January 21, 1937

WAINWRIGHT BUFFALO PARK-GARIEPY INQUIRY

SC

Robert Fair

Social Credit

Mr. FAIR:

For a copy of all correspondence, evidence and other documents since August, 1936, in connection with the inquiry held by Mr. Gariepy at the Wainw-right buffalo park, in October, 1936.

Topic:   WAINWRIGHT BUFFALO PARK-GARIEPY INQUIRY
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CANADIAN WHEAT BOARD ACT-ORDERS IN COUNCIL

CON

Ernest Edward Perley

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. PERLEY (Qu'Appelle):

For a copy of all orders in council passed pursuant to the Canadian Wheat Board Act since October 23, 1935.

Topic:   CANADIAN WHEAT BOARD ACT-ORDERS IN COUNCIL
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PURCHASING POWER

PROPOSAL FOR THE ADOPTION OF A NATION-WIDE SCHEME FOR FINANCING CONSUMPTION

SC

Victor Quelch

Social Credit

Mr. VICTOR QUELCH (Acadia) moved:

That, in the opinion of this house, the time has arrived in Canada for the adoption of a definite, scientific, nation-wide scheme for financing consumption.

He said: Mr. Speaker, I am moving this resolution in recognition of the fact that today we are living in a country in which in practically every sphere of industry our powers of production are greater than our powers of consumption, and in recognition of the fact that there can be no justification whatsoever for industrial stagnation and unemployment in the midst of actual demand for goods. I believe the reason lies in the fact that we are operating under a system which was evolved' in a time of scarcity, one which has not been able to adapt itself to an era of potential plenty.

The major problem, as I see it, is how in a practical manner, while giving full range to individual freedom and initiative, to distribute the abundance of wealth that science has made available. I realize that perhaps many hon. members may deplore a further discussion of economics. I remember that at the last session the hon. member for Parkdale (Mr. Spence) said we should stop talking economics and get down to business. I think he stated, as a matter of fact, that what we wanted was economy. We must realize, however, that acts of economy may very easily prove to be false economy, unless there is a thorough understanding of the situation.

Purchasing Power-Mr. Quelch

For example, what would be the result upon the economic structure of Canada if all relief were abolished to-morrow? Entirely apart from the terrible and distressing conditions which would result to many of our people, what would be the effect upon industry? What would be the effect upon the small merchant, and especially those merchants in the distressed areas who are dependent upon the receipt of relief payments to carry on. their business? What would be the effect upon employment? I am satisfied the result might put us right back into the depths of the depression. To-day I believe we are too prone to consider the cost of relief, and we do not give full consideration to the great benefits accruing to our people through the injection of this purchasing power into our system.

Coming back to the matter of getting down to business let me ask this question: What is our problem to-day? Can any person say it is just a matter of getting down to business? Let us draw a brief picture of Canada as we see it to-day. On one side of the picture we have the great productive plants working at only a small percentage of their capacity, great natural resources scarcely touched, tremendous reserves of energy and a vast surplus of unused labour. On the other side of the picture we have a vast multitude of people on the verge of starvation, the majority of them having to accept a standard of living considerably below that which they would ordinarily accept. If it is just a simple business proposition, why do we not put that unused labour to work in the factories or industries which are operating only part time, using our natural resources and our reserves of energy to produce the goods that our people are so sorely in need of? I say this: If it is just a business proposition, why do we not do as I have suggested?

The answer is that the problem is one of economics, or as Professor Soddy has described it, the riddle of the sphinx. A good1 example of the peculiarities of the problem may be found in a speech by the Right Hon. Reginald McKenna to the American Bankers' Association on October 5, 1922, which reads as follows:

For over two centuries British capital, that is credit, had been lent to other countries. Year by year England produced more than she either consumed herself or could exchange for the products of other nations, and she could not obtain a market for the surplus unless she gave the purchaser a long credit. Foreign loans and foreign issues were taken up in England, and the proceeds were spent in paying

for the surplus production. British factories and workshops were kept in good employment, but it was a condition of their prosperity that a part of their output should be disposed of in this way.

It is significant that, according to Mr. McKenna, England's prosperity was dependent, not upon the amount of wealth she could make available to her people, or upon the amount of wealth she could exchange for the wealth of other nations, but upon her shipping out of the country more wealth than she received in return. And the reason is obvious. It is in order that the salaries, wages and dividends paid out in the production of that wealth might be available to make up the deficiency of purchasing power which existed as between the total prices of goods available for distribution within the country, and the amount of purchasing power distributed in their production.

I would say that undoubtedly the greatest condemnation of the present system lies in the fact that it is considered good business to ship out of the country more wealth than is brought in, even though there are people within the country who are sorely in need of that wealth. While on the question of foreign trade perhaps it would be to our advantage to recall the words of Napoleon who said:

Agriculture is the soul, the foundation of the kingdom. Industry ministers to the comfort and happiness of the population. Foreign trade is the superabundance, it allows of the due exchange of the surplus of agriculture and industry. Foreign trade, which in its results is infinitely inferior to agriculture, was an object of secondary importance in my mind. Foreign trade ought to be the servant of agriculture and home industry. These last ought never to be subordinate to foreign trade.

