Edward Armour PECK

PECK, Edward Armour, K.C.

Personal Data

Conservative (1867-1942)
Peterborough West (Ontario)
Birth Date
September 11, 1858
Deceased Date
July 18, 1947

Parliamentary Career

October 29, 1925 - July 2, 1926
  Peterborough West (Ontario)
September 14, 1926 - May 30, 1930
  Peterborough West (Ontario)
July 28, 1930 - August 14, 1935
  Peterborough West (Ontario)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 19 of 19)

February 23, 1926


There is no question that the United States, which is a tariff country, is prospering.

Mr. ECCLES J. GOTT (South Essex): Mr. Speaker, I presume that as a young member of this honourable body, possessing the average degree of cordiality and fellowship, I should be actuated by a spirit of appreci-9 p.m. ation to offer to you my congratulations on having again been extended the high honour of the speakership. It is a source of personal gratification when one observes a gentleman so competent and possessing such a high degree of dignity acting in a capacity where grace, fairness and despatch are the outstanding characteristics of a successful term of office. I trust that at the end of the session my expression towards you, Sir, may be equally commendatory. I take this my first opportunity of extending to you and through you to the loved ones who share your distinction my sincere congratulations upon the honour that has been conferred upon you by this parliament, the highest honour within its gift. However envious one might be of your personal capacity, I can assure you, Sir, that there is little of this weakness and no animosity, in my makeup and I trust that any breach of the rules of which I may be guilty you will regard as an innocent offence and not as an intentional violation of parliamentary practice.

I trust further that as the session proceeds our mutual relations, if I may venture to say so, will strengthen into something like friendship; and I am sure that, whatever happens, the present parliamentary term will be successful at least so far as a strictly impartial guiding of its deliberations is concerned.

I fully appreciate the privilege and the honour which I have, as a result of the last election, of representing in this House one of the most progressive constituencies in Canada. My first desire in representing that constituency in this the fifteenth parliament of the Dominion is to correct certain statements that have come from sources unreliable and incredible, and in doing so I accept as an invitation the remark of the hon. gentleman

The Address-Mr. Gott

who leads the remnant of a shattered and discredited government, if it may be called a government, in the person of the Minister of Justice (Mr. Lapointe), to the effect that lavish expenditures had been made for political purposes in the last election. The wail of a defeated party, it has been said, is always audible and to these lamentations there seems to be no end. I am compelled to conclude that it is not in the interests of the party opposite that their inner activities in the last campaign, their expenditures at any rate, should be revealed at this particular time. Even the Prime Minister-I beg your pardon, I mean the Right Hon. Mr. Mackenzie King-made the charge that financial interests were against him in Prince Albert. But taking a casual glance at the result in that by-election one would wonder just how many financial interests had really been at work there. I believe that the Independent candidate has as much reason to make that charge as Mr. Mackenzie King had. Certainly the Independent candidate did not prove to be much of a politician so far as vote-getting was concerned, but he has the credit of being a better soldier; at least military report would lead the average person to think so. I wonder whether I should be ruled out of order if I offered the Liberal party my congratulations on the marvellous victory it obtained on Monday last, a victory which, according to the newspapers, had the effect of bringing even the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Motherwell) to life, to lead a demonstration in celebration of the event.

The press of western Ontario a short time ago oarried an article which, according to the reports, emanated from Dr. C. C. Ross of Hyde Park, Ontario, on January 10, appearing in the Border Cities Star in its issue of January 11 under the heading:

Charges American gold beat Graham: Dr. Ross bitter at London over defeat of Railway Minister.

"American gold" defeated both Premier King and Right Hon. George P. Graham, in their respective ridings, according to an address by Dr. Cecil C. Ross at the convention of East Middlesex Liberals, held in Hyman hall, London. At the meeting, Dr. Ross was nominated as Liberal candidate for the riding, in prospect of another federal election.

To this I say that the vote in South Essex was not purchasable; the vote in South Essex is not purchasable; and the vote in South Essex never will be purchasable. And if the vote in South Essex were purchasable I can assure you that it is the huimtole opinion of my constituents, particularly my workers, that I, like poor Burgess, would have lost my deposit. South Essex was not won in a day or a week or a month; it was won by the cooperation of the loyal support of fifty or-14011-81

ganizations. On January 27 I took occasion to write to Dr. Ross as follows:

Dr. C. C. Ross.

Hyde Park, Ontario.

Dear Dr. Ross,

Have you been correctly reported by the press when they say that you say I defeated the Right Hon. George P. Graham by the use of American gold?

Very cordially yours,

Eccles J. Gott, M.P.

House of Commons,

Ottawa, Ontario.

To this I received no reply; Dr. Ross did not even extend to me that courtesy. Hence I must describe his chatter as leather-lunged political hypocrisy. Now a Detroit newspaper early in February reported Mr. Charles Tuson, a very prominent, highly respected and prosperous business man of Windsor, as having made the statement that money had been expended to defeat Mr. Graham, and I wrote this gentleman under date February 9 as follows:

Mr. Charles Tuson,

Windsor, Ontario.

My dear Mr. Tuson:

It has been reported to me that you made the statement in public that much money had been expended by the Conservatives in South Essex to defeat the Right Hon. George P. Graham-down Amherst-burg way.

Is this so?

Very cordially yours,

Eccles J. Gott.

In reply I received the following:

I was surprised to receive the above lines, as you know that I took no part in the last federal elections, here or elsewhere, had not the faintest idea what was going on. I do not know of any moneys being spent by either parties or their agents. I did not make the above statements, and am sorry that any reports that in any way might get into print are not true. I did hear that you worked very hard. This is of course to your credit. We all know that elections cost money for legitimate purposes. We spend too much in Essex county in this way.

That is the difference between writing to a man of ability, capacity and sincerity and writing to what I have termed a political hypocrite.

Now I hold in my hand a copy of the famous Australian treaty which has been discussed at considerable length in this House. I do not intend to go into the details of this treaty but I may observe that it was discussed on several platforms in the south riding of Essex, and on one in particular to which I shall refer in a moment. I hold in my hand a list of comparative duties between Australia and Canada, and they seem to me to be absurd in that they are conducive to making our farmers pay the very highest prices for what they buy and accept the very

The Address-Mr. Gott

lowest prices for what they sell. I believe the farmer works longer hours and receives less money for his toil than any other man who labours.

Three weeks prior to the election my worthy opponent asked that there should be no last minute appeals. I am going to submit to the House one such appeal that was issued by him at 6.30 o'clock on the night of October 28, when printing houses in small towns are closed. There is no date to this, but I think hon. members will take my word that it was issued on the 28th.

To Brunner Mond workers:-

Brunner Mond is an alkali concern in the town of Amherstburg, and this appeal was issued particularly to its employees.

The Brunner Mond makes soda ash. Soda ash enters largely into the manufacture of paper. Under the treaty which Mr. Graham and his colleagues concluded with Australia, millions of tons of paper will be sold to Australia, and every ton of that paper sold is just so much work for the Brunner Mond and Amherstburg. Mr. Meighen and his candidates have roundly abused this treaty, while the "outside man," Mr. Graham, has been quietly working for the welfare of his constituency.

Think it over-vote for Graham.

Amherstburg Liberal Association.

Hear about it, Liberty Theatre, Wednesday night.

That was Mr. Graham's last-minute appeal, although three weeks prior he had requested that do such appeal should be made. The people who went to hear the issues discussed at the Liberty Theatre did hear Mr. Graham remark, "We have sacrificed' the farmers and their interests in this country for the paper manufacturers." I issued a circular shortly after in this form:

To Brunner Mond workers, fellow electors.

The Brunner Mond makes soda ash. Soda ash is used in the manufacture of glass. Glass factories have closed under the King government. Glass contains 30 per cent soda ash. The Brunner Mond needs protection. What protection they have was obtained from the Liberal-Conservative party. If they desire more protection they are entitled to it. Tariff on glass is essential. Think it over. Don't be hoodwinked. Vote for Gott-a South Essex man for a South Essex seat.

That was the last that the electors of South Essex heard from Mr. Graham. They heard from me the following day as follows:

Amherstburg, Ontario, October 30, 1925.

My dear friend:

It is difficult to convey in words my heartfelt appreciation of your honest efforts and loyal work that did so much to accomplish our brilliant victory yesterday. You have a great deal to be proud of, for in retiring my opponent from South Essex politics, you decisively and convincingly defeated a man who was considered the most prominent and outstanding figure in the Liberal party in our Dominion.

During my incumbency of the office with which the electors of South Essex have honoured me, I expect to enjoy the same hearty co-operation with you that marked our campaign efforts, and to serve your interests

in parliament as well and faithfully as you have served mine. I hope to meet you often personally during the next four years, and shall do my utmost at all times to work constructively for your welfare and to show myse'.f worthy of the confidence you have placed in me by an active, honest and faithful representation of the electorate.

