June 25, 1931

?

An hon. MEMBER:

Under this government?

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CON

Henry Herbert Stevens (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

That is my first justification. My second justification is that there was an overwhelming demand by the. public for this creed.

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LIB
CON

Henry Herbert Stevens (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

I will refer in a moment to the pretty picture. The first publication was made in newspaper form with an invitation attached for the purpose of ascertaining its effect. The responses to that inquiry were so overwhelming that I think I am justified in saying it was a complete success. We could distribute to-day at least 100,000; we have received requests from all over Canada and from every class of people. Hundreds have been distributed in northern Ontario, in the province of Quebec and in the prairie priv-inces. In many cases school inspectors upon seeing the creed have written in and asked

for a supply for distribution in the schools, claiming that it had a good educational value, and that the sentiments contained therein were such as should be disseminated as widely as possible. Whatever may be the opinion of the right hon. gentleman, I have no apologies to make for this effort; I think it has been wholly and amply justified.

A rather slighting remark was made a moment ago about the coloured picture, but I want to say that the lithographing or printing of this creed is a credit to the printing art of Canada. The design was not conceived by myself, but I think it is one which might appeal to the educative instincts of the people. It sets forth the various provincial coats of arms as well as the dominion coat of arms. It is open to my right hon. friend to laugh at it and make fun of it; I accord to him that privilege, if he desires to use it, but it has grown out of a response which was beyond our anticipation and we feel that we have done a very good piece of work in sending that creed throughout Canada. There was no thought of partisanship in the issue of that creed; if my right hon. friend has that in his mind I can assure him there was nothing of the sort.

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LAB

James Shaver Woodsworth

Labour

Mr. WOODSWORTH:

Mr. Chairman, even if the Minister of Trade and Commerce can produce a whole file of recommendations, I do not think it would alter the situation. It would be quite, easy to find 100,000 people who would be glad to make application for creeds damning the present government from A to Z. They could be placed in every post office throughout Canada; I know that every farmer in the west would be glad to have an illuminated creed of that sort. It is ridiculous to think that public money should be spent in this fashion. The leader of the opposition has said it was a waste of public money; I would not say it is a "waste" of public money, but I say it is a misuse of public money.

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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

It is both.

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LAB

James Shaver Woodsworth

Labour

Mr. WOODSWORTH:

Both, if the right hon. gentleman likes, but it is much more serious to misuse public money than it is to waste it. Under the guise of government advertising, the government has carried on a definite political compaign.

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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

It is political propaganda.

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LAB

James Shaver Woodsworth

Labour

Mr. WOODSWORTH:

It has enunciated certain political creeds which are believed in by one. party in this country but are not believed in by the other parties. It has enunciated certain economic doctrinog which are

Supply-Trade and Commerce

false in almost every line and which are condemned by nearly all the leading economists in Canada and throughout the world. We who are responsible in this committee for the use of public money have a right to protest against a campaign of that kind. I hold in my hands a reproduction of one of these letters. I do not know how many of them have been published, but this particular one is directed to the wage earners of Canada. It is entitled "Don't be penny wise pound foolish!'' In the most approved style it attempts to persuade the consumer, especially the wage earning consumer, that it is absolute folly for him to buy goods which are not produced in Canada.

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?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Hear, hear.

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LAB

James Shaver Woodsworth

Labour

Mr. WOODSWORTH:

Hon. gentlemen say "hear, hear"; they have a right to their opinions-

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LIB
LAB

James Shaver Woodsworth

Labour

Mr. WOODSWORTH:

I do not object to hon. gentlemen holding certain opinions, but I have the right to mine, and I object to public money being used to propagate their Opinions. That is where the trouble lies. I should like to read a few sentences from this letter which attempts to dissuade the people of Canada from buying foreign made articles. The letter reads:

Like as not the foreign producer, whom you would be helping out of a jam if you purchased his bargain, has a production cost that is far below the Canadian cost of producing the same article.

There is a statement which has nothing behind it. I could just as easily say: Like as not, the Canadian cost is lower than that of the foreign cost and therefore we are putting money into the hands of the manufacturer without receiving anything back. That was amply shown by the hon. member for Beauharnois who outlined the tremendous profits made by the textile corporations.

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CON

Richard Langton Baker

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BAKER:

If the Canadian cost is less than the foreign cost, the goods would not be imported.

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LAB

James Shaver Woodsworth

Labour

Mr. WOODSWORTH:

That may or may not be the case; even the hon. members are endeavouring to delude themselves on matters of this kind. The letter continues:

And if you were to institute inquiries with a view to finding out why his production cost was so much lower, like as not you would find it was because he was paying his employees rates of wages that were away below the scale paid to similar work in this country.

