Ira Delbert COTNAM

COTNAM, Ira Delbert, M.D., C.M.

Personal Data

Party
Progressive Conservative
Constituency
Renfrew North (Ontario)
Birth Date
December 19, 1883
Deceased Date
February 25, 1966
Website
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ira_Delbert_Cotnam
PARLINFO
http://www.parl.gc.ca/parlinfo/Files/Parliamentarian.aspx?Item=2eb2f904-eec2-402a-86ad-818a3c0118f4&Language=E&Section=ALL
Profession
physician

Parliamentary Career

October 29, 1925 - July 2, 1926
CON
  Renfrew North (Ontario)
September 14, 1926 - May 30, 1930
CON
  Renfrew North (Ontario)
July 28, 1930 - August 14, 1935
CON
  Renfrew North (Ontario)
December 11, 1942 - August 14, 1935
PC
  Renfrew North (Ontario)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 75 of 76)


February 23, 1926

Mr. COTNAM:

As the hon. gentleman

opposite comes from Saskatchewan, perhaps he does not realize the present condition of public affairs in this country, and I am afraid some other hon. gentlemen from the west, while they are honest and estimable in every other way, do not appreciate it. They talk about prosperity; they quote statistics to demonstrate that we have great trade balances and they point to our exports and imports. I prefer to go to the man on the street, the business man, and according to Sir Wilfrid Laurier, if you go to the man on the street, you will not have to quote statistics because he will tell you whether the country is prosperous or not. When I go to the business men of my town, as I did last week, and I ask them if business is reviving, improving, I want to get a candid expression of opinion from them. When they tell me, one after another, that business is in a depressed state, I fail to follow the statistics of hon. gentlemen opposite. In my town at the present time-and it is only an index of other towns in this country-people are living on very low rates of wages. Men are glad to procure a job at any wage and they are asked to go to our lumbering camps at $26 to $36 a month. Out of that they are being asked to pay part of the taxes to keep their children in this country, to pay for rent and fuel and schooling for their children. Yet hon. gentlemen tell us that the people of Canada are exceedingly prosperous. Those are not isolated examples; I can take hon. members to my constituency and show them scores and scores of people who are to-day in that unsatisfactory position. I think it was the hon. member for West Hamilton (Mr. Bell) who told us a few days ago about the condition of affairs he found in that city. Four years ago you could not find a vacant house in Pembroke and to-day I believe there are from one hundred to one hundred and fifty vacant houses in that town. Still hon. gentlemen opposite tell us that the country is prosperous and that there is plenty of employment. In my town we had a textile industry, a woollen mill which, a few years ago, was running at full blast. As late as 1922 it was employing 110 mill hands with a monthly wage of $6,500. It was giving employment to many labouring men in that town who were receiving fair wages and were able to support their families in some comfort. The British preference came

into effect and what was the result? Last year that mill was compelled to close its doors, and the operatives who used to work in that mill are to-day very largely to the south of the line working for our United States neighbours. That is true not only of one textile mill, but of scores of them in this country. In Renfrew, you will find the Renfrew Woollen Mills, owned and operated by Senator M. J. O'Brien. The manager said to us during the election campaign: "We are not making one cent in our industry to-day; we are simply marking time and only succeeding in trading an old dollar for a new one." That is a mill with an immense amount of capital and that is the only thing that is keeping it going. The other day that mill brought in a shipment of Australian wool worth about $72,000, whereas if we were protecting that industry as it should be protected, it might just as well have bought that wool from the farmers of this Dominion. Woollen mill after woollen mill has been compelled to close its doors in this Dominion during the last four and five years under the British preferential tariff.

Topic:   GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH
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February 23, 1926

Mr. COTNAM:

The British preferential tariff has been the means of closing down our mills, I am not speaking from a party or partisan standpoint at aill; I believe this is a great national question and one of vital interest to our farmers. I believe it would be of advantage not only to 'the farmers but to the woollen industry of this country if we had a duty on wool, and if the British preference were lowered sufficiently to allow our manufacturers of textiles and woollens to compete on a fair and equitable basis so that they would not have to compete with the cheap labour of England and in some cases, I understand, with cheaper goods still that are imported from France and Germany through Great Britain which is simply the clearing house. We are suffering from that condition of affairs at the present time. I believe the tariff could be so regulated that we could have in .this country a splendid industry which would be of vast importance to our agricultural 'classes, our labouring .people and our various industries.

Some hon. gentlemen in this House and during the election campaign have endeavoured to make it appear that the policy of the Conservative party is one of high protection. As I understand it, and Os I believe every hon. member on this side understands

The Address-Mr. Geary

it, ouir policy is one of adequate protection whereby the manufacturer, the labouring man and the farmer of 'this country will be protected against unfair competition from other countries. In other words, it is a policy of Canada for the Canadian people. It is the policy that was inaugurated in this country in 1878 and maintained under the regimes of both the late Sir 'John A. Macdonald and the late revered Liberal chieftain, Sir Wilfrid Laurier. That policy has been departed from by the Mackenzie King administration during the last four years and they have made no effort to remedy the conditions and evils from which the people are suffering at .the present time. We believe under a policy of adequate protection we would weld together the people of this Dominion into one great nation, so that we would not have one section west of the Rockies, another in the prairies, another in central Canada and another in the Mar-itimes.

We are free to admit that there are difficulties in the way; there are great problems to be worked out if we are to consummate that unity which we are looking forward to. We in the central provinces also have our grievances, although, as you will notice, we are not complaining much, but we are willing to concede something to our western friends in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. We are wiling to concede to them anything that is fair and just and right, and we are also willing to make to the Maritime provinces such concessions as are necessary in order to secure to them the rights to which they are entitled. Having all this in mind, we believe that a strong government with an adequate policy which it would not be ashamed to enunciate to the people of Canada; a government ready to make reasonable concessions in order to promote national unity and to realize that vision which the fathers of confederation had of this country; a government prepared to put into force such a policy as is advocated by the Conservative party, as we on this side of the House understand that policy, would in a short time find a solution for ithe various problems with which this country is faced at the present time and which the government of to-day has failed Utterly to find during the past four years.

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February 23, 1926

Mr. OOTNAM:

I did not say that. I said it was an admission of weakness on the part of this government to go outside their own ranks; they evidently considered they had no cabinet timber within their own ranks in this House.

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February 23, 1926

Mr. COTNAM:

The hon. member is not suffering from it.

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February 23, 1926

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.

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