October 11, 1932

LAB

James Shaver Woodsworth

Labour

Mr. WOODSWORTH:

It might have been supposed that the Prince of Wales was among those people who were immune to the influences of modern life but I suggest that he shows a much keener interest in what is going on in the world than is shown, shall we say, in the speech from the throne delivered here in Ottawa.

I should like to congratulate the Prime Minister on his changed attitude towards Russia. He has been rather inclined to boast that he has an unchanging policy, an undeviating policy. The speech from the throne last year contained the following paragraph:

Pursuant to the fixed policy of my government to combat all influences which are inimical to the social and economic welfare of this Dominion, an order in council has been passed prohibiting the importation of certain commodities into Canada from the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.

In giving publicity to this order in council, the 'house will remember that the Minister of National Revenue (Mr. Ryckman) made the following statement:

The government is convinced that there is forced labour in the cutting and transport of timber and the mining of coal, that political prisoners are exploited, that the standard of living is below any level conceived of in Canada and that, broadly speaking, all employment is in control of the communist govern-53719-51

ment which regulates all conditions of work and seeks to impose its will upon the whole world. This is communism, its creed and its fruits, which we as a country oppose and must refuse to suport by interchange of trade.

I am inclined to think that the speech of the hon. member for Labelle (Mr. Bourassa) must have had some effect because I find that it was about that time that there was a rescinding or modification of this order in council in so far as it affected raw furs. I do not quite understand how raw furs could escape the criticism of the Minister of National Revenue, but I suppose there was some good reason for this action. Just a little later on a large shipment of Canadian flour was made to Siberia. I have no proof but it is generally understood that that flour went to increase the stocks which were being held by the Soviet people in case of trouble with Japan. That flour was paid for either in gold or in goods, and I cannot understand why the Canadian government would permit the incoming of any tarnished Russian gold after having said it was such a fearful thing to -permit Russian goods to enter this country. I do not know how this flour was paid for?

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CON

James Arthurs

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ARTHURS:

It was paid to an English firm.

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LAB

James Shaver Woodsworth

Labour

Mr. WOODSWORTH:

Well, it is all right as long as we do it through somebody else..

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CON

James Arthurs

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ARTHURS:

Sold by them too.

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LAB

James Shaver Woodsworth

Labour

Mr. WOODSWORTH:

I am glad that we have been given an illustration of the old Chinese phrase of "saving one's face." Then we find this latest development of the Aluminum Company of Canada, a subsidiary of the Aluminum Corporation of America, a Mellon company, sending its aluminum out in exchange for oil. So we have oil. I am a little bit puzzled about this because I had understood that Senator Webster had something to do with preventing the first shipment and why he has not prevented the second, I do not know. I hope before the session is over the government will give us some little insight into what transpired there which made it possible for them so to modify their original idea. My friend behind me, the hon. member for Bow River (Mr. Garland) says that maybe the oil is coming through English channels. I do not understand so. I believe it is entering in competition with Trinidad oil supplies. The government however may complete its conversion on this point, for I notice by the press that the Soviet representative is being invited to the world economic conference at London and we cannot get our banking straightened out until

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G8 COMMONS


The Address-Mr. Woodsworth the Prime Minister receives some instructions at that world economic conference. I hope before long we shall learn something of Soviet banking so that we may be able to go on with the revision of our Bank Act! The speech from the throne tells us that we must extend our Canadian bank charters for one year. I would point out that if the Prime Minister's argument is valid it should have prevented him from participating in an Imperial economic conference before a world economic conference was held. Why settle the question of tariffs before we get the light that is likely to be thrown upon tariffs by a world conference? The Prime Minister is very anxious to get light from all quarters. If he paid any attention to the reports of the League of Nations, he might have learned, according to those reports, that high tariffs were absolutely suicidal. Last year and in previous years we have been prevented from securing much needed amendments to the Bank Act by the statement: You just wait for another year or so and at the decennial revision you will have an opportunity. Now, when we reach the time when we hoped to have a revision of the Bank Act we are told that we are to be put off for another year. Might I suggest to the Prime Minister that if he is anxious to secure the fullest information possible, why not have a committee of the house set up this year that could consider the various questions from our Canadian angle before the world economic conference meets? That would be eminently reasonable. If the Prime Minister is sincere in saying he wants everything that can be got from the economic conference, at least we could go so far as to consider in this house through a special committee what we think is necessary. In the middle ages along the Rhine, which I can remember very well visiting some years ago, there were many castles inhabited by robber barons who imposed heavy tolls upon passing merchants. The barons were very respectable in their day. I have no doubt that they insisted that the trade of that part of the world could hardly get on without them. I have no doubt that they persuaded the common people of that day that it was highly providential that the Rhine river ran past their castles. They were able to occupy their strongholds for many a long year. I venture to suggest that posterity will regard our modern financiers as very much the twentieth century equivalent of the robber barons of the middle ages. The speech indicates that the charters are to be extended for another year. This means that the barks are to be given a chance to exploit Canada for another year. We have given them for another year the very special privileges which they enjoy and which in many instances have been misused, and this is being done in spite of statutory provisions. I hope that the next time we hear from the Prime Minister about statutory provisions, hon. members will remember this instance. I have not had time to go into the question of the Imperial economic conference, and I am afraid that without the agreements before us we are talking a little bit in the dark. However, as several hon. members have already extolled the results of that Imperial conference, I should like to place upon Hansard an interesting summary which I again summarize from the Economist, an English paper, of August 27, at page 379. It is headed "The harvest of Ottawa." I quote: The draft agreements, incomplete as they are, reveal sufficient indications of the trend of the concerted policy to warrant the conclusion that from the standpoint of particular British interests and that of the world advantage alike, much more has been lost than has been gained. Again: The conference, as we see it, has failed utterly to realize its only worthwhile objective -the expansion, as opposed to the mere diversion, of trade. Again: The agreed principle of compensatory tariffs (with "infant industry" reservations) is in itself a denial of the only sound conception of specialized international exchanges of goods. Again: For example, the wheat duty, unless Canada establishes a cast-iron selling pool (and the preference is conditional on sales at the "world price"), will probably hurt the British consumer as little as it benefits the Canadian producer. Again: Where the real failure of Ottawa lies is in the total absence of any vindication of the truth that economic progress is to be sought in the general lowering of tariff values. Again: Stripped of their equivocal verbiage, the British right to "reasonable" protection, the agreement to prohibit imports frustrating "by state action" the proposed preferences-all of which is likely to involve acrimonious controversy hereafter, the Ottawa agreements in substance are narrow and sterile. Had I had the time that is accorded to the Prime Minister and the official leader of the opposition, I should like to have advanced some of the convictions which are coming with more and more force to us here in this corner. I am glad to say that we are finding that not only throughout the west but across The Address-Mr. Brown . Canada an increasing number of people are dissatisfied with the programs of both the old parties. I am not censuring individual members in the old parties, although I do find it difficult to understand how some of the western members can vote for policies which spell disaster to the west.


LIB
LAB

James Shaver Woodsworth

Labour

Mr. WOODSWORTH:

I would say however that both the old parties are thinking in terms of past years. They are working on policies which no matter how adequate at an earlier stage are hopelessly inadequate to meet present conditions.

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CON

Eccles James Gott

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GOTT:

You are the only far-sighted

man in Canada.

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LAB

James Shaver Woodsworth

Labour

Mr. WOODSWORTH:

Some one has

suggested I am the only far-sighted man in Canada, but I do not believe a little cheap ridicule of that kind will go very far.

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CON

Eccles James Gott

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GOTT:

We have listened to that

stuff for the last forty minutes.

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LAB

James Shaver Woodsworth

Labour

Mr. WTOODSWORTH:

On this and other

occasions I have taken opportunities to quote extensively from economists, some of whom have been endorsed by the Prime Minister himself. I have done so because I did not want anyone to think that I was voicing merely only my own conclusions. But there are some hon. members, such as those who now interrupt, who never take the trouble to read what other people are thinking, and I am not sure that they take the trouble even to think for themselves.

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LIB-PRO

John Livingstone Brown

Liberal Progressive

Mr. J. L. BROWN (Lisgar):

Mr. Speaker,

I do not know that I should have spoken at this time had I not felt it incumbent upon me, a member representing the province of Manitoba, to voice my opposition to certain policies of this government and to bring to the attention of the house and country one of the most vicious acts of which this government has been guilty. Shortly before the house prorogued at the close of the last session an order went forward from one of the government departments which would seem to demonstrate that parliament is no longer a supreme authority in Canada, and that our system of government instead of being democratic, as we fondly wish it to be, is really a combination of a dictatorship and a bureaucracy. I refer to a regulation issued by the Department of National Revenue concerning duties on repair parts for agricultural implements.

Before dealing with that matter perhaps I might be allowed the privilege of referring to some of the matters to which reference is

made in the speech from the throne, and to some of the statements made during the course of this debate. Like hon. members who have preceded me, I should like to pay tribute to the two young gentlemen who moved and seconded the address. They discharged in a very worthy manner the duties placed upon them, and I think hon. members will agree that they proved themselves worthy of the confidence placed in them by the Prime Minister. Having said that, however, may I add that from the standpoint of hon members on this side of the house it is a matter of regret that young men at the beginning of their political careers should advocate policies which experience has shown to be disastrous not only to Canada but to the whole world. In that respect, however, they are simply following in the footsteps of the Prime Minister and hon. members opposite.

It would seem that the leader of the opposition has appealed in vain to the Prime Minister and his supporters to accept the advice given by Rudyard Kipling to learn from t'he mistakes of the past. There seems no indication whatever that hon. gentlemen opposite are in the least degree dissatisfied with the results of the policies they have been advocating during their term of office. If the Prime Minister and his friends have not learned that the results of these policies have been disastrous, I can assure him the people of Canada have. He need not seek to minimize the result of the election in South Huron; it is as clear as day that those results are the handwriting on the wall.

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?

An hon. MEMBER:

What about Three Rivers?

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LIB-PRO

John Livingstone Brown

Liberal Progressive

Mr. BROWN:

Let the Prime Minister ask his supporters from the province of Manitoba what interpretation they place upon the election held in that province on June 16 last. I think there will be no uncertainty, if those men speak their minds when they have a heart to heart talk with the Prime Minister. The right hon. gentleman is very fond of boasting about the number of men who come to him, pat him on the shoulder and express approval of the policies he has adopted 3nd put into force. He would be more convincing if he were to give some of the details; we should like to know who these men are and what positions they occupy in Canadian public life. I think it is safe to say that if we had a record of the blessings and curses directed towards this government the latter would exceed the former by at least ten to one. However, putting aside the results of

. The Address-Mr. Brown

the election, and forgetting for the moment that those results are an indication of the popular mind, I should like to point out to the government that a new organization known as the Importers' Association has come into being. This new organization is attempting to do the work of the much maligned Council of Agriculture and the Consumers' League. The only difference is that the Importers' Association is composed of business men who have found their interests seriously affected by the policies of this government. On the other hand, in the Council of Agriculture and Consumers' League there were no members who had any immediate personal advantage to gain, but were giving their energies and spending their money for the public welfare. The purpose of the Importers' Association would seem to be to protect themselves against the vicious practices put into force by the Department of National Revenue.

I shall not undertake to discuss at length the matters referred to in the speech from the throne, but perhaps I might take this opportunity to make a few general remarks concerning the conference and the agreements resulting therefrom. The test to indicate success or failure of the conference depends upon two premises: First, has the conference had the effect of promoting unity and harmony within the empire and increasing inter-imperial trade? Second, has the effect of that conference been to promote international harmony and facilitate international trade? If it has not accomplished both of these things then we must conclude that the conference did not achieve that measure of suocess it should have achieved. For, Mr. Speaker, the great duty with which statesmen are faced today is to bring about closer and more harmonious relations between the nations of the world, and the one factor which prevents those relations more than anything else is the restriction put upon trade by the various nations. The unfortunate point is that Canada must consider herself as one of the sinners in that connection. Perhaps one would not care to express a positive opinion as to the results of the conference or what the effect of the agreements might be, but I would go so far as to say that I have very grarve doubts as to whether or not either off the results I have indicated has been achieved. The Prime Minister is not very convincing when he seeks to leave with us the impression that throughout all its proceedings the conference was a veritable love feast. When two men meet, one holding the point of view that Canada must be first, and the other that Great Britain must be first, when they are seeking

not what they can do or what they can give for the well being of the empire, but what they can get for their own national interests, when one party to the controversy insists that the other shall cease to trade with an outside nation, it is not likely that harmony and goodwill will reign. The very fact that certain members of the British cabinet have seen fit to resign, holding the view that their delegates were subjected to undue pressure by representatives of the dominions, believing as they do that their freedom of action in regard to their own financial policy has been sacrificed, believing as they do that good-will and harmony among nations cannot be promoted by the agreements that have been made, it is not easy to believe that harmony rather than friction has been the result of the Imperial conference. Of course it may be that the Prime Minister is able to see harmony where no harmony prevails. It was hard for him to admit that the result of the conference of 1930 was to 'Create friction rather than harmony. Even when the Right Hon. Mr. Thomas designated his policy as humbug the Prime Minister could not see that that was an indication of anything but good-will. I was interested to note the published report that the Prime Minister sent a cable to the Right Hon. Mr. Thomas thanking him for the help he had given at the conference. Sometimes I think the Prime Minister is entirely lacking in a sense of humour. The impression made on my mind when I read that statement was that it was simply an endeavour on the part of the Prime Minister to give public notice that he and Mr. Thomas had buried the hatchet.

I have always had very grave doubts as to the possibility of building up a united empire on tariff agreements. I have always had a great deal more faith in what Lord Hailsham referred to somewhat sneeringly a couple of years ago, when he said that there was nothing binding the empire together but the froth of sentiment. I wish to say, Mr. Speaker, that that froth of sentiment, so-called, is an infinitely stronger bond of union than any tariff agreements that can be made, and when that goes, everything goes. There is not the slightest indication that anything has been done in this conference to strengthen the sentiments that bind us to the mother country and that bind the different dominions of the empire together.

I often, think a good deal of nonsense has been talked, both before and after the conference as to the danger of the empire going

The Address-Mr. Brown

to pieces. Here is the heading of a Canadian press cable that appeared in the Winnipeg Free Press:

Hold empire unity advanced at Ottawa. Chamberlain says all danger of break-up of empire set aside.

Neville Chamberlain, is he the son or grandson of Joseph Chamberlain?

An hon MEMBER: A son.

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LIB-PRO

John Livingstone Brown

Liberal Progressive

Mr. BROWN:

Well, he is certainly running true to the family record. It was my privilege to be in England in 1903 when Joseph Chamberlain advanced his program for imperial preference, and the cry was that the empire was going to pieces unless we were given preference in the British market. I resented that at the time, I have resented it many times since, the implication that our loyalty to the empire depends upon our getting two or three cents a bushel extra for our wheat. Not at all, that is not the bond of empire. The bond of empire is common sentiment, common tradition, the belief that the British empire is the greatest force that the world has seen for bringing about a better era, better conditions in the world at large. These are the things that bind us together. I would like the idea to go forth from this house to Great Britain and throughout the dominions that as far as Canada is concerned at least there was never any danger of breaking away from the empire because two Tory politicians could not agree on matters of tariff.

The Prime Minister undertook to read a lecture to the leader of the opposition because the leader of the opposition questioned the statements made in the speech from the throne in regard to the betterment of conditions. The member for Winnipeg North Centre (Mr Woodsworth) has dealt very effectively with that matter, but let me say that when the Prime Minister undertook to justify himself because he felt it obligatory upon him, as he said, " to strengthen the morale of the country," he showed complete inability to see these things from the standpoint of the common man. He can see it from the standpoint of the man in business, the man of big interests, the man who has money to invest, but he cannot see from the standpoint of the man who is almost down and out. It does not strengthen the morale of our farmers in the west or starving people in the cities to tell them that things are getting better. If the Prime Minister understood the psychology of the ordinary individual he would recognize that these statements only irritate men who are struggling against adverse conditions. They resent being told that things are getting

better, that everything is going to be all right in a little while. He should not treat the people of Canada as children. No good cause is advanced by making assertions that every person knows are not warranted. Everyone knows that the assertion that things are on the upturn and are better than they were is entirely unwarranted. It would be well if we would get down to the discussion of things as they are. I commend to the Prime Minister and his followers an article in the last number of Harper's magazine entitled, ' Let us Talk About Unpleasant Things". The article is directed against those in the United States who continue to advocate old policies, who still hold that things are all that can be desired and that the betterment is coming. It is pitiful that we should have a man like President Hoover making the address he did make in Iowa the other day, upholding the application of higher tariffs as a remedy for all the ills of man. It is pitiful also that even in Canada we find people insisting that conditions are all that we would like them to be, refusing to face the facts as they are. We do not want this Pollyanna attitude; we want to be treated as reasonable men. We will face the situation courageously and more to the purpose if, instead of flattering ourselves that things are improving and that they are better than they were, we face the facts.

There can be no betterment of conditions, Mr. Speaker, speaking particularly for western Canada, until the farmers are able to get a price for their products that will come somewhere near paying the cost of production; we might as well face that fact. The other day our municipal councillor said that probably they would not get more than ten per cent of the taxes this year. Last year they were able to collect only about thirty per cent, and the year before about seventy-five per cent. What is the use of telling those men that things are getting better? The other day our local doctor said to me, "Last year people needed clothes, but they were able to do without them; they managed to pull through, but this year they must have new clothes." You can make your underclothing last one year longer, but it is pretty difficult to make it last two more years. That is the condition of affairs, and we might as well recognize it. I think we will be well on the way to improvement when we realize the conditions that actually exist.

