June 15, 1931

LIB

Donat Raymond

Liberal

Mr. RAYMOND (Translation):

I have

given you, sir, the figures as shown by the official balance sheet of the Dominion Textile Co. and published from year to year in the "Annual Financial Review". I question whether a company which pays to its common shareholders, dividends representing 150 per cent on the original investment, without taking into account the accumulated profits and not yet distributed, is justified in asking a tariff increase which will give it a still better opportunity of further squeezing the consumer in order to later on water again its stock.

Unfortunately, this is the history of most of our large corporations who enjoy a tariff protection supposed to be indispensable so as to exist and give work to the working class. Look at the history of the Steel Co.

of Canada, the Dominion Bridge Co., The Canada Cement Co. and others, you will discover the same abuses, and excessive profits realized at the expense of the consumer, thanks to a protective tariff. With the help of the tariff, the stock is watered, production is increased, machinery replaces hand-labour, profits are increased and wages are lowered.

Then one is amazed to find in Canada traces of communism when the working class is starving. These ideas were not brought from Russia or elsewhere, but they took root in Canada and it is the abuses of corporations like those I have just quoted as examples which are responsible for such notions.

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

Joseph-Alexandre Mercier

Liberal

Mr. MERCIER (St. Henri) (Translation):

May I ask a question?

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LIB

Donat Raymond

Liberal

Mr. RAYMOND (Translation):

I am too pressed for time.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
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LIB

Joseph-Alexandre Mercier

Liberal

Mr. MERCIER (St. Henri) (Translation):

Does the Dominion Textile Company buy its raw material in this country?

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LIB

Donat Raymond

Liberal

Mr. RAYMOND (Translation):

As it is

raw cotton, it must necessarily import it. The history of the Montreal Cottons, another company which operates a cotton factory at Valleyfield is also an interesting one. This company was operating with a capital ot $3,000,000 of supposed paid up shares. In 1911 it reorganized under the name of the "Montreal Cottons Limited" and each shareholder of the old company received two shares in the new company in exchange for one, that is one prefered share bearing a fixed dividend of 7 per cent and one common share. The following year, in 1912, it paid a dividend of $4 on the common stock for which not a cent had been paid into the treasury of the company. The dividend was raised to 5 per cent in 1919 and to 6 per cent in 1920 and has continued to be paid to this day. The amount paid in dividends on watered stock is $3,000,000. The balance sheet of the Montreal Cottons Company for the financial year ending Dec. 31, 1929-it is the last for which I have figures-shows that this common stock for which not a cent was paid, has a value in the books of the company of $3,000,000, and that after having paid dividends at a rate of 6 per cent on this watered stock, about $3,000 000, it still has a surplus in accumulated profits and not distributed of $633,000.

That is another balance sheet of a textile company in favour of which the present government has thought proper to increase the tariff under pretence that it was not sufficiently protected. On certain products, the tariff was raised from 30 per cent to 165 per

The Budget-Mr. Raymond

cent. Do you think that the workmen benefited by it? Far from it-and the Hon. Member for Quebec-Montmoreney (Mr. Do-rion) who. a few moments ago questioned me in this respect will profit by listening.

There are at present fewer employees working in the Montreal Cottons Company and those that work are receiving smaller wages.

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CON

Charles Napoléon Dorion

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. DORION (Translation):

That reminds one of the Beauharnois Power Company.

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LIB

Joseph-Alexandre Mercier

Liberal

Mr. MERCIER (St. Henri) (Translation):

It is totally different.

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LIB

Jean-François Pouliot

Liberal

Mr. POULIOT (Translation):

There is

however more water in the Montreal Cottons Co. than in the Beauharnois Company.

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LIB

Donat Raymond

Liberal

Mr. RAYMOND (Translation) :

We shall

debate the Beauharnois power affairs on another occasion. We are at present discussing the textiles, an industry which was favoured by the government in September last, with a tariff increase as no other industry was ever favoured, and it is an industry which has made outrageous profits. Aliow me to place before you facts gathered on the spot in Valleyfield itself, where the Montreal Cottons Company operate its mills. I shall not include the last two months previous to the election of July 28 last, as a basis of comparison. It is an old trick at each election, when the Liberals are in power, the manufacturers and their friends the Tories resort to the tariff as a tool to intimidate the working class.

Some hon. MEMBERS (Translation): Hear, hear!

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LIB

Donat Raymond

Liberal

Mr. RAYMOND (Translation):

I happen to know that on the eve of the last election, the manufacturers as a "bloc" thought of closing their mills, thus throwing on the streets thousands of workers and threatening the bread and butter of hundreds of families with a view of impressing .them the more, and inducing them to vote in favour of a party which pledged itself to grant more protection to industries already highly protected.

