January 27, 1939


On the orders of the day:


CON

Frank Exton Lennard

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. F. E. LENNARD (Wentworth):

I

should like to ask the government from what political group or groups the 245 returning officers recently appointed were chosen.

Topic:   DOMINION ELECTIONS
Subtopic:   APPOINTMENT OF RETURNING OFFICERS
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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):

I think my hon. friend

will have to find that out for himself.

Topic:   DOMINION ELECTIONS
Subtopic:   APPOINTMENT OF RETURNING OFFICERS
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GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH

CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY


The house resumed from Thursday, January 26, consideration of the motion of Mr. J. E. Matthews for an address to His Excellency the Governor General in reply to his speech at the opening of the session, and the proposed amendment thereto of Mr. Manion, and the amendment to the amendment of Mr. Woods-worth.


LIB

William Henry Golding

Liberal

Mr. W. H. GOLDING (Huron-Perth):

Mr. Speaker, at the outset I want to extend to my hon. friend the leader of the official opposition in this house (Mr. Manion) my sincere congratulations upon having been chosen for that important position. I congratulate him also upon his recent election and his reentry into this house. The party of which he is now leader has had a great deal to do with the shaping of the history of this dominion, and it is a very high honour to be chosen as its leader. The hon. gentleman is an aggressive exponent of his party's cause, and I know he will put forth his best efforts to lead it to victory. The first time I came into personal contact with the force of his aggressiveness was during my own by-

[DOT]

election campaign in Huron South in 1932; and I want to go on record now as expressing the hope that in the years to come his aggressiveness will meet with the same success that it met with on that occasion.

Then, too, with all others who have spoken I want to extend my congratulations to the mover (Mr. Matthews) and the seconder (Mr. Chevrier) of the motion now before the house. Both these hon. gentlemen made excellent, constructive speeches, and they are deserving of all the congratulations which have been offered during the course of this debate.

I should like also to extend my congratulations to the two hon. gentlemen who were recently appointed to the cabinet. I believe that both these hon. members will fulfil the duties of the offices to which they have been assigned, and will prove to be a credit to their constituencies, to the government, and to the country.

Then, too, on behalf of the citizens whom I have the honour to represent, I should like to take this opportunity of expressing to Their Majesties the King and Queen the appreciation of the people of my constituency for their having graciously consented to visit our country in the coming summer. I believe this is the first time in the history of Canada that royalty will have visited our shores, and I can assure them that from the people of the counties of Huron and Perth they will receive a loyal welcome.

I am sure everyone interested in the welfare of Canada must have been deeply impressed with the full and able presentation of our whole general situation which was so splendidly made by the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) in his very excellent address, and by the other members of the government who have spoken in this debate. It must be gratifying to every hon. member and to all the citizens of Canada to know that notwithstanding many disturbing and serious factors which have arisen in the last year and a half, Canada has maintained a steady position. I am glad to know this, because I have been interested in seeing each of the cabinet ministers make a success of the administration of his particular department. I believe that is the desire which has been widespread throughout Canada. Indeed shortly after the last federal election, when the personnel of the cabinet was announced by the Prime Minister, there seemed to be general satisfaction and a feeling that a body of studious and reliable men had been selected to canyon the business of our country. Indeed the announcement was received with general approval, because it was felt that in the cabinet we had a group of men who knew

The Address-Mr. Golding

conditions in Canada and who could be relied upon to deal with them in a sound, sensible and businesslike way. Now, after a little more than three years in office, the confidence in the ministry is greater than it was when they received their appointments, with the result that during the past three years business men throughout Canada have confidently endeavoured to extend their business, in order to restore prosperity to our country, and to overcome the feeling of pessimism and hopelessness which had settled over us after a taste of a depression which, I believe we all agree, was unprecedented. I believe the confidence which has been so apparent is attributable in no small degree to the splendid way in which Canada's business has been managed by the Prime Minister and his worthy colleagues. If one had the time to deal with each department he would find that these ministers have worked early and late, keeping a close watch over all the activities of their departments, in order to give Canada a sound business administration, and also to prove themselves worthy of the confidence reposed in them by the Prime Minister.

