November 21, 1940

CCF

Alexander Malcolm Nicholson

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

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

The Address-Mr. Nicholson

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

The Address-Mr. Nicholson

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.

The Address-Mr. Nicholson

Topic:   GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
Permalink
LIB

James Lester Douglas

Liberal

Mr. DOUGLAS (Weybum):

A dirty deal.

Topic:   GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
Permalink
CCF

Alexander Malcolm Nicholson

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

Mr. NICHOLSON:

The farmers learned about it through the packers. When the farmers took their hogs to market last week, the packers knew all about the matter; the price had dropped 70 cents. Somehow or other the packers knew that the new deal was not a very good deal.

Topic:   GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
Permalink
NAT

Richard Burpee Hanson (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. HANSON (York-Sunbury):

The sides are smaller.

Topic:   GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
Permalink
CCF

Alexander Malcolm Nicholson

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

Mr. NICHOLSON:

The price is down 70 cents a hundredweight. Since the minister made his speech the other day, there has been a further drop of 50 cents.

Topic:   GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
Permalink
NAT

Harry Rutherford Jackman

National Government

Mr. JACKMAN:

He should stop making speeches.

Topic:   GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
Permalink
CCF

Alexander Malcolm Nicholson

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

Mr. NICHOLSON:

I notice the suggestion of the hon. member for Rosetown-Biggar (Mr. Coldwell) that we should have a fulltime Minister of Agriculture is receiving consideration. The name of the minister of agriculture of Saskatchewan has been suggested.

I was glad to see that there is at least one minister of agriculture in Canada who does not think very much of this bacon deal. I see in the Winnipeg Tribune of November 19 the following dispatch from Toronto, where the Hon. P. M. Dewan, Minister of Agriculture of Ontario, is quoted as follows:

The bacon quota announced a few days ago was gratifying as to quantity. The price now announced is truly disappointing. Already I understand purchase prices to the farmer are down from top prices $1.50 per hundredweight for dressed hogs. This is bad medicine for the farmer to take, particularly when everything he must purchase is increasing in value.

I agree with the Ontario minister; this bacon deal is bad business for the farmer. The Winnipeg Free Press had something to say about the deal, stating that it did not believe the Canadian farmer would want to hold up the price of bacon to Great Britain.

I find that in other respects we are asking Great Britain to pay the piper. In a return to my question respecting German prisoners of war I find that the total yearly rentals paid for land in which prisoners of war are located amount to $35,278 annually, all of which is recoverable from the government of the United Kingdom. For food for prisoners of war I am told we are spending $2,517 daily, of which $2,114 is recoverable from the government of the United Kingdom. These figures would seem to show that at least in respect of some matters the government of Canada is not so generous when it deals with the British government. I dislike very much this policy of half charity and

half business. It is something like taking a guest to the parliamentary dining-room this evening and saying to him, "This dinner will cost 75 cents; I will pay 65 cents and you may give me 10 cents."

We are saying to our customers across the sea, "We are going to sell you bacon at less than the cost of production. We do not want you to pay the full price. You give us so much, and the farmer will take the rap." The old price was $18.01 per Wiltshire side, at Canadian seaboard. The new price is $15.82. That is not good enough, and as the representative of a rural constituency, whether or not I ever made my living on a farm, I want to protest with all the power I can muster that this sort of deal is not good enough for agriculture, in the present crisis.

I want now to say something about wheat, and in that connection would draw the attention of hon. members to a statement made in the British House of Commons by the secretary to the Minister of Agriculture. Here are his words, as reported at page 1422 of Hansard for the British House of Commons on August 22, 1940:

After the outbreak of war it was known that there had been increases in the farmers' costs and the standard price was increased from 8 shillings per hundredweight to 9 shillings per hundredweight. Since December last year farmers' costs have increased very materially largely because of the increase in wages. There have been other increases in their costs but wages are perhaps the main cause. The government therefore have decided to increase the standard price of oats from 9 shillings to 11 shillings six pence. This merely puts a bottom in the market. Farmers will not be faced with a rapid fall and unless the price actually falls below 11s. 6d. no subsidy will be paid. This guarantee ought to give ample confidence to farmers to produce the maximum quantity of oats since they are no longer exposed to the possibility of a slump.

I say that what Great Britain has done for the British farmer, the Canadian government can do for the Canadian farmer.

I was pleased to hear that at last the Minister of Agriculture had repudiated a statement which had caused a great deal of misunderstanding, namely that wheat could be produced at from 30 cents to 40 cents a bushel. As reported at page 102 of Hansard he has gone on record as follows:

It is generally admitted that 70 cpnts advance at Fort William, which nets the farmer about 50 cents a bushel, does not cover his total costs of production and therefore does not maintain him as a contented producer.

If not, then what about it? If wheat cannot be produced profitably at 50 cents a bushel, what is the government doing about it? If we are going to give the manufacturers of

The Address-Mr. Nicholson

munitions of war not only all their costs but an additional profit, why not give the farmer a price for his product which will enable him to have that decent standard of living which the minister frankly admitted he cannot have at the present time.

I believe the minister in his observations was very optimistic when it suited him and very pessimistic when it suited him. When he looks forward to our consumption in the next ten years he is most optimistic. He estimates that we are going to have an internal consumption of 160,000,000 bushels a year during the next five years. How much have we consumed in the last ten years?

I have before me some figures supplied by the bureau of statistics which show wheat consumption in the last ten years as follows:

Year No. of bushels

1940 133,870,000

1939 121,774,000

1938 123,083,000

1937 103,562,000

1936 99,542,000

1935 121,702,000

1934 101,583,000

1933 104,518,000

1932 99,123,000

1931 117,560,000

Total 1,126,317.000

These figures give an average consumption of 112,631,700 bushels a year. Yet the minister estimates an internal consumption of 160,000,000 bushels, or an increase of 42 per cent in the next five years. I agree with the Minister of Agriculture that we could increase our internal consumption to this extent, but not under the policies prevailing in Canada at the present time. With the amount of purchasing power available to the majority of the low-paid workers and farmers, it is quite impossible to increase consumption to that extent.

A short time ago I met in the city of Winnipeg a fruit grower from British Columbia. I talked to him about his problems, and after he went home he sent me some information respecting his receipts for fruit sold in British Columbia. These are his words:

For this variety and Gravensteins we were offered 55 cents per box on the car. As the box and packing costs amount to about 35 cents, the grower would receive about 13 cents net after Associated Growers sales charges are added. For this 13 cents the grower has to produce the apples and deliver them to the packing house. While in Winnipeg I saw this variety and grade in several stores marked $1.65 a box and in one case $1.75. At the present time No. 6 wheat is selling in this district for $32 a ton cash. I have just obtained the price from the local feed store.

