Mr. WILLIAM IRVINE (East Calgary) :
Mr. Speaker, it is with deepest sympathy that I refer to the absence of the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) from the House, especially when we consider the cause, the reg'rettable death of his brother. I am sure that the deepest sympathy of this whole assembly will be with him in his bereavement.
I have, along with other hon. members, I am sure, concurred in the congratulations that have been extended to yourself, Mr. Speaker, and therefore, it is not necessary to reiterate them. But I wish to congratulate the Government on being the Government. It might have been the Opposition. I wish to congratulate the Opposition on being the Opposition, because it might have been the Government. And, then, I wish to congratulate the Progressive group for the extraordinary position which they hold in this assembly. I think we may say that we have here, in tableau,
that famous philosophic formula of Hegel. He attributes all progress to three factors, and we have them here. On the right of Mr. Speaker, we have the "thesis." On the immediate left of the Speaker, we have the "antithesis," and then along this side we are hoping we shall have a "synthesis." Of course, there can be no real progress until we reach an equilibrium between the two contending forces, and then we are in hopes that the Progressives will make the synthesis which will make the progress.
I do not think I would be justified in contributing to the prolonging of this debate if, by any chance, hon. members who preceded me had dealt with the two points which I am now going to take up before the House. This opportunity of expression comes to all of us as a traditional inheritance through our parliamentary system of government and it affords, in some instances, an exultant hour for doing so. Already two parties, striving for power, have had an opportunity to show their prowess. Already we have seen the war-scarred leaders of the past campaign flash their gleaming sabres of repartee across the old historic battleground, and nobody killed1, so far as I have been aware; but, at least, each has done his best to establish the traditions of the party to which he belongs. Others of us, those who happen to be celebrating our political birthday, the first one by the way, and also those who are venerable in the service in this House, have received this opportunity as a means of giving our old hustings speech a much-needed airing. But perhaps the greatest pleasure which is afforded by this means of expression which comes to us on the debate on the Address in reply to the Speech from the Throne, is the opportunity to give expression to ideas which, under a different parliamentary system, might possibly be our contribution towards the legislation of this country.
The Speech from the Throne must, of necessity, deal more or less with generalizations, and one is never too sure about agreeing whole-heartedly with generalizations, especially when we recognize that these deal very largely with matters of administration, and are really not legislative matters at all. For instance, in the Speech, we have talk of the good time that is coming bye and bye. I have no fault to find with the good time; I hope it is coming and that it is not so far off; but I have my doubts about that. We are told that foreign markets are being negotiated for. That is another matter
that is in the hands of the administration itself. We are told that the responsibility for unemployment will not be assumed by the Government. We are told also that a postal conference has been arranged between the United States and Canada-another matter that has already been dealt with. We are told that the delegates have been chosen for the conference at Genoa-[DOT] another matter that has been already dealt with. Then, we have two co-ordinations, one of the Government railway system- another matter which is largely administrative, as was pointed out by the leader of the Opposition (Mr. Meighen)-and one of the Defence Department, another mater of administration. We are to have some change in the tariff We are not told whether that change is upwards, or downwards, or sideways; but it is to be some kind of a change. Then, perhaps, something is to be done with freight rates. That is a summary of what is contained in the Speech from the Throne. In so far as there are legislative matters in this, and giving to it the most generous interpretation, I find myself in agreement with a good deal; but I also find myself in disagreement with some parts which I will mention before I have finished my remarks. I am, however, more particularly concerned with some things that are not mentioned in the Speech from the Throne, so upon these things I will, more or less, concentrate my effort.
Of course, we all have matters of paramount importance; their paramount importance and their urgency depend, of course, upon who is talking about them; but with me there are two matters of paramount interest which, so far, have not been brought before the House. The first is the necessity for the readjustment of this govermental institution in keeping with the changes that are reflecting themselves in the various groups which we have in this House; and the second is to find food, clothing and shelter for people who, we are assured by the Government's statistician, have actually produced about twice as much of these things as they are permitted to use. The first is a political question, and I feel constrained to deal with it because the difference betweeen this House to-day and any previous parliament rests in the fact that we have some new political alignments and political expressions that are represented here directly as a result of what we may call a political revolt against the party system of government. If that political revolt was necessary on the hustings, and if it
has already taken place in many constituencies throughout Canada, it is just as necessary that it should take place in this House. So that it is well that some emphasis should be placed on the importance of this question.
The other question concerns a pressing industrial problem which we can scarcely afford to pass by without serious consideration. I believe that we are to-day face to face with a new social order, and I think fundamental economic and political reconstruction of society is imminent. The evidence of this is found in what is commonly termed "unrest," and surely there is sufficient unrest, not only in Canada but throughout civilization, to make us pause and inquire into the meaning of it. On consideration we find that we are doing to-day in Canada and in other parts of the civilized world, precisely what the world has done many times previously in its history: society is seeking to accommodate itself to the new developments in life, industrially, socially, politically, and otherwise. This unrest of which we hear so much is, therefore, nothing new, although people seem to fear it; it is only a repetition of what has occurred at other periods of the world's history. We might go back in imagination to the time when society was in its plasmic form, when the individual first passed into the tribal state. There must have been unrest at that time, though, manifestly, not to the same extent as there is to-day, because the conditions of society were so much more plastic. When that tribal society passed into the state, involving slavery there was another period of unrest; and when slavery gave way to feudalism the same disturbance was repeated. And the same is true in regard to the replacing of feudalism by capitalism or individualism. Now, if we were to conclude that society, as it exists at present, had reached the ultimate stage of its evolution, that we were to stop here and go no further, then I should be at a loss to explain the meaning of this unrest. If, however, we come to the conclusion that society is still upon the march and that we are at the present moment at the intermediate stage between individualism and some other type of society, then we must ask the question: Shall not this
Government seek to mould this political institution of Parliament which I presume does represent to a very large extent the industrial development of the country to the inevitable changes that we are witnessing, in such a manner as to make it work as smoothly and with as much justice to all parties as possible? To speak of mak-
ing any modification in our parliamentary system may, to some minds, smack of irreverence or lack of appreciation of our British constitutional system. But let me hasten to say that it is really out of the pro-foundest respect for the best spirit of our British system of government that I am going to put forward my proposal.
