I did not know the hon. member was Solicitor General for Nova Scotia. In parts of the Maritime provinces to-day there is tremendous unrest, and in the West many are asking the question: "What good is Confederation to us?" I want to warn the government now that this feeling will not down until we have the complete elimination of class legislation and class privilege.
Will the hon. member explain, when he says there is a combine in the fruit industry of British Columbia, how it is, when we are selling fruit for 75 cents a box, the Grain Growers at Battleford are charging 60 cents a box for handling the apples?
That statement has occasioned considerable laughter, but he laughs best who laughs last. I have for many years been connected with the particular concern he has accused of profiteering. I have been connected for years with an association which has handled British Columbia apples. We have handled all the way.from three to seven hundred cars of apples in one season, and never once did we charge 60 cents a box, or the half of it, for handling apples.
I have said that this feeling of bitterness will not down until the complete elimination of class legislation and class privilege is accomplished. How far the advocates of trade penalties in this House will deem it safe to obey the dictates of skilfully organized self-seeking minorities is for them to determine. I can only hope that the present class legislation will not be carried on to such an extent that it will further endanger the unity of this country, separating, as it does, different classes and different geographical areas and vocations. Certain parts of the Dominion are better adapted than others for particular products. These different areas are actually separated, one from the other, by a system of class privilege, which has prevented the people from thinking along national lines. They say Canada is a hard country to govern. It is only hard in proportion as class legislation has made a cleavage between the different areas. Perhaps one of the finest acts of statesmanship in Europe in the nineteenth century was the unity of Italy. This was brought about by placing all parts, north and south, and all classes, on an equal basis. I say, Mr. Speaker, that it will be an act worthy of the greatest statesman to so place this country on an equitable basis for all. We are inevitably driven to a decision of this kind. We must arrange some sort of an agreement for the different classes in the different geographical areas, if we are going to live together in this Dominion. An economic system must be found on which freedom can be built.
The Speech from the Throne mentions the lifting of the British embargo on our cattle. This is one place surely where our government will take a broad view of things, and, with the Government Merchant Marine, create some competition for our steamship lines operating on the Atlantic; so that the lifting of the embargo may be of some use to us. It still costs over $51 to land an animal from Saskatoon in Liverpool. I think it must be plain to all that as things stand the removal of the embargo to-day is of very little use to us. It is surely reasonable to expect that, with the greatest railroad system in the world, and a Merchant Marine in connection with it, freight and transportation rates will be such as will allow the commerce of the country to move freely over these lines, whether it be the potatoes of New Brunswick or the grain of the West. The needs of the producer surely should be considered first. If
agriculture is choked to death-and it is already gasping-what will our railroads and steamships do for an income? In fact it will take many years to again reach the point we had once attained in agriculture and in the production of all things, particularly live stock. However much our highly protected industrial magnates may emphasize the surpassing importance of the home market, and be able to embody their will in the statutes of this Dominion, they must surely realize how' vitally essential it is that a prosperous foreign trade in agricultural products must be carried on, and to this end I say that agriculture must be encouraged and every incubus that prevents its growth, and, since the produce of our farms is sold in competition with the produce of all other countries, every undue charge that puts the cost of production out of line with the world's prices must be removed. The handicap of freight rates, of which the hon. member for St. John (Mr. Baxter) complained so bitterly this afternoon, is also a product of class legislation in our trade penalty system, and it is unfair to expect the wage earner to accept the remuneration for his service^ altogether out of relation to the price of what he has to buy.
I desire to reply to a few of the statements made by different members of this House before I close. The hon. member from Cape Breton South (Mr. Carroll) said that one "in every twelve persons in Saskatchewan owned an automobile, and he made this statement as evidence of great accumulation of wealth on the farms there, and that the farmer was living in ease and luxury. If the hon. member knew anything of western conditions he would know that a car is a necessity on the farm. He also spoke as though all the people in Saskatchewan were farmers, and forgets that we have fairly good sized towns and cities in that province. Quite two-thirds of all the cars are owned by urban dwellers, and after all, it is only the small cars of the most inexpensive kind that are owned by the farmers. My hon. friend does not know either, and he did not tell us how many of these cars are not paid for. An automobile firm that I knew, not operating in my constituency, but which I was friendly with, after having $80,000 out, was able this fall to collect only $300. My hon. friend says that we have spent $16,000,000 on road improvements in one year. Most of the work is done in our province by the farmers themselves, working their own taxes out, and when you divide $16,000,000 amongst
125,000 farmers, that amounts to only $128 apiece. To make such glaring statements without any qualification is not an honest argument, to say the least. My hon. friend says
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that the farmers around Winnipeg are prosperous. He does not know that, and he can bring no proof to show it. It would be a wonder if a few dairy farmers around a big city would not be fairly well off; but I know Saskatchewan better.
The hon. member for Lunenburg (Mr. Duff) stated that because we had the Crows-nest pass agreement again in force, the East lost $15,000,000, or one-half of what the West would have gained by the saving in freight rates. Does he mean to say that the price now charged for that service does not cover the cost, or what? Does he mean to say that the rates as fixed by the commission, after the suspension of that agreement, should still be in force? Why? I can tell this House that the hauling of grain is yet the most remunerative work of any that the railways are engaged in, and a glance at their net earnings during the months that the grain is chiefly moving will convince anyone of that fact. Do we in the West not bear our share of the national debt? One would think, since coming here to this session, that some of our eastern members, such as the hon. member for Lunenburg and the hon. member for Hants (Mr. Martell) in particular, seems to think that Canada owns a strip of territory somewhere between the Great Lakes and the mountains. I want to tell' these gentlemen that we are in Canada when we are up there, and we are bearing our share of the national debt as much as they are. The East, as the East, has not sacrificed anything for the building up of western Canada.
That makes some of our hon. members groan, but it is true, nevertheless. It is rather a big argument which I will not enter into now.
We heard a very excellent speech from the Minister of Finance (Mr. Fielding) the other day, and I certainly congratulate him on the strength and vigour that he showed in delivering that address. He appealed, at this time, not to create political chaos in this country. Even he does not realize the chaos that class privilege, with all its great penalties, is creating amongst the homes of this country. He was here in 1910 when we came 800 strong down to this city and filled this House in an endeavour to secure relief from these burdens. He is pleading for the party. We are pleading for the people. It is time at last that the rights of the people were respected, and the party must take care of itself. I will repeat, Sir, that I cannot understand a political party, apart from a group of men who have gathered themselves around a set of principles for propagating and putting into effect those principles. He says that no self-respecting government can accept such an amendment. That amendment was not made to embarrass the government; it was made in all good faith to show what we are after, what we believe in and what we want. But I ask, can a self-respecting people stand to be bandied about by false promises made by a succession of governments for many years, and say nothing? It is time that Canada was governed, not by one class with their eyes on their bank accounts, but in equity and righteousness for all classes, when sectionalism will disappear and confederation will yet become a true confederation and not merely a name, as it is at present.
I have listened with a good deal of interest to the speeches that have been made in this debate, and in the main, we have heard a great deal of complaint as regards conditions which obtain in various constituencies. Coming as I do from the far-off constituency of Skeena, which is bordered by the northern Pacific ocean on the west and by the Yukon Territory on the north, I would say, Sir, that the same disabilities and disadvantages which obtain throughout the Dominion of Canada and, in fact, throughout the entire world, are just as much in effect in Skeena as they are elsewhere. But I bring to you, Sir, I think, some little ray of hope, and some degree of sunshine in the brief report which I beg to convey to you from the constituency of Skeena. We are carrying on there, and I believe it is a tribute to any section to be able to maintain its industries and to carry on its progress and development in the face of such difficulties as are receiving such tremendous advertisement in this House. The constituency of Skeena is and has been a pioneer constituency ever since the day when the great pioneer, Alexander Mackenzie, within 300 miles of the city of Prince Rupert, painted on a rock at the mouth of the Bella Coola river where it falls into Burke channel "Alexander Mackenzie overland from Canada, July 22, 1793." Pioneer countries require some attention, and I have every sympathy with the hon. member for the Yukon (Mr. Black) when he requests certain telegraphic communication * in the Yukon Territory. Without prospectors there can be no mining industry. There can be no mining prosperity unless the
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prospector takes his pack on his back and hikes it into the hills. Without the rugged pioneer there can be no development and no building up of trade centres, and the pioneer, therefore, is entitled to some consideration. In that connection I would review very briefly some of the utilities which are of great importance in a pioneer country. In the first place, the pioneer expects that he shall have access to the centres of business. He must have methods of communication with the outside world. A great many years ago the Western Union Telegraph Company, in their endeavour to reach Europe by telegraph, prior to the laying of the Atlantic cable, tried to establish communication by way of Siberia. They started the construction of an overland line and got the work completed as far as the fourth cabin north of Hazelton. Repeated attempts had been made to lay the Atlantic cable, and at last, after the construction of that wonderful ship the Great Eastern, another attempt was made to lay the cable, and the transatlantic cable became an accomplished fact. The company therefore abandoned that overland line, and many years afterwards the right of way of that line as far as the fourth cabin north of Hazelton was utilized for telegraphic communication with the Yukon Territory when it was opened up. That line was completed some twenty-five years ago. Wireless was not even dreamed of as a possibility at that time. Had wireless been a commercial fact then, I am thoroughly satisfied that the overland line would not have been built. It was built, however, and to-day the upkeep of that line is a tremendous drain on the resources of this countiy. From Hazelton north to the Yukon there is one thousand miles of territory. This wilderness of a thousand miles is divided into stations twenty miles apart, each of which is manned by two men. The supplies that are needed for that telegraph line are largely carried on the backs of pack horses. Now, when you consider that the specifications in calling for tenders for those supplies stipulate that each package must not exceed a certain dimension and must be of a certain width so that it may be properly handled and be easily carried on the backs of these horses; that each parcel must be sewn in burlap and properly stencilled for the particular cabin for which it is destined; when you consider that the sugar and flour intended for these cabins must be packed in sacks each separately sewn in strong canvas, and when you take into consideration the value of canvas to-day-when you consider all these things you can easily [DOT] appreciate the tremendous cost entailed in the [Mr. Stork'
upkeep of that overland service from Hazelton to Dawson city. I am told that in the interests of true economy this line cannot be kept up under something like three-quarters of a million dollars per year. I am fully satisfied that this line could be abandoned and a better service instituted if there were placed along the coast of British Columbia, at Stewart, at Alice Arm and at White Horse, wireless stations, the initial cost of which would not be greater than the cost of one year's upkeep of the present line. Such a system as I suggest would give the Yukon an unin-terupted telegraphic service that could be kept in operation at all times and under all conditions of weather.
Among other things which a pioneer country requires are lights, buoys and aids to navigation. It was my privilege during the recess to visit Queen Charlotte Islands, and I was struck by the wonders of that country. I found in Queen Charlotte Islands a vast inland sea known as Masset Inlet, which today is just as dark as when Columbus discovered America. A great deal of development is in process there. The country around Queen Charlotte Islands is wonderfully rich in timber. A company is operating at Buckley bay and is doing a big business exporting lumber. It is highly essential that there should be placed in Masset Inlet some aids to navigation, for they are badly needed. But all pioneers are not clamouring to the government to have something done for them. I notice with a great deal of pleasure that some of the railroad employees along the line of the Grand Trunk Pacific have organized a company of their own under the direction of Mr. Len Bell and Mr. George Biernes. They are true pioneers in every sense of the word. Believing that up-to-date methods are the order of the day, they have filled a tremendous want in that country by inaugurating a hydroplane service between Hazelton Head and Finlay river. The locality around Finlay river is very rich in minerals, and I have seen splendid samples of gold from that region. But it has been almost impossible to reach that country in the past, because the only means of trans-poration has been by pack train. The snow does not disappear from the trails until the middle of June or early in July, and the rivers being in flood it is difficult to ford the streams. It therefore takes six weeks by pack train to make the trip from the railway into the mining district. These people, however, have inaugurated a hydroplane service, and the trip that formerly took six weeks now occupies but two hours. They are so enterprising that at the present time,-they have
The Address-Mr. Stork
taken the pontoons of the hydroplane, fitted them with skiis and will-beginning netxt week-make the trip over the snow. This hydroplane of theirs will carry 1,500 pounds of supplies, so that we can expect a great deal of development in that region. I am particularly interested in this matter because in that district are located the great coal deposits of the Groundhog country. There is an unlimited field of semi-anthracite coal that should prove a tremendous asset to western Canada. We have to-day, as it were, a river of money flowing out of Canada for the purchase of oil. Canada is not an oil-producing country, and we should make every effort to see that we burn just as little oil as possible and as much coal as we can in public utilities. We have steamboats plying on the Pacific and most of the railway trains are burning oil. This is not as it should be. Now, in developing our own coal mines we are only developing Canada. We are providing labour for our own people, providing a market for our own producers, and providing tonnage for our own railroads.
In this district of Skeena alone I am sure that the natural resources are of such a magnitude that they would be sufficient to discharge our national debt. In the mining locality of Stewart we have a gold mine known as the Premier, which in my opinion is the richest mine of its kind on the American continent. Last year it paid a dividend of three million "dollars. In the same locality c; Stewart there are a great many valuable mining properties; and the same can be said of Alice Arm, Anyox, and Surf Inlet. At Anyox one of the greatest industries of this country is in steady and continuous operation. The town of Smithers has blossomed out as a new mining centre, and excellent mines have been developed there. In far-off Atlin the miners are still carrying on the operations that have not ceased since the days of the early Klondike rush. At Telkwa we have coal mines, and at Ocean Falls there is located one of the greatest and best pulp and paper plants to be found anywhere in Canada; while a magnificent pulp mill is in operation at Swanson Bay.
The development of these resources is being carried on in spite of the difficulties confronting the country. In my own home town of Prince Rupert I am delighted to tell you, Mr. Speaker, that last year we produced and shipped 26,000,000 pounds of halibut. Eleven hundred refrigerator cars were required to convey it to the eastern market, and each car earned approximately SI,000. The fishing industry of the Maritime provinces was touched upon by the hon. member for Lunenburg (Mr. Duff) yesterday, and the same disabilities that he complains of are also troubling our fishing industry in Prince Rupert. Recently the American tariff has imposed a duty of two cents a pound upon our halibut. This is not the time nor place to discuss this matter, but I hope that steps are being taken by the government to" remove this disability.
Allow me to say a word to the western Progressives and the growers of grain on the prairies. Complaint has been made that the benefits which, accrued from the restoration of the Crowsnest pass agreement have been largely nullified by the action of an alleged combine of shipping interests on the lakes.
I would say to the grain growers of the West that I believe they have right now a remedy in their own hands to meet that handicap. If you will ship your grain through the port of Prince Rupert you will find that no combine exists there; you will find that you can ship your cars right on to the wharf instead of their being stopped twenty-five miles from tide water and transferred to another railroad; you will not have to pay tolls to cross any bridge; you will not be called upon to again transfer your cars to a third railroad and be subject to switching charges; and moreover there will be no danger of your wheat being mixed with inferior grades. We have heard something recently in regard to the adulteration of western wheat when it gets into New York city. Let me assure you that when your No. 1 hard is shipped from Prince Rupert it will still be No. 1 hard when it reaches the foreign market for which it is destined.
But you may ask: What port facilities have you got? We have at present the most up-to-date ocean-going freight warehouse on the Pacific coast. Not in Los Angeles, nor in San Francisco, nor in Seattle, nor in Vancouver is there such an up-to-date warehouse as we possess to-day. This warehouse is 800 feet long by 200 feet wide and is equipped with the most modern machinery. If your wheat is in sacks, we can handle it more expeditiously than any other port in Canada. If it is in bulk, our facilities can take just as good care of it as those of any other port in the Dominion. And the Canadian Government Merchant Marine would be glad of your business. Further, when your wheat is taken by the Canadian Government Merchant Marine, or by any other shipping organization, you will not be subject to any pilotage charges from Prince Rupert, for there is no dangerous entrance to be navigated, and it follows that no high rate of insurance is charged. Let me add that if you give your business to the port of Prince Rupert, and if the present
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facilities be found inadequate, our northern people will see to it that adequate facilities are forthcoming. Allow me to quote an article from the Financial Post of January 29 last dealing with the same question:
The Winnipeg Grain Exchange has ascertained from actual transactions in 1922 that the farmer can get twelve cents per bushel more by shipping his wheat through a Pacific port than by the Fort William and the Great Lakes route. This is on the basis of the present railway rate discrimination against the Pacific coast whereunder wheat is hauled 1,400 miles eastward for the same rate charged to haul wheat 700 miles westward. When the present discrimination is removed, the permanent advantage to the farmer will, it is said, be about sixteen cents a bushel, and the total gain to the farmers as a result of shipping by the Pacific coast reach $40,000,000 a year.
Prince Rupert has been working for months on an elevator project, and business interests in that city believe that the government is likely to co-operate with them in this enterprise. The fact that Prince Rupert is the northern terminus of the Canadian National Railway (G.T.P.) and closer to the grain country of northern Alberta and Saskatchewan than the southern seaports of British Columbia is strongly in that city's favor, as well as the fact that the route between Prince Rupert and the Far East is considerably shorter than the route between Vancouver or Victoria and the Far East.
I think this will give our farmer friends some indication of the faith we have in the development of our northern port. We in Piince Rupert do not intend to see this port teiminal of the Grand Trunk Pacific with all its advantages overlooked. This road was built for keeps, and we propose to keep it. We have a grade only four-tenths of one per cent, and at that we have compensated curvature. It was stated in the House yesterday that the Canadian Northern end of the Canadian National system in British Clumbia is the best part of the road. Well, I believe that the hon. member who made that assertion was conscientious and made it by reason of having some report placed in his hands; but that report to my way of thinking must have been prepared by a Canadian Northern official. On the face of it, it might appear as if the Canadian Northern end of the National Railways into Vancouver was all that the report claimed for it; however, I do not believe that that is the case. The Canadian Northern and the Grand Trunk Pacific run over the same tracks from Edmonton as far west as Red Pass Junction. The Vancouver people take it upon themselves to term their portion the main line, and our portion a branch or stub line from the junction to Prince Rupert. They have not half as much right to term their portion the main line as we have to claim that distinction for our portion, for the reason that the Grand Trunk Pacific line into Prince Rupert is much better constructed
than the Canadian Northern line ever was or
ever can be.
We have been put to some disadvantage by these comparisons. On my way down here the porter of the car in which I was riding told me of an incident that happened on his previous trip. The train for the West is made up at Edmonton and includes a sleeper for Vancouver and another for Prince Rupert. This train is run through as far as Jasper, where it is split up, one part going to Vancouver and the other part to Prince Rupert. There were two travellers on the train going west on this particular occasion, one for Vancouver, and one for Prince Rupert, and both were placed in the Vancouver car. The Prince Rupert car was pulled empty as far as Jasper. When one of the travellers got his ticket at Edmonton, he was advised, "When you get to Jasper, transfer there, because the Prince Rupert car will be waiting for you," and when he arrived at Jasper he was transferred from the Vancouver car into the Prince Rupert car. Undoubtedly the reports will show that the traffic going into Vancouver received credit for that particular sleeping car accommodation from Edmonton as far as Jasper, when in reality it belonged to the business going into Prince Rupert. I am fairly _ satisfied that the freight traffic is handled in the same way.
When the Montreal Board of Trade paid our coast a visit last summer they came to Prince Rupert in sixteen heavy Pullman cars. One of the Grand Trunk officials was ordered to put two engines on that particular train, but he did not do so because in his judgment one engine was enough. I suppose he since may have been dismissed for his insubordination, but be that as it may that train of sixteen heavy Pullman cars was hauled by one engine from Prince Rupert right through to Winnipeg, and there is no other road on the North American continent that can equal that feat. If they had put on two engines, as the official was ordered to do, I suppose the statement would have been made that they had to use two engines. But no, they did not. One would have done it, and if one would have done it, why would they use two? That is the kind of game we have had played on us ever since the inauguration of the Grand Trunk Pacific. In the early days of the construction of the Canadian Northern railway, a train coming out of Vancouver was headed off by a slide in front and hemmed in by a slide in the rear, and for five days that train stood stalled on the track on the banks of the river. The outcome was that they had to sling a cable across the river and rescue the passen-
The Address-Sir Henry Drayton
gers. That is a deplorable accident that may happen on any road, but picture, if you can, the advertising it would have received if it had happened on the Grand Trunk Pacific. Why, every man, woman, and child in this Dominion would have heard about it, and would not have been permitted to forget it. They would have had moving pictures of it, showing the rescue of the passengers from the Grand Trunk Pacific.
I have spoken at much greater length than I intended. I simply wish to say in closing that the people of northern British Columbia are, many of them, carrying on their part in the face of adverse conditions and unfair freight rates, but they have faith in the policy of Sir Wilfrid Laurier as expressed in the Grand Trunk Pacific railway and we hope and expect that that road will still come into its own.
Mr. Speaker, at the opening of my remarks, may I associate myself with those members who have spoken so many words of congratulation to the mover (Mr. Putnam) and the seconder (Mr. Rheaume) of the Address. May I also associate myself with the expressions of condolence in respect of members who are now no longer with us, and with the words of welcome to our new brethren.
It was not my intention at all to weary the House with a speech on this Address, but the speech made the other day by my hon. friend the Minister of Finance (Mr. Fielding) has made it necessary that I should trespass somewhat upon the time of the House.
I want first to say something else in the way of congratulation. I want to congratulate the House and the Minister of Finance upon the results of that trip of his overseas. He has come back to us in great shape. He is in splendid form, and is looking ever so much better than when he went away. We are all very happy to see him looking so well, and to find him so vigorous. I think we are all at one in that respect. I only wish, Mr. Speaker, that I could say as much for the substance of the speech as I can say with all truthfulness of the speaker.
We have not from this side of the House done anything to prolong this debate. I think I am the third speaker from the official opposition. Nor indeed did our leader in opening the debate enter the field of-what shall we call it?-the field which might be reserved for very contentious political matters. Why, he was so mild and so quiet that the Prime Minister congratulated him upon his utterances, and said how pleased he was to be able to agree with so very much that the leader of the Opposition had said. Then a change took place. Amendments were made to the Address. Something had to be done to revive the party spirit, and the government called to their assistance that gentleman above all others who was most capable of performing that very necessary function: and he did it well. They called to their assistance that member of the government who was the most likely to command the respect of my friends to my left, to whom his appeals were really directed. Yes, and for the purpose of making those appeals more pointed, attacks were made upon the leader of the Opposition growing out of his address.
I want to say in the first place, Mr. Speaker, that in every point taken by the hon. leader of the Opposition he was correct in his information. I want to say that just as bluntly and as plainly as I can. What did he say? He said that there was an increase in the debt. Is there any doubt about it? His figures were the figures of the hon. Minister of Finance. He also said that there had been more collected through customs taxation. Is there any doubt about it? The figures, again, are the figures of the hon. Minister of Finance. He also gave certain percentages. Again is there any doubt about his figures? The percentages are correct. It may well be that percentages do not amount to much. The taxpayer, after all, is not so much interested in percentages. But the fact is that a considerably greater sum of money has been taken from the people of the country for customs this year than was taken last year, and that is the gravamen of what the hon. leader of the Opposition said. It is quite true. It is also true that, over and above that, increases were made in the sales tax.
There is another thing. Although corrected by my hon. leader, the hon. Minister of Finance stuck to it that a direct charge had been made against him of floating money in the New York market, that that of itself was a crime, and he maintained that it was a charge, not simply a remark which had grown out of something said by the hon. Minister of Justice (Sir Lomer Gouin) during the election campaign. Let us have no doubt about this matter. During the speech of the Minister of Finance, as reported at page 99 of Hansard, the leader of the Opposition is thus reported:
Mr. Meighen: The hon. member will do me the justice to say that I introduced that with reference to the speech made by the Minister of Justice, who stated that we owed the United States so much in 1921 that we were drifting towards annexation.
The Address-Sir Henry Drayton
The following discussion then took place.
Mr. Fielding: No, my right hon. friend did not say that.
Mr. Meighen: Oh yes.
Mr. Fielding: I think I have what my right hon. friend said. What he may have had in the back of his head. I do not know, but what appears on Hansard is the simple statement that we were increasing our obligations and increasing our obligations to the United States. That was our great offence.
Mr. Meighen: I referred to the speech of the Minister of Justice.
Mr. Fielding: My right hon. friend, in the speech to which I am replying, to the best of my Knowledge, made no allusion to the Minister of Justice.
With the consent of the House I propose to lead exactly what was said by the leader of the opposition, and 1 quote from page 21 of Hansard:
In that speech-
Referring to the Speech from the Throne of last yeargovernment which had described our national condition as perilous, as bringing forbodings into the minds of masters of finance, in the words of the present Minister of Justice (Sir Lomer Gouin), as making even rich men uail with fear, as indeed making patriotic men dread the day when, because of our obligations to the Republic to the south, we would drift into annexation.
Again, X say, Mr. Speaker, that there was not a single thing said by the leader of the Opposition which was not literally and accurately true.
Why, we had another issue, Sir. The leader of the Opposition stated that as a result of this sales tax everybody that bought the necessities of life contributed to that tax, and a list of food stuffs and other things was read by the Minister of Finance as showing that there are exemptions to that tax and therefore everybody did not pay. He put emphasis upon-the "all" and upon the "everybody". The emphasis is put entirely in the wrong place. The leader of the Opposition did not say that the purchase of every necessity, of all necessities, was accompanied by the tax-not at all. We have practically exempted food stuffs, food in its raw condition, products of the mine, and products of the forest. I wonder if the minister will say now that a pair of boots is not a necessity of life.
I am very much gratified at the answer. We have never pretended that all the necessities of life were
exempt from that tax, we knew they were not. We were honest about it-they are not exempt. What we did do was to exempt the articles of primary production. We were not exempting manufactured articles, we were not exempting the articles which had been advanced to a high state of manufacture and value, whether it be food, whether it be clothing, whether it be anything else.
I would like to put another question to my hon. friend. He evidently has another idea of the sales tax. His idea evidently is that the necessities of life are exempt. He added somewhat to those necessities of life-not very much, and they were never described as (he necessities of life but he added somewhat to them. If he considers boots as necessities of life why did he not exempt them? I think, perhaps that question also deserves an answer. However, I will not press it. The thing is so perfectly ridiculous. The leader of the Opposition did not say that all the necessities of life are subject to a tax, but he did say that those who bought them paid a tax; and in this climate of ours are not boots, clothing and the like, necessities of life? I am inclined to think that what the Minister of Finance said as to my leader, in connection with some of his statements, should be applied here: I fancy he was so anxious to get his message to the Progressives, so anxious to sound that note of warning, so anxious to get up some avenue which would entirely disassociate him and his party from this iniquitous group here, that after all he did not waste very much time considering just exactly what was being said.
Another thing. The Minister of Finance talked about the tremendous additions to our New York indebtedness. I agree with some of the things my hon. friend said. I agree with him that we cannot do everything ourselves, I agree with him that sometimes we have to go out of the country in order to meet our demand. Yet I think, again, that he will agree with me that to the greatest possible extent practicable Canada's loans ought to be held in Canada. But to return for one minute to the tremendous burden of this country's obligations in the New York market. My hon. friend last year brought down the public accounts and I am going to quote from appendix No. 3, on page 56 of that blue book, and I am going to give the House the position of our New York loans at that time. We had two different sets of loans in New York then-I am speaking of this country's obligations and our own loans. The first are loans bearing 5 per cent, and the second loans bearing 5J per cent issued at a time when money was dear. We had, roughly
The Address-Sir Henry Drayton
speaking, I do not -give the old amounts, 50 millions on the New York market of 5 per cent money; we had 60 millions on the New York market of 5i per cent money; we had :n all 110 millions of direct obligations on the New York market. That is the showing made by the Public Accounts for the fiscal year ending March 31, 1922. Mr. Speaker, it is perfectly wonderful, absolutely remarkable, to see the Minister of Justice sitting there calm and composed to-day. Where is that dread of annexation that possessed him? The rich are no longer quaking. Patriotic men now are sleeping. The extraordinary thing about it is that the Minister of Justice sits there, calm, quiet and undisturbed, although in the short time of one year there has been a direct increase of Canada's obligations in the New York markets of 90 per cent.
Well, there was another thing said, and that is what my right hon. leader stated about the debt. These figures are true; they are the government's figures, they are the exact figures and, therefore, they are true, so far as we know. We accept government figures, but while that is so, the hon.Minister of Finance says, "Oh, if it had not been for these awful railways we would have had a surplus of thirty to forty million dollars". I think, to be frank, he would have had more than that. I am amazed that he is not going to have a very much larger surplus. What was the taxation in the past compared with the taxation to-day? We have had government newspapers talking about the wonderful way in which revenues are kept up. Well, they have been kept up. Where has the money gone? In the last year which has just closed, in which we had very marked deflation, a year of tumbling prices and restricted credits, we nevertheless had a surplus, as reported by my hon. friend in the same accounts of 1922, of thirty-four and a half million dollars, without asking all the people of the country to lick stamps pretty nearly every time they turned around. We had a thirty-four and a half million dollar surplus without the 50 per cent increase in the sales tax. I am amazed that my hon. friend does not give a very much larger figure than the one he has given. Let us go back and take my hon. friend's basis which he says will give him a surplus of from thirty to forty million. On the same basis in the year 1919, I learn from the accounts, there was a surplus of eighty million dollars, at a time when we were attacked right and left by gentlemen now sitting on the other side of the House who at that time were on this side. The figures that year showed a surplus of eighty million dollars. In the year 1920, on the
same basis, the surplus was forty-five million, nine hundred thousand, in the year 1921 the surplus was fifty-eight million, and I have already given you the surplus of 1922 on the same basis, which was thirty-four and a half million.
Then I take another statement that my hon. friend has made. Of course there is an addition to the debt-no getting away from that. But my hon. friend asks: "What is that compared to your additions to the debt?" I wonder, Mr. Speaker, if really at the present time it would not have been somewhat better ; f tl.o nrm-rmrt.isflTi attitude of the leader of
the Opposition in his address could not have been maintained. Is it really a question of what past deficits were? Is it really a question as to how the money was spent in the past, here, there and everywhere? Is the wrong of to-day right because we had a wrong last year or the year before? Would it not have been better, if recognizing the condition of affairs, recognizing the condition of the country, we were at liberty to forget all party differences, forgetting what has been done in the past and addressing ourselves to a really wise consideration as to how matters to-day can be mended. But, as I said these remarks call for replies. My hon. friend said "why look at the increase in the debt of 1921 and the increase in the debt of 1922." Well, of course, there were increases then; there were very heavy increases. There was not so much said about the size of those increases then as is said now.
But there is another story. Let us again see what is troubling my hon. friend to-day. It is the railways. Why he thinks he may have to spend as much as sixty-seven millions on the railways this year. Well, he has the railways to-day-lines that are functioning. He has them in such a condition that trains stay on the track. He has the deferred maintenance all caught up. He no longer has to think about the rehabilitation of lines of rusty metal. Something has been said to-day about equipment. Why, in the old days when we took those lines over there was every need for equipment. The locomotives were not there to any great extent and the freight cars were practically not there at all. While it is perfectly true that hon. members can in any country-I do not care how big the supply of cars is-at certain times find a car shortage, it is also true that in this very year there were locomotives greased up and laid aside, and cars parked by the hundreds simply because there was no work for them.
If equipment is to be bought to-day, it is nothing compared to the necessities for equipt COMMONS
The Address-Sir Henry Drayton
ment in the days that have gone by. Why, when we took that road over, even taking one of the best lines, say the line between Toronto and Ottawa, not only could the trains not make their time, but trains went oil the track. I myself have been in a wreck on that line. There was an immense amount of work to do. The line practically had to be rebuilt. What is it to-day? How is the bulk of the business between Toronto and Ottawa going to-day? Why, by the Canadian National road, by the best equipped, the safest and best graded line. That is where it is going, that work has been done, and that was carried out by this country, and earned out, through the operation of the public accounts.
Let us go back and see what was dope in those two years my hon. friend refers to. He points to an increase of debt in 1921 of ninety-two million and he is absolutely right. There was that increase, and it was a very very bad thing we had to have it- a most regrettable thing. But as against the 867,000,000 that my hon. friend now talks about, the special payments in that year, over and above consolidated fund expenditures, amounted to $150,000,000. Yet to-day, with taxation doubled and multiplied, there is difficulty with this $67,000,000. Next year the deficit was not quite so bad, but it was too bad altogether. The increase in debt in 1922 amounted to 881,000,000, and again, if we go back to my hon. friend'fe basis, dealing with these extraordinary payments, payments made that year, outside of consolidated fund expenditures, amounted t $115,000,000, as against the $67,000,000 that my hon. friend refers to. Why, Mr. Speaker, the work has largely been done. I am frankly surprised and amazed when I hear from my hon. friend that he expects, in the next year, that the railways will cost this country $67,000,000. They ought not to cost anything like that sum. I do not know what the present directors fear; I do not know what the present organization are afraid of, what benumbing influences they have been subjected to; but I know this, that with the improved facilities which they now have, with the business worked up as it has been, subject, of course, to this most regrettable delay that has taken place and the consequent disorganization, if the betterments shown in the past two years of $20,000,000 and $16,000,000 are maintained, if the ordinary downward curve is followed on deficits and if the ordinary upward curve of business is followed, we ought to have but very little deficit on the railways next year.
In order, however, that that may be the case, the railways must be left in the posi-TSir Henry Drayton.1
tion in which these hon. gentlemen got them. I am a great deal puzzled by this whole question. I want to believe that everyone is acting in good faith. I want to believe tha< we are getting to a point in Canada when party objects, party aims, party desires, are much smaller than the general weal of this country. I would love to be able to think that, but I confess I am wholly puzzled. On the one hand, Sir Henry Thornton tells us that politics has absolutely nothing to do with the line; that it is entirely free of political influence. He has made that statement often, and the newspapers describe how a* the minute of making this declaration, Sir Henry Thornton would stiffen his chin and stick out his chest. He has a first-rate stiff chin and a grand chest, but 1 hope they will stay stuck out as described. I am, however frankly puzzled. I was very much interested in a speech made by the hon. member for George Etienne Cartier (Mr. Jacobs), when he was addressing, I think, the Ladies' Club in Montreal. Perhaps it was the Gentlemen's Club, but my recollection is that it was the Ladies' Club.