MONTGOMERY, Gage Workman, Q.C.

Personal Data

Progressive Conservative
Victoria--Carleton (New Brunswick)
Birth Date
May 2, 1898
Deceased Date
June 5, 1963
barrister, lawyer

Parliamentary Career

May 26, 1952 - June 13, 1953
  Victoria--Carleton (New Brunswick)
August 10, 1953 - April 12, 1957
  Victoria--Carleton (New Brunswick)
June 10, 1957 - February 1, 1958
  Victoria--Carleton (New Brunswick)
March 31, 1958 - April 19, 1962
  Victoria--Carleton (New Brunswick)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 87 of 88)

February 18, 1953

Mr. Montgomery:

I do not intend to take very much time. In fact I do not intend to enter into this debate, but I discovered from figures quoted by the parliamentary assistant this afternoon that most of the farmers in New Brunswick must be in my constituency. If I got the figures correctly, there are only about 2,000 farmers in New Brunswick who would qualify under the act. Is that right?

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February 18, 1953

Mr. Montgomery:

Thank you; that does make it clearer. The two points I wanted to mention in particular, however, were these. It is quite true that the income of a great many farmers in New Brunswick is not large. That is one of the handicaps under which we operate, and it is something about which I have no doubt hon. members will hear more before this session is over. However, in all fairness I think the explanation of the small amount loaned in the east, and especially in my section of my province, is the fact that they utilize the Canadian Farm Loan Act rather than this act to repair buildings and to improve their farms. I find in my experience of the last year or two that a great many people know about this act. I think it is well advertised in my constituency, and it is very generally used for the purchase of farm machinery and such things. It is pretty well administered, because it is administered by the chartered banks.

After having listened this afternoon to the arguments pro and con increasing the amount that might be available, I must say I have had no such requests, nor have I heard any complaints, because in our part of the province when a farmer has to borrow $3,000 for the purchase of farm machinery he has to think twice about how he is going to pay it back. Our farmers are in a hazardous occupation. There is no stability in their markets, and they do not like to risk too much; therefore I do not think I would press for an increase in the amount that may be borrowed. However, if it was going to benefit the farmers in other places, then I can see no particular risk in increasing the ceiling, because the governor in council and the banks have put adequate limitations in the regulations which require security that would protect the loan up to $5,000 just as it does up to $3,000.

As I said before, this act is well administered because it is administered through the banks. I know that in my part of the country the bankers are pretty sound businessmen. Probably another reason for the low percentage we are getting under this act-I do not blame the act nor the government; I do not blame anybody for that small amount that is coming to New Brunswick-is that as far as my section of the province is concerned it is a well-known policy that the banks will not lend money if they do not think there is a reasonable chance of getting the money back, and I think it is a sound policy.

This brings me back again to my province, and I think this is something which is worthy of the attention of this parliament. We are affected in many ways. We have two classes of farmers. They are all farmers, and they depend entirely on farming, but we have a farmer who has a small income. He is working hard to get it. He is eking out a living. That man cannot go into the bank and give a statement which indicates that he can pay back a loan of $400 or $500 for certain within a year or two.

Then we have the other man who is a larger farmer, he grows potatoes mainly. He is in a different position, because as I said once before in this house, it seems that the policy is driving our people into two classes. The rich are doing better but the poor are getting poorer. The other class of farmer does not need to use this act so much because he can finance himself. A good farmer can go to his bank and borrow on bonds-a good many of them might have them-and he can borrow at less than 5 per cent. Therefore as a matter of business he does not use this legislation.

The other man who may need it to get some farm machinery cannot satisfy the bank that he can grow sufficient crops and market them at a profit sufficiently high to repay that loan within three or four years. I am not blaming the act; I think it only fair, from what has been said here this afternoon, to say that in my particular part of the province this act is well known. It has been well advertised, and it is utilized by those who can use it. It is a good thing. I am very much in favour of extending it. I would support raising the ceiling, because I believe it is in good hands. Even if the ceiling is raised it may not assist many down in my part of the dominion, but it might assist other people in the dominion. It might assist some farmers, and if so I do not see that the government will lose anything on it because it is in the hands of the banks and the banks are good administrators of this type of business.

Therefore I am not going to take up more time on this matter, except to say that I am willing to support it as it is, and I would be quite willing to support it if the ceiling were raised.

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February 6, 1953

Mr. G. W. Montgomery (Victoria-Carleton):

Mr. Speaker, as a new member of this parliament this seems to me to be quite an important question. During the debate several questions were raised which caused me to give some consideration to taking part in it. A short time ago a question was put to an hon. member on this side of the house. He was asked why he did not oppose extension when this matter came up a year ago. I am one of those members who have never supported the Emergency Powers Act or the extension of it. I am also one of those members who feel that it is a debatable question. I deem it my duty, in so far as I am able, to place on the record the feeling of the people of this country whom I have met in relation to these all-embracing powers that the government wishes to take away from parliament. Now, it is just possible that, if the people of this country did not feel the government was taking away too much power

from parliament, I might not be here. Therefore, it seems to me that if I were to support this motion that the Speaker leave the chair and this matter be discussed in committee I would be failing in my duty to seek an explanation for the necessity of this act. I may be wrong. I do not know too much about the procedure of this house as yet. I feel that this debate this afternoon has been a good thing. I feel that when an important matter like this is brought up, and the motion is that the Speaker leave the chair to discuss the resolution, there should be some explanation as to why the resolution should be discussed.

As I look back over the events I find that the act was passed in 1951 for one year, with the possibility of an extension. Without going into all the details which previous speakers have touched upon, I find that even when the government requested an extension of the act last year they did give reasons for requesting that extension. I have a notion that the Minister of Justice (Mr. Garson) perhaps feels now that he could have saved a great deal of time, and it would have been a fairer thing, if he had given reasons this afternoon for requesting this extension. If this extension is not necessary, then the matter should not be brought before this house. It is true that the various arguments to which I have listened have been one-sided, and perhaps that is another reason why I should like to get in on a one-sided scrap.

This Emergency Powers Act covers a lot of territory. From what I have been able to learn during the debate this afternoon, these powers have not been used by the government to any great extent. I may be wrong again, and if I am I stand ready to be corrected. In most of the cases in which these powers have been used, the same emergency could have been met by other legislation. I notice that, according to section 4 of the act, if a real emergency arises the government has the power to proclaim the War Measures Act. I feel that if a real emergency does come upon us which requires the use of emergency powers such as those set out in this act, then it will be an emergency very close to actual war. If we ever meet that emergency, it seems to me the government has the power and would proclaim the War Measures Act at once.

The reasons which were given for requesting the last extension of the act do not seem to me to be valid today. At least, nothing has been put forward to convince me that we should be asked to consider a measure such as this. I must, therefore, agree with my leader that before any other step is taken we should have an explanation of the reason

Emergency Powers Act for requesting this extension, and an opportunity of deciding whether or not we want to consider this act. Apparently the explanation given when the bill was introduced in 1951, and when it was extended in 1952, was sufficient to satisfy the members of all parties that the house should go into committee to discuss the measure. The motion, therefore, was not debated. Since no explanation has been given today, I believe it is only right and proper that we debate the motion. It is the duty of every hon. member to state his reason for feeling that he cannot support the motion. I have a strong feeling that if I, after having listened to this debate, had remained quietly in my seat, I would have been met by people in my constituency who would ask why I had consented to allow the government to extend this emergency act without any reasonable explanation being given. The government is seeking to take away my rights as well as the rights of all hon. members in this parliament through the passage of this measure. As I understand it, if this legislation is passed it puts certain powers in the hands of the government by which the liberty of the subject could be curtailed, as well as the rights of property affected. Without any explanation given as to the necessity for such a measure, Mr. Speaker, I cannot support the motion before the house.

