March 19, 1931

LIB

Edward James Young

Liberal

Mr. YOUNG:

On the other hand we are short of clothing, of machinery, of furniture, of buildings.

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CON

Edmond Baird Ryckman (Minister of National Revenue)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. RYCKMAN:

The hon. gentleman is not short of socks?

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LIB

Edward James Young

Liberal

Mr. YOUNG:

We are short of many of the necessities of life. We want to exchange our surplus food products for the surplus products that other people have to sell, but the government says we must not do so. As the hon. member for Yorkton (Mr. McPhee) explained yesterday in quoting the language of Sir George Paish, the whole trouble of the world to-day is that there is an abundance of foodstuffs in some parts of the world and an abundance of manufactured products in other parts of the world, and governments step in and say, We will not allow you people to make the ex-jhange. That is the whole trouble.

Now, Mr. Speaker, while its intentions may have been good, the government by its every act since it came into office has only aggravated the unemployment situation, it has only aggravated the distress in the western provinces and in all other parts of the country. Never since I have been in the west-and I have lived there all my life- never until this winter have I seen in the stores of the west signs reading: " Butter not wanted." Why is that?

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An hon. MEMBER:

Too much New Zealand butter.

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LIB

Edward James Young

Liberal

Mr. YOUNG:

No, that is not the cause. In a certain town in my constituency there is a creamery locally owned and operated by the farmers. Last December I had a talk with the operator and he told me: "I supply all the butter that is used in this town. In other years it has taken from 300 to 400

pounds a week to meet the demand, but this year it takes only 50 pounds a week. The people are not using butter." You have reduced the standard of living further and further, until, as was predicted last fall by members on this side of the house, you have ruined the market that you were trying to create.

In conclusion, Mr. Speaker, I would urge the hon. Minister of National Revenue to study this matter of automobiles. He laughs and says that it did not amount to anything, but I tell him that what I have stated is correct, and his commissioner of customs will tell him so too if he is only capable of understanding it. I say we should demand an investigation into the whole automobile industry, for that industry has cost this country many, many times what it is worth.

At six o'clock the house took recess.

After Recess

The house resumed at eight o'clock.

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LIB

Maurice Brasset

Liberal

Mr. MAURICE BRASSET (Gaspe):

My first words will be to extend my regards to the Speaker of this house. At the special session in September last as well as, so far, during this session, it has been my impression that the Speaker has given a fair deal to both sides of the house. So far as I am concerned, and I think I can speak for most of my colleagues on this side, I can say that you, Mr. Speaker, may expect from us the most cordial cooperation. And now, sir, my constituency being composed, in large majority, of French-speaking people, and even though a great proportion of the members of this house are not familiar with the French language, I shall continue my remarks in my mother tongue. -

(Translation): Mr. Speaker, my first wish is

to congratulate the mover and seconder of the address. They delivered their speeches with much zest, and it is all to their credit. I state that it was all to their credit because it was a difficult task to vindicate the acts of the present government. I could add, sir, that this government, although it has been in power for eight months only, has to its record the harnessing of the country with one of the most unpopular administrations in existence since confederation. In the course of the last election, through public addresses, the radio and every possible Conservative medium of propaganda, we heard sung the praises and exploits of the then leader of the opposition (Mr. Bennett).

The Address-Mr. Brasset

From one end of the country to the other pledges abound: the ceasing of unemployment, the lowering of the cost of living, work for everybody, high wages, etc., etc. Briefly, it was the golden age returning to earth, and we were told: Elect Mr. Bennett; elect the leader of the Conservative opposition and you will have in this country all that you desire. Everybody will have work, and factories will open their doors again. Well, for eight months the Canadian people have been waiting and what is the result? The people have been waiting eight months without hearing the roar of the guns, without any blasting of foreign markets. The people have waited eight months without seeing the promised millennium; instead what is happening? Let us examinu the balance sheet of the Conservative party since they are in power and compare it with that of the Liberal regime. I quote from an extract of L'Avenir du Nord:

Under the Conseratives, the unemployment crisis which they were to relieve immediately on assuming power, is more acute than under the Liberal regime.

Under the Conservative rule that national unity, that harmony between all the provinces brought about by the Liberals, threaten to he inevitably torn asunder.

And if we had many speeches like the one delivered yesterday, in the house, by the member for Regina, I would have to unfortunately admit that the harmony between the various provinces would not last long.

Under the Conservatives, Canada's trade is collapsing, under the Liberals it had reached the highest summit of our history.

Canada lost the fifth rank among the exporting countries, to make way for India. Dominion Bureau of Sstatistics.

Under the Conservatives, the cost of living increases, under the Liberals, it was decreasing.

Under the Conservatives, the taxes increase; under the Liberals they were decreasing.

An hon. MEMBER (Translation): They are rapidly climbing.

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LIB

Maurice Brasset

Liberal

Mr. BRASSET (Translation):

Yes, unfortunately they are climbing and rapidly.

Under the Conservatives, expenditures exceed the revenues; under the Liberals we had surpluses.

Under the Conservatives, the national debt is increasing; under the Liberals, it was decreasing.

Under the Conservatives, the revenues of the country are decreasing; under the Liberals, they were on the increase.

These are the Conservative balance-sheets and the balance-sheets of the Liberal administration. The Conservatives proclaim everywhere that the Prime Minister has redeemed his pledges. The people of Canada

would be easily pleased if they were satisfied with the deeds of this government.

Mr. Speaker, the unemployment question has been broached, it is very much in evidence, and what I would have to say -would not alter the situation. However, in listening to the speakers who preceded me these last days, I thought that the government's endeavours to relieve unemployment did not produce the result which the Conservative themselves expected. The then leader of the opposition, the Prime Minister of to-day, had solemnly pledged his word-that everybody heard, members on the right as well as those on the left-not to try to merely relieve unemployment, but to completely eradicate it. What result has the Prime Minister had since his advent to power. Is there less unemployment? Has unemployment ceased? I shall state that not only it has not ceased, but that it has spread more than ever. The calls for help which reach members from all parts of Canada are a sufficient answer.

It is often queried, sir, how the government would fare should elections take place now. We wonder what would be the verdict of the people if after eight months in power our friends on your right, sir, were to face another general election. The almost unanimous views expressed by the people of Canada, is that were we to have elections today the Conservative party would be swept from power. What the Canadian people expected, so as to relieve unemployment, is not a few million dollars given out as charity. The Canadian people have more pride than that. It is not charity we expected, we had hoped, on the present Prime Minister assuming power, that a constructive policy would give works to the people; and not doles. And this charity of $20,000,000 how was it given? It was given with the disdainful gesture of the wealthy man who drops a few cents to the beggar on the street in order to get rid of him. Poor municipalities were forced to bleed themselves white in order to contribute their share and thus assure a few days of work to the unemployed. What happened in my own riding? The unemployed worked eight, ten, fifteen days, and now they are poorer than ever.

It unfortunately happened, in my county, that many poor parishes and municipalities were forced to borrow in order to meet the requirements of the government and thereby help the latter to relieve the distress existing. These municipalities were already relieving much distress and in no way did they need to be forced by the government to help their poor, which they had begun to do long before the government had their measure of $20,000,000 voted.

The Address-Mr. Brasset

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CON

Joseph Léonard Duguay

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. DUGUAY (Translation):

Mr. Speaker, if the hon. member for Gaspe will allow me, I would like to ask him a question.

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LIB

Maurice Brasset

Liberal

Mr. BRASSET (Translation):

You will have your turn later.

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CON

Joseph Léonard Duguay

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. DUGUAY (Translation):

Whether the hon. member for Gaspe is agreeable or not, I shall ask him to tell us how the money intended to relieve unemployment was distributed in the province of Quebec and in what way the provincial government-[DOT]

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?

Mr. S@

The provincial government is in no way interested.

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LIB

Maurice Brasset

Liberal

Mr. BRASSET (Translation):

Well, I shall say to the hon. member for Lake St. John that the money to relieve unemployment was well spent in Quebec, perhaps better under the liberal rule of that province than it would have been distributed under the Conservative government at Ottawa.

At the emergency session, in September last, I had personally asked the government and the Prime Minister to take the necessary steps to have the right of way of a projected railway surveyed in the county of Gaspe. This would have given work to the unemployed of Gaspe and the money would not have been spent uselessly to draw gravel over the snow in order to relieve unemployment; the money would have been expended in a practical and efficient way and this undertaking would have had as a result the relief of unemployment, during the winter. However, the Prime Minister and the hon. Minister of Railways (Mr. Manion) did not even think it worthwhile to answer my query, and brushed aside my suggestion.

Mr. Speaker, I noticed the other day that when the right hon. leader of the opposition (Mr. Mackenzie King) commented on the deplorable state of the people of this country, the features of the right hon. Prime Minister took an expression of self complacency. It is said that the Prime Minister is a man with large personal means-and I have no criticism to offer-I fear however that the hon. Prime Minister is unaware of what is going on; because, considering his responsibilities, if he could only realize the distress of the people, we would not see him smile disdainfully whenever the distress of the people is referred to.

In the course of this session, sir, many references will be made to the government's deficit, and the latter will try to place the blame on world conditions, and they will be partly right; they will also tell us that the customs and excise revenues show a decrease of about $50,000,000 since. July last and that

is the principal cause of the government's deficit.

Then, sir, I can point out that the government is inconsequent since the Prime Minister himself stated, in the course of the special session, that by raising the tariff his aim was precisely to decrease imports and, thereby, restrict the operations of that department. Since it is the. government which has restricted the business of the Customs and Excise department, why should they impute this deficit to these branches of the service? It is stultifying itself, moreover that is a poor argument to invoke.

We shall also hear of the Liberal regime and tariff. During the last election, the Conservatives proclaimed everywhere that the Liberal tariff was the cause of unemployment, of economic depression and of all the suffering which existed in our country. But the moment the Conservatives assumed power, their tactics changed, so did their tone. A very few days after the election of July 28, the hon. Minister of Labour (Senator Robertson) stated in Ottawa: "that the economic unrest cannot be attributed to any government, that it was world-wide." At the special session the Prime Minister made almost the same statement and almost in the same words as the Hon. Mr. Robertson. Finally, on November 8 last, Sir George Perley speaking in Ottawa, stated:

The world has been passing through a period of serious economic and political disturbance. Canada has not escaped its share of the difficulties of readjustment. The testing-time, however, lias only served to prove that strength and solidity of the Canadian economic structure. Few countries have been as fortunate.

This is entirely different from what our friends the Conservatives proclaimed during the electoral campaign, when they asserted that Canada was doomed to ruin and that, thanks to the liberal rule, Canada had perhaps become one of the last countries of the world. Circumstances alter cases.

We have had, sir, for nine years a Liberal administration. What has that administration given us? First, it has given us seven consecutive years of surpluses, which has never been done by any Canadian administration since confederation, not even by Sir Wilfrid Laurier's government so highly praised by our friends the Conservatives.

During that Liberal administration, taxes decreased year after year, the debts resulting from the war began to decrease and disappear. In a word the people were prosperous. That means, sir, that we had an excellent government.

Last spring, relying upon the results obtained, the right hon. Prime Minister of the

The Address-Mr. Mullins

day (Mr. Mackenzie King) submitted his administration to the electorate. At the outset of the campaign everybody was certain that the Liberal party would be returned to power. I could name many of my hon. friends now sitting on your right, sir, who at the outset of the campaign stated themselves that they would be defeated. I, myself, quoted extracts from conservative newspapers which asserted the the Liberal government would be returned to power. However, by degree, in the course of the campaign, rumours reached us of a super-man who was covering the country from one end to the other, promising marvels. He made pledges right and left, somewhat like one American millionaire, whose name is on every lip, throws handfuls of dimes. The pledges of the then leader of the opposition (Mr. Bennett) were strewn from one end of the country to the other and there seemed, to be never enough. By degree, the people were caught by those beautiful promises. Mr. 3ennett stated that with the advent to power of the Conservative party, there would be no more suffering the world over, that there would be bridges, roads and railways every where. The Canadian western wheat growers would sell their products with considerable profit; Ontario and Quebec would see their factories increase and the output would be at its maximum; the Gaspe and Maritime provinces' fishermen, under the magic word of the leader of the opposition, would have miraculous catches, like of old, twenty centuries ago, the apostles at the word of the Master.

Now, all has changed, and brutal reality has established the truth of facts. The people of Canada are discovering that they have been deceived. They abide their time, and it will some. They will then ask the Conservatives -and I quote here an extract from a newspaper which everybody is familiar with:

They will ask why, after having pledged their word to put an end to unemployment in the very first months of their taking office the government did nothing to relieve efficiently the unemployed; they will ask why the Prime Minister, after having pledged his word to sell the Canadian wheat, enacted measures which closed the British market to us and increased the agricultural crisis in the Canadian west; they will inquire why Confederation exists; they will inquire wherefor the fiasco of all the meetings of this nature since Confederation; they will inquire why the country must face a deficit of more than $100,000,000, when, under the Liberal administration, there wras always surpluses. from 1922 to 1930 inclusively; they will ask why they increased the national debt, when the Liberals had decreased it by $300,000,000 since 1924

An hon. MEMBER (Translation); Are you quoting from the Soleil?

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LIB

Maurice Brasset

Liberal

Mr. BRASSET (Translation):

It is a newspaper that tells the truth.

-they will ask why our export trade shows a deficit on all British markets where, previous to July 28 last, we regularly had a favourable

balance.

They will ask why, after having gained rural ridings by promising to increase the price of butter by cutting out the New Zealand imports, they only succeeded in lowering these prices by 2 cents below the prices of 1929;

They will ask why, in the midst of the crisis, while thousands of Canadians are unemployed, they disorganized the import trade of automobiles and threw on the street about 10,000 workers.

They will be made to answer for all their pledges and all their blunders. The people abide their hour and that hour will come.

Mr. H. A. MULLINS (Marquette); Mr. Speaker, before I take up the subjects I intend to discuss to-night, allow me to extend to you my congratulations upon your appointment. I wish also to extend my congratulations to the mover (Mr. Cormier) and the seconder (Mr. Porteous) of the address in reply to the speech from the throne.

It is some years since I was last in this chamber and there have been many changes in the personnel, but I see a few of the old faces here and that gives me delight and encouragement.

I have listened to the attacks by hon. gentlemen opposite upon my hon. leader, and f confess that while they were being made I found it very hard to keep my seat. I would not be speaking this evening if it were not for the statements made from the other side of the house that this is a onenman government.

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PRO

Agnes Campbell Macphail

Progressive

Miss MAOPHAIL:

Isn't it?

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CON

Henry Alfred Mullins

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MULLINS:

I represent the constituency of Marquette and I stand here as free a man as any hon. member in this house. Marquette, a purely agricultural constituency, sent me here to represent them, but at the same time I do not forget that I represent Canada as a whole.

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An hon. MEMBER:

That is right.

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CON

Henry Alfred Mullins

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MULLINS:

Marquette, in which reside many intelligent voters, is one of the most picturesque constituencies in western Canada. We are engaged largely in the production of live stock, we believe in diversified farming. I cannot sit here and listen to attacks being made upon my leader, whom I have known as long as, if not longer than, any man in this house. I remember when he first came to Calgary and put out his sign, as a member of the legal profession. I have watched his

The Address-Mr. Mullins

career and am satisfied that the affairs of Canada are in very good hands irrespective of what the hon. member for Lisgar (Mr. Brown) may say. I have every confidence in the right hon. gentleman who leads this government.

I was elected in 1025; in 1926 I was defeated by a Liberal-Progressive or a Progressive-Liberal-God knows what.

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An hon. MEMBER:

He was a good man.

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CON

Henry Alfred Mullins

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MULLINS:

Yes, but he had a hyphenated name. This time, instead of suffering defeat by a majority of 1,000, I came back with a majority of nearly 2,700.

I agree that conditions in the west are not good. They are not good for the man on the land, but they are all right for the man who has live stock. I stated before on the floor of this house that the sowless, chickenless farmer is not good for the west. You must have diversified farming; you cannot have one crop only, consisting of wheat. I hear wailings from those men south of the main line of the Canadian Pacific railway from Swift Current to the mountains who are settled on land which should never have been taken away from the rancher. We gave way to the men who came in with the prairie schooners thinking they were going to better conditions, but what happened? The hon. member opposite, the ex-Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Motherwell) brought in professors from the United States to find out if grass could be sown in order to bring back the land which had been taken from us. We left that land fertile and rich but they exploited the soil with the usual result. That district should never have been ploughed and certainly should never have been taken away from the rancher.

I have a letter here which I received from one of my constituents enclosing two photographs, which delighted me very much, showing what he is doing in regard to the feeding and raising of cattle. He says:

_ Every day as I gain experience I am gaining confidence in you. I think I can see from the little bit of experience I have had through North America that we can produce cattle in this western country cheaper than in any other part of the Dominion and also in the largest part of the United States, and you know the condition of producing cattle in Europe.

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An hon. MEMBER:

Who signed it?

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March 19, 1931