May 2, 1939

CON

Ernest Edward Perley

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. PERLEY:

You were part of that parliament, and you evidently did not know what was going on.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCLAL STATEMENT OP THE MINISTER OP FINANCE
Permalink
LIB

Walter Edward Foster (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

I would ask the hon.

member not to interrupt.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCLAL STATEMENT OP THE MINISTER OP FINANCE
Permalink
LIB

John Angus MacMillan

Liberal

Mr. MacMILLAN:

The hon. member was sitting on this side of the house in those days. I must point out to the hon. member that if he was advocating a wheat board in those years he was not very effective, because we did not get it until we were going to the country. And the price of wheat was lower in 1932 and) 1933 than it has been at any time since-yes, lower than it has been in three hundred years. Yet nothing was done. Even if the leaders of the Liberal party did make certain promises in the last election campaign, I am sure our leader never went so far as to say that if he did not accomplish it he would perish in the attempt.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCLAL STATEMENT OP THE MINISTER OP FINANCE
Permalink
CON

Robert Henry McGregor

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. McGREGOR:

He never went anywhere.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCLAL STATEMENT OP THE MINISTER OP FINANCE
Permalink
CON

Ernest Edward Perley

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. PERLEY:

He went to the valley of humiliation.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCLAL STATEMENT OP THE MINISTER OP FINANCE
Permalink
LIB

John Angus MacMillan

Liberal

Mr. MacMILLAN:

If he did go to the valley of humiliation he did not stay there very long. By the will of the people he is now the Prime Minister of Canada, and has the largest following any prime minister has had in the history of this country.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCLAL STATEMENT OP THE MINISTER OP FINANCE
Permalink
LIB

Jean-François Pouliot

Liberal

Mr. POULIOT:

The valley of humiliation is not as bad as the " Perley " gates.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCLAL STATEMENT OP THE MINISTER OP FINANCE
Permalink
LIB

John Angus MacMillan

Liberal

Mr. MacMILLAN:

I am sorry the Minister of Public Works (Mr. Cardin) is not in his seat. If he were he would see the necessity of building an institution where some hon. members of this house could take a course in etiquette.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCLAL STATEMENT OP THE MINISTER OP FINANCE
Permalink
CCF

Major James William Coldwell

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

Mr. COLDWELL:

That is obvious.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCLAL STATEMENT OP THE MINISTER OP FINANCE
Permalink
CON

Ernest Edward Perley

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. PERLEY:

He would build it for that side, alone.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCLAL STATEMENT OP THE MINISTER OP FINANCE
Permalink
LIB

John Angus MacMillan

Liberal

Mr. MacMILLAN:

I want to congratulate the government upon negotiating the trade treaty they have negotiated. I do not like trade treaties, because to me they are merely optical delusions. Canada did not prosper or advance under trade treaties. Canada pros-

[Mr. MacMillan.)

pered and advanced under the great Sir Wilfrid Laurier when the government was cutting down tariffs, regardless of the attitude taken by any other country.

But conditions are changed to-day, and I believe that trade treaties are a necessity. England up to a few years ago-possibly fifteen or twenty years-was an absolute free trade country. To-day she has adopted protection, because conditions throughout the world are changed. Human ingenuity and modern inventions have annihilated distance, so that practically every country of the world to-day is the centre, and the circumference is not very far away. The result is that the method of doing business must change, and if every other country in the world is adopting trade treaties we shall have to do the same thing.

One reason why I do not like trade treaties is that they are negotiated by the representatives of two nations. One set of representatives is going to attempt to get advantage of the other; that is only human nature. In my opinion this procedure does not work out as well as that of simply taking the bull by the horns and making changes in the tariff. Anyway, we had men looking after the interests of Canada, and I believe they worked out a bargain for the Dominion of Canada as well as any group of people could have worked it out.

Now let me take up the wheat question. I am so indignant over this that I am tortured into brevity. I am supposed to have a good nature, and I must be careful not to say something for which I will be sorry. I believe the Minister of Trade and Commerce (Mr. Euler) and the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Gardiner) have been very much misrepresented. I would expect that from others, but I am afraid this has been the case in connection with some of our own supporters. I cannot find where the Minister of Trade and Commerce or the Minister of Agriculture have said that they are not in favour of a wheat board. Were it not for the fight that the Liberal opposition put up in the committee in 1935 we would not have a wheat board. In the election of 1935 the Liberal party stated that it was in favour of a wheat board. We guaranteed a satisfactory minimum price to the farmer during the crisis, and we said we would sell our wheat in the world market at the world price. Hon. members may jeer when I read this, but I am here to say what I think. We promised lower tariffs on the implements of production and on household goods.

