When the House rose at 6 o'clock I had asked to put on Hansard a report issued by the Soldiers' Settlement Board, giving a summary of the operations of that Board up to January 31, of this year. That report shows:
Number of veterans applied for privileges of Act 58,276
Number accepted as qualified to farm. . 42,285Number qualified, but not yet located. 22,254
Number in training under supervision
of Board 781
Number completed training 1,579
The loans to these men were as follows:
Number granted loans 20,231
Amount of loans approved. $82,043,414 Amount of loans disbursed. 73,711,558 Initial Payments on land
Number liable for repayments Nov 1,. 12,507Number who made repayments
(or 74.8 p. c.)
Amount of money due at
Nov. 1 2,323,582
Amount repaid 1,634,972
(or 70.4 p. c.
Number who have repaid all loans in
You will notice, Sir, that the number liable for repayment at November 1, was 12,507.
Number of failures and changes of owner
ship adjusted 179
Amount invested In these farms. $635,484 Amount realized in re-sale of
farm equipment 637,347
The report goes on to give the area of soldiers' land, the stock, equipment, etc. I wish to bring this matter to the attention of the House for the purpose of showing just how much these soldier farmers will be called upon to pay of the new taxes imposed under this Budget. The minister expects to raise $62,000,000 by this increase in the sales taxes. This would mean about $7 per capita, putting our population at between 8,000,000 and 9,000,000. Now, we have put 20,231 returned men on the land. Multiply this by seven-the per capita tax -and you have $141,617. I think it would be fair to assume that there would be three members in each family, and that would mean a total taxation of $424,851, which the returned men whom we have put on the land would have to pay, or $21 per family. Let us follow this a little further and see what it means. We are charging these returned men 5 per cent for the money we have loaned them. It will be seen, however, that the amount taken from them by the sales tax would more than equal the interest on $8,000,000, and I submit that this extra amount could very well have been used by these men who are trying to establish themselves upon the, land. The figures I have given do not take into account the pyramiding of the taxes which is bound to take place. If this were done, the amount I have mentioned would be at least doubled, and I think that this is a concrete example of the way in which the protective tariff works. I am sure it must make the manufacturers of the country feel like real patriots to know that they have shifted the burden to the backs of the returned men. I suppose, however, when the next election comes
around we may expect to find these barons of special privilege going around waving the flag and calling every one disloyal who votes against them and their party.
I have pointed out, Mr. Speaker, that in my opinion there is little use of looking for any great development of the natural resources of Western Canada under existing conditions, and one of the things that are hearing heavily upon the western farmer to-day is the increase in freight rates. This increase put on last fall does hear very heavily upon the people of the western provinces, because everything that they use on their farms, or dispose of from those farms, has to be hauled great distances. The Prairie Provinces, through their Provincial Governments, have made representations to the Railway Commission and to the Government regarding this matter, and have protested as vigorously as possible. I desire to read the opinions expressed by one or two influential organizations upon this matter. I have here a clipping reporting a resolution passed at the sixtenth annual convention of the Saskatchewan Rural Municipalities Organization. This resolution reads:
Resolved that this Convention desires to protest in the strongest manner against the recent large and unreasonable increase of freight and express rates. The present high rates Trill result in making successful farming on the prairies difficult, if not impossible-
The opinion I have expressed, Mr. Speaker, that no great development in Western Canada can be looked for under existing conditions is borne out by this statement.
-and will retard indefinitely the further settling up of farm lands in Western Canada; and we further protest against the want of sympathy with the public, where railway matters are concerned, manifested by the Railway Commission ; and, further, that a copy of this resolution be forwarded to the Prime Minister of Canada.
The organization that fathered this resolution is representative of every municipality in the province of Saskatchewan. I have another clipping, dated Toronto, March 13, which reads as follows:
Delegates representing all the large stockyard centres in the Dominion attended a meeting of the Canadian Livestock Exchange here Saturday night, and the prevailing opinion expressed was that the high freight rates had a tendency to keep shippers from shipping to *the greater number of markets. Vice-President O. Attwell was delegated to confer with E. St Todd, of the Eastern Canada Livestock Exchange, with reference to Itfhe question of appearing before the Dominion Railway Doard with a request for a reduction of rates governing the shipment of livestock.
This matter, in my opinion, must receive immediate attention if the producers of Western Canada are going to be able to carry on with any degree of success.
Now, Sir, I desire to touch briefly upon another matter, and I offer some apology for bringing it to the attention of the House at this time, because it has already had some discussion in Parliament. I refer to the question of returning the natural resources to the Prairie Provinces. I did not avail myself of an opportunity to speak upon this subject when it was before the House on a previous occasion, but I wish to do so now as briefly as I can. The return of these natural resources to the Western Provinces is a matter that has been before this Parliament and the country for a number of years.
I believe it is in the best interests of the whole of Canada that these resources should be returned to the provinces for the very good reason that the provinces would develop them .much faster than the Dominion is doing. Furthermore-as was pointed out when this matter was specifically before the House-the Fathers of Confederation never intended that one part of Canada should be, as was termed at the time, "Crown colonies," while the rest of the country should have full autonomy. Besides that we had the direct promise of the ex-Prime Minister, the present member for King's, N.S. (Sir Robert Borden) in 1910 that if his party were returned to power he would return these resources to the Prairie Provinces; and we have had upon many occasions, the unanimous vote of the legislatures of the different provinces interested in favour of that course.
I submit that the other provinces, as provinces, have no claim in this matter at all other than that whatever case they have should be presented to this Parliament. Every one of those provinces has its representatives in the Federal Parliament and this is where the matter should 'be decided. In this connection let me read a short quotation from a speech delivered by the Hon. Mr. Turgeon to the legislature of Saskatchewan on November 23 last. On that occasion Mr. Turgeon said:
All the provinces of Canada are represented in the Federal Parliament. Each province as a province, sends so many members there, and one of the duties of each of these members is to look after the interests of his province and more particularly is this the duty of the Senate of Canada which was created and intended to he the custodian of Provincial rights; and if you look into its composition and how its numbers are allocated that fact is very much in evidence. All the provinces are represented in the Senate
and let some Government at Ottawa have sufficient courage to formulate a policy which will run the gauntlet of the Senate and Commons: in this manner only can the question be settled.
That is what we want. We want the Government of Canada to make up its mind as to what should be done, not after consulting the other provinces and waiting until they all agree on something, but on its own responsibility to the Parliament and the people of Canada. What is fair to us is to hand back our natural resources and to.fix what allowance we should continue to receive. If at the same time any province of Canada wishes to go to the Federal Parliament and say: "you have reopened the terms of confederation because you have reopened the constitution of one province" let Parliament settle with that province in the way best suited to that province. If Nova Scotia, for instance, thinks it should have an increased subsidy let i-t go to the Government of Canada and lay its case there.
That is our attitude and I see no hope for anything being done until the Government of Canada will take our attitude as the proper one, form iits own policy, bring it down and put it through.
That statement, I think, carries with it the opinion of the vast majority of the people of the province of Saskatchewan, and I can only add that I sincerely hope that something may be done in this regard in the near future.
Another matter that has been brought before the House, and to which I wish to make reference, is the proposal to send an ambassador to Washington. I am of the opinion that Canada should have a representative at Washington. I believe it is not only necessary but essential for us to have a representative there to look after our interests. There is also the matter of Canada appointing trade agents in the United States. I understand that the United States have over fifty of these agents in Canada. Well, Mr. Speaker, if the neighbouring republic hav'e seen fit to send some fifty trade agents into Canada to drum up business with eight or nine millions of people, it surely follows that it would be a sensible thing on the part of Canada to have at least a few trade agents in the United States where we have a chance of trading with one hundred and ten millions of people.
