Dear Club Members
- Macphail, Agnes, Author
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- Letter from Agnes Macphail to her constituents in Grey County
- [Page 1] Ottawa, June 4, 1928.
Dear Club Members:-
I was very much against the raise in judges' salaries, and so argued and argued, that the masses of the people were with me. I was told that I had no proof of that. I wired Morrison and asked him what, in his opinion, be the stand taken by the Executive and membership of the U.R.O. He said he had no doubt at all they would be against if, and if I thought there was time, he would send a circular to the clubs. I wired it was worth trying, and I am glad to say that 350 resolutions came in time. A copy of them was sent to Mr. Lapoint, Minister of Justice. The Committee recommended that the County Judges have their salaries increased by $2000.00, the Superior Court of the Provinces by $2000.00, and the Supreme Court by $3000.00. On a certain Tuesday, a couple of weeks ago, the Chairman of this Committee, Mr. Thorson of Winnipeg, told us he would ask for concurrence of the House, so those of us who were against it carefully got our speeches ready, and were all set for the battle, but nothing happened. He didn't ask for concurrence that day or since. There was a great deal of opposition within the liberal ranks, and some within the Conservatives, and our group were a unit in opposition. Whether we will hear of it again or not we cannot say, but I think not.
There was talk of a raise for the members of $2000.00. Round Robins were signed on both sides of the House, but when it was presented to our group it was turned down. We hear a bit of talk about it yet, but I think we have heard the last of that too. If politicians are not careful, they will destroy the last bit of trust the common people have in the parliamentary institutions.
We hoped to be through by the 9th, but there has been such prolonged debate of apolitical nature, on two or three items, that the chances for it are not very bright.
The Bell Telephone Bill has caused a great deal of interest in the House, and in the country. You will remember a couple of years ago, maybe less, the Bell Telephone Company took their case for higher rates before the Board of Railway Commissioners. They said that they should have high enough rates to retain 8% dividends. The raise was granted, and this guarantee of 8% dividends, caused the stock to increase in price - reaching $170. a share. Now they are to issue to the shareholders, stock for very much less than its market value, stock worth $170.00 for $100.00. E.J. Garland moved that that this new stock be sold on the open market. Mr. R.J. Geary of Toronto has been asking that a full investigation into the subsidiary companies and their earning power be made. One cannot help but think that the Government is favouring the bill of the Bell Telephone Company. It is a straight case of special privilege. The Telephone is a public service and should be made as cheap as is possible.
The Sun Life Bill is somewhat similar. Again they are striving to divide the melon among the shareholders, rather than rendering service to the many polich holders, at the least possible cost*.
A good many of the estimates are not yet through. We have had one evening's lively debate on the military estimates, but none of them passed. They will come up again. The Minister of National Defence likes to call himself the Minister of Peace, but I notice his estimates increase from year to year.
The annual meeting of the United Farmers, both co-operative and political, will take place in Priceville On [sic] Saturday, June 9th, in the Agricultural Hall, if the day is warm, if not in the old Methodist Church. It begins at ten in the morning. There will be the election of officers of the political association, and 30 minute speeches by F.R. Oliver and myself, followed by discussions. At 1.30 Mr. Joe Crutchley will lend a discussion as to the value of the meetings held last fall, the programmes etc. There will be the President's address, by R.L. Aitcheson, which I am sure will be of interest to all. Reports by the delegates, and about three o'clock an address by Mr. Gilroy of the Co-operative Company on contract marketing. This will be followed by the election of officers. I hope you will be able to come.
I have been fortunate in securing the help of Mr. J.S. Woodsworth, the members for north centre, Winnipeg, and one of the outstanding members of the House of Commons. He will speak in Durham, June 20th at eight o'clock, in the town hall, and in Hanover, June 21st, at eight o'clock. His subject will be "The Present Economic System". Farquhar and I will also speak briefly. Then Mr. Woodsworth will be at our big picnic in Leaver's Bush on June 22nd. He will speak in the afternoon on "The New World in which we Live, and Some of Its Problems". We had a wonderful picnic last year, and we are expecting even a better one this year - if the day is good. Sports hard ball, soft ball, horse-shoe tournament, etc. will go on all afternoon at sufficient distance from the centre of the bush to not interrupt the program of speaking and excellent entertainment. The four artists we had last year were so much enjoyed that some thought of getting them again, but others thought a change would be better. There will be a dance at night, with a good orchestra. I think everyone who was there last year was pleased with the day. It is the U.F.O. picnic; let us all be there.
Mr. Woodsworth will address a meeting in the town hall Dundalk, on Saturday, June 23rd, at eight o'clock. I am not sure what his subject will be, but he is an excellent speaker, and has always been devoted to the interests of the people. He is a really great man.
I go with the Community Chautauqua through Manitoba and Saskatchewan for at least eight weeks this fall, beginning the middle of September, so I am planning to have all my work in S.E. Grey done before that. I hope to get round the riding.
Agnes C. Macphail
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