February 13, 1948

LIB

Gordon Benjamin Isnor

Liberal

Mr. ISNOR:

The hon. member for Cape Breton South said it will be set up by next spring. For the benefit of the hon. member may I say that they are working on it at the present time. In fact they have already set up a pilot plant in Ottawa to be ready to take over as soon as the building is completed in Halifax.

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CCF

Clarence Gillis

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

Mr. GILLIS:

That was set up three years ago.

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LIB

Gordon Benjamin Isnor

Liberal

Mr. ISNOR:

I do not know how much of my time remains, since I began my speech on Wednesday; but I want to deal briefly

with the functions of the industrial development bank as they apply to the maritimes.

In central Canada, more particularly in Quebec and Ontario, borrowers are close to the head office; and they are able to make their applications and present their cases in person, and they receive, perhaps unconsciously, greater consideration than do the applications in the section of the country which I and others represent.

I regret that my time has elapsed. I wanted to develop that point, and I shall do so in just one or two minutes if I am permitted. I would ask that greater consideration be given to applications for loans, and that loans should be viewed not only from the point of view of the traditional test of whether the loan is good or not, but also in the light of the question whether the proceeds of the loan will be used to contribute to the welfare of that particular section of the country, the maritimes in my case.

In that regard I should like to extend my thanks to the hon. member for Davenport (Mr. MacNicol) who has travelled all over Canada and who visited us in the maritime provinces. I believe he has done a good job in making known the possibilities of industry in our section of the country. I should also like to have referred to writers who have done a good job in making known the possibilities of Nova Scotia. I have particularly in mind an article which appeared in M aclean's magazine written by Blair Fraser, entitled: "Men by the Sea." Articles such as these do more good than speeches made by the hon. member for Cape Breton South which paint a dreary and dismal picture of conditions in our province. I for one when I stand here and talk about my province wish to paint as bright a picture as possible in order to encourage further industries to come to that section of the country.

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PC

Lewis Menary

Progressive Conservative

Mr. LEWIS MENARY (Wellington North):

Mr. Speaker, since I come from an agricultural district I should like to take part in this debate, and my remarks will be brief.

Can the government or the income tax department devise a simpler method of compiling income tax returns? There are very few farmers or even businessmen who can make up an income tax return on the present forms. In the small towns and villages there seem to be only one or two men who can compute an income tax return, and the farmers leave the computing of their taxes until the last moment and very often do not get the returns in in time. If the forms could be simplified, it would be better for all concerned.

The Address-Mr. Menary

I would like to say something about the feed companies. In the period between August 1, 1947, and January, 1948, the farmers were unable to buy grain to feed their hogs and poultry. That is one reason why the farmers sold their brood sows and laying hens and pullets. Now we are told that the elevators and the grain companies in the west held this coarse grain in storage awaiting the rise in price that they knew was coming. The farmers lost hundreds of thousands of dollars by selling this stock, much of it in an unfinished condition. Then you came along with a rise in price on all these grain products. You did not inform the farmer, but you allowed, I understand, approximately four million bushels of grain to get into the hands of the elevators in the western provinces at the low price.

Is it true that cars were held waiting for your announcement of this increase in price? Now, I understand that the farmers of the west are demanding from the government that they be paid an increase in price amounting to some $4,000,000 which they lost in selling this grain, possibly through lack of storage and need of money. Owing to this same shortage of feed the farmers of Ontario were compelled to sell a great many of the pullets they had raised for the producing of eggs during this fall and winter. The birds were brought in to the processing plants by hundreds. There are a number of processing plants in my riding, and truckloads of these birds were coming in every day. There were about fifteen hands employed' in each of these plants, and they were really taking in a good many fowl. These birds cannot be replaced.

The same can be said of hogs; and sows, even close to the farrowing period, were allowed to go to market. One trucker in my district took sixty-five sows out to market in one week. Other districts no doubt did the same. Later this grain came into Ontario at an increased price. There seems to be no guidance given by our government to the farmers. These farmers, who had to sell their laying hens and brood sows, will suffer a heavy loss. The birds cannot be replaced.