I believe that the majority of hon. members will agree with the soundness of that statement. And yet to-day it is not so much a question of exchanging our superabundance for that of other nations, as it is of our attempting to ship more of that superabundance out of the country than we bring back in. Foreign trade can no longer be called the servant of trade and industry; it has become the master demanding from the nation a toll in wealth for which no wealth is given in return.

Agriculture and industry may be said to have two distinct functions-to produce the necessities of life and to give us the means to purchase the same. In addition to that, a profit must be shown, which means that labour costs must be reduced to a minimum in order to meet keen competition. The point is, is it possible to meet these three

Purchasing Power-Mr. Quelch

requirements? In order to keep down expenses, labour costs must be reduced to the minimum and wherever possible labour saving devices installed, which means that the purchasing power of the people is less able to buy the products of industry.

Undoubtedly we have the ability to produce an abundance of wealth, but there is insufficient purchasing power to absorb same. I think it is greatly to be regretted that in many quarters an attempt is being made to retard progress by going back to out of date methods. Mr. Butler, the director of the International Labour Office, points out in the June Labour Gazette that in many European countries legal restrictions have been placed upon mechanical developments. He points out that similar action has been taken in the United States of America under the various codes. He comments upon this action as follows:

Such measures may have some temporary result, but technological unemployment cannot be combated by preserving antiquated methods by artificial means. The real problem is to ensure that the economies in wages effected by mechanical improvements do not reduce the volume of available consuming power.

For generations past we have been endeavouring, by the use of scientific inventions, to increase the productivity of man until today we have become so successful that we are able to produce an abundance of wealth. Are we going to be so lacking in intelligence as actually to reduce the amount of that wealth by doing away with labour saving devices and going back to the use of manual labour? Is that as far as the intelligence of man can go to-day? According to Mr. Butler, that is what is being done in Europe to a great extent. Canada has followed the same practice to a limited degree. We find in many of the labour camps that men are doing with shovels and wheelbarrows work which could be done far more quickly by modern excavators and steam shovels.

Our main argument rests upon the fact that owing to certain practices inherent within the system, industry fails to provide sufficient purchasing power to buy back its own production. I shall deal with a few of the main faults in the system as we see them. First, the present system is a debt creating one. Practically all new money emanates from our banks in the form of debt. This is an interest bearing debt and our bankers do not issue the necessary money with which to pay that interest. Therefore, the debts of the world to the banking system are increasing steadily year by year. Professor Rautenstrauch of Columbia university has pointed out that the debts of the world to the banks increased

by 47 per cent in the seventeenth century, by 466 per cent in the eighteenth century, and by 12,000 per cent in the nineteenth century. In the past, in order to pay off any part of these debts it has been necessary either to incur new debts or to withdraw money from circulation, thus reducing the standard of living of the people.

For example, in the period 1929 to 1933 over $900,000,000 was drawn from circulation, resulting in a tremendous falling off in the standard of living of the people of this country. No matter from what angle we approach this subject we are bound to come to the conclusion that so long as we continue to operate under this system we are bound to have one of two things, either a steadily increasing debt or a steadily decreasing purchasing power. Of course there is a very definite limit to which the purchasing power of a country can be decreased, and then our debts are bound to increase at an even greater rate. I was discussing this matter recently with one of Canada's prominent bankers and he took exception to that statement. He said it was not necessary to incur new debts in order to meet all our maturing obligations; that there was plenty of money in existence and that we could use a certain amount of this in liquidating our debts. I asked him what would be the result on industry if money were taken from circulation and he replied that industry could borrow from the banks the necessary moneys with which to finance its production. That is just what I have pointed out, that such action is bound to be followed by an increase in debt.

The second point to which I wish to direct attention is the tremendous deficiency in purchasing power brought about, by the centralization of industry. Before the machine era the profits of the individual craftsman were small, but as such they were available as purchasing power. But there has been a progressive displacing of man power by the machine, and the wages which used to go to the man now go to the owners of the machine. Owing to the centralization of industry, the profits of the machine owners have become so great that even though they explore every avenue of luxury they cannot spend their entire income. Therefore, income to that extent is not available as purchasing power. So long as we have such distressing conditions as we have to-day throughout the country, the gov ernment should take definite steps to tax these redundant credits back into circulation. I know it may be suggested that we have already a very high income tax; nevertheless until the government is prepared to issue the necessary purchasing

Purchasing Power-Mr. Quelch

power to balance deficiency caused by these redundant credits, the least the government can do is to tax them back into circulation. I do not for one moment suggest that such action by itself will relieve the deficiency in purchasing power. It certainly will not, but it will ait least relieve to a certain extent the distress so prevalent to-day throughout Canada. An orthodox viewpoint is very often expressed similar to that of Mr. J. A. Hobson in his book entitled Rationalization and Unemployment. I should like to quote from page 17 as follows:

As the processes of converting raw materials into finished goods -whether for human consumption or for utilization in production, are carried on in a business world, money is concurrently distributed to the persons who apply their labour, ability, land, capital in the different productive processes or as profit. These payments proceed pari passu with the productive processes, and, as wages, interest, salaries, rents or profits, constitute the cost or expenses of production, on the one hand, and the "income" of the recipients on the other. If, as I urge, it is convenient to include profit among these expenses, the whole set of payments amounts to selling price.

