March 14, 1930 (16th Parliament, 4th Session)


Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Hon. R. B. BENNETT (Leader of the Opposition):

Mr. Speaker, in common, I
fancy, with most members of this house, I have listened with profound amazement to the speech that we have just heard. If "the delicate and disagreeable" situation referred to by Lord Curzon existed in 1923, where has the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) been since that he has not told the Canadian people of it? If the integrity of this country has been menaced by the attitude of our friends to the south, why should we, for the first time to-day. on the eve of an election, hear of it from the Prime Minister? Why should seven years have passed since Lord Curzon- now dead-sitting in the foreign office in England. told the committee of the imperial conference of the danger, if that be true, and we have not heard of it. before? Why is it, if as the Tight hon. gentleman says an understanding existed by which reports of such proceedings were not usually made known, he now ventures to use them to influence the action of the Canadian parliament?
I shall endeavour-and it will take some little time-to strip from the right hon. gentleman that mantle of assumed virtue that he has worn to-day. Remember, sir, that - the Prime Minister who has spoken is the same prime minister who but for a few months has been Prime Minister of this country since 1902. 'Remember, it is the same prime minister who received the report's of the special committee of the House of Commons on customs and excise. Remember it is the same prime minister, siir, who appointed a royal commission of three judges to deal with this matter. It is the same prime minister who assumed the mantle of righteous virtue in 1926, and in a full page advertisement of the Toronto Globe of September 11, 1926, told the Canadian peqple over his signature that if returned to .power he would continue relentlessly the investigation of the customs sendee, and carry out without fear or favour the needed requirements. The Globe has said, that the needed requirement was the prohibition of clearances, and now in 1930, wrapped in the mantle of righteous indignation and perfervid eloquence as to the virtue of the cause, the right lion, gentleman asks us to do what he promised he would do in 1926 when seeking the support of the electors of Canada. And, sir, it is a matter of some satisfaction to some of'us who sit t-o the left, who were on the special committee, which made that recommendation, to know that at least we can support that measure which we could not introduce under the rules of this .parliament, but which we have waited four years to hear introduced.

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