March 17, 1931

CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Prime Minister; Minister of Finance and Receiver General; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

I am going to show the house that the language is about the same. Complaint has been made of something in his manner that lacked the cool repose of a Vere de Vere. But at any rate the right hon. gentleman in looking through the records has found that I was frank in statement; there was no circumlocution, there was no uncertainty as to what I meant. It is so difficult for the right hon. gentleman to understand any man acting in that way. I am bound to say that perhaps from his long experience in maintaining a government without a majority, subject to the whims and caprices of those who might induce him to change his mind almost overnight, I can readily understand he would have had the representatives of Canada endeavour, if not in an oleaginous at least in a saponaceous manner or by the exercise of flattery, endeavour to induce other persons to change their attitude. Then at the end of the four and a half hours this is what he is talking about. I can only say that the presentation of the case from the Canadian standpoint before the second plenary conference took exactly seventeen minutes by the clock, and there was at least one Canadian there who, although not a member of the delegation, listened and thought it was as clear and as concise a presentation as it was possible to make.

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An hon. MEMBER:

Howard Ferguson.

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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Prime Minister; Minister of Finance and Receiver General; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

It was not Mr. Ferguson. I can only say that if the hon. gentleman ever approaches him in brains and capacity he will be much better off than he is to-day.

Now I turn to the record of the 1902 Imperial conference referred to by Mr. Richard Jebb in the Nineteenth Century. At least one or two hon. members will recall the attitude taken by Sir Wilfrid Laurier and his ministers on that occasion. I wonder how many in this house realize just exactly the language then employed. On page 36 of the report it will be found that Sir Wilfrid Laurier with others agreed to this statement:

The general resolution that was finally adopted as covering the principle underlying the several proposals comprised in Mr. Balfour's memorandum, was as follows:

1. That this conference recognizes that the principle of preferential trade between the United Kingdom and His Majesty's dominions beyond the seas would stimulate and facilitate mutual commercial intercourse, and would, by promoting the development of the resources and industries of the several parts, strengthen the empire.

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An hon. MEMBER:

Hear, hear.

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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Prime Minister; Minister of Finance and Receiver General; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

Well, the hon. gentleman was not saying "hear, hear" yesterday when the leader of the opposition was reading what I said. Let me continue:

2. That this conference recognizes that, in the present circumstances of the colonies, it is not practicable to adopt a general system of free trade as between the mother country and the British dominions beyond the seas.

That also hon. members will find in the address which I made at the second plenary conference.

3. That with a view however, to promoting tbe_ increase of trade within the empire, it is desirable that those colonies which have not already adopted such a policy should, as far as their circumstances permit, give substantial preferential treatment to the products and manufactures of the United Kingdom.

4. That the Prime Ministers of the colonies respectfully urge on His Majesty's government the expediency of granting in the United Kingdom preferential treatment to the products and manufactures of the colonies, either by exemption from or reduction of duties now or hereafter imposed.

5. That the Prime Ministers present at the conference undertake to submit to their respective governments at the earliest opportunity the principle of the resolution, and to request them to take such measures as may be necessary to give effect to it.

But Sir Wilfrid Laurier was not content to let it rest there. He handed in a special memorandum covering a page and a half of this book. I want the house to listen to the words and see what difference there is between the language employed by the Prime Minister of Canada in 1930 and the Prime Minister of Canada in 1902 in respect to this matter. There may be, and always are, differences of phrasing, but here is a matter that was agreed to in a memorandum by Canada's minister. Mr. Chamberlain, the then Colonial Secretary, was present. The Dominions department had not yet come into being. This is the memorandum in part:

From the beginning of the proceedings the Canadian ministers have claimed that in consideration of the substantial preference given by Canada for some years to the products of the mother country, Canadian food products should be exempted in the United Kingdom from the duties recently imposed. Represen-

The Address-Mr. Bennett

tations to this effect previously made through the High Commissioner for Canada were supplemented by the ministers, both in writing and in the personal interviews with the imperial ministers.

Twenty-eight years ago that was urged. Last fall Canada again urged it. That is all. But Canada did it in a somewhat different form, as I shall presently point out. Now let us go a step further:

Mr. Chamberlain, on behalf of the Imperial government, was unable to agree to the proposals of the Canadian ministers. He represented that the Imperial government, while highly appreciating the good feeling manifested by Canada in the granting of preferential treatment, did not think the material results to the trade of the United Kingdom were as great as the Canadian ministers claimed. He further said that the change desired by Canada would be an important departure from the established fiscal policy of the kingdom, and that if the proposals could be entertained at all, as to which he was not prepared to commit himself, it would be necessary for Canada to offer some material tariff concessions beyond those which she had already voluntarily given.

The Canadian ministers, therefore, submitted a memorandum on the subject of the advantages already received by Great Britain from the Canadian preferential tariff, with a view to showing that these were of much value, and entitled to weight in the consideration of the whole subject.

Now here are the words to which I direct the careful attention of the house:

While urging that the benefits of the preference were such as to entitle Canada to the desired exemption from the duties on food products in the United Kingdom, the Canadian ministers stated that within certain limitations they were prepared to consider the request of Mr. Chamberlain for further concessions in return for the desired preference in the markets of the United Kingdom. While it was not deemed necessary to enter into questions as to the wisdom or unwisdom of the policy adopted by all governments in Canada-

Mark you, "by all governments in Canada."

-of raising the revenues chiefly from customs duties, the Canadian ministers pointed out that under that policy large industries had grown up which had to be considered in connection with proposed tariff changes. Large reductions of duties had been made in recent years, especially on British imports.

And so on. Now, I ask this house and the country if there is any difference in substance between that proposal and the proposal we made in 1930. Mr. Jebb says they are exactly the same. Let us go a step further:

The Canadian ministers stated that if they could be assured that the Imperial government would accept the principle of preferential trade generally, and particularly grant to the food products of Canada in the United Kingdom exemption from duties now levied, or hereafter imposed, they, the Canadian ministers, would be prepared to go further into the sub-

ject, and endeavour to give to the British manufacturer some increased advantage over his foregn competitors in the markets of Canada.

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Some hon. MEMBERS:

Hear, hear.

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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Prime Minister; Minister of Finance and Receiver General; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

Is it not delightful to

hear that cheer now for the sentiment hon. members opposite opposed yesterday? Is it any wonder the right hon. gentleman is an expert in the use of that word? Mr. Speaker, there is the proposal submitted by the Canadian ministers in amplification of the statements that were made before the conference on August 11, 1902.

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An hon. MEMBER:

That is different.

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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Prime Minister; Minister of Finance and Receiver General; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

I leave the question as

to whether it is different. For my part 1 might perhaps be prejudiced, but great as is my admiration for Canadians I still believe that Richard Jebb has a mental capacity at least equal to that of those who have raised the issue here, especially the last one I heard.

Now let us discuss that matter fairly. That was the proposal of 1902, and it has been lying upon the table ever since, as Mr. Jebb says. But I have not read the most damning part of this statement; it is the part I want to read, containing the threat of so mild a mannered man as the late Sir Wilfrid Laurier. I wanted to finish before I heard your cheers, but I would like to hear some cheers now'. Listen to these words:

Meanwhile the Canadian ministers determined to present to the conference a resolution affirming the principle of preferential trade, and the desirability of its adoption by the colonies generally, and also expressing the opinion of the prime ministers of the colonies that His Majesty's government should reciprocate by granting preferential terms to the products of the colonies in the markets of the mother country.

In 1902 they had not any hesitation in presenting such a resolution; they were not bothered about the fine point as to whether it might or might not please Mr. Chamberlain. They did not bother about that any more than I did. Then listen to these words:

The Canadian ministers desired to have it understood that they took this course with the strong hope and expectation that the principle of preferential trade would be more widely accepted by the colonies, and that the mother country would at an early day apply the same principle by exempting the products of the colonies from customs duties.

That was twenty-eight years ago. Then listen to these words:

If, after using every effort to bring about such a readjustment of the fiscal policy of the empire, the Canadian government should find that the principle of preferential trade is not acceptable to the colonies generally, or the

The Address-Mr. Bennett

mother country, then Canada should he free to take such action as might be deemed necessary in the presence of such conditions.

What did Canada say in 1930, twenty-eight years later? Of course a great war intervened; there were the conferences of 1917, 1923 and 1926, and oh, those glorious platitudes, those beautiful words. How they sound, those oleaginous statements of what a beautiful thing it is for brethren to dwell together in unity, and all that sort of thing. Is it any wonder that when the British papers published in full the seventeen minute address they said, "Well, we are thankful we have passed the age of platitudes." Why, anyone who listened yesterday to the right hon. gentleman could realize how at a conference such as that of last fall he would not make a statement such as that I have just read. Oh no; he would say, "Give me spirit and faith; these are finer than the things of the world. But do not take away the market in Russia."

The right hon. gentleman has talked about the severing of relations with the empire. That is the exaggerated ego, unable to believe that it is possible for anyone except himself to represent Canada in any capacity whatever. When I used the language I did, the language which was published in the statement regarding Mr. Thomas, that we must look for interempire arrangements regardless of what the mother country did, I but gave voice to the words of Sir Wilfrid Laurier, uttered twenty-eight years before. It is true that I had not had five or six years of experience as a prime minister before doing so, as he then had; it is true also that I perhaps used blunter language, but it was more easily understood. When the right hon. gentleman yonder complains of the language I used I say this to him: I will not discuss that question beyond saying that every newspaper but one in Great Britain expressed gratitude that someone had put the issue clearly up to the people. It is only necessary to take the clippings of that day and read them in order to determine the truth of that statement. There was no talk of severing relations and even the statement made after the conference closed, in response to Mr. Thomas, was characterized as moderate and dignified by the British journals. That is all, but the right hon. leader of the opposition, in order to create a prejudice in the minds of our own people, speaks of that language as being petulant and childish. I will take the opinion of the greatest journal in the world in respect to that.

There is one other matter which remains to be considered. I have not gone into these matters in great detail, but I felt it was desirable to place before this house the circumstances which led us to take the position we did take. The right hon. gentleman said yesterday that we should not talk about preference within the. empire, that anyone would think we were talking at an empire conference. I say we were talking at an empire conference, and we were talking about just what Sir Wilfrid Laurier referred to, empire preference. We did not refer to preference between Great Britain and Canada but between every part of the empire, reciprocal preference between ever}' part, to the mutual advantage and general benefit of all. That is what we were endeavouring to do. We were not dealing with a preference as between Australia and Canada, Great Britain and Canada, or Great Britain and South Africa; we were dealing with a reciprocal preference, a British Empire preference touching every part of the empire. That is what Laurier was dealing with in 1902; that is what we were dealing with in 1930; that is what we have been endeavouring to deal with and will deal with when this conference meets here this fall, representing every part of the British Empire, for the purpose of determining whether or not the investigations which have been set in motion will result in some concrete plans being made by which we can give effect to an idea which is common alike to those who agree with us anid those who do not agree with us on questions of preference and free trade, namely an empire preference. We believe that preference might be best worked out by a system of tariff preferences, but there were those who believed it might be worked out by a quota system, with reference to grain and certain other commodities. We said, let the investigations proceed in order that it may be 'determined to what extent this is true. That is the position to-day. And I say it ill becomes any Canadian leader of a great party, whose greatest leader adopted language similar to our own, when a conference is not yet concluded, when it only stands adjourned, when he knows that in the very nature of things I cannot go into a discussion of many of the matters which he raised yesterday, inasmuch as they are sub judice before that conference, to come here and go back upon the past of his party in order that he may find an opportunity to make an attack, wholly baseless and unwarranted, upon the method by which Canada had her case presented to that conference. I have nothing to withdraw with respect to that presentation, not a word, not a syllable, not a line. It was put in fifteen minutes-seventeen to be exact

from the time it started until it ended; and in that time we but summarised what had gone before. We said, "Twenty-eight or thirty years

6S

The Address-Mr. Bennett

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An hon. MEMBER:

That was just chaff.

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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Prime Minister; Minister of Finance and Receiver General; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

It was not chaff, it was

deception. I hope there will be ample opportunity for the hon. gentleman's mutterings to find expression.

One other charge has been levelled against us, and that is that the prestige of this country has been adversely affected by the attitude taken by Canada last fall. If the opinion of those best able to express an opinion is considered, it never stood higher than it is to-day. I take no credit to myself with respect to that, but I think it is realized, as it was in connection with the embargo, that the Canadian people have made up their minds that thirty years is long enough to wait and that if we cannot arrive at a solution we will have to look elsewhere.

The amendment is directed largely to that particular point, but I will not say more with respect to it than to say that a group of Canadians elected by their fellow citizens are endeavouring to implement the pledges given to the Canadian people that gave them power. That cannot be done in eight months. It never was suggested that it would be. Effect will continue to be given to their convictions with respect to those pledges. We are not unmindful of the fact that recourse is being had to the old time-honored policy of hon. gentlemen opposite, to create distrust and suspicion on the part of the people based upon their geographical location. They are going to and fro talking about the big interests and raising trouble, prejudices and difficulties. I do not think the Canadian people will be deceived any longer in that way. Mr. J. G. Gardiner, who is no longer leader of a Liberal government fn Saskatchewan, on Wednesday, March 19, 1926, expressed himself before the United Farmers of Manitoba as follows:

The most harmful slogan ever introduced into the consideration of western public matters was the ory, "down with eastern vested interests," which has developed into an attempt to organize the east against the west and the west against the east. Members of the party to which I belong. in the past were responsible for the introduction of that cry, and I pledged myself as a leader of that party to put forth every effort to remove from the appeals of the organization to which I belong, any such unworthy sentiment.

I have quoted from a verbatim report of a speech delivered at the annual banquet of the United Farmers of Manitoba and which appeared in the Regina Leader on Wednesday, March 10, 1926. He stated as Premier of Saskatchewan that the party to which he belonged in the past were responsible for the introduction of that cry. I ask hon. gentlemen opposite to consider that statement in view of the appeals to prejudices and passions

The Address-Mr. Bennett

which are now being made and the suggestions being put forth that this government is dominated by the large interests. Canadians have endeavoured to develop the great resources which have been placed in their trust and they have demanded that they be given an equal opportunity with other peoples in other countries to develop their resources as have other countries and that they should have the fair competition to which they are entitled if it is within the power of any government to grant such fairness in competition.

In connection with agriculture I do not intend to say more than that we took such action as to prevent a panic in connection with wheat, an action which I think any government would have taken had it been seized with a thorough appreciation of the seriousness of the condition then existing. That action had the result at least of saving the situation at the moment. I can only say that whatever may be necessary for the purpose of enabling agriculture to be placed upon a firm and stable basis, we will do, but no man who has followed the history of world movements during these last eighteen months can fail to understand that the failure to appreciate what was coming had been responsible for what is. The right hon. gentleman mentioned yesterday the necessity for study and deliberation, and I have read in the Liberal press the statement that he did not decide quickly but, oh, so deeply. It was said that he looked into the future, but let me give you two or three illustrations. He made a treaty with Australia aiyl it was only by a modus vivendi that we have been able to save the dairy industry of Canada from being put into the position it was during the old regime. The same thing was done with New Zealand through an order in council, and he then said: How could we know that it would come out in this way? What happened? He gave notice of the termination of the treaty and trade agreement. The relations between New Zealand and Canada are at present so strained that it is difficult to understand their being worse. By the treaty made by order in council he created a channel of trade and the people of New Zealand became accustomed to following that channel. We purchased 50,000,000 pounds of butter from New Zealand during last year when a few years before we had purchased none. This channel of trade was suddenly terminated with the result that a new channel had to be found by that country. It would have been better had New Zealand not had that market at all than to have had happen what did happen. That is an example

of vision, foresight and statecraft which in anybody else would be considered as most reprehensible. .

Then consider the treaty with France and how its provisions touch the lives of the people of this country. As the right hon. gentleman said yesterday, both Italy and France have been raising their tariffs against Canadian wheat higher and higher, but we cannot do anything, we have to be satisfied with the minimum under the treaties.

I turn now to another point. He asked why we passed legislation here dealing as we did with the old country tariff preferences before we went to the Imperial conference. I will tell the house why we did it, and every businessman knows why we did it. Does anyone suppose we were going over to England with those tariffs as they stood, to try to make a bargain or deal of any kind? Everybody knew we could not do that, but we did what the late James Robb tried to do and could not. As will be remembered he tried to raise the duty before the Australian treaty was put through, but he could not accomplish this because some of his party would not let him. He had not a majority, but we had and were able to do it. My hon. friends opposite have no trouble in understanding that.

Lastly, we were told that we should not be bargaining at an Imperial conference. Almost two breaths later, however, my right hon. friend referred to the Argentine republic. What is the situation there? A bargain was made by the British ambassador and a trade mission whereby Argentina is to deliver to Great Britain so many bushels of wheat in return for so much manufactured goods, and figures are given as to the kind of goods. That is the only kind of bargaining you will ever be able to make them understand, and the Chancellor of the Exchequer told me he personally went to the banks in connection with the necessary credit.

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CON
CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Prime Minister; Minister of Finance and Receiver General; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

At what price?

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CON
CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Prime Minister; Minister of Finance and Receiver General; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

No. I hope the hon.

gentleman knows better than that. As a matter of fact, our wheat sales in Great Britain as I said, are 25,000,000 bushels more than they were last year.

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CON
CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Prime Minister; Minister of Finance and Receiver General; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

If that be so, Russia is paying a bonus for purchasers to take it.

The Address-Mr. Woodsworth

May I point out that bargaining has been the basis of all British agreements. Are there any members present who recall Cob-den's agreement with France, that treaty after the repeal of the Com Laws. Read the life of Cobden and the difficulty in connection with that. Take our present treaty with France; all treaties that are of any value mean bargain, bargain, bargain. Those who have no interest beyond the academic in these matters always denounce the actions of practical men. We are a practical government, and under those circumstances we propose to continue to make bargains. We have been negotiating bargains with other parts of the empire and will continue to do so as occasion offers.

I have trespassed upon the time of the house much longer than I had expected to do when I rose to my feet, but I can only reiterate that I am conscious of no neglect of my duties to the cause of Canada, and I certainly have as great a love of empire as hon. gentlemen opposite. I do not propose for a single moment to depart from the general principles that have governed us in dealing with the economic problems of Canada at the Imperial conference that will meet at an adjourned session in this city during the succeeding months.

One word more. The right hon. gentleman [DOT] opposite has suggested that we might endeavour to drive legislation through with undue haste, and he warns us that we shall not be able to do so. We welcome that, for the fuller the discussion of any measures, the better they will be; but I will say we do not propose to listen to any vaudeville effusions such as we had last session from the hon. member for Weyburn (Mr. Young). An intelligent discussion is one thing; but the discussions that then took place were merely endeavours to wear out the patience of the minister in charge, and I think most of the hon. gentleman's friends held the same view.

I am deeply grateful to the house for having listened with such patience and I can only add we are conscious of no neglect of duty, no failure in our devotion to the cause of Canada and the empire in every thing that has been done. Guided by that thought and sustained and inspired by the support of an intelligent electorate which has rallied round us in the past and will do so in the future, we shall go forward and discharge the duties that have devolved upon us.

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LAB

James Shaver Woodsworth

Labour

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

Mr. Speaker, under the rules

of the house only the Prime Minister and the leader of the official opposition have the opportunity of speaking for more than forty minutes. Under this handicap may I be forgiven by the previous speakers if I refer only incidentally to their speeches and confine myself very largely to stating our own position. There is, perhaps, some difficulty in the atmosphere of Ottawa in maintaining the sense of the over-shadowing importance of the needs of the labouring men and farmers whom we represent. Ottawa is interested in the fortunes of the Conservative and Liberal parties, interested in the social functions connected with the opening of the house; interested in the coming of the new Governor General; interested in the prospective visit of the King of Siam; interested in the gossip connected with the new plenipotentiary and envoy extraordinary to the United States. May I venture to read the headlines on the front page of the Manitoba Free Press issued the day I left Winnipeg, February 26. This will perhaps bring us back to realities:

Police wield batons on paraders' heads to quell disorder-Exciting clashes mark procession of 4,000 unemployed and communists

Minor clashes mark jobless gathering

Dominion-wide unemployment demonstrations checked by police-Unemployment relief problem is grappled with by legislation- Bracken's bill to ratify projects to aid workless gets third reading-Time wealthy were fully aware of present situation, declares Haig -Russia makes trade proposal to Canada- United Farmers of Canada convention moves last barrier to political action-by overwhelming vote, delegates wipe out ruling objecting to political alliances-Charter of liberty, with exception of threat of secession, is adopted.

I turn to an inside page and I read: "Sixteen nations agree to buy European wheat stocks." This really means that Europe is isolating herself as far as possible from America. Another heading relates to the closing of Brandon college:

At the regular chapel exercises at Brandon college, Doctor J. R. C. Evans referred to the recent press announcement regarding the inability of the Baptist union to finance the college until the close of the current academic year.

No finances! Still another heading:

Brookland's schools are to be closed-Compulsory holiday for children is caused by lack of finances.

Brooklands, I may say, is a suburb of the city of Winnipeg, and these school children are being thrown on the streets because the teachers cannot be paid.

In order to understand what this unemployment means in actual cash, may I quote the figures from the last report on unemployment

The Address-Mr. Woodsworth

in my own city? It shows the number of single men unemployed as 4,148, and that the cost of relief for each single man in December averaged $22.82, making a total of $94,657 a month. The married men numbered 2,325, and the average cost for each was $37.57, making a monthly cost of $87,370. The total monthly cost of unemployment in Winnipeg just now is therefore at the rate of approximately $182,000 a month, of which the city itself pays $69,000 a month. I have said that that represents the financial cost. I do not think that anyone could begin to picture the moral degradation and the mental hardships that are involved in such figures as those.

I come east and I find that at least the financial papers, and, indeed, most of the daily papers are not recognizing the existence of any very great depression. I find in the Montreal Standard, for instance, of January 3, that although the dividend payments to be distributed are somewhat less than the amount distributed last year, they still amount to $21,557,937, and that there are certain large corporations which are paying bonuses in addition. For instance, there is a bonus of 85 by the Consolidated Mining and Smelting Company, and so on. I turn to another corporation as an illustration. The last annual report of Montreal Light, Heat and Power Consolidated, shows a gross revenue for 1930 of $23,484,079.70, and expenses of $11,401,894.62, leaving a net revenue of 812,082,185.08. The expenses, including Sir Herbert Holt's salary, and so forth, make up only 48 per cent of the receipts, and to the absentee owners goes the remaining 52 per cent. One might almost conclude that everything was lovely in the city of Montreal and in the east generally, and yet I think that there is another aspect even to that, for I find this statement in the joint Christmas appeal made by the Royal Edward institute and the Bruehesi institute:

A much larger amount will be necessary this year in order to cope with the great increase in the number of cases of tuberculosis which are already showing, and which are due-*

Mark this-

-to the privations consequent upon the unemployment situation throughout the year.

Again in the Montreal Daily Star, which cannot be accused of being a Socialist paper,

I find running in January a series of advertisements by the Advertising Club of Montreal, sponsored by such well-known firms as Case Limited, Dunfields Limited, Dupuis Freres Limitee, Fit-Reform Wardrobe, Henry Marks, John Henderson & Company, Max Beauvais Limited, James A. Ogilvy Limited, Riley Hern Inc., R. J. Tooke Limited, the Robert Simpson Company, Montreal, Limited. The ad-

vertisements are appropriately illustrated with cartoons, and I find in one advertisement the statement, beside the picture of a labouring man, that his wages will buy food, but not clothes. It says:

Dozens of men are working for wages which will provide only the bare essentials for themselves and their families. Their earnings will not permit the purchase of necessary clothing. Help a needy fellow-citizen through the rigours of a Montreal winter. Buy a smart new suit yourself and donate your old one to some needy man. Such a kindly act may keep his wife and family from actual hardship and suffering this winter.

In view of such advertisements as that, I must say that I am not very enthusiastic over the statement in the speech from the throne that:

In prosperity they (the Canadian people) were united. In adversity that union is made still stronger by the spirit of cooperation and mutual understanding which is the surest bulwark of the national welfare and happiness.

Is that the cooperation which is intended?

I read another advertisement from the same source:

Here s . the sort of philanthropy you've dreamed about-the sort that will cost you next to nothing. It will increase your selfrespect in more ways than one-and it may mean a job for an unemployed man-at least it will keep him warm. Buy yourself a new suit-give your old suit to the unemployed. What you discard is a luxury to the man in tatters. It will increase his self-respect too. Think of the chap who has to shovel snow to tide him over to the next job in his trade.

Such is the situation in the financial capital of Canada.

In spite of what the Prime Minister or the leader of the opposition may say, the present depression is due largely to causes that are world-wide in character, many of us believe to the evils inherent in the present system of competition. I think that ought to be frankly recognized, and there is very little that can be done by the Prime Minister along the lines that he has suggested that will alleviate the trouble to any great extent. In corroboration of that statement, I should like to read a paragraph or two from a recent paper published by the Carnegie Foundation, entitled "Studies in World Economy." This paper is by a very well-known authority, a former Canadian, Professor James T. Shot-well. He says:

The outstanding fact at the present time is that, owing to the fact that all nations are suffering similarly from the same economic depression, the questioning of the nature of business, itself is for the first time in history taking place on all sides of every political frontier. There is no doubt but that every part of the civilized world is affected by the maladjustments in the process which produces

The Address-Mr. Woodsworth

and distributes the world's supply of goods. Among bankers there is a preoccupation with the frozen credits of crippled industry and the price and movement of gold or silver. In agricultural sections, there is at the same time starvation and over-production of food. In the industrial world, consumption fails to keep pace with the capacity for mass production, but without any lessening of fundamental needs. So deep is the cleavage between the production of wealth and the capacity for its absorption that the criticisms of to-day are as wide as the sweep of world trade and as far-reaching as the capitalist system itself.

Again he says, and I hope that the very few members now present on the government side of the house will pay some attention to these words of Professor Shotwell:

The bigger the business, and the more it is organized according to sound principles and not dependent upon the temporary support which tariffs yield by a tax upon the consumers either here or abroad, the more_ it must look toward increasing that democratization of wealth which enables the common man to buy the goods which he produces. Wages must be increased, not to some limited point which the experience of the past assigns, but proportionately with the development of industry itself.

Let me quote another very striking statement which was made recently (January 14) by George Soule on behalf of the editors of The New Republic, after they had very deliberately considered the whole situation:

To-day there are in the United States, according to the census director, something like nine million men out of work; our cities are scenes of privation and misery on a scale which sickens the imagination; our agricultural life is bankrupt; our industry, in shifting to the south, has returned almost to the horrible conditions of the English factories of a hundred years ago and the fight of the unions there for recognition is all to begin again; so many banks are failing that the newspapers do not dare to print the truth about them. And when we look to Europe, west of Russia, or to South America, we see only the same economic chaos, the same lack of will or capacity to deal with it and the same resultant poverty and suffering. May we not well fear that -what this year has broken down is not simply the machinery of representative government, but the capitalist system itself?-and that, even with the best will in the world, it may be impossible for capitalism to guarantee not merely social justice but even security and order? May we not fear lest our American society-may not eventually collapse-as ignominiously as the feudal regime of Russia or France?

And if there is anything that would make one fear this danger in Canada it would be the speeches to which we have listened so far in this debate, in which there has been not one scintilla of hope, nothing to show that either the leader of the opposition or the Prime Minister is aware of the seriousness of the situation or is prepared to offer anything constructive in the way of remedy'.

Again may I quote another very important article which has recently appeared in Harpers' Magazine for November, last entitled "The Enemy of Prosperity-Overproduction." In

this article Stuart Chase, a prominent writer on economics, calls attention to the fact that under present conditions the better we do things the worse off we are; the more potential goods with which we are capable of blessing mankind, the worse off is mankind. He shows that the United States has kept its nose above water until the present depression because of its enormous home market, its prodigious natural resources, its mounting population curve, its automobile industry which created 4,000,000 jobs, its installment selling, and its policy of the economy of high wages. But he goes on to point out that even in the automobile industry the now market has largely given way to a replacement market. He shows that in boots and shoes the United States is capable of producing three times the volume that the people can now buy. I should like to ask the Prime Minister, when all the Canadian woollen factories are set up and begin to produce where they are going to sell their output. Mr. Chase points out that the coal mines of the United States can produce 750,000,000 tons and the market can absorb only 500,000,000 and so on. There are to-day too many oil wells, too many refineries, a multiplicity of filling stations. Each individual in business goes ahead and expands as he sees fit, unaware that the demand of which he is conscious is only a temporary demand.

Mr. Chase continues:

It has been proposed that we sell our surplus abroad. Unfortunately this has also been proposed in all other nations, many with the same kind of exportable surplus. Doubly unfortunately, all follow, or propose shortly to follow, our spirited lead in penalizing imports by a tariff wall as high as the tower of Babel.

And our present government is among those nations. Let me quote this concluding paragraph, and it is significant from a man of the standing of Mr. Chase:

In Russia they build no more shoe factories than are necessary to supply Russians with shoes. The Kremlin is attempting scientifically to articulate supply to demand, and the results so far under the five-year plan have given the whole world pause. Our ways are not Russian ways, but have we less in the way of brains, human wisdom and human foresight? I am enough of a patriot to doubt it. But I am cursed with sufficient prophetic sense to be profoundly sure that if we do not embark upon a program of industrial coordination after our own fashion, and that shortly, we shall be driven some day, after God knows what suffering and bloodshed, to the Russian

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formula. The challenge presented by overproduction in the _ age of a billion horse-power is, to my mind, just as ominous as that.

As I think of the tariff increases and the extremes in policy and promises to which the Prime Minister has been driven, I am reminded of the characterization of the right hon. gentleman by a man in my own city of Winnipeg. He said: "Mr. Bennett is trying to persuade us we can all sit in to a game of poker and all make money."

Now, I have tried to suggest that our problems are simply part of world problems. That should be clearly understood, for our problems can be solved only as we cooperate in the solution of world problems. I propose very hurriedly to try and give my analysis of the situation in the west, for whether we are labour men or business men or farmers, we are all interested in the western wheat situation. The west is largely dependent on agriculture. There has been a tendency to blame and threaten the pool. In a pamphlet which has been widely quoted, and which would seem almost as if it had been inspired, Mr. Sydney S. Gampell made this statement:

If the pool desire to continue the tactics of recent years, the Canadian bankers, who know what business is, will not permit them.

The emphasis on the division between the

east and the west has been deprecated by the Prime Minister. It is such statements and such threats from the banks and the lack of understanding they display that are responsible for any ill-feeling between the east and the west. I have no time, nor is it necessary, to enter into a defence of the wheat pool, but let me make just two or three remarks with respect to it. The pool has been censured for its large carry over. For the five-year period 1925-26 to 1929-30 the pool marketed an average of 51.4 per cent of the Canadian crop and carried over 43.6 per cent of the total carry over. The pool's carry over was not proportionately as large as that of the other agencies, lurther, the pool has been criticized for "withholding" for a higher price. Let me say there was no such criticism at the time. The Grain Trade News as late as November 30, 1929, said:

Prices have risen considerably and appear likely to maintain their position.

Of course, hind sight is a great deal better than foresight, and the pool may have been to blame, but I am suggesting that if so the pool is not the only one to blame. Again, as to the attempt to maintain prices by regulating sales, even the Prime Minister says one of the great objects of his government is to maintain orderly marketing. The pool it'

self points out some of the world factors that enter into the situation:

(1) The tremendous world wheat production of 1928, amounting to over 450 million bushels more than the average world production for the five-year period 1923-27, during which year also, Europe alone harvested 171 million bushels more than for the same five-year period.

(2) A second record European crop in 1929 amounting to 175 million bushels more than the European average for 1923-27 and making a total above-average production for Europe alone in those two years of 346 million bushels.

(3) A consequent reduction in European imports in 1929-30, to 490 millions, or a reduction of 143 millions from the 633 million average of the five-year period 1923-27.

(4) Gradual growth of unemployment in Europe as a result of the restriction of United States credit and further development of post-war conditions.

(5) The financial crash in United States stock markets, which affected values the world over and announced the present period of world-wide economic depression.

(6) The remarkable uprearing of European tariffs against imported grains, as a consequence of abundant European supplies and political effort to support European agriculture, as well as to create favourable balances of trade.

Now, what is the present situation in the west? Again let me just give in the very barest outline possible what seem to me to be some of the main factors. Take the tremendous drop in wheat prices from January, 1930, of S1.39 a bushel to the November, 1930 price of 60 cents. What does this mean to the west and to Canada? Wheat and wheat flour comprise 36.2 per cent of the total value of Canadian exports for the fiscal year 1929. It has been put in this way: The earning power of an acre of wheat in Saskatchewan was $20.40 in 1925 while in 1930, six years later, it was only $6.92. The Winnipeg Free Press has been carrying a series of articles which I would commend to eastern readers. I should like to give only two statements which summarize their findings. For six million bushels more delivered this year the valuation is well over $113,000,000 less. And again: In three months of the year 1930 we exported over 40,000,000 bushels of wheat and flour more than we exported during the same three months in 1929, but we received only $7,000,000 more in return. Again: The buying power of the western farmer has been more than cut in two. This next statement is of interest to the east as well as to the wrest: Canada, as stated by the Manitoba Free Press, December 6, 1930, has suffered a loss of $51,000,000 on the export of approximately 25 per cent of hes surplus wheat, on the basis of last year's values.

What are the solutions that have been offered? Mr. E. WT. Beatty comes forward

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with the suggestion of an agricultural credit corporation. This is the same Mr. Beatty who has been urging us to increase our acreage and to bring in more immigrants. I should like to ask just a few questions, since I have not time to discuss the matter in detail. If it is necessary to have a So,000,000 credit corporation, what is wrong with the present banking system? It seems to me this is the greatest indictment that has been made as yet against the banking system of Canada, when conditions are such that even the Minister of Agriculture is quoted as saying in Montreal, on February 16:

Farmers with gilt-edged securities cannot get credit from financial institutions, even for buying steers to feed for a market for their coarse grains.

When that is true it is easily understood that there is a need for some other institution.

I say this is a very serious indictment of our present banking monopoly.

Again I ask, why should this corporation be privately owned? How far would $5,000,000 really go in setting us up in the west? Where are the markets for all the butter and eggs and coarse grains that we produce? Recently in many parts of the west eggs have been selling for 10 cents a dozen for fresh firsts. My hon. friend from Bow River (Mr. Garland) says they have sold for eight cents. I am speaking of the areas near the larger centres, while my hon. friend is from farther west. In addition to that, although we boast of our fine agricultural lands, almost half our entire wheat acreage in the west-the Winnipeg Free Press puts it at 11,000,000 acres out of a total of some 24,000,000 acres-is wholly unsuitable for mixed farming.

What are we going to do with that acreage? The Minister of Agriculture and also Mr. John I. McFarland, the general manager of the pool selling agency, urge a decreased acreage, but I would like to ask these gentlemen how far we should decrease. Should we go only to the limit of our own needs? If so, what would that mean? The western wheat field, in the twenty-five years since 1905, has grown from less than 5,000,000 acres to over

24,000,000 acres. What are we to do with all the surplus wheat land? Let me read an extract from one of the articles which appeared in the Manitoba Free Press:

...five million five hundred thousand acres would be ample to produce all the wheat Canada's present population could dispose of as bread, feed for stock, seed, and reasonable carry over. On the basis of the seeded area of 1930, which was 23.960.000 acres, this would leave aver 18,000,000 acres of wheat land to be put to other uses.

What are we to do? Some of the farmers have suggested fixed wheat prices, pegged

wheat prices, and so on, and probably these matters will be discussed this session. On the face of it I would say that if other industries are to be bonused and helped in one way and another there is no reason why agriculture should not be helped also, but I do not regard that as an economic or permanent solution.

Further than that, we are told that we should have new markets. Where are they to be found? Let me point out that this is in line with something the Prime Minister said, but I do not think the figures are just the same. The British consumption of imported wheat is only about 190,000,000 bushels, while the Canadian surplus is 250,000,000 bushels and the Australian surplus is

100,000,000 bushels, a total surplus of 350,000,000 bushels of wheat. Where are we to dispose of that surplus unless we go outside the empire? We are told that we should have cheaper production. I suppose with careful organization we could put in more mechanization, but possibly that would lead to the production of even more wheat. I think the simpler way would be to cut down the cost of production, and to that I should like to refer again. But as soon sis we suggest that, we are up against the fact that the present government is determined to increase the costs of production by way of a higher tariff.

There is also the question of lower freight rates, to which I shall refer later, but there again we are confronted by great obstacles. To conclude this brief review I would urge upon this house that the trouble is that the western farmers are really up against the proposition of world over-production. That is, *they are producing more wheat than there is a market for at the present time or that there is purchasing power to buy. I should like to give two authorities on that point. An estimate by the Bristol Corn Trade Association places the exportable world surplus of wheat for the grain year ending July 1 last at 1,224,000,000 bushels and the total requirements of wheat importing countries of the world at 752,000,000 bushels. The National City Bank of New York, in a bulletin of December, 1930, places the crops for 193031 of the United States, Canada, Argentine and Australia at 1,831,000,000 bushels; the carry over at 496,000,000 bushels, making a total supply of 2,327,000,000 bushels, while the net imports of twenty European countries will amount only to from 580,000,000 to 650,000,000 bushels.

What does this mean? If it is a world condition there must be some sort of world

The Address-Mr. Woodsworth

solution. That may involve a world pool; it may involve an international agreement, but as soon as we come to this the government begins to say it will not have any dealings with certain great exporting countries. I urge, Mr. Speaker, that we cannot leave Russia or the Argentine or Australia out of this matter. We must take them all into consideration before we can solve this problem. Some of us believe that before it is solved we will require an entire change in our economic system, but since the government of the day revolts at anything like an international or socialist solution I would say the next most promising policy in a competitive economy is that of lower costs of production. If we are bound to maintain this cut-throat method of doing things, we in the west will have to lower our costs in order to compete with the Argentine and Russia.

What will that mean? Remember, I am putting this as an alternative policy. If the government refuses to allow us to adopt an international arrangement as a solution they will have to face some such program as this: First, lower freight rates. Why not cut the freight rates down? let me say that the Canadian Pacific Railway Company has done fairly well during the last few years. I have under my hand the figures showing how that company and its subsidiaries have been prospering. We are all more or less familiar with the facts. The Board of Railway Commissioners allows them a profit of 10 per cent, 7 per cent on their actual railway operations and 3 per cent on the other operations. Why not cut that 10 per cent in two? I cannot for the life of me see why a great corporation such as the Canadian Pacific Railway Company should be practically guaranteed ten ner cent, while many a farmer is not only not making one per cent but is actually running in the hole every year. Of course, Mr. Beatty immediately comes forward and resents anything like governmental interference. Let me say that the Canadian Pacific Railway Company and similar corporations owe their very existence to governmental interference, and the sooner they realize that the better. Why not cut interest charges in two, or at any rate substantially reduce them?

The annual statements of the banks show, notwithstanding all the reserves they have, that they have been getting along tolerably well, and this monopoly which the government is granting to them enables them to make not only the profits that are shown in their balance sheets but to secure a great many other financial advantages that go to the directors through the system of interlocking directorates which have been established. If there is any constitutional difficulty in introducing legislation which will 'be effective in reducing interest rates I would suggest that the Finance department could itself go into the money market under our own present legislation and thus effect a lower interest rate.

Then again the cost of living should be cut down. I have under my hand a very interesting graph which was published in some of the farm papers, and which with the consent of the house I should like to have placed on Hansard. It shows the trend of prices from November, 1929, to November, 1930. Iron and steel has declined only 4-3 per cent. Hardware, which is something we all use, only 1-6 per cent. Farm products as a whole have come down 34 per cent, while western grains show a decline of 59 per cent. I suggest that this great discrepancy in price between manufactured goods and agricultural products should in some way or other be reduced. Either you have to lower the cost of living to the farmer or raise the price of grain to him. That is the problem with which we are faced to-day. If you do not do this we are faced with the ruin of agriculture in the west.

The graph follows:

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PRICE TREND


I wish I had time to go into a question which is of very great interest to me, namely, the ban which has been placed upon Russian imports. It is not so much the order in council even that I object to as the statement which accompanied that order in council: The government is convinced that there is forced labour in the cutting and transport of timber, and the mining of coal, that political prisoners are exploited, that the standard of living is below any level conceived of in Canada, and that, broadly speaking, all employment is in control of the Communist government which regulates all conditions of work and seeks to impose its will upon the whole world. This is communism, its creed and its fruits, which we as a country oppose and must refuse to support by interchange of trade. I regard that as an absolutely gratuitous insult. The charges with regard to the mining of coal have not been proven. It is stated that political prisoners are exploited. What about political prisoners in Italy? It is stated that the standard of living in Soviet Russia is low. I will admit that, but it is . higher lhan that under the Czarist regime and higher than the standard of living in China


March 17, 1931