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January 29, 1953

Mr. G. W. Montgomery (Victoria-Carleton):

Mr. Speaker, it is not my intention to take much time in the discussion of this motion. I find myself deeply interested in it, and it is one with which I can say I agree.

I could spend some time in bringing to the attention of the Postmaster General (Mr. Cote) problems of my own constituency, just as other members might do. Thus far my contact with the Postmaster General has been most pleasant indeed. I am sure no one could have extended greater courtesy to me. I have not bothered him much because not long ago he told me legislation would be brought down which he hoped would meet many of the problems not only in my constituency but across Canada as a whole.

I believe this motion to set up the committee is a move in the right direction, provided the members of the committee really get down to business and make an effort to find a method for the proper appointment and payment of rural mail couriers. This

is not going to be an easy matter, because I suppose that conditions vary throughout the country. Different conditions will be found in different constituencies. Perhaps it will not simply be a matter of setting down a basic rate per mile.

In my own constituency, for instance, in the summer the rural mail courier can carry out his task without any great difficulty. But in the winter time he faces an entirely different situation, and it is not unreasonable that, to be properly compensated, on his thirty-mile route he should receive more money than would another rural mail courier with a route of fifty or sixty miles. The man in my vicinity may have to plow his own road a good part of the time in the winter months. When the snow is blowing he is not going to have good roads. On the other hand, on other routes the roads would be plowed and there would be no difficulty of this kind.

All these points must be considered. As the hon. member for Peel (Mr. Graydon) said this afternoon, I hope the committee will consider the requests of rural mail couriers from outlying districts. Not only should they appear from the Ottawa area; they should come from both the east and the west, so we may find out some of their difficulties. These will not be easily solved. It is my view, however, that in setting up a committee we are going about it in the right way.

If I understood the Postmaster General correctly, the bill introduced this afternoon will not become law until after the committee has made its recommendations. If it were to go through in its present form I am afraid it would prove to be only a temporary solution. While I am very much in favour of an upward adjustment of the fees or remuneration of rural mail couriers, I feel there must be safeguards. These will have to be considered by the committee and dealt with in its recommendations. Not only must there be safeguards for the couriers; there must be safeguards for the public as well. At the moment I have on my desk a petition in this connection. I have in mind a case where the regular mail delivery is on Wednesday but, because of a storm, the roads are impassable. Then Thursday is a holiday. Friday is another stormy day, with the result that the people in that area have received only one mail delivery that week instead of three. This is not uncommon.

In some areas the delivery is daily. Yet there are other areas just as thickly populated, and entitled to just as good delivery, where they have only three deliveries in a week. The committee will have to get to the bottom

Committee on Post Office of these conditions. As was suggested by the hon. member for Peel, it would be preferable to have a percentage of the witnesses come to Ottawa. They could be chosen from various areas across the country, and permitted to tell their story to the committee.

I could make some comments about discrimination, and many other subjects. However, after having listened to other hon. members who have spoken in the debate I think there is no need to repeat what they have said. I can state, briefly, that I am very much in favour of setting up the committee, and I express the hope that it will go into the situation thoroughly. I am of the opinion that the Postmaster General is looking for a solution. Having talked with him I am satisfied that he is sincere in this matter, and that he wishes to bring down legislation which will remedy the conditions from which the rural mail couriers are suffering. It is imperative that they be treated fairly in the matter of the compensation to which they are entitled.

I believe that is all I wish to say, Mr. Speaker.

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December 5, 1952

Mr. G. W. Montgomery (Victoria-Carleton):

Mr. Speaker, being a new member it is with hesitation that I venture to take part in this debate. I desire first to join other hon. members in extending my compliments and congratulations to the mover (Mr. Deslieres) and the seconder (Mr. Schneider) of the address in reply to the speech from the throne for the excellent manner in which they acquitted themselves in their first addresses to hon. members of this house. I certainly go along with the hon. member for Waterloo North in extending my compliments to the hon. member for Brome-Missisquoi for his fluency in both French and English. It is an attainment which I should like to achieve even if in a much lesser degree. Having entered parliament on the same day as these two hon. members, I feel a friendly and neighbourly kinship toward them even though they appear to have been misled in their early political training. Nevertheless I am very glad to compliment them as I feel they made a good contribution to the debate and performed a service for their constituencies.

