Mr. HAUGHTON LENNOX (Simooe).
I had not intended to speak on this subject, although it is one in which I am very much interested. But the leader of the opposition (Sir Wilfrid Laurier) happened to mention my attitude in regard to a former Bill, the one relating to the highways. I realize that I am in a hopeless minority, as it. might be expressed, at this time. I am' Sir WILFRID LAURIER
entirely in harmony with the government's attitude that there is no reason whatever for incorporating this proposed amendment in the Bill; I am opposed to that amendment at all events. I am exceedingly glad that the government has decided to aid agriculture. As I said the other, day in reference to the Highway Bill, it is a step in the right direction.
I think I will stand alone in the position I take in regard to the system of distribution. The government's policy is that, they shall distribute this money absolutely upon the basis of population. The at-tiude of the opposition leader is also that it should be distributed upon the basis of population. The only difference between them is whether that principle should be incorporated in the Bill now. I do not want it incorporated in the present Bill, because I do not think it would be right to incorporate it, but since the matter has been mentioned, I would rather like to place on record, my view upon this question as to the system of distribution. My view ts that neither the money under the Road Act nor those under this Act, should be distributed upon the basis of population, and I hope, as I said the other day, that the government, having taken this step in advance, will yet come to realize that, whatever party may be in power, the true basis of distribution is the needs of the localities, and not population or conformity to provincial boundaries. I believe that the less sectionalism wre have, the better. I believe that we should throw aside all parish politics, and parish legislation, that we should leave to the county councils the duty of providing for the needs of counties, and to the provinces, the duty of providing for the special needs of the provinces; that when we come into this House, whether it is in the selection of cabinet ministers, or as far as may be in the selection of senators, and as far as may be in everything, that we should realize that it is not a question of county or locality or province, but it is a question of the whole of Canada, and that we are legislating for the whole of Canada. I can see that cases will arise and must arise, when it would be more in the interest of Canada as a whole, more for the general advantage of Canada, that we should distribute this money upon the basis of the needs of localities altogether aside from the question of provincial boundaries.
It has been suggested that this may be used for political purposes. I am not afraid of that, I would not be deterred from my course even if the right hon. the leader of the opposition were in power (which God prevent for a long series of years, at all events) because I think the true principle is, that this government have been chosen
by the people, upon them has been cast the duty of legislating and providing for the needs of Canada; and they have the right to take upon themselves the duty of determining, and it is their duty to determine from time to time what shall be the basis of the distribution of this money. My answer would be, if I had the power to make the answer: Do not trouble yourselves gentlemen, we are in power, and we are asked by the people to administer this fund, we will take the responsibility and to the people we will be responsible. I would not be afraid of criticism in that position. My view is, that certain portions of Canada are especially adapted for agriculture. Certain other portions of Canada are not so manifestly adapted for agriculture and the government of this country takes a large view of the whole situation, not provincially, but they say: Here is a locality that particularly needs the distribution of a certain amount of money; we are charged with the responsibility of distributing the funds of the people of Canada and whether the criticism is favourable or unfavourable, we will decide that this particular locality, whether it be in Quebec or in Manitoba, shall have this assistance out of this public fund. That position would be subject to criticism. Hon. gentlemen opposite, would perhaps think it was not honestly done, because they have not been accustomed to that sort of thing to any great extent; but wrapt in the consciousness of honesty, knowing I was doing what I absolutely believed to be right, I would" disregard the criticism of the opposition and I feel confident that the time will come when we will have sufficiently enlarged ideas in Canada, as to the necessity of obliterating provincial lines to distribute public funds as regards railways and this fund, on the basis of the greatest need of the population and having regard to the general advantage of Canada.
Subtopic: AID TO AGRICULTURE.