March 28, 1933

LIB

James Lorimer Ilsley

Liberal

Mr. ILSLEY:

Before I deal with the few features of the budget which I think deserve some comment, I should like to say that we seem to be getting into the habit of regarding budgets not as financial statements of the government's intentions but as preliminary drafts only. In 1931 when the Prime Minister (Mr. Bennett) was Minister of Finance he introduced a budget which later on was very materially altered. The same was true of the budget of 1932 and it will no doubt be true of the budget of 1933. I have no objection to changes being made-the changes which have been made in the past have been good ones-but I do think it unfortunate that ministers, of finance should get into the habit of simply getting up something and bringing it into the house by way of a preliminary draft and then having us go through the discussion in committee of ways and means with the idea of getting something out at the end of the session which may perhaps meet the requirements of the case. Such action misleads the business interests of the country because one does not know until the discussion has ended just what the budget actually will be.

I think this is all a vindication of the position taken by the opposition during the past two years that we in this House of Commons or in this parliament should not delegate legislative functions to the governor in council. Large powers are now vested in the governor in council under the various relief acts. These powers are such that the governor in council can deal with intricate and difficult matters, and if the manner in which the government will deal with them in council is exemplified by the manner in which they prepare their budgets, this House of Commons could certainly do a better job with the legislation of the country than could the governor in council.

There are a few and only a few provisions of the budget with which I wish to deal. The first is that relating to ex-service men. I want to read the part of the budget that deals with pensions. On page 3223 of Hansard of March 21, 1933, the Minister of Finance is reported as follows:

In this connection, I may say that with respect to pensioners who are in the employ of the government and who are paid the salary of the position, action will be taken whereby the payment of pension will be suspended during the period of such employment. Where the full salary of the position is not paid, the pension payment may not exceed the amount

53719-221 i

of the difference between salary received and the established salary of the position. If the pension is greater than the salary, the employee shall elect either to be paid the pension and relinquish the position, or to retain the position and have the pension withheld during the period of such employment. This will be made applicable not only to the government service but also to boards or commissions whose activities are financed from the Dominion treasury.

The Minister of Finance, in a statement which he made last Friday, indicated that another statement might be made in regard to the government's intentions with respect to pensions, and from the newspapers I gather the impression that those intentions may be substantially modified. But we do not know that; no such statement has yet been made. Therefore I feel I would be derelict in my duty if I did not take the statement literally as set forth in the budget and submit to the house a few of the consequences that will follow if it is applied as it now stands.

There is, in the towns and villages of this country, a large class of disabled men, in receipt of disability pensions, who, encouraged by a provision that has been in the Civil Service Act since 1918 to apply for public positions, have done so and are now in charge of post offices and the like, in positions which give them a small return. A very common class in the villages and towns in the country is that of which the type is a pensioner who has lost an arm or a leg or has some other disability; he is getting a small pension and a salary of a few hundred dollars, and by uniting the pension and the salary he is able to support his wife and family. If the passage that I have read from the budget speech means what it appears to mean, that pensioner is to be put to a choice; he must choose between continuing to take the pension and continuing to take the salary, and if the salary is larger than the pension, this means, despite the statement of the Minister of Finance that the government has no intention of interfering with the sanctity of pension contracts, that this man will be deprived of his pension. It is not, I think, necessary to argue to the house the injustice of such a course. It is completely subversive of the whole principle underlying the pension legislation, and without labouring the matter any further, I feel sure that will be one of the budget provisions which will be changed. It will have to be changed if the justice of the case is to be met and if the obligations of the country to ex-service men are to be carried out.

Another provision of the budget about which I should like to speak for a few minutes, which will not be changed, and which I should

The Budget-Mr. Ilslcy

not like to see changed, is the proposal of the government to appoint a royal commission-

To study the organization and working of our entire banking and monetary system, to consider the arguments for and against a central hanking institution and to make recommendations for reviving or supplementing our existing banking and monetary legislation.

My only comment is that that intention has been announced very late in the day. Had the government appointed a royal commission eighteen or even twelve months ago, I feel sure this country would be better off than it is to-day. In September, 1931, Great Britain went off the gold standard. At that time our currency went down in terms of United States funds. The British pound went down to a very marked degree and immediately currency became, if it was not at that time-and I think it was then-one of the burning questions before the people of the Dominion of Canada. Great Britain, realizing the importance of the question, had, before that, appointed the Macmillan commission, which had made its report on currency and monetary matters in the old country. Canada should have taken a similar course,, or at least she should not have pursued the policy of laissez-faire.

I want to bring to the attention of the Minister of Finance the importance of the question from a practical standpoint. In the constituency that I have the honour to represent in this house, currency, the value of the pound sterling, is a matter of everyday conversation. As hon. members know, the largest single industry in my riding is apple growing and exporting, and when the pound sterling went down, as it did within the last shipping season, to between $3.55 and $3.60 in terms of Canadian money, our apple exporters suffered a terrible blow so far as their purchasing power was concerned. Consequently they have begun to ask and have been asking questions, and they have been taking a tremendously deep, not academic, but practical interest in this subject of currency. They had been brought up on the idea, I think, that gold should be the standard and that we should remain on the gold standard in this country. But when they saw that Great Britain went off the gold standard with results which apparently were not unfavourable; when they saw that the Scandinavian countries, Denmark, Sweden and Norway followed Great Britain off the gold standard; when they saw the Dominion of New Zealand and the Commonwealth of Australia taking steps to lower the value of their currency, and, finally, when they saw South Africa, the greatest gold producing country in the world, deliberately link its pound with the pound sterling, they began

[Mr. Ilsley.J

to wonder whether a policy of laissez-faire in currency matters was the proper one for this dominion. They saw that when our dollar went down in the United States, instead of this hurting them, it helped them, because the pound sterling went up in the Annapolis valley; they got greater returns for their apples. They wanted authentic information as to what this country should do; they desired to know whether it was just that debts-and the majority of them are loaded down with indebtedness to banks, mortgage companies and private lenders on mortgages-which were contracted when money was not worth very much, should be paid off in full in money which is worth a great deal more than when the debts were contracted. They realized that if our dollar became depreciated it would mean that municipalities and provinces, the dominion itself, and certain corporations in this country would have a greater burden of debt if they had to meet their debts in American funds, but they wondered whether that disadvantage would not be overcome by the corresponding advantage of an awakened business activity through inflation. It will be recalled that in 1925 in Great Britain the bankers, almost unanimously I think, were of the opinion that Great Britain, for the same reasons that the Prime Minister and the bankers of this dominion advocate what is called sound money to-day, should be brought back to the gold standard on a parity with the United States dollar. They did that against the advice of some economists who were regarded as radical and unsound at the time, but who since have been proved by universal consent to have been right. No one to-day contends that Great Britain was wise in going back in 1925 to the gold standard on a parity with the American dol'la-r. It is a question in the minds of economists whether the policy outlined by the Prime Minister yesterday, and stated by him and the Minister of Finance in public addresses throughout this country and in this house, of what has come to be known as "sound money", is really a sound policy. But to these questions there has been no authentic answer, and I say that this government has pursued a wrong policy in keeping the question shelved. At the beginning of this session the Bank Act should have gone before the banking and commerce committee for revision in the usual way. The appointment of a royal commission at this late date will mean delay in the solution of this problem, and the postponement of any action whatever on this important question for another year at least. The .commission should

The Budget-Mr. Ilsley

have been appointed a year or eighteen months ago. I support the appointment of the royal commission, yes, but I say that the government is to be censured for not having taken long before this some step in relation to currency and banking and monetary problems.

I want to refer for a few minutes to the taxation provisions of the budget. Before I do so, let me say that the statement made by the Minister of Trade and Commerce (Mr. Stevens) this afternoon to the effect that the hon. member for Shelbume-Yanmouth (Mr. Ralston) and every member of His Majesty's opposition are opposing every provision of this budget by supporting the amendment moved by the hon. member for Shelburne-Yarmouth is not a correct statement.

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LIB

Ian Alistair Mackenzie

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE (Vancouver):

It is nonsense.

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LIB

James Lorimer Ilsley

Liberal

Mr. ILSLEY:

Moreover, there was a misstatement of fact by the Minister of Trade and Commerce this afternoon which I should like to draw to his attention. He stated that the member for Shelburne-Yarmouth approved of nothing in the budget, and in particular he mentioned that he was opposed to a reduction of the valuation of the pound sterling from $4.40 to $4.25. Now the hon. member for Shelburne-Yarmouth very distinctly stated in express terms that he approved of that. At page 3379 of Hansard of March 24, 1933, which contains the speech of the hon. member, he said this:

I am glad indeed that the Minister of Finance has seen fit to alter the rate of exchange and at least to make the fixed rate at_ $4.25 instead of $4.40. That indicates two things, that he is recognizing, I think, the representations which have been made in this country, and also the representations which have been made from Great Britain; but I say to him that I do not think there is anything more fundamentally wrong than that exchange dumping duty which he and the government of which he is a member pledged themselves to remove as soon as possible after the Imperial conference.

There are provisions in the budget, of course of which we on this side of the house approve. There are provisions in every budget of which we approve. If I were asked to criticize the provisions of the budget which ensure that the holders of bearer bonds will pay income tax, I could not criticize that.

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LIB

Ian Alistair Mackenzie

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE (Vancouver):

The suggestion came from this side of the house.

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LIB

James Lorimer Ilsley

Liberal

Mr. ILSLEY:

Yes. Nor could I effectively criticize the provisions of the budget relating to the taxation of foreign investors, although there may be some objection to that of which

I do not know. Indeed, if it is necessary to raise immense stuns of money by way of taxation, we all realize that taxes must be imposed. I just have this to say about the general principles of taxation. The imposition of the sugar tax meant the imposition of a terrific burden, a forty or fifty per cent tax upon a necessity in daily use by the poor people of this country. It was the sort of tax that should not have been resorted to except in case of great extremity. What occurs to me is this, that perhaps that extreme tax should not have been resorted to until something more was done in the way of taxing more heavily the higher incomes. I realize that many of the higher incomes in this country are pretty heavily taxed at the present time, but the old argument that you must not take all of a man's income over a certain amount because that would deprive him of his initiative is now passe. The country is in such a condition to-day that I personally do not see any objection to taking the whole income above a certain ample exemption figure, and the government should have gone very far toward doing that before they had recourse to a terrifically heavy tax, forty or fifty per cent, on a necessity such as sugar.

Certain circumstances in connection with the imposition of that tax have embittered the people. A tremendous amount of profiteering is taking place in sugar from one end of the country to the other. I am in touch with the province of Nova Scotia, and the complaint is universal that in some way or other dealers laid in stocks to take advantage of the tax at once, and are profiteering on sugar to a tremendous extent, making large profits on the stock they laid in. That, sir, is all I have to say with regard to taxation.

I pass now to what I should like to speak about for the remainder of the time I propose to take, and that is the feature of the budget which is called by the Minister of Finance the agricultural stabilization fund. What is this agricultural stabilization fund? It is a high sounding term, but all it means is that an export bonus is to be paid to the exporters of certain commodities, thirteen in all, which go to the United Kingdom market. In order that the record may be complete let me read them:

Animals, meats (including bacon and hams), poultry, fresh fish, canned fish, tobacco, cheese, milk products, canned fruits, canned vegetables, maple products, eggs and honey.

The exporter is to be paid the difference between the value of the pound1 sterling at the time of shipment or at the time of remittance and $4.60. If the pound sterling, for

The Budget-Mr. Ilsley

instance, is at $4.10, he is to get 50 cents on every pound. That is to be done by order in council, not by legislation. The order in council is to be passed under the Relief Act, which had its third reading yesterday. The door is not closed, the Prime Minister says, to the admission of other commodities to the charmed circle. Persons who consider that they have -a right to the same treatment for other commodities may come to the government and1 present their arguments for the passing of numerous other orders in council throughout the year admitting to the list of commodities which will share in the benefits from this fund the products in which they are interested. The position I take in this regard is the position which the Minister of Trade and Commerce this afternoon endeavoured to ridicule, namely that taken by the hon. member for Shelburne-Yarmouth. I believe the house wlil agree that when the Minister of Trade an'd Commerce read the remarks of the hon. member for Shelburne-Yarmouth they did not appear as he said they would; they did not sound ridiculous at all, but on the contrary sounded quite reasonable. The hon. member for Shelburne-Yarmouth said that the principle of bonusing industries and exporters is unsound, but if applied it must be applied equitably, fairly and equally. Surely that is an intelligible position. It is the position I have taken since 1930. If the Minister of Finance is sufficiently interested -and I do not know why he should be- he could look up the speech I made in September, 1930, in reference to the high duties being imposed by this administration. He will find that I said something to the effect that this country must be careful not to do as Australia did, that she must not protect and bonus herself into bankruptcy. I said that in 1930. At the same time I said, probably with the use of a slang expression, that if there was to be a handout it should be an all-round handout. I do not think that position can be successfully or reasonably assailed.

There is only one principle which can be applied to the bonusing of industries, and that is the principle of equality. Ever since this government has come into power, importers of farm machinery in my riding have been burdened with heavy taxes and heavy tariffs and have found it impossible to import machinery without paying vexatious dumping duties. The increase in tariffs was not as troublesome as the imposition of dumping duties. They found it impossible to take advantage of favourable terms offered them by American exporters. Manufacturers of spraying materials in the United States offered

to take their pay in Canadian funds, but importers were not able to import because of the dumping duties imposed by this administration. About the same condition obtained in regard to fertilizers. I have watched the people in my district get poorer and poorer, their debts become greater and greater. I have watched the value of their produce go down and down until at the present time they are in very sad and distressed circumstances indeed.

Last fall when the Imperial economic conference agreements were laid before this House of Commons, promising advantages to the primary producers, and particularly to the apple growers, I felt constrained, due to the distress of my people, to support the agreements. However I want to say, and to say with sincere regret, that so far as the apple growing industry of Nova Scotia is concerned, and the apple growing industry in Canada as a whole, the promised advantages have not materialized.

I notice the hon. member for Digby-Anna-polis (Mr. Short), the constituency adjoining the one from which I come, is in his seat. I remember that in an aside in the debate which took place he said that it would be worth a million dollars to the Annapolis valley. Probably the hon. member will remember making that statement; I am sure he would not make it to-day. It may work out that way in another year, but I am not sure about it-I hope it will. During the year which has passed, however, as indicating the results the figures are eloquent.

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CON

Harry Bernard Short

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SHORT:

The hon. member has just made reference to a remark I made. He certainly must agree that the apple exporters of the Annapolis valley are receiving a preference of more than a dollar a barrel on the 730,000 barrels which they have already shipped this year. The trade agreement has brought them in an extra dollar a barrel, has it not?

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LIB

James Lorimer Ilsley

Liberal

Mr. ILSLEY:

I am tremendously surprised to hear my hon. friend make that statement, because the figures show that that is not the case at all. The effectiveness of the preference in the British market depends upon the extent to which American apples are kept off the market. Let me give to the committee a few figures to indicate the extent to which they have been kept off. The exports of United States apples to the United Kingdom for the season up to March 11, 1933, show a decrease of 43 per cent on barrels and 25 per cent on boxes. But the crop in the United States during the past year has been much below normal. The crop for the 1932 season

The Budget-Mr. Ilsley

was about 85,000,000 bushels, while the crop for the 1931 season was 103,000,000 bushels. In 1930 it amounted to 101,000,000 bushels. Not since 1929 do we get a comparable crop figure. In that year the crop of the United States was 80,500,000 bushels, of which were exported to the United Kingdom 953,000 barrels. The export this year was practically the same, or 983,140 barrels up to March 4, 1933. The box shipments were somewhat less. The figures show for the present season that box shipments from1 the United States total 1,929,326 boxes, whereas in 1929 they were 2.654,000. So that the shipment to the United Kingdom market has been about normal during the last year

With regard to price I happen to have under my hand a report from J. Forsyth Smith, Canadian Fruit Trade Commissioner, in which the statement is made:

Actually there was no shortage of supplies and no rise in wholesale prices, which continued to be lower than normal. As far as retail prices were concerned, the effect observed was the reverse of what the fruiterers' organizations had anticipated and the great mass of medium class fruiterers found it necessary to stimulate trade under generally depressing conditions by shading their profit. Whereas, therefore, one had been in the habit of expecting six pence per pound, to be about the minimum for boxed apples. This was no longer the case and prices of four pence and five pence per pound were by no means uncommon.

It has been the experience of apple growers in the Annapolis valley, from which I come, that the amount received during the past season for their apples has not been sufficient to meet the cost of production.

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CON

Harry Bernard Short

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SHORT:

They got four shillings sixpence per barrel more than the Americans did.

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LIB

James Lorimer Ilsley

Liberal

Mr. ILSLEY:

Mr. Speaker, it would take too long to refute that statement with mathematical certainty, but all I can say is that it simply is not in accordance with the facts. Everybody in the Annapolis valley, and I think the hon. member himself knows it. In the selection of the thirteen commodities, why has the government not included apples, one of the commodities we would expect to find near the top of the list? We are told that we are getting four and a half shillings per hundred pounds in increased price on the British market. As a matter of fact we are getting nothing of the kind, because the operation of supply and demand, in the absence-of an effective prevention of American competition, has brought the price down on the British market. Now, sir, I have turned over in my mind as carefully as possible the principles which may have guided the government in the selection of the commodities to be included in this list, and I am at a complete loss to find evidence of any definite or consistent principle. In my humble opinion the list constitutes discrimination of the rankest kind. Looking at it on the basis of volume, it might be said: "Oh well, we have selected this list to encourage shipments that actually go; we have left off commodities that are not exported to the British market in any volume." Indeed that is what the Prime Minister said yesterday in regard to butter. But I find maple products on the list, the exports of which last year amounted to only $5,333; eggs, the exports of which amounted to only $3,972; honey, exports of which amounted to only $184,341, and other commodities not much greater in quantity of export. So the basis of the list cannot have been volume. It has been suggested that certain articles, apples for instance, were not included because they already enjoy a substantial preference. But I find on this list other commodities which enjoy a substantial preference, notably tobacco. Why should tobacco be on the list and apples be left off? It may be said that the list was selected with a view to helping the primary producers. But persons who should know inform me that there are on the list a number of processed products as to which the manufacturer or processor will get the benefit of the bonus while the persons who supply the products will not. The most notable instance of that, I am told, is bacon, and second to that I should say canned apples. Why are canned apples bonused, and evaporated apples and cider and concentrated cider and green apples left off? What is -the basis of selection? I have made inquiry and I am told that the bulk of the fruits that are canned in this country come in from the United States; the canner sends the canned fruit to Great Britain and gets the bonus. About seventy carloads of pears were exported from Canada to Great Britain last season, while pears come from the United States to be canned. The pears that are shipped by the primary producers will not get the bonus, but the canners of American pears will get it, because canned fruits are on this list and fruits in their natural state are left off.

Then it may be argued that this is a relief measure; in fact the other night the Prime Minister said so. If it is a relief measure I cau tell the Minister of Finance of a great many industries producing natural products other than those covered by this list which

The Budget-Mr. Ilsley

are in a condition requiring relief. Or it may be said that this list is selected to give general benefits from one part of Canada to the other, well spread over the dominion. But that again is not correct. Coming from the maritime provinces, I have scanned this list to find what maritime province products are bonused. What are they? Nothing in any substantial quantity at all. So if the principle is geographic, the maritime provinces are left out of the distribution of benefits.

