May 9, 1938

THE LATE

FREDERICK CRONYN BETTS

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):

Mr. Speaker, parliament was just about to reassemble at the beginning of this session when members of the social credit group were called upon to mourn the loss of one of their number who had entered the House of Commons for his first time at the general elections of 1935. Within a few weeks thereafter we on the government side sustained a similar loss in the passing of one of our younger members who had been returned to parliament also for the first time at the last general elections. To-day, immediately opposite, on the side of the official opposition, there is a vacant seat which was occupied during this session by one of the younger members of the Conservative party who, too, became a member of this House of Commons for the first time at the general elections of 1935. We are thus reminded that death is no more a respecter of political parties than of persons.

On Tuesday last it was known that Major F. C. Betts, the member for London, in pursuit of a favourite recreation, had left Ottawa to go to one of the nearby streams or lakes, to enjoy a day's fishing. When he did not return to keep the engagements he had previously made there began to be concern as to the circumstances which might have occasioned his prolonged absence. Much anxiety was felt as to what fate might have befallen him. Nevertheless, at the time of

TMr. Thompson.]

adjournment on Friday evening last all had hoped that he would somewhere be found in safety and brought back to his family and to the service of his country, in parliament and elsewhere.

Unfortunately the anxieties of those who feared that Major Betts had met his death by accidental drowning were only too completely realized on Saturday morning when his body was found in the Blanche river, a short distance from where he had parked his car some days previously. The remains have been taken to London, and to-morrow members of all political parties will assemble at the funeral service to be held in the late member's native city in order to pay their last tribute of respect to his memory.

I shall leave it to my right hon. friend the leader of the opposition (Mr. Bennett) to speak more particularly of the loss which he personally and members of his party have sustained in the passing of one who was so closely identified with their interests. I should like, however, to say on behalf of hon. members of all parties how greatly shocked we were to learn that one so prominent in his party, one whose career was so well known, and who possessed so much of opportunity and capacity for public service should have come to the end of his days practically at the beginning of his parliamentary life.

It is generally known that Major Betts served with real distinction during the period of the great war. At the early age of twenty, he enlisted in the Royal Canadian Horse Artillery, and during the war was twice wounded. In his chosen profession of law, his attainments had received marked and well-merited recognition from his associates. He was an ex-President of the Middlesex Law Association and at the time of his death was a member of the council of the Canadian Bar Association.

During the years 1928 and 1929, Major Betts served as a member of the London county council. From the part he took in discussions in this house hon. members will recall his wide range of interest in public questions. Though in the Commons but a short time he showed clearly his desire and ability to debate the different subjects which were of concern to parliament. He was one of the most active members of his party.

Personally and on behalf of my colleagues and all hon. members on this side I should like to extend to my right hon. friend and to those who sit around him the expression of our sincere sympathy in the loss which the Conservative party and he as its leader have

The Late Mr. Betts

sustained in the passing of one who so loyally supported the party, its principles, and its leader.

I should like to say, on behalf of all hon. members of this house, how very deeply we feel for the young widow and infant daughter who have 'been so greatly bereaved, as also for other members of the family who have suffered so great a loss under circumstances peculiarly poignant.

Topic:   THE LATE
Subtopic:   FREDERICK CRONYN BETTS
Permalink
CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

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

Mr. Speaker, the tragic circumstances to which the right hon. leader of the government (Mr. Mackenzie King) has referred make it unnecessary for me to do more than thank him very earnestly and sincerely for t'he kind terms in which he has extended the sympathy of himself and his colleagues to those of us associated together here as the official opposition.

It is a little difficult to do more than express sorrow on an occasion such as this, when one whom we have known so closely and intimately 'has left us under circumstances so very, very sad. The late Major Betts bore an historic name in the city of London, and early developed those characteristics which he had inherited. You might say that his life divided itself sharply into four divisions. He was a student in t'he schools of his own city and at Ridley College, St. Catharines, where he made for himself a distinct place. Then, while only twenty, he enlisted in the service of his country and within a few months was in France, where he gave such an excellent account of 'himself that promotions followed rapidly. Twice wounded, the later wound being rather serious, he returned to his home and was demobilized early in 1919, having been actively in service until the end of hostilities.

Then came the third division of his life, that in which he served his profession as a lawyer. He was admitted to the practice of law at Osgoode Hall, as was to be expected from one with his antecedents. He took an active interest in the profession, becoming president of the bar of Middlesex and later being elected to the council of the Canadian Bar Association. Then, as might have been expected, he embarked upon the fourth branch of his activities, that of public service. He served in the city council of London and in 1935 became a candidate for his party, and after a strenuous campaign was elected to the House of Commons. I recall being in London just before that election. I had met Major Betts only once before, I think, but I was struck with the thoroughness with which he was conducting his activities. He had visited the

factories; he had ascertained the conditions under which work was being carried on; he had come in contact with the works people in all these factories and had familiarized himself with the products of his city in every branch of industrial activity. I then concluded, from what I saw, that in all probability he would be returned.

When he came here he immediately went to work, which is not what new members always do. So far as he could he made himself master of every matter that he took in hand. He was particularly interested in problems concerning returned soldiers and those that had to do with the militia with which he was associated, being on the reserve of officers. I recall very vividly discussing with him the question of his activities. I pointed out to him, as I have to many younger men, that there is only one way by which you may attain success either in the practise of law or in public life, and that is by work; and whether or not he found it easy, undoubtedly it was his duty to endeavour to express himself on every question that 'he thought of sufficient interest to warrant his intervention in the debate. He found it a little difficult at first, but confidence came, and I think my hon. friends opposite will agree that he was attaining that measure of confidence which enabled him to speak with a measure of certainty and conviction with respect to the many problems in which he interested himself.

It hardly seems possible that, not yet forty-two years of age, one who had escaped gas, bombs, shells and shrapnel, and attacks by sea, land and air, should lose his life under the circumstances to which the right hon. the Prime Minister has referred. Yet so it is, and it.is a striking illustration of what a man of old said: Death hath so many doors to let out life. He is gone out of one of the most unexpected doors, having safely passed all the others to which I have referred, except that he was wounded in passing. He passed by those doors in a foreign land, across leagues of sea, only to lose his life within a few miles of these parliament buildings while engaged in a little harmless recreation. Death indeed hath many doors to let out life.

I think it must be a matter of satisfaction to all of us that men of his training interest themselves in public life, and I trust that his example may be followed by many, in this new country which so much requires the services of those of his type, who are prepared to place themselves at the disposal of their country whenever the opportunity offers whether in offering their lives as a willing

The Late Mr. Bells

sacrifice, or their time for the promotion of the welfare of their fellow citizens in days of peace.