So regarding it, we may say this selling price has been paid away in the various expenses of production. Those who have received these payments in their money incomes possess the wherewithal to buy all the products, alike the consumable part of it and the capital goods that constitute the other part.

This argument I quite realize sounds plausible, but it altogether ignores certain fundamental truths which completely upset the conclusions arrived at by Mr. Hobson and his colleagues. Among other things it ignores the question of time, savings, and the reinvestment of savings, and as this contention has been attacked in the house in the past I should like to deal with it shortly because our whole philosophy is based to a very large degree on the understanding that industry, owing to certain practices which are inherent in the system, fails to make available sufficient purchasing power to buy back its own production.

Take the question of time. Mr. Hobson states that payments from industry equal total of prices providing you include profits among expenses. If that is the case, how can we possibly pay off debts incurred in the past to the banking system, for instance, war debts. The goods that represent these debts have long since been consumed or destroyed. The salaries and wages paid out in the production of these goods have in the majority of cases been spent and gone back to the banking system, but the debts representing these war materials are still with us and must be met out of current production.

If payments by industry to-day are used to pay off these debts then the total payments from industry will not be available to meet total prices, and therefore goods to that extent will be left unsold.

Put it in another way. In order that these debts may be liquidated it will be necessary to include in the price of goods certain debt-charges, made either directly or indirectly by the government through taxation. But when these debt charges are included in the price of the goods no purchasing power is distributed to balance these debt charges. Therefore, when the total amount of purchasing power distributed has been spent upon these goods, goods to that extent will be left unsold.

Some people imagine that the repayment of debts to the bank will recreate purchasing power, but as Mr. Reginald McKenna has said, every repayment of a loan cancels and destroys a deposit. Therefore it destroys purchasing power to that amount. Accordingly it is quite evident that the practice of including debt charges in the price of goods completely upsets the calculations arrived at by Mr. Hobson and his orthodox colleagues. So far as savings are concerned, the deficiency of purchasing power caused by them is bo evident that I deal with it only very briefly. If, as Mr. Hobson states, the total payments equal total prices, then, when any portion of these payments is saved, goods to that extent will be left unsold. On the other hand, if savings of the past are being spent at the same rate as savings of to-day, then the two will balance each other. Nevertheless it is generally conceded that the practice of saving to-day is going ahead at an accelerated rate, and therefore a deficiency of purchasing power is caused to that degree.

The question of the reinvestment of savings, however, comes under an entirely different category. The reinvestment of savings to-day causes a permanent deficiency of purchasing power, equal to the amount of the reinvestment where it is used as working capital. For instance, taking all industries as one to make it easier to follow, suppose a total of $12,000 paid out for salaries and wages in industry was saved and then was reinvested in a shirt factory, used as working capital, paid out in salaries and wages, producing $12,000 worth of shirts, and then suppose these salaries and wages were immediately afterwards reinvested in a boot factory, paid out again in salaries and wages, which then, instead of being used to purchase the boots, were reinvested in a hat factory producing $12,000 worth of hats. You have reinvested this

Purchasing Power-Mr. Quelch

$12,000 three times and caused a permanent deficiency of purchasing power equal to $36,000, because you have left behind unsold $12,000 worth of boots, $12,000 worth of shirts and $12,000 worth of goods produced in the first cycle. In support of my argument I should like to quote from a book by Professor Soddy, 'entitled, Wealth, Virtual Wealth and Debt. At page 251 he says:

In general terms, the only possible way to increase the stocks of wealth in the system, whether precedent to producing a larger output or to accumulate capital in the first instance, is to by-pass money past the consumers' mart, so that it passes through the productive system twice in its circulation instead of once. This puts into the system twice the value of wealth which it takes out. But it creates debts to the individuals who give up their purchasing power, and. however we struggle with the problem, we have to arrive at the conclusion that these debts can never really be repaid.

It is undeniable postulate that all the wealth put into the system, reckoned in terms of the costs of production, not only does not but cannot come out.

It has been stated that we are opposed to the idea of savings and the reinvestment of savings. We are not, however, opposed to these practices. We merely wish to point out the fact that the practice of saving and reinvestment of savings is bound to cause a deficiency of purchasing power. This resolution, therefore, is aimed to relieve industry of the sole responsibility of creating purchasing power. Industry, as I have already pointed out, fails to distribute sufficient purchasing power to buy back its own production. Therefore we propose that the government shall issue additional purchasing power outside the industrial system in order to balance this deficiency, and as a first step we would urge the necessity for a thorough survey of the productive capacity of Canada. It might be carried out along similar lines to that of the National Survey of Potential Productive Capacity carried out in the United States of America and financed by the federal government there.

I should like to quote from a foreword to the report of the Director of the American Survey by Mr. Stuart Chase:

Now, with the publication of Mr. Loeb's book, we have for the first time in our economic history a concrete answer to the question. After almost a year of research by sixty technicians, financed by the federal government, the National Survey of Potential Productive Capacity has released its findings. Official publication will follow in due course. Preliminary thereto, Mr. Loeb, the director of the survey, here describes the results and gives his personal interpretation of what the figures mean. The interpretation you may accept or reject as you choose. The figures you cannot reject without subjecting the survey itself to intensive, critical analysis. As

the policy throughout has been to take the more conservative choice where choice was possible, I think you will have some difficulty in minimizing the conclusions reached. But as a taxpayer you helped to finance this study, and you have the right to whip out your slide rule and find errors if you can. I have watched it from its inception, and it looks like a reliable, conservative piece of work to me.

The results are briefly stated. If the existing plant and man-power in the United States were fully employed in the production of honest goods and services for the consumer, the total output, valued in 1929 dollars, would be not less than $135,000,000,000, or an average per family of approximately $4,400. This estimate does not presuppose any considerable change in the physical plant, the introduction of new processes, or the modernization of old factories.

The wealth of Canada is probably just as great as that of the United States, and there is every reason to believe that in a properly balanced economy a similar standard of living might be made available to the people of Canada. We do not wish to be dogmatic in any way as to how this might be accomplished. We are satisfied however, that full cognizance will have to be taken of the facts to which I have referred. We believe that the government, once having made a survey of the productive capacity of this country, should take immediate steps to stimulate the purchasing power of the people up to the full capacity of industry to satisfy that demand, and then, as the ability of the country to produce more goods increases, to see that the ability of the people to obtain these goods should be increased to a like degree. So long as the effective purchasing power of the people is raised only up to the capacity of industry to satisfy that demand there can be no real talk of inflation.

We believe that the government should take immediate steps to control prices, to set fair wages, that is, to establish a fair relationship between prices and wages as between one industry and another, and to guarantee a minimum price based upon the cost of production for the primary producers. A deficiency of purchasing power may undoubtedly be made up in many ways, but the main essential is to guarantee a minimum standard of living to the people based upon the ability of the country to satisfy that demand. This is where we may differ, perhaps, from our socialist friends on the right. We believe that a survey will show that this dominion can produce a sufficiency of goods to give everybody a decent standard of Living, without having to reduce the standard of living of any one. However, should this survey show that wf have not that ability, I would immediately agree that it is only right and just that the standards

Redistribution-Mr. Brunette

of living of the rich people should be reduced' in order to make it possible for the standards of living of the poor people to be increased. But when we recall the conditions of 1928 and when we remember the tremendous strides made by science since then, we have every reason to believe that we have the ability to raise the standards of living of the people of this country without having to reduce the standard of living of any one.

As a first step we would urge that action be taken to reduce the age for old age pensions, as was suggested in the last session by, I think, the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre (Mr. Woodsworth) from seventy down to sixty, and probably in time it might be reduced from sixty down to fifty-five, or fifty, guaranteeing a pension of probably 850 per month. Also we should guarantee pensions to all those people who, whether because of blindness or any other form of disability, are unable to care for themselves. Then, in view of the fact that we are living in a new country in which there is a tremendous amount of work to be done, we should urge that national' projects be carried out, financed by the national credit and utilizing the minimum amount of labour, that is to say, utilizing labour-saving devices wherever possible. We would advocate projects such as slum clearance with the objective of a decent house for every one; better roads, bridges, railroad crossings; reforestation, and various other useful and necessary projects. Of course we realize that there is a definite limit to the extent to which these projects can be carried out, and we propose only that they be proceeded with to the point where the purchasing power of the people will be stimulated to the full capacity of industry to satisfy it. So long as that is done there can be no real danger of inflation. Or to put it in other words, the volume of capital goods production should be sufficiently great that the salaries, wages and dividends paid out in that production are equal to the deficiency of purchasing power as between the total prices of consumption goods and the amount of effective purchasing power distributed in their production.

In closing, I would urge that first of all a thorough survey of Canada's productive capacity be made, and then a definite program be instituted to increase the effective demand of the people up to this capacity, or to a point where economic security may be gained for all, whichever comes first.

Looking to the future, as science and. technological improvements increase the productivity of man. I believe that it will be possible to steadily reduce the hours of labour

and supplement the incomes of the workers by a national dividend, so as once and for all to remove that ever-haunting fear of starvation and poverty from the minds of the people.

