Personal Data

Conservative (1867-1942)
Huron North (Ontario)
Birth Date
March 23, 1877
Deceased Date
April 20, 1936

Parliamentary Career

September 12, 1927 - May 30, 1930
  Huron North (Ontario)
July 28, 1930 - August 14, 1935
  Huron North (Ontario)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 54 of 55)

March 15, 1928


Furthermore, I went to school to his father, one of the old pioneer school teachers. I met Mr. Deachman in the corridor the other night and I said to him, "Bob, what is the Consumers' League? Are there three or four in it besides the government?" He replied, "Oh, there are perhaps

JFat/s and Means-Customs Tariff

one or two hundred". But before Bob could tell me anything more about it a couple of gentlemen close to the front benches put their arms about him and remarked, "Come on, you are positively a good Liberal". And he is a good Liberal. He writes letters to the Liberal papers in my riding every week contributing propaganda. I should like to know, therefore, what his real connection is with this government, and who brought him to this beautiful Washington of the north to live. You cannot kid Huron county so far as the Consumers' League is concerned. The Minister of Finance, the Minister of Trade and Commerce and other cabinet ministers kidded them once, but these gentlemen cannot kid them again. As an infant, so to speak, who is just groping about in the dark, fearful of various hidden dangers, I beseech the minister to tell me what a lobbyist is. If he cannot give a verbal description of one I would ask him in all kindness to draw me a picture of the chairman of his tariff board, who has been the most expert lobbyist and who brought the railway situation into the mess it was once in. At least, the minister might give me his picture. At any rate, I deny the charge that I have been met by lobbyists, so far as I know what the word means.

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March 8, 1928


Who built the Grand

Trunk Pacific?

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March 1, 1928


Or Fort William. But

my people decided that even if we never had a leader they would trust me to come to the House of Commons rather than a follower of the King administration. It was a most childish argument because I had an able house leader who was not going to desert the party and within nineteen days of my election we were meeting in Winnipeg to select a permanent leader, so I was not going to be an orphan for very long. They wanted to know who was my leader. Let them take a look at him now. We have a leader of the Liberal-Conservative party who is a worthy successor to the great leaders of the past, a man of wide business experience, of the highest legal attainments, of ripe education, a trained parliamentarian, a man of whose service the president of one of our greatest banks could say along with the rest of the directors that they had lost a man whose business experience nationally and internationally was such a great asset that they will suffer an irreparable loss; and the people

The Budget-Mr. Spotton

of Canada will say ,at the earliest opportunity that a man of that type will make a good business manager for this Dominion.

It has been heralded throughout Canada that the Robb budgets have been very popular. I am not boasting; neither on various public platforms nor in private have I boasted of our victory in North Huron. I have been defeated and I have taken my defeat gracefully; I was elected and I took my election modestly; but the latest tribunal to which the Robb budget was submitted was in North Huron on September 12 last. When the Prime Minister came to my constituency he was paraded down our streets with the calliope ahead, and there was with him a stripe of cabinet minister to suit every stripe of elector in my constituency. The matter was placed in this way before the electors by the Prime Minister: "You have an admirable county"-and so we have. The hon. member for South Huron (Mr. McMillan) and I can at least agree with the Prime Minister that the county of Huron is the greatest county in Canada, a little country in itself. We have shipping interests, manufacturing interests, fishing interests; we have great agricultural lands and the finest type of people in this Dominion. There we have practically every class of people that are interested in any great Robb budget. The King administration will not say for a moment that the Robb budget was not fairly placed before the electorate of North Huron. I read this from the Goderich Signal, a Liberal paper:

The ministerial party included the Hon. Lu-cien Cannon, Solicitor General; Hon. J. C. Elliott, Minister of Public Works; Hon. James Malcolm, Minister of Trade and Commerce.

These were just at the one meeting.

Others on the platform were P. G. Sanderson, M.P., South Perth; Wellington Hay, M.P., North Perth; M. F. Hepburn, M.P., West Elgin; W. H. Taylor, M.P. Norfolk-Elgin; Thomas McMillan, M.P., South Huron; W. T. Goodison, M.P., West Lambton: Dr. W. A. Hall, M.P., South Bruce; Senator Rankin, of Stratford; T. Cayley, M.P., South Oxford: W. G. Raymond, ex-M.P., Brantford.

And hosts of others. That was the first shot, Wingham in the afternoon and Goderich at night. We were glad that many of these men stayed in the riding for several weeks. We were pleased to welcome members from all parts of Ontario and even a couple from Quebec. These men were valiant fighters and I have no complaint against them because they had a perfect right to come into our riding. They brought in excellent organizers, some of whom had been there for the six months previous, but as we drew nearer to

the election there came along those fellows who could not look you just as clearly in the eye as could our good friends opposite. The King administration presented the Robb budget and the jury of North Huron spoke. Of course our friends of the government will say: This was an accident; it was a three-cornered contest; that is, like-minded Liberals and Progressives were split and the Tories slipped in between. That is why they keep on whistling to keep their courage up, like the boy going through the cemetery at night. But the fact remains that in 1925, John W. King, a life-long Liberal, stood on the platform and said he was one hundred per cent Progressive, and the Prime Minister of this country sent in a secret message which was placed in every Liberal home telling them to get behind John W. King; that he was as good a supporter of the government as any Liberal. This was supplemented by Liberal organizers and Liberal sinews of war. The contest was so close that the county judge awarded me the seat and the high court judge reversed his decision. So it was not any great accident that occurred on September 12th of last year. If we turn back to the votes in 1896, 1900, 1994, and 1911 in the municipalities which comprise the new riding of North Huron and in which Judge Lewis, Mr. Bowman and Doctor Chisholm used to run, the results were as near a tie as you could get. Just a few months before our by-election on September 12th last, a Liberal member was elected in North Huron -the identical riding which I represent-in the Ontario elections by over 2,000 of a majority. Therefore our friends can take any cold comfort they like. They may point to the war-time election of 1917, but at that time our citizens, regardless of politics, were supporting the Union government. I mention this just to show that when the Robb budget was presented to the jury of North Huron, it received a fair testing out and the Prime Minister said that he would take it as a commendation or a condemnation. In addition to that we had these high pressure salesmen in the riding.

I was twitted with not having a leader, but the Prime Minister only thinks he is leading. He is just being pushed around. If you ask him were he is going, he says: Ask the crowd behind. This administration reminds me of the "Maid of the Mist" down at Niagara Falls. It starts out and it just goes around in a circle: it is not propelled in any way, it is just carried here and there wherever the current takes it, and it lands back at the place it started from. But they are one of the best advertising agencies that Canada ever

The Budget-Mr. Spotton

had, the best advertising agency that I know, and they are so busy advertising that they forget to do a little work. Abraham Lincoln once said of an opponent in a law court who was making a great deal of fuss over nothing, that his friend reminded him of a boat on the Sangamon river that puffed and snorted about. It had a five-foot boiler and a seven-foot whistle, and every time the whistle blew the boat stopped. This administration, it appears to me, are so busy blowing their whistle that they have not had much time to bring forward any real legislation to assist the people in North Huron or elsewhere.

We are told that we have great prosperity in Canada. After the King meeting at Goderich I met a fellow outside and he was counting his money. I said to him: " What are you doing here, Bill? " " Well," he says, " I was a poor man when I went into that meeting but I am a rich man now." He says, " I know I must be because they told me I was, and I have been looking at my one dollar bills and I thought they would have become tens, and I have been looking at my twos and I thought they would have become twenties, and I have been looking at my fives and I thought they would have become fifties, and," he says, " I had a ten and I thought it would have become a hundred, but " he says, " they are here just as they were." He wrote me afterwards that when he returned home he asked his wife if they were prosperous and she said, " No, there are many things which I would like to get. It is costing more to live and we are not getting any more money than we did a few years ago. It may be all right for the very rich in this country, but so far as we are concerned there is no great prosperity here."

Lest I forget, I would just like to tell right now about a class of people who certainly are not prosperous, and that is the rural mail carriers in my riding. The Postmaster General is prosperous, his deputy may be prosperous, the men in his department may be prosperous, but the rural mail carriers in my riding are not prosperous. I cannot understand how in the whole civil service of the Dominion of Canada the poor fellows who drive the old mare and go over the snow banks every day on his majesty's service are the only ones that have to stand up every four years and be shot at, and hired at starvation wages. I know the Postmaster General (Mr. Veniot) will say that we put the routes up to tender, and why do they tender if they do not want the job? I want to say that if the postmaster generalship were advertised to-night, I believe the Postmaster

General would take three or four thousand dollars less a year to hold the job.

Topic:   $ 9,415,291 4,519,690 21,236 $13,956,217 816,487 $14,772,704 2,956,689 4,610,984 135,001 5,982,407 13,685,081 MARCH 1, 192S
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March 1, 1928

Mr. GEORGE SPOTTON (North Huron):

Mr. Speaker, in attempting to address the house for the first time I am sure I shall have your kindly sympathy, and if I transgress any parliamentary rule I know you will reprove me in a fatherly fashion.

Inasmuch as this is my first appearance in parliament I suppose it would be quite in order for me to congratulate you, Mr. Speaker, upon your re-election as speaker of the house. From what I have observed you have always displayed the most admirable qualities of heart and head, and have always held the scales of justice evenly. May I take this opportunity also to thank all the members of the house for the kindly manner in which they have received me.

A feeling of deep regret and sorrow creeps over me when I realize that I am simply filling out the term of the late lamented John W. King, who was elected for the constituency of North Huron in the federal election of 1926. The late Mr. King and I were opponents in 1921 when the Progressive movement was at its height. We were again opponents in 1925 when the courts had to decide who should take a seat in this house. Whether in the heat of election, or otherwise, I found the late lamented member a man who stood four-square to all the winds that blow. I am sure, Mr. Speaker, that in voicing my own feeling with respect to him who was called home I am expressing the sentiments of everyone in North Huron. We feel that our county is the poorer for his death and that Canada has lost one of her noblest sons.

In the few remarks I purpose making I hope that my friends on this side will not expect too much from me, and I trust that even if hon. gentlemen opposite do not agree with me they will at least be sympathetic. I wish to tell them that I am always open to conviction.

We have been hearing a great deal of late about a deliverance which has been heralded from the Atlantic to the Pacific as the Robb budget. It appears that the budget is an

annual event, and opinions differ a great deal with respect to it. Evidently the present government feel that every time the budget comes down there must be some tinkering with the tariff. I should like to see a tariff which would possess some element of permanency and remain in operation for at least a period of five or ten years so that the manufacturers of this country would know where they stood and would not always have a club held over their heads.

When I look into the faces of some of the ministers who visited our riding during the last election I recall the fact that I was told on the hustings that I had some nerve to be a candidate for the great Liberal-Conservative party because that party had no leader. The Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) himself when he came to the constituency with his troop emphasized the idea very strongly that it was rather audacious on my part as an humble citizen, a native eon of Huron, to put myself up as a candidate because I had no leader. Well, we reminded him, Mr. Speaker, that he had directed the affairs of this government from the gallery for a time. We reminded him also that we had as temporary leader a parliamentarian of wide experience, and if that gentleman was to be permanent leader I would be quite satisfied and so would my constituents. I was asked whether I was going to follow a man from Calgary or from Montreal or from Guelph.

Topic:   $ 9,415,291 4,519,690 21,236 $13,956,217 816,487 $14,772,704 2,956,689 4,610,984 135,001 5,982,407 13,685,081 MARCH 1, 192S
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March 1, 1928


We have also been told that we are emigration agents for the United States. Now, Mr. Speaker, if I had a son twenty-one years old, fully equipped for life, and he came to me and said: "Dad, all my friends who have gone to the United States have made good, and those who have remained here are getting along indifferently with no bright prospects," I would be torn between my love for British institutions and the material welfare of my son. But why should I? For I fancy that about the only time the Prime Minister of Canada (Mr. Mackenzie King) ever went out to seek a living he went to the United States.

Topic:   $ 9,415,291 4,519,690 21,236 $13,956,217 816,487 $14,772,704 2,956,689 4,610,984 135,001 5,982,407 13,685,081 MARCH 1, 192S
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