All these things have to do with a public career, but there was the private side to the life of Major Betts that we cannot overlook. He had but recently been married, and had a young daughter not yet six months of age. I think those of us who may have seen him night after night, between ten and eleven o'clock, busily engaged in writing, realized that he was writing a note to the loved ones at home. He never wearied of speaking of his wonderful wife and child, and I read in the press that small photographs of them were found upon his person after his death. Those of us who had the privilege of meeting his mother when she came to Ottawa at the opening of this house, when her son took his seat, will realize something of what her sorrow must be, that one who had escaped death in so many forms had to meet his end under the tragic circumstances to which we have referred. Indeed we who knew him as a comrade, as a colleague, had become so accustomed to his cheery ways that usually he was referred to in no other terms except the word "Freddie." He made for himself so secure a place in the hearts of all who are here that it is impossible to contemplate as a reality the fact of his leaving us. We think of it only as something that is not yet real, that one to whom we were speaking but yesterday, so it seems, has gone from us, and that he shall return no more to this house, neither shall his place know him any more. These words from the book of Job fittingly express the situation.

We would indeed be a poor people, Mr. Speaker, poorer than we are, if in the midst of all this sorrow and sadness we had not the firm hope and conviction that after all, although death has so many doors to let out life, it is in reality the gate to life eternal. With this thought we shall cherish the memory of a dear friend, a devoted colleague, one who had endeared himself to us in so many ways by so many little acts of kindness that his memory will live with us until the end.

Topic:   THE LATE
Subtopic:   FREDERICK CRONYN BETTS
Permalink
CCF

Charles Grant MacNeil

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

Mr. C. G. MacNEIL (Vancouver North):

Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the members of this group I desire to join in the expression on the part of this house of keen regret at the untimely passing of one of our number, and our sincerest sympathy for those who have been bereaved in such a tragic manner.

Some of us gained a closer acquaintance with Major Betts than otherwise might have been possible in the ordinary associations of this house. This was because of the warm-

IMr. Bennett.]

hearted comradeship that he invariably expressed towards his fellow ex-service men. In this way we learned to appreciate his manly qualities, his unfailing courtesy, and his very definite and keen interest in the welfare of his former comrades-in-arms. We shall miss him. Ex-service men within and without this house mourn his sudden death and salute the memory of one who proved himself, in the highest sense of the phrase, an officer and a gentleman.

Topic:   THE LATE
Subtopic:   FREDERICK CRONYN BETTS
Permalink
SC

John Horne Blackmore

Social Credit

Mr. J. H. BLACKMORE (Lethbridge):

Mr. Speaker, I desire to express through you the sincere sympathy of this group with the members of the house for their great loss and with the members of this good man's family in their bereavement.

I was impressed with the words of the right hon. leader of the opposition (Mr. Bennett) in which he showed so clearly how full had been the life of this man, and pointed out how strange it was that he should die as he did. One cannot escape the thought that it occurred as it was designed to occur, and that the great poet who said "there is a divinity which shapes our ends" was expressing what has been and will continue to be a truth so long as the world endures. Therefore perhaps it is well that we should look upon the bright side of this untimely event. It is well perhaps that we should look to the dawn that arises rather than to the sunset which is fading.

Tennyson said at one time that there must be other greater work for the Duke of Wellington to do than that which he did when he fought at Waterloo. There must be other greater work for Major Betts to do than the great work which he has already done, even although that work was sufficient to fill completely a most valuable life.

I rejoice over this man's life because of two things which have impressed themselves upon my mind through my knowledge of him in this house. The first was what he did in the service of his country, and I think there is nothing greater that a man can do. Greater love hath no man than this, that he offer to lay down his life for his friends. He did his work there well.

In this house he fought consistently for the interests of the returned men. As the days go by it will become increasingly evident to all the members of this house and the people outside that we in Canada, much as we have done, have leflt far more undone that we ought to have done for the returned men. It therefore is a misfortune to lose a man who has been so active for the returned men.

I feel also that it is a great privilege to die in harness. This Major Betts has done.

The Late Mr. Betts

I think the last time there was a debate in this house in which he could be interested, he took part, and took part well.

While I regret greatly that he has passed, there is cause for satisfaction in the fact that the misfortune has associated with it so many things which can ameliorate the suffering which all must feel.

Topic:   THE LATE
Subtopic:   FREDERICK CRONYN BETTS
Permalink
LIB

Duncan Graham Ross

Liberal

Mr. D. G. ROSS (Middlesex East):

Mr. Speaker, I feel that I cannot refrain from adding a few perhaps intimate but none the less sincere remarks to those the house has

just heard from the right hon. the Prime Minister of Canada (Mr. Mackenzie King), the right hon. leader of the opposition (Mr. Bennett), the hon. member for Vancouver North (Mr. MacNeil), and the leader of the social credit party (Mr. Blackmore). Because of these eloquently worded tributes I am reluctant to add anything, and yet with the sincere appreciation I hold of Major Betts' military record-he served with the twelfth battery, C.F.A.-I should feel I was derelict in my duty if I did not add a humble and sincere word.

The returned soldiers of the house numbered just under two score-thirty-nine in all-but to-day we are thirty-eight. This is the first break which has occurred in our ranks. I attended the same school, Princess avenue in London, as Major Betts, or "Freddie," as many of us affectionately knew him, and when I recall the many months of keen suffering that he endured following the termination of the war, and remember that by a high measure of courage he recovered and became an extremely valuable member of this house, I feel that as one who was a comrade-in-arms, and who represents a constituency adjoining his own-in fact, over a score of divisions in my riding of Middlesex East pierce into the very heart of the city of London-I could do no less, and I can do no more, than in this house to pay him this humble tribute.

May I not add on behalf of every returned soldier in the house a last deep measure of sincerest sympathy to his young and charming wife, his grand old mother, and all relatives. After all, he fought a good fight; and there is always the incomparable consolation expressed in those lines of the great Athenean orator, Pericles.

They shall not grow old, as we that are left grow old;

Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.

At the going down of the sun and in the morning

We will remember them.

Mr. ARTHUR J. LAPOINTE (Matapedia-Matane) (Translation): On behalf of my

French-Canadian fellow war veterans, I wish to join the distinguished gentlemen who have just spoken, in voicing my deepest sorrow for the death, which happened so suddenly and in such tragic circumstances, of our lamented colleague the hon. member for London, Mr. F. C. Betts.

While attending meetings of war veterans who were members of this house, it happened quite frequently that I sat next to him and on such occasions, overlooking our differences of opinion in the political field, we often had very friendly conversations. I was thus in a position to appreciate his warm-heartedness, his great courtesy, his kindly spirit and his good breeding.

The hon. member for London will be sadly missed in this parliament.

I wish to tender my heartfelt sympathy to his sorrowful wife, to every member of his family and to the hon. members of this house who belong to the Conservative party.

Mr. JEAN-FRANQOIS POULIOT (Temis-couata): On behalf of the members of the House of Commons committee on civil service, I extend our most profound sympathy to the family of the late Major Betts and to his friends and colleagues of the Conservative party. He was a barrister of note, a gallant soldier, a parliamentarian of great experience acquired in a rather short time; he was a very able debater, and a sportsman. The floor of the house is not always a dividing line between members of opposite political affiliations; and sometimes, during the heat of a debate, I was at times the recipient of very gracious notes from the hand of the late member for London. He was a good friend; he was of genial disposition, and his passing is deeply regretted by all. On the evening before his death I happened to meet him. He took his wallet from his pocket and showed me an heirloom, containing the picture of his infant daughter in the arms of her mother. I have told the members of the House of Commons committee on the civil service that they were the finest group in the house. The late Major Betts was one of them.

