CHISHOLM, Thomas, M.D., C.M.

Personal Data

Conservative (1867-1942)
Huron East (Ontario)
Birth Date
April 12, 1842
Deceased Date
October 1, 1931
author, lecturer, physician, teacher

Parliamentary Career

November 3, 1904 - September 17, 1908
  Huron East (Ontario)
October 26, 1908 - July 29, 1911
  Huron East (Ontario)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 4 of 15)

January 28, 1910


It may be that a farmer has to go twenty miles to town to buy seed, and buys it, perhaps, to sow next day. How can he wait to send a sample to the department? I think that it would be a very small license fee-if you put it that way-to ask of a man who is selling seeds under such peculiar circumstances, and where there is a very great list, to have one of these cabinets in his place of business. It might keep out those who would go into the business in an irregular way. It would be a great educational influence, so that it would not be long until every farmer would be able to recognize these seeds by sight.

Topic:   M. SEXSMITH.
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January 13, 1910


We have listened to-day to two very well prepared and eloquent addresses from the government side of the House. The hon. gentleman (Mr. Rivet) who has just sat down has certainly made some very severe charges against the old Conservative party. I think, however, we can discern a certain weakness in the foundation of his arguments. He seems to have directed the greatest part of his energies against men who have ceased to be members of this House, men who are dead and gone, men who were in this House at one time but who can never return to it. Now I think we should always speak well of the dead. I would just say in regard to the Conservatives who have been so roundly abused here

to-night, that there are not half a dozen of them at present in the House. The Conservative party, with which much fault has been found, were driven from power in 1896, and there is no possibility that dead men can return. If they were here, if one of them should rise and take my place, I am sure that all that has been said against them would soon be annihilated and would have very little force in it. It is not, I think, a brave act to attack men who have gone, and who have no opportunity to return and defend themselves. It is not necessary to go into details in regard to this matter.

The two last speakers, who gave us a great deal of information and whose speeches certainly were very well delivered, seemed to be a little wrong in, their bookkeeping. The hon. gentleman for South Oxford (Mr. Schell), in discussing the public debt, quoted a certain amount of debt with which he said the Conservative party had to contend at confederation. He forgot to tell us that the very act of confederation implied that the government in power at that time had to assume certain burdens as the very foundation of confederation. They had to assume $109,000,000 of debt from the different confederated provinces. This is laid to the charge of the Conservative government but it could certainly not have been avioded. They had also to build the Intercolonial railway as one of the conditions of confederation; the maritime provinces came into confederation with the understanding that the Intercolonial railway was to be built, the Conservative government of that day built it and it cost the country $50,000,000 to do so. They completed it, they were bound to complete it and no blame could be laid to their door for carrying out the agreement made at confederation. British Columbia came into confederation with the understanding that the Canadian Pacific railway was to be built to the Pacific -ocean. The Conservative government agreed to do that at confederation and they fulfilled their contract. It cost the country $62,000,000 but the government was certainly not to blame for doing that, that was something which it was impossible for them to avoid. It was understood and it was only right that if these large amounts of money were to be spent on the maritime provinces, and for the benefit of British Columbia and the west, a certain amount of money should also be spent in the two older province.s and from $40,000,000 to $50,000,000 were spent in deepening the canals and improving the waterways. Adding these four items together, the $109,000,000 of debt taken over from the provinces, the $62,000,000 spent on the building of the Canadian Pacific railway, the $50,000,000 spent on the building of the Inter-Mr. T. CHISHOLM.

