April 8, 1930

BANKING AND COMMERCE


Third report of the select standing committee on banking and commerce-Mr. Hay.


CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS


Annual report of the Canadian National Railways for the year ending December 31, 1929-Mr. Crerar.


DEBATES COMMITTEE

MOTION FOR CONCURRENCE IN FIRST REPORT


On the order: Resuming the adjourned debate on the motion of Mr. Young (Weyburn), for the concurrence in the first report of the select standing committee appointed to supervise the official report of the debates of the House of Commons. I3n6 COMMONS Unemployment-Mr. McGibbon


LIB

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

Liberal

Right Hon. W. L. MACKENZIE KING (Prime Minister):

Mr. Speaker, I would

move that the report be referred back to the committee for further consideration.

Topic:   DEBATES COMMITTEE
Subtopic:   MOTION FOR CONCURRENCE IN FIRST REPORT
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Motion agreed to. RUSSIAN ANTHRACITE COAL On the orders of the day: Mr. ROBERT K. SMITH (Cumberland): Mr. Speaker, I should like to ask the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) what steps, if any, is the government taking, or does it propose to take, to prevent the entry into Canada of anthracite coal produced in Russia under conditions of sweated labour at a cost of a rouble a day, equivalent to eighteen cents, as mentioned in the House of Commons in London yesterday by Sir Newton Moore?


LIB

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

Liberal

Right Hon. W. L. MACKENZIE KING (Prime Minister):

My hon. friend was good

enough to give me notice of this question. I might say the government had read the statement of Sir Newton Moore and we are talcing steps to ascertain the facts. When we have the facts before us the matter will be given careful consideration.

Topic:   DEBATES COMMITTEE
Subtopic:   MOTION FOR CONCURRENCE IN FIRST REPORT
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LAB

James Shaver Woodsworth

Labour

Mr. J. S. WOODSWORTH (Winnipeg North Centre):

Might I ask the Prime Minister if steps will be taken to establish a trade commissioner in Russia in order that the government may ascertain the facts?

Topic:   DEBATES COMMITTEE
Subtopic:   MOTION FOR CONCURRENCE IN FIRST REPORT
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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:

That also will have to receive consideration.

RADIO BROADCASTING On the orders of the day:

Topic:   DEBATES COMMITTEE
Subtopic:   MOTION FOR CONCURRENCE IN FIRST REPORT
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LAB

Abraham Albert Heaps

Labour

Mr. A. A. HEAPS (North Winnipeg):

Mr. Speaker, I should like to ask the Minister of Marine and Fisheries (Mr. Cardin) if it is his intention to bring down before the Easter recess legislation in connection with the radio report.

Topic:   DEBATES COMMITTEE
Subtopic:   MOTION FOR CONCURRENCE IN FIRST REPORT
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LIB

Pierre-Joseph-Arthur Cardin (Minister of Marine and Fisheries)

Liberal

Hon. P. J. A. CARDIN (Minister of Marine and Fisheries):

The matter is going to be referred to a special committee, which will be appointed in a day or two.

Topic:   DEBATES COMMITTEE
Subtopic:   MOTION FOR CONCURRENCE IN FIRST REPORT
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LAB

Abraham Albert Heaps

Labour

Mr. HEAPS:

Do I understand from the statement of the minister that there will be no bill introduced into the house?

Topic:   DEBATES COMMITTEE
Subtopic:   MOTION FOR CONCURRENCE IN FIRST REPORT
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LIB

Pierre-Joseph-Arthur Cardin (Minister of Marine and Fisheries)

Liberal

Mr. CARDIN:

Not at present. The report itself will be referred to the committee.

Topic:   DEBATES COMMITTEE
Subtopic:   MOTION FOR CONCURRENCE IN FIRST REPORT
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SUPPLY-UNEMPLOYMENT AMENDMENT OF MB. HEAPS TO MOTION FOR COMMITTEE


The house resumed from Monday, April 7, consideration of the motion of Mr. Mackenzie King for committee of supply, and the amendment thereto of Mr. Heaps.


CON

Peter McGibbon

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. PETER McGIBBON (Muskoka-On-tario):

Mr. Speaker, the resolution of the member for North Winnipeg (Mr. Heaps) now before the house is that some immediate action be taken by this parliament to solve the question of unemployment in Canada. That there is unemployment in Canada I think probably no one will deny. That there are many causes for this unemployment I think we all admit, and some of the causes I hope to discuss this afternoon.

Chief among these causes, sir, and the one that I want to emphasize first, is that responsibility for the grave condition of unemployment in Canada to-day can be laid mainly at the door of this government. This government has lost its vision; it has lacked courage and it has had no definite policy. There has been no unity in the fiscal system sponsored by the present government. Under these conditions how can we expect to have an aggressive government, one that would shape its policy so as to give industry a chance and make employment plentiful. We might oast our eyes backwards for the short period of ten years and recall the time when the present Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) went up and down the country seeking election. At that time he painted a new heaven and a new earth for the people of this country, if they would only put him in power. After having been there ten years we find that the picture has faded and the vision has disappeared. To-day we have a condition of affairs which is probably worse than it has been for the last ten or fifteen years. Not only the Prime Minister, but his cabinet as well is involved.

Sitting near the right hon. gentleman I see the Minister of Finance (Mr. Dunning). We are told that he is weighing in his left hand a protectionist budget and in his right hand a free trade budget. He has been unable to decide which to give the country in order best to meet the political expediency of his party. As a result of this, interest in business is lagging and unemployment in Canada is on the increase. Then, there is the great protectionist the Minister of National Revenue (Mr. Euler). I think everyone in the house will remember when he stood in his place about a year ago and gave that patriotic Canadian speech for which he received the applause of nearly every hon. member. But alas to-dav we find that the idol has fallen and that his feet were clay. Next we have the Minister of Railways (Mr. Crerar), and at this time I pause to offer him

Unemployment-Mr. McGibbon

my personal congratulations upon his return to the House of Commons and to the government. In addition to that I extend congratulations to my leader (Mr. Bennett) the member for West Calgary, that the Minister of Railways has joined the present government. I have watched the career of the hon. gentleman for thirteen years. I have seen him partially destroy at least two parties, and now he has joined the funeral march which will help to bury the present government. I remember when in 1919 he left the Union government, because its policy of protection was too high; I remember when he was in the old museum as leader of the Progressive party. I remember how he led that party for a few months or a year and then let it drift to the tender mercies of the present leader of that party. After wandering for a time through the wilderness he has returned to his first love; he has joined the present Liberal party and he has taken the portfolio of Minister of Railways and Canals.

Then, sir, we have the Minister of the Interior (Mr. Stewart). We all know how he has gone up to the attic and brought down the old bundle of hay called free trade. We know how the hon. gentleman has clasped it to his heart and sounded the death knell of a protective policy for this country. That is not all, Mr. Speaker. Following that we have the Minister of Labour (Mr. Heenan) who has assumed the portfolio which ought to be one of the most important offices in this government. The machinery under the control of the hon. gentleman is in a dilapidated condition; the cylinders are missing, the gears are stripped and the tires are deflated. He has attempted the military tactics which we used in the army of knowing nothing, hearing nothing, seeing nothing and doing nothing. Consequently when we consider the aggregation of men who call themselves a cabinet, when we consider the diversified ideas they have as to the fiscal policy of this country, and the fact that they have been in office for the last eight or ten years, can we wonder that to-day business is stagnant, unemployment is increasing and hard times again exist in the Dominion of Canada.

While I was considering the cause of the present conditions I turned up the book which was written by the Prime Minister, and on page 518 I read the following words, which are very significant when we consider the present situation in this house and in the Dominion of Canada:

There is a crafty opportunism which would prefer that principles and rules should not be too definitely stated, an unprincipled strategy that is continually shifting its position in order

to avoid impending responsibilities, or repudiating principles that some immediate temporary advantage may be gained. Such practices are destructive of the very foundations of industrial justice. Law and order cannot exist without stability; and stability cannot endure where opportunism prevails.

I wondered as I read that paragraph if the Prime Minister was speaking as a prophet because certainly to-day the voice of history has recorded the accuracy of that prophecy, as it applies to the present government. They have been opportunists from the day they came into office, and we know that one thing they have always lacked has been stability in their policy of government.

1 have said that there is unemployment in this country to-day. I would like to ask this house if it is not the duty of every country to furnish employment for its people. Every' man and woman in Canada who is not a para-site and who wishes work should be given the-opportunity. When we consider that this country is not able to supply work for at least one hundred thousand people, to say nothing of the 700,000 that the policy of the government has driven out of Canada, I ask, what have been the results of such a policy? What policy have they at the present time?

The late John Bright in speaking in the British House of Commons charged the government of the day with the duties which he thought belonged to the government of the country. In effect, he said that the life of every nation rested in the cottage and unless the light of their legislation and the beauty of their statesmanship could shine there they had not learned the lesson of government, and their people could not be a happy people or their nation a great nation.

Applying that test to the government of the day, assuming it to be a fair measure by which we can judge the results of the last ten years, I ask the Prime Minister and his government, what are the conditions in this country to-day? A few days ago the Prime Minister made a statement in this house similar to one that he made before the representatives of the cities of western Canada when they attended before him in connection with unemployment. He stated on those occasions that there was no unemployment in Canada at the present time-or at least no unusual unemployment. I have in my hands a statement prepared by the Department of Labour covering the province of Ontario. It deals with such cities as Belleville, Brantford, Chatham, Cobalt, Fort William, Guelph, Hamilton, Kingston, Kitchener, London, Niagara Falls, North Bay, Oshawa, Pembroke, Peterborough, Port Arthur, St. Catharines, St. Thomas, Toronto and Windsor, a cross sec-

1358 COMMONS

Unemployment-Mr. McGibbon

tion of the entire province, and it indicates that to-day there are some 43,000 people unemployed, which is about 100 per cent more than were unemployed at this time last year. In view of these facts, Mr. Speaker, I ask you whether the Prime Minister has taken the proper attitude towards this question ir refusing assistance in order to relieve this emergency which exists throughout Canada.

Just for a moment, sir, I should like to refer to what was done in the United States by President Hoover. This is not new to most hon. members, but probably they have not realized the magnitude of the result. You will remember that when the stock market crash occurred last fall President Hoover called together all the heads of industry from the different states of the union and encouraged them to do everything they could to tide over the unemployment situation and the business depression that was then in view. It may be news to hon. gentlemen to learn that as a result of that conference no less than six billion dollars is being spent in the United States at present which would1 not have been spent, had it not been for the leadership given by President Hoover.

We on this side of the house have not been backward in giving advice and indicating remedies to this government. We have brought to their notice the question of the construction of a transcontinental highway which, if it had been undertaken, would have absorbed a great deal of the unemployed; we have brought up the question of technical education which, though it would not bring *any immediate relief, would at least indicate the path industry might take in the future which eventually would have a marked effect upon the employment situation. We have brought up the matter of the New Zealand treaty under which the importations of butter this year probably will amount to some fifty million pounds. That much labour has been taken away from the farms of Canada, and it must be remembered that this treaty affects not only butter but the allied beef and pork industries. It has been stated that there are 500,000 less hogs on the farms to-day than was the case a few years ago. If the government had) taken steps to remedy these conditions, sir, we might not be in such a deplorable condition at the present time.

In my riding there is a small town, sir, where we have an industry which has been shut down for the first time in fifty years. The other day I asked the proprietor how many people he employed, and he said he usually had 70 or 80 people working for him. I have looked up the importations of woollens, and I find that the millions of dollars' worth

which have been imported would keep 200 mills of that capacity going the year round. With a proper application of the policy which we should have in this country could we not increase employment to a very considerable extent? I also have in my hand a despatch which states that maple flooring has been dumped in the city of Windsor at $58 per thousand feet, duty paid, which is the equivalent to a price of about $43 per thousand in the United States. I desire particularly to bring this to the attention of the Minister of National Revenue. I am told that this flooring is sold in the United States at present for S69 per thousand, but it is dumped into this country at a total cost of $58 and the result is that many of our mills are idle or working only half time. That is another way in which this government could take some action to provide work in this country for our own labourers. Why must we hand over these benefits to the United States? I say it is too great a price to pay, even as a gesture to that country. We want this work done in our own country; we want it kept for our own people, and if we had a proper policy we would' not have the unemployment which is so prevalent to-day.

While going to the city of Toronto from my own town two weeks ago I was talking to a gentleman who is in the manufacturing business. He manufactures small show cases such as you see in cigar shops filled with flash lights, Tuckett cigars, and so on, and he had been manufacturing those show cases in this country for a great many years. A few months ago he received an order from the United States for 125,000 of these cases, and when he sent over his first shipment he was met with a duty of 27i per cent. By the time he got to the border with his second shipment, however, he found that the duty had gone up to 00 per cent, which made it prohibitive. In effect they said, "These goods can be made in this country, and they must be made here by United States workmen." I submit, sir, that that is a sound policy for the United States and it would be a good policy for Canada as well, because it would keep work in this country for our own men and women.

I was very much surprised this morning, when I picked up the newspaper, to see that the Minister of the Interior (Mr. Stewart) had, in a very mild manner it is true, repudiated the statement of his leader the other day that he would not give five cents to the unemployed in any province which had a Tory government.

Topic:   SUPPLY-UNEMPLOYMENT AMENDMENT OF MB. HEAPS TO MOTION FOR COMMITTEE
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April 8, 1930