October 11, 1932 (17th Parliament, 4th Session)


James Shaver Woodsworth


Mr. J. S. WOODSWORTH (Winnipeg North Centre):

Mr. Speaker, I find myself
very largely in agreement with the amendment, though from my point of view it does not go far enough. I must congratulate the leader of the opposition (Mr. Mackenzie King) on his conversion to many of the ideas that have 'been advocated from this comer of the house for some years past, but I remember also that when the right hon. gentleman was in office he took no action along the lines that he now advocates. Take unemployment, for example; if, in the last year the right hon. gentleman was in office, he had taken vigorous action along that line,
I am quite well convinced that he would be in office now. Take the question of proportional representation. We introduced that question from this corner, but the government gave no help whatever, though there was abundant opportunity for bringing in this reform. Take the question of a central bank. Older members of the house will remember the inquiries of 1923 and 1924, and I personally brought forward motions along this line in 1926, 1926 and again in 1928. I would ask where the present leader of the opposition was then and what position he and his Minister of Finance took in the debates which were held in those years. However, I am very glad indeed to find that he has been converted, and in this comer we feel that from now on, in discussing some of these measures, we will have the support that hitherto we have not had.
I have been wondering, however, whether the leader of the opposition would go so far as to agree with his colleague from Vancouver Centre (Mr. Mackenzie). Only a few days ago, on September 27, during an address before the Laurier Club, the hon. member for Vancouver Centre is reported by the Canadian Press to have stated his position as follows:
Money must be dethroned as the dictator and must resume its real place as the servant of humanity.
I heartily agree with that statement. Further, the hon. member declared:
The nineteenth century battle for political freedom lias been won. We must now dedicate ourselves to the twentieth century problem of economic deliverance.
Again I heartily agree; we welcome a new recruit. Further on, in outlining the new objectives of Liberalism, the hon. member said that Liberalism must direct its efforts, if it was to keep in the forefront of progress in these changing times, along certain lines which he mentioned, and among other things he included the care of the unemployed as a national duty. That again is very different from the position taken by his leader several years ago. He mentioned also the writing down of interest rates and the establishment of a national bank, and he stated that we must meet with courage the question of our public debt, which I presume means scaling it down in some form or other. The hon. member declared also that we must declare in favour of lowering world tariffs, and so on.
Some hon. MEMBERS; Hear, hear.

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