April 14, 1925

LIB

William Richard Motherwell (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. MOTHERWELL:

The reason they are not lending more, if my hon. friend wishes to know, is because there are no investors to put their money into the scheme, and, further, that the money is not coming back as quickly as they would like.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE ACTING MINISTER OF FINANCE
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UFA

William Thomas Lucas

United Farmers of Alberta

Mr. LUCAS:

They are evidently short of money, then. There is another question I would like to deal with, one that I think is of vital importance to Canada, namely, the handling of our grain through our own Canadian channels. I would like to refer hon. gentlemen to the report of the Royal Grain Inquiry Commission presided over by Mr. Justice Turgeon. If they will turn to pages 203 and 204 they will find some information that is worth noting in this connection. I quote:-

The report of the Minister of Trade and Commerce shows that in the crop year 1921-22 the exports of Canada wheat

Bushels

From New York, Baltimore, Boston and

Portland were 100,009,466

From Montreal and Quebec 28.030,051

From St. John, N.B 6.604,898

Total 134,744,415

So that the comparison between United States and Canadian seaports, in the export of Canadian wheat in that year was 74 per cent and 26 per cent.

In addition to this, several million bushels were shipped by Vancouver and went to Japan and China, or through the Panama canal, to Europe.

In the crop year, 1922-23 (1st September, 1922 to 31st August, 1923) the exports of Canadian wheat

were-

Bushels

To United States 12,936,048

Via United States ports to United Kingdom and elsewhere 129,871,095

Exported from Montreal and Quebec.. .. 57,030,848

Exported from St. John, N.B 12,014,152

Exported from Vancouver 17,829,671

which makes the comparison between United States and Canadian Atlantic seaports 65 per cent and 35 per cent as regards exports overseas.

The Budget-Mr. Lucas

The figures are also now available with regard to the export of Canadian wheat for the crop year ending 31st August, 1924. They

are as follows:

Bushels

To United States for consumption 21,320,242

To United States seaports for export 141,079,337

Exported from Montreal and Quebec

63,568,444Exported from St. John

9,412,533Exported from Vancouver

53,809,505Total

289,190,061

These figures show that the eastern coast exports continue as before, 66 per cent via United States seaports and 34 per cent via Montreal, Quebec and St. John. This is a very vital question, and these facts are in themselves a strong argument for the equalization of our freight rates through the mountains to Vancouver. In view of the percentage of grain that is going through American ports at present, to my mind there is no reason why we should not make every effort to encourage the shipment of that grain through our own Canadian ports. So far as the reduction of the mountain freight rate is concerned, I would point out that there are no mountains so far as grade is concerned from Edmonton to Vancouver, because we have as low a grade between those two points as prevails between Edmonton and Fort William.

According to the report of the grain commission the distance over which this great volume of business is being carried across the Atlantic are as follows:

Via New York-

Miles

Winnipeg to Fort William, rail 420

Fort William to Buffalo, water 860

Buffalo to New York, rail 400

New York to Liverpool, ocean steamer.. 3,100

Total 4,780

Whereas if sent all rail to Quebec or Montreal, the figures would be:

Via St. Lawrence-

Miles

Winnipeg to Quebec, rail (1,372 to Montreal). 1,350

Quebec to Liverpool, ocean steamer 2,633

Total 3,983

So that, as this report states, western province grain exported via New York has to be carried 800 miles further than if it were shipped at Quebec, or about 660 miles further than if sent all rail to Montreal. I quote further from the report of the commission:

It is true that the grain sent by New York has a shorter rail haul than that sent all rail to the St. Lawrence, but on the other hand, it is subject to two double transhipments, one at Fort William and one at Buffalo, which are not encountered on the other route. These additional elevator charges, combined with the lake freight and marine insurance from Fort

William to Buffalo, not incurred on the all rail Canadian route, should more than compensate for the greater rail haul. For instance, the cost of handling wheat from Fort William to New York, in October, 1923, was:

cents

per

bushel

Elevator charge, Fort William 1.25

Lake freight, Fort William to Buffalo.. .. 5.20

Marine insurance 0.30

Elevator, Buffalo 1.00

Bailroad freight, Buffalo to New York.. .. 9.10

Elevator, New York 1.00

Total cents per bushel 17.85

The total by the Georgian bay route was 16.65 cents a bushel and by the all water route, 15.45. So that even if our grain went east through all-Canadian ports we find that it is a cheaper rate than going by New York. We find further from this report that in 1916 a rate of six cents a bushel from Winnipeg to Quebec was in effect on the National Transcontinental Railways, and Dr. Reid then Minister of Railways stated at that time that it was a profitable rate. A great deal of grain flowed that way under the six-cent rate. But later that rate was raised to 20j cents a bushel, and the result has been that the shipments have dried up. It seems to me that the government might well look into these questions and see whether a rate could not be provided that would keep more of our grain in Canadian channels. If we had a rate from Armstrong to Quebec in line with the Crows-nest rates from the west to Fort William, we would have a rate of 11 cents a bushel instead of 20J cents from Armstrong to Quebec. It seems to me that it would be good business to divert that traffic to our own Canadian railways rather than let it go through American ports. Moreover, the 'handling of this grain when it goes through our ports will provide a great deal of work for our own people.

Another matter that affects us vitally in the West is discrimination as between domestic and export rates. We find that in shipping grain through Vancouver the domestic rate is 4H cents per hundred pounds, while the export rate is 22J cents, a difference of 19 cents. Now when we come to ship that same grain, say to Montreal we find that the domestic rate is 63-J cents per hundredweight and the export rate 60^ cents or a difference of only 3 cents as compared to 19 cents at Vancouver. It certainly seems rather hard to understand why we should be penalized on the western route to that extent. I may say that our trade with the Orient is developing very largely so that rates on the western route are a matter of great importance.

The Budget-Mr. Pouliot

I should like to revert for a few moments to the tariff question and to say that our manufacturing friends will have to adjust their business similarly to the adjustment the farmers have had to make in view of the conditions with which they have been faced, We have heard a great deal about the farmers adopting a system of mixed farming and they have been warned not to put all their eggs into one basket. Now, just to quote a few statistics from t'he province of Alberta, we find that while the total value of dairy products in 1905 amounted to only $1,000,000, in 1924 the, value had grown to $22,928,750; and that whereas in 1905 the product of 13 creameries reached a total of 813,000 pounds in 1924 there was an output of 21,500,000 pounds from 89 creameries. Of cheese 13 factories in 1915 produced 381,832 pounds, and in 1924 the output of the same number of factories had increased to 1,675,000 pounds. Our export of butter in 1922 amounted to 1,000,000 pounds, while in 1924 it had increased to 4,100,000 pounds. Therefore it cannot be said that the farmers in the west are not adapting themselves to the changed condition which has arisen. On the other hand we find that our manufacturing friends, instead of trying to meet those changed conditions, are coming whining to parliament year after year and asking for more protection. We find that while the manufacturers believe in protection on what they have to sell they are really free traders themselves when it comes to what they have to buy. Last year I met several gentlemen representing manufacturing concerns engaged in the steel business. They were complaining about conditions in their industry and in conversation with them I found they were buying most of their steel in the United States. I asked them why they were doing this and they said because they could buy cheaper there. I said "I presume it is good business to buy wherever you can buy the cheapest?" and they answered "Certainly". Then I said "If it is good business for you to do that why is it not equally good business for the farmer?" We find, as I say, that while these gentlemen are protectionists where the other fellow is concerned they are looking for advantages of all kinds for themselves. I placed a question on the order paper a few days ago and I find from the answer to it that while these gentlemen advocate protection for their own industries they receive in drawbacks practically one-tenth of the whole amount of duty collected by this country. I was always under the impression that this drawback was only paid on goods manufactured

in Canada for export, I was surprised to find that there is a very large amount of drawback paid on raw materials imported into this country and manufactured here for home consumption.

At this late hour I do not wish to delay the House any longer except to say this: I

think that if we are ever going to have prosperity in Canada greater attention will have to be paid to the basic industries of this country. Personally I will be willing at all times to give my support to any government that will carry out a policy of that kind.

