I shall take the hon. member aside and explain it to him later. I have not the time to do so now because I have other things to say. There are a few other matters to which I should like to refer, now that I am on my feet. One of these is the Hudson bay route, a road which has been too long
The Address-Mr. McCusker neglected and to which I suggest attention must be paid. However, I understand another hon. member will refer to this matter in greater detail at a later date.
We have in Saskatchewan an office in connection with the Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Act. In that office we find a group who are doing good work for the rehabilitation of farmers in the western part of the province, and especially in the area of Gull lake, and Maple Creek which is represented by the hon. member who the other day made what I thought was a jocular remark with respect to dividing the province. He may feel it is necessary to do that to get rid of the government we now have in Saskatchewan. That is not my view however, because I think they are on the way out now-just waiting for the next election.
Let me tell the house why I believe they are on the way out. About 1941 or 1942 the Imperial Oil Company came to Saskatchewan and initiated a program of exploration and drilling for oil. It was their opinion that the main pool of oil lies under Saskatchewan. With that in mind they brought in drilling and seismographic crews. Then the C.C.F. government took office and passed confiscatory legislation, with the result that the crews left the province and went to Alberta, where they felt they would receive a fair deal. Those crews which were driven from Saskatchewan to Alberta were responsible for the discoveries of the Leduc and Redwater fields, and other discoveries in the area.
The good fortune Alberta is enjoying today might have been ours, had we had more experienced people in charge of our government.
Topic: SPEECH FROM THE THRONE
Subtopic: CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
On this occasion the ordinary private member has an opportunity to review the requirements of his constituency. As it happens, I am fortunate today in that I am asking for my constituency something of national importance. I wonder if the Minister of Justice (Mr. Garson) is aware of the condition of disrepair into which the buildings of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police at Regina have fallen. This condition is not due to neglect, but rather to the age of those buildings, some of which were built as long ago as 1882 or 1883, and
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The Address-Mr. Higgins some even earlier than that. They are on rubble foundations and are no longer safe. The small chapel was at first a wet canteen. That building was enlarged and converted into a chapel. Today it stands as a pleasing memorial to those in the force who lost their lives while in pursuit of their duties. It would be a shame to fail to repair that building, or to permit it to be destroyed. It has great tourist attraction. Then, the barracks buildings are inadequate because, as we know, the force is constantly being enlarged. Regina is a training centre, and there is great overcrowding at that point. It is also necessary to provide additional accommodation for the instructional staff. I hope the Minister of Justice will bear these facts in mind and see that attention is given to them.
Since coming to the House of Commons I have heard many hon. members tell us what a great people we are. We take pride in our new national status. Our representatives return from abroad to tell us of the high esteem in which we are held. Today, Mr. Speaker, we have an opportunity to prove whether we are worthy sons of those great pioneers. Though the international horizon be cloudy, though our defence burdens be heavy, though our domestic problems be great, our opportunities are equally great and unlimited. In the manner in which we apply ourselves to our duties will be found the answer as to whether or not we are a great people, a nation.
Mr. G. F. Higgins
I did not hear them for two reasons. The first of these, the weather, is something over which we have no control. However, the Canadian National Railways, the second of those conditions, is something about which I feel the Minister of Transport (Mr. Chevrier) could do something. I have in mind particularly the conditions at Louisburg, Nova Scotia. However, I shall not deal with that matter now because I believe it might be discussed more appropriately at a later time.
Referring to the speech from the throne my leader (Mr. Drew) said, as reported at page 38 of Hansard:
As to the speech from the throne itself, it contains so little of a definite nature that any remarks which may contribute to the effective consideration of our problems necessarily must be related more to what the speech from the throne does not say than to anything it does say.
In the old days of the parliament in Newfoundland we had an expression which would seem to sum up what was said by the leader of the opposition. We would have said that the speech from the throne was more remarkable for what it did not contain than for what it did contain. Or, as one of my constituents said in a letter to me the other day, "Heap big smoke; no fire".
In the few remarks I shall make I intend to deal only with provincial matters. Perhaps it is better that I follow this procedure because the problems of the new province are not yet well known. I believe that, on every possible occasion other members from Newfoundland and I are permitted to inflict our views upon the house, we should try to direct the attention of hon. members to Newfoundland and its problems.
When the other day the Minister of Veterans Affairs (Mr. Gregg) unequivocally refused to set up a parliamentary committee on veterans affairs I was greatly disturbed, because among the requests received by members from Newfoundland was one from our great war veterans association asking in particular that such a committee be set up. I found it necessary to reply to them by stating that for some reason or other, which we had not yet been able to ascertain, we had received only a blunt refusal to their request. Furthermore, in the letter received there was a request that we support the Legion's recommendation for increases in the basic rates of war veterans' and widows' allowances from $40 to $50 per month for single veterans and widows with no dependents, and to $80 per month for married veterans and widows with dependents. The brief of the dominion executive council of the Canadian Legion, presented I believe in November of last year, stated that in some provinces the recipients are receiving less than they would under the Old Age Pensions Act. The Legion appreciated the extra aid given but stated that it feels strongly that a general increase in the basic rate would be more satisfactory to all concerned. I trust that the minister and the cabinet will take under advisement the necessity of reconsidering the decision already given in this matter.
I notice the Minister of Transport (Mr. Chevrier) is not in his seat, but I should like to take advantage of this opportunity to draw to his attention a situation that exists at Gander airport. Owing to a regulation passed during wartime the erection of new buildings is not permitted within five miles of the airport. The result is that housing conditions are simply scandalous. Families are paying $110 per month to live in old converted
barracks. This is a ridiculous situation and I trust the necessary action will be taken to have the regulation rescinded immediately.
As the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre (Mr. Knowles) just said, all hon. members are receiving requests with respect to old age pensions and the removal of the means test. Along with the other Newfoundland members I have received a great number of these. The Prime Minister (Mr. St. Laurent) more or less intimated the other day that Canada could not afford to pay for such pensions, but in view of the able argument put forward by the hon. member I am convinced that that legislation should be on the statute books.
