March 28, 1933

CON

Pierre Édouard Blondin (Speaker of the Senate)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPEAKER:

The hon. member has

two more minu-tes.

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):

Then in those two minutes I will speak of the Prime Minister. I am sorry he is not here to-night. I met him the other day and he said, "I am sorry I do not see you very much." The way I like to discharge my parliamentary duties, Mr. Speaker, is not to go near the ministers.

The Budget-Mr. Golding

I would rather go to the men below, and discuss matters with them, and then when everything is Completed I can get it across to the minister. I have known the Prime Minister for very long, for thirty-five years anyway. He and I drove a rig together in that western country, and we bad a mighty good time together.

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

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Time.

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):

There was

no "time" when R. B. Bennett was speaking. I shall never forget the first speech I heard him make in the legislative assembly in denunciation of the government of the day. As he made his points, time after time he would bring his fists down on the desk until you would think it would break, as he cried, "Make things happen, make things happen, make 'things happen." That has been his principle all his life, and the man who cannot make things happen for himself is a mighty poor scrub.

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

William Henry Golding

Liberal

Mr. W. H. GOLDING (South Huron):

Mr. Speaker, in rising to make my first speech in this house I have that sense of embarrassment which I presume every new member has experienced; but there is an old saying that misery likes company, and there is some satisfaction in knowing that others have passed through the same ordeal.

At the outset I should like to say that I hope the hon. member for Long Lake (Mr. Cowan), who lias just taken his seat, will not think me discourteous if I do not follow him in his remarks. As a matter of fact, I would not care to follow anybody in a debate who had made some of the remarks made by the hon. member.

I have heard it said, Mr. Speaker, that this House of Commons is a strange and difficult place in which to speak. I believe I can say I fully realize the truth of the statements I have heard to that effect. Many hon. members who now sit in this chamber have been highly honoured by their constituents by the fact that time after time they have been elected to parliament, with the result that they have spent many years in this House of Commons. Those hon. members in their extensive parliamentary experience have listened to the addresses of many other hon. members, and have heard many new members make their first speeches in the house. I appreciate the fact that those hon. members, with the experience of years behind them, are well acquainted with parliamentary procedure and with the many views which have been expressed on political problems. With those advantages they are therefore in a position

to detect an error in a speech, whether it be simply grammatical or on a matter of policy. In view of these facts I appeal to hon. members not to be too harsh in their criticisms of what I may have to say.

The house is aware that as a result of the by-election held in South Huron on October 3, I came to this House of Commons. I am sure all hon. members regret exceedingly the circumstances which brought about that byelection. I refer of course to the unfortunate death of our honoured friend, the late Mr. McMillan. He was a man who to a marked degree had the confidence and respect of the electors of his constituency. Indeed, in making a personal canvass I was more than pleased to hear so many complimentary remarks concerning our late friend, remarks which came from people entertaining all shades of political thought. While all did not agree with his political views, yet they realized that his opinions were honest and sincere. From early manhood he had made a study of agricultural and political problems; indeed even at the early age of eighteen years I am told he was speaking from public platforms concerning these matters. For over fifty years he had taken a leading part in the public discussion of political problems. As the representative of the constituency which repeatedly honoured our late friend by electing him as its representative to the House of Commons, I take this opportunity of expressing my sincere thanks to the right hon. Prime Minister (Mr. Bennett), to my honoured leader (Mr. Mackenzie King), to the leader of the group to my left (Mr. Gardiner) and to all hon. members in the house for their kindly references at the opening of the session to the passing of our friend. I thank them, further, for their message of sympathy which was unanimously extended to his bereaved daughter, Miss Margaret. Let me assure the house that these kindly acts were appreciated, and I feel I should be remiss in my duty were I not to offer to all hon. members the grateful thanks of our people.

In regard to the budget which was so ably presented by the Minister of Finance (Mr. Rhodes), and which is now the subject of debate, I must say that one cannot but view with alarm the financial situation of our country which in the speech was so plainly indicated. Someone has been unkind enough to say that we listened to a typical Tory budget, and that the outstanding features were taxation, tariffs and deficits, with the emphasis on the deficits. I submit that it is hardly possible to discuss the budget and our financial situation without at least in a

The Budget-Mr. Golding

measure referring to our position before this government assumed the control of affairs. Every hon. member will recall that in 1929 certain events took place which seriously affected business conditions. In the western provinces there was a partial crop failure; there was a market crash in the United States, and the depression which had existed in many countries was gradually creeping into our own. In 1930 these disturbing factors were still being felt, creating of course a certain amount of anxiety and unrest.

Our Conservative friends, then in opposition, were quick to note these conditions, and, regardless of the effect it would have upon the country, felt the time opportune for an appeal to the people. With that in mind they began clamouring for an election. On the other hand the Liberal party felt that the Dunning budget had been designed to cope with existing difficulties, anid, believing in the efficacy of their policy as outlined in the budget, believing also that the Canadian people would appreciate the splendid legislation brought down by the Liberal administration, and the outstanding results wdiich had been attained between the years 1922 and 1930, accepted the challenge, and the country was plunged into a general election.

The outstanding incidents of that election are still fresh in our minds. Practically every Conservative speaker traced the depression, only in its infancy so far as Canada was concerned, to the policy and legislation of the Liberal government. They condemned the government in every way, shape and form for not finding more markets and getting higher prices for agricultural products. They denounced the government in every manner, in spite of the fact, mark you, that this country had just passed through an era of unprecedented prosperity. The expansion of trade in Canada had been perhaps greater per capita than that of any other country in the world. Our Conservative friends, however, appealed to the people for the control of affairs. In order to obtain support they broadcast some of the most extravagant promises that were ever heard in any political campaign. I have no desire unfairly to criticize the Prime Minister or any other hon. member, I believe there is such a thing as fair criticism and I shall endeavour to keep within that limit.

I was deeply interested in and somewhat, surprised at the remarks to-day of the Minister of Trade and Commerce (Mr. Stevens). I have not been a member of parliament very long, but for many years I have read Hansard, and I was just wondering, when he was complaining about criticisms which had been made,

if he was the same hon. member who sat on the opposition benches and criticized so severely the late Liberal governnient. Was he the same hon. gentleman who during the election campaign criticized the Liberal government so severely? I have pointed out that immediately before the election this country was beginning to feel the effects of the world depression, and the number of unemployed was increasing. Every effort was made to make political capital out of the very undesirable situation which was developing. At every Conservative meeting the unemployment problem was particularly featured, and the responsibility therefor was charged directly to Liberal legislation. The Prime Minister made some definite statements concerning unemployment. I have no doubt they have been quoted many time?; in fact since coming to this house I have heard them read, but I take the liberty of making further reference to them. Speaking at Moncton, New Brunswick he is reported as follows:

The Conservative party is going to find work for all who are willing to work, or perish in the attempt; it is going to call parliament together at the earliest possible date after July 28, to take such steps as will end this tragic condition of unemployment and bring prosperity to our country as a whole.

He went on to say that Mr. King promised consideration of the problem of unemployment, and then made the amazing statement: "But I promise to end unemployment." And he asked the question; Which policy do you like best? Speaking at other places he ridiculed the suggestion of the Liberal leader that a conference be called to consider all features of this problem. Speaking at Sarnia he is reported as having used these words:

Someone is responsible for unemployment, not individuals but governments.

I want to emphasize that-"not individuals but governments." Governments are responsible for the enacting of all legislation. Of course at that time there was a Liberal government in power, but I think every fair-minded person will agree that if that statement was true then it is equally true at the present time.

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

Ernest Lapointe

Liberal

Mr. LAPOINTE:

More so to-day.

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

William Henry Golding

Liberal

Mr. GOLDING:

If it was true then, this government stands convicted by the statement of its leader of being responsible for all the unemployment which we have from one end of the country to the other, and all the misery and distress and tragedy connected with it.

I do not think, Mr. Speaker, anything is gained by being unfair, and let me say I did

The Budget-Mr. Golding

not think that was a fair statement to make at the time it was made, neither do I think it would be fair to say now that this government is wholly and entirely responsible for the condition of unemployment that now prevails. But I do submit that the high tariff policy which has been adopted by practically all countries as well as by this government has contributed more to bringing about the chaotic condition which exists in the world to-day than any other one thing. In my opinion it has added enormously to the number of unemployed. And having adopted that policy this government is to that extent at any rate responsible for the situation that confronts us at the present time. It is a well known fact that after the war this policy of high tariffs began to operate in practically every country. In Canada its operation was delayed by a low tariff government, but since 1930 it has been in full effect, and we have certainly felt its evil results.

In regard to the promise to end unemployment, it was most unfortunate that in order to obtain votes promises of that kind were made with little or no hope of their being fulfilled. These promises had a demoralizing effect upon the workers of Canada. It is well known that every industrial worker, indeed every one no matter what his vocation in life may be, must make his individual effort to provide for himself and his family. But when this .assurance was given that everyone who wanted work would be provided with work, that no one would be permitted to go hungry or cold, the very thing happened which anyone who had made any study of psychology would expect to happen-the workers of our country in ever increasing numbers began to look to the government, and rightly so, to see that these election promises were carried out. I have noted since that election that members of the cabinet in making public addresses have endeavoured to point out that there is not the individual effort that there should be, that there is a tendency to depend too much on the government for the provision of all needs. This is especially true in regard to the addresses given by the Minister of Trade and Commerce and the Minister of Railways and Canals. One cannot sow the wind without reaping the whirlwind. We are reaping the harvest to-day from a seed which was thoughtlessly sown during the campaign of 1930. As an industrial worker myself I know that there was need of help being given in many cases, but I also know that the picture presented to the unemployed of our country during that campaign was so impossible of fulfilment that one cannot but regret that such statements

were broadcast throughout our land. I am satisfied that this promise to end unemployment secured for the government thousands upon thousands of votes, and in my opinion contributed more to their success at the polls than any other one tiling. Now after almost three years in office what has been done by the government to implement this premise? I submit that nothing whatever has been done to end unemployment. It is true that money has been spent like water on unemployment relief, but no legislation has been passed which any reasonable -person can claim to have ended unemployment. A survey was made after -the last election to ascertain the number of the unemployed in Canada, and the returns indicated that abo-ut 117,000 were out of work. At the present time it is estimated that practically 800,000 -are unemployed. The figures speak for themselves; I quote them only to show how completely the government has failed to fulfil this promise, a promise which never should have been given.

To emphasize their failure more clearly one need only refer to the recent conference between the provincial and federal governments to endeavour -to find a solution of this very difficult problem. It is worthy of note that after nearly three years in office the government, partly, at any rate, adopted the very suggestion made by my honoured leader during the 1930 comipaign, namely the calling of a conference to explore the whole situation, wh-i-ch suggestion was ridiculed and made light of -both by the present Prime Minister and by Hon. Mr. FeTguson, who took such an active part in that campaign.

Many promises, sir, w-ere made in addition to those which we have been discussing. Many promises were made to agriculturists and great hopes were held out to them in all parts of the dominion. Speaking at Winnipeg Mr. Bennett is quoted as having used these words:

Listen, you agriculturists in the west, and all other parts of Canada, you have been taught to mock at tariffs and applaud free trade, tell me when did free trade fight for you? You say tariffs are only for the manufacturers, I will make them fight for you as well, I will use them to blast a way into the markets that have been closed to you.

At Victoria he said:

It is true we must have foreign markets, and as I said the other evening, we will blast a way to those markets on a world wide basis with any exportable surpluses; we do no-t have to worry about that.

We are all familiar with the many promises that were made regarding the prices that were to be received by the dairy industries, the prices of wheat and cereals and live stock.

The Budget-Mr. Golding

Indeed the picture presented to the agriculturists was as beautiful as the one for the unemployed, and I need hardly add that both classes were equally disappointed. As a result of the present high tariff policy, with its restrictive and strangling effects on trade, the prices of agricultural products are sinking to depths hitherto unknown, while the prices of commodities that the agriculturist must purchase are through the same tariffs kept at heights out of all proportion to the prices that the farmer receives.

Having in mind the Prime Minister's promise that he would blast a way into the markets of the world for all agricultural products, I confess that I was amazed to hear such statements in reference to the empire treaties as that they were designed to shut out the foreigner, and that all nations outside of the empire would be asked to pay tribute for the privilege of dealing with the empire. These are damaging statements so far as any effort to secure foreign trade is concerned, and are sure to have their reaction; undoubtedly they will make it more difficult to secure the markets that Canada must have if we ever hope to regain prosperity or restore our country to the position it held during the regime of the late Liberal government. Instead of blasting a way into the markets of the world for the farmer, the farmers' market is paralyzed. Canadian farmers were never in a worse financial position than that in which they find themselves to-day.

The rates are as follows:

Cotton printed piece goods White cotton flannelette..

Wool piece goods

Wool overcoating

High grading suiting.. ..

Wool hosiery

Blankets

We are all willing to admit that these are not normal times. We are willing to admit that no matter who 'had been selected to govern this country we would have had unemployment. But while admitting that, I am satisfied that the policy adopted by this government has aggravated the whole situation and made matters infinitely worse than ordinarily they would have been. I am confident that even if conditions had been normal, the policy of this government would have brought about a serious situation in our country. I have heard hon. members opposite claim that had the Liberal party remained in power conditions would have 'been worse than they are at the present time. I would suggest that those hon. members study the records of the two parties in regard to the securing of markets and, the reduction in taxation and in the national debt, and I am satisfied that they will be convinced as to which party has the better record. Time does not permit me to go into details as I should like, but I *want to put some figures on Hansard in order to show how disastrously the present policy has affected the basic producer in regard to the commodities he has to purchase. I have here a table of comparative prices under five different tariff programs. These rates are applied to imports from Great Britain; they were taken from invoices received not so long ago, though I appreciate that they will be lower under the new valuation for the pound.

Borden Meighen King Bennett Preference% % % % %25 25 18 61 58.5174 174 15 55 5230 30 24| 68 6430 30 24J 100 9330 30 24f 72 6825 25 20i 92 82224 25 20i 106 80

I should like to place on Hansard also the tariff increases on farm implements under this government:

Old rate New rate

Liberals Conservatives Percentage% % increaseBinders

6 25 300Seed drills

74 25 233Manure spreaders

7* 25 233Cultivators

74 25 233Milking machines

10 25 150Hay loaders

10 25 150Incubators

10 25 150Ensilage cutters

10 25 150Barbed wire 10 -Cream separators 25 -

The Budget-Mr. Golding

Before leaving this point, Mr. Speaker, I should like to say that these tariffs constitute a real hardship on the basic producer. In my experience as an industrial worker for over thirty years I have found that with increased duties we have had less employment. We had that experience after the election of 1911; we had it again during the regime of Mr. Meighen and certainly we have it now. I remember very well reading in the Toronto Globe in September, 1921, that there were thirty thousand men out of work in that city. I think we should get it into our minds that anything that interferes with or hinders the progress of the basic producer is bound to have its reaction in regard to the purchase of manufactured products.

During the 1930 campaign the promise was made that our debt would be reduced, but now we find that instead our debts are increasing to an alarming extent. During the regime of the late Liberal government we had a steady reduction in the national debt. I am not going to trouble the house with extended references to the debt reductions made during those years except to say that they totalled $257,866,932. Now, however, we are about 8445,000,000 worse off than we were before. The debt increase for one year is more than double the debt reduction made in any year since confederation. In the period from 1930 to 1932 this administration added $202,000,000 to the national debt, while in the two previous years under the Liberal government the debt was reduced by $119,000,000. In the first two years of this administration expenditures were higher by $107,000,000 than in the last two years of the Liberal regime. During the years from 1923 to 1930 the reduction in taxation amounted to approximately $116,000,000, but now we have increased taxation

Year-

1926

1927

1928

1929

1930

1931

1932

1933 (estimated)

on almost every conceivable article, and at the same time our public debt is mounting by millions of dollars each year. We were promised that expenditures would be reduced, but what has happened? As compared with previous governments our expenditures are mounting by millions, while at the same time our exports have been cut in two. In 1930 our exports amounted to $1,145,000,000; in 1932 they amounted to only $587,000,000. In 1930 our expenditures totalled $398,000,000, while in 1932 they amounted to $448,000,000, an increase of almost $50,000,000. This year they are estimated at $417,000,000, an increase of S19,000,000 over those of 1930, while our exports will be approximately $651,000,000 less than they were in that year.

The Minister of Trade and Commerce spoke in my home town during the by-election, and the Conservative paper there quoted him as follows:

Referring to the financial record of the government, Mr. Stevens told of the success of loans secured in recent years, which indicated, of course, the faith the people had in the integrity of the Prime Minister and his government.

I submit, sir, that conditions are serious when, after two years in power, in regard to our financial position this government can only boast of the loans they have put over.

With regard to the increase in expenditure as compared with our exports I should like to place on Hansard our exports, our expenditures and the percentage of expenditures to export. I submit that this represents a serious situation. The Minister of Trade and Commerce quoted volume; I propose to quote value, because we must remember that the government was elected to raise the price of

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OP DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
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commodities. The statement is as follows:Exports in millions of dollars Expenditures in millions Per cent expenditure to total exports. .. $1,328 $355 26.7. .. 1,267 358 28.2. .. 1,250 378 30.2. .. 1,389 378 27.2. .. 1,145 398 34.7. .. 817 440 53.9... 587 448 76.4. .. 494 417 84At eleven o'clock the house adjourned, without question put, pursuant to standing order. . Questions



Wednesday, March 29, 1933


March 28, 1933