November 14, 1941

LIB

George Ernest Wood

Liberal

Mr. WOOD:

When people are prepared to offer for sale the product of their effort in the form of accumulated stock it is an indication that the country is in a healthy condition.

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CCF

Thomas Clement (Tommy) Douglas

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

Mr. DOUGLAS (Weyburn):

My hon.

friend likes to ask a question and then answer it. He asks: Is not the fact that they are getting fairly good prices an indication that things are not too bad? Here is what happened. In 1937 we had a complete crop failure. In order to get relief a man was compelled to reduce 'his stock to a minimum. I think it was one milch cow for four members of a family, three hogs, twenty-five chickens, four horses and so on. Some of the finest live stock herds in Saskatchewan were lost to the province. I have seen pure bred stock being sold for $15 a head, and they could not be bought to-day for $125. A large section of our people were pushed out of live stock, and they are now trying to get back in. The result is that any man who has some good breeding stock to sell can get fairly good prices. Men who used to raise hogs and cattle are being forced out of business. Many of them are renting their land to people who intend to farm on a large scale and raise wheat, a product which is not now required.

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LIB

George Ernest Wood

Liberal

Mr. WOOD:

The live stock records show that there has been a considerable increase in the production of live stock in western Canada.

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CCF

Thomas Clement (Tommy) Douglas

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

Mr. DOUGLAS (Weyburn):

I am quite aware of that fact.

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LIB

George Ernest Wood

Liberal

Mr. WOOD:

That does not agree with the hon. member's statement; I do not understand his logic.

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CCF

Thomas Clement (Tommy) Douglas

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

Mr. DOUGLAS (Weyburn):

My hon.

friend's powers of comprehension can hardly be blamed on me. This exodus which is going on will have an effect upon our agricultural economy, an effect opposite to that which the minister wants. As I say, men with small farms, men who raised live stock and dairy products are now leaving their farms which are being taken over by others who are going to work them by machinery and produce wheat on a mass production basis. If we are not careful, in one or two years there

will be a serious decline in the production of live stock and dairy products which are so much required for the winning of the war.

I suggest to the government that this matter should not be considered a closed matter. I notice by the press that the pools are sending a delegation to Ottawa. I hope the Minister of Agriculture will not feel that because he has taken a particular stand on this matter, he must now abide by it. I hope the government will keep an open mind. I hope also it is not too late to change the government policy with respect to the marketing of the 1941 crop. I trust the government will give some consideration to the policy of fixing the price of wheat on the open market at $1, and fixing the advance to be paid at $1 a bushel, basis Fort William. There should not be any difficulty in connection with the farmer who has sold his wheat, because by means of the permit book system the government has a perfect record of the amounts delivered and by whom delivered. It would be quite possible to make this retroactive.

Asking for an advance of $1 a bushel does not mean that we are asking the government to take a tremendous loss. We do not know what this wheat may be sold for upon the markets of the world. I remember in 1935 and 1936 when there was a great deal of complaint about the McFarland stabilization operations and it was said that the advance of 87i cents a bushel, basis Fort William, was too high. That wheat was ultimately sold and at a figure much higher than what had been paid for it. The Minister of Agriculture and the Prime Minister have said over the radio that our wheat may be of inestimable value before this war is over, that it may turn the tide in winning the war. We are asking the government to show their confidence in the future of western agriculture by paying a price which is not unreasonable when considered in relation to the cost of living.

We also ask the government to freeze the surplus wheat as a national war emergency and to apply all sales of wheat to this year's crop. If we export as much wheat this year as we did last year, and our domestic consumption is the same, we shall need all of this year's wheat crop and shall have to use some out of the surplus. That would mean that for the first time we would be able to comply with the requirements of the Canadian Wheat Board Act and pay to the farmer whatever amount might have accrued to him on his participation certificates. The Minister of Agriculture has made frequent appeals over the radio to the farmers asking them to deliver their wheat to the wheat board. Many farmers are selling their wheat on the open

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market in. order to get a spread of from three to six cents. They were desperate, and a spread of three to six cents a bushel meant quite a bit to them with the threshing bills, store bills and doctors' bills that were facing them. All these appeals to sell to the wheat board could have been obviated if at the beginning of the crop year on August 1 the minister had announced to the western farmer that sales of wheat would be applied to this year's crop and that in all probability payments would be made on participation certificates.

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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

Why does the hon.

member keep referring to the Minister of Agriculture? That matter is under the Minister of Trade and Commerce.

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CCF

Thomas Clement (Tommy) Douglas

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

Mr. DOUGLAS (Weyburn):

Because it

was the Minister of Agriculture who, according to this clipping,1 announced over the radio-

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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

It is not because he

lives in Saskatchewan?

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CCF

Thomas Clement (Tommy) Douglas

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

Mr. DOUGLAS (Weyburn):

No; it was the Minister of Agriculture who, according to this clipping, made the appeal to the farmers. The heading says "Gardiner urges farmers to deliver to the wheat board". That is why I referred to the Minister of Agriculture. I did not mean to single him out particularly, because the Minister of Trade and Commerce has also a responsibility in this'matter, as have all the members of the wheat committee of the cabinet. My point is that if we can sell wheat to Great Britain at the figure at which it has been sold for the last year or two, with the possibility there is to-day of selling it to Russia at a similar or higher figure, there is no reason why a substantial payment should not be paid this year on participation certificates if all sales are applied to this year's crop. When I asked the Minister of Trade and Commerce yesterday whether the government still had this matter under consideration or what their decision was, I was disappointed when he replied that the government had not yet decided. I do hope that they will decide at once and make some announcement soon to the farmers of western Canada.

