But the hon. member knows that the extent to which purchasers of victory bonds are able to convert them into retirement moneys they could live on for the rest of their lives is extremely limited.
To get back to my figures, this means that instead of 41 per cent of our elderly citizens receiving old age pensions, as obtains today, in the event of there being no change in the meantime we would have from 70 to 75 per cent of our elderly people in 1971 having to go on the old age pension.
Of necessity many of these figures are estimates; but they are estimates prepared by people who are in the business, and they cannot be very far out. As I have already indicated, however, 50,000 one way or another changes the figure by only one-half of one per cent. So that, in the main, that is the picture-namely 70 to 75 per cent or perhaps more of our elderly people in 1971 having no provision for themselves, despite all the good work private industry claims it is doing .
and in this speech I am not detracting one iota from what is being done by way of making provision for old age by any agency whatsoever.
Surely this makes it evident the time has come to put our provision for old age security on a firm foundation. The only way it can be done is by an over-all contributory plan which calls for one contribution from the people of this country, in return for which there will be coverage for all the things which hit individual citizens from the cradle to the grave.
In addition to the argument which I have advanced already, that there are so few who are able to make provision for their old age, I would say that the other side of the argument holds true as well. We have reached the point where 15 per cent of our people are able to make provision for their old age, but it should be noted that many of those people are contributing to plans into which contributions are made by industry, and by the state or from the consolidated revenue fund. That means that many people are helping to provide pensions for others when they themselves are not able to qualify for a retirement plan. The only answer is an over-all scheme that includes everybody.
The Address-Mr. Knowles There is another aspect of the problem which is becoming quite acute. I refer to the man over forty years of age who finds trouble today getting employment. One reason, among many, that makes it difficult for such a man to get employment is that in many industries retirement plans are in operation. Employers are ready to admit that in many cases the man over forty may have more ability than a younger man, but they contend that if they employ the older man it ups the cost of their pension plans. The result is that a plan which is essentially good becomes a barrier to employment. The only answer again is an over-all plan that will take in everyone.
In connection with the need for over-all coverage I would cite the experience we have had in connection with a good piece of legislation now in existence, namely, unemployment insurance. I speak as a protagonist of that kind of legislation, but I would point out one serious difficulty that has been encountered. No matter how much you explain to a man who is out of work because of ill health that actuarially he is not covered, it still does not go down. You can tell him that unemployment insurance is like fire insurance in that you are lucky if you carry it for a number of years and do not have to draw on it. But, if a man has paid premiums for a number of years and becomes unemployed because of poor health and is unable to draw benefits, such explanations do not go down. I know because I have tried to give that explanation of the act as it now stands. The only answer to that is what I am proposing, that we move on from the kind of social security we now have in unemployment insurance to a wider scheme that provides protection against unemployment, ill health and old age, all in one piece of legislation.
I stated earlier that I intended to say something about the meaning of the word "contributory" in relation to social security. There are some who think of contributory social insurance only in terms of private life insurance set-ups which provide for the contributor getting back only the amount that he has paid in, plus such interest as that money may have earned. That creates all sorts of problems when you realize the varying amounts that people might pay in and the varying number of years during which they might contribute, and so on. But that is not the meaning of contributory social insurance when you talk in state or national terms.
What we mean by contributory social insurance is that those who are working shall contribute to a fund out of which benefits are paid to those people who need them, whether because of ill health, unemployment or old
The Address-Mr. Knowles age. In return for those payments we who contribute now while we are earning would be entitled to benefits when we reached old age or when we found ourselves in some other situation where we needed them. In other words, it is quite different from setting up a fund into which money is put and out of which can be paid to each individual only what he has put in. A contributory scheme is in effect an arrangement whereby we plan our total production in any one year or in any one decade so that enough of that production can be used for the maintenance of those who need it because of unemployment, sickness or old age. In other words, social insurance is a charge on current production, and a contributory scheme is an arrangement to give effect to that principle.
A short while ago a very worth-while round table was held at the university of Toronto on this whole question of social security and a very interesting report was prepared by John S. Morgan, associate professor of social work at the University of Toronto. I should like to quote a few sentences from that report, as follows:
There was considerable argument as to who really pays the costs of social security, although all schemes have different apparent distributions of costs through employer's contributions, employee's contributions and state subsidies. It was recognized that, in the end result, all social security costs are a charge upon the productive capacity of the community. They may be hidden in the cost of repairing neglect, as for example in hospital costs, public assistance, prison and reformatory expenses and mental health expenditures; or they may be openly met by preventive and insurance measures. So far Canada has, in large measure, shirked the problem and preferred to keep the real costs of having no integrated plan for social security hidden in a complex tangle of federal, provincial and municipal responsibilities for patching and repairing the neglect of her human resources. The Canadian people are beginning to awaken to the need for something more constructive and more positive in their approach to social welfare.
I submit that that language is very much to the point. However, I should like to offer another quotation in connection with this matter of over-all social security and this time my authority is none other than Winston Churchill, who had something to say about it on March 21, 1943. I intend to quote from one of Mr. Churchill's many broadcasts made during the war years.
Topic: RECONSTRUCTION AND SUPPLY
Subtopic: SPEECH FROM THE THRONE
Sub-subtopic: CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
I am referring to Mr. Churchill's "Onwards to Victory", and I quote from pages 53 and 54:
The time is now ripe for another great advance, and anyone can see what large savings there will be in the administration, once the whole process of insurance has become unified, compulsory, and national. Here is a real opportunity for what I
once called "bringing the magic of averages to the rescue of the millions." Therefore, you must rank me and my colleagues as strong partisans of national compulsory insurance for all classes for all purposes from the cradle to the grave.
Incidentally Mr. Beland Honderich of the Toronto Daily Star recently pointed out that the life insurance companies are fond of quoting that sentence of Mr. Churchill's as though it was an endorsation of private life insurance. But I ask hon. members to note that "bringing the magic of averages to the rescue of the millions" is done by national compulsory social insurance, according to Mr. Churchill.
Topic: RECONSTRUCTION AND SUPPLY
Subtopic: SPEECH FROM THE THRONE
Sub-subtopic: CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
If the minister will only do what was suggested a little earlier today and hold his patience for a minute, I will answer his question. There is one other quotation that I want to give before I make my concluding remarks:
Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.
That is from article 25 of the universal declaration of human rights which was passed by the general assembly of the United Nations last December, and for which Canada voted. I submit that the words of the Secretary of State for External Affairs (Mr. Pearson), when he expressed Canada's views on this declaration of rights, should be accepted. He said that we accept this document "in the hope that it will mark a milestone in humanity's upward march." I strongly urge the government of this country to consider the wishes and desires of the Canadian people by giving full implementation to that article of the world bill of rights.
As members are aware, I speak on this subject repeatedly. I have done so a good many times on the basis of human interest. As the war came to a close I pleaded for old age security as a part of the new order that had been promised to us. Two years ago I spoke of it in relation to plans in other countries. Last year I made my case on the basis of the growing problem as shown by figures from the bureau of statistics. This time I have tried to document my plea by giving figures as to the inadequacy of the plans now in effect, good and all as they are. Indeed, I am convinced that it is our most important social problem.
In conclusion I would urge the government to do two things. One of them can be done immediately. The other, as the Minister of National Health and Welfare (Mr. Martin) realizes from the question he interjected, does take a bit of time, but a beginning can be made immediately. The thing that can be done without delay is to increase the old age pension at this session to $50 a month payable at age sixty-five. That can be done by parliament by amendment of the Old Age Pensions Act. There is no question about it; we are all for it; it is up to the government to bring in the legislation. The other thing that takes time is to get a contributory plan under way. I am fully aware of the fact that that involves consultation and co-operation with the provinces; but the point is, it has got to get started some time; and if this government will give the lead, I am sure the provinces will agree. I insist that now is the time for action on this all-important question of proper old age security.
Topic: RECONSTRUCTION AND SUPPLY
Subtopic: SPEECH FROM THE THRONE
Sub-subtopic: CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
Mr. Speaker, in offering my congratulations to the mover (Mr. Brown) and the seconder (Mr. Demers) of the address in reply to the speech from the throne, I am not attempting to continue the time-honoured custom, but I believe that I express the opinion of everyone in the house when I say that both members acquitted themselves very creditably in their difficult task. The hon. member for Essex West (Mr. Brown) dealt with the subjects of his discourse in a masterly way, and showed that he had made a deep study of them.
Mr. Speaker, I regret to notice that the new member for Laval-Two Mountains (Mr. Demers) who seconded the address in reply to the speech from the throne is not in the house. I should be very happy if I had his eloquence and fluency to tell him with what pleasure I listened to his maiden speech in this house.
As regards those who did not understand him, because they do not know his language, they certainly cannot have failed, while listening to him, to admire the beauty and harmony of the delectable French language.
He does honour to his province, because he has, in delivering his speech, given irrefutable proof of the fact that true education includes more than a mere smattering of sciences, certain other elements being indispensable, especially a deep knowledge of sound philosophy.
Consequently, if there are still among his own compatriots some who question the efficiency of the Quebec educational institutions, I believe his speech fully refuted their view and I am quite confident that Quebec
The Address-Mr. C. T. Richard is in no danger of being surpassed by the other provinces.
There have been some notable changes in the house since we last met, changes which are probably unprecedented in our political history, because at one session we are welcoming the new leaders of the two major political groups. Although the session has only begun, they have shown great qualities of leadership. Incidentally, they are both possessed of very good looks, and they grace the front benches so well that it would be unfortunate if any event should disturb them. There is always a danger in transplanting, especially if either of them should be a little sensitive to any rough handling.
To the former Prime Minister, the right hon. member for Glengarry (Mr. Mackenzie King), I have not much to say, because so many eloquent voices have been raised in the house to extol his qualities of mind, and the great achievements of his career, that I could not add very much. He has the consolation that his fondest dreams have been fulfilled. During his tenure of office and his long public career, he has seen enacted those measures which have brought such help and assistance towards banishing poverty and suffering, and bringing security to those in privation. There is no doubt that there are thousands and thousands of aged people, widows and orphans, who will bless him in years to come for having taken them out of the category of forgotten people.
I choose as the theme of my remarks the economic situation of the maritime provinces. In doing so I want to assure the house that I do not blame any political party for our situation. But while not blaming anybody,
I will not spare any either. I do not believe that we can attribute our economic situation in the maritimes to any particular regime, to any fixed period since confederation, or to any act or measure during those years which brought about such a change that, from being the most prosperous provinces at confederation, we have become the weakest link in the chain. Let me warn the house also that when I speak of the economic situation in the maritimes I mean the conditions which existed during normal times, and to which we will have to return after the effect of the boom years of the war is over.
There may be some who will take the recital of our grievances with no more consideration than complaints from any other province, but I want to say to the house that our grievances are real. They are of just as much concern to the people of Canada as a whole as they are to the people of the maritime provinces. This situation was recognized
The Address-Mr. C. T. Richard last year by the three major political parties when, at their respective conventions, they passed resolutions dealing with the problems of the maritimes.
In support of my argument that it is the concern of the whole nation that a solution be found, and that the million people inhabiting the maritime provinces be given a fair hearing at the bar of public opinion, let me quote from a survey which was prepared last year by the Department of Trade and Commerce, the data of which speak for themselves. I find this very significant paragraph in the report:
That area, speaking of the maritime provinces, has been beset by a long history of adverse economic conditions, small scale and near subsidized industry, vulnerability of specialized industry in Nova Scotia, and relative lack of urbanization and of accumulated wealth.
