April 28, 1949

?

Some hon. Members:

Oh, oh.

Topic:   PRIVILEGE
Subtopic:   REFERENCE TO REMARKS IN DEBATE OF APRIL 27
Permalink
IND

John Lambert Gibson

Independent Liberal

Mr. Gibson (Comox-Alberni):

What an

alternative.

Topic:   PRIVILEGE
Subtopic:   REFERENCE TO REMARKS IN DEBATE OF APRIL 27
Permalink
PC

Wilfrid Garfield Case

Progressive Conservative

Mr. W. Garfield Case (Grey North):

While the hon. member for Dauphin has intimated that you can see the failure of the government, you can also see the tragic mess that has resulted from the socialist government in one of the great provinces of Canada. They have learned that the system which they have been condemning as a profit system is a profit and loss system, and their losses are exceeding their profits. If they do not watch their step they will go to the wall.

Trade

This is an occasion when we are supposed to air our grievances. It appears that the grievances of the hon. member for Dauphin (Mr. Zaplitny) were against the Progressive Conservative party. We accept that as a compliment because it indicates all too clearly that we are the ones he believes he will have to defeat in the coming election.

Topic:   PRIVILEGE
Subtopic:   REFERENCE TO REMARKS IN DEBATE OF APRIL 27
Permalink
CCF

Rodney Young

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

Mr. Young:

You are flattering yourself.

Topic:   PRIVILEGE
Subtopic:   REFERENCE TO REMARKS IN DEBATE OF APRIL 27
Permalink
PC

Wilfrid Garfield Case

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Case:

While it is not my responsibility in any sense of the word to reply to any observations made by the hon. member for Dauphin, nevertheless I think it is only fair to say that when he was talking about the late Lord Bennett attempting to blast his way into the markets of the world, he could very well have admitted that the late Lord Bennett made an able attempt to do business when the world was in complete economic collapse. Hon. members who are a little older than the hon. member for Dauphin professes to be recall full well that when the late President Roosevelt, the leader of the Democratic party, which is comparable to the Liberal party of this country, came into power in the United States in 1932, it was necessary to close the banking institutions, and the people of that country were unable to obtain currency except through some of the life insurance companies which were able to continue to function. Therefore, having regard to the over-all picture, I do not think anyone will say that there was any great success, but at least it saved this country from economic chaos. I think the late Lord Bennett is entitled to our commendation for the noble efforts he made to see this country through one of its most critical periods in our history.

lake some other hon. members, I feel somewhat confused since we are now asked to vote interim supply. This is the second time that we have been asked to vote interim supply during this session. We are now asked to vote $541 million, and the amount of interim supply we voted some time ago was something like $300 million. That brings the total to over three-quarters of a billion dollars.

Topic:   PRIVILEGE
Subtopic:   REFERENCE TO REMARKS IN DEBATE OF APRIL 27
Permalink
LIB

Douglas Charles Abbott (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. Abbott:

The other amount was something over $100 million.

Topic:   PRIVILEGE
Subtopic:   REFERENCE TO REMARKS IN DEBATE OF APRIL 27
Permalink
PC

Wilfrid Garfield Case

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Case:

Looking back over the record and recalling the experience we had in passing $100 million of supplementary estimates, when the opposition endeavoured to investigate and obtain information with respect to how the money was expended, I am quite satisfied that it is asking a very big order, because when the Speaker leaves the chair we shall not have an opportunity to

2724 HOUSE OF

Superannuation for Members investigate the estimates. We shall be asked to approve of the bulk total straight across the board.

As has already been pointed out, this action is absolutely unprecedented. Reference has been made to 1945, and it has been said that that was a similar occasion. It was entirely different because at that time no budget had been presented to the House of Commons, and we were advised that we were to be asked to vote interim supply.

On his western trip the Prime Minister (Mr. St. Laurent) must have been advised along the lines we hear sometimes that this is a good budget. But they must also have advised him that if he attempted to have it analysed by the House of Commons its effectiveness would be destroyed. For that very good reason he returned here fully convinced that it was necessary to appeal to the country and say that they have set up the budget in the hope that the people of Canada will understand it; and relying on that that it will result in encouraging the people to believe that this indeed is the one party which is concerned about their welfare, in spite of the fact that the budget will take over $2,300 million of hard-earned cash from the taxpayers of Canada.

