March 2, 1932

CON

Henry Alfred Mullins

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MULLINS:

I am a member of that

organization and I did not have anything to do with that resolution.

Topic:   COOPERATIVE COMMONWEALTH
Subtopic:   USB OF NATURAL RESOURCES IN THE INTERESTS OF THE PEOPLE
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LAB

James Shaver Woodsworth

Labour

Mr. WOODSWORTH:

I was quoting from the official minutes of that convention. I come now to Saskatchewan and I find that the united farmers of that province have adopted a provincial economic policy to the effect that no more provincial lands or resources be alienated and that no more homesteads be granted or farm lands sold, but that "use leases" be instituted and that all land and resources now privately owned be nationalized as rapidly as opportunity will permit.

The farmers of Alberta are fairly well represented in this house and can speak for themselves, but I notice that in a report presented at their last convention, at which I had the privilege of attending, they give a definition of the cooperative commonwealth. This definition is as follows:

A community freed from the domination of irresponsible financial and economic power, in which all social means of production and distribution, including land, are socially owned and controlled either by voluntarily organized groups of producers and consumers or-in the case of the major public services and utilities and such productive and distributive enterprises as can be conducted most efficiently when owned in common-by public corporations responsible to the people's elected representatives.

This is the definition given by a great body of Alberta farmers. When we find leading people in the churches, leading people in the great farming bodies as well as in labour, urging some sort of change in our present

Cooperative Commonwealth

economic system, the representatives in parliament cannot very well refuse to take the proposal into serious consideration.

Our problem may be reduced to very simple terms. In production we need natural resources; we need the equipment to work those natural resources and under our present financial system we need capital; we need labour, whether muscular or mental, the labour of hand or brain.

Topic:   COOPERATIVE COMMONWEALTH
Subtopic:   USB OF NATURAL RESOURCES IN THE INTERESTS OF THE PEOPLE
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LIB

Edward James Young

Liberal

Mr. YOUNG:

Does the hon. member distinguish between the second and third factors, equipment and capital?

Topic:   COOPERATIVE COMMONWEALTH
Subtopic:   USB OF NATURAL RESOURCES IN THE INTERESTS OF THE PEOPLE
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LAB

James Shaver Woodsworth

Labour

Mr. WOODSWORTH:

I referred to financial capital; under our financial system we need financial capital.

Topic:   COOPERATIVE COMMONWEALTH
Subtopic:   USB OF NATURAL RESOURCES IN THE INTERESTS OF THE PEOPLE
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LIB

Edward James Young

Liberal

Mr. YOUNG:

Would not equipment be considered as capital?

Topic:   COOPERATIVE COMMONWEALTH
Subtopic:   USB OF NATURAL RESOURCES IN THE INTERESTS OF THE PEOPLE
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LAB

James Shaver Woodsworth

Labour

Mr. WOODSWORTH:

It is in the strictly economic sense but it is not what we call financial capital. This brings in the money question. Let me illustrate for the benefit of the hon. member for Weyburn (Mr. Young) and other hon. members who may be interested. If we want to produce anything out in the country, we need good soil; we need some equipment, whether spade or plough, and we need the labour of the man at the other end of the plough. Then we need something which will tide us over until our crops are matured. In the old western days this used to be called a grubstake. If we want to go fishing, we must have the fishing areas, be they ocean, bay or lake; we must have our equipment, such as nets and so on, and we must have the- labour of the man who has some knowledge of fishing. Then, in addition, we need advances which will enable us to carry on until the fish are caught.

Topic:   COOPERATIVE COMMONWEALTH
Subtopic:   USB OF NATURAL RESOURCES IN THE INTERESTS OF THE PEOPLE
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UFA

Edward Joseph Garland

United Farmers of Alberta

Mr. GARLAND (Bow River):

And we need the fish.

Topic:   COOPERATIVE COMMONWEALTH
Subtopic:   USB OF NATURAL RESOURCES IN THE INTERESTS OF THE PEOPLE
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LAB

James Shaver Woodsworth

Labour

Mr. WOODSWORTH:

The same thing is true of our coal mines. We must first have the coal areas, then the labour and the machinery, and under our present financial system we must have financial capital. The contention has been raised by the hon. members for Macleod (Mr. Coote) and Wetaskiwin (Mr. Irvine) that there is a scarcity of this financial capital.

Topic:   COOPERATIVE COMMONWEALTH
Subtopic:   USB OF NATURAL RESOURCES IN THE INTERESTS OF THE PEOPLE
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UFA

Edward Joseph Garland

United Farmers of Alberta

Mr. GARLAND (Bow River):

We know there is.

Topic:   COOPERATIVE COMMONWEALTH
Subtopic:   USB OF NATURAL RESOURCES IN THE INTERESTS OF THE PEOPLE
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LAB

James Shaver Woodsworth

Labour

Mr. WOODSWORTH:

I think that is a sufficient answer to the question asked by the hon. member for Weyburn.

We have these four necessary factors in abundance in Canada. Every after-dinner

speaker, every one who goes over to the old country boasts of our wonderful timber lands, our wonderful mines and our minerals and fisheries. These men wax eloquent in a description of our resources, but I shall not take up the time of the house in attempting to follow their example. We have the equipment and we have the mining machinery to produce almost three times the amount required for consumption. We have great sawmills and we have the railroads to carry our material. Roughly speaking, I should say that we have the equipment available to produce almost three times what we are producing to-day.

Topic:   COOPERATIVE COMMONWEALTH
Subtopic:   USB OF NATURAL RESOURCES IN THE INTERESTS OF THE PEOPLE
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IND

Joseph Henri Napoléon Bourassa

Independent

Mr. BOURASSA:

And to transport it.

