May 6, 1918

UNION
UNION

Samuel Hughes

Unionist

Sir SAM HUGHES:

I chanced to be in

New York city one day, and in conversation with a gentleman he asked me: " Why not buy some Canadian bonds of the previous issue, you can get them as low as 91 to 93, and you can take them up and plant them in this new loan at 97J and make money?" I told him I would be delighted to do it if he would loan me the money, that as I had only enough to pay. my hotel bill I could not indulge in the experiment. What did happen was this: Bonds to the

extent of $150,000,000 were so bought up, and many of them, selling at that time from 91i to 93, were taken up and turned over; and I would venture to say that the average gain on each was at least 4 per cent. Six millions of dollars went into the pockets of brokers and speculators because of that little transfer clause in, the Victory Loan. I would suggest to the Acting Minister of Finance that he should make it impossible in future loans for a graft of $6,000,000 to be made out of the people of Canada. The brokers and stock gamblers of this country netted $6,000,000 by a little turn or trick in the placing of the last Victory Loan. Moreover, Sir, the man who invests his money in business takes his risks before the public. He has to pay an income tax on every dollar of profit above a certain per cent, whereas the man who acquired theee bonds by speculation on the market is free from that tax, and can profit to the full, extent. That is not fair to the honest purchaser in the Dominion of Canada, and I would like some one, sometime, to give me an explanation of why this sort of thing was permitted. I trust the Acting

Finance Minister will see to it that no such game is ever perpetrated again.

Speaking of- the Victory Loan, you can ask any banker, bank clerk, or any one handling these bonds, if any purchaser could understand the terms and conditions set out on the application forms. Unless they were paid up in full, the people have to come for them. Some have been lost in transmission. An army of clerks is required, and I understand that a new building is to be put up somewhere in Ottawa to handle this loan, when the whole thing could have^ been done for nothing. I was in Paris ini' 1915-16, when a loan was being offered there. There was a row of officers at desks.where the loan was being offered. A man would come in, ask for a fifty or one hundred franc bond, would whack up his money, the clerk would make out the bond, keeping a duplicate, and the original would be handed to the man when countersigned by the inspecting officer, and that was the end of it. There was no such paraphernalia such as we had in the Victory Loan. I know, as a matter of fact, how the bank clerks all over the Dominion worked, and worked for nothing. There was an allowance given by the Finance Department to the banks, but not for the work of these clerks, who worked at their regular business in the day time, and put in hours every night to help out this Victory Loan, and they got scarcely a "thank you" for their services.

Then there were bonuses paid to the brokers of upwards of $5,000,000. Does it not seem strange, Sir, that the returns from these brokers are not all in yet? I asked the Acting Minister of Finance the other day what brokers had handled this loan. He was trying to remember the pretexts that the President of the Privy Council puts up: he could not remember who these brokers were. The contract was farmed out to them, and they got many honest, enthusiastic people throughout the country to get out and canvass for the loan. I am satisfied that if a tithe of the energy had been used in other ways, the results would have been more satisfactory, although we raised, by offering the bonds at 5i to 6 per cent, $400,000,000 out of a surplus of a billion and a half, not counting the money put away in old teapots and stockings. These people should have jumped at taking these bonds as an investment, but we find only $400,000,000 coming forward out of a billion and a half to take advantage of this high rate of interest on the Victory Loan.

Topic:   THE BUDGET.
Permalink
?

Mr. D. C. BOSS@Middlesex West

Mr. Speaker, it is not my intention to follow the hon. gentleman seriatim through the various arguments that he made, or to refer in detail to his philosophical dispositions concerning the relative merits of autocracy and democracy. Every member of this House is fully seized of those merits or demerits, as the case may be. But when he was describing the demerits of auto-

cracy and the merits of democracy, I was reminded of the description given by an eminent English statesman of the tenets of the Liberal and Conservative parties. As I remember it, his .statement was that Conservatism was distrust of the people tempered by fear, and Liberalism trust of the people tempered by prudence.

Topic:   THE BUDGET.
Permalink
UNION
LIB

James Hamilton Ross

Liberal

Mr. ROSS:

Mr. Gladstone, I think. That definition fits- in so well with what the hon. gentleman was ascribing to autocracy and democracy that I wondered if he would accept it as a proper description of the standing of the two parties in this House.

I agree with what my hon. friend said when he took exception to the autocratic methods of this Government in legislating by Order in Council. Every true democrat in this country will concur in that. Indeed, many hon. gentlemen now sitting to the right of the Speaker, if they would speak their minds frankly, would condemn the Government for many of the steps they have taken by Order in Council during the last six months.

The speech of the hon. gentleman (Sir Sam. Hughes) was really a treat, as his speeches generally are. One was struck very forcibly with the love that must have prevailed between the hon. gentleman and the Minister of Finance (Sir Thomas White) who is not now in his place; it must have exceeded the love of Damon for Pythias. One was struck also with the delightful unanimity that must have prevailed in the old Cabinet when the member for Victoria was a member of it. He charges this Government with more crimes and misdeeds than any member of this House has so far ventured to attribute to it-and 1 have no doubt 'that he is telling the truth. He says that their loans were bad and extravagantly made; that the interest was too high; that the lecture bureau was not right; indeed, that everything wras bad.

Topic:   THE BUDGET.
Permalink
UNION
?

Arthur Edward Ross

Mr. RGSIS:

I understand that it was part of the Unionist campaign, and that its object was to cause the people to believe that the Union Government was the only Government that this country ever had or should have. I agree with my hon. friend that members of this Parliament could be chosen who would make up a Government probably more able than the present Administration. I cannot see that the Government have adopted any policies

of exceptional value since they came into office; I cannot see that they have even lived up to all their promises. What puzzles me is this: if the Government are as bad as the member for Victoria would have us believe they are, why in the world is he sitting on the right side of the Speaker? Why did he support them in the last election?

Topic:   THE BUDGET.
Permalink
UNION

Samuel Hughes

Unionist

Sir SAM HUGHES:

The hon. gentleman is puttting words into my mouth; I did not find fault with the Government. /In order to show that there w'ere many able men on this side, fit for any Government,

I pointed out that many gentlemen here were eminently qualified to govern, even as members of this Government are.

Topic:   THE BUDGET.
Permalink
LIB

James Hamilton Ross

Liberal

Mr. ROSS:

I accept what my hon. friend says, but as I remember his remarks he said that from any township or county council in Canada men could be chosen who would form as good a government as the men on the Treasury benches. I do not know that that is very flattering to members of county councils. I know many members of the county council in Middlesex, men of eminence and pre-eminence, who could give members of this Government a few pointers as to how the affairs of the country should be run. However, I am willing to accept my hon. friend's view of the matter.

I was very much pleased the other night as I listened to the speech of the hon. member for Springfield (Mr. Richardson).

