February 7, 1916

LIB

William Pugsley

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY:

That was in the Bill

which was passed by Congress last session, but it was vetoed by the President, and the Bill which has been introduced during the present session of Congress leaves out the provision of national credit. There are a good many members of Congress who are in hopes that they will be able to get the Bill changed, so as to have the national credit, hut they very much fear that they will not be able to do so, and some are in favour of accepting the Bill without the national credit provision in it. I think if my hon. friend looks at the Bill he will see that I am correct.

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IND

William Findlay Maclean

Independent Conservative

Mr. W. F. MACLEAN:

There is provisipn made for large deposits of Government money in this new system of banking. In that way great sums of national money can be issued for the use of the farmers in connection with farm credits. But I see the point my hon. friend is making with regard to improved security.

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LIB

William Pugsley

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY:

Will my hon. friends

on the Treasury benches pardon me if I remind them that before the Solicitor General became a member of this Government,

- before he became Solicitor General, he stated to this House that he was in favour of introducing a Bill, and of having it passed by this House, to provide for agricultural credits. There is no one better qualified to draw a Bill along these lines than my hon. friend the Solicitor General. He has become the legal adviser very largely of this Government. He occupies a very prominent position in this House, and no doubt is influential in the Government. But since he has become Solicitor General we have had no word of 'the provision of agricultural credits, no word of the provision of a banking system for the benefit of the farmers. Why is this? Some member of 'the Government might enlighten us, and let us know whether the Solicitor General, who has become a member "of the Privy Council, and therefore a member of the Government, has changed his mind, and whether the Government has abandoned the idea of introducing a Bill along those lines. If the Government has abandoned the idea, and does not intend to submit the matter to Parliament, it will become a question for other members of the House whether they suould press the matter

upon the attention of the Government, and endeavour to rouse public attention in favour of the enactment of such a measure. Of course it will be well understood that a Bill of this nature would have to he introduced by the Government. The most that other members of the House could do would be to agitate for the measure in the hope that the Government would later on see its way to take some action. At all events, if they should not do so during their-they will pardon me for saying it - their short tenure of office.

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CON

Robert Rogers (Minister of Public Works)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ROGERS:

Smile when you say that.

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LIB

William Pugsley

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY:

Then it could be brought to a successful conclusion by their successors.

There are other matters in regard to which this Government ought to ask Parliament to prepare for the future, and to prepare immediately. We should not wait until this war is over. You will agree with me, I am sure, when I say that we should not wait until we have thousands and hundreds of thousands of men coming back from the front, many of them with no work to engage in, many of them who left their occupations to go to the front, and who have no occupation to take up when they return. We should not wait until that day arrives; we should be looking ahead and making preparations. In addition to a broad and comprehensive plan for the settlement of our young men upon our Crown lands, there are surely other lines of industry which ought to receive consideration by the Government. Take the matter which my hon. friend the Minister of Marine and Fisheries referred to some three or four years ago when he took such a lively interest in such matters. You will remember the occasion, Sir, when he said that he had the smell of the salt air in his nostrils, and that he wanted to assist in the building up of a great ship-building industry. Surely, Sir, we ought not to wait niany years, we ought not to wait until the war is over before we take up that question. To-day there .is a tremendous demand for a mercantile marine in this country, and surely this Canada of ours with its thousands of miles of coast line on the Atlantic and the Pacific, ought to be encouraged by the Government to engage in ship-building. We should proceed with the establishment of a mercantile marine. That would give employment to many people, not to disabled soldiers, but to many people who might want to come to this country, and to many soldiers when they return from the front after the war is over. It would not require

very much encouragement upon the part of this Government to induce people to establish shipyards upon both the Atlantic and the Pacific coasts. Has the Government thought of this question at all? I fear not, i Sir. I have it from a gentleman in my own city, who would like to take some steps towards the building of sailing vessels with auxiliary engines, that he is met at the very outset with a very heavy handicap. Many sailing vessels which are built in the United States to-day and which are engaged in the Atlantic trade use sails, but they also use the Deisel oil engine as auxiliary power, and they have to pay a duty of something like 35 or 40 per cent on the Deisel oil engine. These engines are not manufactured in Canada, and the man who wants to engage in shipbuilding in this country must pay a duty, as I say, amounting to 35 or 40 per cent before he can bring in the necessary equipment to enable him to build a vessel which, would successfully navigate the ocean. These sailing vessels could be built for a comparatively small sum of money compared with the cost of steel ships. Allow me, with the very best of feeling, to suggest to the Government that they take up this question, give attention to it, and see if they cannot do something to encourage and promote the establishment of shipyards in Canada.

