Mr. I. D. COTNAM (North Renfrew):
Mr. Speaker, When I moved the adjournment of the debate last night I was referring to the platform enunciated by the Liberal party in 1919, and attempting to show that neither in the campaign of 1921 nor of 1925 did the 'Liberal party appeal to the people on that platform, but that on the contrary they had made sectional appeals in the various provinces. Yet for the last four years the leader of the Liberal party has preached from end to end of the Dominion what he 14011-79j
calls "national unity". Well, uip until, say, five years ago who ever heard of national disunity? I submit, Sir, that the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) by his sectional appeals has had more to do with creating a feeling of disunity and suspicion in the minds of the people than any other of our public men. And he has been obliged to resort to such sectional appeals simply because of lack of cohesion in his own party, which has made it impossible for him to inaugurate a really national policy that would bind together in still closer ties the whole Dominion. He has one policy for British Columbia; another for Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba; east of the Great Dakes he has still another policy for Ontario and Quebec; but when he reaches the Maritimes he has no policy at all. I claim that a government so weak that it has no national policy is not fit to function, and indeed cannot function.
But fortunately for Canada we have the Conservative party, led by my right hon. friend (Mr. Meighen). It is a party which stands for a national policy, a policy that will bind together the whole country from the Atlantic to the Pacific; a policy that when inaugurated will give us a basis on which to build a real future for this Dominion. In my view the platform of the Liberal party adopted in 1919 is diametrically opposed to the policy of the party under the late Sir Wilfrid Laurier. That platform can only bring about disunity. Therefore I claim that the policy of the Conservative party is so fundamentally sound that it will prevent the provinces from drifting more and more widely apart. In a word, the policy of the Conservative party is a policy for the whole of Canada. And fortunately we have a leader who is unafraid to uphold that policy in every constituency. Undoubtedly that policy has appealed to the people, as is shown by the results of the recent general election, which returned my party in such augmented strength that it is now the largest in this House. That is because the people of this country have confidence in the policies and principles enunciated by the Conservative party. I believe there was never a finer compliment paid to any leader in this parliament or in any other than that paid to the leader of the Conservative party by the hon. member for Southeast Grey (Miss Macphail) when she said that she had no confidence in the Liberal party and was afraid that if she voted confidence in them they would not carry out their policies, but that, on the other hand, if she voted Conservative, she believed the leader of the Conservative party would see to
The Address-Mr. Cotnarn
it that the policies of his party were carried into effect. That a member of another group in this House Shad sufficient confidence in this party to believe it would be true to its pledges was a very fine compliment indeed to pay to our leader and to the Conservative party as a whole. If there is one thing more than any other that is undermining public confidence in government in this country to-day, it is the fact that the people have come to believe that our public men are not sincere in the public pronouncements which they make. Lack of sincerity on the part of our public men is doing more to undermine the morale of the electorate of this country than any other single thing and is probably making for a great deal of disunity in this country.
The Prime Minister in his election manifesto issued at Richmond Hill, on September the 6th, declared that this country required certain definite policies to be inaugurated in order that the affairs of this country could be carried on in a businesslike manner. He made it abundantly clear that he was not in favour of group government. He said that his government in the past four years had been futile. He admitted they were unable to meet the situation in this country. He admitted that during the last four years practically all his government had been able to do was to mark time. He said that there were at that moment great national problems pressing for solution which required the hand of a strong and popular government, and it seems rather strange, after those declarations, that hon. members opposite should declare today that they are quite willing to have group government in this House. Their forces were shattered on October the 29th as a result of the shock which they then received, and they have not yet recovered from the shock. We have in my profession the term "aphasia." It is a medical term which means inability to speak, or speechlessness, and those- of us who have watched1 hon. members opposite trying to function in this parliament for the last six weeks have realized that they are all suffering from that particular malady.
Topic: GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH
Subtopic: ADDRESS IN REPLY