July 3, 1919

UNION

Fred Langdon Davis

Unionist

Mr. F. L. DAVIS (Neepawa):

Mr. Speaker, as one of the members of the committee bringing in the report on which this Bill follows, I think I should say a few words in support. First, with reference to what the member for Lotbiniere (Mr. Vien) said, that it never was and is not now wise that such a Bill should be introduced, although immediately thereafter he criticized the Government for not having introduced this Bjll two years ago. I think he is on one horn or other of a dilemma there, and it might truly be .said that the Government then perhaps was no wiser than he is now, but now if is wiser than he was then or is now. With regard to his remark that the fiscal policy of this country probably aggravates the situation, I agree; but I think that Free Trade and Protection, have but a passing reference to this question, because when I .see those states which have better conditions with regard to Protection than we have-such as the United States, the Dominion of New Zealand, and even that great happy realm of Great Britain-them-

selves regulating these conditions as we now propose to regulate them, I think that something more than Protection must be at the root of the trouble. What then is it?

The facts, as I see them, are these: It was in 1825 that we first had the possibility of limited liability joint stock companies, and then, itoo, it first became possible for labour to organize itself in trade unions. Since that time we have had a development of industry which is not like anything the world had known before. We have seen aggregations of capital and we have seen- aggregations of labouring men, and now they stand in hostility, and we have to understand the situation. Now, if I or any other member of this House understood just what was wrong, we would probably tell the House, .and we might apply the proper remedy; but the trouble is that to-day we do not know just how to correct the situation. However, we propose a tribunal which shall make of this situation a special study, and which will find the remedy if it is at all possible. The course now being pursued by us, four years ago was entered upon by New Zealand and by the United States-and I would like to direct attention to ithe report of the Committee on Trusts of the British Parliament, because I think it will open the eyes of many of our members. It is State Paper No. 9236. I would especially direct attention to the addendum to. that report headed " A study of trade organizations and combinations in (the United Kingdom, prepared for the Committee on Trusts by John Hilton, of the Garton Foundation." He was the secretary of the committee and his study is referred to in .these words at the end of the committee's report:

We wish to place on record our appreciation of the great services which have been rendered to the committee by our secretary, Mr. John Hilton, whose comprehensive study of combinations we have printed as an appendix to this report.

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UNION

John Allister Currie

Unionist

Mr. CURRIE:

Were these trusts in Free Trade England?

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UNION

Fred Langdon Davis

Unionist

Mr. DAVIS:

Certainly. I quite appreciate the hon. gentleman's point of view; he misses mine. I say that these conditions are not. peculiar to protected countries, they are the result of combinations of capital which have taken place in all countries, and'have to be dealt with; and that the means which are being adopted by other countries are the means which are now being recommended to this House and to the country as a way of solution.

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UNION

John Allister Currie

Unionist

Mr. CURRIE:

Is it not a fact that the United States have passed legislation enabling the manufacturers to form trusts in order to carry on their foreign trade, and that they loosened the Sherman law to that effect during the previous session of Congress,-that the movement is all in the other direction?

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UNION

Fred Langdon Davis

Unionist

Mr. DAVIS:

I believe that there has been a change of policy. The United States at one time adopted the policy of treating all combinations as necessarily in restraint of trade. Now they adopt the more sensible policy of looking at the agreement and seeing if it is really in restraint of trade, and in opposition to the interests of the consumers or a benefit to them. The final remark I have to make is this: By simulation of a real commission this thing can be made a farce, and it is the duty of the Government not to take that course. I have confidence in the Government that it is in earnest, that it means that real men shall be put at the head of this commission, and if men of the type of those who framed the policy of the Railway Commission are put upon this commission, I have no fear of section 41 of the Bill, because the Government itself dare not defeat the recommendations of the Committee, which has the entire confidence of this House.

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UNION

William Folger Nickle

Unionist

Mr. W. F. NICKLE (Kingston):

