Oliver James WILCOX

WILCOX, Oliver James

Personal Data

Conservative (1867-1942)
Essex North (Ontario)
Birth Date
September 1, 1869
Deceased Date
December 2, 1917

Parliamentary Career

November 10, 1909 - July 29, 1911
  Essex North (Ontario)
September 21, 1911 - October 6, 1917
  Essex North (Ontario)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 44 of 45)

April 6, 1910

Mr. O. J. WILCOX (North Essex).

I desire, Mr. Speaker, to make a few observation upon this Bill. Recognizing that I am but a new man in this House, I have refrained from taking an active part in discussion, but as the. question we are now considering is one which affects the con-

stitueney I have the honour to represent, I could not possibly deem it consistent with my duty to give a silent vote. I may say that I have received communications and petitions containing nearly 600 signatures of the best citizens in the riding of North Essex, nearly 400 of whom are representatives of the agricultural class, asking me, as their representative, to oppose the provisions of this Bill on the ground that they are too drastic.

I have also received a few communications asking me to support the Bill.

At the outset, let me say that I have every sympathy with that class of good and noble citizens who have joined this moral reform association. My hon. friend from South Grey (Mr. Miller), who introduced the Bill in a very able manner, and who addressed us this afternoon with his usual eloquence, complained that the opponents of this measure spoke of him as being narrow, and also stated, that certain references had been made toward Dr. Shearer which were improper. I might, however, remark that I have taken rather an active interest in this question myself, and that the reflection -which my hon. friend drew to our attention was new to me. This is the first time I heard it made. While I recognize that the work which the Moral Reform Association is doing is very important, yet I am inclined to the view that it is impossible to make a people moral by legislation. All we can expect parliament to do, is to regulate the evils at the race track. There-being no pretense by the Bill to nrevent racing itself.

My hon. friend from West Northumberland (Mr. McColl), in the very fair argument which he presented this afternoon, dealt largely with the question from the standpoint of the jockey club and the working out of bookmaking generally. It seems to me that there is one side to which my hon. friend did not refer, and that was the evidence pointing out the fact that the thoroughbred horse is the fountain of light-horse breeding. I concur in the remark of my hon. friend from West Northumberland (Mr. McColl) that my hon. friend from South Grey (Mr. Miller) was not fair in the evidence he submitted this afternoon. When he quoted the evidence of the veterinary director general, Dr. Rutherford, as favourable to the passing of this Bill, I am inclined to the view', from a very careful perusal of that evidence, and from having had the pleasure of listening to Dr. Rutherford when he was before the committee, that Dr. Rutherford's evidence was conclusive that the passage of this Bill would affect, and affect seriously, a very important industry in this country. I desire to quote from Dr. Rutherford's evidence, and I shall not take a clause here and a clause there as it may support the theory I hold

or help out the argument I desire to present, but I shall quote from the beginning. Mr. Moss, who was the solicitor representing the horse breeders' associations, conducted the examination of Dr. Rutherford as follows:

Q. What is your position?-A. I am veterinary director general and live stock commissioner.

Q. Of Canada?-A. Yes.

And let me say that Dr. Rutherford does not possess any interest in any jockey club in this country, he has no financial interest in breeding, and, holding the high and important position he does, he would give an unbiassed opinion upon the question which we are considering this afternoon:

Q. How long have you occupied that position?-A. I have been veterinary director general for nearly eight years, not always by that title, and I have been live stock commissioner for three years and a half.

Q. And previous to that did you have experience in horse-breeding?-A. Yes.

Q. I understand, to shorten the matter up, that you have had experience in that business all your life both in the old country and on this side of the Atlantic, and perhaps you will indicate briefly just what that experience is? -A. Well of course I have been connected with horses all my life. I have been a veterinary surgeon for upwards of thirty years. I was for neafly two years manager of a very large racing and breeding establishment in the United States. I have been connected with horse-breeding. I was for five years president of the Horse Breeders' Association of Manitoba and the Northwest Territories. I have bred a number or horses myself and have always taken a great interest in the subject. . , .

Q. At the present time you have no interest -no financial or other interest-in any racing track or anything of that sort?-A. None whatever.

Q. What do you say, Dr. Rutherford, I am going to ask you the question broadly, as' to the importance or otherwise of the thoroughbred in connection with the horse-breeding industries of the country?-A. The thoroughbred horse is the foundation of all light horse breeding. Without the thoroughbred horse you can have no really good light horse breeding.

