I said a few moments ago that our people are recovering. In 1941 and 1942 we had good crops in our section of the country. The other day a question was asked as to whether these people are paying their debts. I can tell the house that they are paying their debts, but they cannot be expected to pay off the debts which they incurred during the ten or eleven years when they had no immediate financial returns. I was told the other day that over ninety-nine per cent of the current debts for the last two years have been paid out of the last two crops, and some of the old debts have been paid off as well. But those old debts are too great to be paid off in one or two years; it will take a number of years to overcome the ill-effects of those disastrous years. A delegation from the western provinces recently asked this government to enact legislation which would prevent creditors from foreclosing. I think the government would be well advised to listen to the recommendations made by that delegation.
In many respects the constituency of Assini-boia is similar to other constituencies within the province, but there is one difference. We have within the boundaries of my constituency the largest coal producing area in the province. That area is located in the Estevan and Bienfait districts. The coal is found in two layers. There is an upper seam with an overburden of from twenty to twenty-five feet of earth, while the lower seam has an overburden of from 100 to 150 feet. The coal is mined by two methods. The top layer is stripped with large shovels or other machinery; they take off the overburden and then take out the coal which is then transported to tipples for processing. The deep seam is mined in the usual way; shafts are sunk, and the men go down and tunnel underneath the ground.
This coal is not a high-grade lignite; it is a soft or low-grade lignite coal. It contains about thirty per cent moisture and has a low ash content. In 1940 this area produced about 1,000,000 tons; in 1941, about 1,300,000 tons, and in 1942, the same production, In order to relieve a possible shortage of coal during this next year the government is assisting the operators in this area and will assist others in order to increase production. It is hoped to increase the production of that area by from 800,000 to 1,000,000 tons.
A report about this coal will be found in some of the offices here in Ottawa. This report was prepared by Mr. Sutherland, a noted combustion engineer, but it was put out about ten years ago and :'s now out of date.
The report states that in order to get the best results from this coal it must be combined with a coal of a higher grade, but the fact is that with the use of the newer types of burning equipment it is no longer necessary to mix this coal. During the last few years it has been proven that this coal will burn alone in the new type burners with as high an efficiency as if mixed with other coal. This production serves the southeast and south central portion of Saskatchewan and the southern portion of Manitoba. At one time this coal came into Ontario, but the fuel controller stopped this movement in recent years.
The coal is also manufactured into briquettes of high quality which are distributed widely in the southern portions of Saskatchewan and Manitoba. In the manufacture of these briquettes is produced a distillate, a thick tarry liquid. This liquid contains all the chemicals, all the aniline dyes, all the perfumes and all the other ingredients to be found in German coal. But it is not used to a great extent. At the present time it is used only as a preservative of wood because of the creosote contained in the liquid. It is shipped to the lumber companies for use in the preservation of wood to be used underground.
The other day I noticed in the Estevan Mercury a dispatch reading as follows:
A huge post-war chemical industry developed through the use of great lignite deposits in Manitoba and Saskatchewan and the bordering states of North and South Dakota, was pictured at the mid-continent research conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota, last weekend.
Apparently that conference took place in Minneapolis, and they were considering what use could be made of these materials in the years following the war. What will likely happen will be that a new chemical industry will be built across the line, and the distillate obtained from the manufacture of these briquettes will be shipped there. My suggestion is that the dominion government or the provincial government or a combination of the two should carry on research in the district to which I refer. The results of this research may possibly attract capital, and an effort may be made to use this liquid locally.
Last week we were told in the committee room by Doctor Wallace that all industries should be located at the head of power development. The Estevan district offers tremendous possibilities for the development of power. It has been estimated that power can be produced from this coal at a price which can compete with hydro power.
The Budget-Mr. Tripp
The other day they were talking about the dehydration of foods. In the Souris valley there is a tremendous area which could be irrigated and which could produce thousands and thousands of tons of vegetables. That is one industry which might be located there, and there are hundreds of other industries, which are required in Saskatchewan.
For a moment or two I should like to discuss what I consider to be the most important-matter before this house at the present time, namely, Canada's war effort. The hon. member for Wood Mountain (Mr. Donnelly) has dealt with this already to-night, and I can only add to the praise he gave to the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King). I think our Prime Minister has given this country very good leadership during the past three and a half years, and has maintained national unity far better than any other man in Canada could have done. Last week the hon. member for York-Sunbury (Mr.Hanson), when he spoke in the house, quoted President Roosevelt as having stated that the most important matter before that country at the present time was the conduct of the war. Our Prime Minister pointed that out to this house six weeks ago, and in his address yesterday Mr. Winston Churchill also made the same statement. I also want to thank the members of the cabinet for the service they are rendering to the country. They have demonstrated that they are capable of doing a remarkable job. I also wish to congratulate the Canadian people upon having cooperated so well with the Prime Minister and the cabinet in developing a balanced war effort, of which we can all be very proud.
At this time I propose to talk for a while about the food production of the dominion, and to give praise to the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Gardiner). It was stated recently in this chamber that our agricultural policy was not planned. But I would remind hon. members of a debate which took place here three years ago. Hon. members rose one after another to tell the minister that his policy was not the correct one. But he stuck to his policy, and events since have proved that he was right in initiating it and continuing it during the last three years. We are getting results. It is true that we have been favoured by nature, but I think our greatest result has come from the direction given by the Minister of Agriculture two or three years ago.
In 1942 Canada's total farm income was over one billion dollars. Of this sum Ontario received $344,000,000, and Saskatchewan, with over one-half the cultivated acreage of the dominion, received $220,000,000. There are probably reasons for the difference. One is, I
believe, that Saskatchewan has been in the habit of selling grain, its principal product, as grain, while in Ontario they buy grain and sell the finished article. In this direction the planning of the dominion Department of Agriculture is producing good results. Saskatchewan nowadays is not selling so much grain as such, and is feeding more. Another reason for the difference in incomes lies in our geographical situation. We are in the centre of this country, and to put our products in a position competitive with those of Ontario we have to pay considerable transportation costs, which are applicable to all our agricultural products. The story is told of an old Frenchman who farmed out in Saskatchewan. A friend came from Ontario to visit him, and remarked, "Well, Jean, you had a pretty good crop this year." "Yes," said Jean, "I had a good crop." "I suppose," said the friend, "you have lots of money now." "No, I haven't much", said the Frenchman. "Well, what became of the crop?" "Oh," said the old farmer, "de ducts got it." So the friend asked him, "What do you mean, that 'de ducts' got it?" "Well," said the Frenchman, "you have de duct so much for threshing, de duct so much for insurance, so much for elevator charges, so much for transportation-anyway, de ducts got it." That is the way with a lot of our farmers in Saskatchewan, they have to pay too much to "de ducts".
I wish to put on Hansard a few additional figures pertaining to the income of Saskatchewan :
It will be noticed that the values of grains in the two years are much the same, for, although we received more for our grain in 1942, the price having been raised from 70 cents to 90 cents a bushel, we were not allowed to deliver the same quantity. Further, in 1939 there were only 470,000 hogs on the farms. This was because during the ten preceding hard years we did not grow even enough feed to raise and maintain hogs. But in 1940, 1941, and 1942 we were able to grow more grain, with the result that last year we had 1,325,000 hogs on the farms. I might point out that in this re-
The Budget-Mr. Bertrand (Terrebonne)
gard Saskatchewan is just getting into its stride, and the number will be very greatly increased this year.
These results have been achieved by hard work on the part of the farmers. Indeed, they have worked harder than ever in their lives before. Surplus labour has practically all gone; yet our farmers, when asked to raise increased quantities of food products, have gone ahead with a will and are accomplishing great results.
