January 16, 1939

LIB

Charles Avery Dunning (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. DUNNING:

I know my hon. friend does not want to proceed on a wrong premise. The treaty itself does not as of January 1 remove the three per cent special excise tax from anything. The treaty merely says that the government of Canada will propose to the Canadian parliament legisla-

The Address-Mr. Manion

tion which will have the effect of removing the special excise tax on those articles. So that to-day while the treaty is in effect with respect to its tariff provisions, it is not in effect at all and was never intended to be in effect with respect to the three per cent special excise tax until -this parliament has acted with respect to that. I assure my hon. friend that all the negotiating parties were quite aware of that throughout the whole proceedings.

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CON

Robert James Manion (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MANION:

I understand that. That is nothing new. I did not say the three per cent tax removal was in effect. I said the treaty was in effect, and the cancellation of the three per cent special excise tax does not come into effect except by legislation of this parliament. But does my hon. friend suggest that, having promised in the treaty that the3' would submit the matter to this house, if they failed to carry that provision they would not look upon it as a complete defeat of their government? Certainly not; they will put it through. In other words, it is as good as done.

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LIB

Charles Avery Dunning (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. DUNNING:

If my hon. friend will permit me, that was not the point. What my hon. friend has just said is quite correct. My point is that any addition to the items mentioned in the schedule of the treaty to which the removal of the excise tax will apply is not in itself a matter of treaty but a matter in the judgment of this government and of this house.

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CON

Charles Hazlitt Cahan

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CAHAN:

It is a matter of international agreement and international honour.

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LIB

Charles Avery Dunning (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. DUNNING:

No; the international

agreement applies simply and solely to the items mentioned in the schedule.

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CON

Charles Hazlitt Cahan

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CAHAN:

But there is a promise collateral thereto that the three per cent excise will be removed.

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LIB

Charles Avery Dunning (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. DUNNING:

No-

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CON

Robert James Manion (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MANION:

Mr. Speaker, I think this is my speech. I do not mind interruptions, but I do not want speeches interjected in the midst of mine. I understand just as well as the Minister of Finance the facts as he puts them. I did not say anything to the contrary. I said the treaty is in effect from January 1. I take it for granted that the removal of the three per cent excise tax has to be a matter of legislation by this parliament. But I was pointing out that in addition to the products mentioned in this treaty from which the three per cent excise tax is to be removed there will be a number of other products, not mentioned in the treaty, from which the tax will be removed. And I ask 71493-3

this question, whether the British knew this and understood that a number of other concessions were to be given? Did the people of the United States know; did we know, that we were going to give a number of other concessions? My suspicion is that we did not, that there was a lot of bungling done. Now they find, after having made concessions of the utmost importance not only to the United States but to Japan, Germany and Italy, the three dictator nations, that they are going to have to make more and get nothing in return; that when they bring in this treaty and deal with it in this house they will have to submit a long list, probably much longer than that in the treaty itself, of materials and articles from which the three per cent excise tax will be totally eliminated. What return are we getting for that extra concession to the United States? And, what is worse, what return are we getting for that concession to the other favoured nations? We have most favoured nation clauses in our treaties with some twenty-five or thirty other nations. Three of the outstanding nations which receive this most favoured nation treatment, in other words which get the same concessions as the United States by virtue of this agreement, without giving anything in return for them, are Germany, Italy and Japan, the three dictatorships. What do they give in return for getting the same concessions as we are handing to the United States at the present time? What do we get from Germany, Italy and Japan more than we have already been getting from those countries? Those three countries which have been disturbing the peace of the world for the past two or three years get the same concessions that we are giving to the United States. And what do we get in return? We do not get anything so far as I know.

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LIB

William Daum Euler (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Mr. EULER:

May I answer that in regard to one country we would receive this: If Germany did obtain any benefit-and I do not think she will obtain any benefit whatever-by reason of being a most favoured nation, we shall sell more goods to her, because she is bound under our agreement to provide exchange to an amount at least equal to the amount of the purchases we make from her.

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CON

Robert James Manion (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MANION:

But that gives her favours anyway. Germany wants foreign exchange; she is having great trouble getting it at the present time. And what do we get from Italy and Japan? My hon. friend has not answered that. We do not get anything. A little more exchange in regard to Germany, but that is exactly what Germany is fighting for all the time.

The Address-Mr. Manion

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LIB

William Daum Euler (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Mr. EULER:

They have increased their purchases from us by over 100 per cent.