The hon. member for Portage la Prairie dwelt upon the implement question, and I

The Budget-Mr. MacMillan

shall not say very much about it, because I do not want my remarks to overlap what the hon. member may have said. However, this implement question and the wheat question are so important that I think I should give my personal views. I feel that whatever scheme is adopted by the government through the Minister of Trade and Commerce and the Minister of Agriculture, it is going to meet with the approval of the people of western Canada. I am in favour of 80-cent wheat. I feel like using as a slogan, "80 cents or fight." I did not hear what occurred in the house this afternoon when the Minister of Trade and Commerce and the Minister of Agriculture referred to these contentious bills, but I know they will be before the house in a few days. I hope that whatever policy is adopted will meet with the general approval of the people concerned.

The Liberal party possibly did not do what they should have done in 1936. They did not do what they should have done in the interests of the people of the west. I am not going to defend them, but when I feel that they have done the right thing, then I am going to defend them to the utmost. We received good prices for our wheat during 1936 and 1937. It is quite obvious from the conduct of the government that they are working in the interests of the people of western Canada, especially the farmers. During the summer of 1938 they saw that the price of wheat was going down to a low level, and they immediately got the wheat board operating and set a price which was satisfactory to the people. I hope that when these bills are ultimately passed by this chamber they will provide for a price that will be satisfactory to the people concerned.

I feel keenly about the question of agricultural implements. I may say that in the election of 1935 I was not, practically speaking, elected on a Liberal platform. I was elected on a platform that I framed myself. This contained just one plank of four words, "Bury the Bennett government." I was sincere and conscientious about that. The people took me at my word. Although I did not get the majority of the votes cast, under our form of government and system of elections I was the successful candidate. During that election campaign I pointed out to the people that if the Liberal party were elected to office, a reduction would be made in the tariff on agricultural implements, and that if the tariff were reduced, prices of implements would correspondingly decrease. That has been the past history in this country, and I felt quite justified in saying that. I have no apologies to make for those promises I made to the people of Saskatchewan. It must be remembered that I qualified my statement by saying that if the tariff were reduced, prices would correspondingly decrease.

What happened? Prior to parliament meeting in November, 1935, our leader, along with one or two of his ministers, went to Washington and negotiated a treaty with the United States of America by which the tariff on agricultural implements was reduced to 12J per cent. When the first budget was introduced by the Minister of Finance, the tariff on agricultural implements was reduced to 71 per cent. He was lauded all over the country by Conservatives, by members of the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation in western Canada, and I do not know if there were any social crediters living at that time. What was the result? The result was not what we expected. Instead of prices of agricultural implements decreasing in proportion to the reduction in the tariff, prices increased. What was the next best thing to do?

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCLAL STATEMENT OP THE MINISTER OP FINANCE
Permalink
CON

William Earl Rowe

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ROWE (Dufferin-Simcoe):

They have always done that.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCLAL STATEMENT OP THE MINISTER OP FINANCE
Permalink
LIB

John Angus MacMillan

Liberal

Mr. MacMILLAN:

Who is the hon. member who is interrupting me?

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCLAL STATEMENT OP THE MINISTER OP FINANCE
Permalink
CON

William Earl Rowe

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ROWE (Dufferin-Simcoe):

I say they have always increased in the last ten years when the tariff was reduced.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCLAL STATEMENT OP THE MINISTER OP FINANCE
Permalink
LIB

John Angus MacMillan

Liberal

Mr. MacMILLAN:

I am sorry I cannot hear the hon. member. My hearing may be defective, or possibly there is something wrong with his voice. We were in office in 1936 and 1937. I am not at all surprised that the people of western Canada were disappointed with regard to the prices of farm implements. I was myself. I do not believe in fighting my party in the House of Commons; I believe in fighting my party in the caucus. I believe in fighting the minister in his office, and I have fought him. You are a married man, Mr. Speaker, and if you have a fight with your wife and family you are not going out on the street to settle it.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCLAL STATEMENT OP THE MINISTER OP FINANCE
Permalink
LIB

Walter Edward Foster (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

Order.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCLAL STATEMENT OP THE MINISTER OP FINANCE
Permalink
LIB

John Angus MacMillan

Liberal

Mr. MacMILLAN:

You settle it in the sanctuary of your own home. That is what I tried to do. If I have a disagreement with any minister, I am not going to air it in this house. I do not believe it is good politics to air it in the house, and it certainly is not showing loyalty and fidelity to your party or to your leader. I go to the minister concerned and I have my fight with him in his office. I am sorry the Minister of Agriculture is not in his seat to-night, because I am sure he would agree with me when I say that I have given him more worn' and trouble during

The Budget-Mr. MacMillan

the last two months by going to his office and fighting him there than any other hon. member. I believe that is the proper way to do it. I have discussed this matter of reducing the tariff on agricultural implements with the Minister of Finance and with the Minister of Agriculture. About a year or so ago the Minister of Agriculture made a speech in this house which I made good use of last summer. 1 thought that we might have an election, and I am afraid the effect of that is going to die out unless something is done. I am urging the government to do something. Although I believe that a deathbed repentance is binding and valid, I do not like it. We should act now. Perhaps we are too late to act, but the sooner we do, the better for the people. I was going to say the party, but I will leave that out.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCLAL STATEMENT OP THE MINISTER OP FINANCE
Permalink
CON

William Earl Rowe

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ROWE (Dufferin-Simcoe):

It is too late.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCLAL STATEMENT OP THE MINISTER OP FINANCE
Permalink
LIB

John Angus MacMillan

Liberal

Mr. MacMILLAN:

The hon. member who has just interrupted me should know that from experience. Let me give the house a few figures with regard to prices of farm implements. I am going to deal with the ordinary farm implement familiar to anyone who knows anything about farming. In 193637 an 8-foot binder was worth $294. To-day it has reached the desperate figure of $316.50. That is not very entertaining to the farmers in western Canada, especially when they take into consideration the toll and levy and tribute that they pay to eastern Canada from year to year by way of high tariffs. I hope the hon. member for Brantford City (Mr. Macdonald) is not going to interrupt me.

Take a 5-foot mower. In 1936-37 it cost me SI 16; to-day the price is $124, an increase of $8. The increase is not so great in itself, but when one takes into consideration the price of wheat and of coarse grains, live stock and everything the farmer produces, that increase is terrible.

A 10-foot rake in 1936-37 cost $59; to-day it costs $65, an increase of $6. I could go along and show that the price of every important and necessary article which the farmer has to use has increased since 1936-in other words, since this government came into office; I want to say something to help our opponents opposite. These increases, I say, have taken place since this government came into office.

The Minister of Agriculture a year or so ago made what amounted to a threat; that is the best way to put it. He said that if the implement manufacturers did not cooperate with the farmers of this country in the price of farm implements something would be done. I am urging upon this government to do something even in the dying days of this

session, to assist the farmers of the dominion- I do not say the farmers of western Canada, but the farmers of the whole dominion-by reducing the price of farm implements.

When you are in the ranks of the Liberal party it is your privilege to say what you think. I may be using strong language tonight, but I hope it will have its effect. I do not expect anybody on the other side of the house will invite me to cross over and sit on that side. I know that the hon. member for Vancouver East (Mr. Maclnnis), because one good Liberal on this side spoke his mind in the good old Irish fashion, invited him to cross the floor and sit on that side of the house. But that was a great mistake. When the prodigal son was in a far country, eating with swine, you do not find that the old man started off to the far country to bring him back home. No. He said: "Let my prodigal son come back home, and if he does I will receive him." And that is what the hon. member for Vancouver East should have done to-night. Instead of extending an invitation to the hon. member for Humboldt, he should have waited for him to cross the floor of his own accord. But he will never do that.

There are many interesting things we could talk about on this side of the house because this government has, after all, done well. When one takes into consideration the barriers they had to encounter, it is wonderful what they have accomplished.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCLAL STATEMENT OP THE MINISTER OP FINANCE
Permalink
?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Oh, oh.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCLAL STATEMENT OP THE MINISTER OP FINANCE
Permalink

May 2, 1939