I know that he is a radical among radicals, and I admire him for it; I belong to that category myself. T agree absolutely with most of the conclusions he arrived at concerning the railway situation. I take exception to the action of Hire Government in increasing freight rates; it was improvident, extravagant, uncalled for, it placed an undue burden upon the producing people, and no good can come from it.

Let us take the figures which the hon. gentleman (Mr: Richardson) gave to the House. He pointed out that the increase of 15 per cent in the railway rates would mean an imposition of $45,000,900 m additional freight rates on the people of this country. He pointed out, moreover, that the increase in freight rates would cost the consumer from $45,000,000 to $50,000,000 in the amounts added to the prices of commodities affected by that increase. In other words, he pointed out, and, I think, he properly and accurately pointed out, that the people of this country, by this increase of 15 per cent in freight rates, were to be subjected to a tax of $100,000,000.

That was not a good business arrangement. The justification urged by the Government, namely, that they have taxed the Canadian Pacific the small sum of $7,000,000, does not meet the case. What are the facts? The railways of Canada, as the hon. gentleman pointed out, have been paid for time and again by the people of this country). 'We suppose that the Canadian Northern and some of the other raliways are at the present time owned by the people of Canada. We know we have been putting into their coffers millions upon millions of dollars in land and in money. We know we are still putting money into their coffers, and we are to be asked this session to put more money into' their coffers. I cannot understand the inaction of the Government at the present time, df looks to me as if they were trying to steer clear of the whole question. I cannot understand why this Canadian Northern matter has not been brought-before the House at an earlier date in the session. I do not understand why the Government had not urged the arbitrators, who are inquiring into the value of the Canadian Northern railway stock, to make their finding earlier, so that on the floor of the House the members who are sent here to represent the people can thresh this thing out and thus avoid further action by Order in Council.

If the members of the House saw, as I did the other day, the report of Lord Shaughnessy in regard to the Canadian Pacific, I am sure they were very much struck with that report. Lord Shaughnessy sayis that the Canadian Pacific has assets aggregating $818,000,000, that is for railway property. He says, moreover that, apart from that, the Canadian Pacific has extraneous assets

^ suppose land, and companies such as steamship companies-aggregating $253,000,000. What is this country doing?

What is this House doing? What is this Government doing? They are allowing this little institution, with assets over $1,000,000,000, to- impose a tax on the people of this country, in the way of additional freight rates, of 15 per cent. - This company will receive from $25,000,000 to $30,000,000 in the way of profits out of that tax. This company has immense assets 'and it is paying immense dividends. Those assets were made by the people of Canada, -and yet the people of Canada are asked to put into the treasury of the company $25,000,000 or $30,000,000, and the Government says, forsooth: We will take back from the Canadian Pacific

$*,000,000 to relieve the taxpayers. That is an absurd, improvident bargain, one that this Government should never have made.

How is this increase in the freight rates going to affect the farmer? The farmer at this time is a very important factor in the winning of the w.ar. Probably he is the most important factor after the man at the front, if not as important. This increase is going to make the farmer pay both going and coming. This Government has seen fit by Order in Council to fix the price of wheat to the farmers at $2.21 per bushel at Fort William or Montreal, as the case may be. Then the Government says: We shall raise the freight rates 15 per cent. That means that the freight rates are taken out of the price of the farmer's grain, and he is, therefore, deprived of that amount of money for his grain. How does the increase affect the manufacturer? The Government has not put its unholy hand on the manufacturer. That would! never do. !The Government never seems to touch its friends-. It does not give the farmer free agricultural implements. It does not put a limitation on the price of binders, stating that they shall be sold for $200; but it allows then to be sold for $250. The farmer has to pay the price of the binder plus- the freight on it, because the manufacturer -adds the freight to the price. You have the farmer, therefore, losing both ways. He pays the extra freight rate on his binder, and he pays the extra freight Tate on his gtain. A much more sensible way to have arranged this matter would have been for the Government, if they must wait until the report of the Canadian Northern arbitrators has been received, to pay any deficits that may be incurred in the Tunning of those railways which they say they own. In that way they would save to the people the $30,000,000 which the Canadian Pacific would get, and if there is a small deficit it -can be taken out oif the public treasury and the Government can in this way economize in this time of stress and strain.

That brings me to another question which also touches the farmer. That is the question of production and free agricultural implements. Since I have been in this House,

I have had occasion more than once to vote for free agricultural implements. I was rather surprised to hear the hon. member for Springfield (Mr. Richardson) say that there was an agreement, implied or expressed, that the members for the West were going to lay aside all tariff issues during this session, and probably during this Par-

[DOT] liament. I was pleased on the other hand to learn from the hon. member for Maple Creek (Mr. Maharg) that, as far as he was eoncerned, no such agreement existed. I do not think, in this free, democratic country, members of this House should come to Parliament bound by agreements pf any kind. They should come here free to vote in the public interest, and whether a party has to stand or fall, it should stand or fall toy that gauge of -battle alone. If at the present time production is very important; if it is as important as we believe it to be; if it is as important as this Government said it was six months ago and as, I think, they will still say to-day; if production is so important that they allowed tractors to come into this country free in order to increase production; if production is so important that advertisements for farm labourers have appeared in almost every journal in this country, I contend that the sole rule toy -which hon. members of this House should be guided in their action on a question of this kind is this: Are free agricultural implements going to help increase production; and is producing more going to help to win the war?

At the last election we on this side of the House submitted to insults, charges and attacks which we did not deserve. We were told that we were disloyal; we weTe told that we were not true to the Empire; we were told that we did not want to fight for the Empire, simply because we urged upon our people what had toeen urged upon us by the Government, namely, the necessity of production. All through my riding and in other ridings, that was the charge that was levied against us. Some of the [DOT]men who levied those charges against us are in this House. Those men who are manufacturers of agricultural implements have at the present time a fine opportunity of standing by the reasons they contended at that time led them to join the Union Government, and the same *may be said of the men from the West.

The Union Government, they said was to win the war. Now, if we can prove, and I think we can, that free agricultural implements are going to help production, and so help win the war, these gentlemen should not let their pockets or their politics stand in the way of their patriotism, but be manly enough to say, "We will give the farmer that relief, forgetting our own interests in the interests of the nation at large, so that we may help win the war." I do not think this- Government is giving the farmer a fair chance. I represent an

agricultural riding. I have tried to be absolutely honest in my actions in connection with this war, I voted for the Military Service Act. I told my people on the hustings I was prepared to stand by the sending of one hundred thousand men to the front.

I thought that probably the exigencies ot the case demanded that they should be sent.

I also told them I had spoken in the House in favour of exemption for farmers, and I still stand for that. But this Government, all along the line, are not giving the farmer and the agriculturist a fair show.

