March 10, 1936

LIB

William Henry Moore

Liberal

Mr. MOORE:

May I ask the authority

for the survey?

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SC

Percy John Rowe

Social Credit

Mr. ROWE (Athabaska):

The authority

is the United States government. I should like to put on Hansard, for the benefit of the hon. gentleman, a quotation about that. This is what Stuart Chase, the great economist and writer in the United States, has to say about it:

This study is destined, I believe, to have historical importance. It has furnished comprehensive statistical proof for a possible era of abundance; proof which has long been

wanted. It gives the lie to the scarcity men, the hucksters, gamblers, and financial jugglers who once promised the end of poverty, and who now, their system in reverse, foretell an America of industrial serfs, peasants, and belt-tighteners, into a bleak and undated future. Where are you going to get the money? they cry. If the abundance men can carry the findings of the National Survey to every hamlet in the land, there will be in the end no question of where the money is coming from. Americans will not be content to idle in semistarvation because the rules of an antiquated money game demand it. when they know that tlie_ good things of life are theirs for the taking-and, mind you, the working. An income of $4,400 a year in sound goods and services is not affluence, but it looks like paradise to most families in this country to-day. And it is only a beginning; only the first indication of what the power age can do for mankind, if once it be given an opportunity genuinely to serve mankind.

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LIB

William Henry Moore

Liberal

Mr. MOORE:

I am extremely interested

in what the hon. gentleman is saying, but I would call attention to the fact that he is speaking of comment on the report, and not of the report itself. I think that is correct, is it not?

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SC

Percy John Rowe

Social Credit

Mr. ROWE (Athabaska):

That is correct. Perhaps, in order to clear up this matter, I had better say a word or two about the source of this report. This commission, as I said a moment ago, was appointed by the United States government for the purpose of making a survey of the productive plant of that country. Mr. Harold Loeb was the director of that commission. The findings of the commission have not yet been released in the form of an official blue book. But Mr. Loeb, as chairman of the commission, has written this book and foretells and analyses what the report will contain, and there is a chart which shows the whole of the resources of the United States from the land, the factories and the distribution system. It is an exceedingly interesting chart, and I would recommend it to the hon. gentleman for study.

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LIB

William Henry Moore

Liberal

Mr. MOORE:

I have read it. I think it would be well, though, that the hon. gentleman should take some other opportunity to undertake an analysis of it for the purpose of seeing that it brings out his conclusions.

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SC

Percy John Rowe

Social Credit

Mr. ROWE (Athabaska):

I was endeavouring to point out in a spirit of friendliness, amity and cooperation-

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LIB

William Henry Moore

Liberal

Mr. MOORE:

Quite so. I accept that.

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SC

Percy John Rowe

Social Credit

Mr. ROWE (Athabaska):

.-that we have a suggestion to offer and we are offering it sincerely to the government, that they should study this. I am going further. I have very great pleasure in seconding the resolution which

Canada-V JS. Trade Agreement

is now on the order paper asking for the appointment of a committee, or rather, if the government so desires, of one of the standing committees, to make a similar survey of Canada's production plant. That resolution, very properly, is on the order paper in the name of the hon. member for Peace River (Mr. Pelletier), the youngest member of the house, and I think it is appropriate that the youngest member should bring it forward, because it is for the next generation more than for us.

Right on that point, I want to enlarge on the youth problem of this country. To the youthful fancy of the boys and girls coming out of our homes and schools and colleges, the future seems to lie before them like a land of dreams, so beautiful, so varied, and so new. But what have we to offer them? I say that it is within the power of the members of this parliament to see that their hopes are realized and that their dreams come true. Surely it must not be beyond the power of parliament to take cognizance of the wealth of Canada, to survey its resources, and to formulate an intelligent, rational plan for giving life and liberty and happiness to the young people of this dominion.

We have preached brotherhood for centuries. The time has now arrived when we can find a material basis for brotherhood. I think we have found that basis in this age of plenty and machine-made abundance. I believe we are actually nearing the borders of the long promised land. Mankind has wandered for thousands of 3rears in the wilderness of racial hatreds and jealousies, of fear, insecurity and mass murder. It is not too much to say that the ushering in of the age of harnessed solar energy and mankind's inventive genius, the inheritance of the accumulated knowledge and culture of the past, will mark the fulfilment of mankind's age-old quest for freedom, security and happiness. In thinking of the problems confronting this parliament and this country I am reminded of the words of the great commoner, William Jennings Bryan, when he said:

You shall not press down upon the brow of labour this crown of thorns. You shall not crucify mankind on a cross of gold.

I might add to that: You shall not crucify this generation on a cross of scarcity and artificially created poverty. It is just the same thing.

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LIB

Frederick George Sanderson (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. DEPUTY SPEAKER:

I must ask the hon. member for Athabaska to confine his remarks to the question under discussion.

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SC

Percy John Rowe

Social Credit

Mr. ROWE (Athabaska):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I am sincerely trying to suggest a

plan to the government; that plan you have just heard, that we have a committee appointed by this house to make a survey of our wealth, and in that connection we undertake to work with the government. I do not think the people of Canada are in the least concerned about what party brings in this plan. The personal ambitions of politicians or the personal fortunes of particular parties are of no consequence to the Canadian people. What they are interested in is this: In their homes, with their children, they desire to have security, and I should like nothing better than to see the Liberal party bring in this plan If they did so they would earn the everlasting gratitude of the people.

Now, Mr. Speaker, I say that sane men are at last resisting the subjection of the world's real powers to the world's most purely instrumental mechanism, the money system. Monetary restriction upon the actualities of the earth's fruitfulness is so nearly complete that the matter becomes one of life or death. In default of converting our leaders from their fantastic veto upon life there is only one common sense retaliation, and that is a temporary return to direct exchange of labour, or primitive barter. Indeed, I could give dozens of illustrations, from my own riding, of people now engaged in primitive barter, because they have no money. I say that a government-I am speaking not of this government particularly, but of any government- which is afraid to face a simple problem requiring only common sense and backbone, which will allow an inanimate mechanical bogey to strangle and smother the legitimate and normal aspirations and the inalienable rights of the Canadian people, is not worth its salt. It has forfeited its right to the respect of the people and its right to govern the country. The only purpose of government is to minister to human needs, to represent the people, to promote and safeguard their welfare. That is what people pay their taxes for. It may be that some of us here-and I would include myself, because I have seen something of the temptations to which apparently people succumb when they get a good salary and a good deal of comfort-forget the people who sent us here, the people who pay the taxes. Perhaps that is natural, but I am suggesting that we should bring to the solution of this problem all of our manhood, all of our sincerity and our energy, and work together to find the answer. I appeal to every member of this house, not as members of any party but as citizens of Canada elected and paid, as I am and as we all are, by the rest of the citizens of Canada to promote and safeguard

Canada-U\S. Trade Agreement

their welfare, to consider earnestly and sincerely how we may together solve these problems for all the people.

As I said a moment ago, Mr. Speaker, the people are not concerned with the fortunes of any party, but they are supremely concerned with whether we take hold of this job and do our duty like men. We may not meet with success immediately, but if we even start in the right direction and lay the foundation upon the principles of truth, justice and reason, those who follow will have not a jungle trail of selfishness, greed and hate but a broad highway of truth and knowledge along which to travel. This is not a political problem; it is an engineering and accounting problem. Let us get our committee appointed, let us get to work at once to assemble all the facts and then proceed together to work out the solution.

Mr. JAMES A. MacKINNON (Edmonton West): Mr. Speaker, it had not been my intention to participate at all in this debate, but it has occurred to me that as the lone Liberal elected from the province of Alberta there is a responsibility devolving upon me at least to state my position in regard to this matter.

The merits of this agreement have been discussed thoroughly and exhaustively, and in my opinion no good purpose can be accomplished by further traversing all the arguments so ably put forward during the debate. There is one point, however, towhich I should like to refer. The right hon. leader of the opposition, the hon. member for Oargary West (Mr. Bennett) has opposed this agreement and has led his party inopposition to it, an agreement in the making of which he certainly had a hand. I do not want any member of this house or any reader of its proceedings to get the idea that the right hon. gentleman speaks in any way for any measure of Alberta public opinion.Mr. Speaker, if this treaty were to be

submitted to a referendum of the people of Alberta apart from any political prejudice, I am very sure that not only would it carry overwhelmingly, but almost unanimously. I wish to report to the house what I believe to be the public opinion of that province that I am interjecting these few sentences.

The right hon. leader of the government (Mr. Mackenzie King) has been criticized for the speed with which he has brought these negotiations to a successful conclusion. To us in Alberta that was a hopeful sign, a promise of action and an indication of a readiness to put quickly into effect the over-

whelming mandate given him from all parts of Canada. So, on behalf of the great volume of progressive Liberal thought in Alberta-and one is wrong who thinks the limited Liberal representation in this house belies that statement-I wish to congratulate the right hon. leader of the government and his colleagues upon their achievement and to thank them for so quickly and so successfully bringing about this very excellent trade agreement.

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IND

François (Frank) Blais

Independent Liberal

Mr. FRANK BLAIS (Chapleau) (Translation) :

Mr. Speaker, this being my maiden speech in the house, I am pleased to congratulate you on your election to the speakership and also to extend my congratulations to the right hon. Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) for having proposed your nomination to this office and to the Minister of Justice (Mr. Lapointe) for having seconded it.

As the representative of the constituency of Chapleau, I wish to voice my view's on the reciprocity agreement. The county of Chapleau is already a very important one from the standpoint of agriculture and colonization, and I am free to state that, in the near future, it will be, of all the counties in the dominion, the one where agriculture, mining and forestry operations will reach the highest degree of development. No better news could have been conveyed to us than the announcement by the Prime Minister of the signing of this trade agreement with our neighbours to the south.

It was with great pleasure that I read in La Presse, of August 3rd last, that one of the principal features of the Liberal party's program was the negotiation of a reciprocity agreement with the United States at the earliest possible moment, in the event of it obtaining the confidence of the people on the 14th of October. As we hoped, the results w'ere most wonderful. The triumph was without precedent in the history of Canada.

I therefore beg the hon. the Prime Minister and his colleagues to accept the congratulations and thanks of my constituents for the prompt execution of their promise.

I am highly pleased with the reduction of $2 per thousand feet in the duty on Canadian sawn lumber exported to the United States. The production of sawn lumber in my county amounts to about 35,000,000 feet per year, and, thanks to this agreement, we shall be paid S2 more per thousand feet, representing additional receipts of S70.000, which will be highly appreciated by us. The increase of $2 per thousand feet on our sawm lumber enables us to pay to the men in our winter camps S50

Canada-U.S. Trade Agreement

and more per month, including their board; these wages are highly deserved by skilled woodsmen. The reduction in duty will prove generally advantageous to all lumber merchants who avail themselves of its benefits.

On the 5th of February last, at the Mount Royal Hotel in Montreal, a general convention of Canadian and American lumbermen met for the purpose of considering trade conditions and changes likely to occur as a result of the reciprocity agreement which, at the time, had been in force for thirty-five days. We asked a straight question to the American lumber merchants as to how they were affected by the treaty. The reply made by Mr. Kennedy, of New York, shows that the tariff reduction was in our favour. It enables us, he said to offer you $2 more per thousand feet; we are pleased with this lowering of the duty and we trust to be in a position to continue dealing with you.

Mr. Speaker, the general increase of $2 per thousand feet on approximately one billion feet of sawn lumber, which is the yearly cut of Canada, means for us a profit of $20,000,000. This tariff reduction alone, therefore, represents a substantial gain for Canada.

Some hon. members from the prairie provinces inform us that the cattle industry is the one that benefits most by this treaty; of that I am quite pleased. Two reductions alone, on cattle and on sawn lumber, will give us annual profits of over $40,000,000. Although they constitute the most important items, they nevertheless show how valuable to Canada the agreement is, without taking into consideration the numerous other items that will prove beneficial to us.

Some hon. members opposite seem to think that the treaty might have a detrimental effect on the prices of our vegetables, especially carrots, cabbages, etc. I may say that, on the contrary, these products have gone up i cent per pound since the treaty has been in force.

They also speak of imports of American farming implements which are likely to harm our Canadian industries. I do not think that these gentlemen are in earnest. In the manufacture of farm implements Canadian hardwood is used, which is partly imported from Canada and therefore becomes fairly costly in the United States, the freight amounting to $14 per thousand feet, to which is to be added a duty of $2. So, I fail to see how unfair competition can be waged by American factories.

As to our Canadian companies, they are in part, branches of American concerns located here and they know quite well how to look

after their own business in either country. Why then such prohibitive prices in Canada? I consider them unfair and detrimental to the purchasing power of our farmers. I note with a good deal of satisfaction that the government has arranged to investigate the increased prioes of farm implements manufactured by these companies; such an inquiry should produce excellent results and be of a great benefit to our farmers.

Mr. Speaker, I wish to congratulate the members of this house who, realizing the importance of this agreement, have given it their unreserved support, mindful as they were of the fact that for years past we have suffered great hardships. Had this agreement been approved in 1911, the depression we are now going through would not have been so severe. We suffered from overproduction while having at our very door, a market for our surplus production. We could have benefited by it had we concluded a trade agreement with the United States. No longer shall we have to deplore that grave error. Great advantages have already accrued from this agreement which has been in force only a short time ago. We may then rest assured that within five years this arrangement will prove to be a great boon to our people, while being helpful to our neighbours in the United States.

The right hon. leader of the opposition (Mr. Bennett) should support the measure and thus compensate to a certain extent the harmful effects of his five years of power, during which he sometimes wanted and sometimes did not want a reciprocal trade arrangement. Again, I wish to sincerely thank the right hon. the Prime Minister for the excellent work he has accomplished as well as for the splendid triumph he achieved on the 14th of October last.

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CON

Alexander McKay Edwards

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. A. M. EDWARDS (Waterloo South):

Mr. Speaker, I rather hesitate at this late hour of the debate to inject into it what I have to say with regard to this trade agreement. First I should like to take this opportunity to congratulate you, sir, and your deputy upon your appointment to the high office that has been conferred upon you. Having known you both for a considerable length of time in this house I feel perfectly safe in your hands.

I have listened with careful attention to the debate on this proposed trade agreement. It appears to me that the problem before us resolves itself largely into deciding whether on balance we are securing favourable treatment or whether we are paying too much for what we get. In other words, are we not dropping the substance for the

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COPYRIGHT ACT


The house resumed from Friday, February 28, consideration of the motion of Mr. Esling for the second reading of Bill No. 7, to amend the Copyright Amendment Act, 1931.


CON

William Kemble Esling

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. W. K. ESLING (Kootenay West):

The Secretary of State (Mr. Rinfret) has announced that he intends to bring down a bill to amend the Copyright Act and he has asked me to let this bill stand. I am quite agreeable, but I should like to know if he can indicate when his bill will be brought down.

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LIB

Louis Édouard Fernand Rinfret (Secretary of State of Canada)

Liberal

Hon. FERNAND RINFRET (Secretary of State):

Mr. Speaker, I am hardly in order

in replying to the hon. gentleman because I

have spoken already to the motion for the second reading of this bill. However, with the permission of the house, I would say that I intend to bring down a bill within a very short time.

Motion stands.

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CIVIL SERVICE ACT


The house resumed from Friday, March 6, consideration of the motion of Mr. Boulanger for the second reading of Bill No. 9, to amend the Civil Service Act (vacancies, outside service, priority to returned soldiers.)


LIB

Louis Édouard Fernand Rinfret (Secretary of State of Canada)

Liberal

Hon. FERNAND RINFRET (Secretary of State):

Mr. Speaker, in rising to speak to the motion for the second reading of this bill, I desire first to congratulate the hon. member for Bellechasse (Mr. Boulanger), not so much upon bringing down the bill as upon the moderate way in which he has advanced his argument. This is a matter with which parliaments are faced from time to time. The Civil Service Act is a very complex and involved one. If hon. members will look back they will find that at regular intervals the governments of the day have been asked to review or amend the act. When I first came into the house in 1920 one of the first debates to which I listened was on this matter, and it has been coming up every three or four years since then. It might be noted that this matter is usually initiated by a member of the party in power, but I do not say that in any spirit of criticism; the motive for that appears quite natural.

There is in the act itself a spirit of amendment. The act leaves to the civil service commission the devising of regulations which are very extensive in scope. Under section 59 the commission has power to exempt a certain number of positions from the provisions of the act when it considers that those positions cannot be properly filled in the ordinary way. Section 59 reads:

In any case where the commission decides that it is not practicable nor in the public interest to apply this act to any position or positions, the commission may, with the approval of the governor in council, exclude such position or positions in whole or in part from the operation of the act, and make such regulations as are deemed advisable prescribing how such position or positions are to be dealt with.

That is a very important section and it shows without any doubt that there was in the minds of those who framed the act the belief that it could not be applied one hundred per cent; that a certain number of positions should, if necessary, be freed from its

Civil Service Act

operations. This being so, it is only natural that individual members, having a conception of their duties as such, should come before parliament from time to time with suggested amendments to the Civil Service Act. The former government amended the act in 19(32 rather extensively, and on previous occasions the act has been modified or changed by preceding governments, either by straight amendments or by making use of this section 59.

The hon. member who introduced this bill has been careful not to make it a partisan one. In presenting his argument he has been careful to quote from all parties and groups and he has shown conclusively that there has been constantly in the minds of hon. members an anxiety to improve the act from year to year. He has pronounced himself in favour of the merit system and in that respect we are with him; we all desire to maintain the merit system. I can go even further-and I believe hon. members will be with me on this-and say that we desire also to take away from the ordinary business of hon. members and ministers the necessity of having to provide positions in a wholesale manner and in that respect waste precious time that could be much better consecrated to work for the general good. I am reminded of a remark once made to me by a visitor who found my office rather full with callers. He told me that he thought if I were able to bring down in parliament a single measure for the general welfare of the public,

I would be doing more good and helping more people than by securing appointments for all those who called on me. Let there be no mistake as to how the government and I stand on this matter. We stand for the merit system and we wish to maintain it as much as we can.

However, I should like to quote a very eminent member of this house. When he was Prime Minister, the leader of the opposition (Mr. Bennett), dealing with a bill similar to this one in its general aspect, asked who was to determine merit. The act itself foresees that there may be cases where positions cannot be filled by examinations, where the appointments would have to be made in another manner. In an effort to maintain the principle of the act, one parliament after another has made an effort to improve it in certain of its particulars. Because the present bill is sweeping in character, I for one, and in the name of the government, would not suggest that the house should accept it in its present form. It is only fair to state that the civil service itself has been somewhat ill at ease over this bill. I could quote from many docu-

ments received from different associations of civil servants to show that there is no disposition on their part to accept the bill in its present form. I have before me a letter from the president of the Civil Service Federation of Canada, and I have also a clipping giving particulars of a long interview with the national secretary of the Amalgamated Civil Service of Canada. I could give many quotations-I shall not as that is not my purpose in rising to-night-to show that the civil service, and I believe a large portion of the public, are not satisfied with the bill as it is.

The bill deals with many different questions. It deals first with the outside service; then with returned men, not only those who served with the Canadian forces but those who served with the allied forces as well; it then deals with returned men who did not reside in Canada at the time of the war, with promotions and other matters. These are different questions that could form the subject matter of different bills, and there is a danger that if we should take action on this bill one way or the other, on the one hand we might be approving of too much, or, on the other, in disapproving of the bill as a whole we might be setting aside some of its features which seem more desirable. Having all that in mind, I would suggest that the house might pass the second reading of the bill with the understanding that it will be at once referred to a special committee for study, and I have such a motion before me. That committee would report during the course of the session, and I think the house would then be in a better position to judge of all the features of this bill. I therefore suggest that we adopt the bill on second reading so that I may move its reference to a special committee. I hope the hon. member in charge of the bill will be satisfied with that suggestion

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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Right Hon. R. B. BENNETT (Leader of the Opposition):

Mr. Speaker, the adoption of the principle of this bill is the negation of everything that this house has declared for during a period of many years. I had assumed that probably some member representing the government would suggest that the bill be referred to a committee. That can be done only after the second reading; the second reading of this bill implies approval of the principle, and I regret that I find it impossible to accept the principle.

The first part of the bill is very simple, and the hon. gentleman who introduced the measure (Mr. Boulanger) took a considerable time to stress that part in order, I suggest, to make his references to the second part of the

Civil Service Act

bill a little easier. This was good tactics, but I do not think it served the purpose because it is quite clear that the aim of this bill is to restore patronage in every sense of the term. That is what it is, purely and simply, and we might as well face that fact.

Now, is this house prepared to go back to patronage? I am perfectly satisfied that fresh from the people the government of the day is besieged by members who desire that some Conservative in the civil service of the country should be removed and somebody else appointed in his place who was more given to support the government of the day. There is nothing new about that; it has been going on for a long time, and I suppose it will continue to go on for a very much longer time because human nature does not change just because there is a change of government. Human nature is much the same to-day as it was yesterday. I fancy that there are in Canada thousands of people who say that the late government did not do their duty in removing men who were violently Liberal and replacing them by Conservatives, but on examination we found that these men had discharged their duties, done their work in accordance with the rules and regulations, and had never interfered in politics, because if they did they were removed from office on the certificate of the member, or an investigation might be held if it were thought desirable. Now, are we prepared to go back to patronage or not?

The hon. gentleman quoted from some observations made by myself when his former bill was under consideration and referred to a committee of the house. I said that the question was; who was to determine merit? I asked that question because of a certain appointment that I had investigated that was made in a certain town between Winnipeg and the head of the lakes. It turned out in the final analysis that the question of the fitness of the man who was the successful applicant for the position was determined not by the civil service commission but rather by somebody on the ground who said, "Of the applicants, he is the best man."

Mr. BOULANGER; That is the general rule, if I may point out, so far as the outside service is concerned.

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March 10, 1936