June 20, 1935

LIB

William Daum Euler

Liberal

Mr. EULER:

Is the appeal actually made?

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS
Sub-subtopic:   ATTITUDE OF GOVERNMENT TOWARDS CHANGES IN CAPITAL STRUCTURE
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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

The appeal is pending

for argument in July. All I am asking is that there shall be nothing done upon the books to change the position so tlhat it could be said that we had taken certain action before the completion of the appeal. I endeavoured to confine myself to a reading of the record and I regret that it should be thought that I have any objection to the capital stock of the railways being written down. That may be the right thing to do when the time comes but in the meantime I have expressed the opinion that the investments in the road should be shown upon the books that are published to the world. So far as the method of book-keeping is concerned, the government books show exactly the same amounts. When I ask the government what sums have been invested in the Canadian National Railways they produce the books and show what they have, the only difference being that the amounts are paid as interest on the national debt instead of as interest on the securities of the railways.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS
Sub-subtopic:   ATTITUDE OF GOVERNMENT TOWARDS CHANGES IN CAPITAL STRUCTURE
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LIB

Ian Alistair Mackenzie

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE (Vancouver):

Is this

government interested in the appeal?

rMr. Bennett.1

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS
Sub-subtopic:   ATTITUDE OF GOVERNMENT TOWARDS CHANGES IN CAPITAL STRUCTURE
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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

The attorney general of Canada was joined as a party defendant for the reasons given by Mr. Green when arguing before the privy council.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS
Sub-subtopic:   ATTITUDE OF GOVERNMENT TOWARDS CHANGES IN CAPITAL STRUCTURE
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LIB

William Daum Euler

Liberal

Mr. EULER:

The Prime Minister has said that he gave only the facts. So far as the record is concerned, the recommendations of the auditors intended to preserve the capital amounts which have been expended on the Canadian National Railways in any shape or form and that record will always be there. Some reference to politics has been made and I should like to say that I disavow of that kind so far as the proceedings of the committee are concerned.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS
Sub-subtopic:   ATTITUDE OF GOVERNMENT TOWARDS CHANGES IN CAPITAL STRUCTURE
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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

I referred merely to the

records.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS
Sub-subtopic:   ATTITUDE OF GOVERNMENT TOWARDS CHANGES IN CAPITAL STRUCTURE
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CANADIAN HIGH COMMISSIONER


On the orders of the day:


CON

Charles Hazlitt Cahan (Secretary of State of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Hon. C. H. CAHAN (Secretary of State):

Mr. Speaker, on the orders of the day, on Thursday last an order was passed on motion of the hon. member for Temiscouata (Mr. Pouliot) for certain details respecting the organization and expenses of the office of the high commissioner in London, and yesterday the member for Temiscouata asked that a precise date be fixed when this return would be tabled. The return involves a very great deal of research and it will take some considerable time to complete. The time of six days which has elapsed has been altogether insufficient.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   CANADIAN HIGH COMMISSIONER
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TRADE AND INDUSTRY COMMISSION


The house resumed from Wednesday, June 19, consideration of the motion of Mr. Hanson (York-Sunbury) for third reading of Bill No. 86, to establish a dominion trade and industry commission.


?

Mr. J. S. WOODS W ORTH@Winnipeg North Centre

Mr. Speaker, when the house adjourned yesterday I was discussing the defence which the Prime Minister (Mr. Bennett) had made of the reform program of the government. The speech of the Prime Minister seemed to indicate that financial and legal considerations were paramount, and to this point of view I decidedly object. The Prime Minister has urged that Canada must maintain her credit. He stated that we must

Trade Commission-Mr. Woodsworth

pay back our debts and retain our credit as a matter of national honour. He said:

Once it gets abroad that we are prepared to enact legislation, whether it be provincial or federal, that destroys the contract made between the borrower and the lender-destroys it I say-and substitutes for it something else, that moment we have become what is familiarly known as "welchers."

And again:

If obligations are created without provision for the reduction of the rate with the increase in the purchasing power of money then the contract must be observed if we are to maintain the character of our people.

The Prime Minister as well as others recognizes that at certain times deflation may materially alter the character of a contract. I need only to refer to the statements he made before the committee on finance of the imperial conference when he clearly recognized that deflation had imposed an enormous extra burden upon the people of this country. In spite of this, he said yesterday that if we did not live up to the letter of the law, even although the dollar had changed in value, we would be in an ethically unjustifiable position. He is emphasizing the letter of the contract, the purely legal side of affairs but I submit that even from the legal aspect as well as from the standpoint of equity and ethics, when the dollar has altered as materially as it has, repayment should be made according to the purchasing power of the dollar when the contract was made. Undoubtedly the deflation has meant the transfer, as Irving Fisher told us twelve years ago, of hundreds of thousands of dollars from one set of pockets into another. It has meant that many people have been reduced to beggary while other people have been exalted to a position where they can levy tribute on the entire population of the country. If to maintain our credit means that we are to maintain an unjust relationship between creditor and debtor, then I say our credit may very well go.

Why after all from the standpoint of expediency, should we maintain our credit? I suppose it is in order that we can continue to borrow; that is to say, we should maintain our credit in order that we may be able to go more deeply into debt-a curious point of view. Canada is already carrying a sufficient load, and we ought to be able to deal with the situation as it is without regard to prospective borrowings that may sink us still deeper. But in the last sentence I read I find a phrase to which I cannot but strenuously object. We should pay these supposedly honest debts in order that we may "maintain the character of our

people." Maintain the character of our people! I wonder whether those who deal so exclusively with financial and legal matters can understand the real position that confronts tens of thousands of our people to-day. I hold in my hand, for example, a voucher that was given in connection with unemployment relief by the municipality of East Kil-donan. I am not blaming the government of the day directly for this, but it can readily he seen from this document what sort of treatment the problem has received. The voucher reads:

Municipality of East Kildonan

Unemployment Relief Department Only to be accepted by merchants registered with the Unemployment Relief Department Special

King George V Silver Jubilee

Case No

Date

To Merchant:

Please supply party producing for your inspection identification card corresponding to case number and signature contained herein with merchandise to the value of 20 cents.

