Frank Thomas SHAVER

SHAVER, Frank Thomas

Personal Data

Conservative (1867-1942)
Stormont (Ontario)
Birth Date
February 10, 1881
Deceased Date
December 11, 1969

Parliamentary Career

July 28, 1930 - August 14, 1935
  Stormont (Ontario)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 1 of 13)

June 18, 1935

Mr. F. T. SHAVER (Stormont):


I moved the adjournment of the debate on Friday evening last I said that it was my desire to oppose this bill, and I wish to place before the house as briefly as possible some of the reasons why I am opposed to the second reading.

This bill, respecting the Cornwall Bridge Company, is for the purpose of giving an extension of time to the company for beginning the construction of their bridge. I regret very much that the hon. gentleman who sponsored it did not indicate to the house the purpose of it nor give any idea of the proposal he is placing before us. The proposed bridge is supposed to start from a point in Glengarry county and to be erected across the St. Lawrence to St. Regis island, a road to be constructed on the island, and another bridge at the western part of the island leading to the province of Quebec. The act incorporating the Cornwall Bridge Company was passed in 1930 and was assented to on May 30 of that year. Under the terms of

that act the company had two years within which to present their plans to the governor in council for approval and they had three years after that to begin construction. They made very definite promises to the people of Stormont county, to the people of the town of Cornwall and to the residents of Glengarry that immediate construction would be started in 1930. They made glowing and definite promises. It was said that hundreds of men were to be put to work immediately, large quantities of material were to be used, and a bridge across which thousands of tourists would move in an uninterrupted stream would be constructed in a short time for the benefit of the people of eastern Ontario. The company, however, waited the full limit of two years before submitting their plans, because those plans were not approved by the governor in council until May 31, 1932. Then they had three years from that time to begin construction.

Speaking as a layman without any legal knowledge whatever, it seems to me that their act is now null and void and was after May 31, 1935, because they took no steps at all to carry out the provisions of the charter and did absolutely no work. When the people of Cornwall found that no effort was being made by this company to carry out the promises they had made to the town to begin work under the charter, the business men, the board of trade and the town council, acting in cooperation with the chamber of commerce of the town of Massena in New York state took steps to have the railway bridge planked for vehicular traffic. This railway bridge across the St. Lawrence has been in existence for nearly forty years. Mr. Horovitz of Cornwall, who was then mayor of the town, was one of the very active promoters of this scheme. It was necessary that an act should be passed by the House of Commons giving the Ottawa-New York railway and its lessee the New York Central Railway Company power to lease this bridge to another company who might use it for purposes of vehicular traffic. I had the honour of sponsoring that bill in the house myself. It passed at the session of 1932 and was assented to on May 26 of that year. There was considerable opposition to that bill when it was before the senate committee and I was of the opinion, as many supporters of the bill were, that that opposition was engineered by the proponents of the Cornwall Bridge Company, who adopted a dog in the manger attitude. They did nothing to carry out the terms of the charter which they had received two years previously but they were endeavouring to prevent the planking of an existing

Cornwall Bridge*-Mr. Shaver

bridge for vehicular traffic. The bill was passed in 1932 with amendments safeguarding the rights of the Canadian government, and it gave the New York Central Railway authority to lease their bridge to a toll bridge company to be used for vehicular traffic. Concurrent legislation was passed in the United States, giving authority at that end. The bridge was planked, the approaches were built and an excellent paved road was constructed on Cornwall island in 1933. Early in 1934 the bridge was opened for traffic-on May 17, 1934, to be exact. The official opening took place on June 30, 1934, when the bridge was opened by His Excellency the Governor General and the Hon. Mr. Dern, United States Secretary of War, representing the President. Others present were: Her Excellency the

Countess of Bessborough, Bishop Couturier of Alexandria, Bishop Roper of Ottawa, Hon. J. A. Macdonald, representing the Prime Minister of Canada. There were also present the mayors of several American and Canadian cities and towns and many other distinguished visitors.