colonial railway and the $40,000,000 or $50,000,000 spent in deepening our canals in Ontario and Quebec, and it will be seen that every dollar of debt that was on the country when the Liberals came into power is accounted for, -and every dollar of that debt was in fulfillment of the conditions of the pledges that we assumed at confederation. The Conservatives during all the years that they were in power did not run the country into debt a solitary dollar according to that estimate. They governed 'the country and built- post offices, wharfs, harbours, public buildings, purchased and paid for the Northwest Territories and they also built these magnificent parliament buildings and paid for every one of those without leaving any debt on the country beyond what was involved in the very beginning of confederation. The Liberals came into power in 1896 and they have run this country into a debt of $80.000,000. What have they'to show for it? They have a partially completed railway- they have completed no great work. However, it is not necessary for me to defend these Conservatives of old days, these men are not coming back to this country and it is not necessary that I or any other person should talk longer on that subject; that is ancient history and I feel that if the two eloquent speakers who addressed us to-day had spent their time in discussing present- day affairs, it would have been much better for them and for us and we would not have lost so much time. They were also wrong in their book-keenim* in some other respects; in fact as I followed the particulars as they were brought out item by item in regard to the finances of this country and the condition of affairs, I came to the conclusion that the whole system of government bookkeeping in the departments in Ottawa and elsewhere is defective, and misleading. The more it is examined, the worse it appears.

It seems to me that if it had been especially devised for the purpose of deceiving and misleading the Canadian public and the Canadian electorate it could scarcely have done so more effectually than it does. Every business man knows and we all know that in any properly arranged system of book-keeping vouchers or receipts must be produced to prove the accuracy and bona fides of every separate item of expenditure, fraternal societies, joint stock companies, school trustees, village, township, county, and town-councils are all rigidly particular in this respect. They insist that everything shall be made absolutely clear and satisfactory, not only to the auditors and the people's representatives, but also to the people themselves. Yet, in the highest book-keeping establishment in the land, in the departments here in Ottawa where we

are told that high salaried accountants are so numerous that they are said almost to be falling over each other, Conservative members of parliament who are really the peoples' auditors, are not allowed even to look at vouchers or original documents. It appears that the Liberals are treated very differently in these departments. Liberals from all over the countrj, it appears, can come into these departments and carry off anything they like, because in East Huron, in the last general election, Mr. Blair, a Liberal lawyer from Goderich, was able to flourish and to read in my presence in a public meeting original documents which he said had been taken from the files here in Ottawa. I would like to know why it is that Conservatives are not given equal privileges? We all know that the auditors of the people, that is the Conservative members of parliament, would not be allowed to go into the departments and look at these documents, much less to put them into their pockets and carry them away into the back lines to bulldoze the people and contradict those who rise to make statements and who have not equal opportunities and so are not in a position to prove the inaccuracy of the statements made. I would ask why is this unfair advantage given to Liberals? Why this lack of manhood and British fair play? Why this discrimination against Conservatives -and I would ask with particular emphasis why this secrecy? Is there something to hide? I really believe that there is. In fact there is suspicion abroad that if the truth and all the truth were known about the system of book-keeping that we have in this country and about the records that are made in the departments and the transactions that should be there recorded, whether they are or not, that then these brazenfaced Liberal heelers who go around the back lines with their pockets loaded with original documents taken from the files of the departments would be compelled to give up the game and hide their heads in shame. This thing has not been carried on very long in these departments, we can fix the time fairly well when this new system of book-keeping was introduced. It is only two or three years since one of our most open-minded and fairest minded ministers was compelled to admit that the book-keeping in his department was so entangled that it was absolutely necessary that expert accountants should be called in to unravel the difficulties.

It appears, however, that the confusion was so great and the blunders so numerous that no Canadian expert accountants could be found who were fit for the task and consequently a crowd of so called New York expert accountants were engaged and brought to Ottawa and some of these wonderful bookkeepers were paid by the govem-59J