This survey also points out these very disturbing facts: that the income per capita in the maritime provinces ranges from 68 to 74 per cent of the average national income in Canada; that the total production per capita in the maritime provinces in 1945 was $533, compared with a national average of $963, or a difference of almost one hundred per cent; and that the total production of the maritime provinces was five per cent of the total for Canada, though we possess ten per cent of the population. The survey continues to show the great disparity between income, wealth and production in the maritimes and the figures for the entire dominion. Therefore anyone studying these figures must come to the conclusion that the economic situation in the maritimes is alarming.
There are those in the two largest provinces of this dominion who, viewing the growth of this country, its emergence from a colony to a full-fledged nation, its mounting population and so on, think of the smaller provinces, including the maritime provinces, as fortunate indeed to be associated in this confederation so they may profit by the overflowing wealth of the two great provinces. But let me point out, Mr. Speaker, that the maritimes did not always depend on others. The position of the maritime provinces at the time of confederation was quite different from what it is today. No better proof of that can be found than in a comparison of the figures I have cited as to wealth, production and income with the figures available as at the time of confederation. Let me point out also that contrasts always have the effect of making each of the contrasted objects appear in its strongest light. No better judges of the true position of the maritimes at confederation can be found than the leading statesmen of that day, who are now called the fathers of confederation. The maritime provinces were
self-sufficient. They possessed natural ports open to world trade the year round. They were in a favourable position to trade with the American states; and if they were barred from that market, all other markets in the world that could be reached by our ships were open to them. This enviable position was recognized by the most ardent advocates of confederation. I have quoted from the survey on economic conditions in the maritimes. Let me give by way of contrast the situation that existed at the time of confederation, and I quote Galt, at page 63 of the debates on confederation:
Taking the census of 1861, this trade represents thirty-five dollars per head of the population.
He is speaking of the trade of Upper and Lower Canada.
The value of the import and export trade of New Brunswick, for the same year, is $16,729,680, amounting to sixty-six dollars per head of its population.
That is, it was almost one hundred per cent greater than that of the upper Canadian provinces.
The aggregate trade of Nova Scotia for the same period amounted to $18,622,359 . . . and in the case of Prince Edward Island the import and export trade amounted to $3,055,568 . . .
Thus it will be seen that at the time of confederation our trade was more than fifty per cent higher than the trade of Upper and Lower Canada. As far as the revenues of the maritime provinces at the time of confederation were concerned, let me again quote Galt at page 66 of the debates:
It will be observed that as regards these provinces their income and expenditure are such that they will enter the confederation with a financial position in no respect inferior to that of Canada.
By "Canada" he meant the upper provinces.
If an objection were made with respect to any province in regard to its financial position, it would be against Canada. The lower provinces have been and are now in a position to meet, from their taxation, all their expenses, and cannot be regarded as bringing any burden to the people of Canada.
We are in a much humbler position today, Mr. Speaker. Time and again since confederation we have been forced to come to the central government to plead for increased subsidies in order to maintain our services, which always have been below the standards of those in other provinces. Let me repeat that we will never solve the economic problems of the maritime provinces by increased subsidies. That is a palliative which relieves the tension for a certain length of time, but it is never a cure. Bear in mind that at that period of our history we in the maritimes were not torn by strife, disunity and discord. We had already reached a spirit of compromise and understanding. Our leaders at the meeting at Charlottetown already were formulating a maritime union. When repre-
sentatives of the upper provinces reached Charlottetown during those deliberations, they were welcome but uninvited guests. They came as onlookers, not as negotiators for a federal union. They found so much progress had been made among the mari-timers toward a maritime union that they decided if a federal union were to materialize they must act at once. It was then that offers were made for a federal union.
On the other hand, what was the position of the upper provinces at that time? They were torn by dissatisfaction and disagreement; and again I quote Gait during the debates on confederation:
The house must not forget that it will forever remove the great and crying evils and dissensions which have existed in Canada for the last ten years, and which have threatened to plunge the country into the most disastrous and lamentable state of discord and confusion.
That was the situation in the upper provinces. I want to quote again from the debates on confederation. I hope I am not tiring you, Mr. Speaker, but I wish to prove my case from the very sayings of the fathers of confederation. Here is another extract:
Because just so surely as this scheme is defeated-
The speaker was referring to confederation. -will be evolved the original proposition for a union of the maritime provinces, irrespective of Canada . . . They will form themselves into a power which, though not so strong as if united with Canada, will nevertheless be a powerful and considerable community, and it will then be too late for us to attempt to strengthen ourselves by this scheme.
These are not the words of a maritimer speaking to his people; they are the words of the great Sir John A. Macdonald, addressed not to the maritimers but to his own people. Those words were meant to apply to the people of the upper provinces, as the next quotation from Sir John A. Macdonald shows:
If we are not blind to our present position, we must see the hazardous situation in which all the great interests of Canada stand in respect to the United States. I am no alarmist. I do not believe in the prospect of immediate war. I believe that the common sense of the two nations will prevent a war; still we cannot trust to probabilities ....
Our trade is hampered-
That was because of the civil war and differences between England and the United States.
-by the passport system and at any moment we may be deprived of permission to carry our goods through United States channels-the bonded goods system may be done away with . . . Our merchants may be obliged to return to the old system of bringing in during the summer months the supplies for the whole year. Ourselves already threatened, our trade interrupted, our intercourse, political and commercial, destroyed, if we do not take warning now when we have the opportunity, and while one avenue is threatened to be closed, open another by taking advantage of the present arrangement and the desire of the lower provinces to draw closer the
The Address-Mr. C. T. Richard alliance between us, we may suffer commercial and political disadvantages it may take long for us to overcome.
This was the situation in the upper Canadian provinces. Without an outlet to the sea, their foreign trade was bottlenecked and depended on the whims of our neighbours to the south.
In the confederation debates Cartier gives a clear comprehension of this handicap when he says, and I quote him:
Twenty years ago our commerce for the year could be managed by communication with Great Britain in the summer months only. At present, however, this system was insufficient and for winter communication with the seaboard we were left to the caprice of our American neighbours through whose territory we must pass. Canada having two or three elements of national greatness, territory and population, wanted the maritime element, and as he said, the lower provinces had this element and the seaboard.
Therefore, these words are applicable only to the upper Canadian provinces. We in the maritime provinces possessed that seaboard and had the choice of the United States or the overseas market. The entrance of the maritime provinces into confederation assured the provinces of upper Canada of this maritime element, as Cartier calls it, and assured their future prosperity which was then so precarious.
I have quoted copiously from these debates on confederation to show the exact picture of the maritimes at the time of confederation. Some people may consider such a review inappropriate, since it is all water under the bridge. However, we have to have recourse to such a study if we want to understand the real purpose of confederation. Macdonald called it a treaty, and as such it must be regarded. The pact of confederation must be read in the light of the conditions and circumstances in existence at the time it was effected.
Now, we maritimers have knowledge of all these facts. It is therefore somewhat galling to be always treated as if we were the adopted provinces of the two greater provinces, and that we should therefore be grateful to these more prosperous provinces for the bountiful munificence which overflows their boundaries. To use a common expression, we are getting sick and tired of it. I have quoted from the surveys certain figures which show that our economic situation is due to a lack of accumulated wealth and the growth of any industrial centres. The fathers of confederation felt that confederation would bring an increase in our industrial centres. This was held out as an inducement to the maritime provinces to sacrifice their wonderful position and enter a pact of confederation about which they were somewhat doubtful.
The Address-Mr. C. T. Richard
Have the cities of our Canadian seaboard had such a growth? The answer is to be found in a consideration of the expansion of the United States cities along the United States seaboard. When we consider that our cities have the same geographical position and the same climate, and that only an imaginary line separates the two of us, and when we consider the way our cities have steadily fallen behind, it is hard to understand how progress has passed us by.
There is a great deal of history connected with this matter of accumulated wealth and the development of our industrial centres on the Atlantic seaboard. Some may say this situation has come about because of uncontrollable events and that, confederation or no confederation, we would be in the same situation.
At six o'clock the house took recess.
Topic: RECONSTRUCTION AND SUPPLY
Subtopic: SPEECH FROM THE THRONE
Sub-subtopic: CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
Before the dinner recess, Mr. Speaker, I was trying to prove that the economic situation of the maritime provinces was not due to any events beyond our control. I maintain that this economic situation which has followed from confederation to our own day is the result of the adoption of certain tariff and fiscal policies which concentrated capital, and therefore industry, in the two dominant provinces of the dominion; and those two provinces hold that dominant position because they possess size and population. In our desire to protect and promote our industries I maintain that policies have been adopted which were quite beneficial to certain provinces but quite detrimental to others. Let me point to a few examples.
First, there is our banking system. It may be the soundest in the world but yet it tends to gather the people's savings from the most remote parts of the country and centralize them in focal points of the dominion. It is encouraging corporate financing on a large scale and is promoting amalgamation to the point where we in the maritimes have been deprived of certain industries. Some of them have been completely wiped out.
The same thing may be said of our insurance companies which are great gatherers of the people's savings. I dare any of these institutions to deny that in the maritimes the ratio of our savings employed for commercial purposes is the lowest of any in Canada. I am not the only one who holds these views, and maritimers are not the only ones who hold them.
An exhaustive study of economic conditions was made by the Duncan commission. What
was the result of that study? It is contained in this significant finding:
We are far from saying that the dominion, within its sphere of control, has done all for the maritime provinces which it should have done.
It must not be overlooked that the task which has been placed upon the federal authorities in bringing such a vast territory as Canada to its present point of growth and prospect has been colossal. The calls made upon its attention and resources by that task may well -have prevented it from rendering to the older and well-settled communities of the east as much help as these communities were entitled to expect, or as much help as it has afforded to other parts of Canada. It is not possible in such an undertaking as the making of Canada, with its geographical and physical conditions, and its variety of settlement and development, to maintain always an accurate balance, apportioning to every section of this extensive country the exact quality of benefit and quantity of advantage which would be theoretically and justly desirable. But reasonable balance is within accomplishment if there be periodic stocktaking.
I should like to quote also from the White report, which followed the Duncan commission inquiry:
We are in accord with the claim of the maritime provinces and with the finding of the Duncan commission that these provinces have not shared proportionately with the other provinces of Canada in the economic advantages accruing to the dominion as a whole from confederation.
In other words, in this great and rapid growth which has brought Canada in such a short period of time to the position of being one of the leading nations of the world, we of the maritimes became the expendables.
I have shown that no selfish motives prompted the people of the maritimes to enter confederation, and that their sole aim was to contribute their share to the building up of a great nation. The attitude of the people of the maritimes has not changed since. We have supported every move and every expenditure made in other parts of the dominion where such expenditure would tend to its greater development, even when at times such support was to our own detriment.
We contributed to the great development of the west by supporting wholeheartedly an expensive colonization policy. We realized however, that we could derive little benefit from it because in the maritimes we had nothing comparable to offer in the way of attracting settlers.
We have contributed our share to the building up of our vast railway system. We have contributed to the construction of inland water routes and the deepening of the St. Lawrence river even though this was injurious to our own ports. Maritimers, in other words, have been Canadians first and have never stood in the way whenever anything was to be done for the benefit of Canada.
Let me cite another example of our spirit of co-operation whenever the interests of Canada were paramount. When the provin-
cial and federal authorities made a study of the reallocation of taxing powers, the maritime provinces were among the first to throw in their lot, even though we felt we would not derive as much benefit as would the other provinces, owing to the fact that our population would not increase as much as theirs would.
Vast industrial projects which were postponed during the war are being proposed, and these are attracting our attention. In the distribution of capital for the carrying out of these projects we in the maritime provinces demand our share. I cite the Chig-necto canal project as an undertaking which would give us cheaper hydro power, an advantage which we in the maritimes need. I also cite the Quoddy bay power project, about which I might speak at some length if time permitted me to do so.
I think it was Johnson who said: of joy and grief, the past is the object; the future, of fear and hope. We in the maritimes entertain the fear that we may be left to our own resources and may continue to lag behind in the national march to greater progress. But we also cherish the hope that all Canadians will join with us in trying to solve our problems. We do not begrudge the prosperity which has come to the other provinces, but we wish an opportunity of sharing in that prosperity.
I admit, Mr. Speaker, that we in the maritime provinces do not possess any great natural resources, but what we have we wish to have developed to the fullest extent. I cite the fishing industry as one example; to the maritime provinces it has a value of some $28 million a year. Until a few years ago this industry was languishing, but now with the assistance given by this administration in the construction of boats and in the establishment of freezing and processing plants, a great change has come about. We also give credit to this administration for the construction of breakwaters and wharves which afford protection to our fishing fleets. We hope that many more will be constructed, as they are greatly needed.
Let me also point out that we in the maritimes depend on the New England market; it is our natural market. We cannot hope to have the upper Canadian provinces take our exportable surplus. As I say, the New England states market is our natural market, and we hope that trade treaties will be entered into with the United States so that we may be able to seek that market. We had that opportunity in 1911. We missed it, probably, and ve know what happened then. But should the opportunity again be presented, I assure
The Address-Mr. Cockeram this house that we will not again be deceived.
Some may say that I am criticizing the administration which I am supporting, but I might point out that the Liberal party was the first to recognize the situation in the maritime provinces. In proof of that, I' point to the Duncan commission, whose findings were implemented by the grant of increased subsidies, the restoration of proper freight rates, bonuses to coal mining, and in many other respects. Moreover, the assistance given last year for the reclamation of our marshlands has been of great benefit to the maritime provinces.
In conclusion, I contend that the bringing up of the economy of the maritime provinces to the level at which it should be is not the concern of one administration or of one political party, but is the concern of all Canadians. There are in the maritimes a million Canadians who wish to see the day when existing inequalities of opportunity may be wiped out and when we may have the fulfilment of the real object of the confederation pact.
Topic: RECONSTRUCTION AND SUPPLY
Subtopic: SPEECH FROM THE THRONE
Sub-subtopic: CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
Mr. Speaker, may I first of all welcome to the house those new members who were elected during the recess and say that they have come to a great fraternity, and that we are all very pleased to see them here. Also may I extend my congratulations to the Prime Minister (Mr. St. Laurent) upon his election to that high office, the highest office this country has to offer.
I want now to offer my congratulations to my own leader, the hon. member for Carleton (Mr. Drew), whom I have known since the first war, who has come to this House of Commons and has shown what an excellent leader he is. During all the years I have known George Drew I have never had any doubt about his ability, not only as a man who sticks to his principles, but as a fighter. And I believe those who sit to your right, Mr. Speaker, must realize that this time they are up against an unbeatable opposition.
The question facing parliament today is, as I see it: Are we to trust our future to the planners by further delegating powers of this parliament, or are industry and business, which have the ability to expand and to utilize the vast natural resources of this country, to be given the opportunity to do so.
Neither the government nor the planners have the ability or the means to develop this country as it should be developed, unless we continue our present high rate of oppressive taxation. It would be a costly experiment, which the country could not stand, because neither the government nor the planners have
The Address-Mr. Cockeram the ability in industry that the trained industrialists possess.
During the past few years there have been discovered and confirmed in Canada large bodies of natural resources such as iron ore, titanium, uranium, and petroleum. These natural resources will require hundreds of millions of dollars to develop in the years that lie ahead. There are approximately up to the present time 475,000 square miles of the prairie provinces which are considered as prospective oil lands with a petroleum potential running into billions of barrels of
oil. It is estimated that to develop this large oil field possibly a billion dollars will be required in the years ahead.
Allowing for the fact that 50 per cent of this money will be generated internally, we will still require $500 million, which must be raised in the capital markets. The maintaining of an artificial value for our dollar, which has resulted in an outflow of capital every year since it was established, will not develop the petroleum industry in this country.
In Quebec and in Labrador, which is shortly to become part of Canada, there have been discovered tremendous bodies of iron of a suitable quality, and it is estimated that it will require something like $300 million before this area is fully developed and the ores can be delivered to the steel mills.
There are large deposits of titanium which have been discovered in Quebec, and the recent method of separating titanium from titaniferous ore, not only makes possible a titanium industry only thirty miles inland from the gulf of St. Lawrence, but wifi give this continent a large second-grade supply of scrap iron. These great resources are today awaiting development, but the extent and speed with which they will be developed depends on the amount of risk capital that will be available.
By continuing the artificial value of our dollar we are hindering the development in this country so essential at this time, if we are, first, to utilize our resources to the fullest extent; second, to prevent a recurrence of the depression which followed the first great war; third, to stabilize our economy by increasing our productive capacity of materials and goods that will be in demand in the future; fourth, to make the contribution we should make and may expect to make some day to hemispheric defence; fifth, provide security of supply of essential goods in the event of global war, when many of these resources, known to be available in Canada but at present undeveloped, are cut
off from present other world sources; sixth, provide for the industrial expansion of this nation, and thus assure employment for those of our people who toil in our factories.
The effect of the action of the government in establishing and maintaining an artificial value of our dollar has been very pronounced in the mining industry of Canada, particularly the gold industry.
The last report the Minister of Mines and Resources (Mr. MacKinnon) tabled in the house only a short time ago, states:
The restoration of the dollar to parity early in July, 1946, reduced the price of gold to Canadian producers to $35 an ounce from its previous level of $38.50 an ounce. As a result of these adverse influences there was only a slightly higher output of gold in 1946 and an increase in the value of output from $103,823,990 in 1945 to $104,096,359 in 1946. At the close of the fiscal year, the gold industry was entering a depressed phase, more especially in reference to exploratory drilling, which was showing a marked decline, and to prospecting. Nor was there any substantial improvement in production.
I should like to point out that that is the report of the Minister of Mines and Resources. This was the effect on an industry of placing an artificial value on our dollar, the primary importance of which industry is its function in strengthening the foreign credit position of this nation, particularly in relation to the United States.
That was the effect on an industry wherein, for every man employed underground, ten other Canadians are provided employment to service the industry, on our farms, in our factories and elsewhere in the Canadian economy.
This action not only resulted in decreasing the number of jobs in the industry itself, but reflected itself ten times over elsewhere in the Canadian economy. Today, with unemployment showing itself because of our loss of export markets, it is time to ask ourselves as Canadians whether we can afford the luxury of maintaining an artificial value for our dollar, when without it we could have greater activity in the gold mining industry, producing a product for which there is stable demand and which strengthens our foreign credit position.
Today in Canada there is concern as to the adequacy of future risk capital for the development of this nation's natural resources. Looking at our present position in terms of jobs, and seeing our export markets falling off on the one side, and an outflow of capital on the other, is it any wonder the press carries stories to the effect that Canadian authorities are belatedly concerned about the effect of their own policies and about inadequate sources of risk capital for Canadian development? When the present artificial
value was placed on our dollar I pointed out to the Minister of Finance (Mr. Abbott) that such action would almost certainly destroy the confidence of foreign investors in the money policies of this country. The warning at that time went unheeded.
Now, almost three years later, the wisdom of this accepted policy of the bureaucrats is being questioned, and the effect of it upon our economy is forcing the government to recognize how important the flow of risk capital is to Canadian production, employment and development. It is apparent that Canadians themselves cannot provide the flow of risk capital that could be employed to advantage in the development of this great country. In spite of the position the Minister of Finance (Mr. Abbott) has taken on this matter in the past, will he not now admit that one of the greatest needs of this nation at the moment, if we are to provide continuing employment and to give our people the standard of social security the government is always promising, is to give freedom from foreign exchange control that will permit capital to flow to and from the United States.
If that is done and parliament is given assurance that there will be no more tampering by the bureaucrats, there will be an adequate supply of capital which will ensure development and utilization of our resources, which will provide employment for our people, which will make reductions in taxation possible and provide a continued high standard of living for the Canadian people.
The constituency which I have the honour to represent, namely, York South, is composed largely of the class of people who are dependent for their livelihood upon continued gainful employment. During the last depression that riding was hit as hard as, if not harder than, any section in the Dominion of Canada. But in spite of that, during the two wars there was no riding in the Dominion of Canada that had a greater percentage of voluntary enlistments.
At the present time the people in York South are beginning to see layoffs in some of the factories and they are becoming fearful that, as a result of government policy, there will be less and less employment in our factories. If we as a country fail to develop and utilize the resources which God has given to us, with which we are so well endowed, we will not be able to maintain employment in the future.
The people of York South are interested mainly in employment, but they are also interested to a large extent in the subject that was discussed in the house this afternoon, old age pensions. They are interested in 29087-71
The Address-Mr. Cockeram housing and many other things which can be provided only if employment is kept at the highest possible level. As the people in my riding and throughout Canada read government reports, which indicate that employment is less secure because our export trade is undoubtedly diminishing, they ask what steps this government is taking to guard against unemployment. We did hear the Minister of Reconstruction and Supply (Mr. Winters) state the other day that the government had elaborate plans for a public works program if, as and when there was a slackening in business. But I suggest that there are better ways of achieving the desired result.
I think it is generally recognized that when the government spends large sums of money the people do not get the greatest value for the money that is expended. No matter whether the amount is large or small, it must come out of the taxpayers' pockets. I suggest that one way of ensuring employment is to liberate ourselves from the objectionable feature of exchange control. In a country in the early stages of development, such as Canada is today, in a country with an abundance of natural resources and with people who are honest and industrious and motivated by an inherent desire to live as free people, I believe we have come to the position where it is neither desirable nor necessary for this parliament to continue to delegate to any board powers such as we have conferred under the Foreign Exchange Control Act.
During wartime, under an entirely different set of circumstances, all parties were prepared to delegate the powers of this parliament in an effort to divert as far as possible the nation's resources and manpower to an all-out war effort. Today, four years after the cessation of hostilities, these powers are still being delegated. Parliament is being asked to extend the Foreign Exchange Control Act, not for one year but for two years until 1951.
Leaving unanswered all the questions that a free people have the right to ask, why is it necessary, in specific relation to Canadian conditions as they now exist, to continue to delegate such powers for a further two-year period? What special facilities has such a board to see and act upon problems which business itself would or could handle in the normal course of events? How does controlled exchange affect the Canadian economy? One thing is certain: we are losing our overseas markets, and once lost they will be hard to regain.