I have already cited the freight rates case, and will now give an instance in connection with the horse trade in this country. Every man who knows anything about farming in this country knows that horse raising is one of our greatest industries, and that the easier a farmer can sell his horses the more prosperous he will be, and the better able to help in a greater production. But since the war began, this Government seems to have only trifled with the horse industry in Canada. I put a question on the Order Paper the other day asking how many horses the Government had bought in Canada last year, and I was told that $212,000 had been spent on horses bought in Canada, for use in camps in Canada, as the Prime Minister afterwards explained. But on looking through the estimates of the Militia Department I see that for the year ending March 31, 1917, $3,400,000 was set aside for purchasing remounts for use on the continent, and I find in the estimates this year an item of $3,000,000 more for the same purpose. Now what are are facts? As far as I can get them, they are these: very few of the horses that have been bought with that amount of money have been bought in Canada. Why is this? Our horses are well known to be the best in the world on account of being the best hoofed, owing to the limestone in the soil, and they have as good legs as any horses in the world, which is a most desirable thing for horses used in war. The Government cannot say we did not have the horses in this country, for in the western part of Ontario horses are a drug on the market; many people are simply clamouring for an opportunity to sell their horses. But this Government, which pretends to look after the interests of the farmers and of production, arranges with the British War Office for a Remount Commission to come out here, and they take our $3,400,000 and use it for buying American horses. Train loads of American horses are passing through Sarnia and Windsor every day, as

Topic:   THE BUDGET.
Permalink
L LIB
?

Mr. D. C. BOSS@Middlesex West

-that you are commercializing religious virtues or pretended virtues, but it would seem to me that both Christianity and humanized statesmanship demand' that you should keep your pledges. A pledge is a pledge and this Government should adhere to it to the letter. What is going to be the result? We are needing large sums of money to carry on this wrar. The hon. the Acting Minister of Finance says: "We would have to borrow $280,000,.000 to carry on the war. We will have to get it from the people of the country because there is no other place we can get it; we cannot sell our securities in the United States; we cannot get the money from Great Britain but we have to go to the plain people of Canada and1 get $280,000,000 to run this country and carry on this war. The minister will get some from the banks but in the end he will have to go to the people in the small towns and villages and on the farms and aisk them to loan the Government $280,000,000. The Acting Minister of Finance is going to have some trouble to convince the farming people of this country, and the people in the towns and villages, that this Government can be trusted with $280,000,000 to carry on this war after these various breaches of faith. I would not preach that doctrine among them because I want to see them give their rnone'y and I know they cannot get any better security, but what I have mentioned is going to have a very bad effect on the next loan that the acting minister has to float. There is going to be an absence of confidence and of faith. There is only

one way this Government can get back into such a position that their war-like operations, in so far as loans are concerned. can be successful- They have got to restore their pledge, wherever the breaking of that pledge is going to hurt production; they have got to say that the only son of a widow shall not have to go to war; they have got to say that a man who is on a farm, and the sole proprietor in his own name of one hundred acres, and who is doing the work on that farm, shall not be taken away so that the work on that farm will cease to be carried on, when he is between the age of twenty and twenty-two; they have got to say that the man between twenty and twenty-two, who, "while not the sole proprietor of the farm which he occupies, is the only help of his crippled and aged father, shall be left to carry on production. It is only in this way that the present Government can posibly hope to regain the confidence of the Canadian people which they have lost in such a marked degree [DOT]during the last four or five days.

Now, Mr. Speaker, let us return to the question of equality of sacrifice, and to what I was speaking about in connection with the /Sacrifice of wealth. My contention is this: You are asking that the only son on the farm shall be taken away, and you are asking that the son of a widow shall be taken away, although the old Militia Act, [DOT]severe and all as it was, did not contain any such requirement. You are asking that every boy between the ages of twenty and twenty-two shall be taken from the farms [DOT]and placed in military service, except during seeding, which is in actual operation at the present time. Now, what sacrifice is this? A mother gives up her son, a father gives up a son, a sister gives up her brother. These young men risk their lives, they risk their limbs and they risk their liberty. You compel them by force to undergo that risk, you compel them to fight for Canada. My contention is that you should try, as far as you can, to equalize that sacrifice /by, in the case of the wealthy man, extracting from him suflficient of his income to make him feel it. From my point of *view the Income Tax which has been introduced by the Acting Finance Minister does not do that at all, or does not approach doing it. It will have to be increased very much indeed in order to do that. What do we find? We find that a man who has an income of $3,000, under the new Income Tax pays $20; the man who has an income of $6,000 pays $140; the man who

[Mr. D. C. Koes.j

has an income of $10,000 pays $392; the man who has an income oif $20,000 pays $1,382; the man who has an income of $75,000 pays $11,000. My contention is that the sacrifice does not consist in the amount that a man pays when he has more than an abundance left him. What sacrifice is there in a man who has an income of $10,000 paying $392 compared with the sacrifice of a widow who is giving up her only son, her sole means of support? What comparison is there between that sacrifice and the sacrifice of a father who is giving up a son? I maintain that the Income Tax introduced by the Acting Minister of Finance should be very much more drastic, and I agree with the hon, member for Calgary (Mr. Redman) in that regard. I would say that the taxation should start at $3,000 income and that the taxes provided for in the schedule should be doubled.

I would like to go further-although this may not seem practicable, but I think it is because you have already adopted the principle with regard to man service by providing that if a family has already a son at the front who has been disabled or killed the remaining son shall be exempt. I think, Air. Speaker, that in the case of a family having no sons at the front the income tax which that family pays, where it is over $3,000, should be double the amount which is paid by a family who has a son at the front. You may say: Maybe there is no son in that .family. Very well, my reply is, there are daughters who are being protected by the sons of other men and women that are being sent to the front, and that protection should be paid for. If the head of that family cannot fight he should be willing to pay for the protection of his wife and his daughters. The principle which the Government have embodied in their resolution with respect to service at the front, I wish to see carried out with respect to the Income Tax. It is not a hard principle to put into force, it is not impracticable when you consider it, because when the Government are finding out, in connection with the require- ' ments of the Military Service Act, whether a man has a son at the front or not, the same information can be utilized in connection with Income Tax if the departments are co-ordinated. In that way there is no difficulty about, the matter whatever.

There is another point I wish to allude to: I believe this Government are borrowing too much and not imposing sufficient taxes on the people at the present time to provide for the expenditure. What are

my reasons for saying that? We have in this country wealthy men who are making money out of munitions, out of food, out of bacon, out of shoes, and out of gasoline; people are making millions and millions of dollars out of all these things, and instead of increasing the taxes which these men pay we are borrowing millions and millions of dollars. What does that mean? It simply means that posterity is going to pay this debt that is being incurred. It simply means that when the 400,000 men or thereabouts, that are fighting our battles at the present time and doing their duty, return to Canada, after having fought and bled for us, they will be required to pay taxes which they should not pay at all. It seems to me that those of us at home, who have not gone to the front, should bear our share of the burden to a greater degree, and that more money should be raised by taxation, as is done in England, and that there should be less money borrowed.

These are some * suggestions in regard to the (Budget, but there is one further suggestion and I make it with some hesitation. I doubt whether it will be acceptable to the people, but at the same time I think it is right. The first principle of good taxation is to make those pay who can pay. Another principle is to tax luxuries. A tax of ten per cent has been placed on automobiles. That is all right as far a9 it goes, but the Government seems to lean towards loans rather than taxation. It would seem as though it were easier for them to raise money by loans than to raise money by taxation at the present time. But that is not the point, What we should consider is, what is the best method of financing. I contend that raising money by taxation, to largely finance the war, as they are doing in (England, is the best method to pursue. There is another thing the Government should consider: They are talking about taxing luxuries but so far they have not dene so. They have gone after the poor man. They want him to pay eight cents more on his pack of cards; they have already taxed his entrance to the moving picture shows, and now they are going to tax the films; they have put a tax on tobacco, and they have taxed tea and coffee. They have taxed all these things affecting the table, or the comfort, of the poor man. But what are the Government going to do with the gentleman who rides down the street in a sixty horse power Packard or Wolseley, or some other type of car, clothes himself in purple and fine linen, and dines sumptuously

every day? You are not touching his income to any extent. I contend, Mr. Speaker, that at this time no man in this democratic country should be allowed to have an income of over $50,000 a year.

Topic:   THE BUDGET.
Permalink
?

An hon. MEMBER:

Less than that.

(Mr. ROSS: That is enough for any man in these days of stress and strain. You say to the man who is going to buy a motor car: "You have to pay 10 per cent on the price of that car.' If a car costs $1,500, there is a tax of $150 and the buyer consequently puts his price at $1,650. That is a pretty large tax. If that car is bought after the 30th April, that is the tax that must he paid. What happens in the case of a man who buys a car before the 30th April? Is he not just as much entitled to pay for his luxury as the man who chances to buy a car after the 30th April? Should not the first man's luxury be taxed just as much as the others? It seems to me that is the logical and only fair way. A man buys a car on the 15th April, and the tax has raised the price after the 30th April from $1,500 to $1,650. Instead of being fined, that man is made more wealthy, he can sell his car and make perhaps $75 on the sale. He is not hurt by the tax one bit. A very just method in this country would be to impose a small tax, a very -small tax, on the poor man's car, say a twenty horse-power car, and as the horse-power increases an increasing tax should be imposed. That is what is done in England. A man pays so much for the license of a small car, and as. the horsepower increases the license fee is increased. /I would say that on a oar of twenty ho-rse-power in our country there should be almost a nominal fee. This would not hurt any person very much, because the license fee, at least in the province of Ontario, is paid to the province, and the money is used by the Provincial Government to provide roads in the counties from which these taxes come. If there is to be a war tax on luxuries, it seems to me that would be a proper tax for the 'Minister of Finance to consider.

I may say, in closing, Air. Speaker, there is another thing which the Minister of Finance and the Government might do, which would almost reconcile the people who use cars to the imposition of a tax such as I have suggested. The Government will have to come to it before long as they did in England and the United States. My suggestion is to regulate the prices of foodstuffs and other necessities used in the daily life of the people. The Government

must come to it sooner or later. They should bestir themselves to look into the gasolene question, for instance, and to investigate under the 'Combines Act or the Enquiries Act, exorbitant prices charged by those who sell gasolene. Such action would meet with the commendation of the whole people. Gasolene is a necessity to-day. It is used on every farm in Ontario, either for a gasolene engine to cut silage or straw or feed, to pump water or drive a tractor. It is a necessity, we all know that. The Minister of Labour knows that.

Topic:   THE BUDGET.
Permalink
L LIB
LIB
L LIB
LIB

James Hamilton Ross

Liberal

Mr. ROSS:

The Government press at that. We have great problems before us. We have 220,000 labouring men at the front fighting for us, who are coming back to this country to help reconstruct it and build it up. I .submit that if there is one department of the Government which should be strong, and able to meet the needs of the workers, it is the Department of Labour. It not only has to deal with the labouring man himself, 'but with his food and necessities. I therefore submit, in all kindliness, to the Government that one of the most useful things they could do, just as soon .as this House prorogues, or sooner, is to look carefully into the Department of Labour and see that men are not dismissed at the whim of a mere young girl in the department, and that affairs are run in the best interests of the country.

Topic:   THE BUDGET.
Permalink
L LIB

Emmanuel Berchmans Devlin

Laurier Liberal

Mr. E. B. DEVLIN (Wright):

Mr. Speaker, since this war began I have not been in the habit of criticising the actions of the Government. When the question of conscription was before the House last session, I gave my views upon that subject, and I have left the operation of the Military Service Act to the Government, and have tried to do my little share towards the winning of the war as I best saw fit. This afternoon I do no-t intend to criticise the Government. I will not even be as harsh as the hon. member for West Middlesex (Mr. Ross), who invited the Minister of Labour, Mr. Crothers, to resign his portfolio. As to that, Mr. Speaker, I would say that the minister's own judgment, if he has judgment, should prompt the action. If he has not judgment, then his personal pride, after the manner in which the newspapers of the government of which he is a member have been speaking of him, should tempt him, at least, to preserve his selfrespect. If neither of these can affect him, then I leave his case to my hon. friend the

Prime Minister to deal with as he best sees fit.

The hon. member for Victoria (Sir Sam Hughes) said in the course of his remarks that there were four things absolutely necessary to be done if we wanted to win the war. The first * is food, the second, wealth; the third, inspiration; the fourth, men. Of wealth and inspiration I will not make mention to-day; I shall deal only with the questions respecting food and men.

I have listened to the member for Victoria (iSir Sam Hughes) for several years in this House, and I have read the speeches he has delivered out of the House. His addresses are inspiring, and the remarks which he made this afternoon are no exception. Just what caused him to accept the Prime Minister's invitation to resign has always been somewhat of a mystery to me, but I have no doubt that if he continues to give such lectures on inspiration as he gave us this afternoon, when he made certain references to the Minister of Finance, perhaps we will, through inspiration, some day ascertain the cause of the course which he took on that occasion.

I wish first to bring to the attention of the House-as seriously, I hope, as it has been brought to the attention of the country by those in authority to speak-the absorbing question of food production. We have had messages from our own Government, from France, from Italy, from England, that food, an^ still more food, is necessary. It seems to me that at this moment the question of men is secondary to the question of food. It is time for the Government to consider how many men they can send overseas next year, the year after, and perhaps the year after that-(because he is a great prophet who can foretell when this war will end. The Government should consider the matter seriously, rather than act upon sentiment, because they will be held strictly to account by public opinion in this country, in Great Britain and in all the allied countries, if they fail in what they have set out to attain- and they most certainly will fail if they proceed as extravagantly as they have proceeded thus far. Does the Government know how many men are at present available for service overseas? I challenge them to tell me how many men are available, having due regard to the number necessary for food production.