I have had placed on the desks of all hon. members copies of a folder showing the bridge. Now let me point out that this is an actual bridge, something in existence; it is not merely the figment of someone's imagination, the imagination of some promoter who wants to sell stock to the unsuspecting Canadian public. It is a bridge which is and has been for over a year in actual operation, and there were conveyed across it last year thousands of cars, all safely and expeditiously. The bridge is in two sections, one across the northern channel of the St. Lawrence. Then there is a very fine paved road across Cornwall island, the bridge then crossing the south channel, there being a section across the Ra-quette river on the American side. Every possible safety device has been installed-gates, automatic signals and guards and a telephone, so that every precaution is taken for the safety of the travelling public. These safety devices were all approved by the board of railway commissioners.

The proponents of this Cornwall Bridge Company, which is so far only a paper bridge, have used the argument that the existing bridge, which has been planked, is not wide enough for two-way traffic. That is an entire misstatement, because I myself have crossed it several times and I know that there is absolutely no difficulty for two automobiles to pass each other on the bridge. They also state that owing to the fact that it is an international bridge an accumulation of traffic piles up on the bridge while oars are passing

through the customs. That also is a misstatement, because both the Canadian and the United States customs offices are built on Cornwall island, where there is plenty of room; there is adequate parking space and a sufficient number of officials to handle the traffic expeditiously.

Many hon. members of this house have crossed the bridge since it was opened last year, among them being a very distinguished member of the House of Commons in the person of the leader of the opposition (Mr. Mackenzie King) who crossed it this spring and who, I am sure, can give evidence as to its thorough efficiency and safety. In the first year of operation, from May 17, 1934, to May 16, 1935, 60,000 vehicles, mostly passenger automobiles, crossed the bridge. This bridge is adjacent to one of the most beautiful sections of the St. Lawrence river. One of the important points in all our efforts to attract tourist traffic to Canada is in my opinion the impression which the tourist gets when he first enters this country.

I trust many hon. members have read an editorial which was published a couple of weeks ago in the Ottawa Journal and which advised the citizens of Ottawa that if they wanted to take a drive of great scenic beauty, they should go south along the Morrisburg highway to the St. Lawrence and then down to Cornwall. On the drive along number two highway are some of the most beautiful spots on the whole St. Lawrence river. You pass historic sites like the old battlefield of Crysleris Farm and the Long Sault rapids, perhaps the most spectacularly beautiful spot we have on that river. Then you pass wooded islands and see away to the south the farm homes and villages of our great sister nation. Those coming into Canada over the Cornwall bridge-and when I speak of the Cornwall bridge, I am referring to the bridge which is now in operation and across which thousands of tourists are coming-get a very fine impression of this country. Looking to the west they see a very prosperous section of the county of Stormont, and looking to the east there is spread out before them in a panorama the fine industrial town of Cornwall. They can see directly in their line of vision two or three of the largest industries in that town.

Therefore my first argument is that it would be a most ridiculous idea to build another bridge seven miles away from the present one. It would be designed entirely to attract traffic from the same section of the United States. There are of course along the St. Lawrence other places where it would be

Cornwall Bridge-Mr. Shaver

reasonable that a bridge might be built, say fifty or seventy-five miles away from the one at present in operation. In addition to that, the Cornwall bridge is a commercially feasible proposition because it was already there; it has been there for nearly forty years, being used as a railway bridge, so that it necessitated a capital expenditure of only about $350,000 to plank the bridge, to build the approaches, to construct the roadway on the island, and to fit the bridge up so as to accommodate vehicular traffic. The bridge proposed in the bill now before the house, it is suggested, will require an investment of $3,250,000. We know no undertaking of this kind has ever been put into effect without the actual cost running far beyond the estimate. We will say that there is an increase of approximately 25 per cent when the bridge comes to be built, making a total cost of about $4,000,000, which would be a very moderate increase over the estimate of the company's engineers. I believe all hon. members will agree that it would be impossible in connection with such a highly speculative enterprise to sell bonds that would bring less than five per cent, and to pay five per cent on an investment of $4,000,000 would require an annual revenue of $200,000 without allowing one cent for cost of operation or any other incidental costs.

If we use the same toll rates as those in effect on the bridge which is at present in operation, the average return from an automobile crossing the proposed bridge would be in the neighbourhood of one dollar, because it will be noted that there is a special trip rate for an auto and driver of $1.25 if he makes the return trip within twenty-four hours, or an average rate for the one-way trip of sixty-two and a half cents, which brings the average rate down to the neighbourhood of one dollar. Therefore it would require an annual traffic over this bridge of 200,000 cars to pay the interest charges alone. If you increase the average rate for automobiles to $1.25, this would require 160,000 cars.