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CON

Robert James Manion (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MANION:

I did not look up the

figures, but I know very well it is not a very good bargain when you hand out these concessions to twenty-five or thirty nations who give nothing in return to the people of this country, especially when you have a tariff system under which you can ask something in return. Evidently this government works on the principle that it is more blessed to give than to receive, forgetting the other principle that charity begins at home. I submit also that, as many others have said on other occasions, it might be well to attend to the straightening out of this most favoured nation business, because I do not believe any government should be handing out favours to countries which are not asked to give anything in return. I am not questioning that there are advantages in this agreement; it would be a queer kind of agreement if it did not produce any benefit. But when the losses and gains are weighed, my submission is that there is grave doubt of the advantages being more than the disadvantages so far as we are concerned.

I want to deal with another aspect which has been greatly stressed. One speaker who preceded me, I think the hon. member for Brandon (Mr. Matthews), spoke of it this afternoon, and it is mentioned in the speech from the throne; that is the supposedly patriotic ground on which we should receive the gift of this trade agreement. In the speech from the throne it is stated that this treaty will further the ends of international goodwill. Perhaps it will. I am not going to quarrel with that statement, but I do not think the fact that we make a trade treaty with some countries is going to further the ends of international goodwill. The implication is-and it has been advanced and fostered by members of the government-that on account of our having a trade treaty with the United States, therefore the United States is going to be very much more friendly to the British Empire than in the past, and if there should be international difficulties, the United States will be much more ready to jump in and fight for the British Empire than it has been in the past. That is the suggestion, that because of this treaty the United States is going to be very much more inclined to tie itself up to the empire for war purposes. I do not admit any such suggestion. Does the Prime Minister think that is true?

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

I will answer my hon. friend later on. I do not want to interrupt him.

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CON

Robert James Manion (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MANION:

hear from some men, coming from various sections of the country, interested in certain industries, who may feel that they have been benefited or hurt.

But the real charge against this government is that apparently it absolutely fails to realize Canadian conditions. Despite all the statements made by the Prime Minister prior to the election of 1935, some of which I shall quote, and which tended to show that apparently he understood conditions in Canada, the government he now heads has given no indication that it really understands Canadian conditions. There has been a decided lack of action towards rectifying these conditions and no indication that there has been any planned method through which rectification could be brought about. The right hon. gentleman has been following a sort of hit-and-miss policy. That fact is evidenced in the speech from the throne when we find that to-day, after almost four years in office, he considers it necessary, upon receiving the report of the commission on dominion-provincial relations, to call a national conference to discover what is wrong with Canada. To my mind the greatest charge which can be made against the government is that it is continually broadcasting the information that all is well in Canada when, in fact, all is not well.

I am not by any means a pessimist. In fact, speaking generally, I believe I may be classed as a pretty good optimist, but I do say that throughout Canada to-day there is unrest, discontent and disharmony to an extent which perhaps has never before existed. I see unemployment to the extent of hundreds of thousands-not 125,000 as was published in a statement released a few days ago by the Minister of Labour (Mr. Rogers). It is true that he has said there are 125,000 people on relief. The unfortunate part of it is that the press pick up that figure and tell the country that there are only 125,000 unemployed in Canada. I have one such statement before me, and I could have brought many more. In making such a statement the Minister of Labour is not frank with the people, and I would point out that statements such as the one I have indicated should be corrected. It is not a fair deal. I do not impute motives, but I must say that such statements hoodwink many of the people. In one of the packages on my desk I have an item stating that there are only 125,000 unemployed. The information is published in that form when, as a matter of fact, the best information I can obtain from the statistics branch operated by the government is to the effect that last month there were 398,000 unemployed in Canada-not 125,000, but 398,000-plus any figure

you may wish to add to include the youth who have never been employed. Partly because of a seasonal change there are 50,000 or 75,000 more unemployed to-day than there were last month.

The bureau of statistics estimate that there are 64,000 youth who have never been employed. For the youth congress in Toronto a gentleman named Woodsworth has made an estimate of something like 400,000. As I have stated, however, the figure given by the government bureau stands at 64,000, a most optimistic figure, and represents the number of young men who have never worked. So, if hon. members will add this 64,000 to 398,000, the official estimate, they will get a figure well over 450,000, a figure nearly four times the one given by the Minister of Labour.

I do not wish to misrepresent the position taken by the minister. He refers in the press release to "unemployed but fully employable persons on aid" in October-

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LIB

Norman McLeod Rogers (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. ROGERS:

On relief. They were the ones on relief.

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CON

Robert James Manion (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MANION:

I have explained that fully; I do not wish to misrepresent the minister's position. That is the number on relief. But the point I make is that that is not a fair type of statement to offer the people of Canada when actually there are 398,000. And you could add to that figure almost any additional number to include the young men in Canada who' have never worked, a group which the youth congress estimated at 400,000.

