Mr. L. J. LOVETT (Digby-Annapolis) :
Mr. Speaker, I am going to trespass on the good nature of hon. members for a very brief time in the few remarks I propose to make. I am a new member of this House, and as such, have felt I had much to learn of the proper method of conducting parliamentary business. I must say I have been bitterly disappointed at the way in which up to the present much of the time of this House has been wasted, costing the taxpayers of this country thousands and thousands of dollars. Wasted by the Government? No, but by the many members who have taken hours to express opinions which, presented in concrete form, would have taken only minutes, and been far more forceful in effect.
Are we, a collection of business men entrusted with the serious business of this country, to waste the time of this House in useless discussion merely for the sake of some little personal advantage or of venting some sectional grievance? Is it not our duty to devote our time and energy to assist in passing such legislation as is in the best interests of the country as a whole, in the shortest possible time consistent with its importance?
. Yet, Mr. Speaker, while holding this opinion I would feel I was not performing my duty if I did not at some time during this session, place before this House some of the needs and aspirations of the people I have the honour to serve. I am well aware, Sir, that the House has had the opportunity of hearing members from the eastern part of my province who have outlined the views of the people regarding the Intercolonial railway and the restoration of its management to the Maritime provinces. Let me say right here I am heartily in accord with much that has been said by the hon. gentlemen in this respect, but they have largely, if not entirely, urged the claims of the eastern part of the province. So I am determined hon. members of this House shall not get the impression that the important counties of the province of Nova Scotia are all east of the county of Hants, and that we in western Nova Scotia are merely the tail end, as it were, without any special rights and privileges of our own. Let me say to hon. members that no finer part of this Dominion exists than that section of the beautiful and fertile Annapolis valley which lies in my own constituency, which constituency also embraces a part of Digby county famed for its fishing, lumbering and beautiful tourist resorts,-a combination I believe, Sir, unrivalled in importance, because of its diversity of interests, either by the agricultural districts of the west, or the mining and manufacturing sections of the eastern and central provinces.
Now, Mr. Speaker, in what I am going to say I do not want to be misconstrued or regarded as disloyal, but no one who considers the prosperity of Nova Scotia before Confederation, and her present standing, can dispute my statement, that this province has not benefited commercially from her union with the other provinces. For instance, to give you some intelligent idea of just how slowly Nova Scotia has made progress, the census figures show us that during the last 50 years her population
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has only increased by 136,000 in round numbers. Surely with Nova Scotia's great natural resources there must be something radically wrong, and I am asking this Government to devise a policy that will remove trade barriers, open wider and more profitable markets, lessen freight rates, and remove all those forces which are at present throttling and strangling our industrial life and by so doing restore to her the same prosperity that characterized her before Confederation. It is a fact, an unpleasant fact, that Nova Scotia has not expanded commercially nor has her population increased in the proportion that her great natural resources would warrant. There must be, and there is, some reason for this lack of progress. We men of the Maritime provinces believe that one of the chief forces which has a strangle hold on our commercial expansion is the exorbitant freight rates that prevent shippers and producers placing their products on the markets of Canada, and elsewhere, at a reasonable profit. There can be no incentive to production if the producer cannot sell, and sell at a reasonable profit. The natural market for Nova Scotia products as far as lumbering, fishing and agriculture are concerned, is undoubtedly the United States, and to our sorrow we know that market was closed to us by the defeat of reciprocity in 1911. I do not believe, Sir, that any province of this Dominion suffered so severely from the defeat of reciprocity as did the province of Nova Scotia. Again, I do not believe that this province has had the advantages of a proper immigration policy; and I would say to the present Government that we are looking to it to give greater publicity to our natural advantages, and greater inducements to prospective settlers in this extreme eastern part of the Dominion. There is no reason why Nova Scotia, with her mines, forests, fisheries, and agricultural, fruit producing and grazing lands, should not attract and support five times, yes ten times her present population. Remove trade barriers, open wider and more profitable markets, lower freight rates, grant inducements to settlers, give publicity to her natural resources, and I do not hesitate to state that Nova Scotia would become one of the most prosperous provinces in the whole of this Dominion.
Mr. Speaker, I am not, however, one who is sectional in his views, nor do I claim concessions for my province that would be detrimental to any of the provinces of this Dominion. For, Sir, I believe if we are to have a prosperous Canada it can only come about by a policy of fair play and justice to each and every province, and not by special advantages to any one of them. I am broad enough in my views when making a plea for my own province to likewise make a plea for Canada as a whole, for it is only by the prosperity of every province that we can ever hope to place this great Dominion of ours in the forefront of the great nations of the world. I believe we have in this country of ours-rich beyond measure in her vast natural resources, with a people frugal and industrious-the opportunity, if sanely and wisely governed, to make her one of the greatest countries in the world. Therefore we must in this parliament sink our sectionalism and unite on the broad principle of using every effort to promote the welfare of our country, so near and dear to the heart of every true and loyal Canadian.