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LIB

Joseph-Arthur Bradette

Liberal

The ACTING CHAIRMAN (Mr. Bradette):

The hon. member has spoken for forty minutes.

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SC

Ernest George Hansell

Social Credit

Mr. HANSELL:

Mr. Chairman, I shall take only a moment or two.

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?

An hon. MEMBER:

That is what the last fellow said.

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SC

Ernest George Hansell

Social Credit

Mr. HANSELL:

If the speech of the hon. member for Weyburn was only a short one, I do not know what he would consider a long one.

The Minister of Finance has announced the government's policy with regard to the payment of a cost of living bonus to soldiers' dependents, and I am certain that the entire country will receive that part of his announcement with a good deal of satisfaction. But the other part of his announcement which dealt with old age pensions will be received by the country with a good deal of disappointment. I deplore it. I look upon it with disdain. I think it is a shame in the light of all the circumstances that nothing is to be done for the old age pensioners. The minister has referred to the constitution, legal difficulties over agreements, and so forth, which, he says, stand in the way. It is all very well for governments to hide behind the law and the constitution and so forth and so on as an excuse for not changing their policy, but what is parliament here for if not to legislate and amend and change things in the light of to-day? We are a legislative body, and that is just what we are here to do. If the government want to do anything to-day that suits their purposes, they do not consider for a moment the constitution and existing statutes; they go right ahead and by order in council contravene any statute that stands in the way. Therefore the minister's argument falls down there by reason of the government's own practice.

The minister seems to place the responsibility for old age pensions upon the provinces. But the rise in the cost of living which has taken place is not a provincial responsibility. It comes about by reason of the expansion of credit, because there is a war on and people are at work and spending money. The emergency is not a provincial emergency; it is a national emergency, and the old age pensioner is a national problem. I think the minister may be a little afraid that an increase in the old age pension will work toward that thing we call inflation. But suppose the provinces provide the money; the money would be spent anyhow, and it makes no difference as far as inflation is concerned whether the provinces or the dominion provide the money. The provinces, as a matter of fact, cannot provide the money. It is the dominion government which has had- an increase in revenues. Perhaps I do not know the facts and figures of provincial revenues as well as I should, but I doubt whether provincial revenues have risen very much. They may even have decreased.

The minister said that 40 per cent of the government's spending was for the war. I do

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not know what percentage of Great Britain's expenditure is for the war, but I think I could make a pretty good guess, and I know that in spite of all their war expenditure, their rationing and the huge taxation that is imposed upon their people, the British government has still found itself able to raise the old age pension in that country. It is a great shame in these days, with the cost of living rising as it has done and may continue to do in spite of the ceiling on prices, for us to say that we will see that the wage-earner and this class and that get a cost of living bonus, but that for our aged mothers and fathers we cannot afford to spend a dollar more. These aged mothers and fathers are the people who for the most part pioneered in this country and provided an opportunity for coming generations to live here.

There is this also to be noted. The earning power of our aged people has gone. They have no more opportunity in life to earn another dollar, and goodness knows the pension was low enough even when prices were low. How pitiful it must be now! The rising cost of living is working a tremendous hardship on these aged people, and yet we cannot provide an extra dollar or two for them. AH we need to use is just the ordinary amount of common sense to see that these aged people who could barely live in days gone by on the meagre pensions they were receiving, certainly cannot live any better now, if as well, with the rising cost of living. The minister should go into this question more thoroughly with the provinces, and instead of putting the responsibility on the provinces to initiate action, let us look upon this as a national question, and let this government take the initiative and provide in this emergency the necessary funds. If the minister does not know where to get the money, we can tell him.

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UNITY

Dorise Winifred Nielsen

Unity

Mrs. NIELSEN:

Mr. Chairman, since, this evening, we members have the opportunity, I believe, of speaking more or less along general lines, I feel that there are certain things which I should say before the adjournment.

It has been interesting, sitting here during these last two weeks, to listen to the questions which have been put and the answers which have been given. Somehow or another, sitting in this chamber, it has seemed difficult sometimes for me to realize that a war is actually in progress. I do not believe that I have ever seen quite so much apathy as I have noticed during the last few weeks among the members of this house. There seems to be an air of frustration and of futility such as has seldom been equalled during the time I have been here. There has seemed to be,

somehow or another, such a lack of dynamic purpose; yet all of us will agree to-day that the necessity for the driving force of our whole activity is greater than it has ever been.

Of course, it is not so very long since the last adjournment; yet, living as we do in a world of such swiftly-moving events, great changes have taken place in the whole alignment of world forces since we left this chamber in the summer.

I should like to say a word or two with regard to the foreign policy of this government. That policy as a rule has been outlined by the Prime Minister. Looking over his speeches during the past eight years on this question, one does not find them always as clear-cut and as well-defined as one might hope to have them; they are more or less veiled in words and phrases. But I will concede that the speech which the Prime Minister made in this chamber a couple of weeks ago was about the clearest indication the Canadian people have had since he returned from England of a change in the foreign policy of this government. At the same time I doubt whether what he has said has been clearly understood by certain sections of our people, and I think they should understand these things.