With a hearty "thank you"

Now, the electors of South Essex have even heard from me since. On December 21, 1925, I addressed them as follows:

My dear Friends:

As member-elect of the House of Commons for the South riding of Essex, I desire to extend to you my sincere Yuletide greetings, and at the same time thank my friends for the fine endeavour made by them on October 29. True, I may not have been your candidate, but I am your member, and only by conciliation with the powers that be and co-operation with the member-elect can we obtain for a progressive constituency the things we are justly entitled to. Hence I ask your co-operation during my incumbency of the office with which the electors of South Essex have honoured me, as I have no grind to make with those who opposed me, and forgive those who adapt themselves to tactics ill-timed and unbecoming Christian intuition.

I have 6.851 supporters whom I desire to thank for their loyal support, and I expect to enjoy the same hearty co-operation from them that marked our campaign efforts, and to serve their interests in parliament as well and faithfully as they served mine in the campaign.

I hope to meet all the electors personally during the next four years, and shall do my utmost at all times to work constructively for their welfare, and to show myself worthy of increased confidence in the future by active, honest and faithful representation of all sections and classes, regardless of colour, creed or political affiliation.

In thanking you for your valuable assistance, and in kindly expression to those who opposed me, as well as to the 4.000 voters who failed to express themselves by ballot, I would call to your attention the fact that when Premier King dissolved parliament he gave as his reason for not being able to properly conduct Canada's business, that in a House of 235 members there were only 117 Liberal members. In appealing for a more definite mandate, he clearly intimated that unless given more Liberal supporters he and his government would retire from office.

The election resulted in the return of 118 Conservatives, 100 Liberals, 23 Progressives, 2 Labour and 1 Independent. Premier King and nine of his cabinet ministers were defeated. Of the 26 Progressive, Independent and Labour candidates elected. 18 of them denounced the record of the King administration and defeated its candidates, and the Conservative party polled over 200,000 more votes than the Liberal party. Yet all this means nothing to Mr. King, who clings to office in defiance of the verdict of the people and in contempt of the popular will. If, as Mr. King himself declared, he could not carry on the business of Canada with 117 supporters and a full cabinet, how can he hope to carry on efficiently with only 100 Liberals and he and half of his cabinet without seats? The good-thinking Liberals have advised Mr. King to admit defeat, while others advised him to hold on at any cost, which brings a spectacle of shameless usurpation of power, a spectacle the like of which has never been witnessed in any other civilized country in the world.

If another election with its enormous expense is forced upon the people of Canada, do not fail to impress upon the people that Mr. King, and he alone,

The Address-Mr. Gott

is responsible. In such event I ask the electors of South Essex to demonstrate their sense of fain play and political honour and decency by registering their emphatic protest against the unconstitutional and high-handed methods employed by Mr. King. By so doing you will at least have done your part in preserving the good name of Canada.

For your convenience and in grateful appreciation of your valued assistance, and in anticipation of the full confidence of all the electors of South Essex, I am appending a statement on the back of this missive of the votes polled in the recent federal election, in the constituency of South Essex.

With a hearty "Thank you" for the fine manner in which I was received throughout the constituency, and with the wish that the Almighty in his wonderful providence may permit-

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February 23, 1926

Mr. E. A. PECK (West Peterborough):

Mr. Speaker, I rise with some diffidence to address myself to the motion and amendment before the House although I realize that you, Sir, will accord to me the same kindly consideration which you are in the habit of extending to all new members of this House. One may be accustomed to address local audiences, but I realize that now I am a member of and addressing myself ito the supreme assembly of this country, an (assembly composed of members resident for the most part in the ridings which they represent, assembled

The Address-Mr. Peck

here from all parts of the Dominion to deliberate on matters affecting the welfare of the whole of Canada, and, if necessary, to crystallize their view into the form of legislation. It is only natural to expect that a gathering such as this, representing all the various sections of Canada and gathered here from sea ito sea, as the scroll over the entrance to this building states, will have divergent views. They represent different interests, different occupations, and necessarily there will be divergencies of opinion. It is our duty when we meet here to discuss fully all the questions which may possibly affect Canada, and to do so there must be the fullest freedom of debate.

