June 4, 1931

LIB

Édouard Lacroix

Liberal

Mr. LACROIX:

A short while ago, sir,

I listened attentively to the hon. Minister of Trade and Commerce (Mr. Stevens) who informed us that under the present administration 254,000,000 bushels of wheat had been exported compared with 155,000,000 bushels during the previous year. This reminds me that when a person wishes to liquidate or get rid of his goods, means are always found to ship them. Railways are at a standstill and they are very glad indeed of the opportunity of shipping wheat for the sake of freight. May I give you proof of this: Last winter,

there were large quantities of wheat stored in the Quebec elevators, and when I purchased some of this wheat, I made my payments to the railways which had been unable to collect the freight rates on the wheat shipped from the west to Quebec.

I agree with the hon. Minister of Trade and Commerce and really think that the eastern farmers will sell much more butter this year than they did last year, but may I also add, just as the Conservative members did on the platforms: farmers search your pockets to see whether you have the same amount of money as you had during the election of 1930. Last week, I met a farmer of the county of Dorchester who told me: I have ten cows and I have just come back from the butter factory with my pay which amounts to $4.16 for the week.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL
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Some hon. MEMBERS:

Shame! shame!

Mr. G'OBEIL: He had but one cow.

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LIB

Édouard Lacroix

Liberal

Mr. LACROIX:

Was this not, sir, a fine result after having fed 10 cows during 6 days, not mentioning Sundaj.

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Some hon. MEMBERS:

His cows are not worth much.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
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LIB

Édouard Lacroix

Liberal

Mr. LACROIX:

The hon. Minister of Trade of Commerce also told us that there was as much work, to-day, in this country, as

there had been during six years of the Liberal regime, from 1921. I mingle quite a little with the working classes of Quebec and I must confess that I have never witnessed since 1914 such a sad state for the worker as that prevailing to-day. Hon. members whose counties border the United States and those of the eastern parts of Quebec will bear me out in this statement.

I am in business myself. I have sometimes employed as many as 6,500 men. At present, I employ but 700 to 800, owing to the present unfavourable conditions. May I state that since 1914, I have never paid less than $39 per month to my men, in addition to their board. To-day, we are forced to reject a large number who offer their services for 50 cents per day. Even when we reject them, they plead to be allowed to work for their board.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL
Sub-subtopic:   FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
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Some hon. MEMBERS:

Shame! shame! *

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL
Sub-subtopic:   FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
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LIB

Édouard Lacroix

Liberal

Mr. LACROIX:

This is the actual state of things and I challenge hon. members on the government side to prove the contrary.

Among all the pledges, sir, given by members on the government side, I find one which they fulfilled inadvertently. In our eastern counties of Quebec, a pledge was made that the difficulty encountered by Canadian workers, during the winter months, to enter the United States in order to work in the bush, would be satisfactorily settled.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
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An hon. MEMBER:

Who promised this?

Topic:   THE BUDGET
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LIB

Édouard Lacroix

Liberal

Mr. LACROIX:

The United States Immigration Bureau settled this question and no further difficulties exist. The hon. members sitting on the government side, however, have no 'claim in this connection.

The gates have been closed and Canadians are prohibited to enter the United States.

There is no further need for hon. members promising to wipe out the $18 head tax and settle the difficulties connected with it. These difficulties have already been settled.

The Canadian worker is forced to remain at home and seek work outside of the United States, and not finding any, he must beg in order to provide for his family. If any one on the government side wishes to know who made such a promise, I shall tell him so.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
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LIB

Joseph-Arthur Denis

Liberal

Mr. DENIS:

Who made such a promise?

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LIB

Édouard Lacroix

Liberal

Mr. LACROIX:

It is useless for any one on this side to expect me to divulge the name of this person.

What are we to think, sir, of the tax of 15 per cent on the premium which will have to be paid in future by Canadians who are insured or intend to take out insurances in

The Budget-Mr. Lacroix

foreign companies? I state that this measure also gives protection where it is not needed, namely to Canadian insurance companies, especially those who form part of the association of underwriters.

By this legislation, competition between insurance companies is eliminated, to the detriment of the insured, and the public whose means are limited suffer thereby.

As stated, we have in this country an association of insurance companies known as underwriters. The companies which form part of this association protect one another and insure accordingly to the rates fixed by the association. In the past we had access to foreign companies, which competed against this association. However, in the future, I again state, in order to take advantage of this legitimate competition, the 'business man, t.he farmer or any resident of this country who does not wish to be under the absolute control of the underwriters, will have to pay 15 per cent on his premium.

To better describe what I mean and show7 how necessary it is sometimes to resort to foreign companies in order to obtain reasonable rates in a locality where, for one reason or another, the association of underwriters has fixed prohibitive rates, may I cite as an example a village which has had the misfortune of having had a serious fire. Owing to this fact the association's rates are often very much increased. In order to bring this association to better terms we had access, as stated, to foreign insurance companies. Heretofore to obtain reasonable rates and protect themselves against fire, all property owners will be forced to pay the government a tax of 15 per cent on the premium paid to foreign companies. I state that this is an unjust measure, one that aims at giving unbounded protection to the insurance association, whose companies are immensely wealthy, and this is detrimental to Canadian trade.

May I draw the attention of the right hon. Minister of Finance (Mr. Bennett) on the working of the Farm Loan Board. Loans have been requested for months past. Our farmers must absolutely renew their loans, either because the creditor having made poor investments elsewhere must withdraw his loans on mortgages made to farmers, or sometimes there are other reasons.

It would be an easy matter to allow the board to loan the amount needed by solvent farmers. But permission is withheld. I have reason to believe that the board is somewhat pinched as to the funds required. No one seems to bother much about those whose existence is most necessary to this country, the requested inspections are not carried out

or when they are, answers to requests are indefinitely postponed.

Our banks in rural districts do not extend to farmers long term loans. The latter seem to be totally ignored notwithstanding all the good reasons given to accommodate them for a limited time. The President of the Bankers Association, in April last, stated to the Canadian Press that he knew of no cases where banks refused reasonable loans. I may state that if he does not know of any such cases, I do, and these refusals happen daily in our rural districts. And how many other abuses are perpetrated by some of our banks!

Shall we allow this state of affairs to continue indefinitely in this country? The unfortunate situation in the past of one of our banks connected with the operations of Mackenzie and Mann or the Canadian Northern, will soon again happen if the committee on banking of this house does not investigate, without further delay, what is actually taking place in this country. The charter of our banks will come, in a few years before parliament in order to be renewed. Is the present time not a- favourable opportunity for members who form part of this committee to consider the ways and means of setting a few of these institutions in order? Would it not be possible for the committee on banking to suggest the passing of an act which would prohibit presidents and officials of our banks to form part of any other corporation but their own? Is it not a fact that precedents exist to that effect; the Bank of England and that of France do not allow any of their officials, president or governors, to form part of any other corporation but their own?

Would this not be the key to the situation, and would this not facilitate us in having banking institutions entirely free of all dangerous speculations.

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CON

Samuel Gobeil

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GOBEIL (Translation):

That is not

what happens in Quebec.

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LIB

Édouard Lacroix

Liberal

Mr. LACROIX (Translation):

If this does not happen in Quebec, the fault lies with the dominion government which exercises no supervision.

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CON

Samuel Gobeil

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GOBEIL (Translation):

I thought that it was Taschereau who exercised no supervision.

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LIB

Édouard Lacroix

Liberal

Mr. LACROIX (Translation):

I beg your

pardon, this comes under the dominion government.

Would it not also be in order to consider a measure which would oblige our banks to pay more attention to the needs of the most necessary class in this country, the farmers? I would like to see all our banks establish a

The Budget-Mr. Morand

special department which would extend loans to farmers that are solvent, long term loans if necessary.

I state also that the present prevailing system, so far as capitalists are concerned, should be checked by those who are in charge of it or they will have to bear the consequences of being brought to order by the people. However, I prefer the system of private enterprise to that of large mergers. Would it not be preferable for our capitalists to adopt themselves to the evolution taking place instead of running the risk of a revolution which hovers over our heads at present? I want to tell these captains of finance that the time has arrived for them to discontinue their speculative tendencies and help the regular trade, and thus work for the welfare of the nation. There is no need for them to think of dividends for a year ahead. They must think of giving work to those who are in need of it. Of what utility are these steam-shovels and all modern machinery, when the labourer cannot find work, and being out of work, cannot provide for his family?

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CON

Raymond Ducharme Morand

Conservative (1867-1942)

Hon. R. D. MORAND (East Essex):

In

speaking to the budget I wish first of all to express my deep appreciation of the magnificent effort of the Prime Minister (Mr. Bennett) acting in his capacity of Minister of Finance in bringing to the attention of the house an account of the numerous ramifications of the country's services, revenues, expenditures and debt, in such an able way that young members like myself and others outside the house, who take an interest in national affairs, may get a comprehensive viewpoint of our finances. When one considers the colossal labour, the amount of intense study, and the time involved that might have been spent more pleasantly by the Prime Minister, one realizes how fortunate the country is to have at its head a man of such business ability who has the desire and willingness to give his ability and time in the service of the dominion.

We have already to-day heard a good deal about the increase in taxation. To me the question of taxes has always been simple, inasmuch as the total amount of taxes that the people pay is the total amount of revenue that the government receives, less the revenue from the services of the country. With the exception of the revenue from those services, there is no other way that I know whereby a country can get money than by taxation. It is rather interesting, after having listened for a number of years to hon. members opposite, both in the house and throughout the country, telling about the way in which they have reduced taxes, to read some of the figures which have been placed on Hansard

and which show how the amount of taxation has been increased. The figures are as follows:

Receipts

Year from taxation

1926- 27

$346,649,0001927- 28

364,706,0001928- 29

395,921,0001929- 30

378,551,000

Showing an almost continuous increase until 1930-31 when we find we have received in taxation from the country only the sum of $296,276,000. I have heard hon. members opposite time and again tell us that the customs duty is a form of taxation. If that be true, then the people this year have been taxed more lightly by that form than they were in previous years, because we find that the receipts from customs tariff are as follows:

Customs

Year receipts

1928- 29

$187,206,0001929- 30

179,430,0001930- 31

131,209,000

We have already begun to hear from the other side-and we shall hear it frequently -about the tremendous increase in taxation with which this country will have to contend in the next year. We have already been told that it is almost a crime that the sales tax should be raised to 4 per cent. When the Liberal party came into power, finding a situation very much similar to the one now prevailing, they did not hesitate or consider it a crime to increase the sales tax to 6 per cent, and it took them eight years to bring it back to one per cent. I am not a prophet, but I venture to say that long before nine years have expired, the present government will have reduced the sales tax below one per cent.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL
Sub-subtopic:   FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
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LIB

Ian Alistair Mackenzie

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE (Vancouver):

My hon. friends will not be in power so long.

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CON

Raymond Ducharme Morand

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MORAND:

Hon. gentlemen opposite will get used to their seats on the other side long before that.

The people throughout the country will certainly not believe that this government i? responsible for the fact that there is a deficit this year; it is entirely due to the lack of revenue produced by the Dunning budget, a budget which my hon. friends opposite hoped would return them to power, but which the people judged at its true worth and put them into the position in which they are today.

In 1925 and 1926 I heard daily the wails from the west. I come back to the house this year and again I hear the same thing. We have heard enough wailing from the other side about difficulties and troubles that

The Budget-Mr. Morand

I sometimes wonder whether some of our western members consider this the wailing wall of Jerusalem. But for all this trouble we have sympathy. As regards the troubles in the west, so far as I know, nobody in the east, either member or private individual, has any fault to find with any help extended by the east or the country generally to the west. We find to-day that this government proposes to give relief in freight rates in the export of wheat to the amount of five cents a bushel, and I have yet to see in any single newspaper or to hear from a single easterner any objection to that proposal or anything but commendation.

We have heard a great deal of the troubles of the western farmer and of farmers generally. I am quite certain that there has . been plently of trouble amongst the farmers all over Canada, but I can assure hon. gentlemen that the troubles of the industrial workers in the cities are just as great and the depression amongst them just as deep as those of the western fanner. I propose to take a few minutes to outline roughly conditions in my riding, which I know best, particularly in the border cities, a group of cities on the Detroit river. Not merely now but for a number of years past we have seen the workers in this industrial centre of the border cities gradually losing their homes, incurring greater indebtedness, tramping for days looking for work, discouraged, despairing, and in the end many seeking charity. In my own work I have seen them tramping from shop to shop, standing for hours asking to be permitted to do a day's work to earn the bread that they needed for their families. For fear that some hon. gentlemen may think that this is something new, I may tell them that immediately following the last election, in the month of August, in the summer time, when probably there should not be unemployment, a registration that was taken in the border cities showed that there were 3,495 unemployed, which is a greater number than the number unemployed to-day, although the exact figure to-day is not known [DOT]because we have had no recent registration. The situation there was undoubtedly a challenge that had to be met. There had been unemployment for a period of more than one year, a gradual reduction in the ability to meet indebtedness, the gradual losing of their homes by the workers. That, I say, was a challenge that had to be met by those who were able to help and by the new government which was coming into power.. That challenge, I may say, was fairly well met by the people of our own city, and I believe that the same may. be said of practically all the

large industrial centres throughout Canada. Organizations were quickly established for the distribution of food and clothing and for the repair of shoes. Meals were given by different organizations, and also two breweries, which provided thousands of free meals, hundreds per day. Church organizations worked, each in its own sphere.. Free rent was given by many a landlord, free groceries by many a grocer, and free coal by many a coal dealer. All this effort was individual, and by organization of the people themselves, and I think that no greater thing has happened in our city than the way in which those who probably had but little rallied to help those who had not, and tried to tide them over.

But we were also helped by this government Realizing the situation not only in the border cities but throughout Canada, and the conditions I describe in the border cities, I believe prevailed pretty generally throughout the industrial centres of Canada, the government called a special session last September, which hon. gentlemen opposite said in the political campaign on many a busting was not needed and would be a useless waste of money. But what did we find? In the border cities alone there was spent last winter on work to help the unemployed, work which otherwise would not have been undertaken or would have been postponed for probably many years, the sum of $1,200,657. That was spent for the purpose of giving work between last fall and this spring. The government of the province and the government of the dominion contributed $770,464 of that amount. It was help that the border cities needed, and without which they could not have taken care of their unemployed. There was also spent $281,588 in direct relief, to which this government contributed $93,037. In other words, since October of last year until the middle of April this year there was spent in the border cities, with a population of approximately 110,000, the sum of $1,482,245 to help unemployed.

This government also helped in another way to meet the situation, and that was by making changes in the tariff during the special short session. My hon. friends in the corner opposite say that the changes in the tariff will not help the unemployment situation. Whether it is a permanent solution or not, this unemployment situation was facing us and had to be met. We have now a population that is more or less stable, and now that we have stopped immigration we have practically a given number of unemployed, a given number of people for whom we must find work. If we can bring in new industries, we can provide in this country new days'' work,

we shall help to relieve unemployment to that extent. By (changes made by this government, in the regulations governing the importation of automobiles, we have in the border cities to-day the Hupp Motor Company, which was entirely a United States factory, now manufacturing and assembling in Canada, using Canadian material and employing Canadian labour. We find that the Studebaker company, which had practically closed its doors and was waiting from day tto day to find what this government would do, has reopened its doors, taken on new employees, and is now using Canadian material, employing Canadian workmen, and functioning as a Canadian organization. The Graham-Paige Company will within a few days turn out its first Canadian car. AVe have in other cities the Reo company, the Nash company, and various truck companies, and no one can tell me that the incoming of these factories will not help the unemployment situation in the border cities and throughout Canada.

AVe have further, a canning company, which has constructed a very fine plant in one of the border cities, which will use in its manufactures some fifteen hundred acres of peas alone from our farmers and as much com, and which will employ from two to three hundred employees during at least a part of the year. All of this is due entirely to the tariff as imposed by this government.

Now, it is rather interesting to see in today's paper a report of the number of branch United States factories in Canada; these number 524 and represent an investment, exclusive of the pulp and paper industry of $278,876,000. That that money has been invested in Canada is entirely due to a protective tariff and to no other cause.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL
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An hon. MEMBER:

Since when?

Topic:   THE BUDGET
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CON

Raymond Ducharme Morand

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MORAND:

It does not make any difference since when. Those factories were established here because of the tariff alone. Representative J. W. Collier, of Mississippi, commenting on the Canadian tariff yesterday, according to a Canadian press despatch in the Ottawa Journal, said:

It adds substantially to the unemployment of the United States.

He was referring to the tariff revisions contained in the budget. If it does that it surely adds to the employment of Canadians. And to my mind we have enough to do to look after our own people; they are the ones we are especially responsible for.

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Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL
Sub-subtopic:   FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
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June 4, 1931