Joseph Miville DECHENE

DECHENE, Joseph Miville

Personal Data

Party
Liberal
Constituency
Athabaska (Alberta)
Birth Date
October 22, 1879
Deceased Date
December 1, 1962
Website
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Miville_Dechene
PARLINFO
http://www.parl.gc.ca/parlinfo/Files/Parliamentarian.aspx?Item=86b009fb-e658-41cc-8d03-6b3ab3024e63&Language=E&Section=ALL
Profession
farmer

Parliamentary Career

March 26, 1940 - April 16, 1945
LIB
  Athabaska (Alberta)
June 11, 1945 - April 30, 1949
LIB
  Athabaska (Alberta)
June 27, 1949 - June 13, 1953
LIB
  Athabaska (Alberta)
August 10, 1953 - April 12, 1957
LIB
  Athabaska (Alberta)
June 10, 1957 - February 1, 1958
LIB
  Athabaska (Alberta)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 41 of 42)


May 8, 1941

Mr. DECHENE:

Will hon. gentlemen

please keep quiet? I have never interrupted them.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   THE BUDGET
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May 8, 1941

Mr. DECHENE:

I will say to my vociferous friend, who follows the man who sabotaged and torpedoed the Sirois conference, that he might well ask Premier Aberhart to withdraw from the income taxation field as suggested by the Minister of Finance. Premier Aberhart torpedoed the Sirois conference not for the same reason, that actuated British Columbia or Ontario, because, after all, Ontario stood to lose something by the adoption of the Sirois recommendations, but Alberta had everything to gain. I say to this man who sabotaged the conference that he ought to do something to help win this war. He should immediately accept the offer of the Minister of Finance and withdraw from the field of income taxation. The offer of the Minister of Finance was a generous one. He offered to pay over to Alberta, if the province vacated the income tax field-and I say that it is the duty of the province to do so-a lump sum equivalent to the amount of income tax collected by Alberta in 1940. We fear that Premier Aberhart will not accept this offer because very few of the small people with whom he deals are liable to income tax. If this offer of the Minister of Finance is not accepted, our merchants and business men in Alberta may be compelled to pay double income taxation. I say as a member from Alberta that it is the duty of the Aberhart government to follow the example of the other provincial governments, accept the offer of the Minister of Finance and withdraw from the income tax field.

We are spending almost two and a half billion dollars on the war, almost one-half of which is to finance British purchases in Canada. Let the province of Alberta do its share and assume the burden of the three-cent tax on gasoline and not allow it to be passed on to the consumer. That would be but a small thing for Alberta to do. Last

The Budget-Mr. Dechene

year Alberta had the largest budget of expenditure in the history of the province, and I do not include in that $25,000,000, in round figures-$24,758,000, to be exacb-the $3,500,000 of just debts which Alberta refused to pay to the municipalities of Ontario and to other provinces which had invested their savings in what they considered to be gilt-edged securities of the province of Alberta. And that budget, providing for the greatest expenditure in the history of Alberta, was brought down by a government that was going to reduce taxation! So I say that we have a right to expect Alberta to do its share, in view of its huge expenditure, and in view of the fact that Premier Aberhart thought the province could afford to increase his own salary at the last session, as was done.

I do not know whether this tax of three cents on gasoline applies to trucks and tractors used on farms or only to automobiles, but that does not matter; it has been found necessary and it is everyone's duty to pay it. But what do we find in Alberta? They have done nothing but discourage the people.

My time is nearly up and I shall have to leave until another occasion, perhaps at some other session, some of the things I wanted to say. We shall come back here and there will be another opportunity for us to consider such questions as the resettlement of the vast northeastern part of Alberta and the Peace River district. There are many possibilities of settlement and development in that part of the country in connection with the timber industry, fisheries and so on, and when the time comes I shall submit plans for the consideration of my fellow members.

In this time of crisis we should be careful in safeguarding the right of everyone in this democracy to speak freely. It is a right that I enjoy and a right which my friends opposite, apparently, enjoy quite well.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   THE BUDGET
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May 8, 1941

Mr. DECHENE:

I do not mind these

interruptions. I was in public life when the hon. member was born.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   THE BUDGET
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May 8, 1941

Mr. DECHENE:

Probably the hon. gentleman himself and his colleagues who happen to be school teachers.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   THE BUDGET
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December 2, 1940

Mr. J. M. DECHENE (Athabaska):

It is with a good deal of diffidence, Mr. Speaker, that I rise to speak at this stage of this debate, which has been going on for quite some time. I am deeply grateful for the opportunity that is given me at this time to be, for a few moments, the voice of a part of Alberta which for the first time in many years is represented in this assembly by a Liberal supporter. In listening to the young members who moved and seconded the address this year, as I listened to those who moved and seconded the address last session, I was struck with the ability displayed by the young men who have joined the Liberal forces. It occurred to me that it must be very gratifying to the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King), who for so many years has led the Liberal party in this country, to see attracted to the party young men of this type, who can present their ideas to this house and to the country in such impeccable language and with such force and conviction. It must be consoling, not only for him but for the people of Canada as well, to see these young men active in the ranks of the Liberal party, which as a result will remain a living force in the affairs of Canada not only during this war but also after the war is over.

As the lone representative of the French-Canadian race from Alberta may I be permitted at this point to address a few words to my compatriots who form such an important part of the representation in this assembly.

(Translation): Mr. Speaker, allow me, on

behalf of my compatriots of the province of Alberta, to bring a message to imy colleagues, so numerous and influential, who represent the mother province, the ancient province of Quebec, and the other eastern provinces. While we love the -province of Alberta as a well-bom man loves his wife, we love the province of Quebec as a well-bom man loves 'his mother. I bring you this message from my compatriots who inhabit an immense area where, in the parishes as in the villages, although the French Canadians are in a minority, the language of

The Address-Mr. Dechene

their fathers has been religiously preserved and remains in high honour. I thank the hon. members of this house for the generous reception they have accorded to a representative of a part of the Canadian land where our French-Canadian compatriots can use their mother tongue and continue magnificently to defend their rights and preserve the language which has come down to them from their forefathers. I trust that the Frendh-Canadian members from eastern Canada will, when the occasion arises, use the influence which I have just referred to for the benefit of their compatriots from Alberta.

(Text) May I be permitted to say a few words respecting the constituency which has honoured me with membership in this chamber? My constituency runs west from the boundary of Saskatchewan, where it adjoins the one represented by the lady member (Mrs, Nielsen). It follows the Saskatchewan river between the fourth and fifth meridians, and extends to the extreme north of Alberta to a point near Fort Smith, the capital of the Northwest Territories.

Listening the other day to the observations of the hon. member for St. Lawrence-St. George (Mr. Claxton) in moving the address in reply, I was reminded that in my constituency even to an extent greater than in his we have a cross-section of the population of Canada. That population was well and ably described the other day by the hon. member for Selkirk (Mr. Thorson). In Atha-baska we have peoples from almost every nation in the world who carry on peacefully in that vast country. Some are engaged in farming, some in ranching, some in mixed farming, some in trading and trapping, some in lumbering, some in fishing-all producing a great share of wealth to help this nation while engaged in her war effort. In addition, a large percentage of the young men in that constituency have enlisted in the forces of Canada to fight overseas.

I am not one who believes that democracy will die. I was not pleased to hear the leader of a party in this chamber repeat the unfortunate words allegedly stated by a man living across the border line.

In this session, and particularly during the last session, we have been shown that the people throughout the commonwealth are engaged in a fight described by all as a fight for liberty and freedom. We are fighting not only for freedom of religion and thought, but for freedom by representation in parliament, as exemplified in this chamber. During the progress of the war the Canadian people gave their clear and emphatic decision 14873-371

as to leadership. I have been astounded, however, to note that no sooner had the votes been counted than a number of those who claimed to be the greatest patriots and the greatest defenders of democracy in Canada proceeded to attempt to interfere with the will of the people. There was an attempt to deny the people their right. After they had chosen their Prime Minister and a government formed by him, an attempt was made by some hon. members and through the press-and there is still talk of the kind- to have another man and another government lead the country in its time of war.