A second important matter upon which I wish to speak this evening has not been mentioned very often in this chamber. I refer to what will happen after this war is over. I believe all of us realize that unless we remove fears of future wars we shall not have accomplished very much. We all know what took place in the axis countries prior to the war. They were preparing for war, and therefore were not concerned with the social welfare or standards of living of their people, but were trying to remove the possible effects of a blockade when war did come. They had suffered from a blockade during the first world war and did not want to be caught again. It was not their policy to trade freely with other nations, and they are not likely to do so in the future unless all fear of another war is removed. We may talk as much as we like about rehabilitation and reconstruction, but unless confidence is restored and fear of future wars removed, we shall just be preparing for another great war in the years to come.
I have mentioned rehabilitation and reconstruction. Lately we have spent considerable time in this house in discussing social security. I should like to place myself on record as favouring an immediate increase in the amounts payable to old age pensioners. Some increase is long overdue, and I hope the government will cooperate with the provincial governments to see to it that this amount is increased.
At this point I would issue a word of warning to the so-called capitalists who believe in high tariffs and other restrictions, and yet regard themselves as shining examples of free enterprise. The real enemies of free enterprise are those who in any manner restrict the flow of goods from one country to another. The success of free enterprise is dependent upon the freedom with which goods are allowed to pass between nations. Following this war it will be our endeavour to manufacture as many goods as we are manufacturing to-day, though at the present time
we are producing goods that are deliberately labelled for destruction or to be given away. It is obvious that we shall endeavour to maintain our national income at the present rate. If we do, we shall have to find markets throughout the world to a greater extent than in the past.
Production after the war will have to be sold and paid for, and we must place ourselves in a position to sell as much as possible in the export market so as to increase that income. Our local market will not be sufficient to consume all the goods we shall produce in the years following the war. Therefore, anything that we do to restrict sales must necessarily restrict that income.
Goods which we sell in the export market are of necessity paid for by imports, a fact which is now universally recognized, so that obviously if we restrict imports by way of duties, exchange restrictions or any other means, we destroy sales. In other words, our national income is reduced.
This being a fact, why do we continue to impose these restrictions? In my opinion we should not wait until this war is over to correct this fundamental error but should start now, and the sooner the better.
Topic: THE BUDGET
Subtopic: DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
Mr. Speaker, this debate accords me an opportunity of making a few important remarks since they are concerned with the press of this country, the role it fulfils and the limited objectives which it may accomplish. At this moment I am speaking as a newspaper man, as editor of a newspaper, as president of the rural' press association of the province of Quebec. I also feel that I am the spokesman of all daily and weekly newspapers, of all those publications which in, their respective districts are the true vehicles of thought, the unquestionable representatives of public opinion, the master propagandists of information.
The necessity of the press, beyond question during peace time, takes on a great importance during war time. A permanent and essential tool to the. progress of a nation, the press brings to the public the information, the directions, the facts which will enable itself to adapt its mode of living to the constant laws of evolution, to direct it toward a definite and practical object, to fulfil the numerous activities which are its share.
During war time when orders in council decrees, official statements, drafted, redrafted,
Mr. Bertrand (Terrebonne)
amended and corrected bills are difficult to understand on account of their legal construction, the newspaper popularizes the information and makes it accessible to everyone. Only the newspaper can boast of attaining this end. It is superior to the radio, because the public, even after it has heard a broadcast, wants to see a newspaper to find out whether it understood the radio aright and in order to know more. The newspaper prevails over all meetings and conferences. Is is not by itself a permanent conference, an uninterrupted meeting grouping not only a handful of citizens, but every day uniting hundreds of thousands? A necessary visitor, it talks and converses. It narrates the facts; it brings the news from all the world; itsets forth all the situations; it explains the laws that have been debated and adopted; it brings forth explanations of debates; it says things and repeats them. Everyone wants his newspaper as much as he wants his tobacco and, if he had to choose between them, he would choose the newspaper. Anecessity in peace time, the newspaper inwar time becomes the heavy artillery of
The people want their newspapers in order to be well informed, in order to follow the events day by day, learn the progress and setbacks of the war, the actions of the nation, what it intends to do, and what it resolves. They want to know to what extent restrictions and taxes will affect their mode of living, in order to adapt it to the necessities of the moment. They are always anxious to know all details concerning an offensive, a landing, a decision taken by the government. Who can inform them more accurately than the newspaper? But does the direct information concerning the war, which is handed out to the people, satisfy its eagerness to know, its anxiousness to know, and its right to know?
