June 16, 1936

ELECTIONS AND FRANCHISE


Mr. C. E. BOTHWELL (Swift Current) moved that the fourth and final report of the special committee on the elections and franchise acts, presented on June 11, be concurred in. Motion agreed to.


GOLDFIELDS, SASKATCHEWAN UNEMPLOYMENT RESULTING FROM INFLUX INTO MINING AREA


On the orders of the day: Mr. CAMERON R. McINTOSH (Battle-ford North): Mr. Speaker, I desire to ask a question of Ihe Minister of Labour (Mr. Rogers) in connection with Canada's youngest mining centre, Goldfields, on the eastern shore of Athabasca lake, which is in the North Battleford federal riding. The information received is to the effect that there is an influx of men into this young mining area, and the unemployment situation is serious. The report I have goes on to say that new arrivals are coming in daily, by boat and aeroplane, and already many are dependent on the charity of residents of the town and are eating and sleeping wherever they can. May I ask the Minister of Labour whether the government have been made aware of the unemployment situation there, either, indirectly through the medium of the province of Saskatchewan, or directly from the mining area of Goldfields; and if so, what action if any is contemplated. Bank of Canada-Mr. Barber, Hon. NORMAN McL. ROGERS (Minister of Labour): Until I received this afternoon an intimation that this question was to be asked I had not been made aware of the situation referred to by my hon. friend. I am not certain what measures could be taken to arrest the movement into Goldfields, if the prospects are as attractive as suggested by my hon. friend, but I assure him that I shall look into the matter and take whatever measures may be possible.


BRITISH NORTH AMERICA ACT

INQUIRY WITH RESPECT TO SECURING OF AMENDMENTS


On the orders of the day:


CCF

James Shaver Woodsworth

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

Mr. J. S. WOODSWORTH (Winnipeg North Centre):

May I ask the Minister of Justice (Mr. Lapointe) whether the government propose to take any steps in the near future to secure amendments to the British North America Act, or some method by which the the British North America Act may be amended?

Topic:   BRITISH NORTH AMERICA ACT
Subtopic:   INQUIRY WITH RESPECT TO SECURING OF AMENDMENTS
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LIB

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

Liberal

Hon. ERNEST LAPOINTE (Minister of Justice):

I am afraid this matter will have to stand until another session.

Topic:   BRITISH NORTH AMERICA ACT
Subtopic:   INQUIRY WITH RESPECT TO SECURING OF AMENDMENTS
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COPYRIGHT CONFERENCE


On the orders of the day:


LIB

Edgar-Rodolphe-Eugène Chevrier

Liberal

Mr. E. R. E. CHEVRIER (Ottawa East):

I should like to ask the Secretary of State (Mr. Rinfret) whether the convention on copyright scheduled to meet in Brussels this fall will meet, and if not, when it will meet and where.

Topic:   COPYRIGHT CONFERENCE
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LIB

Louis Édouard Fernand Rinfret (Secretary of State of Canada)

Liberal

Hon. FERNAND RINFRET (Secretary of State):

I am glad the hon. gentleman has put that question, because it gives me an opportunity to make a public statement on the matter for the information of the house and the country. We have received an official notice that the proposed international copyright conference, which was to be held on September 7 in Brussels, will not take place this year. The communication states that it will take place another year, but does not give further particulars.

Topic:   COPYRIGHT CONFERENCE
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BANK OF CANADA

MAJORITY CONTROL BA' GOVERNMENT OF CAPITAL STOCK AND BOARD OF DIRECTORS


Hon. CHARLES A. DUNNING (Minister of Finance) moved the third reading of Bill No. 82, to amend the Bank of Canada Act.


CON

Harry James Barber

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. H. J. BARBER (Fraser Valley):

Mr. Speaker, this is such an important piece of legislation, perhaps one of the most important that has come before any parliament, that on this, the third reading, those of us who did not speak on it previously should I think take advantage of this last opportunity to express our views. I say it is important because, as has already been pointed out, it was an issue in the last election, and the people have looked to this piece of legislation, the new set-up of this bank, the change that was promised with some hope of relief from present economic conditions. During the election Liberal speakers throughout the ridings of this country told the people that if the Liberal party was returned to power the Bank of Canada would be nationalized, taken over by the government and operated in the interests of the people. I think one member, the present Minister of National Defence (Mr. Mackenzie), went so far as to say in a speech in Vancouver, that, in addition, the Liberal party if returned to power would proceed to issue new money, and he mentioned an amount something like $50,000,000. The provinces, the municipalities and the cities naturally looked upon this proposed change as affording relief from the financial conditions from which they were suffering. They expected that money would circulate more freely. I think that impression was general throughout the country, and that is the reason, Mr. Speaker, I consider this one of the most important pieces of legislation that has come before the house. My reply to these gentlemen who advocated government ownership was this: that to do so was very simple, that the Bank of Canada was set up following the recommendations of a royal commission, and that if any government found that it did not work in the best interests of the people, the set-up of the bank could easily be changed. If that change was to be nationalization of the bank by the government taking it over, that could be accomplished very simply by taking over the stock of the private shareholders.