I should also like to make one comment in regard to the observations made by the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre (Mr. Knowles) with respect to the railway workers. Of course this is nothing new in this house. As a matter of fact we all have sympathetic consideration for those who are charged with such great responsibilities. There has been in this House of Commons no greater champion of the railway worker than the hon. member for Lake Centre (Mr. Dief-enbaker). I can recall the many occasions when he offered solutions to their problem. It will be noticed that when the socialists attempt to place an estimate upon pensions they seem to assume that the pension should provide for everything.

I think it must be assumed that the railway worker is gainfully employed for practically his whole lifetime, barring unforeseen emergencies. I think it is more important to see that the worker receives a proper wage and then encourage him to practise the old Scotch virtue of thrift and lay something aside for a rainy day. Everything should not be left to some central fund or central authority to guarantee future economic security. These workers may need some encouragement to practise thrift but they should be encouraged to build up their own reserves.

When I first spoke in the first session of this parliament in the debate on the address in reply to the speech from the throne I urged

that the government should consider providing superannuation for members of parliament. Of course many laughed at that statement but now that we are approaching an election day I think it would receive a more sympathetic hearing. I think the idea is a good one. The hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre (Mr. Knowles) said something with which I am in entire agreement, that we are approaching a future period when there should be contributory pensions. When that day comes those who will be the ultimate recipients will have a greater appreciation of the money they have set aside.

Topic:   PRIVILEGE
Subtopic:   REFERENCE TO REMARKS IN DEBATE OF APRIL 27
Permalink
CCF

Stanley Howard Knowles (Whip of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation)

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

Mr. Knowles:

Contributory social security in all forms.

Topic:   PRIVILEGE
Subtopic:   REFERENCE TO REMARKS IN DEBATE OF APRIL 27
Permalink
PC

Wilfrid Garfield Case

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Case:

That is what I am referring to. I think it would be good for members of parliament to set an example. There will be some who will not be privileged to come back here. After all this is a democratic country and there are many people who are going to have something to say about that.

Topic:   PRIVILEGE
Subtopic:   REFERENCE TO REMARKS IN DEBATE OF APRIL 27
Permalink
LIB

George Alexander Cruickshank

Liberal

Mr. Cruickshank:

I will send my hon. friend copies of my speeches next year.

Topic:   PRIVILEGE
Subtopic:   REFERENCE TO REMARKS IN DEBATE OF APRIL 27
Permalink
PC

Wilfrid Garfield Case

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Case:

A superannuation plan for members of parliament could provide certain privileges for those who were not re-elected. They could either withdraw what had been paid into the fund or continue to contribute. In that way you would have at least a contributory scheme.

Topic:   PRIVILEGE
Subtopic:   REFERENCE TO REMARKS IN DEBATE OF APRIL 27
Permalink
CCF

Stanley Howard Knowles (Whip of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation)

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

Mr. Knowles:

Does the hon. member think that that would be better than sending them to the Senate?

Topic:   PRIVILEGE
Subtopic:   REFERENCE TO REMARKS IN DEBATE OF APRIL 27
Permalink
PC

Wilfrid Garfield Case

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Case:

Possibly the other place constitutes a form of superannuation in the minds of some, but I have no doubt that those who find themselves there feel that they earn what they receive. There are not sufficient appointments to go around so we could not afford to rest upon that source of security. Members would contribute to the superannuation fund when they were members. I am speaking as a member with only a few years' experience so I will not be misunderstood. But there are members who have devoted their entire lives to the public service of this country, and I can think of no better example than the right hon. member for Glengarry (Mr. Mackenzie King). While I do not intimate that he is in circumstances that would require consideration from this house, yet I am sure that had there been a scheme like this in operation the right hon. member would not feel any worse.

The issue for the election has been indicated by the Minister of Trade and Commerce (Mr. Howe) and others associated with him as being the trade policies of this country. I

think the official opposition are prepared to accept that as one of many issues. It is interesting to note how meagre a thread our trade position hangs upon today. Only last week the right hon. Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Gardiner) stated in effect at Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, that if the United States were to declare wheat surplus it would result in the complete economic collapse of Canada. Those were serious words and they conveyed something to the western farmer.

I was glad to note that the Minister of Finance (Mr. Abbott), speaking on another platform, intimated that he felt that there was no danger of such an event taking place-

Topic:   PRIVILEGE
Subtopic:   REFERENCE TO REMARKS IN DEBATE OF APRIL 27
Permalink
LIB

Douglas Charles Abbott (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. Abbott:

As a matter of fact I did not refer to it.

Topic:   PRIVILEGE
Subtopic:   REFERENCE TO REMARKS IN DEBATE OF APRIL 27
Permalink
PC

Wilfrid Garfield Case

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Case:

-because relations between Canada and the United States were good. The minister was quoted as referring to the Geneva trade pact and the Atlantic charter-

Topic:   PRIVILEGE
Subtopic:   REFERENCE TO REMARKS IN DEBATE OF APRIL 27
Permalink
LIB

Douglas Charles Abbott (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. Abbott:

I did not refer to either the Geneva trade pact or the Atlantic charter.

Topic:   PRIVILEGE
Subtopic:   REFERENCE TO REMARKS IN DEBATE OF APRIL 27
Permalink
PC

Wilfrid Garfield Case

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Case:

Be that as it may, then the words of the Minister of Agriculture leave us in a much more precarious position. During the trip I was privileged to make through that part of Canada, many farmers throughout the west complained to me that they were greatly concerned over their future. They complained of the inability to find markets for their products and, rightly or wrongly, they charged this government with driving them out of the production of hogs. I heard that complaint in many parts of Saskatchewan.

As I see it, the real challenge is the expansion of our trade. As Canada is a great exporting nation I think we will have to tackle this problem of the convertibility of currency. Until we have complete convertibility we will never have multilateral trade; we will have the situation referred to by the hon. member for Dauphin (Mr. Zaplitny) where we have bilateral agreements in connection with foodstuffs and other products. If we make longterm contracts which prove unprofitable someone will have to take up the loss and no doubt that would be the state or the taxpayers.

It is possibly a good thing that we are going to have a short, snappy election campaign which will give us the opportunity to test public opinion and carry our messages to the people in an effort to have them believe that which we think in our own minds is best for the country.

This quick decision to dissolve parliament has worked a hardship on many people. I have in mind a deputation that came to Ottawa all the way from Thombury up in the Georgian bay district to seek a grant to improve their harbour facilities. They were 29087-172J

Grant to Ottawa City

received most courteously by the Minister of Public Works (Mr. Fournier) and were encouraged to believe that something would be done. But everything will be washed out since we are not likely to see the supplementary estimates during the life of this parliament.

There is another grievous hardship being faced by certain bodies in this country. My early experience in public life was in municipal affairs. Since being elected I have been honoured by being appointed honorary president of the Ontario mayors and reeves association, of which organization I was president for two years. I have had a constant concern for the position of municipal governments which are charged with the responsibility of providing local services when their sources of revenue are limited. Many of these municipalities are hard-pressed to find the necessary funds to carry on.

For some time the city of Ottawa has been receiving an annual grant of, I believe, $300,000. When this matter came before parliament I pleaded with the government to apply some formula whereby the city of Ottawa would know exactly how much money they would receive each year. I suggested that the first approach should be a complete assessment of all government buildings in the city. Then the department could estimate that the tax rate would be levied on the mill rate set by the city on a basis of 40 per cent of that mill rate, or 50 per cent or 60 per cent, but in any case by the use of some formula so that the city of Ottawa would not have to come back to the government year after year with hat in hand seeking this grant.

Unfortunately the authority for providing the grant has expired. I am taking it upon myself to speak for the city fathers of Ottawa. I had thought that the Liberal members on the other side of the house would appeal on their behalf, but I am taking this occasion to speak on behalf of the city fathers of Ottawa. I know how trying and difficult it must be for them to strike their budget when they do not know the amount of money they are going to receive from the federal authority. You can understand that the situation creates a real hardship, and therefore I appeal to the Prime Minister (Mr. St. Laurent), and to those in authority, that as the government is now seeking interim supply some provision should be made to provide in part at least for the grant which is normally and properly made to the city of Ottawa. They have the good fortune, of course, to have the capital established here, but the servicing of public buildings and the provision of other necessary facilities are costly to the taxpayer.

Rental Control

' In taking that position I am at least consistent, because I have constantly questioned the advisability of any public utility operating, particularly if it is in competition with private enterprise, that does not pay its proportion of the taxes which provide the necessary services. Therefore in that sense I believe that the proper basis for determining efficiency of operation is by putting them more or less on the same level with private enterprise.

I felt I wanted to bring to your attention at this time, Mr. Speaker, the great concern felt not only by the farmers of western Canada but also by the farmers of the county of Grey which I have the honour to represent, and which I might say produces the largest number of beef cattle-and I am not saying wheat-in the province of Ontario. We are large producers of livestock. Our farmers have a tremendous stake in the future of Canada, and we are greatly concerned about markets. If you want to go to the country on the trade policy of the government it will not be very difficult for us to establish how our trade is being whittled away, how our markets are disappearing, all because we have become leaners and have tied our economy to that of the United States through our dependence upon ERP, and our ^neglect to stand on our own feet and to seek those markets which could have been secured for Canada if we had not been so foolish as to interfere with the value of our currency. Rather we should have let it seek its value in the markets of the world. After all it is *only by goods and services that you can improve the prosperity of the nation. Canada,

Topic:   PRIVILEGE
Subtopic:   REFERENCE TO REMARKS IN DEBATE OF APRIL 27
Permalink
PC

William Alexander McMaster

Progressive Conservative

Mr. W. A. McMaster (High Park):

Mr. Speaker, in the next five minutes I hope to present a grievance which is not at all political or partisan in its nature, but is one that affects a great many people, and will come to the fore in the next few days. I refer to one of the orders issued by the rental control division of the wartime prices and trade board. In its origin it was order 793,

I believe, but it has been consolidated in order 800 as rule 15 (a). This order refers to the six months' notice which has to be given by owners who were owners prior to the first of November, 1947, and it follows another order in which the question of greater need arose. Under the prior order a man with a

tMr. Case.]

wife and two children could get possession of a home from a tenant with a wife and one child.

It is true that in the new order the word "need" appears, but it seemed so unimportant that no one thought it had any significance, especially as there was already the rule which spoke of greater need. A form had to be made out, an affidavit had to be made out, a statement of the time when the owner purchased the property, and all that was said after that information was given was that the owner needed the house. The owner took for granted that, since he had bought the house, and since he was living in a rented house, there was every reason why he should get his home, and that he would not be forced to show special need of any kind.

After these notices were given in the month of October last, some of which will expire on the last day of April or the first day of May, it became apparent that the word "need" had some significance, and the question arose as to how much significance. I can generally settle matters with the officials of the different departments, but in this case I cannot find out from the rental control division of the wartime prices and trade board what the word "need" means. No yardstick is fixed. If you own your own home, how badly do you have to need it? If there was the question of greater need you would understand it. If there was any yardstick fixed you could understand it, but no lawyer and no other person can say to anyone who has given such a notice whether or not he will get possession of his own house on the last day of April or the first day of May until the matter has gone before one of the county courts of the province of Ontario, or the appropriate courts in other provinces.

Perhaps by prearrangement, perhaps by all deciding what would be the best thing to do, or possibly by each expressing his own idea of what need is, and the amount of need that is required, the judges will decide these matters. It is a matter that should be settled ahead of time. Perhaps never in the history of Canada has there been so much trouble and so much ill feeling created unnecessarily as in the use and exercise of rental controls. It would seem to me that at this late date the rental control board might take some means of making everything so clear that landlords and tenants would know their rights without having to go to court to find out what they are.

I strongly urge on the government that in the next few days some rule should be established as to the amount of need that is necessary, and thus enable landlords and tenants to know ahead of time, without having to go to court, whether possession can be

secured. I know that it is very late to bring up this matter. It has been taken up with the rental control board, but they have not done anything. I think the people of Canada are entitled to expect something better than that. We do not agree with all the orders that have been made. In fact, some of them are very bad. We have heard in the last few days about the exorbitant rents that have been charged. I have heard of cases where $50 or $60 a month is being charged for one room. By a very simple statement, a very simple order, the government could say that there will be a ceiling of some kind on the rents that can be charged.

The unfortunate part of the whole matter is that some people are paying $25 a month for a six-room house, and other people are paying $20 a week for one room in a house. That is discrimination of the very worst kind; there is a great deal of dissatisfaction, and rightly so. The whole matter could be settled very quickly if the rental control board, under instructions from the government, would deal with the situation in a manner that was consistent and would do justice to both landlords and tenants. I hope that in the next few days, notwithstanding the great haste as to certain election matters, the government will face the issue, because if they do not they will have to assume whatever responsibility may arise by their failure to deal with this comparatively simple matter.

Topic:   PRIVILEGE
Subtopic:   REFERENCE TO REMARKS IN DEBATE OF APRIL 27
Permalink
CCF

Rodney Young

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

Mr. Rodney Young (Vancouver Centre):

should very much like to associate myself with what has just been said by the hon. member for High Park (Mr. McMaster). I know that people in the city from which I come are suffering from the conditions which he describes. Like him, I thoroughly agree that it is due to faulty government regulations, and the fact that they are not being carried out very equitably. I have a grievance which has been in my mind for some time, and which I have wanted to present to the house. It has reference to a most gallant and honourable group of citizens, namely the merchant navy veterans. I feel they have been done a great injustice.

When I entered the chamber this morning I had no intention of raising this grievance. I felt that the government had a program to follow, a program under which the house would have to consider the North Atlantic pact, the international wheat agreement, certain bills for the carrying of oil through pipe lines, and other important matters. I realized that the house was in the last few hours of sitting, and that the time is short for the disposal of this business.

However, during the course of the sitting I have listened to forty-minute speeches which, while they were directed to grievances,

Railway Employees

were largely taken up with the procedure of vilifying the existing government-for which probably I have as little use as had the vilifiers. Those speeches were taken up largely with witticisms at the expense of cabinet ministers. I do not believe the members were doing what I thought was the right thing, or that they were acting in the interests of the public in following that procedure.

With the knowledge that the house is soon to rise for the last time in this parliament, I believe we should have done what we could to dispose of that portion of the country's business which is imperative to the interests of the citizens. Had it been possible to extend the life of parliament, I would have been in favour of doing so. I think it has been made fairly clear, however, that that is not possible.

I feel I cannot discuss my grievance without making some reference to the excellent exhibition to which we were lately treated by the hon. member for Grey North (Mr. Case). He made reference to pensions, and it was with some enjoyment that I noticed he referred to the efforts of the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre (Mr. Knowles) to obtain social services, pensions for railroad workers, and to obtain for them a railroad retirement act following along the lines of that used in the United States.

The thought which seemed to hit the hon. member for Grey North was: would it not be a very fine thing if the workers of Canada could be paid wages high enough so that they could practise the old-fashioined quality of laying a little aside for their old age? What an excellent expression that is; what a wonderful idea! When we look back over the years in this country of ours, and realize the struggles workingmen in Canada have had to make to achieve that very thing to which the hon. member for Grey North referred, namely a chance to earn enough, wages so that they could practise the old-fashioned quality of thrift; and when we remember the efforts of the huge corporations like the Canadian Pacific Railway at the time of the general strike of 1921 or 1922, and the efforts of the great cartels and monopolies to prevent that very thing; and when we remember the efforts made by the owning class in this country to prevent a rising standard of wages, and to prevent it through the use of economic force and by instilling fear in the minds of the average worker that if he went out on strike he would lose his job; and then when we find this Progressive Conservative member-

Superannuation for Members

Topic:   PRIVILEGE
Subtopic:   REFERENCE TO REMARKS IN DEBATE OF APRIL 27
Permalink
PC

Wilfrid Garfield Case

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Case:

Mr. Speaker, I rise to a question of privilege. The hon. member is attempting to quote what I said. I know he would want to be fair, and I would point out to him that I said pensions were a good thing and should be encouraged. I said further that workers should not be encouraged to depend entirely upon pensions, but that they should seek to lay something aside as well.

Topic:   PRIVILEGE
Subtopic:   REFERENCE TO REMARKS IN DEBATE OF APRIL 27
Permalink

April 28, 1949