The debate on the Address has been a feature of our proceedings ever since parliament was established. It answers a hseful purpose. It gives us an opportunity of stating our views and of hearing the views of those who do not, perhaps, agree with us. There should be no limitation of that debate unless limitation becomes really necessary. It has been suggested that by carrying on this discussion we are obstructing, but we are in no way preventing the carrying on of public business. The government has expressly stated that it does not intend to bring down any more business until (March 15; and so if we wish to continue exchanging our views we are in no way preventing the carrying on of the business of the country. In that connection I regret to. See introduced the amendment calling for the previous question to be put. Under the circumstances it answens no useful purpose. If important measures were being held up by reason of this debate there would be some reason for checking discussion. But no such condition exists; and it is unfortunate that, by reason of that amendment, a suggestion should go forth from this assembly that there should be any restriction of the fullest discussion of public matters.

We have an unusual condition in the present interesting parliament-the fact that the government which is endeavouring to carry on is a minority in the House. In the former House the Prime Minister had a following, I believe, of 125. He expressly stated that he had not a sufficient following to enable him to put into effect the policies which he wished to have adopted. Having gone to the country he comes back with a far less number of supporters-to be precise, only 101-and seeks to carry on. His only salvation is to turn to the members of the Progressive party for support. As has been stated in the House, he has had1 several interviews with some of the members of that party, and after some discussion a very loose agreement has been arrived at-in fact it is scarcely to be called an agreement at all.

As I understand that agreement, it contains three parts. It starts off with the statement on the part of the Progressive party that it has no confidence in Mr. King's government, and that any support the Progressives see fit to give to the government is not to be construed as an expression of confidence in it. And then, as I gather, another feature of the agreement is this: It is not intended there

should be a departure in any respect from the principles to which the Progressive party are wedded. In no way is it to mean an abandonment of the views which the Progressive party have expressed in the House; if any party is to give way it must be the Liberal party. In the third place there is this understanding, I believe, with the Progressive party: It will only support the government as long as the measures introduced are satisfactory to it. That is a very loose agreement. It must be very unsatisfactory to the Prime Minister that he can secure no better treatment from the Progressive party than that which I have indicated. Well might the Prime Minister, as time goes on, say in the words of the psalmist:

" I am in jeopardy every hour. Every night I make my bed and water my couch with my tears."

Now, Mr. Speaker, where does this lead us to? It leads us to the conclusion that when the House reassembles on March 15, Progressive measures are to be considered first. The government is to continue to ride in the government car, but the man at the wheel is to be the hon. member for Brandon (Mr. Forke); he is to direct the course which the car will take. Now, I am not going to say that will necessarily be a bad thing. I do not know altogether the views of the Progressive party. Part of my constituency, which was taken out of the former riding of East Peterborough, was represented in the last parliament by a Progressive member, and there are several Progressives now in the present riding, many of whom gave me their support. So far as the Progressive party is concerned I have come to parliament with a fairly open mind. My experience tells me that there are generally two sides to every question; and when I find that the Progressive party was composed in the last parliament of sixty-five members-many of whom had broken away from former political affiliations to assist in forming that group-I cannot but come to the conclusion that there must be something in the Progressive movement. Therefore, speaking personally, I am prepared1 to give fair consideration to any of the measures that

The Address-Mr. Peck

may be introduced on behalf of the Progressive party, without giving any assurance that I will accept them and' support them.

But there is this to be borne in mind: the Progressive party does not pretend to represent the whole of Canada. With two exceptions the Progressive members in the present House all come from the western provinces and naturally represent western views. But they are only twenty-four in number, a trifle under one-tenth of the representation in this House, and presumably they only represent about that percentage of the people of this country. It may be said by them that they are endeavouring to represent all the people of this country engaged in agricultural pursuits. Admitting that for the sake of argument, it still follows that they only represent about thirty-four per cent of the Canadian people. Now I want to say something, Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the other 66 per cent, composed1 to a very great extent of persons engaged in manual work, persons who are dependent upon industrial employment to enable them to earn the wages necessary to support themselves and their families. I come from a riding which is about two-thirds ufiban, and one-third rural, and I desire to speak for a few minutes on the subject of protection, which has been discussed so much in this chamber since we met last month.

I wonder if I might venture to say a word or two about the conditions in the city of Peterborough at the time of the election and for some time previously. There was considerable depression in the city, and to be truthful I must say there were depressed conditions not only in the' city of Peterborough but in all other urban centres in Canada, I believe, with one or two exceptions. Yet I realize that these conditions can be improved by the adoption of a better protective system than the one now in vogue in this country. There are several factories in the city of Peterborough which require protection. They are exposed at the present time to undue and unfair competition with foreign goods imported into the country and manufactured under conditions which no respectable workman in this country should be subjected to. The depression at any rate exists, and prior to the election some of those factories found it necessary partly to close down and in some cases to work half time. Many men were out of work and times were very hard in Peterborough. Frequently I would meet a man and he would ask me: "For heaven's sake, can you get me a job?" There was no job to be had for him. I am sorry to say.

