George Reginald GEARY

GEARY, The Hon. George Reginald, P.C., K.C., O.B.E., M.C.

Personal Data

Party
Conservative (1867-1942)
Constituency
Toronto South (Ontario)
Birth Date
August 12, 1873
Deceased Date
April 30, 1954
Website
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Reginald_Geary
PARLINFO
http://www.parl.gc.ca/parlinfo/Files/Parliamentarian.aspx?Item=ddcd7e6c-5622-4615-928a-8df1ac67ee86&Language=E&Section=ALL
Profession
barrister, counsel

Parliamentary Career

October 29, 1925 - July 2, 1926
CON
  Toronto South (Ontario)
September 14, 1926 - May 30, 1930
CON
  Toronto South (Ontario)
July 28, 1930 - August 14, 1935
CON
  Toronto South (Ontario)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 262 of 263)


January 29, 1926

Mr. GEARY:

The hon. gentleman did not give that impression.

Topic:   GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH
Subtopic:   ADDRESS IN REPLY
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January 26, 1926

Mr. GEARY:

By the front door: well, that will be a welcome change to him after the side door he has used for the last few weeks. And1 if he come by the front door, let me say that to the casual observer his entrance will be less complete and considerably less hurried than was the right hon. gentleman's recent exit.

I come once more to my subject. If a definite tariff policy is essential to the good government of this country, how in the name of conscience is the government opposite going

The Address-Mr. McIntosh

to govern, powerless as it is because of varying opinions on the subject of the tariff in its own ranks? This pretence of government should be stopped; there should be stopped this wandering in a maze of instability and uncertainty. Hon. members on all sides, those opposite as well as the "Liberals of the left," should join in putting an end to this unsatisfactory state of affairs. Why fear a dissolution? The defeat must come sooner or later, probably sooner. Why not then anticipate it now, put this government out of power, and go to the people for their judgment just as speedily as can be arranged?

A word more. I agree with all those who have spoken in such glowing terms of the virtues and blessings of unity in this great confederation. But who has spoken of disunion? Who has threatened dismemberment? I have not heard it over here. There is a strong Canadianism in this country yet, perfectly sufficient to carry on the country as it is for all time to come. All it wants is a great national non-sectional policy, and such a policy I believe to be what is generally termed the National Policy, or protection. This policy, I have endeavoured to point out, Mr. Speaker, is immediately necessary for the progress and prosperity of Canada.

Topic:   EDITION
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January 26, 1926

Mr. GEARY:

No. My hon. friend may

have intended so to say, but he certainly, if he will take my word for it, said the Liberal government.

The Address-Mr. Geary

Topic:   EDITION
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January 26, 1926

Mr. GEARY:

That came afterwards.

Topic:   EDITION
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January 26, 1926

Mr. GEARY:

One cannot ask them to

stand in their places; I hear "sure" and "no." I should like to poll them. I am not to have that opportunity, but I do hope each of my hon. friends, as he discusses the matters before the House, will dearly indicate whether or not he believes in a tariff for protection. I must seek to extract from written articles and verbal statements what the Liberal policy was during the last campaign. At Richmond Hill the Prime Minister issued his call to battle. He described his policy in these words: This is the difference; the Liberal tariff policy is a tariff primarily for revenue, as opposed to the Conservative policy of a tariff primarily for protection. Just what the word "primarily" may add to

that statement is beyond me. The Prime Minister, conscious of having made a direct and perhaps understandable statement, referred to it later. in bis manifesto as one which must, of course, have regard to established industries, or something of that sort. Then I refer to the hon. Minister of Agriculture, who said recently in this House that tJhe tariff policy of the Liberal party is a tariff for revenue. I suppose he still adheres to that statement. What a tariff for revenue means to me is a tariff to get revenue; it is a tariff so low that goods will come freely over it and so produce the revenue. It is understandable in that sense, and if that is the policy of my hon. friends I accept from the Minister of Agriculture, at least, his firm declaration as to where he stands. After making the speech at Richmond Hill Mr. King took a wide swing, through the west. I am not sure jvhat happened to his views during his itinerary, but he came back and made a speech at Kingston, a speech which savoured very strongly of protection. In fact, he went so far as to say that if Sir John A. Macdonald, the great leader of the Conservative party, were to rise from his tomb he would be found joining with Mr. King in advocating the policy which he was advocating. But I might point out, Sir, that that speech was made in the evening, and according to the press reports the Prime Minister in the afternoon made a pilgrimage to the tomb of Sir John, where doubtless he saw that all was well. Coming through Durham he had occasion to support Mr. Massey. One may excuse Mr. Massey for some confusion. Some eighteen months before, Mr. Massey had been a convinced and emphatic protectionist, and one understands that the adjectives he used to emphasize his conviction were very potent. At all events, Mr. Massey was a convinced protectionist. But by the time Mr. King reached Durham Mr. Massey had swallowed the pill which Mr. King had sugar-coated in various ways, as perhaps you know. He was also talking something akin to protection, although again I think he was confused. The stock argument of Mr. Massey in that campaign was the old free trade argument heard in the United States, which went, "How can you ever get rich trading jack-knives each with the other?" He brought out that old saying, indicating some little confusion of mind; but he was disposed to agree with Mr. King if he only knew what Mr. King wanted him to agree to.

I have read speeches made by hon. members opposite, to which I draw the attention of the House as more or less indicating the feelings of hon. members on the other side.

The Address-Mr. Geary

The hon. member for Joliette (Mr. Denis) looked toward my hon. friends the "Liberals of the left"-so described by the Minister of Justice (Mr. Lapointe)-and said to them, "We have given up part of our principles for you. At the behest of our leaders we have done what is against our principles"-Liberal tariff concessions were apparently in his mind-"but should you defeat this government we must withdraw our sacrifices." The gallant and hon. member for Quebec South (Mr. Power), although his beautiful language did not reveal his intention quite so directly, in closing his speech quoted those famous lines from Le Chien d'Or and carried his threat into them. He said:

Un temps viendra qui n'est pas venu

Que je mordrai qui m'aura mordu.

I should like to say to my hon. friends the "Liberals of the left" that, as between you and me, I rather think he would like to bite you here and now. The hon. Minister of Justice in a very apt way illustrated his conception of the victory of a week ago Thursday by likening the contest to an ancient race where he who won was not necessarily the competitor who crossed the line first, but he who crossed the line first bearing still alight the torch with which he started. My hon. friend got a judgment-not of the original judges, the people of this country-but a vicarious en-dorsation by this House. But I am curious to know what was the light which he carried across the line. Was it the light of free trade? Was it the light of commercial union? Was it the light of tariff reform? Was it the light of unrestricted reciprocity? Was it the light of the Liberal platform of 1919? Or was it perchance the light of protection, dimmed, darkened and disguised? With my hon. friend's permission I should like rather to adopt the alternative method of competition in that race where a torch was lighted at the commencement, carried on and banded by one relay to another, each striving toward the ultimate goal with the lighted torch. I should like to recall to him that fifty years ago the torch of protection was lighted by the Conservative party, and faithfully and loyally it has been handed down from one to another until today it shines as a beacon light, a guide, to the people of Canada, burning as strongly as ever. The Conservative party, Sir, has right loyally obeyed the injunction so beautifully put by Colonel John McCrae in another connection, when he said:

Take up our quarrel with the foe.

To you from failing hands we throw

The torch: be yours to hold it high.

[DOT] 14011-30

The attitude of my hon. friends opposite and of those to my left has brought together strange companions, strange bedfellows indeed. Let me recall three of them to you. First, one of those protectionists referred to by the hon. member for Joliette; second, a gentleman named Drury, a candidate of the Progressive party in North Simcoe during the last election-he was not opposed by the Liberal party, by the way, and had the endorsation of Mr. ICing when he was quoted as saying "Drury is a Liberal to the core." Mr. Drury's whole attitude may be summed up by one illustration of what he thought and believed when he said: "The way to solve our railway trouble is to buy your rails cheap. Do not buy your rails in Canada. Go to Germany where you can get them for thousands of dollars per mile ;cheaper." Those two gentlemen will want outside positions in the bed as far removed from each other as possible, for the obvious reason that they will be the more difficult of ejectment and the means of exit will be the more ready. I know the very fellow to put in the middle-a certain candidate of Mr. King, a favoured candidate of the late Liberal government, who tried to oust the hon. member for Peel (Mr. Charters). I may say that his aspirations in that regard were attended to with neatness and despatch by the hon. gentleman sitting here at the moment. When Mr. Parker was called upon to address a meeting ,of fruit farmers he was in some difficulty, because he knew they were entitled to a tariff to let them live. So he said to his fruit farmers: "You are suffering and you cannot

sell your produce; you cannot make a living because you cannot get a protective tariff. I am all for giving you a protective tariff and a protective tariff you should have." He said: "That is not orthodox Liberal policy, but it is justice." I thank the gentleman for that clear distinction.

Those three companions must have a covering, and so we 'have this blanket clause which has to do with the tariff board. It may be a bit narrow; they may be pulling a little hard at the edges of it, but it must do. It is a clause which, I submit, is colourless, and ineffective, and it grives no indication of action. It leaves the government free to take the right or the left as it chooses. I find no fault with a proper tariff board. The Conservative party has advocated one for years, but a tariff board can function only if properly organized. It must function according to some defined principle. For instance, India, in her new constitutional character, acting through her fiscal commission, authorised a tariff bomd; but in doing so she laid down clearly

The Address-Mr. Geary

and unmistakably the principles upon which that tariff 'board was to operate. It was to operate upon the principle, I think in that particular case, of protection with discrimination, as it was called, and upon certain principles laid down as the basis of its operations it was to go on to make recommendations in order to carry out the declared principles. But in this case there is no principle upon which the tariff board can operate, and there should be if the tariff board is to operate with any satisfaction to the people of Canada. Assume, if you like, that the Liberal party is protectionist in some points,-and I did hear some hon. members on that side say so individually. If the question is one of protection, the people of this country have to decide in whose hands the matter is safe. Should protection be committed to the hands of the Conservative party, which has always been and still is protectionist, or in the hands of the Liberal government, whose whole record in the matter has been a long story of temporising expediency and a series of uncertain changings. I am very much obliged to the hon. member for Red Deer (Mr. Speakman)-who, I think, is a free trader; he nods his head at the epithet, so I fancy I have the right man-for a statement he -made. He said that he was afraid to trust the Tories because they would carry into effect itheir policy, and he was equally afraid to trust the Grits because they would not carry theirs into effect. The only comment I have to make in that regard is that it is a little difficult to understand how they can neglect to carry out what they have not.

From all this welter of conflicting views, running the gamut from free trade to protection, I should like to find someone to extract some principle. I wish my hon. friends would extract some principle and give it to us. I cannot do it. Will -they put their tariff policy from that end of the room clear around the corner and quarter way up this side of the room? Can we have something which is a clear cut issue between us and, having got that, will they come into the open and fight the matter out with us fairly and squarely? Or, do they intend, as they have done for a long time past, to remain in the lines of Torres Vedras?

I am not one to emphasize bad conditions existing in this country, but we cannot shut our eyes to the fact that things are not good at the moment. Hon. members on both sides of the House may hand me statistics as they please as to unemployment, bu.t I tell them frankly statistics mean nothing to me. I know of the unemployment, and so does every hon. member. There is no use in telling me

that there has been no exodus from this country to the United States. I know there has been, and I think every hon. member knows from his own experience that that is the case. For certain reasons, economic, climatic and otherwise, -we in the Dominion of Canada are forced to submit to unfair competition with other countries, such as low wage countries, countries with different ripening and climatic conditions, countries with the economy of manufacture which manufacturing on a large scale enjoys because of the wider distribution of overhead. Things of that sort make it difficult, almost impossible, for us to compete with -many countries in many articles. But even under these handicaps I have every faith in this country of ours. I have faith in its natural resources and in its people. I think there is no goal too high for us to attain. There is no future too bright to be ours. Canada is strong enough to get over these handicaps. Canada, if given a chance, is strong enough to make its way towards that high goal; but in doing so she requires protection, particularly at this time of growth while she is making her way.

Protection may be a tax, as is argued by free traders, for instance, and others who are as near free trade as they can be and who would like to be free traders; but rather it is only a tax for the present to produce greater dividends in the future. Cheapness is set against this policy of protection. How often in this debate have we heard the argument of cheapness raised as against the policy of protection? This worship of cheapness is selfish. It is short sighted and unpatriotic. The doctrine that cheapness itself brings all good things in its train is a doctrine that is discredited to-day even in free trade England. By the current of industrial legislation to-day the Whole civilized world has set its face against the all-sufficiency of cheapness and in opposition to that is bending its energies upon the double task of making a living wage a first charge upon the community and of giving security a larger place in industrial life. I am quoting from an address delivered by Sir William Ashley to the British Association.

The hon. member for South Huron (Mr. McMillan) says: Who would not want the cheaper butter? If that is the only argument that appeals to him, close out our dairymen. What business have they trying to organize a dairy industry in this country if cheapness is to govern? My hon. friend from Red Deer (Mr. Speakman) speaks of the necessity for cheapness in clothing. If that is to be the test, very well; shut down the textile industry in this country and away with wool producing. Let us get all our goods abroad

The Address-Mr. Geary

where they are cheap; it will serve us right for trying to organize a textile business in Canada. But, Mr. Speaker, how can a thing be really cheap if its production drives your brother farmer off his land or your brother Canadian workman from a factory that cannot go on? We should take the long run view, the all Canada view. I am not disposed just now to argue the matter with my friends from the west, but do they think that they are always going to grow wheat in so great a proportion to their other farm and industrial products as they are doing at the present time? Are they always going to have the same unlimited world market for wheat, or are they to have greater competition in that product? Are they going to go in for more varied production? Perhaps they will find that their future lies in developing on a more intensive or a more widely diversified plan: For the life of me I cannot see how

this country is going to be built up by growing wheat, mining minerals and hewing down forests merely for the purpose of sending out our raw material to other countries to be finished there, making others prosperous while we ourselves are impoverished. Is not that simply to make of us Canadians hewers of wood and drawers of water for the world, dependent, even at that, upon the whim or the necessity of the other country that wants our wood and water hewn and drawn? No; I should say that the policy for this country is to fabricate here, consume here and to sell here as well as elsewhere if we are to build up this Dominion. And this can be done under a policy of. protection, with hosts of busy producers, developing markets for

10 p.m. those producers, particularly the best of all markets, the home market. At present much of our raw products go from north to south and if we want the manufactured article back it comes from south to north. That does not keep Canadians at home nor does it bring Canadians back to the abandoned farm and the factory that was closed. Nor does that attract new immigrants or solve our railway problem, which is one that may be expressed in terms of the need of more people and more freight to haul.

There is little hope of getting anywhere, going on as we are at the moment. Hon. gentlemen opposite have said that this country wants tranquillity. True, in a sense; but it does not want the tranquillity of do nothing, the tranquillity of marking time. It wants the tranquillity that accompanies stability and certainty, and stability and certainty in this country must and can arise only from a settled and proper tariff policy. And I submit with all respect 14011-301

to the House that that proper tariff policy for the Dominion is a tariff policy of protection. In the nature of things this government cannot give us a lead. The Conservative party can, and I suggest that the remedy is for the government to resign. I take it that it does not intend to do so for the moment; but failing that it should be forced to resign, and forced to resign in whatever is the proper constitutional method At any rate this whole matter should be submitted at the earliest possible moment to the judgment of the people of Canada. Perhaps it cannot be settled otherwise, in any case an end should be put to this hanging on which we see at present. We are losing weeks, months, perhaps it may be years of precious time, doing nothing and getting nowhere. Regard, Mr. Speaker, the unhappy state into which we have fallen, the spectacle exhibited to this country and to the world,- a government self-confessea in its impotence, condemned by its own words to resume the policy of the last four years of marking time; unable, on its own statement, to carry out the measures which it thinks should be carried out for the good of the country; unable to do these things but occupied now solely with a convulsive gripping of the reins of office. Without intending to give offence 1 can say that opposite me is a government of remnants, a thing of shreds and patches without a leader. Urbane, bland and charming as he often is, the Minister of Justice is leading this House simply as a proxy, and for instructions or confirmation of action he must go somewhere in the dim recesses of this building to find out what is to be done. Regard the government once more,-Hamlet without the Prince. The cast is large, the players few, and one man must act many parts, the roles must be doubled, and the Prince himself is forced to play the Ghost. When is he coming back? When is this Prime Minister to be with us? And when he comes how is he to come? .

Topic:   EDITION
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