March 2, 1915

CON
LIB

Edward Walter Nesbitt

Liberal

Mr. NESBITT:

I must again correct my hon. friend. I certainly never voted for an expenditure in Peterborough or Guelph such as he speaks about. I opposed such expenditures last year as I do this year. I did not enumerate all the places, but I opposed such expenditures generally.

Topic:   THE BUDGET.
Subtopic:   PROPOSED WAR TAXATION.
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CON

Henry Herbert Stevens

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

These buildings were

put up by the late Government, and the hon. gentleman, so far as I am able to learn, did not once raise his voice in opposition to them. Now, a word as to the construction of drill halls which my hon. friend ridicules, and says that we are not using them and that men cannot be drilled in a hall. In every large city in Canada to-day, and in my own city particularly, we have to rent building after building to accommodate the contingents that we are raising. We have no drill hall except a very old one, in Vancouver, yet we need accommodation for the training of the men of these contingents, and so we are forced to rent buildings. If we had more drill halls in Canada where we could assemble the troops we are raising in all parts of the country and where we could give them the preliminary training and drill and then give them the mass drill in the cities where they are assembled, we should be better off.

The hon. gentleman took exception to the Trent Valley canal. That is a work that has been under way for a great many years and it is one that the people of Canada demand shall be completed and put into sue-

cessful operation at the earliest possible date. Parts of it are being operated now and, I am informed, with very great advantage to the country through which it passes. So with the Georgian Bay canal. Personally, I have never been very enthusiastic about that work, but I look upon it as a matter very largely affecting the people in the eastern part of Canada. The hon. member for South Renfrew (Mr. Graham) would not object to that work going on. I think he would not say " Hear, hear! " to what his friend from North Oxford said. The hon. member for North Oxford said a moment ago unchallenged that he did not care for his leader or anybody else, that he was speaking for himself. It is a happy condition with these hon. gentlemen in the Opposition that they have the privilege of speaking for themselves without involving their party in the argument.

Topic:   THE BUDGET.
Subtopic:   PROPOSED WAR TAXATION.
Permalink
LIB

George Perry Graham

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM:

That is one of the beauties of being in opposition.

Topic:   THE BUDGET.
Subtopic:   PROPOSED WAR TAXATION.
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CON

Henry Herbert Stevens

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

It reminds me that

possibly a great deal of the argument advanced within the last few days by hon. gentlemen is not-I was going to say is not quite sincere, but that wouid not be parliamentary; but what I mean to say is that many of the arguments on the question of expenditure are put possibly with the hope that the Government may be foolish enough to accept the advice and so injure themselves politically throughout the country. This Government could not possibly indulge in a more foolish act, in my estimation, than to curtail the expenditure on public works at this crisis in the history of the country. Now we have had very considerable criticism of the expenditures, and I shall ask the indulgence of the House for a few moments while we examine some of these expenditures. Because one of the things I have particularly remarked in this debate is that those hon. gentlemen who have criticised the Government fail, as my friend Mr. Joseph Martin puts it, to get down to brass tacks. While they offer criticisms, they do not show how improvement could be made. With regard to the increased expenditure we have certain items to which I wish to refer. First there is $8,730,000 in sinking fund. It' is utterly impossible for us to avoid the inclusion of that sum in our Estimates. I am possibly mistaken in what I thought I heard an hon. gentleman on the other side say this afternoon. But as I understood him he said that his view was that this sum should have been included in the sum we borrowed from the Mother Country to carry on

the war. What are the facts? The Minister of Finance has made an arrangement with the Imperial Government, whereby all the moneys necessary for carrying on the war- that is war expenses and only war expenses -will be advanced on the general War Budget of the Old Land That is an arrangement for which the Finance Minister deserves a great deal of credit. It would be absurd for us to seek to include in those borrowings the interest covering the same. We get the money on most reasonable terms -the same rate that the Imperial Government will pay, which are the best rates in the world. And surely that is a sufficient concession. It has been argued that this is not a War Budget but that it is presented as a War Budget merely to cover up the failure of the Government to administer the affairs of the country aright. I wish to discuss for a moment the facts of the war with a view to showing hon. gentlemen opposite-though they do not need it; they know it already-that the conditions now pertaining are produced directly by the war, if not by this war, then by the. war of 1912. For we all remember that when the Balkan war broke out, and while it was raging, it was daily expected that the great powers of Europe would be dragged into the conflict in which we are to-day. The money interests of the world commenced hoarding funds against the possible outbreak for a period of two * years. And it is well they did so, well both for this country and for the Motherland. For I believe that if it had not been for the wisdom of Lloyd George, the great Finance Minister of the Old Land, Mr. Winston Cnurchill and others we should not have been in the happy position in which we are to-day, immune from attack by foreign countries.

