May 2, 1939

LIB

Charles Avery Dunning (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. DUNNING:

No. All of the amounts included in these supplementary estimates were taken into account in arriving at the estimated deficit figure which I gave for the fiscal year. These supplementaries all relate to the last fiscal year and were taken into account.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF FINANCE
Permalink
CON
CCF

Thomas Clement (Tommy) Douglas

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

Mr. DOUGLAS (Weyburn):

It is not

very illuminating to say simply "Saskatchewan -further amount required." Will the minister tell us something about it?

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF FINANCE
Permalink
LIB

Charles Avery Dunning (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. DUNNING:

As the house will recall a similar sum was voted last year following an exhaustive examination of the affairs of Saskatchewan and the capacity of the people to pay having regard to the terrible conditions that prevailed. The house was convinced at that time that the $2,000,000 was a necessary grant. The same amount is now being proposed. I believe my hon. friend will be one of the first to admit that the conditions there as a result of the last crop have not improved the ability of the people to take care entirely of their own local and governmental expenditures.

Supply-Finance

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF FINANCE
Permalink
?

Leslie Gordon Bell

Mr. COLD WELL:

I am sure we are all

glad to vote these amounts at the present time. There are districts, including some in my own constituency, where the people are unable to go on with their operations because they have not sufficient oil and seed, and I should like to have seen a larger measure of assistance given this year.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF FINANCE
Permalink
SC

René-Antoine Pelletier

Social Credit

Mr. PELLETIER:

This item is undoubtedly based upon the report given by the Canadian Bank of Commerce, who investigated the finances of Saskatchewan at the request of that government and recommended to this government that some assistance should be given because the province could not meet its obligations. What was the recommendation of the Bank of Canada at that time? Was it to the effect that a certain grant should be given for that particular period or that the grant should be continuous?

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF FINANCE
Permalink
LIB

Charles Avery Dunning (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. DUNNING:

The bank outlined the

conditions prevailing at that time and made a recommendation.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF FINANCE
Permalink
SC
LIB

Charles Avery Dunning (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. DUNNING:

The bank made the

recommendation to which my hon. friend referred, and it is not necessary to make a further examination but merely to follow up economic and financial developments in order to ensure that the conditions that prevailed at the time of the original recommendation still prevail. The government assures itself of that by means of continuous monthly reports from the province and constant examination of the financial condition. Nothing is watched more closely than this is.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF FINANCE
Permalink
SC

René-Antoine Pelletier

Social Credit

Mr. PELLETIER:

I have no doubt that this amount is required and that the house should pass it. But the minister must know as well as I do that if it were not for the assistance which parliament is giving, the government of Saskatchewan would have defaulted on its obligations long ago. I believe that some kind of report was made in connection with the affairs of Alberta, and for some reason the Bank of Canada did not see fit to recommend that parliament should assist that province along the same lines as we are assisting Saskatchewan. That was one of the reasons why we felt there had been discrimination against Alberta. This $2,000,000 vote definitely proves that unless Saskatchewan had been assisted by appropriations made by this house they could not have carried on and met their obligations, and would have been compelled to default. The same thing was not done for the province of Alberta, which, for reasons

which we all know, was allowed to default on its obligations. Although we are glad to vote this amount, we must say that it is the greatest piece of discrimination against one province that could be enacted by this parliament. It is treating one province upon an absolutely different basis from another. Conditions faced in Alberta also were at times very hard, and the reasons given by the Bank of Canada why that province should not receive any assistance were very flimsy. The matter was discussed at the time and it is perhaps unnecessary to speak further about it now, except to point out that this certainly represents discrimination by this parliament.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF FINANCE
Permalink
CON

Mark Cecil Senn

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SENN:

Does the federal authority specify the purposes for which or the manner in which this money can be expended?

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF FINANCE
Permalink
LIB
CON
LIB

Charles Avery Dunning (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. DUNNING:

It is an outright grant.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF FINANCE
Permalink
?

