August 6, 1940

LIB

Joseph Jean

Liberal

The ACTING CHAIRMAN (Mr. Jean):

After a decision being made by the chairman of the committee, I believe it is the right of any hon. member to ask for a standing vote. I believe some hon. members in the corn-95826-164

mittee would like to have a standing vote. Therefore I ask those in favour of the amendment please to rise.

Amendment agreed to: Yeas, 36; nays, 27. Item as amended agreed to.

Topic:   PRISONERS OF WAR
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OF EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   $7,000.
Permalink

52. Departmental administration, $286,590.


NAT

Grote Stirling

National Government

Mr. STIRLING:

I believe the Minister of Finance is the member of the government responsible for operations under the foreign exchange control board. I would draw the attention of the minister and the committee to the utter inequality in connection with the findings of that board.

In the morning issue of the Ottawa Journal there appears a reference to an article which appeared in the Windsor Star and which I shall paraphrase shortly. It refers to the fact that the federal exchange control board objects to citizens of Windsor going across to Detroit to see the Tigers play the New York Yankees, while citizens of Toronto are permitted to send their money to the United States to pay for watermelons, peaches, plums, grapes, et cetera. We have made several attempts to impress upon the government the extreme situation which results from the findings of the foreign exchange control board. Our expenditures are curbed if we want to go to the United States, or if we want to pass through that country en route from one point in Canada to another. Enormous sums of money are being used for the purchase of perishable products produced in the United States, when the same products are produced in Canada and available for sale. I have not dealt to any extent with my own province, but the minister knows that the constituency which I represent takes in the Okanagan and other valleys in which these fruits are produced. I received a letter to-day which I should like to place upon the record. It is from the Southern Cooperative Exchange, dated July 30, 1940, addressed to myself, and reads:

We, a group of fruit growers, are much exercised about the present state of the peach deal in -western Canada.

Our sales office, the British Columbia Tree Fruits Limited, of Kelowna, B.C., informs us that there were twenty-five (25) cars of American peaches in Winnipeg over the week-end, and that they are excluding our produce from the market, practically altogether, as far west as Regina.

Also, in Vancouver, there are truck loads of American peaches coming in and retailing at prices that we consider would be less than the cost of production to us, if we have to meet the competition.

We are convinced that the American producers, etc., only consider the Canadian markets as a dump market, and anything that they can

Supply-Finance

get from it is something salvaged, and also a help to maintain better prices on their domestic market. So, naturally, we feel that it is very unfair competition, and as a consequence we should have protection.

We are to-day at war with an enemy that is going to take all of our resources to defeat. We listen to various speakers, and read articles in the newspapers all exhorting us to do our utmost in the effort to win this war, by buying war savings certificates, and by giving to a dozen different war efforts.

The allowing of wholesale fruit importations on to the Canadian markets, when Canada, herself, can supply it, seems to be inconsistent with the national policy of conserving national dollars.

We are all willing and anxious to do all of the things requested of us to aid in the national war effort, but how can we if we do not receive better than cost of production for our produce?

We, as private citizens, are not allowed to buy outside of Canada without going through a lot of red tape, yet big importers seem to have no difficulty. We are asked to be patriotic, and save our foreign exchange for the purchase of war supplies. Why doesn't this apply to the big importer, and if he is not willing to cooperate, why isn't he forced to do so?

We are as loyal and patriotic a group of growers as there is in Canada and are willing to do our bit at all times, but we would feel better about it if we had the protection of our markets by the government, and could feel assured that others were doing their bit also and not being allowed to exploit a situation to their personal advantage with possible harm to the general national effort.

We trust that this will meet with your immediate attention, that the situation win be thoroughly investigated, and all that is possible will be done to bring this situation to a more satisfactory standing.

There is only one reason I can think of why the foreign exchange control board, guided as it must be by government policy, should make these findings in connection with foreign exchange. The Canada-United States trade agreement contains a clause having to do with the operation of the treaty should either country be engaged in hostilities or war. It seems to me that if it saw fit, the government could prevent this stream of stuff from coming in to compete with our Canadian production.

Topic:   PRISONERS OF WAR
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OF EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OP FINANCE
Permalink
LIB

John Gordon Ross

Liberal

Mr. ROSS (Moose Jaw):

What is the duty on peaches?

Topic:   PRISONERS OF WAR
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OF EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OP FINANCE
Permalink
LIB

James Lorimer Ilsley (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. ILSLEY:

If my recollection is correct, the duty on the whole range of fruits and vegetables, with certain exceptions such as tomatoes which carry a specific duty, is ten per cent. I would point out that the fruits to which the hon. gentleman has referred really have a protection of about thirty per cent. There is the ten per cent regular duty, the ten per cent war exchange tax and the ten per cent exchange. In addition to that, in that part of the year when similar

fruits are available in Canada in commercial quantities, these fruits are subject to a value for duty purposes, which varies with the particular fruit. In some instances it runs quite high, so that the total protection is considerable for certain parts of the year. This year very low prices are prevailing in the United States, and there has been a substantial volume of importations into Canada despite the duties to which I have referred. Th'e government has given serious consideration to whether something should not be done. The treaty provision which the hon. gentleman has mentioned is an obvious one, but we cannot avail ourselves repeatedly of the war clause in that agreement and expect it to stand. If the agreement were destroyed, I think it would be unfortunate. The erection of a trade wall across this continent at this time would be undesirable, not only from a trade point of view but from other points of view as well.

Topic:   PRISONERS OF WAR
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OF EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OP FINANCE
Permalink
SC

Norman Jaques

Social Credit

Mr. JAQUES:

I should like to direct attention to something which came to my notice to-day and which appeared in the Globe and Mail of Toronto in the August 5 issue. This reads:

Alas, the public, including some bankers and economists and even some mining engineers, is gullible and unconsciously and innocently helping this insidious German propaganda. I believe if the Canadian and American governments were to broadcast by radio the general remarks outlined in this article, especially the comparison with an average dwelling, that it would do much to counteract the foul German propaganda which is making the people believe that the gold reserves in the central banks of the world are just so much " dross."

It will be the job of bankers and business men to get the world back on a gold basis and assuredly this will happen all in good time after Herr Hitler and his fifth column have been silenced.

The inference there is that those who do not believe in the gold standard will be branded as fifth columnists. The boot is on the other foot. Had it not been for the gold standard, in all probability Herr Hitler would never have been heard of. I have good authority for saying that. I do not ask the committee to take my word on such a matter. I should like to read a short excerpt from a book of a most illustrious Liberal, none other than the Right Hon. David Lloyd George. In his book "The Truth About Reparations and War-Debts," he says this:

The draining away of the world's gold supplies has made gold scarce and dear-

I might say that the object of this article in the Globe and Mail is to prove that gold is both scarce and dear. Mr. Lloyd George says:

The draining away of the world's gold supplies has made gold scarce and dear, which

Supply-Finance

means that, by comparison with gold, all other property and goods have become cheap. The immense fall in the value of everything has bankrupted industry and finance. The money value (in gold) of investments, securities, stores, and the products of industry and agriculture has collapsed until it is no longer worth-while commercially to make things or grow them for sale. Hence the world to-day is faced with that industrial stagnation and financial bankruptcy of which I have given illustrations in my introductory chapter.

This book was published in 1932. Again, he says this:

Countries which were devastated and exhausted by the war and countries which on balance profited by the war are alike suffering, and they find that the tale of Midas ought to have taught them that gold is indigestible. It may be all right in the teeth of a nation, but it should not be allowed to travel any further.

I see a danger in articles of this kind. If those who are opposed to the gold standard are to be branded in the press as fifth columnists, there may be trouble ahead. I should like to tell the writer of this article and the editor of the paper that there were opponents of the gold standard before Hitler was born, and certainly before he was heard of.

