Mr. J. A. BRADETTE (North Tirnis-karning):
Mr. Speaker, I have no reluctance whatever in addressing this house on an occasion such as this, for the very simple reason that I realize the duty I have to perform towards my constituents. Some newspapers have said that these agreements should be passed without discussion. That reminds me of a personal experience I had the first time I had the honour of sitting in this assembly, which was in the fall of 1926. At that time I asked myself why there were so many representatives in this House of Commons, but it did not take me very long to realize that it was quite necessary to have this number in order that every section of the country might be properly represented here. This country is so large, geographically, and so many different interests are represented that I believe every member should express the views of his constituents on questions such as this. If I did not speak on these agreements I do not think I would be fulfilling my duty towards that section of northern Ontario which I have the honour to represent.
I am not going to be absolutely critical of these agreements. Sometimes within the walls of this chamber, as well as in many different sections of the country, when we try to couple the word "politics" with any discussion on national, imperial or international matters, such a connection seems to be something of a slur. This, however, is a matter which 53719-29
should be brought forward in this house in order that every angle of these treaties may be discussed and the viewpoint of every section of the country presented. I will go further, Mr. Speaker. I maintain that it is the bounden duty of every member of this house to present the viewpoint of his constituents. Ever since these treaties were made public they have been the subject of discussion throughout Canada. I have received letters and several telegrams giving me different points of view which may be of interest to this house and to the country at large. Really we on this side should not be criticized for discussing these questions. In 1930 it was known that this conference would be held in Ottawa; a great many men whom I will call statesmen, because I believe they are worthy of that appellation, together with experts on economics, finance and commerce, not only as they concern their respective countries and the empire but as they concern the world, met here and deliberated for thirty days. Who, therefore, will begrudge the few days or weeks that we may spend here working for the welfare and advancement of Canada and the empire?
I greatly resented one statement made by the right hon. Prime Minister (Mr. Bennett) in his remarks on the address in reply to the speech from the throne. The right hon. gentleman did his best to reflect on the attitude of the right hon. leader of the opposition (Mr. Mackenzie King) in connection with the conference. Attacks of this kind have been made in the press as well, and they are absolutely unwarranted. Every citizen worthy of the name appreciated and admired the fine attitude taken by the right hon. leader of the opposition during that conference. I have in my hand a telegram which my right hon. leader sent to Right Hon. Stanley Baldwin. It Was sent in care of the Empress of Britain on July 18, 1932, and was reported in the Ottawa Citizen of the following day:
On behalf of the Liberal opposition in the Canadian parliament I desire to join in the welcome being extended today by all Canada to yourself and colleagues of the British and all other delegations to the Imperial economic conference, and to express our good wishes for the success which we hope may attend its deliberations. Personally I am looking forward with the greatest pleasure to seeing again Mrs. Baldwin and yourself, and to the renewal of many old friendships.
This message does not show any spirit of partisanship; it simply shows that my right hon. leader, on behalf of himself and the Liberal party, hoped that the conference would be successful. His personal conduct before and during the conference also has been com-
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mended by the Canadian people, and I was very sorry indeed to hear the right hon. Prime Minister insinuate that he attempted in any way to interfere with that meeting. Personally I had the pleasure of holding over forty meetings in my own constituency before and during the sessions of the conference, and I always made it a point to tell the people of North Timiskaming that no doubt some good would come from the conference, that it would be impossible for so many men of high standing to meet together not for days but for weeks without some good resulting.
I maintain that attitude today, and let me repeat that I think it is the duty of all members of this House of Commons to bring forward as forcibly as possible all the problems arising in the different sections of the country which may have a bearing on this question. After all, the different parts make up the whole of Canada, and it is not easy for those residing in one part to become acquainted with the needs of those residing in another part. I know there are members here from the maritime provinces who have never visited British Columbia, and even in my own riding, which I believe is one of the largest in Canada, many people living in the town of Timmins do not know how many people live in the town of Hearst. Some people maintain that these treaties should be regarded almost as though they were sacred. I repeat that these are national matters, and I believe they should be discussed very fully in this house. I said a few moments ago that no doubt some good came from the conference, but there are other matters on which people do not agree, and it is the duty of this house to have those matters properly aired here.
The conference is now a thing of the past, but we always learn in the school of experience. As a man living in this young country I firmly believe that even in connection with a conference such as this there should have been much greater publicity. Matters touching the whole empire were dealt with, and f believe the people of this country should have been given the fullest possible information. I have in my hand an article which appeared in the Ottawa Journal of July 7, 1932:
Give The Public The Facts
Isn't there altogether too much secrecy, and, consequently, too much pessimism and suspicion over the Imperial economic conference? On all sides these days one hears people say, "the conference, of course, will be a great show, but it won't get anywhere." Nine times out of ten the people who talk this way are blurred about what the conference really aims to get at, about its possibilities. Yet such talk does harm.
In the circumstances, wouldn't it be a good idea if we could have a series of public meetings to be addressed by conference delegates for the benefit of the public? Buildings for such meetings could be secured, and it is reasonable to believe that the spirit which could be aroused in this way would greatly help in mutual cooperation, so necessary for success.
Confederation could hardly have been brought about were it not for the platform campaign carried on by men like D'Arcy McGee, Charles Tupper, and others. They explained the issue to the people, broke down opposition, made union possible.
The cause being what it is, so much being at stake, no reason exists why something similar should not take place in the case of this conference. It could do no harm; and it might do a vast deal of good.
The views expressed in this editorial should be taken into consideration by subsequent governments in relation to any conferences that may be held in the future. What is contained in this article with regard to the evil of secret diplomacy applies to the last conference, and the editorial is warranted in its attitude; it will cause people to realize that matters of public importance should be considered in a public 'way. There was a feeling at the time of the conference that some English newspapers were not taking the proper attitude to the proceedings. They might have received reports and despatches based not upon fact but upon mere hearsay and rumour, but those who represented these newspapers could not do otherwise in view of the absolute secrecy that surrounded the conference.
One thing I deeply resent, Mr. Speaker, is the fact that the Conservative party in Canada is trying now, as it has always tried, to make the people of this country believe that Conservatives are the only citizens who are loyal to British ideals and principles. Let me assure you that in the newer section of the country which 1 have the honour to represent there are hardworking men who are pushing back the frontiers of Canada, opening up a new land to cultivation and civilization. We have miners digging down into the entrails of the earth, bringing forth wealth which has lain there from the foundation of the world; men toiling in our forests, and producing still more wealth to enrich this country; men who, although they do not stand up and sing the praises of Canada in sonorous phrases are in reality loyal citizens of Canada, loyal to their native land, to the British Empire and to British ideals. Hon. members opposite had better realize that no party in this house has any monopoly of loyalty to British institutions. We are all loyal to the empire, and I
venture to suggest that I can speak all the more feelingly on this topic inasmuch as I am of French descent. I can say quite frankly that I shall always remain loyal to British principles and ideals, and this without constraint or pressure.
I was astonished yesterday to hear the Solicitor General (Mr. Dupre) introducing into this discussion questions from the past which we had supposed were forgotten. I appeal to him to examine his conscience and to look back on those days in the election of 1911 when the naval question was under consideration in this country and in the province of Quebec. It would be well for him if he did this; it would convince him, I think, that it does not lie with anyone on the opposite side to cast any reflections on the party over here so far as the question of loyalty is concerned. The loyalty of the Canadian people is irreproachable. Suppose a man found it necessary to discuss financial matters with his father: does it follow that he is undutiful if he happens not to agree in every respect with his father? Absolutely not. Similarly, we may have our differences, but the ties of loyalty in the empire are just as strong as they ever were. They do not depend on economics; it is a matter of the mind and heart. If I speak feelingly on this subject it is because I do not think that the question of loyalty should be dragged into political discussions.
Now, as to the method of approach, a good deal has been said with regard to the imperial conference of 1930. I will not try to cover that ground, but I might observe that this afternoon the eloquent member who preceded me before six o'clock compared the imperial conference to a poker game. I agree with him, being a business man, that in business transactions bargaining is sometimes necessary; but why compare the conference to a poker game? That, I suggest, is why there was so much resentment in the empire to the proceedings of the conference. It was stated in some English newspapers that the Prime Minister approached the conference as though he were sitting in to a poker game. I have played poker myself-not on any very extensive scale-and I know enough about it to understand that the object is to get the other fellow; get all you can out of him, and the more you make the more you want, while the more you lose the more eager you are to get after him. In corroboration of the statement that the conference was regarded in
some quarters as a poker game, I have here an extract from one British newspaper. Let me read it:
Guardian Critical Of Bennett Offer
Says His Cards Are On Table, But Face Downward
London, Aug. 4.-"Mr. Bennett has a name for putting his cards on the table," said the Manchester Guardian in an editorial today. "He has lost no time in putting them on the table at Ottawa, but face downward, where they have stayed, while every other delegation explained itself in a less spectacular and distinctly speedier way.
"It may be," observed the Guardian, "that Mr. Bennett still does not know any more than the world what his cards are. Meanwhile other dominions have gone about their business in a fairly workmanlike fashion. More has been said about the Canadian proposals than any. and less done, yet there are people who would have us turn to Mr. Bennett as the leader of the British Empire."
The Daily Mail asserts the needs of the dominions and the United Kingdom would be met best by a system of three-stage tariffs, "of which the lowest would be for empire goods to which free entry could not be given; the intermediate stage for foreign countries conceding us favourable terms; and the highest for foreign states refusing us any concession."
The News-Chronicle describes the situation at Ottawa as extremely disturbing. "Mr. Bennett is still refusing to disclose the details of his offer made with such solemnity at the opening of the conference. Australia has definitely tabled her proposals, under which Great Britain would be committed to a whole series of food taxes. The prospects of such a tax in a country so dependent as ours upon overseas supplies, with a vast army of unemployed, cannot be contemplated without the gravest concern. Against the taxation of meat particularly both the Premier and Mr. Runciman have given the most specific pledges. We are frankly much more concerned by the prospect of an Australian agreement than by the spectacle of Mr. Bennett shuffling uneasily on a box which the Canadian manufacturers apparently refuse to allow him to open."
Not Ready, Is Claim
The Star, evening companion to the News-Chronicle, while not disposed to be critical because things are going slowly at Ottawa, says the blame cannot be thrown on Great Britain. "Mr. Bennett, according to the empire food taxers, not Mr. Baldwin, was the genius we were invited to follow. The gaff has blown, and the man of iron will and cast-iron decision is really not Quite so ready for his mission as we had been told to believe. The empire food taxers here can hardly expect us to have faith in Mr. Bennett as a man of action and decision.
There is another comment which I should like to read. It is taken from the British press, and I do not think the house is familiar with it:
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Bennett's Flippant Tone Jarred on Overseas Ears, Says British Journalist But Political Editor of London News-Chronicle Denies He Penned Word "Buffoon," and Blames Heading Writer-Explains That Some Newspapermen Thought Canada Needed Speeding Up
Ottawa, Aug. 4.-"Buffoon" was not the word, but to quote other words used memorably upon another occasion, A. J. Cummings, political editor of the London News-Chronicle, was "thinking along those lines."
The English editor, whose despatch to the London Evening Star has stirred several dovecotes on parliament hill, told the Globe about it today.
"Many people here," he said, "imagine that I called the Prime Minister of Canada a buffoon, merely because the Star chose to use the word in heading a despatch from me. I am not responsible for the editing of the Star, and the word was not one I had. written. I did, however, in my cable published by the Star, express quite strongly the resentment which a large number of my colleagues felt at the exceedingly flippant tone which Mr. Bennett chose to adopt in discussing with 100 press representatives invited to meet him the questions being decided at this historic conference.
Bennett's "Cheap Way"
"Frankly, I myself was astonished to find our meeting with Mr. Bennett in danger of degenerating into a low-grade comic entertainment. I objected very strongly to the cheap way in which Mr. Bennett tried to make talking points out of serious questions addressed to him by responsible journalists, and I was not alone. A number of representative journalists have since said to me that, but for their sense of the courtesy due to their hosts, the Canadian people, they would have made a public protest and walked out of the press conference room.
"As far as I am concerned," Mr. Cummings said "the episode is past. I felt that some protest should be made, and I realized that it was easier for a visitor to Ottawa to make it than for a Canadian. I have great personal respect for Mr. Bennett. I regard him as a man of courage and capacity, and obviously a leading personality. But as Prime Minister of Canada, he missed a unique opportunity to create a tremendous impression when he had before him, as he had Tuesday afternoon, the press of the whole world."
Charge of "Stalling"
A charge that Canadian delegation delays had been holding back the work of the conference was included in the same despatch to the London Star. In making the charge, Mr. Cummings said, he had only expressed an opinion held and expressed by many other correspondents. _
"Among the representatives of the United Kingdom press the feeling was that a little pressure brought to bear, a little speeding up, would not do any harm. And I think it has succeeded, you know, succeeded admirably.
"Canada is in this case the keystone of the arch of trade," the English editor went on. "England is the big customer. England could not make her picture complete, could not say what she was able to offer each, until she had before her the proposals of all, Canada as well [Mr. Bradette.l *
as the other dominions. I know for a fact that Canada alone among the dominions refused to give preliminary information regarding her position and proposals when London asked for it by cable four months ago. So that really the United Kingdom delegation came here in complete ignorance of Canada's position. Naturally, that would cause delay."
Mr. Cummings vigorously rejected the theory that, as a representative of the last of London's great Liberal journals and an inheritor of the Manchester attitude toward things Imperial, his views of empire politicians or empire trade might be tinged with prejudice.
As I said in the beginning, more publicity should be given to such matters so that the public may become familiar with what is to take place at such conferences.
There are two matters with which I believe the people of Canada as a whole thought that this conference would deal in a very thorough manner. The first was the monetary question, considered from an empire as well as an international point of view. A great many of the economists and financiers of this country were disappointed at this matter having been put in the background. I believe the government would be in a better position today if this matter had been dealt with at the conference. A special committee should have been appointed to deal with this intricate matter, not only from the point of view of Canada but of the empire as a whole and then the government would have been better prepared for the international conference which is to take place next December or January.
The next matter is the question of unemployment. It has been stated in this house, not only by the Prime Minister but by other hon. members, that it is becoming an international question. It affects every section of the world, and I believe a step would have been taken in the right direction had this matter been discussed. No doubt many of the delegates thought that an increase in the British preference would provide more work, but the conference did not get to the root of the question. It endeavoured to raise tariffs against the rest of the world, but the fact is that our present condition is due to the tariff walls which have been erected during the last forty years. We are suffering from overproduction and underconsumption; that is the problem which we have to face. I repeat that I do not believe the conference achieved all it could have achieved had it discussed this all-important problem.
I do not think I can be accused of being parochial or narrow in my statements but I feel it my duty to discuss the Imperial conference as it affects northern Ontario as a
whole and more particularly my own section of the country. The population here is made up largely of primary producers and consumers. The tariff always works a detriment to the newer sections of population. I do not want to be misunderstood-I am not a free trader but neither am I a high tariff man. The previous speaker (Mr. Willis) has tried to throw the mantle of free trade upon his section of the house, 'but such an attempt is not justified. Some of us believe in a national tariff, but we contend that it should be an elastic tariff, applicable to present requirements. My hon. friends opposite have apparently changed since the convention in Winnipeg four years ago. High tariffs were not even mentioned during that convention, but now they are being advocated with a vengeance and no consideration is being given to certain sections of Canada. An increased tariff is bound to work a detriment to the rural sections of this country, especially in northern Ontario and in the three western provinces.
The tariff was originated in order to give assistance to new bom industry. Similar policies have helped to build great nations such as Great Britain and the United States and to a certain degree, France. The purpose was to allow those nations to become industrialized, but conditions today have changed from what they were twenty or thirty years ago. Because so many countries have become highly industrialized we are faced with a condition of overproduction and underconsumption. If high tariffs are continued the people in the rural sections will not be able to buy the shoes produced by our manufacturers, or the automobiles or other manufactured articles. Until the primary producer is made prosperous there cannot be prosperity in this country as a whole. Such a policy may prove helpful to large industrial centres like Montreal, Toronto, Winnipeg, Hamilton and other places, but it will always be a detriment to the rural sections of northern Ontario and the other provinces.
During the past twenty years Canada was primarily an agricultural country but due to an increased industrialization there has been a trend of population from the rural centres to the larger industrial areas. Agricultural life has been almost disrupted. I am not very old but I can remember the time when our rural communities were almost self-contained. I used to live on a farm in Quebec not very far from parliament hill and in those days a thousand people on the farm could maintain almost a like number in the
rural villages. There were located in those villages small industries; there was generally a tannery, a saw mill, a grist mill and three or four general stores employing dozens of employees. But this is all changed because of the development of highly concentrated and centralized industrial communities. I am dealing particularly with my own section of the country, but I am sure my remarks would apply equally as well to rural Canada as a whole. The people in the rural sections around Cochrane, Hearst and other towns in northern Ontario buy only a portion of their food and clothing in those towns; they send to Toronto, Montreal or Winnipeg. This is an anomaly which should be cured; the government should cease its policy of higher tariffs which is bringing about an increase in population in the urban centres to the detriment of the rural communities. In the past we could always look forward and picture the future happiness of our people, but I believe our rural poulation thirty and even twenty years ago was much happier than it is at the present time. We cannot any longer cultivate in the rural centres of population the community spirit, because the new social and economic order has been drawing the people more and more to the big centres of population and producing an agglomeration such as Montreal, which comprises almost forty per cent of the population of Quebec. On that score I believe the house should realize the seriousness of the situation, and again I repeat that no matter how high the government may put the tariff, this will never go to the root of the problem we have to face at the present time. It will never help to keep our rural population on the farm; they will continue and accelerate the procession to the larger centres when conditions return to normal.
There is one matter that I want to point out to the industrial section of this country. From the statistics of the domestic market it will be seen that the best customers they have in the country are within our own borders. What would happen if tomorrow the rural sections of northern Ontario and of the three western provinces were to be suddenly depopulated? The urban population would by that fact have to decrease at least fifty per cent. What would happen to Toronto if the farming population in northern Ontario were to disappear? The industrialists have in northern Ontario a potential market of at least $100,000,000 or perhaps $150,000,000 per annum, and the same thing applies to all the newer sections of the country. As regards the
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social order the nations are now beginning to realize that the so-called civilized countries are too highly industrialized. With the stagnation in population, for instance in countries like France, even in Great Britain and to some degree in the United States, they realize that industry cannot prosper unless outside markets can be found. Here in Canada we have the market within our own borders. We have this unlimited new territory that can be opened up to civilization and cultivation. We have numberless hills and mountains on the sides of which is untold potential wealth awaiting the prospector and miner to bring about the development of it. But we must realize that consideration should be given to the population there.
We often speak in glowing terms of what our forefathers did on the shores of the St. Lawrence, what the Loyalists did in Ontario and the hardships they had to endure. It is true that in these days we are not subject to the same dangers that they had to face; it is true that conditions are not identical, but in the rural sections of the country, to open up new land to cultivation and civilization is just as much a hardship as that which our forefathers endured two or three hundred years ago, because we have to face a different situation, a new social order which is working to the detriment of the country. We must realize that in the agricultural section that is opened up for colonization purposes we have to face obstacles which our forefathers did not have to face. For example, we have to face severer climatic conditions as we go northward. We are also getting further away from centres of population. It was stated this afternoon by a western member that any change made in the freight rate on wheat affects the price of that commodity. The same thing applies to the products of northern Ontario, because we are getting away from the large centres of population, and that fact alone should make the house realize that it is necessary for the government to study the conditions of the farmers and miners in that northern section.
I was one who attended many sittings of the former tariff board and I was sorry that the present government did not find it possible to establish a tariff board two years ago. It might be said, and perhaps rightly, that the Prime Minister and his government want to work for the benefit of the farmer and the working man, but the fact remains that for nearly three years the rural class, the consuming class, the working class, has had practically no opportunity of having its voice heard before the Department of National Revenue. This is an anomaly, and if nothing
in these treaties is implemented except the establishment of a tariff board, that would be a good thing in itself. I hope the government will find it possible to have the consumers represented on that board. I remember the jeers, Laughs and sneers at the mention of the Consumers' League of Canada. I belonged to the Consumers' League and I received valuable information from it. In fact it was necessary for me to belong to it in order properly to represent my constituency. I also was present at one meeting in the fall of 1930, prior to the previous conference, when a man representing the Consumers' League was not even given a hearing, when ministers who occupy portfolios in the present cabinet laughed at him-laughed and tried to ridicule one, who was representing nearly eighty per cent of the population of Canada! That happened in 1930, and I repeat, if nothing comes out of this treaty other than the establishment of the tariff board-and the government will find that it will pay to have every interest fairly represented-something will be well done so far as the conference is concerned.
A good deal has been said about lumber. I believe my colleague from northern Ontario, the hon. member for East Algoma (Mr. Nicholson) has done and tried to do good work for the lumbermen, work which will be of benefit to northern Ontario and to every section of Canada. Unluckily for our (population the lumbering activities are not as active as they might be. In our over-optimism we thought that through these agreements big contracts would be coming to Canada, but unluckily that has not yet been the case. There is one problem I want to deal with and it is that of pulpwood. In these agreements there may be some benefit to the pulpwood producers on the Pacific and Atlantic coasts, but so far as central Canada, northern Ontario, is concerned, I do not see any benefit. If, as has been so well proved here during the present discussion, by building an economic unit, by surrounding an economic empire with great artificial economic walls, we are precluded to a large extent from markets outside the empire, northern Ontario will certainly suffer from such a situation. I know whereof I speak because I have cut pulpwood myself and I have sold some of it to local mills, but the settlers in large sections of northern Ontario must find an outside market, and the settler in our section of the country with his pulpwood is in the same position as the farmer with his wheat or his grain. He cannot go any longer into the process of manufacture and the only logical
market, when our domestic market is saturated, is the United States. I am sorry to state that that market is closed to us at the present time, by what action I do not know, but I know at the last general election it was included in the Conservative platform that if they were returned to power, they would put an export tax on pulpwood going to the United States. 1 am not a sob-sister artist by a long shot, but I say that our settlers are near starvation because they cannot sell their primary crop, which is pulpwood. The crop in the first year of colonization is purely and simply pulpwood, and once our domestic market is saturated, we must necessarily sell in some outside market. The British market is too far away from us. No doubt the maritime provinces and eastern Quebec and British Columbia will benefit by these agreements, but northern Ontario will receive no benefit whatever.
Very soon, if Mr. Hoover is returned to power, we are going to deal with the United States in connection with the St. Lawrence waterway agreement, and I hope, if the government is really sincere in the matter of helping any section of the country they will make an effort in the bargaining to widen our pulpwood market and not restrict it. I spoke to members of the Ontario cabinet about the matter and most of them have the same view as I have, for the simple reason that you cannot have settlers unless they find it possible to sell, at a reasonable, I do not say an exorbitant price, the first crop they have in the timbered section, which crop is pulpwood and which is practically their only means of subsistence for many years. I am going to speak of that situation as long as I have the honour to represent that constituency because it is causing hardship to ninety-five per cent of our rural population. There is another very important matter. The troublous times in the history of France in the days of Joan of Arc was referred to as "la grande pitie de France." At present in Canada we have "la grande pitie de l'agrieul-ture et la grande pitie de l'industrie du papier a journal." Our great newsprint and sulphite industry in this country is practically on its last legs. It is one of the largest enterprises in Canada, one in which Canadian and foreign investors have placed hundreds of millions of dollars. The preferred stocks of these great companies are now selling for about only two per cent of their original value, and the common stocks are worth practically nothing. It is an industry which is a necessity in our national life, and one which all governments have combined and should continue to combine to help. Some of these companies are now in a receivership and others are next to bankruptcy, perhaps through fault of their own and perhaps not; this is not the time or the place to elaborate such a matter. The fact remains that we must do something to relieve the present situation.
As my time is about up, I will take advantage of the opportunity to discuss this question further when the appropiate item comes before the committee.
Subtopic: IMPERIAL ECONOMIC CONFERENCE
Sub-subtopic: CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON THE MOTION FOR APPROVAL OF TRADE AGREEMENT BETWEEN CANADA AND THE UNITED KINGDOM