April 28, 1939

CON

James Earl Lawson

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LAWSON:

I am sorry I did not catch it.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OP DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
Permalink
LIB

John Frederick Johnston

Liberal

Mr. JOHNSTON (Lake Centre):

I am quoting from a publication got out by the Searle Grain Company of Winnipeg, Manitoba, under date of January 5, 1939, and I quoted from what is known as clause 13 of the statement of policy of the chamber of commerce for the present year.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OP DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
Permalink
CON

James Earl Lawson

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LAWSON:

What chamber of commerce?

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OP DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
Permalink
LIB

John Frederick Johnston

Liberal

Mr. JOHNSTON (Lake Centre):

The

Canadian chamber of commerce. If the Canadian chamber of commerce is right, I

[Mr. J. F. Johnston.)

suggest that the hon. member for York South is out of step with big business in this country because they take a position directly opposite to that which my hon. friend took this afternoon.

In presenting his budget and annual financial statement the other day, the Minister of Finance (Mr. Dunning) referred to the fact that the funded debt of this country had been increased materially. But I suggest, if one may for the moment assume the role of a Pollyanna, that there are features of the national debt from which we can extract some comfort. One is that the carrying charges are no greater on the increased debt than they were when the funded debt was about one billion dollars less than it is to-day. Second, 74-15 per cent of government bonds are to-day held within the Dominion of Canada and 12 per cent in the old country,, making a total of 86-15 per cent that is held within the British empire.

It is also pleasing to note that the Minister of Finance intimated that Canada is no longer in the fifth position among the trading nations of the world as set out in the statement of the Canadian chamber of commerce, but to-day has gained the fourth position among the great trading countries of the world.

The Minister of Finance also referred to the initial payment for wheat and to the guaranteed eighty-cent price paid last year. Western members coming to Ottawa for the opening of the session had not been here very long before we learned that some of the eastern members were not in favour of this system of paying a bonus on wheat. That is not to be wondered at. As one who was brought up in Ontario but has since lived many years in the west, I can readily understand why that attitude might be taken. The eastern provinces of Canada produce very little wheat, none at all I think for export, and when it is pointed out to the labouring classes in these eastern provinces that the payment of this bonus on wheat may make their bread dearer, one can understand that opposition to this system might grow; but I shall not deal further with that phase at the moment.

Hon. members will recall that the Minister of Finance in his speech referred to wheat as the back-bone of international trade. I took the trouble to look up the statistics on the production of wheat and its value to the western provinces over a period of years, and I found that in the last twenty-five years western Canada produced a total of 7,371,810,000 bushels of wheat, or an average yearly production of 294,872,000 bushels. Deducting

The Budget-Mr. Johnston (Lake Centre)

our domestic requirements, I find that we had

5,373,786,000 bushels of wheat and wheat products for export. The average price of wheat during that twenty-five year period was ninety-two cents a bushel. This gave to Canada in new wealth in every year of that twenty-five year period an average sum of $214,951,000. One does not need to stretch his imagination very far to understand why during recent years Canada has felt the depression more than she would have done had western Canada been producing her usual crop of wheat. But we have not been producing our annual bushelage, and on top of that the price has been greatly reduced.

For wheat and other grain shipped from western Canada during that twenty-five year period there was paid in transportation costs nearly one billion dollars. These figures, I submit, indicate the importance of the wheat industry in our Canadian economy.

This brings me, Mr. Speaker, to a consideration of the policy to be adopted for the marketing of this year's w-heat crop. Something has already been said on that, and there has been a great deal of missionary work done by certain interests. Those of us who come from western Canada know that it is the big question in the eyes of western people. We have been receiving many letters about it from our constituents. In replying to these letters that I received I invariably pointed out to my people that the representation of Saskatchewan in this house amounted to only a little over eleven per cent of the membership and that consequently we were in no position to force our will upon the house. An initial price of sixty cents has been mentioned, but I can say right away that from the outset I felt that was too low. Under existing conditions our people cannot get along with an initial price of sixty cents.

