February 13, 1925

CON

James Arthurs

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ARTHURS:

What happens to the

patient?

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CON

Robert James Manion

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MANION:

What happens to the

patient is just what is happening to the country at the present time. He goes into dissolution. What is really needed in Canada is a policy to permit the people to earn a living here instead of expatriating themselves to the United States to earn a living, and to permit particularly those who cannot afford to expatriate themselves to the United States, to exist in this country. What we want is work for the worker and less taxation for the business man. In addition to that, we want

The Address-Mr. Manion

[DOT]enough work so that we can bring into this country a steady stream of immigrants who will, by increasing our population, decrease our debt and help to develop the natural resources of Canada. Instead of that we have a policy which has brought about conditions which I intend to describe, ever keeping in mind the danger of being called a pessimist which seems to be the popular way among politicians of describing anybody who looks the facts in the face. Conditions in Canada to-day are so depressing that they are frightening all people who live in the country, all people who have a hope for the country to become the great, powerful, peace-loving nation that its destiny says it should become. It makes them fear for the future of Canada. It makes them ask themselves if we have got into a morass from which it is impossible to extricate ourselves. I am forced to think of something which illustrates this point very well. Any member of this House-and you, Mr. Speaker, are one of them

who has been in Europe, has, while in London, no doubt, visited that splendid cathedral of St. Paul's. As you enter the cathedral, on one side there is a tablet in honour of the architect, Sir Christopher Wren, and on that tablet the following words are engraved:

If you wish to see his monument, look around you.

In the same way, if you wish to see the monuments of this government, look around you. Its wreckage lies on every side. We have idle plants, idle people and idle talk by the Prime Minister that Canada is prosperous at the present time. We have wrecked businesses, closed factories, closed plants of all kinds, depressed people, unrest, discontent, dissatisfaction and finally, to cap it all, we have discussions going on which have not gone on in Canada to any extent for a long time past, discussions regarding whether we should have secession in our country, that is, breaking up our confederation, or whether we should have annexation to the United States. In other words, we have in Canada to-day a veritable slough of despond. I suppose my smiling friend over there, the Minister of Trade and Commerce (Mr. Low) will say that I am exaggerating, but I am not exaggerating and I intend to prove my statements. As regards unemployment, I do not need to give proofs, though I intend to give very briefly two or three. Anybody who knows the country at all, knows that unemployment is more rampant in Canada to-day than it has been in twenty-five or fifty years.

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LIB
CON

Robert James Manion

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MANION:

Of course, my hon. friend

always has some reply of that sort to make,

but idle men on the street will tell him that I am speaking the truth. I will quote from one of the articles from which my right hon. friend quoted the other day and which I had also run across. This is an article from the Montreal Star of February 6, reporting a Trades and Labour Council meeting in Montreal, and I intend to quote just two or three passages from it. The report of their committee shows that out of 48,000 odd men covered by their unions, 9,500 are out of employment and 22,000 are working on short time, these two figures together being over 65 per cent of the membership of the union who, are either out of work altogether or working short time. Further down the report states:

The extent of unemployment was greater than in the same period last year and a very serious condition of affairs existed among the working classes of the city.

A little further down, it states:

More calls from distressed people for personal aid had been received than during the last winter or the winter preceding.

In the report it shows the official figure given by the Minister of Labour as to unemployment in Canada as 44,000, and the report states:

The figure given for Canada is ridiculously low and the actual condition must be at least twice that amount.

That is the reply of the Trades and Labour Council to the nonsensical statement of my hon. friend. The hon. member for Parry Sound (Mr. Arthurs) suggests that the Salvation Army in Toronto, his own city, could give him some information also which would hardly agree with his statistics. I hold in my hand a circular which was sent out to many members, probably to all members by the British Empire Steel Corporation in connection with unemployment in the steel industry in Canada. They give figures to show that there are 48,000 less employed in the iron and steel industry in Canada to-day than there were in 1920. The Halifax Herald is quoted. I do not know what the polities of the Herald are, but the fact is that this newspaper is quoted:

What do these figures tell us? That the work is being done in the United States. It is there that men find employment. It is there that wages are being earned-while Canadian mills are closed down.

I give another quotation:

The special correspondent of the Iron Age-

This is another Toronto paper.

-who investigated conditions in all the Canadian iron and steel works makes it quite plain that they are much the same in Ontario as they are in Nova Scotia-

The Address-Mr. Manion

My hon. friend from West Algoma (Mr. Simpson) agreed this afternoon with that.

-and that the reason is not one that applies to one locality more than another, but is general. It is simply tariff reductions.

A little lower down there appears the following :

Mr. Sanderson's investigations and report show that the tariff, or rather lack of it, has had a very important effect not only in reducing production but in causing many workmen to leave Canada for the United States, where employment conditions have been more satisfactory. Canadian iron and steel industry is experiencing severe competition from many directions. The action of the government in connection with its budget for 1925 is awaited with interest.

I hope that the budget will show something substantial, but I do not base my hopes strongly on anything I have heard. Let me tell the Minister of Labour (Mr. Murdock) that in the Toronto Globe, a newspaper which can hardly be described as a supporter of this party, there appeared on October 9 a group picture on. the front page, which I possess among my papers, of some fifty mayors of the cities and towns of Ontario-not of Canada but of Ontario-who it was stated were visiting at that time the Conservative Premier of Ontario, Mr. Howard Ferguson, asking him for relief for unemployment conditions in the various places which they represent. And I can speak for my own city, which perhaps has not been harder hit than any other, and which it may be has been more fortunate in this regard than some. Today I can hardly walk down the streets of Fort William without being stopped both by business men and by workers who want to know what in heaven's name is the matter with this country of ours. They all ask the same question-what has happened to this Dominion? I can assure my hon. friends that I have told them to the best of my ability.

As regards the exodus from Canada, there is no doubt that it is declining, and some of the Liberal newspapers as well as the Prime Minister have boasted of this fact; they have made much of the decline in the exodus of the Canadian people. Well, there is no doubt that the exodus is lessening, but the reason is obvious: there are fewer people to draw from. The exodus, Mr. Speaker, is declining for the same reason that the flow of a man's life blood decreases in proportion as he gets nearer to dissolution. The Prime Minister the other day in his speech made the statement that the figures of the Labour department of the United States were incorrect, that is to say, that the actual figures in regard to the exodus from Canada to the United States were not as high as they were represented. And no doubt the Minister of Labour will agree with

that. But I know sections of this country,- such for example as the district around Fort Frances-which lies on the international border, where I am informed that daily towards dusk there are streams of men slipping across the line into the United States, of whom, of course, no records are kept. And I know also that in my home town in the practice of my profession I am flooded with requests from young Canadians, Scotsmen, Irishmen, Englishmen, who have been living for some time in this country, for certificates of health which they require as a pre-requisite to entry into the United States, since it is necessary that they produce such a certificate before being admitted in to that country at the present time. The very cream of our British stock is leaving the country and going across to the United States. If hon. gentlemen need further proof I will quote once more the Toronto Globe. Here is an article which appeared in that newspaper on December 15, less than two months ago, being a special despatch to the Globe from Windsor, Ontario:

Windsor, December 14-Upward of 1,250 persons from the British Isles have made application at Windsor for permission to enter the United States, Marshall M. Vance, United States consul at the border, said Saturday. Under the present quota law, the consul explained, enough applications are on file to fill the quota needs for the next 42 years.

I notice that the Minister of Labour makes no comment. However, I think I have given sufficient proof from various newspapers as to the exodus that is taking place. Now, Mr. Speaker, I do not claim to love my country any better than other Canadians do, but I do think that to every patriotic man in Canada it must be a sad sight to see the very life blood of the nation flowing out as it is. It must be a matter of great concern to every serious citizen to see the young men and women of this country emigrating to the United States, probably never to return. Whoever has studied French history knows that in those cruel days of two or three hundred years ago, the days of religious persecution in that country, France lost tens and hundreds of thousands of Huguenots, the finest artisans in France, who were driven into England, Germany and Holland for conscience sake. England, Germany and Holland profited to an enormous extent, while France's loss was inestimable, in the exodus from their native land of these Frenchmen. Unfortunately the same condition exists in Canada to-day, but the fact is that the present situation is due not to the tyranny of any autocratic king but to the stupid policies of a vote-hunting government who desire to maintain themselves in power. To-

The Address-Mr. Manion

day the factories of England, Belgium, France and the United States as well as of Czecho-Slovakia and other countries, are retaining their artisans, producing goods that find their way into Canada, while the young men who work in our Canadian factories are among those who are making their exit to the United States.

The Prime Minister has declared it unpatriotic for us to discuss these facts. But, Sir, what is there unpatriotic in one's saying publicly what everybody says privately? I suppose, Mr. Speaker, that I shall be accused to-morrow of being a pessimist merely because I have ventured to look the facts in the face. But I take it that this charge will come from those who place party above country, who are Liberals first and Canadians second, or rather perhaps, I should say, who are politicians before being patriots.

But let me ask hon. gentlemen a question. If a man who has worked during a substantial period of his life and has gradually accumulated a competence and built for himself a home which he loves, should upon returning some evening find that house in flames, with all his savings in the course of destruction,-what would one say of such a man if he stood by and, with cheers and laughter, declared that conditions for him were never better than at that particular moment? Would such a man be considered an optimist? I would call him an imbecile. Well, Mr. Speaker, without intending any oflence at all, I must say that it seems to me that those who stand up in this country and declare that conditions were never at any time better than they are to-day are suffering from the same mental condition.

Let me say that I am no pessimist so far as Canada's future is concerned; I am not pessimistic regarding the great destiny of this country. I am, however, doubtful whether under present conditions, and under such a policy as is being pursued to-day, Canada will realize, as soon as we should hope, the destiny which we all anticipate for her. I am afraid that if present conditions are continued indefinitely the great destiny of the Canadian people will be retarded ten or twenty, indeed perhaps fifty years. I am alarmed at the prospect, Mr. Speaker. But some of the greatest men in the country share this misgiving; men like Sir Frederick Williams-Taylor, the president of the Bank of Montreal, Sir Herbert Holt, Mr. Beatty, and representatives of the Trade and Labour Council are all uneasy. These gentlemen have expressed views pretty much the same as I have voiced to-day, although

perhaps in milder language; but they have all reached absolutely the same conclusion. The only period in our history in which I can find a parallel to the present state of affairs was that period around 1878, when conditions were indeed severe. Anyone will discover, if he takes the trouble to read the speeches of members of parliament as recorded in Hansard of that time, how tense the feeling of the nation was then, when the Prime Minister on leaving the House of Commons was accosted on the streets by people who cried for either bread or work. To-day too the people are crying for bread or work; the workmen are crying for bread or work and the Prime Minister gives them statistics, statistics in regard to Canada's external trade.

I am sure that these statistics will serve to relieve the pangs of hunger of these workmen and help to pay their rent.

My right hon. friend appears to be of the opinion that external trade is more important for a country than internal trade. Internal trade is the really important trade for a country; in other words, the ability of the people to buy and sell among themselves. You can look back over the history of the world and find many instances of countries where the people were dying by the tens of thousands and even by the million from absolute famine while their foodstuffs and other products were being exported to a large extent.

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LIB

James Alexander Robb (Minister of Immigration and Colonization)

Liberal

Mr. ROBB:

Before my hon. friend leaves

the question of population, perhaps he can give me this information, as he comes from just on the edge of the prairies. If I understood him aright, he was referring to the exodus of our people to the States. Will he explain how it is that the three prairie provinces are basing their demands for the subsidy we pay them of 25 cents a head on a population of 169,000 more than in 1922?

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CON

Robert James Manion

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MANION:

Of course, I have not the

mind of the prairie provinces in my keeping. The only answer I can give the minister is this: I heard the representatives from the three prairie provinces in this House asking the government for the return of their natural resources, and I presume they have got so tired waiting that now they are making a substantial demand in order to secure good fair treatment.

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LIB

James Alexander Robb (Minister of Immigration and Colonization)

Liberal

Mr. ROBB:

No, this is based on the

statistics of population. As my hon. friend knows, we pay the provinces so much per head of population. To-day they are basing their claim on a population of 169,000 more than they had in 1922.

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The Address-Mr. Manion

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CON

Robert James Manion

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MANION:

Of course, I do not know

anything about it.

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CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

I presume they took

the figures given by the Dominion statistics office, which lately published statistics of our population. They would be justified in doing so. But the Chief Statistician will tell the minister that in arriving at those statistics he took the rate of progress in the ten years previous and projected the curve into the three years. So the minister will see of what use those figures are.

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LIB

James Alexander Robb (Minister of Immigration and Colonization)

Liberal

Mr. ROBB:

I would not admit that at all.

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CON

Robert James Manion

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MANION:

I do not care anything

about the figures the prairie provinces sent down in making their demand on my hon. friend; but I do know, as everybody else knows, that the exodus from this country is painfully large, that our people are going out by tens of thousands to the United States.

I was going to give some further proofs of conditions in this country, and I was going to point out that for the first time in very many years we have had what happened many years ago-talk of annexation and of secession. We have people asking if confederation is a failure. I have seen it stated in some Toronto paper that there is no talk of annexation in this country. I think that statement must have been made in a Pickwickian sense, because I have heard openly on Pullman cars and on the streets talk of annexation, I have had sane business men ask me if it was not necessary, in order to get out of this morass of difficulties, to join up with the United States. Just within the last week an outstanding gentleman in this city, one whose name is familiar to everyone in this House, one who is not. an annexationist, told me that if a vote were taken in one of the largest sections of the country, comprising about a third of the population, annexation would carry overwhelmingly. What a terrible condition of affairs to exist in such a country as this!

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LIB

George Perry Graham (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM:

Do you think he was well informed?

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CON

Robert James Manion

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MANION:

I think he is just as well Informed as my hon. friend the Minister of Railways. I know him as well as I know my hon. friend, and I am not making any reflection on the Minister of Railways, indeed I have the greatest respect for him. But the gentleman to whom I am referring is just as well known throughout the Dominion as my hon. friend.

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LIB

George Perry Graham (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM:

That is not the point.

He may be as well known as the toll gate

rMr. Robb.]

used to be. What I am trying to get at is this. Are you serious in telling this House that you believe that one-third of the people of the Dominion, take any third you like, are in favour of annexation?

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CON

Robert James Manion

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MANION:

I did not give that as my own statement; I gave it as the statement of an outstanding gentleman in this country, a gentleman whose name is familiar to everyone in the House. He said to me that if a vote for annexation were taken in this section of the country, which comprises one-third of the people of Canada, it would carry overwhelmingly.

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LIB

George Perry Graham (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM:

My hon. friend and myself are agreed; he does not believe that statement any more than I do. At least I imagine he does not.

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CON

Robert James Manion

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MANION:

I am not so sure if at the present time a vote were taken in the section of which he speaks it might not carry, due to the terrible conditions brought about by the foolish policies of this government.

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LIB

George Perry Graham (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM:

I am surprised.

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CON

Robert James Manion

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MANION:

When I was interrupted

rather generally, I was explaining what a crime it was to have even the suggestion of annexation whispered in this country, with its magnificent resources, its wide spaces, and its sparse population. I do not know, Mr. Speaker, if anybody here is drawing the conclusion that I am advocating annexation.

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LIB

James Murdock (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. MURDOCK:

I am drawing that conclusion.

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February 13, 1925