I wish to give a few figures which I have taken from the Canada Year Book of 191617, and from other sources. I approach this question from the point of view not of what England is or may be able to do, but of

what Canada is able to do and must do. The population of England, according to the last census, 1911, was 36,000,000 in round figures. One month before the -war the population of the United Kingdom was estimated at 46,098,249. These people are on a small island, and are doing what they can to meet the need for men at- the front and for food production. Steps have been taken there to push food production to the limit, while our Government has been inactive in that respect.

The population of Canada, according to the last census, was something over 7,000,000. I will not tire the House by giving the odd figures. The school population was

1,226,000. In 1913 over 400,000 immigrants came to this country; in 1916, 48,000, and in 1917-18, 68,000, the latter coming almost entirely from the United States and Great Britain. It is safe to say, therefore, that we have .lost an average immigration of 350,000, which would leave the population of the country at 5,628,000. Then, 511,000 men are over 60 years of age, 500,000 are cripples and invalids, and 2,358,000 are females. If we deduct these figures, we have a remaining male population otf 2,258,000. The Tural population is about one-half of the total, and the alien population, according to the last census, was 212,000. The total male population of Canada between the ages of 18 and 45, including aliens, cripples and invalids, is 1,720,000 ; 717,000 people are employed in agricultural work. What was our population able to do for Great Britain immediately before the war? I commend this to the very serious attention of the members of the House. We were able to send to Great Britain $63,000,000 worth of grain, $5,839,000 worth of meat, and $30,000,000 worth of dairy products, a total of $99,365,0000. The Government say they are obliged to take young men from the farms for military service. Remember that that means taking men from a population of 1,720,000-and I am not taking into account men who have already enlisted and have gone overseas. I am not taking into account the men who may be in other parts of the Empire rendering service; I am simply taking into account what the male population of this country was in 1911, and I am giving the figures of the agriculturalists of this country, and of what they could produce. That production is infinitesimally email to-day for Great Britain; that production is practically nothing for the Allies, and the Government has realized that by calling upon the people of this country to produce and

Topic:   THE BUDGET.
Permalink
L LIB

Emmanuel Berchmans Devlin

Laurier Liberal

Mr. E. B. DEVLIN (resuming):

Mr. Speaker, when the House rose at six o'clock, I was endeavouring to point out to the Government that they had failed in taking sufficient means to find out how many men we had in this country who might be available to fill up the ranks at the front. The second point I had attempted to make was that there was an urgent need for increased production and that the Government had not taken any steps to meet in an efficient manner the demand for food. I had said -that there was a cry from the farmers from one end of Canada to the other for a reduction in the Customs duties upon agricultural implements. To that cry the Government has so far turned a deaf ear.

With regard to the taking of measures to find out just how many more men were available, if this war is to continue beyond the present moment, the Government have done absolutely nothing. It is true that the Government have informed us that in the month of June next they will begin to make a registration of the man and woman power of this country. Here I would like to interject the remark that the women of Canada, since the 'beginning of the war, have taken a noble part. To the women of Canada is due all the conservation of food that has taken place. The women of Canada have been active in helping the Allies in every way possible. They have not sought any one point upon the battle field, but they have extended a helping hand, by way of the Red Cross, by way of contributions to the soldiers' comforts, by way of contributions to the Patriotic fund, by way of every possible contribution to the soldiers at all points on the battle front, and they have only asked that the soldiers for whom they have been working shall be soldiers who are fighting the battle for liberty, freedom and higher civilization.

With regard to the need for food production, we have -statements from different authorities. For instance, we have Lord Rhondda, who, up to a few days ago, was food controller for Great Britain, writing:

The Allied larder is dangerously empty, but we are carrying on in a resolute belief that we can rely on the people of North America to prevent our food supplies from becoming so diminished as to imperil the issue for which we are all fighting.

We have a statement from Sir W'illiam Goode, Secretary of the British Ministry of Food, to the following effect:

Few people have yet grasped the fundamental fact that Great Britain still relies on the United States and Canada for 65% of her essential food stuffs. Unless we can get this food, or nearly all of it, we shall peter out.

Dt. J. W. Robertson, chairman of the Advisory Council of the Canada Food Board, says:

Unless we can get more food now, we shall go under, and 1,000,000 people will starve. This is my conviction, and I know as much about the situation, perhaps, as any one.

The Right Hon. the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Borden) said:

I cannot emphasize too strongly the absolutely urgent necessity for increased fo id production. The issue of the war may depend on the quantity of the food produced in Canada and the United States.

Mr. Herbert Hoover, the United States Food Administrator, says:

The cereal exports to the Allies from this continent are 45,000,000 bush, short of the amounts promised, while most exports are also very, far behind the quantities which it had been planned to send, and upon which the Allies were counting.

We have other statements from prominent men but I do not want to take up the time of the House in quoting them. I would like to point out' to the Government that in Western Canada the farmers, whose co-operation in such matters naturally the Government would ask, drew up a platform wherein is to be found a resolution reading as follows:

And whereas agriculture-the basic industry upon which the success of all other industries primarily depends-is almost stagnant throughout Canada as shown by the declining rural population in both eastern and western Canada, due largely to the greatly increased cost of agricultural implements and machinery, clothing, boots and shoes, building material and practically everything the farmer has to buy, caused by the Protective Tariff, so that it is becoming impossible for farmers generally to carry on farming operations profitably;

Therefore be it resolved, that the Reciprocity Agreement of 1911, which still remains on the United States statutes books, be accepted by the parliament of Canada.

I may say, in justice to the Government, that that reciprocity agreement, in many points, has been adopted by them, and instead now of crying out: No truck or trade with the Yankees, the Government go so far as to try to be financed by the United States, and are at the present moment, if the report be correct, on a begging mission to the United States for some of Great Britain's credit. The farmers' platform continues:

That all foodstuff not included in the Reciprocity Agreement be placed on the free list.

That agricultural implements, farm machinery, vehicles, fertilizer, coal, lumber, cement, illuminating, fuel and lubricating oils be placed upon the free list.

That the customs tariff on all the necessaries of life be materially reduced.

That all tariff concessions granted to other countries be immediately extended to Great Britain.

On that platform the Government say that they will take no action. However, tc complete the case, that I undertook to make out this afternoon, I want to quote from a report of the former Food Controller, the Hon. W. J. Hanna, published on January 14, 1918.

What I endeavoured to make plain, was that there was something even more important than reducing the cost of living in Canada, though that was one objective. What that supreme consideration was is the winning of the war, and the requirements for that. purpose are summed up in a statement made by me ;

"Far greater than the necessity of production for home supply is that for the supply of Great Britain and her Allies.

Great Britain is producing more of food stuffs than for many years, hut the supply is, of course, wholly inadequate for her population and her armies.

Belgium is practically all in the hands of Germany, so also is a considerable (portion of France, Serbia, Roumania and Russian Poland, and now a portion of Italy are in the hands of the enemy. _

The productive power of our Allies is lessened by the number of inhabitants in arms.

' The situation in France and1 Italy from a food point of view is serious, and that is what makes the demand in Canada and the United States for conservation of resources and increased production so imperative. To feed the Allies is the paramount duty of North America. It is far greater than the necessity of production for home supply or the cost of living. Unless the war is won nothing matters.

Now, Sir, among our own papers at home we have Government organs giving their views upon the subject, and I shall not quote from any Grit press. I take it, for instance, that The Citizen of Ottawa is a Government organ, and in an editorial in that paper I find these words:

The Canada Food Board is getting down to essentials. Mr. Charles A. Dunning, Director of Food Production, is reported to have recommended to the Federal Government that the customs tax against agricultural implements should be taken off. It has long been one of the absurdities of the Canadian fiscal system that while the fanners are urged to increase their productive efforts, they are taxed heavily when they invest in the farm implements that are absolutely necessary for production.

Mr. Speaker, I hope that I have sufficiently made plain that the Allied countries are calling upon us for increased food production. I .hope, also, that I have made plain to this House the absolute necessity that lies upon every man in this country to increase, and to go on increasing, production. Have I made plain that we cannot go on producing more and still more food, helping to feed the Allied countries, helping to feed the soldiers who are upon the battlefields of Europe, fighting the fight of liberty -if we continue conscripting labour from the farms without providing adequate help to take the place of those young men? I do not say this in any carping spirit, or with the slightest idea of attacking the Government. I am quite ready to give the Government credit for everything they have done, but I want to point out that when the Government received a mandate from the people to perform their part in the winning of this war they assumed the gravest responsibility that has ever devolved upon any Government in the world. It becomes the imperative duty of the Prime Minister, of his colleagues, and of every man in this House, to contribute towards the carrying on of a programme that is essential towards the winning of the war. For that reason, and for that reason alone, I have tried to bring before the House the fact that we must produce more, that we must bend and bow to this cry that comes from abroad for more food and still more food. There is something 'worse than being killed upon the battlefield, there is something far more painful. There is the fact that the soldiers at the front may be starving, and I say it with all the feeling that can animate me, that the Government will not fulfil its duty towards the boys in the trenches, and will not fulfil its duty towards the Empire, if they do not exercise every effort, and do not assume all the power that may be necessary to see that we produce more and still more food.

What have the Government done towards increasing production in this country? Have they done anything? Yes, I shall be answered, they have issued a few pamphlets, in this form or some other form, telling the people of Canada that they should not put sugar icing between their cakes, and should see that their garbage is not wasted. Is that what is going to save the Allies? What direct or efficient action have the Government taken up to the present -moment in aiding the farmers of this country to achieve the desired results? Canada has not done anything, and if my hon. friend the member for Red Deer (Mr. Michael Clark) were here, I would point to him and say, "Now is the time to take a leaf out of the history of England and follow what England is doing; now is the time to take a leaf out of the history of France and follow the example of France." Here is what England is doing for increased production; The English Government did not content itself with issuing pamphlets, but it formed a general agricultural committee' and sub-executive committees.

These sub-committees,- and I am quoting from the Labour Gazette of this Government-

-consist ot from four to seven members experienced in agriculture, who are expected to meet weekly or at least fortnightly. They report to the county committee any land which is not producing its full quota of food and suggest the necessary action. They also report on the labour shortage, and assist farmers *o obtain seed and manures, and the use of horses and *mplements. In short the business of the sub-committee is to help the farmers in every possible way.

That is what England is doing. What is Canada doing for the farmers? I said it was well to take a leaf out of the history of Prance at the present moment. Turning to The Economist of March 30, 1918, I find this:

Elaborate measures have been proposed by M. Boret, Minister of Agriculture and Supplies, with the view of intensifying agricultural development. The first of three Bills introduced refers to special cultivation of land that has been abandoned. The ordinary tillers of the land may lack necessary means for cultivation, and in this case a communal committee will assist them, or arrange for some one better placed to render assistance for cultivating the land. In the event of disagreement, the committee is to be given rights to deal with the land as they think best. In the event of the. ordinary cultivator having disappeared, and the land being unoccupied, and the communal committee not being able to settle the situation, the Bill arranges for the direct collaboration of the State. There are penalties both in the way of fines and imprisonment in the event of deliberate persistent obstruction. The second Bill aims at facilitating the acquisition of mechanical tractors by agriculturists themselves and by the motor culture agents. It proposes the alteration of the existing law so as to enable small units or individuals to be given grants not to exceed half the total value of their purchases for the object of buying mechanical tractors. Further, it is arranged that the Minister of Agriculture shall have special facilities for the iJurpo.se of such machinery, and will he authorized to lend it out to those able to make good use of it. Lastly, the third Bill provides for the civil mobilization of men between the ages of 15 and 50 resident in France, whether of French, Allied, or neutral nationality. Lists of persons between these ages are to be drawn up, but students and men following useful professions and men unsuitable for agricultural work are to toe excluded from the lists.

I bring this matter to the attention of the Government to show them the right way to take action to increase agricultural production. I am not blaming them for not having done it up to the present; I am not saying that they should have done it. I believe, Sir, that- they should have done it.

I believe it is- impossible for any hon. gentleman, even the most humble of the Cabinet, to plead ignorance, because this action on the part of England has been in the Government publications for months past. Unless the Government do not read their own publications they cannot plead ignorance. Let us for a moment forget to copy the United States of America in everything. In the United States there are some good things, but there are many superficial things. I have always believed the judgment of Canadians to be sounder than that of the average American, and our form of Government to be better. If the Government will only awake to the fact that we are at war, if they will only try to do some-

thing effective, I believe that their combined judgment is at least as good as the individual judgment of any state legislature, in the United States. With this matter before them now they should take some action, or else stop preaching increased production. They ought at least, in charity to the Canadian farmers and to the people of Canada, send this message to England: We have failed; we are unable to carrx out your wishes; we are unable to keep up with the situation that faces us. That would be a charitable message to send; because we are at a critical moment of the war, and if the Government is unable to cope with the situation it should resign. If my right, hon. friend the leader of the Government (Sir Robert Borden) cannot face the situation with any element of success, let him resign, and let His Excellehcy the Governor General call upon some other Canadian, seated upon the treasury benches perhaps, or some man who had not yet been tried and who sits behind the Government, to form a new Government, and see what action he can take to cope with the present situation. In an army, if a general does not succeed he is immediately set aside; if his successor does not succeed, he also is set aside. We have seen it right here in this country. We have seen General Hughes take up a question at a moment when it was difficult to handle and do certain things, and if any one on this side of the House undertook to criticise General Hughes the Prime Minister at once got up and said: " Hands off -the General." Then other members sitting behind the Government benches got up in turn, saying Hands off the General; he is doing wonders." And there the poor General sits leading his lonely life to-day, but still charitable enough to tell the Government wherein, in his judgment, they have failed, and wherein are their weaknesses-. He does not try to -make any great storm about what he did, or even to tell the people what he would do if he were minister again. He contents himself with saying that the Minister of Finance has- wasted the money of the country this way and that way through war bonds-Victory Loans-in different other ways, and he does not say it in a critical spirit, he does not want to attack the Minister of Finance, he is too loyal a man to do that; he simply wants to do it in a kindly spirit in order that the successor of the Minister of Finance may not fall into the faults into which the present minister fell.

I have concluded what I have to say. I believe that the Government ought to be in a position to tell the great delegation of two thousand people 'from Ontario who will interview it next week just what they propose to do. The country is tired of the old argument used by the Government that they are going to take a registration of man and woman power next June. When June comes along they will all be off to the seaside. The people will not be content with that. A registration of man power has already "been taken in this country. And registration of woman power-the idea! I ask any hon. gentleman on the opposite side: Do you mean to tell me seriously that any young girl in this country who has never been trained to work upon a farm can get out and do the work that the young men on the farms are doing to-day? Do yon mean to tell me that the Government will undertake to ask your daughter, Sir, or the daughters of hon. genltlemen in this House, to leave their homes and place them out on the farms throughout the country? Do you think they will do that? Will any mlinister of the Government get up and say thait he will send his daughter out to work upon a farm away from home? I do not think that that is going to be very practical. I believe that the women are willing to do the best they can; I know they are doing the most they can; but they will never aid in increasing production to the extent that Great Britain and the Allies are asking to-day. The Prime Minister asks us to have pity upon the Government. We are ready to have pity upon the Government. We will aid the Government in everything they do tending to'vards the winning of the war. But let me put it to hon. gentlemen seated opposite, and especially to those who came into the House as Liberals supporting the Union Government: Is it to be expected that gentlemen seated upon this side of the House must do absolutely nothing but vote tremendous sums of money for any pur. pose towards the winning of the war, when they have in their possession returns such as were brought down respecting the Order in Council recently passed providing for a staff and salaries in the Food Controller's office? In turning over the pages we find that hundreds of thousands of dollars are spent in salaries; we find that people are taken from the Toronto Evening Telegram and from the Famous Players Film Service and given salaries of $3,500, and that men from the Toronto Daily News receive appointments at $4,000. We find men taken from the T. Eaton Co. appointed at salaries

of $2,000 and $2,600. And such entries appear on page after page of the return.

Is it to be expected that the Opposition must simply vote sums of money and not criticise the Government? Sir, I could go on turning these pages over to the end of the evening's sitting, and show where thousands of dollars are being wasted.

We shall not occupy the time of the House in criticism of every detail; but can you ask us to support every one of these measures? We are willing to assist in all measures necessary to the winning of the war.

I think I speak for every hon. gentleman on this side of the House when I say that we will give our general aid; that we will do everything we can with a view to seeing that Canada does her full share and that she comes out of the war with honour -for when peace comes we *wish it to be said of us that we acted according to our best judgment.

We have been condemned on account of the Naval Policy of the Laurier Government-a policy adopted to-day by the Union Government; condemned because we wanted to trade with United States-a policy adopted to-day by the Union Government; condemned because we advocated food production-a policy to-day forced upon the Union Government; condemned because we asked that the people be heard on the question of conscription-and thousands from Ontario are asking to-day for that very thing. When you bring in new measures affecting the farmers' sons, the men of Ontario say: Hold; wait until we have had a say. [DOT]

But I leave the consideration of this subject to others who will follow me. I wish it to be distinctly understood that what I have said has been actuated by no harsh or mean intent; I have presented my views in the kindliest spirit, with the firm desire of offering to the Government some suggestions the adoption of which would, io my mind, aid in the winning of the war.

Topic:   THE BUDGET.
Permalink
UNION

Thomas Wilson Crothers (Minister of Labour)

Unionist

Hon. T. W. CROTHERS (Minister of Labour) :

Mr. Speaker, this discussion has engaged our attention for five days. Having regard to conditions in this country as well as in Europe, I 'believe that we are not warranted in encouraging protracted debates. We have a large task on hand which demands our whole time and attention, and there can be no justification for spending time here on trifles. I should not have risen to say one word but for some of the personal expressions to which my hon. friend ((Mr. Devlin) gave utterance. I assure the hon.

gentleman, who in his closing remarks affirmed that all his utterances were of the kindliest character, that the men best qualified to appreciate the quantity and the quality of the work that has been done in the Labour Department during the last six and a half years are the wage earners and working men, whose approval and confidence I have enjoyed during that period in greater degree than have been bestowed upon any of my predecessors. So long as I enjoy that approval and confidence, I shall give little concern to the featherweight opinions expressed by my Iron, friend and by the member for West Middlesex (Mr. Ross), or by any of the press supporting them.

Last week the member for Cape Breton North and Victoria (Mr. McKenzie) occupied half a day largely in a rehearsal of the alleged principles of the Liberal party, which have been repeated in this House hundreds of times during the last forty years. I shall not attempt to follow him in all his wanderings, but I wish to call attention to one criticism that he made of the Labour Department, that it did not administer impartially the Order in Council passed early in November, 1916. He said, as reported on page 1442 of Hansard:

These are the things which I complain about, and I think the Minister of Labour should explain to the country why he is so vigilant and active in going after the small things when the big things are left to go as they please.

The hon. gentleman referred to a letter which I wrote to a shoemaker in the county of Kent-on which, letterthe memberfor Kent (Mr. McCoig) seems to have secured his election last December. The member for Cape Breton North and Victoria enjoyed an exalted position on the Bench for a number of years and I have no doubt that he discharged the onerous duties of that office with marked ability and fairness.

I do not know why he descended from that position to that of an advocate. While he was on the Bench I am sure that in addressing a jury he -would never think of presenting only one side of a case; if he desired to be fair-as I have no doubt he did at that time-he would present both sides of the ease and all the material facts concerning it. However, he has descended to the_ position of an advocate and to it he has rigidly adhered ever since he became a member of this House. On. no occasion was his rigidity in that respect more marked than in his reference to the work of the Labour Department the other night.

Members who had seats in the last Parliament are familiar with the Order in

Council passed on November 10, 1916, authorizing inquiries and investigations under oath, concerning food, fuel and clothing, and placing the Administration of that Order under the Department of Labour. But those who were not in the previous Parliament will perhaps be glad to have me read a few of the provisions of that Order in Council. Section 2 is in these words:

No person shall conspire, combine, agree or arrange with any other person.

(a) to limit the facilities for transporting, producing, manufacturing, supplying, storing or dealing in any necessary of life;

" Necessary of life " is defined in this Order in Council as including food, fuel and clothing:

(b) to restrain or injure trade or commerce in relation to any necessary of life; or

(c) to prevent, limit or lessen the manufacture or production of any necessary of life, or to enhance the price thereof.

Section 3 says:

3. (1) No person shall accumulate or shall withhold from sale any necessary of life beyond an amount thereof reasonably required for the use or consumption of his household or for the ordinary purposes of his business ;

(2) Every person who shall at any time hold any necessary of life beyond an amount thereof reasonably required as aforesaid, and every person who shall hold for the purpose of sale, whether as manufacturer, wholesaler, jobber, retailer or otherwise, any stock-in-trade of any necessary of life, shall offer for the sale the said excess amount, or the said stock-in-trade, as the case may be, at prices not higher than are reasonable and just.

