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


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



My hon. friend the
alarm clock over there might perhaps listen to me. I do not believe in class or group government. You cannot represent the mind of the nation as a great world entity on the basis of functions or occupations. A member of parliament must impress upon himself or herself first the duty of thinking in the interests of the community as a whole, and then of his or her trade or class interest as it is not inconsistent with the interests of the whole nation. Mere class or occupational representation, as advocated by my hon. friend from Southeast Grey (Miss Macphail), is the reverse of such principle, and impresses upon a member that his or her trade is his or her politics. It is organized selfishness.
May I add that when members of a party or of a group are not in power, and in fact are not likely ever to be in power-I do not mean this offensively at all because they themselves have said that they would not like to be in power-it is easy to propound all sorts of cures for every evil, real or imaginary, without any risk of having to apply the prescription. They preach knowing that they will never be called upon to practise. They may score occasionally, but they will forgive me for saying that there is no great glory in the success achieved by that method. As those of us who speak the French language
say, "La critique est aisee, Fart est difficile." We have a huge country. We have sectional interests which are not identical, which, in fact, in many cases are widely different. Those who are entrusted with public functions are trustees, not for one class, not for one section of the country, but for the whole people and the country at large, and it is their duty to try to find what are the causes of divergence of opinions and even of interests, and try to find, if possible, the concessions which it may be desirable to give or to obtain.
Some members have said that they are sick of the word compromise. Mr. Speaker, compromise has been the policy upon which this country was built. The confederation of Canada is based upon compromise; it could not continue without compromise. The British Empire is founded upon a compromise. The peace of the world is based upon compromise. It is impossible for any group or for any association, nay, even for any country, to get its own way in all matters. There must be compromise with others. That is the only way to achieve success.
Now I come to my hon. friends directly opposite. I have made allusion to the Winnipeg convention. With many of the resolutions adopted there I would not agree, but one act of the convention I commend-the choice of the party leader. They selected a fine leader, a man of courage and strong convictions, and well able to express those convictions. He is an excellent type of Canadian manhood. Having said that, he will forgive me if I express my disappointment that he did not as a first assertion of strong Canadian leadership put an end to the campaign carried on by his party during the last few years against Canada, Canadians and conditions generally in this country. I was hoping that he would discountenance hijs followers in their campaign of belittling and misrepresenting Canada in the eyes of the world. Why glorify the United States at the expense of Canada? Why should hon. gentlemen describe the United States as a land where young Canadians can find gold and honey while here they meet taxes, unemployment and starvation? Sir, we do not ask from them fair play for the government, we do not ask for even elementary justice; let them ascribe the progress and prosperity of the Dominion to Providence if they prefer to do so; but we do ask them not to say anything that may hurt the name and the credit of Canada. It might not be out of place for the committee which is going to study immigration to make a recommendation in that respect.
The Budget-Mr. Lapointe

But, Mr. Speaker, it is not true that Canada has any cause to envy other countries, and certainly it is not true that Canada has any reason to envy the United States. I need only remind you, sir, that it was not until the United States had a population of seventy-five million that their total trade was equal to that of Canada's to-day. Recently I came across an article in the organ of the Canadian Manufacturers Association, Industrial Canada, written by Mr. Alex. Marshall, who is manager of the Commercial Intelligence Department of the association, in which he deplores this tendency. I should like to quote the whole article, but my time is vanishing rapidly and I must content myself with these few words:
Just take a look at the other side of the picture for a minute. In leather, United States exports forty-one cents per capita, Canada ninety-seven cents. In meats, United States exports eighty-two cents, Canada $2.77. In wheat and flour, United States exports $2.36, Canada $39.97. The Canadian gross total is fifty per cent greater than the United States gross total. In copper and its manufactures United States exports $1.17, and Canada $1.46.
Here is another extract:
The total per capita exports of all lines from the United States is $39.62, from Canada, $122.57.
If you want the gross totals for all industries I have them in this article:
$4,771,000,000 for United States, $1,225,000,000 for Canada. Canada is one-twelfth in population as compared with the United States, and one-fourth in exports.
I have an editorial before me which appeared in The Chronicle, a publication by banking, insurance and finance of Montreal deploring this campaign, but I have no time to read it. I also have under my hand Bradstreet's of last week as to the conditions of unemployment in the United States, confirming the reports of widespread unemployment made by state labour bureaus, unemployment agencies and relief organizations at various places. The employment index compiled by the Bureau of Labour Statistics of the Department of Labour for January fell to the lowest point for any month since April, 1922. The index number was given as 84.2, a drop of 1.1 per cent from December and of 5.5 per cent from January a year ago. The Bureau of Labour Statistics' index of payroll totals for January was 85.8, a decrease of 3.9 per cent from the preceding month and of 5.5 per cent from the like month a year ago. This was the lowest point reached by the payroll index since August, 1924.

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