ment as high as $70 a day and their board. They began their instruction in true Tammany fashion by charging $85 each as railway fare between New York and Ottawa although at that time the first-class passenger rate between these two points was only $22, and they finished up their work by each of them charging something like $5 a day for board, although Mr. William Jackson, Conservative member for West Elgin, stood up in his place in parliament and stated that he had boarded and roomed in the same house with some of these men and he said he would stake his position in the House of Commons on the statement that these men did not pay more than $1 a day each for their board. To cap the climax they marched off to New York without leaving any proper vouchers for the $46,000 of good Canadian money which they had received. Expert accountants they certainly were. And I have no doubt that if a thorough investigation were made of the book-keeping in some of the departments of the government it would be found that they left behind them some very apt pupils and perhaps good imitators. Think of an accountant who after a year's book-keeping could hold out in one hand $16,000,000 of a surplus while in the other which he hides behind his back you find an accumulation of debts and liabilities amounting to the enormous sum of $45,000,000. That man may not be a Yankee but he is certainly an expert. In the good old days when there was nothing to hide, book keepers made use of a profit and loss account and they were always able to prove the accuracy of their work by means of a trial balance, but nowadays losses are charged up to capital account and paid out of moneys borrowed for permanent improvements, and then afterwards1 so manipulated that they are turned into profits, or made to look like profits, and I have no doubt that after a while many of them will be shown up as actual assets of the Canadian people. For example, the government let the job of building an important railway bridge over the St. Lawrence river to its friends under the name of a joint stock company, limited. Remember it was ' limited.' The company mismanaged the plans or the work or both, in such a way that when the structure was nearly completed it tumbled bodily into the river. In the meantime the individual members of that company are said to have become wealthy; in fact some say they have become immensely rich, while the poor little limited, paper, sham, company became bankrupt leaving something like $6,000,000 of debt. Well, the government took over the debt and charged it to capital account and paid it out of money borrowed for permanent improvements, and the result no doubt will be in time that this bridge- the real cost of which will have been im-

properly increased by $6,000,000-will be held up to the public by some future Liberal historian (or perhaps expert accountant) as one of the assets owned by the Canadian people.

Again, there is a collision between two tugs and $7,000 damages were paid by the government as a result of that collision, and the government charged that amount up to capital account and paid it out of moneys borrowed for permanent improvements, and I suppose that after a while they will be able to make out that $7,000 as an asset of the Dominion. Then again, there is an accident on the Intercolonial railway, the track is damaged, the rails are broken, the engines and cars are knocked to pieces, new equipment has to be bought to replace that which was damaged, and do you think the government charges that up to running expenses? Not a bit of it. Although the train was injured while it was running I suppose, they charged the damage up to capital account and they add that sum to the original cost of the intercolonial railway. As I told you in the beginning of my little speech, up to the time the Liberals came into power the Intercolonial had cost $50,000,000, but to-day it has cost the country $81,000,000 or an addition of $31,000,000 to the cost in 13 years. Now, suppose a farmer had a farm and stock and implements valued at $6,000, and he employed a manager to run his farm for him and to keep his books. At the end of the year the farm manager may find he has $200 of a surplus; he may find that after 'paying all expenses his books not only balance but he has $200 cash on hand. He can honestly report to the farmer that he has a surplus of $200 and if he should invest that $200 in a horse that wias worth $200 he could still honestly report that he had a surplus of $200. But, the next year when he would come to balance his accounts he might find no surplus. He would not like to report that to the farmer and he might call in a New York expert accountant and the New York expert accountant "would say to him: take this horse valued at $200 and to the $200 add $5 for shoeing out of the current running

expense and add it to the value of the horse, and in that way you can increase the value of the horse and decrease the current expenses. Then add again to that $60 for the veterinary surgeon who had to be called in to attend the horse, when he had run away and injured himself; deduct that from your running expenses also and add it to the price of the horse. Then, add to the value of the horse $30 for attendance and $70 for his feed and take that out of current expenses and you will add further to the value of the horse and lessen your current expenses. Then, take $100 for the new buggy that had to be Mr. T. CHISHOLM.

purchased for the one which vras destroyed when the horse ran away, and instead of charging that to current expenses put it on the price of the horse and you will be able to show by your books to your employer that you have a horse valued at $465, that you have lessened your current account by $265, and that you have a surplus of .$530 for the year. That would be all right perhaps the first year, but after it had gone on for about twenty years and the old horse had come to be valued at $4,000 or $5,000 in the manager's books, the farmer might come to examine into this matter and he would say: It is very strange that tire older this horse becomes, the oftener he runs away, the more he eats, the oftener you have to call in the veterinary surgeon to attend him and the more buggies he destroys when he runs away the more valuable he becomes. He would say: There is something wrong here. I think that is just about the kind of bookkeeping we have in the departments at Ottawa and that our surpluses have just about as much basis as the old horse surplus would have.

