September 12, 1945

CCF

Angus MacInnis

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

Mr. MacINNIS:

If the ministers could only get together before they begin contradicting me, rather than after, we would make much better progress. The conference they are now holding should have been held before they came into the chamber. In any event I shall leave the matter there.

The next point I should like to discuss is that of housing. I am not going to deal with it at any length, because it has been dealt with by several hon. members. It was referred to by my leader, and undoubtedly further reference will be made to the subject in the house, unless something is done very quickly.

So far as housing is concerned, conditions in Vancouver are deplorable. Housing conditions in most cities of Canada were bad before the war. They have continually become worse. I am not blaming the government for that, because it was inevitable that that condition should develop. In British Columbia, since the beginning of the war there has been a great increase in population. From 1941, when the census was taken, to 1944, the population increased from 818,000 in the earlier year to an estimated 932,000 in the latter year. It is considered that over 60,000 of those people are settled in Vancouver. The situation grows worse daily as many of the men from the armed services who enlisted in other provinces are taking their discharge in British Columbia, or are coming to that province after being discharged. That happened after the last war, and it is happening again this time.

The government is leaving the matter of housing to private enterprise. I hold in my hand a news item from the Vancouver Daily Province, dated July 16, which says, "Ilsley introduces vast scheme to provide veterans' homes. Ottawa guarantees builders against loss." I thought my friends favoured private enterprise, and urged that private enterprise had a right to its profit because it was prepared to take risks. But the private enterprise we have to-day asks the government to take the risks while it takes the profits. Surely that is a poor sort of private enterprise. And when it reaches that stage I say it ceases to be private enterprise and should receive no further consideration from anyone.

When during the war we needed so many planes, so many tanks, so many ships and so many guns the government planned for the production of them. So far as it was able it did not permit anything to interfere with that production-and it had wonderful success, bur when veterans need homes, when war workers need homes, when our people generally need homes, why in the world can we not decide how many homes we need, and then plan and organize to build them? Why should we leave those things to private enterprise, while we guarantee them against loss, if they should have any, and at the same time permit them to take a profit, if there is one? We cannot carry on the business of making provision for our people that way.

In the short time remaining to me may I make the admission that perhaps the reason for the mental gymnastics of which the Minister of Labour complained a few minutes ago is that I have been trying to understand the social and economic philosophy of the official opposition. During the election and since that time I thought they wanted the removal of controls, and a return to private enterprise so fast that it would make one's hair stand on end. But since coming to parliament and listening to them I have decided that their tune has changed. Perhaps when I say that I am not altogether correct. In my view they have two tunes, if I have caught the strains correctly, one of which is entitled Throw the Controls out of the Window, and the second of which is Let the Government Get Action. But they cannot have both. The authority which is going to get action must have control. If we want the government to act-and this group does want it, and is willing to give the government the authority and control for action-it must have control. But hon. members to my right want it both ways. I should like to quote their position as it was placed before the house last night by the hon.

The Address-Mr. Maclnnis

member for Vancouver-Burrard (Mr. Merritt'). This is what he says as reported on page 107 of Hansard:

The end of laissez-faire means another thing. It means that the government are no longer solely the administrators of the affairs of this country; that they can be content just to let things go. The government are ultimately responsible for every part of our national life, and there is no ill which befalls the people of this country which it is not the duty of the government to correct. If they are to correct all those ills, they must get a new outlook.

Somewhat earlier in his address-and as I said before, his maiden speech was a good one-the hon. member said we do not want a new social order. Now it seems we must have a new outlook without a new social order.

Mr. FRASER; What Canada needs is a new leader.

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

Angus MacInnis

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

Mr. MacINNIS:

But if the new leader

has the old leader's outlook, where does it get us? As a matter of fact, my hon. friends are in an impossible position. They want to keep in with those who want the old and also keep in with those who want the new. You cannot have it that way. This group is asking for a fundamental change in our attitude toward our social and economic problems because we are convinced that it is only by economic and social changes comparable with the changes that have taken place in our means of production that we can meet the problems with which we are confronted today.

Mr. J. H. BLAlOKMORE (Lethbridge): Mr. Speaker, may I in commencing my remarks congratulate you upon having been selected for the high and responsible position which you now hold. I have observed since you have commenced to read the prayers in this house that you have read them with a sincerity which is quite noticeable. It seems to me that you have approached the tasks which you are endeavouring to perform with a humble trust in divine providence. This i? a fine example which you have set for the members of this house and the people generally throughout the country.

I should like to congratulate the mover (Mr. Benidiekson) and the seconder (Mr. Langlois) of the address in reply. They did very well under extremely trying conditions. As these two splendid young boys spoke I could not help recalling the last war and the boys who returned from it, my classmates, my chums. The youth of my generation had the challenge thrown to them; the call went out; they rose and marched and stood-sufficient in their generation. Once more in my lifetime I have seen a noble generation of British

youth rise and prove itself equal to its testing. For those who have come safely home, for those who are impaired in health and limb, for those who have laid down their splendid young lives for freedom, for those whose lives are blighted in bereavement, there is comfort I think in a line which I discovered quoted in a little poem left us by an airman whose shattered young body lies buried in Lemnos. This line goes:

Now God be thanked who has matched us with this hour.

The boys of the last war were told that they would have "homes for heroes;" a disturbing percentage of them were unable to obtain or maintain even hovels for heroes. They were told that they were fighting a "war to end wars;" they found on return that someone behind the scenes had contrived to make another war inevitable. They were told that they were fighting a war to make the world safe for democracy; they found that behind their backs the world had 'been made impossible for democracy. The boys of this war have won the world one more chance to make good. It is a comforting thing that in this house there are so many returned men, so many of the boys of this war. By careful study they will discover the difficulties which confront a government, of a country like Canada in times like these. That will be a help.

One thing that is disturbing is that they are so dangerously divided. I sat here and listened to four on the Liberal side who simply adored the grand old Liberal party and appeared to believe that in it lay the hopes of the future. Then we listened to one on the Conservative side who believed that there was no need at all of a new order. Apparently his devotion to the Conservative party was equal to the devotion of the other four to the Liberal party. To what extent there is a difference between those two parties I am not at the present moment going to pronounce. We heard also a returned man from the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation group who was certain that- change must come in the social order.

These boys are all united in their objective, on whatsoever side of the house they are or in whatsoever party, but they will have to learn that they will have to be united in the method or the technique to be employed or their enemies will defeat them. I fear that thus far in this debate our returned boys have not given the house such hope as we wished we could have had that they will be effective in this house.

Somewhere there is a way of doing the things which the boys wish to have done. This country is able to produce all the food, all

The Address-Mr. Blnckmore

the clothing, all the shelter, all the health services, all the educational facilities, all of everything which is necessary to give every one in Canada that high standard of living to which we as a people have a right. Everybody wants them to have that high standard.

I doubt if there is a member in this house who does not want them to have that high standard. The trouble is that we have not yet determined what technique should be applied to enable the people to attain their desires. I commend to the returned men that the first important task for them is to determine what that technique shall be and come to agreement on it.

So far in this debate several hon. members have been rather touching in the beauty of their expression of the lofty ideals which actuated them in coming into this house. Those ideals are all to the good; they are all dreams of a bright new world. But new wmrlds and new orders cost money. The main problem confronting the members of this house is where to get the money we need. There is no need for members of any party in this house to rise and rail against the members of the government. I doubt if there is a member of the cabinet who is not just as eager to give people the things they want as the people are to get them. But in the last analysis they must find the money, and I would suggest to my friends of the Conservative party and my friends of the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation that they would save themselves a lot of time and the house a lot of time if they would concentrate on the problem of where to get the money.

In the world into which we are now emerging the Canadian parliament must find much money. There are four main purposes for which it must find money.

In the first place it is going to be the duty of Canada to supply more and more goods abroad. It is going to become our duty, and is our duty, to maintain a high standard of military strength in this country, as well as in all the countries of the British commonwealth and empire. It is going to be the duty of this parliament to maintain a high standard of living in all Canada for all Canadians. At the same time the government must find increasing sums of money to pay for the government services which are daily becoming more and more urgently demanded by the people. Without going into details I tli ink it is easily observable that the demands on our purse are great.

First, with respect to the amount of goods that we must send abroad, and by the goods we must send abroad I do not mean the goods that we trade abroad. As hon. members know,

we were all brought up in our schools on the doctrine of trade, and now we find ourselves embarrassed, if not confounded, as soon as we learn that the people who need goods from us happen to have insufficient goods to return to us in repayment. We are facing a situation which is rather new throughout the world. This whole need has existed throughout the war and has been taken care of by the United States through its lend-lease arrangements, and by the Dominion of Canada through an extensive Mutual Aid programme. Let us not carry away the idea that lease-lend and Mutual Aid came to stay only while the war was on. They foreshadow a new technique which will have to be employed in the post-war world. The money to pay for Mutual Aid is not going to be a negligible item in Canada's budget. We must provide our share of the goods for the nations of the world, for the peoples of the world as a whole. Otherwise how can we possibly discharge our responsibilities under the Atlantic charter by which we were committed to a policy of freedom from want? We assume freedom from want for all mankind. And now we must provide goods for the liberated countries, for there is upon us a special responsibility with respect to them. Until they can get on their feet, as we say, to the extent that they can carry themselves we must contribute our share toward carrying them.