The greatness of the British constitution, it may he said, lies in the fact that it is not fixed; that is, it possesses the elasticity of life. It has that most necessary quality, adaptation; and it has always in the past been able to accommodate itself to the changes that have taken place in industrial life. It is not, of course, like the American constitution, which is more or less fixed. That constitution is very much in the nature of a political yardstick. It is brought out from time to time, and the people are virtually told: you must not cut off more, or less, political cloth than you were told to do by Washington. The British constitution as it has been well described by someone, is a constant progress "from precedent to precedent." We shall not therefore find ourselves violating the great principle of the British constitution in seeking to secure modifications of our present parliamentary system to accommodate changes in our own political life. Someone-I believe it was one of our lady politicians in Canada, not, by the way, the lady member of this House (Miss Macphail)-has asked the question, what has made Great Britain great? In answer to her own question she said pratically this: In every great crisis of the nation's history, Great Britain has always possessed men of sufficient vision and sufficient courage to see coming changes and to make them before revolt forced the issue; and in that, she said, is to be found Britain's greatness. Now, every system, whether of government or of economics, has sprung from some fundamental human need; but we know also that systems which at one time possessed qualities of great value and which have served well in the past, through generations have become an actual hindrance to progress. Sometimes institutions have got so much out of touch with actual life that they stand in the way. If therefore systems and institutions spring from fundamental human needs, we must recognize that such needs are the paramount things to be considered, and that no system at any time must take precedence to human interest. Systems have been made by men for men, and this
boasted system of ours was also made by men to meet human needs; and there is no good reason why we should not make it better if we can, or modify it so as to suit our own purposes and serve our own time better than it is capable of doing as at present constituted. Systems that have continued after having ceased to be of the greatest usefulness have the tendency to mould men after their cast-iron fashion rather than to recognize the principle that men should modify systems. And that, by the way, seems to me to be just about what this Government wants to do. The Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) has said on the floor of the House that he had made an offer to the Progressives that they should have an opportunity, if they desired it, of securing representation in the Government; but he added the proviso that this must be upon the condition that they should cease to be Progressives, and become Liberals, whatever that might mean. That is exactly what I am complaining about: it is a system seeking to modify the representatives of the House to its regulations, rather than recognizing the right of representatives to modify the system to suit themselves.
There is the difference; the Government like any other institution, must be a developing organism, inasmuch as we happen to be a developing people-humanity itself is a developing organism, if we may consider it as a unit. Therefore, this Government must keep pace with the people which it seeks to serve, and it must be prepared to meet with the ever-increasing complications of our industrial system. Look for a moment at the principle of development. That principle has been stated for us most admirably by Herbert Spencer in his "First Principles." You remember how he traces for us the trail of that principle as it goes through, first of all, the material universe. He takes us through that universe from the time when it was a whirling orb of fire in space to the time when it began to sustain living organisms, and on to the highest achievements of man in art and in social institutions. And the principle which goes through all those processes and systems is this-a movement from the simpler to the complex and from the indefinite to the definite.
In that connection, Mr. Speaker, to show that we are in harmony with the very principle of development itself, I would draw the attention of hon. members to the complicated political situation which we have
here. In the first place. I want to speak of the group sitting to your right, which represents the Government; and it is sitting there because it happens to be the largest group. It happens to be so for a number of reasons, chief of which is that we have a system of voting which makes it very difficult for us to receive the prope'r expression of the will of the people at the ballot box, and if the figures given by the late Minister of Finance (Sir Henry Drayton) be correct, the Government represents about 41 per cent of the popular vote. But I am not quarrelling with that at all. They are the Government because they happen to have the largest group in this House, and they represent in my opinion-the statement of the hon. Minister of Justice (Sir Lomer Gouin) notwithstanding-the financial interests of this country primarily, but having, naturally, the desire that all the rest of us have to do the very best they can by the rank and file of the people as well. Of course, they have vociferated loudly against that charge, and some of them have actually risen to the point of oratory and punctuated their sentences with that much abused word, democracy, and told us that they seek to represent everybody. Well, democracy, no matter whether the term be used by hon. gentlemen on your right, Sir, or by those on your left, in popular parlance simply means an attenuated diaphanous nothing. As a matter of fact, the Government must take to itself the stigma which the hon. leader of the Opposition has placed upon them of being the representatives of the big interests. Then we look to the group which forms the so-called official Opposition, and I think we may say that they also when in power represent the big interests. They are what we might call to-day the politically unemployed, and are waiting their opportunity to serve the same interests, primarily that the present Government will serve. The third group is composed of representatives of the organized farmers. The fourth group-well, I must not forget the Independents, because I believe an hon. member stated that he was an Independent, that there were some others whom he described as half-independents, and still others who were near-independents. So, presumably, we have there also the nucleus of a group.
But that brings me to the consideration of the group for which I have the honour to speak this afternoon-the Labour group. We are very small, and for several reasons.
We are small because the great body of Labour has not yet been swung into political action; we are small also because the system of voting by means of which the present government holds power with 41 per cent of the total votes polled has prevented us through its gerrymandering from receiving the Labour vote that has been cast; then, again, we are small because of the way we are accustomed to measure things by so many tons avoirdupois, so much displacement, or by so many heads. If we are to measure that way we shall not make much of an impression on this House. However, I wish to state that the hon. member for Centre Winnipeg (Mr. Woodsworth) is the leader of the Labour group-and I am the group. But even if we are small, I should like to say, without any presumption whatsoever, that a small living seed, however small it may be, is greater than a dead trunk, however bulky it may be.
But the point to be made in this analysis is that each group represents a definite economic interest, and it is really futile to vociferate to the contrary. Each group has the right to be here and to make a contribution to the government of this country, and I am speaking in favour of the idea of so modifying our parliamentary system as to permit each group to make that contribution in a manner that will be satisfactory to itself and serviceable to Canada. The complex nature of this House is, as I have just intimated, evidence of the political betterment which corresponds to the nature of the economic structure of the state. Moreover, it is merely a replica of that which we find throughout the provinces. We find four or five groups in every provincial legislature; we observe the same tendency in Great Britain; we find some six groups in the parliament of South Africa; we find numerous groups in the parliaments throughout the various countries of Europe, each one reflecting that industrial development which has taken place during the last century.
These new factors mean a progressive readjustment of our political institutions in harmony with the economic life of the state. They must also be in harmony with the law of life generally; and that law, as stated by another authority, is that the internal must change to correspond with external changes. If that correspondence be not met, then there cannot be the fullest life. Therefore if this Parliament is to function in the highest interests of our people, it must find some way of modifying itself to correspond with the changes which
I have referred to as having taken place in the constituencies outside. Our parliamentary system prohibits us from taking, as groups, any real active part in the government. We have a parliamentary system which presupposes only two parties. In other words, our system puts us in the position of a farmer who .has equipment for a two-horse team; by and by he gets another team and he has four horses, just as we have four groups; but not having the equipment for those extra horses they just stand in their stalls and eat oats -they do not do anything. That is the position in this House to-day. We have four groups, but we are working under a two-party system, with the result that the other two groups have little opportunity of making that contribution to the government of the country of which they are capable.
I would like to draw attention to this also: strangely enough, the 117 members who sit at the right of Mr. Speaker have generously undertaken to assume all the responsibility for the government of all the people of Canada, permitting the 117 who sit to the left of Mr. Speaker to go scot free, without any responsibility, without any regard to policy, and to become carping critics. Indeed, in some instances the 117 to the left of Mr. Speaker will do their best to hinder the other 117 from doing their work. That is the situation as I see it.
