February 5, 1943

NAT

Gordon Graydon (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. GORDON GRAYDON (Leader of the Opposition):

I intended to ask the Prime Minister whether it is the intention to follow the usual custom at the earlier stages of the session and adjourn at six o'clock to-night.

Right Hon. W. L. MACKENZIE KING (Prime Minister)1: That has been the custom followed' for many years. We will not depart from it to-night unless strong objection is raised.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   ADJOURNMENT AT SIX O'CLOCK ON FRIDAY
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GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH

CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY


The house resumed from Thursday, February 4, consideration of the motion of Mr. W. E. Harris (Grey-Bruce) for an address to His Excellency the Governor General in reply to his speech at the opening of the session, and the amendment thereto of Mr. Graydon, and the amendment to the amendment of Mr. Coldwell.


NAT

Ernest Edward Perley

National Government

Mr. E. E. PERLEY (Q-u'Appelle):

Mr. Speaker, many of the previous speakers in this debate have offered their congratulations to the mover (Mr. Harris) and the seconder (Mr. Halle) of the address in reply. I am in accord with that practice, but I am going to call it briefly to your attention in a slightly different way. I think this parliament made history at the opening of this session, when the mover was a Canadian officer in the king's uniform who had been overseas and returned, and was about to go back again, and the seconder was an officer of the Canadian forces ready to go overseas. May I recall, too, that the second speech after the speeches delivered by the leaders of the different parties was that of the hon. member for Winnipeg North (Mr. Booth). He had been overseas, had returned to Canada, and is now on his way or is about to go back. It is worth while recalling that history was made at the opening of this session. I do not think there is any precedent to compare with it. We hope it may never be necessary to follow the same procedure again.

May I say, however, that I was thrilled, and I think every hon. member must have been, when I heard two of those men relate what had taken place in connection with our Canadian forces -overseas. We were encouraged to hear about the high standard of morale, courage and enthusiasm, and we were deeply interested in the condition of the British people, and the sacrifices they are making. I believe if we were honest with ourselves, most of us would admit that we had a feeling that we were rededicating ourselves to the winning of the war, so that when the time comes those splendid forces might have proper reinforcements in men, munitions and food.

When those hon. members spoke about Dieppe I recalled to mind the first-hand information I received concerning that raid. I obtained my information in conversation with a hero who had been at Dieppe, a boy from my home town who had been fortunate enough to survive the expedition and return to his home town of Wolseley, but who, unfortunately had paid the price of losing his right leg. Talking with him I heard the story of the men who took part in the Dieppe raid. He told me the conditions they faced, and the reception they received upon their return across the channel. After listening to that story, I rededicated myself to do anything I -can to further the interests of Canada's efforts in support of those men.

The Address-Mr. Perley

I believe the speech from the throne was disappointing to the people of Canada. It was long in words but fell far short in concrete announcements of any action to be taken by the government to remove or remedy some of the difficulties we are facing to-day, difficulties having to do not only with the war but with labour, farm man-power and matters of that kind. I am going to support the amendment. Why? Because in contrast with the speech from the throne it sets out some definite proposals, and definite results to be attained if those proposals are carried out.

My chief interest is in agriculture. I believe you will agree, Mr. Speaker-because I have had the honour and pleasure of sitting in the house with Your Honour for some time, and under your speakership-that since coming to the house I have consistently and on numerous occasions, either by resolution, motion or constructive suggestion, brought to the government of the day proposals which, had they been accepted and put into force, would have meant much to the producers I represent. The principles at least of some of my proposals have been accepted, a fact I view with some satisfaction.

I believe there are only two other hon. members in the house who sat on the committee in 1935 to consider the wheat situation. The Minister of National Defence (Mr. Ralston) who, I regret, is not yet in his place on account of an unfortunate accident, served on that committee. I had much to do with the work of that committee, and I recall vividly the fight I made for 90 cent wheat, and the compromise of 87i cents which was made. While my suggestions have not always been accepted immediately, I have had the satisfaction of witnessing the acceptance of my proposals a year or so after they have been made.

May I recall one or two proposals which I expect will be adopted at this session, only a year after my suggestions. Our first duty as members of parliament is to do all we can to further Canada's war effort and the winning of the war. All other things count for naught. In the language of the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) speaking at the time of the last victory loan, nothing counts now but victory. That is the way we should approach this session.

What is Canada's war effort? Are we satisfied with it? Can we do more? Are we prepared to do more? These are some of the questions we must answer. I am prepared to give credit where credit is due, because it is well known that we began this war from

scratch. I believe that the constructive criticism from this side of the house in 1940 made the government realize we were in a real war, with .the result that they began to get busy.

In a review of the situation from 1940 I stated last year that there are two forces of prime importance, namely, the armed forces and those of production. All credit to our armed forces. All credit to the gallant men from western Canada, and from all other parts, who volunteered as soon as war broke out and who are to-day in that magnificent army overseas. Credit is due those men for the way in which they entered the forces and the work they are doing.

In so far as production is concerned we realize at once that this war is quite different from that of 1914-18. We must have vastly greater amounts of munitions and food. In 1940 and the early part of 1941 we were passing through a period of organization of production for our armed forces. That organizational period is over. In the eariy part of 1942 we were making good headway. I will give credit to the government for making headway, although possibly they were prodded by the opposition. The fact is, however, that progress was made, until we have now reached the period of peak production, or the production of almost all that is necessary. The supplying of materials is the responsibility of the government and the different boards who have this matter in charge.

I believe the farmers throughout Canada have done practically everything asked of them by the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Gardiner). They have responded nobly, and that response is to their credit. We have increased our food production almost to the point required. Possibly this brings us to the question of manpower and woman-power.

I was interested yesterday in hearing the hon. members for New Westminster (Mr. Reid), for Souris (Mr. Ross) and for Peterborough West (Mr. Fraser) refer to a women's land army. Canadian'women, especially the women in western Canada, deserve considerable credit for what they have done. If I had the time I should like to relate to this house the particulars of the work done by women in harvesting the crop in Saskatchewan, particularly in my own district. I have seen women in overalls and sweaters driving stook teams and doing their part in the loading of sheaves in the field. They would bring them up and when they could not unload them at the separator, someone else would take over. On one occasion I saw a woman drive in sixteen miles with a truckload of 121 bushels of wheat. The one bushel was put on because that was the final bushel in her husband's quota. It

The Address-Mr. Parley

was a very cold day, and she told me that she had hauled all the wheat from the combine. There was no heater in the truck', and she had put up with considerable hardship in bringing in the wheat. There are many other cases I could detail. I think the women have done wonders in helping their husbands by driving trucks and tractors this last fall. The young girls also have done much of this work.

National selective service should have been put into force properly long ago and then full use could have been made of our man and woman power. Every man and woman in Canada should be placed in a position where he or she can do the most good. I am not going to say much about labour in industry; I do not know anything about that. I do know something about labour on the farm in Saskatchewan. We have heard a great deal about labour in industry, and questions have been placed upon the order paper about this matter, I think any hon. member of this House of Commons who listens to petty grievances -that may not be the right word-of labour leaders or of organized labour or their representatives and is not sure that those grievances are just and right, is doing something he should not do. It is possible that these grievances may be agitated to the extent that strikes in industry may result. Any hon. member who does anything to jeopardize production or cause a bottleneck in our war effort should be open to criticism.

