Mr. L. DUGUAY (Lake St. John) (Translation) :
Mr. Speaker, I wish to associate
The Address-Mr. Duguay
myself with previous speakers in congratulating the mover1 and seconder of the address in reply to the speech from the throne. I especially want to congratulate the hon. member for Restigouche-Madawaska (Mr. Cormier) for having stood up as the representative of the Acadian minority. With reference to the question of minorities, permit me to go back to March 20, 1931, when the hon. member for Montmagny (Mr. LaVergne) stated in the house, "If Mr. Anderson is allowed to do to-day what he intends to do out west in Saskatchewan, where does the fault lie?" I answer that the fault rests not only on Sir Wilfrid Laurier, but also on the Liberal party as a whole. Last year, that party had the opportunity of proving its sincerity in connection with the rights of the minority, but instead of vindicating here in this House of Commons, the rights which it haughtily proclaims in the province of Quebec, it is content to take a different attitude as I shall show by referring to last year's Hansard, at page 1699:
I think the hon. member for Labelle and the house as a whole can trust the sense of justice and fairness of the people of Alberta and Saskatchewan and their respective governments to deal generously and fairly with every class of the community.
Mr. Lapointe: That is really what is being
Mr. Speakman: I quite appreciate that in
the terms of the argument. I am applying my remarks rather to the argument of the member for Labelle.
Mr. Lapointe: That is really what is being
done. It_ is a, mark of our confidence in the two provinces instead of keeping this endowment fund here w'e are transferring it to them.
They then expressed their confidence in the Saskatchewan government which is the same one in power to-day. For instance, in the last general election, the Prime Minister of Quebec himself, according to the hon. member for Quebec-Montmorency (Mr. Dorion), took advantage of these prejudices against the Conservative party in Quebec. Fortunately, many Quebec ridings gave little credence to them, and, to-day, more than twenty members from that province are here to straighten things out and tell the house that Conservatives deal with the French language with equity and are happy to proclaim that, under the present government the rights of minorities are as well safeguarded as they were under the previous administration. Moreover, sir, I may state that personally I am entirely opposed to Mr. Anderson's policy and that I would never sacrifice the rights of minorities for political gain, because to me principles are above party interests.
Some hon. members opposite shouted: "Shame, shame," when they were unmasked
by the hon. member for Montmagny (Mr. LaVergne). But what do they think, for instance, of Mr. Olivar Asselin, chief editor of the Canada, a Liberal newspaper of Montreal, who wrote in his pamphlet entitled: "Sir Wilfrid Laurier", at page 8:
The Dominion cabinet, in which were still to be found a few of the fathers of confederation, for decency's sake, hesitated to definitely break off with the traditions of Macdonald and Cartier, and became alarmed. They wished to gain time, consult the courts with reference to some terms which to all men of good will-seemed quite clear. The courts having acknowledged the rights of Catholics, after years of delay, the government decided to act. The* cabinet divided. Mr. Laurier might, by adhering to the right cause have assured its triumph, and thereby might have helped in guiding the federal authorities in the right path whence they had been drifting away for ever so long. However, the opportunity of being raised to power was too alluring, it was he on the contrary who, the first, declared war, siding with the government despoiler, shouting: "Hands off Manitoba!" He was the first in this crisis, and the first since 1867, with the exception of a few fanatics whom all parties had always kept at a distance, he laid down as a principle the absolute sovereignty of provinces in matters of education. All whose sentiments were anti-Catholic and anti-French, in Canada, grouped around him.
That is what the chief editor, himself, of this Liberal newspaper of Montreal wrote at the time. When a Conservative, not long ago, stated very similar views, they shouted: "shame", yet, the author of this article, is given high praise for his editorials in the Canada and they feel proud in handing over to him the management of -this partisan newspaper.
If this is the way, sir, that the Liberals protect the rights of minorities, I am glad to see the Conservative party in power, because I am convinced that these rights are better safeguarded under Conservative than under Liberal rule.
Let us, sir, broach another subject. May I ask what in substance has been advised by our opponents since the outset of this session? They delivered many speeches. They especially proclaimed that the Conservatives had not fulfilled their pledges. May I, previous to indicating how the present government fulfilled their pledges, state what the Liberals did with theirs? At the opening of the first session of the Liberal government on March 9, 1922, the following words are put in the speech from the throne:
Whilst of the opinion that unemployment relief is fundamentally a municipal and provincial responsibility, my government has felt that as conditions have arisen in a measure out of the late w'ar, they would be justified in continuing for the period of the winter months the expedient of supplementing by grants from
The Address-Mr. Hurtubise
the federal treasury the relief or contributions of provinces and municipalities for the purpose of alleviating actual distress.