Then we must see to it that the members of the British commonwealth are not deprived of any goods which they need that we can produce in surplus. Especially must we remember Britain. Britain has exhausted herself during the war just past as she has never exhausted herself in her history. She has had to liquidate all her foreign investments upon which she depended for great quantities of raw materials imported from abroad. Her factories in large measure were transformed into war factories and continued operating as such until so near the coming of peace that they will be several months behind the factories of such nations as the United States or Canada, which countries have been engaged meanwhile in great measure in producing consumer goods.

Then, again, Britain's supremacy in the carrying trade of the world has been in large measure impaired owing to the tremendous percentage of her shipping that was sunk in carrying goods to all her allies on the far-flung battle-fronts of the world. Long before she can overtake her previous position in shipping, there is some indication that great concerns in the United States will have entered the field with air transport and taken over the business upon which Britain to a great extent depended for raw materials from abroad.

The Address-Mr. Blackmore

These are the factors which have contributed to the "economic jam" we hear of in Great Britain. The damage to Great Britain's economy I fear is in a considerable degree permanent. The whole condition calls for a Mutual Aid scheme, extensive, comprehensive and in large measure perpetual. If we do not provide for such a scheme we shall be neglecting to protect the standard of living of the matchless British commoners. We shall, moreover, be failing to provide an outlet for Canadian surpluses other-wise unmarketable abroad, and w-e shall be failing to ensure a strong, hopeful Britain, a fearless, unconquerable outpost guarding our frontiers for the future. Where should we have been in this war had it not been for that same outpost? Is it to be supposed for one moment that the babes who now toddle around our cradles will not have an equal need for Britain when their time of testing shall come? And what sort of improvident creatures shall we prove to have been if we neglect to foresee and to provide what is required? Therefore we must find much money for goods which are to be distributed abroad, quite regardless of the goods which we shall trade abroad.

We must make sure that we of the British commonwealth shall at all future times be strong, strong enough to discharge to the full our responsibilities for maintaining the peace of the world. Let us never forget the lessons of the League of Nations. Let us not be deluded by all this wishful thinking and talking about the security council. Let no one interpret my remarks as indicating that I have any objection to the security council; I merely suggest that if we trust too far in the security council we shall probably find it weighed in the balance and found wanting, just when we need it.

Far too many of us trusted far too much in the high-sounding phrases of collective security dreamers. We permitted ourselves to become unprepared. Tens of thousands of the noblest youth our people ever produced have died by reason of the foolhardy blunder w-e made in leaving them unprepared. The men who left the British peoples unprepared betrayed a whole generation of the youth of over 600,000,000 of the British peoples. While we talk about German and Japanese war criminals, perhaps we should give a little attention to British, Canadian and United States war criminals and others who neglected to keep their countries prepared. Let us remember, while we are discussing all the other things which require our attention, not to allow this important matter again to fall into disregard.

fMr. Blackmore.]

Why did the British commonwealth leaders leave their peoples unprepared? Partly at least because they were deluded into believing that there was no money. Why was the Mag-inot line not completed to the point where it should have been? Why was construction stopped at just the point where the Germans would enter? Well, it was reported that there was no money. Why did the Bennett administration between 1930 and 1935 allow much of Canada's already meagre military strength to be dismantled? This fact must sober my Conservative friends. It happened. Well, they thought there was no money and they must economize; and flesh and blood and life paid the price of their folly. They were not alone in their error. They were the victims of a mentality. The all-important thing for us, is to see to it that we also do not become victims of the same mentality.

There are at least four reasons why we allowed ourselves to become unprepared. The first was the money reason. The second was the strange subversive doctrine of pacifism, foremost among the exponents of which, I regret to say, were the leaders of the movement which is now the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation. They were deluded; yes, and they deluded a lot of others, and once more flesh and blood and life paid the price of the folly. Then there was the League of Nations delusion, the idea that somewhere or other there was a body that could take care of our troubles for us, so that we all began to think, "let George do it". Well, George didn't do it, and finally we had to do it. That is likely to occur again. Lastly, there was the doctrine of appeasement.

In this question of no money, this notion of pacifism, this delusion regarding the League of Nations, and this false doctrine of appeasement we must seek the causes of our unpreparedness. But the foundation of most of this fallacious thinking was the no-money complex; and that is likely to be the most compelling of all motives in future, unless we seek and gain enlightenment regarding money.

As to the serious responsibility which is upon this parliament of maintaining a high standard of living in the Dominion of Canada, I shall not go into details. Everyone in the house will readily recognize the significance of the items I mention. We must manage to guarantee, both to producers and to consumers, prices which will stimulate production and consumption. We must manage to maintain in this land a wage structure which will again stimulate production and consumption and will give people that high standard of living for which we all long. Then we must .provide for allowances on a generous scale.

The Address-Mr. Blackmore

The miserable pittance which we now give our old age pensioners is a scandal. I would hesitate to tell you what I think in fifty years people on the floor of this house will be advocating in the matter of old age pensions;

I would be considered an impossible fanatic, and I am afraid the Minister of Finance (Mr. Usley) would have to go to an institution for his nerves if he were to hear what they will be talking about in fifty years regarding old age pensions in this country. Then we must provide pensions for the blind; pensions for others who for some reason or other are unable to gain access to the wage stream and are consequently unable to purchase the goods which the producers of Canada stand ready to produce in greater and greater abundance. When we provide them with incomes to buy we shall provide ourselves with a market to the extent to which we provide the incomes. All this is involved in maintaining a high standard of living in Canada.

The health standards which obtain in this country are an utter disgrace. I need not go into detail. All hon. members know. We all know how many people have gone year after year without visiting a doctor for extremely important medical examinations simply because they dreaded that they would hear they were sick and would have to go to a hospital; many of them have continued until they died of disease. In this wonderful Canada of ours such things must not be.

Also our educational standards in the country are far, far too low.

All these things we must undertake in this parliament to provide for in some way or another on a standard which is fitting, fitting not only for the boys who have come home from this terrible war and their wives and children, but fitting for the mothers and fathers who raised those boys, and fitting for the mothers and fathers who raised those mothers and fathers, whom we are now relegating to garrets and basements in little dark, dingy unseemly places in our cities where they-I hesitate to use the word which would describe the kind of existence they have to eke out at thirty dollars a month. Remember they are the mothers and fathers of the mothers and fathers who raised the heroes of to-day.

Another major item for which we must provide money is that of discharging the responsibilities of the government with respect to our debt, the costs of government, and so forth. I shall leave that without further comment. But I believe it all adds up to this simple fact, that we are faced with a problem of providing money which is positively bewildering.

What does the government say is the source of the money we shall use? We can have no more money than that which we can wring out of the people of Canada by all sorts of taxation; the amount of money they haippen to have in their pockets is the absolute limit, beyond which it is impossible for Liberals to go. Never mind how much wheat we can produce, how much milk and cream and cheese and meats and fruits and vegetables and every other kind of food we can produce; never mind how much clothing we can produce, or how much furniture, or how many buildings or how much building material, or how vast our resources, or how willing our people are to work, or how skilful they are in the performance of their work; never mind how great our industrial equipment, we simply cannot in any way, according to these gentlemen, increase our income for our government beyond that which we can squeeze out of the people by merciless and tyrannical taxation, a process which in its very application decreases their purchasing power and thereby decreases the markets within Canada. Such is the Liberal government; such are the brilliant gentlemen who managed to trick the people of Canada into voting them back into power on the grounds that they fought the war well. I would not in any way decry the way in which they fought the war. Generally speaking, most people of average intelligence can do a pretty good job if you give them a wideopen purse; and I think the government will have to grant that they had a wide-open purse. Never a dollar that was ever asked for in this house or in a loan campaign across the country but was oversubscribed if the request was made that .such be the case; therefore they had a wide-open purse, and the debt which now is accumulating against the name of the Dominion of Canada clearly indicates that they used it rather freely. Therefore let us temper the praise we give the Liberals for their war effort with the reminder that we have paid rather freely for it. Not only that, but we have committed ourselves to taxation for the future, so that most of the splendid boys who come back from fighting the war have to take off their coats now and deprive themselves for the rest of their natural lives to pay the cost of the war after already paying for it in blood and sweat, risk and suffering.

There is another group of gentlemen who are identical with the Liberals, namely, the Conservatives. They, too, believe that the only possible source of even a cent in this country is what they can wring out of the people by taxation. If I am doing the hon. gentlemen any injustice I trust at the earliest

The Address-Mr. Blackmore

convenient moment they will rise and assure me that they have begun to see the light and that they see another source of money than taxation. There you are. That is what you have on two sides of the house. I think there is no difference 'between the Liberals and Conservatives. I am challenging any member of the Liberal party or the Conservative party to rise and show a single iota of difference between the two parties. In fact I would judge that the Conservatives are probably ju9t a little more liberal than the Liberals and the Liberals a little more conservative than the Conservatives. I think I have not been unkind.

Now we come to the socialist concept. Here I tread with a measure of trepidation because I am not entirely sure I have been able to learn from the speeches I have heard and the books I have read just what socialism stands for. But my idea-I speak subject to correction is that they depend on taxation and borrowing just as the Liberals and Conservatives do. There is no difference at all in that respect between them. But they do say that if they had the government take over the industries so that the government could acquire all the profits which industries are making that would constitute another source of revenue for the government; and if they should see fit to raise the price a little on the goods coming out of the factories they would be able to tax the people in that manner too. Therefore they have another method of taxation through government ownership of industry. If I have been unfair to them I should be glad to be answered in great detail.

I have endeavoured to be courteous in my analysis of the situation.

Is there not some other way? Should not the amount of money which is available to a government depend' directly upon the goods and services which the nation can produce? If we think of the goods and services producing capacity of Canada and we contemplate our ability to produce enough goods and services to supply our people with all the food, clothing, shelter, housing, education and health services that they need, and to produce enough goods and services to take care of our costs with respect to armaments and to produce enough goods and services to discharge our responsibilities with respect to goods which have to be shipped abroad, and to produce enough goods and services to pay the costs of running our government, immediately hope fills our hearts. We think of the great stretches of grain-growing country and all the other resources which we have; of the tremendous machine equipment which has develfMr. Blackmore.]

oped during this war, and the skills which we have acquired, including all the different technological plastic advances, and we say. surely we can produce enough goods and services to accomplish all these things. Let us go forward in faith, happiness and good cheer. But the minute we think of paying for them by taking all the necessary money out of our pockets, then, Mr. Speaker, we are immediately overcome with despair.

I should like to commend to the young men and the new members who have come to this house the proposition, that it is possible to turn into money the goods and services which the nation can produce. It is possible to turn these into money within the nation. What is physically possible is financially possible. And may I commend to them this proposition for most earnest study? May I suggest to them that through this device, through this technique, lies the way to the new order.

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

Bona Arsenault

Independent

Mr. BONA ARSENAULT (Bona venture):

Mr. Speaker, my remarks shall be brief, as I had no intention of taking part in this debate. I represent in this house the county of Bon-aventure, which is situated in the eastern part of the province of Quebec adjoining New Brunswick. Its population of about 40,000 people are descendants of Acadians, empire loyalists, early traders and fishermen from France and the English channel, Irish, Scottish and English. Racial harmony has ever prevailed in that county, and the majority of the people speak both languages. I am thankful indeed to that constituency for having elected me to this house by a substantial majority. One of my predecessors representing that county here, one who certainly will be remembered by the older members of this house, was the late Hon. Charles Marcil, who was elected for the first time in 1900 and represented Bonaventure without interruption for thirty-six years.

As I mentioned a moment ago, I did not intend to take part in this debate until yesterday, when the hon. member for Nanaimo (Mr. Pearkes) made certain references to service men seeking their discharge from the army.

I should like to quote briefly from the address of the hon. member at page 78:

A soldier may go up to the sergeant-major, and if he cannot speak French all he has to do is to shrug his shoulders and say, "Me no speak English" and he is out-out to go and seek a job before the long-service men come back from overseas.

The hon. member for Nanaimo, who I understand has been in charge of the Pacific command for a certain period, should know better; but there is another aspect to this matter

The Address-Mr. Arsenault

which I should like to stress very briefly before this house. For many years a certain element in the Conservative party could not find any better solution for some of our most crucial problems than to play one part of the country against the other, than to stir up and spread prejudice against one-third of the population of our country, and to capitalize week after week, month after month upon the resentment which they themselves help to develop in certain sections of Canada against the province of Quebec. Yet to-day they wonder why that party has not had a chance to come back into offlce more than once during the last twenty-five years. They wonder why they were so badly defeated on the last polling day; and they wonder why an ex-Conservative like myself should be standing now on this side of the house supporting the Liberal administration. In referring to the service men in the terms he used yesterday the hon. member for Nanaimo was keeping in line with the familiar Tory way of playing ball. From 1939 to 1942 the shares of the Conservative party were so low in the minds of the people of this country that some drastic measure, some radical move had to be undertaken in order to save that party from total disappearance. In the fall of 1942 a convention of the party was held at Winnipeg, in which I actively participated in a last and vain hope that the party to which I had belonged all my life and to which I was very strongly tied by family traditions, would be regenerated. That was where and how the old Conservative party became overnight the young and up-to date Progressive Conservative party; at least I, together with many others throughout this dominion, strongly held that belief. A new leader was elected, certainly an outstanding man and, I must admit frankly, a man for whom I still have a great deal of admiration. A certain platform was adopted, and the younger generation in the party thought that at last it had got rid of the Tories and all their reactionary influence wu.iin the party.

For about a year and a half the new leader of this party succeeded in quieting down that element, so much so that at one time the name of John Bracken was popular not only throughout the other provinces of Canada but even in the far distant rural sections of old Quebec. But then came the Saskatchewan provincial election and the sweeping victory of the C.C.F. over the Progressive Conservative candidates, while the Bloc Populaire apparently was making decisive headway in the province of Quebec. That was enough for the highly inspired strategists of the Progressive Conservative party to change their

mind about Winnipeg and throw into the waste paper basket the gentleman's agreements which had been arrived at there after long days and nights of laborious discussion in committee rooms. This change of mind is confirmed by a Toronto weekly, Saturday Night, in an editorial which appeared on June 24, 1944, from which I wish to quote a brief extract:

In spite of Mr. McTague's clever pleading this new attitude-

They mean the attitude of the new party.

-is definitely a change of mind, and a change back in the mind of Mr. Meighen and the element which had charge of the party before South York. . . . It means in effect that the party has decided to capitalize on the resentment against Quebec and to abandon all idea of obtaining any Quebec support for many years to come.

Then followed my resignation as president of the Progressive Conservative association for Quebec and the announcement that I was leaving the ranks of the party;

Again I refer the house to a brief extract from an editorial published by' the Toronto Saturday Night. While this was published over a year ago, on July 1, 1944, it looks as if it had been written to-day:

The action of the Progressive Conservatives in tossing Quebec into the discard in order to improve their position in other provinces is probably, from the Liberal point of view, a more interesting development than even the Saskatchewan election itself.

It will make it extremely difficult for any French-speaking members from Quebec to cooperate with any other party than the Liberal, even if they do not admit to being Liberals themselves in the next parliament; and after the McTague speech they are unlikely to do anything that would bring into power a party which is practically going to the country on a platform of teaching Quebec what's what.

The short term result of such an attitude has been to consolidate the Liberal party's hold on Quebec, without lessening it to any substantial extent in Ontario where the Liberal vote was barely 5i per cent below the Conservative, in spite of the results of the provincial elections held in that province one week prior to the federal vote.

As a long term result, the Progressive Conservative party has thrown away the best chance it has had since 1930 to take office, and has thrown that chance away for a long period of years to come. In the past any attempt to lessen in the minds of the people of Canada the magnificent war effort performed by Quebec in the last five tragic years of war has not paid dividends to the Progressive Conservative party.

Turning to volunteer enlistments, I would challenge from my place in the house any hon. member outside Quebec to place beside

The Address-Mr. Arsenault

the record of the county of Bonaventure, which I represent, the record of his constituency in respect of the number of volunteers for the army, the navy and the air force, on a pro rata basis of population, and I am satisfied the comparison would reflect no discredit upon my riding. The same condition has obtained in the neighbouring county of Gaspe, and also in Dorchester and very likely in many other constituencies in my province.

Despite her two cultures, Canada has made a tremendous contribution to the war effort in the last five years. It is most doubtful whether the adoption of any of the drastic measures advocated by the Progressive Conservative party would have added materially to that contribution. On the contrary, I am sure that in the long run it would have torn confederation apart.

Mr. Speaker, you have now been told why I stand to-day on this side of the house pledging my support to what I believe to be the only national party in Canada, the only party the policies of which are accepted generally by all sections of the country and all classes of our population.

One point which must not be overlooked, but which must be recognized, is that the leader of the government has performed an outstanding and almost superhuman task under most adverse circumstances. During these long and tragic years of war he has spared no effort in shaping the development of an extremely powerful military and economic war effort, while at the same time safeguarding in all ways humanly possible that measure of Canadian unity, understanding and friendship which is the basic fundamental of that true and sincere collaboration shared by citizens of Canada of different racial origins. I firmly believe that this Liberal government is the one government which can bring about the best understanding in Canada, and lay the most solid foundation of a great Canadian nation of the future.

In conclusion, I should like to make a special appeal at the beginning of this session to all members of the house, both new and old, and to ask them to do their utmost to bring about goodwill, better understanding and sincere friendship among Canadians of different racial extractions and different creeds. I appeal to all true Canadians to lay aside past dissensions and to join hand in hand in building up on this continent a great and prosperous Canadian nation.

