can do the same thing for the soldier settler. I cannot do any better, in closing this subject, than to read the words of the mover of the resolution on this subject adopted in the Saskatchewan House:
I make this motion in the interests of the men who served the nation well, and who have made an effort to come back with some contribution in the days of peace. I make it in the interests of the fanners of the country, whose induslry will suffer to the extent in which these men fail. I make it in the interests of our municipalities, vitally affected by every gap made by an abandoned farm. I make it in the interests of the Dominion, the best asset of which is a contented and happy people, and I make it remembering 1914-1918. "Lest We Forget."
There is another matter in regard to which I wish to make a correction. The hon. member for South Winnipeg (Mr. Rogers), speaking in this debate on the question of rural credits, said:
The difficulty in our western provinces, as I understand it, Mr. Speaker, is largely due to the fact that we have the misfortune in Saskatchewan and in Alberta of having had Liberal governments for many long years. In fact the provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan have never yet had an opportunity to know and to understand the real value of Conservative government.
The impression may have been left on the House by that statement that the provinces of Saskatchewan and Alberta particularly are in dire stress. I do not believe that rural credits are needed any more in those two provinces than in any other part of Canada. I believe that a rural credit scheme is in the interests of Canada as a whole, and will be of benefit to other parts of Canada as! well as the provinces referred to. In comparing the province of Saskatchewan with that of Manitoba I would draw the hon. member's attention to this fact, that although Saskatchewan has never had the benefit of Conservative rule, it is in a much better position financially than Manitoba. In the budget address delivered in the Saskatchewan legislature in 1924 a comparative estimate was made of the
The Address-Mr. Bothwell

indebtedness of the different provinces in Canada, as follows:
' Gross per capita Net per capita debt ddbt
9114 $53Saskatchewan.... 66 33
The Canada Year Book of 1924, also comparing the two provinces, shows the total principal assets of the province to be:
Principal Assets Liabilities
$64,795,506 $78,900,821Saskatchewan .. .. 62,521,001 51,448,807
These figures show clearly the comparative financial position of the two provincea The hon. member for Vancouver Centre (Mr. Stevens) in discussing the Speech from the Throne, referred to an address made by Sir Herbert Holt, president of the Royal Bank of Canada, and quoted a portion of his address. But here is a portion that he did not quote, and I shall read it in order to put the House right on that matter. Sir Herbert Holt says:
The national problems that confront ns are complex, but inter-related. They are accentuated by the contiguity of the wealthiest country in the world. The physical geography of our country and the sparsity of population tend to a regional rather than a national outlook, and while both easterner and westerner are alike in their loyalty to the Dominion and to British traditions, the more immediate political dangers seem to lie in the intensification of provincialism, with its separate outlook and local economic interest. Our interests throughout Canada keep this question constantly before us. The Royal Bank has its roots in the Maritime provinces, where our business was inaugurated; it owes a good measure of its prosperity to the development of the central portion of Canada, and in the western provinces our business to-day is extremely important. Our contact with affairs in the various provinces has served to impress on us very deeply the close relation between the prosperity of one section and the prosperity of the others. Fundamentally, the interests of the different sections are identical, and our problems can be solved if only we bring to the discussion of them a friendly spirit of give and take. What is needed is a united Canada, closer cooperation between east and west in a national programme that will promote national development.
In describing general conditions in Canada, he takes the whole country from west to east and explains that conditions have been and are improving.
Other questions mentioned in the Speech from the Throne-the tariff, the Hudson Bay railway, immigration-have already been dealt with at some length by various speakers. I merely wish to draw the attention of hon. members to the fact that the people of western Canada, according to the figures that were quoted to the House to-day, are in favour of a lower tariff; in fact the great majority of them, if it were not for the interests of other parts of Canada, would favour free trade absolutely. They cannot see that there
is anything to be gained by a tariff at all so far as they are concerned. To them the tariff means that they are paying to Ontario and Quebec millions of dollars each year and deriving no benefit therefrom, because the price of everything they have to sell is fixed in the world's market. From the expressions of opinion so far advanced here, we seem to be all agreed that it is impossible for us at the present time to have free trade; but if we in western Canada are contributing some millions of dollars yearly to the manufacturing districts of eastern Canada we believe we are entitled to reductions in the commodities that we require as great as can be obtained. We believe it is only fair that Something should be done towards completing the construction of the Hudson Bay railway; and we appreciate the legislation along that line announced in the Speech from the Throne. If the position assumed by us is correct, surely the people of the east are willing to concede to us the amount of money necessary to the completion of that railroad as a colonization project. Apparently all governments for years past have been in favour of this enterprise; and it was with considerable interest and gratification that the members from the west learned the intention of the government to bring down legislation this session towards that end.
I do not intend to deal with the other questions mentioned in the Speech from the Throne, but I do wish to offer a word or two on the subject of immigration. I do not believe that we are going to benefit to any material extent by a great influx of foreigners into western Canada. First of all we must place conditions on a sound basis. We must develop our agricultural industry in the west to^such an extent and in such a way that the settlers now on the land will become happy and contented. Therefore the problem before us is hardly one of immigration, it is rather one of colonization. We need a contented people in the west, and to contribute to that happy result we want branch railway lines. When you consider that there are districts in the west that were settled as long ago as 1883, and that the settlers in those districts are still hauling grain to market from points thirty-five to forty miles away, you can realize that they are not very well satisfied with conditions as they are. They are not at all contented when they consider that people in the eastern parts of Canada have rural mail delivery whereas they cannot get it. We in the west feel that we need colonization legislation; and if the government will only give to the people out there some of those things that are

