February 2, 1938

SC

Eric Joseph Poole

Social Credit

Mr. E. J. POOLE (Red Deer):

Mr. Speaker, upon perusing very carefully the speech from the throne the one thing that struck me was its vagueness. It would appear that the Liberal party, now that they have attained power, have lost many of those fine qualities of which they spoke so glibly in their days of opposition. I have made a point in the last few days of going through some old Hansards, and I find that in the Liberal party there are

The Address-Mr. Poole

many extremists; but that was when they were in opposition. That was when they were appealing to the electorate. But not now- that is all forgotten.

The question of trade has been dealt with, and some indication given of new agreements to be made. It was said in this house the other day, or at least implied, that the social credit people do not value trade. Let me say here and now that we have never minimized the value of trade. We recognize its value, but we also recognize the unnatural restrictions on trade because of the shortage of purchasing power in the hands of consumers in every part of the world. We do not, however, look upon trade as a solution of our economic ills. We do not believe that a market in Japan for Canadian goods is of greater value than a market in Canada. It is our belief that the people of Canada should be fed first, that they should have access to the goods that can be produced in such abundance in this country.

Living conditions in this country have not improved since this government came into power to the extent they would have us believe by their jubilant speeches made across this country in the recent by-elections. We would probably have more sympathy with the government if it was through their efforts that trade had been increased, and if commodities which have been sold in greatervolume had been natural commodities, commodities that were going to add to thehappiness and health and wealth of thepeoples of the world. But I say, Mr. Speaker, that the goods which have been shipped out of this country, and which are responsible for the slight increase in production and

some semblance of prosperity, have been metals to be used for armament purposes. I think it is a terrible price for the Canadian consumer to pay, in order that he may have a job to-day and perhaps one to-morrow, that we should better our conditions by supplying Japan with war materials which to-morrow may be used to shoot down and destroy Canadian youth. If that is the only kind of trade we can depend upon, if that is the only way we can have brief prosperity, then I say the price is too great.

There is one subject I want to discuss in the short time at my disposal, and that is the attitude of this government with regard to the province of Alberta. What we have endeavoured and are endeavouring to accomplish there at the present time is exactly what was advocated by the present Prime Minister when he was appealing to the electorate in 1935-to issue credit in terms of

public need. The difference, however, is that we meant what we said but the Prime Minister did not, or probably the Prime Minister did not have the same public in mind. I know that the people of western Canada, and I have travelled over it extensively in the past year, have not been the beneficiaries of any new financial policy. I have seen no credit in their hands. The only credit they have is real credit; that is, the ability to work, the ability to construct; but they have never had the opportunity of applying that all-important financial credit to their real credit in order that they may enjoy the wealth of the Dominion of Canada.

The province of Alberta brought down to the legislature three measures that were passed by the house but were disallowed by this government. I wonder what this Liberal government is going to do about the padlock law of Quebec. Is there one rule for the west and another for the east? Is Quebec privileged? The difference, Mr. Speaker, is that the padlock law was going to close up and destroy those organizations which had banded themselves together for the express purpose of making their way out of their terrible conditions.

It struck me as rather strange the other day when I read in the press of a minister speaking in Quebec about communism. Last year I attended a public meeting in this city where again they expressed their horror of communism. I fear communism far less than I fear the laissez-faire policies of the Liberal government, because communism is the cause of nothing; it is an effect. I am not defending it. I am not a communist, but I believe that in a democracy every section of society has the right to express its opinion and the right to enjoy the same privileges as anybody else. They have the right to be wrong. I look upon the padlock law of Quebec as the first step towards a fascist state. There has been no effort made on the part of this government to disallow that law, but it moved with great rapidity to disallow the Alberta legislation. Of course, the difference was that the measures we proposed were against that all-powerful organization, the money organization.

May I, Mr. Speaker, ask the Liberal government to give us at least some indication of when they are going to bring down some measure of monetary reform and tell us when they are going to issue credit in terms of public need? We still have thousands of unemployed people in this country; we still have thousands of our fellow-citizens living under deplorable conditions while at the same

The Address-Mr. Poole

time we have available all kinds of building material, all kinds of human labour and all kinds of machines, and at a time when, there is no question about the need for better conditions. Unfortunately the Liberal government has not yet issued credit in terms of public need. I say again this year, as I did last year, that if you are depending upon trade agreements and expanding markets to bring about prosperity, God help the people of Canada. I question the sincerity of the Liberal government. When I saw the Prime Minister come into this chamber on the first day leading with pride the new Liberal members, I thought it might have been more appropriate if the leader of the opposition had led them in, because I have always contended that the present leader of the opposition was the leader of the Liberal party, since it was through his failures that they got where they are. On the other hand it is just as true,

I think that the Prime Minister is the leader of the Conservative party, because it is through the failures of this government that the Conservative party will go back again.

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CON

Hugh Alexander Stewart

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEWART:

Fifty-fifty.

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SC

Eric Joseph Poole

Social Credit

Mr. POOLE:

The other day the leader of the opposition, turning in the direction of the Prime Minister, said something to this effect, "I do not see any great difference between your policy and the policy which I pursued." I agree. The only difference between them is the height of the tariff wall. They have never yet dealt with a real issue; and if this speech from the throne is any indication of their activities this coming year, the Canadian people can expect no great measure of reform from the Liberal government.

At the beginning of my address I said that in the Liberal party there were extremists. I find in Hansard of February 1, 1934, at a time when the Liberal party sat to the left of the Speaker, the following extract from one of the platform addresses of Mr. J. A. MacMillan:

I am not an extremist, but I believe that the same authority that came into our homes during the war and took our sons from the knees of their mothers, because there was a national emergency, should not be afraid to take similar steps to bring to the aid of the nation all surplus wealth. We conscripted men, why not money? There is now another national emergency that will have to be faced resolutely and squarely, if the country is to weather the storm. One of the ways out of the difficulty would be to get rid of the terrible burden of interest by paying off a substantial portion of the national debt, and this can only be done by conscription of wealth.

The speaker was not a social crediter or a member representing the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation; he was a Liberal who now sits on the government benches. What has happened since that platform address was delivered? Just one thing. The Liberals have come into power, and now, I suggest, they are afraid to tackle this problem, afraid to deal with the cause of depression. That cause is definitely money, purchasing power. There is no such thing as a depression. A "depression" would suggest that we are short of goods. If we were short of goods there would be no unemployed. We have plenty of goods; we have also plenty of people who cannot get the goods; and the only purpose of our productive machine, our whole economic machine, is to enrich life by making available to the people all those things that can be produced by the knowledge of men.

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At six o'clock the house adjourned without question put, pursuant to standing order. Thursday, February 3, 1938


February 2, 1938