Mr. C. A. CAMPBELL (Frontenac-Adding-ton):
Mr. Speaker, I rise at this time to join with other members, particularly my roommate, the hon. member for North York (Mr. Mulock) who has just taken his seat, in protesting against this proposed long adjournment. Like my colleague I also entered this house in the miniature general election last fall. I am sorry there are not more western members and eastern members on the other side at the moment to hear what happened in my riding on that occasion. I want to remind them that that riding had never returned a Liberal until September 24 last since 1791. It was not so much a vote for me personally or a vote for the Liberal party, because in June of last year, when there was a Liberal landslide in the province, I was defeated by the very same electors who elected me on September 24. But the fact is that the people voted against the Bennett policies, and especially against the most autocratic government we have had in Canada for a long time. The people of the riding of Fronfenac-Addington are mostly United Empire Loyalist stock, as
the bon. member for Rosetown (Mr. Loucks) well knows. He however left there before the people saw the light politically.
I would remind the house that one of the planks in our platform during the contest last fall was the fact that responsible government in Canada was endangered as long as the present government held office. The people of Frontenac-Addington considered this plank very seriously and I am glad to say the result is that I now represent that riding behind the leader of a party which supports the principles we feel will soon restore responsible government to Canada.
I should like to say something further about my riding but I do not want to trespass too long upon the good graces of the house. I would remind the house that the government of the day thought nothing about reforms until after the miniature general election of last fall. This is not the first time the people in this section of the country have started a move for reform. Back in the days of 1827 a very small portion of my riding and a portion of the riding now represented by the hon. member for Prince Edward-Lennox (Mr. Weese) elected a reformer in the person of Marshall Bidwell to the Upper Canada legislature. Certain Tories then held power in Ontario and this gentleman was not allowed to take his seat. Elections were held on different occasions for the next few months and eventually his son was elected along with a man by the name of Peter Perry. The leadership and fighting qualities of these men, coupled with those of the grandfather of the right hon. leader of the opposition (Mr. Mackenzie King) brought about responsible government in Ontario which we have preserved to the present time.
During the by-election in Frontenac-Addington the policies of the government were placed fairly before the people. I remember that these policies were enunciated by the Minister of Public Works (Mr. Stewart), the Minister of Railways and Canals (Mr. Manion), the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Weir) and the Minister of National Health (Mr. Sutherland). The former Minister of Trade and Commerce (Mr. Stevens) appeared in the riding on two occasions, and then we had the hon. member for North Renfrew (Mr. Cotnam), the hon. member for Toronto Northwest (Mr. Mac-Nicol), the hon. member for South Renfrew (Mr. Maloney), the hon. member for Kingston City (Mr. Ross), the hon. member for Dufferin-Simcoe (Mr. Rowe), the hon. member for Stormont (Mr. Shaver), the hon. member [DOT] for Lanark (Mr. Thompson), the hon. member for South Hastings (Mr. Tummon), the hon. member for Prince Edward-Lennox and the
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hon. member for Grenville-Dundas (Mr. Casselman). These were the forces arrayed against the forces of Liberalism, but the people of Frontenac-Addington said that this government must change.
We have been hearing a lot about the former Minister of Trade and Commerce as a spellbinder. I do not want to take up much time but I would remind hon. members that the hon. gentleman was brought back to try to save the riding for the government. At that time he was a minister, and as he has done on many other occasions, he did not stick to the ethics of parliament. He spoke of those things which he thought ought to be done when he knew evidence was still being called before the price spreads commission and about which we in this parliament will not be told officially until after we have reassembled on May 20. During the last provincial election I lost by thirty-five votes the polling division of Harrowsmith, in which the minister spoke and the former minister was brought back to try to save the situation. I had no occasion to visit this division but I lost it by only six votes in the by-election. I should like to quote some of the arguments put forward by members of the government. During the joint nomination debate on the official nomination day at Sydenham, the Minister of Railways and Canals had this to say:
The by-elections have a double purpose in all of these constituencies. It is the day for voters to choose their representative, whom they believe would serve them the best. You have the opportunity of culling out some of the people. In other words, you have the opportunity of either preventing the Bennett government from continuing their policy and voting against the government and against what they have been doing.