Motion (Mr. Quelch) negatived. REDISTRIBUTION

Topic:   PURCHASING POWER
Subtopic:   PROPOSAL FOR THE ADOPTION OF A NATION-WIDE SCHEME FOR FINANCING CONSUMPTION
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MOTION FOR SPECIAL COMMITTEE TO STUDY MORE EQUITABLE READJUSTMENT OF REPRESENTATION

LIB

Hervé-Edgar Brunelle

Liberal

Mr. H. E. BRUNELLE (Champlain) moved:

That, in the opinion of this house, it is expedient that the Representation Act, 1933, should be amended in such manner as to bring about a more equitable readjustment of the representation in the House of Commons and to effect thereby a more just redistribution of Canada's electoral districts, and that a special committee be appointed to study this matter.

He said: In moving this resolution, which

is seconded by the hon. member for Jacques-Cartier (Mr. Mallette), I wish to be as brief as possible. It is also my hope to be as composed as possible when referring to the last Representation Act of 1933, and when giving some instances of the flagrant injustices committed by the late government in making that redistribution.

Every one will admit that in framing a representation act the party in power, whichever it may be, will be naturally inclined to abstain from favouring the opposite party and to adopt the course most favourable to its cause. But to be normally interested and anxious to help a party is one thing, and to be so unreasonably ambitious as to adopt a system utterly subversive of the spirit of representative institutions is quite another.

When one reads the past debates of this house, one is struck by the fact that the Conservative party is a strong believer in the motto that God helps those who help themselves. That belief became particularly apparent when the last redistribution was made. It became manifest in 1882 when a scandalous representation act was passed and it also became evident in 1892 when another representation act was put through, an act which, according to authentic reports, was simply iniquitous. Though the 1933 act was as bad as those just mentioned, I shall be charitable and simply say that it was most unfair. There was then adopted a system which every man on either side of the house should condemn, because it is apt to help or even to elect to this house any party against the will of the majority of the people. Having given some study to what was done in 1933 when the last redistribution took place, I

Redistribulion-Mr. Brunelie

venture to say that whoever adopts or defends such a method for the sake of party advantage surrenders every semblance of political decency, because such a method aims at destroying popular democratic government and tends to replace it by autocracy.

One may differ with another as to fiscal policies or as to monetary policies, but I am afraid that the act of 1933 went, at least in Quebec, so far beyond the limits of the most elementary justice that it is hard, if not impossible, to find in it any trace of fair play. I do not want to be looked upon as one who fights his own case. The constituency of Champlain, which I represent, was not treated any worse or any better than the other constituencies in the province, and the fingers of the manipulators of the 1983 redistribution have left their ugly mark upon my constituency just as they have done upon other constituencies in the province.

It was a man named Gerry, an ex-governor of the state of Massachusetts, who gave his name to that sort of manipulation. In 1811 he framed his state or constituency or riding -I do not know which-in such a way as to take unfair political advantage of his opponents, thereby becoming famous among those whose names appear in the rogues' gallery. Would it be going too far if I were to say that in 1933 old Gerry had some fair imitators in this House of Commons? To prove that the redistribution of 1933 was unfair and was engendered with a view to party advantage to the late government, I shall quote in a few moments certain statements of the leader of the opposition (Mr. Bennett), who at that time was Prime Minister.

I have before me a map of Quebec showing the sixty-five constituencies which lie therein. I have a good knowledge of French and a fair knowledge of English, and these two languages do not afford me any expression to qualify that sort of work. A Chinese puzzle is the only thing to which it can be likened. Such a division of constituencies has no sound justification. We find gerrymander on such a scale that it is hard, if not impossible, to recognize many of the old constituencies. No attention was paid to existing limits. Parishes that had been together for years and years were divided or jumbled into different counties. Some constituencies were added to and others were subtracted1 from, and parishes, counties and districts were cut up for the manifest purpose of softening the beds which turned out to be the tombs of the Conservative members or Conservative candidates.

Let me give the house some examples of the way in which the constituencies were framed.

I hold up to view a picture showing the limits or boundaries of the constituency of Drum-mond-Arthabaska, and I show the house another one indicating the limits or boundaries of the constituency of Dorchester. Was I wrong when I said that whoever adopts or defends such a method for party advantage surrenders every semblance of political decency? I believe that if the inventor of this system, Gerry, saw this work, he would turn green with envy at the ingenuity of the members of the late government. The redistribution measure of 1933 was passed in spite of the most vehement protest of the opposition and, I might add, of the press and of the people. It is indeed an unpleasant duty to describe such an act of parliament but I must denounce it as arbitrary and unjust. I claim justice for the majority of the Canadian voters, nothing more and nothing less. It is true that the injustice did not profit the late government; it is true that the end did not justify the means. But the injustice remains; the weapon is still there, and for the sake of preserving our present voting system that weapon must disappear, so that the voice of the people at election time may be heard and that their will shall be unfettered by the ingenious and cunning devices of the late government.

As I have said, the Redistribution Act of 1933 passed amid an uproar of general protest; and the then Prime Minister (Mr. Bennett), when he realized that there was so much opposition to it, said that the only way to pass it was to invoke the aid of the brute majority-a very edifying statement indeed. The act came up for approval at the end of the session. Some Conservative members who had been members of the committee had given the house the impression that the bill would not pass in 1933, but they proceeded with it and in doing so were quite in conformity with the tactics adopted in 1882 and again in 1892. Did the late government try to display any trace of sincerity and fair play in passing that act? The answer will be found in a remark made by the present right hon. leader of the opposition, who was then Prime Minister. In a debate on the imperial agreements the then leader of the opposition, now the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King), said to the right hon. gentleman:

I challenge you to go to the country on the issue of those agreements.

This was what the then Prime Minister replied:

Wait till we pass the Representation Act.

Redistribution-Mr. Mallette

Was that not a warning; was that not a threat that the bill was intended to be used as a weapon against the Liberals at the forthcoming election? The Representation Act of 1933 was admittedly unjust and erroneous. Almost every act following a decennial census since confederation has been amended on the ground of error, and in order to avoid injustice. For instance, the 1914 act was amended in 1915, and the boundaries of the constituencies of Nipissing, London, Quebec East, Quebec West, Jaeques-Cartier, Labelle, Hull. Wright, Portage la Prairie and Springfield were altered. This was done by a Conservative government. I claim that the 1933 act was practically all in error, and a great injustice. I do not ask for a new representation act; I know the British North America Act would not permit that to be done, but I do ask that certain wrongs be righted by amending the boundaries of certain counties. An injustice is always an error, and it is the duty of this government to correct all the errors of the late government, since we have been given a mandate by the people to do so.

In 1872 Sir John A. Macdonald laid down the principle that the first object of redistribution was to retain county boundaries. In 1933 in Quebec no attention was paid to that principle. At any rate the act of 1933 in general had practically no raison d'etre in Quebec. The number of our constituencies is set at sixty-five, and surely there was no real need for changing the boundaries of all our counties in 1933. I do not contend that the number of constituencies should be increased or decreased; I know that can be done only following a census, but I think there is authority by which parliament may alter the boundaries of constituencies. Clement on Canadian Constitution says that the electoral districts may be altered at any time, and that the total number of members may be increased by the parliament of Canada providing the proportional representation of the provinces prescribed by the British North America Act is not thereby disturbed.

In conclusion, Mr. Speaker, may I say that the present composition of our constituencies is such that it might shut out of public life some outstanding men whose services are very much needed iby the country; it is such that with a minority of the votes the Conservative party might have a majority of the representatives of the people. God help our country then. In the third place, it is such that, in spite of the improvements which this government may bring about in our public affairs, so tragically

bungled up by the late government, the wish of the electors to acknowledge such an improvement by their votes may not be accurately expressed during an election. Proud of our record, at the expiration of our term of office we want to meet our opponents in a fair fight. We do not want, and regardless of his party allegiance no one should want, the free vote of the majority of the electors, to be detrimentally affected in its expression by the present arbitrary and false boundaries of our constituencies.

Topic:   MOTION FOR SPECIAL COMMITTEE TO STUDY MORE EQUITABLE READJUSTMENT OF REPRESENTATION
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LIB

Joseph Léon Vital Mallette

Liberal

Mr. VITAL MALLETTE (Jacques Cartier) (Translation):

Mr. Speaker, at the last redistribution of constituencies considerable changes were made in the territory then comprised in the riding of Jacques Cartier. In my humble opinion, these changes were not all in the best interests of the constituency. However, I do not intend at present to enumerate all the errors committed to its prejudice in this redistribution.

These details I will give to the committee requested by the present resolution, if the house grants it to us.

I may be permitted, however, to mention the case of Lachine. As regards the counity of Jacques Cartier, there is no doubt that a redistribution was necessary at the time, inasmuch as the city of Verdun alone had a population of 65,000, which certainly entitled it to a representative in this house. Verdun was therefore removed from that riding, as well as the sections of Montreal known as Cote St. Paul and Ville Emard, regarding which the change was also justified. But as regards the city of Lachine, which historically belongs to the county of Jacques Cartier, the committee acted in a different manner. Lachine has a total population of about

18,000. As a result of the redistribution, some 4,500 of its 9,500 voters were placed in the constituency of Jacques Cartier and about 5,000 in the Mount Royal constituency of the city of Montreal. The redistribution has placed most of Lachine's large industrial plants, such as the Dominion Bridge Company, Limited, the Steel Company of Canada, the Dominion Wire Works, in Mount Royal, while their employees, workers and managers reside in Jacques Cartier. These people therefore have two members at their service, when they should, like the rest of the country, be satisfied with one. During the last campaign this redistribution was referred to as a second " Massacre of Lachine." Some wags went so far as to call it a caesarian operation.