Topic:   THE LATE
Subtopic:   FREDERICK CRONYN BETTS
Permalink

GRAIN INQUIRY COMMISSION

REPORT TABLED BT THE MINISTER OF TRADE AND COMMERCE

LIB

William Daum Euler (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Hon. W. D. EULER (Minister of Trade and Commerce):

Mr. Speaker, I lay on the table two copies of the report of the royal grain inquiry commission. The report is now being printed and will be ready for distribution in about a week.

2666 COMMONS

Farm Implements Committee Report

Topic:   GRAIN INQUIRY COMMISSION
Subtopic:   REPORT TABLED BT THE MINISTER OF TRADE AND COMMERCE
Permalink

FARM IMPLEMENTS COMMITTEE

MOTION FOB CONCURRENCE IN SECOND REPORT PRESENTED APRIL 8, 1937


The house resumed from Friday, May 6, consideration of the motion of Mr. Johnston (Lake Centre) for concurrence in the second report of the special committee appointed to investigate farm implement prices, presented to the house on the 8th of April, 1937.


LIB

William Richard Motherwell

Liberal

Hon. W. R. MOTHERWELL (Melville):

Topic:   FARM IMPLEMENTS COMMITTEE
Subtopic:   MOTION FOB CONCURRENCE IN SECOND REPORT PRESENTED APRIL 8, 1937
Permalink
LIB

Hervé-Edgar Brunelle

Liberal

Mr. BRUNELLE (Champlain) (Translation) :

Mr. Speaker, the question under discussion is of deep interest to the fanners. They need government assistance, and I am happy to note that this government desires to help them as much as possible. The report of the committee appointed to investigate the prices of farm implements, which we are now discussing, has established the existence of certain abuses on the part of the manufacturers and recommends a further reduction in customs' duties on farm implements.

I wish to take a few moments of the time of the house to express my approval of this report which, from beginning to end, is favourable to the farmers.

The .present discussion will indicate to the entire country that this government is not satisfied with merely praising the farmers of Canada, but really wants to help them. The attitude of the political parties on that point is being clearly defined. The supporters of the government are all stating their approval of the report and of the committee's recommendations tending to the reduction of farm implement prices, while the members of the opposition, from first to last, at least those who have taken part in the present debate, are opposing them.

The situation is clear. On the one hand we have the interests of the powerful, of the financiers, of the manufacturers, and the Conservatives are upholding them. On the other hand, there is at stake the welfare and interest of the weak, of the poor, of those who lack organization and money, the interests of the class which is admittedly the most important, because it is at the root of all national progress, in a word the interests of agriculture, and the Liberal party is upholding them.

It is in 1878 that Sir John A. Macdonald inaugurated a policy of protection for Canadian industries. This policy, it was said, was intended to aid only infant industries. Ever since, the buyer and consumer of Canada has been paying a bonus to the Canadian manufacturers. Ever since, the cost of living has been higher in Canada than in the United States. An automobile selling in Canada for $1,350 can be bought in the United States for $1,000. A radio costing $75 in Canada sells for about $25 in the United States, and so on. Farm implement prices have always been from 10 to 20 per cent lower in the United States.

All that is the result of the tariff policy initiated in 1878 for the protection of infant industries. After sixty years of existence

Farm Implements Committee Report

Canadian industries should be old enough to be weaned. It is now the farmer's turn to come into his own, to be able to pay what he owes and to buy at prices proportionate to those which he obtains for his products.

The Conservative opposition assume the defence of the manufacturers. They are constantly speaking of the inalienable rights of the powerful, of the rich, of the manufacturers, of the trusts-of vested rights. In order to give a plausible appearance to their love for the powerful, opposition members state that they are seeking to protect the workers employed1 in industry. The farm implement industry employs four to five thousand1 workers. I also am anxious for the welfare of these four or five thousand workers, but I am specially concerned about the welfare of the five million Canadians living on the land.

Farmers are sometimes called the monarchs of all they survey. They should be the monarchs of the land, but they are not. They have been dethroned in the course of the last few years, in many cases; they have lost their independence to become, to a great extent, the slaves of their creditors, of the powerful, of the manufacturers including the manufacturers of farm implements. I am not so much concerned in knowing whether the lowering of the tariff will have much or little effect on farm implement prices than I am in doing well what is to be done, in order to have the satisfaction that comes of the performance of one's duty.

On page 1295, we find recommendation No. 23, which reads as follows:

That recent reductions in tariff and other trade barriers resulted in the Canadian companies lowering their prices on certain farm implements imported from the United States, but the United States companies manufacturing a full general line in the United States and marketing these in Canada, did not lower their prices generally on importations other than those affected by the price reductions of the Canadian companies, indicating the lack of free price competition in the industry.

Now let us examine, in the light of statistics, whether it is the farmer or the manufacturer who is worthy of sympathy and assistance. Here is a page in the history of the International Harvester Company and the Massey Harris Company, based on their financial results, as shown on page 1224 of the report:

Financial history of the International Harvester Company of Canada Limited, from 1903 to 1935 inclusive:

In the period from inception to 1912 it earned $3,500,000, paid interest on all advances from the parent company and, if the policy of later years was followed at that time, earned in

addition an undetermined amount of profits retained in the hands of the parent company. This was on a capitalization of $1,000,000.

In the period from 1913 to 1919 inclusive, it earned $3,000,000 plus a profit retained in the United States estimated at $4,200,000 and, in addition, paid interest on all advances from the parent company. This on a capitalization of $1,000,000 up to 1917; a capitalization of $10,000,000 in 1917 and a capitalization of $15,000,000 in 1918 and 1919.

In the years 1920 to 1925 inclusive, it made profits of $800,000 after absorbing the heavy losses of 1921 and 1922; received a surplus of $287,556 from the International Plow Works of Canada Limited and earned for the parent company a profit, retained in the United States and not shown in the operating results of the Canadian company, estimated at not less than $4,000,000. In these years it paid no interest on the advances received from the parent company and the capitalization was maintained at $15,000,000, increased by surplus, reserves and moneys owing to the parent company, to an average of $30,000,000 per annum.

A dividend of $3,000,000 was taken in 1921 by the parent company.

In 1926 to 1935, it earned on a different basis to the foregoing at least $24,500,000 on an adjusted capitalization claimed to be about $39,000,000.

Now as to the Massey-Harris Company Limited.

The company had its inception in 1891 with the merging of the Massey and Harris interests; the paid up capital of the company at its inception being approximately $3,500,000 of which $300,000 was paid in cash and the remainder was given in exchange for the assets of the constituent firms in the merger.

In the period from 1891 to 1912 this original capitalization of $3,500,000 plus $1,000,000 additional cash capital received in 1911, enabled the company to return the following values to its stockholders-

I will not quote the particulars, Mr. Speaker, but those returns amounted to $28,953,349.

During the years 1913 to 1921 inclusive, cash dividends were paid to a total amount of approximately $9,142,000. Stock dividends were declared in 1916, 1918 and 1920 to the extent of $11,044,200. Of these, however, nearly $9,000,000 represented profits in the period ended in 1912.

The period from 1922 to 1925 showed no appreciable change in the position of the company. It paid no considerable amounts in dividends and earned no large profits.

The loss for the period 1926 to 1935 inclusive, will be found stated in another section of this report as over $15,000,000.

The dividends paid during the same period were as follows:

Dividends paid on Preference Stock:

Fiscal year ending in-

1926

7% $ 846,2931927

7% 846,2931928

7% 846,2931929

7% J year 423,147

5% J year 302,247

1930 5% 604,495

2670 COMMONS

Farm. Implements Committee Report

Dividends paid on no par value Common shares:

Fiscal year ending in

1929 $1,269,440

1930 1,637,016

Mr. Speaker, I need not comment upon that for the figures speak for themselves.

. I had not intended to take part in this debate, but my concern for the farmers of my constituency compels me to do so. I am sincerely convinced that we can never do too much on behalf of the farmers. If it can truthfully be said that agriculture is the foundation of our country's prosperity let us be careful lest that foundation should collapse, let us maintain it strong and firm. It is unfortunate, in my opinion, that the farmers should not be better organized and more united, for that is a cause of weakness. I admire the farmers and I am concerned about the welfare, for I believe that in their own way, the Quebec farmers have been heroes in the past, on account of the hardships they had to suffer and the sacrifices they were compelled to make; but their descendants, instead of reaping the benefit of those sacrifices and hardships, are now facing almost insuperable difficulties. I admire the farmers of my province, and I am concerned about their welfare because they are courageous, industrious and serious-minded. I admire them for the reason that if fascism, communism, socialism and other similar doctrines ever really threatened to overrun our country, the last shot fired against them would come from the people of my province.

I will vote in favour of the report and the recommendations of the committee on farm implement prices, because I think it is an indisputable fact that the prosperity of the farm implement industry is directly based upon the prosperity of farming. Consequently, they must cooperate in such a manner that the farmer, when he has to sell his produce at the lowest prices, should not be forced to buy his farm implements at high prices; in other words, whenever the prices of farm products fall there should be a similar reduction in the prices of farm implements, and vice versa.

Topic:   FARM IMPLEMENTS COMMITTEE
Subtopic:   MOTION FOB CONCURRENCE IN SECOND REPORT PRESENTED APRIL 8, 1937
Permalink
LIB

Walter Adam Tucker

Liberal

Mr. W. A. TUCKER (Rosthern):

Mr. Speaker, at the beginning of this debate it was not my intention to take part in it, but since that time some remarks have been made which I believe should not be permitted to go unanswered.

In the speech he delivered on Thursday, May 5, the hon. member for Greenwood (Mr. Massey) is reported at page 2583 of Hansard to have said:

It is not the 7J per cent alone on implements which is at stake in this debate. We are debating a principle, and tied up with that principle is not only the future welfare of this dominion, but the unity of Canada as well. I deplore such utterances as have been made in this house and in this debate-yes, and deplore them in the sacred name of Canadian unity.

When the sacred name of Canadian unity 13 thrown into the balance in an attempt to justify the exploitation of one part of the country for the benefit of another part, I cannot sit in my seat and remain silent. There has been too much in the way of attempting to use patriotism and the like to justify exploitation and to persuade others to undergo exploitation. In my opinion that is one of the reasons for the disunity in Canada at the present time.

For an example of this sort of thing-before the election in 1911 a trade agreement was made with the United States which to-day most people will admit would have been to the great advantage of Canada as a whole. One of the reasons why people in Ontario and western Canada were persuaded to turn down the agreement was a campaign of patriotism and an appeal to Canadian loyalty. The hon. member for Greenwood referred to the noble part the Canadian farmers had always been willing to play in the building up of industries in Canada, and the implication seems to be that the Canadian farmer should go on submitting to the payment of taxes to corporations on everything he buys in order that the manufacturing industry of Canada may prosper.

If it could be shown that the manufacturing industry passed on to Canadian workers the benefits it received from Canadian farmers, there might be something in that argument. I do not think there would be much in it, because I doubt very much whether a government has a right to say to over half the population engaged in the basic industry of a country: "We will give certain people the right to tax you, to make things worse for you and your children, in order that a certain other branch of the population may be better off." That has been referred to in times past as the New Feudalism, the right to private taxation given to certain industries and private corporations. But does it actually have that effect of benefiting labour? The

fMr. Brunelle.]

Farm Implements Committee Report

hon, member for Greenwood actually said that he was speaking not in favour of the Implement industry or of the farming industry, but in favour of the workers and the people engaged in farming industry. The thing that strikes me in regard to that contention, Mr. Speaker, is this: Does a high tariff increase the number of people engaged in the implement industry? Exports of farm implements in 1933 were valued at 81,324,776, tvhile the imports amounted to 82,208,028. In 1936 our exports of farm implements were worth 86,344,000, and our imports 86,182,000. I. ask those who make such a plea on behalf of those engaged in the farm implement industry, is it not much better to have trade flowing so that you manufacture and export 86,344,000 worth of farm implements rather than

81,824,000 worth? And our imports did not go up proportionally as fast. Can anyone, in view of these figures, place much reliance on the suggestion that the tariff should be maintained because it helps workmen engaged in the farm implement industry?

Furthermore, if you are going to have unity in this country it must be based upon justice as between different parts of the country and as between the different industries of the country. You cannot have unity based upon such things as were revealed in the textile investigation. One company engaged in the textile industry was permitted to charge high prices and pay itself roughly 98 per cent interest on the investment, in its common shares over a period of twenty-nine years, while the labouring people were paid lower wages than were paid in the United States and they themselves were paying more for the things they had to buy than they should have had otherwise to pay. That is giving the right of exploitation, of private taxation, and it is not conducive to unity or a sense of satisfaction on the part of the people of Canada. Moreover, Mr. Speaker, I think if one had at heart the unity of this country he would say that those suffering the most, those lowest in the scale of economic wellbeing should be the first to be assisted.

In a speech in this house on February 1 the hon. member for Huron North (Mr. Deachman) gave some figures in regard to the average earnings of the Ontario farmers. At first I intended to go into the earnings of farmers throughout Canada as a whole, but I realized that this might not be a fair comparison because of the drought in the west during the past few years, so I thought we might safely rely upon the figures of the hon. member in regard to the earnings of Ontario farmers as illustrating the general position of

the farmer in Canada. You will remember, Mr. Speaker, that in his remarks he gave figures, which appealed to me, at least, as being fair, indicating that the average farmer in Ontario earned 8362 net a year, and that was after allowing wages of only 8155 to his son or daughter-not a high amount, since most farmers have at least one son or daughter working for them. Is not the farming industry then the one worst off and the one most entitled to consideration?

I have heard speakers discuss in this house, and I have worried over it myself, the situation that has arisen in this country under which even when you have increasing trade and increasing industrial activity you still have large numbers in the cities unemployed and on relief. I suggest to you that this is the result of our attitude towards our different industries. I suggest that the reason we have not even more unemployed and even more people on relief in the cities is that the people in the country who would like to go to the cities and engage in industry realize that if they did go they would not be able to get work and would have to go on relief. But I suggest that if you keep on putting manufacturing industry in a preferred position, as compared to agriculture, even if you increase the number engaged in industry by fifty per cent within the next six months and take those people from the relief rolls of the cities and towns, the same number will flock in from the country to take their places and attempt to find jobs.

I submit that. you have to attack this problem in a fundamental way. You have to make the basic, most important industry in this dominion-agriculture-the attractive industry, or at least as attractive as other industries. You have to make it so attractive that those engaged in it will not be always looking for an opportunity to go to the cities and towns in order to get into manufacturing industry. If you do not do that, no matter how much you develop industry you will attract more and more people from the farms to take the places of those absorbed in industry, and you will have no permanent solution of the problem of unemployment and relief. On the other hand, if the agricultural industry is treated properly and made more desirable, the people presently engaged in it will remain so engaged; others will be attracted to it, and you will be decreasing the number unemployed and on relief. Then, as people remain and more go on the farms, the demand for the goods produced by manufacturing industry will be increased. That, I suggest, is a fundamental approach to this

2672 COMMONS

Farm Implements Committee Report

problem, but the attitude of the Conservative opposition in this house is designed all the time to throw the thing more and more out of balance, to make things more desirable in manufacturing industry and less desirable in the basic industry of agriculture.

We have heard a great deal about labourers in industry, but there are labourers in agriculture also. I think any one who knows anything will realize that labour in the farming industry is not treated from the standpoint of hours of work, holidays or rate of pay, as well as labour in industry. That is not the fault of the farmer; he could not possibly pay any more than he does, but why is it that those who profess to be so much concerned about the labouring man never raise their voices in this house on behalf of the working man on the farm or the farmer's son working on his father's farm? They always speak on behalf of the labouring man in the city, the labouring man in industry. I suggest to you, Mr. Speaker, that the labouring man on the farm is just as important, and that he also should have defenders in this house. After all, agriculture is a very important branch of industry in this country. For example, from 1931 to 1934 inclusive the average number of men engaged in industry was 523,972. What are the figures in regard to those engaged in agriculture? Including members of families actively engaged in farm work we had 1,621,000 people employed in agriculture, or three times as many as were engaged in industry. So I say that if we are going to lay a permanent foundation for unity in this dominion we must make things better for that million and a half who have to make their living on the farms. After we have done that we can and should concern ourselves about those others who are not so badly off. For I should like to make it quite plain that I am not against making things better for the worker in industry. As the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Gardiner) said the other night, a policy of lower tariffs alone would make things better for the industrial workers.

I have cited the figures indicating that the value of farm implements exported in 1936 was much higher than in 1933. We had the experience of more men employed in the farm implement industry after the tariff reductions of 1924 and 1925. In this connection there is also another feature which I should like to draw to your attention; it is a matter which I have always had a good deal of difficulty in understanding. It is why those engaged in manufacturing fann implements in this country need tariff protection

at home when they can ship their products abroad and compete in the foreign market where they have no tariff protection. Here they have an advantage in that they do not have to pay so much in the way of freight rates, and if they can ship their goods abroad and compete in these foreign countries why should they require protection in Canada? Let me refer again to the figures I mentioned a moment ago. In 1936 the implement industry actually exported goods to a higher value than the implements that were imported in the same year. I will recall the figures again. In 1936 the agricultural implement industry of this country exported $6,-

344,000 worth of agricultural implements, and there were imported in competition with that only $6,182,000 worth. In other words, there was a favourable balance of $162,000, which we shipped out and sold in competition with the implement manufacturers of the world. Where, then, is the justification in forcing the farmers to subsidize the farm implement industry and pay more for their implements when that industry can compete with outside industry in the markets of the world?

There is another aspect of the matter that should be considered-and I am trying t6 cover the ground rapidly and deal with the principles involved as I see them. We have well established in the economic set-up of this country the idea of drawbacks, the idea that there shall be a refund of the tariff paid upon the raw materials that went into the finished product which is shipped out to compete in the markets of the world. I ask you, Mr. Speaker, is there any industry in this country that has to compete more with the low paid labour of the whole world than the agricultural industry? Agriculture has to compete with the low paid worker in Africa, in Egypt, everywhere. His tools, his implements are raw materials of the farmer. He has to sell his products in the markets of the world in competition with the people of all other nations, no matter how low paid their labour may be, and one of his raw materials is certainly farm implements, the means whereby he produces his products. Implements are one of the things he uses to produce his wheat, his butter, and so forth. If industry which asks for protection insists on getting drawbacks on the scale it does when it sells its products in the markets of the world, is not the farmer, who is made of flesh and blood and must live, just as much, at least, entitled to a square deal? Is he not entitled to drawback-a refund-on the basis of the excess he pays for his implements on account of the tariff policy protecting industry? When we

Farm Implements Committee Report

hear of the sacred name of Canadian unity, it is time our people began to see that we should base that unity on a fair deal to all parts and all classes of Canada.

Recently a prominent man in this country, making a submission to the royal commission investigating dominion and provincial relations, said that because of the difference in economic conditions as between one province and another some of the provinces could not afford certain social services while others could; that it was not fair to ask the richer to contribute to the social services of the poorer and therefore the best and fairest thing was to leave social services on a provincial basis. I ask you, Mr. Speaker, if Canada is not a nation? Do we not say to the individual Canadian: You must contribute to the national exchequer? In time of war did we not say to him: You must go and fight for Canada? Then when he needs help in the way of social services, are we to say to him: No, you are not a Canadian; you are an Ontario man or a Saskatchewan man? Are we to say that when it comes to upholding Canada, a matter of giving perhaps one's life for one's country, he is a Canadian, and that it is an obligation to Canada as a whole, but that when it comes to the state helping him in his hour of need, there shall be first-class Canadians and second-class Canadians, to be helped or not depending upon what part of Canada they live in? It is that sort of thing that is helping to break up Canada and make people feel there is not a real Canadian spirit, a real spirit of justice and fair play among Canadians as a whole, as there should be.

The fundamental question before us to-day is this: Are we at last going to do justice to the basic industry of this country, or are we going to permit it to continue to be exploited on behalf of one particular industry?

There are one or two other remarks that were made with which I should like to deal; I cannot deal with all of them. The hon. member for Greenwood (Mr. Massey) said, at page 2580 of Hansard:

But I do know that the implement industry feels that prices should be based on costs, not on the law of supply and demand.

And the hon. member suggested that he was favourable to that idea, that the prices of the things the farmer has to buy, one of his raw materials, his farm implements, should be based not on the law of supply and demand, but on the cost of production in Canada, knowing at the same time that the selling price of the products the farmer has to sell will be based to a preponderant extent upon supply and demand in world markets. Is he

prepared at the same time to say that the selling price of the things the farmer produces shall be based on the farmer's cost of production? I just wonder if the Conservative opposition in this house is going to say: We are going to treat the farmer differently from the manufacturing industry. Is it going to say that the manufacturing industry will be permitted to get together by open or secret agreement and charge prices based on their cost of production, while the farmer shall be exposed to getting what he can in the markets of the world? Or is it their policy to say to the farmer: We are going to reimburse you the cost of production on your apples, your cheese, your butter, your wheat, on your oats your hay and your barley? We should hear what their policy is. If they are going to talk about the needs of industry, let us have one and the same policy for the farmer and for industry. If you are going to say that the price of farm implements should be based on the cost of production and a reasonable profit, then those who talk about the unity of Canada should be saying that the farmer should be treated in exactly the same way. If they do not do the one, they should not do the other. If they are not willing to do both, let them stop talking about the unity of Canada.

There is another thing I should like to say in conclusion. The Crowsnest pass freight rates have been dealt with in this house. This solemn agreement made with the railways provided that, amongst other items, no higher than a certain rate should be charged on goods hauled to the west. That agreement was abrogated by act of this parliament. The Crowsnest rate on farm implements should be restored at once.

I hope democracy is a real thing in this house. The last convention of our party held in 1919, came out, as I understand it, for the free importation of farm implements, one of the raw materials of the farmer. We have been again returned to power by the people of this country. We must let the peoples' will prevail. Special pleading for special interests should no longer prevail in this matter to the slightest degree in this House of Commons. The expressed will of the people who voted for a low tariff policy should be given effect to by legislation. There should be no more argument, no more delay, no more procrastination, with people still enjoying special privileges given by high tariff. The tariff should go down, and the tariff on farm implements especially should go down, or even be wiped out altogether. We are told by the Conservative party, that they had

2674 COMMONS

Farm Implements Committee Report

an agreement with the farm implement industry that if the Conservative government would give them the right to charge their prices under the protection of a high tariff, they would not raise such prices; and we have been told that they have kept that agreement. We also know that the cost of producing farm implements in 1936 was less than in 1932. We know further that since this government got into power, the manufacturers, instead of lowering the price have twice raised the price of their implements, and done it the second time in the face of a finding of a committee of this House of Commons that the first raise in price was not justified. We know that, and yet we say that taking off the tariff will under present conditions effect a reduction in price. If that is not the case; if the implement industries of the North American continent have things so organized that they can raise their prices when their costs come down, and can do just as they please with the people of Canada, then I suggest to you, Mr. Speaker, that the sooner we know it the better. The sooner we take the tariff off and see whether that alone will work to lower prices, the better. If it does not work, I suggest we should then put the efforts-the full power-of this government and the finances of this country behind the development of a cooperative movement to manufacture and supply the farmers with farm implements at cost. If the embattled farm implement industries of this country, which have built themselves up under protection given by the Canadian people, have now got to the point where they are ready to challenge the people and their representatives in parliament, and to do as they please with regard to the needs of such a basic industry as agriculture, it is time for this parliament and this government to take up the challenge and show the implement industry and anybody else who may be looking on that parliament is supreme, and that if we cannot get justice in one way for the farming industry we will get it in another.

I beseech the house to pass this report. I suggest that the government go further and take the duty off agricultural implements. I further suggest that they reduce freight rates to the Crowsnest Pass level. They should then watch things very closely, and if prices do not come down at least to a figure comparable to prices in 1932, when costs were lower, other decisive action should be taken to see that justice is done to that fundamental industry which is now so depressed in this ?ountry, the farming industry.

Topic:   FARM IMPLEMENTS COMMITTEE
Subtopic:   MOTION FOB CONCURRENCE IN SECOND REPORT PRESENTED APRIL 8, 1937
Permalink
LIB

Wilbert Franklin (Frank) Rickard

Liberal

Mr. W. F. RICKARD (Durham):

I had not intended to speak on this motion, nor do I now intend to take up very much time, but, as a farmer who uses farm implements, first hand, I feel that I should make a few observations.

I was much interested in listening to and reading the speeches of some hon. members.. I listened to the hon. member for Greenwood (Mr. Massey), and noticed that he made, a definite point of the services which imple-. ment companies render to the farmer. Well,, as a farmer I always thought that I had; to pay for the services I received from agents of implement companies. Every time that the agent of the Massey-Harris or any other company comes to my place to repair a,-machine I pay for that service out of my own pocket and, I think, very dearly. It is true, that services are rendered in connection with new machinery, such as delivering it and setting it up and keeping it in shape for a short period, but all that is charged up to the cost of the implement. Services and repairs,, particularly the latter, are altogether too. expensive. If a farmer has to buy repairs to-day for a binder, or for that matter any other machine, he might far better buy a new one.

We realize to-day that to farm successfully and to compete in the markets of the world we must have good implements. But I agree' with the hon. member for Brant (Mr. Wood) that it is very doubtful whether all these latest improvements, such as alemite greasing, oil bath mowers and pole trucks, which add to the cost of the implement, are worth the extra expense. Of course if we demand these things we have to pay for them. But certainly there is too much difference between' what the farmer has to pay for his equipment and what he receives for his products. Some will say, let the government do something to increase the price of what the farmer has' to sell. But I believe I am speaking for the' farmers of my constituency when I say that the prices of farm produce during the past two or three years-that is for the farmer who has anything to sell-have been fairly good, much better than they were in the period from 1930 to 1935. True, the price of cattle has been lower this year than last, but 6 or 6| cents a pound is not a bad price, unless the speculator paid too much when he ; bought his cattle and put them in the stable in the fall. Hogs have fetched a good price ; and grain a fair price. But the operating expenses of the farm to-day are too great. Taxes and all overhead expenses are too high.

Farm Implements Committee Report

As in the case of improved farm implements, we have demanded these improvements and we have set a standard of living which seems altogether too high. It is all very fine if we can keep up with it and pay our way, but I do not believe we can.

I am not a free trader, and certainly I am not a high protectionist. I believe that the middle course is the proper road to take. However I do not think that the implement companies, in the face of the reduction of the tariff on farm implements, had any justification for raising their price, notwithstanding what has been said about the increased cost of raw material. Had these companies shown any tendency to meet the needs and requirements of the farmer I would have favoured giving them the benefit of the doubt, but as it is I should like to see the duty taken completely off the importation of repairs for farm implements and, unless we get better cooperation from these companies, taken altogether off farm implements. It seems to me that implement companies are creating a monopoly in order to get more for their machines. If on the other hand they would try to reduce the price, and thus sell more implements-for to-day there is scarcely a farmer who does not need new implements- they would increase employment for thousands of men who are dependent on industry for a living anti enable them to buy more farm produce.

In my riding we have no farm implement company, but there are several other very important industries. We have a fertilizer plant which makes fertilizer for the farmers' use, and to-day it is doing a bigger business than it has done in years.

