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

LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. LAPOINTE:

He said:
To-day I no longer wonder.
So far as I am concerned I do not wonder any longer why he was not opposed by the Conservative party at election time. The hon. member for Brant (Mr. Smoke), as reported
on page 834 of Hansard, said:
If it differs at all, the system of the present government is worse than the Soviet system. As I understand the Soviet system, they con-nscate, but do not destroy; they leave facilities for production practically unimpaired, and production still goes on, while by the system adopted by this government capital is entirely destroyed. This government will be known to posterity as bolshevists or worse. No name can more accurately describe it.
Then my good, kind friend, the hon. member for Southeast Grey (Miss Macphail) comes to our help and says:
There is no real reduction in the tariff. No one knows that better than the Minister of Finance.
Shall I quote the hon. member for Brantford (Mr. Ryerson), who said that all the industries were going to be ruined? I am afraid my time is slipping by and I want to say something else. The hon. member for Battle River (Mr. Spencer) said immediately afterwards :
Taking it all in all, a study of the tariff discloses that whatever benefit is to flow from this tinkering will be to the advantage of the manufacturers rather than the consumers of this country.
The hon. member for Halton (Mr. Anderson) said this:
Every time this government change the tariff they stimulate the importation of foreign goods into Canada and thus injure our own industry,
while every reduction in taxation is followed by a flow of emigrants from Canada to some other country, in search of work.
This government appear to be implementing their tariff policy of 1919

Listen to that, my friends over there I
-in which they said they believed in a reduction of the British preference to 50 per cent of the general tariff; I believe the Minister of Finance is at that point now, and in some instances is below the 50 per cent level. I believe he is going still further in the direction of the Progressive policy of free trade with England; at any rate, he is nearing the point where we shall have a tariff for revenue only, which appears to be the Liberal policy to-day. Not only is the minister making reductions in the general tariff; he is also going around to the back door and giving preferential treatment to certain favoured nations something of which the people are scarcely aware.
Then my hon. friend from Peace River (Mr. Kennedy), speaking in this debate a day or so ago, said:
The tariff schedules as proposed by the minister are planned, in my judgment, to help a few large manufacturers at the expense of the general public, and the smaller manufacturers, especially those manufacturing hats and caps.
He said something else, but I have to proceed. I could not catch all that was said yesterday by my hon. friend from Wetaskiwin (Mr. Irvine), and I must ask his pardon for that. I know that some of my friends here were alarmed at the reductions in the tariff, but my hon. friend from Wetaskiwin last night said that such a refusal on the part of the government to do what they should do in the matter of reductions in the tariff was conducive to a bloody revolution of some kind or other. My hon. friend said at the time, I remember, that the charges made by the Conservative party during the last election campaign against the Liberals, and the charges made by the Liberals against the Conservatives, were both true. I may say to my hon. friend that obviously the two contradictory expressions of opinion that I have just read, coming from different parts of the house, cannot both be true. As a matter of fact, I think they are both untrue. We have reduced the tariff, and we have not ruined any industry.
May I say, Mr. Speaker, that an offensive carried on by such opposing forces can only be of a negative and destructive character, and if they could succeed, what would be the result? If they could paralyze the government of the country at the present time, what could take its place? Such methods of warfare, if victorious, would transform parliament into what I might call a crystallized deadlock. We are attacked from both sides in that contradictory manner because we are

The Budget-Mr. Lapointe
here representing the whole of the people of Canada. We are entrusted with the duty of considering and dealing with the interests of the whole people at large, and not of any one class or of any one section of the community.
I would not like to say anything unpleasant to my friends in the extreme comer of the house. Reference has been made to the session of 1926. Let me tell you, Mr. Speaker, that I shall always cherish the memory of that session of 1926. It began well; it proceeded well; and it ended well; and the election that followed also ended well. We had co-operation with hon. gentlemen over there which was above-board, and I can only say that, so far as I was concerned, I was always pleased with the relations that we had with those hon. gentlemen. I have more in common with them, so far as big policies are concerned, than I have with my hon. friends immediately opposite, and if we had to run this country on the basis of groups, I think I would try to qualify in the farming community in order to be with them rather than with other hon. gentlemen in this house. But 1 do not believe in that form of government.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   DEBATE ON ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF MINISTER OF FINANCE
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