In my city we have two lines of steamships, one of which is operated by the Canadian Pacific Railway Company. Five steamships of this service, the Empress of Asia, the Empress of Russia-which are larger than any steamships running into Montreal-the Empress of China, the Empress of Japan and the Monteagle, were taken by the Admiralty a( the outbreak of the war and, with the exception of the Monteagle, which has been returned, are being used by them to-day. What effect did this have upon trade? It had this effect: we could not get bottoms in Vancouver for the export of goods, and the consequence was that export trade on the western coast was absolutely paralysed. Steamships not only of the Canadian Pacific railway lines but of

the Blue Funnel lines, the Harrison lines, the Holt and other lines, were taken over by the Admiralty, and the tonnage on the Pacific coast at Vancouver, at San Francisco, Portland, and other ports, became so scarce that freight rates were doubled. Today, therefore, we are precluded from export trade on the Pacific coast because of the lack of bottoms in which to carry our goods. Millions upon millions of dollars' worth' of lumber trade which is offering to our lumber men cannot be accepted because there is no way of transporting the goods. Yet Ihon. gentlemen opposite coolly stand up in their places in this House and, seemingly indifferent to their responsibilities as representatives of the people, say that the war is not the cause of the present disrupted conditions of trade and commerce in Canada.

Again, what effect has the absolute cutting off of all borrowings had upon our trade and commerce? First, the Federal Government could borrow no more money, except for the purposes which I have mentioned; secondly, all provincial borrowings were shut off, with the result that many public works were stopped. Municipal borrowings were suddenly cut off, and in my province-and, I believe, in other provinces as well-the provincial government was forced to come to the assistance of many municipalities in order that they might be enabled to carry out ordinary works throughout the coming year. Lastly, industrial borrowings were cut off and the activities of the various industries of the country were curtailed. This was directly attributable to the outbreak of this war in Europe.

The shutting off of borrowings directly affected the steel industry, because the carrying on of industrial and municipal works for which large amounts of money were borrowed involved the use of a considerable amount of steel. The steel industry was so seriously affected that factories at Hamilton and on the Atlantic coast were shut down, or almost shut down. The practical cessation of building operations throughout the whole of Canada is directly attributable to the outbreak of war. Large financial concerns wthich formerly received money from the old land were unable to secure any further amounts; loans could not be advanced on mortgages, buildings could not be erected; practically every industry was affected. I think every lion, gentleman opposite must admit that practically the whole of the stagnation in trade

which now prevails throughout Canada is directly attributable to the war.

Let us examine some of the items which have been criticised by hon. gentlemen opposite. What is the increase in respect of civil government? 3174,000, which consists of statutory increases authorized by legislation passed by the very hon. gentlemen who now criticise this item. What would they have us do? Because the revenue of a post office falls considerably during the year, would they have us close tne office and discharge the employees? The same applies to customs ports of entry. There has been an increase in the Post Office Estimates of $1,720,000. How is that increase being spent? Railway service, $405,000. That amount is devoted to parcel post. Up to the present time we have not begn able to receive the full benefit which is to be derived from the operation of the parcel post system, but would hon. gentlemen opposite suggest that this newly-organized branch of the postal service be dispensed with? Rural deliveries, an inci-ease of $350,-

000. In 1912-13 600 new rural routes were established; in 1913-14, 940; to-day there are 2,857 routes. The establishment of these rural mail delivery routes is but the carrying *'out of the avowed policy of this Government during and prior to the last election. Hon. gentlemen opposite have stated that we are not carrying out our promises to the electors; here is a case in which the Government is faithfully carrying out one of its solemn pledges to the rural districts of Canada, yet hon. gentlemen opposite criticise the expenditure necessary to make good the word of the Government in that respect. In 1913-14 48,000 additional rural mail delivery boxes were established in the towns, villages and cities throughout the Dominion. These are a great convenience to the farmers of the country and to those living in the outlying districts.