I concur in what was said by the hon. member for Skeena (Mr. Applewhaite) with regard to the establishment of a coastguard. I spoke in this chamber last session with regard to that matter. The hon. member indicated the necessity for such a service on the west coast of Canada. As you know, the wise men come from the east and all I can say is that the need on the east coast for such a service is as great as it is on the west coast. I am in favour of a coastguard modelled on the United States coastguard. No blame can be attached to the R.C.M.P., who operate the present set-up, but I submit that they certainly should not have to do that work.
There is another matter I should like to raise but I do not know just what value my argument may have. As hon. members know, there are now three senators from Newfoundland and three more are to be appointed. I suggest to the Prime Minister that he act in accordance with past precedent when new provinces came into confederation and not appoint all the senators on party lines. When the new appointments are made I suggest that he go outside his party and appoint those who are other than Liberals.
There is another matter I should like to bring up, and here again I do not suppose there is much hope. Owing to the uncultured state of Newfoundland before we entered confederation all books were allowed to come in duty free. Since confederation any books coming into Newfoundland from the United States must pay duty. It would not cost the country very much and would be of great help, even to the people in older Canada, if the duty on books were removed. I can assure the government that the people of Newfoundland would welcome that move very much.
The speech from the throne referred to the dominion-provincial conference held in January. The parliamentary assistant to the premier of Newfoundland stated on February 15, when the Newfoundland legislature was
The Address-Mr. Higgins opened, that he had been present and could not help but notice the high regard in which the premier of Newfoundland was held by all the people in Ottawa. He said that from what he could see and hear there appeared to be only three premiers at the conference, the Prime Minister, the premier of Quebec (Mr. Duplessis), and Mr. Smallwood. He compared them to Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin, although he did not particularize which was which. I would think that there was a fairly good foundation in fact not to compare the Prime Minister with Joe Stalin. I doubt if the parliamentary assistant would compare his own premier to Stalin. It would appear to me as if we may be getting ready for war between Quebec and Newfoundland over the Labrador boundary. That by the way.
It was stated in the speech from the throne that employment and prosperity remained at a high level, but as far as my part of the country is concerned that statement is not borne out by the facts. As I stated earlier, I am not going to refer to the over-all picture but only to the picture as it presents itself in Newfoundland. The present outlook there is bleak indeed. The number of unemployed is high and the prospects are far from bright. In January the men engaged on relief work, apart from those receiving unemployment insurance or unemployment assistance, numbered 10,237.
The minister of finance of Newfoundland issued a message at the end of the year in the Daily News, stating that it was expected that that province would close the year on March 31, not with a cash surplus of $40 million but with one just under $32 million. He said that a total of $8,500,000 would have been expended from the cash surplus during the year. For the eight months April to December there was a deficit of over $4 million on current expenditure. When it is realized that the entire revenue for that period is around $20 million you will realize how grave the situation is.
Iron ore for Dosco at Sydney is supplied largely from Bell island, but the mines there are having a difficult time. It was expected that a contract with the British steel makers for the delivery of 1,500,000 tons per year for ten years would have been entered into last year, but the British government would not consent because of the exchange situation and the deal fell through. Permission was given to complete the balance of the 1949 contract. Last November a possibility appeared to sell 1,125,000 tons to be delivered this year, made up of 300,000 tons to Western Germany-Germany before the war was always a great market for our ore-
300,000 tons to England and the remainder to the steel plant at Sydney. Unfortunately
The Address-Mr. Higgins this deal also tell through. I understand it was to be financed more or less by means of Marshall aid, and whatever happened-
I think it was the curtailment of funds more than anything else-the deal also fell through. At the present time the only prospect in sight is the amount of ore to be shipped to Sydney, some 700,000 tons, and from the latest information we have it may be reduced by another 100,000 tons.
The present position at Bell island is that they are only operating two mines on a five day a week basis, and that there are some
1,000 men actually unemployed out of a working force of 2,000. From the best advice that we can secure this situation is going to continue, and there may be an even bigger reduction in the number employed because I understand they are modernizing the plant and putting in new machinery, which naturally will cut down on employment. I take it that is generally the result of installing machinery. That is what the hon. member for Cape Breton South (Mr. Gillis) tells me, and he should know. At all events the situation is causing grave concern not only to the people of Bell island but also to the provincial government.
In order that the necessary action may be taken, I should like to draw to the attention of the minister concerned the fact that some difficulty has arisen in the payment of unemployment insurance cheques and there has been great dissatisfaction. Cheques have not been received regularly. Some of these people have been kept waiting over two months, and they have to travel twelve miles by land and water to St. John's to get their cheques. I trust that action will be taken to see that these people who have no money, and who have to get to St. John's as best they can, will be able to receive their unemployment insurance payments without having to wait two months and be paid at Bell island.
The provincial government have undertaken relief work in Newfoundland, as I think I said during last session, and the burden has been considerable. So far the Newfoundland government has expended $1,250,000 on unemployment relief, a tremendous amount of money for that little province, and how long it will be able to keep it up is very difficult to say. So long as we have a voice in this house there is one matter which we will raise. We want the terms of confederation revised upwards. They must be revised if Newfoundland is going to be able to keep up with the other provinces of Canada.
There is another matter that has only come to my attention recently, although it should have before. In talking to some of the business people of Newfoundland they have
pointed out that there is a factor which was never mentioned in the confederation discussions, and which should have been. I refer to the great benefit that Canada is receiving now from increased trade, something that she did not have before. Most of our former trade with the United States is now being carried on with Canada. In other words, Canada is selling to Newfoundland $40 million more than she sold before confederation. That is a considerable factor and should certainly be borne in mind when we ask to have the terms revised, as we will have to very shortly.