Just as the hon. member for Waterloo North spoke with pride of the industry, thrift, integrity and other qualities of the people of his constituency, I can likewise claim those qualities for the people of my constituency. Yes, I can claim them for both French and English. We live and work side by side and enjoy the best of relations. Like people in other parts of the maritimes we respect ourselves, we respect each other and share a common pride in our community life, in the industries and institutions which have been built up in the lands by the sea.

I should like at this time to pay a compliment to my predecessor, a man beloved by the people of my constituency to whom he gave unstinting service until his passing. Although in poor health during the last year he never spared himself and always put the interests of his people first. The loyal friendship of one's associates is an outstanding achievement, and that the late Mr. H. H. Hatfield attained.

I should also like to congratulate at this time the hon. member for Coast-Capilano (Mr. Sinclair) and the hon. member for Vancouver Centre (Mr. Campney) on their promotion to the cabinet. The hon. member for Coast-Capilano of course is no stranger to us in New Brunswick. He has been down there before, but now that he has become

Minister of Fisheries I am sure we will welcome him a great deal more because in the maritimes we are very much interested in his department.

Since becoming a member of this house I have listened with a great deal of interest to the speeches of hon. members. One cannot help but be conscious of the privilege and responsibility of helping to shape and build this vast country of ours which we are so proud to call Canada. The House of Commons is the nerve centre of our nation where east meets west and the central section is the host. The problems, privileges and obligations of the two great races in this vast area are discussed as well as the requirements of different sections of our country, and by a tolerant democratic method we hammer out on the anvil of good will laws that serve to unify this great land.

One cannot help but be inspired by the surroundings of parliament hill. On every hand you see evidence of statesmen who have, each in his own way, contributed to the building of Canada as a great democracy, a country which today in a very troubled world is an outstanding example of unity, tolerance and prosperity of people of different races, languages and habits.

This takes me back to my own constituency, a lovely section of New Brunswick lying in the beautiful Saint John river valley, settled and hewed from the wilderness by French and English speaking people who have continued to live in harmony side by side during the last 125 years. It is a portion of my province which we hope in the near future will become industrialized in large measure as a result of hydro development which at the present time is under study.

When I speak of "capital" you may think of property, stocks and bonds; but to the people of my province, and I think to the people of the maritimes generally, the word has another meaning. It is the capital of the spirit which is not only the basis of our economy but is our very way of life.

The people of my riding depend upon mixed farming, lumber and potatoes. As many hon. members know, potatoes have become a highly specialized crop with a great potential value on the one hand but a tremendous risk on the other. Potato raisers may become wealthy in a few years but just as quickly may face bankruptcy. There is something very fascinating about handling and raising potatoes. Large fields of potatoes in blossom are a beautiful picture, and when I refer to large fields I refer to hundreds of acres in some places.

This year the potato grower is very happy. His "spuds", as we call them, are a reasonably good price and are likely to remain

The Address-Mr. Montgomery so until the crop is cleaned up. However, it is a crop that cannot be carried over. The amount of money a potato farmer ties up annually in seed, fertilizer, spray materials, help and machinery is tremendous, to say nothing of his investment in land and necessary storage facilities. That is why in years of no market or low prices bankruptcy stares these men in the face and, make no mistake about it, the year 1950-51 put a lot of farmers on the rocks. They fell back on grain, hay and stock, but due to the drought this year hundreds of acres of the oat crop were not even harvested. In my constituency a good part of the grain crop that was harvested has not given more than a 50 per cent return. This season has created a difficult situation for the mixed farmer. He has no grain to sell, but still worse he is faced with the prospect of having to buy feed or dispose of his stock. Either of these possibilities would be disastrous and, notwithstanding the hardship of the coming winter, they will face another seeding season empty-handed. A situation such as we are facing this season in my constituency is discouraging, to say the least. Those who were able to finance a potato crop last spring are having a feast, while the mixed farmer is facing a famine.

Our farmers have no market for hay, and no substantial market for beef or pork. However, the farmers are hopeful now that the United States government has announced its intention of lifting the embargo in the near future. This may afford an outlet for our hay, but the farmers have been reducing their hog production.

The farmers inform me that when the English market was lost, there was no other to take its place. It is for this reason that the farmers in my province are hoping something good will come out of the commonwealth prime ministers' conference now being held in London which the Prime Minister (Mr. St. Laurent) and the Minister of Finance (Mr. Abbott) are attending. The people will follow the proceedings closely, because they want to see the United Kingdom markets reopened to Canadian farm products. The leading daily newspaper in New Brunswick, the Telegraph-Journal, after mentioning in its issue of November 26 that the Prime Minister had left for London, stated:

The meeting he will attend, the commonwealth prime ministers' conference opening in London on Thursday (the 27th), will be the biggest thing of its kind since the Ottawa conference of 1932.

We in the maritimes must have outside markets, markets that can be relied upon year after year. The farmers in my part of the province will tell you-in fact they have told me-that the United States market is not reliable. If the United States is short of


The Address-Mr. Montgomery a commodity it is easy to enter their market, but ordinarily they are our greatest competitor in world markets for agricultural commodities. While they may be friendly rivals, they are nevertheless ruthless and businesslike in all their dealings. I am informed that the farm lobby in Washington is one of the most potent political forces in United States politics, ever on the alert to. see that Canadian producers get a minimum of access to the United States food market. For these reasons and others, no long-term scheme for absorbing Canadian surplus production can be arranged with the United States.

I should like to remind hon. members of this house that when our farmers are unfortunate enough to lose their grain crops because of drought, as many in my riding lost their grain crop this year, there is no relief such as the western farmer may receive under the Prairie Farm Assistance Act. I understand, of course, that the western farmers make a contribution under that act. It was for this reason, Mr. Speaker, that in my opening remarks I referred to "the capital of the spirit". The farmers of my province have to meet the ups and downs of uncertain markets by ingenuity in finding ways and means of carrying on and providing such prosperity and security as may be obtained through hard work, long hours and strict economy.

It is understandable, therefore, why we in the provinces by the sea are vitally interested in markets for agricultural commodities. We realize that any agricultural policy for Canada must be elastic because of our vast area and the different conditions and requirements of each area. But I must say, Mr. Speaker, and I think I fairly represent the opinion of the farmers of my province, they feel it is the responsibility of the government to do everything possible in finding and developing export markets as well as assisting in the home market.

Agriculture, industry and trade are very much tied together in this world of varying monetary systems and different standards of living. While it is recognized that the hon. members responsible have no easy task, nevertheless, because it is a vital matter to our primary producers, I am sure that all hon. members are fervently hoping for some tangible agreement under which commonwealth trade will start to flow more freely. If such an agreement is made, perhaps some form of permanent trade arrangement may be made that will provide a reliable and profitable outlet for our farmers' products. We are hoping that these results will flow from the conference now taking place in

London, in which our own Prime Minister will no doubt play a prominent role.

Having listened with interest to the speeches thus far, I felt compelled to take part in this debate in order to bring to the hon. members of this house the views of many people in my constituency, and to place their problems and difficulties before you. I feel that the solution of many of the problems of my province lies in an agricultural policy of some permanence, so that our small, mixed farmers may proceed to develop their lands on a planned economy which will give them a feeling of security and contentedness.

In conclusion I should like to say a word or two concerning a national health scheme. There is nothing in the speech from the throne that would grant the ordinary citizen relief from taxation or give him some feeling of comfort and protection in matters of health. As the hon. member for Haldimand (Mr. Catherwood) so well stated, there is nothing in the speech from the throne that would indicate "relief and the end of the sacrifices of the past few years". Since there appears to be no hope that the ordinary fellow who lives around the corner or across the tracks will receive better treatment, I commend my leader for proposing the amendment to the speech from the throne, and I can wholeheartedly support it.

Let me repeat what I said a few minutes ago. We are here as representatives of all parts of Canada to make laws, but according to the tolerant democratic method. This is the highest level of government in our country, and is often referred to as the federal government. How did this federal government become a reality? How did our constitution in Canada come into being? Was it not by consultation and agreement? Did not the representatives of various sections of this country get together and work out an agreement on which the British North America Act was based?

That was over 80 years ago, and many things have changed in 80 years. There have been changes that have created many problems that were never dreamed of then. In the light of such changes, further consultation among the partners in confederation-the provinces and the federal government- should again take place, in an atmosphere of tolerance and give and take, in order to sincerely try to arrive at a solution that will benefit all the people at various levels of government.

I know there have been conferences, but rightly or wrongly the people of my province -and I believe the same is true in many other provinces-feel that the federal government

is not meeting the provinces half-way. They feel that the dominion government is taking the lion's share of the national revenue. I say this, Mr. Speaker, because I believe it expresses the feeling of the people. After all, Ottawa is a long way from the homes of most citizens of Canada but the municipal government is on their doorstep, even closer than the provincial government; it therefore can be more closely supervised and more easily understood.

All governments realize, or should, that there is a limit beyond which taxation should not go unless there is a national emergency. But a proper distribution of such revenues is the problem upon which there has not been agreement. As I see it, that is the reason for my leader's amendment. If it were not so, why would a group representing the mayors of cities in every part of Canada be appearing before this government? While this group represents only the cities, other municipalities have problems which are just as serious. Coming as I do from a small town, and having had considerable interest in rural municipalities, I know that the problems with regard to education, hospital and medical care or health services are tremendous. It is growing beyond the resident taxpayers' ability to provide these services, even with all the assistance that comes from provincial governments, part of which in turn comes from Ottawa.

Mr. Speaker, I am not going into all the reasons that have helped to create this heavy burden. Suffice it for me to say that it is a live issue. Many people cannot afford to have the necessaries of our standard of living, let alone to be sick. No one is ill by choice. Illness comes like a thief in the night. Sooner or later, on account of illness, anyone may be faced with obligations that he just cannot pay. It is no answer to tell these poor people: "Sorry; the municipality must look after you. It is their problem." As far as the legal responsibility is concerned, they know that they are part of the municipality. They also know that the municipality has not the wherewithal to help them.

I like the expression coined by my colleague the hon. member for Ontario (Mr. Starr) when he said that our democracy should work like a family; that the federal government is considered the senior or daddy of the family, so the lesser lights look to daddy. Is there much wonder that they do so, in view of the tremendous sums of revenue collected by daddy? This is why the mayors of cities are waiting upon this government. Unless some logical rearrangement satisfactory to all governments is worked out, the delegations will not be confined to representatives

The Address-Mr. Studer of the cities. I am no alarmist. In my humble way I am trying to bring to the attention of the government some of the problems of the ordinary people who feel that they have been forgotten.

Before closing I think it fair that I should place myself on record in reference to the amendment to the amendment moved by the hon. member for Rosetown-Biggar (Mr. Cold-well). As I understand the constitutional issue and set-up, it seems to me that the government is being asked to do something which it is not yet in a position to carry out, namely to bring down at this session legislation providing for a national health insurance program. I am not convinced that sufficient groundwork has been done and that a common formula has been worked out with the provinces. Hence I cannot see my way clear to support the amendment to the amendment. But that fact does not in the least indicate that I am opposed to a sound health scheme. On the contrary, I am fully in accord with a scheme worked out jointly between the dominion and the provincial governments as a national health program in order to bring to families in the low and the ordinary income brackets-yes, possibly to all-the assurance that they will receive the necessary medical and hospital care when required, without the worry and hardship entailed in having to pay the bill.

At six o'clock the house took recess.

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