Joseph-Éloi FONTAINE

FONTAINE, Joseph-Éloi, B.A., M.D.

Personal Data

Hull (Quebec)
Birth Date
September 14, 1865
Deceased Date
June 11, 1930

Parliamentary Career

December 17, 1917 - October 4, 1921
  Hull (Quebec)
December 6, 1921 - September 5, 1925
  Hull (Quebec)
October 29, 1925 - July 2, 1926
  Hull (Quebec)
September 14, 1926 - May 30, 1930
  Hull (Quebec)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 1 of 14)

April 6, 1927

Mr. FONTAINE (Hull) (Translation):


entirely differ, Sir, from the opinion of the hon. member for Toronto West Centre (Mr. Hocken) who suggests creating a federal district. On the other hand, it is with pleasure that I support the resolution of the right hon. Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) by which it is proposed to spend in Ottawa, Hull and their surroundings a sum of $4,000,000 in the course of the next sixteen years. , ]

On behalf of my constituents I am absolutely opposed to the city of Hull becoming part of a federal district, because it would despoil us of our most cherished rights. We are perfectly content with our fate and we wish to remain a part of the province of Quebec. The resolution introduced by the right hon. Prime Minister to establish a commission having very extensive authority and empowered to spend money over the whole district, is approved by all, but I do not think it in any way necessary to create a federal district which would include Hull, this would, I again state, deprive us of the rights which we have enjoyed ever since confederation.

Resolution reported, read the second time and concurred in. Mr. Mackenzie King thereupon moved for leave to introduce Bill No. 280, respecting the Federal District Commission.

Motion agreed to and bill read the first time.

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March 7, 1927

Mr. J. E. FONTAINE (Hull) (Translation) :

Mr. Speaker, I understand that in

the near future amendments are to be moved in connection with the rules of the House. I hope that the first one will be to limit to twenty minutes the length of members' speeches, so that in future we shall not be forced to listen to speeches as protracted- although eloquent-as the one which has just been delivered by the hon. member for North York (Mr. Lennox).

The question of the Georgian bay canal is of such import to the people of the riding which I have the honour to represent that I would fail in my duty if I did not rise to state openly that I approve entirely of the bill which is under consideration by the House. I do not clearly understand the attitude of a great number of members, and particularly that of the hon. member for Argen-teuil (Sir George Perley) who is directing the opposition to the Georgian bay canal bill.

As you have heard it mentioned, Sir, by a number of members, it is now thirty-two years since this charter was granted. It was in 1894. Thirteen times, or thereabouts- every second year, I think, the members of the Georgian Bay Canal Company have come before parliament in order to have their charter renewed. Each time it was done without practically any opposition, therefore. I fail to understand why the request of this company raises so much opposition on the fourteenth time. I presume that quite a number of those who are opposed to the renewal of this . charter, would prefer that concessions be granted to private companies for the development of the water-powers on the St. Lawrence. It seems to me, Sir, that it is better to help this company, which beside developing the water-powers, as any other private concern would do, will give us a canal that will shorten the route between Montreal and Fort William by many hundred miles. This would mean a reduction in freight rates and allow Nova Scotia to ship its coal at more favourable conditions. It would also benefit the western provinces in the shipping of their wheat. On that score it is but natural that we should give preference to the Georgian Bay Canal Company, which will perhaps spend hundreds of millions in the dredging of this canal and thereby bring prosperity to the workmen of this country. I believe that it is better to favour this company than to grant a franchise to a private enterprise who would only develop the water-powers.

It is pointed out that the provinces have rights over the water-powers of the St. Lawrence. I understand that in the present bill there exists a clause which stipulates that the provinces may exact that their rights be protected, preventing thereby all encroachments by any company. For my part, I strongly support this scheme, and I trust that the House will sanction the second reading of this bill.

The opponents of this project may, in the committee on private bills, introduce all the amendments they wish; however in the inter-


Georgian Bay Canal Company

est of the country as well as that of all the provinces, I deem it absolutely necessary that this charter be renewed.

In fairness to the people I have the honour to represent,-I wish to state once more that I shall support heartily this bill. I trust that the House will see fit to sanction it without opposition and that, in the committee on private bills, all the amendments moved to improve the bill will be accepted.

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February 15, 1927

Mr. J. E. FONTAINE (Hull) (Translation):

Mr. Speaker, I intend to be brief in my remarks. Having, however, set my heart so much on this question of old age pensions, I deem it my duty to state that I shall give this resolution my utmost support. I say, Sir, that I have at heart this question, and to give further proof, in 1922, as the hon. Minister of Labour (Mr. Heenan) stated a short while ago, I had the honour to move a resolution requesting the government to favourably consider the enactment of legislation with the view of providing for old age.

It was only in 1924 that a committee was appointed in order to inquire into the matter, and last year, in 1926, a bill was brought down by the government making provision for old age pensions. This act was based on the report of the committee appointed in 1924, and by which a pension of $20 per month was to be paid to destitute old people having attained the age of seventy.

It is true, as the hon. leader of the opposition (Mr. Guthrie) stated a short while ago, that the opposition of that -time did not

Old Age Pensions

oppose this measure; however, as in the present case, those who then formed the opposition put forth all kinds of arguments in order to criticize the bill, and slanderous tongues even went so far as to state that the leader of the opposition of that day -Mr. Meighen-had influenced his friends in the Senate in order to have the bill disallowed in the upper house.

As it was previously stated by the leader of the opposition, this question was freely discussed by the public in the course of the last electoral campaign, and so far as I am concerned, I know that in my riding and especially in the city of Hull, a large number of votes were cast in my behalf because I had stood up as the sponsor of this measure. It seems to me but just that the state should come to the relief of the workers and citizens who have laboured all their life, when their hands cannot render the same services and they find themselves unable to earn the same wages. Pensions have been provided by the government for various classes, namely for judges, civil servants, and I think it is but right. By providing a system of pensions, railway companies, among others, come to the assistance of their old employees. I think it is the duty of a country to look after their old servants whose only fault is to have worked for small wages, to have raised large families and not to have provided for their old age. I often hear it said that these people should have been more thrifty and wiser, that they should have set aside savings. But how can you expect people who earn wages of two or three dollars per day to lay aside savings when they raise large families and have to provide for them?

If there is a sad spectacle, it is to see people who have been good citizens all their life forced to take the road which leads to the poor house because they were unable to lay aside savings and because the government does not come to their rescue.

I think the resolution is well in order and I wish to thank the right hon. Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) for the activity which he displayed to have this resolution carried. Moreover, an old age pension act is part of the Liberal program and I can recall that at the time of the 1919 convention, a special clause was adopted with such a view. I also remember that our old leader, Sir Wilfrid Laurier, at a large meeting held in Montreal in 1916, stated that one of the first questions which he would consider when he returned to power would be the enactment of a system of pensions for old people.

Mr. Speaker, I am entirely in favour of this resolution and I trust that it will be unanimously carried by this House. I also hope that this year the Senate will reconsider their decision and acknowledge that they made a mistake last year, and once for all will accept with good grace this old age pensions bill, thereby displaying not only patriotism but especially a philanthropic spirit.

Topic:   EDITION
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July 1, 1926

Mr. FONTAINE (Translation):

Mr. Speaker, I was paired with the hon. member for Ottawa (Mr. Chabot). Had I voted I would have voted for the motion.

Topic:   HOll-332
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June 29, 1926


Mr. Speaker, I was

paired with the hon. member for Ottawa (Mr. Chabot). Had I voted I would have voted to sustain your ruling.

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