A little further in the same speech from the throne, we find:
The stream of immigration to the Dominion was much interrupted and restricted during the war. Now that the blessing of peace is with us, a renewal of efforts to bring in new settlers must be made. My government are fully alive to the importance of this question and will use every reasonable endeavour to attract to our country people of the most desirable class with particular regard to settlement on our undeveloped lands.
The Liberal government alleviated unemployment which existed in 1922 by bringing to our shores, in the space of 9 years, from 1921 to 1930, more than 1,150,000 immigrants who cost the country 820,000,000. Under the Liberal regime, the right hon. Mr. King absolutely stated that he had wiped out unemployment. Yet, a year ago, the hon. member for North Winnipeg (Mr. Heaps) requested the government to take immediate steps to relieve unemployment. What was the government's answer? I shall quote, for the benefit of members on the left who shouted: "No, no", when the hon. Postmaster General (Mr. Sauve) told them that they had denied there was any unemployment, the baffling statements of their leader, on April 3, 1930, at page 1226 of Hansard:
.... we have no right to say that there is any national unemployment problem in this country.
He went further and stated:
.... that there is no way in which you can more effectively defeat the possibility of investment of capital in your country than to seek to create the impression in other lands, and throughout your own,- that conditions are _ not prosperous, that they are bad and that there are within this country large numbers of unemployed.
Last year, mention of unemployment was not permitted, however, this year they are in the opposition and last year's scruples are set aside.
In 1922, the government wished to relieve unemployment by bringing immigrants to this country. What was the policy of the Conservative government in 1930? They admitted that unemployment existed and their first step was to stop immigration; secondly they called a conference of delegates from all the provinces; thirdly they convoked an emergency session-which was never to take place according to our opponents-and lastly they appropriated an amount of $20,000,000, thereby giving work to thousands of unemployed. Yet notwithstanding all this, we have done nothing according to our hon. friends, to alleviate the
present crisis! Hon. members in the opposition, sir, in order to belittle the acts of the present administration, unceasingly lay stress on the pledges which we made. These pledges, neither the government nor the people will forget and they will be carried out for the greatest welfare of the country.
What is very interesting also is to remind the opposition of their 1921 pledges and find out what became of them. They were, first, to force people of means to pay the war expenditure in the shape of an income tax. This tax, in 1922, brought in a revenue of $78,000,000; in 1929 under the Liberal regime, it had already decreased to $69,000,000. Instead of increasing this tax they decreased it. This was in violation of their first pledge. Then, the war expenditure was to be paid by business profit taxes. In 1922, this brought in $23,000,000; in 1929, it gave but $450,000.
The sales tax was to be abolished to help the poor ratepayers. The tax amounted to 5 per cent in 1922. TJie Liberals increased it to 6 per cent, to reduce it later to 4, 3 and 2 per cent. But thanks to these increases, the Liberals drew from the people $180,000,000 more than the Conservative administrations.
The cost of living was also to be reduced. In 1922, the weekly family budget for five people was $21.52. After nine years of Liberal administration it fell to $20.21, that is a decrease of $1.21. Labour wages are considerably lower so that living conditions are harder to-day than they were at that time. One wonders what would have happened in Canada had the Liberals remained in power.
We have been listening to their complaints, since the opening of the session, that we are doing nothing to alleviate unemployment. But what suggestion to alleviate unemployment have they made to the government? Very seldom since confederation has a government, presenting its first speech from the throne been subjected to such an avalanche of criticisms. If they are truly desirous as they proclaimed during the elections, to promote the welfare of the people and remedy unemployment, why do they, to-day, oblige the government to listen to these lengthy speeches which are devoid of all suggestion tending to alleviate unemployment? It seems to me that the best way to prove their sincerity would be to curtail the number of their speeches and ask the government to act immediately.
I should like to make suggestions, but under the present circumstances, I shall desist seeing that I expect the hon. Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Weir) to enact measures which will be very helpful to farmers.
The Address-Mr. Hurtubise
The Quebec farmers especially are suffering from the unemployment crisis. The majority of them had no crops last year, the consequence is they feel very depressed. I hope that the measures brought down by the hon. Minister of Agriculture will be a boon to all farmers. The Lake St. John county which I am privileged to represent is anxiously awaiting these measures.
In closing my remarks, sir, I wish to state that the government may depend on my entire support and that it rejoices me to think that some day prosperity will return again to this country under the standard of the Conservative party.
Topic: SPEECH FROM THE THRONE
Subtopic: CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON THE ADDRESS IN REPLY