In order to make a definite statement with regard to the change in policy it seems necessary to go back a while. The rise of aggression in Europe is an old story, and one which is now written indelibly on the pages of history. Neither wishes nor time can erase it. At the beginning, aggression reared its ugly head in Asia-in Manchukuo-then in Abyssinia, in Spain, in Austria, and so on. That is a story which everyone knows. The story of how the democracies rose to fight aggression is also known and is a matter of written record.

We all know and realize to-day that the policy which dominated Europe at the time of the rise of Hitler and aggression was the policy of Chamberlain, the policy of appeasement and isolation, the policy which Chamberlain, the Cliveden set, and some of the profascist members of the British government helped to put into effect. It dominated the European scene during the rise of aggression.

It is, I believe, quite safe to say, in view of the speeches made by our Prime Minister during those years, that we in this country followed the appeasement policy of Mr. Chamberlain and supported isolation. It can safely be said to-day that the influences behind that policy more or less built up the forces of Hitler, seeking to direct them into certain channels. This policy aided in the building up of fascist Germany in the hope

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that it could be kept like a dog on a leash and directed wherever the British government wished.

On March 30, 1939, our own Prime Minister made a speech which, although clothed, as most of his speeches are, in many _ words, definitely takes the stand for isolation. I quote briefly from that speech:

In many, but certainly not in all cases, this growth of national feeling has strengthened the desire for a policy which its defenders call minding one's own business and which its critics call isolationism. . . . The idea that every twenty years this country should automatically and as a matter of course take part in a -war overseas for democracy or self-determination of other small nations, that a country which has all it can do to run itself should feel called upon to save, periodically, a continent that cannot run itself, and to these ends risk the lives of its people, risk bankruptcy and political disunion, seems to many a nightmare and sheer madness.

That, I think, indicates, as well as any of the speeches the Prime Minister has made, his support of the appeasement policy. But we know now that appeasement was a fatal policy, which left the small nations of Europe one by one to stand alone in the pathway of the aggressor. If we look over the records of the dominion bureau of statistics we shall see that during the years of the rise of aggression we in this country actually supplied Germany with the munitions of war which she wanted. Any hon. member can look up those records for himself. Unfortunately, England did the same thing. One has only to look at the British Financial Post for the year 1939 to see the figures of the amounts of war material which were shipped from Britain to Germany direct, even without any payment of money, but by loans arranged through the Bank of England; and this was done until within one week of the declaration of war by Great Britain on Germany. Of course the purpose was that if Germany were so built up and strengthened, she should turn eastward and that there should be war between Germany and Russia, that the two should-possibly-destroy each other and leave England free to establish a hegemony over Europe. Hon. members will remember that materials were sent to Finland from Britain. They will remember the first Finnish war. England was so anxious to start war on Russia that she even aided the Finnish government in its first war on Russia. Materials were shipped and money was sent to build up the Mannerheim line, and at that time we were told that the poor little democratic government of Finland was set upon by the greedy Russian bear. It is wonderful, of course, the way time has of refuting lies, because to-day all the world recognizes the fascist nature of the Finnish government; it

stands revealed on the stage of history where the drama of civilization is being enacted.

Then we came to a point where Russian diplomacy made a trade agreement with Germany, and England, being no longer in a position where she could dominate the scene, where she could lead or force Germany in any particular way, was forced to declare war.

Britain herself was then left, as a result of her own policy of appeasement and isolation, to stand practically alone except for her colonies, who were very ill p-?pared to help her, in the pathway of the dragon of fascism- the dragon which she herself had helped to grow to maturity and which now stood snarling upon her own doorstep.

The British people turned to Mr. Churchill. Mr. Churchill had always opposed the policy of Mr. Chamberlain, and had urged that Britain be prepared to fight. To me it is a remarkable thing how during the first years of the war the democracies seemed not to give a real expression of their effort to destroy fascism. The early stages of the war were characterized largely by a kind of stalemate; there was more of a sitzkrieg than of a blitzkrieg on the part of the democracies. The worst part of it was that at that time there was undoubtedly a concerted effort within the democracies themselves more or less to restrict and restrain the actual expression of democracy within their own peoples.

The classic example of this was France. Within France the ruling group, the men of Munich, did whatever was possible, and they certainly did a great deal, to destroy the trade union movement, the people's organizations, when they imprisoned and interned thousands of trade union leaders, and many of the communists, who would to the last drop of their blood have defended France against Germany. The French government was afraid to intervene on behalf of the democratic forces of the French people, and allowed the minority group finally to betray France into the hands of Germany.

We in this country had a taste of that repression. After war was declared, we had the defence of Canada regulations put into effect. We had the chief apologist

for the Vichy government, our Minister of Justice, give us a little taste of, shall I say, Vichy justice or Vichy repression. The Canadian people were subjected to methods of coercion and repression, the loss of minority rights, the curtailment of free speech and free press. Right now it should be clearly said that if during the first part of this war the government of Canada had worked as assiduously to destroy Hitler and everything having to do with Hitler as it did to destroy the free

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and democratic institutions of Canada, the Canadian people would have been more united in their first efforts.