With regard to the acreage bonus as submitted to the house by the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Gardiner), I am all for it because I believe that in its working out it will assist those who need assistance most. We all know that under last year's policy the man who had most got most and the poor fellow who had little or no wheat got little or nothing. Under the acreage bonus scheme the man who has least will get most, and that I submit is a sound principle. Why do I say that sixty cents a bushel is not enough? I have here an index of the prices of things which the western farmers have to buy, comprising 147 items. Taking the 1913-14 index of 100, we find that these 147 items stand at 136-6 to-day, and the price of wheat No. 1 northern as at November 15 last was 38 per cent lower than in 1913-14-that is, the open 71492-213J

market price. On the basis of the board price it was 10 per cent lower. This means that a bushel of wheat in western Canada in November last-there is little change to-day -had a purchasing power in relation to the things farmers have to buy, on the open market, of 45 per cent in comparison with a purchasing power of 100 before the war. On the basis of the board price to-day the farmer of western Canada has a purchasing power of 66 per cent of what he had before.

Under these conditions I suggest a higher initial payment than sixty cents is necessary if western Canada is to carry on. I believe, however, that a lower price than eighty cents with the acreage bonus will work out better for the majority of farmers than 80 cents without the bonus. As a farmer from the west, knowing the conditions there, I am quite satisfied and would be greatly pleased if this parliament sees its way to give an initial price of eighty cents, but I do not believe that is likely.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OP DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
Permalink
?

An hon. MEMBER:

Why not?

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OP DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
Permalink
LIB

John Frederick Johnston

Liberal

Mr. JOHNSTON (Lake Centre):

The hon. member asks, why not? The answer is that we from western Canada constitute merely a fraction of the membership of the house. Saskatchewan has little over 11 per cent of the membership; how, then, can we force our opinion upon the house if the eastern sections object?

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OP DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
Permalink
LIB

Harry Raymond Fleming

Liberal

Mr. FLEMING:

Will the hon. member indicate how much western Canada has paid to eastern Canada in tariffs?

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OP DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
Permalink
LIB

John Frederick Johnston

Liberal

Mr. JOHNSTON (Lake Centre):

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OP DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
Permalink
?

George Halsey Perley

Mr. PERLEY:

Did the hon. member think that in 1921?

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OP DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
Permalink
LIB

John Frederick Johnston

Liberal

Mr. JOHNSTON (Lake Centre):

I thought exactly that in 1921, and if I had two minutes more, since my hon. friend has interjected that remark, I should like to refer to some of the posters that were displayed during the Assiniboia by-election. If I had known the hon. member was going to interject that remark I would have brought those posters containing these words: "Come and hear

Perley speak in the interests of William Irvine." I want to say here, as I have said to some of my Conservative friends, that it is actions such as those of the hon. member for Qu'Appelle that have put the Conservative party in the position it now occupies in Saskatchewan.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OP DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
Permalink
LIB

Thomas Reid

Liberal

Mr. THOMAS REID (New Westminster):

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OP DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
Permalink
LIB

Arthur Graeme Slaght

Liberal

Mr. SLAGHT:

Would that include minerals?

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OP DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
Permalink
LIB

Thomas Reid

Liberal

Mr. REID:

The figure I quoted for the

total trade of Canada does include minerals, but I understand that the figures concerning British Columbia do not. In brief, this means that British Columbia had over 18 per cent of the total trade of Canada for that year.

My remarks are going to deal particularly, however, with the trade of British Columbia as it applies to other provinces. I shall refer to figures supplied by the bureau of statistics. British Columbia's total export trade with the empire, might I first point out, was valued at $60,850,696. Her export trade with foreign countries was valued at $74,713,776. We imported from other provinces of Canada goods to the value of more than $71,000,000, while we sold to those provinces goods valued at only $29,718,861. In other words, Mr. Speaker, it took all British Columbia's exports to the British empire, and some more, to pay for what British Columbia purchased from the prairie and eastern provinces. In that year we had an adverse balance of trade of $41,317,056. The total of British Columbia trade in that year with the rest of Canada was valued at $100,754,776.

I believe those figures speak for themselves, and show to what extent the other provinces of Canada are dependent upon the trade of British Columbia. To me those figures are startling when we realize-and I want to repeat it-that all our exports to empire countries including Great Britain, New Zealand, Australia and all other empire countries did not pay for what we had to purchase from the eastern provinces. Little wonder that we in British Columbia feel we are paying quite a heavy price for confederation, when one considers that the tariff policy of the country is made mostly for the central provinces of Ontario and Quebec.