Hon. members who have compared the wages paid in the United States with those paid in Canada have found that very frequently the wages in this country are much lower than those paid in the United States. Here we have an absolute misstatement of the situation. Assistance is given to the Canadian manufacturer who is paying low wages. The letter continues:

In that event, it would be reasonably safe to assume that a much lower standard of living prevails among the workers in his country than prevails here.

For all we know, the standard of living in other countries may be much higher than in Canada. The letter continues:

Possibly he requires his employees to work longer hours than is customary in Canada.

In many cases, the hours in other countries are shorter than those prevailing in Canada. The fact that an article is made in a foreign country does not mean that the hours worked were longer, or that lower wages were paid. And again:

Possibly the laws of his country are not as strict as they are here regarding the employment of child labour.

Any hon. member who has read the reports of the Department of Labour in connection with child labour must be shocked at the large number of children employed in industry in Canada. There are proportionately twice as many as in the United States. These are figures that are given by our own Department of Labour, yet in this advertisement all that is slurred over and we are led to believe that we have less child labour in this country than elsewhere, which is not true. The article continues:

Possibly he is not taxed, as Canadian manufacturers' are taxed, to ensure compensation on a reasonable scale being paid his workmen who suffer injury in the course of their employment.

Again let me say, when one looks at the reports of the International Labour Office and notes the large number of countries apart from Canada which have provisions for this very type of social legislation and notes how little of it we have in Canada, one realizes that this is pure bluff; there is nothing to it; it is misrepresentation. Yet this is being put over in the name of the government of this country. I quote further:

Possibly he is not required to maintain his factory at anything like as high standards of ventilation, of sanitation, of heating, of lighting, of protection against fire and accident, as are in force in Canada.

In all these matters-hours of labour, rates of wages, standards of living, factory inspection, social legislation and industrial better-

Supply-Trade and Commerce

ment work-Canada is much more advanced than most of the nations that make products similar to hers.

That is absolutely untrue, as is shown, again let me say, by the reports of the International Labour Office as well as other authoritative documents. Yet we have that propaganda put over, for what purposes? Simply to boost some Canadian manufacturers, and in order to lull us into a kind of false self-satisfaction with things in general in this country. The article continues:

The result is that Canadian wage earners are more fortunately circumstanced in almost every way, than are the wage earners in most other countries.

Is that true? When for years such large numbers left Canada to go to the United States, it did not look as if they were so much better off in this country than elsewhere. I quite admit that present conditions are as bad and probably worse in the United States. I continue reading:

Obviously they can only hope to retain those advantages as long as their employers, the manufacturers of Canada, are able to overcome in the domestic market the competition of foreign-made goods that are produced under longer working hours, lower wage scales, and lower standards of living.

Again a misstatement of the situation.

For should the time ever come when they can no longer compete, either their Canadian employees must agree to wage reductions and the loss of decent living conditions, or the manufacturers themselves must close up shop.

Surely there are enough men of the stamp of Sir Joseph Flavelle going around this country preaching lower wages and threatening employees without the government doing the same thing and paying $100,000 of the country's money to do it. The article proceeds :

You can see therefore what serious trouble these bargains in foreign-made goods may cause you-what serious trouble any foreign-made goods may cause you whether they be bargains or not-if you allow yourself to be persuaded into buying them.

What in the name of common sense is the use of our having a Department of Trade and Commerce, having our trade officials all over the world at great cost, and publishing all sorts of documents if we are going to cut off our trade with the rest of the world? I would say that the Department of Trade and Commerce might as well go out of business. The idea of actually spending these huge sums of money simply to instruct the people they must not buy foreign made goods when we all know quite well that unless we do buy foreign made goods, we can never send goods out of this country! That is the elementary 22110-195

economics of the situation and we are beclouding the whole issue by this so-called campaign. The article goes on:

Should you say there is nothing harmful in buying them once in a while, you will probably see nothing harmful in buying them every chance you get.

This simply means that we ought to take as part of our creed that we shall never buy any foreign goods. That is surely a reduetio ad absurdum.

And if you buy them every chance you get, you cannot blame others for doing the same thing. Once everybody in Canada starts doing it, you know what will happen!

I ask hon. gentlemen if all the clothing they wear is made out of wool manufactured in Canada. Do they never buy suits made out of the best English cloths?

