February 17, 1937

CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

If the hon. gentleman will permit me, that statement happens to be inaccurate-although I am bound to accept it-Alberta was driven to default, and people holding its bonds have in some cases been practically ruined because of the inability of that province to pay. The Minister of Finance would not help Alberta although it

asked for help, and now the other two provinces are to be helped.

Topic:   PROBLEMS OF WESTERN CANADA
Subtopic:   PROPOSED APPOINTMENT OF ROYAL COMMISSION TO STUDY AND REPORT ON ECONOMIC AND PSYCHOLOGICAL CONDITIONS
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LIB

Cameron Ross McIntosh

Liberal

Mr. McINTOSH:

In answer to the statement made by the leader of the opposition I would say that if Alberta is seeing evil days financially and industrially the fault does not lie with the domihion government, the Finance minister, or the Prime Minister of this country. It lies very largely with Alberta, headed by the government existing in that province at the present time.

Topic:   PROBLEMS OF WESTERN CANADA
Subtopic:   PROPOSED APPOINTMENT OF ROYAL COMMISSION TO STUDY AND REPORT ON ECONOMIC AND PSYCHOLOGICAL CONDITIONS
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SC

Victor Quelch

Social Credit

Mr. QUELCH:

What about Manitoba and Saskatchewan too?

Topic:   PROBLEMS OF WESTERN CANADA
Subtopic:   PROPOSED APPOINTMENT OF ROYAL COMMISSION TO STUDY AND REPORT ON ECONOMIC AND PSYCHOLOGICAL CONDITIONS
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LIB

Cameron Ross McIntosh

Liberal

Mr. McINTOSH:

Rather than be diverted from my remarks may I touch upon what the Prime Minister said in the house yesterday in regard to this national commission which the government is to appoint to investigate financial and industrial problems from ocean to ocean, that is, all over Canada, in the maritimes, in the industrial provinces of Quebec and Ontario, in the three prairie provinces and in far-off British Columbia. This commission will deal with every province; it will touch upon every financial and industrial question concerning which there is any grievance in the country, and the terms of reference will be wide enough and ample enough to enable this commission to consider all the grievances of the nation, and after hearing the evidence and considering it in the light of reason, to bring in a report upon which legislation will be based and put into effect by the government of the day. In dealing with the power and scope of that commission the Prime Minister used these words as reported at page 922 of yesterday's Hansard:

The difficulties of the prairie provinces have been greatly intensified by drought, and the earning power of their people has been affected accordingly. But other sections of the country are not free from problems of a similar character, although they may not be so acute. We have, in short, ample indication of certain fundamental strains and weaknesses arising out of our present allocation of financial powers and governmental responsibilities, and if no attempt is made to remove them, the ill effects will not be confined to the sections where they now appear.

In other words, all these fundamental grievances, all these complaints and strains not only of Manitoba and Saskatchewan but of all Canada, which surely includes Alberta, will be dealt with. They will all be dealt with impartially, not in a political or a partisan way but for the good of the whole country. When that is done we expect that a report will be brought in upon which progressive and advanced legislation will be based and enacted by the party now in power. That is the situation exactly.

Western Canada-Mr. McIntosh

May I say further, Mr. Speaker, that the resolution which has been moved by the hon. member who has just spoken (Mr. Pelletier) may have a certain degree of realism about it, but if I am not mistaken the hon. member is trying to place the blame upon a few financial and industrial organizations of eastern Canada for all the grievances that at present exist in this country. I think that is what is at the back of my hon. friend's mind, but I believe he is entirely mistaken. That is not true; that is the argument advanced by the hon. member and others of his group all over Canada; but it is not sound; it is not in accordance with the facts and it is not in accordance with history. We all admit that to-day there are serious problems facing the Canadian people. We all admit that we have problems affecting Canadian nationhood, problems with which we must deal and, to the best of our ability, solve, but I wonder whether there is any special financial or industrial organization or any special class of people or any particular individual responsible for these grievances. I would not think so. I believe we can truthfully say that the Canadian people themselves are responsible for all the problems confronting Canada to-day. Since confederation we have been dealing with national problems through the ballot box; every four or five years we have made pronouncements upon fiscal problems, tariff problems, financial problems and industrial problems, and on those pronouncements the governments of the day have acted. So I think it is rather late for any hon. member to attempt to pin upon any organization, financial or industrial, the responsibility for grievances that at present exist in Canada. I would say the Canadian people are responsible, and if they have made a wrong decision the only thing to do is to get busy and correct that decision.