Another announcement should have been made by the government with reference to the question: Why were hogs not raised to $24 per hundredweight on October 1 as promised in the last session? If this had been done the farmers would not have sold their young pigs and sows, since this rise in price would have helped to offset the increased price of food.

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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

Are the questions that are being asked by the hon. member addressed to me, or are they questions that were asked of him by someone?

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PC

Lewis Menary

Progressive Conservative

Mr. MENARY:

It is from Hansard of June 18, 1947. I am not asking the question of the minister now.

I want to say something regarding the veterans of the first great war. These men went through untold hardships in the fighting in France and Belgium. For hours they stood up to their knees in mud. I think there should be a re-examination of the position in which these men find themselves today. In my district a veteran of the first world war was carrying on a little business. He had a wife and two children. He was forced to give up his business because of illness. He was getting a small pension on which he was unable to live and keep his wife and family. The wife went out to work in order to help out. This came to the attention of the Department of Veterans Affairs and she was told that she could no longer work. Now, even veterans' families must eat to live. They must have coal and fuel to keep warm. When a veteran does not own his house he must pay rent, and he must buy clothing. I went to see this particular veteran on different occasions, and the poor chap simply sat there, unable to do anything, though his wife was willing to go to work in order to help out, because she could have obtained a position as an assistant in a store, as she had done before. In fact, they were getting along fairly- well, because when she came home at night she would help with the housework.

I think the government should be more generous to these returned soldiers. Can they not institute a more humanitarian method of dealing with our veterans, who have given so much to the people of this country?

I want to mention another matter affecting the veterans, and that is the Veterans Land Act small holding plan. There are many returned men in the towns in my riding who would like to get a small piece of land on which to build a house. They may be carrying on a business or engaged in some other activity in these towns. They find that the Veterans Land Act 'branch increased from half an acre to three acres the acreage they must buy, and three acres of land is too much for any man to take care of who is in the position of these men I am discussing. I would ask the department to allow these veterans to take up half an acre or less and build houses for themselves, at the same time carrying on their business in the small towns or villages. Since coming

The Address-Mr. Lacombe

here I have received several letters from one veteran who filed his application in plenty of time before the act was changed, but like thousands of other veterans he got the runaround from the department. It has been said recently that the government may reduce the required amount of land to one acre or less. This seems more reasonable when the veteran is fully employed at some other occupation. He can look after half an acre but he cannot take care of three or four.

I come from a riding where the population consists of many nationalities-English, Irish, Scottish, Poles, German and Mennonite. In the great melting pot of our races these people are Canadians. There are few ridings that have sent more boys, in proportion to population, to fight for and to save our democratic way of life. Of this we are proud. I was at a gathering of returned soldiers recently at which there were 125 of these boys, and I was struck by the number of foreign names among the lads who came forward to receive gifts. It is a great thing that people can mix and become assimilated in that way.

Before coming to attend this session I was asked a question by a father who had four sons overseas, one of whom made the supreme sacrifice. I may say that he had been overseas himself. This father asked, as many more fathers and returned men would like to ask: Why did the Minister of Trade and Commerce make the statement he did-see page 5727 of Hansard of July 16, 1947- namely, that the Premier of Ontario, who had arranged to bring 10,000 people from the motherland to Ontario, could not land them on Canadian soil? He stated that Mr. Drew might make arrangements to land these, our people, in the United States, but they would not be allowed to land in Canada.

A great many of the veterans in my riding resent that statement. It may be that the Minister of Trade and Commerce never thought it would cause trouble, but these veterans resent the statement because they were used so well in England. They were taken into the homes of the people there and treated with great kindness. I am sure that if the minister had given the matter thought he would not have made that statement. Let me say to the Minister of Trade and Commerce that the people of Canada will not soon forget those words. The people of England treated our boys with great kindness, as I say, shared their food with them and entertained them in their homes. Not only that, but England for two years stood alone. France collapsed early in the war and the United States did not come in for some time. We

owe to England a debt that we cannot repay. I say to the minister: You have been given great power-yes, I repeat, great power. Let us look back to world war I, from which emerged a paperhanger, I believe with the rank of corporal. Look back and see what happened year by year. His power grew; and through him the world was plunged into the greatest war of all time. Nations were destroyed; thousands died of starvation. I do not believe a democratic government should place this power in the hands of any man, since power grows day by day, and the common people are pushed aside and made vassals of the state.