Relief Officer.

Signature of Recipient.

Signature of Merchant.

The family that received that relief points out that that 20 cents would secure one pound of round steak-that is all-and I submit that this is significant of the kind of treatment that we are giving honest Canadian citizens. And it is abominable treatment; it is nothing less than an insult, that in connection with the King George V Jubilee we should give largesse of that kind. The Prime Minister, even in the statement he made this afternoon with regard: to the Grand Trunk, points out with what infinite care the law guards the rights of shareholders. What I am pleading for is that we should safeguard the rights of Canadian citizens. I am not for the wholesale repudiation of all obligations, but there are far more sacred obligations resting upon us at the present time and which to-day are being disregarded.

One other little document I hold in my hand may perhaps bring home to the house the actual situation which arises from our disregard of the rights of our people, especially our young people. Some months ago in this house I called attention to a lamentable incident in which a young boy had fallen from a freight train. He was badly injured and as his rescuers picked him up he said, "Kill me; I am no good anyhow." A few days ago I

3824 COMMONS

Trade Commission-Mr. Woodsworth

received from Saskatchewan a letter from a man who apparently is of Ukrainian or Polish extraction. He cannot write very good English, but I think his English can be understood. He says:

Dear Sir:

On February 28, 1935, I read in the Western Producer paper, you where referring about a boy who fell from a freight train in the west and begged his rescuers to kill him because he was no good to anyone;

Would ask you kindly to let me know if you know where and when that sad accident happen; why I am asking you our boy went west about a year ago to B.C. and since last June we only had one letter from him, since we don't know where abouts he is; with this capitalistic unemployment system he took the hard road to find a living, went farther west last June and we didn't hear from him since he got to B.C.

You know how parents heart broken feel about it; will you kindly write us a few words.

I was very glad to be able to tell the father that the boy to whom I had referred was not his boy. But there are two thousand such boys now in one group at Regina and tens of thousands more in the camps; and the important point is that the government program, and this particular bill which forms the major part of it, is doing nothing whatever to solve these great problems. The bad practices referred to in the price spreads committee have grown up under the existing system and under existing legislation, which I submit the bill does very little to alter. I suppose we shall have to vote for the bill; it is good as far as it goes. But it is no great help to have the administration of the Combines Investigation Act transferred to a commission; it does not solve our problem. What did the Prime Minister say a few months ago in those radio speeches which excited the interest of us all ^nd made us almost hope that something might be done?

The old system served you well but it ended in a nuisance. Is that so or not? It ended in a condition under which there has been universal depression and unemployment and poverty in the midst of plenty.

Is there anything in this bill before us, is there anything in the whole program of legislation which the Prime Minister has so rigorously defended that will do anything realty to meet that situation? Again, he gave utterance in the last of those radio addresses to this statement which I think fairly summarizes the report of the price spreads commission :

Many faults and injustices in the capitalist system-child labour, sweat shops, slave wages, crushingly long hours, inequality of benefits, low prices to primary producers, high prices to the ultimate consumer.

One would have imagined, after the situation had been so carefully diagnosed, that we might well have expected some sort of remedy. And yet this is the kind of thing we find in the bill, section 20:

Unfair Trade Practices

20. The commission shall receive complaints respecting unfair trade practices and may investigate the same and, either before or after an investigation, if of opinion that the alleged practice constitutes an offence against a law prohibiting unfair trade practices, shall communicate the same to the attorney-general of Canada and to the director of public prosecutions or to the attorney-general of the province within which the offence i9 alleged to have been committed.

Does anyone think that that kind of measure solves the problem, that it comes anywhere within reach of the great outstanding evite which were outlined by the Prime Minister?

Child labour. We all know that there are infringements of the laws against child labour, but supposing this commission does investigate and refer cases to the attorney general of Quebec, does anyone think we shall get any action? None whatever. So here we sit, the dominion parliament, powerless in the face of a terrific abuse.

An ban. MEMBER: Gh, oh.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   TRADE AND INDUSTRY COMMISSION
Sub-subtopic:   ADMINISTRATIVE, ADVISORY AND INVESTIGATORY FUNCTIONS-PROVISION FOR A DIRECTOR OF PUBLIQ PROSECUTIONS
Permalink
?

Mr. J. S. WOODS W ORTH@Winnipeg North Centre

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   TRADE AND INDUSTRY COMMISSION
Sub-subtopic:   ADMINISTRATIVE, ADVISORY AND INVESTIGATORY FUNCTIONS-PROVISION FOR A DIRECTOR OF PUBLIQ PROSECUTIONS
Permalink
LIB

Robert McKenzie

Liberal

Mr. ROBERT McKENZIE (Assiniboia):

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   TRADE AND INDUSTRY COMMISSION
Sub-subtopic:   ADMINISTRATIVE, ADVISORY AND INVESTIGATORY FUNCTIONS-PROVISION FOR A DIRECTOR OF PUBLIQ PROSECUTIONS
Permalink
CON

Thomas Langton Church

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. T. L. CHURCH (East Toronto):

Mr. Speaker, I do not intend to give a silent vote on this bill. I think the government deserves the utmost credit for being the first government since confederation to endeavour to do something through the regulation of trade and commerce, for the workers of this country. This particular bill to create a federal trade board will create a new industrial magna charta for the workers of this country. The Conservative party has done itself proud in the mass buying commission. It originated with the Conservative party, and all along the Conservative party has been the friend of labour and of the consumer.

We have had this session in my opinion too much law and too little common sense. We should forget that we are lawyers and endeavour to carry out as far as possible the very important recommendations which have been made by the mass buying commission. The purpose of this bill is to give a new deal to the masses of our people and it should not be approached by quoting law cases and decisions based on separate facts, because we are faced with a completely different set of facts now, owing to changed conditions, from those facing the fathers of confederation when the British North America Act was framed.

Ten years ago, Mr. Speaker, I advocated a federal trade commission, much of what is proposed in this particular bill, No. 86. Fortunately one of the cardinal principles of the British constitution and of our own constitution, which is part and parcel of it, is that the courts are subservient to the legislature. It was a great mistake in 1867 in so framing the British North America Act that we had any provincial legislatures at all. They were created by the fathers of confederation for political and not for economic purposes. The result has been that this government, which has done more for the working people than any other government since confederation has been very much hampered in framing this relief act or new deal, by stated cases and decisions of the courts on sections 91 and 92 of the British North America Act.

The British North America Act is a relic of the past, and in my opinion confederation cannot last much longer unless we grapple

Trade Commission-Mr. Church

with the problem and find a way to solve our economic and social problems in an orderly way. The day of free competition, of the open market, and of the law of supply and demand has gone, possibly forever. Great trusts, combines and monopolies in restraint of trade have been built up on these economic principles, and the abuses in this connection have brought about widespread misery and ruin to thousands of our people. As a result the greatest question in this country to-day is parliamentary and constitutional reform, cabinet reform and senate reform, especially in view of the decisions that have been quoted in this debate by lawyers inside the house and outside the house. I believe that very little progress will be made in solving our economic and social problems until we have constitutional and parliamentary reform. When I hear the learned quotations by the lawyers in this house and the recommendations of eminent lawyers outside the house, I am reminded of the words of Burke, "What shadows we are, and what shadows we pursue." Or, as Tennyson says in his In Memo-riam:

Our little systems have their day;

They have their day and cease to be.

They are but broken lights of Thee,

And' Thou, 0 Lord, art more than they.

No country in the world has had such little regulation of trade and commerce as Canada. Look at only one section of the British North America Act, section 91, dealing with the powers of parliament, included in which is the power to regulate trade and commerce. That field has been unexplored ever since confederation; it is a no man's land. Section 91 of the British North America Act which defines the powers of this parliament, says "for greater certainty but not so as to restrict the generality of the foregoing terms of this section, it is hereby declared that (notwithstanding anything in this act) the exclusive legislative authority of the parliament of Canada extends to all matters coming within the classes of subjects next hereinafter enumerated," and the second subject mentioned is "the regulation of trade and commerce." Paragraph 27 of section 91 gives this parliament power to deal with the criminal law, except the constitution of courts of criminal jurisdiction, but including the procedure in criminal matters, and the last paragraph of that section gives this parliament power to deal with the following classes of subjects:

And any matter coming within any of the classes of subjects enumerated in this section shall not be deemed to come within the class 92582-2431

of matters of a local or private nature comprised in the enumeration of classes of subjects by this act assigned exclusively to the legislatures of the provinces.

But there has been no effort to see or take advantage of this exclusive power, the regulation of trade and commerce by this parliament. That field, as I say, has been unexplored; it is a no man's land. No country has so little regulation of trade and commerce as Canada, although this parliament has exclusive jurisdiction over that subject. Compare Canada with the United States and Great Britain. The United States has the Clayton Act; the anti-Sherman law, the federal trade commission; regulations by the Secretary of Commerce; newspaper identity regulation; the Interstate Commerce Commission regulation. The legislation of the parliament of England is larger than that of any other country in the world. Yet they have national boards or councils regulating transportation, coal mining, transport, agriculture, the marketing of bacon and eggs and many other products with compulsory powers and beyond even the regulation or control of any court of law. In England, so much so that the Mac-Donald-Baldwin government are called by some people a soviet one in parliament, we talk about too much government in business, yet the big interests themselves are clamoring for government intervention. Had it not been for the government's intervention and help I do not know what would have happened to some of them. In view of the evidence that was given before the mass buying commission the people back home.are demanding that an end be put to the legalized injustices and tyrannies of modern capitalism in Canada, to the detriment of bona fide and legitimate private enterprise.

Private enterprise which brings all ranks of society together into personal contact whether in large enterprises or in small, one-man business or enterprises or in retail business-all these in Canada are in harmony with natural law. Great trusts, combines and restraints of trade are not in Canada hut are mostly directed by big financiers and politicians. They in Canada are in effect an application in practice of nothing else but the communist principle. Let us not forget then the injustices and tyrannies which so-called modern capitalism has inflicted on thousands of the men, women and children and poor people of Canada.

Let us keep that objective in mind and cease talking constitutional questions about the British North America Act. The time

Trade Commission-Mr. Church

has come to stop pussyfooting and to tackle these great organizations that are subsidized and legalized by the state and directed mostly by great financiers and politicians. I speak of those trusts and combines trusts and restraints of trade which are nothing but an application of the communist principle. The average thinking man back home in this country thinks this particular bill is the most important bill that has ever come before parliament since confederation. The common people are demanding a policy that will help pull Canada out of the mire and get our workmen off the dole. They want to see planning by all governments, federal, provincial and municipal, to put half a million workers back to work by the end of the year. The country is ripe for just such leadership; it is waiting for a sign post showing which way we are going to go. This demand comes from the Conservative element in the Canadian nation, and we as a party must go forward to greater objectives. We want a new national policy such as this board is going to create. We must build our prosperity on a new and enduring basis. As the late Lord Salisbury said, the commonest error in politics is sticking to the carcasses of dead policies. Now is the time to do something. There are in my opinion too many Woodrow Wilsons in the legislatures of this country who are too proud to fight for legislation such as this. We should have had an act like this ten or twelve years ago. The field should have been explored then, and this country would not then have been in the economic turmoil it is in to-day.

I am sorry that some of the clauses in this bill have not been written into the criminal code, particularly those which deal with sweatshops. Notwithstanding what has been said about the criminal law of this country, the law courts have never had before them this vast field of trade and commerce which is placed exclusively under the jurisdiction of this parliament by section 91 of the British North America Act. Precedents have not been built up in the courts to deal with that particular section and because lawyers both in and out of the house say that a certain thing is so, does not make it so. No court of law has said that this sweatshop legislation cannot be written into the criminal law. Similar legislation has been written into the criminal law of the United States and the mother country and it can be done here as well. We have practically no regulation of trade and commerce except in connection with our external trade. As I said in a previous debate, we have not been spending enough time on our domestic problems (Mr. Church.]

and perhaps too much time upon our inter-natonal problems. Certain infringements, along social and economic lines could be made crimes by enactments of this legislature. Certain sections of the Clayton act and the Sherman anti-trust act could1 be written into our criminal code.

I believe Canada w-ants this trade commission to be up and doing. We want a trade commission with a kick in it. This commission should be under someone like the late Mr. Justice Malbee, a previous chairman of the railway board. That learned gentleman built up a number of rules and regulations. I regret that a judge has been chosen as head of this commission because if there is one board which should be under a layman, it is this particular one. The mass buying and price spreads had two good chairmen. One of them, the other day, a very brilliant young lawyer gave an address on this question in the house. What this country needs at the present time is a great public rights lawyer; then this parliament would not have to call in corporation lawyers. I have had considerable experience and I say that once a corporation lawyer, always a corporation lawyer, especially when interpreting the British North America Act. They see things in just one way. The Toronto street railway agreement, and the British North America Act have led to more litigation and references to the law courts than any other acts in history or that have come up in recent yeans. I am sorry this country has not produced a great public rights lawyer like Ferdinand1 Pecora of Washington. He straightened out things down there and showed up the abuses of big businessmen and Wall Street; many of these men had1 not paid a cent in income tax. We need a similar public rights lawyer in Canada to deal with the chisellers in this country. What has happened in connection with this matter happened in 1928 when the water power versus navigation matter was before the house. The Supreme Court of Canada was asked' to answer certain abstract questions in connection with water and navigation rights on the St. Lawrence river but those questions were so abstract that neither the supreme court nor the privy council could give a proper answer, and they returned them as unanswered in part owing to their not being concrete.

The enforcement of federal laws is placed upon the provincial attorneys general. Why should1 not this government have law officers of its own to enforce all federal statutes in connection with all our acts and trade and commerce? We know the type of enforcement of our acts which will be carried out by the

Trade Commission-Mr. Church

provincial attorneys general in Victoria, at Queens Park or in Halifax. Our own laws should be enforced by our own law officers. All the law of this country is not contained in the British North America Act. There is a written and unwritten .law, we have as well precedents usages and customs.

This government has endeavoured to do things in a new deal in spite of the obstacles raised by the British North America Act. AH along the Conservative party has been the real socialistic party and the real labour party. Nearly all the useful social legislation has come from this party. This party has given protection to the workingman..

Back in 1905 we saw what great constitutional lawyers could do. The Liberal government of that day attempted to keep the people away from the boon of cheap light and power in Ontario and some of the very same type of lawyers who have been arguing on this particular matter, gave somewhat similar decisions thirty years ago against the people owning their own power plants. I saw a cartoon the other day in the great paper published by Horace Greeley. It showed two sailors who had fallen overboard from a boat in New York harbour. They had life savers around them and were looking up at the sinking ship and saying, "Yet fundamentally the ship is sound." That puts me in mind of our economic ship, we thought it was sound but we have found out that it is not sound. For over one hundred years the working classes have been, striving for .power and they have it to-day in Canada. The controllers of property and commercial enterprises who have for the last 100 years had the political power have been losing it. What Disraeli called the suffering millions are going to decide the coming elections. During the past five years this government has brought Canada out of the mire, we have been blessed in. the gifted Prime Minister we have had. The mass voter is fickle and even the responsible voter seems to be changeable. If we are to have national economic security wTe must make plain the principles and policies for which this party stands in bringing forward this important bill. The average voter thinks that if the state is able to distribute poverty, it should be able to distribute wealth. I believe in fair wages and security. This government has made a brave effort to solve these problems in the price spreads and mass buying committee and commission.

Something has been said with reference to those who have been opposing this particular legislation. Mr. Charles Burton of Toronto was referred to the other day by the hon. gentleman from South Winnipeg (Mr. Kennedy) who was chairman of the mass buying committee. I do not know what type of regulations this proposed board will have and I do not know of any board, human or divine, which has ever been able to regulate some of the institutions with which the gentleman I refer to has been connected. He was out west the other day and while he hides behind the luxuries of his Arcadian Court and ribbon counter; he wants to bring forth a scheme of regimentation of youth; he would have brigadier generals, major generals, honorary colonels, captains and all that sort of thing, a sort of regimented Coxey's army for the youth of this country. It would be much better if he would get up a regiment of profiteers middlemen.. chisellers and tax evaders, bondholders, income tax dodgers, security and trust company racketeers and no par value shareholders. Mr. Burton used the words as reported,

" shyster politicians " in referring to our mass buying commission, members of which worked hard fo.r the people of this country. He would be far better engaged and more at home commanding such a big interest regiment than in criticizing a parliament which is making a brave effort to do something to remedy the evils that now exist. The Conservative party, which has done so much for the farmers and the working classes, is now making a genuine effort to solve the problems that face this country, and I hope that no amendments in another place will be made to the measure now before us. Amendments are coming in every day, from this place to the bar of the house to our clerk; 104 amendments have been brought in this week from another .place, the Senate virtually vetoing the votes of the direct representatives of the people in this chamber. I hope that no amendments having any such effect will be made to this bill or accepted either.

The period from 1921 to 1930 constituted the golden age of mergers, trusts, combines and so on. The Insulls, the Morgans, the Mellons, the Youngs and the Mitchells of Canada were a regimentation that rode the crest of the wave, and nothing was done to stop them or to regulate them. These gigantic mergers were captained by Canadian supermen whose big brains were supposed to be guiding Canada to a greater future. To the average Canadian these gigantic financial manipulators and utility barons, security barons and trust barons were above suspicion; under them disaster seemed almost impossible. But they are no longer the master minds of Canada. I am surprised that on this question

Trade Commission-Mr. Church

in this house the government did not have support, from the very beginning of this session, from all parties. The Liberal party of this country represents to-day the last stand of economic Liberalism in Canada. It relies on these social measures being declared unconstitutional. It is the party that for nine years had a chance to do something along these lines, but only dilly-dallied. It is the same party which in England opposed the factory acts and free schools, and the liberation of the trade unions. To-day it concentrates its attention in Canada on the tariff and on wider markets when wider markets are not available. The Liberal party in Canada is an advocate of social reform, pensions, doles, social insurance-all these are in its platform for the higher life, but they refuse to give to this house a plan or platform to grapple with the cause and effects of the social revolution and with those economic factors which deprive men of the bread of their own production and the fruits of their own toil. I believe that free trade and the error of the Liberal party's policies have been to the detriment of agriculture and of industry in Canada. Many children are in factories to-day who should be in school, and most of the young offenders who come before our courts are underprivileged children many of them from poverty stricken homes, who from birth have never had a proper chance.

In this bill, the Conservative party, which has always been constructive, is again constructive in its effort to solve the problem. The Conservative party has to its credit reform legislation such as the eight hour day bill and legislation for a minimum wage. This party is equipped by position and temperament to bring better order into Canadian life and industry, and to check the abuses which affect the consumer and the labourer. We should remove some of the unethical business practices, and bring protection up to date, eliminate the abuses to protect consumer and labour, and prevent further burdens and artificial barriers being placed on business. The main problem to be solved in Canada is unemployment. That is the main problem because no scheme of pensions and no scheme of unemployment insurance is a substitute for work and wages and the desire of people to work. Employment is the only real agency by which the nation's wealth can be distributed. Without consumption, production is a mere waste, and work and wages for all is the main agency of distribution. This party was the founder of protection, and it should dedicate itself to solving this problem of distributism and of getting people off

the dole and back to work. Agriculture has always been traditionally associated with the Conservative party. As a party we stand for the further development and preservation of the home market for agriculture. Our own markets for our own products, and our own work for our own workmen is our policy. Agriculture is the oldest of our industries from the point of view of employment. It has been content to choose order instead of anarchy, and industry can be made amenable to similar treatment.

I believe this government has made a courageous effort to do what it can. We have, heard express and implied doubts about this legislation and I regret that those doubts have come from the sources from which we have heard them. Such doubts should be expressed by the law courts and not by the law officers of the crown nor by retained corporation lawyers. It sems to me that in the future the government would be well advised to consult some public ownership lawyers, public rights lawyers and lawyers who have a knowledge of labour problems; they should consult lawyers with those sympathies when drafting legislation for improving the condition of the working classes.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   TRADE AND INDUSTRY COMMISSION
Sub-subtopic:   ADMINISTRATIVE, ADVISORY AND INVESTIGATORY FUNCTIONS-PROVISION FOR A DIRECTOR OF PUBLIQ PROSECUTIONS
Permalink
IND

Angus MacInnis

Independent Labour

Mr. ANGUS MacINNIS (Vancouver South):

The hon. member for Assiniboia (Mr. McKenzie) referred to a certain resolution he brought in in 1932 or 1933, and which did not, according to him, get the support of members in this corner. I do not remember just what that resolution was, but I presume it was one asking that some investigation be made or ameliorative measures be taken to protect either the farmer or the working classes from exploitation under the present capitalist system. I am sure that the hon. member for Assiniboia did not advocate the abolition of the capitalist system under which such exploitation takes place and must take place; and if we did not support him it was because we had a better solution for the problem, namely, the abolition of the system that gives rise to all these conditions of which complaints are made.

The attitude of many members in this house reminds me of a story of a certain city council in a town where one of the streets crossed a large ravine. Many accidents were taking place in this ravine, vehicles kept running off, but the city fathers would not put up a railing. Instead they insisted on keeping an ambulance at the foot of the ravine to take care of victims. My friend from Assiniboia will not put up a railing nor abolish the danger, he is satisfied to have an ambulance at the foot to take care of the victims of the capitalist

Trade Commission-Mr. Maclnnis

system. And I am sorry to say that he is not the only one in the house who takes that position; I am afraid the great majority do.

I do not think that any member need apologize for discussing this bill at this 6tage.

It is an important bill, the purpose being to give effect to some of the findings of the commission on price spreads and mass buying. We are fairly well accustomed to committees and commissions in this country, but I doubt whether we ever had a commission or a committee of investigation that created such a stir or so roused the people of the country as did the findings and the evidence of this commission. The country was shocked at the evidence brought out. The press gave wide publicity to the evidence, not only in its news columns but in the way of editorial comment on the practices that were found to prevail.

I believe also that the work of the commission was well done, and the report is well prepared. Although we may differ as to the conclusions reached and some of the remedies proposed, we must commend the members of the commission for the way in which they performed their work.

The commission was almost unanimous in its findings. There is of course a minority report by one of the Liberal members of the commission, but I note that even the hon. member for Weyburn (Mr. Young) agrees with some of the findings. For instance he agrees that the government should prohibit the sale of diseased meat. Possibly he made that concession in a weak moment. I am glad he went that far, but his reasons for doing so are not very convincing. After he said that, he opposed the recommendation of the other commissioners that old and thin animals should not be allowed to be sold on the market as food because he held that they were going too far, as their recommendation deprived the owners of such animals of a market, and shut off poor people from a source of food they could afford. If his argument is true of old and thin animals it is equally true of diseased animals.

But after all what did the commission find? They found enormous and far-reaching concentration of industry and finance. They found ruthless crushing of the small capitalist by the big capitalist. They found merciless exploitation of the working class in the shambles of capitalist industry. They found equally ruthless exploitation of the farmer through the control of credit, through virtual monopoly in the production of the implements he uses, and above all through control of the market in which he must dispose of his product. But it was not necessary to appoint a commission to find that out; it was apparent

to anyone who made even a superficial study of the present system. I noticed that in a paper put out by the Liberal party a short time ago, in which they analyzed each member of the group in this comer of the house,

I was put down as an out and out Marxian socialist. I never aspired to that high honour.

I know of people who do aspire to it and I wish they did not. But if my hon. friends to my right would give a little more study to Karl Marx and less to Adam Smith and Ricardo and some others they would be on surer ground and would not have to change their position so often. Let us see what Karl Marx had to say on the concentration of industry, not this year nor last year but some sixty or sixty-five years ago. The

writings of a man who could see so clearly into the future on even this one point are worthy of some consideration. Referring to the concentration of capital he said:

It comprises a series of forcible methods,-

Such methods as were found by the price spreads commission.

-of which we have passed in review only those that have been epoch-making as methods of the primitive accumulation of capital. The expropriation of the immediate producers was accomplished with merciless vandalism, and under the stimulus of passions the most infamous, the most sordid, the pettiest, the most meanly odious. Self-earned private property, that is based, so to say, on the fusing together of the isolated, independent labouring individual with the conditions of his labour, is supplanted by capitalistic private property, which rests on the exploitation of the nominally free labour of others, i.e. on wages-labour.

As soon as this process of transformation has sufficiently decomposed' the old society from top to bottom, as soon as the labourers are turned into proletarians, their means of labour into capital, as soon as the capitalist mode of production stands on its own feet, then the further socialization of labour and further transformation of the land and other means of production into socially exploited and, therefore, common means of production, as well as the further expropriation of private proprietors, takes a new form.

That is, labour having already been cut off from all contact with the means of life, then the small capitalist goes in his turn:

That which is now to be expropriated is no longer the labourer working for himself, but the capitalist exploiting many labourers. This expropriation is accomplished by the action of the immanent laws of capitalistic production itself, by the centralization of capital. One capitalist always kills many. Hand in hand with this centralization, or this expropriation of many capitalists by few, develop, on an ever-extending scale, the cooperative form of the labour-process, the conscious technical application of science, the methodical cultivation of the soil, the transformation of

Trade Commission-Mr. Maclnnis

the instruments of labour into instruments of labour only usuable in common, the economizing of all means of production by their use as the means of production of combined, socialized labour, the entanglement of all peoples in the net of the world-market, and this, the international character of the capitalistic regime.

Have we not arrived there now? Is not that what the price spreads commission found even in this new country? Then he continues :

Along with the constantly diminishing number of the magnates of capital who usurp and monopolize all advantages of this process of transformation, grows the mass of misery, oppression, slavery, degradation, exploitation;-[DOT]

Is that not also what the committee found?

-but with this too grows the revolt of the working class, a class always increasing in numbers. ... The monopoly of capital becomes a fetter upon the mode of production, which has sprung up and flourished along with, and under it.

Now we have just arrived at that stage, where capital has so developed and the means of further extension are closed, where there is no further opening for the investment of new capital; then the capitalistic mode of production, instead of being an incentive to production, has become a fetter on production. That is what the price spreads commission found. It does not make any difference how many laws and rules and regulations we provide for industry, industry at the present time cannot make a profit except by restricting production.

Now, as I said I have no great fault to find with the report of the price spreads and mass buying commission. I believe the commissioners did their work well. But they made the recommendations which they did because they did not understand the nature of capitalism. I will say this for the hon. member for Weyburn who brought in the minority report, that he has the courage of his convictions. He believes that if you let the law of supply and demand have free play everything will be well; that if we have what is called fair. competition that is all we need. But there can be no such thing as fair competition. Competition of any kind presupposes some advantage by someone of those who are competing. If people are competing for a known objective, a limited reward, then the position of the person who gets the reward is thereby improved. Even in the animal world, where the power of organization is non-existent, the strongest and fastest have the advantage. But when yoij come to human society, where there is the advantage of social organization as well as other advantages, when one advantage is

gained it is socially organized by the individual or group attaining it, and he or it is then better equipped for the next struggle. For that reason what the commission found, the great concentration of capital, is inevitable under the capitalist system. Everything it has found, as I have said before, has been stated from a thousand platforms in this dominion during the last forty years. It has merely cited, as it were, chapter and verse; it has said this is where the exploitation has taken place and there is where the ruthless competition has occurred; this is the company that has done this and that is the company that has done that. That is all that is new in the report. I am wondering where the hon. member for East Kootenay (Mr. Stevens) has been all these years. He is not in his seat now, but I may say that he is intelligent and industrious, and that for the last twenty-five years he has been living under circumstances which would have made it very easy for him to acquaint himself with the development of capitalism.

In its findings the commission has drawn attention to the concentration of capital, and in presenting those findings to parliament it draws the conclusion that this great concentration of capital is bad because it interferes with the activities, if you like, of the small capitalist, who no longer can compete on equal terms with the large capitalist. But in my opinion there is a far stronger argument than that against the concentration of capital in private hands. In the Canadian Forum of October, 1933 there appeared an article by Professor E. A. Forsey of McGill university, dealing with the concentration of power in Canadian industry; that was some considerable time prior to the appointment of the price spreads and mass buying committee. He said that perhaps one hundred persons here and abroad decide what we shall eat, what we shall drink, wherewithal we shall be clothed and most of our other activities. Then he went on to show the concentration of capital in the Dominion of Canada. First, with regard to banking, he said that three out of the ten banks had seventy per cent of the banking business, which meant that the other seven divided thirty per cent. In regard to trust companies he said that at that time there were forty-seven such companies in Canada, of which the four largest did seventy-seven per cent of the business. The three largest, the Montreal Trust, the Royal Trust and the National Trust, are closely linked with the three largest banks. Then we come to loan companies, of which there were thirty-six. Of these three did eighty-two per cent of the

Trade Commission-Mr. Maclnnis

business. They also are interlocked with the large banks. At that time there were sixty-six life insurance companies, Canadian and foreign, doing business in Canada. Of those companies three, the Sun Life, the Metropolitan Life and the Canada Life, controlled almost half the total assets. Life insurance companies a.re also closely connected with the banks, as are the investment trusts. In connection with transportation, the Canadian Pacific Railway is an important member of the North Atlantic conference, which dominates shipping. Two Canadian Pacific directors are directors of Canada Steamship Lines, which virtually controls Canadian lake shipping. Five Canadian Pacific directors are directors of Canadian Airways, the most important commercial aviation company in Canada. In regard to communications, the express and telegraph systems belong to the two railway systems. In eastern Canada telephones are controlled by the Bell Telephone Company through direct ownership and interlocking directorates. The directorates of the Canadian Pacific Railway and the Bell Telephone Company interlock also. In regard to electric power, apart form publicly owned systems it is almost entirely in the hands of three groups, the Holt interests, the Nesbitt-Thompson-Killam interests and the International Power and Paper Company. These three are linked up with subsidiary power companies across Canada. In connection with pulp and paper there were fifteen companies listed. One, the Canadian subsidiary of International Power and Paper, is interlocked with seven of these companies. In connection with iron and steel, Ford and General Motors dominate motor manufacture in Canada and International Harvester, Massey-Harris and Cockshutt Plough hold a similar position with regard to agricultural implements. In the general steel industry, Dominion Steel and Coal, Steel of Canada and Algoma Steel control the situation. Everyone knows that nickel is a complete monopoly. In regard to copper the Consolidated Mining and Smelting Company, a subsidiary of the Canadian Pacific Railway, holds a leading position. Cement is the virtual monopoly of the Canada Cement Company. In connection with oil refining t'he Imperial Oil Company, with assets of over $242,000,000, towers over its four competitors with combined assets of only $78,000,000. Rubber is in the hands of four companies. Textiles are largely in the hands or under the control of three main groups. Flour milling is controlled by four or five companies, four of which control a large part of the bread baking industry. Meat

packing is in the hands of three or four companies and tobacco is almost entirely in the hands of one company.

Those were the conditions that were public knowledge before the price spreads and mass buying committee was appointed at all. What I find wrong in this situation is not so much that these large companies eliminate competition and crush the small, individual business; it is that these large companies control the means by which the rest of the community live and by which they must obtain access to the things they need in their everyday life. Such recommendations as have been brought in by the price spreads and mass buying commission are altogether inadequate in a situation like this. Through this control a few individuals, numbering perhaps not more than one hundred, can and do levy tribute on the rest of the community, and it seems to me that during the time I have been here parliament has been mainly concerned with seeing that they were allowed to levy this tribute without let or hindrance. I am reminded of the illustration used by Thomas Carlyle:

The widow is gathering nettles for her children's supper. A perfumed landlord', lounging delicately in Paris, has an alchemy by which he will extract from her every third nettle, and call it rent and law.

If we change the perfumed landlord in Paris to a banker, an industrialist or a bondholder in Montreal, Toronto, New York or London and change rent and law to interest and profit, we have a clear picture of what Thomas Carlyle meant, so far as Canada is concerned at the present time. By the same methods as those used in Carlyle's time we find that today some landlords, some industrialists or other exploiters of labour take the value of the third stitch, if you like to put it that way, that the girl takes in her workroom in the attic or factory, and the third or possibly more than the third part of everything the farmer produces on his land. At page 111 of the report we find this statement:

Frank exploitation of labour's weakness has been common. Evidence has followed evidence with monotonous regularity before the commission to show that, in many cases, the welfare of the worker is almost the last consideration that_ enters into the minds of employers in this industry.

The commission was referring to one of the industries. So long as the labour of the individual is a commodity which is bought and sold in the public market we are bound to have the conditions described in the report. The employer buys his labour in very much the same way he would buy any-

Trade Commission-Mr. Maclnnis

thing else. He buys it the same as he buys the electric current used in his plant, and he pays the labourer the value of his labouring power based on its cost of production. The employer is not concerned with what may become of the individual labourer. His chief concern is that there may be other labourers to do the work when the one now being used is worn out or has passed out of the picture. All the labourer receives for his work is, on an average, enough to maintain himself in a condition whereby as the days pass he may reproduce his labour.

At page 7 we find the commission coming to this conclusion:

It is the fierceness of the struggle, not any unusual depravity in the men concerned, which leads to the adoption of such practices. No one business man can afford to follow the dictates of his conscience and refuse to conform.

If he did he would be eliminated.

Here we have a responsible commission making the statement that conditions in industry in Canada are such that no individual business man may allow his conscience to interfere in the administration of his business. After all we cannot be very greatly surprised at that statement, because in years gone by have we not boasted that there was no sentiment in business, and that we could not allow sentiment to enter into it? That being so, if business must be conducted in that way why should we find fault with the individuals who carry on in the manner indicated in the report?

I maintain that the only remedy for the situation is the abolition of the system under which we live, and the taking away from a few individuals the right to control our means of life, the means by which we obtain access to the things we need. The solution offered by the commission is as follows:

The only way out is for all the members of a trade or industry to agree to ban certain unethical practices, or for the state to force them all to agree to such abandonment.

But before the ink was dry on that statement the commissioners saw its inadequacy and added:

Such an agreement, however, often will involve conflicting loyalties, loyalty to the particular group of producers and loyalty to society at large. If the agreement is mainly one not to compete, but rather to share the advantages of monopoly, other groups in society have nothing to gain.

I submit that that is the difficulty in all our social relationships. In a society divided against itself, as ours is to-day, there is nothing we can do which does not interfere with the economic rights or liberties of some-

]Mr. Maclnnis.]

body. That condition must obtain as long as our society is on a class basis.

I am reminded of a statement made by Doctor Mayo, one of the famous brothers of Rochester. A few years ago he was reported as having said that cancer in the human body was caused by one of the cells of the boidy ceasing bo cooperate with the other cells and becoming predatory in character. Whether or not this is true I am not in a position to say, but we do know that when individuals or corporations consider only their own welfare they become a cancer on the social body. That is what has happened and is happening under the present capitalistic system. No individual is to blame for it. As the commission has pointed out, the fierceness of the struggle for existence in the competitive system compels us to do the very things about which we complain.

In a consideration of legislation to deal with the conditions I find myself to a great extent in agreement with the hon. member for Winnipeg South Centre (Mr. Kennedy) I believe it was, who said that the government should go ahead and pass the legislation it believed to be necessary, even if it were a little doubtful whether such legislation was constitutional. In my view we cannot place provincial problems in one compartment and federal problems in another, and state that one section must not infringe upon the other. It is my view that the problems confronting the federal member of parliament are the same problems which confront members of provincial legislatures, and where the political complexion of federal and provincial governments is the same I do not believe there should be any difficulty about those governments getting together and arriving at a conclusion as to what amendments may be necessary to carry out that which is in the best interests of the country. Nothing can be opposed to the interests of the dominion and at the same time favour the interests of a province.

There is another reason why I believe the government should go on with this legislation, even though there may be some doubt as to its constitutionality, namely, that when we find out who is opposing the necessary legislation we will be able to put our fingers on those who favour exploitation as against cooperative effort. I am sure that even that would be so much gain.

As far as the bill itself is concerned I think that the objections that have been taken to it so far are well founded. First of all the tariff board is already too busy with its own work to have this additional burden cast upon

it, and the recommendations put into effect by this bill are too important to be a secondary consideration of any board or commission. I could find many reasons for opposing the bill on the ground that it does not go far enough but I suppose like other members I shall have to content myself with half or a quarter of a loaf when we cannot get the whole of it.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   TRADE AND INDUSTRY COMMISSION
Sub-subtopic:   ADMINISTRATIVE, ADVISORY AND INVESTIGATORY FUNCTIONS-PROVISION FOR A DIRECTOR OF PUBLIQ PROSECUTIONS
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CON

George Reginald Geary

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GEARY:

I was paired with the hon.

member for Laurier-Outremont (Mr. Mer-cier). Had1 I voted1, I would have voted for the motion.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   TRADE AND INDUSTRY COMMISSION
Sub-subtopic:   ADMINISTRATIVE, ADVISORY AND INVESTIGATORY FUNCTIONS-PROVISION FOR A DIRECTOR OF PUBLIQ PROSECUTIONS
Permalink
LIB

James Houston Spence

Liberal

Mr. SPENCE:

I was paired with the

hon. member for Northumberland (Mr. Fraser). Hadi I voted, I would have voted for the motion.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   TRADE AND INDUSTRY COMMISSION
Sub-subtopic:   ADMINISTRATIVE, ADVISORY AND INVESTIGATORY FUNCTIONS-PROVISION FOR A DIRECTOR OF PUBLIQ PROSECUTIONS
Permalink
CON

George Burpee Jones

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. JONES:

I was paired with the hon.

member for Prince (Mr. MacLeanl). Had: I voted, I would have voted for the motion.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   TRADE AND INDUSTRY COMMISSION
Sub-subtopic:   ADMINISTRATIVE, ADVISORY AND INVESTIGATORY FUNCTIONS-PROVISION FOR A DIRECTOR OF PUBLIQ PROSECUTIONS
Permalink
CON

Thomas Cantley

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CANTLEY:

I was paired with the

hon. member for Richelieu (Mr. Cardin). Had I voted, I would have voted for the motion.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   TRADE AND INDUSTRY COMMISSION
Sub-subtopic:   ADMINISTRATIVE, ADVISORY AND INVESTIGATORY FUNCTIONS-PROVISION FOR A DIRECTOR OF PUBLIQ PROSECUTIONS
Permalink

June 20, 1935