In my opinion, Mr. Speaker, many wrong decisions have been rendered during the last fifty or sixty years. I do not believe our fiscal policy has been what it should. I believe that fiscal policy has been built up largely for the protection and development of secondary industry in Canada. Rather it should have been a combination policy, one for both the primary and the secondary industries of this country, with no discrimination shown. But what did the Canadian people do every time they were asked about the matter? They rendered a decision in favour of high protection, and they got it. That is democracy; that is responsible government. I would say that if we want these tariff, financial and industrial grievances rectified, the commission method is the right way to

go about finding out just what are the difficulties. Then, when these grievances are corrected, we expect the Canadian people in future to keep themselves on more solid ground industrially and financially in considering problems of government. That is the proper way to proceed, rather than to deal discriminately with any one section or any one industry of the country. All the industries should be dealt with in a constructive manner.

I shall conclude, Mr. Speaker, by saying that in my opinion the government is to be complimented upon having decided to appoint a national commission to investigate the financial and industrial problems confronting the whole nation, not leaving out any one province but covering the whole country. After the fullest possible information has been secured, with all the facts pertinent to the matter, a report can be made, and upon that report action can be taken in order to enable the provinces and the dominion to function more successfully, more effectively and more constructively within the respective orbits of their jurisdiction. To my mind, if that is done we shall live in a new day in Canada, and I would say that the sooner this commission can get busy and bring in a report, and the sooner that report can be acted upon, the better it will be for all the dominion.

Topic:   PROBLEMS OF WESTERN CANADA
Subtopic:   PROPOSED APPOINTMENT OF ROYAL COMMISSION TO STUDY AND REPORT ON ECONOMIC AND PSYCHOLOGICAL CONDITIONS
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SC

John Horne Blackmore

Social Credit

Mr. BLACKMORE:

I should like to ask the hon. gentleman who has just taken his seat if I was correct when I understood him to say that the financial condition of Alberta in April of this year was the result of the misdeeds of the government in power during that month.

Topic:   PROBLEMS OF WESTERN CANADA
Subtopic:   PROPOSED APPOINTMENT OF ROYAL COMMISSION TO STUDY AND REPORT ON ECONOMIC AND PSYCHOLOGICAL CONDITIONS
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LIB

Cameron Ross McIntosh

Liberal

Mr. McINTOSH:

What I want to make plain, Mr. Speaker, and what I wish to affirm is that if there is anything wrong with Alberta, financially or industrially, this dominion government is not responsible. The way to cure a condition of that kind is to go back and lead your own people to the constructive and sane solution of your own problems in a way that will mean a better day for the province of Alberta.

Topic:   PROBLEMS OF WESTERN CANADA
Subtopic:   PROPOSED APPOINTMENT OF ROYAL COMMISSION TO STUDY AND REPORT ON ECONOMIC AND PSYCHOLOGICAL CONDITIONS
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CCF

Abraham Albert Heaps

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

Mr. HEAPS:

Then may I ask the hon. gentleman a question. Would he apply the same rule to Saskatchewan?

