March 24, 1939

LIB

Joseph Enoil Michaud (Minister of Fisheries)

Liberal

Mr. MICHAUD:

Moral-don't nod.

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CCF

Angus MacInnis

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

Mr. MacINNIS:

A great many things have to be taken into consideration in regard to this matter. If by high protection at some particular time we develop a certain industry, we should not at one stroke take that protection away-I am not suggesting that that has been done-and leave the workers concerned without employment, until we do something else for them. That is my first point.

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LIB
CCF

Angus MacInnis

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

Mr. MacINNIS:

I think that is the first thing we should take into consideration.

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?

An hon. MEMBER:

Make wheat farmers of them.

Canada-United, States Trade Agreement

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CCF

Angus MacInnis

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

Mr. MacINNIS:

We should try to take a reasonable view of economic conditions in the dominion. Possibly neither the farmers nor those of us who happen to represent industrial centres have all the right on our side. If we are to have a balanced economy, an economy in which the products of the countryside are exchanged for the products of the towns and cities we must of necessity industrialize parts of the country. Farmers cannot sell their surplus milk, butter and eggs to other farmers, because those other farmers are producing for themselves; they must dispose of those products in industrial centres. In the same way, industrialists must find in the agricultural districts a market for most of the things they produce. No one will insist that we can have complete free trade, or that we can have a tariff so high as to keep everything out of the country. We must have reasonable trading relations with other countries.

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LIB

Frederick George Sanderson (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

The CHAIRMAN:

Order. I would ask

the hon. member to confine his remarks to the item of automobiles, and not discuss the whole tariff question.

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CCF

Abraham Albert Heaps

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

Mr. HEAPS:

I protest. The hon. member is confining himself to the item under discussion.

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CCF

Angus MacInnis

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

Mr. MacINNIS:

I will try to do that as

far as I can. I do not think you can talk about automobile tariffs or the automobile industry without relating it to the general conditions within the country.

I have had some correspondence with representatives of employees in the automobile industry. I have a copy of a letter which was forwarded to me by the regional director of the United Automobile Workers. I should like to read it. It is addressed to C. H. Millard, in Toronto, and it is signed by Leo Grondin, chairman of Packard Shop Committee, Windsor, Ontario. It reads as follows:-

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CON

William Allen Walsh

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. WALSH:

Is that the original letter?

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CCF

Angus MacInnis

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

Mr. MacINNIS:

It is a copy which Mr. Millard sent to me of Grondin's letter to him.

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CON

William Allen Walsh

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. WALSH:

There is no guarantee that

the copy is an exact copy, is there?

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CCF

Angus MacInnis

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

Mr. MacINNIS:

No, I cannot give any

guarantee that the copy is an exact copy.

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CON

William Allen Walsh

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. WALSH:

Does the hon. member '

think that under the circumstances it should be read?

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CCF

Angus MacInnis

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

Mr. MacINNIS:

It should or it should

not?

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CON

William Allen Walsh

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. WALSH:

I think it should not be

read unless the hon. member can guarantee the contents.

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CCF

Angus MacInnis

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

Mr. MacINNIS:

I have been in this house for a number of years and I have never yet heard a member asked for a guarantee of anything he has read, and I know a good many who could not give any guarantees for what they have said. The letter is as follows:

Following is a report of the situation now existing in Packard Motor Company of Windsor.

The facts proving the critical situation brought about by the change in the tariff are as follows:

When a change in the Canadian content, from 50 to 40, was brought about in the latter part of 1938, the Packard Company of Canada were affected to the extent that the manufacturers decided to manufacture in Canada two jobs that had previously been imported, namely, the Super-eight and the convertible coupe.

Immediately after the announcement of the change in Canadian content, stock for these two jobs were brought into the Canadian plant in preparation for immediate production, but when the announcement of the excise tax being taken off, appeared in the papers, this stock was sent back to the American plant, and it was announced that these jobs would not be built in Canada.

Previous to the excise tax being taken off of imported automobiles, the company was seriously thinking of building or buying a larger plant, in order to increase production from 6 to possibly 30 or 40 jobs per day, which would include the new light-six which the company is putting on the market some time in July.

Now in addition to the super-eight and the convertible, they have also discontinued production of their model 120. Production on the 115, the only job now being built in Canada, will cease within the next ten days. The plans of the company after that date are rather indefinite. Rumour has it, that the plant will then close until possibly July 15, when there is a possibility that the company may start producing the new light-six. This is not definitely decided on as yet.

At six jobs per day the company employs approximately 80 men. If the increase in production had gone through, you can see what a difference it would have made in the economic situation of the border cities.

All cars discontinued in Canada are now being imported at the rate of about 20 or 25 per week.

The Packard organization have justly earned over a period of 30 years, a reputation of fair and decent treatment of their employees. Losing this company from the Canadian industry is not only an eeoonmic blow, but we will also lose an example of an amicable relationship between employer and employee that other manufacturers could well follow, with beneficial results to the industry, the employees, and the community at large.

I am not suggesting that everything stated in this letter is correct, but it is the point of view of some of the workers in that

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industry. I do not know what the government should do in the matter, but I think it would be advisable to find out just what the conditions are, and if anything can be done to make things a little better for the men employed in that industry without placing the burden on others who are no better able to bear it, it should be done.

I have in my hand a summary prepared by the tariff board on reference No. 91, dated, I believe, in 1936. In the board's report of which this is a summary they make a number of recommendations and also a number of statements in regard to the automobile industry. I quote paragraph 2:

(2) In section A of chapter VIII of this report the board has listed certain factors that might have to be weighed before arriving at an appraisal of the economic "value" of the automobile industry in Canada. The figures given therein would indicate that the increase in the total amount paid by dealers in Canada for automobiles and trucks and replacement parts thereof, in 1934, to the Canadian automobile industry, in excess of the amount that they would have paid if automobiles were permitted free entry into Canada, not including freight or licences, is approximately $14,000,000. As against this amount the board has also listed, in that section of the report, the disbursements that were made in 1934 in Canada for taxes-federal, provincial and municipal-for freight to transportation systems, for wages and salaries and for expense materials and services, which are directly attributable to the existence of the automobile industry in Canada.

These disbursements were from $40,000,000 to $47,000,000.

That is considerably above the $14,000,000 mentioned above.

The board, while not accepting the 'above comparisons as an accurate measure of the "value" of the industry to Canada, is of the opinion nevertheless that the figure would indicate that it is "good business" for Canada reasonably to encourage the maintenance and the expansion of the Canadian automotive industry.

Further on in this summary I find another paragraph which I should like to bring to the attention of the government. Paragraph 24 reads:

In section C of chapter VIII of this report, the board indicated that the selling price in Canada of copper and lead of Canadian origin, sold to automobile and automotive parts manufacturers, is substantially higher than the price at which these same metals are being sold for export by the Canadian producers.

In the reports on references 23, 25 and 40, the board drew the attention of his majesty's government in Canada to this situation, and the board is still of the opinion that the price structure in Canada indicates clearly that the Canadian producers are taking advantage of duties imposed under the customs tariff act to increase the price of such goods to the Canadian consumer.

[Mr. MacInnisJ

In view of that I submit that it is not enough for the government either to raise or to lower the tariff. It must take more control over the tariff and of industry itself and insist that when concessions are made to any industry those concessions shall be passed on to the consumers of Canada and to the employees. So that there is a great deal more to this question than we can settle in a debate in this house. I do not think that we are quite fitted for that sort of thing, although I am convinced that this is the proper place in which to bring these matters to the attention of the government. In my opinion the government should take this question into consideration, and see, as always must be done if good government is intended, that all sections of the community are given equal protection. And when I say protection I do not mean an increase in the tariff.

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LIB

Paul Joseph James Martin

Liberal

Mr. MARTIN:

The committee will pardon me for again taking part in this debate, but hon. members will appreciate that this problem is one of immediate concern to me, representing a constituency in which the automobile industry predominates. While it concerns many other members of the house, I feel, in view of the inevitable absence of some of them, I may be permitted again to make a few observations.

I must observe in the first place that when the hon. member for Huron North (Mr. Deachman) pontificates I usually enjoy it. However, when he pontificates to the extent of conveying the impression that he is making a complete and adequate statement, I not only resent it but I think it calls for an answer. I am accused of having dared to confer with the Minister of National Revenue with respect to a problem which vitally concerns not only those who have a definite financial interest in the automobile industry, but also, and more particularly, the thousands of men and women whose very livelihood depends upon the continuance in Canada of that industry. These latter are my primary concern.

The member for Huron North constantly purports to speak in the name of the consumer. Let me tell him in no uncertain terms that he is not the only one who speaks in the name of the consumer. The working man is as much a consumer as any of the constituents of the hon. member for Huron North, and if it is a crime for me to have [DOT]conferred with the minister and to have brought to his attention this important question, then I am guilty of a crime and I do not believe that in doing so I was doing anything that was contrary to the spirit of parliament. In the conferences which the hon.

Canada-United, States Trade Agreement

member for Huron North has had since he was a member of parliament, not only conferences conducted on behalf of his constituents but other conferences never disclosed in full, he too, then, was guilty of a crime. Does he mean to say that all the time he appeared before the tariff board he was doing something that was contrary to the spirit of the parliamentary method? Of course, we see the absurdity of the remark and why it was made.

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LIB

Robert John Deachman

Liberal

Mr. DEACHMAN:

On a point of order, surely it is not wrong or contrary to the spirit of democracy that I should have taken the place that a lawyer might take in a court of law. I did not make the law. The law was there, and I appeared.

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LIB

Paul Joseph James Martin

Liberal

Mr. MARTIN:

That was not a point of order, but I allowed the hon. gentleman to go on. I pointed out inadequately last night, and I must point out more adequately to-day, that this is not a matter that concerns simply the automobile industry. The hon. member for Vancouver East (Mr. Maclnnis) has properly put his finger on the whole issue, and I congratulate him. It is a problem that concerns not only the automobile industry but a great many cities in Canada. It concerns my own city of Windsor in the province of Ontario. It concerns the riding from which the Minister of Labour comes; it concerns the riding from which the whip of this party comes; it concerns the cities of Toronto, Brantford, Woodstock, Oshawa, Whitby, Montreal, Quebec, Sherbrooke, Regina, Winnipeg, Vancouver, and many others that I could name. It affects thousands of working men directly employed in the automobile industry and in subsidiary and kindred industries. If this industry were seriously affected-

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March 24, 1939