Leslie Gordon Bell

Mr. COLD WELL:

I should like the minister to reply to the hon. member for Peace River, who has stated that there has been discrimination in favour of Saskatchewan. The minister might briefly outline the conditions under which this grant was given to Saskatchewan, because I believe the conditions there were much more difficult than they were in Alberta.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF FINANCE
Permalink
LIB

Charles Avery Dunning (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. DUNNING:

The best answer to the charge of discrimination is that the basis is the basis of need. I believe I am correct in saying that Alberta boasted a surplus in the last fiscal year; obviously therefore the need did not exist.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF FINANCE
Permalink
SC

John Horne Blackmore

Social Credit

Mr. BLACKMORE:

Alberta did not boast a surplus in the year she defaulted.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF FINANCE
Permalink
CON

Charles Hazlitt Cahan

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CAHAN:

From time to time I have had extracts sent to me from Saskatchewan papers, although I have not them before me at present-containing not only editorial references but synopses of addresses made by good Liberals in Saskatchewan-in which it is asserted definitely in one or more cases, and suggested in others, that the representatives of electoral districts in the eastern provinces had been opposed-vehemently opposed, in some cases-to the appropriation of federal funds for the alleviation of distress, in Saskatchewan particularly, arising out of the drought and shortage in the wheat crop and for relieving the misery and suffering that ensued therefrom. I wish to state here on my responsibility as a member of the house that I do not know of any such agitation in the east.

Supply-Finance

So far as I have been concerned, the sole question has been as to the need of those provinces of the middle west, and as to the careful supervision of the appropriations made for the purpose of alleviating that need and distress. I think the time has come when members of the house who know the real situation and who know that in the eastern provinces there is no hostility or enmity to the west, should make that fact clear, and also that the members representing the eastern electoral districts of Canada have never, so far as I can recall, taken a hostile position in this house. In my last election in the constituency of St. Lawrence-St. George the chief argument made against me by my political opponent was that I had voted in favour of fixing a price for wheat and in favour of assuming certain obligations for the purpose of relieving the needs and distress of the people of the western provinces. Now I say to my hon. friends that I have no such feeling of hostility to those provinces. I believe that in times of distress in the middle west it is the bounden duty of the east to come to the relief of that distress in so far as may be necessary. And when we do so with a full heart, and frankly assume the responsibility in this house of so doing, I think our colleagues from the western provinces should at least relieve us from the suspicion of having shown any enmity or hostility to the west when these appropriations were submitted to the house.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF FINANCE
Permalink
LIB

Charles Avery Dunning (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. DUNNING:

I have previously given expression in the house to views similar to those expressed by the hon. member for St. Lawrence-St. George. It has been my duty now for four years to present to this house various measures calling for the expenditure of enormous sums of money occasioned by the dire situation of that part of our population living between the great lakes and the Rocky mountains. To my mind one of the best proofs that Canada is a nation and has a national outlook has been the manner in which the representatives of the people from all parts of Canada have received our proposals with regard to such matters from time to time. If a statement of that sort will be of any effect in getting rid of the idea that hon. members from the east, no matter to what party they belong, have been ungenerous in their attitude towards the needs of the west, then I take great pleasure in making it; because nothing gives one greater confidence in the future of this country than the unanimity with which this house meets the problems of dire adversity in whatever part of Canada they may occur.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF FINANCE
Permalink
CON

John Ritchie MacNicol

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MacNICOL:

I want to add a word in support of what the hon. member for St. Lawrence-St. George has said. I too have been rather meanly written up in certain western papers, in editorials and letters, because supposedly I was not in sympathy with the voting of money asked for the rehabilitation of the west. There is no basis for any statement that I am opposed to assisting the west to the limit. On the contrary I have supported every vote that has been asked for in this house for rehabilitating the west. As an eastern member I resent the editorials in certain western papers and the scurrilous letters that have appeared in them in reference to my right to ask any question I see fit in reference to any vote. But while exercising my right at all times to ask any question I see fit in reference to any vote, I have not on any occasion opposed any vote to the west. I should like the Minister of Finance to go further and ask the western papers to desist-

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF FINANCE
Permalink

May 2, 1939