April 17, 1946

PC

John Ritchie MacNicol

Progressive Conservative

Mr. MacNICOL:

The Alberta government

has discovered a process, has it not?

Topic:   SUPPLY OF FOODSTUFFS TO INDIA
Subtopic:   MINERAL RESOURCES
Sub-subtopic:   PROPOSED GOVERNMENT CONTROL AND OPERATION
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SC

Solon Earl Low

Social Credit

Mr. LOW:

Yes, it has. I further assert that there is one province in Canada in which great progress has been made in the last ten years in connection with administering and developing resources in the interests of the people. But that has not been done under government ownership. Rather, it has been done under a carefully and wisely and regulated system of private enterprise with government assistance. They have obtained results.

I do not want especially to sing the praises of Alberta, but for over ten years I was familiar with what took place there, and for that reason it is the best example I can give. In the first place we did take hold of things, and saw to it that proper conservation measures were introduced. Those conservation measures came belatedly, because many of our resources had already been wasted. As a result of the policy introduced into that province of a government regulated system of private enterprise there was gained for the people of the province a fair share of the returns from the resources of the province.

At the same time ample allowance was made to provide a sufficient reward to those people who came into the province under their own steam, and who took their own risks. They took big risks in the province, as can be shown by the record. They were permitted, we think, to obtain a just reward for their efforts and risks. The people have had a fair share of the returns from the development of these resources except in those cases where the resources had already been alienated from the crown by the action of the federal government prior to the time Alberta received her resources in 1930.

In the third place, orderly development has taken place instead of the haphazard development that occurred in those cases where the administration was located at a point thousands of miles away from the scene of the

Mineral Resources

actual work. Exploration has been intensified in the gas, oil, gold and most other fields. People who wish to risk their capital are not afraid to come into the province of Alberta because they know they will get a fair deal under the system of government regulated private enterprise.

Alberta has not solved all her problems by any means. She has not solved the problem of coal, but I am satisfied that the future holds some hope of a solution, provided that we go forward in faith and work carefully in an effort to find this solution. I do not believe that government ownership can possibly take the place of private ownership and development. I believe in a system of private enterprise. I believe that a private risk should bring with it a fair reward for the risk taken and the effort put forth. Basically that is the policy of the group which I represent.

Social credit simply means laying down basic and fundamental conditions and providing a financial and political reorganization within so that we may have a nation of good and free consumers or customers. Business cannot keep going unless business has customers. It is our policy to see that we have a nation of customers who are good and constant customers. Under such conditions there will be an optimum market for all wanted goods and services, coal or whatever the people may want, and there will be minimized the opportunities for exploitation of the people. Therefore, taking all these things into consideration, I cannot support the resolution as it stands. I must oppose it.

Topic:   SUPPLY OF FOODSTUFFS TO INDIA
Subtopic:   MINERAL RESOURCES
Sub-subtopic:   PROPOSED GOVERNMENT CONTROL AND OPERATION
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LIB

Moses Elijah McGarry

Liberal

Mr. M. E. McGARRY (Inverness-Rich-mond):

Mr. Speaker, as a good neighbour gesture I must congratulate the hon. member for Cape Breton South (Mr. Gillis) upon the splendid presentation he has made this afternoon of the case he puts forward. I agree thoroughly with the hon. member when he said that things are not well with the mining industry of Canada, particularly the coal mining industry. I agree that that industry requires all the sympathetic support and stimulus that can be accorded to it. The hon. member for Cape Breton South has made a fairly good diagnosis of the ills of this industry, but unhappily his prescriptions are not such as I think will relieve the industry.

I think it was Longfellow who in his good-natured way of offering solace to a disappointed wooer said to talk not of wasted affection because affection never was wasted. We cannot apply that saying to all efforts that are made. When an hon. gentleman rises in his place in this house and puts forth a splendid effort, such as has been put forth by the hon. member for Cape Breton South, if that effort is made on behalf of nationalizing the mineral industry of our province then it can be said that that effort is entirely wasted so far as convincing this house or the Canadian people is concerned.

The ideas advanced by the hon. member look all right in theop'. If they could be translated into the reality of actual successful performance then the prescription would be splendid and the industry would have a chance to be relieved of its troubles. Unfortunately the theories which he advances have been put into effect, not only in connection with the mining industry but also in other phases of government activity and found wanting.

The Canadian National Railways is a government-owned transportation system. For years before the war this transportation system came back to the government with annual deficits ranging from $26,000,000 to $35,000,000.

Topic:   SUPPLY OF FOODSTUFFS TO INDIA
Subtopic:   MINERAL RESOURCES
Sub-subtopic:   PROPOSED GOVERNMENT CONTROL AND OPERATION
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CCF

John Oliver Probe

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

Mr. PROBE:

Would the hon. member suggest that that was because it was a government-owned institution or because of the obligations that the government assumed when they took the system over from the Grand Trunk?

Topic:   SUPPLY OF FOODSTUFFS TO INDIA
Subtopic:   MINERAL RESOURCES
Sub-subtopic:   PROPOSED GOVERNMENT CONTROL AND OPERATION
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LIB

Moses Elijah McGarry

Liberal

Mr. McGARRY:

In any event it is and has been operated by the government. It was only when this system had the stimulation of abnormal transportation demands that it was able to come back with a decent surplus. Over the war years I believe it declared a dividend of about $25,000,000, which is the equivalent of the annual deficit during times of peace.