Q. Will you explain a little more fully what you mean by that?-A. Well all our breeds of light horses, with the exception of some of the breeds of ponies in which it cannot be traced, owe their best qualities to the thoroughbred horse. The American bred horse for instance is descended direct from the English thoroughbred Messenger imported during the latter part of the eighteenth century. The Hackney horse owes its best quality to the thoroughbred horse. The great progenitor of the hackneys was a thoroughbred horse also imported about the same time, a horse called Blaze. Take the various breeds of coach horses, both British and continental and they have all been built up by the use of a very strong infusion of thoroughbred blood. The common horses in the country, the half-

breed horses that are for hunting and military purposes in all countries in the world, m the present day owe their best qualities- their excellences, their endurance, their strength and their courage to the use of the thoroughbred blood.

Then, at page 13:

Q. In your opinion is Canada a country that ought to develop a large light horse breeding industry ?-A. Yes.

Q. Is it suitable for that purpose?-A. Very suitable.

Q. In what regard, Dr. Rutherford, would you explain that more clearly?-A. Well-

Q. I mean that is your opinion, now give us the reasons for that opinion?-A. Well, we breed in Canada at the present time a very large number of light legged horses, but there are many, a majority of those horses, useless nondescripts, because insufficient care and attention is being devoted to the selection of proper sires for use on the common mares of the country. If we were to use more thoroughbred blood in this country we would have an infinitely better class of light horses for general use. Not only that, we would be doing our share in furnishing our quota of the horses required for military purposes in the event of the empire being engaged in war. That we are not doing at the present time. JBut we found that there were purchased in the United States during the Boer war something like 113,000 odd horses and mules; they bought in Austria-Hungary a very large number, they bought in Italy, they bought in opam, they bought in Argentine, they bought wherever they could buy because the Boer republic not being a sovereign power there was no objection on the part of neutral powers to allow the purchase by the British war office of horses in those countries, except on the part of the United States, which, towards the close of the war, summarily ejected the agents of the British war office and told them they must get out of the country and must not come back any more. The other countries however, raised no objection. If this republic had been a sovereign power, Great Britain would have been unable to purchase horses except in her own territory or in that of an ally or friendly nation, with the result that the 800,000 odd horses which were used up in the Boer war^ would not have been available and the empire would have been seriously crippled.

Dr. Rutherford, speaking on the question of the development of thoroughbreds, also states:

Q. Then is the maintenance of racing necessary to maintain the supply of thoroughbreds?-A. I think it is, absolutely.

I might also quote Mr. Duncan McEach-ern upon the same point, I might also quote Mr. A. E. Dyment, men which have no financial interest, and are qualified to express an opinion on this question, to back up the evidence submitted by Dr. Rutherford, the veterinary surgeon, and live stock commissioner of this Dominion. Their evidence seems to me almost conclusive that the thoroughbred horse is an important

Ul- Wilcox.

horse, and that he cannot be developed to his best without racing. It would take a great deal to convince me that such is not the fact, because I have bred horses myself. I have to-day on my own farm, horses that furnish living evidence of the truth of Dr. Rutherford's testimony, so it will take a great deal to convince me that the breeding of light 'horses in this country is not largely dependent upon thoroughbred horses. I may say that I have never in my life attended the race-track, I have never registered a bet with a book-maker in my life. But from the evidence I have seen of the evil which is caused by racetrack gambling, I think the situation could be met by an amendment which will be submitted to this Bill. We are in favour of this Bill with one exception. We believe in doing away with the hand-book, we believe in doing away with the communication from the track, but we ask that, as the Bill does not prevent individual betting, it shall simply provide the means of regulating betting. There is no other means, to my mind, that can be adopted to regulate betting without permitting the book-maker to operate upon the track for the number of days which the race is allowed to be carried on. Now let me read one or two communications from the most prominent business men we have in the city of Windsor. Windsor has a population of 17,000 people, and we have had one of those meetings 'successfully carried on there for the last ten years.;

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April 6, 1910


Possibly it is. Mr. Ranev made this statement:-

The men who control these tracks have been careful to keep themselves and their account boobs and their money books away from this committee. Being foreigners they are not personally amenable to the jurisdiction of this committee.

Now, the fact is that the original shareholders of the Windsor Fair Grounds and Driving Park Association were a number of residents of Windsor, Walkerville and Sandwich, among whom were such men as W. J. McKee, ex-M.P.

he was very nearly being a real M.P.

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April 6, 1910


Mr. Speaker, before recess I was speaking of the men who own, and control the Windsor race-track. They are W. J. McKee, ex-Member Parliament, W. J. Pulling, E. S. Wigle, and J. A. McKay, all of Windsor, Ontario., W. O. Parmer and George M. Hendrie. Mr. Raney, in his argument, states that this track is owned and controlled by refugees from the other side. I desire to say that you cannot find within the confines of this Dominion any better citizens than the men whose names I have just mentioned. At page 33 of Mr. Raney's argument, he says:

The facts, so far as the trotting association are concerned, being thus reduced to a negligible quantity, there is nothing to argue about under this heading, and we may dismiss the trotting horseman.

During the years 1904, 1905, 1906 and 1909 the trotting meet in Windsor received from the book-makers $19,747, and paid out in purses $31,815. These purses could not have been paid had it not been that bookmaking, and betting were allowed on the track, and if book-making is prevented, it will certainly do 'away with these races. In Mr. Raney's argument in pamphlet No. 2, he states, at page 8, under the heading ' No Argument from Fort Erie or Windsor,' as follows:

The Windsor track has been operated by the Highland Park Club of Detroit since the prosecutions instituted by the district attorney in 1906, which put an end to its gambling operations at the Highland Park track out Woodward avenue.

From the very best information that I can get on the subject, I am inclined to the view that Mr. Raney is entirely mistaken. It is stated that the lease of the Highland Park Club expired on the 1st of May, 1906, and a renewal could not be obtained. On March 23, 1910, Mr. George H.

Hendrie received the following communication:

DeaT Sir,-In reply to your inquiry, would say that the lease of lots 6, 7, and 8 of section C." of quarter-section 4, 10,000 acre tract, between the trustees of the estate of the W. H. Stevens and Highland Park club expired on the first day of May, 1906, and that under the conditions of said lease or agreement said club had a right to remove the buildings situated thereon, and I am informed and believe they did remove the same during the fall and winter of 1905 and 1906. The premises above described were commonly known as the Highland Park club. I may add that after the lease expired the property was placed upon the market for sale.

So that it would appear that Mr. Raney's statement to the effect that this track was operated by Americans, and that they were compelled to move to this side because certain laws were passed on the other side, is not based upon facts. Upon page 7 of the printed proceedings of the committee, Mr. Raney states:

There is a broad line of demarcation separating these tracks into two classes, and I may perhaps classify them in this way; on the one 6ide of the line are the Woodbine, the Montreal track and the Hamilton track. On the other side of the line of demarcation are the Fort Erie track, the Windsor track, the British Columbia track. These tracks are divided, as I say, by a line of demarcation, and I will define at once what that line of demarcation is. To illustrate it, I will refer to two tracks-the Woodbine on the one side and the Fort Erie on the other as types of these two classes. Now the Woodbine race meet is essentially a social and sporting event, attracting many of the best people of Canada, with race-track hook-making as an attraction and as a principal financial support.

Further on Mr. Raney states:

The evidence will show that the attendance at these tracks, especially Windsor and Fort Erie, is from 79 to 75 per cent American, the managament entirely American.

I desire to say, Mr. Speaker, that that statement is not in accordance with the facts. The Windsor track is operated, and controlled by Canadians exactly as the Woodbine track is owned, and controlled by Canadians. Mr. Raney says that * the Woodbine race-meet is essentially a social and a sporting event,' so is the race-meet at Windsor. With regard to the provisions of this Bill, I am inclined to the view that if it is not amended in some respects, the operation of it will be very much like an amendment that was made a few years ago in the Ontario Agriculture and Arts Act. I had the privilege of acting in the capacity of one of the executive officers of the Association of Fairs and Exhibitions a few years ago, when there was a good deal of argument upon this very question. A clause had been placed in the Ontario Agriculture and Arts Act prohibiting rac-

mg at agricultural fairs throughout the province, of which there are 367. The Act provided that any agricultural society which held a race-meet at its agricultural show, contrary to the provisions of the Act, would not receive the government grant. Well, Sir, there is not an agricultural society in the province of Ontario to-day that does not hold exactly the same race-meet at its annual exhibition that it did previous to the passing of that Act. The mafiage-ment of those fairs simply insisted on adding what they called ' trials of speed,' but which were really race-meets. So that the very same racing which was carried on previous to that legislation is carried on today; and we may conclude that public opinion in this country is so strongly in favour of horse-racing that the provisions of this Bill, if adopted, will be evaded in some such way.

In conclusion I wish to read a statement from the chief of police of the city of Windsor :

I hereby beg to 6tate that the horse races at the Windsor Racing Association's race track, have been conducted in a proper and orderly manner. I have frequently visited such races with the view chiefly of obtaining a knowledge of the people who attended there, the manner in which they behaved and of the way dn which the races were conducted in general. I have also, at various times, visited the fairs held at Toronto, Ottawa and other places, and to my knowledge, from such observations, the people who have attended the races here behaved themselves equally as well as those who attended the fairs, and in all, I have to state that the race meetings were as orderly and fully a9 well conducted as the fair meetings. Furthermore I have to state that during the race meetings here an average of 3,000 people attended the races daily, yet tho records of the police department show that the number of offences committed in Windsor during any such race meetings is not in excess of the number committed in any similar period of time when races were not held here.

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January 19, 1910

Mr. OLIVER J. WILCOX (North Essex).

It was not my intention to offer any argument in this debate, but as I have ceased to be the baby member of this House, and as my colleagues on this side, together with some friends whom, I am glad to say, I have on the other, have urged me to speak, I make my first attempt to take part in a debate on the budget. I listened yesterday to the argument of the hon. the Minister of Customs, and from what he said one would come to the conclusion that the Liberal party in this country had accomplished everything they had undertaken by promises to do. But there

is one thing I am absolutely sure they did not succeed in doing, notwithstanding they were backed by all the force and power of the government- they did not capture the riding of North Essex in the late bye-election. I was opposed by the Minister of Railways and Canals and by the Secretary of State and two very estimable gentlemen from the sister province of Quebec. I welcomed them and gave them almost control of my meetings. The electorate of the riding of North Essex came out and listened to. these hon. gentlemen. Although the people of Essex are a very kind and hospitable people and came out in great numbers to listen to what these gentlemen had to say, the next day they went about their ordinary work and evidently they did not pay much attention to what the hon. gentlemen said, and they had a reason for that. They remembered that these gentlemen, or if not the same gentlemen, those who propounded the policy, came before the electorate of the riding of North Essex in 1881 and in 1892 and addressed the electorate of North Essex with the same eloquence; but the voters had the recollection that these gentlemen, or if not the same gentlemen, had different policies to lay before them in 1881 or 1892. Consequently it is not any wonder that the grand, intelligent electors of the riding of North Essex should go about their business after these hon. gentlemen were there and not pay much attention to what thev said?

Another _ reason for my occupying the proud position of member of parliament for the riding of North Essex is the violation by the Liberals of that plank in their platform of which the Minister of Customs did not speak yesterday, that is the appointing of members of parliament to positions of emolument and public trust. Sir William Mulock declared in this House that any member of parliament who accepted a position of public trust from the hands of the government or any man who was looking for a position was a menace to parlia-

mentary independence, a corrupt agency in parliament, and a parasite upon the administration. It is interesting to inquire what has become of the representatives of ,the people who were sent to this House to [DOT] represent the county for which I now have the honour to represent. In 1896 the policy of free trade was preached in every corner and every school house, upon every hustings in that border riding. The representative of the party which to-day holds the reins of power in this country said to the intelligent electorate in my presence;. Put the rascals out, these customs house officers because we are going to have free trade with the United States if you return us to power. And with all the force and power in their ability they educated the people in the riding of North Essex, who were anxious to get across to. the city of Detroit, into the principles of free trade until the morning after June the 3rd, when William McGregor was returned to this parliament for North Essex. So great a hold did that education take, that for a fact some people of that riding went across the Detroit river and actually refused to pay the duty to the American customs house on account of the promises that had been given . Yet the Minister of Customs, (Hon. William Paterson) rises here as he did yesterday and makes the statement to this House and to this country that they did not preach or advocate free trade in the election of 1896. I took his statement as a joke. I believe the hon. gentlemen opposite took it as a joke and I am sure the people of this country will take it as a joke for there is not a school boy of ten years I believe in the whole of Canada who does not thoroughly understand that it was a plank in the Liberal policy that we should have free trade with the United States if the Liberals were elected.