The point is this: Here is a fruit grower

selling his apples in British Columbia who, when he wishes to buy No. 6 wheat produced

in Saskatchewan, must pay with the receipts from seven or eight boxes of apples. He must give that many apples to pay for a bushel of No. 6 wheat. When the Saskatchewan farmer wants to buy a box of British Columbia apples he finds that, after taking out expenses for threshing and twine, he has to give the value of six or seven bushels of wheat. It is quite obvious, therefore, that when we have a condition whereby a farmer has to give six or seven boxes of fruit to buy one bushel of wheat, and a wheat grower has to give six or seven bushels of wheat to buy one box of apples, there is no possibility in the world of increasing internal consumption to the extent mentioned the other night by the minister.

Then the minister made some estimates with regard to our export. In this respect he is generous. He made estimates in connection with our production, and I believe in that regard he is pessimistic. He placed before us facts respecting the last fourteen years, and stated that if we produce as much in the next five years as we did in those fourteen we shall have such-and-such a condition. I trust that we may never again have a period of ten years in which large areas in western Canada did not all through the period get back their seed.

This year has been declared an emergency year, and we have a crop amounting to some

561,000,000 bushels. Just the other day I received from the bureau of statistics a chart showing the production in western Canada for the present year. I was amazed at the small area where the yield was over twenty bushels to the acre, and at the large area where the yield was under twenty bushels. I think my guess is just as good as that of the Minister of Agriculture. If he estimated 500,000,000 bushels a year he would be much closer to the total than he was when he made his estimate of 380,000,000 bushels of wheat a year.

I am going to make a few concrete proposals to the government and the Minister of Agriculture. In the first place I would ask the government to carry out the election promise of an interim payment on the 1939 wheat crop, which was accepted in good faith in western Canada. I know the Minister of Agriculture denies promising an interim payment of from 10 to 12 cents a bushel. Last year the hon. member for Lake Centre (Mr. Diefenbaker) said it was strange that so many reporters should get the minister wrong. If I remember correctly, the hon. member quoted from several western papers to the effect that the minister had promised definitely that there would be an interim payment of from 10 to 12 cents.

The Address-Mr. Nicholson

Topic:   GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
Permalink
CCF

Major James William Coldwell

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

Mr. COLDWELL:

Including Saskatchewan Liberal papers.

Topic:   GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
Permalink
CCF

Alexander Malcolm Nicholson

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

Mr. NICHOLSON:

In the second place, I urge that there be an increase in the initial payment for the present year. I have received from municipalities in my constituency petitions asking that the price be $1.50 a bushel for the first thousand bushels, the balance to be sold at the market price. I was amazed to find that the Saskatchewan association of rural municipalities, a powerful organization which has gone out of its way to refrain from embarrassing the government, has gone on record as asking for $1.50 a bushel for the first 1,000 bushels, the balance to be sold at the market price. I can support that recommendation provided the market price does not go below the present price of 70 cents a bushel.

In the third place I urge the closing of the Winnipeg grain exchange. Fourth, I urge the marketing of agricultural products by appropriate food boards at parity prices. Fifth, I urge government assistance to the farmer by providing suitable granaries, similar to the plan adopted in the United States, with a view to storing one billion bushels in Canada. People talk about a carry-over of half a billion bushels, but I submit that the time is coming when one billion bushels of wheat in Canada will be an important factor in getting the peace we are looking for in Europe. As the minister points out, wheat can be stored and kept for long periods. Then there should be a cash advance of 75 per cent of the value of the wheat stored on the farms. The question may be asked, "where will the money come from?" I am glad to have had an answer from three well known authorities, the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King), the former Minister of Finance, now Minister of National Defence (Mr. Ralston), and the present Minister of Finance (Mr. Ilsley). The Prime Minister is reported on page 53 of Hansard, as follows:

Before turning to another aspect of my subject, I should like to remind the house that the only limits the government is prepared to place upon Canada's war effort are those imposed by the extent of our resources, both human and material, and by our capacity for sacrifice. We will make financially possible the utmost effort the people of Canada are physically and morally capable of making.

I was going to point out in considerable detail a market which the Minister of Trade and Commerce (Mr. MacKinnon) might veiy well consider, but the time at my disposal is becoming short. I refer to the home market. I cannot state definitely how extensive this market is, but there is a large group in Canada in the lower income brackets who are not getting enough to eat. I have on my

desk the results of a study which was carried out in the United States, and which I recommend to the minister. This shows that a large percentage of those in the lower income brackets increased their food consumption 100 per cent when their incomes were stepped up from $65 to $100 a month.

I have in my hand a little booklet entitled " Food for Health " prepared by the Canadian Medical Association. I recommend this publication to all hon. members. The only criticisms I have heard of it are that it provides for a minimum diet, and our relief authorities say that they cannot supply our people with the amounts recommended. This booklet sets out that a family of five should have $11.40 a week for food alone. A number of carefully prepared diets are set out, every one of which is considered a minimum diet. I wish the people in my constituency who are on relief could have the diets set out in this booklet.

I have a letter from the superintendent of the mothers' allowance bureau pointing out that the maximum allowance for a mother with a family of eight children is S36 a month, or $432 a year. This family would have to provide clothing, rent, coal oil and other necessities out of this income. For a family of two adults with five children the Canadian Medical Association recommend a minimum allowance of $13.85 a week, or $720.20 a year, for food alone. When a reliable publication of this sort states that the minimum amount for food should be $720 and when we know that there are many large families living on much less, there cannot be any doubt that there is a large field for consumption here.

I am sorry the Minister of Labour (Mr. McLarty) is not in his place at the moment, because I wanted to express my thanks for the careful consideration he gave to a number of relief problems which I brought to his attention last session. I have the report of an investigation which the minister was kind enough to have carried out. It is marked " confidential," but in view of the fact that the result of the investigation has been made public by a former member of this house who is editing a paper in North Battleford, I think it is only fair that I should take advantage of the privilege the minister has given me of referring to the report. I shall not mention any names given in the report.

Hon. members will recall that I described conditions in my constituency which were shocking to many members. An investigation was made, and this is the report. I shall refer only to two cases. I was fortunate in having a member of the Saskatchewan legislature, who is a returned soldier, accompany

The Address-Mr. Slaght

these inspectors. I do not say he is not telling the truth in his report, and there is a vast difference between the truth and the whole truth. One family was investigated where the man was getting $8 a month, and the inspector states:

At the time of my visit on July 5, 1940, there was food in the house sufficient for immediate requirements.

