Mr. A. M. NICHOLSON (Mackenzie):
I wish to associate myself with other hon. members who have expressed appreciation of the speeches of the mover and the seconder of the address in reply to the speech from the throne. To the hon. member for Provencher (Mr. Jutras) and the hon. member who has just taken his seat (Mr. Picard), I say that I envy them their ability to speak so fluently in the English and French languages. I regret exceedingly that my education in modern languages has not enabled me even to attempt to speak in the French language this afternoon.
The mover of this address placed the debate on a very high plane at the very outset of his speech when he said:
I feel I correctly interpret the interests and views of St. Lawrence-St. George when I say that we seek no local interest, _we want no personal advantage, we are not interested in
partisan politics. Every true Canadian feels, the same to-day. We seek the welfare ot Canada and of every part of it.
Those are honourable words. They set, as I said, a very high plane for the discussion.
I think all hon. members who have spoken have tried to maintain the spirit there outlined. The Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Gardiner) apologized for not having heard this speech. Had he heard it, perhaps he would have omitted the first part of his address the other day, which brought us back to the hustings and election time.
One part of the address of the hon. member for St. Lawrence-St. George I think requires amplification. He said:
Few of us have yet begun to give up things we like, still less things we think we need. Unless we also tighten our belts our effort will fall short of what is necessary to stop the nazis. We must consume less, save more and steadily invest in war savings certificates and war loans.
I hope that hon. members will not judge the people whom I represent in parliament by the amount of money they are subscribing to government loans or by their purchases of war savings certificates. I should like them to judge my people by the sentiments expressed by the editor of the paper in the little town where I have lived for the past ten years. This editor has locked up his printing press, said farewell to his wife and four children after joining the 20th company of the forestry corps. This is what he said in his farewell message to the readers of his weekly paper:
We regret the need that calls us to serve our country. We are proud that we are capable of serving in even the humblest capacity. We regret leaving wife and family, but we are proud they have the faith and courage to send us on our way with a smile and a cheering word. We regret leaving friends at home but we are proud to join with the finest men of our country in protecting those things which we hold dear.
These are the sentiments of many who cannot give even a cent to purchase war savings certificates, but who are making a much greater sacrifice, who are prepared to give even life itself.
The hon. member asks us to consume less and save more. I wish he would be more-specific. I wish some members of the government would tell us exactly what they mean when they ask us to consume less. I have in-my hands a copy of Maclean's magazine of October 15. The back page is devoted to an advertisement urging us to buy International de luxe delivery trucks; the second last page urges us to buy Canada's first choice automobile for 1941, the Studebaker Champion. Two whole pages are devoted to advertising the best car in America, the 1941 De Soto; a
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full page to Fargo trucks; two pages to the 1941 Dodge luxury liner special; two pages to the Chrysler; two pages to what is supposed to be the best of all, the new Plymouth; and fight out in front of course you find the leader, .the Chevrolet. It seems to me that the publishers of this magazine need to be told whether those who buy these commodities are helping or hindering our war effort. I am sure the International Harvester company does not want to urge people to purchase de luxe trucks if by so doing they are using money that should be saved to buy government bonds Or war savings stamps. It is high time some spokesman of'the government told us what is meant when we are asked to save more and consume less.
' I should like to be told whether we are [DOT]to consume less wheat, less bacon, less butter, less apples. Or are we to consume less fish? A great deal of confusion is being caused by loose talk of the kind I have mentioned.
* I was glad to hear the Minister of Munitions and Supply (Mr. Howe) announce yesterday that we are not going to have any more luxury liners in the way of new automobiles or frigidaires or radios. The announcement is timely; in fact it should have been made a year ago. But if it is wrong to buy these things, it is equally wrong to manufacture them. I believe the people of Canada are anxiously awaiting a lead from this government as to what commodities should be conserved and what commodities should not.
My desk mate (Mr. Gillis) referred in his speech the other day to the excellent utterance of the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) in his Labour day address when he referred to the brotherhood of the brave who fight for us and the brotherhood of labour who work for victory. I endorse everything that has been said in this house with respect to the splendid contribution being made by the members of the military and air forces and of the navy. I echo what has been said on many occasions as to the need for free transportation for those who are prepared to give their lives for their country. Further, I wish to express appreciation of the work being done by the brave women of Canada, for I think we all agree that in war the greatest sacrifices of all are made by the women.
I should like to devote most of my time this afternoon to a discussion of the second brotherhood mentioned by the Prime Minister, the brotherhood of those who labour for victory. I read in the Hansard of the British
House of Commons the other day a speech by the hon. member for Llanelly. Speaking on October 10, he said:
The past few years in Europe have shown very clearly that totalitarian wars, modern wars, are won or lost by the spirit of the population. One of the most remarkable things in recent years is that wars have been lost in countries while their armies are still in being because the civilian populations have cracked.
There is a great deal of truth in that. Hon. members are anxious that the civilian contribution of Canada should be the maximum contribution.
I should now like to say just a few words about our effort in the industrial field. Two of my colleagues have made a splendid contribution to the debate in dealing with the problems in connection with industry. I was interested to read another comment by the same member of parliament in the British house. He stated that in his constituency they had made over ten thousand Anderson shelters, but at that time they did not have a single shelter for their own use. Fie pointed out that large quantities of steel were necessary for the construction of those shelters and that there was a serious shortage of steel in Great Britain. My desk mate advises me that the production of steel in Canada is not at the maximum. I submit, Mr. Speaker, that as long as people in Great Britain are unable, because of a lack of steel, to obtain these Anderson shelters, we should be supplying every pound of steel that it is possible for this dominion to produce.
I should like to congratulate the Minister of Labour (Mr. McLarty) upon the work that has been done under the dominion-provincial youth training projects. I have in my hand some information in connection with the short courses provided for young men in welding and sheet-metal work, machine-shop work and aircraft mechanics. More work of this sort should be done; but so far as I know, the training school at Galt, Ontario, is the only one that undertakes to train large numbers of young men under this scheme. These men must be between the ages of sixteen and twenty-nine, and each must have a letter from some responsible employer to the effect that he will be given employment on completion of the particular course which he is taking. This, of course, to a certain extent limits the number of those who otherwise might be able to take advantage of this opportunity. I should like to urge upon the Minister of Labour that, in addition to training young men in work of
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this kind, provision be made for the retraining of mechanics who were originally trained either in the old country, in the United States or in Canada. In western Canada particularly we have a large number of men on farms who received their training in the large industrial areas of Great Britain, the United States and Canada, but who gave up industrial work to go farming in the good old days when fortunes were to be made on the prairies. This year many of these men find that they will be compelled to ask for relief if they do not get an opportunity to work. I have in my constituency well qualified men, who served seven or eight years as apprentices in the old country, whose relatives are being bombed every night by Hitler's planes, who are not satisfied to be sitting down accepting relief in Canada when they should be doing some constructive work, as long as there is in this dominion a single factory that is not running at capacity. I submit that without further delay schools should be set up to provide refresher courses for men trained in industry some years ago, who are going to be needed in industry again in the very near future if Canada is to make its greatest possible contribution in the supplying of war material to Great Britain.
I now come to a discussion of a subject that is of vital concern to the people whom I represent and the people of western Canada, the question of agriculture. I think all hon members will agree with the statement made the other night by the Minister of Agriculture that the production of food is going to be one of the valuable contributions that Canada will make. I am not at all satisfied with the arrangements that are being made in this country with respect to the production of foodstuffs. I want to thank the Minister of Agriculture for the announcement he made yesterday, in response to the question I asked on Friday as to whether 1940 would be declared an emergency year under the Prairie Farm Assistance Act. His announcement will be welcomed all across western Canada. In speaking the other night, the hon. member for Melfort (Mr. Wright) referred to the following statement by the Minister of Munitions and Supply (Mr. Howe), as contained in a news letter issued by the director of public information:
We do not know of any construction contract let since the outbreak of war that has netted the contractor what, by any stretch of the imagination, could be considered an excessive profit.
The minister went on to say:
... it is not in the public interest, in a time of crisis, that a contractor should be out of
pocket in fulfilling a national need. Obviously, no good end is served by letting contracts on a financial basis which would cripple a contractor, and so limit the productive facilities of the dominion.
If that is the policy of the Minister of Munitions and Supply with respect to the letting of contracts, it is high time it also became the policy of the Minister of Agriculture and the Minister of Trade and Coin-merce (Mr. MacKinnon); for, as I said before in this house, the production of wheat, butter, bacon and so on is every bit as important as the making of machine guns, bombing planes, bullets and other forms of equipment. I am not minimizing the contribution made by industry, but I am saying that if Canada can give the manufacturers all their costs plus a profit, we should not ask our farmers to go bankrupt in producing foodstuffs for Canada and the mother country.
I was one of the perhaps few members of the house who could not develop one particle of enthusiasm as we listened to the Minister of Agriculture the other night. I want to assure you, Mr. Speaker, that this was not because the preliminary remarks of the minister annoyed me. Frankly, in normal times I enjoy hearing the Minister of Agriculture on the hustings, fighting as he fought the other day. But what did disturb me was the fact that the picture he presented for agriculture was as full of holes as a sieve. I am not going to discuss all the commodities he mentioned;
I am going to confine myself to two products that concern the people of my constituency and of western Canada more than any others.
I want to discuss what the minister has in view with regard to bacon and wheat. He talks in terms of millions of dollars and millions of pounds, with the greatest of ease. But what the farmers of Canada want to know is, how many cents a pound? It is not going to be any comfort to the farmers who are producing bacon to be told that they will have to produce that bacon for a price which will mean bankruptcy, but that they should be comforted because there are thousands of other farmers in exactly the same boat. When I asked the minister the other day just what the price was going to be, he did not answer. I asked if the price would be as high as it was last year. His reply was that it would not be quite as high as last year but that better arrangements in connection with maintenance, margin for storage and so on should result in a price to the farmer which would compare favourably with that of last year. The minister did not give us the information, but that was not because he did not have it. The farmers of Canada knew what the new deal meant, but they did not learn it from the Minister of Agriculture.
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Subtopic: CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY