January 27, 1914

LIB

Wilfrid Laurier (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER:

We will exchange views.

Topic:   THE GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH.
Subtopic:   ADDRESS IN REPLY.
Permalink
IND

William Findlay Maclean

Independent Conservative

Mr. MACLEAN :

Having dealt with the banking law, I come now to the question of the cost of living. This is a great question in this country. It is true that the cost of living has greatly increased and it is true that, in a large measure, that cost of living is due to the methods by which we distribute the necessities of life. I know districts in many cities where there are rows and rows of stores that seem to be distributing the necessities of life. It seems to me that some system of co-operation could be devised whereby that distribution, instead of costing, as it often does, forty and fifty per cent of what the producer gets for his goods, and in some cases double that amount, could be more satisfactorily and economically taken care

of. It is true that the middleman, the cold storageman, the combine and one organization and another, are taking an unfair advantage of the people. We have got to remove these things and deal with this question in this House and in the local legislatures in such a way as to reduce the cost of living.

It is also true that our farmers are not producing enough on the land. I have watched the Canadian farmer in various places for quite a number of years, and the opinion I have come to is that he is more or less attracted by the lure of the cities and he wishes to go to the city. It is also peculiar to farming on this continent, or at least on portions of this continent, and especially so in Canada, that farmers are trying to get through by raising as little as possible. It seems to be the idea of a great many farmers to raise as little as possible. If we are to have a National Policy for the farmers of this country, we must try and encourage them to raise much more than they raise now, and in some way to offer them a better price by making an immediate connection between them and the consumer and at the same time giving the consumer a lower rate. If my right hon. friend, in his anxiety to give us free food, will devise a scheme on that line, he has a good cry and he will get lots of men to join the army. But he has to put it on-the basis of some system of co-operation and control, in order to get our people to-raise more produce on the land, and he has to devise some means by which to get this produce into the hands of the consumer at a price less than that which he pays now but at a better price for the farmer, cutting out this middleman business and benefiting both parties to the bargain in that respect.

What is the policy which we require in connection with farming in Canada to-day 1 We have to have a great big farming policy because we must deal, not only in the Dominion, but in the various provinces, and in the West especially, with this farming problem. It takes a big National Policy to cope with the weed pest in the Northwest, and it takes a great big policy to deal with the draining proposition in my own province of Ontario. With a system of drainage and a system of good roads in the province of Ontario - you can take three weeks off the winter in the fall and you can take two weeks off the winter in the spring in so far as the farmer is concerned. I have seen farm after farm in the province of Ontario where work stopped largely because of bad roads and lack of drainage. There has

Topic:   THE GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH.
Subtopic:   ADDRESS IN REPLY.
Permalink
LIB

William Cameron Edwards

Liberal

Mr. EDWARDS:

Would the hon. gentleman consider the eight-hour day a factor militating against the farmer?

Topic:   THE GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH.
Subtopic:   ADDRESS IN REPLY.
Permalink
IND

William Findlay Maclean

Independent Conservative

Mr. MACLEAN:

It may militate against him a good deal, but he will have to deal with it. One of the troubles of our farmers is that they have to be educated to understand that it pays to employ a competent labourer, and to pay him good wages, and to give him a house on the farm to live in. I know farm after farm in this country where there is no accommodation for the so-called hired man.

Topic:   THE GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH.
Subtopic:   ADDRESS IN REPLY.
Permalink
LIB

William Cameron Edwards

Liberal

Mr. EDWARDS:

Would you consider the eight-hour day a disability on the farmer?

Topic:   THE GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH.
Subtopic:   ADDRESS IN REPLY.
Permalink
IND

William Findlay Maclean

Independent Conservative

Mr. MACLEAN:

I do not know whether it is or not. I believe it will be some time before it becomes a real factor, and then it will have to take care of itself.

Topic:   THE GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH.
Subtopic:   ADDRESS IN REPLY.
Permalink
LIB

Frank Broadstreet Carvell

Liberal

Mr. CARVELL:

When that does come

about the consumer will have to pay more for the product.

Topic:   THE GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH.
Subtopic:   ADDRESS IN REPLY.
Permalink
IND

William Findlay Maclean

Independent Conservative

Mr. MACLEAN:

No doubt it means, that in the end it will come on the public in some way. And, if the people believe in an eight-hour day for the mechanic, the people will have to believe in an eight-hour day for the farmer, unless of course the farmer cultivates his own land, and that is one reason why I want to see the farmer and his family till the soil themselves and engage in somewhat intensive farming of a small area rather than waste energy in cultivating large farms.

I will only say one or two words on the navy and then I am finished. I am sorry that Canada occupies the position she does to-day on this question. It has been a sore question for our people. We do not stand as well as we ought to stand in the eyes of the world because we failed to deal with that question. I am not going to cast any reflection on any one, but I will come back to my hero worship and I will read what Woodrow Wilson said a few days ago in regard to public questions:

Legislation has its atmosphere, like everything else, and the atmosphere of accommodation and mutual understanding which we now breathe with so much refreshment is matter of sincere congratulation. It ought to make our task very much less difficult and embarrassing than it would have been had we been obliged to continue to act amidst the atmosphere of suspicion and antagonism which has so long made it impossible to approach such questions with dispassionate fairness. Constructive legislation, when successful, is always the embodiment of convincing experience and of the mature public opinion which finally springs out of that experience.

An air of suspicion and distrust was created in this country with regard to Canada's action in the matter of naval aid to the mother country. I am not going to say who was responsible for that, but I do regret it. Every Canadian outside this House regrets that that question was approached in an atmosphere where distrust and suspicion prevailed. Why did it get into that state; why did that miserable atmosphere surround that question? I know it was not due to anything that occurred in our province, because if there is anything that we in Ontario think well of it is of our duty to the empire, and if there is any place where public opinion prevails in this country, it is in the neighbourhood of what used to be called the head of lake Ontario. We who live up there-and who sometimes have so little to say in regard to the government of this country-we try to think well of the great public questions and we have in the past in some measure furnished some ot the best political thought for Canada; we have not brought in that atmosphere of suspicion and distrust about this question. We have not got there that atmosphere of suspicion about this question. I do not for one moment say that that atmosphere originated in another quarter in this country. If I was to say that some of it came from Montreal, the last thing that I would

say would be that it in any way came from my compatriots the French people of the province of Quebec. I am not saying that, because if I can trace that unfair atmosphere and that atmosphere of suspicion, I would trace it to certain influences that speak the English language, that speak through the newspapers and that have had a double-faced policy in regard to this question. Now we have had that atmosphere of suspicion, that atmosphere of distrust, surrounding this question. Is it not possible for this Parliament and for this country to get together, and with a clear, pure atmosphere of patriotism and a recognition of our duty to the mother country to do something in the direction of a money grant that will show where our heart is with the old land?

I am not going to pass any reflections upon the past. If we can get the atmosphere cleared up, insignificant as I am, I will be prepared to-morrow to undertake the responsibility of securing a standing vote in the House of Commons and in the Senate of Canada for a large and substantial grant from the Parliament of Canada to our mother country, as a recognition of our duty to stand by her in the matter of imperial defence.

Topic:   THE GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH.
Subtopic:   ADDRESS IN REPLY.
Permalink
LAB

Alphonse Verville

Labour

Mr. A. VERVILLE (Maisonneuve):

the statements I had seen in the press, I took it upon myself to get an official report.

Topic:   THE GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH.
Subtopic:   ADDRESS IN REPLY.
Permalink
LIB
LAB

Alphonse Verville

Labour

Mr. VERVILLE:

It belongs to the House. What has happened in Vancouver seems to have happened in other cities. Every one now is crying for work-they are not crying for bread but for work. This situation seems to prevail in every part of Canada. It has been the privilege of our Minister of Labour (Mr. Crothers) to travel through this country during the summer. Of course he was in British Columbia, and probably later on we may hear his report of the immense amount of good he did during his trip to the coast. Also we may have his report as to the real conditions existing in the Maritime provinces. I see 'by the papers that he was in Sydney, and is quoted to have said that conditions there are all right, everything harmonious. I do not quite agree with the hon. gentleman. I have been there myself. But I happened to be with the other crowd-with the crowd that were in need. Probably that is why I have not the same information.

Topic:   THE GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH.
Subtopic:   ADDRESS IN REPLY.
Permalink
LIB

Rodolphe Lemieux

Liberal

Mr. LEMIEUX:

How many are unemployed in Montreal?

