February 22, 1926 (15th Parliament, 1st Session)


Willis Keith Baldwin



I am very sorry, Mr. Speaker, if I have unwittingly violated the canons of good taste. But the circumstances are such as to prompt me to an unusual1 display of feeling. Let me say to hon. gentlemen opposite that it would be much better if they entertained the same degree of confidence in this country as does the Bavarian to whom I alluded a moment ago. Let us be true to Canada and to its institutions. As a man who has had a long business experience I would much rather invest in Oanadian securities than I would in the securities of any other country.
Now I should like to say something on the subject of our great inland waterway. In New York state they have the Erie carnal; and the cities of New York, Portland, Boston and Baltimore are decidedly opposed to the deepening of the St. Lawrence canal. H, however, the movement for the diversion of water from our Great Lakes to the Chicago

The Address-Mr. Baldwin
drainage canal proves successful, what is to hinder our friends across the line from deepening the Erie carnal and taking a vast volume of water from the game source, a source in which this country is so vitally interested? And I believe theTe is a possibility of that being done. And yet hoo. gentlemen opposite are spending their time arguing and quibbling here over the emoluments of office! Hon. gentlemen opposite are fighting and trying to upset the government, and allowing the great problems of this country to remain unheeded. If the people of other countries observe that nothing is going on in this parliament but fighting and squabbling we are not going to attract immigrants here to the extent that we should. Of course they will come here to some extent because we have wonderful natural resources in Canada waiting development.
Here is the immigration policy that I would adopt, if I were an immigration agent. I would go to the populous countries of the world and say to them:. "Canada is the greatest country on earth. We have cheap lands, and it is even possible that at some time we may have free homesteads again. H you go to Canada you will go to a great country where we have good laws, a beautiful climate with plenty of oxygen in the air and plenty to do. You can sell the products you raise from our soil, fish you take from our waters, and the materials you derive from the mines and forests. You can manufacture the raw materials and ship them, as well as the products you raise, to the markets of the world." I often think of the case of the Mennonites who settled in the west, many of whom became wealthy there. They moved to Mexico, but some of them did not like that country and have returned to Canada. I believe that those who have come back will yet conform to our laws and become good citizens. I hope that every one of them will eventually return.
The problem of immigration has been often to the fore in this parliament. Personally I would not have too many restrictions. I well remember being at Castle Garden, New York, in former years, as well as in Chicago, St. Louis, and other cities. I have seen many people arrive in that country with their entire wordly possessions contained in a red bandana handkerchief, an old garment, or a tin can. To-day many of those former immigrants are occupying positions of the highest character in that great country. I lay the charge against the government that was in power in this country from 1917 to 1921 that they endeavoured to stir up hatred against the Germans. So incensed were they and their
followers against the Germans that one gentleman, who is now the Premier of New Brunswick, rose in this House on one occasion and said. "I would not spend a cent to save the last blood of the German empire." It is too bad to see manifestations of hatred of that kind in this country. The Scandinavians make the very best kind of settlers where-ever they have gone. They help largely to create the states of Wisconsin, Minnesota, and the Dakotas in the neighbouring republic. Go down to those states and see what they have done. Examine also what the Germans, the Norwegians, the Swedes and the Finlanders have done in the United States. On the other hand consider what has happened in the New England states, largely owing to the fact that their native sons have forgotten marriage, or have too generally adopted divorce. If you travel through the fertile valleys of the Connecticut river you will see farms which have been vacated by native Americans, whose places have been taken by Italians, Poles, and people of other nationalities.
Now, Mr. Speaker, who will develop this country? Will it be those people who are fond of the jazz and go to picture shows?
I say no. Unfortunately, we have to the south of us a great and rich country. Since the Civil war many people in the United States amassed wealth but of course others became poor. Canada has wonderful potential wealth which should be developed.
We must admit that every member of this House has been elected by from 25,000 to 100,000 people, and we are supposed to be able properly to represent their views in parliament. When I came to parliament eight years ago I expected to come in contact with many great minds. I am a very modest man myself, and I hope I shall remain so. Even if 1 became wealthy and accumulated as much money as the Rockefellers and Morgans. I should not be any different from what I am, because it is said that by the sweat of our brow we Should earn our daily bread. That is not the exact scriptural quotation, but I think it is near it. To me it is inconceivable that the parliament of Canada should drag along as it has been doing for some weeks. Some people on the other side say, "Get out and have an election." Well, let them talk to the Chief Electoral Officer of the Dominion. If they cannot get any information from him, let them call up the Auditor General, and he will tell them that one quarter of the counties have not been paid their election expenses. It is absolute nonsense to talk about another election before the expenses of the last have been paid.
The Address-Mr. Baldwin

More than two millions in solid cash have to be disbursed during an election and an army of officials have to be employed.
How many countries of the world to-day are being administered by group governments? Could any hon. gentleman enumerate them? Now in this parliament we find the brilliant men of the great Tory party rising on the other side and advocating either one thing which is nonsensical or another thing which is absurd. But nothing more nonsensical could be suggested than that we should go to the country again. The people would not stand for it. I do not believe there would be a revolution, but the people would not elect anybody who suggested that parliament should dissolve.
We have many good business men in this country. I have a business which is over a hundred years old, and I am getting the largest number of calls for timber that I have had for years; in fact, I am getting so many that I do not answer all the calls to enlarge or build new factories. At present I am running my business from Ottawa and I have not been home for weeks. Now I face a group that want to destroy the
10 p.m. country, but they will not have their way. I run down to Montreal, buy my goods, and have them sent home. Of course if I cannot buy as cheaply as a Jew I do not buy at all. That is a compliment to both Jews and Scotchmen. If I have a dollar in my pocket and I cannot see something worth more than a dollar I keep my money in my pocket. Of course if I could see a bargain I would take advantage of it.
When I think of the grand and glorious people I represent, when I think of fifty years of married life on a beautiful farm in a beautiful country with sons and daughters and grandsons and granddaughters around them, I feel my inability to represent them. Now here in this parliament we have the administrators of public affairs being slammed and abused. We have the right temperature in this country with its snow, ice and coid weather to freeze our rivers and lakes, so that we can transport the products of the forest. We do not have too much winter, and I do not want to leave the country in the winter season. My wife goes to the British West Indies, to Bermuda in the winter. She has at other times gone to California, but sees more beauty in the West Indies, more beautiful flowers and very nice people. She tells me Bermuda is delightful.
Many millionaires go to the south. I presume there are more millionaires asleep in the balmy climates of the south than are
sleeping in Canada. If I had to go away, I would go north. That may seem strange to some people. The people of the north live on fresh air. The sun, the oxygen and the air would cure almost any malady if taken properly. It is sad to hear people say: "My children are sick and I am worried to death". Oh, that the time would come when Canada would put herself on a par with China and Japan, and employ medical men in this country who would attend to the eyes, ears, noses and throats of the poor people. Those people have raised our population to what it is. but if we continue as we are doing our country will be as bad as Fifth avenue, New York. Twenty years ago Fifth avenue families had but two children. Is there anybody who would laugh when we are appealing on behalf of the poor of the country, in order that they may be clothed, fed, educated and receive medical attention? Is there a person in this country so heartless that he would not endorse a proposition to have medical attendants go about this country, to every municipality, every town and village? It would cost less than it is costing the country at the present time. Every man must feel that we should adopt a policy of that kind in this country and it should be at the public expense. It is well known that the rankest weeds grow in the richest soil that produces the best wheat and potatoes. Young people sow their wild oats and yet they grow up and make the most brilliant sons and daughters and the most useful people on this earth, if they turn back quickly. .
I know a great deal about the nefarious work that went on during the last election, and I have some extracts from Toronto papers in regard to what happened in Stanstead constituency, but I will let these heinous things go because the Speaker might call me to order for using unparliamentary language if I were to describe properly some of the things that were done. I have some sympathy with the leader of the opposition (Mr. Meighen) because I heard a schoolmate of his, who sits in the far corner of the House, speak about him in his early days. He said that he was maligned in the province of Quebec and that more than one-quarter of a million people voted against him. His name was not mentioned in the constituency which I represent except in one place where it was said, "A vote for Baldwin is a vote against Meighen." In all the other places it was "Vote for Pate-naude." I have a number of extracts that I could read, but I will leave 'them for a later instalment. It has been said time and again on that side of the House that if you in-

The Address*-Mr. Baldwin
elude the Patenaude vote, the Tory party have a majority of a quarter of a million over Liberals. That is a mistake; the parties forming the government have a majority of a quarter of a million. The Progressives, Independents and Labour men combined, therefore, have a right to rule. I cannot see any reason why we are not acting in perfect harmony with the constitution, with the wishes of the people, with everything that goes to make a great country. I can see that that side of the House has changed in the last few days from the attitude of the New York curb to a fellowship, a fraternity meeting. The last great gun that boomed out was that of the gallant old gentleman from St. Lawrence-St. George (Mr. Cahan) and if I thought more of that bombastic stuff was to be delivered, I would talk for an hour or two longer, but I will wait and see what happens.

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