In the past three years we have followed the visits of our ministers to other countries. In a quiet and effective way they have been endeavouring to arrange trade agreements with this and that country, making it perfectly plain that they are willing to buy as well as to sell in order to restore our trade, and thus endeavouring to improve the position of our agriculturists and our industrialists, and to assist in removing one of our greatest problems, namely unemployment. Time will not permit me to deal with each department separately and to say what I should like to say about the Prime Minister and each of his cabinet colleagues. I do take this opportunity, however, publicly to express my confidence in them, to congratulate them upon their success so far and to give them full credit for what they have been able to accomplish in a little more than three years in this parliamentary term. Particularly do I extend my congratulations to those who are serving in the government for the first time.

In this debate I believe hon. members are permitted to deal with the general situation in Canada. In the few moments at my disposal I wish to refer particularly to our financial position, and to our position in connection with trade. May I first congratulate our good friend the Minister of Finance (Mr. Dunning) upon his restoration to health, and also upon the accuracy of his budget forecasts in the past three years. I believe that

in the Minister of Finance the government is fortunate in having the right man in the right place, and that under his supervision the financial affairs of Canada will be well and faithfully guarded.

I know that at the present time under the circumstances which exist the government is being compelled to make expenditures that it would be very glad not to make. But in view of the tremendous burden of taxation and debt we are now struggling to carry it becomes the duty of every hon. member to rally to the support of the Minister of Finance, to help him in his effort to practise economy and thus relieve our people of some of their burden. I believe the time has come, indeed it is long overdue, when the federal government and all other governing bodies in Canada will have to be more considerate and adopt policies more generous to the taxpayer.

In many of the speeches in the house we hear appeals to the government to be more generous with this or that class or with this or that proposal, but we all too seldom hear an appeal to be more generous with the taxpayer. It seems to me it should not be necessary to warn the members of the house that even with the splendid upturn of business we have had we cannot now balance our budget; just what hope, then, can we hold out to our people of ever being able to relieve them of this burden, one which is already almost too great to be borne? I fully appreciate the fact that the government is extremely anxious to adopt a policy not only of pay-as-you-go but also of reducing our debt, which has been piling up year after year. I confidently believe this can be done, provided the government has the backing and sympathy of its supporters in the movement. It seems to me that if we arc going to be fair to those who have placed us in our present position we ought to endeavour to manage Canada's business just as carefully and economically as if it were our own. If we do that certainly we will not be encouraging the government to make expenditures running into millions of dollars which cannot be met out of revenue and which through interest charges add to our burden of taxation. If we were to conduct our own private business in this maimer we would soon reach the place where we would not be able to operate at all. We must not forget that governments, whether they be municipal, provincial or federal, are not unlike individuals in this respect. If we continue to spend more than our income, sooner or later we will not be able to operate and will be facing bankruptcy.

We have all heard it stated by certain journalists and speakers that our politicians

The Address-Mr. Golding

are wholly and entirely to blame for the financial position in which the country now finds itself. Indeed, there are some speakers who seem to think it clever to belittle those who represent them in a public way, whether it be in the municipal council, in the county council, in the provincial legislature or in this federal house. It seems to be the procedure of some to try to create suspicion and distrust of those who are in public life, no matter in what capacity. Constructive criticism is necessary and is one of the finest things we can have, but if this carping and destructive personal criticism, this attempt to undermine and cast suspicion on our public men, is continued on a wholesale scale, it will eventually lead to revolution of one kind or another. It has always seemed strange to me that a person in a profession or in any other walk of life may be a respected citizen to-day, but if he enters politics to-morrow, every word that he utters and everything he does will be viewed with suspicion. This condition is an unfortunate one and should not exist.

In every municipality, in every country, citizens of integrity and honesty are needed to fill the positions of public trust and to represent the people in the administration of public affairs. But I am afraid that if this kind of criticism is continued the time will come when it will be very hard to persuade citizens of the desirable type to accept these positions. I wonder if we ourselves are not partly to blame? In this house we vote millions of dollars for the relief of the unemployed and at the same time we tell the country that nothing is being done for these people. I think we should make it perfectly clear that while we differ seriously and strenuously and honestly in regard to policy and matters which we think affect the welfare of the people, there is no reason why those who differ with us should be called crooks and rogues or other similar names. There is no doubt that among politicians, as among other classes of citizens, there are good and bad, but I do think that those who fill their positions honestly and conscientiously should be given credit.

As I say, I am inclined to agree with the statement that politicians, both past and present, are largely to blame for the financial position in which the country now finds itself. But we should not overlook the fact that the people themselves are not wholly free from blame. There is no governing body to-day that is not being continually petitioned to extend services of one sort or another and to do things here and there, all of which in-

crease taxation and debt. Therefore I submit that we must all accept our share of this responsibility.