Some hon. MEMBERS (Translation): Shame, shame 1

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LIB

Donat Raymond

Liberal

Mr. RAYMOND (Translation):

Fortunately the scheme did not succeed as planned but it was partly carried out. For instance, at Valleyfield, in the mills of the Montreal Cottons Company hundreds of workers were dismissed, the working hours were reduced, the doors of the mills were even closed during eight days in July, and the worker was told: "this is the result of a tariff which fails to

[Mr. Raymond.)

protect Canadian industry." Are we to be astonished now at the tariff increase which begun with the emergency session. It is the government's reward for the support given by industries in the last election, especially the manufacturers of textile products. The public now bear the cost.

Some hon. MEMBERS (Translation): Hear, hear!

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LIB

Donat Raymond

Liberal

Mr. RAYMOND (Translation):

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LIB

Donat Raymond

Liberal

Mr. RAYMOND (Translation):

They work twice as hard, tire out sooner, and earn 30 per cent less wages. Where two employees were earning now there is only one.

In the carding room 18 men operated 324 machines, that is 18 machines each. To-day, 8 men do the work of the 18 men and receive less wages.

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LIB

Joseph Georges Bouchard

Liberal

Mr. BOUCHARD (Translation):

That is so.

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LIB

Donat Raymond

Liberal

Mr. RAYMOND (Translation):

With reference to the weavers, a worker who operated 4 looms and was paid $40 every fortnight, now operates 6 and is paid but $22 to $25 every fortnight-40 per cent less.

Another who operated 12 looms at wages of $40 to $45 every fortnight, now operates 82, and is paid but $25 every fortnight, that is 45 per cent less.

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LIB

Pierre Auguste Martial Rhéaume

Liberal

Mr. RHEAUME (Translation):

"Canada First."

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LIB

Donat Raymond

Liberal

Mr. RAYMOND (Translation):

Others who earned in the past $40 every fortnight now earn but $16, that is 60 per cent less, and yet operate more looms.

Workers who earned $4 per day, now earn but $2.

Others who earned $40 to $45 every fortnight, working only through the day, now earn $28 every fortnight and must work overtime.

The Budget-Mr. Burns

Finally, and this will be the last case which I will quote, a worker who operated 12 looms during 80 hours, and earned $32 to $34 every fortnight, now operates 24 looms, works 110 hours and earns but $30 every fortnight.

These, sir, are conditions which disprove the statement of the Prime Minister, as regards work and wages which high tariff affords the working class.

Some hon. MEMBERS (Translation): Hear! hear!

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LIB

Donat Raymond

Liberal

Mr. RAYMOND (Translation):

What are we to think of those, whose age has lowered the intensive yield, that modern methods of industry call for,-who are thanked for their services and left absolutely without resources.

Is the worker not entitled to a fair share of the results of his labour just like the capitalist is entitled to a reasonable return for his investment?

When the Montreal Cottons Co. was realizing excessive profits, thanks to tariff protection which it deemed indispensable to exist, but which, in truth, only served to increase the price of its goods to the consumer, and thus increase its profits, it never gave to the workman that part of the wages to which he was entitled and which to-day would shelter him from want.

No day passes that I have not to listen to the sad complaints of these good people, whose distress is all the more worthy of being looked after, because unemployment to which they fall victim seems to be the reckoning of the new methods of overproduction, brought on by over-capitalization, and fostered by high tariff.

Poverty knocks at the door of too many artisans' home. And what does the gover-ment do? It increases the tariff on textile products, when the balance sheets of companies are before them, showing outrageous profits; and when these companies in order to increase production and their profits, replace hand-labour by machinery, overloading the worker who remains, while lowering his wages already insufficient. Is this protection for the workman? The problem of unemployment will not be solved by increasing production and decreasing the number of wage earners. The government does not stop at this. It reduces the rich man's taxes to place them on the workman with decreased wages or on the unemployed, by taxing all articles of first necessity, and it cries out to him: "have courage and confidence."

Mr. Speaker, I could not better sum up my thought than by calling this budget: the product of a coupling of politics and finance.

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CON

William Herbert Burns

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. W. H. BURNS (Portage la Prairie):

Mr. Speaker, in rising to offer a few observations I do so as the representative of a constituency of western Canada, a constituency whose people are ninety-five per cent dependent upon agriculture for a livelihood. Since the presentation of the budget I have received many letters from my constituents offering congratulations, appreciation and thanks to the government for the attention that they have given agriculture by the budget and by their general policy, and I have been asked to convey those sentiments to the right hon. Prime Minister (Mr. Bennett).

*At the outset, Mr. Speaker, I have a few remarks to make on behalf of the farmer of western Canada. It seems to me that those hon. members of the east and of the extreme west who do not know the farmer of western Canada personally will, if they have formed their impressions from speeches emanating from western members of the other side of the house, reach an entirely erroneous conclusion of what kind of man the western farmer is. I am afraid that if they accept those speeches at their face value they will picture the farmer as a selfish, grasping, whining, dissatisfied sort of fellow. This is very, very far from the truth. I think it was the hon. member for Red Deer (Mr. Speakman) who the other day hit the nail on the head when he referred to the western farmer as the "king of optimists." He is an optimist. He has a lot to contend with, but he is not a quitter, and he is prepared to expend all the energy he possesses to make a success of the work in which he is engaged. He is out there to-day with his back to the wall putting up a magnificent fight. He asks quarter from no man, but he does expect justice and fair play. Accorded these, you can depend upon it that the western farmer will make his full contribution to the upbuilding and development of this great dominion of ours, and will do his full share towards stabilizing the economic conditions as they exist to-day.