Returning to the question more particularly before the House, I believe that the strictest economy should be practised at the present time by this Government and by every spending body in Canada. I further believe that the Government might have effected a considerable saving in the Estimates which have been submitted to Parliament. The expenditure on the Trent and Welland canals and the dry-dock at Victoria could have been very materially reduced, to say nothing of the expenditure of over
$11,000,000 on the militia. A very considerable reduction could have been made in these votes without causing any harm to Oanada or the Canadian people. The expenditure of public money for the purpose of creating employment can be carried too far. I think we have had evidence that such a policy has been carried too far in Canada by the shipbuilding programme of the Minister of Marine. While speaking on this subject I would like to explain, in regard to some figures that I submitted to the House before six o'clock and which were questioned by the Minister of Militia (Mr. Guthrie), that the figures in question were quoted from the Budget, showing the consolidated revenue receipts and expenditure, of the Commonwealth of Australia for the year 1920-21. I wish to make that explanation to show that the figures were official.
There is another matter I wish to touch upon before closing. I hesitated to do so earlier in my remarks because the Prime Minister (Mr. Meighen) was absent from the chamber. He is present to-night and therefore I shall make the statement I had in contemplation. A day or two ago when the hon. member for Gloucester (Mr. Turgeon) was speaking, he said that the Prime Minister had alluded to the followers of the Farmers' party as wreckers and Bolshevists. The right hon. gentleman then asked the hon. member to do what the members of the Farmer's party had not done, support the statement by a-quotation from his speech. I do not happen to have the particular speech in question before me but I have a quotation from another speech. The Montreal Gazette of September 2, reports the Prime Minister as having used these words at Sherbrooke:
A new party has arisen i-n Canada, best described as "The Parmer Free Trade party." It took its birth in the Western Provinces and for some twelve years or more it has been gaining strength. It has adopted the old Liberal free trade policy of 1S93. It demands to be placed in power in Canada. It has gathered under its banner and trails behind it every class of theorist and malcontent, and to-day beyond all doubt it constitutes the most numerous and strongest organization opposed to the present Government.
I think the right hon. gentleman will not dispute this report of his remarks; it is taken from a newspaper that, I believe, would be very careful not to misquote him.
But I wish to draw the attention of the House to the closing words of this quotation :
It constitutes the most numerous and strongest organization opposed to the present Government.
In the face of that, Mr. Speaker, the right hon. gentleman in his address the other day termed this party, to which I have the honour to belong, a "dilapidated annex" of some other party. Such words coming from the Prime Minister are pretty hard to take, and in view of his statement that the supporters of this party are the most numerous and strongest of any organization opposing his Government, one may well wonder why he should attempt to be so sarcastic. I may be pardoned if I reply in kind and say that, if my party looks like a "dilapidated annex" to the right hon. gentleman, after the next general election I cannot think of any better term to describe the remnant that he may or may not then be the head of than to liken it to an exploded blister, and in all probability that remnant will be very easily accommodated in the few unoccupied seats in the most southeasterly part of the chamber next to the wall.
In conclusion, Mr. Speaker, let me say that the records of this House will show that I voted want of confidence in the Administration on the amendment to the Address at the beginning of this session, and I must confess that the Government has not improved in the meantime. Some hon. gentlemen opposite in a previous debate said that this Government-mark the expression, Sir, this Government-was elected in 1917. I said at the time that it was not elected at all but was manufactured in this city last July, and everything that has transpired since its formation confirms my view. I do not want to be unkind, but the fact of the matter is this Government wished itself on the people, and it has not the good sense to see that it is not wanted. Undoubtedly we should have had a general election long before this. For these and many other reasons, Sir, I purpose to vote for the amendment. I believe that the people want an opportunity to elect a government representing their views-a government with some sense of its responsibilities to the country, and an appreciation of the necessity of rigid economy in the expenditure of the public money at a time when the financial outlook is so serious.
Subtopic: REVISED EDITION. COMMONS