(Translation):

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IND

Liguori Lacombe

Independent

Mr. LIGUORI LACOMBE (Laval-Two Mountains):

Mr. Speaker, the government has embarked upon a policy of restriction, which it has asked and is asking parliament to ratify. Some of these restrictions are extremely severe. There is no reason for subjecting the necessities of life to such austerity measures. Because of these restrictions, demand far exceeds production in Canada. The precarious state of our economy can no doubt be explained otherwise, but the basic reason of our present state, to my mind, can be found in these restrictions. This panacea was born of the war. Not five years have gone by since the government was pa3'ing the wheat grower to cut down production, a restriction which now deprives the eastern farmer of the grain necessary to produce wheat, butter and cheese and which leads to a shortage of goods, as well as to inflation.

Is it reasonable, in a country like ours, to pay so much for bread and all other food products? We should mind our own business more than we do. Our domestic policy is well worth looking after. Otherwise we shall witness the collapse of our economy.

It is all very well to draw up treaties and multiply international conferences, but it is more logical to watch over our financial position. Chambers of commerce, banks and all expert economists have forewarned the government of the danger of such long-term contracts with European countries. They have told them how urgent it was for Canada to obtain United States dollars. But the government had long ago pledged themselves to help Great Britain. And in order to restore the latter's finances, they are asking this nation to make sacrifices which today take on an odd character of solidarity and austerity. Why is Canada's fate always bound to that of Britain? Why should we, in our economic evolution, feel the effects of the slowing-down, the reces-

The Address-Mr. Lacombe

sion and even, the stoppage of the financial life of a country to which we have given what was the best in our economy? Finally setting aside fiction and confusion, the government now submit to parliament the result of protracted discussions in order to convince it that what was prosperity has ceased to be so and what was balance has become economic lopsidedness.

Is this an attempt to lower the cost of living? Such decline is not yet apparent. On the contrary, everything is being bought at a ransom price. One has the impression of living in an environment where unfair advantage is being taken of everybody and where such exploitation is equalled only by the entirely false complexion of our financial and economic situation. Producers as well as consumers face innumerable hardships, of which the adoption of these emergency measures is sufficient proof. These are expedients which have already been tried without success. They have always favoured and will still favour a small number of individuals, because of the shameful practice of the black market. The wartime prices and trade board is the most striking example of such expedients. Does the government hope to cure the evil by slowing down or cutting off our imports of raw materials, as it is doing in many unjustifiable cases? A nation's economy cannot be restored by such means. On the contrary, there is great danger of it being destroyed, through a lack of the necessities of life, as well as of raw materials. Prices show it is not a question of devaluating our dollar. Such a remedy would be ineffective, because of its temporary character. In a nation all economic factors are interdependent. We should keep up the volume of our United States imports and exports. We should have increased them steadily, as plain common sense dictated to our leaders. The United States have been our best customers for years, and still are. Yet, the government sacrificed part of our trade with the United States in favour of Britain, upon which we showered gifts and interest-free unsecured loans.

That policy has brought about disastrous results that will long be felt. Protests pour in from all quarters. Farmers, workers, financiers, manufacturers and all the other social classes are alarmed at the present situation. Not a day goes by but I receive resolutions from agricultural associations of my constituency, protesting against the scarcity of mash and feed grain and against the removal by the government of certain subsidies that are so necessary in this critical period.

The balance between the cost of production and the sale price of farm products has been disrupted. Yet, the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Gardiner) anticipates for next year an even more acute scarcity of agricultural commodities. He also warns fanners that there will be a shortage of fertilizers in the near future. Such is the picture drawn by the very members of the government. Should all those predictions materialize, what will follow? A slow-down in production, food shortages, substantial increases in the price of essential commodities and a whole network of restrictions.

Yesterday, in the name of the four freedoms of the Atlantic Charter-a hoax, according to the former president of the United States-our country was dragged into the path of military imperialism. Tomorrow, no longer in the name of Christianity, it will be drawn in the wake of financial imperialism to fly to the aid of a godless Russia that holds sway over the Balkans in staggering Europe. The appeal will be to save the sterling pound and the Empire's capital assets, which are vanishing in a world ruined by wars that have settled nothing. The secondary powers have been sacrificed to communism by the strongest nations of the world. Also Soviet Russia is therefore bringing the whole of Europe under her sway. One had to be blind not to foresee such a development. But nations like individuals are prompted by selfish motives. The dreadful conditions prevailing in the satellites of Soviet Russia have been fostered to a large extent by the greed of financial imperialism. Let those who have brought about such a sad state of affairs assume their proper responsibilities.

Once more orders in council have been enforced by the government without the advice of parliament. This encroachment upon the prerogatives of the House of Commons has been laid down as a policy. The representatives of the people have so often been ignored on behalf of irresponsible bureaucrats that this infringement of members' rights passes unnoticed by too many people. Not long ago, milk producers were deprived of their subsidy by an order despite a majority vote of parliament in favour of maintaining this assistance. There is no money left for granting subsidies to producers and consumers. There is no monev left for building homes for already begun to close down, crushed by the burden of taxes and restrictions. At a time such as this, when our production should1 be reaching new heights, it would seem that not

The Address-Mr. McKay

a stone is being left unturned to restrict and discourage it. You cannot build anything with restrictions. It is a policy which tires out and further weakens this country. The real builders succeeded' because they sought to stimulate commerce, industry and agriculture. The basis of all life, as of all prosperity, is to be found in the development of natural resources. This principle is as old as the world itself.

The Canadian people are at the mercy of financial dictatorship. The government cannot persuade anyone that they could not foresee the increase in the cost of living now weighing so heavily upon low-income families. However, they removed subsidies to producers and consumers at a time when both groups had the greatest need for them.

Before concluding, I wish to draw the attention of the house to the flag that floats over these parliament buildings. That flag continues to give to all the impression that Canada remains under the guardianship of another nation. It reduces this country's stature by asserting our bondage. I do not believe in the sincerity of those who advocate the unity of .this nation and who in the same breath refuse to play the game in the building up of a free and sovereign country. The government should thrust away the obstacles raised by those who deny Canada the right to small wage-earners and their families. Let war break out tomorrow, and there will be as many as you wish to continue undermining the economy of this country. Such is the result of an overdone war effort. This austerity program indicates the plight of our financial situation. It shows how anxious are the government and their financial advisers.

The new restrictions will tend to discourage middle-sized and small industries, which have grow up. They should meet them with the assertion of a truly national spirit and fight down colonialism, which is the very negation of a Canadian motherland. They should forthwith proclaim the adoption of a significant and distinctive flag. Otherwise, the government will go down in history as having denied Canada a truly national and essentially Canadian flag.

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LIB

Joseph Miville Dechene

Liberal

Mr. DECHENE:

Hear, hear.

(Text):

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CCF

Eric Bowness McKay

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

Mr. E. B. McKAY (Weyburn):

Mr. Speaker, I wish to draw the attention of the house to the serious plight facing many veterans, particularly those on pensions and allowances, as a result of the discontinuance of price controls in this country. A large number of the 800,OOP veterans in Canada are in dire

need because of excessive living costs. Many are unable to purchase the necessities of life because of their high cost. The recipients of disability pensions, the widows of non-pensioners and those in receipt of allowances of various kinds, including veteran students, are hard hit because of the government's policy of decontrol of prices before there was a surplus of consumer goods available on the market.

No provision has as yet been made by parliament to assist these people who are the unhappy victims of ill-advised government policy. Every member of the house should be concerned in this matter, if for no other reason than that veterans live in every federal constituency. But concern ought to be shown more particularly by government members, since they are responsible for the dropping of price controls, which has resulted in so much distress among young and old veterans alike from one end of the country to the other.

