Mr. HARRY BUTCHER (Last Mountain):
I have noticed that three or four of the newer members who have recently spoken have said they have risen with diffidence. To say that I have risen with diffidence would be altogether to underestimate my feelings at the present moment. I must confess that I have not yet overcome the sense of awe I experienced when I first entered this chamber. When I looked upon the faces of men whose names have been household words in Canada for many years, whose speeches I have been reading for many years, men on both sides of the house, men I have come to feel that I knew personally, although I had never met them or spoken to them, I felt it would be almost an impertinence for one like myself, with so little knowledge, with so little ability to express himself, to rise and give utterance to the opinions I hold. Nevertheless I hold certain opinions that are the result of reading, the result of meeting with other men who have become possessed of knowledge in the political world, and I feel it is my duty to give expression to those opinions to-night, because that was one of the purposes for which I was elected in July last.
I should like to say first of all that I frankly and freely admit that the Conservative party in power to-day is not and cannot be held wholly responsible for the unhappy conditions that exist at the present time both in the matter of the lack of market for our farm products and in the matter of unemployment. I must say however that in my opinion, in the
matter of a market for farm products, the situation was aggravated somewhat by the legislation passed at the short session of parliament; and I firmly believe, in the matter of unemployment, that time will prove that even in that respect the legislation of the last session has been an aggravation rather than otherwise.
During the election campaign our opponents in the west, and in the east too, were blaming the policies of the Liberal party for the unhappy conditions then existing. We did not believe that we were to blame. On the other hand, we were willing to accept the reasoned opinions of those who were fully conversant with world conditions. I have before me an opinion expressed by Sir Frederick Williams-Taylor, vice-president of the Bank of Montreal, as published in the Financial Times of London, England. He said:
Canada, except for the wheat situation which is slowly correcting itself, has been less affected than almost any other country by the economic and industrial crisis through which the world at large is at present passing.
About the same time Mr. J. C. Waugh, President of Brydges and Waugh Limited, financial agents of Winnipeg, said:
I had the pleasure recently of meeting a very prominent English business man. He was on his return from a tour around the world.
I was telling him of our grain situation here. He said, "You know, your situation is not peculiar. Australia's wool market, Mexico's silver market, Brazil's coffee market, Cuba's sugar market, the United States' grain and cotton market, and practically the market of every producing country in the world, is each in just as difficult a position as yours here. In England we have been going through these conditions for nine years, and I should say that Canada seems to be the last place to have been affected.
I am led to the conclusion that even our Conservative opponents in the west were not quite sincere when they said that they held us responsible for those unhappy conditions to which I have referred. I notice to-day they are inclined to blame world conditions for this situation. I notice that even the Prime Minister (Mr. Bennett) at Calgary on January 3rd is reported by a Canadian Press-despatch as having made a statement to this effect. He himself did not use the following, words; they are the words of the correspondent. I quote:
Application of temporary measures to correct present economic conditions will not satisfy Premier R. B. Bennett. He is determined to unearth the final causes of the present depression and lay a secure foundation for permanent future prosperity. So he told a large gathering of his fellow-citizens of Calgary assembled Friday at a luncheon arranged jointly by the board of trade, the young men's section of the board' of trade and the ICiwanis club.
The Address-Mr. Butcher
"I cannot make up my mind," lie said, "why this country between the lake and the mountains should experience the depression, why people who have lived here for years should now find themselves without any accumulation of goods, sometimes without the barest necessities of life." _
Mr. Bennett said he had no fixed idea as to the answer to the questions which came to his mind, but was determined to find it. With a country with the credit of Canada palliatives could easily be supplied, but it was essential to provide for lasting security. The government was confronted not only with a problem of adjustment, but with the necessity of finding and eradicating the ultimate causes of depression.
From that it seems clear that the Prime Minister himself did not believe that Liberal policies were the cause of the depression that existed; but on the other hand he declared that he was setting out to discover what those causes actually were. Notwithstanding the fact that I cannot find it reasonable to blame the Conservative party, the government of to-day for the conditions that exist, I think I am quite justified in again reminding the Prime Minister and his followers that they were pledged to remedy the situation at once, forthwith. The Prime Minister himself said that if he were returned to power he would end unemployment; he would cause unemployment to be a bogey to be laughed at. He further said that he would force a way into the markets of the world for our wheat. Surely we have a right to believe that the Prime Minister was sincere when he uttered those words, and we have a right to say t<5 him: Redeem your promises; you were returned to power upon the understanding that you would fulfil this promise forthwith after your election.
I am going to add that the present Prime Minister did redeem two promises which he made, and he redeemed them very promptly. The first of those promises was that a special session should be called to deal with these matters; the second was that at that special session provision would be made for unemployment relief. Both of those promises were kept. The special session was called as soon as possible after the people had recorded their verdict. At that special session an amount of $20,000,000 was, as we all know, voted for the relief of unemployment; but this vote of $20,000,000, important as it was, for the relief of unemployment, was but a trifling matter when compared to the vote to The vested interests, to the manufacturing interests of this country, by way of increased tariffs. All this was on a special plea of "Canada first." Within the breast of every man in this chamber to-day there is a "Canada first" heart, a heart that beats first
for Canada. I was not born in this land; I was bom in old England. I did not come here until I was thirty years of age, but I will yield to no man in my love for this Canada of ours. I have good reason to love it. It is twenty-seven years ago to-day that I passed for the first time a few miles south of Ottawa. I think the Canadian Pacific at that time ran some thirty or forty miles south of this city; at any rate, we did not enter Ottawa. I know this country has been for me and mine a land not only to have been desired before we came here, but in which we have been glad to find our home during the last twenty-seven years. We yield to no one in our love for Canada, but we say that in the matter of how best we may serve the Canada we love, there is a difference of opinion between us. Our friends to your right, Mr. Speaker, think we best serve Canada by having a very high tariff wall that will close out the manufactured goods of other countries. I had thought of a comparison I was going to use, one that had already been used, a tariff like unto the Chinese wall, suggesting not so much height, as mass, impassability. But I think the illustration that was used by another hon. member was a better one. He used the term "as high as Haman's gallows." May I remind the house of one or two facts in connection with that tall structure that has come to be known as Haman's gallows? The idea of building that gallows was conceived by a great man who might justly have been called the Hon. Mr. Haman.
Topic: SPEECH FROM THE THRONE
Subtopic: CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON THE ADDRESS IN REPLY