But I was speaking of what had become of those servants and representatives of the people who had been returned by the electorate of North Essex since 1896, for I am the first man, I am proud to say, upon this side of the House who has had the honour of representing my fellow countrymen in that county in the last twenty-one years. William McGregor, who preached free trade and was elected on that policy in 1896 was, two or three years afterwards, placed by this government in one of the most import-and positions of public trust in the customs house at the port of Windsor. A free trader! Then we have another hon. gentleman who was a representative of the agricultural classes. The government did not, I believe, appoint him to office. I refer now to Mr. Cowan. How we Conservatives and Liberals in the riding of North Essex, believed in the principles which he advocated in the interest of agriculturalists in respect to drainage across railways, a subject on which I hope I will have something to say later on. Sir, what has become of this representative of the people? It was not wrong for one of the great railway corporations of this country to say to Mr. Cowan. We want you in our service, we want you to sacrifice the interests of the grand old farmers you are representing in North Essex. Mr. Cowan took the bait, and he is to-day in the courts fighting against the interests of the farmers. I will not say so much against my friend Mr. Sutherland. He is occupying an important position upon the bench, and I agree that he is a man who will be able to fill the position with dignity, he is a gentleman whom I respect. But let me say this, that his appointment is not a fulfilment of the policy of the government when they were in opposition, that members of parliament should not be appointed to positions of public trust, seeing that they had been sent here to serve the people. It is in the light of these facts that the electors of North Essex and of the city of Windsor have seen fit to pick a farmer like myself out from among the shocks of corn and send him to parliament.

Now, Mr. Speaker, the hon. the Minister of Customs yesterday undertook to make it appear to the members of this House that the Liberal Conservative party had no part in the prosperity that Canada enjoys to-day ; he would make it appear that the great political party which laid the foundation of the government which we enjoy to-day, has done nothing to make this country what it is. Sir, I think that the hon. gentleman made a grossly exaggerated statement. It would be a reasonable question for me to ask him what he actually found within the confines of the Dominion of Canada when he came into office in the year 1896. You might start at the great port of Montreal, and you would find a double line of steel reaching out from that port across the province of Quebec, out along the north shore of Lake Superior to Winnipeg, down across the province of Manitoba to Lethbridge, with rail communication of such a nature in the southern portion of Manitoba that I believe it was not possible for a settler in that province, in the year 1896, to place his foot upon any portion of Canadian soil which was ijiore than 15 or 16 miles from direct rail communication. You found more. You found that great line of railway reaching across the Rocky Mountains, down across the province of British Columbia to the blue waters of the Pacific, through that magnificent stretch of country every foot of which has been opened up by a Conservative administration. That same hon. gentleman who addressed this House yesterday afternoon, was to be found during those years previous to 1896 upon every platform and upon every hustings which it was possible for him to reach, criticising

every act of the administration that brought into existence that magnificent public work which cemented all the provinces of Canada together. Sir, what else could you find? You could start at Vancouver and Victoria, and see there a magnificent line of steamships sailing from those ports to the town of Hong Kong in China. That great line of communication was opened up by a Conservative government in spite of all the Minister of Customs of to-day and his friends could do to harass and impede them and which he said yesterday had done absolutely nothing for this country in which we live and move. What else do you find? Another magnificent line of steamships going out from St. John and Halifax down to the Argentine Republic in South America. What else? You found that the independence of our country had been solved. You found the magnificent waterways which were opened up in 1896. You found the magnificent line of steamboats coming down from the west freighted with the produce of that great country to the port of Montreal, in 1896. .When I think of the advantage which our friends opposite had when they came into power, the knowledge, the experience which had been acquired by the the Liberal Conservative party during the years they ruled this country, it seems to me that a man has a good deal of audacity when he rises before this House of Commons any says that this country is what it is to-day as a rusult of the policy of the present government. Let me say, Mr. Speaker, that I am a man who would refrain from attempting to take credit for what other men have done, men who lived and moved with power and force in Ibis' country when my hon. friends opposite-were babes in arms, politically; men who lived and moved with power and -force in this land, and whose noble deeds and acts hav.e made the land in which we live what it is. For example, suppose we take an ordinary farmer in this country, a reasonably prosperous agriculturist. I do not blush myself because I am one of and a representative of that particular class, because I realize that I am a representative of one of the most important classes in this country. Now, suppose we take a farmer who has worked his whole life and who has become physically incapacitated to carry on his farm any longer, and he hands it over to his son. His son takes that home, he paints the cornice of the house, he puts up a post here and there, he runs a fence around it, and then he says to the passer-by: Look at my beautiful home, I have done all this- in the last few years. What would his father say? Well, Sir, the position of that son is the position that the Liberal party occupy to-day, men, some of whom were not born when those grand an-d noble men were at Mr. WILCOX.

