March 8, 1929

LIB
LIB

Hewitt Bostock (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

They are laid on the table as "command papers," as they are termed in England. They will appear in the votes and proceedings.

Topic:   *IBVISED EDITION
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UFA

Edward Joseph Garland

United Farmers of Alberta

Mr. E. J. GARLAND (Bow River):

Yesterday the Minister of Public Works was good enough to inform me, in answer to my question of the previous day, that I would find in a return of May 30 last the application of the Beauharnois Light, Heat and Power Company. On examining that return I find that while it is true the original application is included in those papers, the modified application is not included. That is naturally so, because it was not modified until, I think, some time in January of this year. In view of the importance of this question I desire to ask the Minister of Public Works whether he will be good enough to table the report and roords of the public hearings that took place in January with regard .to this matter before three ministers of the crown.

Topic:   *IBVISED EDITION
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LIB

John Campbell Elliott (Minister of Public Works)

Liberal

Mr. ELLIOTT:

The evidence and the full report referred to by my hon. friend is being included in a return which I hope to be able to table within a day or so.

Topic:   *IBVISED EDITION
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SEVEN SISTERS FALLS

INQUIRY BY ROYAL COMMISSION

PRO

Milton Neil Campbell

Progressive

Mr. M. N. CAMPBELL (Mackenzie):

I

would like to ask the Solicitor General whether the judges of the royal commission of Manitoba require authority from the Department of Justice to go to Los Angeles and, if they do, whether that authority has been granted?

Topic:   SEVEN SISTERS FALLS
Subtopic:   INQUIRY BY ROYAL COMMISSION
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LIB

Lucien Cannon (Solicitor General of Canada)

Liberal

Hon. LUCIEN CANNON (Solicitor General) :

No request has been sent to the Department of Justice. I might also point out that the administration of justice is in the hands of the provincial government, not the federal government.

Topic:   SEVEN SISTERS FALLS
Subtopic:   INQUIRY BY ROYAL COMMISSION
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THE BUDGET

CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE


The house resumed from Thursday, March 7,consideration of the motion of Hon. J. A. Robb (Minister of Finance) that Mr. Speaker 78694-50J do now leave the chair for the house to go into committee of ways and means, and the proposed amendment thereto of Hon. Hugh Guthrie.


CON

Robert James Manion

Conservative (1867-1942)

Hon. R. J. MANION (Fort William):

Mr. Speaker, before beginning my remarks on the budget I should like to say that a few moments ago we had displayed to us by the government an instance of government by order in council-that form of government which was so much denounced for many years throughout the country by the present Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King)-on a matter which is of -the utmost importance to parliament .and to the people of Canada, the Beauharnois power project. Yet while parliament is sitting, it has never been given one minute to discuss this question.

While on personal grounds I have, as we all have, a high regard for the Minister of Finance (Mr. Robb), I am sure that he will forgive me if I do not use up much of my forty minutes in paying him empty compliments, for I intend to show so far as I am able, that the budget is largely a chronicle of events in which our fields, forests, fisheries and mines have played the parts of performers while the Minister of Finance has been merely a spectator in the wings or one of the audience, once a year getting an opportunity to come to the front of the stage, point out to the world that his is the directing mind, and then modestly stand back and accept the applause. I do not blame him for this, because it has been the habit of ministers of finance of all parties. Therefore I shall criticize not his action, but his inaction. I shall criticize him not for any positive proposals, but rather for his lack of positive proposals for the betterment of our national welfare.

There are in the budget some matters with which we must all be pleased. For example, the fact that the debt is somewhat less cannot help pleasing us all. One matter which the Minister of Finance did not point out and which is due, not particularly to .the present government but to previous governments and this as well, is that four-fifths of the debt is owed to the people of Canada, and therefore four-fifths of the interest goes into the pockets of our people. I congratulate the Minister of Finance on the fact that there are in the budget no tariff changes of any moment; in other words, that tinkering with the tariff which we have condemned for a long time has been done away with for some time at least, and that famous cry of "The death knell of protection" is, to paraphrase an expression of Disraeli's on another occasion, not only dead but damned.

The Budget-Mr. Manion

The budget is largely a negative affair. There are jin it few positive proposals. A few of the nuisance taxes have been removed and one positive proposal that has received great applause is the reduction in the sales tax from three to two per cent. I am not altogether sure that a one per cent reduction in the sales tax will make any particular difference in the cost of living. When one considers that it means one cent in a purchase of a dollar, or five cents in a purchase amounting to five dollars, I am not certain that you will find goods in the stores or on the marts of the country marked down on this account. If the Minister of Finance had removed the whole tax, that might have had some effect.

I cannot help thinking the minister has left whatever changes he wants to make, for next year when he is trusting he will have an opportunity of making a popular preelection budget. If I am right in that conclusion- and I think I am-the Minister of Finance is worrying not so much about the business of the country as about the business of keeping his party in power.

The government and the minister have had exceedingly good luck because, without any effort on their part, our crops have been abundant, our mines prosperous, our fisheries teeming and our forests generously productive. For example, if we compare 1921 with the year that has just passed, agriculture has increased in production by from $500,000,000 to $600,000,000, and our mines during the same period have increased in production by $100,000,000. Six or seven hundred million dollars for those two items alone make a vast amount of money to assist in increasing the prosperity of the country. Perhaps it is no wonder the government are more or less satiated and treat Providence rather as we sometimes treat our poor relations. I suppose they hope that memories are short in this country and that the people will forget those deplorable years from 1922 to 1925, the first four years of government by the party now in power, when hundreds of thousands of our people were compelled to go across the line for opportunities denied them at home, an exodus which unfortunately is not yet entirely stemmed. Even at that our prosperity has been by no means general. That has been evidenced by speeches made in the house by members of the Labour party and members of the agricultural group in the corner to my left.

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

Edward Joseph Garland

United Farmers of Alberta

Mr. GARLAND (Bow River):

And the

acting leader of the opposition (Mr. Guthrie).

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

Robert James Manion

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MANION:

I quote my hon. friends

to my left because we may be said to be talking politics, which, of course, my hon. friends over there never do.

Conditions are not a criterion of the status of a government. What a government has done to bring about the conditions is the real test to which this or any other government must submit. I submit that this government has been doing nothing to bring about the conditions which prevail in this country. It has been merely basking in the sunshine of a prosperity which it has done nothing to create. It has been practising a policy of masterly inactivity, a policy of drift. It has been virtually in a twilight

sleep on all questions which are of vital concern to the people of this country: such questions as immigration, iron ore. development, conditions among the fruit growers and dairy farmers, the shipping interests, industry in general, and economy perhaps in particular. AJ1 of these are questions upon which a strong policy is of vital importance to the people of Canada. Let me deal briefly, as I must in the short time at my disposal, with these questions.

So far as immigration is concerned, we all know that the government has had no policy on immigration worthy of the name. This is evidenced perhaps best by the fact that just recently W. T. R. Preston, a past organizer of the Liberal party, wrote a letter to the Winnipeg papers, and perhaps to other papers too, but I saw it in the Winnipeg papers, roundly condemning this government for its inactivity on immigration.

So far as the fruit and dairy industries are concerned, protests have been rained, not only on the press of this country, but upon the government, pointing out the great injury that is being done to the fruit and dairy industries by cheap outside competition.

So far as the iron and steel industries are concerned, the government has done nothing. We have hundreds, yes, thousands of millions of tons of iron ore scattered throughout this country from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and yet last year not one ton of Canadian iron ore was used in our steel plants or blast furnaces, and we imported nearly 2,500,000 tons of foreign ore to use in our steel plants and blast furnaces. Our Conservative provincial government in Ontario made a proposition to this government two or three years ago, that they put on a bounty to aid in the development of the Canadian iron ore resources, but unfortunately this government has refused to cooperate with them and

The Budget-Mr. Mmuon

remains in its twilight sleep so far as the development of iron ore is concerned, just as it has done in other matters.

In addition, we imported during the year ending January 31, last, 8330,000,000 worth of iron and steel products, practically all of which could have been manufactured in the steel plants and blast furnaces of this country had they been given the opportunity to produce them by a proper -tariff policy. The Minister of Finance (Mr. Robb) in his speech the other day spoke of the basic industries. I submit that outside of agriculture no industry in any country is more a basic industry than the iron and steel industry, and yet this government does nothing to help that industry in any way. _

Let me give a few iron and steel products that we could produce in Canada, and of which we imported last year, largely from the United States, $330,000,000 worth.

