February 28, 1928 (16th Parliament, 2nd Session)


Agnes Campbell Macphail



Yes, it is too bad he is dead but in any case he was ruined before he died. Let me quote from him again:
My objection to this scheme goes deep. I object to it not merely on the ground of the increase of taxes that it involves, or of its complicated details, but on much higher ground than that. I deny entirely the justice of the principle that it is the duty of the government to enable certain sections of the community to tax the rest of the people for their private gain.
I think he puts the principle very clearly. I want to quote an extract from a speech by Sir Wilfrid Laurier given on page 380 of Edward Porritt's Sixty Years of Protection in Canada. This is a famous quotation which we have often heard. Sir Wilfrid Laurier, speaking at Winnipeg as reported in the Free Press, said:
We stand for freedom. I denounce the policy of protection as bondage-yea, bondage; and I refer to bondage in the same manner in which American slavery was bondage. Not in the same degree, perhaps, but in the same manner.

The Budget-Miss Macphail
That was before 1896. Lovely speeches those! They went to the country, and the people, tired of special privilege in high places, sent back the Liberals with a majority. In 1897 the Liberals brought down their first budget, and I suppose that the low tariff people of Canada never looked forward with as great hope to any other budget. In speaking of the time following the bringing down of the budget and subsequently, Mr. Porritt has this to say at page 362:
The policy of the Laurier government with regard to protection has been characterised as a betrayal of Canadian Liberalism. Betrayal is a strong word. But an examination of the fiscal and bounty legislation at Ottawa since 1897 abundantly justifies its use.
And again, at page 366:
When I come to examine the bounty policy of the Laurier government, the amendments to the Railway Subsidy Act and the patent laws, the legislation against dumping, the new regulations intended to reduce the circulation of American trade advertising, the tariff war with Germany, and the readiness with which the tariff question was reopened at the bidding of the Canadian Manufacturers' Association, and the many new concessions that were made to the protected interests in the revision of 1906-07, it will become apparent, I am convinced, that the Liberal government has not only adopted the national policy of the Conservatives, but has greatly strengthened and extended it, and has fastened it more securely on the people of Canada.
Again, at page 385, he says:
It is one of the ironies of Canadian history that responsibility for the full recognition of this new privileged order and for nearly a score of enactments continuing, extending and guaranteeing its existence, should lie with the Liberal party.
Speaking of the farmers having no further representation through the Liberal party, he says at page 456:
Since 1897 the privileged order of manufacturers has held captive both political parties, and the farmers have had no representation in parliament on this question.
One is moved to ask, were there no Liberals who really believed in Liberal principles? Did nobody protest against the betrayal of 1897? Porritt, at page 5 of The Revolt in Canada, says:
While at first there were liberals in the House of Commons who bitterly resented the betrayal of 1897, these men were appeased in the usual Ottawa fashion-by appointment to office or the promise of an appointment, or they dropped out in 1900, in disgust at the cynical abandonment in 1897 of all that Liberalism had stood for in Canada from the days of William Lyon Mackenzie

Not King.
Following rather sketchily the history subsequent to 1897, we find the Liberals still claiming, indeed they do yet, but they did

it with a little more vigour in the years immediately follpwing 1897, to be low tariff. It is quite true that they had the honesty to see that they could not have educational reform clubs or young men's Liberal clubs after such a betrayal, and very comfortably for themselves they dropped them. Sir Wilfrid Laurier did tour the west in 1910, and there he met organized agriculture, and if anybody likes to read the story of it he will find it in the Revolt of Canada. It is very interesting to note that John Evans was one of the men who appeared before Sir Wilfrid Laurier; that is the faon. member for Rose-town in this house, and his speeches then read very much like the last one he made in this house. Others who appeared before Sir Wilfrid Laurier were Roderick McKenzie, father of Donald McKenzie now on the tariff board, J. W. Scallion and J. W. Speakman, father of the hon. member for Red Deer (Mr. Speakman); so some of our men have run true to form.
In 1911 the Laurier government was defeated, and from that time on they never did to any great extent regain the confidence of the low tariff farmers in Canada. Some indeed were such good Liberals that they remained Liberals rather than farmers, but for the most part the confidence of the farmers in the low tariff principles of Liberalism was broken never to be mended again. This sank very deeply into the minds of the farmers, and was really one of the causes of revolt which brought in the sixty-five Independents who came into this house in 1921. The farming people in the constituencies had voted for honest party men, of their own dass, men who spoke well in the constituencies, saying they would come to Ottawa and be true to the agricultural industry. But when these men came to Ottawa they were true to their party, and not to their industry; they were farmers, but they were Conservatives or Liberals first, last and all the time, except at election time, and so the farming people decided they would have to find a new method of representation. They had up until that time sent such men here as the hon. member for South Huron (Mr. McMillan), a man who understands the rural problem, who knows what the farmers need, who knows now that this budget is no good to his constituency, but who because of affiliation with the Liberal party will vote for it, and go back to his constituency and justify it.
Mr. MoMILLAN: I do not know that it
is not a benefit to my constituency.

The Budget-Miss Maephail

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