Pensions and allowances remain at the same basic rate at which they were struck in 1926, when the cost of living index in this country stood at 121-8 as compared with 148-3 today. Although this increase in living costs should call for, an increase of twenty per cent in the basic pension rate, nothing has yet been done by this house to relieve the situation facing the thousands of veterans concerned.

A dollar in 1926 will buy less than 80 cents worth of goods today. If only clothing and food are concerned-and certainly a large portion of the pensioner's cheque goes for those commodities-the 1926 dollar is worth less than 60 cents. With a one hundred per cent disability a single ex-private would receive S75 per month. With the buying power of the dollar reduced to at least 80 cents it is apparent to all that his cheque will now buy only $60 worth of goods. The reduction in his monthly cheque is the equivalent of $15.

However, the situation is even worse than that, since few veterans actually receive 100 per cent disability. Most of them receive very much less than that. Of the 152,731 pensioners as of December 31, 1947, as indicated in an answer I received to a question i.n the house only a few days ago, just 7,165. or 4-7 per cent, are receiving 100 per cent disability, while 96,662 veterans, or over 63 per cent, are receiving small pensions of 24 per cent disability or less. It is true that many of these veterans have other incomes from jobs, but the pension granted is based on the fact that their earning capacity has been lessened by disability. They are handicapped, otherwise no pension would be provided. With no upward revision in pension rates they are

The Address-Mr. McKay

actually being subjected to a pension reduction because of the dollar's smaller buying power today.

These pensions are very small indeed. A 24 per cent disability pension for a single ex-private amounts to S18 per month. With today's inflated prices that pension has a buying capacity of only S14.40 or less. Last session I appealed to the then minister of veterans affairs to increase pensions by twenty per cent, as had been done in the United States. I now appeal to the present minister to grant a twenty-five per cent increase, because living costs, particularly clothing and food, have increased substantially since last year.

Veterans in this country are suffering because of the high prices of the ordinary things of. life, the result of a too hasty decontrol of prices. Veterans should not be subjected to the effects of an ill-conceived policy of this kind. After the first world war Sir Robert Borden, Canada's prime minister of that day, said "Our soldiers shall never want after fighting so gallantly." But thousands suffered in the depression of the thirties, and thousands are suffering today because of an inability to buy the necessities of life due to excessive costs. Their pensions and allowances are inadequate to meet increased living costs. Something must be done to relieve their plight. Something should be done without delay by this house.

We have been informed by the press that a proposal has been made by the government of a $10 a month increase in basic pension rates. If such an increase is made it is at least a recognition on the part of the government that something should be done. A flat increase across the board is inadequate and certainly is inequitable. It is indeed a crumb from Canada's table of plenty.

I feel that the whole approach to this problem is wrong. A veteran's pension is not a gratuity and has never been considered as such. It must be accepted as the wages of war. It is a small payment by the nation on a debt which cannot be reckoned in dollars and cents, a debt due for lives lost and bodies shattered wherever our boys fought in defence of this land. We cannot replace war-torn minds and bodies or bring back loved ones who are gone, but we can make some monetary compensation to the bereaved families and to disabled veterans. That much it is within our power to do. The very least this country should give to the disabled veteran and his dependents is the equivalent of lost earning power in the form of a substantial pension. A grateful people can do no less than that. Canada should compensate these

folk for everything they have lost when the ruthless hand of war uprooted them from their niche in the economy of this country.

Before the government makes any attempt to reduce taxes or declare surpluses it should meet, in part at least, the greatest debt it owes, the debt to the men and women who made sacrifices in order that all Canadians might have peace and security in a land of plenty. I repeat that an increase of $10 a month would be inadequate. I make that assertion because of official government figures issued by the bureau of statistics which show that there has been an increase of more than 20 per cent in living costs since 1926 when the present pension schedule was established. The cost of living is still on the upgrade, as is indicated by the 2-3 points increase in the index. It will need at least a 25 per cent advance in pensions and allowances to avert a reduction in the pensioners' standard of living below that which they are entitled to enjoy on the basis of the 1926 rates. This is especially true when we realize that most of the pension is expended on food and clothing, in connection with which the index now stands at 180 and 160 respectively, indicating much more than a 25 per cent increase in these prices.