We have listened to our Progressive friends, one after another, place before this House the deplorable conditions prevalent in western Canada, and asking that relief of some kind be given to tide the people over their period of depression. We should, and do, deplore the condition that exists, and should be glad to join with them in measures that would alleviate present conditions and place the farmers of the West on a prosperous basis, providing they do not ask for those things which would be detrimental to the other provinces of the Dominion. One can quite understand that in a country such as Canada, with its many complex problems and the many different interests that are demanding recognition, it is rather difficult for any government to satisfy the people as a whole. So I say, let us be reasonable in our demands; let us foster a spirit of give and take; let us put Canada as a whole above sectional interests. When we reach this broad viewpoint-and the sooner it is reached the better-we will justify our existence here as a parliament, elected by the people of Canada-a parliament trying to do things from a national and not a selfish standpoint. The solid delegation sent from Nova Scotia to support the present Government is evidence that the people of this province have faith that the Liberal party policy is best fitted to stimulate our commercial life, and right the wrongs she has been suffering through the policy of the late administration. Like Quebec and Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia has
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given a strong rebuke to the arrogant and extravagant administration that has cursed Canada for the last ten years. The people of eastern Canada thoroughly understand who is responsible for the crushing load of debt under which our Dominion is staggering to-day, and has been one of the strongest factors in establishing a government whose object we believe is to restore some sort of order out of the present financial chaos, mitigate the crushing load of taxation, and again place Canada on a sound economical basis. Nova Scotia has done more than this. We are unique in the gift we have contributed to this Parliament, for is not the present Minister of Finance, the Hon. W. S. Fielding, a Nova Scotian? -the man to whom all Canada is looking to extricate us by his ability and integrity from our present financial difficulties; and that we have not looked in vain is evidenced by the remarkable budget which was presented to this House a few days ago-a budget the provisions of which, I believe, will be recognized by the people of Canada as the nearest approach possible under our present financial situation to lessen burdensome taxation. Now, here is our opportunity to show to the people of Canada that, as their representatives, we will give our support to the efforts the Minister of Finance has made, to raise the necessary funds to meet our gigantic obligations by a tariff that will bear as lightly as possible on the bread winners of this country commensurate with raising the necessary revenue. Taxes there must be, we all acknowledge it, with the incubus of debt placed upon us by our extravagant predecessors.
We have been accused by the hon. members of the official Opposition of broken promises in the proposed budget taxation. I maintain we have not broken faith with the Canadian electors. There has been an honest effort on the part of this Government to lessen expenditure shown in the reduced estimates of the different departments. If the tariff reductions are not as far reaching as some had hoped, our hon. Minister of Finance has given a lucid explanation of the reason for this, and it ill becomes those whose mismanagement and extravagances heaped up financial obligations and left this Government to pay the piper, to criticise, accuse and object to every honest effort made to mitigate our present financial difficulties. I would ask the hon. members of the official Opposition if they do not think the attitude they have assumed of great anxiety for
economy, and anything that would look like not carrying out election platform pledges, must make them seem the wolf in sheep's clothing to the Canadian people whom they, for so many years, misgoverned and who plainly showed them at the polls what they thought of their brand of government. I would say to these hon. members that the people of Canada take their remonstrances and fervid protestations for economy as a huge joke, and have no faith in their sincerity. It is said comparisons are odious, but Mr. Speaker, there is a handsome little animal well known in all parts of Canada good to look at and innocent in appearance, and do you think those who have once suffered from its hidden and obnoxious all prevailing odour would readily turn to it again because of its innocent look and actions? No. They would know they were liable to get the same dose repeated. I tell you, Mr. Speaker, the people of Canada have not had time to forget what they suffered under Tory rule, and could the hon. members directly opposite by hook or crook force the amendment moved by the ex-Minister of Finance (Sir Henry Drayton) through this House and face the country again at an early election, there would not be enough fragments left to call itself a party. Let them beware and try to regain some measure of confidence from the people of this country by giving support to those who are honestly trying to govern Canada well, and who have back of them a record for honest administration.
Mr. Speaker, in conclusion, I wish to reiterate my belief that if this Government is given a fair and reasonable time it will again restore to Canada the same commercial prosperity and national harmony that characterized her during the golden era between 1896 and 1911.