Pig iron

Rolling mill products

Tubes, pipes, fittings

Wire _

Engines and boilers

Farm implements

Hardware and cutlery

Machinery

Tools *

Vehicles (largely automobiles) .

One might almost come to -the conclusion, in view of these facts, that this government takes more interest in the producers in foreign countries than in our own producers.^

In regard to our Canadian marine interests, they insist that the ships of the United States are treated much more generously in Canadian trade than are Canadian ships in American trade, more particularly last fall, as was pointed out last night in an excellent speech by my hon. friend from Kingston City (Mr. Ross). The shipyards of this country also point out that if a Canadian ship should get repairs made in a shipyard in -the United States, our government gives it a much freer entry back to Canada than does the United States government give an American ship that is undergoing repairs in a Canadian shipyard when it goes back to the United States, and our shipyards are at a disadvantage in that respect. _

Regarding economy, the estimates of 1925, the year which the Minister of Finance always brings into his budget discussions, showed that we had a total expenditure that year of $339,000,000. The estimates brought down this year total $391,000,000, an increase of $52,000,000, in spite of a decrease in interest amounting to $3,500,000; and we must remember that the supplementary estimates are still to be brought down, and will probably add

another $15,000,000 or $20,000,000 to the expenditure. So that our total expenditure for the coming year will show an increase over last year, not over 1925, of about $25,000,000 or $30,000,000, and yet this government, with my right hon. friend at the head of it, say that they cannot help technical education, which is an absolute need in -this country, because the Prime Minister says that it is a luxury.

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

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

Oh, no. I always said that it was a necessity.

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

Robert James Manion

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MANION:

I am afraid I shall have

to correct my right hon. friend. The other day he said it was a luxury. Does he deny that?

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

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

It is a necessity which the provinces ought to attend to.

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

Robert James Manion

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MANION:

I was afraid my right hon. friend had almost forgotten having said it, and so I looked it up. The Minister of Labour (Mr. Heenan) was introducing an amendment to the Technical Education Act, and I said:

Mr. Manion: Is this one of the "unnecessary extravagances" to which the Minister of Finance referred a few minutes ago?

Mr. Heenan: You will have -to ask the Minister of Finance.

Mr. Mackenzie King: It is a luxury, not an

extravagance.

I submit that it is not a luxury; it is not an extravagance; it is a necessity in this country.

My hon. friend and acting leader (Mr. Guthrie) yesterday, in a magnificent speech, a speech which was a more complete and convincing indictment of this government than I have heard of any government in twelve years in this house, dealt with the question of economy very fully, but I wish to deal with it from another angle.

The Minister of Finance pointed out that of the expenditures which the government made for the year ending March 31, 1929, 42 per cent were war expenditures, amounting to $162,000,000, to use the minister's own figure, and the balance general expenditures, amounting to $223,000,000. I looked up the figures in the public accounts, and I find that $223,000,000 is just exactly $101,000,000 more than the general expenditures of this country amounted to during the last year of Sir Wilfrid Laurier's regime in 1911, and $40,000,000 more than our expenditures in the last year before the war, and almost five times as much as the expenditures of this country in 1900. And for the coming year the estimates will be very much increased.

"90 COMMONS

The Budget-Mr. Manion

As my hon. friend from South Wellington (Mr. Guthrie) pointed out yesterday, the Minister of Finance is right in saying that he has lowered in some cases the rate of taxation, but, nevertheless, he has increased the amount, the burden, of taxation. As far as one can see, economy is not a popular cry with this government. I believe they have come to the conclusion that economy is not popular politics, but it might be well in these times of abounding prosperity so far as our natural products are concerned, for the government' to remember the example of Joseph, and lay aside something for the lean years that are bound to come after the present years of plenty.

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

Alexander MacGillivray Young

Liberal

Mr. YOUNG (Saskatoon):

Are you expect-ipg to get into power?

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

Robert James Manion

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MANION:

I expect we will be coming into power as soon as the people get a fair chance at this government, in view of the many things that are happening under this government of which the people disapprove.

Mr. hOUNG (Saskatoon): Those were the lean years you were thinking of.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
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March 8, 1929