The proposal in the February issue of The Legionary does not provide for any supplement to wives and dependents. This is where the proposal in inequitable. It is assumed, no doubt, but wrongly, that the $10 a month increase is sufficient to provide for both the veteran and his family. It is most difficult to understand the basis for such an assumption. The greater the domestic responsibility of the pensioner, the smaller the percentage of increase seems to be the plan. On the basis of a $10 increase the single veteran will receive 13i per cent more on his pension, but the disabled veteran with two children would obtain an over-all increase of only 6-5 per cent, or about one-half as much. This _ is grossly unfair to the pensioners with family obligations. It does not make sense.

It seems only fair to suggest that all the beneficiaries under the act should receive the twenty-five per cent advance in pensions. This would then include dependents as well as the recipients of various kinds of allowances, which is as it should be. Such a revision would be equitable because it would be based on the increase in living costs since the schedules were set up and would include all those veterans and dependents affected. Anything less than a twenty-five per cent increase is equivalent to a corresponding

The Address Mr. McKay

decrease in the scale of pensions set up in Canada twenty-one years ago, which even at that time was considered inadequate by many people. And if something is not done by this parliament to arrest the upward trend of prices, further adjustments may be required.

I submit, Mr. Speaker, that this might be done by allowing an increase of one per cent in basic pension and allowance rates for each point rise in the cost of living index, adjustments to be made quarterly. By the same token, reductions in the pension rate could be effected when prices recede, as they inevitably must.

The recipients of war veterans allowances also have a legitimate complaint with regard to the proposal to increase their allowances by $10 a month for single and married pensioners alike. This is inequitable in that the single man receives a greater percentage of increase than the married recipient. In order to be fair the single man should receive a minimum allowance of $50 per month and the married man with his greater domestic responsibilities, should be given $85 a month. These amounts would -bring the rates somewhat nearer to actual minimum living requirements.

For the same reason the widow's allowance now payable under the War Veterans Allowance Act should be increased to at least $40 a month. This is little enough. It has been said in this connection that the increase should be based on established need. Surely, Mr. Speaker, that need has been recognized, since widows now receiving the allowance have been subjected to a means test which establishes their right to assistance.

Some reference should be made in a speech of this kind to the difficulties being experienced by the 33,000 student veterans who because of the high cost of living are being forced in many cases, to discontinue their studies or are struggling along with financial worries, to the detriment of their work. The maintenance grants set by the Department of Veterans Affairs in 1944 of $60 for a single man and $80 for a married man have long been considered to be insufficient to meet the needs of the student veteran. Surveys have repeatedly shown that these allowances were barely enough to cover board and room even before living costs rose to the present high level. The veteran has always had to provide for transportation, books, laundry and clothing out of his own savings, which now in most cases are gone.

The situation has been aggravated by the removal of price controls which were in effect when the rates of his allowance were set. University of Toronto students have figures

to show that a S60 cheque now buys only $36 worth of goods in Toronto as compared to its purchasing power in 1944. The married veteran's cheque of $80 in 1944 has dwindled to $58 today in its value to purchase consumer goods there. To bring back the purchasing value of the student veterans' allowances of 1944, a twenty-five per cent increase in the allowances is imperative.

The cost of living index in 1944 stood at 118 points when the schedule of allowances was set up. Today the index stands at 148-3 points, or an increase of 30 points, representing an increase in living costs of over 25 per cent since 1944 when t'he schedule was first drawn up.

It was recently reported in the press that up to August last thirty-one per cent of the student veterans have discontinued their courses of training because of financial stress. If this statement is correct, Mr. Speaker, it is a most alarming situation. Everyone must be aware that all veterans attending institutions of higher learning are not so fortunate as to have parents who can assist them financially. Therefore many are forced to leave school inadequately trained to meet the stress of competitive job-seeking in a society which is demanding trained personnel.