Subtopic:   OUR DEBT.
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December 13, 1909

1. Has the government given any consideration to the advisability of developing the construction of aeroplanes or dirigible airships in Canada in connection with military defence ?

2. What steps, if any, does the government propose to take for this purpose?

3. Has the government taken into consideration the advisability of granting assistance to persons in Canada who have already made some progress along this line?

4. Generally, what information has the government to give to the House in connection with this subject?

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November 30, 1909


A strange feature of this national evil which has fastened itself upon France is the fact that it has developed within the memory of many persons now alive.

And I fear that some now living will see the time when Canada also will be cursed with absintheism as France is today.

The drink first made its appearance in the country upon the close of the Algerian war in 1S47 or 1848. While in Algiers, the French soldiers adopted the custom of the natives in using the liquor to fight the low fever of that malarial climate, and they grew to like it so well that they carried it home with them.

Since then absinthe has been the steadily growing curse of the nation, says an authority, until now the French are the most nervous and excitable people under the sun.

Not only has the liqnour its effect upon the drinker, but, through him, makes a marked impression on the succeeding generations. It is for this reason more than any other that the French as a nation are deteriorating.

Vast quantities of absinthe are used in that country. The annual importation from Switzerland alone reaches over 2,000,000 gallons, while the French distilleries produce many times that quantity.

In addition to the 5,000 quarts that Paris drinks each day, the proportion, according to figures given by the Minister of Finance, is almost as great in the provinces. It is estimated that every 5,000,000 of the population drink 10,000 quarts of absinthe daily-and there are many drinks in a quart bottle.

So it has come to pass that the Frenchman, with his annual consumption of liquors that put into his stomach three and a half gallons of alcohol, is now the hardest drinker in the world.

A much heavier statistical burden rests upon the shoulders of the actual drinkers, as the figures quoted as per capita, including men and women who do not drink, as well as children.

In point of alcoholic consumption the Swiss and Belgian come next, with two and two-fifths gallons each annually. The Spaniard gets away with two and a third gallons; the Italian with just a little less: the Englishman and German two and one-tenth, and the American with one and a third gallons. The most abstemious man in the world, the Nor-weigan, consumes only half a gallon in a year.

Not only then do the French people drink more than any other people, but they drink the most harmful intoxicant that is made.

Government officials and thinking men of the republic have long recognized the baneful affects and growing extent of the evil, but so far have been powerless to limit either.

Absinthe manufacture has become such a profitable, and even respectable, pursuit that the proposed legislation against it has always failed.

Visitors to Paris frequently remark, that they see no drunkenness on the streets. Absinthe does not produce rowdyism or cause boisterous conduct. Its evil effects are subtle, quiet and insinuating.

One French characteristic of this drink habit, however, may be plainly noticeable to

the stranger, this is the arrival of the daily absinthe hour.

For the better classes-business men, clerks and similar workers-this is between 5 and 6 o'clock in the afternoon, when the man who has been confined at his desk or counter all day thinks he must have his appetizer on the eve of dinner.

Walking along the streets, if it be summer, one notices a warm, half-sickish, sweetish odour, somewhat resembling that of paregoric, filling the atmosphere.

Looking into the many cafes that line the street, the wondering visitor may perceive the source of this smell. Every drinking place is crowded; waiters rush about bearing bottles and glasses-Paris is busy drinking absinthe.

Those who take their liquor ' as gentlemen should ' have the bottles brought to them as they sit about the cafe talking. Each man pours his drink-from one to three inches- into a tall narrow tumbler.

Over the top of this is held a perforated spoon, containing a lump of sugar. Ice water is dropped upon the sugar and allowed to trickle through into the liquid beneath until the glass is full.

Prepared in this way, absinthe is pleasant, and seems harmless to smell and taste. Nor are its immediate effects those of brandy or whisky. In fact, the immediate effects are scarcely discernible in any way.