Labour in industry has its rightful position in our national life. It is just as much entitled to fair treatment as farm labour or any other type of labour. My conscience will not trouble me in this regard, because I have done nothing to help them or encourage them to make trouble for this government or anyone else.

There have been certain difficulties in connection with farm labour, and I am sure the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Gardiner) knows all about them. Not long ago he was in western Canada. Some of us did not know just why he made the trip, but perhaps we should not be too critical of him; we should give him credit and assume that he was there on business pertaining to his department. But it has been asked why he did not see to it that the order in council freezing farm labour, passed I think on March 23,1942, was not carried out. Possibly the minister will let us know. If it had been carried out I am sure we would not have the difficulties with which we are now faced in western Canada.

I know of many young men who thought they were going to be permitted to remain on the farm but who were called up last December and January, in many instances on

very short notice. I have had all sorts of men come to me with their boys, and I could cite many cases of hardship. At Fort Qu'Appelle there was a farmer who had two boys overseas. His last boy was called up when they had not completed hauling their grain and had no wheat out on their quota. The only other son of a widow who already had one boy overseas was called up. Her husband died last summer. She is operating one of the finest farms in Saskatchewan. This boy was called to report on December 19. He is a fine chap; he told me in my office before his mother that he was going to get into the army because he had a brother over there. This woman may have to give up the whole of the farm upon which she and her late husband had put in their entire life work. These are matters that would have been dealt with properly if the order had been carried out as we expected it would be.

I have had some experience with respect to postponements and young men trying to get leave when they have been called up. There is one incident I am going to relate because I have a report here in the Leader-Post. Mr. Milligan was appointed as the agricultural representative on the national services board in Regina. He was recommended by the Minister of Agriculture and was doing good work. I dealt with him on several occasions and was pleased with the treatment I received. I may say that I never brought any case to the war services board, to the board of review or to Mr. Milligan which I did not think was justified. A father and a son came to me one Monday morning and wanted me to call up Mr. Milligan. I did so and the report came back that he would not talk to me. I called back and asked if he would talk to me after lunch-I thought that perhaps he was busy-but the report came back that he would not talk to me at all. Knowing this man quite well I sat down and wrote him a letter and asked him to let me know just what I had done to warrant the treatment I had received in his refusal to talk to me. The next morning I was called out of bed by a telephone call from this man, who apologized for not having talked with me before. He told me then that he had resigned Saturday night, that he had walked out of the office and told them that he was not going back and would have nothing more to do with it.

Here is the report in the press stating that on Saturday he had had four hundred men to interview him and had received six hundred letters. All this work had piled up and there was no proper machinery to deal with it. If the thing had been properly organized, if he

The Address-Mr. Perley

had had the proper assistance, there would not have been this accumulation and things would have gone along much more smoothly.

I am going to give the particulars of another one of these cases with which I had to deal. Perhaps the Minister of Agriculture gets the odd anonymous letter; I am sure the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) does, and I know I have had a few. I got one not long ago which started out by saying, "You-" and then used a word in the singular that is not parliamentary. The writer went on to tell me what would happen if I did not get some of these cases straightened out for these boys who had been called up. This letter was from a farmer. It had been mailed along the main line. I read through the letter and then down about the fourth paragraph he said, "You so-and-so"-using the same word in the plural-and he referred to Gardiner, Patterson and Perley, and told me what was going to happen to us if such and such a thing was not done. Well, it does not worry me very much. But just for a lark I took this letter across the street to a Liberal friend of mine-the Minister of Agriculture knows him very well. I showed him the letter and he asked, "What are you going to do about it?" I said, "There is nothing I can do about it, but if I could answer it this is what I would say: I do not mind being called what you called me in the first paragraph, Mr. So-and-so, but I do object when you get down to the fourth paragraph associating me with the Minister of Agriculture and Mr. Patterson, because that is their mess, not mine." That is just in passing.

The Minister of Agriculture has announced a policy of more production-and that with less or at least no more man-power. A list was put on Hansard the other day by the hon. member for Haldimand (Mr. Senn) showing the increased production asked for in dairy products, cattle, beef, and so on, ranging all the way from increases of seven to sixty per cent. I am sure the farmers are willing to give increased production. They have done pretty well in trying to meet all the demands that have been made upon them by the Minister of Agriculture, but surely he must realize that this increased production of hogs, dairy products and beef that he asks for means that more labour will be required on the farm. It is not there, and the labour question presents some difficulty.

I have under my hand the report of a speech which the Minister of Agriculture delivered in Saskatoon recently. The report appears in the Western Producer of January 21, and it reports the minister as saying that the labour lag will not hamper food production.

The minister went on in that speech to give details of the greater production goals required. But he left the labour situation just as it is. The farmers will do their best; nevertheless it is going to be almost impossible for them, with the present labour situation, to meet these increased production goals asked for.

Yesterday the hon. member for New Westminster (Mr. Reid), the hon. member for Souris (Mr. Ross) and the hon. member for Peterborough West (Mr. Fraser) urged the appointment of a food ministry and suggested the Minister of Agriculture as the new minister of food. I have no objection to that because if anyone in the present cabinet is to be appointed to that post I think the Minister of Agriculture is possibly the one. Measure him from the chin up and you will find he will measure up with any other member of this House of Commons. He has the ability, if 'he would only apply it. But even if we give him all the credit that is his due, he cannot do it all. This question of food production is not a new one. A food ministry was advocated by the Canadian federation of agriculture a few days ago. I myself, speaking in this house on February 3 of last year, as reported at page 264 of Hansard, dealt with this very question. I spoke of the two fronts on which we were fighting, the economic and the military, and then I made a plea for a parity of prices for farm products with the products of other industries. I said:

We want a parity of prices with the products of other industries wThich the farmer has to buy in order to carry on his business.

Then listen to this. I went on to say:

After twenty-two and a half months, I think we should have what I would term a food production board to give direction.

I suggested this as long ago as February last-a food production board to give direction to the ministry. I went on to say:

Represented on that board should be farmers and others, who would direct in the production of different commodities.

I said that a year ago, and what I say now is that the suggestion I made then will have to be accepted, because the Minister of Agriculture cannot do it all and must depend upon advisers. On that board there should be representatives of agriculture, representatives of the Canadian federation of agriculture, and I believe we should also have on that board representatives of the retail merchants of Canada. I know many retail merchants in my part of the country who are almost "nuts" because they simply cannot carry out all the various orders issued by the wartime prices and trade board and the rationing administra-

The Address-Mr. Perley

tion. Some of them have even had to go out of business. Certainly they should be represented on such a board because the control of food will touch prices as well as distribution and production. I just wanted to bring to your attention, Mr. Speaker, the fact that I made this suggestion a year ago, and it should have been adopted then.

Coming to the amendment which has been moved, I will quote paragraph (c):

(c) to provide adequate measures whereby Canadian agriculture can make its maximum war contribution and receive a fair snare oi the national income.

I am supporting that. When we consider the great contribution that agriculture makes to the national income I think it will be realized that we are not asking very much when we ask for a parity price. Agriculture contributes $996,000,000 out of a total national income of $7,500000,000. I am quoting from the table which was presented to the house the other day by the hon. member for Haldd-mand. What did the wheat growers alone do? They made a greater contribution than did any other part of the agricultural industry, a contribution greater than that of almost any other industry in Canada. Last year they produced over 600,000,000 bushels of wheat. At ninety cents Fort William, what did that amount to? I regret that only some 280,000,000 bushels of wheat will be accepted this year. Nevertheless the wheat growers have made a greater contribution than did any other part of the industry to the national income, and yet they received only 13 [DOT] 3 per cent of the national income, while about 40 per cent of the Canadian population are directly dependent upon agriculture. I urge again that an effort be made to bring about a parity of price and a fair share of the national income for the farmer.

I have under my hand one or two indexes which X wish to put on the record because they are most interesting. Taking the period of 1935-1939 as the yardstick at 100, we find that in August, 1939, the index stood at 100, and in August, 1941, two years later, it was 112-8. In January of this year it stood at 118. This includes food, rents, fuel, light, clothing, household furniture, and so on.

I have another index here. The Searle index gives a list of 147 items which the farmer has to buy. In 1913-14 the index stood at 100, and it now stands at 152-8. This means that these items which the farmer has to buy now cost him 52-8 per cent more than did the same items in 1913-14. Here is another index which I think is interesting. It is the index of Canadian industrial activity. In 1937 the index stood at 100. In 1940 it reached a low

of 105. In 1941 the index averaged 160, and this year, on February 1, the index stood at 185. Well, where does the farmer get off, with seventy-seven per cent increase in two years, while wheat has increased only twelve and a half per cent, that is, from 80 cents to 90 cents? It is not fair.

I have another index here which is most interesting and which I want to put on the record. It is to be found in the Monetary Times of February 1, and is headed "Milling and grain stocks". Listen:

Of general interest to the people of western Canada was the strength displayed by the milling and grain storage and the agricultural implements groups. Alberta Pacific Grain,-

That is a company w-hich we know has been in difficulties for practically the last twenty years. .

Alberta Pacific Grain, preferred, skyrocketed 21 points. . . . The common was up one and three-eighths cents to $1.90, also a high.

That is, the preferred stock skyrocketed 21 points. It is also stated that Ogilvie Flour *common and Lake of the Woods reached a new high. The point I wish to make is this. While grain companies stocks are going up, what about the farmers? What profits are they making? The profits of the companies have come from grain which has been taken off the farm and stored in elevators and annexes.

Then how about the milling companies? They, too, have made their profits out of the farmers' grain. But the farmers' stock has not sky-rocketed or hit a new high.

Coming to the price of grain, I am not going to take time to discuss that. It reached 90 cents last year, and last Friday we had an announcement from the Minister of Trade and Commerce (Mr. MacKinnon) that it is going to remain at that figure this coming season. I have before me a statement put out by the department recently which shows that No. 1 wheat is quoted at Saint John at $1.11 or $1.12 a bushel. We know that it does not take the difference between 90 cents and $1.12 to move it to Saint John.

In Britain the farmer is receiving $2.12 a bushel, guaranteed to him, on one of the largest wheat crops ever harvested, over 100,000,000 bushels. In Dakota, which lies south of Saskatchewan and Manitoba, the farmer receives $1.21 less the freight but plus seven cents storage which is guaranteed to him at the rate of one cent a month for seven months. I ask hon. members, why should British and United States farmers receive so much more than our farmers? Canadian farmers are just as loyal; they are doing their part and will continue to do it as fully

The Address-Mr. Pertey

as the farmers in any part of the empire or of any of the allied nations. We should be treated fairly and on an. equal basis. The Chicago price for May wheat as I got it to-day is S1.40; at Winnipeg it is 92 cents. Why should there be 48 cents difference? That may be something for the minister to explain.

Early in the session, that is on Friday last, the Minister of Trade and Commerce announced the programme with respect to marketing and production in the coming season. As I moved the adjournment of the house last evening, the minister did me the favour of writing me a note saying that he regretted he could not be here to-day. Accordingly I replied that there were a few things which I intended to say to him to-day that I would defer until some other occasion. However, the Minister of Agriculture is in the chamber, and he is second in command, indeed he may be first in command with respect to this policy, because it deals with production and prices.

Here is one criticism I am going to make at this time. The house has been talking for a week; we have had speeches from every quarter. The first day, before even the mover and the seconder had spoken, an announcement, was made by the Minister of Trade and Commerce, although not in any detail, of his policy. In my opinion the Minister of Agriculture should have been one of the earliest speakers after the mover, the seconder and, possibly, the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Graydon). At least, following the Prime Minister, the Minister of Agriculture should have gone carefully into this matter and let us know what the whole position is, what the government proposes to do as regards price and production and the rest of it, so that we should not be speaking at random here, as some of us, maybe myself among them, are doing. We should know exactly what the minister has in mind so that we could discuss the subject intelligently. The Minister of Trade and Commerce announced the plan as being a reduction of three to four million acres in wheat, the maintenance of the 14-bushel quota, no storage on farms, the price to remain the same, and the production of oats and barley to be increased, at the same prices. It will be recalled that I started out to say that this would be very unsatisfactory. But I was right when I said it. I have before me a report from Calgary of the meeting of the Canadian federation of agriculture, at which disappointment was expressed in no uncertain language. The president said that he re-

sented the action of the government in ignoring national organizations such as the federation of agriculture, the Saskatchewan pools and so on; and when the government were framing a major policy with respect to this farm problem why should they not have been consulted? Mr. MeCaig, president of the Saskatchewan cooperatives, threatened that a delegation of one thousand would come to Ottawa. We had four hundred here last year. That had 'some result. They did not get all they asked for but they achieved something; and I venture to say that if transportation facilities and accommodation were available there would be a delegation here in protest against this very thing. I believe these organizations should have been consulted. There was no particular hurry; we could have waited another month or, at any rate, three weeks.

Last year the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) promised in a speech that there would be proper farm representation on all important boards dealing with production and other farm matters and national war services. Why has that undertaking not been carried out?

My time is about up, but let me say that I hold that the farmers should have a fair deal, which includes fair representation on all boards having to do with production.

I think the amendment is properly worded and meets what is the popular demand. The Progressive Conservative party's creed is freedom, security, opportunity and the British partnership. I believe no one will disagree with those principles. Let me quote from the words of the new leader of the Progressive Conservative party when he spoke on the radio on December 21: ,

In my opinion one of the principal obstacles in the way of an all-out prosecution of Canada's war effort is the failure of the government to adopt a courageous and realistic man-power policy. There is confusion and doubt with respect to man-power, not only in the armed services and in the munitions and other plants but also on the farms of this country. This is due to a lack of control and coordination within the government itself, and to an excess of timidity in setting up and enforcing policies which the effective prosecution of the war demands.

There is much of our programme that I should like to put on the record, but in conclusion I will merely say this: I believe we have now reached the point that we should consider those things which count most with respect to Canada's effort in the winning of this war: freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want and freedom from fear; that thereby a continued peace may be

The Address-Mr. Leader

enjoyed by the peoples of the world, and in particular this great dominion of ours, for many years to come.

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

Harry Leader

Liberal

Mr. HARRY LEADER (Portage la Prairie):

Mr. Speaker, it is quite some time since I offered any contribution to a debate, nor would I do so at the present time if it were not for the fact that I desire to bring to the house and members who are kind enough to listen to me the point of view of the people whom I serve. A number of meetings have been held recently in my city of Portage la Prairie, attended mostly by the farm population, in which the points of view of the people as to certain problems were expressed, and I promised to bring it to the attention of the house.

First of all you will be interested, sir, to know that the majority of people in my riding are satisfied that -the war effort carried on by the government and the people of Canada as a whole is creditable. I-t is true, as they say, that some mistakes have been made, but mistakes are inevitable in any undertaking carried on on such a colossal scale.

