June 4, 1917

LIB

John Gillanders Turriff

Liberal

Mr. TURRIFF:

I hope the hon. minister will allow me to put him right. I did not mention potatoes going to the United States.

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CON

Thomas Wilson Crothers (Minister of Labour)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CROTHERS:

Then I beg his pardon;

I thought he had said so. But we all know that potatoes have gone to the United

States from Canada. And why? Because they are dearer there than here. Then, what about the food controller of the United States, who was to have reduced the price of everything in that country? But it is just the same old story-one day these hon. gentlemen are begging ifor conditions under which the farmer shall be 'able to get more for his wheat, and the next day attacking the Government because the farmer gets so much. It is the same effort to humbug the country. But it failed in 1911, and it fails now, and it will fail whenever it is tried.

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LIB

Edward Mortimer Macdonald

Liberal

Mr. MACDONALD:

A little while ago the hon. minister was looking all over the world for somebody to tell him-

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CON

Thomas Wilson Crothers (Minister of Labour)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CROTHERS:

I was asking the hon. gentleman to tell us some place where the prices of goods had been reduced.

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LIB

Edward Mortimer Macdonald

Liberal

Mr. MACDONALD:

If the hon. gentleman will look at Australia he will find it there. There is a very ready remedy in the case of flour. We in Canada produce, possibly,

200,000,000 bushels of wheat, and our consumption is somewhere about 50,000,000 bushels. Why does not the Government undertake to commandeer the wheat that is necessary for our consumption in Canada at a fair price-

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CON
LIB

Edward Mortimer Macdonald

Liberal

Mr. MACDONALD:

Well, why don't they? -and deliver it at a fair price to the millers, and then regulate the handling of it by the millers, so that the people of Canada may get flour at a fair and proper figure ?_

'[DOT]Mr. CROTHERS: Would the hon. member for Assiniboia (Mr. Turriff) agree to that?

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?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Oh, oh.

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LIB

Edward Mortimer Macdonald

Liberal

Mr. MACDONALD:

Never mind the question-it is only the same old business of setting one opinion against another as a reason for doing nothing. What the people are concerned with, and what the hon. member for Assiniboia is concerned with, is how the plain people of this country are to get food at reasonable figures. The hon. minister talks about what the people will listen to and what they will not listen to. One thing they will not listen to is this veriest twaddle that the hon. minister has inflicted on this committee under pretense of dealing with the question of food prices. I say that, as to the price of the flour, it lies in the hands of this Government to commandeer the wheat necessary for consumption in Canada and to see to it that flour made from that wheat is delivered to the people at a proper price. That is a

solution which any business man could work out.

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CON

John Allister Currie

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CURRIE:

There is nothing through which the poor people have suffered more than the high cost of coal, and I would like the hon. member (Mr. Macdonald), as a representative of the coal interests, to say whether he is willing that coal should be commandeered at so much a ton and sold to the people at a reasonable price?

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LIB

Edward Mortimer Macdonald

Liberal

Mr. MACDONALD:

Why, certainly. If my hon. friend (Mr. Currie) thinks that this situation, serious as it is, can be met by a silly argument, or suggestion, of that kind, he is quite mistaken. I say that every article that enters into the home consumption of the plain people must be dealt with with a strong hand by this Government, and the country expects the Government so to deal with it.

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CON

John Allister Currie

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CURRIE:

The hon. gentleman goes far afield from his own home for. his illustration and argument on the subject of the high cost of living. He goes away to the Northwest and takes the case of wheat and flour. But why does not he speak on behalf of the poor people in his own province who were faced with the high prices of coal during this cold winter? I have never heard him raise his voice in a single word against the high price of coal until now when he has been challenged.

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LIB

Edward Mortimer Macdonald

Liberal

Mr. MACDONALD:

The hon. member (Mr. Currie) has not been in the House very much this session; he has honoured us only occasionally-

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CON
LIB

Edward Mortimer Macdonald

Liberal

Mr. MACDONALD:

Oh no, you have not. The hon. gentleman forgets just where he was. He need not worry -about the consistency of my position in this matter; the problem of the high cost of living will not be met by any such argument as that.

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CON

John Allister Currie

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CURRIE:

There is no greater danger in this House than the presence of the hon. member (Mr. Macdonald), sitting here as he does, representing these coal interests, and yet he challenges the high cost of living. The people have paid high prices for coal in his own province and in Montreal. And why? Because the coal is charged for at two or three times former prices. But is the coal miner getting double or three times the pay he got before? No. The statements of the companies for which the hon. gentleman is solicitor show that he knows it.

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LIB

Edward Mortimer Macdonald

Liberal

Mr. MACDONALD:

When the hon. gentleman talks about my being solicitor for companies, he makes a statement concerning which he knows nothing whatever and is absolutely unjustified and unwarranted. I will tell him whom I represent in this House. I represent three or four thousand coal miners, who have sent me here for twelve years to speak and act on their behalf.

Let me say to the hon. gentleman who comes here to "wrestle with this problem and to indulge in personal matters of this kind, that the people of my constituency are aroused upon this question of the cost of living, they ward .some solution of it from, this Government, and they will have it. The hon. gentleman *speaks about the price of coal. The price of [DOT]coal in the constituency from which I come is not greater than it should he, having regard to the wages that people should have in order to pay for the produce that is necessary to keep them alive. If the price of coal is greater in Montreal than it should be, and the minister laboured for over an hour to-night to show that it is not, all I have to say is that it is not the coal from Nova Scotia that is being consumed and for which this large price is being paid. Coal from Nova Scotia is not going to Montreal on account of the removal of facilities for getting it there. The coal consumed in Montreal is coal from the United States and not from Nova Scotia. Within the last three days I called the attention of the Government to the fact that it was impossible for Nova Scotia to send, any coal to central Canada on account of the boats being removed. My hon. friend who always pretends to omniscience has something to learn in regahd to that question. The price of coal in central Canada is not dependent on the price of coal in Nova Scotia.

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CON

John Allister Currie

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CURRIE:

The hon. gentleman has just got right down to the point. I know where coal comes from that is- supplied to that province, because I am a large pur- ' chaser of coal, and I know where the coal comes from that is supplied to the West. We have never heard the hon. gentleman who represents the coal interests of Nova Scotia ask the Government to take the duty off coal, although he is always hollering to have the duty taken off wheat and flour. Is he prepared to have the duty taken off soft coal? There is $5,000,000 paid every year by the farmers of the West for the duty on soft coal. Is he willing to forego that duty?

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LIB

Edward Mortimer Macdonald

Liberal

Mr. MACDONALD:

If my hon. friend

wants to discuss the question, I will discuss it with him at the proper time. He talks about the coal consumed in Ontario. There is not a cent of duty on the anthracite coal consumed by the householder in Ontario.

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CON

John Allister Currie

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CURRIE:

Soft coal is very largely

consumed in Ontario-. The very 'bread that is baked in Ontario is baked with soft coal and that soft coal pays a duty of fifty cents a ton and more on account of the war. Yet, my-hon. friend and his friends want to keep American coal out of Canada. Has he the honesty to say: I will forego the

duty on coal if you will forego- the- duty on wheat? There is the East and there is the West in this country. My hon. friend represents the East. We have never heard him say a word about the duty on coal. He is quite willing to have somebody else'e wool cut-, but he is not willing to have his own, and he cuts a very sorry figure on this question,

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June 4, 1917