Topic:   THE GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH.
Subtopic:   ADDRESS IN REPLY.
Permalink
LAB

Alphonse Verville

Labour

Mr. VERVILLE:

Is is very hard to state the exact number, and I will tell you why. At one time of the week the number is very large and another it is less, because they are working short time in places. Only last week one large engine works in Longue Pointe, because of lack of orders laid off, I do not know for how long, about 1,700 men. The laying off of 1,700 men means that the purchasing ability of these people diminishes at once by seventy-five per cent. When it is said that there is over-production of manufactured goods, we must bear in mind the fact that there must of course be overproduction when there is no demand. It is said that conditions are very good in the country at the present time, and that the farmers are prosperous. They are, but the reckoning will come, and perhaps in a couple of months. We must not expect that when the demand in the cities suddenly ceases the farmer will be immediately affected; in a few months he will be unable to sell because the people have not the money with which to buy his goods. The farmers will feel it the more keenly because they have to purchase a great many things which they do not produce themselves. The hon. member for Dundas (Mr. Broder) said the other day: Why don't you

leave things in the old way? Yes, why should we not use candles instead of electric lights? We must not be against progress. It is impossible to expect the farmer to build his own carts and wagons, make his own harness and shoes; he has to buy all these things, and they amount to a great deal. The farmer is heavily taxed on the goods which he is obliged to purchase. I observe from the memorial of the grain growers of the West that the farmers are learning that it is imposs3ible that this condition should continue very long. I know that the present Government are bound to a policy of high protection. I do not blame them, because the people, when they put them where they are, said: you are to increase the tariff, if possible, instead of lowering it. It was said during the last election campaign that if reciprocity passed the doors of the manufacturers of the country would be closed to the workingman. Reciprocity did not pass, and the doors are closed, and this shows, that, if reciprocity had passed, the doors of the manufacturers would be open at the present time.

Some hon. gentlemen have said that the mode of living has a great deal to do with the increase in the cost of living. Sometimes workingmen live in luxury; they buy too many things which they could get along without, and they forget the amount of money they have to pay for these things. Let us see, however, whether the use of these luxuries is against the interests of trade. The hon. member for Dundas spoke the other day about automobiles. I hope and trust that none of the members of this House believe that the workingmen buy automobiles. I would not begrudge a businessman the possession of an automobile, because the raw material that enters into its construction amounts to very little; it is all labour; and if it is all labour, it is not what you would call a luxury. But if I happened to see a diamond in the same house, I would say that that is a luxury, because there is no labour attached to it. It had been said also that the working people do not need to dress so well. Probably it would be better for them if they did not, because they would be enabled to save more money. Why is it that I have to pay $10 more for a suit of clothes in Canada than in England? I have no objection to the proprietor of a woollen industry getting rich, but I do not want him to get rich at my expense. It is a fact

that on the other side of the water you can buy for $15 a suit of clothes for which you would have to pay in Canada $25 or more. But, it is said, labour is cheaper over there. The labour on a suit of clothes amounts to $1, and that is the difference as far as a suit of clothes is concerned, between the cost of labour in Canada and the cost of labour in England. I claim that this is wrong, and that some kind of a readjustment should be made. I claim also that, as regards the necessities of life, the Government should take steps to furnish cheaper food to the masses of the people of Canada. The people are not asking for bread, they are asking for work, but if they do not get work, of course they must have bread. Last year I made a prophecy with regard to conditions this year which has been fully realized, and no one who studies these great questions from an economic standpoint can fail to know what is going to happen. I do not claim to have any professional knowledge of the matter, or to speak from the standpoint of a student of political economy; I speak merely from a practical point of view. There are many people in the country to-day who do not know how much they can buy for a dollar, and that is one of the great questions in the country at the present time. That condition should be alleviated, and I submit that as legislators we shall be responsible for whatever may happen in the cities, towns or villages wherever there is a working population.