The national conference of student veterans, which embraces students from every Canadian university, is now appealing, and I am glad to join in that appeal, for an increase in student veterans training allowances. On the basis of increased living costs a single veteran should get $75 a month and the married man $100. This would compensate for the 30 point rise in living costs since 1944. Furthermore I feel that the increase should be made retroactive to September, 1947, the beginning of the university fall term. Even such increases will barely meet average living costs, according to a survey conducted amongst veterans on the campus of the university of Saskatchewan. There it was found that a single man averaged $87 and a married man $124 for living expenses per month, and living costs in Saskatoon, the seat of the university of Saskatchewan, are not by any means the highest in Canada.

Canada needs trained men and women. The young student veterans, the cream of this country's youth, gave years of their lives in service to this country, while others profited. They sacrificed and fought for our democratic way of life. Our democracy should now show some gratitude for those sacrifices by giving them an opportunity to complete their courses of training so that they will be able to secure

The Address-Mr. Harkness

decent positions on an equal basis with those who did not serve their country in the same way. Surely the student veteran is entitled to this much at least. All that he is asking is a square deal. The late Theodore Roosevelt once said:

A man who is good enough to shed his blood for his country is good enough to be given a square deal afterward. To more than that, no man is entitled, and less than that-no man shall have.

I think, Mr. Speaker, that most Canadians will subscribe to the sentiment expressed in those words. The student veteran and every other veteran is entitled to a square deal, and it is within the power of this parliament to provide it. Canadians have not forgotten the sacrifices of these young folk. Canada cannot afford to be niggardly in the training allowances which are provided for them. Their future can be assured only by a 25 per cent increase at this time in their living allowances.

In conclusion I wish to emphasize again the pressing need for making an upward revision in pension rates and allowances to veterans to meet the present inflated living costs. Canada has a heavy obligation to the people who carried the torch of freedom in two world wars. Let us now meet, in part at least, that obligation by providing pensions and allowances adequate to meet present difficult living conditions.

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LIB

Milton Fowler Gregg (Minister of Veterans Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. GREGG:

Before the hon. member

concludes his speech, may I ask him a question?

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CCF

Eric Bowness McKay

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

Mr. McKAY:

Yes.

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LIB

Milton Fowler Gregg (Minister of Veterans Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. GREGG:

Did I hear the statement

correctly that thirty-one per cent of the veterans had discontinued their courses on account of lack of financial assistance?

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CCF

Eric Bowness McKay

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

Mr. McKAY:

In answer to the question,

Mr. Speaker, I would say that the press reported thirty-one per cent, and I used that figure in my speech. If that figure is right, then it is a most alarming situation. I do not know whether it is correct or not.

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LIB

Milton Fowler Gregg (Minister of Veterans Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. GREGG:

I know the hon. member

would like to be fair, and I assure him, Mr. Speaker, that that is not true. The figure is much less than that.

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CCF

Eric Bowness McKay

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

Mr. McKAY:

Will the minister give us

the figure?

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LIB

Milton Fowler Gregg (Minister of Veterans Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. GREGG:

I shall be glad to submit it later.

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PC

Douglas Scott Harkness

Progressive Conservative

Mr. D. S. HARKNESS (Calgary East):

Mr. Speaker, I should like most heartily to join with the hon. member for Nanaimo (Mr. Pearkes), the hon. member who has just taken

his seat (Mr. McKay), and other hon. members, in their pleas to the government for better treatment of our veterans and their dependents at the present time, in view of the marked increase in the cost of living. I had intended to speak at some length on this subject, but it has already been covered so extensively that I shall leave it with just that remark.

For the past three sessions I have spoken on the oil industry in Canada, and have brought to the attention of the house and the government the measures which the oil men of Alberta have thought should be taken in order to encourage the search for oil, to expand the drilling program, and thus the production of this vital commodity. Up to the present time I am sorry to say that the government has not accepted many of these suggestions, and as a result, at its door lies the responsibility for the fact that our oil production in Canada today is not considerably greater than it is. However, the current shortage of fuel oil and the demand by some United States senators and congressmen that all exports of oil from the United States be stopped, has focused public attention on our oil situation in Canada and has thus created conditions which I hope will make the government more receptive to suggestions of the oil men.