Here again I am sorry the English language is not as explicit as it should be. I should like to tell hon. members exactly what was in the house the day upon which this inspector considered there was sufficient food there for immediate requirements. On that day this family had 75 pounds of flour, 20 pounds of porridge -meal, one-quarter pound each of tea and coffee, two pounds of salt, a few ounces of baking powder and some milk, butter and eggs. But this is what they did not have. They had no meat, no sugar, no lard, no preserved fruit, no dried fruit, no jam, no syrup or honey. This family was in debt to the storekeeper to the extent of 870. The man has no chance of getting work to retire this debt and in order to prevent the family from going hungry, the storekeeper had given him credit to the extent of $70.

The next case is that of a returned soldier, and here the inspector points out that these people should consider themselves fortunate. His report states:

Since going on the homestead the branch has supplied them with building materials for a good bouse, stoves, tools of all kinds, two cows, a team of horses, harness, feed, sleighs, wagon, plough, harrows, and has broken around ten acres of new land. When one considers that a year ago this family had absolutely nothing and now they have a very good start on a new home, we believe that they should consider themselves fortunate. It is true that we reduced the monthly food order slightly this spring, but that is due to the cows freshening and gardens coming in. This is a case where we have no excuses to offer whatsoever.

I realize that the government has given this family a good deal of assistance, but the fact that an old rake and some harness are out in your barn does not satisfy your appetite. What did this family have in the house on the day of inspection? The report states they had 25 pounds of flour, four pounds of sugar, two pounds of lard, a few ounces of tea and coffee, and some milk. They had no meat, potatoes, eggs, butter, fruit, syrup or honey. They were short of clothing. Their bedding consisted of two blankets, three sheets, one quilt and one overcoat. They did not have a mattress. A returned soldier who gave his best during the last war is in this condition, and the inspector who goes in cannot see these things. I am told that he saw the beautiful trees-and the trees are beautifuland he saw the gorgeous scenery-and there is no finer scenery anywhere in my constituency. But I repeat what I have already said in this house, that men, women and children are going hungry; and I feel sure that if the Minister of Labour were here he would agree with me that it is not his intention to have people living under these conditions in this day and age.

At six o'clock the house took recess.

After Recess

The house resumed at eight o'clock.

Topic:   GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
Permalink
LIB

Arthur Graeme Slaght

Liberal

Mr. A. G. SLAGHT (Parry Sound):

Mr. Speaker, I desire to direct the attention of parliament and the people of Canada to one of the national problems which " war has served to intensify or create,"-to use the language of the speech from the throne-a problem which heretofore has not been discussed in this debate.

Before doing so, I desire to pay tribute -to the full and detailed accounts which the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) and those ministers charged with special war portfolios have given to parliament and to the country. One who has followed these amazing recitals of the past few days must, I suggest, be proud indeed of Canada and of our war effort. Particularly do I desire to convey an expression of thanks on behalf of the people of the constituency of Parry Sound to the Minister of Munitions and Supply (Mr. Howe), who yesterday, in his kind and sympathetic way, paid tribute -to those who lost their lives or who were injured in the unfortunate explosion at Nobel. His way of putting it prompts me to say that we in Canada owe a debt to the labour organizations for their fine cooperation in our efforts, without which cooperation it would be impossible to have done and to continue to do our part in this conflict.

The particular problem on which I want to spend a few minutes to-night is that of the snemy within, otherwise known as the fifth column. To combat the enemy within we have in Canada a special service which, although smaller numerically, has no less importance in my view, so far as the defence of this dominion and aid to the mother country are concerned, than the army, the navy and the air force. I refer t

Topic:   GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
Permalink

SG8 COMMONS


The Address-Mr. Slaght hon. members know, upon, the secret service of Canada, which in turn is a branch of that magnificent force, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. This subject is one to which I have given special attention for the past two years. On May 13, 1939, eighteen months ago and four months before the outbreak of war, I addressed this house upon this particular subject. I have been accused of being an alarmist, of endeavouring to create hysteria with reference to the seriousness of this problem in our country. But the recent history of Europe shows that the warnings which I undertook to give the Canadian people have, so far as certain countries there are concerned, been converted into grim, stark reality. It is in the hope that we can draw a lesson from what has happened there that I want to call the attention of the house to some matters to-night. First, let me state in brief what Germany did on this continent in the last war. In doing so, I suggest that we may not expect from her present high command any less cruel and ruthless treatment on this continent than we received in the war of 1914. Shortly after the outbreak of war in 1914, Germany instigated and equipped from Berlin through Zimmerman a campaign of sabotage, dynamiting, destruction and international murder, by placing a large sum of money in the hands of her diplomatic representatives in the United States. Count von Bemstorff was ambassador at Washington. Captain Franz von Papen, Captain Boy-Ed and Doctor Albert established offices in New York city; and $150,000,000-as was established by the British secret service and proved also by Doctor Albert's later admission-was sent to the United States for use in destroying life and property in Canada and the United States in order to cripple the war effort of the allies. On tlhe surface these men were there to foster friendly relations between Germany and the United States, which latter country, as the house will recall, was not then at war. Surreptitiously they were there to conduct a campaign of destruction of life and property. On Tuesdays and Saturdays they dined at the White House, accepting hospitality from the president, and on Wednesdays and Fridays they went to their cellars and met their tools and agents whom they instructed and equipped with money to carry out the purposes in which they were engaged. All that I tell you, Mr. Speaker, to-night in this regard is a matter of record in confessions, in court proceedings, and in part in the files of the British secret service. I gave more details to the house on May 13, [Mr. Slaght.} 1939, as reported at page 4045 of Hansard, and if anyone should be interested in tracing the details of what happened, that reference might be useful. I am going to remind hon. members to-night of only some of the activities of these German agents against Canada: The plot to blow up the international bridge at Vanceboro, Maine. The dynamiting of the Peabody Overalls company at Walkerville. The attempt to dynamite the Windsor armouries, in which our troops were then billeted. The attempt to blow up the tunnel on the Canadian Pacific railway between Revelstoke and Vancouver. The attempt to blow up the Welland canal. The attempt to destroy the Canadian Pacific railway by dynamiting bridges and tunnels. And numerous other similar affairs. Japan, at that time our ally, was then transporting troops across Canada towards Europe. So much for their efforts against Canada. A further amazing list of destruction in the United States, and of explosions on vessels departing from United States ports with supplies for the allies, would take too long to relate. The list of their successful operations is almost unbelievable. Let me remind the house of only a few: January 1, 1915-Incendiary fire at the John A. Roebling Company plant at Trenton. March 15, 1915-Explosion at DuPont plant at Haskell, N.J. April 1, 1915-Explosion of Equitable powder plant at Allon, Illinois. May 3, 1915-Explosion at the Anderson Chemical Company at Wallington, N.J., costing three lives. June 26, 1915-Incendiary fire at the Aetna powder plant at Pittsburgh. July 7, 1915-Incendiary explosion at the DuPont plant at Pompton Lakes. July 16, 1915-Incendiary explosion and fire at the Aetna plant at Sinnemahoning, Pa., costing five lives. August 11, 1915-Incendiary fire at Westing-house electric plant, Turtle Creek, Pa. May 10, 1916-The Atlas powder mixing plant was destroyed. Hon. members will find ninety-six more enumerated in Hansard of May 13, 1939. I conclude with a very interesting one: July 22, 1916-Explosion in Hercules powder works. Just the other day the Hercules works received their second bath of blood, this time much more serious, because 40 workmen lost their lives. It has been said that lightning does not strike twice in the same place, but that expression, obviously, has never been extended The Address-Mr. Slaght to the German gangsters. Let me here and now-and this is part of my purpose in speaking in this debate-pay the highest tribute possible to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police of Canada. They constitute our secret service. I bespeak from this government, from every member of the house, the strongest support for that great force, and I implore the Minister of Justice (Mr. Lapointe) and the government to increase the grant substantially this session and provide a large sum of money, first, in order that the personnel of the force may be materially increased and, second, in order that the men on the force may be paid at rates commensurate with the dangerous and all-important protection which they are according to this country and to our war effort. There is not intended one word of destructive criticism in what I ask the government to do. For twenty-five years all political parties have permitted this force to remain underpaid. The standard of requirement to enter the force, and the schooling and training which these men undergo, are rigid and high, and the men in the force have to serve six years on very small pay. This force, in efficiency-and I know something of its work in the past year-is not second even to Scotland Yard. The personnel is too limited to perform the terrific task now imposed upon the force by the war. We have two extensive coast-lines which they must guard particularly in order to protect vessels departing from Canada with cargoes for war purposes. The Minister of National Defence for Naval Affairs (Mr. Macdonald), in a wonderful address in which he disclosed the work of his department, told us that 3,500 vessels carrying cargoes amounting to twenty-one million tons had left Canadian shores since the outbreak of war. The old enemy tactics of planting time bombs on supply vessels bound for Europe must be watched as a cat watches a mouse, and that is only one aspect of the work of the force. They have counter-espionage and internment duties which require close and constant attention from one end of the country to the other. We have been given figures showing the tremendous increase in factories and plants for war services. We are obtaining some 8800,000,000 in production, and the greatest insurance we can have is to see that this force is equipped and increased so that a fair measure of protection shall be accorded to these industries once they are under way. May I say just a word about the defence of Canada regulations, because they are closely allied with the subject I have been discussing. I endorse to the full the well earned tribute paid to the Minister of Justice by the hon. member for Vancouver East (Mr. Maclnnis), and I wish to add to it by saying that this country owes the Minister of Justice a great debt of gratitude for the onerous, difficult and unpleasant duty which devolves upon him in the administration of these regulations, a duty which demands from him never-ceasing vigilance and courage. We have in him a man who possesses those two outstanding qualities to a great degree. In my view the hon. member for Vancouver East with whom I am not always found in agreement, yesterday offered two valuable suggestions as to possible amendments to regulation 22. I think they might well be given careful consideration. With other criticisms of the defence of Canada regulations I am entirely out of accord. We hear these regulations attacked, sometimes with much vigour, on the ground that they are not in accordance with British justice- great stress is laid upon that phrase. They are attacked in the press and elsewhere, and I wonder whether those who attack the regulations on that ground are aware that, so far as the internment of subversive elements is concerned, our regulations are patterned precisely upon the British regulations as they exist to-day. In my view it would be dangerous to relax our regulations, except to the extent suggested by the hon. member to whom I have referred, because Britain has found them of great benefit and we have also found them beneficial in dealing with subversive activities in this country. I would point out that Norway had no defence of Norway regulations, Belgium had no defence of Belgium regulations, nor had Holland any, and when Hitler determined to invade these countries they were honeycombed with subversive elements running wild without check in any way. In my judgment the rapid defeat of Norway. Belgium and Holland was due in large measure to treachery from within. History so records. The defence of Canada regulations are such that I would definitely oppose them if this were a time of peace, but Canada is at war and that makes all the difference with regard to them. I suggest that anyone who seeks the repeal of these regulations should first ask Winston Churchill for his view of the subject. Let me ask you, Mr. Speaker, to turn to Europe for a short time and review what has happened there, apropos of my subject; and then I want to apply the knowledge we have gained there so as to make sure that Canada and the United States shall not repeat the mistakes for which European countries are The Address-Mr. Slaght



now paying so terrible a price. Over a period of years Hitler has built up a terrific and efficient war machine. He has produced the strongest array of mechanized slaughter machines ever gathered together for murder in the history of the world. He has armed and trained an enormous army of men brought to the highest state of man-power efficiency. But granting all that, I say to you, sir, that without two Satanic weapons which he devised he could never have had the startling successes in Europe which he has achieved during the past few months. Those two weapons are ruthlessness and treachery. First, there was ruthlessness, deliberately planned to create fear and to turn the blood of strong men into water. Cast your mind back, Mr. Speaker, to what he did in his own country, the cruel persecution of the Jews in Germany, the persecution and devastation of the Catholic church and all its orders and institutions, the murder of Dollfus, the purge or "blood bath" as it was called on June 30, 1934, when he murdered 1,200 of his former friends through his gestapo, one of them being Roehm, his chief of staff, the man who had built up the force of storm troopers and put him in power; another was Karl Ernst, his loyal Berlin troop leader, who had become too popular for Hitler's liking. It is interesting to note that both these men, just before Hitler murdered them, were decorated by him with the iron cross. We in Canada are not impressed with the iron cross as a token of esteem between friends; we think it stands for everything that is foul and evil. We think the cross signifies the quality of mercy, and if I may be permitted to paraphrase Shakespeare, I would say that the iron cross is twice cursed; it curseth him that gives and him that takes. Outside Germany the slaughter picture is terrific. There was the burning of Rotterdam with the massacre of 100,000 defenceless women and children; the slaughter on the roads of France when Hitler's machines zoomed up and down, spilling death and destroying old men and women carrying bundles over their shoulders, and little children, so that their bodies might be stop-logs in the path of the French army. Now we have the bombing of London present to all our minds, where women and children, hospitals and schools, are the chief prey of the night raiders. Then there was the torpedoing of the City oj Benares. None of these wicked acts are ordinary incidents of war; they are planned deliberately to instil fear and as a policy of ruthlessness. I am going [Mr. Slaght.J to quote his own language from Rauschning's sensational book, "Hitler Speaks," where this statement made by Hitler is quoted verbatim: We must be ruthless. We must regain our clear conscience as to ruthlessness. Treachery, as I mentioned, is his second weapon, and that is directly applicable to what I am talking about. Norway was overrun in record time, and the Quislings within were responsible. Holland, Belgium and France itself were overrun in thirty-three days. An army of eight million trained men, including the flower of the British army to the extent of 350,000, was defeated and routed, and these countries subjugated and captured in, as I say, thirty-three days. I suggest that all of that was the result of treachery, treachery from within, and could not possibly have been accomplished in any other way. In the last war in one battle which continued for eight days the French alone lost 600,000 men. The courage of the men of France is no less to-day than it was then, but we find that this insidious, terrific treachery from within has changed the whole picture of warfare. May I point out that there is no accident about this. Hitler planned it in 1934. He called his agents from all countries where they were posted, including the United States and Canada, to a convention at Berlin where he addressed them in this language which I shall quote, and afterwards they dispersed and went back to the respective countries from which they came. Those who came from this continent returned here. I quote his language: As the front line of our German fighting movement you will make it possible for us to complete the occupation of our positions and open fire. You are the army's outposts. You will have to prepare definite enterprises for an advance of the front. You will have to mask our own preparations for attack. To-day you are perhaps the most important section of the German nation. That is impressive language. Then he sent them on their way with this admonition: It is a good idea to have at least two German societies in every country. One of them can always call attention to its loyalty to the country in question and will have the function of fostering social and economic action. The other one will be radical and revolutionary. It will have to be prepared to be frequently repudiated by myself and other German authorities. And again: We shall have friends who will help us in all the enemy countries. . . , When the enemy is demoralized from within, when he stands on the brink of revolution, when social unrest threatens-that is the moment, a single blow must destroy him. The Address-Mr. Slaght And again: We shall soon have an S.A. in America. "S.A." meaning storm section. We shall train our youth, and we shall have men whom degenerate Yankeedom will not be able to challenge. Canada, sir, and the United States are direct objects of his ambition. Let none of us in either country make any mistake about that. In support of that statement I quote again from Rauschning's book, Hitler's own language: Our struggle against Versailles and our struggle for a new world order is one and the same, we cannot set limits. Nothing will be easier than to produce a bloody revolution in North America. I guarantee, gentlemen, that at the right moment a new America will exist as our strongest supporter when we are ready to take the stride into overseas space. Every state could by suitable methods be so split from within that little strength was required to break it down. And as for money, for this purpose there will always be money. It is true that these conspiracy methods will grow costlier as one moves further westward, but that is the only difference. They will succeed everywhere. I guarantee that. I have related this story to indicate why I so persistently warn against sabotage and fifth-column activity. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police, corresponding with Mr. Hoover's Federal Bureau of Investigation in Washington, and Scotland Yard in England, is our safeguard in this respect. We have, as the house knows, declared many subversive societies, some with innocent sounding names, to be unlawful; we have made it a crime to retain membership in them. We have under the defence of Canada regulations picked up and interned hundreds of Germans and Italians whose activities were shadowed and watched by our secret service police, not just since the war began but during the past three years; our secret service were ready, and within twenty-four hours of the declaration of war with Germany, and later against Italy in June last, raids were carried out; thepolice swooped down, and the worst of these bad men, except those who escaped in time to the United States, were interned and are behind the palisades to-day. We have now a new military ally, the United States, and the great peril in the United States to-day is the enemy within. Hon. members need not take my word for it; let me quote Mr. Edgar Hoover's statement made in August, a few weeks ago. This is what he said: Make no mistake about it, the saboteur, or "sab cat", as he was known in world war days, has come back in force. Many of our vital factories are vulnerable to the menace of professional destroyers. We are now in almost exactly the same position as we were shortly before our entrance into the world war. If we are to be spared the repetition of such disasters as the Black Tom munitions explosion and other catastrophes which punctuated the activities of saboteurs twenty-odd years ago we should build our fences now, while undercover enemies can still be kept out. And again: There have been many mysterious efforts at incendiarism, injury to working parts of war-craft, and other activities of the "sab cat to cause destruction. There will_ be more of this unless thousands of factories in America, upon which so much of our population depends for a living, realize that we are caught in a world torn with strife between violently opposing forces. Next to Edgar Hoover perhaps no man in the United States is more familiar with the situation than Martin Dies, chairman of the Dies committee of the House of Representatives, who for the past two years with his committee has been investigating un-American activities. On August 26 he issued a public statement, in which he said: There are to-day 6,000,000 sympathizers of communist, fascist and nazi organizations in the United States. He concluded with these words: The fifth column in the United States is better organized and financed than in any country overrun by Hitler. I suggest, sir, that a great step has been taken, both in the United States and in Canada, to place industry in North America on a commonsense basis of production, so that the job of the saboteur will be made more difficult. The federal bureau of investigation, under J. Edgar Hoover, is doing a wonderful job in the United States. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police, under Commissioner Stuart Wood, at Ottawa, are doing a wonderful job in Canada. These two major agencies exchange information and work in close, friendly, international cooperation. If Mr. Hoover wants to know something from Ottawa he puts an agent on a plane and he comes here and gets it, and the same thing applies if we require information from Washington. No treaties are required for that. But government agencies can do only so much in this way; they cannot perform miracles. Both these forces have a limited personnel, having regard to the enormous areas they cover. Part of my message I should like to put in this way, that if business men in Canada fold their arms and say, "We leave this problem to our secret service police," that is just like putting a beauty patch on a cancer and expecting to get a cure. The federal bureau and the mounted The Address-Mr. Slaght