For another class, the workmen-there are usually three drinking periods in the day, and these are recognized by employers.

At 10 o'clock in the morning the French labourer invariably lays down his implements of toil and hastens to the nearest drink shop for his absinthe. He does the same thing twice during the afternoon.

Wherever workmen are found in numbers there are generally plenty of drinking shops in the vicinity. Near where some large excavation is in progress or some big building being erected, it is not uncommon to see little canvas covered wagons or carts. Very often these may be presided over by women whose husbands are foremen in the nearest works.

The workman cannot take his absinthe with the degree of comfort enjoyed by the more prosperous or leisurely citizens. There are no chairs-he would not have time to sit down if there were.

One after another these men walk up to the cart, gulp down the poison which they erringly ' take for the good of the heart anil stomach,' and go back to their labours.

Plenty of credit may be had until Saturday night, and he may take as large a drink as lie likes. His ' bracer ' costs him three or four cents a glass.

It is not good absinthe, as a rule, that these unfortunates drink, but the vilest and most dangerous imitations. They know this very well, saying that pure absinthe is not for the poor man but for the rich.

His drink does not make the labourer jovial or light-hearted, any more than it makes the wealthier consumer in the gilded cafes boisterous. He goes back to his work morosely, and labours in solemn silence.

Then come two more drinks during the afternoon, and a fourth, probably, as he goes wearily homeward at night. His legs are not

affected, but horrible visions are forming in the weakened brain.

It is a curious thing that the absinthe drinker, especially among the lower classes, feels an acute sense of personal oppression under the spell of the insidious poison.

He hates everybody: the hand of every man is against him. Even his wife and his children are intriguing to destroy his peace and happiness.

When he passes the home of the wealthy man he mutters in anger-he is without a cent in his pocket because the rich steal it all. If he can jostle rudely a well dressed man or woman wThile on his way, the act gives him a savage sort of pleasure; ordered to move on by a policeman, an insane desire to kill the uniformed representative of law swells up in his heart.

Not long ago, labouring under the hallucination ' due to absinthe ' that his wife was not faithful to him, a Paris labourer killed her and their child. [DOT]

' Absinthe ' said Senator Beranger recently,

' is responsible for the depopulation of the country and for more than two-thirds of the . crime committed.' Even the judges who deal with criminal cases recognize the fact that to be a confirmed victim of ' absinthism ' is a reason for almost any crime.

There are many dens throughout the poorest quarters of Paris where the wretched absinthe victim, sunk to the lowest depths of degradation, may h&ve a glass of poison for two cents, and may be permitted the use of a dark corner in which to sleep.

Such haunts-and this is a sad commentary upon the gratification of human curiosity- are among the show places of that remarkable city. Professional guides conduct parties of tourists to these resorts iu order that they may witness the fallen humanity at its deepest and darkest level.

As the visitors usually tip the proprietor liberally, he welcomes them with greater pleasure than he does the trembling wretches who come to buy his wares. They may gaze upon sin and misery to their heart's content.

One never sees evidences of merry-making or light-heartedness in these haunts of depravity. Everything is suggestive of hopeless misery. Men and women may he thereat least they were men and women at one time but are now simply absinthe drunkards through whose feeble brains the shadows of weird dreams are creeping.

But once in the grip of absinthe the victim is seldom able to set himself free. He will do anything to obtain money to purchase it. Not infrequently guides on the Alps have been known to murder tourists in their care in order to obtain money for this purpose.

Whether it is the result of bad example or not,_ the neighbours of France are drinking absinthe much more heavily than formerly, not without appreciable results. While the population of Belgium for instance has increased 30 per cent during the last 15 years, the consumption of alcohol has increased 37 per cent during the same period. Cases of insanity there have increased in number 45 per cent, suicides 80 per cent, and arrests for begging and vagabondage 150 per cent.

It was a recognition of the danger into which their country was steadily moving that

Topic:   W. S. FIELDING.
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November 30, 1909


Might I ask the minister if the wine growers in Canada are to have the same advantages as the wine growers in France in regard to the excise on the alcohol that is necessary for the fortification of the wine?

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