February 24, 1936

CON

John Ritchie MacNicol

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MacNICOL:

I am not afraid to make these accusations outside the portals of the house.

Topic:   COOPERATIVE COMMONWEALTH
Subtopic:   CONCENTRATION OP ECONOMIC POWER-PROPOSED PUBLIC OR COOPERATIVE OPERATION OF UNDERTAKINGS FAILING TO FUNCTION IN THE GENERAL INTEREST
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CCF

Thomas Clement (Tommy) Douglas

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. DOUGLAS:

I think these organizations would be more than likely to sue the hon. gentleman for libel. His only basis for the statement was that these organizations were opposed to capitalism and everything that capitalism stood for. I do not know anything about them, but the mere fact that they are opposed to capitalism and all that capitalism stands for hardly makes them communistic. I have under my hand a copy of the first address made over the radio by the previous Prime Minister of Canada (Mr. Bennett). It was delivered a year ago last January, and I am sure there can be no objection to my reading a part of it. I do not read it in any derogatory sense, because I believe these speeches will go down in Canadian history among some of the great classics of Canadian oratory. I quote:

This economic system of ours is something that most of us have never stoipped to think very much about. Before the war there was no great occasion to. After the war, when the system was rushing uncontrollably toward the 1929 abyss, I imagine there were not many who were much concerned'. Now, alas, we have reason enough to worry; and still more reason, therefore, to do our best to end the cause of all this worry and trouble and to free our minds for happier things. It is a tragedy of these times that men and women, boys and girls, whose minds should be given to constructive pursuits, find themselves handicapped and harassed by the uncertainties of life, and prevented, by the anxieties of this present situation, from giving their best to the things which are most worth while. ... If you examined this capitalist system, you would appreciate more fully some of the facts which underlie the transcendent fact that times have changed, that old conditions are no more, that something new has come into our social and economic life, and that this new element, this new force, insistently demands recognition. And I am compelled to add, you would realize more clearly the folly of some men who try to ignore this irresistible truth.

If all those who are opposed to capitalism are to be classed as communists, then I am afraid the right hon. the leader of the opposition must come under that scathing indictment.

Topic:   COOPERATIVE COMMONWEALTH
Subtopic:   CONCENTRATION OP ECONOMIC POWER-PROPOSED PUBLIC OR COOPERATIVE OPERATION OF UNDERTAKINGS FAILING TO FUNCTION IN THE GENERAL INTEREST
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LIB

Ernest Lapointe (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. LAPOINTE (Quebec East):

He would come under section 98.

Topic:   COOPERATIVE COMMONWEALTH
Subtopic:   CONCENTRATION OP ECONOMIC POWER-PROPOSED PUBLIC OR COOPERATIVE OPERATION OF UNDERTAKINGS FAILING TO FUNCTION IN THE GENERAL INTEREST
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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

Perhaps the amended

section.

Topic:   COOPERATIVE COMMONWEALTH
Subtopic:   CONCENTRATION OP ECONOMIC POWER-PROPOSED PUBLIC OR COOPERATIVE OPERATION OF UNDERTAKINGS FAILING TO FUNCTION IN THE GENERAL INTEREST
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CCF

Thomas Clement (Tommy) Douglas

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. DOUGLAS:

The hon. member for

Davenport also went to a great deal of trouble

472 COMMONS

Cooperative Commonwealth-Mr. Douglas

to point out that certain movements were anti-religious, a fact which he decried. I do not think he was trying to draw the illogical inference that those of us who support this movement are anti-religious, but nevertheless the connection is very subtle and as the statement goes out to the country the inference will be drawn that, socialism and communism being, as the hon. gentleman says, the same thing, though an elementary knowledge of economics will show that they are not, then the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation must be anti-religious. May I point out-and I think I have some small knowledge of this subject-that Christianity and capitalism have not gone together, and that being a Christian does not necessarily mean being a capitalist.

Topic:   COOPERATIVE COMMONWEALTH
Subtopic:   CONCENTRATION OP ECONOMIC POWER-PROPOSED PUBLIC OR COOPERATIVE OPERATION OF UNDERTAKINGS FAILING TO FUNCTION IN THE GENERAL INTEREST
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LIB

William Duff

Liberal

Mr. DUFF:

You would not get very far

with Christianity without the capitalist.

Topic:   COOPERATIVE COMMONWEALTH
Subtopic:   CONCENTRATION OP ECONOMIC POWER-PROPOSED PUBLIC OR COOPERATIVE OPERATION OF UNDERTAKINGS FAILING TO FUNCTION IN THE GENERAL INTEREST
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?

James McCrie Douglas

Mr. DUUGLAS:

The world had Christianity long before it had capitalists, and it will have Christianity long after some of the gentlemen opposite supporting capitalism have passed away.

Topic:   COOPERATIVE COMMONWEALTH
Subtopic:   CONCENTRATION OP ECONOMIC POWER-PROPOSED PUBLIC OR COOPERATIVE OPERATION OF UNDERTAKINGS FAILING TO FUNCTION IN THE GENERAL INTEREST
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LIB

William Duff

Liberal

Mr. DUFF:

We are all capitalists.

Topic:   COOPERATIVE COMMONWEALTH
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CCF

Thomas Clement (Tommy) Douglas

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. DOUGLAS:

I appreciate the orderly

reception from across the floor; it jibes very well with the general conduct of hon. gentlemen opposite.

Topic:   COOPERATIVE COMMONWEALTH
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LIB

William Duff

Liberal

Mr. DUFF:

Speak for yourself, John.

Topic:   COOPERATIVE COMMONWEALTH
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CCF

Thomas Clement (Tommy) Douglas

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. DOUGLAS:

In order to show that

Christianity and capitalism have not gone hand in hand, I wish to quote from the Pope's encyclical Quadragesimo Anno at page 32:

In the first place, then, it is patent that in our days not alone is wealth accumulated, but immense power and despotic economic domination is concentrated in the hands of a few, and that those few are frequently not the owners, but only the trustees and directors of invested funds, who administer them at their good pleasure.

This power becomes particularly irresistible when exercised' by those who, because they hold and control money, are able also to govern credit and determine its allotment, for that reason supplying so to speak, the life blood to the entire economic body, and grasping, as it were, in their hands the very soul of production., so that no one dare breathe against their will.

This accumulation of power, the characteristic note of the modern economic order, is a natural result of limitless free competition which permits the survival of those only who are the strongest, which often means those who fight most relentlessly, who pay least heed to the dictates of conscience.

This concentration of power has led to a three-fold struggle for domination. First, there is the struggle for dictatorship in the economic

sphere itself; then, the fierce battle to acquire control of the state, so that its resources and authority may be abused in the economic struggles. Finally, the clash between states themselves.

And this, Mr. Speaker, I suggest ultimately means war. I quote one more statement, on page 35:

If these changes continue it may well come about that gradually the tenets of mitigated socialism will no longer be different from the program of those who seek to reform human society according to Christian principles.

Topic:   COOPERATIVE COMMONWEALTH
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LIB

Eugène Fiset

Liberal

Sir EUGENE FISET:

Amen.

Topic:   COOPERATIVE COMMONWEALTH
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CCF

Thomas Clement (Tommy) Douglas

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. DOUGLAS:

The hon. gentleman says amen. I am sure it is not meant irreverently, but when the head of one of the greatest churches on the face of the earth makes a statement like that I hope the hon. gentleman who said amen means it much more than the tone of his voice would imply. I would direct your attention, Mr. Speaker, to the statement of another great church, the Toronto general conference of the United Church of Canada, made in 1933:

It is our belief that the application of the principles of Jesus to the economic conditions would mean the end of the capitalistic system; by the capitalistic system we mean that order of things under which capital, which is a vital factor in the economic field and represents the part of the economic product used as a means to further production, is owned and administered by individuals and' special groups with a view ito their own profit.

Our contention is that capital, especially in those large scale forms that are essential to the life of the whole people, should be owned and operated instead, not for private gain, but in the services of the general good.

If all those who are opposed to capitalism, the present concentration of wealth and the exploitation of the masses, are said to be anti-religious, the two statements I have just read certainly ought to offset that theory. Strange to say, the other day I received a copy of the Saskatchewan Liberal, which is always worthy of perusal, and in one corner I find a quotation from one of the greatest preachers on the north American continent. I refer to Reverend Doctor Harry Emerson Fosdick, of New York, who says:

If our capitalism can so adjust itself to the new circumstances that it can achieve such devotion to economic processes to the welfare of all the pepole, even the least of them, then capitalism can go on. If not, there is nothing on earth that can save it, and nothing in heaven that will try to.

I submit that to you, Mr. Speaker, as the statement of a Christian gentleman who could not be called either a communist or an atheist.

The hon. member for Davenport was kind enough to say some very nice things about the bon. member for Winnipeg North) Centre

Cooperative Commonwealth-Mr. Douglas

(Mr. Woodsworth). He said that he believed in the sincerity of the hon. member, as I think we all do. Then he went on to say that the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre was a reformer, and that in all social and physical revolutions the great danger had been the reformers. I want to repudiate that statement. In every time of social transition the danger has been not the reformer but the reactionary. The hon. gentleman chose rather an unfortunate historical analogy.

Topic:   COOPERATIVE COMMONWEALTH
Subtopic:   CONCENTRATION OP ECONOMIC POWER-PROPOSED PUBLIC OR COOPERATIVE OPERATION OF UNDERTAKINGS FAILING TO FUNCTION IN THE GENERAL INTEREST
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CON

John Ritchie MacNicol

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MacNICOL:

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, I cannot allow the hon. gentleman to put words into my mouth. He is quoting statements which I did not make at all.

Topic:   COOPERATIVE COMMONWEALTH
Subtopic:   CONCENTRATION OP ECONOMIC POWER-PROPOSED PUBLIC OR COOPERATIVE OPERATION OF UNDERTAKINGS FAILING TO FUNCTION IN THE GENERAL INTEREST
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CCF

Thomas Clement (Tommy) Douglas

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. DOUGLAS:

What was the statement?

I /Should be glad to have it.

Topic:   COOPERATIVE COMMONWEALTH
Subtopic:   CONCENTRATION OP ECONOMIC POWER-PROPOSED PUBLIC OR COOPERATIVE OPERATION OF UNDERTAKINGS FAILING TO FUNCTION IN THE GENERAL INTEREST
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CON

John Ritchie MacNicol

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MacNICOL:

I am sure Hansard has recorded it.

Topic:   COOPERATIVE COMMONWEALTH
Subtopic:   CONCENTRATION OP ECONOMIC POWER-PROPOSED PUBLIC OR COOPERATIVE OPERATION OF UNDERTAKINGS FAILING TO FUNCTION IN THE GENERAL INTEREST
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CCF

Thomas Clement (Tommy) Douglas

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. DOUGLAS:

In that case we shall have to leave it to Hansard. My notes say that the hon. gentleman pointed out that the reformers, especially in the ease of the French revolution, were the ones who led to slaughter and bloodshed. I would suggest that the French revolution was rather an unfortunate analogy to adopt. It was not the reformers who caused what later became a blood bath; it was the reactionaries, who held off a necessary and inevitable period of change so long that when the thing blew up the reformers could not control it and the revolutionaries took complete control.

Topic:   COOPERATIVE COMMONWEALTH
Subtopic:   CONCENTRATION OP ECONOMIC POWER-PROPOSED PUBLIC OR COOPERATIVE OPERATION OF UNDERTAKINGS FAILING TO FUNCTION IN THE GENERAL INTEREST
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CON

John Ritchie MacNicol

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MacNICOL:

That is what I said.

Topic:   COOPERATIVE COMMONWEALTH
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CCF

Thomas Clement (Tommy) Douglas

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. DOUGLAS:

But it was not the reformers who were to blame; it was the reactionaries. When his ministers came to Louis XVI and asked him to make necessary constitutional changes he said, " No. After me the deluge." But the deluge came in his time and Louis lost his head, not that he used it much while he had it but he was never the same after he lost it. So I say that instead of using that analogy to frighten us, the government should feel that unless changes are made all the time, in keeping with the times, even those of us who desire reforms may be pushed aside by others more violent and less responsible.

If I remember correctly the hon. member foi Cochrane (Mr. Bradette) also paid a very fine compliment to our leader, but he said that we were in too much of a hurry.

Topic:   COOPERATIVE COMMONWEALTH
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LIB

Joseph-Arthur Bradette

Liberal

Mr. BRADETTE:

I said that you were too impatient. That is quite different.

Topic:   COOPERATIVE COMMONWEALTH
Subtopic:   CONCENTRATION OP ECONOMIC POWER-PROPOSED PUBLIC OR COOPERATIVE OPERATION OF UNDERTAKINGS FAILING TO FUNCTION IN THE GENERAL INTEREST
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February 24, 1936