In conclusion, may I ask the Minister of Finance if he can assure the committee that there are no financial limitations whatever on our war effort, and that the methods adopted to finance the war will not lead to such conditions as are described by Mr. Lloyd George in the book from which I have just read. Also, could he tell the committee briefly the purpose of the visit to this country of Sir Otto Niemeyer. According to the press, Sir Otto Niemeyer, accompanied by a large staff of assistants, came here a couple of weeks ago and intends to stay for some weeks or months. I understand that he is a director of the Bank of International Settlements, of which institution there are at the present time both German and Italian directors. I suppose that his visit has no connection with this article, which may or may not be inspired.

In this connection I might quote one further line from Mr. Lloyd George's book. Referring to Mr. Montagu Norman, who of course is governor of the Bank of England, of which Sir Otto Niemeyer is a director, and with regard to a trip which the Right Hon. Stanley Baldwin made with Mr. Montagu Norman to the United States in 1923 to open negotiations for the funding of the British debt, Mr. Lloyd George says:

It was a bad combination. No worse team could have been chosen. Mr. Montagu Norman is the high priest of the golden calf and -his main preoccupation was to keep his idol burnished and supreme in the Pantheon of commerce. In his honest view it was the only god to lead the nation out of the wilderness.

Would the minister tell us what is the mission of Sir Otto Niemeyer?

Topic:   PRISONERS OF WAR
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OF EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OP FINANCE
Permalink
LIB

James Lorimer Ilsley (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. ILSLEY:

Sir Otto Niemeyer came to see the Bank of Canada, not the dominion government. I understand that he came for the purpose of discussion of some matters of interest to the two banks, that is the Bank of England and the Bank of Canada-probably matters relating to foreign exchange control.

Topic:   PRISONERS OF WAR
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OF EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OP FINANCE
Permalink

Item agreed to. General. 76. Unforeseen expenses, expenditure thereof to be subject to the approval of the treasury board, and a detailed statement to be laid before parliament within fifteen days of next session, $80,000.


SC

John Horne Blackmore

Social Credit

Mr. BLACKMORE:

Would it be in order, before the vote for the whole department is passed, to revert to one item which was passed before I was aware how rapidly they were being passed. I should like to discuss a matter which is appropriate to item 57, if it would not be entirely out of order. I was listening attentively, but I could not tell what numbers the chairman was calling.

Topic:   PRISONERS OF WAR
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OF EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OP FINANCE
Permalink
LIB

Joseph Jean

Liberal

The ACTING CHAIRMAN (Mr. Jean):

The item under discussion is 76.

Topic:   PRISONERS OF WAR
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OF EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OP FINANCE
Permalink
SC

John Horne Blackmore

Social Credit

Mr. BLACKMORE:

There is one matter I should like to discuss under item 57.

Topic:   PRISONERS OF WAR
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OF EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OP FINANCE
Permalink
?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Go ahead.

Topic:   PRISONERS OF WAR
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OF EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OP FINANCE
Permalink
LIB

Thomas Vien (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

The CHAIRMAN:

Very well.

Topic:   PRISONERS OF WAR
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OF EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OP FINANCE
Permalink

Item agreed to. Old age pensions (including pensions to the blind). 57. Old age pensions, including pensions to the blind, administration, $41,090.


SC

John Horne Blackmore

Social Credit

Mr. BLACKMORE:

Could the minister

give us any information about the petition which was presented on June 14, regarding old age pensions, by the hon. member for Comox-Albemi (Mr. Neill), and signed by 57,409 petitioners from Ontario, Alberta, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and British Columbia? Has any provision been made, or any action taken by the minister?