I am voicing a general opinion when I say that the public would like to be better informed concerning the direct actions of the war. Would censorship be too hard on newspapers? In certain instances would the regulations be arbitrary? Or official statements be made too late and sometimes not be clear enough? In my opinion, the public is entitled to know the whole truth concerning the sinkings which may occur off Canadian coasts, concerning disasters or setbacks which directly affect our country, and it has a right to know it before the news has gone all round the world. The public will applaud the victories, and its enthusiasm will be all the greater. On
the other hand, it will accept setbacks with coolness because it will better understand, as a result of this cold truth, the meaning of the war and of its terrible evils. A quick and accurate spreading of public information relating to the war would put an end to all these rumours which develop as they go around to such an extent that at one time or another they call for an official statement, which may be true to the facts but which will always leave some doubts in the minds of the people. If all sinkings in the St. Lawrence had been announced accurately and at the proper time and place, not only would everyone have accepted the dire facts of the moment, but we would have avoided the present debate to find out whether twenty or thirty ships have been sunk. Under the present circumstances, this is a very childish game.
The newspapers are only too anxious to inform the public; it is their duty to do so. They are so well organized that from morn till night eleven million people are handed out the same news. Without the newspapers where would the war effort be? How successful would be our victory loan campaigns or our organizations dealing with national interests? Who would inform the public? Information bureaus? How many would be required? What staff would it take? The radio? I believe too great importance has been given to radio as a vehicle of public information. It is well to hear, but to read is necessary. When the Prime Minister makes his speech over the radio the public listen to him because all the newspapers have announced that he is to speak. But the next day everyone looks at the newspapers in order to read the text of his speech and to understand better everything he said. Therefore in the process of information the newspaper becomes the most important means of informing the public.
Until now has the press been considered as an essential industry? When the government rationed newsprint did it take into consideration the services which the press is giving this country? I do not like rationing, I like it even less when it is detrimental to the public health, to the progress of the nation. Therefore I do not approve this restriction. But you may say, c'est la guerre. But should the war accord a pretext to ration one of the most important war industries, public information? Should we not rather take advantage of the war to reduce the enormous and useless waste of paper which occurs in government offices and to cancel for the duration a series of publications which are
The Budget-Mr. Bertrand (Terrebonne)
not read and which very often go straight into the furnace and not to the salvage committee? In my opinion rationing of newsprint cannot be justified, especially in wartime when the public resort to newspapers more than ever and feel the necessity to a greater extent than during peace time of reading many newspapers in order to form a better opinion concerning public events.
Ten days ago the press announced that the E. B. Eddy Company would stop making newsprint, on account of the shortage of pulp-wood and the shortage of man-power for forestry work. Still, in spite of all this, enlistment goes on without- a definite general plan and without taking into consideration the essential needs of industry and of the nation.
I should like to say a few words concerning liquor advertising. On December 18, 1942, an order entitled "war-time alcoholic beverages order, 1942," prohibited from February 1, 1943, brewers and distillers from advertising their products in newspapers or magazines, or in any other way. Newspapers from British Columbia and Quebec were the hardest hit, together with a large number of Canadian magazines dealing with trade or sport and social and literary matters. On February 8 last I spoke in this house in favour of the newspapers of my province, especially the weeklies. The restrictions imposed by war upon a great number of items were responsible for the weeklies losing a large amount of local and national advertising. The dailies had wider sources of publicity to rely on, although they still faced a serious handicap in that situation; but the weeklies and the magazines, drawing more than one-third of their net national advertising from beer, wine and liquors, found themselves in a very bad position.