I desire to give the house some figures so that it may form an estimate as to the traffic that might be expected on this proposed bridge if it were ever built. I know there will be quoted by the hon. gentleman who is sponsoring the bill, traffic experts who give highly optimistic reports of what might be expected and who will probably give you any type of report you are looking for; but I want to quote actual figures of the cars which crossed the whole international section of the! St. Lawrence in 1934. This includes all the traffic over the Cornwall bridge from May 17 to December 31, 1934, the traffic across the

ferry at Aultsville, the ferry at Morrisburg, the very important ferry at Prescott which is directly opposite the city of Ogdensburg, the ferry at Brockville, the ferry at Rockport and the ferry at Gananoque. The total traffic in that section was 150,997 cars including return trip cars. Therefore if all these ferries and the Cornwall bridge were closed and if the proposed bridge had all this traffic, it would be $50,000 short of meeting its interest charges alone. I understand the promoters of this bridge themselves estimate the cost of operation at $90,000 per annum, and in addition to that there would be charges for taxes and many other incidental charges. I am sure therefore hon. gentlemen can see that from a financial standpoint this would not be a commercially feasible proposition. I think it is a well known fact that there are not very many toll bridges or tunnels that at the present time are meeting the interest charges on their bonded indebtedness, but the favourable situation of the bridge which is described in the folder, the one which has been in operation for a year, is that a very small capital expenditure was required. The bridge that is there required a capital expenditure of only $350,000 to fit it for vehicular traffic in addition to the rental which is paid to the owners of the bridge.

As I stated before, the bridge proposed in this bill is to be only seven miles east of the present Cornwall bridge. Last year the house passed a bill to give a charter for a bridge at Ivy Lea near Gananoque, and I understand there is also in effect a charter for a bridge at Brockville. At those points there would be a reasonable expectation of a bridge paying because those points are sixty or eighty miles from the present bridge, but it appears to me to be the height of absurdity for any company to expect any reasonable financial return from the building of another bridge within seven miles of one that is now being successfully operated.

The people at Cornwall and in the vicinity are well satisfied with the present bridge; it brings a large number of tourists to our section of the country and it is within a mile of the centre of the town, but the bridge proposed under this bill would divert traffic from Cornwall; it is located five miles east, and all the tourists coming into Canada on their way to Montreal and on the way back from Montreal to the United States would never see the town of Cornwall at all.

I am sure the hon. gentleman who is sponsoring the bill will tell the house that one of the greatest features in favour of the proposed bridge is the fact that it is constructed entirely in Canadian territory, but before he finishes,

Cornwall Bridge-Mr. McGillis

if he attempts to show how successful the bridge will be, he will quote not figures of local traffic flowing back and forth, but figures of traffic from the United States, showing that the bridge is designed entirely for tourist traffic. Therefore, what particular advantage is there in having it located entirely in Canada? Furthermore, there would be no particular advantage for those tourists who would enter at Hogansburg and other points along the border of Huntingdon county to cross the bridge and go down the north shore of the St. Lawrence. The great majority of them would use the very excellent roads in Quebec which are on the south shore of the St. Lawrence and would cross to the north shore at Chateauguay or by one of the bridges close to Montreal.

In my opinion there are only two purposes that can be in view in asking this extension of time. I am absolutely satisfied that the promoters have no intention of building a bridge. Is it a commercially feasible proposition? I think it would be very difficult for them to finance it. But there are two possible objects they might have' in mind: first, to sell stock or bonds in wihat is, to say the least, a highly speculative enterprise, or, second, to use the charter for its nuisance value against the company operating the present bridge. I think it is a duty of this house so far as possible to protect the investing public. That was one point upon which the price spreads commission laid particular emphasis. I listened with careful attention to the excellent speech made the other day by the Secretary of State (Mr. Cahan) and also the very able speech of the hon. member for Hants-Kings (Mr. Ilsley), and I noticed that while they differed perhaps on some fundamental points, they were of one mind, as are other hon. members, that the Companies Act should protect the investing public as far as possible. And when any private bill is introduced I think it is just as much the duty of the house to see that the investing public is protected. When we think of the widows left with perhaps only a little life insurance to last them to the end of their days, or with which to raise a family, or old people who by a life of toil have saved a little money, we should not give to a corporation like this the opportunity to send out high pressure bond salesmen through the country in remote parts of Canada where people would have no idea of the traffic that may be expected over the river at this point, and who would paint a glittering picture of the returns to be expected. It is the duty of this house to vote against a measure of this kind that would make that sort of thing possible. I owe a

duty to my constituents and I believe they are very adequately served by the bridge at present in operation, which gives excellent service and with which they are satisfied.