There must be a common understanding between capital and labour and between industry and agriculture if we are to retain our democracy. Farmers should do what they can to cooperate with the manufacturing companies, and the men working in those industries should strive to cooperate with the farmers. I say again that if these companies persist in maintaining high prices for their .mplements we shall have to go as far as we can to stop that sort of thing. It has always happened that when prices of farm produce are in close relationship to the prices of manufactured goods we have the greatest measure of prosperity, and that is invariably under a Liberal government. I believe that, under the leadership of the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) and the Minister of Finance (Mr. Dunning) we shall go a very long way in that direction. I am not in

favour of appointing any more commissions to investigate these things. As a government let us take action ourselves.

Before I sit down let me congratulate the mover of this report, the hon. member for Lake Centre (Mr. Johnston) upon having brought it before the house.

Topic:   FARM IMPLEMENTS COMMITTEE
Subtopic:   MOTION FOB CONCURRENCE IN SECOND REPORT PRESENTED APRIL 8, 1937
Permalink
LIB

John David MacRae

Liberal

Mr. J. D. MacRAE (Glengarry):

The people of the constituency I represent are largely employed in farming, and the question of farm implement prices is of keen interest to me. The west reckons its purchasing power in bushels of wheat, western Ontario its purchasing power in pounds of beef, but the farmers of Glengarry county are largely engaged in dairying, therefore their purchasing power depends on the price they receive for a hundred pounds of milk.

During the years 1930-35 milk manufactured into butter and cheese was making a return to the farmer of sixty to sixty-five cents per hundred pounds. At that price it was impossible for them to replace their worn-out machinery. It was amazing, in travelling through the country, to see the number of machines that were held together with hay wire. In 1913 a farmer could purchase a binder for $137, and he received at that time about one dollar per hundred pounds for milk delivered at the factory door. This made the purchase price, in terms of pounds of milk, 13,700. In 1938 a six-foot binder suitable for use in Ontario can be purchased for $263. Milk is now yielding about a dollar per hundred pounds. So that it will take 26,300 pounds of milk to purchase that binder. The purchase of other farm implements is on a similar scale. As was pointed out to the committee, the price of the binder at factory was $123 and the retail price $263, leaving a spread of distribution costs of $140, which seemed to me to be excessive. If the farm implement companies would agree to eliminate much of the high pressure salesmanship and try to reduce distributing costs, it would greatly benefit the country.

I am fully convinced that if we had a fair exchange of commodities in our production it would do much to solve the difficulties in the economic situation which we are now experiencing. If this condition could be brought about we would not need to consider the social credit theories of Alberta. The hon. member for Haldimand (Mr. Senn) suggested that as this committee brought in its report two years ago its findings do not apply to present conditions. The hon. member for Greenwood (Mr. Massey) intimated that he had severed his connections with the

2676 COMMONS

Farm Implements Committee Report

implement business six years ago, and therefore he can no longer speak with authority on the production side of the question. Much as I admire his fluency of speech I cannot admire his train of thought.

Right Hon.R.B. BENNETT (Leader of the Opposition): I am greatly tempted to make

a speech in reply to the many observations that have been made in this house on this report, but I shall refrain from doing so, and shall endeavour in a very few sentences to bring to the attention of my fellow members and my fellow citizens some of the reasons why I feel that we should not engage in the form of sectional warfare in which we have been engaged in the last few days.

I confess that there is no matter in which, since I went west forty years ago, I have had a more sustained interest than the price of farm implements. The real story of farm implements is almost romantic. If we carry our minds back to the days of the prophets of old, the ox as he trod out the corn was not to be muzzled; if we remember the tale of the gleaner as recorded in the book of Ruth, and the crude instruments of which we now have the evidence in our museums, we can understand the extent to which the farmer of this country is dependent upon the manufacturer.

It does seem to me very strange that in this house we should be constantly apologizing for the manufacturer. Sometimes I find it difficult to understand that state of mind. Who is the manufacturer in Canada? I hold in my hand the book supplied by the Department of Trade and Commerce to every member of this chamber, and when I turn to pages 46 and 47 I find the value of agricultural production, and turning to page 94 I find' the value of our manufacturing production. I find that in 1936 the total value, in all provinces, of agricultural capital, including live stock, implements, machinery, lands and buildings, was placed at $4,628,-

375,000, in round figures. Turning to manufacturing production I find it estimated thus in 1935: Capital, $4,698,991,000, with nearly

25,500 establishments employing 582,000 persons, with half a billion paid out in salaries and wages, and almost a billion and a half paid out in the cost of materials, with a gross value of products amounting to nearly three billions.

Why, then, should we be so apologetic when we speak of the manufacturing industry of Canada? Why should my fellow Canadians be so apologetic on the one hand and critical on the other of the industrial life of the

country? For my own part I am proud of it, as I think most Canadians are. We go about the dominion speaking of what we. have been doing and of what we have accomplished. I realize, of course, that the manufacturing business in Canada became very great during the war for reasons that need not now be discussed, and I realize that our plants attained a measure of efficiency and effectiveness that they had not before known. The real question that we have to face in connection with agricultural implements is not limited to implements alone. The flail- and I daresay there are members of this house who have never seen a flail-the sickle and the cradle have given place to the binder and the combine; and the application of high mechanical skill has developed the mowing machine, the rake, the tractor, the caterpillar tractor, the power-drawn harrow and ploughs and implements that are used for the purposes of cultivation not only in this country but in every other country in the world, whether it be in the cotton fields in the south of this continent or in our wheat fields, or our com fields, or our potato fields. Whether it be in any of these fields there is usually some special implement or instrument th^t is utilized for a specific purpose.

I make these observations by way of introduction; for, as I have said, the temptation to engage in a partisan discussion of the situation is very great. I do not propose to take part in such a discussion; for I do not believe that the men to whom reference has been made are endeavouring to exploit the Canadian farmer. I have under my hand one of the last reports of an implement company, the Massey-Harris Company; I find that one of the directors is a member of this house, Mr. W. H. Moore; and I find that others who are members of that board of directors are men who, I am sure, have a high sense of their obligation to every part of our population. Does any hon. member believe that these men are endeavouring to exploit the farmers of the country for selfish purposes? I think not. If I were engaged in a partisan discussion I could point out how strange it is to have the suggestion made that prices could be fixed by this government or by this parliament, which, as the privy council has decided, has no jurisdiction over pricefixing except in times of emergency; or that we should exercise control over the capitalization of companies, when all the companies to which reference might be made are companies which attained their powers in those halcyon days between 1920 and 1930?

Farm Implements Committee Report

I want to ask my fellow members one question: Is it desirable that Canada should have an agricultural implement industry? That is the first question which I suggest should be answered. In Russia when they first outlined their five-year plan they concentrated their efforts upon being able to produce implements of production. I have lived long enough in this country to see it suffer because we had not refined material with which to meet our own requirements, notwithstanding that we were sending out in ingot form the raw material that we required in refined form. I could give instances now, if it were desirable, in which Canadians had reason to apply for the use and purpose of a certain type of refined material which we, owing to our great production of electrical energy, sent from this country in ingot form; but owing to the prior claims of other purchasers in another land we were not able to secure a supply for our wants.

Sometimes it has been said that instruments of production should be placed upon the free list, and that Canada is not interested in the development of an industry for the production of instruments or implements of production. Nothing could be more injurious to this country than that we should be without an agricultural implement industry. When the great war came upon us a great implement factory in Great Britain was taken over by the state and used for the production of munitions of war, and the export business of that organization vanished. We in this country I think would, almost by common consent, answer in the affirmative the question, shall we have an agricultural implement business in Canada? True we have had such an industry here since 1847. We have had an industry here which developed from very small beginnings. Those who are familiar with the romantic story of the development of the industry in the United States, of the efforts of McCormick, need not be ashamed of the efforts made by our pioneers, who were not machinists in the large sense of the term, or trained engineers, but who established the industry in this country. Necessity was the motivating power behind them, and they worked out in a small way just what, for instance, MacKay did in Australia. There they have still preserved the little area in which MacKay began the production of agricultural implements for that great commonwealth, the industry having now grown to a very great business. They have their implement business; they realized that it was essential that they should have it. Disturbances in transport, something always

to be considered; the necessity for the preservation of neutrality, always important; the utilization of an implement factory for wa purposes, always a possibility: these factors alone, apart from every other consideration, necessitate that the Canadian people should have in this country an agricultural implement industry.

Then if my fellow members answer that question with me in the affirmative, they realize that at the present time we have four large industries engaged in the production of agricultural implements. Our ploughs have a reputation in the Argentine second to none in the world. Our machinery produced in Germany and France is second to none. And even in the United States of America one of our factories has a very efficient production service. Our implements or instruments of production are well and favourably known. Under these circumstances, having had an industry for many years, and agreeing, as I trust my fellow members do, that we should have such an industry, there must be a condition attached to it, or conditions. What are the conditions? The conditions are two:

(1) that the quality of the implements thus produced should be as good as it is possible to produce anywhere in the world; (2) that the price should bear a just relation to the cost of production. Are there any other conditions that one would suggest with respect to a matter of kind, once you have concluded that you should have the industry?

The next question, then, that we would have to answer, dealing with this matter purely as a business transaction, is, how can we accomplish this end? By what means can we ensure to Canadians a domestic implement business in all its branches, ensuring not only the industry but the quality and the reasonable cost of the product? Well, various means have been suggested from time to time in the world's history as to how that might be accomplished. But every nation in the world has had recourse to one device to accomplish that end. Great Britain was the last to adopt it, because by reason of her established trade and her banking and finance facilities in London, Great Britain had been able to bring to her shores vast quantities of raw material which could be fabricated at very low prices. Those of my fellow members who have read the life of John Morley will remember with what resentment he contemplated the possibility of there being any interference with the contractual rights of those who employed labour at any price they saw fit, of any age and for any hours of toil. That state of things is past.

2678 COMMONS

Farm Implements Committee Report

The device or method, then, that we and every other nation of the world have adopted to accomplish that end is the tariff. The Minister of Labour (Mr. Rogers) said the other day that you could not contemplate this country now without tariffs. Tariffs in Canada owe their continuance to two facts which cannot lightly be overlooked. One is our geographical position. Whether you or I like it or not we are, as the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) remarked the other day, part of the North American continent. On the North American continent we have

125,000,000 people who have by mass production carried industry to a point of effectiveness and efficiency unknown in the world before. There has been nothing like it in labour-saving devices, in the methods utilized by the genius of inventors to carry forward their undertakings. And the other fact is that with a small population we are endeavouring to develop a vast area in which we have provided facilities for transport, by sea and land, to an extent that really menaces the economic safety of our country. In other words, we were over-ambitious; we contemplated a vast population which has not materialized, and eleven millions of people are carrying a burden which can be borne only if we maintain some form of industrial activity.

As part of the second reason I have given- and it might be regarded as a third-you have the consideration which I trust will always be in the mind of every hon. member, namely the shifting of our population. So long as you had in Canada a population the major part of which was rural, you had a situation which was not very difficult to deal with. But to-day we have a population the major part of which is to be found in cities and towns. That has created for all governments-and I trust hon. members will agree with me as I proceed, because I am trying to keep away from controversy-a problem of great magnitude. Think of it: over one-half of the population of this dominion has gone to the cities and towns. That became apparent for the first time when the census was taken in 1931. It has been greatly accentuated since that time. Our population in cities and towns has grown and grown. People are going from the country to the towns and cities, in the west chiefly because of crop failures and in eastern communities for other reasons which need not here be discussed; and the result is that to-day, in this early period in our history as a dominion -only now, be it noted, something like

[Mr. Bennett.!

seventy-one years, which is but nothing in the life of a country-the major part of our population is in cities and towns.

Any student of history knows what the result of that is. A man does not need to be a trained economist to recognize the seriousness of the result of that condition. What has it done? It has placed upon the cities and towns the necessity of providing some form of industrial life, unless that population is to be maintained on relief by the state. That is the real fact of it.

Now, the necessity for some form of tariff being admitted-

Topic:   FARM IMPLEMENTS COMMITTEE
Subtopic:   MOTION FOB CONCURRENCE IN SECOND REPORT PRESENTED APRIL 8, 1937
Permalink
LIB

Walter Adam Tucker

Liberal

Mr. TUCKER:

We do not admit it.

Topic:   FARM IMPLEMENTS COMMITTEE
Subtopic:   MOTION FOB CONCURRENCE IN SECOND REPORT PRESENTED APRIL 8, 1937
Permalink
CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

The hon. member says, "we do not admit it"; I had hoped that in view of the statement made by the Minister of Labour the other evening we would be a unit on that point. It is true that in the United States with respect to raw materials high tariffs have been very largely replaced by free entry, and it is true that in this country the free items are very much more numerous than the average man realizes, as he will learn if he will study the tariff. The tariff as a structure was designed to encourage the development of the country, and to provide us with facilities whereby, in a moment' of stress and strain, we might be able to maintain our position.

I know there are very acute differences of opinion as to the extent to which a tariff should be imposed. But I cannot think there are many members of the house who are realists who will not admit that the tariff is no longer a question of discretion on the1 part of governments; it is a necessity. Then, if that be so-and I submit it must be so- is not our only question the consideration of what shall be the extent of the tariff? Is that not the only question? And if that, is the question to consider, what factors: enter into it? I suggest to hon. members that in a country with a population so sparse,, inhabiting an area so vast, and with an urban population so great relatively to the: rural population, subject to the conditions I have imposed as to quality and price, the tariff should be such as to give to the Canadian producer in factoiy and mill the business: of his own country. I have never hesitated for a moment to say that I apply that prin-, ciple also to agriculture.

The hon. member who spoke a moment ago was hardly familiar with the tariff history: of the country. I trust I am not becoming controversial when I say that we encountered much criticism because we endeavoured to see

Farm Implements Committee Report

that the farmers in and about the great cities, whether growing fruit or market garden truck, should be protected from the climatic advantages which belonged to their competitors in another country.

Topic:   FARM IMPLEMENTS COMMITTEE
Subtopic:   MOTION FOB CONCURRENCE IN SECOND REPORT PRESENTED APRIL 8, 1937
Permalink

May 9, 1938