February 13, 1925

CON

Thomas Edward Simpson

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SIMPSON:

I cannot answer the question very definitely. The price is usually 60 much per cord at the mill. If the farmer or settler cutting the wood lived any considerable distance from the mill, the freight rate might be so high as to reduce his actual price to as low as $3 or $4 a cord.

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LIB

Henri Sévérin Béland (Minister of Soldiers' Civil Re-establishment; Minister presiding over the Department of Health)

Liberal

Mr. BELAND:

One would have thought that the total which the hon. gentleman has quoted was exclusive of freight.

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CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

The hon. member, I

think, has given the export figures, including freight in Canada.

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LIB

Henri Sévérin Béland (Minister of Soldiers' Civil Re-establishment; Minister presiding over the Department of Health)

Liberal

Mr. BELAND:

Would it include freight in Canada? I should not have thought so. At all events, I know that people in my district who are selling pulpwood received last year $9 a cord and even as high as $12.

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CON

Thomas Edward Simpson

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SIMPSON:

That is quite true, but that was the price at the mill; the price quoted at the mill was from $10 to $12.

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LIB

Henri Sévérin Béland (Minister of Soldiers' Civil Re-establishment; Minister presiding over the Department of Health)

Liberal

Mr. BELAND:

No, at the station.

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CON

Thomas Edward Simpson

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SIMPSON:

That is not my understanding.

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LIB

Henri Sévérin Béland (Minister of Soldiers' Civil Re-establishment; Minister presiding over the Department of Health)

Liberal

Mr. BELAND:

That is the fact in my district.

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CON
CON

Hugh Alexander Stewart

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. H. A. STEWART (Leeds):

Mr. Speaker, I propose to deal briefly with some of the questions suggested by the Speech from the Throne. Before doing so, however, I desire to congratulate the member for St. Lawrence-

St. George (Mr. Marler) upon the speech which he delivered yesterday. The hon. gentleman always deals with a subject comprehensively, exhaustively and fairly. We may not always agree with his conclusions or his deductions, but his speeches always indicate great labour, thorough analysis of the situation, and conclusions based upon that analysis.

I agree very largely with what he said in reference to the development of our trade and what is necessary to bring about prosperity in this country, and after listening to him I am persuaded that he must entirely approve of the resolution standing on the order paper in the name of my leader, the leader of the opposition. I know there are other members on the government side who must feel much the same as the hon. member for St. Lawrence-St. George. He has invited those of like minds to unsheathe the sword and to stand together in defence of those policies which will make for the upbuilding of Canada, and I have every reason to expect that both he and they by their voices and by their votes will support the leader of the opposition when his resolution comes before the House.

I congratulate the mover (Sir Eugene Fiset) and the seconder (Mr. Hanna) upon their efforts in dealing with the Address. True, the Speech from the Throne does not present anything striking or new except a proposal to subsidize a certain shipping line engaged in north Atlantic transportation. Yet these gentlemen have built up a superstructure of praise and congratulation that must be very flattering to the government.

The debate has already disclosed the fact that the leader of the Labour party in this House (Mr. Woodsworth) has pointed out to the government its complete failure to carry out its programme announced previous to the last election. The leader of the Progressive party (Mr. Forke) has also pointed out that his party expects the government to redeem the promise made on the eve of the general election for a general downward revision of the tariff.

The Speech from the Throne speaks about improved conditions in Canada, and in support of that is cited our large volume of export trade. We all admit that it is creditable, that it is desirable, and that we should do everything in our power to increase the volume of that trade. An examination of our history shows that about the time of confederation our exports were largely of natural products. After the adoption of the protective tariff in 1878 there was a development of manufacturing industries and a steady increase in the export of their output, until to-day I believe our

150 COMMONS

The Address-Mr. Stewart {Leeds)

manufactured products are the second largest item in our export trade. The exports of our natural resources consist largely of the products of the farm and the forest. Two thoughts occur to me in this connection. The market for our agricultural products is necessarily a fluctuating one, subject to world conditions, changing from time to time, and therefore uncertain and precarious. The export of our forest products must be approached from another standpoint. We are constantly using up the available supply, and the time may not be far distant when the exhaustion of these vast resources will be in sight. Therefore if we continue recklessly to export our raw materials, nothing but disaster can come to us. It is clear, I submit, to those who have made a study of the question, that the safest course for us to adopt as a nation is to develop our natural resources to the point where they are as nearly completely manufactured as is possible before we export them. That was advocated by the hon. member for St. Law-rence-St. George.

The Speech from the Throne does not make any reference to our national debt- perhaps because the record would not be creditable to the government. Since they attained office, although they condemned, the magnitude of the national debt while in opposition, we find that in the last three years they have increased it by approximately $178,000,000; that is, $128,000,000 of direct liability and about $50,000,000 of indirect liability. The House will see at once why there is no reference in the Speech from the Throne to the public debt.

Nor is there any reference, Sir, to the tax conference which, at the last session, was announced with such gusto by the government as likely to produce permanent and beneficial results to the country. That conference took place-this government is strong on conferences and commissions. It is an easy way to avoid responsibility, temporarily at least, and to delay the solution of a difficult question. We had this taxation conference: it came, it met, it dissolved, and there is no record of any tangible, any visible or any helpful result. That, perhaps, is the reason why no mention of this conference appears in the Speech from the Throne.

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CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

What about the unemployment conference?

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CON

Hugh Alexander Stewart

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEWART (Leeds):

Another celebrated conference was that on unemployment. The Prime Minister states that conditions in Canada are not as bad as those in the United States. I wonder if the records show that numbers of deputations waited on the govern-

ment at Washington asking for relief from unemployment, and if those deputations were sent away empty-handed, were referred to the states for assistance in that direction and told that the central government had nothing for them, that it was not their business to look after the unemployed. Surely if anything of that kind occurred in the United States the Prime Minister would have mentioned it in support of his argument that the conditions in the United States are much worse than they are in Canada.

The income tax in Canada has been found so severe and so burdensome that it has practically driven capital out of Canada and caused it to seek investment and employment elsewhere. On a previous occasion I referred to this matter. Surely the taxation conference could have found some relief for the Canadian people who are suffering from the triple burden of federal, provincial and municipal taxation, where there is a great deal of overlapping, particularly in relation to income tax. Let me urge upon the government a reduction of the income tax to bring it more in line with that of the United States, thus preventing the removal of Canadian capital to that country, where it now finds investment under more favourable terms.

The Speech from the Throne recommends increased production. In this connection we must consider the dealings of this government with the tariff, because the tariff is intimately related to production in Canada. What do we find? When the government came into office it was pledged to a general downward revision of the tariff, a pledge on the strength of which, no doubt many votes were obtained in some parts of Canada. At the first session after the government attained office an effort was made in this direction- small, it is true, but heralded as a step in the right direction and in fulfilment of this pledge in the party platform. It is true that the reduction was offset by an additional measure of taxation, by an increase in the sales tax. But in the second session we had the statement from the then Finance Minister that we must have stability in connection with the tariff; that there must be no more reductions for some time. Then at the third session we had a substantial reduction in the tariff, so substantial, indeed, that it has affected many industries in Canada, has closed many factories, caused grievous unemployment and brought about the emigration of many thousands of our people. This session we have no reductions forecast in the Speech from the Throne, as we had last session. We have it from the Prime Minister thlat there is to be at least a pause in connection with tariff ac-

The Address-Mr. Stewart (Leeds)

tivities. This discloses, Mr. Speaker, a condition of political paralysis on the part of the government so far as tariff matters are concerned; they are so confused that they cannot move in any direction. Worse still, the result has been to produce paralysis on the part of the industries of this country.

The question of increased production in *connection with our natural resources may be made the subject of a reference. I wish to deal very briefly with the question of pulpwood, because those of us who live on the banks of the St. Lawrence river have an almost daily illustration of the folly of allowing our raw pulpwood to be exported to and manufactured in the United States. We see the steamers passing by laden with pulpwood; we see great mounds of it piled up on the American shore of the St. Lawrence river. We submit that this wood should be manufactured as far as possible in Canada. The government took to itself the power to place an embargo on the export of raw pulpwood and a commission was appointed to investigate. That commission has reported, but there is no indication in the Speech from the Throne that the government contemplates any action in the matter. What is the reason for this inactivity? How long are the Canadian people going to stand this sort of thing? Why does the government not come down with a policy either one way or the other on this important question? It is said that action on our part would meet with retaliation on the part of the United States. But surely this is a Canadian question. This is a Canadian natural resource, a Canadian asset, and the Canadian people have the right to deal with their own resources as appears to be best in their own interests. It would not be an unfriendly act on the part of Canada to impose an export duty or to place an embargo on the export of pulpwood from this country. A careful reading of the tariff of the United States- indeed, a casual reading of it-clearly shows that it is framed in the interests of the people of the United States and regardless of the interests of the people of Canada. It is high time that the government acted in this matter and that instead of Canada getting the benefit merely of the price of the million or million and a quarter cords of pulpwood we export every yeajr, we should get three times the price if the material is manufactured into pulpwood, and six times the price if manufactured into paper and then exported. A policy of this kind in connection with pulpwood and with our other raw materials would bring about the establishment of new mills, of new factories in Canada; new towns would rise up around those mills, new markets would

be created for our Canadian products; labour would be provided for the Canadian people and the flow of emigration from Canada to the United States would be stopped. This policy is so apparent as being necessary to the interests of the Canadian people that one wonders that it has not long since been adopted.

I have said that this Speech is remarkable for what it does not contain. It contains no reference to the tariff. It does contain some vague and indefinite references to economy, but intimates that economy will not solve our taxation problems. An examination of the public accounts and the expenditure for public works must, I think, convince members of this House that the government in this direction at least are not effecting any great measure of economy. In the condition in which we find ourselves, with a mounting public debt, with falling revenues, with our budgets failing to balance, surely we can curtail any and every unnecessary public work and allow them to stand until conditions improve. We will await with interest the bringing down of the estimate in connection with this line of the government's activities and see whether, or not there is any evidence of economy visible there.

There is, however, Mr. Speaker, one field in which I have found evidence of economy, and that is in connection with the pensions of returned soldiers and their dependents. I have had many complaints; in some cases pensions have been discontinued altogether; in other cases they have been reduced, and a great deal of hardship has resulted. I urge upon this government through the responsible Minister of Soldiers' Civil Re-establishment that all these reductions and cutting off, of pensions be investigated. I know that the Canadian people desire to discharge their duty to those to whom they owe so much, and to properly care for their dependents, and I sincerely hope that something will be done to restore these pensions that are being cut off, with such hardship to so many people.

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LIB

Henri Sévérin Béland (Minister of Soldiers' Civil Re-establishment; Minister presiding over the Department of Health)

Liberal

Mr. BELAND:

I dislike to interrupt

my hon. friend, but I may say in this connection that the government is responsible for the cancelling of no pensions in Canada.

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CON

Hugh Alexander Stewart

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEWART (Leeds):

The government may not be directly responsible.

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LIB

Henri Sévérin Béland (Minister of Soldiers' Civil Re-establishment; Minister presiding over the Department of Health)

Liberal

Mr. BELAND:

Nor indirectly.

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CON

Hugh Alexander Stewart

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEWART (Leeds):

It may be done by the Board of Pension Commissioners, but they are responsibible to the government-

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LIB

Henri Sévérin Béland (Minister of Soldiers' Civil Re-establishment; Minister presiding over the Department of Health)

Liberal

Mr. BELAND:

No.

152 COMMONS

The Address-Mr. Stewart (Leeds)

Mr. STEWART (Leeds)and the Canadian people will hold the government responsible for their dealings with the returned soldiers and their dependents. It will not do for the minister or the government to say the responsibility rests upon the Board of Pension Commissioners or some other board or organization. All these boards are creatures of the government and of parliament, and are responsible to parliament for their actions.

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LIB

Henri Sévérin Béland (Minister of Soldiers' Civil Re-establishment; Minister presiding over the Department of Health)

Liberal

Mr. BELAND:

I may tell my hon. friend with all due respect that the pension bill for the year is larger than last year.

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CON

Hugh Alexander Stewart

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEWART (Leeds):

That may be

so, but it does not alter the fact that in some cases pensions have been discontinued and in other cases reduced, and that hardship has resulted, and that is the point I desire to press in this connection.

There is one other matter to which I wish to refer, and that is the development of hydro-electric power upon the St. Lawrence.

This is a great natural resource which must receive attention at an early date at the hands of the government, and let

5 p.m. me urge upon the government that immediate action be taken in this connection. This, of course, at once suggests the larger scheme for the deepening of the St. Lawrence, but as to this let me suggest that it can well wait until our finances are in a better shape. The Hydro-Electric Power Commission of the province of Ontario has submitted to this government a plan, and estimates in detail, providing for the development at Morrisburg of a vcr\ large volume of hydro-electric power. The commission has made surveys and observations of the St. Lawrence river extending over a period of years, and has expended, I think, at least a quarter of a million dollars in that connection. The plan has been approved by the province of Ontario and has been submitted to this government for its approval. It does not in any way affect or interfere with the larger scheme for the deepening of the St. Lawrence, but on the contrary facilitates and makes in the meantime ample provision for navigation. The supply of hydro-electric power in the western part of Ontario has been very largely over-taken, and there is need' for this development in the eastern part of the province to supplement the supply. The work can be undertaken at once without any large cost to the Dominion of Canada, and what I am urging is that the government give its approval to the plan submitted by the Hydro-Electric Commission cf the province of Ontario and allow this work to proceed. It may be pointed out, properly enough, that

this is a complicated matter, that it involves a conflict of jurisdiction between the province and the Dominion, between the province of Ontario and the state of New York, and between the Dominion of Canada ami the government of the United States of America; but all these things have been taken into consideration, and I do not think there can be anything wrong with this plan or anything that will prevent the immediate development of this large volume of power.

Let me urge that as the larger part of this power belongs to Ontario and to Canada, the control of it be retained in the Hydro-Electric Power Commission of Ontario, and that it be not handed over to any joint international commission, or any other body that has international jurisdiction Let us preserve in Canada our full share of this supply of power and let us see that it is not exported under any lease, agreement or other arrangement either temporary or permanent. That is the only way to secure in Canada a development to which we are entitled ;n connection with this great natural resource. This is not a matter for eastern Ontario alone; it is not a matter for Ontario alone; it touches our national life at many points. It will stimulate agriculture, it will develop industry, it will bring traffic to our railways, it will increase our population, and with a wise and careful development of this power I foresee along the St. Lawrence the most extensive and intensive industrial development in the world. I commend this matter to the most serious consideration of my friend the Minister of Railways and Canals (Mr. Graham), whom I see in his seat. He knows the conditions, he knows the need', and I sincerely hope that he will find a way to give an early approval to the plan that has been submitted by the Hydro-Electric Power Commission of Ontario.

Mention is made in the Speech of railway rates. It is of course a very important question and a complicated one, but one Mr. Speaker, which I think should have been dealt with by this parliament at its first, or at latest its second session. The Crowsnest pass agreement was before this House. It was manifest I think to all that it had outlived its usefulness, that it had brought discrimination both in the east and in the west and the government should, I submit, have faced its responsibilities instead of running away from them; it should have revoked or cancelled that agreement, and should have referred the whole question of the revision of rates to the railway commission, the only body in Canada with the expert knowledge

The Address-Mr. Manion

and equipment necessary for determining a matter of that kind. But as usual the government dallied with it. It dealt with it in a measure, it nursed it along, and we have had several rates in the meantime. We have had confusion, and we have had appeals and litigation and a great deal of expense, and now the whole matter has to be faced and dealt with as it should have been faced and dealt with two or three sessions ago.

I do not propose to deal with the question of the North Atlantic Conference, and the efforts that are outlined in connection with freight rates on the ocean, as another opportunity will be presented for dealing with that question. Speaking of an export duty the recent report of the grain commission intimates that an export duty might well be imposed upon wheat going to the United States, in view of the very high duty that is imposed against us. A great deal may be said in favour of this, and on behalf of the eastern farmer, I can see that the by-products of this wheat, if milled in Canada, would be available for the feeding of his cattle.

I wish to summarize some of the matters upoip which I have touched, and in order to condense my contention as much as possible,

I make the following submissions:

Fijrst, that there should be a downward revision in the scale of the income tax, to mak{3 it approximately the same as that of the }CJnited States.

fbecond, that there should be an upward re/vision of the tariff wherever necessary to protect the Canadian farmer in respect of the large volume of American produce that is coming into Canada, which we can produce here, and which has been referred to by the previous speakers, and also for the purpose of protecting such industries in Canada as suffer from unfair competition from the products of countries having depreciated currency and cheap labour.

Third, an export duty or embargo on pulp-wood and other natural resources.

Fourth, approval of the plan of the Hydro Electric Power Commission of Ontario for development of electrical power on the St. Lawrence.

Fifth, curtailment of all unnecessary expenditures.

These I submit, Mr. Speaker, for the earnest consideration of the House and for prompt action at the hands of the government. I cannot help, in conclusion, comparing the pale anaemic Speech from the Throne with the resolution which is proposed by the right hon. leader of the opposition (Mr. Meighen). The

Speech from the Throne seems calculated to outline as little as possible for the relief of the Canadian people. It seems to be intended for a short session, with possibly an election in June, when there may be a new issue of political promises as there was in the last election. The resolution of the right hon. leader of the opposition which will be discussed in due time sets out a programme, not for a session, not for to-day, not for an election, but for a generation, a plan that will, if properly applied to varying and changing conditions, bring about the development of our natural resources, will build up our population and will make of the Canadian people a virile, strong and vigorous nation.

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CON

Robert James Manion

Conservative (1867-1942)

Hon. R. J. MANION (Fort William and Rainy River):

In the early part of the afternoon, Mr. Speaker, we had a discussion as to whether the Speech from the Throne should be further 'debated in this House. I have been sitting in the chamber for the last hour and a half since that discussion occurred, and I think if we required any proof that this discussion should not be shut off, the two speeches that have preceded mine are proof enough. I thoroughly enjoyed listening to the constructive suggestions which were made to the government by both of those speakers. One remark of my hon. friend for Leeds (Mr. Stewart) struck me as particularly true, though it was not a suggestion. He said the Speech from the Throne was " anaemic," and I found myself thinking it was pernicious anaemia that was the trouble. I think many of his suggestions were well worthy of the consideration of the government. I was particularly interested in the speech of the hon. member for West Algoma (Mr. Simpson) who preceded me, a gentleman who, unhappily for the House, has been for the last couple of years, due to illness, unable to raise Inis voice in the debates of this House, but a man who has the respect of everybody in this House and the respect of everybody in Sault Ste. Marie, whence he comes. His voice once more raised in this House dealing with the problems of Canada will be an acquisition to the House. I was particularly interested in his remarks about the development of iron, and I may point out to my good friends to my left that the report from which he quoted dealing with the iron development of Canada, or the oounty system, was a report gotten out by a commission appointed by the late Drury government, the Progressive government of Ontario. I do not know whether my hon. friend mentioned that fact. That commission reported an favour of helping to develop the iron resources of this

The Address-Mr. Manion

country by a bounty system. I believe the proposition is a very good one. I 'believe that their proposal to this Dominion government, that they combine with them and bring in a bounty system which would help to develop the hundreds of millions of tons of iron ore which exist in nearly all sections from the Atlantic to the Pacific, would be a worthy project for this parliament to undertake in order to help develop some of these resources of which some of us speak .perhaps too much, but for the development of which we do so little.

I intend to confine my remarks pretty much to the Address and some of the subjects contained in the Address. I do not propose to discuss the tariff question, except to make a few remarks in reply to some statements which have been made, because I believe that my hon. friend for Vancouver Centre (Mr. Stevens) gave us such a very fine address upon the tariff, supported by the hon. member for Halton (Mr. Anderson), that we require from this section practically no elaboration of the theme at thia time, though on the motion of my right hoa. leader (Mr. Meighen), which is on the order paper, and on the budget itself, no doubr. we shall be able to offer whatever suggestions we may wish to make. I intend to limit myself fairly well to discussing the Address, and in doing so, may I .pick out what the government itself has declared to be the most important problem of Canada at the present time? I will quote the words in the third paragraph of the Speech from the Throne:

The problem of the cost of living is the most important that my ministers have in mind at the present time.

Therefore, if I take that as my text, I am sure that the government cannot quarrel with me, and if in speaking to that, I do what is usually done in speaking to texts, if I tell them a few wholesome truths, I am sure that they will not be able to quarrel with that either. The cost of living has become to the Prime Minister almost an obsession. I remember for the past seven or eight years, when he was either moving amendments to the Addresses of the government which preceded him or putting into the mouth of His Excellency the Speech from the Throne, he invariably brought up the question of the cost of living. That to him, as I said on another occasion, has been a little like what the head of Charles I was to Mr. Dick. It has got in his road and prevented him from seeing any of the other problems of the country.

I remember reading what Mark Twain said of the weather. He said that everybody complained about it but nobody did any-

IMr. Manion.]

thing about it. The trouble is that the government keeps on talking about the cost of living, but does nothing about it. A difference of two or three or four points is the most the Prime Minister has claimed as the reduction in the cost of living. During the four years he has been in power a reduction of two or three or four points out of 150 will not make any appreciable difference, and they have probably been lost since he has made his speech.

The Prime Minister says that the most important problem the government has under consideration is the cost of living. I do not agree with him at all. I think the real problem in Canada to-day for the vast majority of our people is the problem of getting a living at all. Would you mind telling me, Mr. Speaker, if out of the 180,000 or thereabouts who left the Dominion of Canada to go to the most highly protected country in the world to earn a living, did one leave this country because of the cost of living? Not one. Every one of those without exception left this country because in Canada he could not earn a living at all. It is not cheapness the people are always looking for; they are anxious to be able to buy goods at all. They are anxious to be able to get work and wages so that they can buy for themselves, a living of some .kind or another. This they have not been ab le to do in this country.

The second question of importance, \_pas ticularly for the business man, is the probflen of the appalling taxation under which business; in this country is suffering. Therefore the Prime Minister himself, as is usual in the slipshod methods of the present government, made a wrong diagnosis of the cause altogether, and as is so well known in the profession which I practise when I am not in parliament, if you make a wrong diagnosis, your treatment is necessarily wrong. You cannot treat a patient correctly unless first your know the cause of his illness.

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February 13, 1925