George Washington MCPHEE

MCPHEE, George Washington, Q.C.

Personal Data

Yorkton (Saskatchewan)
Birth Date
November 17, 1880
Deceased Date
November 23, 1971
barrister, crown prosecutor, teacher

Parliamentary Career

October 29, 1925 - July 2, 1926
  Yorkton (Saskatchewan)
September 14, 1926 - May 30, 1930
  Yorkton (Saskatchewan)
July 28, 1930 - August 14, 1935
  Yorkton (Saskatchewan)
October 14, 1935 - January 25, 1940
  Yorkton (Saskatchewan)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 63 of 64)

February 1, 1926


I am glad to hear that expression of approval, I hope it means that I have converted one hon. gentleman opposite by my argument. The Grain Growers' Guide in its issue of October 7th, 1925,. published an article under the caption of "Ramparts of Gold". This article contained the following statement:

We want particularly to call the attention of the readers of the Guide to the very positive statement of Mr. Meighen as to what he would do to the duties on agricultural implements if by some unfortunate turn of events he should be returned to power in this election. He would raise the duties; he would put them back to what they were, when he, to paraphrase a remark of ex-President W. H. Taft, retired from the premiership with the full consent of the Canadian people. That means that he would make the following increases: Mowers, reapers and binders, from 0 to 12J per cent; cultivators, harrows, horse-rakes, seed drills and manure spreaders, from 7i to 15 per cent; plows and threshing machines, from 10 to 17J per cent; wagons, from 10 to 20 per cent; shovels and spades, from 20 to 32J per cent; hay loaders, grain crushers, potato diggers and other implements, from 10 to 20 per cent. Put in another way, Mr. Meighen, if returned to power, will double the duties on farm implements.

Mr. Meighen knows the implement manufacturers do not stand in need of this tender solicitude for their

welfare. He knew it as far back as 1911. He told the House of Commons all about it on January 18th, 1911. He told the government of that day that the duties on agricultural implements was "protection run rampant," and they were continued because the government had "become the slaves of those who helped them into power," and who maintained them there "behind ramparts of gold".

The facts are, Mr. Speaker, that any increase in the tariff means a corresponding increase in price to the purchaser of the commodity without any advantage to anyone save the selfish protected industries. In support of that let me quote from the speech of the right hon. leader of the opposition as reported in volume 1 of Hansard of 1910-11, page 1931:

Now, Sir, what are the manufacturers of agricultural implements enabled to do? They are able under this tariff to exact a higher price than they could exact if the tariff were lower. I do not say that a reduction will to any very enormous extent affect the price; I believe it will materially, and I think it will render some relief to particularly the farmers of the west, many of whom notwithstanding any statements that have been made here, are struggling between success and failure avery hour.

To show you how the tariff affects prices, let me quote from an editorial which appeared in the Winnipeg Free Press of December 3, 1925:

A Theory Bowled Over by the Facts

Persons who listened during the late election campaign to the argument that a higher tariff would not mean an increase in the cost of living in Canada will be interested in what took place at the meeting of the Winnipeg city council held last Monday night. If they came out of the federal election campaign with an idea that the argument advanced by Mr. Meighen and his friends was well founded they might put the theory up against the facts as they came out in an actual business transaction. The Swedish company which tendered on three generators for the city of Winnipeg's hydro plant offered to supply them at a price that was $15,000 lower than the tender of a Canadian firm. Sweden, of course, is a long way from Canada. Before it can get its generators into Canada the Swedish firm will have to pay duty to the Canadian government at the rate of 27 per cent, or a total in this case of about $30,000. The Swedish firm will also have to pay transportation on the ocean from Sweden to Canada and on a Canadian railway from the port of entry to Winnipeg. The firm is to do all these and yet is able to effect a saving of $15,000 to the people of Winnipeg.

Was there any doubt in this case about the benefit of outside competition? By buying this particular machinery outside of Canada at the price quoted the people of Winnipeg are saved $15,000, the Canadian government gets $30,000 duty to help in tax reduction and the railways get the benefit of the long haul from the port to Winnipeg. Faced with these facts, one of the aldermen, a supporter of Mr. Meighen, too, said that he could not vote to keep the contract in Canada under the circumstances. To bar foreign competition, he said, would be to leave the city in the hands of the Canadian manufacturer.

A tariff that would bar foreign competition would cost every Canadian citizen more money to live just as in this case the barring of foreign competition would have cost the city of Winnipeg an extra $15,000.

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February 1, 1926


Let my hon. friends say "hear, hear" after they hear the editorials. From the editorial pages of the Montreal Star of October 6, 1925, I read the following:

It may perhaps be as well to say a word about Quebec's alleged narrow-mindedness in thinking of what may be the effect upon its most essential industries and its most cherished institutions if Mr. FEBRUARY 1, 1926 587

The Address-Mr. McPhee

King is given enough supporters in parliament to enable him to sell out to the Progressives.

All we are doing is trying to shake this province awake to the fact that its very life is in danger and that it must come out of the past and vote with reference to pending political issues. That is why we ask Quebec to put only loyal Quebecers on guard, men who will stand with Patenaude in preventing the government- of this Dominion from being handed over holus bolus to the dangerously sincere spokesmen of the west, whose political vision never penetrates east of the fogs of lake Superior.

Again on October 26, from the editorial pages of the same paper, I gather the following:

What, then, will a Progressive triumph cost Quebec? The Progressives will demand the death of protection; they will either get their pound of flesh at once or they will get a big installment with promises of more to come immediately. This will mean either that the industries of Quebec will be decapitated forthwith or will be frightened into a swift decline. We have seen during the last four years what the constant tariff reduction can do. Practically every industry in the province, except that of the American consuls forwarding Canadian emigrants into the United States, has shrivelled, laid off men, reduced hours of work, kept down its pay-roll and spread hard times through the area it once fed. No Quebec manufacturer dared to think of investing new capital or enlarging his plant while a government sat in Ottawa which was always expected to take another slash at the tariff. A govern-mmt dependent upon Progressive votes must carve away at the tariff yearly or the Progressive voters on the prairies would compel their henchmen to turn it out of office. It would no longer be a mere threat, it would be a succession of definite decapitations. Our Quebec industries would stand shivering like the unhappy prisoners of the French revolution, wondering which would be the next to climb the steps of the guillotine. This would turn the flow of the exodus into a torrential rapid. Our boys are now holding on hoping that the tide will turn and that there will be more work next year. A Progressive victory would put an end to that hope. Everyone well knows that capital, always timid, will be far more badly frightened during the reign of the downright Forke than it was during the reign of the trimmer King.

This editorial, Mr. Speaker, must be amusing to my hon. friends th~ Progressives and especially the leader of their party, after having listened to the seductive words of our Conservative friends during the debate which featured the first week of this parliament. What a different picture is painted by the same newspaper in its news items after the election! I have taken a few items from the news pages of the same journal, to show something of the political hypocrisy of hon. gentlemen opposite. I have culled these news items from the Montreal Star, and they relate to business conditions from one end of Canada to the other:

1. November 26, 1925. Bank report shows trade is getting better.

2. November 16, 1925. Sherwin earned 8.79 per cent, outlook bright.

3. November 17, 1925. Declares Canada land of promise.

4. November 10, 1925. Granby Smelting Company reports better year. _

5. November 26, 1925. Upward trend in business is shown. Signs of improved business continue to appear in the reports published by the Dominion Bureau of Statistics. Out of six indicators of basic conditions recently published, five show upward trend.

6. November 26, 1925. October coke output established record.

7. November 26, 1925. Dividends from Canadian mines show big gain.

8. November 26, 1925. Boat loadings break record.

9. November 23, 1925. Pulp and paper export figures up in October.

10. November 14, 1925. Improvement shown in hardware trade.

11. November 13, 1925. Will make plans for Quebec mill. New construction near Beaupre will cost $5,000,000.

12. November 25, 1925. Salt bonds all sold. It was announced by Royal Securities Corporation at noon that the entire issue of $1,200,000 Canadian Salt Company 1st mortgage six per cents, public offering of which vras made this morning, has been subscribed for. Distribution has been made from coast to coast.

13. November 24, 1925. Cheese exports show substantial gain.

14. November 13, 1925. Six hundred employed on Quebec mill. International paper plant, Chelsea, to employ 4,000 by spring.

15. November 26, 1925. Wheat prices soar.

16. November 24, 1925. Many nations send immigrants.

17. November 23, 1925. Increase is shown in border trade.

18. November 13, 1925. Heavy Manitoba butter exports. Shipped to Britain so far more than entire season of 1916.

Mr. Speaker, what do these news items convey to us? They convey the fact that Canada is prosperous, our Conservative peddlers of gloom to the contrary notwithstanding. Let me call a few more witnesses, and these are all in addition to the quotations that have already been made by hon. gentlemen on this side of the House; I am not repeating any of their citations. Let me quote first from the address of Sir Vincent Meredith, president of the Bank of Montreal:

There is no question but that the trend of business is slowly but surely upward. As an evidence of this, car loadings are the largest on record, while wholesale and retail business show's a fair degree of increased activity. Textile industries are well employed, and there is more demand in the leather and allied trades. Improvement is also shown in other lines of business, although profits are curtailed in the grocery trade. There is little improvement in the lumber market in eastern Canada, but western shipments by w'ay of the Panama canal have substantially increased.

The prosperity of the country largely depends on the outcome of agriculture, and this year the crop has been a very large one, and at present prices w'ould prove profitable to the farmer. The marketing of the crop would bring at least $500,000,000 of new money into Canada and would undoubtedly effect a liquidation in fanners' liabilities. This new money would flow onto all channels of trade, and be reflected in improved conditions generally throughout the country.

I will now quote the right hon. leader of the opposition (Mr. Meighen) himself, as re-


The Address-Mr. McPhee

ported in a press despatch appearing in the Mail and Empire shortly after the new year:

Although a quarter of a century has passed without 'too great (progress, there is still ample time for the fulfilment of Sir Wilfrid Laurier's prophesy that the twentieth century belongs to Canada. In two decades we should double our present population.

The next quotation is from Hon. Mr. Crerar, a former cabinet minister, and the president of the United Grain Growers:

Western Canada has had the most successful year in its history. This, following two previous years of satisfactory progress, is putting western Canada on a sound financial basis.

Next I quote from Sir Henry Thornton:

The Dominion with its present population of 9,000,000 has a greater export trade than the United States had with 76,000,000, its population in 1899. For the twelve months ending last August the per capita export trade of Canada was $125, as compared with $37 for the United States.

The last quotation is from Mr. Beatty, president of the Canadian Pacific Railway:

For the past .two or three years we have been erecting a new and sounder foundation for our future economic growth. We have learned some of those economic lessons that adverse conditions have forced on our attention, and, finally, aided by a bountiful crop and the slow but sure betterment of the overseas markets for our products, have come to a position where we await an impetus to revivify our domestic trade.

These quotations, Mr. Speaker, substantiate the statement made by Sir Wilfrid Laurier in 1895, when, after listening to Sir George Foster read from a long list of statistics to prove that Canada was prosperous said:

If the party which I lead comes into power in this country it vyudd not be necessary for any man to read from statistics to prove the country is prosperous. I will simply ask every farmer and every artisan in the country to put his hands in his pockets, and there he will find the evidence of bis prosperity.

Prosperity and Liberalism, Mi. Speaker, are synonymous terms. They tell a story of Sir Robert Borden and the late Sir Wilfrid Laurier. When the great Quebec bridge fell a few years ago, Sir Robert Burden was in the vicinity and delivered an address near one of the terminals. His presence, of course, had nothing whatever to do with the bridge falling, it was just his luck to be present on that occasion a id to have made a speech at that particular time. Sir Wilfrid Laurier went out west on a tour shortly afterwards, and visited the city of Moose Jaw They had had no rain there for several weeks, and the people were praying for rain. The morning after Sir Wilfrid Laurier landed there, the rain came down in torrents. Sir Wilfrid Laurier had nothing to do with the coming of the rain, but it was his good fortune to be present at Moose Jaw when it happened. He went on

to the city cf Prince Rupert, where conditions were just the reverse. It had been raining there for weeks, and the people were beginning to despair of ever seeing the sun again.

But the morning after Sir Wilfrid landed, the sun came out in all its glory. Sir Wilfrid had nothing to do with the sun shining on that day, but it iwas just his good fortune to be present when the sun did come out on that occasion. Our friends opposite say that we do noc give any credit to Providence for what happens in this country, but let me tell them, whether it is a matter of luck or a matter of judgment, the people of this country want a government upon whose work the rains from heaven fall, and upon whose administration a wise and beneficent Providence causes the sun of prosperity to shine.

Our Conservative friends opposite, who keep on telling us that Canada is not prosperous, continually harp on protection as the only salvation for the country. Let me quote from the speech of the hon. member for East Edmonton (Mr. Bury) as reported at page 361 of Hansard:

Protection is very far from being dead. Coming from the west, I venture to say that protection is more alive than it has been for a long time. There is general recognition throughout the country, even throughout the west, that protection is necessary for the welfare of the Dominion as a whole.

And the hon. member for Argenteuil (Sir Geo. Perley) said, as reported at page 289 of Hansard:

We should protect our growers of agricultural produce by using as much as possible of it in our own country, thus preserving our market for them and keeping our money at home. The only way in which this object can be accomplished is to raise the tariff on our agriculture .produots to the same levels it is in the United States.