There is something else to be said about the western farmer. He is not jealous of the east. Perhaps, judging from the speeches to which I have referred, easterners may think that he is. Let me assure the house that there is no member of any section of the population of this country who will be more ready to rejoice at every indication of returning prosperity and improved conditions in eastern Canada than the western farmer. He will rejoice for two reasons; first, he is a true Canadian, interested in the welfare of Canada as a whole; secondly, he fully realizes that almost immediately those improved conditions

2fi48

The Budget-Mr. Burns

will be reflected in better times in western Canada.

The western farmer is a firm believer in the Conservative policy of "Canada first." Notwithstanding what the hon. member for Provencher (Mr. Beaubien) said when addressing the house last week, we did preach that policy throughout the length and breadth of Manitoba during the last election. That policy the farmers of Manitoba accepted when they returned to this house a large representation pledged to the Conservative cause. If proof of the statement is required that the western farmer is a believer in the Conservative policy of Canada first, I would refer hon. members to the results of the election of July last, when the province returned to this house one Liberal, one National Progressive, two Liberal Progressives, two members of the Labour group, and eleven Conservatives.

The hon. member for Provencher, in answer to a question from this side of the house, said that he hoped the Prime Minister was not trying to convert the farmers of western Canada to the policy of protection by offering them the five cent subvention on wheat. It seems to me this is indicative of a feeling of alarm in the mind of the hon. member. I can say to him now, and give him fair warning, that he has cause for alarm as to the trend of the thoughts of the farmers of western Canada in this respect. We as a Conservative party are rapidly gaining the support and confidence of that section of our people. In the federal election of 1925 there were 43,700 votes registered in support of Conservative candidates in the rural portion of Manitoba. During the election of 1926 that number increased to something over 56,000, while in 1930 the rural vote in Manitoba in favour of Conservative candidates was over 76,000. I think this shows that the farmer is turning to the Conservative party and Conservative policies to lead him out of the rather difficult situation in which he has found himself during the last few years.

The other evening the hon. member for Provencher, discussing the effect of the tariff upon the cost of goods to the consumer, dealt with the matter of agricultural implements.

He chose a rather isolated case and quoted prices from some catalogue of which I had never before heard, to show that a pickling machine for the treatment of grain for smut had increased in cost over the catalogue price quoted by the same company in 1930. I know nothing of that firm or of the line of goods to which he referred, but I can direct the hon. member to a manufacturing concern in my home city of Portage la Prairie which will sell him a pickling machine to-day for less money than he would have paid for it if bought from the same firm in 1930.

As I listened to the remarks of the hon. member in reference to that catalogue, I wondered why he did not analyse the price lists of the leading agricultural implement firms of this country in order to show the effect of the tariff upon the prices of goods. When I went home, however, and procured those catalogues myself and examined them, the answer was obvious. They do nothing at all to prove the contention of my hon. friend. For purposes of record, and to combat the argument put forward by the hon. member for Provencher, I have analysed the figures contained in the catalogues of four large implement concerns of Canada. So far as western Canada is concerned, I would say that these four firms sell at least ninety per cent of the implements used in that portion of the country.' I refer to the Massey Harris Company, the International Harvester Company, the Cockshutt Plow Company and the John Deere Company. I wish to tell you, Mr. Speaker, just what that analysis shows. I took first the Massey Harris price list and examined it item by item, comparing the prices quoted for 1930 with those quoted for 1931, and I am going to give those figures just as I found them. Some of the differences will be small, but I quote them to show that I made a detailed study of this particular price list. This is the price list of the Brandon branch of the Massey Harris Company, and I will give first the catalogue number, then the price in 1930, the price in 1931 and finally the reduction:

Massey Harris-Brandon Branch-Reductions

Mowers: 1930 1931 ReductionNo. 22-18 section .. . . $ 100 00 $ 98 00 $ 2 00No. 22-20 section .. . . 101 00 99 00 2 00No. 23-20 section .. .. 105 00 103 00 2 003 section trailer drill Packers: No. 22 run-22 wheel .. . . 142 00 128 00 14 00No. 24 run-26 wheel .. .. 161 50 148 50 13 00No. 28 run-30 wheel 168 50 17 00

Those are the only increases I can find throughout the catalogue, and I am told by the representatives of the company that there is a change in the design of these sprayers, which accounts for the small increase in price on these three items. Outside of those pieces of machinery and those items I have mentioned, the other prices remain absolutely the same as in 1930.

I come next to the Cockshutt Plow Company Limited, Winnipeg branch. There are absolutely no increases on any implements in 1931 over 1930, but the price lists show the following reductions:

No. 3 power lift gang plough with wood

eveners $25

Angell disc plough 25

All sizes of No. 1 and No. 2 tractor

ploughs _ 25

No. 2 and 3 furrow P.L. disc ploughs.. 30

No. 4, 5 and 6 furrow P.L. disc ploughs 35

No. 8-36 run drills 50

No. 6 disc harrows, 7 and 8 ft 5

No. 8 disc harrows, 12 ft

10No. 8 disc harrows, 16 ft

12No. 8 disc harrows, 24 ft

15No. 9 disc harrows, 12 and 18 ft.. .. 8No. 9 disc harrows, 16 ft

10No. 9 disc harrows, 24 ft

15125 bushel wagon grain tanks

20

Let us take next the International Harvester Company. The following are the reductions on McCormick Deering tractors:

10 to 20 horse-power.$ 948 10 to 20 horse-power

orchard 960

Farmall gear drive.. 993

15 to 30 horse-power. 1,365

1931 Reduction $ 908 $40

920 40

943 50

1,290 75

Next on the list is the John Deere Company, Winnipeg branch. The price list of the Winnipeg branch shows no increase in prices over 1930, but 'the following reductions are noted:

Reduction

20 shoe drill $15

24 shoe drill 25

28 shoe drill

All tractors (7 in number).. . 90

Those are the items as I have taken them from the price list, and I think we can safely say that this government has made good its promise that when the tariffs were increased the consumer would be protected from exploitation. That is what we told the farmers in Manitoba, at any rate in the constituency of Portage la Prairie, and I can go back to them and tell them that policy was carried out and that they have been protected.

The hon. member for Provencher, in the course of his remarks the other night, said:

If the hon. members for Marquette (Mr. Mullins), Souris (Mr. Willis), Selkirk (Mr. Stitt), Portage la Prairie (Mr. Burns),

[Mr. Burns.)

Dauphin (Mr. Bowman), Nelson (Mr. Stitt), Springfield (Mr. Hay), and Brandon (Mr. Beaubier) had told their electors that if the present Prime Minister was returned to power he would increase the tariff, I do not believe they would be here to-day. They know that very well, and they know that they told the electors that the Conservative party was not a high tariff party. Can they go back to their electors to-day and tell them that? If they do they will be misleading those who put them in office.

I do not know how the hon. member know3 what we told the people in the constituency of Portage la Prairie. So far as I am aware, he never entered that constituency during the contest. I feel absolutely sure that the information was not given him by my Liberal opponent in the last election. I am proud to acknowledge my Liberal opponent as one of the closest personal friends I have in the world, and I can say that in that contest, on both sides, there was a clean fight. I do not believe there was any cleaner contest anywhere throughout the dominion, and I think Mr. McPherson will tell the hon. member that we did not go about our constituency making misrepresentations to the electors during the campaign.

As regards the farmers of western Canada, we might ask ourselves this question: What are they interested in to-day? It seems to me they are interested in the prices of agricultural implements, in wheat, barley, eggs, butter and farm produce, and in live stock. And what has been the effect of the Conservative policy upon these things in which the farmer of the west is interested?

First we come to the matter of agricultural implements. I believe the statement was made from the opposite side the other night that the policy of the Conservative party was reflected in the prices of agricultural implements. Now I have shown that the only change which has taken place since 1930 has been a reduction, and therefore I say that if it is true that the Conservative policy is reflected in the prices of agricultural implements the farmers of Canada will say, "Give us more Conservative policy."

I have no brief for the manufacturers of agricultural implements. I have a feeling, in common with many of the people of the west, that the prices of these implements are too high. Those figures I have given to-night were quoted simply to show the effect of the tariff on the prices of agricultural implements, and for no other purpose. So far as the prices of these implements are concerned, I should like to see the government take some action for an investigation. I do not know whether the prices are too high or not. If an investigation is held, witnesses summoned to

The Budget-Mr. Burns

give evidence and the manufacturers of implements can prove to the people that their prices are fair and square, it would be to their advantage and put them in better odour with the farmers of western Canada. If, on the other hand, it is found that these prices are not fair, that they are too high, I would say that no time should be lost in taking whatever steps are necessary to secure lower prices on agricultural implements for the farmers of this country.