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LIB
LAB

James Shaver Woodsworth

Labour

Mr. WOODSWORTH:

Yes; I fancy they

sometimes buy things that are made outside Canada. What about those articles that come under our ordinary diet in this country? Are we to be told that all our citrus fruits must be grown in Canada and that we must never stop to buy anything that is made or produced outside this country? The situation is ridiculous. The article winds up on this high moral plane:

So for the sake of a small immediate saving or merely to satisfy a passing whim, why run the risk of setting in train a movement that in a few years might easily prove your undoing! Wouldn't it be far better for you, and your family, and all your friends, to stand fast by the policy of buying "produced-in-Canada," as the surest means of protecting Canadian rates of wages and Canadian standards of living?

Following up this wonderful campaign, we find almost every province taking up the cry and we have in my own province a "Pro-duced-in-Manitoba" campaign. Our local manufacturers are protesting against anything being brought in from Ontario and Quebec because we want everything produced in Manitoba. Out in Saskatchewan they are insisting that all their beers must be produced in that province, and none of them in Alberta or Manitoba, and so the idea travels. Every word of this campaign, if it be true for the dominion, is equally true for the provinces; it is equally true for each little city across the country. I mention this only to show how absurd the whole thing is. Let me say again, standing in my place as representing one constituency in Canada, I protest against the misuse of public money in carrying on a party campaign of this kind.

Supply-Trade and Commerce

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LIB

William Richard Motherwell

Liberal

Mr. MOTHERWELL:

When these display cards were gotten out by the government as a beautiful exhibit of lithographing and the advertisements generally were published, I put some of the clippings away, but they became so numerous I was not able to keep track of them. They were nothing but campaign literature. During these hard times fine words and feathers may be all right, but they do not butter any parsnips, and they cost a lot of money. May I quote one part of the creed:

We have unbounded confidence in the ability of her people to excel in whatsoever they undertake.

Supposing we substitute the words "the present government" for the words "her people." Then it would read:

We have unbounded confidence in the ability of the present government to excel in whatsoever they undertake.

Well, have we? If my hon. friends opposite have a large quantity of these cards on hand I would recommend that they sell them quickly because the demand is going down rapidly and these cards will soon be at a tremendous discount. Therefore they should sell them quickly while the selling is good, because the exhibition that we had this evening in connection with the Stamp commission report will discount them still further. I think the whole propaganda is ridiculous and absurd; the government have not lived up to the stuff contained in this creed, much less to the realities of life. Whatever major task they have undertaken, failure has dogged their steps from early morning until dewy eve. Of course they have been able to tax us. They are whales' on protection, on looking after the manufacturer. They rushed to Ottawa to a special session, fell upon the necks of the manufacturers and met them more than half-way. They were prepared to do all and even more than the manufacturers wanted to be done or could think of asking for. They are a success in such matters as increasing the postage rates, cancelling the penny postage and imposing all these little annoying taxes; they are certainly whales at that; but a3 regards dealing with any major proposition confronting Canada at this time, nobody can deny that they have fallen down all along the line. Look at the Minister of Justice-the picture of despair. I heard him over the radio during the last election campaign and he gave the most effective speech and the most damaging to the Liberal cause that was given in that part of the country, and that is saying something because his colleague to his right (Mr. Stevens), whom I also heard,

was no mean stump speaker. I certainly admired the ingenuity with which he twisted things. And the Prime Minister, well, he was simply magnificent as an orator over the radio. I remember the Minister of Justice over the radio was complaining about the mixing of wheat, and he asked why did we not fix it up quicker. But we havn't heard a peep out of him since then, but we will attend to that matter before the grain act vote is through. The Minister of Justice has been significantly quiet all this session. Why does he not get up and defend this propaganda? Surety he can defend it as well as he defended the economic conference in London. This government should be condemned up hill and down dale for putting this advertising stuff out. It is purely Conservative propaganda. If I were a Conservative I presume I would look upon it with more leniency, but let me tell you, Mr. Chairman, that there are thousands and tens of thousands of Conservatives who condemn this kind of thing just as much as I do. As a matter of fact, the Conservatives in the west will soon be as scarce as hens' teeth. There will not be enough of them to say anything one way or the other about this propaganda. Who is murmuring over there? Why don't you get up and say something?

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CON

Robert James Manion (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MANION:

Why don't you say something yourself while you are up?

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LIB

William Richard Motherwell

Liberal

Mr. MOTHERWELL:

I am trying to

pretty hard. We have pretty nearly silenced the whole government to-night on every question that has been brought up. Perhaps my hon. friend was not in the house when we were discussing the Stamp report.

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June 25, 1931