Before this house is asked to pass upon the extension of the Foreign Exchange Control Act, the bill should be sent to the banking and commerce committee where experts of the
1120 HOUSE OF
The Address-Mr. Cockeram Department of Finance could be questioned as to the relevance of the various sections to conditions at the present time. When the Foreign Exchange Control Act was passed in 1946 it was intended, largely if not wholly, to deal with our exchange position with the United States. When the bill was before the banking and commerce committee on July 15, 1946, Mr. Rasminsky, alternate chairman of the foreign exchange control board, was asked the following question which appears on page 87 of the minutes of evidence:
Topic: RECONSTRUCTION AND SUPPLY
Subtopic: SPEECH FROM THE THRONE
Sub-subtopic: CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
in the whole world situation as it appears at the present time, the character of our exchange relations with the United States causes a certain amount of preoccupation which is, as I understand it, the reason for the bill.
At the time the foreign exchange bill was before parliament such a measure may have been necessary because our trade balance, excluding gold, was then adverse and that adverse balance had been increasing from the first of that year. That adverse balance has been changed from the $38-5 million when the present act was passed in 1946, and from a high of $102-7 million in May 1947, to a favourable balance of $1-5 million in November, 1948. I have not the figures for the last two months, but I presume our balance of trade with the United States, excluding gold, continues to reflect our heavy exports to that country and purchases under ERP.
Our official holdings of gold and United States dollars, which were a matter of grave concern when the foreign exchange control bill was passed, have shown a definite improvement in the past year, which is due largely to three things. First, the government has at last modified its policy of imposing embargoes against the export of our products. Second, purchases made by ERP have amounted to $593 million. Third, there was a borrowing of $150 million from the United States. Judging from statements by responsible government sources, it is reasonable to assume that our holdings of gold and United States dollars have more than doubled in the year just past. It is interesting to note the holdings of United States dollars and gold from the early days of the war and from the time the Foreign Exchange Control Act was passed.
From the date of establishment of the Foreign Exchange Control Act to September
1948 the Canadian holdings of gold and United States dollars amounted to:
September 15, 1939 December 31, 1939 December 31, 1940 December 31, 1941 December 31, 1942 December 31, 1943 December 31, 1944 December 31, 1945 December 31, 1946 December 31, 1947
March 31, 1948 _
June 30, 1948 ..
September 30, 1948 December 31, 1948 .
(not yet available)
The improved condition of our foreign exchange position with the United States gives rise to the question how much longer this nation should continue to carry on its statute books a law such as the Foreign Exchange Control Act, which in effect strikes at the very core of the economic freedom of Canada.
Under the authority of this act Canada today, by maintaining an artificial value of the Canadian dollar, is subsidizing imports from the United States, and at the same time the government tells the Canadian people, burdened as they are by unwarranted taxation, that the reductions they are demanding in taxes may not be possible for the reason that the budgetary surplus for the fiscal year ending March 31, 1948, of $640 million is not really a surplus because the government, among other things, had to advance the foreign exchange control board $370 million during that year. This $370 million was used to purchase United States currency. In other words, money collected from the Canadian taxpayers in excess of the cost of government is being used to gamble in foreign exchange, and not being used for domestic debt retirement. Total purchases of United States funds during 1948 amounted to $402,631,226. Will the government tell the Canadian people what premium, if any, was paid on the purchase of these funds?
When the Foreign Exchange Control Act was before the banking and commerce committee in 1946 Mr. Rasminsky stated as follows, as recorded on page 83 of the minutes of evidence:
Whether the existence of foreign exchange control is an undesirable deterrent to foreign investment in Canada-I think the answer to that lies in the results.
This bill in its present form has been on the statute books now for over two years,
and the government is asking parliament to grant another extension until sixty days after parliament reconvenes in 1951. Before doing so, however, I think, as Mr. Rasminsky suggested, that we should look for the answer in the results. Let us examine what has been happening to the flow of capital between Canada and other countries.
A review of the flow of capital between Canada and other countries for the past ten years indicates unmistakably the adverse effect of the present policy of maintaining an artificial value of the Canadian dollar. The figures on the flow of capital from and to Canada since 1938 are as follows:
1938 + 28 9
1939 + 721
1940 + 28 8
1941 ' + 330
1947 - 18 0
194R ill monthsl - 17-2
The year 1946 was the year in which our money was placed on parity with that of the United States. In that year we still had a surplus of United States money coming to this country. The money coming from outside sources amounted to $134-6 million. In 1947, instead of having capital coming in to be invested in Canada, we find that we lost $18 million, and in 1948 we lost $17-2 million in eleven months. These figures demonstrate that since the government put our money on a parity basis there has been no new investment in Canada, and what money was invested is being withdrawn.
The record shows that following the placing of an artificial value on our dollar, and the enactment of the Foreign Exchange Control Act, Canada has been an exporter of capital, which is an amazing thing for a country as young as this, a country that requires so much money to bring about its full development. The adverse effect on the inflow of capital was reflected in the annual report of the Bank of Canada to the Minister of Finance (Mr. Abbott) tabled in this house on January 14 last. There it is stated that a greatly increased sale of corporate securities would aid our economy at this time but the government is making it impossible for outsiders to buy any of these corporate securities.
The Address-Mr. Cockeram
In this report the governor of the Bank of Canada pointed out that only one-fifth of recent expansion by private business had been financed by new security issues. The balance had been financed out of current depreciation allowances and retained current earnings. Some companies in Canada, such as Imperial Oil Limited, are selling some of their current established business interests in order to finance business expansion in Canada which they now have in hand. This company disposed of their holding in International Petroleum to the extent of $80 million in United States funds, which helped the Minister of Finance.
What further evidence is required that Canada today faces the need to assist rather than to deter capital expansion, especially for developing this country and to provide employment, increase production, and hold inflation? During the years prior to July, 1946, when the artificial value was placed on our dollar, we increased our liquid reserves of gold and United States dollars, and the bulk of this increase was due to transactions on capital account. The real control exercised under the present act, and exercised in accordance with government laid-down policy, is with respect to capital transactions. The adverse effect this measure has had, and will have in the future if allowed to continue, by maintaining an artificial value of our dollar, is the responsibility of the present government, and for this they will have to answer to the Canadian people.
The adverse effect of the parity action of the government in 1946 is evidenced on every side. The tremendous cost to the nation in the future, if this policy is pursued, it is impossible to estimate accurately. If we are to get our house in order so as to weather the economic storm that some people think lies ahead, and evidence of which is appearing on all sides today, it is now certain that we cannot depend on the planners or the bureaucrats to do it for us. One characteristic of the planned economy provided for in the foreign exchange control legislation is that policy changes come as bolts from the blue. In this regard it runs true to all planned economies. Planners never like to admit they have made mistakes, but hold on to their powers and policies in the hope, like Mr. Micawber, that something will occur, something will "turn up" at some other point of the plan which may provide a good alibi.
The Address-Mr. Cockeram They cover up deficiencies when the promises of the planners fail to materialize and that failure becomes obvious to all. Then the situation becomes a crisis, such as we had in November, 1947. In that connection I would remind hon. members that right after the Minister of Finance (Mr. Abbott) had come out with a glowing statement in respect to the exchange position, I pointed out that, in spite of the pleasure he seemed to derive from presenting the report of the Bank of Canada with respect to foreign exchange, he had only enough United States funds to last until the end of October or November 1947. The statement I made at that time proved to be true, and in November the minister had to put on his radio program of taxation and embargoes.
Regard is seldom had for the fact that a board of planners just cannot see the problems of every business in the economy as those problems are seen by those who have to stand or fall by their success in the business world. As a result the country pays dearly for the experiment of having the government handle business.
My final question is: Can the government, on its record, be trusted to use such powers in the way they represent to parliament that they are to be used? The former leader of this party, the hon. member for Neepawa (Mr. Bracken), in a statement found at page 54 of Hansard for December 8, 1947, repeated a statement which had been made by the former Minister of Finance, Mr. Ilsley, at page 2547 of Hansard for June 17, 1946, in which Mr. Ilsley said:
We have no intention of using this exchange control legislation to restrict anything but certain types of capital movement.
In spite of that statement, however, through the present Minister of Finance this government has used the Foreign Exchange Control Act as authority for its radio decrees. Certainly when that matter was before the house not one hon. member had any idea that we were giving the Minister of Finance power to put on special taxes over the radio. It seems to me the Minister of Finance has brought to this parliament a degree of levity unknown to this house in one holding so responsible a position. Within the short period of two years he has assumed mastery of all problems of business and finance that have taxed the ingenuity of economists and political scientists through the ages. The truth is that he has become so indoctrinated by the invisible government to whom the destinies of this country are entrusted that he holds in contempt the experience of the average business man; but he has failed to convince this house that he is really in con-
trol of the financial policies that determine the fate of the people of Canada. He recalls to me the statement made by one famous British statesman about another: "He is indebted to his memory for his jokes"-which we hear so often in this house-"and to his imagination for his facts".
Topic: RECONSTRUCTION AND SUPPLY
Subtopic: SPEECH FROM THE THRONE
Sub-subtopic: CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
Mr. Speaker, one of the advantages of this debate is that it gives hon. members an opportunity to bring to the attention of parliament and the government the problems of the people of their constituencies. In that connection I must say that not for many years have I found, at the opening of parliament, the people so upset by immediate worries and so fearful of what the future may have in store for them. My ground for that statement is that seldom have I been approached by so many individuals and organizations before leaving Vancouver to come here for the opening of the session; and I regret very much that the people in my city who find the going tough will find very little hope or comfort in the speech from the throne.
It is not my intention tonight to analyse the speech from the throne paragraph by paragraph. I have not the time for that, and I doubt very much whether it would be worth the time if I had it. However, I do wish to draw attention to one paragraph, about which I want to say a few words. In the third paragraph we read:
Employment is at higher levels than ever before. In striking contrast with communist countries, the free economy of our country is demonstrating its ability to provide for all a high standard of living, social justice and individual freedom. It is the view of my ministers that a steady advance toward the goal of social justice for all is an effective safeguard against the influence of subversive doctrines.
I agree with the last sentence of that paragraph. But the economy of this country, free or otherwise, is not providing for all a high standard of living, social justice and individual freedom. The mover of the address, the hon. member for Essex West (Mr. Brown), said:
The year 1948 was good to Canada. In that year the highest peacetime levels of production and external trade were achieved, and the levels of income and employment were the highest on record.
When the Prime Minister (Mr. St. Laurent) took part in the debate he made a similar assertion. These statements, I suppose, are based on facts, and I am not going to dispute the facts; but if the mover of the address draws the conclusion or wishes the house to draw the conclusion that, because Canada has had record production and record income in the year just past, all the Canadian people are better oft' than they were before, I do dispute that because it is not the fact. For large
sections of our people this increased production and increased national income do not mean anything because they do not participate in their benefits. They not only do not participate in those benefits, but their position is worse than it was last year, and the year before that, and the year before that. So what rot it is to say we have a high standard of living. Some of us have, but there are many people in this country who have not a high standard of living and whose standard of living is going down day by day as the cost of living goes up. Persons on fixed incomes such as old age pensioners, recipients of war veterans allowance, blind pensioners, persons on small superannuation such as many superannuated civil servants, unorganized workers, wage and salary earners, small farmers, and a host of people who are unable to increase their incomes as the cost of living goes up, are worse off in 1948 than they were in 1947. They were worse off in 1948 than they were in 1944 and 1945 when nearly half of our production went for war purposes; that is something that ought to make the members of this house and the members of this government sit up and think.
