March 6, 1928 (16th Parliament, 2nd Session)


Ernest Lapointe (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)


Hon. ERNEST LAPOINTE (Minister of Justice):

Mr. Speaker, it has been my privilege to attend all the sittings of the house since this debate began. In a way it was a sort of professional duty but it was very interesting in many respects. I am more than ever convinced of the truth of the saying of a great English parliamentarian, that the House of Commons is the most tolerant institution in the world. I only wish the people of Canada could have been present during the course of the debate and have listened, as I have listened, to the extremely opposite and contradictory arguments which have been presented by both parties opposite with respect to the budget brought down by the Minister of Finance (Mr. Robb). All hon. gentlemen criticizing the budget agree on one point. It is that [Mr Barber.]
there is no constructive policy displayed by the government. The difficulty is that what is constructive in one part of the house is regarded as destructive in another quarter of the chamber. If the people of the country could have, as I have said, listened to everything that has been uttered here it would be easy for them to draw their own conclusions.
Mr. Speaker, the amendment and the subamendment are innocent looking creatures deserving of very little attention. The amendment, like its big brother the tariff resolution of the Winnipeg conference, is an emasculated political instrument disowning the very word of protection, deprived of all strength, virility, and even significant meaning. It is such a mild and soft expression of policy that one is amazed at the bitterness and violence of the speeches which have been made in support of it. Of course violent arguments and violent speeches from each end of that side of the chamber defeated the purposes of the respective parties. While sitting here quietly, with not much to do, I took the trouble to gather up some of the shrapnel which was launched against the administration, and I want to exhibit this shrapnel to the people of the country in order to illustrate the conditions as they exist in the house. As we say in French, "A tout seigneur tout honneur." I will begin with my hon. friend from Fort William (Mr. Manion). The hon. gentleman is a fine speaker, I am always fond of listening to him. Perhaps he is a little bitter. For some time it was my impression that he was trying to make his new associates forget that he was ever a Liberal. That was long ago.

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