Mr. Si. Laurent:
That was September 8, 1937. On January 26, 1939, there is a report from Fort William, a demand that Premier Hepburn go to the country without delay to settle the issue of national unity. The report further quotes a brief prepared by Premier Hepburn and presented to the Rowell commission on dominion-provincial relations on behalf of Ontario. The Conservative leader said Mr. Hepburn had laid down the principlethat "the provinces must remain independent and autonomous."
The quotation continues and attributes the following to the present leader of the opposition (Mr. Drew):
"That is one of the most remarkable utterances ever made by any premier within the dominion," Colonel Drew declared. "This province must remain independent of what? That sentence in Ontario's considered brief to the Rowell commission does not mean anything unless Premier Hepburn has the idea that Ontario should become a separate nation. The people of Ontario never gave him a mandate to set this province up as a separate nation. He has been usurping his authority ever since he made that submission . . . "My own stand" he stated, "is that in all matters of national import there should be one strong government legislating for the people of Canada in their common interest. As leader of the Conservative party one of my main ambitions is to lead this province back to the plan of confederation and to give the other provinces a lead and an example in that. Mr. Hepburn advocates an independent Ontario. I prefer to stand, as a Canadian, for a united Canada ... I shall go to the country clearly on the stand that Ontario is Canadian, one province in a united Canada within the British empire. I advocate the strengthening of national ties and divesting the province of every conflicting authority not necessary for provincial purposes."
That sounds like pretty strong language, but it compares quite favourably with the language that had been used in a radio broadcast just four days before that, on January 22, 1939, by a gentleman whose name is Mr. George McCullagh, and who has something to do, if I am not mistaken, with a newspaper published in Toronto called the Globe and Mail; and, if my information is not incorrect, it is a newspaper which quite frequently presumes to tell men in public life just how they should carry out their responsibilities. This is a portion of it:
The greatest service the premier of Ontario could do for Canada, and something which would carry his name into history as a public benefactor, would be for him to state publicly what we all know; that our provincial governments are political misfits, that they are unnecessary duplications, luxuries we cannot afford, and endless causes of disunity. If the premier of Ontario would state this, and pledge himself to help end the provincial burden, he would carry us a long way towards solvency and the solution we seek.
Topic: SPEECH FROM THE THRONE
Subtopic: CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY