April 11, 1933

LIB

Edward James Young

Liberal

Mr. YOUNG:

No; it was not unanimous.

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

William Addison Beynon

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BEYNON:

Probably there was one objection; I did not know the hon. member was present on that occasion. Apart from him, however, it was the most nearly unanimous vote we have ever had in this house, and yet the hon. member for Shelburne-Yarmouth tries to leave with the people the impression that this government is taxing them for the purpose of voting $1,000,000 to the radio commission. What does that mean? How can we expect the people to have confidence in the institutions of government if an hon. member who has been a minister of the crown is going to stand up in this house and, at least by his conduct or his silence, endorse what the government does to-day, and then try to escape responsibility for it to-morrow? That is precisely what the hon. member was doing.

I refer now to another remark made by the hon. member for She'lburne-Yarmouth. lie said to the Minister of Finance: What did the government of Great Britajn do when they found that their revenues would not meet expenditures? Why, they reduced expenditures; they economized. Now, that seems a very, very reasonable thing to do, but I would point out that in all the time since I have been in this house I have not known one retraction in expenditures proposed by this government which has not been opposed by the official opposition-not one. It might be that in some of its proposals of reduction in expenditures the government would be wrong, but it is inconceivable that in all these proposals it can be wrong. Surely it must have been right sometimes; yet we find the opposition, so far as I can remember at any

The Budget-Mr. Beynon

rate, opposing practically every proposed retraction in expenditures, and when they come to deal with the budget they turn around and ask, "Why doesn't the government economize?"

The hon. member also made some references to the tariff. Hon. gentlemen opposite are very keen about the tariff; this is thedr pet subject. My hon. friend referred to a statement made by Sir John Aird, as reported at page 3379 of Hansard. Sir John Aird is quoted as speaking of the recognition in several quarters that extreme protection had proved a boomerang, and he used the phrase nationalistic mania, a phrase which the hon. gentleman commended to the attention of the Prime Minister. And he says that he thinks that on this occasion Sir John Aird must have had in mind the dumping duties applied by this government. He tries to leave with the people the impression that the strangulation of Canada's trade is attributable to the duties imposed by this government. It happens, however, that there are those who do not take the same view. Let me quote now, not from a Conservative, not from a friend of this government, but from the leader of liberalism in the province of Saskatchewan. I have before me the report of a speech delivered by the Hon. James G. Gardiner, the present leader of the Liberal opposition in Saskatchewan and ex-premier of the province, and this is What he said in Grand Coulee in March last:

Canada vias suffering to-day, said Mr. Gardiner, because of the high tariffs imposed on Canadian exportable foodstuffs by European countries. These tariffs had been placed against Canadian goods, not because ot antagonism to Canada, but as an inducement to the people of the European countries to produce more food. These tariffs will remain

How long? So long as the dumping duties remain? No; that is not what Mr. Gardiner says.

These tariffs will remain just so long as those countries believe there is an immediate danger of war, and foodstuffs within their own boundaries are required.

That comes from a leader of liberalism in Saskatchewan; he has placed the tariff problem where it belongs in relation to the strangulation of trade. It belongs to those countries which have placed their tariffs against our goods, due not, as he points out, to antagonism to this country, or to the desire to retaliate, but to the fact that they have a problem of their own to solve.

The hon. member for Shelburne-Yarmouth knows as well as anyone else does that the tariffs placed by this government have been

placed for the purpose of saving this country, for the purpose of saving the industrial and financial fabric of the country; and he knows as well as anyone else does that it would spell blue ruin to Canada if these tariffs were taken off. I believe that the leader of this government is more in favour of low tariffs than the leader of the official opposition, and I think he has done more to bring about a proper adjustment of world tariffs than any leader of any government we have had in Canada, and this not by throwing down our tariff barriers but by putting them up so that others might see that they could not exploit this country while keeping up their own tariff walls. That is why we now have some prospect of entering into a trade agreement with the United States.

Mr. D'ARCY B. PLUNKETT (Victoria) : I am sure that every hon. member of this house realizes, as every member of any legislative body anywhere in the world must admit, that the ways of ministers of finance are not easy in these times. It is therefore a pleasure for me to-night to congratulate the Minister of Finance (Mr. Rhodes) on the very able budget he has brought down and the manner in which it was presented, and to assure him of the great expectations we have with respect to it.

With the indulgence of the house I purpose to-night to refer to some aspects of the late empire economic conference and the treaty arrived at. I did not speak last fall nor have I spoken during the present session, and I trust therefore that the house will forgive me for bringing this matter up at this late date. When I look back upon that treaty and think of the great Liberal party of Canada, and when I see how it has denied its own views in opposing the consummation of that treaty, I sometimes wonder where hon. gentlemen opposite find the strength to maintain their position. In that connection I wish to read a statement made in 1930 by the Hon. Mr. Dunning, then Minister of Finance in the late Liberal government, when he brought down the budget that proposed the countervailing duties. We never hear anything about countervailing duties now; they are forgotten. In fact, I think the word is now counterfailing; it was a budget that passed over the counter but it was never accepted. Perhaps it was a remnant, but this is what Mr. Dunning said at that time:

But we believe that within the British community of nations lies the greatest measure of opportunity for mutual development of trade because of our common heritage, kindred institutions and a common patriotism.

The Budget-Mr. Plunkett

I am sure the house can grasp the meaning of those words which were endorsed by the party as an election appeal and then repudiated two yeans later in no mild way. This house had to suffer for six weeks listening to criticism which could have been made in three. We had to suffer and listen to the most rabid speeches. Finally they accepted the agreements and now they are claiming virtue. But that is nothing new as far as the Liberal party is concerned. As trade with Great Britain increases we may expect the Liberal party to take the stand that it was only criticism they were offering. They are turning now to their old friends the United States of America.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL
Sub-subtopic:   FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
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LIB

Edward James Young

Liberal

Mr. YOUNG:

We have lots of company.

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

D'Arcy Britton Plunkett

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. PLUNKETT:

The Conservative party has always been ready to negotiate a treaty with the United States but it has not been ready to let a country raid our markets to the extent of nearly $900,000,000 in one year. I should like to quote what the hon. member for Vancouver Centre (Mr. Mackenzie) said with reference to British preference when seeking election in his own city. His statement was even worse than that of Mr. Dunning and it must be hard for his party to swallow. He used these words:

British preference will divert $200,000,000 of Canadian purchases to Great Britain from the United States. Great Britain will buy $300,000,000 of Canadian foodstuffs.

The hon. merfilber knew what business could be done with Great Britain and he knew also that that country was going off the gold standard. He continued:

British preference means that Canada will give Great Britain and other parts of the British empire the right to sell to us under more favourable terms than we offer foreign countries those commodities which we do not produce economically ourselves. In other words. Liberal policy is: We prefer to trade with the empire.

But listen te>

just how consistent the hon. member is when he speaks in this house. Last fall he said that the treaty was an attempt 'to set up an imperial economic unit, and he then described the whole treaty as an iniquitous agreement which had failed completely to deal with the question of exchange and empire content. Surely that was a right about face! But such a thing is not unusual with the Liberal party.

It has been stated by members of the Liberal party that a national unemployment commission or committee should have been appointed. Let us study this matter for a moment to see what is involved. How would

this commission be set up? Would we select one member from each province? Would it be a royal commission to travel up and down the country as they usually do inquiring into conditions existing in each province and realizing finally that the problems of one province were not those of another? It must be remembered that Ontario and Quebec are manufacturing and agricultural provinces; the three prairie provinces are grain producers while the lumbering business takes first place in British Columbia. Would a national committee be able to carry on this work as economically as committees set up by the provincial governments? These provincial commissions understand the conditions prevailing in their own provinces, and they do not interfere with local jurisdiction or provincial rights. These statements may sound fine when they are made but they are vastly different when they are analysed. I do not think anyone would expect a commissioner from Quebec or the maritime provinces to understand the problems of British Columbia. This would have been a costly enterprise.

It has been said also that the unemployed should be put to work on provincial and dominion public works. I have spoken with many contractors and they tell me that the difficulty is not in putting these men to work but in getting them to do some work. These men contend that the state owes them a living and many of them do not realize just what is the state. The state is the taxpayers of Canada, just as long as the people pay taxes and no longer. There is the idea abroad that certain taxpayers should keep others who are unemployed. We all regret the conditions that prevail but to my mind it would mean nothing less than bankruptcy to start out on the construction of costly public works. The difficulty is to get these people to believe that they have to work once more. This is one of the problems which we must contend with in unemployment relief.

Certain Liberal policies remind me of some handshakes I have received. There is the gesture of the proferred hand with no sincerity behind it, and so it is with some of their policies. Many of us have shaken hands with people who suddenly withdrew their hands as though they were hurting our feelings. Very often the Liberals bring out a policy and suddenly withdraw it, but such action has never hurt the feelings of the people of Canada. That party is now commencing an era of saving. It was refreshing the other night to hear the hon. member for West Middle^x

The Budget-Mr, Plunkett

(Mr. Elliott) and Quebec South (Mr. Power) criticizing the Minister of Public Works (Mr. Stewart) for spending too much. That was such an unusual occurrence that I decided to look up the record of the late Liberal government for the last ten years it was in power. I found that the Department of Public Works under the Liberal regime spent on an average of $23,000,000 per year, while the same department during three years of Conservative regime spent on an average of only 817,000,000 per year. I hope this saving will not be carried too far or it may mean that the wages of the charwomen which were advanced so handsomely just before the last elections will have to be reduced.

I often regret that the senior member for Ottawa (Mr. Chevrier) does not make up his mind to speak on something else than the civil service. I have no doubt that if he did so he would make a splendid speech. He seems to have the idea that the only place in Canada where there is a civil service is in Ottawa; he forgets that there are just as loyal civil servants right across Canada. These civil servants have taken the ten per cent cut just the same as those in Ottawa. He seems to forget that it is taxpayers who are paying the salaries of these civil servants, and there are many taxpayers who have never seen a civil servant. The hon. members for Ottawa have great ability and I am sure it would prove to be refreshing if they would speak upon some other subject than the civil service. Civil servants across Canada have asked me: "Are the civil servants in Ottawa any better than we are? The members for Ottawa speak oftener for the civil service than does the member from my constituency." I find it hard to answer such a question. I feel that the civil servants are just as loyal in one part of Canada as in another.

Speaking of bank failures, we should be gratified at and proud of the situation in Canada. Bank failures in the United States during recent years have amounted to 9,366, involving deposits of $4,271,000,000, ending finally with temporary suspension of all banks including the federal reserve system. In Canada there have been no bank failures since 1923, and not one depositor has lost a dollar through bank failures in this country since that year.

The proposal of the government to appoint a royal commission to study our banking and monetary system and to make recommendations is excellent, but I believe this commission should have wider powers of inquiry or jurisdiction and that authority should be

given to it to inquire into and report upon the conduct of all stock exchange transactions. It may not be logical to combine these two commissions, but there is throughout Canada to-day more regret, discontent and unrest in regard to future business transactions and the stock exchanges than there has ever been before in our history. It seems to be a racketeering job in Canada for promoters to get hold of some well established old firm, where perhaps the man who made the business has passed away and the younger generation is not so much concerned with the good name of the business that was built as with the money they can get out of it. So they are approached by these promoters, and on the name of that very old firm and its reputation, people buy those stocks after they have been watered to the depths. Then the banks ask for their interest and the firm is unable to pay it. There must come a time when stock exchanges will have to be examined and we shall have to provide regulations to control the issuance of stock beyond a certain degree or margin of safety for investors, or, in other words, curtailment or control of watered stock operations by high pressure salesmen or promoters. When that is done, I believe it will be of more value than anything else in bringing confidence back to the nation. I know many old firms that have been closed up and incorporated into other companies. Such firms were of great service to the country at the time. Small shoppers could get extended credit from them. To-day if you go into any incorporated company which has become a large concern and do not pay in thirty days, they close you out. But the old responsible firm which carried these people, which extended their credit for the time being, did not have watered stock; that was the difference. The next purposeful step this government takes should be to appoint a commission to inquire into stock exchange transactions and to stop promoters and high pressure salesmen from flooding the market with watered stock.

Speaking of the new party, the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation-and I am not going to join them up with Russia; I do not want any of them for a moment to think that; I do not believe they have quite reached that depth in the mire-I have never been able to understand what they mean by planned economy. Let us look at this nation, its infancy and how it has grown. Could we have accomplished what we have if we had not had some system of planned economy? Another statement which my hon. friends often make is: "The capitalistic system has failed." There is some excuse for its slipping once after the

The Budget-Mr. Plunkett

many years through which it has carried us, after the great nation it has built here, after constructing, as it has, transportation systems across this country. Are we going to condemn all those things because we have been brought back to the light, to frugality and a better mode of living? [DOT] Are we to give up all the things we have won-our social and labour legislation, hospitalization, mothers' pensions, mothers' allowances, old men's homes? Is that the product of a backward nation and a system that has failed? I think not. Are we to condemn it because for four or five years we have travail and hard labour? Perhaps we need this; we may not have been working along the right line.

My hon. friends speak of an increase in commodity prices. We all wish for that. It is easy to make statements and to express wishes in a general way, but it is quite another thing when we try to work them out in applying them. No inference or indication has yet been given by the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation party that they have evolved a system, that they have got down to facts and can advise us of any definite arrangements they are making for the government of the country. The suggestion was made by the hon. member for Southeast Grey (Miss Mac-phail) that we should confiscate all incomes over S20,000 a year. That is a different matter. I do not know whether the people will accept it or not. My hon. friends, however, have been insistent in quoting to us views of professors on economics. The other day I came across something which I am going to read for the benefit of members of the C.C.F. party and any others to whom it may apply, who may have extreme ideas and wish to change the whole system. This is a statement made by G. D. H. Cole, reader in economics in the University of Oxford and member of the Economic Advisory Council, in a book recently written by him:

Indeed there are some people who go so far as to attribute almost all our economic difficulties to the misuse of money, and hold that everything can be put right by a change in monetary policy without making any fundamental alteration in the other aspects of economic organization. These are "currency cranks" whose doctrines have at all times of economic distress exercised an extraordinary fascination over men's minds, so that whenever anything goes wrong with the industrial system it is safe to predict that a fresh batch of infallible plans for restoring prosperity by the manipulation of money will promptly make its appearance . . . For it is so faJtally easy to go stark staring miad in thinking and talking about money, and those whom the madness grips appear to become fatally incapable of talking sense on any subject.

That is from a professor and I believe it will have great effect with the members of the C.C.F. party, for we have had to suffer in this house quotations from so many professors, it is a relief to find one a little bit different from those who so far have been quoted to us.

I wish to speak for just a moment on one or two points of the Liberal platform. Let me take the first:

To deal with unemployment "through a representative national commission which would cooperate with the provinces and municipalities."

Are we not doing that now at less cost to the dominion than as proposed by them?

As a permanent measure, the party was pledged "to institute policies which will serve to provide employment by reviving industry and trade and the institution of a national system of unemployment insurance.

When the Liberal party were in power, they did not establish a national system of unemployment insurance, although they had the opportunity.

Another of their points is:

To promote "trade with all nations-"

This is really laughable.

"-and negotiate trade agreements with any countries willing to trade with Canada On a reciprocal basis."

I do not think there would be any objection to this government doing that; it is what this party is anxious to do at all times. That is another great platform and not new. But the last one, the fourteenth, is a gem:

Overhauling of the costs of government, federal, provincial and municipal.

Yet we have the leader of the opposition (Mr. Mackenzie King) continuously telling us not to interfere with the provinces; if you do that, it is unconstitutional. Nevertheless he would control their finances, run their governments notwithstanding this great constitutional fetish which he carries about with him.

What reason have we to be discouraged? I speak particularly to the western members. It is peculiar to note that due to the blinding partisanship of hon. members from Vancouver and other parts of British Columbia they can see nothing good in their native province. If one were to listen to what some hon. members from British Columbia have to say, he would almost imagine that that province is on the road to oblivion. In that connection I shall quote from that great Vancouver paper. The Sun:

Vancouver's trade greatest in four years, tour hundred shiploads of grain alone. General export has big improvement.

The Budget-Mr. Plunkett

Here is where Vancouver begins to get a little bit jealous. Vancouver has never been noted for generosity, so they say.

Total exports apart from grain experienced a decline of 150,000 tons from 1931.

New Westminster gets benefit. To some extent this loss was only nominal. The port growth of New Westminster, which in 1932 reached heights never before attained, has been made to a degree at Vancouver's expense. Some commodities, like metal and fruit, which formerly moved mostly through Vancouver, now go out chiefly through Vancouver's companion port on the Fraser.

If you interfere with the trade of Vancouver, or get a greater share of the trade than she does, you will be called a chum; or -pal; that is the way they figure. Hon. members from British Columbia never tell any of these facts. So far as they are concerned one would be led to believe there is nothing but destitution on the Pacific coast.

Then in The Sun of another date we find the following:

Vancouver's vast foreign trade; 80 shi-ps at sea with British Columbia goods. Colourful port activity hardly equalled in world centres.

The article continues:

The shipping season is at the peak of its seasonal rise. Thousands of tons of Canada's products are moving daily to a hundred different lands. The harbour throbs with steamships, motorships, towboats, gasboats ... On one day last week 25 deep sea carriers, representing seven different maritime nations were in Vancouver harbour at the same time . . . As many as 17 ships to take grain were in port together on one day last week and not five minutes delay was recorded by them according to harbour board officials.

There are capital investments coming into Canada. Many United States firms have built branch industrial and commercial houses in this country, and have been spending money here. Our trade with Great Britain has increased, and the prices received for our agricultural products compare favourably with those obtaining in any other part of the world. Our Canadian citizens are coming home. This year four Canadian families about which I know returned to Victoria in my province.

When we consider all these factors we should not persist in carping criticism and political partisanship, but should accept the difficulties and try to meet them. If the Liberal party feel they should be in power there may come a time when they will have an opportunity to criticize the present government, but when we are going through these difficult times they are not acting properly or from the national point of view when they try to influence the faith of our people in Canadian institutions.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL
Sub-subtopic:   FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
Permalink
CON

James Herbert Stitt

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. J. H. STITT (Selkirk):

Mr. Speaker,

I hope the house will bear with me as I speak in the closing stages of the debate. First I should like to congratulate the Minister of Finance (Mr. Rhodes) upon the very able manner in which he presented the budget. I congratulate him further upon his imagination and upon the spirit of progress reflected in his utterances. I believe however that the budget is not one upon which I can altogether congratulate the government. I make bold enough to offer a few comments, particularly with regard to one phase of the speech, because I believe I have peculiar qualifications for knowing something about the returned soldier problem.

I believe I am the only member of the house who has been a pensioner, a returned soldier and at one time a civil servant. In 1920 I was chairman of the committee of the Great War Veterans' Association of Ottawa when it went before the government concerning pension legislation. On that occasion the one principle which we espoused, and which the government accepted, was that no matter how much a returned soldier was given by way of pension; that pension would never be taken into consideration by industry in fixing his emolument. I believe that principle is enshrined in the Pension Act.

We are passing through very difficult times, when the very fabric of the state is in danger, when industry has collapsed, when unemployment is rife, and when all Canadians have to be called upon to make sacrifices. I believe the veterans will not be the last to make any sacrifice which may be necessary in the interests of Canada. I should like to direct my remarks particularly to that part of the budget speech of the Finance Minister which I quote as fallows:

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.

What did these men who are in the preferred position of pensioners in the civil service really get out of the war? True, they got a job. They received that position through the Civil Service Commission, and they have their pensions. I believe the Association of United Veterans have appeared before the Minister of Finance and the cabinet and have laid down the principle of equality of sacrifice. They are willing to make a sacrifice, if necessary, but they are asking that other Canadians make an equal sacrifice. I notice that

The Budget-Mr. Stitt (Selkirk)

on the memorandum submitted to the government the name of Mr. Ed. Baker of the Sir Arthur Pearson Club for Blinded Soldiers and Sailors appears. In this year 1933, so many years after the war, I wonder if the government -this government that I support, this government that has always stood behind the empire, this government that has brought about mter-imperial treaties-I wonder if they really realize just what sacrifices some of these men made. All they have to do is to look into the glassy eyes of Ed. Baker-that is all they have to do. If any man can stand up in this house and say that the armless veterans represented by Reg. Bowler, who no doubt was before the government; that the legless veterans represented by Sj'dney Lambert, that the blind veterans represented by Ed. Baker, have really not put to the government a fail-case when they ask for equality of sacrifice, then I say that the government is lacking in imagination, which I do not believe they are. I do not believe they can have truly estimated just what this provision in the budget means.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL
Sub-subtopic:   FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
Permalink
?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Hear, hear.

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

James Herbert Stitt

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STITT (Selkirk):

Mr. Speaker, there were two classes of men who gave service to the country during the war; the men who gave their money, and the men who gave their bodies, their blood, and their lives. You entered into a contract with the men who gave their money to carry on the war-we have heard a great deal about the sanctity of contracts, and in order to preserve our credit position as a nation in the international money markets it is necessary for us never to entertain for a moment the idea of the repudiation of contracts. But I say that a contract was made with the veterans of this country; this nation gave its covenant to them by statute even as to the bondholders it gave a contract in writing. To me, Mr. Speaker, it is a very strange situation, it is something I never expected, it is beyond any flight of my imagination, that a Conservative government, a government of men who love the empire, can dishonour a contract made with the true sons of the empire, when that contract was signed and sealed with their blood. Mr. Speaker, I am going to ask the Finance minister or some member of the government to give some statement before the vote is called on this matter. I am going to suggest that this is not the time when this matter regarding civil servants' pensions should be considered. There is going to be a measure presented to this house in a few days with regard to returned soldiers' pensions. It is in connection with that that this question ought to be decided; it should not be included in the budget. I am going to be bold enough to ask the government if they will not withdraw this proposal from the budget w-hen we come to vote on it this evening.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL
Sub-subtopic:   FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
Permalink
?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Hear, hear.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL
Sub-subtopic:   FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
Permalink
CON

James Herbert Stitt

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STITT (Selkirk):

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

William Walker Kennedy

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. W. W. KENNEDY (Winnipeg South Centre):

Mr. Speaker, I know it is the desire of the house to take the vote on the budget before eleven o'clock to-night; it is now half past ten, therefore I will take only a very few minutes. I am going to resist the temptation to discuss a number of matters; I will devote my remarks to one subject alone, in the hope that by so doing I can perhaps place special emphasis on that subject. I refer to that portion of the budget address concerning which the hon. member for Selkirk (Mr. Stitt), who has just taken his seat, spoke so eloquently. His words, the manner of his speaking, the clarity and the simplicity of his statement, have rendered the task I propose to undertake very simple indeed, and I am enabled very considerably to shorten my remarks. For that I am indeed grateful to my colleague from Selkirk.

The hon. member read the statement in the budget referring to the intention of the government to interfere, if I may use that word, with the pensions received by ex-service men in the civil service. Perhaps it would be well if, beside the statement read by the hon. member from the budget speech delivered by the Minister of Finance (Mr. Rhodes) on March 21, I placed the explanation given by the minister three days later. I will read that explanation to the house. Speaking on March 24 the Minister of Finance said:

Perhaps in this connection, howrever, I might be permitted to say one word, as there would appear to be some considerable misapprehension with regard to what is in the mind of the government in respect to pensions. The last thing in the world that we had in mind was any interference with the sanctity of the contract concerning pensions. Whatever merit there may or may not be attached to the suggestions contained in the budget speech with respect to pensions, it was never intended to interfere with pensions as such. Perhaps I should also add for the information of the house that this morning we had a long conference with the heads of the various veteran organizations. That conference is to be renewed, and at its conclusion an announcement of a specific character will be made to the house.

I further understand from the Minister of Finance that arrangements have been made for another conference on Wednesday next

with the representatives of the various soldier organizations in this country as well as some fifty others gathered from all parts of Canada, in the hope of meeting the views of the veterans generally as expressed through their organizations. Just here I should like to say -and I speak with knowledge-that the representatives of the ex-service men have been pleased indeed with the interviews they have had already with the Prime Minister (Mr. Bennett) and the Minister of Finance. They have spoken very warmly indeed of the manner in which their views were received. I think the veterans generally throughout Canada, as well as all Canadians, should be proud to have such fair and competent men as leaders of their organizations. In dealing with this matter-which, when it was first broached, came as a shock to the pensioners generally-they did not rush into print at once; they took the good Anglo-Saxon method of meeting and reasoning together, and it is my confident belief, from the assurances I have had from the Minister of Finance, that an adjustment will be worked out to the satisfaction of all concerned.

I am not going into details with regard to the rights of pensioners under the Civil Service Act, except to say this. By virtue of the provisions of that act preference is given, first, to ex-service men suffering from disability in regard to governmental employment, and in receipt of pension and secondly, to ex-service men not in receipt of pensions. By virtue of these provisions of the act quite a number of pensioners have found their way into government departments in employment, in a measure, sheltered. The suggestion in the budget has to do with that class and that class alone.

It appears to me that behind the suggestion contained in the budget there must have been this theory, that a pensioner who was suffering a disability, so found by the Board of Pension Commissioners, and awarded a pension should be considered by that award to have had his disability removed in so far as competition in civil life was concerned. In other words, the proposal must have been premised on this: If I am an ex-service man disabled and the board assesses my disability at thirty per cent and gives me a thirty per cent pension, then it must have been assumed, I take it, that that thirty per cent pension would put me on a competitive basis with another ex-service man who was not entitled to pension. Well, it may do so on paper, but it does not in fact, and that is one point I wish to try to impress upon this

3950 COMMONS

The Budget-Mr. Kennedy (Winnipeg)

house to-night. I think I can do it best by illustration.

I do not wish to harrow the house with scenes and tales of service; I wish to state only facts and in such plain and simple language as I can command. I will not indulge in exaggeration or hyperbole. The facts are these-I will give one instance. On the eve of October 26, 1917, a wet, miserable, rotten night in Flanders, sleet and mud and mire, a wilderness, where shell fire served only to make darkness visible, there went up to Passchendaele the Canadian corps. They moved up through mud and shelling and for two days and two nights they lay in open fields without trenches, ready to go over. They had no sleep that could be called sleep. Not one hour of that time were they dry or warm, but always cold, shivering and miserable. But they were representatives of Canada. On the eve of October 26 they were in the jumping-off position. I will speak of a regiment in what was known as the first wave of attack on the morning of October 26, the forty-sixth battalion of infantry of Saskatchewan, of which hon. members from that province should be proud. At five-thirty in the morning they went over the top and took all objectives, but they were decimated. They fought off three separate counter-attacks that afternoon. They were relieved at midnight. How many came out? I speak of my own knowledge for two left companies of that battalion. Of half the regiment there came out that night one officer, one lance corporal and forty-three other ranks, Thesei were all the men that returned, having been through that experience from five-thirty in the morning until midnight. W'hat about the rest? Many never came out, but a fair percentage did. They were walking wounded and stretcher cases and at night, after the regiment was relieved, searching parties, directed only by the cries of the wounded men, located them and carried them out. These men found their way back to Canada. Some of them are still in the hospitals, though sixteen years have passed. Some of them are walking our streets crippled, and some 'have found their way into the service of the government of Canada. It is of these that I speak to-night. These are the ones, men of that regiment and of like regiments, who will be affected by this legislation if it goes through.

Let us take a specific case. There is one who stands at the door of this chamber. He receives a pension of thirty per cent-stomach muscles torn away, with a plate in. A government job, it is true, a government job, standing at the door of this chamber. But why this

job? Because that disability makes it impossible for him to go out and take his place in the competitive life of the country where he might obtain anything like the job, if one were going, which he would be capable of filling. He gets $30 a month pension and takes the only job he can fill, one that requires no manual work-a light job and light pay. Add his light pay to his thirty per cent pension. Is he put on the same basis as the man without war disability who can fight his way through life? Not by any manner of means.

If this forecast legislation went through it would mean that that man would have deducted from the salary that goes with his position the $30 per month pension. Does Canada want to do that? Does she need to do it yet? And to the eternal credit of these men filling these positions to-day, let it be said that the country has hardly heard a chirp out of them. I will tell you why. They do not believe that this government will do such a thing, nor do I believe it in view of the explanation given by the minister. Sacrifices must be made, it is true. I believe the hon. member for Selkirk was right. In fact, the officials of the soldiers' organizations have suggested, according to the press, that if it be necessary for pensioners to give something from their pensions to help out Canada in her hour of need, they will do so, as they gave their bodies and their ideals on another occasion. I believe they would do it. But Canada is not in such desperate straits as that. I say to the government, so far as these men are concerned, let Canada wait a little longer.

It is still a great army, and I want to say .this in closing. The ex-service men of the great war, so far as the Canadian corps is concerned, have been treated more fairly, more generously, if I may use that term, than the soldiers of any other nation that fought in that war. That is a fact. Do not forget this, either, that the ex-service men of Canada appreciate the privileges and distinction they enjoy, and it is a distinction in which I think all Canadians should feel proud to share. I say, let Canada wait a little longer. It is still a great army, but the ranks are thinning, though not with shrapnel; for every day, almost every hour, death strikes. Each spring a little ceremony takes place across this country in our cemeteries, where the soldiers who still remain parade and play the Last Post and then the Reveille. The ranks are thinning. It is an army to whose ranks come no new recruits, but from whose ranks daily and hourly

The Budget-Division

men are being discharged by that great demobilization officer-death. I say to this house and to the government: if it be any advantage to disabled pensioners to have a little pension in addition to their government pay, let them enjoy it not only for their own sake but for the sake of their dependents. It must be remembered that the disabilities from which they suffer will be carried not by them alone, but by their children and their children's children unto the third and fourth generation.

I agree with the hon. member for Selkirk when he states that the budget is not the place to interfere with pensions. The Pension Act is to be amended at this session. If there is to be any change in pension rights that change should be made under the Pension Act. The preference given to these men is given under the Civil Service Act. If it is thought that too great a preference is given, if there are inequalities to be adjusted, they should be adjusted under that act.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL
Sub-subtopic:   FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
Permalink
CON

Joseph Henry Harris

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HARRIS:

I was paired witih the hon. member for Cartier (Mr. Jacobs). Had I voted I would have voted against the amendment to the amendment.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL
Sub-subtopic:   FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
Permalink
CON

Franklin Smoke

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SMOKE:

I was paired with the bon.

member for South Oxford (Mr. Cayley). Had I voted I would have voted against the amendment to the amendment.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL
Sub-subtopic:   FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
Permalink
CON

Henry Alfred Mullins

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MULLINS:

I was paired with the

hon. member for St. Boniface (Mr. Howden). Had I voted I would have voted against the amendment to the amendment.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL
Sub-subtopic:   FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
Permalink
CON

Harry Bernard Short

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SHORT:

I was paired with the

hon. member for Kenora-Ramy River (Mr. Heenam). Had I voted I would have voted against the amendment to the amendment.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL
Sub-subtopic:   FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
Permalink
CON

Joseph Léonard Duguay

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. DUGUAY (Trans.):

I was paired with the hon. member for Bagot (Mr. Dumaine). Had I voted I would have voted against the amendment to the amendment.

The bouse divided on the amendment (Mr.

Ralston), which was negatived on the follow-

mg division: YEAS Messrs:

Beaubien, Lacroix,

Bertrand, Lapointe,

Blair, Mackenzie

Bothwell, (Vancouver Centre),

Bouchard, MacLean,

Boulanger, McIntosh,

Brasset, McKenzie (Assiniboia),

Cardin, McPhee,

Casgrain, Mercier (Laurier-

Chevrier, Outremont),

Denis, Motherwell,

Desrockers, Mur.n,

Donnelly, Neill,

Dubois, Parent,

Duff, Pouliot,

Dupuis, Ralston,

Elliott, Raymond,

Fafard, Reid,

Ferland, Rheaume,

Fiset. Sir Eugene, Roberge,

Fontaine, Rutherford,

Fournier, St-Pere,

Gershaw. Seguin,

Girouard, Stewart

Golding, (Edmonton West),

Goulet, Taylor,

Hall, Thauvette,

Hanson (Skeena), T otzke,

Hepburn, Vallance,

Howard, Veniot,

Hurtubise, Verville,

Jean, Weir (Macdonald),

King, Mackenzie, Yroung.-63.

Anderson (Toronto- NAYS Messrs: Barber,

High Park), Baribeau,

Arsenault, Barrette,

Arthurs, Belec,

Baker, Bell (St. Antoine),

Bell (St. John-Albert), Maloney,

Bennett, Manion,

Bourgeois, Mitchell,

Bowen, Moore (Chateauguay-

Bowman, Huntingdon),

Boyes, Morand,

Bury, Murphy,

Cantley, Myers,

Carmichael, Peck,

Casselman, Perley (Qu'Appelle),

Chaplin, Pettit,

Charters, Piekel,

Coote, Plunkett,

Cotnam, Porteous,

Cowan (Long Lake), Price,

Davies, Quinn,

Dickie, Rhodes,

Dor ion, Robinson,

Dupre, Duranleau, Rogers,

Ross,

Edwards, Rowe,

Embury, Ryckman,

E si ing, Ryerson,

Fortin, Sauve,

Fraser (Cariboo), Shaver,

Gagnon, Simpson

Garland (BowRiver), (Simcoe North),

Garland (Carleton), Simpson

Geary, (Algoma West),

Gobeil, Smith

Gordon, (Yictoria-Carleton),

Gott, Smith (Cumberland).

Guthrie, Spankie,

Hanson Speakman,

(York-Sunbury), Spencer,

Hay, Spotton,

Irvine, J ohnstone, Sproule,

Stanley,

Jones, Stewart (Leeds),

Kennedy Stewart (Lethbridge),

(Peace River), Stinson,

Kennedy (Winnipeg Stirling,

South Centre), Stitt (Nelson),

Lafleehe, Stitt (Selkirk),

Larue, Sullivan,

Laurin, Sutherland,

Lennox, Swanston,

Lucas, Tetreault,

Luchkovich, Thompson

Macdougall, (Simcoe East),

Maclnnis, Thompson (Lanark),

MacLaren, Tummon,

MacMillan Turnbull,

(Saskatoon), Weese,

MacNieol, Weir (Melfort),

Macphail, Miss, White (London),

McDade, White (Mount Royal),

McGillis, Wilson,

McGregor, McLure, Wright.-119.

PAIRS

(The list of pairs is furnished by the chief whips.)

Messrs:

Anderson (Halton), Factor,

Beaubier, Ahearn,

Bell (Hamilton), Mercier (St. Henri),

Beynon, Euler,

Black (Halifax), Dubuc,

Burns, Butcher,

Cahan, R infret,

Cowan (Port Arthur), Ilsley,

Duguay, Dumaine,

Ernst, Heaps,

The Budget-Division

Ganong, II anbury,

Hackett, Perras,

Harris, J acobs,

LaV ergne, Deslauriers,

Lawson, Gray,

MacDonald Urquhart,

(Cape Breton),

Macdonald (Kingsl. Gardiner,

McGibbon, Power,

Matthews, Moore (Ontario!.

Mullins, Howden,

Nicholson, Bradette,

Perley, Sir George, Marcil,

Senn, Sanderson,

Short, Heenan,

Smoke, Cayley,

Spence, Fraser (North-

umberland),

Stevens, Malcolm,

Willis, Brown.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL
Sub-subtopic:   FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
Permalink
CON

Mark Cecil Senn

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SENN:

I was paired with the hon.

member for South Perth (Mr. Sanderson).

Had I voted I would have voted against the

amendment.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL
Sub-subtopic:   FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
Permalink
LIB

James Houston Spence

Liberal

Mr. SPENCE:

I was paired with the hon.

member for Northumberland, Ont. (Mr. Fraser). Had I voted I would have voted against the amendment.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL
Sub-subtopic:   FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
Permalink
CON

Henry Herbert Stevens (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

I was paired with the hon. member for North Bruee (Mr. Malcolm). Had I voted I would have voted against the amendment.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL
Sub-subtopic:   FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
Permalink
LIB

Charles Murphy

Liberal

Mr. MURPHY:

I was paired with the hon. member for West Edmonton (Mr. Stewart). Had I voted I would have voted against the amendment.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL
Sub-subtopic:   FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
Permalink
CON

John Thomas Hackett

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HACKETT:

I was paired with the hon. member for Wright (Mr. Perras). Had I voted I would have voted against the amendment.

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

April 11, 1933