Let me give one or two examples of what is happening to those people with low fixed incomes. In 1945, the maximum old age pension was $25; in December, 1948, it was $30. The value of the pension in 1948 in terms of 1945 dollars was only $22.50, which means that the old age pensioner was $2.50 worse off in 1948 than he was in 1945. Two dollars and fifty cents may not mean very much to the members of this house, but $2.50 per month means a great deal to a person who has only $30 per month. The same thing applies to the blind people.
Turning to war veterans allowances for a moment, we find that in 1945 a married man received $60 per month. In December, 1948, he received $70 per month. The value of the $70 he received in 1948, in terms of 1945 dollars, amounted to only $52.50. This left him $7.50 worse off in 1948 than he was in 1945. The position of those in the other groups I have mentioned is similar, that is, they are poorer in 1948 and so far in 1949 than they were in 1945. This is true despite the fact that, according to the Prime Minister (Mr. St. Laurent) and the mover of the address (Mr. Brown), Canada had a higher national income in 1948.
Let us see what that means. It carries its own implications. If these people are receiving less of the national income than they were in 1945, others must be receiving a larger share of the national income than they did in 1945. I submit, Mr. Speaker, that is not social justice, whatever else it may be called. In-
The Address-Mr. Maclnnis deed, it is the very opposite of social justice, it is social injustice.
I think it was the leader of the opposition who, in complaining of high taxation, said that taxes were so high people had nothing left for savings. Perhaps the leader of the opposition and I are not speaking for the same people. Tonight, I am speaking for the people who do not pay taxes, at least do not pay direct taxes. I am speaking for that large section of the nation whose incomes are too low to bring them within range of income taxes. Do not forget that the Minister of Finance in his 1947 speech said that this group comprised more than half of those who received incomes in Canada. Not only have the people I am speaking for nothing left for savings; they do not get enough for a decent living. Because of the fact that they do not get enough for proper nourishment, they are daily drawing cheques on the bank of life which will mean a shorter life.
The contradictions in our system of production and distribution are again becoming apparent. One contradiction is that the more productive we become the less secure all but a very few are. Today the ability to produce is catching up with and overcoming the ability to consume. We are building up surpluses and the more surpluses we build the more insecure the people are. It is for that reason so many people are worried and in distress. Once more we are entering a period of surpluses.
I shall now deal, Mr. Speaker, with the particular situation in my own city. Before leaving for Ottawa I was invited, along with other members of parliament from Vancouver, to attend a meeting called by the officers of the community chest and council. The heads of several of Vancouver's welfare agencies also attended the meeting. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the problem of the employable unemployed who, for one reason or another, such as waiting for unemployment insurance or the exhaustion of unemployment insurance benefits, find themselves in difficulty. The municipality looks after the unemployables. After the employable unemployed have exhausted their unemployment insurance benefits, there is nothing for them but charity. In this group I have mentioned, one finds married men with large families who cannot get along on their unemployment insurance.
I want to draw the attention of the house to the fact that this is not a condition that applies only to Vancouver. In the Montreal Gazette of March 1, I noticed a report of a meeting of the federation of Catholic charities in the city of Montreal. The director of the organization was reporting to the annual
The Address-Mr. Maclnnis meeting of the directors. In part, this is what he said:
Meagre unemployment insurance payments to Canadians out of work were described as "a crime against justice and charity" last evening by Father Patrick J. Ambrose, director of the federation of Catholic charities.
Then, he said this:
It is to be deplored that to date unemployment insurance has not kept pace with the rising cost of living. People today who are in receipt of this insurance are unable to live,-whether they be single or married and with dependents.
That is just the situation we have in Vancouver, where perhaps it is even worse than it is in the city of Montreal, or in any other part of Canada. The situation became so serious that the government had to take cognizance of it and send a minister out to the Pacific coast to investigate.
I have in my hand a news item from the Vancouver Sun reporting an interview with the Minister of Fisheries when he was in Vancouver about ten days ago. In the four cities of Vancouver, Victoria, Nanaimo and New Westminster there are 50,000 people out of work, and from 35,000 to 40,000 of those are in the city of Vancouver. Some of this unemployment is seasonal. A great deal of it is due to falling markets, particularly in the lumber industry. Some of it is due to the lack of work in the Vancouver shipyards. The shipyard workers have been unemployed since early fall. As the Minister of Labour (Mr. Mitchell) indicated when I questioned him in the house recently, some of the unemployment may be due to an influx of settlers from other provinces. But whatever the cause, the point I wish to make is that the situation in Vancouver is serious. I greatly regret that the Minister of Labour seemed so unconcerned about the matter when it was brought to his attention. But if he is unconcerned about it, responsible people in Vancouver, whose job it is to look after the homeless and the jobless, are not unconcerned; they are worried.
At the meeting to which I have already referred, and which was attended by some of the other Vancouver members and myself, the executive secretary of the community chest and council stated that the welfare agencies were worried about two aspects of the situation. In the first place, as men and women with feeling, they were concerned over the human suffering and distress with which they were obliged to deal daily; and in the second place they were afraid that if something were not done to relieve the misery and frustration of the people they might overflow human endurance and result in riots or other disturbances. It is a long
time since we had unemployment demonstrations in Vancouver, and we do not want to see them come back.
With all the experience the government has had in the last twenty years, with all that we have learned about how to plan, to produce, and to distribute, surely we shall not sit by now and see men, women and children suffer for the want of the essentials of life which we have in considerable abundance.
Specimen cases were brought to the attention of the meeting, at least they were attached to the minutes of the meeting which I received. I wish to mention one or two cases which I think are typical. The first is as follows:
This family consists of father, age forty, mother, age thirty-four, and seven children, ranging from two to thirteen.
In October, 1947, the man was injured while working as a longshoreman and after a period of hospitalization was pronounced capable of light employment by the workmen's compensation board. He was allotted a compensation pension of $20 a month.
May I say that is one of the sad features of workmen's compensation. A person doing heavy manual work will be adjudged, by doctors of the compensation board, capable of doing light work. But there is no light work for people of that kind. I know because for years I have been dealing with cases of that class.
This man is registered with the handicapped section of the national employment service, who have told us that at present no jobs are listed at their office. His own efforts to find employment have been unsuccessful apart from a few days at Christmas with the Vancouver post office. He is not drawing unemployment insurance benefits.
The total family income is $20, workmen's compensation-
I would ask hon. members to note this income for seven people.
-and $35, family allowance. Out of the total of $55, $22 is paid for rent, leaving $33 a month for all other living expenses.
I figured that out and it comes to about twelve cents per day per person. If this were happening in other parts of the world -and it does happen elsewhere-it would excite our pity and we would be sending assistance to such people. But when it is at our own door, it is almost impossible to get anything done about it. I continue:
Public assistance has been refused on the grounds that the man is employable.
The children of this family seem to be suffering from malnutrition-
It is amazing that such should be the case, on twelve cents per person per day for food! -and the mother, who is pregnant, is not getting the kind of food she should have. One of the children, who has been hospitalized, is ready to come home but will not be able to get an adequate diet there.
I am reading this for a purpose. I will ead one other case, and it will be much horter:
When this man, a highly skilled English technician, ecided to come to Canada, he states he was encour-ged to do so by the officials at Canada and British :olumbia houses in London. However, when he rrived in Vancouver, he found that the only place ,-here he could practise his skill had an age limit f employment that absolutely debarred him.
He too is on charity, not having acquired lufficient unemployment insurance to carry lim over. I do not want to paint the picture vorse than it is, but I want this house and his government to understand that for the ast three months in British Columbia the ;ituation has been serious. I know that it has seen aggravated by abnormal weather con-litions, but most of it is due to the normal iperation of our economic system. As I said, umber mills are shut down because of the ack of markets. Unemployment among the shipyard workers was bad before winter set ,n. The government has no excuse in this natter. They cannot say that this situation same upon them unawares. They knew, if :hey knew anything at all-which I sometimes doubt-what was coming. Previous actions show that they knew years ago that supply would sooner or later catch up with demand and that there would be unemployment which could not be met by the provisions of the Unemployment Insurance Act. That is made quite clear by the proposals made in the green book to the provinces in 1945. If the government was sincere in making those proposals, then I suggest there is something it can do to meet situations such as exist in British Columbia. They can make agreements with those governments which are prepared to make agreements; then they will be able to pay the unemployment assistance they proposed in 1945. If all the provinces do not agree-and it seems that some do not want to-agreements could be made with those who do. We do not want to have a veto applied here, no matter from where it comes. British Columbia is one of those provinces with which an agreement is possible.
It was my intention to speak at some length on the shipbuilding and merchant marine situation on the Pacific coast. However, after listening this afternoon to the Minister of Transport (Mr. Chevrier), I have decided to omit some of the things I intended to say. I do that because I find myself in agreement with much of what the minister said, and particularly his general approach to the question. However, the minister did not answer all my questions.
The situation on the Pacific coast at the present time-and I believe the minister is
The Address-Mr. Maclnnis aware of it-is that our shipyards are idle. Many of the ships the government built and sold to private companies have been sold to foreign owners and are under foreign register. Our sailors have been replaced by foreign crews. Other ships, though still under Canadian register, are manned by foreign crews; and the displacement of Canadian crews by persons of other nationalities is continually going on. It is not incorrect to say that Canadian sailors are walking the streets of Vancouver looking for ships, while persons of other nationalities are manning our ships. I do not know what solution the minister has for this situation.
This afternoon he told us there is a stipulation in the agreement of sale of government-owned ships that, if a resale of the ships is made outside Canada, the purchase price must be set aside for the construction of new ships. However, what worries me in that connection is the length of time allowed in the agreement before the money must be used for new shipbuilding.
Although I have not seen it, the minister pointed out this afternoon-and I do not doubt his word-that the agreement of sale states that building need not begin for five years, and that an extension of two more years may be granted. That is seven years altogether. I suggest to the minister that seven years in this fast-moving world is an awfully long time; and if there is no building of ships for the Canadian merchant marine for seven, or even five years, there may be very little merchant marine left at the end of that time. Not only that, but the skills acquired by our shipbuilders and sailors will have been forgotten. I suggest to the minister that something more than what he proposed today is necessary before it will be satisfactory to a great many people in the part of the country I come from.
The minister also said this afternoon that this was not a good time for the building of ships, and that perhaps there was too much tonnage now. The minister may be right, but I shall make two observations: First, Canadian ships now being sold by the people who bought them from the government are, I am told, being sold at a higher price than their past owners paid for them, or that the government received for them two or three years ago. Secondly, the shipbuilding and shiprepairing association news letter of December 15, 1948, states that according to Lloyd's latest returns 1,160 merchant vessels of over 100 gross tons each were under construction in world shipyards at that time, but that of that number only two will fly the Canadian
1126 HOUSE OF
The Address-Mr. Maclnnis ensign, neither of which will be engaged in overseas trade.
This may be a bad time for the building of ships. I am not an expert in the matter, and if the minister says so I shall accept his word. However, there appears to be a great deal of opinion on the other side. May I say,
I made these notes before I heard the minister speak this afternoon, and I made a note to propose to him and to the government that without delay they undertake a modest shipbuilding program of fast cargo ships. I have used the words "modest shipbuilding program" because I do not believe a large shipbuilding program is indicated at this time.
