October 25, 1932 (17th Parliament, 4th Session)


Joseph-Achille Verville


Mr. J. A. VERVILLE (Lotbiniere) (Translation) :

Mr. Speaker, I am not so conceited as to think that I shall throw new light on this debate which henceforth will be known as the Imperial Economic Conference agreements, held at Ottawa in August last.
If I take part in this discussion, it is because I wish to register my protest against these agreements which I shall designate as a screen invented and worked out by the Prime Minister of this country to conceal the unfitness of his government.
In fact, should we refer casually, to the circumstances which surrounded the birth of this government, we are immediately reminded of the numerous, pompous, misleading and unpractical pledges which made up the Conservative party's program, at the last election, namely: the solving of the unemployment problem within thirty days after the voting, work for everybody, a greater trade activity, the expansion of industry, special and exaggerated protection, to the latter, and this to the detriment of all classes of society; a considerable increase in the prices of farm products, success, plenty of work for all, and finally protection for everyone.
Two years have elapsed since the last election, during which the people of Canada, shamefully deceived, in vain awaited the fulfilment of all these high-sounding promises and continuously saw its hopes frustrated.
After two years of a vacillating and bad administration, two years under a regime of protection, the lot of the people, far from having improved, is worse by 100 per cent.
People had been promised that business would pick up and prosperity follow.
It is interesting, today, to make an inventory of our economic activities and to investigate whether the policy of this government is not really responsible for the situation we are in: the federal and provincial! governments, municipalities, private companies, public utility services and individuals are practically bankrupt and so undeniable is this state of affairs, that if, at present, the Canadian people were
Imperial Conference-Trade Agreements
called upon to liquidate the public debt, per capita, they would be unable.
It is useless to harbour any illusions in this respect.
Let us frankly admit that we are practically bankrupt, if we are not so officially. And what is true of governments is also too true of individuals. The government is greatly responsible for this state of affairs because of the policy it pursued and of which the last summer conference is a logical sequel.
I again state, if we seek for the causes of this deplorable situation and sad state of things, we must place, for the most part, the responsibility on this administration. Not content, this government still wants to further tie our hands by trade agreements from which we shall derive no benefit.
An alarming increase in the number of unemployed, an inconsiderate expenditure of public money, an extravagant and foolish increase of the public debt-in the millions- a disastrous and discouraging decrease in the prices of farm products, a guilty negligence of all which pertains to the farm, a too high level in prices on manufactured articles-

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