The right hon. gentleman skated around it in every way he could. He has been talking about the markets being closed-oh yes, the markets have been closed. I ask him if he has not closed the markets himself. He talks about having only one market. What could work more towards that than to have my right hon. friend pegging the duty on one hundred and thirty-nine articles in the tariff schedule? He has made it impossible to make trade agreements with other countries because he has agreed with Great Britain that the duties should remain fixed for five years. I say to my right hon. friend all he has to do to find out whether or not the market was closed when he came into power is to study the returns of exports and imports to countries other than Great Britain, and compare them with to-day's returns. If he would do that he would find out who has closed the market.
But has he dealt with the feature that I felt and I believe all of us felt was the most important in connection with this legislation? He has dealt with the constitutional aspect of the matter. He has laid down a new principle. I saw some of his supporters gasp when he suggested that in this country a man is violating the law of Canada when he sells his goods lower than his neighbour does. That is not to be done after this. My right hon. friend says that that is the law of Canada, and that all we are doing is to put it into
Marketing Act-Mr. Ralston
this legislation. Well, some of my friends who are dealing in coal, lumber, steel, or gasoline may approach my right hon. friend after this session and say to him, "Say, look here, is this true, or were you just spoofing?" I say to my right hon. friend he knows perfectly well that he went a bit too far when he laid down the principle involved in the old case of Rylands and Fletcher, which instances the bringing of a wild beast on your own property and being responsible for keeping it there and liable for any damage which it does if it escapes. I ask the right hon. gentleman if that case could possibly have anything to do with the question whether or not a farmer has the right to sell his potatoes for twenty or thirty cents a bushel, despite the fact that his neighbour may wish to get forty or fifty cents. That is a new doctrine which is laid down by the right hon. gentleman; certainly it is a new doctrine in this country. It is a new doctrine laid down by a man who is a good constitutional and commercial lawyer. But I submit he goes a bit too far when he Jays that down as the law of this country. Now he says, "After all, we must see to it that one man is not going to damage the other in connection with the sale of his goods, and we are bringing in a marketing bill for that purpose."
The right hon. gentleman does not quite correctly reflect the views which have been expressed from this side of the house when he says that there is opposition to this bill per se. The opposition to the bill was laid down in the amendment moved yesterday afternoon by my right hon. friend, the leader of the opposition (Mr. Mackenzie King). The opposition to the bill is against giving arbitrary power to an unnamed board to make laws without reference to parliament. Further than that, there is given to the same board, or to the governor in council, the power to regulate the whole export and import trade of the Dominion of Canada. That is something with which he did not deal; and we say also that there is no protection for consumers. The right hon. gentleman has gone all over the case of Hodge and the Queen, and the Apollo Candle case from Australia has been the subject of a great part of his speech. He talked a lot about imperialism, endeavouring to deny, and denying rather faintly, that he had the object in mind with which my right hon. leader charged him. But he said nothing whatever with regard to the fundamental objections to this bill which are dealt with in the amendment. My right hon. friend the Prime Minister strangely enough did not even speak on the amendment. He never said a word on it by way of
answering the objections which had been raised by my right hon. leader. No; he reserved his speech for the third reading because he felt that if he spoke on the amendment he would have to meet those very points. It was a good deal easier to talk about Hodge and the Queen, about the Apollo Candle case, about the Grain Act and the Elevator Act, and the Inland Water Freight Rates Act, and things of that sort than to deal with the essentials. Oh yes, and he paid a wonderful tribute to Samuel Plimsoll, of the dear old loadline, to the memory of that fine old Englishman and what he did. One would have thought we had not had in this country either under Conservative or Liberal administration any of the social legislation which has been put on the statute books of this country, and which has been there for twenty or thirty or forty years- the Workmen's Compensation Act, the Combines Act, the Industrial Disputes Investigation Act, the Old Age Pensions Act. These aro all on the statute books at the present time and have been for years-all liberal measures too. But my right hon. friend has forgotten all about these things. He thinks that we are still in those black days before the time of Shaftesbury.
I say to my right hon. friend, let us get down to what this bill is really about. Let us get down to the essentials with which my right hon. friend has not dealt. My right hon. friend says that individualism is gone in this country and that an individual cannot exercise his individual liberty, but that for the first time a group of men who are in business have a right to exercise their majority control just as majority control is exercised under the British North America Act and under the acts of the parliament of Canada whereby a majority of voters may send members to parliament. There is no comparison between the two, and my right hon. friend knows it. He knows that the right of majority representation in the House of Commons, as in the parliaments of other countries, has been sacred with us for many years, and he knows also that side by side with that the individual has the right of an individual to carry on his occupation lawfully and properly and to enjoy the fruits of that occupation-that that right is just as sacred as the right of the franchise.
What we are endeavouring to do-let us get down to fundamentals-is to reconcile the two major factors in human activities. One, individualism; not selfish greed, but the right of a man to have the joy of achieving and the exhilaration of accomplishment in con-
Marketing Act-Mr. Ralston
nection with his daily occupation. That right carries with it not only the joy of achievement but the right to earn something for his work, to get remuneration for his labour. Generally I think it is true that three-fourths of the people of this world do not ask for profits for their own individual selves, but rather that they may support their families and look after those for whom they have responsibility in life, and make some provision for their old age so that they will be independent of charity and the poor house. That is individualism. Is there anything wrong about it? We have heard to-night for the first time that a man has no right to dispose of his goods or services or to do anything which may cut under the price which his neighbour wants to get for his goods or services. That is on the one side.
What is on the other? The other factor is cooperation, namefy, that a man living in society has to have in mind another consideration. He must be fair to the other fellow. We are in society with that in mind, whether we admit it or not. It has been very properly said that the laws that are passed from time to time are restraints on human liberty, but up to the time my right hon. friend spoke a man had a right to do what he liked with his property, to do what he liked so long as he did not injure his neighbour; but my right hon. friend has laid down a new doctrine to-night.
Cooperation, then, is the other thing. As to what my right hon. friend is aiming at in this bill and what we on this side express in the amendment moved by my right hon. leader, we are perfectly willing to follow him in the matter of cooperation and in endeavouring to help individuals get together and express their collective will, subject to the provisos that I shall mention in a moment.
But what do we find in this bill? Where is individualism in this bill? Section 5 lays down that a group of men get together and form a scheme, as they call it, for the purpose of marketing their product. So far so good The individual is represented. He has to consent to that scheme. They get together, they lay down the scheme. What should come next in the ordinary course of things if the principle which the Prime Minister lays down is correct? They should publish that scheme and there should be a hearing on it, in order that they may see to it that their neighbours who are not in the scheme are not going to be injured by it. Is that done in this bill? It is not. But that would be cooperation. Is that done in Britain, whose legislation we are supposed to
be following in this measure. It is provided in the British act that when the producers get together and lay down their scheme and submit it to the minister, he goes over it and advertises a public hearing so that those who may be affected by it, not only those in the particular industry concerned but those outside, may be heard in connection with it.
What else? In addition to that there is a consumer as well as a producer, and in the British act provision is made for the appointment of a committee representing the consumer. Is there any provision in this bill for that? None at all. My right hon. friend at one time was particularly strong on this question of the consumer. He pointed out that the consumer should be looked after, and that any legislation which was for the benefit of the producer and against the consumer was not right. This is what he said, speaking at Moncton on July 11, 1930, in that celebrated election campaign when my right hon. friend said a good many things that I think he now wishes he had not said:
For it should never be forgotten that the solution of the particular problems of one community which does not directly or indirectly benefit all other communities, is not a solution worth having. The prosperity of one section of Canada at the expense of another cannot be enduring. The betterment of one class with loss to any other, cannot be permitted. So, when a government, to meet the insistent demands of any section, or class or business, enacts legislation which is harmful to any other, that is bad government.
And listen to this:
If, to help the industrialist, the agriculturist is injured, that is bad government. If to benefit the producer the consumer is made to suffer, that is bad government. For the consumer must not suffer and cannot suffer without injury to the producer.
Does my hon. friend adopt that policy in this bill?
Subtopic: ORGANIZATION TO IMPROVE METHODS AND PRACTICES IN MARKETING NATURAL PRODUCTS