April 20, 1932

CON

Joseph Arthur Barrette

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BARRETTE (Translation):

It is worth noting that all these counties are represented by Liberals.

Mr. ST-PERE (Translation): One would think they were showering us with presents.

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

Alfred Duranleau (Minister of Fisheries; Minister of Marine)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. DURANLEAU (Translation):

I do not wish to take up more time than is necessary in showing what we have done in Quebec to relieve unemployment. Our friends whose counties were favoured, as I have just pointed out, might at least have made some mention of the fact before this house and given credit where credit is due. But no, Mr. Speaker, these gentlemen preferred to attack the leader of the government. But I hope the people of Canada when they read these figures will compare the efforts made by the present administration towards improving conditions and hastening the return of prosperity and the tactics, often unfair, always questionable, employed by our friends on the other side to discredit our leaders and discredit the government in the eyes of our country. Such tactics were not very successful in the past. Three Rivers gave its answer-

Mr. ST-PERE (Translation): After you had promised them public works.

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CON

Alfred Duranleau (Minister of Fisheries; Minister of Marine)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. DURANLEAU (Translation):

-and, a few moments ago, we acclaimed the young member for Athabaska (Mr. Davies) whose election was another eloquent answer to the unfair tactics of the hon. members opposite.

Hard times may, on occasion, be bad counsellors, more so when opponents seek to destroy public confidence in the country's government; but fortunately, Mr. Speaker, as I have just shown, the confidence that our Canadian people put in our Prime Minister on July 28, 1930, not only has not been destroyed by the attacks of our hon. friends, nor by the hard times through which we are passing, but it has not been the least bit shaken. To-day more than ever Canada puts her trust in our distinguished leader whose prestige commands the attention not only of Canada and of the whole British Empire, but of the entire world, as the time nears for the Imperial conference soon to be held here.

The Budget-Mr. Rinjret

But if hard times can be evil counsellors they also bring lessons of courage to our Canadian citizens. We have the proof of this in the willingness with which our people gladly accept the hardest tasks, the most rigorous measures, because the interests of the country demand it and because each sacrifice reminds us of the country we must save.

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure for me to state on the floor of this house that we will continue as in the past, despite the attacks of our opponents, despite the criticisms, never very appropriate, of our Liberal friends, to do our duty; and I have the firm belief that once this crisis is a thing' of the past, our policies will give back to this country the prosperity it knew under former Conservative administrations.

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LIB

Louis Édouard Fernand Rinfret

Liberal

Hon. FERNAND RINFRET (St. James):

Mr. Speaker, last year, at about this stage of the debate on the budget, I had the privilege of following my hon. friend the Minister of Marine (Mr. Duranleau), and at that time, speaking as a member of the Liberal opposition and following the remarks of the minister as closely as I could, I endeavoured to reply to the stand he had taken concerning many matters. To-day however I do not rise in the same spirit of controversy, my only intention being to exercise my privilege as a member of this house to direct attention to certain economic conditions we in the city of Montreal have to face.

Inasmuch as the minister has brought into this debate rather unexpectedly some ghosts of the late election campaign in the constituency of Three Rivers-St. Maurice, I believe I should be permitted to make reference to that election. I do so diffidently, because I am exceedingly desirous, on account of conditions which are obvious, not to take a stand which might appear to be partisan or actuated by purely political considerations. I was in charge of the activities of the Liberal party during the election campaign in that constituency, and hon. members will recall that the election was won by the very /dose margin of only thirty-eight votes. Despite that fact, I remained silent and a good loser. I could have brought up many matters and subjected them to the test of public opinion; in fact I could have done so more extensively than the Minister of Marine has done to-day. I believe, however, that political parties must organize and do their work before a verdict is rendered, and when a verdict has been rendered there is only one recourse, namely that of contesting the election. I do not believe in post mortem statements, and did not make any. I accepted the defeat, and

although grieved on behalf of the Liberal party I made no comments. Not as a Liberal but merely as a member of this parliament I should like to say that I proved a better loser on that occasion than the Minister of Marine has proved a winner this afternoon,

The hon. gentleman dug up some quotations from local newspapers, and I do not doubt the accuracy of their reports. I must assert, however, that these newspaper comments are but a small part of a very extensively developed campaign; if I were to look up my records I could bring before the house heaps of newspaper clippings concerning the other side of the campaign which would be just as embarrassing as, if not more than, the quotations the minister has given. He has made reference to the hon. member for Hochelaga (Mr. St-Pere). In a spirit of justice, and not in one of partisanship, may I say that I have taken part in campaigns in which the hon. member for Hochelaga was interested, and I doubt if any hon. members in either of the larger political parties make public speeches which are as serious, as full of argument and as devoid of prejudice as those of my good friend from Hochelaga.

I should like to appeal to the sense of fairness of the Minister of Marine. He will no doubt admit that during the heat of an election, campaign speakers on both sides make utterances that are regretted at the close of the election. I will not say that such a condition exists more in one party than in another; I would rather take it for granted that such utterances cannot be prevented. I think, however, it is the duty of leaders on both sides to try to control such appeals, to try to stifle them, to try to stop them before the election, and the best treatment to give them after the election is over is merely to forget about them and not to bring them to the floor of the House of Commons of Canada, there to receive great publicity. I think it has been a mistake on the part of members from our province to bring such statements before the house. I recall that some years ago a member from New Brunswick, Mr. Doucet, spent a whole afternoon trying to convince hon. members that the province of Quebec was not able to stage an election on the same high plane as that on which the other provinces carried on their campaigns. As far as I am concerned, not as a Liberal but as a man from Quebec, I deprecate those statements. I think that the Minister of Marine (Mr. Duranleau), a leader in his party, should be very careful to avoid bringing to the notice of parliament an insignificant quotation-an infinitesimal fraction of what was said during

The Budget-Mr. Rinfret

the by-election in Three Rivers-in an attempt to convince this house and the country generally that on that occasion we did not know how to discuss an economic question. My hon. friend knows quite as well as I do that what decided the issue in Three Rivers was the fact that the people wanted public works-they were hungry and unemployed. I do not blame those who voted for the government, because they were simply trying to secure work in order to provide the necessaries of life for their families. Why dig up a few lines in a newspaper or a misquotation of a speech to convince the house that that by-election campaign was not properly conducted? I regret having to speak in this way, for I did not want to make a political speech to-day, but I know that not only the member for Hochelaga (Mr. St-Pere) but other members of the Liberal party, including myself, were charged with making statements that we never even dreamed of making. For instance, we were charged with making allusions with respect to the personal character of the Prime Minister. I want to give my word of honour that to my knowledge not one Liberal speaker indulged in anything of the kind, and certainly I did not myself make any such attacks on the Prime Minister. I think the leading men of both parties should at least try to leave these things alone and not attempt to use them as weapons when they speak in this house.

Having made this statement, I desire to discuss the budget, not in detail, but with reference to the present conditions of unemployment, especially in the city of Montreal. I congratulate the Minister of Finance (Mr. Rhodes) on his very fine speech. It was clear cut, and although it was not very pleasant in all its features, there was good reason for everything he brought forward, and certainly he made it very clear that we shall have' to practise economy to a very large degree in the coming year. I shall not surprise him when I say that having recently been elected Mayor of Montreal I find that the demand for economy is even stronger there than perhaps it is in the federal field. The difficulty is not that we have to economize, but that at the same time we have to find millions of dollars to house, clothe and feed the unemployed. If that problem was not confronting this country I believe it would be a comparatively easy task for every public body to convince their friends and the public generally of the necessity of retrenchment for a couple of years, and that in this way we would achieve magnificent results. But the difficulty is that at the same time we must find not

only thousands but millions of dollars to look after the ever-growing army of unemployed. I am speaking now of my few weeks' experience in office in Montreal. The situation in that city-and I am afraid it is similar in many of our other cities-is perfectly appalling and is much more disquieting than I thought it could be before my election to the mayoralty. Every day in the city hall we have armies of unemployed coming to us, men in the most destitute condition-men who have not worked for a number of months, men who cannot pay their rent, men who have no money left. The condition has become worse for this reason, that some months ago everybody had a little money left, or a friend or relative who could help them, or some piece of furniture that they could sell. To-day all these small resources have been exhausted, and if the situation does not speedily improve the army of the unemployed will be greater next fall than it has been in the past. At the same time, our reserves and means of looking after these unfortunate people have been greatly diminished. That is why I appeal to the government-perhaps I need not-in a perfectly constructive spirit and without the least partisanship, to continue as far as possible their contribution for the relief of unemployment throughout the country. I know what they have in mind, but I would dispel the impression that may be entertained by any hon. member that because the government have given a lot of money for unemployment relief the problem is solved and no further federal assistance is necessary. This is not so. To the best of our ability we must meet that problem as long as it continues with us. I feel the government has gone very far in the way of taxation in some lines, but as a member of this side of the house I shall not reproach the Minister of Finance or the Prime Minister if by taxing incomes more severely, by taxing purchasers through the sales tax, or by any other forms of taxation which this budget provides for, the main object of the government is to find money to contribute further to the municipalities for the solution of the unemployment problem.

A mistake was made-it certainly was a mistake in our city; it may have been made in other cities-as to the character of the works that were undertaken under the unemployment relief legislation. It should have been the prime object of every public body, municipal or otherwise, to undertake work with respect to which as large a proportion as possible of the money spent would have gone directly to the working men. Un-

The Budget-Mr. Rinjret

fortunately in certain towns the authorities undertook to build beautiful edifices or public works of a kind which in the first place involved a large outlay for land and the purchase of very costly materials and a large profit to the contractor. This left only a very small proportion of the funds available for distribution among the working men. I submit that the best way of dealing with the unemployment problem is to undertake work of such, a character as to leave as much as possible, say seventy-five or eighty per cent, of the money to be paid over to the working men directly.

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

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Hear, hear.

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LIB

Louis Édouard Fernand Rinfret

Liberal

Mr. RINFRET:

I see now there is a

tendency to abandon unemployment works altogether and to favour direct relief. There is this to be said about direct relief-the whole of the money goes to those who need it. But I am afraid that there are social and moral objections to the system. If we could have the people work for the money that we give them it would appeal much more to my sense of equity and social economy. But, I repeat, the main problem is to look after those unemployed men. We are on the eve of a date which in the large cities is going to be distressful to many people,-the first of May. As hon. members know, in the large cities tenants move on the first of May. I know as a fact that in the city of Montreal hundreds, perhaps thousands, of families will have to vacate their homes because they have been in arrear with their rent for a number of months, and they have not been able to secure other accommodation because they have no form of security to offer to their prospective landlords. That is why, although the relief program of the government was to have terminated by the first of May, I take this occasion to appeal to the government to yield to the requests that will be made to them to extend their contribution a few months longer. Many projects have been suggested to us to relieve that special feature of the unemployment situation-the renting feature. People have gone so far as to propose a moratorium, stopping the payment of rents for a few months. Obviously this would be unfair, because it would simiply improverish this class of people, who certainly have every right to the rents they obtain for their houses. I rather think the public bodies will have to devise some means whereby they can secure some kind of help before May 1, or else they will have to organize a system of shelter for those left without lodging at that time.

If during this debate I take the stand that we must more and more undertake work in which manual labour will be the main factor, I would remind the house that there are some works so urgent that they should not be disregarded by the government. I remember that during the war in some of the European countries, which were hardest hit by that great catastrophe, there was still a spirit of carrying on and maintaining certain activities not only because in themselves they were useful but also in order to show that the country had the proper spirit and was carrying on with a certain degree of confidence even in that grave crisis. I think the large companies, to the extent of their ability, and especially the governments, should show that same spirit. In this particular I have not been in entire agreement with the present government in connection with some of the decisions at which they have arrived with regard to salaries and especially with regard to dismissals. I believe the view I have expressed should be taken with regard to a certain class of public works which do not come within the category I mentioned but which are necessary and urgent and should be carried on.

My hon. friend the Postmaster General (Mr. Sauve) is facing me at the moment; one of the works to which I refer is the Montreal postal terminal. I am afraid there has been some disposition on the part of the ministers concerned to pass that question from one to the other. I tried to find out from my genial friend what was to be done. He sent me to the Minister of Public Works (Mr. Stewart); when I went to him he was rather diffident about the whole matter and although he did not say so I felt that he would have been glad to suggest that perhaps I would have been wise to see the Postmaster General. I know that question has been pending for a number of years. I am in a tolerant spirit this afternoon, and I am willing to fake my share of the blame for not having put it through before now, but it is sadly needed in Montreal, and I feel that it would not only serve a good purpose in the way of public service but would also provide a great deal of work. Following the remarks I made on the orders of the day this afternoon, I would urge the government to start that work as soon as possible. I do not know if my hon. friend the Minister of Public Works will be in public life for very many years. Personally I would have no objection, but I know he would like to leave his name affixed to some special work, and I think if that terminal in some way could be connected

The Budget-Mr. Hackett

with him it would be a sweet thought for his old age.

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CON

Arthur Sauvé (Postmaster General)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SAUVE (Translation):

The hon. exminister has not lost his great imagination.

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LIB

Louis Édouard Fernand Rinfret

Liberal

Mr. RINFRET:

I am sorry the Minister of Railways (Mr. Manion) is not present, because I wish to refer to the very unsatisfactory state of the Canadian National terminal in Montreal. There was an amount of $50,000,000 voted not only for the terminal station but for other works throughout the island of Montreal as well, and these works should have been pushed forward with much greater activity than was shown. I will admit that the railway situation to-day might provide some argument in favour of leaving the work in its present state, but I wish I could take the minister to Montreal and show him the huge, ugly excavation that the stopping of this work has left in the very centre of the city. I think that would appeal, as my hon. friend says, to his sense of imagination and to his practical side as well. Montreal was given an opportunity to benefit through the expenditure of a very large sum of money, but that work has been stopped. Now we have had the appointment of a commission to study the railway situation throughout the country; we have not that report, I understand it is not forthcoming and I am afraid it will not be available during the present session, so I fear that no decision will be arrived at by the government in connection with this matter. But I take the stand, and I take it strongly, that the present situation must be remedied. We cannot leave the city as it is at present. This condition is not altogether chargeable to the present government; it is mainly the result of misrepresentations made by former civic authorities of Montreal. I hope it may be that we will have a union station there; the plan may be changed. I may seem to speak in an uncompromising way, but I do demand for the city of Montreal, and in the interests of the proper operation of the railways, and in order to benefit the unemployed, that this work be resumed as soon as possible and that the former program, or one equivalent to it, be followed by the government.

I have only one further word to say, and that is in reference to the coming Imperial conference. I think I voice the feeling of everyone in this country when I say that notwithstanding the political disadvantages which may follow, we all desire that the Imperial conference shall meet with the utmost success. I would suggest to the government-though perhaps they do not need the suggestion-that they approach that conference in a spirit of exchange rather than the spirit of protection which animated the government during the last campaign. They must understand very well that with the crisis as it exists at present one of the surest means of restoring prosperity is to establish a means of cooperation and exchange. If the government can agree on a certain number of exchanges with the different parts of the empire good results will be brought about. I will not point to the fact that in doing so the government will be following our policy more closely than their own; I am not concerned about that at the moment. I do know, however, that if the government could find some means of disposing of our wheat and other agricultural products, at the same time opening our doors to the products of other parts of the empire, they would achieve something of economic advantage to Canada.

I will add only this word: When they are through trading with the empire let them resume trading with the world, as we did in the ten years we were in office. In my opinion the greatest chance of overcoming the present difficulty does not lie in remaining at home and attempting to solve the problem ourselves, but in resuming our relations with the rest of the world in the spirit of confidence and exchange that always exists in years of prosperity, and which is most needed at a time like this.

Mr. JOHN T. HACKETT (Stanstead): Mr. Speaker, there are many topics which have been brought up during this discussion with which I should like to deal; in the remarks of the hon. member who has just taken his seat there were a number of openings for debate not altogether devoid of interest, but since the railway problem surpasses in peril and perplexity all others which are before the country I feel that I should restrict my remarks to this one question.

When the Minister of Finance (Mr. Rhodes) told the house that the financial operations of the year had resulted in an increase of debt of

8119,000,000, there was a murmur of dismay from different parts of the house, this notwithstanding the fact that the excess of expenditure over revenue was known, almost to a nicety, to every member of the house who was interested in it. The weekly reports of revenue and the frequent reports of disbursements made it a matter of almost universal information that the ordinary revenue of the year would be entirely inadequate to meet the expenditure. This total of $119,000,000 included $55,000,000 of special ex-

The Budget-Mr. Hackett

penditure. In this $55,000,000 are $11,000,000 of a wheat bonus and thirty-eight and a fraction millions which went for unemployment and farm relief. There was $44,000,000 of a difference between revenue and ordinary expenditure. There were $17,000,000 of capital expenditures and about $3,500,000 of inactive advances-that is a euphonious way of describing moneys which are paid out, which are never returned and on which interest is never paid.

I said that there was a murmur of dismay and amazement in some parts of the house when the minister announced that the budget of the year before had failed to balance by

5119.000. 000; but when he told the house that there had been a difference between the earnings and the requirements of the Canadian National Railways of $109,000,000, the house was silent and expressed neither amazement nor dissent. Failure of the government to receive as much as was spent in the financial operations of the year was altogether an extraordinary event; to the same extent it had never happened before, and we all hope it will never happen again. Yet, on the other hand, the requirement by the Canadian National Railways of $109,000,000 from the government was not an extraordinary event. It has become a very ordinary event; it has become so customary that for the past ten or fifteen years we have paid and paid and are continuing to pay, until this has become the major problem of Canada. Yet it seemed to provoke very little interest in the house. I am not sure that all hon. gentleman are aware that in the deficit of $119,000,000 are included, under the maritime freight rates, eleven and a quarter millions which are chargeable to transportation; that there is also chargeable to transportation SI,361,000 which went to the assistance of the Canadian Government Merchant Marine and to the West India service, and a further amount of $6,371,000 capital expenditure, largely on the Hudson Bay railway. Therefore, if the total of these three amounts, $19,000,000, is deducted from the deficit of $119,000,000, there remains a deficit of $100,000,000; and if the $19,000,000 are added to the $109,000,000 shortage in Canadian National accounts, we should find that transportation cost the dominion last year $128,000,000. Or, if one prefers to take the figures of the Minister of Railways, who said the requirements of the Canadian National from the government for the year were one hundred and twelve and a quarter millions, the cost to Canada for transportation last year was $131,000,000. Deduct from the

519.000. 000 the six and a quarter millions

which went to the Hudson Bay railway, and the three or four millions which were paid out to roads other than the Canadian National from the maritime freight rates fund, one will find that the Canadian National Railways last year required government guarantees or cash amounting to $121,000,000.

I have said that there was nothing unusual, nothing extraordinary in this demand. We find in the report of the Minister of Railways that for the year 1929 the increase in the debt to the public of the Canadian National Railways was $144,670,000, and for the year 1930 it was $92,326,000. I have mentioned that last year it was one hundred and twelve and a quarter millions, and the minister has told us that this year it will be at least seventy millions. This demand upon the wealth of the country is so great, and the possibility of putting an end to it seems to be so elusive, that the railway problem is known to be the major problem which Canada has to contend with at the present time.

To solve that problem, a royal commission has been appointed. Men of great experience, men who know the 'business of transportation thoroughly, men in high judicial office, and men fully acquainted with conditions financial and economic throughout the country, have been brought together, quite regardless of any political allegiance any of them may have, and are making a complete survey of transportation in Canada. It was thought that that report would be available for this session but it is now apparent that it will not. When the report is made it will be received by the house; the report may be controversial the legislation based on it may be contested, I think it is fair to assume that a year must go by before any shred of the legislation to be suggested by the commission can be applied to this great problem.

During the past year parliament as a whole has enacted a number of provisional or conservatory measures. We have acknowledged that conditions are very unusual and we have done unusual things in an effort to cope with them. In this category of enactment may be found the suggested reduction in the salaries of civil servants, the reduction in the indemnities of members of the Senate and of the House of Commons and the withdrawal of amounts usually voted to worthy, if not necessary enterprises. Large sums of money have been voted for unemployment, farm and direct relief and we have endeavoured by extraordinary measures of every type to meet a most difficult and trying situation.

On more than one occasion I have stated in this house that I believed it was an error

The Budget-Mr. Hackett

for the government to engage in the ownership and operation of railways. It is not my intention to reiterate that belief or go into the long yesterdays of railway ownership and administration; it is not my intention to state whether or not that operation has been successful, as that aspect of the question is being investigated by a royal commission, nor is it my intention to prescribe any permanent solution of the problem, as that again is a prerogative of the commission and is a function which I believe it is well capable of performing. However, while this commission is investigating the problem and seeking a remedy for our ills, we as a parliament have not discharged our full duty towards the taxpayers and the financial integrity of the country-if we sit by and merely await events. I can imagine only one greater misfortune than the taking over of the Canadian National Railways by the Canadian Pacific Railway, that is the taking over of the Canadian Pacific Railway by the Canadian National Railways. I do not believe it is desirable that there should be a merger of these two railway systems; I think it is to the advantage of Canada that there should be competition. I think the country would be better off if it was served by half a dozen or even a dozen smaller railroads than by one or two big ones. Canada like most other countries has been a victim of the mania which holds that anything is better because it is bigger. We have big banks, big corporations and big universities and institutions of every description which in many instances appear to have outrun our capacity or ability to administer and manage. Notwithstanding the statement of the hon. member for Brome-Mississquoi (Mr. Pickel), which I think was made a little bit in the spirit of levity, I do not wish to see the Canadian National Railways swallowed up by the Canadian Pacific Railway any more than I wish to see the Canadian Pacific Railway swallowed up by the Canadian National Railways.

It is my belief that these two systems are both unsuccessful at the present time because there is not sufficient business in Canada to maintain them in their present state of perfection and efficiency. There never was enough business in Canada and there never will be enough business to maintain these roads until we have another ten million people.

Mr. St-PERE: The hon. member is not so optimistic as the Minister of Marine (Mr. Duranleau).

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CON

John Thomas Hackett

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HACKETT:

My suggestion is that

the operation of these two roads be pooled 41761-139

for the period which separates us from the day when some better arrangement can be made or when some revival in business takes place. This may seem to be a very unusual statement, to some it may seem to be an impracticable suggestion, but in these days when we are doing so much that is unusual, when we are doing so much that has never been done before to meet a situation, without a precedent, I do not hesitate to advance it. According to its annual report for 1931, the Canadian Pacific Railway had working expenses of $116,000,000, the annual report of the Canadian National Railways including eastern lines shows that its working expenses amounted to $200,000,000. If these two systems would agree to a limitation for a year or two of the wasteful competition which is gnawing at their vitals, if thereby they could cut down their cost of operation by twenty-five per cent, they would offset in entirety the $19,000,000 deficit between net earnings and ordinary charges of the Canadian Pacific Railway and the $60,000,000 deficit of the Canadian National Railways. That, it seems to me is a proposal which should be seriously considered by the government, the Canadian National Railways and the Canadian Pacific Railway Company. The property of either company will remain exactly where it is to-day. An operating board, either entirely independent of both companies or composed of members representative of each company and presided over by an independent chairman, would manage those roads for the benefit of both systems on the basis of last year's operations.

Those of us who live in Montreal know each night at seven o'clock two perfectly appointed trains, equally empty, leave for Ottawa. We know trains from Montreal go to Toronto, trains from Toronto come to Ottawa and trains cross the continent in rivalry with one another, competing for a business which does not exist. They are forced to give a service which is beyond our requirements, to say nothing of our capacity to pay for, simply because neither can, without admitting inferiority, depart from the excellence of the service given by its rival. Last year, according to the Minister of Railways and Canals, the Canadian National Railways incurred a loss of $24,000,000 on its passenger traffic alone. This at least could be eliminated. Then there is the cost of traffic solicitation, which is entered in the books of the Canadian National at between $6,000,000 and $7,000,000 for the year, and I assume that the cost to the Canadian Pacific cannot be much less in proportion to the volume of its

The Budget-Mr. Hackett

business. There is also the cost of maintaining rival ticket offices, stations and like competitive organizations throughout the whole country. There must be ample equipment, without replacement, to run either road or both roads for an extended period of time if they are not called upon to operate in competition. This great saving of $80,000,000 could be effected without seriously impairing the service that is given to different parts of the country. It would not make much difference to people coming from Montreal whether they took a train from Windsor or Bonaven-ture station; the trains leave there at the same time and they arrive here at the same time, but the cost of the second train would be entirely eliminated. The same thing can be said of transcontinental passenger and freight services. I repeat: my idea is that this would be merely temporary, conservatory in its nature and to avail only until a better method can be found or until this tempest to which we have been subjected for two or three years now, has blown itself out.

I know very well the easiest course is to let matters continue as they are, but the cost of railway transport must be paid either by the classes served or by the taxpayer of the time or, with compound interest, by posterity. The rates which prevail on our railroads are undoubtedly low, but at this particular time it would be almost impossible to raise them; the taxpayer is not willing and frequently not able 'to bear much more taxation; yet if some method is not found whereby the annual requirements of the Canadian National Railways can be met otherwise than by mortgaging the future, the financial doom of this country is sealed; it cannot go on paying out $100,000,000 and more every year for the expensive toy which the Canadian National has become. I would therefore suggest, if it is impossible for these two railway systems to come to an understanding whereby they can effect a saving of an amount equal to their deficit of last year, that a tax known as the Canadian National tax be inaugurated in the form of a stamp tax and applied to all retail purchases other than food, so that the Canadian people, by paying that tax for a few months, might know exactly what the Canadian National is costing them and get at least a taste of the burden that we are placing upon future generations. The hon. member for Hocbelaga (Mr. St-Pere) last night Said very truthfully and candidly that Canada had played politics with the Canadian National Railways. A free translation of his utterance as found on page 2182 of Hansard is as follows:

We have played politics with the Canadian National Railways and we are now called upon to pay the price. I shall not say of our folly but of our inordinate ambition to show the rest of the world that Canada had the biggest railway system in the world.

I do not find fault with either the accuracy of that statement or the spirit in which it was made, but I feel, when the people of Canada knew, as they would do were a tax, let us say of one-half of one per cent, placed upon all retail purchases with the exception of food, something of the expense that this game of politics has imposed upon our country, they would not be happy and possibly not again tolerate those who had played the game. But I doubt whether this expedient of taxation is necessary. I know my own reluctance in making this suggestion, because I dislike the element of monopoly which adheres to it. I can well appreciate the hesitancy of a railway executive, whether he be in the employ of the Canadian National or of the Canadian Pacific, of entering into a relationship of the type I have outlined. He might feel that his competitor was learning something of his secrets, if not of his tricks, and that as a result of that relationship his competitor might derive an advantage. I can understand the reluctance of the government to initiate negotiations tending toward such a relationship, but the fact remains however that last year one road suffered a loss of $19,000,000. I cannot believe that the management or shareholders of the Canadian Pacific Railway can rejoice very much in that fact. Last year the Canadian National Railways lost to the Canadian people something over $60,000,000, and I know that we are not very much elated over that. True, the actual loss did not measure up to the total requirements from the government. If we take into consideration the stock and debenture guarantees and scrutinize carefully the cancellation of maturing securities we find that since 1919, Canada has, on the average, provided to the Canadian National Railway, nearly a $100,000,000 per year. When times were good the demand was largely for new capital and when bad it was for money to pay deficits. Whether for deficits or for capital expenditures the money had to be found and guaranteed by Canada. Even when it was not guaranteed Canada was effectually responsible for it because of her interest in the Canadian National Railways. If these railroads are to operate their debts must be paid. We have reached a time when we cannot continue to provide these amounts.

While the royal commission is seeking a way out of this impasse it is possible by the

The Budget-Mr. Coote

joint operation of these two railways to save at least $80,000,000 per year. I for one suggest that the shareholders of the Canadian Pacific Railway and the taxpayers of Canada might well consider this opportunity of relief. I am not one who entertains hope of relief from ingenious short cuts 'back to prosperity. We must economize, and in many instances we must begin again at our beginnings. This takes courage and initiative and will entail the doing of many things which hitherto have not been done. I make bold to suggest that the government will not have acquitted itself of its full duty unless it avail itself of every opportunity of effecting economy, even while the royal commission is carrying out its work. Without slackening energy or sinking heart it must go forward with this difficult task or, in the eyes of at least some, it will have been remiss in its duty. It behooves this parliament to take every means available to stem this gush of the financial life of this country. Unless we take all precautionary measures, unless we act promptly the patient may die while the surgeons consult.

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

George Gibson Coote

United Farmers of Alberta

Mr. G. G. COOTE (Macleod):

Mr. Speaker, first may I say that I regret very much Canada should be in such an unfortunate position, financially, at a time when the new and genial Minister of Finance (Mr. Rhodes) presents his first budget to the house. I cannot be expected to follow at length the remarks of the hon. member who has just preceded me (Mr. Hackett). He has dealt entirely with the railways problem, and in passing may I say that there is only one solution for our railway problem in Canada, namely to give the railways traffic to haul. We had very little difficulty with the Canadian National Railways in 1928. In that year they earned enough to pay operating expenses and interest on the bonds held by the public. If we bring business conditions in Canada back to the level of 1928 we may solve our railway problem, and that is the only way it can be solved.

Never in my life time have I seen business conditions in Canada as bad as they are at the present time. Our unemployed and dependents number one-fifth of the population. The purchasing power of another two-fifths has been at least cut in two. Some of our industries have almost ceased to function. Most farmers are producing at a loss, and in many cases credit is almost non-existent. As is evidenced by reduced receipts from taxation, trade is at its lowest level for many years. So far as I can see there is nothing in the budget we are now debating to im-

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prove conditions; in fact, I think it will only make matters worse. Certainly through its policy of rigid economy it will add to the number of unemployed. The best example I know of rigid economy-and I should like to apologize to any Scotch members in the house-is a dead Scotchman. Thinking of him, we have no idea of prosperity. Because of the increased rate of taxation placed upon business we must expect more unemployment.

I believe that to balance a budget at a time like this is a mistake. Ever since the world began there have been periods of prosperity and depression. That is so at least as far back as history records. We can still draw a lesson from the way some depressions were handled in the past. The book of Genesis contains the story of a king of Egypt named Pharaoh who, when warned that a [DOT] time of depression was approaching, appointed a very able Minister of Finance named Joseph. Joseph laid up a surplus to take care of the lean years, and I believe we might follow the example set by him. In periods of prosperity the nation should set aside sufficient money to tide us over years of depression. I know that our ministers expect these depressions to oome, because in the last few weeks we have heard at least two of them use the expression "normal depression." It is true that this is an artificial scarcity we are suffering from to-day. There is no real scarcity of goods; it is only a scarcity of credit to move those goods into consumption. But if we are going to be stupid enough to continue under such a system I think we should lay aside surplus revenue in the good years to look after the lean years. There are two ways of increasing revenue: one is to increase the rate of taxation, but that has its limits; the other is to leave the rate of taxation the same, but increase the business of the country. By this budget in order to secure additional revenue the government have increased the rate of taxation, but I warn them that in many cases the limit has been reached, and if taxation is increased much further it will only hamper business. Taxation in the year 1928 produced

8460,000,000, at a rate much lower than the present rate of taxation. Business was prosperous. This was possible because of the relatively high price level that obtained in Canada at that time. If we can get the price level back to that of 1928 we can again balance our budget without increasing the rate of taxation.

As I said a moment ago, the present budget adds to unemployment. If we are to pay our debts and our interest we must have our papulation producing goods of some kind that

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can. be sold. To get our people at work and to pay our way we must have money in circulation and we must raise price levels. Whatever way is adopted to bring this about, we must be prepared to allow our dollar to go to a greater discount in the United States. Our people must get used to seeing it lower. They will grow to like it for they will find it better for Canada. To get back to the condition of 1928 we must have more trade; more trade requires more money; we must increase the amount of money in circulation in Canada. May I point out, Mr. Speaker, that the issue of dominion notes, which is the basis of bank credit, has been restricted, and on December 31st last stood at only $174,000,000 as compared with $327,000,000 in 1918. In September last it was only $141,000,000. If the ratio of increase in the issue of dominion notes in the period from 1900 to 1920 had been maintained up to the .present time, we would have in circulation betwen $400,000,000 and $500,000,000 in dominion notes. If our issue of dominion notes at this time were increased to that point it would relieve the dominion of interest charges on at least $200,000,000, and it would make a saving in the budget this year of $10,000,000, which is considerably more than the government are going to save by cutting the salaries in the public service.

The question naturally arises in the minds of some as to how this money can be gotten out to the public. I will not take very much time over that, but will content myself with suggesting three ways of doing it. One is to bring down to this parliament a program of public works. I remember very well the campaign in my constituency in 1930 was run by the Conservatives very largely on the promise of public works-they would have a great program of public works to give employment to all the unemployed. This year we have the smallest appropriation for public works since I have been a member of this house. We might engage in a housing scheme, such as that which I suggested to the house a few weeks ago. After hearing the Prime Minister's statement the other day in regard to the Beauharnois power project, I think we might very well take over that project and complete it as a public enterprise. It would be a splendid earning asset for the dominion and would amply justify the increase of our issue of dominion notes to pay for the completion of the work.

The budget is, I think, a pretty good indication of the economic condition of a nation. If we realize this fact, then this budget, with an expenditure of $119,000,000 more than revenue gives us a good idea of the financial position of the taxpayers and of the condition

of industry in this country. The difference between receipts and expenditures this year shows the biggest deficit of any year since confederation, except when we were financing the war between 1916 and 1920. For the period from 1921 to 1930 there was a surplus of receipts over expenditures amounting to $463,000,000-an average surplus of $46,000,000. In 1930 this was suddenly turned into a deficit of $78,000,000, and for the past year, 1931, the deficit is $120,000,000.

Now, the reason for that was not a change of government, but the fact that Canada, in company with the rest of the world, has been suffering from the greatest depression of modern times. The depression is due to the collapse of the commodity price level. This collapse of prices was due to a shortage of gold, which was really due to the gold standard. Prices are the ratio of gold to commodities; when gold is scarce the price of gold rises, and commodity prices fall. The gold standard depressed prices to the point where England, the mother of the gold standard, was forced to abandon her child. Canada being on a gold standard has suffered the full force of this world deflation, although it was inaugurated principally in France and the United States. I know it is quite a common thing for governments to assume credit to themselves for any good times which the people may enjoy under their particular administration, but in reality, as a usual thing governments have very little to do with economic conditions, and a change of government usually makes very little material difference to the people because the policies carried out by different governments do not substantially differ in vital economic matters. In fact as far as economic conditions are concerned, you could very seldom tell whether there has been a change of government at all. But I must say that the tariff policy of this government has had some real effect upon the business of Canada, and as a matter of fact it has made conditions worse. It is not often that any government has as good a chance to do anything worth while for the people as easily as this government could have done last September when Great Britain went off the gold standard. The Prime Minister then, missed the chance of a lifetime. He had every reason, every excuse if you like, for saying: We will do exactly the same as England has done, we are forced off the gold standard and we will not attempt to maintain it. He might have done like Mr. Snowden and said: We cannot pay out gold, we will suspend the gold standard, but we will continue to meet our foreign obligations in gold where they are payable in gold. But the

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Prime Minister is reported as saying: We intend to maintain the gold standard. He had two alternatives. Although he could not keep Canada on the gold standard, he could keep as near as possible to that point, maintain our dollar as high as possible in the United States, and by doing so keep the value of Canada's exports down to a low level. He could, on the other hand, have thrown in his lot with Britain and kept the currency of Canada at par with the British pound, and in this way have increased the price of Canada's exports. Canada ever since last September might have been one of what is termed the bloc of sterling countries-Britain, Sweden, Norway, Denmark and a few others in Europe.

I have shown repeatedly in this house that by keeping our dollar at a high level in foreign countries, especially in the United States, we keep down the price level of our exports. I will give one example. Wheat is our greatest item of export. Perhaps it furnishes more employment and puts more money into circulation than any other item produced in this country. The price of wheat is set in Liverpool and we are paid in sterling when we sell our wheat to Great Britain. At the present rate of exchange we receive for each pound $4.18. If our currency were at par with Britain's we would receive $4.87. In other words we are now losing 69 cents on every pound sterling-at one time we were losing as much as $1 on every pound. If our currency were at par with Australia's we would receive $6 for each pound. Our chief competitors in the production of wheat are Argentina and Australia. I leave it to any member of this house, ibut particularly to the Minister of Trade and Commerce (Mr. Stevens), an expert in dealing with depreciated currency-as to how the wheat producers of Canada with the pound stering 'bringing them $4.18 can be expected to compete with the wheat producers of Australia and Argentina when they are receiving the equivalent in their currencies of $6 to the pound. It cannot ibe done. Canada, by keeping up the dollar in New York, has kept down commodity prices and curtailed the purchasing power of the farmers and all those employed in our primary industries; it has curtailed employment; it has depressed business and has curtailed the earning power of our industries, our railways and the majority of our great corporations. It has cut the power of the people to pay taxes and interest. I should like to sum up this matter in a few words. Had the government frankly abandoned the gold standard our money surely would have gone down to the level of the pound, or it

could have been easily kept there. If this had been done there would have been a decided increase in commodity prices, which would have increased the purchasing power of farmers and other classes in our export trade. These people comprise over fifty per cent of our papulation, and there would have been a very definite stimulus to business. The taxes collected by the government are dependent upon the amount of trade carried on. The government would have secured a sufficient increase in taxes to cover the increased expenditure necessary to pay the exchange on their obligations in the United States. I may say that I discussed this matter with a very prominent financier in Montreal, who expressed that opinion. In addition, the government would have been saved a considerable expenditure, because we would have had less unemployed people to care for. Had the government kept our dollar in line with the British pound there would have been no need to place a dumping duty against British goods; there would have been no need to fix the value of the pound for duty purposes at less than par. The government would have saved itself a lot of trouble and a lot of criticism, and I believe many of the problems with which the government has had to deal have resulted from the policy which was adopted in September, when Britain went off the gold standard.

I think a comparison of the policies followed by England and Canada will illustrate the situation. England frankly acknowledged to the world that she could not redeem the pound in gold. Her currency depreciated in gold countries approximately 20 per cent more than Canada's currency depreciated, and as a result England has been able to secure foreign exchange to meet all her liabilities at maturity. A recent press despatch stated that England has paid off $200,000,000 of an obligation which does not mature until next August. Business has improved; unemployment has been lessened, and the bank rate in England has been lowered four times since September, till now, I believe, it is 3j per cent. I would like hon. members of this house and members of the government to compare that with the rate in Canada to-day. I have a press despatch here which says that the British bonds in New York have reached the highest level since September. A $1,000 bond is now selling at 81,007.50.

There is one point I should like to emphasize while I am on this question. If government policy is exercised to artificially improve the rate of exchange, that is, to hold up the dollar, in effect this should be regarded

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as a sort of forced contribution from those who are producing for export, to governments, municipalities, corporations and individuals for whose benefit the rate of exchange is being artificially held up. I understand that the financial policy of this country has been to hold the dollar at as high a level as possible in New York, 'because of the obligations this country must meet in the United States. I agree with the Prime Minister that it is desirable that these obligations should be met at maturity in the terms in which they are expressed, but I believe that can be best done by allowing our dollar to go down to its natural level, which it would have reached in the natural course of trade. I think if we had followed the course taken by England we would have been better able to buy this foreign exchange, but if it comes to the question whether these obligations are to be paid according to the bonds or whether we are to make good our word to the people of Canada that we will give them employment, I think the claims of our own people come first. I would say to the Prime Minister that many of these people in Canada voted to return this government to power. The New York bankers did not have that privilege, though I suppose they would have voted for this government if they had been allowed to do so.

I do not want to dwell on this phase of the subject too long, but I should like to gum up some of the beneficial results that would have accrued if our currency had been kept on a par with the pound. The price of all exports, farm products, fish, minerals, pulp, paper, lumber and so on, would have been increased. I believe the industries in every province in Canada would have been helped. It would have given the exporters a margin with which to pay taxes and interest; it would have enlarged the market for Canadian coal; it would have given more employment; it would have increased the revenues of the government; it would have reduced the number of unemployed and the expenditures of the various governments in connection with unemployment relief; it would have helped balance budgets; it would have corrected any adverse trade balance; it would have given farmers and other exporters a premium with which to pay the higher prices demanded for Canadian products under our tariff. Through improved business conditions it would have increased the market price of securities held by the banks and other financial institutions so that they would not have needed to write up the value of those securities as authorized by the order in council. It would have led

to lower interest rates and thus reduced the budgets of all our governments.

While I am on the question of interest rates I should like to say that I believe the cause of high interest rates in Canada to-day is a lack of confidence on the part of the people. It might be referred to as hoarding in our savings banks. During times of depression such as those we are going through, savings exceed (investments, and government action should be taken to correct that condition. I believe the government could and should have kept interest rates down by the scheme proposed a few years ago by the present Prime Minister (Mr. Bennett). In 1927, when the right hon. gentleman was a member of the opposition, he suggested that Canada should create a consolidated 4 per cent security of the dominion and provide by legislation that a percentage of the revenue of the insurance companies, which at that time amounted to a net total of over $110,000,000 yearly, and an unstated amount from the savings banks deposits, should be invested in these securities. He suggested that these 4 per cent securities should be issued in renewal of maturing bond issues. The Prime Minister said this would have provided a safe security for the funds invested with our insurance companies and would have enabled the banks, which pay 3 per cent on deposits, to add a measure of stability to their own assets by purchasing a small quantity in addition to the securities already held. If this had been done it would have held interest rates down.

The Prime Minister floated the national service loan at too high a rate of interest. This depressed the price of previous issues, and made it difficult for insurance companies, banks and other institutions holding bonds to show a good financial position. I think this really led to the issuing of the order in council authorizing the banks to write up their securities, because I notice that the order in council was passed because of the depressed prices of good government securities held by the banks.

I feel, Mr. Speaker, that the time has come when we must exercise control over finance in Canada. Municipalities and provinces have been forced to pay impossible rates of interest, rates which will destroy our economic machine. According to a recent press despatch the province of Alberta sold bonds at a price to yield 6.77 per cent interest, and those bonds are free of municipal and provincial taxes and succession duties. I think that is an impossible rate of interest. Interest must be paid out of production. The other night the Minister of Trade of Commerce said that

The Budget-Mr. Coote

interest must be taken out of the productivity of the country. In the province I mention the chief industry is agriculture, and the sheet anchor of agriculture, if I may put it this way, has always been held in this house to be the dairy industry. A farmer in that province recently sent me cream cheques covering six cans of cream averaging sixty pounds each, which brought him an average of $1.97 per can. That works out at about 33 cents per gallon. How can the farming industry pay the present rate of interest with prevailing prices? Attempts to collect taxes enough to pay that rate of interest would bankrupt the farming industry. The fall of commodity prices has doubled the burden of interest. A rate of 6.77 per cent is more difficult to pay now than 13 per cent would have been in 192S. In 1931 it took three times as much wheat to pay a given debt as it took in 1928. A rate of 6.77 per cent on present prices, if it is to be paid with wheat, is as great a burden as 20 per cent would have been in 1928, and the Minister of Trade and Commerce admits that a rate of 8 or 10 per cent is unbearable.

Surely vve cannot leave the matter of finance uncontrolled any longer. We must increase commodity price levels or wipe out in whole or in part the debts now existing. And action cannot be delayed very much longer. When interest cannot be paid out of production that interest becomes usury, and history shows that usurious debts are generally wiped out.

The most important event in the financial world since the war has been the abandonment of ithe gold standard by England. Speaking of this occurrence, the Minister of Finance, in his budget speech, said:

Our policy was therefore directed to accomplishing two results: First, to ensure the

prompt payment of all obligations due abroad according to contract and, second, to assist in maintaining normal currency and credit conditions within Canada,

Considering the rate of interest which I have just quoted, I am sure it cannot be said that normal conditions have been maintained. The happenings of this year must, I think, convince us that the financial machine is breaking down, and we must exercise control. This, I believe, is the first time in the history of Canada that the federal government has had to assume the role of banker for the provinces-and these are the words used by the Minister of Finance. The collapse of the Manitoba provincial savings bank, the orders in council authorizing insurance companies and banks to write up the value of their securities, and the fact that there is

practically no credit for agriculture, are surely good proof that normal credit conditions have not been maintained. If these are normal conditions, then we certainly are in need of a new credit system.

The real basis of credit has well been described as the ability to produce goods as, when and where required. Does anyone think that we in Canada to-day are making use of our real credit? I believe that our Bureau of Statistics, if called upon, could show that our capacity to produce goods and services is far beyond our actual consumption. I think they might very well present to this house a statement showing our capacity to produce these goods and services, and showing actual consumption; and they might also estimate our possible consumption. If they showed the ratio of production to consumption, there is no doubt as to what the result would be. It would show that we have a surplus of goods and services, that we have the capacity to produce abundantly; and if it did show that we have that capacity then it would be for us to decide whether or not we want our people to have an abundance. If we decide that they should have an abundance, then I think it will be inescapable that we must have a new credit system.

I would urge the Minister of Finance, when he brings down his budget next year, to include in it a statement of goods and services produced in Canada, together with a statement of our actual consumption. It would be very illuminating for parliament and for the government and the people of Canada. If the attention of the Canadian public were centred on this problem, they would soon see that we are suffering poverty in the midst of plenty. Surely we are crazy to keep ourselves in a state of want and privation when we have a surplus of goods all around us, and an industrial machine which is working only part time. Only when we are convinced of these facts shall we begin to take a serious interest in this matter.

Money is our medium of exchange, and the amount issued should depend upon the amount of goods and services we can produce rather than on ithe amount of gold which is in a vault 'somewhere in the east 'block, and which no one ever sees and no one is ever allowed to use. Doctor Coates, of London, is reported to have said:

When central banks want to issue credit, they look in the cupboard to see how much yellow metal they have; they might as well look in the cellar to see how much coal they have.

The root cause of our trouble is the gold standard. The Minister of Trade and Com-

The Budget-Mr. Coote

merce said that prices were expressed in terms of currency, currency was attached to gold, and the hoarding of gold caused a fall in price levels. The gold standard, as I have said, is really at the bottom of our troubles, and after our experience of the last two years, why should anyone want to go back to it? Surely there is a better way. Gold has its use for the settling of international balances, and it should be reserved for that purpose only-that is, monetary gold. There is no need of it in connection with internal currency. This use only ties it up so that it is not available for the purpose for which it should be used.

I find that a great many people are very much afraid that if we have this inflation or reflation, whatever it may be called, when we do increase the amount of credit there will be a great increase in the cost of living. I draw that inference from the remarks of the hon. member for Weyburn (Mr. Young) the other day. What we are asking for is controlled inflation, controlled to accomplish a certain purpose. We want to restore the price level of 1928, and that can be done without unduly increasing the cost of living. If action is taken to prevent undue profits being made, there need be no appreciable rise in the cost of living, and when we do take the necessary action to increase the amount of money circulating in the country, I suggest that we take action, through a business profits tax and a tax on large incomes, and a drastic inheritance tax, as well as the control of capitalization of companies, so as to prevent any undue rise in the price level.

In the true sense of the word, real inflation does not begin until the amount of money in circulation is more than is required to move goods in transit at a normal price level. If you issue more money than is required to move the amount of goods and services produced and available, you have inflation of money and also inflation of prices. But if there is always a sufficient amount of goods to meet the volume of money put out, there will be no inflation of prices.

I wish to refer for a moment to the statement made by the hon. member for Weyburn. He said:

The trouble with the price level is not that it is not stable, but that it is not level. The difficulty is not the price level but the inequalities within the price level. . . . This proposal to correct things by raising or lowering the whole price level will never iron out those inequalities.

The hon. member himself states that these inequalities were present in 1928. If they were

present at that time, then I say they have been multiplied several times by the present price levels. We want to get back to the price levels of 1928, and if there were inequalities in those levels, they can be ironed out without upsetting that level. It is the average level of prices we are attempting to have raised.

It is well known to anyone who has studied political economy that in periods of depression the prices of farm products drop farther and faster than do the prices of manufactured goods, and that when the period of depression is over, the prices of agricultural products will rise faster and farther than retail prices. We want to get back to the levels of 1928. If we can do that, we will then have increased the prices of agricultural products by 50 per cent and retail prices by around 10 to 12 per cent. If there are inequalities in the price levels, all right, let us iron them out. I do not want the hon. member for Weyburn to run away with the idea that because we would increase the amount of money in circulation so as to raise price levels, we intened to increase the inequalities which existed in the price levels of 1928.

For the benefit of the house, I should like to sum up our present position. Because of the action of the government in keeping our dollar at a high level in the United States, this country's economic life and financial stability and the workers of the country have been placed at the mercy of the bankers in the United States and France. These bankers are not guided by any general consideration for our interests, they are guided solely by their own personal interests. Canada to-day might well be described as the thirteenth federal reserve district. I wish the government would exhibit a. little more of that sturdy, robust, red-blooded Canadianism of which it boasted so freely when it was in opposition. I wish the Prime Minister would show a little more of that aggressive attitude in connection with finance which he manifested so clearly to the farmers during the last campaign. He told the farmers that he would make tariffs fight for them, but so far as I can see he has not succeeded. He could make finance fight for the farmers, he could make the rate of exchange fight for them. Keeping our dollar at par with the pound sterling would make it worth 60 or 65 cents more to the farmer; that would be making finance fight for the farmer, and would be appreciated. Instead

Questions

of that, the Prime Minister warns us that the New York money market is the only market open to us and we should be very careful of what we say for fear of offending the New York bankers. It is time we had a national financial policy for Canada.

On motion of Mr. Irvine the debate was adjourned.

On motion of Mr. Rhodes the house adjourned at 5.53 p.m.

Thursday, April 21, 1932

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

April 20, 1932