I have said that the votes were hardly counted when that happened. The reason given for advocating a change in government a few weeks or months after the election was that the situation overseas had changed greatly since the time of the election. I remember well the words of the Prime Minister at the time of dissolution in January. It was because he felt that the situation overseas would change vastly, because he was convinced there would be a great offensive by the axis powers on the western front, as he declared openly on the radio and through the press, and because he believed a tremendous offensive would be lodged against Great Britain and France, that he considered it expedient to dissolve parliament so that a new government might be formed, and thereby preclude on the eve of an election the possibility of this house engaging in a debate which might become acrimonious. He believed the people of Canada should be called upon to choose a government. The issue was so clear that I found it surprising that any question arose either in or out of the house as to who should lead the government and the country during this time of crisis.

I have made some brief observations respecting Athabaska; permit me another one. In that constituency we have a large number of farmers and, like the hon. member who has immediately preceded me, because of the farm population in my constituency I have a keen interest in what happens to the farmer at this stage of the war and in view of world markets. I could wish only that my voice might be strong enough and have enough authority to reach many more hearers, not in western but in eastern Canada.

I resent keenly the libelling of the province in which I live and in which for almost fifty years I have made my home. I resent the libelling of conditions in western Canada, as preached in this chamber. I know there has been misery and poverty in some places. We

The Address-Mr. Dechene

must realize that western Canada, compared with the east, is a country of extreme weather conditions. While crops in the eastern part of this country may vary from year to year, the fact remains that in the western part we are exposed to drought affecting not only one part of a province but, indeed, affecting vast territories, as happened in 1937.

When I speak of 1937, despite what has been said by hon. members across the floor of the house, may I say that we in Alberta, and particularly the people in Saskatchewan, are thankful for the rescue of the vast numbers of farmers-nearly 66 per cent of the population of Saskatchewan-through the extremely precious help extended by the government and the Canadian people generally.

It is in that spirit that I approach the matter of farm prices. In the time at my disposal I would find it impossible to discuss in full the production of bacon, butter, wheat, live stock and other commodities of western Canada. The subject would be too great, complicated and diversified to be treated amply in a few minutes. As an hon. member from Alberta, however, I appeal to the goodwill and good feeling of hon. members and other persons from other parts of Canada in effecting a settlement of western problems.

May I repeat what I have said on other occasions, namely, that western Canada is not a land of IOU's; it is not a land of paupers; although it may have been for some time past, it is not a land of men who refuse to meet their just debts. It is a land of men and women of honour and integrity. May I point out to eastern Canada that under anything like normal conditions the farmer of the west is just as honourable, and just as anxious and desirous to meet his obligations as the farmer or any other person of any part of this dominion.

While there have been extreme weather conditions, and while a bad situation has arisen in some parts of western Canada, a situation which was made worse by the depression, I do know that a large number of farmers are doing well in the west. Many farmers in Athabaska resent being represented, through the observations of some hon. members, as men unable to earn a living, and as men living in a country in which it is impossible to provide the necessities of life. We have heard this sort of thing for twenty years, since 1921. We are on that account sometimes met with considerable antagonism and animosity in the eastern provinces.

Every fair-minded man in western Canada knows there is a difficult wheat situation to face again. The 1940 crop proved difficult,

and the 1941 crop will be difficult unless the east and the west get together in an effort to solve this problem. WTe know we can offer value. Only a few hours ago I was reading an article which brought tears to my eyes. It described conditions obtaining in some of the countries of Europe. Millions are being faced with starvation. In Denmark, Norway and the low countries they will have to kill off their live stock because they cannot import the feed necessary to keep them alive and bring them to market. Starvation will be stalking through the streets and lanes of France. In only a few minutes we shall be going to hotels and restaurants, and I ask hon. members to remind themselves that it is not fair for us to speak as we have been doing. Hon. members talk of the misery we are in, but we do not know what true misery is.

Topic:   GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
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