I had hoped that fishermen would be included in the amendments to the Unemployment Insurance Act. I presume they could not be, although I do not know the reason why. It seems to me to be a great pity that some scheme cannot be worked out whereby fishermen could be covered under the Unemployment Insurance Act. What has become of these poor people who do not qualify for unemployment insurance? There is no federal agency taking care of them. They are left chiefly to charitable organizations, and that is a most ridiculous situation in a country which we heard described last year by the hon. member for Spadina (Mr. Croll) as a welfare state. As I have already said, there is a considerable amount of unemployment, and a lot of it can be attributed directly to confederation. That is a pretty harsh statement. I realize that even the most rabid anti-confederationist cannot blame confederation altogether for that fact, but even the most partisan-and I include hon. members on the other side of the house from Newfoundland^-supporters of confederation must agree that the hitting of our secondary industries and the closing of a number of them can be directly attributed to this fact. I understand that some half a dozen have closed already, and the remainder are making a very gallant effort to keep running, but what happened in the case of the maritimes, as is known so well to maritime members of the house, will happen in Newfoundland in so far as the secondary industries of the province are concerned. The best proof I can give of that-and I am sure you will understand that I do not say this because I was an anti-confederate
is that, if I may use slang language, it comes right from the horse's mouth.
I should like to refer to the submission of the government of the province of Newfoundland to the royal commission on transportation, and particularly to that section of it dealing with the economic outlook for St. John's. Practically all of our secondary industries are located there. The submission reads:
The impact of confederation upon St. John's as the chief trading and distributing centre of the island will be revolutionary. Heretofore it has been the chief receiving centre and distribution point for imports into Newfoundland. Because of the diversion of trade from sources of supply in the United States of America and Europe to Canadian suppliers, and because of the re-routing of imports through gateways more contiguous to the mainland than St. John's, this import business, with its consequent distributing trade, will be lost irrevocably to the capital. It is safe to say that in time the trading and distributing activities of St. John's will be limited largely to the Avalon peninsula. This prospect poses a matter of grave concern to that section of the population residing within and around the Avalon peninsula. It is of particular moment to those resident in St. John's.
No basic industries exist in St. John's. No natural resources capable of providing a basic economy are to be found within its immediate vicinity, with one exception. It therefore follows that with the falling off of import trade through this port, and the consequent loss of its primary position as the distributing centre for the island, an alternative economy must be built up or St. John's will not only fail to maintain its present position, but must inevitably suffer a decline in trade and employment of serious and1 far-reaching proportions.
The local industries located within the area may exist precariously for some time to come, but it is difficult to see how manufacturing concerns within St. John's can compete effectively with mass-producing units engaged in the same line of business on the mainland.
There is one ray of hope in this dark outlook. It is to be found in the establishment at St. John's of a great producing and processing centre for the products of the sea. The harbour is ice free all the year round-
This is a misstatement so far as this year is concerned.
-and for this reason it can be utilized as a base for such an operation.
So, Mr. Speaker, in the vernacular this submission, which comes from the Smallwood administration and can therefore be taken as unbiased, means that the outlook is for St. John's, one of the oldest cities on this side of the water, as a result of confederation to become nothing better than a fishing village. That is the most it can hope for; and that is not a nice picture. I do not know what will become of the people who are going to lose their livelihood as a result of our local industries closing. The sad part of it to me, and to many others who think as I do, is that the only alternative appears to be for the people who are now engaged in these secondary industries to increase the population of the other provinces of the dominion. Without doubt we are going to see mass emigration from Newfoundland in the years ahead.
I am glad to learn from the speech from the throne that it is proposed to amend the price support legislation. I trust that these funds will be made available to the fishermen of Newfoundland because, as I have said before, the backbone of our economy is the salt fish trade. A number of Newfoundland merchants 55946-311
The Address-Mr. Higgins engaged in the fish trade are in this city today; and their chief purpose in coming to Ottawa is to interview the cabinet in an endeavour to arrange for the conversion of sterling. I know this problem of sterling conversion exists throughout Canada, but I do submit that the people of Newfoundland must be given special treatment for some years to come. After all you must remember that here on the mainland you have a pattern that has been woven over many years. We are now trying to come into that pattern, but it is utterly impossible to expect us to do so at once, particularly with respect to our export trade, chiefly the fish trade, where we have been dealing in markets that have no substantial attraction for the other provinces of Canada. So it is going to be very difficult for us to be assimilated into your general trade pattern unless special treatment is given our province. The special treatment we ask-and I know this will be supported by all hon. members from the province
is that for a few years to come you arrange for the conversion of sterling in connection with the fish trade. It will not amount to very much. At the most in a single year it will not exceed $15 million, but that $15 million means the difference between life and death for Newfoundland. So I ask the members of the cabinet to give serious consideration to the request which I understand was presented to them today.
There is still another matter; we are great people for asking, and it is just as well to put all our needs on record. As hon. members are aware, our seal fishery has been of historic note for many years as a source of livelihood for our people. This year the seal fishery is being carried on by only three ships. One of those ships comes from the mainland of Canada; the other two are being sent out by the firm of Bowring Brothers, I believe chiefly for sentimental reasons, because of their long connection with the seal fishery. What is the cause of this? The reason is that seal oil is no longer used by manufacturers in Canada, who instead are using United States dollars to buy vegetable oils. I submit in all honesty that these manufacturers should be required to buy marine oil at the same price they are paying for vegetable oil from the United States. The seal oil is just as good, and I do not know why they no longer use it. Certainly I feel this action should be taken. It would be a great help to us; it would relieve a good deal of unemployment and at the same time would conserve United States dollars. So I believe this suggestion is well worthy of consideration.
In discussing the matter of secondary industries in Newfoundland the question of freight rates is most important. I feel very
484 HOUSE OF
The Address-Mr. Higgins strongly about this question, and there has been a great deal of publicity about it at home. When I say "at home" I am referring to my province; I cannot quite fit into the pattern here as I should, even yet. The position with respect to freight rates is this. As a member of the original delegation to Ottawa in 1947, accompanying the present Secretary of State (Mr. Bradley) and the hon. member for Grand Falls-White Bay (Mr. Ashbourne), I had a very clear understanding of the matter, and I am sure those two hon. members had the same clear understanding. As far as freight rates were concerned we understood that Newfoundland was to be placed in a position which would enable it to compete, by being treated as the maritime provinces are treated. That was the definite, clear understanding and undertaking that we took home with us. That was the understanding and undertaking given to those who signed the terms of union in 1948, and that has been the understanding of those who have discussed the matter.
What has happened? Instead of carrying out that undertaking an entirely different tariff rate has been applied to Newfoundland. Our tariff rate is C17 as against tariff rate C19 for the maritimes, and as a result my province has had to pay an overcharge of 28 per cent. Let me give a few examples so hon. members will be able to follow the trend of my argument. The figures I intend to give do not include the last 16 per cent increase; they were made up before it went into force, and I could not get up-to-date figures because the tolls have not been filed as yet. These are the old figures, which I presume will be increased by 16 per cent; and here is the position. From Bic, Quebec, to Campbellton, New Brunswick, the distance is 133 miles, and the charge for carrying 100 pounds of class I freight is 66 cents. The distance from St. John's to Clarenville, Newfoundland, is 131 miles, and the charge for the same quantity and class of freight is 76 cents. From Saint John to Blackland, New Brunswick, the distance is 254 miles. The charge for the same quantity and class of freight is 79 cents. For a distance of 253 miles from St. John's to Lewisporte, one mile less, the charge is $1.02. From Saint John to Campbellton, New Brunswick, is 276 miles and it is also 276 miles from St. John's to Grand Falls, Newfoundland; yet to carry 100 pounds of class I freight in New Brunswick the charge is 83 cents, while in Newfoundland the charge is $1.05.
By a peculiar coincidence, the tariff rates on all classes of freight from Oak Bay, Quebec, to Halifax, Nova Scotia, a distance of 405 miles, are exactly the same as the rates on the same quantity of freight from St.
John's, Newfoundland, to Grand Falls, Newfoundland, a distance of 276 miles; the same price is charged for 405 miles as we Newfoundlanders have to pay for 276 miles.
The final example I shall give you, Mr. Speaker, is from Sydney, Nova Scotia, to Upsalquitch, New Brunswick, a distance of 547 miles; the charge is $1.14 for 100 pounds. Yet for exactly the same distance from St. John's, Newfoundland, to Port aux Basques, the charge is $1.62.
In order that hon. members may be aware of what has happened, may I point out that the government of Newfoundland applied to the board of transport commissioners to cancel the existing tariff-that is, the tariff from which I have just quoted-and to substitute therefor tariff and tolls based on the rate structure now in effect in the maritime provinces. This application was based on section 32 of the terms of union, and was refused by the board in a judgment delivered on February 14 last. Subsections (2) and (3) of section 32 of the terms of union read as follows:
(2) For the purpose of railway rate regulation the island of Newfoundland will be included in the maritime region of Canada, and through-traffic moving between North Sydney and Port aux Basques will be treated as all-rail traffic.
(3) All legislation of the parliament of Canada providing for special rates on traffic moving within, into, or out of, the maritime region will, as far as appropriate, be made applicable to the island of Newfoundland.
As many hon. members will recall, when this matter of freight rates was being discussed at the first session of this house in 1949, a number of those still here engaged in the discussion. As reported at page 608 of Hansard, the Prime Minister (Mr. St. Laurent), referring to this particular agreement and these freight rates, stated:
This matter was fully gone into with the representatives of Newfoundland, who were also quite concerned about it, and the best we could tell them was that the board of transport commissioners would have to take that into account.
Then again on the same page:
That is something also which was carefully discussed with the representatives of Newfoundland, and they were told that all these matters would have to be taken into consideration by the transport commissioners. What is provided is that this connection to Port aux Basques is a part of the railway rate, but the maritime rate will apply within Newfoundland. It does not apply now to the traffic carried by water from Halifax to any point in Newfoundland; but in determining what will be proper rates to charge for rail movement the board will have to take all appropriate factors into consideration. The delegates from Newfoundland finally were satisfied with this position; that we do not want to have things happen which will interfere with the economy of Newfoundland, and we do not want things to happen which will interfere with the usual trading practices of the maritime provinces. We hope that instead of there being interference there will be promotion of trade relations, and that is something with which the board of transport commissioners will have to deal.
Then as reported at page 619, the Minister of Transport (Mr. Chevrier) stated:
Under the bill the Canadian National Railways is required to file tariffs with the board of transport commissioners on March 31, assuming that confederation takes place on that date, and assuming also that the lines of railway on the island of Newfoundland and the steamer service between North Sydney and Port aux Basques are entrusted to the Canadian National Railways on the same date. Such rates will have to conform to the general pattern of rail rates in the other provinces of Canada; otherwise they would be discriminatory. Discriminatory rates, either higher or lower than in the same general territory, cannot be maintained under the Railway Act. Therefore, as stated, the rates will follow the general pattern of the rates in the other provinces.
I would ask you, Mr. Speaker, to note that word "discriminatory", because it is exactly the same word that is found in the judgment of the board of transport commissioners, and I read from the last page of that judgment:
This subsection may also mean that the rate structure in Newfoundland is to be in general conformity with the rate structure in the other maritime provinces. But we do not think there is anything in this subsection to affect in any way the principles upon which the board has acted in the past in regard to discrimination under the provisions of the Railway Act.
The board apparently thinks it can discriminate; the Minister of Transport apparently thought it could not. The present position is that this matter is now met by the formal approach of the premier of Newfoundland to the cabinet, I believe made today, and a request from him that this section of the terms of union be honoured.
All I have to say is this, Mr. Speaker. As it was generally understood by all of us, and as the Secretary of State (Mr. Bradley) was a member of that delegation, and the hon. member for Grand Falls-White Bay (Mr. Ashbourne) and I myself were members of the first delegation, and as members of the Liberal party in Newfoundland campaigned using that understanding as one of their arguments, I therefore say that there is only one thing for all the members from Newfoundland in this house to do with the exception of my learned confrere the hon. member from St. John's West (Mr. Browne), who did not actively participate at that time. I say in all sincerity that if the cabinet does not honour that agreement that was understood by us, the Newfoundland members should resign. It may be said that it is not written into the terms of confederation but certainly it was understood by us. Unless therefore we are put on the same basis as the maritimes, in the matter of freight rates, then I say that in all honour the only alternative is for the Secretary of State, the hon. member for Grand Falls-White Bay and the other members of the Liberal party from Newfoundland, to resign from this house.
