Mr. Wilfrid Gariepy (Three Rivers):
Mr. Speaker, like hon. members before me I extend the usual congratulations to the mover of the address in reply to the speech from the throne, the hon. member for Essex West (Mr. Brown), and the seconder, the hon. member for Laval-Two Mountains (Mr. Demers). My congratulations are very sincere and they are well deserved. If ever public distinction was well deserved, it was in the case of the new leader which our party has chosen at a public convention. Since his appointment to office the right hon. Prime Minister (Mr. St. Laurent) has set to work relentlessly with a very promising enthusiasm and with a patriotism which has already classed him among the best statesmen who ever led this country.
In this regard we only have to study the evolution of international problems. Canada must protect herself. Russian supremacy is much more dangerous than German supremacy. The way things stand each part of the world is faced with this danger but, in considering the Atlantic pact, to which we look for salvation, our wise leaders are considering its possibilities for peace rather than for war. In the same line of thought, the appointment of a Canadian representative at the Vatican would be welcome news to my constituents.
Three Rivers, whose spokesman I have the honour to be in this house, is a city of
50,000 people, with an unsurpassed harbour, and industries which make it the chief centre in the world as far as newsprint is concerned. It lies at the mouth of a river which constitutes the most abundant source of electric power in Canada. It is close to other important towns such as Cap de la Madeleine, Louiseville, Nicolet, Shawinigan Falls, Grand-Mere, and La Tuque. In the district which surrounds it agriculture, tourism and small industry are prominent.
However, present world conditions have caused the cost of living to reach a level
The Address-Mr. Gariepy which I consider almost excessive. I may add that in Three Rivers salaries have been maintained at average figures which compare favourably with those paid elsewhere and even place our workers among the most privileged. In spite of that, it is imperative that the next budget should bring necessary relief, by raising the exemption for people in the middle income bracket, for instance to $3,000 for married people and $1,500 for single persons, as well as by increasing the allowance for each child and granting more advantages to young people desirous of taking up studies.
The income tax was a product of the first world war and it was first levied by the Borden government. It was maintained by another Conservative government, headed by Mr. Bennett. In the way of social protection the people only obtained direct relief from Mr. Bennett.
The truth is that from 1921 to 1930 and from 1935 to date, the Liberal party has endeavoured, in view of the needs of an unprecedented period, to seek funds not so much from small wage earners as from taxpayers and corporations able to share their profits with the government, without serious inconvenience. In return, what a social program was provided by our party, in addition to its war financing. It included generous treatment for veterans, provisions for their training, their rehabilitation and unemployment insurance! Our party also gave old age pensions, pensions for the blind, family allowances, various forms of aid for public health.
There would be no end to the figures I could mention, to the amounts distributed by the Liberal government for these various purposes in my constituency alone or again in the province of Quebec alone where- thank God!-we respect the family institution, we love culture and practise charity. Thus the Minister of National Health and Welfare has contributed a cheque for $120,000 for a sanatorium at Three Rivers. Thus a considerable proportion of the costs of a technical school now under construction in Three Rivers is borne by the federal government. Thus thousands of veterans in Three Rivers have obtained, through the provincial administration, subsidies enabling them and their families to live and have received at the same time technical training under the form of courses lasting many years with, at graduation time, a position and an opportunity to rehabilitate themselves in normal life. And all this out of the federal treasury. I repeat that the government in Ottawa, the King-
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The Address-Mr. Gariepy St. Laurent government, with the assent and co-operation of the government of the province of Quebec, financed these services. I want it to be clearly understood that this humanitarian work was made possible only through the financial assistance of Ottawa. Taxes have not been levied in vain. There has been a compensation, fairly and capably distributed, to the point where it has been said and written that no other country was better able to solve the post-war problems as well as Canada. No more than anybody else did I wish for this war or did I want Canada to take part in the battles which have caused so much distress and sacrifices.
We must admit the facts, the evidence of truth. In 1914, the nationalist leader, Henri Bourassa, accepted the solution by plebiscite. Sir Wilfrid Laurier himself agreed to that solution, in 1917, but his amendment to that effect, seconded by the Hon. Mr. Oliver, was rejected in this house.
During the last war, a plebiscite revealed what Canadian democracy required.
Confederation was deemed timely and even necessary in 1867. Now, there is no alternative but to accept confederation with its advantages and disadvantages, its obligations and requirements.
The great expansion of the railroads, of banking, of industry and trade was immensely beneficial to the province of Quebec from the economic standpoint. Montreal, Canada's metropolis, could surely not favour secession as it would be against its mission, its importance and supremacy. Each year, western Canada produces hundreds of millions of dollars of new wealth in wheat alone. That prosperity reaches Toronto, Montreal and even Three Rivers, because we live on commercial exchanges, the east supplying the west, which in turn feeds eastern Canada. Our commercial relations are based on friendship; from the Atlantic to the Pacific boundaries have disappeared, just as in the time when the kings of France and Spain were great friends and to all practical purposes the Pyrenees had disappeared.
Air travel completes the picture. How can we explain the behaviour and statements of a certain group that wishes to divide in order to rule, that thrives on utopias, and would like to revert to the past and revive a bygone era.
The republic on the shores of the St. Lawrence, envisioned in J. P. Tardivel's book "Pour la Patrie," can no longer come true. However, the struggle in the open for recognition of all our rights can carry on. Appeals to prejudice will not help in the attainment of this objective; it is better to fight fanati-
cism rather than stir it up, to imitate our constructive forefathers rather than practise wholesale destruction. England gave us our constitutional system which is still the best in existence as far as public administration is concerned. I believe there is room within the framework of the two old parties to command respect for our cherished yearnings in a manner consistent with our tastes, our principles and our mentality. It should also be possible for us to press forward our claims, wield power and secure what is best in every field for those who have put their trust in us. Our English-speaking colleagues sometimes wonder at our vigorous and tireless representations, but we are a minority group, and a passive minority cannot long endure. However, we wish to live and survive; our survival is in Canada's interest since we are partners in this great national undertaking. We may have been mistaken in not making ourselves better known or more highly appreciated. The fundamental idea is that the strength of confederation rests, not upon assimilation, but upon unity and understanding. The greater the development of each contracting party-or rather each racial group -according to its ideals, the greater the collective wealth and strength. That is the reason why I appreciate the friendly gesture of certain members of Anglo-Saxon origin who sometimes, in this house and outside, express themselves in my native tongue. Similarly, I believe that every member of this house is pleased that a fairly rapid improvement is being effected in the civil service by the appointment to responsible positions of a greater number of bilingual persons. The fact that there was not a single French-Canadian deputy minister created what amounted to an intolerable anomaly and I pay tribute to the present administration for correcting this provoking and unjust discrimination which belied the oft repeated professions of unity and tolerance. I know several of my fellow-countrymen who, though well disposed towards their English-speaking compatriots, were losing their every faith and hope. Optimism cannot survive the inimical attitude of a Dr. Shields who unceasingly protests that the share given us is too large and who would have us relegated among the undesirable, the incompetent, the helots. It is not flattering, it is demoralizing, especially when it is recalled that since confederation, in spite of our qualities, in spite of our desire for co-operation, we have often had to suffer on account of our origin, our
language and our faith. One needs only to think of the New Brunswick schools question, of the Manitoba schools, of the Keewatin schools, of the Ontario schools. I need only to recall the no doubt meritorious work of Sir Clifford Sifton and the Hon. Frank Oliver who were both, successively, Minister of the Interior and who both refused to give my own people an even chance in western immigration, giving preference instead to Central European immigrants. I need only to recall the Ku Klux Klan agitation in Saskatchewan and the school regulations enforced there by the Anderson administration, with which the hon. member for Lake Centre (Mr. Diefenbaker) is no doubt quite familiar. Whatever the hon. leader of the opposition (Mr. Drew) may do, French Canadians will never forgive his statements or his policies. While he was prime minister of Ontario he used planes to bring British immigrants in order to compensate for the Quebec birth rate. That was a strange method indeed to counteract the "revenge of the cradles".
The hon. leader of the opposition has been rather hard on Quebec. He belittled our war effort, proclaimed that we belong to a vanquished race, and that our so-called rights were only those which the dominant race were pleased to grant us, that the family allowance,-the baby bonus as he called it- had to go and that it was an attempt to bribe Quebec.