This war has taught us many things. It has taught us, for instance, that Canada is a nation among the nations of the -world. It has taught us also, that what we lack most in Canada at this time is Canadian-minded

Canadians. We now know things that we did not know before the war. We know that Canada is capable of great achievements. In the past perhaps we have suffered from a lack of a spirit of enterprise, a lack of vision and of initiative. Now that we have learned how to use men, money and machinery, our generation will undoubtedly benefit from that knowledge. We have used men, money and machines for war-time purposes and we must continue to use them for peacetime progress. Our society must be given the conscious purpose of inspiring peace-time devotion as well as war-time sacrifice. This aim, this objective can be attained by collaboration between the different nations of the world, but it can be obtained in the first place and more surely by cooperation by individuals. That is why I stand for cooperation. I never stood and I do not stand for a separated Quebec in a disunited Canada. I am a Canadian-minded Canadian and I stand for a united Canada which will secure the full benefit of our British connections.

The diversity of racial origin in Canada to-day should not be a problem. We have so many other problems to deal with. Why try to divide the French and English speaking people of this country on five per cent of our differences when we should stand united on ninety-five per cent of our resemblance, of our mutual interests and of our common ideals? After all, we are proceeding, sometimes perhaps by different roads, toward the same goal, toward the same aim, which is the greatness, the progress and the prosperity of this country. It is the combined efforts of all the elements of our beautiful land carried out in a spirit of justice, mutual understanding and mutual loyalty that will guide us Canadians, French and English speaking, toward glorious realization.

Mr. Speaker, may I add just one word to thank you, as well as the hon. members of this house, for the keen attention which you have had) the kindness to give me, and to assure you, Mr. Speaker, of my full cooperation.

The needs of the constituency I represent are many. I shall no doubt have the opportunity of pointing them out to you in the debate on the budget, but to-day I do not wish to dela}' any longer the proceedings of this house.

Mr. PAUL-EDMOND GAGNON (Chicoutimi) (Translation): Mr. Speaker, your nomination as Speaker is a tribute of esteem and an unequivocal mark of confidence on the part of the hon. members of this house. I take pleasure, with the hon. members who have spoken before me, in tendering you my most

SEiPTEMBER 12, 1945

The Address-Mr. Gagnon

sincere congratulations and my best wishes of success in the discharge of your important functions.

The mover of the address in reply to the speech from the throne the hon. member for Kenora-Rainy River (Mr. Benidickson) carried out his task with a brilliance and a skill which portend splendid successes for the future. His performance has given me much pleasure.

No one could have lauded or eulogized the right Iron, the prime minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) and his government more sincerely or with more enthusiasm than did the seconder of the address, the hon. member for Gaspe (Mr. Langlois). I congratulate him, without however envying him, for having felt the liberal grace at such an early age, and I wish he may have perseverance. May he always see, in life and in politics, only the bright side of things.

No one in this house is more delighted than myself to hear that at long last, the government intends to provide the Canadian nation with a flag of its own. If the supreme consolation of pressing to their dying breast the glorious emblem of their race and country was denied our gallant soldiers, we who shall reap the fruits of their sacrifice shall joyfully feel our hearts thrill to the sight of the glorious symbol whose folds will ever show the stain of their blood and sweat.

The plan to make Ottawa a gigantic memorial in commemoration of our -brave fighters who fell on the battlefield was a happy thought. I heartily endorse it, but as a finishing touch to this magnificent scheme, I should like to see an isolated1 plot of soil -of sinister and mournful aspect set apart for the raising of a cold unadorned pillar, similar in the style to a government order, in honour of all the civilians victimized by the wartime prices and trade board and selective service, so that the memory of the countless dictatorial annoyances and vexations borne during the war by the people on the home front may be kept alive.

I hope that the government will codify the social legislation it will submit to the approval of the house during the present session so as to grant equal privileges to every Canadian citizen. In this sphere, we -already have the family allowances act which is excellent in itself but vitiated in its form and application to French Canadians. That is why the Duplessis government, hoping to supplement the federal act and to remedy its shortcomings, has decided to contribute a part of the allowance and thus ensure to large families the benefits which accrue from this security measure.

This family allowance measure is a striking example of things to be expected in the legislative and economic fields were we to allow the federal government to centralize our sources of income together with the privileges now held by the provincial administrations.

