March 19, 1931

LIB

John Vallance

Liberal

Mr. VALLANCE:

I have discussed this

matter with my fellow farmers and they say to me: What is the policy? I hope that before this debate is completed the minister will announce to the country his agricultural policy. I do not intend to read this other clipping, as I believe the house will accept my statement. However, it can be found in MacLean's Magazine for March 15.

A perusal of Hansard for the special session shows that during any discussion on agriculture there was continual hedging upon the part of the government. During that se$ion I attempted to ask the Prime Minister (Mr. Bennett) as to the interest his government had in agriculture. I inquired of the Minister of Trade and Commerce (Mr. Stevens) and he replied that at some other time we would discuss this matter. The farmers are getting tired of "some other time"; they want to know now. During that special session we voted $20,000,000 for the relief of unemployment. No objection was raised to that, but we did want to know how it was to be spent. The tariffs were increased to give more work to the labouring man. It was contended that if the goods heretofore imported into this country were manufactured here that would give more employment. I had no objection provided the desired results could be obtained, but I did doubt the veracity of that statement. And, Mr. Speaker, you can search the revised Hansard of that special session of parliament, and you will find not one statement that they made regarding relief for agriculture. Seventy per cent of the people whom I represent are engaged in that great industry, and when I returned to my constituency, they said to me, "Well, Jack, what did you do for us? We saw you voted $20,000,000 for unemployment. You raised the tariff to help the industries and the manufacturers. What did you do for us?" What did I tell them? The day before the house rose I asked the Prime Minister that very question. I said: When the farmers ask me what we have done for them during the special session, what shall I tell them? He never answered me; he could not answer me, because the government did nothing. I want to know now from the government: What do they propose to do for agriculture at this session of parliament?

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CON

Ernest D'Israeli Smith

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SMITH (Victoria-Carieton):

Does the hon. member realize that there are farmers in eastern Canada as well as in western Canada? The remarks of my hon. friend have been directed entirely towards western Canada.

The Address-Mr. Vallance

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LIB

John Vallance

Liberal

Mr. VALLANCE:

I realize fully there are farmers in eastern Canada. I am speaking for the farmers that I represent; I am speaking for the organized farmers of Saskatchewan, and the questions which they have been asking me I am asking this government, because the farmers want to know. I hope that before this debate closes the Minister of Agriculture will rise in the house and announce his policy.

When the Prime Minister was in Regina a memorandum was presented to him from the United Farmers. There has been no action; he has done nothing regarding the request contained in that memorandum. But some time ago I picked up a newspaper in which appeared the following item:

Montreal, Quebec, February 6.-The Gazette to-day published the following despatch from Ottawa.

The Prime Minister spoke in Regina on January 30, so that this is some thirty-seven days later.

The Gazette to-day published the following despatch from Ottawa.

So perhaps my hon. friend will not deny it.

While the previous intention of the federal government was to avoid any further revision of the tariff at the coming session of parliament, in view of the fact that an Imperial economic conference is to be held here next August, it is understood that the pressure of tire Canadian manufacturers has been so strong and so persistent for more protective measures at an early date that the Prime Minister has decided to accede to their position.

You can realize, Mr. Speaker, how the farmers' charter of liberty is being peddled in western Canada when they send a memorandum to the head' of the government while he is in Regina, but it is ignored and then they pick up this item. The hon. member for Marquette was talking about the red tape and the bull. This is just so much red tape in the eyes of the farmers in the west. At the special session of parliament we gave to those same manufacturers increases in the tariff and now, according to this despatch, unless it is denied, the government's proposal is to give them further protection, because their demands have been so persistent. There is only one thing the farmers have to do and that is to be a little more persistent. If the statistics that are given to me are accurate, just a little less than fifty per cent of the population, including my hon. friend who asked me a question a few minutes ago, are farmers, and they have been making demands. I think, Mr. Speaker, you will agree with me that the other fifty per cent are not all. manufacturers. The Prime Minister listens to a percentage of the people, but does he listen to the great populace in the west? I 22110-Hi

ask: What is the government doing? We do not read in the press that he proposes to do anything of this kind for agriculture.

I read in the press the other day that a certain gentleman representing the Russian government suggested to this government a deal with Russia, involving about $10,000,000 for this country. It was turned down. I suppose the government will give the reasons why this action was taken; but whether we believe in Russia or a system of government education or anything else, Russia is still on the map and Russia to-day, as we all know, is attempting to put over a five-year plan. I am not arguing the question whether we may be in sympathy with it or not. She is going to put it through. Russia must have credits and she has only four commodities- lumber, pulp, coal and wheat-with which she can establish those credits. What we are looking for to-day is markets for our wheat. Russia suggests to this government that we take certain quantities of coal from her. This government says, no. Russia, simply because of the fact that our government refuses to have any dealings with her, will make a deal with some other government, to which she may not be able to sell coal but to which she may be able to sell wheat, and every bushel of Russian wheat that finds a place in any of . our export markets makes it just that much harder for Canada to sell a like number of bushels on the markets of the world. If we were, shall I say, digging out of the bowels of our own portion of the earth the kind of coal that Russia produces I could see some logic in the government's argument, but we are importing large quantities of coal, and not all from Wales and Scotland. A large quantity is coming from Pennsylvania. I think it would be to our advantage to import a little more coal from Russia than from Pennsylvania because we might at least be able to place some wheat on a market to which Russia might otherwise sell wheat in order to establish credit. Russia w'ants machinery. For what reason? To develop that great trade of hers. But simply because this country refuses to buy $10,000,000 worth of coal does not mean that Russia is not going to get the machinery, for she will get it and some other country will get $10,000,000 of Russian money or its equivalent in coal or wheat. I might argue at length regarding the employment that would have been afforded, but time is passing and I wish to take up two or three other matters.

A suggestion was made by the three premiers of the prairie provinces that the federal government peg the price of wheat. There

The Address-Mr. Vallance

has been some discussion with regard to the matter, and most people agree that this is not sound economics, but as has been pointed out, everything the farmer has to buy is pegged. I do not propose to adduce that argument, but I will state that the price of wheat has been pegged before in Canada and not to the advantage, but to the detriment, of the growers-not in order that they might give the grower more, but that they might keep the grower from getting that to which he was entitled. I think the request now made by the farmers is a very fair one.

I have on the order paper to-day two questions asking for information. I hold in my hand a letter written by a Mr. Whiteside, from Birsay, Saskatchewan. It is rather lengthy, and while I should like to read it all, to do so would take up too much time. During the special session of parliament this gentleman wrote me pointing out that there are certain amounts of money that belong to the farmers of western Canada through the sales agency created by the government in the 1917 and 1918 disposals of their crops. We were under the impression that the wheat for which we got $2.21 the first year and $2.24, I think it was, the second year, was being delivered to the allies at those prices. According to my friend Whiteside, Sir George Foster told him that the wheat was not sold at $2.21 per bushel, but at world prices, and we, the farmers of Saskatchewan, therefore naturally believe and it can be shown by the records, which must be on the government files somewhere, that we were fleeced out of some seventy odd millions of dollars, which money was put into the treasury of Canada. This, of course, may not be true, and it is for that reason that I have a motion on the order paper for the production of papers, that we may know just what the facts are, because I think now is the time to have this matter cleared up one way or the other. Mr. Whiteside says:

Now I come to the important part of this question and state this statement was put out by our Union government that this wheat was turned over to the British food commisison at $2.21 per bushel, plus handling charges. Desiring to get the facts I wrote the Department of Trade and Commerce at Ottawa, of which Sir George Foster was in charge, and got this amazing statement in reply, that our wheat was sold in the open markets of the world at the prevailing prices from time to time, and after deducting the operating expenses the balance of the money was turned into the funds of the Dominion treasury.

I wrote Mr. Whiteside, asking if he could produce the letter which Sir George Foster

wrote to him, but he is not in that happy position, and therefore I am asking for the production of the papers.

Before I sit down, let me say that I have been twenty-five years in South Battleford. I have seen that great country grow up out of the wilderness. For the first two years we were 110 miles away from a railroad, then 72 miles; to-day there are within eleven miles of my own farm seven towns, villages or hamlets-seven shipping points. I have seen highways built, and telegraph and telephone lines, towns and villages and hamlets spring up, and all that goes to make a great civilization. I have seen millions and millions of wealth created in that great country. I have seen trainload after trainload of our produce going out daily. One would naturally expect, seeing that the people of that part of the country have created all that wealth, that they would be in a comfortable position to-day. But let me tell you, Mr. Speaker, that after twenty-five years in that country during which they have been attempting to build it up, these people, if their farms were sold for the mortgage indebtedness against them, could not pay that mortgage indebtedness. Where has the money gone? Talk about your charters of liberty! That is the condition of western Canada to-day, and whether the hon. member for Regina believes it or not, the Minister of Agriculture knows that that is the position.

Mr. ELIE-O. BERTRAND (Prescott) (Translation): Mr. Speaker, In rising for the

first time in the house, where it is saidl one labours under difficulty in delivering a speech, I crave, sir, both your indulgence and that of hon. members.

Before broaching the various political aspects, may I be permitted to say a few words with reference to the beautiful riding which I represent, as well as to its people. The history of Prescott county extends quite away back in Canadian history, that is to the French regime, and our county has the honour of being the only one in Ontario which has had a seigniory under the former regime. In fact, about 1755, the present township of Longueuil was, at that time, the seigniory of the Baron de Longueuil.

A little later, about 1798, Prescott county had the honour of selling to Philemon Wright the latter giving his name to the county of Wright. The first wheat sown in the vicinity of Ottawa was sold by Josiah P. Cass of 1'Orignal, and his descendants are still excellent farmers of my riding and

The Address-Mr. Bertrand

village. In 1801, Prescott was represented in the Parliament of Upper-Canada by Alexander McDonnell, a man of rare ability wdio, at the age of 24, was elected Speaker of that Parliament. While Aide-de-Camp to General Brock, he was killed, in 1812, by an American bullet, at the battle of Queenston Heights.

Our people, descendants of these two great races of pioneers, of settlers under the French regime and later of settlers under British rule, lived together peacefully and progressed in an extraordinary way. If our people are not wealthy, they are however healthy and laborious. The experience of their history explains why they can discern between our political parties, and it is not astonishing that we registered a great liberal victory at the last general elections.

The county of Prescott is almost essentially a farming community, the greater portion of which is clay and endowed with very rich soil well adapted to grain, cereal and hay. However, we have some high sandy soil, also land which is better suited to dairy industry. Moreover, we have the small town of Hawkes-bury, our only industrial centre, which rapidly developed, thanks to the lumber and pulp industries. Unfortunately, in recent times the lumber and pulp trade having dwindled the working population of Hawkesbury is not any more prosperous than our farmers.

Before proceeding to discuss the political questions, I am somewhat grieved, sir, for having to allude to it, but, I think, as a French Canadian of Ontario, I must necessarily refer to the unfortunate speech of the member for Regina (Mr. Turnbull) which he delivered yesterday. We, from Ontario, are astonished that a Conservative from Saskatchewan endeavours to teach a lesson of unity, accord and harmony to any part of Canada, especially when we read in the newspapers which have helped French culture in the province of Ontario in its most bitter struggles, articles as published by the "Droit", on March 5, 1931:

"The iniquity is consummated-Mr. Anderson, Prime Minister of Saskatchewan deprives the school rights of our people.-French disappears as a language of intercourse.-A new- school question.-The conditions of national unity.

The Prime Minister of Saskatchewan has lost no time since his victory at the polls on June 6, 1929. He has outlawed the crucifix m the public schools of his province, and the uniform of the teaching nuns; he has por-bidden that religious instruction be given in any other language than English; forced school commissioners to use the English tongue, under pain of imprisonment or line; dismissed the French Canadian representative from the Provincial Council of Public Instruction; abolished the exchange of teaching diplomas between Quebec and Saskatchewan.

On February 18 last, at the Congress of the Saskatchewan School Trustees Association he proclaimed that the school act would be amended in order to abolish French teaching during the first year of the primary course. Yesterday, that amendment was read a second time and adopted in the Saskatchewan legislature.

Will you contend, sir, that this is done with a view of favouring national harmony and unity throughout our country? _

I appeal to the hon. members of this house, of the province of Quebec, and to those who form part of the cabinet-the hon. Minister of Marine (Mr. Duranleau) is at his seat, and I ask him, as I ask the others, whether they approve of this stand and believe it likely to promote union and good understanding in our country.

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CON

Joseph Léonard Duguay

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. DDGUAY (Translation):

Mr. Speaker might I ask a question?

Mr. BERTRAND (Translation); I have asked the Speaker to show some indulgence because it is the first time I address the house and I would prefer not to be interrupted to-day. In future debates we shall have the opportunity of broaching other questions; I shall then feel more at ease and shall answer hon. members.

Mr. DEPUTY SPEAKER (Translation); One may put questions only with the consent of the member who is addressing the house.

Mr. BERTRAND (Translation); At the special session held in September, the Conservative party increased the tariff, gave extensive powers to the Minister of National Revenue and had $20,000,000 voted for the unemployed. However, this did not help the farmers, the tariff did not prevent the falling off in the price of their products and they do not even obtain the pre-war prices-that of 1913-for the products they are forced to sell, while the price of articles they are forced to purchase, such as farm implements and other commodities of life which they do not produce, are much higher.

With your consent, sir, I wish to have placed in Hansard a comparative schedule, based upon the statistics of 1930, with reference to prices of a few products sold by the Canadian farmers and also prices that they are forced to pay for certain farm implements.

In 1913, the Canadian farmer paid for a six-foot mowing machine, $43.50; in 1930, $96.50; a six-foot binding machine, $102 in 1913; in 1930, $225.50; a six-foot hay loader $60, in 1913; in 1930, $122; 15 discs seed drill, $6S in 1913; in 1930, $166.

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CON

Armand Renaud La Vergne (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. DEPUTY SPEAKER (Translation):

According to the rules of the House, the hon. members has not that right. The Minister of Finance only has that privilege, on certain occasions.

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LIB

Elie-Oscar Bertrand

Liberal

Mr. BERTRAND (Translation):

Then,

I shall read it. I am pleased, sir, that you put me on the right path which will help me in strictly Observing the rules of the House.

Cost of production for an acre of oats:

Rent of land $8 00

Ploughing

3 852 bushels of seed oats at $1

3 00

Because these oats were registered " good oats."

Harrowing, drainage, etc.:

5 hours, men at 25 cents per hr.. $1 255 men and horses at 30 cents per hr. 1 50

Sowing:

2 hours, men and horses

$0 60Rent of machinery

0 50

Gathering of crop:

3 hours, men at 25 cents per hr.. .. $0 75

1J horse, 30 cents 45

Moving of crop:

4 hrs., men at 25 cents

$1 002 hrs. horses, 30 cents

0 60

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$1 60 1.68 COMMONS


The Address-Mr. Bertrand Threshing: 79 bushels at 5 cents.. [DOT]> $3 95 ,TT. . $25 45 Winnowing of fine grains, free: Good grain: 72 J bushels at 25 cents. $18 13 Operating deficit per acre $7 32 1931 will certainly be the worst year of our history and our farmers are disheartened. They can rely on nothing to get returns; on the contrary everything is done at less than cost of production. Their purchasing power is destroyed; and what will our manufacturers do? I again state, if they have no Clients able to purchase their products in our own country, if foreign markets are closed to them owing to the government adopting a trade policy hostile to other countries by erecting a tariff wall which prevents a free exchange of our products. If the government wishes to limit the number of unemployed it must necessarily come to the relief of the farming class. The farmer will remain on the land providing he is able to get reasonable returns. We can keep on the farm those who are already settled there, because they do not wish to lose the fruits of the labours of their whole lives. But we shall not succeed in settling the growing generation on the land under present conditions. The farm must provide for his man and to help him, I submit a few suggestions to the Minister of Agriculture and to the Conservative party, and I hope that they will bring down measures which may help in the solution of these farming problems and be beneficial to the whole country. First-and this we must absolutely have-substantial reductions of the tariff and an increase in British preference. Second, taxes levied on those who can most afford to pay. Third, increase in ;he income tax. Fourth, a decreasce in the sales or business tax. Fifth, reduced transport rates in the interest of agriculture. Sixth, establishment of cooperative principles for the sale of farming products and the purchase of the necessary farm implements. Seventh, direct financial asistance to help in improving sowing, cattle and the farm. Eighth, farm loans at 3 or 3i per cent so as to assist the farmers in meeting their obligations in cases of absolute necessity. I think that I have clearly shown what, for the present, is our farming situation. I would not like to close my remarks, sir, without saying a few words with reference to our labour conditions. We know that in September, the right hon. Prime Minister had 820,000,000 voted to relieve unemployment in Canada. I do not intend to criticize this measure. However, the workers hoped, relying on the pledges made in the electoral cam-[Air. Bertrand.] paign, that all and each of them would obtain work. The right hon. Prime Minister had made this pledge here and there throughout the country and his candidate in the r.'dmg of Prescott carried on his campaign on this question by proclaiming that the prices of agricultural products were to increase in the district and that everybody would be employed in the small industrial town of Hawkesbury. But such was not the case in my riding. Work did not increase. This town subscribed 810,000 of its money against $5,000 of the federal government's money, and $5,000 of the provincial government's, yet, notwithstanding all this the unemployed had to solicit in order to obtain work. They will later on have to pay up that amount by taxes on their property. I shall even state that the unemployed had to beg for work and could but work each in turn and this during a few days only. While these things were happening, it is extraordinary, a road contract was being executed in the vicinity of Hawkedbury, by steam shovel instead of by hand labour. This contract could have given work to about fifty men during the entire winter; but they were replaced by machinery. In time of crisis, do you not think, sir, that it would be proper in this country where we overproduce, that the Minister of Labour (Mr. Robertson) should take the necessary measures -which would not be more arbitrary than numerous other measures of protection-to put an end to this state of affairs. If protection is worth something to our industrial people, to our manufacturers, surely it is worth something to the unemployed. Would it not be better in time of crisis to exclude this progress or so-called progress of machinery which deprives our workers of what they are entitled to. An hon. MEMBER (Translation): Forward this message to the Quebec government.


LIB

Elie-Oscar Bertrand

Liberal

Mr. BERTRAND (Translation):

Before resuming my seat I appeal to. the government to take under its care the worker and the farmer of this country and to give less favours to the large interests whose appetites will never deem their profits large enough.

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LIB

John Knox Blair

Liberal

Mr. J. K. BLAIR (North Wellington):

Mr. Speaker, I wish for a few moments to speak in the interests of the locality from which I come. We have some industries which are not in a very healthy condition and certainly we will have to find ways and means to stimulate the progress of our towns and villages. Our stores are filled with goods and our farmers who are unable to buy are looking in the windows, their credit having reached its limit. The towns to which I refer depend

The Address-Mr. Blair

largely upon the farming industry, and if the government could help in some way we would be delighted. Farming is the basic industry of our district, and therefore when the farmers are prosperous everybody is prosperous. May I remind the Prime Minister (Mr. Bennett) that his photograph was placed in every convenient corner of my constituency and underneath it were placards giving promises to the farmers. At this time I ask your permission, Mr. Speaker, to read some of the messages delivered to the farmers by the Prime Minister:

We pledge ourselves to foster and develop agriculture and the live stock and dairy industries now so sadly neglected.

The Prime Minister is quoted as having made the following statement:

This group of mercenaries holding office by sham and subterfuge, look upon them as treacherous to you, and self-confessed, deserving of your passionate condemnation.

At Woodstock the Prime Minister is quoted as follows:

Our dairy business has been lost. We have 140,000 fewer milch cows to-day than in 1925, and there has been a corresponding depletion of our swine.

At Calgary the Prime Minister said:

In my opinion the basic industry is agriculture. Agriculture has been the basis of this country's prosperity. The success of the wheat grower, of the wheat farmer, is reflected in the power of the people.

Then comes the problem that is more important, the problem of marketing and of selling wheat. There it seems to me is a fertile field for the endeavour of a government.

France, Germany and Italy have raised tariffs against Canadian wheat. We will look over the top of the hill and beyond the horizon to make provision for the Canadian agriculturist and secure for him markets. That is a question which will have to be solved. I told my audience at Winnipeg and I tell you here and now that condition I will not permit to continue in this country.

Then at Victoria he is quoted as follows:

It is true we must have foreign markets and as I said the other evening we will blast a way to those markets on a world-wide basis with many exportable surpluses. We do not have to worry about that.

The Ottawa Journal reported a speech delivered at Woodstock, New Brunswick, as follows:

It gave him great regret, Mr. Bennett continued, to have seen the deserted farm lands of New Brunswick, Quebec and other provinces. "Well," he stated, "I am going to say right here that I shall regard it as my great responsibility if elected on July 28 to see that the collective weight and power of the Dominion of Canada is placed behind agriculture. I would be lacking in qualifications entitling me to head a government if I failed to do so."

The Ottawa Morning Citizen reported a speech delivered at Ormstown as follows:

The Conservative leader gave strong expression to his party's policy for assistance to agricultural schools, cheaper transportation, distribution and marketing. It was necessary, he continued, that farmers should receive just compensation for their efforts "and rewards equal to the professions" to keep Canadian boys and girls on the farm.

Hon. gentlemen know how those promises were fulfilled. After making such promises the Prime Minister called a short session and did everything in his power to cripple the farmers. Not understanding their critical condition he destroyed their last vestige of hope by his action at the Imperial conference. The farmers of Canada had hoped that the Prime Minister through his deliberations at the Imperial conference would make arrangements for the sale of their wheat. However in that regard they were badly fooled. When the Prime Minister visited the city of Calgary the papers proclaimed that he had a message which would greatly benefit the farmers of that district. They looked forward to his visit. We listened over our radios to this wonderful message, but in the minds of most of us there was extreme disappointment-it seemed just like a flat tire. In my district we had splendid crops and plenty of help to harvest them. Out storehouses are filled with an abundance of grain. In short, we have everything the soul of man can wish for, and yet there is distress throughout the Dominion. This distress is due to several causes. Undoubtedly the freight rates are too high, and there is no statesmanlike guidance of our national affairs. The heavens truly were kind, but the foolishness of the rulers had made the kindness of the heavens of no avail. We have abundance of food and yet our people are starving; a superfluity of clothing on our shelves and yet our people perishing for lack of it. I must insist that hon. gentlemen opposite do something for the farmers. I have repeated their promises to refresh their memories. I do not care how empirical their methods may be, so long as they get results. We are satisfied that their methods-those they have advocated and applied so far-are entirely wrong. We know that high tariffs are no cure for the present troubles of the body politic. To impose a high tariff is to drive a wedge between the rich and poor-making the rich richer and the poor poorer. It lowers the price of what the farmer has to sell and raises the price of what he has to buy.

The Address-Mr. Blair

The Prime Minister said he would guarantee to the manufacturer interest on his investment, a certain percentage on his turnover, and a sufficient balance to pay fair wages. This in my view was simply a declaration against the farmer and the consumer. If he is going to guarantee the economic safety of one class he should similarly guarantee all other classes in the community. What I have referred to was his minimum guarantee; I do not know how far bis maximum might go. This is purely and simply class legislation, and if the farmer imagines for a moment that he can thrive under such a law he is making a sad mistake. In other words, he is simply being placed at the mercy of the manufacturer. About 2,000 years ago Plato said that every political party was destroyed by the excess of its basic principle. Now, the basic principle of the Conservative party is high tariff, and that principle developed to excess will not only destroy the party responsible for it, but also, unhappily, the nation whose affairs are entrusted to its administration.

The Prime Minister spoke of his diagnosis. Now, when a doctor sees a patient he makes a diagnosis of the trouble and then a prognosis in order to form an idea of the approximate duration of the patient's sickness and the correct treatment to apply. The right hon. gentleman declares: We do not say we will cure unemployment, we will end unemployment in three days. I think he was correct in his diagnosis, but his prognosis was undoubtedly too short. I think also that the dose of high protection he has administered to his patient is far too heavy. The country- his patient-is ^pretty well exhausted, and unless another doctor be substituted I am afraid the treatment will kill the patient. Canada to-day is suffering from too high a tariff. I need not quote figures to prove my contention; they have been given to the house so often that I do not think it necessary to repeat them now.

On various occasions the Prime Minister has said that he does not believe in the dole system. I do not think any of us approve of that system. Unfortunately he is so hard-pressed that apparently he is trying to find a way of escape, and to do so he seems prepared to apply the dole system, a system which has been so ruinous to the morale of the working classes in the old land. True, we cannot allow our indigent people to starve, but surely the Prime Minister is capable of evolving some constructive policy whereby employment may be provided for all those who are willing to work. It is a well known law that if people do something for their country

they will love their country, whereas if they become parasites their patriotism languishes. Victor Hugo said that men always hate those they have wronged. And if a man wrongs his country he will hate it. Those who rely on the dole will not love their country; only those who have done something for their country will be ready to die in its defence.

May I quote Victor Hugo again? He says that an infallible barometer of hard times is the expense of collecting taxes. Unhappily that has been only too well borne out recently, for a great many of our people have not been able to pay their taxes. This condition of affairs to a considerable extent is due to the policy of the present government. We feel that the farmers of Canada were badly treated by the legislation enacted last September. To make matters worse, when the Prime Minister went to the Imperial economic conference he made no effort to help them. His attitude, puts me in mind of the motorist who saw a man walking home. He stopped and said, "Why, John, are you walking? I will bring my car here in a minute and give you a lift." He came round with his car, drove towards the man smiling, and just as he got close to him flipped the wheel round and ran over the poor fellow. He. jumped out of his car, rushed over, picked the man up and told him it was all a pure accident. He added, "Wait until I turn the car round, and I will give you a lift home." But the same thing happened again; just as he got alongside the man he gave the wheel a flip and ran over him the second time. He jumped out of his car, expressed his regret for the misadventure and said, "Stand there until I turn round; I will give give you a lift and then everything will be all right." About this time a friend of the unfortunate man came within earshot and he said to him, "You fool! come out of there; he is going to ride over you a third time." My opinion is that the Prime Minister ran over the fanners at the special session, he ran over them again at the Imperial economic conference, and I believe he is turning his car round to run over them a third time. And unless we can find some rescue on the other side I do not think there is anyone on this side who can pull that man out of the rut. The wheel looks all right, and the man's language is pleasant enough, but it means nothing. The language the Prime Minister used in the old country was splendid; its phraseology was attractive. But when it was analyzed, particularly the last clause or two, it did not take the Englishman long to see what was behind it. In other words, the right hon. gentleman did not suit his actions to his words.

The Address-Mr. Blair

One frequently hears about the depression that prevailed in the last year of the government led by the present leader of the opposition (Mr. Mackenzie King). Our friends opposite are constantly telling us about that time of depression. May I point out that when the present leader of the opposition was captain of the ship of state we were sailing along and making progress to the extent of fifty million dollars a year towards the liquidation of our debt. I wish the Conservative government would usher- in a few years of that sort of depression. But while my right hon. leader's government was making that headway, what were hon. gentlemen opposite doing? They were doing their best to rock the ship of state. Every time the then captain attempted to ride a wave hon. gentlemen opposite endeavoured to rock the boat. They succeeded in frightening the public and the consequence was that there was a change of captains. But the country will be fortunate if the future brings the sort of depression we had under the previous government.

The Prime Minister has made great statements about opening new channels of commerce. Why open up new avenues of commerce when the government has thrown sandbags into the ones, that we have? They are cutting off in every way possible the present avenues to commercial enterprise, and still they are talking about opening up new waterways and so forth. The government are closing up our ocean ports so that our ships will have little to do. I do not know why the ship of state could not have been left under the old captain, when she was sailing peacefully and, as I have said, to the tunc of fifty million dollars annually towards the payment of our national debt. The career of this government so far reminds me of the Greek myth of Phoebus. Phoebus was a very proud star, and while the other bodies were going on their celestial way, suddenly with great confusion she would throw forth great balls of fire; and while she disturbed the harmony of the heavens, yet she satisfied her vainglory by making herself conspicuous for a time.

The conspicuous place which the right hon. gentleman has won for himself he has won at the cost of the country.

I think of Canada as a vast factory, and the travellers who are working in its interests at the present time are the Prime Minister and his coL eagues. We sent them to the old country to attend the Imperial conference in the hope that they would come to some business arrangement that would be advantageous

to the commerce of Canada. But the attitude of the right hon. gentleman over there was not that of a salesman; it was more that of a dictator. If any of us had commercial travellers of that type coming into our offices they would not stay very long. The Prime Minister did not show that amiable spirit which is likely to promote business. He disregarded the warning of the Delphic oracle which every Greek was supposed to learn before starting out iin life-[DOT]" Whom the gods would destroy they first make mad." It seems to me that anyone going into public life should memorize that saying. It would have been well if the Prime Minister had thought of it when he was in the old land.

I wish now to say something with regard to the granting of relief to the poor. Conservative governments have always had the habit, when giving grants of this sort, of officiously doing the business of the powers beneath them. In our district many people rushed forward in the hope of getting some relief from the grant that was being made by this government. But it was not for them. If you were too poor you could not get it; you had to subscribe a certain amount before you could receive anything. It was for those who were financially in a position to secure it. It seems to be a characteristic of Conservative governments, not only Dominion but provincial as well, to knife back, if I may say so, the municipalities, very much to the cost of the latter.

Let me now discuss for a moment what is at present transpiring in the Argentine. What is the meaning of all this celebration that is talcing place there, with the heir to the throne participating? Why could not such a pleasant relationship be manifested in Canada? I regret to say that I am afraid our birthright has been partly disposed of. All these grandstand performances in the Argentine are, it appears to me, an open declaration of the weakness of our Prime Minister, indicating his failure to direct trade and traffic to this country. We cannot see it in any other way, and we must regard it as a great loss to Canada.

There is one thing further to which I wish to make reference. It seems to me that the Conservative party has a tendency to make the rich richer and the poor poorer. I have here a letter from Imperial Oil, Limited, to the Independent Oil and Gas Company, Limited, of Montreal, and I wish to quote from it in order that hon. members may see what is taking place. The letter reads as follows:

The Address-Mr. Blair

Your inquiry of November 3rd, relative to gasoline for 1931 delivery, has been received and is appreciated.

At the present time we are not in a position to quote you for 1931 shipment but may be able to do so towards the end of the year and will communicate with you at that time. Just at the present time we are running somewhat behind schedule on our shipments, and, while we believe we should be able to take care of your requirements, we prefer to hold the matter over until a little later in the year.

In the meantime, again thanking you for your inquiry, we are,

The increased duty was put on in order that the gasoline should be purchased from Canadian companies, such as the Imperial Oil Company, but from this letter it would seem as though those companies are refusing to sell it. Apparently they are trying to put the independent companies out of business. On October 18 a tank car of gasoline cost $821.95 while by November 5 the price of a similar tank car of gasoline had risen to $949.16, an increase of over $120. Hon. gentlemen opposite will probably reply that although this tank car of gasoline cost $128 more the consumer was not obliged to pay any more for his gasoline. That is quite right, because the consumer has been paying a little less, but it gives an opportunity to the larger oil companies to decrease the margin between the wholesale and retail prices in order to eliminate the small independent dealer. The statement has been made that an increase of duty was granted in order that these companies might be assisted financially. This statement would not seem to be borne out by the following analysis dated March 18, 1930, issued by Financial Counsel:

Dealing with an item of $874,000 set aside for depreciation, he said that $174,000 or $700,000 less than amount set aside, would have been sufficient. The larger amount w-as written off because 9 per cent of the net revenue is payable to the Dominion government for taxes. With respect to such, a nominal write-off would have substantially increased earnings per share as indicated in the figures presented in the foregoing.

That statement would show that the amount set aside for depreciation was placed at $700,000 too much in order to avoid paying the Dominion government. These are the companies for whom the duty was raised in order to allow them to exist.

On motion of Mr. LaVergne the debate was adjourned.

On motion of Mr. Guthrie the house adjourned at 10.55 p.m.

Friday, March 20, 1931

Topic:   $1 60 1.68 COMMONS
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March 19, 1931