police can give leadership and direction to industry as to how vulnerable spots may be made invulnerable, but the real defence in this regard rests on the shoulders of industry itself, from the high plant executives who sit round the board table right down through the key men, the mechanics, the doorkeepers and the waterboys. All down the line we have to assure ourselves of the closest cooperation in order to protect ourselves against sabotage. I have not much time left at my disposal, but I should like to make a suggestion or two. First it seems to me that Canada has been a bit spoiled, from an international point of view, for a great many years. For a hundred years we have had the protection of the British navy on the seven seas, for which protection we never contributed and never were asked to contribute a dollar. For a long time we have had the friendship of the United States of America, and round our shoulders the sheltering arm of what is known as the Monroe doctrine. So as a young country we have been encouraged to remain in swaddling clothes, so to speak, in an international sense, so far as war and preparation for war are concerned. But we went into the last great war and did our bit, as we have gone into this war and are doing our bit again, as I believe the debate of the last few days has made abundantly clear. We met here in September of last year and in four days declared war against Germany. It appeared to me that we saw the mother country, after exhausting every honourable means to bring about peace, with her back to the wall having to fight for her very existence. But we saw a good deal more than that. We believed that Hitler, Goering, Goebells, Himmler and all the rest of those bloodthirsty bandits were bent upon world conquest, and we felt that the quicker Canada did her bit to Stop them before they could reach our shores, the better it would be for Canada. The first step towards defeating nazi poison is to realize that it exists, and the second step is to realize that it can be defeated. The nazis are not supermen. Gangsters have never been supermen, and we can carry that thought in our minds as we go forward with this struggle. The Canadian people have responded nobly to the call. The recital by our ministers during the last week is amazing in its cumulative effect. There are just two incidents, so far as I know not yet touched upon, of which I should like to remind the house in reviewing Canada's war activities. The first is the work of young Davies and his Canadian pals of the London suicide squad. They have written the name of Canada across the horizon of the world in letters of flame. The second is the fact that the mothers and fathers of Canada, with loving, outstretched arms, have sought to receive little children from the dangers of the motherland. That has given a great deal of comfort to the British people and has shown that we in this country have not forgotten the teaching of two thousand years ago, to suffer little children to come and forbid them not. I suggest, sir, that the destiny of Canada in the future outruns the imagination. Perhaps it will be our destiny to be the very spearhead of ultimate victory. We may look forward to paying a heavy price, as has been so constantly and, I think, properly emphasized, but in the end we will rejoice with Britain and the commonwealth nations that we were able to play a noble part. In closing, Mr. Speaker, I would give you the masterful words of Winston Churchill, when he said: We have great reason for vigilance and concern-but no room for despair.


SC

Victor Quelch

Social Credit

Mr. VICTOR QUELCH (Acadia):

Mr. Speaker, while I realize that the question of first importance confronting us at this time is the effective prosecution of the war, nevertheless I offer no excuse for stressing the serious plight of agriculture in western Canada. I say that because if we are to make our maximum contribution in this war it is essential that every industry be maintained at its highest point of efficiency. No one in his sane senses could possibly suggest that agriculture is in a position to function efficiently as long as agricultural produce is being sold at the present disastrously low levels and, moreover, as long as the policy of the government remains so obscure.

Before I proceed to deal with the question of agriculture I should like to touch upon one or two speeches that have been made during the course of this debate. First of all I wish to comment on the speech delivered in this house this afternoon by the Minister of Finance (Mr. Usley). In essence his speech was the same as the budget speeches of last June and the previous September; and if I were to deal with it in detail, especially as it had to do with this group, I would be merely threshing a lot of old straw. I feel, however, that if, when dealing with this group, the minister had been prepared to answer a few questions he might have been in a sounder position, although on the other hand I might say he would have been in a more unsound position, because when you are engaged in the unprofitable task of building

The Address-Mr. Quelch

up straw men for the purpose of knocking them down you are not in a very good position to answer questions.

Therefore I should like to remind the house of one or two important points. For instance, both inside and outside the house for the past five years we have continually stressed one point which we have considered absolutely fundamental, namely, that industry does not and cannot create an effective demand for its own production, except in times of abnormal capital goods production. And of course in war time there is a tremendous expansion of capital goods, in the form of armaments.

Consequently we realize that when maximum production is reached, if it is still necessary to make more goods available for war purposes, and if it is still necessary to divert more production from consumers to war purposes, then it will be necessary to increase taxation. We have always appreciated that fact, and if the minister had studied the amendment a little more closely he would not have fallen into the error he made when he said that at this time we are opposing taxation.

The amendment to the amendment is in these words:

And this house further regrets the failure of the government to adopt a monetary policy that would permit a maximum war effort, without either increasing the debt or reducing the standards of living below that necessary for maintaining maximum efficiency.

That is to say, after the government has obtained all the money it can obtain by taxation, without reducing the maximum efficiency, then we maintain that any additional money that is required should be issued through the Bank of Canada, without debt. The minister stresses the fact that one of the main aims of taxation and bond sales at this time is to curtail the purchasing of non-essentials. I think the minister will agree that it would not be wise to curtail the purchases of goods essential, for instance, to health, because we have an abundance of such things. It would not be wise to curtail the purchase of primary products, such as fruit and fish; and yet, as a result of government policy, that is actually occurring at the present time.

I would strongly urge upon the government the necessity of telling the people just what are the goods we should refrain from buying. I find there is a tremendous amount of confusion in that regard. People are asking, "What is it we should stop buying?" They know very well that they should not stop buying primary products. They do not realize

exactly what it is the government is trying to get them to do when it tells them to stop buying and to increase their savings.

I maintain that the government in adopting its present policy of drastically reducing the spending power of the people has overlooked two points of great importance. The first of these, namely, the drastic reduction in the people's purchasing power by taxation and bond sales could be justified only if we had already reached or were rapidly approaching a period of maximum production. I do not think that is the situation in this country to-day. Therefore we feel that instead of still further reducing demand, we should expand production and its distribution.

For instance, there are still thousands of unemployed in Canada to-day. The hon. member for Cape Breton South (Mr. Gillis) stressed the fact that in Nova Scotia there are many unemployed. Then, in the Financial Post of November 16 we find this, respecting unemployment:

Failure to place several thousands of young men and women trained since last June for war industry, about 25 per cent of those put through the youth training programme, is imperilling the expansion of the scheme. It is abating the enthusiasm of some of the provincial governments, and without the cooperation of the provinces, the entire scheme of youth training would have to be recast.

In addition to that, there are many thousands of girls in their own homes throughout the country who would be only too willing and anxious to participate in any way possible in the war effort, but they do not know what to do.