The Address-Mr. A. W. Stuart
Topic: SPEECH FROM THE THRONE
Subtopic: CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
The question of privilege is this. How can one member speak for someone else? I suggest that the hon. member speak for himself. I am here to speak for myself, and the Secretary of State can speak for himself.
Topic: SPEECH FROM THE THRONE
Subtopic: CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
Let there be no misunderstanding about this matter. I speak for myself entirely. What the other hon. members of this house do is their own affair. But as for myself, if this agreement is not honoured by the cabinet, I am resigning from this house and I am going back to Newfoundland where I shall endeavour, by all possible means, to have the province of Newfoundland secede from confederation. That is what I intend to do if this promise is not honoured. That is all I have to say.
Topic: SPEECH FROM THE THRONE
Subtopic: CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
My opening remarks, Mr. Speaker, will be congratulations to the mover and the seconder of the address in reply to the speech from the throne. I wish to compliment them sincerely. I think their contribution was worth while and was well delivered.
After having listened to the remarks by the member from Newfoundland I think that the house will have, when I have finished, a good idea that the members from the maritimes are much dissatisfied and in many cases are much of the same mind.
The particular part of the speech from the throne in which I was interested was a section which dealt with trade relations between the various countries of the world who were willing to trade with us. That is one of the most important things we have to deal with in the maritimes. We are in a different position from that of many parts of Canada, since we are practically wholly dependent on the United States for our markets. For that reason the closer relationship there is between the United States and Canada and the better trade agreements that can be arranged between the two countries the more beneficial it will be to our part of the country.
On many occasions in the house we hear discussions on unfavourable trade balances. As a rule when that condition does prevail every effort is made to rectify it. But I often
The Address-Mr. A. W. Stuart wonder whether we give sufficient consideration to the unfavourable trade balances as between the provinces of the dominion. That is the great problem that faces the maritime provinces. At this point I might say that we have found it much easier to break into the markets of the United States than into the markets of central Canada. We have always been able to deal with the United States; we have always been able to get along with them even though the things that we produce are also produced in the United States. They have always been very considerate of us and we consider them our friends.
During the war we were told that it would be necessary to centralize industries in this part of Canada, and that after the war it was hoped that the centralization of industry would be discontinued, and that we in our section of the country might expect a better break than we had received in wartime. Many of the war plants in Ontario and Quebec, to the construction of which we paid our proportionate share, were practically given to industries in the two central provinces immediately after the war. I have seen them in Hamilton and in other parts of central Canada. We paid our proportionate part to build these very fine structures. After the war, instead of the maritime provinces receiving what they considered belonged to them, these properties were practically given away to create new industries and to induce other industries to come to the two central provinces. It was the same old story that we have had since confederation, centralization of industry.
There is a point that I wish to make, which I feel will be discussed openly some time in the near future, and which is of great interest down in my section of Canada. During my five years in Ottawa I have heard hon. members from Ontario and Quebec, who I believe were sincere, say that they would like to have an opportunity to assist the people in less fortunate provinces. We believe that today they have that opportunity. It is only a few years ago that an hon. member from Ontario visited the maritime provinces. He was the former member for Davenport, Mr. John R. MacNicol, a most distinguished Canadian. Speaking in Saint John city on that occasion he had this to say, according to the Saint John Telegraph-Journal:
It is an outrage against the maritime provinces that the (Chignecto) canal was not built fifty or seventy-five years ago. I say further that the buildi-ing of that canal would revolutionize the whole economy of the three maritime provinces.
He went on to make further flattering statements about the maritime provinces. I believe he was sincere in every way.
In the province of Quebec and in Labrador we have enormous quantities of iron ore, which has been discovered within the last few years. Iron ore cannot be manufactured without coal, and so far as I know there is no coal in Ontario or Quebec. Therefore it would be necessary to ship this iron ore to central Canada, and then use United States dollars to import United States coal if this industry is to be centralized where most other industries are. That idea has already been strongly suggested by many papers in Ontario, and by many people. At this point I should like to quote a short statement from Maclean's, which is a national magazine, read all over Canada. It was written by "the man with a notebook." It is dated February 15, 1949, and reads as follows:
If the seaway does go through, Ottawa of course will stand up and cheer.
He is referring to the deepening of the St. Lawrence waterway in order to provide means of bringing Labrador ore into central Canada. I fail to understand why we from the maritime provinces who sit in the House of Commons should stand up and cheer over the announcement that the St. Lawrence waterway was being deepened. In other words, the people in the central provinces expect the maritime provinces to make their proportionate contribution toward the deepening of the St. Lawrence waterway in order that the ore that should be manufactured in the mari-times may be taken to central Canada to be manufactured so that they may enjoy the benefits. To me that is merely a selfish statement. It goes on to say:
High tolls on Labrador ore would divert it from the great lakes area to the Atlantic seaboard.
I realize that in the eyes of a person living in central Canada that would be a terrible calamity; but in the eyes of the people living in the maritime provinces that would be the logical thing to do, and the economical thing as well. It would be the logical and economical thing to manufacture Labrador ore where there is coal. I am certain to hear arguments propounded in the house sometime in the near future as to why this ore should be manufactured in central Canada. I realize that we are going to be asked to stand up and support it. That ore could be taken a much shorter distance to where we already have coal, and we already have a problem in connection with our coal industry. Markets cannot be found for maritime coal. We are told that it cannot compete even as far west as Montreal. If the hon. members from central Canada are sincere this is their opportunity to assist the maritime provinces. Here is the opportunity from an economical standpoint, and from the standpoint of the saving of
The Address-Mr. A. W. Stuart United States dollars, to make every effort bers in the House of Commons from the to manufacture this ore in the maritime maritime provinces will stand on his feet provinces. and fight against it.
When the Chignecto canal is built-and I hope it will be-much of this ore may be manufactured on the Atlantic coast of the United States. I have no doubt that some people would not like to see that happen, but I would love to see these people get Canadian ore. They have supplied us with ore for many years. They have supplied us with many commodities that we were not able to produce in this country. I would never take the selfish attitude that it should be kept at home. If we have a surplus we should not hesitate to sell it to our neighbours to the south who have always given us most generous consideration.
I should like to read another article at this time from the Northern Miner, of recent issue. This is along the same lines and, speaking about Labrador ore, states:
With the domestic iron production on the march to an annual outpouring that could conceivably reach 20,000,000 tons, Canadians can see the basis for tremendous industrial expansion for the nation. This is a mighty giant that has been unleashed by the proving up of hundreds of millions of tons of reserves.
It is not likely to stop with the mere digging up of the ore and loading it on a train or boat. The resulting annual influx of United States dollars from these simple operations-$100 million or more is quite possible-is nothing to be sneezed at but Canadians with courage and imagination will expect the iron ore revelations to mean much more than that.
They can see huge growth for the Canadian steel industry, not ignoring the sixty per cent expansion that has taken place in the last half dozen years and the works currently in progress. Their ideas go far beyond. They see present steel plants much, much bigger and1 new steel centres established-at the head of the lakes, for instance.
Every mention made of manufacturing Labrador ore contains reference to the head of the lakes. I have yet to hear or read anything from Ontario or Quebec which would suggest that this ore should be manufactured in the maritime provinces. Perhaps I am repeating myself, but before leaving this subject let me say that we feel we have in our argument a logical approach; we feel we have coal for which markets cannot be found. We feel we have the personnel, some of whom are unemployed. We feel that from an economic standpoint there can be no argument in favour of any other part of Canada. I do hope that when any mention is made of the deepening of the St. Lawrence waterways so as to take this iron ore to central Canada, each and every one of the mem-
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International good will has prevailed in the particular section in which I live, since confederation. Any favour that will be helpful to our southern neighbours will receive my support in every way.
There is another argument in favour of manufacturing in the maritime provinces. We have always been given to understand that it was cheaper to transport a finished article or a manufactured article than to transport raw materials. If this steel is needed in central Canada after it is manufactured, there is no question that it can be brought here. It can be delivered in central Canada much cheaper than the raw materials could be delivered.
For many years we have subsidized the manufacturers of Ontario and Quebec. It may become camouflaged by some other name, such as tariff protection. Nevertheless it is definitely a direct subsidy when it is imposed upon the people in that section of Canada. If it were a two-way arrangement I am sure there would be little difficulty in dealing with the people in the maritimes; but from the time of confederation there has been a most unsatisfactory balance favouring only one section of the country.
Speaking in this chamber a few days ago the hon. member for Dufferin-Simcoe (Mr. Rowe) had this to say about cabinet ministers, as it is reported at page 264 of Hansard:
They are nice fellows, grand fellows. Whatever the United States says, they do.
I think perhaps the hon. member who made that statement had in mind the thought that the province in which he resides has not been accorded the generosity of the people to the south which has been accorded us in the maritime provinces. I doubt whether the hon. member would have spoken that way, had he enjoyed that generosity.
The Address-Mr. A. W. Stuart
In connection with being told by the United States what we should do, may I quote briefly from a British publication dated at London, January 8. It states:
The Financial Times says today that Canada would "do well to give the matter much thought" before relaxing restrictions on imports from the United States on consumer goods.
These are instructions from the other side of the ocean.
In a review of a statement Thursday by Hon. D. C. Abbott, Finance Minister, on Canadian currency reserves, the paper says that marked deterioration in the dominion's internal economic situation during the past years makes Ottawa naturally anxious to find ways of stepping up supply of goods for consumption and capital development in Canada.
It would appear at the present tirhe that there are people in other countries who are endeavouring to instruct us in Canada as to how we should carry on the business of our own country. Might I add that in our dealings in New Brunswick with the United States-and I can speak for that province at least-I am convinced the balance has always been in our favour. We have always been able to sell more to the United States than we have been allowed to buy from them. We would have purchased much more, but tariff protection in this country prohibits us from doing so. Rigid and stringent regulations compel us to make those purchases from subsidized monopolies in other parts of Canada.
The term "subsidized monopolies" may seem to some hon. members rather severe. I believe it was the Minister of Finance (Mr. Abbott) however who, in describing refrigerator manufacturers in this country recently, used that very expression. He said it was a monopoly. That is the thing we have been dealing with for many years.
On Tuesday last the hon. member for Dufferin-Simcoe made another statement I was sorry to hear him make. At that time he was discussing the serious difficulty we were encountering in Canada in connection with the disposition of surplus farm products. Dealing with the question of surplus potatoes he said this, as reported at page 317 of Hansard:
I am not going to be disturbed about whether eve sell potatoes or not.
That, to my mind, is a typical Ontario statement. Potatoes were of no concern to the hon. member for Dufferin-Simcoe. This matter had reference particularly to the maritime provinces so it caused the hon. member very little concern. But statements such as this and statements such as we read in the press of the central provinces have pretty well convinced us down there that about all we are required to do is to support
(Mr. Stuart (Charlotte) .1
additional canal systems for the central provinces, and pay our proportional share, even though it may take something from us which we feel is properly ours. We must pay those two central provinces our proportional part for everything they would like to have, and yet at the same time we are denied the privilege of selling a single thing in return. It is the most unfavourable trade balance you could find anywhere in the world, nationally or internationally.
This has been going on for many years. We have heard much discussion of maritime rights. I do not believe in preaching maritime rights; I believe this is a national right. It is my belief that in order for one part of this country to be prosperous, it must all be prosperous. We have to live and let live. We must try to work together. Where there are indications of discrimination, some way must be found to rectify that condition. This same story has been placed before the house for years and years, but apparently, to date, very little has been done to rectify it.
As I stated a few moments ago, I shall await anxiously the arguments that will be used in this house before it closes with regard to the deepening of the St. Lawrence and with regard to the Labrador ore development. I have no idea what arguments will be advanced, but I can assure hon. members that they will have to come up with something good before the maritimes will take the bait.