work in the pioneer days of this Dominion, making it the great heritage for generations to come; and yet, according to the Minister of Customs* all that has been accomplished has all been done in the last twelve and three-quarter years.

As I listened attentively to the speech of that hon. gentleman I was inclined to the view that he was trying to believe what he was saying. But his speech was delivered altogether from a partisan standpoint. It was delivered, as it appeared to me, for the express purpose of going out to the constituencies and making something appear that did not exist. I declare here from the place I occupy in this House that I trust, whether it shall be my privilege to represent a constituency in this parliament for a long or short period, I shall never get so wrapped up within the thrall of party politics that I shall put my party above my country, and above truth. If there is a position that I do admire and one that I would be pleased to take it is the position that was declared by the hon. member for North Toronto (Mr. Foster) on the 29th March last when he introduced the motion in the House affecting the naval defence of this country together with the position which the right hon. the leader of the government took upon that question and the position which was taken bv the. hon. leader of the opposition (Mr. R. L. Borden). This is a great national question, a question of mighty public import, therefore, we shall consider the question upon its merits without having any regard to party politics. This was the position then taken. I admire the position taken by the leader of my party in that regard. It is exactly the position I intend to take myself. I was amazed at the non. member for Assiniboia (Mr. Turriff), last evening in speaking upon the budget, when he made the statement that they were of on? accord on that side of the House on this particular question an-d that we on this side of the House were not united. Well, Sir. in view of the position which has been taken by the right hon. leader of the government himself I declare that we are more in accord with the policy which has been laid down by the leaders of this party than is the hon. member for Assiniboia himself. I do not believe it is within the range of human possibility that the 146 members who constitute the party on the government side of the House can be of one accord upon any one question unless they are actuated by party politics. It is not human nature to be that way. Upon that question of such mighty public import. we, as true patriotic Canadians, will express our opinions according to the dictates of our own conscience regardless of party considerations.

The hon. Minister of Customs (Mr. Paterson) spoke at great length yesterday

afternoon regarding the tariff. In view of what I had read in my past life of the addresses which that hon. gentleman delivered himself previous to 1896, I was amazingly surprised and entertained by the statements which he made. The hon. gentleman spoke of the tariff. He had stood upon the hustings in days gone by and had declaimed about robbers great and robbers small and about the tall chimneys that were being built up by the tariff. Now, it seems to me, that by going over the tariff as it exists to-day it will be found that the average dutv upon dutiable products coming into the country is about 28-75 per cent. The average duty in 1896 was within 89-100th of one per cent the same as it is to-day. So, - the tariff which was in existence during the years previous to 1896 is exactly the same in principle as the tariff which we have to-day.

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January 19, 1910


Well, yes, with a different name. I know, every hon. gentleman on this side of the House knows and I am absolutely sure that hon. gentlemen on the other side of the House know that it is beyond the contol of any government to legislate prices, that all the government can do is to so frame its fiscal policy that when a time of commercial expansion prevails throughout the whole world Canada shall enjoy its fair share of it, and the fact that the rate of tariff is, practically the same today as it was in 1896 this prima. facie evidence that the fiscal policy under which this country has enjoyed so much prosperity is exactly the same as that which was in existence before hon. gentlemen opposite came into power.

There is a remark that I wish to make regarding the tariff unon Indian corn. Two or three hon. gentlemen made reference to that particular item. I am sorry to say that I am not as yet sufficiently acquainted with the House to be able to state their exact names or the constituencies which they represent. Reference was made to the fact that the government had taken the duty off Indian corn and allowed corn to come in for the benefit of the farmers of this country. I represent the riding of North Essex, there is the riding of South Essex, there is the ridings of East and West Kent, and Indian corn is chief product of these ridings. The farmers up there say corn is king. They say it is king because the production of that cereal is their chief industry. So that the action of this government in taking the duty off corn was certainly against the best interests of the people in that particular part of the country which makes almost a specialty of this crop. While the farmers of Essex and Kent produce a large amount of corn they

are not able to produce the amount called for by the demands of the country. Thus while they suffer while having to compete with Indian corn from the United States there is one condition in connection with that trade which is scandalous and ridiculous. That is that we ini the county of Essex are discriminated against by freight rates which give the American farmer the advantage in eastern Ontario over us in the county of Essex. I have to pay to-day 17 cents a 109 pounds to ship my corn to the grain merchants here in the eastern part of the province while it can be brought from Chicago for about the same price, and I believe the rate from Detroit is 13 cents. An hon. member informs me that the rate from Chicago is 12i cents. We shipped a cargo the other day at 17 cents a hundred pounds. I desire to bring this to the attention of the government, I am pointing out to them that if such a condition does exist, as it does, if we are to submit to American competition without any protection-and we are producers as well as the manufacturers, we are producing the raw material, we are producing what is more important than the produce ol the manufacturer, the food stuffs of the country-it is unfair that we should be discriminated against in freight rates in this manner. Incidentally may I ask why, if it is a good policy to take the duty off Indian corn and allow American corn to come in free, would it not be a magnificent policy to take the duty off corn cultivators^ so that we could get a cultivator to cultivate our corn? A free cultivator for free corn. The effect of the absence of duty and of this gross discrimination is that the farmer of the western states has the corn market of Canada on more favourable terms than we who make a specialty of corn growing in Essex and Kent.

Speaking of the tariff, the statement of hon. gentlemen that we wish to build a tariff wall as high as Heaven does not necessarily make that assertion true. I know his statement is not in accordance with the facts but I believe that it is unfair that I as a representative farmer in the riding of North Essex, growing hay, and horses, and cattle, must pay a higher duty if I wdsh to take my products into the United States than the American farmer has to pay to bring his products into Canada. The American farmer can bring his hay into Canada at $2 a ton but I have to pay $4 a ton to get mine into the American market. I believe that is not a proper condition of things. I have pointed out to the government that it can be remedied and I believe by the' expression on the face of the Minister of Public works just now that he intends to

remove it. Another instance of the same unfair condition is the duty on eggs on which I have to pay 6 cents a dozen against the American farmer's 3 cents a dozen. While I am a producer I am a consumer as well in some respects, but in so far as I am a producer engaged in the most important industry in this country, I am entitled to protection as well as the manufacturer. The farmers as a representative class in this country have to pay a great deal in taxation. As the tillers of the soil producing the raw material which keeps the wheels of machinery revolving it was said of the farmers that during the financial crisis of a few years ago they, through the application of knowledge and skill and science to the tilling of the soil we are able to bring from mother earth millions of dollars of, raw products more than had been produced the year before, and when those products went out upon the markets of the world they brought back into the country in which we live those shining dollars which sent this country on her way in peace and abiding peace and we trust we shall have continued pros-peritv. This is the class we represent in this House, and when I represent the agricultural class, then, Sir, I am working in the interests of the merchant, the doctor, the lawyer, the labourer and all classes of men, because it is the foundation industry of the country. I am sorry there are not more of my class here, but I believe that the time is not far distant when the farmers of this country will have more to say upon the affairs of this country than they have to-day. We are the people, we are the men who bear the burdens in this country largely. What have we to pay? We start at the foot of the .ladder and we pay our township tax, we pay our school tax, we pay our ditch tax to drain our soil, we pay our county tax. Then the provincial government comes along and takes another grab at us. Then the Dominion government comes along and we have to pay some $130,000,000, the greater portion of it, to carry on the expenditures of this country when the hon. gentlemen opposite said they would reduce the expenditure when it was only $41,000,000.