If I am permitted I should like to deal with a matter of regional interest. I refer to the operation of a coal mine in my own constituency. That mine has been operated by the government since 1933; ever since it was taken over by the government there has been a persistent decline in total production and man-day production, and the only increase that we have seen is in the deficits from year to year. The 1945 production in that government-operated mine was less than it had been in 1933. The man-day production fell to 1-22 tons which is nearly the lowest in the whole dominion, while the deficit rose to $293,000. These are a couple of examples of what can be done unsuccessfully under government control.

I fail to understand the great urge for government control. I fail to understand the urge to nationalize our industries in the face of the failures which have obtained under government management, particularly when we see what can be done under private enter-

Mineral Resources

prise, as, for instance, in our war effort when private enterprise effected an industrial development which was the envy of all the nations.

Topic:   SUPPLY OF FOODSTUFFS TO INDIA
Subtopic:   MINERAL RESOURCES
Sub-subtopic:   PROPOSED GOVERNMENT CONTROL AND OPERATION
Permalink
CCF

John Oliver Probe

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

Mr. PROBE:

We subsidized private enterprise ' in the war.

Topic:   SUPPLY OF FOODSTUFFS TO INDIA
Subtopic:   MINERAL RESOURCES
Sub-subtopic:   PROPOSED GOVERNMENT CONTROL AND OPERATION
Permalink
LIB

Moses Elijah McGarry

Liberal

Mr. McGARRY:

I do not catch the hon. gentleman's remark.

Topic:   SUPPLY OF FOODSTUFFS TO INDIA
Subtopic:   MINERAL RESOURCES
Sub-subtopic:   PROPOSED GOVERNMENT CONTROL AND OPERATION
Permalink
CCF

John Oliver Probe

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

Mr. PROBE:

During the war we subsidized private enterprise and when a particular operation required special emphasis it was put under public ownership.

Topic:   SUPPLY OF FOODSTUFFS TO INDIA
Subtopic:   MINERAL RESOURCES
Sub-subtopic:   PROPOSED GOVERNMENT CONTROL AND OPERATION
Permalink
LIB

Moses Elijah McGarry

Liberal

Mr. McGARRY:

Would the hon. member say that everything that was done in the way of industrial production during the war was done under government control?

Topic:   SUPPLY OF FOODSTUFFS TO INDIA
Subtopic:   MINERAL RESOURCES
Sub-subtopic:   PROPOSED GOVERNMENT CONTROL AND OPERATION
Permalink
CCF

John Oliver Probe

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

Mr. PROBE:

Or subsidy.

Topic:   SUPPLY OF FOODSTUFFS TO INDIA
Subtopic:   MINERAL RESOURCES
Sub-subtopic:   PROPOSED GOVERNMENT CONTROL AND OPERATION
Permalink
LIB

Moses Elijah McGarry

Liberal

Mr. McGARRY:

Then the hon. member's diagnosis is quite different from that of the majority of our citizens. We achieved so much under private enteiprise as to be the envy of the world. Was it government control that brought this country from the days of the pioneers to its present position? My conception is that we had better move along under the same policy under which we have operated from the beginning. It is my conception that the function of government is not to operate industry, but so to legislate that a favourable opportunity will be accorded free enterprise to invest its capital, thus giving employment and contributing to the financial needs of the nation.

Some hon. members bring up the hackneyed question of "no profits" operation. Those who imagine that the sole and only motive in our free enterprise is profit are singularly ignorant of human nature. No undertaking can thrive under persistent losses. No undertaking can thrive unless from time to time there is some profit in it. I fail to see why we cannot continue to depend on the same spirit of enterprise which, as I said before, has brought this country from the days of our pioneering forefathers up to the position which we hold to-day, when we have reached the peak of our industrial production.

Why is it that government cannot manage industry as economically as private enterprise' can? One reason is that under government management you cannot get the coordination and simplification and saving of time and effort that characterize private management. These are ideals that do not enter into government operation. The matter of losing a little time or a little effort does not enter so much into the minds of the government as it does into the minds of the businessman who is carrying on an enter-

prise of his own. There are exceptions, of course, but the conditions where you have these exceptions are not such as to satisfy the business executive. This lack of coordination, lack of simplification and saving of time and effort is not applicable alone to public ownership in Canada. It applies also in the United States. Nor is it peculiar to our generation. It is a condition that is natural to government service, but it is unnatural in private business. You will always find under government control what businessmen characterize as red tape, seniority or some such thing, which you do not find under private enterprise. I contend, therefore, that it is not wise for the people of Canada to turn over to the government to do the things which they themselves can accomplish.

Wise leaders in governments to-day are telling businessmen things that they should know. They are telling them that they have a national duty beyond the bounds of their own enterprise and that if they will step into it and do their public duty it will not be necessary for the government to take over so many projects for which it is not fitted. I am strongly convinced that individual enterprise and freedom of contract is the policy that should be followed in this country if we are to maintain and develop Canada. This is not the day of revolution either in industry or in any other effort. It is the day of evolution. Let is try to improve the policies and methods we have followed from the beginning. I do not see that we the Canadian people are suffering at all from the rheumatic pains of old age. I believe that we are suffering from the growing pains of fast and successful development. Therefore, Mr. Speaker, I cannot support this resolution. I think it is a move in the wrong direction.

Topic:   SUPPLY OF FOODSTUFFS TO INDIA
Subtopic:   MINERAL RESOURCES
Sub-subtopic:   PROPOSED GOVERNMENT CONTROL AND OPERATION
Permalink

At six o'clock the house adjourned, without question put, pursuant to standing order, until Monday, April 29. Monday, April 29, 1946.


April 17, 1946