March 9, 1939

CON

Henry Herbert Stevens

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

The hon. member is away out there.

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LIB

William John Ward

Liberal

Mr. WARD:

The hon. gentleman can talk to Doctor Coats about these figures, because that is where I got them.

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CON

Henry Herbert Stevens

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

Nearly a billion dollars

out.

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LIB

William John Ward

Liberal

Mr. WARD:

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CON

Joseph Henry Harris

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HARRIS:

Is it quite ethical to call some hon. members a wrecking crew?

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LIB

William John Ward

Liberal

Mr. WARD:

Well, I do not want to use the adjectives that were used the other day by my hon. friend's leader. Now we come to the question of the balance of internal trade.

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CON

John Ritchie MacNicol

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MacNICOL:

Tell us about the increase in unemployment. That is what we would like to hear.

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LIB

William John Ward

Liberal

Mr. WARD:

All right. When the Conservative government came into power, on a policy of curing unemployment-

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CON

David Spence

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPENCE:

And they did.

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LIB

William John Ward

Liberal

Mr. WARD:

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CON

David Spence

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPENCE:

Why compare depression days with periods of good times?

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LIB

William John Ward

Liberal

Mr. WARD:

I thank my hon. friend for ' those words, because I also have the figures for the last three years, which have been referred to by hon. members sitting near him as years of terrible depression. For the past three years the average price of wheat has been $1.16-2 per bushel.

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CON

John Ritchie MacNicol

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MacNICOL:

What is it to-day?

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LIB

William John Ward

Liberal

Mr. WARD:

Well, we measure things by averages in this country. Then I have some further figures that are tremendously interesting. I have taken 147 items purchased by Canadian farmers and compared the cost of these items with the average of farm purchasing power, both based on 1926 as 100. For the period from 1931 to 1935 inclusive the index figure for the items the farmer buys stood at 128, while farm purchasing power was 54, only showing a differential against the farmer during that period of 74. What happened between 1936 and 1938? We find that he paid 130, or 30 above the 1926 level, but that he received 95, or within five of the 1926 level. In other words, based on average values in connection with both production and consumption, the farmers throughout Canada are 35 per cent better off than they were between 1930 and 1935.

Now, I have still another table. I said I would prove that the preference on dominion wheat entering the British market had cost the farmers of Canada many millions of dollars. The wheat policy was just like most of the other terms of the 1932 trade agreement. Let us start with the 1930 grain prices. I have figures before me, again from the bureau of statistics, which show that during 1930 we rode along on a fairly even keel until about September 1, nine days after the Bennett government took office. The trade wrecking crew hadn't got down to work before this date. They did not have their machinery started up. The blasting powder had not been assembled in the depots. They were not quite ready.

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CON

John Ritchie MacNicol

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MacNICOL:

It is working well now- putting men out of work.

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LIB

William John Ward

Liberal

Mr. WARD:

In the 1930 crop year, wheat remained at about the dollar level until about the end of August. And then what happened? In August the price averaged 92 cents. Indeed, the figures I have show that on the day of the election, July 28, as reported in the Winnipeg Free Press, the average market price for wheat was 93 cents, for oats 42 cents, for barley 45 cents, for rye 56 cents, and for flax S1.S5. Let us see, however, what the prices were four months later-just four months of the operation of the government that was going to reestablish all things in Canada. In that time wheat had dropped from 93 cents to 67 cents. Oats had dropped from 42 cents to 27 cents; barley, from 45 cents to 31 cents; rye from 56 cents to 33 cents, and flax from $1.85 to $1.22.

In the month of August, 1930, wheat sold at 93 cents, but in September it had dropped to 78 cents. You will recall again, Mr. [M' Ward.]

Speaker, that this was during the time these amateurs were at work. Just one month later, namely in October, it had dropped to 72 cents. In November it was down to 64 cents, and in December, to 55 cents. In other words, wheat had dropped in December to just about half the price it had been in August when the Bennett government took office.

Now we come to the year 1932, when the preference was operating. I would remind hon. members that the treaty became effective on August 22, 1932. At the end of August wheat was selling for 56 cents.