There was a certain amount of apathy at the beginning of the war. Anyone who was close to the people of the country felt it and knew it, although of course government spokesmen would deny the fact, and have done so. But anyone who was close to the working people, through the first year or two of the war, will know that in the mouths of hundreds of thousands of Canadians, even mothers and fathers whose sons were in the fighting forces, there wns often this phrase, "What are we fighting for?" Early this summer the battle of Britain was raging and democracy such as Britain has upheld was hanging by a slender thread. Soon after this house adjourned, when perhaps the peril of the British people was greater than it had ever been in the whole history of their existence, events took a dramatic turn, and Hitler, hoping to have the support in Britain of a government which he thought was the same as the Chamberlain government, turned his arms against Russia.

I do not know, although I believe, that most members of this house are aware that I was not born a Canadian. I am a Canadian by adoption, but the whole of my future life and the lives of my Canadian-born children are bound up in the future of Canada. At the same time, however, like everyone else, I have a deep and all-abiding love for the land of my birth and, during the months of spring and early summer, it was to me a terrible thing to think of the people of Britain suffering as they did through the battle of Britain. As soon as the armies of Germany turned upon Russia, the people of Britain, having suffered through that period, and feeling the results of that isolation policy, forced their Prime Minister, Mr. Churchill, once and for all, to sever himself from the idea of isolation and appeasement, with the result, which everyone now knows, that a collective security pact was made with the great powers of the world.

I think I can say most sincerely that when this pact of collective security was made it was the first real opportunity which the peoples of the democracies ever had for the utter crushing of Hitler. Before that, they had merely played at it; they had never been able with any degree of certainty to go forward in the knowledge that they could do it. It is a good- thing to face facts and to acknowledge these things. The British people, because they have suffered, are not afraid to face facts. I have seen, in some British newspapers, astounding statements. For example, the Evening Standard a few months ago, writing immediately after the blowing up of the Dnieper dam, said:

14ST3-280

Certainly it will be criminal if our aid to the greatest ally we ever had is not Herculean. We must create a second front and not only in the air. We must haul off the tiger from the body of our friend, not by biting its tail, but by dealing violent and vicious blows against its body. As each new report reaches this country of Soviet valour and heroism, one question alone is raised in the minds of the British people. What are we doing to help our allies and to join in the battle? It is not sentiment which prompts this question; the plain facts of our own situation are known and can be stated.

I should like the members of the committee to listen to this; they will realize how the English people have faced the truth.

Before Russia's entry into the battle the possibilities of a purely military victory over Germany did not exist. She possessed far greater resources in manpower and a continental industrial power which it would have taken us years to overhaul. Suddenly in a day the Russian resistance transformed the whole scene. But it will only remain transformed so dong as the Russian armies are kept in existence and retain their power of counter-attack. If it had been the Russian armies, not the Russian Dnieper Dam, which had been broken in this past week, the possibilities of military victory would have receded once more beyond the horizon.

The News Chronicle of September 18 had this to say:

Are we, too, going to play Hitler's game and let him dispose of his enemies one by one? . . . Will invasion of the continent be any easier in six months, twelve months or two years if Russia is broken through lack of timely diversion? The answer is no. It will probably be impossible and a large proportion of our great army will rot in idleness on our coasts.

Our own colonel in chief of the Canadian armies has spoken about the need for opening up a western front. He has said that to defeat the Germans we must defeat them on the land. Will it be any easier if it is left until later? This government should realize at the present time how many thousands of Canadians are joining with the British people in demanding that the allies do whatever is possible for opening up another western front. There must have been many Canadians who, when the pact of collective security was made, wondered as I wondered what stand this country would take. The policy of this country had been to follow the policy of appeasement and isolation; and here was Mr. Churchill taking a direct stand in opposition to that, and advancing, instead, the policy of collective security.

When our Prime Minister spoke in England at the Lord Mayor's banquet, although the greatest battle in all history was raging from Leningrad to the Black sea, he did not mention it, an omission for which he was severely criticized in the British papers. When he came back to Canada he certainly did

The War-Mrs. Nielsen

make a speech over the air in which he said in so many words that free men must now get together to defeat the common enemy. But it was not until I came to the house two weeks ago and listened to the Prime Minister that I really had any confidence that this government had changed its foreign policy and was now in agreement with the idea of collective security, and that it was then really and truly willing to put the forces of Canada beside those of Britain, Russia and the United States for the defeat of Hitler. Considering that our Prime Minister did make a speech in which he praised Russian arms, in which he acknowledged that to-day they were stemming the tide of fascism and holding the dike for the rest of the democracies, I think it was a pity that he did not go just a little further.

As hon. members know, a few days ago the Russian people celebrated one of their anniversaries. The British people, I believe through Mr. Anthony Eden, sent them a message. The people of the United States sent them a message. In Australia the government demanded that on public buildings the Russian flag be flown beside the Australian flag. But in Canada the day passed, as far as I was aware, without a single statement being made by our Prime Minister, or any message being sent to the Russian people. At the time I did not quite know what should1 be done. It seemed a very poor thing, I thought, that we in Canada should not stand with the other democraries in sending a word of encouragement to the Russian people. On November 4 I received a telegram from the Tass agency of New York city, asking if I would send a few words in a telegram to the people of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. At that time I did not know whether our Prime Minister or any member of the government was going to send a message. Therefore my own message was very brief. Since to my knowledge nothing was sent on behalf of the government, I believe there are thousands of Canadian people who will be glad to know that at least one member of this house sent a message to the Russian people on behalf of the people of Canada who to-day are satisfied that Russia is defending democracy along with the rest of us. I should like to read the few words that I sent, so that the people of this country may know what I said:

On behalf of the workers and farmers of Canada, I send greetings to the peoples of the soviet union. The great heart of democracy which throbs with the vitality of the people will live on bringing final destruction to the fascists. Your courage and bravery is like a lamp which shines out across the world lighting in us the same flame of resolve. We will not fail you. We will see that the wheels of

industry do not cease. The strength of our right arm and the power of our back shall continuously labour to send the supplies you need. Fight on, brave people. We stand beside you to the end, till victory is won for us all.