During the short time we have been here many suggestions have been put forth by hon. members of the opposition with regard to trade relations between Canada and Great Brit.ain and between Canada and other countries. As I sat here and listened to those arguments I wondered why one thing was said one day and something else the next. During the past two weeks I have heard members of the opposition say that everything should be done to increase trade with Britain, and then I have heard an hon. member from the same group get up and complain that an industry in his constituency is in jeopardy because of British goods coming into the country. Just a few days ago I noticed an editorial in the Christian Science Monitor which would indicate that these stories have crossed the border to the United States. I should like to quote a short passage from this, as follows:
The facts of this Incident can be explained, but they show instantly the pressure which Canadian manufacturers can be expected to throw against imports which disturb their present position.
This government may expect larger pressure than any predecessor, for the obvious reason that in the last ten years Canada has emerged from the status of a raw-material producer into the status of a great industrial nation, with an inevitable shift in political gravity.
There has been skirmishing only on the side lines-strong protests from a few Conservative members against new British competition.
My idea of trade with Great Britain or any other peace-loving country is that it should be on the basis of their trading with us as well. I am bitterly opposed to the way trade has been carried on with Great Britain during the last four or five years. It has been trading on a one-way street. I realize that there has been great privation and suffering in Great Britain but I am convinced also that people in this country have not been given the fair deal they justly deserve.
Many questions have been asked in this house with regard to the pit prop business in the maritime provinces. At the start of the war delegations came from Great Britain to our province and asked pulpwood producers to discontinue their contracts, contracts which would have continued until the present time, in order to produce pit props for Great Britain. They agreed to do that, but when Great Britain found that they could buy pit props for a few cents less in other countries, their purchases here were discontinued immediately. This meant considerable hardship to people in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.
I contend that those people were not treated fairly. They did not receive the consideration they deserved. They were unable to renew their contracts with the pulp and paper people and were left with nothing. Pit props piled up on the breakwaters because markets could not be found. I am opposed to that sort of dealing. I believe some other way could have been found and the break might have been a little less sudden in order to give these people some warning and permit them to find other markets for their wood products.
In closing I want to say that the remarks I have made in connection with the St. Lawrence waterway and the development of Labrador ore represent my own personal opinions, but I want to repeat that if hon. members of this house feel that we in the maritimes are not as fortunate as the people in other parts of the country, if they are really serious in their desire to help out the situation down there, we shall anxiously await their approval or disapproval of the policy of steel manufacturing in the maritimes.
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Mr. Speaker, in rising to take part in this debate after fifty hon. members have spoken, it is rather hard to say something that has not been said already. You can start off by saying that you have the best constituency in the world, which would be quite easy for me to do, and then you can attempt to cover some other topic that has been touched upon already.
The Address-Mr. Bryce
I might say that Selkirk constituency was remodelled last year and now contains both urban and rural dwellers. But it still contains the descendants of the Selkirk settlers who came out at the beginning of the last century to blast a trail and build a gateway to the golden west. We are now coming to the end of the first half of the twentieth century, and as we look back over the last five decades and remember the calamity of two world wars and the greatest depression in history, we register in our minds the hope that the second half of the century will be free from such disasters.
It is true, and I think most hon. members will admit, that during the last few years our people have been better fed than ever before. It is true also that our farms and our factories have produced more goods and produce than ever before. Yet, with all that, we know that many Canadian people are not well fed today and that a great many Canadian workers are not receiving good wages. Many of our aged citizens still receive small pensions pn which to live. Sometimes the means test prevents them from getting very much.
May I say in passing that I have had more requests about this means test than I have ever had about anything else. As things are today, the man who has been thrifty and has attempted to provide for a rainy day is penalized. The man who has never saved anything, the man who perhaps in many cases has never even paid taxes, can draw a full pension. As I say, the man who has scraped to save and provide for a rainy day is penalized for his thrift. No law should be allowed to exist that penalizes a man or woman for thrift, long considered one of the great characteristics of the Scottish race. We all hope that the second half of the century will prove to be happier and more prosperous for the human race than the first half.
Another problem I should like to draw to the attention of the government is the great need of financial aid for education on a federal basis. In the last few years the effort has been to move people from crowded city areas into the adjoining municipalities. This relieves the city or town of the responsibility but creates a new problem for the municipalities which have to provide education for these boys and girls. The law of the land is that every boy and girl must go to school, and one must also remember that people are demanding better educational facilities for their families than they themselves had thirty or forty years ago. It has been said repeatedly that education is a provincial responsibility but the situation is now getting beyond provincial governments. If our school districts are to have the proper people to teach the pupils and be able to pay fair wages for their
The Address-Mr. Bryce services-wages comparable with other professions-build new schools, and enlarge old ones to accommodate the pupils coming in from other areas, then the federal government must come to the assistance of the provinces.
In the speech from the throne mention is made that a bill for the revision of the Indian Act is to be introduced at this session. I am sure this will be welcomed by everyone interested in the welfare of the Indians. To the members of the committee which sat for three years considering recommendations that could be incorporated in the present Indian Act, this will be most gratifying. As a member of that committee I know the tremendous job they did in the three years the committee worked, and to see the fruits of their labours in amendments to the present Indian Act brought before the house will be encouraging not only to the Indians but also to the people who worked so hard to do a satisfactory job on the Indian Act.
I have already congratulated the minister who heads the department which will now have charge of Indian affairs, the hon. member for Grey-Bruce (Mr. Harris). It is to be hoped that the revised Indian Act will be a new Magna Carta for the 135,000 Indians in Canada. I hope that the new minister will hold his position long enough to be able to do some constructive work in the Indian department. I have only been in parliament seven years but during that time the new minister is the fifth to have charge of Indian affairs, and I hope that he will have charge of the department long enough to do the best job that has yet been done.
We have heard a great deal about lost markets in the last few days, and different reasons have been advanced for the troubles now confronting us. I know there is no simple direct answer to the question. For instance, one of the reasons we hear is the one popularly known as the dollar shortage. Another reason is that improved methods of production have produced surpluses of various commodities. Another reason is that the marketing system which we have been using for the last fifty years is now out of date. Finally, only recently we have been faced with the factor of mass unemployment. There may be other causes, but let us look at those I have mentioned. So far as the dollar shortage is concerned there is actually no shortage of dollars at all. What there is a shortage of is goods that can be produced in Europe and sold to Canada and the United States in exchange for the iron ore, oil, cotton and wheat which those countries are forced to purchase from this continent because they cannot obtain them anywhere else at the present time.