The farmer is interested in wheat. What has been the effect upon this commodity of the action taken by the government? First, we have the five cent subvention, at which hon. members on the other side of the house would like to laugh. I can assure them that the farmer is not laughing at this action. It has been referred to by some hon. members as the second five cent speech. I wonder who made the first? The farmer of western Canada does not look upon this as a five cent speech but, based upon a conservative estimate of the amount of grain upon which that five cent subvention will apply, it is looked upon as a ten million dollar speech. There is a large surplus of wheat in store in this country for which markets must be found. Has this government done anything to find markets for that surplus wheat? The hon. Minister of Trade and Commerce (Mr. Stevens) told the house the other night of the efforts made at the Imperial conference to find and encourage markets for Canadian wheat. He told us that they found a feeling existing in England that the grain exporters of Canada were taking or trying to take an unfair advantage of the European countries, that Canadians were trying to corner the wheat markets so that they could dictate the prices. As the hon. minister said, we do not for one moment agree that there was any thought of that nature in the minds of the grain people of Canada, but yet that feeling existed. He told the house of the steps taken to disabuse the minds of the people of Europe of that fact, and I believe, and I think we all believe, that the efforts made in that respect bore fruit. The hon. minister told us that in visiting the continent he found that in Holland, Belgium, France, Germany and Denmark the millers were changing their silk screens in order to make them serviceable for the milling of Argentine wheat. They talked to these people and did what they could to combat this movement. They must have been more or less successful because we find that every one of the countries named have increased their purchases of wheat from Canada in 1931 over their purchases in 1930.

We have been told that the trade commissioners of this country stationed throughout the world have been asked to concentrate upon the finding of markets for Canadian wheat. Not only does this apply to the trade commissioners at present functioning, but additional junior trade commissioners have been appointed and have been sent out into the world with the same instructions-find us an outlet for the surplus wheat of this country.

This government has shown in many ways that it is interested in agricultural matters and that it is doing its utmost to help solve the present problems. I think the results which follow must be attributed to the efforts made by the government. We were told the other day that in 1929-30 the exports of wheat from this country amounted to 155,000,000 bushels; for the first ten months of 1930-31 they amounted to 195,000,000 bushels, and a conservative estimate based upon information as to the bookings for June and July will bring that total up to 234,000,000 bushels for the year, an increase over 1929-30 of 79,000,000 bushels. This is something that interests the farmer of western Canada. When I refer to western Canada I do not intend to limit my remarks to that part of the country. It is the part familiar to me, but we do not claim to have a monopoly on the word "farmer". Perhaps it would be better to substitute the words "farmers of Canada" for the words "western Canada."

This government took very generous action last spring in the way of seed grain relief. The Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Weir) told us the other day that this offer was more generous than that ever before made by any federal government, because of the arrangement made with the premiers of the western provinces, the terms of the agreement cannot be divulged at the present time, but the minister told the house that when these terms are made known the people of Canada as a whole will be well satisfied with the generous assistance which has been rendered.

There is another thing which reflects the feeling of the Minister of Agriculture, another thing which shows his interest in the producer of agricultural products. Those hon. members who were present the other morning at the meeting of the select standing committee on agriculture will remember the opening words of the minister. He said that he would like the committee to inquire into ways and means of getting into the hands of the producer more of the money actually realized in the sale of wheat. Is that not a laudable objective? He told the committee that he was not relying upon it, entirely, to formulate his policy, that

The Budget-Mr. Bums

he had his policy framed, and that he had his own fixed ideas in the matter, but that he was always ready to receive suggestions which would help him to market the wheat of Canada to the advantage of the producers in Canada.

The farmer is interested in butter and eggs, and I think the action taken by this government in this respect is acceptable to the people of western Canada. During the elections of July last we Conservative members did not have to talk much protection, we found the farmer doing most of the talking along that line. He was insistent that his products should be protected from the flood of dairy products from other lands. The action taken by this government in shutting out those imports from other countries is what the farmer asked for, and that is what he has received. The action in putting an eight-cent duty upon butter and in coming to an arrangement with Australia stands to the credit of this government. The old agreement was still in force under which it was permissible to send butter from Australia into this country under a one-cent duty, but the government made a verbal arrangement with the officials of Australia whereby they were not to release butter to this country under thirty-two cents per pound without first receiving consent. That shows that this government has a thought for the dairy farmer, and it shows action in the right direction.

Let us look for a moment at the results obtained because of the action taken by this government. I have the figures under my hand, and I am going to deal with just three months of 1930 and three months of 1931.

I shall first give the imports of butter as

follows:

Quantity Value

1930- pounds dollarsMarch.. . . .. 8,029.435 $2,733,265April.. . . .. 2.698,270 893,182May.. .. .. . 2,952,367 904,749Total. . . 13,680,072 $4,531,196Following the action of the present Conservative government, we find these figuresfor butter imports for the same three monthsof 1931: Quantity Value1931- pounds dollarsMarch.. . . .. 1,181,081 $ 330,962April.. . . .. 497,562 169,356May.. .. .. . 214,810 63,953Total. . . 1,893,453 $ 564,271

So that for the three months of 1931 the butter imports amounted to 1,893,453 pounds

as against 13,680,072 pounds for the corresponding three months in 1930.

What was the result of the action of the present government in regard to the importation of eggs? The following are the imports of eggs for the same three months of 1930 and 1931:

Quantity

Year dozens

1930 1,252,734

1931 33,988

This shows that 1,218,746 dozens more were imported in 1930 than in 1931. That again, I say, is what we promised the farmers of the prairies of Canada would be done. That is what has been done, and we can go home to our constituents and tell them what we have done and that we made no misrepresentations to them.

The farmer. I have said, is interested in live stock. What has the present government done to encourage the live stock industry? One of the first acts of the Minister of Agriculture was to arrange for boats and shipping facilities once again to enable the farmers of Canada to enter the British market with their live stock. In the next place he sent trial shipments to Great Britain. Because of the fact that that trade had been absolutely lost, it was necessary to start building it up again from the foundation. It was essential to find out the requirements of the British market, and for that purpose trial shipments were sent over. Boats were loaded with the different types of Canadian cattle with a view to discovering the most profitable type for shipment to the old country. Valuable information was obtained, and as a result Canada is gaining by the foresight of the Department of Agriculture under the present administration. It has been said that the shipping overseas of those cattle and the reentry into the British market for the first time in years is not the only advantage we have gained. We are getting rid of our surplus, and by so doing have increased the domestic price by from one-half to three-quarters of a cent a pound. Moreover the department has been making experiments in regard to the feeding of live stock in this country. Many farmers of western Canada are for the first time in their lives going into the business of feeding stock. This was something new to them, and the Department of Agriculture, realizing this fact, experimented and placed the results of those experiments in the hands of the farmers of the prairies who are to-day using those facts to very good advantage.

The Budget-Mr. St. Pere

Mr. E-C. STmPERE (Hochelaga) (Translation) : Mr. Speaker, the budget which the right hon. Minister of Finance (Mr. Bennett) has brought down, is evidence to us, in the first place; that he is a very efficient accountant; secondly, that he is a hard worker. Nobody can deny the strenuous efforts he has made to have his policy prevail with the masses; however, anyone who studies this budget in its details, will conclude, as did a great American economist, when the Dingley Bill was enacted in the United States, that

the tariff provisions of this budget

1 shall

even state-the tariff decisions which it embodies, entitles it to be termed the "tariff of exaggerations."

The right hon. Prime Minister is also Minister of Finance; he appealed to the patriotism of the Canadian people in order to help him in carrying out his plans. This policy of aid, sir, I consider the Liberal party did its large share in furthering at the last session. That short session gave the Minister of Finance sufficient time to state again to the people of this country that a high tariff could but serve their interests in every way possible.

If we glance over the history of the various countries, we shall find that governments which adopt the policy of high tariff have many points in common. President Hoover, the rival of the Canadian Minister of Finance, recently appealed to the great American public as follows: "Let me carry on our policy and soon we shall see poverty banished from the nation." For the President as well as for the Canadian Minister of Finance, present conditions are too notoriously in contradiction with their boastful prophecies, for the people of Canada and the United States not to feel their effects. Our deficits are widely known and everybody expected this financial crash. The Prime Minister must now bear the consequences. It is useless to blame his predecessors; the great economic problems of a nation are not dealt with in this manner. The people allured by fine pledges face to-day a situation which smothers them. The industrial depression has become more acute this summer, the unemployed have increased, and every one wonders what will happen next autumn and winter. Our trade- it could not be otherwise with a policy of high tariff-our imports have decreased and our exports, ever following this old economic rule that bartering is at the base of trade, our exports, I state, have dwindled down enormously. What was the result? Our working classes which depended on our exports to supply them with work the year

round, to-day face either complete or temporary idleness, or the impossibility of finding work with our Canadian industries. There is but one safeguard for our workers. It is our exportations. As Mr. Greene, the president of the Federation of American Workers stated recently, it is only in exports-an assurance of the prosperity of a nation's business-that workers can find a guarantee of permanent work.

Let us now, sir, examine, I shall not say the remedies but the panacea advocated by the hon. Minister of Finance to relieve the depression existing in Canada. I shall enumerate them for I really think the Minister of Finance is convinced of the opportunity of applying the tariff policy which he advocates. The remedy to his mind, consists in taxation and high tariff.

Taxes. The right hon. Minister of Finance stated, at Maisonneuve, when he opened his election campaign in Quebec, that he would tax the people. It is exactly because he did fulfil this pledge and applied his policy, that the workers and consumers of my com-stituency, as well as others throughout Canada, protest at present.

Taxation-that is an old economic principle which is daily applied-taxation, I state, must be carried out with the people's approval, without laying dry the source of revenue and, especially, without overburdening the people. Such legislation must contribute to the happiness and prosperity of the majority of the people. What do we find in the present budget? Is the assessment of taxes embodied in the budget, just? My answer is nol Why? Because this budget unjustly taxes the poor on the following articles: anthracite coal, that, so to speak, is the poor man's coal. I am not a pessimist, however I have noticed that the business man's ambition often makes him forget the precepts of justice and charity, and I am wondering whether during next winter the price of anthracite coal, instead of being $16.50 per ton-delivered in the cellar-will not reach $17. Coke, oranges, canned goods, tea, clocks, etc. have all been taxed.

The sales tax. Ohl this brings forth the public's first and strongest protest. While unemployment is everywhere, this tax, which is increased from 1 to 4 per cent, will reach all families. To this, add the import tax of 1 per cent and there you have enough to heavily burden the budget of every householder. The right hon. Minister of Finance was quite open in his statement. He simply said that 52 per cent of the taxes which he intended to levy so as to wipe out the deficit would be derived from the sales tax. The general tariff increase greatly alarms-I shall not say solely-the

The Budget-Mr. St. Pere

workmen of my constituency, but also people of ordinary means and consumers.

Reduction of taxes. Although, sir, representing a large constituency of workmen, I am not one of those who were elected since 1921, by advocating a conflict between labour and capital. I always endeavoured and done my best to convince employers that the workmen should not be considered as machines, but really their greatest asset. I know that the method of action has been very well worked out. True, the changes brought about in the income tax unburden to some extent., heads of families and bachelors, but if we pass on to the following classes, we find that the burden falls upon the shoulders of the middle class. Any one living in cities, anyone who has taken the trouble to mingle with builders and contractors, will find that they are really anxious to expend yearly in new buildings the surplus of their earnings of the preceding year and thus employ our workmen. I state that they are the ones who will most feel this tax.

I am well aware that some economists and neoeconomists have advocated decreasing the tax on large incomes for the following reasons: because the people's savings are not sufficient for the requirements of industry and that of small dealers. This reason cannot apply in the present ease, since the Minister of Finance stated recently that the banks overflowed with money and that the western farmers all had deposits to their credit in banks.

Other economists give as a reason that the money turned over to the treasury prevents those who have wealth from utilizing it to foster industries and thereby provide work for the unemployed. It suffices to know the turn of mind of those who, at present, have wealth to convince oneself that this is not a valid reason. Take the business men. They themselves tell us that owing to overproduction and under-consumption, industries are greatly depressed. Can we rationally suppose that if such distress exists the wealthy will take advantage of this tax reduction to place their exempted income in new industries?

On many occasions we were told in the house-and these statements came from members of the government-that the Conservative government did not seek its tariff policy or its inspirations in the United States. Anyone who has followed what has happened in the United States for a number of years, whosoever has taken the trouble to study the plans of tax reduction advocated by Mr. Mellon, will acknowledge that the Conservative party of to-day, if its ministers did not personally travel to the United

States to seek the necessary information they required must nevertheless have found some good points in the plans of tax reduction of Mr. Mellon, Secretary of the Treasury in the United States, plans which the United States people, as a whole, disapproved. The present government simply copied what Mr. Mellon did in the United States.

I am aware that the tax on large corporations has been increased from 8 per cent to 10 per cent; but if we compare this tax increase with the tax reduction on large incomes, we become aware that on the whole the result of these new taxes will be a tax reduction for the benefit of the wealthy. The tariff, our Conservative friends tell us, is the panacea to all ills. The foresight and infinite wisdom of all the speakers in the last election so advocated it. What happened? A decrease in both our imports and exports; a stagnation of our capital, a continuous increase of unemployment, poverty and if this state continues Canada will soon be in the grip of pauperism.

The high tariff policy was condemned by Mr. Ford, Mr. Atterbury, Mr. J. P. Morgan, by 1,028 professors and economists of American universities. It gives birth to colossal fortunes, it becomes a lever in the hands of trusts, as it happened in the United States after the enactment of the Dingley tariff, in 1897, it destroys all revenue, as they had the experience in the neighbouring republic when the tariff of 1890 was put into force.

The Conservative party was able to capture the vote of certain groups of workmen, at the last election, by putting forth protection as synonymous of high wages and steady work. Nothing is falser. High wages are always the outcome of the low cost of production and not of tariff. Work is better paid because it produces more owing to the intervention of His Majesty Machinery, the businesslike way in which industry is managed and the whole-hearted cooperation of workers when employed on the basis of unit [DOT] production.

Our friends on the right, sir, state that the tariff has the effect of bringing the cost of production on articles manufactured abroad to the level of those manufactured in Canada. Another fallacy which they endeavour to have the workers accept. Those who advocate high tariff in this house contend that the duty should be raised in direct ratio to the variation of the cost [DOT] of production on articles manufactured abroad and those manufactured in this country. Soon we shall have universal protection, and this is exactly the cause of

The Budget-Mr. St. Pere

the present crisis, and the day a partisan of high tariff takes the fancy of outdoing his own party this government will grant a protective tariff to those who wish to grow bananas in Alaska and oranges in the Ungava district. It has always been impossible to establish the exact cost of the production of similar articles manufactured in various countries. Mr. Walter Page, former president of the tariff board in the United States so stated, and that is an impossibility which politicians cannot make use of in the course of an election. During last May, sir, forty-eight nations sent delegates to a meeting of the International Chamber of Commerce. For the first time the causes of the crisis of which the whole world is suffering was discussed publicly, frankly and internationally. All admitted that a new era had begun and that the interdependence of nations was becoming more and more necessary. The discussion was of a general order. Without dwelling on the fatal results of one particular factor, all acknowledged the following causes were to be taken into account:

The war and its aftermath; armaments; speculation; the return to the gold standard; the depreciation of money; high taxation; grants to industry; trusts; over-production and under-consumption; the overdevelopment of agriculture and the restrictions put-and I lay stress on that word-on free exchange of manufactured products and raw material between the various countries in consequence of high tariffs.

Not withstanding the data supplied by these eminent men, the Minister of Finance still persists in carrying out his policy of high tariff and to find in it the only remedy. What does he care about the views of parliamentarians like Messrs. Theuris, Sir Arthur Salter, Parmentier, Melvin, A. Taylor, Sir Allan Anderson, H. L. Russell and others! The Minister of Finance still chasing that rainbow repeats to us: Let us protect ourselves against countries with tariffs, let us enclose ourselves in our ivory tower. Let us offer rebates to industry, let us create new industries of which we often spoke, and, mention is made of an increase of these establishments in the near future. Many times I have heard in the house, sir, that Canada is very highly industrialized, and those who attempted to stem the flow of immigration were criticized because this kindred industry, moreover our factories which already had started to produce in great quantities had need of a larger population to maintain them.

Will the Minister of Finance make a distinction, will he tolerate the establishment in Canada of industries manufacturing products similar to those we at present put out? If so,

chaos will reign. Competition will not come from outside but from our own factories, and this will afford a great opportunity to speculators, friends of trusts, and mergers to absorb these small industries which sometimes may be built up through the issuing of debentures which are held by people of small means. I state that too high a tariff will give rise to an increase of schemers and promoters always ready to make use of large circulation newspapers to float out some new industry.

The people were blamed for one thing in particular, and this seems to me extraordinary. The captains of finance to-day say: If we have suffered from overproduction, who is to blame? Is it not the people who have purchased on the instalment plan? Is it not the people that have joined a movement which has increased the industries in various countries? To remedy the present situation,- and by the way I am not a farmer-the Minister of Finance thought fit to grant a rebate of 5 cents per bushel on wheat shipped from Canadian shores to the British market. He promised to the working class, through the Minister of Trade and Commerce, a solution to their difficulties in the near future.

The Minister of Labour who has no seat in this house-I again state what I have previously said: the Canadian workman

should be dealt with more equitably; they should have in this house one of their own, a minister responsible to the people-the Minister of Labour, I say, recently stated that he intended to travel extensively through Canada to make himself familiar with the present situation, in order to find a remedy to unemployment prevailing more than ever in our large industrial centres.

The right hon. Minister of Finance (Mr. Bennett) promises something to everybody, but to Quebec he has nothing more to promise, he considers that he has sufficiently (beurree) buttered it.

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

Joseph Georges Bouchard

Liberal

Mr. BOUCHARD:

More butter than bread.

Mr. ST-PERE: There are, sir, various

kinds of unemployed. First, we find the one who has an aversion for work; the other who works halftime and moreover must accept a reduction in wages; then the one to whom the manager of large mills says: you are too old; again another who wants to work but has been replaced by modern machinery; finally the unemployed whom we find among the youths who have just left school, who to-day are in search of jobs, but owing to present depression find it impossible to satisfy their legitimate ambition.

The hon. member for Beauharnois (Mr. Raymond), discussed the question of wages.

The Budget-Mr. St. Pere

In future, I shall not be the only one in the house to claim an increase in wages for the working classes, especially those in my constituency, who work in the large mills of the Dominion Textile Co. I was criticized at times, in my election campaign, because I especially pointed out the smallness of the wages paid by that industry, where people of my race and nationality work and who are entitled to receive more consideration. It is this same large company which the Conservative government favoured again in the changes made to the tariff at the last session. These workmen, I state, are among those to whom the "Misereor Super Turbam" never applied, and this industry bleeds to death the workmen who cross its threshold every morning. This large industry too highly protected obliges men, young women and especially children to work ten and twelve hours per day to earn insignificant wages, still it enjoys to-day a protection which is not deserved. With these shameful dividends- the hon. member for Beauharnois described them a few moments ago-this large corporation should consider somewhat the poor people it employs. It should not forget the precepts of justice and charity. Its shareholders should sacrifice some of their profits unfairly accumulated and think over what St. Augustin wrote one day: that the luxury of the rich is the necessity of the poor.

The hon. Senator John J. Davis, of the United States, recently stated at Gettysburg: "that to decrease wages under present conditions was a crime." If we wish for another opinion-it does not emanate from a workman-the following are the views of William Gibb McAdoo, former Secretary of the Treasury for the United States, who stated that the new formula in the conduct of human affairs is, that industry's first thought must be to help the people and not to concentrate its sole consideration on prospective profits.

I am now aware, sir, that the government's present task is a hard one.

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

June 15, 1931