With regard to the selection of the Cabinet; with regard to the administration of the civil service and all appointments pertaining thereto; with regard to legislation itself, the Government has picked the pack and left the House to play With the rags. We may not enjoy playing with the rags, but it is all we have to play with at the moment. The procedure, then, would seem to drive representatives of Labour or members of the Progressive party either into the camp of the Opposition or into the camp of the Government. Jn other words, there is a refusal to recognize that there should be a place for such a person as a Progressive or such a person as a Labour man. As has been .stated by the hon. leader of the Progressives (Mr. Crerar) and also by the feader of the Labour group (Mr. Woods-worth), we are here to co-operate; that is the principle upon which we wish to work. But co-operation is not a give-away game; there must be some reasonable basis for cooperation, and it is in the hope that some such reasonable basis will be laid that I am dealing with this subject. for instance,
an issue develops here; something is advocated by the Government which Progressives or Labour men cannot support, and we have to choose between the defeat of the administration and the principle involved in the issue. Now, I as a Labour representative, have no interest in bringing about the defeat of the Government. I do not want to see this Government defeated; on the contrary, I -want to see it hold on and do good work for the people of Canada.
I have at least some confidence in it; I believe it is sincere1 and that It is going to try to do some good work. But when an issue develops in respect of which we differ from the Government in principle, we shall be forced to follow the principle involved in the issue; and then, as I understand the ordinary parliamentary practice, if the measure involving the Government policy is defeated by a vote of this House, the Government is bound to resign. To my mind, that is not a sound practice as things are to-day, and it should not be continued. I would like to see not only the Labour and the Progressive representatives .but also hon. members on the Government side quite free to vote upon any issue according to its merits and without any thought of saving the Government.
So far as the hon. Prime Minister has taken cognizance of the political developments to which I have referred, he has used it as a basis to re-establish the party system on psychological grounds. In his able article which appeared in Maclean's Magazine just before the beginning of the campaign he sets forth the philosophy of partyism on psychological grounds. Summarizing his theory with regard to the matter, I would say it is this: that we are born Grits or Tories, it is a matter of fixedness of mind, and these peculiar manifestations which take the form of Progressive, Labour and Independent are the result only of conditions brought about through the psychology of the war. These, he says, will pass away and we shall settle back to the two types of mind,-Grit and Tory. Well, if that is true, then we have removed the political struggle of the centuries from the field of economics, from the field of politics, even from the field of psychology, and have brought it into the field where it is nothing more than a contest in .fecundity. That is, if you are ever going to defeat the Liberal Government, more little Tories will have to be developed. That is the argument he has put forward. But as a matter of fact, the party system does not rest upon psychological grounds, although psy-
, chology is always involved. If you go back to the history of the parties you will find that their origin rested upon a very definite economic basis. If you go back about two hundred years you will come to the beginning of this "grand old party" system of which we hear so much boasting and of whose glorious traditions we are frequently reminded. And what were those beginnings? At the beginning of the industrial period a few old feudal lords who were able to survive the catastrophe of the passing away of feudalism, wishing to retain at least some of the power which they had enjoyed, organized a party called the Tory party. The word "Tory" meant in those days "bog-trotter". Then, at the dawn of the industrial period, certain others challenged the right of these Tories to have all the political power, and their party was called "Whig"-a Scotch word, which by the way, means "soor dook"- sour milk, if you please. Both these parties did excellent work; through many centuries they struggled with a great deal of sincerity. They made a splendid contribution to democratic government; they have been largely responsible for arousing in the people of this age a deeper desire for that greater democracy which is reflected in the principles of the Progressive and Labour groups in this House. But we must not stop there. There were only two parties at that time because there were only two conscious economic classes. But if there had been six economic classes two hundred years ago, would our ancient forefathers have had a two-party system of Government?
I hardly think so; I think they would h_ve established a six-party system of government. So to-day we have this complicated political system reflecting industrial development, and we are called upon to do for the twentieth century what our forefathers did for the centuries that have preceded us,-[DOT] to modify the system of government in such a way as to make it practicable for Labour groups and Farmer groups to co-operate with any other kind of group in the best interests of this country. That is the plea I am trying to make; and in that connection I suggest-for it can only be a suggestion, of course,-that the Government move in that direction by not considering the defeat of a Government issue the defeat of the Government. That is not asking for very much,-and by the way, it might come in very handy sometimes for the Government, because it is not very strongly established as party governments go. We have just had, in the resignation of the Manitoba lMr. Irvine.]
government, an instance of the operation of this objectionable principle. There, a Liberal government was in power, although it was in the minority. If such an arrangement as I suggest had been effected there, they might not have been voted out of office; but situated as they were they could not adopt any courageous policy; they had to move along very cautiously, and, as a matter of fact, did not do very much of anything. Remove that condition of defeat when a government measure is voted down, and hon. members will be free to deal with the various issues coming before them according to their merits. It might also help to do away to some extent with what is called the "official" Opposition. The "official" Opposition is rather a strange thing to those of us who have been witnessing it in operation for the first time. Of course there is a psychological justification for opposition. It is admitted that what we call "opposition" is a factor in progress. But such opposition, if real, is always based upon a fundamental difference in principle. Viewed in this light, opposition is inevitable as long as the human mind is limited and has to deal with infinite problems. But I know of no place either in the world of matter or in the biological world where opposition exists for its own sake, except in parliament, and there we do find it established seemingly for its own sake. We do not need to cultivate that opposition which is justified by progress. That is a spontaneous thing; it springs from the very nature of the issue itself. Moreover it is constructive, because its ultimate aim is the discovery of the truth. But the opposition as we know it to-day is more or less of a crude burlesque of that psychological opposition which we find inseparable from a consideration by finite minds of infinite problems* and the Oppositions of parliament have one by one degenerated into a cantankerous negation more intent on casting slurs on the administration than upon cultivating a positive body of opinion. They are more anxious usually to gain power by sophistry, innuendoes and destructive criticism than by demonstrating their ability to have power by their wisdom. They seek power more through the weakness of the government than through their own strength. And, remember, I am not referring to the present Opposition in that regard. The present leader of the Opposition (Mr. Meighen) was Prime Minister of this country not so very long ago, and the present Government was then the Opposition, and it must be
said that the leader of the Opposition had, when Prime Minister, perhaps the heaviest task that has ever fallen upon the shoulders of a Canadian statesman. What did we find at the time? The artificial political alignment that supported him collapsed, industry stopped to breathe after its great war effort. Thousands of returned men were coming home to civil life, themselves a problem, and constituting another problem by intensifying the struggle in the industrial field. The state had been bled white financially, and, worst of all, the enthusiasm of the people was dead; but notwithstanding all these difficult conditions he had to face, the Prime Minister of that day had to contend with a carping, critical Opposition that passed no opportunity whatsoever to use any idea that could be used either by innuendo or otherwise for political purposes. I am not criticising that Opposition for being in opposition; that is the nature of this thing we call opposition; both they and the Government were doing excellently well what they were supposed to do. But I am speaking against the thing itself. I am not referring' to any personal action. Personality has little to do with the governmental structure other than as it governs the. responsibility of individuals to conditions which they cannot control unless the source from which they spring is altered.