If, on the one hand, we have reason to commend the wisdom and excellence of the measures forecast in the speech from the throne, I believe that, on the other hand, the deficiencies noticeable make it an incomplete and unfinished document. I realize that the government cannot give at the opening of a new parliament, a thorough outline of all the steps contemplated; however, I think the greatest attention and the first place should have been devoted to the problems inherent to the transition from a war-time to a peacetime economy. The people of Canada want work. The earnest desire of the man on the street is to bring home a pay envelope sufficiently full to take care of his needs and those of his family. I know the worthy workers of my constituency. They are skilled men closely grouped together and who ask nothing but the opportunity to earn a living honourably, but I know that in the event of a return of unemployment, of a decline in the number of jobs available, which is the case at the present time, our workers will not relish the total or partial closing of their plants, even though the national flag be unfurled over the buildings.

Chicoutimi constituency, which I am honoured to represent in this house, besides being one of the most beautiful in the country, is among those who have been foremost in helping and speeding the war effort. Not only have we supplied, for the armed services, numerous recruits who have fought courageously on every battlefield of the world, but, by the intensive production of aluminium at Arvida, by the surprising volume of our agricultural output, our district, I am proud to say, has been one of the principal factors of victory. Having shared in the battles on all fronts, we are to-day entitled to share in the reward.

In our midst lie tremendous opportunities for industrial expansion. The possibilities for development of the Saguenay region are unlimited. We now have, besides those already in existence, previous to the war, one of the mightiest hydro-electric plants in the world, the Shipshaw power house. Thousands upon thousands of horse-power presently go to waste in the absence of industries which could utilize them. A group of far-sighted and patriotic citizens, concerned about the future of our district, have formed a board of economic guidance to develop an extensive

The Address-Mr. Gagnon

programme designed to attract Canadian and foreign industries interested in establishing their headquarters or branch offices in Canada. However, the aim of these enterprising men of my constituency can be realized only with the help of the government. We ask neither for money nor special privileges; all we want and wish is a proper and permanent job for every member of our working class which would ensure the development and prosperity of one of the most beautiful parts of the province of Quebec. We wish the government to undertake, in and out of Canada, an advertising programme informing capitalists and business men that we possess hydraulic developments awaiting utilization and an available and skilled manpower comparable to any for efficiency and service. We demand to be free from the fear of unemployment, for we wish to live in peace and enjoy the freedom for which our soldiers, airmen and seamen have fought and died.

I believe I am right in presuming that the yearnings of my constituents, both male and female, are shared by the whole population of Canada. Our ideal is that of the youth of our country who at last desire to get their share of happiness and welfare which Divine Providence has placed within the reach of everyone.

Our ambition is to forget the hideous spectre of war and to give a deeper meaning to the word brotherhood; it is to forsake the road leading to misery, pain, hatred and death, to enter resolutely the path of hope, life and love.

Our people must not be left under the impression that war is a great cause of prosperity and that a solution to the probr lems which confront mankind must always be sought on the graves of our sons.

Therefore, I say that the great task facing the government, and which is one of its main concerns, is to strive unremittingly to achieve a prompt and smooth reconversion of our war-time economy to a peace-time one.

And one of the most powerful means of providing our country with a permanent and real standard of prosperity is to possess a merchant marine which will enable us to export our manufactured goods to all the countries of the world and especially to South America.

I therefore support wholeheartedly the suggestion of the hon. member for Gaspe who has made interesting and timely remarks in that respect, and I feel that the government should regard this matter as a vital one. One need not be a great economist to know that if we have a favourable trade balance,

the whole economy of our country will benefit therefrom and the lot of all the classes of society will improve correspondingly.

(Text): Because I love my country and because I want it to be great, strong and prosperous, my collaboration is pledged to those who assume the responsibility of assuring its greatness, its prosperity and bringing about its financial, economic and moral strength. While keeping my full freedom of thought and action and remaining totally independent of all political parties, I feel it my duty to cooperate with government authorities so as to promote and protect Canada's interest, and I shall not fail to keep my pledge.

On motion of Mr. Stewart (Winnipeg North) the debate was adjourned.

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

THE ROYAL ASSENT


A message was delivered by Charles H. Larose, Esquire, Acting Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod, as follows: Mr. Speaker, His Honour, the deputy of His Excellency tile Governor General, desires the immediate attendance of this honourable house in the chamber of the honourable the Senate. Accordingly, the House went up to the Senate. And having returned, Mr. SPEAKER informed the house that the deputy of His Excellency the Governor General had been pleased to give in His Majesty's name the royal assent to the following bills: An act for granting to His Majesty certain sums of money for national defence and demobilization. An act for granting to His Majesty certain sums of money for the public service for the financial year ending 31st March, 1946. It being five minutes after six o'clock, the house adjourned, without question put, pursuant to standing order. Thursday, September 13', 1945.


September 12, 1945