I might go on and speak of many other things which this Government might do, and I beg of them, if anything occurs to them, not to appoint a committee or a commission for the purpose of shelving the question, but to deal with these questions effectively; to submit them to Parliament, to invite discussion upon them. I assure the Government that, so far as the members on this side of the House are concerned- and I believe I can say the same for all the members of this House-any measures which they submit, looking towards the development of any industries in this country, looking toward giving employment to the people of this country and to the additional thousands whom we hope to have before long, will be heartily supported. Proposals on a broad and comprehensive scale will be heartily supported by all the members of this House, and I feel sure by all the people of this country.

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LIB

Alexander Kenneth Maclean

Liberal

Mr. A. K. MACLEAN (Halifax):

The

resolution as proposed originally by the hon. member for Rouville was limited, but there was this to say in favour of it, that it was practical. The hon. member for Rouville evidently had in mind specifically the' matters of immigration and labour

Accordingly, lie ended his resolution with emphasis upon the urgent need for a system of national labour bureaus. At the suggestion of the -hon. Minister of Publio Works, however, the latter paTt of the resolution has been eliminated, and we are left with a pure abstraction. In order to jmake the resolution completely idealistic,

I suggest that it be further -amended to read as follows:

That this House recognizes the necessity Tor immediate national action to cope with new and complex conditions arising during and after the war.

I insert after the word, " arising " the words, " during and,", so that we shall have reference within the resolution to -all the present and future ills which may happen to this country in consequence of the war.

The hon. member for Rouville based his argument this afternoon-I must say I did not follow him throughout the length of his remarks-upon a great immigration into this country after the war. If he or the Minister of Public Works wishes this House to understand' that the new and complex conditions which will arise after the war will be entirely referable to an unusually large immigration, I feel that the resolution is of very little value. I rise chiefly to express in a word or two my views upon the subject of immigration.

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LIB

Rodolphe Lemieux

Liberal

Mr. LEMIEUX:

My motion has reference not only to immigration after the war, but also to returned soldiers, and to the fact that dislocation will take place in the existing war industries that will throw out of employment -a very large number of workers.

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LIB

Alexander Kenneth Maclean

Liberal

Mr. MACLEAN:

I quite understood the hon. gentleman to discuss the particular which he has just mentioned; nevertheless I heard him distinctly say on more than one occasion during the course of his remarks that we should undoubtedly have a very large immigration into this country after the war. Now, I say it is very important that we have some definite and intelligent view upon the question as to whether or not we shall have a large immigration after the war. If we do not have immigration, then the new and -complex conditions which the resolution states will arise after the war will be of one kind; if we do have immigration, perhaps we may have another set of complex conditions to deal with. The statement has been made frequently by hon. gentlemen in this

House during the present session, as well as by many citizens of this country outside of Parliament, and by many of the newspapers of Canada, that we shall undoubtedly have a very large immigration after the war. As I have already remarked, it is important that we know, so far -as it -is possible to know, what is the future of this country in respect to immigration after the war. I have never yet heard any hon. gentleman in the House or any person outside of the House, give any reasons to justify the opinion that after the war there will be any substantial immigration, or even a -moderate amount of immigration, into Canada. It is quite possible-I think it is quite probable-that for a number of years after the war we shall have practically no immigration into this country. I trust that I -am in error-I am not so entirely pessimistic as to be beyond conviction-but I do -say that those who argue that we are going to have a large amount of immigration into Canada after the war ends should give some reason for the opinion.

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IND

William Findlay Maclean

Independent Conservative

Mr. W. F. MACLEAN:

The Transcontinental Railway.

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LIB

Alexander Kenneth Maclean

Liberal

Mr. A. K. MACLEAN:

I submit -that every -condition rather points to the conclusion that immigration into Canada will be very very -small indeed fox many year-s after the conclusion of the wax. It is not improbable -this is the view held by many men in the United States-that in that part of the North American continent there will be not immigration-, but emigration. I say that the matter of future immigration is a fair matter for inqniry on the part of the Government. It is possible, I think, ito obtain by investigation some facts which will indicate-as to whether the European countries will permit emigration after the war and whether we axe likely to obtain any of it if it comes to this -side of the Atlantic. It is us-eless to predicate public policy upon the probability of a large immigration into Canada after the war unless that probability i-s prima facie established. It would be' a - misdirection of public energy, and, possibly, a misuse of public money, to attempt to provide any remedy for abuses coming from a very large immigration before determining whether we are going to have that immigration or not.

The resolution now-I understand that the Minister of Public Works agrees to my amendment

is -sufficiently wide to enable one to discuss almost -any -matter, and there

are just one or two subjects to which I wish to refer very briefly. One has reference to industrial conditions in portions of Nova Scotia. I have in my mind the county of Cape Breton, wherein are located the collieries of the Dominion Coal Company and the plant of the Dominion Iron and Steel Corporation. There has been >a very creditable and generous enlistment for overseas service on the part of the employees of these two corporations. The enlistments have been tso very heavy that during the past few months, and perhaps at the present time, the operations of these corporations have been very much endangered. The same conditions may prevail in other Canadian industrial centres; they may be applicable to some particular industry in another portion of the country. Notwithstanding the existence of war, this country must pay special attention to production. In order to pay the interest upon our indebtedness, it is necessary to export at least $150,000,000 worth of products a year, and in order to carry on the life of this young nation it is urgent and imperative that the productions of the country be kept to the highest possible level. Just here I wish to say that recruiting should be more directly under the control of the Government than it is. I do not suggest thajt some responsibility should not rest upon the citizens of the country, but I think that recruiting should be controlled to some extent by the Government, particularly in order that enlistment may be discouraged at certain points if the national interest so demands, or controlled in such manner that labour may be transferred from one point to 'another in the event of recruiting weakening the industrial strength of the country at one or more particular .points. This is a matter which, I imagine, may become vary acute in many sections of the country; therefore it is a question deserving the immediate consideration of the Government. The Minister of Labour this afternoon referred to the Hospitals Commission, and the hon. member for Regina (Mr. W. M. Martin) also made a passing reference to it. I am told by those having experience with the duties assigned to this Hospitals-Commission, which is working in conjunction with the Commissions appointed by the Provincial Governments, that the work is not being satisfactorily performed. In my judgment that was likely to be the natural result of control by a Federal commission, particularly a commission of the

character appointed by the Government. The personnel of that commission consists of very estimable and capable citizens of this country-among the very best people in the country I should think; but they reside in different cities and far apart, and I say it is impossible for this Hospitals Commission properly to do the work assigned to it, and it should be immediately dissolved. A>s the hon. member for Regina has already .stated, the work up to date has in reality been performed by the commissioners appointed by the Provincial Governments, that is, so far as obtaining employment for the men who' have returned from overseas is concerned, and I think that is the only practical work that could have been done by any person. Whether that does or does not include all the work that has been done by the commission, or could be done by the commission, I say that a commission like this, composed of men who reside a considerable distance apart, is not likely to be very successful. I would suggest that there be established under some one of the present departments of the Government, the Department of Militia, or of Labour, a bureau having control of the work which this Hospital Commission is supposed to perform. It would then be possible for the organization in the several provinces to get quickly in communication with the administrative head in Ottawa and have prompt action taken-something which I submit is utterly impossible in the present circumstances. I say-and I am not making this criticism ,in any censorious spirit, or suggesting that, the Government made a grave error of judgment in appointing this commission-but I say that a little experience has proved that the Hospitals Commission as now constituted is utterly impracticable and incapable of doing the work, and it ought therefore to be dissolved.

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LIB

James Joseph Hughes

Liberal

Mr. J. J. HUGHES (Kings, P.E.I.):

I just wish to .say a few words on the matter from my point of view. The resolution suggests, and the members who have already spoken on it have also suggested, that now is the time to take into consideration the condition that will exist after the war. I think the resolution has been amended to read " conditions that will arise during and after the war." There is one condition that is certainly going to exist after the war, and that is an enormous public debt, and enormous public taxation, and it would, perhaps, be well to consider whether the country is getting value for the