I had the privilege of sitting in on a committee, or committees, if you like, just before leaving Portage la Prairie. I believe they are called local advisory committees, and they are being set up by -the government to advise those in authority with regard to post-war measures. I think that in this innovation, because after all it is an innovation, we are now getting close to the people, where we belong. In looking over the members of -that committee I could not help thinking that they were representative of nearly every organization in our constituency, leading men, good men wTho desire -to do all in their power to help this government or any other government to formulate policies -that will be for the benefit of the Dominion of Canada.

I said that some meetings were held and some resolutions were passed, and that is my main reason for rising to-day. One of the resolutions passed, which had the support of the war veterans of our city and district and of the legion, was in protest against the military exemption which is granted to certain denominations sometimes referred to as religious in this country. They know that the Mennonites were exempted from military service by order in council in 1873. They know also that the Doukhobors had a similar arrangement in 1898. We have -also a class of settlers in our district whom we call the Hutteri-tes. They have a longer name but I cannot remember their exact title. These people are excellent farmers and efficient producers but they settle in colonies and are declared to be no asset to the district. I am

not expressing that as my opinion; it is the opinion that is prevalent among the neighbours who farm adjacent to the land occupied by the sects to which I have referred.

This matter was discussed at the meeting and I suggested that the law which granted these people military exemption should be repealed. I told the meeting that if they would pass a resolution I should be glad to present it in the house. I can look back to a speech-it was very short-which I made on one occasion with regard to the Mennonites, in answer to a speech which had been delivered by the Minister of Agriculture, who told the house that the Mennonites did not want to shoulder a rifle and kill but that they had offered their services in any other capacity in our war effort. I could not allow the occasion to go by without expressing my gratitude and satisfaction that these people were willing to do what they could in regard to our war effort. Of course, I was speaking generally and I presume the Minister of Agriculture was also. But there are others who do not offer any help, and this resolution was passed on that account.

I have the resolution here, and out of courtesy to the meeting which passed it at Portage la Prairie, I will put it on Hansard:

Whereas owing to the enlistment and call up of farmers' sons for military service, land which they formerly assisted in operating is now available for sale or rent.

And whereas the Militia Act, passed in 1868, grants protection from military service to persons of certain religious denominations, who take advantage of this situation by the purchase or lease of said lands.

And whereas conditions have greatly changed since said act was passed, and the action of said persons is resented by many Canadians, and is causing disunity and unrest, and if said protection is to remain in force be it resolved that parliament be urged to take the necessary action to prohibit such exempted persons or sects from purchasing or leasing farm land, without the consent of the municipal commissioner and the council of the rural municipality in which said land is situate, so that the returned men may have an opportunity to buy or lease, if they wish to do so.

I will also put on the record a similar resolution passed at the annual meeting of the union of Manitoba municipalities dealing with the same subject. This is resolution number 27:

Whereas there is information that certain aliens, conscientious objectors and others, who are not supporting the war effort or contributing toward the winning of this war by serving in the armed forces or buying bonds, or in any other way, are purchasing some of the best farm lands for themselves and families;

And whereas after the war a great number of farms will be required for returned men;

The Address-Mr. Leader

Now this convention goes on record as being in favour of legislation which will prevent such persons from buying further farm lands until the end of the war.

I am sorry that circumstances did1 not permit me to attend the house when the Veterans' Land i^ct was being passed. I am deeply interested in that measure. Out of my concern to do what I can to further the war effort, if you will, but certainly to make conditions better after the war, I wanted to tackle something that I knew something about. I thought I might be able to offer some advice in regard to reestablishment of our soldiers on the land. The terms of that bill are generous, and if it is properly administered it should prove a blessing to those whom we place on the land. In order that it may do so, three things are essential. The first is proper selection of the applicants. Do not try to fit round pegs into square holes, or vice versa; see that the man has had practical farming experience before he is placed on the land. Unless that first requisite is observed he will never make good. I know that in other days some green men have come to Canada and made good on the land. But conditions now are altogether different. A second essential is that the men should be placed on productive soil, purchased at prevailing values. I discussed this at a meeting at Portage la Prairie, and I said that I believe the board which they are setting up or had set up should be purchasing land now, or at any rate getting options on it, because many of these boys are returning home. The last figure I got was about sixty thousand.

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

Ian Alistair Mackenzie (Minister of Pensions and National Health)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE (Vancouver Centre):

It is now seventy thousand.

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

Harry Leader

Liberal

Mr. LEADER:

Seventy thousand have been discharged from the army now. Not all are applicants for farms, of course, but many of them would like to get started on a farm right away. So that the directors should get busy and secure some land now. Someone will say that if the government starts buying land now it is bound to boost the price. I told our people at the meeting that we are now controlling the prices of farm products and other commodities, and if you can do that you can control the price of land. Tell them the price of this land must revert to the values placed upon it in 1039 and we will send an arbitrator out to see if that is a fair price.

These farms should be located in improved districts. There is no reason whatever for opening up new districts in this country, especially with our returned men. There is plenty of land available in every municipality, in western Canada at least. Speaking for my own municipality, there are hundreds of farms that

can be purchased at current values on which they would, be glad to have our soldier boys reestablished. And if they are planed in improved districts the soldier settlers can have the advantage of hydro power, which is exercising the minds of so many of our public men at the present time. These men must be placed on good farms; the buildings Should be constructed along roads on which hydro power and other advantages can be made available.

This board or the directors should work in cooperation with .three agencies. First of course is the director himself. Next is the provincial government. Most important of all is the municipality, 'because it gets closest to the people. The municipalities have all the data available, or would have on very short notice. They know where the good lands are. They know who wants to sell, and they know the value. The director should go to the offices of the municipalities and get lists of lands and other information in order to be able to make proper selection and valuation If these principles are observed our returned men will have the benefit of hydro power and other advantages.

In regard to old age pensions, I am glad to note that nearly every hon. member who speaks on this subject agrees that pensions to old people are inadequate. This view is not held by any particular group; it is held by hon. members in all groups, and it is held by me. In Portage la Prairie we passed a resolution. I have not a copy of it here but speaking from memory it was to this effect; Resolved that the old age pension Should be increased to $25 a month and the age limit lowered to sixty-five years. How can people live on $20 a month? In this house I brought out the information that we have paid lawyers $400 a day and granted them $20 a day living allowance in addition. But the pioneers who built this country are expected to live on $20 a month; in fact I know some who are getting as little as $8 a month because the wife happens to have a small amount of money in the bank and they figure that the interest should be deducted from the pension.

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Charles Edward Johnston

Social Credit

Mr. JOHNSTON (Bow River):

It is a shame.

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LIB

Harry Leader

Liberal

Mr. LEADER:

I have a resolution passed by the union of Manitoba municipalities. It is long and I shall not read it all, but there is one paragraph I should like to read :

And whereas this convention feels that the age limit for old age pensioners should be reduced to sixty-five years and the maximum pension to old age pensioners and blind persons increased to $25.

The Address-Mr. Leader

Some of our provinces have made a move to increase the old age pension. My own province of Manitoba has gone so far as to say that it will pay its share of this additional $5 that we are asking for. I plead with the federal government to meet that and raise the pension to at least $25 a month. Our present old age pension is a blot on our nation. If we are going to provide a pension at all, let us give the old people something a little more liberal. And I would have it that they get t'he full $20 without any deductions.

Alberta, I believe, has also made some provision to increase pensions. Both these provinces in the speech from the throne in the legislatures announced it just the other day. Therefore Alberta is in the same category as Manitoba. I believe British Columbia is willing to grant old age pensioners an increased pension.

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Robert Fair

Social Credit

Mr. FAIR:

Alberta has done it.

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LIB

Harry Leader

Liberal

Mr. LEADER:

I am glad to hear that; hats off to Alberta, and I mean that, with the greatest respect.

A few minutes ago I mentioned the electrification of rural districts. I am glad to inform hon. members that in 1935 I brought this matter to the floor of the house as a scheme for the relief of unemployment. I pointed out that there was no reason why our farming communities could not be served by this great labour-saving development. Surely they have as much right to the use of electricity as have the people who live in the cities. I pointed out at that time, and I believe it is true to-day, that one of the reasons why so many of our young people leave the farms is the lack of these very conveniences of which I speak. I am satisfied of that. I have lived among these people. I have seen farmers who have had private plants installed at terrific expense. Their neighbours will say, " Well, that is very nice, but we cannot afford it."

It is pointed out in the speech from the throne in the Manitoba legislature that a commission was appointed last June in that province to investigate the possibilities of electrification in the rural sections. The committee brought in its report in which it was declared that such a scheme was feasible, and that an expenditure of approximately $16,000,000-just postage stamp money, in these days of war finance-would be sufficient. It was pointed out, too, that the equipment would be much cheaper if the tariff on imported electrical equipment were removed. I want to see all possible industries grow and thrive in Canada, but we must not forget that there are other institutions which must thrive

also. It was pointed out by the Winnipeg Tribune that the tariff on electrical equipment was 40 per cent. I had not thought it was that high, but I presume that the war regulations have brought it to that level. It was advocated by the commission that the tariff be removed or reduced.

The people of Canada have expended $100,000,000 in erecting a power plant in northern Quebec on the Saguenay river. That is a tremendous sum, when compared with the $16,000,000 required in Manitoba. In our province farmers have to do without electrical power, although it may run right past their doors. It is found in almost every town or village in the province, but it is so costly that the farmers cannot take advantage of it. I visited the airport at Macdonald, which is only a few miles from my home, and I could not help wondering why we could find money so easily to build a power plant out from Portage la Prairie to service this air field, while the farmer living alongside the air field does not have that service. I am not finding fault with that situation; I do not think any one should be allowed to tamper with the plant in war time. But why can we not take advantage of it after the war is over? I think we are going to. These people who ask us where we are going to find the money will not be listened to any more. I believe that was almost the expression used last night by the hon. member for New Westminster (Mr. Reid). As a post-war measure I could think of no better plan. Both farmers and manufacturers will prosper by such a policy, because the installation of hydro power throughout the rural parts of Canada would be bound to help industry and labour. It would help Canada as a whole, and that certainly should be our object. It is the object in my mind to-day.

Coming from Manitoba I should like to say something about a recent change which will affect not only our province but the whole of Canada. I make reference to the selection of John Bracken, the ex-premier of Manitoba, as leader of the Conservative party. Along with that he takes-or his party takes-the name "Progressive." Mr. Bracken was our premier for over twenty years. When he was called upon to lead a progressive government in 1922 he had had no previous political experience. I do not think, in fact, he had any political affiliations. It was a case of the job seeking the man, and that fact in itself marks Mr. Bracken for distinction..

During his tenure of office in Manitoba his government was usually referred to as the Bracken government. He stamped it with his personality, and his record can best be judged by twenty years of unbroken rule. While I

The Address-Mr. Leader

do not believe Mr. Bracken needs any testimony from me, I should like to say that he was a first-class premier of a first-class province, but his field of operations of necessity was somewhat circumscribed. I can understand why Mr. Bracken would wish to sit in the federal parliament. He is not an old man, and I presume he is actuated by a desire to continue his services for Canada. As I said before, however, his field of operations in the province was somewhat restricted. When Mr. Bracken sitting in a provincial legislature undertakes to do anything about the tariff he is up against a stone wall. That is federal legislation, and beyond his sphere of influence. Now that he has sought a larger field I believe he will prove an asset to the House of Commons and to Canada.

When I heard the rumour that Mr. Bracken was to become leader of the Conservative party, I was amazed; I was astounded. I could not understand why the Conservative party would want him, and I never thought he would accept their views. But, alas, this strange phenomenon has taken place. The Conservative party, under his leadership, has taken the name "Progressive Conservative." Let us hope that progressive principles are also embodied.

Speaking for myself, and following my usual procedure, I shall support any promise of legislation coming from any group in this chamber, if I think such measures will prove beneficial to our nation's welfare.

I would hate to introduce a jarring note into the discussion. My position on certain questions cannot be misunderstood after the years I have served in parliament. I think-1 am just making this reference-that the 1942-43 new policy introduced the other day by the Minister of Trade and Commerce (Mr. MacKinnon) with regard to wheat is not in the best interests of the Canadian people. Ever since this legislation was 'brought before the house a few years ago, I have always taken this attitude. I think the policy adopted by the government was faulty, and the regulations announced the other day are the inevitable result of the bad foundation. That is all I want to say to-day with regard to wheat. It may be that I shall have the privilege of speaking further on this matter. I am glad to have had this opportunity of speaking and I thank you, sir, for listening.

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Alfred Henry Bence

Progressive Conservative

Mr. A. H. BENCE (Saskatoon City):

Mr. Speaker, may I, at the outset of my remarks, endorse most emphatically the words of the immediately preceding speaker with respect to old age pensions. I am sure that any hon. members who know anything at all about the

situation that exists across Canada to-day in connection with housing conditions and the difficulty of obtaining food must agree that it is impossible for any man or woman to maintain a reasonably decent standard of living on $20 a month. In most cities it is impossible to obtain a room for $20 a month, let alone purchase food and clothing and the other necessities of life.

The other day the leader of the opposition (Mr. Graydon) referred to the matter of more attention being paid to a man's occupation when members of the cabinet were being selected. I agree most heartily with his expressions. Without casting any reflection upon those who are members of my profession, I think more attention should be given to representatives of the two largest bodies in the dominion, labour and agriculture. I have, however, what I believe is a more serious criticism to make with respect to the actions of the administration in the selection of boards which deal with matters pertinent to the whole dominion. The administration has, in my opinion, been most short-sighted in the selection of the membership of many of these boards from the geographical point of view. It seems to me that an examination of some of the most important boards will show that the administration has completely forgotten that there is any other part of Canada than that in the immediate centre. Again I am casting no reflection upon this particular part of the country. I suggest most sincerely and emphatically that unless the viewpoint of all the people of this country is obtained with respect to problems which affect the whole country, we cannot expect to obtain the efficient war effort which we should have at this time.

One of the most serious problems before the Canadian people to-day is the matter of man-power. No one will deny that, and there is no part of Canada more concerned about it than the part from which I come. Agricultural workers are very scarce and farmers are having the greatest difficulty in taking off their crops. In many instances farmers have not been able to take their crops off at all. Yet when it came to the selection of the board which was most concerned with this problem of labour we find-I refer to Hansard of May 20 of last year where an answer is given to a question asked by myself-that the members of the national selective service advisory board, which is described1 as being composed of the members of the national war labour board and the interdepartmental committee on labour coordination, is made up of eight members from the province of Quebec,

The Address-Mr. Bence

six members from the province of Ontario

generally and eleven members from the city of Ottawa, a total of twenty-five members. There was not one representative from west of the great lakes on a board which is of paramount importance to workers across this dominion. This is indicative of the* insular attitude which has been adopted, by the administration with respect to a problem which affects the whole country.

There is another matter which is of interest to the province from which I come and to the other wheat growing provinces, namely, the proposed production of industrial alcohol and synthetic rubber from surplus farm crops, .particularly wheat. Yet when an advisory committee was set up the other day to cooperate with the rubber controller in connection with matters involving synthetic rubber, and I presume the production of things like butadiene from which synthetic rubber is manufactured, we find that the chairman of the committee is from Toronto, a gentleman high up in one of the rubber companies of this country, while all the other members come from the central portion of Canada. There is not one from western Canada, not one from the Pacific seaboard or one from the mari-times. This production of synthetic rubber and industrial alcohol is of growing importance to western Canada; yet there is not one representative on that committee from that particu'ar part of the country.

lIt makes the people out there suspicious that the administration is not giving to these problems the consideration which they, in western Canada, consider is due to them. They feel that they will not be allowed to take their proper place in the war effort of this country unless a larger view is taken of the whole subject. This question was most *succinctly expressed a short time ago in the Regina Leader-Post in an editorial which referred to a report concerning the sending of wheat to eastern Canada for the production *of industrial alcohol. The editorial was reprinted in the Star-Phoenix of November 4, 1942. I quote:

A few days ago it was announced that 264,000 tons of wheat were being shipped, or were to be shipped, to central Canadian distilleries to produce 66,000 tons of commercial alcohol. So far as shipping is concerned this means sending by rail 264.000 tons of raw material a distance of about 1,500 miles as against sending one-quarter of that tonnage, if the alcohol were made in the west. Apparently in this case, the question of placing a "strain" on the railway facilities does not count as much as when the proposal is to set up plants in the west.

Then, of course, the residue from the production of alcohol, amounting to 25 per cent of the weight of the raw material, after liquids and waste have gone down the drain, is first-class stock feed and needed in the west. No doubt

someone in Ottawa or Toronto will get the bright idea of shipping it back to the west in cake form at a profit despite the fact that doing so will put another "strain" on the railways.

The argument for placing these alcohol plants in the west is so logical it cannot be refuted. The same applies in the case of linseed and soya bean oils which are and will be needed in vast quantities both now and after the war.

I would point out that the prairie provinces are being forgotten as far as war production is concerned. But this problem involves more than the immediate present; it involves the future. There is a great deal of talk at the present time about social security, the necessity for sickness insurance, health insurance and the continuation and improvement^ of unemployment insurance. All these things are necessary; they are long overdue, and I agree with all of them. The other day the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) took time to send out a few gibes about the position of my party in this connection. The Prime Minister has been in power as Prime Minister for sixteen out of the last twenty-two years, and yet an unemployment insurance scheme which was advocated by his party as long ago as 1919 was not put into effect until a year or two ago. While health insurance is mentioned in the speech from the throne, we do not know when it will be put into effect because it is going to be referred to a committee. These things are required and no matter who brings them in, I will subscribe to them.

It seems to me, however, that we forget a most important principle when we are discussing matters of social security. We do not forget those words of the Prime Minister of Great Britain and the President of the United States when they formulated the Atlantic charter-security and freedom from want, but we seem to fail to remember that the whole thing is based upon the necessity of providing gainful employment to all the employable people in this country. When we discuss these matters of social security, unemployment insurance, health insurance, state medicine and so on, we forget a paramount and important premise, namely, that you cannot have them unless the majority of the people of the country are gainfully employed. A scheme of social security will not work if nobody is working.

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?

An hon. MEMBER:

What about machinery?

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Alfred Henry Bence

Progressive Conservative

Mr. BENCE:

You cannot make machinery work unless you have somebody behind it.

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John Horne Blackmore

Social Credit

Mr. BLACKMORE:

You cannot put twelve men to work on a combine.

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Alfred Henry Bence

Progressive Conservative

Mr. BENCE:

I am not going to get into an argument with my bon. friend on that

The Address-Mr. Bence

point. If you put one man on a combine where you previously used to 'have twelve to do the work, I would take the other eleven men and put them at some other useful work. There are all kinds of things which the people of this country need and will want in the future. An important consideration is to provide gainful employment for people who are willing and able to work. One of the first duties of this administration is to ensure that there shall be gainful work. We as individuals in this country, if we have the strength and the health, cannot escape our responsibility. The people want the opportunity to work; they do not want something for nothing.

If the present policy of the administration is continued it will perpetuate a situation which for years has been intolerable in the part of the province from which I come. Those of us who come from the west know that a situation prevails there of which the administration cannot be fully seized. At the present time we are practically one hundred per cent agricultural. We have a large surplus of wheat, and probably at the end of this crop year there will be almost a billion bushels of wheat in Canada-far more than we can hope to consume or export for a number of years to come. It is true that we have a ready market for most of the other farm products we can raise. Our beef, pork, butter, cheese, and the like, can be readily marketed; but let me point out to the house that the need for these other agricultural products is not a permanent one. It is only a temporary condition. After the war is over, and pray that it may be soon, all the countries of Europe which produce these farm products will gradually get into full production again and then we shall not have the need for anything like the quantities of beef and pork and eggs and cheese and butter that are required at the present time.

As to wheat, I will grant that for a short time after the war is over a large amount of the wheat we have on hand will possibly be required to feed the starving countries of Europe, but when the great plains of the Ukraine and other parts of Europe are again in full production we shall not be able to consume or export all the wheat that it is possible for us to produce in this country for human consumption. What is in store for us? Those of us who come from the prairie provinces are concerned about the situation. W e feel that the administration is not fully seized of it and is not taking sufficient cognizance of the present situation to bring about a better economic situation in that part of the country. Instead of endeavouring to bring work to the men and

women in that part of the country, as has been advocated by myself and by many other members from western Canada, the administration is continually draining our population to the point that now we have, according to the last census, fewer people than we had ten years ago. Our province is being literally denuded of its population by the policy of the administration.

Our men and women are being brought to this part of the country and crammed into Ottawa dwellings. Ottawa is a sufficient example, I should think, to any member of this house. I was aghast when I came down this time to find how many more people there were in Ottawa than a year ago. You cannot get into a restaurant in Ottawa today and it is difficult to get accommodation of any kind. Temporary building after temporary building is being erected to house the office workers. Eight temporary buildings have been built already, and another one is being put up at a cost of $350,000. Why is it necessary to continue to build all these buildings and bring men and women from western Canada to Ottawa and to other congested parts of eastern Canada? It is economically unsound, and so far as an efficient war effort is concerned it is absolute nonsense. In my own local paper for the last number of months advertisements have been printed by different departments of the government in an effort to persuade stenographers and accountants and others to come to work in Ottawa. I will tell you that if those who do decide to come here had any idea of what conditions are like in Ottawa, most of them would not come; in fact I know many who are now endeavouring to get back, but they just cannot find employment out west to go to.

Not only is the government trying to persuade people to leave the west and come to Ottawa through advertisements in the newspapers but the national selective service tell men and women that it is their duty to come down here. They tell men and women in my part of the province that it is their duty to go to eastern Canada and take up war work. It is the duty of the administration,

I submit, to see that war work is taken to these people in as large a measure as possible. Not only does the administration tell the people that it is their duty to come here, but it offers them more money than we are able, financially or legally, to pay them.

