February 23, 1926 (15th Parliament, 1st Session)


Ira Delbert Cotnam

Conservative (1867-1942)


I simply repeat that it was an admission of weakness; the government could not find amongst their supporters in the House men of cabinet rank.
I should like to quote a Canadian Press despatch dated February 17, and by the way this was just before the hon. member for

The Address-Mr. Cotnarn
Regina (Mr. Darke) resigned, and I am just wondering whether this announcement means that the government was paving the way, trying to make it a little easier for Mr. Dunning to be elected in Regina. The despatch reads:
The Canadian National Railway contemplates an expenditure of $5,896,000 in 1926 on branch lines. This is the estimate brought down by the government and tabled in the House of Commons yesterday.
Between fifteen and twenty branches throughout the Dominion remain incomplete. On seven of these, track will be laid during 1926. The biggest expenditure will be on the Turtleford, Sask., branch, on which about 44 miles of track will be laid and $1,571,000 expended. A million dollars will be spent on the Dunblane-Central Butte, Sask., branch, and $915,000 will be spent on the Rosedale, Sask., branch, which will be practically completed this year.
It seems rather strange the government should be contemplating all this expenditure on branch lines in Saskatchewan at the present juncture, and I was wondering whether this announcement had any bearing on the local political situation in Saskatchewan and particularly in Regina. A little further on the statement says that only two branch lines will not be completed, one of them at Kings-clear, New Brunswick, and the other at Grande Fresniere, Quebec. Evidently they think there is no use for branch lines at those two points. I have been wondering why, in view of the press reports, the government did not bring Mr. Massey into the cabinet. I wonder if they consider that Mr. Massey would not. be any great acquisition to the cabinet, or if they believe with the electors of Durham that, as a result of the verdict on October 29, " Massey's in the cold, cold1 ground ",
Another thing which struck me very forcibly was that when the Prime Minister made the appeal to the country, and when he issued that now famous manifesto, he cited certain reasons, or causes, why that appeal should be made. He told us, in effect, that the government found itself in the position where it was marking time. He said that it would be unable, as at that time constituted, to bring down any great measures of reform to parliament. He stated that there were grave and important problems awaiting solution by this parliament, and among those problems he mentioned Senate reform. Now, I think every member of this House will agree with me that Senate reform is one of those hardy perennials that is dragged dut in election campaigns in this Dominion. It has been one of the red herrings which the Liberal party has tried to drag across the trail in every election in Canada for the last twenty-five years; and everyone knows that throughout the course of the last election campaign Mr. King himself did not offer one real, tangible solution by means of which he intended to effect the rdform of the Senate, only that Providence, in -time, might possibly take enough Tories out of the upper house to enable him to nominate Liberal appointees and thereby secure a majority.
We were supposed to have a transportation problem in this country, and during the campaign Mr. King spoke at some length upon it. I do not intend to go into the transportation problem, more than merely to make reference to the fact that during the course of the campaign the Hudson Bay railway was not made an issue by the Prime Minister. It was only mentioned in the province of Saskatchewan, where he promised that if he secured sufficient Liberal representation from that province he would be prepared to go ahead and build the line. Now we on this side of the House are willing to consider the Hudson Bay railway on its merits. We are not opposed to it, not by any means. I think every Conservative member is ready and willing to make a study of the whole problem and is prepared to vote on the merits of the question; but I do say that there is a vast difference between the Richmond Hill speech of the Prime Minister with regard to the transportation problem, and the method of dealing with it as expressed in the Speech from the Throne. If the Hudson Bay railway is feasible, if it is practicable, if it can be built without too great_ expenditure of public funds, I believe this House wotild be in favour of the scheme-at any rate would be in favour of ascertaining, beyond all question, whether it is practicable or not. On the other hand, the government has not given any intimation, up to the1 present time, as to how much it proposes to spend on the project, how much on terminals, and so forth. As yet we have had no intimation from this government on these points, and I was wondering whether the government wished to keep in abeyance any discussion of the railway, or the possible cost of the project, until it succeeds in getting some ministers elected in eastern Canada, and obtaining cabinet representation in this part of the Dominion.
The Prime Minister further stated that we had an immigration problem in this country, and that it would take a strong government to deal with that problem. To my mind it is not nearly as important to deal with the immigration problem of Canada to-day, as it is to find same solution for the emigration problem from which we are suffering. During the four years of the Liberal regime there was an exodus of Canadian citizens from the Dominion totalling probably 5001,000 souls. I
The Address-Mr. Cotnam

do not believe that our people are thoroughly alive to what that exodus means. While this government has been juggling with the immigration problem-trying to bring into Canada people who, in many cases, know nothing of our race, our language, our religion or our customs; people whom it will probably take one generation or perhaps two to assimilate into our population1-we are allowing our best Blood, our very best brawn and brain, to leave Canada, and nothing has been done to check that exodus.
I believe that the fathers and mothers of families in this country have a right to expect that we, through our government shall, as far as possible, develop our own country; that we shall, through the policies inaugurated by the government, endeavour to develop our own natural resources and our own industries, and assist in every possible way, the growth of the agricultural industry. I believe that we should have a policy that will meet the needs of all classes of our people. In a family, say, of five or six children, you will have one boy or probably two who will wish to engage in farming, another who will wish to take up the legal profession, another who may desire to become a physician, and possibly two with a desire to engage in business. We cannot all be agriculturists, and unless there is diversity of employment in Canada, through the medium of a policy such as will develop our agricultural resources and our industries to the utmost and afford employment for our labouring people, we are bound to have an exodus of Canadian boys and girls from our shores.
Some people are inclined, perhaps, not to take that exodus very seriously. As regards my own constituency, however, I take it very seriously indeed. Five years ago we had a very prosperous, industrial town, surrounded by a prosperous, agricultural community. Today that town-and every village, and practically every crossroads-is mute evidence to the fact that Canadian boys and girls are leaving our communities by the score and by the hundred, and crossing into the United States. I noticed a short time ago that there have gone from the Dominion into the United States during the last four years no less than 3,600 graduates from the university of Toronto alone, and that they are now engaged in employment in the United States. That is an appalling figure. It means that the very best brains of Canada are being attracted to the republic to the south. It is estimated that it requires at least $10,000 to educate every one of these students 'before they graduate from the university, and when they graduate

they cannot find employment and are not finding employment in this country but are going across to the other side of the line. That means that we spend during the four years in the University of Toronto alone at the rate of $10,000 per student to educate the young men and young women who are now leaving us and giving their brains and ability to the republic to the south of us. If that is taking place in the case of the University of Toronto, I think it only' fair to assume that there is a similar exodus from other universities to the American side.
With regard to our fiscal trade or policy, Mr. Mackenzie King says that he believes in a tariff for revenue. Mr. Marler says he is an out-and-out protectionist, and he was a member of this government. Some members on the other side profess to be out-and-out protectionists. Therefore, it is only fair to assume that the Liberal party as a whole has no settled or fixed policy so far as the Dominion of Canada is concerned. In my constituency we have all classes of people. We have English, Irish, Scotch, French, German and Scandinavian, and they are all very fine types of people. We are endeavouring, and they are endeavouring, to build up in that section of Canada a strong, self-reliant Cana-dianism. These people are engaged in the different walks of life. We have many large industries employing a great many labouring men, and we have also a large agricultural section in the constituency. The policy of the government during their tenure of office has not been such as to operate in the best interests of the people in my constituency. The constituency sent a Liberal candidate to this parliament for the last four years, and elected him by a handsome majority. But they reversed their decision on the 29th of October because they were utterly opposed to the policy of the Mackenzie King government. The farmers in my district consider that they have been unfairly dealt with by this government, owing to the fact that when the United States government inaugurated the Fordney-McCumber tariff, under which Canadian agricultural products going to the United States were taxed such a high rate of duty that it was practically prohibitive, this government, instead of taking action to relieve the Canadian farmer from the unfair competition of the American farmer, took practically no action at all, and allowed free access to the Canadian market of the same kind of produce that was being grown by the United States farmers. The farmers of Canada considered it was absolutely unfair that while not a bushel of Canadian wheat could get over that

The Address-Mr. Cotnam
American tariff wall without paying 42 cents a bushel, wheat from the United States or anywhere else can come into Canada on payment of a duty of 12 cents, and that while the Canadian farmer cannot sell his corn in the United States without first paying 15 cents a bushel duty, United States corn comes into Canada free. Canadian wheat flour is shut out of the United States by the imposition of a duty of $2.04 a barrel, whereas American flour can be shipped into Canada on payment of a duty of 50 cents a barrel. The Canadian farmer can sell his hay to the United States on payment of $4 a ton duty, while the United States farmer can export his hay to Canada on payment of $2 a ton. The United States impose a duty on Canadian potatoes of 50 cents a hundred pounds, while potatoes .coming from the United States into the Canadian market pay a duty of 35 cents a hundred pounds. If we wish to ship our butter into the United1 States we have to pay 8 cents a pound, but when the American farmer sends his butter to Canada he can ship it to us on payment of 4 cents a pound duty. American cheese is taxed 3 cents a pound coming into Canada, while Canadian cheese pays a duty of 5 cents a pound when shipped to the United States. The American farmer is protected to the extent of 8 cents a dozen on eggs, While the Canadian farmer has a protection of only 3 cents a dozen against American eggs; and so on all the way down the line. The farmers in my constituency feel that the government of Mackenzie King has been remiss in its duty to the farmers of the Dominion of Canada by not protecting them against the unfair outside competition of the American farmers.
Then, not satisfied with that, this government, without any regard for the farmers of the country at all, decided to negotiate a treaty with the Commonwealth of Australia, with the result that again the Canadian farmer has to compete on an unfair basis with outside products. I do not wish to .put on Hansard the terms of that Australian treaty. All I have to say is that the farmers of any constituency and the farmers of the Dominion of Canada consider that it is absolutely unfair and unjust to them. We want to trade with other countries, and are prepared to trade with them, but we wish to trade on a fifty-fifty basis. We want it to be a straight business arrangement. We do not want to make one section or one class of people in Canada pay for certain advantages which we may derive in other markets. We propose that every treaty should stand on its own feet, and that the
people of Canada should get a square deal as a whole. In my constituency we had a textile industry, and everyone knows what has happened to the textile industry of the Dominion of Canada in the last four years. Everyone knows that the present government raised the British preference to the extent of 124 per cent, with the result that British goods produced by the cheaper labour of Great Britain, and also goods that are brought in from France and Germany as well, are coming into, our market to competq with our Canadian goods. Why is it that when you walk down the streets of Ottawa and look into the windows and other places you see goads marked, "Made in England"? Why should those same goods not be manufactured in Canada to-day? Why should they not provide work and adequate wages for the labouring men of Canada? Why should not our industries be running full time in Canada to-day, producing textiles and woollen goods for the people of 'Canada? According to the recognized authorities there are really no physical or climatic reasons why textiles and woollen goods should not be manufactured or cannot be manufactured in this country. Furthermore, if the woollen goods and .textiles were manufactured in this country it would mean that our farmers would benefit to a great extent indeed. Alt the present time the Commonwealth of Australia has about 80,000.000 sheep and we in the Dominion of Canada have probably only in the neighbourhood of 2,500,000 sheep. If the textile and woollen industries were properly protected, it would be possible to carry out a great sheep raising project that would ultimately react to the benefit of our farmers and agriculturists.

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