These redistributions were certainly attended by lack of care. Any hon. member who wishes to verify this fact needs but to con-

Redistribution-Mr. Leader

suit the proceedings of the special committee on Franchise and Election Acts at its sitting of Thursday, March 5, 1936. On page 5 they will find, in paragraph (2), concerning Jacques Cartier and Mount Royal, that the Chief Electoral Officer had to be called to render a decision on the situation of the boundary line between Jacques Cartier and Mount Royal in the village of Cote St. Luc. I have been informed also that a section of the city of Lachine lying south of the Lachine canal had been completely omitted, but that the error had been rectified later.

It therefore gives me much satisfaction to see the ho.n. member for Champlain (Mr. Brunelle) take up this matter, and I assure the house that he has my entire support. I hope the committee will be made up as impartially as possible, as we have important matters to submit to its consideration. In the constituency of Jacques Cartier, I repeat, errors have been committed which call for rectification, and it would be only right to submit these matters to this committee, if the house will grant it to us.

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LIB

Harry Leader

Liberal

Mr. HARRY LEADER (Portage la Prairie):

Mr. Speaker, I have very little to say on this resolution, but I believe that if irregularities occurred during the last redistribution they should be corrected either this year or next year, and not on the eve of an election when our judgment is perhaps more or less warped. Speaking for the constituency of Portage la Prairie I believe I may state safely that an old fashioned gerrymander was perpetrated. A gouge was taken out of our southern boundary. They did not take a strip from one end to the other, but simply took a gouge out of the centre and placed it in the constituency of the hon. member for Macdonald (Mr. Weir) who, I believe, appreciates it very much. I am not speaking only for myself when I say that the territory should be placed back in the constituency of Portage la Prairie to which it once belonged. I am not concerned about my own political welfare, because in western Canada I do not believe boundaries mean very much. If a man is entitled to return to parliament I believe the electors of western Canada will vote for him irrespective of his political affiliations.

The population of Portage la Prairie constituency is slightly over 25,000, while that of Macdonald is in the neighbourhood of

37,000. Selkirk constituency received part of Portage la Prairie constituency, and now they have a population of 52,000, or more than twice that of my constituency. This would appear to be a glaring irregularity and does

not bring about proper representation. I believe that, if the matter were put to a plebiscite, ninety per cent of the electors who were taken out of Portage la Prairie would vote to be placed back in it. I speak particularly of that part which was placed in the constituency of Macdonald, because in that instance there was a division of a community, the interests of which were common. The community was divided, and for the welfare of the constituents, to say nothing of the member in parliament, I suggest that the community as a whole should be placed in the constituency of which it once formed a part. My opinion is that the matter should be placed before an impartial committee, the judgment of which should not be warped politically. It is my opinion that a body of fair-minded members of this chamber should sit in judgment and see that the boundaries are placed where they should be, keeping in mind the welfare of the constituents.

Mr. G. AY. MCDONALD (Souris): Mr. Speaker, I wish to say only a few words with reference to the constituency of Souris. I endorse everything that has been said by the mover of the resolution and by the other hon. members who have spoken. The constituency of Souris is small, and any change should have been by way of enlargement. Despite that fact, the constituency was made smaller by cutting off from the northeast comer, six townships which, on the basis of the 1930 election, gave a Liberal majority of 187 and on the basis of the 1935 election one of over 300. To the constituency was added four townships to the east, making it six miles longer and taking in a piece of territory dominated by the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation. That was a generous addition, particularly when we remember that the sitting member of that time enjoyed a majority of nearly 500. He was taking away 187 votes, and giving us 24.

Part of the constituency of Souris wras put into the constituency of Macdonald, which was Liberal. AYe thought the days of gerrymandering were over. Like the mover of the resolution, I cannot help thinking that any person whose sense of fair play was so slight could not be a fit or proper person to represent any riding. I protested strenuously at the time to the Liberal members from Manitoba, and was plainly told by them that nothing could be done about it. They said: "AYe had better accept it, because if we do not we will get a worse deal." Surely we are not going back to those days.

I am not a member of the privileges and elections committee, or of one dealing with

Iiedistribution-Mr. Stewart

the franchise, but I have -been asked to speak on behalf of those people who have been in the constituency for over twenty-five years and are now disfranchised. They had never had the boundaries changed, nor had they sought any change. The change was made without their consent. As I am not a member of the committee I can say only that I hope the constituency of Souris will be brought to its attention, that our boundaries will be enlarged, and that we shall get back the piece we lost.

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LIB

Donald MacLennan

Liberal

Mr. DONALD MacLENNAN (Inverness-Richmond):

Mr. Speaker, I wish to say a word in support of the motion. In the 1033 revision the counties of Inverness and Richmond were joined to make the present constituency of Inverness-Richmond. This constituency is over 300 miles long. A man would need a good automobile and would have to be a tireless driver to go from one end of the constituency to the other in a single day. On the other hand, the constituency represented by the hon. member for Cape Breton South (Mr. Hartigan) is so small that he can drive from the centre to the end in any direction in one hour and a half. I am not complaining about the number of people who live within a district; all I say is that it is utterly impossible for anyone to look properly after the constituency which I represent. There are more than 300 miles of shore line filled with coves and inlets, and a man would have to spend his entire time and even then would find it impossible to go over the constituency as he should.

I was very glad to hear the hon. member to my immediate right say that the boundaries of a constituency could be changed by parliament without a new census being taken. If that can be done, I think the house should pass this resolution and refer this whole matter to a committee in order that it may be studied. If nothing can be done this year, perhaps the matter may be considered at the next session. In the meantime, we would have an opportunity of looking into these matters and suggesting necessary corrections. I am not finding fault with what has been done nor am I imputing motives, but I must say that it seems almost ridiculous to have such a large constituency territorially as the one which I represent. I therefore have pleasure in supporting the motion.

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CON

Hugh Alexander Stewart

Conservative (1867-1942)

Hon. H. A. STEWART (Leeds):

Mr. Speaker, as chairman of the redistribution committee upon the report of which the redistribution bill was based, I consider it my duty to say something in reply to the hon. gentlemen who have spoken on this resolution. Under our constitution redistribution is made compulsory after the taking of a census. A census was taken in 1931 and redistribution followed.

Redistribution is always a difficult matter. No hon. gentleman who has had anything to do with it will deny that it is an extremely difficult proposition. From time to time there have been differences of opinion as to how redistribution should be made. There are those who contend that it should- be made by a committee of judges and there are others who contend that it should be made by the House of Commons. For some time past the practice has been adopted, I think a fair and a reasonable one, of referring the matter of redistribution to a committee upon which all the groups in the house have representation.

After certain censuses it has been found necessary to reduce the number of seats in some of -the provinces, while an increase was necessary in others. We are faced with the difficulty of maintaining the balance of representation as between the country and the towns. There are those who contend that the city representation should be much larger than that of the country, but I think that would be a negation of the principle of representation -by popidation. However, there may be some point to that argument because of the concentration of population in the cities as compared with the rural districts. Then we have thickly populated rural districts and thinly populated rural districts. We must also consider the natural barriers such as rivers and lakes. When all these things are taken into consideration they present a difficult and almost baffling problem to any committee undertaking redistribution.

Plenty of time was devoted to the last redistribution. It was not rushed through. It was started in one session and finished in the next. I recall that the bill was, in a very large measure, the result of agreement between the parties.

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?

An hon. MEMBER:

Oh, oh.

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CON

Hugh Alexander Stewart

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEWART:

I am going to mention the exceptions. There was not absolute agreement in Quebec, and the same applied to Saskatchewan. I believe there were two constituencies in Saskatchewan and a number in Quebec in connection with which there was not complete agreement. I remember being a member of the redistribution committee which sat ten years previously. Quebec has a fixed number of seats, sixty-five, and for years there had not been any change in the boundaries of the constituencies of that province. I remember pointing out some of these discrepancies in

1S6

Redistribution-Mr. Ryan

1922, but I was told that as there were sixty-five seats in Quebec it really did not make any difference. It was contended that the same boundaries should continue to apply, and they did. The result was that the representation was out of balance, and still is.

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. LAPOINTE (Quebec East):

It has been made worse.

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CON

Hugh Alexander Stewart

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEWART:

My hon. friend may think so.

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. LAPOINTE (Quebec East):

I know it has.

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CON

Hugh Alexander Stewart

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEWART:

That was not the intention or the disposition of the committee. The hon. member who moved this resolution (Mr. Brunelle) has produced some maps. I can recall maps showing the boundaries brought about by previous redistributions which were just as grotesque and irregular as the ones he has produced. As I have said, there was a very substantial measure of agreement in this committee and when we consider the difficulties of redistribution, I think the final result was quite fair.

We are now in the year 1937, only three years away from another census. There will be a redistribution following that census, and I submit that it is not in the interests of Canada as a whole to reopen this very difficult and controversial question at this time. I am sure that if the question were reopened, any partial redistribution which might result would be subject to the same criticism as has been levelled to-night against the work of the committee of 1933. As the redistribution accomplished in 1933 was to a large extent the result of agreement after long conferences and represented a difficult bit of work-and surely those who are sitting on the opposite side of the house cannot complain of that redistribution so far as they are concerned-considering everything I think the house would be well advised to leave matters as they are. I fear that to reopen the question would not bring any better results.

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LIB

William Michael Ryan

Liberal

Mr. W. M. RYAN (Saint John-Albert):

Mr. Speaker, I want to congratulate the mover of this resolution (Mr. Brunelle) upon bringing this matter to the attention of the house. I represent the constituency of Saint John-Albert. Prior to the last election that constituency had the honour of returning two members, but when the redistribution took place, Saint John-Albert lost one member, without there being any division of the area. I was surprised to hear the hon. member for Leeds (Mr. Stewart) state a moment ago

that there was agreement in the redistribution committee in respect to all the provinces with the exception of Quebec.

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January 21, 1937