Speaking for the Quebec weeklies, I set their case before the Minister of National Revenue (Mr. Gibson) and requested that if this advertising was to be discontinued the government should grant them compensation from other sources. The Canadian weekly newspapers association also made strong representations.
On March 2, 1943, the war-time alcoholic beverages order, 1942, was amended. This amendment permitted beer, wine and liquor firms to publish advertisements helping the war" effort or public interests. This was an improvement. But I believe that the government should also permit these companies to mention below their trade names the products which they manufacture. This amendment does not give them the right to do so. The
amendment benefits a company which makes products bearing its name, but does not benefit companies whose products do not appear below the trade name. On the other hand, the name of the product, whether it be the case of a distiller or any other industrialist, is an essential fact, especially when one knows that millions have to be spent in publicity and years of propaganda in order to have it accepted by the public.
I also wish to draw to the attention of the government the fact that United States distillers and brewers have full-page advertisements in magazines printed on the other side of the border. It is true that quite a few of these brands, advertised in United States magazines, are not sold in this country, but if the government bans liquor advertisements in this country on the ground that they incite people to drink, it should not allow this principle to be violated by indirect means. I have examined many United States magazines having w'ide circulation in Canada, and I find that quite a few brands of alcoholic beverages which are sold in this country are advertised in those magazines, because the companies which make them have branches in both Canada and the United States. I even noticed an advertisement completely Canadian in its character on the outside cover of Time magazine of March 15 last. Therefore United States companies which have branches in Canada, or Canadian companies which have branches in the United States, will assign large sums for liquor publicity in magazines which are allowed to enter this country; they will use all means at their disposal to circulate these magazines. This is highly unfair, first for Canadian distillers and brewers who have no branches in the United States and thereby cannot advertise their products, and then for the newspapers and magazines of this country who will be compelled to withdraw before these United States magazines, a few of which on many occasions publish injurious and obnoxious articles relating to Canada and the province of Quebec. These United States magazines have a total circulation in Canada of 1,118,000 copies.
I am convinced that the government is making a good war investment by voting estimates for advertising in the newspapers of the country. A well-drafted official advertisement is always read; sometimes it is cut out for future reference, and it always has direct and practical results. The daily press is of vital importance because each day it covers a large area. The weekly press, operating in a smaller area, does not hinder the work of the
The Budget-Mr. Bertrand (Terrebonne)
larger press, but is rather its complement. If in order to inform the population of a country like Canada as to the multitude of laws arising from the war, the government itself had to print and distribute this volume of matter, often covering full pages, which the newspapers print without charge, as an information service, how many millions of dollars would the government be compelled to spend for this purpose? When a newspaper publishes a government advertisement, out of deference to its readers it also writes along with it editorial comments and remarks which create an opinion, or which give a diversified public an opportunity to form an opinion in the light of those facts.
Has the wartime information board, which this year is to be provided with an amount of $1,500,000, since its creation produced the results which the public were entitled to expect? No. Many competent persons with a thorough knowledge of journalism were successively appointed to direct this organization, and they all walked out as if they considered that nothing efficient could be effected in that bureau, as if its very existence was questionable and its organization impossible to materialize on a practical basis. A newspaper man does not stick very long to a job where his sense of initiative is paralysed. This board must be reorganized. Others have been asked to direct it. Will they be more successful? I do not think so. The press is too well equipped to expect from this organization any help in spreading its daily information, and the newspapers have too many sources of current information at their disposal to be interested in publishing re-sifted news, commonplace literature or information without local interest. In other fields of public information this bureau may be useful; but instead of flooding newspapers with literature and bulletins which are not used, it should limit its task to the radio and the movies, to a national programme in favour of unity, better understanding and a common effort. For instance, why should it not initiate a series of broadcasts on the success encountered in this or that district during national victory loan campaigns or Red! Cross drives? These addresses could be delivered by newspaper men familiar with the various districts, who would be well qualified to deal with these matters in an interesting way and with practical results. And how many more broadt-casts could be prepared to awaken the nation, inform it on various important matters, and so forth? As far as journalism is concerned, the wartime information board is groping in the dark, wasting its time, wasting the country's
money, without giving it anything in return; and the releases it hands out are nothing but a repetition of statements issued by various departments of the government.
I really believe that in order to be efficient, departmental information should be decentralized away from Ottawa, and handed over to various provincial and district organizations. In order to illustrate what I wish to say, may I be permitted to point out that the releases sent out to newspapers, especially to weeklies, by the Montreal office of the wartime prices and trade board, and signed by Henri Girard, are ideal models in the matter; they are short, precise, accurate, well written, and never encumbered with useless sentences which too often seem to come out of textbooks. Some boards and departments are in the habit of issuing statements which are too long, and thus are never published. Official information relating to a province or a district can be developed in an interesting manner, and it would be to the interest of the government to consult the various newspaper associations in order to become acquainted with their suggestions. The daily newspapers have particular needs, and they have an association. Why should it not be consulted? The weeklies of English expression also have their association, the Canadian weekly newspaper association, which has been quite useful in the past and which certainly would have interesting proposals to submit. In Quebec the weeklies also have the association of French-Canadian weeklies, which at present has a membership of approximately fifty. Their problems may be different from those of the *weeklies in the rest of the country, but they could submit serious and useful suggestions toward a common cause. May I point out that the government ignored or forgot the existence of this organization, when it did not see fit to invite it to send representatives with the group of newspaper men who visited Great Britain last September.
At present, Mr. Speaker, Canada has 110 dailies and 973 weeklies. These figures are impressive. The eighty-eight dailies affiliated with the Canadian press have a total circulation of 2,364,844 copies. I cannot give the exact circulation of the weeklies, but I believe it to be almost as high, since the weeklies, as local papers, enter into every home in the districts they serve. Without exaggerating I may state that a newspaper enters two and a half million Canadian homes out of a total of 2,660,000. This is indisputable proof of the power of the newspapers, of their importance
The Budget-Mr. Graydon
and of their superiority over all other forms of propaganda and information, even the radio. In a recent interview in Vancouver the general manager of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Doctor J. S. Thomson, stated:
Radio will never replace the newspaper. After they have heard the summary of the news, people want to know more and refer to the newspaper.
I was pleased to read this statement, -which confirms the opinions I have expressed in this speech. The newspaper is the heavy artillery of public information. It proves so every day. The services it renders to the nation are of such a nature that -they cannot be remunerated. Of course every newspaper editor has his own opinions, which he freely expressed. The freedom of the press is a sacred thing, and when it exists in a country that country can be assured of surviving. The press is a leading power, and to deprive a society of such a power would be tantamount to condemning it to die. The existence of this leading power must therefore be assured. More than any other financial undertaking, the newspapers have felt severe blows from the war-on one hand, rationing of paper, continuous increase, and a further possible increase in the price of newsprint, higher taxes and salaries, and other restrictions; on the other hand, their principal source of revenue, namely, that of advertising, has constantly been on the decrease. The government, by appropriate measures and concessions, should facilitate the task of the press at this period when it must face alone a greater amount of work together with increased obligations. Thus the government would enable it to fulfil its mission, its whole mission, namely, that of informing the public.
On motion of Mr. Graydon the debate was adjourned.
On motion of Mr. Mackenzie (Vancouver Centre) the house adjourned at 10.50 p.m.
Tuesday, March 23, 1943
Topic: THE BUDGET
Subtopic: DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE