March 15, 1932

LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

And I might

add the immediate relief, which can be given at once if the government will bring in * supply bill this afternoon.

1128 COMMONS

Unemployment Continuance Act

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT AND FARM RELIEF
Subtopic:   CONTINUANCE ACT, 1932-CONSIDERATION OF RESOLUTION
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CON

Henry Herbert Stevens (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

No one knows better than the right hori. gentleman, and a certain number of those sitting around him who have had experience in administration, the difficulty of administering the affairs of a government, with conditions as they are to-day, under a specific appropriation of parliament.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT AND FARM RELIEF
Subtopic:   CONTINUANCE ACT, 1932-CONSIDERATION OF RESOLUTION
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?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Oh, oh.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT AND FARM RELIEF
Subtopic:   CONTINUANCE ACT, 1932-CONSIDERATION OF RESOLUTION
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CON

Henry Herbert Stevens (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

My hon. friends may

pooh-pooh the idea, but the fact remains. I have already cited a number of cases that could not have been dealt with under any appropriation which might have been made last year. So I say, Mr. Speaker, that in tins resolution there is no invasion of the public interest or the public right; on the other hand power is given to safeguard those rights, and I contend that last year, under this bill, the government was not guilty of any departure from regular constitutional procedure.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT AND FARM RELIEF
Subtopic:   CONTINUANCE ACT, 1932-CONSIDERATION OF RESOLUTION
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LIB

John Vallance

Liberal

Mr. VALLANCE:

Did I understand the

minister to say that it was due to the fact that this bill was being held up that the farmers were not now receiving seed grain? I ask that because a press despatch was drawn to my attention yesterday stating that on and after to-day the farmers will receive that seed grain.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT AND FARM RELIEF
Subtopic:   CONTINUANCE ACT, 1932-CONSIDERATION OF RESOLUTION
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CON

Henry Herbert Stevens (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

I think the answer to

that question is very simple. Seed grain relief is being directed by the provinces. Should this bill not pass and should the government not be clothed with the powers sought, the provinces will have to bear the burden alone, without the assistance of this government.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT AND FARM RELIEF
Subtopic:   CONTINUANCE ACT, 1932-CONSIDERATION OF RESOLUTION
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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

No; the government can bring in a proper supply bill.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT AND FARM RELIEF
Subtopic:   CONTINUANCE ACT, 1932-CONSIDERATION OF RESOLUTION
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CON

James J. Donnelly

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. DONNELLY:

Does the minister say

the seed has not been bought?

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT AND FARM RELIEF
Subtopic:   CONTINUANCE ACT, 1932-CONSIDERATION OF RESOLUTION
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CON

Henry Herbert Stevens (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

The seed is being purchased by the provincial authorities.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT AND FARM RELIEF
Subtopic:   CONTINUANCE ACT, 1932-CONSIDERATION OF RESOLUTION
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LIB

George Washington McPhee

Liberal

Mr. G. W. McPIIEE (Yorkton):

Mr. Speaker, the more I consider the resolution which is the subject matter of this debate the more I am impressed with the great travesty on responsible government which it contemplates. My hon. friend (Mr. Stevens) to whom I have listened with a great deal of pleasure for the last half hour, has not helped me very much; he has simply stated that the government is carrying into effect, as he said, the autocratic powers which it has been able to exercise because last year we passed the unemployment relief act. That bill is now dead; the resolution now before the house seeks to breathe life into that dead body, and so the whole question is opened up again.

A hundred years ago, Mr. Speaker, those who laid the foundations of this great country had to fight against the old Tory Family Compact of that day, and after eventual bloodshed they secured for themselves and those who were to follow responsible government for Canada. No matter how distasteful it may be to hon. gentlemen opposite, it is a source of pride to us of the Liberal faith that on this side of the house we have two grandsons of the old rebels, Mackenzie and Papi-neau, in the right bon. leader of the opposition (Mr. Mackenzie King) and the hon. member for Labelle (Mr. Bourassa).

The rights so dearly bought for us should not be lightly given uf>. In those days the Family Compact, in their efforts to keep for themselves the power they then possessed, used methods somewhat akin to those adopted by the present government. For instance, every student of history knows that in Halifax they took the printing press belonging to one of the Reformers and dumped it into Halifax harbour, and they took the printing press of another Reformer in central Canada and threw it into lake Ontario. If that were done in these days I presume it would be said it was done for the peace, order and good government of Canada. But, Mr. Speaker, the actions of the old Tory Family Compact pale into insignificance when we consider the actions of the present government, autocratically demanding the rights that should be exercised only by the elected representatives of the people. This is the fundamental issue as far as I am concerned, and I submit that every hon. member of this house stands upon an equal footing. Each one of us has the right to say whether or not money shall be voted for this or for that and how it shall be spent. Let the right hon. gentleman follow the advice given to him by the leader of the opposition (Mr. Mackenzie King) and bring in a money bill for whatever amount is necessary. If that is done we on this side will guarantee that in half an hour the money will be voted in the way in which it should be voted by a representative parliament.