I think we all agree that what we need is not new money in this country but a greater velocity in the circulation of money. But so far the policy of this government, which has been in office now for six months, has been to adopt measures which tend to block rather than to stimulate the circulation of money. For instance, the Minister of Finance the other day announced that a large loan had been floated, and we all know that a very fine return was offered to investors to come forward and invest in that loan, an interest rate of 3J per cent.

Bank of Canada-Mr. Barber

Topic:   BANK OF CANADA
Subtopic:   MAJORITY CONTROL BA' GOVERNMENT OF CAPITAL STOCK AND BOARD OF DIRECTORS
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LIB

Charles Avery Dunning (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. DUNNING:

No.

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CON

Harry James Barber

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BARBER:

I believe it was close to

that; at all events it was a greater return than could be received from investments in industry to-day. That was one action that was taken by the government that tended to slow up industry. Then we have the eight per cent sales tax, the highest sales tax known in any country, and all you have to do to learn its effects, is to inquire in business circles, where you will find that it has tended to slow up the circulation of the dollar.

I wish to refer now to one particular section of the bill, section 15. I approach this with a full knowledge that it is a subject upon which harsh words have been spoken and one which has caused bitter feeling in different parts of this country, but I believe this is the place to discuss it, not in the little red sehoolhouse or on the back lines. I shall say what I have to say with the greatest moderation because I do not think anyone can accuse me of being intolerant in such matters.

I have the greatest respect and the greatest regard for our friends the French speaking Canadians of this country. I do not think anyone has a greater respect for them. I have made many friends amongst them since being here, and I hope they will take the remarks I make to-day in the spirit in which they are made, with the greatest of moderation. I was pleased to hear an hon. member from a town in the province of Quebec tell us the other evening how splendidly the French

speaking and English speaking people of his town get along together; how for a long time they elected alternately a French speaking and then an English speaking mayor. That is a wonderful spirit; it is the spirit we must have between the two great races in Canada if we are to make this country what it should be. But I could not figure out just what that had to do with the question of bilingual currency in the year 1936. I say to the members of this house, and I say it in all earnestness, knowing this country pretty well, that I see great danger in this particular section at this time, a time when our people are suffering perhaps as they have never suffered before from economic conditions. I believe that this section is the sowing of seed that is bound to grow into an issue in this country which will be perhaps more serious than anything that has happened since confederation, something that will not be in the interests of harmony between the two great races and that will not be in the best interests of the minority in this country.

Just look at the picture, for instance, of western Canada. In the province from which I come, British Columbia, the French speaking population is less than three per cent; in Alberta the French speaking population is less than six per cent; in Saskatchewan it is less than six per cent, and in Manitoba it is less than seven per cent. I think I will put this table of figures on Hansard. It is based on the 1931 census and comes from the bureau of statistics:

Province Total population French population Per cent

Manitoba

700,139 47,039 6 7Saskatchewan

921,785 50,700 5 5A'berta .

731,605 38.377 5.2-British Columbia

694,263 15,028 2 1

Total population of the four western provinces, 3,047,792; French-speaking population of the four western provinces, 151,144; French-speaking population of the four western provinces 4.9 per cent of the total.

That shows quite a different picture from the one given the other evening by an hon. member from one of the ridings in the province of Quebec, and I think it is something that should be taken into consideration very seriously by this house.

I want to make this one statement. I do not believe that in this whole world there is a more tolerant people than the English speaking people of Canada. They have tolerated, in the past-I am going to put it that way- bilingual postage stamps, issued without any authority of parliament. They have tolerated the forms that were referred to by the Minister of Finance the other night, issued with-

[Mr. Barber.l

out the authority of parliament. As some hon. gentlemen know, they have in many sections protested strenuously against French announcements over the radio, with the result that they have been moderated. No English speaking member has stood on his feet in this house and said that as this is not according to the constitution, it should be removed. No; it was tolerated. Now with the authority of parliament we are going to provide that this is a bilingual country, that we are to have bilingual currency in circulation throughout the country. I warn the government and hon. members of this house that that will not create the harmony and cooperation that we

Bank of Canada-Mr. Barber

want to see between the two great races in Canada. I hope and trust it will never be- ' come a political issue, although it may be forced as an issue by the people.

I should like to quote from Hansard of 1905 in order to give a clear picture of how the Liberal party stood on this question. I refer to page 6026 of Hansard of May 21, 1905. The following questions were asked of Mr. Fielding, then Minister of Finance

1. Do any grave reasons of state exist that might prevent the Minister of Finance from having the dominion one dollar and two dollar notes or all other bank notes printed simultaneously in English and French?

2. Are they unaware in the finance department that the two languages are official in Canada?

3. Is it the intention of the Minister of Finance to rectify in the future this state of things by ordering that those bank notes be printed in both languages, English and French?

Mr. Fielding answered as follows:

There is nothing in the British North America Act or in any act of the parliament of Canada, which requires or contemplates the printing of dominion notes in two languages.

The finance department has not contemplated the advisability of any departure from the practice which has existed under all governments from the beginning of confederation down to the present time.

That was the official statement of the Liberal party in 1905. When the present act was framed consideration was given by parliament to our French speaking Canadians for the first time in the history of this country. This act provides that notes of the Bank of Canada be printed in the French language as well as English. A large number of French speaking people live in the constituency which I have had the honour to represent for a number of years and I have never heard any objection on their part to receiving money printed in their own language. I do not think there has been any protest from the great masses of French speaking Canadians against money being printed in the French language. The provision in the present act has been working only about a year and it has not -been given a chance.

The main argument of the minister is that it cost about $29,000 to print these bills in the French language. I have not heard any protest from any English speaking member of this house against the cost. Further, there has never been a protest from any English speaking member or from anyone else in Canada that I have heard of against the expenditure of hundreds of thousands of dollars spent in printing the proceedings of this house and the publications of the different departments in the French language. That was provided for and there has been no complaint. There has been no objection to that from the English speaking people. Is this action going to return to us the $29,000? No, it means that we are going to spend at least another $29,000 to print the new money. I think even some hon. members to my left will agree that that money could be spent to greater advantage these days.

The people of the two great races are not demanding a new dollar; they are demanding that they be given the opportunity to earn a dollar. They are not particular whether that dollar is new; they are prepared to accept the dollars that have been provided. What they want is an opportunity to earn a dollar. The great army of the unemployed want work in order that they may earn a dollar. Merchants, business men, farmers and citizens generally throughout this country are in dire need of purchasing power through the circulation of more dollars. I say to hon. members of this house: Instead of bringing up an issue like this at the present time, the spending of money which the Minister of Finance has complained about, let us, as the representatives of the people of Canada unite in an effort to try to improve conditions by assisting Canadians from one end of this great country to the other. I say to the house that the bringing up of an issue of this kind and the forcing of bilingual currency upon the great majority of English speaking people is not in the best interests of Canada as a whole.

I want to make one last appeal to the individual members of the house because it is the individual members who should decide these matters. I hope it will never -become a party question, but this is a question that is put up to every individual member. It is not a question of the rights of the minority or the rights of the majority; it is a matter which should be considered in the light of present day conditions. It has been stated that the printing of the French bills cost $29,000. therefore it stands to reason that we shall have to spend at least $29,000 more. Is that wise? That money might better be spent in some other way. There has been no protest from the great masses of French speaking Canadians against the issue of bills printed in French. This has come from a group or organization of which we have heard during the last five years. A determined effort has been made, irrespective of the wishes of Canadians as a whole, to force bilingualism on this country. The thin end of the wedge has been driven in. As I have stated already, we have the bilingual postage stamp, which has been tolerated, but I fear the great masses of English speaking people will not

3750 COMMONS

Bank of Canada

Mr. Mackenzie King

tolerate this. When people are in distress throughout the country we should direct our efforts to the improving of general conditions. I do not consider it too late to remedy this condition, therefore I move, seconded by the hon. member for Qu'Appelle (Mr. Perley):

That the said bill be not now read a third time but that it be referred back to the committee of the whole for the purpose of amending it by deleting therefrom section 15 thereof.

Topic:   BANK OF CANADA
Subtopic:   MAJORITY CONTROL BA' GOVERNMENT OF CAPITAL STOCK AND BOARD OF DIRECTORS
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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Right Hon. W. L. MACKENZIE KING (Prime Minister):

This matter was debated

so full}' on the second reading of the bill and the Liberal point of view was so ably presented by the Minister of Justice (Mr. Lapointe) that I hesitate to attempt to add anything to what has already been said. But the remarks of the hon. member who has just taken his seat (Mr. Barber) have b'een such as, it seems to me, to require some further word in reply.

May I say at once that I take very strong exception to the view that because there is an English speaking majority in this country, that English majority lacks a sense of fair play towards the French minority, and that the English speaking majority-

Topic:   BANK OF CANADA
Subtopic:   MAJORITY CONTROL BA' GOVERNMENT OF CAPITAL STOCK AND BOARD OF DIRECTORS
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June 16, 1936