Hugh GUTHRIE

GUTHRIE, The Hon. Hugh, P.C.

Personal Data

Party
Conservative (1867-1942)
Constituency
Wellington South (Ontario)
Birth Date
August 13, 1866
Deceased Date
November 3, 1939
Website
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hugh_Guthrie
PARLINFO
http://www.parl.gc.ca/parlinfo/Files/Parliamentarian.aspx?Item=a8b2b613-dd5c-4a22-8f22-c0e4f180c7b6&Language=E&Section=ALL
Profession
lawyer

Parliamentary Career

November 7, 1900 - September 29, 1904
LIB
  Wellington South (Ontario)
November 3, 1904 - September 17, 1908
LIB
  Wellington South (Ontario)
October 26, 1908 - July 29, 1911
LIB
  Wellington South (Ontario)
September 21, 1911 - October 6, 1917
LIB
  Wellington South (Ontario)
  • Solicitor General of Canada (October 4, 1917 - October 11, 1917)
December 17, 1917 - October 4, 1921
UNION
  Wellington South (Ontario)
  • Solicitor General of Canada (October 12, 1917 - July 4, 1919)
  • Solicitor General of Canada (July 5, 1919 - January 23, 1920)
  • Minister of Militia and Defence (January 24, 1920 - July 9, 1920)
  • Solicitor General of Canada (January 24, 1920 - July 9, 1920)
  • Minister of Militia and Defence (July 10, 1920 - December 28, 1921)
  • Solicitor General of Canada (July 10, 1920 - September 30, 1921)
December 6, 1921 - September 5, 1925
CON
  Wellington South (Ontario)
  • Minister of Militia and Defence (July 10, 1920 - December 28, 1921)
October 29, 1925 - July 2, 1926
CON
  Wellington South (Ontario)
  • Minister of National Defence (June 29, 1926 - July 12, 1926)
  • Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada (June 29, 1926 - July 12, 1926)
September 14, 1926 - May 30, 1930
CON
  Wellington South (Ontario)
  • Minister of National Defence (July 13, 1926 - September 24, 1926)
  • Leader of the Official Opposition (October 11, 1926 - October 11, 1927)
July 28, 1930 - August 14, 1935
CON
  Wellington South (Ontario)
  • Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada (August 7, 1930 - August 11, 1935)
August 25, 1930 - August 14, 1935
CON
  Wellington South (Ontario)
  • Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada (August 7, 1930 - August 11, 1935)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 1853 of 1854)


March 19, 1901

Mr. GUTHRIE.

I have read that report- it is wrong.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS-THE BUDGET.
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February 11, 1901

Mr. GUTHRIE.

Every day experience in the business world proves that the golden era of prosperity shows up to the present time no apparent sign of diminution, but on the contrary, Canadians may look forward to even vaster and more profitable commercial operations in the future than they have enjoyed in the past. I am well aware, Sir, that it is a vexed question as to what precise degree of credit the administration of the day is entitled to for the very happy surroundings which we now see on all sides. I do not know that any useful purpose can be served by an examination of the facts with the view of ascertaining just what the legitimate claims of the government are in that respect. I assume, Sir, that the government itself rests content with the knowledge, not only that its fiscal policy has received the approval of the great bulk of the community, but likewise with the knowledge that it must have received a considerable degree of approval even in the estimation of those who seem-iugly opposed it. It was approved at least to this extent : that its opponents did not see fit to offer any well defined alternative policy of their own but rather contented themselves with a desultory and indefinite sort of criticism of the general and detailed policy of the administration. I am well aware that I would enter upon highly contentions ground if I were to attempt a discussion of these much-debated subjects. However, I believe I may be permitted to remark in passing, that no matter how marked may be the division of opinion upon the government's rightful dues in these respects, upon another phase of the question, there is a singular unanimity of opinion in Canada, and that is, that if the course of those who are opposed to the policy of the government has in any degree whatever contributed to the general prosperity, it is in a degree so minute as to be quite imperceptible.

Topic:   '23 COMMONS
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February 11, 1901

Mr. GUTHRIE.