Topic:   PROBLEMS OF WESTERN CANADA
Subtopic:   PROPOSED APPOINTMENT OF ROYAL COMMISSION TO STUDY AND REPORT ON ECONOMIC AND PSYCHOLOGICAL CONDITIONS
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LIB

Cameron Ross McIntosh

Liberal

Mr. McINTOSH:

Why, certainly. We can depend upon the people of Saskatchewan making a sound decision. There is no question about that.

Topic:   PROBLEMS OF WESTERN CANADA
Subtopic:   PROPOSED APPOINTMENT OF ROYAL COMMISSION TO STUDY AND REPORT ON ECONOMIC AND PSYCHOLOGICAL CONDITIONS
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SC

John Horne Blackmore

Social Credit

Mr. BLACKMORE:

Are not all the people of Saskatchewan Liberals now?

Western Canada-Mr. Ross (Moose Jaw)

Topic:   PROBLEMS OF WESTERN CANADA
Subtopic:   PROPOSED APPOINTMENT OF ROYAL COMMISSION TO STUDY AND REPORT ON ECONOMIC AND PSYCHOLOGICAL CONDITIONS
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LIB

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

Liberal

The DEPUTY SPEAKER:

Order. Is the house ready for the question?

Topic:   PROBLEMS OF WESTERN CANADA
Subtopic:   PROPOSED APPOINTMENT OF ROYAL COMMISSION TO STUDY AND REPORT ON ECONOMIC AND PSYCHOLOGICAL CONDITIONS
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SC

John Horne Blackmore

Social Credit

Mr. BLACKMORE:

The hon. member did not answer my question.

Topic:   PROBLEMS OF WESTERN CANADA
Subtopic:   PROPOSED APPOINTMENT OF ROYAL COMMISSION TO STUDY AND REPORT ON ECONOMIC AND PSYCHOLOGICAL CONDITIONS
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LIB

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

Liberal

The DEPUTY SPEAKER:

Order.

Topic:   PROBLEMS OF WESTERN CANADA
Subtopic:   PROPOSED APPOINTMENT OF ROYAL COMMISSION TO STUDY AND REPORT ON ECONOMIC AND PSYCHOLOGICAL CONDITIONS
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SC

John Horne Blackmore

Social Credit

Mr. BLACKMORE:

Then I wish to say

this: I understood the hon. gentleman to

say that the condition of Alberta in April, 1936, was the result of the policies of the government which was in power in that province at that time. I challenge the hon. member to prove that the financial position of Alberta on April 1, 1936, was in any way due to the government in power in that province at that time. He absolutely cannot do it.

Topic:   PROBLEMS OF WESTERN CANADA
Subtopic:   PROPOSED APPOINTMENT OF ROYAL COMMISSION TO STUDY AND REPORT ON ECONOMIC AND PSYCHOLOGICAL CONDITIONS
Permalink
LIB

Cameron Ross McIntosh

Liberal

Mr. McINTOSH:

The government of

Alberta has a definite financial responsibility. It has had it for the last two years. It has not faced it aggressively or effectively. So much for the provincial government. While Alberta has not done that, I fear it has not done the next essential thing; it has not cooperated with the present dominion government in a manner to get anywhere. Because of these precarious limitations I suggest that the best thing for Albertans to do is to adopt a new perspective and a new type of action -cooperative action, and then, perhaps, Alberta will be more successful and contented.

Topic:   PROBLEMS OF WESTERN CANADA
Subtopic:   PROPOSED APPOINTMENT OF ROYAL COMMISSION TO STUDY AND REPORT ON ECONOMIC AND PSYCHOLOGICAL CONDITIONS
Permalink
?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Vote Liberal, eh?

Topic:   PROBLEMS OF WESTERN CANADA
Subtopic:   PROPOSED APPOINTMENT OF ROYAL COMMISSION TO STUDY AND REPORT ON ECONOMIC AND PSYCHOLOGICAL CONDITIONS
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LIB

Cameron Ross McIntosh

Liberal

Mr. McINTOSH:

Well, they might do

worse than that.