In connection with and as a result of that condition, many of the people of the city of Peterborough found it desirable to go to the United States and take their families with them. I could give many instances during the few months preceding my election when my attention was particularly directed to that sort of thing. There was one man in whom I was particularly interested, a man I had known for many years, who was born in the county, brought up there, married, with three or four children, a strong, able-bodied middle aged man, able and willing to work. He hunted round for six months but could not get a job. Finally he went to the States, came back to Canada, reported that he had a job for himself and one for his eldest boy. He sold the little house which he had been given time to pay for; he went away, and probably will never return. I met another man the other day and asked him about his boys. "Oh," he said: "My four boys are all gone and I am left alone." I asked him. "How are they getting on?" He said: "They are over in the States and doing pretty well." There are many cases of that kind. The matter became serious, and as the election approached people became aroused and awakened to the condition of things, realizing that the failure to put up a proper customs tariff against the importation of goods which we were capable of manufacturing in Peterborough was causing the trouble in that city. There was no undue or unfair propaganda, as was suggested by the hon. Minister of Public Works OMr. King) in this House the other evening. The facts were plain, and the people realized them. There were men out of employment and there were many cases of people going to the States. It was not necessary to appeal to the people; they appreciated the seriousness of the situation. They appealed to me, I may say, to run in the election and to carry their burdens and present them to this House. What happened? The case was very ably presented for the Liberal side by the then member, a man of great ability and1 force, a man very well known to this House, I dare say, because in the last parliament he was Deputy Speaker. He had been returned for that riding in 1921 with a majority of over 2,000, and he was defeated at the last election by nearly the same figure. He presented all the stock arguments of the Liberal party. He pointed to the fact that the Canadian dollar was worth a whole dollar in New York. He dwelt upon the favourable balance of trade between Canada and foreign countries. He asserted with some force that the government

The Address-Mr. Peck

had reduced the taxation of the people. But somehow or other all those assertions did not seem to influence the result; the people were against him. It just shows the folly of endeavouring to prove such and such a thing to be true by statistics. The statistics were there, and his case looked all right on paper, but the machine would not work. The statistics alone did not bring employment to the working people.

And it was not merely in Peterborough that the protectionist principle was adopted by the people. The rural portion of the population in West Peterborough is not particularly antagonistic to the protectionist principle. Nearly half the agriculturists in the rural portion of the riding voted for the Conservative candidate. Not merely West Peterborough, but almost every other riding in Ontario seemed to adopt that protectionist principle and returned Conservative candidates by large majorities. You know, Mr. Speaker, that out of 83 members for the province of Ontario 69 are seated on this side of the House. The same thing happened in other provinces. The maritimes were very strong for the protectionist principle; Manitoba came back into line; British Columbia gave us ten out of fourteen, and Quebec is coming back coyly. That province is Conservative at heart and protectionist, and it will be only a matter of time before Ontario and Quebec are ranged side by side fighting for protection.

I think I have made a case for the consideration of this question of protection. I am not going into details, but particular instances in which protection is needed have been detailed by other hon. members. I wish to point out, however, that apparently the attention of the government is beginning to be directed to the necessity for doing something in connection with this protective principle. During the four years that the present government was in power prior to 1925, the speeches from the throne failed to refer in any way to the tariff question. Now, in view of the discussion and the expression of opinion by the people on that subject, the Speech from the Throne undertakes to deal with the matter in some way, and this particular portion of it begins as follows:

My ministers are of the opinion that a general increase in the customs tariff would prove detrimental to the country's continued prosperity and prejudicial to national unity.

If that is supposed to indicate that we on this side of the House are in favour of a general increase in the customs tariff, I for one do not propose to accept it. Speaking

for myself, I do not know that a general increase in the customs tariff is required. There are in this country certain industries the nature of which is such that they do not require to be protected by a customs tariff, but there are others which should be protected, and I wish to urge that upon the House. The Speech continues:

They believe-

That is, the ministers.

-that in the interest of industrial development every effort should be made to eliminate the element of uncertainty with respect to tariff changes.

This uncertainty with reference to tariff changes is profoundly affecting the country. There is a feeling on the part of people engaged in or proposing to engage in industry that some tariff changes may take place which will be prejudicial to the industries which they are carrying on or propose to carry on. We have all heard the views of the Hon. Mr. Dunning, who, I believe, is about to take his place in this House as Minister of Railways and Canals.

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