Topic:   THE BUDGET.
Subtopic:   PROPOSED WAR TAXATION.
Permalink
LIB

George Perry Graham

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM:

Do the farmers not pay for their own boxes?

. Mr. STEVENS : I presume they do.

Topic:   THE BUDGET.
Subtopic:   PROPOSED WAR TAXATION.
Permalink
LIB

George Perry Graham

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM:

Tiien the Post Office Department obtains a revenue from that source; there is no expenditure.

Topic:   THE BUDGET.
Subtopic:   PROPOSED WAR TAXATION.
Permalink
CON

Henry Herbert Stevens

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

My hon. friend knows that a postal service cannot be expanded without very considerable cost to the community. He knows, too, that the postal service of this or any other country is not looked upon as a means for obtaining revenue; it is looked upon as a means of

communication and a system of enabling the rural districts to keep in touch with the affairs of the world. '

Topic:   THE BUDGET.
Subtopic:   PROPOSED WAR TAXATION.
Permalink
LIB

George Perry Graham

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM:

I think my hon. friend misunderstood me. He was quoting as an item of expense the number of rural mail delivery boxes that have been purchased by the Government. I was trying to point out that the farmers paid for these boxes; consequently there was no expenditure on the part of the Government.

Topic:   THE BUDGET.
Subtopic:   PROPOSED WAR TAXATION.
Permalink
CON

Henry Herbert Stevens

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

My hon. friend misunderstands me; I am afraid I have not the faculty of making myself clear. We expended in the expansion of this postal service $1,721,000. I was trying to give to the House some evidence of the fact that the Government has done some real work in this connection. I will repeat my statement; the Government established in 1913, 600 new rural mail routes and in 1913-14, 940. They had in 1912-13, 23,000 rural mail delivery boxes; last year this number was increased to 48,000. The cost of the boxes was borne by those who obtained them, but the cost of the service was borne by the Government. I mention this to show that the Government has done its utmost to give the people of Canada an up-to-date postal service, and I think they have succeeded in doing so.

The Estimates for the Mounted Police have been increased by $509,000. Do hon. gentlemen opposite object to that? No body of men in any country in the world are more worthy of admiration and of the support of the people than the Mounted Police of Canada. The staff of this splendid body of men has been increased for the purpose of keeping track of subjects of the enemy who may be leaving or passing through or coming into the western country. Pensions are increased by $139,000, the statutory increase.

Then, we have subsidies to provinces, another statutory increase which must be given, for which the Government, the Minister of Finance is not responsible. It amounts to $192,000. In agriculture, there is an important increase. Our hon. friends say that this Government neglects the farmer. How is this being spent? One important item of expenditure is testing seed. One great cause of failure and weakness among the farming communities of Canada has been carelessness in the selection of seed; we all know that. During the recent years the present Government, under the able administration of the Minister of Agriculture, has been trying to assist the farmer in the selection of his seed and has

[Mr. Stevens.!

been testing it for him and helping him in every way. There have been increased expenditures in connection with the live-stock industry, and to enforce the Meats and Canned Foods Act. I have myself been impressing on the Government the necessity of increased vigilance in the inspection of canned fruits, meats, etc., and there have been great steps forward in this respect. There is also the Pest Act and the Fruit Branch. These are the items on which the money is being expended, and the increase is in each case thoroughly justifiable. The Government cannot carry out these works and keep their pledges unless they have some reasonable aid from the country in the [DOT] matter of their finances.

As the hour is late, I beg to move the adjournment of the debate.

Topic:   THE BUDGET.
Subtopic:   PROPOSED WAR TAXATION.
Permalink

Motion agreed to, and debate adjourned. On motion of Hon. W. T. White, the House adjourned at 10.45 p.m. Wednesday, March 3, 1915.


March 2, 1915