Topic:   PRISONERS OF WAR
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OF EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OP FINANCE
Permalink
LIB

James Lorimer Ilsley (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. ILSLEY:

The petition was to lower the age at which persons would be eligible for old age pensions. Is that the petition to which the hon. member refers?

Topic:   PRISONERS OF WAR
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OF EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OP FINANCE
Permalink
SC

John Horne Blackmore

Social Credit

Mr. BLACKMORE:

Yes.

Topic:   PRISONERS OF WAR
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OF EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OP FINANCE
Permalink
LIB

James Lorimer Ilsley (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. ILSLEY:

The provision for old age pensions is based, as before, upon the seventy-year age. It is not felt this year, with all the financial demands there are upon the government, that we could lower the age limit to sixty or even to sixty-five. There are other

Supply-Finance

reasons as well, but the main one is that the provinces are primarily those who pay old age pensions and our agreements with the provinces are based upon the age of seventy. It would be necessary to get the provinces to agree to a lowering of the age, which would in turn throw a heavier financial burden upon the provinces if the present plan of division of expenses were continued. All factors considered, it was not felt that the government could comply with the prayer of the petition this year.

Topic:   PRISONERS OF WAR
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OF EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OP FINANCE
Permalink
SC

John Horne Blackmore

Social Credit

Mr. BLACKMORE:

I appreciate the way in which the minister has dealt with the matter, and I grant that probably, as we see matters at'the present time, that is completely satisfactory; but just the same we have not taken care of people between the ages of sixty and seventy. With respect to the Department of Labour, I said a little while ago that there was no way in which a man of sixty could get a job, and I do not believe that one could find a firm from one end of Canada to the other who would take on a woman of sixty. If they cannot get work at sixty and cannot sell what they are able to produce, then they are in danger of starvation or of the greatest privation, and their only recourse is to go on relief. But we are cutting down relief all over the country. Look at the condition that these people will be in between the ages of sixty and seventy. It was consideration for this large group that prompted me to make the statement I did with respect to the civil service regulations. I am not making a suggestion to the minister, but I wonder if he could not work out with his colleague a plan whereby we could arrange for people of sixty or seventy to get work. A good many people will suffer terribly unless some measures are taken to help them, because they cannot help themselves. If the civil service will not take a man who is perfectly sound at sixty, how can one expect anyone else in the dominion to take him? We know that industry demands that a man shall be under forty-five years of age. Under these circumstances, if we do not make provision to bring the old age pension age down to sixty, we are practically condemning to shameful privation people between the ages of sixty and seventy. I merely wanted to point this out. I know the ministers are burdened with trials and anxieties, so much so that I marvel that they can keep their poise. But there is this difficulty which must be faced; otherwise the suffering will be a disgrace to the country and to all governments in power.

Topic:   PRISONERS OF WAR
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OF EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OP FINANCE
Permalink
LIB

James Joseph McCann

Liberal

Mr. McCANN:

I have always entertained the principle that pensions of any type should be on a contributory basis; and in view of the

fact that this house has passed an Unemployment Insurance Act on that basis, I wonder if the government has considered the proposal, which was put to the house at former sessions, of establishing a system of old age pensions on a contributory basis. All people at some time in their lives have some earning capacity. A good many people will not save a dollar of their own volition; and if they could be induced to put by a few dollars during their earning years, the government contributing in a like manner, then when they came to the age of sixty or sixty-five or seventy, a fund would have been built up whereby they could be given an old age pension. In my judgment, until that time comes, when there is some type of contributory pension fund for aged people, we are not going to be in a position financially to pay pensions to people under seventy years of age. The late Minister of Finance, Mr. Dunning, in discussing old age pensions, took kindly to the suggestion in that regard. These matters should not be dropped. They should be kept alive from year to year, and the sooner the government adopts as a part of its policy the building up of a contributory system of old age pensions, the sooner we shall have a solution of a pressing problem.

Topic:   PRISONERS OF WAR
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OF EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OP FINANCE
Permalink

August 6, 1940