Mr. JEAN-FRANQOIS POULIOT (Temis-couata): I should like to speak in French,

in my own language, on rising to make my maiden speech, but I shall defer doing so until another occasion because I have certain views to express in the interests of my own constituency and wish to be clearly understood by every hon. member. I have 'been represented in certain quarters as an independent Liberal. Both words are synonymous and this is a case where the less is included in the greater. Ever since my boyhood I have been an ardent admirer of Sir Wilfrid Laurier who, in his immortal lecture on Liberalism in Quebec, declared that Liberalism was derived from two words- *liberty and liberality. I shall always remember what Sir Wilfrid Laurier said and shall act accordingly. He was one of the greatest men in the Liberal party in Canada, and, for many years, one of the greatest statesmen in the British Empire. I am glad to pay this compliment to the right hon. the Prime Minister: He was faithful and true to Sir

Wilfrid Laurier when, on an occasion which everybody remembers, others who had proclaimed themselves his friends had deserted him. As a newly elected member I wish to express my gratitude to the members of the government, to every hon. member of this House-including hon. gentlemen opposite- for their courtesy to me; and I think that my colleagues whio were introduced with me at the beginning of the session share my views on this point. I wish not only to thank my fellow members but also the officers and employees of every department of the House for helping us in our work.

My county is a very large one, the population being about 50,000. It is one of the largest rural constituencies of the province of Quebec, and as my election took place only two months before the opening of the session I should like to put on Hansard an important resolution which was adopted at a meeting of the county council of my constituency:

The Budget-Mr. Pouliot

should know each other and they should also know our country. The people of Quebec are not at all sectional as they are represented to be by some Ontario papers. They are practical people. They have lived for generations on the soil of their province. They are happy to live there. They love their country and they understand quite well that their country is Canada. They are not narrow-minded, they would be ready to defend Canada at any time; but they do not understand how money can be spent for any war outside of the boundaries of Canada. I am sorry that only one member of the Unionist party is in the House at present, but I shall be glad to invite him to come down next summer into my constituency and to introduce him to the farmers of lower Quebec. I am sure he will appreciate them, realize that they are good and reliable people, and give the news to some of his colleagues sitting next to him so that no mistake should be made in the future.

The Canadian stock is the best stock we have in this country. Two years ago there were in my constituency terrible forest fires which caused damages to the extent of at least $3,000,000. Some parishes were completely ruined and those people who were Canadian-born and who had lived generation after generation on our soil, instead of migrating to the United States, remained where they used to live. Their houses, their buildings were burned; nothing was left besides their wonderful courage. They said: "We have had trouble, but we will start again here." So they did. This is the kind of people that we should help, that we should keep with us. Instead of spending money for immigration to bring people to this country at a high cost, we should use that money in keeping our people at home and helping them to live happily on Canadian soil.

The government is continuing to grant a subsidy to the provinces for the upkeep of the roads. There are three kinds of public roads: there are the local roads, for the local use of the municipalities; there are the provincial state roads and there should be the federal state roads which should be at least in part in the care of the federal government. In my opinion the government should grant the subsidy to the municipalities instead of giving it to the provinces. Under the law of the province of Quebec the municipality may obtain from the local government a sum equal to what it spends, paying a low rate of interest. If the municipalities could get some direct help from the federal government they might be enabled to improve all their roads,

and at the same time communications would be improved between various parts of the country.

A ferry is needed between Riviere du Loup and Tadoussac. Some years ago a small wooden boat gave a regular service in winter as well as during the summer between Tadoussac and Riviere du Loup, taking advantage of one of the currents that would take it from Tadoussac to Riviere du Loup on one day, and the following day from Riviere du Loup to Tadoussac. Thus there was constant communication the year round. As one is fully aw&re, the north channel east of Tadoussac along the north coast is never closed up by ice fields as the south channel is, with the exception already mentioned between Riviere du Loup and Tadoussac. I hope therefore that the Minister of Trade and Commerce (Mr. Low) will grant the request of the people of that district and of the city of Riviere du Loup and provide the ferry which is asked for. It is most important as it is the only connecting link in winter between that vicinity and that part of the north shore east of the Saguenay river. While speaking about highways I desire to say a few words about our railways. In my constituency at Riviere du Loup we have fine shops, good workingmen, and the equipment is up to date. The people there should be given an opportunity to secure employment. The Canadian National Railways line from Ste. Rosalie to Mont-Joli is a paying branch, but it is very hard to understand why the cars and engines used on that branch line are repaired in Moncton and Amherst. Such a transportation is very costly, and some cheaper and better work could be done at cost price at the Riviere du Loup shops of the Canadian National Railways. Cars marked O.K. at Moncton, supposed to have been well repaired have had to be sent back to Riviere du Loup to be put into proper condition. Another thing which it is difficult to understand is the fact that sometimes the Canadian National Railways send their own cars for repairs to foreign shops not belonging to the National system. It seems to me that we should give work to our own Canadian people and employees of the Canadian National Railways should have the preference. The work could be done by them at cost price, and this would be in keeping with the policy of economy preached by officials of the National Railways. My hon. friend from Victoria, Alberta (Mr. Lucas), has insisted on the ship' ping of grain through Canadian ports. I felt it my duty to join the delegation from the Maritime provinces, when it came here, in the request that Canadian grain should be shipped

The Budget-Mr. Pouliot

via ports in this country. The Grand Trunk Railway now belongs to the country and is under the management of the Canadian National Railways. The branch from Montreal to Portland is a very paying line. Such result does not help the shipping of grain via Canadian ports. The trouble with the Canadian National Railways, as my hon. friend from Terrebonne (Mr. Prevost) has said, started with the purchase of the Canadian Northern at the enormous price of $700,000,000. We now have to pay a big interest on that huge amount. Let us remember that it is not the present government that made that mistake; the responsibility must rest with the Unionist government and especially on the shoulders of Sir Thomas White who was the attorney of Mackenzie and Mann. I have a great respect for the officers of the Grand Trunk Railway as well as for the officers and the employees of the Intercolonial. The officers of the Grand Trunk were handicapped by the fact that their directors were living in England; and the Intercolonial had always shown a surplus before the amalgamation of the railways. But the only value of the whole Canadian Northern system was the tunnel at Montreal

a hole. Apart from that the equipment was not worth anything although it -was figured at $700,000,000. That was a piece of real crookedness. I cannot see how that railway could ever have been purchased at that tremendous price when it was worth nothing. It seems to me that the trouble with the Canadian National Railways is, first, that the property is over-estimated and secondly that it provides soft jobs. I was speaking a moment ago of the Canadian Northern. I understand that Mr. Hanna, while president of the Canadian National Railways, appointed as chief detective an ordinary detective who before had received a salary of approximately $1,200 a year, and he gave him a salary of $12,000 a year besides the use of a special car.

There are also heaps of officers in the dining and sleeping car department, of which Mr. Pratt is general manager. He is not a Cana-dian-bom man, and he is rather an immigration agent. He has brought many of his friends from the Old Country here to give them jobs as inspectors in his department. It is funny to see nearly every conductor and porter followed by a guardian angel in the shape of an inspector on the Canadian National Railways. All these soft jobs could be done away with, and it would mean that much less money for the country to pay.

Another handicap of the Canadian National Railways has been the higher grades ordered by the people who wanted to destroy Laurier's

work. Sir Wilfrid Laurier planned the Transcontinental to be a connecting link between all provinces and to develop new parts of this country, but when the Tories replaced him in poiver they did not like the glory he had won as Prime Minister, and they wanted to destroy his work, as the Germans have destroyed the northern part of France. That is why they changed the plans of the Transcontinental railway and made the grades higher, so that the traffic would be much less. They used that trick to give themselves a chance to criticize the Laurier administration, and the country has to suffer in consequence.

No one can be surprised that the Canadian National Railways sometimes come to the government for help. The Canadian Pacific Railway, which is now a paying concern, has repeatedly come to the government for grants of lands and grants of millions of dollars. The Canadian Pacific has been very well administered, and it is now one of the most important companies in the world. Quite a number of people give credit to Sir Henry Thornton for the reorganization of the Canadian National Railways. He certainly deserves some, but he is being helped' by very' capable men from the Grand Trunk and from the Intercolonial. He is at present chairman and president of the Canadian National Railways. I belive the duties of those two positions are too much, and I would suggest that the position of chairman should be occupied by the hon. Minister of Railways, in order that he might survey the way the railway is administered by the board of directors. Moreover, there should be no mystery made of the details of the administration of the road when questions are asked by members of the House. Sometimes we are called on to vote subsidies, and it is only justice and fair play that we should know why we have to pay them.

Another thing I must insist upon is fair treatment for the employees of the Canadian National Railways. I ask that the system of promotions should be adopted all along the line, all the time. It encourages employees to work well and do their best in the interests of the railway. Then I also ask that the correspondence of the employees with the officials should be carried on in both languages, that the correspondence should be in French when the employee is French and writes in French. The officials of the Canadian National Railways should also have a little touch of kindness and they will be rewarded by the gratefulness of the employees. It is not impossible to make a railroad pay. even one which is in a bad position. I read

The Budget-Mr. Povliot

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE ACTING MINISTER OF FINANCE
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END OF VOLUME II. REVISED EDITION

April 14, 1925