I sent that telegram hoping that one message like that coming from Canada would reassure the Russian people that we were not forgetting them.

At this time, more than ever before, there is need for national unity, unity which takes no heed of class or creed or race or politics; because if now the great powers of democracy are united for the final destruction of Hitler, there are no people anywhere within those democracies who are not ready and willing to give the greatest possible support. I only wish the Prime Minister had made a more stirring appeal to the people of Canada at this time, in order to rally them. Here we are about to adjourn this sitting. Weeks will pass before we meet again. Many things may happen in the interval, and I feel that the Prime Minister has not really said enough in this house to rally and urge the Canadian people to a further spurt of effort. I should like to add my voice to anything the Prime Minister has said in calling upon the working people, to enlist not only their sympathy but also their greater support. I feel sure that if the Prime Minister would implement some of the fine words he has uttered by some action, the awakening of the Canadian people to the realization that further effort is required would come more quickly.

It has been a cause of great wonder to some of the people of Canada why the Prime Minister, who has acknowledged his willingness to join the pact for collective security, has not extended to Britain's new ally full diplomatic relationship, as he could. Why have not trade and diplomatic relations been opened up between this country and Russia? I take this opportunity to ask the government, on behalf of thousands of our Canadian people, to consider opening up these relations just as soon as that may be done. Then the people of this country will be in a better position to know just what aid is given Russia.

I think I can also say that it would do much to reassure the Canadian people if at this time our government would get rid of the Vichy representative. I do not know anything about that gentleman personally, but I do know, as thousands of Canadian people know, that Vichy is1 not our friend. Beyond any shadow of doubt Vichy has placed itself on the side of German aggression. Why in the world should we have to tolerate an enemy within our gate? As far as I can see, there is no reason for it. If Britain wants a Vichy representative somewhere, let Britain have the

The 'War-Mrs. Nielsen

Vichy representative in her own country. We in Canada do not want him. I would say that the sooner we get rid of that gentleman, the greater will be the encouragement to our people to go ahead with a job that has to be done. It is a very bad thing to have the Vichy representative here any longer; we do not want him to teach our Minister of Justice any more Vichy tricks of repression.

I would ask also that before the next session the government, as has been suggested by the hon. member for Weyburn, should give further consideration to the plight of our western farmers. Hon. members1 know already that the wheat- pools of the west have formulated a four-point programme which has been supported by all groups in the west, irrespective of party affiliations. After the wheat pools formulated those four moderate demands they were placed politely before the government for consideration. But when the Minister of Agriculture spoke over the air in reply to the wheat pools, the things he said were like a slap in the face to a hungry man. I would say also that the deep, icy silence of prairie winter will not be worse than the brooding resentment and despair which are felt among our people. The freezing winds which sweep over the prairies this winter will not be so chill as the sense of injustice which will be felt by the people on the prairies.

The other night the hon. member for Melfort outlined conditions in his constituency. Conditions are even worse in my part of Saskatchewan, for we suffered from' drought this summer. I noticed some lists in one of the newspapers in the city of North Battleford. I had one or two people check over, those lists with me, and I found that in three municipalities in the vicinity of North Battleford there are no less than 660 farms on which tax liens will have to be placed on or about December 1 if arrears of taxes are not paid. Surely that is a damning indictment of our agricultural policies. I cannot stress too strongly the need for the government to try to find some way to equalize the sacrifice as between the east and the west, to give our western people an opportunity better to maintain themselves on the land.

There is one other point I should like to mention in connection with arousing and stimulating our Canadian people in response to our war effort. I mentioned it briefly this afternoon, when I referred to those of our labour leaders and anti-fascists who are interned in this country. You may have your own ideas about these men, and so may I. In a democracy, that is one of the advantages- that you may have your ideas and I may have mine. But I think we may all agree 14873-2801

that without any shadow of doubt there are certain of those men in the internment camps to-day who could do more to stir up certain sections of our working people in support of the war effort than could; any other people. As long as they are kept in the internment camps we are going to have certain sections' of the working people who are disunited and not as strong in their efforts to support this war as we might wish them to be.

There is one further point which will be of interest to the women of this country. I believe that when many of the women read their papers to-morrow they will feel very happy indeed to know that at last the government have done something with regard to their pensions, and dependents' allowances. I was going to ask the government to-night to do something in that regard, and as a woman I cannot help thanking them for relieving the anxiety and the burden of fear from the minds of so many Canadian women.

During these last few years, undoubtedly numbers of our women who could not do anything but stay at home and mind their families have had to carry undue burdens of fear, owing to the fact that their husbands were in the armed forces, and they were left to get along on allowances, and were not able to maintain their families as they would like to have done.

I know that in the past the people of Canada have felt, and I believe they still feel, that if this government would intervene a little more on behalf of our labour forces a greater amount of energy would be liberated in this war effort. In other words I would ask the government before the next session begins to intercede on behalf of democracy, and to try to see that the small minority group of industrialists within this country do not take from the rights of the workers, as they have done and appear to be doing at the present time. I say that because I really believe that to-day there are certain groups of industrialists in Canada to whom the making of profit is the paramount consideration, over and above the consideration of whether or not we win the war.

That is a charge. I know it is a charge. But I do not know whether there are any government spokesmen to-day who would dare to deny it. If we remember the history of France we will know that it was a small group within France who led to her final downfall, because they withheld the power of democracy from the people. Do not let that happen here. We do not want a small group in this country to attempt to hold back the forces of the people. I would say that if the government will allow democracy to function, they will find a great heart among the working people

The War-Mrs. Nielsen

which will beat in steady, pulsing rhythm, and they will feel from it an increased momentum in the war effort.

The government should let us breathe once more in this country the free air of democracy by removing the restrictions of the defence of Canada regulations.' Give us the chance to breathe once more into our nostrils the air of freedom, so that we can stimulate the activity of the people. I would ask the government to unleash the power of democracy, because if the people of Canada have its full power they will go forward, like a flood after drought, a flood which will wash away the blight and disease of fascism and aggression. If the government will accept the full power of the workers, as those workers would like to give it, I feel sure we shall have a new strength and a new vigour in this whole movement.

I can remember that on the first ocasion I spoke in this chamber I asked what women have to do with war. When it was a question of war, to direct or to manipulate the forces of aggression and facism, I can honestly say that I, as a woman in this country, took very little heed of it. I did not see where it would be of any benefit to the people. But to-day, when we have the united power of all the democracies ready and willing finally to crush Hitler I would say as a woman of Canada that I want to stand beside the men, and do everything possible for the winning of the war.

The women of Russia, the women of Great Britain, the women of the United States, and the women of Canada will, I feel sure, from now on give everything possible. I have gone even so far as to go to the Minister of National Defence and ask him if a place might be found for me in the women's army. I did that because I thought that in that way I might be further able to stimulate the working women of this country, and to make them realize the necessity for a national effort, irrespective of party, creed, race or colour, if fascism is going to be destroyed.

If we can liberate democracy in this country and give it a chance to fight, then I believe we can say to the tortured peoples of the .conquered countries of Europe, in the words of the late Norman Rogers: "In faith we will light on. We will resist; we will endure. We will take the offensive, and we will win."

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SC

Robert Fair

Social Credit

Mr. ROBERT FAIR (Battle River):

Mr. Chairman, during the past two weeks a variety of subjects has been discussed, and while I am sorry no legislation has been brought before the house, or no opportunity given to us to do anything constructive, other than to express our opinion, I was glad to hear the Minister

of Finance (Mr. Ilsley) make the statement he did make after the dinner recess. I refer to his statement respecting allowances for dependent mothers of soldiers.

I would ask the minister whether he would also include in that group the dependent fathers of soldiers. I understand no provision is made in the regulations whereby dependent fathers may receive any allowance. At the same time I have in mind certain cases where I believe allowances would be proper. I believe the allowances for dependent fathers demand the same consideration as do those for dependent mothers of soldiers.

The case I have in mind is that of a crippled father, a man who must get round in a wheel-chair, and who cannot leave the wheel-chair unless he is lifted by someone who must be hired part of the time to perform that service. Early in September, 1939, this man's only son enlisted and has been in England for eighteen months. The father had considerable difficulty in getting any allowance for himself or his fifteen-year old daughter. I would ask the Minister of Finance to consider such cases as this, and have the regulations amended accordingly.

I should like also to say a word on behalf of the old age pensioners. For a number of months past I believe most hon. members have been receiving letters from old age pensioners and potential old age pensioners. With those letters we sometimes received suggestions, and I am going to read one which came to me just a few days ago. It is headed "The Pensioner's Psalm", and is as follows:

The Politician is my Shepherd;

I am in Want.

He maketh me to lie down in misery; he leadeth me beside still factories.

He disturbeth my soul; he leadeth me in the paths of destruction for his party's sake.

His policies frighten me; he taxeth my food in the presence of mine enemies.

He anointeth my pension with

"Means Tests": My expense runneth over.

Surely poverty shall follow me all the days of my life: I shall dwell in a mortgaged state for ever.

I believe that gives an accurate account of the stand some of the politicians take in connection with our old people. I do not wish to be classed among the politicians, because what I have to say to-night is for the earnest consideration of the committee and the government. I speak on behalf of the old age pensioners, and the potential old age pensioners. I have lived in Canada for a number of years.

The War*-Mr. Fair

On another occasion I pointed out to the house that if the people across Canada were given the right price for the fruits of their labour, if they were not legally robbed, there would not be the need for the paying out of so much money in the form of old age pensions. The conditions which have existed and do exist could be easily corrected by the government. The people should be given a chance to get something for what they produce and for the labour they give to industry. I believe the minimum for old age pensions should be reduced from seventy to sixty-five years, and the pension itself should be raised from $20 to $30 a month.

Some will ask: Where is the money to come from? That question was asked in 1938 and 1939 when people were trying to get relief from this and the previous governments. But since 1939 we have not heard that question asked. What we have heard is several ministers saying that whatever is needed physically will be made possible financially. Only this morning I saw in the morning Citizen where the president of the bankers' association stated that there would be no trouble about financing this war. If we can provide finances for war and destruction, then why in the name of common sense cannot we provide them for peacetime constructive purposes? I am one of these old men of thirty-seven years or more. I plead with the government once more to take into consideration the plight of these old age pensioners and do something for them that is really worth while. It can be done and it should be done.

Being one of those who has been robbed in the past, legally it is true, I think it is my job to-night to direct the attention of the government to the plight of agriculture all across Canada and particularly in western Canada. Going back to 1935 when the wheat board was first set up, we find there was an initial payment of S7i cents a bushel. In 1936 the same price was paid and in 1937 it was continued, but with certain restrictions upon the operations of the wheat board, into which I shall not go at this time. In 1938 the price was cut down to 80 cents a bushel. I do not know why that was done. In 1939 there was a further cut to 70 cents a bushel, but a system of bonuses was instituted. There were other limitations which tended to cut down the income of the western farmer. That continued in 1940. In 1941, in order to help win the war, we were asked to cut the production of wheat, and a wheat acreage bonus was introduced by regulation. This provided for a payment to a farmer who summer-fallowed his land and took it out of production.

Because the government realized the wrongs that had been done to agriculture and wanted to make some amendment, they came out recently with the announcement of another wholesale relief bonus. In western Canada a bonus of 75 cents an acre is to be paid on a maximum of 200 acres; those who have less than 400 acres will receive 75 cents an acre on half the cultivated acreage. If the farmers of eastern Canada or British Columbia feel that they do not come within this class I would remind them that this bonus is being extended to them in the form of free freight on feed grains.

I should like to refer for a moment to the soldier settlers who went on the land after the last great war. On several occasions we have pleaded for better treatment for these settlers. This is something that should be taken note of at this time because we are looking for men to go overseas. No doubt the men who come back from this war will expect to receive the same treatment as those who came back from the first great war. The soldier settlement scheme was set up after the first great war and 10,710 men took advantage of it. Up to this past summer 2,592 or approximately, about 24 per cent, had paid for their farms in full. A total of 3,004, or about 28 per cent, had an equity of 40 per cent or more in their farms; 1,645, or about 15 per cent, had an equity of 10 to 40 per cent in their farms and 3,469, or about 33 per cent, had little or no equity.

To break these figures up still more we find that 2,300 have a fighting chance. These men have been fighting ever since they went on the land and they will have to continue to fight. Approximately 1,100 have little prospect of making good. It might be of interest to hon. members to know that where a man has enlisted and has not been able to keep up his payments, the department concerned confiscates part of the allowances paid. Is this fair and decent treatment for our soldier settlers? In twenty years the land they are on has not been able to earn enough to pay the payments, and yet the government comes along and confiscates part of the dependents' allowances which rightfully belong to the families of the men who own the farms. I shall not go into this any further at the present time, but I intend to go into it more fully at a later date.

Recently we had the announcement of price-fixing regulations. I am glad to see that these have come at last, but I would have preferred to have them at an earlier date. I would prefer also to have had the prices regulated on a parity basis. If we

The Warn-Mr. Fair

compare the position of agriculture with that of industry, we find that just before the war broke out, industry went on a sit-down strike and refused to work until the profit restrictions which had been imposed by this parliament were removed by order in council late in August, 1939. Taking the case of organized labour, we find that these men are guaranteed the highest level of wages that existed between 1926 and 1929, and in addition they are given a cost of living bonus. I am not opposed to that, but when we come to consider agriculture, the poor relation of this Canada of ours, we find that if we were to get the same price level for our wheat that we got in 1929 we would receive $1.35 a bushel for No. 1 northern, Fort William, instead of the seventy cents we receive at the present time. We were told that the farmer would have to take the rap during the first two years of the war, but I was in hopes that something would be done after we had taken the rap for those two years. I went back to see what prices had been in the third year of the last war, and I found that the average price of wheat during the third year of the last war was $2.05 cents a bushel; oats, 63.2 cents; barley, $1.09; and flax, $2.68. I mention the price of wheat particularly because it is the basic industry of western Canada and, as I say, in the third year of the last war we were receiving $2.05 a bushel, while in the third year of the present war we are receiving seventy cents a bushel for No. 1 northern, Fort William. That is the guaranteed minimum price.

If other conditions were equal, it would not be quite so bad, but I draw the attention of the government and of this committee to the fact that at that time we could buy an eight-foot binder for $167 and to-day we pay for that same binder no less than $342. I would ask the Minister of Agriculture, the Minister of Trade and Commerce, and the Minister of Finance who holds the purse strings, how farmers can make a living and pay their debts under those conditions? It simply cannot be done. Although the Minister of Agriculture has tried to tell western Canada and all of Canada that we are actually receiving ninety cents a bushel or better for our wheat I, as a practical farmer, know that that is not the situation. I am selling wheat, and I have sold it this year, for 48i cents a bushel delivered to the local elevator. That is for grade 2. If I jr-t- seventv-five cents an acre bonus, it would net me three cents a bushel more, or fifty-one cents a bushel at the local elevator.

I know that the farmers of Canada from one end to the other are not asking for and do not want charity. I maintain here to-night,

as I have on other occasions, that we are being robbed; and we are demanding at least a portion of that which is being stolen from us. During the early part of this session the Minister of Agriculture told one of the members of the loyal opposition that if the farmers were getting what they were entitled to, Canada would have at least $100,000,000 less for the war effort. That figure is not high enough. If the minister had made it $250,000,000 for wheat alone, I would have agreed with him on that particular occasion. But that is the kind of treatment we are getting, and I say that we are entitled to something better.

We have on a number of occasions advocated a price of one dollar a bushel for No. 1 northern, delivered at the local elevator. I do not think that is too much, and if that price applied for the first two thousand bushels the farmer delivered, it would not be necessary to go into a lot of these other schemes, such as acreage bonus, and so forth. The trouble is that the Minister of Agriculture and the government are trying to treat agriculture all round as only certain sections of it should be treated. Agriculture as a whole is passing through a period of depression. The prices that we get for our wheat would not be sufficient even if we had abundant crops, and special provision should be made by way of bonus or other assistance for that part of the industry which is suffering from crop failures.

We have heard in this country a great deal of talk about Canadian unity. We hear politicians on the platform, speakers on the radio, and certain sections of the press continually urging Canadian unity, but I ask this committee and the government, how can we have Canadian unity when one section of the country is making profits that are entirely out of line in war-time, while another section is selling at half the cost of production? It simply cannot be done, and on behalf of the people I represent, as well as the people of Canada as a whole, I ask that simple justice be meted out to agriculture so that we may be given an opportunity to do our share in getting justice for Canada and in ridding the world of Hitlerism.

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NAT

Ernest Edward Perley

National Government

Mr. PERLEY:

The Chairman has sent me a note threatening to throw me out if I take longer than five minutes. There was one occasion in this house when I came pretty near being thrown out, so I am not going to take any chances now. We have been here for two weeks, and only now in the dying minutes of the session have we an opportunity to say something about agriculture, marketing and kindred subjects. I want to protest

The War-Agriculture

against this procedure. I can recall three occasions during the last four sessions when a similar thing occurred, and this all-important question was brought up only in the dying hours of the session.

The hon. member for Weyburn to-night has covered the whole situation and reviewed conditions in western Canada so well that if I had had the floor before him I would have said pretty much all that he has said. I recall a similar situation at a pool mass meeting in the west. The Hon. Mr. Motherwell was there, and we were charged not to be critical in our addresses. Therefore when I followed him I said that it would be easy for me to live up to those instructions because, if I wanted to be critical, I could not make half as good a job of it as the Hon. Mr. Motherwell had done. Accordingly to-night I feel I cannot make any better job of it than the hon. member for Weyburn has done, and I think I will leave it there.

It seems to me that the government have decided that they will not be jarred from their position. We cannot jar the Minister of Trade and Commerce from his seat to tell us something about the wheat marketing policy of the government, and on looking at the Minister of Agriculture as I have faced him during a number of sessions, I feel that he, too, does not intend to be jarred out of his seat to-night.

The pool may be down here in a little while with their recommendations. I think that the four recommendations they have made to the government are just and fair. I believe the Minister of Agriculture has already accepted one or two of them, and I would implore the government to give those recommendations serious consideration and to adopt them all. I have not time to go into them, but my position is quite clear. I may say that everything that organization in western Canada has advocated in the last three or four months I have been advocating in this house for the last three or four years. I implore the government and the minister to save agriculture, which to-day is facing a crisis-save agriculture in this emergency as you are saving other industries in Canada. That is all the people of western Canada want -a square deal for agriculture. I see my five minutes are up, and I will sit down as I promised the Chairman.

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CCF

Angus MacInnis

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

Mr. MacINNIS:

I am sorry the Prime Minister is not in his seat. I wish to refer to a question which I asked him the other day. His answer to my questioin with regard to the continued arrest and internment of certain persons in Canada was not satisfactory.

I know that the Prime Minister and other hon. members will realize that this is not a conversion on my part which has taken place since June 22 last. But if there was anything necessary to convince members of the government, and particularly the Department of Justice, of the folly, from both an economic and a psychological point of view, of continuing to keep in internment camps a certain class of internees, I believe the speech which was made here this evening should carry conviction to them. There has been a change. These people were interned because they might commit or had committed subversive acts. As there is now no possibility that they will commit subversive acts, at any rate until the ''line" changes again, I see no reason why the whole question should not be reconsidered and these people released. I notice that, in a great many letters w'hich I have received during the last few weeks, they are now making their, plea for release on the basis that they are antifascists. That is a new departure since June 22, 1941. Prior to that date they were asking for release on the ground that they were arrested on account of their labour activities. Whether that is so or not, I think we can agree that today they are definitely anti-fascist. I see no reason in the world why this country should maintain them in internment camps when we can now get their assistance in carrying on the war effort and anything else which may be for the benefit of the country. I suggest that some members of the government bring this matter to the attention of the Prime Minister and of .the Department of Justice and let them give it consideration before we meet again. I hope that something will be done in the matter, because I do not believe it is a good thing for the country that it be left as it is now.

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LIB

Ian Alistair Mackenzie (Minister of Pensions and National Health)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE (Vancouver Centre):

I shall be glad to see that it is brought to the attention of the acting Minister of Justice.

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NAT

Howard Charles Green

National Government

Mr. GREEN:

The Minister of Munitions

and Supply promised the other day to make a statement with regard to the training of merchant seamen. Is he in a position to make that statement now?

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November 14, 1941