May 22, 1928

CON

Isaac Duncan MacDougall

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MACDOUGALL:

I shall leave my hon. friend in the judgment of Hansard to-morrow morning.

I agree with your ruling, Mr. Speaker, and I submit to it. I feel that at the next election the people of the maritime provinces will vindicate the position I have taken.

In reference to the resolution introduced by the hon. member for South Cape Breton (Mr. Macdonald), I rise to give it my support. I believe it has behind it one hundred per cent of the public sentiment of the maritime prov-

Steel Industry-Mr. Macdougall

inces. It deals with the fact that this government appointed a commission to investigate maritime claims; that they promised one hundred per cent implementation of the recommendations of that commission, and that they have failed to implement to the extent of one hundred per cent the recommendations of the commission. It deals specifically with the question of the Nova Scotia iron and steel industry. That question is one of vital importance, and one which must be considered not only on provincial grounds but also on national grounds, and on the ground of empire considerations as well. On provincial grounds it is of very great importance to Nova Scotia, because around and about that industry there have grown up many of the most populous centres in that province. The city of Sydney, and the towns of North Sydney, Sydney Mines, New Glasgow, Trenton and Stellarton, with very substantial populations, are all entirely dependent for their very existence on the success or failure of the Nova Scotia steel industry. They furnish the principal home market for the agricultural products of the farmers for many miles surrounding these towns.

May I point out also that there is an interdependence between the Nova Scotia steel industry and the Nova Scotia coal industry. When working at full capacity the Nova Scotia steel industry is capable of consuming, and does consume, over a million tons of Nova Scotia coal per year. You can see, Mr. Speaker, how very important to the province of Nova Scotia is the welfare of this industry in respect of which we are asking the government for assistance. We are asking not for any special assistance but for that assistance which was recommended by a tribunal of their own creation.

This is a question which should appeal to every hon. member of this house on national grounds. If you will look into the industrial history of those nations which are to-day pre-eminent in wealth, in power and in population, you will find that every one of them owes that pre-eminent position to a careful fostering of its coal and steel industries. We in this country in the years that are to come, no matter what government may be in power -although the continuation in power of my hon. friends opposite may somewhat retard industrial progress-are bound to achieve a great industrial expansion. In not so many years we will have a highly industrialized country. Wei will have opportunities for employment, not for ten million but probably for one hundred million people. We will have myriads of opportunities for employment for our own sons and daughters, and for many others who come from foreign lands. We must be careful, therefore, to foster and protect those industries which are of national and basic importance, which are wrapped up with the industrial future of this country.

We who sit in these seats to-night are not legislating merely for our own generation, nor for this year; we must not look through the eyes of years or of decades. In dealing with national problems we must look through the eyes of centuries; we must follow those policies which, while at present involving perhaps some sacrifice, in the course of years will redound to the industrial and political advantage of our country. No nation which has attained a pre-eminent position in respect of population or wealth or power has done so by ignoring its coal and steel industries. This question is one not only of national but of empire importance. I do not know whether some hon. gentlemen opposite take much stock in that statement or not. Amid all this din and clatter and idle chatter about a new status being achieved, about Canada being at last a sovereign state, about our having wrested, as it were, a Magna Charta of Canadian liberties as if from some foreign and tyrannical power; amid all the signs and portents which indicate that this country is slowly and surely but blindly drifting towards independence from the motherland, there be those of us in this country who, yclept old-fashioned if you will, still think that there is something of value and virtue not only in strengthening the bonds that bind this great young nation to this great old empire, but in attempting also to foster and develop industries which are of empire importance. The Nova Scotia steel industry is an industry of that character. It is the only steel industry which has its roots in British soil, whose roots are indigenous to the British Empire. We have no other of the same nature in the empire. Should we not from empire considerations do what is fair, reasonable and just to see to it that this industry, so vitally important to Nova Scotia, to our nation, and to that great empire to which it is our priceless'privilege to belong, should not be allowed to deteriorate and to die?

There is more than that concerned in this matter. We have had a commission investigating maritime claims, a commission which was appointed by the sheer force of public opinion, a public opinion created by members on this side of the house and by the Conservative party in the maritime provinces. We had that commission go down to the mari-

Steel Industry-Mr. Macdougall

time provinces where it held many hearings and I greatly regret the fact that the eloquent voice and the great intellectual gifts of the Minister of National Defence (Mr. Ralston), who represents Nova Scotia in the cabinet, were not used before that commission. I greatly regret the fact that the hon. member for, Hants-Kings (Mr. Ilsley) did not appear before the commission and I still more deeply regret the fact that no outstanding Liberal in the maritime provinces appeared before the commission to give evidence. But leaving that aside for the moment, may I point out that as a result of the evidence submitted to that commission, as a result of the masterly case presented to them by the Hon. Gordon S. Harrington, the best and, indeed, the only real minister of mines we have ever had in Nova Scotia, the commission on page 38 of the report made a specific recommendation in regard to the Nova Scotia steel indusirj There is no equivocation, qualification or camouflage about that recommendation There is no way of getting out of it at all except to ignore it altogether and unfortunately that is what the government has so far done. That recommendation is definite. It does not say that this thing should not be done until a year hence. It does not say that this thing should not be done because of the supposed abuses in the capitalization of the company. It does hot say that this thing should not be done because there was litigation pending. It says simply that this should be done, and so far. the Prime Minister and his government have refused to do it.

But the situation is worse than that. The Prime ; Minister and many of his supporters promised the people of the maritime provinces one hundred per cent fulfilment of the Duncan report. One of the most novel experiences I ever had in my life was during the last federal election. I came to address a meeting in the town of Port Hawkesbury the very next night after the Prime Minister was there, and in going up to the hall I was compelled to walk under a banner bearing this strange device: " The Liberal party under Mackenzie King stands for protection for steel and coal I am not accusing my right hon. friend of putting the banner there, but it was there just the same. That was certainly a banner with a strange device, if we are to take into consideration the way in which my hon. friends opposite have used these industries in the past few years. Some hon. gentlemen may think it is unimportant, trifling, for a government to pledge its plighted word and then to go back on it. I do not see eye to eye with that view. There are in this country, as there are in other countries, men

who are ever willing to ridicule and to bring into disfavour constituted authority, and one: of the best ways in which to have constituted authority degraded, detested and despised is to have those who are responsible for enforcing that authority violate their plighted word to the people to whom they have given it. That is the situation in regard to the bfova Scotia steel industry. No quibbling, no delving into the mists of political antiquity will obscure that fact. It is there in the commission's report. No one can obscure it and no one can deny it. We stand for one hundred per cent implementation of the Duncan report.

I was interested in the speech delivered on the budget by my very excellent friend, the Minister of National Defence. At this point let me say that I admire the hon. gentleman very much. I say in all sincerity that my hon. friend has had a distinguished record both in peace and in war. For a number of years he has been a luminary of the Nova Scotia bar. He is a credit to himself and a Credit to the province whence he came. But the speech which he made on the budget, in which he dealt with the steel industry of Nova Scotia, was no credit to him. I was sorry to see such a worthy man attempting to uphold such an unworthy cause. Instead of coming out man-fashion as has been his wont, and saying to us, "I tried to get this thing through, or I did not; I am in favour of this thing, or I am not," he delved into the mists of political antiquity and went back to tell us of the Hon. W. S. Fielding and what he had done over thirty years ago for the Nova Scotia steel industry. We in Nova Scotia appreciate what that great old statesman from the province of Nova Scotia did for us. We honour and revere his memory, but every schoolboy in Nova Scotia, if it is a question of who first did something for the Nova Scotia steel industry, will answer that the first assistance ever given to the Nova Scotia steel industry was given by a Conservative government under Sir Charles Tupper. But I wish to tell my hon. and excellent friend, the Minister of National Defence (Mr. Ralston) that the men who are without work in Trenton, the men who are without work in New Glasgow, the men who are without work in Sydney Mines and the city of Sydney, are not very much interested in what Mr. Fielding and Sir Charles Tupper did thirty-fiye years ago. We are no longer living in the past in the province of Nova Scotia. Not the spell of the setting of yester's sun, but the vision of the dawn of a new day-that is the inspiration of our little province by the sea. I do not wish to criticize my hon. friend at all, but it is well known

Steel Industry-Mr. Ralston

32S9

that evil communications corrupt good manners, and my hon. friend was for some time in local politics, fortunately not for very long, but for some little time he was in the school of Murray and of Armstrong, a school of evasion, where you could not get a direct , answer to a direct question if circumlocution could be used. He was trained in that school for years until the people of his native county, Cumberland, realizing his sterling worth and his great ability, charitably turned him down at the polls that he might not follow those people any longer. But, sir, I fear that that school of evasion has had some little effect on my hon. friend, because instead of coming right out here and saying, "The government is going to do this thing for Nova Scotia, or it is not," he made a laboured speech in which he attempted to show that thirty-five or forty years ago the Liberal party had done so-and-so for Nova Scotia.

Let me repeat, we in Nova Scotia are not any longer interested in what happened thirty-five or forty years ago. A commission has been appointed to deal with the rights of the province of Nova Scotia and the other maritime provinces within confederation. It took three years of agitation, three years in which to crystallize public opinion before that commission was appointed. Their recommendations have been favourable to the maritime provinces. We in the maritime provinces have played an honourable part ever since we entered confederation. We played a worthy part in the consummation of confederation itself. and now we come to this parliament, not as suppliants, not as mendicants, not as beggars, but as the representatives of a free people asking that justice be done; asking that the recommendations made by an impartial tribunal. the creation of this government itself, shall be fulfilled to the letter. For that the representatives of the maritime provinces on this side of the house stand. For that no reasonable man can criticize us, and for that we shall stand until these recommendations are implemented one hundred per cent by the parliament of Canada.

Topic:   SUPPLY-STEEL INDUSTRY
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LIB

James Layton Ralston (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Hon. J. L. RALSTON (Minister of National Defence):

I am sure, Mr. Speaker, that I am only voicing the sentiments of everybody who has listened to him when I congratulate the hon. member for Inverness (Mr. Macdougall) most sincerely on his very eloquent and very high-spirited deliverance. The fact that it ha3 not very much to do with the subject in hand I do not think troubles him, and as a matter of fact I shall not attempt in the short space of time which I have to follow him in the ramifications of his speech. I shall try, however, to satisfy his desire that there be no

evasion in connection with this matter, and I shall endeavour to deal with a few facts in connection with the Duncan commission report which seem to have been left out by him and by the other speakers who preceded him.

I admire the hon. gentleman who moved this resolution (Mr. MacDonald). Compliments are flying thick and fast to-night, and I want to say that in this house, at least on the other side, I do not know of any fairer gentleman than the hon. member who moved this amendment to the motion to go into supply. I do believe that few public duties which he, with his fair-mindedness, has ever performed have been more distasteful to him than the motion which he moved this afternoon, because I know perfectly well that when he sets out in a resolution the statement and regrets that the government has refused to implement in full the recommendations of the Duncan report- mark you, has refused to-my hon. friend must know that he is travelling on very thin ice indeed.

I want to deal with only three or four matters in connection with the Duncan report. First, let me say one word with regard to the steel industry, which is tacked on at the end of the amendment but which, after all, is only intended to give some foundation for the genera! motion of censure and want of confidence which is contained in the resolution. The recommendation of the Duncan commission with regard to the steel industry is a recommendation-it has been read half a dozen times in this house to-day

in two branches. One is a statement that the steel and customs tariff has been submitted to the tariff advisory board, and that the commission were notified by the chairman of the board that it was under consideration, and the commission say with respect to this, that they regard it as their duty to record that the significance of this industry to the maritime provinces was forcibly brought home to their attention, not only in the manufacturing [DOT] towns they visited in the maritimes, but also throughout the agricultural districts of the maritimes, and they say they record this in order to emphasize the need for prompt action. The second branch is that there is a recommendation, as has been suggested, that a bounty be paid on the manufacture of steel, based on the amount of Canadian coal used in its manufacture.

As I pointed out only a very short time ago, at the time this recommendation was dealt with by the house the steel industry in Nova Scotia was in the throes of litigation. Two parties were fighting for the control of that industry, and that condition of affairs continued up until some time in March of this year,

Steel Industry-Mr. Ralston

when a third party stepped in, according to the newspapers, and made their own arrangements. These arrangements had not been completed at the time of the budget debate, and at that time it was pointed out that it was felt that some conditions should be required before anybody could fairly and properly and intelligently deal with the steel industry. Some of those conditions have been mentioned by my hon. friends opposite. One condition was that there should be unity between the steel and coal industries. Those who do not come from Nova Scotia may not understand that reference. For their benefit I want to say that there was considerable antagonism apparently between those who held control of the company engaged in steel operations, and those who held control of the company engaged in coal operations. It was felt that the steel and coal industries should be put on some basis whereby they would be unified, because as one of my hon. friends has quite properly said to-night, those two industries are allied, and can best work together as a united industry. The steel industry forms the main market for the slack coal of the coal industry. So one of the suggestions was that there should be an assurance of unity between the two, also that there should be some rearrangement with regard to the capitalization, running up to over one aundred million dollars. With regard to the wage disputes arising from time to time, suggestions were made that dividends were being paid on watered stock to the detriment of the workmen, and that there should be a readjustment whereby the capital would be reduced so it culd be ascertained what was the proper amount on which dividends should be paid. It was further proposed that the unwieldy organization of, I think, fourteen different corporations should be reorganized, and that there should be co-operation both _ provincial and municipal. Those suggestions were made in March of this year.

.When the right hon. Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) made his announcement in this house last year, the newspapers, as I had occasion to state a few weeks ago, commended the government for the decision arrived at and found ample justification for the delay in dealing with the industry in view of the uncertaintly which existed at that time. I Want to say to my hon. friends that only within the last few weeks did the local legislature of Nova Scotia pass an act incorporating a brand new company called the Dominion Coal and Steel Corporation, with a reduced capital. That was the first definite step towards reorganization. But my hon. friends

are a bit impatient with regard to the steel industry. I think if they followed the order paper at the present time they would find that either in the senate or in this house there is at least one bill which has to do with this very industry, indicating that not yet has the matter of capitalization and the reorganization of those companies been completed. Further, I want to say to them that this new corporation has not made any application to the tariff advisory board, and it has been represented that the situation is considerably changed in view of certain opinions held by those in control of the new corporation. Consequently there may be a substantial change in the application to the tariff advisory board so far as the steel and coal industry is concerned. Bounties and tariff are all bound up together. My friends opposite are a little too anxious to make political capital out of this particular point, instead of having due regard to the benefit of the industries involved. Who is there who would know more about the steel industry or who would be more desirous of having it properly dealt with when the time comes than the people who have put their money in it and now own it? To my mind it.might fairly be left to them to present their case to the tariff advisory board. I rather expect we will find my good friend from West Algoma (Mr. Simpson), who so splendidly presented his case this afternoon, coming along with his friends whom he represents and joining in an application to the tariff advisory board on behalf of the steel industry, instead of there being, as at the present time, three or four conflicting applications, plus representations from some three hundred and fifty other interests who feel that they are affected. In a word, I expect there will be some unanimity of endeavour to bring about an adjustment of tariff or bounty which will redound to the benefit of the steel industry. I do think my hon. friends might have a little patience until this matter has shaken down. As they know, only a very few weeks ago an arrangement was arrived at whereby the new wage agreement will be continued over a certain period. With these various matters adjusted the industry may have an opportunity, which it has not had for some time, to proceed under normal conditions in order to ascertain just exactly what its needs are.

I am sure my hon. friends, if they speak frankly and in the interests of the industry, will declare that what they want done, whether it happens to be in the Duncan report or not, is that this industry be put and kept fairly on its feet. To give just the

Steel Industry-Mr. Ralston

specific bounty mentioned in the report may not be the way to accomplish this. In fact is has been represented to me and to others from time to time that that was not all that the steel industry desired or that was necessary in order that this great imperial industry, as my hon. friend described it, should prosper. Therefore I think my hon. friends ought to give us credit for endeavouring to deal with this matter intelligently with a view to ascertaining what the industry needs, instead of proceeding blindly simply because it happens to be in the letter of the Duncan report, and then have parliament snap its fingers later and say: Well, we have done what the Duncan report said we should do; now let the industry take care of itself. I do not believe that is the best way for us to proceed, and I do not think that my hon. friends opposite, unless inspired by the eloquence rather than the logic of my hon. friend from Inverness would desire to see the industry so dealt with. My hon. friend is quite right. It is not a matter of months or of years, it is not even a question of getting something done this May or June. If the industry is worth saving the endeavour should rather be to put it on such a basis that it will be a national asset for our Canadian people.

I make no apology to my hon. friend from Inverness or to other hon. members for having on a previous occasion said that the fact that we have any steel industry to talk about at all is not due to my hon. friends opposite who now shed crocodile tears about the steel industry, but is due to the Liberal party in 1897 having taken steps to put the industry on a solid basis. When my hon. friends came into power in 1911 we did not find them taking the attitude that they take to-night. Not a bit of it. In 1911 the steel bounties expired. Did the Conservative party show the same solicitude for the steel industry that they do now? Not at all; the bounties were not revived. And later on they granted a drawback on steel used in the manufacture of wire, thousands of tons of which are imported into the province of Nova Scotia itself. This is the party which is now advocating that the steel industry should be protected, and is posing as its champion. I think it was in 1912-it is on Hansard-that some 75,000 tons of steel rails were required for the Canadian Pacific Railway and for the Grand Trunk Pacific. What happened? Our friends who to-day are so keen to have the steel industry protected, particularly my hon. friend from

Toronto, at that time granted an application for a rebate of duty in order that that 75,000 tons of steel rails should be brought in from the United States in competition with the steel industry of Nova Scotia. So I do feel that my hon. friends ought not to take too much unction to their souls as being the only friends of the steel industry; they may safely leave it to the tariff advisory board and to the government to give reasonable and serious consideration to this matter.

So much for the steel industry, Mr. Speaker. Now I want to deal with one or two other matters An hon. member opposite had a word to say with regard to subsidies. Do you know, sir, the only complaint that our friends of the opposition had to make was that the additional subsidy of $875,000 recommended 'by the Duncan report was not paid- mark you-in one lump sum, but in two lump sums. We are getting down as fine as that. If it is on an item of that kind that the alleged refusal of the government to carry out the Duncan report is based, then it seems to me that my hon. friends, as the Minister of Railways said, are not going very long to be able to derive comfort from the alleged failure of the government in implementing the Duncan report. But even in that I would point out to hon. members, to use the phrase of my hon. friend from Inverness, that the government has " implemented one hundred per cent "-that- is his expression-the recommendation of the Duncan report. The report was submitted in September 1926-not 1927, as someone suggested this afternoon. Parliament was not in session at that time. The report was eventually laid on the table of the house and the government announced its policy. That policy was to implement the recommendation of the report in regard to the matter of subsidy. What was the recommendation of the report in respect of subsidy? It was this:

And accordingly we recommend that "imme-.diate interim lump-sum increases should be made in the payments to the three maritime provinces."

What were the "payments" referred to? Subsidies were being paid at that time-how? Under the statute they were being paid every six months, on July 1 and January 1. How would you make interim lump sum increases in the payments that were being made? The Minister of Finance might have said, "I am going to wait until the first of January to pay the whole 8875,000"-according to my hon. friend's argument. But he did not do that. He said, "I will pay the $875,000 as an increase

Steel Industry-Mr. Ralston

in the payments now being made. There is a payment due, half of the subsidy on July 1, and I will pay half of the increase then; the other half of the subsidy is due on January 1, and I will pay the other half of the increase then.'' The minister, who is not generally very soft-hearted in the matter of finances, meets the representatives from Nova Scotia and they ask him whether, in order to enable them to balance their books, he would not pay the last half, the 1437,500, due January 1, a little ahead of time. He agrees and pays it on November 17; and my hon. friend from Cumberland (Mr. Smith) takes occasion to suggest that the Minister of Finance was "called down"-those were the words he used-at the interprovincial conference for not paying the subsidies as they were due. If my hon. friend takes the responsibility for making that statement on behalf of the ministers from Nova Scotia-and I can hardly credit that the ministers from Nova Scotia took such an attitude-then I suppose the Minister of Finance cannot be blamed if he says, "We will stick to the letter of the bond and after this pay on July 1 and January 1." I do think it is unfortunate, to say the least, that quibbles should occur about a matter as simple as this, and that an endeavour should be made to show that the government has not implemented this recommendation in the Duncan report, when as a matter of fact it has fulfilled the very letter of the bond. So much for the matter of subsidies. The increase has been paid for last year and it is in the estimates for this year.

My friend the Minister of Railways (Mr. Dunning) has already dealt with the question of railway rates, but there is a matter which be did not emphasize and to which I think it well to call the attention of the house, in order that there may be no misunderstanding as to what this government has done regarding railway rates. Implemented the report 100 per cent? Yes, and a good deal more than 100 per cent so far as the amount is concerned. The house will find a recommendation in the report, with regard to railways, to the effect that there shall be a 20 per cent decrease in the rates on government railways in the maritime provinces. This recommendation appears at page 22:

We recommend, therefore, that an immediate reduction of 20 per cent (so that 192 will become approximately 155) be made on all rates charged on traffic which both originates and terminates at stations in the Atlantic

division of the Canadian National Railways (including export and import traffic, by sea, from and to that division), and that the same reduction be also applied to the Atlantic division proportion of the through rates on all traffic which originates at stations in the Atlantic division (excluding import traffic by sea), and is destined to points outside the Atlantic division.

The Minister of Railways has pointed out that not only has the government put into effect the 20 per cent reduction in local rates on the Canadian National Railways and 20 per cent on through traffic on the Canadian National as recommended, but hon. members do not realize that there has been paid in six months over $421,000 to other roads which were not covered by the Duncan report. And there is in the 1929 estimates a sum of $1,050,000 to be paid to these same roads. My hon. friends may say that there is a reference in the Duncan report to other roads. They will find that the only time it is suggested that the government shall pay to any other railway is when that railway is prejudiced by the reduction of Canadian National rates; in other words, they shall pay only to a railway which is in competition with government railways. And there, as the Minister of Railways points out, it is only to the Canadian Pacific Railway, inasmuch as the report refers to "the other great railway system.-' So that if the government stuck strictly to the letter of the report as brought down, and which hon. gentlemen desire to have implemented 100 per cent, the farmers shipping apples from Kentville to Halifax would get no 20 per cent reduction on the Dominion Atlantic Railway, because that railway is not prejudiced by the reduction on the Canadian National lines, which are not in competition with it. My hon. friends forget these things when talking about implementing the report 100 per cent. The government has endeavoured to see that there shall not be in the same province or territory one railway operating 20 per cent less than another, even though they may not be in competition.

Let me now point out what some people in the maritime provinces think of the question; let me show that there are people there who realize what is being done. The statement is made by Mr. A. P. Patterson, president of the transportation commission, Maritime board of trade, published in Halifax Herald of May 17, 1928:

Maritime shippers benefited to extent of $2,400,031.27 in eight months as a result of

Reparations Commission-Report .

reduced freight rates in line with the recommendations of the Duncan report. This is the saving in that period through the operation of the Maritime Freight Rates Act.

It seems to me that this testimony from the maritime provinces is worth something, and I fancy that if my hon. friends had desired to be quite fair in the matter they would have admitted as much. My hon. friend from Cape Breton South (Mr. MacDonald) in his introductory remarks did admit that something had been done in the matter of freight rates; nevertheless his resolution proceeds to condemn the government for its "refusal" to implement the Duncan report 100 per cent. Although in the instance I have given the government went far beyond the report.

I, with others, desire to point out to the house and to the country this fact: that it has not been demonstrated that the contribution made by the Dominion in order to pay that 20 per cent reduction will necessarily mean forever a loss to the country. I hold in my hand a copy of the Financial Post of April 27, 1928, in which there appears an article published just after my colleague the Minister of Railways had brought down his estimates indicating the amount required this year in connection with the Maritime Freight Rates Act. This is what this article states:

When the report of the National Railways, covering the operation in the Maritimes is studied closely it is found that there is much to warrant an optimistic view of the future. Indeed it may well he that the Canadian people once more are proving that a reduction in rates is, in the long run, a profitable policy. The postal rates were reduced from three to two cents and after a short period of deficits the post office department is now in a fair way to produce a surplus for the first time in many years.

The analysis of freight movement in the maritimes proves that with the aid of the reduction the volume of traffic commenced to expand. In 1926, 2.854,328 tons of freight were handled and in 1927, 3,000,615 tons, an improvement of 7 per cent. Anyone conversant with the principle of the increase in efficiency resulting from greater volume, knows that it would require only a comparatively moderate increase in freight to place the maritime lines upon an even footing. Should freight advance another 7 per cent in 1928, it would he reasonable to expect a 10 per cent increase in earnings, which would reduce the deficit by more than $1,000,000. If the betterment continued the deficit would disappear entirely within three years.

So I do suggest that this legislation does not necessarily represent a loss eventually to the Dominion, but the article does absolutely contradict the spirit of this amendment now before the house.

While I am dealing with the matter of freight rates may I touch on one other matter which was not mentioned by any of my hon. friends. I am surprised that they did not discover that the Duncan report recommended something else. My hon. friend from Toronto Northwest (Mr. Church), who has an eagle eye for these things, came close to it when he said something about subventions. The Duncan report recommended that a system which had been in force in 1924 or 1925, whereby a subvention was paid on coal taken by rail from Nova Scotia to Quebec, should be renewed. That recommendation appeared at page 35 of the report; I will not trouble to read it all, but will just place the particular sentence on record;

A committee of parliament which sat during the session of 1926, recommended that early consideration should he given by the government to the advisability of renewing the subvention, and we would respectfully support that recommendation.

Coming from the maritime provinces, and having some regard to the interests of the coal industry, I considered that recommendation to be of some importance. I just want to remind the house that on March 30th of this year the government passed an order in council, I think P.C. 539, which again has gone far beyond the recomendations of the Duncan report; not one hundred per cent but one hundred and fifty per cent at least. The old subvention provided that a 50 cent per ton reduction should be made in the freight rate on coal hauled from Nova Scotia to Quebec.

On motion of Mr. Ralston the debate was adjourned.

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REPARATIONS COMMISSION

LIB

Louis Édouard Fernand Rinfret (Secretary of State of Canada)

Liberal

Hon. FERNAND RINFRET (Secretary of State):

With the permission of the house and in compliance with the wish expressed by the leader of the opposition and other hon. gentlemen opposite, I beg to lay on the table the report of the commissioner appointed by His Excellency the Governor General in Council under the Inquiries Act to investigate and report upon all claims which might be submitted, for the purpose of determining whether they were within the annex to section 1 of Part VIII of the treaty of Versailles, and the fair amount of such claims.

Topic:   SUPPLY-STEEL INDUSTRY
Subtopic:   REPARATIONS COMMISSION
Sub-subtopic:   REPORT OF JAMES FRIEL, K.C., COMMISSIONER, TABLED
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At eleven o'clock the house adjourned without question put, pursuant to standing order. Private Bills



Wednesday, May 23, 1928


May 22, 1928