However, setting aside for the moment the debatable question as to who is responsible, I must confess that when I endeavour to make a survey of our financial structure, I cannot help but be alarmed. I believe that if we are ever going to be able to give any relief to our people, definite steps must be taken to set our house in order. First, drastic reductions must be made in our expenditures. Second, we must eliminate all overlapping services as between the federal and provincial governments. Third, there must be a gradual reduction in tariffs and all other forms of taxation on consumer goods. Fourth, we must endeavour in every way possible to promote and extend our trade in order to assist in the solving of our railway and unemployment problems. Fifth, we must keep firm control over relief expenditures.

I should like to express this opinion. I believe that if this government ever undertakes to assume full responsibility for relief, if it ever takes away this responsibility from the municipalities, at that moment you can say good-bye to the solvency of this country. I say that after twenty years of municipal experience. I do not believe there is any body in this country that is better able to keep a finger on the relief situation than the municipal councils. Therefore I would warn the government, the opposition and all others in this house to be very careful about taking over that problem. This country cannot afford to finance the necessary machinery to keep full control over relief across the dominion.

Both the government and the Minister of Finance (Mr. Dunning) are extremely anxious to practise economy and to put this nation upon its feet financially. I submit that we as members can assist them materially in doing this. It is our duty to do it because if we are to give any consideration to the problems which confront us we must realize how essential it is, if we are to expect our agriculturists and industrialists to compete in the markets of the world in selling their products, that taxation be reduced in order to reduce the cost of production. When I was a boy on the farm-I am sure many hon. members who have had practical experience in farming can recall this also-farm prices were much lower than they are at the present time. Notwithstanding that fact, our farmers were making steady progress because their overhead costs were also much lower. Generally speaking, farming in those, days was more prosperous than it is in these modem

The Address-Mr. Golding

times. That is why I contend that we should endeavour in every way to reduce the cost of production.

I appreciate fully the fact that practising economy alone is not sufficient. Confining our efforts simply to the balancing of the budget might mean impoverishment and hardship to many. We must consider other plans and policies that will assist in solving our problems. In the first place, we must recognize the fact that this is an agricultural country. Our first consideration- should be for the welfare of our agriculturists. I am persuaded that we are not going to solve our problems by carrying on a large program of public works, by endeavouring to promote extensive housing schemes, or by adopting a definite policy in regard to advanced social legislation. I agree that there is a great deal of merit in many of these things and that they are deserving of serious consideration, yet I believe that the solution of our problems lies largely in the adoption of a policy which will put agriculture on a paying basis. If we could accomplish that, I am perfectly satisfied that our unemployment problem would dwindle to the vanishing point, and the Minister of Labour (Mr. Rogers), who has now one of the heaviest burdens to bear in this government, would be relieved of that particular burden. In passing I should like to say that in my opinion no more honest, no more conscientious man has ever filled the portfolio of labour in this country than the present minister. He is endeavouring to do a good job. During the last parliament I listened to criticism directed against the Minister of Labour of that day, and I felt then, as I do now, that the portfolio of labour is not a desirable one, and that any minister of labour, no matter what he does, will be criticized.

Canada, Mr. Speaker, is an exporting nation. I have always believed, notwithstanding any talk to the contrary, that the prosperity of Canada depends largely on our ability to negotiate trade agreements with other countries, and therefore I wholeheartedly agree with my right hon. leader and with the policy of the Liberal party of endeavouring to promote trade with foreign as well as empire countries. It is only by following this principle that our trade figures have increased to the extent they have since this government came into power. The policies put into force by this government have been in keeping with the assurances given by this party to the people at the last federal election. I can assure the government that the people are pleased with the results that have

been attained and with the reductions that have been made in tariffs in order to negotiate the various treaties which have been concluded with other countries.

There has been a great deal of criticism of some of the posters used in the last federal election. But, Mr. Speaker, I believe that this government has been a government of action. Immediately after it took office in the fall of 1935, realizing that one of the most effective ways of assisting agriculture was by securing markets for the vast quantity of products we produce, and which with our limited population we cannot consume, this government took steps to make a trade agreement with our neighbours to the south. When the agreement came before the house it was subjected to a great deal of criticism, and a large number of members did not agree with the terms and conditions of that agreement. If we look up the records of that debate and of the vote on the resolution which preceded the introduction of the bill itself, we shall find that every member of the official opposition voted against the resolution, while it had the endorsation of every supporter of the government and of every independent member. During that debate the right hon. gentleman who was then leading the official opposition (Mr. Bennett) took a leading and very active part, and certainly he did his utmost to persuade the members of this house to vote against the resolution. Listening to him and to other hon. gentlemen opposite in that debate I could not help thinking that they were running true to form so far as trade with the United States is concerned.