In one month it had dropped to 51 cents; in two months, to 48 cents; in three months, to 46 cents, and one month later to 38 cents. That is what happened under the British preference, and that is why I say that the six per cent preference on Canadian wheat had a disastrous effect upon the wheat growers of western Canada, and instead of bringing them greater returns meant a loss to them of millions of dollars.

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CON

Denton Massey

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. DENTON MASSEY (Greenwood):

Mr. Speaker, perhaps I may be forgiven for not following in my arguments the speech which has just been delivered by the hon. member for Dauphin (Mr. Ward). I find it difficult to chase phantoms, vapourings and hallucinations. I will give the hon. member one figure, and one only. In December, 1935, the unemployed wage-earners in this country numbered 491,000. In December, 1938, three years after the advent to power of hon. members opposite, the unemployed numbered

472,000, showing a net reduction of only 19,000 in the number of unemployed wage-earners. In the last three years of the previous administration, namely from December, 1932, to December, 1935, there was a reduction of 221,000 in the number of unemployed, a reduction eleven and a half times as great as hon. members opposite have been able to accomplish. Those, Mr. Speaker, are figures from the bureau of statistics, the source of my hon. friend's figures.

I would remind the hon. gentleman, if I may, that world trade from 1933 to 1935 rose five points of index, whereas world trade from 1935 to 1937 rose twenty points of index. In other words, while world trade was rising only five points of index, unemployment in Canada was reduced by 221,000. and while world trade was rising twenty points of index, unemployment in Canada was reduced by only 19,000. These figures, Mr. Speaker, are also from the bureau of statistics.

I am not so much concerned with such figures as the hon. member has put upon Hansard, or in his use of them as I am con-

Canada-United States Trade Agreement

cerned with this: Throughout the length and

breadth of Canada there is deepening distress which is, I believe I may say safely to hon. members opposite, a condition which should touch the heart and mind of every hon. member of this house. We should not rise in our places and by the use of "alibis" attempt to dodge that fact. We are faced with that situation. Let us not blink the fact, and let us not make stump speeches which would do credit to "ward" politicians.

I do not purpose at length to prolong the present debate on the resolution before the house. But a sense of responsibility compels me to say a few words at this stage with respect to the ratification of the Canada-United States trade treaty. I have been elected to the house to represent some 70,000 Canadians, the vast majority of whom are dependent upon industry for their livelihood. Accordingly, if a measure is introduced to the house which tends to abridge opportunities for those industrial workers who have sent me to parliament, to say the least I should be derelict in my responsibility if I did not raise my voice in protest on their behalf. Thus I make no apology to the house for speaking in protest against the present trade treaty, at least in so far as it affects the industrial worker. Unemployment, remaining as it has at a staggeringly high figure, and the uncertainty of the future of the young would-be wage-earner, present difficulties which in many cases appear to be insurmountable to the individual. Yet we in this house are being asked to approve a treaty which will deprive many Canadian workmen, now employed, of their jobs.

I shall take as an example one of the industries which are of immediate importance to my constituency. Within a stone's throw of the border of my riding is a leather company which has prospered under reasonable protection and the advantages of the Ottawa agreements of 1932. Until recently some 150 employees have been engaged in this plant in the making of patent leather alone. I am taking this industry only as an illustration. I speak with equal feeling for the security of the jobs of the workmen in any industry, for all the men and women in my riding, yes, in the whole of Canada. I speak for all men and women whose jobs are threatened as a result of the Prime Minister's negotiations at Washington last year.

Hon. members will recall that prior to 1932 an important export from the United States to the United Kingdom was patent leather, in which commodity the United States had nearly 58 per cent of the British market. In 1932 a rate of ten per cent ad valorem was imposed by the United Kingdom against United States patent leather. In 1936 only

11'8 per cent of the British patent leather market was supplied by the United States. The greatest change took place in 1934 when the import duty to the United Kingdom was increased to 15 per cent. Prior to 1932 Canada supplied less than 20 per cent of the patent leather entering the United Kingdom. As a result of the tariff of 1932, and the increase in that tariff in 1934 against the United States, while Canada still had free entry, our share of the British market in this product rose to a total of 76-2 per cent. Under the United States-United Kingdom trade agreement, on August 1, 1939, the duty on patent leather going into the United Kingdom from the United States is to be cut in half, namely tc 7i per cent, which will have the effect ol restoring the market of the United Kingdom to the producers of patent leather in the United States at the expense of the Canadian workman.

I have not taken my opinion alone in this matter. I have discussed it personally with those who, as a result of their identification with this field of industry, are in a position tc know the exact situation and to make an accurate prognosis. Accordingly I state that the jobs of 150 men in the particular firm to which I refer are threatened. On behalf of those who hold those jobs I raise my voice in protest to the Prime Minister of Canada, that in this tripartite treaty our preferred position should be so sacrificed. If I were to take the Prime Minister's advice, which I have no intention of doing, I would go back to my riding and tell these 150 men and women and their families that this agreement was made in the name of patriotism in order tc strengthen the ties between the United Kingdom and the United States, and that they must surrender their jobs and join the ranks of the unemployed in order to bring about a closer union between these two countries That was the advice of the Prime Minister; that is what he told this house. I regret the Prime Minister is not in his seat, but does he honestly feel that such a sacrifice of livelihood is necessary, when these men and women know and when the Prime Minister himself knows that there was not, nor had there been, anything amiss or awry in the relationships between the United Kingdom and the United States?

I wonder if it is patriotic to jeopardize the jobs of Canadian workmen, especially in a time such as this? I wonder if it is patriotic to blink facts? I wonder if it is possible successfully to mix political theories and patriotism? If the relations between the United Kingdom and the United States had been strained, if as a result a treaty had been brought forward to bring together these two

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nations which had been drifting apart, patriotism and the love of peace might have had to play their part. But I claim it is nothing short of fatuous to state to the people of Canada that men and women should be compelled, because of the action of the right hon. gentleman opposite, to sacrifice their jobs. Certainly his latest trade treaty will make no definite contribution to the friendly relations between the United Kingdom and the United States, about which friendly relations there is definitely not even a shadow of a doubt.

If the Prime Minister of Canada wishes to talk about patriotism, if he wishes to be patriotic; if he in the fullest sense of that noble word wishes to make a contribution to world peace, let him take steps to consolidate and cement even more closely the family of empire and give an indication to the government of the United Kingdom that Canada is still a loyal member of that family. That is the type of patriotism which Canadians from coast to coast will recognize as divorced from party politics.

I shall not take up any more of the time of the house. On behalf of the men and women whose jobs are in jeopardy as a result of this treaty I raise my voice in protest, and in accordance with what I feel to be my responsibility as their representative in this parliament I shall vote against the treaty. In doing so I place my patriotism, my love of empire, my love of peace and my desire to see friendly relations maintained between the United Kingdom and the United States second to those of no man in this chamber, not even excluding the Prime Minister himself.

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LIB

Vincent-Joseph Pottier

Liberal

Mr. V. J. POTTIER (Shelburne-Yarmouth-Clare):

Mr. Speaker, I have followed one speaker after the other in this debate and I am beginning to realize the difficulty the Canadian people must have in following the reasoning of certain members of this house. We have had an illustration of this in the remarks of the two hon. gentlemen who have preceded me. The hon. member for Dauphin (Mr. Ward) spoke on behalf of the farmers in general and the west in particular in an effort to give their point of view. He was followed by the hon. member for Greenwood (Mr. Massey). The minute that hon. gentleman rose to address the house he began to lecture the hon. member for Dauphin. He suggested that he was a ward politician and was appealing to the few people in his constituency who might help him. From that he proceeded to make a fifteen minute speech on behalf of 150 employees in his own constituency.

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CON

Denton Massey

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MASSEY:

No, no. The hon. member cannot put words into my mouth. I made it perfectly clear that I was using these 150 men and their jobs simply as an illustration of what may happen.

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LIB

Ross Wilfred Gray (Chief Government Whip; Whip of the Liberal Party)

Liberal

Mr. GRAY:

It is a matter of opinion.

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March 9, 1939