February 8, 1934

LIB

Joseph-Alexandre Mercier

Liberal

Mr. MERCIER (St. Henri) (Translation):

Were their salaries cut down 10 per cent?

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LIB

Pierre Auguste Martial Rhéaume

Liberal

Mr. RHEAUME (Translation):

I do not think so. Together, the three draw $35,000; the income tax amounted to $18,500, and the net profits to $155,000. The profits accumulated by skimming the farmer and naturally these companies are allowed to skim the consumer.

An hon. MEMBER (Translation): What

about the milk?

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LIB

Pierre Auguste Martial Rhéaume

Liberal

Mr. RHEAUME (Translation):

There is

no lack of milk. I was not, sir, a member of this committee. When I was informed that the report had been published, I communicated with the clerk of the house who was courteous enough to forward me a copy; I have begun to read it, it is very interesting.

In the speech delivered on February 1, by the hon. member for Brome-Missisquoi, I find the following:

The milk commission of the province of Quebec could have rendered valuable service had they been so inclined. I noticed in the press during the latter part of the summer and in the fall several reports of the activities of the hon. Mr. Godbout, Minister of Agriculture for Quebec. He made this statement on several occasions, but in one speech in particular, delivered in the county of Jacques Cartier just prior to the last election, speaking among other things of his paralyzed and incompetent milk commission, he said that at the next session of the legislature legislation would be introduced to deal with the milk si tuation.

The hon. member for Brome-Missisquoi seems to resent others making promises. It is true that we are often wrong in judging others by ourselves. I must inform the hon. member for Brome-Missisquoi that the hon. Minister of Agriculture of Quebec performs his duty. I had the privilege of making his

acquaintance and seeing him at work. If the hon. member for Brome-Missisquoi will take the trouble of inquiring, he will find that the hon. Minister of Agriculture introduced a bill in the Quebec Legislature purporting to control dairies and curb the profiteers on the Montreal island. I note that the dairy people who contend to be out of pocket have retained legal lights in their defence. The provincial Minister of Agriculture is not a colossus but he is fearless and I can assure the hon. member for Brome-Missisquoi that when the former makes a promise he carries it out. The hon. member will have an opportunity of following the debate in the press and he will find out that if there is a Minister of Agriculture who seeks to do his duty, I have no hesitation in saying so, it is the hon. Minister of Agriculture of Quebec.

In another part of his speech, the hon. member for Brome-Missisquoi states that a number of farmers in his constituency were returned more than their share of skimmed milk. I quite believe him because the surplus of milk obtained by dairies is easy to understand, according to the evidence given by certain witnesses at the investigation on milk. I cannot define what might be considered larceny. I am not here to do so. For instance, when a manager asks an employee to oall at his office and says to him: Baptiste forwarded 10,000 pounds of milk; let 4,500 pounds be designated as surplus milk; Antoine forwarded 10,000 pounds, let 1,500 pounds be surplus milk, etc., I cannot say whether this can be considered as -larceny or embezzlement, however, I know that the same witness states that, in the space of one month this Montreal dairy stole more than $1,300 from the farmers.

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CON

Jean Louis Baribeau

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BARIBEAU (Translation):

Is this company registered?

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LIB

Pierre Auguste Martial Rhéaume

Liberal

Mr. RHEAUME (Translation):

I have no information in this respect; however, if the hon. member wishes to find out as I did, let him look up the voluminous report, the reading of which requires much patience. Moreover, if my hon. friend wishes to call at my office, I shall indicate to him the pages, he will then be in a position to verify for himself the truth of my statement.

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CON

Samuel Gobeil

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GOBEIL (Translation):

Have you acknowledge whether they complained?

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LIB

Pierre Auguste Martial Rhéaume

Liberal

Mr. RHEAUME (Translation):

I am unaware whether they did or not. It matters little. I state that these people are profiteers or cream skimmers and that the country should have reoommended-

The Address-Mr. McKenzie

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CON

Samuel Gobeil

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GOBEIL (Translation) :

Who administers justice?

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LIB

Pierre Auguste Martial Rhéaume

Liberal

Mr. RHEAUME (Translation):

May I say to the hon. member for Compton that I think the government has such authority, but not the Quebec government. It strikes me that, when a government orders an investigation and uses public funds in so doing, it should implement the findings of the committee. If it blunders at first, it should not again do so. As to the question of coal, I am informed that there were political friends who had to be protected.

I am aware, for instance, that our poor Quebec and Ontario farmers were fleeced by the United States citizens. I do not think we should countenance these profiteers or skimmers, these people who increase the price by 40 cents per hundredweight to the consumer, and who pocket 25 cents, allowing only 15 cents of an increase to the producer, stating: We must increase the price of milk to cover our losses. We should, first, do away with these profiteers and cut down the salaries, especially in the case of a president who's salary is 810,000 per year and to whom a member of the committee had put a question which the Chairman found rather personal because it entered too much into details. It had no significance as all understood, because his answers were somewhat naive. When profiteers like the one mentioned come before a committee and we have a duty to perform they should not be spared more than others.

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LIB

Joseph-Alexandre Mercier

Liberal

Mr. MERCIER (St. Henri) (Translation):

Is it not a fact that the price of milk was increased one cent per quart, in Montreal?

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LIB

Pierre Auguste Martial Rhéaume

Liberal

Mr. RHEAUME (Translation):

Yes, it was increased. The producer received 15 cents more per hundredweight and the dairy pocketed 25 cents.

We must conclude, sir, that if the government intends to really help the farming and working classes, it cannot too soon do so.

It is rumoured that an election will, perhaps, take place in 1934 or 1935. I do not think hon. members opposite are yet ready to face their constituents. However, I am ready; I visited my constituents on three occasions and my friends opposite may inform the right hon. Prime Minister that I am quite ready.

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CON

Samuel Gobeil

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GOBEIL (Translation):

Is the hon. member certain that his constituents are in earnest?

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LIB

Pierre Auguste Martial Rhéaume

Liberal

Mr. RHEAUME (Translation):

Quite so! I received a letter from one of them and he inquires whether I would be so kind as to

inform him if, in my opinion, an election will take place because they are anxious to turn this government out of office; and this letter is signed: "A good conservative."

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CON

Joseph-François Laflèche

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LAFLECHE (Translation):

What is the name of this person?

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LIB

Pierre Auguste Martial Rhéaume

Liberal

Mr. RHEAUME (Translation):

I cannot divulge his name to the house; however, if my hon, friend will come up to my office,

I shall show him the letter.

In closing my remarks, sir, I request the government to act, especially, to implement the statement of the right hon. Prime Minister, that he was ready to make an outlay of $50,000,000 to help the unemployed of this country. If the Prime Minister has any scheme which might solve the unemployment problem, he can depend on our cooperation, for if we refer to the speech of the right hon. leader of the opposition (Mr. Mackenzie King) we find that he states he is always ready to give his support to the government when it is a question of disbursing millions to relieve. the__present crisis.-

Gentlemen you have the floor 1 We await your action!

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LIB

Robert McKenzie

Liberal

Mr. ROBERT McKENZIE (Assiniboia):

Mr. Speaker, at every session of parliament the debate on the address is considered from the private member's standpoint as an occasion for us to put forward any matters of particular importance to our constituencies. It is not my intention at this time to be too parochial in my remarks, but in view of one clause in the speech from the throne, which reads-

My government propose further to promote employment by expenditures on essential public works and undertakings throughout the dominion.

-I realize that full recovery from the depression through which we are passing cannot come so long as there are so many men out of employment. But the question naturally arises whether it is a good thing for the country to go further into debt at this time, particularly for a large building program. The government decided about two years ago that relief by way of public works was too expensive, and that they would try other means. Other means have been tried, and I believe the people of the country to-day are persuaded that almost anything is preferable to the present form of relief. So I think it might be a good thing for the government to consider certain undertakings but not undertakings that will involve an annual expenditure for upkeep

The Address-Mr. McKenzie

I want to refer to a project with which the government, or at any rate some members of it, are familiar, in the constituency from which I come, namely the building of a dam across the Souris river just west of the town of Estevan. The cost of this work as estimated by engineers who have examined the matter would be about $125,000. The idea of the dam is to provide water for industrial development at this point. The town of Estevan has coal available in large quantities, and is an ideal location for industries if there were a proper water supply. My information is that some industries have decided against locating there because of the lack of a sufficient water supply. The matter is also to some extent of international interest, because one of the objects of this dam would be to control the flood waters in the spring which sometimes cause trouble not only in Saskatchewan but also across the line in Dakota. There is also the feature of regulation of water supply for the town and district. The project has been endorsed by the municipal and town councils and other organized bodies throughout the district.

The dam would be built between two hills, the work consisting of scraping down two hills approximately 1,900 feet apart and building an earthen dam about 1.900 feet long and 20 feet high. One feature that should commend the project to the government is that the work could nearly all be done by day labour, and there would be very little expenditure for materials. I have no doubt that the farmers and the unemployed in that community would work on the project in payment for the relief which they have been afforded, thereby being able to pay their relief debt. Another desirable feature is that once the dam is built, there will be no annual expenditure for maintenance. I therefore commend this matter to the consideration of the government, should they go on with a program such as is mentioned in the speech from the throne.

There are other matters mentioned in the speech from the throne which I will not dwell upon, as they have been dealt with extensively by some of my colleagues, particularly the wheat agreement and the establishment of a central bank. But I may say there was throughout the country some anxiety as to what would be contained in the speech from the throne. People expected that something would be said with regard to the economic conference recently held in London, England. To that conference some sixty-six countries sent delegates. The problems of these sixty-six countries were in many respects identical. It was hoped by a great many people, par-[Mr. R. McKenzie. 3

ticularly those engaged in production, the farmers of the west who have no market for their products, that something would be done at this conference to reopen the channels of trade which have been blocked during the last few years. Conditions among the farmers are very bad; in Saskatchewan I believe they are worse than they have ever been. That is why an announcement of what was done at that conference was anxiously awaited. We are very sorry that it proved so unsuccessful. It does not seem possible to do much through conferences with other countries; I believe that the consensus of opinion to-day is that we must try to solve our problems by action in our own country and so relieve the difficulties under which we are suffering.

It is not now and never has been my policy to accuse the government of anything of which they are not guilty. I will say that Canada in common with the rest of the world was bound to have in some degree a period of depression following the war and the uneconomic conduct of affairs that prevailed in all countries since the war. The Prime Minister in his address on January 30, quoted statistics in an endeavour to prove that there lias been a considerable improvement in economic conditions in this country. Not only he but a number of his supporters have spoken along the same lines. They appear to be satisfied. But, Mr. Speaker, I will say that the Prime Minister and his supporters in this house are the only people that you will hear give expression to that opinion. If they are satisfied, they are the only people who are.

I do not believe the people of the country, who are in such distress, will be satisfied when they read some of the speeches that have been made. We must have an improvement, and apparently it is not to come from this government, if they are so well satisfied with conditions as they are. I was rather encouraged when on October 11 last, I heard over the radio the Prime Minister address a meeting of the board of trade of the city of Winnipeg. Whether it was the environment in the city of Winnipeg, or some other reason,

I cannot say, but one statement I heard the Prime Minister make then I have never heard him make since, either in this House of Commons or any other place, namely, that the tariff legislation passed by the present government is only a temporary measure. He gave us to understand that as times improved the tariff would be reduced. I wonder why, when he goes to Toronto and Montreal, he does not make that same statement. I have watched to find out whether he has said the same thing in any other place, and I find that he has not. Surely it must have been the

The Address-Mr. McKenzie

environment of the city of AVinnipeg which was responsible for his statement. And again, in 1928 the environment of the city of Winnipeg must have been responsible for the fact that tariff protection and high tariffs were never mentioned at the Conservative convention held in that year.

In his address of last week the Prime Minister had something to say about a reciprocity agreement with the United States, and in connection therewith quoted some prices. He threw the question to members on this side of the house whether or not we wanted the farmers of western Canada to sell their products in the higher priced markets of this country. I, for one, have always believed that one of the worst blows which has befallen our western country was the defeat of reciprocity in 1911. I can assure the Prime Minister that if he will bring in a reasonable measure providing for reciprocal trade with the United States there will not be very much opposition from this side of the house. In his remarks he mentioned the prices of a number of commodities. I have now before me the prices of agricultural products which were quoted about a year and a half ago in the cities of Chicago and Winnipeg. In connection with them I now ask him the same question he put to us: Why is it that he did not endeavour to let us, the people of Canada, ship our goods in the higher priced markets of United States a year and a half ago? As a matter of fact, right to-day, although, as the right hon. gentleman mentioned, the hog market in Canada is very good, it can be of no benefit to those people who have no feed for their hogs and cannot fatten them for the market. He did not mention wool. Last year in my constituency wool was selling for from seven to nine cents per pound. A few days ago in Chicago it was quoted at thirty-four cents a pound. Surely that price would be of some benefit to the wool growers in western Canada.

Then, at page 2293 of Hansard for 1933 the Prime Minister stated that his party did not oppose reciprocity in natural products. If they did not then, why should they now, despite the fact that hogs happen to be a little higher priced in Canada than they are in the United States? If he will negotiate a treaty I do not believe the people of Canada will offer very much opposition. The people in the constituency from which I come-and I believe this statement applies to the rest of Canada-are anxious to secure markets; they want to trade with any country which will trade with us on a fair basis. I have often asked myself why the people of Canada and,

for that matter, also the people of the United States, persist in sending their goods and paying freight charges on products they are exporting to points four or five thousand miles away when each country has a market right at its door for a great deal of its natural products. Despite the high tariffs which have been placed against our goods by the United States and which we, in turn, have placed against their goods, the United States was still in the year 1933 our best customer. I have learned that- in that year we did a business valued at $383,000,000 with the United States, and about $100,000,000 worth less- $272,000,000-with Great Britain.

In the Winnipeg Free Press of May 3, 1933, there appeared an editorial dealing with the question of reciprocity which, I believe, reflects the opinion in western Canada. It speaks of a readiness, amounting actually to eagerness, of the United States government to make an agreement with Canada which will have the effect of enlarging the volume of trade between the two countries. In part the editorial is as follows:

The new democratic administration thoroughly realizes the havoc that has been made in the world by the competition between the nations in the raising of tariff wails and admits a measure of responsibility for this disastrous economic war. It will enter the world economic conference with a will to cooperate in an international movement looking to a substantial and progressive removal of trade restrictions. There is in evidence in Washington a disposition to be friendly and reasonable that, if met by Canada in the same spirit and with an equal readiness to act. might result in the United States and Canada going to the world economic conference in June not only with promises of cooperation but with an earnest of their good intentions in the form of an agreement between themselves for the substantial enlargement of trade between the two countries.

Then at another point the article continues:

The situation is not unlike' that of 1911. Then the United States government for domestic political purposes, was prepared to give Canada much the best of the bargain in order to ensure the making of an agreement; but the Canadian people rejected the opportunity in the belief that the American market for our natural products was of no real advantage to them. There is very good reason to believe that we now have a parallel situation. The United States administration, in order to make a good beginning in its program of tariff reductions, is in the mood to deal generously with a country which is its nearest neighbour and, on a per capita basis, its best customer.

I believe that editorial sets out exactly the views held by the people of western Canada and, largely, by the people in eastern Canada as well. On February 6, the hon. member for

The Address-Mr. McKenzie

Regina (Mr. Turnbull) speaking in this debate about my right hon. leader, had this to say:

The right hon. gentleman, standing on the platform one day in the summer at Estevan, made certain statements to this effect in an area where the people had lost four crops and the fifth was then being consumed by grasshoppers-the very area with respect to which, for six weeks in this house, he refused to consent to relief being afforded the farmers until the house was compelled to pass the measure by closure. Yet he stood on the platform there and said, "Had I been Prime Minister of Canada in the last three years you people would not be in the condition in which you are to-day." The contention was made throughout western Canada that the prices which the farmers have to pay for the things they buy are higher to-day than they were when the present government came into office. Let hon. gentlemen make no mistake about it; the farmers of western Canada know better than that.

I happened to 'be at Estevan when the right hon. leader of the opposition (Mr. Mackenzie King) delivered the address to which the hon. member for Regina referred. He did not make the statement, "Had I been Prime Minister of Canada in the last three years you people would not be in the condition in which you are to-day." Moreover, he did not, and the opposition in this house did not, hold the farmers out of their seed for six weeks, as the hon. member for Regina says, in the spring of 1832. The fact of the matter is that the wheat had been purchased and the government of the province had it; all they had to do was to distribute it, and it was actually 'being distributed at the time that debate was going on in this house. We all know that an attempt was made to make a little capital out of the fact that that debate was being carried on here. The premier of Saskatchewan wired to me, as well as to other members of this house,

I believe, asking us to press the legislation through as the farmers were waiting for their seed. I do not know what the others answered, but my answer was to the effect that if this government would bring down a proper measure there would be no delay in procuring the seed. -

The hon. member for Regina also said that my right hon. leader tried to prove to the farmer that the prices which they have to paj-for the things they have to buy are higher to-day than they were when the present government came into office. What we have contended, and rightly so, as to the prices of agricultural implements-and that is what he was referring to-is that the prices of implements are being held up by the high tariffs put on by this government in spite of the fact that the cost of the raw materials and the

price of labour is down. I remember hearing my right hon. leader discussing these matters. He did mention sugar, and I remember the cheer which went up from the big crowd at that meeting because they knew, as everyone knew, that the price of sugar was increased by reason of the tax put on by this government.

Whether the hon. member for Regina likes it or not, the people of my constituency and of the rural parts of the whole province of Saskatchewan do appreciate the fact that the leader of the Liberal party went right out into the rural areas of that province to find out at first hand the conditions under which the people there were living. He made observations for himself, and I believe it did the people out- there good to know that he was personally interested in their welfare. In the speech he made in the town of Estevan he did expound Liberal policies, but, Mr. Speaker, there is one thing that even the hon. member for Regina will appreciate, as the people of my constituency appreciated it, and that is the fact ithat my right- hon. leader talked business. He did say that the policies of this government, by high tariffs, had aggravated the conditions, but I know that in comparison with what the leader of the Conservative party said in 1830, the people were quite satisfied that my leader was not there to play politics. He did not, for instance, call his political opponents a bunch of mercenaries. Nor did he say: Put us into power and unemployment will vanish practically overnight. No, Mr. Speaker; he spoke without any particular bias and the people appreciated his remarks.

So far as western Canada is concerned, I believe that the Liberal policy as regards that section of the country is stronger in the mind of the Liberal leader to-day because of what he saw of the conditions there. We have heard the remark made on more than one occasion that the Liberal party has no policy, but what the leader of our party did in his tour throughout western Canada was to announce to the people just what the Liberal policy was, and the people appreciated the fact that we did have such a policy.

In conclusion, Mr. Speaker, although I have put forward the suggestion for an undertaking in my constituency, I cann-ot help but. say that I have some doubt as to the advisability of the government going further into debt even for a building program at this time. But if something can be done which will help to relieve the situation by the expenditure of money that will be devoted entirely to labour,

The Address-Mr. McIntosh

then I would be in favour of it, and that is why I advance the proposal I have made here to-night of a dam over the Souris river at Estevan. We .cannot afford to go further into debt in this country, because I believe that our debt is one of the main obstacles to the return of prosperity.

I have often wondered just what the historians of the future will say when they write the history of Canada during this period of depression. They can honestly say that in 1930 the whole world was in the midst of a very severe economic depression and that Canada, because of the fact that she was maintaining a comparatively low tariff as compared with other countries, was getting through the depression without feeling it to any great extent. Then a political party in this country went to the people promising that by the simple expedient of raising the tariff, as every other country was doing, they were going to lift Canada out of the depression, end unemployment, increase prices, put all our people to work, and change the economic situation entirely. By those promises they secured a mandate from the people, and immediately afterwards a session of parliament was called, at which money was voted freely for the construction of public works for the purposes of relief. That money was spent, and in spite of that fact the depression grew worse and unemployment increased by leaps and bounds. Later the government decided that it had been spending too much money for the benefits secured and inaugurated a program of direct relief. In the first year that relief was given quite freely, but it was found in the part of the country from which I come that the needy recipients received only a small part and the supervisors and those who did not particularly need it got a very large part of the relief. Relief is still being given to-day but it is being given in a most miserable fashion I know of families of four, five and six in my part of the country who are being forced to live on a very few dollars per month, hardly enough to eke out an existence. But still this same government remains in office, its high tariff policy remains in force and economic conditions become worse and worse. In 1930 the Prime Minister (Mr. Bennett) told us that he would do the things I have mentioned, or perish in the attempt. I believe Canada is ready to have him put on his perishing stunt. This is the feeling of the people I represent, and from the sentiments expressed here, I believe it is the feeling across the whole of Canada.

Mr. CAMERON R. McINTOSH (North Battleford): Mr. Speaker, in continuing the debate on the address in reply to the speech from the throne, may I say that I do not want to be poetical although-

I like to take part in a parliamentary debate, Particularly when it is not too late.

And it is not too late to take part in this debate. In taking part in it I should like to say something about the speech from the throne itself-that is the questions which grow out of it-and deal also with at least one grievance of the riding which I represent in this house.

Before going on to deal with some of the matters mentioned in the speech from the throne, may I refer in a historical way to the speech itself. The speech from the throne has its place and function in our parliamentary system of government and anything that has a place and function in our parliamentary system of government is worthy of the consideration of this house. According to modern parliamentary practice, the first duty of a prime minister or of his ministers, the first duty of a government in fact, is to write the speech from the throne and have it ready for parliament when it assembles. I was pleased the other day at the discussion which took place with regard to the position which the debate on the address should occupy, and particularly so when it was decided to change the procedure this year from that followed last year. Last year the debate on the address ran all over the order paper for days. A procedure of that kind militates against the discussion of certain constituency grievances which ought to be brought before parliament so that they can be remedied. The very fact that according to modern parliamentary practice the preparation of the speech from the throne is the first duty of a government is good reason why the discussion of that speech should be the first duty of parliament after it is read. There we have the very foundation of the Liberal contention that was made the other day. I believe the decision arrived at was sound and if that procedure is followed the debate will be better and after the debate is over the government will feel better for having taken such a common sense course.

In days gone bv the speech from the throne was divided into two parts. The king often wrote and read the speech himself; he came down to parliament and delivered it personally. He would then delegate one of his ministers, perhaps the lord chancellor, the lord treasurer or some other member of the government, to state to parliament why it had

The Address-Mr. McIntosh

been assembled. But with that statement, his duty ended. As far as a present-day speech from the throne is concerned, it is prepared by the prime minister, the parliamentary leader of the nation. It differs entirely from those delivered in past years. Were I to select from the speech delivered this year those parts which the king might state himself if he came down in person, or that his representative would reaily state, there would be two only. The first would be the following:

Since I have been associated with you as the representative of His Majesty in Canada, 1 have visited every province of the dominion. I have been greatly impressed by the loyalty, devotion and friendliness of the people, as well as the high courage with which men and women were meeting and overcoming abnormal difficulties in their d.aily lives.

That is one part which no doubt the king himself would state before parliament. The only other part which I can find in the speech that His Majesty would state is:

I invoke the divine blessing upon your deliberations, confident that the measures submitted for your consideration will receive your earnest attention.

The rest of the speech belongs especially to the government of the day. As I have shown, the King's part in the speech is simply to express his desires, sentiments, congratulations and compliments to the people. It would not be an address saturated with the spirit of high tariffs or protection or economic nationalism or imperialism. Those sentiments would be entirely free from a strictly throne speech. As I said before, so far as the government's part of the speech is concerned, it was all written by the Prime Minister. Thus every word of the major portion of the speech belongs especially to and deals entirely with the policies of the present government. Such a speech, therefore, should be the subject of free criticism in parliament. Since the speech is really the manifesto of the government or the Prime Minister it can be discussed with the usual licence of debate. Nothing should be mentioned in the speech which cannot be echoed in parliament. Therefore, there is every reason in the world why we should debate the speech conclusively and why that debate should follow immediately after the speech is read. .

The Prime Minister stated that we follow closely the procedure followed in the British parliament. AIL right. I understand the practice in the old land is for the Prime Minister to write the speech and then lay >t before his cabinet. I wonder whether any

member of the present cabinet ever saw this strange speech before it was delivered in parliament. I am wondering if it is not entirely the product of the Prime Minister's brain and if any member of the cabinet knew what was in it before it was read to the house. The people of Canada are wondering the same thing. In Great Britain the custom is not only to Lay the speech before the members of the cabinet but also to lay it before the leading supporters of the government in both houses. I do not know whether the present speech was ever placed before the leading supporters of the government in the house of in the Senate, but I am of the opinion that this was not done and that it was largely if not entirely the handiwork of the Prime Minister, perhaps after submission to a few, but a limited few of the members of the cabinet and an equally limited number of supporters of the government in the upper house. But I do not think the supporters generally of the government were considered at all; they did not know what the speech contained until it was read in parliament. That is not British parliamentary practice.

With regard to the amendment before the house perhaps it should be. said, indeed it is important that it should be said, that any speech from the throne can be challenged by the opposition. One reason for this is that we never know when a government controls a majority in the House of Commons. That is one of the realistic attributes of our British constitution. We never know when a government may lose the confidence of the House of Commons, and whenever that happens the government must go to the country. In that respect our constitution is very elastic, and therefore one of the main objectives of any opposition-and certainly it is the objective of the present Liberal opposition-is to challenge the government by way of amendment to the speech. One of our main political objectives is to challenge the present government by this amendment in order to show the people of Canada that this government does not hold the confidence of the country. I do not know whether we shall attain the objective wre wish or not, but our desire is to drive the government as quickly as possible to the country in order that the people may decide just what party they wish to guide the affairs of state at the present time.

The speech from the throne touches certain points of national and international policy, and in debating these questions of policy the nation is given a lead, as it were, to the

The Address-Mr. McIntosh

larger questions that will be decided by parliament during the time it is in session. In the present speech from the throne, the first part deals with certain peculiar, fanciful statements. For instance, the statement is made that the world is gradually returning to economic stability and that Canada, as a part of the world, is returning to permanent prosperity. May I say that if Canada is returning to permanent prosperity, the idea that seems to be thrown out here is that it is largely because of the fact that the world as a whole is returning to economic stability, and that the policies of the present government are really not having any effect in restoring permanent prosperity to this country. It is the policies, the leadership and the drive to action that have taken place outside Canada which are largely responsible for the improvement in conditions, if they are improving, in this dominion at the present time. In so far as the first paragraph in the speech from the throne is concerned, it might have been written in a more masterly manner, for when we analyze it closely we find that its wording is not very favourable to the government. .

Next we come to the part that deals with the trade treaties of 1932, and the assertion is made that empire trade is increasing; and thrown in with that idea is the statement of the fact that Canada occupies fifth position among the trading nations of the world. Well, it is a fact that Canada occupies fifth position in total world trade among the great nations, but I would point out that Canada occupied that position many years ago, and when she did occupy that position at that time she had some trade worth talking about. The fact that Canada occupies fifth position iu total world trade at the present time, when she has the limited total of a little over nine hundred million dollars, is not worthy of very much comment; it does not mean much to Canada, undeT these circumstances, whether she occupies fifth or sixth place. What we want is an increase in trade, both internal and external, and not until we get that shall we have that prosperity which we desire. I have here the annual report of the Department of Trade and Commerce for the present year, and I find that Canada a year ago did not occupy fifth position. She has attained that position in the last nine months. This report says she occupied a year ago the seventh place. That was the .position she occupied in 1932 and in 1931 in total world trade. In regard to total imports, in 1931 she occupied eighth place and in 1032 ninth place. In total domestic exports, in 1931 she occupied seventh

place, and during the last year she occupied fifth place. Therefore, putting total imports and exports together, and allowing for the increase in trade in the last nine months, we have the statement that to-day Canada occupies fifth position among the great trading nations of the world. WTe are glad that this is so, but we are sorry that although she occupies fifth place we have only a little over nine hundred million dollars of total trade. What was the situation under Liberal rule in 1929? At that time, it is true, there was no depression. because as a matter of fact there are no depressions under Liberal government. Liberals have the urge to build up international business and freer trade, both internally and externally, so that depressions are obviated. Rather, prosperity is brought about because prosperity can come about only through individual and collective commercial liberty among the people making up the nation.

I might go on to some of the other portions of the speech from the throne. For instance, in one paragraph the statement is made that the government is going to increase price levels. Hon, gentlemen opposite admit that agricultural prices are not satisfactory, so they are going to give a lift to price levels. The main thing, I would point out, is not an increase in price levels; we can have prosperity under any price level, provided it is not too low. It is not the price level that is wrong with agriculture in this country; it is the fact that the prices are inequitable. What the people complain about is inequality in agricultural prices. The question is, what can you buy with a bushel of wheat or a bushel of turnips or ten bushels of rye or with a bullock or with so many hogs? That is what concerns the farmers of Canada, and unless a party and a policy will place prosperity on a different level, unless a party and a policy will bring about fair prices and a return to those conditions under which the farmer could buy what he should be able to buy with his wheat and cattle, hogs, barley and rye, then we shall not make much progress towards making this dominion the great commercial nation it ought to be.

Then we come to another paragraph in the speech from the throne wherein something is said about the London economic and monetary conference. The statement is made that we are going to have important legislation, including provision for a central bank, brought down. The idea of a central bank was mooted by the Brussels international financial conference, in 1920; it was again mooted by the international financial

The Address-Mr. McIntosh

conference at. Genoa in 1922, and both those great international financial conferences decided that a nation which had not a central bank ought to have one. The Liberal party has been to the fore with regard to the establishment of a central bank; in fact, one of its important planks is in connection with such a bank. May I read the plank of the Liberal party on this very important monetary institution?

The Liberal party believes that credit is a public matter, not of interest to bankers only, but of direct concern to the average citizen. It stands for the immediate establishment of a properly constituted national central bank, to perform the functions of rediscount, and the control of currency issue, considered in terms of public need. A central bank is necessary to determine the supply of currency in relation to the domestic, social and industrial requirements of the Canadian people; and also to deal with problems of international commerce and exchange.

That is the stand of the Liberal party with regard to a central bank, and our position to-day is that we want that bank to be publicly owned and the very best management that can be got in Canada to direct it. When the legislation is brought down we shall soon announce our policy with regard to every detail of it.

The speech from the throne deals with the wheat agreement that will be brought down later. The wheat agreement as it was explained by the Prime Minister and as it has been described by the press of Canada is simply a method of destroying wealth, and to the extent that it is a method of wealth destruction, the Liberal party is opposed to it. There can be no agreement on a policy that will destroy wealth rather than produce and distribute it. Because of this limitation this wheat agreement will be of no benefit to Canada. I do not believe any prime minister or government through such a policy can convince the people of Canada that the proper method to pursue at the present time is to retard our wheat production by fifteen per cent; or, in other words, destroy production, eliminate wealth, leave the tariff structure as it now is attempt to figure out how in some mysterious way by following a policy of that kind Canada can be made prosperous.

What we want is trade within and without Canada. We want an opportunity for this country to exchange in a fair way the products that it can economically produce with those of other countries that they can economically produce. When that situation is . brought about, we shall have a flow of trade between one country and another, not restricted by tariffs, not stifled by one interference or an-

other, but with a freedom that will bring about the movement of trade within and without the nation. That is what Canada requires at the present moment and under a Liberal government, when our party comes into power-and that will not be long-we shall have a policy of that kind adopted to restore prosperity to the country.

Another item in the speech from the throne deals with offering securities in the British market. The government is taking credit for the fact that we sold securities there amounting to about $75,000,000. I am glad that we were able to float a loan in the British market and that we obtained that money, because we need it very badly. We have obtained a vast amount of money from the British people; they have always money to lend. But what did we have to pay for that money? Our dollar was then worth about sixty or sixty-three cents in gold and we are borrowing those millions in Canadian dollars, but when we have to pay them back we shall more than likely have to do so-not at sixty or sixty-three cents-but at 100 cents on the dollar. It will thus be seen that the bargain was a good one for the British and that is shown by the fact that the loan was oversubscribed four times. Such a result is not surprising because it is only what we might expect.

In the remaining parts of the speech from the throne certain statements are made about agricultural short term and intermediate credits. Legislation dealing with this matter should be proceeded with without delay. Certainly what the farmers need is short term and intermediate credits, and the opposition will give tihe government all possible support in prosecuting the necessary inquiry and in forwarding legislation to make such credits available.

Further, some reference is made to the relief act, to the financing of the western provinces, to a program of public works, and to the' policy of the government with regard to the single unemployed men. As regards the program of public works about which the government is talking so much and about which we have heard so much in the house, when you are spending a large amount of money for constructing public works here and there throughout Canada, you are practically bringing about a condition of affairs under which any unscrupulous party can go to work on election day and by a mass expenditure of public money bringing about mass voting. Does any hon. member want to have in his riding a mass expenditure of public money and then, based on that, mass voting, or, in other words,

Privilege-Mr. Neill

mass voting to support as far as possible, the government of the day and to put out of business every Liberal or opposition member who dared to criticize the policy of the government? Such a procedure would bring us back to the time of the war when in constituency after constituency it was impossible for the people to elect the representatives that they desired, but where mass voting overseas controlled the election and put into power the Union government which placed upon the country during the war a debt of nearly 82,000,000,000 which is to-day breaking Canada down financially.

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS
Subtopic:   S, 1934
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At eleven o'clock the house adjourned, without question put, pursuant to standing order. Friday, February 9, 1934


February 8, 1934