I make that suggestion to the government, because I am convinced that, if the government will not do it, the shipping and transportation companies certainly will not. They are great free enterprisers, every one of them -provided the government supplies the funds.
I shall close with just one further observation. I agree with the minister-and I made my position quite clear on this point at a meeting of shipyard workers in Vancouver before I came to Ottawa-that it is not necessary for Canada to have a large merchant marine in order for her to hold her position as a leading trading nation. As a matter of fact, if Canada expects to continue as a great trading nation, it'is folly of a major order to think that we can become self-sufficient in everything. The nations of Europe today are short of things to exchange in trade with us. Trade is the exchange of goods for goods, or goods for services, or service of one kind for service of another. If we are going to trade with, let us say, Norway, or even with Great Britain or many other countries in Europe, it is quite possible that if we are to make a deal we will have to sell our goods for services-perhaps shipping services of one kind or another. To that extent I agree absolutely with the minister.
The time has come when we must have more economic co-operation than we have had in the past. In my opinion there is no use in trying to co-operate in political and military matters so long as we are competing on the economic front. After finishing with this point I would suggest three things to the Minister of Transport (Mr. Chevrier) which I think the government should do. One, Canadian registered ships should be manned by Canadian officers and crews. Two, the government should start at once a modest program of shipbuilding. Three, labour should be given representation on the maritime commission. I recommend those three things for the consideration of the government.
There is another matter I should like to bring to the attention of the government- housing. Representing as I do a constituency in the city of Vancouver, I make no apology for saying something about housing. Indeed, I think I would be subject to censure if I did not refer to the urgent need for housing in the strongest possible terms. Today, nearly four years after the war, housing is still British Columbia's most urgent problem. Despite the amount of new construction, and it has been considerable, the situation is not improving. I shall refer for the most part to conditions in Vancouver, but I know that conditions are bad in other parts of Canada, in all parts as a matter of fact. This is indicated by an item which appeared in the Listening Post, published by the Canadian federation of mayors and municipalities. In the issue of December, 1948, it states:
A year ago, when the November, 1947, edition of the Listening Post was issued, housing was Canada's biggest headache. Six months ago when the Gallup poll completed a coast to coast survey, housing was Canada's biggest headache. And today, housing is Canada's biggest headache.
It seems to me that after such a definite assertion has been made by such an authoritative source, no more need be said for the necessity of action on housing. But if the government wants more evidence as to the need for housing I shall draw attention to a source that is very close to the government itself, Mr. Mansur, president of Central Mortgage and Housing Corporation. Speaking at a meeting in Kingston, I believe some time in November, he said:
Our estimates today show that 800,000 household groups in Canada are sharing accommodation. Of those about 250,000 families wish to have a place of their own.
Our surveys indicate that 17 per cent of houses are shared by more than one family. In small towns in Ontario, it is as high as 20 per cent.
Speaking later at a meeting in Toronto, as reported in the Vancouver Sun of January 25, 1948, he said:
The number of people who need front doors of their own exceeds by 350,000 the number who have them ... It is my guess that the immediate need is of the order of 150,000 units.
I notice that the Canadian construction association estimated that the number of housing units that will be' constructed in 1949 will be around 83,000, which would be 67,000 short of what the president of Central Mortgage and Housing Corporation said was needed immediately. .
Having referred to Central Mortgage and Housing Corporation I must commend the corporation for the work it has done in providing homes for veterans in Vancouver. Many of these houses have been constructed in the constituency I represent. One project of some 800 homes was completed at the
beginning of the winter. I have heard many complaints in the house since I came here about poor construction of homes constructed by Central Mortgage, but I have received no complaints in connection with poor construction.
There is another project just starting in Vancouver known as the Fraserview project, where Central Mortgage is to build 1,100 homes. Construction has not started as yet, although clearing has. They took over a whole area and some property had to be expropriated. I am sorry that at the beginning the corporation did not have that regard for the feelings or rights of the private property owners that it should have had. But amends have been made and I think the property owners' interests will be safeguarded, and the project when finished will be appreciated by the people of Vancouver.
I urge the government to do without delay what it should have done years ago. Conditions, I believe, are more favourable now than they were last year or even six months ago. On February 11 the premier of British Columbia said that he was ready to attend a dominion-provincial conference on housing. The city of Vancouver has applied for charter amendments to enable it to set up a housing authority and to discharge whatever share of obligation may fall upon it in the matter of building homes for those who cannot build for themselves.
Topic: RECONSTRUCTION AND SUPPLY
Subtopic: SPEECH FROM THE THRONE
Sub-subtopic: CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
Mr. Speaker, as I represent a riding which is vitally interested in the construction and repair of vessels, I learned with the greatest satisfaction from the speech from the throne that the government proposes to come to the aid of the Canadian shipbuilding industry. I should not like to allow this occasion to pass without taking a few minutes of the time of the house to draw to the attention of the ministers concerned the importance of this question. I do not know exactly the manner in which this question will be resolved and submitted for our consideration, but at the same time I hope that the aid will be adequate and forthcoming immediately for this great national industry, which during the course of the war recently terminated employed more than 75,000 workers.
I hope that the maritime commission, which was formed in 1947, has been able to study the question in the intervening period,
The Address-Mr. Bourget and to submit any necessary recommendations in order to demonstrate to the government that this important industry should continue to exist for very good reasons. This industry, which played a role of the greatest importance during the war, also has a role no less important in time of peace.
At the beginning of my remarks I stated that the shipbuilding industry is one of vital importance to my constituency. Those who have had occasion to visit the shipyards at Lauzon know that they are ideally equipped for the construction of ships of all kinds up to a tonnage of 16,000. Situated in a remarkable location for the building of ships, the yards have the most modern equipment, enormous launching slips, and also two dry-docks, one of which is considered to be the finest in Canada. As to our workmen, I am happy to be able to say again in the house that in my riding we have expert men who demonstrated during the last war their willingness to give their best in the service of their country, and who only hope that in time of peace they will have the opportunity to render further service.
In passing I also wish to say that our workmen are skilled craftsmen and good citizens. The best evidence of their fine spirit and ability is shown in the quantity and the quality of the ships constructed by them in the course of the last conflict, and by the great appreciation which was expressed to them by those in charge of our wartime shipbuilding program. The recognized ability of our workmen is easily explained by the fact that for generation after generation they and their forefathers have been engaged in shipbuilding.
Incidentally, I should like to put on record the number of workers employed in our shipyards during the last war, as well as the amount they received in salaries for those same years. In 1941, the total number of people employed in the two shipyards-I only mention the two most important yards we have in the constituency of Levis, but there is a small one known as Davie Brothers, which however I shall not mention in so far as the statistics I am now submitting to the house are concerned-was 1,696, and they received $2,787,396.63 in salaries; in 1942, 3,673 workers were paid salaries of $6,484,448.23;
1128 HOUSE OF
The Address-Mr. Bourget in 1943, 5,069 employees earned $8,119,736.90; in 1944, 5,319 employees received $10,557,599.96 in salaries; and in 1945, 4,526 workers were paid salaries amounting to $9,241,605.15.
Mr. Speaker, I must point out that I have not mentioned the years 1939 and 1940 tor which I have been unable to obtain accurate figures.
It has been intimated on various occasions that during the war all shipyards were naturally going at full capacity on account of the circumstances. Mr. Speaker, I wish to take this opportunity to quote other figures which will prove that the government's policy has enabled our workers to obtain employment involving good salaries. Here are the figures: in 1946, 1,584 workers were paid $3,325,468.72; in 1947, 2,599 employees earned $6,081,354.52; in 1948, 2,432 workers were paid $5,677,414.98. Thus, for the years 1941 to 1948, we have a grand total of $52,274,625.09 for salaries paid in the county Of Levis alone, where there are but two shipyards.
On many occasions, the opponents of the Liberal government here have tried to spread among the public the notion that the Liberals were only giving assistance abroad. The figures I have just quoted show to what extent this government's policy was wise and that it has helped in making work available for thousands of our workers.
At the present time, our two shipyards, Davie Shipbuilding and George T. Davie & Sons, employ, according to the latest reports available, nearly 1,500 workers. Naturally this offers a contrast with the 5,500 who were employed by these companies in 1944, when the peak of employment was reached in our district. And today-as I said earlier, I am offering these remarks so as to get the ministers to grant more contracts in my constituency-the heads of those companies tell me that they still have work for a few months but that, failing other contracts in the near future, they will be compelled to reduce drastically the number of their employees.
You will readily realize, Mr. Speaker, what a disastrous effect this laying off of hundreds of workers would have upon the economy of our district, which depends almost exclusively on the operation of these shipyards for its living. It might also be proper to remind the house that these shipyards, as well as any other industry, necessarily need a minimum
number of employees, without which they cannot operate normally.
For that reason, I must urge as strongly as possible, upon the ministers concerned, that they take the necessary steps to avoid the unfortunate situation which would prevail should the activities of these yards be further curtailed.
The hon. members will readily understand that these areas, where industry was intensely active during the war, are now in a precarious position owing to the rapid growth of their population during the war years.
As far as my own constituency is concerned, thousands of workers came for employment from all parts of the province of Quebec. These workers, having been employed five, six, seven and eight years, are now permanently established in our midst. I feel, therefore, that in all fairness, the governments, both provincial and federal, have the foremost duty of providing special assistance to the areas or constituencies affected.
I understand that it would be difficult, as far as shipbuilding is concerned, to have the same activity as during the war. On the one hand, in view of the fact that we need to replace many obsolete merchantmen, I feel it would be proper to begin replacing them now. On the other hand, I understand that the Department of National Defence intends to order several new ships for the Royal Canadian Navy. I hope that its program will be carried out without delay.
It would be disastrous to let our lack of interest or foresight jeopardize an industry in which the government invested millions of dollars during the war. We must also prevent our technical experts and skilled labour from going elsewhere or emigrating to the United States. I feel confident that the government will take the necessary steps to avoid such a disaster. A country like ours, which must export over 35 per cent of its production, can surely keep its industries in operation and should logically have a faster and more modern merchant navy to sustain the ruthless competition that exists in the field of shipping. It is therefore fitting, under the circumstances, to build new and better ships if Canada wishes to retain its leadership in this field.
According to the data I have obtained, Canada's exports by water, in 1947, amounted to the sum total of 18,001,435 tons. Cana-
dian ships carried 19-9 per cent of these goods, British ships, 43-5 per cent, American ships 21 per cent and those of other countries, 15'6 per cent. In the same year, Canada's imports by water totaled 9,836,283 tons. Canadian ships carried 27-9 per cent of these goods, American ships, 45-9 per cent, British ships, 7-3 per cent and those of other countries, 18-9 per cent. I feel changes are in order if we wish our development to equal that of other countries in this regard.
I hope that in the legislation they intend to lay before the house, the government will include some solution to this shipbuilding problem, a major one not only in my constituency but in several others in practically every province. I understand that south of the border the government is helping this industry through a system of subsidies. I do not know that it is the ideal solution; at any rate this industry must be supported and helped somehow. We should also keep in mind that it could prove very useful and even essential in a national emergency.
Considering the acknowledged necessity of preserving this industry, I believe you will agree with me, Mr. Speaker, that from a psychological and social standpoint, it is much better that the government should give this industry direct or indirect assistance rather than pay millions of dollars in unemployment insurance benefits to employees made jobless by its closing.
There is also another matter to which I should like to refer briefly, since it was mentioned by my good friend and colleague from Simcoe East (Mr. Robinson) and is closely related to shipbuilding. This matter is steel. I hope that the government, as announced in the speech from the throne, will also help this basic industry so that our shipyards will not be delayed in fulfilling contracts they have already secured or might secure in the future.
While on this subject, Mr. Speaker, may I be permitted to draw most particularly the attention of the government of my province to the establishment of a steel industry in Quebec. We all know of the rich discoveries of high grade iron ore in New Quebec. According to studies made by two eminent professors of the science faculty of Laval university, this ore might be treated in electric ovens in our own province. It has been shown that we have the necessary water power to generate enough electricity to process over ten million tons of ore per year. I am con-
The Address-Mr. Bourget fident that the provincial government will have enough foresight and patriotism to prevent such an economically promising industry from moving elsewhere. We would then become independent of foreign countries for the steel requirements of our present and future industries.
Mr. Speaker, since the budget is to be brought down earlier this year, I wish to take this opportunity of asking once again on behalf of my constituents that the Minister of Finance (Mr. Abbott) reduce taxes to an appreciable extent. As I pointed out in an earlier speech, I believe that the national debt burden incurred during the last war should not be borne entirely by the present generation but that a large part of it should be paid off by future generations who may have the good fortune-I sincerely hope so, at any rate-of enjoying better times than the years we are now living through. I would also ask him to be so good as to grant a special exemption this year to family men whose sons and daughters over the age of 21 are taking advanced courses in colleges or universities. During the war it could be alleged that such students could easily work their way through college but I believe that during the next and subsequent holidays- this is not a hope but merely a statement of fact-they may find it harder to get a job. As a rule it costs a college student an average of $1,000 a year for his keep and tuition. Therefore, I do not doubt that all members of this house, regardless of party, will support my suggestion and that the minister will comply with my request, because the loss in revenue which these exemptions would entail would be compensated by the valuable asset this country would acquire thanks to the training of an elite that would greatly contribute to this country's development.
Mr. Speaker, I would not like to bring my few remarks to a close without paying my humble tribute to the one who with such dignity directs the destinies of our party. Scornful of financial advantages which he might have gained through an active law practice, he has placed all his talents and energy at the disposal of his fellow countrymen. May I say, Mr. Speaker, in a spirit of true Canadianism, that all true Canadians are proud of him and are grateful for the sacrifices he has imposed upon himself in order to bring honour upon the racial group of which he is one of the worthiest sons.
The Address-Mr. Barrett
On behalf of my constituency and in my own name, I wish to thank him and to tell him how much we admire him. I hope that divine Providence will grant him the health and the courage necessary to carry out his heavy responsibilities. His moral greatness will cause him to find his reward in the discharge of his duty. The history of our country will reckon him as a brilliant Prime Minister and a great Canadian.
Topic: RECONSTRUCTION AND SUPPLY
Subtopic: SPEECH FROM THE THRONE
Sub-subtopic: CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
Mr. Speaker, in rising to take part in this debate I should like, first of all, to conform to the usual practice of this house by paying a tribute to my friend the member for Essex West (Mr. Brown) and to our new confrere the member for Laval-Two Mountains (Mr. Demers), the mover and seconder of the address. I should like also to extend my good wishes to the new members who are sitting with us for the first time this session, three of whom have brought a great deal of pleasure and gratification to the members of my own party. Finally, I should like to congratulate the Prime Minister, my own leader-who without doubt will be our next Prime Minister-and the new members of the cabinet.
From my observation there is another feature of this debate which seems to be traditional and that is for each member to refer to his own constituency as being more favored than any other place on earth. To a man taking an objective view of this thing, for instance one of the friends of the Minister of Justice from Tasmania, these contradictory claims would appear to be ridiculous. Looking at it another way, however, it might be due to the fact that:
Such is the patriot's boast where'er we roam,
His first, best country, ever is at home.
If, therefore, in the course of my remarks, I seem to imply that my constituency of Norfolk is particularly blessed and the most pleasant place in which to dwell, it can be taken to mean-it is just that for those of us who live there. If it were otherwise, we would no doubt move elsewhere.
Norfolk is not like that country, described in holy writ, whose rocks are iron and out of whose hills you could dig brass, although in the early days, I believe there was an iron mine there which provided iron for the first foundry in Upper Canada. Ours is not a rocky land. Our hills are wooded and the slopes are gentle, making for easy cultivation. In other words, it is mainly a county of diversified
agriculture. It is the heart of the great flue-cured tobacco-growing area where the bright-leafed Virginia tobacco is grown. We also have a great deal of the area devoted to fruit growing. Apples, peaches and many other types of fruit can be grown, and all of a quality unexcelled. Other areas are devoted to dairying and general farming.
In addition to this, there are many spots which are attractive to tourists, especially along the lake shore. Many years ago a forestry station was established in that part of the country by the Ontario government. It is a place of great beauty and interest to visitors as well as being an institution of great value. A great deal of marginal land has been reforested, not only by individuals but by municipal bodies as well, through the influence of this station. It is a great mecca for tourists from far and wide. Only this year two very enterprising men from Delhi established a restricted area for a game preserve on a tract of land which, until a few years ago, was wasted by erosion. They reforested that spot, dammed the stream, and stocked the forest with game and the stream with fish. Now that area is an attractive spot for tourists.
Bounded as the constituency is on the south by lake Erie and Long Point bay, we have an important fishing industry. In fact, Port Dover is the home port of the largest and best equipped fresh water fishing fleet in the world. Fishing and farming have many problems in common. Both are subject to uncontrollable and natural hazards in the way of weather and uncertainty of markets. Fishermen also have another problem and that is the uncertainty of the incidence of desirable species of fish from year to year.
The Ontario government, with the co-operation of the Ontario federation of commercial fishermen, is making an extensive study of this matter and is carrying on experiments. It is hoped that, with greater knowledge, many of these difficulties will be overcome. This, of course, is not the concern of this government. But I would point out that an extremely severe blow was dealt to the fishermen when the Canadian dollar was raised to parity with the United States dollar. Most of the catch is sold in United States markets, and the premium which the fishermen received on United States funds often meant the difference between a profit and a loss on the year's operations.
Another thing which is the concern of this government is the upkeep of the harbours
and wharves along the lake. I have taken this matter up before in the house and I am happy to say that last year considerable work was done in the matter of dredging and repairs at Port Rowan harbour and Nanticoke harbour which lies east of my constituency. A couple of years ago in Port Dover harbour, some dredging was done which provided much-needed anchorage; but the wharf at Port Dover is in a deplorable and dangerous condition. I have mentioned this matter before. I do not intend to pursue the subject now, because I have had assurance from the minister that it will be looked after this year, and I am confident that it will be.
While I am on this subject, though, I should again like to bring to the attention of the government the matter of a ferry service between Port Dover and Erie, Pennsylvania. This is a matter of concern not only to my own constituents but to the cities and towns to the north of us in the Grand river valley, which are greatly interested. It would be a great boon to the tourist trade. It would provide a short route across the lake for the people in the thickly populated areas of western Pennsylvania and eastern Ohio. It would also provide a short route from Port Dover to a great many points in our own north country which holds such great attractions for the United States tourists.
In the opinion of the government there seems to be some physical handicap which makes prohibitive the cost of dredging for this purpose. I do not altogether subscribe to this view, but it is a debatable matter. I am inclined to think that the benefit which would accrue from this service would more than offset the cost. I understand, however, that the boards of trade of the cities and towns north of us, together with the Norfolk chamber of commerce, at the present time are looking into the possibility of overcoming this difficulty and of providing a harbour where such expensive dredging will not be necessary. I would at this time bespeak a sympathetic hearing for them when their survey is completed and they present their plans to the government.
I shall now turn to the agricultural side of the picture. I know that it is the opinion of a great many people in the country-and maybe even of some hon. members in this house-that the farmer is a chronic kicker, that he would not be satisfied even with the Garden of Eden, even if he did not have to pay any taxes. I myself do not subscribe to that view. From my observation, I do not think the farmer in this respect is any different from anybody else; and often his kicks may be far more warranted than those of others.
The Address-Mr. Barrett
In the first place, the average farmer is not in the business for the purpose of making a great deal of money in a hurry. I am not arguing that some of them do not make money. At the present time, I think most of them are getting by fairly nicely. But they are farming because they like the kind of life farming provides. They like the independence and freedom of it. They do not want to be bossed around by somebody else. They want to run their own little show in their own way. They know that they must pay for this independence. They realize that they must derive their income from the sale of their goods in an open market. They realize that if they are efficient and industrious their return will be greater and that, if they are not, it will be less. They cannot go on strike and demand wages which will give them a standard of living to which they think they are entitled. They realize that this is part of the price they must pay for their independence, and I do not think they complain too much about it. What they complain of is the modern tendency to control and regulate them, to hold down the prices of their goods in order to provide cheap food for those people whose wages they are obliged to help to pay.
They know that the average farmer could probably take the money he could realize from the sale of his farm, equipment and stock, put it into some good security, go out and work for ordinary wages and make far more money, with far less work, than he can make by running his farm. I am not speaking of the specialized farmer, but rather of the average small farmer. Because he loves this independent life, he does not do that. Therefore anything that interferes with his independence is most annoying to him.
Another thing that is worrying him at the present time is the fact that he sees his markets slipping away; and he is extremely fearful that the prices for his products will drop at a much faster rate than will the prices of the things he must buy. He blames this government-and I think rightly so-for bringing this condition about.
There is another matter which makes the farmer see red, namely, the methods of the income tax department in collecting this tax. The average farmer does not object to paying his fair share of taxes; but when he receives a threatening letter, often followed up by an inspector who comes around and threatens him with heavy penalties for not filling in his income tax form for several years, he is not only worried but mad.
I was talking with one of those men only
last fall. I shall not quote him verbatim_I
wish I could. However, his language was most picturesque and lurid when he was
1132 HOUSE OF
The Address-Mr. Barrett referring to some of these men clothed with a little brief authority who had come pestering him to fill out these forms. As my colleague from London (Mr. Manross) pointed out this afternoon, the average farmer cannot begin to answer the hundred and one questions asked on these income tax forms. He may have a general idea as to whether he broke even in a certain year; but when he has to tell how many hens' necks he wrung, or how many shingles blew off his barn, or how many apples the old sow ate, he just throws up his hands in disgust. Then when he receives these threatening letters for not having filed his income tax, when he knows very well he was not taxable-and I know the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Gardiner) will bear me out in this, because he has said that not one in a dozen of them is taxable- he can see no reason why he should be troubled in this way.
The man with whom I was speaking last fall told me he had received one of these letters. Speaking with me, he said, "I cannot answer those questions, and I am not going to try". I said, "Well, you should file a return; that is the law, and there are severe penalties for not complying with regulations". He said, "Well, they cannot fine me $25 a day, because I have not got $25. If they want to put me in jail all winter, and feed me, it is all right with me". But the majority of them do not take such a philosophical view of it.
There is another feature of the income tax regulations which has proved irksome, particularly to the European-born farmers in my constituency, of whom there are a great many. These are thrifty, industrious people, and very desirable citizens. It is due largely to their industry that the tobacco-growing business has become such a success in that area. They have transformed land which only a few years ago was practically worthless into what is now the most valuable land in the county, or probably in the province.
Their farming methods, however, are slightly different from those of the average Canadian farmer, because they operate in family groups. They draw up agreements among themselves, and while these are informal they are nevertheless binding. The agreements state that the sons, when they become old enough to work, will work with the fathers on the farms until they reach the age [DOT]when they wish to get married or start working on farms of their own. The fathers will set them up with sufficient capital to start out on their own responsibility. The trouble they now have is that the income tax regulations provide for taxation not only of the farmer in respect of the income derived from his own labour, but also on that derived from the labour of the whole family. He feels
that an allowance should be made by way of a deductible expense in respect of the wages they would have had to pay out if they had engaged outside help. Or, failing that, they should be allowed to file their returns on a partnership basis.
I understand that last year regulations were made providing that the only way they could take advantage of this partnership basis scheme was to have a written agreement, and to have it registered. The regulation was made only last year; but these inspectors and income tax authorities are trying to make it apply as far back as 1941. These are honest people; but they are not familiar with our ways; indeed, we do not understand these things ourselves. They are worried and upset, and they are disgruntled over the whole thing.
Another matter was brought to my attention recently. I refer to the procedure of bringing curers up from the southern states. The curing of tobacco is a technical operation and requires the services of men with great skill, if it is to be done properly. For many years it has been the practice of these growers to engage the same curers, year after year. Prior to the war, all a man did was to write or wire to his curer and give him the approximate date upon which their leaf would be ready to be brought into the kiln, at which time the curer would come and go through the ordinary regulations at the border, following which he would go to work.
During the war it was necessary of course to tighten up on the immigration regulations. As I understand it, the farmers here in Canada had to apply to the Department of Labour for permits to get these men. Then the permits had to be sent to the men themselves who, in turn, would have to take them to a county agent, or the equivalent in the southern United States, thus entailing a great deal of delay and red tape. A man often had to lose a day's working time-and their time is valuable-to comply with these regulations.
This procedure is still being carried on, and the growers feel that, now that the war is over, the regulations are not necessary. They are anxious to have them eliminated so that there may be a return to the old simplified system which obtained before the war. This delay often means that the curer either arrives several days before he is needed, and has to be paid these high rates of wages or, having to go through all these regulations, he may arrive a day or two late. This is almost as serious, because when the tobacco is ready to be harvested it has to be done at the right time, and taken to the kiln as soon as possible.
Another matter has been brought to my attention, and seems to be one worthy of con-
sideration by the Postmaster General (Mr. Bertrand). I refer to the bringing up to date of the rural mail delivery service. As we know, this service was inaugurated away back in the horse-and-buggy days, when there were very few good roads. In those days the mail was delivered by horse and cart, the chief idea being to serve the greatest number of farmers by the shortest possible route. At that time the average farmer received his mail only about once a week. Yet the delivery was a great boon. However, we have now advanced a long way since those days. Most of our roads in settled districts today are well surfaced. The mail is delivered by car and the farmers feel that they should have their mail delivered at their door or their gate. It would mean very little more by way of time and mileage to the driver, but would be of great convenience to the box-holder. Often a farmer has to walk a mile to get his mail. While that might be all right so far as exercise is concerned, the ordinary farmer really does not need exercise.
Another matter was dealt with at considerable length by the hon. member for Nanaimo (Mr. Pearkes). I refer to the poultry council. I am particularly interested in the requests made by this council because the chairman lives in my constituency. The council is made up, not only of poultry men but of hatchery men, feed men, processors and dealers. They have come together to try to solve the problems of the poultry industry. They were induced by the government to expand their business during the war and since in order to take care of the overseas contracts which entailed considerable investment, and now they are greatly worried because they see that the overseas markets are likely to be lost. I just want to bring this matter to the attention of the minister, who is conversant with the requests that have been made.
Another matter which my constituents have referred to me was dealt with quite fully by the hon. member for London (Mr. Manross). I refer to the incurables and blind. We all realize that the needy old must be looked after and I think everybody is quite satisfied that an adequate pension should be paid. But after all, old age in itself is not a calamity; it is something that we are all striving te attain to, and in the ordinary course of events we can provide for it. But, when fate strikes in the form of blindness or incapacity brought about by disease or accident, it is a terrifying disaster. If anyone deserves help and comfort and assistance, it is these people.
I have also had representations from the jewelers association in my constituency. I
The Address-Mr. Argue wrote to the minister and received the answer I expected to get, an answer which I realize was the only one he could give, that the matter would be taken into consideration. I should like to add to what has been said already on behalf of these men. The men who came to see me were principally young veterans who are trying to establish themselves in business. They find themselves severely handicapped by what they consider, and I think rightly consider, an unjust and discriminatory tax. They pointed out that other luxuries are not taxed, and also that many of the things in which they deal are not luxuries but must still pay this tax of twenty-five per cent. I recommend to the minister that the tax be abolished.
Finally, there is a group of people for whom we on this side of the house have pleaded on many occasions. I refer to the imperial veterans who are denied war veterans allowances. There are a few in my constituency and there are a small number spread all over Canada. It has always seemed to me to be hard and unreasonable that the department should not grant these men, who are past the age for heavy work-many of them are not able to work at all-and who have spent their most productive years in this country, this war veterans allowance. I know that certain technical excuses are made for not doing it, but I feel that they could be overcome. The amount of money entailed would be small when compared to the millions being spent by the government on other things. For example, the Department of Veterans Affairs puts out a periodical every month. It is a nice paper, but it is mainly to advertise the department. I think it could well be done away with, and the funds required now to publish it could be put to better purpose by providing for these old imperial veterans.
Topic: RECONSTRUCTION AND SUPPLY
Subtopic: SPEECH FROM THE THRONE
Sub-subtopic: CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
Mr. Speaker, I rise to take part in this debate because I feel that there are many important matters that the people of my constituency would wish me to bring to the attention of the house. There are many important matters affecting the Canadian people at the present time which need to be emphasized in this house. Since last session a number of changes have taken place in the personnel of this parliament. We have a new Prime Minister of Canada (Mr. St. Laurent) because the Liberal party had a convention and chose him as their leader. We have a new leader of the Conservative party in the house, the hon. member for Carleton (Mr. Drew).
But there are other changes that affect the people in some localities probably as much
1134 HOUSE OF
The Address-Mr. Argue as the changes that have occurred in the leadership of these two parties.
As hon. members know, the constituency of Wood Mountain, along with the constituency of Weyburn, was wiped out by the redistribution last year. A new constituency of Assiniboia was formed from parts of the two old constituencies. I have the pleasure and the honour now to be the candidate in the new constituency of Assiniboia. As I have said, that constituency includes a large part, of the present constituency of Weyburn.
I am sure hon. members will agree with me when I say that the present member of parliament for Weyburn (Mr. McKay) and his predecessor, Hon. T. C. Douglas, now the premier of Saskatchewan, have both represented this constituency in a very excellent manner. My only hope is that, should I be successful in the election, I shall be able to represent this new constituency in the same way that Weyburn constituency has been represented in the past.
We have heard many speeches in this debate, and presumably we shall hear more. We have heard a number of speeches by the leader of the opposition (Mr. Drew). We have heard a number of speeches by the various cabinet ministers on the government side of the house. We should realize that those speeches were made following recently held national conventions of those two parties. Neither the leader of the opposition nor any member of the government has yet stated what the respective policies of the two parties are on the main issues that face the Canadian people at this time. We do not know their agricultural program; we do not know their health program if they have one, except for the speech made by the Minister of National Health and Welfare (Mr. Martin) the other day, which I believe depicted a totally inadequate program. We do not know their policy as to old age pensions, social security, and so forth.
In two of his main speeches in the house the leader of the opposition dealt with his stand during the dominion-provincial conferences. These conferences are now in the past, but the matters discussed at them are still important issues at the present time. At that time the federal government was asking the provincial governments to abandon the income tax, corporation tax and succession duty tax fields. In return a fixed minimum grant would be paid to the provinces, which grant might be increased, depending upon changes in population and the gross national production. I submit that of equal importance to the taxation proposals submitted at that conference were the proposals of the
government for the implementation of a program of better health services and better old age pensions. While the conference broke up without agreement, the government has used that reason as a convenient excuse for not going forward with the social security program it placed before the conference at that time.
I want to point out that, out of ten governments assembled at that conference, eight were in agreement, seven of the provinces and the federal government. I was sorry at that time to see the present leader of the opposition, then the premier of Ontario, and the present premier of Quebec, Mr. Duplessis, would not come to an agreement with the federal government-not that their not having come to an agreement should make any real difference. But the fact that they did not agree has given the government a convenient alibi, though not a very good one, for not proceeding with its social security program.
It was stated by the then Minister of Finance, Mr. J. L. Ilsley, that the federal government wanted to maintain certain taxation fields-the amusement tax field, the gasoline tax field and the pari-mutuel tax field. He said that the fact that the provinces wanted the federal government to get out of those fields entirely was one reason why the conference broke down. However, since that time the government has withdrawn of its own volition from those particular fields. The retention of those taxation fields in 1946 by the federal government helped impede an agreement, but since then the government itself has abandoned them.
In 1946 the Minister of Finance announced that separate agreements would be signed with the provinces. As a part of the conditions of those agreements, the signing provinces agreed to levy a 5 per cent corporation tax in addition to the federal government's corporation tax, but the agreeing provinces would have the amount collected by way of the 5 per cent tax within their provinces deducted from the amount of their annual grants. This provision does not therefore affect the agreeing provinces in any way, but it means that the province of Ontario can charge a corporation tax of 5 per cent, and the corporations within the province of Ontario are no worse off than in other provinces because the Ontario government levies a tax of that amount.
The same thing applies to the succession duty field. Any non-agreeing province may levy a succession duty of 50 per cent of the federal tax, and people paying succession duties may have that deducted from their federal succession duty tax. This means that
the federal government offered to the provinces of Ontario and Quebec revenues to an extent that would make it possible for them not to sign the agreement. I think the federal government did that for a purpose. They were not interested, in reality, in implementing the proposed social security program. Therefore they made it possible for the provinces of Ontario and Quebec to remain financially solvent and thus find it unnecessary to sign the agreement.
The hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre (Mr. Knowles) asked the leader of the opposition, at page 459 of Hansard, whether or not his party believed in a contributory plan of over-all social security, and there was no answer to that question. Today the people of Canada want to know where the official opposition stands with regard to a social security program. In spite of the fact that they had a convention not many months ago they are not telling the country what they propose to do. At the time of the conference the federal government also said that they had a vast shelf of public works projects ready which could be launched the moment there was unemployment in Canada. Today there are almost 200,000 persons in Canada obtaining unemployment insurance benefits, and the Minister of Reconstruction and Supply (Mr. Winters) stated not so long ago in the house that the shelf of construction projects would only employ a little more than 40,000 people within a year. There are 200,000 unemployed in Canada today, and the government has a program for the employment of 40,000. I submit that shows that the government either cannot or will not face up to its responsibility, and is not prepared to meet a depression if and when it comes.
Topic: RECONSTRUCTION AND SUPPLY
Subtopic: SPEECH FROM THE THRONE
Sub-subtopic: CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY