June 12, 1931


Motion agreed to.


THE BUDGET

CONTINUATION OF THE DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE


The house resumed consideration of the motion of the Right Hon. R. B. Bennett (Minister of Finance) that Mr. Speaker do now leave the chair for the house to go into committee of ways and means, and the amendment thereto of Mr. Ralston, and the amendment to the amendment of Mr. Spencer.


CON

Walter Davy Cowan

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. W. D. COWAN (Long Lake):

Mr. Speaker, that last great Liberal tragedy, commonly known as the Dunning budget, in many respects differs from the budget which was delivered on June 1 by the present Prime Minister (Mr. Bennett). I cannot at this time go into details concerning the many differences between the two budgets. I do wish to say

however that beyond the actual wording of any budget a psychological effect is always produced by the atmosphere in which the budget is presented, the manner of its deliverance and reception. In the present instance the annual financial statement was received most favourably.

What is the difference between the last budget brought down by the late administration and the budget which has been placed before the house recently? Referring to the present budget I would say that it reflects the best qualities of the Prime Minister. It is my good fortune to be in a position to say that for thirty-five years I have known the Prime Minister. Since I first met him out in the west, and as a matter of fact lived in close contact with him, I have followed his career closely. During those thirty-five years, whether he was speaking in cities, towns or villages, we have found him taking the one ground, namely, that the farmers and workmen of this country were entitled to adequate protection and that all those industries which produced the food supply in Canada should be protected for the benefit of the Canadian people. Throughout his career he has taken that attitude. Later in his life he has reached the point where he can see before him the fulfilment of his dreams, and the present budget is the means which may be used to bring about that end. The people know what they have got; there is no uncertainty about it. They may lay their plans definitely. May I say in passing that the business world will always accept adverse conditions in preference to a state of uncertainty. When there are adverse conditions and people know it, work goes on just the same, but when a state of uncertainty exists work is seriously retarded.

On the other hand what was the Dunning budget? I think even hon. members on the opposite side of the house will agree that it reflected uncertainty from beginning to end, that it was submerged, rolled and immersed in uncertainty. Certainly the government behind the Dunning budget could not know what the effect of such a budget would be or where it would end. In the case of the Dunning budget there was nothing but uncertainty; in the present instance we have decisiveness. What could be expected from a budget such as that brought down by the late administration?

I have lived for forty years in Regina, which was the home of the father of the notorious Dunning budget for many years. The Hon. Charles Dunning, who is a personal friend of mifle, lived in Regina and I am quite familiar with his ideas. I have heard him speaking hundreds of times in that

2590 . COMMONS

The Budget-Mr. Cowan (Long Lake)

part of the country. What was he? He came to the west an English free trader, a Cob-denite, a follower of John Bright. I have heard him addressing many meetings, and it did not make, any difference what the meetings were being held for, he always ended up with a speech in favour of free trade or a denunciation of protection. There is only one man that I know in western Canada as much obsessed with the idea of free trade as the Hon. Charles Dunning and that is the ex-Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Motherwell), and I shall leave it to hon. members as to which is the worse. What happened? This English freetrader had to come to Canada to get converted. He got converted suddenly; he was compelled to get converted suddenly, on the eve of an election, and he brought down a budget which had in it some customs duties that were higher than Hainan's gallows. This ardent freetrader wept as he professed conversion, but the Canadian people refused to believe in it and decided that they would let him stay at home. We have now a business man at the head of the affairs; the former state of uncertainty has gone. Our business world is face to face with something it understands. We have something the people know will be enforced. The record of the Prime Minister is known to the people to back him up, and moreover he has behind him a solid body of men who will support him in the decision he makes and the course he pursues.

For the second time this session I shall have to get away from national affairs and come back to those of my province. Saskatchewan has been so often misrepresented to the people of Canada by the Liberal party that it will take a long time to undo the evil they have done. For a long time we had no Conservatives in the house; we had no Conservatives in the provincial legislature. For twenty-six years the Liberal party ran the province and hon. members know the result. The house has been told and rightly so that there is a great deal of hardship in that province. The other day the Prime Minister stated that Saskatchewan had created new wealth not by the millions, but by the billions, and yet that province requires assistance. The very fact that we have created wealth to this extent proves what we can do. We have done it and we can do it again. At the beginning of the session we heard from some of the members from Saskatchewan on the other side; but you see, Mr. Speaker, how quiet they have been ever since. You would hardly know they were here at all. The weeping and wailing they were doing in the house was terrible. I never before saw men in their prime weeping and wailing the way they did.