We have had some very brilliant passages-at-arms in this debate between the leader of the Opposition and the leader of the Government, but as I have already indicated, (that amounts to little. The
people of this country are not interested in that kind of thing. We are not interested as to whether the leader of the Opposition has discovered that the Prime Minister is saying something in this House different from what he said during the campaign;- if he is, that is a matter for congratulation. Nor, on the other hand, are we at all worried if the Prime Minister has discovered that the leader of the Opposition has changed his mind since the Speech from the Throne several years ago; for that, too, would be a matter for great congratulation. So what seem to them matters of serious crime are matters of great congratulation for the people generally. Moreover, I have noticed that the Government insists upon rubbing it in that the leader of the Opposition is a bad loser. Well, there is another virtue, and that is not to talk too loudly about a little victory you may have secured, and I think that might fit the Government about as well
as the charge which they make against the leader of the Opposition. But, after all, these things do not really matter. I think it was Bentham who wrote in the eigtheenth century, "A man of talents should use them for his country in every way in which he can be serviceable." I therefore would suggest that the undoubted talent which the leader of the Opposition and the Prime Minister of this country possess should be used by them in a patriotic sense, that is, on the great questions that are confronting the Canadian people at this time. I would like to see their keen intellectual powers of analysis centered upon such questions as the national debt, our paralyzed industrial life, unemployment, and the co-operative social order that is dawning.
Before passing from this subject, I want to say that I believe that any Opposition as we have it to-day is a very dangerous thing, because it seeks to undermine the confidence of the people in all forms of government whatsoever. We have had some manifestations of that desire in the past few years both in Canada and Great Britain. There have been people who said "We do not believe in any kind of government". Why did they say that? Surely, if all that is said by oppositions of governments, and all the charges made by governments against oppositions are to be believed, it is no wonder that the rank and file of the common people should have a very low concept of government. So, I want to say that in my opinion the opposition tactics in our party system are doing more to undermine the respect and confidence of the people in any kind of government than any other institution in the Dominion of Canada.
Belloc in his "House of Commons and Monarch" tells us that the House of Commons is an aristocratic institution, but that aristocracy has ceased to be aristocratic and the people have lost their awe and worship of the aristocracy, which really constitutes the basis of the system. This Parliament might be described as in some sense an oligarchy with a democratic visiting card which it presents once in every four years, but even if we dignify it by the name of a democracy, we might take a good hint from Belloc and realize that if we continue to use this kind of tactics we shall disgust the people even with democracy, and they will not want to continue an institution of this kind. Moreover, we find that the spirit which is generated by the antagonism of party-
ism is not the best kind of spirit. The Minister of Justice (Sir Lomer Gouin), towards the close of his address the other day, made a plea for co-operation or unity. While I noticed that the hon. gentleman took shelter behind the old feud between the provinces in answering the charges of the Opposition, nevertheless, I think the plea which he made was very timely.
I want to make a plea for co-operation. Let us get over this cantankerous negation of oppositions, and let us make it possible for every one to make a contribution and assume some responsibility for the deliberations of this Parliament. I believe that co-operation can be worked in parliament just as it is working in the great industrial system. I believe in cooperation in government, because it is already working unconsciously in the industrial field. I believe in co-operation in government because the fact of interdependence between the industrial life of the nation and international life is one of the most significant facts of modern history. We have been forced to co-operate through the industrial process of our time, and we are also being forced to co-operate in government by the political necessities of our time.
I want to speak now of the next question, which is that of the food, clothing and shelter of our people. We have already produced twice as much as we are permitted to consume. You will remember the problem as it was stated so admirably and so graphically by the hon. member for Centre Winnipeg (Mr. Woodsworth). He gave us something of the extent as well as of the intensity of this problem of unemployment, and he advanced, among other things, the consideration that organized labour throughout Canada has endorsed, some scheme of unemployment insurance chargeable to the industries of the country. We emphasize that because it is a necessity at this time. We do not recognize that it embodies an ultimate solution of the problem. But inasmuch as the governments-Dominion and provincial, as well as municipal-are to-day handing out for no service, doles which corrupt those who give and corrupt those who receive, it might be as well if some insurance scheme were developed which would place upon the shoulders of the Government the responsibility of finding work for those people who to-day are receiving doles for doing no work. I will not, however, traverse the ground which my hon. friend covered; I will take
up this problem from a slightly different angle. I would like to say that I was very much disappointed with the statement in the Speech from the Throne that this Government considers it to be the duty of the municipal and provincial governments to look after the unemployed. I want to say in that connection that a mere statement in the Speech from the Throne is not sufficient to throw off the shoulders of the federal government the responsibility for unemployment which grows out of the industrial system of this country. The unemployment situation is but the fruit of a tree, the roots of which reach to the very subsoil of our national economic system. Unemployment is a permanent thing as long as the present system exists. In this connection I wish to quote very briefly from one who ought to know what he is talking about in this regard; I am going to quote an excerpt from the report of a commission of the Ontario Government of which Sir John Willison happened to be the chairman:
The result of their enquiries has impressed on your Commissioners most forcibly the fact that the depression, which occurred in 1914 and 1915, was but a phase of the movement alternating' between inflation and depression, which is a characteristic feature of modern industry. A false sense of security should not blind the business world, in times of thriving trade, to the fact that wide-spread unemployment is likely to recur in future.
Seemingly, this is a recurring defect in our system, and we have to find out where that defect resides. What is the situation to-day? Let us confine our inquiry for the moment to Canada. There is somewhere a chronic defect in the industrial machinery. We find on the one hand that great industrial enterprises are on the very borders of collapse; we find that industrial strife is rampant; we find that unemployment is extensive and exists throughout the Dominion. Employer and employee, producer and consumer, alike are dependent on the industrial machine provided for the individuals of the nation by
4 p.m. producing goods as, when and where required. This is, of course, the accepted purpose of industries, namely, to produce goods that will meet the needs of humanity. But production for money has in some ways superseded the production for the supplying of human need. In this substitution of a secondary aim, we find the cause of our industrial chaos.
Now, let us look more definitely at this problem. Will anyone say, will any hon.
member of this House say, that our factories are idle in Canada to-day because there is no demand for our goods? Will anyone say that our factories are idle because we have not sufficient raw material or sufficient plant to produce goods? Will anyone say that our factories are idle because we have not got the men to put in them to produce goods? In so far as demand goes-and I think you will agree with me that demand is one of the first necessities to any industrial enterprise-I question whether it was ever greater in the history of Canada than it is at the present time. The population as a whole would seem to be desirous not only of maintaining its present standard of living, but of raising it wherever possible. For the desires of Labour men have long since passed the mere asking for a greater wage; they are asking to-day for a fuller life, for the means of education, for the development of every potentiality which they possess. Not only so, but it is safe to say that there is an actual demand, through under-consumption in our home market to-day, for about twice as much as we are now consuming. The housing condition is a case in point. It has been estimated by a joint conference of the building and construction industries of Canada which was held, I think, in Ottawa, in May, 1921, that we need 158,000 new houses. Now, that was some time ago. Just take into consideration the increased need through marriages and immigration, and I do not think it is overstating the facts to say that to-day we need at least 200,000 new houses in Canada. With a need such as that, with the necessity for 200,000 new houses, we have 200,000 men walking the streets of our cities without work. On the other hand we have unlimited supplies of natural resources and sufficient plant to convert these natural resources into commodities necessary for the building of these houses. Yet the factories are idle, men are idle, and we have not got the houses. Clearly, then, the paralysis of industry in Canada is not due to lack of demand; it is not due to a lack of natural resources; it is not due to a lack of plant; it is not due to a lack of people to operate these plants; but it seems to be due to a lack of finance, to a lack of financial credit if you wish. If that is not what it lacks I would like the members of this House, and particularly the Government, to take this question up and tell us what is lacking. Surely it is time that somebody discovered what is lacking. At the very
least, we cannot afford to pass the problem by without studying it. It is here for us to solve, it is pressing, it is important; and so if what I have stated is not what is lacking it might be well if someone would come and tell us what is lacking.