Reference has been made by the hon. member for Peterborough and by another hon. gentleman on the other side of the House to the Board of Railway Commissioners. It is one of the grandest institutions ever established in this country in the interest of the common people. But I do not pretend to say that the government is entitled to the credit of creating that body; I say that to parliament is due that credit. If, as a representative of the people and a member of the Liberal-Conservative party, I rise in my place here and Mr. WILCOX.

support any good measure, I am just as much entitled to credit for that measure as if I were a member of the government. Suppose that upon the great and important question now before us, the Naval Bill, we decide upon the principle of considering this question without regard to party politics, that has been laid, down by the leader of the opposition (Mr. R. L. Borden) and the Prime Minister-and I venture to believe that if we carry out that principle honestly and conscientiously, you will find men on both sides of the House for and against it, should not the whole House get the credit? And let me say, I do concur in the position taken by the leaders of the" two political parties in that regard. But that is aside from my present argument. There are some amendments relating to drainage across railways that should be passed in the interest of the community at large. Though, I am, as I have said, a representative of the agricultural class, I am not one of those who would impose a great burden on our railway corporations. I realize that these corporations are necessary and their interests must be protected, and I am ready to stand on the floor of this House or in committee and protect the interests of those corporations so far as justice and reason demand. But there is a provision in the statute which is not necessary for the protection of the railway companies and which works most detrimentally to the interest of the farmery. I might mention several points, but let me speak of one particularly. In Ontario we drain our soil under the provisions of the special Drainage Act of the province, or under the Ditches and'Watercourses Act, or by individual effort. The people's way of draining-not the municipal councils' but the people's way-is under the Ditches and Watercourses Act. The provisions work out in this way: Suppose that there are four or five men engaged in agriculture whose land is immediately adjacent to a railway right of way. The railway has built a considerable embankment which has stopped the natural flow of the water and it is absolutely necessary, in order to bring that land into a state fit for cultivation, that there should be an outlet across this right of way. Under form 9-1 think it is-of the Ditches and Watercourses Act, we will inform all parties interested, including the railway company, that it is necessary to have a drain constructed. The Act is right and fair. But go a step further. After the award is made under the Ditches and Watercourses Act by a competent engineer appointed by the municipal corporation for that purpose, if any of the private landowners is not pleased

with any provisions of the award, he has a right to appeal to the county judge whose decision is final. But if the railway company is dissatisfied to whom does it make appeal? To the county judge? No, Sir, it will appeal to the Railway Commission of the Dominion. In ordinary cases of this kind the expense of bringing the farmer to the Railway Commission is twice as much as it would cost to do the actual work. I say that the appeal of the railway company should be to the county judge the same as in the case of the farmer, for I do not admit that a corporation should have higher rights or privileges, than an ordinary landowner.

Again, the construction of local telephones is a question that is of deep interest to the people in the rural districts-in western Ontario it interests the people more than any other question that I know of to-day. The Dominion Railway Act contains a provision relating to railways which seriously handicaps us from getting our lines across the right of way of a railway, a provision that is quite unnecessary, for the interest of the railway companies can easily be protected without it. I have superintended the construction of at least a hundred miles of rural telephone lines in the county of Essex. When we come to the right of way of a railway, the actual work of making the crossing will cost us about $20. But if we attempt to string our wires across the right of way, notwithstanding that we are the farmers and taxpayers of that community, the men who have made the country by building roads and by other means of development, we are met by some representatives of the railway company from Detriot, New York, Boston, or some other place, who demand to know what right we have to do the work until we have the permission of the Railway Commission. That is ihe law. In my opinion, it is quite unnecessary to have such a provision in the law. I would not hesitate to say that the law should be kept unchanged if it were fairly in the interests of the railway companies to have it so, but it is not necessary. Under the law, we have to procure four plans-one for ourselves, two for the Railway Commission and one to be served on the railway company at a cost of $20. We have to employ a solicitor to make application to the Board of Railway Commissioners for an order to cross our wires on the company's right of way. In most cases, it costs from $50 to $75 to get through the preliminaries when about $15 or $25 will do the actual work. The Railway Act itself ought to contain a provision empowering companies to string their wires across the right of way of a

railway company, according to a standard specification set up by the Board of Railway Commissioners. Let the board make an order setting forth a standard specification and then give the municipalities the right to string wires across the tracks according to that standard, and the officers of the railways will be sure to see that the work is done according to that standard, and we shall be saved from $50 to $100 on every crossing.

I intended making a few remarks respecting taxation, but as that matter has been, fully gone into I shall not detain the House further, and before resuming my seat I would like to thank hon. members for the) kind attention they have given me on this myjirst effort to address the House.

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