When I came into the House this evening, Mr. Speaker, I must frankly admit, I had no intention of speaking on this matter, but as it has become a sort of free-for-all I should like to express one or two ideas before the Acting Minister of Justice closes the ddbate. In the first place, it seems to me that hon. members are somewhat careless in the way they interchange the expressions "profits" and "prices," and I think it is well we should keep clearly before the country that there is a clear distinction between these terms. I also think that perhaps it would not be unwise if the attention of the House and of the country was directed to the industrial progress, very briefly referred to by the last speaker, that has taken place in Canada during possibly the last twenty-five or thirty years. Prior to that time we had what I might call isolation in manufacturing. There was no place in Ontario of any importance where there was any waterpower that you could not find the small grist mill, which gathered about it other incidental industries. It was the day of small industries and very little machinery,

and most of the labour was by hand. But an industrial centralization took place by which there was the centralization of capital and the centralization of labour incidental to manufacturing. That centralization of capital and labour had a tremendous potential efficiency, due to the fact that highly organized and very delicate and rapid working machinery was introduced for the purpose of decreasing the cost of production. In this country from 1890 on, to be rough in one's dates, there has been a great era of industrial prosperity. Large amounts of capital had been brought into the country by way of borrowing for the purpose of carrying on municipal and other works, we had built two transcontinental railroads, ;to say nothing of the extensions to the third, with the result that we had great prosperity. There are those in this House who will -emember that in the spring of 1913 and from then on until the autumn of 1914 there was a decided industrial reaction, due to_ the fact that there was not the industrial activity that had obtained prior to that date.

By 1913 our two national transcontinental railways had practically reached completion; money was not being spent on them; the people were beginning to say that we were entering a period of bad times-bad times, because as much money was not being put in circulation as had been prior to that time. In August, 1914, the war broke out. At that time supply and demand, so far as the manufacturers of this country went, were pretty evenly balanced. The supply, provided the industries had been worked to the maximum of their capacity, was probably greater than the demand; but keen competition and the fact that each industry had its own customers, made the majority of the industries in this country capable of meeting the demand that was made upon them. [DOT]

When the war broke out, or within a few months following its outbreak, there was a decided slump. Work was slack in this country and there were many who thought that we were closing in on a period of industrial stagnation and severe hard times. In my own riding skilled workers in the steel industry who had up to that time been getting reasonably good wages, found themselves out of employment and were willing to work for labourers' pay because other wages could not be had. But suddenly the whole scene was changed by the demand that was made on Canada for the supply of munitions to meet the wants of the Allies; and the prices of these munitions were not

so much the question as prompt supply, because it was realized that if defeat was to be kept away, munitions had to be supplied in large quantities and promptly. Now, what happened ? All our steel industries within a few months were at the full of their potential efficiency. Steel industries that had been engaged in one type of manufacturing were as promptly as possible changed to another; men who had never worked in the steel industry were suddenly called into demand, with the result that men left other industries to take up the making of munitions. The demand for labour was greater than the supply, with the result that wages increased, and as wages increased prices went up, because a great many men who had been engaged in agricultural pursuits had gone to the war, while others, as I said a moment ago, left those pursuits to enter industry. There were not enough agricultural products to go around; consequently, prices advanced. Then, when the shortage of labour was more acutely felt, competition for labour became keener and there was a steady increase in the wages that were paid. Fifty million men from all parts of the world who had previously been engaged in industry and in agricultural production were taken to the war-not, if the whole truth be told, all at once; they were gradually taken away from productive labour. Canada gave, in the net result, some 500,000 men, but in the early days of the war we had under arms probably

100,000 or 150.000 men, the supply of foodstuffs that should have been kept up gradually became less, owing to the fact that fewer men were engaged in production and the supply available for 'Canada became still less because -the Allies abroad were taking our supplies and our people at home were consuming more than they had previously consumed. It is an economic law that when wages are high and people have spending money, consumption will be great and we have what is commonly called good times. The reason is simple. Money is only a medium of exchange. Those countries that are on a gold standard have practically said that gold, in its relation to the other commodities, bears a fixed ratio; and they have made the dollar the initial value of exchange. "Price" is only the statement in money of the value of an article; "cost" is the value in money of what it takes to produce an article; "profit" is what you can sell an article for in excess of what it costs you. Now, as I said, prices went up. If you ask me why prices went up, I direct

your attention to some figures that appear in the Canada Food Board report. At page 13 the following figures are given: in 1914-15 the total export of foodstuffs from Canada was $187,000,000. In 1915-16 this amount was increased to $332,000,000; in 1916-17 it was increased to $482,000,000 and in 1917-18 it was increased to $710,000,000

Mr. MoMASTER: Has the hon. gentleman the figures before him to show the increase in weight or number of the exports? My feeling is that the increase is rather an increase in the value of the exports than an increase of the exports themselves.

