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


Donald MacBeth Kennedy


Mr. KENNEDY (Winnipeg):

I am not applying that to any particular part of Canada, but to all parts, for we had many people in this country from all corners of the world who were not particularly interested in our empire quarrels, and they sought the easiest way out, which was across the line.
Now I come to the last question. There are some matters in the Speech from the Throne of which I have approved. It is true that I have endeavoured to the best of my ability to criticize the Speech in some other respects and point out matters in which it is lacking. I am faced, when the time eventually shall come in this House for the vote to be taken on the Address, as all hon. members will be faced, with the question of how I shall vote. Let me say this: A vote
in favour of the Address may not be equivalent to a vote of confidence in the government, yet it clothes with the appearance of authority a government which has neither the confidence of this House nor that of the people of Canada. The Speech from the Throne is not that of a government enjoying that confidence, and without which it has not the right to govern. A vote, I say, in favour of the Address would appear to clothe with authority a government which has the confidence of neither this House nor the country, and I propose to give you1 a few reasons for my view.
My first reason is because of the declarations of the first minister himself, made at Richmond Hill, where he declared:
That brings mo to the situation with which at the moment the government is faced. As a government we can carry on until 1927 if we so desire. As I have already said, I have not the least doubt we shall be able to command such support as we all along have had in the House of Commons at another session; but shall we be able to do more than that? That is the question I have put to everyone of my colleagues in the government and to not a few of the members.
It is a question I now put to you who have honoured
me with your representation in the House of Commons. It is a question I put to the electorate of this country. Is it sufficient that as a government we should continue in office, drawing our indemnities and salaries as members and ministers and enjoying the other fruits of office when great national questions press for solution, with which for want of an adequate majority in parliament we are unable to cope
Now if he was unable to cope with those problems with a majority of one over all in this House, how can he assume to cope with these same national problems now, labouring under a minority of sixteen under the largest group in this House?
I advance another reason! Because the government lacks the power to initiate and carry into effect even such legislation as it believes this country requires. If you want proof of that, all you have to do is to examine the Speech from the Throne and you will find that it forecasts no legislation seeking to solve any of the national problems which the Prime Minister himself said must be solved. It contains only such matters of promised legislation as were necessary for the purpose of securing the support of certain economic groups in this House.
Again, I say, because the government lacks its quota of ministers of the crown, we have the situation in this House of a government which presumes to govern when we have not sitting in this House a Minister of Externa! Affairs, a Minister of Railways, a Minister of Immigration, a Minister of Trade and Commerce, a minister having charge of the Post Office department, a minister administering the Department of Soldiers' Civil Reestablishment, or a Minister of Labour; and also because the government is without in this House its real directing leader.
Again, because lacking this quota of ministers it really formulates its policies, not through ministers responsible to the crown, but very frequently through those whom it attempted to elect as ministers in the last election but who were rejected at the polls.
I refer to such men as Mr. Massey, Mr. T. C. Norris, Mr. Marler and others.
Again, because it lacks a leader who holds the confidence of the people of Canada. I say to this House, and I say it not in any discourteous way, that the record of the Right Hon. Mr. Mackenzie King in the Dominion of Canada politically is not such as to command the confidence of the people of Canada to-day. For proof of that I point to his record. He entered parliament in 1908 for North Waterloo; in 1911 he was rejected by North Waterloo; in 1917 he was rejected by the constituency of North York; in 1919 he was elected by acclamation in the province of Prince Edward Island in a by-election; in

The Address-Mr. Kennedy (Winnipeg)
1925 he was rejected a second time by the constituency of North York; and now, it is true, he is representative for the constituency of Prince Albert.
Is there any reason for that record of defeats? I suggest that the reason is because the Right Hon. Mr. Mackenzie King as leader of the Liberal party does not possess the confidence of even the Liberals throughout the Dominion of Canada, and that is because on all matters of national concern, when pressed for a solution of these problems he has never attempted directly to deal with them in any courageous way, but rather his manner of dealing with them has always been characterized by vacillation and uncertainty. That is why he has lost the confidence of the people of Canada.
There is another reason to which I wish to refer, and it arose during the last election, and that was the spectacle of the first minister of this country going throughout the constituencies of this country and seeking to offer a political bribe to the electorate by saying to them: If you elect so and so, you
elect a man with a portfolio attached to him. I submit that that was highly improper for a first minister. I submit that once a man is elected, then, if a government sees fit to honour him with a portfolio, it is a matter for him to go back to his constituents and say: "The government desires me to take this portfolio." I say it is an improper thing for a prime minister to declare to a constituency : "If you elect so and so I will make
him a cabinet minister." That argument was used. Where? It was used in an endeavour to elect the Hon. T. C. Norris in the constituency of South Winnipeg. But the electors of South Winnipeg declared that they would rather have the hon. member (Mr. Rogers), who to-day is welcomed back by all sides of this House, than the Hon. T. C. Norris, even with a portfolio attached. What did the Prime Minister say as to a portfolio for Mr. Massey? Speaking at Bowmanville, on October 19, according to a Canadian press report, he said:
"I intend," announced Mr. King, "to give him one of the best portfolios I have."
Well, the people of that constituency decided to elect the hon. member who now represents them here, rather than send to parliament Mr. Massey, even with the best portfolio that the Prime Minister could give him.
Again I say we should not vote confidence in this government. We should not do so because this government deliberately shirked a straight vote of want of confidence on the
motion that was introduced the o.ther night. We should not do so because it exists only by reason of the support of a majority of normally three who have not confidence in it. You can pick those three members wherever you like among the government supporters. If you do so you will frequently find that that majority is represented by three or more men who are not in sympathy with this government on matters of principle, who have declared time and time again during the election campaign that they had no confidence in it. If you wish one example, I will give you that of the hon. member for Rosetown (Mr. Evans) who is reported as having said, in discussing the matter of a coalition between the Progressives and the Liberals after the election:
There can be no coalition as long as the Liberal party is wallowing in the mire of corruption as it
There is one of the majority of three. But the hon. member for Rosetown seems to have changed his opinions on his way down here from his constituency. I cannot suggest what induced him to adopt the course he has followed, but it reminds me of the story of Mary Malone. She decided to leave her native parish in Ireland and seek work in England. So she waited on the parish priest, told him her plans, and asked him for a reference. He gave her a certificate of character, but during the course of a severe storm on the passage over to England she lost her certificate. She went to the captain of the ship and told him her trouble. "Oh", he said, "I will fix that all right," so he wrote out a certificate that "Mary Malone left the city of Dublin with a good character, but she lost it on the way over."

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