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 42 of 42)


December 2, 1940

Mr. DECHENE:

The hon. gentleman will never learn, it seems. Take, for example, the system of financing which he advocates- and I did not wish to speak about this. Apparently he does not know that any system of financing, no matter whether it be private or public, ultimately rests absolutely upon the integrity of the individual or of those bodies comprising the government.

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

December 2, 1940

Mr. DECHENE:

I regret very much that I was unable to conclude before six o'clock and must therefore inflict myself upon this august audience for a few minutes more. I will, however, try to be as brief as possible.

I wish to make one more reference to the extremely important subject of wheat. I agree with the hon. member for Portage la Prairie (Mr. Leader) that, in order to enable our farmers to carry on with a smaller acreage, after the campaign which I attempted to describe briefly before the recess, a higher payment for a limited acreage might prove a solution. I have every confidence in the officials of the departments concerned, both agriculture and trade and commerce, and I refuse to get excited by anything that our friends across the way may say. They appear to know more about this subject than those who have been at it for years.

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

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
Full View Permalink

December 2, 1940

Mr. DECHENE:

Any party which repudiates, in its first act of political power, its sacred obligations without attempting to make any kind of arrangement to meet them, is unable to understand this question and should not be entrusted with the settlement of any financial question.

This afternoon we heard the Prime Minister in another of his comprehensive statements on the war situation. May I be allowed to say a few words with reference to our views-I say "our" as representing the people who sent me here. It was with the deepest of emotions that, a few days ago, we heard Mr. Winston Churchill, Prime Minister of Great Britain, speaking to the people of France; and a few days later, in quite as eloquent an address from this side of the Atlantic, another able man addressed the French people. He is a representative of those who for over three centuries-since

The Address-Mr. Dechene

1632-have played their part in the development of this country. It was at that time that my ancestors came to Canada, and I think I have some right to say that it was with feelings of pride that I heard this able voice from our side of the Atlantic. Many of us believe that it had a great influence on the decision of the Vichy government.

Some of our sons have already made the supreme sacrifice; already many of them lie at the bottom of the ocean. They have shown what this young and virile nation can accomplish on the sea; for now we have a navy. The other day, walking down the street here, I stopped to see a company of soldiers pass by. What splendid men they were! They came from the farms, from the factories, from industry, from every part of the country, free men who had voluntarily enlisted because they wanted to defend something they held dearer than life. I was never so proud of being a Canadian. I realized then that we were out to do our share, that while the British lion was roaring its defiance on the cliffs of Dover, the cub, almost fully grown, was standing by his side.

We may disagree with regard to the work of this government, although I have not heard one real criticism of the way in which it has conducted the war, but when I return home after the house adjourns for the long recess, I shall be prouder than ever of the support I have given to the King government. I am returning home, too, with the thought that now Alberta has an important representation in the Liberal party. After the last election the strength of the Liberal party in that province was greater than that of any other. After all, Liberalism stands for unity and understanding and now there will be no more of fighting between east and west. I must admit, however, that the fault was our own.

I have known the province of Alberta for a long time; I knew it as a boy. What a lovely country, what a marvellous country to a young fellow! The opportunities seemed to appeal to youth, from its plains and forests, its rivers and mountains. Everything in that vast and rich country appealed to a young man. On one occasion an orator expressed this fancy, that when the beneficent Creator had made the universe, after throwing into space stars and planets and suns, and when He decided on the seventh day to rest, casting a look over His work, with which He declared Himself satisfied, He must at that moment have noticed particularly Alberta with its fecundity of soil, its mountains, its vast lakes, its coal mines, that almost limitless province which now

appeals to the whole nation for a better understanding. We know that we cannot carry on as Albertans; we do not want to, we want to carry on as Canadians.

A few weeks before the grand old chieftain of the Liberal party, Sir Wilfrid Laurier, passed to his reward, a group of ten or twelve young men from Alberta visited him. They were students from the university of Alberta and some of our higher schools of education in the west, young men of different languages and different descent representing the typical soul of that province. They came to Ottawa, and before going home they called on that grand old leader of Liberalism just a few days before his death. One of these young men recounted to me his interview with that great man who said to him that day, "I stand speaking to you with a foot already in the tomb." My belief-and I do not fear to express it here; it may sound foolish to some but it does not to me because I believe in something beyond the material things of life-is that when a man has served his people as Sir Wilfrid Laurier and other leaders have served them-I suppose Sir John A. Macdonald had that vision-and has devoted his life, his talents, his soul and the best that is in him to the service of his fellow men, he comes nearer to God. That is democracy, as opposed to any kind of autocracy, whether of a man or of a group.

Such men seem to get a vision of things to come. This young man told me-and he repeated it to me recently-that Laurier foretold exactly what is happening now. He said, "Young men, I am so pleased to see you, to see that you have the training given by our best schools and universities, typically, truly Canadian; that you have been taught the principle that the life that is worth while is founded on sacrifice more than anything else since the great sacrifice." He said, "Before you are of mature age, long before you are as old as I am, you will have lived through such terrible happenings as no one could ever describe. The struggle will be stupendous and terrific." That was more than twenty years ago. He said, "Arm yourselves with this thought, to prepare yourselves for this struggle which will be one for the salvation of humankind."

As we have been told so often, it is a struggle for liberty and freedom. More than that, as the Minister of National Defence (Mr. Ralston) said at Toronto, I think, during the adjournment of parliament, it is a struggle for the very soul of things that belong to the inner life of man. The great chief said to these boys, "You are going to see these things; I am too old. I have tried to lead my people, like Moses, at least as

The Address-Mr. O'Neill

far as Mount Nebo where I may see the promised land." Let me express the hope that more than this will be granted to our present leader. Sir Wilfrid said, "Young men, things may look very bad, but do not get discouraged; carry on. Take my word, as a man near the last step; justice and right shall triumph in the end."

Yes, Mr. Speaker, these prophetic words are true to-day; justice and right shall triumph in the end. May I express one wish before I take my seat; I wish that the present leader of the Liberal party, who also has given his life, not to his party but to his country, may not only see the promised land-and not from afar, not in a vision from a mountain top- but after a victory for freedom and democracy may lead his people into the promised land and to better days.

Mr. T. J. O'NEILL (Kamloops): The

mover and the seconder of the address in reply to the speech from the throne have received well merited praise; may I, however, add my congratulations upon their able speeches?

This debate has been carried on now for about three weeks, and we have listened to some excellent speeches from all sections of the house representing all shades of political opinion, to most of which addresses I listened with interest if not at all times with approval. I feel safe in saying that last fall when we received the news that parliament was to be reconvened on November 5 for the express purpose of formal prorogation and that the next session would be held some time in January, the majority of hon. members in western Canada received that news with approval. Later we were told that this programme had to be abandoned; that we would be convened on November 5 and should come prepared to stay; that the opposition were to ask certain questions and for information for which the vast majority of the public were supposed to be clamouring and that at the same time the government would take the opportunity to give an account of their stewardship.

Well, Mr. Speaker, the vast majority of the people of Canada at the time of the election were quite satisfied with the Mackenzie King administration, and I am of opinion that they have not changed their mind since then; they are still clearly of opinion that the Mackenzie King government could not be improved on very much at the present time, at least from those now seated in this house.

We have heard from some quarters quite a clamour for a national government and a good deal about leadership and about this

being a Liberal war. Such statements and accusations emanating from this house do not help to unite the people of this country. As far as national government is concerned I cannot agree that this is not a national government. With respect to leadership, Canada is very fortunate at the present time, and so is the Liberal party, in having such a leader as the present Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King). There is no parallel to such leadership as his in the British commonwealth of nations to-day. No man has held the leadership of his party longer than our Prime Minister has in Canada. And I can assure hon. members that at times it is a difficult job to hold the leadership of that party.

The other night the hon. member for Fraser Valley (Mr. Cruickshank) made an excellent address to which I listened with keen attention. But he made one remark with which I cannot agree. He said that this house should sit almost constantly while the country is at war. I do not agree with that view so long as the government follow the present policy of depending for advice upon a number of high salaried executives recruited from the ranks of industry. In many instances these industrial leaders are not sympathetic to Liberal policies, and some of them are unfriendly and unsympathetic toward the labour class. England has found it a great advantage to take labour men into the cabinet, even though they held different political views, because they understood the viewpoint of the labouring classes, and it helped to give confidence to the labour people if they thought they were well represented in the government. I think it is high -time the government of Canada gave more consideration to the views of labour and the farmers.

At this point I should like to congratulate the Minister of Finance (Mr. Ilsley) upon the restrictions he is imposing on luxuries and non-essentials of war. Much has been said about equality of service and of sacrifice. The restrictions introduced to-day probably will bring about some of that equality of sacrifice, but I believe we are using the wrong yardstick when we measure that equality. I maintain that equality of sacrifice must not and cannot be measured by the amount of money you take away from a man by means of taxation. It should be measured by how much you have left him when you are through taxing him. That is the yardstick you must use if you are going to have equality.

This brings me to suggest once more to the government the advisability of relieving low paid workers from payment of the national defence tax. I refer particularly to those people who are receiving less than $750 and $1,500 annually, for single and married people

The Address-Mr. O'Neill

respectively. An increasing number of people are asking, who are the financial advisers of the government? Many people consider that salaries far too high are being paid for the belt-tightening advice these financial experts give, especially to people who have had to tighten their belts to the last notch during the past ten years. I have in mind now the farmers and the unemployed. Many reasons have been advanced for the lack of interest and enthusiasm in the last war loan, but it seems to me that very few of those who have dealt with that question have even touched on the real reason why the last loan was not received as enthusiastically as it Should have been. At this time I think the government might well pay heed to the repeated warnings that an overhauling of our monetary system is long overdue.

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

May 8, 1925

Mr. DBCHENE:

When the tide is up

there is sometimes forty and forty-five feet below Quebec, but there is not thirty feet when the tide is low. The ships can always come up when the tide is up.

Topic:   MARINE AND FISHERIES
Full View Permalink