February 10, 1925

LIB

George Perry Graham (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM:

Would my hon. friend

think it rude if I asked' him a question?

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CON

Henry Herbert Stevens

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

Not aft all. My hon. friend is the most courteous man in the House.

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LIB

George Perry Graham (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM:

I take a great interest in the question of using our own coal, but here is a difficulty that has arisen, and that does arise. We now in our railways pay 53 cents a ton on coal more than the railways of the United States pay, and we are in competition with them for transcontinental traffic. To that extent our cost of operation exceeds theirs. If we placed a higher duty on coal would not our transportation companies be at a further disadvantage? And would it not add to the cost of transportation to such an extent as to possibly do away with any advantage that might be gained by putting a duty on coal?

The Address-Mr. Stevens

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CON

Henry Herbert Stevens

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

That is one of the problems. I presume my hon. friend is referring to this immediate locality, around Ontario.

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LIB

George Perry Graham (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM:

Central Canada.

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CON

Henry Herbert Stevens

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

In the first place let me answer my hon. friend in this way: If it costs Canada 53 cents a ton more for her coal, and we can make Nova Scotia prosperous, I would pay the extra 53 cents and make Nova Scotia prosperous. Or if by paying a little more for coal we can develop the immense coal fields in Alberta, develop a great industry there, and have an industrial population that will consume the agricultural products raised by other parts of Canada, it may pay Canada to do it. As a matter of fact, it pays this country or any country situated as we are, to pay for a higher standard of living if we can get the work in this country for our people. A low cost of living is not an indication of prosperity in any country, as any student of economics knows. Every student of economics I think will admit without question that the countries with the highest cost of living and the highest standard of living are usually the countries that are most highly prosperous. I do not want to be misunderstood and have someone come along with the specious argument: Therefore, let us boost the cost of living. For the sake of illustration, take (the standard of living in Italy or in Czecho-Slo-vakia, from which countries we are getting a lot of goods. We cannot expect Canadians to live on the standard that prevails in those countries. I am not going to ask them to; I do not think we should expect our people to live on that standard. But we are asking them to compete with men who are living on that standard, and we have certainly got to face that question in Canada.

What I would have 'liked to ask the Prime Minister is this, and I wonder whether the Minister of Railways (Mr. Graham) or the Acting Minister of Finance (Mr. Robb), under whose department it more nearly comes, would answer: A year ago they were on the

way to the death of protection; the " death knell " had been sounded according to the Minister of the Interior (Mr. Stewart). They were going to carry out to the full the 1919 platform. Is the " death knell " still sounding? Will the Minister of the Interior teli us if it is, or has he muffled the gong of that bell?

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LIB

Charles A. Stewart (Minister of Mines; Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. STEWART (Argenteuil):

Not at all.

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CON

Henry Herbert Stevens

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

We have then a declaration from the Minister of the Interior that

the " death knell " of protection is stall sounding. Will the Acting Minister of Finance say that? He will not. I challenge him to. No, all we get is a smile. Will the Acting Minister of Finance say the government is still persisting in that policy? Where do they stand? This Speech from the Throne, does not tell us, and it ought to. Where does the Minister of Railways stand?

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LIB

George Perry Graham (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM:

He sits here; he does not stand.

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CON

Henry Herbert Stevens

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

I paved the way for this. I said a moment ago that my hon. friend was the most courteous man in the House, and he is. We all honour and revere him. Perhaps he will now do me the courtesy of disclosing whether or not the government is in harmony with the Minister of the Interior in persisting in sounding the death knel of protection. Will he do me that courtesy?

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CON

William Alves Boys (Whip of the Conservative Party (1867-1942))

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BOYS:

Silence is golden.

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CON

Henry Herbert Stevens

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

It may seem humorous,

but I want to say that this is the key to our whole economic situation in Canada to-day; it is the crux of the whole question, the very pivotal point-whether or not the government of Canada is going to go on reducing the customs duty in this country, or whether it is going to take cognizance of the situation and put on a protective duty sufficient to make Canadian industry thrive? That is the issue. You may be as silent as the tomb in the Speech from the Throne, but that is the issue and you cannot escape it.