The bon. member for Toronto Northwest had this to say a few nights afterwards at Newburgh:
The issue in this campaign is the Bennett tariff policy, and as a business man, interested in business for 25 years, I will try to prove to you that the tariff policy of the Right Hon. R. B. Bennett is infinitely better than the freer trade policy of the old government of Mackenzie King.
A few nights later the hon. member for Dufferin-Simcoe said at Odessa:
Ask yourself, why has Canada secured better prices for her commodities? Ask yourself if our credit is better than other countries in the world, as against those who have preached inflation and reciprocity. I urge upon you to support the government that is steadily returning the country to normal and prosperity.
I would remind hon. members, especially those who come from the west, that I was criticized during the campaign because I
spoke in favour of freer trade arrangements with the United States. Members of the government came down to my constituency to try to keep me from being elected to this house, and, as indicated by the quotations I have just given, the people were led to believe the government of the day was not in favour of reciprocity with the United States. Therefore the people of Frontenac-Addington and of the other three constituencies which sent Liberal members to this house on September 24 take the credit for forcing this government to seek better trade arrangements with the United States.
The first thing I know I will be making a speech, and I did not intend to do that tonight. I should like to refer to some of the statements made this afternoon by the Minister of Justice (Mr. Guthrie). I have often wondered why a general election was not held last fall, because I know it has always been felt in the country that there should bo an election every four years, and this is the feeling of hon. gentlemen opposite. I should like to quote from a letter written by the former Conservative organizer, and chief whip, Senator A. D. McRae. This letter is dated April 17, 1930, and the first paragraph reads as follows:
We are now in the fourth session of the sixteenth parliament. Only twice since Confederation has any government had the temerity to stay five full sessions and in both cases they were decisively defeated on appeal to the country. Mr. Mackenzie King, a very shrewd politician, will not voluntarily repeat this experiment.
And a few sentences further on he said:
Although unemployment is very serious in Canada our government has taken no action.
The Canadian people have every reason to feel "it is time for a change."
Everything there stated still holds good to-day. Until the Minister of Justice told us this afternoon I did not know why the government had not gone to the country. He said that the governments of which he had been a member had gone to the country only when they felt that they could win. Perhaps we should thank God for the constitution which provides that we shall eventually have an election whether or not the government is going to win.
The Minister also referred to what he regarded as the parallel of 1911 with the present day. I want to remind the house that in 1911 the then government had been in power for only three years. The present government have been in power five years. It is tme they have not gone the full limit to which they are legally entitled, but, as
Long Adjournment-Mr. Campbell
pointed out by their organizer in 1930, they have outrun the length of parliament to which by practice they are entitled, namely, four sessions, and now are on the sixth. We on this side of the house and I think everyone in the dominion feel that Canada should certainly be represented by the Prime Minister at the silver jubilee of the king's coronation, but I do not believe we should at this time have a parallel drawn between conditions in Canada in 1911 and those of the present day. As I pointed out, the government of that day had two years to run, and moreover it had no unemployment problem such as exists at present. It had no financial crisis to face in the municipalities or the provinces or the dominion, and to-day we find that we have to face all these conditions, yet by the adjournment now proposed we in this parliament who were elected to represent the Canadian people admit that we cannot carry on because one man has to leave Canada. We wish the Prime Minister to go to Great Britain, but he has ministers here quite capable of carrying on the business of the country while he is away, and as other hon. members have stated, I fail to see why we should agree to anything more than the usual adjournment over what we may call Holy Week or the Holy Sabbath.