I said I was going to deal with one specific matter, Mr. Speaker; I had reference to the action of the Department of National Revenue in bringing into operation a regulation discriminating between two classes of business men in connection with repair parts

The Address-Mr. Brown

for agricultural implements. Perhaps I might recite the history of this matter. At the short session two years ago the government, sanctioned by parliament, raised the duty on agricultural implements from 6 per cent, 7i per cent, 10 per cent or 12 per cent to a flat rate of 25 per cent, and at the time it was proposed that the duty on repair parts should be increased to the same figure. Representations were made to the Prime Minister, who was then acting as Minister of Finance to the effect that it would be desirable to' postpone the application of that higher rate of duty on parts, and it was finally decided that the old rate should apply until July 1, 1931. That old rate was further extended to March 31, 1932, and when that date drew near some of the western members on this side of the house, and I have no doubt on the other side as well, received communications from firms dealing in repair parts, who wanted to know what was likely to be the action of the government. The hon. member for South Battle-ford (Mr. Vallance) put a question to the Prime Minister on one occasion in connection with this matter, but he did not receive a particularly courteous reply. Again on April 1 the same hon. member asked the following question:

Some two weeks ago I directed a question to the Prime Minister which I wash now to direct to the Minister of Finance (Mr. Rhodes), this being the 1st of April. When the Prime Minister, acting as Minister of Finance, presented his budget last year, he brought in certain schedules having to do with the tariff on repairs to farm implements. Because of representations made by the opposition he decided that these schedules should not become operative until after March 31. It is now April 1, and I should like to ask the Minister of Finance if those proposed schedules are now in operation, or if the government have taken care of the situation by order in council.

The Minister of Finance (Mr. Rhodes) replied as follows:

Pending the bringing down of the budget I am happy to inform my hon. friend that the matter is being provided for by order in council.

On April 6 the budget was brought down, and the Minister of Finance made this statement:

With one exception, no tariff amendments are therefore proposed. The exception relates to repair parts for farm implements, for which the special rates granted to March 31, 1932, will be further extended to March 31, 1933.

We accepted that assurance as given by the Minister of Finance; of course we did not regard it as completely satisfactory, because we would have liked the postponement made indefinite, but we accepted it as a fair state-

[Mr. Brown.)

ment by the minister. What happened? It would seem that about May 25, while this house was still in session, a regulation was put in force by the department making a distinction between certain classes of dealers, and granting the lower rates of duty only to repair parts imported by the makers of the machines for which the parts were intended.

Speaking for myself, I had no opportunity of learning of this action before leaving Ottawa. It was brought to my attention when I received a memorandum sent out by Winnipeg dealers protesting against the regulation, accompanied by a request that we should wire the Prime Minister in regard to the matter. I did not do that, but I did write a letter to the Minister of National Revenue (Mr. Ryck-man) to which in due course I received an acknowledgment stating that my representations would receive the consideration of the government. So far as I know that was the end of it, because shortly before leaving Winnipeg I inquired whether the regulation was still in force and found that to be the case.

Perhaps I might explain the situation that exists in the west, and no doubt to some extent in the east also, though I- think it is probably more serious with us in the west. In the United States there are a number of independent manufacturing firms who specialize in repair parts, manufacturing almost anything in the line of repairs for farm machinery. Perhaps the most important single item of repair parts is ploughshares, and since these companies commenced operation we have been able to buy ploughshares for from $4.50 to $6 a pair which we could not get from the machine companies for less than from $8 to $10. I think there was a time, indeed, when we paid as high as S12 a pair] and I know I bought a pair myself for which I paid $10. Perhaps someone will say that the shares we are buying at the lower price are not as good, but you can trust the farmer to decide that for himself. I have used both types of shares, those known as the soft centre shares and those known as the crucible shares, which are made by the independent companies, and the general verdict is that once they go into the fire for sharpening there is no difference. Anyhow we are satisfied to buy these lower priced shares. Now what is it we object to? We object to this action by the Department of National Revenue in violating a distinct understanding which was given this house by the Minister of Finance.

I wonder what the Minister of Finance thinks about it. Is he going to allow himself to be placed in the position of having given to the

The Address-Mr. Brown

house an undertaking which he is not prepared to carry out? This has been done by the Minister of National Revenue and he must take the responsibility; it has been done by the Department of National Revenue acting through its officers. Surely this is a violation of the principles which ought to govern the administration. Am I not right in suggesting that it is a question whether parliament is the supreme ruler of the country, and whether as a matter of fact we are not now under a government of dictatorship and bureaucracy? I do not think it is possible to speak too strongly on this matter. They have given the explanation that these are pirate companies which are making these goods. Well, if they are violating any patent or anything of that kind they will be taken care of by the courts. But in answer to the statement that they are pirate companies, I should like to read a short editorial from the Winnipeg Tribune, a paper which, though it frequently criticizes the policy of the Conservative party both in provincial and federal affairs, is nevertheless in a general way a supporter of that party. This is what that newspaper says editorially:

The reply of the Department of National Revenue, that its regulation No. 536 is designed "for the protection of the original manufacturers of farm implements against the competition of 'pirate' parts manufacturers," is far from reassuring.

What has the Department of Revenue to do with "piracy?" If it is an illegal practice, that is a matter for the Department of Justice and the courts.

The term "pirate part" was invented by one class of manufacturer to describe the products of another class. It is a trade term which has no standing in law and, like most defamatory libels of a general nature, very little basis in fact.

Departmental officials overstep their powers when they begin to pick and choose between different brands of the same article. The Commissioner of Customs is supposed to be a tax collector, not a Galahad on a stool.

Evidently the department has been cajoled, on improper and irrelevant grounds, into making a regulation which is unjust and unfair. Not the least interesting feature of the incident is the object-lesson it gives. Incorruptible officials, it seems, are accessible to an adroit use of moral indignation. Given the right touch of propaganda at the right moment, an independent jobber becomes a "pirate," and the Department of Revenue becomes a morality squad.

Some competent authority at Ottawa should step in and break this short-circuit before it sets the house afire. Emotional bias is no substitute for impartiality in the administration of the acts of parliament.

Now, what is the effect of this new regulation? The Winnipeg Free Press made this compilation:

Cost of Laying Down Binder Canvasses Since May 25, With Exchange at 15 Per Cent Prior to May 25, 1932

Invoice value $ 100 00

Exchange 15 per cent 15 00

Duty 6 per cent on $115 6 90

Excise tax 3 per cent on $121.90.. 3 66

Sales tax exempt

After May 25, 1932

Invoice value $ 100 00

Exchange 15 per cent 15 00

Duty 25 per cent on $115 28 75

Excise tax 3 per cent on $143.75.. 4 31

Sales tax exempt

Duty and excise prior to May 25, 1932.. $10 56 Duty and excise after May 25, 1932.. .. 33 06

Cost of Laying Down Plough Shares Since May 25, 1932, With Exchange at 15 Per Cent

Prior to May 25, 1932

Invoice value $ 100 00

Exchange 15 per cent 15 00

Duty 10 per cent on $115 11 50

Excise tax 3 per cent on $126.50.. 3 80

Sales tax exempt

After May 25, 1932

Invoice value $ 100 00

Exchange 15 per cent 15 00

Duty 25 per cent on $115 28 75

Excise tax 3 per cent on $143.75.. 4 31

Sales tax exempt

Duty and excise prior to May 25, 1932..$13 30 Duty and excise since May 25, 1932.. .. 33 06

The duties shown in the first column are still paid by the favored importers; their competitors pay the duties shown in the second column.

It will be noted that owing to the cumulative character of the duties levied the discrimination in the case of binder canvasses is boosted from 19 to 23-50 per cent and in the case of plough shares from 15 per cent to nearly 20 per cent.

Who suffers from this policy? In the first place, of course, the independent implement dealers; they suffer. Let me say to the house that this business is one of tremendous proportions, and there is every reason to believe that it amounts to about a million dollars a year. The president of one of these firms told me that they did a business of $200,000 a year, that they had 1,500 subagents throughout the country, and that 60 per cent of the business of these sub-agents was in these repairs. They are the first people to suffer, naturally. Their business

The Address-Mr. Brown

has been interfered with, they have been discriminated against, and they are justified in complaining. But as everyone knows, the ultimate consumer is the real sufferer in the case; and in this case it simply means an increase in the price of the products we buy.

Before leaving home I made inquiries and I found that the price of ploughshares has already gone up; and the dealer tells us that it is because of the duty. In other words, the farmer has to pay the difference in the price. In my letter to the Minister of National Revenue I made an appeal to him to consider the condition in which the farmer finds himself to-day. Why should they insist on putting a still further burden on the farmer's back? Why do they insist on making him pay more for these implements which he must use than he would otherwise? It is not only the fact that we are paying increased prices, but there is the question of convenience to be considered. There are many implements in the west that are not now sold by the dealer, and through these companies we can get repairs for them which we should not otherwise be able to get. That is the situation that confronts us. I think, therefore, that I am justified in making this protest against the action of the department in imposing this burden upon us.

I am quite satisfied that hon. members opposite who come from the west realize just as keenly as I do the injustice of what has been done; I have no doubt that they realize that their own position has been prejudiced. It was said in the election of 1926 that Arthur Meighen had not given his western supporters a feather to fly with. The present Prime Minister is hanging a millstone around the neck of his supporters every day he is in office, and they know it.

It would be interesting to know just who are the beneficiaries. It is the implement manufacturers. I ask the Minister of National Revenue to tell this house upon whose representations this action has been taken. I do not suppose he will, so I will supply the information. It was done because of the representations made to the department by Mr. Thomas Russell of the Massey-Harris company. There is good reason to believe that representations were also made by other Canadian firms. I think the Canadian people should know just who are their friends in regard to matters of this kind.

I shall not delay the house any further as the matters referred to in the speech from the throne undoubtedly will be debated at greater length at some future date. I hope that when the agreements entered into at the

Imperial conference are before the house we will be able to find in them something which will promote not only imperial harmony and good will but give a lead to the nations of the world as to those steps which must be taken if we are to have better international relations, if we are to reach that day when war will be banished and we shall live together as men and women made in the image of the Divine. So long as these trade wars continue there can be no possibility of peace among the nations of the world.

Mr. JEAN-FRANCOIS POULIOT (Temis-couata): Mr. Speaker, my first words shall be to tell you how happy I am to see you presiding over this house to-day and the pleasure I have in observing your present good state of health. I desire to congratulate the mover (Mr. Davies) and the seconder (Mr. Laurin) of the address in reply on the very commendable speeches they made yesterday. I congratulate also the hon. member for Lisgar (Mr. Brown) who is such a true representative of the farmers of the west and who made such an interesting and practical speech this afternoon. Yesterday my hon. leader (Mr. Mackenzie King) analyzed with great skill the speech from the throne. He deserves great merit for having shown that this speech contains very little detail about things which should be done at once and which unfortunately will have to be delayed. No doubt we will have other opportunities to discuss the agreements arrived at during the recent Imperial conference, and in due course I intend to express the views of my electors on this matter.

In the meantime may I say a few words in connection with a matter which is of great concern to the people whom I have the honour to represent, I refer to Canadian National railway matters. I should first like to read an. excerpt from the Canadian National Railways magazine of February, 1931. This article contains a resume of the speech made by Sir Henry Thornton during a dinner in Montreal which was attended by the hon. Minister of Railways (Mr. Manion). The article reads as follows:

In his opening remarks, Sir Henry Thornton voiced the regrets of the two directors who were unavoidably absent from the gathering. The occasion, he said, provided an opportunity for the officers and members of the cooperative committees, now holding their meetings in Montreal, to meet the new directors and the Minister of Railways. Speaking of the Minister of Railways, Sir Henry said: "I should like to take this opportunity of saying that I have served under a number of ministers of the crown, but I have never served under one for whom I had more real affection, as the present incumbent of that post."

The Address-Mr. Pouliot

I expect Sir Henry was correct in that statement. He continued:

We have in him one who ardently desires the welfare of the Canadian National Railways system, one whose heart beats with ours-

I did not know that they were Siamese twins:

-and one who, in addition to the performance of his ministerial duties is likewise a really fine friend.

Had I been in Sir Henry's position I should have used the same language but I would have had no fear for the future. The trouble is that Sir Henry shook the minister's foot instead of his hand. The Minister of Railways must have likened Sir Henry Thornton to a giant like Holofernes or Samson, while he put himself in the position of Judith or Delilah. Did he forget that when Samson shook the columns of the temple, the Philistines were crushed under its ruins?

I should like to call attention to a very important document which was submitted to the royal commission on transportation. This was presented by the Canadian Brotherhood of Railway Employees and when this matter is before the house I intend to take an opportunity to refer to it. In the meantime may I remind the house that if the situation of the railways is bad it is because they are not provided with sufficient traffic. We have no trade because of the high tariffs. Railway men are suffering because of the barriers which have been erected against the entry of foreign goods. No one can sell when no one is buying. That is an elementary principle and I am glad to see that the government now intends to lower the tariffs. I should like to point out that during the special session when the tariff agreements then before the house were carried there was one voice which said "carried on division." That voice was mine, and I was backed up by a few of my colleagues. This is not reported in the proceedings of the house but it was reported at the time in Le Devoir, of Montreal. At that time I did not agree to the passing of these agreements, and as time has passed the government has been proved to be in the wrong in imposing high tariffs. The government have attempted in vain to cure unemployment but at the same time their action has brought about the dismissal of a large number of railway men. Who is to provide for these men? Will the government pay them an amount equal to that which they received when times were better? Between Moncton and Riviere du Loup nine stations have been closed; four have been

closed in Gaspe and there is talk of closing the stations at Cacouna, St. Arsene, Tobin, St. Anaclet and Routhierville. Caretakers have been appointed at these stations who receive from $15 to S20 per month, according to whether or not they live upon the premises. These men may be present in the station but they cannot give any information to prospective passengers or shippers. A farmer wishing to ship goods must go to the next station in order to obtain the information he requires. That is a very bad situation and it will not improve conditions in Canada.

Six stations have been closed between Riviere du Loup and Ste. Rosalie and other ones are supposed to be closed also. Between Moncton and Riviere du Loup the services of twenty-two operators have been dispensed with and those of twenty on the Levis division. Those men are essential for the good management of the railway business. They have experience and they arrange the meeting of trains and so on in order that no accidents may occur. I do not see why their sendees have been dispensed with while other men who are rather useless are retained in their positions. If there is a man who earns several thousand dollars a year and does no useful work, his services should be dispensed with rather than those of poor men who earn fifteen hundred dollars a year each and who are necessary for the good management of the railway. It is better to dispense with the services of one man than to dispense with the services of four or more and very often, while that man may be set back, the country will not suffer on that account.

Strange things have happened. For instance, at Causapscal in Matane county one operator has been replaced by a man named Miller. At Amqui an operator has been replaced by a man named Jardine. Neither of them speaks French and the people there have to endeavour to get information from those men who cannot answer them properly in their own language. As you know very well, Mr. Speaker, from the old campaigns that have been carried on for the rights of the French language, it is a shame that men who are bilingual have been replaced by men who are not bilingual. I would not object to the appointment of an English-Canadian by birth or naturalization if he has seniority rights, provided that he is bilingual. I do not see a Frenchman who does not speak English being transferred to the maritime provinces or to Ontario. Why are we treated by the railways in a different manner? The Progres du Gulfe, a French weekly of Rimouski, published

The Address-Mr. Pouliot

a very impressive article on that subject some time ago and I would draw the attention of the management of the railways to it.

Something that is most extraordinary is the number of private ears used by superintendents and assistant superintendents all along the line of the Canadian National railways from ocean to ocean. I have no time to expose the whole situation, but may I point out what happens in the province of Quebec and the adjoining districts. For instance, in Quebec there is a man named Mr. Morazain who is general superintendent. Do we need him? Not at all. What is he doing? He is doing only the work of a repeating office. There are many superintendents; there is one named Mr. Atkinson, superintendent at Levis. He has two assistant superintendents. He is drawing quite a large salary. At Quebec there is another superintendent, Mr. Edgley, for the Saguenay division. He has also an assistant superintendent. Further, there is a man named Mr. Sunderland who is superintendent of transportation. These men are all in Quebec receiving fat salaries at the expense of the poor man who can do useful work while the work done by these men who are drawing large salaries is not so useful. Why do those men remain in their jobs while other men are set back? This is unfair.

To sum up, in Quebec city there is a general superintendent whose services we can easily dispense with. What is his salary? It may be $5,000, $6,000; I do not know; but even if he gets five dollars, it is too much. There is Mr. Edgley, superintendent of the Saguenay division, Mr. Sunderland, superintendent of transportation. If the local superintendent does his work, we do not need a superintendent of transportation, so we can dispense with his services. Mr. Atkinson at Levis has two assistant superintendents. That is too much. We can dispense with the services of at least one of them. Mr. Gibeault at Campbellton, has two assistant superintendents, one Mr. Dupont, a former conductor. 1 was pleased at the time with his appointment because I am always glad when a man receives promotion in the railway. He has since proved to be unable to write decent French or English, and his only occupation consists in dispensing with the services of his fellow employees on the railway. That man is absolutely useless there and he can be taken out with great saving to the railway. The same thing applies to another superintendent, I think Mr. Gordon, who was manager of the Gaspe railway and who was appointed assistant superintendent of the Canadian National railway at Campbell-

ton. We can dispense with his services. The Gaspe railway is now under the management and control of the superintendent at Campbellton. Why then do we keep that man who was there and had a good job at the time? The Gaspe railway was operated by a private concern, but now we do not owe him so much a year simply because he had that job before. He was fortunate to have it. Let him find another job. The same thing applies to Levis. One of the assistant superintendents there is the former manager of the Montreal-Southern railway. We can dispense with his services at a saving to the railway. This is only one part of the subject.

The other part, which is very important, is the use or misuse of private cars. The other day when I was coming from Montreal I had a seat in the Pullman car in which there were many vacant seats and there was a good car that was empty. It was not used by Mr. Morazain, who had his private car at the back of the train. I learned he had come from Quebec on the north shore passing through Joliette, coming back from an inspection tour. On those oars they have the most delicate food, better than what is provided in any hotel on the continent, long cigars, londres from Havana, fine liquor. I cannot describe it as it deserves to be, because I have never been in those cars except at times to shake hands with people, but I have seen those large and expensive cigars. I am glad the Minister of Railways (Mr. Manion) is listening to me as I am making those practioal suggestions. Let those superintendents smoke Canadian tobacco. Let them sit with the commoners. Let them sit in the other cars that are used for general transportation. What is the use of giving a private car to the superintendent of a certain division? There is a private car, a fine car, just as good as any, for Mr. Morazain. Then, in order that there may be no jealousy, Mr. Atkinson who lives a mile away from Quebec, at Levis just across the river, has another special car just as good as that of Mr. Morazain. He had an old car but he changed it for a new special car. Then we find that Mr. Edgley has his own car, and I am not sure whether or not Mr. Sunderland has one. The fact is however that he has the privilege of using a private car. The superintendent at Campbellton has one. I know for a fact that Mr. Griffin at Edmundston, eighty miles from Riviere du Loup, has a private car. In fact, within a distance of two hundred miles, or less than that, there are five special cars. In connection with those cars there are expert cooks such as might be used in the Chateau Frontenac, the Chateau Laurier or the Royal

The Address-Mr. Pouliot

York. And why should we have all this extravagance in each case for one man supposed to make an inspection tour. In my view those inspection tours are unnecessary. The engineers in charge do travel by handcar and control the work. A superintendent might be allowed a special compartment in a train, but I can see no reason why he should be supplied with a private car so that he may travel like the Prime Minister or the Governor General. If savings were made in this connection the result would be that employees who now earn their livelihood by the sweat of their brows, men who are doing useful work and are in charge of large families would be allowed to remain at their jobs.

Mr. Speaker, I have something very interesting to tell you. So that there may be no misunderstanding by hon. members not familiar with the French language I shall attempt to translate the documents before me from French into English. Perhaps I should not have taken this opportunity to place the correspondence before the house had I not received a communication dated September 20, from the Postmaster General in which he extended to me an invitation to take advantage of this session to expose some matters, or to ask questions. In reply I sent a page to his office stating that I wished to speak about him this afternoon. Very unfortunately he answered that he was too busy to come to this chamber. Probably he was learning the English language, although I suggest he speaks hotter English than French. Probably the minister was learning that his name in English would be translated by the word "exit." I feel free to say what I think about his ways and doings, although, Mr. Speaker, I am very sorry to do so. However he has been notified by writing and bj' word of mouth; he does not want to come to the chamber, therefore it will be so much the worse for him.

In a speech delivered at Place Viger hotel in Montreal on September 9, he said this:

The only change shows that the post offices receiving remuneration lower than $3,000 fell under the control of the Postmaster General, but the preference goes just the same to the veteran who, according to the report of the inspector, receives sixty per cent or over in his examination. This is the new article 57a in the amended law.

On April 8, 1932, there was a motion in the house asking for a copy of all reports in connection with the dismissal of the postmaster at Notre Dame du Lac, and the appointment of his successor. The return was tabled on April 11. On May 30, I received a letter from the Postmaster General's secretary stating that

the report on the candidates had not been forwarded to the Civil Service Commission. On June 8, I asked for that report; on June 11, I received from the Postmaster General a letter which meant nothing; on June 15, I asked for the report and was told it was not included in the file on account of a clerical error. On June 17, I received the following communication:

I must tell you that the administrator's report was sent only a short time after it was received for a new examination of the candidate, and we have not received it back.

On June 22, I received the following:

As a matter of fact the document lias not been taken away with the intention of preventing production in the House of Commons. After having examined it the departmental officials have found that for certain reasons the file was incomplete and have sent it back to the administrator. It is a matter of departmental routine.

What happened in that instance? A veteran made application. How was he rated by Mr. Green, the Quebec superintendent? According to a letter sent to me on June 13, 1932, by the Postmaster General, the man was rated eighty-five per cent. Although I have not time to read the whole letter from Mr. Underwood to Mr. Green, I shall read at least part of it:

March 24, 1932.

Dear Sir:

I am returning herewith your report on the applicants for this position.

In reference to the application of Mr. Dominique Cote, returned soldier, the inspector rates the application eighty-five per cent but it is stated that the location and accommodation offered are poor.

A good reason! The fact is, however, that the same location was offered that had been used for years before. Here is something to which I should like to draw the attention of the house: That report was not tabled in the house because the Postmaster General objected to the fact that the man was rated eighty-five per cent by an officer of his department. That is why he sent it back to have it changed. He took the trouble to have a letter signed by that man photographed and sent to me. On that occasion I said, "Mr. Minister, you will note that this man, a veteran and applicant for the position, exhibits much better handwriting than you or I." Matters were so arranged that a man other than the veteran applicant received the position. The veteran was insulted when he was accused of ignorance because, as a matter of fact, he was as well educated as the minister.

The Address-Mr. Pouliot

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UFA

William Irvine

United Farmers of Alberta

Mr. WILLIAM IRVINE (Wetaskiwin):

Mr. Speaker, the groups in this comer of the house stand for a new economic system, and for a number of years we have put forward our views. Both the house and the country are fairly well acquainted with our convictions in this regard. I might summarize them briefly by Saying (that we do not believe it possible to patch up the present capitalistic system, and our efforts will be put forward incessantly looking to the building up of a new system. I regret that the amendment moved by the right hon. leader of the opposition (Mr. Mackenzie King), which regretted so many things, did not regret also that the government had run out of patches. The system has been patched so much that there are no more patches to put on, and every patch in coming away has left a larger hole than before so that now the system is nearly all hole.

So I say we do not believe the present system can be patched up, as all administrations have tried to patch it. We say further that planning is essential for the national life of this country, and we have suggested very definite grounds upon which a system of planning may be established. Then we have said very clearly, both in this house and throughout the country, that we regard the first essential step to be taken in the construction of a new social order is the nationalization of credit, and we have endeavoured to set forth the details of such a procedure. I am not going to elaborate on these things at this time, beso

The Address-Mr. Irvine

cause when resolutions already on the order paper are discussed we will be able to deal with these matters specifically. I am going to devote the time which is at my disposal now to some of the arguments put forward by the Prime Minister last night, and incidentally there are no other arguments from the other side to answer. Perhaps the silence of the government benches is more eloquent than any arguments they might have put forward. I appreciate that it is very difficult for the government to defend its policies in the light of the present situation, and I do not say that it is altogether the fault of the government. I am prepared to admit that the situation with which the government was met when it took office was very difficult, but I say that the actions of the government have not improved matters at all. Instead, things have gone from bad to worse, so that undoubtedly this administration has been faced with the greatest task to confront any administration in the history of Canada. I appreciate that fact. I do not wish to offer any carping criticism but the situation has become so desperate and the condition and the temper of the people are such that it is necessary for us in this corner of the house to speak without equivocation.

During the course of his remarks last night the Prime Minister made reference to nostrums, to sound money and to the use of a printing press in regard to the paying of our foreign debts. These phrases, which mean so little when analysed but which may stand for so much when reiterated by such an authority, ought to be met, not with sounding phrases and tinkling cymbals but with facts, and the only things that are accepted by us are facts. First let me take a few moments to deal with the excuses which were put forward by the Prime Minister for present conditions, excuses which were also given by the leader of the opposition when he was in office, and which I presume will be used by the next government if it continues to attempt the impossible, namely, to make the capitalistic system work.

The first excuse given was that this is a universal condition, that Canada is not the only country suffering from unemployment, great debts, low prices for commodities and so on, but that in fact all the countries in the world are in a similar position. And so the inference is that if the governments of all countries have failed to find any solution for the economic problem of our time, surely it cannot be expeeted that Canada alone can find such a solution. Now of course we have to admit that the problem is universal; and why? It is universal because

capitalism has built up an artificial international interdependence. How did capitalism do that? The answer is that under its profit philosophy capitalism must, of necessity, develop in each country a surplus of goods which it cannot sell at home and for which, therefore, it must seek some foreign market. Capitalism was responsible for an artificial internationalism which we have to recognize to-day. But has that anything to do with the present problem of Canada?

What are the fruits of capitalism which are so international? The first is a concentration of great wealth in the hands of a few; the second is the growing army of unemployed who are displaced by machinery and by more modern methods of production; the third is a growing progressive indebtedness which not only has not been paid but never can ibe paid, either >by the individual or by the public. Of course these fruits of capitalism are universal, since capitalism itself is universal. But again I ask, what has that to do with the immediate and pressing necessity with which we are faced in Canada?

Canada has a population of ten million. It has an abundance of food, an abundance of clothing, and an abundance of coal for power and for keeping us warm in this cold climate, and it has an abundance of material for building homes. Now let us stop there, because I believe that most Canadians this winter would be fully satisfied, for the present, if they had food, clothing and shelter in abundance, Well, what does this government-and the same question may be asked of all governments in the civilized world-say in these circumstances? It says to the people of Canada, "It is true you have produced a great surplus of food, but unless we can sell that surplus of food to someone outside Canada our own people must starve." That is the philosophy of this international capitalism.

I say that regardless of international interdependence the Canadian government must, out of the abundance of our natural resources, out of the abundance of our production, find a way to give to every Canadian food, clothing and shelter and the right to work for these things, or else confess the bankruptcy of the Conservative statesmanship of this country. The excuse is given that Canada is no worse than any other country, and this I readily admit. Canada is certainly no worse than any other country although she ought to be a good deal better. I am not sure that she is, but she certainly should not be worse. But what kind of excuse is that to a hungry man? Suppose the Prime Minister and I were taking a trip across the Atlantic and at midnight we both

The Address-Mr. Irvine

fell overboard. After a while, let us say, I bobbed up on top of a wave and said to him, "Ha ha, I am not worse off than you are; I am not more wet than you are and I am not m greater danger of being drowned." That would be true, but it certainly would not get either of us out of the Atlantic. So that it is all very well to say that Canada is not worse off than any other country, but that does not lift this or any other country out of the present damnable depression. These are the stereotyped excuses which the leader of the opposition used in the last election and for using which he was laughed at by the gentlemen who are now in power. And it is the excuse which is being used now by the party opposite. Well, I repudiate both; they are excuses which will not be accepted by the Canadian people very much longer.

Now I come to a direct reference which the Prime Minister made to some of the things which have been advocated from this comer, and whether I am right or not I think that his references were particularly aimed at this section of the house. In his usual forceful manner he spoke about nostrums. I thought I knew what nostrums meant, but I looked it up to make sure. The word has three meanings. First, a nostrum is a medicine recommended by its preparer; secondly, it is a medicine the ingredients of which are kept secret by the inventor; and thirdly, it is a quack remedy, and a quack means a pretender.

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?

An hon. MEMBER:

Hear, hear.

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UFA

William Irvine

United Farmers of Alberta

Mr. IRVINE:

I am glad that my hon.

friend recognizes his own policy when he hears it described by someone else. I have been going over the Conservative policies and I find that all three meanings of this word can be aptly applied to those policies. First, we have a medicine recommended by its preparers. Take, for instance, the fixing of tariffs by order in council, a medicine recommended by those who prepared it. Well, that has been a failure. Let us take the second meaning of the word, a medicine the ingredients of which are kept secret by the inventor-the Imperial conference, for instance; the whole thing kept a secret by its inventors. And someone reminds me of the government's policy of unemployment, which has so far been kept a secret. The third meaning of the word is a quack medicine. Now, capitalism has been dying for two generations and every government that ever sat opposite has been quacking on it and applying quack remedies. Quack remedies applied have been tariffs, tariffs and more tariffs, all nostrums offered by the govern-53710-6

ment. We demand that they put an end to their nostrums and get down to policies that will work. Among these nostrums the Prime Minister referred specifically to sound money as one would refer to the sacred documents upon which the faith of a people is based, or to the golden calf which was once ground up and given to the Israelites in the water they drank.

It seems to me that when he used this phrase sound money in the sense in which he used it the Prime Minister certainly underestimated the intelligence of the Canadian people. I can assure him that, from my associations with the Canadian people-and I have travelled over this country in the last two years a good deal more than he has been able to do, because he has been very busy-the majority of the Canadian people to-day no longer regard money as a divine mystery which must be protected both by church and by state. The public mind has lost some of the reverence which it used to have for the gold basis, for example, especially since Great Britain slipped off that basis and since they have been able to taste some of the fruits which have followed.

I say frankly that the phrase sound money actually stinks with error and fallacy; it has very much more sound than sense. Let me say to this house that sound money is something that Canada has not and never had. Sound money is something which no nation in the world has ever had on a gold basis. The agitation from this corner of the chamber has been to get sound .money and bring aJbout the abandonment of unsound money. Let me ask a few questions of my hon. friends which they can answer at their leisure. Is it possible for sound money to be based on gold?

Mr. LaVERGNE: Certainly.

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October 11, 1932