February 8, 1934

LIB-PRO

Arthur-Lucien Beaubien

Liberal Progressive

Mr. BEAUBIEN:

At six o'clock I was dealing with the wheat reduction agreement and our quota for exportation, and I pointed out that, according to the pamphlet I have here on the wheat agreement at the London conference, in the year 1928 surpluses of wheat became quite apparent. The pamphlet states that the annual wheat production had by that time become greater than the effective demand from the importing countries. Yet this government, if this statement is true, in 1931 gave a bonus of five cents a bushel to the producers of wheat in Canada-a bonus that could have had no other effect than to increase the production of wheat; because the producer of barley did not get that nickel, nor did the producer of oats or of any other commodity receive it. The man who produced a bushel of wheat was sure to get five cents. Notwithstanding this, hon. gentlemen come along now and tell the people that they must reduce their acreage by fifteen per cent. If the statement to which I have referred is correct, that in 1928 there was a surplus of wheat in the world to the extent indicated, why did this government give a bonus on wheat production in 1931? If they wanted to indemnify the farmers for the low cost of their commodity, why did they not give them a bonus on all their production? And how did they apply the five oent bonus? The man who produced a considerable quantity of wheat got the five cents and the man who produced no wheat got nothing.

Now, if there is a surplus of wheat in the world to-day as the government contends, and I doubt it, how will they bring about a reduction in wheat acreage? There are only two ways I know of: one is to nationalize the land and control production, and if you do that you go over to the C.C.F.; and the other is to give the farmer a bonus for not seeding the acreage he intended to seed. Those are the only two ways I know of. The Canadian people are not ready for the nationalization of land and the control of production by the government, and the government is evidently not in a position to give a bonus inasmuch as it discontinued the bonus in 1932. But what do the importing countries engage themselves to do in this contract? What obligation have they undertaken? They have undertaken not to increase further the wheat acreage and not to increase production by governmental measures. There is a move in England to-day-and I am sure

the Minister of Trade and Commerce is we>i. awaTe of it-to double the production ol wheat in that country. If you read Mosley's books you will see that, according to him, wheat production can be vastly increased in England; and as the Minister of Trade and Commerce knows, since England has adopted the protective system the farmer is looking for protection on lids wheat. If he gets it he will increase his wheat production tremendously. The importing countries have engaged not to use governmental measures as a means of increasing the production of wheat, but there is nothing else to prevent them.

No, Mr. Speaker, acreage reduction as proposed in this agreement is not practicable, and I doubt whether the government will pass any legislation to put such a policy into force. Indeed, I do not know what sort of legislation they could pass to enforce such a policy. The western premiers may be in favour of the agreement; but the western premiers are not the producers of wheat. I made a survey of rural Manitoba this summer since the promulgation of the wheat agreement and this is what the farmers say; What right had the Prime Minister of Canada to go to England and enter into such an agreement and come and tell us what we shall do? Whom did the Prime Minister consult in this matter? Mr. J. I. McFarland, I suppose-and I do Dot know that he did consult that gentleman, because if he did it is the first time he has ever consulted anyone. At any rate, the farmers are not in favour of the wheat agreement, and if this government persists in the policies it has been putting into force since 1930 it will not need a wheat reduction agreement. Why, the machinery on the farm to-day is getting obsolete. If this continues, in a year or two the farmer will have no machinery with which to produce wheat. And if the present policies of the government are continued, how will the farmer buy new machinery? It takes everything you can grow on a quarter section to 'buy a 'binder; so that if the present policies remain in force no wheat reduction agreement will be needed. I think the Prime Minister had better leave it to the grasshoppers; they have been responsible for more reduction than this agreement will bring about.

May I deal for a moment or two with the resolution that was passed the other day with regard to the investigation into the causes of the wide spread between prices received for commodities by the producer and prices

The Address-Mr. Beaubien

paid by the consumer, the system of distribution and so forth. I am not opposed to mass buying, provided the consumers get the benefit. But what the people want to find out to-day, at any rate the people whom I represent, is how these industries function- industries that stand behind a tariff wall ranging from 25 to 75 per cent. The people want to know how such industries are functioning and to what extent they are exploiting the Canadian public. The farmer wants to know why the government imposed a 25 per cent duty on cream separators to protect the manufacturer producing about seven thousand cream separators in Canada, while putting this implement on the free list from Great Britain, where cream separators are not made.

Mass buying on the part of chain stores and large concerns has benefited the consumers to a great degree. Take the situation in western Canada. Before the chain stores and large concerns like Eaton's went into the west we did not know what we were paying for the things we bought. To-day things are different; there is competition and the consumers get the benefit of it. But it is in regard to the industries which this government has been protecting to a degree never witnessed before that the Canadian people want some information. They want to find out how these industries are financed, how much watered stock there is in the companies, and to what extent they are exploiting the Canadian people.

Let me refer to the hon. member for Souris (Mr. Willis). If the hon. gentleman or any other hon. member coming from Manitoba and sitting on the other side of the house would pay less attention to the question whether I am a national Progressive or a national Liberal Progressive, and devote their time to an effort to influence this government to put into force policies that would relieve the people of western- Canada, I suggest that their time would be much better spent. It would be far more beneficial than any effort they may make to find out whether I am a Liberal Progressive or anything else.

I see my hon. friend from Marquette (Mr. Mullins). I know he does not agree with the policies of the government. Let these hon. gentlemen leave me out of their consideration; instead, let them try to induce the government to institute policies that will help western Canada to get out of the chaotic condition in which it is to-day. If they do that I am sure their electors will appreciate it a good deal more than I fancy they appreciate their present attitude.

The needs in my riding and in western Canada generally, in fact all over Canada, are these-and I am speaking more or less from an agricultural standpoint-lower tariffs. Let the manufacturer do as the farmer is doing; let him stand on his own feet. Secondly, agricultural credits, short term credits, are essential. The farmers want to have a chance to carry on, but they cannot do so if they are forced to sell their goods in competition with the world while at the same time they have to buy in markets restricted by tariffs to the extent of anywhere from 25 to 75 per cent. I am not looking for much higher prices for farm products; what I do look for is for the commodities which the farmer has to buy to come down and more or less meet the price which he receives for his products. That is what we want in western Canada.

If the government do not change their policies or if they do not go to the country very soon, the agricultural industry may be badly hampered. When they do go before the people, let me say once again to those hon. members who are so anxious about my political name, that they are not going to be asked whether Beaubien is a Liberal, Progressive or anything else; but they will be asked this: Did you support a government that imposed a duty on agricultural implements, on cream separators, on practically every commodity that the farmer has to buy? When they are asked that question, what answer will they give? They will simply say that they supported the policy of the government, which was detrimental to western Canada.

Those matters which I have placed before the house are dear to my people; they are necessary to them and I hope the government will pay heed to what 1 have said and endeavour to introduce legislation in conformity with the suggestions I have made. If they do so, I am sure the people of western Canada and particularly those whom I represent will be greatly benefited.

Mr. E. C. ST-PERE (Hochelaga) (Translation) : Mr. Speaker, my first words will be

of congratulations to the hon. members who moved and seconded the address in reply to the speech from the throne. They accomplished their task with a loyalty and sincerity which has always been the practice and will continue so, as long as the Dominion parliament intends to follow such a parliamentary procedure.

The speech from the throne places on the lips of the representative of His Majesty the following words:

The Address-Mr. St-Pere

Such improved world conditions are reflected in Canada by expanding trade, improving revenues, increasing employment, and a more confident outlook upon the future.

These utterances, sir, do not convey exactly the truth. It is. a fact, as the hon. member for Terrebonne (Mr. Parent) stated this afternoon that some trade improvement has been somewhat felt; however, like him, I state that this improvement in our business relations with the various dominions and the United Kingdom must not be attributed so much to the imperial agreements as to the temporary advantages derived from exchanges. An increase of work among the labouring classes 1 I wonder where one sees this improvement. As a member of a large working division in the city of Montreal, in vain do I seek where this increase exists. The unemployed in the section where I reside, are more numerous than ever; notwithstanding the great publicity given recently to a news item, emanating, I do not know where, to the effect that our large Canadian Pacific workshops were to employ 3,000 men more. After making inquiries among those interested, I wish to state in the house that workers in the Angus shops confessed to me that the staff had hardly been increased by 400 men. Indeed, if one considers that this is a large increase among the working classes, I must state that this government bases its contentions on erroneous figures.

In these days of crisis, sir, I think the government and members should be the first to practise economy. I note that since the beginning of the session-I blame no one, because it is a member's privilege to place on the order paper, the resolution which he *wishes to introduce-it has been costly and we have lost precious time in discussing many suggestions as old as the hills, resolutions which for a number of years have been submitted to international labour congresses at Geneva, and that the international labour bureau have considered without coming to any practical decision.

What will be the remedies? The insurance against unemployment, so much advocated by our friends to the left, has been discussed time and again, at Geneva; the delegates of the various nations have morally approved of this rehabilitation scheme, but no government, may I state, has ever put into practice such a suggestion without first exacting a contribution from those interested. The same may be said of old age pensions, insurance against disability and sickness. These are projects that all admit in principle. Were I a millionaire there would be no orphans in my electoral division; however, unfortunately for myself and many others, my circumstances do not permit me to be so generous towards all these charitable movements and social relief schemes. These are great economic and social problems which we are unable to solve to-day owing to the depression existing.

The question of working hours comes under the same heading. It has not been definitely settled in this country; however, I must state, to the credit of the Quebec provincial government, that the first steps to solve this question have been made by the hon. Minister of Labour, Mr. Arcand. A measure has been introduced dealing with the subject. This question of defining the hours of labour was discussed, last year, at the International Labour Conference and what was the outcome? The representatives of the various nations thought fit to submit again this question to the conference which will be held in the course of 1934. Did high protection succeed in bringing to our workers this relief to which they were so much entitled? Will the public undertakings mentioned bring to our workers, our destitute unemployed, this relief, this positive help which they have a right to expect? Indeed, sir, these are remedies which we must accept, they are temporary solutions of the unemployment problem; however, they are not, so to speak, the true solution to such an important question.

There was born in this country, a short while ago, a party which boasts of being able to settle all these important questions to which the nations of the world have sought in vain, 'hitherto, to find a practical solution. I caime 'across, to-day, an old pamphlet which I purchased as far back as 1901, an essay on the evolution of socialistic theories in the various countries. May I, sir, read to the house, an excerpt on social reformers known as "possibilists." After listening to it, you will realize that its program very much resembles that of the C.C.F.:

The "Possibilists" or Reformists-They comprise the most moderate and practical element of the party, but the least listened to. The strict adherents somewhat despise them and qualify very disrespectfully their acts of "soothing syrup and hubbubboos." The "Possibilists" disdain violent means unless they are absolutely necessary. They prefer moving forward gradually, without agitation, revolution and shock, making use of simple legal means, they are convinced that it is possible to thus reach their goal. They contend that the labouring classes being in majority and controlling the vote can assume power and legally reform society without having recourse to revolutionary means which cause so many victims, is always tainted with much injustice, and is always followed by a great transient crisis and a period of general distress during

The Address-Mr. St-Pere

which every one suffers, and which, because of the discouragement and fears it creates, paves the way to disorders. Their motto is "Let us be revolutionists when circumstances demand it, but let us always be reformists. "

It is the most human method, the surest, the best from every angle.

In order to inform a number of our workers who sometimes are led by certain impulses, and misguided agitation, may I place in Hansard the views of Count de Mun, one of the greatest leaders of workmen that France has known. He expressed himself as follows in the French chamber:

You discuss before the people the entrancing prospect of a collectivist society of which no one of you can explain the functions. No, I state, "None of you," no more Mr. Jaures than Mr. [DOT]Jnles Guesde, none! I have heard splendid speeches, glowing accounts, broad formulas, but I have never found any one to explain the following two fundamental points: the distribution and remuneration of labour; and as long as this has not been done, nothing practical will come of it except the idea of a monstrous despotism.

The following is a brief comment made by His Holiness Leo XIII, the workmen's Pope, in discussing similar doctrines:

If such a system was ever realized, it would create disturbance among all classes of society and burden all citizens with a shameful and unbearable yoke; it opens a wide door to mutual jealously, discontent, and disorder; it deprives work and skill of their goal, draining wealth at its source; finally to equality eo cherished it substitutes an ignoble equality in destitution and distress.

I leave, sir, to the Canadian workers who suffer from the present crisis, the task of judging where is to be found the truth and to choose the best means to obtain justice. We have heard of industrial control. I have Closely followed, since the National Recovery Act was adopted, what is taking place in the United States. No doubt President Roosevelt for some time past has made strenuous efforts to find a general solution which can apply to the problems which interest his country and which, so to speak, interest all the nations of the world.

Over there, as it is the case here, the president cannot please every one. The labouring classes in the United States have requested him to increase the price of articles of prime necessity; he did so; however, some labour organizations claimed that wages, fixed according to definite schedules, were not increasing in direct ratio of the articles mentioned. There again are to be found impediments to the realization of certain hopes.

Another scheme to relieve unemployment in our large cities is the back-to-the-land movement. Colonization has certainly its

bright side; however, if this were the only means of relieving the crisis in our cities, the situation would be desperate. That is again, some remedy.

In the course of the Yamaska election-and it is a happy recollection that I have of this election campaign-1 chatted about this scheme with a number of farmers. Their reply was: W ell, sir, for heaven's sake do insist that the moneys set aside for colonization purposes be placed in a special fund, so as to bring back to our villages our old farmers who understand all about farming, they that abandoned the land, not because they disliked it, but because financial difficulties forced them to do so.

Among the suggested remedies is to be found quite a recent one, the one which the right hon. Prime Minister advocated the night before last, I think, in the city of Toronto. He stated that we would pull through the crisis if we practised thrift and worked. I share his views; however, let us be frank, let us examine whether all those who have practised thrift and worked have reached this millennium which the right hon. Prime Minister wished on his audience in Toronto. We have in our large cities-the hon. member for Labelle (Mr. Bourassa) referred to it the other day-the unemployment question complicated by 'the one still more acute, of the distress to be found among small property holders. During that period when so much money was expended in dole, this man who was thrifty, this citizen who often is a workman, is faced, notwithstanding the moratorium enacted by our provincial legislatures, with ruin. The state, one must admit, hardly considered the one who is, so to speak, the buffer between the wealthy profiteer and those who take refuge in communism. This man was left to his own resources; no one thought of helping him in the present crisis. How can we preach, later, thrift and work to the children of those who soon will be completely destitute after having practised thrift all their life; to the families of those who have become poorer to create wealth, and have contributed more than certain financial magnates to the prosperity of this country?

President Roosevelt pondered more than our legislators over the situation of these unfortunate people. From the very first days of the organization of the Reconstruction Finance Corporation, the President of the United States had the sum of $2,000,000,000 voted, issuing bonds, the capital and interests of which are guaranteed by the United States federal government. Oh! one may state that

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS
Subtopic:   GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH
Sub-subtopic:   CONTINUATION OP DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
Permalink

S, 1934


The Address-Mr. St-Pere this government-if we must adhere to the articles of the confederation agreement-must come to terms in this respect with the provinces. One may state that the government cannot interfere because the contracts agreed upon between the creditors who hold the mortgages and the mortgagees are within the purview of the civil courts of the various provinces. Similar conditions exist in the United States. Those who have studied the United States constitution know with what jealousy the state rights are guarded, in the United States. Roosevelt did not hesitate before this obstacle. He came to an agreement with the various state governments. The latter hold themselves responsible for the capital represented by these bonds, guarantee the interest, being protected by the clause that the federal government will come to their rescue, if ever circumstances require it. Such protection could be given to the rights of these small property holders who, in our large cities represent the majority, I shall not say as to the value but number of real estate holders. I fear, sir, if this assistance is denied to them by both dominion and provincial governments, we shall soon have in our large cities a real estate trust. This is most alarming and I regret that I have to reveal to the house the views expressed by a foremost banker to a friend of mine, a member of a city council. This is how certain large business men appreciate the sacrifices, the work and economy to which the right hon. Prime Minister alluded the night before last in Toronto. Oh! the banker said, to this councillor, these small property holders have all our sympathy, however, in a crisis like the one we are undergoing, we must put up with the consequences of this economic disturbance. These properties, he said, will be acquired by other real estate owners. The situation will become normal. The credit of our cities will be guaranteed and every one will end by being happy." Frankly, sir, this banker could not have been raised in the ridings we represent, because he would have more respect for those who deposited their money in our banking institutions. It may be contended, perhaps, under present circumstances that small property holders must put up with the crisis just like those who have had reverses on the stock exchange or elsewhere. Here again, we must lay down the economic "distinguo." The small property holder who has placed his savings in real estate is not a speculator in the true sense of the word. He invested his savings in a property which he intended to set aside as a legacy to his family. His investment was not made in the hope of reaping a rainbow or confiding his future to the tail of a financial comet, but he economized so that not only his family but also the state would benefit by it, because such an investment would increase our national asset. The hon. member for Provencher (Mr. Beaiubien) approved a short While ago, in principle at least, the resolution introduced the other day by the right bon. Prime Minister, purporting to have a special committee appointed to investigate the spread existing between the cost of manufactured products and their distribution to consumers. The member for Hochelaga, sir, approves in principle this investigation; he however recalls a blue book published by the House of Commons, which he read in connection with the inquiry held in 1919 as regards the cost of living. In the course of this investigation, the directors of certain large industries, questioned by the hon. minister of Trade and Commerce (Mr. Stevens) and Mr. Pringle, etc., confessed having made large profits, shameful profits. I wonder, sir, whether, notwithstanding these direct proofs, these same industries lowered the sale price of their goods. Nothing was done, sir. We trust, however, that the next investigation will have more positive results and that a practical penalty will be meted out. to the guilty ones, if any. I shall not refer to a recent investigation, the outcome of which is at present "sub judioe." There seems to exist some fear in the house to express views which might be construed as bold and revolutionary. I can only think of one wiay to balance all the budgets of our dominion, provincial and municipal governments that of lowering the rate of interest on liabilities. There are not only the small consumers, those deprived of wealth or the middle classes who are called upon to make sacrifices in a period of crisis. Whether the views which I shall express may displease some, I must nevertheless submit them to the consideration of the house. In so doing, I find myself in good company, as a number of eminent economists-although I have not the faith of a peasant of Britanny in all economic theses-numerous business men throughout the world have expressed their views. Some speeches delivered in the house display a lack of social psychology. I am amazed to hear a number of members forecast nn approaching revolution in this country, where people are truly Christians. Have the un- The Address-Mr. St-Pere



employed in Canada manifested heretofore, any signs of wishing to destroy society? A few seditious speeches have been made by certain foreign elements which immigration has brought to our shores. Our unemployed expect but one thing from our legislators: the enacting of economic measures devoid of nationalism destroyers and tending, thanks tio international cooperation, to bring back prosperity. It is urgent, sir, to display statesmanship at times. Some hon. MEMBERS (Translation): Hear, hear. Mr. ST-PERE (Translation): I shall read in this respect an excerpt from a pamphlet published by the Rev. Father Alexandre Dugre, of the Society of Jesus: No state can too much rely on its strength, or, especially, look upon as vigorous what is really a premonition of decline and ruin: such as the power of money. The concentration of wealth in the hands of a few unscrupulous directors or promoters deprived of social sense, who work in lobbies of parliaments- Some hon. MEMBERS (Translation): Hear, hear. Mr. ST-PERE (Translation): -and together with a controlled press in order to have measures enacted and obtain favours benefiting a group of financiers, to the detriment of the great majority of poor people, that is no more democracy or aristocracy, it is, in truth, plutocracy, the tyranny of Mammon, crowned avarice, economic dictatorship and "l'usura vorax," stigmatized by Pius XI and Leo XIII. It behooves all legislators to examine their conscience. What will be the outcome of the present crisis? Together with their colleagues opposite the Liberals hope that it may end as soon as possible. What will be its effect? It has been noxious, heretofore, let us hope that it will be, in the future beneficial, I shall explain mysellf: The present crisis has forced us to confess our sins of commission and omission.


CON

Joseph Arthur Barrette

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BARRETTE (Translation):

That is so!

Mr. ST-PERE (Translation): We have

been somewhat too proud and unforeseeing; state ownernship in certain provinces, extravagant expenditures in others and the little thought we gave to future, has brought on hardships of which we now feel the aftermath.

Let us be wiser in the future. The important conferences held here and there emphasize this indifference on the part of all

nations. What strikes one is that in all these quarters where much discussion take place, where little legislation is enacted, where, however, all human ills are recognized, where the causes of the depression are analyzed, where one especially notes that the nationalism of states, high protection, lack of stability of currency, etc., are the causes of the distress we are suffering-these great conferences always end without results and put off the important discussions to relieve the present ills. When shall we return to our senses?

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS
Subtopic:   S, 1934
Permalink
CON

Pierre Édouard Blondin (Speaker of the Senate)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPEAKER (Text):

The hon. member has spoken for forty minutes.

Mr. ST-PERE (Text): Mr. Speaker, I have only a few words to add. (Translation): The government's duty is clear. The right hon. Prime Minister quoted, recently, these words of Talleyrand, the great French statesman: "that it was praiseworthy for a public man to become unpopular through the enactment of certain measures which he advocated." Let the right hon. Prime Minister also recall this other statement of Talleyrand: "In my opinion, the true interest of France can never be opposed to those of Europe." Let the right hon. Prime Minister, so as to arrive at some solution of our great problems, be the first to set the example. Let him recall the words of Tilley: "That a word from Canada might have great weight in solving the economic questions which are world wide." Let the Prime Minister of Canada, although an adherent of "Canada First" recall that the true interests of Canada should never be opposed to the true interests of the whole world. This being the case, we shall have moved a step towards the great solution; we shall have set to the world an example of disinterestedness and manifested our good will to definitely settle these problems, the unsettledness of which really hinders the recovery of world prosperity.

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS
Subtopic:   S, 1934
Permalink
LAB

Humphrey Mitchell

Labour

Mr. HUMPHREY MITCHELL (East Hamilton):

Mr. Speaker, I am sorry that owing to my inability to understand the French language. I cannot discuss any of the points raised by the last speaker (Mr. St-Pere) in the debate. My remarks this evening however arise from my sense of duty to bring before this house some of the points which have not been raised during the present debate, place before hon. members the points of view of some of the industrial workers in Canada, and to describe the conditions existing in Canada's largest industrial city.

I listened intently to the remarks of the Prime Minister (Mr. Bennett) concerning the

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS
Subtopic:   S, 1934
Permalink

S, 1934


The Address-Mr. Mitchell growth in trade and the increase in employment in agriculture and other primary industries. While I do not wish to be considered a fatalist or one who would paint a gloomy picture when conditions do not warrant it, I must state frankly that so far as my constituency is concerned the enormous expansion in employment and development in trade described by the Prime Minister is certainly not in evidence. I have before me a statement over the signature of Mayor Wilton of the city of Hamilton, presented at the last meeting of the city council in that city, which, at least by implication, indicates the increase in the relief burden within the last two weeks. For the week ending January 13, 1934, there were 7,225 families on relief, whereas in the previous two weeks there were only 6,813, showing an increase of slightly over 400 families. If we figure that out on the basis of five to a family I believe it would be fair to state that 35.000 men, women and children are being fed through the efforts of the various organizations in that great industrial city. On top of this must be put the 450 heads of families who throughout the building and construction program of the provincial government were taken off relief because of their ability to sustain themselves. I should like to set out clearly the position in which the industrial centres of Ontario find themselves at the moment in connection with this very important problem. They are at their wits' end to know how to meet the situation. A resolution was brought before the city council of my community at its last meeting asking that the whole burden of relief be taken off the backs of the cities of Ontario because of their inability, in their opinion, in the near future to meet the enormous burdens brought about by the tremendous unemployment situation confronting them. In the city of Hamilton at the moment we are spending more on relief than on all other city activities combined, with the exception of education. That will give the house some indication of the very real problem that is facing those charged with the responsibility of taking care of those who, through no fault of their own, find themselves unable to earn a livelihood. During the past week we have heard a lot about governments and policies in other countries, and we have been told that the people of this dominion are not interested in some of the policies that have been set in motion in these other countries. But, Mr. Speaker, I think it is fair for me to say that inactivity on the part of a government appeals to the people of this dominion much less. Certainly no responsibility can be placed on the working people of this dominion for the present depression. They are the innocent and unfortunate victims of . its consequences. Many jokes have been made about the consequences of this depression. We hear quips over the radio about the fortunes lost in the stock market on October 29, 1929, and thereafter. I am frank to admit that it is permissible to treat such things with levity, but I would like to impress upon the house that what the working classes of this country have lost has been the product of their sweat and toil, the product of the money which they have saved in an effort to keep a shelter over their heads and to meet the normal obligations of family life and educate their children Mention has been made of soap box orators in this country. I would point out that the present Prime Minister of Great Britain received his early education in public speaking on a soap box. Viscount Snowden also received his early training in public speaking on a soap box, and I might add that in his early political life in this country the grandfather of the present leader of the opposition (Mr. Mackenzie King) spoke from what might be termed a soap box. It would be well if some of the people who criticize soap box orators went out and did a little soap boxing themselves, and then they would come into close contact with the people who make up the life of this dominion and would be able to get their reactions ito the conditions now prevailing in this country. I think, Mr. Speaker, that the working people have a right to ask the defenders of the present system why they are losing their homes through no fault of their own, and why their children whom by their toil they have provided with an education are unable to find employment, and why men, women and children in this country are receiving the very minimum of food with which to sustain life. Why should they go dhort of raiment when the factories remain idle, and at a time when people are desperate and are eager to go to work? Those are questions that must be answered, and answered, I believe, very shortly. The speech from the throne mentions that there has been another federal-provincial conference-a conference veiled in secrecy. I think it is fair to say that the people of this dominion know very little of the outcome of the policies that were placed before that conference by the representatives of the respective governments. We have been told that some of The Address-Mr. Mitchell



the policies which that conference would have liked to set in motion could not be carried out. because of the British North America Act. The people of this dominion have a right to know who and which governments were responsible for such disagreement, so that in the provinces we can go out and meet these provincial governments and endeavour to create the necessary public opinion which is the driving force under which our democratic institutions function, so that these policies which many people think are practical may be put into effect, instead of being discarded because they are not in conformity with the British North America Act. I would like to have known the exact positions that were taken at that conference, the nature of the discussions, and the objections that were made, for instance, to a reduction in interest rates. That is a problem which in my judgment has to be faced, and it is being faced to-day by every forward-looking government in the civilized world. Only in to-night's paper hon. gentlemen may have read that it is being faced in a resolute way by the government to the south of us. The problem of the financial obligations of the four western provinces is also one that I believe must be faced in a resolute way. I do not think that this federal government can go on indefinitely paying the normal running expenses of the governments of those four western provinces. A policy on that question might easily have been evolved at the federal-provincial conference looking towards action similar to that which was taken in Australia, where they had a so-called premier's conference attended by the representatives of the federal government and of the various states, and where a policy to meet the depression in that country was formulated-a reduction in the internal interest rate by twenty-two and a fraction per cent. I was in England this year and I believe that the pick-up in business there, particularly in the building trade, has been largely brought about through their conversion loans and the reduction in interest rates. Money is now moving into productive channels in which it was not moving so long as the enormous rates of interest prevailed that arose out of the great war. I was very much interested in the remarks of the hon. member for Stanstead (Mr. Hackett), who advocated a back-to-the-land policy. There is nothing new in that, and I should like to know what is the view of the government in that respect, having regard to their policy for a restricted production of wheat. Frankly I believe that the wheat agreement is bound to fail. I do not think that governments have reached the stage where they can control the elements, and on that ground alone I do not think that any contraction or expansion of production can be satisfactorily foretold in a practical way. In my opinion the problem involved in the wheat agreement is similar to that faced today by the industrial structure of this country. It is nothing less than tragedy, when people are able to obtain only the barest necessities of life, that the government should set in motion a policy which will contract the production of the foodstuffs which the people should be receiving. Prior to the recent federal-provincial conference there was much ballyhoo in the newspapers in connection with the possible institution of an unemployment insurance plan in this country. We were given to believe-this is not the first time-that the plan was ready and would be submitted at this session of parliament. Frankly, I see no reason why such a policy oould not be earned out. It has the support of both major political parties in this house; it has the support, I understand, of most of the provincial governments, and I think it will be supported by public opinion from one end of this country to the other. Notwithstanding the apparent disagreement, I still think the suggestion I made last year is a sound one and should be carried out. A commission should be instituted immediately by the federal government to go into every phase of this scheme. It is said that the present is not the time for the institution of such a policy, but I do regard that as a sound argument. Such a policy should be .carried out even if it is necessary to start in a small way. When I was in Great Britain this year I was amazed at the changes which had taken place since I left there as a boy. There is one factor in connection with such a scheme which is not recognized by the business interests in this dominion. In England to-day there are millions of pounds in circulation which normally would be in the banks and strong boxes if it were not for the driving force of the social insurances. Such a scheme increases the speed of the circulation of currency. The men in England are receiving their insurance payments by right. There is no loss of dignity, because it is something for which they have paid. In my judgment that is a far better method than the undignified manner in which we are handling the unemployment situation in this country. Here we have a loss of pride and, as I have said The Address-Mr. Mitchell before, pride is necessary in the development of any country. The federal government should give serious consideration to this aspect of the problem. I have seen a number of resolutions in connection with the St. Lawrence deep waterway. My own city council has asked me to support any measure which will bring about the early starting of this great enterprise. In my judgment, this waterway will quicken the life of the whole of eastern Canada and extraordinary benefits will accrue to the people of western Canada. If I remember rightly, the matter was mentioned last year in the speech from the throne. The Prime Minister (Mr. Bennett) has referred to it in a sympathetic way, and I urge the government to maintain that sympathetic interest in this project. Should the treaty be ratified by the United Stales government, this government should take every step to bring about the commencement of this great enterprise which would add two thousand miles to the coastline of Canada. I believe the project is sound economically and in every other way. I am glad to know that the government have at last decided upon a building program. This is one of the reasons why I am speaking this evening. One of the greatest tragedies of the depression is the suffering of the building tradesmen. In the city from which I come, at the present moment ninety-five per cent of those employed in the building trades are out of work. Such a condition is a challenge to our intelligence. Thousands of highly skilled men are ready and eager to go to work and put their hands to the task of building necessary public institutions. They are ready to take up the task of building better homes, and God knows they are necessary in certain centres. Before a policy is laid down in connection with this matter, I should like to leave this thought with the government. They should try and avoid the error which was made by the government of Ontario, which inaugurated a scheme and stated that only those on relief should be employed. Such a stipulation is absolutely unfair, because thousands of men who had been employed in the building industry have not gone on relief, notwithstanding the fact that they have been out of work for some time. When this scheme is set in motion some consideration should be given by the federal and provincial governments to these men. The hours of labour should be such as to permit the employment of the greatest number of men possible, and the fair wages clause should be insisted upon and incorporated in every contract awarded by the government. I do not think that this building program should be financed by the borrowing of new money. We should avail ourselves of our own credit. This could be done by means of noninterest bearing certificates, subject to recall in such stages as may be laid down. I do not think we should pay tribute to money when we find it necessary to put these men to work One of the things we had better learn quickly is that human life should take precedence over mere money; we must realize that whether we like it or not. I believe that is going to be one of the principles which will be established before we are out of this depression. It is unfortunate that suffering has always been the midwife of progress. People do not seem to bother about thinking when everything is going smoothly. All great reforms and great changes have come out of the hours of travail when nations have been hard pressed This has always been the case in every forward movement where old ideas have been divorced for the taking on of new. In conclusion I will say a word or two in connection with the proposed central bank. I shall be frank and admit that what I say reflects the viewpoint of the Trades and Labour Congress of Canada. We believe that our banking and credit structure should be nationalized, because it will control the destiny of this country and decide whether a man shall go to work or be out of employment. The potentialities for good and evil are so great in such an institution that only those who are responsible to the people themselves should be charged with the responsibility of its operation. I think it is fair to say that the banking and credit structure functions normally like a great public utility. It stands in the same relationship to the people of the country as the very water we drink, the very electricity we use, and those many other social services which, in our evolutionary development, we have decided from time to time are too important to be left in the hands of ariy private individual. The position taken 'by congress is sound, and when the government lays down its policy in connection with the central bank I think it should insist, in conformity with the great mass of public opinion in this dominion, that the bank shall be owned and controlled by the government of the country.


LIB

Pierre Auguste Martial Rhéaume

Liberal

Mr. MARTIAL RHEAUME (St. John's-Iberville) (Translation):

throne, and I shall avail myself of this opportunity to comment- on a few excerpts of the speech delivered by the hon. member for Compton (Mr. Gobeil). I find, at page 18 of Hansard, the following words:

-and the price of pork has more than doubled in the course of the last twelve months.

Had the hon. member for Compton gone back two years, he would have discovered that pork sold, in May, 1932, $6 per cwt. for carcass; in June, $7; in July, S6.50, $7, S7.50; in August, $7; in September, $6.50; in October, $8; in November, $6.25, and in December, $5.50; in January, 1933, $5.50; February, $5.50; in March, $5.50 and in the last week of March, S8; in April, S8.50; in May, $8.50; in June, $8.50; in August, $9; in September, $9; in November, $8; in*the last days of November, $7.50; at the beginning of December, $8.50 to $9; in the last part qf December, $9.50; ;at the beginning of January, 1934, $10 and at the end of January, $11 per cwt. If one compares the prices of January, 1934, with those of January, 1933. these prices have probably doubled. If the price has increased, it is because farmers have ceased raising hogs, and those who, within the last three years have raised them have sustained losses. If I remember well, at the last session, in February last, a discussion took place between two Ontario members in connection with the pi'ice of pork. The hon. member for Compton contends that, if the price of pork has doubled within tihe last twelve months, it is due to the Imperial Conference Agreements of 193-2; however, if he consults the price list of the wholesale houses in Montreal, he will discover that there was a lapse of a year and a half before the prices went up. If they have somewhat increased, it has been within a year or so. The hon. member for Compton made another discovery. The following is his own words:

Immediately after the government assumed power, the hon. Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Weir), adopted the policy of indemnifying the owners of steers found to be tuberculous; this put an end to an injustice and was greatly appreciated by the farming community.

I took the pains to look up the records in the library this afternoon, and went as far back as 'the budget on agriculture for the year 1925-26. The hon. member for Compton can verify himself that there was an appropriation that year of $1,877,000 for the health of animals, while the total appropriation for agriculture amounted to $6,600,000; in 1927 there is an item of $1,900,000 for the health of animals; in 1927-28, $2,140,000; in 1928-29, $2,258,000; in 1929-30, $2,900,000; in 1930-31,

in the first budget brought down by the hon. Minister of Agriculture in this government, we find an appropriation of $2,500,000, namely a decrease of $400,000 as compared with the previous year; in 1931-32, we find a decrease of $300,000; in 1932-33, a decrease of $896,000; and finally in 1933-34 a further decrease of $225,000; which means that for this item alone, the Department of Agriculture expends, to-day, 50 per cent less than the outlay made by the Liberals when in power in 1929-30. Yet the hon. member for Compton thinks he has made quite a discovery !

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS
Subtopic:   S, 1934
Permalink
CON

Samuel Gobeil

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GOBEIL (Translation):

That does not destroy my argument.

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS
Subtopic:   S, 1934
Permalink
LIB

Pierre Auguste Martial Rhéaume

Liberal

Mr. RHEAUME (Translation):

Perhaps

not; however it certainly does not strengthen it, since these figures prove that the Liberal government appropriated double the amount which the Conservatives now expend.

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS
Subtopic:   S, 1934
Permalink
CON

Samuel Gobeil

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GOBEIL (Translation):

My argument remains unaffected.

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS
Subtopic:   S, 1934
Permalink
LIB

Pierre Auguste Martial Rhéaume

Liberal

Mr. RHEAUME (Translation):

One can

always argue; the question is whether such arguments carry weight, that is what counts.

The hon. member for Compton further states in his speech that the contaminated cattle are shipped to Montreal, slaughtered and those thought fit for human consumption are sold. Probably that has the effect of somewhat lowering the prices of meat, I agree with him on this point. The following is what the hon. member suggests:

I would suggest that there be added to the indemnity paid to the farmer for his contaminated cattle, the price which he receives for the carcass of these animals and that tfie latter instead of finding their way to our markets, be used as fertilizers.

If the memory of the hon. member for Compton serves him right, he will recall that at the first session that -I had the privilege of sitting in the house, in 1931, I placed on the order paper a motion tending to increase the indemnity paid to the farmer for contaminated ca-ttle. I had personally observed, during the previous years, in 1927, 1928 and 1929, when the government inspectors submitted the cattle to the tuberculine test, in the county of St. John's and Iberville, that farmers did not receive the indemnity to which they were entitled. Milch cows, then, were worth between $100 and $125 and the maximum price paid in the county of St. John's-Iberville was $38. Some farmers only received $10, $15 or $20, the amount of the indemnity depended on the value of the contaminated cow. I thought it proper

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS
Subtopic:   S, 1934
Permalink

S, 1934


The Address-Mr. Rheaume to introduce this resolution because I had personally noticed the losses sustained by the farmers when the test was applied. I believed that this increase in indemnity was a fair and reasonable one, especially when we consider that this government had stated, in the 1930 election, that they intended to do their utmost to help agriculture. The hon. member for Brome-Missisquoi (Mr. Pickel), among others, was elected by carrying on his campaign from door to door, among the farmers of his county-he was well acquainted with his people because he had been defeated, I think, three or four times previous to the last election-promising them that, if elected, he would endeavour to have this indemnity increased. As I have some excellent friends in the county of Brome-Missisquoi, I wished to give the hon. member (Mr. Pickel) an opportunity to put this measure into practice. However, any speech favouring my resolution was made on this side of the house. To my amazement the hon. member for Brome-Missisquoi stated that the opportunity was not well chosen, that the financial situation of the country prohibited such an indemnity increase. Yet the opportunity was his to prove his generous nature and fulfil an election promise. The members of the government and himself had failed to carry out their pledges; my resolution gave them an opportunity, but they refused to take advantage of it. The hon. member for Compton did not think fit to support this resolution, although he represents a rural riding which, if I be not mistaken, is included in the restricted area. The hon. member for Compton was given an opportunity to rise and support the resolution. I recall that the hon. Minister of Justice (Mr. Guthrie) stated that the government could not accept a motion proposing an expenditure of public funds and moved by a member of the opposition. When hon. members opposite hold meetings in their constituencies, they state that the Liberals impede legislation and have no suggestions to make to the government. On both sides of the house unnecessary talk goes on; however, some good results are achieved by the opposition as well as by the government. We are at present undergoing a crisis, I, therefore, think that the harder the times the more suggestions are needed. Some were made to the government by members of the opposition who sit on the front benches, by men who were at the helm of the country's affairs and have left their stamp, yet the government did not think fit to accept them because they came from the opposite camp. It may have happened, at times, that the 74726-26 right hon. Prime Minister has backed water, however, this has seldom happened. When consults his ministers or some of his followers, suggestions are probably made to him, it then becomes apparent that the opposition's suggestions are excellent and that it is a necessary institution; they then back water. I think that if the right hon. Prime Minister had put into practice some of their suggestions, the country would be better off.


CON

Samuel Gobeil

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GOBEIL (Translation):

Will the hon. member allow me to put a question? Is the hon. member aware that, under the Liberal regime, between 1921 and 1930, the indemnity paid for contaminated cattle was reduced?

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS
Subtopic:   S, 1934
Permalink
LIB

Pierre Auguste Martial Rhéaume

Liberal

Mr. RHEAUME (Translation):

I accept

the hon. member's word, however, I cannot be held responsible for errors the government may have committed, because I was not then a member. Had I been I would have taken my share of responsibility. If the government of that day blundered, we were ready to make amends in 1931, we were disposed to do better; however, the partisans of this government who had pledged themselves to bring up this question, among others, the hon. member for Brome-Missisquoi, forgot their promises and refused to help us.

The hon. member for Compton made special reference to butter. I think that if he sits in the house, it is partly due to the butter question. The hon. member contends that, under the Liberal regime, in 1929, butter sold for 39 cents per pound and 31 cents in 1930, while in New York it sold for 40 cents. I think that the price of butter in the United States does not concern us. I have not' had the privilege of hearing the hon. member speak in his constituency; however, his friends in the counties of St. John-Iberville, Chambly-Vercheres, Laprairie-Napierville, Brome-Missisquoi, etc., were shocked to find that butter sold at 39 cents per pound in 1929; they were greatly discouraged and lamented over the fate of the poor farmer! I wonder what would have been their thoughts had butter sold 16 and 17 cents per pound as was the case under this government's regime.

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS
Subtopic:   S, 1934
Permalink
LIB

Joseph Philippe Baby Casgrain

Liberal

Mr. CASGRAIN (Translation):

People

would have crucified them.

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS
Subtopic:   S, 1934
Permalink

February 8, 1934