My hon. friend the leader of the Progressive party (Mr. Forke) last year officially thanked the government across the floor of this House, for what? For the start they had made towards the abolition of protection on Canadian industry. I do not know what he is saying to-day. He is supporting the government fairly well, but he has not thanked the government particularly for the Prime Minister's speech in York. He did thank them for the Prime Minister's speech in Winnipeg, and in Saskatoon, Regina and Calgary. The Prime Minister said: I am on the same road, going with the same velocity as the Minister of the Interior was last year. We are going straight through on "the death knell of protection." That is what he told them all over the prairies, all over the west. In the constituency of North York-which elected him to this House-did he say the same thing? Oh no, he said: We must pause. We must pause? How long is this government going to pause? How long can t'he country stand a pause?

The Address-Mr. Stevens

My hon. friends opposite know. The Minister of Railways, the Acting Minister of Finance particularly, the Minister of Trade and Commerce (Mr. Low) know. Yes, it is subject for comment what the attitude of the Minister of Trade and Commerce is on the question. Does he agree with the Minister of the Interior? Will he go through on "the death knell of protection," or has Canada turned a corner and are we going back to protection? He said in some of those high-paid ads to *which attention has been drawn, that Canada had "turned the corner." We will hope for some declaration from him on this subject.

Now, I want to take another step. Looking at Canada's condition there is one stubborn fact staring us in the face. The net public debt of this country is $178,000,000 greater to-day than it was on December 31, 1921, three years ago, when this government took office. Fifty-one million dollars added to the net debt, $128,000,000 added in the form of guarantees of railway bonds, a net increase to the obligations of this country in three years of $178,000,000, in the face of a policy declaredly for the reduction of customs duties and for the protection of Canadian industries, resulting, as the Acting Minister of Finance knows to his sorrow, in a reduction of-how much? A reduction of $35,000,000 in customs collection or something like that, a tremendous loss in revenue, something that is agitating his mind and worrying him every day and every hour. And well it might. Then I want to tell him that there is no hope for Canada on that course-nothing but chaos and ruin. I do not want to be charged with talking too much blue ruin, but here we have stubborn facts before us: An increase of our debt and a steadily increasing public debt, whereas we ought to be reducing our public debt; taxation increasing as a consequence, revenues falling off, employment falling off, and unemployment increasing. These are the problems facing us.

I wish to refer, perhaps at some little length, to one other problem. The Prime Minister referred to the policy of the government but he wholly overlooked one or two important matters. Last year we heard a great deal about rural credits, we heard something about trying to face this problem of credit in the interest of those who need it in the country-* small business men, farmers and others. It was admitted in the Banking and Commerce committee that it was not the business of the banks to cover this field of what you might call long-term credits. The government virtually promised some action on it,

but we heard nothing about it in the Speech from the Throne. The hon. member for Centre Winnipeg (Mr. Woodsworth) this afternoon referred to the huge bonded indebtedness of Canada-some $2,000,000,000 of victory bonds alone, added to which are provincial bonds and many others amounting in all to some four and a half billions of dollars. Of this amount, I venture to say that in victory bonds, which are Dominion bonds, to the amount of two billions, are held by Canadians or Canadian companies. What does that mean? First, let me make my position clear. I am not criticising those who bought these bonds; they did it under the impetus of the times and the moment and under the distinct encouragement of parliament and the people of Canada for purposes of war. But where did this money come from? Where was it withdrawn from? It was withdrawn from mortgages, industrials, and loans and stocks of various kinds. Now, it stands to reason that this country is short of working capital when it has frozen in victory bonds some two billions of dollars, and what I want to ask the government is this: How can we liquefy that frozen credit of some two billions of dollars tied up in victory bonds? It may be said at once that we cannot do it, but I think we can. Let me point out the further fact that during the last few years, say the last ten years, the United States has increased its holdings in Canada from something like three hundred or four hundred millions to two and a half billions of dollars, for which we must pay tribute. If it is possible to find some method of liquefying the two billions of dollars' worth of victory bonds held in Canada it would go a long way to solve the problem of rural credits or the financial stringency in this country. My hon. friend (Mr. Woodsworth) who is a radical- he will not criticise . me I am sure for using that term, I use it in its ordinary sense- would advocate, and others also, that we repudiate the public debt in probably much the same way, perhaps, as Germany did it, by inflation of currency, or a process of that kind. I am not making any such suggestion but I do believe that, while respecting and observing all our obligations, that it would be possible to have the large insurance companies, the large loan and trust companies, others who are large holders of these bonds, big commercial concerns, and the banks, to get together and see if it is not possible to have these companies function once again as money loaning institutions. Let me illustrate what I mean. Take an insurance company; I am not criticising these companies, I want