Canada and the United States would be a very large measure ol' reciprocal trade, there seems to be just as uniform an opinion, on tlm other side of the line, that the proper policy for that country is a high protective system. When the McKinley tariff was first put in force, there were many Canadians who considered that something like a staggering blow had been dealt to a large part of the commerce of this country. But, I do not think that, at this period of time, any one would say that the adoption of that high tariff was an evil unmixed with a large element of blessing. If it did nothing else, it made us more independent and put us on our resources and our mettle. Nevertheless, the fact remains that when that tariff did come into operation it seriously disorganized and disarranged a large portion of the trade of this country by cutting it off from the market where it had been profitably disposed of for many years. But our people, during that crisis in our history, showed their adaptability to circumstances and their readiness to meet new conditions. They said : If we cannot send our horses and

barley and hay and other products to the United States, where we have been sending them for years, we will find new markets for them. There was then a Conservative government in power. In my humble opinion and belief, if ever an opportunity was offered in the history of this country for the display of some of those qualities of statesmanship, the possession of which that government was never tired of boasting and proclaiming to the country, that opportunity came to them shortly after the McKinley tariff went into operation in 1891. The whole cry of our people then was for new markets. The cry was a loud and prolonged one. But, whether due to the fact that the administration of that day turned an absolutely deaf ear to the appeal, or that they did not realize the necessities of the situation, or whether long years of power had rendered them careless and had imbued them with the idea that they had themselves become one of the fixed institutions of the country-whatever was the cause, certain it is they calmly rested on their oars, and year after year pursued the Micawber policy of ' waiting for something to turn up.' During all that time did the cry continue. Divine providence had done its part in giving us uniformly abundant harvests, but still the cry went up for new markets. In 1896 the elections came on, and that cry had its effect, and the government of that day was relieved from further duty and a new order of things established.

It was a bold stroke-and if we may judge by results it was a wise stroke taken by the incoming administration in the first few months of its tenure of office, when it adopted what has now become the settled trade policy of this country so far as the mother land is concerned. The administration seemed to cut away from all the old

moorings, and gave a preference to tlie mother country upon tlie principle of giving a little in order to gain a little, and the principle has worked well. I am free to say that I was one of those whose ignorance and inexperience did not enable them to see just what the effect of that movement was going to he. There were many others in the country like me, but I think I may claim credit to myself, that I have risen superior to many of those who thought with me, because now I do realize what some of them do not yet admit, how advantageously that policy has operated in our behalf. I submit that if any impartial man will take up the

the mother land has increased in the last two or three years, he cannot fail to come to the conclusion that the preference to the mother land has been a direct moving power in the increase of our export trade. I know it is said that the increase is largely in food products, and that there is no increase to any great extent in the ordinary manufacturing output of tlie country. But, we must not forget that the latter trade is as yet only in its infancy; and if we can compete with the United States in food products in the mother land, there is no reason why we cannot. with equal success, compete with them in other products, because we can meet them both in price and quality.

I know also that not very long ago it was held by some of the leading men of this country that the ideal position for Canada to occupy was that of a sort of vast emporium for the supply of raw material to the world. There were men who considered that that position would be infinitely more beneficial to us than any other. But that is an exploded idea to-day. All modern efforts, all modern energy, ijoint in the opposite direction.

Topic:   '23 COMMONS
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February 11, 1901

Mr. GUTHRIE.

I believe, Mr. Speaker, that it is a well recognized fact that there is a certain peculiar spirit of generosity which frequently pervades the mind of the victor in the hour of his victory, and I think the hon. members on this side of the House will be generous enough and candid enough to acknowledge the many, grave difficulties which involved their opponents and against which their opponents were compelled to contend, not only in the recent general election, but likewise in the general election of 1896. We will remember that in 1896 our opponents were a government battling against adversity and in 1900 they were an opposition battling against prosperity. While there was a marked similarity in the difficulties of the two situations, there was a marked dissimilarity in the conditions under which they were forced to contend. I am satisfied that neither of these difficult positions-neither that of 1896 nor that of 1900-was the result of deliberate choice, these were rather the result of what I might term the admixture of fault and of misfortune. It was largely fault In 1896, and it was largely misfortune in 1900 which compelled hon. gentlemen opposite to labour under those unfavourable conditions. At this distance of time we have probably grown more candid than we were immediately after the event and I think it will now be readily assented to on all hands, that if the prevailing commercial distress in Canada for two or three years prior to 1896 was not wholly the result, it was very largely the result of the misdirected efforts of the Conservative administration of that day. And though we may not as readily admit it to-day, I believe that in two or three years, when we have grown more candid, we will admit that the very marked prosperity in Canada to-day, if not entirely, is very largely the result of the well-directed efforts of the administration of this day. Of lion, members opposite one might be permitted to say that their difficulty as a government in 1898 was to excuse adversity, while their difficulty as an opposition in 1900 was to explain away prosperity : and in order to achieve this end with as little injury as possible to the credit of the government of 1896 and to allow as little credit as possible to the government of 1900, they boldly proclaimed to the people that these very wide-apart conditions of commerce in this country were not the result of the acts or omission of any government, but were entirely the result of the prevailing trade conditions throughout the world. Their argument in a reduced form was simply this, that depression throughout the world renders Canadian success impossible, and commercial prosperity throughout the world renders depression in this country impossible. Now, Sir, while that argument might be applied to some countries, it is, in my humble opinion in the case of Canada, a thoroughly fallacious and

perhaps pernicious one, and one not likely to inspire any very great confidence in the future of the country.

I do not offer these remarks, Sir, in any spirit of unkind criticism, nor with the idea of exciting discussion upon them; hut I oiler them more as a prelude to a statement which I would now venture to make. Whether it has arisen from the course of hon. gentlemen opposite, whether, perhaps, in some degree it may have arisen from the course of hon. gentlemen on this side of the House during their somewhat prolonged training as an opposition, or whether it arises entirely from other causes, there is in Canada an opinion of some prevalence which I think should be discouraged; that is, that trade conditions in this country are almost entirely dominated or controlled by trade conditions throughout the world-that the world's prosperity is necessary to ensure Canadian success, and that world-wide trade depression will involve this country in calamity as surely as night follows day. Now, Sir, I for one most emphatically dissent from a proposition involving such a wholesale admission that the trade conditions of this country are so entirely dependent upon foreign conditions. While it would be unreasonable to argue that we can pursue the even tenor of our way in peace and plenty, absolutely indifferent to or independent of external conditions, what I do maintain is this, that Canada should be far less dependent upon external conditions than almost any other nation in the world. Be the world's distress as marked as it may be, that is no conclusive reason why with reasonably progressive and able government, Canada should not at all times and under all circumstances enjoy a very fair measure of prosperity, and no period of prolonged or marked distress at all. I do not believe we shall ever go seriously behind the proud record which has been established in the last few years. Certain it is that without the very grossest mismanagement and incapacity, Canada will never be relegated to that humiliating, that melancholy condition through which Canadians made so gallant a struggle for two or three years prior to 1896.

I do not make these remarks in any spirit of idle boasting. I believe the position is well backed up by the facts. I feel that we occupy a position of superior advantage to that of other commercial nations, and superior advantage to that of our chief trade competitor, the United States. Hon. members know far better than I do the facts and reasons that go to prove the truth of this assertion. I can only mention a few of them, and discuss them most superficially.

In the first place, we are a very new and young country. National youth may involve some disabilities; but it has compensating advantages, and Canada's youth is by no

means the least of her advantages. We have an intelligent and educated population, and a population capable of great adaptability ; and that is a great thing in a country offering such a diversity of opportunity as Canada offers.

Then, Sir, a more important reason is that we have untold natural wealth. The natural wealth of this country is its reserve capital, a capital which has hardly yet been drawn upon at all-resources, not piled in impossible situations, not stored under impossible conditions, but for the most part ready for the hand of man. Take not only the fact that we have these resources, but consider the nature of the resources. Look at the natural products of the country, look at all the products of the country, if you will, and what will strike one who examines the trade reports is the very great proportion of our total trade which is made up of that class of commerce which the world deems necessaries, and the relatively small proportion of our trade which is made up of that class of commerce which the world calls luxuries. Older countries claiming greater refinement and larger riches, go into the production of luxuries to a far greater extent than a new country does; and in a moment of world-wide depression that country which produces luxuries is the country first to suffer, while the country which produces the prime necessaries of life, as Canada does in abundance, will be the last country in the world to feel the depression. There will never be a time, Sir, when the people do not want bread, meat, and the other food products which this country offers. There will never be a time when the commercial requirements of the age will not demand iron, steel, timber, fuel and the like articles of prime necessity which Canada can supply in abundance.

Then, Sir, as another reason why we occupy so essentially good a position, consider the natural advantages of the country. Take the great waterways extending from the very heart of the country to the seaboard; improved, it is true, by artificial means involving great expenditure, but now forming a reasonably complete system from the centre of the country to the Atlantic ocean. If there is one thing which the government of the day, and perhaps parliament, may take credit for, it is the manner in which they have viewed the question of transportation in recent years. I do not think anything has been done in recent years that has been more appreciated by the people of Canada than the wise expenditure which has taken place in bettering the transportation facilities of this country. The man who ten years ago would predict that raw fruit grown in Canada would be exhibited in Europe and carry off many of the leading prizes there, would have been looked upon as an idle dreamer: yet. Sir, in this first year of the new century, that is an accomplished fact; and that fact alone

opens up boundless possibilities for the future trade of this country.

These are some of the reasons why I claim that Canada occupies a position of pre-eminent advantage. I know that it may be said that all I have advanced may be advanced equally on behalf of our great trade competitor, the United States. It may be said that they have an intelligent people, great resources and great waterways, that they produce an abundance of the necessaries of life, and still that country does suffer from periods of marked depression- why not Canada ? Well, Sir, while a few years ago that might be an argument, almost a conclusive argument, against us, the relative position has since become changed and no longer can it be seriously advanced. There was, a few years ago, some degree of parallel, but we have reached a point when there is no longer any parallel between the two situations. We have now, I maintain, a position of far greater advantage than that enjoyed by the United States. It took us a long time to recognize that we had such a position and to appreciate it, but now that we have given due recognition to the fact, each succeeding year will magnify that advantage. Just so long as Great Britain continues to be the great commercial centre of the world, just so long as she continues the dominant factor in the money markets of the world, just so long as we find in her one of the great consuming, powers -the great publishing and distributing power in the world's commerce-and just so long as we maintain our present trade relations with the mother land, Canada is bound to enjoy a pre-eminent advantage over her chief trade competitor.

We have always been a part of the British Empire, relatively speaking, for a century and a half at least, we have been a part of that system, but the bond between the mother land and the colony has been, for the greater part, one of sentiment. It was one which afforded us sentimental gratification, it is true. We were delighted that we were British subjects, living under British rule, enjoying British institutions, but beyond that sentimental gratification, tiie bond was a very vague and visionary affair. Well, Mr. Speaker, we still enjoy that sentimental gratification and have increased it a hundredfold, but we have today besides a still stronger bond-the material bond of commercial advantage.

Now, if you will permit me I will for a moment go back a little to advert briefly to what many of us, myself included, looked upon as a sort of crisis in the affairs of this country. I refer to that period of time when the United States adopted towards Canada what many looked upon as a distinctly hostile tariff. I think it was in 1891 that the McKinley tariff was first put in force, and while I have no doubt that there is a uniform opinion in Canada to-day that the ideal trade condition both for

Topic:   '23 COMMONS
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February 11, 1901

Mr. HUGH GUTHRIE (South Wellington).

Mr. Speaker, I beg to move that an humble address be presented to His Excellency the Governor General of Canada in reply to the Speech from the Throne, and in rising to perform this important duty, permit me to say, at the outset, that 1 am deeply sensible of the high honour which has been conferred upon me in my selection for the important task. I am also well aware of the difficulties which beset my path, and I would ask, Sir, with great respect, that the House would view my shortcomings with that lenience which in times past it has bestowed upon hon. members under similar circumstances. My inexperience will, perhaps, appear the greater, and I trust, on that account, your indulgence will be the less restricted, when i inform you that the past two or three days have furnished the only opportunity which I have ever had, even as a mere spectator, of witnessing the deliberations of this House ; so that my request is by no means a formal one, but by all means a most sincere one, when I ask you to bear with me for a short time whie I endeavour humbly to discharge the honourable duty which has been cast upon me. Hon. members will agree at the outset, when I remark that parliament has met upon the present occasion under circumstances, which, while they are both solemn and momentous, are likewise without parallel in the history and experience of the House. We have now embarked upon the first session of a new parliament, in the first year of a new century, and in the first year of the reign of a new sovereign. While these are conditions which render the present session more or less unique, there are other conditions which render it more than ordinarily impressive. During the brief period which intervened between the autumn dissolution and the meeting of the present House, an event of world-wide magnitude and importance has transpired in the British Empire in the death of our late Sovereign Lady the Queen, and the consequent demise of the Crown upon her illustrious son and successor His Majesty King Edward VII. It would be utterly impossible for me to add anything to the eloquent and finished tributes which have already been paid in this House to the memory of our late Queen,

tributes which so fully and so appropriately express not only the sentiments of the House, but likewise the sentiments of the whole country. Permit me only to remark in this respect, that the long and glorious reign which has just been brought to a close will for many years to come form a particularly bright spot in British history to which Canadians will look with the greatest veneration and gratitude. It was the reign that gave Canada national birth ; the reign which raised her from a position of comparative colonial obscurity to the high position she occupies to-day in British history. It was the reign which not only gave us a constitution, but which moulded and construed our constitution and rendered it the almost perfect system of government it is to-day. It is gratifying to our pride to know that our Canadian constitution has been veiy largely adopted as a model for the federation into one great British territory at the other side of the globe. To the people of the Australian Commonwealth the people of Canada extend most hearty greeting and most cordial congratulation.

Her late Majesty acceded to the Throne through a long line of noble ancestors, a line to which her own reign has added untold dignity and splendour. And, while we mourn her loss, yet we can rejoice that she has left us a strong line of her own royal blood and descent who, by God's grace we pay, may long be spared to reign over us.

Topic:   ADDRESS IN ANSWER TO HIS EXCELLENCY'S SPEECH.
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