I have a very vivid recollection of some of the arguments that were used when this country was considering the reciprocity pact which was defeated in 1911. I think it will be remembered by all who were interested in that controversy that our right hon. friend, the former leader of the opposition, was one of those who bitterly opposed the reciprocity pact. Speaking on one occasion, and I have kept this clipping a long time, he said:

Little did I think that within a generation the Canadian people would be called upon to face the issue which endangers our land and the existence of the flag under which we live. Little did I think that the same issue would come to us. Now they (the Americans) have come to us with the golden eagles and the gilded dollars. They have come with their insidious promises to ask the people to traffic with their birthright. Since when did men begin to sell their birthright for a few peas and beans? . . . We have not fallen so low as to allow this country's resources to be exploited by Mr. Taft and the United States. Because X believe this treaty threatens the empire, I ask you to smite it with all your might.

3S4

The Address-Mr. Golding

These arguments and this attitude did not go unnoticed by the Liberal chieftain of that day, the late Sir Wilfrid Laurier, who, speaking in this house after the defeat of his government, used these words:

Sometimes I realize that I have reached the allotted span, the three-score years and ten. I may not live to see it, but the time will come, my friends, when my fellow-countrymen will wonder if, after all, Fielding and Laurier were not right in seeking freer trade in natural products with our neighbours, while increasing our trude with England through British preference. Even my brilliant young friend from Calgary (Mr. Bennett) may concede it some time. I cannot pierce the mists of the future, none of us can, but I am confident coming years will vindicate our course.

These, Mr. Speaker, were prophetic words. The time did come when our trade was at a very low ebb and when we would have been glad to enter into a trade agreement with our neighbours to the south. I remember well, because I was a member of the house then, that in 1933 Mr. Roosevelt, after he was elected President of the United States, sent out a message to the world that his government would be glad to enter into trade agreements with all other governments in order to get trade moving. At that time there was a widespread feeling in Canada that once more we were to be given the opportunity to sell our goods in United States markets, and I remember how this house was thrilled when the then prime minister announced that there was a possibility of a trade agreement being negotiated between the two countries. But, Mr. Speaker, our hopes were crushed by the speech delivered by the same right hon. gentleman in 1934 when he hurled questions at the opposition asking them what they wanted reciprocity in. He went on to quote the prices of cattle and hogs and butter and eggs, all of which were a little higher in Canada than in the United States, and he asked: Are these the products that hon. gentlemen opposite want reciprocity in? Do they want the Americans to come over here and get our prices? Listening to that address, Mr. Speaker, and remembering the attitude of years gone by, one could come to no other conclusion than that the negotiation of a trade agreement between our neighbours to the south and a government led by any . person with views and feelings such as these was an impossibility, and I think the Canadian people had that definitely in their minds when they voted as they did in 1935.

I have heard a good many references to the fact that our trade is less than it was in 1937 although we still have these trade agreements, and sometimes there seems to be in these remarks a tone of satisfaction rather than

regret. But do hon. members, opposite think for a moment that if we did not have the trade agreements our trade would be as large as it is? I should be glad to have an answer to that.

I cannot forget the many speeches which have been made in this house since I became a member, in reference to the impossibility of expanding or extending our trade. The reason given always was, of course, that all other countries, are trying to provide for themselves. It has seemed to me as I have sat here that the Liberal party is the only party with confidence in its ability to do something worth while along these lines. It is now a matter of history that on October 14, 1935, the people turned to the Liberal party hoping that it would be able to accomplish what it evidently believed and led the people to believe could be accomplished in the way of expansion of trade. Anyone who wants to be fair and who looks up the record of increased trade from 1935 to the present time will come to the conclusion that it has kept its promise in this respect, and that its record is appreciated by all classes of our citizens.

