April 12, 1932

LIB-PRO

John Livingstone Brown

Liberal Progressive

Mr. J. L. BROWN (Lisgar):

Mr. Speaker, in the course of this debate hon. gentlemen have said many things to which one would naturally wish to reply, but it would be impossible for everyone to deal fully with the matters upon which he might desire to make comment. I am sure it will be generally conceded that the Minister of Finance (Mr. Rhodes), in his presentation to the house some days ago of the economic condition of the country, discharged his duty in a highly creditable manner. It could not have been an altogether pleasant task to present to the house and to the people the condition in which Canada finds herself at the moment,

The Budget-Mr. Brown

nor do I imagine that the minister took any keen delight in announcing the new measures of taxation which he deemed necessary. However we may differ as regards the policies that have been pursued by the government, although we hold that the difficulties in which they are involved are largely of their own making, still we would be less than human if we did not manifest some sympathy for those who are now floundering in a morass. We can therefore very well afford, without relieving the government of any of its responsibilities, to congratulate the Minister of Finance upon the manner-and I say only the manner-in which he discharged the very onerous duty that his position imposed upon him.

The discussion of the general financial condition of the country has already been dealt with from this side of the house by one more capable than I, and let me extend to the hon. member for Shelburne-Yarmouth (Mr. Ralston) my hearty congratulations for the manner in which he performed the duty that was laid upon him by his party. The special resolutions of the budget I -think we can perhaps best deal with when the Speaker has left the chair and the house finds itself in committee of the whole. So far as the budget speech itself is concerned I shall content myself with referring to a few salient features which I think call for some comment, and perhaps it will be indicated in the course of my remarks that I heartily approve of the amendment which has been moved by the hon. member for Shelburne-Yarmouth. Before dealing with that phase of the subject I -wish to -take a few moments to discuss a matter which was referred to yesterday by the hon. Minister of Trade and Commerce (Mr. Stevens).

The hon. Minister of Trade and Commerce undertook at one point to give us a lecture in the kindergarten of economics. He showed that the revenue of the country, collected as it is under our system by a series of indirect taxes, must necessarily reflect the condition of trade in the country. If he had left it at that he would have been wise, but after emphasizing that very elementary fact he went on and intimated that the mentbers on this side of the house had frequently asserted that the true test of the burden laid upon the country was not the rate of taxation but the actual amount that was raised. He had listened to many speeches in the house, he said, in which that position was asserted.

Here are his own words:

Mr. Stevens: If it were possible to do so briefly, and if I felt warranted in doing so, I might remind my hon. friends of how frequently

in the past they measured the burden of taxation upon the people of Canada by the amount of revenue raised through taxation.

Mr. Browm: Oh, no.

Mr. Stevens: Oh, yes. When it suits their argument hon. gentlemen opposite frequently state that the rate of taxation is measured by the revenue produced or collected from the people. In my long experience in this house I recall having heard that argument frequently.

Mr. Brown: That came from hon. gentlemen opposite.

With the Minister of Trade and Commerce I can say that in my long experience in this house I recall having heard that argument frequently, but invariably it was from those who now sit on the government side of the house and never from those on this side. Having made that statement, the obligation rests upon me to prove that -what I say is true. I go to the Hansard of 1927, where at page 396 of Hansard I read these words of the present Prime Minister (Mr. Bennett), who was then simply the member for West Calgary:

But that is not all. Let us take the figures and consider them in the light of the statements made by the minister himself. In 1925-26 the Department of Finance shows that there was taken in customs duties as taxes from the people of this country the sum of $127,355,000 in round figures; this year the amount is $141,500,000-an increase of

$14,144,000, or $1.50 for every man, woman and child in this country, which represents, Mr. Speaker, an average of $7.50 for every Canadian family. That is the reduction in taxation enunciated by the hon. Minister of Finance!

But that is not all. With respect to excise duties as distinguished from excise taxes, we find that for the year ended March 31 last there was taken from the Canadian people for these duties $42,923,549.03, and this year there has been taken from them $47,500,000-an increase of $4,576,450.97, equivalent to practically 48 cents a head for every man, woman and child in Canada.

, It was in vain the Finance minister of that day pointed to the large revenue which was flowing into the coffers of the dominion. The revenues were buoyant, he said, because trade was flourishing. In that same budget debate I felt it incumbent upon me to correct that fallacy of the hon. member for West Calgary. I said:

I have been amazed at some of the fallacies

I am not so easily amazed as I was then:

to which utterance has been given during the debate by some hon. members opposite, from the first hon. member who spoke, the hon. member for West Calgary (Mr. Bennett) almost down to the last. It was urged upon us that taxation had not been reduced, and elaborate figures were produced to show that such was the case.

I need not read all that I said on that occasion. I simply pointed out the very

The Budget-Mr. Brown

obvious truth which the Minister of Trade and Commerce himself pointed out yesterday.

The Minister of Justice (Mr. Guthrie) is the one who generally suffers from these references to the Hansard of old days. In his criticism of the budget of 1929 he said this:

Now this is where the precise language in his budget speech fitted in so well. How careful he was when speaking on taxation to use these words:

' The rate of taxation has been reduced."

Well, even that statement was not true before Friday last, but who cares about the rate of taxation? The rate does not count. The only thing that counts in this world in regard to taxes is the burden of taxation.

Then he went on to quote Mr. Gladstone- not very pertinently I think, because Mr. Gladstone was speaking of an entirely different set of circumstances, and I think the hon. Minister of Justice misquoted from Mr. Gladstone.

May I also quote from my speech of last session when I said:

Something else upon which I would congratulate the Minister of Finance is that he has evidently come to a recognition of the fact that the volume of revenue does not necessarily depend upon the rate of taxation, or at least that the rate of taxation is not the only factor in determining the volume of revenue.

Further on I said:

As I have said, .the Minister of Finance has evidently learned, speaking generally, that all he is able to do is to fix the rates of taxation, tor the volume of taxation will be determined by the amount of business that is done when those different rates are in effect.

I trust now that we have heard the last of these very foolish arguments that we listened to in the last parliament, and I hope that when we have a government in power again with the revenues of the country buoyant, brought about by expanding trade, we shall not hear those foolish arguments from hon. gentlemen opposite.

In reference to the reduction in customs duties, the Finance minister in his budget speech the other day said that the customs duties had been reduced in the last fiscal year to $102,891,000, or about $29,000,000 less than in 1931, and $84,000,000 less than in the peak year of the last five years, in 1928-29. He said this was due in part to the encouragement given to the production of goods in Canada. I do not know whether the Minister of Finance holds the extreme views, I might almost say the fanatical views, of the Prime Minister in regard to protection. On two occasions I have asked the Prime Minister how certain changes he proposed to make in the tariff were going to affect revenue. His answer was something like this-quoting

Henry George as authority: When it was a matter of protecting Canadian industries the question of revenue was not to be considered. I should like to ask the Minister of Finance whether in view of the reduction in customs receipts, brought about, as he himself has admitted, by the policy of protection, that is the policy of encouraging the production of goods in Canada, he is still prepared to ignore the question of revenue when he proposes increases in the tariffs. That he is not disposed to ignore the question is abundantly clear from the fact that he has added two per cent to import duties. Now, do not let us be confused as to what that tax really means. We call it an excise tax, but it is just as truly a custom tariff tax as the other twenty or thirty per cent. I should like him to explain how he expects to get more revenue from the two per cent additional tax when the hitherto existing tariff taxes have already resulted in a reduction of revenue. That is his own statement. It may be urged that that tax is not high enough to exclude goods that are now coming in under the free list. That may be true. Rut if it is true, as is the implication of his remarks, that goods are not coming into Canada because the tariff barriers have been raised against them, is it not just as likely that other goods will be added to that class which is now being excluded? So that as to there being any increase in revenue from this new tax that is being imposed, it is a question whether the Minister of Finance will get more than an even break. He may possibly get some increase on those goods that have been coming in on the free list or the one per cent duty of last year, but it is also possible that further goods will be excluded, and to that extent our revenue will be reduced. Certainly that will be the case if he allows his colleague the Minister of National Revenue (Mr. Ryckman) to sit up night and day devising means whereby he can stop goods from entering Canada. I may remark that on a former occasion I mentioned the dilatory tactics of the government when it was a case of allowing some hay into southern Manitoba that the farmers there needed to feed their starving cattle; there was a delay of six months before any action was taken; but when it is a case of increasing the tariff to protect an industry that is manufacturing some trifling article, the government can take action overnight.

The Minister of Finance derives great satisfaction from the fact of a so-called balance of trade. That has been well dealt with by the hon. member for Shelburne-Yarmouth, but I

The Budget-Mr. Brovm

might repeat a few of the figures. It is said that the balance is now in our favour to the extent of $25,000,000, as opposed to a former unfavourable balance of $70,000,000. I suppose there is no more contentious subject than the true significance of the difference between imports and exports, the excess of one over the other. I do not think the Minister of Trade and Commerce did any credit to himself when he criticized the method by which the hon. member for Shelburne-Yar-mouth emphasized the point. He ridiculed it by saying: "You should not say, ' Black is not white,' but you should say, ' White is not black,' " or something of that kind. But the hon. member for Shelbume-Yarmouth was trying to call attention to the fact that this so-called balance of trade was brought about not by increasing exports, but by decreasing imports. Of course, I know from the standpoint of the Minister of Trade and Commerce that that is good policy, because in one of his famous advertisements that he sent out to the papers he wanted to exclude $800,000,000 worth of imports of goods that he said could be manufactured in Canada. However, we cannot agree with that point of view. Certainly it may be doubted whether we have any reason to congratulate ourselves regarding this so-called favourable balance of trade when it is brought about by decreasing our total foreign trade by almost one third. These are the figures given by the Minister of Finance himself: For the eleven months ending February 28, 1931, $1,591,939,000; as against $1,067,602,000 for the same period ending February 29, 1932, or a total loss in our foreign trade during that period of $524,-

337,000.

The Minister of Finance stated there would be no major tariff changes pending the meeting of the imperial conference. I cannot say that we were surprised by the statement, for the farmers of the country have learned that so far as reducing the burden laid upon them by the tariff that this government has imposed is concerned, they have nothing to hope for. We have to content ourselves with the announcement that the last straw which was to break the camel's back, that is the imposition of a higher tariff on repairs for agricultural implements, has been deferred for another year. Let me say to those who represent farming constituencies in the west that they had better get busy during the next year and make representations to the Minister of Finance so that the application of that higher tariff will be postponed indefinitely. I suppose, however, it is a small measure of relief for which we must be

thankful, but the Minister of Finance must not expect us to tumble over ourselves in our enthusiasm for his budget.

Last year the then Minister of Finance (Mr. Bennett) when introducing his budget announced a five cent bonus on wheat. He said it was a compensating adjustment. He would not admit the tariff was a burden, but the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Weir) has admitted it for him, for in his speech in the early part of this session he said something to this effect; that he had scanned the Whole field for possible means of relief for the farmeT from the burdens of the tariff, and this was the one that appealed to him. I wonder how the Minister of Agriculture feels now when that small measure of relief is absolutely withdrawn. Does he and do other members from the west representing farming communities feel satisfied with the tariff policy of the present government? I know they do not.

A few weeks ago Ithe hon. member for Marquette (Mr. Mullins) .placed on the .records ol the house a well-reasoned and weULprapared statement of the investment of a farmer on a three hundred and twenty acre farm, including the equipment necessary to work it. I commend that Statement to all members of the house. In the list he had one item of $2,500 for farm implements-a modest item for there is no notice taken there of threshing machines or of tractors. But yet the hon. member in the session of 1930, and again in (the session of 1931, by his vote endorsed the government that -had raised the tariff on farm implements from rates ranging from six to fifteen per cent up to a flat level of twenty-five per cent. Now it is twenty-eight per cent, for I insist again, Mr. Speaker, that that three per cent on all imports must be considered as an additional tariff tax. The biggest internal problem before us to-day is the rehabilitation of the farmer. One of the most prominent farm leaders a few days ago made a statement something like this. He said his father had pioneered on a bush farm in Ontario; he himself had operated ithe farm for a number of years after that, and now his son was on it, and he stated that the young man is having a harder time to make things go to-day than was -the case with either his father or his grandfather.

The question confronting us is this: Are

our farmers to be men living on and farming their own land, finding satisfaction in the work of the farm and yet capable of taking an interest in national and international affairs, of enjoying good literature and everything that ministers to the moral, the intellectual and the spiritual life of man, or are

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our farmers to sink to the status of peasants, operating rented farms, caring for nothing except the wresting of a bare living from the soil, becoming simply hewers of wood and drawers of water, men with weak heads and strong backs? It seems to me those are the alternatives presented to our farmers to-day, and I am afraid that present conditions will produce a tendency that is all in the latter direction. We hear a great deal said about having turned the corner. There can be no turning of the corner until the farmer gets a crop he can sell at a price that will leave him some measure of profit, and what is true of wheat, our main product in the west, is true of all agricultural products to-day. Every article produced on the farm is being produced at a loss, and there can be no turning of the corner until this is all changed.

Indeed, Mr. Speaker, it may be just at this point that the farmer is faced with his greatest danger. To-day there are many men still on farms simply because the mortgage companies or other creditors do not think it in their interest to put them off. There is no sale for land and it has no productive value. The danger is that with the first sign of returning prosperity the creditors will swoop down upon the farmer and strip him naked. The accumulated obligations of the last three years have become enormous. Even before that time the farmers incurred liabilities which, had prices prevailing at that time remained in effect, they might reasonably have expected to meet at maturity. The result of the drop in prices, as has been stated time and again in this house, has been simply to increase the burdens of the farmers threefold.

So to-day we have our western legislatures discussing the question of debt adjustment. I suppose under our constitution that is a Question for the provincial legislatures rather than 'or this government, but that does not mean there is nothing this government can do. This government can do much to lift the burdens that have been placed upon the farmer, and everything possible should be done to make sure that his cost of production is reduced. I am not unmindful of the fact that Canada is one of the nations of the world, that to-day as never before the world has to be considered as a whole, and that if one nation suffers all nations suffer. It would have been well if hon. gentlemen opposite, during the election campaign of 1930, had kept in mind that fact which they now like to emphasize, instead of going through the country proclaiming that they of themselves were going to take steps which would bring prosperity to Canada. That is the obligation which rests upon this

government and this parliament, to see that every possible step is taken to bring about the rehabilitation of the farmer.

I feel that I cannot close without commenting on the reference by the Minister of Finance to the coming imperial conference. His words will toe found at page 1768 of Hansard:

While the world is close knit to-day in matters of trade and finance as never before in its history-and we cannot expect normal or prosperous conditions apart from the general world trend-nevertheless some one nation, or group of nations, must assume the leadership and point the way. To that end an opportunity unique in history is afforded to the British nations, whose representatives will assemble in Ottawa at the Imperial economic conference in July next.

If the delegates who assemble here meet in an atmosphere charged lvith determination to approach their deliberations from the viewpoint of mutual advantage, there will result measures which will give a marked stimulus to Empire trade.

Those are splendid sentiments, but my fear is that if hon. members opposite adhere to the policies they have followed hitherto those sentiments will evaporate into thin air. I said that I was in perfect accord with what the Minister of Finance said, 'but perhaps that is hardly correct. He referred to the opportunity as being unique. If by "unique" he meant that there never had been a similar opportunity, I disagree. A similar opportunity was afforded the Prime Minister and the government at the last imperial conference in 1930, but the result was absolute failure simply because of the truculant attitude of the right hon. gentleman. By the application of his blasting policy he led one of England's -ministers to describe his propositions as humbug, and humbug they were. It is a tribute to the forbearance and the courtesy of the English people that someone did not say it sooner. That is a thought^provoking statement of the Minister of Finance:

. . . nevertheless some one nation, or group of nations, must assume the leadership and point the way.

Some trivial -circumstance has often changed the whole current of human history; it has been frequently given to nations to exercise an influence upon ithe -affairs of mankind far out of proportion to the extent of their territory or the size of their population. Such was the case with Israel of old; such was the case with Greece. From the little island of Iona off the coast of Scotland, in the early centuries of the Christian era, radiated an influence that left its mark upon Great Britain and Ireland, and which still extends to the remotest comers of the earth. Canada has a

The Budget-Mr. Brown

vast stretch of territory. It is true that our population is comparatively small, but we would gladly believe that to-day we are exercising an influence upon the affairs of the world that is not measured by the number of our people. We could wish for no higher honour than that our country should give a lead to the British Empire and, through the British Empire, to the world in all those policies which make for peace, such as disarmament; the breaking down, so far as may be possible, of race and national prejudices; the removal of trade restrictions, the cessation of that insane policy that seeks higher and higher tariffs. Can anyone say that this was the course we pursued at the last imperial conference? Positively no, but the reverse. What was done there was not calculated to make for peace and harmony but for strife and discord.

An attempt has been made to cast ridicule upon the present leader of the opposition when as Prime Minister he expressed concern as to who should represent us at the imperial conference. The result of that conference showed that that concern was well founded. It is still a matter of concern to us, not as to who shall represent us, for we know that, but as to what policy shall be presented at that conference. Is the same course to be followed or is a different attitude to be taken? There is reason to hope, from the statements made by the Minister of Trade and Commerce, that to some extent at least the government have seen the error of their ways. Let us hope that when the conference meets it will be in a spirit of good will.

The hon. member for Shelfoume-Yarmouth quoted the closing words of the budget speech of the Hon. Mr. Dunning. I quoted those words on every platform during the last Dominion election. They seemed to me to express, . as well as language could express, the attitude which Canada ought to assume at the conference, and I believe that hon. members opposite upon whom the responsibility is cast should study these words and grasp the principles that were emphasized; and when they go to meet our fellow citizens from all parts of the empire I hope that they will go in a spirit of tolerance and good will, so that the result of this conference will bring good not only to Canada and to the British Empire but to the peoples of the world.

Then let us pray that come it may,

(As come it will for a' that.)

That Man to Man. the world o'er, Shall brothers be for a' that.

[Mr. Brown.l

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
Permalink
CON

Bernard Munroe Stitt

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. B. M. STITT (Nelson) :

May I begin by congratulating the Minister of Finance on . the lucid manner in which he presented his budget to the house, faced with conditions such as have never existed in Canada before. May I also congratulate those hon. members who have preceded me upon the masterful manner in which they have advanced their arguments. I hope the hon. member for Lisgar (Mr. Brown), who preceded me, will pardon me if I do not appear to follow him.

I have come to the conclusion that the members of this house and indeed the people of Canada as a whole are tired of rehashed speeches, and I will attempt to develop my own material along far different lines, dealing particularly with my own constituency, and with matters which, while of importance to that constituency, are at the same time of great importance to the whole of the dominion and particularly of western Canada.

It is apparent, from the criticism that has been so far levelled at the Minister of Finance (Mr. Rhodes) and at his budget, that budgets can be criticized for what they omit as well as for what they contain. I have no objection to hon. members criticizing; we expect that it is their prerogative. But I will say this, let them criticize this government and the budget as they will, but one fact stands out, that the balancing of our trade and the bringing of the imperial conference to Canada this year are two of the outstanding achievements of the last quarter of a century. It is obvious, from the arguments to which we have listened, that in the minds of the masses there are two schools of thought. One is that the government in power should embark upon a broad program of public works, pledging the credit of the country to get the money and putting the unemployed to work. Those who take this view believe that such action rvould reflect prosperity in all departments of endeavour. There is the other school of thought-those who feel that the government should retrench as far as possible, pare its estimates, and sit out the depression. One seems to have about as many supporters as the other, judging by the arguments we hear from one end of the country to the other.

I was rather disappointed to hear the hon. member for Shelburne-Yarmouth (Mr. Ralston) criticize the government for relief expenditures and for the loan of moneys to the western provinces. I am sure that all hon. members, in this house, and especially the members from the west, realize the seriousness of the situation out there, the plight which these people find themselves in in these distressed areas. I am also quite sure that, when

The Budget-Mr. Stitt (Nelson)

requested by the Minister of Labour last fall to make suggestions as to the public works that might be carried on in their constituencies which would furnish employment to those who needed it, there were very few lion, members who did not present a program of public works, including the hon. member for Shel-burne-Yarmouth. If all of these projects had been carried out, as suggested by various members, I am informed that it would have taken something like a billion dollars to pay the bill. The government, of course, could not find that much money, and therefore had to go along and try to satisfy everyone as far as it was humanly possible to do so, to the extent of the money they had. I think that in that respect they have done very well indeed. As a matter of fact, if we believe some of the reports that have come in, this feeling is generally shared. The premier of Quebec, a man from whom we can accept criticism, said that he was well satisfied with the treatment his province had received and with the manner in which the relief situation had been handled by this government. That, I think, was one of the greatest compliments paid to the right hon. the Prime Minister in the conduct of this work. Retrenchment is the duty of the day and the hour; no one will deny that. It is a beautiful word. But governments must lead as well as save; they must march as well as fortify; and at the same time they must of necessity originate plans for the future while correcting errors of the past. Now, the question might reasonably be asked: What plans can we originate at the moment? First, to my mind, we must devise ways and means of stabilizing our basic industries. Agriculture, which leads the procession, must be placed on a paying basis. I do not think anyone can argue against that statement. To bring this about we must concern ourselves with finding broader and more profitable markets for the produce of our farms. At the same time we must concern ourselves with lower transportation costs to be brought about by the development of new and existing routes and outlets. In this connection I might refer to the Hudson Bay railway, which means a great deal to the farmers of western Canada, and to the Peace River outlet, which is badly needed and which would open up and develop a great empire. The mining industry, especially in connection with base metals, must be put upon its feet, as it has been hit just as hard as agriculture. Millions of dollars have been invested in Canada in this industry, upon which not one cent is being received in return. Some attention must be paid to the lumbering industry,

with which is linked up the pulp and paper industries. All these industries are having a hard time and, as I said before, we must concern ourselves with finding more and profitable markets for their products. If we can solve the problems confronting these three major industries, the rest will follow; the railways will come into their own by virtue of an increased volume of business and the unemployed will be automatically absorbed.

The coming imperial conference may easily bring about the necessary changes. Let us hope that all the delegates to this conference will gather together realizing deep down in their hearts that the destiny of a great empire is in their hands. We are proud to be a part of that great empire and I am convinced that if all those taking part in the conference are prepared to give and take, which after all is of the essence of our federation, much good will come from their deliberations. It may be well for our delegates to realize that it may be necessary, in order to bring order out of chaos, to sacrifice, in part at least, some of our industries. They should enter the conference with that spirit. We all hope that these steps may not be necessary, but we cannot expect to get everything and give nothing in return. May I express the hope that the Most High in His infinite wisdom will so guide the deliberations of the conference that our dream of a united economic empire may be fully realized. Then and only then will sunshine come into the hearts of our people and confidence be restored in this great country.

I was pleased to hear the Minister of Finance intimate that some further provision would be made for the completion of the Hudson Bay railway. I do not need to elaborate on this project, as it has been before this house for many years; both governments have been committed to it and both governments have subscribed to it. While I am dealing with this matter I desire to take exception to the statement made this afternoon by the hon. member for Melville (Mr. Motherwell) when he said that the Liberal government had done practically all the work done on this road. As one who has lived in this north country for something like seventeen or eighteen years, as one who has seen the project develop from almost the time the first sod was turned by the Hon. George P. Graham, I desire to say that in 1911, when the Conservative government came into power, a contract was given to J. D. McArthur for the grading of this road. That winter the piers were put in for the bridge at the Pas and the following summer about 14 or 15 miles of grading was completed. From that time until 1918 or 1919 the Con-

The Budget-Mr. Stitt (Nelson)

servative government 'completed 356 miles of the road, as far as the Limestone river, including the necessary bridges. From that time, until the Liberal government came into power, the grading was completed into Port Nelson and finally the Hon. Mr. Dunning with great vision and courage changed the terminal from Port Nelson to Churchill. I am fair enough to give Mr. Dunning credit for taking that action; I think his move in that direction deserves the commendation of every hon. member and in fact of every man, woman and child in western Canada. The Liberal government completed the road up to mile 511 and started the harbour work. That government did a good deal of the underwater work at the docks, it let the contract for the elevator, did considerable back-filling in the yards and' had made a good start towards the completion of the road when the government again changed. The present government completed the elevator, finished the yards and the docks and last fall was able to ship out two cargoes of grain. I should like to correct that statement made by the hon. member for Melville by saying that this road has been built by both governments on a fifty-fifty basis.

I had not intended to refer at this time to the Hudson Bay railway, but in view of certain articles which have appeared in the eastern press attacking this project I feel it my duty to take a few minutes of the time of the house in making a reply. I refer particularly to an editorial which appeared in the Ottawa Journal of February 15, 1932, under the heading "Speaking of Economy". It reads:

Six million dollars voted last year. Six million good dollars thrown after 46 million bad dollars. Some of our portentous politicians who are talking about economy would be a little more impressive if they hadn't talked just as elocpiently for this Hudson Bay railway.

And again:

And to what end? Well, last fall Mr. Manion, Minister of Railways, informed western farmers that if they wished to have their grain shipped to the Churchill elevator they would be given free storage, and not a bushel was shipped. Not a pound. And this was the great grain route that was to put western Canada on the map.

The Minister of Railways did make such a proposition, but it was made ito Ithe grain men, the elevator men and the pool men, not to the farmers of western Canada. It would not have been possible for any farmer to make his individual shipment to that elevator because the facilities were not there to handle such shipments.

An article appeared in the Financial Post of February 13, under the heading "Hudson Bay Line Takes Interest Toll." After going

into the financial aspects of this road, the question is asked: When is this road going to pay interest on this money invested? The same question could be asked in connection with the St. Lawrence waterway, the Montreal harbour, the Quebec harbour, the maritimes harbours, the Welland canal, upon which hundreds of millions have been spent, and the Canadian National Railways. It is rather unfair for such a paper as the Financial Post to pick out the Hudson Bay railway and to ask when it is going to pay interest, when in fact the road is not fully completed and in operation. I do think articles such as that will do very much to solidify Canada. This is another article appearing in the Winnipeg Free Press of October 6, quoting a Quebec paper, L'Evenement:

To inaugurate a port at Churchill, the Canadian government has spent practically $150,000,000.

I do not need to take the time to read the rest of this article, but I should like to say that L'Evenement has multiplied by three the sum of money expended on this project, and it might at least be fair when using figures and discussing the project. I have under my hand another article, which is rather a rich one, in respect to the two grain boats that made the voyage in there last year:

Tyne vessel's pioneer voyage. First cargo to an ice-bound port. Saving of 6,000 miles.

Another gross exaggeration.

Another romantic page in the history of Tyne commerce will be written a fortnight hence, *when a Newcastle steamer will drop anchor in the harbour of Port Churchill, the new port on the shores of Hudson bay, and embark the first cargo of grain sent overland across the Rockies from Vancouver.

Rather hard on Vancouver.

She is the Farnworth, owned by the Dalgleish Steam Shipping Company, of Newcastle. To the Farnworth will go the honour of loping 6,000 sea miles off the present-day route, and changing the whole trend of grain transhipment. Almost a month will be saved.

A strange and hazardous voyage lies ahead of the thirty-five Shields men who form the crew of the Farnworth.

Port Churchill is one of the loneliest outposts of civilization. There is no welcoming town, not even a village. Just a trapper or two, a few Eskimos, and eternal snow. For ten months out of twelve the approach to this little port is ice-bound.

The Farnworth will berth alongside a warehouse in which is stored ithe grain brought from the rail-head.

As soon as loading is completed she will steam back to England. The barren nature of this little town is illustrated by the fact that provisions and bunkers for the return journey are being taken on board while the vessel is lying at Harton Staiths, South Shields.

The Budget-Mr. Stitt (Nelson)

The nearest shops or cinema to Port Churchill are hundreds of miles away, and there is not a coaling station within a thousand miles.

Captain W. Mouat, of South Shields, is in command of the Farnworth.

The vessel is going in ballast to Port Churchill, and will bring back 7,000 tons of grain to the United Kingdom.

An immense field of stationary ice imprisons Port Churchill all the year round, with the exception of September and October. This autumn the Canadian government, in conjunction with the railway company, are trying the experiment of loading grain from Vancouver at Pont Churchill, as an alternative to the sea route by way of the Panama canal.

I might tell hon. members that this is not from a Montreal paper, although the captain of that boat informed me he had heard around Montreal very much worse tales about Churchill than this paper reveals. This is from the Evening World of South Shields, Newcastle-on-Tyne, England, of August 26, 1931. These are some of the weird statements that are being made about this port that means so much to western Canada. In the west we had hoped we had heard the last of these venomous attacks on the part of the press which have no doubt been inspired by the same sources that have sought to destroy the project from its inception. I was of opinion that the demonstration of last September would be sufficient when the Farnworth and the Warkworth, two ordinary tramp steamers, not built with steel protected bows, as it was said they would have to be constructed in order to enter the strait or bay, made the trip from Churchill and Liverpool and Antwerp in fourteen days. In order that the value of this feat may be appreciated, I shall add four days for railroad transportation from Saskatoon or Regina; and thus it is evident that wheat or other products of the soil, or live stock, can be landed in British or other European ports within twenty days of the loading of cars at points in the Canadian west, and with only one handling. The better to illustrate the value of this feat, I might refer to two cars shipped from, say Saskatoon, one by the Churchill route and the other by the St. Lawrence route. The cars for the northern route can be unloaded into a ship at Churchill, which is at tidewater, as soon as and perhaps sooner than the contents of the second car can foe unloaded into a ship at Fort William or Port Arthur. The two shipments thus start at Churchill and Fort William or Port Arthur at the same time. Which one reaches the European market first? The answer was always evident to those whose eyes were not blinded by prejudice, but it comes now in a form that cannot be challenged, because a boat can make an}' port in the British Isles

as quickly from Churchill as from Montreal, and there are no marine handicaps; the route is safer and speedier than the St. Lawrence. It is true there are at present some artificial handicaps by way of arbitrary marine insurance rates imposed for the protection of vested interests threatened by the newer and cheaper route. If the underwriters have their way, they are going to plug this northern route effectively. While a hundred years ago all Canadian ports on the Atlantic suffered because of similar discrimination against them in favour of United States ports, it would appear now, judging from the extremely high rates set on shipments out of Churchill, that the same unenlightened policy is being applied in greater degree to this new port. The new route is now ready and equipped to do a magnificent service for Canada, and we must see that it is not hampered by restrictions imposed by interests outside of Canada which are not only indifferent but quite possibly hostile to its future development.

First, the underwriters set rates so high as to prohibit ships from sailing into Churchill and then they blandly say: Once the safety of the route is proven we shall consider an adjustment. I do not wish to take up the time of the house, or for the next hour I could quote statements from sea captains and men who have sailed the seven seas, who know something about this route and whose statements cannot be challenged regarding its safety and usefulness. I might, however, in passing, refer briefly to a statement made by the captain of the Farnworth, the first boat to reach London dock from Churchill with the first cargo of wheat out of that new harbour. This is from the Manitoba Press Press of October 6 of last year:

Captain Mouat had an air of quiet satisfaction about him when he was encountered on the bridge of the steamer Farnworth to-day. The Farnworth arrived in London docks Sunday at the conclusion of a history-making voyage of 16 days from Churchill, Canada's newest seaport on the shore of Hudson bay, bringing a cargo of 277,000 bushels of grain over the new Hudson Bay northern route, which cuts one thousand miles off .the journey from the prairies to Britain.

In the captain's view it was a most matter of fact achievement to navigate from Churchill through the Hudson straits. The spare-looking skipper could find few remarks to make about the voyage simply because it had been like so many others he had made.

Ice Proves No Difficulty

"Ob, there was no ice at all to bother anyone," he said.

"Was there any fog?"

"Well, we will call it a haze, but it was nothing to worry over," the captain replied. "In fact, I was surprised to find how easy

The Budget-Mr. Stitt (Nelson)

things were. Everything possible had been done for us in advance, and the wireless gave us wonderful assistance. Without it we might have encountered some difficulties."

"Churchill is already well fitted with what ships like this need," Captain Mouat said. "The berthing is capital there already, and I see no reason whatever why this port should not be an excellent business proposition. Of course, this will be my only trip on this route in the present season."

Further, the Minister of Marine (Mr. Duranleau) sent into Churchill this year the Canadian government steamship Acadia which cleared Churchill outbound on October 2, remaining in Hudson strait until October 22 when further work was abandoned on account of a shortage of coal. I talked to the captain of this ship who told me that had he had a supply of coal he could have remained in the strait well into December. Here is the

testimony of another captain who is very well known, Captain W. J. Balcom, commander of the Canadian government icebreaker N. B. McLean. I quote from a Canadian Press despatch of October 31, 1931:

Shipping of grain and other cargoes through Hudson straits from Canada's new northern harbour, Fort Churchill, to European ports, is very feasible, according to Captain W. J. Balcom, commander of the Canadian government icebreaker, N. B. McLean, which returned to Quebec yesterday after spending three and a half months patrolling Hudson straits.

Captain Balcom said to-day that the two grain boats, the Farnworth with 7,410 tons of wheat and the Warkworth with 7.127 tons were both escorted through the strait from Cape Chidley to Coates Island at the eastern extremity of the straits on their trip to the old country. No trouble was experienced, and the owners of the two vessels had already signified their willingness to carry further cargoes from Churchill.

I have possibly fifty such opinions as that, Mr. Speaker, from such noted men as Captain Bernier and others who have sailed those northern waters, testfying that we have at least an average of eighteen weeks open navigation, which surely can be increased by modern ships with modem equipment, and our modern inventions such as direction-finding stations, and so forth. For two hundred and fifty years the Hudson's Bay Company carried their cargoes to and from Europe in and out of this bay, and for one hundred and fifty out of that two hundred and fifty years they used wooden sailing ships. It does not seem unreasonable, therefore, to suppose that modern ships, with modern equipment and modem ideas, should meet with a very much greater degree of success, provided of course that in the initial stages of development of this route every precaution is taken for the protection of the vessels using it-and I am happy to say that all precautions have been

taken. Direction-finding stations have been located at four points in the straits which are in touch with the vessels using the straits at all times. When I say "the straits" I do not want hon. members to think of a narrow stretch of water running between high rocks, or anything of that kind, because the Hudson straits are 450 miles long, 65 miles wide at the narrowest point, with 500 fathoms of water and no obstructions from the time you pass out of the gap at the harbour, a quarter of a mile from the dock, until you arrive in the straits, which is a voyage of 450 miles. There is not a shoal of any kind in all that stretch. To all intents and purposes you are out on the ocean.

It may be said, and it is being said, that the Canadian government having provided the necessary facilities, it is now up to the shippers, the importers and the exporters, to make use of those facilities. But, Mr. Speaker, I hold that the government has a further duty. Canada has a large sum of money invested in this project. The present government has given its approval of the scheme. Advantages will certainly accrue to the farmers of the west from the development of this route. Because of those two circumstances alone the government owes it to the people of Canada in general and to the west in particular to take the initiative and lend every possible encouragement to the routing of traffic through this new port. Some may say that it is unfair for the government to attempt to divert traffic from the existing routes on the Atlantic and Pacific to the Hudson Bay route. But I say that it would be just as unfair to neglect it in its infancy. To do nothing to direct traffic into the channel which will be the most economical would be most unfair to those sections of Canada which it will immediately benefit; and after all, anything that will help the west will help the whole of Canada. I think all hon. gentlemen will agree that it is no time to talk of sectionalism in this country.

There is another important matter which I should like to mention, important judging from the number of resolutions that are being passed by boards of trade in the west in connection with the rates that apply to the Hudson Bay railway. The boards of trade in western Canada are desirous that the government publish at 'the earliest possible moment a tariff of rates applicable on the Hudson Bay railway. Shippers are ready to use this new route but find themselves unable to quote prices due to the fact that the tariff of rates is not published. It is true that the provisions of the Crowsnest pass rate structure apply to

The Budget-Mr. McMillan (Huron)

Churchill, but only in part. For some reason or other when the Crowsnest rate structure was applied to the Hudson Bay railway it was made applicable only to wheat. To such grains as barley, flax, oats, rye and so forth, as well as flour, it does not apply, although the Crowsnest pass rates apply to all these grains when they are billed to the head of the lakes. The people in western Canada who are supporting this route feel that this is rank discrimination and that it should be removed at the earliest possible moment.

Another matter that is giving them concern is the fact that the Crowsnest pass rates as applied to the Hudson Bay railway extend only as far south in Saskatchewan as Regina or Moose Jaw, or the main line of the Canadian Pacific railway. Now if this new route is going to serve the purpose for which it was intended, these rates should apply to all parts of Saskatchewan and Manitoba as well as to certain points in Alberta which hope to use it. This is particularly important because our neighbours to the South in the states of Dakota, Montana and Minnesota, expect to make use of this new grain route, but if they are to be penalized by having to pay the regular prairie schedule rates up as far as the main line of the Canadian Pacific railway- and the same applies to Manitoba south and east of Dauphin-I fear it will militate very strongly against the success of the route. I would ask the Minister of Railways to do his utmost to bring these adjustments about, because the people of the west feel very strongly about them, and there can be no question that it is discrimination of the rankest kind.

Before closing may I pay a tribute to the Minister of Railways and Canals (Mr. Manion) and his staff for the able and efficient manner in which this work has been brought to a successful conclusion. I have watched this work very closely from its inception, and I feel quite safe in saying that this is one of the public works projects in Canada for which the people of Canada got value for every dollar expended. I pay that compliment to both governments because, as I said, both have contributed towards its construction about on a fifty-fifty basis.

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LIB

Thomas McMillan

Liberal

Mr. THOMAS McMILLAN (South Huron):

Mr. Speaker, my first words must be words of congratulation to the hon. Minister of Finance (Mr. Rhodes) for the manner in which he delivered his budget. It, of course, was true to form. I was also pleased indeed to notice the most effective criticism which it received at the hands of my good friend the hon. member for Shelburne-Yarmouth (Mr. Ralston). I have long since realized, Mr. Speaker, that honesty or purpose and sincerity of heart are among the greatest virtues of man. But, sir, as one who has largely expended the energies of life in and for the uplift of Canadian agriculture, I must confess that the prospects of farming to-day are less attractive than at any previous period of my life. Therefore I cannot allow this budget to pass without voicing my protest regarding the action of the government with respect to agricultural matters.

Experience has taught me that in order to accomplish anything in debate we must have some common standing ground, some platform, as it were, upon which the contestants at the outset can agree. That requirement the Prime Minister (Mr. Bennett) and I most surely have. During his campaign in Calgary he said:

Agriculture is the basic industry of Canada.

At Ormstown, Quebec, he said:

Agriculture stands first in Canadian activities.

Meaning thereby that it should have first consideration at the hands of any Canadian government. At Woodstock, New Brunswick, he said:

It shall be my great responsibility, if elected on the 28th of July, 1930, to see that the collective weight and power of the whole Dominion of Canada is placed behind agriculture. I would be lacking in the qualifications entitling me to head a Canadian government if I failed to do so.

Surely those expressions were such as to convince every farmer that the first consideration of this government would be the welfare of Canadian agriculture. Nevertheless from the moment of his election he and his government have subordinated the requirements of agriculture and of the general consumers of this country to those of his "special-interest" friends. Therefore my text to-night and wherever I go will be. contained in these words: If there be an inevitable conflict between agriculture and any other interest, that other interest must yield." In view of the commanding importance of a healthy and vigorous rural life, the welfare of Canadian agriculture must be preserved and stabilized if the national integrity is to be upheld.

Economically this country is in the most critical condition of its history; its situation is so critical that there is no time for anyone to talk cheap politics. Politics in the true sense of the term means the science of government, the government and regulation of a nation in order to ensure the liberty, security, and progress of its people. Canadian

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The Budget-Mr. McMillan (Huron)

agriculture is to-day in the very trough ^ of depression, in the midst of a world depression which is driving many people to a state of panic. But we must not forget that this condition is temporary, that agriculture will again become prosperous. Agriculture in Canada must become prosperous, but only if given its commercial freedom and if justly dealt with by and under governmental authority. It is acknowledged by all that agriculture is the basic industry of Canada, that the constant condition of agriculture is the real barometer of the trade of the country, and that without a dominant agriculture the whole national economic fabric will fall to pieces. Never has that fact been illustrated more clearly than to-day. For the past eighteen months business conditions in this country have been largely paralyzed. That state of affairs has been greatly intensified through the customs and tariff enactments of this government, preceding and following in the wake of the last Imperial conference. With trade falling off, revenues declining, transportation seriously restricted, national debt piling up, expenditures growing, immigration reduced to a minimum, and unemployment so rife that in the midst of bulging warehouses and overflowing elevators we see the lurid picture of thousands of destitute citizens living in semistarvation and away over 530,000 idle working people.

There is a condition upon which no one wishes to dwell. Why is this so? Because the farmer is unable to sell the produce of his labour for the bare cost of production; as a consequence his purchasing power is largely destroyed; and so the whole national economic fabric is threatened. In the midst of such a condition last fall was it not a striking coincidence that the price of wheat should begin to rise, and almost at once, as if by magic, a buoyant, optimistic feeling took possession of the people? Does that experience not prove the force of my words, that the constant condition of agriculture is the real barometer of trade? Why, it represents the backbone of our whole national economic structure. And does not that fact prove the words of my text: If there be inevitable conflict between agriculture and any other interest, that other interest should yield? Agriculture must be preserved and stabilized if national integrity is to be upheld.

Wherein lies the remedy? Give to agriculture the wider and better markets which it demands and which it must have, and at the same time enable the farmers to obtain their requirements at prices somewhat on a parity with the prices which they must accept for

their farm products. That is the crux of the whole situation. Give the farmers their requirements at prices equivalent to those which they must accept for their produce, and the way is largely open for a solution of the problem. But what does this government do? It tries to put this whole dominion into an hermetically sealed condition so far as trade is concerned, and so well has it succeeded that in the short space of eighteen months it has practically destroyed almost one half of our entire foreign trade. But not content with that condition this government, through the medium of the Finance minister in this budget, comes along again and places a further burden on agriculture in the shape of a two hundred per cent increase in the special excise tax upon all imports.

No nation can live unto itself. This world has become a family of interdependent nations which must work hand in hand and become mutually helpful. To accomplish this, if we could only cancel the war debts between the nations, stop the building of armaments, pull down these most obstructive tariff walls and allow the family of nations economic liberty, the problem would largely be solved. The way things are going at the present time, sir, it seems to me it might be a good plan to lock up some of the ministerial heads of this government in order to ensure the free flow of trade in its natural lines. Surely we have already had ample proof of the effect of the policies of this government on agriculture. To my mind the great reason why a policy such as I have suggested cannot be followed is that those who are in control in some of the leading nations of the world are afraid that by doing so they may lose that control when they next appeal to their electorates.

If further proof is needed of the way things are going in the economic life of the world to-day it is only necessary to consult the last report of the Basle committee, which called for adjustment of all reparations and other war debts to the troubled state of world finances, and warned the governments of the world that this must be done immediately if fresh disaster were to be averted. This report, adopted unanimously by the eleven financial experts and economists who composed the committee, was set out in full detail after the most exhaustive inquiry into the economic condition of Germany, and the report stated that action was urgently needed in a much wider field than Germany alone. When the Hoover moratorium ends in July, under the Young plan, Germany will be required to pay some $450,000,000 annually in gold to the

The Budget-Mr. McMillan (Huron)

allied countries, with the exception of the United States. Of this amount about $165,000,000 is unconditional, earmarked for the repair of war damage in France and Belgium, and according to the Young plan that payment cannot be postponed. All the financial and economic experts who have been studying this question have agreed unanimously that Germany is absolutely unable to pay the balance of $285,000,000 to the other countries. It so happens that European governments owe the United States about $250,000,000 annually, or only some $35,000,000 less than Germany's entire annual obligation.

The Basle committee, while unable to consider the matter of unconditional reparation annuities, stated in their report that they would not feel they had fully performed their task if they did not bring to the attention of the governments of the world the extreme gravity of the present situation, which undoubtedly has exceeded the relatively short depression envisaged in the Young plan, to meet which the safeguarding measures contained therein were designed. Speaking at Manchester on December 9 last Sir George Paish, eminent economist, who is in complete accord with the report of that committee, stated, "If my information is correct, and I think it is, nothing can prevent a complete world economic breakdown. Reparations should be cut off entirely or reduced to such a low figure that they would become negligible. Inter-allied debts should be written off entirely. World tariffs must come down." He said the most serious consequences were likely to result if the new British high tariff system were put into operation; he said it would cause world bankruptcy, and described it as the greatest folly that could be conceived. Commenting on this statement, according to the press the Prime Minister of Canada was so unimpressed that he merely said, "Mother Shipton predicted that the world would come to an end one hundred years ago." Mark you, this is the man who is empowered to speak for the Canadian people. I quote the following press report, dated St. John, New Brunswick, December 13, 1931:

The prediction of Sir George Paish, British economist, regarding an early breakdown of the world s economic structure, has not impressed Right Hon. R. B. Bennett, Prime Minister of Canada, who was here fifteen minutes last night en route to Ottawa on his return from England.

No; he said, "Mother Shipton predicted that the world would come to an end one hundred years ago." I ask the Prime Minister if this press report is a fair summary of his opinion of the gravity of the present world economic condition, and I hope before this

debate ends he will give this house a satisfactory reply.

No man was ever in a better position to make a name for himself and to place Canada on the highest pinnacle among the British commonwealth of nations, but let us pause for a moment to inquire what this government have done to solve these pressing problems with which we are faced, or I might put it the other way and ask what this government have done to place Canada in the desperate economic condition in which we find ourselves to-day, particularly with regard to agriculture. Twelve months ago I said this was practically a one man government, with a following so weak and submissive that you would almost think they were hibernating. After twelve months have passed who can say that this is other than a one man government?

I have outlined the course which I believe should be followed. Everyone realizes that agriculture is the backbone of our whole economic structure, and everyone realizes also that Canadian farmers must have access to wider and better markets, but it is a thoroughly sound economic maxim that if we are going to sell our goods to other countries we must buy goods from those countries in return. But what did the Prime Minister do? He increased the tariff at the special session and last session for the one purpose, so he said, of remedying an unfavourable trade balance. I do not believe that, and I propose to show by the words of the Prime Minister himself that I am right in my contention. If the Prime Minister will look at the Monetary Times of January 8 last he will find that in 1930 Canada borrowed from the United States some $393,632,000 whereas in the following year we borrowed only $155,920,000. That fact alone would decrease the imports from that country, and that result would have followed if the Prime Minister himself had gone into hibernation and remained there during the whole time. While the borrowings of Canada from the United States had decreased in that one year by $237,000,000, in the same year the imports from that country, as you would naturally expect, had declined by $259,000,000.

I have said that I propose to show from his own lips that he did not increase the tariff for the purpose of remedying an adverse trade balance. His very first expression on the floor of this house as Prime Minister of Canada was that so far as (possible the requirements of ten million Canadian people must be produced at home, thereby showing at once that he did not wish to encourage the importation of any goods that could possibly

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The Budget-Mr. McMillan (Huron)

be produced in this country, thus drying up the springs of trade and further paralyzing Canadian agricultural life. His very first expression, as I say, was this, as I have pointed out. Secondly, his next act, in amplification of that policy, was to jack up the Canadian tariff against the importation of British goods almost to the prohibitive point, practically wiping out the British preference before ever he went to the imperial conference, thus ejecting British goods at the toe of the boot from Canadian markets which they had enjoyed for a lifetime. Thirdly, his act was to pass some of the most diabolical customs legislation ever forced through the parliament of any country, legislation which has driven the people of Canada, to a status away back behind the days of Magna Charta, the day of the signing of the great charter of English liberty for the preservation of those liberties of the British people, which charter, amongst other things, stipulated that no taxes must be levied within the realm without the approval of parliament, and that foreign merchants should be allowed safe conduct to enter England and leave it, to buy and sell, without the obstruction of an evil toll.

Why were these safeguards to English liberty insisted upon in those early days? Simply to prevent exploitation of the people. But now we have a government who have passed this legislation, taking the right of taxation directly out of the hands of parliament, a right which had rested with the representatives of the people, under the terms of the British constitution, ever since the days of King John, and putting that power into the hands of one man, the Minister of National Revenue, to fix for duty purposes, whatever valuation he wished upon the importation of goods into Canada, regardless of what the cost price of such goods might be. If that is not an exhibition of high protection gone crazy and autocracy gone to seed, made legal in the face of the solemn protests of the Liberal party in this house, and under the threat of the Prime Minister that until it was passed he would refuse to leave Ottawa for the imperial conference, I do not know what you would call it. It has destroyed the stability of trade to such a degree that every prospective trader is afraid to launch out and do business, for he will never know the valuation upon which he will be required to pay duty. If anyone is engaged in the business of buying and importing goods, would common sense not tell him that the valuation on which he ought to pay duty would be the reasonable cost price of those goods? That is the valuation upon which any sensible indi-

vidual would expect to pay duty. But now we have a government who have passed a law nullifying that sensible view and putting it in the power and at the whim of one man to fix whatever valuation he pleases without any regard whatever to the cost price of goods, and whenever he likes to take such action.

But of course this is in line with the whole fiscal policy of this government. The government do not wish to allow the importation into this country of any goods of a kind that is or can be produced in Canada, no matter how exorbitant a price the consumer may have to pay.

iSome hon. MEMBERS: Carried.

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LIB

Thomas McMillan

Liberal

Mr. McMILLAN (Huron):

I know you

would like me to stop but I am not through yet. Surprise has been expressed that there are no tariff changes in the budget. Why, Mr. Speaker,- we do not need any; the Minister of National Revenue is making such changes regularly. Read Hansard of the special session of 1930, and you will see from the whole discussion that the Minister of National Revenue can make the entire tariff ten times higher than it now is if he so chooses, without ever consulting parliament at all. And through the medium of orders in council he is continually doing it. But of course, as I say, this is in line with the whole fiscal policy of this government.

This principle of one-way trade is no good. It is a policy of blind nationalism which should be stamped out. The endeavour to put Canada into a hermetically sealed compartment, so far as trade is concerned, is absurd and is becoming intolerable to the great masses of the people. Therefore I charge the Prime Minister, according to his own yard measure, with being entirely lacking in the qualifications that should entitle him to head the Canadian government in the measures so necessary for the salvation of Canadian agriculture. The longer he proceeds the worse the mess becomes. And further, Mr. Speaker, no one who will not observe the full meaning of these words: "If there be economic conflict between agriculture and any other interest, that other interest must yield," should be allowed to continue at the helm of Canadian public affairs.

Agriculture must be preserved and stabilized if national integrity is to be maintained. If the Prime Minister were only true to himself, he would see that such a policy was observed. Everyone knows that, as I have said, agriculture is the foundation and the backbone of our whole national economic structure. The condition of agriculture to-day is becoming too serious to be longer neglected.

The Budget-Mr. McMillan (Huron)

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?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Carried.

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LIB

Thomas McMillan

Liberal

Mr. McMILLAN (Huron):

Hon. members need not think that they can annoy me.

I see a lot of hon. members opposite who represent agricultural constituencies. Their actions show how much they care for agriculture, and that is why agriculture has received so little consideration and so little real sympathy on the floor of this house. If the government of Canada would only solve the problems of Canadian agriculture and put the farmers on a sound and healthy basis economically, the other economic problems would largely solve themselves. What surpasses my comprehension, something I cannot understand, is that type of mind, that peculiar mentality which enables its possessor boldly to announce that he will place the collective weight and power of his government behind agriculture, and in the same breath have the temerity to enact legislation which has the effect of so severely paralyzing Canadian agricultural life as to drive from it the last vestige of outstanding natural ability. It is worse than a crime upon the body politic, and tragic in the consequences which it will involve. We may well recall those memorable words of Goldsmith:

III fares that land to hastening ills a prey, Where wealth accumulates, and men decay: Princes and lords may flourish or may fade; A breath can make them, as a breath has made;

But a bold peasantry, her country's pride, When once destroyed, can never be supplied.

It is the same type of mind which will enact legislation which will place the great body of the people under the iron heel of special privilege and then declare that there shall be no exploitation of the consumer. This government realizes that by its enactments it has placed the people at the mercy of the specially favoured interests; if this were not the case, nothing would be said about the exploitation of the people. Before the government talks about preventing exploitation under such circumstances, it should be able to assure us that it is possessed of that superhuman power which will enable it to reconstitute human nature. Unless the government can do this, such talk is the sheerest balderdash. It reminds me of the expression, "They might tell the truth to the people, before asserting that they can appreciate nothing in argument but fallacies and nothing in language but balderdash."

All these things which have proved to be to the detriment of Canadian agriculture were enacted before the Prime Minister and his colleagues went to the imperial conference. They have continued ever since with increas-41761-124

ing force and to-day we are reaping the bitter effects of such disastrous legislation. Go into the towns, the villages and the cities, consult the bankers, businessmen or tradespeople, what do they say? Their constant prayer is: Lord, give us a policy which will help the farmer in his extremity and he will help us all. This government could begin at once one of the greatest developments in history right on the farms and in the farm houses of Canada, but it still persists in its immeasurable folly. The farmers of this country are just as anxious to have the comforts and conveniences of city life as are the townspeople, and there is no class of people in this country who, if they had the wherewithal, would spend more freely. If my hon. friends across the way would only drop party politics, I am convinced that they would support me in this matter.

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?

An hon. MEMBER:

Where has the hon.

member been all his life?

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LIB

Thomas McMillan

Liberal

Mr. McMILLAN (Huron):

He has always been trying to do his part.

This government went to the imperial conference with the idea of blasting its way into the markets of the world. What has it accomplished? In a single twelvemonth its blasting folly has destroyed more than one-third of the entire foreign trade of Canada. How did it accomplish that result? .It was accomplished by increasing the tariff and by peremptorily demanding that the British government impose a tax on foreign foodstuffs, thus identifying in the minds of millions of Britishers the once-honoured and respected name of Canada with the odious and much-feared policy of taxing the food of the British people. The Prime Minister then became wildly uproarious and left Great Britain with the veiled threat of economic separation simply because a British minister mildly designated his whole proceeding as "humbug." What has Professor Stephen Leacock to say on this point? He says that Right Hon. J. H. Thomas used the right word when he called Mr. Bennett's proposal "humbug." He continues:

The Canadian tariff prefers British manufactured goods to American, but shuts them both out so far as they interfere with our own manufacturing system. A nation that blocks out everything with a tariff and produces vast quantities of goods which it cannot consume is working its own ruin.

I do not need to emphasize the fact that the whole proceedings at that conference were a dead failure as far as the welfare of Canada was concerned, and this is known to every real student of public affairs. Has that fact had any effect whatever in dissuading the

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The Budget-Mr. McMillan (Huron)

Prime Minister from following the course which he has apparently mapped out, a course so ruinous to the interests of Canadian agriculture? None whatever, and that is the reason why I am impelled to say that according to his own yard measure he is entirely lacking in the qualifications which entitle him to lead a Canadian government in providing the measures so necessary for the salvation of Canadian agriculture.

I do not need to rehearse the proceedings of the last session of parliament. From beginning to end it was one continuous course of action-

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CON

Eccles James Gott

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GOTT:

If the hon. member persists

in reading his speech, I shall have to direct the attention of the Speaker to his conduct.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
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LIB

Thomas McMillan

Liberal

Mr. McMILLAN (Huron):

-as far as fiscal legislation was concerned, against the true interests of agriculture and the general consumer, and showed unmistakably that there had been no recanting whatever of his opinions previously expressed and acted upon.

On motion of Mr. Edwards (Waterloo) the debate was adjourned.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
Permalink

At eleven o'clock the house adjourned, without question put, pursuant to standing order. Wednesday, April 13, 1932


April 12, 1932