Approximately 70 per cent of British Columbia's importations came from the rest of Canada, whereas Ontario, Quebec and the three prairie provinces took only 23 per cent of British Columbia's goods. Prior to coming to the chamber I was looking at the figures

indicating the number of cars British Columbia purchased last year from the eastern provinces. I find British Columbia purchased a total of 9,426 cars, buses and trucks, all from Ontario. If one estimates that, on account of the tariff, each car, bus or truck cost on an average $300 more, he finds that the purchase of those cars, buses and trucks cost the people of British Columbia $2,827,800 more. That is one of the prices British Columbia is paying for her place in confederation. If there were no tariff on automobiles they could be imported from the United States at prices which would give savings of more than $300 on each vehicle. However, the average price of cars in British Columbia is at least $200 more than the people in Ontario pay. I have given my figure on the assumption that the price would be $300 lower than that at which we could purchase the same make of vehicle in the state of Washington.

When the budget was brought down I was pleased to hear the minister say that radio tubes would be lower in price, or that he expected that as a result of tariff changes, prices would be lower. Last year British Columbia purchased in Ontario 22,514 radios. Had those radios been purchased from across the line or at the same price as was paid in Ontario the people of British Columbia would have been saved $337,710. I say these figures are startling. In quoting that sum of money I am taking an average of $10 to $15 more for radios purchased in British Columbia as against the price for which the same radio could be purchased in Ontario. If I were figuring on United States prices the difference would, I believe, be even greater.

I want now for a moment to speak on behalf of one of the great races in this country, a race which I say, without fear of successful contradiction, has done more for the development of Canada than any other race. I realize the French people in Quebec have done considerable in that province, but when I speak I am speaking of the development of Canada as a whole. That race, the Scottish race which at the present time in Canada number 1,400,000, feel not only aggrieved but insulted at the treatment meted out to them this year. They have been appealing through associations, through myself, and, I believe, other hon. members, to the Minister of Finance, and have asked that when the budget was brought down he remove the duty on kilts coming into this country.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OP DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
Permalink
?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Hear, hear.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OP DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
Permalink
LIB

Thomas Reid

Liberal

Mr. REID:

I thought that might create a smile. But we of that race feel that we have been insulted. Back in 1747 the English

The Budget-Mr. Reid

king was more honourable even if severe, because he had notices posted up and by proclamation forbade the wearing of the kilts. In these days, however, we have become scientific with our cruelties, and we can be very cruel in many fine ways. So we have had a 40 per cent duty imposed which makes it almost prohibitive, if not, in fact, prohibitive for those of the Scottish race to-[DOT]

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OP DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
Permalink
SC

William Hayhurst

Social Credit

Mr. HAYHURST:

The English have a sense of humour.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OP DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
Permalink
LIB

Thomas Reid

Liberal

Mr. REID:

I am afraid that man has no ambition. In this country there are some

34,000 good Canadians who speak Gaelic. I also took the time to go over that little red book, sometimes called the stud book, and looked at the lineage of members of parliament as indicated therein. It may surprise the hon. member who interrupted that in numbers the Scots have it-and they have it over all others. In that I include hon. members who were bom in Scotland or whose fathers or mothers were bom in that country. I feel sure all are proud of it.

I must appeal seriously and ask the government before the items in the budget are passed, to give some recognition to the plea and cry which has been raised. The tartan is not manufactured in any country other than Scotland. The Scottish people are the finest weavers in the world. There is no better cloth woven or finer in pattern than the tartan. And yet, although the importation of Scottish tartans does not enter into competition with any Canadian industry, and while the cloth manufactured into kilts is not produced in Canada, yet we find this government has adamantly refused our appeal that it reduce this prohibitive tariff of approximately 40 per cent. I am taking this opportunity to make this plea in all seriousness in the hope that the government may yet relent. One may ask why this cry is being made at this time when the duty has been in effect for some years, but there is a reason. Many are doing their best to outfit themselves anew, in view of the visit of their majesties; for they want to look their very best. Many have sent back for new outfits and many more would like to do so, but they find the 40 per cent tariff prohibitive. I think it would be more honest for the government to say that they do not want these to come in at all, rather than to refuse to make a reduction in this tariff.

I am going to make a plea now for another class, the first native of this country, the Indian. I have with me some of the work of these Indians to which I should like to draw attention. We have been spending considerable money to help the Indians of this

country become self-sustaining. At page 192 of the report of the department I find this:

The revival and advancement of Indian handicraft has been given particular attention during the past year. The services of one of the officials of the branch have been devoted entirely to the organization of this work among the Indians in eastern Canada.

Our Indians have been encouraged to carry on handicrafts. I hold in my hand a small totem pole carved by one of the Indian chiefs in British Columbia. Visitors to British Columbia like to purchase these, but here is what they are faced with. I hold in my left hand an imitation that comes into this country from Japan and is sold to our visitors at about the same price as genuine Indian work. When one looks closely, he will see that there is no resemblance between the two, but visitors who know nothing of Indian lore very often buy the Japanese product because sometimes the price is just a little lower. The painted figures are not even Indian, they are Japanese. I exhibit these to hon. members, and I ask the minister to give some consideration to the prohibition of entry into this country of this kind of work. I hold that no outside nation should, shall I say, appropriate what rightfully belongs to one of the older races in this country.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OP DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
Permalink
LIB

Jean-François Pouliot

Liberal

Mr. POULIOT:

They look more like

Buddhas than the figures that should be on a totem pole.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OP DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
Permalink
LIB

Thomas Reid

Liberal

Mr. REID:

There is another matter to

which I should like to direct the attention of the government and particularly the attention of the Minister of Mines and Resources (Mr. Crerar). I am taking this opportunity of bringing up these matters because I am afraid that in the rush to close the session no one will have a chance to say anything when the estimates are being considered. Considerable money is spent on health work among the Indians, but the statement has been made by the health officials of British Columbia that Ottawa is really hampering the control work among the Indians in connection with tuberculosis. The rate of tuberculosis among the Indians is from ten to twenty times greater than among our white population. The British Columbia government are doing everything possible to control this disease, but their work is seriously handicapped by lack of dominion funds. There are something like 2,600 known cases of tuberculosis in British Columbia, and it is felt that the grant of 360,000 is not adequate to take care of the situation. If Indians with tuberculosis are allowed to go among the white population carrying the disease, the final eradication will be a most difficult matter.

The Budget-Mr. Reid

I have only one more statement to make about the Indians. We sometimes hear these people referred to as the poor Indians. I know of no bill that is harder to get through this house, even in the rush hours, than the one connected with the Indians. The other evening the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre (Mr. Woodsworth) drew the attention of the house to the fact that a family in one of the eastern cities received only $1.90 a week. I have gone into the expenditures made in connection with the Indians, and I find that last year the total income was over $6,000,000. That is the income from wages earned, from fishing, from crops and so on. This parliament voted over 84,000,000, making the total income $10,247,322. There are 112,510 Indians in Canada, so each Indian man, woman and child received almost $100. There are many poor whites who would be glad to be treated on the same basis as the poor Indian is being treated.

Some time during this session the hon. member for Rosetown-Biggar (Mr. Coldwell) placed on Hansard a resolution which had been passed by the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation. This reads in part:

The national executive of the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation expresses its sincere sympathy with the victims of religious, racial and political persecution in central Europe, and requests the government to admit, on humanitarian principles, in the same manner as other democratic nations are doing, a reasonable number of the victims of persecution to this dominion.

I am going to take issue with that statement, but in doing so I am advancing only my own views. I do not intend to raise any racial cry, but I feel that we have 'been too prone to make mistakes by opening up our gates to refugees from European countries. We have one example right now in British Columbia in the Doukhobors. I defy any hon. member to rise in his place in this house and say that the Doukhobors now in British Columbia are an asset or should have been permitted to enter this country. Only the other day they bombed two more schools.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OP DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
Permalink
CCF

Major James William Coldwell

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

Mr. COLDWELL:

There are some good ones in Saskatchewan.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OP DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
Permalink

April 28, 1939