Mr. KARL K. HOMUTH (Waterloo South): Mr. Speaker, if the voice that started this debate was the voice of the west, I think I can truthfully say that I am the voice of the east; and when you compare the figures of the two by-elections they give a very interesting picture of what the people of Canada are thinking to-day. By adding the figures together we find that the Conservative party polled 13,336 votes, the Liberal party 10,313 votes, and the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation 10,121 votes-certainly a record from which we have nothing to fear so far as the coming election is concerned.

May I first crave the indulgence of Mr. Speaker and hon. members during this address? I realize that I am a new member of this house, and it is possible that in some respects I may contravene the rules. But if I do so it will be purely through ignorance, and not because I have any desire, sir, to call down your wrath upon me.

I want in the first place to thank many hon. members on all sides who in various ways have assisted me since I first came here. I have found them very willing to help me in looking after the many details to which a member must give his attention while he is in Ottawa.

I also want to make some reference to their majesties' visit, because I understand that they are to pass through Waterloo county. I have not been advised of this, but if and when they do come to Waterloo county they will find not only a district where they will be loyally

The Address-Mr. Homuth

welcomed, but one in which many of the nations of the world are represented-English, Scots, Irish, Germans, Poles, Ukrainians, and many others, and all loyal Canadian citizens.

As a new member I hesitate to criticize the government because I realize there are those who will think that in doing so I should be taking a great deal upon myself. But during my time in the Ontario house I was very close to many of the problems we have been discussing in the last few weeks, problems of vital interest to the people of this country. For that reason I feel that I am justified in rising in my place to-day and criticizing the government for its do-nothing policy.

I had hoped that before I had anything to say in this chamber I should have heard from the government something more tangible than what we have heard as to just what they are going to do for the destitute people of the dominion. It is true that we have promises - indefinite ones - in the speech from the throne. But in examining those promises we cannot find one thing really based upon a policy which will be of some benefit to the people of this country. Reference is made, of course, to the trade treaty. Later on I want to deal with that for a few moments. I come here, a representative of the Conservative party, as a direct rebuke by the people of South Waterloo to this government because of its triple policy and the fear of what it was going to do to Canada-a fear which has been realized to-day.

From what I have heard from the government benches I doubt very much whether the government realizes what the conditions in this country actually are. In 1935 throughout the whole campaign they blamed the Bennett government for everything that went wrong. In the speech from the throne they blamed drought conditions in the west and world conditions. No mention of those things was made in 1935. I have before me a copy of the speech from the thone. Very little is promised in it, and if the promises are of no more value than those which were made by the Liberal party in 1935 there is certainly a very poor outlook for the people of this dominion until another election can be held. To my mind it is a very meagre menu that the government offered the people of Canada. No reference is made to national unity, which I consider one of the most important questions affecting the dominion. It is true that there is a reference to the commission on dominion-provincial relations, a body which, had this government carried out the promises it made in 1935, would never have had to be appointed. As everybody knows, the electors 71492-25

were told then that all that was necessary was to elect a Liberal government at Ottawa and all the troubles and the trials and the lack of unity in this country would come to an end. Who can forget the speeches made by the Hon. Mitchell Hepburn as he went up and down the country asking the people to vote for a Liberal government at Ottawa so that the provincial governments could cooperate with them? Incidentally, that is one of the things which Mr. Hepburn states he will never be able to live down. But what do we find? Immediately after the election they had a dominion-provincial conference. It lasted a day or so and broke up in a quarrel. Mr. Hepburn went home disgusted with the whole matter; when they were hunting for him one afternoon he had taken the train for Toronto. From that day on we have had disunity in this country and it has been a big factor in the troubles we have to-day. As Canadians we read with pride the story of confederation. We realize what those men who brought confederation into being did, and how well they built this nation. They forgot their political differences and joined together to do a job. They did a good job. But over seventy years have gone by and what they did then naturally requires revision now. Are we as Canadians and members of this house going to say to the people of Canada that after seventy years in which to learn by experience the various things that could make this country better and cement its unity we are not big enough to handle the job?

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LIB

Paul Joseph James Martin

Liberal

Mr. MARTIN:

That is what the hon. member is saying.

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CON

Karl Kenneth Homuth

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HOMUTH:

If we will forget this interprovincial disunity and the hostility of provincial governments to the federal government ; if we forget our political bickerings and get together and deal with this matter from the standpoint that there is no east and no west in Canada, no Quebec, no Ontario, but just one nation, willing to give and take, if need be to give more and take less-if we do that there is no reason why we cannot cure many of the ills that afflict us to-day without interfering with the sacredness of provincial rights. These things can be done. All we need is some lead from this government, who promised in 1935 that they would do it. Every hon. member of this house and I believe every provincial government in Canada would do its utmost to bring that about. Instead of that we have quarrelling, quarrelling, quarrelling; charges of conspiracy, and so on. I take some pride in the fact that the by-election in Waterloo South had

The Address-Mr. Homuth

something to do with bringing this condition into the open, because it is just as well for the people of Canada to know something of what is going on behind the scenes. The Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Gardiner) did not have to go to Toronto to see Mr. Hepburn in order to find out why the Liberals lost the election in Waterloo South. They lost it because of the three years of do-nothing policy of this government, and fear of their trade treaties. Is it strange that when we think of this break between the Prime Minister of Canada and the various provincial premiers, particularly Mr. Hepburn, we wonder if there is the solidarity in the dominion cabinet that hon. gentlemen opposite would like us to believe exists? In fact if the editorial suggestion of the Montreal Standard of Saturday last is true, they had a very interesting caucus a week or so ago. And the two peacemakers who went to the Bannockburn farm and tried to bring peace and harmony in the party apparently were thoroughly chastised for their efforts.

In the campaign in Waterloo South we had three cabinet ministers taking part, the Minister of Trade and Commerce (Mr. Euler), the Minister of Justice (Mr. Lapointe) and the Minister of Transport (Mr. Howe). Whom did they come to speak for? Naturally for the Liberal candidate. But I do say they did me a lot of good. What was the Liberal candidate's attitude so far as the Prime Minister of Canada is concerned? Let me read what he said in his nomination speech. And. mark you, this gentleman made this the one great point throughout his campaign.

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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

That is why he was defeated.

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CON

Karl Kenneth Homuth

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HOMUTH:

And a lot more of you are going the same way too. This is what Mr. R. K. Serviss, the Liberal candidate, said at his nomination meeting:

"It is my belief," the mayor continued, "that the urban workers particularly in the textile and shoe industries must have adequate protection. We in Ontario are the big brother among the provinces of Canada. If we are going down into our pockets to help sustain the free trader prairie provinces by subsidizing their wheat at 30 cents a bushel, the farmer in Ontario whose province is contributing 47 per cent of the total revenue to the dominion treasury is entitled to some consideration too. These same free traders be they Liberal, Conservative or bolshevik must give consideration to the working men and women in Waterloo South. They must make their contribution by permitting an adequate tariff for the protection of the workers."

Listen to this. This is the prime piece of the whole platform on which the gentleman ran:

"The two greatest problems in our country to-day," said the speaker, "are relief and the railway problem, and we will never solve the latter problem until you get a man like Mitch Hepburn at Ottawa to do the job for you."

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LIB

Paul Joseph James Martin

Liberal

Mr. MARTIN:

That is why the hon. gentleman is here. That is the secret.

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CON

Karl Kenneth Homuth

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HOMUTH:

I referred a moment ago to the distress of our people and some of the promises that were made in 1935. Who can forget the tirade carried on by the Prime Minister, particularly in 1935, against the camps that were established throughout this country, or the promises he made that he would take the boys out of those semimilitary institutions and give them jobs throughout the country at decent wages? Yes, they closed the camps, but what did they do with the boys? Scattered them over the highways and byway's of Canada. Motoring through the country I have picked up many of them, forgotten men, uncared for by anyone. Who are these young men? If the crisis which threatened last September had broken, as many of us feared it would, they are the young men that this government would have expected to take their part in the military service of this country. They are the young men they would have expected to line up for whatever service the Department of National Defence wanted. They are the young men they would have gone to and said: Here is your opportunity to do something for your country. "Fight for the country-why?" they would ask. "Fight for the privilege of wandering up and down the highways and byways of this country, not wanted by anyone?" What answer could this government have given to them? If that crisis had broken, this government would have found ways to raise millions, yes hundreds of millions of dollars for the purpose of equipping these men, feeding and clothing them-for what? To defend Canada, yes; to be killed or to kill. If we can find money for that, why can we not find money to give them a chance to live and work out their destiny here? If we had been in power when the riots occurred in British Columbia about which we all read, I can easily imagine the Prime Minister and his supporters hurling taunts and accusations across the floor of the house about it. The riots that occurred out there were directly due to the policy of this government.

I have referred to the destitute people of this country. By destitute I mean people who are hungry, ill clad, ill housed, without decent

The Address-Mr. Homuth

living conditions. This government is working on a long range policy, so hon. members tell us in their speeches. As a result of it we have had three disastrous years. They are so busy looking at that long range policy, looking at the horizon hoping against hope that the sun of prosperity will break through, that they fail to see the poverty and destitution at their feet. We hear of communism in this country. Certainly -we have communism. The surprise to me, after the failure of this government to do something for the people of this country, is that we have not something worse. We all read the stories that appeared in the Globe and Mail relative to the condition of the fisherfolk of the mari-times. You do not have to go down there to find poverty-stricken people. You can find them in Ontario; you can find them in Ottawa; you can find them in every township, village, town and city throughout the Dominion of Canada.

I wonder what the poor, hungry people of this country think when they read in the press all the talk coming from the Liberal benches, and learn that the government are hunting for markets for the milk and cream produced on the farms of Canada, when we have thousands of children who are not getting enough milk to build strong, healthy bodies; that they are hunting for markets for our pork and our beef, when we have families in Canada that do not see meat twice a week. The same thing applies to many other commodities the hon. gentlemen are talking about exporting. Give our people jobs; give them adequate, steady wages; give the farmers decent prices for their produce. Then a great deal of this surplus produce will be used up. Our people do not want government pap; they do not need it. We have the right kind of people, who can work out their own destiny if they are only given the opportunity by those who are in power in the provinces and the dominion.

I said I wanted to deal at some length with the trade treaty, and because of my knowledge of the condition of industry in this dominion to-day I say that industry has the jitters and is afraid. There is no security for industry.

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?

An hon. MEMBER:

Tax the farmers more.

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CON

Karl Kenneth Homuth

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HOMUTH:

You will have the jitters too, before this is all over. The other day the Minister of Trade and Commerce said they had heard no real protests against this trade treaty. Perhaps not, but there will be plenty of protests yet. I do say that industry is afraid when the Liberal party is in power, 71492-25J

because for the last few years it has been their direct policy continually to chisel, chisel, chisel at the tariffs under which these industries have been operating. Sometimes I am amazed at the childlike simplicity of the Prime Minister, at his belief in the benevolence of those countries with whom we make trade treaties. He believes they would do him no wrong, but in the working out of the treaties we find that they are the sort of countries who would trade a coconut for a peanut any day, and we would get the peanut. I recall a little ditty that I heard in my childhood and which, with a little revamping, fits very well the attitude of the Prime. Minister since 1935 in connection with trade treaties:

Tinker, tinker, little man;

Do your tinkering while you can.

Mischievous tinkering cannot last;

Elections come and your tinkering's past.

The other day the Prime Minister accused our party of being apostles of economic nationalism and of saying that trade was war. He also suggested that we were not being fair to the government in that we continually knocked it. In the first place, Mr. Speaker, as the hon. member for Kootenay East (Mr. Stevens) said the other day, we are not the apostles of economic nationalism. We are interested in national economics, which is something this government apparently has forgotten. And when the Prime Minister asks us to say something kind and good about this government, why do they not give us a chance to do so? Why do they not do something so that at least we can go to our people, who are worried and harried and wondering what is going to happen in the future, and say, "At least the government are going to do this." Would it not be a good idea for the Prime Minister to take some of that philosophy to heart? Can one forget the campaign that he carried on in 1935? Was there ever a more bitter tirade against a leader or a party than that of the Prime Minister and his supporters in 1935? The Prime Minister accuses us of saying that trade is war. Well, Mr. Speaker, speaking for myself I say yes; trade is war. It is commercial war, and when we make a deal with another country the only way to figure out whether or not that deal is fair to Canada is by the number of lucrative jobs that are given the workingmen of this country as a result of that deal, and the type of market that is given to the farmers at the same time.

The other day we heard two different lines of thought from hon. gentlemen opposite. In his speech the Prime Minister referred to trade

The Address-Mr. Homuth

under the new treaty but dealt more particularly with the treaty from the standpoint of appeasement; that it was necessary to do this; that even if the benefits were not as great as they should be, this was the one thing Canada had to do. The Minister of Trade and Commerce, my fellow representative from Waterloo county, dealt with the question from an entirely different angle; and to my mind, poor as his argument was in regard to the benefits that Canada would receive as a result of this trade treaty, at least he dealt with it strictly from the standpoint of the trade between the two countries. To me that is the right way to deal with it; because under this so-cajled trade treaty from the Prime Minister's standpoint of appeasement, we make a treaty not only with the United States but with Germany, Italy and Japan, while some of the nationals of those very countries are to-day attacking us and trying to undermine the British constitutional system of government. So I ask: What mandate has this government from the people to go out and try to make a trade treaty as a gesture of appeasement to Japan, Germany and Italy? If the safety of the democratic institutions of the United States, Great Britain and Canada is to be predicated only upon the question whether or not we are prepared to sell out our workingmen and farmers to the people of the United States and other countries, then, as reverently as I can, I say God help democracy.

In his speech the other day our leader referred to the question of shoes. The Minister of Trade and Commerce immediately checked him up and quoted figures showing that only some two or three per cent of the shoes used in Canada were brought in from other countries. I still say, Mr. Speaker, that as a result of the trade treaty of 1935 and the trade treaty just negotiated we are going to give work to Czechs, to Germans, to Japanese and to people in the United States, while our own people will be put out of work. But it is not a question alone of how much stuff comes in, because after all we are not going to have the factories closed. Men who own industries dare not close them. Every cent they own is invested in them. They dare not close their doors; they have to keep them going. And so, regardless of what is done with the tariff, they try to keep their industries in operation.

How do they do it? Right to-day, in order to compete with the United States on shoes, manufacturers have to reduce wages in the shoe industry in Canada. They will have to lower the quality of the goods which go into many lines of shoes. It is not a question of how much stuff comes into Canada because

of trade agreements; rather it is a question of what, as a result, will have to be done in our industrial areas in order to compete against conditions in other countries. When the trade agreement is up for discussion I shall be able to show only too plainly that the conditions are just as I have described them. I will give facts and figures which will indicate that even though they are importing shoes to-day, and bringing them into Canada in competition with shoes made in the county of Waterloo and other parts of the country, the consumers in this country will not get them one cent cheaper. They are purchased over there simply on the basis of the amount of write-up that the merchant and wholesaler can put on them.

So that when we look back and read what the Prime Minister said in 1935 as to what he expected the trade treaty to do, we have cause to wonder. I challenge the Minister of Labour to go out to any industrial riding in Canada and say to the people, "As a result of the trade treaty of 1935 we have brought you prosperity." I challenge the Minister of Agriculture to go among the farmers of Canada and say to them, "As a result of the trade treaty of 1935 we have brought you prosperity, as predicted by our leader at that time."

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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

I did it in Brandon.

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CON

Ernest Edward Perley

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. PERLEY:

The rural vote did not

show that.

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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

Yes, it did.

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CON

Karl Kenneth Homuth

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HOMUTH:

Long before I came to

the house I heard that the Minister of Agriculture was more or less the bantam or the scrapper of the cabinet. But I have no hesitation in saying he will never be able to sell the argument in eastern Canada that this government has brought prosperity to agriculture in Canada. If he can do it in the west he has made a poor job of it, because he has a minority supporter from Brandon.

My time is nearly up, but there is one more matter with which I did wish to deal, namely the question of commissions. The people of Canada are sick and tired of commissions -commissions for this and commissions for that. Our party has not been wholly blameless in the matter, either. But I do not hesitate to say that the people of Canada, and I include myself, are sick and tired of commissions. A commission which was supposed to work free-8300,000; a provincial commission now set up is going to cost over $100,000, simply because the federal government at Ottawa could not agree with the provinces.

The Address-Mr. Homuth

Surely if we are to have commissions to govern the country we might just as well go home; we might as well quit having cabinet ministers. I cannot understand why we should pay cabinet ministers the large salaries they are paid, and maintain their staffs, if we are going to turn over to a commission every real problem that comes before them.

Furthermore, there has been too much of this business of trying to build up some constitutional issue with regard to everything the people want to have done for them. If a request is made for something, immediately a constitutional issue is raised; lawyers are always able to find one. While I have every regard for the legal members of the house,

I do not hesitate to say that the people of Canada are sick and tired of being told, every time something should be done for them, that it cannot be done because of the lack of constitutional authority to do it. I sometimes wonder why the Prime Minister has not taken the bit between his teeth once in a while and done something about it. But he is one who can raise a constitutional issue just as quickly as anybody else.

The people are tired of the whole thing, and they want to see action this year from the government.

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CON

John Ritchie MacNicol

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MacNICOL:

They cannot get it here.

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January 27, 1939