Topic:   PROBLEMS OF WESTERN CANADA
Subtopic:   PROPOSED APPOINTMENT OF ROYAL COMMISSION TO STUDY AND REPORT ON ECONOMIC AND PSYCHOLOGICAL CONDITIONS
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LIB

John Gordon Ross

Liberal

Mr. J. G. ROSS (Moose Jaw):

Mr. Speaker, as has been said, the first section of the resolution before the house deals with the increase in population and the increase in wealth of western Canada since it came into confederation. My experience in that country started long before the west came into confederation. I have been forty-five years in that section of Canada, and since I have been old enough I have watched the development of western Canada.

When that country was first settled and the land broken up, naturally it would stand much more strain than it can at the present time. When I say that I am speaking of agriculture. In other words, when land is first broken up in a new country you have very few crop diseases, very few insect pests, and practically no noxious weeds to fight. During the first twenty years of occupancy of a new agricultural country, the cream, or a large portion of the cream, is taken out of that country, and in that period such a country can stand much heavier tolls than it can support at a later period.

Western Canada developed very rapidly. Part of its trouble came at the time of the great war. The people of the west were asked by the then dominion government to produce as large as possible a volume of foodstuffs for the armies overseas. They were urged to bend every effort to that end. As a matter of fact, we in western Canada who had not gone overseas and were on the land did bend every effort to produce all we could in the way of foodstuffs for those who had gone overseas and for the rest of the country. In doing so, in many cases we did not carry on the very best system of agriculture. We cropped our land too heavily; we did not summer-fallow enough; we endeavoured to produce as much as possible for the immediate time, and largely as a consequence we got ourselves into a lot of trouble. I should like to say on behalf of the farmers of western Canada that they were the only people in the whole dominion who were asked to do a certain thing and then had complete control taken of their product and a price set upon it by the federal government. Many people have said that the price of wheat during the war was very high. It was high then as compared with other times. Prices ranged from, first, $2.04 to $2.20, to $2.15 with a certificate that later brought 48 cents. But there was no restriction upon the charge that any other person in Canada might make for the commodities the farmers needed to buy.

Topic:   PROBLEMS OF WESTERN CANADA
Subtopic:   PROPOSED APPOINTMENT OF ROYAL COMMISSION TO STUDY AND REPORT ON ECONOMIC AND PSYCHOLOGICAL CONDITIONS
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SC

John Horne Blackmore

Social Credit

Mr. BLACKMORE:

Hear, hear.

Topic:   PROBLEMS OF WESTERN CANADA
Subtopic:   PROPOSED APPOINTMENT OF ROYAL COMMISSION TO STUDY AND REPORT ON ECONOMIC AND PSYCHOLOGICAL CONDITIONS
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LIB

John Gordon Ross

Liberal

Mr. ROSS (Moose Jaw):

The commodities they had to buy in order to produce grain went to tremendous prices. I remember having paid at that time as much as $30 per bag for sugar. At that time wheat was $2.20 per bushel. I recall having paid as high as $9 per day and their board to men who came to labour in the fields. Every last thing that the farmer in that country had to buy at that time went to extremely high prices, much higher proportionately than the price of products he had to sell, and many of us found ourselves at the end of the war period, when it might be supposed that we would be wealthy, in a worse condition than when the war started.

Topic:   PROBLEMS OF WESTERN CANADA
Subtopic:   PROPOSED APPOINTMENT OF ROYAL COMMISSION TO STUDY AND REPORT ON ECONOMIC AND PSYCHOLOGICAL CONDITIONS
Permalink
SC

John Horne Blackmore

Social Credit

Mr. BLACKMORE:

Hear, hear.

Topic:   PROBLEMS OF WESTERN CANADA
Subtopic:   PROPOSED APPOINTMENT OF ROYAL COMMISSION TO STUDY AND REPORT ON ECONOMIC AND PSYCHOLOGICAL CONDITIONS
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February 17, 1937