The present shortage of oil in the United States and the warnings by various high officials of its government that, in the future, domestic supplies of crude will not be sufficient to meet the demand, particularly in the case of a war, coupled with the advice that plants should be started immediately to make gasoline from coal, has made it apparent to everyone in Canada that we can no longer depend upon the United States to supply us with the greater part of our oil requirements. This makes it an urgent matter to us to make sure of our own supply by developing our own resources.

There are three ways in which that can be done. The first is by finding and bringing into production new oil fields; the second is by utilizing the oil resources of the McMurray tar sands in northern Alberta, and the third is by the erection of plants to make synthetic gasoline from coal. The most immediately promising of these three methods is the first: and I am glad to say that the search for oil is now going on actively in widely separated parts of the Dominion of Canada, and particularly in Alberta. That search is being

carried on, not by the federal or any provincial government, but by oil companies risking their shareholders' money, and today they have put into their efforts to find oil many more millions than they have received back from

The Address-Mr. Harkness

successful oil wells. Furthermore, most of this loss which they have experienced has been due to government taxation in one form or another. Under these circumstances I believe the government should encourage the movement of capital into the search for oil by meeting the reasonable requests which the oil men have made for tax, tariff and other concessions. On July 18, 1946, I made five suggestions to the government as to how exploration and drilling programs could be encouraged. Only one of these suggestions has been carried out to date, and I should like now again to bring them to the government's attention.

The first of these suggestions had to do with the fifty per cent tax deduction allowed on what are known as deep test wells, drilled in the foothills area of Alberta, where you have to go many thousands of feet to discover an oil well. Oil men have asked repeatedly that this concession be extended to all oil wells drilled in that western country, particularly to the wells drilled in the plains areas where it is not necessary to go so deep, and also to completing abandoned wells. The adoption of a policy of this kind by the government would, I think, without question result in the expansion of the drilling program.

The second suggestion was that there should be a greater depletion allowance. At the present time operators are allowed a depletion allowance of 33^ per cent. In the United States, oil men, with whom, of course, our oil men have to compete, and from where large numbers of them come, are allowed up to fifty per cent depletion allowance, and this can also be moved backward or forward, so that a company having no net income in any particular year is entitled to a depletion allowance, and may carry it forward or backward to apply against future or past profits.

The third suggestion was that all drilling costs permit and leasing expense, geological and geophysical costs et cetera, be allowed as deductions for tax purposes and, further that these expenses may be claimed as and when desired, so that large expenditures over two or three years may be deductible when production is secured, and spread over the period of production, which is ordinarily some time. The first three years of an oil well's life are ordinarily the most productive years.

The fourth suggestion was that the present income tax regulations covering' exploration and development, which are on a year to year basis, should be made part of the permanent tax structure, so that operators may be able to make future financial plans under definitely known tax conditions. That would be of

particular help to smaller operators, in that they would know where they stood and were likely to stand in the future so far as tax regulations, exemptions from sales tax on their equipment and so on, are concerned.

The fifth suggestion was the removal of the subsidies being paid at the time on crude oil. That was the only suggestion which the government has adopted. It did remove the subsidy and price ceilings and the price of crude oil has risen considerably. I should like to illustrate the extent to which it has risen, or how it has risen, and comment on the effect of it. I hold in my hand a bulletin of the Western Canada Petroleum Association, dated January 9, 1948.

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SC

John Horne Blackmore

Social Credit

Mr. BLACKMORE:

Will the hon. member permit a question?

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PC

Douglas Scott Harkness

Progressive Conservative

Mr. HARKNESS:

Yes.

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SC

John Horne Blackmore

Social Credit

Mr. BLACKMORE:

Is each one of these suggestions within the competence of the federal government to fulfil, or would they involve the provincial governments as well?

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February 13, 1948