It has been said by some hon. gentlemen that the cities were attracting the rural population, and of course this is due to the fact that there are too few hands on the farm to do the work. The people in the country urge that there are too many attractions in the cities for the men, but have you ever seen a municipality that had anything in the line of water-power that was not willing to pay a large amount to a big industry to induce it to locate in their district, and thus take the people off the land? The people of the country are anxious in many cases to pay a bonus, whether there is water-power or not, for the purpose of having near them an industry which may employ perhaps one hundred hands, male or female. In this way the sons and daughters of the farmers are induced to leave the farm and work right there in little town or village, as the case may be. It may be that the municipality is willing to pay $25,000 or $30,000 to an industry that is not worth $10,000. I claim that the people of the country are just as responsible for thie

influx of population to the city as the people of the city are. Those who are responsible are the large manufacturers who are so anxious to have a large number of men whenever they have a call for employment. They sometimes want to have, if possible, three or four men for each job. The people who come from the country to the city and get out of employment are at the mercy of the civic authorities, as has been shown by a telegram produced tonight with regard to Vancouver. The same may be said with regard to Toronto, Montreal and other cities. That is the real situation, and my last word is to ask the Government to do something effective immediately, not to wait for the report of the commission, for we really know now what the report of that commission will be, as we know what the economic conditions throughout the country are. But that report will not relieve the sorrows now existing in large cities and towns, and I ask the Government to do something immediately, either in the form of large public works in different cities or in the immediate reformation of the tariff, so that the working men throughout the country may receive some benefit and be able to support the cold weather of the present winter.

The House divided on the proposed

amendment of Sir Wilfrid Laurier.

TEAS : Messieurs

B61and,

Bickerdike,

Boivin,

Bourassa,

Boyer

Brouillard,

Buchanan,

Cardin,

Carvell,

Charlton,

Chisholm (Inverness), Clark (Red Deer), Delisle,

Demers,

Douglas,

Ethier,

Fortier,

Gauthier (St.

Hyacinthe),

Gauvreau,

German,

Graham,

Hughes (Kings, P.E.I.),

Kyte,

Lachance,

Lafortune,

Lanctot,

Lapointe

(Kamouraska), Laurier (Sir Wilfrid).

MacNutt,

McCoig,

McCarney,

McCrea,

McKenzie,

McLean (Sunbury), McMillan,

Marcil (Bona venture), Marcile (Bagot), Martin (Montreal,

Ste. Mary's),

Martin (Regina), Michaud,

Molloy,

Murphy,

Nesbitt,

Neely,

Oliver,

Pacaud,

Papineau,

Proulx,

Reid (Restigouche), Robb,

Ross,

Seguin,

Sinclair,

Thomson,

(Qu'Appelle),

Tobin,

Truax,

Turgeon,

Topic:   THE GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH.
Subtopic:   ADDRESS IN REPLY.
Permalink
LIB

Frederick Forsyth Pardee

Liberal

Mr. PARDEE:

I was paired with the right lion, the Prime Minister; otherwise I would have voted for the amendment.

Topic:   THE GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH.
Subtopic:   ADDRESS IN REPLY.
Permalink
LIB

Hugh Guthrie

Liberal

Mr. GUTHRIE:

I was paired with the

hon. member for Lincoln (Mr. Lancaster); otherwise I would have voted for the amendment.

Topic:   THE GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH.
Subtopic:   ADDRESS IN REPLY.
Permalink
LIB

William F. Carroll

Liberal

Mr. CARROLL:

I was paired with the hon. member for Kings, N.S. (Mr. Foster); otherwise I would have voted for the amendment.

Topic:   THE GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH.
Subtopic:   ADDRESS IN REPLY.
Permalink
CON

Avard Longley Davidson

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. DAVIDSON:

I was paired with the hon. member for Antigonish (Mr. Chisholm) ; otherwise I would have voted against the amendment.

Topic:   THE GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH.
Subtopic:   ADDRESS IN REPLY.
Permalink
CON

John James Carrick

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CARRICK:

I was paired with the

hon. member for St. James division, Montreal (Mr. Lapointe); otherwise I would have voted against the amendment.

On the question: shall the main motion be adopted.

Topic:   THE GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH.
Subtopic:   ADDRESS IN REPLY.
Permalink
LIB

David Bradley Neely

Liberal

Mr. D. B. NEELY (Humboldt):

Mr. Speaker, as the hour is somewhat late and I did wish to make some remarks on the Address, concluding with an amendment which may provoke more or less discussion, I would beg the consent of the leader of the House to my moving the adjournment of the debate.

Hon. GEORGE E. FOSTER: I had understood that there was some arrangement between the whips, agreed to by both sides of the House, that the Address would be disposed of to-night.

Topic:   THE GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH.
Subtopic:   ADDRESS IN REPLY.
Permalink
?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

No, no.

Topic:   THE GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH.
Subtopic:   ADDRESS IN REPLY.
Permalink

January 27, 1914