The fact, however, is that we in Saskatchewan are hard pressed to-day. What are the causes? They are many, but I want to say to hon. gentlemen opposite that their insane immigration policy was more the cause of it than anything else. The immigration policy that their ministers of immigration carried out and applied to Saskatchewan during the last twenty-five years or more was insane. The population of Saskatchewan is 840,000 and out of that number there are 370,000 born in continental Europe outside of the British Empire. That is the burden which hon. gentlemen opposite placed upon our province. They said: They are yours. There was no after care so far as the immigrants were concerned. When they brought in these hundreds of thousands of people we asked: What about better roads for them? The reply was: They are yours. What about better bridges for these people? They are yours. What about extending the system of justice to reach all these people, a system costing hundreds of thousands of dollars? They are yours. When we spoke about building schools, we were told: They are

yours. Who shouldered all this burden? Hon. members opposite talk about our province as if we were bankrupt. We shouldered the burden ourselves. We never asked the federal government for a dollar for our provincial responsibilities. Let me give just one illustration. The immigration commission recently reporting in Regina said that as regards the province of Saskatchewan the stress on our educational and other facilities was too great and the Immigration department would have to slow down in allowing these immigrants to enter. What have hon. gentlemen who imposed this burden on us ever offered to us?

We had to increase our school system. We have paid for that. We have carried it through; we have never asked for a dollar from anybody, and let no one interfere with us in our duties in regard to the schools. I warn anybody who wants to interfere that we have handled and we will handle the matter ourselves. These 370,000 people all require schools. The law as laid down by Sir Frederick Haultain in those days was that every child in the province, no matter where he came from, had to be educated. Let hon. members challenge that policy if they dare. What does that mean to us? Do hon. members know how many languages are spoken in Saskatchewan? Forty-three. Yet these hon. gentlemen said to us: These people are yours. They came from countries where they hardly knew, except in a limited way, what schools were. They did not understand our school system. They had to be made to go

The Budget-Mr. Cowan (Long Lake)

to school. How many public schools have we in the province of Saskatchewan as a result? There are 5,210. Beat that, if you can. There are also a limited number of separate schools. What do these 5,210 public schools cost? They cost us just $15,000,000 per year and this is what has happened as a result of this immigration policy. We had to build those schools, either by issuing debentures or bonds or by paying cash, and we have paid just $40,000,000 to construct those buildings. Then there is the cost of higher education. The Minister of Education of Saskatchewan spoke just the other day, and I have his words before me. We pay $10,000,000 a 3'ear for higher education, and the minister said there was no other part of the world which could come up to that record. We have had to do it.

Does anyone say the foreign people of the west are not receiving higher education? I am glad to say that is not so. We are educating them; they are coming to our higher schools, under the policy we are pursuing, by thousands and demanding that we pay the cost of their education, and we are paying it. Think of it; $10,000,000 a year for higher education and $15,000,000 a year for public schools. Almost half of that is due to the insane policy of hon. gentlemen opposite. We are glad to pay that, however; we are glad these children are coming to school. We intend to discharge our duty as a province, but when in a year like this, when times are very bad in the province, when drought has bit us and we are facing difficulties through no fault of our own, we say to you, "We are up against unusual conditions which have prevailed for two or three years and we ask you to assist us," we expect you to give us some consideration. Remember this: We

have carried that load which this parliament imposed upon us, and we have raised no question about it. We will not raise any question; we will discharge our duties as a member of this Canadian confederation, but when hard times come we want a little consideration without being told we are a bunch of wallers and squealers, or whatever people say. That is not the sentiment in Saskatchewan at all; the hon. gentlemen who say that sort of thing were not born in onr province but were all educated east of Saskatchewan. We would never have them in our schools; we would never educate men like that. Do you think we would turn out from our schools men who would talk as hon. members in the dismal swamps of the far comer talk, members of that nightmare party? We do not bring up men like that in Saskatchewan; they

have all come to us from elsewhere and brought their soap boxes with them. We would have been only too glad to have them if only they had brought the soap and left the boxes behind. We have no use for their policies at all in the province of Saskatchewan. We are doing our duty, educating our people and living up to the burden cast upon us by this parliament, and all we ask in return is reasonable consideration.

Now I am going to leave that subject for a moment and say something else which hon. gentlemen probably will not like. I am coming to the estimates for this year, and I want to show just what Saskatchewan is being given. Here are the estimates; let us look at our maritime services. I am going to take up the estimates of the Minister of Public Works (Mr. Stewart) first; I hope he is here. I find no fault with him; there are some people in this world I like and some I do not like, but he is all right. When I see a man with a good clean-cut look in the corner of his eye, a man who is quite capable of telling me to go the dickens if he feels like it, that is the kind of man with whom I can get along. When I come to him with some proposition he will tell me at once just what he can do Take the estimates of the Department of Public Works dealing with harbours and rivers. We find there a sum of about $5,000,000, and taking all the maritime services we find they total over $20,000,000. That is a lot of money, and it is an annual payment. I do not know where a lot of these towns and villages on the marine pay roll are located-I do know where Riviere du Loup is-but I trust to the government of Canada and to the hon. members representing the constituencies to say that these are legitimate estimates and that the undertakings should be carried on.

The expenditure of this $20,000,000 every year is an annual income to these provinces. They know they will have that amount spent; it may be spent in different towns, but that amount of money will be put in circulation and that is always of tremendous advantage. Out of that $20,000,000 did you ever think how much is spent in the provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan? In those two provinces there is spent every year some $15,000. But are we kicking? We are not. We know that these services have to be carried on, that they are a national obligation. The ports may be in different provinces, but they are national ports, and for that reason we are prepared to support them, whether they are in Prince Edward Island. Nova Scotia, or some other province. These services are all supported by the taxpayers; we in Saskatchewan and Alberta are taxpayers, but we only get $15,000 out of the

The Budget-Mr. Cowan (Long Lake)

$20,000,000 spent for these services every year. That is because we are the only two nonmaritime provinces in the dominion. We have no ocean frontage; we have not a single navigable river, and we have not a lake of any decent size. So we have nothing at all upon which an amount of money could be spent equal to that spent in other provinces for these services.

What we ask is this: We are paying for these services but we cannot get anything from them. We must develop in another direction, however, and all we ask from the government is that next year, when the estimates are brought down, provision be made to equalize the amount spent in all the provinces. Is that unfair? Some hon. members may say we are getting railways. That is so, but if you totalled the cost of all the railways we have had built for many years, you would not have half enough to build the Montreal terminal. So we ask that you take these matters into consideration, and when we come to you for some assistance, as we must come this year, we want you to extend it to us. You may ask what we want. Our money is gone; we are tied up; we are unable to meet many of our obligations. Taxes are unpaid at the present time to the extent of millions of dollars. We need water conservation in the worst way; we need it just as much as you need dredging down here. We need a policy of reforestation. I can remember back in the early days-and I am sure the Prime Minister can remember also-when in the spring and fall you could look over the prairies and see a great wall of flame, with the whole prairie burning up. That is all over now; there is nothing more to burn. As these prairie fires swept over the land they burned every shrub and plant, and there is not even a root left from which anything can grow. We need a policy of widespread water conservation. At the present time water comes up in abundance in early spring and ten days after it finds its way into Hudson bay.

I have been saying this only because I think the people of eastern Canada should know what we have been doing out there. All we ask is that when we get around confederation table, as one might say we are doing when we are in this house, hon. gentlemen from the east will realize our situation out there. The people out in that part of the country are a hardy race. At the confederation breakfast table they may not have the choicest dishes, nor are they attired in any fashionable style. But even if it is only with a kerchief round his neck, you will see the average man from the west wearing a smile-just like my hon. friend the Minister of Public Works-

cheery and goodhumoured. If he has nothing but oatmeal porridge he is content. If there are pancakes, he will make a hearty meal of them anyway. And so much the better if he has fresh bacon and equally fresh eggs from Temiscouata. By the way, I may observe to the hon. gentleman who represents that constituency that our name is not Lazarus and we are not picking up crumbs from any rich man's table.

I must say I do not believe in paternalism; I do not hold with anything of that kind so far as government is concerned. The only man who ever succeeded in 'this world is the man who could depend upon himself. We have been hearing a good deal about banking during this session. Some hon. gentlemen keep on talking banks all the time. And a good deal of this has come from some members from the west. Well, the Liberals have been in charge in Saskatchewan for twenty-six years, in fact ever since the province was established. Have they ever attempted to do anything in this direction? I should like some of these hon. gentlemen to study the situation in Ontario and go back to Saskatchewan and tell the Liberals there something of what has taken place in this province. Let them follow the examples of the farmers in Ontario. Old Ontario can give the west a good many points; and even the farmer government that was in power in Ontario a few years ago-and it was the rankest government there ever was-had something to its credit. There was one thing they did which is worth emulating. The Ontario farmer government nine years ago made a departure which I would recommend to the Liberals in Saskatchewan if they wish to free themselves from the thrhldom of the banks. The government of Ontario established a savings bank through their own government, and today there are seventeen branches of that institution in this province, one of them right in this city a few blocks away. The sum of $25,000,000 has been put into that bank. I would ask the hon. member for North Battle-ford, would he take $25,000,000 if he got it?

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?

An hon. MEMBER:

The hon. gentleman

should address his remarks to the present government of Saskatchewan.

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CON

Walter Davy Cowan

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. COWAN (Long Lake):

I have done so, and I can assure the hon. member that we Conservatives will pull that province out of the hole the Liberals got it into. Now, the Conservative government made a success of that business, so much so that to-day the government savings bank has 80,000 depositors. Anyone can deposit a dollar or more, and if the people all decided to put by

The Budget-Mr. Young

some of their savings it would do more for the country than all the yelping of the Liberals. The government itself has made $186,000 through this venture. What more could you ask? If people can invest money in the conversion loan, why can they not put some of their spare cash in their own bank? Why should not men out in the west drawing fair salaries deposit some of their savings in a government bank? If the people would only put their money into their own banks the result would be independence, instead of their continuing under the thumb of the bankers, as some hon. members are fond of telling us. I like the bankers, not as a rule but once in a while, chiefly on two occasions: when I want to borrow and they are willing to lend, and when I don't want to borrow and I can look them straight in the eye and tell them to go to the wild west wind.

We in the province of Saskatchewan are not the whooping, howling free traders that some people think we are. If you go to some of these hon. members and ask them what ought to be done under certain circumstances, one of them will tell you that the tariff on corsets is too high and another-like the hon. member for Weyburn-will hold up two socks.

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?

An hon. MEMBER:

Three.

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CON

Walter Davy Cowan

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. COWAN (Long Lake):

Possibly three. On one occasion the hon. member held up these socks in a meeting where there were some ladies looking on. One of them asked the hon. member which sock was for the right foot and which was for the left, and the poor gentleman blushed as red as could be, and I am hanged if he could tell. But after all, Mr. Speaker, is it not just as well to inject a little humour into elections? That is what we did, and you see the result. We licked them.

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?

An hon. MEMBER:

Did you lick them

in Estevan?

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CON

Walter Davy Cowan

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. COWAN (Long Lake):

Well, they

had a small majority there, notwithstanding all the weeping and wailing coming from hon. members opposite who have set up that wailing row.

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?

An hon. MEMBER:

Wailing wall.

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CON

Walter Davy Cowan

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. COWAN (Long Lake):

I called it the wailing row; the wailing wall is in Jerusalem. Saskatchewan will do its duty to this country and it is going to get from Canada all that is coming to it.

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LIB

Edward James Young

Liberal

Mr. E. J. YOUNG (Weyburn):

Mr. Speaker, I cannot hope to entertain the house with so witty or amusing a speech as that 22110-105

of the hon. member for Long Lake (Mr. Cowan), but I will endeavour in as simple language as possible to set forth things as they appear to me.

In considering the budget and its several amendments it is well to bear in mind that we are to-day considering a double budget. When the Prime Minister (Mr. Bennett) introduced his budget last September he told us that if we did not put it through and put it through quickly he would not go to the Imperial conference. Is it not a pity that we did not call his bluff and keep him at home?

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?

An hon. MEMBER:

It certainly is.

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LIB

William Richard Motherwell

Liberal

Mr. MOTHERWELL:

Score one.

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LIB

Edward James Young

Liberal

Mr. YOUNG:

However, in order to give

him every possible chance to make good we decided to put through the budget or allow it to go through on condition that when the budget came down this year both budgets would be open for consideration. When we vote for or against this budget we are voting also for or against the budget which was presented last fall. Let us keep that in mind.

In his present budget the Prime Minister anticipates a deficit of some $78,000,000, and when speaking the other night the hon. Minister of Trade and Commerce (Mr. Stevens) stated that were the Liberals in power this deficit would be about the same. I cannot accept that statement, because it is quite easy to see where this deficit will come from. During the campaign we were told that if my right hon. friend and his party were returned to power they would shut out from this country some $300,000,000 worth of goods which were imported from other countries. The house knows that when $300,000,000 worth of goods are shut out of the country they do not pay any revenue to the treasury, and we know that the average duty collected last year on imported goods was 26 per cent. Twenty-six per cent on $300,000,000 amounts to exactly $78,000,000, which is the amount of the deficit expected by my right hon. friend. In other words the $78,000,000 of duty which would be paid on this $300,000,000 worth of goods being excluded from the country will now be paid, not into the public treasury but into the pockets of the manufacturers. The minister has suggested new forms of taxation in order to make up that deficit. How is he going to make it good?

The first thing he did last fall was to raise enormously the customs duties. How did ho raise them? The hon. member for Long Lake referred to socks as being one of the items, but he did not tell us that the Prime Minister and his friends raised the duty on the kind

The Budget-Mr. Young

of socks that they wear to only 51 per cent while they raised the duty on the socks of the workingman to 165 and 185 per cent. He did not tell us that the Prime Minister had increased the duty on clothing and textiles by adding to the ad valorem duty a specific duty of so much per pound. We know that the workingman, the artisan, the labouring man and the farmer, who have to work exposed to all kinds of weather, wear heavier clothing than do the financiers or members of parliament or they who sit in steam-heated houses or ride in closed cars. Such duties fall most heavily on. the poor man, while the Prime Minister's own class is spared. The Prime Minister seeks to raise a part of that deficit by increasing the income tax on incomes up to $130,000, but then he reduced it on the incomes of the extremely wealthy. This has been the policy of the government in seeking to replace the revenue which they are giving to the manufacturers. Is it any wonder that one of his own admirers referred to the Prime Minister as "God's own gift to the idle rich"?

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LIB

William Richard Motherwell

Liberal

Mr. MOTHERWELL:

Score two, no

errors.

Mr, YOUNG: In his speech on the budget the Prime Minister asked this question: Can Canada continue as an unprotected country in a protected world? I do not like that word "protection", it is a misnomer. Nothing is protected by the tariff unless it be the strong against the weak, the favoured few against the helpless many. It would have been better and more apt if t'he question had been worded this way: In a world in which every other country insists upon placing artificial restrictions on its trade, can Canada survive unless she also places artifical restrictions upon her trade? Or to put it another way: In a race in which all other competitors insist upon hobbling themselves, could Canada hope to make any progress unless she hobbled herself also? I will answer the Prime Minister's question by asking another: Can Canada continue to exist as a country living to herself and refusing to trade with the rest of the world? No, she cannot do it, and there is no hon. gentleman opposite who will say that she can.

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CON

Martin James Maloney

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MALONEY:

If not, why not?

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LIB

Edward James Young

Liberal

Mr. YOUNG:

I will tell you why not in a minute, and when my hon. friend makes his speech perhaps he can tell us why so.

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June 12, 1931