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To start from where I left off, Mr. Speaker, there is in the marketing situation another important factor that- has developed only recently, namely mass unemployment. Dairy farmers, poultry keepers and livestock farmers in general should be particularly concerned about unemployment. Just as soon as a man loses his job and in fact as soon as he sees that unemployment is increasing, he begins to cut down on his expenses. He buys margarine instead of butter. At the present time in Canada there is more butter in stock than there ever was before, 46 million pounds of it. This is about 20 million pounds more than there was last year at this time. The more unemployment there is, the more margarine will be consumed, and the less butter. The unemployed man cuts down on his milk. Milk consumption per capita has decreased steadily since the end of the war, and it will go down still further. Not only will this lessen the market for milk, but it will increase the possibility of sickness. All hon. members know that milk is one of the finest all-round foods we have, particularly for children. But just as surely as unemployment increases, so will milk sales go down and so will sickness increase.
The unemployed man will cut his purchase of eggs. While he was working he could have bacon and eggs or ham and eggs for breakfast. But once he loses his job, it becomes a case of "bread and jam", or even bread without either jam or margarine, both for himself and his family. The same thing applies to meat; such as beef, pork and chicken. His meat will be confined to hamburger, bacon ends or something of that kind. When the worker becomes unemployed, he does not fill a lunch box every day, or a lunch pail as
The Address-Mr. Bryce some people call it. He does not use bread or meat or fruit. This situation in turn destroys the market for the farmer and the fruit grower.
Unemployment in the cities is the worst thing that can happen to the farmers, particularly at a time when overseas markets are in danger. I am sure that every thinking man must be greatly concerned about this marketing situation. I know that the farmers who are looking ahead are greatly worried. The folk who live in the cities should be worried too; for if the farmer cannot sell his crops, his livestock and his milk, he certainly cannot buy the machinery, the equipment, clothing and house furnishings that the city folk have to sell.
Farmers and city workers are interdependent. If one is prosperous the other is prosperous too. If one is in distress, it is not long before the other is in distress also. The sooner this hard fact is recognized, the better it will be for everyone concerned. There is a definite relationship between the income of those engaged in agriculture and those engaged in industry. When the income of the one group is depressed, the other group is directly affected. Canada's net national income is about $8 billion more than it was before the war. Wages, taxes, rent, lumber, steel and farm products have all gone up in price. In my travels up and down the country and elsewhere I meet people who claim that farm prices are far too high, and that cheaper food is the answer to the problem. But if anyone cares' to check with the dominion bureau of statistics he will find that in these post-war years, and years of high prices, the per capita consumption of eggs, bacon, beef and pork and dairy products was much higher than it was in the pre-war years when we were in an era of low prices. For instance, the per capita consumption figures are as follows:
20 1 doz. 24 0 doz.Poultry
19.5 lbs. 24-8 lbs.Pork
43-6 lbs. 52-7 lbs.Beef
56 0 lbs. 67-7 lbs.
In every case the wholesale prices of these items was at least 100 per cent or more higher than it was in 1939. Consequently, cheap bacon and eggs is not the solution. Unless food is purchased and consumed, low prices do not work. The real answer is to have enough purchasing power in the hands of the people to consume all that is produced.
I am also told that the farmer is making unreasonable profits at the expense of the consumer, and that farm prices are away out of line. Perhaps the individuals who make such claims might be able to tell us tMr. Bryce.]
how it is that the production of eggs has dropped in 1949 by 50 million dozen, and hog production has dropped by 338,000 hogs. The reason egg production dropped is that the cost of production is too high. A farmer can buy eggs at the store cheaper than he can produce them by keeping chickens. And so I say-and I think every reasonable man will agree with me-that our farmers are facing a serious marketing crisis. They are facing riot only the loss of overseas markets but the loss of the domestic market too. We are losing out because the powers that be on this North American continent, which prospered during the war while the rest of the world suffered huge losses, have failed to live up to their obligations. They are thinking only in terms of capitalistic profits instead of in terms of production for use. There are in the world millions of people still needing food, capital equipment, houses, clothing, roads, schools and factories. But because of the artificial restrictions imposed by the Canadian and United States governments, these millions of people cannot trade with this continent. They cannot buy our goods unless they have Canadian or United States dollars. For overseas trade, Mr. Speaker, I would suggest that we reduce tariff barriers, accept part payment in sterling, and invest funds in European countries. These are only temporary solutions. The only permanent solution is the adoption of the principles of international co-operation. Produce goods in those parts of the world where they can be most efficiently produced, and use them in any part of the world where they are needed, without any trade restrictions whatever.
For the domestic trade, adopt policies that will provide full employment at the highest possible wage rates and the lowest possible profit rates. It is only by adopting some such policy that the volume of goods which is produced each year can be consumed.
Remember, a high standard of living is measured by the volume of goods produced and consumed. If high rates of profit are made, there is not enough money left in the hands of people to purchase the goods, surpluses pile up, and unemployment begins again.
I would like to ask the government to consider the advisability of having a government inquiry into the price fluctuations of livestock as paid by the packing houses in Canada. Why there are fluctuations from day to day has always puzzled the livestock raisers, as it did the grain farmer before we had a wheat board. Why should steers be worth so much on Monday and so much less on Tuesday, or vice versa? It seems competition has been eliminated from the packing business altogether. Since they all pay
the same price it does seem to the farmer that prices are set and agreed to. The meat is all going to sell at the same price as the consumer's price is steady and does not change from day to day. Take hogs. Last September hogs at Winnipeg were $30 per 100 pounds. The government began negotiations with Britain for a new bacon contract. Articles in the papers suggested the price would be lower. The first thing the farmer knew was that the packer had depressed prices down to $24 per 100 pounds. There was no need for this, as the bacon was going into the domestic market and the consumer was paying the same price for what he had to buy.
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