The Address-Mr. Stevens

to make that perfectly clear; I am merely trying to face a problem which I think is at the root of our money stringency in Canada. Take an insurance company; we will say it has $10,000,000-some of them have over $100,000,000-of victory bonds. Can we provide that by hypothecation the banks from time to time can advance half the value of these bonds to industries, for the development of the country generally? If this were backed up with the expert knowledge and the experience that their officers had in the past, and which I think will be readily available again, then, I believe, there might be released some of this frozen credit. This, I suggest, can be done. I believe it is the duty of the government to face a problem of this kind. It will not do for us to say; These bonds are a debt, they are an obligation, they are tied up, they are frozen, and all we have to do is to pay $140,000,000 a year interest. That does not meet the situation. The government, and parliament as well, is called upon to give this question most intimate study with a view to seeking the release of some of this credit which is at present tied up.

Now, Mr. Speaker, I am not going to detain the House longer. Let me summarize very briefly what I have said, or at least a part of it. I referred to Canada as a great estate. I referred to the duty of the government as the directors and administrators of that estate-parliament being associated with them in the task-to look over the estate and see how we can direct affairs so as to develop it in the best possible manner, so that we can give to the people of Canada a full return from that estate.

One point I had overlooked but of which I desire to make brief mention is this; In connection with the policy of protection it must always be borne in mind that a factory in Canada is worth from four to eighteen times as much to our transportation companies as the importation of goods equal to the product of that factory. For instance, in the case of a ton of manufactured goods imported, it simply supplies a ton of freight to our railways which need freight very badly; but a ton of goods manufactured in Canada means the hauling to that factory of three tons of material of one kind and another, in other words increasing the transportation in Canada four times. That scales up as high as eighteen to one. I am giving utterance to a well-known fact, but I think it should be kept in mind at this time, when we are studying the dual question of the languishing industries and the high cost of transportation, and seeking to meet all the overhead charges

and obtain good results. We must bear in mind that for every ton of goods taken out of a factory in this country over four tons of goods are brought into that factory, and you must add to that the value of the labour expended on the production of the goods that enter that factory. I believe there is for Canada one method of resuscitating trade, and that method is to so direct the fiscal policy that we can take the materials afforded by our great natural resources and apply to them our own water power or coal power or steam power, apply all the ingenuity and skill of our people, and then bring them to the highest degree of production possible, so that we can dispose of them in the markets of the world.

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PRO

John Millar

Progressive

Mr. JOHN MILLAR (Qu'Appelle):

The Address-Mr. Millar

miles apart, and yet at the same time there are districts to the north, south, east and west where farmers have to drive eighteen or twenty miles in order to get their crops to market. Such a district lies to the south of one such point served by two railways. I have travelled over those lines several times and there are places where the railways are not more than a mile apart. Right to the south of that very district where there is duplication of railways, a man lives who wrote this letter. Listen to his words. This might be a little warning to some who have objected to building branch lines and I wish some of our senators were here. He says:

For myself I do not care which line is built, but for heaven s sake it is time something is done, for if there is no prospect for a railway this summer I am going to dispose of my property and if I get rid of what I have Saskatchewan would not hold me and probably not Canada. I have to team my grain eighteen miles and I have had my share of it. It is high time that the government took the matter in hand and saw that railways were built where districts are already settled.

I should like to make a remark about the Welland canal and the deepening of the St. Lawrence river. By the time the money is fully expended in deepening the St. Lawrence waterway, the St. Lawrence route is opened, and the vision of our grain boats passing from Fort William right through to the Atlantic ocean is realized, the time will have arrived when the bulk of our grain will be going to the Pacific. Whether that is pleasant new3 to Montreal or not, the trend of the North American continent has been for grain-growing, wheat-growing particularly, to move westward and northward. The time was when Manitoba was the banner wheat-growing province of Canada. It gave place to Saskatchewan, and, although I reside in Saskatchewan, I believe that our sister province of Alberta will see the time when it will be the banner wheat-growing province of Canada. When the Peace river country is opened up, the greatest grain ports are going to be on the Pacific coast. There will come a time later on when the customs barrier between Canada and the United States as regards grain foodstuffs will be brought down, and then will be the time when western Canada, particularly will have a harvest. We can supply grain to the grain markets of Minneapolis where they have a capacity of 96,000 barrels a day, cheaper than can any other place in the world, and I am convinced that the time will come when a great deal of our grain will go south. Therefore, while it is wise that we should have sufficient facilities at Montreal and other eastern ports to handle our commerce,

in providing facilities for handling the grain of the West we should keep in mind the trend of our grain-growing and shipping business.

I am going to voice frankly some of the causes of dissatisfaction in the west. It strikes the west as very strange that the central provinces have approved the Hudson Bay railway as far as a certain point, until $21,000,000 have been expended there, and then they suddenly felt that it was only a joke; that it was not feasible, and that it was time it should be stopped. I think the central provinces and those who oppose the Hudson Bay railway are making a very grave mistake. It would open up a country that would constitute a market for their manufactured goods; it would bring about a better feeling, and I intend to point out a little later on where that better feeling is very necessary, where greater unity is required, where there is a grave danger of driving the western people into a comer where they will turn.

As regards the project of opening up the St. Lawrence waterways, our engineers tell us that it will cost $252,000,000, to be divided between Canada and the United States, and we know, from past experience, if that is of any value, that the cost will be twice that amount. I have referred to the over-building of railways, to the feverish haste in opening the Welland canal, and I have done so for a purpose, namely, to make this more impressive. I think the climax of an orgy of this sort in spending money for services in advance of population will be reached if our government at once, or in the very near future, plunges into this project of opening up the St. Lawrence route at an enormous expense. The time will come when the St. Lawrence route should be opened, but the eastern provinces or, more correctly, the central provinces, who are urging this, would be very wise if they would stop and consider the wishes of other parts of Canada that are not so well-off, that are passing through very hard times. If they will just have a little patience and wait for eight or ten years, it may be that Canada will then be in a position to open the St. Lawrence route without imposing upon Canada a burden that she cannot carry.

I said that there were four causes for our distress in the prairie provinces. I am going to refer to one that is very seldom touched on and that is inflation and deflation. It seems to me that this has been a large factor. Let me read some words of Abraham Lincoln, that great statesman, in reference not only to the question of inflation and deflation but also regarding the practice of governments

The Address-Mr. Millar

undertaking heavy obligations, as our government did in selling victory bonds and then bringing about deflation. President Lincoln said:

If a government creates a large debt when there is a certain volume of money in circulation and then contracts the volume of money it is the most heinous crime that government can perpetrate against its people.

I am not going to impute motives to Sir Thomas White or to anyone else in regard to the inflating of money during the war, but I simply state, what is a fact, that money was inflated until the purchasing power of the dollar was only about fifty, sixty or seventy cents and then millions upon millions of dollars' worth of victory bonds were sold, some of them tax-free, while money was cheap. That having been done, suddenly the money was deflated. I was in conversation with a bank official in the year 1920 and he told me that they were not loaning any money; he said, "our government has instructed us that deflation must take place in order to force prices down." I did not realize at the time what that meant, but I do now: it simply means that the people of Canada are compelled to pay millions and millions of a debt in bonds for which those who hold the bonds paid in some cases only fifty or sixty cents in the dollar. In other words, the Canadian people have incurred an enormous debt by means of this system of inflation and deflation which took place in the way I have stated.

There is another side of this question which is still worse, and that is the effect which it has had on the people of Canada not only in the prairie provinces but throughout the country. During a period of four or five years when money was so plentiful the people were encouraged in extravagance; they were encouraged to expand their business, and some borrowed money in large quantities while others bought houses and farms at high prices. Just at the moment when they thought that everything was in a settled condition, when they little realized how soon the change would come, the ground was suddenly cut from under them. What happened at that time reminds one of the practice which prevailed in the early days in catching rats. A barrel was filled almost to the top with something that the rats liked; all that the rat had to do was to climb up to the rim and jump in to get his fill. After the rat had acquired the habit of climbing up and jumping in, automatically as it were, the food was removed and water was put into the barrel in its place, so that when the rat

got up to the top of the barrel he jumped into water before he knew what he was doing.

I think it is unfair to bring about arbitrarily a condition of affairs that inspires the people with a false sense of prosperity, and when they have incurred heavy obligations in the belief that a permanent state of prosperity has set in. suddenly bring about a situation that makes it impossible for them to meet those obligations. (Logically, one would expect that all prices would be equally forced down by such a process, but this was not the case; the products of the farm went down suddenly because the control of prices was not in the hands of local people. The fact is that the prices of farm products were controlled by the importer in Europe and elsewhere, whereas the prices of commodities which the farmers and other people bought were controlled locally by combines which were more or less hard and fast, or at all events by gentlemen's agreements. The consuming public had been educated into paying ten dollars for a pair of shoes, and it was not difficult by means of these combines for the prices to be kept up, so that one would have to pay ten dollars or fifteen dollars as the case might be for a pair of shoes, and other prices in proportion all along the line. Such a terrible condition was brought about that we saw in this country such peculiar anomalies as this, for example, where the hide from a beef animal would not buy a hame-strap. Let me mention a concrete case. Walking down the street in my own town a few months ago I saw a bay team of horses. Two years ago I purchased that team for fifty dollars, and while they were a little undersized the5r were very good animals. If I had told the man who was leading them away to take them over to the blacksmith's shop and have them shod it would have cost me from eleven to sixteen dollars for the new shoes. Imagine one buying a team of good young horses for fifty dollars and having to pay from eleven to fifteen or sixteen dollars to get new shoes for them. The hon. member (Mr. Stevens) says that it is absurd to expect people to succeed under certain conditions which he has indicated; but it is not nearly so absurd to expect success in that case as it is to expect people to succeed under the conditions that I have described. And those were the conditions.

I am very doubtful whether it was necessary to borrow as much money as was borrowed during the war years; I think it was a gigantic mistake. When money was so plentiful why was not the war paid for as we went along? Had that been dene, it seems

The Address-Mr. Millar

to me that our present troubles might have been avoided to a large extent. We talk of unemployment, but I think that what I am about to quote upsets in part some of the arguments which we heard this afternoon. Arthur Kitson who, I understand, is one of the leading manufacturers of Great Britain and one of the world's highest authorities on monetary subjects, dealing with the subject of unemployment and progress in relation to the countries that were at war, and touching the question of deflation, concludes thus in an article of his published on December 9, 1924:

It is a significant fact that all the British colonies are suffering the same as the Old Country, and they have all been pursuing the same contraction policy- contraction of currency. On the other hand, France, Belgium and Italy have been enjoying prosperity and have escaped the scourge of unemployment.

I came across a dipping a few days ago from which I learned that the wheels of industry in France are humming, and that there are not sufficient men in that country to keep theiir machinery going and that they are obliged to import labour in large numbers. I do not pretend to be an authority on the banking question and consequently I do not speak with great assurance on it, but I have studied it enough to feel that it is a great misfortune that deflation took place so suddenly. Had the deflation, if it was necessary, taken place after ten years, say, after some of these victory 'bonds had been paid off- bonds that were bought with inflated money and which should have been paid off with inflated money also-it would have been much better. I certainly think that the deflation should have been brought about gradually until the gold basis was restored; I do not think that the hardship in that case would have been anything like what it has been.

I shall speak for a few minutes now on some of the features that have tended towards bringing the prairie provinces back to normal. Three years ago we got back what we called the Crowsnest rates. I assure bon. members that the effects were marvellously beneficial to our western people. Every oarload of grain going out from there since that time has gone out for about $60 less. I would like the government to know that when they apply remedies that are real remedies the west responds at once. All that is necessary to bring prosperity there, to make the people happy and contented and to enable them to take their places among those who constitute the buying portion of Canada's population, is to apply remedies that will be effective,

fMr. Millar.]

such as the one to which I refer. By that simple redress, by that change, many farmers have been saved from bankruptcy and others have been driven to it only more gradually.

Another remedy that has been attempted by the present government-and I wish to give them full credit for their part in it; I wish to encourage them to continue in the same direction-is the reduction of the tariff. It was small indeed, but it brought some relief-not very much, but some nevertheless. I do hope the government will follow up that policy. I believe the proper thing for me to do is to continue to press for further reduction in the tariff. It has been suggested by my friends to the right that the manufacturers have not been injured by the reductions; at least I understood it that- way. I assure the House that the part of the country to which I belong has certainly benefited by the reductions. That being the case, why not give us a bigger dose? If it helps all round, why not have a little more of it?

There are some other redresses which I think ought to be afforded to us in the west. I have already referred to the high rates of interest on the money we borrow. It may be a difficult matter to deal with, but the government should keep that in mind and should lend their efforts to having these rates reduced. Land rates and water rates axe also matters of paramount importance. Perhaps it is not generally understood-well, I will not say it is not generally understood, but I believe it is not always understood-that if we were to go back to the Crowsnest rates on the thirteen commodities covered we would still be paying a higher rate than those applicable to the same commodities in central Canada. When it comes to water rates I do not know that I am so optimistic of success, because I realize that the north Atlantic combine is a gigantic body. But the government should bend every energy to a solution of the problem; they should fight the thing to the end, because the saving of a few cents on a bushel of wheat or of a few dollars on a beef animal means all the difference between success and failure to those who are producing those commodities. Premier Dunning, speaking on this subject, put it this way: "I did not have any profit," he said, "on my farm this year. If I could have got the grain threshed for a little less, or if the freight rate had been a little less, or if the labour had been a little less-any one of these-I would have made a profit." While we cannot at present engage to any considerable extent in

The Address-Mr. Millar

the raising of cattle, if that freight rate question can be solved so that cattle can be carried to the Old Country market at a reasonable price, you will at once see a revival of that industry, and it will become a great industry. We would then be in a position to buy the manufactured goods of the east and any loss that would be sustained by the eastern and central interests would be more than made up by the increase in business.

Let me say a word or two on the immigration question. There are different ideas on the subject. Some would entirely prohibit immigrants from coming to Canada until conditions are better and they would have a better chance to succeed. Others would bring in immigrants as fast as possible, believing that that would make Canada prosperous. I do not think either course is wise; I think either would be a mistake. We need immigrants in Canada, but we need the right sort. To bring in a large number of immigrants might result in figures which, when read in the House, would make a good showing politically, but Canada might be veiy much worse off. If you look over the reports with respect to the nationality of inmates of gaols, or of hospitals where unmarried mothers go at times, you will find that the percentage of immigrants there is alarmingly high. What does that indicate? It indicates that there has been too much laxity in respect to the admission of immigrants; that the feeble minded, delinquents, and those having defects of various kinds have been admitted when clearly they should not have been allowed entry into Canada. What we need- is the best kind of settler. Immigrants should be well selected, and we should get as many of that selected class as possible.

You cannot conclusively say that because an immigrant has 8100 he should come in, and because he has not that amount he must stay out. By following a policy of that kind we might keep out such men as James Mitchell of Dahinda, Saskatchewan, a great asset to our province and to Canada. In the British Isles he was a cotton mill operator in 1907; in 1924 he was the wheat king of the world-a romantic story. He was a man with no previous experience of farming, no previous experience in Canada; yet from 1907 to 1924 he sprang to that position. The romantic character of the story is enhanced by the part played by his wife this last year. While Mr. Mitchell was attending the meeting of the Seed Growers' Association at Regina she telephoned to him and said, "It is raining here; what shall I do?" He said, "Cover up the stooks." She 6

covered up enough stooks in the rain to save the bushel of wheat that took the world's prize. We might by any such narrow policy as I have suggested keep out another type of man who is also a great asset. It gives me pleasure to refer to this incident because we do not get many men like this. In a Lethbridge paper recently there appeared an account of the heroism of a Scotch shepherd, by name Jack Ray, employed on the Ray Knight ranch at Brooks, Alberta. Last December he was herding 2,000 sheep when he was caught in a blizzard. With the thermometer fluctuating between 40 and 50 below zero, he drifted for three days and three nights rather than leave the sheep, with no shelter for himself except for an hour or two when he could get something to eat and have a chance to get warm. If we can get that type of men as a foundation stock for our future citizenship it will be well for Canada. There are not many men in Canada or in the world of such fidelity that they would endure what Jack Ray endured on the open range in order to save his flock of sheep. That is the type of man we want as immigrants.

The hon. member for Vancouver Centre (Mr. Stevens) made a remark to which I wish to refer. He said that it was absurd to expect the manufacturers of Canada to compete against the cheap labour of countries on the European continent. Let me point out that because of our advanced methods of farming, because of the greater efficiency of our intelligent labour, the farmers of Canada are able now to compete against the cheap labour of Europe, if you would only give them half a chance. They do not want any favours. Much of the wheat that is being placed on the European markets in competition with ours is grown only three or four hundred miles from the seaboard; much of it is right beside the water; but our wheat must be drawn hundreds and in some cases thousands of miles to the seaboard. But if you will remove our disabilities and give us a fair chance, we can compete against the cheap labour of Europe simply because they are less efficient. If the time comes when they are as efficient and their methods of agriculture become as advanced as ours, then it will be, I admit, absurd; but we can do the very thing now that the hon. member says cannot be done.

In closing, I think it is high time that we should quit haggling about who is to blame for our troubles. Two years ago, speaking in this House, I sounded a gentle warning. 1 said: Don't drive the west too far. My friends to my right interpreted that as a

The Address-Mr. Millar

threat, but it was not so intended, I assure you. What has taken place since that time two years ago. To-day there is one subject being talked about that attracts interest, and that is the question of secession. I regret that there is any sentiment at all in favour of secession on the prairie provinces. I do not think it should be encouraged at any time, but I would ask you not to underestimate that sentiment. The time was in the history of Great Britain when they ignored the just complaints of the American colonies, and it cost them the colonies. Later, ir. our early history the time was when the Canadian government ignored the not very unreasonable claims of the half-breeds of the northwest territory, and that caused a war. I hope nothing serious comes of this talk of secession, but I would ask you to draw on your imagination a little and try and understand' that there are thousands in a condition that would drive one to almost anything. Just to drive that point home, let me give you a concrete case. Two months ago I was riding on the train and got into conversation with a sheriff. He said, "Recently as I sat in my office an old man came in and said to me, 'Well, sheriff, I guess I have made a sad mess of it.' I asked him what was the matter, and he said, 'My stuff is all seized.' " The sheriff asked him his name, looked up the file, and then went back and asked the old man. "What sort of a crop did you have last year, in 1923?" "Well, sheriff," he said, "I cannot tell you exactly how many acres we cut because it was so poor we did not cut all we sowed. Neither can I tell you how many bushels we threshed because after it was all cut some of it yielded so poor that we did not thresh the rest of it, but I will tell you what I got for it. I got $380 for it all." The sheriff asked him, "How much did it cost you to thresh that?" "It cost me $280," said the old man "and I paid it. The grain was rusty, there was lots of straw, and the thresher would not thresh by the bushel; he must have so much per day. It cost me $280 to thresh that grain for which I got $380." The sheriff asked, "What did you do with the other hundred dollars?" "I gave it to the storekeeper," was the reply, "he had carried me for a year." "What did you live on?" the sheriff asked. "I would not like to tell you what I and my family lived on," said the old man; "I have had a good crop this year, 1924, but it is all seized. Part of my trouble has been caused by an accident I had three years ago, and I have not been able to do a full day's work since then until this year." The result was that the sheriff who was a

humane man, and of good common sense, said, " I am not going to allow your creditors to take that crop and sell it at a disadvantage," at what we call street price, which meant that the farmer would not get full value. So the sheriff took possession of the crop and divided it among the creditors, giving each one a little, and leaving the farmer enough to carry on with.

Now that is not a very isolated case. The conditions are bad. Perhaps I am stressing them too much. I know the effect on immigration and on capital, but when I see these cases before my eyes I feel that I should try and persuade this House that the time has come for further redress. As I have tried to show, the west will respond immediately if the remedies are applied. Is there any reason why we could not to a greater degree forget party politics, unite our forces, and bring our best brains to bear on these problems and apply the remedy so quickly that the talk of secession will disappear. I believe it would be a calamity if confederation were to break up. I know that many will pooh-pooh the idea that there is any possibility of such a thing happening, but when you see thousands of people in that condition, when they feel their life's savings are being sweplt away and they soon will have not a dollar left in the world, and many of them with families, when the sheriff is knocking at the door, can you blame them for taking any way out? Hardly, I think. It is all right for one to shout about loyalty and to feel that Canada is a good place to live in when he is living in a mansion and has everything his heart can desire, but it is another thing when a man is turned out of doors and he and his family have to leave the homestead with the work of years gone for nothing; and that is the situation of many of our people. The country is all right; it is only man that is vile. I would say to the members of the government: Continue and move very fast to give us measures of redress as effectively as you did in lowering the freight rate to the Crowsnest rate. If you give us redress for those grievances I do not think you need worry at all about the west. We will help to solve the unemployment problem; we will employ the men, and the manufacturers of the east whose shops have been closed will be able to reopen their doors.

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CON

Horatio Clarence Hocken

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HOCKEN:

Does the hon. member

intend the House to understand that in his judgment there is a serious prospect of the secession of the west from confederation?

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PRO

John Millar

Progressive

Mr. MILLAR:

It is very much more

serious than the general public appreciate.

The Address-Mr. Anderson

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CON

David Spence

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPENCE:

That is a threat.

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PRO

John Millar

Progressive

Mr. MILLAR:

No, it is not a threat. My remarks were misunderstood before. There is one other matter I wish to touch on. The manufacturers of the east seem to have experienced a change of heart to some extent. At any rate the hon. member for St. Lawrence-St. George (Mr. Marler), in a speech which he delivered a short time ago, seemed to have modified his views to a certain extent and was inclined, apparently, to hold out a friendly hand to those who differed from him on certain trade questions. The Manufacturers' Association have adopted a somewhat similar course. I would say to the manufacturers that I believe we as farmers-I speak as a farmer as well as a representative of the people in this chamber-will be prepared to meet them half way just as soon as they realize that the manufacturers are sincere in their desire to bring about a better feeling and to co-operate with agriculturists rather than act in a manner antagonistic to them.

There is one way in which the manufacturers can demonstrate their sincerity and it is in the matter of the standardization of machinery. I have here a clipping which I might read to illustrate my point:

Secretary of Commerce Hoover says in the foreword of a booklet entitled " Simplified Practice-what it is and what it offers " issued by the Division of Simplified Practice of the Department of Commerce: The necessity of maintaining a high-wage level requires that all processes of manufacture and distribution be reduced to the lowest possible cost. This can be done through the elimination of those wastes arising out of too high a degree of diversification in certain basic products.

" To-day dozens of different sizes, styles, types and patterns of the most commonplace articles are placed in the market by manufacturers who must possess special equipment and skill to produce these endless variations. Merchants accumulate great stocks which turn but slowly because of the excessive diversity and lack of interchangeability in their components. Because of this situation many manufacturers and distributors favour co-operation for simplification and standardization.

" The saving in national effort through such cooperation as demonstrated by many well known examples of simplification and standardization runs into millions of dollars. There is a great area still untouched in which the application of these waste-eliminating measures may well save not millions, but billions. The rate of our advance must be, and will be, in proportion to the extent in which we all cooperate for the elimination of waste."

A farmer who throws aside a binder and buys one of the same make breaks, perhaps, a small wheel. There may be a wheel, scarcely worn on the abandoned binder which he could use, but cannot do so because there is a very, very slight difference in the two wheels. Consequently he is compelled to buy a new wheel. I really believe the failure to adopt standardization is a deliberate policy on the part W

of the manufacturers. In fact this policy has been carried to such an extreme that in one province it has been found necessary to enact legislation to prevent a machine company selling binders and other machinery for a certain length of time and then withdrawing from the market and taking away the repairs. Such companies, if they sell binders must keep repairs for a given number of years after the binder is withdrawn from the market, thus recognizing that it has been a practice on the part of manufacturers to deal unfairly in this matter with the consumer. Only last fall I was talking to a farmer who had obtained a piece of sheet iron for this threshing machine. I could not give the dimensions but some of you hon. gentlemen who own threshers will understand about the size when I state it was to cover the lower part of the machine. Now it would appear that a sum of ten or fifteen dollars would have been a sufficiently high price and yet it cost this man $2S. If the manufacturers are sincere in their desire to bring about a better understanding with the producers of grain and those who are buying their machinery, let them adopt a different attitude in this matter, as well as in respect to some other questions, and we will meet them half way.

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CON

Robert King Anderson

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. R. K. ANDERSON (Halton):

Mr. Speaker, I am somewhat at a disadvantage. I had expected that there would be another speaker from the ranks of hon. gentlemen opposite before my turn came. Seemingly the hon. gentleman in question is not in his place. Not anticipating having to take the floor so soon I have not my notes with me. I would therefore ask permission to move the adjournment of the debate.

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?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

No, no.

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LIB

George Perry Graham (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM:

I am shocked at this unpreparedness on the part of my hon. friend. I should have thought he would be able to speak at almost any time during this debate; I thought he was full of the subject.

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February 10, 1925