Topic:   COOPERATIVE COMMONWEALTH
Subtopic:   USB OF NATURAL RESOURCES IN THE INTERESTS OF THE PEOPLE
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LAB

James Shaver Woodsworth

Labour

Mr. WOODSWORTH:

We have this

machinery of production and distribution, but yet we are in trouble. Our present system has developed to the point where a comparatively small number of men, either directly or indirectly, control the natural resources, the equipment, and the financial capital and labour is unable to get at these things. Our private ownership has developed from the small beginning where many men were in control to a point where one man is able to control great corporations and direct the destiny of hundreds and thousands of his fellow employees. In the old days finance was in the hands of the many; our savings used to be kept in a stocking or hidden away behind a brick in the fireplace, and when our friends needed a little assistance we were able to give it. To-day our system of banks has developed to a point where everyone makes his deposit in the banks, and the man requiring a loan is forced to go to these institutions who have control not only of the actual deposits but of the credit of the people based thereon. We have available a marvellous system of production but we cannot use it to its full capacity. Indeed, many cannot gain access to it at all.

I sometimes think it is like a vacant lot. No one is using it and it could be utilized to grow raspberries. There are plenty of spare raspberry canes but the man who owns the vacant lot will not permit it to be used and the man who possesses the extra raspberry canes will not hand them over. They are afraid that the raspberries grown on the vacant lot will enter into competition with their product. We have got into the habit of thinking that our productivity is limited and we continue to economize, whereas the resources of this great machine which we have built up are almost unlimited. Instead of denying our people the right to eat, or at

Cooperative Commonwealth

least to eat as much as they need; instead of denying them the right to wear respectable clothes, because we say we cannot pay dividends; we are too poor, and so on, we should be pouring out these things. Then we would start the machinery going again. I would urge: This productive-distributional machine has to be socialized. You ask: How? There are those who say: Go and seize it. That is a rather crude way of dealing with the situation, but it may come to that if it cannot be taken in any other way. There are many proposals as to how the transition to the new order may be made. I hold in my hand a book published thirteen years ago by Sidney and Beatrice Webb-a Constitution for the Socialist Commonwealth of Great Britain. This is the plan for a proposed British socialist commonwealth. If anyone wishes to see the steps whereby this could be brought about in Great Britain, I would recommend that he read this book by Lord Passfield who has outlined the developments by which this might be brought about. But unfortunately men are not always actuated by reason and they do not act step by step, so we do not know just what the next development will be.

I want to devote myself for the few minutes that remain to me to some of the objections that are constantly being raised. For example, we are told that the new arrangement would interfere with the rights of private property. I go back to the papal encyclical, in which I read:

It is rightly contended that certain forms of property must be reserved to the state, since they carry with them an opportunity of domination too great to be left to private individuals without injury to the community at large.

Surely that is clear and the position a reasonable one. Another quotation:

History proves that the right of ownership, like other elements of social life, is not absolutely rigid.

Anyone who knows anything about the way in which the crown lands of this country have been alienated, will understand that those who now hold them have very slim rights, so far as ethics are concerned, to the lands which they now occupy. Anyone who knows how the great water powers of this country, including Beauharnois, have been obtained, will not be very sure that the present owners are the rightful ones. Anyone who knows how railway charters were obtained in this country a few years ago may very well question the foundations of present ownership of private property. If anyone wants to take the trouble

to find out how the private fortunes of Canada were created I think he might read what is now an old book by Gustavus Myers, History of Canadian Wealth, which was written some time ago and was suppressed during the war, which shows how the private wealth of the earlier wealthy people of this country was built up.

Then again we are warned that anything in the way of socialization would mean the banishment of private initiative. As a matter of fact I doubt whether the majority of our people, under our modern industrial system, have very much chance to exercise private initiative. They are simply hewers of wood and drawers of water. Under our present system we shall always have men who can never be anything else; but if we establish a cooperative commonwealth, they will play their part; they will have their share, and there will be a greater opportunity for the development of their initiative.

The question may be asked: Will such a plan work? That can be determined only by trial. What I want to point out is that the present system is not working and the onus of proof rests upon the apologists for the present system. What I want to do is to urge upon the house that we give serious consideration to developing another system. I do not say that this can be done overnight, but every time we develop the cooperative principle in industry, we go one step towards bringing about a cooperative commonwealth; every time we allow public ownership to replace private ownership and to be operated under democratic auspices, we take another step toward a cooperative commonwealth; every time we allow more authority and control to be given to employees, we come one step nearer a cooperative commonwealth. Every time we take wealth away from the superwealthy and thus make a more equitable distribution, we are bringing about a more stable state of affairs and are taking a step towards the cooperative commonwealth.

Topic:   COOPERATIVE COMMONWEALTH
Subtopic:   USB OF NATURAL RESOURCES IN THE INTERESTS OF THE PEOPLE
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CON

John Ritchie MacNicol

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. J. R. MacNICOL (Toronto Northwest):

Mr. Speaker, anyone who has worked on the farm or in the factory or in the office or, for that matter, in any vocation in life, knows that in order to make a success of any line he may enter, he must adhere to proven, practical principles. We have before us to-day a resolution which states:

And whereas the prevalence of the present depression throughout the world indicates fundamental defects in the existing economic system.

Cooperative Commonwealth

After stating that, it continues:

Be it therefore resolved: that, in the opinion of this house the government should immediately take measures looking to the setting up of a cooperative commonwealth.

And so forth. If this resolution be adopted, it will of course revolutionize the present economic system, and therefore some other economic system would have to be substituted for it. When I was a boy going to high school -and I suppose other hon. members have had similar experiences-every now and then we would have debates, and I remember one debate in which the resolution was: "Resolved that the higher we get, the fewer." Whatever that means or whatever it meant when I was a boy, I do not recall. We have had in this house and out of it debates that have not had much more behind them than that resolution.

In every period of economic distress-and I rather think the term "economic distress" is a misnomer; there is nothing wrong with the economic system and I think the term should be " economic dislocation "-there have not been found wanting men here, there and everywhere throughout the land who will advocate what might be called social reform or social revolution or upheaval of some sort. Like most businessmen I have had something to do with the building up of the economic fabric of this country. I have made a study of economics for many, many years, and from a long period of practical experience I have learned this, that if men are to succeed they must first be willing to work hard. I do not necessarily mean working hard with your hands any more than with your heads. But men must apply themselves diligently. Another requisite is that they must spend less than they earn, and lay by something either to provide for the rainy day or to make it possible to project themselves still further ahead in life.

Recent issues of Nation's Business have carried some illuminating articles on the economic dislocation-I will call it that-of the period around 1837, of the economic dislocation of 1857, and of the prolonged economic dislocation of 1873 to 1879, and I believe that the next issue will give an equally illuminating account of the troublous times from 1893 to 1897. There has not been anything said in this debate so far which has not been said in each one of those troublous times. There were just as many parades then as there are to-day or as there will be, and I have no doubt that there will be parades, and more of them, of one kind or another. These accounts in the Nation's Business tell of the slogans that were

carried at the head of the parades in those days. In 1873 there was a great meeting held at the Cooper's Union, New York City, and there were placards reading as follows: "Civil rights are passed. Now for the rights of work."-"Freedom for labour. Death for Monopolies"-"We demand suspension of rent"-"When workmen begin to think, monopoly begins to tremble." We hear those same slogans to-day and will likely hear more of that kind in the future. There is nothing new in this whole agitation. But in every one of these depressions in the past the economic system overcame its dislocation and the world went on with its business again and prospered.

I predict, Mr. Speaker, that the present economic dislocation will also end, and that the world will get on with its business in a businesslike manner.

Let me try and touch on a few of the causes of the economic dislocation as I see them and as I have read of them, because there have been many searching inquiries into the causes in different countries of the world for some time past. To a business man it is as clear as ABC, and when I say business men I do not confine myself to industry but take in the whole ambit of business, the professions, agriculture, in fact, the entire economic fabric of this country.

During the period of twenty years from 1899 to 1919, we find that the productivity of industry increased at about a normal rate. I am not now speaking of agriculture because I am not conversant with its productivity, but during that period the productivity of industry increased approximately ten per cent. That is, a man working in industry during that period was able to produce ten per cent more than a man working in industry prior to 1899. Prior to 1914, if I may refer to Europe for a moment, the great nations of Europe- Germany, France, Austria-Hungary, Great Britain and other countries, were all great producers of textiles, iron and steel, chemicals and other allied and additional lines. Not only that, but the great countries of Europe were exporters in all these lines. Germany, for instance, was not only a great exporter of manufactured goods in these and allied lines, but was a large producer and exporter of sugar. Likewise Russia was a large producer and exporter of sugar. Now what happened in 1914? When the war broke out, the great countries of Europe, instead of being exporters of all these lines of goods and scores of others that it is not necessary for me to ' mention, became importers. They could not produce enough for themselves; they had neither the equipment nor the man power to

Cooperative Commonwealth

produce their requirements, and so they went out into the world and appealed to the fanners of America, north and south, to Asia, Africa and India, India being a part of Asia, and to Australia, and begged them to produce to the limit the different food commodities that Europe required, and further they asked the industrialists of all the world outside of Europe to go ahead and man their plants to the limit, to experiment, investigate, call in experts, produce the highest powered machines possible. Why? Because Europe required the equipment and could not produce her requirements herself. The result was that during the period from 1914 to 1918, and the reconstruction period following 1918, the world saw the greatest expansion of productivity in its history.

Reverting for a moment to the war period itself, America, as every member of this house knows, erected plants the like of which the world had not seen before. I have in mind a plant erected in Chicago for the turning out of steel plate. That plant turned out plate 120 inches wide. The demand was so great for the product that the people financing the industry formed a tandem association of plants consisting of ten plants whereby they were able to start their ingot at plant No. 1 and bring it out at plant No. 10 in any thickness desired. Any one familiar with the steel industry must know that heretofore the ingot had to go back and forth through the rolls until it was reduced to the desired thickness.

In 1918 the war ended and through necessity Europe returned to the production of its own requirements. Very quickly European plants overcame domestic demands and became exporters. So great were reconstruction requirements, however, after the year 1918 that all of the world plants were required to produce the necessary amount. There had to come an end, however, and that end did come. When it came, in January, 1929, the world found itself over-equipped, so far as the turning out of its requirements was concerned. That however was not a fault of the economic system; the system had nothing to do with that result. The war was at the root of the trouble. That great disaster clearly demonstrated that the best possible way to preserve the equilibrium of the world is to have no war; war itself is the greatest of destructors, and our present distress is a result of it. If we could but learn to follow the great admonition of the Prince of Peace, to live in harmony and peace together, we would go a long distance in preventing future economic dislocations.

There were other causes correlated with those I have enumerated. Never in the

world's history, so far as the studies of chemistry, physics and mathematics were concerned, did men rise to the heights they attained from the years 1914 to 1929. The result was that from the standpoint of employment certain industries did not increase in demand. First let us consider the musicians. Every hon. member knows that only a few years ago it was difficult to secure the services of a musician; the demand was great for bands and orchestras. But along came the sound films, and the musicians found themselves out of employment. Certainly the economic system is not to blame for that; the change was brought about by an advance in physics and chemistry.

Let us consider the moulding industry, with which I am more familiar. I can remember very well when a plant in which I was particularly interested employed approximately 700. Along came the moulding machines, with the result that instead of 700 men only 125 were required. The same effect was found all through industry; yet the economic system cannot be blamed. Industry has advanced; we all know it must advance. Productivity in this country, if our industry will compete, must equal the productivity of other countries. Let us consider the painters who have been displaced through the use of the paint gun. To-day we see men painting fences and buildings with an apparatus which sprays the paint all over the surface to be covered. What about the carpenters? Probably they have not been largely displaced, but certainly the demand for their services has been considerably reduced because the windows for large buildings are made of steel, and the partitions of concrete. In other words, the advance in the use of steel and concrete as a direct result of chemical and physical research has displaced many carpenters throughout the world. Then, the stone masons were displaced through the use of the concrete mixing machine; bookkeepers and other factory office helpers have been displaced through machines which subtract, divide and keep correct accounts. We cannot tell where the end will be.

In these days we use automatic telephones. Consider the hundreds and thousands, and probably millions, of girls who have been displaced through the use of these automatic machines. On the other hand, many men and women have as a result of inventions been given employment. As I said before however, and now repeat, I do not think for one moment that anything like the number dis-

Cooperative Commonwealth

placed have been reengaged in other lines. Certainly we know that many of them are not.

Two other reasons occur to me as at least partial causes for the present economic dislocation. Every hon. member knows that during the last ten years we have experienced an almost unbridled reign of stock speculators and high pressure salesmen who loaded the populace with investments, giving opportunities to pay over long periods of time. Such selling of stock was unsound, but our economic system had nothing to do with it. Such things can be regulated, but when a collapse occurs we must not blame our economic system. If one cared to review conditions as they are depicted in the New York press of the years 1873 to 1879 he might learn of the economic dislocation which took place in the United States at that time. I have heard men older than myself say that Canada suffered accordingly. Unfortunately the Canadian records are not accessible; at least I have not been able to find any. Nation's Business, however, contains a record of the appalling situation which obtained in the United States. Hundreds of thousands of men were thrown out of work; there were riots in the great cities. In Martinsburg and Pittsburgh, the militia called out joined the rioters, and regular troops had to be called into service. To-day no such condition exists. Thanks to the enactments introduced by the present government to relieve unemployment we have no such conditions in Canada, and I repeat, I do not expect they will become so acute. I do not expect we are going to have anything like the conditions which prevailed from 1873 to 1879-conditions worse by far than anything we are familiar with at the present time. But Canada recovered from that very serious depression, the world got back to business again, and we shall see a similar recovery from the present depression. To hasten that recovery we must have courage and do our best to keep business going and maintain the unity of the country.

The mover of the resolution did not specifically suggest any other system to overcome the present depression, but as I listened to him I could plainly see the cooperative commonwealth to which he referred was but another name for collectivism or the system now in operation in Russia. The Toronto Star Weekly of December 5 contains a very illuminating article on conditions in that country. It is written by a very able man and I am going to read a few extracts under the three or four heads into which the article

divides itself. I do not for one moment contend that the condition depicted in the extracts I am now about to give to the house is the result of the economic system now functioning in Russia, nor would I say that the depression through which the world is now passing is the result of the fiscal policies which the various countries have in force. This, according to the writer, is what is taking place in Russia under their so-called cooperative system.

Our first experience of things Russian was far from pleasant, though, having survived, we are inclined to think that in no more effective way could we have been brought into contact with the realities of Russian life.

The tourists having arrived in' Russia, the writer says:

We shall not soon forget the endless delays in securing tickets and the contradictory statements made by the various officials. Evidently untrained and inefficient people were running things.

How far are the new rulers equal to their tasks?

On every side there are evidences of inefficiency. The purchase of a railway ticket is little less than an ordeal. The writing, the stamping, the cutting-off with scissors, the consultations, the being sent back and forward from one official to another-it is all most exasperating. Half of our time seemed to be spent in waiting-waiting for arrangements that did not come off; waiting for meals that were poor when at last they did arrive-such wretched service and at such outrageously high prices.

Now as to the stations: what were they like?

About two o'clock in the morning we found ourselves and our baggage on the platform at Orscha. To our consternation we learned that the next train for Leningrad would not leave until noon. There was no hotel in the place. The floors of the large rooms and hallways of the station were simply packed with men and women and children and babies, lying huddled together or stretched across their huge bundles and boxes. They slept as best they could, awaking to change positions or to eat some of the black bread and sausage which they fished out of dirty-looking sacks. The air was stifling.

This is the writer's description of the trains:

Two Austrian friends, *noth the help of a porter, undertook to secure us seats. They fought their way through a struggling mass of humanity and pulled and shoved us into a compartment. This compartment had seating accommodation for six people, but eleven of us were squeezed in, and others came in at intervals. We were fortunate, as many could find only standing-room in the corridor which runs along one side of the carriage.

Above us were stacked the innumerable bundles and baskets that probably contained the food and bedding necessary for a sojourn in Leningrad. The windows and the door were

Cooperative Commonwealth

kept tightly closed. We thought of the Black Hole of Calcutta, and wondered whether we could possibly survive the night. The sight of lunches being eaten under these conditions was almost too much for Canadian stomachs.

Here is his description of the street cars:

Then there were the over-crowded street cars. Sardines were never packed so tightly, and sardines do not hang out of the sides of the tins! It is a fight to gain a foot-hold on the lowest step. It is like a continuous rugby scrimmage to work one's way to the front of the oar, and then there is a final fight to get through the exit doors.

As to the food, the writer says:

Everywhere, too, the long lines of people waiting for food, standing for hours and then likely only an insufficient supply.

With respect to waste the writer tells us:

These minor inconveniences and hardships are nothing to the enormous wastes of which every engineer complains. It is so often impossible to get materials and men when they are needed, even though there may be congestion at other points. There is often lack of coordination, endless red-tape, and all the other evils of a bureaucracy, and an untrained and doctrinaire bureaucracy at that.

In case it may be supposed that this was a trip taken at random, let me give this quotation:

It may be that to some extent we were "guided," shown only the best. We may even have had the wool pulled over our eyes, but we did visit various factories and houses, sometimes without a guide. We tramped many miles of dirty streets, poked up into alleys, used all the faculties we possessed, and the overwhelming impression was that here was a vast people on the march. True, their standards of living are low-so low as to be for Europeans almost unbearable.

As to the collectivist organization, the system suggested in the resolution, the writer says:

One journalist who knows Russia intimately said to me: "This collectivization of the farms is a tragedy-

I thought a moment ago I heard something about collectivization on the farm.

-for most of the people, to whom it means an entire _ overturn in their whole manner of life, a sacrifice of all that they have held dear. But it seemed inevitable, and another generation is coming on."

Now the last item:

One of the most noticeable things is the absolute equality of women with men. In Europe, of course, peasant women have always worked in the fields, and since industrialism has developed they have worked in the factories. Still, one is almost appalled to find women working side by side with men digging drains, or repairing buildings, or driving trucks, or sweeping the streets.

The dictatorship of the czars has been replaced by that of the communistic party. The traditions of the secret police have been carried on by the O.G.P.U. Central authority is everywhere in evidence. Reliance seems to be placed on edicts, and then poplar slogans. Hence development instead of being all along the line, is spotty, or perhaps I should say, "streaky." At present there is a drive in Moscow for the reconditioning of houses. Every energy seems to be bent in that direction. Tomorrow the drive may be for roads or school buildings.

I stated that a very able man had written the article from which these extracts are taken-none other than the member for Winnipeg North Centre (Mr. Woodsworth). I admire his great ability and when I hear him address the house I feel sorry that that ability has not been directed to the upbuilding of the country instead of-as I see it-pulling it down. I' do not want him to think that I am speaking unkindly, I always respect another man's views, but I cannot help expressing that opinion. I am going to invite the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre and his supporters to turn over a new leaf and to see what can be done to build up Canada.

The hon. gentleman spoke of our natural resources and of how they are being developed to give labour employment, and he is correct. I think that perhaps something might be suggested whereby more employment might be afforded. We have in Canada to-day in most of our industrial centres what are called industrial commissions. I cannot name offhand the cities in which these commissions function but there is one in the city from which I come and one of the ridings of which I have the honour to represent. That industrial commission has done a good deal of splendid work. During the several years it has been in existence it has been successful in establishing in Toronto at least one hundred industries of one kind or another. I give an arbitrary number, but it is not too high; if anything it is rather low. Each of the great railways also has an industrial commission, and these commissions have likewise done good work. I am sure that through these commissions cities and towns throughout Canada have been benefited by the creation of industry in these centres. The Department of the Interior has also a very small branch engaged in the same business, and it too has done notable work. If I am correctly informed, the rayon mills in the city of Cornwall which cost some $10,000,000 and give employment to about 1,200 operators- the hon. member for Stormont (Mr. Shaver) informs me that they number 1,300; I am

Cooperative Commonwealth

glad he is at such pains to see that his grand old county receives due recognition-and I have recently read that the new mill which it had been intended to erect at Three Rivers is now to be located at Shawinigan Falls, and they are about to manufacture cellophane, if they are not doing so at the present time. At any rate, when it is in operation that enterprise will give employment to several hundred men. These industries and the plant at Kippawa which turns out their raw product are largely the outcome of the splendid efforts of a small branch in the Department of the Interior, which has followed the lines suggested, in the creation of industry in the country. I submit that we should continue our efforts in that direction.

To the business man it seems that we have too many commissions of one kind or another, and it would appear desirable to have them coordinated under one head. In Germany, for example, there is a Department of Industry and in France a Department of Economy. At any rate, considerable good would result from a department whose sole purpose would be the creation of industry through the development of our natural resources. I have no doubt that, under a capable man, it would result in employment for hundreds of thousands of Canadians. Anything suggested along that line will receive my support; I will support anything that will give Canadians legitimate employment. Indeed, that is the only reason I came to this house, to do what I could to increase the demand for labour through an increase in industry itself. Possibly the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre has advocated something of this sort; if he has then I think he has done something worth while.

As regards unemployment, unfortunately there are periods all too frequent, when men are laid off temporarily or finally. They are laid off before the time they should be, and I think there is a great field there for those who set their hearts and minds on increasing employment in the country. Between 1919 and 1929, the world's productivity had increased 50 per cent, a larger increase than had taken place between 1899 and 1919. What has been the result? The numbers employed in industry fluctuated-assuming 100 to be normal-between five below and three above. In other words, the average employment did not increase but was frequently below the mark. In consequence thousands of men were laid off from time to time. Let me give two or three examples that have come under my own observation, one just last Saturday. A man who had been employed in a certain 41761-47

industry for thirty-two years was dismissed. There is now nothing for him; he has no fund on which to draw. It would have been well for such a man if during the good years he could have laid by something by way of contribution. I am sure that hon. members in the far corner of the house, and indeed in every part of the house, are as anxious as I am to do something to tide people over a period of unemployment.

I am told that my time is up and I shall have to close. Let me urge in closing that instead of upheaval, instead of pulling down, we should try to create so as to give more employment. That would be a lot better for the country. The old economic system around which the empire has been built up is the same system on which this country has been built, and on which the great republic to the south of us and other great nations of the world have succeeded. We should proceed along those lines instead of pulling down the system.

Topic:   COOPERATIVE COMMONWEALTH
Subtopic:   USB OF NATURAL RESOURCES IN THE INTERESTS OF THE PEOPLE
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IND

Angus MacInnis

Independent Labour

Mr. ANGUS MacINNIS (Vancouver South):

The hon. member who has just

spoken (Mr. MacNicol) implied in his closing remarks that those of us who support this resolution and who are looking forward to a change of things to improve the condition of the masses of the people only want to tear the present structure down. The hon. gentleman is assuming far too much. It is because we want to build up and not to tear down that we are taking part in this debate. It is for that reason that we have introduced the resolution. We realize to-day that the present economic system is tumbling about our ears and that nothing is being done about it. In proof of this we can quote men in all walks of life who have never at any time taken part in social reform of any kind. To assume that we bring forward this resolution as a means of tearing down the present structure is to speak without understanding what we are trying to do.

The hon. member who has just taken his seat pointed out the many improvements which have been made in machinery and the great developments which have taken place in our present system. He mentioned that the worker had been displaced by means of machinery and then went on to say that that had nothing to do with the economic system. If it had nothing to do with the economic system I should like to know what is the cause of our present difficulty. Our present system must be held responsible for what happens under it.

Topic:   COOPERATIVE COMMONWEALTH
Subtopic:   USB OF NATURAL RESOURCES IN THE INTERESTS OF THE PEOPLE
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IND

Joseph Henri Napoléon Bourassa

Independent

Mr. BOURASSA:

Or lack of it.

Cooperative Commonwealth

Topic:   COOPERATIVE COMMONWEALTH
Subtopic:   USB OF NATURAL RESOURCES IN THE INTERESTS OF THE PEOPLE
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IND

Angus MacInnis

Independent Labour

Mr. MacINNIS:

Or lack of it, as the hon. member for Labelle (Mr. Bourassa) points out.

In moving the resolution the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre points out as one of the indictments against the present system the fact that workers under present conditions have no scope for initiative; once they are workers they must remain so. While I agree with him in most other things I cannot agree wholly with him in this respect; there is one thing else open to them-they can become unemployed.

Part of yesterday afternoon and last evening was spent in the discussion of the unemployment situation, and the resolution now before the house points out that under our present economic arrangement large numbers of people are unemployed and without means of earning a livelihood for themselves and their dependents. Ample proof of this was furnished in the debate on the resolution moved a week or so ago by the hon. member for North Winnipeg. The figures furnished by the international labour office show that unemployment in Canada for the year 1931 increased by eighty per cent over 1930. With the exception of three other countries, this is the largest increase shown. The increases in unemployment in several countries are as follows:

Per cent

Netherlands 92

Belgium 128

New Zealand 184

Australia 34

United States 30

Great Britain 12

This great increase in unemployment did not take place because of agitation carried on by labour radicals or any other body. All countries of the world had capitalistic governments when the depression first set in; they are still under capitalistic governments, and the depression is continuing. It is quite true that from 1929 to 1931 there was a labour government in office, but not in power in Great Britain. This government did not carry out a socialistic or cooperative policy as we understand it; it tried to administer the affairs of the country along strictly capitalistic lines.

We do not blame anyone for what has happened; we are not like the other political parties who blame each other. The Conservative party blames the Liberal party for the conditions which obtained from 1922 to 1930 while, on the other hand, the Liberals blame the Conservatives because conditions are not improving at the present time. Our contention is that the economic system is breaking down not because of a lack of efficient administrators but because of inherent defects

in the system itself. We bring this resolution forward in an effort to provide wider scope for improvement and to better the welfare of the people in general.

I should like to quote from an address delivered by the Minister of Trade and Commerce (Mr. Stevens) to the Empire Club in Toronto, on October 8, 1930. Hon. members who have been in parliament much longer than I have know that the minister always speaks very well when addressing the house, but my opinion is-I say this without wishing to give offence-that he speaks much more intelligently when he is outside of the house. This may be because he feels he has more-freedom outside. After hearing him address the house last Friday I have come to the conclusion that he can speak with considerable intelligence even when in the house. The hon. minister's remarks to the Empire Club were as follows:

While one-third of the human race, which might be termed western civilization, including Europe and North America, has so perfected its system of mechanised production that it has more goods than it can consume or sell, the other two-thirds of the human race, which can be classified as eastern civilization, is in dire need of those things which lie rotting in the possession of the other division, and over the whole human race hangs, like a funeral pall, want, poverty, idleness and social disintegration.

This is not the raving of a radical socialist or a soap-box orator, it is the considered statement of the Minister of Trade and Commerce of Canada. I consider that he has treated the whole situation in a very concise manner. It will be noticed that Canada is included in what is termed western civilization; we are part of that civilization which has perfected its mechanical production to a point where we are able to produce more than we can sell or consume: It might be well to point out that there are many people in this dominion who could consume much more than they are consuming at the present time. The figures in connection with unemployment in Vancouver, part of which I represent, show that there are ten thousand people on unemployment relief. That is, they are either employed on relief work or receiving direct relief. I visited one or two of the refuges where workers are homed and fed, and in one building over a garage-and this is contrary to the by-laws of the city,-on a floor space of fifty by 120 feet there were beds one above another for 276 people, these beds being occupied at night. At another mission in the city of Vancouver there was a place four and a half feet by thirty-two feet where there were twenty-four people sleeping every night. And this is in a country where the Minister

Coop.erative Commonwealth

of Trade and Commerce tells us that we have so improved the mechanization of industry that we can produce more than we can sell or consume.

Of course the whole trouble is that under the present system production is carried on not to meet the needs of the people, but so that the products may be sold, and in order that that may be done, one must have the wherewithal to buy those products. If you have not the wherewithal to buy then, regardless of what the production of the country may be, you will be faced with conditions such as I have just outlined. The hon. member for Toronto Northwest (Mr. MacNicol) tells us that in order to succeed we must work hard. If he will provide the work, I am sure I can provide the workers and they will be workers who will work hard.

I quite understand that the Minister of Trade and Commerce, in making the speech in which these statements appear, was making a case for bimetallism, on which I am not going to say anything at the moment, because it is not germane to the question under discussion. Under our social system, as under all social systems, certain institutions spring up and at the present time we have at least one institution that is the subject of very much comment. I refer to banking. Again, on the same evening in the same speech, the minister said:

The trade problem of the world is to move the surplus goods from those who have them in abundance into the hands and for the use of those who are in need of them, and surely it is not beyond the wit of man to devise a system which will accomplish this end.

So far it has been beyond our wits to devise a system that will do that. However, he goes on further and says:

It is the business of the bankers of the world, through a proper monetary system, to achieve this objective, and the job is not being done.

First of all, I might say that if the job is not being done, governments have one function and that is to see that those things which are essential to the welfare of the state are carried out. If the bankers are not carrying out their function properly, no doubt the Minister of Trade and Commerce will take the matter up with the cabinet and see that something is done about it. But I do not agree with him that it is the business of bankers to provide a monetary system that will do the thing which he pointed out, namely, that will move surplus goods from those who have them in abundance to those who need them. Under our present economic system that is not the business of bankers; their business is to make profits for the share-41761-474

holders of the banks, as it is the business of every industry in the country to make profits for the people who have invested money in those industries. Under capitalism that is the business of every institution and that is the reason why at the present time, while we have abundance, those who produced that abundance are living under conditions which are anything but what they ought to be.

It will, however, be noticed that he said that eastern civilization has not yet perfected its mechanism of production so that it can produce sufficient for its needs. But what particular difference does that make when our western civilization which has perfected that mechanism so that we can produce more than we can consume and the eastern civilization which has not yet succeeded in doing that, there hangs a pall of want, poverty, idleness and social disintegration for the one because it has been able to improve its mechanism of production and for the other because it has not? But what would the people of this country do if by some catastrophe China and India should be altogether removed from the trade of the world? Suppose, by some catastrophe, they were engulfed in the ocean; would western civilization continue starving amidst plenty because it had no place to sell its goods? Is this not proof positive to anyone that those goods were produced to sell and not for use? Supposing for instance, those countries had, like Russia, abolished private property in the means of production, in which case from our high moral altitude we could not trade with them, then we would be in a bad way indeed.

The mover of the motion made some reference to the beginnings of the capitalistic system and I agree that it is very difficult, if not impossible, to secure a clear understanding of the present system unless we go back to its beginnings, unless we go back at least to 1769, when Stephenson had so perfected the steam engine that it could be used in production. If we go back to that time and consider the development that has proceeded from then until now, I do not think we shall say that the Great war was the cause of our present difficulties. If, as I say, we go back to Great Britain in 1769, we shall find that she was the only country in the world that was producing commodities by steam motivation. At that time we would find a virgin world as far as natural resources were concerned. All the civilizations and generations that had gone before had only begun to scratch the surface of the earth so far as its natural resources were concerned. But something else happened at that time. Great

Cooperative Commonwealth

Britain, manufacturing with steam driven machinery, began to sell her manufactured products in every part of the world, and she found a market because she was the only *country producing in that way. But she sold, not only her manufactured products, but the machinery and engines with which those could be produced, first to the United States, then to Germany, and the result was that those countries also began producing industrially. As each country in turn became industrialized, the market for such goods became less; world markets became constricted. If you will consider the conditions of that time, you will find that industrialization in the various countries of the world was accelerated as the mechanization of industry increased, so that Japan, the last great country to become industrialized, has done in about fifty years what it took Great Britain 150 years, or the United States 100 years, or Germany seventy-five years to accomplish. This was not because the Japanese were any more clever than the people of the other countries I have mentioned, but because they received the benefit of the capital, skill and experience of those countries that had previously become industrialized.

Again, if you go back to that time, as the mover of the resolution pointed out, the agricultural population was largely predominant. As a matter of fact, while I have no exact figures, I do not think it is any exaggeration to say that in 1769 the population of the world was ninety-five per cent a peasant population. As far back as 1820, eighty-eight per cent of the population gainfully employed in the United States was agricultural, but in 1920 the agricultural population in that country had been reduced to twenty-five per cent of the whole.

I would like to put in as concise a form as possible what I believe to be the fundamental defects in our system, and the reasons for the distress that we are facing at the moment. We are dealing with the system of society under which we live. The basis of the capitalist system is private ownership of the means of wealth production; that is, private ownership of lands, forests, mines, mills and factories. The owners of these means of production operate them, as I have pointed out before, for one purpose and one purpose only, namely, to produce profits, and the propertyless wage earner can get access to these means of production, and consequently to the means of life, only on the understanding that he will produce more for the owner than he receives in wages. He produces, in fact, values greater than the values he receives. The employer's

profits, then, arise out of the surplus values which the workers produce and do not get, and the greater the difference between the values which the worker produces and the values which he receives in wages, the greater the profits of the employer. In other words, the employing class who make their living by rent, interest and profit, make their profits by appropriating the values produced by the working class in excess of their wages, and as I have already pointed out, the greater the amount of the values produced which the employing class can appropriate to themselves, the greater their profits. It seems to me that it logically follows that because profit is the motive in all capitalist production, as the hon. member for Toronto Northwest (Mr. MacNicol) has pointed out, every possible means is taken to increase the owner's share of profit, such as the forcing down of wages, increasing the hours of work, improving machinery and thereby displacing the number of employees in industry, and increasing the intensity of labour. I read a statement that was made by Colonel Cockshutt, of Brantford, of whom we have all heard, when speaking at a meeting of the Anglican Synod in Toronto last September. He stated that from twenty-five to fifty per cent of the workers in certain industries had been displaced in the last few years through improvements in machinery. Of course, the workers resist as best they may, but regardless of what they do, when markets become glutted with the goods which the workers have produced and which they cannot buy, their living conditions become depressed. It seems to me that it ought to be fairly obvious to everybody that if the workers in industry produce more than they can purchase with their wages, unless the owners consume the surplus, which because of its magnitude they cannot do, the surplus must be disposed of somewhere else than where it is produced. That is the reason why every country in the world, Canada included, is looking for world markets. World markets are an absolute necessity.

With the increasing use of machinery in agriculture the position of the farmer is becoming more and more analogous to that of the industrial wage earner. Because of his seeming ownership of the land and the equipment with which he works it, also for the reason, I presume, that on occasions he engages hired help, the farmer for a long time was under the delusion that he was a man of property; his exploitation by the real owning class was not so apparent to him as it was to his fellow-worker, the industrial wage worker.

MARCH 2, 1932 Ml

Cooperative Commonwealth

The wage worker sells his labour power direct to the employer by the day, hour, week or month, as the case may be, at its market value. The product he produces belongs to the man or corporation employing him, or purchasing his labour power. The labour power of the farmer is used in the production of the various commodities he produces, varying with the nature of the farming operations he carries on, such as the raising of wheat, fruit, cattle, poultry, and these products he tries to dispose of in the market, a market, mark you, over which he has no control. In fact the farmer has no voice whatever in setting the price of what he buys or in setting the price of what he has to sell. It is true that in the last few years, through cooperative pools and other agencies, the farmer has imitated his brother in the industrial cities, but not with any great success. When he takes his products to market he asks the buyer: What will you give me for it? When he comes to buy he asks the seller: What are you asking for

it' He is at the mercy of a world market, and the surplus values that he produces go just as surely and just as completely to those who live by rent, interest and profit, as do the products of the wage worker which he,-the wage worker,-leaves in the factory when the whistle blows at five o'clock.

This system under which we are living at the present time did very well when the nations of the world were being transformed from a peasant and handicraft production to large scale industrial production, but it no longer suffices when that transformation is complete as it is to-day. Capitalism did very well when new countries were being opened up, when new frontiers were daily being pushed forward into new lands, when virgin forests were being replaced by industrial cities, but it no longer works when our civilization has become top heavy with huge cities as it is to-day. The function of government in the future, as we see it, must be that of organizing production. The policy of laissez faire in production is at an end, and whether we like it or not, the next step in successful and orderly government must be in planned production. The capitalist system we maintained has reached the limit of its usefulness, and it should now be replaced just as it replaced another economic system. The capitalist system functioned more or less efficiently in the past, when the surplus values produced could be reinvested as new capital, but to-day there is no place where these surplus values can be reinvested. While they could be reinvested, the workers in industry could be

assured of a certain measure of the essentials of life. However, with markets clogged with commodities for which there are no buyers, industrial workers and large numbers of agricultural workers are, as unemployed, thrown on the state for the essentials of life.

The hon. member for Toronto Northwest (Mr. MacNicol) looks forward to a revival or new expansion of business. Were it possible that such a condition could come about and the wheels of industry move once more, what would happen? The capitalist would again open his factory and his workshop; again he would reap the benefits of industry, and when the next slump came the unemployed workers would again be thrown on the state. If the state is to provide for workers not needed in industry in times of depression, then it should take the profits of industry in times of prosperity. In other words, if the capitalist class cannot organize the resources of the world so as to give everyone a decent standard of living, then the organization will have to be done by the workers of the world, including the farmers. From my point of view, and I believe from the point of view of my colleagues in this corner of the house, that is the solution which sooner or later will have to be adapted, whether we like it or not. To this government I say: Why waste time and risk a catastrophe by attempting to work out remedies which will not cure and palliatives which will not palliate?

Topic:   COOPERATIVE COMMONWEALTH
Subtopic:   USB OF NATURAL RESOURCES IN THE INTERESTS OF THE PEOPLE
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CON

Henry Herbert Stevens (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Hon. H. H. STEVENS (Minister of Trade and Commerce):

Mr. Speaker, the importance' of the resolution is of course recognized by all hon. members who have read it. This afternoon I have listened to a very elaborate dissertation on the subject. Obviously in the few minutes remaining before the adjournment I could not properly enter into the discussion, and perhaps the house would not think me discourteous, and would not consider that I do not recognize the importance of the subject, if at this time I moved the adjournment of the debate.

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LAB

Abraham Albert Heaps

Labour

Mr. HEAPS:

Mr. Speaker, I must object to a motion for the adjournment of the debate. If the motion were accepted the resolution would drop to the bottom of the order paper. On the other hand, if Mr. Speaker would call it six o'clock the resolution would retain its place.

Topic:   COOPERATIVE COMMONWEALTH
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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

I, too, would object to the adjournment of the debate, because I should like to speak to the resolution.

Questions

Topic:   COOPERATIVE COMMONWEALTH
Subtopic:   USB OF NATURAL RESOURCES IN THE INTERESTS OF THE PEOPLE
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CON

Henry Herbert Stevens (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

I had no idea of curtailing discussion because as a matter of fact I should like to say something myself.

Topic:   COOPERATIVE COMMONWEALTH
Subtopic:   USB OF NATURAL RESOURCES IN THE INTERESTS OF THE PEOPLE
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March 2, 1932