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UNION

William Folger Nickle

Unionist

Mr. NICKLE:

My hon. friend really took my remark right out of my mouth. I was just going to say that it is true that the figures that I have given do not actually represent that the amount of the export was proportionate to the increased value of the export. The value of our agricultural products had increased very rapidly between 1914-15 and 1917-18, with the result that the $710,000,000 in 1917-18 as compared with $187,000,000 of the first year probably did not represent an increased ratio of exports in proportion to the value. But what it does represent is that out of Canada during these years,an ever-increasing supply of foodstuffs wasgoing. Take, for instance, fisheries. Fisheries rose from $23,000,000 in the first year to $24,000,000, and again to $33,000,000. Animal products rose from $111,000,000 to $157,000,000 and then to $163,000,000; agricultural products from $396,000,000 to $427,000,000 and to $440,000,000 during the last year. Or taking it in the aggregate, in the first year the exports of fisheries, animal products and agricultural products were $530,000,000, in the next year $630,000,000, and in the last year $638,000,000.

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UNION

John Allister Currie

Unionist

Mr. CURRIE:

Will the hon. gentleman quote the figures for the manufactures also?

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UNION

William Folger Nickle

Unionist

Mr. NICKLE:

I am confining myself particularly to the argument in relation to the high cost of living and profits. Now, the reason why prices increased-as I understand it, having given some little consideration to the matter-is this: First, as I said a moment ago, the people of Canada were consuming more than they had previously consumed because they had more money with which to buy goods. Less goods were being produced, and as supply fell off and the demand increased prices rose abnormally. The supply was. much less in relation to the demand than it ordinarily would have been, due to the fact that the Allies were bidding against one another be-

cause of the necessity of their having these foodstuffs, and an abnormal price was reached in relation to them. Then there was an inflation. Canada had got off the gold standard and we had an inflated currency. There were not enough counters- because, if one might so describe it, money is nothing hut a counter, and if each man has more than his fair share of the counters in relation to the available products that are to be bought, prices will rise, because each man, being determined to get what he thinks is his proportion of the available supply and having more than a reasonable share of the counters, will bid against the others, and the result will be an enhancement of prices. And you have inflation also, not merely because there were more counters than each should have had, but because these counters were passing very rapidly from one man to another. You had an inflation-

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?

An hon. MEMBER:

Carried.

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UNION

William Folger Nickle

Unionist

Mr. NICKLE:

I propose to continue this argument, as briefly as I can, until I reach my conclusion. I shall not be deterred in

the argument that I am trying to deduce simply because any hon. gentleman on either side of the House calls "Carried."

I do not often direct the attention of the House to questions of this character, and having taken the floor, I purpose continuing my argument to its end, even if this House does not adjourn on Saturday. As I said, inflation may be of two characters: You may have inflation because there are too many counters or because the counters are going about .too rapidly, and we had both of these conditions in Canada. The condition that existed in Canada was no different from the condition that existed in the United States. Very illuminating figures are given in the 1918 report of the Food Board in reference to the prices of commodities in the United States and Canada. This is the table:

Retail Prices of Staple Foods in Uanada and the United States, September, 15, 1918.

Tfhe following table of the cost of staple articles of food, averaged in sixty cities in Canada and forty cities in the United States, was compiled from data furnished toy the Labour Departments of both countries, and is revised to terms of quantities consumed by the average family in one week:-

pounds.

Flour pounds.

pounds.

Milk. quarts .

Cheese 2 pounds.

Eggs dozen .

Bacon pound .

Beef pounds.

1

Potatoes pecks .

Beans (dry) pound .

Kice . . . 2 pounds.Tea i pound .Coffee pound .Sugar 4 pounds.pounds.Prunes pound .

In the above comparison five items out of the seventeen are slightly lower in the United States than in Canada-lard, coffee, potatoes, sugar and prunes. Coffee, sugar and prunes are naturally lower in price in the United States than in Canada, which is further from the source of supply. The United States is one of the world's greatest producers of lard.

I give the figures only to show that prices in Canada for many of the things that go to make up the food of the people were, during the same period, slightly higher in the United States than in Canada, and if Ij-Nsmtlemen who are interested in this subject care to look at the returns for other ojpntries overseas they will see that prices trore there, in the main, higher than in Canada.

Canada U.S.

60 cities - 40 cities

$ 1.170 $ 1.4&5

6.80 680

1.486 1.776

744 1.029 (Imperial Measure).

643 720

1.065 1.172

511 562

1.363 1.42*6

403 461

707 702 (Imperial Measure)

169 169

238 274

* 303 332

114 076

472 384

740 672.

