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


Ernest Edward Perley

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. E. E. PERLEY (Qu'Appelle):

Mr. Speaker, I would think it is quite apparent to the members of the house, and no doubt to the Canadian people, that we have had almost enough discussion on the resolution introduced by the Prime Minister (Mr. Bennett) to approve the trade agreement between Canada and Great Britain. I would not venture to enter the debate at this time were it not for the fact that certain hon. members opposite, and particularly some from the province of Saskatchewan, have endeavoured to make it appear that nothing good can come out of these agreements for the Canadian people or even for the producers of western Canada. I feel it my duty, having the honour to represent in this house a rural constituency in Saskatchewan, to say that before coming to Ottawa I made a pretty thorough canvass of my riding, and I did not find a single businessman or producer who was not anxious that as soon as possible after parliament met, we should pass these agreements and see if we could get increased markets for our products.
I have noted with surprise the inconsistencies of the speakers opposite. The Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Weir) referred to this last night. It has been a surprise to me to observe some hon. gentlemen opposite contradicting themselves, even in their own speeches, and to listen to some making statements the direct opposite of those made by their colleagues. To demonstrate this it is only necessary for me to refer briefly to the speech of the leader of the opposition (Mr. Mackenzie King) and to that made by his colleague, the hon. member for St. James (Mr. Rinfret). The leader of the opposition laboured hard and long to prove that Canada had coerced the mother country into these agreements, while the hon. member for St. James took strong objection that Great Britain had coerced Canada into these agreements and that we were being dictated to by an external government, such dictation, as he said, being wrong.

United Kingdom
The leader of the opposition, in his three and a half hour speech, I think proved conclusively that our leader is a great statesman and a great force in the empire today. In that speech the leader of the opposition, I consider, eulogized the Prime Minister when he said that my leader had dominated the conference of 1930; that he had dominated the conference in Ottawa in 1932, coercing Great Britain, forcing them to change their tariff policy, and dictating the tariff policies of other dominions. No greater compliment could be paid from the other side of the house to our Prime Minister. In fact, he placed the Prime Minister on a pedestal as being a great statesman and a leader. Surely then, we have reason to believe the statement made by Sir Cunliffe Lister in the city of Regina, when I had the honour and pleasure of listening to him address a joint meeting of the Canadian Club and the board of trade, and when he said that credit for the success of the conference must be given to the Prime Minister of Canada; for it was his vision in 1930, his vision again in 1932, in placing concrete propositions before the conference, that formed the basis of the agreement. We have also the statements of leading British statesmen such as Lord Hailsham and Lord Rothermere; and another leading statesman in Great Britain said that at last the empire had found a statesman. Let us briefly compare all the statements of these British statesmen and the leader of the opposition with that made by the hon. member for Melville (Mr. Motherwell) when he referred in his speech to the present Minister of Agriculture. He desired to express sympathy for him because he said that his associates around the council chamber were a lot of ignoramuses who do not know any more about agriculture than a sucking turkey. The hon. gentleman must have forgotten for the moment just where he was. He must have been thinking he was back on his farm in Saskatchewan, possibly in the hog pen or the poultry yard. I am sure none of the members on this side of the house understand what a sucking turkey is, but evidently it is a species produced by him while he was minister of agriculture. He need rot waste his sympathy on the present Minister of Agriculture, because the latter, in the two short years during which he has held that office, has done more for agriculture, has initiated greater improvements in agricultural matters, than the hon. gentleman opposite has done in almost a lifetime. Further, I take exception to any reference to any hon. member, and particularly a member
of the cabinet, as being an ignoramus. Such expressions are not becoming the dignity of the house. I have gone through the speech of the hon. member for Melville, and in the forty minutes he took, some of the terms he used are as follows: "political mummies,"
" taradiddle," " same old humbug," " ignoramus, " sucking turkey," " flim-flam," " warbling of Prime Minister," "nonsensical political trick." These terms were all used in his forty-minute speech, and one can well see why his leader, having a policy of Senate reform, did not designate him to that dignified chamber.
It is expected in the country generally and by the government that the administration will receive just and reasonable criticism from the opposition, but during this whole debate we have not heard a single constructive idea or suggestion from the official opposition.

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