The former Minister of Finance (Sir Henry Drayton) spoke to us several hours but failed to touch on this question.
I. was in hopes that he would give us his views upon such a thing as the gold standard and the futility of trying to restore it; I am still in hopes that the present Finance Minister (Mr. Fielding) will give us that information, that we may know whether it is worth while chasing that ancient rainbow, trying to catch up with the credit system which seems to recede from us two steps for every one we are able to move towards it; and that we may try tc find out whether there is anything wrong with the system of credit. In this connection I would like to quote to you very briefly from the statements of some men who presumably would know something about the unemployment phase of industrialism in its relation to the credit system. The Premier of Great Britain has declared that "Credit is the oxygen of trade." Professor Gustav Cassels, the eminent Swedish political economist, has denounced the deflation system, the withholding of credit facilities from trade and industry, and says:
This policy is responsible in great measure for unemployment and world trade stagnation.
Sir Peter Rylands, President of the Federation of British Industries, declares:
Another direction in which some relief might be found would be provided by an increase in the purchasing power of the community.
Sir William Beveridge, Director of the London School of Economics has asserted that
-the ultimate cause of unemployment lay in the credit system.
Sir Auckland Geddes, speaking before the Canadian Bar Association told a story of a Scottish friend of his who had ventured into this field of inquiry, and who, after very extensive study, came to a conclusion, which he gives in the following words:
I believe we'd be rid o' a' this trouble if people would only realise that money is a meta-phee-sical obstruction, and not a reality.
But if, as these men of great standing say, credit is the breath of life to industry, if it has the power to bring world organizations and industry to stagnation, if it has the power to throw hundreds of thous-
ands out of employment, then even though it be a metaphysical obstruction, or even though it be a mere accounting system upon the books of the world, it is a question of sufficient importance to engage the attention of this House, and to call forth, for the information, not only of this House, but of the people of Canada, all that financial experts in our midst may have; first-hand information, given to us in such a way that it may be understood.
The present industrial plight, as we have seen, is not caused by a lack of demand; it is not caused by lack of raw materials, or plant, or equipment, or people to work. What then is the cause? I assert that it is the credit system. The present credit system has failed, seemingly, in its proper function, which is to link together, in some way, the needs of the people with the productive powers of the people, and the credit system lies, too, at the very base of our industrial pyramid. But there is some element of profundity that surrounds the study of credit. We are shoo-ed away from any attempt to find out anything about the banking system, and it is assumed that the ordinary layman should never dare to attempt to sound the unfathomable depths of this wonderful system of finance. As a matter of fact that may be very true, but we find that people, nevertheless, are beginning to challenge it. There is, of course, great difficulty in finding the proper information. Credit, being of a basic character, its nature is not easy to discover. Moreover, it involves a great deal of technical study which the common citizen wishes to dodge if he possibly can. Nevertheless, the credit system has received a challenge. Organizations throughout Canada are studying it now to the best of their ability. I have in my hand a resolution which I desire to read to the House, merely for the purpose of sustaining this point, that credit has received this challenge, that great organizations today are making it a subject of study, and that, in spite of the quietness and oblivion into which it has been thrown, they are going to find out about this thing. " This is a resolution passed at the annual convention of the United Farmers of Alberta, and although it is, perhaps, a little more lengthy than the other quotations which I have given, I will read it simply to show hon. members that these people are thinking about this system. I am not saying that they have the right idea in this reso-
lution; I simply say that they are on the trail of the idea, and that some day they will find it:
Resolved that the United Farmers of Alberta request their elected representatives at Ottawa to present a bill to the House of Commons for enactment having for its object the establishment of a loan department along the following lines:
1. That the Treasury Board shall issue on the terms and for the purpose herein mentioned, full legal tender notes from time to time to meet the business requirements of the country;
2. That all such notes shall be legal tender for all and payable for all debts, public and private, and shall be a first lien upon all the assets and services of the people of the Dominion for their redemption, and all Dominion currency now issued shall be made full legal tender;
You see, it is technical.
3. That this money be loaned direct to the people at cost, on the following securities: Federal Bonds, Provincial Bonds, Urban and Rural Municipal Bonds, on improved, inhabited and used farms, the amount so loaned not to exceed a fixed margin of safety. The range of securities upon which loans are made to be gradually extended from time to time by statutory amendment as experience and development of the system shall warrant:
4. That upon the payment to the department of any loan, the amount of money so received shall be held in the department and either cancelled or used in making new loans to meet the requirements of the country. Preference in these loans to be given to those parts where interest rates are the highest.
5. That the earnings from the Loan Department from all sources after paying the conservative and legitimate expenses of the department and its branches, if such exist, shall be applied to the payment of the general expenses of the Government, thus reducing taxation upon the people.
You see, the question is up; it is the coming question; people everywhere are studying it, and we have demands for things such as national banks. Some people seek to repudiate the gold standard and to substitute for it hours of labour. We have again such means of exchange suggested as "time energy." There are a number of other suggestions, and I am ffoing, just for a few minutes, to introduce into the House the principles of another system. I am not declaring this system is any better than the others; I am going to present its principles, simply in order that I may be permitted to make a certain request to this House with regard to proposals which I shall hereafter set forth.
Money has at least two functions,-[DOT] although those of us who are expert financiers may find other functions for it. It is a medium of exchange and it has also a power to represent demand. This second power seems to be the greater or more
important of the two; and though there should be a definite relation between money and ability of production to fulfil demand, we find that no such relationship exists. We have criticisms levelled against it, not only because of the cost to the people, not only because of the manner of its issue, but because of the way in which it is controlled. The whole price of an article must cover wages, salaries and other dividends. Therefore, it cannot be expected that the wages of an individual can buy back what he produces, inasmuch as the price of the thing that he produces, includes his own wages, overhead expenses, cost of raw materials, and the dividends and profits of the operators. If your wages happen to be fifty per cent of the price of the article, you can obviously buy only fifty per cent of what you produce. Incidentally, that is exactly what we are doing in Canada. According to the figures of the Dominion Statistician, we are producing twice as much as we are permitted to consume. The demand is still great; but with the wages paid to us, we cannot buy back enough of what we have produced to meet our needs. The present system of credit is not, according to some people, the best thing for industry. The home market is, of course, determined by the amount of goods that the wages that are paid to the people at home can buy. If we can buy only fifty per cent of what we produce, our market is limited by fifty per cent. Consequently, we find our Government looking out for foreign markets, and this was stated in the Speech from the Throne. Where are we going to find them? Foreign markets do not come to us like driftwood, and are not picked up on the seaboard, foreign markets can be created only when we are able to increase the purchasing power of the people who live where those foreign markets are; because it is only by increasing the purchasing power of the people that you can enable them to buy from you. How does the Government propose to increase the purchasing power of the people of South Africa, of Europe, of China or of South America? I think it is more reasonable for us to hope that we might increase the purchasing power of the people of Canada. If we could enable the people of Canada to buy twice as much as they are now buying,-we should have a very extensive home market. The leader of the Opposition (Mr. Meighen) was right, when during the recent campaign, he emphasized the necessity for developing home markets. Of course,
I part company with him immediately when he says that we are to develop the home market by increasing the tariff. He will develop the home market by increasing the tariff, while, on the other hand, strangely enough, the Government will develop it by the opposite method of decreasing the tariff. Well, we can leave the two parties to fight that question out between themselves. Personally, I do not think it will make any difference to our markets whether we increase or decrease the tariff, because that is not really a fundamental economic question at all. It is, rather a most excellent political football, which has been kicked across the field of public opinion for forty years, with no effect in increasing foreign markets. Neither the Government that advocated an increase of the tariff, nor the Government that urged its decrease, has advanced the markets in this country very materially. So that we may be justified in looking in other directions for a market for the produce of Canadian workmen.
The greatest charge I have to make against the present Government is as regards the issue of credit money. It is not necessary to say that the banks to-day have a monopoly of the issuing of financial credits; and the credit is usually issued in the interests of the shareholders and not for the benefit of the country. It is also issued with an adherence to the gold standard and not on a proper economic basis. The volume of credit is created and issued by the banks irrespective of demand or ability to produce. Thus we in Canada to-day are really at the mercy of Wall Street, whether we realize it or not. We are manipulated by them, from booms to slumps, at their convenience. To remedy this I believe that some new system must be found; or perhaps there should be some reorganization of the old system,-that is for the Government to consider. I believe, that first of all, there must be a regulation of prices upon an economic basis. This would mean that prices would be determined by a correct ratio between total national, production and total national consumption. At present, prices include cost of plant and overhead, materials, dividends, wages, etc. These expenses are charged and are paid always by the consumer,
there is no one else to pay them. Prices therefore could be reduced by the amount of capital expended in production, which expenditure could be made good to the capitalist by an issue of Government treasury notes. Such notes would represent the difference be-
tween the total cost incurred and the total price received. In this way prices would be reduced automatically without a loss to any private enterprise. The recognition of real credit as created by and belonging to the community must underlie any such proposition, and we therefore, of course, look upon credit in this respect as being a correct estimate of the ability to produce and deliver goods as, when, and where required. You will recognize in that statement the famous Douglas definition of credit, a system of credit which is being advocated by some very great authorities in the financial world at the present time. I am not, of course, setting it forth here, as the one inevitable way, but I mention it more in detail than I mention the others because it seems to me to be the most practicable; and I shall possibly look at the question further before I conclude.
There are two factors employed in real credit, namely, needs to be satisfied and ability to produce; and both producers and consumers are necessary in the creation of such credit. On this basis treasury notes could be issued periodically to represent real credit as it expands or contracts. There could not be any inflation such as was experienced during the war that would be checked by the regulation of prices. Such a system might be arranged on the principle of decentralized control. It would not operate properly in a bureaucratic system such as would likely be developed by government ownership. Government ownership is a very difficult thing. It is yet to be tested, and I have not very much faith in it whether in regard to railroads, or banks, or any other institutions. It may be a very good midway between individualistic control and any other form which might be in process of development. Government ownership might not do any more than transfer control from an efficient autocratic corporation to a less efficient and possibly bureaucratic state organization. But, by a proper decentralized system of controlling credit on the basis that credit is created by the community, belongs to the community,' and should be operated by the community, it might be possible for organizations such as Boards of Trade, the Manufacturers' Association, the United Farmers, the organized Labour movement, the Great War Veterans' Association and similar bodies, to handle their own credit. But first we must realize what credit actually means and proceed to establish a system on that basis.
We should also require to have a national clearing house. In other words, a proper democratic system of credit should be organized, a system which would provide the greatest amount of local responsibility and control consistent with that measure of unity necessary to secure efficiency; in other words, a method which would combine the excellencies of individualism and of communism without involving the errors and weaknesses of either.
Let me put this system before the House by means of analogy. We hear much talk to-day of commonwealth; we have substituted the word " commonwealth " for the old term " empire." We are now known as a " commonwealth of free nations." As a matter of fact, however, we have no commonwealths to-day, but if we had a commonwealth there would be, I presume, an annual dividend of surplus national wealth to be divided amongst its citizens. That, of course, would be very Utopian, so Utopian that we can scarcely even mention it. But the Douglas system, to which I have referred, and which I would commend the House to study, would make it practicable to receive our dividend in the commonwealth in the form of reduced prices. One credit system is based on the idea that real credit is created by the community through its producing power and belongs to the community, by whom it should be operated. The other credit system assumes that credit should be created for and by a small group of financiers to be handled on the gold basis of value with a view to the shareholders' profits, and not in the interests of industry. The latter is our present system, and its central error is that it is not concerned with the production of goods but with the production of money. If you make credit facilities more available there follows an immediate inflation, which reduces purchasing power, as happened during the war. Under the system I mention, however, this would be impossible by [DOT] reason of the regulation of prices on the basis of a correct ratio between the consuming power of the people and their producing power. The fixing of prices which we had during the war was not, of course, of the type which I referred to. That was more or less mechanical, and it left too much power-dangerous power-in the hands of a small commission. It was an annoyance both to manufacturers and retailers, and did not contribute a sufficient quota of good to recompense them for all their trouble. But there would be no dan-
ger in any such system if we could find a measure of local control such as I have suggested.
With regard to foreign markets in connection with our credit, inasmuch as we cannot create foreign markets, unless we can increase the purchasing power of the people of the countries with which we wish to trade, we had better turn our attention to our own markets. If we had control of our own financial credit it would be possible for us to do something to exploit these vast natural resources of which we have heard so much on the floor of the House already this Session. Take, for instance, our water powers. If we could develop those powers through a proper credit system and in a social way, it would be of very great benefit to our manufacturing interests. We are told that we must get more manufactories in this country. Very well, the only way, we have been told so far, is to try to reduce the wages of the labouring people in order that there may be cheaper production and a greater ability to compete in the foreign market. But it would be a far better way if we developed our water powers so that our manufacturers could produce so cheaply as to be able to sell their goods in all parts of the world; and the very fact of such cheap production here would attract other manufacturers to this country. That, in my view, is a much better way than that which we are pursuing at the present time.
We must recognize that the competition for trade among the nations of the world arises out of a false credit system which has no regard for the needs of the people or their producing power, but seeks to build up merely a money system, and promotes competition for world trade, which competition is really at the basis of every war, that thing the world is trying to get away from. In this connection I want to quote the words of President Wilson. In a speech at St. Louis in September, 1919, he said:
Peace? Why, my fellow citizens, is there any man here or any woman-let me say, is there any child-who does not know that the seed of war in the modern world is industrial and commercial rivalry? The war was a commercial and Industrial war. It was not a political war. The real reason that the war we have Just finished took place was that Germany was afraid her commercial rivals were going to get the better of her, and the reason why some nations went into the war against Germany was that they thought that Germany would get the commercial advantage of them. The seed of the jealousy, the seed of the deep-seated
hatred, was hot, successful commercial and industrial rivalry.
Sir Auckland Geddes, addressing the Canadian Bar Association in this city last year, said:
I believe rather that the war was a product of existing world unrest than that it is a cause, an effective cause, of the unrest which exists just now; for the war, if you cast back your memories, will appear as the climax of a period in which the relations between the nations were growing more difficult, and you will find also associated with that period of international unrest a period of unrest within the countries.
Inasmuch, then, as we have here not only the cause of unemployment, the cause of the disruption and paralysis of industry in our country, and the cause of international industrial strife leading to the-great wars which we all deplore, I should like to suggest to the Government that a representative committee be appointed, composed of members from the Manufacturers' Association, the Retail Merchants' Association, the Organized Farmers' Association, the Labour forces of this country, and similar organizations, to investigate the present credit system, how it functions, its relation to modern industrialism, and if it is a contributing factor to unemployment. I would further suggest that that committee should also make the closest possible inquiry into all the systems, particularly the Douglas system, proposed in support of a credit system that would be economical, serviceable to democracy, and in the best interests of our industrial life. I believe the Bank Act comes up for revision next session. It would be a very excellent thing for the committee I have suggested to report very fully at that time, for surely whatever is done in amending that act must be done in the light of the fullest and best knowledge, and perhaps on this subject we as individuals are not so fully informed as we ought to be. I should like to see the best experts obtainable engaged to deal with the problems incident to our credit system, so that before the Bank Act is amended we may have the fullest possible information in our possession,-information which will enable us to solve the problem itself and so meet the pressing needs of the people. The Douglas system has been endorsed by such a recognized authority as Arthur Kitson, who was challenged by a committee of business men in Great Britain to produce some solution for the industrial problem in that country. That system has also been included in the Sydney University course in economics. Therefore, it is a system that
cannot be laughed out of court until we have had some chance of disclosing any weak fundamental points in regard to it, if that be possible.
Now, Mr. Speaker, this is a new Parliament, this is a new country, and this is a new age. I have advocated that we must first of all remodel our parliamentary institutions to the extent that there may be possible a basis of co-operation for all these new political factors which are a reflection of the industrial development of our time. That, surely, is not asking too much. Such a remodelling would be a good thing not only for this Government but for all governments. It would infuse some real meaning into our debates and enable us to treat fully on its own merits every issue that may come under discussion. I have also suggested that a committee be appointed to investigate what seems to lie at the very basis of our industrial troubles, namely, the credit system.
I am sure that we may place the most generous interpretation on the promise of the Government that it is going to do its very best to give us good government during' its tenure of office. I am looking to it for a type of statesmanship which will be worthy of the new age ini which we are living, but I am bound to say that in the Speech from the Throne there is no. indication of that breadth of vision or of that courage which the people are looking for at this time. Vision to see the new path leading to a co-operative state, and courage to abandon the old path, are the two indispensable qualities of modern statesmanship. In his book, "Industry and Humanity," which I had the pleasure of reading some years ago, the Prime Minister has dealt to some extent with the problem that I have referred to, namely, the industrial problem, and in that title alone he has got the true relationship of the problem of industry, its relation to humanity. In this new government I hope there will be a decided movement towards the bringing of our industrial life into harmony with the great aim suggested in that book, and that our industry shall be run for humanity, and not for money as is the case to-day.
Might I conclude with a short quotation from the manifesto of the British Labor party, that great Magna Charta of modern times? It reads:
We must insure that what is presently to he built up is a new social order, based not on fighting but on fraternity-not on the competitive struggle for the means of bare life, but on a deliberately planned co-operation in profMr. Irvine.]
duction and distribution for the benefit of all who participate by hand or brain-not on the utmost possible inequality of riches, but on a systematic approach toward a healthy equality of material circumstances for every person born into the world-not on an enforced dominion over subject nations, subject races, subject colonies, subject classes, or a subject sex, but in industry, as well as in government on that equal freedom, that general consciousness of consent, and that widest possible participation in power both economic and political, which is characteristic of Democracy.
^ Mr. J. J. HUGHES (King's, P.E.I.) : Mr. Speaker, I wish to associate myself with the hon. member (Mr. Irvine) in extending my personal sympathy, and, so far as I may, the sympathy of this House, to the hon. leader of the Government (Mr. Mackenzie King) in the bereavement that has come to him in the death of his brother.
The debate on the Address in reply to the Speech from the Throne, particularly in a new parliament, is or ought to be a fair reflection of opinion throughout the country on the public questions of the day, and should, therefore, be helpful to the Government as regards both legislation and administration. I have given some attention to the discussion that has taken place so far, especially to the speeches which have been made by members of the group known as the Progressive party. In my judgment, the discussion has been creditable to these representatives: they seem to me to be sane, intelligent, practical men. No country has much to fear from men whose interests and investments are rooted in the soil. No country has much fear from men who own their own farms and till them. Hon. members of the Progressive party naturally look upon things from a western viewpoint, and we in the East perhaps, look upon things from an eastern viewpoint. But when we come together to discuss these matters freely and frankly, we shall, no doubt, arrive at satisfactory solutions of the problems which confront us.
Members of the Progressive party are sometimes accused of wishing to bring class legislation into operation. ' There may be something in that, but is class legislation an unknown thing in Canada? In my judgment, Sir, we have had class legislation in this country for forty years, and it has been advocated by very intelligent men. We had an exemplification some
years ago of class domination, when the great trade arrangement of 1911 was made between this country and the United States. Undoubtedly the reciprocity agreement was in the interests of the farmers, the fishermen, the lumbermen, of this country; particularly was it in the interests
of the farmers. It was a trade arrangement which both political parties had expressed themselves in favour of and which nearly every public man-and private man, too-had endorsed. It was a better trade arrangement than we ever thought we could obtain. Yet certain class interests- largely in Ontario, though in some of the other provinces as well-selfishly, I think, and unfortunately, turned down that trade arrangement. If it had not been for the action of these classes at that time, possibly we would not have a Parmer's party in Canada to-day.
We have heard a good deal of discussion with regard to that paragraph in the Speech from the Throne relating to immigration. Several of the hon. members who have taken part in this discussion seem to approve of the idea that immigration of the right kind would be a great advantage. Prominent men outside of the House have also given expression to that view, notably the president of the Canadian Pacific Railway Company. The idea seems to be that it would be a very desirable thing for Canada if we could get men from Europe or from the United States to come here, take up land and increase our farming population. That would be immigration of the right kind, it is argnied; and immigration of the wrong kind would be the incoming of mechanics, men accustomed to industrial pursuits, who would locate in our cities; and it would be the wrong kind of immigration because there is unemployment; there is not enough work for the men that we have. But is there no unemployment on the farms? Are farmers making money? Are they even making ends meet, either in the East or in the West? I think not. I know the conditions in the province from which I come; its people are almost entirely engaged in farming and fishing, and I endorse the statement that was made by an hon. gentleman on the other side a few evenings ago: that the farmers of this country are living on their capital and hoping that times will improve. Under these conditions, therefore, would it be desirable to bring into this country immigrants of the farmer class? I do not know, but it is a question that is open for consideration. If the output of our farms were increased by one-third or one-half, where would we find a market for our products? We might, perhaps, market more wheat than we are producing, but I do know that in respect of some agricultural products we cannot find a market now at any price. I speak particularly for the province from which I
come. The climate and soil of Prince Edward Island are admirably adapted to the growing of potatoes. Last year we had no market whatever for our potatoes, we could not get five cents a bushel for them; the farmers had to haul them out and dump them in the fields. This year conditions are nearly as bad. I understand that in Western Canada some of the farmers did not thresh their oats last season because the price obtainable would not pay for the threshing and hauling to the railway station. Therefore is there room under present conditions for more farmers in Canada? Would it not be better if we tried to improve the conditions so that those already on the land would remain there and not flock to the cities as they are doing at the present time? The province from which I come is losing its population steadily, year by year, and decade by decade, and what the end will be is hard to say.
I heard the hon. member for Yale (Mr. MacKelvie), who is an apple grower, state in the House a few evenings ago that he was a strong protectionist, because the protection that he and his fellow-orchard-ists got on their apples enabled them to charge the men on the plains more than they could otherwise obtain. That is good sound protectionist doctrine; but is it fair to the other fellows? We in Prince Edward Island do not want any privileges in the sale of our potatoes. Indeed, we are anxious to meet the competition of the world, and if we had the privilege of sending our potatoes into the New England states free of duty we would consider ourselves a happy people. Our soil and climate are admirably adapted to the growing of potatoes, and we think we are just as capable, granted a fair field and no favour of raising what our climate and soil are adapted to as any other people in the world. We fear no competition. Now, why did my hon. friend from Yale and his fellow-orchardists need protection? Why were they not able to grow apples in competition with the states to the south? As I understand it, the soil of British Columbia is fertile, and the climate favourable for the growing of apples. The land is much cheaper than it is in the states immediately to the south, in Washington and Oregon, for instance, and I suppose my hon. friend would not deny that the people of British Columbia are the equal in intelligence and industry of their neighbours to the south. Then, why cannot they produce apples just as cheaply? There must be something wrong with Canadians if
they cannot meet fair and reasonable competition.
There is a reference in the Speech from the Throne to the extension of markets. I shall have to be a little local in some of my remarks on that subject in order to be practical. I want to bring to the attention of the Minister of Finance (Mr. Field' ing) the fact that the markets we had a few years ago in the province of Prince Edward Island have been almost ruined under the late administration, partly through the legislation that was passed, but more particularly through the administration of the regulations enforced under ( that legislation. We had a trade in dressed meat with the islands of St. Pierre and Miquelon. We had also a trade in live cattle with these islands, and also with Newfoundland, until a regulation was put in force by one of the departments, under legislation, I suppose, preventing us from shipping outside of Canada any dressed meat of any kind unless it had been inspected by government inspectors. For a year or two after those regulations were put in force the Government had inspectors in some places, but lately that was done away with, and now we cannot get any inspection at all and the trade is being killed. It was quite customary for the people living in Newfoundland, where they do not raise agricultural products sufficient for their own use, to send their vessels to Prince Edward Island in the autumn and spring of the year, but particularly the autumn, to bring back agricultural products such as potatoes, turnips, oats and hay. They would also take back a few carcasses of dressed pork, a few of dressed beef, and perhaps a few of mutton. That was a trade that we carried on for years to the mutual advantage of both peoples. Nobody was injured by it; nobody was poisoned when we had no inspection. But when these regulations were put in force we could not carry on that trade. These vessels would come to the outlying ports and when there was no inspection the animals could be killed on the day the vessel sailed, or the day before, and with a fair wind the vessels would be back in their home ports in two or three days and the meat would arrive in good condition. But when the regulations were put in force the animals had to be inspected at Charlottetown, which was distant some fifty or sixty or seventy miles in some cases. That meant that the animals had to be killed several days before the vessel
was ready to sail. There was also the additional expense of the freight to Charlottetown and back and the cost of inspection. You did not know what day the vessel was going to sail, as they would wait for a fair wind, and that increased the difficulties of carrying on this trade to such an extent that we are not carrying it on now.
.Another business that we had which was very profitable to us was the canning of poultry. We have canning establishments on the island, and we raised large quantities of poultry and eggs, and disposed of a large quantity every year. Formerly, we could can the poultry and ship it to the United States, Newfoundland and other countries, but that trade has been stopped because everything has now to be inspected. We have now to send our poultry to the United States, to Boston, in carload lots, pay the duty, and get what we can for it, and they are carrying on there the canning business that we should be doing. We are a bureaucrat-ridden people. There are apparently men in the offices in Ottawa who think they know more about trade conditions than the men who are actually engaged in- the business, and they put all kinds of foolish regulations into effect without considering the local conditions. I suppose that something may be said for these regulations in large centres such as Montreal, Toronto, and Hamilton, where inspection of the larger slaughter houses can be easily carried on, but the trouble is that the men in the departments at Ottawa do not appear to take local conditions into account at all, and apply the regulations in a cast-iron way. I bring these things to the attention of the Government in the hope that better regulations will be devised.
These are the things that make life on the [DOT] farm hard. There are other grievances. The manner in which the Income Tax Act is at present administered, as respects the farmers in some of the provinces, is almost intolerable. It is foolish; I think it is worse in our province than in any other part of Canada. Circular letters are sent out to the farmers from the Taxation office asking them to make a return respecting everything that is raised on the farm; they have to make a report on the quantity of butter, eggs, milk, cheese-everything they consume in their own families. Now farmers do not weigh their products or keep such accounts as will enable them to furnish the desired information. . With our retail merchants trade is largely a mat-
ter of barter; and yet each merchant is required to keep an account of the name of every farmer, or every person, from whom he buys agricultural products, such as butter, cheese, eg'gs, pork, hay, oats, potatoes;1 and he must also furnish the post office address of the seller, state whether married or single, and give the price paid- details such as no ordinary retail merchant keeps. Yet he is threatened with all kinds of pains and penalties if he does not comply with the regulations and send in a report containing the desired information. What is the result? The country merchants, through a dread of being fined, make out bogus reports-they cannot do otherwise. It is alleged that these reports are desired for the purpose of checking up the transactions of the farmers, to see if they are making proper returns and whether or not they are liable for income tax. Some merchants havte refused to make such reports and in consequence have been threatened with dire penalties. A number of farmers have also refused to do as requested; the reports demanded are so complex in character that it would really require a fairly proficient accountant to draw them up in such a way as to satisfy the taxation officer. I am convinced, Sir, that fifty per cent, of the additional taxes raised in this way would not be sufficient to pay the salaries of the men and women engaged in this inquisitorial work. It is, in my opinion, the most expensive method of raising revenue that could be devised.
Seeing that I have condemned the present method, it is only fair that I should be asked to suggest a better plan than now exists. I will do so willingly; I suggest to the Finance Minister that he increase the Sales Tax.