So I say the government cannot, in justice, leave this list of bonused products in its present shape. There is only one principle to apply, that is the principle suggested by the ex-Minister of Trade of Commerce, the hon. member for North Bruce (Mr. Malcolm), the other night: if you are going to give a bonus to any exporters to the British market you must give a bonus to all exporters; you must apply it across the board, all along the line. When I was in Nova Scotia about a week ago I was going over the condition of the apple industry with some of my friends. We were naming the fruit growers one by one; we knew their financial standing pretty well. This man, they agreed, could not come out, he was too deeply in debt; this one we thought might possibly pull out; the next we thought was good and would probably be good for some time to come. Some of my friends said: What could the government reasonably be asked to do to assist the apple growing industry of Nova Scotia? One gentleman suggested that the government might be asked to make up the difference between the present price of the pound sterling and par. But as soon as he suggested it he said he realized that that would be an unreasonable request, because if it were done for the apple exporters the government would have to do it for all exporters. To our simple old-fashioned intelligence it appeared elementary that you could not pick and choose and give a bonus to some and deny it to others, yet that is what the minister is doing. I say to the Minister of Finance as forcibly as I am able that the apple industry of Nova Scotia, and I think of all Canada, will resent the discrimination shown in the compilation of that list of products to be bonused under the proposed agricultural stabilization fund, and the government will incur tremendous unpopularity-I do not say that as a threat; it is simply a statement of fact-for they cannot justify that unjust discrimination in favour of certain exporters and against certain exporters, to the British market.

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CON

Walter Davy Cowan

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. W. D. COWAN (Long Lake):

Mr. Speaker, the outstanding feature of Canadian

[Mr. Ilsler-l

life during the past few years has been the splendid coolness which has characterized our people. We know full well, all of us on both sides of the house, including those in the broadcasting comer, that times have been exceedingly hard. We know full well that the whole world has suffered, and we know that the Canadian people have suffered with the others. We have had bard times, we have had privation, we have it yet; we are not yet quite out of the woods, although we are getting there at a lively rate thanks to the Imperial economic conference agreements and other measures of this government. Our people have behaved splendidly; there is absolute calmness everywhere. There has been no rioting, no revolution, no panics such as have characterized other places. Even a great nation of 120,000,000 people, supposedly the wealthiest in the world, has recently had banking panics. None of these have we had. As far as I know in Canada we have had only one stampede, namely the Calgary stampede; and the Prime Minister was there in charge of that so that everything was run on a sound money basis.

The coolness of the Canadian people under all these trying circumstances proves conclusively that thej' have great confidence in the powers that be. We find the people standing by constituted authority, believing as they do that those in charge in the various parts of the dominion will be true to their duty and that as a result we shall come through this depression quicker than any other nation and as satisfactorily as may be possible in the circumstances. And that is exactly what has happened. The people have confidence in their leadership. It is quite true that the Supreme Being is over us all, but when we come down to mere man we find right in this house a. leader of the government who commands the admiration and confidence of the entire people, even though they do not always agree with him. Hon. gentlemen opposite know that the Prime Minister (Mr. Bennett) is the best man in Canada for that position; they will not admit it, but they know it. That is all I ask, and they can keep their knowledge to themselves if they wish.

It is true that we have this fine government, which has been of great benefit to Canada, but it is also true that some hon. gentlemen opposite, particularly those from Saskatchewan sitting in the third row, always make the most extraordinary demands. Those demands can be reduced to one word: money, money,

money. You may call it assistance, relief, grants or what you will; when you come right down to it it is money, money, money, and

The Budget-Mr. Cowan

help, help, help. The difference between hon. gentlemen opposite and hon. gentlemen on this side of the house is that they are always asking for it and we are always handing it out as far as the treasury of the country will permit. We are doing; they are talking, and I would much rather be a doer than a talker

When we get down to that broadcasting corner, hon. members there are worse than the hon. members from Saskatchewan. They demand just as much money, but they want 27 per cent compound interest and they want it with arrears upon arrears. There is no limit to the amount they want. I wish Canada could meet all these demands, but I should like to remind hon. gentlemen opposite and particularly those in the comer that they have not submitted a single proposal designed to place a dollar in the federal treasury. My mother was a good old Scotch lassie; she used to say, "I will spend all the siller you give me but I want you to get the money first," and that is a mighty good principle. We must get the money in our treasury before we can pay it out.

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LIB

Edward James Young

Liberal

Mr. YOUNG:

Tell that to the Prime Minister.

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CON

Walter Davy Cowan

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. COWAN (Long Lake):

Let me say to my hon. friend that we have not much time to waste here, he and I. Three years ago I thought the hon. gentleman was the worst man in the house, but he has improved wonderfully. You know the old rule: The older you get the more experience you acquire; the more experience you acquire the wiser you become, and the wiser you become the more of a Conservative you are.

I feel sure, and I know what I am talking about, that Canada has handled this distressing situation better than it has been handled in any other country in the world. It may be that to-day the United Kingdom is leading the world; it may be that France is able to keep all her people employed. She has a great many men in her army, which may account for it. I do not know whom they are going to lick next, but in any case, apart from those two countries Canada has beaten the world. The relief situation in the United States has not been handled as it has here. I lived over there for some years; I know something about that country and I have many correspondents there. All I have to say is this, and if it is out of order I hope the Speaker will check me up: Thank God I am a Canadian. If that is not in order I am sorry.

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LIB

Edward James Young

Liberal

Mr. YOUNG:

Withdraw.

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CON

Walter Davy Cowan

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. COWAN (Long Lake):

I know hon. gentlemen opposite say that their general policy is to reduce tariffs and so increase trade. Oh, what an easy thing to say! We can reduce our own tariff; we can wipe out every factory in Canada; we can have every blessed thing manufactured in Christendom dumped into Canada if we wish. That is our privilege, but I should like to know what hon. gentleman opposite controls the United States. Does anyone? Can hon. gentlemen opposite tell me how we are going to make the United States reduce its tariffs? There is Mussolini; go to Italy and order him to reduce tariffs in order to permit the entry of Canadian goods. There is Hitler; go to Germany and tell him to let Canadian goods enter. How can we export goods against these tariffs? Until hon. gentlemen opposite can show me some method by which we can get something in return for all we give I say their policy must be an absolute failure. The only tariff policy that could have succeeded under existing conditions was the policy enunciated by the Prime Minister, that of blasting our way into the markets of the world. We raised our tariff until now we have blasted our way into those markets. What has happened? We have blasted an unfavourable trade balance clear out of existence; to-day we have a favourable balance of S60.000.000 or 370,000,000. Now I suppose hon. gentlemen opposite will get up and say that since we have that favourable balance we should give it back. Is that their policy? How is that to be done, and to whom is that to be given? I should like to get some of that money myself. Hon. gentlemen opposite know their policy is absolutely foolish; they really do not believe what they say.

I am glad to see that my hon friend from North Battleford (Mr. McIntosh) is here. We all remember how in 1931 he moaned and groaned about the terrible conditions that existed in Saskatchewan. I called a boy and asked for a mop; I wanted to mop up the tears the hon. gentleman shed, but the boy did not know where they were kept. At any rate the hon. member groaned about distress and misery, but what happened? Shortly afterwards the hon. gentleman went back to Regina and attended a meeting of the rural newspaper association. In Regina we have a leading organ of the Liberal party, and my hon. friend could not refrain from letting the people know be was there. He gave an interview rvhioh appeared in that newspaper on October 10, and here is what he said:

People have had a good crop, will have plenty of grain to sell, and also have stock on which to rely. Mixed farming, he says, is growing apace in the Battlefords and people appear to be hapnv and contented.

The Budget-Mr. Cowan

I would like the hon. member for North Battleford to tell me how a man can be both happy and miserable and how a woman can be both contented and discontented.

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

Cameron Ross McIntosh

Liberal

Mr. McINTOSH:

The hon. member ought to know himself.

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

Walter Davy Cowan

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. COWAN (Long Lake):

Canada and

the United Kingdom are both away to the good. I like the old motherland, the mother of parliaments. As Britain prospers so prospers the world. Get her going and the rest of us will follow. We will do very well to walk along side by side with the old motherland. The British business man is the best on earth, bar none. Other business men hare more conceit, but when it comes down to the real thing, the British business man gets the business. That country is carrying on and is succeeding. Since the session resumed in January, not one word 'has been said about the economic agreements. Why? Because they are successful. I know it is unparliamentary to refer to previous debates, but if these agreements had failed in their purpose, hon. gentlemen opposite would have found five hundred ways of getting the matter into the house.

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

Edward James Young

Liberal

Mr. YOUNG:

They have failed; they do

not amount to a hill of beans.

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

Walter Davy Cowan

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. COWAN (Long Lake):

I will not

pay any attention to the hon. member because no one ever does.

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

Eccles James Gott

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GOTT:

The hon. member for Weyburn knows they have been successful.

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

Walter Davy Cowan

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. COWAN (Long Lake):

The following is an article which appeared in the Commercial Intelligence Journal:

In agreement with the arrangements concluded at the Imperial conference at Ottawa, the "Importation of Canadian Cattle Order of 3933" was passed and became operative on January 17 last. Under its provisions the trade in Canadian cattle is made easier; certain unnecessary costs are eliminated, and restrictions on their landing and movement to markets, etc., that were not applicable to other cattle, have been removed. In consequence there has been established a more favourable opportunity for their delivery and sale in the United Kingdom.

That article was written by Mr. W. A. Wilson, Agricultural Products Trade Commissioner for Canada in Great Britain. Who is he? He used to be the dairy commissioner and at one time lived in Regina. He and I know each other mighty well. He is the rankest, most ripsnorting Grit that I ever met in all my life. He is a big sixfooter and he used to go around with a companion just as big as himself. They objected to the Tory

doctrines which I was advocating and one day when it was thirty below zero they picked me up bodily, put me under the town tank and turned on the hose. I never was so cold in all my life; it was the worst dose I ever got. This just shows the type of man we have over there. Surely hon. gentlemen opposite will accept the opinion of a member of their own party who is right in the centre of things.

There is one thing I would like to say to whomever is leading the government. If we ever have a condition such as we had four or five years ago when a dozen so-called independents were able to take the government of the day by the throat and compel them to acknowledge them as masters, I am going to say to my leader-I would not care whether or not he liked it-that I would rather vote Liberal than put up with such a condition. I do not believe in that kind of government. I, for one, object to these independents getting us by the throat. A short time ago the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre (Mr. Woodsworth) spoke in Saskatchewan and he is reported as follows in one of the Saskatoon papers:

Success of the Independent Parmer-Labour movement depended on Saskatchewan, said Mr. Woodsworth. It was the key province and must swing into line.

When he comes out with his "must" he is going to find me on the other side. The people of Saskatchewan are not going to be driven in any such way. Apparently this new group has selected Saskatchewan as its centre, but they will never succeed. Why? The combination of labour and fanner is an absolutely impossible one. They say that the combination is possible because the farmer employs labour, but I do not agree with that statement. What price are they going to exact from the farmers of Long Lake? They might as well tell me now because they will have to tell it on every platform in that constituency. Here is what the president of the Trades and Labour Congress said when speaking in Calgary:

It is a disgrace for any municipality to offer to keep the wives and children of workers, while at the same time forcing the men, their lawful bread-winners, to work for farmers at slave wages.

He is suggesting that the farmers of Saskatchewan and Alberta are slave drivers. I represent a constituency of farmers-thank heaven there is not a single civil servant in the whole constituency-and I know them pretty well. I want to say that the farmers of that section of the country are prepared to pay a reasonable wage to their employees at

The Budget-Mr. Cowan

any time, but they are not going to be held up as they have been. They have been bled right and left. Not long ago a taxi man who brought me to this building told me that he wanted to get back to Regina. I said: "Why do you want to go back there?" He said: "I want to get back to work on a farm". I asked him where he had worked, and he gave the name of the farmer. I said: "Why do

you want to go back?" He said: "Because

I get such good wages; I get $12 a day". I said: "What were you doing?" He replied: "I was running a tractor". He did this all summer until freeze-up. No farmer in Saskatchewan can afford to pay $12 a day, and yet a certain type of labour, represented by such people, come in there; they wait until they see a field of, say 3,000 acres of wheat all ready to cut, when the farmer has to hire help immediately or the crop will be lost, and they demand an exorbitant wage which the farmer has to pay. That is one reason our farmers are broke as they are to-day. That sort of thing must stop.

I do not believe the leader of the Labour party ever did a day's work in his life. I have; I served my time and worked and I can do it now. When I was in Philadelphia I was one of the officers of the Knights of Labour, which was then a powerful labour organization in the United States, and I believe I still have somewhere my card of membership. Therefore I know something about hard work. Some people will say that it is beneath the dignity of a member of parliament to admit that he has ever worked. The calluses are still on my hands from the cooper's adze and the carpenter's hammer. I will tell the house bluntly and plainly that I would rather have calluses on my hands and corns on my feet than bimions on my brain as some people have. I am opposed to that combination of farmer and labour, because they are out to exploit labour; they are out to exploit the farmer and they are going to do this if they can, but they will never get away with it in our province. They may get away with a certain amount of it, with the rag-tag and bob-tail, but the sane part of the population, the sane Liberals and sane Conservatives, will not stand for that kind of thing, and they form the great bulk of our population.

I see the hon. member for Temiscouata (Mr. Pouliot) is not in his seat, but he will probably read my remarks in Hansard. I want to pay him a compliment in regard to that series of questions which he put the other day; they entitle him to my gratitude and, I think, that of the whole of Canada. He asked hon. members in the far corner opposite about

200 questions which they cannot answer to save their necks. They may reply to two or three of them and by doing so they consider that they have answered them all. The hon. member twitted me with belonging to the Ku Klux Ivlan. I do not care if he did. Out of gratitude to the hon. member for the splendid series of questions which he asked in opposition to that broadcasting corner group, I will tell him what I am going to do. I am going to send to Louisiana for the whole Ku Klux Klan outfit, if the Minister of National Revenue will allow me to import it free of duty; I am going to have it embalmed with me; when the hon. member reaches the pearly gates, he will find me waiting there and I will pull him in through the pearly gates, I do not care whether I get him in head first or feet first.

I want to ask a few more questions of the Farmer-Labour party. Let me read a letter from a man who is a farmer in a big way because he occasionally markets 30,000 bushels of wheat. He writes this letter which appears in the Liberal paper in the district of Long Lake, the Craik Weekly News. He addresses it to the provincial leader of the Farmer-Labour party. This is the letter:

As Mr. M. J. Coldwell, leader of the Farmer-Labour party is to speak in Craik next Saturday, all who can possibly do so should attend, as he is an able speaker and has given much time to the study of socialism. And if socialism has something definite and practical to remedy the condition we are in, then that is what we want.

So if Mr. Coldwell has the time to spare I would like him to explain the following things:

The Canadian national railroad is owned and controlled by the people of Canada (socialistic), yet since taking over through slackness in operating it has cost the taxpayers of Canada 446 millions of dollars.

The Saskatchewan wheat pool, owned and controlled by the people of Saskatchewan (socialistic) through lack of ability and business experience has cost the province $13,500,000.

The Saskatchewan Cooperative Creameries-

Started by the ex-Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Motherwell).

-'also owned by the people, through poor judgment and slack operating management have cost the province over $1,500,000.

The Registered Seed Pool has cost the government several hundred thousands of dollars.

The U.F.C. head office owes the banks around $60,000.

These concerns are all managed along the lines of socialism; how is it they are all in debt and but for the assistance of capitalism would be out of business?

How would socialism handle the Calgary exchange difficulty?

When the socialists were in power in Great Britain with an able leader and a large majority, why was not national banking and national currency put into operation?

The Budget-Mr. Cowan

I want my friends in the -far corner opposite and also those immediately opposite to note this final question. They are always talking about Russia and bartering with her:

Why is socialistic Russia, after being in operation for fifteen years, trying to buy cattle from the farmers of western Canada on credit?

That "on credit" settles the matter. This is an ordinary, everyday farmer; he is a good farmer, I admit, and he is a level headed man, but he is not the only level headed man we have in Saskatchewan. I wish I had time to go into the situation. The fanners out there are as level headed and as well informed as any you can meet anywhere. There are no better informed people in this country, and, as you can quite appreciate, they are not standing for any nonsense of this kind. A number of them in the Long Lake district have been deprived of their land! by mortgage and investment and insurance companies. To-day Saskatchewan is taking drastic action. These investment companies have brought their own troubles on their heads; the position they are in is due entirely to themselves. In Saskatchewan to-day we have thousands and thousands of acres which have been taken away from the fanners by these companies, and what are they going to do with them? I would point out to the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Weir) that these thousands and thousands of acres ought not be allowed to stand idle. They should be cultivated, otherwise they will be nothing but hotbeds for noxious weeds and all kinds of pests and insects. I would rigidly enforce the act relating to noxious weeds so as to compel the cultivation of every quarter-section of these lands, no matter what it costs the company.

But what are the conditions to-day? As I said to this house the other day, and I want to drive it home again now, in 1931 there were thirty-three states in the republic to the south of us which were absolutely drought stricken. The great American desert came into its own for a year. In those states that were stricken by drought there lived thirty millions of people, and they had made it a good country to live in, just as we have made Saskatchewan a good place to live in. But the drought swept over that country, and coming up to western Canada from Arkansas, Montana, Dakota and Idaho, it caught us. We could not stop those winds. But they have passed, and we may never have them again in our lifetime. Why should we be blamed, as we are being blamed, for a condition which is only temporary? To-day we have all kinds of snow out there, which we have not had for years, and it is quite evident to me that

we are again back on the path to old-time prosperity, and upon that I am going to build.

Take this editorial from the Ottawa Journal -and it makes me sick. The editorial is headed: "Now We Can Believe Anything," and reads in part:

Out in Saskatchewan-of all places

the municipality of Harris not only is collecting no taxes this year but actually is paying to its ratepayers a dividend of two mills out of an accumulated surplus.

That is not unusual. The municipality of Pense, in the constituency of Long Lake, has no debt either. It was drought stricken for four years and it has got millions of dollars' worth of acres. A financier who has invested out there, referring to -these conditions, says that something is wrong. He is not a socialist ; he is far from being an extremist; he is a great financier. He says:

We seem to have reached the last line of defence in Saskatchewan, for when a farmer will come in with from four to eight clear titles for quarter-sections-

That would be from 640 to 1,280 acres of land:

-which he operates and which so far have never carried an encumbrance of any kind, these men are now offering part or all of these titles for sufficient advance to see them through their operating expenses for 1933, and find that neither the banks nor mortgage companies are disposed to entertain their agreement, then I think you will agree with me that matters have reached a very serious condition indeed.

A man would go out there and buy a quarter-section of land, and out of that make a farm, and when he was doing well he would buy another section, until perhaps he had four or eight quarter-sections all free of encumbrances, and with a good home, good buildings and everything he wants. But today when such a man in that area that was stricken by drought wants a few dollars he cannot get a cent from any of the banks or mortgage companies, and I say that something is lacking. We want somebody who will come between the banks and mortgage companies and the people, to enable our farmers to carry on.

I -think my time is up, Mr. Speaker.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OP DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
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March 28, 1933