Section 9 provides:

9. (1) Any person who contravenes or fails to observe any of the provisions of these regulations shall be guilty of an indictable offence and liable upon indictment or upon summary conviction under Part XV of the Criminal Code to a penalty not exceeding five thousand dollars, or to imprisonment for any term not exceeding two yeans, or to both fine and imprisonment as specified.

This is section. 4, which places the administration of the Order in Council in the hands of the Minister of Labour:

4. The Minister of Labour may, by notice in writing under his hand or that of his Deputy, require any person who operates, controls or manages any cold storage plant, packing house, cannery, factory, mine, warehouse, or other premises in which or in any part of which any necessary of life is prepared, manufactured, produced or held by such person for himself or for another, or who in any manner deals in any necessary of life, to make and' render unto such minister, within a time set in such notice, and such person shall make and render unto such minister precisely as required by him, a written return under oath an affirmation showing in details-

Amongst the particulars the person is required to show are these:

Such other information concerning any necessary of life as the minister may require, including a full disclosure of all existing contracts or agreements which such person, or his -principal or agent, may have at any time entered into, with any other person, touching or concerning the sale or resale prices of any necessary of life, for the period of time during which any necessary of life should be held, as bailee or otherwise, before sale or resale, or limiting the quantity of any necessary of life which should be soldi to any one buyer or combination of buyers or within any limited district.

On the passage of that Order in Council and the placing of its administration in the Department of Labour, we proceeded under section 4 to prepare suitable questionnaires concerning co-al and different foodstuffs. We did not commence toy dealing with clothing. We sent those questionnaires out to some 400 of the principal dealers in coal throughout the country, and we received from them monthly returns under oath showing the quantity of coal that they bought during the month, the price paid for it,- the quantity they sold, and the price at which they sold it. We were authorized, under that Order in Council, if those answers were not completely satisfactory, to send out an examiner with authority to- inspect their books and examine witnesses under oath.

We also submitted a series of these questionnaires to 110 cold storage concerns in Canada, and we received from them statements of the quantities of supplies that they get in every month, what they pay for them, the quantities they sell and the prices at which they are sold. That inquiry went back for five years up to the time we started to operate under the Order in Council, and after that we got monthly returns from- those concerns. My hon. friend from Cape Breton North (Mr McKenzie) says that we have done nothing; that we have attacked the little fellows and have done nothing to the big fellows. What has resulted to some of the big fellows through the action that we have taken under that Order in Council? I have already said that wre submitted, those questionnaires to 110 cold storage plants in Canada, and as a direct -result of the information we got through those questions, and from a report we issued based on this information, we have to-day the packers of Canada paying to this Government a large portion of their pro-fits. Yet my hon. friend from Cape Breton North says that we have not attacked the big concerns at all. The packers under the last Order in Council are

entitled to retain only 11 per cent of their profits on their capital, -and they have to pay the balance into the treasury of this country.

I am going .to- call the attention of the House to a few cases. I remember very well a case of a large and wealthy sugar refiner -who bad refused to- supply a retail merchant with sugar unless he wo-uld keep up the price fixed by the sugar manufacturer. I have here the whole correspondence touching the matter. I shall not read the whole of it, but I shall read to the House enough to satisfy hon. members that we have not devoted our whole attention under that Order in Council to what may be considered the "little- fellows." This first letter -was -written by an offtoer of the sugar manufacturer to- the retail merchant:

May 23, 1916.

Dear Sir:

We have yours of recent -date. Now we might as well be frank with you and advise that we cannot send on the sugar that you request as our representative stated to you when he was in last -that -our -good customers in your vicinity were complaining about you cutting prices and of oourse have written complaining . rather harshly. Of course we wish to do all the business we can and we think by cutting your prices you have hindered your cause a great deal. However, this is all we have -to say at the present time and regret that we cannot send on sugar as ordered.

He communicated with me, and on the 8th of December, 1916, I wrote to the company in the following words:

I have information, which seems reliable, that you are refusing to supply sugar to dealers except upon the terms that they re-sell at a price to be fixed by you. I am enclosing a copy of an Order in Council recently passed, which will probably satisfy you that the attitude you take in this regard is a violation of the provisions of that Order and renders you liable to prosecution thereunder. I hope, therefore, that you will at once notify any persons to whom you refused to supply sugar except on the terms as to the price of re-sale that you withdraw from that attitude, and that you will supply them what sugar they require, regardless of that condition.

X think that I should say to you frankly that we should not, and will not, permit any such conditions to attach to any such sale.

He was not very long in changing his attitude, as will appear by the following extract from his letter in reply:

We assure you we are very sorry this letter was written, and further assure that it will not occur again, as we have notified all our selling force to this effect. If you are at ail dissatisfied with our explanation, which we are trying to make as frankly as possible, we would be quite agreeable to come to Ottawa and explain it further, or if you would prefer, we will be very glad to have an inspector look over our book3 and files.

I got a letter from the retail merchant afterwards, saying they had sent him all the sugar he was able to pay for.

I have also a lot of correspondence here concerning bread. I think I should be strictly accurate in saying that we have received hundreds of complaints concerning bread, milk, and other articles. In every case I have taken the matter up, forwarded a copy of this Order in Council, and the party against whom the complaint was made has receded from his position. So our efforts have not been confined, as my hon. friend from Cape Breton North (Mr. McKenzie) says, " to a few shoemakers." In that case we received complaints that the shoemakers had entered into an agreement to charge a certain price for their work. Following our usual practice when a complaint of this sort comes into our office, we wrote them enclosing a copy of the Order in Council, and I am glad to say that they also have receded from the position they had; taken. So we have not been idle in enforcing this Order in Council, and we have not confined our efforts to small men, as the House will realize after what I have said about the packers of this country, the bakers of bread, the vendors of milk, and so on. I rose to refer to only one or two matters. I w'ould not feel justified, whatever others may feel, in taking up one minute of the time of this House in discusising matters that are but trifles when compared to the great task before us of saving this country and the liberties of mankind.

Topic:   THE BUDGET.
Permalink
L LIB

Arthur Bliss Copp

Laurier Liberal

Mr. A. B. COPP (Westmorland):

I agree that it is hardly necessary for my hon. friend (Mr. Crothers) to take up any of the time of this House in making explanations in connection with the work of his department, except that some of the new members of the House are not familiar with the story that the rest of us have heard told over and over again by the minister in sessions of the last Parliament. I congratulate my hon. friend on having an exceptionally good memory, for he has followed the speech he made 'several times in the last Parliament almost word for word. He always used to refer to the coal question, to the questionnaires his department sent out and the answers received to those questionnaires, and to the -sugar manufacturers.

Topic:   THE BUDGET.
Permalink

May 6, 1918