expenditures it is making, particularly in the Militia Department. We know that in the early days of the war the expenditure was very large, and under the circumstances it probably could not be controlled; but now that conditions are becoming more settled it is a question whether the country is getting full value for the exceedingly large expenditure that is being made. I think all will admit that the Minister of Militia and Defence is not a man who values expenditure. While he may have, and doubtless has, many qualities that fit him for the position he occupies, economy is not one of the hon. gentleman's characteristics. In the system of recruiting throughout the country, for instance, there appears to be no well-defined principle. The hon. member for Halifax (Mr. A. K. Maclean) has referred to that to some extent, and I want to mention a few things that have come under my own notice. In the city of Ottawa I see in khaki very old men, some of them seventy years of age I should think. I do not know what military duties . they could perform, nor do I know whether they are drawing pay or not, but I have seen these men on the street, in the hotels, and in the House. Furthermore-I do not wish to be too particular-I have noticed' several members of Parliament dressed in khaki; for instance, the hon. member for West Peterborough (Mr. Burnham), the philosopher, I might call him. I presume he would be able to give good military service. Now, whether these men are drawing double pay or not I do not know, but I say that this is a time for economy, a time when men should not try to make their patriotism pay.

We are asked to consider the condition of the labouring men of this country. We are asked to consider the case of the soldiers who are returning, and who will return in greater numbers after the war is over. But we should also consider the position of the tax payer, who, after all, makes up four-fifths of the population. We know that he will have to bear exceedingly heavy burdens, and we also know as a matter of fact that this war is producing millionaires in Canada. It is producing men who have not only military titles, but titles of distinction, such as knighthoods, which involves a high scale of living. All this is going on at the present time, and it is a serious question whether greater economy could not be practised, greater value received for the money that is being voted so generously by the people of this country for

the conduct of the war. That is a question that might receive consideration now. It is a question that could be considered at any time. It concerns the ordinary taxpayer-the farmer, the fisherman, the miner, the mechanic-the man who is trying to support his family, and who, after all, pays the bulk of the taxes. He has to carry the burdens whatever they be, and the burdens will be heavy, and this country will not again for many years, perhaps forever, be a cheap country to live in. These are conditions that might very well be considered now in order to ensure, as my hon. friend from West Peterborough said, that every man shall give value or an equivalent for that which he receives. We know that this has not been done for the past year and a half; that value has been received for whicn an equivi-lent has not been given. As I already stated, perhaps that could not very well be avoided in the beginning of the great crisis through which we are passing, but it can to a large extent be prevented now provided that the Government tries seriously to prevent it. I thought perhaps I would be justified in presenting this view of the case, because it is of importance and consequence to the class of the community which I represent, that is, the ordinary people, farmers, fishermen, mechanics and men of that class, who have to bear their full share of the burdens that are necessarily being imposed.

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CON

James Davis Taylor

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. J. D. TAYLOR (New Westminster):

Mr. Speaker, having listened to the remarks of my hon. friend (Mr. J. J. Hughes), I share the hope which he has expressed, as I understand him, that this country will not become a cheaper country than it is just now, because if ever I heard anything which, to my mind, is a cheap statement to a deliberative assembly, I heard it a few minutes ago when this hon. gentleman presumed to sneer at the members of this House who wear the uniform of His Majesty. I too, Sir, represent a large population of all classes, of the labouring class, of the farming class, of the artisan class, just as good people, I am sure, as those represented in this House by the hon. gentleman (Mr. J. J. Hughes) and who, I feel certain, does not represent his constituents in the sentiments he has uttered here. I will answer the question which he has asked in so sneering a way, as to why some of us are wearing the King's uniform in this House. I can answer it from my own standpoint;

I can tell him that I am wearing the King's uniform, because I heard the call to duty sent out by my King. I read the appeal of the King to the manhood of Canada, and to the manhood of the Empire, to come forward and do their share, and although it is thirty-seven years since 1 first put G-n the King's uniform and thirty-one years since I was privileged before to give field service to the King, I felt that 1 could, without any offence, and least of all without offering offence to the House of Commons, offer my services again to His Majesty. I have the uniform on because I desire to give an example to the younger men of my community, and as evidence that those to whom they look as their natural leaders are prepared to do their part.

I feel sure, Sir, that there is no service which any member of Parliament can give that will be of more value to the military authorities than that he himself should put on the uniform, thus to show to the people of his district, who are invited by this Parliament as well as by the Imperial Parliament, and by the King, to give military service, that their natural leaders, whom they honour with public positions, do not shirk their duty, but are prepared, when the call comes, to put on the King's uniform and render service in the field as well as service in the Parliament of Canada.

Motion, as amended, agreed to.

On motion of Mr. Rogers, the House adjourned at 9.53 p.m.

Tuesday, February 8, 1916.

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February 7, 1916