March 26, 1931

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An hon. MEMBER:

You were a little more careful than some of the others.

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LIB

James Lorimer Ilsley

Liberal

Mr. ILSLEY:

It is quite all right if the hon. minister says he did not say that. I am very careful about the statements I make. He did make the first statement in my own town of Kentville.

It is intimated in the speech from the throne that legislation in connection with old age pensions is to come by progressive stages and as the state of the treasury will permit. Lately the Minister of Labour (Senator Robertson), who is not in this house, has been making speeches and sending telegrams intimating that old age pensions will not be paid in full by the Dominion government, and that the Dominion government will not take over during the present year the administration of the act, but that there is nothing to prevent them from paying a larger proportion than is paid at the present time. This is different from the promises made during the campaign. These pensions are a very important matter to the people of the maritime provinces. If because of the state of the national exchequer or for any other reason this government fails to put into effect in toto its promises to pay in full old age pensions to the people of the maritime provinces, it will be considered as a rascally piece of business. It may be that they do intend to carry out their promises, but there are some very disquieting signs and rumours in that connection. I desire to bring this matter as forcibly as I can to the attention of the house and the government, because it was on the basis of these promises that they were enabled to win during the recent elections certain constituencies in the maritime provinces.

Apparently my own views as to the recent embargo placed against trade with Russia are not those of many on this side of the house. They may not be the views of my constituents but I think, in justice to myself, that I

The Address-Mr. Myers

should express them. It seems to me that this government has acted too hastily in its method of dealing with Russia. There is a very good prospect of the five-year plan succeeding in Russia. If the wheat industry of this country is to have a guaranteed future there should be a conference between the wheat-producers of the world with the idea of placing the wheat production upon the markets of the world in a rational, orderly and if possible non-competing manner, and it seems to me that the action taken by this government will not conduce to that end.

I read in the press, I think to-day, that Mr. Ferguson, representative of Canada in Great Britain, is attending the International Institute of Agriculture, which begins its sittings at Rome to-day. I understand that representatives of the soviet government will attend these meetings and that Canada is to adopt a policy of "watchful waiting." In all probability at some time in the future we shall have to confer with the representatives of Russia and it would appear that this order in council, very offensive in its terms and laying down the principle that we shall not trade with a country whose economic system or social conventions are disapproved of, was a hasty and ill-advised step on the part of this government. It was of no consequence at all as a protective measure for our coal industry because, as I said before, why shut out 300,000 tons to let in 18,000,000 tons? There may be some reasons for the passing of this order in council, but I think they should be made public. I know that many people disagree with its provisions and I think it is the duty of this government to give an explanation to the country before parliament prorogues.

I would like to comment briefly upon the general economic situation. During the closing months of the year, 1930 many prominent men of the world gave their opinions as to the causes of the present depression. Mussolini made speeches in which he blamed to a considerable degree the policies of the United States. Mr. Hoover made an Armistice day speech in which he attempted to diagnose carefully the causes of depression. Mr. Thomas W. Lamont made a speech before an association of economists in which he stated that the causes of depression were excessive production as compared to consumption of many commodities, the attempt in certain parts of the world to hold up prices artificially, the fall in the price of silver, the maldistribution of gold, political unrest in certain countries, and the spirit of rampant speculation which has been so evident in recent years, particularly in North America. In a 22110-224

speech which he made at Calgary, the Prime Minister of Canada blamed the economic depression upon his political opponents, and so fas as I can learn he is the only prominent statesman in the world, the only statesman in the world-

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An hon. MEMBER:

Hear, hear.

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An hon. MEMBER:

Amended.

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LIB

James Lorimer Ilsley

Liberal

Mr. ILSLEY:

-who did that. The people of Canada will not take seriously this attempt of the right hon. gentleman to fasten the causes of this depression upon his political opponents. Indeed, the government itself by its spokesmen is now attempting to attach the blame to world conditions. The people are not taking seriously attempts to play politics with the business depression, and that, sir, is one of the brightest signs appearing upon the political horizon.

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CON

John Howard Myers

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. J. H. MYERS (Queens):

Mr. Speaker, in rising to make a few remarks on the address in reply to the speech from the throne I feel it my duty and I take great pleasure in following the time-honoured custom of congratulating the mover (Mr. Cormier) and the seconder (Mr. Porteous) of the address. I can more readily congratulate the mover, or perhaps I may be permitted to say that I can more readily sympathize with him, by reason of the fact that at one time in my own career I found myself in a similar position.

It was very pleasant indeed to listen to the mingling of the French and English tongues and to see the honours being divided between the two great nationalities. It gives me much pleasure to see the fine contingent which we have on this side of the house from the old, historic province of Quebec. It also gives me a great deal of pleasure, and I am sure it must afford the Prime Minister (Mr. Bennett) much satisfaction, to know that he draws his supporters from every province of the Dominion. That is as it should be. We want no division between races and no division from the standpoint of religion.

That is all I had intended to say in this regard had it not been for the fact that in perusing Hansard the other day I came across some remarks that fell from the lips of the hon. member for Gloucester (Mr. Veniot), and to those remarks I feel it my bounden duty to take exception. I find on page 13S of Hansard he is reported as saying that during the last campaign a circular of some kind, seeking to discredit the Liberal party in the eyes of a certain religious sect in Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick, and to divide the people from the standpoint-

The Address-Mr. Myers

of religion, was distributed throughout those two provinces. There is not another man in Prince Edward Island from one end of iit to the other who knows that province and the people of that province better than I do, and I deny emphatically that such a circular as that was distributed during the last campaign throughout the province of Prince Edward Island, by either the Liberal or the Conservative party. We do not want such a circular as that distributed throughout Prince Edward Island, nor will we tolerate for one moment the mean, low spirit that would lie behind such an action.

During the course of this debate a great deal has been said with reference to the period of depression through which Canada is passing at the present time. In that regard we may say that misery likes company, and there is a certain consolation in the fact that we are not the only country that is experiencing depression at this time. Every other country in the world is passing through the same trying experience as we are in the Dominion of Canada. If we had in Canada at the present time an unusual period of depression and the whole world outside were prosperous, I would say that the fault lay with Canada; that there was something wrong with the government of Canada, something wrong with the people of Canada or with the country itself. But such is not the case. We are no worse off in Canada than the people in any other section of the world; in fact, I think we are not so badly off; and I have sufficient faith in the future of this Dominion with our vast natural resources, our great transportation systems and our mighty water-powers to turn the wheels of industry, to believe that Canada will be one of the first countries to recover and that she will recover very quickly from the present period of depression.

So far no one has been able to tell us exactly the cause of this period of depression, and I do not suppose an untrained farmer like myself would be expected to come to Ottawa and be able to explain what appears to be such a great mystery to others. I am, however, bold enough to venture the assertion that two things have contributed to the great period of depression through which we are now passing. Everybody knows that prior to about a year ago the whole world had gone stock crazy. Everybody who had ten cents in his pocket was buying stocks. It did not matter whether he was a millionaire or a bootblack, he was buying stocks. Hon. members all know what happened, the crash that came in that regard and how the purchasing power

of the people was wiped out in a few hours. Another factor-and it is something very few people care to talk about; they all like to slip around it-is the fact that we are living at a pretty fast pace. The automobile, the radio and the picture show all take their toll and somebody must pay the piper. If the depression through which we are now passing does nothing other than to teach us a lesson in good, sound, sensible economy, we shall not have passed through this period in vain.

During the course of the debate a great deal has been said with reference to agriculture. That is as it should be. Agriculture needs to have something said about it. It is the biggest and the best industry that we have in Canada to-day, and I believe it will always remain so. Three or four weeks ago I picked up one of our Canadian magazines, and in turning it over I noticed an article headed "What is wrong with farming?" I read the whole article through very carefully. Various reasons were ascribed, and various remedies suggested. After going carefully through the whole of that article I came back to the headline "What is wrong with farming?" and right then and there I made up my mind there was not a single thing wrong with farming. Farming is just as good to-day as ever it was, and the farm is just the same as ever it was. The same rain falls on it and the same sun shines on it. With the aid of the modern machinery that we have and with all the knowledge we have gained in recent years, from our agricultural colleges and experimental farms, we are better able than ever we were before to select, grade and treat the seed that is put into the soil in the spring of the year. With the machinery that we have ad our command and the knowledge we have of plant diseases, we are better able to look after our crop during the growing season. The same thing applies in the autumn; we are in a better position than ever we were before from the standpoint of machinery and equipment to harvest our crop expeditiously and safely. That is all we ever did; that is all we ever expected. But when we begin to put our crop on the market, when we attempt to turn the result of our season's labour into cash- there's the rub. But that is not the fault of farming. Nothing is wrong with farming itself, but something is wrong with business. The purchasing power of the public seems for some reason to be diminished. I am not able to prescribe a remedy for all these things, but surely there must be a remedy somewhere.

A great deal has been said about farming in western Canada. As I listen to the members of this house it would seem to me that

The Address-Mr. Myers

farming in Canada can be divided into two parts, east and west. I always had an idea in the back of my head that the people of Canada themselves can be divided into just two classes. Some think that there are lots more-English, Irish, Scotch, French and so on. But when the whole thing is summed up, there are only two classes of people in Canada to-day-those who will work, and those who won't.

I have never been in western Canada, I am sorry to say. I have been in the western United States, but I have never seen our own great Canadian west, though if my pass holds out long enough I am going to see it some day. I have, however, read a great deal about the magnificient wheat fields of western Canada.

I suppose that in the last twenty-five years billions and billions of dollars must have gone into western Canada in payment for the wheat that came out, and the western representatives here will pardon me if I say that I think some of that money should have stuck. The hon. member for Long Lake (Mr. Cowan) said the other day that a great deal of it had stuck, that western Canada to-day is well equipped, with magnificent farms, fine homes, and a good stock of machinery. That goes to show that they have not spent all their money, that some of it has gone into property. Perhaps in western Canada the farmers have been doing what we have been doing in eastern Canada, going at a bit too fast a pace.

So far as wheat farming in western Canada is concerned, it is not so very different from potato-growing in Prince Edward Island. Any man, no matter who or where he is, who is engaged in what I term single-line agriculture, will always have his years of depression; he will have his good years and his off years. We notice that in Prince Edward Island. Until a few years ago in Prince Edward Island we were entirely a community of mixed farmers, but four or five years ago the potato craze hit our country. It is a wonderful business when properly handled, but when that craze hit the province a few of our farmers, foolishly, I think, abandoned mixed farming, disposed of their live stock, and went into potato growing exclusively. The same thing happens to them as occasionnally happens to the western wheat farmers. They have their off years, and, strange to say, some of them have their off year when the rest of us are doing all right. In the season of 1928, which was about the meanest potato year I ever saw in my life, with potatoes selling as low as 12 cents a bushel, while the potato grower did badly, the rest of us were getting along very nicely indeed. Hogs, cattle,

poultry, hay, grain and everything else that we handled that year brought good prices. We were all right, but the specialist who was engaged in potato growing surely met his Waterloo that year. In Prince Edward Island there is no excuse for a man going into potato growing exclusively, because it is a wonderful country for mixed agriculture. There is, I take it, however, an excuse for the western farmer engaging in the growing of wheat exclusively. I have talked with many of the western farmers during my stay in this house, and they tell me that out in the west there are large sections that are admirably adapted to wheat farming but are not so admirably adapted to mixed farming or live stock raising. That is their own problem; I am not here to offer any advice to them in that regard.

The hon. member for Southeast Grey (Miss Macphail) this afternoon made one remark in which I heartily concur, namely that mixed farming will not be a cure-all for present conditions in western Canada. I quite agree. She also spoke of cooperative societies and cooperative marketing, and I believe that even the wheat pool came in for criticism as well as praise. We have all these cooperative organizations in their perfection in eastern Canada. We sell our eggs, our hogs and our cattle through shipping associations. We have in Prince Edward Island also the potato growers association, one of the finest marketing organizations in the whole Dominion of Canada. In a year when potatoes bring a good price the association is praised by all, but when potatoes are down to 12 cents a bushel-well, it is about the damnedest thing on earth. All these organizations are good and useful in their place if they are properly handled, but you can make all the rules and regulations you like; governments, provincial and federal, can pass all the enabling legislation they like, to help them, and still the fact remains that no parliament on earth ever yet was able to repeal or annul the age-old law of supply and demand. That law has reigned supreme all down through the ages, and it always will.

Now, Mr. Speaker, I may be pardoned if I say a word about potatoes, for wheat has been discussed by nearly every hon. gentleman who has preceded me. I regard theUnited States tariff against Canadian potatoes as very, very high indeed; 75 cents perhundredweight seems to me to be an unreasonable tariff. Our government has seen fit, and rightly so-both parties are as one in this because the Dunning budget provided for the same thing-to impose a similar tariff

The Address-Mr. Myers

against United States potatoes. But I think I can speak for the potato growers of Prince Edward Island and eastern Canada in saying that whenever the United States see fit to lower their tariff we shall be quite willing to meet them with a corresponding reduction in ours.

There is, however, one feature with respect to potatoes which I do not regard as quite fair. In Prince Edward Island and in eastern Canada we have what is known as compulsory grading of potatoes. The main grades of table stock are Canada No. 1 and Canada fancy. Every single potato in the bag must be perfect; if a potato is bruised, cut, scratched, or has any other blemish it must be taken out or the inspector will not pass the bag; every carload of potatoes shipped from Prince Edward Island must carry a certificate signed by a government inspector. We have imposed that regulation on ourselves in order to raise the standard of our product on the markets of the world. We are happy under these conditions and we live up to the letter of the law. If anybody finds that we do not, all he need do is complain about it; our numbers are on the cars, and the complaint comes right back to the individual farmer. I have been informed when the early shipping season begins our competitors across the line are allowed to ship their potatoes into this country without following the strict grading regulations that we have imposed upon ourselves. We do not wish to shut out their potatoes, but we contend that when potatoes cross the line from the United States into Canada they should be subject to the same grading regulations as our own potatoes.

A great deal has been said about the price of farm machinery. In my opinion the price is entirely too high, and undoubtedly something must be done. I was pleased the other night when the hon. gentleman whose constituency embraces all that part and parcel of land lying southwest of the north pole told us that the price of farm machinery and ploughs had been reduced in his riding. That was a very encouraging piece of news, and I only hope it was land ploughs and not snow ploughs that the hon. gentleman had in mind. I am sorry to say that as yet we have noticed very little, if any, reduction in the price of farm machinery in eastern Canada. I have no hesitation in saying that my advice to the farmer is to buy just as little farm machinery as he can get by with. Some hon. gentlemen may say that that is bad for business. I know it is; no one knows it better than myself, because when we cease to buy, implement dealeis cease to sell, and when

they cease to sell that is reflected back through the manufacturer to those who work in the factories. But, Mr. Speaker, I assert that self-preservation is still the first law of nature, and the farmer who allows himself to be over-burdened with debt, whether through the purchase of farm machinery, automobiles or anything else, is neither any good to himself nor to the community in which he lives.

As I have said, something must be done about the price of farm machinery. But do not misunderstand me. I have no quarrel with the manufacturer. He is doing the best he knows how, perhaps he is worrying over the situation just as much as we are. But I do say there is too wide a spread between the price of the commodities of the farm that we have to sell and the price of the machinery that we have to buy. Prosperity will not return to Canada until it first returns to those who are engaged in Canada's greatest industry. I am not here to offer the manufacturer any advice. I am not a manufacturer, nor am I a business man; I am a plain, ordinary farmer. Yet at times I think my own thoughts, and it often occurs to me that after all the trouble does not arise in the factory. I wonder how far I would be from the truth if I were to make this statement-that the sale and distribution of farm machinery, and for that matter a great many other commodities, costs more than the manufacturing. Step into any railway train you like, or into any hotel, and what do you see? You are tripping over commercial travellers and machine agents; they are chasing one another up and down the line, they are worrying the life out of the storekeepers for orders, and they are living at the beet hotels. Who pays the piper? In my estimation it is the man who buys the goods. The hon. member for Southeast Grey said she believed in cooperative marketing. I will go a little further; I would apply the cooperative system to the manufacturers themselves. Surely they will have to find out some cheaper way to get the products of their factories into the hands of those who need them.

I think that is about all I can say, Mr. Speaker, with respect to the economic condition of Canada, but there is something else I should like to speak about.

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An hon. MEMBER:

Hurry up.

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CON

John Howard Myers

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MYERS:

Yes, I am sorry to note

the time has gone by so rapidly. During this debate we have heard a lot about promises. The right hon. leader of the opposition (Mr. Mackenzie King) spoke for four and a half

The Address-Mr. Myers

hours-a long time for a man to speak- and I believe he devoted fully half of his time to the subject of promises-the promises that the right hon. Prime Minister had made to the people of Canada during the last campaign. The leader of the opposition seemed to be worried about it, but I cannot yet make out what was worrying him, whether he was worrying that the Prime Minister would not fulfil those promises, or whether he was worrying for fear he would fulfil them, or whether he was worrying because the right hon. gentleman had made them at all. He went so far as to say that the Prime Minister had not even lived up to the promise of perishing. Well, I can tell the right hon. leader of the opposition that there is this difference between him and the Prime Minister, that if the Prime Minister perish at all-which God forbid-he will perish in an honest manly effort to do something for the Canadian people; while the leader of the opposition on the other hand has already perished, politically at least, in attempting to persuade the Canadian people that there was nothing to be done.

I have only a few moments more at my disposal, Mr. Speaker; I wish I had half an hour. This is not the first time the Tories have made promises; the present Prime Minister is not the first Tory who has made promises. Ever since the days of confederation; ever since we entered the union in 1873, we had been promised continuous communication with the mainland. Various attempts were made by all governments to carry out these promises, but so far as the trade and commerce of Prince Edward Island was concerned they all ended in failure. They tried icebreakers to ply between our island and the mainland for years, but you can easily see what a little bit of a steamer that was stuck in the ice for a month at a time could do in the way of keeping transportation open. Then in 1911 a Tory by the name of Robert Borden came down to Prince Edward Island. He spoke in the market hall in Charlottetown and made a walloping big promise. He said, "If you make me Prime Minister of Canada I will link up your railroad on Prince Edward Island with the railways throughout Canada." That sounded big, but what happened? He did not fulfil that promise in three months; he did not fulfil it in eight months or in a year, but when three years had rolled away that promise was implemented one hundred per cent.

There are other things in Prince Edward Island of which we are in need. Some sections of our province are still a long way from the railroad. We have in Rustico a village inhabited by sturdy Acadian people. It is one of the finest fishing centres on the Atlantic coast, but they are ten miles from a railroad. They catch cod, mackerel and lobsters as fine as you will get anywhere, and if they were in a position to place these products of their toil in refrigerator cars immediately on coming to shore so they could be shipped to the cities of central Canada, it would be a great thing not only for central Canada but for the people of our province as well. Likewise, on the south side of the island, the settlement from which I come is eighteen miles from a railroad. That does not sound very far to those of you who come from western Canada, but I can assure you that in the handling of such a heavy commodity as potatoes it is a terrible handicap indeed. Again, we are suffering for want of better roads. The Prime Minister came down there before the last election and made us the promise that if he were returned to power he would help us improve our highways, and we are depending upon him to implement that promise.

There is just one other thing about which I wish to speak, and I am glad the Minister of Railways and Canals (Mr. Manion) is in his seat. The gateway to Prince Edward Island is Tormentine, New Brunswick, and next summer we are putting on a new ferry which will be very different from the old one. At the present time when automobiles are brought across they must be loaded on flat cars and taken abroad the ferry in that way. The new ferry has an automobile deck; the piers have been widened, and next summer you will be able to drive in your automobiles right aboard the boat, and forty minutes later you will be on Prince Edward Island. However, in getting there you have to cross a number of railway tracks in Tormentine, with all the switching back and forth which is going on there all the time. My colleague and I have a resolution on our desks from the board of trade of Charlottetown asking for a subway so that this level crossing may be eliminated. I took up the matter with the Minister of Railways, who said he had not enough money at the present time to carry on this work. I very much commend the economy that is being practised by the government; it is the only thing to do at the present time, and it is very wise. I support the Minister of Railways in that, but I want to tell him that when finances get better, as they are bound to do, and when conditions are improved, we who represent Prince Ed-

The Address-Mr. Girouard

ward Island will camp on his doorstep until *we get that subway.

I believe my time is almost up, Mr. Speaker. In conclusion just let me say that I have faith in the present Prime Minister and those who are associated with him; I believe that if they are given time they will implement every one of the promises they have made to the Canadian electors, and they will not perish in the attempt but will win the undying gratitude and admiration of the Canadian people.

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LIB

Wilfrid Girouard

Liberal

Mr. WILFRID GIROUARD (Drummond-Arthabaska) (Translation.):

Mr. Speaker,

there was, the day following the elections, great rejoicing among those who had given their support to the Tory party. Did not the pleasant prospects hinted at, and which were to become alluring realities with the advent of a new government, justify in some respect these manifestations of joy! Indeed, were not all these unemployed to find within three days a permanent job? The workman was to be remunerated, thanks to tariff concessions granted to high financial circles and that active and devoted agency of the Tory party, the Executive Committee of the Canadian Manufacturers' Association; the farm products were to be considerably increased in value, the sale of wheat was a foregone conclusion. In brief, when all the nations of the world had to face an economic crisis which deeply affected them, when everywhere in other countries depression and discontent were rampant, add to this, in many countries, revolutions and civil wars, the Conservative party gave their pledge, as soon as elected, to make of Canada the only country in the world where prosperity would reign and where contentment and satisfaction would link themselves to an everlasting and permanent felicity. There was reason to rejoice, and I thought myself, that the speech from the thrcfne, represented a program so alluring that it would be in some way a hymn of joy.

I feel quite certain that every member in the house has read Chanteclerc, by Rosland: Chanteclerc was that rooster which was master in his own poultry-yard, he suffered, however, from a delusion; he believed that it was through his crowing that the sun rose and spread its light over the world. One morning, the sun rose without his intervention and we know how great was his grief and sorrow. The right hon. Prime Minister suffers from the same delusion. He believed -or tried to make believe-that by raising his voice the sun would rise over our country, that it would suffice for him to make

pledges for them to become immediately realities, that he had but to speak and that, like the shadows of night disperse with the first rays of the sun, so the crises would give way to days of prosperity. Those who rejoice have witnessed the deception and the speech from the throne instead of being a hymn of joy, is a sad acknowledgment of incompetence.

' Those who drafted the speech, accomplished a toilsome and hard task; their efforts were spread over a period of many days; by making a complete recapitulation of their election pledges, they discovered that there was one which they forgot to mention to the electorate, they hastened to remedy this sin of omission; and this is why, at the very outset of the speech, they find nothing better to offer to the people than patience and fortitude. Indeed, the opening sentences of the speech from the throne is as follows:

I welcome you to your duties at a time when the nations of the world are passing through a period of great economic depression. Canada has not escaped it. But the Canadian people have met the trials of the moment with patience and fortitude, and are facing the future with the courage and faith which must triumph over every difficulty.

This patience and fortitude to face the future, where will the Canadian people find it? Does it behoove the government to speak of patience and fortitude, they who during the election period, and since, did all in their power to lower one and destroy the other. All admit, to-day, that the Tories' campaign, on the one hand, aimed at exaggerating the depression, alarming the people and creating a state of general pessimism, while, on the other, by pledges of immediately reestablishing business and bringing back normal conditions, they sought to create the impression that salvation rested with the advent to power of the Tory government. They succeeded, not in capturing the confidence of the people, but of surprising their good faith, and I am sure I am using a very mild expression when stating that the present government was elected under false colours. Moreover, they begin to perceive the danger of their tactics and to realize that the exaggerated pessimism which they spread, served but to paralyse business more and intensify the havoc of depression. They realized that since assuming power our commerce has dwindled in a most alarming way, that the country's debt has increased, that the value of farm products has further decreased, that the discontent of a deceived people Aas brought on a strong reaction against their policy.

The Address-Mr. Girouard

That is why they now endeavour to steer public opinion in another direction. After having tried ito throw the responsibility for the depression on the King government, the present administration wish to create the impression that the country is really passing through a crisis, but thait it is less felt than among the other nations, and that our country, being young and sturdy, will easily overcome this drawback. They would have shown more frankness had they made these statements previous to the elections, since the economic conditions in Canada are actually worse than they were then. Were we to belierve the Prime Minister, it would appear that he went to the root of the evil, to the cause of this depression, and he alone could remove them; therefore, if instead of improving the economic situation is the same or worse, it follows that the government, either have not performed their duty or must admit their incompetence. In both cases, the people will benefit little. I was speaking, a moment ago, of the change of opinion which took place as regards the government, immediately after they assumed power. The country certainly witnessed one of the most rapid feats of wheeling which can be performed by persons who wish to be considered as efficiency experts. First, it is the Minister of Labour who states, a few days after the elections that our situation was not the work of any government but the result of a world-wide crisis. The government's mouthpiece in the province of Quebec, the Gazette of Montreal, in its edition of September 10, stated:

Canada has passed ten or twelve months of commercial readjustment comparable to that which took place in the early post-war periods but not upon as broad a scale. The situation would not have been nearly as bad except for the non-movement of the grain harvested last year. When the grain is not sold for export, the country temporarily at least, must get along as best it can without this new wealth, and at the time of general depression both domestic and foreign, the deprivation is a very serious one. September, "say the Gazette," has shown improvement in the general situation of the country.

The right hon. Prime Minister, on his return from England, speaking to the newspaper reporters, at St. John, made the following statement:

I am delighted to find myself again here. This has always been my feeling on each return from my trips abroad. We are all back, and are very grateful for the warm welcome, unceasing kindness and hospitality of the English people. Canadians have no need to leave their country to recognize this fact, however it inspires you to find the proof everywhere that your brothers of overseas see

with open admiration the triumphant progress of Canada. They already grant her the place which it is destined to occupy in the Empire and the world.

I wish to specially draw your attention to the words "triumphant progress of Canada." The Prime Minister adds:

Our difficulties are less, for they are those which a young country is up against. In a sense they can be looked upon as an incident in the work of her development.

WThat he pictured before the electorate, as Utter misery and commercial and agricultural ruin has become a mere incident. An incident, the difficult period which we find intensified by the failures which have attended the carrying out of his policy 1 An incident, the continuous drop, and, the more surprising at this period of the year, in the prices of farm products! I think it would not be wise for him to hold this language before the farmers of the riding I represent.

Mr. Beatty, also expressed his views on the same subject to meet those held at present by his friend, the Prime Minister. The loquacity of the President of the Canadian Pacific Railway is extraordinary since the last general election.

On march 3 last, speaking in Toronto, the newspapers report the following:

According to Mr. Beatty, the west understands that the crisis is not the result of the market conditions of one country alone, and that it will not be solved by the measures, notwithstanding that they are judicious and timely, of one government alone. People over there are well aware that this crisis is the result of numerous causes which extend to all markets of the world.

Mr. Beatty would have been the object of more sympathy and shown certainly a greater spirit of independence had he delivered this speech previous to the elections. All these opinions show up well the government's confusion, its powerlessness to remedy immediately the situation, a very humiliating acknowledgment of the failure of its pledges and a feverish search of evasion and means to explain the poor success of the policy which it put forth and which resulted only in intensifying the economic crisis, and especially that of agriculture.

Further on, in the speech from the throne, we find:

It will be your privilege to consider certain measures designed by my ministers to ameliorate [DOT]existing conditions.

And still a little further...

The problems which stand between us and ultimate prosperity are manifold and great. To be effectually met, they must first be understood.

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CON

Charles Napoléon Dorion

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. DORION (Translation):

Thanks for

your leave.

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LIB

Wilfrid Girouard

Liberal

Mr. GIROUARD (Translation):

I am

pleased to see that the hon. member is closely following my remarks. He certainly will appreciate the extract which I shall read from the Gazette, a newspaper which he must evidently read every day.

I beg of my hon. friend for Quebec-Mont-morency to listen. This is what the Gazette stated:

Upon the progress made with the work of the special session of parliament depends the fate of the Imperial conference, since it is obvious that if Canada cannot be represented by its Prime Minister the results of the conference must be partial and inconclusive.

If the Prime Minister had not left, we would still hear cries of indignation and malediction hurled at the Liberals. Imagine, Canada would have lost, through our fault, the sole opportunity of relieving the economic crisis 1

What statements would not the Prime Minister have made on deeds that he would have been able to accomplish, on the advantage that he would have obtained and on the benefits of all kinds that he would have bestowed on the Canadian people. That opportunity was not given to him, and the Prime Minister went to London. He was to blast open the English market. After he had delivered his speech in which he wanted to force the British government to tax food to the detriment of her citizens, there was, in-

The ,Address-Mr. Girouard

deed, a blast, but it gave us no markets. It simply had as a result to lower Canada's prestige. Her representative never recovered from the inevitable fall which his proposals had lead him into. Canadians who could have reasonably expected results more satisfactory, owing to the hopes which the Prime Minister himself had inspired, were the more so disappointed.

As early as November 12, 1930, the Gazette speaking of the Imperial conference stated: The Imperial conference is concluding its deliberations. Its members have succeeded in doing nothing in particular and doing it well Out of all the fine phrases that had been used at the conference, phareses expressive of the most exalted sentiments, there have come very few practical results. But the interest of Canadian people centres in the questions of empire trade development, no progress seems to have been made.

On the other hand, La Patrie of Montreal, of November 14, 1930, speaking of this conference, made the following statement:

The Imperial conference, to-day, will end its deliberations, without having realized the hopes which it had given birth to.

At present England and the Dominions have to solve a problem so urgent that they have set aside all the others. It is an economic problem, and they have in no way profited by the work of the conference.

And, for our country especially the result of the conference is extremely disappointing. It was given out that this question would be taken up again in six months time, but the question is of such importance that it cannot be put off.

The Devoir of October 16, tells us of an incident in connection with the Imperial Conference which might be looked upon as amusing were it not for the disastrous consequences to our country.

Speaking of the Prime Minister of Canada and his quarrels with Mr. Thomas, it says:

Over there as here, Mr. Bennett is abrupt, authoritative and assertive. He puts conditions, wants everything to more as rapidly as he wishes, hastens solutions, and urge's answers. Given the opportunity, he does not hesitate to lecture Great Britain's ministers. It is the London correspondent of the Citizen, of Ottawa, who cables to his newspaper, that on the event of a banquet given to the delegates by the Empire Marketing Board, last week-a banquet when the menu contained only products of the various parts of the Empire-Mr. Bennett rose and addressing himself to Mr. Thomas, chairman of the meeting, said: What good is all this publicity, all this advertisement, if you allow the foreigner to invade your market? To emphasize his point, Mr. Bennett pointed out that Russian wheat, because it sold dirt cheap, displaced Canadian wheat on the British market. Mr. Thomas accepted the uncalled for remark without flinching. He might very well have reminded Mr. Bennett, that this Russian wheat, is sown and reaped by farm implements made in Canada, and that Mr Bennett should not fMr. Girouard.]

mention the fact, since Canada also profits by trading with Russia. Must it be said that, what is good for Canada, is bad for London? Mr. Thomas was welcoming Mr. Bennett, and the host could not possibly be rude to his guest even if the latter's manners were at fault. Mr. Thomas kept to strict etiquette.

A few hours ago, Mr. Thomas made his reply, answering Mr. Bennett in a round about way. It was on Tuesday evening, in London, at another banquet, where the delegates met important business men of the United Kingdom. Mr. Thomas was present in his capacity of Secretary of State for the colonies. There were speeches-eleven all fold-and in the course of these speeches Mr. Thomas, incidentally made the remark: "if the Imperial Conference is to be a success, it will not be simply by passing resolutions, not even by listening to the eleven speeches which unfortunately they must be burdened with this evening." Mr. Thomas even went further. "There is nothing so dangerous, in times of depression, than to make use of drugs which have the flavour of charlatanism . . . And measures dictated by panic will not help us."

The Prime Minister has returned from London, and if he wishes to be sincere, he will admit with everybody, that he is responsible for the failure of the conference.

May I, sir, draw your attention to a point which must have astonished you. The sale of western wheat is certainly one of the most important problems to solve, yet, is the Prime Minister aware, and are those who accompanied him overseas aware, that there are in Ontario and Quebec a number of counties where cheese is made on a large scale? They know that the British market is practically the only opening where our farmers can export their cheese; how is it that the Canadian representatives failed to fulfil their duties and pledges towards the farming classes by not seeking to assure themselves of the British market, and not saying a word on what could be done to maintain this market for Canadian cheese.

Mr. LaVERGNE (Translation): The English people do not want to tax food stuff, when-

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CON

Charles Napoléon Dorion

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. DORION (Translation):

They can

accept our cheese as in the past.

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LIB

Wilfrid Girouard

Liberal

Mr. GIROUARD (Translation):

For the last ten years, England has been our best customer as regards to our cheese exports. Each year Quebec exported for thousands and thousands of dollars of this produce. This year the Prime Minister crossed over to England. By his attitude, he made a fiasco of the Imperial conference, and within the last year, the last six months and especially the last three months, our Canadian cheese exports to London have dwindled considerably. In my riding, our opponents gave their pledge to the

The Address-Mr. Laurin

farmers that should Mr. Bennett be elected, immediately the price of cheese would increase greatly. The cry was: "Put the Conservatives in power. You will see that Mr. Bennett will travel to London, and once there, he will find purchasers to activate your sales." What has taken place, sir, proves but too well that the pledges given to the farmers of my riding will have the same fate as those given to Canadians in general.

The government tell us that the Imperial conference of London will meet again, this year, in Ottawa. I believe I represent the views of my constituents in telling the Prime Minister that he holds to a policy which has already been found inacceptable; he will again receive a humiliating rebuff for himself and the country.

The Prime Minister's visit to England has already borne its fruits, but to the detriment of Canada. The leader of the Liberal party stated last week that his government had succeeded in lifting the embargo on Canadian cattle which had been put by the British government and that the farming class had considerably profited by it. The present Prime Minister returned from England and the only result of the conference was the enacting, by the British government, of new regulations which will be very detrimental to Canadian trade. The Gazette of Montreal of March 4, 1931, gives us the following information:

Exporters of cattle have to face a problem: the new British regulations are of a nature to hurt our trade. The establishing, by the British Department of Agriculture, of new regulations in connection with the shipments of Canadian cattle to England has created a problem for the Canadian exporters. The effect will be of raising the transport rates and completely wiping out the small margin of actual profit.

I wonder what will the Minister of Agriculture do in the face of these new regulations. I have but one word to add: I wish to draw the attention of the house to the last part of the speech from the throne. The government know so well that they cannot find grace with the Canadian people, that they end that speech by an invocation to Providence. They greatly need to implore Divine mercy. I sincerely trust that they will obtain it, however, I am convinced that they will not escape the increasing indignation of the ratepayers of this country.

Mr. GEORGE P. LAURIN (Jacques-Car-tier) (Translation): Mr. Speaker, I feel deeply moved in rising in the House for the first time, as member for the riding of Jacques-Cartier. I also take this opportunity to express again my sincerest gratitude to my kind constituents.

In the past, we had the privilege of being represented, at Ottawa, by truly worthy public men, whose speeches and acts have been reechoed in the annals of this country. Distinguished men like Messrs Girouard, Monk and Decary, advocated in our riding the traditional policy of Cartier and MacDonald, the policy of common sense, fair play, toleration and mutual respect of the two great races which, on the soil of America, received as a mission the safeguarding of our rights and liberties.

Still a young man, therefore better fitted to learn by obeying in order to later lead, than to lead now, I shall make it a duty to try as much as possible to follow, at least at a distance, in their glorious footsteps, and to accomplish this, my only wish, at present, is to continue to be fair towards all those I come in contact with, moderate in my appreciations, loyal in my allegiance and especially to never lose heart. Before throwing oneself into the struggle, it behooves one to foresee and be cautious, but once in it, there remains but to show a courage that grows apace with difficulties until victory is attained.

It is, in my humble opinion, a discretion more estimable than all prosperities. Moreover, when one has the advantage of serving under a leader, whose authority is a pass-word, whose energy is unsurpassable and whose heart is open to all as the Right Hon. Richard B. Bennett is; when one has the great privilege of being favoured by ministers of the crown, senators for whom, each day, we feel a more ardent admiration, it is evident that one would be very wrong not to cradle the sweet illusion that one will unavoidably be useful to his fellow-citizens and foster the greatness of the common fatherland.

The province of Quebec is essentially conservative in character; the last Dominion election resulted in reviving this glorious tradition, and the future will show that the majority of the counties of Quebec will return to the Conservative fold as of old. The Conservative standard will long wave over the Dominion parliament and over the provincial legislatures at present Conservative; it is not too early to forecast that the same standard will soon wave over the legislature of Quebec.

As a member, I shall always bear in mind that I mingled with the common people, and witnessed their joys and sufferings; I shall not cease to love them sincerely, taking a real pleasure in helping and protecting them, while not forgetting above all that worth is acquired 'by self-denial and fulfilling one's duty.

The Address-Mr. Laurin

The time of election pledges is passed. We must keep our word and act. Our leader has fulfilled up to date almost all his pledges: emergency session for the unemployed, partial tariff revision, an essentially Canadian policy, "Canada First." He brought back joy in the farmer's home as well as that of the workman; his economic and national policy, the aim of our long cherished hopes, at last triumphs to the benefit of all Canadians.

The special session resulted in relieving the crisis of unemployment in my riding of Jacques-Cartier. Let it suffice to say that from the $20,000,000 voted at the special session, it was possible tfo carry out work in the city of Verdun for an amount of $166,000; in the city of Lachine for $75,000; in the city of St. Laurent of $18,000, in St. Anne de Bellevue, for $4,000 and finally in Dorval $2,000.

I had given a pledge, Sir, at the last election to do my utmost, if I were elected member for Jacques-Cartier and if the Conservative party came to power, to induce the government to contribute one-third of the cost of two tunnels under the Lachine canal at Montreal. I listened with interest to the speech of the hon. member for St. James (Mr. Rinfret) who contended that the Liberal government had for ever so long pledged themselves to contribute to the constructions of these tunnels. Indeed, sir, the Liberal government had been making this promise since 1921, on the eve of each general election, and never had they fulfilled their pledge.

I am pleased to say that the construction of these tunnels will begin under the Conservative regime, and I wish to publicly thank, in the house," the right hon. Prime Minister (Mr. Bennett) and the members of his cabinet, for having acceded to my request as well as to that of my distinguished colleague the hon. member for St. Ann (Mr. Sullivan) who co-operated with me in trying to convince our people that we were sincere.

I shall go further, the hon. member for St. James stated that the subsidies for the work which is at present being carried out through the agency of the Canadian National Railway, was voted by the Liberal government. I agree with the statement of the hon. member for St. James, he will, however, allow me to add that, since the Liberal government had the subsidies voted for this work, the people of Montreal had not profited by them under the Liberal regime. The expropriations of buildings only were carried out, but the work itself which interested the workmen of Montreal have begun only since the Conservatives are in power.

In the course of the last general elections, I came openly out as a protectionist, on many occasions, as I had always done previous to being chosen as Conservative candidate. At the last session, I gave my support to the partial tariff revision, and I hope that I shall have the opportunity of contributing by my vote in giving the necessary protection to our industries, our manufactures, our working and farming classes.

Without enlarging on the subject, I shall state that there was a noticeable improvement in my riding. The Dominion Textile Company which had almost closed its doors, previous to the general elections, now employ a considerable number of people of both sexes. The Dominion Bridge, whose shops I lately visted, is satisfied with the last tariff revision and, like elsewhere, a large number of people are employed.

I shall take the opportunity, sir, to thank the Minister of Railways and Canals (Mr. Manion) for the assistance he extended to the workers of the Canada Car & Foundry Company by suggesting to Sir Henry Thornton that he should help as much as possible that foundry. Thanks to the assistance given, the Canada Car & Foundry Company opened its doors again and more than 800 men are employed there at present.

I also, sir, stated that I was in favour of old age pensions. In the course of numerous meetings which I held in my riding, before considerable crowds, I spoke again and again on this very interesting subject. I cannot state that my victory is due exclusively to my stand on that question because the problems which were submitted to the people were numerous and important; however, I feel certain that it brought in a large number of the votes which I received. The people gave me their support, their encouragement and help to carry on the campaign which I was waging in that sense. That is why it is difficult for me not to revert to this subject and to tell the house with all sincerity what are my views in this respect.

Most of (he members of the house know the outlines and general principles of the measure enacted in 1927. A committee had closely studied it during a few weeks. It had called in witnesses, heard their evidence and elaborated a very extensive and pertinent report.

It was after this study that the bill took the definite form as we have it to-day. The general tenor is known: it provides for the payment of a sum of $240 per year to people over 70 years old. This pension is payable by quarterly instalments to British subjects

The Address-Mr. Laurin

who have been residents in this country for 20 years and whose income does not exceed $365 per year.

Of this amount, the Dominion government, who was in no way obliged to do so, pay, at present, half. The province where the pensioner resides must pay the other half. It is left to the province or rather provinces, to decide finally if this system of pensions to old people will apply within their borders. They must, indeed, adopt a measure similar to the Dominion one, agree to pay half the pensions, defray the costs of administration, submit for consideration and approval to the Dominion government the legislation that they have passed. Should they not care to take any action, nothing further will be forthcoming.

Two governments must, in a word, meet half way. The Dominion government has gone half way; it is up to the provinces to do the other half.

1. The Finance Minister holds in his hands, ready to pass it over, half of the pension;

2. The provincial treasuries have had to supply the other half and the amount of the pension is complete.

Since four years that the Dominion act has been inscribed in the statutes, five provinces, on different dates and for various motives, decided to take advantage of it. They passed concurrent legislation, created a special organization, consented to pay half of the pension, and to-day, their old people receive quarterly, a cheque for $60.

I must here point out, sir, that the Dominion government had no obligation in the matter. The British North America Act gave exclusively to the provinces jurisdiction in this matter. This comes under the heading of provincial rights. An interpretation of our great constitutional charter given in the course of the debates, in 1927, by the law clerks of the Justice department seems to me to establish this point. These legal advisers even stated that the Dominion act would be void if it included the payment of the whole pension and was exclusively federal.

Notwithstanding this difficulty, the Dominion wished to go ahead, do its share and show proof of its generosity.

While the bill was under consideration, very interesting points were raised. Certain members stated that the province whence they come, could not take advantage of the act and would never benefit by it, and this for a very simple reason, because it required from these provinces the expenditure of too large an amount. Their financial resources,

they stated, were too limited to burden themselves with such a load. Among these provinces, we noted the three maritime provinces, whose yearly financial statements often show deficits and whose budgets are not very large, in a word whose revenues are limited.

This objection was certainly a serious one, since after four years, we still find four provinces that have not thought fit to take advantage of the act.

This objection brought on another which is not less important. The taxes paid by provinces not subject to this act, would serve to the payment of pensions to old age in other provinces. So that taxes paid in Quebec and the three maritime provinces are used, to an extent, to pay old age pensions in the other provinces, they help the old people in other provinces.

Might I point out, sir, that this situation is radically wrong, that the objection was well taken. Some day, we must certainly pass remedial legislation; because in equity, it seems to me, I am on solid ground.

I shall not strongly dwell on this difficult point. The party to which I have the privilege of belonging is closely studying this question and it will have, I think, in the very near future, the honour of remedying this injustice and establishing a more equitable regime, by having the Dominion government assume a larger and more important share of the pensions. This will be on its part a most generous act as we must admit, but which will come in due time.

It is expedient to help the old people who worked through life for the welfare of the country.

The riding I represent in, this parliament, is both urban and rural. One meets in cities, numerous heads of families who have devoted the whole of their life to obscure tasks, nevertheless indispensable and necessary to the economic organism of this country. Often, they have had numerous offsprings to rear; often they have spent the whole of their wages on clothes, food, and lodging for those children and given them the necessary education. Sometimes they earned low wages and they were absolutely unable, notwithstanding all possible thrift, to set aside savings. Sometimes also, they had succeeded in depositing small amounts in the bank, but lean years came, they were out of work and had to withdraw these savings.

I shall not enumerate all the chances there are of being destitute at 70 years old, because one would have to mention sickness, infirmities, accidents and all kinds of unfortunate events which happen in families and of which men's lives are ever strewn. Let it suffice tc

The Address-Mr. Laurin

state, and everybody will agree, that in most, in the majority of cases, the workers showed good will, ambition was not lacking nor energy, but hazard and luck were against them.

However, during that time, they toiled for the general welfare of society, they were useful to the country.

I pointed out just now the fact that cities perhaps have more of such cases than the rural districts. The Canadian farmers have mostly all good farms or "un beau bien" as they call it. When old and useless, when they can no more carry on the work on the farm, they continue to live with their children, are cared for and peacefully end their life in humble comfort. Old people in cities are less fortunate. With old age indigence is also felt, often absolute poverty. Temporary jobs, too many hardships, shortage of bread in the home, unfortunately this is what too often takes place.

It is on behalf of these cast-aways that I wished to raise my voice, to-day and draw the attention of the house. I know that my constituents approve heartily of all I have said. My sympathy towards the poor old people is the same as their's, it took root in the midst of scenes of misery and sufferings.

I am not, however, the only one, in the house, to share these sentiments. Many of my colleagues have the same feelings. And I trust that by pulling all together, we shall be able to prepare for all old people in Canada a better and more peaceful future.

Almost the entire press of Canada, Sir, the morning following the great victory of the Conservative party, praised the achievements and long career of the statesman that the country had placed at the helm of her affairs. The conservative newspapers expressed their deep gratitude to the great leader whose program "Canada First" had opened up to our party in the old Quebec province an outlet to our national aspirations and given to our cause new life: they praised the benefactor and victor of this marvellous opening which he made throughout the country.

I state, in concluding my remarks, that I see in our party a greater assurance of a national, individual and collective life.

The weakness of governments, swayed by the fear of being considered unprogressive or that rousing the clamours of an adverse press, which, however, does not fear to frighten our wives and daughters by threats of war, existing but in their fertile imaginations, the fear of public opinion still holds, within bounds those whose ideas are the most opposed to our regime, but who, however, have felt the wrath of a nation which they deceived so often.

It is a consolation to think and observe that our honest electorate know how to choose those who truly serve them, which they treat with contempt and reject with horror those who servilely flatter to better enslave them.

The struggle to please a responsible majority, capable of carrying on the work of the Canadian parliament, ended in an imposing manner on July, 28 last.

In a period of great economic crises, and of dangerous political insecurity, the liberal party proved powlerless. Unable to act itself, depending on occasional friendship shirking its responsibilities, it was swept away at the last elections.

Since the voting took place, the Conservative party raised to power, endeavoured to present all financial crises or at least to cir-cubscribe it, and thereby avoid the danger which threatened those who suffered from the economic crises and unemployment. It submitted, at an emergency session, practical measures to meet first a considerable financial depression and to serve in raising the morale of our industrial and farming classes.

Its word of command "Canada First" has always had as necessary complement-not to put off till to-morrow, act-what the King government could not accomplish, the Bennett government took up on its own hook determined to bring it to a successful issue.

The people of our cities and country side will give credit to the party which, in a difficult period did its duty and did not shirk its responsibilities.

The Canadian people in all situations, showed that they can have willpower and the determination to impose a Canadian party capable of being equal to the task and to better serve their interests. They wish to live in peace and security, they want order, they are intent on reconstruction.

Mr. Speaker, this will end my first speech in the house, the first of my political career. However, I trust that I shall continue here, as I always have done in public, to support the Conservative party in all the just proposals which it will put forth, in all the measures which are of interest to my fellow-citizens and compatriots.

When in years to come, conscious of having fulfilled my duty as a straight Conservative, and as a citizen as well, my children will be studying the astonishing phase of our political history which we are to-day, going through, they will tell their comtemporaries: "Our fathers were there." This is the only reward I expect from this amending and reconstructing of our national policy.

The Address-Mr. Gershaw

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LIB

Frederick William Gershaw

Liberal

Mr. F. W. GERSHAW (Medicine Hat):

Mr. Speaker, in conformity with custom and also in sincerity I wish to congratulate the mover (Mr. Cormier) and the seconder (Mr. Porteous) upon their eloquence.

In the few minutes at my disposal before eleven o'clock, I should like to tell the house something of conditions in western Canada and to make some observations thereon. In that great country those engaged in the farming industry are rapidly returning to primitive living conditions, travelling for miles to grist mills to have their own wheat ground into flour, mending their old clothing, repairing their own machinery, and in many cases burning their field crops because they are of no value in the market. How can a western farmer pay with 400 bushels of wheat a debt which when contracted represented about 100 bushels? The purchasing power of the people has gone because the prices of the things they require has not come down in proportion to the fall in the prices of their products. Statistics show that while manufactured goods have fallen 9 per cent in value, the price of farm products has fallen 50 to 60 per cent. Many farmers of the west are facing utter ruin unless they revert to serfdom or standards of life which we dread to contemplate. I believe members coming from the west have a mission to perform. They must convince the government and the house of the justice of their claim for more assistance for the producers.

These are some of the present inconsistencies. The textile manufacturer receives on clothing coming from Great Britain a protection of 35 per cent, plus a special protection of twenty-five cents per pound. Clothing from foreign countries must on entering Canada pay a tax of 40 per cent, plus a special duty of thirty-five cents per pound. On the other hand, the man who raises the sheep, who spends long days out on the lonely hills herding his flocks, receives little or no assistance, and I hope the plight of the sheep men will engage the attention of the government. In the iron and steel industry subsidies and bonuses have been given at various times. At the special session, for instance, the duty on many agricultural implements was raised from 7 per cent to 25 per cent. On the other hand, the man on the farm who uses those implements must take his chance on the markets of the world to sell his products. Under the provisions of the Bank Act the banks are given privileges that assure them a profitable return upon their money as far as government assistance can assure such profit. We have the railway commission, which acts as 22110-23

a judicial body in respect to questions arising between the railway companies and individuals. The commission does not expect the railways to do business at less than cost, and ait different times many millions of dollars have been advanced to save the railway companies from bankruptcy.

Secondary industries generally are receiving more and more shelter from outside competition, which gives them an opportunity to do business at a profit. In fact, the farmer is about the only one who has to take his chance on the markets of the world, and to-day he is selling his products at less than half the cost of production.

Early in the season the western premiers came to Ottawa and requested that the federal government fix a price of 70 cents per bushel for No. 1 northern, Fort William basis. This unfortunately was not granted. If it could have been granted it would have done much to mitigate the sufferings and hardships caused by the acute and uneven fall in prices, and would have brought hope and comfort to many of those who are now in despair. The transportation companies would have benefited; the manufacturer, the wholesaler, and the country merchant would have participated in the improvement. I would like just here to make mention of the unfortunate plight in which the country merchant finds himself to-day. Out of the goodness of his heart he has granted credit, and now, unable to collect his accounts, he is being hard pressed by his wholesalers for payment. While in Canada many other industries have received assistance^ we find that outside of Canada not only have industries been helped, but particularly has the primary producer received assistance. Australia protects her butter makers and her wheat producers. France has an import duty of 86 cents a bushel against Canadian wheat, Italy a duty of 90 cents, Germany $1.62. Many other countries of Europe have, by milling quotas and by import duties, assisted their agriculturists to a great extent.

I have here a pamphlet issued by the Cooperative Wheat Producers of Saskatchewan. It points out that Italy, Germany, France, Bulgaria, Spain, Greece, Switzerland, Norway, Poland, Finland, Belgium and a great many other countries of Europe have made arrangements whereby the producers of wheat are given a price very much higher than on the world market. I do not say that this is sound business. Perhaps we will agree that in the case of Canada it would not be; but Why should one industry fail to receive any assistance from the government while other in-

The Address-Mr. Gershaw

dustries get much? I agree that unwarranted cartels, unreasonably high tariffs, unwise artificial barriers, props and stays are damming the legitimate and normal flow of international trade and commerce, and consequently hampering sound progress and delaying our return to prosperous times.

I have one suggestion to make and one matter to bring to the attention of this government which I hope will be of a constructive nature. In the constituency which I have the honour to represent there are many thousands of acres of irrigated land. Discouraged by the prospect of low prices of ordinary farm products, these men are greatly interested in the production of sugar beets. With a little assistance, this industry could be established as a permanent agricultural structure. Canada has always imported more than 90 per cent of its sugar requirements at a cost of from $40,000,000 to $50,000,000 annually. Canada consumes nine hundred million pounds of sugar annually, and only seventy-five million pounds has ever been produced from raw material grown in Canada. There is one plant at Raymond, representing a cost of $1,000,000, and there is room for two more plants, one at Brooks, and one near the Vauxhall irrigation district. These plants would be built and operated if assistance could be given. They .vould support thousands of people. They would make work for the miners of coal and limestone. They would provide traffic for the railway companies and work for the railway employees. Man power would be required in the field and in the factories. The by-products would help to feed the dairy herds, and the secondary industries would be encouraged. British and- Canadian capitalists have spent-over $50,000,000 on irrigation schemes in Canada. Under present conditions, with prices of farm produce as they are, these projects must fail. The Alberta government is interested to a great extent in at least one of these projects. If the sugar beet industry could be encouraged, it would save the situation.

There is another particular reason why this is urgent at the present time, and that is because the price has fallen from $7 to $5.50 per ton, placing the growers in an unfortunate position. I believe that the present Prime Minister is interested in this industry, because at page 453 of Hansard of the session of last September he said that he had met the beet sugar growers, who had asked for a slight upward grading of the tariff to ensure stability of their enterprise. He said:

If I had had time, I have no hesitation in saying to this committee that I should have

Mr. Gershaw.]

endeavoured to meet that wish. But time did not permit dealing with that very complex schedule.

The southern Alberta beet industry is just in its initial stage, and deserves consideration in view of its potential greatness. In view of the over-production of wheat and the pending over-production of other products, I believe that joy would come, to many homes in the west if this assistance could be granted.

I have a resolution here from the Scandia local of the United Farmers of Alberta, which reads:

Resolved that in the interest of the sugar beet industry, this local goes on record as in favour of protection in the form of a subsidy for the benefit of the farmers and everybody concerned.

S. J. Bengtson.

This government has operated demonstration farms in different parts of Canada, and has shown that sugar beets can be grown successfully in this country and that the beets are high in sugar content. Here is a resolution passed by a large meeting attended by several hundreds of farmers in the irrigated district of Brooks, Alberta:

Whereas the Dominion government has successfully demonstrated through their stations located at Brooks the growing of sugar beets, we hereby request that the federal government take immediate action to relieve the greatly depressed condition of the producers on irrigated land in southern Alberta caused by the general economic situation at present, and aid the said producers by doing everything possible to further the sugar beet industry in Alberta, by either subvention or tariff, and further, the said industry would help to solve the unemployment by creating labour for about ten thousand people for each such factory as at present operating in Alberta.

I have. also. a resolution passed by the .egislature of Alberta, where the government is neither Liberal nor Conservative. This resolution was passed by a majority of 41 to 6:

_ That pending a general substantial revision downward of all tariffs this assembly recommends to the Dominion government that the agricultural industry of western Canada be placed on a parity with other industries of Canada either by stabilization of prices or by careful examination of the incidence of the tariff schedule in order to assure that the economic interest of the farmers be adequately and justly safeguarded.

There are those who are now urging less government aid to business, but corporations in Canada have obtained franchises, charters, tariff concessions, and special privileges. The time to stop this practice, to execute a right about face of policy, is not at the moment when those engaged in the great basic industry of the country are pressing their claim for similar support.

Supplementary Estimates

Canada is passing through a period of economic gloom, dark clouds hover on the horizon, but we still have the products of our great natural resources to supply our own market and the markets of the world. Our people have not lost their initiative, and we are not bankrupt in salesmanship. Canadians will carry on with courage and fortitude, striving to realize their highest ideals, striving to make Canada a better place in which to live, and to maintain peace, unity and harmony. With the poet we may say for Canada:

When from the winter of thy dark night Thine angels of sunlight call,

Oh! waken me to my highest, my best, Or waken me not at all.

On motion of Mr. Mackenzie (Vancouver) the debate was adjourned.

Topic:   SPEECH FROM THE THRONE
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON THE ADDRESS IN REPLY
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At eleven o'clock the house adjourned without question put, pursuant to standing order. Friday, March 27, 1931


March 26, 1931