It is almost impossible to get proper unemployment figures. That is a complaint which the right hon. gentleman has made against us, and at a later time I shall quote him. It was he who said that we should have something by way of registry. Where is the registry to-day? Yet he said four years ago that that was needed. Where is the present registry of unemployed? My secretary and I spent hours trying to get honest figures of unemployment because I do not wish to misrepresent anything. I suggest that if the Minister of Labour wishes to be completely frank with the people of Canada, he should in the future publish not only the number of unemployed on relief but also the number of unemployed in the country. We must remember there are tens of thousands, possibly hundreds of thousands, of people in the country who are out of employment but will not go on relief if they can get along without it. I say therefore that we should avoid misrepresentation. No doubt the misrepresentation by the Minister of Labour was made unconsciously, but I suggest it should be made known that there are 398.000 unemployed, plus the number of unemployed

The Address-Mr. Manion

youth who have never earned anything. May I add that to-day ninety per cent of the unemployed are willing to work.

There is another way of checking unemployment figures. I have before me figures of the unemployed in trade unions of Canada between 1935 and 1938. I am not sure as to the author, but the figures are official. They say that unemployment among members of trade unions in the month of November, 1938, was greater than in any previous November as far back as 1935, when this government took office.

There are other ways of estimating the numbers of unemployed, but I shall not labour the point, or go into further detail. I submit, however, that in future the figures should be corrected, and I shall look forward to such correction. Because of these hundreds of thousands of unemployed there is fear, discontent and demoralization throughout the country, particularly' among our youth. Is that a healthy condition in which to exist? The present leader of the government knew those conditions in 1935, and I shall prove that statement from his own mouth. I have in my hand a little book entitled Mackenzie King To The Canadian People, 1935.

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?

An hon. MEMBER:

That will be good.

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CON

Robert James Manion (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MANION:

It will be good; the hon. member is right. It is one of the best books I have read. In fact, I would place it among the productions of the humorists of our country. Had I had a weak heart I believe I should have laughed myself to death as I read it; fortunately my heart is quite strong. The book is so full of good things I hate to begin it at a time so near recess. If my right hon. friend would permit me to discuss it in one piece after dinner, I should be pleased.

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

I would do anything to oblige the hon. member.

At six o'clock the house took recess.

After Recess

The house resumed at eight o'clock.

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CON

Robert James Manion (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MANION:

Mr. Speaker, when the house adjourned at six o'clock I was referring to the pleasure I had gained from reading this 'latest published book of the right hon. leader of the government. He, like myself, has revealed the weakness that induces a man to write. Somebody has said oh that mine enemy should write a book. The right hon. gentleman has been weaker than I because he has written a number, but I am quite sure that when he had these statements

put into book form he was not counting on its being read the way it will be to-night. This book was put out for the delectation of the people before the last election. I suppose that all of us get a little exuberant at times when elections are coming on.

I do not intend by any means to read all this book this evening. Do not be afraid that I am going to quote all the fifty-six pages, but I do intend to give occasional extracts from it in the hope that there will be brought back to the mind of my right hon. friend some of the pledges he made to the people of this country. Perhaps he will be given an opportunity between now and the time he goes out of power next year to put some of these pledges into effect. I am not going to quote this book in any particular order; I shall refer to just those parts that come up from page to page.

On page eight the right hon. gentleman refers to the years of depression during the Conservative regime. For example, he says:

It will be found that, for the most part, third parties owe their origin to one or other of two causes. They are bred of hard times, or of quarrels.

That is interesting. Then he goes on:

Third parties, in Canada, have invariably had their rise during years of Conservative administration. These have been years of depression, due, in large part, to reactionary policies.

He forgets that during his own regime there have been years of depression. Certainly the past year has not been quite as prosperous as the previous one. He goes on:

As Conservative administrations have given place to Liberal administrations, the country, through the substitution of Liberal for Conservative policies, has been brought out of depression into prosperity. With returning prosperity, discontent has vanished, and with it the third parties, which discontent had helped to bring into being.

Discontent may have vanished, but at the present time there are a good many signs of discontent in the country. Not only is there discontent in the country, but there is discontent in the party opposite. On page ten he said:

With the return of a Liberal administration to office, and the adoption of Liberal policies, carried out on broad and generous lines, and with more concern for human relations, than for the methods of big business, and of high finance, and of high pressure salesmanship, there is no reason why this period of depression should not be followed by a new era of prosperity; and why the unrest and discontent, which have brought these third parties into being, and to which they owe their existence, should not also disappear.

Just listen to that.

The Address-Mr. Manion

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January 16, 1939