I want to add this to what the hon. member for North York (Mr. Mulock) has just stated: we are not at the point where we are waiting for legislation, but we have some already on the order paper and there are still some fifty-three items of supply to be called. According to the order paper, a grain board is to be set up; some amendments have been sent back to us from the Senate in connection with the Farmers' Creditors Arrangement Act, as well as other matters. All these matters have to come before us. Why then are we asked to pass these over, to take an adjournment for a long period at considerable cost to the people of Canada, and above all to refuse to try to solve the worst problem we have confronting us, that of unemployment?
I should like now to remind members of the government what they stood for in 1930. On June 26 of that year the Ottawa Journal printed an editorial which was put into pamphlet form, sent out all over Canada and used b3' the speakers of the then opposition and its canvassers as the principle on which the opposition of that day, now the government then stood. This pamphlet is very interesting to read five years later, and I should like to read a few parts of it, as follows:
Mr. Bennett At Cobourg
Back in Ontario after his trip to the Pacific coast, Mr. Bennett on Tuesday night at Cobourg spoke with a power and a conviction that must have profoundly impressed countless thousands who heard him. Always a power on the hustings, Mr. Bennett in his first Ontario speech reached an extraordinary high degree of platform eloquence, an eloquence which, reinforced by vital truths, cannot be without effect throughout the country.
The opposition leader was at his best when dealing with the issue of unemployment. Moved by the spectacle of thousands of workless men tramping the streets of western cities, he was desolating in his criticism of the Prime Minister's extraordinary incapacity to grasp the meaning of such things. What, he asked, was the policy of Canada's Prime Minister, when tens of thousands of Canadians were in distress? His policy rvas that he would call-a conference. Men and women might be craving work, children might be hungry, cities might be setting up_ soup kitchens; Mr. King's answer to all of this was: "Vote me back to office, and some time next fall I will call a meeting to see what can be done." This from the sometime great crusader for labour, the author of Industry and Humanity!
Why, as Mr. Bennett well asked1-why a conference? What is it that a conference would find out? Does it require a conference to discover that men are unemployed? That there is distress? That cities like Winnipeg are spending $3,000 a week to feed workless workers? The proposition is simply a fraud. It is subterfuge to enable Mr. King to dodge his responsibility.
Mr. Bennett's policy-an honest, humane policy-is to meet parliament, to cut through red-tape and legalisms and constitutional hairsplitting, to take prompt and vigorous measures to see to it that in this country people do not starve. That is not merely the policy of a statesman; it is the policy of a human being; the policy of a man who has some sympathy with the masses, who is big enough and honest enough not to let petty politics and pettier legalisms stand in the way when Canadians are in want.
What sense, what humanity, in claiming that unemployment is not a federal responsibility? If the lawyers and the constitutional pundits want to argue about that, let them argue. What is true, and what everybody knows, is that if unemployment is not a dominion legal responsibility, it is a dominion moral responsibility. There can be no argument about that
And so the people throughout Canada, who knew what unemployment relief was costing each individual taxpayer when he paid his tax bill in the fall or at some other period in the year to the township or village or town or city, believed they were going to be relieved of that direct tax if only they voted for the then opposition, the present government. But at the present time we find it is not a matter merely of Winnipeg paying S3,000 a week, which at that time was, according to the present Prime Minister himself, a staggering figure, but small cities like St. Thomas, with
Long Adjournment-Mr. Campbell
only about 14,000 people, paying $4,500 a week last year for unemployment relief. Kingston, which boasts the highest record for any city in the dominion for paid up taxes, last year paid over $3,000 a week for unemployment relief, yet it is a city a little less than one-tenth the size of Winnipeg. Moreover we have witnessed this government passing on to the provinces and they in turn being forced to pass on to the municipalities more of the cost of unemployment relief on account of men being compelled to go on relief because of the policies of the present administration.
Topic: WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic: OBJECTION TO PROLONGED ADJOURNMENT EXPRESSED IN AMENDMENT TO MOTION FOR COMMITTEE