Therefore, to place on record my opposition to this bill I move in amendment, seconded by the hon. member for Glengarry (Mr. McGillis), in whose constituency the Ontario end of this proposed bridge would be situated:

That the word "now" be left out, and the words "this day six months" be added at the end of the question.

Full View Permalink

June 14, 1935

Mr. F. T. SHAVER (Stormont):

Mr. Speaker, I had expected that this bill would come up in the house, and it is my desire to oppose it on second reading. Therefore I move the adjournment of the debate.

Motion agreed1 to and debate adjourned.

Full View Permalink

June 3, 1935


Don't explain it, then.

Full View Permalink

March 28, 1935


The people expected that the leader of the opposition on that occasion would present a program. Well he had a program, but it was in three words-moderation, conciliation and toleration. Those are very pious platitudes to which every member will subscribe. We are all agreeable to these ideas of moderation, conciliation and toleration, but what practical suggestion is there in those words to cure the evils from which .Canada is suffering?

1 desire to speak for a very few moments about conditions in the county that I represent. I have done that on former occasions in the house, and I make no apology for it. As I said at the beginning, I think it is the duty of every member to be interested first of all in the affairs of his own constituency and then in the affairs of the country as a whole. Each constituency throughout Canada is interested in some particular phase of industry. In Stormont we have the advantage of having a constituency partly urban, including the manufacturing city of Cornwall, one of the most progressive and up to date cities in Canada, and partly rural, including four townships, a mixed farming section which is an especially good agricultural area. As I have pointed out in the house before, there has been a considerable expansion of industry in my county since this government came into power, and that expansion of industry has assisted in providing a home market for the farmers of my own county and of the surrounding counties as well. Where you have an industrial town with a population of 20,000 people and a payroll running into many thousands of dollars per week, there is a considerable quantity of farm products purchased.

I should like to make a short comparison between two reports of presidents of the board of trade of Cornwall. The first one was issued on February 6, 1930, and covered the year 1929. It gave the activities of eighteen industries. Hon. gentlemen opposite were still in power in 1929. There were 3,780 employees in these industries, a decrease of 280 from 1928. Salaries and wages paid amounted to $3,703,737, a decrease of $42,559 from the amount paid in 1928. The depression had already struck our town. The next report is dated March 8, 1935, and covers the year 1934. This report covers only sixteen industries, as the information concerning two had not been included. There were 4,173 employees, an increase of 651 over 1933. The wages and salaries paid amounted to $3,749,061.69.

Subtopic:   THE BUDGET
Full View Permalink

March 28, 1935

Mr. F. T. SHAVER (Stormont):

Mr. Speaker, I observe that many hon. gentlemen opposite desire to have the question put, but there yet remain a few of us on this side who, having held our peace for quite a considerable time, desire to express our opinions.

I am sure that while many congratulations have been extended to the Minister of Finance (Mr. Rhodes) upon the able and comprehensive way in which he has explained the financial position of Canada and upon the budget which he has presented to the house, we all agree that he well deserves those congratulations, to which I desire to add my own. I think the Minister of Finance not only deserves the congratulations of the members of this house; I believe he deserves the thanks of the Canadian people for the very efficient way in which, during the last few years, he has handled the difficult portfolio which he holds.

I trust that the hon. member for Medicine Hat (Mr. Gershaw), who preceded me, will pardon me if I do not refer to his remarks at any length. It is always a pleasure to listen to the hon. gentleman; he is always fair, moderate and courteous in debate, but there is one point to which I should like to refer. Once again the hon. member brought up the question of the beet sugar industry, which I presume is quite a considerable industry in his constituency. I give my hon. friend credit for being interested in that industry ; I think any member of this house who has in his constituency an industry which employs a number of people should not be ashamed to rise in the house and stand up for those people. But as I mentioned last year it seems rather strange that the hon. member should expect some particular consideration to foe given that industry, aid by way of bonuses, assistance by way of reduced freight rates or something else, while at the same time he finds fault because the textile industry, which gives employment to several thousand people in my constituency, receives protection against the textiles which would be dumped into Canada from every other country in the world if that protection did not exist.

There were a few high lights in the budget speech of the Minister of Finance to which I should like to refer briefly, because to me they seem very important, since they indicate that conditions are improving. There was the fact

The Budget-Mr. Shaver

that the physical volume of business was 48-5 per cent above the low point of the depression; that the League of Nations' comparison of increases in industrial production from January, 1933 to the end of 1934 placed Canada in first position with an increase of 46-2 per cent; that last year our field crops increased in value by $91,000,000 as compared with 1933; that there was a marked increase in mineral and forestry production and an increase of 65,000 in employment over 1933, with an increase of over 340,000 as compared with the low point of the depression. It was gratifying also to note that Canada still occupies fifth place in export trade; that there was an increase in trade during the eleven months period amounting to $169,000,000 and a favourable trade balance for the same period of 8134,000,000. It is also gratifying to note that the good effects of the empire agreements are still making themselves felt, as evidenced by the fact that our export trade with the United Kingdom increased in 1934 by 52 per cent as compared with 1932.

Many hon. gentlemen opposite have urged the necessity of holding a general election as soon as possible, and that point was also mentioned by the hon. gentleman who preceded me; as a -matter of fact it was his first point. It did seem to me that this evening my -hon. friend spoke with a rather greater degree of pessimism than he usually shows when speaking in this house. It appeared to me that the idea of an immediate general election-and no doubt the possible effects of that general election-had saturated his whole consciousness to such an extent that he exhibited an extreme feeling of pessimism. While we are all aware of the fact that this is the last session before a general election, we know that the electors throughout the country from one end of Canada to the other are beginning to consider, and no doubt already have considered, the issues upon which this election will be fought. It seems to me that the electors are asking themselves, perhaps not in express terms -but in their minds, certain oasi-c questions with regard to the government of the country. It is quite natural that the electors should ask themselves about the record of the government appealing to them for support. The budget which has been presented gives answers to many of these questions. The first question the electors will be asking from now until election day-and it is the most important question they will have to answer-is this: "Has the present government administered the affairs of Canada with honesty, efficiency and economy?" To this question I believe any person who has studied

FMr. Shaver.]

the situation carefully or has reviewed thoroughly and dispassionately the record of the government must give an affirmative answer.

The Minister of Finance was able to point to a reduction in the interest rate on our funded debt, and a civil service reduction amounting to 12,700-which was effected without working any hardship upon civil servants-and a consequent saving in salaries of over 812,000,000. The fact that the per capita basis of controllable expenditure was last year practically the same as in the year 1913-14, before the war, is the best evidence that the government which has been conducting the affairs of Canada since 1930 has administered those affairs with the most rigid economy.

Hon. members opposite have spoken about the increase in the public debt. We admit that; but they did not for a -moment consider the fact that other countries in the world have increased their public debt. They did not consider Canada's public debt from the standpoint of comparison with the debt of other nations. They seem to have forgotten the wealthy nation to the south of us, I suppose the wealthiest nation in the world, which has now before congress a work relief bill amounting to nearly five billion dollars, which will have the effect of increasing the debt of that country to thirty-four billion dollars, or nine billions more than the peak of the war debt. We are informed, from very reliable sources, that there are now 20,000,000 people in the United States supported either in whole or in part by public funds. This is a much greater proportion than that existing in Canada. Compared with our great sister nation we are only small and comparatively undeveloped. Yet, in all these respects, we are in a much better position than is the United States.

The next question the electors will ask, and to which they will deserve a clear and definite answer, is this: "Is the present government responsible for the depression?" To hear the observations of some hon. members opposite, hon. members who utter lurid fulminations against the government, one would be led to believe that the present government was responsible for the depression not only in Canada but in every country of the world. Yet they know and every Canadian citizen knows that the tide of the depression was running across Canada like a flood for almost a year before this government took office. The government of hon. members opposite were to a great degree responsible for that condition. For nine years they had floated along on the tide of -world prosperity. For nine

The Budget-Mr. Shaver

years they had seen the markets of the world closed against the products of Canada, and particularly was that true of the great market to the south of us. However, they did not do anything. They just sat quietly and drifted along. Therefore when the depression came, all those nations which were trying if possible to get rid of their surplus goods began to dump them into Canada. Immediately those nations, the buying power of which was cut off by the depression, stopped buying from Canada, with the result that in one year while hon. members opposite were still in. power there was a drop in Canada's exports amounting to $243,958,005. In arriving at this figure I have compared the figure for the fiscal year ended March 31, 1929, with the figure for the fiscal year ended March 31, 1930. Hon. members opposite were still in power in those days, and even for a few months after that.

The hon. member for Shelburne-Yarmouth (Mr. Ralston) referred to the reduction in exports which had occurred while the present government held office. If there had been a reduction of nearly a quarter of a billion dollars each year this government has held office our exports would have been nearly wiped out. There was not the same reduction in our imports, because with our low tariff barriers the nations which were trying to get rid of their goods found it possible to ship them into Canada at distress prices. The result was that the reduction in imports amounted to only S17,405,509. The total decrease in our foreign trade in that one year, while hon. members opposite were still in power, was $261,363,514. The favourable trade balance of $123,216,984 which we had in 1929 was changed in the fiscal year ending March 31. 1930, to an unfavourable balance of $103,335,512.

The next question the electors throughout the country will have the right to ask is this: ''Has the present government taken the proper action to lighten the effects of the depression, and to help end it?" The first is the action for which I highly commend the government-is that when they took office they had the courage sufficiently to protect our industries, a protection to which they were entitled. There was an increase in the tariff on textiles. If one tariff has been attacked more than another by hon. members opposite, I would say it has been the textile tariff. When we consider that the primary textile industry in Canada is the main industry in 160 municipalities, comprising a total of 450 mills, and that in the last year it supported a pay-roll of $40,000,000, we will have some idea of the importance of the industry. Then, there was

protection given against dumping; this is one of the main charges hon. members opposite lodge against the government. They say unfair dumping duties were placed against textiles from other countries. Hon. members will recall the classic example given by the late Minister of National Revenue, Mr. Ryck-man, who told of an importing firm in this country which wanted to bring in 10,000 dozen children's dresses. The cost of production in Canada was one dollar per garment, but they could be imported at thirty-three cents each; therefore it was necessary to threaten a dumping duty of two hundred per cent to keep the dresses out. I am absolutely in favour of that practice because the manufacturing of

10,000 dozen dresses in Canada would give employment to a great many men and women, not only in the primary textile industry where materials are fabricated, but in the factories where the dresses were completed.

May I draw the attention of the house ter the fact that the rayon industry has received-a protection which has assisted it greatly. The woollen industry, which had almost been destroyed by hon. members opposite, has been-restored. Then, the Canadian farmer has been given protection which has meant a great deal to him, a condition with which I shall deal in more detail in a few moments. Wider markets under the empire agreements have been offered. Trade agreements have been completed with France, Germany, Austria, Brazil and Poland.

The manner in which this government has handled unemployment relief, to which reference was made by the hon. member for Medicine Hat has been attacked vigorously by hon. members opposite. If they study the conditions in other countries they will find no government which has had the interests of the suffering, the destitute and the unemployed more at heart than has the government of Canada. Further, they will find no government which has made more practical efforts to relieve conditions. Last night we had an example of the type of attack made against the present government when the mayors from different Canadian cities met with members of parliament. They put forward the proposition that all unemployment relief should be financed by the dominion government, that the municipalities should be relieved entirely from any share in caring for the unemployed. A most unreasonable proposition, unreasonable on the face of it because, as anyone can see, if the dominion government were to advance all the cost of relief, immediately every municipality from the Atlantic to the Pacific

The Budget-Mr. Shaver

would be grabbing to see who could get the most out of the dominion government's pocket. I was pleased to see that the mayor of a city located in my own constituency, the town of Cornwall, was one of two mayors who stood up in Montreal and said that they were not in favour of that sort of thing. The mayor of Cornwall said that it was not a fair or businesslike thing to suggest, and that so far as he was concerned he stood for the principle of the municipality paying a portion of the relief. It seems to me, Mr. Speaker, that if Mayor Parisien of Cornwall, who is a self made business man who has made good on his own initiative and energy, had been selected as one of the men to address us at the meeting last night, it would have made a greater impression on the members there assembled than the addresses of some of the impractical spellbinders who did speak.

The next question, Mr. Speaker, which the factors are asking is this: Has the government adopted adequate safeguards, so far as possible, against another depression? We know that the channels of foreign trade have been opened. We know that progressive measures of social justice have been introduced, and many of them put through, to a greater extent than at any other period in Canada's history, in order to meet the needs of to-day; for instance, the Bank of Canada Act, the marketing act, the Canadian Farm Loan Act, the Farmers' Creditors Arrangement Act, the Unemployment Insurance Act, the Eight Hour Day Act, the One Day's Rest in Seven Act, the federal Minimum Wage Act, the setting up of an economic council, the price spreads investigation and the legislation which undoubtedly will arise therefrom. All these are measures to assist in securing social justice for all the citizens of our country. I approve of these measures, particularly because they seek to assist the farmers and the working people who are the very backbone of our national existence.

While it is true that the electors will ask questions concerning the government that will demand a clear and definite answer, they will also ask questions about the opposition. Do not let the opposition members any longer think, as they did a few months ago, that the people of Canada are going to accept them holus-bolus, and allow them to slip into office without considering their record at all and without their placing before the people a definite plan. The first question which the electors will ask of the opposition is what action did the government of the Right Hon. Mr. Mackenzie King take to

avert the depression that was rolling over Canada for nearly a year before his government gave up office. As I said before, they took no action at all. They left our country exposed as a dumping ground for every other nation of the world, as the trade figures I have given indicate. For a considerable period of time they even denied that a depression existed, and in the setting up of relief measures the Prime Minister of that day refused aid to provinces which might happen to have a Conservative administration. The Canadian people passed judgment on the government of the right hon. gentleman opposite on July 28, 1930. The people considered their record; they looked at what they had done to assist our country in that crisis, and decided that the government should be turned out of office.

The next question they are going to ask is this: Has the Liberal opposition during

the intervening period done anything to cause the electors to change their minds or alter the verdict they rendered on that occasion? What has the Liberal opposition done to assist Canada during the past four years? I think that every member will agree that the responsibility rests on every citizen to do his share, and from the individual standpoint every member of the opposition has done his share just as much as every member on the government side of the house. We are all interested' as individuals in the welfare of our country, and we all do what we can. But what have hon. gentlemen opposite done as a party? They have had very many opportunities, headed as they are by a leader with long political experience, with a wide economic training, a training which entitled him to write a book on certain social questions which some claim is a masterpiece, and supported by many men sitting behind him of wide business training and long political experience. But what have they done? Those who have been present in the house during the last four years know how they have hampered and delayed the passing of legislation.

When tariff changes were brought in to assist the agricultural industry, they were opposed by hon. gentlemen opposite. When the empire agreements were brought into the house, one of the best measures which was introduced on behalf of the Canadian farmer, for two months hon. gentlemen opposite opposed them. When the marketing act was introduced, one of the most advanced pieces of legislation to assist the 'Canadian farmer ever introduced in the House of Commons, they opposed it. This has been their record all the way through.

The Budget-Mr. Shaver

Another question which the electors will ask is this: What constructive suggestions

has the combined genius of the Liberal party to offer? We have heard only two from the right hon. leader of the opposition. One of them was lower tariffs, the old panacea which the Liberal party have always preached, and sometimes they have practised it and sometimes not. I am old enough to remember the time when they were preaching commercial union and free trade as they had it in England, and so forth, but there has always been that question of lower tariffs.

The other suggestion of the leader of the opposition was that the Liberal party want a commission to deal with unemployment. Those are the only two proposals that I have heard the right hon. leader of the opposition propound, although he did surround those two ideas with a great multiplicity of words.

What has been the attitude this session of hon. gentlemen opposite? They profess a belief in reform and then try to destroy the reform measures with constitutional difficulties. They vote with the government in the house, and then go out to their meetings and attack the government. The other evening a great meeting of the Liberal party was held! in the Chateau Laurier, a banquet to their leader, and I opened the newspaper the next morning with a great feeling of anticipation. I expected to find the report of a constructive policy laid down by the leader of the opposition on that occasion, and what was his policy?

Subtopic:   THE BUDGET
Full View Permalink