183 174

$10,991 $12,094

When you turn to the question of profits-and I might say, in passing, that I am thoroughly in favour of the measure that has been introduced to-night by the Acting Minister of Justice (Mr. Meighen)- you will have to define what you mean by your term. Does the term "reasonable profits" mean the percentage on the individual transactions, or does it mean reasonable profits in relation to the aggregate? In my opening remarks I endeavoured to show how there had been a centralization of capital and labour and machinery in our industries in Canada. Hon.t gentlemen who have read the milling report as prepared by Miss McKenna, will remember that it showed clearly that, while only

twenty-five cents was allowed by the Government on each barrel of flour turned out by the milling company, yet the turnover of the milling industry of this country was so tremendous during the war that their profits rose to fabulous sums.

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UNION

Edward Walter Nesbitt

Unionist

Mr. NESBITT:

They did not take the

twenty-five cents.

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UNION

William Folger Nickle

Unionist

Mr. NICKLE:

Let us suppose they took less than twenty-five cents; let us suppose they took twenty cents.

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UNION
UNION

William Folger Nickle

Unionist

Mr. NICKLE:

No person would contend that in peace times a profit of less than twenty cents on a barrel of flour was an unreasonable profit. If the aggregate war profit was taken into account, and the profit on the individual transaction was so small that it cannot very well be reduced without turning an aggregate profit into a substantial loss, it was only fair that that initial profit should continue, but the State then should take a very substantial proportion of the large aggregate profit made by these industries. It is unreasonable to argue that, because the potential efficiency of a great organization enables it to make a tremendous profit on small initial transaction profits a most substantial portion of the profits should be left to the industry. In abnormal times it is reasonable to contend that the industry should be allowed to retain reasonable profits on its efforts, but the effort of the people which led to the great aggregate profit being made should be taken into account by the great proportion of that profit being taken for the benefit of the State.

A gentleman interested in the manufacture of munitions informed me that by the cheapening of the process by which a cartridge case was reduced in cost by three cents, his profits were tremendously increased. His profit on the individual transaction was only triflingly increased by the three-cent reduction but it was tremendously increased by the percentage computation. Applying those small initial profits to a tremendous output he made a tremendous profit, a profit beyond all conception when compared with that which he hoped to make when he entered into the contract that gave him such a substantial return.

When you come to consider the high cost of living, there is another factor which is sometimes left out. It is the profit made by the merchants in this country as distinct from the manufacturer. When the war broke out our wholesalers had substantial

stocks on their shelves and the stocks of the retailers were, generally speaking, in a fair state. No sooner had war broken out than there was a steady increase in the value of those stocks and I suppose, so long as human nature is human nature a man will take all the traffic will bear. That is, if an ever-increasing cost makes the wholesaler demand more from the retailer than the amount that the retailer originally paid for the commodities, the retailer who has the goods on his shelves and the wholesaler who also has his shelves well stocked, will endeavour to take from the people all the traflfic will bear. In other words he will ask what he could get for the new goods supposing he had to buy them from the manufacturer or the jobber. That is exactly what took place in this country. The .stocks of the wholesalers were sold at much more than they cost and the stocks of the retailers brought substantial profits to them.

There are some very interesting paragraphs in the fuel controller's report issued this year. The fuel controller was interested in showing that the price of coal had not increased in proportion to the price of other commodities. I have directed the attention of the House to the fact of the tremendous increase there was in the export of natural products of this country, and I should like now to put on record the great increase there was in value of various articles in Canada. For instance, anthracite coal, taking 100 as being the initial price in 1900, went up from a price in 1914 of 140 to a price in 1918 of 195 or thereabouts. Lumber from an initial price of lt)0 in 1900 and, about 180 in 1913 went to 265 in 1918. Leather -a natural product, the production of which could not rapidly be increased because it takes a certain number of years for the animals to reach maturity, went up from 150 in 1914 to 267 in 1918; drugs and chemicals went up from 135 in 1914 to 287 in 1918; animals and meats from 190 in 1914 to 350 in 1918; dairy products from 155 in 1914 to 262 in 1918; grains and fodders from 160 in 1914 to. 317 in 1918; fish from 160 in 1914 to 250 in 1918; miscellaneous groceries from 130 in 1914 to 262 in 1918; woollens from 140 in 1914 to 410 in 1918! Now if you will turn to page 107 of the Fuel Commissioners's Report you will find a very interesting graph prepared by an American lady showing the prices' of commodities in America during the Civil and Franco-Prussian Wars. You will see that during all wars that lasted for any period prices of natural products and other goods inevitably rose in the affected countries.

From 1862 to 1864 during the American War prices there reached an abnormal level; then there was a very rapid slump at the cessation of hostilities, and a steady decline, with one rise, until 1897, when the lowest price was reached. Then there was an increase, practically a steady although a varying increase until 1914, due to the industrial prosperity of the United States and Canada and the entire world.

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L LIB

Andrew Ross McMaster

Laurier Liberal

Mr. McMASTEB:

Does the graph represent the prices of natural products only?

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UNION
UNION

Arthur Meighen (Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Unionist

Mr. MEIGHEN:

Mr. Speaker,-

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UNION

Edgar Nelson Rhodes (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Unionist

Mr. SPEAKER:

I must advise the House that the minister proposes to exercise his right to close the debate.

Mr. MEIlGHEN: Those members of the House who had hoped that this Bill would have a favourable reception have no cause ' for discouragement at the course of this debate. I have listened with care to the progress of the discussion, and I have endeavoured to discern from the speeches what each hon. member's attitude on this Bill was, I think, with some success. I am not sure that I am able to say that any hon. member distinctly opposes the measure. There has been considerable criticism and some scowling, but in so far as I have discerned, no hon. member has set himself against the Bill itself.

The hon. member for Shelburne and Queen's (Mr. Fielding) tells us that he must oppose it because the session is late and there has not been sufficient time for consideration, not that there is anything in the measure to which he takes exception, not that he is opposed to the formation of a board of commerce with the general powers

embodied in this Bill, but because it is the end of the session and we should not discuss it now. I do not know why there should be any less value in the third day of July than in the 30th'day of January. I do not know what we are to do at the end of the session, nor how we are going to have a session unless there is an end to it. There must be an end, a middle and a beginning. If we have to conduct o.ur session with nothing at the end except congratulations and measures, that mean nothing, we had better finish some time before the end. I do not know how we can use the last few days of the session better than by considering and passing measures which the public demand and which will do the public good. We are not asking any hon. member to rush this measure through. Surely that has not been the attitude of the Government throughout the debate to-night? Nor did the speech, I think, of any hon. member indicate that there was any great scarcity of time or that he was not being given an opportunity to thoroughly review and understand what he has to decide upon.

There was an attitude, as well, on the part of some, to criticise the measure from every standpoint. The hon. member for Bed Deer (Mr. Clark) said that it was the same as the Combines Act of nine years ago-an attempt to regulate an earthquake, that it was an imitation of the wrong end of American legislation and a blinding of ourselves to the right end; in a word, he saw no good and no hope in the measure but he took great care to tell the House that he could not find it in his heart to oppose it. The leader of the Opposition who, I observe was very anxious to overcome, and if possible negative, the maladroit 'move he made the day before yesterday, came forward and stated that some such measure as this was what the Opposition had been looking foT for years and that for his part he would not oppose 'it. If it is good leadership to make an appeal to all classes of the community then he has vindicated the position that he occupies, because he can say to those who do not like the Board of Commerce, and who will criticise it when it comes into existence and starts operation: Why, I opposed the thing from the beginning; I voted against concurrence in the resolution that looked to the establishment of a Board of Commerce. To those, who think that something should be done at this time to take' care of the grosser cases of profiteering he will say: I did not oppose the measure; as a matter of fact I voted for it. He has on his left an hon. member (Mr. MoGrea) who delivered a speech of very considerable value indeed filled with common sense from the beginning until very close to the end and pregnant with a lot of good advice for young and old in this country.

And even he, staid and successful business man as he is, is free to tell this House that he believes a lot of good can come out of such a board as this measure contemplates, and that his only reason for voting against it is to be on the safe side for fear the Board of Commerce does something rash after it comes into existence. I do not quite get the point of the 'last two or three sentences of the speech of the hon. member for Sherbrooke (Mr. MoCrea). We had a scold from the hon. member from Kent (Mr. McCoig), a speech characterized by bad temper and bad logic, and aiming at what results I know not, but discussing everything in the world except the Bill before the House. I am sorry that the hon. member for Bed Deer (Mr. Michael Clark) did not give closer attention to the terms of the measure that he rose to discuss today. He is the slave of a vision. He feels that no subject can be properly discussed until he offers the House a dissertation on the subject of free trade; and in everything that occurs, in Canada or the world over, he is able to find an argument for his favourite theory. 1 believe that if a comet were to alight on this House, he would rise at once to tell us that that was a vindication of his argument, ever since he entered Parliament, in favour of free trade; and no matter what disaster comes in any portion of the world he traces it in some way or the other to protection. Now it must be apparent to a mind as clear as his that the evils sought to be in some way controlled by the Bill before Parliament exist in every country and under all conditions, whether under a protection system, or under a semi-protective system, or under a free trade system. No country in the world is free from them, nor are they more accentuated in this Dominion than in any country on the face of the globe. And in Great Britain to-day, not because of free trade, not because of protection, but uninfluenced by either condition, the combine exerts its pressure-the combine causes, at all events, some suffering. There are combinations of capital that are detrimental to the public interest; there are, in a word, conditions such as will be controlled, regulated, and modified if the Board of Commerce contemplated by this measure .does its work. Surely it also ought to be clear to him that as we are now many generations from the