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February 1, 1926


I will let my hon. friend

do that if he so desires. The hon. member for South Toronto (Mr. Geary), though not so old in political faith as those to whom I have previously referred, but equally old in conviction, said that fifty years ago the torch of protection was lighted in Canada. If that is the beginning of traditional Conservatism in Canada, traditional Liberalism antedates it by half a century. Traditional Liberalism in Canada had its inception in the long struggle for responsible government against :he old Tory family compact, a struggle to the one the Liberals are now waging for economic freedom in this country. That was a period when, in order to prevent free speech, printing presses were dumped into lake Ontario and Halifax harbour. The culmination of that struggle was the rebellion of 1837, and Canada will never forget the part then played by William Lyon Mackenzie and Louis Papineau. I stand here this afternoon. Mr. Speaker, a disciple of that traditional Liberalism, and pay my eomplimehts to the grandson of Louis Papineau in the person of the talented member for Labelle (Mr. Bourassa) and I express my gratification and

that of every Liberal in this House and in Canada that the mantle of the late revered leader of the Liberal party, Sir Wilfrid Laurier, fell upon the shoulders of the member-elect for Prince Albert, the grandson of the old rebel patriot William Lyon Mackenzie-

Now, Mr. Speaker, what has been the attitude of hon. gentlemen opposite to agriculturists in this country, and particularly those of western Canada? Let me go back to the period previous to the election of 1911, to which I have already referred. In volume IV of the Debates of the Session of 1910-11, at page 7134, I find these words uttered by a gentleman afterwards a member of the Conservative government:

Why, Sir, you would actually think it was this gang of leaders; -

By the way he was referring to the delegation of one thousand farmers who came down from western Canada to interview the government in regard to legislation which the reciprocity treaty would have given them.

-this grain growers association from the northwest that came down here, the same sort of fellow we find popping up in blacksmith-shop statesmanship. Everyone of them a Grit organizer and heeler; not the rank and file of the farmers of Canada, but the men who try to push themselves to the front and whose wives are at home wearing long boots and cleaning out the cow stables and the horse stables, while these fellows are hanging around the blacksmith shops spouting statesmanship for the world over.

That is Toryism with a vengeance. I was going to say it was almost on a par with those statements made in this House a few days ago by the hon. Minister of Justice (Mr. Lapointe), quoting from an address delivered by the hon. member for Vancouver Centre (Mr. Stevens) in which he referred to the good ladies of the province of Quebec. Poor, common, ordinary individuals must not even approach these barons of special privilege without being slandered in the manner which I have just indicated.

Now, Mr. Speaker, the doleful remarks of our Conservative friends are in keeping with the statements appearing in the Conservative press previous to the election on October 29 last. Let me quote just one or two. First I will read from that stalwart journal of Conservatism, the Montreal Star.

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February 1, 1926


I should have said tariff

readjustment. I should like to read a telegram I received from the Yorkton board of trade, Saskatchewan. It is as follows:

Yorkton, Sask., January 9, 1928.

T. George McPhee, M.P.,


The Yorkton board of trade much appreciate statement in Speech from Throne that Hudson Bay railway

will be completed in 1926. This will give a new lease of life to western Canada.

I wish to answer a question asked, I think, by the hon. member for Muskoka-Ontario (Mr. McGibbon) a few days ago, when the hon. member for Peace River (Mr. Kennedy) was speaking, as to how the Hudson Bay railway was going to pay the interest on the money invested in it. The investment on the completion of the Hudson Bay railway, Mr. Speaker, will be the carrying out of the solemn obligation made by both political parties to that great body of people living in the three western provinces. In answering my hon. friend's question, let me ask him another: What interest will the investment of the millions of dollars spent by the Conservative government from 1912 to 1918 pay, if the road is not finished and is left in its 4 pun. present shape? In closing may I express the hope that the people of the east and the people of the west will all work together for the common good of our common country. I shall never forget the closing remarks or the parting words of the revered leader of the Liberal party to the people of the west in 1917. He said':

If I am elected I will not be elated; if I am defeated I will not be cast down, I am prepared whether in victory or in defeat, to serve either as a lieutenant or as a private in the grand army of freedom.

Let those of us in this House of Liberal1, Progressive, and Independent thought, adopt the sentiment so eloquently expressed by Sir Wilfrid Laurier; let us stand shoulder to shoulder, pushing on from victory to victory, serving or willing to serve, either as lieutenants or privates, in the grand army for Canadian fiscal and . economic freedom.

Topic:   S90 COMMONS
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February 1, 1926


Does my hon. friend undertake to contradict the editorial?

Topic:   S90 COMMONS
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