The whole question of unemployment and farm relief now is opened up. Let us consider what it all means. At the best this measure cannot be even a palliative because it leaves the victim in a worse condition than he was before. Hon. gentlemen opposite say that they have not received any constructive criticism from this side of the house, but I offer one bit of constructive criticism-let this government get off the backs of the agriculturists of Canada. That would do more to relieve unemployment than anything else.

Unemployment Continuance Act

The prosperity of this country depends upon the prosperity of the primary producers, and the' agriculturists are the greatest body of primary producers in this country. What is the true condition in which we find agriculture to-day as a result of eighteen months of the sort of government we have had in this country? The following figures giving the prices received by the producer are rather startling:

Cents

Wheat (per bushel) 46

Oats (per bushel) 18

Rye (per bushel) 25

Barley (per bushel) 26

Butter (per pound) 20

Eggs (per dozen) 15

Pork (per pound) 3

Beef (per pound) 3i

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT AND FARM RELIEF
Subtopic:   CONTINUANCE ACT, 1932-CONSIDERATION OF RESOLUTION
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CON

Walter Davy Cowan

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. COWAN (Long Lake):

Oh, oh.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT AND FARM RELIEF
Subtopic:   CONTINUANCE ACT, 1932-CONSIDERATION OF RESOLUTION
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LIB

George Washington McPhee

Liberal

Mr. McPHEE:

Do I hear the hon. member for Long Lake (Mr. Cowan) cackling?

The price received by the producers for beef is only 31 cents per pound. How can the farmers of Canada exist with prices such as these? The other day the Prime Minister referred to seventy-six municipalities which had been drouth stricken in Saskatchewan but even had there been no drouth the condition of the farmer in western Canada would have been very bad. The fact is that he ernnot sell at a price which will return anything like the costs of production. As I said before, the best form of relief, as far as western Canada is concerned, would be for the government to get off the backs of the farmers.

There are no markets in which the farmer can sell his products. Belgium was a country with which we had a great deal of trade before this government came into office, and in order to emphasize the statement I have just made I shall read an extract from a newspaper in Brussels which is close to the government of that country. This article was published in January, 1931, shortly after the Imperial conference, and reads:

Just previous to his departure for the Imperial conference in London, Mr. Bennett brought down in the Canadian house a bill dealing with the tariff. The tariff changes

which were immediately put into force were adopted by the Canadian parliament. It is of some interest to Belgium whose exchanges with Canada have favourably developed in the course of these last years, to examine the situation and to bring out somewhat the point.

The first truth which appears in consulting statistics with reference to commerce, is that the balance of trade is greatly in favour of Canada.

We learn, moreover, that Belgium is, with the exception of Great Britain, its best European customer in the purchasing of wheat, oats and barley, and ranks second or third of all Canada's clients in the purchasing of

these products: that it absorbs almost the total Canadian output of zinc ore and the greater portion of that of asbestos.

The balance of trade between the two countries, already greatly against Belgium, null certainly again be accentuated by this last measure.

Belgium can therefore not remain indifferent to Mr. Bennett's projected legislation of a distinctly protective character, and making for a complete revision of the Canadian customs tariff. It surely would be hardly conceivable that she should continue to be one of the best customers of a country which deliberately closes its doors to her products.

To counteract the Russian dumping, the government took the necessary protective measures which the situation demanded. Without there being any need of having recourse to such methods in the case of Canada, Belgium could very well abstain, in the future, from making her purchases in that country. Canada is not the only country which produces wheat;, oats, barley', asbestos and zinc ore. There is no reason why Belgium should not supply herself with these articles on markets which are more friendly to her productions.

Not only did Belgium act in that manner but thirty countries did likewise. As a result of the tariff manipulations and tariff juggling of this government, thirty countries retaliated against Canada with disastrous results as far as the farmers of Canada are concerned.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT AND FARM RELIEF
Subtopic:   CONTINUANCE ACT, 1932-CONSIDERATION OF RESOLUTION
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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

Does the hon. gentleman realize that these so-called retaliations were against all other countries including Canada? Before this government came into power every country in the world but one had increased its tariffs against all countries.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT AND FARM RELIEF
Subtopic:   CONTINUANCE ACT, 1932-CONSIDERATION OF RESOLUTION
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LIB

George Washington McPhee

Liberal

Mr. McPHEE:

The information which I am about to give the house was gleaned from The Commercial Intelligence Journal, a publication of the present government. Here is what it said a few months ago with regard to this action:

The countries which adopted unfriendly attitudes were Esthonia, Siam, Poland, South Africa. Germany. New Zealand, Mexico, Czechoslovakia, Bahamas. Italy. France, Argentine, Cuba, St. Vincent, St. Lucia, Colombia, India, Norway, China, Bolivia, Denmark, Uruguay, Greece, Switzerland, Belgium, United States, Netherlands, Jugoslavia, Sweden, Irish Free State.

These countries retaliated against Canada with disastrous results to our producers.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT AND FARM RELIEF
Subtopic:   CONTINUANCE ACT, 1932-CONSIDERATION OF RESOLUTION
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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

The hon. gentleman

states he obtained his information from the official record, but that record shows that these countries enacted tariff legislation against Canada as well as all other countries. It was tariff legislation affecting imports; it affected Canada as well as other countries, it was not a case of retaliating against Canada alone.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT AND FARM RELIEF
Subtopic:   CONTINUANCE ACT, 1932-CONSIDERATION OF RESOLUTION
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LIB

George Washington McPhee

Liberal

Mr. McPHEE:

That does not lessen the

effect of my statement that they retaliated

1130 COMMONS

Unemployment Continuance Act

against Canada. These countries having retaliated against Canada, I presume it is the duty of the Minister of Trade and Commerce (Mr. Stevens) to find other places with which we can trade. In common with other hon. members I found a pamphlet in my letter box this morning. This is an official publication of the Department of Trade and Commerce, presided over by the hon. Minister of Trade and Commerce (Mr. Stevens) and deals with the Falkland islands. It gives a short history of the islands, stating that they were first settled by the French, then by the Spanish and afterwards taken over by the British. The nationality of the occupants is now given as Scotch, and they total 3,378. The article states that the vocation of these people is sheep farming and whaling. I do not know what trade there could be between Canada and the Falkland islands. My hon. friend would not permit sheep to be brought into this country and I do not know about whales and their products. While the Canadian people will no doubt thank my hon. friend for the information regarding the geography and history of the islands, the striking point is the last sentence in the pamphlet where he says:

Canada has no direct trade with the Falkland islands.

And Canada has not very much trade with other countries of the world, and if the present

government is permitted to occupy the treasury benches much longer, that trade will dwindle down to practically nothing.

What is the result of this tariff manipulation and juggling? The figures for the total trade of Canada, according to the return, are as follows:

Total trade

Fiscal year of Canada

1929- 30 $2,392,000,000

1930- 31 1,723,000,000

That shows a decrease between the two years of $670,000,000. These figures tell the story. What do they prove? The following are the prices of various commodities in the west:

March, 1928 March, 1932

Commodity-* cents per lb. cents per lb.

Butter fat. ... 41 16

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT AND FARM RELIEF
Subtopic:   CONTINUANCE ACT, 1932-CONSIDERATION OF RESOLUTION
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CON

Samuel Gobeil

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GOBEIL:

That is not true.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT AND FARM RELIEF
Subtopic:   CONTINUANCE ACT, 1932-CONSIDERATION OF RESOLUTION
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LIB

George Washington McPhee

Liberal

Mr. McPHEE:

It is true in western

Canada.

March, 1928 March, 1932

cents per lb cents per lb.

Butter 42 15

March, 1930 March, 1932

cents per lb. cents per lb.

Pork 13 3

cents per doz. cents per doz.

Eggs 25 15

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT AND FARM RELIEF
Subtopic:   CONTINUANCE ACT, 1932-CONSIDERATION OF RESOLUTION
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?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Where?

Mr. MePHEE: I am giving the figures

for western Canada:

Beef: 13 cents per pound; 3| cents per pound.

These figures tell the story of agricultural depression and the remedy is not the dole, but trade. Let us open up the channels of trade and prosperity will come back to the primary producers in the first place, the agriculturists. A week or ten days ago I had the pleasure, with other members of the House of Commons as guests of the Prime Minister (Mr. Bennett), to meet the Right Hon. Winston Churchill. It has been my good fortune to read most of the writings of Winston Churchill and most of his speeches. As a matter of practice I have memorized the striking passages in Mr. Churchill's writings as well as in those of others. There are in Winston Churchill's writings many such passages that would help my hon. friends across the floor. This one comes to my mind. It is contained in an address delivered by him to the people of Manchester not many years ago. True, it was before he became a political apostate. This is an extract from the address and I commend the words to the leader of the government because he referred to Mr. Churchill as one of the leading statesmen of the day. These words were addressed to the people of Manchester:

Why did you build your ship canal? Why did you spend fifteen millions in bringing the sea to touch the inland docks of your great city? Was it to block its mouth with the sand banks of obstructive tariffs or to choke its fairway with the stake nets of protection?

I will commend these words to the right hon. leader of the government.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT AND FARM RELIEF
Subtopic:   CONTINUANCE ACT, 1932-CONSIDERATION OF RESOLUTION
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CON

Walter Davy Cowan

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. COWAN (Long Lake):

What does he say now?

Mr. MePHEE: My hon. friend asks: What does he say now? It sometimes happens men who are brought up properly in a political faith, later on in life for some reason best known to themselves, forsake the political god of their early days and go over to the Tory camp. Sometimes I am sure our Tory friends are glad of the acquisition to their ranks.

These figures which I have just given relative to the prices of farm products in Canada, bring my mind back to the election campaign of 1930. For the purposes of the record let me put on Hansard the promises of the leader of the government in connection with that campaign.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT AND FARM RELIEF
Subtopic:   CONTINUANCE ACT, 1932-CONSIDERATION OF RESOLUTION
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March 15, 1932