Agriculture could be expanded along many lines, provided the farmer is guaranteed a price which would at least return the cost of production. I would point out, too, the absurdity of the present policy of the government in another respect. They are pleading with the people to save; saving is being stressed as a patriotic duty. At the same time there is a large body of highly specialized experts who are urging the people to spend. In the mornings I walk down from my room to the parliament buildings, and I pass a number of hoardings which have recently been built up. On these hoardings I am hold that I need a new car-"Eye it; try it; buy it." I see advertisements advertising new coats, and others telling me that I am ruining my eyesight, and that I should have extra lights in buildings. Then I may go down to a cafe to have breakfast. While there I may pick up a newspaper or periodical, either of which would be filled with advertisements. Thousands of those advertisements say to women, for instance, that if they are going to get their men they will have to maintain

The Address-Mr. Quelch

that school-girl complexion. Others are directed to fat people, telling them that if they wish to become stream-lined they should buy reducing appliances. Others are directed to bald men stating that in order to make a thousand hairs grow where one grows to-day they should use a special kind of lotion.

One may read thousands of advertisements each of which is attempting to induce the public to spend more money on certain commodities. Then one may turn on the radio, and likely he will be deluged with soap. It is at once evident that if this type of advertising did not pay, it would not be continued. Evidently the companies interested are obtaining results. They are increasing spending, because of the campaigns they put on.

And so we have the battle between spending and anti-spending. On the one side we have the government urging the people to do everything in their power not to spend, and on the other we have the highly specialized business advertiser urging the people to spend. One is reminded of the picture of the two donkeys tied together, both straining in opposite directions. It is time we got together and worked out the matter on a proper basis.

Topic:   SG8 COMMONS
Permalink
SC
SC

Victor Quelch

Social Credit

Mr. QUELCH:

If it is essential that we curtail spending for the successful prosecution of the war, then what possible justification can there be for the employment of thousands of people all of whom are trying to make us spend? What justification can there be for thousands upon thousands of pounds of materials being used in this apparently subversive action?

So, Mr. Speaker, I would say this: Let us utilize the services of all the unemployed, in order to expand our production to the maximum. Let us pay the primary producer a price which will make it possible for him to meet the cost of production, so that he may expand his production in any direction considered advisable. Then let us stop all forms of unnecessary advertising. That is as far as I shall go in discussing the speech of the Minister of Finance. After it has been printed one will be in a better position to analyse it.

I should now like to say a few words regarding the speech of the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Gardiner). I always find his speeches interesting. Nevertheless I do deplore the first part of the speech he delivered on this occasion. I do not think he did himself any credit, nor did he do credit to his party, or add anything constructive to the debates

of the house. In other words, it was the typical sort of political bilge water which flows so freely at election time.

There was one statement which I believe should be challenged immediately. He intimated that the election results were an endor-sation of the government's farm policy. In my opinion nothing could be further from the truth. I shall deal briefly with what I believe were the four main reasons why the government was elected-and certainly it was not through the agricultural vote.

The Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) made the main issue one of national unity and Canada's participation at the side of Great Britain. I believe he was right in making that the national issue. It was stressed to such a degree that many people felt that a vote against the government would be considered abroad as a vote against participation with the British empire. If any hon. members read newspapers from abroad after the election they would know that was exactly how it was considered. The foreign papers stated that Canada had shown by the election that she was solidly behind Britain.

The next was what one might term a piece of political trickery in calling the election in the month of March. March is probably one of the worst months for the rural voters to get out to vote. As a rule in that month the roads are either blocked with snow or just opening up. I understand that in many rural constituencies it was practically impossible for the voters to get to the polls. In my own constituency two polls never even opened because the returning officers could not get through. In a number of other polls there were only four or five people who were able to vote. The agricultural vote in my constituency averaged less than thirty per cent, while the town vote was over seventy per cent. I think in that regard it is shown that the election was not an endorsation of the government's agricultural policy because in the majority of instances the farmer never had a chance to vote.

The third point to which I should like to refer is the splitting of the progressive vote. I am not blaming the Liberals for this, although they might be blamed in some respects. Until such time as the progressives throughout the country, whether they call themselves Social Crediters, Cooperative Commonwealth Federation or any other name, have sufficient sense to get together, work together and cooperate they will not deserve much representation in this house, and just so long will the forces of reaction continue in power at Ottawa.

The Address-Mr. Quelch

The next point with which I want to deal is the vicious misrepresentation carried on during the election. It will be remembered that in September last this group took a definite stand and advocated the mobilization of the resources of Canada in order to make as great a contribution as possible to the war effort. We advocated the mobilization of the financial resources, the mobilization of the industrial resources, and, lastly, the mobilization of man-power. During the election campaign we were attacked in the press, over the radio and on the platform as advocating the conscription of man-power, no mention being made of the fact that we had advocated, first, the conscription of our financial resources; second, the conscription of our industrial resources, and then the conscription of man-power. Just the one thing was mentioned. Time and again we were attacked by Liberals who stated that if they were put into power there would be no conscription. Yet within a few months after the Liberal party was elected the mobilization bill was brought down and now we have conscription. I am not attacking conscription; I am attacking the Liberal party for being willing during a time of national crisis to try to obtain votes by taking a stand which they knew was contrary to the welfare of this country. I would not have raised this question if the Minister of Agriculture had not in his political harangue tried to create a false impression of a most mischievous character and one which, if believed, in eastern Canada might prove of great harm to western Canada.

Coming down to the subject of agriculture, at the outset I want to make it clear that my criticism is not levelled against the Minister of Trade and Commerce (Mr. MacKinnon). We realize that the wheat marketing problem did not arise yesterday, did not arise since the declaration of war; it has been growing steadily in magnitude ever since 1922 when the European nations first increased their production and decreased their imports. From 1922 to 1939 the wheat acreage of the world was expanded by somewhere in the neighbourhood of 52,000,000 acres. After the war the problem was greatly accentuated and to-day it has obtained major proportions.

It is true that this problem has been dropped into the lap of the Minister of Trade and Commerce, but we feel that in reality it is the responsibility of the Minister of Agriculture. I say this because it is largely as a result of the policies advocated by the Minister of Agriculture that the problem has reached its present proportions. On many occasions in the past the Minister

of Agriculture has stated in this house that his policy was to make it possible for the small farmer in western Canada to make a living. He stated that he was interested in building up a prosperous rural community. Furthermore he stated that he was not interested in helping the large farmer further to expand his operations. I think we are all agreed that that is a sound stand to take. I would point out, however, that unfortunately the results of the minister's policy have been just the opposite-there has been a gradual elimination of the small farmer. I am able to use the word "gradual", because provincial debt legislation has made it possible to guarantee the farmer security of tenure, even though his position might be one of financial bankruptcy.

The inevitable result in the grain belt of western Canada of a continuation of the present wheat policy will be that it will become an area of large mechanized units. The small farmer will be driven from the land and our rural communities will disappear. Many towns will become ghost towns, and depots will be moved out wholesale by the railways. Does the Minister of Agriculture consider that to be a satisfactory picture? Whether he does or not, the point is that this is actually what is happening to-day in the west. A very good article was written by Mr. Nesbitt, the publicity agent of the wheat pool, showing how this was happening, how it was the logical consequence of certain policies which have been pursued during the past few years.

Why do I say that this will be the inevitable outcome of the government's policy? I say it because we all know that it costs the halfsection farmer considerably more to produce wheat than it does the man with the large mechanized farm. Figures have been quoted on many occasions, and many hon. members have referred to the evidence of Professor Hope given before the Bracken commission. He pointed out that a half-section farmer, raising twenty bushels of wheat to the acre, would need 72 cents a bushel in order to meet his costs of production and debt charges. The section farmer would require 61 cents; and the two-section farmer. 51 cents. These figures are based on a yield of twenty bushels to the acre, whereas for the past ten years the average yield in Canada has been only fourteen bushels to the acre. I would remind the house that the acreage bonus is paid only when the average yield is twelve bushels to the acre on a township basis. Under these circumstances the farmer would have to receive considerably more than the amounts quoted by Professor Hope. In all

The Address-Mr. Quelch

probability the average price this year will be 45 or 47 cents a bushel, or even lower. Not only will the small farmer receive nothing for his labour, but he will be forced considerably deeper into debt. That is why I say the small farmer will be eliminated, while the large farmer will be forced to expand his operations in order to reduce his overhead.

If the policy of this government is to try to build up prosperous rural communities we feel that instead of having a guaranteed price for wheat based upon the cost of production on the large units for all the wheat a farmer raises, we should have a guaranteed price based upon the cost of production on the smaller units for a limited quota per farmer. This would not entail a restriction of acreage. The government could continue with their policy of taking marginal land out of production. For a limited amount of his production the farmer would receive more than he is now receiving for his total crop. Any wheat in excess of the amount of the quota would have to be stored by the farmer, and it would mean that in a crop failure year he would be able to sell his surplus on the quota. In other words, it would act as a form of crop insurance.

Throughout the west and in other parts of Canada at the present time the government are being attacked for their lack of a sound wheat policy. They have been charged with bungling, but to me the bungling seems to be so flagrant that I doubt very much whether it is a matter of bungling at all. I am more inclined to believe that the situation exists as a result of a deliberately planned policy, for the following purposes: first, of putting into effect the proclaimed Liberal policy of expanding foreign markets and the maintenance of a favourable balance of trade; second, dealing now with the immediate situation, a plan of enforced saving.

To come back to the first of these two: in order to expand foreign markets and maintain a favourable balance of trade, under the usual orthodox policy the general practice is to maintain, on the one hand, as we have done for the past six years, a low standard of living, in order to reduce the demand against imports, thereby maintaining a favourable balance of trade, and, on the other, a low price for agricultural products, in order to make it possible to undersell our foreign competitors.

The result of this policy internally has been a great deal of unnecessary suffering. I say that because it would have been possible, by increasing our production, to maintain a favourable balance of payments and

at the same time to maintain a higher standard of living. During the past six years the production in secondary industry has been less than thirty per cent of its capacity. The result externally has been a condition of international friction, because when you refuse to accept the imports of other countries in payment for your exports you are making it impossible for those nations to acquire the raw materials they need, unless they are prepared to go into debt. I know that the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) has always complimented himself upon working for peace, but I would point out that any government which has a policy depending upon international competition instead of international cooperation is not working for peace. It is bound to result in international friction, and international friction leads to war.

Coming back to the second point, that of compulsory saving, we find in western Canada many farmers in a serious plight, owing to the fact that they have threshed a large crop and have been able to sell, perhaps, only a small proportion of it; or if the grain was tough, they were not able to sell any of it. Unfortunately, in many instances ten to twenty per cent of the crop, on account of its not having been threshed, still remains under the snow. The reason for this was that the elevators were refusing to accept tough grain, and the farmers held back hoping that the weather would clear in order to make it possible to thresh the grain dry. Those farmers who had sold only a small proportion of their crop were depending upon obtaining from the government an advance on the wheat that they had in farm storage, and they were justified in that expectation because of certain statements which have been made by cabinet ministers in this house and in interviews. But now, apparently, the government, in their insane desire to reduce the spending power of the people, have given up all idea of making an advance. If I am wrong in that assumption I hope the minister will correct me.

So, as a result of this policy, many farmers, in spite of the fact that they have threshed a large crop, find themselves practically destitute. It will be necessary for them either to seek relief or to get an advance of credit from the local storekeeper. Unfortunately, generally speaking the storekeeper in the rural communities is in no better position to finance the farmer than is the farmer himself. It is true that, according to the wheat policy, a storekeeper may accept wheat as collateral against a debt. On the other hand, few storekeepers have the storage facilities available to handle this wheat. Even if

The Address-Mr. Quelch

they do take it they are not able to pass it cn to the wholesaler, who, of course, demands cash and will not accept wheat. Therefore, although being able to accept wheat as collateral against a debt may make it possible for a storekeeper to collect an old debt, it does not help to solve the question of financing current expenditures.

Speaking in this chamber on August first, the Minister of Trade and Commerce made this statement:

Unless something is done to make available to the farmer more money than, owing to elevator capacity conditions, he can obtain from his first deliveries, there will be widespread suffering, and there would be widespread necessity for relief.

Later on, in an interview printed in the Western Producer of September 26, he points out that the government is working towards ways and means by which these advances can be made, and he ends up with the statement:

The wheat committee was ready to go ahead with that plan, and still is ready to do so.

In spite of that fact, as the house is aware, no advance has been made, and the reason given is that the banks have refused to finance the operation. It seems to me a rather humiliating position for any government to find itself in, that after a government has decided that advances should be made it has to back up on its proposals on account of the fact that the banks will not make available the credit necessary for these advances. I admit that I find it hard to realize that the leader of the Liberal party to-day is the same man who in 1935 appealed to the people of Canada for election on a programme of monetary reform. I believe hon. members will remember the statement he made at that time, that if the Liberal party were elected to power there would be a great battle in this country between parliament, representing the people, and the money power, for the purpose of regaining to the nation that which had been lost, the control of the issue of currency and of credit in order to make that currency and credit available in terms of public need to meet the industrial, social and domestic requirements of the Canadian people. Has anybody seen any evidence of that battle during the last six years?

Topic:   SG8 COMMONS
Permalink
SC
SC
SC

November 21, 1940