Personal Data

United Farmers of Alberta
Vegreville (Alberta)
Birth Date
November 13, 1892
Deceased Date
April 21, 1973

Parliamentary Career

September 14, 1926 - May 30, 1930
  Vegreville (Alberta)
July 28, 1930 - August 14, 1935
  Vegreville (Alberta)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 58 of 58)

February 27, 1928


Mr. Speaker, I rise to speak neither in praise of the budget nor yet in absolute condemnation of it. I appreciate the difficulties of the Minister of Finance (Mr. Robb) and I know it is no easy task to budget the accounts of this great country of ours in such a manner as to satisfy and conciliate not only this house but also the conglomerate elements in his own party.

The Budget-Mr. Luchkovich

I believe it is a rule in this house to use as much courtesy as possible when commenting on the speeches of other hon. members delivered here. It has been very noticeable however, at least to myself, that whilst the custom of congratulating and complimenting other members on their excellent addresses has been adhered to in the opening of one's speech, it soon becomes apparent that these chivalrous remarks must soon give way to criticism, at first mild but progressively hostile and vituperative. Honeyed words rapidly turn to the bitterest vitriol; sweet-scented bouquets become the hardest of bricks.

It is not my intention to hurl any boquet-wrapped bricks at the Minister of Finance; suffice it to say that the budget of 1928 is a marvellous piece of manipulation, considering the circumstances under which he had to work and the diverse elements with which he had to deal. There are many people in Canada who think that the success of any government is contingent upon compromise; that no government can successfully deal with or satisfy the electors unless by compromise. Their philosophy of politics is summed up in one phrase: No government can function successfully without compromise; its very stability depends upon it. In view of past events it would seem that this philosophy was sound so far as the government were concerned. At any rate they all seem thoroughly imbued with this doctrine, as is proven not only by the budget but by certain things that have been said and things which have taken place in this house in the past few years.

It is now a matter of history that this corner of the house once boasted of a fairly large group. What has become of that group of yesterday? Ask compromise. Where are those ten Progressives who used to glare so defiantly from this corner at those who sat on the government side of the house? They were led astray by the siren voice of compromise. What force is it that can transform the free and militant eagle into the gentle and cooing dove of peace? It has been the magic wand of compromise wielded by the Prime Minister of Canada (Mr. Mackenzie King) who is possessed not only of an intellect of a very high order, but a genius for compromise unrivalled by any member in this house. Consequent upon this understanding there has been an agreement reached whereby it is recognized that the country has demanded a stable government and the group are anxious to comply with that demand; that the policies upon which Progressives and Liberals were elected are based upon commons principles; that the Progressives shall give united support to the government upon those principles, and that the

Progressive group shall retain its identity as hitherto. I agree that this is a masterpiece of compromise and admit that it is very cleverly stated, but whether or not the Progressive group is capable of retaining its identity, they have an opportunity even while sitting on that side of the house to act as guardian angels over the Liberal party, to stop them from committing the unpardonable sin of breaking pre-election promises and keep them in the straight and1 narrow path in-dicf ted by the low tariff reform pledges which have put them in the high position they now occupy in the country. I am sure that any reasonable person when offered strawberries and cream will refuse to accept apple sauce instead; if promised the substance we should not grasp at the shadow. I should like to believe that the members who left our group have acted and will act in all sincerity, for I should not like to hear it whispered in application to them, when the roll is called out west: "Oh compromise, what indiscretions

have been committed in thy name!" I hope that the Liberal-Progressives are still the evangelists of low tariff. I sincerely urge them to practice what they preach, and if they feel it incumbent upon themselves, in view of their non-activity in the matter, to offer up a prayer, I wish they would include in it a solicitation to their colleagues for a more consistent attitude towards the tariff policy on which they were elected.

When I say this I am reminded of a band of evangelists who were holding a revival some time ago, in order to make a sinful world see the error of its ways and repent. At the conclusion of one of the meetings it was suggested by one of the brethren that some hats should be passed around among the hard boiled sinners in order to take up a collection. This was done, but when the hats came back they were found to be full of old nails, buttons and pins, but not one red cent. Thereupon one of the brethren remarked "Let us now thank God." "For what?" inquired another. "Let us thank God that we have got our hats back," was the reply. Now before our Progressive friends over there pass their hats to their so-called Liberal friends by conviction let their high priest, the hon. member for Lisgar (Mr. Brown) give them first a sermon, taking as his text: Come unto me all ye that are heavy laden and seeketh relief, and I shall give you the protection .of my low tariff. Let him then without any further admonition go boldly to the Minister of Finance, hat in hand, with one eagle eye on the minister and the other equally concentrated on the hat, and see to it that the hon. minister puts in . that hat not the old nails of futile promise and

The Budget-Mr. Luchkovich

adroit circumvention, but the new and shining pennies of a promise fulfilled, of an agreement unbroken, of a tariff policy unsullied, yea, even by a certain element on that side of the house. The member for Lisgar is a man of strong and commanding presence who looks like a likely person to scare the Minister of Finance into relinquishing a vise-like hold on the nickels that are entrusted to his care.

It has often been said that the Progressive movement is an anomaly in Canadian politics; that if they do occupy a place it is only as a sort of left wing to the Liberal party. This view is based on the supposition that both these groups are advocates of the low tariff; the only difference between the two being that while the one group is a little impatient in its attempt to reach that goal, the other believes that we should-

-move forward cautiously with the aid of knowledge of the facts secured by the tariff advisory board toward the goal of making our tariff structure bear as lightly as possible on producer, industry, and the people generally, having always in view the greatest prosperity of all legitimate industries of Canada. The tariff must be made to serve the best interests of the Canadian people as a whole. It must be adjusted from time to time to meet the needs, not of one class or group of industries alone, whichever one that might be, but of our whole economic structure.

Now, what I admire in any person and no less in a government, is courage-the courage of one's convictions. The Finance minister of Canada in concluding the budget speech of last year said:

We are recognized throughout Canada, and we are proud of it, as the low tariff party.

There is an old saying that caution is the better part of valour. If that is true, then I say that the present Liberal government is the most courageous government that Canada ever had. It is cautious to a fault. And why are they so cautious? They are cautious because they believe that is the only alternative. They are cautious because they do not wish to lose their parliamentary quota from Ontario; they are cautious because they do not wish to antagonize protectionist Quebec. I do not believe that hon. members will gainsay me when I emphasize the protectionist temper of our Quebec members. Who but our member from Quebec-Mont-morency (Mr. Lavigueur) had this to say in his speech on the budget last year? I quote from his address on that occasion:

I consider it an honour to follow the hon. member for Southeast Grey (Miss Macphail) the only lady member in the House of Commons, although I do not share her views generally and particularly as far as the tariff is concerned. She has told us she is absolutely in favour of a low tariff. Let me assure her

that neither the province from which I come, nor I myself, can sympathize with her in that regard. We are in favour of protection for industry. We do not believe in a low tariff. I am glad to have an opportunity to-night to state my views on the tariff question. I am pleased to see that the budget contains no items of reduction.

I have spoken of courage. I believe I must take those remarks back after reading the above quotation. The member for Que-bec-Montmorency is very brave in bearding the lion in his own den; but at the same time he is throwing caution to the winds.

No, we are not Liberals. We are a separate entity called the United Farmers' Association. We believe in low tariff, and it is our duty to jack up the Liberal party every once in a while and remind them constantly of their duties in that regard. Like Atlas, we have been holding the world on our shoulders for ages-a thankless task of which there should be some recognition. Now, it has been our fate that we have to sit on this side of the house with hon. members who uphold the doctrine of protection. Owing to the fact that we often sit, talk, and smoke together in the lobbies we have come to love each other almost to the point of brotherly affection. I also wonder whether it has not been by the same token that the Liberals and the Progressives kiss each other's cheeks on that side of the house. Notwithstanding our congeniality in some matters I am sorry however that in matters of policy over here we must disagree. I hope that our differences in this world will be reconciled when we pass off to a better world.

High protection is not the doctrine of the United Farmers' Association, We do not think it is a good thing for a dominion such as ours with its preponderating agricultural industry and among whose constituent provinces there are such wide and glaring differences of interest in this matter. It appears to me that at best protection is an expedient to which the Tories would like to resort to safeguard our industries against foreigners who might unfairly injure them; at worst it is a form of domestic robbery which is very obnoxious when it goes so far as to rob the state to enrich the individual; it is based on a bad principle when importation is forbidden in order to prevent reasonable competition; and finally it is only justifiable when the taxes which it imposes are made available for the needs of the national treasury.

I think we on this side of the house would be very illogical if we did not support a low tariff doctrine. Indeed we must either hang together on that tenet, or hang separately when we get back home.

The Budget-Mr. Luchkovich

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March 17, 1927


I would like to ask the Minister of Trade and Commerce what is going to be done with the amendments to the Grain Act.

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March 17, 1927

Mr. M. LUCHKOVICH (Vegreville):


have received more than a dozen letters in the last week from farmers of the west asking me what the government is going to do in regard to the measures that were before the House last year, but which failed to become law owing to the dissolution of parliament. The farmers of the west are very anxious to know what is going to be done; they do not wish to see these measures go by the board, and they are afraid that some of these measures might not be re-introduced in this parliament at all. I have a letter here from P. B. Anderson, of Tofield, Alberta, dated March S, 1927, and reading as follows:

Dear Sir:

At the untimely dissolution of the last Dominion parliament there were several important measures that went "in the wash". I am referring especially to the Agricultural Credits bill and to the amendments to the Grain Act. Those two measures, it seems to me, are of the greatest importance to us farmers of western Canada. We are therefore keenly and anxiously watching and waiting to know what will be done with them at this session of parliament.

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December 14, 1926


Mr. Speaker, my fondest wish at the present time is that my voice could be as great as the province from which I come, and that my eloquence might be as lofty as the mountains which skirt the western part of that province. I could then voice the sentiments of the inhabitants of that fair province in a manner befitting its greatness and the important part it is bound to play in the affairs of Canada. Being a new member, however, and never having run the gauntlet of Liberal and Conservative criticism, I feel that I am taking a chance of being heeded or even given a favourable hearing. I feel, however, that I am speaking as a citizen of a great country, to whom has been given the honour of representing one of its constituencies, and as such I hope this, my maiden speech, will be the beginning of a truer Canadian citizenship, a citizenship which I hope to impart to the people in my constituency, especially to those whose origin was 32649-6i

in a foreign country. As it happens, I do not belong to a group commanding a very large membership, but that will in no waj prevent me from doing my duty as a good citizen; on the contrary, I believe that only in this group can I do my duty conscientiously and faithfully.

During the past three days I have noticed that there are different stages to the debates in this House. There is the jollicose stage; then we have the bellicose stage, and finally the comatose stage. I saw evidences of the comatose stage this afternoon, when in looking at the other side of the House I saw and heard two or three hon. members vociferously snoring. We are now dangerously near bedtime, and I do not wish to speak at any great length; in other words, I do not wish to put any hon. member into the comatose stage.

In the speech from the throne there was brief mention of a substantial increase in immigration. The views of individual men are different on this subject. As a matter of fact, one hon. member has said that it is useless to spend a million dollars bringing settlers to the farms when that money could be spent more advantageously otherwise, but no matter in what light we view this subject, immigration is always before us, and it has been a policy of every government in Canada since confederation. I understand further that immigration from northern and central Europe has been urged, or at least looked upon with favour in certain quarters. In my constituency there are many immigrants of Scandinavian and Slavic descent, and I can vouch for the success attained by those men. They have, under the most trying circumstances, made good, and are now from every point of view first class citizens. I do not mean to say that I advocate bringing in immigrants only from Scandinavian countries and from countries of eastern Europe. There certainly must be a leaven of British in this country so that we can retain our institutions and our ideals as we have always had them in Canada. Individuals, however, differ very much as to the merits of an immigration and colonization scheme. Some would like to follow the United States in her "partly-closed policy", and stem the tide of agricultural people from eastern and central Europe. Apprehension is being felt for the safety of this country if this influx is not stemmed. It is based on a fear that the foreign stock resident in Canada would soon be out of a safe proportion to the native stock; that the Canadian farmer would be menaced with an agricultural over-production. These conditions really do not exist in Canada and in view of our present state of under-development,

The Address-Mr. Luchkovich

therefore, such an apprehension is absurd. The United States followed for a century the open door policy. Her population now is actually over the hundred million mark, and she is thus in a position where she can quite readily overtake human wastage from natural increase. In such a case a limited immigration is quite justified. But to Canada, in her undeveloped condition, the same argument cannot be applied.

A few weeks ago I met a man on the train coming down from Alberta to Winnipeg and he asked me why it was that so much of the comparatively poor land in Alberta was occupied by the peasant class, by Ukrainians. He thought that some of the farms would be the last place he would settle on. This friend of mine unconsciously gives us the keynote to the whole situation. About one third of the arable land of Canada is alienated and occupied. It is almost safe to presume that most of this area of arable land already occupied comprises the best land. The remaining area of unalienated arable land would be either medium or inferior. Here we have our problem. It is these medium and inferior lands that we must try to colonize successfully. How are we going to do it? These lands can only be reclaimed by intense human labour, and this involves clearing, the digging out of stones, drainage, and breaking. It involves years of patient industry, self sacrifice and self denial. No one but a pioneer of great sturdiness and endurance could successfully create for himself a home on such land. That type, I believe, can be found in the central European peasant. He has shown us in the past that he is quite capable of surmounting the difficulties incidental to pioneer farming, and that he possesses all the virtues and qualifications essential to such a task. Of course it is quite understandable why an influx of settlers from European countries should be a cause for alarm from a patriotic standpoint. British sentiment, ideals and institutions might be endangered. I do not think so. Take the United States for instance. For a hundred years immigrants have been coming into the republic from every European country, but her institutions are just as strong to-day as they ever were. It is a very significant fact that the children and grandchildren of those immigrants are just as loyal to the country of their adoption as the native born are. Our problem will not be helped at all by discrimination, or by making the foreigner the goat of all our social unrest. To discriminate means to alienate, and alienism only leads to a worse problem. What is needed primarily i3 clear and sane thinking. I do

not see what we have to fear in the peasant. It is true that when these people first came here thirty years ago they were somewhat unobtrusive so far as taking part in civic affairs is concerned. They did not seek to exercise a directing influence in the affairs of this country because they were too busy establishing homes for themselves. But to-day, after the lapse of all those years I can safely say that they are beginning to make an intelligent contribution both to our social and political life. Aa evidence of this we have hundreds of their children in the professions, and some are serving a political representative capacity. Measured by all standards they are quite susceptible to Canadian ideals and influences. As far as they are concerned the question of citizenship is bound to arise, but it will come best if allowed to come in a natural manner. That course has been followed successfully in the United States, and there is no reason why the same success should not be encountered in Canada. The process of amalgamation is, I think, inevitable.

In dealing with this question I am reminded of the remark of an Irish politician, who, in speaking of immigration, said: "Don't worry about the foreigner. In about ten years he will get out of the skinned class into the skinners, and he will then be as patriotic as any of us."

Some day it is hoped our province will get control of its natural resources. At the present time Canada is very much underpopulated Here again we differ from the United States The latter country has sufficient area and resources for its people and enough people for the development of its resources. In Canada our resources are plentiful but the population is insufficient for their development. There is in Canada, also, another peculiar condition. Our agriculture and manufacturing production, our railway mileage and commerce, and all our other industrial enterprises are far out of proportion to our population, as compared with most other countries. I believe that by bringing in immigrants animated with a genuine pioneer spirit this condition could be amended.

I notice also in the speech from the throne that those government measures which passed the House last session, but which failed to become law, will be reintroduced. For one thing it is sincerely to be hoped that the Canada Grain Act amendment will be brought in again. In the next place legislation on rural credits if enacted will not only be of assistance to farmers and workers already

The Address-Mr. Church

located here but will be of material benefit in connection with an immigration policy.

There is also .the question of railroads. A country that produces the world's best wheat and oats, such as the Peace River district, must offer unrivalled opportunities for settlement. It is a region of marvellous productive ability, with many thousands of acres of cheap land awaiting the settler's plough. A great immigration movement could be started in that direction. The only thing necessary to bring that about is an announcement that the Peace River district will be given an outlet to the Pacific coart; without delay.

Another railway which would be heralded with great joy by settlers in northern Alberta south of the Saskatchewan river, is the new railway which the Canadian Pacific is building from Out Knife, Saskatchewan. The influence of the government in speeding up construction on this line would be greatly appreciated in that part of the west. As it is now many of the settlers there, and the district is very well settled, have to haul grain as many as forty or forty-five miles to the nearest point of transportation.

It is also to be hoped that the government will not discontinue grants to B-circuit fairs. Such fairs are of immense educational value to the communities in which they are held. A discontinuance of such grants would kill all interest in such fairs, as the committees in charge depend largely on these grants to finance their undertakings. It is said by some that it would be better to give grants to fairs in cities like Toronto. I think that even cities like' Toronto get most of their exhibits from small country places as Vegreville and other towns of its size.

This morning I received a resolution from the Town Council of the town of Tofield, which reads as follows:

Resolved, that whereas Cooking lake forest reserve contains much arable land and land suitable for the raising of live stock, and while it is at present being used by the Blackfoot Stock Association to some extent for the ranging and pasturing of cattle, this town council is of the belief that this land could be best utilized, and would become of the greatest use to the greatest number if it were thrown open for settlement and homestead entry.

We therefore suggest to the hon. Minister of the Interior, for his consideration,' that that portion of the Cooking lake forest reserve lying south of the Edmonton-Mundare highway be thrown open for homestead entry with the right of pre-emption, or purchase at a reasonable figure, of a further quarter-section.

I happen to know this Cooking lake reserve. It contains about 66 sections of land, and if it were settled on the basis of one settler for each half section, about 130 settlers could be

placed on it. I think it would be a far better scheme to place these settlers on the reserve than to have the reserve used as it is now by the Blackfoot Stock Association for the ranging and pasturing of cattle. I think it would be of greater advantage not only to that community itself but to Canada as a whole if this land were thrown open to settlers. I hope, Mr. Speaker, that the government will take cognizance of the remarks I have made.

Topic:   EDITION
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