On the question of congestion and overconcentration, my fear is, and I think it is borne out by the facts, that if we continue this overconcentration and this congestion we shall get far less results per man and woman-

The Address-Mr. Bence

power than we would if we had a sane policy of distributing the war economy over the whole of the country.

I was interested in reading an article in a pamphlet called the "Letter-Review" which came to my desk the other day. I will quote briefly from a paragraph having reference to the physical volume of business; it states:

In August, 1941, the index of employment was 156-2; in August, 1942, the index was 173-0. These figures are startling. An increasing number of workers is producing a steadily decreasing volume of goods. It might be well, before we went any farther with selective service, to stop and consider whether we are on the right track. It would be far better to obtain correction by increasing the output per man, rather than to stress too urgently the need of reducing any form of production, if we can avoid that.

Those figures are an indication that, by the very fact of bringing here these numbers of men and women from all parts of the country, we are creating problems of congestion which are taking up the attention, the time and the work of many other people to cope with them-problems of housing, of food conditions and the like.

There are many activities arising out of this war which we believe can be carried on in our particular section of the country. We think we should have more flax processing plants out there. We believe that some of these plants could be located in Saskatchewan, where we are able to produce large amounts of flax. The farmers of Saskatchewan were very much disappointed the other day to be told that the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Gardiner) had discovered through a visit to Washington that they could not increase their flax production as they thought they should be able to do, because there were not sufficient plants to process the flax once it was grown. The very kind of thing we should be doing in that part of the country is to retain our man-power there in order that we may assure for it a modicum of prosperity at the present time and in the years to come.

We believe there should be a complete examination of the use of surplus agricultural products for war needs. In the United States of America this matter has been given a great deal of attention, so much so that special senate hearings were held on the matter. I have in my hand three rather thick volumes of the evidence which was given before the United States senate committee. It had been more or less conceded prior to that time that they could not produce industrial alcohol effectively or economically from wheat, but after hearings by this committee those in charge of affairs decided that it was economically possible to produce industrial alcohol

and synthetic rubber from grain. As a matter of fact, only a few days ago, in the January 11 issue of Time magazine, the following paragraph appeared:

Some time next week the first synthetic rubber plant in Rubber Czar William Jeffers' 1,000,000-ton programme will actually start turning out butadiene-the strategic chemical that forms the basis of Buna-S tire rubber. The plant: Union Carbide and Carbon's 80,000 ton unit at Institute, West Virginia, which will make rubber from grain alcohol.

We believe .that not only should there be flax processing plants in our part of the country but that we should be given an opportunity of producing industrial alcohol and synthetic rubber. We believe also that it is utter folly to be sending our prairie bone to the United States and eastern Canada, there to be made into glue, and that we should be making it where the bone is and where we have men and women to do it if they are only left there.

The greatest opportunity lies before this administration to do something toward solving post-war difficulties in western Canada, if they will take advantage of the opportunities now before them. If they do not do so now, they will never have as good a chance in the future. The important consideration, of course, from the economic point of view, is to ensure that enterprises established in western Canada shall be such as will continue to give employment not only during the period of the war, but afterwards. Such matters as I have suggested-the production of synthetic rubber, the manufacture of glue, and the processing of flax to produce vegetable oils-are industries which can be continued after the war and will not only be valuable economically but bring about a needed diversification in our part of the country. We shall not then be entirely dependent upon the production of agricultural products for human consumption.

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LIB

Harry Leader

Liberal

Mr. LEADER:

May I suggest also the

manufacture of farm machinery?

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Alfred Henry Bence

Progressive Conservative

Mr. BENCE:

Naturally we should bring

to western Canada, if it is possible to do so, opportunities to manufacture everything which is useful in that part of the dominion.

Announcements have been made from time to time in the press as to the cutting down of businesses, and I suppose that the exigencies of the situation render this necessary. But I suggest to the administration that, in the cutting down of these businesses, they consider principles which are being followed in Britain and the United States, and do not continue the present policy of what I term folly. In that connection I would quote a recent

The Address-Mr. Bence

article by B. T. Richardson which appeared in the Saskatoon Star-Phoenix of November 4, 1942:

The American intention of considering geographical distribution is based, in part, on the policy of devoting the best and most efficient facilities to war production. This is a factor that has not been raised in Canadian discussion of concentration so far, and there are obvious compelling reasons why, if war production is concentrated as it is in the Ontario-Quebec region, remaining civilian production should be concentrated in other regions such as the west. In other words, the basic or nucleus plants remaining in civilian production should be the plants outside the main war production area, as much as possible.

The men and women who have left our province to come to eastern Canada and create the congested situation which obtains in cities such as Ottawa, Toronto and Hamilton, and the men and women who, being in the armed services, necessarily have moved to other parts of Canada and other parts of the world, will in the greater number of instances be returning to their homes after the war. I am sure that the citizens of Ottawa would not like to see a continuation of the present overcongestion; they expect these people to move; and other cities where congested areas exist expect the same. When the men and women in the armed services come home we want to have something for them to come home to. We want to be able to supply them -with employment: we want so to build up our communities in the meantime that they will be worth coming home to. But if the present system of denuding our country of its population and entirely overlooking its right to a fair share of the war effort is to continue, they will have nothing to come home to, and this country will be faced with the greatest economic headache it has ever had.

In that connection, I was pleased to note that the Minister of Labour (Mr. Mitchell) had come back from his recent trip to Great Britain with a point of view to some extent similar to my own. He had reference, I believe, to labour when he made the statement I have in mind, but his remarks apply also to industry and the other matters to which I have referred. This is taken from the Canadian Press of November 7:

My observation is that this tremendous programme-

He is referring to the man-power policy over there.

-perhaps the most important phase of the war effort on the home front, could not have been administered so effectively unless the British had resorted to the principle of decentralization.

Mitchell said he learned that if headquarters of the labour ministry were destroyed by bombing, the eleven regions into which the country is divided could carry on without difficulty.

"Surely if decentralization is desirable here it is all the more needed in Canada with our vast distances," he said. "I intend to work in that direction for I believe the British experience in this matter points the way for solution of many of our problems."

I suggest that in addition to the work in connection with the regional offices the administration of labour should, as far as it is possible for them to do so, endeavour to decentralize war-time production and production for ordinary consumer use.

These are important things as far as war work is concerned; but I see no reason why, in addition to spreading out war work and giving us a fair opportunity to perform such work in our part of the country, there should not be some spreading out as far as administration is concerned. May I refer again to the fact that we are continuing to build temporary buildings in Ottawa. According to reports, the authorities are going to erect another building, No. 9, which is going to cost $350,000, and yet we are told that we cannot have erected in the city of Saskatoon a very necessary naval barracks which would cost probably $100,000 because we have not the materials and cannot get priorities. Why have we not the same right to the construction of administration buildings there? We can do work that is commensurately as important and commensurately as good there as here. Why in the world should we not be given an opportunity to erect our building, which is badly needed, as they are given here to erect No. 9 temporary building in Ottawa, or Hull, or wherever it is to be, at a cost of $350,000? Communication is no bar. Someone may suggest that the city of Saskatoon is a long way from here. The Prime Minister himself the other day referred to the fact that communication was so simple now that there was no need of an empire war cabinet, because the government could communicate with London with the greatest ease. Well, Ottawa could communicate with Saskatoon or Regina or Calgary or Edmonton or any of the other cities out in the west with equal facility.

Not only are our people being taken from us; not only are they being brought to eastern Canada, in many instances under intolerable conditions, but at the same time we get a slap in the face by being told that we shall lose four seats in our representation from Saskatchewan and three seats in our representation from Manitoba. And in the speech from the throne it has been stated that a special committee will be set up for the purpose of considering this problem, and for the purpose, I presume, of making a redistribution. Already the newspapers are full of speculations as to what particular district will gain a seat. The

The Address-Mr. Tucker

city of Ottawa will gain a seat, as a result largely of bringing from other parts of Canada citizens who are ordinarily resident in those parts. I protest as emphatically and as strongly as I can against my province and the province of Manitoba losing any representation at this time, because these are extraordinary times and conditions are extraordinary, and those provinces should not be forced to lose these seats because the administration has been so shortsighted as to have persuaded our people to leave those parts. Ample opportunity is given this House of Commons to see that that course of events is not followed.

The British North America Act makes the following provision in section 51:

On the completion of the census in the year one thousand eight hundred and seventy-one, and of each subsequent decennial census, the representation of the four provinces shall be re-adjusted by such authority, in such manner, and from such time, as the parliament of Canada from time to time provides, subject and according to the following rules.

I emphasize those words "and from such time". There are two courses open to us. We do not need to put into effect any plan of redistribution at the present time because to do so would be unfair to our part of the country', but we can follow this procedure. We can do as I understand they did in the last war. We can go to the privy council in England if necessary, and this House of Commons can see to it that my province and the province of Manitoba, indeed any of the western provinces, will not lose a seat as a result of the exodus that has taken place from those parts of the country on account of war work and the policy of the administration; and afterwards, when the next census is taken, we shall find ourselves in a position to obtain a fair picture of the situation with respect to our population. Therefore, Mr. Speaker, in my closing remarks, let me urge this House of Commons and every member here to consider very seriously before taking any step that is going to rob the provinces of Saskatchewan Manitoba of their proper representation in the councils of the nation.

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

Walter Adam Tucker

Liberal

Mr. W. A. TUCKER (Rosthern):

First of all, in spite of the suggestion of my very dear and hon. friend the present acting leader of the opposition (Mr. Gray don), may I extend my sincere congratulations to the mover (Mr. Harris) and the seconder (Mr. Halle) of the address in reply to the speech from the throne. If the sentiments which were expressed in those speeches could only become the thought of all the people of Canada, what a wonderful country this would be to live in; what a wonderful country in which to face the future

for oneself and one's children! Certainly there would be no difficulty about the question either of national unity or of fairness to the people who are underprivileged, as the saying is, or to any great branch of our population such as agriculture, which, as everyone knows, is not getting to-day more than half its fair share of the national income.

Along that line I suggest that what is unfair should not be perpetuated longer than is absolutely necessary. It may have been necessary to freeze agricultural prices at the start of the war in order to be able to set a policy of no inflation in connection with the whole economic set-up; but if something is not done to redress the unfortunate position in which agriculture was placed at the start of the war, it means that agriculture has been frozen into a permanently inferior position for the whole period of the war. The time is rapidly approaching when the agricultural industry is going to make a major contribution to the whole conduct of the war. The question of food will become more and more important. We cannot possibly require people to continue indefinitely labouring on farms at lower wages and with lower returns than they could get in other equally essential war work. As a result of doing so we have to-day a lack of labour in agriculture from one end of Canada to the other. If something is not done to put agriculture on a fair basis with the other industries of the country, I am afraid we shall have to face a real crisis with regard to agricultural production in this dominion. It can be done without in any way upsetting the price level. It can be done by simply paying subsidies in order to give those people who are producing essential food products a fair price and a fair return for their labour. In that connection, we have to-day a situation wherein agricultural income has increased as a result of the increase in the amount of production, but in order to produce that increased quantity we have had people working on the farms hours which in industry would not be tolerated for a moment. We have children working, which would not be permitted in any industry, and we have women working long hours in the fields. That cannot be permitted to continue; it can go on for only a certain length of time. We want to increase our production of agricultural products, but I am afraid our production will begin to fall off unless a fairer deal is given to the people who produce them.

With regard to the position of agriculture in Saskatchewan, I bring this to the attention of the government. During the last war and from time to time when we were having difii-

The Address-Mr. Tucker

culty keeping people on the farms in western Canada, western legislatures passed debt adjustment acts, which meant that if a farmer was doing his best to meet his obligations a creditor was not permitted to eject him from his farm. Apparently that legislation has been tuled ultra vires of the provincial legislatures, which means that with regard to any debt incurred after May 1, 1935, a creditor will be able to eject a man from his farm even though he is doing his best to produce in support of the war effort. It means also that men who went before the Farmers' Creditors Arrangement Act boards and had their debts adjusted to some extent, cannot meet the terms set out in the orders of those boards, also can be ejected from their farms. It means that, owing to the policy of the Saskatchewan national war services board of ignoring the government policy laid down by the order in council of March, 1942, and of sometimes taking the last boy from the farm, even though he may be the only boy left to a widowed mother, farmers in some instances of sixty-five to seventy years of age have lost the only boy working on the farm. With prices of what they have to sell frozen at low levels and the protection in connection with their land taken, from them by the decision of the privy council, we have put some of these men in the position where their farms may be taken from them while their boys are fighting for this country. I have no doubt that the government will do something to protect those worthy people. I am sure the Minister of Justice (Mr; St. Laurent) will do something in that regard. But I suggest that he consult the provincial attorneys-general who know the problem and how serious it is, and follow their advice rather than advice he may

get from some people here in eastern Canada and particularly Ontario who seem to have an idea that the farmer is not doing his best to meet his obligations. I have lived among farming people all my life, and it seems to me that they of all people are the ones who worry most about their obligations and are most anxious to meet them. Therefore I urge him to see to it that these worthy people who are doing great things in relation to the war effort are protected as far as the possession of their farms and homes is concerned.

One other matter I wish to speak about before six o'clock is the representation of Saskatchewan and Manitoba in the House of Commons. If we followed strictly the policy

of representation by population, we might be accused of being on unsound ground in asking the government to postpone the redistribution until after the war. We however do not do so. I have under my hand a table which shows that on one ground and another, apart from Quebec, no provinces after the next redistribution will be represented on the basis of population except Manitoba, Saskatchewan and British Columbia. All the other provinces are not and will not be represented on the basis of population, owing to riders that were interjected for one reason or another, whereby they were given special protection. We ask that this measure be postponed until after the war because we have lost so many of our population on account of war conditions. In doing so, we are not asking for nearly as much as other provinces have asked for and obtained in the past from a fair-minded Canadian people. This is the table to which I have referred:

Representation in House of Commons

Number of mem-

Number of mem- bers province

bers province would have if

will have representation Excess overafter next based strictly on populationredistribution population basisPrinee Edward Island

4 2 2Nova Scotia

12 11 1New Brunswick

10 9 1Quebec

65 65 Ontario 74 8Manitoba 14 Saskatchewan

17 17 Alberta 16 1British Columbia

16 16 Yukon 1 238 225 13On motion of Mr. Tucker the debate was On motion of Mr. Mulock the house ad-adjourned. journed at 6 p.m.

Questions

Monday, February 8, 1943

Topic:   GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
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February 5, 1943