William Melville MARTIN

MARTIN, William Melville, Q.C., B.A.

Personal Data

Party
Liberal
Constituency
Regina (Saskatchewan)
Birth Date
August 23, 1876
Deceased Date
June 22, 1970
Website
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Melville_Martin
PARLINFO
http://www.parl.gc.ca/parlinfo/Files/Parliamentarian.aspx?Item=0d105fac-7cfa-4e90-8130-9904481a8b80&Language=E&Section=ALL
Profession
lawyer, teacher

Parliamentary Career

October 26, 1908 - July 29, 1911
LIB
  Regina (Saskatchewan)
September 21, 1911 - October 6, 1917
LIB
  Regina (Saskatchewan)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 121 of 123)


March 30, 1909

Mr. W. M. MARTIN.

If my hon. friend knows anything about railway transporta-Mr. W. M. MARTIN.

tion in the western provinces, he'knows that every railway built must necessarily relieve the tension that exists.

Topic:   GRAND TRUNK PACIFIC LOAN.
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March 15, 1909

Mr. W. M. MARTIN (Regina).

Representing as I do a western constituency, and a constituency whose electors are for the most part farmers, I must necessarily take

an interest in this resolution. As a matter of fact, in nearly all western constituencies a majority of the electors are farmers; this being the case, the resolution before the House is one that we must necessarily consider from their standpoint. I must, however, express some surprise at seeing a resolution moved by the hon. member for Macdonald (Mr. Staples), a representative of the Conservative party, calling upon the government to appoint a farmer to the Railway Commission. I have only to point out the fact that three of the Ministers of Agriculture under the Conservative government, were a brewer, a lawyer and a doctor.

I have no fault to find with those appointments, doubtless they were good appointments, but it does appear to me a little inconsistent for a Conservative member of parliament to move a resolution to force the government to appoint a western farmer on the Railway Commission. I think we ought to take a broader view of the resolution which is before' the House. So far as I can gather, hon. gentlemen opposite support this resolution for no other purpose than to make it apepar that they have the farmer's interests specially at heart, and they desire to gain a little political capital on that ground. That is a very narrow view to take of so important a question. If that is not the object of the hon. member for Macdonald, then the only other object he can have in view, it seems to me, is to force the government to appoint a man from his own constituency, which is a still more narrow view.

Now let us see what this resolution calls for. In the first place, it calls for an immediate appointment. Now, is there an immediate necessity for this appointment being made to the Railway Commission? I do not know whether any hon. gentleman opposite has any evidence that there is an immediate necessity for the appointment of another member of the Railway Commission, and unless there is such evidence, I think this House would be ill-advised in forcing the government to make an immediate appointment of any person. Let us see who compose at present the Board of Railway Commissioners. We have first of all, Mr. Justice Mabee, a gentleman of undoubted ability, and who stands as high perhaps in his profession as any other man in this country, a man thoroughly well equipped to deal with any question coming before that commission. Then we have Mr. Bernier, who was Minister of Inland Revenue in this government for some yeaTS, who was a farmer in the province of Quebec, and at the same time a notary public. Now if I understand the business of a notary, he is a man who has to do conveyancing and deal with other matters which bring him in close touch with the farmers. Then we have Dr. Mills, formerly principal of the Agricultural College at Guelph. Then 84

we have Mr. D'Arcy Scott, and Mr. S. J. Maclean, who helped to organize the Railway Commission in this country. So the farmers have already two representatives on that commission at the present time, and they are well represented by these two gentlemen. It is to be remembered that had it not been for the Liberal party coming into power in 1896, there would havfTBeen no necessity of bringing forward a resolution in this House to consider the appointment of a railway commissioner, for there would have been no Railway Commission in Canada. Prior to that time railway companies were allowed to do as they pleased. We had nothing but railway monopolies. Since that time conditions have been considerably alleviated owing to the foresight of this government and the administrative ability shown by the Railway Commission in dealing with railway problems.

The other side of this resolution deals with the appointment of a western farmer to the Railway Commission. We must all admit that we are dependent upon the farmers. Several hon. gentlemen have said so during this debate and there is no use of disputing that fact. The farming community represents a very much larger amount of capital than any other industry in Canada and it is the most important class as far as the production of material wealth is concerned. But, let us see where these appointments came from considering the connection of the word ' western ' with the resolution. Of the five representatives upon the Railway Commission four are from the province of Ontario and one from the province of Quebec. Members from the maritime provinces have just as good a right to move a resolution advocating the appointment immediately of some man from the maritime provinces as we who come from the west have. I think that we are all too much inclined, not excepting the members from Saskatchewan, to adopt a policy of sectionalism and provincialism when we are advocating any principle in this House. If a resolution is introduced you will find certain members from one province speaking upon it, when another resolution is introduced it will be discussed by another set of members, whereas we ought to approach these questions in a broad, national spirit and keep in view the interests of Canada as a whole. If we would devote our time to the consideration of large Canadian questions and forget that we are citizens of Saskatchewan or of Manitoba remembering that we are dealing with the affairs of a great country and are interested in building up a united national spirit, not forgetting our connection with the mother country, we would be doing something to promote the welfare of Canada as a whole. As far as the appointment of a farmer is concerned I do not care whether it is a farmer or a doctor or a lawyer,

a mercantile man or what kind of a business man it is as long as he is a man properly equipped to fill the position of Railway Commissioner if it is necessary to fill that position at the present time. I will say this however that in view of the importance of the transportation problem to western Canada-and it is the most important question in western Canada at the present time-and in view of the fact that possibly this question concerns western Canada more than it does any other portion of the Dominion, western Canada should be represented on the Railway Commission. I would urge upon the government the necessity, of- endeavouring, in filling that position, if it is to be filled at the present time, to appoint a western man. Since these are the views I have on this question I beg to move, seconded by the hon. member for Provencher, that all the words after ' that ' in the resolution be struck out and that the following be substituted:

The duties of the Railway Commission are such as to demand the appointment of the most capable man available who is acquainted with western railway conditions.

I move this amendment to the resolution having the fullest confidence that the government will exercise a wise discretion in making the appointment to the Railway Commission, and that it will select the very best man available, a characteristic which it has so well exhibited in the past.

Topic:   $531,000,000 COMMONS
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March 15, 1909

Mr. W. M. MARTIN.

should be made immediately. The hon. member for Humboldt (Mr. Neely) said that the one thing that he wanted was that the appointment should be made at once, and others have asked that it should be made immediately. Now, we have the hon. gentleman who has moved the amendment taking the ground that there is no necessity for an immediate appointment to the board, and other hon. gentlemen on the other side of the House have also taken the same ground. I promised that I would not take up any length of time in debating this question at this late hour. I would like to put myself on record in this way: I believe, first of all, that the board should have a man thoroughly acquainted with western conditions. Western conditions are certainly very dissimilar in a great many respects from eastern conditions. Secondly, granted that the new member for that board should be a westerner, and my hon. friend opposite apparently now considers that he ought to be a westerner, then I consider that the man who would be most in sympathy with western conditions and needs would be a farmer of the west. Man for man I suppose that the farmers of the west come into more immediate contact with the railway companies than persons belonging to any other part of the Dominion. Farmers ship their own wheat, order their own cars and come into actual communication and business nego-* tiations with the railway companies. They understand the immense difficulties that they are up against in the shipment of their wheat. They know what delays to their cars mean, they know what the difficulties are in getting the right kind of cars, they know the difficulties in the way with regard to the weighing of their grain and they are familiar with all other questions in connection with the shipment of their wheat. Only the farmers, I contend, can look at these questions from the farmer's point of view. It has been said over and over again in this House this evening that the farmers are very important members of the community and should carry very great weight in it. They are entitled to more representation than they have at the present time. We have heard a very able speech this afternoon upon the question of proportional representation. I regret to say that in the nature of things the farmers are unable to get proportional representation in this House, but hon. gentlemen opposite could very well give them proportional representation in the administration of the affairs of this country and particularly I think the government could give them proportional representation by placing one representative farmer from the west on the Railway Board. I trust they will reconsider their decision and that they will vote in favour of the motion proposed by my hon. friend from Macdonald declaring that the

appointment to the Railway Commission should be made immediately, that the person to be appointed should be a western man and a practical farmer.

Topic:   $531,000,000 COMMONS
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March 9, 1909

Mr WM. M. MARTIN (Regina).

As one of the members from the west, I have listened with a good deal of interest to the objections which have been raised by hon. members on the other side to the methods of administration of the Land Department I was particularly interested in the point raised by the hon. member for South Sim-eoe (Mr Lennox) with regard to certain cases of hardship in connection with the administration of the land grants of deceased volunteers. Any person who is familiar with the conditions of the practice of law in the western provinces or with the conditions attending the administration of estates, would not wish to place on the government the responsibility of deciding in any particular case whether a man dies leaving heirs or not. Only a short time ago there came under my own notice the case of a man, recently married, who died in the province of Saskatchewan. Affidavits were sworn to by his widow to the effect that he died leaving her and three or four small children. Before the estate was administered, we learned by the merest chance that the man had been married in Germany previous to coming to this country, and had a grown-up family there. Similar cases must arise from time to time. The administration of estates in the western provinces is a simple matter, it does

not cost much; and why should not a man who is getting land from the government have his estate administered in the same way as he would have if he actually had the patent for the land? The hon. member for South Wellington (Mr. Guthrie) spoke of the hardships attending certain men who were injured in the South African war. With those men I have every sympathy, as I believe has every member of the House; but I may call attention to the fact that the Act to authorize a bounty to the South African volunteers, passed in the last session of the last parliament, provides for the appointing of a substitute, and I believe the scrip at the present time is worth about $1,000.

Topic:   SUPPLY-SOUTH AFRICAN BOUNTY ACT.
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March 9, 1909

Mr W M. MARTIN.

1 believe that it soon "will be worth $2,000. Each of these volunteers has the right to take not only a half-section under this Act, but a halfsection under the Homestead and Pre-emptions Act as amended in the last parliament; so that the South African volunteer, if he wants to become an actual settler m the west, has an opportunity to acquire a whole section of land, and in three or four years, when he gets his patent, he will be a wealthy man. I know personally some South African volunteers who have taken up their land and are at present on the highway to wealth as a result of the bounty given to them by this government. The hon. member for Vancouver also raised the question of the time given for entry to the volunteers. I believe that western sentiment is that ample time has been given to them They are allowed up to the 31st oi December, 1910. The hon. member for Vancouver would allow them to have untd the middle of 1911 to complete the entry. The effect of that would be to have the land tied up for two or three years. What we want in the western provinces is men to go on the land and cultivate it, and increase the out put of wheat and thereby increase the wealth of the country.

Topic:   SUPPLY-SOUTH AFRICAN BOUNTY ACT.
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