The Address-Mr. Howard
being enjoyed by the farming communities of the east, contentment will come to our people and there will be no difficulty in attracting immigrants to our shores. I Dotice that Australia is spending some eleven million pounds in colonization projects along the same line. This money is being spent under the emigration agreement entered into between the Australian Commonwealth and the British government upon railways^ highways, water supplies and other schemes for settling and developing the land. Were we only to spend some money in similar ways I believe we should make a great advance in the settlement of our immigration problems.
Mr. CHARLES B. HOWARD (Sherbrooke) (Translation): Mr. Speaker, on the occasion
of my rising in this House, as the representative of one of the most interesting counties of the eastern province of Quebec, it. behooves me to pay a just homage to my French Canadian electors, by first expressing myself in their native tongue. However, having an intimate knowledge of the generous disposition and the spirit of fairness which animates the population of the county of Sherbrooke, by having been honoured by them, and knowing that the English language is more familiar to the majority of the Canadian representatives in the nation's parliament, I deem it advisable to proceed in the English language.
As a new member, making my first speech in the House of Commons, I wish to couple my words with those who have spoken before me in congratulating you, Mr. Speaker, upon your appointment for a second term. I had long heard and read of the Hon. Rodolphe Lemieux, but I never realized, Sir, how well you were fitted to fulfil the duties of the speakership until I saw you presiding with such dignity over the proceedings of this House.
I wish also to congratulate the mover and the seconder of the Address in reply to the Speech from the Throne. I am sure from the ability both these hon. gentlemen displayed that they will be decided acquisitions to the debating talent of this House.
I was going to refer in my own words to a matter which gave me a great deal of pleasure, but the other morning I picked up the Montreal Gazette, whose politics we all know, and I found there an editorial which expresses, in better language than I could employ, the sentiments of this House with respect to a fact which all of us must have noticed. The Gazette says:
Several of them-
Referring to our French-Canadian friends.
-have shown that they are well able to sustain the handicap of speaking in a language with which they are
less familiar than their own. The Hon. P. J. A. Cardin, for example, has made this session his first important effort in English, and old parliamentarians predict that he will take his place among the first debaters in this House. Hon. George Boivin must henceforth be regarded as one of the most formidable speakers on the Liberal side. The Solicitor General, Hon. Lucien Cannon, is thriving on his new responsibilities and giving a good account of himself. Fernand Rinfret and J. J. Denis of Joliette have earned the admiration of all the parties by their able contributions.
If the French members cared to exercise their privilege they could employ their own language, but as Mr. Rinfret observed at the commencement of his speech the other day, they prefer to speak in the tongue that will be understood by everybody. Mr. Bourassa sometimes addresses brief remarks to the chair in his native tongue, but for the most part the debate is entirely in English.
Now, Mr. Speaker, it would be a pleasure to me to return a compliment that has been paid to this House by our French-Canadian fellow-citizens by delivering my address in. Franch, but I must refrain from doing so because my remarks would not foe as well understood.
I had not intended to take part in this debate, and perhaps would not have spoken had not certain remarks about the county of Sherbrooke been hurled across the floor. When the hon. member for Kent, N.B. (Mr. Doucet) delivered his notable speech, in which he made accusations against the entire province of Quebec, mentioning specially the county which I have the honour to represent, I could not resist the temptation of indulging in a reply.
I could not let those accusations pass without telling the House the history of the last campaign in Sherbrooke, and1 what is true of Sherbrooke is true of practically every seat in the province of Quebec. If there is one province in this great Dominion that is more generous than another, if there is one province that is more considerate of minorities or that is less fanatic than another, it is the province of Quebec, and to have such statements made as were made by the hon. member for Kent is simply to heap insult upon my electors. I stand here, Mr. Speaker, as an example of the generosity of the province of Quebec: I am an English-speaking Protestant, elected in a county in which two-thirds of the electorate are French Canadian Catholics. I was chosen in a properly called convention of Liberals, where my French-Canadian fellow citizens were in a majority of four to one-a straight Liberal candidate, a supporter of the government of Mr. Mackenzie King. My predecessor, the first Liberal ever elected in the county of Sherbrooke, gave fourteen years of splendid service to this House, but when the electors of Sherbrooke knew that he dis-
The Address-Mr. Howard

agreed with the government on the tariff issue and on the budget, they refused to give him the convention. Again, the members who have been sent from Sherbrooke in the past- only two-should prove to this House that prejudice does not exist in that county. I only came into the election the night before nomination. It was a three-cornered fight, with an independent Liberal-protectionist, a Patenaude candidate, and myself as a straight Liberal, in the running. I discussed at every meeting, including the first one on nomination day, the four great policies of our great national leader as expressed in his speech at Richmond Hill. Never in my presence, was the conscription issue mentioned, except at one meeting, and that was at Rock Forest, when my Patenaude opponent tried to injure me by accusing me of having been in favour of [DOT]conscription in 1917. Does that not sound a little different from the words quoted by the hon. member for Kent? Instead of the Liberals raising the question of conscription in Sherbrooke, my opponents resorted to that issue to beat me, the Liberal candidate. The hon. member for Kent did not come to Sherbrooke during the election, and if he knows as little about the rest of the province as he does about Sherbrooke, you know how to value his statements. I do not intend to quote circulars and newspaper clippings to prove that the statements made by the hon. member for Kent were ridiculous. The
10 p.m. member for St. James (Mr. Rin-fret) has ably refuted his statements and shown to this House that the campaign in Quebec was just as clean as, if not cleaner than, the campaign in Ontario or any other province.
At the opening of the session, in the first week of the debate, our party was accused of usurping power, but by its vote of confidence this House pronounced definitely that, our leader had followed the right course and that decision was reached more on the basis of common sense judgment than of precedent. At the commencement of the debate I regretted very much that different members of this House referred in belittling terms to the indemnity paid to members. I want to state that I am proud to draw $4,000 from this country as my indemnity, and if I am able I intend to render a service the value of which will be far in excess of the amount of the indemnity.
Returning to the Speech from the Throne, I am not surprised that the right hon. leader of the opposition (Mr. Meighen) proposed an amendment of only eight lines. There is no doubt that it would be very difficult for any

party to criticize such a Speech from the Throne as has been brought down to this fifteenth parliament of the Dominion. Certain figures have been already quoted in the House, but I cannot help repeating them. To show the difference between the conditions prevailing when this party took over the reins of power in 1921 and those which exist to-day, I call attention to the fact that Bank of Montreal stock was quoted in 1921 at $215 a share; in to-day's market it is quoted at $262, and last week was quoted at $271. Royal Bank stock in 1921 was quoted at $205 and to-day it is $255. Bank of Commerce stock was quoted in 1921 at $184, and to-day it is listed at $224. We will turn now to industrials: Canada Cement was
quoted in 1921 at $67 a share; to-day it is selling at $106, six dollars above par. Canadian Pacific Railway in 1921 was quoted at $125; to-day it is quoted at $150. Perhaps some hon. members would say that these figures are not conclusive, but if they take them in connection with the progress of Canada during the Liberal regime since 1896 they are conclusive. Those who are older than I can easily remember-I myself can recall the days when I was on the farm, ten years old-when Sir Wilfrid Laurier came into power, and none of us will ever forget those fifteen years of prosperity from 1896 to 1911. In 1911, when our honoured chief, Sir Wilfrid Laurier decided to negotiate, in the interests of the common people and the farmers of this country, the greatest trade agreement the country had ever known- reciprocity-our opponents went through the country, waved the flag and told the people of Canada that this would be the thin end of the wedge; that if we accepted the finest trade agreement ever made with the United States we would soon become annexed to that country. Our people were afraid; they turned down the agreement, and they have been paying the bill ever since. When you look at the ten years from 1911 to 1921, when our debt increased from $500,000,000 to $2,500,000,000, or $2,000,000,000 in ten years under Conservative regime, you can easily realize the joy of the people of Canada when our party came back to power in 1921. It took two years for our leader to get hold of the reins and get started; the Liberal party had only two years of administration before the election of 29th October last. But in those two years what did they do? The operating deficit on our Canadian National Railways came down from over $80,000,000 to $30,000,000. Throughout this country one of our

great newspapers published that wonderful propaganda which has come to be known as the Whisper of Death, probably the most injurious piece of advertising that has ever been given any country in the world, to the detriment Of this Dominion. And inside of three years, indeed, inside of two years, they have had to take it all back for the simple reason that this newspaper and the press generally are daily publishing the most extraordinary reports of progress which any country could possibly dhow to the world at large. The "whisper of death" has been changed to a "shout of triumph." During my campaign in Sherbrooke my adversaries, the Patemaude interests-I do mot blame the Conservatives-stated to the electorate that if they did not put this government out of power the country would be ruined. But the electors of Sherbrooke did not fall in the trap, nor did they help those who wanted to put this government out of power. During the time that these views were being expressed in my home town of Sherbrooke one of our industries, which employed 190 men in the period of depression after the war, had in its employ, on October 25 last, four days before I was elected, 425 hands. Eighteen months ago an industry in Sherbrooke which was then absolutely at zero, comprising one man and the office boy, was employing, on October 25, four days before my election, 78 hands, while to-day it is putting up a building in Sherbrooke 197 feet long by 94 feet in width, 3 storeys high. Another company which lost $187,000 three years ago and $85,000 two years ago came out square last year, and this year will make their first profits since the Liberal government came into power. And at date October 25 they were employing 900 hands day and night and Simdays occasionally.

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