day when all intelligent countries dealt with (the tariff question, andi when after years, yea, generations of experience, the majority -of the intelligent democracies of the world have, in some form or other, adopted the regulation of trade by tariff, it must be clear to a mind like his, if he could only let it operate, that the democracies have not, after that experience and with these long years of thought and study, adhered to a principle that is obviously and patently false. Tariffs, like every human institution, have their uses and they have their abuses; they have their applications and they have their mis-applica-tions; they can do good under circumstances, and they can do harm under other circumstances; they have their extreme and impetuous advocates who find in them the source of all the blessings we enjoy; and they have as well their equally blind and obdurate foes who seem to see in them only monsters of sin. But tariff or no tariff, high tariff, low tariff, or none at all, the Bill before the House is a good Bill if the board that it contemplates is fearless and able, and addresses itself skilfully to the situation.

Now what I suggest is this; We have throughout this war, and particularly since the war closed, confronted abnormal conditions in Canada. Those conditions are not peculiar to us nor are they accentuated here beyond the measure of their accentuation in other lands. I never yet in my life saw or heard of any man who could look across the 'border as the hon. member for Bed Deer did this afternoon, and tell us that the condition of the high cost of living and the development of combines and monopolies is not existent there, much less have I ever heard a man who would stand up and say that as an advocate of free trade he took comfort to himself in the prosperity of the United States on account of the low tariff of that country. Why, in the United States of America to-day there is not a phenomenon that we see in Canada now that is not present there, and is not present in a greater degree than it is in this country. Who suggests for a minute that the labour troubles they are confronting and passing through now are not just as prevalent and just as difficult, and even more difficult, to contend with than they are in this Dominion? The phase we are passing through in the month of July, 1919, they passed through in the latter end of 1918. We are walking not quite step by step with them, but just a little behind, because their industrial position is just a little further ahead than ours. Every

IMr. Meighen.]

other phenomenon is present there just the same as here; not only industrial unrest but the presence of combinations of capital on the one hand and large combinations of labour on the other hand, and undue oppression or undue profiteering, in some instances, although not the general rule there any more than it is here. All these conditions are present there and they have been present there just as long as here. They have sought a remedy in the United States. They sought a remedy along the lines of this measure and the remedy they sought has not been by any means without effect. For some years they have had what we propose to call a Board of Commerce. They have a Trade Commission, and that Trade Commission has done good work in breaking into the illegal practices or combinations of trade. But the Bill they passed did not admit the one fundamental truth that there may be combinations of capital that are not detrimental to the public interest; there may be combines even that work to the economic advantage of the whole country, and are not against the public interest at all; and as a consequence of failure to recognize that truth they have had to await a long course of judicial decisions in order to get away from the fundamental error of their first legislation; and in the Federal Supreme Court of the United States, by a series of decisions, they have gradually brought the jurisprudence of that country, and indeed the operations of the Trade Commission, to a recognition of the fact that it was not their duty wholly to break up combines in every case or to interfere with the operations of large combinations of capital, but only to do* so where the effect was detrimental, oppressive, and illegitimate in its character. In the Bill that is before the House the operations of the Board of Commerce that will be appointed will be governed by the first principle enunciated in the early part of the measure that will follow this Bill (the twin measure), namely, that they can only deal with such features of combines, monopolies, trusts and mergers, so called, as they find to be detrimental to the public interest.

Furthermore, in the American legislation they did not give the board thereby established any control of prices or of profits; they only permitted them to check such practices as they might find to be unfair. They were given no control such as is given by this Bill, and it is but too evident that there could have been, at all events, greater efficiency in that board if that oontrol had been given to them. In Great Britain, as

Topic:   SUPPLY.
Subtopic:   BOARD OF COMMERCE ACT, 1919.
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JUL'S 3, 1919

July 3, 1919