Henry Arthur MACKIE

MACKIE, Henry Arthur, K.C., B.A.

Personal Data

Edmonton East (Alberta)
Birth Date
January 17, 1878
Deceased Date
November 16, 1945

Parliamentary Career

December 17, 1917 - October 4, 1921
  Edmonton East (Alberta)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 1 of 53)

April 18, 1921

Mr. H. A. MACKIE (Edmonton):

Mr. Speaker, I wish at the outset, to express my gratitude that this debate has not taken the proportions that debates on previous occasions have taken when the question of the French language has been brought before this House. It is gratifying that in the last two years matters of this sort have been brought before the House and discussed intelligently without having raised questions which become personal both as to the individual and certain communities. The resolution before the House, I believe, is brought forward sincerely and not in order to satisfy whims and fancies, as has been stated by the hon member for North Perth (Mr. Morphy). It is true that the country is getting reports which are perhaps not accurate or at all events which are coloured by the various political papers which disseminate news in their respective jurisdictions. The proposition, however, which is before the House at the present time is that the Government should go to the expense in the long run of establishing what are actually to be archives to be kept in post offices or other public places where the public may resort. That, I believe, is an impossibility as a Government undertaking, both because of the expense it would entail and because of the question as to the advisability of establishing such archives throughout the country.

The dissemination of news in an accurate way, however, is a question which deserves a great deal of consideration and without intending to move any amendment, I think the mover of the resolution would be well advised if he asked this Government to undertake ithe expense of giving the country that information which he has suggested to all those who may so desire it, their names to be tabulated in a list previously to the opening of the session each year. In that way those who are not now receiving Hansard and those papers which they desire

to have for the purpose of informing themselves about particular problems, may have them at a small cost. Let me call your attention, Sir, to the fact also that there is a danger perhaps in acquiescing without some reserve to the resolution which is now before the House in that I find, for instance, that in the year 1707-08 we had before the House a petition praying that railway and other public companies be required to use the French language as well as the English language in their dealings with the public. I find also that in 1909 there was an order of the House for all correspondence and so forth respecting the use of the French language in services of public utility, and that there was also in the same year a petition respecting the printing in both languages of the time of arrival and departure of the trains. These requests are being made to the House of Commons repeatedly by various members, undoubtedly from proper motives and with the best of intentions, but they complicate the subject, and speaking for myself, I would rather support the resolution before the House than the petitions which have been placed before us on previous occasions, because the motive in the present instance is purely that of giving news and accurate information to the public. However, for the reasons I have given, I do not think the resolution will receive the sympathy of the House. Therefore, I think hon. members should rather busy themselves to find out how many of their constituents would require Hansard and to make provision with the Government in order that these people may get it and secure the accurate information they desire.

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March 14, 1921

Mr. MACKIE (East Edmonton) :

I quite agree that that might be a solution. The Railway Act might be amended in such a way as to say who shall and who shall not get a charter arid if that is a solution I shall be very glad to assist my hon. friend in bringing it about. We have in Alberta the Alberta and Great Waterways Railway. The Provincial Government came down here and begged the Dominion Government to take over that road because it was in a state of liquidation, but there was only a small population at the end of the steel at McMurray, nevertheless the people said: Since you got us to come here and promised us a railway we are entitled to have the Dominion Government take over the road, so as to keep faith with the people. It is true it was not your promise but itis your duty to take over this road as part and parcel of the National Railway System. The same thing happened with the Edmonton and Dunvegart railway and it was only after refusal upon refusal that

the Canadian Pacific took over the road under a working agreement for operation only. And so it has been all along. We are told by the Minister of Railways demand after demand is made upon his department that certain private lines should be taken over by the Dominion Government as a moral obligation so as to give service to the people along these lines that were built by private enterprise. Hon. gentlemen opposite should remember these things when they have an opportunity to speak on the railway Estimates, when they will no doubt be castigating this Government for its policy of public ownership. As a matter of fact the only policy of public ownership that we have is the taking over of defunct private enterprise, not because we want to but because of mistakes of past administration to which the railways are a living testimony. The Government has no alternative but to take them over. The Government therefore should put its foot down on that sort of thing. If the hon. member for Matane or any other hon. gentleman can produce the evidence required I would support him as a -member of the Railway Committee, or if any hon. gentleman is willing to come forward and suggest a remedy that is feasible the difficulty can be solved.

In conclusion I wish to say that the resolution has my hearty support. I hope the Government will take heed of it and adopt a policy of either giving over to the provinces their natural resources or taking some step themselves to develop them so that the provinces will benefit directly and the Dominion indirectly.

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March 14, 1921

Mr. MACKIE (East Edmonton) :

I do

not know of any such case but I do know this, that after private individuals have embarked on a railway enterprise in this country to which the Dominion Government was not a party in any shape, whatsoever, and after people have settled along that line of railway, these individuals and the people who have so settled have come to this Government and said: It is your moral duty to take over this road. We say today in the face of the fiasco which has been permitted in this country by all Governments in their railway policy that this Government should put its foot down on granting charters to private individuals who may open up the country and after people have settled along the line tell this Government " it is your moral duty to take over the road."

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March 14, 1921

Mr. H. A. MACKIE (East Edmonton) :

Mr. Speaker, I believe I have a first duty to perform in coming to the defence of the hon. Minister of Immigration and Colonization (Mr. Calder) after the onslaught that has been made against him during his absence by the hon. member for Pontiac (Mr. Cahill). If I may judge by the gentleman's prophecy, I doubt very much that he would be a better minister of immigration than the present minister; for in Saskatoon, when the hon. member for Pontiac was there during the boom days, this is what we found on his barn door sign:

Frank S. Cahill says Saskatoon will have

100.000 population in 1920.

The population of Saskatoon at that time was about 40,000; it is now about 20,000.

I wonder whether the other 20,000 pulled out with my hon. friend from Pontiac and followed him to his constituency, or whether in the manipulation of their affairs he drove them out of the country. That is a matter for him to answer, but in view of that record and that prophecy, I say that the Minister of Immigration has nothing to fear.

Next, Sir, I would like to say a word in connection with the remarks made by the hon. member for Maisonneuve (Mr. Lemieux), who says that what is wanted is a government. I always thought that you could judge people by their works; and if I read aright the political history of this country, during the period of fifteen years that hon. gentlemen sitting opposite were in power, they were quite as impotent as any administration that is known in the political history of Canada in taking any initiative in developing our natural resources. This Government has gone through a period of great difficulty, it is now about to adopt policies of development and settlement, and it is not amiss that the members of this House should, from time to time, bring to the attention of the Government the various matters which agitate us personally in our provinces. Kipling has been quoted this afternoon on iron ore. We have in Alberta

360.000 Kiplings who say that that province, properly treated in the development of its natural resources, will rival any other province in the Dominion in fifteen years. Those are the Kiplings we have.

I intended to take you this evening from Athabaska Landing on the river Athabaska down to the Mackenzie basin and back and tell you what is disclosed to the eye in that province; but all the various matters which I could speak of on that trip have been spoken about by members of their respective provinces, and it will suffice for me to say that all that has been said by the respective members for their respective provinces-we have all those things included in the province of Alberta. I will, therefore, dispense with going through the itinerary. I intended to take you down to Pelican Rapids, a water-power which rivals many of the water-powers to be found in other provinces. I intended to take you down to Pelican gas wells where they pick the ground with a stick and light the gas which flows to cook their meals. I intended

to take you down to Grand Rapids which, if harnessed, would rival the Niagara Falls, and I intended to take you down to McMurray where you have 500 times the world's normal consumption of oil to be taken from the tar sands. I expected to show you what wonderful wealth we had in the development of the timber of that country. I intended to pass you on the Mackenzie basin where 4,000 square miles of oil have been discovered by the Imperial Oil Company and others. But I will refrain from going into those matters tonight, because the subject has been covered so well by other members for their provinces, that it suffices for me to say that we have everything you have spoken of and it only remains for you to come and make the trip which I have made in a canoe and you will see all this exposed to the eye, it only requiring somebody to tell you what you do not know yourself or for you to see what you do know yourself.

My complaint is a real one and I join with the hon. member for Maisonneuve (Mr. Lemieux). I want action. But there is a difficulty which has been brought to the attention of this House, one that is real, and it was brought to our attention by the hon. member for Lethbridge (Mr. Buchanan) who, by the way, finds himself in a very awkward position to-day by having the farmers from his constituency coming to Ottawa to ask him to protect them on their hay. He did bring to the attention of this House that, so far as this resolution deals with the western provinces, a great difficulty stands in the way of the adoption of a policy by this Government, in that the western provinces are clamouring for their natural resources. It seems to me that if we have reached such an impasse between the provinces and the Dominion in dealing with that question, we had better slit the Gordian knot in two and have done with it and then let the provinces adopt whatever policy they like with regard to their mineral resources, or else the Dominion of Canada should take a stand and immediately make it possible for us to have both population and the wealth taken out of the country which is teeming with it and which can be seen by anybody as he who runs and wishes can see.

The transportation difficulty is one that is always thrown up to us in the western country and it is a real one, but it is one that ought to be solved in the course of a few years if any of those natural resources are given a great impetus by this Government. The labour question is one that has

been solving itself very rapidly within the last couple of years.

I should like to assist the hon. member for Maisonneuve (Mr. Lemieux) in his railway project in Gaspe and in the development of the natural resources of Gaspe; but it strikes me that there is only one question in which the Dominion Government has any jurisdiction in the province of Quebec and that would be the fisheries, except for tidal waters. If I am mistaken, I may be corrected by the hon. gentleman, but I assume the natural resources of Quebec belong to that province, and that question is one for Quebec to deal with except as regards such assistance as the Dominion Government is actually giving to-day to the various provinces in a general way, being a plan more to co-operate or co-ordinate with the provinces than a plan to develop as an initiative from the Dominion itself. My hon. friend's speech, therefore, this evening would have been better delivered in the Provincial Legislature than in the House of Commons.

I have one subject about which I am extremely touchy, and it is the oil question which I hope to be able to speak upon this evening, under the heading of another resolution. I should like to see the question of our natural resources settled as soon as possible or this Government take a stand in the development of our natural resources The resolution, therefore, is one that I am prepared to support if it comes to a vote, because I think it is time that some action should be taken. For instance a great deal has been said as to the coal resources of Alberta. Let me tell the House that the" coal resources are not entirely confined to Alberta; you will find coal deposits at Birch mountains in the Mackenzie district, Cariboo mountains, Norman, Great Bear lake, Peel river; and the same belt extending from Fernie to Brazeau and Yellow Head pass continues on the east of the Rockies up to the Laird river. None of those deposits have been discovered by the Dominion Government or by any effort of the Dominion Government whether under this regime or any other regime; they have been discovered by prospectors who have gone through this country and who have made their reports which have been generalized by some department at Ottawa. The central plain of the Mackenzie has oil, gas tar sands, gypsum and anhydride, marble, limestone, salt, coal and brick slate. To the east are all the minerals usually found in metamorphic rock such as gold, cobalt, nickel, iron, maganese mica,

copper, etc. All these again have been discovered by individual prospectors and there has been no policy by this Government or any other government to assist in their development. What we are asking under this resolution is that this Government should announce its policy in regard to these natural resources. That cannot be done very easily unless you determine first of all whether the western provinces are entitled to their natural resources pr not. Personally, I should like to see those natural resources passed over to the western provinces as fast as possible. We have a great deal of difficulty, being 3,000 miles away, in getting the attention we should have. If we write a letter, it takes two or three months before we get a reply and before the red tape has been done away with in this city, we are handicapped by finding that we have to start all over again in some other department. We should, therefore, like to see the natural resources handed over to the provinces so that we could give those natural resources the attention they deserve. It is not for me to say to this Government what it should do. One of two actions should be taken- the natural resources should be transferred to the provinces or the Dominion Government should take action in developing them.

Before taking my seat I wish to make one observation upon the criticism which has been offered by the hon. member for Maisonneuve (Mr. Lemieux) in regard to the railway charter which the hon. member for Matane (Mr. Pelletier) sought to get before the railway committee. If I remember rightly, the attitude of the railway committee was this: that the hon. member for Matane should produce evidence that the incorporators or directors of the company were men of means, financial men, that they did not want a charter merely for exploitation purposes, and that the railway which they proposed to build would not at some time or another be foisted upon this Govcernment as other railways have been from time to time, making public ownership in this country merely the taking over of defunct railways instead of railways constructed by the people for the people. That evidence was not produced before the committee by the hon. member and as a consequence the charter was refused.

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March 14, 1921

Mr. MACKIE (East Edmonton):


Act of parliament fixing regulations-not in their present form.

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