Rev. Shields never said anything else; he is a second Dalton McCarthy. It is such contempt, such arrogance, that breeds disagreements, misunderstandings and quarrels. Yet Sir John A. Macdonald declared that there was neither a vanquished race nor a victorious race. But the Progressive Conservative party has repudiated its old leader; the great party of Macdonald and Cartier has decayed and fallen to pieces first under Meighen, then under Bennett and now under the member for Carleton. "L'ceil etait dans la tombe et regardait Cain." It is the twinges of conscience mentioned by the immortal poet. With us, it is the twinges of humiliation, of infamy. We have felt in our flesh, in our whole being, the enmity, the reprobation, and we remember. We shall always remember. Nothing can wash out the stain. As the poet said: "La mer y passerait sans laver la souillure."
I want to tell the opposition that the incident and accident of Nicolet-Yamaska settles nothing in their favour. If only Drew and Sabourin had shown up during that campaign! But they made sure they did not for the people would have realized then what
The Address-Mr. Gariepy it was all about, for the contest was fought not between parties but on the personal reputation of the candidates.
Why this enmity towards French Canadians? Why is our element feared? Our large families are a blessing from heaven and they are the best contribution to the welfare and greatness of our nation. Our language is the most beautiful in the world. It is pre-eminently the language of culture and an open door to the greatest productions of the human mind. We are loyal and proved it at the country's call for soldiers, workmen, money, goods and munitions.
Our religion! Would you want us to be communists? It is the city of Toronto, the Ontario legislature which has communist members. The courageous stand of the Prime Minister (Mr. St. Laurent), the proceedings he took against this infamous horde have deeply relieved us. We believe in God, we practise our religion, we are the most efficient barrier against communism, the greatest evil of our time. Communists themselves know that if they are held in check it is because of our religious feeling and our Christian conscience. This is proved by what has just happened in Hungary, to the shame of humanity, liberty and civilization.
One of the plagues of society is divorce. But who are the ones who refuse to recognize divorce? We of the mother province, descendants of Champlain, Frontenac, Lavio-lette and Maisonneuve. Thus, true to our principles, we find our use in recalling and revealing a timeless truth, that family, society and authority are a trinity which thrives under Christianity, and are as it were a corollary, an outcome of Christianity.
That is the education given in our midst, from the pulpit of our admirable gothic cathedral of Three Rivers, in our seminary, one of the most interesting in the province, in our academies run by brothers who are disciples of St. Jean Baptiste de la Salle, in our free schools, which Lacordaire and Montalembert would not have disavowed; it is an education which pervades us as much as the air we breathe, and the food we absorb. We receive that training everywhere, beginning in the homes and I would not think of a Scotsman as being a poor citizen because he is religious-minded. It was the member for Selkirk (Mr. Bryce) who taught me to say grace in the language of Robert Burns. I would not think of an Irishman as someone to be despised because he is deeply religious. In the lobbies of the British parliament Daniel O'Connell would recite his rosary while waiting for votes or the end of discussions.
The Address-Mr. Gariepy
We are religious unlike the Russians who are atheistic, unlike the French who are unbelievers, unlike the Americans, 60 per cent of whom are indifferent and in whose country one marriage out of four ends in divorce or annulment.
I therefore ask you to be friendly toward my province and my town and I urge the cabinet to give due consideration to the development of my district, and its increased prosperity, thereby placing Three Rivers on an equal footing with Montreal and Quebec, and giving the whole province more cohesion, better balance and fairer wealth distribution.
Thus my constituents have to forward their income tax report to Montreal, where they have to apply for all corrections, adjustments and complaints. Why not establish in Three Rivers a collection office for all the surrounding district? There is one at Quebec and another one in Sherbrooke with about a hundred employees. I find nothing wrong with that. It is good policy. Sherbrooke is a thriving city, with a progressive surrounding area. Sherbrooke is the queen of the eastern townships but Three Rivers is the queen of St. Maurice valley and this valley represents considerable income tax revenue, which entails many complexities and which compares favourably with that of other districts. To a lesser degree but with the same fairness and the same arguments, I must deplore that, the war being over, the government does not return to the old system which gave full and complete satisfaction. My city is made to depend on Montreal, where there is a district branch of the Department of Public Works. This subjection is contrary to efficiency and even to economy. Public services are established for the taxpayer and he must have easy access to officials, at the least possible cost. In this regard, we have the Three Rivers harbour falling under the absolute control, very absolute indeed, of the national harbours board, the organization of which was in line with the Bennett policy, embodied in the Gibbs report. This report recommends the establishment of a local board in every harbour to act in an advisory capacity. Nearly fifteen years have gone by and there is yet no local harbour board. Three Rivers, through its boards of trade, junior and senior, through its municipal council, considers that this situation is detrimental to its development, that it handicaps its progress. Three Rivers also feels that all harbours, or at least those of some importance, should come under the jurisdiction of the national harbours board. I admire the town of Sorel, I like to visit it and get inspiration. I admire the eloquence and the competence of its representative in [Mr. GariepyJ
the house. But the harbour of Sorel is competing with that of Three Rivers and my constituents vainly try to figure out why there should be discrimination between Three Rivers, which is subject to the rigid control of the national harbours board while Sorel is not, being thus autonomous and better able to reach the heart of the Minister of Public Works and enjoy his munificence. Everyone should be treated equally and without favour; I am confident that the principle will be applied now that the war is over and that we are again resuming normal operations. The new offices which I would like to have established could well be located in the addition to the post office at Three Rivers. Last year money was voted for that building which is urgently required and work wiU be proceeded with in the spring.
In conclusion, 1 have special thanks for the Minister of Mines and Resources (Mr. MacKinnon) regarding his project for a trans-Canada highway. Now that automobiles are in constant use, the highway will be the counterpart of the railway running from the Atlantic to the Pacific, as was promised at the time of confederation. Many sceptics laughed at Joseph Howe when he advocated in this house, in 1867, the tunnelling of the Rockies, in order to connect Vancouver and Winnipeg and expressed the satisfaction of the promoters. The train whistling through the pass in those famous peaks is surely a proof of their faith in modern progress.
A trans-Canada highway wholly on Canadian soil would benefit both the tourist industry and our independence. The cost is estimated at $266 million. The provinces would pay about half of that amount and would set the layout within their own boundaries. On the question of hospitals and health, the federal and provincial governments have agreed. There has also been perfect agreement on the matters concerning the Departments of Labour and Agriculture.
I hope the federal and provincial governments will again agree on this highway which will enable people to travel from Halifax to Vancouver, through Ottawa, Montreal and Three Rivers. Indeed I hope that the section of this highway situated in the province of Quebec will extend from Montreal to Three Rivers and from Ste. Angele de Laval to Levis, thus justifying the carrying out of the project of a highway bridge opposite Three Rivers on the St. Lawrence river.
It follows that this bridge will be of national usefulness. It will serve the population on
both sides of the river. The city of Three Rivers, which operates the ferry at this point, recently acquired a third boat, at the cost of $400,000. Because of the narrow docks, it seems impossible to put there more than three boats, but this, barring exceptions, is not sufficient for regular traffic and hundreds of automobiles have to wait for hours before they can cross the river.
Both the north and the south shore are always overcrowded. A bridge is the only solution to this state of things which is inconsistent with the public interest. A glance at the map of the area which spreads from the United States boundary to the La Tuque and Lake St. John districts, passing through Three Rivers, will convince anyone that the bridge must be built.
It is at once obvious that in the intervening area, there is room for tremendous development in agriculture and colonization as well as in trade and industry if markets become more easily available and if communications are improved by faster and cheaper means of transportation. All that would complement the tourist trade, because a large number of people wish to travel in comfort for pleasure, for their health or on pilgrimages. Cap de la Madeleine, adjacent to Three Rivers, is a national sanctuary where a hundred thousand pilgrims flock each year to worship and pray under the guidance of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate.
In conclusion, I believe I am serving the best interests of my electors, in keeping with the spirit of the mandate entrusted to me, when I enthusiastically ekpress my determination to support the policy of the St. Laurent government and to vote against the amendments and in favour of the motion for an address to His Excellency.
Topic: CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY